Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary June 1828

Thursday 5 June 1828

11 5/60

I had no idea she would have taken things so composedly last night but somehow she seemed to have expected extremities for when I accused her of having washed with cold water for I knew not how long, on purpose not to be not too warm (that is dry) to me, she owned she had. She was desperately dry, for after handling her & right middle up a little I got her near to me (first time) & could not make much of it. Told her we should do better another time. By & by tried her again but not much better tho’ I did feel a little myself. She certainly did not scold me & in spite of dryness seemed to have pleasure or move about a little as if she had. She was not at all awkward in letting me get near & laughed when I charged her with so washing, which I said was destruction to everything. This morning awaked before eight but roused up at nine. She begged me not to begin again when it was light, on which I got up & shut the shutters & had her without a word. After a little handling said she was better, but I hoped we should still improve for she was hardly yet mine, then put up my right middle finger by way of opening her a little for tonight. Very tight. She said I hurt her a little. I could not get up to make her bleed. She said I should cease to respect her. I said no. I should like her less. No. She said it was not right at all, about scruples. Enlarged on my natural taste etc etc with my usual arguments on the subject. Never denied my being harum skarum. Had never refused by any one. Only asked her forgiveness. She said she had nothing to forgive, it was her own fault, like me better for being candid in owning my past conduct. In fact she takes very kindly to me & said perhaps I was not wrong when I told her today I had never despaired of her present, knew she liked me from the first & certainly from the time of our meeting at Esholt. She said she always thought my manners different from those of anybody else & thought of me more than I fancied or she then understood.

Breakfast at 12 20/60. Best breakfast we have had, or that I have had for long. Excellent (tea for Miss McL-) milk, bread & butter, little fried pieces of mutton, ham & marmalade very good & eggs. On sending for the landlord he wanted full price for the return chaise & tired horses of yesterday. Said I had never heard of such a thing so he came down to 10/., that is (10 miles), 9d per mile ½ price, and 3d per mile additional for, as he said, duty to government. Do return chaises pay this duty? Then agreed for chaise to Balloch 8 miles & if to Dumbarton, the 4 miles more & back chaise. Balloch 9d per mile + 3d per mile duty, & 1/. for baiting the horses at Dumbarton. Thoroughly rainy morning. Off from Drummond, a pretty enough nice little village, at 2. A picturesque good bridge of 4 pointed arches over the Endrick water. At a little distance (right) pass Buchanan, a 2 storied not handsome enough house for a duke of Montrose. A merely common gentleman’s house, but the postboy said “a very fine policy,” meaning fine grounds & excellent gardens. Close here in the midst of the duke’s property is the picturesque ruin of the Castle of Maines belonging together with a [?] around it to a Mr Gowan. At 2¼ first & very pretty peep of Loch Lomond, & see it better by & by for a short while. Bad weather makes all dreary & the road seemed so for the 1st 2 or 3 miles afterwards wooded & pretty. Very pretty from the good village of Renton (where is the column in memory of Smollett[1]) to Dumbarton.

From Annals of the road : or, Notes on mail and stage coaching in Great Britain, 1876,Charles James Apperley and Harold Esdaile Male. Vehicles shown are stagecoach (top), post chaise (middle) and gig (bottom, overturned).

The man said as it raining so fast & the castle was a mile off, he had best drive us there. He did so and alighted at the castle gate at the foot of the very fine basatic[2] isolated rock at 4½. A soldier shewed us round, mounting up the steps along the natural cleft in the rock. Very fine. 280 steps up to the barracks (which will hold about 106 or 130? men. Only 17 there now of the 1st foot (royals)) & 100 steps more up to the flag-staff, or the highest point of rock, over the Clyde & near to what they call Wallace’s Tower, of which nothing remains but some rough foundation wall seeming to embrace a single point of rock. Just went into the small armoury of modern arms merely to see Wallace’s 2-handed sword. Steel, 5 feet 4 inches long, tho’ unfortunately shortened by 9½ inches about 17 years ago by a Miss Fisher of Glasgow who, being considered a very strong lady, was trying to balance the sword on its point on her hand (the arm stretched out) & did so, but let it fall & thus broke off the length above named.

Then mounted the point over Dumbarton. Very fine view. Then a little higher to the powder magazine. Then on the highest & flag-staff point (flags always hoisted in Scotland on a Sunday). Very fine view. Benlomond. 2 steps on one side to his rounded summit & one on the other. A white line around him, his foot the water of the lake. The Leven & its junction with the fine broad Clyde. The Ayr steam boat that ran down the Comet, at that moment passing. 2 or 3 more following. Dumbarton prettily sheltered along the Leven just before its broad junction with the Clyde. On a fine day can see the smoke of Glasgow eastward, & westward very clearly port Glasgow & Greenock. The hills of Argyle south & the Grampians north finely shut in the view. How much finer to us the view from Dumbarton Castle than from Stirling Castle! How much more interesting or better worth seeing the castle & its finely cleft rock. The look up along the flights of steps most striking. Glad to have come here. Fair as we alighted & cleared up for us while (¾ hour) we were at the castle.

Looking north across the River Clyde towards Dumbarton Castle, photographer Alan Hughes

Off at 5 & alighted at the King’s Arms (Scorey) at Dumbarton at 5 7/60. The King’s Arms (near to the castle) & the Elephant the 2 best inns in Dumbarton & the former at least large & apparently good. Sat down & wrote the latter 1½ page & finished my letter begun yesterday to M-. How disappointed to have no letter from her in Edinburgh, this the only drawback on my tour. Begged her to write to me at “Alexander McL-’s Esquire of Coll, Tobermory, N. B.,” where I hoped to be in 8 or 10 days at most. Account of my journey from leaving York up to today, the moment of writing. Gave my letter at 5 55/60 to the waiter with 4 or 5 of Miss McL’s to go at 7 by the post to Glasgow. To “Mrs L-, Lawton Hall, L-, Cheshire, S. B.” Then sat down to tea at 5 55/60 and at 6 55/60 off from Dumbarton, a good little town. 2 black looking glass houses, but no smoke from them then.  Neat modern church & neat town. Very pretty drive to Balloch. Prettier back than coming. Very nice small inn, the property of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss. The steam boats under the [window]. Beautiful view of the south end of the lake (Loch Lomond) sun setting finely over the Grampians & glittering over the smooth water. [Great] [opposition] now. 2 steam boats on the lake. Shall therefore get to Tarbet for 2/., ought to pay 5/.

From 8 40/60 to 10 settling my travelling accounts since leaving Edinburgh on the 31st ult. 6 days our expenses average 1.14.10 5/6. From 10 to 11½ wrote the whole of today & the last 4 lines of yesterday. To sleep together again. She evidently liking it. Then till 11¾ making out itinerary from the day of leaving York, Thursday 15 May. Rainy day till 4¼. A little rain again between 5 & 7 and afterwards fine evening.

[1] Tobias Smollett, Scottish poet and novelist (1721-1771).

[2] I think she means ‘basaltic.’

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