Part II. A Study of Character’s Movement in Sense and Sensibility
A startling fact! – there are 49 mentions of movement and 46 mentions of carriages [to include a few referring to travel by horseback] – and people say that nothing happens in Jane Austen! That is a great deal of traveling in what I have just described in the previous post as a not easy or inexpensive world to travel in!
To begin, let’s place the characters where they live and their income if known:
A. Where the characters live: see the map of England’s Counties below, and the map of places, both real and fictional above
- Counties = Sussex, Somerset, Dorset, Devon
- London [“Town” = London], largely Mayfair
- Henry Dashwood – Norland, Sussex
- Mrs. Henry Dashwood – Norland, moves to Barton Cottage, Devonshire – £7000 = £350 / yr
- Mrs. Dashwood’s mother – Stanhill [Sussex]
- John and Fanny Dashwood – Norland, Sussex; Harley St, London [renting?]; purchase East Kingham Farm, near Norland – £5,000 – £6,000 / year
- Elinor / Marianne / Margaret: Norland, Sussex, move to Barton Cottage, Devonshire; each have £1000 capital from their uncle = £50 pounds each annual income = £500 total for the four of them [150 + 350 = £500]
Colonel Brandon: Delaford in Dorset; St. James St, London – £2000 / year
- Eliza Williams, his ward – Avignon [Brandon’s sister] – where? – found her in London
- Brandon’s brother-in-law: Whitwell, near Barton
- Mrs. Ferrars – Park St, London
- Edward – his mother’s house; Pall Mall, London, after leaving home; Oxford; Edward and Elinor after marriage will have £350 / year (though this will increase to £850 with Edward’s inheritance of £10,000 from Mrs. Ferrars, reluctantly given!)
- Robert – his mother’s house? later London with Lucy Steele
- Fanny Ferrars Dashwood [see above]
John Willoughby – Combe Magna, Somerset; Bond St, London – about £600-700 /yr
- Mrs. Smith, Willoughby’s Aunt – Allenham Court, Devonshire
- Miss Gray, Willoughby’s wife – £50,000 = £2,500 /yr
The Jennings / Middletons / Palmers:
- Sir John and Lady Mary Middleton [Mrs. Jennings daughter]: Barton Park, Devonshire; Conduit St, London
- Mrs. Jennings: Berkeley St, London, near Portman Square, otherwise she is visiting her daughters
- Mr. Thomas Palmer and Charlotte Palmer [Mrs. Jennings’ daughter]: Cleveland, Somerset; Hanover Square, London [renting?]
- Lucy and Anne [Nancy] Steele – Bartlett’s Buildings, London
- Mr. Pratt [the Steele’s Uncle] – Longstaple [near Plymouth]
Miss Morton: Edward’s intended, London somewhere – £30,000 = £1500/yr
B. Movement of characters – a quick summary:
1. The novel starts out with Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters moving from Norland Park [Sussex] to Barton Cottage [Devonshire] – their furniture goes by way of the water [i.e. canal system]
2. The Elinor and Marianne go to London with Mrs. Jennings [and most everyone else], then return to Cleveland, then back to Barton Cottage, where they await their destiny, both ending up at Delaford.
3. Colonel Brandon lives in Delaford, but he is quite often at Barton Park, he goes to London to see his ward, later moves to London with everyone else, and when staying in London, he goes back and forth to Delaford “a few times”, and then later returns home via Cleveland and has to fetch Mrs. Dashwood in the middle of the night back and forth from Cleveland to Barton Cottage, and then finally seems to be at Barton Park / Cottage an awful lot…
4. Edward Ferrars visits Barton Cottage and later we find that he was actually first in Plymouth – he travels a few times back and forth to London to his mother’s, then off to an unnamed Inn somewhere after he is disinherited, then to Oxford, then back to London settling in Pall Mall, and then of course to Barton to visit then marry Elinor, and they move to the parsonage at Delaford and we expect will live happily ever after…
5. Willoughby lives in London, has his estate home at Combe Magna in Somerset, visits his Aunt in Allenham Court [Devonshire], leaves for London when HE is disinherited; he later visits Cleveland [Somerset] to see the dying Marianne, and then back to London to live with his boring, but wealthy wife
6. The Middletons live at Barton Park [Devonshire], but travel to London with everyone else…
7. The Palmers live at Cleveland [Somerset], they visit Barton Park [Devonshire], then back to Cleveland and then to London with everyone else; return to Cleveland and then leave again as Marianne falls ill.
8. Mrs. Jennings, of course, lives in London but travels all over to visit her children at Barton Park and Cleveland
9. the Miss Steeles live in Plymouth with their Uncle, visited Exeter and then to Barton Park, then to London where they stay with first the Middletons, then the John Dashwoods, then Lucy with her now husband Robert Ferrars leave London for Dawlish, then return to London to live unhappily ever after, while her abandoned sister has to borrow money from Mrs. Jennings to catch a coach back to Plymouth [in the endless, hopeless search of her Doctor…]
10. Mrs. Dashwood is taken to Cleveland by Col. Brandon to see Marianne at Cleveland [Somerset]; she is the only character who does not go to London.
11. As noted above, Everyone but Mrs. Dashwood goes to London, and while there they travel for their daily visiting calls and excursions around Town.
12. And of course, Mrs. Ferrars stays put, selecting / de-selecting her heir from her comfortable seat in London – BUT the book ends with her visiting Elinor and Edward: ‘She came to inspect the happiness which she was almost ashamed of having authorized.”
And how did they travel?? – stay tuned for Part III: Carriages in Sense and Sensibility
Sources: Fig. 1 and 2 maps from the JASNA.org website; Fig. 3 Cary map from Pemberley.com
Oh dear friend! This post is really fantastic! Thanks a lot! I wish to publish it in portuguese some day.
Thanks Adriana! – this is a series – will be doing the carriages [the most fun part!] shortly, once I get through this introduction …
You may certainly publish it on your blog in Portuguese!
Deb, as soon as I can I will translate it, ok?
Fabulous post, Deb! Fabulous.
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As a new member, I am just finding and reading your series of articles..and loving them!
Thanks Fran! – welcome to JASNA!
This is a fabulous website! I am not certain, though, if perhaps there might be a typo above, where you say the Edward and Elinor only have £350 to live on after marriage. At the end of the novel, it is stated that “neither was enough in love as to think that £350 would supply them with the necessities of life.” The 350 broke down from the £200 from Delaford living from Colonel Brandon, plus Elinor’s £50 annual income, plus the £100 per annum derived from Edward’s capital, the £2000 he received upon the death of his father. They only marry after Mrs. Ferrars relents, and gives them £10,000, “which was given with Fanny,” meaning that was also what Fanny received as a dowry. Thus, Edward and Elinor settled with £850 per annum, which they felt was enough to live quite comfortably in their parsonage.
Hello Melinda, Yes, you are correct – but this is not a typo – I just don’t have my note here on the blog about their income that is in the talk that I give – When Elinor and Edward plan to marry, they expect to have only an income of £350 income and they expect to live fairly frugally on that. But Mrs. Ferrars gives them her consent and £10,000 which brings their income to £850.
Here’s the chart I use in my talk:
Who Asset [5%] annual income
Edward 2000 = 100
Elinor 1000 = 50
Delaford living 200
Inheritance 10,000 500
So thanks for pointing this out – I should add a note to this on this post!
Thanks for visiting!
I’m enjoying these posts,my only query with this one would be the assertion that the Dashwood’s bulky luggage went by canal from Norland to Barton. I have always assumed it went by sea. As far as I know the canal network, although obviously more extensive in those days, would not have facilitated such a lengthy journey west to east. Although it is not clear where in Sussex Norland is, as a coastal county sea access would have been no problem.
My Mother and I are reading Sense and Sensibility and I stumbled across your website on my search for the distance between Sussex and Devonshire. The map is so very helpful and I look forward to using your site to further my understanding of the novel.
So glad you found the info helpful – I hadn’t really noticed the extent of all the traveling that everyone does in S&S and that is what prompted the blog posts – when people say nothing happens in Jane Austen, they need to pay attention to how often people are moving about, via carriage, horse or walking! Enjoy the read with your mom – special times!
I have a question about the Ang Lee film (an absolute favourite) that I would love to have answered. In that film, Col Brandon’s estate Delaford is located not in Dorset but in Devonshire, near Sir John Middleton’s estate Barton Park (“but four miles hence”, says the film Mrs Jennings). As we know, Willoughby is disinherited and cast out by his aunt from Allenham Court (also in the same Devon neighbourhood), presumbly never to return – this is why he has to choose “Miss Gray and her fifty thousand pounds!”
So why, I am longing to know, in the final scene where Col and Mrs Brandon (formerly Miss Marianne Dashwood) leave the church where they have just been married – in a location which, we must presume, is the church on Brandon’s estate where Edward Ferrars now has the living, or at the very least is close by to Delaford – why is JOHN WILLOUGHBY there on in his grey horse looking down from the nearby hillside? Surely the wedding took place near Delaford and not near Combe Magna, a full day’s ride away in Somerset! So why is Willoughby there? Did his aunt relent and let him come back for a visit? Could Emma Thompson not resist having Greg Wise looking down in a darkly wistful over the wedding scene of his lost love? Please help me resolve this mystery that nags me every time I watch the film (in happy tears each and every time at the end). Thanks!
*darkly wistful manner – !