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The below paragraph is from "Roman Fever'.

"Alida Slade's awfully brilliant; but not as brilliant as she thinks," would have summed it up; though she would have added, for the enlightenment of strangers, that Mrs. Slade had been an extremely dashing girl; much more so than her daughter, who was pretty, of course, and clever in a way, but had none of her mother's—well, "vividness," someone had once called it. Mrs. Ansley would take up current words like this, and cite them in quotation marks, as unheard-of audacities. No; Jenny was not like her mother.

What does the ‘current words’ mean? Why ‘in quotation marks, as unheard of audacities’?

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Mrs Ansley would use currently trendy words in her conversation, with an intonation that would now-a-days be accompanied with "air-quotes", as a way of showing off her trendiness. As a way of ensuring the listener actually notices the use of the word in question, and so realizes that Ansley (1) knows the word and is hence herself aware of current trends, and (2) that Ansley disapproves of the word in some sense, and is hence not merely a blind follower of current trends. As I do just here, with the term "air-quotes", for the same reasons. It's something all us bright but not "that" brilliant people do.

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