Plain Jane: “notwithstanding your forbidding squint, your greasy tresses, and your swelling back, which are more frightful than imagination or paint or pen describe, I cannot refrain from expressing my raptures at the engaging qualities of your mind, which so amply atone for the horror with which your first appearance must ever inspire the unwary visitor.”
-Jane Austen in her Juvenilia
I guess we now know where Jane stood on the “beauty vs. brains” debate. Isn’t she a pro at half-compliments? Though she assures that poor woman that her lively mind “amply atones” for her sad appearance, Jane can’t help but ensure that we are well aware she would be an absolute “horror” to a stranger. Jane never lies with her pen, a trait that will either endear you to her humor or send you running for fear of becoming the next subject.