Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
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 Bath Spa. He decries the high cost of living and unrestrained growth in Bath as well, lecturing against the luxury and extravagance caused by Britain’s rapidly expanding global trade networks.
*London. Capital of Great Britain and largest city in the British Isles. Smollett wrote extensively for London journals but never liked living in the city. Matt gives voice to his loathing of the sprawling metropolis with its hustle and bustle, adulterated food and drink, and corrupt politics.
*Scotland. After leaving London, the family makes several stops before crossing the Tweed River into Scotland. Matt notes that the countryside on the English side of the river is not as well tended as that on the Scottish side, a comment echoing his generally critical view of the English towns and estates they see after departing the capital. The family’s itinerary in Scotland corresponds to that of Smollett’s travels through his homeland in 1766. Smollett spent most of his life forced to make his living in England during a period rife with anti-Scottish sentiment. Not surprisingly, the family’s letters from Scotland reflect Smollett’s enthusiasm for his beloved country. Matt admires the well-managed estates of the Scottish countryside and the fine university and hospitals of Edinburgh, even proclaiming that Edinburgh would be his city of choice if he were a city dweller.
*Glasgow. Thriving Scottish industrial center. Matt favorably compares Glasgow to a beehive of industry. Unlike the unplanned, uncontrolled cities of England, Glasgow is depicted as the epitome of utility and order. Smollett’s birthplace is perhaps not coincidentally just northeast of Glasgow. The family’s remaining travels through Scotland are described in similarly complimentary terms. After they cross back into England, however, the letters concentrate on the machinations of the plot rather than the particulars of place.
Dennison estate. English estate owned by niece Liddy Melford’s future father-in-law, who has brought it back from the brink of ruin after his dissolute brother allowed it to deteriorate. Throughout the novel, one of Smollett’s themes is the superiority of the agrarian way of life, exemplified by the Dennison estate with its perfectly realized model community. Here the plot is resolved with the intermarriages of the Welsh, Scottish, and English characters, symbolizing the harmonious reconciliation and unification of three historically contentious countries fated to share one small island.