& Moira Bianchi: Hotels and Inns in Jane Austen's works

quarta-feira, 27 de novembro de 2019

Hotels and Inns in Jane Austen's works

This post is part two of my research on hotels and inns. Don't roll your eyes at me just yet when I tell you that yes, I had doubts if England did have hotels as we know them back then. The first part is here: HOTELS AND INNS IN REGENCY ERA


Again I explain why I started this. I'm working on a new JAFF, quite different from my last one, 9 WAYS TO LIVE PRIDE AND PREJUDICIOUSLY

The new JAFF is called DIRTY PETTICOATS, a Pride & Prejudice continuation - a mystery romantic comedy or a chick lit full of shenanigans for Darcy and Mrs. Lizzy Darcy to solve - set entirelly in the Regency Era. 

I fear big errors, so I do research and read and wonder and spend time thinking. That was why when a certain characters needed a place to stay, I stopped short: 

Yeah, of course there were... Duh!

Now I am sure because I did research. First I looked into Jane Austen's own words and listed below, secondly I looked over my fellow nosy people in the internet to find tips, thirdly I checked trully historical sources as magazines and catalogues from 1810 to 1819. The last two sources you'll find in the first post. FYI, I loosely pinpoint P&P around the first two decades of 19th century and only specify the year if it's pivotal to the story.

Anyway, why did I have such a silly doubt?
Well, because I tend to think the highly refined and proper people of Regency England a bit too underdeveloped when compared to the sizzling Victorians. Don't know, maybe because of the power of the industrial revolution.

So, the research began with Austen.

Thank God Gutenberg has all the major novels on line and my Firefox can do 'search' so I skimmed directly to the words and read a bit before and a bit after to judge if it was relevant for me.

Here you have it: by novel, each relevant quote on 'inn' or 'hotel'
Not in order of appearances and relevant to me, which was MAKE SURE IT DID EXIST and CATCH DETAILS OF ITS WORKINGS. If you do need something in particular, you may want to double-check.

Here Austen says about meals in coaching inns, for a single man residing in hotels would be easier than opening the town house when alone and the ideal hiding place for lovers on the run

- Mr. Bennet’s carriage was to meet them at the inn, ... both Kitty and Lydia were looking out of a dining-room up stairs
- a table set out with such cold meat as an inn larder usually affords
- settle his account at the inn
- WE ARE convinced that when Charles gets to town he will be in no hurry to leave it again, we have determined on following him thither, that he may not be obliged to spend his vacant hours in a comfortless hotel
- ...Mr. Bennet had been to Epsom and Clapham, before his arrival, but without gaining any satisfactory information; and that he was now determined to inquire at all the principal hotels in town, as Mr. Bennet thought it possible they might have gone to one of them, on their first coming to London, before they procured lodgings

Again Austen mention meals when on the road and also, receiving mail

- only disturbed that she could not make them choose their own dinners at the inn, nor extort a confession of their preferring salmon to cod, or boiled fowls to veal cutlets
- They was stopping in a chaise at the door of the New London Inn, as I went there with a message from...

Here it is more juicy! The serach for a place to host a ball. And more: how horrible most road inns were

- Their first pause was at the Crown Inn, an inconsiderable house, though the principal one of the sort, where a couple of pair of post-horses were kept, more for the convenience of the neighbourhood than from any run on the road; and his companions had not expected to be detained by any interest excited there; but in passing it they gave the history of the large room visibly added; it had been built many years ago for a ball-room, and while the neighbourhood had been in a particularly populous, dancing state, had been occasionally used as such;—but such brilliant days had long passed away, and now the highest purpose for which it was ever wanted was to accommodate a whist club established among the gentlemen and half-gentlemen of the place. He was immediately interested. Its character as a ball-room caught him; and instead of passing on, he stopt for several minutes at the two superior sashed windows which were open, to look in and contemplate its capabilities, and lament that its original purpose should have ceased. He saw no fault in the room, he would acknowledge none which they suggested. No, it was long enough, broad enough, handsome enough. It would hold the very number for comfort. They ought to have balls there at least every fortnight through the winter. 
- A room at an inn was always damp and dangerous; never properly aired, or fit to be inhabited. If they must dance, they had better dance at Randalls. He had never been in the room at the Crown in his life—did not know the people who kept it by sight.—Oh! no—a very bad plan. They would catch worse colds at the Crown than anywhere.
- ...if you knew how Selina feels with respect to sleeping at an inn, you would not wonder at Mrs. Churchill's making incredible exertions to avoid it. Selina says it is quite horror to her—and I believe I have caught a little of her nicety. She always travels with her own sheets; an excellent precaution. Does Mrs. Churchill do the same?”
“Depend upon it, Mrs. Churchill does every thing that any other fine lady ever did...."

Austen again mention meals, mail and daily dealings when first arriving at an inn. 

- After securing accommodations, and ordering a dinner at one of the Lyme inns, ...
- After attending Louisa through her business, and loitering about a little longer, they returned to the inn; and Anne, in passing afterwards quickly from her own chamber to their dining-room, had nearly run against the very same gentleman, as he came out of an adjoining apartment. She had before conjectured him to be a stranger like themselves, and determined that a well-looking groom, who was strolling about near the two inns as they came back, should be his servant. Both master and man being in mourning assisted the idea. It was now proved that he belonged to the same inn as themselves;...
- take a chaise from the inn
- A morning of thorough confusion was to be expected. A large party in an hotel ensured a quick-changing, unsettled scene. One five minutes brought a note, the next a parcel; and Anne had not been there half an hour, when their dining-room, spacious as it was, seemed more than half filled: a party of steady old friends were seated around Mrs Musgrove, and Charles came back with Captains Harville and Wentworth.


In Bath, hotels are not only to stay but to visit for a meal, quite interesting!... Fashionable places they were. And one more time she speaks of horrible places, bad servants and all

- They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight—her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already.
They were soon settled in comfortable lodgings in Pulteney Street.
- ...they had driven directly to the York Hotel, ate some soup, and bespoke an early dinner, walked down to the pump-room, tasted the water, and laid out some shillings in purses and spars; thence adjourned to eat ice at a pastry-cook's, and hurrying back to the hotel, swallowed their dinner in haste, to prevent being in the dark; and then had a delightful drive back, only the moon was not up, and it rained a little, and Mr. Morland's horse was so tired he could hardly get it along.
- ...a fear, on Mrs. Allen's side, of having once left her clogs behind her at an inn, and that fortunately proved to be groundless.
- Everybody acquainted with Bath may remember the difficulties of crossing Cheap Street at this point; it is indeed a street of so impertinent a nature, so unfortunately connected with the great London and Oxford roads, and the principal inn of the city, that a day never passes in which parties of ladies, however important their business, whether in quest of pastry, millinery, or even (as in the present case) of young men, are not detained on one side or other by carriages, horsemen, or carts. 
- It is so d—uncomfortable, living at an inn.
- ...find a pool of commerce, in the fate of which she shared, by private partnership with Morland, a very good equivalent for the quiet and country air of an inn at Clifton. Her satisfaction, too, in not being at the Lower Rooms was spoken more than once.
- These schemes are not at all the thing. Young men and women driving about the country in open carriages! Now and then it is very well; but going to inns and public places together!
- ...with his discontent at whatever the inn afforded, and his angry impatience at the waiters

The single man living alone in a hotel, again, as Caroline hinted Charles Bingley would do. Fine, fine move...

-MR. DE COURCY TO LADY SUSAN. —Hotel. I write only to bid you farewell, the spell is removed; I see you as you are...
-MR. DE COURCY TO LADY SUSAN. ——Hotel. Why would you write to me? Why do you require particulars?

As a new spa, the hotel would be an important business. But the first we hear is that it has a subscription at the library. Then that the new guest will not stay there. Hotel is treated once more as a not so pleasant place but nevertheless, very busy.

- ...Mrs. Whitby at the library was sitting in her inner room, reading one of her own novels for want of employment. The list of subscribers was but commonplace. The Lady Denham, Miss Brereton,..., Grays Inn; 
- ...She had gone to a hotel, living by her own account as prudently as possible to defy the reputed expensiveness of such a home, and at the end of three days calling for her bill that she might judge of her state. Its amount was such as determined her on staying not another hour in the house, and she was preparing in all the anger and perturbation of her belief in very gross imposition there, and her ignorance of where to go for better usage, to leave the hotel at all hazards, when the cousins, the politic and lucky cousins, who seemed always to have a spy on her, introduced themselves...
- AFTER THE TERRACE... In this row were the best milliner's shop and the library—a little detached from it, the hotel and billiard room.
- ...Two large families one for Prospect House probably, the other for Number two Denham place or the end house of the Terrace, with extra beds at the hotel.
- ...I have no fancy for having my house as full as an hotel. I should not choose to have my two housemaids' time taken up all the morning in dusting out bed-rooms.
- ...a gentleman's carriage with post horses standing at the door of the hotel, as very lately arrived and by the quantity of luggage being taken off, bringing, it might be hoped, some respectable family determined on a long residence.
- ...there was an arrival at the hotel, but not its amount.

An inn was expected to be a meeting place. Fun thing here is to hear about the dealings of horses and comings and goings in the yard.

- ...As soon as we had dispatched this Letter, we immediately prepared to follow it in person and were stepping into the Carriage for that Purpose when our attention was attracted by the Entrance of a coroneted Coach and 4 into the Inn-yard.
- ...We were in the Inn-yard when his Carriage entered and perceiving by the arms to whom it belonged, and knowing that Lord St Clair was our Grandfather, we agreed to endeavour to get something from him by discovering the Relationship—.




Meals at a coaching inn, but here, look, Eliza decides to stop even thought she is close to home. so it must have been a hospitable place, huh?

-She had about 40 miles to travel before she could reach their hospitable Mansion, of which having walked 30 without stopping, she found herself at the Entrance of a Town, where often in happier times, she had accompanied Sir George & Lady Harcourt to regale themselves with a cold collation at one of the Inns.
The reflections that her adventures since the last time she had partaken of these happy Junketings afforded her, occupied her mind, for some time, as she sat on the steps at the door of a Gentleman's house. As soon as these reflections were ended, she arose & determined to take her station at the very inn she remembered with so much delight, from the Company of which, as they went in & out, she hoped to receive some Charitable Gratuity.
She had but just taken her post at the Inn yard before a Carriage drove out of it, & on turning the Corner at which she was stationed, stopped to give the Postilion an opportunity of admiring the beauty of the prospect. Eliza then advanced to the carriage & was going to request their Charity, when on fixing her Eyes on the Lady, within it, she exclaimed,
"Lady Harcourt!"
To which the lady replied,

"Yes Madam, it is the wretched Eliza herself."

How about that?
Did you enjoy this research?

Soon my new novel will be out, Lizzy will visit a certain hotel and well, shenanigans will abound!

See ya!

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