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|I see. Though I think weekends would be out too.
Written by Kathleen Glancy
(3/18/2011 11:18 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, the John Knightleys and Hartfield, penned by Nikki N
16 miles would be rather too long a journey. The average speed of a carriage and horses was about 4 miles per hour, so four hours at least travel time, and you will notice from Chapter 11 that it could not be done without a change of horses half way, which would add more time. If they left London on Saturday morning they would not get to Hartfield until well into the afternoon. Even if they left London on Friday afternoon as soon as John was free it would be quite late when they arrived, and it would only be possible in summer since no sane person would travel after dark unless it was an emergency. Coming back they would need to leave on Sunday morning, to allow for getting back to London in time to get the children to bed at a reasonable hour and so that John could be in court on Monday morning. They would have so little time actually at Hartfield it would not be worth the trouble and expense. Holidays would be another matter - the journey would be fine if you were spening several weeks (in the long vacation I think there were 5 or 6)rather than what hardly adds up to a full day, but that would mean Hartfield would have to be maintained, which would require at least a skeleton staff of servants, while standing empty for most of the year. If the house was let out, the tenants have to do the maintenance and staffing and John and Isabella have always the option of going to Donwell, which seems to be quite large, for their holidays.
If Mr Elton somehow knew that Isabella would definitely inherit Hartfield (I am not sure how he could, bearing in mind that the people of Highbury are not going to be privy to what is in Mr Woodhouse's Will or whether there is or is not any form of entail on Hartfield, so any discussion by them of the subject is based on speculation, not firm evidence) I agree that that would be a disincentive to his wishing to live there. He might consider that the Vicarage could be impoved immensely if you had £30,000 to spend on it.
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