Page 126. " the ceaseless clink of pattens "

The list of various noises includes the all too familiar 'clink' made by pattens, a type of metal contraption worn on the shoe to elevate it from the dirt of the street. 

Public DomainPattens - Credit: Jean Etienne Liotard

Pattens had come into use as far back as the middle ages, as a shoe for the outdoors worn over regular footwear. Initially made of wood or leather, by the time Austen is writing 'pattens' referred to a metallic addition to the bottom of the shoe, rather than the vertiginous contraptions pictured above. They were worn mainly by women in Austen's day, as male fashion included durable boots.

Page 128. " Their house was undoubtedly the best in Camden-place "

Camden Place in Bath was a place of highly desirable lodgings for people as aspiring of notice as Miss Elliot and Sir Walter. Excellent examples of elegant Georgian architecture dating from the late 18th century, these buildings would have pleased the Elliots' vanity as well as Lady Russell's and Anne Elliot's aesthetic sensibilities.


Camden Crescent, Bath
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCamden Crescent, Bath - Credit: Maurice Pullin
Page 137. " I should recommend Gowland, the constant use of Gowland, during the spring months. "

Gowland's Lotion was a skin cream marketed to both men and women that was meant to enhance the look of skin by decreasing blemishes and skin disorders. It contained lead and mercury (also known as quicksilver) and with repeated, prolonged use was poisonous. Mercury is still sometimes found in cosmetics.


Mercury Mine, 1689
Public DomainMercury Mine, 1689 - Credit: Janez Vajkard Valvasor


Page 140. " They visited in Laura-place "


Laura Place
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLaura Place - Credit: Nikater

Laura Place was a fashionable section of Bath that attracted the English aristocracy, and it spoke to the status of the Viscountess and her circle. Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot are thrilled to display visiting cards from Laura Place because it is a double coup. Not only do they have friends in Laura Place, but friends who also happen to be higher in the English hierarchy than themselves.

Visiting cards were akin to today's business cards.