Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Milsom Street, Bath

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

4 comments:

Vic said...

Oh, I do envy you living so close to these lovely places and being able to visit them. What a nice writeup about Milsom Street!

Jane Odiwe said...

Thanks Vic,

I am very lucky, I know. The worst bit is trying to get back into work mode after such a lovely break.

annissa89 said...

Milsom Street also occurs in Northanger Abbey, and it's fun that the same place names in Bath occurs in both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. I have to remember theese names when I draw my paperdolls, but I write them up in i a notebook.

Jane Odiwe said...

Yes, I always take both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion with me to Bath and read the relevant parts. There are more photos coming with some references to NA too.
I love paper dolls - I used to have a big collection as a child and still have some of my favourites!