• 10th Nov 1818

    Ellen [Empson] & I had a long confab. Told her I was often in low spirits & she owned I had some reason – my father’s managing his estate so ill & living in that quere [sic] sort of way at Weighton. I said I often wanted a companion – someone to take care of me & now she was gone there was nobody I cared about. Said she, very innocently, “Why did you let me marry?” “What could I do? You never asked me.” “That is true enough. I never asked anybody.” She seemed to feel a great deal interested about me – said I was odd but hoped I would not change.

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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