Austen Said:

Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels


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"No, I am sure you are too good. You will be kinder than Mary. You will allow for the doubts of youth and inexperience. I am of a cautious temper, and unwilling to risk my happiness in a hurry. Nobody can think more highly of the matrimonial state than myself. I consider the blessing of a wife as most justly described in those discreet lines of the poet— 'Heaven's last best gift.'"
"I like your Miss Bertrams exceedingly, sister,"
"they are very elegant, agreeable girls."
"Oh yes! I like Julia best."
"So I should suppose. She has the advantage in every feature, and I prefer her countenance; but I like Julia best; Miss Bertram is certainly the handsomest, and I have found her the most agreeable, but I shall always like Julia best, because you order me."
"Do not I tell you that I like her best at first?"
"Yes, and I like her the better for it. An engaged woman is always more agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares are over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged: no harm can be done."
"But Miss Bertram does not care three straws for him; that is your opinion of your intimate friend. I do not subscribe to it. I am sure Miss Bertram is very much attached to Mr. Rushworth. I could see it in her eyes, when he was mentioned. I think too well of Miss Bertram to suppose she would ever give her hand without her heart."
"Nothing could be so gratifying to me as to hear your opinion of it,"
"but I fear there would be some disappointment: you would not find it equal to your present ideas. In extent, it is a mere nothing; you would be surprised at its insignificance; and, as for improvement, there was very little for me to do —too little: I should like to have been busy much longer."
"Excessively; but what with the natural advantages of the ground, which pointed out, even to a very young eye, what little remained to be done, and my own consequent resolutions, I had not been of age three months before Everingham was all that it is now. My plan was laid at Westminster, a little altered, perhaps, at Cambridge, and at one-and-twenty executed. I am inclined to envy Mr. Rushworth for having so much happiness yet before him. I have been a devourer of my own."
"To be depriving themselves of the advantage of other eyes and other judgments, might be an evil even beyond the loss of present pleasure."
"I do not like to see Miss Bertram so near the altar."
"I am afraid I should do it very awkwardly,"
"whether we may not find something to employ us here before we go farther? I see walls of great promise. Mr. Rushworth, shall we summon a council on this lawn?"
"Miss Price all alone"
"It is undoubtedly the best thing we can do now, as we are so far from the house already,"
"No, indeed, far otherwise. I find it better, grander, more complete in its style, though that style may not be the best. And to tell you the truth,"
"I do not think that I shall ever see Sotherton again with so much pleasure as I do now. Another summer will hardly improve it to me."
"I am afraid I am not quite so much the man of the world as might be good for me in some points. My feelings are not quite so evanescent, nor my memory of the past under such easy dominion as one finds to be the case with men of the world."
"Were we? Yes, I believe we were; but I have not the least recollection at what. Oh! I believe I was relating to her some ridiculous stories of an old Irish groom of my uncle's. Your sister loves to laugh."
"More easily amused,"
"consequently, you know,"
"better company. I could not have hoped to entertain you with Irish anecdotes during a ten miles' drive."
"You have, undoubtedly; and there are situations in which very high spirits would denote insensibility. Your prospects, however, are too fair to justify want of spirits. You have a very smiling scene before you."
"And for the world you would not get out without the key and without Mr. Rushworth's authority and protection, or I think you might with little difficulty pass round the edge of the gate, here, with my assistance; I think it might be done, if you really wished to be more at large, and could allow yourself to think it not prohibited."
"Or if we are, Miss Price will be so good as to tell him that he will find us near that knoll: the grove of oak on the knoll."
"I hope I am not to lose my companion, unless she is afraid of the evening air in so exposed a seat."
"I really believe,"
"I could be fool enough at this moment to undertake any character that ever was written, from Shylock or Richard III down to the singing hero of a farce in his scarlet coat and cocked hat. I feel as if I could be anything or everything; as if I could rant and storm, or sigh or cut capers, in any tragedy or comedy in the English language. Let us be doing something. Be it only half a play, an act, a scene; what should prevent us? Not these countenances, I am sure,"
"and for a theatre, what signifies a theatre? We shall be only amusing ourselves. Any room in this house might suffice."
"No want of hands in our theatre, Miss Bertram. No want of understrappers: my sister desires her love, and hopes to be admitted into the company, and will be happy to take the part of any old duenna or tame confidante, that you may not like to do yourselves."
"I must entreat Miss Julia Bertram,"
"not to engage in the part of Agatha, or it will be the ruin of all my solemnity. You must not, indeed you must not"
"I could not stand your countenance dressed up in woe and paleness. The many laughs we have had together would infallibly come across me, and Frederick and his knapsack would be obliged to run away."
"With all your partiality for Cottager's wife,"
"it will be impossible to make anything of it fit for your sister, and we must not suffer her good-nature to be imposed on. We must not allow her to accept the part. She must not be left to her own complaisance. Her talents will be wanted in Amelia. Amelia is a character more difficult to be well represented than even Agatha. I consider Amelia is the most difficult character in the whole piece. It requires great powers, great nicety, to give her playfulness and simplicity without extravagance. I have seen good actresses fail in the part. Simplicity, indeed, is beyond the reach of almost every actress by profession. It requires a delicacy of feeling which they have not. It requires a gentlewoman— a Julia Bertram. You will undertake it, I hope?"
"You must oblige us,"
"indeed you must. When you have studied the character, I am sure you will feel it suit you. Tragedy may be your choice, but it will certainly appear that comedy chuses you. You will be to visit me in prison with a basket of provisions; you will not refuse to visit me in prison? I think I see you coming in with your basket."
"You have only to read the part,"
"From Bath, Norfolk, London, York, wherever I may be,"
"I will attend you from any place in England, at an hour's notice."
"It is about my uncle's usual time."
"I may, perhaps, get as far as Banbury to-day."
"So! Rushworth and his fair bride are at Brighton, I understand; happy man!"
"And Mr. Yates, I presume, is not far off."
"Poor Rushworth and his two-and-forty speeches!"
"Nobody can ever forget them. Poor fellow! I see him now —his toil and his despair. Well, I am much mistaken if his lovely Maria will ever want him to make two-and-forty speeches to her";
"She is too good for him— much too good."