Posted by Valerie McKnight on January 03, 1998 at 08:43:14:
In response to John Dashwood's occupation and yearly income, written by Monique on January 02, 1998 at 21:52:41
] Besides the amount of money John Dashwood had as a result of his inheritance(s) and his wife Fannie's value, can anyone speculate as to how much he would earn in a year? I don't recall reading about it in the book.
] Also, I don't recall reading what his occupation is. Can any of you enlighten me on this, or perhaps speculate?
John's income is entirely from the interest and produce of his property. He would get rents from tenant farmers, profit from produce of land he managed himself, and interest from invested money. There was some sort of stock market, called "the Funds", and respectable people invested their money for a return of 4 or 5% which made a decent income. You'll often find Austen characters reckoning up their or someone else's total value and yearly income.
His occupation is managing his property and socializing - being a gentleman, in other words! The goal of this class of people was not to have anything we would call "a job". If a man (like Edward Ferrars) wanted employment, the idea was to find him something "smart" to keep him from going nuts from boredom, while not interfering with his social life. (Which I think is why Edward is so depressed - he wants to lead a quiet, useful life, and is forced into being a "social butterfly" - a dilemma very like that of most of the heroines.)
] (I feel sort of sorry for him, because as Austen writes in S&S, I believe he would have been a better man had he married a more pleasant sort of woman.)
Yep - can't you just see Miss Ferrars marching up to him in a ballroom and carrying him off?
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