Jane Austen is considered by many to be the foremost writer of the early 19th century. Her fiction focuses on relationships and the attempts by her heroes and heroines to find fortune and romance. Her ironic tone often comes through whether speaking as the narrator of a tale or through one of the characters.
"Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness
destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation?"
I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.
"If there is any thing disagreeable going on, men are always sure to get out of it."
"Leave him to chuse his own wife. Depend upon it, a man of six or seven-and-twenty can take care of himself."
"You men have none of you any heart."
"I will not allow it to be more man's nature than woman's to be inconstant and forget those they do love, or have loved. I believe in a true analogy between our bodily frames and our mental; and that as our bodies are the strongest, so are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough usage, and riding out the heaviest weather."
"I believe you [men] capable of everything great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as - if I may be allowed the expression, so long as you have an object. I mean, while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone."
"I was therefore entered at Oxford and have been properly idle ever since."
"An occasional memento of past folly, however painful, might not be without use."
"...I am very sorry to be right in this instance. I would much rather have been merry than wise."
"Aye, it is a fine thing to be young and handsome."
"I have often observed how little young ladies are interested by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for their benefit."
"I wish as well as every body else to be perfectly happy; but like every body else it must be in my own way."
"What have wealth or grandeur to do with happiness?"
"There is nothing like employment, active, indespenable employment, for relieving sorrow."
"...misery such as mine has no pride. I care not who knows that I am wretched."
"Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure."
"There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense."
"There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves."
"Here and there, human nature may be great in times of trial, but generally speaking it is its weakness and not its strength that appears in a sick chamber; it is selfishness and impatience rather than generosity and fortitude, that one hears of."
"Those who do not complain are never pitied."
"There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome."
"Nobody minds having what is too good for them."
"...one of those well-meaning people, who are always doing mistaken and very disagreeable things."
"...angry people are not always wise..."
"What wild imaginations one forms, where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken."
"Opposition on so tender a subject would only attach her the more to her own opinion."
"[He] is a man...whom every body speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to."
"A man who has nothing to do with his own time has no conscience in his intrusions on that of others."
"...with them, to wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect."
"She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped."
"I am not born to sit still and do nothing. If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving for it."
"'My idea of good company...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.'"
"...our pleasures in this world are always to be paid for..."
"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment."
"That would be the greatest misfortune of all! - To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate!"
"[She] is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing their own, and with many men, I dare say, it succeeds."
"There is hardly any personal defect... which an agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to."
"...the more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love."
"...these violent young lovers carry every thing their own way."
"You are too sensible a girl...to fall in love merely because you are warned against it."
"I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!"
"A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman! - He ought not - he does not."
"Let no one presume to give the feelings of a young woman on receiving the assurance of that affection of which she has scarcely allowed herself to entertain a hope."
"...do any thing rather than marry without affection."
"...to marry for money I think the wickedest thing in existence."
"It would be an excellent match, for he was rich and she was handsome."
"There certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them."
"His temper might perhaps be a little soured by finding, like many others of his sex, that trough some unaccounable bias in favor of beauty, he was the husband of a very silly woman."
"A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her..."
"I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior."
"You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it."
"...I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry."
"Let me only have the girl I like, say I, with a comfortable house over my head, and what care I for all the rest."
"With such a reward for her tears, the child was too wise to cease crying."
"Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time."
"There are secrets in all families, you know..."
"Society has claims on us all."
"...she had the comfort of appearing very polite, while feeling very cross..."
"Give me but a little cheerful company, let me only have the company of the people I love, let me only be where I like and with whom I like, and the devil may take the rest, say I."
"...the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker."
"I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible."
"One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best."
"That is the case with all of us, Papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."
"How quick come the reasons for approving what we like."
"You should never fret about trifles."
"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."
"...for what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?"