Jane Austen

Quotations

What fine weather this is! Not very becoming perhaps early in the morning, but very pleasant out of doors at noon, and very wholesome-at least everybody fancies so, and imagination is everything. To Edward, however, I really think dry weather of importance. I have not taken to fires yet.

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

Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small for tune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.

Here and there, human nature may be great in times of trial, but generally speaking it is its weakness and not its strength that appears in a sick chamber.

Where an opinion is general, it is usually correct.

It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for anybody who asks her.

The ladies here probably exchanged looks which meant, “Men never know when things are dirty or not;” and the gentlemen perhaps thought each to himself, “Women will have their little nonsense and needless cares.”

The work is rather too light, bright, and sparkling; it wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not of solemn specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story; an essay on writing, a critique of Walter Scott, or a history of Buonaparte, or anything that would form a contrast, and bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness and epigrammatism of the general style.

About her novel 'Pride and Prejudice'. Letter, February 4, 1813, to her sister, Cassandra. Jane Austen

There is something so amiable in the prejudices of a young mind, that one is sorry to see them give way to the reception of more general opinions.

A Mr. (save, perhaps, some half dozen in the nation,) always needs a note of explanation.

Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.

There are people, the more you do for them, the less they do for themselves.

Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.

Do not be in a hurry; depend upon it, the right Man will come at last; you will in the course of the next two or three years, meet with somebody more generally unexceptional than anyone you have yet known, who will love you as warmly as ever He did, and who will so completely attach you, that you will feel you never really loved before.

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

Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.

If people like to read their books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate.

Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply; and it must be by a long and unnatural estrangement, by a divorce which no subsequent connection can justify, if such precious remains of the earliest attachments are ever entirely outlived.

General benevolence, but not general friendship, made a man what he ought to be.

It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; but when a beginning is made-when felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt-it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.

Nothing is to be compared to the misery of being bound without Love, bound to one, & preferring another. That is a Punishment which you do not deserve.

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

Undoubtedly … there is a meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. What bears affinity to cunning is despicable.

History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in…. I read it a little as a duty; but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all.

The trees, though not fully clothed, were in that delightful state, when further beauty is known to be at hand, and when, while much is actually given to the sight, more yet remains for the imagination.

There is safety in reserve, but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person.

What did she say?-Just what she ought, of course. A lady always does.-She said enough to show there need not be despair-and to invite him to say more himself.

A classical education, or at any rate a very extensive acquaintance with English literature, ancient and modern, appears to me quite indispensable for the person who would do any justice to your clergyman; and I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.

Letter, December 11, 1815, to James Clarke. Jane Austen