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The women Anne loved
"Yes. Of course. If you were a man"

Grand Passions

Perhaps this is the most famous coded line from Anne's diaries:
I love and only love the fairer sex
and thus beloved by them my heart recoils from any love than theirs
Even if she wasn't quite as promiscuous as some articles have claimed (for example The Sun, 21 May 2019: "The REAL Gentleman Jack who bedded hundreds of women"), Anne was clearly an active, perhaps even predatory, pursuer of women.

Anne considered herself to be married at least three times: to Eliza Raine, Mariana Belcombe and Ann, although perhaps in her mind the only proper marriages were to Mariana and Ann. If it's in any way meaningful, I think that Ann considered herself to be the man[1] in her relationships (except, perhaps, in the case of Isabella Norcliffe) - Eliza Raine, in her letters and journals, often referred to Ann as her "husband".

"Grand passions" is taken from Gentleman Jack Episode 7, when Ann & Mariana are in bed in Leamington talking about Ann: "It was never one of my grand passions. But...". Whether Anne actually used the term or not, I don't know, nor do I know (obviously) which of her love affairs were most important to her, but the women I've selected seem to me to be special. And they're not all sexual: Anne's relationship with Miss Brown was not at all sexual, although she certainly fantasised about it becoming so: "But she is pretty and I thought of what I should not".

While the Miss Brown episode may have been largely fantasy, the relationship with Vere Hobart was a disaster for Anne, as portrayed in the episode 1 flashbacks: "...something went wrong. In Hastings. Obviously". Anne wanted to make Vere her life partner: not only did she fancy her, but Vere was very well connected.

At the other extreme, Anne's relationship with Mrs Barlow in Paris was intensely sexual, and the diary descriptions particularly graphic. It's hard not to think that a predatory side to Anne's behaviour isn't revealed here.

[1] I'm very reluctant to make any assumptions about Anne's sexuality, and I don't think it matters. All we can say for sure is that her relationships were exclusively same-sex.
Page updated 14-Aug-2020
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