Monday, May 31, 2010

It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter, with ease, cannot write ill."

"That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline," cried her brother - "because he does not write with ease. He studies too much for words of four syllables. - Do not you, Darcy?"

"My style of writing is very different from yours."

"Oh!" cried Miss Bingley, "Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest."

"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them - by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents."

"Your humility, Mr. Bingley," said Elizabeth, "must disarm reproof."

"Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, "than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."

"And which of the two do you call my little recent piece of modesty?"

"The indirect boast - for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting."

I am re-reading Pride & Prejudice. Something about this book, more than any of Jane Austen's others, is so irresistably quotable and applicable to real life. Jane's dialogue never ceases to captivate me, and I particularly enjoy these conversations at Netherfield, while poor Miss Bennet is lying upstairs with a headache and sore throat. There's so much wit and thought, and so much going on between the lines. If I were Lizzy, I would never want to leave! Which tempts me to quote Miss Austen again:

'My idea of good company, Mr Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.'

'You are mistaken,' said he gently, 'that is not good company; that is the best." ~ Persuasion

There will never be another Jane.


  1. Jane Austen makes me happy :)

  2. Amen, sister! I just reread P&P for the umpteenth time and marveled again at that brilliant, sparkling wit... :)

  3. Love. :) And also:

    "And your defect is to hate everybody."

    "And yours, "he replied with a smile, "is willfully to misunderstand them."

    Sheer genius. :)