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It's always the quiet, thoughtful ones who make the best match in the end.Mr Darcy is the prime example, of course, but Emma's George Knightley displays similar reserve.But in that novel, Jane Fairfax is also a warning to us all, not to have too much independence, of mind and of means.For complete independence of any kind precludes the real, mutual relation that Emma enjoys with Mr Knightley.'Sometimes,' write the authors of the modern dating bible 'The Rules', 'men just want to drive in silence without saying a word. Maybe he's thinking about how he's going to propose to you one day.' Elizabeth Bennet, for one, would never do any such thing, and sparkles throughout Pride and Prejudice with her lively and witty repartee - 'Tease him, laugh at him' is how she deals with the stand-offish Mr Darcy.

MORE: Countdown of Jane Austen's Best Cads Elinor, the more serious, straight-laced Dashwood girl, and Marianne, her temperamental, artistic, outgoing sister are like two sides of the same coin, and Austen always seems to suggest that everyone needs both a bit of Sense and a bit of Sensibility in matters of the heart.Mr Wickham is the classic example, but there's also John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility - he's cultured, handsome, and smooth-talking, but also a serial seducer and heartbreaker.Plus, if you happen to come from wealthy stock, beware the polite, dashing suitor, who could just be after your money, like Philip Elton in Emma.Above all, Austen teaches us that we can't hurry love, but that the dating game can be fun, and when the right person comes along, rational thought will give way to flying sparks. In Persuasion, Austen shows us the womanly fortitude of Anne Elliot is far superior to the girlish shenanigans of Louisa Musgrove.

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