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Friday 1 February 2013

25 Quotes from Pride and Prejudice

Andrew and Rachel Knowles as  "Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy"
Andrew and Rachel Knowles as
"Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy"
I compiled this list of my favourite quotes from Pride and Prejudice to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its publication on 28 January 2013. I limited myself to twenty-five, but I find the book so quotable that I could have found many more!

I will start with the famous opening line that is quoted so often:

1. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Photograph of old writing highlighting the words "to have and to hold"

2. “You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.” Mr Bennet to Mrs Bennet

3. “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.” Mr Darcy of Elizabeth Bennet
"Not handsome enough to tempt me" by Hugh Thomson from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1894 edition)
"Not handsome enough to tempt me" by Hugh Thomson
from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1894 edition)
4. “I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.” Mr Darcy

5. “I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!” Elizabeth Bennet

6. “About a month ago I received this letter; and about a fortnight ago I answered it, for I thought it a case of some delicacy, and requiring early attention.” Mr Bennet

7. “Can he be a sensible man, sir?”
“No, my dear; I think not. I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse. There is a mixture of servility and self-importance in his letter, which promises well. I am impatient to see him.” Conversation between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Bennet about Mr Collins

8. “That will do extremely well, child. You have delighted us long enough. Let the other young ladies have time to exhibit.” Mr Bennet to Mary Bennet

9. The idea of Mr Collins, with all his solemn composure, being run away with by his feelings, made Elizabeth so near laughing that she could not use the short pause he allowed in any attempt to stop him farther.

10. “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.” Mr Bennet

11. “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” Charlotte Lucas

A replica of George III's bathing machine, Weymouth, Dorset
A replica of George III's bathing machine, Weymouth
12. “A little sea-bathing would set me up for ever.” Mrs Bennet

13. “If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient. And so would Anne, if her health had allowed her to apply. I am confident that she would have performed delightfully.” Lady Catherine de Bourgh

14. “My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault – because I would not take the trouble of practising.” Elizabeth Bennet

Original drawing piano keyboard by Mirabelle Knowles (2012)
Original drawing by Mirabelle Knowles (2012)
15. “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Mr Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet

16. "You are mistaken, Mr Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.” Elizabeth Bennet

17. “Where does discretion end, and avarice begin?” Elizabeth Bennet to her Aunt Gardiner

18. “There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.” Elizabeth Bennet of Mr Darcy and Mr Wickham

19. “No, Lizzy, let me once in my life feel how much I have been to blame. I am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. It will pass away soon enough.” Mr Bennet

20. “Well, well,” said he, “do not make yourself unhappy. If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take you to a review at the end of them.” Mr Bennet to Kitty Bennet

21. “I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased.” Lady Catherine de Bourgh

22. Mr Bennet: “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”
"Oh!" cried Elizabeth, "I am excessively diverted. But it is so strange!"

23. “After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations.” Elizabeth Bennet to Mr Darcy

24. “Will you tell me how long you have loved him?”
“It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” Elizabeth Bennet to Jane Bennet about her love for Mr Darcy

View of Lyme Park over the lake
Lyme Park - Pemberley in 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice
25. “I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but no one with such justice. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.” Elizabeth Bennet

Headshot of Rachel Knowles author with sea in background(2021)
Rachel Knowles writes clean/Christian Regency era romance and historical non-fiction. She has been sharing her research on this blog since 2011. Rachel lives in the beautiful Georgian seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset, on the south coast of England, with her husband, Andrew.

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All quotes from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813).

All photographs by Andrew Knowles ©


  1. I always get a chuckle out of the following a bit long but here goes :)
    "Oh! If that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better, I am sick of them all, Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all

    1. Thanks for sharing - I could add another dozen quotes myself, Pride and Prejudice is so quotable!

  2. I think the picture captioned Elizabeth Bennet & Mr Darcy is actually of Rupert Penry-Jones as Capt. Wentworth and Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot in Persuasion

    1. Thanks for the compliment, but it is actually of my husband and me dressed as Darcy and Elizabeth for a fancy dress party :)

    2. So you were tolerable and handsome enough to tempt him. :)