• 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.”

Sea, sand and sex in Georgian Scarborough

I have just returned from a holiday in the seaside town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, with my sister and daughter.

Scarborough featured quite prominently at certain stages in Anne Lister’s life. A chapter in my forthcoming biography of Anne Lister concentrates on the time she spent there with her lover, Mariana Lawton.

The relationship between the two women had now reached a crisis point. Mariana, entrenched in her life as a married woman with a rich Cheshire landowner husband, was becoming fearful that the nature of their relationship might be found out. In a letter written to Anne in the July of 1823, she had asked that Anne be circumspect, adding

‘I had a feeling on the subject that no earthly power can remove & great as the misery which it would entail upon myself might be, I would endure it all rather than the nature of our connection should be known to any human being.’ [The journals of Anne Lister. 22.7.1823]

Anne is disillusioned with Mariana’s lack of trust and snobbish concern with her respectability.

‘She is too tamely worldly: her whole conduct is worldly to the farthest verge that craven love can bear.’ [ibid. 20.8.1823]

Their sojourn in Scarborough is fraught with emotional difficulties which, to Anne, indicates that a crossroads in their relationship has been reached.

This entry was posted in blog. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>