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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
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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.