[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 sort.
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.