This quotation alludes to the pervasiveness of class-consciousness in British society of the 19th century. Class became, perhaps, an especially important consideration in that century for at least two reasons: (1) more and more of the wealthy or "privileged" ran the risk of losing substantial sums of money and thus losing their social rank; (2) more and more people of the "middling" classes were making the kind of money that allowed them to aspire to "upper-class" ranking. In other words, the 19th century, even more than the 17th and 18th, was a century of growing social mobility, and movement was possible both up and down the social scale. The 19th century was also a time when tensions between social classes were becoming increasingly visible and increasingly matters of discussion and dispute. This was due, in part, to the French Revolution, whose consequences the English could not ignore.