20 October 1832

I felt out of sorts with her but did not show it. We fondled as usual and I was handling her and feeling her queer as she had not much cousin – at least, all was dry. Explained why I thought her mistaken in thinking she would bear a man easier than me – explained the size of men – how Caesar was biliber[?] – as big as two books. Mentioned some women taking even an ass and the woman in Paris with a dog to be seen for ten francs etc. – all which she listened to with interest and composure. Told [of] my attachment to Eliza Raine that began at thirteen or fourteen – each unknowing at first that there was a break between us – my fault – I too giddy, tho’ not caring in reality for anyone else – and the poor girl from that time began to be not quite herself.

Joked and said I knew she, Miss W-, meant to say ‘no’ – that she would break my heart at last, but she would never hear of it – would hear neither of nor from me – then, said she, I must say yes or give you up entirely. Said what else could she expect – people who felt moderately might act so – how could I do so? I had nothing for it except one extreme or other – thus, such, in preparation of being off, I know she would like to keep me on so as to have the benefit of my intimacy without any real joint concern.

[Letter to M-] Did not mention her in any way so that M- could surmise anything particular – on the contrary – afterwards spoke of having no tie here and should be glad to be off as soon as I could.

[Talking to my aunt] about Miss Walker – my aunt’s joking me yesterday about my changing my mind had struck me – perhaps I might do so. The nearer I seemed to her, Miss W-‘s, consenting – and by a strange perversity – the more I doubted my own mind. She had chosen lemons too well – and knowingly – and like a housekeeper at Gregory’s on Monday. In fact, talked as if I was very wavering as in fact I begin to feel.

19 October 1832

Mending pelisse sleeves till seven and three quarters.

All had gone on well – Miss W- had consulted me and made me stay – and talked and treated me exactly as if her mind was in reality made up to take me – and I felt almost sure and no two people could get on more lovingly and well (her cousin came this morning and I was most tender over her). Till just at ten, I joked about our being just as good friends if she was settled at Cliff Hill and I at Shibden – then, said she, we must give up all this (meaning our fondling) – and could you, said I, give me up easily? – this led to – her mind was not made up. She did not think she should have suffered so much – that there would have been so much difficulty – if she was really married, it would be different, would be easier. Oh, oh, thought I to myself, I see how it is – my difficulty in getting to her on Monday night and my being able to do so little was not what she expected or relished. I combatted her idea that, but for her word to the contrary, I should have believed she could no longer pretend to the title of old maid – she took all very well – denied, but yet in such sort as left me almost doubtful? She said she did not deny that she had been kissed. In fact, it seemed after all that she was doubtful of me as ever and I am to kick my heels after and dance attendance till the third of April – hope for nothing. I always fancy she and Catharine Rawson have played tricks together – and she hesitates to take me, who cannot perhaps do much better. I had even read her the letter I had wrote last night to M-; she had read me one from her cousin, Miss Atkinson – I had had my hand at her queer – spite of her cousin – and we had gone on just like a married pair, I telling her all sorts of things.

I came home musing of all this and annoyed and thinking I had best care little about her.

18 October 1832

It must seem to them all as if I had the ordering of the thing and as if my influence was paramount. She said she should like the greenhouse as it was the first thing we had a common interest in – talked of Shibden and Cliff Hill – and exactly as if all was settled. She was now convinced I loved her – thought at first liked, but not loved – and mere liking was not enough – something more required for living together – she owned she loved me. I made strong love – and really felt it. She said she should not mind her cousin coming on while we were away – should not mind being ill if I was with her. I had right middle finger moderately and gently, she making no resistance – but say[ing] how kind and gentle I was with her – she lay on my arm on the sofa as usual. No objection to my going tomorrow – in fact, surely, she has no thought but of taking me.

[Talking to my aunt] of Miss W-; told of her present to her cousin Atkinson and that it would have been double, that is a thousand, but for me.

17 October 1832

Very good friends – more than ever as if all was settled between us [settled to go to York on Monday, or rather, Tadcaster, then onto York and see Dr. Belcombe the next day – shop a little, sleep again at Tadcaster – and be back on Wednesday – I to go and sleep there on Sunday] – Consulted me about her concerns – brought out her rent roll – evidently more at ease with me than ever and more affectionate. She told me yesterday she had two five hundred a year and I should guess about one thousand at her own disposal.

Talked this morning more than ever as she really meant to say yes and take me – said nothing against my going tomorrow but asked me to breakfast. She said on Monday she was already much attached to me – and I really believe she is. Left her at the Cliff Hill home gate at one.

[Talking to my aunt] about Miss W-; said the more I saw of her the more I felt satisfied with her etc.

16 October 1832

Did not sleep very well.

I sat by her very affectionately – gave her her gruel at two – and afterwards at four, cut and put into her mouth one sandwich – nursed her very tenderly – the more so as she was suffering from having had me last night, felt sickish. Had pain in her back and felt great heat and soreness about her queer – her cousin comes irregularly – often suffers for a week before, thought it was perhaps coming. Never thought I should have made her suffer so much – would never let me do so again – I took all this very well, consoling and reassuring her as well as I could and being so kind that I saw she was moved by it – and we talked as if there was no chance of her eventually refusing me. In fact, we go on as if all was settled – I really feel in love with her and have no fear of being very happy with her. We settled to go to York on Monday, or rather, Mane headquarters at Tadcaster and have Doctor Belcombe come to us.

[Talking to my aunt] told her I really began to think Miss W- would give up Cliff Hill and come to me.

15 October 1832

Washing and mending my stays till eight.

Had Cordingley help take trimming off old French silk petticoat.

I undressed in half hour and then went to her room – had her on my knee a few minutes and then got into bed, she making no objection – and stayed with her till twelve and three quarters grubbling gently – right middle finger up almost all the time – made two or three attempts to get myself quite near her but somehow could not manage it – and she seemed so tender and able to bear so little (I think she was more intact and innocent and virgin than I had latterly surmised) that I contented myself with handling her gently and lovemaking – she feared she should never be able to satisfy me. On leaving her, my night things so wet [I was] obliged to take them off and sleep in my dressing gown – she whispered to me in bed how gentle and kind I was to her and faintly said she loved me – or else, how can you think, said she, that I should let you do as you do. In fact, tho’ I never allow that I have hope, surely I ought not to despair – she cannot surely go on as she does meaning to say no – nothing passes that is not encouraging.

13 October 1832

Wrote copy of letter asking Eugénie’s character.

Talked to Miss W- first of her business matters, and then quite as if we were really to gravel together – mentioned Mrs N[orcliffe] asking me to Bath – Miss W- looked with a long face on my talking of going – in fact, it is plain she likes me. She said what confidence she felt in and that she already felt attached to me – I talked of the continent a style of observation amusing and exciting – she lay down and I leaned over her kissing her as usual. After eight, more affectionate but, on gently putting my hand up her petticoats, she whispered ‘don’t’ – and I desisted. She said I did not know how she had suffered from it the other night – had not got the better of it yet – she was very tender there. I talked soothingly and affectionately – said how gentle I would be – expressed my anxiety for her health and she said she would go with me to York this month. She always sleeps with Catharine Rawson – goes to her – I joked and wanted her to come to me – no, not then, it would not do – it would be better when we went to York, to sleep at Tadcaster going and returning. Oh, oh, thought I, then we must get off – I must get my ordeal over and let her try me and see whether I can make her happy enough or not.

She has really seemed better, or more nicely conducted, tonight than of late and her affectionate manner did make me feel in love with her. I said I only wished she had but a third of what she had and no Cliff Hill and then we might have managed all without difficulty – oh, no, said she, the difficulty would have been far greater – I could not comprehend this – I will, perhaps, explain it, said she, by and by. I told her my uncle and aunt together had given me more than five hundred pounds one year and my uncle Joseph had once paid my debts – but if I had not been as I was, perhaps neither I nor Marian would have had the estate. Mentioned having Cordingley with me in Paris but did not say where we were – told some of the queer stories and said I had always been too great a pickle but was quite different now. She is more than half in love with me already?

11 October 1832

Miss W- came down in two or three minutes – about an hour at breakfast. She then showed me the letter from her cousin Mr Edwards Atkinson thanking her for her offer of lending him five hundred, but asking the loan of three thousand – wrote her a copy of answer, which she wrote verbatim, saying she had meant to give him the five hundred but could do no more, straitened by her late purchases etc for the present – the magnitude of her expenses uncertain for the future and she would not anticipate her resources by borrowing. Confidential conversation – she influenced by all I said – Mrs Hartley tipples brandy and water, advised her by no means visiting her at Bingley.

Got on very well – kissing as usual…afterwards lovemaking and kissing – she lying on my arm. Told her, as we got to talking more and more as if we should be together, that I thought of taking down the kitchen part, castellating the new part and the lodge from the Godley Road, and changing the name to Shibden Castle – that if I could, I would give Saint James’s Church a painted window with the likeness of my uncle – that not my sister, but the Listers in Wales would be my heirs according to my uncle’s wish – that as soon as we had been settled together I would settle Shibden on her for life. We talked of the Ainsworths coming to Cliff Hill and getting Lightcliffe chapel for him – she might be able to get the archbishop’s interest with our vicar – I feared that might be refused but I could, perhaps, apply to the vicar through the next best channel (meaning, but not saying so, Lord Wharncliffe).

As it became dusk, we crept closer and I, without any resistance, got (for the first time) right middle finger up her queer at three separate times, she nothing loth but evidently excited – she liking it and wet – and taking it altogether as if she had learnt her lesson before in this way too, as well as in kissing – she whispered that she loved me then. Afterwards said that her mind was quite unmade up and bade me not be sanguine – the name of Cliff Hill escaped from me and she burst into tears – and said if she could regret it at that moment, what should she do afterwards. How can I tell what to make of her? She had casually said Catherine Rawson did often said she should like to live with her – they had long ago talked of it, but now and of late she had thought it would not answer and was getting off. Thought then my surmise was probably true, when I fancied that Catherine’s classics might have taught her the trick of debauching Miss W-. Yes, Miss W- has been taught by someone.

We agreed that we could not be quite common friends again and yet, her cool advice to me just before leaving her – not to hope too much – sickened me at heart and I said to myself as I walked along – damn her, she is an old hand and has nor shame nor anything – she certainly takes all very much like one of the initiated.