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|And England was very poor in absolute terms at the time
Written by Tracy W
(9/18/2006 5:00 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Its a comparative poverty, Jan, penned by JulieW
And England was very poor in absolute terms at the time. This was just as the Industrial Revolution was getting underway (I know the dates of the Industrial Revolution are very approximate). England was rich by the standards of the rest of the world of the time, but it was poor by our standards.
The Life & Times FAQ has this post (link below) on index-linked currency, which gives about $45 in current (presumably American) dollars to the pound. This means Mrs Dashwood's income would have been about $22,000 USD - not much in our terms though it put her high in relative terms in Regency England.
Giving up the horses and carriage would be a substantial drop in living standards, not just in status. Imagine being confined on a day-to-day basis to only where you can walk to.
Fewer servants also probably meant less washing, since fuel ad water would need to be fetched and then the water heated just to get hot water for washing. If you have fewer servants then the laws of physics mean they can't do as much of this.
Or imagine the chamber pots not being changed as frequently. :(
I don't think it was just loss of status that bothered the Dashwoods, but loss of comforts. An income of over 1000 pounds a year seems to be necessary to have a living standard somewhat approximating what I had as a broke student.
|Kate2's post on index-linked currency|
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