Quotes by Jane Austen

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Jane Austen (December 16, 1775 July 18, 1817) was a prominent English novelist whose work is considered part of the Western canon. Her insights into women's lives and her mastery of form and irony made her arguably the most noted and influential novelist of her era. more

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It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage.

In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.
A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.
Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.
There is safety in reserve, but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person.
You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.
Business, you know, may bring you money, but friendship hardly ever does.
For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?
Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation.
Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced and the inconvenience is often considerable.
Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of.
It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; but when a beginning is made -- when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt -- it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man is in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
To look almost pretty is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain for the first fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive.
To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.
Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.
From politics it was an easy step to silence.
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.
Those who do not complain are never pitied.
Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor. Which is one very strong argument in favor of matrimony.
I am afraid that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.
There are certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are of pretty woman to deserve them.
Where an opinion is general, it is usually correct.
Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.
One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been all suffering, nothing but suffering.
One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.
What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.
With men he can be rational and unaffected, but when he has ladies to please, every feature works.
One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.
Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. And what are you reading, Miss -- -? Oh! it is only a novel! replies the young lady; while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda ; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor, are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.
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.
One has not great hopes from Birmingham. I always say there is something direful in the sound.
We do not look in our great cities for our best morality.
It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.
It is indolence... Indolence and love of ease; a want of all laudable ambition, of taste for good company, or of inclination to take the trouble of being agreeable, which make men clergymen. A clergyman has nothing to do but be slovenly and selfish; read the newspaper, watch the weather, and quarrel with his wife. His curate does all the work and the business of his own life is to dine.
Affection is dezirable, but money is absolutly undispensable.
How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!
Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief.
Is not general incivility the very essence of love?
You ought certainly to forgive them as a Christian, but never admit them in your sight, or allow their names to be mentioned in your hearing.
Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.
For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn
A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.
It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.
“My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is a 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.”
She is probably by this time as tired of me, as I am of her; but as she is too polite and I am too civil to say so, our letters are still as frequent and affectionate as ever, and our Attachment as firm and sincere as when it first commenced.
Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.
One cannot have too large a party. A large party secures its own amusement.
Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary proportions. A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep affliction as the most graceful set of limbs in the world. But, fair or not fair, there are unbecoming conjunctions, which… taste cannot tolerate—which ridicule will seize.
My sore throats are always worse than everyone’s.
It is very difficult for the prosperous to be humble.
Nobody who has not been in the interior of a family can say what the difficulties of any individual of that family may be.
If a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to “Yes,” she ought to say “No,” directly.
A fond mother, though, in pursuit of praise for her children the most rapacious of human beings, is likewise the most credulous; her demands are exorbitant; but she will swallow anything.
Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.
But after all the punishment that misconduct can bring, it is still not less misconduct. Pain is no expiation.
The power of doing anything with quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance.
A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.
Give a girl an education, and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without farther expense to anybody.