Quotes honoring Pride and Prejudice’s 199th Birthday!

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, J. M. Dent & Co, London (1907)I could not let this day pass without wishing Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice a happy 199th birthday.

Written between October 1796 and August 1797, Pride and Prejudice was first entitled First Impression and would not premiere on the printed page until after many revisions and another sixteen years. Publisher Thomas Egerton of Whitehall (London) purchased the copyright from Jane Austen for £110 (worth £3,735.60 or $5,867.77 today). She would make no further pecuniary emolument from her most popular novel in her lifetime.

We have all had the pleasure of enjoying her “light, bright and sparkling” prose for almost 200 years now. Renowned for her witty dialogue, the friction between Austen’s hero Mr. Darcy and heroine Elizabeth Bennet has given us some of the most memorable lines in literature. Here are a few of my favorites:

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” (Mr Darcy to Mr. Bingley about Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 3)

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” (Elizabeth Bennet about Mr. Darcy; Ch. 5)

“Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.” (Mr. Darcy to Miss Bingley; Ch. 6)

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.” (Mr. Darcy to Miss Bingley; Ch. 6)

“Nothing is more deceitful,” said Darcy, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 10)

“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil— a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”

“And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.” (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 11)

“It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first.”

“May I ask to what these questions tend?”

“Merely to the illustration of your character,” said she, endeavouring to shake off her gravity. “I am trying to make it out.”

“And what is your success?”

She shook her head. “I do not get on at all. I hear such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly.” (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 18)

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it…” (Elizabeth Bennet; Chapter 24)

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” (Elizabeth Bennet; Chapter 31)

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault- because I would not take the trouble of practising…” (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 31)

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 34)

“I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration.” (Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 34)

“From the very beginning— from the first moment, I may almost say— of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” (Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 34)

“If Mr. Darcy is neither by honour nor inclination confined to his cousin, why is not he to make another choice? And if I am that choice, why may not I accept him?”

“Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest; for do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by everyone connected with him. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us.”

“These are heavy misfortunes,” replied Elizabeth. “But the wife of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine.” (Lady Catherine and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 56)

“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 58)

“My dearest sister, now be serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have loved him?”

“It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” (Jane Bennet and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 59)

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 60)

These are only a few of the amazing moments in Pride and Prejudice. Did I miss some your favorites? If so, do share.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2012, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

A Soirée with Lady Susan: Choice Bon Mots, Quotes, & Quips from Lady Susan

A Mememoir Of Jane Austen, Edward James Austen-Leigh, 2nd ed (1871)Here is a collection of bon mots, quotes and quips from Lady Susan. Even though Jane Austen wrote this epistolary novella in her late teens, she had already developed a keen eye for language and the witty retort that she would later be famous for in her mature novels. Enjoy! 

I take London in my way to that insupportable spot, a country village. Lady Susan, Letter 2

I am not quite weak enough to suppose a woman who has behaved with inattention, if not with unkindness, to her own child, should be attached to any of mine. Mrs. Vernon, Letter 3 

Where pride and stupidity unite there can be no dissimulation worthy notice. Reginald De Courcy, Letter 4 

It is undoubtedly better to deceive him entirely, and since he will be stubborn he must be tricked. Lady Susan, Letter 5 

Where there is a disposition to dislike, a motive will never be wanting. Lady Susan, Letter 5 

One is apt, I believe, to connect assurance of manner with coquetry, and to expect that an impudent address will naturally attend an impudent mind. Mrs. Vernon, Letter 6 

Education will gain a woman some applause, but will not add one lover to her list–grace and manner, after all, are of the greatest importance. Lady Susan, Letter 7 

There is exquisite pleasure in subduing an insolent spirit, in making a person predetermined to dislike acknowledge one’s superiority. Lady Susan, Letter 7 

I have never yet found that the advice of a sister could prevent a young man’s being in love if he chose. Lady Susan, Letter 10 

[Y]oung men in general do not admit of any enquiry even from their nearest relations into affairs of the heart. Sir Reginald De Courcy, Letter 12 

[H]ow little the general report of anyone ought to be credited; since no character, however upright, can escape the malevolence of slander. Reginald De Courcy, Letter 14 

She talks vastly well; I am afraid of being ungenerous, or I should say, too well to feel so very deeply. Mrs. Vernon, Letter 15 

Consideration and esteem as surely follow command of language as admiration waits on beauty. Lady Susan, Letter 16 

Those women are inexcusable who forget what is due to themselves, and the opinion of the world. Lady Susan, Letter 16 

There are plenty of books, but it is not every girl who has been running wild the first fifteen years of her life, that can or will read. Mrs. Vernon, Letter 17 

In short, when a person is always to deceive, it is impossible to be consistent. Mrs. Vernon, Letter17 

Artlessness will never do in love matters; and that girl is born a simpleton who has it either by nature or affectation. Lady Susan, Letter 19 

I shall ever despise the man who can be gratified by the passion which he never wished to inspire, nor solicited the avowal of. Lady Susan, Letter 22 

[T]hat woman is a fool indeed who, while insulted by accusation, can be worked on by compliments. Lady Susan, Letter 22 

Young men are often hasty in their resolutions, and not more sudden in forming than unsteady in keeping them. Lady Susan, Letter 23 

I left her almost in silence. It was the greatest stretch of forbearance I could practise. Mrs. Vernon, Letter 24 

I ought not to punish him by dismissing him at once after this reconciliation, or by marrying and teazing him for ever. Lady Susan, Letter 25 

Flexibility of mind, a disposition easily biassed by others, is an attribute which you know I am not very desirous of obtaining. Lady Susan, Letter 25 

Silly woman to expect constancy from so charming a man! Mrs. Johnson, Letter 26 

[T]oo old to be agreeable, too young to die. Lady Susan, Letter 29 

That detestable Mrs. Mainwaring, who, for your comfort, has fretted herself thinner and uglier than ever. Mrs. Johnson, Letter 32 

My understanding is at length restored, and teaches no less to abhor the artifices which had subdued me than to despise myself for the weakness on which their strength was founded. Reginald De Courcy, Letter 26 

I dare say you did all for the best, and there is no defying destiny. Mrs. Johnson, Letter 38 

I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others; of resigning my own judgment in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect. Lady Susan, Letter 39 

Whether Lady Susan was or was not happy in her second choice, I do not see how it can ever be ascertained; for who would take her assurance of it on either side of the question? The Narrator, The Conclusion 

The world must judge from probabilities; she had nothing against her but her husband, and her conscience. The Narrator, The Conclusion

Lady Susan AvatarUpcoming event posts
Day 11 – Sep 11      Guest blog – Regency Letter Writing
Day 12 – Sep 12      LS Group Read – Letters 34-41 & Concl.
Day 13 – Sep 13      LS Book Review
Day 14 – Sep 14       LS Wrap-up & Giveaway winners

In Which We Rant and Rave in Favor of Mansfield Park

Needlepoint book cover of Mansfield Park by Leigh-Anne Mullock (2009)Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park really gets a bum rap from critics and readers. Sometimes I think that I am its only advocate, campaigning to an empty room. Granted, it is not as emotionally charged as Sense and Sensibility or as light, bright and sparkly as Pride and Prejudice, but it does have an admirable heroine in gentle Fanny Price and two viper-like antagonists in Mary and Henry Crawford, that other authors just dream about creating.

I find the arguments against it are thin. Some say MP is overly moralistic, dismally dark, and the hero and heroine are wimps. (So harsh)  I say they are not reading the same novel that I am. All this remonstrance was prompted by a conversation I had today with a customer at work. As a bookseller, I recommend books all day long. Today, when I offered Mansfield Park to a young lady who loved P&P and S&S, her mom flatly said no, pronouncing that she would not like it. Inwardly, I cringed at such parental reproach. Give the kid a chance to make up her own mind. So Mansfield Park was eliminated because mom didn’t like it when she read it thirty years ago. Geesh.

So for all those parents out there that think they are doing your kids a favor, let them make there own decisions and mistakes with the classics. Just be HAPPY they want to read them.

On a more upbeat note, here are a few of my favorite quotes from Mansfield Park to remind skeptics that there are some grand one liners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So there!