Mansfield Park: Choice Quotes & Bon Mot’s: Day 8 Give-away!

The Novel

Jane Austen is renowned for her witty and sometimes cutting dialogue. Her novel Mansfield Park, though considered to contain a more darker subject matter, it still is full of them. Here are a select few that aim to amuse. Do not be surprised that the antagonist Mary Crawford gets all the best lines! 

“But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.” The Narrator, Chapter 1 

“Do not let us be frightened from a good deed by a trifle.” Mrs. Norris, Chapter 1 

“If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow.” Edmund Bertram on Mr. Rushworth, Chapter 4 

“Mansfield shall cure you.” Mrs. Grant, Chapter 5 

“Nothing ever fatigues me but doing what I do not like.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 7 

“Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 7 

“Everybody likes to go their own way–to choose their own time and manner of devotion.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 9 

“It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 9 

“Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 9 

“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.” Fanny Price, Chapter 9 

It was a quick succession of busy nothings. The Narrator, Chapter 10 

“Where an opinion is general, it is usually correct.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 11 

“Those who have not more must be satisfied with what they have.” Mrs. Rushworth, Chapter 12 

“Family squabbling is the greatest evil of all, and we had better do anything than be altogether by the ears.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 13 

“Let your conduct be the only harangue.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 15 

“One cannot fix one’s eyes on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy.” Fanny Price, Chapter 22 

“There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences.” Fanny Price, Chapter 22 

“Oh! you can do nothing but what you do already: be plagued very often, and never lose your temper.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 22 

“A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 22 

“Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 23 

“A woman can never be too fine while she is all in white.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 23 

The enthusiasm of a woman’s love is even beyond the biographer’s. The Narrator, Chapter 27 

“I am worn out with civility,” said he. “I have been talking incessantly all night, and with nothing to say.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 28 

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” Fanny Price, Chapter 42 

“Finish it at once. Let there be an end of this suspense. Fix, commit, condemn yourself.” Fanny Price, Chapter 44 

There is nothing like employment, active indispensable employment, for relieving sorrow. The Narrator, Chapter 46 

“Nobody minds having what is too good for them.” The Narrator, Chapter 48 

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can. Narrator, Chapter 48 

Mansfield Park Madness: Day 8 Give-away

Leave a comment by August 30th. to qualify for the free drawing of two copies of 

The Jane Austen Miscellany

By Leslie Bolton, Sourcebooks, Inc. (2006). The ultimate guide of everything Jane Austen for those who just can’t get enough! Hardcover, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1402206856 

Upcoming posts
Day 9 – Aug 23            MP novel discussion chapters 25-32
Day 10 – Aug 24          MP 1999 movie discussion
Day 11 – Aug 25          MP Oxford book review
Day 12 – Aug 26          MP novel discussion chapters 33-40

18 thoughts on “Mansfield Park: Choice Quotes & Bon Mot’s: Day 8 Give-away!

  1. I have just this morning stumbled upon this blog and am quite delighted with it. I shall drink too much coffee and spend all morning in front of the laptop.

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  2. One narrator quote that seems to stick out is the last one: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can.”
    I wonder what Jane Austen means by adding this quote. Is she inferring that other writers spend too much time writing about the dark side of life, including the guilt and misery that people face?
    Although there is at least one character in each of her novels who has reason to feel guilty and/or miserable, Mansfield Park is probably the novel with the most characters that would be a part of this category.
    This is a quote from one of the final chapters (or the final chapter) when Austen is quickly wrapping up the novel (when I read Mansfield Park, I felt like the ending was very rushed, considering the complex developement of the novel). Was she beginning to get sick and tired of her own characters?
    I looked up what odious means, and it could be defined as someone deserving or causing hatred or who is highly offensive; something that is disgusting, repungnant, or disgusting. What would JA’s reason be for adding such a strong adjective to characters in a novel that she wrote herself?

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  3. Many of those are among some of my favourite quotes from Mansfield Park. I’ll ad two of my favourites as well. Both are from the beginning of the book, since I’m only at chapter 24 of my reread.

    First the description of Lady Bertram, just one sentence, but in that sentence we know just about everything we’ll need to know to understand Lady Bertram:

    “She was a woman who spent her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children, but very indulgent to the latter when it did not put herself to inconvenience, guided in everything important by Sir Thomas, and in smaller concerns by her sister.” Narrator, Chapter 2

    The second one is from the walking scene in chapter 9, where there are so many great quotes. I really like this one, even if it’s not completely complimentary to women.

    “For he was not yet so much in love as to measure distance, or reckon time, with feminine lawlessness.” Narrator, Chapter 9

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  4. i love this one: “Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 9
    and i plan to adopt it as my excuse for being late to work.

    but i also love the one mentioned above about lady bertram. “of little use and no beauty” may be the best phrase in the book.

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  5. My absolute favorite is Fanny’s “better guide” quote. This is Austenian wisdom at its most profound.

    And then on the comic side there is Mary Crawford’s “rears and vices” line.

    Rachel, I think Austen was referring to her wish not to spend too much time dwelling on the guilt and misery of Sir Thomas, Maria, Henry Crawford, Mrs. Norris, and Mary Crawford. Although I think that Sir Thomas and Henry were probably the only ones who felt any guilt.

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  6. My favorite quote in the list is this one: “Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 9
    I also like this quote by Mary: “Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 7

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  7. “But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.” The Narrator, Chapter 1 I chuckle everytime I see these lines. And boy isn’t it the truth?!?! :)

    “Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 9 I’m going to memorize this quote!

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  8. Wow, those are some great quotes. I can’t wait to compare them when I’m reading then.

    I like this one “Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” Mary Crawford, Chapter 7.

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  9. I love these ambiguous quotes !
    “If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow.”, says Edmund, and he’s so right. Yet, Mary later says that “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” : how can you help being torn between the two ? We still think money very important today and I believe most people would agree with Mary, but I think Mary would agree with Edmund as well : she’s not stupid, she knows how the world works and it always breaks my heart when I realize that most of the female villains of Jane’s books are what they are because they have no choice but to marry into money to survive.
    I love how these quotes, plus this one : “It was a quick succession of busy nothings. ” and this one “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” quite sum up the dilemmas in Jane Austen’s works.

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  10. I love this quote as well:
    ‘We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.’ Fanny Price, Chapter 42
    Next time when I’m in a dilemma, I would remember this quote.

    I agree with ren’s comment about tardiness and am using this quote as an excuse for coming late:
    ‘Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.’ Mary Crawford, Chapter 9

    hahahaha

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  11. Oh, these are so witty! Although I find all of Jane Austen’s books funny, it always surprised me that this one was because it’s slightly more somber than her other books. One of my favourite quotes is “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can.” I looove that quote. It’s a good way to live, I think. ;)
    Ooooo this books looks good =)

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  12. I love austen’s wit! especially on the audio books, the readers capture the humor so well that there are times i just bust out laughing!

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  13. Of course, this reminds me of another writing great. Milton’s Satan also got all the good lines. Some say he was the hero in Paradise lost (or if you agree with Stanley Fish, we’re just supposed to think so, to prove that we’re also fallen). Either way, Jane is similarly giving all the best lines to bad folks.

    It’s hard to make virtuous people sound good. Wicked ones are so much more fun.

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  14. “I am worn out with civility,” said he. “I have been talking incessantly all night, and with nothing to say.” Edmund Bertram, Chapter 28

    My family had company to my home the other week who stayed for four or five days. They were relatives, very nice, good people, but I didn’t know them really well. I used this quote “I am worn out with civility.” when talking to my sister while the company was here. Of course my sister looked kind of blankly at me until I told her I was quoting from MP. See, Jane Austen has quotes for every day life no matter what the century. That’s just one thing that’s great about her books.

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  15. Oh, this is fun! This quote is one of my favorites from MP:
    “There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences.” Fanny Price, Chapter 22

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  16. An affection so amiable was advancing each in the opinion of all who had hearts to value anything good.

    Narrator, Volume 2, Chapter 6 (regarding Fanny and William)

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  17. Hello Mansfield Park participants day 8

    Leslie – so glad you found us and welcome!

    Rachel K. – the guilt and misery quote is so famous. I see it used quite often in reference to JA. Personally, I think that she was using it as an excellerator to quickly wrap up the novel by moving the action past all of the scandal and personal trajedy of the lasy two chapters. It is kind of a jolt, after the novel has taken so many pages to get to this point, and then it closes, bam.

    Kiragade – those are excellent quotes. We are like minds, because they had been on my list, but it needed to be pared down and got cut. Thanks for adding them back into the mix.

    Ren – of little use and no beauty! We all know someone who can fall into that category! Thanks

    Laurie Viera Rigler – so nice of you to drop by. I contemplated the rears and vices quote – but it requires so much set up and explanation that I’m glad that you mentioned it instead. Some think it is sexual, I think she is referring to Rear and Vice Admirals! LOL

    Susan – that is a great quote which I am adding to my favorites list immediately.

    Cheers, Laurel Ann

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  18. I am so happy to find this website. It is wonderful to have such an in depth view of Austen’s work. I am getting new insights and views on MP, even though I have read it dozens of times!

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