Anne's diaries
"Stay. Tonight. Please stay tonight"

November 1816 - Halifax

The Seduction of Anne Belcombe

After Mariana's marriage to Charles Lawton in March 1816, Anne and Mariana's unmarried sister, Anne "Nantz" Belcombe, accompanied Mariana & Charles on an extended honeymoon until August 20. Unfortunately the journals for this period - apart from a few days from August 14 until August 18[1] - are missing. From August 20 until August 22 Anne and Nantz stayed with Dr Belcombe[2] in Newcastle-under-Lyme, only seven or eight miles from Lawton Hall, Anne getting back to Shibden on August 23. From the index entry for August 21link we know that Anne had already been "all but connected with Anne". Nantz joins Anne at Shibden for an extended stay in November, arriving on the seventh.

Part of the index for November 1816:
Th. 7Anne B- arrived
Sat. 9said I was engaged
Sun. 10first kiss of Anne last night
Wed. 13kiss more pain than pleasure / Anne asks if it be wrong / said Mariana desired me not to be foolish with Anne
Th. 14Anne owns she had pleasure with me
Sat. 25in a fright about my conduct to Anne / tell Anne of Sarah Binns / Anne will always kiss me / does not suspect Mariana / says she would not suit me
Sun. 26Anne sees the clothes that were poor Sam's
Wed. 27Anne took off her night shift / story of Caermarthen / libertine conversation
Fri. 29Nantz would forsake her country for me / would be like Prior's Emma, the Nut-Brown Maid / Anne left us / had altogether 20 kisses, two the first night and three other nights two each
Sat. 30Letter from M- / satisfied with what I said about Anne

"Walked down to Halifax to meet the Manchester mail at 1 o'clock, expecting Anne Belcombe on her way to York from Field house - but was disappointed - A thorough November day with a good deal of smallish or mild rain at intervals..." (6-Nov-1816).

"Dr Alexander breakfasted with us on his way home from Halifax to Wakefield - walked to Halifax to see if Anne B- was come by the mail - disappointed again... Anne arrived by the [illeg] coach at the Union Cross, & got here about 7. She brought me a kind letter from Mrs H.S.B[elcombe] & one from M- (Lawton) with a couple of white muslin morning waists made by Mariana - Anne looking well..." (7-Nov-1816).

"Anne and I lay awake last night till 4 in the morning. I let her into my penchant for the ladies, expatiated on the nature of my feelings towards her and hers towards me, told her that she might not deceive herself as to the nature of my sentiments and the strictness of my intentions towards her. I could feel the same in at least 2 more instances and named her sister Eliza as one, saying that I did not dislike her in my heart, but rather admired her as a pretty girl. I asked Anne if she liked me the worse for my candour etc, etc. She said no, kissed me and proved by her manner she did not. We went [to?] great lengths as we had often done before, such as feeling her all over, putting my finger up her, etc. but still did not get to the last extremity. I asked her several times to let me get nearer to her and have a proper kiss - she seemed as if she would by no means have disliked it, but as if she thought it right to refuse, which she did very languidly. I not wishing the thing did not press it very eagerly, but let her alone after a few squeezes. I talked a good deal of nonsense, rather libertinish, but she certainly did not dislike it. I do not admire but rather feel a sort of disgust for her: she is not nice and her breath is disagreeable. However, her manners made me feel desire and, had she not been Mariana's sister, I should instantly have closed with her and taken what pleasure I could get" (8-Nov-1816).

"Talking to Anne almost all the morning, telling she should either be on or off, that she was acting very unfairly and ought either to make up her mind to let me have a kiss at once or change her manners altogether. I said she excited my feelings in a way that was very unjustifiable unless she meant to gratify them and that really that sort of thing made me far from well as I was then very sick, languid and uncomfortable, not able to relish anything. I had [not?] eaten my brea[k]fast or meals well either this morning or yesterday. I told her however that she might not deceive herself about the nature of my regard, that my plans for the future were fixed and that I was engaged.[3] I asked her if she would come and see me, saying I wou[l]d behave better and quite differently to her then. She made no answer but cried. She would certainly like to have me herself, but such is her fondness and such her readiness that I am sure without much pressing she will soon take me on any terms. Nantz sat down to write to Mrs Steph [Belcombe] but being nervous & unable to get on, she had only written 4 or 5 lines when I took up the pen, filled the paper - thanked Harriet for her letter to me by Nantz - gave a sort of reluctant consent to her calling her 1st girl Mariana Percy, & sent the epistle to the post..." (9-Nov-1816).

"Had a very good kiss last night[4] and this morning. All went to church in the morning - staid at home in the afternoon... A fine frosty day - was in bed so late on account of standing dawdling & talking to Nantz love and nonsense" (10-Nov-1816).

"Had a very good kiss last night. Anne gave it me with pleasure not thinking it necessary to pretend to refuse any longer. Wrote to M[ariana] in the morning - finished my letter after dinner & sent it to the post by the barber... Last night very stormy - the snow an inch or 2 deep on the ground this morning when I got up - snow at intervals during the day - very cold & the evening very windy & stormy" (11-Nov-1816).

"Had a very good kiss last night... For about half an hour before tea was talking to Anne upstairs, reminded her of my being engaged, etc. She said I wanted to make a fool of her and if she had more resolution she would not kiss[5] me again. I told her she would never repent anything but that we could not always go on as we did now" (12-Nov-1816).

"Made a trial for a kiss last night and did not succeed. Had a good one on a second trial very soon after. Had a long conversation on the nature of kisses. Anne said she sometimes felt odd when I looked at her, but that when I was so very near her - that is when I was getting a kissi.e. having an orgasm - it was rather pain than pleasure, but that she knew when I was happy and said my feelings were very warm. She asked if I thought the thing wrong and if it was forbidden in the bible, and said she felt quere[sic] when she heard Sir Thomas Horton[6] mentioned. I dexterously parried all these points. Said Sir T.H.'s case was quite a different thing that was positively forbidden and signally punished in the bible. That the other was certainly not named, besides Sir T.H. was proved to be a perfect man by his having a child and it was infamous to be connected with both sexes, but that [there?] were beings who were so unfortunate as to be not quite so perfect and supposing they kept to one side [of?] the question. Was there no excuse for them, as it would be hard to deny them all gratification of this kind? I urged in my own defence the strength of natural feeling and insti[n]ct - for so I might call it - as I had always had the same turn from infancy; that it had been made known to me as it were by intuition; that I had never varied and no effort on my part had been able to counteract it; that the girls liked me and had always liked me; that I had never been refused by anyone and that without attempting to account for the thing I hoped it might under such circumstances be excused. I mentioned the wickedness said to be practised by girls at schools but explained how this was quite different, such as making use of instruments. Named the girl in Dublin who was obliged to have a surgeon to extract a stick from her (Jane Duffin's story to Eliza Raine) - secret and solitary vice in all which I had never any concern. That in fact they would have given me no pleasure and that I abhorred them all. In naming my peculiar detestation of solitary vice Anne suddenly exclaimed 'Surely you don't suspect me of that,' in a tone and manner that at once convinced me she had been a culprit. However, she seemed quite satisfied with my logic. I told her I thought the sin was in my violating my engagement, said I was doubtful about this point and asked what she thought. She waved this part of the subject and we fell asleep...

"Told Anne Mariana made me promise not to kiss her, that I did promise, had broken my promise and should be obliged to tell a lie as Mariana was certain to ask. This, I said, made me unhappy, as I was sure if Mariana knew she would never forgive me. Anne turned pale and complained of feeling very sick when I told her of Mariana's making me promise. She asked me how such a thing could be, how it could enter her head. I explained this away by proving that nothing was more natural as I had all along frankly told Mariana every circumstance, every folly of my life; that she was the only real, judicious friend I had and always advised me properly. I said I loved her because she kept me in order and, strange to say, becouse[sic] she was the only woman whose conduct to me had been at all times what it ought to be. Thus was the rising suspicion at once quashed in Anne's mind and Mariana is literally the last being in the world whose affections (in this sense of the word) she could believe it possible for me to gain...

"After Anne & I came upstairs to bed, we had a good deal of conversation about C[harles] & M[ariana] - I shewed Nantz C-'s note of the 19 March (1816) & also read her the copy of the story I wrote to M- about the passing thro' Halifax - It appeared however that M- had been beforehand with me, & had told both Mrs Steph [Belcombe] & Nantz how I abused C-, what the people of Halifax said of him etc, etc. & mentioned the remarks I had sent her - I particularly desired her note giving as a reason the impropriety of my being known to make such communications to Mariana. Besides I told her I had kept a copy of the story and should send it verbatim to Anne when I wrote - tho' I afterwards changed my mind and told her so.

"I read Nantz my journal of the 18 & 19 March (1826) & some previous pages, that of 'surely no other wife would deny her husband putting his hand up his wife's petticoats and feeling her cunt.'[7] Astonished and disgusted her not a little, she had not believed him quite so brutal" (13-Nov-1816).

"In spite of all I said yesterday, Anne's falling sick at hearing of Mariana's making me promise and her saying in the evening she would kiss me no more, it seems, as I suspected, she is too fond of me and too fond of kissing - not withstanding 'its being more pain than pleasure' - not to take me on any terms. She gave me a warmer kiss last night than I have ever had yet. She said she did not feel so much pain, I did not hurt her so much. Owned she did not dislike it and that she had pleasure with me. I enlightened her on many subjects, telling her the good of being moist etc, etc. and that there can be no pleasure without it. Just before tea I told her the anecdote of the ancients using lead plates to prevent pain in their knees: the expression which I use and which she understands to mean desire. She said I wanted them, I said she would soon take them off. She said yes, perhaps she should. In fact she is glad enough to give and take all the pleasure she can. She sews for me perseveringly, has new-frilled all my waists, new-hemmed the bottoms of slips, etc." (14-Nov-1816).

"Had a good kiss last night. At 12 Nantz & I walked over to dine & spend the day at Pye-Nest. Mr Edwards, as usual on a Friday being at his mill, we did not see him - nobody but Mrs E- & ourselves[8] - set off to walk home at 5 - found I had taken something at dinner that disagreed with me - hardly got to the top of Pye-Nest lane before I felt violent pain in my bowels & sickness - hurried on, and, with great difficulty, got home about 6. Went to bed almost immediately. The day had been fine & frosty, &, but for my sickness, our walk back would have been very pleasant. Poor Nantz not well - having had much pain in her right side during the day" (15-Nov-1816).

"I had been asleep last night but awoke when Anne got into bed, and feeling my sickness better had a very good kiss. Got down to breakfast a little after 10 - Unable to eat anything, & went to bed again almost immediately - at one took 2 pills - Had a letter from M[ariana] (Lawton) - too unwell to read it till night - Stamford Caldwelllink & his fatherlink[9] (formerly an attorney) knew of no such thing[10] & said there was no such thing as taking an attorney's bill! - Lay in bed the whole day - The day sleety & snowy" (16-Nov-1816).

"No kiss last night. Had a very bad night - Sickness & reaching & roused by my pills - Mrs Veitch came to dinner & to stay 2 or 3 days - Very sick & ill all the day - Hardly lifted my head from the pillow till 7 in the evening when, feeling better I got up, & sat up in my dressing gown till about 10. Poor Nantz very kind and attentive, & a very good nurse - the day fine" (17-Nov-1816).

"No kiss last night. Slept better & went down to Breakfast about ½ past 10. Much fatigued with dressing & very poorly - but got better during the day, &, after tea, played a pool at quad with Mrs Veitch & my uncle & aunt. Not able to write to write to M- today as usual - A finish"fine-ish" November day - Came upstairs soon, but sat by the fire talking to Nantz while she mended her stays" (18-Nov-1816).

"A good kiss last night. Anne certainly improves in the art. Owns she likes it better than she did at first and does not now deny that it gives her pleasure. Had a good night - Almost well again today. Nantz shewed me Eli's last letter from Geneva in which she mentions having seen the N[orcliffe]s, the scurvy appearance of the party, & her own journey to Mont Blanc & the glaciers..." (19-Nov-1816).

"Had a very good kiss last night. Anne has always an abundance of moisture and never fails to give me full gratification. I had teazed her last night after supper by telling the story of her falling into the old necessarywater closet at Lawton - she did not bear it very well. I told her of this as soon as we got upstairs. She acknowledged it, said she did not know how it was she could not help it but was very sorry etc, etc. She cried and was very nervous. 'Tis easy to see how much she values my good opinion and that she would do anything in the world to please me. Of course it was a sort of lover's quarrel. I could do no less than cheer her with additional kindness and a kiss and a few tender squeezes soon recovered her spirits. I wish her breath was better and that her person was altogether more agreeable. However she gives me pleasure. She is very fond of me, very genial, give[s] all she can and now that I take it so composedly I ought not to complain. Superiour[sic] charms might not be so easily come-at-able on such easy terms. Mrs Veitch left us soon after breakfast, Nantz & my aunt walked her to Halifax - Nantz called on Mrs Tenant - in their absence copying out my journal..." (20-Nov-1816).

"Two good kisses last night. In the morning copied out my journal down to this day - After dinner Nantz & I walked to the library - a fine day..." (21-Nov-1816).

"Had no kiss last night, Anne being very unwell with a wretched bad cold in her head and not particularly in a humour for a kiss I let her alone - A remarkably fine day - a very little frosty - Nantz & I walked to Elland, thence to Brighouse, & round by White Hall just below Hipperholme house - set out at ½ past 11 got back a few minutes after 3. Walked good 8 miles - Nantz dismally tired, tho' owned she was repaid by the fine view from what is called Brighouse lane head - just above the town - the road to Hipperholme" (22-Nov-1816).

"Anne gave me a good kiss last night, tho' I was rather lazy. Letter from M- (Lawton) expressing her fears about my prudence with Anne. Alas, 'tis too late. I read Anne the sentence 'Pray how much longer does Nantz intend to stay with you? I know she is happy and should myself be so if I could be quite sure you were as prudent as you ought to be' and again said Mariana would never forgive me if she knew. Anne said 'How came she to think so much about it?' I repeated the reasons given on a former day and added that Mariana had always dwelt most upon and said 'What make[s] my sister like Miss Northern? Do you call this friendship, this honour?' (Miss Northern is daughter to Northern the dentist who has lodgings at the Pump. She would be glad to take in sewing, and, from my aunt's proposing to send to her to make me some new night things, I have somehow got to joke about her and threaten Anne to send for her in another capacity so that her name is now become the nickname with Anne and me for a frail companion or chere ami.) In explaining this exclamation attributed to Mariana I was led into hinting at Sarah Binns, the feigned name of a girl to whom Mariana believes and has believed for the last 2 years me to pay thirty pounds a year. I told the name 'Sarah' and mentioned the initial 'B', talking as if I still paid her occasional visits. Anne asked how Mariana got to know of her. I said by accidentally getting a peep at a letter: some unlucky business about money matters. Anne was satisfied but caught at the expression 'money matters' and we had a good deal of conversation about it. I asked her what she thought of me, if she excused me, etc, etc. She said yes. I asked her if she repented her conduct, she answered no. I said I believed her and repeated that she would never repent anything but that we could not always go on as we do now - she nodded assent. I promised to lie thro' thick and thin and never let Mariana find out what had passed, as I said I was sure she would think it right to tell Mrs Belcombe. I asked Anne if she would always kiss me - she said yes. I told her I knew she was so fond of me she would still kiss me if father met her and all the world were against it. She said she believed she should. I answered I cared not what she chose to call her feelings, whether she would let me say she was in love or out of it, but that I knew her prejudice in my favour was so strong she would forgive me anything and kiss me after all. She owned she would. She has certainly no suspicion of Mariana and me and says Mariana would not suit me, would not do to live with me - After dinner Nantz & I walked to the Library - A fine frosty day - Rather damp in the evening" (23-Nov-1816).

"Had two kisses last night. Wrote a page to M- in the morning - Nantz & I went to church in the afternoon - She had a bad tooth-ache in the evening... A very fine frosty day" (24-Nov-1816).

"Had no kiss last night: Anne was so unwell with the tooth-ache I let her goo[sic] quietly to sleep. Finished & sent off my letter to M- (Lawton) assuring her of my love and affection, that my only wish and study were to deserve and gain her confidence, and that I neither had done nor would do in future anything imprudent to Anne. Never did I deceive Mariana before, would [swear?] to God I had not obliged myself to do it now" (25-Nov-1816).

"Had a long but rather lazy kiss last night. Nantz & I had a rummage in the morning. After dinner shewed her my old jacket - As she watched me take the things out of the canteen[11] she saw me take up an old black coat, breeches, etc. that were poor Sam's. My manner served to create and strengthen the suspicion in her mind that they were mine and that I had worn them etc, etc. She recollected the hints I had given about visiting Sarah B and evidently fancied I had been accustomed to go out in them, but said she was very good not to ask more questions. She asked me if Mariana had seen them, I said yes. Anne said she supposed she had made me tell her all about them, I said yes... A very fine, mild, soft day, like spring" (26-Nov-1816).

"Had a long tho' rather lazy kiss last night also, even tho' Anne easily enough - that is without much opposition - yielded to my request and took off her night shift. She remained without it near half an hour. Before we got into bed we had a long conversation about Carmarthen, the name accidentally given to the girl to whom I have told Anne I am engaged, saying she lived there. Thinking in fact of Miss Justice, tho' at the same time veiling my engagement to Mariana. In this mystery Anne asked me if I should love her - meaning herself - as well when she was absent as now she was with me. We had a long prose about the necessity of my endeavouring to love her as a sister, as I ought not to love her as I should a Miss Northern. I said I supposed she would not always kiss me and asked if she would when Carmarthen lived with me. She said she feared I had so much influence that she always should kiss me. 'Oh! then,' I replied, 'I need make no difficulty about loving you as a sister,' and said I would kiss her as long as she was young and agreeable and gave me good kisses, and that even after this was over I would then love her as a friend and always behave well to her. She said she feared what I should think of her when she was gone. I answered she need not fear that, I should think she loved me and was very fond of me but that I should not love her the less for that etc, etc. in a way that strongly marked the nature of my regard. Indeed I told her there was less of heaven in it than earth and that all the heaven I could feel was felt for Mariana. To be in readiness to go by Nantz [I] wrote to Miss Marsh in the morning in answer to her letter received Friday 8 of the month, & to Mrs Belcombe in the afternoon to thank her for her kind invitation to return with Nantz to the music festival in Belfrey's Church on Tuesday & Wednesday the 3rd & 4th of next month. A fine, mild, spring-like day" (27-Nov-1816).

"Had a kiss both last night and this morning. Anne and I had a good deal of conversation just before we got into bed. She evidently seemed to wish to stay till after the musical festival. I said she ought by all means to go to it, said if this was my house I would not let her leave me these three months etc, etc. but that it was not that I did not feel myself quite at home, that I could not feel quite so much so with my uncle and aunt as I could have done with my father and mother. I gave no encouragement to the idea of her prolonging her stay but very gently hinted advice to the the contrary. After all this we got into bed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ After breakfast my aunt (having some time ago promised to lend me eight pounds to pay a bill which I have owed to Miss Gill, mantua[12]-maker, Stonegate, York since last February and three pounds to pay a bill owing since that time to Hornby, shoemaker, Blake Street, York) asked me 'Do you still think of paying those bills?' Yes, I should like it if you please, aunt. She then gave me 8 Halifax pound notes Rawson's [bank]. 'Now mind and pay them and don't go and let Anne put the money into the saving bank at York for you.' No, of course not, what can make you think of such a thing. 'Oh, I thought I heard Anne and you whispering about it last night at tea and I don't like fine ladies going about leaving their bills unpaid.' She gave me nothing for Hornby but said as I did not exactly know the amount of his bill I had better order the pair of black cloth boots I wanted, tell him to send his note and my father would pay - he passed thro' York on his way home from here after Christmas. I know my aunt means well and would do anything she could for me, but I always feel that sort of manner, often feel hers[13] and heartily wish I could do without being so much obliged to anybody ~~~~ As Anne talked yesterday of going today my aunt, who cordially wishes her off, was not happy to see her come downstairs at 10 and dawdle about, not having packed up anything as if she never meant to go. I, of course, felt awkward and tho' I knew Anne was not expected at home and that she would rather remain here to escape the bustle and expense of getting mourning for Mrs Smaller, Anne Rickets that was, and going to the musical festival on Tuesday and Wednesday. Yet I hung aloof as well as I could that Anne must see I did not wish her to stay. My aunt bid me ask her if she meant to go by the mail. On the plea of having dinner earlier I did do so and my aunt herself also mentioned the thing to her afterwards. On this Anne made up her mind to take the mail and began to pack in good earnest. However, after many pros and cons with my aunt I declaring that the mail would not take her luggage etc, etc. It was agreed that she should be left to get all quite ready and then that I should tell her to wait till tomorrow's highflier. Anne at once gladly consented. My aunt, in the assurance of getting rid of her in the morning (for if the weather was too bad [to] walk she was to have a chaise to take her to Halifax), seemed satisfied at the near prospect of Betty (who she said had so much to do) being soon releived[sic] my aunt walked down to Halifax. The day passed of[sic] well. Poor Anne, delighted to have gained, as it were, by stealth the sight of me for a few hours longer. At dinner my aunt made an apology for making no stranger of Anne. Well she might: there was the remainder of a piece of boiled beef that made its debut on Sunday, a warmed veal pie its third appearance, and potatoes and savoy cabbages - A very fine, mild, spring like day" (28-Nov-1816).

"Had a long tho' somewhat lazy kiss last night. A long prose just before getting into bed: talked of the abuse I had had for romance, enthusiasm, flattery, manners like those of a gentleman, being too particularly attentive to ladies etc, etc; that in consequence I had resolved to change and had succeeded in becoming much more cool and cautious in my general intercou[rs]e with people, and much less lavish of cordiality and civility. Anne fancied my letter to her mother rather an example of this. She pressed me very much to give her my shade.[14] When I found I could not refuse I said I would if she liked me as well this time 2 or 3 years as now. I asked her as usual if she loved me, she said yes. I asked would she go to Silberberg with me, she said yes, we had been. Last night reading Semple's account of his 11 weeks confinement in the foothills of Silberberg, near Breslaw in Bohemia, having been unjustly apprehended & sent there as a spy by Lord Cathcart. I said 'What, leave your country, family and friends, go to a dungeon, brave charges - the most favourable of which would be madness and folly - for me?' 'Yes' she replied. Just after we got into bed I repeated 'What, really go to Silberberg with me?'
Anne: 'I should be like Emma, I think.'
Myself: 'What, Prior's[15] Emma, the Nut-Brown Maid?'link
Anne: 'Yes.'
After a moment's silence, surprised tho' having reason enough to believe what I heard, I exclaimed Caermarthen would not say as much.
Anne: 'Perhaps she would have more propriety.'
Myself: 'No, not that, but she would not feel as much, she does not love me so much as you do.'
Anne: 'Not more, I think.'
Myself: 'Ah, if I encouraged these sentiments to grow reciprocal it might, would, prove a source of endless misery to us both, I must try to love you like a sister. You almost make me waver... must I waver?'
Anne: 'No.'
Myself: 'Ah, what would Caermarthen say? Did she now see and hear me? Oh, fancy yourself in her place, could you trust me?
Anne: 'Yes, I could.'
Myself: 'What, trust me in absence?
Anne: 'I should t[r]ust to your seeing me.'
Myself: 'If I waver now what love is proof against time, and circumstance against temptation such as this?
Anne: 'Perhaps none but you must not waver.'
Alas, I thought of Mariana: the thought was reproach and agony and I shunned it as a scorpion. I turned to Anne; we talked a few moments. I asked her if after all this she would own being in love with me. She said no, she did not like the term, but clasped me in [her] arms. We kissed and fell asleep - Talked for an hour before we got up. The old subject of the former scurvy behaviour of the girls, etc. It grew late and she seemed to tear herself from me -
All being nearly ready yesterday, Nantz & I were off by 11. My aunt not sorry at heart to see Anne really going - Wrote a note to Hornby to order a pair of black cloth boots, & desire him to send his bill - wrote a letter to Miss Gill enclosing £8 - 3 - 6 to pay her bill of last February & sent these together with a letter to Miss Marsh, & one to Mrs Belcombe, thanking her for but refusing her kind invitation to go over to the music festival on Tuesday & Wednesday, Nantz behaved pretty well, being less nervous than I expected - My uncle walked to Halifax with us - Nantz then begged me to give her my shade - we sat at Northgate ½ an hour as the Highflier did not pass till near 12 - saw Nantz well off - only one young woman inside - staid at Northgate till near 2 (my uncle Joseph now quite recovered of his illness) & got home to dinner. Dawdled away the afternoon in talking to my aunt about the different merits of servants, she saying how much these here had to do" (29-Nov-1816).

Wrote & sent off a letter to Marian (Market Weighton) in answer to her s received Monday 4th of this month - Had a letter from M- (Lawton) saying she was made happy by my answer to what she said about my conduct to Anne, and that a certain 'laconic way of answering her questions about her and seeming unwilling to say much on the subiect' gave rise to her fears - After dinner walked to the library - met Emma & Maria Ralph as I was going, &, in shaking hands with E- she contrived to tear a leaf out of Semple's tour thro' Haneburgh &c.&c., which, having been reading happened to be open - Called to tell Mr Sunderland to come tomorrow & bleed my uncle L[ister] who has a slight appearance of erisipelas[16] in the left side of his face & head - sat an hour at Northgate... Fine day - moderately frosty" (30-Nov-1816).

[1] The volume for this period exists, but the pages from midway through the entries from August 17 until October 18 have been lost - although the index does provide some information.
[2] Dr Belcombe (the Belcombe sisters' brother) lived at Field House, which had been owned by his wife's family.
[3] See the entry for the 27th.
[4] If the index is correct, then this is the first occasion that Anne went "to the last extremity" with Nantz, but it's somewhat surprising that she doen't go into any detail in the day's entry.
[5] Presumably this "kiss" means "to have sex with" (see The Diaries).
[6] The Reverend Sir Thomas Horton (1758-1821). The family had property in Halifax and Sir Thomas' only child, Charlotte Pollard (1784-1863), lived in Halifax. I can only assume that there was some scandal associated with him.
[7] Charles talking about Mariana.
[8] The Edwards of Pye Nest were Henry, Ann's maternal uncle, and Lea (née Priestley), GJ's Mr Priestley's niece.
[9] The Caldwells were friends of the Lawtons and Nantz's brother Dr Steph Belcombe; we know from the diaries of Anne Caldwelllink that Anne & Nantz had dined with them while at Newcastle under Lyme earlier that year.
[10] Anne doesn't tell us what the "thing" is.
[11] Meaning a box or case.
[12] A "mantua" was an unstructured gown worn over stays.
[13] I think a word or words might be missing here?
[14] Not sure what this means.
[15] Interestingly Anne uses the greek letter pi for the 'P' of 'Prior'.
[16] A bacterial infection, "St Anthony's fire".
Page updated 26-Jul-2021
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