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Written by Thérèse
(3/18/2013 9:40 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma, penned by bridget D
But with a family fortune between sixty and eighty thousand pounds, the Woodhouses are already, like the Knightleys, at the top of the gentry! More (and to assume that the two daughters would have already have thirty thousand pounds each, would have meant there was a big lot more, a hundred thousands being a minimum minimorum) would have spared them from the gentry, whose average income was of about seven hundreds pounds (the Westons, for instance, may have been somehow above it but not so much), to enter the sphere of the nobility. One can read what Lady Catherine says of "spheres", between a Mr Darcy untitled but "worth" ten thousand pounds (he could hope to secure a title during his life) and a Miss Bennet, whose parents were already in the higher tier of the gentry. "Tis as good as a lord", tells Mrs Bennet. And in "Persuasion", Mrs Charles Musgrove, whose father-in-law has probably as much as the Woodhouses, looks down with disdain the Hayters, of the average gentry.
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