Thursday, February 22


Somerset, with Hampshire, is Jane Austen country. Jane lived in Bath for several years in the late 1790s while her family moved from lodging to lodging in reduced circumstances. One visualizes her visiting a socially superior friend at the manor, gossiping tartly on a bench in the lawns about the gala last weekend. Sense and Sensibility is apparently to be remade. The last one won Emma Thompson an Oscar as well as Golden Globes for screenplay. Here's her report of the ceremony, pace Jane:

Four a.m., having just returned from an evening at the Golden Spheres, which despite the inconveniences of heat, noise and overcrowding was not without its pleasures. Thankfully, there were no dogs and no children. The gowns were middling. There was a good deal of shouting and behavior verging on the profligate, however, people were very free with their compliments and I made several new acquaintences. There was Lindsay Doran of Mirage, wherever that might be, who's largely responsible for my presence here, an enchanting companion about whom too much good cannot be said. Mr. Ang Lee, of foreign extraction, who most unexpectedly appeared to understand me better than I understand myself. Mr. James Shamis, a most copiously erudite person and Miss Kate Winslet, beautiful in both countenance and spirit. Mr. Pat Doyle, a composer and Scot, who displayed the kind of wild behavior one has learned to expect from that race. Mr. Mark Kenton, an energetic person with a ready smile who, as I understand it, owes me a great deal of money. Miss Lisa Hanson of Columbia, a lovely girl and Mr. Garrett Wiggin, a lovely boy. I attempted to converse with Mr. Sydney Pollack, but his charms and wisdom are so generally pleasing, that it proved impossible to get within ten feet of him. The room was full of interesting activity until 11 p.m. when it emptied rather suddenly. The lateness of the hour is due, therefore, not to the dance, but to waiting in a long line for a horseless carriage of unconscionable size. The modern world has clearly done nothing for transport.

Above: Bailbrook House, NE Somerset. Below: Bath Abbey.

Edgar, first King of all England, was crowned by Dunstan Archbishop of Canterbury in the Saxon Abbey on this site on Whitsunday A.D. 973.


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