[At Lidgate at 10] and stayed till John Priestley came at
two. She started as difficulties the not living at Cliff Hill and my intimacy
with the William Priestleys – she should do as she liked about the former – it was
herself, it was person, not place I cared for – and as soon as all was settled,
my giving up the P-‘s was easy and natural.
This said, she seemed reconciled and satisfied – I said I
would listen to no difficulty, but the pre-engagement of her own heart – she declared
it not engaged – and talked of letting the Ainsleys [Ainsworths] have Cliff
Hill as if she had determined on being with me at Shibden, yielding to all my
reasons in addition to the former ones – I had said that if I survived her, I
could no longer remain at Cliff Hill.
I had my arm on the back of the sofa – she leaned on it –
looked as if I might be affectionate, and it ended in her lying on my arm all
the morning and my kissing her and she returning it with such a long continued
passionate or nervous mumbling kiss – that we got on as far as we, by daylight,
mere kissing, could – I thinking to myself, ‘well, this is rather more than I
expected – of course she means to take [me]’. Yet on pressing the hardness of
my case in having to wait six months and begging for a less length of probation
– she held out, saying her mind was quite unmade up – and I must not hope too
much for fear of disappointment.
Yet she asked me to dine with her at five and stay all
night – I promised the former. Very sorry could not do the latter while my
father was unwell and my sister absent. Thought I, ‘I see I shall get all I want
of her person if I stay all night’.
Back at five to dinner – she had put on an evening gown –
and a sort of set out dinner for me – I talked much of the Highlands etc while
the manservant was there. Afterwards drew near to each [other] and she sat on
my knee, and I did not spare kissing and pressing, she returning it as in the
morning. Yet still I was not to hope too much – she said I was infatuated –
when the novelty was over I should not feel the same – and I might not find her
a companion for me. I waived all this, fancying all her scruples were of this
On leaving the dining room we sat most lovingly on the
sofa – thought her aunt would not live six months – said she had a fancy for
Eugénie. If we were not ready for her by January, we were to allow her
something and retain her.
We were so affectionate – we let the lamp go out – long continued
(mumbling moist) kissing, I pressed her bosom – then finding no resistance and
the lamp being out – let my hand wander lower down, gently getting to queer –
still no resistance – so I whispered, surely she could care for me so little? –
yes – then gently whispered she would break my heart if she left me – she then
said I should think her very cold (how the devil could I?) and it came out: how
that her affections had been engaged to one of the best men – that they could not
be transferred so soon for he had only been dead just three months – and she
got crying. I begged a thousand pardons etc – declared it was only through ignorance
that I had ever been so sanguine etc – and thinking a scene would then come
beautifully from me, seemed in a paroxysm of stupid tho’ deeply sighing grief
and stifled tears – and declared myself hopeless – said my conduct (or rather,
my hoping) was madness and she had no longer any reason to fear my preparation
for myself – nothing but disappointment. All this as very prettily done.
I however promised to see her tomorrow and we parted in
all the pathos due to the occasion. I said little as I returned to poor John –
musing on the curious scene of today. ‘Cold’, thought I, no sign of that – more
likely she will try what I can do for her before giving the answer, and I don’t
think I can do enough. She had said that if she once made up her mind, she
thought herself as much as married to me for life. Well, I may try her – or rather
let her try me – and go what lengths the first night I sleep there. She certainly
gulled me in that I never dreamt of her being the passionate little person I
find her, spite of her calling herself ‘cold’. Certainly, I should never have ventured
such lengths just yet without all the encouragement she gave me. I shall now
turn to sentimentally melancholy and put on all the air of romantic
hopelessness. If I do this well, I may turn her to pity or fight off, I see,
good. I scarce know what to make of her. Is she maddish? I must mind what I say
to her – be cautious.
Speaking of Miss Sophia Greenup – said Miss Duffin said ‘now
kiss Sophia, love’ – and mentioned that I was to have brought her home, but her
mother luckily did not like her being under obligation to me. Merely said it
was Miss Hobart – now Lady Vere Cameron – I had with me at Hastings.
Hang it, this queer girl puzzles me. She told me this
morning of the weakness in her back for which she uses Mr Day’s ointment – it was
from making her walk too soon when an infant. I think a little spice of
matrimony would do her good.
Miss W- much troubled with anonymous letters – said she
would get rid of all troubles of cousins or letters when with me. She seemed quite
persuaded of this – I wonder what she will say to me tomorrow.