Fit for an Emergency

But some women only require an emergency to make them fit for one.

Far from the Madding Crowd p. 44

But what exactly made Bathsheba fit for an emergency? An innate leadership that just needed the vacuum? Or is it her pride and vanity that wouldn’t allow her to fail—especially in front of the hired hands. And if that’s it, will her vanity fail her later on? 

It’s an odd thing for a fault like vanity to serve well in some circumstances, to get interpreted as it does here as capable supervision and cool demeanor. We all have feet of clay, and at times those clay feet fit surprisingly well into some situation or another. But a time will come when those clay feet will run up against hands that will shape them into that which stumbles awkwardly, which can turn cool supervision into foolishness. Time reveals strengths and weaknesses; the moment rarely does. 

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