When Elinor's mother was dying, she made Elinor promise to take care of all the children, and never to leave her father. But Philip Hammond is engaged to Elinor, and is determined that they will marry. While this issue is still fresh, something more happens which may prevent Elinor from ever having her own life.
Biographical and other notes
The editor of the periodical Sunday Talk was William Weir Tulloch, the son of Margaret Oliphant's close friends John and Jane Tulloch.