Dutch women of the 17th century were extraordinary. Free to marry whomever they chose, to get a basic education, to inherit equally with men, to represent themselves in court and to engage in commerce as they wished, they were powerhouses. Visitors to the Netherlands marveled at their moxie.
I have posted an excerpt from The Women of the House that lays all this out in some detail, for those who want to know whether Blandine the she-merchant is exceptional in her independence. Well, Blandine is exceptional, of course, but she takes her place among a century of independent women.