Lady Susan: Quotes & Quips – Letters 23-33

Letter 23

I am so much agitated by delight that I can scarcely hold a pen; but am determined to send you a few short lines. Mrs. Vernon

I must warn you of one thing–do not let Frederica Vernon be made unhappy by that Martin. He wants to marry her; her mother promotes the match, but she cannot endure the idea of it. Reginald De Courcy

[R]emember what I tell you of Frederica; you MUST make it your business to see justice done her. She is an amiable girl, and has a very superior mind to what we have given her credit for. Reginald De Courcy

I concluded, of course, that she and Reginald had been quarrelling; and looked with anxious curiosity for a confirmation of my belief in her face. Mistress of deceit, however, she appeared perfectly unconcerned. Mrs. Vernon

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

When I next write I shall be able to tell you that Sir James is gone, Lady Susan vanquished, and Frederica at peace. We have much to do, but it shall be done. Mrs. Vernon

Letter 24

My dear mother, every hope which made me so happy only two hours ago has vanished. The quarrel between Lady Susan and Reginald is made up, and we are all as we were before. Mrs. Vernon

I thought Mr. De Courcy could do anything with my mother; but I was mistaken: they have had a dreadful quarrel about it, and he is going away. Mamma will never forgive me, and I shall be worse off than ever. Frederica Vernon

“Frederica never does justice to herself; her manners are shy and childish, and besides she is afraid of me. During her poor father’s life she was a spoilt child; the severity which it has since been necessary for me to show has alienated her affection; neither has she any of that brilliancy of intellect, that genius or vigour of mind which will force itself forward.” “Say rather that she has been unfortunate in her education!” “Heaven knows, my dearest Mrs. Vernon, how fully I am aware of that; but I would wish to forget every circumstance that might throw blame on the memory of one whose name is sacred with me.” Lady Susan

“Good God!” she exclaimed, “what an opinion you must have of me! Can you possibly suppose that I was aware of her unhappiness! that it was my object to make my own child miserable, and that I had forbidden her speaking to you on the subject from a fear of your interrupting the diabolical scheme? Do you think me destitute of every honest, every natural feeling? Am I capable of consigning HER to everlasting: misery whose welfare it is my first earthly duty to promote? The idea is horrible!” Lady Susan

“Of what use, my dear sister, could be any application to you, however the affair might stand? Why should I subject you to entreaties which I refused to attend to myself?” Lady Susan

“I reproach myself for having even, though innocently, made her unhappy on that score. She shall have all the retribution in my power to make; if she value her own happiness as much as I do, if she judge wisely, and command herself as she ought, she may now be easy.” Lady Susan

I left her almost in silence. It was the greatest stretch of forbearance I could practise. I could not have stopped myself had I begun. Her assurance! her deceit! but I will not allow myself to dwell on them; they will strike you sufficiently. My heart sickens within me. Mrs. Vernon

How easily does her ladyship encourage or dismiss a lover! In spite of this release, Frederica still looks unhappy: still fearful, perhaps, of her mother’s anger; and though dreading my brother’s departure, jealous, it may be, of his staying. Mrs. Vernon

Prepare, my dear mother, for the worst! The probability of their marrying is surely heightened! He is more securely hers than ever. When that wretched event takes place, Frederica must belong wholly to us. Mrs. Vernon

Letter 25

I call on you, dear Alicia, for congratulations: I am my own self, gay and triumphant! Lady Susan

My remaining here cannot give that pleasure to Mr. and Mrs. Vernon which your society must; and my visit has already perhaps been too long. My removal, therefore, which must, at any rate, take place soon, may, with perfect convenience, be hastened; and I make it my particular request that I may not in any way be instrumental in separating a family so affectionately attached to each other. Lady Susan

“Where I go is of no consequence to anyone; of very little to myself; but you are of importance to all your connections.” Lady Susan

Oh, how delightful it was to watch the variations of his countenance while I spoke! to see the struggle between returning tenderness and the remains of displeasure. There is something agreeable in feelings so easily worked on; Lady Susan

And yet this Reginald, whom a very few words from me softened at once into the utmost submission, and rendered more tractable, more attached, more devoted than ever, would have left me in the first angry swelling of his proud heart without deigning to seek an explanation. Humbled as he now is, I cannot forgive him such an instance of pride, and am doubtful whether I ought not to punish him by dismissing him at once after this reconciliation, or by marrying and teazing him for ever. Lady Susan

[A]t present my thoughts are fluctuating between various schemes. I have many things to compass: I must punish Frederica, and pretty severely too, for her application to Reginald; I must punish him for receiving it so favourably, and for the rest of his conduct. I must torment my sister-in-law for the insolent triumph of her look and manner since Sir James has been dismissed; for, in reconciling Reginald to me, I was not able to save that ill-fated young man; and I must make myself amends for the humiliation to which I have stooped within these few days. Lady Susan

I have also an idea of being soon in town; and whatever may be my determination as to the rest, I shall probably put that project in execution; for London will be always the fairest field of action, however my views may be directed; Lady Susan

I believe I owe it to my character to complete the match between my daughter and Sir James after having so long intended it. Lady Susan

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

[F]or though he is still in my power, I have given up the very article by which our quarrel was produced, and at best the honour of victory is doubtful. Lady Susan

Letter 26

You should think more of yourself and less of your daughter. She is not of a disposition to do you credit in the world, and seems precisely in her proper place at Churchill, with the Vernon’s. Mrs. Johnson

He (Manwaring) is absolutely miserable about you, and jealous to such a degree of De Courcy that it would be highly unadvisable for them to meet at present. Mrs. Johnson

During his absence we shall be able to chuse our own society, and to have true enjoyment. I would ask you to Edward Street, but that once he forced from me a kind of promise never to invite you to my house; nothing but my being in the utmost distress for money should have extorted it from me. I can get you, however, a nice drawing-room apartment in Upper Seymour Street. Mrs. Johnson

Silly woman to expect constancy from so charming a man! but she always was silly–intolerably so in marrying him at all, she the heiress of a large fortune and he without a shilling: one title, I know, she might have had, besides baronets. Her folly in forming the connection was so great that, though Mr. Johnson was her guardian, and I do not in general share HIS feelings, I never can forgive her. Mrs. Johnson

Letter 27 

I should have feared, too, for her health, and for everything but her principles–there I believe she is not to be injured by her mother, or her mother’s friends; but with those friends she must have mixed (a very bad set, I doubt not), or have been left in total solitude, and I can hardly tell which would have been worse for her. Mrs. Vernon

Letter 28

I am pleased to find that my letter had so much effect on you, and that De Courcy is certainly your own. Let me hear from you as soon as you arrive, and in particular tell me what you mean to do with Mainwaring. Mrs. Johnson

Letter 29

My dear Alicia, of what a mistake were you guilty in marrying a man of his age! just old enough to be formal, ungovernable, and to have the gout; too old to be agreeable, too young to die. Lady Susan

He must not come till Mainwaring is gone. I am still doubtful at times as to marrying; if the old man would die I might not hesitate, but a state of dependance on the caprice of Sir Reginald will not suit the freedom of my spirit. Lady Susan

Letter 30

We have been unguarded in forming this hasty engagement, but we must not complete the imprudence by ratifying it while there is so much reason to fear the connection would be opposed by those friends on whom you depend. Lady Susan

He has a right to require a woman of fortune in his daughter-in-law, and I am sometimes quarrelling with myself for suffering you to form a connection so imprudent; but the influence of reason is often acknowledged too late by those who feel like me. Lady Susan

It will surely, therefore, be advisable to delay our union–to delay it till appearances are more promising–till affairs have taken a more favourable turn. To assist us in such a resolution I feel that absence will be necessary. We must not meet. Lady Susan

I cannot bear reproaches: my spirits are not so high as to need being repressed. I must endeavour to seek amusement, and fortunately many of my friends are in town; amongst them the Manwarings; you know how sincerely I regard both husband and wife. Lady Susan

Letter 31

My dear Friend,–That tormenting creature, Reginald, is here. My letter, which was intended to keep him longer in the country, has hastened him to town. Lady Susan

I cannot help being pleased with such a proof of attachment. He is devoted to me, heart and soul. Lady Susan

I am impatient to be rid of him, as Manwaring comes within half an hour. Adieu! Lady Susan

Letter 32

My dear Creature,– I am in agonies, and know not what to do. Mr. De Courcy arrived just when he should not. Mrs. Mainwaring had that instant entered the house, and forced herself into her guardian’s presence. Mrs. Johnson

She came to this house to entreat my husband’s interference, and before I could be aware of it, everything that you could wish to be concealed was known to him, and unluckily she had wormed out of Manwaring’s servant that he had visited you every day since your being in town, and had just watched him to your door herself! Mrs. Johnson

Mr. Johnson has for some time suspected De Courcy of intending to marry you, and would speak with him alone as soon as he knew him to be in the house. Mrs. Johnson

That detestable Mrs. Mainwaring, who, for your comfort, has fretted herself thinner and uglier than ever, is still here, and they have been all closeted together. What can be done? At any rate, I hope he will plague his wife more than ever. Mrs. Johnson

Letter 33

I am undismayed however. Do not torment yourself with fears on my account; depend on it, I can make my story good with Reginald. Lady Susan

© 2009 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose