The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Synopsis: In nineteenth century Yorkshire wealthy orphan Anne Lister lives with an aunt and uncle, anxious for her to marry well and blissfully - unaware that she is a lesbian. Anne is recording her thoughts and exploits in a coded diary. When her lover Mariana Belcombe makes a marriage of convenience to rich old Charles Lawton she feels betrayed and, although Mariana visits her,the relationship is going nowhere. Helped by old flame Tib she makes a play for innocent Miss Browne but sees she is barking up the wrong tree and diverts herself by renovating the family hall. A drunken Tib almost exposes her secret and scornful mine-owner Christopher Rawson, whose marriage proposal she rejects, tells her that her sexuality is a subject of local gossip....
Director(s): James Kent
Production: The Oxford Film Company
92 min

There is one thing that I wish for.

There is one thing without which my happiness

in this world seems impossible.

I was not born to live alone.

I must have someone with me,

and in loving and being loved...

I could be happy.


A thousand recollections crowd on me

in my own secret alphabet.

Surely no one has ever doted

on another as I her.

I love her,

and her heart is mine.

- Ah, Miss Lister.

- Do forgive me, Mrs Priestley,

everyone, for my late arrival.

No matter.

Let me introduce Mr Lawton to you,

Mr Charles Lawton of Lawton Hall, Cheshire.

Miss Anne Lister of Shibden Hall, Halifax.

A pleasure, miss.

His wife recently died. Most tragic.

Oh. My sympathies, Mr Lawton.

I hope you will find solace amongst us.

Good to see you at last.

You haven't missed much - a pair of

pink-footed geese and some redwings.

Oh, Tib, you must be the only person here

watching the birds and not Mr Lawton.

Mrs Priestley is about another sport.

Such a fine-figured gentleman,

Mr Lawton.

I wonder where Mrs Priestley dug him up.

He's an old friend of my father's.

Apparently he has 6,000 a year.


So it's you and your sisters

who are being paraded.

And do we know how his wife died?

Perhaps he squashed her to death.

Come on.

Are you sure it's safe?

From all but the eyes of God.

Oh, Freddie.

You give the best kisses.

I can live upon hope.

You cannot doubt the love of one

who has waited so long and patiently.

I will be constant

and never feel a wish for any other.

You will come to Shibden.

I will have to save and save

and bring you there as my companion.

We will sleep in the blue room

and I will drape silk from the ceiling.

It'll be like some exotic tent in Arabia.

I do love you...

What is it?

Well, we'll need servants to fan us.

It gets hot in a tent.

I'll fan you, day and night.

# Wilt thou think of me, love

# When thou art far away?

# Oh, I'll think of thee, love

# Never, never stray

Miss Lister, forgive me, please.

But, everybody, we have some happy news.

The lovely Mariana Belcombe

is to be married to Charles Lawton.


- Congratulations!

- Thank you!

- I wanted to tell you.

- Marry me.

- Nothing need change.

- Marry me!

- You're hurting me.

- Marry me and live in shame.

Remember yourself.

Come, dear.

We need to have a toast.

Everybody, to the future mistress

of Lawton Hall.

The mistress of Lawton Hall!

I'm so happy for you, my dear.

So, brother, do you think

there'll be a good dinner?

We'll come straight back if not.

I have made up my mind

always to wear black,

to free myself from the tyranny of fashion.

But today?

Yes, Aunt, today.

I charge you both, as ye will answer

at the dreadful Day of Judgment,

when the secrets of all hearts will be disclosed,

if either of you know any impediment

why you may not be joined together,

ye must now confess it.

Wilt thou have this woman

to be thy wedded wife?

I will.

Wilt thou have this man

to be thy wedded husband?

I will.

Thank you for coming.

- Lovely to see you.

- Congratulations.


Mrs Lawton.

- How remarkable you look.

- Well...

it's preferable to being commonplace.

We'll still see each other.

I'll write.


- Are you coming, Anne?

- I'll walk.


We're worried about you, Anne.

You've not had a proper meal in weeks.

Should I send for the leech woman?

- No.

- Are you sure?

I'm quite well.

Well, you don't look it.

Nothing of you, you're wasting away.

I know what it's like

when you lose your friends to marriage.

Be your turn soon,

if you make an effort.

I must no longer think of Mariana.

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Jane English

Jane English (was born 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a philosopher, physicist, photographer, journalist and translator. English received her B.A. in Physics from Mount Holyoke College in 1964 and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison for her work in high energy particle physics. She taught courses in Oriental thought and modern physics at Colorado College.English is known for her collaborative translation of the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tsu which she illustrated through photography, in collaboration with her spouse Gia-Fu Feng. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 27 Oct. 2020. <>.

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