When I was told that we were headed to Lyme on our excursion. I really had no idea of what we were in for. To be perfectly honest, my personal schedule for reading my books was completely backwards, and I had only begun reading Persuasion on the bus. Also, I intentionally tried to ignore the movie, because I do not tolerate a spoiled plot before I read a book. Therefore, when it was announced that we would be visiting Regis Lyme, I did not relate with the excitement in the reaction of the rest of my classmates. I had not read Austen’s description of the “romantic rocks,” cliffs, charm of the neighborhood, the lovely stretch of beach, and the ocean (91). I did not know why “The young people were all wild to see Lyme” (90). Upon arriving, it didn’t take long to find out.
It was no wonder why Austen and her family took three visits to Lyme just between the years of 1803 and 1804. The town and beach were absolutely charming, and much different in appearance and atmosphere from the California beaches that I am used to. It was so quiet and peaceful, though full of life and visitors. It was inviting without being overbearing or over-popular. Pertaining to my ideals, it was certainly everything a beach town should be—a lovely picture alive in its beautiful simplicity.
After reading Austen’s description of Lyme in the novel, I clearly see why she says, “a very strange stranger it must be, who does not see the charms in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to knew it better” (91). She couldn’t have been more right. Our short hours along the Cobb and the beach were only a brief capture of this enchanting spot, and I certainly would not mind seeing it again. In Persuasion, Austen also says “these places must be visited, and visited again, to make the worth of Lyme understood” (92). I feel she must be speaking from experience here, since she was a frequent visitor. I imagine that the place must have revealed more and more meaning to her with each visit.