The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

a mere habit


It is snowing outside and there is nothing to do save sit in front of the fire and read. Indeed, there is nothing one would rather be doing.

Did she distrust all figurative language because she was sharply aware of the aptitude of the most languid figurative expressions for persisting as a mere habit of speech, after they have lost even the feeble life they had for the imagination?—a not unreasonable distrust, so large is the element of figurative idiom in our tongue. And was she further aware that, since such language commonly carries in the first using some emotional suggestion, it cannot fossilize without turning into a lie? Even if this should seem a rashly conjectural explanation of her apparent distrust of all figures of speech, her evident dislike of all that are ready made, it is certainly worth while to notice her quick ear for all those ready-made phrases, whether figurative or no, which creep so insidiously into our habitual speech.

—Mary Lascelles (Jane Austen & Her Art, p. 112f.)


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