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Archive for February, 2009

We’re going for a little stroll now, down to the end of Milsom Street to the row of shops which separate Burton and Bond Street. We will take the right fork down Bond Street – can you see Sir Walter Elliot? This extract from Persuasion is so funny, summing up the vain character of Anne Elliot’s father.

Sir Walter thought much of Mrs. Wallis; she was said to be an excessively pretty woman, beautiful. “He longed to see her. He hoped she might make some amends for the many very plain faces he was continually passing in the streets. The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or five-and-thirty, frights; and once, as he had stood in the shop in Bond Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them. It had been a frosty morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. But still, there certainly were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men! they were infinitely worse. Such scarecrows as the streets were full of! It was evident how little the women were used to the sight of any thing tolerable, by the effect which a man of decent appearance produced. He had never walked any where arm-in-arm with Colonel Wallis (who was a fine military figure, though sandy-haired) without observing that every woman’s eye was upon him; every woman’s eye was sure to be upon Colonel Wallis.” Modest Sir Walter!

Well, obviously you can’t see Sir Walter – this is a photograph taken from last weekend – you can only see one of the five-and-thirty frights – yours truly! I’m not sure which shop Sir Walter was standing in, but you can see views both ways down the street.

I remember the first time I took my children to Bath when they were very small. My youngest was very quiet (most unusual) as we went down into the town. He was looking everywhere and was obviously engrossed, but he looked most put out. When I asked him what was the matter he said he thought that there would be carriages and everyone dressed like in Persuasion on the television. He was really disappointed. It hadn’t occurred to me how much he had anticipated seeing his idea of a Regency world, but then I remembered how much he’d always said he would like to have a ride in a carriage. Fortunately, we managed to find the horse and carriage that does a little tour round Bath and he was quite happy then.

And here I am again, (my husband will do anything to avoid the camera, though I’ve managed to get a couple of sneaky ones to post at a later date) – I do love a bow window, don’t you?

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We’re going for a little stroll now, down to the end of Milsom Street to the row of shops which separate Burton and Bond Street. We will take the right fork down Bond Street – can you see Sir Walter Elliot? This extract from Persuasion is so funny, summing up the vain character of Anne Elliot’s father.

Sir Walter thought much of Mrs. Wallis; she was said to be an excessively pretty woman, beautiful. “He longed to see her. He hoped she might make some amends for the many very plain faces he was continually passing in the streets. The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or five-and-thirty, frights; and once, as he had stood in the shop in Bond Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them. It had been a frosty morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. But still, there certainly were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men! they were infinitely worse. Such scarecrows as the streets were full of! It was evident how little the women were used to the sight of any thing tolerable, by the effect which a man of decent appearance produced. He had never walked any where arm-in-arm with Colonel Wallis (who was a fine military figure, though sandy-haired) without observing that every woman’s eye was upon him; every woman’s eye was sure to be upon Colonel Wallis.” Modest Sir Walter!

Well, obviously you can’t see Sir Walter – this is a photograph taken from last weekend – you can only see one of the five-and-thirty frights – yours truly! I’m not sure which shop Sir Walter was standing in, but you can see views both ways down the street.

I remember the first time I took my children to Bath when they were very small. My youngest was very quiet (most unusual) as we went down into the town. He was looking everywhere and was obviously engrossed, but he looked most put out. When I asked him what was the matter he said he thought that there would be carriages and everyone dressed like in Persuasion on the television. He was really disappointed. It hadn’t occurred to me how much he had anticipated seeing his idea of a Regency world, but then I remembered how much he’d always said he would like to have a ride in a carriage. Fortunately, we managed to find the horse and carriage that does a little tour round Bath and he was quite happy then.

And here I am again, (my husband will do anything to avoid the camera, though I’ve managed to get a couple of sneaky ones to post at a later date) – I do love a bow window, don’t you?

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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Monday, March 8th, 1802
Lizzy set off for Hunsford today with Sir William Lucas and his daughter Maria. They are all gone to see how Charlotte does – I do hope married life is suiting her, but I would bet all my ivory fish that she has exchanged her glowing bridal fervour for a haunted countenance and a sombre disposition.
Most vexing is the knowledge that they are to break their journey in London to call on the Gardiners to see Jane and will, no doubt, find time to go shopping and have a pleasant evening’s entertainment at the theatre. How I long to go shopping in London. I can’t even get as far as Ware! When I am a married lady, my daughters will have numerous carriages at their disposal, at any time of the year, for travelling on any state of road and in any weather!!
I have had a letter from Emma N. inviting Kitty and I to a reception for Harriet on Saturday, as she is very keen to meet us and will have no other acquaintance in Meryton apart from her dear Henry and the Miss Harrington’s who are distant cousins. I do wonder if she looks like Isabella and I sincerely wish she is as much fun. Lord! I hope she is as handsome and agreeable.
On reflection I am convinced, that no matter what her physical attractions may or may not be, she must surely be a woman of fashion and sensibility. I will take care to dress myself in my best cambric muslin, crimson mantle and velvet bonnet!

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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Monday, March 8th, 1802
Lizzy set off for Hunsford today with Sir William Lucas and his daughter Maria. They are all gone to see how Charlotte does – I do hope married life is suiting her, but I would bet all my ivory fish that she has exchanged her glowing bridal fervour for a haunted countenance and a sombre disposition.
Most vexing is the knowledge that they are to break their journey in London to call on the Gardiners to see Jane and will, no doubt, find time to go shopping and have a pleasant evening’s entertainment at the theatre. How I long to go shopping in London. I can’t even get as far as Ware! When I am a married lady, my daughters will have numerous carriages at their disposal, at any time of the year, for travelling on any state of road and in any weather!!
I have had a letter from Emma N. inviting Kitty and I to a reception for Harriet on Saturday, as she is very keen to meet us and will have no other acquaintance in Meryton apart from her dear Henry and the Miss Harrington’s who are distant cousins. I do wonder if she looks like Isabella and I sincerely wish she is as much fun. Lord! I hope she is as handsome and agreeable.
On reflection I am convinced, that no matter what her physical attractions may or may not be, she must surely be a woman of fashion and sensibility. I will take care to dress myself in my best cambric muslin, crimson mantle and velvet bonnet!

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I love any excuse for a research trip and a chance to escape a frantic and busy life, so when my husband suggested a trip to Bath at the weekend I was very excited. I thought I’d share some of the photos I took of the Assembly Rooms in Bennett Street, which are stunningly beautiful. It is so easy to imagine social gatherings taking place here in Jane Austen’s time; you can hear the chatter and rustle of silk gowns just by looking into one of the rooms. The top photo shows the entrance, which some of you may recognise from the television adaptations of Persuasion.
The second shows one of the fireplaces in the Octagon room which is where card tables might be set up for those not interested in dancing and wishing to try their luck with a little gambling.
Lastly, is the Tea Room which was used primarily for refreshments and concerts. Meals were served throughout the day from public breakfasts to supper during dress balls. Food was laid out on side-tables and included such delights as sweetmeats, jellies, wine, biscuits, cold ham and turkey. Tea was the favourite drink, generally without milk, but occasionally with lemon or arrack (fermented cocoa).

In this extract from Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne Elliot has met up with her old love, Captain Wentworth, at the Assembly Rooms. She has recently discovered that he is not in love with Louisa Musgrove and from the very recent conversation with him dares to hope that he may still have some feelings for Anne.

As she ceased, the entrance door opened again, and the very party appeared for whom they were waiting. “Lady Dalrymple, Lady Dalrymple!” was the rejoicing sound; and with all the eagerness compatible with anxious elegance, Sir Walter and his two ladies stepped forward to meet her. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, escorted by Mr. Elliot and Colonel Wallis, who had happened to arrive nearly at the same instant, advanced into the room. The others joined them, and it was a group in which Anne found herself also necessarily included. She was divided from Captain Wentworth. Their interesting, almost too interesting conversation, must be broken up for a time, but slight was the penance compared with the happiness which brought it on! She had learnt, in the last ten minutes, more of his feelings towards Louisa, more of all his feelings, than she dared to think of; and she gave herself up to the demands of the party, to the needful civilities of the moment, with exquisite, though agitated sensations. She was in good humour with all. She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and kind to all, and to pity every one, as being less happy than herself.

The delightful emotions were a little subdued, when on stepping back from the group, to be joined again by Captain Wentworth, she saw that he was gone. She was just in time to see him turn into the Concert Room. He was gone — he had disappeared, she felt a moment’s regret. But “they should meet again. He would look for her, he would find her out long before the evening were over, and at present, perhaps, it was as well to be asunder. She was in need of a little interval for recollection.”

Upon Lady Russell’s appearance soon afterwards, the whole party was collected, and all that remained was to marshal themselves, and proceed into the Concert Room; and be of all the consequence in their power, draw as many eyes, excite as many whispers, and disturb as many people as they could.

Very, very happy were both Elizabeth and Anne Elliot as they walked in. Elizabeth, arm-in-arm with Miss Carteret, and looking on the broad back of the Dowager-Viscountess Dalrymple before her, had nothing to wish for which did not seem within her reach; and Anne – but it would be an insult to the nature of Anne’s felicity to draw any comparison between it and her sister’s: the origin of one all selfish vanity, of the other all generous attachment.

Anne saw nothing, thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room. Her happiness was from within. Her eyes were bright, and her cheeks glowed; but she knew nothing about it. She was thinking only of the last half-hour…

Jane Odiwe

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I love any excuse for a research trip and a chance to escape a frantic and busy life, so when my husband suggested a trip to Bath at the weekend I was very excited. I thought I’d share some of the photos I took of the Assembly Rooms in Bennett Street, which are stunningly beautiful. It is so easy to imagine social gatherings taking place here in Jane Austen’s time; you can hear the chatter and rustle of silk gowns just by looking into one of the rooms. The top photo shows the entrance, which some of you may recognise from the television adaptations of Persuasion.
The second shows one of the fireplaces in the Octagon room which is where card tables might be set up for those not interested in dancing and wishing to try their luck with a little gambling.
Lastly, is the Tea Room which was used primarily for refreshments and concerts. Meals were served throughout the day from public breakfasts to supper during dress balls. Food was laid out on side-tables and included such delights as sweetmeats, jellies, wine, biscuits, cold ham and turkey. Tea was the favourite drink, generally without milk, but occasionally with lemon or arrack (fermented cocoa).

In this extract from Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne Elliot has met up with her old love, Captain Wentworth, at the Assembly Rooms. She has recently discovered that he is not in love with Louisa Musgrove and from the very recent conversation with him dares to hope that he may still have some feelings for Anne.

As she ceased, the entrance door opened again, and the very party appeared for whom they were waiting. “Lady Dalrymple, Lady Dalrymple!” was the rejoicing sound; and with all the eagerness compatible with anxious elegance, Sir Walter and his two ladies stepped forward to meet her. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, escorted by Mr. Elliot and Colonel Wallis, who had happened to arrive nearly at the same instant, advanced into the room. The others joined them, and it was a group in which Anne found herself also necessarily included. She was divided from Captain Wentworth. Their interesting, almost too interesting conversation, must be broken up for a time, but slight was the penance compared with the happiness which brought it on! She had learnt, in the last ten minutes, more of his feelings towards Louisa, more of all his feelings, than she dared to think of; and she gave herself up to the demands of the party, to the needful civilities of the moment, with exquisite, though agitated sensations. She was in good humour with all. She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and kind to all, and to pity every one, as being less happy than herself.

The delightful emotions were a little subdued, when on stepping back from the group, to be joined again by Captain Wentworth, she saw that he was gone. She was just in time to see him turn into the Concert Room. He was gone — he had disappeared, she felt a moment’s regret. But “they should meet again. He would look for her, he would find her out long before the evening were over, and at present, perhaps, it was as well to be asunder. She was in need of a little interval for recollection.”

Upon Lady Russell’s appearance soon afterwards, the whole party was collected, and all that remained was to marshal themselves, and proceed into the Concert Room; and be of all the consequence in their power, draw as many eyes, excite as many whispers, and disturb as many people as they could.

Very, very happy were both Elizabeth and Anne Elliot as they walked in. Elizabeth, arm-in-arm with Miss Carteret, and looking on the broad back of the Dowager-Viscountess Dalrymple before her, had nothing to wish for which did not seem within her reach; and Anne – but it would be an insult to the nature of Anne’s felicity to draw any comparison between it and her sister’s: the origin of one all selfish vanity, of the other all generous attachment.

Anne saw nothing, thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room. Her happiness was from within. Her eyes were bright, and her cheeks glowed; but she knew nothing about it. She was thinking only of the last half-hour…

Jane Odiwe

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I had a lovely weekend in Bath and I took some photos to show you if you are not familiar with the lovely town. The first shows the view down Milsom Street looking down towards the famous pump rooms. The second shows the remnants of a sign above what was the circulating library, which I’m sure Jane Austen must have frequented.
Molland’s confectionary shop in Milsom Street is where Anne Elliot (Persuasion) realises that Captain Wentworth has come to Bath. Anne has very recently learned from her sister and Admiral Croft that Louisa Musgrove is to marry Captain Benwick so Captain Frederick Wentworth is still a single, unattached man. Here is a short extract – if you can read this and not want to pick up the book straight away you have a stronger will than me!

They were in Milsom Street. It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple’s carriage, which was seen waiting at a little distance; she, Anne, and Mrs. Clay, therefore, turned into Molland’s, while Mr. Elliot stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request her assistance. He soon joined them again, successful, of course: Lady Dalrymple would be most happy to take them home, and would call for them in a few minutes.

Her ladyship’s carriage was a barouche, and did not hold more than four with any comfort. Miss Carteret was with her mother; consequently it was not reasonable to expect accommodation for all the three Camden Place ladies. There could be no doubt as to Miss Elliot. Whoever suffered inconvenience, she must suffer none, but it occupied a little time to settle the point of civility between the other two. The rain was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with Mr. Elliot. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs. Clay; she would hardly allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much thicker than Miss Anne’s; and, in short, her civility rendered her quite as anxious to be left to walk with Mr. Elliot as Anne could be, and it was discussed between them with a generosity so polite and so determined, that the others were obliged to settle it for them; Miss Elliot maintaining that Mrs. Clay had a little cold already, and Mr. Elliot deciding, on appeal, that his cousin Anne’s boots were rather the thickest.

It was fixed, accordingly, that Mrs. Clay should be of the party in the carriage; and they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat near the window, descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain Wentworth walking down the street.

Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that she was the greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and absurd! For a few minutes she saw nothing before her.: it was all confusion. She was lost, and when she had scolded back her senses, she found the others still waiting for the carriage, and Mr. Elliot (always obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a commission of Mrs. Clay’s.

Photo of the lovely Amanda Root in the 1995 version of Persuasion

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