Devoney Looser, a.k.a. Stone Cold Jane Austen, has drawn 378 genuine, Austen-authored passages from across the canon, resulting in an anthology that is compulsively readable and repeatable. Whether you approach the collection on a one-a-day model or in a satisfying binge read, you will emerge wiser about Austen, if not about life. The Daily Jane Austen will amuse and inspire skeptical beginners, Janeite experts, and every reader in between by showcasing some of the greatest sentences ever crafted in the history of fiction.
About the Author
Date of Birth:December 16, 1775
Date of Death:July 18, 1817
Place of Birth:Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
Place of Death:Winchester, Hampshire, England
Education:Taught at home by her father
Read an Excerpt
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
"Do you not want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.
"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."
This was invitation enough.
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Northanger Abbey (1818)
If adventures will not befal a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.
Mansfield Park (1814)
I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people.
Persuasion (1818) How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!
Sense and Sensibility (1811), Mrs. Jennings to Elinor Dashwood
"Well, it don't signify talking, but when a young man, be he who he will, comes and makes love to a pretty girl, and promises marriage, he has no business to fly off from his word only because he grows poor, and a richer girl is ready to have him. Why don't he, in such a case, sell his horses, let his house, turn off his servants, and make a thorough reform at once? I warrant you, Miss Marianne would have been ready to wait till matters came round. But that won't do, now-a-days; nothing in the way of pleasure can ever be given up by the young men of this age."
Lady Susan (c. 1794–1805), Lady Susan Vernon to Mrs. Johnson
I am much obliged to you my dear Friend, for your advice respecting M. De Courcy ... tho' I am not quite determined on following it. — I cannot easily resolve on anything so serious as Marriage, especially as I am not at present in want of money, & might perhaps till the old Gentleman's death, be very little benefited by the match. It is true that I am vain enough to beleive it within my reach. — I have made him sensible of my power, & can now enjoy the pleasure of triumphing over a Mind prepared to dislike me, & prejudiced against all my past actions.
Emma (1816), Emma Woodhouse to Harriet Smith
"I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing! but I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall. And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine. Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want: I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband's house, as I am of Hartfield; and never, 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."
Pride and Prejudice (1813), Elizabeth Bennet to Jane Bennet
"What could be more natural than his asking you again? He could not help seeing that you were about five times as pretty as every other woman in theroom. No thanks to his gallantry for that. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to like him. You have liked many a stupider person."
Northanger Abbey (1818), Catherine Morland to Isabella Thorpe
"Oh! yes, quite; what can it be? — But do not tell me — I would not be told upon any account. I know it must be a skeleton, I am sure it is Laurentina's skeleton. Oh! 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."
The Beautifull Cassandra (c. 1788)
Chapter the 3rd. The first person she met, was the Viscount of —— a young man, no less celebrated for his Accomplishments and Virtues, than for his Elegance and Beauty. She curtseyed and walked on.
Chapter the 4th. She then proceeded to a Pastry-cooks where she devoured six ices, refused to pay for them, knocked down the Pastry Cook and walked away.
Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 9–10 January 1796
I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together.
Lady Susan (c. 1794–1805), Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan Vernon
She arrived yesterday in pursuit of her Husband; — but perhaps you know this already from himself. — She came to this house to entreat my Husband's interference, & before I could be aware of it, everything that you could wish to be concealed, was known to him; & unluckily she had wormed out of Manwaring's servant that he had visited you every day since your being in Town, & had just watched him to your door herself! — What could I do? — Facts are such horrid things!
Sense and Sensibility (1811), Marianne Dashwood, Elinor Dashwood, and Mr. Willoughby
At last he turned round again, and regarded them both; she started up, and pronouncing his name in a tone of affection, held out her hand to him. He approached, and addressing himself rather to Elinor than Marianne, as if wishing to avoid her eye, and determined not to observe her attitude, inquired in a hurried manner after Mrs. Dashwood, and asked how long they had been in town. Elinor was robbed of all presence of mind by such an address, and was unable to say a word. But the feelings of her sister were instantly expressed. Her face was crimsoned over, and she exclaimed in a voice of the greatest emotion, "Good God! Willoughby, what is the meaning of this? Have you not received my letters? Will you not shake hands with me?"
The Watsons (c. 1803–5), Mr. Edwards to Mrs. Edwards and Emma Watson
"When an old lady plays the fool, it is not in the course of nature that she should suffer from it many years."
Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 14–15 January 1796
I am very much flattered by your commendation of my last Letter, for I write only for Fame, and without any view to pecuniary Emolument.
Pride and Prejudice (1813), Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth Bennet
"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."
Northanger Abbey (1818), Catherine Morland to James Morland and Isabella Thorpe
"But indeed I cannot go. If I am wrong, I am doing what I believe to be right."
Sanditon (1817), Lady Denham to Charlotte Heywood
"Aye my dear — that's very sensibly said," cried Lady Denham. "And if we could but get a young heiress to Sanditon! But heiresses are monstrous scarce! I do not think we have had an heiress here, or even a co, since Sanditon has been a public place. Families come after families, but as far as I can learn, it is not one in an hundred of them that have any real property, landed or funded. — An income perhaps, but no property. Clergymen may be, or lawyers from town, or half pay officers, or widows with only a jointure. And what good can such people do anybody? — except just as they take our empty houses — and (between ourselves) I think they are great fools for not staying at home. Now, if we could get a young heiress to be sent here for her health — (and if she was ordered to drink asses' milk I could supply her) — and as soon as she got well, have her fall in love with Sir Edward!"
Northanger Abbey (1818)
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings — and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as any body might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself.
Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common.
Sanditon (1817), on Sir Edward Denham
Sir Edward's great object in life was to be seductive. — With such personal advantages as he knew himself to possess, and such talents as he did also give himself credit for, he regarded it as his duty. — He felt that he was formed to be a dangerous man.
Sanditon (1817), on Clara Brereton and Sir Edward Denham
Clara saw through him, and had not the least intention of being seduced.
Northanger Abbey (1818)
[Catherine Morland] had reached the age of seventeen, without having seen one amiable youth who could call forth her sensibility; without having inspired one real passion, and without having excited even any admiration but what was very moderate and very transient. This was strange indeed! But strange things may be generally accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out. There was not one lord in the neighbourhood; no — not even a baronet. There was not one family among their acquaintance who had reared and supported a boy accidentally found at their door — not one young man whose origin was unknown. Her father had no ward, and the squire of the parish no children.
But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.
Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 21–23 January 1799
I do not think it worth while to wait for enjoyment until there is some real opportunity for it.
Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 24 January 1813
Mr Digweed has used us basely. Handsome is as Handsome does; he is therefore a very ill-looking Man.
Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth Bennet, on Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet
"But that expression of 'violently in love' is so hackneyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me very little idea. It is as often applied to feelings which arise only from an half hour's acquaintance, as to a real, strong attachment. Pray, how violent was Mr. Bingley's love?"
"I never saw a more promising inclination. He was growing quite inattentive to other people, and wholly engrossed by her. Every time they met, it was more decided and remarkable. At his own ball he offended two or three young ladies, by not asking them to dance, and I spoke to him twice myself, without receiving an answer. Could there be finer symptoms? Is not general incivility the very essence of love?"
Emma (1816), Emma Woodhouse to Mr. Knightley
"Oh! I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other."
Pride and Prejudice (1813), Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Collins
"I do assure you, Sir, that I have no pretension whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man. I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible. My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart."
"You are uniformly charming!" cried he, with an air of awkward gallantry; "and I am persuaded that when sanctioned by the express authority of both your excellent parents, my proposals will not fail of being acceptable."
To such perseverance in wilful self-deception Elizabeth would make no reply.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1811), Marianne Dashwood and Elinor Dashwood
"I never spent a pleasanter morning in my life."
"I am afraid," replied Elinor, "that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety."
"On the contrary, nothing can be a stronger proof of it, Elinor; for if there had been any real impropriety in what I did, I should have been sensible of it at the time, for we always know when we are acting wrong, and with such a conviction I could have had no pleasure."
"But, my dear Marianne, as it has already exposed you to some very impertinent remarks, do you not now begin to doubt the discretion of your own conduct?" "If the impertinent remarks of Mrs. Jennings are to be the proof of impropriety in conduct, we are all offending every moment of all our lives. I value not her censure any more than I should do her commendation."
Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 29 January 1813
I must confess that I think [Elizabeth Bennet] as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know. — There are a few Typical errors — & a "said he" or a "said she" would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear — but "I do not write for such dull Elves" / "As have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves."
PERSUASION (1818), Sir Walter Elliot to Anne Elliot
"Westgate-buildings!" said he; "and who is Miss Anne Elliot to be visiting in Westgate-buildings? — A Mrs. Smith. A widow Mrs. Smith, — and who was her husband? One of the five thousand Mr. Smiths whose names are to be met with every where. And what is her attraction? That she is old and sickly. — Upon my word, Miss Anne Elliot, you have the most extraordinary taste! Every thing that revolts other people, low company, paltry rooms, foul air, disgusting associations are inviting to you. But surely, you may put off this old lady till to-morrow. She is not so near her end, I presume, but that she may hope to see another day. What is her age? Forty?"
MANSFIELD PARK (1814), Mary Crawford and Fanny Price, on Henry Crawford
"Ah! I cannot deny it. He has now and then been a sad flirt, and cared very little for the havock he might be making in young ladies' affections. I have often scolded him for it, but it is his only fault; and there is this to be said, that very few young ladies have any affections worth caring for. And then, Fanny, the glory of fixing one who has been shot at by so many; of having it in one's power to pay off the debts of one's sex! Oh, I am sure it is not in woman's nature to refuse such a triumph."
Fanny shook her head. "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."CHAPTER 2
"Your sister, I understand, does not approve of second attachments."
"No," replied Elinor, "her opinions are all romantic."
"Or rather, as I believe, she considers them impossible to exist."
"I believe she does. But how she contrives it without reflecting on the character of her own father, who had himself two wives, I know not. A few years however will settle her opinions on the reasonable basis of common sense and observation; and then they may be more easy to define and to justify than they now are, by any body but herself."
"This will probably be the case," he replied; "and yet 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 cannot agree with you there," said Elinor. "There are inconveniences attending such feelings as Marianne's, which all the charms of enthusiasm and ignorance of the world cannot atone for. Her systems have all the unfortunate tendency of setting propriety at nought; and a better acquaintance with the world is what I look forward to as her greatest possible advantage."
Sense and Sensibility (1811), Colonel Brandon and Elinor Dashwood(Continues…)
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