Wow. I did not expect this show to include an actual murder! Sorry, jumping ahead. We’ll get to that.
But first: our two lady-loves are really moving the relationship ahead post Lake District. Anne takes Miss Walker to the most insanely charming little hookup cottage she has stashed in the woods so they can, well, hook up in private. And Miss Walker makes it clear that she does, very much, want to hook up with Anne. She even proposes a sleepover! Quelle scandale!
Anne, naturally, is delighted and has a talk with her aunt about the possibility of living with Miss Walker in the near future. Her aunt is really chill about the whole idea, concerning herself mainly with where the two of them will live, the 12-year age gap between them, and warning Anne that people are bound to talk if this goes ahead.
But people are already talking. Some quite forcefully. One of Anne’s tenants shows up for work drunk, so she sends him home and he retaliates by basically calling her a man in a dress. Considering the position of women in this period and what people thought of them, I’d almost consider that a sort of compliment, but Anne doesn’t see it that way at all. She sends the man off and tells him to report to her in a couple of days to discuss the future of his tenancy.
The man’s son takes him home, and we quickly find out that the guy’s the typical horrible drunk. He beats his wife and kids and ends up nearly killing his son in a fit of rage, so his son ties him up and dumps him in the pigsty for a while, so he can decide what to do with him.
In happier tenant news, John proposes to Eugenie, who immediately accepts because she kind of has to, in her condition. But of course everyone’s terrified of having to tell Anne, so Marian is roped in to break the news.
Marian’s already in a foul mood as far as her sister’s concerned, though. Anne’s been getting in very late from her visits to Miss Walker, and Marian yells at her for treating Shibden like a hotel. As if Anne shouldn’t be able to come and go as she pleases from her own house. It finally comes out that Marian feels Anne’s cheated her out of part ownership in Shibden, and after an argument she threatens to get married and pop out a son who can inherit the whole shebang. ‘Better hurry up, Marian, you’re no spring chicken,’ Anne blithely comments. Ouch.
Marian huffs off to stay with friends who introduced her to a man who seems interested. He’s in trade, which Anne is pretty grossed out by, but Aunt Anne and the girls’ father couldn’t care less, which is fairly progressive of them. Catch up, Anne, the world is changing!
If only it were changing fast enough for her. She’s still mucking about with the Rawsons, who agree to her terms for leasing the mine land. But then Jeremiah actually reads the agreement and realises she’s kind of having one over on them, leasing them only one level instead of the two they assumed they’d be getting. Look, I’m not going to lie, most of this is over my head. Suffice to say: Anne’s smart, and these two guys are underestimating her and also annoyed that they have to deal with an intelligent woman.
Also: Anne knows it was likely Jeremiah driving the carriage that caused the accident. And she knows because she thought to ask Miss Walker’s footman, who was riding on the back of her carriage at the time. Why the hell nobody thought to quiz this guy earlier is beyond me.
Back to those pigs! Asshole Drunkard has been tied up for a few days now and is probably really feeling the shakes at this point. His son has gone back to work, and Anne asks him to remind his father that they’re supposed to meet the following day. The son goes home and sends his mother and the younger kids to town so they’ll be safe when he lets the old man loose. He goes to release him, but Asshole Drunkard just starts spewing all kinds of hate and vitriol, so his son slits his throat instead. Damn, boy. I did not see that one coming.
Apparently this kid watched Snatch, because he covers the whole thing up (for now) by leaving his dad for the pigs to eat. That’s…gonna be grim come slaughter time. Or maybe not: maybe becoming delicious, delicious pig meat is the most this asshat’s ever contributed to his family.
So, back to Anne and Miss Walker. Anne proposes they move in together after they holiday in Switzerland. Miss Walker is not opposed to the idea but wonders if maybe they’re moving a tidge fast. She suggests they wait six months after their return, which seems very reasonable to me.
The two ladies get hot and heavy in the drawing room, but when Anne starts to creep a hand under Miss Walker’s skirts, Miss W kind of panics.
Anne heads home (not in a snit or anything, just because her aunt hasn’t been feeling well and she doesn’t want her to feel abandoned). The next day, she arrives at Miss Walker’s to find her lady love in a heap on the floor, sobbing because she thought Anne was never going to come back because Miss Walker rejected her.
Anne sits down beside her, comforts her, and tells her that these things take time. She’s happy to wait! Aww, it’s sweet!
And things pick up from there. But a nosy relative, Eliza, who’s taken notice of how much time the ladies have been spending together shows up unexpectedly and finds the pair of them together. She sputters that this is disgraceful and that they’re playing with fire.
She whirls out and Miss Walker begins to laugh helplessly for a while before suggesting she and Anne move things upstairs.
Looks like things are moving along nicely here.