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A biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman.
Tom Lefroy: I have no money, no property, I am entirely dependent upon that bizarre old lunatic, my uncle. I cannot yet offer marriage, but you must know what I feel. Jane, I'm yours. God, I'm yours. I'm yours, heart and soul. Much good that is. Jane Austen: Let me decide that. Tom Lefroy: What will we do? Jane Austen: What we must.
Tom Lefroy: What value will there ever be in life, if we are not together?
Tom Lefroy: How can you, of all people, dispose of yourself without affection? Jane Austen: How can I dispose of myself with it?
Jane Austen: Could I really have this? Tom Lefroy: What, precisely? Jane Austen: You. Tom Lefroy: Me, how? Jane Austen: This life with you. Tom Lefroy: Yes.
Mr. Wisley: Sometimes affection is a shy flower that takes time to blossom.
Mrs. Austen: Affection is desirable. Money is absolutely indispensable!
Cassandra Austen: [regarding 'First Impressions', which will later become 'Pride and Prejudice'] How does the story begin? Jane Austen: Badly. Cassandra Austen: And then? Jane Austen: It gets worse.
Rev Austen: Nothing destroys spirit like poverty.
Tom Lefroy: You dance with passion. Jane Austen: No sensible woman would demonstrate passion, if the purpose were to attract a husband. Tom Lefroy: As opposed to a lover?
Mrs. Austen: That girl needs a husband. But who's good enough? Nobody. Thanks to you. Rev Austen: Being so much the model of perfection. Mrs. Austen: I've shared your bed for 32 years and perfection I have not encountered. Rev Austen: Yet.
Judge Langlois: I find irony is insult with a smiling face.
Tom Lefroy: I think that you, Miss Austen, consider yourself a cut above the company. Jane Austen: Me? Tom Lefroy: You, ma'am. Secretly.
Mrs. Austen: JANE! Lady Gresham: What is she doing? Mr. Wisley: Writing. Lady Gresham: Can anything be done about it?
Tom Lefroy: [reading from Mr. White's Natural History] Swifts, on a fine morning in May, flying this way, that way, sailing around at a great hight, perfectly happily. Then - [checks he has her attention and nods to let her know this is what he meant] Tom Lefroy: Then, one leaps onto the back of another, grasps tightly and forgetting to fly they both sink down and down, in a great dying fall, fathom after fathom, until the female utters... Jane Austen: [breaking out of trance] Yes? Tom Lefroy: [looks at her for a moment, then continues reading] The female utters a loud, piercing cry... [he looks up at her again] Tom Lefroy: ... of ecstasy. [smiles tantalisingly] Tom Lefroy: Is this conduct commonplace in the natural history of Hampshire?
Jane Austen: This, by the way, is called a country dance, after the French, contredanse. Not because it is exhibited at an uncouth rural assembly with glutinous pies, execrable Madeira, and truly anarchic dancing. Tom Lefroy: You judge the company severely, madam. Jane Austen: I was describing what you'd be thinking. Tom Lefroy: Allow me to think for myself. Jane Austen: Gives me leave to do the same, sir, and come to a different conclusion.
Tom Lefroy: Miss Austen... Jane Austen: Yes? Tom Lefroy: Goodnight.
Jane Austen: [after John Warren proposes] Are there no other women in Hampshire?
Wine Whore: [comes to sit on Tom's lap] Glass of wine? Tom Lefroy: Yes, thank you. [lifts the glass] Tom Lefroy: A toast from one member of the profession to another.
Cassandra Austen: You'll lose everything. Family, place. For what? A lifetime of drudgery on a pittance? A child every year and no means to lighten the load? How will you write, Jane? Jane Austen: I do not know, but happiness is within my grasp and I cannot help myself. Cassandra Austen: There is no sense in this. Jane Austen: If you could have your Robert back, even like this, would you do it?
Tom Lefroy: I am yours. Heart and soul, I am yours. Much good that is. Jane Austen: I will decide that.
Eliza De Feuillide: Flirting is a woman's trade, one must keep in practice
Jane Austen: If I marry, I want it to be out of affection. Like my mother. Mrs. Austen: And I have to dig my own damn potatoes!
Tom Lefroy: Good God. There's writing on both sides of those pages.
Jane Austen: [after Tom loses a boxing match] Forgive me if I suspect in you a sense of justice. Tom Lefroy: I am a lawyer. Justice plays no part in the law. Jane Austen: Is that what you believe? Tom Lefroy: I believe it. I must.
Henry Austen: What do you make of Mr. Lefroy? Jane Austen: We're honoured by his presence. Eliza De Feuillide: You think? Jane Austen: He does, with his preening, prancing, Irish-cum-Bond-Street airs. Henry Austen: Jane. Jane Austen: Well, I call it very high indeed, refusing to dance when there are so few gentleman. Henry, are all your friends so disagreeable? Henry Austen: Jane. Jane Austen: Where exactly in Ireland does he come from, anyway? Tom Lefroy: [coming up behind Jane] Limerick, Miss Austen.
Jane Austen: A novel must show how the world truly is, how characters genuinely think, how events actually occur. A novel should somehow reveal the true source of our actions.
Tom Lefroy: Miss? Miss? Miss... Jane Austen: Austen. Tom Lefroy: Mr. Lefroy. Jane Austen: Yes, I know, but I am alone. Tom Lefroy: Except for me. Jane Austen: Exactly.
Tom Lefroy: What rules of conduct apply in this rural situation? We have been introduced, have we not? Jane Austen: What value is there in an introduction when you cannot even remember my name? Indeed, can barely stay awake in my presence.
Jane Austen: I have read your book. I have read your book and disapprove. Tom Lefroy: Of course you do.
Tom Lefroy: I depend entirely upon... Jane Austen: Upon your uncle. And I depend on you. What will you do? Tom Lefroy: What I must.
Rev Austen: Jane should have not the man who offers the best price but the man she wants.
Henry Austen: Careful, Jane, Lucy is right. Mr. Lefroy does have a reputation. Jane Austen: Presumably as the most disagreeable [writing] Jane Austen: "... insolent, arrogant, impudent, insufferable, impertinent of men. " Jane Austen: [pauses] Too many adjectives.
Tom Lefroy: [after reading an excerpt about swifts] Your ignorance is understandable since you lack... What shall we call it? The history? Jane Austen: Propriety commands me to ignorance. Tom Lefroy: Condemns you to it and your writing to the status of female accomplishment. If you wish to practice the art of fiction, to be the equal of a masculine author, experience is vital.
Mr. Wisley: The good do not always come to good ends. It is a truth universally acknowledged. Jane Austen: [writing] "... that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. "
Tom Lefroy: Was I deficient in rapture? Jane Austen: Inconsciousness! Tom Lefroy: It was... It was accomplished. Jane Austen: It was ironic.
Jane Austen: [reading Pride and Prejudice] "She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both. By her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgment, information and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance. But no such happy marriage could now teach the admiring multitude what connubial felicity really was."
Tom Lefroy: I have been told there is much to see upon a walk, but all I've detected so far is a general tendency to green above and brown below. Jane Austen: Yes, well, others have detected more. It is celebrated. There's even a book about Selborne Wood. Tom Lefroy: Oh. A novel, perhaps? Jane Austen: Novels? Being poor, insipid things, read by mere women, even, God forbid, written by mere women?. Tom Lefroy: I see, we're talking of your reading. Jane Austen: As if the writing of women did not display the greatest powers of mind, knowledge of human nature, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour and the best-chosen language imaginable?
Coachman: Typical bloody runaway. "Will I, won't I? "
Jane Austen: [at Laverton Fair] Trouble here enough. Tom Lefroy: And freedom, the freedom of men. Do not you envy it? Jane Austen: But I have the intense pleasure of observing it so closely.
Jane Austen: [she has just kissed him] Did I do that well? Tom Lefroy: Very. Very well. Jane Austen: I wanted, just once, to do it well.
Tom Lefroy: If you wish to practice the art of fiction, to be the equal of a masculine author, experience is vital. Jane Austen: I see. And what qualifies you to offer this advice? Tom Lefroy: I know more of the world. Jane Austen: A great deal more, I gather. Tom Lefroy: Enough to know that your horizons must be... widened.
Rev Austen: If a woman happens to have a particular superiority, for example, a profound mind, it is best kept a profound secret. Humour is liked more, but wit?. No. It is the most treacherous talent of them all.
Tom Lefroy: Vice leads to difficulty, virtue to reward. Bad characters come to bad ends. Jane Austen: Exactly. But in life, bad characters often thrive. Take yourself.
Tom Lefroy: [to Jane] Do you love me?
Mrs. Radcliffe: Of what do you wish to write? Jane Austen: Of the heart. Mrs. Radcliffe: Do you know it? Jane Austen: Not all of it. Mrs. Radcliffe: In time, you will. But even if that fails, that's what the imagination is for.
Tom Lefroy: Was I deficient in propriety? Jane Austen: Why did you do that? Tom Lefroy: Couldn't waste all those expensive boxing lessons.
Mrs. Radcliffe: Of what do you wish to write? Jane Austen: Of the heart. Mrs. Radcliffe: Do you know it? Jane Austen: Not all of it.
Tom Lefroy: Was I deficient in rapture? Jane Austen: In consciousness!
Tom Lefroy: A metropolitan mind may be less susceptible to extended juvenile self-regard.
Tom Lefroy: I would regard it as a mark of extreme favour if you would stoop to honour me with this next dance.
Tom Lefroy: I... I depend entirely upon... Jane Austen: Upon your Uncle. And I depend on you. So what will you do? Tom Lefroy: What I must. I have a duty to my family, Jane. I must think of them as well as... Jane Austen: Tom... Is that... Is that all you have to say to me? Jane Austen: Goodbye, Mr. Lefroy.
Jane Austen: [after leaving Tom in London and to Mrs. Austen] I'm sorry to have been so disobliging in the past.
Mrs. Radcliffe: To have a wife who has a mind is considered not quite proper. To have a wife with a literary reputation nothing short of scandalous.
Rev Austen: Her heart is stirred. Mrs. Austen: It's a summer squall. Mr. Lefroy will soon be gone. And Mr Wisley will still be waiting, I hope.
Mrs. Austen: [after Jane had run away and come back] You came back to us.
Jane Austen: Tell me about your lady, Mr. Lefroy. From where does she come? Tom Lefroy: She's from County Wexford. Jane Austen: Your own country. Excellent. What was it that won her?. Your manner, smiles and pleasing address?
Mrs. Austen: How many times did you stand up with that gentleman, Jane? Lucy Lefroy: Was it twice? Henry Austen: Twice would have been partial. Thrice would have been absolutely... Lucy Lefroy: Flagrant.
Lucy Lefroy: [Interrupting Tom and Jane] What kind of trouble? Jane Austen: All sorts of trouble.
Jane Austen: You asked me a question. I am ready to give you an answer. But there is one matter to be settled. I cannot make you out, Mr Wisley. At times, you are the most gentlemanlike man I know and yet you would... Mr. Wisley: "Yet". What a sad word.
Jane Austen: It's something I began in London. It is the tale of a young woman. Two young women. Better than their circumstances. Cassandra Austen: So many are. Jane Austen: And two young gentlemen who receive much better than their deserts as so very many do.
Jane Austen: Cassie, his heart will stop at the sight of you, or he doesn't deserve to live. And, yes, I am aware of the contradiction embodied in that sentence.
Jane Austen: My characters shall have, after a little trouble, all that they desire.
Mrs. Austen: You could persuade her. Rev Austen: To sacrifice her happiness? Jane should have not the man who offers the best price, but the man she wants.
George Austen: [in sign language and to Jane] You love him?
Tom Lefroy: If you wish to practice the art of fiction, to be considered the equal of a masculine author, experience is vital.
Tom Lefroy: If there is a shred of truth or justice inside of you, you cannot marry him. Jane Austen: Oh no, Mr. Lefroy. Justice, by your own admission, you know little of, truth even less. Tom Lefroy: Jane, I have tried. I have tried and I cannot live this lie. Can you? Tom Lefroy: [turns Jane's head towards himself] Jane, can you?
Jane Austen: [her reading for Cassandra] "The boundaries of propriety were vigorously assaulted, as was only right, but not quite breached, as was also right. Nevertheless, she was not pleased."
Tom Lefroy: Jane, an old friend. Late as ever.
Jane Austen: [regarding Mr. Wisley] His small fortune will not buy me. Eliza De Feuillide: What will buy you, cousin?
Eliza De Feuillide: [referring to Jane] She is lovely, Tom.
Jane Austen: How many brothers and sisters do you have in Limerick, Tom? Tom Lefroy: Enough. Why? Jane Austen: What are the names of your brothers and sisters? Tom Lefroy: They... Jane Austen: On whom do they depend?
Tom Lefroy: ...your horizons must be... widened, by an extraordinary young man. Jane Austen: By a very dangerous young man, one who has, no doubt, infected the hearts of many a young... young woman with the soft corrup... Tom Lefroy: Read this [hands Jane a book] Jane Austen: -tion... Tom Lefroy: and you will understand.
Lucy Lefroy: Laverton Fair. Vastly entertaining. Monstrous good idea, Jane. Tom Lefroy: Yes, Miss Austen, not exactly your usual society, I'd say. Jane Austen: Show a little imagination, Mr. Lefroy.
John Warren: And the famous Mrs. Radcliffe, is she as Gothic as her novels? Jane Austen: Not in externals. But her internal landscape is, I suspect, quite picturesque. Mr. Wisley: True of us all.
Judge Langlois: [speaking to Tom Lefroy] If you hope, I say hope... If you aspire to inherit my property, you must prove yourself more worthy. Judge Langlois: But what do we find?. We find dissipation wild enough to glut the imaginings of a Hottentot braggadocio.
Judge Langlois: [Tom just joked about lawyers] Humour? Well, you're going to need that because I'm teaching you a lesson. I'm sending you to stay with your other relations, the Lefroys. Tom Lefroy: Uncle, they live in the country. Judge Langlois: Deep in the country. [chuckles]
Lucy Lefroy: [talking about Ton Lefroy] Green velvet coat. Vastly fashionable. John Warren: [talking to Tom Lefroy] You'll find this vastly amusing.
Mrs. Austen: Hurry along, Jane! We'll be late! Jane Austen: When Her Ladyship calls, we must obey.
Judge Langlois: Wild companions, gambling, running around St James's like a neck-or-nothing young blood of the fancy. What kind of lawyer will that make? Tom Lefroy: Typical.
Eliza De Feuillide: What trouble we take to make them like us when we like them.
Judge Langlois: Welcome... Tom Lefroy: [walks in a circle and discreetly reminds his uncle] Madame le Comtesse. Judge Langlois: Madame le Comtesse. Seldom, too seldom, my house receives the presence of nobility. And, of course, its friends. Please.
Tom Lefroy: Hampshire, your home county. Jane Austen: It was.
Lady Gresham: Monsieur le Comte is not here to pay his respects? Eliza De Feuillide: A prior engagement, ma'am, Monsieur le Comte was obliged to pay his respects to Madame le Guillotine.
John Warren: What's a Tahitian-love-fest? [Henry and Tom smile]
Eliza De Feuillide: I never feel more French than when I watch cricket.
Lady Gresham: My nephew, Miss Austen, condescends far indeed in offering to the daughter of an obscure and impecunious clergyman. Jane Austen: Impecunious? Your Ladyship is mistaken. Lady Gresham: I am never mistaken.
Tom Lefroy: Good morning, sir. Judge Langlois: Good morning? Has the world turned topsy?
Mrs. Lefroy: [referring to Ton Lefroy] Lucy would marry him tomorrow, and what a terrible husband he would make. Eliza De Feuillide: I suppose you mean his reputation. Experience can recommend a man.