. . . Darcy was clever. He was at the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting. In that respect his friend had greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence.
Pride and Prejudice, Vol 1, Ch 4
Of Mr. Weston’s first wife. Love this…
“Though she had one sort of spirit, she had not the best. She had
resolution enough to pursue her own will in spite of her brother, but
not enough to refrain from unreasonable regrets at that brother’s
unreasonable anger, nor from missing the luxuries of her former home.”
Emma, volume 1, chapter 2
Why is it everyone likes Miss Bates so much?
“Her daughter [Miss Bates] enjoyed a most uncommon degree of popularity for a woman neither young, handsome, rich, nor married. Miss Bates stood in the very worst predicament in the world for having much of the public favour; and she had no intellectual superiority to make atonement to herself or frighten those who might hate her into outward respect. She 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, a woman whom no one named without goodwill. It was her own universal goodwill and contented temper which worked such wonders. She loved everybody, was interested in everybody’s happiness, quick-sighted to everybody’s merits; thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother and so many good neighbors and friends and a home that wanted for nothing. The simplicity and cheerfulness of her nature, her contented and grateful spirit, were a recommendation to everybody and a mine of felicity to herself.”
Emma, volume 1, chapter 3
“Vanity was the beginning and end of Sir Walter Elliot’s character: vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth, and at fifty-four was still a very fine man. . . . He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion.”
Persuasion, volume 1, chapter 1
Thanks to Kellynch.com for the image — check out this lovely site!
“Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at their being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them. She had neither beauty, genius, accomplishment, nor manner.”
Northanger Abbey, volume 1, chapter2
Oh, I love this quote — such classic Jane.
Sylvestra Le Touzel as Mrs. Allen, thanks to Solitary-Elegance.com for the image. (In this picture, she looks like she has at least a little beauty.)
My little girl (my English Lab) Bess was up sick all night last night, so we made many trips outside in the wee hours. (No pun intended.) She’s such a love, but sick or not, she seems to love sleeping during the day and not sleeping so much at night, which is leaving me rather incoherent. Then I had to drop her off at the vet to be spayed, and it’s so quiet here, without her snoring at my feet.
At any rate, here’s to the love of dogs, even if Lady Bertram’s Pug is ridiculously spoiled.
“She was a woman who spent her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children…”
Of Lady Bertram
Mansfield Park, volume 1, chapter 2
“I called yesterday morning–(ought it not in strict propriety be termed Yester-Morning?) on Miss Armstrong, & was introduced to her father & Mother. Like other young Ladies she is considerably genteeler then her Parents . . . We afterwards walked together for an hour on the Cobb; she is very conversable in a common way; I do not perceive Wit or Genius–but she has Sense & some degree of Taste, & her manners are very engaging. She seems to like people rather too easily . . .”
letter to Cassandra
September 14, 1804 
More today from Chesterton:
“These pages betray her secret; which is that she was naturally exuberant. And her power came, as all power comes, from the control and direction of that exuberance. . . . her original passion was a sort of joyous scorn and a fighting spirit against all that she regarded as morbid and lax and poisonously silly.”
G.K. Chesterton, from the introduction to Love & Freindship
Chatto & Windus, 1922
Many thanks to Helen Scott at Chawton House Library for helping me track this quote down.
Love his description of Jane’s “joyous scorn,” which just captures her, to my mind.
“Colonel Brandon . . . was silent and grave. His appearance however was not unpleasing, in spite of his being in the opinion of Marianne and Margaret an absolute old bachelor, for he was on the wrong side of five and thirty; but though his face was not handsome, his countenance was sensible, and his address was particularly gentlemanlike.”
Sense & Sensibility, volume 1, chapter 7
Oh, that there were more bachelors of five and thirty with a sensible countenance and gentlemanly spirit. (I suspect that still sounds very old to some of my readers, but I am determined to believe it is not.)
“A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without color, dark lank hair, and strong features; — so much for her person; –and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boys’ plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. . . . What a strange, unaccountable character! — for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper; was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.”
a description of NA‘s heroine, Catherine Morland; biographers suspect that at least part of this was autobiographical for Jane, who grew up with six brothers and numerous boarders for the boys’ school her father ran in their home
Northanger Abbey, chapter 1