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Fanny Burney

  • How little has situation to do with happiness!

  • ... I cannot sleep — great joy is as restless as sorrow.

  • ... I am ashamed of confessing that I have nothing to confess.

  • Can any thing, my good Sir, be more painful to a friendly mind than a necessity of communicating disagreeable intelligence? Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to determine, whether the relater or the receiver of evil tidings is most to be pitied.

  • ... to diminish expectation is to increase enjoyment.

  • ... falsehood is not more unjustifiable than unsafe.

  • But how cool, how quiet is true courage!

  • To despise riches, may, indeed, be philosophic, but to dispense them worthily, must surely be more beneficial to mankind.

  • ... I'd rather be done any thing to than laughed at, for, to my mind, it's one or other the disagreeablest thing in the world.

  • ... the right line of conduct is the same for both sexes, though the manner in which it is pursued, may somewhat vary, and be accommodated to the strength or weakness of the different travelers.

  • Imagination took the reins, and reason, slow-paced, though sure-footed, was unequal to a race with so eccentric and flighty a companion.

  • ... there's nothing but quarreling with the women; it's my belief they like it better than victuals and drink.

  • ... to be sure, marriage is all in all with the ladies; but with us gentlemen it's quite another thing!

  • ... credulity is the sister of innocence ...

  • ... the mind naturally accommodates itself, even to the most ridiculous improprieties, if they occur frequently.

  • ... such is the effect of true politeness, that it banishes all restraint and embarassment.

  • ... don't be angry with the gentleman for thinking, whatever be the cause, for I assure you he makes no common practice of offending in that way.

  • ... I'd do it as soon as say Jack Robinson.

  • He seemed to consider his own home merely as an hotel, where at any hour of the night he might disturb the family to claim admittance, where letters and messages might be left for him; where he dined when no other dinner was offered him, and where, when he made an appointment, he was to be met with.

  • She knows nothing of business, and is made to pay for everything through the nose.

  • 'The whole of this unfortunate business,' said Dr. Lyster, 'has been the result of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.'

  • ... an old woman ... is a person who has no sense of decency; if once she takes to living, the devil himself can't get rid of her.

  • ... while we all desire to live long, we have all a horror of being old!

  • 'You are rich,' he cried; 'are you therefore worthless?'

  • To a heart formed for friendship and affection the charms of solitude are very short-lived ...

  • Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a building here after seeing Italy.

  • I am tired to death! tired of every thing! I would give the universe for a disposition less difficult to please. Yet, after all, what is there to give pleasure? When one has seen one thing, one has seen every thing.

  • You must not sneeze. If you have a vehement cold you must take no notice of it; if your nose membranes feel a great irritation you must hold your breath; if a sneeze still insists upon making its way you must oppose it keeping your teeth grinding together; if the violence of the pulse breaks some blood-vessel you must break the blood-vessel — but not sneeze.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • letter to Esther Burney ()
  • No man is in love when he marries. He may have loved before; I have even heard he has sometimes loved after: but at the time never. There is something in the formalities of the matrimonial preparations that drive away all the little cupidons.

  • To save the mind from preying inwardly upon itself, it must be encouraged to some outward pursuit. There is no other way to elude apathy, or escape discontent; none other to guard the temper from that quarrel with itself, which ultimately ends in quarreling with all mankind.

  • A little alarm now and then keeps life from stagnation.

  • ... it's vastly more irksome to give up one's own way, than to hear a few impertinent remarks.

  • ... there is nothing upon the face of the earth so insipid as a medium. Give me love or hate! a friend that will go to jail for me, or an enemy that will run me through the body!

  • O, we all acknowledge our faults, now; 'tis the mode of the day: but the acknowledgment passes for current payment; and therefore we never amend them.

  • Wealth per se I never too much valued, and my acquaintance with its possessors has by no means increased my veneration for it.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1782, in Charlotte Barrett, ed., Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, vol. 1 ()
  • To Nobody, then, will I write my Journal! since to Nobody can I be wholly unreserved, to Nobody can I reveal every thought, every wish of my heart, with the most unlimited confidence, the most unremitting sincerity, to the end of my life!

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1768, in Charlotte Barrett, ed., Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, vol. 1 ()
  • But authors before they write should read.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1779, in Charlotte Barrett, ed., Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, vol. 1 ()
  • ... while all the pomp and circumstance of war animated others, it only saddened me; and all of past reflection, all of future dread, made the whole grandeur of the martial scene, and all the delusive seduction of martial music, fill my eyes frequently with tears ...

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1802, in Charlotte Barrett, ed., Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, vol. 6 ()
  • [After attending a wedding:] O how short a time does it take to put an eternal end to a woman's liberty!

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1768, in Annie Raine Ellis, ed., The Early Diary of Frances Burney, vol. 1 ()
  • Misery is a guest that we are glad to part with, however certain of her speedy return.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1769, in Annie Raine Ellis, ed., The Early Diary of Frances Burney, vol. 1 ()
  • We relate all our afflictions more frequently than we do our pleasures.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1773, in Annie Raine Ellis, ed., The Early Diary of Frances Burney, vol. 1 ()
  • The Spring is generally fertile in new acquaintances.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1774, in Annie Raine Ellis, ed., The Early Diary of Frances Burney, vol. 1 ()
  • ... she has not even a natural good voice to excuse her miserable performance; on the contrary, it is a croak, a squeak, and Nature has been as little her friend as Art has been her assistant.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1777, in Annie Raine Ellis, ed., The Early Diary of Frances Burney, vol. 2 ()

Fanny Burney, English novelist

(1752 - 1840)

Known as Frances, Madame d’Arblay.