Category Archives: Beauty

A beautiful girl

“Called a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens….”

On Marianne Dashwood
Sense and Sensibility, volume 1, chapter 10

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Filed under Beauty, Marianne, Sense and Sensibility

A pleasing looking young woman

Birthday_flowers Today is my birthday, and I am thirty-six, just about the age Jane was when she wrote about this compliment from Mr. Wyndham Knatchbull:

“‘A pleasing looking young woman’;–that must do;–one cannot pretend to anything better now–thankful to have it continued a few years longer!”

letter to Cassandra
April 30, 1811 [72]

I still think of myself as fairly young, and thirty-six is much younger now than it was then — but I have to admit, there’s a kind of freedom in aging and feeling like you really don’t have to keep up anymore.


Filed under Beauty, Letters

The ruins of a face

Prscebrock4Once she felt that he was looking at herself, observing her altered features, perhaps, trying to trace in them the ruins of the face which had once charmed him…”

While Anne sits at the piano during dancing after dinner at the Musgroves
Persuasion, volume 1, chapter 8

Thanks to Mollands for the CE Brock illustration.  Of course, that is Mr. Musgrove with Anne at the piano, and not Capt. Wentworth!

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Filed under Anne Elliot, Beauty, Capt. Wentworth, Persuasion

Poor Marianne Mapleton

“You will be sorry to hear that Marianne Mapleton’s disorder has ended fatally; she was beleived out of danger on Sunday, but a sudden relapse carried her off the next day.–So affectionate a family must suffer severely; & many a girl on early death has been praised into an Angel I beleive, on slighter pretensions to Beauty, Sense & Merit than Marianne.”

letter to Cassandra
May 21, 1801 [37] (emphasis mine)

The spelling here is Jane’s.  She continually got her i‘s and e‘s mixed up.

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Filed under Austen's friends, Beauty, Letters, Neighbors

A few compliments of the navy

Hello, dear readers!  Forgive my absence Friday — I was in an editing stupor.  Just a couple more days, and then all should be nearly done… and I love it, but I can’t wait until this book is ready for publication!

Today’s quote is in honor of tonight’s season finale for The Bachelor (which, of course, is completely ridiculous, but sometimes I have to watch it to see just how ridiculous it’s going to be.  I think Jane would understand).

“Yes, here I am, Sophia, quite ready to make a foolish match.  Anybody between fifteen and thirty may have me for asking.  A little beauty, and a few smiles, and a few compliments to the navy, and I am a lost man.”

Captain Wentworth to his sister Mrs. Croft
Persuasion, volume 1, chapter 7

Now, Frederick Wentworth… I could compliment that navy.

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Filed under Beauty, Capt. Wentworth, Marriage, Persuasion, the Navy

Eye at an Adultress

“I am proud to say that I have a very good eye at an Adultress, for tho’ repeatedly assured that another in the same party was the She, I fixed upon the right one from the first. . . . her face has the same defect of baldness as her sister’s, & her features not so handsome;–she was highly rouged, & looked rather quietly & contentedly silly than anything else.”

letter to Cassandra
May 12, 1801 [36]

The adulteress in question, observed in the upper rooms at Bath, was the Hon. Mary Cassandra Twisleton, who was a relation of the Austen’s somehow through the Leigh side (through Mrs. Austen’s family).  Her father had committed suicide when she was just fourteen, because he had some kind of disease that gave him terrible pain in his head, which the doctors told him was incurable.  Mary Cassandra eloped at sixteen with her first husband, then scandalously divorced after an affair with an MP when she was twenty-three.  So much for quiet life in the English country!

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Filed under Balls, Beauty, Letters, Morality

A very bad beginning

“‘She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.'”

Darcy to Bingley, at the neighborhood ball, about why he refuses to dance with Lizzy
Pride & Prejudice, volume 1, chapter 3

How could he be so cruel?

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Filed under Beauty, Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

Half the sum of attraction

“He was, at the time, a remarkably fine young man, with a great deal of intelligence, spirit, and brilliancy; and Anne an extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty, taste, and feeling.  Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough, for he had nothing to do, and she had hardly anybody to love; but the encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail.  It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the other, or which had been the happiest:  she, in receiving his declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.”

the background on Anne and Captain Wentworth’s first meeting, eight years before the story begins

, chapter 4

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Filed under Anne Elliot, Beauty, Capt. Wentworth, Character description, Engagement, Love, Persuasion

The danger of a reputation that precedes you

“Mrs. Portman is not much admired in Dorsetshire; the good-natured world, as usual, extolled her beauty so highly, that all the neighbourhood have had the pleasure of being disappointed.”

letter to Cassandra
November 17, 1798 [11]

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Filed under Beauty, Humor, Letters, Neighbors