I found this research, which includes the social classes of 18thc France and how they crossed economic boundaries, very interesting.
For instance, not all nobles were rich (as is sometimes assumed).
It is not astonishing that many nobles were reduced to the condition of peasants or
even looked for work on farms or in the excise service. Some even became carriers of
sedan-chairs or muleteers. In 1713 the maréchal d’Harcourt, speaking of Normandy,
wrote to the Secretary of War:
“I witness the poor nobility of this section in such a pitable state that noblemen
become peasants because they do not possess the means for an education, not even for learning to read or write. This poverty obliges them to marry peasant girls, provided the latter possess at least an acre of arable land.”
Makes my back-story of a "Duchesse that farms" much more feasible!
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updated by @tatiana-dokuchic: 17 Aug 2020 10:53:02AM