Sir Walter Elliot, the owner of Kellynch Hall, and a man for whom "vanity was the beginning and end of character."He was handsome though arrogance had set resolutely upon his countenance. It had ruined him, his conceit and pride had worn out the ember of humanity within him. He did not have intelligence or astuteness of his deceased wife and was deficient in her virtues; he had no need for intrinsic worth. His character was not malevolence or immorality; it was superficial, shallow, and petty. His grey eyes were vacant with the exception of when he was beholding the Baronetage, a book which held record of the most essential families in England, and which, most significantly recorded Sir Walter's own personal history. He considered himself to be blessed, sanctified for only one blessing could be coveted by man more than beauty and that was baronetcy, he united these bequests and was, therefore, a fortunate and honoured man, fortunate to have been born with the natural aptitude for such a laborious and arduous position.
Sir Walter Elliot was philosophical and reflective on one point; he had neglected his one obligation, his one duty, to sire a son and heir, his successor.
On three occasions he had thought his function had been fulfilled, Elizabeth, who was not such a disappointment because of her beauty, grace and breeding, vain like her father she had been a solace to him when he had sunk further into egotism, Anne, who was insipid, featureless and characterless; though if he were to confess the truth the child had her mother's eyes; and he often witnessed them chronicling his actions with repulsion and repugnance, and instances such as those were when he realised that the final vestiges of his decency were fading, declining, weakening.
Elizabeth was the favoured child because in her presence there were no aide memoires to his wife, the only person who could put aside his vice and censure him against self-importance. In their youth she had affectionately, tenderly ridiculed his position and self-image. Anne was the reflection of her mother, she did not possess great beauty however she possessed her mother's perceptiveness and wisdom.
He resented her that knowledge, even as a child, her innocent eyes would observe him as though she were considering him, it made him anxious, apprehensive, it was as though she were acquainted with his inner immorality.
Elizabeth was dissimilar she had the Elliot countenance, the Elliot elegance and, what was more; she could be moulded into an adequate daughter for a baronet. In her presence he could indulge his conceit, give in to the temptation of frivolity, of ignorance; because nothing about his first born child reminded him of the affectionate and tender Lady Elliot.