Dry Boots (noun)
A sly humorous fellow.
Since Mr. Knightley visited last week, it seems only fair that another of Austen’s witty and sarcastic heroes visit this week. Mr. Tilney is often overlooked when naming romantic gentlemen, but I adore a man with a sense of humor. He is the voice of reason in a cast of melodramatic characters, the touch of levity exactly when the story needs it.
Then forming his features into a set smile, and affectedly softening his voice, he added, with a simpering air, “Have you been long in Bath, madam?”
“About a week, sir,” replied Catherine, trying not to laugh.
“Really!” with affected astonishment.
“Why should you be surprised, sir?”
“Why, indeed!” said he, in his natural tone. “But some emotion must appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed, and not less reasonable than any other. Now let us go on. Were you never here before, madam?” (Chapter 3)
“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.” Catherine turned away her head, not knowing whether she might venture to laugh. “I see what you think of me,” said he gravely — “I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.” (Chapter 3)
“As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the usual style of letter–writing among women is faultless, except in three particulars.”
“And what are they?”
“A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.” (Chapter 3)
“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”
“If you please.”
“I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him — seems a most extraordinary genius — hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.” (Chapter 3)
“Very true,” said Henry, “and this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk, and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything. Originally perhaps it was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy, or refinement – people were nice in their dress, in their sentiments, or their choice. But now every commendation on every subject is comprised in that one word.” (Chapter 14)
“Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half.” (Chapter 14)
“And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as ‘what one reads about’ may produce? Have you a stout heart-nerves fit for sliding panels and tapestry? … How fearfully will you examine the furniture of your apartment! — And what will you discern? — Not tables, toilettes, wardrobes, or drawers, but on one side perhaps the remains of a broken lute, on the other a ponderous chest which no efforts can open, and over the fireplace the portrait of some handsome warrior, whose features will so incomprehensibly strike you, that you will not be able to withdraw your eyes from it … and when, with fainting spirits, you attempt to fasten your door, you discover, with increased alarm, that it has no lock.” (Chapter 20)
“No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment.” (Chapter 19)
“The world, I believe, never saw a better woman. But it is not often that virtue can boast an interest such as this.” (Chapter 24)
“You feel, as you always do, what is most to the credit of human nature. Such feelings ought to be investigated, that they may know themselves.” (Chapter 25)