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|Sir Walter’s Opinion
Written by Robbin
(10/11/2005 3:16 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The worst thing about Bath, penned by Cheryl
We have all criticized Sir Walter for his vanity; I have many times and with great provocation on his part too—we have all read it! I have never thought Sir Walter to be of much value as a person, he certainly has little value as a father—but He may have other ideas as to his worth and I would submit that Sir Walter feels he is both worthy of respect and useful to his fellow man in the most important way he can imagine that is in keeping with what is appropriate for a man in his situation.
Perhaps Sir Walter feels he has a higher purpose in life than the plain people who Do things both important and unimportant in this world. As a handsome man, as a baronet, as a person who never willingly opens a book for knowledge, he must feel it an obligation to set a high standard of appearance for all to observe and it would be intolerably selfish to keep all his natural taste and knowledge of the subject to himself. Sir Walter’s unending vanity of person and rank, it must be acknowledged, has equipped him well to be the voice of fashion, the ruminator of ruminators upon the appearance of all who reside within the sphere of his vision. Bath, as an institution of people bent upon pleasure and society, must be grateful; perhaps even in awe of the tremendous talent he has condescended to bestow upon the haplessly plain, freckled, under-hung and sandy haired.
Sir Walter may feel that for the general good of all, it is well to know when to look upon a face and when to turn your head to avoid confrontation with a fright or a scarecrow. Who else but him has more right to set the standard? Sir Walter may believe he has done all he can for his daughters. He may feel he has been ever vigilant in observation of their appearance and offered much good advice to them. Good grief—Sir Walter may attribute Anne’s early loss of bloom to just this sort of exposure—because she let her eye linger too long upon what it should not? Could there be another reason? What of Mary and her susceptibility to coarseness and a red nose? She needs no further hindrance to what looks she may retain. What if Elizabeth’s beauty should be lessened by such a confrontation? Such a calamity could not be borne! In this light, with these terrors, who else but he would take on the daunting challenge of counting the frights of Bath for those unable to tell the difference between a good face and bad one. It is not wondered that he must pamper himself before taking on the scarecrows; he may feel the real question is how long a recovery he must make till he can get to it? He may certainly feel gratified in the knowledge that Elizabeth has not met this most injurious fate for she learned her father’s lessons well and he may be encouraged by this to feel it his sacred duty to ruminate and pontificate upon his favorite subject for years to come to all who would wish it and as well as to those who do not.
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