Bath is a city in the county of Somerset. It takes its name from the hot springs to be found there, and since the Romans first discovered their utility Bath has been a place of resort for the invalid.
It is lately also a place of resort for the fashionable, the idle and the downright dissipated. There the wealthy valetudinarian may go to walk about, to fancy himself ailing and to swallow disagreeable physic while his wife and daughters make havoc of his money at the shops, tea-rooms, card-rooms and assembly rooms. People say a great many fine things about the elegance of the buildings and the beauty of the prospects in Bath: but in the end, what is it but an overgrown place which for much of the year is almost as dirty and crouded as London? As for the splendour of the company to be met with there - one must speak as one finds.
Jonathan Strange, in common with most of men in England of his rank and years, has visited Bath. He speaks of it to Sir Walter Pole, "Once, when I was in Milsom-street...". Milsom-street is a thoroughfare in Bath. Naturally, it is full of shops.