Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary July 1828

Thursday 3 July 1828


We slept together as before and I had one kiss. She had it seems some pleasure last night but none the night before. Breakfast at 10½. Copied the old Scotch song my uncle used to sing, Thou’st gone away from me, Mary. Very kind letter from Mrs Stuart McKenzie to Miss McL- regretting she was going out to breakfast & might not see us. Wishes us to see Brahan castle. [1] Miss McL- & I went out at 12 50/6 to about 4. Called on the Clarks of Comrie, Hill Street. Saw Mrs Clarke, the beautiful Miss McLean that was. Shopping. Had ice at Davidson’s. Called again at the Clarks & saw Miss Clark at the door. Miss MacL says Miss C the young widow made ill by her husband. May get over it. Began in her throat. Has lost her palate. [2] Had my profile (in black) taken in Princes Street for Miss McL-. Very ill done. Got home at 4. Miss McL- writing upstairs. I sat talking to Lady Elizabeth. She is heavyish in conversation, has little to say but is very good and amiable. Dinner at 6½. Off in a hackney coach. Ice at Montgomery’s, 30 Princes Street (in 10 minutes). At 9 10/60 arrived at Mr McLean’s, New Laverock bank, Newhaven. Had tea. Came to my room at 11. Very fine day. Her husband in the customs. Good sort of amiable person. Very well but not very ladylike tho’ not vulgar. Called this morning on Mrs Stuart McKenzie. Not at home.

[1] Brahan Castle, near Dingwall on the east coast of Scotland, belongs to the Earls of Seaforth, the chiefs of Clan McKenzie. The castle was built in 1611, surrendered to the English during the Jacobite risings, and later sold back to the Mackenzies. During the first half of the 1800s it was expanded and remodelled into a large country house. It was demolished in the 1950s.

19th century photo of Brahan Castle

The Mrs Stuart McKenzie Anne refers to may have been Mary Elizabeth Frederica Mackenzie (1783-1862) who was married to James Alexander Stewart-Mackenzie, who inherited Brahan in 1815. Walter Scott is said to have based his character Ellen, in The Lady of the Lake, on her.

Portrait of Mary Elizabeth Frederica Mackenzie by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

[2] I wonder if the unfortunate Miss C caught syphilis from her husband.

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