[Mrs Priestley and I] very good friends – told her I had lately heard it said she was a very fascinating person – all I said was kind and friendly as ever, and perhaps more flattering than usual on the subject of her fascination – at which she seemed not displeased. Quite as friendly, open and consulting as ever.
We now get on beautifully – I obscurely lovemaking and she all smiles – said felt sure of my own happiness and I might be equally so of hers. Oh, she was sure of hers, but had been thinking last night whether she could make me happy and be a companion for me. She said how happy she now felt and looked so, as we sat on the sofa. Joked her about being so formal in not taking cream till I had helped myself – she smiled and [said] she would not do so at home, but her aunt would have been astonished if she had not done as she did.
In moralising a little on how much we had both to be thankful for, how happy we should be etc – she said yes, she had often looked at all her things and said ‘what was the use of having them with nobody to enjoy them with her?’ She said it all seemed now like a dream to her – I told her I had made up my mind in May – the moment I was at liberty to do so – so that it had been well enough digested by me, however sudden it might seem to her – and that I have my happiness into her keeping in perfect security – said I had built the hut on purpose for her – talked of our journey.
She is to have Mr and Mrs Ainsworth in February – they cannot come before – she wishes not to put them off and, all other things suiting, would rather not go till February. Said I would wait for her.
Talked of (and advised her) letting her house at Lidgate to our steward Washington – she would never want it again as long as there was room for us at Shibden. I laughed and said, ‘let Cliff Hill’ – but on her saying ‘Cliff Hill!’, [I] thought it was too early in our day to mention, and said I was only joking. But I shall manage it all by and by – she is getting more and more attached to me, and I really do begin to be in love in good earnest. Her countenance lightens up, she looks happy and I begin to think her at times pretty. I begged her to take up her French and sketching again – and we already begin to feel at home together – and very much (however little she may understand it) like engaged lovers.
Her servant came home with me with a lantern to Mytholm Hill – where I sent him back on meeting Cordingley and Rachel.
[Stayed up till 11 with my aunt] telling her my real sentiments about Miss Walker and my expectations – that the chances were ten to one in favour of our travelling and ultimately settling together. My aunt not to appear to know anything about it, even to [old] Miss W-, till I had mentioned it to the latter. My aunt [said] it had really come into her head as she say in the drawing room this afternoon and seemed very well pleased at my choice and prospects. I said she had three thousand a year or very near it, as I had understood some time since from the Priestleys. She thought my father would be pleased if he knew, and so would both my uncles. Came upstairs at 11.