A Men-only dialogue in Jane Austen's novels

"It reminds me of the time Dorothy L. Sayers complained that people would ask in wonder how it was that she, a female writer, could write conversations between males that sounded so realistic. Her retort was that she simply assumed that men, when alone with each other, would talk like people."
-- from a Usenet posting by Dorothy J. Heydt

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Thanks to Elvira Casal on AUSTEN-L for pointing out this passage of quoted dialogue between men only, with no women present or overhearing.

Chapter II of Volume II (Chapter 20) of Mansfield Park:

Edmund's first object the next morning was to see his father alone, and give him a fair statement of the whole acting scheme; defending his own share in it as far only as he could then, in a soberer moment, feel his motives to deserve; and acknowledging, with perfect ingenuousness, that his concession had been attended with such partial good as to make his judgment in it very doubtful. He was anxious, while vindicating himself, to say nothing unkind of the others; but there was only one amongst them whose conduct he could mention without some necessity of defence or palliation. ``We have all been more or less to blame,'' said he, ``every one of us, excepting Fanny. Fanny is the only one who has judged rightly throughout; who has been consistent. Her feelings have been steadily against it from first to last. She never ceased to think of what was due to you. You will find Fanny everything you could wish.''

*Go on to rest of chapter

Eugene McDonnell points out that in the preceding chapter of Mansfield Park there is also a fairly extended description of an encounter between Sir Thomas, Mr. Yates, and Tom Bertram in the theater room (though the only quoted dialogue is the words "particular friend").

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*Return to Jane Austen's writings

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