Chapter 3 Summary

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Mr. Shepherd takes it upon himself to find someone to rent Sir Elliot’s house. Shepherd begins by building up the notion that a man in the navy might make the perfect tenant. A man in the British Navy, Shepherd tells Sir Walter, is known for taking particular care of his own possessions. Therefore, he most assuredly would take great care not only of Sir Elliot’s manor but any paintings or furnishings Sir Elliot may wish to leave behind or store at the house. Shepherd’s daughter, Penelope Clay, agrees with her father and supports his assumptions about naval men. She claims to have known several sailors and backs up her father’s statements concerning the reputation naval men have for being neat. They would even take care of the gardens, Penelope tells Sir Elliot.

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This thought annoys Sir Elliot (who is called Sir Walter by his friends). He considers his gardens, it appears, more personal than the insides of his house. They idea of someone wandering about his shrubberies is something he does not want to tolerate. Sir Walter then begins to share his general feelings about men in the navy.

Before he begins, Anne defends the profession by pointing out that men in the navy work very hard. Sir Walter agrees to this statement—but adds that he would be very sorry if any of his friends belonged to the navy. One of his complaints against the navy is that a person with no family of any distinction can make a name for himself, no matter what his previous background has been. A man in the navy can gain rank and thus be granted undue honors. A person of obscure birth could rise above a man who his own father or grandfather might never have deigned to speak to. Sir Walter also claims that men in the navy age much more quickly than do men in any other profession. The constant contact with the sea weathers their faces, turning their skin orange and very wrinkled, Sir Walter says.

(The entire section contains 656 words.)

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