Jane Austen: "Direct Quotes"?
In reading Jane Austen's novel Persuasion, I've noticed something odd that has undoubtedly been noticed before. In chapter two, a statement of Sir Walter Elliot -- the vain but thriftless aristocrat being advised by his lawyer (Mr Shepherd), by his friend (Lady Russell), and, most rigorously, by his middle daughter (Anne) to 'retrench' in his expenditures -- occurs in paragraph 6:
How Anne's more rigid requisitions might have been taken is of little consequence. Lady Russell's had no success at all: could not be put up with, were not to be borne. "What! Every comfort of life knocked off! Journeys, London, servants, horses, table, -- contractions and restrictions every where. To live no longer with the decencies even of a private gentleman! No, he would sooner quit Kellynch Hall at once, than remain in it on such disgraceful terms."In paragraph 7 follows the lawyer's quick response:
"Quit Kellynch Hall." The hint was immediately taken up by Mr. Shepherd, whose interest was involved in the reality of Sir Walter's retrenching, and who was perfectly persuaded that nothing would be done without a change of abode. "Since the idea had been started in the very quarter which ought to dictate, he had no scruple," he said, "in confessing his judgment to be entirely on that side. It did not appear to him that Sir Walter could materially alter his style of living in a house which had such a character of hospitality and ancient dignity to support. In any other place Sir Walter might judge for himself; and would be looked up to, as regulating the modes of life in whatever way he might choose to model his household."No doubt, the oddity immediately discloses itself. Both Sir Walter Elliot and his lawyer, Mr Shepherd, speak of themselves in the third person! This is extremely odd for our contemporary era, but what is its significance for Austen's time?
I assume that this has something to do with the conventions of punctuation in Jane Austen's day . . . but I have no way of knowing for certain.
Can any of my readers explain what is going on here?