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Thread: Doctor Thorne - money matters

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Doctor Thorne - money matters

    There's a bit at the beginning of the book when one of Squire Gresham's tenant farmers says that after years of paying one pound 15 for some acres, he was surprised to be asked for 40 shillings. 40 shillings was 2 pounds. I think previously he was paying 35 shillings. Squire Gresham's estate was worth £14,000 a year. So how many tenants did he have? Two pounds' rent for farm land does not sound much even back then? How often did he have to pay? Was it every week? Was it three times a year? How many acres was the farmer renting him?

    Doctor Thorne charges seven and six for a visit (within five miles) which was three-eighths of a pound. He also mixes and sells his own medicines. The customary call out charge, according to the book, was a guinea, which I think was 21 shillings, or just over a pound. So how much does Doctor Thorne earn? I think the most he could earn was £2 a day, which would be £600 a year. A little later on the book says he was not in the habit of saving, but relatively late he had insured his life for £800 in three per-cents. If he died that is what Mary would have to live on, but 3% interest on £800 is £24 a year, which is poverty level subsistence. Maybe I misunderstood something, but I really think he should have saved a bit more money for her.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    In this blog, someone has replied that Pemberley was based on Chatsworth, which had 85,000 acres. £10,000 (Darcy's income) divided by 85,000 is 2 shillings, 4 pence an acre per year. That would mean Mr Gresham's tenant farmer rented about fifteen acres. Does that seem like a reasonable amount. I remember my Irish granny inherited 31 acres farmland from her brother. It seemed like quite a lot of land,

    I recently re-read The Odd Women by George Gissing. At the beginning of the book, the Madden girls' father dies. I think his carriage overturned or something like that. He was a doctor too. He had six daughters and had intended to insure his life for £700 iirc, but had not got around to it. All he could leave his daughters was something over £700, which meant they were in poverty. I seem to remember that in the end of Middlemarch, Tertius Lydgate, another doctor, heavily insured his life to provide for his wife and four daughters. He became a specialist n treating gout and was based in London, so he may have earned more than average for a doctor.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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