John Holbrook wanted to ask for Mercy\'s hand, but before he could speak, Judith spoke out her assumption that he was wanting to marry her. Her father gave them his blessing. Seeing Judith\'s radiant face, John could not bring himself to correct the mistaken assumption.
I believe that one important misfortune that was caused by this misunderstanding was that it was one of the reasons that John Holbrook joined the militia. When he left, both Judith and Mercy were devastated. It took them some time to recover from what they thought was his death.
When John says there is something I want to speak to your father about, how does Judith interpret the statement and what misfortune occurs as a result?
Judith thinks that John wants to ask her father for permission to marry her, and she's so sure about it that she essentially accepts before he asks, setting up a terribly uncomfortable situation that lasts for some time. (He had been about to ask for the hand of Mercy, Judith's sister, in marriage.)
As far as misfortunes, there's great emotional pain that lasts for quite some time, and their emotional upset may contribute to the sisters getting as sick as they did, but actually, it all worked out in the end.