[Vwoolf] checks cheques and bills

Stuart N. Clarke stuart.n.clarke at btinternet.com
Thu Jul 20 04:32:18 EDT 2017

How do poor old Norwegians transfer money?

Should I get out my quill pen, and advise my ex in Australia, who does not have a mobile phone, a computer or a television, not to move to Norway?


From: Jeremy Hawthorn 
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2017 8:18 AM
To: vwoolf at lists.osu.edu 
Subject: [Vwoolf] checks cheques and bills

This is from Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford's The Inheritors (1901).

One day, indeed, the matter was brought home to me by the receipt from Polehampton of bills instead of my usual cheques. I had a good deal of trouble in cashing the things; indeed, people seemed to look askance at them. 

>From the SOED I gather that a "bill" in this context is the equivalent of a promissory note. But how did such a bill work? Incidentally, the writer/narrator is in Paris, so the assumption seems to be that a cheque or bill written in England could be cashed in France. It was not so when I grew up.

I write this two days after telling a US publisher that it's not much use sending me a check, as no-one uses them in Norway any more. The last one I wrote here was about a decade ago I think, and my local bank charges 400 kroner (about 60 US dollars) to cash a US check.

Jeremy H

On 17.07.2017 13:07, Stuart N. Clarke wrote:

  When I went to open a bank a/c in 1966 with the Westminster, I was asked whether anyone could give me a reference.  I replied: “I believe my [half-]brother works for your bank.”

  (I’ve suddenly remembered something irrelevant but comparable.  A friend of mine did Art History under Quentin Bell at Leeds.  He applied for a job at the “Daily Mail”.  “What school did you go to?”  My friend emigrated to Australia.)

  Back to cheques.  In “Zuleika Dobson”, when the Duke of Dorset gives his landlady a cheque (presumably made out to CASH), he encourages her to go that day to the bank to cash it, for she wouldn’t be able to cash it the following day in view of his imminent suicide.


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