Note 1: (cyphers and trophies) Editor's note: The meaning of this term is a bit uncertain. Cypher probably refers to: a design combining or interweaving letters or initials; a monogram (American Heritage Dictionary, AHD). This suggests some fancy script-work in the quarto.
Trophies is harder to track down. The AHD gives a definition: a prize or memento. How this relates to the production of a book is unknown to this editor.
Note 2: (age of literature) Here Austen shows her admiration for the quality of poetry and prose in her time. She did much the same in Persuasion:
For, though shy, [Benwick] did not seem reserved; it had rather the appearance of feelings glad to burst their usual restraints; and having talked of poetry, the richness of the present age, and gone through a brief comparison of opinion as to the first-rate poets, trying to ascertain whether Marmion or The Lady of the Lake were to be preferred, and how ranked the Giaour and The Bride of Abydos...Persuasion, Volume I, Chapter 11.
Note 3: (Kitty, a fair but frozen maid) Here is the riddle Mr. Woodhouse is referring to:
Kitty, a fair, but frozen maid,
Kindled a flame I still deplore;
The hood-wink'd boy I call'd in aid,
Much of his near approach afraid,
So fatal to my suit before.
At length, propitious to my pray'r,
The little urchin came;
At once he sought the midway air,
And soon he clear'd, with dextrous care,
The bitter relicks of my flame.
To Kitty, Fanny now succeeds,
She kindles slow, but lasting fires:
With care my appetite she feeds;
Each day some willing victim bleeds,
To satisfy my strange desires.
Say, by what title, or what name,
Must I this youth address?
Cupid and he are not the same,
Tho' both can raise, or quench a flame-
I'll kiss you, if you guess.
Answer: The chimney-sweeper.
Note 4: (Courtship) Here it should be understood that courtship refers not just to winning the love of someone, but to do so with the object of marrying.
Note 5: (Soft is the very word for her eye) Jane Austen, in fact, used that word twice to describe Harriet's eyes in Chapter 2:
Those soft blue eyes and all those natural graces...
[Emma] was so busy in admiring those soft blue eyes...
She also has Emma use it once more later in this chapter.
Note 6: (The course of true love never did run smooth) This is from Act I, Scene 1 of Midsummer Night's Dream
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But, either it was different in blood,--
Or else misgraffed in respect of years,--
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends,--
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentany as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say 'Behold!'
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.
Note 7: (Michaelmas) Michaelmas is a feast day in honor of the archangel Michael and is observed on September 29. It also acts as one of the "quarter days" on which certain types of business is regularly transacted. For example, in Persuasion, the Crofts' lease of Kellynch begins on Michaelmas.
When Harriet is saying this, it is on or about the 11th of December. Thus she is saying that she was not well-enough acquainted with Mr. Elton to speak with him just two months before.
From the Encyclopeadia Britannica Online
Michaelmas is Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel, celebrated in the Western churches on September 29 and in the Eastern (Orthodox) Church on November 8. In the Roman Catholic Church, it is the Feast of SS. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels; in the Anglican Church, its proper name is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.
The cult of St. Michael began in the Eastern Church in the 4th century and spread to Western Christianity by the 5th century; the date of May 8 commemorates the dedication of a sanctuary to St. Michael at Monte Gargano in Italy in the 6th century. Because of St. Michael's traditional position as leader of the heavenly armies, veneration of all angels was eventually incorporated into his cult.
During the Middle Ages, Michaelmas was a great religious feast and many popular traditions grew up around the day, which coincided with the harvest in much of western Europe. In England it was the custom to eat a goose on Michaelmas, which was supposed to protect against financial need for the next year. In Ireland, finding a ring hidden in a Michaelmas pie meant that one would soon be married.
Note 8: (staid) This is an odd spelling of this word. The modern spelling is stayed, which has a different meaning from staid.