A week after the first suggestion that they should spend the summer at a seaside resort the Witterings gather in the Egyptian (soon to be Chinese if the countess has her way) drawing room before dinner to decide where to go.
‘Brighton,’ says Viscount Ditherstone decisively. Wherever Prinny favours is bound to be lively and he might be able to get an invitation to the Pavilion. (Photo below) Besides, he has heard that all the Cyprians decamp to Brighton during the summer, so there is sure to be some high-class lightskirts to… er… admire.
‘Certainly not,’ two firm female voices announce in concert. For once his wife and his mother are in accord. ‘One hears the most disgraceful things about the company there,’ his wife Almira adds with a significant look in the direction of her daughter.
‘Weymouth is highly respectable, as is Hastings,’ she suggests. ‘And dear Princess Charlotte visited Southend on several occasions (Print below). I have heard it is most select.’
‘The scenery is nothing out of the ordinary in any of those places.’ The countess is eager to draw scenes of wild seas and craggy cliffs. ‘The Isle of Wight or Scarborough, now, those are said to have fine Romantic views.’
‘Scarborough? Full of northern merchants, I’ll be bound,’ the Earl snorts. ‘You’ll be suggesting Blackpool next! And the Isle of Wight involves a sea crossing.’
‘Fossils and geology though,’ young Arthur pipes up. ‘The Isle of Wight, that is. And interesting sands and cliffs and the Needles for Grandmama.’
‘A good Assembly Room, a theatre and shops are essential.’ Miss Emily, seventeen, has heard about the troops stationed along the Channel coast. So many officers in scarlet coats. Why, it must be a patriotic duty to flirt with such heroes. But she knows better than to mention the fact.
‘Weymouth,’ the Earl decides with unusual firmness. Respectable, lively and good enough for the royal family. ‘You’ll have all the views a person could want, my dear and there are bound to be rocks for young Arthur. And it is as far as I’m prepared to drive, so let that be an end to it. Porrett!’
His secretary, lurking discretely in a corner where he can sigh over Miss Emily’s perfect profile, jumps like a scalded cat. ‘My lord!’
‘Weymouth it is. Sort out accommodation. We will travel at the beginning of June and stay until the end of August.’
‘My lord, I will attend to it with all dispatch.’
Where will Porrett find them to stay? Will Porrett be allowed to come too? You can follow their summer adventures here over the next few months and read about the vibrant world of the early English seaside holiday in The Georgian Seaside: the English resorts before the railways came.