Brambleton Hall. Matthew Squire’s country residence, an imaginary estate near the real town of Abergavenny, Wales. Throughout the novel, it serves as the basis of comparison for the new places the family experiences and comments on in their letters to friends at home. Smollett, himself a Scotsman, liked Wales and used Welsh characters in other novels. Choosing a Welsh protagonist like Matt provided Smollett with a not-quite-foreign outsider from a simple, rustic background to serve as witness and commentator on city life versus country life, tradition versus change, and England versus Scotland, while not alienating his English audience, who generally felt an affection for the Welsh that they did not feel for the Scots.
The family’s journey ultimately ends where it begins, at Brambleton Hall, leaving the family content with their lives in the country, far from the city’s squalor and squander. Coming full circle, their journey thus represents a symbolic joining of estranged countries into a unified, peaceful whole while rejecting rapidly evolving urban social values in favor of traditional rural virtues.
*Bath. Elegant English resort town and site of a natural mineral hot spring renowned for its reputed curative waters and fashionable clientele. Bath is the family’s first major stop. The socially conservative Smollett practiced medicine in Bath and uses Matt’s letters to excoriate the unhygienic bathing practices and the mingling of social classes at...
(The entire section is 629 words.)