- “As you arrive in the little town of Darlington, you encounter an air full of warm chatter and the scent of freshly baked bread, while the sun shines overhead.”
The town refers to the central area of Darlington, populated with townspeople going about their day, and a number of shops, including a post office, a bakery, a haberdashery and a lending library. The town appears to have a busy street where most shops and people are, and a second, quieter area.
Visits to the town will keep the protagonist well-informed about the happenings of Darlington, particularly if she meets the town gossip, Mrs Norris, who never hesitates to give her opinion on such matters.
The town is also frequented by Mr Digby and Lord Fat Cat. Additional townspeople include Louise, Henrietta, Charlotte, Mrs Lovell, Mr Mortimer's son and the gentleman. Several shop owners are mentioned but not seen: Mr Mortimer, Mr Murray, Mr Chapple and Mr Stevens.
The protagonist will encounter most characters in town at least once. It is a key location in several storylines. It is where she first observes the rows between Phoebe and Tom. It is here that the protagonist first bumps into Mr Graham. It is also the location that Mr Steven's youngest son bumps into Miss Perigwen, causing a reaction revealed her true nature to the townspeople.
Mr Mortimer's Haberdashery Edit
This shop is frequented by ladies in search of fabrics and ribbons for their next dress. It is owned and operated by Mr Mortimer and his son.
The haberdashery is the site where the protagonist first meets Ellie over a disagreement with Mr Mortimer over some broken lace. Her second visit to the haberdashery is also a major milestone in the character's development into a young lady. The protagonist may also sees an embarrassed Mr Curtis making a mysterious order at this shop.
Mr Murray's Shop Edit
"Such fine material, and such fine craftsmanship, too. Mr Murray is undoubtedy the best dressmaker in the country!" – Mother to the protagonist at Home
Mr Murray is a dressmaker whose wares are known in Darlington to be of fine quality. For some however, such goods are not affordable due to higher prices. This location is only mentioned as the protagonist does not enter the shop. When Mr Murray's wife was struck ill, his brother-in-law, Mr Randle, came to assist in the dressmaking business, resulting in wares of lesser quality, as Helena notes to her daughter.
Mr Chapple's Lending Library EditThe lending library allows books to be loaned out. The protagonist meets several characters here over the course of her story, including Mrs Norris and Mr Graham.
The Assembly Rooms Edit
The country hall is a popular locations to hold public balls, such as the one the Winslows hold when they return from overseas, or the ones that the regiment attend. It is here that the protagonist receives an intense look from Lord Sutton, the first hint of his strong feelings for her.