Sense and Sensibility Volume I Chapters 1 - 9 Summary

Mr. Henry Dashwood's uncle has died and left his estate, Norland Park, to him and then to Henry's son John. The estate cannot according to the will be sold or changed in any way by Henry. This is a blow to Henry, because he had hoped to secure the future for his family from the profits of the estate. Instead, he will have to be frugal to save enough money to provide for his family.

Unfortunately, Henry dies one year after his uncle, and his family is left to live with the small amount of money he has left them and a bequest from Henry's uncle of one thousand pounds for each of his three daughters. Also, John's wife, who is not well liked by Henry's family, moves with John and their son into the estate house. Meanwhile, John has decided to honor his father's dying wish and give his sisters each a thousand pounds a year to sustain them.

John's wife, Fanny, objects to his plan, instead she feels the money would be best saved for the future of their own son. John agrees to give his sisters five hundred pounds each. John and Fanny then discuss the possibility of giving his father's wife an annual sum of money. Fanny explains to John this plan too has its faults, because Mrs. Dashwood might live a long time and deplete their fortune. It is decided that he will give her fifty pounds every now and again to help her during trying financial times.

Mrs. Henry Dashwood is looking for a home close to Norland. While she is having difficulty finding a suitable home, her daughter Elinor, the oldest of her three daughters, has fallen in love. The object of her affections is Fanny Dashwood's brother, Edward Ferrars, a rich young man who is quiet and shy. Elinor is in love with Edward and it seems he returns her feelings. The main impediment to their romance is the difference in economic status between them. While Edward is rich, although his mother controls his money, Elinor is trying to live off the money bestowed to her by her brother, father, and uncle.

Marianne Dashwood, the second daughter, thinks Edward is somewhat dull and lacks interest in her sister's art. Marianne decides to tell her sister of her feelings towards Edward. Elinor defends her beloved to her sister and talks of Edward's love of books and art. Marianne declares her desire to look at Edward as if he were her brother, which causes Elinor some distress. Elinor is not sure of Edward's feelings towards her, sometimes she thinks he is in love with her and other times she feels he regards her as only a friend, so she lets her sister know a marriage is not imminent.

Fanny lets Elinor's mother know she does not approve of Elinor as her brother's wife. Mrs. Henry Dashwood decides she needs to move out of Norland as soon as possible. This is made possible by a letter from her cousin, Sir John Midddleton, offering Barton Cottage, a house he owns, as a new residence for them. She accepts his offer, even though it means moving to Devonshire.

The only person truly upset by the move to Devonshire is Edward Ferrars. Mrs. Henry Dashwood is moving into the cottage sight unseen. Mrs. John Dashwood is only too happy to see them go and is only upset by Mrs. Henry Dashwood taking furniture, which she thinks is too good for a woman of her station. In a few weeks the details of the move are completed and the family leaves Norland to live in their new home.

Barton Cottage is a four-bedroom home, which though Mrs. Dashwood thinks it is small, will do nicely for the family. The ladies also meet Sir John, who insists on them dining with him and his family at Barton Park every day until they are completely settled into the cottage. Lady Middleton and her son meet the family the next day and they find her not as boisterous and welcoming as her husband, but she is acceptable to them.

Sir John and Lady Middleton enjoy entertaining at their home. Lady Middleton takes great pleasure in her four children and Sir John likes to hunt, but when they are not involved in these pursuits they entertain.

They invite Colonel Brandon and Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton's mother, to join them and the Dashwoods for dinner at Barton Park. The meal goes well, because Mrs. Jennings is just as jovial as Sir John.

After dining at Barton Park, the ladies of Barton Cottage reciprocate with a meal at their home. The guest list is the same and Mrs. Jennings decides Colonel Brandon must be in love with Marianne, because he listens so closely to her playing of the pianoforte. Marianne is scandalized by this, because the colonel is 35 years old and she is 17, to her he is an old man.

Marianne is concerned about the health of Edward Ferrars, because he has not visited Elinor at their new home, but neither Elinor nor her mother expect him to visit so soon after their move.

Marianne on a walk with her sister, Margaret, sprains her ankle and is taken home in the arms of stranger. He is a man by the name of Willoughby, who charms the family with his good looks and manners. He asks if he can return the next day to check on how Marianne is doing and Mrs. Dashwood agrees. Sir John knows of the man and confirms he is of good standing and a suitable person to befriend.

Henry Dashwood and his family go through the trial of losing some of the inheritance they thought was theirs. His wife and daughters then endure his death and having to live with his son and cold wife. After moving to Devonshire, the ladies' lives begin to look up as they have a wonderful landlord and meet new people.

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