Monday, November 19, 2012

On location in Bath with Persuasion!

When I'm in Bath I love spotting the locations of my favourite scenes in adaptations like Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

Here is a photo of Abbey Green which, as you might expect, is close to Bath Abbey. It's a lovely area with tempting shops and teashops.

Abbey Green, Bath
This area was used for a pivotal scene in the BBC 1995 adaptation of Persuasion when Anne Elliot learns from Admiral Croft that Frederick Wentworth is no longer interested in Louisa Musgrove.

Bijoux Beads, Bath

 
This is a lovely example of a Regency shop in Bath - it's one of my favourites. They sell beads and accessories to make jewellery, but there are lovely examples to buy if you don't want to make your own. At this time of the year the shop is also full of gifts and decorations for Christmas - it's wonderful to have a browse around! In the 1995 film, this shop was transformed into a print shop.


In Georgian times, prints of political cartoons were pasted up in the windows of print shops and would have drawn crowds who were eager to see the latest gossip depicted. Landscapes and interior scenes were popular too. In Persuasion, Admiral Croft is amused by the depiction of a boat in a print shop window.

 Anne was too much engaged with Lady Russell to be often walking herself; but it so happened that one morning, about a week or ten days after the Crofts' arrival, it suited her best to leave her friend, or her friend's carriage, in the lower part of the town, and return alone to Camden Place; and in walking up Milsom Street she had the good fortune to meet with the Admiral. He was standing by himself, at a printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation of some print, and she not only might have passed him unseen, but was obliged to touch as well as address him before she could catch his notice. When he did perceive and acknowledge her, however, it was done with all his usual frankness and good humour. "Ha! is it you? Thank you, thank you. This is treating me like a friend. Here I am, you see, staring at a picture. I can never get by this shop without stopping. But what a thing here is, by way of a boat. Do look at it. Did you ever see the like? What queer fellows your fine painters must be, to think that any body would venture their lives in such a shapeless old cockleshell as that. And yet here are two gentlemen stuck up in it mightily at their ease, and looking about them at the rocks and mountains, as if they were not to be upset the next moment, which they certainly must be. I wonder where that boat was built!" (laughing heartily); "I would not venture over a horsepond in it. Well," (turning away), "now, where are you bound? Can I go any where for you, or with you? Can I be of any use?"
   "None, I thank you, unless you will give me the pleasure of your company the little way our road lies together. I am going home."
   "That I will, with all my heart, and farther too. Yes, yes, we will have a snug walk together, and I have something to tell you as we go along. There, take my arm -- that's right; I do not feel comfortable if I have not a woman there. Lord! what a boat it is!" taking a last look at the picture, as they began to be in motion.

The Bath Sweet Shop
This was always a favourite place to stop with my children when they were small. You can see the name, Abbey Green, chiselled into the stone. Here are Anne and the Admiral continuing their walk in the film below.



I love this scene from Jane Austen's Persuasion - you can just imagine how difficult it must have been for her to conceal her feelings!


When they were got a little farther, Anne ventured to press again for what he had to communicate. She had hoped when clear of Milsom Street to have her curiosity gratified; but she was still obliged to wait, for the Admiral had made up his mind not to begin till they had gained the greater space and quiet of Belmont; and as she was not really Mrs. Croft, she must let him have his own way. As soon as they were fairly ascending Belmont, he began --
   "Well, now you shall hear something that will surprise you. But first of all, you must tell me the name of the young lady I am going to talk about. That young lady, you know, that we have all been so concerned for. The Miss Musgrove that all this has been happening to. Her Christian name: I always forget her Christian name."
   Anne had been ashamed to appear to comprehend so soon as she really did; but now she could safely suggest the name of "Louisa."
   "Ay, ay, Miss Louisa Musgrove, that is the name. I wish young ladies had not such a number of fine Christian names. I should never be out if they were all Sophys, or something of that sort. Well, this Miss Louisa, we all thought, you know, was to marry Frederick. He was courting her week after week. The only wonder was, what they could be waiting for, till the business at Lyme came; then, indeed, it was clear enough that they must wait till her brain was set to right. But even then there was something odd in their way of going on. Instead of staying at Lyme, he went off to Plymouth, and then he went off to see Edward. When we came back from Minehead he was gone down to Edward's, and there he has been ever since. We have seen nothing of him since November. Even Sophy could not understand it. But now, the matter has taken the strangest turn of all; for this young lady, this same Miss Musgrove, instead of being to marry Frederick, is to marry James Benwick. You know James Benwick?"
   "A little. I am a little acquainted with Captain Benwick."
   "Well, she is to marry him. Nay, most likely they are married already, for I do not know what they should wait for."
   "I thought Captain Benwick a very pleasing young man," said Anne, "and I understand that he bears an excellent character."
   "Oh! yes, yes, there is not a word to be said against James Benwick. He is only a commander, it is true, made last summer, and these are bad times for getting on, but he has not another fault that I know of. An excellent, good-hearted fellow, I assure you; a very active, zealous officer, too, which is more than you would think for, perhaps, for that soft sort of manner does not do him justice."
   "Indeed, you are mistaken there, sir; I should never augur want of spirit from Captain Benwick's manners. I thought them particularly pleasing, and I will answer for it, they would generally please."
   "Well, well, ladies are the best judges; but James Benwick is rather too piano for me; and though very likely it is all our partiality, Sophy and I cannot help thinking Frederick's manners better than his. There is something about Frederick more to our taste."
   Anne was caught. She had only meant to oppose the too-common idea of spirit and gentleness being incompatible with each other, not at all to represent Captain Benwick's manners as the very best that could possibly be; and, after a little hesitation, she was beginning to say, "I was not entering into any comparison of the two friends"; but the Admiral interrupted her with --
   "And the thing is certainly true. It is not a mere bit of gossip. We have it from Frederick himself. His sister had a letter from him yesterday, in which he tells us of it, and he had just had it in a letter from Harville, written upon the spot, from Uppercross. I fancy they are all at Uppercross."
   This was an opportunity whichAnne could not resist; she said, therefore, "I hope, Admiral, I hope there is nothing in the style of Captain Wentworth's letter to make you and Mrs. Croft particularly uneasy. It did certainly seem, last autumn, as if there were an attachment between him and Louisa Musgrove; but I hope it may be understood to have worn out on each side equally, and without violence. I hope his letter does not breathe the spirit of an ill-used man."
   "Not at all, not at all: there is not an oath or a murmur from beginning to end."
   Anne looked down to hide her smile.
   "No, no; Frederick is not a man to whine and complain; he has too much spirit for that. If the girl likes another man better, it is very fit she should have him."
   "Certainly. But what I mean is, that I hope there is nothing in Captain Wentworth's manner of writing to make you suppose he thinks himself ill-used by his friend, which might appear, you know, without its being absolutely said. I should be very sorry that such a friendship as has subsisted between him and Captain Benwick should be destroyed, or even wounded by a circumstance of this sort."
   "Yes, yes, I understand you. But there is nothing at all of that nature in the letter. He does not give the least fling at Benwick; does not so much as say, 'I wonder at it. I have a reason of my own for wondering at it.' No, you would not guess, from his way of writing, that he had ever thought of this Miss (what's her name?) for himself. He very handsomely hopes they will be happy together; and there is nothing very unforgiving in that, I think."
   Anne did not receive the perfect conviction which the Admiral meant to convey, but it would have been useless to press the enquiry farther. She therefore satisfied herself with commonplace remarks or quiet attention, and the Admiral had it all his own way.
   "Poor Frederick!" said he, at last. "Now he must begin all over again with somebody else. I think we must get him to Bath. Sophy must write, and beg him to come to Bath. Here are pretty girls enough, I am sure. It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other Miss Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson. Do not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?"

Finally, here's the scene from a 1971 version - enjoy!




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