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

Thursday 31 July 1828


No kiss. Asked her last night but she said she was not well enough and I not much in the humour for it. Said no more. Breakfast at 9 10/60. Albine came to tell me all was changed again. Sibbella going to Paris. Had asked her father for fifty pounds and was to have it, Albine seeming not sorry. I then went and talked to Miss MacLean. Heard all, she evidently delighted. I then went to Mrs MacLean in her bedroom. She hastened to tell me how handsomely old Coll had behaved. Had given her Sibbella fifty guineas. I calmly said she had asked for it according to my advice as I would not hear of her taking any of her five hundred, had rather she gave up the journey.

Sit some time in Mrs McLean’s sitting room. Somehow Miss McLean came to try the song Thou Art Gone Away From Me May. I hummed a bit. Mrs McLean got to singing together & got on beautifully together. She gave me a nice little ready-for-seal-cut specimen of isle of Rum bloodstone.1Rùm is one of the four small isles, north of Mull, in the inner hebrides. Sibella’s father Alexander Maclean was Laird of Rùm (as well as Coll, Muck, Quinish, Aros and Penmore – see journal entry for 28 July 1828 and Alexander Maclean Sinclair’s The Clan Gillean 1899 Haszard and Moore (p.383)). The isle of Rùm was formed from the core of an extinct volcano. Bloodstone hill was formed by lava flowing away from the centre of the volcano. Gas bubbles in the lava left holes in the rock which were later filled with green agate flecked with red, known as bloodstone. Polymath Anne would surely have known all this when she was gifted the bloodstone by Mrs Maclean.

Photo by James St. John, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Bloodstone hill
David Wood / Guirdil Bothy and Bloodstone Hill / CC BY-SA 2.0

Then went & sat in my own room with Miss McLean while she was sewing for me & wrote out now & after dinner the journals of Friday & Saturday last. Had not time to stir out. Dinner at 5. Came upstairs for near an hour. Tea at 8. Came up to bed at 10¼. Albine came & sat with me. She gave me the other day some little catechisms & gave me now a thick small 8vo Gaelic bible which I had before expressed some wish to have. She stayed a little while after Miss McLean came in. She evidently likes me so does Mrs MacLean, who told me this morning she had asked Hugh the French secret of having only two children and he said there was a little operation performed on the women, he knew it to be true. I smiled and said some one had made a gull of him. That operation would would be for past present and future and would be going too far, however I declined telling her more saying how could I know. Rain threatening day but kept fair.

You can read the original diary entry here:

3 thoughts on “Thursday 31 July 1828

  1. Sorry – only just saw this!

    Thanks for all that info. Maybe AL, being landed gentry, deliberately chose not to acknowledge stories of enclosure or the ensuing social upheavals.

    As to 1829 transcriptions, a few weeks ago I read a tweet from one of the #AnneListerCodeBreakers which described an afternoon with Vere and Sibella in Hastings. But I now can’t recall or can locate who posted it. Very sad piece. Sibella wearily offered herself up to AL who obliged though observed how thin S was. Post-grubble they looked away from each other unable to speak – both clearly dissatisfied. S. lived only another year, right? Amazing that AL never caught consumption off S, if that was her condition.
    As to Dodsworth, maybe it’s just very uncommon rather than rare. My friend can date her old yeomanry family in York back 500 years – & they’re still there!

    Thanks again for all your posts.

  2. Hi, do you know anything about the Maclean Coll clearances of 1825? Did AL register these at all? They get mentioned en passent in the BBC Radio 4 In Our Time episode on The Highland Clearances.

    P.S. I read with curiosity in your earlier transcriptions that AL sat opposite a man called Dodsworth en route to Scotland. I have a friend in York with that name, a very old rare Yorkshire name. I also went to school in London with someone called Norcliffe…plus a few other amusing constellation points….

    Many thanks for all your posts. So sad reading (& so strange reading simultaneously) in the 1829 transcriptions about what happens to Sibella.

    1. Hi there, Tess. I don’t know anything much about the clearances of Coll by the Macleans of Coll, other than that Sibella’s father Alexander Maclean, followed by his son Hugh Maclean, were Lairds at the time (as well as of Rum and Muck, whose tenants shared the same fate). There are some references on the wikipedia entry for Muck that you could follow up (,_Scotland#Prosperity_and_poverty). The wiki entry says that Alexander Maclean got into debt when the price of kelp fell after the Napoleonic wars and evicted this tenants on Muck in order to farm sheep there. I have not yet read any journal entries where Anne comments on the highland clearances or the role of the Macleans of Coll in this.

      Could you please let me know where you been reading the 1829 transcriptions, I’d like to read them. Thanks.

      PS – I know a few Dodsworths, I didn’t realise it was a rare name.

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