Jane Austen Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes from Jane Austen
“But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever.”
“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 little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”
“Angry people are not always wise.”
“Is not general incivility the very essence of love?”
“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.”
“Those who do not complain are never pitied.”
“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
“Nothing is more deceitful…than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.”
“It is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?”
“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
“There is nothing so bad as parting with one’s friends. One seems too forlorn without them.”
“One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.”
“A girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then.”
“Your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.” “And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”
“Only Jane Austen did it and Emily Brontë. It is another feather, perhaps the finest, in their caps. They wrote as women write, not as men write. Of all the thousand women who wrote novels then, they alone entirely ignored the perpetual admonitions of the eternal pedagogue—write this, think that. ”
“There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.”
“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”
“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
“Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.”
“My idea of good 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.”
“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.”
“What strange creatures brothers are!”
“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”
“She was sensible and clever, but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation.”
“Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?”
“Without music, life would be a blank to me.”
“A man does not recover from such devotion of the heart to such a woman! He ought not; he does not.”
“...when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure.”
“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.”
Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.
I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him.
Blessed with so many resources within myself the world was not necessary to me. I could do very well without it.
It is very difficult for the prosperous to be humble.
Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.
Better be without sense than misapply it as you do.
When any two young people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other’s ultimate comfort.
Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.
A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her, and can write a tolerable letter.
General benevolence, but not general friendship, make a man what he ought to be.
If there is any thing disagreeable going on, men are always sure to get out of it.
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.
Thus much indeed he was obliged to acknowledge – that he had been constant unconsciously, nay unintentionally; that he had meant to forget her, and believed it to be done. He had imagined himself indifferent, when he had only been angry; and he had been unjust to her merits, because he had been a sufferer from them.
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!
“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.”
“I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman’s feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of.”
“A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.”
“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.”
Henry Crawford had too much sense not to feel the worth of a good principles in a wife, though he was to little accustomed to serious reflection to know them by their proper name.
“You must really begin to harden yourself to the idea of being worth looking at.”
“If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.”
Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.
Every moment had its pleasure and its hope.
“I am very strong. Nothing ever fatigues me but doing what I do not like.”
Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.
“You have qualities which I had not before supposed to exist in such a degree in any human creature. You have some touches of the angel in you beyond what—not merely beyond what one sees, because one never sees anything like it—but beyond what one fancies might be. ”
“I speak what appears to me the general opinion; and where an opinion is general, it is usually correct.”
“Don’t imagine that nobody in this house can see or judge but yourself. Don’t act yourself, if you do not like it, but don’t expect to govern everybody else.”
I only entreat everybody to believe that exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny as Fanny herself could desire.
“There, I will stake my last like a woman of spirit. No cold prudence for me. I am not born to sit still and do nothing. If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving or it”
She had probably alienated love by the helplessness and fretfulness of a fearful temper, or been unreasonable in wanting a larger share than any one among so many could deserve
Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone.
I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it. I assure you, if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world.
From fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine.
If a rainy morning deprived them of other enjoyments, they were still resolute in meeting in defiance of wet and dirt, and shut themselves up, to read novels together.
Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time.
Now I must give one smirk and then we may be rational again.
A young woman in love always looks like Patience on a monument Smiling at Grief
What one means one day, you know, one may not mean the next. Circumstances change, opinions alter.
It is so delightful to have an evening now and then to oneself.
“Beware how you give your heart.”
No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment.
Where the heart is really attached, I know very well how little one can be pleased with the attention of any body else.
And from the whole she deduced this useful lesson, that to go previously engaged to a ball, does not necessarily increase either the dignity or enjoyment of a young lady.
I leave it to be settled, by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience.
“Jane Austen did not become one of the most renowned authors in the English language by having her characters dye their armpit hair and join a lesbian commune.”
“A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.”
“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil—a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”
“The distance is nothing when one has motive.”
“Do not give way to useless alarm…though it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain.”
“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”
“Do anything rather than marry without affection.”
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
“I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”
“Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.”
“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
“You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.”
In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.
“Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of both were overspread with the deepest blush.”
“She was convinced that she could have been happy with him, when it was no longer likely they should meet.”
“Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to play you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart.”
“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”
“Till this moment I never knew myself.”
“My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.”
“From the very beginning—from the first moment, I may almost say—of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish distain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of the disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world on whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”
I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.
“But for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
“When I fall in love, it will be forever.”
“I cannot make speeches, Emma...If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.”
“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!”
“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.”
“I will be calm. I will be mistress of myself.”
“She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! Alas! She must confess to herself that she was not wise yet.”
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you.”
“Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.”
“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”
“Nothing ever fatigues me, but doing what I do not like.”
“There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison”
“A woman, especially if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”
“It’s been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.”
“One man’s ways may be as good as another’s, but we all like our own best.”
“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”
“Time will explain.”
“Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.”
“You must be the best judge of your own happiness.”
Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death.
I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman’s inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.
Nor could she help feeling, on more serious reflection, that, like many other great moralists and preachers, she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct would ill bear examination.
How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.
How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!
I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.
If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred and all duty violated.
I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control.
Miss Bates had never boasted either beauty or cleverness. Her youth had passed without distinction, and her middle of life was devoted to the care of a failing mother, and the endeavor to make a small income go as far as possible. And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good will.
I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other.
Never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man’s eyes as I am in my father’s.
Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.
Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief.
There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do if he chooses, and that is his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution.
“I certainly must,′ said she. ‘This sensation of listlessness, weariness, stupidity, this disinclination to sit down and employ myself, this feeling of everything’s being dull and insipid about the house! I must be in love; I should be the oddest creature in the world if I were not.”
She had nothing to wish otherwise, but that the days did not pass so swiftly. It was a delightful visit;—perfect, in being much too short.
Now they were as strangers; worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted.
Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion she certainly had not.
She understood him. He could not forgive her,-but he could not be unfeeling. Though condemning her for the past, and considering it with high and unjest resentment, though perfectly careless of her, and though becoming attached to another, still he could not see her suffer, without the desire of giving her relief. It was a remainder of former sentiment; it was an impuse of pure, though unacknowledged friendship; it was a proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain, that she knew not which prevailed.
“The last few hours were certainly very painful,” replied Anne: “but when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure. One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been all suffering, nothing but suffering-”
She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped.
“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!”
“If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy.”
“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”
“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”
“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.”
“It is not everyone,′ said Elinor, ‘who has your passion for dead leaves.”
Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.
To wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect.
“Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?”
“There is something so amiable in the prejudices of a young mind, that one is sorry to see them give way to the reception of more general opinions.”
“I have not wanted syllables where actions have spoken so plainly.”
“He admires as a lover, not as a connoisseur. To satisfy me, those characters must be united. I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own. He must enter into all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both.”
Marianne Dashwood was born to an extraordinary fate. She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favourite maxims. She was born to overcome an affection formed so late in life as at seventeen, and with no sentiment superior to strong esteem and lively friendship, voluntarily to give her hand to another! -- and that other, a man who had suffered no less than herself under the event of a former attachment, -- whom, two years before, she had considered too old to be married, -- and who still sought the constitutional safeguard of a flannel waistcoat!
She was stronger alone; and her own good sense so well supported her, that her firmness was as unshaken, her appearance of cheerfulness as invariable, as, with regrets so poignant and so fresh, it was possible for them to be.
Sometimes one is guided by what they say of themselves, and very frequently by what other people say of them, without giving oneself time to deliberate and judge.
Money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it.
Brandon is just the kind of man whom every body speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to.
″. . . though where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?”
She was without any power, because she was without any desire of command over herself.
For though a very few hours spent in hard labour of incessant talking will dispatch more subjects than can really be in common between any two rational creatures, yet with lovers it is different. Between them no subject is finished, no communication is even made, till it has been made at least twenty times over.
He then departed, to make himself still more interesting, in the midst of a heavy rain.
Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.
“Here’s harmony!” said she; “here’s repose! Here’s what may leave all painting and all music behind, and what poetry only can attempt to describe! Here’s what may tranquilize every care, and lift the heart to rapture! When I look out on such a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by contemplating such a scene.”
“Everybody likes to go their own way—to choose their own time and manner of devotion.”
“I think it ought not to be set down as certain that a man must be acceptable to every woman he may happen to like himself.”
“When people are waiting, they are bad judges of time, and every half minute seems like five.”
If reading could banish the idea for even half an hour, it was something gained.
If I could not be persuaded into doing what I thought wrong, I will never be tricked into it.
As for admiration, it was always very welcome when it came, but she did not depend on it.
Strange things may be generally accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out.
She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance - a misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well−informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.
Where people are really attached, poverty itself is wealth.
“We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him.”
You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.
I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yielding— certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of other so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.
She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.
You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner
Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride - where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.
I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh. Mr. Darcy sends you all the love in the world that he can spare from me.
The power of doing anything with quickness is always prized much by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance.
“If you will thank me,” he replied, “let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.”
Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.
I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun
I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit.
“I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its being created.” “I am,” said he, with a firm voice. “And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?” “I hope not.”
“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”
Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
“I have not the smallest objection to explaining them,” said he, as soon as she allowed him to speak. “You either choose this method of passing the evening because you are in each other’s confidence, and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; if the first, I would be completely in your way, and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire.”
“‘Sometimes it’s an advantage to be disadvantaged,’ said Harry.”
“People in books are good and noble and unselfish, and people aren’t that way ... and I feel, well… hornswoggled sometimes. By Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott. Why do writers make things sugary when life isn’t that way?”
″‘How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!’ I said I’d rather be in a Charlotte Bronte. ‘Which would be nicest- Jane with a touch of Charlotte, or Charlotte with a touch of Jane.‘”

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