Pride and Prejudice
How we cite our quotes:
But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. (6.12)
Uh oh. Sounds like someone (Mr. Darcy) has a little crush on Lizzy. But let's tear this down a little. What, exactly, does he like about her? Her "intelligent" expression; her "light and pleasing" figure; and the "easy playfulness" of her manners—in other words, her brains, her body, and her personality. That's the full package, Shmoopers, and that's one way we know this marriage is going to last.
"Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. No one who has ever seen you together can doubt his affection. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. She is not such a simpleton. Could she have seen half as much love in Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have ordered her wedding clothes. But the case is this: We are not rich enough or grand enough for them" (21.18)
Lizzy is trying to convince Jane that Bingley really does love her, but Miss Bingley is trying to keep them apart. (Duh.) Notice Austen uses "affection" almost as a synonym for "love." We usually think of "affection" as a pretty mild emotion, but does it mean something stronger for Austen?
In as short a time as Mr. Collins's long speeches would allow, everything was settled between them to the satisfaction of both; and as they entered the house he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men; and though such a solicitation must be waived for the present, the lady felt no inclination to trifle with his happiness. The stupidity with which he was favoured by nature must guard his courtship from any charm that could make a woman wish for its continuance; and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained. (22.2)
Here, Charlotte is accepting Mr. Collins, and hoo boy is there a lot to say. Obviously, this passage is dripping with sarcasm: "in as short a time as Mr. Collins's long speeches with allow," "the lady felt no inclination to trifle with his happiness," the "pure and disinterested desire of an establishment"—we might even call Austen catty, if we used that kind of language. But what really grabs our attention is that phrase "pure and disinterested." On the one hand, this is heavy irony: Charlotte's desire to have her own home is the exact opposite of pure and disinterested (meaning "not influenced by personal advantage"). On the other hand, "love" is pretty much the pinnacle of being "interested"—i.e., having a personal investment in something or someone. So, by not being in love with Collins, Charlotte is being disinterested—but not uninterested. Tricky tricky, Miss Austen.