the myth of nothing doing.
Posted by P. Bingham on April 14, 1998 at 22:09:29:
In response to English gentleman, written by agt3 on April 14, 1998 at 18:58:00
Although a gentleman did not delve into such business as trade (not directly anyway) they did work hard to keep their property in tact, i.e., real property and cash. The words escape me. Anyway, property was not always entailed, in fact to entail a property was not necessarily the norm. Many a gentleman did in fact ruin his family by his gaming debts and so forth, making it necessary to sell the property.
There were those gentlemen that did indeed do nothing which caused their property to go into mismanagement and then ruin. And there are those gentlemen who managed to keep what they inherited but doubled their income by whatever means at their disposal. There were those that inhereted merely the land and the house, everything else having been either gambled away or mismanaged, and with hard work made the repairs in the family finances. It was hard work to keep up property and though the gentleman did indeed have plenty of help (property agents, butlers, housekeepers and stewarts to name a few) it was easy to let a property "go."
The social seasons did take up much of their time but to say that it took up all of their time is a myth. Men did manage to "make money" despite this. Furthermore, much of business is carried on beneath this veil of "socialization." as many today who do have large properties and businesses will tell you. The Season, in fact, takes places as Parliament reopens for business and is one of the reasons so many gentlemen are there in London.
Here are a few ways in which the the nobility (and the gnetry perhaps)might make money, improve their possessions or simply make use of their "spare" time:
Patron of Science, Literature, Arts and or Music.
House of Lords, Magistrate
Purchase and sale of Exchequer bills, India bonds and public funds.
They had there mortgages and rents to collect.
There was the sly but not unheard of business of smuggling.
What I mean to say is that, while they did not spend their time in a 9-5 office, they were quite busy doing other things. They may not have been doing what the average person might be doing today, but that is not to say that they did nothing, only something different.
- "Idleness" Jenna 08:57:45 4/15/98 (2)
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