Persuasion (Chapter 1, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 1

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who,
for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there
he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed
one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by
contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any
unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally
into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations
of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he
could read his own history with an interest which never failed. This
was the page at which the favourite volume always opened: "ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL.

"Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth,
daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of
Gloucester, by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born
June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, November 5,
1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791."

Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's
hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of
himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth--
"Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove,
Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset," and by inserting most
accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife.

Then followed the history and rise of the ancient and respectable
family, in the usual terms; how it had been first settled in Cheshire;
how mentioned in Dugdale, serving the office of high sheriff,
representing a borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of
loyalty, and dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II, with
all the Marys and Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two
handsome duodecimo pages, and concluding with the arms and
motto:--"Principal seat, Kellynch Hall, in the county of Somerset," and
Sir Walter's handwriting again in this finale:-"Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great grandson of the
second Sir Walter."

Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character;
vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in
his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few women
could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could
the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held
in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to
the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united
these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and

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