Austen Said:

Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels


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"What a sweet woman Lady Middleton is!"
"I have a notion,"
"you think the little Middletons rather too much indulged; perhaps they may be the outside of enough; but it is so natural in Lady Middleton; and for my part, I love to see children full of life and spirits; I cannot bear them if they are tame and quiet."
"We have heard Sir John admire it excessively,"
"But why should you think,"
"that there are not as many genteel young men in Devonshire as Sussex?"
"Lord! Anne,"
"you can talk of nothing but beaux; — you will make Miss Dashwood believe you think of nothing else." And then to turn the discourse, she began admiring the house and the furniture.
"How can you say so, Anne?"
"Though we have seen him once or twice at my uncle's, it is rather too much to pretend to know him very well."
"You will think my question an odd one, I dare say,"
"but pray, are you personally acquainted with your sister-in-law's mother, Mrs. Ferrars?"
"I wonder at that, for I thought you must have seen her at Norland sometimes. Then, perhaps, you cannot tell me what sort of a woman she is?"
"I am sure you think me very strange, for enquiring about her in such a way,"
"but perhaps there may be reasons — I wish I might venture; but however I hope you will do me the justice of believing that I do not mean to be impertinent."
"I cannot bear to have you think me impertinently curious. I am sure I would rather do any thing in the world than be thought so by a person whose good opinion is so well worth having as yours. And I am sure I should not have the smallest fear of trusting YOU; indeed, I should be very glad of your advice how to manage in such an uncomfortable situation as I am; but, however, there is no occasion to trouble YOU. I am sorry you do not happen to know Mrs. Ferrars."
"I dare say you are, and I am sure I do not at all wonder at it. But if I dared tell you all, you would not be so much surprised. Mrs. Ferrars is certainly nothing to me at present — but the time MAY come — how soon it will come must depend upon herself — when we may be very intimately connected."
"not to Mr. ROBERT Ferrars — I never saw him in my life; but,"
"to his eldest brother."
"You may well be surprised,"
"for to be sure you could have had no idea of it before; for I dare say he never dropped the smallest hint of it to you or any of your family; because it was always meant to be a great secret, and I am sure has been faithfully kept so by me to this hour. Not a soul of all my relations know of it but Anne, and I never should have mentioned it to you, if I had not felt the greatest dependence in the world upon your secrecy; and I really thought my behaviour in asking so many questions about Mrs. Ferrars must seem so odd, that it ought to be explained. And I do not think Mr. Ferrars can be displeased, when he knows I have trusted you, because I know he has the highest opinion in the world of all your family, and looks upon yourself and the other Miss Dashwoods quite as his own sisters."
"We have been engaged these four years."
"Our acquaintance, however, is of many years date. He was under my uncle's care, you know, a considerable while."
"Yes; Mr. Pratt. Did you never hear him talk of Mr. Pratt?"
"He was four years with my uncle, who lives at Longstaple, near Plymouth. It was there our acquaintance begun, for my sister and me was often staying with my uncle, and it was there our engagement was formed, though not till a year after he had quitted as a pupil; but he was almost always with us afterwards. I was very unwilling to enter into it, as you may imagine, without the knowledge and approbation of his mother; but I was too young, and loved him too well, to be so prudent as I ought to have been. — Though you do not know him so well as me, Miss Dashwood, you must have seen enough of him to be sensible he is very capable of making a woman sincerely attached to him."
"We can mean no other,"
"Mr. Edward Ferrars, the eldest son of Mrs. Ferrars, of Park Street, and brother of your sister-in-law, Mrs. John Dashwood, is the person I mean; you must allow that I am not likely to be deceived as to the name of the man on who all my happiness depends."
"No; considering our situation, it was not strange. Our first care has been to keep the matter secret. — You knew nothing of me, or my family, and, therefore, there could be no OCCASION for ever mentioning my name to you; and, as he was always particularly afraid of his sister's suspecting any thing, THAT was reason enough for his not mentioning it."
"Yes; and heaven knows how much longer we may have to wait. Poor Edward! It puts him quite out of heart."
"To prevent the possibility of mistake, be so good as to look at this face. It does not do him justice, to be sure, but yet I think you cannot be deceived as to the person it was drew for. — I have had it above these three years."
"I have never been able,"
"to give him my picture in return, which I am very much vexed at, for he has been always so anxious to get it! But I am determined to set for it the very first opportunity."
"I am sure,"
"I have no doubt in the world of your faithfully keeping this secret, because you must know of what importance it is to us, not to have it reach his mother; for she would never approve of it, I dare say. I shall have no fortune, and I fancy she is an exceeding proud woman."
"I was afraid you would think I was taking a great liberty with you,"
"in telling you all this. I have not known you long to be sure, personally at least, but I have known you and all your family by description a great while; and as soon as I saw you, I felt almost as if you was an old acquaintance. Besides in the present case, I really thought some explanation was due to you after my making such particular inquiries about Edward's mother; and I am so unfortunate, that I have not a creature whose advice I can ask. Anne is the only person that knows of it, and she has no judgment at all; indeed, she does me a great deal more harm than good, for I am in constant fear of her betraying me. She does not know how to hold her tongue, as you must perceive, and I am sure I was in the greatest fright in the world t'other day, when Edward's name was mentioned by Sir John, lest she should out with it all. You can't think how much I go through in my mind from it altogether. I only wonder that I am alive after what I have suffered for Edward's sake these last four years. Every thing in such suspense and uncertainty; and seeing him so seldom — we can hardly meet above twice a-year. I am sure I wonder my heart is not quite broke."
"I think whether it would not be better for us both to break off the matter entirely."
"But then at other times I have not resolution enough for it. — I cannot bear the thoughts of making him so miserable, as I know the very mention of such a thing would do. And on my own account too — so dear as he is to me — I don't think I could be equal to it. What would you advise me to do in such a case, Miss Dashwood? What would you do yourself?"
"To be sure,"
"his mother must provide for him sometime or other; but poor Edward is so cast down by it! Did you not think him dreadful low-spirited when he was at Barton? He was so miserable when he left us at Longstaple, to go to you, that I was afraid you would think him quite ill."
"Oh, yes; he had been staying a fortnight with us. Did you think he came directly from town?"
"Did not you think him sadly out of spirits?"
"I begged him to exert himself for fear you should suspect what was the matter; but it made him so melancholy, not being able to stay more than a fortnight with us, and seeing me so much affected. — Poor fellow! — I am afraid it is just the same with him now; for he writes in wretched spirits. I heard from him just before I left Exeter;"
"You know his hand, I dare say, a charming one it is; but that is not written so well as usual. — He was tired, I dare say, for he had just filled the sheet to me as full as possible."
"Writing to each other,"
"is the only comfort we have in such long separations. Yes, I have one other comfort in his picture, but poor Edward has not even THAT. If he had but my picture,