• 7th June 1818

    Thinking that Miss Browne, her current ‘crush’ was avoiding her, Anne wrote: “‘Tis well, I deserve it. Miss Browne is right ... I will think no more of her ... and make myself scarce to everyone, determined to devote myself solely to study & the acquirement of that literature which may make me eminent & more decidedly above them all hereafter ... My mind was intent on these reflections as I walked along & I resolved to stick diligently to my watchword – discretion, & next to good, to devote myself to study.”

Mariana Lawton (née Belcombe)

When she was twenty-three Anne met Mariana Belcombe (‘M’ in her diaries). Mariana and Anne began a passionate affair, which continued during Mariana’s marriage for money to Charles Lawton. Anne was heart-broken at Mariana’s infidelity. Aside from jealousy, Mariana’s marriage had other consequences for Anne. In 1820 Charles contracted a venereal disease, apparently from a servant, and Anne caught the incurable “venereal taint” from Mariana, with which she remained infected all her life.

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