Friday, January 9, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 3

(First a quick housekeeping note… During the read-along, feel free to post as little or as much about it on your own blogs as you feel inspired to or inclined: Persuasion chapter summaries, reviews—whatever you like! Make sure to label them all with either Persuasion or Persuasion Read-Along and at the end we’ll have a link-up so everyone can share and visit.)

And now on to Chapter 3! And here enters the navy!!! Mr. Shepherd’s dealings on behalf of and handling of Sir Walter here are impressive—while Sir Walter’s conceit begins flowering forth in full strength.

I’m always amused by the restrictions and bounds he thinks of possibly placing on a tenant, and also interested in how exactly he would plan on enforcing them. While humorous, his attitude toward the navy, though, is horribly striking—particularly as these active naval officers had just secured his own safety against the French, protecting his status and property. So it’s conceit compounded by ingratitude.

And I love Anne’s short phrases! Telling so much with so little, but showing how deeply she’s holding the same ground....avidly studying navy lists, keeping herself informed to unfolding developments, and most certainly, along with so many other women, studying the lists of the missing.

I also love Mr. Shepherd’s narration of Mr. Wentworth’s “amicable compromise” with the apple-thief. It’s such a delightful and amiable little glimpse of the entire Wentworth clan!

Favorite lines/quotes:

(Mrs. Clay): “The lawyer plods, quite care-worn; the physician is up at all hours, and travelling in all weather; and even the clergyman—” she stopt a moment to consider what might do for the clergyman;—“and even the clergyman, you know, is obliged to go into infected rooms, and expose his health and looks to all the injury of a poisonous atmosphere…” (and so on through the whole paragraph) pg. 22

“As Mr. Shepherd perceived that this connexion of the Crofts did them no service with Sir Walter, he mentioned it no more; returning, with all his zeal, to dwell on the circumstances more indisputably in their favour…making it appear as if they ranked nothing beyond the happiness of being the tenants of Sir Walter Elliot: an extraordinary taste, certainly, could they have been supposed in the secret of Sir Walter’s estimate of the dues of a tenant.” pgs. 25-26

“I have let my house to Admiral Croft,” would sound extremely well; very much better than to any mere Mr—; a Mr (save, perhaps, some half dozen in the nation,) always needs a note of explanation. An admiral speaks his own consequence, and, at the same time, can never make a baronet look small.” pg. 26

Possible discussion question/s:

~ Do you think Mr. Shepherd purposely caused word about Kellynch to reach the Admiral via his London correspondent?

~ What do you think Sir Walter did with his time? In Chapter 2 he is referred to as being an “obliging landlord.” Do you get the impression he was active with his tenants like Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?


  1. These are such great questions. I don't think Sir Walter cared about anyone but himself, and I don't see him being an obliged landlord. Sure, I got the feeling that Shepherd caused that connection to occur w/ Kellynch quite smoothly.

    1. Oh, yeah, and I loved that comment by Mrs. Clay in an attempt to counter Sir Walter's prejudice against sailors.

    2. Ruth,
      Thank you! And yes, Sir Walter's definitely self-centered. I don't think he would be grinding down his tenants, but I get the impression he probably just doesn't give them much thought, beyond how they relate to his own consequence. And I agree! That entire paragraph of Mrs. Clay's is quite priceless. :)

  2. I rather think that Mr. Shepard caused Admiral Croft to hear about Kellynch being for rent. How else would a navel officer only just arrived in the neighborhood know exactly what lawyer to talk to about this? I rather expect Shepard had been doing some sniffing around about who's been inquiring about renting estates, and then when he heard about Admiral Croft looking at other properties and being unsatisfied, arranged for him to hear of Kellynch.

    And Sir Walter likes being seen as a very lordly sort of person. I imagine he rode around to his tenants rather regularly and made sure that the appearance of their homes, and of themselves, reflected well on him. Not because he cared about them, but because he wanted everyone to think he was perfect.

    And, you know how we were saying that in the first chapter, you'd almost think Elizabeth was the main character? In this chapter, you're almost led to believe that the person Anne is thinking of at the end as "he" is Mr. Wentworth the curate! (Austen puts an end to this with the first line of the next chapter, though.)

    And speaking of stuff we discussed earlier, here Mrs. Clay says she has known a great deal of the profession of naval officer. Perhaps her husband was in the navy, or involved with shipping?

    Lines I noted:

    Mr. Shepard laughed, as he knew he must (p. 17) (So telling about his relationship to Mr. Elliot!)

    1. Oh, that was so clever of Austen to leave the reader thinking her connection is with the curate, but...

    2. Hamlette, are you some kind of literary detective in disguise?! You're really good at this "reading in-between the lines" lark! It's never once occurred to me that Mrs Clay's husband might have been involved in shipping before.

    3. Haha! No, but I did minor in English in college, and I'm a writer. So maybe that does make me a bit of a literary detective? I do enjoy trying to figure out unsaid things in novels (one of the things I like about Hemingway is how much he leaves out, if that makes any sense).

    4. (To paraphrase), "I must have my share in the conversation if we're talking about leaving things out!" :) There, that was (somewhat) of a smooth paraphrase.... :P

      But really, it's a fascinating topic. When writing, I'm constantly reminded that "what one leaves out, is actually more important than what stays in." Which is very hard to apply sometimes. To quote Ana in Frozen (and what's with all the quotes today? hmmmm....), but it's like "a crazy trust exercise." The author trusting that we, as the readers, will be able to decode and put pieces together. It's part of what makes deep literature---and that ongoing conversation between author and reader---with the reader participating in the creative process....

    5. Hamlette,
      Yes, I think Mr. Shepherd got word to the Admiral. Somehow, I always visualize him going up to the Admiral and pulling his elbow and laying the matter out, but---thinking about it---obviously, he was probably much more polished: i.e. causing the word to get round inauspiciously and then drawing up with a look of astonishment and then more general bonhomie as the Admiral explained himself.

      And about ending with the curate.... Yes, I know! I always think it might almost have been fun to hold out the suspense a little there, without clearing it up in the next chapter, but it obviously wouldn't be practical from a plot point perspective. And I don't really want it, because then it would be that much longer before getting to CW. ;)

  3. I can see Sir Walter being a bit of a Lady Catherine type. You know, going around to all of his tenants and being all nosy and condescending and all that. Active but not in a positive way.

    I LOVE Anne's final sentence in this chapter. It's a great cliffhanger! And I especially like your point about Mr Wentworth and the apple incident. We learn so, so little about Mr Wentworth in this book but that sentence in the book reflects really well on him.

    1. Hannah, me too! The final sentence is such a lovely one. And so sweet and hopeful and romantic.... *sigh*

    2. Hannah,
      Yes, I can see Sir Walter riding round his estate and being the grand and condescending lord---pointing things out with his hunting crop and wanting everything to be "just so," to reflect well on his dignity. :) It's rather amusing when you stop and think about it.

      And Naomi,
      "Sweet and hopeful and romantic...." That's just about a perfect summing up of Persuasion in its entirety. ;)

    3. Hannah,
      I forgot to say that---yes---isn't that little bit about Mr. Wentworth and the apples wonderful? I just thoroughly love every little tidbit we get about the Wentworth family as a whole!

  4. I loved this chapter. It was fascinating (and I must admit irritating) to observe Sir. Walter's worries about tenants. What an air of superiority? In this day and age hard work and grit are honored, something to be proud of. It is quite hard to relate to a man who does nothing and looks down on people who don't have the titles to live as lavishly as himself. Anyway...

    Anne's one liners were great in this chapter. But when are we going to learn/hear more about our herione?

    As to the questions:

    1. Resounding YES. His behavior was suspect, highly suspect.

    2. I agree with Hannah that he might have been a Lady Catherine type. I am sure he thought and tried within is power to be a good landlord. However, I am not sure his unobliging and rather condescending attitude (lacking any signs of empathy) would make that truly possible.

    1. Dr. Sus,
      Yes, especially having an American heritage (and in this day and age), I've often found it hard, too, to sometimes fully grasp that "down the nose" attitude towards hard work and--as you say--grit.

      And yes, I actually rather admire Mr. Shepherd's dealing here! It had to be hard working around Sir Walter....but he manages his best interests so neatly and smoothly. :)


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