Feb. 16th, 2017

[identity profile] jackmerlin.livejournal.com
I know this has been brilliantly covered in fanfic, but I have been searching back through old threads and can't see that it has ever been discussed in a thread here. In Peter's Room we are told as a casual aside, that Trennels was built by a Joshua Marlow, who made his pile in the slave trade.
Presumably this is historically likely. No-one got to build a house like Trennels without doing something dubious at some point; if not the slave trade, then employing children in the mines / being a slum landlord / driving small farmers off their land etc. Maybe AF was inspired by a real life stately home that she'd visited that had been built using money from the slave trade.
My question is this really: why did AF toss this fact into the story at all? Would an original child reader have queried how Trennels existed? There seems no need to mention it at all.
Peter is romanticising Malise at the point where he thinks about Joshua. Is the mention of one dodgy ancestor meant to alert the reader to the possibility that Malise might not be all he seems?
Is it a sneaky dig at the Marlow's Protestant forebears? Patrick's ancestors were busy being martyrs for their faith and suffering discrimination for being Catholics - but look what the Protestants (with their Protestant work ethic and all) did?
Is it too much of a stretch to wonder if AF had Mansfield Park on her mind, given MP and PR's themes of play-acting and love triangles, and indirectly answered the question of whether the Bertrams were slave-owners?
What do the younger Marlows think about living in a house built with slave money? Peter seems to think of it as accepted and unremarked family history. The entail means of course that they can never wash their hands of it, but do they ever have any sort of conversation about it? (And yes, this will be my prompt for the summer fic fest if we have one again!)

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