Sunday, 18 July 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 117 by Linda

In Chapter 11 of Emma we find a description of Mr. John Knightley that gives us quite a display of Jane Austen’s ability to draw a character with depth. Please excuse the very long quote, since it displays her talent so well.

Mr. John Knightley was a tall, gentleman-like, and very clever man; rising in his profession, domestic, and respectable in his private character; but with reserved manners which prevented his being generally pleasing; and capable of being sometimes out of humour. He was not an ill-tempered man, not so often unreasonably cross as to deserve such a reproach; but his temper was not his great perfection; and, indeed, with such a worshipping wife, it was hardly possible that any natural defects in it should not be increased. The extreme sweetness of her temper must hurt his. He had all the clearness and quickness of mind which she wanted, and he could sometimes act an ungracious, or say a severe thing. He was not a great favourite with his fair sister-in-law. Nothing wrong in him escaped her. She was quick in feeling the little injuries to Isabella, which Isabella never felt herself. Perhaps she might have passed over more had his manners been flattering to Isabella's sister, but they were only those of a calmly kind brother and friend, without praise and without blindness; but hardly any degree of personal compliment could have made her regardless of that greatest fault of all in her eyes which he sometimes fell into, the want of respectful forbearance towards her father. There he had not always the patience that could have been wished. Mr. Woodhouse's peculiarities and fidgettiness were sometimes provoking him to a rational remonstrance or sharp retort equally ill bestowed. It did not often happen; for Mr. John Knightley had really a great regard for his father-in-law, and generally a strong sense of what was due to him; but it was too often for Emma's charity, especially as there was all the pain of apprehension frequently to be endured, though the offence came not. The beginning, however, of every visit displayed none but the properest feelings, and this being of necessity so short might be hoped to pass away in unsullied cordiality. They had not been long seated and composed when Mr. Woodhouse, with a melancholy shake of the head and a sigh, called his daughter's attention to the sad change at Hartfield since she had been there last.

All I can say is WOW! We have all the nuances of character that can be had.


Linda the Librarian

Pic: Mr John Knightley

7 comments:

Mariana said...

Hello Team Jane, apologies for my long absence -almost half year passed and I'm still awaiting my 'verdict', fortunately it'll come after returning from holidays.

Thank you Linda, another lovely choice for the quote of the week -they'll never be too long for me. This is even more special being posed on 18 July, so a heartfelt thank you to you Rachel, as well. I've just found out today when reading JEAL's "Memoir of Jane Austen" that Mr. Knightley was one of her great favorites. I hope it'll be fine with you to have a short paragraph pasted here from this wonderful Memoir, as it's pertaining to Linda's comment: "One of the most remarkable traits of her genius may be found in the power by which, without in the slightest degree violating the truth of portraiture, she is able to make the veriest every-day person a character of great interest. This is, indeed, turning lead into gold; but it would be difficult to detect the secret of the process".

Love & Lots of Hugs

Icha said...

Aaahhhh!!! Mariana! I was thinking of you the other day. Such a 'coincidence'!

Anyway, how's England? Are you not coming to visit England this July or August???

And yes, I've learned for quiet some time that my fave Mr Knightely was also Miss Austen's fave hero, so I'm rather pleased with that!

And thank you very much for the Memoir. It was at least 1.5 year since I last read it!

Mariana said...

My dearest Icha, I've started to think there's nothing coincidental; there must be a special wire we both use to communicate ;) Yes, with all the stress (not only job related) in the passed months, I can't wait to get to drink that cup of tea in London with dearest Rachel. Only a fortnight to anticipate, building up the emotions, then it will all become sweet and precious memories... The good news is that I'll have a PC in the hotel room, so I may be able to keep you updated at least with some pictures.

I wish you good night now, dear friend, it's time for me to return to my dreams ...anything special you'd like to say to Mr. T? ;D

Icha said...

YES, a dearest dearest hello to Mr T!!!

And I mean Tom Lefroy, not Mr T in the A Team movie :-D

Anyway. Have you been in contact with Rachel? She'll be elated to have you there, but she will need to adjust her calendar, so the sooner the dates are thrown in, the better.

Mariana said...

Sorry, only the other Mr. T was visiting last night, so your 'hello' couldn't be delivered ;)

I just sent an email to Rachel and cc you this evening, but the London dates were already mentioned in my first emails, sent sometime in Feb-March - hope you both received the last one in March, it is in fact the one I used for my reply...

Hugs

Icha said...

OMG how stupid I was!!! You mean THAT Mr T!!! Did you tell John that I invited him and Margaret T for dinner whenever they're in Australia?

Anyway, yeah, I forgot that you've mentioned the dates in your earliest email, hey am getting old apparently so... bear with me... ^_^

Hope all is well, you secure your job, and the UK holiday is as fabu as possible!

Miss Pickwickian said...

Love Emma. :-)