Persuasion (Chapter 3, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 3

"As to all that," rejoined Sir Walter coolly, "supposing I were induced
to let my house, I have by no means made up my mind as to the
privileges to be annexed to it. I am not particularly disposed to
favour a tenant. The park would be open to him of course, and few navy
officers, or men of any other description, can have had such a range;
but what restrictions I might impose on the use of the
pleasure-grounds, is another thing. I am not fond of the idea of my
shrubberies being always approachable; and I should recommend Miss
Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower garden. I am very
little disposed to grant a tenant of Kellynch Hall any extraordinary
favour, I assure you, be he sailor or soldier."

After a short pause, Mr Shepherd presumed to say-"In all these cases, there are established usages which make everything
plain and easy between landlord and tenant. Your interest, Sir Walter,
is in pretty safe hands. Depend upon me for taking care that no tenant
has more than his just rights. I venture to hint, that Sir Walter
Elliot cannot be half so jealous for his own, as John Shepherd will be
for him."

Here Anne spoke-"The navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an
equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the
privileges which any home can give. Sailors work hard enough for their
comforts, we must all allow."

"Very true, very true. What Miss Anne says, is very true," was Mr
Shepherd's rejoinder, and "Oh! certainly," was his daughter's; but Sir
Walter's remark was, soon afterwards-"The profession has its utility, but I should be sorry to see any
friend of mine belonging to it."

"Indeed!" was the reply, and with a look of surprise.

"Yes; it is in two points offensive to me; I have two strong grounds of
objection to it. First, as being the means of bringing persons of
obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which
their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it
cuts up a man's youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old
sooner than any other man. I have observed it all my life. A man is
in greater danger in the navy of being insulted by the rise of one
whose father, his father might have disdained to speak to, and of
becoming prematurely an object of disgust himself, than in any other
line. One day last spring, in town, I was in company with two men,
striking instances of what I am talking of; Lord St Ives, whose father
we all know to have been a country curate, without bread to eat; I was
to give place to Lord St Ives, and a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most
deplorable-looking personage you can imagine; his face the colour of
mahogany, rough and rugged to the last degree; all lines and wrinkles,
nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder at top. 'In
the name of heaven, who is that old fellow?' said I to a friend of mine
who was standing near, (Sir Basil Morley). 'Old fellow!' cried Sir
Basil, 'it is Admiral Baldwin. What do you take his age to be?'
'Sixty,' said I, 'or perhaps sixty-two.' 'Forty,' replied Sir Basil,
'forty, and no more.' Picture to yourselves my amazement; I shall not
easily forget Admiral Baldwin. I never saw quite so wretched an
example of what a sea-faring life can do; but to a degree, I know it is
the same with them all: they are all knocked about, and exposed to
every climate, and every weather, till they are not fit to be seen. It
is a pity they are not knocked on the head at once, before they reach
Admiral Baldwin's age."

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