Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quoting Isabella Thorpe

 Northanger Abbey has been my favorite Jane Austen novel for several years now but my love of the story began when I received an unabridged audio book of Northanger Abbey read by actress Anna Massey.

As a teenager I listened to the cassette tapes over and over again and consequently parts of the book are lodged in my brain and pop into my head at the oddest time.
The strangest thing is that a lot of the quotes I remember come straight from the mouth of Isabella Thorpe, the perfectly ridiculous villainess of the story! The only difference is that most of the things she said rather flippantly in the book I find to be things I would say and really mean.

Don't quite get what I mean? Take a look at these interesting quotes from Isabella with my comments in gold.

Isabella on Friendship
"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong."Chapter 6

"Now, if I were to hear anybody speak slightingly of you, I should fire up in a moment..."Chapter 6

"You know I carry my notions of friendship pretty high."Chapter 18

"It was dirty, indeed, but what did that signify? I am sure John and I should not have minded it. I never mind going through anything, where a friend is concerned..."Chapter 11

"When once my affections are placed, it is not in the power of anything to change them. But I believe my feelings are stronger than anybody’s; I am sure they are too strong for my own peace..."Chapter 13

The words Isabella uses closely resemble my idea of a Kindred Spirit, a bosom friend. I make acquaintance easily but friends take me a bit longer so when I make one I'm fiercely loyal and dedicated. I'd also do anything in my power to help my friends. I do "carry my notions of friendship pretty high". It's too bad for Catherine Morland that Isabella didn't mean very much of what she said; a friend who meant those speeches of loyalty would be a friend worth having. But we may say that Catherine found such a friend in Eleanor Tilney! :)

Advice from Isabella 
"Of all things in the world inconstancy is my aversion." - Chapter 16
Take a hint Isabella! It's so ironic that she condemns the very inconstancy that she is chief in acting out. People who are constantly changing their opinions and minds depending of the situation or people they are near do drive me a bit batty. haha!

"...I thought it a very foolish, imprudent business, and not likely to promote the good of either; for what were you to live upon, supposing you came together? You have both of you something, to be sure, but it is not a trifle that will support a family nowadays; and after all that romancers may say, there is no doing without money."Chapter 18
It is true that small incomes are not the worst thing in the world and often families that are not particularly rich in worldly goods are often rich in many other ways (I know this from experience). But in reality "love" doesn't keep people warm or keep a roof over one's head, so this quote comes to mind from time to time.

"Take my word for it, that if you are in too great a hurry, you will certainly live to repent it."Chapter 18
How many times have I been in a hurry and later wished I had take a bit more time to make my decision. In that way I identify with Catherine Morland from time to time.

Isabella on the Heart & Mind
"Where the heart is really attached, I know very well how little one can be pleased with the attention of anybody else. Everything is so insipid, so uninteresting, that does not relate to the beloved object! I can perfectly comprehend your feelings.”Chapter 6

"But do not insist upon my being very agreeable, for my heart, you know, will be some forty miles off."Chapter 16

"One’s eyes must be somewhere, and you know what a foolish trick I have of fixing mine, when my thoughts are an hundred miles off. I am amazingly absent; I believe I am the most absent creature in the world."Chapter 18

Ever go to a party or event and feel like warning people that you're not going to be very talkative because you have other things on your heart and mind? I've felt like that sometimes. Isabella tells Catherine this a few times but usually after the fact she's more lively than ever or she just uses it to cover up what she's really thinking (i.e. "Captain Tilney will be here soon!"). 

Isabella on Men
“And which way are they gone?” said Isabella, turning hastily round. “One was a very good–looking young man.Chapter 6
This is probably my favorite of Isabella's quotes and I even used the phrase on a button once. The phrase "one was a very good-looking young man" usually comes to mind if I happen to see a good-looking young man in passing like in a store, restaurant or at a church gathering. This phrase is usually followed by a wistful sigh, a prayer for my future husband and a praise to the Lord for making so many beautiful things in this world. 

"You men have such restless curiosity! Talk of the curiosity of women, indeed! ‘Tis nothing."Chapter 8

"He is such a rattle!" (about Captain Tilney) - Chapter 16
Ever met a guy who just drives you crazy with teasing or silly comments? Yeah, this is a great phrase for those times!

“Handsome! Yes, I suppose he may. I dare say people would admire him in general; but he is not at all in my style of beauty."Chapter 16
Of course Isabella was speaking of Captain Tilney who she obviously did think was handsome. This quote struck me because I'm not a huge fan of the general style of the guys that are thought "handsome" nowadays, and often if a lot of girls think a guy is good-looking I'll dislike his looks even more! hehe

"I took him down several times, you know, in my way.”Chapter 16
In this quote Isabella is boasting how she discouraged Captain Tilney's attentions and teasing, which of course she probably didn't do, she probably flirted with him no end. Now me, I don't really appreciate that type of flirting so if I have to discourage anyone this quote usually comes to mind.  

Isabella's Exclamations
“Oh, these odious gigs!”Chapter 7
“Psha! My dear creature...”Chapter 18

Random things that are fun to say from time to time. :)

Isabella says to her Friends
"I have an hundred things to say to you."Chapter 6
"I have a thousand things to say to you..." Chapter 9
Two very similar quotes from Isabella. These quotes come to mind so often, especially when I haven't talked to one of my friends in a while!   

"...I received your two kind letters with the greatest delight, and have a thousand apologies to make for not answering them sooner. I really am quite ashamed of my idleness; but in this horrid place one can find time for nothing. I have had my pen in my hand to begin a letter to you almost every day since you left Bath, but have always been prevented by some silly trifler or other."Chapter 27, Isabella's Letter to Catherine
This quote comes to mind whenever I've been particularly neglectful of answering a letter or blog comment because my personal life has gotten busy. But poor Catherine, to recieve such a letter from such a faithless friend as Isabella after she's broken the engagement with James Morland. 

"By the by, though I have thought of it a hundred times, I have always forgot to ask you what is your favourite complexion in a man. Do you like them best dark or fair?"Chapter 6
It's always fun talking about ideas of beauty with a friend and this quote always comes to mind when the subject of "dark or fair?" comes up! :)

"We soon found out that our tastes were exactly alike in preferring the country to every other place; really, our opinions were so exactly the same, it was quite ridiculous!"Chapter 10
Ever meet someone who the more you talk to them the more you have in common? C.S. Lewis said: Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one." So true! I've been blessed to meet several Kindred Spirits during my time of blogging and I'm so thankful for all of you! :)

Isabella on Fashion
"I am determined at all events to be dressed exactly like you."Chapter 6
Yes I do say something like this from time to time because sometimes it's easier to choose an outfit for an event if you know what you're friends are wearing (dressy or casual). 

And here's two random quotes that are just fun to say:
"I remember I wore my yellow gown, with my hair done up in braids..."Chapter 15
"I wear nothing but purple now..."Chapter 27 
Sometimes it does seem that my wardrobe leans toward one color or another, currently several of my favorite tops are a raspberry pink color.

Various Quotes from Isabella
"What can it signify to you, what we are talking of. Perhaps we are talking about you; therefore I would advise you not to listen, or you may happen to hear something not very agreeable.”Chapter 8
This is fun to say when I'm teasing my sister or brother.

"It is fishing for compliments."Chapter 18
For those occasions when you feel like someone wants to be complimented or I find myself wanting to be complimented, or even when I am complimented and I feel shy receiving them.

"You know he is over head and ears in love with you." - Chapter 18
This expression is slightly different than the "head over heels in love" quote that people use nowadays that it always makes me giggle!

As ridiculous as Isabella Thorpe is somehow or other her comments more than often are lovely, if only she meant even half of what she says she'd be a far nicer character. 

Which of Isabella's quotes are your favorites? Which do you enjoy quoting?

Are there any Jane Austen characters you enjoy quoting even though they don't mean what they say?


Jemimah :-) said...

Is the actress who did Isabella Thorpe by any chance Carey Mulligan? She just looked very familiar.

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Yes, it's Carey Mulligan as Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey (2007). Have you seen that film? The casting of her was perfect!

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