An Affectionate Heart
Thanks for welcoming me back Melissa! In An Affectionate Heart, the Darcys are renting a small cottage near Netherfield and appear to be living on only £500 a year. There is a significant difference between having an income of £500 versus canon Darcy’s £10,000 a year.
Darcy and his sister begin the novel with a cook, a maid, and a man. This isn’t enough of an income to afford a carriage or horses, and certainly not a house in town or the means to travel regularly. It’s enough to rent a modest house and afford a daily newspaper. It’s not poor, but it would put a married gentleman and his family right on the edge of gentility.
A good comparison to how the Darcys appear to live
in An Affectionate Heart is the Dashwood women. In Sense and Sensibility, each of the Dashwood daughters inherited £1,000 from their great uncle, and Mrs. Dashwood received £7,000 from her late husband. Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters have a combined wealth of £10,000, which earns them £500 a year. They have to sell their horses and carriage, and downsize from Norland. They are able to rent a furnished Barton Cottage, meet their basic needs, and keep three servants. They’re not wealthy, but they appear to be at least comfortable.
If you had an income of ten times that–around what canon Bingley earns off of his investments–you enter the realm of being able to have any genteel comfort you could imagine. You want to rent a post chaise and visit the seaside? Done. Want to buy a post chaise? Have at it. Sure. Need a new pianoforte? Go pick one out. If Darcy was living on £10,000 rather than £500, he could afford a house in town, several horses and carriages, and show as much charity as he wants.
Thank you for stopping by to check out Heather's newest release. I have read An Affectionate Heart and loved it! It is original, well-written, and heart-wrenching. Heather promised me she would make sure my heart was mending by the end of Elizabeth and Darcy's journey... and it was. This beautiful story is a emotional ride you don't want to miss!
Here’s an excerpt from An Affectionate Heart that takes place after Elizabeth learns that Darcy has an invalid sister. It gives a hint as to what the Darcys living situation is like.
The servant then entered, holding a small parcel. “This was sent from Longbourn, sir.”
Darcy sighed. He had a mostly steady cook, a giddy young housemaid, and a middle-aged man for everything else, and none of them competent. “There are many people in the village of Longbourn, Hannah. Who amongst them has sent me something I do not want?”
“Not the village; Longbourn House.” She announced this as though he were simple. “For Miss Darcy, with Miss Bennet’s compliments.” She deposited the parcel with a thud and left.
The siblings exchanged a curious look before Georgiana opened the paper. A note addressed to Miss Darcy was atop, and Darcy handed it to her as he scrutinised the contents. La Belle Assemblée vol II; a libretto for Die Zauberflöte; and last year’s sensational novel Self-Control.
“Did you not try to get this novel in vain last year?” Darcy asked. She nodded, and then looked back at her note while he flipped through the book. “How does a girl born in the Scottish Highlands end up on a passage down an American river? This melodramatic novel has nothing of probability in it.”
“I think that is what makes it enjoyable. Will you read it to me in the evenings?”
He nodded. Better that than the ladies’ magazine. “Why has Miss Bennet sent hundreds of pages for your amusement?”
“She writes that she is recently returned from town and had only just learnt from you that I am an invalid. She suggests the possibility that I might be weary with only you for company, and she hopes these offerings will fill my empty hours.”
“It is impertinent that she addresses herself to you without an introduction.”
“She could not have written to you, and she wished to show me a kindness.” Georgiana laughed, and it devolved into a cough. When she recovered, she said, “She gently implies that perhaps your situation does not allow you to indulge me as much as I deserve, and she wishes to share all that she has to offer with one who would likewise appreciate the position of a dependent sister.”
“She does not know you, and she is not a patroness of a village.” Charity, and from a woman with no status and from such a family! Perhaps she did this to remind him to keep his promise not to mention her ailment. As though her heart could be a concern of his. “We are respectable gentry here. You have no need of Miss Bennet’s charity.”
“Fitzwilliam, she does not know that. We are renting a lodge that a family with more than five hundred pounds a year would never rent. You do not keep a carriage, and everyone knows you keep only three servants.”
Who was he in this place? His situation here projected a gentleman’s status, but it was a precarious prosperity that no unmarried gentleman’s daughter would set her cap on. I will not be pursued for my fortune here, small comfort that it is.
“She appears to have the sunniest of tempers.” Georgiana was still clutching Miss Bennet’s note. “I wish I could make her acquaintance. I should at least send her a note of gratitude.”
“We cannot cultivate a single acquaintance in Hertfordshire. Besides, I know nothing of this woman.”
“You are very cautious.”
“I have reason to be! This Miss Bennet has relations in town, and if she mentions to them that she has made the acquaintance of a Miss Darcy in Hertfordshire, it could raise questions I shall not wish to answer.”
What do you think about Darcy’s attitude and his living situation? A better question might be, why are the Darcys in An Affectionate Heart living on such a small income?
About the Author
Heather Moll is an avid reader of mysteries and biographies with a masters in information science. She found Jane Austen later than she should have and made up for lost time by devouring her letters and unpublished works,
joining JASNA, and spending too much time researching the Regency era. She is the author of An Affectionate Heart, Nine Ladies, Two More Days at Netherfield, and His Choice of a Wife. She lives with her husband and son and struggles to balance all of the important things, like whether or not to buy groceries or stay home and write.
Where to find Heather
Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/29e95d3a1e94/subscribeheathermollauthor website: heathermollauthor.com
Book Bub: bookbub.com/authors/heather-moll
Link Tree: https://linktr.ee/heathermollauthor
RAFFLECOPTER SWAG GIVEAWAY
The giveaway is open from 12:01 am Eastern time 4/1/2022 until 11:59pm Eastern time on 4/8/2022. US entrants only.
The winner will be announced on social media and my blog 4/11/2022. Leave a comment on the blog or subscribe to my newsletter to enter.
Thank you, Heather, for stopping by the blog!
An Affectionate Heart was purchased with my own money. All thought and opinions expressed are my own. Please consider subscribing so you don't miss any upcoming post. Thank you for your support!
Do you plan on reading An Affectionate Heart? Have you already read it? Let me know in the comments section.