Lady Susan: Quotes & Quips Letters 12-22

Letter 12 

[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

I cannot help fearing that you may be drawn in, by the lady who has lately attached you, to a marriage which the whole of your family, far and near, must highly reprobate. Sir Reginald De Courcy

Her neglect of her husband, her encouragement of other men, her extravagance and dissipation, were so gross and notorious that no one could be ignorant of them at the time, nor can now have forgotten them. Sir Reginald De Courcy

[I]t is my duty to oppose a match which deep art only could render possible, and must in the end make wretched. Sir Reginald De Courcy

It would destroy every comfort of my life to know that you were married to Lady Susan Vernon; it would be the death of that honest pride with which I have hitherto considered my son; I should blush to see him, to hear of him, to think of him. Sir Reginald De Courcy

If you can give me your assurance of having no design beyond enjoying the conversation of a clever woman for a short period, and of yielding admiration only to her beauty and abilities, without being blinded by them to her faults, you will restore me to happiness; but, if you cannot do this, explain to me, at least, what has occasioned so great an alteration in your opinion of her. Sir Reginald De Courcy

Letter 13

I had intended to write to Reginald myself as soon as my eyes would let me, to point out, as well as I could, the danger of an intimate acquaintance, with so artful a woman as Lady Susan, to a young man of his age, and high expectations. Lady De Courcy

How provoking it is, my dear Catherine, that this unwelcome guest of yours should not only prevent our meeting this Christmas, but be the occasion of so much vexation and trouble! Lady De Courcy

Letter 14

To impute such a design to Lady Susan would be taking from her every claim to that excellent understanding which her bitterest enemies have never denied her; and equally low must sink my pretensions to common sense if I am suspected of matrimonial views in my behaviour to her. Reginald De Courcy

[B]ut in this case, as well as in many others, the world has most grossly injured that lady, by supposing the worst where the motives of her conduct have been doubtful. Reginald De Courcy

[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

I know that Lady Susan in coming to Churchhill was governed only by the most honourable and amiable intentions; her prudence and economy are exemplary, her regard for Mr. Vernon equal even to his deserts; and her wish of obtaining my sister’s good opinion merits a better return than it has received. Reginald De Courcy

I have now, my dear father, written my real sentiments of Lady Susan; you will know from this letter how highly I admire her abilities, and esteem her character; but if you are not equally convinced by my full and solemn assurance that your fears have been most idly created, you will deeply mortify and distress me. Reginald De Courcy

Letter 15 

He gives a very plausible account of her behaviour at Langford; I wish it may be true, but his intelligence must come from herself, and I am less disposed to believe it than to lament the degree of intimacy subsisting, between them implied by the discussion of such a subject. Mrs. Vernon

She talks vastly well; I am afraid of being ungenerous, or I should say, too well to feel so very deeply; but I will not look for her faults; she may be Reginald’s wife! Heaven forbid it! Mrs. Vernon

Letter 16

That horrid girl of mine has been trying to run away. I had not a notion of her being such a little devil before; she seemed to have all the Vernon milkiness. Lady Susan

Miss S. writes word that she could not get the young lady to assign any cause for her extraordinary conduct, which confirms me in my own previous explanation of it, Frederica is too shy, I think, and too much in awe of me to tell tales. Lady Vernon

If I am vain of anything, it is of my eloquence. Consideration and esteem as surely follow command of language as admiration waits on beauty, and here I have opportunity enough for the exercise of my talent, as the chief of my time is spent in conversation. Lady Susan

I like him (Reginald) on the whole very well; he is clever and has a good deal to say, but he is sometimes impertinent and troublesome. There is a sort of ridiculous delicacy about him which requires the fullest explanation of whatever he may have heard to my disadvantage, and is never satisfied till he thinks he has ascertained the beginning and end of everything. Lady Susan

Poor fellow! he is much distracted by jealousy, which I am not sorry for, as I know no better support of love. Lady Susan

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

Letter 17

I never saw any creature look so frightened as Frederica when she entered the room. Lady Susan, who had been shedding tears before, and showing great agitation at the idea of the meeting, received her with perfect self-command, and without betraying the least tenderness of spirit. She hardly spoke to her. Mrs. Vernon

Her mother has insinuated that her temper is intractable, but I never saw a face less indicative of any evil disposition than hers; and from what I can see of the behaviour of each to the other, the invariable severity of Lady Susan and the silent dejection of Frederica, I am led to believe as heretofore that the former has no real love for her daughter, and has never done her justice or treated her affectionately. Mrs. Vernon

Lady Susan is surely too severe, for Frederica does not seem to have the sort of temper to make severity necessary. She looks perfectly timid, dejected, and penitent. Lady Susan

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. Lady Susan

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

Letter 18 

I cannot help fancying that she is growing partial to my brother. I so very often see her eyes fixed on his face with a remarkable expression of pensive admiration. Mrs. Vernon

[We] know the power of gratitude on such a heart as his; and could Frederica’s artless affection detach him from her mother, we might bless the day which brought her to Churchill. Mrs. Vernon

We are very good friends, and though she never opens her lips before her mother, she talks enough when alone with me to make it clear that, if properly treated by Lady Susan, she would always appear to much greater advantage. There cannot be a more gentle, affectionate heart; or more obliging manners, when acting without restraint; and her little cousins are all very fond of her. Mrs. Vernon 

Letter 19

Such was the first distinguished exploit of Miss Frederica Vernon; and, if we consider that it was achieved at the tender age of sixteen, we shall have room for the most flattering prognostics of her future renown. Lady Susan

I never saw a girl of her age bid fairer to be the sport of mankind. Her feelings are tolerably acute, and she is so charmingly artless in their display as to afford the most reasonable hope of her being ridiculous, and despised by every man who sees her. Lady Susan

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

She is in high favour with her aunt altogether, because she is so little like myself, of course. She is exactly the companion for Mrs. Vernon, who dearly loves to be firm, and to have all the sense and all the wit of the conversation to herself: Frederica will never eclipse her. Lady Susan

Letter 20 

“Oh!” said she, “he is come–Sir James is come, and what shall I do?” Frederica Vernon

The poor girl, however, I am sure, dislikes him (Sir James Martin); and though his person and address are very well, he appears, both to Mr. Vernon and me, a very weak young man. Mrs. Vernon

Sir James talked a great deal, and made many civil excuses to me for the liberty he had taken in coming to Churchill–mixing more frequent laughter with his discourse than the subject required–said many things over and over again. Mrs. Vernon

He now and then addressed Frederica, but more frequently her mother. The poor girl sat all this time without opening her lips–her eyes cast down, and her colour varying every instant; while Reginald observed all that passed in perfect silence. Mrs. Vernon

“I was never more surprized in my life than by Sir James’s arrival, and the suddenness of it requires some apology to you, my dear sister; though to me, as a mother, it is highly flattering. He is so extremely attached to my daughter that he could not exist longer without seeing her.” Lady Susan

“Sir James is a young man of an amiable disposition and excellent character; a little too much of the rattle.” Lady Susan

The girl whose heart can distinguish Reginald De Courcy, deserves, however he may slight her, a better fate than to be Sir James Martin’s wife. Mrs. Vernon 

Letter 21 

But if you do not take my part and persuade her to break it off, I shall be half distracted, for I cannot bear him. No human being but you could have any chance of prevailing with her. Frederica Vernon 

Letter 22  

This is insufferable! My dearest friend, I was never so enraged before, and must relieve myself by writing to you, who I know will enter into all my feelings. Who should come on Tuesday but Sir James Martin! Lady Susan

Guess, then, what I must feel at the sudden disturbance of all my schemes; and that, too, from a quarter where I had least reason to expect it. Reginald came this morning into my dressing-room with a very unusual solemnity of countenance, and after some preface informed me in so many words that he wished to reason with me on the impropriety and unkindness of allowing Sir James Martin to address my daughter contrary to her inclinations. Lady Susan

In short, I found that she had in the first place actually written to him to request his interference, and that, on receiving her letter, he had conversed with her on the subject of it, in order to understand the particulars, and to assure himself of her real wishes. Lady Susan

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

He endeavoured, long endeavoured, to soften my resentment; but that woman is a fool indeed who, while insulted by accusation, can be worked on by compliments. Lady Susan

I have not yet tranquillised myself enough to see Frederica. She shall not soon forget the occurrences of this day; she shall find that she has poured forth her tender tale of love in vain, and exposed herself for ever to the contempt of the whole world, and the severest resentment of her injured mother. Lady Susan

© 2009 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose