Persuasion (Chapter 3, page 1 of 9)

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Chapter 3

"I must take leave to observe, Sir Walter," said Mr Shepherd one
morning at Kellynch Hall, as he laid down the newspaper, "that the
present juncture is much in our favour. This peace will be turning all
our rich naval officers ashore. They will be all wanting a home.
Could not be a better time, Sir Walter, for having a choice of tenants,
very responsible tenants. Many a noble fortune has been made during
the war. If a rich admiral were to come in our way, Sir Walter--"

"He would be a very lucky man, Shepherd," replied Sir Walter; "that's
all I have to remark. A prize indeed would Kellynch Hall be to him;
rather the greatest prize of all, let him have taken ever so many
before; hey, Shepherd?"

Mr Shepherd laughed, as he knew he must, at this wit, and then added-"I presume to observe, Sir Walter, that, in the way of business,
gentlemen of the navy are well to deal with. I have had a little
knowledge of their methods of doing business; and I am free to confess
that they have very liberal notions, and are as likely to make
desirable tenants as any set of people one should meet with.
Therefore, Sir Walter, what I would take leave to suggest is, that if
in consequence of any rumours getting abroad of your intention; which
must be contemplated as a possible thing, because we know how difficult
it is to keep the actions and designs of one part of the world from the
notice and curiosity of the other; consequence has its tax; I, John
Shepherd, might conceal any family-matters that I chose, for nobody
would think it worth their while to observe me; but Sir Walter Elliot
has eyes upon him which it may be very difficult to elude; and
therefore, thus much I venture upon, that it will not greatly surprise
me if, with all our caution, some rumour of the truth should get
abroad; in the supposition of which, as I was going to observe, since
applications will unquestionably follow, I should think any from our
wealthy naval commanders particularly worth attending to; and beg leave
to add, that two hours will bring me over at any time, to save you the
trouble of replying."

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