Jane Austen

Quotations

An artist cannot do anything slovenly.

Letter, November 17, 1798, to her sister, Cassandra. Jane Austen

Unhappy as the event must be … we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.

No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves, it is the woman only who can make it a torment.

The younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder.

With men he can be rational and unaffected, but when he has ladies to please, every feature works.

Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor, which is one very strong argument in favour of matrimony.

Letter, March 13, 1817, to her niece, Fanny Knight. Jane Austen

A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.

I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principle duties of both; and those men who do not choose to dance or to marry them selves, have no business with the partners or wives of the neighbors.

There are certainly not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them.

The post-office had a great charm at one period of our lives. When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for.

I begin already to weigh my words and sentences more than I did, and am looking about for a sentiment, an illustration or a metaphor in every corner of the room. Could my Ideas flow as fast as the rain in the Store closet it would be charming.

Letter, January 24, 1809, to her sister, Cassandra. Jane Austen

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?

A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

I am afraid that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.

A man would always wish to give a woman a better home than the one he takes her from; and he who can do it, where there is no doubt of her regard, must, I think, be the happiest of mortals.

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.

letter, Sept. 18, 1796.

I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.

About the character Elizabeth Bennett from her novel Pride and Prejudice. Letter, January 29, 1813, to her sister, Cassandra.

You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.

Good-humoured, unaffected girls, will not do for a man who has been used to sensible women. They are two distinct orders of being.

One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.

Surprizes are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.

Only one comes back with me tomorrow, probably Miss Eliza, & I rather dread it. We shall not have two Ideas in common. She is young, pretty, chattering, & thinking chiefly (I presume) of Dress, Company, & Admiration.

Letter, November 30, 1814, to her niece, Fanny Knight. Jane Austen

If the warmth of her Language could affect the Body it might be worth reading in this weather.

Letter, January 17, 1809, to her sister, Cassandra.

Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.

It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.