Category Archives: Humor

Tease him

“Teaze him — laugh at him. — Intimate as you are, you must know how it is to be done.”

Elizabeth to Miss Bingley, re: Darcy  (How dare she!)

Pride and Prejudice, Vol. 1, Ch. 11

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Filed under Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Flirting, Humor, Miss Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

A Vile World

Lovely lunch with JASNA – DC this weekend — thanks to all who came.  It was an honor to be asked to speak.  Nothing Vile about it!

“We have used Anna as ill as we could, by not letting him [Jane’s nephew James-Edward, Anna’s half brother] leave us before tomorrow morning, but it is a Vile World, we are all for Self & I expected no better from any of us.”

Letter to her niece Caroline [all three were her brother James’s children — Anna from his first marriage, James-Edward and Caroline from his second]
January 23, 1817 [149]


Filed under Austen family, Humor, Letters, Morality, nephew James Edward, niece Anna Austen, niece Caroline, Sarcasm

Recipe for a marriage

“‘My good qualities are under your protection, and you are to exaggerate them as much as possible; and, in return, it belongs to me to find occasions for teasing and quarrelling with you as often as may be.'”

Lizzy to Darcy, discussing their recent engagement and how their relationship will work from this point forward
Pride and Prejudice, volume 3, chapter 18

Sounds like a good plan, no?

Icon from Ms. Place at Jane Austen Today.

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Filed under Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Humor, Marriage, Pride and Prejudice

I do not want people to be agreeable…

Okay, this has to be one of my all-time favorites:

“I do not want People to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”

letter to Cassandra
December 24, 1798 [15]

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Filed under Austen's friends, Humor, Letters

Serious romance

“I could no more write a Romance than an Epic Poem.–I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other motive than to save my Life, & if it were indispensable for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first Chapter.”

letter to James Stanier Clarke
April 1, 1816 [138D]

James Stanier Clarke was secretary to the Prince Regent, and this series of letters is very funny.  He had some, um, interesting writing ideas for Austen, largely based on his own life.

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Filed under Humor, Letters, Writing

For whom I donot care sixpence…

“Tell Mary that I make over Mr Heartley & all his Estate to her for her sole use and Benefit in future, & not only him, but all my other Admirers into the bargain wherever she can find them, even the kiss which C. Powlett wanted to give me, as I mean to confine myself in future to Mr Tom Lefroy, for whom I donot care sixpence.”

letter to Cassandra
January 14, 1796 [2]

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Filed under Humor, Jane Austen's love interests, Letters, Tom Lefroy

A visit

“After I had written the above, we received a visit from Mr Tom Lefroy and his cousin George.  The latter is really very well-behaved now; and as for the other, he has but one fault, which time will, I trust, entirely remove–it is that his morning coat is a great deal too light.  He is a very great admirer of Tom Jones, and therefore wears the same coloured clothes, I imagine, which he did when he was wounded.”

letter to Cassandra
January 9, 1796 [1]

I have read Fielding’s Tom Jones, but I must admit I have no recollection of the color of his clothes.  Jane and Tom must have discussed Fielding — a bit risque, perhaps.


Filed under Humor, Jane Austen's love interests, Letters, Other books and writers, Tom Lefroy

Long letters

“I assure you I am as tired of writing long letters as you can be.  What a pity that one should still be so fond of receiving them!”

letter to Cassandra
June 30, 1808 [55]

This is just how I feel about email!


Filed under Humor, Letters, Writing

For what do we live?

Today’s quote is not new, but rather a correction — thanks to Laura, who pointed out the error.  I always thought this was “make sport FOR our neighbors,” but when I went to post it the first time, I doublechecked my Signet classic and it said “make sport OF our neighbors,” which I thought was not nearly as good.  Turns out the Signet classic is wrong!  Mags at AustenBlog confirms that her Oxford edition says “FOR” — so here is the corrected version!

Still love that word “missish.”

“But, Lizzy, you look as if you did not enjoy it.  You are not going to be missish, I hope, and pretend to be affronted at an idle report.  For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

Mr. Bennet, upon reading Lizzy the letter from Mr. Collins, which hints that she may be engaged to Mr. Darcy and warns them that Lady Catherine will never approve
Pride & Prejudice, Volume 3, Chapter 15


Filed under Elizabeth Bennet, Humor, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Collins, Neighbors, Pride and Prejudice

A vortex of dissipation

More advice from Jane to her writing niece:

“Devereux Forester’s being ruined by his Vanity is extremely good; but I wish you would not let him plunge into a ‘vortex of Dissipation’.  I do not object to the Thing, but I cannot bear the expression;–it is such thorough novel slang–and so old, that I dare say Adam met with it in the first novel he opened.”

letter to Anna Austen
September 28, 1814 [108]

Jane was writing from her home at Chawton, which is now Jane Austen’s House Museum.

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Filed under Austen family, Humor, Letters, niece Anna Austen, Writing