Austen Said:

Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels


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“Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl — she is almost pretty today,”
“Well, Miss Morland,”
“I hope you have had an agreeable ball.”
“We shall do better another evening I hope,”
a pretty girl.
“I have hitherto been very remiss, madam, in the proper attentions of a partner here; I have not yet asked you how long you have been in Bath; whether you were ever here before; whether you have been at the Upper Rooms, the theatre, and the concert; and how you like the place altogether. I have been very negligent — but are you now at leisure to satisfy me in these particulars? If you are I will begin directly.”
“No trouble, I assure you, madam.”
“Have you been long in Bath, madam?”
“Why, indeed!”
“But some emotion must appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed, and not less reasonable than any other. Now let us go on. Were you never here before, madam?”
“Indeed! Have you yet honoured the Upper Rooms?”
“Have you been to the theatre?”
“To the concert?”
“And are you altogether pleased with Bath?”
“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.”
“I see what you think of me,”
“I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.”
“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings — plain black shoes — appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense.”
“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”
“I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him — seems a most extraordinary genius — hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.”
“Perhaps you are not sitting in this room, and I am not sitting by you. These are points in which a doubt is equally possible. Not keep a journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every evening in a journal? How are your various dresses to be remembered, and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to a journal? My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies’ ways as you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journaling which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.”
“As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the usual style of letter-writing among women is faultless, except in three particulars.”
“A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.”
“I should no more lay it down as a general rule that women write better letters than men, than that they sing better duets, or draw better landscapes. In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes.”
“That is exactly what I should have guessed it, madam,”
“Particularly well; I always buy my own cravats, and am allowed to be an excellent judge; and my sister has often trusted me in the choice of a gown. I bought one for her the other day, and it was pronounced to be a prodigious bargain by every lady who saw it. I gave but five shillings a yard for it, and a true Indian muslin.”
“I hope I am, madam.”
“It is very pretty, madam,”
“but I do not think it will wash well; I am afraid it will fray.”
“But then you know, madam, muslin always turns to some account or other; Miss Morland will get enough out of it for a handkerchief, or a cap, or a cloak. Muslin can never be said to be wasted. I have heard my sister say so forty times, when she has been extravagant in buying more than she wanted, or careless in cutting it to pieces.”
it is nine, measured nine;
“What are you thinking of so earnestly?”
“not of your partner, I hope, for, by that shake of the head, your meditations are not satisfactory.”
“That is artful and deep, to be sure; but I had rather be told at once that you will not tell me.”
“Thank you; for now we shall soon be acquainted, as I am authorized to tease you on this subject whenever we meet, and nothing in the world advances intimacy so much.”
“How long do you think we have been running it from Tetbury, Miss Morland?”
it was twenty-three miles.
“Three and twenty!”
“Five and twenty if it is an inch.”
“I know it must be five and twenty,” said he, “by the time we have been doing it. It is now half after one; we drove out of the inn-yard at Tetbury as the town clock struck eleven; and I defy any man in England to make my horse go less than ten miles an hour in harness; that makes it exactly twenty-five.”
“You have lost an hour,”
“it was only ten o’clock when we came from Tetbury.”
“Ten o’clock! It was eleven, upon my soul! I counted every stroke. This brother of yours would persuade me out of my senses, Miss Morland; do but look at my horse; did you ever see an animal so made for speed in your life?”
“Such true blood! Three hours and and a half indeed coming only three and twenty miles! Look at that creature, and suppose it possible if you can.”
“Hot! He had not turned a hair till we came to Walcot Church; but look at his forehand; look at his loins; only see how he moves; that horse cannot go less than ten miles an hour: tie his legs and he will get on. What do you think of my gig, Miss Morland? A neat one, is not it? Well hung; town-built; I have not had it a month. It was built for a Christchurch man, a friend of mine, a very good sort of fellow; he ran it a few weeks, till, I believe, it was convenient to have done with it. I happened just then to be looking out for some light thing of the kind, though I had pretty well determined on a curricle too; but I chanced to meet him on Magdalen Bridge, as he was driving into Oxford, last term: ‘Ah! Thorpe,’ said he, ‘do you happen to want such a little thing as this? It is a capital one of the kind, but I am cursed tired of it.’ ‘Oh! D—,' said I; ‘I am your man; what do you ask?’ And how much do you think he did, Miss Morland?”
‘Ah! Thorpe,’
said he,
‘do you happen to want such a little thing as this? It is a capital one of the kind, but I am cursed tired of it.’
‘Oh! D—,' said I; ‘I am your man; what do you ask?’