Jane Austen

Quotations

If things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next.

I am greatly pleased with your account of Fanny; I found her in the summer just what you describe, almost another sister; and could not have supposed that a niece would ever have been so much to me. She is quite after one’s own heart; give her my best love, and tell her that I always think of her with pleasure.

Letter, October 7, 1808, to her sister, Cassandra. Jane Austen

She found his manners very pleasing indeed.-The little flaw of having a Mistress now living with him at Ashdown Park, seems to be the only unpleasing circumstance about him.

Letter, January 8, 1801, to her sister, Cassandra.

Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any thing.

There is something in the eloquence of the pulpit, when it is really eloquence, which is entitled to the highest praise and honour. The preacher who can touch and affect such an heterogeneous mass of hearers, on subjects limited, and long worn thread-bare in all common hands; who can say any thing new or striking, any thing that rouses the attention, without offending the taste, or wearing out the feelings of his hearers, is a man whom one could not (in his public capacity) honour enough.

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

There are secrets in all families.

I am fully sensible that an historical romance, founded on the House of Saxe Cobourg, might be much more to the purpose of profit or popularity than such pictures of domestic life in country villages as I deal in. But I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way.

Letter, April 1, 1816, to James Clarke. Jane Austen

I do not write for such dull elves
As have not a great deal of ingenuity themselves.

Letter, January 29, 1813, to her sister, Cassandra.

One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been all suffering, nothing but suffering.

But Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is a part of an Englishman’s constitution.

It is very unfair to judge any body’s conduct, without an intimate knowledge of their situation. Nobody, who has not been in the interior of a family, can say what difficulties of any individual of that family may be.

What is right to be done cannot be done too soon.

What should I do with your strong, manly, spirited Sketches, full of Variety and Glow?

Letter, December 16, 1816, to her nephew, J. Edward Austen. Jane Austen

We are to have a tiny party here to-night. I hate tiny parties, they force one into constant exertion.

Letter, May 21, 1801, to her sister, Cassandra.

She believed that she must now submit to feel that another lesson, in the art of knowing our own nothingness beyond our own circle, was becoming necessary for her.

An engaged woman is always more agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares are over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged; no harm can be done.

A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer.

The truth is, that in London it is always a sickly season. Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be.

There are such beings in the World perhaps, one in a Thousand,as the Creature You and I should think perfection, Where Grace & Spirit are united to Worth, where the Manners are equal to the Heart & Understanding, but such a person may not come in your way, or if he does, he may not be the eldest son of a Man of Fortune, the Brother of your particular friend & belonging to your own Country.

Letter, November 18, 1814, to her niece, Fanny Knight. Jane Austen

“His pride,” said Miss Lucas, “does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself. If I may so express it, he has a right to be proud.”
“That is very true,” replied Elizabeth, “and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”

Chapter 5

It was the misfortune of poetry, to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly, were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.

Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.

Young ladies are delicate plants. They should take care of their health and their complexion.