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|Elinor was worried about this too.
Written by Barbara
(10/11/2009 6:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Suspense!, penned by Mary Anne
Willoughby shows up at 8 p.m.. When Elinor hears his carriage, she thinks it is the colonel with her mother, come back an hour or so before she really expected them to get there." She hesitated; she knew not what to do. The possibility of Colonel Brandon's arriving and finding him there, came across her."
Willoughby stays about half an hour, and has only been gone for half an hour when they do arrive. Considering that Colonel Brandon made a 160 mile round trip in 21 hours and did arrive about an hour before Elinor thought he would get there, it's very possibly that he could have walked in on Willoughby.
The last time they were in each others' presence or looked at each other was lining the other one up in his sights down the barrel of a pistol--very suspenseful indeed!
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