Thursday, August 27, 2009

Money Woes

Lately it seems that I can’t stop spending money. I half-remembered a wonderful discussion on this very issue in Great Expectations and just located it in Chapter 34.

“My dear Herbert,” Pip tells his friend, “we are getting on badly.”

His friend replies that those words were on his very lips.

“Then, Herbert,” Pip responds, “let us look into our affairs.”

The two aspiring gentlemen sit themselves down and make a sober reckoning of their debts. To bring home the seriousness of their situation, they deliberately over-estimate the amounts owed. Pip calls this “leaving a Margin. For example, supposing Herbert’s debts to be one hundred and sixty-four pounds four-and-twopence, I would say, ‘Leave a margin, and put them down at two hundred. Or, supposing my own to be four times as much, I would leave a margin, and put them down at seven hundred.’”

Alas, this plan sadly backfires: “For, we always ran into new debt immediately, to the full extent of the margin, and sometimes, in the sense of freedom and solvency it imparted, got pretty far on into another margin.”

This is exactly what I have been doing! Pip and me, both!

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