by Emily Smith
“…a very strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms
in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better.”
DAY TEN – Saturday, September 22, 2018
Overnight, tropical storm Helene finally reached the coast of England and put a bit of a damper on the day’s festivities, which was a disappointment as I had a trip planned to the coast.
Today I hopped on a bus and headed out to the seaside with my fellow Janeites. On the bus, I sat behind Rose Servitova, the author whose talk I attended the day prior. She was delightful to chat with and not only am I excited to read her book The Longbourn Letters, but now I’m excited about the novel she is currently working on – finishing The Watsons, one of Jane Austen’s uncompleted works.
With my new acquaintance, we set off toward Lyme Regis. It was a bit windy and damp when we arrived, but luckily wasn’t downpouring, so we went to walk the Cobb, and I got to walk along both the Upper and Lower portions. Unfortunately, there was no Captain Wentworth in the vicinity to jump me down.
As I left the Cobb, the rain started to come down more heavily, so I headed indoors to stay dry and warm. I decided to visit the Lyme Regis Museum and hit up a cute little café across the road. Afterwards, I got rather wet trying to make my way back across the village to the bus pick-up location.
Then it was a cold ride over to Sidmouth, a seaside town Jane visited, and by the time we arrived, it was officially a torrential downpour. I attempted to get out to see the beautiful red cliffs along the coastline, and my umbrella got turned inside out in the strong winds. Deciding that this Phoenician couldn’t handle it anymore, I made my way back onto the bus. But I had already gotten soaked through so the ride back to Bath was cold, wet and unpleasant. I was sure glad to make it back to my hotel to get warm and dry.
Luckily the evening turned around. I attended a talk “…one wish for air and liberty…” about landscape gardening in the Regency era. Following was a hilarious theatrical called “Darcy’s Ball” which continued the story of Pride and Prejudice, in which Mr. Darcy and Lizzy throw a ball to celebrate their first anniversary and invite Lady Catherine in an attempt to make amends. It was a very interactive and engaging performance, and I even got called on stage to be taught refinement lessons in drawing, singing, and French by Lady Catherine de Bourgh, none of which I’m remotely accomplished in. But let’s face it, would I have performed well enough to satisfy Lady Catherine de Bourgh anyway?!