Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary May 1828

Monday 19 May 1828

For fear of not being ready had merely taken off my gown, drawers and stockings and slept in the rest. No motion yesterday nor this morning. On going downstairs good fire in my room & on going to the coach office to pay my fare to Alnwick found myself put down free. Could not at first comprehend it but it soon struck as a little mark of attention on the part of Dodsworth.

Thick foggy morning. Could not have seen much even had I been on the outside. At 8 40 stopt at Belford to breakfast. A good inn & neat little town. Off again in 35 minutes having in vain sat quarter hour in the water closet. 2 very respectably mannered young men my companions. 1 a West India merchant just come to see his friends at Berwick had made a good fortune.

Intelligent & agreeable enough. For the free trade system in spite of the complaints of Sunderland, Sheilds, Newcastle etc. Said the exclusive system of Bristol has done good to the individual merchants of the town but had not profited the town in general like the liberal plan of Liverpool which had been the making of the place. Such was the free trade – good for the whole body of the people but not for many individuals who must suffer for it. Much more [money?], many more large [fortunes?] had been made in Bristol than Liverpool. Trade an hereditary & valuable profession in B-. Too much competition for this to be so much the case in L-.

Stopt merely to change horses, at Berwick at 10 50. Here we lost one West Indian merchant & took in a Scotchman knowing every inch of the road to Edinburgh. Berwick a nice town. At 1 5 passed Dunglass bridge about 35 miles from Edinburgh & [entered?] East Lothian the garden of Scotland. The land of mid Lothian improved by its being so around Edinburgh. West Lothian not so good. Beautiful husbandry. Beans drill-set & earthed up by a light iron plough. Beautiful even wheat. Was average 4 quarters per acre. The climate not so good as in Kent. Land in East Lothian let (but not generally on the average perhaps more than £4) at £6 per acre but 5 roods to the acre. All coaches pay to government a duty of 3 ½ d per annum. Keep of a horse would be £40 a year. Stages now average 8 miles. The London, Carlisle, Leeds & Glasgow all run 9 ½ miles an hour ie 9 miles including stoppages. The sea close on right (lose sight of it very seldom) all the way from [b.t..?] Alnwick & Bilford to Edinburgh.

Alnwick a very pretty town. Hesitated for a moment whether to stop & see the castle but finding there would be no coach till the union at 12 (had got there about 7 ½) & somehow not feeling very well, determined to give up both Alnwick & Bamborough castle to keep to my time in getting into Edinburgh & to go forward at once without the pother of stopping. The [situation?] of the castle very fine. Must see it some other time. The duke does a great deal of good here. Passed through Dunbare, a neat little town (all the towns & villages neat) at 1 55. Alight at the Black Bull Edinburgh at 4 ¾. Magnificent town. Astonished to find no one knowing anything of Redford. Took a porter & walked to 5 North Street, David Street to get Miss McL-’s address. She was just gone to Colonel Thackeray’s, 35 Melville Street for a few days. Well thought I, I was not off to Redford. Returned to the inn, wrote and sent off the porter with a few lines [which?] announcing my arrival, and sat down to dinner at 5 ½. Had hardly dined when at 6 ¼ Miss McL- came in. Very civil. epistle from the Thackerays begging I would go back with Miss McL- to them. Excused myself. She to come to me between 11 and 12 tomorrow. Looking miserably thin and ill and aged with a bad cough and wanting a pad behind and tho always elegant and ladylike yet wanting a little Parisianizing in dress. Had peases soup veal cutlets and a tart and a bottle of Moselle all which I drank. Think its acidity might do my bowels good. Went to my room about 7 ¼. Fine day. My cousin had come an hour or two before reaching Edinburgh.

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5 thoughts on “Monday 19 May 1828

  1. Hi, Leigh – have just found your website. Fabulous to find more diary entries beyond those already published. Since you had the link to the actual pages, I simply had to see how far (with your transcription’s help…) _I_ could get in deciphering all those abbreviations (the code I’m not yet ready to tackle!). I got as far as the first paragraph, and think I can help with the two questions there. The inserted word is surely another IT. The next looks “str” and I think it indicates the word STRUCK so that the sentence reads, “Could not at first comprehend it but it soon struck as a little mark of attention on the part of Dodsworth.”

    VERY interesting to see, in 1828, quite how much she contracted words (I am lucky; in my own research – not into Anne Lister btw – only the “typical” abbreviations turn up: c:d, w:d, y:r etc); and that she writes ‘ye’ for ‘the’.

    Perhaps, thanks to you, I’ll begin a little to see what those who have read the actual diaries (as opposed to published extracts) have had to contend with. My hat off to you for supplying readers with MORE of Anne Lister’s actual words.

    1. Hi Kelly
      Thanks so much for your suggestion for the missing words. I’ve added them to my transcription.
      Your books and website on Smith and Gosling look fascinating. I’ll add them to my long list of things to read. 😉 😀

    1. Helena Whitbread says the double ‘s’ symbol in the margin refers to ‘certain key developments in Anne’s relationships with women,’ (Whitbread, Secret Diaries Past & Present), but sometimes it seems to be used when Anne is not discussing her relationships with women, so I’m not sure.

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