If adventure will not befall a young man in his own country, he must seek them abroad.
- Written in style of Austen, modeled upon her work of Northanger Abbey, which we read before going on this trip. For those who have read it, you'll know parts of Northanger Abbey takes place in Bath.
No one who had ever seen Ben in his infancy, would have supposed him born to be adventurous. His situation in life, the character of his father and mother, his own person and disposition, were all equally against him. The family of three were in general very plain, and Ben, for many years of his life, as plain as any. He had a thin awkward figure, sallow skin, dark hair, and unremarkable features. He was fond of quiet play, and greatly preferred reading to any adventurous activity and such were his propensities. At twenty two, however, appearances were mending; he began to gel his hair and longed to travel. He had now the pleasure of sometimes hearing his friends remark on his personal improvement. "Ben looks almost photogenic today," were words which caught his ears now and then; and how welcome were the sounds. To look almost photogenic, is an acquisition of higher delight to a boy who has been looking plain the first twenty two years of his life, than to a prince charming from his cradle can ever receive.
Ben, who by nature had nothing adventurous about him, had no objection to books at all. From eighteen to twenty-two, he read all works as all adventurers must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives.
From Austen, he learnt
"When a young man is to be adventurous, the perverseness of his surroundings cannot prevent him. Something must and will happen to throw adventure in his way".
Arcadia, who organized a trip to Bath for the benefit of its study abroad students;- and his friend, a good humored Columbia student, and one who probably was aware that if adventure will not befall a young man in his own country, he must seek them abroad, decided to along with him. Arcadia was all compliance, and Ben all happiness.
For the reader's more certain information, lest the following pages should otherwise fail of giving any idea of what Ben's character is meant to be; that his heart was affectionate, his disposition cheerful and open, without conceit or affection of any kind-his manners just removed from the awkwardness and shyness of a boy; his person pleasing, and when dressed probably, appears somewhat soothing to the beholder's eyes, and his life was as uninteresting as his surrounding allowed it to be.
Ben had previously attended a play at The National Theatre and did not reach bed until quarter past three in the morning. Under these unpromising auspices, the parting took place and the journey began. It was performed with suitable quietness and uneventful safety. Neither robbers nor tempests befriended them, nor one lucky overturn, to introduce him to adventure.
They arrived in Bath. Ben was all eager delight;-his eyes were here, there, every where, as they approached its fine and striking environments, and afterward drove through those streets which conducted them to the youth hostel. They were soon settled in comfortable lodgings in Walcot Street.
It is now expedient to give some description of Ben's friend Jake, that the reader may be able to judge, in what manner his actions hereafter tend to promote the meeting of adventure, and contribute material to Ben's blog. Jake was one of that numerous class of people who had an unassuming air and a disposition of openness to new experiences. His affable countenance made for an enjoyable travel companion and the lads were eager to explore together.
As they had traveled to other places earlier in the day, they did not enter to explore Bath till late. The season was chilly, and some of the streets were light and others were dark. With more care for seeing as much as they can before the sun went down than for their tiredness, Ben and Jake made their way through the throng of people near the alleyways and in front of bars.
Their exploration through Bath took them to the Bath Abbey:
and then to the Roman Baths:
and to the Circus
and the Royal Crescent
and up and down Pulteney Street
When they had at last felt the weariness in their feet too great to bear, they arrived at a lovely Japanese restaurant called Wagamama. They were obliged to sit down at the end of the table, at which a large party had already placed, without having any thing to do there except order a feast of food.
"How lovely Bath is," said Ben.
"Yes," replied Jake with perfect serenity
After some time, they requested an offer of green tea before the arrival of their dinner. Dinner consisted of two great plates of Udon noodles, which helped to quell the hunger in their stomaches after a whole day of walking. After dinner, the lads wandered the streets in search of entertainment. They asked for directions to the Odeon Theatre, in hopes of catching a show. When they arrived at the Odeon Theatre, they found all the films were to their distaste, and inquired of the existence of another theatre. A friendly gentlemen suggested an independent theatre nearer to town centre and the two friends made swiftly towards it.
The theatre was situated in an alleyway, and was only spotted by the keen eyes of Ben. They agreed upon watching Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but the show did not start until quarter past nine. Thus, Jake was of the opinion that they should find a pub nearby to pass the time. Ben obliged and the two found struggled their way past a throng of men standing in the doorway. When they proceeded inside, they found that by no means were they able to disengage themselves from the crowd. However, they laboriously squeezed their way to the counter, and order a pint of the recommended drink and made their way to the Upper rooms.
Tis widely known that one must take the waters in Bath. It is said the Bath is famous for the curative properties of its waters, and now apparently it is also able to cure lack of adventure:
Ben took the waters in Bath, and thus engaged in the tradition of all Austen characters to dance. Though it was not the famed Pump rooms where Catherine Morland first danced with Mr. Tilney, it is no less momentous. The pub is merely the Pump rooms of today, and a ball must be held, even if it on the tabletops:
I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to cause parental anger and shock for friends, or reward adventure
To see the result of the albums, click HERE and HERE