Mrs Barlow
"It was never one of my... grand passions"

Mrs Barlow - "With others I love the thing and not the person, with you it is the person I love"

In the autumn of 1824 Anne went for an extended stay in Paris with Elizabeth Cordingley - which explains why Cordingly is able to speak French in GJ. They stayed in Paris from September until the following April; Anne hoping to learn French and to find a cure for the "venereal taint" she had contracted from Mariana. It was at their lodgings at 24 Place Vendôme that Anne met Mrs Barlow and her daughter Jane.

Born Catherine Maria McCrea on December 28, 1786, Maria (as she was known) Barlow was born in Guernsey (British Channel Islands). Her father was Major Robert McCrea[1] (1754-1835), who, like Captain Lister, fought in the American War of Independence: even though he was American-born he fought on the loyalist side. He was posted to Guernsey in or around 1785. In March 1786 he married Maria's mother, Guernsey native Jeanne Coutart (1767-1796), who died shortly after the birth of her sixth child - who also died three months later. Robert McCrea subsequently married Jeanne Coutart's first cousin, Sophia Le Mesurier,[2] making her the second cousin of her own step-children.

Mrs Barlow's paternal aunt, Jane McCrea (1752-1777), was famously killed during the American War of Independence: The case of the murder and scalping of Jane McCrea.

Maria McCrea married Frederick Barlow in Town Church, St Peter Port, Guernsey on September 7, 1808. Lieutenant-Colonel Barlow was killed at the Battle of Salamanca, on July 22, 1812. Frederick and Maria Barlow had one child, Jane Maria, who was living at 24 Place Vendôme with her mother in 1824. Anne writes that she was 13 at the time, so would have been born in 1810 or 1811. Jane married a naval officer, Philip de Sausmarez of Guernsey, in 1840. She died at St Peter Port Guernsey on April 15, 1889; her mother having died there on March 24, 1847.

Anne's time in Paris over the winter of 1824/5 is covered in detail by both Helena Whitbread's second volume "No Priest But Love", and Dannielle Orr's 2006 Murdoch University PhD thesis "A SOJOURN IN PARIS 1824-25 SEX AND SOCIABILITY IN THE MANUSCRIPT WRITINGS OF ANNE LISTER (1791-1840)". I am very grateful to both of them, especially as the diaries are exceptionally detailed (and closely written) during this period. All the diary entries presented here have been (re)transcribed by me, so any errors are mine, not theirs. There's a more complete transcription of the January 1825 diary here.
We see Mrs Barlow in GJ, in episode 2 just after Anne tells Ann about "pocket holes" in Paris, and that she "just went there to study anatomy". The scene is a flashback to Anne's Paris trip: she's in bed with Mrs Barlow, her face between her legs. Sally Wainwright's attention to detail is amazing, as Anne writes about oral sex with Mrs Barlow in the journal: "Kept the candle burning last night for some time after getting into bed hoping to see her but she would not let me... She had a cup of tea in bed and we grubbled again just before getting up - finally she let me put my head under the clothes, kiss the top of her queer, and look at her" (18-Jan-1825).

Anne and Elizabeth Cordingley arrived at their lodgings on September 1, 1824, finding several English residents, including Maria Barlow. Anne soon makes herself at home: "Mrs Barlow & Miss Mackenzie and I sat up talking, apparently all well satisfied with each other's company - Mrs Barlow quiet and ladylike and manages her small income well, but is not profound nor, after all, without vanity - which I know how to manage. I think I am a favorite[sic] in the house" (10-Sep-1824). Anne soon takes special notice of Mrs Barlow: "I talked almost entirely to Mrs Barlow, & a little to Mrs Mackenzie - Mrs B tells me I am certainly not plain. They all think me a fine woman and I am very sensible and agreeable. I rather gently compliment Mrs Barlow" (11-Sep-1824). "In the evening sat about an hour with Mrs Barlow - Her eyes sparkled when she saw me and she was evidently afraid lest anyone else was coming - she surely wished to have me tête-à-tête. She rather flatters me on my talents and agreeableness, and I gently flatter her on being ladylike and pretty... Said I was no believer in platonic attachments - preferred ladies' company to gentlemen's - did many things ladies in general could not do, but did them quietly... Have all along told her I should not marry" (20-Sep-1824).

Less than three weeks later they both understand what's happening between them: "Came upstairs at 10:50 with Mrs B - stopt a few minutes talking to her in her anteroom - kissed her in the little dark passage as we came out of the dining room - she lets me kiss her now very quietly and sits with her feet close to mine. She said something to me when I took her round the waist tonight. 'Oh!,' said I, 'don't be angry, you know you cannot come to me tonight'. Said she significantly, 'you don't think me angry.' - [I]t is plain enough she likes me and I always feel excited when with her and even now in thinking of her... if I had a penis, tho' off[sic] but small length, I should surely break the ice some of these times" (7-Nov-1824). Then: "I had kissed and pressed Mrs B on my knee till I had had a complete fit of passion. My knees and thighs shook, my breathing and everything told her what was the matter. She said she did me no good. I said it was a little headache and I could go to sleep. I then leaned on her bosom and pretending to sleep kept pottering about and rubbing the surface of her queer - then made several gentle effortts[sic] to put my hand up her petticoats which however she prevented, but she so crossed her legs and leaned against me that I put my hand over and grubbled her on the outside of her petticoats till she was evidently a little excited" (11-Nov-1824).

As the two women became closer, Anne is less than honest to Mrs Barlow regarding her relationship with Mariana, until late November when the truth and its consequences come out: Anne reveals both her sexual connection with Mariana and her venereal condition: "Breakfast at 10 ½ - at 11 Mrs B- came to me, ready to go out immediately - we sat talking and lovemaking till after three... Letter from my aunt (Shibden) all well at home - very kindly do not wish me 'to be particular' to a week or longer 'about the time of my return home'[3] - on reading the 'glad I was better' rattled off with 'I came to Paris for my health' and afterwards said something of 'suffering for one's folly', I saw Mrs B understood me to allude to something venereal... Came up to bed at 9 ½ - Mrs B- came to me here at 9:55 & staid with me till 11:40 - she looked grave, she would not tell what she was thinking. At last it came out and got onto the subject of the morning. She said I had told her nothing new or that she did not know before. I expressed my astonishment - she declared she had made it out from my manner and what I had said before" (26-Nov-1824).

Despite the revelations, the affair continues and December 28 is "the first time Anne intimately touched Mrs Barlow" (Orr 2006, p.236). Here's part of the day's journal entry: "Dinner at 5 ¼ - Mrs B staid about ½ hour in the drawing room, then went to her room to bed - feeling tired & fatigued - I staid talking to Mrs Cunliffe till 7:40, then left her to her couffeur (a small soirée tonight) & went to Mrs B - found her ½ undressed, in bed - sat cozing perhaps ½ hour when Mrs & Miss Middleton came & staid a while with us to take leave - they go for a month to Madame de Cussy at 8 ½ tomorrow morning... then lay down by Mrs B and finding her tractable in spite of her pretending to say that I should forget her, and if I did she should not be sorry and if I remembered her she should not be glad - c'est égale pour elleit's all the same to her. In spite of this she quietly let me handle her right breast and then suck it for a considerable time, just saying once or twice 'you tickle me.' This over, by and by I got my hands to queer and was kneeling on the ground to feel her better when the sound of tea coming disturbed us at ten and a quarter. About eleven we sent the things away - I again lay down by her then sat up so as to have both my hands at queer - after long fumbling and finding her make no resistance I lay down, put my right arm round her waist and so managed my left as to get her petticoaat[sic] sufficiently up to feel her naked queer with one finger. She had before said 'I indulge you too much' (and I had replied 'Oh you will not think so, you will find no fault when we go to Italy'[4]) but find[ing] she still made no resistance I pushed up my middle finger half way. She met rather than receded, was evidently excited, and moved two or three times as if in coition - she just said 'Now are you satisfied?' and I, feeling that she had pleasure, began to breath loud and thick. 'What a noise you make!' said she, on which I ceased from but becoming agitated and trembling with desire she said twice 'Now I am sure you are doing yourself harm,' however I continued a little while longer. It struck twelve. 'Twelve [i]t is,' said she. I just whispered 'No, surely eleven' and she let [me] go on the minute or two longer, till finding she had had all I could then give her I withdrew my hand and gently kissed her. She said 'What is today?' I answered 'Tuesday' and after much entreaty to know why she inquired she said 'It is my birthday' (she is thirty eight) - said I am glad it is today, may you have many happy returns of it and may I always be the cause that makes it so. At this moment came Cordingley to say perhaps I did not know it had struck twelve. I said nothing but jumped up, kissed her and came away then wrote down what I had spent today and paid Cordingley, just observing that we must have had tea very late, and then sat down and had my hair curled. Mused [about?] Mrs B - she had said before tea I had many strings to my bow, to which I of course said no. 'Oh,' said she, 'You think there is none with whom you could not succeed.' 'Perhaps not,' I answered, 'except yourself.' 'Oh,' said she, 'don't talk of me, I am gone' - meaning that I had already succeeded with her. I had sometime before praised her pretty little figure - she said she could not think what difference it could make whether the waist was small or not. I rallied her saying tho' I liked Miss Gauntlet I had thought one would have a bad time with her. 'How different,' said she 'are your thoughts and mine,' however she allowed Mr Thistlethwaite said Miss G was all legs and arms that he liked to kiss her (Mrs B) from affection to Colonel B and that Mrs Middleton admired her figure even much more than Mrs Cunliffe, adding 'well I think I can nestle better than Miss Gauntlet and tho' she would be more striking I should be a better bedfellow than in a ballroom' to which I replied '[i]t is much better to be striking in a bedroom than in a ballroom, it is much more lasting.' She does not dislike my praising her figure and likes me to tell her when feeling her breasts that she is like a girl of sixteen. In fact she has no objection to a little flattery well applied - what woman has? I told her at first tonight how she improved me, how different she was from all the rest and when she said she indulged me too much, 'No,' said I, 'you do not indulge to love but love to indulge.' She said she was glad I knew the distinction. 'Perhaps,' said I, 'few know it better. With others I love the thing and not the person, with you it is the person I love.' 'If it was not so,' said she, 'I should not love you.'" (28-Dec-1824).

Mrs Barlow decides to leave the Place Vendôme for an apartment of her own, and whether Anne would live with her there or not depended on Mrs Barlow's being sure of Anne's commitment to her, and on Anne being sure of herself. As usual, Anne prevaricates, weighing up the advantages of committing herself to Mariana or Mrs Barlow.

I think this entry sums up both her misgivings and her - perhaps overriding - sexual attraction to Maria Barlow: "Dinner at 6 - staid in the drawing room till 8, & then came to my room - tea about 9, & Mrs B- staid with me till 11:50 - Mrs B and I seemed quite left to ourselves. She had had a little pain in her back as common after [missing word?] and had lain down but got up to tea then had lain down again, and I got into her about ten and three quarters. I soon took up her petticoats so as to feel her naked thighs next to mine in my drawers - then (after kissing with my tongue in her mouth) got the middle finger of my right hand up her and grubbled her longer and better than ever, she seeming rather more at ease than before and taking it with more motion[5] and apparent pleasure - which made me keep dawdling there a long time. She seemed more moist than before but really very nice. She hid her face on my shoulder and we lay a good while silent and as if half dozing. 'At last,' said I, 'have you not my affections and all my heart? How can I be more your own before we go to Italy?' 'Can you?' she answered, in a manner that seemed to say 'If you can be more my own, do' or as if inquiring whether I could think of anyway of being more hers at present or not. I had just before whispered to her 'Oh, don't forget me when I am away. Can you forget me now? Don't marry and forget me'. 'Ah,' said she, 'how can you talk so?'... If Mrs B is really the very being she seems I almost pity her - and then I love her. But, alas, what shall I say of myself? In spite of all I have no serious thought of her at present tho' I am so far seducing her. Oh, this is terrible! It is the thought of her being deep that has led me on. If I have really done her injustice in this perhaps time will tell and then I shall make up my mind. What would Mariana say? - alas she has not the [k]nack of making me constant, the charm is indeed broken. I never have forgotten nor can forget the manner of her marriage, etc. I have thought her interested[6] and this has poisoned all my mind. Perhaps I am too sceptic[al] now. If I am, poor Mrs B. Yet still [in] spite of knowing me engaged she has let me succeed with her. I know not what to think... Just after Mrs B went began incurring a cross and was three quarter hour about it, lying in bed thinking of her and using the finger that had been up her" (3-Jan-1825).

Anne and Mrs Barlow do decide to live together, and move into 15 Quai Voltaire on the left bank of the Seine on January 15, 1825. The whole of the January 1825 journal is transcribed here - this is the period where their relationship develops into an intensely sexual one, and as Mrs Barlow's dependence on Anne grows, Anne realises that perhaps she's gone to far. Anne finally leaves 15 Quai Voltaire and returns to Yorkshire on March 31, 1825, leaving behind her quite a mess. A diary entry a couple of weeks before she leaves perhaps shows Anne's real feelings: "A strong excitement last night just after getting into bed; she said again this morning it was the best she had ever had. A very good one an hour before we got up, slumbering all the while afterwards. On getting out of bed, she suddenly touching my queer, I started back. 'Ah,' said she, 'that is because you are a pucellevirgin. I must undo that, I can give you relief, I must do to you as you do to me.' I liked not this and said she astonished me. She asked if I was angry - no, merely astonished. However, I found I could not easily make her understand my feeling on the subiect and I dropped the matter altogether. Mariana would not make such a speech - this is womanizing me too much. Mariana will suit me better. I cannot do much for Mrs B except with my finger. I am more sure of going on well with Mariana who is contented with having myself next to her" (19-Mar-1825).

On returning to England Anne continues to vacillate over Maria Barlow, wishing: "If she had a little more money I should not hesitate a moment, but alas it would be a bad connection for me. But my heart is somewhat won upon" (26-May-1825).

Then by September 1825 Anne is back with Mariana - they have more than three weeks together during a stay at Buxton, during which their relationship returns to its former strength and intensity - and all thoughts of Maria Barlow seem to recede.

The following September (1826) Anne returns to Paris with Aunt Anne, and, amazingly, Mariana. As Helena Whitbread points out, she arrives in Paris, "where Anne contacted Maria Barlow, rather cruelly not warning her than Marianna[sic] was to be with her" (No Priest But Love: 'An Idyll in Paris'). After six weeks of an uneasy ménage à trois, during which Mariana is confident that she has Anne's heart, Mariana returns to England with Charles, Anne writing in plain hand as she watches their boat depart from Bologne: "I walked along the pier-side as far as I could as they passed, & Mariana waved her handkerchief as we took one last look - I went to the news-room & sat under the colonnade on one of the benches watching the vessel my head & eyes ached & the speck was gone beyond my sight - the sea was very rough & as I watched the vessel heave among the breakers my heart heaved with it, & I hoped that Mariana & I would never meet to part again - not one single tear started but my heart was strangely heavy - I watched the vessel 35 minutes", although the next line is somewhat less heartrending: "After then went for a minute or 2 to look at the monkey we had looked at yesterday" (13-Oct-1826). Arriving back in Paris the next day she adds: "My room looks dull & comfortless without Mariana" (14-Oct-1826).

Back in Paris Anne continues to see Mrs Barlow, but there's definitely a distance between them. The attraction, however, definitely is still there: "I went to Mrs B- got there at 2, sat with her & Jane till 5 - she had a bad headache but sat mending pens[?] or hemming cambric pocket handkerchiefs - Jane doing the latter - and behaved very well. I could not help thinking to myself I was wasting my time, for what object had I to gain by so spending it? I learnt nothing, I did no good in any [way?] and should even have been better amused at home. And yet somehow I could not help going. I will not go in a hurry again - I will ask for my letters some day soon" (26-Oct-1826)
Five days later Anne is back at Mrs Barlow's, and she knows that the attraction will get the better of her: "Sat with Mrs B- & Jane... She burst into tears (Jane had left us). She told me how unkind, unfeeling and indifferent I had been to her. She never thought I could have met her as I did, not one word of kindness but when in the midst of all her suffering for me and she was very ill. She had said a word impatiently. I had no patience but told her how I was changed and that my love was all gone back to another. I declared that, be my faults what they might, I was not unfeeling nor seem what I might. Was it possible for me to be really cold or indifferent to? Far from it, I had been only to do what was best, not what was natural. If I had erred it was an error of judgment, not of heart, and if it had deceived her she knew less of the world and human nature than I supposed. I had at all rates paid her the highest compliment I could pay to any woman. I had always told her I respected her and it was true after all that had passed between. It was impossible I should treat her as I did I but from a feeling of the most prof[o]und respect. She said she wished to think well of me and was now better satisfied. She had been very ill, it was a complaint of the womb that brought on all these tremblings and nervousness, it was sometimes too strong for her mind and more than she could bear. She had said I was changeable. I bade her not think it possible I could be so much so as she had fancied. It was my misfortune (and I said this the tears trickling down my face, my voice evidently faultering and I was on one knee before her) that I could not be changeable enough - I asked if I might give her a kiss. She rather held out her hand which I kissed fervently - I staid till it had struck six. Little firelight and no candle, we could not see much but she told me she liked me to be open with her and she was happier, she could have borne anything had I done it kindly. I believe she will take my attentions and tha[t] making love on any terms will please her best, but I shall see how we go on. This complaint in her womb will make her like the excitement of my paying court and if I can get over it I believe she will be my mistress: more is out of the question. Poor Mariana, she was right when she used to dread leaving me, but when she returns to me it will be different. I am fond of and really respect her and she will keep me right, but what will be the end of this connection with Mrs B? She said this evening she was neither deep nor designing. I know not how this may be. I see she will hamper and entangle me, but if Mariana never knows it it will be well and she cannot harm me much. I should have been better out of her way yet it cannot be helped now and I must make the best I can of it. She excited me this evening: I fear I cannot resist her, but I will. Never, said I to myself as I came home, I will never go absolutely near her, I will always say I am not quite well. I expect her soon to call on my aunt, then if she comes into my room I know not how we shall manage" (31-Oct-1826).

Mariana, of course, is still never far from her mind: "Somehow awoke, I think playing with myself, then went on, thought of Mariana, and incurred the cross" (8-Nov-1826). The next day: "Thinking of Mrs B incurred another cross this morning. This is terrible" (8-Nov-1826). But just a day later Anne tries to make things physical again: "Took Mrs B round the waist, kissed her rather warmly, which she tried to push off saying better now and not so easily managed. She will take it quietly enough by and by" (9-Nov-1826).

"Told her she always excited me, which never seems to displease her. She said she did not do anything to do so but woul[d] do as I liked, meaning I know that she will yield to me if I desire it. She bids me prescribe what she is to do but 'No,' say I, 'I will not do that if I die for it' - then she would blame me and I know she longs to gratify herself and her own passions as well as mine. She is always harping on my having been constant to her for nine months. Declare I have always been constant ever since I knew her except for those few minutes at the tea table (Mrs Milne) which she understands was at Liverpool last July"[7] (12-Nov-1826).

For the next couple of weeks Anne continues to pursue Maria Barlow, who also wants to get Anne back. These coded diary entries show that both women are still desirous of a physical relationship, although Mrs Barlow resists becoming Anne's "mistress".

"Mrs B- came at 12 ¼ & staid with me till 5 ¾ - For the first three hours very stupid, wished her anywhere but with me, neither of us said much. I grieved in secret over my loss of time. At last leaned on her bosom and went half asleep having my hand about her ancles[sic] and occasionally as high as her knees, she perpetually interrupting me and not letting me go farther. At length we gradually got to talk of love. I had before asked her to go into the country with us in the summer: she had declined. She now said it was because she should be in more danger seeing me there than here. Said again I had been constant for two years, loved her, could not feel the same for anyone else, she was my little idol. She shed many tears and I some. Again she harped on P's[Mariana?] being a married woman. She said if a man enticed a woman to lie with him tho' she was not betrothed, according to the bible she was his wife and if he left her to commit adultery. I made no reply. She said I had enticed and seduced her, I used to call her my own. She had done all for me that woman could do. I said how calm she was. She said it was from principle, she schooled herself or should be very different. She said she little thought it was possible to rub a person into feeling passion. She used to fancy I had a little one[8] and others must have fancied so too or she supposed they could not feel passion. 'Oh yes,' said I, 'they could.' Perhaps, however, she was right. Did Mrs Milne, I wonder, fancy I had a little one? Mrs B repeated that it was quite a relief when she found this was not the case for she had often thought if any accident discovered it how awkward it would be. She hoped I would not commit myself to Madame Galvani for then she would know what we had been to each other. Denied that Mariana slept in my arms all night, said I always got up after her. She washed first with the curtain drawn, insinuating as if she never saw me wash. Nobody saw me naked but Mrs B. In her rage for adverting to self-admiration she said Jane's dancing master felt her heel, said she had no spring, could not jump much, then asked to feel Mrs B's. Said hers was much better and begged he might be allowed to give her lessons while Jane was obliged to rest. It was a thin heel that was required. I took no notice of this at moment but afterwards mentioning Madame G[alvani]'s wearing drawers. Mrs B questioned me how I knew and I said she had consulted me about her swelled ancles[sic] and surely I might as well feel hers as the dancing master feel Mrs B's. She said he was an old man of eighty. She is strange and such an egotist, she will this and that, all is her doing or recommending. Even when I told her today the piece of beef I liked to buy was the aloyausirloin she said it was she [who] recommended it, she will get us a place in the country etc. etc. She said I was not hers. What did I mean? [Who?] did I wish to intrigue with? I bade her not talk thus to me, yet she is delighted to hear me talk love and said even today she would do as I liked" (16-Nov-1826).

"Mrs Barlow, who had been some time with my aunt, came to me at 4 & staid till 5 ½ - Crying again and I too. We are a most tearful pair. The story of her melancholy love for me and my preferring Mariana as she always says id[sic]it? never fails to bathe her in tears. She sa[y]s I am under the beck and command of Mariana. She thinks her so far from cold that always she looked like a fireship and I, as if exhausted, I smiled and let this pass off gently, merely rallying her about it. She said she had thought thas[sic]that? as I wanted to save and she had found it so cheap in the country she would send Jane to Mrs Foster and we might all live together for that time, but that it would not do now, Mariana would order me not and I was her slave. She said she had a letter from her aunt yesterday in which she says she, Mrs B, will never be well till she has rooted out her affection for her late friend, meaning me. Rather a curious expression I think, especially as Mrs B declares it is not on account of anything she has said to her, tho' it seems she told her I quite neglected her when Mariana was here" (20-Nov-1826).

"Called on Mrs B- not at home - met her in crossing the gardens at 3:40 - turned back with her - Jane went to see her friend [illeg] Mrs B- & I tête à tête till 5 ½ - She had sought me, been in an agony because I had rubbed Madame Galvani's ancle[sic] so long yesterday. She was very weak, could not help it, loved me too much. I was all that was conciliatory, yet rallied her on her jealousy. She sat on my knee, lean[ing] and weeping on my shoulder, but would not let me put my hand up her petticoats, said she would not intrigue with me. What could she be but my mistress and this was not the love she wished, yet she knew she excited me. At last in standing I pressed her near me and felt what she well understood, she bidding me not hurt myself. At length said 'Well, Maria, 'tis over now, you have drenched me, whateve[r] I was, whether I had a little one or not, I could do you no harm.' Some little while afterwards on parting she stood with me at the outdoor and said I 'I am beginning, I really believe I could be bad again tho' so lately exhausted.' 'Well yes, to be sure,' said she. She constantly harps on having lost me. Said she would not be my mistress and having me going once a week - She wants to buy merinos; & I promised to go with her on Thursday & be with her at 12" (21-Nov-1826).

"At 10:20 who should appear but Mrs B- She had come to tell me to be sure not only not to rub Madame G[alvani]'s ancle[sic] but not to let it rest on my knee. The thought of it made her quite sick. We talked in our usual style, only more of Mariana. I vindicated her from hypocrisy and Mrs B heard me more patiently than ever before, said if the L[awton]s should come here next we ought to keep up appearances for Mrs B's sake. Said Mariana had asked me seriously how far matters had gone with Mrs B, saying that if I had had any connection with her her claim would be strong and Mariana would give up but I had, according to Mrs B's express orders, always declared not and there was an end of the thing. Mrs B said it was now too late and begged me never to tell and I promised. She said Mariana would cease to respect her. She always likes to see that I am excited. Today she let me press her while standing quite close. She said it is half over before I know what you are about and then I don't like to disappoint you, yet she says she loves virtue better than me, liking all the while to hear me talk of my desire for her and that none can give me pleasure but herself. I wonder what we shall make of it at last. Poor Mariana, she shall never know all this" (22-Nov-1826).

"Went out at 12 ¾ - direct to Quai Voltaire, was to have gone with Mrs B- to choose a merinos gown for her, but we got talking comfortably in her room till it was after 2 & it began to rain a little & we did not go - she then lighted the fire in her room - Our usual style of conversation. She sat on my knee. She wishes me to be good, will not indulge me herself from principle, cannot bear me to be indulged by anyone else, but whatever I may do Mrs L[awton] is the most to blame for placing me in such a situation. She, Mrs B, would be comfortable if I was settled with anyone who suited me and was all to me. She cried every now and then but not quite so much as in general. She has suffered from haemorrhoids, it was these she had when I found her ill in bed one day when Mariana was here. Said I would always love her but would try to do it without passion. I saw this was not quite what she wanted yet she persisted in not letting me take liberties. At last a little past five, it was dusk, I was excited: she felt it and owned it was self-denial. I knew not how much it cost her to refuse me. I said I wished we were in bed, I would give anything for her at that moment. I put my hand to her outside her clothes and I think she was excited. At last I got up to come [away] saying I was wet thro' and must go to the cabinet. It was dark. She went with me, felt in my drawers how wet my chemise and reminded me she had once asked me to make water upon her. She certainly lets me say anything in the world to her. I was telling her she was calm. 'Ah,' said she, 'you don't know the excitement of your being with me is so great I am fit for nothing but bed when you are gone.' It was this that so excited me just before coming away and that made me rather more bold in fressing[?] her to me... We were all the time tête [à tête] in her room, Jane by herself in the salon - surely the girl must wonder a little" (24-Nov-1826).

"Mrs B- & I tête à tête about ½ hour - She leaned on my shoulder on the sofa; not time enough to get very pathetic. She told me she had three hundred pounds in her banker's hands. On coming away she came as usual with me to the outdoor where we stood above quarter hour, I pressing her near me, she nothing loth. Told her I could stand it no longer, I was quite wet. 'Ah,' said she, 'you would not mind it if I had it, that nasty stuff.' She certainly likes to think she has excited me but said she 'You could feel this for another.' 'Of course,' I declared. 'Yes,' she answered, 'you know it will soon be your duty', meaning for Mariana. I told her if on leaving her apartment all was not ready for her we should be glad to see her here, she should have half my bed. Told her of my having looked [at] number four Rue d'Anjou at which she seemed pleased" (30-Nov-1826).

"Mrs B- & I went to numbers 1 to 3 Rue des Lombards & bought tea - thence along the Rue d'Arles[?] (where I bought a nice ham at 4/- of a man en passantin passing - folded it up in paper at a baker's shop & carried it to Quai Voltaire), over the Pont Neuf & got to Mrs B-'s at 2 ½ - she a little tired - lay down on the bed & I sat by her - both of us much splashed - the sheets very dirty - obove ¼ hour brushing & making ourselves decent, then at 3:55 took Jane to the Tuilieres gardens - sauntered about there aove ½ hour - parted with Mrs B- on the Pont Royal & got home at 4 ¾ - She let me put my hand to her over her clothes but said if she let me do as I liked she should be in a fine state, for she could not bear everything. She said I must excuse her saying so but she thought if a[sic]I? had a little one - meaning a penis - what I emitted was not good enough to beget children, it was too thin, not glutinous enough, to which I agreed. She said my being occasionally unwell might make a difference, to which I said yes. I always deny having been connected with Mariana or being seen naked by any but Mrs B. She said I had put my fingers into my mouth after touching her and had sucked her. Talked of the impossibility of doing so to anyone else. She says she is very weak towards me, she cannot help loving me, she never seems to have enough of me but no-one but herself would believe I loved her or why did I leave her. She shed one or two tears but we improve in this respect and do not go on weeping as at first" (2-Dec-1826).

"Mrs B made a fire in her lodging room and there we sat tête à tête leaving Jane in the salon. Mr[s] B sat on my knee, would know where I had been yesterday - did not tell her I had called on the Newtes... She got to talking about my leaving her, perhaps at a moment's warning. When I left Paris she should see me no more. I would not agree to this. She said I was another's, what could I do, what had she been but my mistress? She never would have been mine. Had she not thought me hers? and that friendship was weak against love and I could not leave her now her eyes were opened and there would be no excuse. I used to call her my wife, bade me do so once again and I did. I said I could never connect the word mistress with her etc. etc. She was glad of it this was some consolation. Said she was mine and I hers, it was not my intetion to leave her. She said she had told her aunt I was affectionat[e] as ever, would never believe but that Mariana was mine before she married or I could never have done so much for her or loved her so well, nor could she have understood me so well. She had found out I could do as well for her as [a] husband, indeed I had said she would leave him rather than lose. I smiled and said she must have things her own way, my contradicting was of no use. We then got a little excited, she said she could not bear it and moved my hand which had glided near her outside her clothes. She could not bear it, should be as bad as I was, should forget herself. I said I was glad to find she could be moved. She said I did not know that it was the first time. I said this at least was a consolation to me, I wished we were in bed together in Siberia, there perhaps we might be quiet. She said she wished we were and could be happy with me anywhere. We stood up a while and put ourselves close together. I afterwards made use of the pot and she knelt by me during the time. She said she was quite tired, meaning from excitement. I kissed her and came away. I had before in kissing her as she lay on my right arm put my tongue a little into her mouth" (5-Dec-1826).

Finally, Mrs Barlow gives in, giving Anne what she wants: "Was just returning to my breakfast at 10:55 when Mrs B- came - had not slept all night thinking of what I had said that providence always ordered best for us and that I was glad I had not had a free choice, explained that I did not quite express myself thus, but spoke generally without alluding to anything in particular. Told her I was annoyed at her so always perverting my words. She cried a good deal, could not help loving me too much. At last we stood up and pressed each other, she saying she did it for my sake. We sat down, I begged to feel her, she said I should think ill off[sic] her. I declared not, she let me feel her over her clothes, saying I should make her as bad as myself. We were both excited. It was after twleve I proposed her going into my bedroom while I rang for George to take the things away. She went but my aunt was at the water closet and she could not pass. In coming back my aunt saw and she was obliged to go to her, so our amatory sshemes[sic]schemes have been disappointed for this time. I see I shall have her by and by. Mrs B- went to my aunt at 12:10 - I then wrote the last 13 lines which took me till 12:35 - Mrs B came back to me in five minutes from this time. She sat by me on the sofa, then on my knee. She let me put my hand to her and I soon put up the middle finger of my right hand as formerly, she leaning back on the sofa back opening her legs and giving me fair play on pressing much against the orifice of the womb; she said I hurt her. The ice was now broken, she said she had only twice before felt excited, that is the last time just before I left her at her own house and once before - She asked for a little wine looking rather fagged. I gave her my bottle that Mariana and I had at Boulogne. She asked if anyone but myself drank out of it. I evaded by saying the bottle was entirely my own. She tasted but thought the little white Beaune that remained in it sour.[9] I then gave her two teaspoonfuls of lavender drops in a little water which she drank very composedly - On withdrawing my finger from her found it all bloody. It was too soon for her to be unwell, asked if I had hurt her but she declared not - Went out with Mrs B- at 1:40 - she had something to pay at Michel's - staid a while to eat something - I had a hot (cold) stale, paté, & a stale tartelet - both bad -then went to the Rue de Luxembourg & took a fiacre and went to Mrs B-'s banker, Mallet, Rue de la Chaussée d'Autin number 13, thence to Perrier le jeune Rue des Petits Champs number 44, an excellent shop for merinos, silks, linens, etc. etc. Some time there - Mrs B- bought black Levantine & marceline for a pelisse (cloak) for Jane etc. & I bought a cotton tablecloth, & some cloth for glasscloths & dishcloths, thence to Quai Voltaire, got there at 3:40 having had our fiacre 1 ¾ hour - I had my hand up her petticoats going to Mallet's and afterwards my finger up: it was bloody. She wiped it with her pocket handkerchief and I let her alone till we got home. She then complained of being tired and lay down. We had the door fast and I put my finger up again. Again bloody and I washed my hands but afterward kept my hand to her all the while feeling her, tho' not with my finger up. She said pressing (the neck of the womb) hurt her much, she felt it all up into her left side, she could not bear to come down to me as she used to do, she should do better another time. She had suffered there where I had pressed. After I left her to return to England her aunt had made her go to [Dr] Dupuytren, but he was then gone to the coronation. Thought I to myself, is it possible that I had hurt her there? The ice is broken, she will have no more misgivings, I told her how much better I loved her after it than before, hoped she would be more comfortable. Perhaps she might in body but not in mind. I said she would drive me to distraction if she made herself so unhappy, we were no worse than before. She said I was not at all to blame, it was all her fault, now she ought to be able to take care of herself, said she was mine once again. She had now given the power out of her own hands and I should have my own way in future. Said I should be constant. 'Yes, when you want anyone, now you will come to me.' Said I would not go merely for an animal want, it should be from affection. She asked me for her letters, she to keep mine, they were all she had left, she had no journal - besides mine were much less warm than hers: I had been accustomed to write in this way, she had not and I should never write to her so again. I said the best thing would be for us both to burn our letters. No, she did not like to burn mine, they should be quite safe I said I equally longed to keep hers. 'Ah,' said she, 'you don't like to trust me.' I denied this but would do as she liked, yet could not bring her her letters just now. 'Did I want to copy any parts of them?' 'No, no,' said I, 'I have not time, besides I have all I wish in my j[o]urnal.' I kissed, bade her not be unhappy, promised to go to her on Friday and came away."

Only for Anne to regret it immediately: "I have had not time to think over what has passed today. Mrs B is now in fact my mistress. She told me today she believed I loved her because she loved me. Certainly her tears and love have so far overcome me, I have done more from pity and to please her than myself. I certainly would not have her, she would not suit me and I often think how to get rid of her. I am really attached to Mariana. I must leave Mrs B sooner or later and would give much to be out of the scrape, tho' I know not how to get out. I almost wish to be off, besides I am afraid of hurting Mrs B and I really do more to gratify her passions than my own, little as she does or would like to suspect this" (8-Dec-1826).

But she still goes back to her on the following Tuesday: "Went out at 12:35 - went to the butcher's - thence direct thro' the gardens to Quai Voltaire, & got to Mrs B-'s at 1:20 - Sat nearly the whole time tête [à tête] in her room, she on my knee. Had m[y] right middle finger up her, twice sitting and once standing. No blood today nor did I hurt her at all but she suffered a good deal the last time and on Sat[urday] and Sunday... [Mrs B-] said after we parted the next time perhaps we should meet no more. Said I do not see that at all, perhaps I might be here and we might visit together, could not receive company while my aunt lived, unless she so far recovered as to be likely to live long, and then it would make a difference. Should like to go to Rome and why should not Mr[s] B go too? She shed a few tears today, but not many, fewer than ever and I hope we shall get to do without them at all by and by - Got home in 17 minutes at 2 minutes before 6 - Dinner at 6:10 - came to my salon at 7:35... Fine day - fine moonlight evening - Just as I got home a well-dressed man came up to me and said 'Voulez vous que je vous offre le bras?'Do you want me to offer you my arm? 'Non monsieur, allez vous en. Je ne vous connais pas'No sir, go away. I don't know you and I turned in at our own gate. This is the first time anyone has ever accosted me" (12-Dec-1826).

Anne stays on the continent until March 1828 - that's a lot of diary to decode & read, so I point you to the epilogue of Helena Whitbread's No Priest But Love for a summary of Anne's remaining time in Paris. Needless to say, Anne grows tired of Maria Barlow, and sometime during the winter of 1827/8 Anne finds someone else to pursue: the enigmatic Madame de Rosny.[10] Fortunately this period is being decoded here: - excellent uncut transcriptions, with translations of the French terms that Anne so liked to use.

Anne finally leaves on March 17: "Rainyish morning - Mrs B- came at 7 ¼ - sat with me during breakfast & went with me in the fiacre to the diligence office (Rue Notre Dame des Victoires) - got there at 8 - off at 8 ¼ - poor Mrs B determined to see all she could of me - had the coupé to myself - at Beaumont at 12 - an hour or 2 afterwards a woman complained of being in the interior with a young lady sick, & begged to know if she could incommode me in the the coupé or if I had an objection - I said the coupé was not à moimine, but that if she had her place elswhere I certainly should prefer her staying there, not at all liking the idea of having my solitude thus interrupted - I could not tell what to make of her - was she some femme de chargehousekeeper or what? And I had made water four times most comfortably on the straw at my feet - She made an attempt to enter into conversation but it would not do - she told me with a broadish Irish accent she had been at school (a nunnery at Winchester) with Miss Mary Stourton, Lord S-'s daughter, who married Mr Wells & that so like her she thought I must be some relation - disclaimed all knowledge of the family, & the poor woman left me to dozing & to silence - at Beauvais at 4:20... passed Abbeville in the night - asked for a room in vain so just got in time to do it on the coach" (17-Mar-1828).

The crossing "on board his majesty's steamer the Salamander" was very rough: Anne reaches Dover "after 5 ¼ long hours" at 4:35 on the afternoon of March 19, 1828. After a stopover in London, Anne arrives at Lawton Hall on the 23rd, "Mariana looking thin but much better than I expected. Delighted to see me, said the real fact was 'Was I come on her account?' yet her manner was warmer than mine. Said I was harassed, though in fact I felt more as if I had been so long absent from Mariana I did not know what to do with her. She looked tall and big, she seemed grown taller. I felt awkward and said to myself 'Why, what have I to do with having such a woman?'... Sat talking to Mariana - Dinner at 6 - left the dining room before 8 and came upstairs for quarter hour and had a kiss on the sofa in my dressing room. Coffee, then tea soon afterwards & lastly wine & hot water brought in - came to my room at 11 - Fine morning till about noon, then hail showers and rain to between 3 & 4 p.m. & afterwards fine evening" (23-Mar-1828).

Despite her apparent disappointment at seeing Mariana again they continue their relationship over the next few days: "From seven and forty minutes to eight Mariana came to me in bed and we had a kiss" (24-Mar-1828). "Mariana could only come to me for a minute just before going down so no kiss" (25-Mar-1828). "Mariana came to me in bed for about twenty minutes in which time we had three kisses" (26-Mar-1828).

The following year Anne is back in Paris with aunt Anne and Vere Hobart, and, of course, Anne is seeing Mrs Barlow. I think these entries indicate how things were between them:

Mrs B- came at 4 ¾, & sat with me till dinner at 6 ¼ - and sat a few minutes afterwards while we were at dinner - she said she had come merely to sit with my aunt but happening to come into my room first there she staid. I had her on my knee and was going to grubble, she just muttering we have not time now but somehow she began about constancy and that no wife liked a husband to go astray and I began moralizing, thinking to myself: 'What the deuce has she to do with me as a husband?' I had better let her alone, she lays too much claim to my constancy already. How is it she does not, will not, know me better? Surely I have said enough about hating to be pothered etc, etc. It might be convenient to me to travel with her but I fear to hamper myself" (3-May-1829).

"...then Mrs B- who had been an hour with my aunt came to me (at 1:25) unluckily and staid till four and twenty-five minutes. Grubbled and right middle finger up for a few minutes... After the grubbling pretended to sleep... I had neither had Mrs B nor let her alone - must manage better another time... I just touched then[sic] thro' her gown in front, tried to get up her petticoats but could not make my way thro' her drawers, and should at once without a word have given it up. But she, without more ado, undid herself and made way for me - she was wet and ready for me and had pleasure but had not enough of me. Her breath was very bad, I wished her away and sadly begrudged my time" (8-May-1829).

As far as I can tell, Anne doesn't see Maria Barlow again after this trip until she passes through Paris on her way to Copenhagen in 1832: the journey we see in GJ episode 8, and the Mrs Barlow affair seems to be properly over in 1829, and Anne is soon looking around for someone new.

[1] It seems that Mrs Barlow claimed that "her father a colonel at least, perhaps a general Macray" (AL: 11-Sep-1824).
[2] Descended from this branch of the family was John Le Mesurier, the actor who, if you are British of a certain age, you will know from the long-running TV series Dad's Army.
[3] Anne had planned to return to England before the end of the year - her treatment for her venereal condition and the affair with Mrs Barlow made her stay in Paris longer.
[4] "Going to Italy" means committing to a complete, sexual realtionship.
[5] Helena Whitbread in No Priest But Love changes "more motion" to "more emotion".
[6] I don't know what is meant by "interested"; Helena Whitbread suggests "worldly".
[7] I think that Anne must have told Mrs Barlow about her Christmas 1825 affair with Mrs Harriet Milne, Mariana's sister (see Helena Whitbread's No Priest But Love - "A Winter Flirtation"); she's been a little economical with the truth.
[8] Mrs Barlow had wondered if Anne actaully had a small penis.
[9] At this point the wine was nearly two months old!
[10] I'm not sure who Madame de Rosny was, but one candidate is Isbergue Thérèse Hécart (b. 23-Mar-1789), who, in 1809, married Joseph de Rosny (1771-1814). Their son, Leon de Rosny, was the same age as Madame de Rosny's son, although the date of Joseph de Rosny's death does not agree with the date ("a month after Louis 18") Anne mentions in her diary. Nor does her age, as claimed by Madame de Rosny - but knocking a few years off one's age is hardly unusual.
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