Caroline Knight's Uncle Richard Knight's Sense of "Humor"

Arnie Perlstein

Diana's and Ellen's posts remind me of something -- I don't recall if I posted about this in the aftermath of the 2017 AGM in Huntington Beach, which was spectacular in every way, except one very jarring discordant note at the every end:

If I am not mistaken, Caroline Knight's paternal uncle is Richard Knight, who gave the final Plenary Speech at the 2017 AGM at Sunday brunch. I was stunned when, in recounting the financial woes his father faced which ultimately led to the family giving up Chawton House as a residence, Richard Knight told an anecdote about his financially naive father's sale of a valuable painting for pennies on a dollar to a rapaciously clever fellow with an obviously Jewish surname.

What stunned me was that, to hammer home his point, Mr. Knight emphasized that last name 4 times during the vignette, including his gleeful recounting of how the Fagin-like villain of the piece had eventually been forced to give back the painting in order to avoid dire legal consequences. There was no way this was accidental, it reminded me of the kind of dog whistle that has become painfully frequent during the past 2 years here in the US.

So....that made me very sad, because that is the last thing Richard Knight's famous collateral ancestor would have ever condoned -- the opposite, she'd have put that anecdote in the mouth of a character like John Thorpe or Robert Ferrars -- except, if she could have foreseen the future, she'd have named the character Richard. 

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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