Austen Said:

Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels


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"Your sister, I understand, does not approve of second attachments."
"Or rather, as I believe, she considers them impossible to exist."
"This will probably be the case,"
"and yet 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."
"Does your sister make no distinction in her objections against a second attachment? or is it equally criminal in every body? Are those who have been disappointed in their first choice, whether from the inconstancy of its object, or the perverseness of circumstances, to be equally indifferent during the rest of their lives?"
"cannot hold; but a change, a total change of sentiments — No, no, do not desire it; for when the romantic refinements of a young mind are obliged to give way, how frequently are they succeeded by such opinions as are but too common, and too dangerous! I speak from experience. I once knew a lady who in temper and mind greatly resembled your sister, who thought and judged like her, but who from an inforced change — from a series of unfortunate circumstances"
"None at all, ma'am, I thank you."
"No, ma'am. It came from town, and is merely a letter of business."
"No, indeed, it is not."
"Whom do you mean, ma'am?"
"I am particularly sorry, ma'am,"
"that I should receive this letter today, for it is on business which requires my immediate attendance in town."
"My own loss is great,"
"in being obliged to leave so agreeable a party; but I am the more concerned, as I fear my presence is necessary to gain your admittance at Whitwell."
"I wish it could be so easily settled. But it is not in my power to delay my journey for one day!"
"I cannot afford to lose ONE hour." —
"You are very obliging. But it is so uncertain, when I may have it in my power to return, that I dare not engage for it at all."
"No. Only to Honiton. I shall then go post."
"I assure you it is not in my power."
"Is there no chance of my seeing you and your sisters in town this winter, Miss Dashwood?"
"Then I must bid you farewell for a longer time than I should wish to do."
"Is your sister ill?"
"almost ever since; I have been once or twice at Delaford for a few days, but it has never been in my power to return to Barton."
"I had the pleasure of hearing it at Mr. Palmer's, where I have been dining."
"Mrs. Palmer appeared quite well, and I am commissioned to tell you, that
"your sister looks unwell to-day,"
"your sister seems out of spirits,"
"your sister's engagement to Mr. Willoughby is very generally known."
"I beg your pardon, I am afraid my inquiry has been impertinent; but I had not supposed any secrecy intended, as they openly correspond, and their marriage is universally talked of."
"By many — by some of whom you know nothing, by others with whom you are most intimate, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Palmer, and the Middletons. But still I might not have believed it, for where the mind is perhaps rather unwilling to be convinced, it will always find something to support its doubts, if I had not, when the servant let me in today, accidentally seen a letter in his hand, directed to Mr. Willoughby in your sister's writing. I came to inquire, but I was convinced before I could ask the question. Is every thing finally settled? Is it impossible to-? But I have no right, and I could have no chance of succeeding. Excuse me, Miss Dashwood. I believe I have been wrong in saying so much, but I hardly know what to do, and on your prudence I have the strongest dependence. Tell me that it is all absolutely resolved on, that any attempt, that in short concealment, if concealment be possible, is all that remains."
"to your sister I wish all imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavour to deserve her," —
"Perhaps, then,"
"what I heard this morning may be — there may be more truth in it than I could believe possible at first."
"That a gentleman, whom I had reason to think — in short, that a man, whom I KNEW to be engaged — but how shall I tell you? If you know it already, as surely you must, I may be spared."
"In a stationer's shop in Pall Mall, where I had business. Two ladies were waiting for their carriage, and one of them was giving the other an account of the intended match, in a voice so little attempting concealment, that it was impossible for me not to hear all. The name of Willoughby, John Willoughby, frequently repeated, first caught my attention; and what followed was a positive assertion that
One thing, especially, I remember, because it served to identify the man still more: —
My astonishment! — but it would be impossible to describe what I felt. The communicative lady I learnt, on inquiry, for I stayed in the shop till they were gone, was a Mrs. Ellison, and that, as I have been since informed, is the name of Miss Grey's guardian."
"It may be so; but Willoughby is capable — at least I think" —
"And your sister — how did she — "
"there is, indeed! But your sister does not — I think you said so — she does not consider quite as you do?"
"I met Mrs. Jennings in Bond Street,"
"and she encouraged me to come on; and I was the more easily encouraged, because I thought it probable that I might find you alone, which I was very desirous of doing. My object — my wish — my sole wish in desiring it — I hope, I believe it is — is to be a means of giving comfort; — no, I must not say comfort — not present comfort — but conviction, lasting conviction to your sister's mind. My regard for her, for yourself, for your mother — will you allow me to prove it, by relating some circumstances which nothing but a VERY sincere regard — nothing but an earnest desire of being useful — I think I am justified — though where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?"
"You shall; and, to be brief, when I quitted Barton last October, — but this will give you no idea — I must go farther back. You will find me a very awkward narrator, Miss Dashwood; I hardly know where to begin. A short account of myself, I believe, will be necessary, and it SHALL be a short one. On such a subject,"
"can I have little temptation to be diffuse."
"You have probably entirely forgotten a conversation — (it is not to be supposed that it could make any impression on you) — a conversation between us one evening at Barton Park — it was the evening of a dance — in which I alluded to a lady I had once known, as resembling, in some measure, your sister Marianne."
"If I am not deceived by the uncertainty, the partiality of tender recollection, there is a very strong resemblance between them, as well in mind as person. The same warmth of heart, the same eagerness of fancy and spirits. This lady was one of my nearest relations, an orphan from her infancy, and under the guardianship of my father. Our ages were nearly the same, and from our earliest years we were playfellows and friends. I cannot remember the time when I did not love Eliza; and my affection for her, as we grew up, was such, as perhaps, judging from my present forlorn and cheerless gravity, you might think me incapable of having ever felt. Hers, for me, was, I believe, fervent as the attachment of your sister to Mr. Willoughby and it was, though from a different cause, no less unfortunate. At seventeen she was lost to me for ever. She was married — married against her inclination to my brother. Her fortune was large, and our family estate much encumbered. And this, I fear, is all that can be said for the conduct of one, who was at once her uncle and guardian. My brother did not deserve her; he did not even love her. I had hoped that her regard for me would support her under any difficulty, and for some time it did; but at last the misery of her situation, for she experienced great unkindness, overcame all her resolution, and though she had promised me that nothing — but how blindly I relate! I have never told you how this was brought on. We were within a few hours of eloping together for Scotland. The treachery, or the folly, of my cousin's maid betrayed us. I was banished to the house of a relation far distant, and she was allowed no liberty, no society, no amusement, till my father's point was gained. I had depended on her fortitude too far, and the blow was a severe one — but had her marriage been happy, so young as I then was, a few months must have reconciled me to it, or at least I should not have now to lament it. This however was not the case. My brother had no regard for her; his pleasures were not what they ought to have been, and from the first he treated her unkindly. The consequence of this, upon a mind so young, so lively, so inexperienced as Mrs. Brandon's, was but too natural. She resigned herself at first to all the misery of her situation; and happy had it been if she had not lived to overcome those regrets which the remembrance of me occasioned. But can we wonder that, with such a husband to provoke inconstancy, and without a friend to advise or restrain her (for my father lived only a few months after their marriage, and I was with my regiment in the East Indies) she should fall? Had I remained in England, perhaps — but I meant to promote the happiness of both by removing from her for years, and for that purpose had procured my exchange. The shock which her marriage had given me," he continued, in a voice of great agitation, "was of trifling weight — was nothing to what I felt when I heard, about two years afterwards, of her divorce. It was THAT which threw this gloom, — even now the recollection of what I suffered — "
"It was nearly three years after this unhappy period before I returned to England. My first care, when I DID arrive, was of course to seek for her; but the search was as fruitless as it was melancholy. I could not trace her beyond her first seducer, and there was every reason to fear that she had removed from him only to sink deeper in a life of sin. Her legal allowance was not adequate to her fortune, nor sufficient for her comfortable maintenance, and I learnt from my brother that the power of receiving it had been made over some months before to another person. He imagined, and calmly could he imagine it, that her extravagance, and consequent distress, had obliged her to dispose of it for some immediate relief. At last, however, and after I had been six months in England, I DID find her. Regard for a former servant of my own, who had since fallen into misfortune, carried me to visit him in a spunging-house, where he was confined for debt; and there, in the same house, under a similar confinement, was my unfortunate sister. So altered — so faded — worn down by acute suffering of every kind! hardly could I believe the melancholy and sickly figure before me, to be the remains of the lovely, blooming, healthful girl, on whom I had once doted. What I endured in so beholding her — but I have no right to wound your feelings by attempting to describe it — I have pained you too much already. That she was, to all appearance, in the last stage of a consumption, was — yes, in such a situation it was my greatest comfort. Life could do nothing for her, beyond giving time for a better preparation for death; and that was given. I saw her placed in comfortable lodgings, and under proper attendants; I visited her every day during the rest of her short life: I was with her in her last moments."