Lady Susan: Quotes & Quips Letters 1-11

Letter 1  

The long illness of her dear father prevented my paying her that attention which duty and affection equally dictated, and I have too much reason to fear that the governess to whose care I consigned her was unequal to the charge. I have therefore resolved on placing her at one of the best private schools in town, where I shall have an opportunity of leaving her myself in my way to you. Lady Susan

Letter 2

I have more than once repented that I did not marry him (Sir James Martin) myself; and were he but one degree less contemptibly weak I certainly should: but I must own myself rather romantic in that respect, and that riches only will not satisfy me. Lady Susan

We are now in a sad state; no house was ever more altered; the whole party are at war, and Manwaring scarcely dares speak to me. It is time for me to be gone. Lady Susan

I take London in my way to that insupportable spot, a country village; for I am really going to Churchhill. Forgive me, my dear friend, it is my last resource. Lady Susan

Letter 3

I was by no means prepared for such an event, nor can I now account for her ladyship’s conduct; Langford appeared so exactly the place for her in every respect, as well from the elegant and expensive style of living there, as from her particular attachment to Mr. Mainwaring, that I was very far from expecting so speedy a distinction.. Mrs. Vernon

Disposed, however, as he (Charles Vernon) always is to think the best of everyone, her display of grief, and professions of regret, and general resolutions of prudence, were sufficient to soften his heart and make him really confide in her sincerity; but, as for myself, I am still unconvinced. Mrs. Vernon

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 4

My dear Sister,–I congratulate you and Mr. Vernon on being about to receive into your family the most accomplished coquette in England. Reginald De Courcy

[S]he (Lady Susan) does not confine herself to that sort of honest flirtation which satisfies most people, but aspires to the more delicious gratification of making a whole family miserable. Reginald De Courcy

What a woman she must be! I long to see her, and shall certainly accept your kind invitation, that I may form some idea of those bewitching powers which can do so much–engaging at the same time, and in the same house, the affections of two men, who were neither of them at liberty to bestow them–and all this without the charm of youth! Reginald De Courcy

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

Letter 5 

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

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

Charles is very rich I am sure; when a man has once got his name in a banking-house he rolls in money. Lady Susan

Letter 6

I have seldom seen so lovely a woman as Lady Susan. She is delicately fair, with fine grey eyes and dark eyelashes; and from her appearance one would not suppose her more than five and twenty, though she must in fact be ten years older. Mrs. Vernon

[S]he (Lady Susan) possesses an uncommon union of symmetry, brilliancy, and grace. Mrs. Vernon

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

She is clever and agreeable, has all that knowledge of the world which makes conversation easy, and talks very well, with a happy command of language, which is too often used, I believe, to make black appear white. Mrs. Vernon

At any rate it must be exaggerated. It is scarcely possible that two men should be so grossly deceived by her at once. Mrs. Vernon

Letter 7

Not that I am an advocate for the prevailing fashion of acquiring a perfect knowledge of all languages, arts, and sciences. It is throwing time away to be mistress of French, Italian, and German: music, singing, and drawing, &c., 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

Some mothers would have insisted on their daughter’s accepting so good an offer on the first overture; but I could not reconcile it to myself to force Frederica into a marriage from which her heart revolted, and instead of adopting so harsh a measure merely propose to make it her own choice, by rendering her thoroughly uncomfortable till she does accept him–but enough of this tiresome girl. Lady Susan

our party is enlarged by Mrs. Vernon’s brother, a handsome young man, who promises me some amusement. There is something about him which rather interests me, a sort of sauciness and familiarity which I shall teach him to correct. He is lively, and seems clever, and when I have inspired him with greater respect for me than his sister’s kind offices have implanted, he may be an agreeable flirt. Lady Susan

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

it shall be my endeavour to humble the pride of these self important De Courcys still lower, to convince Mrs. Vernon that her sisterly cautions have been bestowed in vain, and to persuade Reginald that she has scandalously belied me. Lady Susan

Letter 8

I am, indeed, provoked at the artifice of this unprincipled woman; what stronger proof of her dangerous abilities can be given than this perversion of Reginald’s judgment, which when he entered the house was so decidedly against her! Mrs. Vernon

I have not detected the smallest impropriety in it–nothing of vanity, of pretension, of levity; and she is altogether so attractive that I should not wonder at his being delighted with her, had he known nothing of her previous to this personal acquaintance; but, against reason, against conviction, to be so well pleased with her, as I am sure he is, does really astonish me. Mrs. Vernon

the badness of her (Lady Susan’s) disposition, he (Reginald) observed that whatever might have been her errors they were to be imputed to her neglected education and early marriage, and that she was altogether a wonderful woman. Mrs Vernon

Lady Susan’s intentions are of course those of absolute coquetry, or a desire of universal admiration; I cannot for a moment imagine that she has anything more serious in view; but it mortifies me to see a young man of Reginald’s sense duped by her at all. Mrs. Vernon

Letter 9

Mr. De Courcy may be worth having. Mainwaring will storm of course, but you easily pacify him; besides, the most scrupulous point of honour could not require you to wait for his emancipation. Mrs. Johnson

Letter 10

I cannot easily resolve on anything so serious as marriage; especially as I am not at present in want of money, and might perhaps, till the old gentleman’s death, be very little benefited by the match. Lady Susan

I have made him sensible of my power, and can now enjoy the pleasure of triumphing over a mind prepared to dislike me, and prejudiced against all my past actions. Lady Susan

My conduct has been equally guarded from the first, and I never behaved less like a coquette in the whole course of my life, though perhaps my desire of dominion was never more decided. I have subdued him entirely by sentiment and serious conversation, and made him, I may venture to say, at least half in love with me, without the semblance of the most commonplace flirtation. Lady Susan

Mrs. Vernon’s consciousness of deserving every sort of revenge that it can be in my power to inflict for her ill-offices could alone enable her to perceive that I am actuated by any design in behaviour so gentle and unpretending. Let her think and act as she chooses, however. 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 11 

Her power over him must now be boundless, as she has entirely effaced all his former ill-opinion, and persuaded him not merely to forget but to justify her conduct. Mrs. Vernon

How sincerely do I grieve that she ever entered this house! I always looked forward to her coming with uneasiness; but very far was it from originating in anxiety for Reginald. I expected a most disagreeable companion for myself, but could not imagine that my brother would be in the smallest danger of being captivated by a woman with whose principles he was so well acquainted, and whose character he so heartily despised. Mrs. Vernon

© 2009 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose