Mrs Clarke took off with her a fortune of five and twenty thousand pounds – Christopher Rawson was told by her just before the sale of the Walker navigation shares, she would not marry. He might count upon it of seven or eight years or else John Rawson would have bought the shares – Doctor better informed. Jeremiah Rawson commission Mr R- to tell me he should be glad to steward for me – said we should have got on very well together, but he was too late – and laughed and said Miss Walker had proved me so that I had never seemed to be without steward. Joked and told her to take care of Frank Rawson against Kennys and Clarkes – as I meant to take the best I could of my sister.
On getting up this morning saw that my cousin was come very gently but put nothing on and determined to put off breakfasting with my friend for two or three days – agreed on Thursday which will do well enough. She thinks me over head and ears in love with her, as indeed my manner indicates – she is evidently pleased by my attentions – excited and gives me all possible encouragement short of legitimate hope. But I think she is in for it – and if I can only do moderately enough for her, her answer may perhaps be yes after all – however, I shall, in reality, take it composedly anyway. I [am] now inclined to risk trusting myself and doing my best for her the first night I have an opportunity – it is evident she will throw no obstacle my way.
We had a good deal of talk – I said happiness was, in well-bred minds, more metal than in others – if such was, or could be, her feelings and she could give up the thought of having children, perhaps she might be happy with me etc. Talked a little of the odd things abroad – said I had been a good deal humbugged by French Countess and let her understand that I had come in twenty-eight and been a year away from my aunt to get out of the way. Talked of there being no chance of my marrying but I saw she did not quite enter into this in spite of all the hints it seemed safe to give. Kissing and pressing her as usual – she put the blind down – lucky – James had come in on trivial errands twice.
And Mrs Priestley came at four – I had jumped in time and was standing by the fire – but Ann looked red and pale, and Mrs P- must see we were not particularly expecting or desiring company. She looked vexed, jealous and annoyed and asked (in bitter satire) if I had [been] where I was ever since she left me there – no, said I, I only ought to have been. My aunt had been quite in a host of miseries. Mrs P- said, as if turning it all on this, yes, she was quite vexed with me. I laughed and said I really did not intend doing so again. ‘Yes’, she replied angrily, ‘you will do the same the very next time the temptation occurs’. Plain proof, thought I, of what you think and that you smoke a little. I parried all with good humour – saying that I really must stay all night. She only stayed a few minutes and went off in a suppressed rage – probably giving me far more credit than deserved for plotting the visit of yesterday and being there all today and having refused breakfasting with her, not to go to Stoney Royde, but be with Miss W-. Mrs P- now probably believes her confidence insecure, me insincere, and the lord knows what.
Miss W- laughed and said we were well matched – we soon got to kissing again on the sofa. She said I looked ill – I denied, then said if I did look so, I knew what would cure me – she would know what – said I really would not, could not, tell her. At last I got my right hand up her petticoats and, after much fumbling, got through the opening of her drawers and touched, first time, the hair and skin of queer – she never offered the least resistance in any way and certainly showed no sign of its being disagreeable. However, having not uttered before I now fell upon her neck – seemed sickish – just whispered that I could not stand it and stood leaning my head on my hand off her shoulder till apparently composed. Then entreated her forgiveness in general terms – saying she behaved beautifully – no, she said, she knew she led me on – I would deny this, tho’ owning that I was of course sure she cared for me – why yes, said she, or should we go on as we do – in fact, she likes my attentions and the first night of my being there will give me all I am able to take.
When dusk, she asked (I had said I was at no time likely to marry – how far she understood me I could not quite make out) – ‘if you never had any attachment, who taught you how to kiss?’ – I laughed and said how nicely that was said, then answered that nature taught me. I could have replied – and who taught you? She told me, as she had done yesterday, that she had always a fancy for me and thought how much she should like to know me better. She seems to relax a little on the subject of my having no hope – said she would think – and afterwards said, tho’ I seemed to take no notice, it would depend upon whether the Ainsworths would come to Cliff Hill.
Told my aunt how cross Mrs William Priestley looked and that I really thought Miss W- was veering about a little and might, perhaps after all, give up Cliff Hill.
Sat up preparing my cousin and washing out stains done since dinner.