Jane, a nineteen year old girl visiting her brother's household with her sister, goes into the library to read but is soon interrupted by her brother Edward, who is talking to a person Jane does not know, Major Smythe.
Major Smythe is a part of the War Office, a Department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army, and suspects that Eliza, Jane and Edward's cousin, is a spy for France. Both Jane and Edward are surprised at this accusation because they know Eliza to be a very innocent and harmless widow, even if she is very interested in the French.
Major Smythe continues to explain to Edward how the War Office concluded that Eliza was a spy and they want Jane to invite Eliza to Edward's home so the War Office can investigate Eliza closer. Jane didn't like being manipulated to invite her cousin, which she already had done. I chose this scene because I think it is significant to the novel and the conversation develops the plot and could be the cause of everything else that occurs throughout the rest of the next few chapters or entire book.