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

4 Responses to For what do we live?

  1. A wonderful quote that really sums up a lot of what Jane was doing in her novels.
    And isn’t “missish” a great word? I wonder who first coined it?

  2. I know! I was kind of thinking perhaps Jane coined that word, but maybe not. Anyone out there who feels like tracing the history?

  3. Laura

    I always thought that it was “but to make sport FOR our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
    As in our neighbors laugh at us and we laugh at them, whereas with “OF” it seems more like we’re(so to speak) doing all the laughing.

  4. Yes, I thought that’s what it was, too — I was surprised to find it’s actually “of.” Actually, just checked the e-text at Mollands and they have “for.” I wonder which one is actually right?