Jane Austen Among the Chickens

“A walk of five minutes brought Garnet to the sleepy little town. He passed through the narrow street, and turned on to the beach, walking in the direction of the cob, that combination of pier and breakwater which the misadventures of one of Jane Austen’s young misses have made known to the outside public.”

Love Among the Chickens: A Story of the Haps and Mishaps on an English Chicken Farm, by P. G. Wodehouse, Chapter V. Buckling To.

This quote from P. G. Wodehouse references a scene from Jane Austen’s Persuasion that takes place on the Cobb at Lyme Regis.

“There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower, and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the stiles; the sensation was delightful to her. The hardness of the pavement for her feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it, however. She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment, ran up the steps to be jumped down again. He advised her against it, thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, “I am determined I will:” he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless! There was no wound, no blood, no visible bruise; but her eyes were closed, she breathed not, her face was like death. The horror of the moment to all who stood around!”

Persuasion, by Jane Austen, Chapter 12.


Love among the Chickens book cover (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1921).

Persuasion illustration by C. E. Brock (London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1909).

Photo of the Cobb at Lyme Regis, England by Mattana.

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