Category Archives: Neighbors

May as well be single

Argh — yesterday was a rough Lyme day.  I’m afraid against my best intentions this has become the occasionally-daily Austen quote.  Happy Friday the 13th!

“Miss Blachford is married, but I have never seen it in the Papers.  And one may as well be single if the Wedding is not to be in print.”

letter to her niece Anna Lefroy
March 1815 [118]

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Filed under Letters, Marriage, Neighbors

For all the homebodies out there

Life is conspiring against me again.  I spent yesterday flat on my back dealing with the vicissitudes of Lyme disease — ugh.

Today’s quote is Mr. John Knightley being rather difficult on Christmas Eve as he and Emma head to the Westons (but who doesn’t want to spend Christmas Eve at home with his family?  At least if he is difficult, I can sympathize.):

“A man,” said he, “must have a very good opinion of himself when he
asks people to leave their own fireside, and encounter such a day as
this, for the sake of coming to see him. He must think himself a most
agreeable fellow; I could not do such a thing. It is the greatest
absurdity—Actually snowing at this moment!—The folly of not allowing
people to be comfortable at home—and the folly of people’s not staying
comfortably at home when they can! If we were obliged to go out such an
evening as this, by any call of duty or business, what a hardship we
should deem it;—and here are we, probably with rather thinner clothing
than usual, setting forward voluntarily, without excuse, in defiance of
the voice of nature, which tells man, in every thing given to his view
or his feelings, to stay at home himself, and keep all under shelter
that he can;—here are we setting forward to spend five dull hours in
another man’s house, with nothing to say or to hear that was not said
and heard yesterday, and may not be said and heard again to-morrow.
Going in dismal weather, to return probably in worse;—four horses and
four servants taken out for nothing but to convey five idle, shivering
creatures into colder rooms and worse company than they might have had
at home.”

Emma, volume 1, chapter 13


Filed under Emma, John Knightley, Neighbors, Parties

We must be merciful

“Poor Mrs Stent!  It has been her lot to be always in the way; but we must be merciful, for perhaps in time we may come to be Mrs Stents ourselves, unequal to anything & unwelcome to everybody.”

letter to Cassandra
April 21, 1805 [44]

Cassandra was staying with the Lloyds at Ibthrop, and Mrs. Stent was an old friend who lived with them.  Evidently she was up in years and had little to live on.

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Filed under Letters, Neighbors, Singleness

Handsome is as handsome does

“Mr. Digweed has used us basely.  Handsome is as Handsome does; he is therefore a very ill-looking Man.”

letter to Cassandra
January 24, 1813 [78]

No explanation here of exactly what Mr. Digweed did.  No doubt Jane was joking, as usual.

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Filed under Letters, Men, Morality, Neighbors

Warren’s indifference

“Assure her also as a last & indisputable proof of Warren’s indifference to me, that he actually drew that Gentleman’s picture for me, & delivered it to me without a Sigh.”

letter to Cassandra
January 14, 1796 [2]

Jane was referring to John Warren (who is portrayed in Becoming Jane as Jane’s incredibly awkward suitor, a la Mr. Collns).  Others thought he might be in love with her but she believed him to be just a friend.  The picture he delivered was one of Tom Lefroy.

The last reference Jane made to Tom was here, where she talks about “flirting her last” with him.

I’ve now posted every quote about Tom from Jane’s early letters. There’s actually very little.   We will never really know how much her heart was involved — although, of course, it’s a fun story to tell and fun to speculate.

If you’ve seen Becoming Jane I would love to know what you thought.


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

How to be particular

“Mr. H. began with Elizabeth, and afterwards danced with her again; but they do not know how to be particular.  I flatter myself, however, that they will profit by the three successive lessons which I have given them.”

letter to Cassandra
January 9, 1796

Jane was joking about dancing three times with Tom Lefroy at the ball the night before.  I believe dancing with anyone more than twice would provoke talk.

This is Jane’s first surviving letter.

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

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

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

Finding people disagreeable

“I cannot anyhow continue to find people agreable [sic];–I respect Mrs. Chamberlayne for doing her hair well, but cannot feel a more tender sentiment.–Miss Langley is like any other short girl with a broad nose & wide mouth, fashionable dress, & exposed bosom.”

letter to Cassandra
May 13, 1801 [36]

As I type this, I’m sitting at Panera’s, and the gentleman across the room from me has decided to make his sales calls, loudly, in Spanish.  (It would be just as annoying in English, I think.)  Anyway, I am not finding people agreeable.

A view of Bath from the path up to Beechen Cliff.

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Filed under Letters, Neighbors

More fun in the Upper Rooms

“Mrs Badcock & two young Women were of the same party, except when Mrs Badcock thought herself obliged to leave them, to run round the room after her drunken Husband.–His avoidance, & her pursuit, with the probable intoxication of both, was an amusing scene.”

letter to Cassandra
May 12, 1801 [36]

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Filed under Balls, Drink, Humor, Letters, Neighbors