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Written by Anselm
(9/11/2009 11:46 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Except no 7000, penned by Barbara
Of course, I'd forgotten that Mrs D brings nothing to the marriage. This makes her much luckier than Lady B.
I'm dipping into Lawrence James' The Middle Class: a History (2006), which puts some of this thread into the context of what was driving gentlefolk around this time. It's no secret that it was status, even more than money, which gives another slant to Barbara's post about Mrs D's relatives possibly having status, even if they couldn't afford a dowry. For them, the real disaster wouldn't have been to go bankrupt but to suffer the social decline that would result. Conversely, to be rich as the result of trade was just not the done thing, as any reader of P&P and Emma knows only too well!
The best thing was to be respectably rich - like John Dashwood. What better model of civic rectitude and success could you possibly want?
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