And at least she's being nicer to Col. Brandon now that she knows he has the sort of melancholy and Romantic background she always finds the most interesting. It was very hard for him to relate this painful history of himself, the girl he loved, and her daughter... but at least Marianne talks to him now. Sometimes.
By the way, a note on the mention of Col. Brandon and Eliza meaning to elope to Scotland. At this time, underage people could not get married without their parents' consent in England, but they could in Scotland. And nobody was supposed to get married without going through the proper procedure of getting a license and so on, which took a couple weeks... but you could get married right away in Scotland. So people who wanted to elope and get married quickly, especially people under the age of 21, often would try to run away together to Scotland and get married. Such marriages were considered legal in England too, so you can see why it would be popular. A common destination for eloping couples was a town called Gretna Green that was just over the border into Scotland, which is where the Bennets assume one of their daughters is heading when she runs off with someone in Pride and Prejudice.
Also, uh, did you catch that Col. Brandon challenged Willoughby to a duel over his treatment of Brandon's ward? That's what he means by "we met by appointment, he to defend, I to punish his conduct. We returned unwounded..." (p. 390). Dueling was illegal in England at that time, according to my annotated copy, but still a fairly popular way for gentlemen and soldiers to deal with things like this that couldn't be taken before a court. As long as you weren't caught in the act by the authorities, it was basically okay. Also, by this time, it didn't matter if you didn't actually wound or kill your opponent -- to show up and stand up bravely while they fired a pistol at you was still proof of your courage and a way to defend your honor.
Now, Col. Brandon was, obviously, in the military. He even served a tour in India, where little uprisings all over probably meant that he had at least participated in skirmishes. The fact that he's a colonel means that he was either the first or second in command of his regiment. So I feel like him NOT shooting Willoughby at all is a mark of his innate morality, that he's proved his point by calling Willoughby out and facing him, and so he forbears to actually hurt him. Though MAN, that had to have been hard, not shooting the guy who debauched your ward AND captured the heart of the woman you love. Wow.
Alas, Marianne sinks into depression. And UGH, Lucy Steele has returned to the narrative. We're going to turn now away from Marianne's romantic troubles and focus on Elinor's instead.
Last thing: I laughed aloud over this bit about Mrs. Palmer: "She was determined to drop his acquaintance immediately, and she was very thankful that she had never been acquainted with him at all" (p. 398). Too funny!
1. Do you also think Col. Brandon missed Willoughby on purpose?
2. Do you groan whenever Lucy Steele appears on the page? Or are you kinder to her than I am?