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 Post subject: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2017, 23:56 
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Re-reading Peggy and I began to wonder about Commander Christie. I got the impression in Island that he isn't well off, yet in Peggy it would appear that he owns at least five houses!

1. The big house that houses the school.
2. Wisteria House which he and his family move into because they cannot keep up the big house.
3. Cartref which he rents to the Maynards.
4. One in St. David Terrace.
5. One more that isn't to let.

Also, in the chapter where Dickie Christie and the prefects are discussing which house Joey could be renting, Dickie refers to Wisteria House as where her family were living last term, this implies that there is a sixth house somewhere.

I cannot remember how much detail we are given about the Christies background in general and I do not have the later books to hand. If I remember rightly there was a pirate ancestor and possibly one who gambled away the family fortune?

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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 00:19 
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In Changes he has become rich after finding treasure on his property. Before that, maybe he had a lot of property and other assets but not much cash.

I always think the parents were given very little notice that the main school was moving to Switzerland. The costs must also have considerably increased. Lucky girls whose families were able to afford to move them to the Swiss school.


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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 00:22 
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Isn't it the treasure of his pirate ancestor that is found?

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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 00:35 
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A lot of landed gentry after the war looked well off on paper, but actually had very little disposable income due to swingeing taxation.

It comes up quite often in fiction of the time. It actually killed off many of the old country houses, because their owners just couldn't afford to maintain them and live in them any longer. And then of course there was a knock on effect on rural employment, trades, etc. (#hobbyhorse)

Cdr Christie's only income might have been his naval pension, if he had one, and the rent from his various properties, most of which was left after tax probably went to keep up the Big House.

Depending on when his father died, he might have had to pay death duties in the not too distant past, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 03:10 
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Yes, I saw them as land-rich but not a lot of extra cash, and renting properties on the Island would probably have been more difficult than equivalent ones on the Island. Although I'm not sure why they didn't sell the Big House outright - it surely cost a lot of money to maintain, and without that drain, and an influx of cash, they could have lived comfortably without pirate treasure.

Although I seem to remember that Dickie had previously gone to a good school, and there seems to be no problem with money for specialists for Cherry, so 'poor' would be in CS terms, rather than struggling with basic necessities.

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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 09:15 
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The pirate treasure (I think EBD had been reading Enid Blyton) hidden by his ancestor Dai Lloyd was dug up, but Mother Carey and Dickie refused to wear any of the jewellery because it'd been obtained by piracy. The fact that "the Big House" had presumably been bought with the proceeds of piracy was conveniently ignored :lol: .

In one of her rare admissions that the CS people are not poor at all, EBD says in Oberland that all the girls going to Welsen, apart from Nita and Nell, were from well-to-do families, and that included Dickie ... although that was after the pirate treasure was found!

The Big House might have been hard to sell in the 1940s, especially as it was in such a remote location. A country pile somewhere might have sold, but the Big House was on a little island: they had to go over to Carnbach even to do basic shopping. He was lucky that he found the School to rent it :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 20:26 
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He also says somewhere that the family properties had been far more extensive, but they had been forced to sell off parts of it. They had always hung onto St Briavel's and what they could of Carnbach, though. (Did they own the entire Island, or am I misremembering that quote?)

If the Island/the Big House had been the family seat for centuries, it would be hard to get rid if it - effectively declaring the end of the family as being local landowners and a significant local force (and maybe only middle class!). There may also have been some feeling of preserving the heritage for future generations.

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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 15:10 
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I know this is off topic but I see Commander Carey and Kester Bellever as the hotties that the mistresses lust after. I imagine the school moving to Switzerland to remove the staff from temptation. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 16:05 
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There's also the point that Commander Christie might not have been able to sell the house because it was entailed.

If a house is left in Fee Tail, the present incumbent is obliged to wait until his eldest son and heir has reached the age of twenty-one, and that he agrees with cutting off the entail, before the property can be sold.

Remember in 'Pride and Prejudice' how Mrs Bennett carries on because Elizabeth refuses to marry Mr. Collins, and is even worse when she realises that Charlotte Lucas will be able to dispossess her when Mr. Bennett dies?

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A certain edge when she spoke of Mrs Maynard, certainly, but, after all, not everyone could love Joey.
'Life,' said Marvin, 'don't talk to me about life!'


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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 21:35 
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Jennie wrote:
There's also the point that Commander Christie might not have been able to sell the house because it was entailed.

If a house is left in Fee Tail, the present incumbent is obliged to wait until his eldest son and heir has reached the age of twenty-one, and that he agrees with cutting off the entail, before the property can be sold.

Remember in 'Pride and Prejudice' how Mrs Bennett carries on because Elizabeth refuses to marry Mr. Collins, and is even worse when she realises that Charlotte Lucas will be able to dispossess her when Mr. Bennett dies?


Does that mean Jack Maynard's home (Pretty Maids) wasn't entailed and hence he didn't have to wait until Stephen was 21? And what happens in situations of extreme financial distress where families go bankrupt if they don't sell?

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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 22:38 
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There was a lot of talk about this a few years ago, because of Downton Abbey :lol: . In reality, apparently there are ways round it, although it was more difficult in Jane Austen's time.

I wonder if Stephen ever minded about losing Pretty Maids. Probably not, because running a big house would've been a load of hassle and expense and interfered with his plans to be an engineer, but maybe he sometimes thought that he'd like to have had the option.

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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 23:13 
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I never thought of Stephen being affected by Jack giving up Pretty Maids. Not really related to this but I was reading recently that it was thought Edward V111 was unable to father children because of a childhood illness and that this made the abdication an easier decision.

I wonder if Jack's decision on Pretty Maids would have been the same if he had been the firstborn son growing up with the idea that one day Pretty Maids would be his?

Commander Christie was maybe in much the same position as the Marlows.


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 Post subject: Re: Commander Christie
PostPosted: 26 Jan 2017, 12:16 
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There's definitely a flirty vibe between Hilda and Michael Christie at times!

If Pretty Maids was entailed, Bob and Jack must have agreed to break the entail after their father died. Bob was a serving soldier in wartime, so he had to think about the possibility of being killed, and another lot of death duties soon after their father's death.

Bob had no living son to pass it on to, and perhaps knew he wouldn't have any more children. Jack had his profession, which was probably more important to him than the idea of being a country gentleman some time in the future. And presumably Jack would have talked it over with Jo, and she would have said she wouldn't ever want to live there.

One of Georgette Heyer's crime novels has an entail in it. The father and son wanted to break the entail as soon as the son came of age, but he was killed in the Great War before they could do it, leaving the father in great difficulty.


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