They came from Birmingham, which is not a place to promise much, you know, Mr Weston. One has no great hopes of Birmingham. I always say there is something direful in the sound.”
Thus speaks Mrs Elton in Jane Austen’s novel Emma, first published in 1816.
The lines have been quoted against Birmingham ever since, by people who do not know or have forgotten that Mrs Elton is one of Jane Austen’s most obnoxious and snobbish characters.
Well, we’ve never seen these particular lines quoted; anybody else?