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|The Hursts' finances
Written by Line
(5/17/2007 6:52 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Yes, because the, penned by JulieW
Thanks for the amazing info, Julie, and thanks for asking your question, Adrian! It never occurred to me before that the Hursts might be renters rather than owners, though as you point out, in this neighbourhood that was certainly no drawback!
I don't know why, but I'm surprised to discover that the Hursts lived in quite such a posh house (I wouldn't mind living there myself!). Perhaps it's the description of Mr. Hurst being a man of more fashion than fortune, but where did the money come from to pay the rent (or was Mrs. Hurst's dowry coming in handy here)? Clearly there was no vulgur resigning of the lease every year! No doubt the Hurst's grandchildren would still be living in this house.
Along with other hints in the novel about their lifestyle, could the Hursts possibly be over-extending themselves, even with Mrs. Hurst's handsome dowry? I don't know how much less expensive it might be to have a house that was shut up for several weeks or months, vs. one that needed a full operating budget, but I wonder if they might be quite glad to spend some time accepting their brother(-in-law)'s hospitality (or would they actually go so far as to sub-let the London house if they planned on being gone for some time?)! I always thought that Mrs. Hurst being easily "disposed to consider [her brother's] house as her home when it suited her" had more to do with snob appeal (if you can't afford your own house in the country, stay with a relative who can), but now I suspect there might be more pressing financial reasons, as well.
P.S: I notice that the Grosvenor fortune was founded by a (small-time?) aristocrat marrying a tradesman's daughter. I wonder how old the *groom* was at the time of the wedding - the bride seems to have had little choice in the matter...
About Gracechurch Street: Mrs. Gardiner talks about how quietly they live, but if they lived on such a main thoroughfare, in one sense their lives cannot have been very quiet! ;-)
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