Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sense and Sensibility: chapter two

Upon her arrival to Norland Mrs. John Dashwood assumed the position of Mistress. Mrs. Henry Dashwood and daughters were treated with civility and kindness as visitors in their own home. John invited the family to continue to consider Norland their home and since it suited Mrs. Henry Dashwood to remain where she had had so many pleasant memories, the decision was made to remain there for a while.

Mr. John Dashwood intended to give his step-mother and half-sisters the sum of three thousand pounds but his wife, Fanny suggested that this would greatly deplete their son’s inheritance. John replied that his father’s request was of no particular sum but rather that he assist them and make them comfortable and that he felt that he must do something for them. The sum of 500 pounds was then suggested by John and Fanny found more objections. He then suggested an annuity. Fanny related her own Mother’s disagreeable dealings of having to pay annuities to her servants after the death of her husband. John again made a suggestion of 50 pounds every now and then. Fanny then suggested that perhaps his Father had not meant for him to give the family any money at all but rather help with housing, moving items and presents of food from their harvest in season. In fact she strongly felt that Henry could not have meant anything more since the family would need little after they moved. Their housekeeping would be small. There would be no horses, carriages and they would not keep company so they would certainly be able to live comfortably on the 500 pounds a year that they were to inherit.

Mrs. Henry Dashwood would have the china, plate and linen that had been packed away after the family had moved to Norland and John suggested that this was a valuable legacy. In fact, it was better than that which they would have at Norland. Fanny suggested that Henry had thought only of his wife and daughters and would have left all to them if he could have. So Mr. John Dashwood decided the best way to fulfill his promise to his Father would to be the neighborly acts of kindness that his wife suggested.

Tim's Mom....What do you think 500 pounds would be equivalent to now?

1 comment:

  1. Using the 1810 conversaion of $4.30 to a British pound, it would have been $2,150.00, which back then was a lot of money - the equivalent of $36,000.00 today, using to the Consumer Price Index.

    I'm using calculators from