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|"at fifty-four, was still a very fine man"
Written by Margaret 7
(9/19/2005 11:25 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Feeding his vanity, penned by Maisy
"He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Eliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion." (ch.1)
1. Sir Walter was once better looking than he is when the book begins. "Beauty is fleeting", and Sir Walter is losing his bloom, girls! The baronetcy, however, remains the same as it was when he first assumed the title, and stretching back into the distant past. It will go forward into the future, as well. What contribution has Sir Walter made to the planet in his 54 years? The baronetcy is his substance, and this is what gives his life meaning. Thus, perusing Debretts gives him comfort and satisfaction.
2. I think the assumption of the third person in the quotation above is an interesting syntactical support for this idea. "the Sir Walter Eliot" is and "object" to HIMSELF. It is as if Sir Walter, the baronet, is an institution wholly distinct from the man who admires him(self). This may help to explain his refusal to break up any part of the estate in order to relieve his financial stress. The preservation of the estate and the transmission of the baronetcy with all its dignity preserved, is Sir Walter's sole sense of purpose, next to making sure he has a good supply of Gowland's lotion on hand :) Gee, wouldn't Sir Walter make a great candidate for one of those extreme make-over shows. OOPs. Maybe I need to take this idea to "Austenuations"!
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