Austen Said:

Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels


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"It was a very different thing. You must see the difference yourself. My father wished us, as schoolboys, to speak well, but he would never wish his grown-up daughters to be acting plays. His sense of decorum is strict."
"If you are resolved on acting,"
"I must hope it will be in a very small and quiet way; and I think a theatre ought not to be attempted. It would be taking liberties with my father's house in his absence which could not be justified."
"The innovation, if not wrong as an innovation, will be wrong as an expense."
"No, as to acting myself,"
"that I absolutely protest against."
"I have no hope there, Fanny. If they persist in the scheme, they will find something. I shall speak to my sisters and try to dissuade them, and that is all I can do."
"I dare say she would, but she has no influence with either Tom or my sisters that could be of any use; and if I cannot convince them myself, I shall let things take their course, without attempting it through her. Family squabbling is the greatest evil of all, and we had better do anything than be altogether by the ears."
"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."
"This is not behaving well by the absent,"
"Here are not women enough. Amelia and Agatha may do for Maria and me, but here is nothing for your sister, Mr. Crawford."
"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 do not seem afraid of not keeping your countenance when I come in with a basket of provisions—though one might have supposed— —but it is only as Agatha that I was to be so overpowering!"
"Do not be afraid of my wanting the character,"
"I am not to be Agatha, and I am sure I will do nothing else; and as to Amelia, it is of all parts in the world the most disgusting to me. I quite detest her. An odious, little, pert, unnatural, impudent girl. I have always protested against comedy, and this is comedy in its worst form."
"I am sure I would give up the part to Julia most willingly, but that though I shall probably do it very ill, I feel persuaded she would do it worse,"
"We have got a play,"
"It is to be Lovers' Vows; and I am to be Count Cassel, and am to come in first with a blue dress and a pink satin cloak, and afterwards am to have another fine fancy suit, by way of a shooting-dress. I do not know how I shall like it."
"Lovers' Vows!"
"But what do you do for women?"
"I take the part which Lady Ravenshaw was to have done, and"
"Miss Crawford is to be Amelia."
"I should not have thought it the sort of play to be so easily filled up, with us,"
"I come in three times, and have two-and-forty speeches. That's something, is not it? But I do not much like the idea of being so fine. I shall hardly know myself in a blue dress and a pink satin cloak."
"I cannot, before Mr. Yates, speak what I feel as to this play, without reflecting on his friends at Ecclesford; but I must now, my dear Maria, tell you, that I think it exceedingly unfit for private representation, and that I hope you will give it up. I cannot but suppose you will when you have read it carefully over. Read only the first act aloud to either your mother or aunt, and see how you can approve it. It will not be necessary to send you to your father's judgment, I am convinced."
"We see things very differently,"
"I am perfectly acquainted with the play, I assure you; and with a very few omissions, and so forth, which will be made, of course, I can see nothing objectionable in it; and I am not the only young woman you find who thinks it very fit for private representation."
"I am sorry for it,"
"but in this matter it is you who are to lead. You must set the example. If others have blundered, it is your place to put them right, and shew them what true delicacy is. In all points of decorum your conduct must be law to the rest of the party."
"I am much obliged to you, Edmund; you mean very well, I am sure: but I still think you see things too strongly; and I really cannot undertake to harangue all the rest upon a subject of this kind. There would be the greatest indecorum, I think."
"Do you imagine that I could have such an idea in my head? No; let your conduct be the only harangue. Say that, on examining the part, you feel yourself unequal to it; that you find it requiring more exertion and confidence than you can be supposed to have. Say this with firmness, and it will be quite enough. All who can distinguish will understand your motive. The play will be given up, and your delicacy honoured as it ought."
"I am convinced, madam,"
"that Sir Thomas would not like it."
"If I were to decline the part,"
"Julia would certainly take it."
"if she knew your reasons!"
"Oh! she might think the difference between us— the difference in our situations —that she need not be so scrupulous as I might feel necessary. I am sure she would argue so. No; you must excuse me; I cannot retract my consent; it is too far settled, everybody would be so disappointed, Tom would be quite angry; and if we are so very nice, we shall never act anything."
"I had my choice of the parts,"
"but I thought I should like the Count best, though I do not much relish the finery I am to have."
"The Count has two-and-forty speeches,"
"which is no trifle."
"My advice,"
"is that you change the play."