Page 351. " Whereabouts does the Thrush lay at Spithead? Near the Canopus? "
Print of H.M.S. Canopus
Public DomainPrint of H.M.S. Canopus - Credit: Richard Henry Nibbs

 Spithead is a sheltered part of the Solent where ships may lie at anchor.

H.M.S. Canopus began life as the French-owned ship Franklin which was launched in 1797. Following its capture at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, it went into service with the Royal Navy, where it remained until 1887.

Sir Francis Austen, Jane Austen's brother, served on H.M.S. Canopus, and was its commander at the Battle of San Domingo in 1806.

Page 352. " you will certainly have a cruize to the westward with the Elephant "

 H.M.S. Elephant was a ship in service with the Royal Navy between 1786 and 1830, and was for a period under the command of Sir Francis Austen.

Page 353. " he thought you would be sent first to the Texel "
Texel, the Netherlands
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTexel, the Netherlands - Credit: MartinD

 Texel is one of the Frisian Islands which are situated off the Dutch coast, just to the west of that part of the North Sea which is known as the Wadden Sea.


Google Map
Page 353. " I jumped up, and made but two steps to the point "

Portsmouth Point (sometimes known as Spice Island) is situated in Old Portsmouth, at the eastern side of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour.

William Walton composed an overture entitled 'Portsmouth Point', inspired by the Rowlandson print shown below.

Listen here on Spotify.


Caricature of Portsmouth Point (1811)
Public DomainCaricature of Portsmouth Point (1811) - Credit: Thomas Rowlandson
Page 353. " and anybody in England would take her for an eight-and-twenty "

Possibly, this is a reference to the number of guns held by the ship.

Can anybody confirm this?

Page 353. " I was upon the platform two hours this afternoon, looking at her "
Old Portsmouth cannon
Creative Commons AttributionOld Portsmouth cannon - Credit: Toby Irvine

 A reference to the Saluting Platform, a coastal battery (a fortified location where heavy guns are placed) situated on the Grand Parade, Portsmouth. Built around 1522, it got its name because the guns stationed on it were fired to greet ships entering the harbour, a practice known as saluting.

Click here to see a picture of the Saluting Platform in the reign of Queen Anne.

Page 353. " She lays just astern of the Endymion, with the Cleopatra to larboard "
Depiction of H.M.S. Cleopatra (1805)
Public DomainDepiction of H.M.S. Cleopatra (1805) - Credit: Nicholas Pocock

Both Royal Navy ships, H.M.S. Cleopatra was launched in 1779 and H.M.S. Endymion in 1799.

Jane Austen's younger brother Sir Charles Austen served on both during his naval career.


Page 354. " the other midshipman on board an Indiaman "

 An Indiaman was a large merchant ship which was involved in trade with India, the East Indies or the West Indies.


The East Indiaman 'Warley' (1804)
Public DomainThe East Indiaman 'Warley' (1804) - Credit: Robert Salmon
Page 355. " That boy is fit for a boatswain "
Royal Navy Boatswain
Public DomainRoyal Navy Boatswain - Credit: unknown

 A boatswain, often shortened to bo'sun, was a petty officer or warrant officer (both non-commissioned officers) who was in charge of the deck crew as well as matters relating to the ship's anchors, cables and rigging.

Page 357. " determined to see their brother and Mr. Campbell to the salley-port; "

Plaque commemorating the Sally Port at Portsmouth
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePlaque commemorating the Sally Port at Portsmouth - Credit: Secret Pilgrim
 In general a sally port is an opening, such as a gateway or passage, which allows troops/sailors to leave a fortified location.  In Portsmouth the Sally Port was an opening in the garrison walls just adjacent to the Square Tower.

Click here to see a picture of the Sally Port in 1960.

Page 361. " he read only the newspaper and the navy-list "

 The Navy List is an official publication of the Royal Navy which lists serving naval officers, with details of their rank and postings.

Click here to see the complete Navy List of the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815).

Page 361. " he talked only of the dock-yard, the harbour, Spithead and the Motherbank "

Like Spithead, the Motherbank is a roadstead (a place outside a harbour where a ship may lie at anchor) in the Solent between Cowes and Ryde. It was often the last resting place for Royal Navy warships before they were decommissioned.


Map of the Isle of Wight and the Solent
Public DomainMap of the Isle of Wight and the Solent - Credit: Geographicus Rare Antique Maps
Page 364. " Fanny was tempted to apply to them Dr. Johnson's celebrated judgment as to matrimony and celibacy "
Portrait of Samuel Johnson (1775)
Public DomainPortrait of Samuel Johnson (1775) - Credit: Sir Joshua Reynolds

 Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) made the remark, 'Marriage has many pains but celibacy has no pleasures' in The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (1759).



Page 366. " she will open one of the best houses in Wimpole Street "
Map of Marylebone area of London (1741-5)
Public DomainMap of Marylebone area of London (1741-5) - Credit: John Rocque

 Wimpole Street is situated in London's Marylebone. It developed slowly as a residential area during the 18th century but had become a highly fashionable location by the early 19th century.

Today, many people will associate the name with the poet Elizabeth Barret Browning (1806-1861) who lived at 50 Wimpole Street, but this would not have been an assocation made by Jane Austen herself or by her contemporary readership.

In the mid 18th century map (right), Wimpole Street is not marked - it lies to the west of Cavendish Square, off Henrietta Street.


Page 367. " for as she neither played on the piano-forte nor wore fine pelisses "

 Originally a military garment, the pelisse became a women's fashion item towards the beginning of the 19th century. As worn by women, it was a calf-length coat with an empire waistline (just below the bust), sometimes made of fur, or with a fur lining or trim. During the course of the 19th century, women's dresses became very much fuller and not suited to being worn under the original-style pelisse. However, the term continued to be used to describe a type of dress and a type of cloak, the cloak also being known as a pelisse mantle.



Page 370. " and some of her's found its way to a circulating library "
Part of building which housed the Circulating Library in Bath
Creative Commons AttributionPart of building which housed the Circulating Library in Bath - Credit: Monkey Myshkin

 Circulating libraries (that is, libraries that circulated books, rather than libraries which moved from place to place!) came into existence in the 18th century and offered a  means of borrowing books rather than buying them. They are generally considered slightly different from the subscription libraries (which developed during the same period) in that they did not demand such a high annual subscription and they concentrated more on light literature, particularly novels. Indeed, it has been suggested that circulating libraries received rather a bad press during the 18th and 19th centuries because of their detrimental effect on readers, particularly female ones.