Austen Said:

Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels


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but what has all that to do with taking likenesses? You know nothing of drawing. Don't pretend to be in raptures about mine. Keep your raptures for Harriet's face.
"Well, if you give me such kind encouragement, Mr. Elton, I believe I shall try what I can do. Harriet's features are very delicate, which makes a likeness difficult; and yet there is a peculiarity in the shape of the eye and the lines about the mouth which one ought to catch."
"Exactly so— The shape of the eye and the lines about the mouth— I have not a doubt of your success. Pray, pray attempt it. As you will do it, it will indeed, to use your own words, be an exquisite possession."
"But I am afraid, Mr. Elton, Harriet will not like to sit. She thinks so little of her own beauty. Did not you observe her manner of answering me? How completely it meant,
'why should my picture be drawn?'"
"Oh! yes, I observed it, I assure you. It was not lost on me. But still I cannot imagine she would not be persuaded."
"No great variety of faces for you,"
"I had only my own family to study from. There is my father— another of my father —but the idea of sitting for his picture made him so nervous, that I could only take him by stealth; neither of them very like therefore. Mrs. Weston again, and again, and again, you see. Dear Mrs. Weston! always my kindest friend on every occasion. She would sit whenever I asked her. There is my sister; and really quite her own little elegant figure!—and the face not unlike. I should have made a good likeness of her, if she would have sat longer, but she was in such a hurry to have me draw her four children that she would not be quiet. Then, here come all my attempts at three of those four children;—there they are, Henry and John and Bella, from one end of the sheet to the other, and any one of them might do for any one of the rest. She was so eager to have them drawn that I could not refuse; but there is no making children of three or four years old stand still you know; nor can it be very easy to take any likeness of them, beyond the air and complexion, unless they are coarser featured than any of mama's children ever were. Here is my sketch of the fourth, who was a baby. I took him as he was sleeping on the sofa, and it is as strong a likeness of his cockade as you would wish to see. He had nestled down his head most conveniently. That's very like. I am rather proud of little George. The corner of the sofa is very good. Then here is my last,"—
"my last and my best— my brother, Mr. John Knightley.—This did not want much of being finished, when I put it away in a pet, and vowed I would never take another likeness. I could not help being provoked; for after all my pains, and when I had really made a very good likeness of it—
(Mrs. Weston and I were quite agreed in
"No husbands and wives in the case at present indeed, as you observe. Exactly so. No husbands and wives,"
It was to be a whole-length in water-colours, like Mr. John Knightley's, and was destined, if she could please herself, to hold a very honourable station over the mantelpiece.
But there was no doing any thing, with Mr. Elton fidgeting behind her and watching every touch.
She gave him credit for stationing himself where he might gaze and gaze again without offence;
to place himself elsewhere.
"If he would be so good as to read to them, it would be a kindness indeed! It would amuse away the difficulties of her part, and lessen the irksomeness of Miss Smith's."
to be still frequently coming to look;
any thing less would certainly have been too little in a lover;
and he was ready at the smallest intermission of the pencil, to jump up and see the progress, and be charmed.
There was no want of likeness, she had been fortunate in the attitude,
a little improvement to the figure, to give a little more height, and considerably more elegance,
its being in every way a pretty drawing at last, and
its filling its destined place with credit to them both —a standing memorial of the beauty of one, the skill of the other, and the friendship of both; with as many other agreeable associations as Mr. Elton's very promising attachment was likely to add.
"Do you think so?"
"I cannot agree with you. It appears to me a most perfect resemblance in every feature. I never saw such a likeness in my life. We must allow for the effect of shade, you know."
"You have made her too tall, Emma,"
"Oh no! certainly not too tall; not in the least too tall. Consider, she is sitting down—which naturally presents a different— which in short gives exactly the idea— and the proportions must be preserved, you know. Proportions, fore-shortening.—Oh no! it gives one exactly the idea of such a height as Miss Smith's. Exactly so indeed!"
"But, my dear papa, it is supposed to be summer; a warm day in summer. Look at the tree."
"You, sir, may say any thing,"
"but I must confess that I regard it as a most happy thought, the placing of Miss Smith out of doors; and the tree is touched with such inimitable spirit! Any other situation would have been much less in character. The naivete of Miss Smith's manners—and altogether— — Oh, it is most admirable! I cannot keep my eyes from it. I never saw such a likeness."
"He was too good!—she could not endure the thought!—she would not give him such a troublesome office for the world,"—
she could so pack it as to ensure its safety without much incommoding him,
"What a precious deposit!"
"This man is almost too gallant to be in love,"
"I should say so, but that I suppose there may be a hundred different ways of being in love. He is an excellent young man, and will suit Harriet exactly; it will be an
as he says himself; but he does sigh and languish, and study for compliments rather more than I could endure as a principal. I come in for a pretty good share as a second. But it is his gratitude on Harriet's account."
Mr. Martin had been there an hour before, and finding she was not at home, nor particularly expected, had left a little parcel for her from one of his sisters, and gone away; and on opening this parcel, she had actually found, besides the two songs which she had lent Elizabeth to copy, a letter to herself; and this letter was from him, from Mr. Martin, and contained a direct proposal of marriage.
"Who could have thought it? She was so surprized she did not know what to do. Yes, quite a proposal of marriage; and a very good letter, at least she thought so. And he wrote as if he really loved her very much— but she did not know —and so, she was come as fast as she could to ask Miss Woodhouse what she should do.—"
"Upon my word,"
"the young man is determined not to lose any thing for want of asking. He will connect himself well if he can."
"Will you read the letter?"
"Pray do. I'd rather you would."
The style of the letter was much above her expectation. There were not merely no grammatical errors, but as a composition it would not have disgraced a gentleman; the language, though plain, was strong and unaffected, and the sentiments it conveyed very much to the credit of the writer. It was short, but expressed good sense, warm attachment, liberality, propriety, even delicacy of feeling.
"Well, well,"
"Is it a good letter? or is it too short?"
"Yes, indeed, a very good letter,"
"so good a letter, Harriet, that every thing considered, I think one of his sisters must have helped him. I can hardly imagine the young man whom I saw talking with you the other day could express himself so well, if left quite to his own powers, and yet it is not the style of a woman; no, certainly, it is too strong and concise; not diffuse enough for a woman. No doubt he is a sensible man, and I suppose may have a natural talent for— thinks strongly and clearly— and when he takes a pen in hand, his thoughts naturally find proper words. It is so with some men. Yes, I understand the sort of mind. Vigorous, decided, with sentiments to a certain point, not coarse. A better written letter, Harriet
than I had expected."
"well— — and— — and what shall I do?"