Austen Said:

Patterns of Diction in Jane Austen's Major Novels


Your search returned 2695 results



marriage status

class status



mode of speech

speaker name

“You are too good, I am sure, to think the worse of me for the part I am obliged to perform. I am indeed a most unwilling messenger. After what has so lately passed, so lately been settled between us — how joyfully, how thankfully on my side! — as to your continuing here as I hoped for many, many weeks longer, how can I tell you that your kindness is not to be accepted — and that the happiness your company has hitherto given us is to be repaid by — But I must not trust myself with words. My dear Catherine, we are to part. My father has recollected an engagement that takes our whole family away on Monday. We are going to Lord Longtown’s, near Hereford, for a fortnight. Explanation and apology are equally impossible. I cannot attempt either.”
“My dear Eleanor,”
cried Catherine, suppressing her feelings as well as she could,
“do not be so distressed. A second engagement must give way to a first. I am very, very sorry we are to part — so soon, and so suddenly too; but I am not offended, indeed I am not. I can finish my visit here, you know, at any time; or I hope you will come to me. Can you, when you return from this lord’s, come to Fullerton?”
“It will not be in my power, Catherine.”
“Come when you can, then.”
Eleanor made no answer; and Catherine’s thoughts recurring to something more directly interesting, she added, thinking aloud,
“Monday — so soon as Monday; and you all go. Well, I am certain of — I shall be able to take leave, however. I need not go till just before you do, you know. Do not be distressed, Eleanor, I can go on Monday very well. My father and mother’s having no notice of it is of very little consequence. The general will send a servant with me, I dare say, half the way — and then I shall soon be at Salisbury, and then I am only nine miles from home.”
“Ah, Catherine! Were it settled so, it would be somewhat less intolerable, though in such common attentions you would have received but half what you ought. But — how can I tell you? — tomorrow morning is fixed for your leaving us, and not even the hour is left to your choice; the very carriage is ordered, and will be here at seven o’clock, and no servant will be offered you.”
Catherine sat down, breathless and speechless.
“I could hardly believe my senses, when I heard it; and no displeasure, no resentment that you can feel at this moment, however justly great, can be more than I myself — but I must not talk of what I felt. Oh! That I could suggest anything in extenuation! Good God! What will your father and mother say! After courting you from the protection of real friends to this — almost double distance from your home, to have you driven out of the house, without the considerations even of decent civility! Dear, dear Catherine, in being the bearer of such a message, I seem guilty myself of all its insult; yet, I trust you will acquit me, for you must have been long enough in this house to see that I am but a nominal mistress of it, that my real power is nothing.”
“Have I offended the general?”
said Catherine in a faltering voice.
“Alas! For my feelings as a daughter, all that I know, all that I answer for, is that you can have given him no just cause of offence. He certainly is greatly, very greatly discomposed; I have seldom seen him more so. His temper is not happy, and something has now occurred to ruffle it in an uncommon degree; some disappointment, some vexation, which just at this moment seems important, but which I can hardly suppose you to have any concern in, for how is it possible?”
It was with pain that Catherine could speak at all; and it was only for Eleanor’s sake that she attempted it.
“I am sure,”
said she,
“I am very sorry if I have offended him. It was the last thing I would willingly have done. But do not be unhappy, Eleanor. An engagement, you know, must be kept. I am only sorry it was not recollected sooner, that I might have written home. But it is of very little consequence.”
“I hope, I earnestly hope, that to your real safety it will be of none; but to everything else it is of the greatest consequence: to comfort, appearance, propriety, to your family, to the world. Were your friends, the Allens, still in Bath, you might go to them with comparative ease; a few hours would take you there; but a journey of seventy miles, to be taken post by you, at your age, alone, unattended!”
“Oh, the journey is nothing. Do not think about that. And if we are to part, a few hours sooner or later, you know, makes no difference. I can be ready by seven. Let me be called in time.”
Eleanor saw that she wished to be alone; and believing it better for each that they should avoid any further conversation, now left her with,
“I shall see you in the morning.”
Catherine’s swelling heart needed relief. In Eleanor’s presence friendship and pride had equally restrained her tears, but no sooner was she gone than they burst forth in torrents.
Turned from the house, and in such a way! Without any reason that could justify, any apology that could atone for the abruptness, the rudeness, nay, the insolence of it. Henry at a distance — not able even to bid him farewell. Every hope, every expectation from him suspended, at least, and who could say how long? Who could say when they might meet again? And all this by such a man as General Tilney, so polite, so well bred, and heretofore so particularly fond of her! It was as incomprehensible as it was mortifying and grievous.
From what it could arise, and where it would end, were considerations of equal perplexity and alarm.
The manner in which it was done so grossly uncivil, hurrying her away without any reference to her own convenience, or allowing her even the appearance of choice as to the time or mode of her travelling; of two days, the earliest fixed on, and of that almost the earliest hour, as if resolved to have her gone before he was stirring in the morning, that he might not be obliged even to see her. What could all this mean but an intentional affront? By some means or other she must have had the misfortune to offend him. Eleanor had wished to spare her from so painful a notion, but Catherine could not believe it possible that any injury or any misfortune could provoke such ill will against a person not connected, or, at least, not supposed to be connected with it.
Heavily passed the night. Sleep, or repose that deserved the name of sleep, was out of the question. That room, in which her disturbed imagination had tormented her on her first arrival, was again the scene of agitated spirits and unquiet slumbers. Yet how different now the source of her inquietude from what it had been then — how mournfully superior in reality and substance! Her anxiety had foundation in fact, her fears in probability; and with a mind so occupied in the contemplation of actual and natural evil, the solitude of her situation, the darkness of her chamber, the antiquity of the building, were felt and considered without the smallest emotion; and though the wind was high, and often produced strange and sudden noises throughout the house, she heard it all as she lay awake, hour after hour, without curiosity or terror.
Soon after six Eleanor entered her room, eager to show attention or give assistance where it was possible; but very little remained to be done. Catherine had not loitered; she was almost dressed, and her packing almost finished. The possibility of some conciliatory message from the general occurred to her as his daughter appeared.
What so natural, as that anger should pass away and repentance succeed it?
she only wanted to know
how far, after what had passed, an apology might properly be received by her.
But the knowledge would have been useless here; it was not called for; neither clemency nor dignity was put to the trial — Eleanor brought no message. Very little passed between them on meeting; each found her greatest safety in silence, and few and trivial were the sentences exchanged while they remained upstairs, Catherine in busy agitation completing her dress, and Eleanor with more goodwill than experience intent upon filling the trunk. When everything was done they left the room, Catherine lingering only half a minute behind her friend to throw a parting glance on every well-known, cherished object, and went down to the breakfast-parlour, where breakfast was prepared. She tried to eat, as well to save herself from the pain of being urged as to make her friend comfortable; but she had no appetite, and could not swallow many mouthfuls. The contrast between this and her last breakfast in that room gave her fresh misery, and strengthened her distaste for everything before her.
It was not four and twenty hours ago since they had met there to the same repast, but in circumstances how different! With what cheerful ease, what happy, though false, security, had she then looked around her, enjoying everything present, and fearing little in future, beyond Henry’s going to Woodston for a day! Happy, happy breakfast! For Henry had been there; Henry had sat by her and helped her.
These reflections were long indulged undisturbed by any address from her companion, who sat as deep in thought as herself; and the appearance of the carriage was the first thing to startle and recall them to the present moment. Catherine’s colour rose at the sight of it; and the indignity with which she was treated, striking at that instant on her mind with peculiar force, made her for a short time sensible only of resentment. Eleanor seemed now impelled into resolution and speech.
“You must write to me, Catherine,”
she cried;
“you must let me hear from you as soon as possible. Till I know you to be safe at home, I shall not have an hour’s comfort. For one letter, at all risks, all hazards, I must entreat. Let me have the satisfaction of knowing that you are safe at Fullerton, and have found your family well, and then, till I can ask for your correspondence as I ought to do, I will not expect more. Direct to me at Lord Longtown’s, and, I must ask it, under cover to Alice.”
“No, Eleanor, if you are not allowed to receive a letter from me, I am sure I had better not write. There can be no doubt of my getting home safe.”
Eleanor only replied,
“I cannot wonder at your feelings. I will not importune you. I will trust to your own kindness of heart when I am at a distance from you.”
But this, with the look of sorrow accompanying it, was enough to melt Catherine’s pride in a moment, and she instantly said,
“Oh, Eleanor, I will write to you indeed.”
There was yet another point which
Miss Tilney was anxious to settle,
though somewhat embarrassed in speaking of.
It had occurred to her that after so long an absence from home, Catherine might not be provided with money enough for the expenses of her journey,
and, upon suggesting it to her with most affectionate offers of accommodation, it proved to be exactly the case. Catherine had never thought on the subject till that moment, but, upon examining her purse,
was convinced that
but for this kindness of her friend, she might have been turned from the house without even the means of getting home;