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Written by Margaret 7
(9/19/2005 10:50 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Debt and retrenching, penned by Barbara
There was only a small part of his estate that Sir Walter could dispose of; but had every acre been alienable, [able to be sold off and separated from the estate], it would have made no difference. He had condescended to mortgage as far as he had the power, but he would never condescend to sell. No; he would never disgrace his name so far. The Kellynch estate would be transmitted whole and entire, as he had received it."
Certainly it would be a shame to break up an estate like Kellynch, but it was done, and for just this reason. Sir Walter's pride confers some benefit on posterity! This passage shows he has already mortgaged the property "as far as he had the power", but "your debts, Sir Walter...", exceeded this probably substantial amount.
Miss Bates in "Emma" is a character who has fallen from a position formerly high enough that Mr. Knightley is able to reprove Emma by reminding her that when she was a girl, it was an honor for her to be recognized by Miss Bates. Obviously, the Bates household is greatly reduced. So, a house and its contents could be lost. In George Eliot's "Middlemarch" Dr. Lyddgate and his wife are forced to begin selling their household goods, are threatened with repossession. While rank may protect Sir Walter for awhile, we must remember England was not uninfluenced by events in France. Though in the book I cannot find the pervading sense of gathering storm clouds which we get in the film version, Anne "considered it as an act of indispensable duty to clear away the claims of creditors, with all the expedition which the most comprehensive retrenchments could secure...she wanted it to be prescribed, and felt as a duty." (ch. 11)
There are ways for Sir Walter to restore his credit; he just feels they are all beneath him. If he continued to be stubborn, creditors would have eventually been able to move against him through the courts.
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