Poll-tax lists and probate inventories from the small town of Lier reveal an expanding middle class with an enduring investment in objects and activities that signaled prudence and trustworthiness. The middle class created a self-image of respectability by consuming hot drinks in tastefully decorated dining rooms and parlors. Rather than curbing the desire for novelty, the adverse economic conditions of the 1720s sharpened the relative importance of participation in activities that signified credibility.

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