• 9th August 1818

    Mrs Page began talking about my getting married. Told me I had a good figure, good complexion, held myself well & was, she thought, good-tempered. That I should be good-looking if I dressed my hair with bows, as they do now, and with curls, etc. She is a vulgar, good sort of woman, fond of giving her opinions and advice. I took it all well, was amused, led her on & praised her &, I daresay, came off with flying colours.

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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