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Author: Shorter, Clement King, 1857-1926
Title: ë and Her Circle
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
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Title: Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle


Author: Clement K. Shorter



Release Date: August 8, 2006  [eBook #19011]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CHARLOTTE BRONTE AND HER CIRCLE***





Transcribed from the 1896 Hodder and Stoughton edition by Les Bowler.





                     CHARLOTTE BRONTE AND HER CIRCLE


                          BY CLEMENT K. SHORTER

                                  LONDON

                           HODDER AND STOUGHTON

                            27 PATERNOSTER ROW

                                   1896

                       [Picture: CHARLOTTE BRONTE]




PREFACE


It is claimed for the following book of some five hundred pages that the
larger part of it is an addition of entirely new material to the romantic
story of the Brontes.  For this result, but very small credit is due to
me; and my very hearty acknowledgments must be made, in the first place,
to the Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls, for whose generous surrender of
personal inclination I must ever be grateful.  It has been with extreme
unwillingness that Mr. Nicholls has broken the silence of forty years,
and he would not even now have consented to the publication of certain
letters concerning his marriage, had he not been aware that these letters
were already privately printed and in the hands of not less than eight or
ten people.  To Miss Ellen Nussey of Gomersall, I have also to render
thanks for having placed the many letters in her possession at my
disposal, and for having furnished a great deal of interesting
information.  Without the letters from Charlotte Bronte to Mr. W. S.
Williams, which were kindly lent to me by his son and daughter, Mr. and
Mrs. Thornton Williams, my book would have been the poorer.  Sir Wemyss
Reid, Mr. J. J. Stead, of Heckmondwike, Mr. Butler Wood, of Bradford, Mr.
W. W. Yates, of Dewsbury, Mr. Erskine Stuart, Mr. Buxton Forman, and Mr.
Thomas J. Wise are among the many Bronte specialists who have helped me
with advice or with the loan of material.  Mr. Wise, in particular, has
lent me many valuable manuscripts.  Finally, I have to thank my friend
Dr. Robertson Nicoll for the kindly pressure which has practically
compelled me to prepare this little volume amid a multitude of
journalistic duties.

            CLEMENT K. SHORTER.
198 STRAND, LONDON,
      _September_ 1_st_, 1896.




CONTENTS


PRELIMINARY
CHAPTER I    PATRICK BRONTE AND MARIA HIS WIFE
CHAPTER II   CHILDHOOD
CHAPTER III  SCHOOL AND GOVERNESS LIFE
CHAPTER IV   PENSIONNAT HEGER, BRUSSELS
CHAPTER V    PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTE
CHAPTER VI   EMILY JANE BRONTE
CHAPTER VII  ANNE BRONTE
CHAPTER VIII ELLEN NUSSEY
CHAPTER IX   MARY TAYLOR
CHAPTER X    MARGARET WOOLER
CHAPTER XI   THE CURATES AT HAWORTH
CHAPTER XII  CHARLOTTE BRONTE'S LOVERS
CHAPTER XIII LITERARY AMBITIONS
CHAPTER XIV  WILLIAM SMITH WILLIAMS
CHAPTER XV   WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY
CHAPTER XVI  LITERARY FRIENDSHIPS
CHAPTER XVII ARTHUR BELL NICHOLLS




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


CHARLOTTE BRONTE                               Frontispiece
PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTE                        facing page 120
FACSIMILE OF PAGE OF EMILY BRONTE'S DIARY      facing page 146
FACSIMILE OF TWO PAGES OF EMILY BRONTE'S DIARY facing page 154
ANNE BRONTE                                    facing page 182
MISS ELLEN NUSSEY AS A SCHOOLGIRL            )
MISS ELLEN NUSSEY TO-DAY                     ) facing page 207
THE REV. ARTHUR BELL NICHOLLS                  facing page 467




A BRONTE CHRONOLOGY


_Patrick Bronte born_                                      17 _March_ 1777
_Maria Bronte born_                                                   1783
_Patrick leaves Ireland for Cambridge_                                1802
_Degree of A.B._                                                      1806
_Curacy at Wetherfield_, _Essex_                                      1806
  ,,  _Dewsbury Yorks_                                                1809
  ,,  _Hartshead-cum-Clifton_                                         1811
_Publishes_ '_Cottage Poems_' (_Halifax_)                             1811
_Married to Maria Branwell_                                 18 _Dec._ 1812
_First Child_, _Maria_, _born_                                        1813
_Publishes_ '_The Rural Minstrel_'                                    1813
_Elizabeth born_                                                      1814
_Publishes_ '_The Cottage in the Wood_'                               1815
_Curacy at Thornton_                                                  1816
_Charlotte Bronte born at Thornton_                        21 _April_ 1816
_Patrick Branwell Bronte born_                                        1817
_Emily Jane Bronte born_                                              1818
'_The Maid of Killarney_' _published_                                 1818
_Anne Bronte born_                                                    1819
_Removal to Incumbency of Haworth_                         _February_ 1820
_Mrs. Bronte died_                                     15 _September_ 1821
_Maria and Elizabeth Bronte at Cowan Bridge_                   _July_ 1824
_Charlotte and Emily_  ,,  ,,                             _September_ 1824
_Leave Cowan Bridge_                                                  1825
_Maria Bronte died_                                           6 _May_ 1825
_Elizabeth Bronte died_                                     15 _June_ 1825
_Charlotte Bronte at School_,                               _January_ 1831
_Roe Head_
_Leaves Roe Head School_                                              1832
_First Visit to Ellen Nussey at The Rydings_              _September_ 1832
_Returns to Roe Head as governess_                          29 _July_ 1835
_Branwell visits London_                                              1835
_Emily spends three months at Roe Head_, _when Anne                   1835
 takes her place and she returns home_
_Ellen Nussey visits Haworth in Holidays_                      _July_ 1836
_Miss Wooler's School removed to Dewsbury Moor_                       1836
_Emily at a School at Halifax for six months_                         1836
 (_Miss Patchet of Law Hill_)
_First Proposal of Marriage_ (_Henry Nussey_)                 _March_ 1839
_Anne Bronte becomes governess at Blake Hall_,                _April_ 1839
 (_Mrs. Ingham's_)
_Charlotte governess at Mrs. Sidgwick's at Stonegappe_,               1839
 _and at Swarcliffe_, _Harrogate_
_Second Proposal of Marriage_ (_Mr. Price_)                           1839
_Charlotte and Emily at Haworth_,                                     1840
_Anne at Blake Hall_
_Charlotte's second situation as governess with               _March_ 1841
 Mrs. White_, _Upperwood House_, _Rawdon_
_Charlotte and Emily go to School at Brussels_             _February_ 1842
_Miss Branwell died at Haworth_                             29 _Oct._ 1842
_Charlotte and Emily return to Haworth_                        _Nov._ 1842
_Charlotte returns to Brussels_                                _Jan._ 1843
_Returns to Haworth_                                           _Jan._ 1844
_Anne and Branwell at Thorp Green_                                    1845
_Charlotte visits Mary Taylor at Hounsden_                            1845
_Visits Miss Nussey at Brookroyd_                                     1845
_Publication of Poems by Currer_,                                     1846
_Ellis and Acton Bell_
_Charlotte Bronte visits Manchester with her father for        _Aug._ 1846
 him to see an Oculist_
'_Jane Eyre_' _published_ (_Smith & Elder_)                    _Oct._ 1847
'_Wuthering Heights_' _and_ '_Agnes Grey_', (_Newby_)          _Dec._ 1847
_Charlotte and Emily visit London_                             _June_ 1848
'_Tenant of Wildfell Hall_'                                           1848
_Branwell died_                                            24 _Sept._ 1848
_Emily died_                                                19 _Dec._ 1848
_Anne Bronte died at Scarborough_                            28 _May_ 1849
'_Shirley_' _published_                                               1849
_Visit to London_, _first meeting with Thackeray_              _Nov._ 1849
_Visit to London_, _sits for Portrait to Richmond_                    1850
_Third Offer of Marriage_ (_James Taylor_)                            1851
_Visit to London for Exhibition_                                      1851
'_Villette_' _published_                                              1852
_Visit to London_                                                     1853
_Visit to Manchester to Mrs. Gaskell_                                 1853
_Marriage_                                                  29 _June_ 1854
_Death_                                                    31 _March_ 1855
_Patrick Bronte died_                                        7 _June_ 1861




PRELIMINARY: MRS. GASKELL


In the whole of English biographical literature there is no book that can
compare in widespread interest with the _Life of Charlotte Bronte_ by
Mrs. Gaskell.  It has held a position of singular popularity for forty
years; and while biography after biography has come and gone, it still
commands a place side by side with Boswell's _Johnson_ and Lockhart's
_Scott_.  As far as mere readers are concerned, it may indeed claim its
hundreds as against the tens of intrinsically more important rivals.
There are obvious reasons for this success.  Mrs. Gaskell was herself a
popular novelist, who commanded a very wide audience, and _Cranford_, at
least, has taken a place among the classics of our literature.  She
brought to bear upon the biography of Charlotte Bronte all those literary
gifts which had made the charm of her seven volumes of romance.  And
these gifts were employed upon a romance of real life, not less
fascinating than anything which imagination could have furnished.
Charlotte Bronte's success as an author turned the eyes of the world upon
her.  Thackeray had sent her his _Vanity Fair_ before he knew her name or
sex.  The precious volume lies before me--

                  [Picture: First Thackeray Inscription]

And Thackeray did not send many inscribed copies of his books even to
successful authors.  Speculation concerning the author of _Jane Eyre_ was
sufficiently rife during those seven sad years of literary renown to make
a biography imperative when death came to Charlotte Bronte in 1855.  All
the world had heard something of the three marvellous sisters, daughters
of a poor parson in Yorkshire, going one after another to their death
with such melancholy swiftness, but leaving--two of them, at
least--imperishable work behind them.  The old blind father and the
bereaved husband read the confused eulogy and criticism, sometimes with a
sad pleasure at the praise, oftener with a sadder pain at the grotesque
inaccuracy.  Small wonder that it became impressed upon Mr. Bronte's mind
that an authoritative biography was desirable.  His son-in-law, Mr.
Arthur Bell Nicholls, who lived with him in the Haworth parsonage during
the six weary years which succeeded Mrs. Nicholls's death, was not so
readily won to the unveiling of his wife's inner life; and although we,
who read Mrs. Gaskell's _Memoir_, have every reason to be thankful for
Mr. Bronte's decision, peace of mind would undoubtedly have been more
assured to Charlotte Bronte's surviving relatives had the most rigid
silence been maintained.  The book, when it appeared in 1857, gave
infinite pain to a number of people, including Mr. Bronte and Mr.
Nicholls; and Mrs. Gaskell's subsequent experiences had the effect of
persuading her that all biographical literature was intolerable and
undesirable.  She would seem to have given instructions that no biography
of herself should be written; and now that thirty years have passed since
her death we have no substantial record of one of the most fascinating
women of her age.  The loss to literature has been forcibly brought home
to the present writer, who has in his possession a bundle of letters
written by Mrs. Gaskell to numerous friends of Charlotte Bronte during
the progress of the biography.  They serve, all of them, to impress one
with the singular charm of the woman, her humanity and breadth of
sympathy.  They make us think better of Mrs. Gaskell, as Thackeray's
letters to Mrs. Brookfield make us think better of the author of _Vanity
Fair_.

Apart from these letters, a journey in the footsteps, as it were, of Mrs.
Gaskell reveals to us the remarkable conscientiousness with which she set
about her task.  It would have been possible, with so much fame behind
her, to have secured an equal success, and certainly an equal pecuniary
reward, had she merely written a brief monograph with such material as
was voluntarily placed in her hands.  Mrs. Gaskell possessed a higher
ideal of a biographer's duties.  She spared no pains to find out the
facts; she visited every spot associated with the name of Charlotte
Bronte--Thornton, Haworth, Cowan Bridge, Birstall, Brussels--and she
wrote countless letters to the friends of Charlotte Bronte's earlier
days.

But why, it may be asked, was Mrs. Gaskell selected as biographer?  The
choice was made by Mr. Bronte, and not, as has been suggested, by some
outside influence.  When Mr. Bronte had once decided that there should be
an authoritative biography--and he alone was active in the matter--there
could be but little doubt upon whom the task would fall.  Among all the
friends whom fame had brought to Charlotte, Mrs. Gaskell stood prominent
for her literary gifts and her large-hearted sympathy.  She had made the
acquaintance of Miss Bronte when the latter was on a visit to Sir James
Kay Shuttleworth, in 1850; and a letter from Charlotte to her father, and
others to Mr. W. S. Williams, indicate the beginning of a friendship
which was to leave so permanent a record in literary history:--

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '20_th_ _November_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--You said that if I wished for any copies of _Shirley_
    to be sent to individuals I was to name the parties.  I have thought
    of one person to whom I should much like a copy to be
    offered--Harriet Martineau.  For her character--as revealed in her
    works--I have a lively admiration, a deep esteem.  Will you inclose
    with the volume the accompanying note?

    'The letter you forwarded this morning was from Mrs. Gaskell,
    authoress of _Mary Barton_; she said I was not to answer it, but I
    cannot help doing so.  The note brought the tears to my eyes.  She is
    a good, she is a great woman.  Proud am I that I can touch a chord of
    sympathy in souls so noble.  In Mrs. Gaskell's nature it mournfully
    pleases me to fancy a remote affinity to my sister Emily.  In Miss
    Martineau's mind I have always felt the same, though there are wide
    differences.  Both these ladies are above me--certainly far my
    superiors in attainments and experience.  I think I could look up to
    them if I knew them.--I am, dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_November_ 29_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR SIR,--I inclose two notes for postage.  The note you sent
    yesterday was from Harriet Martineau; its contents were more than
    gratifying.  I ought to be thankful, and I trust I am, for such
    testimonies of sympathy from the first order of minds.  When Mrs.
    Gaskell tells me she shall keep my works as a treasure for her
    daughters, and when Harriet Martineau testifies affectionate
    approbation, I feel the sting taken from the strictures of another
    class of critics.  My resolution of seclusion withholds me from
    communicating further with these ladies at present, but I now know
    how they are inclined to me--I know how my writings have affected
    their wise and pure minds.  The knowledge is present support and,
    perhaps, may be future armour.

    'I trust Mrs. Williams's health and, consequently, your spirits are
    by this time quite restored.  If all be well, perhaps I shall see you
    next week.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_January_ 1_st_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--May I beg that a copy of _Wuthering Heights_ may be
    sent to Mrs. Gaskell; her present address is 3 Sussex Place, Regent's
    Park.  She has just sent me the _Moorland Cottage_.  I felt
    disappointed about the publication of that book, having hoped it
    would be offered to Smith, Elder & Co.; but it seems she had no
    alternative, as it was Mr. Chapman himself who asked her to write a
    Christmas book.  On my return home yesterday I found two packets from
    Cornhill directed in two well-known hands waiting for me.  You are
    all very very good.

    'I trust to have derived benefit from my visit to Miss Martineau.  A
    visit more interesting I certainly never paid.  If self-sustaining
    strength can be acquired from example, I ought to have got good.  But
    my nature is not hers; I could not make it so though I were to submit
    it seventy times seven to the furnace of affliction, and discipline
    it for an age under the hammer and anvil of toil and self-sacrifice.
    Perhaps if I was like her I should not admire her so much as I do.
    She is somewhat absolute, though quite unconsciously so; but she is
    likewise kind, with an affection at once abrupt and constant, whose
    sincerity you cannot doubt.  It was delightful to sit near her in the
    evenings and hear her converse, myself mute.  She speaks with what
    seems to me a wonderful fluency and eloquence.  Her animal spirits
    are as unflagging as her intellectual powers.  I was glad to find her
    health excellent.  I believe neither solitude nor loss of friends
    would break her down.  I saw some faults in her, but somehow I liked
    them for the sake of her good points.  It gave me no pain to feel
    insignificant, mentally and corporeally, in comparison with her.

    'Trusting that you and yours are well, and sincerely wishing you all
    a happy new year,--I am, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                                  'THE BRIERY, WINDERMERE,
                                                   '_August_ 10_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I reached this place yesterday evening at eight o'clock,
    after a safe though rather tedious journey.  I had to change
    carriages three times and to wait an hour and a half at Lancaster.
    Sir James came to meet me at the station; both he and Lady
    Shuttleworth gave me a very kind reception.  This place is
    exquisitely beautiful, though the weather is cloudy, misty, and
    stormy; but the sun bursts out occasionally and shows the hills and
    the lake.  Mrs. Gaskell is coming here this evening, and one or two
    other people.  Miss Martineau, I am sorry to say, I shall not see, as
    she is already gone from home for the autumn.

    'Be kind enough to write by return of post and tell me how you are
    getting on and how you are.  Give my kind regards to Tabby and
    Martha, and--Believe me, dear papa, your affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

And this is how she writes to a friend from Haworth, on her return, after
that first meeting:--

    'Lady Shuttleworth never got out, being confined to the house with a
    cold; but fortunately there was Mrs. Gaskell, the authoress of _Mary
    Barton_, who came to the Briery the day after me.  I was truly glad
    of her companionship.  She is a woman of the most genuine talent, of
    cheerful, pleasing, and cordial manners, and, I believe, of a kind
    and good heart.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                '_September_ 20_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I herewith send you a very roughly written copy of
    what I have to say about my sisters.  When you have read it you can
    better judge whether the word "Notice" or "Memoir" is the most
    appropriate.  I think the former.  Memoir seems to me to express a
    more circumstantial and different sort of account.  My aim is to give
    a just idea of their identity, not to write any narration of their
    simple, uneventful lives.  I depend on you for faithfully pointing
    out whatever may strike you as faulty.  I could not write it in the
    conventional form--_that_ I found impossible.

    'It gives me real pleasure to hear of your son's success.  I trust he
    may persevere and go on improving, and give his parents cause for
    satisfaction and honest pride.

    'I am truly pleased, too, to learn that Miss Kavanagh has managed so
    well with Mr. Colburn.  Her position seems to me one deserving of all
    sympathy.  I often think of her.  Will her novel soon be published?
    Somehow I expect it to be interesting.

    'I certainly did hope that Mrs. Gaskell would offer her next work to
    Smith & Elder.  She and I had some conversation about publishers--a
    comparison of our literary experiences was made.  She seemed much
    struck with the differences between hers and mine, though I did not
    enter into details or tell her all.  Unless I greatly mistake, she
    and you and Mr. Smith would get on well together; but one does not
    know what causes there may be to prevent her from doing as she would
    wish in such a case.  I think Mr. Smith will not object to my
    occasionally sending her any of the Cornhill books that she may like
    to see.  I have already taken the liberty of lending her Wordsworth's
    _Prelude_, as she was saying how much she wished to have the
    opportunity of reading it.

    'I do not tack remembrances to Mrs. Williams and your daughters and
    Miss Kavanagh to all my letters, because that makes an empty form of
    what should be a sincere wish, but I trust this mark of courtesy and
    regard, though rarely expressed, is always understood.--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Miss Bronte twice visited Mrs. Gaskell in her Manchester home, first in
1851 and afterwards in 1853, and concerning this latter visit we have the
following letter:--

                         TO MRS. GASKELL, MANCHESTER

                                           'HAWORTH, _April_ 14_th_, 1853.

    'MY DEAR MRS. GASKELL,--Would it suit you if I were to come next
    Thursday, the 21st?

    'If that day tallies with your convenience, and if my father
    continues as well as he is now, I know of no engagement on my part
    which need compel me longer to defer the pleasure of seeing you.

    'I should arrive by the train which reaches Manchester at 7 o'clock
    P.M.  That, I think, would be about your tea-time, and, of course, I
    should dine before leaving home.  I always like evening for an
    arrival; it seems more cosy and pleasant than coming in about the
    busy middle of the day.  I think if I stay a week that will be a very
    long visit; it will give you time to get well tired of me.

    'Remember me very kindly to Mr. Gaskell and Marianna.  As to Mesdames
    Flossy and Julia, those venerable ladies are requested beforehand to
    make due allowance for the awe with which they will be sure to
    impress a diffident admirer.  I am sorry I shall not see
    Meta.--Believe me, my dear Mrs. Gaskell, yours affectionately and
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

In the autumn of 1853 Mrs. Gaskell returned Charlotte Bronte's visit at
Haworth.  She was not, however, at Charlotte's wedding in Haworth Church.
{8}

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                              'HAWORTH, _September_ 8_th_.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--Your letter was truly kind, and made me warmly
    wish to join you.  My prospects, however, of being able to leave home
    continue very unsettled.  I am expecting Mrs. Gaskell next week or
    the week after, the day being yet undetermined.  She was to have come
    in June, but then my severe attack of influenza rendered it
    impossible that I should receive or entertain her.  Since that time
    she has been absent on the Continent with her husband and two eldest
    girls; and just before I received yours I had a letter from her
    volunteering a visit at a vague date, which I requested her to fix as
    soon as possible.  My father has been much better during the last
    three or four days.

    'When I know anything certain I will write to you again.--Believe me,
    my dear Miss Wooler, yours respectfully and affectionately,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

But the friendship, which commenced so late in Charlotte Bronte's life,
never reached the stage of downright intimacy.  Of this there is abundant
evidence in the biography; and Mrs. Gaskell was forced to rely upon the
correspondence of older friends of Charlotte's.  Mr. George Smith, the
head of the firm of Smith and Elder, furnished some twenty letters.  Mr.
W. S. Williams, to whom is due the credit of 'discovering' the author of
_Jane Eyre_, lent others; and another member of Messrs. Smith and Elder's
staff, Mr. James Taylor, furnished half-a-dozen more; but the best help
came from another quarter.

Of the two schoolfellows with whom Charlotte Bronte regularly
corresponded from childhood till death, Mary Taylor and Ellen Nussey, the
former had destroyed every letter; and thus it came about that by far the
larger part of the correspondence in Mrs. Gaskell's biography was
addressed to Miss Ellen Nussey, now as 'My dearest Nell,' now simply as
'E.'  The unpublished correspondence in my hands, which refers to the
biography, opens with a letter from Mrs. Gaskell to Miss Nussey, dated
July 6th, 1855.  It relates how, in accordance with a request from Mr.
Bronte, she had undertaken to write the work, and had been over to
Haworth.  There she had made the acquaintance of Mr. Nicholls for the
first time.  She told Mr. Bronte how much she felt the difficulty of the
task she had undertaken.  Nevertheless, she sincerely desired to make his
daughter's character known to all who took deep interest in her writings.
Both Mr. Bronte and Mr. Nicholls agreed to help to the utmost, although
Mrs. Gaskell was struck by the fact that it was Mr. Nicholls, and not Mr.
Bronte, who was more intellectually alive to the attraction which such a
book would have for the public.  His feelings were opposed to any
biography at all; but he had yielded to Mr. Bronte's 'impetuous wish,'
and he brought down all the materials he could find, in the shape of
about a dozen letters.  Mr. Nicholls, moreover, told Mrs. Gaskell that
Miss Nussey was the person of all others to apply to; that she had been
the friend of his wife ever since Charlotte was fifteen, and that he was
writing to Miss Nussey to beg her to let Mrs. Gaskell see some of the
correspondence.

But here is Mr. Nicholls's actual letter, unearthed after forty years, as
well as earlier letters from and to Miss Nussey, which would seem to
indicate a suggestion upon the part of 'E' that some attempt should be
made to furnish a biography of her friend--if only to set at rest, once
and for all, the speculations of the gossiping community with whom
Charlotte Bronte's personality was still shrouded in mystery; and indeed
it is clear from these letters that it is to Miss Nussey that we really
owe Mrs. Gaskell's participation in the matter:--

                            TO REV. A. B. NICHOLLS

                                           'BROOKROYD, _June_ 6_th_, 1855.

    'DEAR MR. NICHOLLS,--I have been much hurt and pained by the perusal
    of an article in _Sharpe_ for this month, entitled "A Few Words about
    _Jane Eyre_."  You will be certain to see the article, and I am sure
    both you and Mr. Bronte will feel acutely the misrepresentations and
    the malignant spirit which characterises it.  Will you suffer the
    article to pass current without any refutations?  The writer merits
    the contempt of silence, but there will be readers and believers.
    Shall such be left to imbibe a tissue of malignant falsehoods, or
    shall an attempt be made to do justice to one who so highly deserved
    justice, whose very name those who best knew her but speak with
    reverence and affection?  Should not her aged father be defended from
    the reproach the writer coarsely attempts to bring upon him?

    'I wish Mrs. Gaskell, who is every way capable, would undertake a
    reply, and would give a sound castigation to the writer.  Her
    personal acquaintance with Haworth, the Parsonage, and its inmates,
    fits her for the task, and if on other subjects she lacked
    information I would gladly supply her with facts sufficient to set
    aside much that is asserted, if you yourself are not provided with
    all the information that is needed on the subjects produced.  Will
    you ask Mrs. Gaskell to undertake this just and honourable defence?
    I think she would do it gladly.  She valued dear Charlotte, and such
    an act of friendship, performed with her ability and power, could
    only add to the laurels she has already won.  I hope you and Mr.
    Bronte are well.  My kind regards to both.--Believe me, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'E. NUSSEY.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _June_ 11_th_, 1855.

    'DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--We had not seen the article in _Sharpe_, and very
    possibly should not, if you had not directed our attention to it.  We
    ordered a copy, and have now read the "Few Words about _Jane Eyre_."
    The writer has certainly made many mistakes, but apparently not from
    any unkind motive, as he professes to be an admirer of Charlotte's
    works, pays a just tribute to her genius, and in common with
    thousands deplores her untimely death.  His design seems rather to be
    to gratify the curiosity of the multitude in reference to one who had
    made such a sensation in the literary world.  But even if the article
    had been of a less harmless character, we should not have felt
    inclined to take any notice of it, as by doing so we should have
    given it an importance which it would not otherwise have obtained.
    Charlotte herself would have acted thus; and her character stands too
    high to be injured by the statements in a magazine of small
    circulation and little influence--statements which the writer
    prefaces with the remark that he does not vouch for their accuracy.
    The many laudatory notices of Charlotte and her works which appeared
    since her death may well make us indifferent to the detractions of a
    few envious or malignant persons, as there ever will be such.

    'The remarks respecting Mr. Bronte excited in him only
    amusement--indeed, I have not seen him laugh as much for some months
    as he did while I was reading the article to him.  We are both well
    in health, but lonely and desolate.

    'Mr. Bronte unites with me in kind regards.--Yours sincerely,

                                                         'A. B. NICHOLLS.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 24_th_, 1855.

    'DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--Some other erroneous notices of Charlotte having
    appeared, Mr. Bronte has deemed it advisable that some authentic
    statement should be put forth.  He has therefore adopted your
    suggestion and applied to Mrs. Gaskell, who has undertaken to write a
    life of Charlotte.  Mrs. Gaskell came over yesterday and spent a few
    hours with us.  The greatest difficulty seems to be in obtaining
    materials to show the development of Charlotte's character.  For this
    reason Mrs. Gaskell is anxious to see her letters, especially those
    of any early date.  I think I understood you to say that you had
    some; if so, we should feel obliged by your letting us have any that
    you may think proper, not for publication, but merely to give the
    writer an insight into her mode of thought.  Of course they will be
    returned after a little time.

    'I confess that the course most consonant with my own feelings would
    be to take no steps in the matter, but I do not think it right to
    offer any opposition to Mr. Bronte's wishes.

    'We have the same object in view, but should differ in our mode of
    proceeding.  Mr. Bronte has not been very well.  Excitement on Sunday
    (our Rush-bearing) and Mrs. Gaskell's visit yesterday have been
    rather much for him.--Believe me, sincerely yours,

                                                         'A. B. NICHOLLS.'

Mrs. Gaskell, however, wanted to make Miss Nussey's acquaintance, and
asked if she might visit her; and added that she would also like to see
Miss Wooler, Charlotte's schoolmistress, if that lady were still alive.
To this letter Miss Nussey made the following reply:--

                         TO MRS. GASKELL, MANCHESTER

                                             'ILKLEY, _July_ 26_th_, 1855.

    'MY DEAR MADAM,--Owing to my absence from home your letter has only
    just reached me.  I had not heard of Mr. Bronte's request, but I am
    most heartily glad that he has made it.  A letter from Mr. Nicholls
    was forwarded along with yours, which I opened first, and was thus
    prepared for your communication, the subject of which is of the
    deepest interest to me.  I will do everything in my power to aid the
    righteous work you have undertaken, but I feel my powers very
    limited, and apprehend that you may experience some disappointment
    that I cannot contribute more largely the information which you
    desire.  I possess a great many letters (for I have destroyed but a
    small portion of the correspondence), but I fear the early letters
    are not such as to unfold the character of the writer except in a few
    points.  You perhaps may discover more than is apparent to me.  You
    will read them with a purpose--I perused them only with interests of
    affection.  I will immediately look over the correspondence, and I
    promise to let you see all that I can confide to your friendly
    custody.  I regret that my absence from home should have made it
    impossible for me to have the pleasure of seeing you at Brookroyd at
    the time you propose.  I am engaged to stay here till Monday week,
    and shall be happy to see you any day you name after that date, or,
    if more convenient to you to come Friday or Saturday in next week, I
    will gladly return in time to give you the meeting.  I am staying
    with our schoolmistress, Miss Wooler, in this place.  I wish her very
    much to give me leave to ask you here, but she does not yield to my
    wishes; it would have been pleasanter to me to talk with you among
    these hills than sitting in my home and thinking of one who had so
    often been present there.--I am, my dear madam, yours sincerely,

                                                           'ELLEN NUSSEY.'

Mrs. Gaskell and Miss Nussey met, and the friendship which ensued was
closed only by death; and indeed one of the most beautiful letters in the
collection in my hands is one signed 'Meta Gaskell,' and dated January
22, 1866.  It tells in detail, with infinite tenderness and pathos, of
her mother's last moments. {14}  That, however, was ten years later than
the period with which we are concerned.  In 1856 Mrs. Gaskell was
energetically engaged upon a biography of her friend which should lack
nothing of thoroughness, as she hoped.  She claimed to have visited the
scenes of all the incidents in Charlotte's life, 'the two little pieces
of private governess-ship excepted.'  She went one day with Mr. Smith to
the Chapter Coffee House, where the sisters first stayed in London.
Another day she is in Yorkshire, where she makes the acquaintance of Miss
Wooler, which permitted, as she said, 'a more friendly manner of writing
towards Charlotte Bronte's old schoolmistress.'  Again she is in
Brussels, where Madame Heger refused to see her, although M. Heger was
kind and communicative, 'and very much indeed I both like and respect
him.'  Her countless questions were exceedingly interesting.  They
covered many pages of note-paper.  Did Branwell Bronte know of the
publication of _Jane Eyre_,' she asks, 'and how did he receive the news?'
Mrs. Gaskell was persuaded in her own mind that he had never known of its
publication, and we shall presently see that she was right.  Charlotte
had distinctly informed her, she said, that Branwell was not in a fit
condition at the time to be told.  'Where did the girls get the books
which they read so continually?  Did Emily accompany Charlotte as a pupil
when the latter went as a teacher to Roe Head?  Why did not Branwell go
to the Royal Academy in London to learn painting?  Did Emily ever go out
as a governess?  What were Emily's religious opinions?  Did _she_ ever
make friends?'  Such were the questions which came quick and fast to Miss
Nussey, and Miss Nussey fortunately kept her replies.

                         TO MRS. GASKELL, MANCHESTER

                                       'BROOKROYD, _October_ 22_nd_, 1856.

    'MY DEAR MRS. GASKELL,--If you go to London pray try what may be done
    with regard to a portrait of dear Charlotte.  It would greatly
    enhance the value and interest of the memoir, and be such a
    satisfaction to people to see something that would settle their ideas
    of the personal appearance of the dear departed one.  It has been a
    surprise to every stranger, I think, that she was so gentle and
    lady-like to look upon.

    'Emily Bronte went to Roe Head as pupil when Charlotte went as
    teacher; she stayed there but two months; she never settled, and was
    ill from nothing but home-sickness.  Anne took her place and remained
    about two years.  Emily was a teacher for one six months in a ladies'
    school in Halifax or the neighbourhood.  I do not know whether it was
    conduct or want of finances that prevented Branwell from going to the
    Royal Academy.  Probably there were impediments of both kinds.

    'I am afraid if you give me my name I shall feel a prominence in the
    book that I altogether shrink from.  My very last wish would be to
    appear in the book more than is absolutely necessary.  If it were
    possible, I would choose not to be known at all.  It is my friend
    only that I care to see and recognise, though your framing and
    setting of the picture will very greatly enhance its value.--I am, my
    dear Mrs. Gaskell, yours very sincerely,

                                                           'ELLEN NUSSEY.'

The book was published in two volumes, under the title of _The Life of
Charlotte Bronte_, in the spring of 1857.  At first all was well.  Mr.
Bronte's earliest acknowledgment of the book was one of approbation.  Sir
James Shuttleworth expressed the hope that Mr. Nicholls would 'rejoice
that his wife would be known as a Christian heroine who could bear her
cross with the firmness of a martyr saint.'  Canon Kingsley wrote a
charming letter to Mrs. Gaskell, published in his _Life_, and more than
once reprinted since.

    'Let me renew our long interrupted acquaintance,' he writes from St.
    Leonards, under date May 14th, 1857, 'by complimenting you on poor
    Miss Bronte's _Life_.  You have had a delicate and a great work to
    do, and you have done it admirably.  Be sure that the book will do
    good.  It will shame literary people into some stronger belief that a
    simple, virtuous, practical home life is consistent with high
    imaginative genius; and it will shame, too, the prudery of a not over
    cleanly though carefully white-washed age, into believing that purity
    is now (as in all ages till now) quite compatible with the knowledge
    of evil.  I confess that the book has made me ashamed of myself.
    _Jane Eyre_ I hardly looked into, very seldom reading a work of
    fiction--yours, indeed, and Thackeray's, are the only ones I care to
    open.  _Shirley_ disgusted me at the opening, and I gave up the
    writer and her books with a notion that she was a person who liked
    coarseness.  How I misjudged her! and how thankful I am that I never
    put a word of my misconceptions into print, or recorded my
    misjudgments of one who is a whole heaven above me.

    'Well have you done your work, and given us the picture of a valiant
    woman made perfect by suffering.  I shall now read carefully and
    lovingly every word she has written, especially those poems, which
    ought not to have fallen dead as they did, and which seem to be (from
    a review in the current _Fraser_) of remarkable strength and purity.'

It was a short-lived triumph, however, and Mrs. Gaskell soon found
herself, as she expressed it, 'in a veritable hornet's nest.'  Mr.
Bronte, to begin with, did not care for the references to himself and the
suggestion that he had treated his wife unkindly.  Mrs. Gaskell had
associated him with numerous eccentricities and ebullitions of temper,
which during his later years he always asserted, and undoubtedly with
perfect truth, were, at the best, the fabrications of a dismissed
servant.  Mr. Nicholls had also his grievance.  There was just a
suspicion implied that he had not been quite the most sympathetic of
husbands.  The suspicion was absolutely ill-founded, and arose from Mr.
Nicholls's intense shyness.  But neither Mr. Bronte nor Mr. Nicholls gave
Mrs. Gaskell much trouble.  They, at any rate, were silent.  Trouble,
however, came from many quarters.  Yorkshire people resented the air of
patronage with which, as it seemed to them, a good Lancashire lady had
taken their county in hand.  They were not quite the backward savages,
they retorted, which some of Mrs. Gaskell's descriptions in the beginning
of her book would seem to suggest.  Between Lancashire and Yorkshire
there is always a suspicion of jealousy.  It was intensified for the
moment by these sombre pictures of 'this lawless, yet not unkindly
population.' {17}  A son-in-law of Mr. Redhead wrote to deny the account
of that clergyman's association with Haworth.  'He gives another as true,
in which I don't see any great difference.'  Miss Martineau wrote sheet
after sheet explanatory of her relations with Charlotte Bronte.  'Two
separate householders in London _each_ declares that the first interview
between Miss Bronte and Miss Martineau took place at _her_ house.'  In
one passage Mrs. Gaskell had spoken of wasteful young servants, and the
young servants in question came upon Mr. Bronte for the following
testimonial:--

    'HAWORTH, _August_ 17_th_, 1857.

    'I beg leave to state to all whom it may concern, that Nancy and
    Sarah Garrs, during the time they were in my service, were kind to my
    children, and honest, and not wasteful, but sufficiently careful in
    regard to food, and all other articles committed to their charge.

                                                          P. BRONTE, A.B.,
                                    '_Incumbent of Haworth_, _Yorkshire_.'

Three whole pages were devoted to the dramatic recital of a scandal at
Haworth, and this entirely disappears from the third edition.  A casual
reference to a girl who had been seduced, and had found a friend in Miss
Bronte, gave further trouble.  'I have altered the word "seduced" to
"betrayed,"' writes Mrs. Gaskell to Martha Brown, 'and I hope that this
will satisfy the unhappy girl's friends.'  But all these were small
matters compared with the Cowan Bridge controversy and the threatened
legal proceedings over Branwell Bronte's suggested love affairs.  Mrs.
Gaskell defended the description in _Jane Eyre_ of Cowan Bridge with
peculiar vigour.  Mr. Carus Wilson, the Brocklehurst of _Jane Eyre_, and
his friends were furious.  They threatened an action.  There were letters
in the _Times_ and letters in the _Daily News_.  Mr. Nicholls broke
silence--the only time in the forty years that he has done so--with two
admirable letters to the _Halifax Guardian_.  The Cowan Bridge
controversy was a drawn battle, in spite of numerous and glowing
testimonials to the virtues of Mr. Carus Wilson.  Most people who know
anything of the average private schools of half a century ago are
satisfied that Charlotte Bronte's description was substantially correct.
'I want to show you many letters,' writes Mrs. Gaskell, 'most of them
praising the character of our dear friend as she deserves, and from
people whose opinion she would have cared for, such as the Duke of
Argyll, Kingsley, Greig, etc.  Many abusing me.  I should think seven or
eight of this kind from the Carus Wilson clique.'

The Branwell matter was more serious.  Here Mrs. Gaskell had, indeed,
shown a singular recklessness.  The lady referred to by Branwell was Mrs.
Robinson, the wife of the Rev. Edmund Robinson of Thorp Green, and
afterwards Lady Scott.  Anne Bronte was governess in her family for two
years, and Branwell tutor to the son for a few months.  Branwell, under
the influence of opium, made certain statements about his relations with
Mrs. Robinson which have been effectually disproved, although they were
implicitly believed by the Bronte girls, who, womanlike, were naturally
ready to regard a woman as the ruin of a beloved brother.  The
recklessness of Mrs. Gaskell in accepting such inadequate testimony can
be explained only on the assumption that she had a novelist's
satisfaction in the romance which the 'bad woman' theory supplied.  She
wasted a considerable amount of rhetoric upon it.  'When the fatal attack
came on,' she says, 'his pockets were found filled with old letters from
the woman to whom he was attached.  He died! she lives still--in May
Fair.  I see her name in county papers, as one of those who patronise the
Christmas balls; and I hear of her in London drawing-rooms'--and so on.
There were no love-letters found in Branwell Bronte's pockets. {19}  When
Mrs. Gaskell's husband came post-haste to Haworth to ask for proofs of
Mrs. Robinson's complicity in Branwell's downfall, none were obtainable.
I am assured by Mr. Leslie Stephen that his father, Sir James Stephen,
was employed at the time to make careful inquiry, and that he and other
eminent lawyers came to the conclusion that it was one long tissue of
lies or hallucinations.  The subject is sufficiently sordid, and indeed
almost redundant in any biography of the Brontes; but it is of moment,
because Charlotte Bronte and her sisters were so thoroughly persuaded
that a woman was at the bottom of their brother's ruin; and this belief
Charlotte impressed upon all the friends who were nearest and dearest to
her.  Her letters at the time of her brother's death are full of censure
of the supposed wickedness of another.  It was a cruel infamy that the
word of this wretched boy should have been so powerful for mischief.
Here, at any rate, Mrs. Gaskell did not show the caution which a
masculine biographer, less prone to take literally a man's accounts of
his amours, would undoubtedly have displayed.

Yet, when all is said, Mrs. Gaskell had done her work thoroughly and
well.  Lockhart's _Scott_ and Froude's _Carlyle_ are examples of great
biographies which called for abundant censure upon their publication; yet
both these books will live as classics of their kind.  To be interesting,
it is perhaps indispensable that the biographer should be indiscreet, and
certainly the Branwell incident--a matter of two or three pages--is the
only part of Mrs. Gaskell's biography in which indiscretion becomes
indefensible.  And for this she suffered cruelly.  'I did so try to tell
the truth,' she said to a friend, 'and I believe _now_ I hit as near to
the truth as any one could do.'  'I weighed every line with my whole
power and heart,' she said on another occasion, 'so that every line
should go to its great purpose of making _her_ known and valued, as one
who had gone through such a terrible life with a brave and faithful
heart.'  And that clearly Mrs. Gaskell succeeded in doing.  It is quite
certain that Charlotte Bronte would not stand on so splendid a pedestal
to-day but for the single-minded devotion of her accomplished biographer.

It has sometimes been implied that the portrait drawn by Mrs. Gaskell was
far too sombre, that there are passages in Charlotte's letters which show
that ofttimes her heart was merry and her life sufficiently cheerful.
That there were long periods of gaiety for all the three sisters, surely
no one ever doubted.  To few people, fortunately, is it given to have
lives wholly without happiness.  And yet, when this is acknowledged, how
can one say that the picture was too gloomy?  Taken as a whole, the life
of Charlotte Bronte was among the saddest in literature.  At a miserable
school, where she herself was unhappy, she saw her two elder sisters
stricken down and carried home to die.  In her home was the narrowest
poverty.  She had, in the years when that was most essential, no mother's
care; and perhaps there was a somewhat too rigid disciplinarian in the
aunt who took the mother's place.  Her second school brought her, indeed,
two kind friends; but her shyness made that school-life in itself a
prolonged tragedy.  Of the two experiences as a private governess I shall
have more to say.  They were periods of torture to her sensitive nature.
The ambition of the three girls to start a school on their own account
failed ignominiously.  The suppressed vitality of childhood and early
womanhood made Charlotte unable to enter with sympathy and toleration
into the life of a foreign city, and Brussels was for her a further
disaster.  Then within two years, just as literary fame was bringing its
consolation for the trials of the past, she saw her two beloved sisters
taken from her.  And, finally, when at last a good man won her love,
there were left to her only nine months of happy married life.  'I am not
going to die.  We have been so happy.'  These words to her husband on her
death-bed are not the least piteously sad in her tragic story.  That her
life was a tragedy, was the opinion of the woman friend with whom on the
intellectual side she had most in common.  Miss Mary Taylor wrote to Mrs.
Gaskell the following letter from New Zealand upon receipt of the
_Life_:--

                                          'WELLINGTON, 30_th_ _July_ 1857.

    'MY DEAR MRS. GASKELL,--I am unaccountably in receipt by post of two
    vols. containing the Life of C. Bronte.  I have pleasure in
    attributing this compliment to you; I beg, therefore, to thank you
    for them.  The book is a perfect success, in giving a true picture of
    a melancholy life, and you have practically answered my puzzle as to
    how you would give an account of her, not being at liberty to give a
    true description of those around.  Though not so gloomy as the truth,
    it is perhaps as much so as people will accept without calling it
    exaggerated, and feeling the desire to doubt and contradict it.  I
    have seen two reviews of it.  One of them sums it up as "a life of
    poverty and self-suppression," the other has nothing to the purpose
    at all.  Neither of them seems to think it a strange or wrong state
    of things that a woman of first-rate talents, industry, and integrity
    should live all her life in a walking nightmare of "poverty and
    self-suppression."  I doubt whether any of them will.

    'It must upset most people's notions of beauty to be told that the
    portrait at the beginning is that of an ugly woman. {22}  I do not
    altogether like the idea of publishing a flattered likeness.  I had
    rather the mouth and eyes had been nearer together, and shown the
    veritable square face and large disproportionate nose.

    'I had the impression that Cartwright's mill was burnt in 1820 not in
    1812.  You give much too favourable an account of the black-coated
    and Tory savages that kept the people down, and provoked excesses in
    those days.  Old Robertson said he "would wade to the knees in blood
    rather than the then state of things should be altered,"--a state
    including Corn law, Test law, and a host of other oppressions.

    'Once more I thank you for the book--the first copy, I believe, that
    arrived in New Zealand.--Sincerely yours,

                                                            'MARY TAYLOR.'

And in another letter, written a little later (28th January 1858), Miss
Mary Taylor writes to Miss Ellen Nussey in similar strain:--

    'Your account of Mrs. Gaskell's book was very interesting,' she says.
    'She seems a hasty, impulsive person, and the needful drawing back
    after her warmth gives her an inconsistent look.  Yet I doubt not her
    book will be of great use.  You must be aware that many strange
    notions as to the kind of person Charlotte really was will be done
    away with by a knowledge of the true facts of her life.  I have heard
    imperfectly of farther printing on the subject.  As to the mutilated
    edition that is to come, I am sorry for it.  Libellous or not, the
    first edition was all true, and except the declamation all, in my
    opinion, useful to be published.  Of course I don't know how far
    necessity may make Mrs. Gaskell give them up.  You know one dare not
    always say the world moves.'

We who do know the whole story in fullest detail will understand that it
was desirable to 'mutilate' the book, and that, indeed, truth did in some
measure require it.  But with these letters of Mary Taylor's before us,
let us not hear again that the story of Charlotte Bronte's life was not,
in its main features, accurately and adequately told by her gifted
biographer.

Why then, I am naturally asked, add one further book to the Bronte
biographical literature?  The reply is, I hope, sufficient.  Forty years
have gone by, and they have been years of growing interest in the
subject.  In the year 1895 ten thousand people visited the Bronte Museum
at Haworth.  Interesting books have been written, notably Sir Wemyss
Reid's _Monograph_ and Mr. Leyland's _Bronte Family_, but they have gone
out of print.  Many new facts have come to light, and many details,
moreover, which were too trivial in 1857 are of sufficient importance
to-day; and many facts which were rightly suppressed then may honestly
and honourably be given to the public at an interval of nearly half a
century.  Added to all this, fortune has been kind to me.

Some three or four years ago Miss Ellen Nussey placed in my hands a
printed volume of some 400 pages, which bore no publisher's name, but
contained upon its title-page the statement that it was _The Story of
Charlotte Bronte's Life_, _as told through her Letters_.  These are the
Letters--370 in number--which Miss Nussey had lent to Mrs. Gaskell and to
Sir Wemyss Reid.  Of these letters Mrs. Gaskell published about 100, and
Sir Wemyss Reid added as many more as he considered circumstances
justified twenty years back.

It was explained to me that the volume had been privately printed under a
misconception, and that only some dozen copies were extant.  Miss Nussey
asked me if I would write something around what might remain of the
unpublished letters, and if I saw my way to do anything which would add
to the public appreciation of the friend who from early childhood until
now has been the most absorbing interest of her life.  A careful study of
the volume made it perfectly clear that there were still some letters
which might with advantage be added to the Bronte story.  At the same
time arose the possibility of a veto being placed upon their publication.
An examination of Charlotte Bronte's will, which was proved at York by
her husband in 1855, suggested an easy way out of the difficulty.  I made
up my mind to try and see Mr. Nicholls.  I had heard of his
disinclination to be in any way associated with the controversy which had
gathered round his wife for all these years; but I wrote to him
nevertheless, and received a cordial invitation to visit him in his Irish
home.

It was exactly forty years to a day after Charlotte died--March 31st,
1895--when I alighted at the station in a quiet little town in the centre
of Ireland, to receive the cordial handclasp of the man into whose
keeping Charlotte Bronte had given her life.  It was one of many visits,
and the beginning of an interesting correspondence.  Mr. Nicholls placed
all the papers in his possession in my hands.  They were more varied and
more abundant than I could possibly have anticipated.  They included MSS.
of childhood, of which so much has been said, and stories of adult life,
one fragment indeed being later than the _Emma_ which appeared in the
_Cornhill Magazine_ for 1856, with a note by Thackeray.  Here were the
letters Charlotte Bronte had written to her brother and to her sisters
during her second sojourn in Brussels--to 'Dear Branwell' and 'Dear E.
J.,' as she calls Emily--letters even to handle will give a thrill to the
Bronte enthusiast.  Here also were the love-letters of Maria Branwell to
her lover Patrick Bronte, which are referred to in Mrs. Gaskell's
biography, but have never hitherto been printed.

    'The four small scraps of Emily and Anne's manuscript,' writes Mr.
    Nicholls, 'I found in the small box I send you; the others I found in
    the bottom of a cupboard tied up in a newspaper, where they had lain
    for nearly thirty years, and where, had it not been for your visit,
    they must have remained during my lifetime, and most likely
    afterwards have been destroyed.'

Some slight extracts from Bronte letters in _Macmillan's Magazine_,
signed 'E. Balmer Williams,' brought me into communication with a gifted
daughter of Mr. W. S. Williams.  Mrs. Williams and her husband generously
placed the whole series of these letters of Charlotte Bronte to their
father at my disposal.  It was of some of these letters that Mrs. Gaskell
wrote in enthusiastic terms when she had read them, and she was only
permitted to see a few.  Then I have to thank Mr. Joshua Taylor, the
nephew of Miss Mary Taylor, for permission to publish his aunt's letters.
Mr. James Taylor, again, who wanted to marry Charlotte Bronte, and who
died twenty years afterwards in Bombay, left behind him a bundle of
letters which I found in the possession of a relative in the north of
London. {25}  I discovered through a letter addressed to Miss Nussey that
the 'Brussels friend' referred to by Mrs. Gaskell was a Miss Laetitia
Wheelwright, and I determined to write to all the Wheelwrights in the
London Directory.  My first effort succeeded, and _the_ Miss Wheelwright
kindly lent me all the letters that she had preserved.  It is scarcely
possible that time will reveal many more unpublished letters from the
author of _Jane Eyre_.  Several of those already in print are forgeries,
and I have actually seen a letter addressed from Paris, a city which Miss
Bronte never visited.  I have the assurance of Dr. Heger of Brussels that
Miss Bronte's correspondence with his father no longer exists.  In any
case one may safely send forth this little book with the certainty that
it is a fairly complete collection of Charlotte Bronte's correspondence,
and that it is altogether a valuable revelation of a singularly
interesting personality.  Steps will be taken henceforth, it may be
added, to vindicate Mr. Nicholls's rights in whatever may still remain of
his wife's unpublished correspondence.




CHAPTER I: PATRICK BRONTE AND MARIA HIS WIFE


It would seem quite clear to any careful investigator that the Reverend
Patrick Bronte, Incumbent of Haworth, and the father of three famous
daughters, was a much maligned man.  We talk of the fierce light which
beats upon a throne, but what is that compared to the fierce light which
beats upon any man of some measure of individuality who is destined to
live out his life in the quiet of a country village--in the very centre,
as it were, of 'personal talk' and gossip not always kindly to the
stranger within the gate?  The view of Mr. Bronte, presented by Mrs.
Gaskell in the early editions of her biography of Charlotte Bronte, is
that of a severe, ill-tempered, and distinctly disagreeable character.
It is the picture of a man who disliked the vanities of life so
intensely, that the new shoes of his children and the silk dress of his
wife were not spared by him in sudden gusts of passion.  A stern old
ruffian, one is inclined to consider him.  His pistol-shooting rings
picturesquely, but not agreeably, through Mrs. Gaskell's memoirs.  It has
been already explained in more than one quarter that this was not the
real Patrick Bronte, and that much of the unfavourable gossip was due to
the chatter of a dismissed servant, retailed to Mrs. Gaskell on one of
her missions of inquiry in the neighbourhood.  The stories of the burnt
shoes and the mutilated dress have been relegated to the realm of myth,
and the pistol-shooting may now be acknowledged as a harmless pastime not
more iniquitous than the golfing or angling of a latter-day clergyman.
It is certain, were the matter of much interest to-day, that Mr. Bronte
was fond of the use of firearms.  The present Incumbent of Haworth will
point out to you, on the old tower of Haworth Church, the marks of pistol
bullets, which he is assured were made by Mr. Bronte.  I have myself
handled both the gun and the pistol--this latter a very ornamental
weapon, by the way, manufactured at Bradford--which Mr. Bronte possessed
during the later years of his life.  From both he had obtained much
innocent amusement; but his son-in-law, Mr. Nicholls, who, at the
distance of forty years still cherishes a reverent and enthusiastic
affection for old Mr. Bronte, informs me that the bullet marks upon
Haworth Church were the irresponsible frolic of a rather juvenile
curate--Mr. Smith.  All this is trivial enough in any case, and one turns
very readily to more important factors in the life of the father of the
Brontes.  Patrick Bronte was born at Ahaderg, County Down, in Ireland, on
St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1777.  He was one of the ten children of
Hugh Brunty, farmer, and his nine brothers and sisters seem all of them
to have spent their lives in their Irish home, to have married and been
given in marriage, and to have gone to their graves in peace.  Patrick
alone had ambition, and, one must add, the opportune friend, without whom
ambition counts for little in the great struggle of life.  At sixteen he
was a kind of village schoolmaster, or assistant schoolmaster, and at
twenty-five, stirred thereto by the vicar of his parish, Mr. Tighe, he
was on his way from Ireland to St. John's College, Cambridge.  It was in
1802 that Patrick Bronte went to Cambridge, and entered his name in the
college books.  There, indeed, we find the name, not of Patrick Bronte,
but of Patrick Branty, {28} and this brings us to an interesting point as
to the origin of the name.  In the register of his birth his name is
entered, as are the births of his brothers and sisters, as 'Brunty' and
'Bruntee'; and it can scarcely be doubted that, as Dr. Douglas Hyde has
pointed out, the original name was O'Prunty. {29}  The Irish, at the
beginning of the century, were well-nigh as primitive in some matters as
were the English of a century earlier; and one is not surprised to see
variations in the spelling of the Bronte name--it being in the case of
his brothers and sisters occasionally spelt 'Brontee.'  To me it is
perfectly clear that for the change of name Lord Nelson was responsible,
and that the dukedom of Bronte, which was conferred upon the great sailor
in 1799, suggested the more ornamental surname.  There were no Irish
Brontes in existence before Nelson became Duke of Bronte; but all
Patrick's brothers and sisters, with whom, it must be remembered, he was
on terms of correspondence his whole life long, gradually, with a true
Celtic sense of the picturesqueness of the thing, seized upon the more
attractive surname.  For this theory there is, of course, not one scrap
of evidence; we only know that the register of Patrick's native parish
gives us Brunty, and that his signature through his successive curacies
is Bronte.

From Cambridge, after taking orders in 1806, Mr. Bronte moved to a curacy
at Weatherfield in Essex; and Mr. Augustine Birrell has told us, with
that singular literary charm of his, how the good-looking Irish curate
made successful love to a young parishioner--Miss Mary Burder.  Mary
Burder would have married him, it seems, but for an obdurate uncle and
guardian.  She was spirited away from the neighbourhood, and the lovers
never met again.  There are doubtful points in Mr. Birrell's story.  Mary
Burder, as the wife of a Nonconformist minister, died in 1866, in her
seventy-seventh year.  This lady, from whom doubtless either directly or
indirectly the tradition was obtained, may have amplified and exaggerated
a very innocent flirtation.  One would like further evidence for the
statement that when Mr. Bronte lost his wife in 1821 he asked his old
sweetheart, Mary Burder, to become the mother of his six children, and
that she answered 'no'.  In any case, Mr. Bronte left Weatherfield in
1809 for a curacy at Dewsbury, and Dewsbury gossip also had much to say
concerning the flirtations of its Irish curate.  His next curacy,
however, which was obtained in 1811, by a removal to Hartshead, near
Huddersfield, brought flirtation for Mr. Bronte to a speedy end.  In
1812, when thirty-three years of age, he married Miss Maria Branwell, of
Penzance.  Miss Branwell had only a few months before left her Cornish
home for a visit to an uncle in Yorkshire.  This uncle was a Mr. John
Fennell, a clergyman of the Church of England, who had been a Methodist
minister.  To Methodism, indeed, the Cornish Branwells would seem to have
been devoted at one time or another, for I have seen a copy of the
_Imitation_ inscribed 'M. Branwell, July 1807,' with the following
title-page:--

    AN EXTRACT OF THE CHRISTIAN'S PATTERN: OR, A TREATISE ON THE
    IMITATION OF CHRIST.  WRITTEN IN LATIN BY THOMAS A KEMPIS.  ABRIDGED
    AND PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH BY JOHN WESLEY, M.A., LONDON.  PRINTED AT
    THE CONFERENCE OFFICE, NORTH GREEN, FINSBURY SQUARE.  G. STORY,
    AGENT.  SOLD BY G. WHITFIELD, CITY ROAD.  1803.  PRICE BOUND 1s.

The book was evidently brought by Mrs. Bronte from Penzance, and given by
her to her husband or left among her effects.  The poor little woman had
been in her grave for five or six years when it came into the hands of
one of her daughters, as we learn from Charlotte's hand-writing on the
fly-leaf:--

    '_C. Bronte's book_.  _This book was given to me in July 1826_.  _It
    is not certainly known who is the author_, _but it is generally
    supposed that Thomas a Kempis is_.  _I saw a reward of_ 10,000 pounds
    _offered in the Leeds Mercury to any one who could find out for a
    certainty who is the author_.'

The conjunction of the names of John Wesley, Maria Branwell, and
Charlotte Bronte surely gives this little volume, 'price bound 1s.,' a
singular interest!

But here I must refer to the letters which Maria Branwell wrote to her
lover during the brief courtship.  Mrs. Gaskell, it will be remembered,
makes but one extract from this correspondence, which was handed to her
by Mr. Bronte as part of the material for her memoir.  Long years before,
the little packet had been taken from Mr. Bronte's desk, for we find
Charlotte writing to a friend on February 16th, 1850:--

    'A few days since, a little incident happened which curiously touched
    me.  Papa put into my hands a little packet of letters and papers,
    telling me that they were mamma's, and that I might read them.  I did
    read them, in a frame of mind I cannot describe.  The papers were
    yellow with time, all having been written before I was born.  It was
    strange now to peruse, for the first time, the records of a mind
    whence my own sprang; and most strange, and at once sad and sweet, to
    find that mind of a truly fine, pure, and elevated order.  They were
    written to papa before they were married.  There is a rectitude, a
    refinement, a constancy, a modesty, a sense, a gentleness about them
    indescribable.  I wish she had lived, and that I had known her.'

Yet another forty years or so and the little packet is in my possession.
Handling, with a full sense of their sacredness, these letters, written
more than eighty years ago by a good woman to her lover, one is tempted
to hope that there is no breach of the privacy which should, even in our
day, guide certain sides of life, in publishing the correspondence in its
completeness.  With the letters I find a little MS., which is also of
pathetic interest.  It is entitled 'The Advantages of Poverty in
Religious Concerns,' and it is endorsed in the handwriting of Mr. Bronte,
written, doubtless, many years afterwards:--

    '_The above was written by my dear wife_, _and is for insertion in
    one of the periodical publications_.  _Keep it as a memorial of
    her_.'

There is no reason to suppose that the MS. was ever published; there is
no reason why any editor should have wished to publish it.  It abounds in
the obvious.  At the same time, one notes that from both father and
mother alike Charlotte Bronte and her sisters inherited some measure of
the literary faculty.  It is nothing to say that not one line of the
father's or mother's would have been preserved had it not been for their
gifted children.  It is sufficient that the zest for writing was there,
and that the intense passion for handling a pen, which seems to have been
singularly strong in Charlotte Bronte, must have come to a great extent
from a similar passion alike in father and mother.  Mr. Bronte, indeed,
may be counted a prolific author.  He published, in all, four books,
three pamphlets, and two sermons.  Of his books, two were in verse and
two in prose.  _Cottage Poems_ was published in 1811; _The Rural
Minstrel_ in 1812, the year of his marriage; _The Cottage in the Wood_ in
1815; and _The Maid of Killarney_ in 1818.  After his wife's death he
published no more books.  Reading over these old-fashioned volumes now,
one admits that they possess but little distinction.  It has been pointed
out, indeed, that one of the strongest lines in _Jane Eyre_--'To the
finest fibre of my nature, sir.'--is culled from Mr. Bronte's verse.  It
is the one line of his that will live.  Like his daughter Charlotte, Mr.
Bronte is more interesting in his prose than in his poetry.  _The Cottage
in the Wood_; _or_, _the Art of Becoming Rich and Happy_, is a kind of
religious novel--a spiritual _Pamela_, in which the reprobate pursuer of
an innocent girl ultimately becomes converted and marries her.  _The Maid
of Killarney_; _or_, _Albion and Flora_ is more interesting.  Under the
guise of a story it has something to say on many questions of importance.
We know now why Charlotte never learnt to dance until she went to
Brussels, and why children's games were unknown to her, for here are many
mild diatribes against dancing and card-playing.  The British
Constitution and the British and Foreign Bible Society receive a
considerable amount of criticism.  But in spite of this didactic weakness
there are one or two pieces of really picturesque writing, notably a
description of an Irish wake, and a forcible account of the defence of a
house against some Whiteboys.  It is true enough that the books are
merely of interest to collectors and that they live only by virtue of
Patrick Bronte's remarkable children.  But many a prolific writer of the
day passes muster as a genius among his contemporaries upon as small a
talent; and Mr. Bronte does not seem to have given himself any airs as an
author.  Thirty years were to elapse before there were to be any more
books from this family of writers; but _Jane Eyre_ owes something, we may
be sure, to _The Maid of Killarney_.

Mr. Bronte, as I have said, married Maria Branwell in 1812.  She was in
her twenty-ninth year, and was one of five children--one son and four
daughters--the father of whom, Mr. Thomas Branwell, had died in 1809.  By
a curious coincidence, another sister, Charlotte, was married in Penzance
on the same day--the 18th of December 1812. {33}  Before me are a bundle
of samplers, worked by three of these Branwell sisters.  Maria Branwell
'ended her sampler' April the 15th, 1791, and it is inscribed with the
text, _Flee from sin as from a serpent_, _for if thou comest too near to
it_, _it will bite thee_.  _The teeth thereof are as the teeth of a lion
to slay the souls of men_.  Another sampler is by Elizabeth Branwell;
another by Margaret, and another by Anne.  These, some miniatures, and
the book and papers to which I have referred, are all that remain to us
as a memento of Mrs. Bronte, apart from the children that she bore to her
husband.  The miniatures, which are in the possession of Miss Branwell,
of Penzance, are of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Branwell--Charlotte Bronte's
maternal grandfather and grandmother--and of Mrs. Bronte and her sister
Elizabeth Branwell as children.

To return, however, to our bundle of love-letters.  Comment is needless,
if indeed comment or elucidation were possible at this distance of time.

                   TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B., HARTSHEAD

                                 'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _August_ 26_th_, 1812.

    'MY DEAR FRIEND,--This address is sufficient to convince you that I
    not only permit, but approve of yours to me--I do indeed consider you
    as my _friend_; yet, when I consider how short a time I have had the
    pleasure of knowing you, I start at my own rashness, my heart fails,
    and did I not think that you would be disappointed and grieved at it,
    I believe I should be ready to spare myself the task of writing.  Do
    not think that I am so wavering as to repent of what I have already
    said.  No, believe me, this will never be the case, unless you give
    me cause for it.  You need not fear that you have been mistaken in my
    character.  If I know anything of myself, I am incapable of making an
    ungenerous return to the smallest degree of kindness, much less to
    you whose attentions and conduct have been so particularly obliging.
    I will frankly confess that your behaviour and what I have seen and
    heard of your character has excited my warmest esteem and regard, and
    be assured you shall never have cause to repent of any confidence you
    may think proper to place in me, and that it will always be my
    endeavour to deserve the good opinion which you have formed, although
    human weakness may in some instances cause me to fall short.  In
    giving you these assurances I do not depend upon my own strength, but
    I look to Him who has been my unerring guide through life, and in
    whose continued protection and assistance I confidently trust.

    'I thought on you much on Sunday, and feared you would not escape the
    rain.  I hope you do not feel any bad effects from it?  My cousin
    wrote you on Monday and expects this afternoon to be favoured with an
    answer.  Your letter has caused me some foolish embarrassment, tho'
    in pity to my feelings they have been very sparing of their raillery.

    'I will now candidly answer your questions.  The _politeness of
    others_ can never make me forget your kind attentions, neither can I
    _walk our accustomed rounds_ without thinking on you, and, why should
    I be ashamed to add, wishing for your presence.  If you knew what
    were my feelings whilst writing this you would pity me.  I wish to
    write the truth and give you satisfaction, yet fear to go too far,
    and exceed the bounds of propriety.  But whatever I may say or write
    I will _never deceive_ you, or _exceed the truth_.  If you think I
    have not placed the _utmost confidence_ in you, consider my
    situation, and ask yourself if I have not confided in you
    sufficiently, perhaps too much.  I am very sorry that you will not
    have this till after to-morrow, but it was out of my power to write
    sooner.  I rely on your goodness to pardon everything in this which
    may appear either too free or too stiff; and beg that you will
    consider me as a warm and faithful friend.

    'My uncle, aunt, and cousin unite in kind regards.

    'I must now conclude with again declaring myself to be yours
    sincerely,

                                                         'MARIA BRANWELL.'

                    TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B, HARTSHEAD

                               'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _September_ 5_th_, 1812.

    MY DEAREST FRIEND,--I have just received your affectionate and very
    welcome letter, and although I shall not be able to send this until
    Monday, yet I cannot deny myself the pleasure of writing a few lines
    this evening, no longer considering it a task, but a pleasure, next
    to that of reading yours.  I had the pleasure of hearing from Mr.
    Fennell, who was at Bradford on Thursday afternoon, that you had
    rested there all night.  Had you proceeded, I am sure the walk would
    have been too much for you; such excessive fatigue, often repeated,
    must injure the strongest constitution.  I am rejoiced to find that
    our forebodings were without cause.  I had yesterday a letter from a
    very dear friend of mine, and had the satisfaction to learn by it
    that all at home are well.  I feel with you the unspeakable
    obligations I am under to a merciful Providence--my heart swells with
    gratitude, and I feel an earnest desire that I may be enabled to make
    some suitable return to the Author of all my blessings.  In general,
    I think I am enabled to cast my care upon Him, and then I experience
    a calm and peaceful serenity of mind which few things can destroy.
    In all my addresses to the throne of grace I never ask a blessing for
    myself but I beg the same for you, and considering the important
    station which you are called to fill, my prayers are proportionately
    fervent that you may be favoured with all the gifts and graces
    requisite for such calling.  O my dear friend, let us pray much that
    we may live lives holy and useful to each other and all around us!

    '_Monday morn_.--My cousin and I were yesterday at Coverley church,
    where we heard Mr. Watman preach a very excellent sermon from "learn
    of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart."  He displayed the character
    of our Saviour in a most affecting and amiable light.  I scarcely
    ever felt more charmed with his excellencies, more grateful for his
    condescension, or more abased at my own unworthiness; but I lament
    that my heart is so little retentive of those pleasing and profitable
    impressions.

    'I pitied you in your solitude, and felt sorry that it was not in my
    power to enliven it.  Have you not been too hasty in informing your
    friends of a certain event?  Why did you not leave them to guess a
    little longer?  I shrink from the idea of its being known to every
    body.  I do, indeed, _sometimes_ think of you, but I will not say how
    often, lest I raise your vanity; and we sometimes talk of you and the
    doctor.  But I believe I should seldom mention your name myself were
    it not now and then introduced by my cousin.  I have never mentioned
    a word of what is past to any body.  Had I thought this necessary I
    should have requested you to do it.  But I think there is no need, as
    by some means or other they seem to have a pretty correct notion how
    matters stand betwixt us; and as their hints, etc., meet with no
    contradiction from me, my silence passes for confirmation.  Mr.
    Fennell has not neglected to give me some serious and encouraging
    advice, and my aunt takes frequent opportunities of dropping little
    sentences which I may turn to some advantage.  I have long had reason
    to know that the present state of things would give pleasure to all
    parties.  Your ludicrous account of the scene at the Hermitage was
    highly diverting, we laughed heartily at it; but I fear it will not
    produce all that compassion in Miss Fennell's breast which you seem
    to wish.  I will now tell you what I was thinking about and doing at
    the time you mention.  I was then toiling up the hill with Jane and
    Mrs. Clapham to take our tea at Mr. Tatham's, thinking on the evening
    when I first took the same walk with you, and on the change which had
    taken place in my circumstances and views since then--not wholly
    without a wish that I had your arm to assist me, and your
    conversation to shorten the walk.  Indeed, all our walks have now an
    insipidity in them which I never thought they would have possessed.
    When I work, if I wish to get _forward_ I may be glad that you are at
    a distance.  Jane begs me to assure you of her kind regards.  Mr.
    Morgan is expected to be here this evening.  I must assume a bold and
    steady countenance to meet his attacks!

    'I have now written a pretty long letter without reserve or caution,
    and if all the sentiments of my heart are not laid open to you,
    believe me it is not because I wish them to be concealed, for I hope
    there is nothing there that would give you pain or displeasure.  My
    most sincere and earnest wishes are for your happiness and welfare,
    for this includes my own.  Pray much for me that I may be made a
    blessing and not a hindrance to you.  Let me not interrupt your
    studies nor intrude on that time which ought to be dedicated to
    better purposes.  Forgive my freedom, my dearest friend, and rest
    assured that you are and ever will be dear to

                                                           MARIA BRANWELL.

    'Write very soon.'

                   TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B., HARTSHEAD

                              'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _September_ 11_th_, 1812.

    'MY DEAREST FRIEND,--Having spent the day yesterday at Miry Shay, a
    place near Bradford, I had not got your letter till my return in the
    evening, and consequently have only a short time this morning to
    write if I send it by this post.  You surely do not think you
    _trouble_ me by writing?  No, I think I may venture to say if such
    were your opinion you would _trouble_ me no more.  Be assured, your
    letters are and I hope always will be received with extreme pleasure
    and read with delight.  May our Gracious Father mercifully grant the
    fulfilment of your prayers!  Whilst we depend entirely on Him for
    happiness, and receive each other and all our blessings as from His
    hands, what can harm us or make us miserable?  Nothing temporal or
    spiritual.

    'Jane had a note from Mr. Morgan last evening, and she desires me to
    tell you that the Methodists' service in church hours is to commence
    next Sunday week.  You may expect frowns and hard words from her when
    you make your appearance here again, for, if you recollect, she gave
    you a note to carry to the Doctor, and he has never received it.
    What have you done with it?  If you can give a good account of it you
    may come to see us as soon as you please and be sure of a hearty
    welcome from all parties.  Next Wednesday we have some thoughts, if
    the weather be fine, of going to Kirkstall Abbey once more, and I
    suppose your presence will not make the walk less agreeable to any of
    us.

    'The old man is come and waits for my letter.  In expectation of
    seeing you on Monday or Tuesday next,--I remain, yours faithfully and
    affectionately,

                                                                   'M. B.'

                   TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B., HARTSHEAD

                              'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _September_ 18_th_, 1812.

    'How readily do I comply with my dear Mr. B's request!  You see, you
    have only to express your wishes and as far as my power extends I
    hesitate not to fulfil them.  My heart tells me that it will always
    be my pride and pleasure to contribute to your happiness, nor do I
    fear that this will ever be inconsistent with my duty as a Christian.
    My esteem for you and my confidence in you is so great, that I firmly
    believe you will never exact anything from me which I could not
    conscientiously perform.  I shall in future look to you for
    assistance and instruction whenever I may need them, and hope you
    will never withhold from me any advice or caution you may see
    necessary.

    ['For some years I have been perfectly my own mistress, subject to no
    _control_ whatever--so far from it, that my sisters who are many
    years older than myself, and even my dear mother, used to consult me
    in every case of importance, and scarcely ever doubted the propriety
    of my opinions and actions.  Perhaps you will be ready to accuse me
    of vanity in mentioning this, but you must consider that I do not
    _boast_ of it, I have many times felt it a disadvantage; and
    although, I thank God, it never led me into error, yet in
    circumstances of perplexity and doubt, I have deeply felt the want of
    a guide and instructor.] {39}

    'At such times I have seen and felt the necessity of supernatural
    aid, and by fervent applications to a throne of grace I have
    experienced that my heavenly Father is able and willing to supply the
    place of every earthly friend.  I shall now no longer feel this want,
    this sense of helpless weakness, for I believe a kind Providence has
    intended that I shall find in you every earthly friend united; nor do
    I fear to trust myself under your protection, or shrink from your
    control.  It is pleasant to be subject to those we love, especially
    when they never exert their authority but for the good of the
    subject.  How few would write in this way!  But I do not fear that
    _you_ will make a bad use of it.  You tell me to write my thoughts,
    and thus as they occur I freely let my pen run away with them.

    '_Sat. morn_.--I do not know whether you dare show your face here
    again or not after the blunder you have committed.  When we got to
    the house on Thursday evening, even before we were within the doors,
    we found that Mr. and Mrs. Bedford had been there, and that they had
    requested you to mention their intention of coming--a single hint of
    which you never gave!  Poor I too came in for a share in the hard
    words which were bestowed upon you, for they all agreed that I was
    the cause of it.  Mr. Fennell said you were certainly _mazed_, and
    talked of sending you to York, etc.  And even I begin to think that
    _this_, together with the _note_, bears some marks of _insanity_!
    However, I shall suspend my judgment until I hear what excuse you can
    make for yourself, I suppose you will be quite ready to make one of
    some kind or another.

    'Yesterday I performed a difficult and yet a pleasing task in writing
    to my sisters.  I thought I never should accomplish the end for which
    the letter was designed; but after a good deal of perambulation I
    gave them to understand the nature of my engagement with you, with
    the motives and inducements which led me to form such an engagement,
    and that in consequence of it I should not see them again so soon as
    I had intended.  I concluded by expressing a hope that they would not
    be less pleased with the information than were my friends here.  I
    think they will not suspect me to have made a wrong step, their
    partiality for me is so great.  And their affection for me will lead
    them to rejoice in my welfare, even though it should diminish
    somewhat of their own.  I shall think the time tedious till I hear
    from you, and must beg you will write as soon as possible.  Pardon
    me, my dear friend, if I again caution you against giving way to a
    weakness of which I have heard you complain.  When you find your
    heart oppressed and your thoughts too much engrossed by one subject,
    let prayer be your refuge--this you no doubt know by experience to be
    a sure remedy, and a relief from every care and error.  Oh, that we
    had more of the spirit of prayer!  I feel that I need it much.

    'Breakfast-time is near, I must bid you farewell for the time, but
    rest assured you will always share in the prayers and heart of your
    own

                                                                    MARIA.

    'Mr. Fennell has crossed my letter to my sisters.  With his usual
    goodness he has supplied my _deficiencies_, and spoken of me in terms
    of commendation of which I wish I were more worthy.  Your character
    he has likewise displayed in the most favourable light; and I am sure
    they will not fail to love and esteem you though unknown.

    'All here unite in kind regards.  Adieu.'

                    TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE A.B., HARTSHEAD

                              'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _September_ 23_rd_, 1812.

    'MY DEAREST FRIEND,--Accept of my warmest thanks for your kind
    affectionate letter, in which you have rated mine so highly that I
    really blush to read my own praises.  Pray that God would enable me
    to deserve all the kindness you manifest towards me, and to act
    consistently with the good opinion you entertain of me--then I shall
    indeed be a helpmeet for you, and to be this shall at all times be
    the care and study of my future life.  We have had to-day a large
    party of the Bradford folks--the Rands, Fawcets, Dobsons, etc.  My
    thoughts often strayed from the company, and I would have gladly left
    them to follow my present employment.  To write to and receive
    letters from my friends were always among my chief enjoyments, but
    none ever gave me so much pleasure as those which I receive from and
    write to my newly adopted friend.  I am by no means sorry you have
    given up all thought of the house you mentioned.  With my cousin's
    help I have made known your plans to my uncle and aunt.  Mr. Fennell
    immediately coincided with that which respects your present abode,
    and observed that it had occurred to him before, but that he had not
    had an opportunity of mentioning it to you.  My aunt did not fall in
    with it so readily, but her objections did not appear to me to be
    very weighty.  For my own part, I feel all the force of your
    arguments in favour of it, and the objections are so trifling that
    they can scarcely be called objections.  My cousin is of the same
    opinion.  Indeed, you have such a method of considering and digesting
    a plan before you make it known to your friends, that you run very
    little risque of incurring their disapprobations, or of having your
    schemes frustrated.  I greatly admire your talents this way--may they
    never be perverted by being used in a bad cause!  And whilst they are
    exerted for good purposes, may they prove irresistible!  If I may
    judge from your letter, this middle scheme is what would please you
    best, so that if there should arise no new objection to it, perhaps
    it will prove the best you can adopt.  However, there is yet
    sufficient time to consider it further.  I trust in this and every
    other circumstance you will be guided by the wisdom that cometh from
    above--a portion of which I doubt not has guided you hitherto.  A
    belief of this, added to the complete satisfaction with which I read
    your reasonings on the subject, made me a ready convert to your
    opinions.  I hope nothing will occur to induce you to change your
    intention of spending the next week at Bradford.  Depend on it you
    shall have letter for letter; but may we not hope to see you here
    during that time, surely you will not think the way more tedious than
    usual?  I have not heard any particulars respecting the church since
    you were at Bradford.  Mr. Rawson is now there, but Mr. Hardy and his
    brother are absent, and I understand nothing decisive can be
    accomplished without them.  Jane expects to hear something more
    to-morrow.  Perhaps ere this reaches you, you will have received some
    intelligence respecting it from Mr. Morgan.  If you have no other
    apology to make for your blunders than that which you have given me,
    you must not expect to be excused, for I have not mentioned it to any
    one, so that however it may clear your character in my opinion it is
    not likely to influence any other person.  Little, very little, will
    induce me to cover your faults with a veil of charity.  I already
    feel a kind of participation in all that concerns you.  All praises
    and censures bestowed on you must equally affect me.  Your joys and
    sorrows must be mine.  Thus shall the one be increased and the other
    diminished.  While this is the case we shall, I hope, always find
    "life's cares" to be "comforts."  And may we feel every trial and
    distress, for such must be our lot at times, bind us nearer to God
    and to each other!  My heart earnestly joins in your comprehensive
    prayers.  I trust they will unitedly ascend to a throne of grace, and
    through the Redeemer's merits procure for us peace and happiness here
    and a life of eternal felicity hereafter.  Oh, what sacred pleasure
    there is in the idea of spending an eternity together in perfect and
    uninterrupted bliss!  This should encourage us to the utmost exertion
    and fortitude.  But whilst I write, my own words condemn me--I am
    ashamed of my own indolence and backwardness to duty.  May I be more
    careful, watchful, and active than I have ever yet been!

    'My uncle, aunt, and Jane request me to send their kind regards, and
    they will be happy to see you any time next week whenever you can
    conveniently come down from Bradford.  Let me hear from you soon--I
    shall expect a letter on Monday.  Farewell, my dearest friend.  That
    you may be happy in yourself and very useful to all around you is the
    daily earnest prayer of yours truly,

                                                         'MARIA BRANWELL.'

                   TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B., HARTSHEAD

                                 'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _October_ 3_rd_, 1812.

    'How could my dear friend so cruelly disappoint me?  Had he known how
    much I had set my heart on having a letter this afternoon, and how
    greatly I felt the disappointment when the bag arrived and I found
    there was nothing for me, I am sure he would not have permitted a
    little matter to hinder him.  But whatever was the reason of your not
    writing, I cannot believe it to have been neglect or unkindness,
    therefore I do not in the least blame you, I only beg that in future
    you will judge of my feelings by your own, and if possible never let
    me expect a letter without receiving one.  You know in my last which
    I sent you at Bradford I said it would not be in my power to write
    the next day, but begged I might be favoured with hearing from you on
    Saturday, and you will not wonder that I hoped you would have
    complied with this request.  It has just occurred to my mind that it
    is possible this note was not received; if so, you have felt
    disappointed likewise; but I think this is not very probable, as the
    old man is particularly careful, and I never heard of his losing
    anything committed to his care.  The note which I allude to was
    written on Thursday morning, and you should have received it before
    you left Bradford.  I forget what its contents were, but I know it
    was written in haste and concluded abruptly.  Mr. Fennell talks of
    visiting Mr. Morgan to-morrow.  I cannot lose the opportunity of
    sending this to the office by him as you will then have it a day
    sooner, and if you have been daily expecting to hear from me,
    twenty-four hours are of some importance.  I really am concerned to
    find that this, what many would deem trifling incident, has so much
    disturbed my mind.  I fear I should not have slept in peace to-night
    if I had been deprived of this opportunity of relieving my mind by
    scribbling to you, and now I lament that you cannot possibly receive
    this till Monday.  May I hope that there is now some intelligence on
    the way to me? or must my patience be tried till I see you on
    Wednesday?  But what nonsense am I writing?  Surely after this you
    can have no doubt that you possess all my heart.  Two months ago I
    could not possibly have believed that you would ever engross so much
    of my thoughts and affections, and far less could I have thought that
    I should be so forward as to tell you so.  I believe I must forbid
    you to come here again unless you can assure me that you will not
    steal any more of my regard.  Enough of this; I must bring my pen to
    order, for if I were to suffer myself to revise what I have written I
    should be tempted to throw it in the fire, but I have determined that
    you shall see my whole heart.  I have not yet informed you that I
    received your serio-comic note on Thursday afternoon, for which
    accept my thanks.

    'My cousin desires me to say that she expects a long poem on her
    birthday, when she attains the important age of twenty-one.  Mr.
    Fennell joins with us in requesting that you will not fail to be here
    on Wednesday, as it is decided that on Thursday we are to go to the
    Abbey if the weather, etc., permits.

    '_Sunday morning_.--I am not sure if I do right in adding a few lines
    to-day, but knowing that it will give you pleasure I wish to finish
    that you may have it to-morrow.  I will just say that if my feeble
    prayers can aught avail, you will find your labours this day both
    pleasant and profitable, as they concern your own soul and the souls
    of those to whom you preach.  I trust in your hours of retirement you
    will not forget to pray for me.  I assure you I need every assistance
    to help me forward; I feel that my heart is more ready to attach
    itself to earth than heaven.  I sometimes think there never was a
    mind so dull and inactive as mine is with regard to spiritual things.

    'I must not forget to thank you for the pamphlets and tracts which
    you sent us from Bradford.  I hope we shall make good use of them.  I
    must now take my leave.  I believe I need scarcely assure you that I
    am yours truly and very affectionately,

                                                         'MARIA BRANWELL.'

                   TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B., HARTSHEAD

                                 'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _October_ 21_st_ 1812.

    'With the sincerest pleasure do I retire from company to converse
    with him whom I love beyond all others.  Could my beloved friend see
    my heart he would then be convinced that the affection I bear him is
    not at all inferior to that which he feels for me--indeed I sometimes
    think that in truth and constancy it excels.  But do not think from
    this that I entertain any suspicions of your sincerity--no, I firmly
    believe you to be sincere and generous, and doubt not in the least
    that you feel all you express.  In return, I entreat that you will do
    me the justice to believe that you have not only a _very large
    portion_ of my _affection_ and _esteem_, but _all_ that I am capable
    of feeling, and from henceforth measure my feelings by your own.
    Unless my love for you were very great how could I so contentedly
    give up my home and all my friends--a home I loved so much that I
    have often thought nothing could bribe me to renounce it for any
    great length of time together, and friends with whom I have been so
    long accustomed to share all the vicissitudes of joy and sorrow?  Yet
    these have lost their weight, and though I cannot always think of
    them without a sigh, yet the anticipation of sharing with you all the
    pleasures and pains, the cares and anxieties of life, of contributing
    to your comfort and becoming the companion of your pilgrimage, is
    more delightful to me than any other prospect which this world can
    possibly present.  I expected to have heard from you on Saturday
    last, and can scarcely refrain from thinking you unkind to keep me in
    suspense two whole days longer than was necessary, but it is well
    that my patience should be sometimes tried, or I might entirely lose
    it, and this would be a loss indeed!  Lately I have experienced a
    considerable increase of hopes and fears, which tend to destroy the
    calm uniformity of my life.  These are not unwelcome, as they enable
    me to discover more of the evils and errors of my heart, and
    discovering them I hope through grace to be enabled to correct and
    amend them.  I am sorry to say that my cousin has had a very serious
    cold, but to-day I think she is better; her cough seems less, and I
    hope we shall be able to come to Bradford on Saturday afternoon,
    where we intend to stop till Tuesday.  You may be sure we shall not
    soon think of taking such another journey as the last.  I look
    forward with pleasure to Monday, when I hope to meet with you, for as
    we are no _longer twain_ separation is painful, and to meet must ever
    be attended with joy.

    '_Thursday morning_.--I intended to have finished this before
    breakfast, but unfortunately slept an hour too long.  I am every
    moment in expectation of the old man's arrival.  I hope my cousin is
    still better to-day; she requests me to say that she is much obliged
    to you for your kind inquiries and the concern you express for her
    recovery.  I take all possible care of her, but yesterday she was
    naughty enough to venture into the yard without her bonnet!  As you
    do not say anything of going to Leeds I conclude you have not been.
    We shall most probably hear from the Dr. this afternoon.  I am much
    pleased to hear of his success at Bierly!  O that you may both be
    zealous and successful in your efforts for the salvation of souls,
    and may your own lives be holy, and your hearts greatly blessed while
    you are engaged in administering to the good of others!  I should
    have been very glad to have had it in my power to lessen your fatigue
    and cheer your spirits by my exertions on Monday last.  I will hope
    that this pleasure is still reserved for me.  In general, I feel a
    calm confidence in the providential care and continued mercy of God,
    and when I consider his past deliverances and past favours I am led
    to wonder and adore.  A sense of my small returns of love and
    gratitude to him often abases me and makes me think I am little
    better than those who profess no religion.  Pray for me, my dear
    friend, and rest assured that you possess a very very large portion
    of the prayers, thoughts, and heart of yours truly,

                                                             'M. BRANWELL.

    'Mr. Fennell requests Mr. Bedford to call on the man who has had
    orders to make blankets for the Grove and desire him to send them as
    soon as possible.  Mr. Fennell will be greatly obliged to Mr. Bedford
    if he will take this trouble.'

                   TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B., HARTSHEAD

                               'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _November_ 18_th_, 1812.

    'MY DEAR SAUCY PAT,--Now don't you think you deserve this epithet far
    more than I do that which you have given me?  I really know not what
    to make of the beginning of your last; the winds, waves, and rocks
    almost stunned me.  I thought you were giving me the account of some
    terrible dream, or that you had had a presentiment of the fate of my
    poor box, having no idea that your lively imagination could make so
    much of the slight reproof conveyed in my last.  What will you say
    when you get a _real_, _downright scolding_?  Since you show such a
    readiness to atone for your offences after receiving a mild rebuke, I
    am inclined to hope you will seldom deserve a severe one.  I accept
    with pleasure your atonement, and send you a free and full
    forgiveness.  But I cannot allow that your affection is more deeply
    rooted than mine.  However, we will dispute no more about this, but
    rather embrace every opportunity to prove its sincerity and strength
    by acting in every respect as friends and fellow-pilgrims travelling
    the same road, actuated by the same motives, and having in view the
    same end.  I think if our lives are spared twenty years hence I shall
    then pray for you with the same, if not greater, fervour and delight
    that I do now.  I am pleased that you are so fully convinced of my
    candour, for to know that you suspected me of a deficiency in this
    virtue would grieve and mortify me beyond expression.  I do not
    derive any merit from the possession of it, for in me it is
    constitutional.  Yet I think where it is possessed it will rarely
    exist alone, and where it is wanted there is reason to doubt the
    existence of almost every other virtue.  As to the other qualities
    which your partiality attributes to me, although I rejoice to know
    that I stand so high in your good opinion, yet I blush to think in
    how small a degree I possess them.  But it shall be the pleasing
    study of my future life to gain such an increase of grace and wisdom
    as shall enable me to act up to your highest expectations and prove
    to you a helpmeet.  I firmly believe the Almighty has set us apart
    for each other; may we, by earnest, frequent prayer, and every
    possible exertion, endeavour to fulfil His will in all things!  I do
    not, cannot, doubt your love, and here I freely declare I love you
    above all the world besides.  I feel very, very grateful to the great
    Author of all our mercies for His unspeakable love and condescension
    towards us, and desire "to show forth my gratitude not only with my
    lips, but by my life and conversation."  I indulge a hope that our
    mutual prayers will be answered, and that our intimacy will tend much
    to promote our temporal and eternal interest.

    ['I suppose you never expected to be much the richer for me, but I am
    sorry to inform you that I am still poorer than I thought myself.  I
    mentioned having sent for my books, clothes, etc.  On Saturday
    evening about the time you were writing the description of your
    imaginary shipwreck, I was reading and feeling the effects of a real
    one, having then received a letter from my sister giving me an
    account of the vessel in which she had sent my box being stranded on
    the coast of Devonshire, in consequence of which the box was dashed
    to pieces with the violence of the sea, and all my little property,
    with the exception of a very few articles, swallowed up in the mighty
    deep.  If this should not prove the prelude to something worse, I
    shall think little of it, as it is the first disastrous circumstance
    which has occurred since I left my home], {49} and having been so
    highly favoured it would be highly ungrateful in me were I to suffer
    this to dwell much on my mind.

    'Mr. Morgan was here yesterday, indeed he only left this morning.  He
    mentioned having written to invite you to Bierly on Sunday next, and
    if you complied with his request it is likely that we shall see you
    both here on Sunday evening.  As we intend going to Leeds next week,
    we should be happy if you would accompany us on Monday or Tuesday.  I
    mention this by desire of Miss Fennell, who begs to be remembered
    affectionately to you.  Notwithstanding Mr. Fennell's complaints and
    threats, I doubt not but he will give you a cordial reception
    whenever you think fit to make your appearance at the Grove.  Which
    you may likewise be assured of receiving from your ever truly
    affectionate,

                                                                    MARIA.

    'Both the doctor and his lady very much wish to know what kind of
    address we make use of in our letters to each other.  I think they
    would scarcely hit on _this_!!'

                   TO REV. PATRICK BRONTE, A.B., HARTSHEAD

                                'WOOD HOUSE GROVE, _December_ 5_th_, 1812.

    'MY DEAREST FRIEND,--So you _thought_ that _perhaps_ I _might_ expect
    to hear from you.  As the case was so doubtful, and you were in such
    great haste, you might as well have deferred writing a few days
    longer, for you seem to suppose it is a matter of perfect
    indifference to me whether I hear from you or not.  I believe I once
    requested you to judge of my feelings by your own--am I to think that
    _you_ are thus indifferent?  I feel very unwilling to entertain such
    an opinion, and am grieved that you should suspect me of such a cold,
    heartless, attachment.  But I am too serious on the subject; I only
    meant to rally you a little on the beginning of your last, and to
    tell you that I fancied there was a coolness in it which none of your
    former letters had contained.  If this fancy was groundless, forgive
    me for having indulged it, and let it serve to convince you of the
    sincerity and warmth of my affection.  Real love is ever apt to
    suspect that it meets not with an equal return; you must not wonder
    then that my fears are sometimes excited.  My pride cannot bear the
    idea of a diminution of your attachment, or to think that it is
    stronger on my side than on yours.  But I must not permit my pen so
    fully to disclose the feelings of my heart, nor will I tell you
    whether I am pleased or not at the thought of seeing you on the
    appointed day.

    'Miss Fennell desires her kind regards, and, with her father, is
    extremely obliged to you for the trouble you have taken about the
    carpet, and has no doubt but it will give full satisfaction.  They
    think there will be no occasion for the green cloth.

    'We intend to set about making the cakes here next week, but as the
    fifteen or twenty persons whom you mention live probably somewhere in
    your neighbourhood, I think it will be most convenient for Mrs. B. to
    make a small one for the purpose of distributing there, which will
    save us the difficulty of sending so far.

    'You may depend on my learning my lessons as rapidly as they are
    given me.  I am already tolerably perfect in the A B C, etc.  I am
    much obliged to you for the pretty little hymn which I have already
    got by heart, but cannot promise to sing it scientifically, though I
    will endeavour to gain a little more assurance.

    'Since I began this Jane put into my hands Lord Lyttelton's _Advice
    to a Lady_.  When I read those lines, "Be never cool reserve with
    passion joined, with caution choose, but then be fondly kind, etc."
    my heart smote me for having in some cases used too much reserve
    towards you.  Do you think you have any cause to complain of me?  If
    you do, let me know it.  For were it in my power to prevent it, I
    would in no instance occasion you the least pain or uneasiness.  I am
    certain no one ever loved you with an affection more pure, constant,
    tender, and ardent than that which I feel.  Surely this is not saying
    too much; it is the truth, and I trust you are worthy to know it.  I
    long to improve in every religious and moral quality, that I may be a
    help, and if possible an ornament to you.  Oh let us pray much for
    wisdom and grace to fill our appointed stations with propriety, that
    we may enjoy satisfaction in our own souls, edify others, and bring
    glory to the name of Him who has so wonderfully preserved, blessed,
    and brought us together.

    'If there is anything in the commencement of this which looks like
    pettishness, forgive it; my mind is now completely divested of every
    feeling of the kind, although I own I am sometimes too apt to be
    overcome by this disposition.

    'Let me have the pleasure of hearing from you again as soon as
    convenient.  This writing is uncommonly bad, but I too am in haste.

    'Adieu, my dearest.--I am your affectionate and sincere

                                                                  'MARIA.'

Mr. Bronte was at Hartshead, where he married, for five years, and there
his two eldest children, Maria and Elizabeth, were born.  He then moved
to Thornton, near Bradford, where Charlotte was born on the 21st of April
1816, Branwell in 1817, Emily in 1818, and Anne in 1819.  In 1820 the
family removed to the parsonage of Haworth, and in 1821 the poor mother
was dead.  A year or two later Miss Elizabeth Branwell came from Penzance
to act as a mother to her orphaned nephew and nieces.  There is no reason
to accept the theory that Miss Branwell was quite as formidable or
offensive a personage as the Mrs. Read in _Jane Eyre_.  That she was a
somewhat rigid and not over demonstrative woman, we may take for granted.
The one letter to her of any importance that I have seen--it is printed
in Mrs. Gaskell's life--was the attempt of Charlotte to obtain her
co-operation in the projected visit to a Brussels school.  Miss Branwell
provided the money readily enough it would seem, and one cannot doubt
that in her later years she was on the best of terms with her nieces.
There may have been too much discipline in childhood, but discipline
which would now be considered too severe was common enough at the
beginning of the century.  The children, we may be sure, were left
abundantly alone.  The writing they accomplished in their early years
would sufficiently demonstrate that.  Miss Branwell died in 1842; and
from her will, which I give elsewhere, it will be seen that she behaved
very justly to her three nieces.

The reception by Mr. Bronte of his children's literary successes has been
very pleasantly recorded by Charlotte.  He was proud of his daughters,
and delighted with their fame.  He seems to have had no small share of
their affection.  Charlotte loved and esteemed him.  There are hundreds
of her letters, in many of which are severe and indeed unprintable things
about this or that individual; but of her father these letters contain
not one single harsh word.  She wrote to him regularly when absent.  Not
only did he secure the affection of his daughter, but the people most
intimately associated with him next to his own children gave him a
lifelong affection and regard.  Martha Brown, the servant who lived with
him until his death, always insisted that her old master had been
grievously wronged, and that a kinder, more generous, and in every way
more worthy man had never lived.  Nancy Garrs, another servant, always
spoke of Mr. Bronte as 'the kindest man who ever drew breath,' and as a
good and affectionate father.  Forty years have gone by since Charlotte
Bronte died; and thirty-six years have flown since Mr. Nicholls left the
deathbed of his wife's father; but through all that period he has
retained the most kindly memories of one with whom his life was
intimately associated for sixteen years, with whom at one crisis of his
life, as we shall see, he had a serious difference, but whom he ever
believed to have been an entirely honourable and upright man.

A lady visitor to Haworth in December 1860 did not, it is true, carry
away quite so friendly an impression.  'I have been to see old Mr.
Bronte,' she writes, 'and have spent about an hour with him.  He is
completely confined to his bed, but talks hopefully of leaving it again
when the summer comes round.  I am afraid that it will not be leaving it
as he plans, poor old man!  He is touchingly softened by illness; but
still talks in his pompous way, and mingles moral remarks and somewhat
stale sentiments with his conversation on ordinary subjects.'  This is
severe, but after all it was a literary woman who wrote it.  On the whole
we may safely assume, with the evidence before us, that Mr. Bronte was a
thoroughly upright and honourable man who came manfully through a
somewhat severe life battle.  That is how his daughters thought of him,
and we cannot do better than think with them. {53}

Mr. Bronte died on June 7, 1861, and his funeral in Haworth Church is
described in the _Bradford Review_ of the following week:--

    'Great numbers of people had collected in the churchyard, and a few
    minutes before noon the corpse was brought out through the eastern
    gate of the garden leading into the churchyard.  The Rev. Dr. Burnet,
    Vicar of Bradford, read the funeral service, and led the way into the
    church, and the following clergymen were the bearers of the coffin:
    The Rev. Dr. Cartman of Skipton; Rev. Mr. Sowden of Hebden Bridge;
    the Incumbents of Cullingworth, Oakworth, Morton, Oxenhope, and St.
    John's Ingrow.  The chief mourners were the Rev. Arthur Bell
    Nicholls, son-in-law of the deceased; Martha Brown, the housekeeper;
    and her sister; Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Wainwright.  There were several
    gentlemen followed the corpse whom we did not know.  All the shops in
    Haworth were closed, and the people filled every pew, and the aisles
    in the church, and many shed tears during the impressive reading of
    the service for the burial of the dead, by the vicar.  The body of
    Mr. Bronte was laid within the altar rails, by the side of his
    daughter Charlotte.  He is the last that can be interred inside of
    Haworth Church.  On the coffin was this inscription: "Patrick Bronte,
    died June 7th, 1861, aged 84 years."'

His will, which was proved at Wakefield, left the bulk of his property,
as was natural, to the son-in-law who had faithfully served and tended
him for the six years which succeeded Charlotte Bronte's death.

Extracted from the Principal Registry of the Probate Divorce and
Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice.

    _Being of sound mind and judgment_, _in the name of God the Father_,
    _Son_, _and Holy Ghost_, _I_, PATRICK BRONTE, B.A., _Incumbent of
    Haworth_, _in the Parish of Bradford and county of York_, _make this
    my last Will and Testament_: _I leave forty pounds to be equally
    divided amongst all my brothers and sisters to whom I gave
    considerable sums in times past_; _And I direct the same sum of forty
    pounds to be sent for distribution to Mr. Hugh Bronte_,
    _Ballinasceaugh_, _near Loughbrickland_, _Ireland_; _I leave thirty
    pounds to my servant_, _Martha Brown_, _as a token of regard for long
    and faithful services to me and my children_; _To my beloved and
    esteemed son-in-law_, _the Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls_, B.A., _I leave
    and bequeath the residue of my personal estate of every description
    which I shall be possessed of at my death for his own absolute
    benefit_; _And I make him my sole executor_; _And I revoke all former
    and other Wills_, _in witness whereof I_, _the said_ PATRICK BRONTE,
    _have to this my last Will_, _contained in this sheet of paper_, _set
    my hand this twentieth day of June_, _one thousand eight hundred and
    fifty-five_.

    PATRICK BRONTE.--_Signed and acknowledged by the said_ PATRICK BRONTE
    _as his Will in the presence of us present at the same time_, _and
    who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto
    subscribed our names as witnesses_: JOSEPH REDMAN, ELIZA BROWN.

The Irish relatives are not forgotten, and indeed this will gives the
most direct evidence of the fact that for the sixty years that he had
been absent from his native land he had always kept his own country, or
at least his relatives in County Down, sufficiently in mind.




CHAPTER II: CHILDHOOD


Eighty years have passed over Thornton since that village had the honour
of becoming the birthplace of Charlotte Bronte.  The visitor of to-day
will find the Bell Chapel, in which Mr. Bronte officiated, a mere ruin,
and the font in which his children were baptized ruthlessly exposed to
the winds of heaven. {56a}  The house in which Patrick Bronte resided is
now a butcher's shop, and indeed little, one imagines, remains the same.
But within the new church one may still overhaul the registers, and find,
with but little trouble, a record of the baptism of the Bronte children.
There, amid the names of the rough and rude peasantry of the
neighbourhood, we find the accompanying entries, {56b} differing from
their neighbours only by the fact that Mr. Morgan or Mr. Fennell came to
the help of their relatives and officiated in place of Mr. Bronte.  Mr.
Bronte, it will be observed, had already received his appointment to
Haworth when Anne was baptized.

There were, it is well known, two elder children, Maria and Elizabeth,
born at Hartshead, and doomed to die speedily at Haworth.  A vague memory
of Maria lives in the Helen Burns of _Jane Eyre_, but the only tangible
records of the pair, as far as I am able to ascertain, are a couple of
samplers, of the kind which Mrs. Bronte and her sisters had worked at
Penzance a generation earlier.

    _Maria Bronte finished this Sampler on the 16th of May at the age of
    eight years_

one of them tells us, and the other:

    _Elizabeth Bronte finished this Sampler the 27th of July at the age
    of seven years_.

Maria died at the age of twelve in May 1825, and Elizabeth in June of the
same year, at the age of eleven.  It is, however, with their three
sisters that we have most concern, although all the six children
accompanied their parents to Haworth in 1820.

Haworth, we are told, has been over-described; and yet it may not be
amiss to discover from the easily available directories what manner of
place it was during the Bronte residence there.  Pigot's Yorkshire
Directory of 1828 gives the census during the first year of Mr. Bronte's
incumbency thus:--

    HAWORTH, _a populous manufacturing village_, _in the honour of
    Pontefract_, _Morley wapentake_, _and in the parish of Bradford_, _is
    four miles south of Keighley_, _containing_, _by the census of_ 1821,
    4668 _inhabitants_.

    _Gentry and Clergy_: _Bronte_, _Rev. Patrick_, _Haworth_; _Heaton_,
    _Robert_, _gent._, _Ponden Hall_; _Miles_, _Rev. Oddy_, _Haworth_;
    _Saunders_, _Rev. Moses_, _Haworth_.

From the same source twenty years later we obtain more explicit detail,
which is not without interest to-day.

    HAWORTH _is a chapelry_, _comprising the hamlets of Haworth_,
    _Stanbury_, _and Near and Far Oxenhope_, _in the parish of Bradford_,
    _and wapentake of Morley_, _West Riding_--_Haworth being ten miles
    from Bradford_, _about the same distance from Halifax_, _Colne_, _and
    Skipton_, _three and a half miles S. from Keighley_, _and eight from
    Hebden Bridge_, _at which latter place is a station on the Leeds and
    Manchester railway_.  _Haworth is situated on the side of a hill_,
    _and consists of one irregularly built street_--_the habitations in
    that part called Oxenhope being yet more scattered_, _and Stanbury
    still farther distant_; _the entire chapelry occupying a wide space_.
    _The spinning of worsted_, _and the manufacture of stuffs_, _are
    branches which here prevail extensively_.

    _The Church or rather chapel_ (_subject to Bradford_), _dedicated to
    St. Michael_, _was rebuilt in_ 1757: _the living is a perpetual
    curacy_, _in the presentation of the vicar of Bradford and certain
    trustees_; _the present curate is the Rev. Patrick_ _Bronte_.  _The
    other places of worship are two chapels for baptists_, _one each for
    primitive and Wesleyan methodists_, _and another at Oxenhope for the
    latter denomination_.  _There are two excellent free schools_--_one
    at Stanbury_, _the other_, _called the Free Grammar School_, _near
    Oxenhope_; _besides which there are several neat edifices erected for
    Sunday teaching_.  _There are three annual fairs_: _they are held on
    Easter-Monday_, _the second Monday after St. Peter's day_ (_old
    style_), _and the first Monday after Old Michaelmas day_.  _The
    chapelry of Haworth_, _and its dependent hamlets_, _contained by the
    returns for_ 1831, 5835 _inhabitants_; _and by the census taken in
    June_, 1841, _the population amounted to_ 6301.

Haworth needs even to-day no further description, but the house in which
Mr. Bronte resided, from 1820 till his death in 1861, has not been
over-described, perhaps because Mr. Bronte's successor has not been too
well disposed to receive the casual visitor to Haworth under his roof.

Many changes have been made since Mr. Bronte died, but the house still
retains its essentially interesting features.  In the time of the
Brontes, it is true, the front outlook was as desolate as to-day it is
attractive.  Then there was a little piece of barren ground running down
to the walls of the churchyard, with here and there a currant-bush as the
sole adornment.  Now we see an abundance of trees and a well-kept lawn.
Miss Ellen Nussey well remembers seeing Emily and Anne, on a fine summer
afternoon, sitting on stools in this bit of garden plucking currants from
the poor insignificant bushes.  There was no premonition of the time, not
so far distant, when the rough doorway separating the churchyard from the
garden, which was opened for their mother when they were little children,
should be opened again time after time in rapid succession for their own
biers to be carried through.  This gateway is now effectively bricked up.
In the days of the Brontes it was reserved for the passage of the dead--a
grim arrangement, which, strange to say, finds no place in any one of the
sisters' stories.  We enter the house, and the door on the right leads
into Mr. Bronte's study, always called the parlour; that on the left into
the dining-room, where the children spent a great portion of their lives.
From childhood to womanhood, indeed, the three girls regularly
breakfasted with their father in his study.  In the dining-room--a square
and simple room of a kind common enough in the houses of the poorer
middle-classes--they ate their mid-day dinner, their tea and supper.  Mr.
Bronte joined them at tea, although he always dined alone in his study.
The children's dinner-table has been described to me by a visitor to the
house.  At one end sat Miss Branwell, at the other, Charlotte, with Emily
and Anne on either side.  Branwell was then absent.  The living was of
the simplest.  A single joint, followed invariably by one kind or another
of milk-pudding.  Pastry was unknown in the Bronte household.
Milk-puddings, or food composed of milk and rice, would seem to have made
the principal diet of Emily and Anne Bronte, and to this they added a
breakfast of Scotch porridge, which they shared with their dogs.  It is
more interesting, perhaps, to think of all the daydreams in that room, of
the mass of writing which was achieved there, of the conversations and
speculation as to the future.  Miss Nussey has given a pleasant picture
of twilight when Charlotte and she walked with arms encircling one
another round and round the table, and Emily and Anne followed in similar
fashion.  There was no lack of cheerfulness and of hope at that period.
Behind Mr. Bronte's studio was the kitchen; and there we may easily
picture the Bronte children telling stories to Tabby or Martha, or to
whatever servant reigned at the time, and learning, as all of them did,
to become thoroughly domesticated--Emily most of all.  Behind the
dining-room was a peat-room, which, when Charlotte was married in 1854,
was cleared out and converted into a little study for Mr. Nicholls.  The
staircase with its solid banister remains as it did half a century ago;
and at its foot one is still shown the corner which tradition assigns as
the scene of Emily's conflict with her dog Keeper.  On the right, at the
back, as you mount the staircase, was a small room allotted to Branwell
as a studio.  On the other side of this staircase, also at the back, was
the servants' room.  In the front of the house, immediately over the
dining-room, was Miss Branwell's room, afterwards the spare bedroom until
Charlotte Bronte married.  In that room she died.  On the left, over Mr.
Bronte's study, was Mr. Bronte's bedroom.  It was the room which, for
many years, he shared with Branwell, and it was in that room that
Branwell and his father died at an interval of twenty years.  On the
staircase, half-way up, was a grandfather's clock, which Mr. Bronte used
to wind up every night on his way to bed.  He always went to bed at nine
o'clock, and Miss Nussey well remembers his stentorian tones as he called
out as he left his study and passed the dining-room door--'Don't be up
late, children'--which they usually were.  Between these two front rooms
upstairs, and immediately over the passage, with a door facing the
staircase, was a box room; but this was the children's nursery, where for
many years the children slept, where the bulk of their little books were
compiled, and where, it is more than probable, _The Professor_ and _Jane
Eyre_ were composed.

Of the work of the Bronte children in these early years, a great deal
might be written.  Mrs. Gaskell gives a list of some eighteen booklets,
but at least eighteen more from the pen of Charlotte are in existence.
Branwell was equally prolific; and of him, also, there remains an immense
mass of childish effort.  That Emily and Anne were industrious in a like
measure there is abundant reason to believe; but scarcely one of their
juvenile efforts remains to us, nor even the unpublished fragments of
later years, to which reference will be made a little later.  Whether
Emily and Anne on the eve of their death deliberately destroyed all their
treasures, or whether they were destroyed by Charlotte in the days of her
mourning, will never be known.  Meanwhile one turns with interest to the
efforts of Charlotte and Branwell.  Charlotte's little stories commence
in her thirteenth year, and go on until she is twenty-three.  From
thirteen to eighteen she would seem to have had one absorbing hero.  It
was the Duke of Wellington; and her hero-worship extended to the children
of the Duke, who, indeed, would seem even more than their father to have
absorbed her childish affections.  Whether the stories are fairy tales or
dramas of modern life, they all alike introduce the Marquis of Douro, who
afterwards became the second Duke of Wellington, and Lord Charles
Wellesley, whose son is now the third Duke of Wellington.  The length of
some of these fragments is indeed incredible.  They fill but a few sheets
of notepaper in that tiny handwriting; but when copied by zealous
admirers, it is seen that more than one of them is twenty thousand words
in length.

_The Foundling_, by Captain Tree, written in 1833, is a story of
thirty-five thousand words, though the manuscript has only eighteen
pages.  _The Green Dwarf_, written in the same year, is even longer, and
indeed after her return from Roe Head in 1833, Charlotte must have
devoted herself to continuous writing.  _The Adventures of Ernest
Alembert_ is a booklet of this date, and _Arthuriana_, _or Odds and
Ends_: _being a Miscellaneous Collection of Pieces in Prose and Verse_,
by Lord Charles Wellesley, is yet another.

The son of the Iron Duke is made to talk, in these little books, in a way
which would have gladdened the heart of a modern interviewer:

    'Lord Charles,' said Mr. Rundle to me one afternoon lately, 'I have
    an engagement to drink tea with an old college chum this evening, so
    I shall give you sixty lines of the _AEneid_ to get ready during my
    absence.  If it is not ready by the time I come back you know the
    consequences.'  'Very well, Sir,' said I, bringing out the books with
    a prodigious bustle, and making a show as if I intended to learn a
    whole book instead of sixty lines of the _AEneid_.  This appearance
    of industry, however, lasted no longer than until the old gentleman's
    back was turned.  No sooner had he fairly quitted the room than I
    flung aside the musty tomes, took my cap, and speeding through
    chamber, hall, and gallery, was soon outside the gates of Waterloo
    Palace.'

_The Secret_, another story, of which Mrs. Gaskell gave a facsimile of
the first page, was also written in 1833, and indeed in this, her
seventeenth year, Charlotte Bronte must have written as much as in any
year of her life.  When at Roe Head, 1832-3, she would seem to have
worked at her studies, and particularly her drawing; but in the interval
between Cowan Bridge and Roe Head she wrote a great deal.  The earliest
manuscripts in my possession bear date 1829--that is to say, in
Charlotte's thirteenth year.  They are her _Tales of the Islanders_,
which extend to four little volumes in brown paper covers neatly
inscribed 'First Volume,' 'Second Volume,' and so on.  The Duke is of
absorbing importance in these 'Tales.'  'One evening the Duke of
Wellington was writing in his room in Downing Street.  He was reposing at
his ease in a simple easy chair, smoking a homely tobacco-pipe, for he
disdained all the modern frippery of cigars . . . ' and so on in an
abundance of childish imaginings.  _The Search after Happiness_ and
_Characters of Great Men of the Present Time_ were also written in 1829.
Perhaps the only juvenile fragment which is worth anything is also the
only one in which she escapes from the Wellington enthusiasm.  It has an
interest also in indicating that Charlotte in her girlhood heard
something of her father's native land.  It is called--

                           AN ADVENTURE IN IRELAND

    During my travels in the south of Ireland the following adventure
    happened to me.  One evening in the month of August, after a long
    walk, I was ascending the mountain which overlooks the village of
    Cahill, when I suddenly came in sight of a fine old castle.  It was
    built upon a rock, and behind it was a large wood and before it was a
    river.  Over the river there was a bridge, which formed the approach
    to the castle.  When I arrived at the bridge I stood still awhile to
    enjoy the prospect around me: far below was the wide sheet of still
    water in which the reflection of the pale moon was not disturbed by
    the smallest wave; in the valley was the cluster of cabins which is
    known by the appellation of Cahin, and beyond these were the
    mountains of Killala.  Over all, the grey robe of twilight was now
    stealing with silent and scarcely perceptible advances.  No sound
    except the hum of the distant village and the sweet song of the
    nightingale in the wood behind me broke upon the stillness of the
    scene.  While I was contemplating this beautiful prospect, a
    gentleman, whom I had not before observed, accosted me with 'Good
    evening, sir; are you a stranger in these parts?'  I replied that I
    was.  He then asked me where I was going to stop for the night; I
    answered that I intended to sleep somewhere in the village.  'I am
    afraid you will find very bad accommodation there,' said the
    gentleman; 'but if you will take up your quarters with me at the
    castle, you are welcome.'  I thanked him for his kind offer, and
    accepted it.

    When we arrived at the castle I was shown into a large parlour, in
    which was an old lady sitting in an arm-chair by the fireside,
    knitting.  On the rug lay a very pretty tortoise-shell cat.  As soon
    as mentioned, the old lady rose; and when Mr. O'Callaghan (for that,
    I learned, was his name) told her who I was, she said in the most
    cordial tone that I was welcome, and asked me to sit down.  In the
    course of conversation I learned that she was Mr. O'Callaghan's
    mother, and that his father had been dead about a year.  We had sat
    about an hour, when supper was announced, and after supper Mr.
    O'Callaghan asked me if I should like to retire for the night.  I
    answered in the affirmative, and a little boy was commissioned to
    show me to my apartment.  It was a snug, clean, and comfortable
    little old-fashioned room at the top of the castle.  As soon as we
    had entered, the boy, who appeared to be a shrewd, good-tempered
    little fellow, said with a shrug of the shoulder, 'If it was going to
    bed I was, it shouldn't be here that you'd catch me.'  'Why?' said I.
    'Because,' replied the boy, 'they say that the ould masther's ghost
    has been seen sitting on that there chair.'  'And have you seen him?'
    'No; but I've heard him washing his hands in that basin often and
    often.'  'What is your name, my little fellow?'  'Dennis Mulready,
    please your honour.'  'Well, good-night to you.'  'Good-night,
    masther; and may the saints keep you from all fairies and brownies,'
    said Dennis as he left the room.

    As soon as I had laid down I began to think of what the boy had been
    telling me, and I confess I felt a strange kind of fear, and once or
    twice I even thought I could discern something white through the
    darkness which surrounded me.  At length, by the help of reason, I
    succeeded in mastering these, what some would call idle fancies, and
    fell asleep.  I had slept about an hour when a strange sound awoke
    me, and I saw looking through my curtains a skeleton wrapped in a
    white sheet.  I was overcome with terror and tried to scream, but my
    tongue was paralysed and my whole frame shook with fear.  In a deep
    hollow voice it said to me, 'Arise, that I may show thee this world's
    wonders,' and in an instant I found myself encompassed with clouds
    and darkness.  But soon the roar of mighty waters fell upon my ear,
    and I saw some clouds of spray arising from high falls that rolled in
    awful majesty down tremendous precipices, and then foamed and
    thundered in the gulf beneath as if they had taken up their unquiet
    abode in some giant's cauldron.  But soon the scene changed, and I
    found myself in the mines of Cracone.  There were high pillars and
    stately arches, whose glittering splendour was never excelled by the
    brightest fairy palaces.  There were not many lamps, only those of a
    few poor miners, whose rough visages formed a striking contrast to
    the dazzling figures and grandeur which surrounded them.  But in the
    midst of all this magnificence I felt an indescribable sense of fear
    and terror, for the sea raged above us, and by the awful and
    tumultuous noises of roaring winds and dashing waves, it seemed as if
    the storm was violent.  And now the mossy pillars groaned beneath the
    pressure of the ocean, and the glittering arches seemed about to be
    overwhelmed.  When I heard the rushing waters and saw a mighty flood
    rolling towards me I gave a loud shriek of terror.  The scene
    vanished, and I found myself in a wide desert full of barren rocks
    and high mountains.  As I was approaching one of the rocks, in which
    there was a large cave, my foot stumbled and I fell.  Just then I
    heard a deep growl, and saw by the unearthly light of his own fiery
    eyes a royal lion rousing himself from his kingly slumbers.  His
    terrible eye was fixed upon me, and the desert rang and the rocks
    echoed with the tremendous roar of fierce delight which he uttered as
    he sprang towards me.  'Well, masther, it's been a windy night,
    though it's fine now,' said Dennis, as he drew the window-curtain and
    let the bright rays of the morning sun into the little old-fashioned
    room at the top of O'Callaghan Castle.

    C. BRONTE.
    _April the_ 28_th_, 1829.

Six numbers of _The Young Men's Magazine_ were written in 1829; a very
juvenile poem, _The Evening Walk_, by the Marquis of Douro, in 1830; and
another, of greater literary value, _The Violet_, in the same year.  In
1831 we have an unfinished poem, _The Trumpet Hath Sounded_; and in 1832
a very long poem called _The Bridal_.  Some of them, as for example a
poem called _Richard Coeur de Lion and Blondel_, are written in penny and
twopenny notebooks of the kind used by laundresses.  Occasionally her
father has purchased a sixpenny book and has written within the cover--

    _All that is written in this book must be in a good_, _plain_, _and
    legible hand_.--P. B.

While upon this topic, I may as well carry the record up to the date of
publication of Currer Bell's poems.  _A Leaf from an Unopened Volume_ was
written in 1834, as were also _The Death of Darius_, and _Corner Dishes_.
_Saul_: _a Poem_, was written in 1835, and a number of other still
unpublished verses.  There is a story called _Lord Douro_, bearing date
1837, and a manuscript book of verses of 1838, but that pretty well
exhausts the manuscripts before me previous to the days of serious
literary activity.  During the years as private governess (1839-1841) and
the Brussels experiences (1842-1844), Charlotte would seem to have put
all literary effort on one side.

There is only one letter of Charlotte Bronte's childhood.  It is indorsed
by Mr. Bronte on the cover _Charlotte's First Letter_, possibly for the
guidance of Mrs. Gaskell, who may perhaps have thought it of insufficient
importance.  That can scarcely be the opinion of any one to-day.
Charlotte, aged thirteen, is staying with the Fennells, her mother's
friends of those early love-letters.

                            TO THE REV. P. BRONTE

                                              'PARSONAGE HOUSE, CROSSTONE,
                                                 _September_ 23_rd_, 1829.

    'MY DEAR PAPA,--At Aunt's request I write these lines to inform you
    that "if all be well" we shall be at home on Friday by dinner-time,
    when we hope to find you in good health.  On account of the bad
    weather we have not been out much, but notwithstanding we have spent
    our time very pleasantly, between reading, working, and learning our
    lessons, which Uncle Fennell has been so kind as to teach us every
    day.  Branwell has taken two sketches from nature, and Emily, Anne,
    and myself have likewise each of us drawn a piece from some views of
    the lakes which Mr. Fennell brought with him from Westmoreland.  The
    whole of these he intends keeping.  Mr. Fennell is sorry he cannot
    accompany us to Haworth on Friday, for want of room, but hopes to
    have the pleasure of seeing you soon.  All unite in sending their
    kind love with your affectionate daughter,

                                                       'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.'

The following list includes the whole of the early Bronte Manuscripts
known to me, or of which I can find any record:--

                        UNPUBLISHED BRONTE LITERATURE.

                             BY CHARLOTTE BRONTE

_The Young Men's Magazines_.  In Six Numbers                          1829

[Only four out of these six numbers appear to have been preserved.]
_The Search after Happiness_: _A  Tale_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_       1829
_Two Romantic Tales_; _viz. The Twelve Adventures_, _and An           1829
 Adventure in Ireland_
_Characters of Great Men of the Present Age_, _Dec._ 17_th_           1829
_Tales of the Islanders_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_:--
   Vol. i.    dated _June_ 31, 1829
   Vol. ii.   dated _December_ 2, 1829
   Vol. iii.  dated _May_ 8, 1830
   Vol. iv.   dated _July_ 30, 1830

[Accompanying these volumes is a one-page document detailing 'The
 Origin of the _Islanders_.'  Dated _March_ 12, 1829.]
_The Evening Walk_: _A Poem_.  _By the Marquis Douro_                 1830
_A Translation into English Verse of the First Book of Voltaire's     1830
 Henriade_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_
_Albion and Marina_: _A Tale_.  _By Lord Wellesley_                   1830
_The Adventures of Ernest Alembert_: _A Fairy Tale_.  _By             1830
 Charlotte Bronte_
_The Violet: A Poem_.  _With several smaller Pieces_.  _By the        1830
 Marquess of Douro_.  _Published by Seargeant Tree_.  _Glasstown_,
 1830
_The Bridal_.  _By C. Bronte_                                         1832
_Arthuriana_; _or_, _Odds and Ends_: _Being a Miscellaneous           1833
 Collection of Pieces in Prose and Verse_.  _By Lord Charles A. F.
 Wellesley_
_Something about Arthur_.  _Written by Charles Albert Florian         1833
 Wellesley_
_The Vision_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_                                  1833
_The Secret and Lily Hart_: _Two Tales_.  _By Lord Charles            1833
 Wellesley_

[The first page of this book is given in facsimile in vol. i. of
 Mrs. Gaskell's _Life of Charlotte Bronte_.]
_Visits in Verdopolis_.  _By the Honourable Charles Albert Florian    1833
 Wellesley_.  _Two vols._
_The Green Dwarf_: _A Tale of the Perfect Tense_.  _By Lord Charles   1833
 Albert Florian Wellesley_.  _Charlotte Bronte_.
_The Foundling_: _A Tale of our own Times_.  _By Captain Tree_        1833
_Richard Coeur de Lion and Blondel_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_,          1833
 8vo, pp. 20.  Signed in full _Charlotte Bronte_, and dated
 _Haworth_, _near Bradford_, Dec. 27_th_, 1833
_My Angria and the Angrians_.  _By Lord Charles Albert Florian        1834
 Wellesley_
_A Leaf from an Unopened Volume_; _or_, _The Manuscript of an         1834
 Unfortunate Author_.  _Edited by Lord Charles Albert Florian
 Wellesley_
_Corner Dishes_: _Being a small Collection of_ . . . _Trifles in      1834
 Prose and Verse_.  _By Lord Charles Albert Florian Wellesley_
_The Spell_: _An Extravaganza_.  _By Lord Charles Albert Florian
 Wellesley_.  Signed _Charlotte Bronte_, _June_ 21_st_, 1834.
 The contents include: 1. Preface, half page; 2. _The Spell_, 26
 pages; 3. _High Life in Verdopolis_: _or The Difficulties
 of Annexing a Suitable Title to a Work Practically Illustrated in
 Six Chapters_.  _By Lord C. A. F. Wellesley_, _March_ 20, 1834, 22
 pages; 4. _The Scrap-Book_: _A Mingling of Many Things_.
 _Compiled by Lord C. A. F. Wellesley_.  _C. Bronte_, _March_
 17_th_, 1835, 31 pages.

 [This volume is in the British Museum.]
_Death of Darius Cadomanus_: _A Poem_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_.        1835
 Pp. 24.  Signed in full, and dated
_Saul and Memory_: _Two Poems_.  _By C. Bronte_.  Pp. 12              1835
_Passing Events_                                                      1836
'_We Wove a Web in Childhood_': A poem (pp. vi.), signed _C.          1835
 Bronte_, _Haworth_, _Dec'br_. 19_th_, 1835
_The Wounded Stag_, _and other Poems_.  _Signed C. Bronte_.           1836
 _Jan'y._ 19, 1836.  Pp. 20
_Lord Douro_: _A Story_.  _Signed C. Bronte_.  _July_ 21_st_, 1837    1837
_Poems_.  _By C. Bronte_.  Pp. 16                                     1838
_Lettre d'Invitation a un Ecclesiastique_.  Signed                    1842
 _Charlotte Bronte_.  _Le_ 21 _Juillet_, 1842.  Large 8vo, pp. 4.
 A French exercise written at Brussels
_John Henry_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_, Crown 8vo, pp. 36,      _circa_ 1852
 written in pencil
_Willie Ellin_.  _By Charlotte Bronte_.                _May and June_ 1853
 Crown 8vo, pp. 18

The following, included in Charlotte's 'Catalogue of my Books'
printed by Mrs. Gaskell, are not now forthcoming:

_Leisure Hours_: _A Tale_, _and two Fragments_          _July_ 6_th_, 1829
_The Adventures of Edward de Crak_: _A Tale_            _Feb._ 2_nd_, 1830
_An Interesting Incident in the Lives of some          _June_ 10_th_, 1830
 of the most eminent Persons of the Age_: _A Tale_
_The Poetaster_: _A Drama_.  _In two volumes_,         _July_ 12_th_, 1830
_A Book of Rhymes_, _finished_                     _December_ 17_th_, 1829
_Miscellaneous Poems_, _finished_                        _May_ 3_rd_, 1830

[These _Miscellaneous Poems_ are probably poems written upon
 separate sheets, and not forming a complete book--indeed, some
 half dozen such separate poems are still extant.  The last item
 given in Charlotte's list of these _Miscellaneous Poems_ is
 _The Evening Walk_, 1820; this is a separate book, and is included
 in the list above.]

                               BY EMILY BRONTE

A volume of_ Poems_, 8vo, pp. 29; signed (at the top of the first     1844
 page) _E. J. B_.  _Transcribed February_ 1814.  Each poem is
 headed with the date of its composition.  Of the poems
 included in this book four are still unprinted, the remainder
 were published in the _Poems_ of 1846.  The whole are written in
 microscopic characters
A volume of _Poems_, square 8vo, pp. 24.  Each poem is dated,    1837-1839
 and the first is signed _E. J. Bronte_, _August_ 19_th_, 1837.
 Written in an ordinary, and not a minute, handwriting.  All
 unpublished
A series of poems written in a minute hand upon both sides of    1833-1839
 fourteen or fifteen small slips of paper of various sizes.  All
 unpublished
_Lettre and Reponse_.  An exercise in French.  Large 8vo,             1842
 pp. 4.  Signed _E. J. Bronte_, and dated 16 _Juillet_
_L'Amour Filial_.  An exercise in French.  Small quarto, pp. 4.       1842
 Signed in full _Emily J. Bronte_, and dated 5 _Aout_

                               BY ANNE BRONTE.

_Verses by Lady Geralda_, and other poems.  A crown 8vo volume   1836-1837
 of 28 pages.  Each poem is signed (or initialled) and dated, the
 dates extending from 1836 to 1837.  The poems are all
 unpublished
_The North Wind_, and other poems.  A crown 8vo volume of 26     1838-1840
 pages.  Each poem is signed (or initialled) and dated, some
 having in addition to her own name the nom-de-guerre
 _Alexandrina Zenobia_ or _Olivia Vernon_.  The dates extend
 from 1838 to 1840.  The poems are all unpublished
_To Cowper_, and other poems.  8vo, pp. 22.  Of the nine         1842-1845
 poems contained in this volume three are signed _Anne Bronte_,
 four are signed _A. Bronte_, and two are initialled '_A. B._'
 All are dated.  Part of these Poems are unpublished, the
 remainder appeared in the _Poems_ of 1846
A thin 8vo volume of poems (mostly dated 1845), pp. 14,       _circa_ 1845
 each being signed _A. Bronte_, or simply '_A. B._'--some
 having in addition to, or instead of, her own name the
 nom-de-guerre _Zerona_.  A few of these poems are unprinted;
 the remainder are a portion of Anne's contribution to the
 _Poems_ of 1846
_Song_: '_Should Life's first feelings be forgot_' (one octavo        1845
 leaf)

[A fair copy (2 pp. 8vo) of a poem by Branwell Bronte, in the
 hand-writing of Anne Bronte.]
_The Power of Love_, and other poems.  Post octavo, pp. 26.      1845-1846
 Each poem is signed (or initialled) and dated
_Self Communion_, a Poem.  8vo, pp. 19.  Signed '_A. B_.' and         1848
 dated _April_ 17_th_, 1848

                             BY BRANWELL BRONTE.

_The Battle of Washington_.  By _P. B. Bronte_.  With full-page       1827
 coloured illustrations

[An exceedingly childish production, and the earliest of all the
 Bronte manuscripts.]
_History of the Rebellion in my Army_                                 1828
_The Travels of Rolando Segur_: _Comprising his Adventures            1829
 throughout the Voyage_, _and in America_, _Europe_, _the South
 Pole_, _etc._  _By Patrick Branwell Bronte_.  _In two
 volumes_
_A Collection of Poems_.  _By Young Soult the Rhymer_.                1829
 _Illustrated with Notes and Commentaries by Monsieur
 Chateaubriand_.  _In two volumes_
_The Liar Detected_.  _By Captain Bud_                                1830
_Caractacus_: _A Dramatic Poem_.  _By Young Soult_                    1830
_The Revenge_: _A Tragedy_, _in three Acts_.  _By Young Soult_.       1830
 _P. B. Bronte_.  _In two volumes_.  _Glasstown_

[Although the title page reads 'in two volumes,' the book is
 complete in one volume only.]
_The History of the Young Men_.  _By John Bud_                        1831
_Letters from an Englishman_.  _By Captain John Flower_.  _In    1830-1832
 six volumes_
_The Monthly Intelligencer_.  _No._ 1                     _March_ 27, 1833

[The only number produced of a projected manuscript newspaper,
 by Branwell Bronte.  The MS. consists of 4 pp. 4to, arranged
 in columns, precisely after the manner of an ordinary journal.]
_Real Life in Verdopolis_: _A Tale_.  _By Captain John Flower_,       1833
 _M.P._  _In two volumes_.  _P. B. Bronte_
_The Politics of Verdopolis_: _A Tale_.  _By Captain John Flower_.    1833
 _P. B. Bronte_
_The Pirate_: _A Tale_.  _By Captain John Flower_                     1833

[The most pretentious of Branwell's prose stories.]
_Thermopylae_: _A Poem_.  _By P. B. Bronte_.  8vo, pp. 14             1834
_And the Weary are at Rest_: _A Tale_.  _By P. B. Bronte_             1834
_The Wool is Rising_: _An Angrian Adventure_.  _By the Right          1834
 Honourable John Baron Flower_
_Ode to the Polar Star, and other Poems_.  _By P. B. Bronte_.         1834
 Quarto, pp. 24
_The Life of Field Marshal the Right Honourable Alexander             1835
 Percy_, _Earl of Northangerland_.  _In two volumes_.  _By John
 Bud_.  _P. B. Bronte_
_The Rising of the Angrians_: _A Tale_.  _By P. B. Bronte_            1836
_A Narrative of the First War_.  _By P. B. Bronte_                    1836
_The Angrian Welcome_: _A Tale_.  _By P. B. Bronte_                   1836
_Percy_: _A Story_.  _By P. B. Bronte_                                1837
A packet containing four small groups of _Poems_, of about six
 or eight pages each, mostly without titles, but all either
 signed or initialled, and dated from 1836 to 1838
_Love and Warfare_: _A Story_.  _By P. B. Bronte_                     1839
_Lord Nelson_, _and other Poems_.  _By P. B. Bronte_.  Written in     1844
 pencil.  Small 8vo, pp. 26

[This book contains a full-page pencil portrait of Branwell
 Bronte, drawn by himself, as well as four carefully finished heads.
 These give an excellent idea of the extent of Branwell's artistic
 skill.]




CHAPTER III: SCHOOL AND GOVERNESS LIFE


In seeking for fresh light upon the development of Charlotte Bronte, it
is not necessary to discuss further her childhood's years at Cowan
Bridge.  She left the school at nine years of age, and what memories of
it were carried into womanhood were, with more or less of picturesque
colouring, embodied in Jane Eyre. {74}  From 1825 to 1831 Charlotte was
at home with her sisters, reading and writing as we have seen, but
learning nothing very systematically.  In 1831-32 she was a boarder at
Miss Wooler's school at Roe Head, some twenty miles from Haworth.  Miss
Wooler lived to a green old age, dying in the year 1885.  She would seem
to have been very proud of her famous pupil, and could not have been
blind to her capacity in the earlier years.  Charlotte was with her as
governess at Roe Head, and later at Dewsbury Moor.  It is quite clear
that Miss Bronte was head of the school in all intellectual pursuits, and
she made two firm friends--Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor.  A very fair
measure of French and some skill in drawing appear to have been the most
striking accomplishments which Charlotte carried back from Roe Head to
Haworth.  There are some twenty drawings of about this date, and a
translation into English verse of the first book of Voltaire's
_Henriade_.  With Ellen Nussey commenced a friendship which terminated
only with the pencilled notes written from Charlotte Bronte's deathbed.
The first suggestion of a regular correspondence is contained in the
following letter.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 21_st_, 1832.

    'MY DEAREST ELLEN,--Your kind and interesting letter gave me the
    sincerest pleasure.  I have been expecting to hear from you almost
    every day since my arrival at home, and I at length began to despair
    of receiving the wished-for letter.  You ask me to give you a
    description of the manner in which I have passed every day since I
    left school.  This is soon done, as an account of one day is an
    account of all.  In the mornings, from nine o'clock to half-past
    twelve, I instruct my sisters and draw, then we walk till dinner;
    after dinner I sew till tea-time, and after tea I either read, write,
    do a little fancy-work, or draw, as I please.  Thus in one
    delightful, though somewhat monotonous course, my life is passed.  I
    have only been out to tea twice since I came home.  We are expecting
    company this afternoon, and on Tuesday next we shall have all the
    female teachers of the Sunday school to tea.  I do hope, my dearest
    Ellen, that you will return to school again for your own sake, though
    for mine I would rather that you would remain at home, as we shall
    then have more frequent opportunities of correspondence with each
    other.  Should your friends decide against your returning to school,
    I know you have too much good-sense and right feeling not to strive
    earnestly for your own improvement.  Your natural abilities are
    excellent, and under the direction of a judicious and able friend
    (and I know you have many such), you might acquire a decided taste
    for elegant literature, and even poetry, which, indeed, is included
    under that general term.  I was very much disappointed by your not
    sending the hair; you may be sure, my dearest Ellen, that I would not
    grudge double postage to obtain it, but I must offer the same excuse
    for not sending you any.  My aunt and sisters desire their love to
    you.  Remember me kindly to your mother and sisters, and accept all
    the fondest expressions of genuine attachment, from your real friend

                                                        'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.

    '_P.S._--Remember the mutual promise we made of a regular
    correspondence with each other.  Excuse all faults in this wretched
    scrawl.  Give my love to the Miss Taylors when you see them.
    Farewell, my _dear_, _dear_, _dear_ Ellen.'

Reading, writing, and as thorough a domestic training as the little
parsonage could afford, made up the next few years.  Then came the
determination to be a governess--a not unnatural resolution when the size
of the family and the modest stipend of its head are considered.  Far
more prosperous parents are content in our day that their daughters
should earn their living in this manner.  In 1835 Charlotte went back to
Roe Head as governess, and she continued in that position when Miss
Wooler removed her school to Dewsbury Moor in 1836.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                    'DEWSBURY MOOR, _August_ 24_th_, 1837.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I have determined to write lest you should begin to
    think I have forgotten you, and in revenge resolve to forget me.  As
    you will perceive by the date of this letter, I am again engaged in
    the old business--teach, teach, teach.  Miss and Mrs. Wooler are
    coming here next Christmas.  Miss Wooler will then relinquish the
    school in favour of her sister Eliza, but I am happy to say worthy
    Miss Wooler will continue to reside in the house.  I should be sorry
    indeed to part with her.  When will you come _home_?  Make haste, you
    have been at Bath long enough for all purposes.  By this time you
    have acquired polish enough, I am sure.  If the varnish is laid on
    much thicker, I am afraid the good wood underneath will be quite
    concealed, and your old Yorkshire friends won't stand that.  Come,
    come, I am getting really tired of your absence.  Saturday after
    Saturday comes round, and I can have no hope of hearing your knock at
    the door and then being told that "Miss E. N. is come."  Oh dear! in
    this monotonous life of mine that was a pleasant event.  I wish it
    would recur again, but it will take two or three interviews before
    the stiffness, the estrangement of this long separation will quite
    wear away.  I have nothing at all to tell you now but that Mary
    Taylor is better, and that she and Martha are gone to take a tour in
    Wales.  Patty came on her pony about a fortnight since to inform me
    that this important event was in contemplation.  She actually began
    to fret about your long absence, and to express the most eager wishes
    for your return.  My own dear Ellen, good-bye.  If we are all spared
    I hope soon to see you again.  God bless you.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Things were not always going on quite so smoothly, as the following
letter indicates.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                    'DEWSBURY MOOR, _January_ 4_th_, 1838.

    'Your letter, Ellen, was a welcome surprise, though it contained
    something like a reprimand.  I had not, however, forgotten our
    agreement.  You were right in your conjectures respecting the cause
    of my sudden departure.  Anne continued wretchedly ill, neither the
    pain nor the difficulty of breathing left her, and how could I feel
    otherwise than very miserable.  I looked on her case in a different
    light to what I could wish or expect any uninterested person to view
    it in.  Miss Wooler thought me a fool, and by way of proving her
    opinion treated me with marked coldness.  We came to a little
    eclaircissement one evening.  I told her one or two rather plain
    truths, which set her a-crying; and the next day, unknown to me, she
    wrote papa, telling him that I had reproached her bitterly, taken her
    severely to task, etc.  Papa sent for us the day after he had
    received her letter.  Meantime I had formed a firm resolution to quit
    Miss Wooler and her concerns for ever; but just before I went away,
    she took me to her room, and giving way to her feelings, which in
    general she restrains far too rigidly, gave me to understand that in
    spite of her cold, repulsive manners, she had a considerable regard
    for me, and would be very sorry to part with me.  If any body likes
    me, I cannot help liking them; and remembering that she had in
    general been very kind to me, I gave in and said I would come back if
    she wished me.  So we are settled again for the present, but I am not
    satisfied.  I should have respected her far more if she had turned me
    out of doors, instead of crying for two days and two nights together.
    I was in a regular passion; my "_warm_ temper" quite got the better
    of me, of which I don't boast, for it was a weakness; nor am I
    ashamed of it, for I had reason to be angry.

    'Anne is now much better, though she still requires a great deal of
    care.  However, I am relieved from my worst fears respecting her.  I
    approve highly of the plan you mention, except as it regards
    committing a verse of the Psalms to memory.  I do not see the direct
    advantage to be derived from that.  We have entered on a new year.
    Will it be stained as darkly as the last with all our sins, follies,
    secret vanities, and uncontrolled passions and propensities?  I trust
    not; but I feel in nothing better, neither humbler nor purer.  It
    will want three weeks next Monday to the termination of the holidays.
    Come to see me, my dear Ellen, as soon as you can; however bitterly I
    sometimes feel towards other people, the recollection of your mild,
    steady friendship consoles and softens me.  I am glad you are not
    such a passionate fool as myself.  Give my best love to your mother
    and sisters.  Excuse the most hideous scrawl that ever was penned,
    and--Believe me always tenderly yours,

    'C. BRONTE.'

Dewsbury Moor, however, did not agree with Charlotte.  That was probably
the core of the matter.  She returned to Haworth, but only to look around
for another 'situation.'  This time she accepted the position of private
governess in the family of a Mr. Sidgwick, at Stonegappe, in the same
county.  Her letters from his house require no comment.  A sentence from
the first was quoted by Mrs. Gaskell.

                           TO MISS EMILY J. BRONTE

                                          'STONEGAPPE, _June_ 8_th_, 1839.

    'DEAREST LAVINIA,--I am most exceedingly obliged to you for the
    trouble you have taken in seeking up my things and sending them all
    right.  The box and its contents were most acceptable.  I only wish I
    had asked you to send me some letter-paper.  This is my last sheet
    but two.  When you can send the other articles of raiment now
    manufacturing, I shall be right down glad of them.

    'I have striven hard to be pleased with my new situation.  The
    country, the house, and the grounds are, as I have said, divine.
    But, alack-a-day! there is such a thing as seeing all beautiful
    around you--pleasant woods, winding white paths, green lawns, and
    blue sunshiny sky--and not having a free moment or a free thought
    left to enjoy them in.  The children are constantly with me, and more
    riotous, perverse, unmanageable cubs never grew.  As for correcting
    them, I soon quickly found that was entirely out of the question:
    they are to do as they like.  A complaint to Mrs. Sidgwick brings
    only black looks upon oneself, and unjust, partial excuses to screen
    the children.  I have tried that plan once.  It succeeded so notably
    that I shall try it no more.  I said in my last letter that Mrs.
    Sidgwick did not know me.  I now begin to find that she does not
    intend to know me, that she cares nothing in the world about me
    except to contrive how the greatest possible quantity of labour may
    be squeezed out of me, and to that end she overwhelms me with oceans
    of needlework, yards of cambric to hem, muslin night-caps to make,
    and, above all things, dolls to dress.  I do not think she likes me
    at all, because I can't help being shy in such an entirely novel
    scene, surrounded as I have hitherto been by strange and constantly
    changing faces.  I see now more clearly than I have ever done before
    that a private governess has no existence, is not considered as a
    living and rational being except as connected with the wearisome
    duties she has to fulfil.  While she is teaching the children,
    working for them, amusing them, it is all right.  If she steals a
    moment for herself she is a nuisance.  Nevertheless, Mrs. Sidgwick is
    universally considered an amiable woman.  Her manners are fussily
    affable.  She talks a great deal, but as it seems to me not much to
    the purpose.  Perhaps I may like her better after a while.  At
    present I have no call to her.  Mr. Sidgwick is in my opinion a
    hundred times better--less profession, less bustling condescension,
    but a far kinder heart.  It is very seldom that he speaks to me, but
    when he does I always feel happier and more settled for some minutes
    after.  He never asks me to wipe the children's smutty noses or tie
    their shoes or fetch their pinafores or set them a chair.  One of the
    pleasantest afternoons I have spent here--indeed, the only one at all
    pleasant--was when Mr. Sidgwick walked out with his children, and I
    had orders to follow a little behind.  As he strolled on through his
    fields with his magnificent Newfoundland dog at his side, he looked
    very like what a frank, wealthy, Conservative gentleman ought to be.
    He spoke freely and unaffectedly to the people he met, and though he
    indulged his children and allowed them to tease himself far too much,
    he would not suffer them grossly to insult others.

    'I am getting quite to have a regard for the Carter family.  At home
    I should not care for them, but here they are friends.  Mr. Carter
    was at Mirfield yesterday and saw Anne.  He says she was looking
    uncommonly well.  Poor girl, _she_ must indeed wish to be at home.
    As to Mrs. Collins' report that Mrs. Sidgwick intended to keep me
    permanently, I do not think that such was ever her design.  Moreover,
    I would not stay without some alterations.  For instance, this burden
    of sewing would have to be removed.  It is too bad for anything.  I
    never in my whole life had my time so fully taken up.  Next week we
    are going to Swarcliffe, Mr. Greenwood's place near Harrogate, to
    stay three weeks or a month.  After that time I hope Miss Hoby will
    return.  Don't show this letter to papa or aunt, only to Branwell.
    They will think I am never satisfied wherever I am.  I complain to
    you because it is a relief, and really I have had some unexpected
    mortifications to put up with.  However, things may mend, but Mrs.
    Sidgwick expects me to do things that I cannot do--to love her
    children and be entirely devoted to them.  I am really very well.  I
    am so sleepy that I can write no more.  I must leave off.  Love to
    all.--Good-bye.

    'Direct your next dispatch--J. Greenwood, Esq., Swarcliffe, near
    Harrogate.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'SWARCLIFFE, _June_ 15_th_, 1839.

    'MY DEAREST ELLEN,--I am writing a letter to you with pencil because
    I cannot just now procure ink without going into the drawing-room,
    where I do not wish to go.  I only received your letter yesterday,
    for we are not now residing at Stonegappe but at Swarcliffe, a summer
    residence of Mr. Greenwood's, Mrs. Sidgwick's father; it is near
    Harrogate and Ripon.  I should have written to you long since, and
    told you every detail of the utterly new scene into which I have
    lately been cast, had I not been daily expecting a letter from
    yourself, and wondering and lamenting that you did not write, for you
    will remember it was your turn.  I must not bother you too much with
    my sorrows, of which, I fear, you have heard an exaggerated account.
    If you were near me, perhaps I might be tempted to tell you all, to
    grow egotistical, and pour out the long history of a private
    governess's trials and crosses in her first situation.  As it is, I
    will only ask you to imagine the miseries of a reserved wretch like
    me thrown at once into the midst of a large family, proud as peacocks
    and wealthy as Jews, at a time when they were particularly gay, when
    the house was filled with company--all strangers: people whose faces
    I had never seen before.  In this state I had a charge given of a set
    of horrid children, whom I was expected constantly to amuse, as well
    as instruct.  I soon found that the constant demand on my stock of
    animal spirits reduced them to the lowest state of exhaustion; at
    times I felt--and, I suppose seemed--depressed.  To my astonishment,
    I was taken to task on the subject by Mrs. Sidgwick, with a sternness
    of manner and a harshness of language scarcely credible.  Like a
    fool, I cried most bitterly.  I could not help it; my spirits quite
    failed me at first.  I thought I had done my best, strained every
    nerve to please her; and to be treated in that way, merely because I
    was shy and sometimes melancholy, was too bad.  At first I was for
    giving all up and going home.  But after a little reflection, I
    determined to summon what energy I had, and to weather the storm.  I
    said to myself, "I had never yet quitted a place without gaining a
    friend; adversity is a good school; the poor are born to labour, and
    the dependent to endure."  I resolved to be patient, to command my
    feelings, and to take what came; the ordeal, I reflected, would not
    last many weeks, and I trusted it would do me good.  I recollected
    the fable of the willow and the oak; I bent quietly, and now I trust
    the storm is blowing over.  Mrs. Sidgwick is generally considered an
    agreeable woman; so she is, I doubt not, in general society.  Her
    health is sound, her animal spirits good, consequently she is
    cheerful in company.  But oh! does this compensate for the absence of
    every fine feeling, of every gentle and delicate sentiment?  She
    behaves somewhat more civilly to me now than she did at first, and
    the children are a little more manageable; but she does not know my
    character, and she does not wish to know it.  I have never had five
    minutes conversation with her since I came, except when she was
    scolding me.  I have no wish to be pitied, except by yourself.  If I
    were talking to you I could tell you much more.  Good-bye, dear, dear
    Ellen.  Write to me again very soon, and tell me how you are.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 26_th_, 1839.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I left Swarcliffe a week since.  I never was so glad to
    get out of a house in my life; but I'll trouble you with no
    complaints at present.  Write to me directly; explain your plans more
    fully.  Say when you go, and I shall be able in my answer to say
    decidedly whether I can accompany you or not.  I must, I will, I'm
    set upon it--I'll be obstinate and bear down all
    opposition.--Good-bye, yours faithfully,

    'C. BRONTE.'

That experience with the Sidgwicks rankled for many a day, and we find
Charlotte Bronte referring to it in her letters from Brussels.  At the
same time it is not necessary to assume any very serious inhumanity on
the part of the Sidgwicks or their successors the Whites, to whom
Charlotte was indebted for her second term as private governess.  Hers
was hardly a temperament adapted for that docile part, and one thinks of
the author of _Villette_, and the possessor of one of the most vigorous
prose styles in our language, condemned to a perpetual manufacture of
night-caps, with something like a shudder.  And at the same time it may
be urged that Charlotte Bronte did not suffer in vain, and that through
her the calling of a nursery governess may have received some added
measure of dignity and consideration on the part of sister-women.

A month or two later we find Charlotte dealing with the subject in a
letter to Ellen Nussey.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 24_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--You could never live in an unruly, violent family of
    modern children, such for instance as those at Blake Hall.  Anne is
    not to return.  Mrs. Ingham is a placid, mild woman; but as for the
    children, it was one struggle of life-wearing exertion to keep them
    in anything like decent order.  I am miserable when I allow myself to
    dwell on the necessity of spending my life as a governess.  The chief
    requisite for that station seems to me to be the power of taking
    things easily as they come, and of making oneself comfortable and at
    home wherever we may chance to be--qualities in which all our family
    are singularly deficient.  I know I cannot live with a person like
    Mrs. Sidgwick, but I hope all women are not like her, and my motto is
    "try again."  Mary Taylor, I am sorry to hear, is ill--have you seen
    her or heard anything of her lately?  Sickness seems very general,
    and death too, at least in this neighbourhood.--Ever yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

She 'tried again' but with just as little success.  In March 1841 she
entered the family of a Mr. White of Upperwood House, Rawdon.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                    'UPPERWOOD HOUSE, _April_ 1_st_, 1841.

    'MY DEAR NELL,--It is twelve o'clock at night, but I must just write
    to you a word before I go to bed.  If you think I am going to refuse
    your invitation, or if you sent it me with that idea, you're
    mistaken.  As soon as I read your shabby little note, I gathered up
    my spirits directly, walked on the impulse of the moment into Mrs.
    White's presence, popped the question, and for two minutes received
    no answer.  Will she refuse me when I work so hard for her? thought
    I.  "Ye-e-es" was said in a reluctant, cold tone.  "Thank you, m'am,"
    said I, with extreme cordiality, and was marching from the room when
    she recalled me with: "You'd better go on Saturday afternoon then,
    when the children have holiday, and if you return in time for them to
    have all their lessons on Monday morning, I don't see that much will
    be lost."  You _are_ a genuine Turk, thought I, but again I assented.
    Saturday after next, then, is the day appointed--_not next Saturday_,
    _mind_.  I do not quite know whether the offer about the gig is not
    entirely out of your own head or if George has given his consent to
    it--whether that consent has not been wrung from him by the most
    persevering and irresistible teasing on the part of a certain young
    person of my acquaintance.  I make no manner of doubt that if he does
    send the conveyance (as Miss Wooler used to denominate all wheeled
    vehicles) it will be to his own extreme detriment and inconvenience,
    but for once in my life I'll not mind this, or bother my head about
    it.  I'll come--God knows with a thankful and joyful heart--glad of a
    day's reprieve from labour.  If you don't send the gig I'll walk.
    Now mind, I am not coming to Brookroyd with the idea of dissuading
    Mary Taylor from going to New Zealand.  I've said everything I mean
    to say on that subject, and she has a perfect right to decide for
    herself.  I am coming to taste the pleasure of liberty, a bit of
    pleasant congenial talk, and a sight of two or three faces I like.
    God bless you.  I want to see you again.  Huzza for Saturday
    afternoon after next!  Good-night, my lass.

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Have you lit your pipe with Mr. Weightman's valentine?'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                      'UPPERWOOD HOUSE, _May_ 4_th_, 1841.

    'DEAR NELL,--I have been a long time without writing to you; but I
    think, knowing as you do how I am situated in the matter of time, you
    will not be angry with me.  Your brother George will have told you
    that he did not go into the house when we arrived at Rawdon, for
    which omission of his Mrs. White was very near blowing me up.  She
    went quite red in the face with vexation when she heard that the
    gentleman had just driven within the gates and then back again, for
    she is very touchy in the matter of opinion.  Mr. White also seemed
    to regret the circumstance from more hospitable and kindly motives.
    I assure you, if you were to come and see me you would have quite a
    fuss made over you.  During the last three weeks that hideous
    operation called "a thorough clean" has been going on in the house.
    It is now nearly completed, for which I thank my stars, as during its
    progress I have fulfilled the twofold character of nurse and
    governess, while the nurse has been transmuted into cook and
    housemaid.  That nurse, by-the-bye, is the prettiest lass you ever
    saw, and when dressed has much more the air of a lady than her
    mistress.  Well can I believe that Mrs. White has been an exciseman's
    daughter, and I am convinced also that Mr. White's extraction is very
    low.  Yet Mrs. White talks in an amusing strain of pomposity about
    his and her family and connections, and affects to look down with
    wondrous hauteur on the whole race of tradesfolk, as she terms men of
    business.  I was beginning to think Mrs. White a good sort of body in
    spite of all her bouncing and boasting, her bad grammar and worse
    orthography, but I have had experience of one little trait in her
    character which condemns her a long way with me.  After treating a
    person in the most familiar terms of equality for a long time, if any
    little thing goes wrong she does not scruple to give way to anger in
    a very coarse, unladylike manner.  I think passion is the true test
    of vulgarity or refinement.

    'This place looks exquisitely beautiful just now.  The grounds are
    certainly lovely, and all is as green as an emerald.  I wish you
    would just come and look at it.  Mrs. White would be as proud as
    Punch to show it you.  Mr. White has been writing an urgent
    invitation to papa, entreating him to come and spend a week here.  I
    don't at all wish papa to come, it would be like incurring an
    obligation.  Somehow, I have managed to get a good deal more control
    over the children lately--this makes my life a good deal easier;
    also, by dint of nursing the fat baby, it has got to know me and be
    fond of me.  I suspect myself of growing rather fond of it.  Exertion
    of any kind is always beneficial.  Come and see me if you can in any
    way get, I _want_ to see you.  It seems Martha Taylor is fairly gone.
    Good-bye, my lassie.--Yours insufferably,

    'C. BRONTE.'

                    TO REV. HENRY NUSSEY, EARNLEY RECTORY

                                                 'UPPERWOOD HOUSE, RAWDON,
                                                       '_May_ 9_th_, 1841.

    'DEAR SIR,--I am about to employ part of a Sunday evening in
    answering your last letter.  You will perhaps think this hardly
    right, and yet I do not feel that I am doing wrong.  Sunday evening
    is almost my only time of leisure.  No one would blame me if I were
    to spend this spare hour in a pleasant chat with a friend--is it
    worse to spend it in a friendly letter?

    'I have just seen my little noisy charges deposited snugly in their
    cribs, and I am sitting alone in the school-room with the quiet of a
    Sunday evening pervading the grounds and gardens outside my window.
    I owe you a letter--can I choose a better time than the present for
    paying my debt?  Now, Mr. Nussey, you need not expect any gossip or
    news, I have none to tell you--even if I had I am not at present in
    the mood to communicate them.  You will excuse an unconnected letter.
    If I had thought you critical or captious I would have declined the
    task of corresponding with you.  When I reflect, indeed, it seems
    strange that I should sit down to write without a feeling of
    formality and restraint to an individual with whom I am personally so
    little acquainted as I am with yourself; but the fact is, I cannot be
    formal in a letter--if I write at all I must write as I think.  It
    seems Ellen has told you that I am become a governess again.  As you
    say, it is indeed a hard thing for flesh and blood to leave home,
    especially a _good_ home--not a wealthy or splendid one.  My home is
    humble and unattractive to strangers, but to me it contains what I
    shall find nowhere else in the world--the profound, the intense
    affection which brothers and sisters feel for each other when their
    minds are cast in the same mould, their ideas drawn from the same
    source--when they have clung to each other from childhood, and when
    disputes have never sprung up to divide them.

    'We are all separated now, and winning our bread amongst strangers as
    we can--my sister Anne is near York, my brother in a situation near
    Halifax, I am here.  Emily is the only one left at home, where her
    usefulness and willingness make her indispensable.  Under these
    circumstances should we repine?  I think not--our mutual affection
    ought to comfort us under all difficulties.  If the God on whom we
    must all depend will but vouchsafe us health and the power to
    continue in the strict line of duty, so as never under any temptation
    to swerve from it an inch, we shall have ample reason to be grateful
    and contented.

    'I do not pretend to say that I am always contented.  A governess
    must often submit to have the heartache.  My employers, Mr. and Mrs.
    White, are kind worthy people in their way, but the children are
    indulged.  I have great difficulties to contend with sometimes.
    Perseverance will perhaps conquer them.  And it has gratified me much
    to find that the parents are well satisfied with their children's
    improvement in learning since I came.  But I am dwelling too much
    upon my own concerns and feelings.  It is true they are interesting
    to me, but it is wholly impossible they should be so to you, and,
    therefore, I hope you will skip the last page, for I repent having
    written it.

    'A fortnight since I had a letter from Ellen urging me to go to
    Brookroyd for a single day.  I felt such a longing to have a respite
    from labour, and to get once more amongst "old familiar faces," that
    I conquered diffidence and asked Mrs. White to let me go.  She
    complied, and I went accordingly, and had a most delightful holiday.
    I saw your mother, your sisters Mercy, Ellen, and poor Sarah, and
    your brothers Richard and George--all were well.  Ellen talked of
    endeavouring to get a situation somewhere.  I did not encourage the
    idea much.  I advised her rather to go to Earnley for a while.  I
    think she wants a change, and I dare say you would be glad to have
    her as a companion for a few months.--I remain, yours respectfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The above letter was written to Miss Nussey's brother, whose attachment
to Charlotte Bronte has already more than once been mentioned in the
current biographies.  The following letter to Miss Nussey is peculiarly
interesting because of the reference to Ireland.  It would have been
strange if Charlotte Bronte had returned as a governess to her father's
native land.  Speculation thereon is sufficiently foolish, and yet one is
tempted to ask if Ireland might not have gained some of that local
literary colour--one of its greatest needs--which always makes Scotland
dear to the readers of _Waverley_, and Yorkshire classic ground to the
admirers of _Shirley_.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                    'UPPERWOOD HOUSE, _June_ 10_th_, 1841.

    'DEAR NELL,--If I don't scrawl you a line of some sort I know you
    will begin to fancy that I neglect you, in spite of all I said last
    time we met.  You can hardly fancy it possible, I dare say, that I
    cannot find a quarter of an hour to scribble a note in; but when a
    note is written it is to be carried a mile to the post, and consumes
    nearly an hour, which is a large portion of the day.  Mr. and Mrs.
    White have been gone a week.  I heard from them this morning; they
    are now at Hexham.  No time is fixed for their return, but I hope it
    will not be delayed long, or I shall miss the chance of seeing Anne
    this vacation.  She came home, I understand, last Wednesday, and is
    only to be allowed three weeks' holidays, because the family she is
    with are going to Scarborough.  I should like to see her to judge for
    myself of the state of her health.  I cannot trust any other person's
    report, no one seems minute enough in their observations.  I should
    also very much have liked you to see her.

    'I have got on very well with the servants and children so far, yet
    it is dreary, solitary work.  You can tell as well as me the lonely
    feeling of being without a companion.  I offered the Irish concern to
    Mary Taylor, but she is so circumstanced that she cannot accept it.
    Her brothers have a feeling of pride that revolts at the thought of
    their sister "going out."  I hardly knew that it was such a
    degradation till lately.

    'Your visit did me much good.  I wish Mary Taylor would come, and yet
    I hardly know how to find time to be with her.  Good-bye.  God bless
    you.

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'I am very well, and I continue to get to bed before twelve o'clock
    P.M.  I don't tell people that I am dissatisfied with my situation.
    I can drive on; there is no use in complaining.  I have lost my
    chance of going to Ireland.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                             'HAWORTH, _July_ 1_st_, 1841.

    'DEAR NELL,--I was not at home when I got your letter, but I am at
    home now, and it feels like paradise.  I came last night.  When I
    asked for a vacation, Mrs. White offered me a week or ten days, but I
    demanded three weeks, and stood to my tackle with a tenacity worthy
    of yourself, lassie.  I gained the point, but I don't like such
    victories.  I have gained another point.  You are unanimously
    requested to come here next Tuesday and stay as long as you can.
    Aunt is in high good-humour.  I need not write a long
    letter.--Good-bye, dear Nell.

                                                                    'C. B.

    '_P.S._--I have lost the chance of seeing Anne.  She is gone back to
    "The land of Egypt and the house of bondage."  Also, little black Tom
    is dead.  Every cup, however sweet, has its drop of bitterness in it.
    Probably you will be at a loss to ascertain the identity of black
    Tom, but don't fret about it, I'll tell you when you come.  Keeper is
    as well, big, and grim as ever.  I'm too happy to write.  Come, come,
    lassie.'

It must have been during this holiday that the resolution concerning a
school of their own assumed definite shape.  Miss Wooler talked of giving
up Dewsbury Moor--should Charlotte and Emily take it?  Charlotte's
recollections of her illness there settled the question in the negative,
and Brussels was coming to the front.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                 'UPPERWOOD HOUSE, _October_ 17_th_, 1841.

    'DEAR NELL,--It is a cruel thing of you to be always upbraiding me
    when I am a trifle remiss or so in writing a letter.  I see I can't
    make you comprehend that I have not quite as much time on my hands as
    Miss Harris or Mrs. Mills.  I never neglect you on purpose.  I could
    not _do_ it, you little teazing, faithless wretch.

    'The humour I am in is worse than words can describe.  I have had a
    hideous dinner of some abominable spiced-up indescribable mess and it
    has exasperated me against the world at large.  So you are coming
    home, are you?  Then don't expect me to write a long letter.  I am
    not going to Dewsbury Moor, as far as I can see at present.  It was a
    decent friendly proposal on Miss Wooler's part, and cancels all or
    most of her little foibles, in my estimation; but Dewsbury Moor is a
    poisoned place to me; besides, I burn to go somewhere else.  I think,
    Nell, I see a chance of getting to Brussels.  Mary Taylor advises me
    to this step.  My own mind and feelings urge me.  I can't write a
    word more.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                           TO MISS EMILY J. BRONTE

                                                 'UPPERWOOD HOUSE, RAWDON,
                                                      '_Nov_. 7_th_, 1841.

    'DEAR E. J.,--You are not to suppose that this note is written with a
    view of communicating any information on the subject we both have
    considerably at heart: I have written letters but I have received no
    letters in reply yet.  Belgium is a long way off, and people are
    everywhere hard to spur up to the proper speed.  Mary Taylor says we
    can scarcely expect to get off before January.  I have wished and
    intended to write to both Anne and Branwell, but really I have not
    had time.

    'Mr. Jenkins I find was mistakenly termed the British Consul at
    Brussels; he is in fact the English Episcopal clergyman.

    'I think perhaps we shall find that the best plan will be for papa to
    write a letter to him by and bye, but not yet.  I will give an
    intimation when this should be done, and also some idea of what had
    best be said.  Grieve not over Dewsbury Moor.  You were cut out there
    to all intents and purposes, so in fact was Anne, Miss Wooler would
    hear of neither for the first half year.

    'Anne seems omitted in the present plan, but if all goes right I
    trust she will derive her full share of benefit from it in the end.
    I exhort all to hope.  I believe in my heart this is acting for the
    best, my only fear is lest others should doubt and be dismayed.
    Before our half year in Brussels is completed, you and I will have to
    seek employment abroad.  It is not my intention to retrace my steps
    home till twelve months, if all continues well and we and those at
    home retain good health.

    'I shall probably take my leave of Upperwood about the 15th or 17th
    of December.  When does Anne talk of returning?  How is she?  What
    does W. W. {92} say to these matters?  How are papa and aunt, do they
    flag?  How will Anne get on with Martha?  Has W. W. been seen or
    heard of lately?  Love to all.  Write quickly.--Good-bye.

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'I am well.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'RAWDON, _December_ 10_th_, 1841.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I hear from Mary Taylor that you are come home, and
    also that you have been ill.  If you are able to write comfortably,
    let me know the feelings that preceded your illness, and also its
    effects.  I wish to see you.  Mary Taylor reports that your looks are
    much as usual.  I expect to get back to Haworth in the course of a
    fortnight or three weeks.  I hope I shall then see you.  I would
    rather you came to Haworth than I went to Brookroyd.  My plans
    advance slowly and I am not yet certain where I shall go, or what I
    shall do when I leave Upperwood House.  Brussels is still my promised
    land, but there is still the wilderness of time and space to cross
    before I reach it.  I am not likely, I think, to go to the Chateau de
    Kockleberg.  I have heard of a less expensive establishment.  So far
    I had written when I received your letter.  I was glad to get it.
    Why don't you mention your illness.  I had intended to have got this
    note off two or three days past, but I am more straitened for time
    than ever just now.  We have gone to bed at twelve or one o'clock
    during the last three nights.  I must get this scrawl off to-day or
    you will think me negligent.  The new governess, that is to be, has
    been to see my plans, etc.  My dear Ellen, Good-bye.--Believe me, in
    heart and soul, your sincere friend,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_December_ 17_th_, 1841.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I am yet uncertain when I shall leave Upperwood, but
    of one thing I am very certain, when I do leave I must go straight
    home.  It is absolutely necessary that some definite arrangement
    should be commenced for our future plans before I go visiting
    anywhere.  That I wish to see you I know, that I intend and _hope_ to
    see you before long I also know, that you will at the first impulse
    accuse me of neglect, I fear, that upon consideration you will acquit
    me, I devoutly trust.  Dear Ellen, come to Haworth if you can, if you
    cannot I will endeavour to come for a day at least to Brookroyd, but
    do not depend on this--come to Haworth.  I thank you for Mr. Jenkins'
    address.  You always think of other people's convenience, however ill
    and affected you are yourself.  How very much I wish to see you, you
    do not know; but if I were to go to Brookroyd now, it would deeply
    disappoint those at home.  I have some hopes of seeing Branwell at
    Xmas, and when I shall be able to see him afterwards I cannot tell.
    He has never been at home for the last five months.--Good-night, dear
    Ellen,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS MERCY NUSSEY

                                               'RAWDON, _December_ 17_th_.

    'MY DEAR MISS MERCY,--Though I am very much engaged I must find time
    to thank you for the kind and polite contents of your note.  I should
    act in the manner most consonant with my own feelings if I at once,
    and without qualification, accepted your invitation.  I do not
    however consider it advisable to indulge myself so far at present.
    When I leave Upperwood I must go straight home.  Whether I shall
    afterwards have time to pay a short visit to Brookroyd I do not yet
    know--circumstances must determine that.  I would fain see Ellen at
    Haworth instead; our visitations are not shared with any show of
    justice.  It shocked me very much to hear of her illness--may it be
    the first and last time she ever experiences such an attack!  Ellen,
    I fear, has thought I neglected her, in not writing sufficiently long
    or frequent letters.  It is a painful idea to me that she has had
    this feeling--it could not be more groundless.  I know her value, and
    I would not lose her affection for any probable compensation I can
    imagine.  Remember me to your mother.  I trust she will soon regain
    her health.--Believe me, my dear Miss Mercy, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 10_th_, 1842.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--Will you write as soon as you get this and fix your
    own day for coming to Haworth?  I got home on Christmas Eve.  The
    parting scene between me and my late employers was such as to efface
    the memory of much that annoyed me while I was there, but indeed,
    during the whole of the last six months they only made too much of
    me.  Anne has rendered herself so valuable in her difficult situation
    that they have entreated her to return to them, if it be but for a
    short time.  I almost think she will go back, if we can get a good
    servant who will do all our work.  We want one about forty or fifty
    years old, good-tempered, clean, and honest.  You shall hear all
    about Brussels, etc., when you come.  Mr. Weightman is still here,
    just the same as ever.  I have a curiosity to see a meeting between
    you and him.  He will be again desperately in love, I am convinced.
    _Come_.

                                                              'C. B.' {95}




CHAPTER IV: THE PENSIONNAT HEGER, BRUSSELS


Had not the impulse come to Charlotte Bronte to add somewhat to her
scholastic accomplishments by a sojourn in Brussels, our literature would
have lost that powerful novel _Villette_, and the singularly charming
_Professor_.  The impulse came from the persuasion that without
'languages' the school project was an entirely hopeless one.  Mary and
Martha Taylor were at Brussels, staying with friends, and thence they had
sent kindly presents to Charlotte, at this time raging under the yoke of
governess at Upperwood House.  Charlotte wrote the diplomatic letter to
her aunt which ended so satisfactorily. {96}  The good lady--Miss
Branwell was then about sixty years of age--behaved handsomely by her
nieces, and it was agreed that Charlotte and Emily were to go to the
Continent, Anne retaining her post of governess with Mrs. Robinson at
Thorp Green.  But Brussels schools did not seem at the first blush to be
very satisfactory.  Something better promised at Lille.

Here is a letter written at this period of hesitation and doubt.  A
portion of it only was printed by Mrs. Gaskell.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 20_th_, 1842.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I cannot quite enter into your friends' reasons for not
    permitting you to come to Haworth; but as it is at present, and in
    all human probability will be for an indefinite time to come,
    impossible for me to get to Brookroyd, the balance of accounts is not
    so unequal as it might otherwise be.  We expect to leave England in
    less than three weeks, but we are not yet certain of the day, as it
    will depend upon the convenience of a French lady now in London,
    Madame Marzials, under whose escort we are to sail.  Our place of
    destination is changed.  Papa received an unfavourable account from
    Mr. or rather Mrs. Jenkins of the French schools in Brussels, and on
    further inquiry, an Institution in Lille, in the North of France, was
    recommended by Baptist Noel and other clergymen, and to that place it
    is decided that we are to go.  The terms are fifty pounds for each
    pupil for board and French alone.

    'I considered it kind in aunt to consent to an extra sum for a
    separate room.  We shall find it a great privilege in many ways.  I
    regret the change from Brussels to Lille on many accounts, chiefly
    that I shall not see Martha Taylor.  Mary has been indefatigably kind
    in providing me with information.  She has grudged no labour, and
    scarcely any expense, to that end.  Mary's price is above rubies.  I
    have, in fact, two friends--you and her--staunch and true, in whose
    faith and sincerity I have as strong a belief as I have in the Bible.
    I have bothered you both, you especially; but you always get the
    tongs and heap coals of fire upon my head.  I have had letters to
    write lately to Brussels, to Lille, and to London.  I have lots of
    chemises, night-gowns, pocket-handkerchiefs, and pockets to make,
    besides clothes to repair.  I have been, every week since I came
    home, expecting to see Branwell, and he has never been able to get
    over yet.  We fully expect him, however, next Saturday.  Under these
    circumstances how can I go visiting?  You tantalise me to death with
    talking of conversations by the fireside.  Depend upon it, we are not
    to have any such for many a long month to come.  I get an interesting
    impression of old age upon my face, and when you see me next I shall
    certainly wear caps and spectacles.--Yours affectionately,

                                                                   'C. B.'

This Mr. Jenkins was chaplain to the British Embassy at Brussels, and not
Consul, as Charlotte at first supposed.  The brother of his wife was a
clergyman living in the neighbourhood of Haworth.  Mr. Jenkins, whose
English Episcopal chapel Charlotte attended during her stay in Brussels,
finally recommended the Pensionnat Heger in the Rue d'Isabelle.  Madame
Heger wrote, accepting the two girls as pupils, and to Brussels their
father escorted them in February 1842, staying one night at the house of
Mr. Jenkins and then returning to Haworth.

The life of Charlotte Bronte at Brussels has been mirrored for us with
absolute accuracy in _Villette_ and _The Professor_.  That, indeed, from
the point of view of local colour, is made sufficiently plain to the
casual visitor of to-day who calls in the Rue d'Isabelle.  The house, it
is true, is dismantled with a view to its incorporation into some city
buildings in the background, but one may still eat pears from the 'old
and huge fruit-trees' which flourished when Charlotte and Emily walked
under them half a century ago; one may still wander through the
school-rooms, the long dormitories, and into the 'vine-draped
_berceau_'--little enough is changed within and without.  Here is the
dormitory with its twenty beds, the two end ones being occupied by Emily
and Charlotte, they alone securing the privilege of age or English
eccentricity to curtain off their beds from the gaze of the eighteen
girls who shared the room with them.  The crucifix, indeed, has been
removed from the niche in the _Oratoire_ where the children offered up
prayer every morning; but with a copy of _Villette_ in hand it is
possible to restore every feature of the place, not excluding the
adjoining Athenee with its small window overlooking the garden of the
Pensionnat and the _allee defendu_.  It was from this window that Mr.
Crimsworth of _The Professor_ looked down upon the girls at play.  It was
here, indeed, at the Royal Athenee, that M. Heger was Professor of Latin.
Externally, then, the Pensionnat Heger remains practically the same as it
appeared to Charlotte and Emily Bronte in February 1842, when they made
their first appearance in Brussels.  The Rue Fossette of _Villette_, the
Rue d'Isabelle of _The Professor_, is the veritable Rue d'Isabelle of
Currer Bell's experience.

What, however, shall we say of the people who wandered through these
rooms and gardens--the hundred or more children, the three or four
governesses, the professor and his wife?  Here there has been much
speculation and not a little misreading of the actual facts.  Charlotte
and Emily went to Brussels to learn.  They did learn with energy.  It was
their first experience of foreign travel, and it came too late in life
for them to enter into it with that breadth of mind and tolerance of the
customs of other lands, lacking which the Englishman abroad is always an
offence.  Charlotte and Emily hated the land and people.  They had been
brought up ultra-Protestants.  Their father was an Ulster man, and his
one venture into the polemics of his age was to attack the proposals for
Catholic emancipation.  With this inheritance of intolerance, how could
Charlotte and Emily face with kindliness the Romanism which they saw
around them?  How heartily they disapproved of it many a picture in
_Villette_ has made plain to us.

Charlotte had been in Brussels three months when she made the friendship
to which I am indebted for anything that there may be to add to this
episode in her life.  Miss Laetitia Wheelwright was one of five sisters,
the daughters of a doctor in Lower Phillimore Place, Kensington.  Dr.
Wheelwright went to Brussels for his health and for his children's
education.  The girls were day boarders at the Pensionnat, but they lived
in the house for a full month or more at a time when their father and
mother were on a trip up the Rhine.  Otherwise their abode was a flat in
the Hotel Clusyenaar in the Rue Royale, and there during her later stay
in Brussels Charlotte frequently paid them visits.  In this earlier
period Charlotte and Emily were too busy with their books to think of
'calls' and the like frivolities, and it must be confessed also that at
this stage Laetitia Wheelwright would have thought it too high a price
for a visit from Charlotte to receive as a fellow-guest the apparently
unamiable Emily.  Miss Wheelwright, who was herself fourteen years of age
when she entered the Pensionnat Heger, recalls the two sisters, thin and
sallow-looking, pacing up and down the garden, friendless and alone.  It
was the sight of Laetitia standing up in the class-room and glancing
round with a semi-contemptuous air at all these Belgian girls which
attracted Charlotte Bronte to her.  'It was so very English,' Miss Bronte
laughingly remarked at a later period to her friend.  There was one other
English girl at this time of sufficient age to be companionable; but with
Miss Maria Miller, whom Charlotte Bronte has depicted under the guise of
Ginevra Fanshawe, she had less in common.  In later years Miss Miller
became Mrs. Robertson, the wife of an author in one form or another.

To Miss Wheelwright, and those of her sisters who are still living, the
descriptions of the Pensionnat Heger which are given in _Villette_ and
_The Professor_ are perfectly accurate.  M. Heger, with his heavy black
moustache and his black hair, entering the class-room of an evening to
read to his pupils was a sufficiently familiar object, and his keen
intelligence amounting almost to genius had affected the Wheelwright
girls as forcibly as it had done the Brontes.  Mme. Heger, again, for
ever peeping from behind doors and through the plate-glass partitions
which separate the passages from the school-rooms, was a constant source
of irritation to all the English pupils.  This prying and spying is, it
is possible, more of a fine art with the school-mistresses of the
Continent than with those of our own land.  In any case, Mme. Heger was
an accomplished spy, and in the midst of the most innocent work or
recreation the pupils would suddenly see a pair of eyes pierce the dusk
and disappear.  This, and a hundred similar trifles, went to build up an
antipathy on both sides, which had, however, scarcely begun when
Charlotte and Emily were suddenly called home by their aunt's death in
October.  A letter to Miss Nussey on her return sufficiently explains the
situation.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _November_ 10_th_, 1842.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I was not yet returned to England when your letter
    arrived.  We received the first news of aunt's illness, Wednesday,
    Nov. 2nd.  We decided to come home directly.  Next morning a second
    letter informed us of her death.  We sailed from Antwerp on Sunday;
    we travelled day and night and got home on Tuesday morning--and of
    course the funeral and all was over.  We shall see her no more.  Papa
    is pretty well.  We found Anne at home; she is pretty well also.  You
    say you have had no letter from me for a long time.  I wrote to you
    three weeks ago.  When you answer this note, I will write to you more
    in detail.  Aunt, Martha Taylor, and Mr. Weightman are now all gone;
    how dreary and void everything seems.  Mr. Weightman's illness was
    exactly what Martha's was--he was ill the same length of time and
    died in the same manner.  Aunt's disease was internal obstruction;
    she also was ill a fortnight.

    'Good-bye, my dear Ellen.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The aunt whose sudden death brought Charlotte and Emily Bronte thus
hastily from Brussels to Haworth must have been a very sensible woman in
the main.  She left her money to those of her nieces who most needed it.
A perusal of her will is not without interest, and indeed it will be seen
that it clears up one or two errors into which Mrs. Gaskell and
subsequent biographers have rashly fallen through failing to expend the
necessary half-guinea upon a copy.  This is it:--

    Extracted from the District Probate Registry at York attached to Her
    Majesty's High Court of Justice.

    _Depending on the Father_, _Son_, _and Holy Ghost for peace here_,
    _and glory and bliss forever hereafter_, _I leave this my last Will
    and Testament_: _Should I die at Haworth_, _I request that my remains
    may be deposited in the church in that place as near as convenient to
    the remains of my dear sister_; _I moreover will that all my just
    debts and funeral expenses be paid out of my property_, _and that my
    funeral shall be conducted in a moderate and decent manner_.  _My
    Indian workbox I leave to my niece_, _Charlotte Bronte_; _my workbox
    with a china top I leave to my niece_, _Emily Jane Bronte_, _together
    with my ivory fan_; _my Japan dressing-box I leave to my nephew_,
    _Patrick Branwell Bronte_; _to my niece Anne Bronte_, _I leave my
    watch with all that belongs to it_; _as also my eye-glass and its
    chain_, _my rings_, _silver-spoons_, _books_, _clothes_, _etc._,
    _etc._, _I leave to be divided between my above-named three nieces_,
    _Charlotte Bronte_, _Emily Jane Bronte_, _and Anne Bronte_,
    _according as their father shall think proper_.  _And I will that all
    the money that shall remain_, _including twenty-five pounds
    sterling_, _being the part of the proceeds of the sale of my goods
    which belong to me in consequence of my having advanced to my sister
    Kingston the sum of twenty-five pounds in lieu of her share of the
    proceeds of my goods aforesaid_, _and deposited in the bank of
    Bolitho Sons and Co._, _Esqrs._, _of Chiandower_, _near Penzance_,
    _after the aforesaid sums and articles shall have been paid and
    deducted_, _shall be put into some safe bank or lent on good landed
    security_, _and there left to accumulate for the sole benefit of my
    four nieces_, _Charlotte Bronte_, _Emily Jane Bronte_, _Anne Bronte_,
    _and Elizabeth Jane Kingston_; _and this sum or sums_, _and whatever
    other property I may have_, _shall be equally divided between them
    when the youngest of them then living shall have arrived at the age
    of twenty-one years_.  _And should any one or more of these my four
    nieces die_, _her or their part or parts shall be equally divided
    amongst the survivors_; _and if but one is left_, _all shall go to
    that one_: _And should they all die before the age of twenty-one
    years_, _all their parts shall be given to my sister_, _Anne
    Kingston_; _and should she die before that time specified_, _I will
    that all that was to have been hers shall be equally divided between
    all the surviving children of my dear brother and sisters_.  _I
    appoint my brother-in-law_, _the Rev. P. Bronte_, A.B., _now
    Incumbent of Haworth_, _Yorkshire_; _the Rev. John Fennell_, _now
    Incumbent of Cross Stone_, _near Halifax_; _the Rev. Theodore Dury_,
    _Rector of Keighley_, _Yorkshire_; _and Mr. George Taylor of
    Stanbury_, _in the chapelry of Haworth aforesaid_, _my executors_.
    _Written by me_, ELIZABETH BRANWELL, _and signed_, _sealed_, _and
    delivered on the_ 30_th_ _of April_, _in the year of our Lord one
    thousand eight hundred and thirty-three_, ELIZABETH BRANWELL.
    _Witnesses present_, _William Brown_, _John Tootill_, _William
    Brown_, _Junr_.

    _The twenty-eighth day of December_, 1842, _the Will of_ ELIZABETH
    BRANWELL, _late of Haworth_, _in the parish of Bradford_, _in the
    county of York_, _spinster (having bona notabilia within the province
    of York_).  _Deceased was proved in the prerogative court of York by
    the oaths of the Reverend Patrick Bronte_, _clerk_, _brother-in-law_;
    _and George Taylor_, _two of the executors to whom administration was
    granted_ (_the Reverend Theodore Dury_, _another of the executors_,
    _having renounced_), _they having been first sworn duly to
    administer_.

    Effects sworn under 1500 pounds.

    Testatrix died 29th October 1842.

Now hear Mrs. Gaskell:--

    _The small property_, _which she had accumulated by dint of personal
    frugality and self-denial_, _was bequeathed to her nieces_.
    _Branwell_, _her darling_, _was to have had his share_, _but his
    reckless expenditure had distressed the good old lady_, _and his name
    was omitted in her will_.

A perusal of the will in question indicates that it was made in 1833,
before Branwell had paid his first visit to London, and when, as all his
family supposed, he was on the high road to fame and fortune as an
artist.  The old lady doubtless thought that the boy would be able to
take good care of himself.  She had, indeed, other nieces down in
Cornwall, but with the general sympathy of her friends and relatives in
Penzance, Elizabeth Jane Kingston, who it was thought would want it most,
was to have a share.  Had the Kingston girl, her mother, and the Bronte
girls all died before him, the boy Branwell, it will be seen, would have
shared the property with his Branwell cousins in Penzance, of whom two
are still alive.  In any case, Branwell's name was mentioned, and he
received 'my Japan dressing-box,' whatever that may have been worth.

Three or four letters, above and beyond these already published, were
written by Charlotte to her friend in the interval between Miss
Branwell's death and her return to Brussels; and she paid a visit to Miss
Nussey at Brookroyd, and it was returned.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _November_ 20_th_, 1842.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I hope your brother is sufficiently recovered now to
    dispense with your constant attendance.  Papa desires his compliments
    to you, and says he should be very glad if you could give us your
    company at Haworth a little while.  Can you come on Friday next?  I
    mention so early a day because Anne leaves us to return to York on
    Monday, and she wishes very much to see you before her departure.  I
    think your brother is too good-natured to object to your coming.
    There is little enough pleasure in this world, and it would be truly
    unkind to deny to you and me that of meeting again after so long a
    separation.  Do not fear to find us melancholy or depressed.  We are
    all much as usual.  You will see no difference from our former
    demeanour.  Send an immediate answer.

    'My love and best wishes to your sister and mother.

    'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _November_ 25_th_, 1842.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I hope that invitation of yours was given in real
    earnest, for I intend to accept it.  I wish to see you, and as in a
    few weeks I shall probably again leave England, I will not be too
    delicate and ceremonious and so let the present opportunity pass.
    Something says to me that it will not be too convenient to have a
    guest at Brookroyd while there is an invalid there--however, I listen
    to no such suggestions.  Anne leaves Haworth on Tuesday at 6 o'clock
    in the morning, and we should reach Bradford at half-past eight.
    There are many reasons why I should have preferred your coming to
    Haworth, but as it appears there are always obstacles which prevent
    that, I'll break through ceremony, or pride, or whatever it is, and,
    like Mahomet, go to the mountain which won't or can't come to me.
    The coach stops at the Bowling Green Inn, in Bradford.  Give my love
    to your sister and mother.

    'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 10_th_, 1843.

    'DEAR NELL,--It is a singular state of things to be obliged to write
    and have nothing worth reading to say.  I am glad you got home safe.
    You are an excellent good girl for writing to me two letters,
    especially as they were such long ones.  Branwell wants to know why
    you carefully exclude all mention of him when you particularly send
    your regards to every other member of the family.  He desires to know
    whether and in what he has offended you, or whether it is considered
    improper for a young lady to mention the gentlemen of a house.  We
    have been one walk on the moors since you left.  We have been to
    Keighley, where we met a person of our acquaintance, who uttered an
    interjection of astonishment on meeting us, and when he could get his
    breath, informed us that he had heard I was dead and buried.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 15_th_, 1843.

    'DEAR NELL,--I am much obliged to you for transferring the roll of
    muslin.  Last Saturday I found the other gift, for which you deserve
    smothering.  I will deliver Branwell your message.  You have left
    your Bible--how can I send it?  I cannot tell precisely what day I
    leave home, but it will be the last week in this month.  Are you
    going with me?  I admire exceedingly the costume you have chosen to
    appear in at the Birstall rout.  I think you say pink petticoat,
    black jacket, and a wreath of roses--beautiful!  For a change I would
    advise a black coat, velvet stock and waistcoat, white pantaloons,
    and smart boots.  Address Rue d'Isabelle.  Write to me again, that's
    a good girl, very soon.  Respectful remembrances to your mother and
    sister.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Then she is in Brussels again, as the following letter indicates.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'BRUSSELS, _January_ 30_th_, 1843.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I left Leeds for London last Friday at nine o'clock;
    owing to delay we did not reach London till ten at night--two hours
    after time.  I took a cab the moment I arrived at Euston Square, and
    went forthwith to London Bridge Wharf.  The packet lay off that
    wharf, and I went on board the same night.  Next morning we sailed.
    We had a prosperous and speedy voyage, and landed at Ostend at seven
    o'clock next morning.  I took the train at twelve and reached Rue
    d'Isabelle at seven in the evening.  Madame Heger received me with
    great kindness.  I am still tired with the continued excitement of
    three days' travelling.  I had no accident, but of course some
    anxiety.  Miss Dixon called this afternoon. {107}  Mary Taylor had
    told her I should be in Brussels the last week in January.  I am
    going there on Sunday, D.V.  Address--Miss Bronte, Chez Mme. Heger,
    32 Rue d'Isabelle, Bruxelles.--Good-bye, dear.

                                                                   'C. B.'

This second visit of Charlotte Bronte to Brussels has given rise to much
speculation, some of it of not the pleasantest kind.  It is well to face
the point bluntly, for it has been more than once implied that Charlotte
Bronte was in love with M. Heger, as her prototype Lucy Snowe was in love
with Paul Emanuel.  The assumption, which is absolutely groundless, has
had certain plausible points in its favour, not the least obvious, of
course, being the inclination to read autobiography into every line of
Charlotte Bronte's writings.  Then there is a passage in a printed letter
to Miss Nussey which has been quoted as if to bear out this suggestion:
'I returned to Brussels after aunt's death,' she writes, 'against my
conscience, prompted by what then seemed an irresistible impulse.  I was
punished for my selfish folly by a total withdrawal for more than two
years of happiness and peace of mind.'

It is perfectly excusable for a man of the world, unacquainted with
qualifying facts, to assume that for these two years Charlotte Bronte's
heart was consumed with an unquenchable love for her professor--held in
restraint, no doubt, as the most censorious admit, but sufficiently
marked to secure the jealousy and ill-will of Madame Heger.  Madame Heger
and her family, it must be admitted, have kept this impression afloat.
Madame Heger refused to see Mrs. Gaskell when she called upon her in the
Rue d'Isabelle; and her daughters will tell you that their father broke
off his correspondence with Miss Bronte because his favourite English
pupil showed an undue extravagance of devotion.  'Her attachment after
her return to Yorkshire,' to quote a recent essay on the subject, 'was
expressed in her frequent letters in a tone that her Brussels friends
considered it not only prudent but kind to check.  She was warned by them
that the exaltation these letters betrayed needed to be toned down and
replaced by what was reasonable.  She was further advised to write only
once in six months, and then to limit the subject of her letters to her
own health and that of her family, and to a plain account of her
circumstances and occupations.' {109a}  Now to all this I do not hesitate
to give an emphatic contradiction, a contradiction based upon the only
independent authority available.  Miss Laetitia Wheelwright and her
sisters saw much of Charlotte Bronte during this second sojourn in
Brussels, and they have a quite different tale to tell.  That misgiving
of Charlotte, by the way, which weighed so heavily upon her mind
afterwards, was due to the fact that she had left her father practically
unprotected from the enticing company of a too festive curate.  He gave
himself up at this time to a very copious whisky drinking, from which
Charlotte's home-coming speedily rescued him. {109b}

Madame Heger did indeed hate Charlotte Bronte in her later years.  This
is not unnatural when we remember how that unfortunate woman has been
gibbeted for all time in the characters of Mlle. Zoraide Reuter and
Madame Beck.  But in justice to the creator of these scathing portraits,
it may be mentioned that Charlotte Bronte took every precaution to
prevent _Villette_ from obtaining currency in the city which inspired it.
She told Miss Wheelwright, with whom naturally, on her visits to London,
she often discussed the Brussels life, that she had received a promise
that there should be no translation, and that the book would never appear
in the French language.  One cannot therefore fix upon Charlotte Bronte
any responsibility for the circumstance that immediately after her death
the novel appeared in the only tongue understood by Madame Heger.

Miss Wheelwright informs me that Charlotte Bronte did certainly admire M.
Heger, as did all his pupils, very heartily.  Charlotte's first
impression, indeed, was not flattering: 'He is professor of rhetoric, a
man of power as to mind, but very choleric and irritable in temperament;
a little black being, with a face that varies in expression.  Sometimes
he borrows the lineaments of an insane tom-cat, sometimes those of a
delirious hyena; occasionally, but very seldom, he discards these
perilous attractions and assumes an air not above 100 degrees removed
from mild and gentleman-like.'  But he was particularly attentive to
Charlotte; and as he was the first really intelligent man she had met,
the first man, that is to say, with intellectual interests--for we know
how much she despised the curates of her neighbourhood--she rejoiced at
every opportunity of doing verbal battle with him, for Charlotte
inherited, it may be said, the Irish love of debate.  Some time after
Charlotte had returned to England, and when in the height of her fame,
she met her Brussels school-fellow in London.  Miss Wheelwright asked her
whether she still corresponded with M. Heger.  Charlotte replied that she
had discontinued to do so.  M. Heger had mentioned in one letter that his
wife did not like the correspondence, and he asked her therefore to
address her letters to the Royal Athenee, where, as I have mentioned, he
gave lessons to the boys.  'I stopped writing at once,' Charlotte told
her friend.  'I would not have dreamt of writing to him when I found it
was disagreeable to his wife; certainly I would not write unknown to
her.'  'She said this,' Miss Wheelwright adds, 'with the sincerity of
manner which characterised her every utterance, and I would sooner have
doubted myself than her.'  Let, then, this silly and offensive imputation
be now and for ever dismissed from the minds of Charlotte Bronte's
admirers, if indeed it had ever lodged there. {110}

Charlotte had not visited the Wheelwrights in the Rue Royale during her
first visit to Brussels.  She had found the companionship of Emily
all-sufficing, and Emily was not sufficiently popular with the
Wheelwrights to have made her a welcome guest.  They admitted her
cleverness, but they considered her hard, unsympathetic, and abrupt in
manner.  We know that she was self-contained and homesick, pining for her
native moors.  This was not evident to a girl of ten, the youngest of the
Wheelwright children, who was compelled to receive daily a music lesson
from Emily in her play-hours.  When, however, Charlotte came back to
Brussels alone she was heartily welcomed into two or three English
families, including those of Mr. Dixon, of the Rev. Mr. Jenkins, and of
Dr. Wheelwright.  With the Wheelwright children she sometimes spent the
Sunday, and with them she occasionally visited the English Episcopal
church which the Wheelwrights attended, and of which the clergyman was a
Mr. Drury.  When Dr. Wheelwright took his wife for a Rhine trip in May he
left his four children--one little girl had died at Brussels, aged seven,
in the preceding November--in the care of Madame Heger at the Pensionnat,
and under the immediate supervision of Charlotte.

At this period there was plenty of cheerfulness in her life.  She was
learning German.  She was giving English lessons to M. Heger and to his
brother-in-law, M. Chappelle.  She went to the Carnival, and described it
'animating to see the immense crowds and the general gaiety.'  'Whenever
I turn back,' she writes, 'to compare what I am with what I was, my place
here with my place at Mrs. Sidgwick's or Mrs. White's, I am thankful.'

In a letter to her brother, however, we find the darker side of the
picture.  It reveals many things apart from what is actually written
down.  In this, the only letter to Branwell that I have been able to
discover, apart from one written in childhood, it appears that the
brother and sister are upon very confidential terms.  Up to this time, at
any rate, Branwell's conduct had not excited any apprehension as to his
future, and the absence of any substantial place in his aunt's will was
clearly not due to misconduct.  Branwell was now under the same roof as
his sister Anne, having obtained an appointment as tutor to young Edmund
Robinson at Thorp Green, near York, where Anne was governess.  The letter
is unsigned, concluding playfully with 'yourn; and the initials follow a
closing message to Anne on the same sheet of paper.

                              TO BRANWELL BRONTE

                                             'BRUSSELS, _May_ 1_st_, 1843.

    'DEAR BRANWELL,--I hear you have written a letter to me.  This
    letter, however, as usual, I have never received, which I am
    exceedingly sorry for, as I have wished very much to hear from you.
    Are you sure that you put the right address and that you paid the
    English postage, 1s. 6d.?  Without that, letters are never forwarded.
    I heard from papa a day or two since.  All appears to be going on
    reasonably well at home.  I grieve only that Emily is so solitary;
    but, however, you and Anne will soon be returning for the holidays,
    which will cheer the house for a time.  Are you in better health and
    spirits, and does Anne continue to be pretty well?  I understand papa
    has been to see you.  Did he seem cheerful and well?  Mind when you
    write to me you answer these questions, as I wish to know.  Also give
    me a detailed account as to how you get on with your pupil and the
    rest of the family.  I have received a general assurance that you do
    well and are in good odour, but I want to know particulars.

    'As for me, I am very well and wag on as usual.  I perceive, however,
    that I grow exceedingly misanthropic and sour.  You will say that
    this is no news, and that you never knew me possessed of the contrary
    qualities--philanthropy and sugariness.  _Das ist wahr_ (which being
    translated means, that is true); but the fact is, the people here are
    no go whatsoever.  Amongst 120 persons which compose the daily
    population of this house, I can discern only one or two who deserve
    anything like regard.  This is not owing to foolish fastidiousness on
    my part, but to the absence of decent qualities on theirs.  They have
    not intellect or politeness or good-nature or good-feeling.  They are
    nothing.  I don't hate them--hatred would be too warm a feeling.
    They have no sensations themselves and they excite none.  But one
    wearies from day to day of caring nothing, fearing nothing, liking
    nothing, hating nothing, being nothing, doing nothing--yes, I teach
    and sometimes get red in the face with impatience at their stupidity.
    But don't think I ever scold or fly into a passion.  If I spoke
    warmly, as warmly as I sometimes used to do at Roe-Head, they would
    think me mad.  Nobody ever gets into a passion here.  Such a thing is
    not known.  The phlegm that thickens their blood is too gluey to
    boil.  They are very false in their relations with each other, but
    they rarely quarrel, and friendship is a folly they are unacquainted
    with.  The black Swan, M. Heger, is the only sole veritable exception
    to this rule (for Madame, always cool and always reasoning, is not
    quite an exception).  But I rarely speak to Monsieur now, for not
    being a pupil I have little or nothing to do with him.  From time to
    time he shows his kind-heartedness by loading me with books, so that
    I am still indebted to him for all the pleasure or amusement I have.
    Except for the total want of companionship I have nothing to complain
    of.  I have not too much to do, sufficient liberty, and I am rarely
    interfered with.  I lead an easeful, stagnant, silent life, for
    which, when I think of Mrs. Sidgwick, I ought to be very thankful.
    Be sure you write to me soon, and beg of Anne to inclose a small
    billet in the same letter; it will be a real charity to do me this
    kindness.  Tell me everything you can think of.

    'It is a curious metaphysical fact that always in the evening when I
    am in the great dormitory alone, having no other company than a
    number of beds with white curtains, I always recur as fanatically as
    ever to the old ideas, the old faces, and the old scenes in the world
    below.

    'Give my love to Anne.--And believe me, yourn

    'DEAR ANNE,--Write to me.--Your affectionate Schwester,

                                                                    'C. B.

    'Mr. Heger has just been in and given me a little German Testament as
    a present.  I was surprised, for since a good many days he has hardly
    spoken to me.'

A little later she writes to Emily in similar strain.

                           TO MISS EMILY J. BRONTE

                                            'BRUSSELS, _May_ 29_th_, 1843.

    'DEAR E. J.,--The reason of the unconscionable demand for money is
    explained in my letter to papa.  Would you believe it, Mdlle. Muhl
    demands as much for one pupil as for two, namely, 10 francs per
    month.  This, with the 5 francs per month to the Blanchisseuse, makes
    havoc in 16 pounds per annum.  You will perceive I have begun again
    to take German lessons.  Things wag on much as usual here.  Only
    Mdlle. Blanche and Mdlle. Hausse are at present on a system of war
    without quarter.  They hate each other like two cats.  Mdlle. Blanche
    frightens Mdlle. Hausse by her white passions (for they quarrel
    venomously).  Mdlle. Hausse complains that when Mdlle. Blanche is in
    fury, "_elle n'a pas de levres_."  I find also that Mdlle. Sophie
    dislikes Mdlle. Blanche extremely.  She says she is heartless,
    insincere, and vindictive, which epithets, I assure you, are richly
    deserved.  Also I find she is the regular spy of Mme. Heger, to whom
    she reports everything.  Also she invents--which I should not have
    thought.  I have now the entire charge of the English lessons.  I
    have given two lessons to the first class.  Hortense Jannoy was a
    picture on these occasions, her face was black as a "blue-piled
    thunder-loft," and her two ears were red as raw beef.  To all
    questions asked her reply was, "_je ne sais pas_."  It is a pity but
    her friends could meet with a person qualified to cast out a devil.
    I am richly off for companionship in these parts.  Of late days, M.
    and Mde. Heger rarely speak to me, and I really don't pretend to care
    a fig for any body else in the establishment.  You are not to suppose
    by that expression that I am under the influence of _warm_ affection
    for Mde. Heger.  I am convinced she does not like me--why, I can't
    tell, nor do I think she herself has any definite reason for the
    aversion; but for one thing, she cannot comprehend why I do not make
    intimate friends of Mesdames Blanche, Sophie, and Hausse.  M. Heger
    is wonderously influenced by Madame, and I should not wonder if he
    disapproves very much of my unamiable want of sociability.  He has
    already given me a brief lecture on universal _bienveillance_, and,
    perceiving that I don't improve in consequence, I fancy he has taken
    to considering me as a person to be let alone--left to the error of
    her ways; and consequently he has in a great measure withdrawn the
    light of his countenance, and I get on from day to day in a
    Robinson-Crusoe-like condition--very lonely.  That does not signify.
    In other respects I have nothing substantial to complain of, nor is
    even this a cause for complaint.  Except the loss of M. Heger's
    goodwill (if I have lost it) I care for none of 'em.  I hope you are
    well and hearty.  Walk out often on the moors.  Sorry am I to hear
    that Hannah is gone, and that she has left you burdened with the
    charge of the little girl, her sister.  I hope Tabby will continue to
    stay with you--give my love to her.  Regards to the fighting gentry,
    and to old asthma.--Your

                                                                    'C. B.

    'I have written to Branwell, though I never got a letter from him.'

In August she is still more dissatisfied, but 'I will continue to stay
some months longer, till I have acquired German, and then I hope to see
all your faces again.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                          'BRUSSELS, _August_ 6_th_, 1843.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--You never answered my last letter; but, however,
    forgiveness is a part of the Christian Creed, and so having an
    opportunity to send a letter to England, I forgive you and write to
    you again.  Last Sunday afternoon, being at the Chapel Royal, in
    Brussels, I was surprised to hear a voice proceed from the pulpit
    which instantly brought all Birstall and Batley before my mind's eye.
    I could see nothing, but certainly thought that that unclerical
    little Welsh pony, Jenkins, was there.  I buoyed up my mind with the
    expectation of receiving a letter from you, but as, however, I have
    got none, I suppose I must have been mistaken.

                                                                    'C. B.

    'Mr. Jenkins has called.  He brought no letter from you, but said you
    were at Harrogate, and that they could not find the letter you had
    intended to send.  He informed me of the death of your sister.  Poor
    Sarah, when I last bid her good-bye I little thought I should never
    see her more.  Certainly, however, she is happy where she is
    gone--far happier than she was here.  When the first days of mourning
    are past, you will see that you have reason rather to rejoice at her
    removal than to grieve for it.  Your mother will have felt her death
    much--and you also.  I fear from the circumstance of your being at
    Harrogate that you are yourself ill.  Write to me soon.'

It was in September that the incident occurred which has found so
dramatic a setting in _Villette_--the confession to a priest of the Roman
Catholic Church of a daughter of the most militant type of Protestantism;
and not the least valuable of my newly-discovered Bronte treasures is the
letter which Charlotte wrote to Emily giving an unembellished account of
the incident.

                           TO MISS EMILY J. BRONTE

                                       'BRUSSELS, _September_ 2_nd_, 1843.

    'DEAR E. J.,--Another opportunity of writing to you coming to pass, I
    shall improve it by scribbling a few lines.  More than half the
    holidays are now past, and rather better than I expected.  The
    weather has been exceedingly fine during the last fortnight, and yet
    not so Asiatically hot as it was last year at this time.
    Consequently I have tramped about a great deal and tried to get a
    clearer acquaintance with the streets of Bruxelles.  This week, as no
    teacher is here except Mdlle. Blanche, who is returned from Paris, I
    am always alone except at meal-times, for Mdlle. Blanche's character
    is so false and so contemptible I can't force myself to associate
    with her.  She perceives my utter dislike and never now speaks to
    me--a great relief.

    'However, I should inevitably fall into the gulf of low spirits if I
    stayed always by myself here without a human being to speak to, so I
    go out and traverse the Boulevards and streets of Bruxelles sometimes
    for hours together.  Yesterday I went on a pilgrimage to the
    cemetery, and far beyond it on to a hill where there was nothing but
    fields as far as the horizon.  When I came back it was evening; but I
    had such a repugnance to return to the house, which contained nothing
    that I cared for, I still kept threading the streets in the
    neighbourhood of the Rue d'Isabelle and avoiding it.  I found myself
    opposite to Ste. Gudule, and the bell, whose voice you know, began to
    toll for evening salut.  I went in, quite alone (which procedure you
    will say is not much like me), wandered about the aisles where a few
    old women were saying their prayers, till vespers begun.  I stayed
    till they were over.  Still I could not leave the church or force
    myself to go home--to school I mean.  An odd whim came into my head.
    In a solitary part of the Cathedral six or seven people still
    remained kneeling by the confessionals.  In two confessionals I saw a
    priest.  I felt as if I did not care what I did, provided it was not
    absolutely wrong, and that it served to vary my life and yield a
    moment's interest.  I took a fancy to change myself into a Catholic
    and go and make a real confession to see what it was like.  Knowing
    me as you do, you will think this odd, but when people are by
    themselves they have singular fancies.  A penitent was occupied in
    confessing.  They do not go into the sort of pew or cloister which
    the priest occupies, but kneel down on the steps and confess through
    a grating.  Both the confessor and the penitent whisper very low, you
    can hardly hear their voices.  After I had watched two or three
    penitents go and return I approached at last and knelt down in a
    niche which was just vacated.  I had to kneel there ten minutes
    waiting, for on the other side was another penitent invisible to me.
    At last that went away and a little wooden door inside the grating
    opened, and I saw the priest leaning his ear towards me.  I was
    obliged to begin, and yet I did not know a word of the formula with
    which they always commence their confessions.  It was a funny
    position.  I felt precisely as I did when alone on the Thames at
    midnight.  I commenced with saying I was a foreigner and had been
    brought up a Protestant.  The priest asked if I was a Protestant
    then.  I somehow could not tell a lie and said "yes."  He replied
    that in that case I could not "_jouir du bonheur de la confesse_";
    but I was determined to confess, and at last he said he would allow
    me because it might be the first step towards returning to the true
    church.  I actually did confess--a real confession.  When I had done
    he told me his address, and said that every morning I was to go to
    the rue du Parc--to his house--and he would reason with me and try to
    convince me of the error and enormity of being a Protestant!!!  I
    promised faithfully to go.  Of course, however, the adventure stops
    there, and I hope I shall never see the priest again.  I think you
    had better not tell papa of this.  He will not understand that it was
    only a freak, and will perhaps think I am going to turn Catholic.
    Trusting that you and papa are well, and also Tabby and the Holyes,
    and hoping you will write to me immediately,--I am, yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

    'The Holyes,' it is perhaps hardly necessary to add, is Charlotte's
    irreverent appellation for the curates--Mr. Smith and Mr. Grant.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'BRUSSELS, _October_ 13_th_, 1843.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I was glad to receive your last letter; but when I read
    it, its contents gave me some pain.  It was melancholy indeed that so
    soon after the death of a sister you should be called from a distant
    county by the news of the severe illness of a brother, and, after
    your return home, your sister Ann should fall ill too.  Mary Dixon
    informs me your brother is scarcely expected to recover--is this
    true?  I hope not, for his sake and yours.  His loss would indeed be
    a blow--a blow which I hope Providence may avert.  Do not, my dear
    Ellen, fail to write to me soon of affairs at Brookroyd.  I cannot
    fail to be anxious on the subject, your family being amongst the
    oldest and kindest friends I have.  I trust this season of affliction
    will soon pass.  It has been a long one.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                           TO MISS EMILY J. BRONTE

                                       'BRUSSELS, _December_ 19_th_, 1843.

    'DEAR E. J.,--I have taken my determination.  I hope to be at home
    the day after New Year's Day.  I have told Mme. Heger.  But in order
    to come home I shall be obliged to draw on my cash for another 5
    pounds.  I have only 3 pounds at present, and as there are several
    little things I should like to buy before I leave Brussels--which you
    know cannot be got as well in England--3 pounds would not suffice.
    Low spirits have afflicted me much lately, but I hope all will be
    well when I get home--above all, if I find papa and you and B. and A.
    well.  I am not ill in body.  It is only the mind which is a trifle
    shaken--for want of comfort.

    'I shall try to cheer up now.--Good-bye.

                                                                   'C. B.'




CHAPTER V: PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTE


The younger Patrick Bronte was always known by his mother's family name
of Branwell.  The name derived from the patron Saint of Ireland, with
which the enthusiastic Celt, Romanist and Protestant alike, delights to
disfigure his male child, was speedily banished from the Yorkshire
Parsonage.  Branwell was a year younger than Charlotte, and it is clear
that she and her brother were 'chums,' in the same way as Emily and Anne
were 'chums,' in the earlier years, before Charlotte made other friends.
Even until two or three years from Branwell's death, we find Charlotte
writing to him with genuine sisterly affection, and, indeed, the only two
family letters addressed to Branwell which are extant are from her.  One
of them, written from Brussels, I have printed elsewhere.  The other,
written from Roe Head, when Charlotte, aged sixteen, was at school there,
was partly published by Mrs. Gaskell, but may as well be given here,
copied direct from the original.

                    [Picture: Patrick Branwell Bronte]

                              TO BRANWELL BRONTE

                                            'ROE HEAD, _May_ 17_th_, 1832.

    'DEAR BRANWELL,--As usual I address my weekly letter to you, because
    to you I find the most to say.  I feel exceedingly anxious to know
    how and in what state you arrived at home after your long and (I
    should think) very fatiguing journey.  I could perceive when you
    arrived at Roe Head that you were very much tired, though you refused
    to acknowledge it.  After you were gone, many questions and subjects
    of conversation recurred to me which I had intended to mention to
    you, but quite forgot them in the agitation which I felt at the
    totally unexpected pleasure of seeing you.  Lately I had begun to
    think that I had lost all the interest which I used formerly to take
    in politics, but the extreme pleasure I felt at the news of the
    Reform Bill's being thrown out by the House of Lords, and of the
    expulsion or resignation of Earl Grey, etc., etc., convinced me that
    I have not as yet lost _all_ my penchant for politics.  I am
    extremely glad that aunt has consented to take in _Fraser's
    Magazine_, for though I know from your description of its general
    contents it will be rather uninteresting when compared with
    _Blackwood_, still it will be better than remaining the whole year
    without being able to obtain a sight of any periodical publication
    whatever; and such would assuredly be our case, as in the little
    wild, moorland village where we reside, there would be no possibility
    of borrowing or obtaining a work of that description from a
    circulating library.  I hope with you that the present delightful
    weather may contribute to the perfect restoration of our dear papa's
    health, and that it may give aunt pleasant reminiscences of the
    salubrious climate of her native place.

    'With love to all,--Believe me, dear Branwell, to remain your
    affectionate sister,

                                                               CHARLOTTE.'

    'As to you I find the most to say' is significant.  And to Branwell,
    Charlotte refers again and again in most affectionate terms in many a
    later letter.  It is to her enthusiasm, indeed that we largely owe
    the extravagant estimate of Branwell's ability which has found so
    abundant expression in books on the Brontes.

Branwell has himself been made the hero of at least three biographies.
{121}  Mr. Francis Grundy has no importance for our day other than that
he prints certain letters from Branwell in his autobiography.  Miss Mary
F. Robinson, whatever distinction may pertain to her verse, should never
have attempted a biography of Emily Bronte.  Her book is mainly of
significance because, appearing in a series of _Eminent Women_, it served
to emphasise the growing opinion that Emily, as well as Charlotte, had a
place among the great writers of her day.  Miss Robinson added nothing to
our knowledge of Emily Bronte, and her book devoted inordinate space to
the shortcomings of Branwell, concerning which she had no new
information.

Mr. Leyland's book is professedly a biography of Branwell, and is,
indeed, a valuable storehouse of facts.  It might have had more success
had it been written with greater brightness and verve.  As it stands, it
is a dull book, readable only by the Bronte enthusiast.  Mr. Leyland has
no literary perception, and in his eagerness to show that Branwell was a
genius, prints numerous letters and poems which sufficiently demonstrate
that he was not.

Charlotte never hesitated in the earlier years to praise her brother as
the genius of the family.  We all know how eagerly the girls in any home
circle are ready to acknowledge and accept as signs of original power the
most impudent witticisms of a fairly clever brother.  The Bronte
household was not exceptionally constituted in this respect.  It is
evident that the boy grew up with talent of a kind.  He could certainly
draw with more idea of perspective than his sisters, and one or two
portraits by him are not wanting in merit.  But there is no evidence of
any special writing faculty, and the words 'genius' and 'brilliant' which
have been freely applied to him are entirely misplaced.  Branwell was
thirty-one years of age when he died, and it was only during the last
year or two of his life that opium and alcohol had made him
intellectually hopeless.  Yet, unless we accept the preposterous
statement that he wrote _Wuthering Heights_, he would seem to have
composed nothing which gives him the slightest claim to the most
inconsiderable niche in the temple of literature.

Branwell appears to have worked side by side with his sisters in the
early years, and innumerable volumes of the 'little writing' bearing his
signature have come into my hands.  Verdopolis, the imaginary city of his
sisters' early stories, plays a considerable part in Branwell's.  _Real
Life in Verdopolis_ bears date 1833.  _The Battle of Washington_ is
evidently a still more childish effusion.  _Caractacus_ is dated 1830,
and the poems and tiny romances continue steadily on through the years
until they finally stop short in 1837--when Branwell is twenty years
old--with a story entitled _Percy_.  By the light of subsequent events it
is interesting to note that a manuscript of 1830 bears the title of _The
Liar Detected_.

It would be unfair to take these crude productions of Branwell Bronte's
boyhood as implying that he had no possibilities in him of anything
better, but judging from the fact that his letters, as a man of eight and
twenty, are as undistinguished as his sister's are noteworthy at a like
age, we might well dismiss Branwell Bronte once and for all, were not
some epitome of his life indispensable in an account of the Bronte
circle.

Branwell was born at Thornton in 1817.  When the family removed to
Haworth he studied at the Grammar School, although, doubtless, he owed
most of his earlier tuition to his father.  When school days were over it
was decided that he should be an artist.  To a certain William Robinson,
of Leeds, he was indebted for his first lessons.  Mrs. Gaskell describes
a life-size drawing of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne which Branwell painted
about this period.  The huge canvas stood for many years at the top of
the staircase at the parsonage. {123}  In 1835 Branwell went up to London
with a view to becoming a pupil at the Royal Academy Art Schools.  The
reason for his almost immediate reappearance at Haworth has never been
explained.  Probably he wasted his money and his father refused supplies.
He had certainly been sufficiently in earnest at the start, judging from
this letter, of which I find a draft among his papers.

                   TO THE SECRETARY, ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS

    'SIR,--Having an earnest desire to enter as probationary student in
    the Royal Academy, but not being possessed of information as to the
    means of obtaining my desire, I presume to request from you, as
    Secretary to the Institution, an answer to the questions--

       'Where am I to present my drawings?

       'At what time?

          and especially,

       'Can I do it in August or September?

    --Your obedient servant,

                                                         BRANWELL BRONTE.'

In 1836 we find him as 'brother' of the 'Lodge of the Three Graces' at
Haworth.  In the following year he is practising as an artist in
Bradford, and painting a number of portraits of the townsfolk.  At this
same period he wrote to Wordsworth, sending verses, which he was at the
time producing with due regularity.  In January 1840 Branwell became
tutor in the family of Mr. Postlethwaite at Broughton-in-Furness.  It was
from that place that he wrote the incoherent and silly letter which has
been more than once printed, and which merely serves to show that then,
as always, he had an ill-regulated mind.  It was from
Broughton-in-Furness also that he addresses Hartley Coleridge, and the
letters are worth printing if only on account of the similar destiny of
the two men.

                             TO HARTLEY COLERIDGE

                                                    'BROUGHTON-IN-FURNESS,
                                        'LANCASHIRE, _April_ 20_th_, 1840.

    'SIR,--It is with much reluctance that I venture to request, for the
    perusal of the following lines, a portion of the time of one upon
    whom I can have no claim, and should not dare to intrude, but I do
    not, personally, know a man on whom to rely for an answer to the
    questions I shall put, and I could not resist my longing to ask a man
    from whose judgment there would be little hope of appeal.

    'Since my childhood I have been wont to devote the hours I could
    spare from other and very different employments to efforts at
    literary composition, always keeping the results to myself, nor have
    they in more than two or three instances been seen by any other.  But
    I am about to enter active life, and prudence tells me not to waste
    the time which must make my independence; yet, sir, I like writing
    too well to fling aside the practice of it without an effort to
    ascertain whether I could turn it to account, not in _wholly_
    maintaining myself, but in aiding my maintenance, for I do not sigh
    after fame, and am not ignorant of the folly or the fate of those
    who, without ability, would depend for their lives upon their pens;
    but I seek to know, and venture, though with shame, to ask from one
    whose word I must respect: whether, by periodical or other writing, I
    could please myself with writing, and make it subservient to living.

    'I would not, with this view, have troubled you with a composition in
    verse, but any piece I have in prose would too greatly trespass upon
    your patience, which, I fear, if you look over the verse, will be
    more than sufficiently tried.

    'I feel the egotism of my language, but I have none, sir, in my
    heart, for I feel beyond all encouragement from myself, and I hope
    for none from you.

    'Should you give any opinion upon what I send, it will, however
    condemnatory, be most gratefully received by,--Sir, your most humble
    servant,

                                                            'P. B. BRONTE.

    '_P.S._--The first piece is only the sequel of one striving to depict
    the fall from unguided passion into neglect, despair, and death.  It
    ought to show an hour too near those of pleasure for repentance, and
    too near death for hope.  The translations are two out of many made
    from Horace, and given to assist an answer to the question--would it
    be possible to obtain remuneration for translations for such as those
    from that or any other classic author?'

Branwell would appear to have gone over to Ambleside to see Hartley
Coleridge, if we may judge by that next letter, written from Haworth upon
his return.

                             TO HARTLEY COLERIDGE

                                            'HAWORTH, _June_ 27_th_, 1840.

    'SIR,--You will, perhaps, have forgotten me, but it will be long
    before I forget my first conversation with a man of real intellect,
    in my first visit to the classic lakes of Westmoreland.

    'During the delightful day which I had the honour of spending with
    you at Ambleside, I received permission to transmit to you, as soon
    as finished, the first book of a translation of Horace, in order
    that, after a glance over it, you might tell me whether it was worth
    further notice or better fit for the fire.

    'I have--I fear most negligently, and amid other very different
    employments--striven to translate two books, the first of which I
    have presumed to send to you.  And will you, sir, stretch your past
    kindness by telling me whether I should amend and pursue the work or
    let it rest in peace?

    'Great corrections I feel it wants, but till I feel that the work
    might benefit me, I have no heart to make them; yet if your judgment
    prove in any way favourable, I will re-write the whole, without
    sparing labour to reach perfection.

    'I dared not have attempted Horace but that I saw the utter
    worthlessness of all former translations, and thought that a better
    one, by whomsoever executed, might meet with some little
    encouragement.  I long to clear up my doubts by the judgment of one
    whose opinion I should revere, and--but I suppose I am dreaming--one
    to whom I should be proud indeed to inscribe anything of mine which
    any publisher would look at, unless, as is likely enough, the work
    would disgrace the name as much as the name would honour the work.

    'Amount of remuneration I should not look to--as anything would be
    everything--and whatever it might be, let me say that my bones would
    have no rest unless by written agreement a division should be made of
    the profits (little or much) between myself and him through whom
    alone I could hope to obtain a hearing with that formidable
    personage, a London bookseller.

    'Excuse my unintelligibility, haste, and appearance of presumption,
    and--Believe me to be, sir, your most humble and grateful servant,

                                                            'P. B. BRONTE.

    'If anything in this note should displease you, lay it, sir, to the
    account of inexperience and _not_ impudence.'

In October 1840, we find Branwell clerk-in-charge at the Station of
Sowerby Bridge on the Leeds and Manchester Railway, and the following
year at Luddenden Foot, where Mr. Grundy, the railway engineer, became
acquainted with him, and commenced the correspondence contained in
_Pictures of the Past_.

I have in my possession a small memorandum book, evidently used by
Branwell when engaged as a railway clerk.  There are notes in it upon the
then existing railways, demonstrating that he was trying to prime himself
with the requisite facts and statistics for a career of that kind.  But
side by side with these are verses upon 'Lord Nelson,' 'Robert Burns,'
and kindred themes, with such estimable sentiments as this:--

    'Then England's love and England's tongue
    And England's heart shall reverence long
    The wisdom deep, the courage strong,
    Of English Johnson's name.'

Altogether a literary atmosphere had been kindled for the boy had he had
the slightest strength of character to go with it.  The railway company,
however, were soon tired of his vagaries, and in the beginning of 1842 he
returns to the Haworth parsonage.  The following letter to his friend Mr.
Grundy is of biographical interest.

                             TO FRANCIS H. GRUNDY

                                                  '_October_ 25_th_, 1842.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--There is no misunderstanding.  I have had a long
    attendance at the death-bed of the Rev. Mr. Weightman, one of my
    dearest friends, and now I am attending at the deathbed of my aunt,
    who has been for twenty years as my mother.  I expect her to die in a
    few hours.

    'As my sisters are far from home, I have had much on my mind, and
    these things must serve as an apology for what was never intended as
    neglect of your friendship to us.

    'I had meant not only to have written to you, but to the Rev. James
    Martineau, gratefully and sincerely acknowledging the receipt of his
    most kindly and truthful criticism--at least in advice, though too
    generous far in praise; but one sad ceremony must, I fear, be gone
    through first.  Give my most sincere respects to Mr. Stephenson, and
    excuse this scrawl--my eyes are too dim with sorrow to see
    well.--Believe me, your not very happy but obliged friend and
    servant,

                                                           'P. B. BRONTE.'

A week later he writes to the same friend:--

    'I am incoherent, I fear, but I have been waking two nights
    witnessing such agonising suffering as I would not wish my worst
    enemy to endure; and I have now lost the guide and director of all
    the happy days connected with my childhood.  I have suffered much
    sorrow since I last saw you at Haworth.'

Charlotte and Anne, it will be remembered, were at this time on their way
home from Brussels, and Anne had to seek relief from her governess bonds
at Mrs. Robinson's.  Branwell would seem to have returned with Anne to
Thorp Green, as tutor to Mr. Robinson's son.  He commenced his duties in
December 1842.

It would not be rash to assume--although it is only an assumption--that
Branwell took to opium soon after he entered upon his duties at Thorp
Green.  I have already said something of the trouble which befel Mrs.
Gaskell in accepting the statements of Charlotte Bronte, and--after
Charlotte's death--of her friends, to the effect that Branwell became the
prey of a designing woman, who promised to marry him when her husband--a
venerable clergyman--should be dead.  The story has been told too often.
Branwell was dismissed, and returned to the parsonage to rave about his
wrongs.  If Mr. Robinson should die, the widow had promised to marry him,
he assured his friends.  Mr. Robinson did die (May 26, 1846), and then
Branwell insisted that by his will he had prohibited his wife from
marrying, under penalties of forfeiting the estate.  A copy of the
document is in my possession:

    _The eleventh day of September_ 1846 _the Will of the Reverend Edmund
    Robinson_, _late of Thorp Green_, _in the Parish of Little Ouseburn_,
    _in the County of York_, _Clerk_, _deceased_, _was proved in the
    Prerogative Court of York by the oaths of Lydia Robinson_, _Widow_,
    _his Relict_; _the Venerable Charles Thorp and Henry Newton_, _the
    Executors_, _to whom administration was granted_.

Needless to say, the will, a lengthy document, put no restraint whatever
upon the actions of Mrs. Robinson.  Upon the publication of Mrs.
Gaskell's Life she was eager to clear her character in the law-courts,
but was dissuaded therefrom by friends, who pointed out that a withdrawal
of the obnoxious paragraphs in succeeding editions of the Memoir, and the
publication of a letter in the _Times_, would sufficiently meet the case.

Here is the letter from the advertisement pages of the Times.

                                                           '8 BEDFORD ROW,
                                              'LONDON, _May_ 26_th_, 1857.

    'DEAR SIRS,--As solicitor for and on behalf of the Rev. W. Gaskell
    and of Mrs. Gaskell, his wife, the latter of whom is authoress of the
    _Life of Charlotte Bronte_, I am instructed to retract every
    statement contained in that work which imputes to a widowed lady,
    referred to, but not named therein, any breach of her conjugal, of
    her maternal, or of her social duties, and more especially of the
    statement contained in chapter 13 of the first volume, and in chapter
    2 of the second volume, which imputes to the lady in question a
    guilty intercourse with the late Branwell Bronte.  All those
    statements were made upon information which at the time Mrs. Gaskell
    believed to be well founded, but which, upon investigation, with the
    additional evidence furnished to me by you, I have ascertained not to
    be trustworthy.  I am therefore authorised not only to retract the
    statements in question, but to express the deep regret of Mrs.
    Gaskell that she should have been led to make them.--I am, dear sirs,
    yours truly,

                                                           'WILLIAM SHAEN.

    'Messrs. Newton & Robinson, Solicitors, York.'

A certain 'Note' in the _Athenaeum_ a few days later is not without
interest now.

    'We are sorry to be called upon to return to Mrs. Gaskell's _Life of
    Charlotte Bronte_, but we must do so, since the book has gone forth
    with our recommendation.  Praise, it is needless to point out,
    implied trust in the biographer as an accurate collector of facts.
    This, we regret to state, Mrs. Gaskell proves not to have been.  To
    the gossip which for weeks past has been seething and circulating in
    the London _coteries_, we gave small heed; but the _Times_ advertises
    a legal apology, made on behalf of Mrs. Gaskell, withdrawing the
    statements put forth in her book respecting the cause of Mr. Branwell
    Bronte's wreck and ruin.  These Mrs. Gaskell's lawyer is now fain to
    confess his client advanced on insufficient testimony.  The telling
    of an episodical and gratuitous tale so dismal as concerns the dead,
    so damaging to the living, could only be excused by the story of sin
    being severely, strictly true; and every one will have cause to
    regret that due caution was not used to test representations not, it
    seems, to be justified.  It is in the interest of Letters that
    biographers should be deterred from rushing into print with mere
    impressions in place of proofs, however eager and sincere those
    impressions may be.  They _may be_ slanders, and as such they may
    sting cruelly.  Meanwhile the _Life of Charlotte Bronte_ must undergo
    modification ere it can be further circulated.'

Meanwhile let us return to Branwell Bronte's life as it is contained in
his sister's correspondence.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_January_ 3_rd_, 1846.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I must write to you to-day whether I have anything to
    say or not, or else you will begin to think that I have forgotten
    you; whereas, never a day passes, seldom an hour, that I do not think
    of you, _and the scene of trial_ in which you live, move, and have
    your being.  Mary Taylor's letter was deeply interesting and strongly
    characteristic.  I have no news whatever to communicate.  No changes
    take place here.  Branwell offers no prospect of hope; he professes
    to be too ill to think of seeking for employment; he makes comfort
    scant at home.  I hold to my intention of going to Brookroyd as soon
    as I can--that is, provided you will have me.

    'Give my best love to your mother and sisters.--Yours, dear Nell,
    always faithful,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 13_th_, 1845.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I have often said and thought that you have had many
    and heavy trials to bear in your still short life.  You have always
    borne them with great firmness and calm so far--I hope fervently you
    will still be enabled to do so.  Yet there is something in your
    letter that makes me fear the present is the greatest trial of all,
    and the most severely felt by you.  I hope it will soon pass over and
    leave no shadow behind it.  I do earnestly desire to be with you, to
    talk to you, to give you what comfort I can.  Branwell and Anne leave
    us on Saturday.  Branwell has been quieter and less irritable on the
    whole this time than he was in summer.  Anne is as usual--always
    good, mild, and patient.  I think she too is a little stronger than
    she was.--Good-bye, dear Ellen,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_December_ 31_st_, 1845.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I don't know whether most to thank you for the very
    pretty slippers you have sent me or to scold you for occasioning
    yourself, in the slightest degree, trouble or expense on my account.
    I will have them made up and bring them with me, if all be well, when
    I come to Brookroyd.

    'Never doubt that I shall come to Brookroyd as soon as I can, Nell.
    I dare say my wish to see you is equal to your wish to see me.

    'I had a note on Saturday from Ellen Taylor, informing me that
    letters have been received from Mary in New Zealand, and that she was
    well and in good spirits.  I suppose you have not yet seen them, as
    you do not mention them; but you will probably have them in your
    possession before you get this note.

    'You say well in speaking of Branwell that no sufferings are so awful
    as those brought on by dissipation.  Alas! I see the truth of this
    observation daily proved.

    'Your friends must have a weary and burdensome life of it in waiting
    upon _their_ unhappy brother.  It seems grievous, indeed, that those
    who have not sinned should suffer so largely.

    'Write to me a little oftener, Ellen--I am very glad to get your
    notes.  Remember me kindly to your mother and sisters.--Yours
    faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                                  '_January_ 30_th_, 1846.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I have not yet paid my usual visit to
    Brookroyd, but I frequently hear from Ellen, and she did not fail to
    tell me that you were gone into Worcestershire.  She was unable,
    however, to give me your address; had I known it I should have
    written to you long since.

    'I thought you would wonder how we were getting on when you heard of
    the Railway Panic, and you may be sure I am very glad to be able to
    answer your kind inquiries by an assurance that our small capital is
    as yet undiminished.  The "York and Midland" is, as you say, a very
    good line, yet I confess to you I should wish, for my part, to be
    wise in time.  I cannot think that even the very best lines will
    continue for many years at their present premiums, and I have been
    most anxious for us to sell our shares ere it be too late, and to
    secure the proceeds in some safer, if, for the present, less
    profitable investment.  I cannot, however, persuade my sisters to
    regard the affair precisely from my point of view, and I feel as if I
    would rather run the risk of loss than hurt Emily's feelings by
    acting in direct opposition to her opinion.  She managed in a most
    handsome and able manner for me when I was at Brussels, and prevented
    by distance from looking after my own interests; therefore, I will
    let her manage still, and take the consequences.  Disinterested and
    energetic she certainly is, and if she be not quite so tractable or
    open to conviction as I could wish, I must remember perfection is not
    the lot of humanity.  And as long as we can regard those we love, and
    to whom we are closely allied, with profound and very unshaken
    esteem, it is a small thing that they should vex us occasionally by,
    what appear to us, unreasonable and headstrong notions.  You, my dear
    Miss Wooler, know full as well as I do the value of sisters'
    affection to each other; there is nothing like it in this world, I
    believe, when they are nearly equal in age, and similar in education,
    tastes, and sentiments.

    'You ask about Branwell.  He never thinks of seeking employment, and
    I begin to fear he has rendered himself incapable of filling any
    respectable station in life; besides, if money were at his disposal
    he would use it only to his own injury; the faculty of
    self-government is, I fear, almost destroyed in him.  You ask me if I
    do not think men are strange beings.  I do, indeed--I have often
    thought so; and I think too that the mode of bringing them up is
    strange, they are not half sufficiently guarded from temptations.
    Girls are protected as if they were something very frail and silly
    indeed, while boys are turned loose on the world as if they, of all
    beings in existence, were the wisest and the least liable to be led
    astray.

    'I am glad you like Bromsgrove.  I always feel a peculiar
    satisfaction when I hear of your enjoying yourself, because it proves
    to me that there is really such a thing as retributive justice even
    in this life; now you are free, and that while you have still, I
    hope, many years of vigour and health in which you can enjoy freedom.
    Besides, I have another and very egotistical motive for being
    pleased: it seems that even "a lone woman" can be happy, as well as
    cherished wives and proud mothers.  I am glad of that--I speculate
    much on the existence of unmarried and never-to-be married woman
    now-a-days, and I have already got to the point of considering that
    there is no more respectable character on this earth than an
    unmarried woman who makes her own way through life quietly,
    perseveringly, without support of husband or mother, and who, having
    attained the age of forty-five or upwards, retains in her possession
    a well-regulated mind, a disposition to enjoy simple pleasures,
    fortitude to support inevitable pains, sympathy with the sufferings
    of others, and willingness to relieve want as far as her means
    extend.  I wish to send this letter off by to-day's post, I must
    therefore conclude in haste.--Believe me, my dear Miss Wooler, yours,
    most affectionately,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_November_ 4_th_, 1845.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--You do not reproach me in your last, but I fear you
    must have thought me unkind in being so long without answering you.
    The fact is, I had hoped to be able to ask you to come to Haworth.
    Branwell seemed to have a prospect of getting employment, and I
    waited to know the result of his efforts in order to say, "Dear
    Ellen, come and see us"; but the place (a secretaryship to a Railroad
    Committee) is given to another person.  Branwell still remains at
    home, and while he is here you shall not come.  I am more confirmed
    in that resolution the more I know of him.  I wish I could say one
    word to you in his favour, but I cannot, therefore I will hold my
    tongue.

    'Emily and Anne wish me to tell you that they think it very unlikely
    for little Flossy to be expected to rear so numerous a family; they
    think you are quite right in protesting against all the pups being
    preserved, for, if kept, they will pull their poor little mother to
    pieces.--Yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_April_ 14_th_, 1846.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I assure you I was very glad indeed to get your last
    note; for when three or four days elapsed after my second despatch to
    you and I got no answer, I scarcely doubted something was wrong.  It
    relieved me much to find my apprehensions unfounded.  I return you
    Miss Ringrose's notes with thanks.  I always like to read them, they
    appear to me so true an index of an amiable mind, and one not too
    conscious of its own worth; beware of awakening in her this
    consciousness by undue praise.  It is the privilege of
    simple-hearted, sensible, but not brilliant people, that they can
    _be_ and _do_ good without comparing their own thoughts and actions
    too closely with those of other people, and thence drawing strong
    food for self-appreciation.  Talented people almost always know full
    well the excellence that is in them.  I wish I could say anything
    favourable, but how can we be more comfortable so long as Branwell
    stays at home, and degenerates instead of improving?  It has been
    lately intimated to him, that he would be received again on the
    railroad where he was formerly stationed if he would behave more
    steadily, but he refuses to make an effort; he will not work; and at
    home he is a drain on every resource--an impediment to all happiness.
    But there is no use in complaining.

    'My love to all.  Write again soon.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_June_ 17_th_, 1846.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I was glad to perceive, by the tone of your last
    letter, that you are beginning to be a little more settled.  We, I am
    sorry to say, have been somewhat more harassed than usual lately.
    The death of Mr. Robinson, which took place about three weeks or a
    month ago, served Branwell for a pretext to throw all about him into
    hubbub and confusion with his emotions, etc., etc.  Shortly after
    came news from all hands that Mr. Robinson had altered his will
    before he died, and effectually prevented all chance of a marriage
    between his widow and Branwell, by stipulating that she should not
    have a shilling if she ever ventured to re-open any communication
    with him.  Of course he then became intolerable.  To papa he allows
    rest neither day nor night, and he is continually screwing money out
    of him, sometimes threatening that he will kill himself if it is
    withheld from him.  He says Mrs. Robinson is now insane; that her
    mind is a complete wreck owing to remorse for her conduct towards Mr.
    Robinson (whose end it appears was hastened by distress of mind) and
    grief for having lost him.  I do not know how much to believe of what
    he says, but I fear she is very ill.  Branwell declares that he
    neither can nor will do anything for himself.  Good situations have
    been offered him more than once, for which, by a fortnight's work, he
    might have qualified himself, but he will do nothing, except drink
    and make us all wretched.  I had a note from Ellen Taylor a week ago,
    in which she remarks that letters were received from New Zealand a
    month since, and that all was well.  I should like to hear from you
    again soon.  I hope one day to see Brookroyd again, though I think it
    will not be yet--these are not times of amusement.  Love to all.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _March_ 1_st_, 1847.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Branwell has been conducting himself very badly lately.
    I expect from the extravagance of his behaviour, and from mysterious
    hints he drops (for he never will speak out plainly), that we shall
    be hearing news of fresh debts contracted by him soon.  The Misses
    Robinson, who had entirely ceased their correspondence with Anne for
    half a year after their father's death, have lately recommenced it.
    For a fortnight they sent her a letter almost every day, crammed with
    warm protestations of endless esteem and gratitude.  They speak with
    great affection too of their mother, and never make any allusion
    intimating acquaintance with her errors.  We take special care that
    Branwell does not know of their writing to Anne.  My health is
    better: I lay the blame of its feebleness on the cold weather more
    than on an uneasy mind, for, after all, I have many things to be
    thankful for.  Write again soon.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 12_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--We shall all be glad to see you on the Thursday or
    Friday of next week, whichever day will suit you best.  About what
    time will you be likely to get here, and how will you come?  By coach
    to Keighley, or by a gig all the way to Haworth?  There must be no
    impediments now?  I cannot do with them, I want very much to see you.
    I hope you will be decently comfortable while you stay.

    'Branwell is quieter now, and for a good reason: he has got to the
    end of a considerable sum of money, and consequently is obliged to
    restrict himself in some degree.  You must expect to find him weaker
    in mind, and a complete rake in appearance.  I have no apprehension
    of his being at all uncivil to you; on the contrary, he will be as
    smooth as oil.  I pray for fine weather that we may be able to get
    out while you stay.  Goodbye for the present.  Prepare for much
    dulness and monotony.  Give my love to all at Brookroyd.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_July_ 28_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Branwell is the same in conduct as ever.  His
    constitution seems much shattered.  Papa, and sometimes all of us,
    have sad nights with him: he sleeps most of the day, and consequently
    will lie awake at night.  But has not every house its trial?

    'Write to me very soon, dear Nell, and--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Branwell Bronte died on Sunday, September the 24th, 1848, {138} and the
two following letters from Charlotte to her friend Mr. Williams are
peculiarly interesting.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_October_ 2_nd_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--"We have hurried our dead out of our sight."  A lull
    begins to succeed the gloomy tumult of last week.  It is not
    permitted us to grieve for him who is gone as others grieve for those
    they lose.  The removal of our only brother must necessarily be
    regarded by us rather in the light of a mercy than a chastisement.
    Branwell was his father's and his sisters' pride and hope in boyhood,
    but since manhood the case has been otherwise.  It has been our lot
    to see him take a wrong bent; to hope, expect, wait his return to the
    right path; to know the sickness of hope deferred, the dismay of
    prayer baffled; to experience despair at last--and now to behold the
    sudden early obscure close of what might have been a noble career.

    'I do not weep from a sense of bereavement--there is no prop
    withdrawn, no consolation torn away, no dear companion lost--but for
    the wreck of talent, the ruin of promise, the untimely dreary
    extinction of what might have been a burning and a shining light.  My
    brother was a year my junior.  I had aspirations and ambitions for
    him once, long ago--they have perished mournfully.  Nothing remains
    of him but a memory of errors and sufferings.  There is such a
    bitterness of pity for his life and death, such a yearning for the
    emptiness of his whole existence as I cannot describe.  I trust time
    will allay these feelings.

    'My poor father naturally thought more of his _only_ son than of his
    daughters, and, much and long as he had suffered on his account, he
    cried out for his loss like David for that of Absalom--my son my
    son!--and refused at first to be comforted.  And then when I ought to
    have been able to collect my strength and be at hand to support him,
    I fell ill with an illness whose approaches I had felt for some time
    previously, and of which the crisis was hastened by the awe and
    trouble of the death-scene--the first I had ever witnessed.  The past
    has seemed to me a strange week.  Thank God, for my father's sake, I
    am better now, though still feeble.  I wish indeed I had more general
    physical strength--the want of it is sadly in my way.  I cannot do
    what I would do for want of sustained animal spirits and efficient
    bodily vigour.

    'My unhappy brother never knew what his sisters had done in
    literature--he was not aware that they had ever published a line.  We
    could not tell him of our efforts for fear of causing him too deep a
    pang of remorse for his own time mis-spent, and talents misapplied.
    Now he will _never_ know.  I cannot dwell longer on the subject at
    present--it is too painful.

    'I thank you for your kind sympathy, and pray earnestly that your
    sons may all do well, and that you may be spared the sufferings my
    father has gone through.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                          'HAWORTH, _October_ 6_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I thank you for your last truly friendly letter, and
    for the number of _Blackwood_ which accompanied it.  Both arrived at
    a time when a relapse of illness had depressed me much.  Both did me
    good, especially the letter.  I have only one fault to find with your
    expressions of friendship: they make me ashamed, because they seem to
    imply that you think better of me than I merit.  I believe you are
    prone to think too highly of your fellow-creatures in general--to see
    too exclusively the good points of those for whom you have a regard.
    Disappointment must be the inevitable result of this habit.  Believe
    all men, and women too, to be dust and ashes--a spark of the divinity
    now and then kindling in the dull heap--that is all.  When I looked
    on the noble face and forehead of my dead brother (nature had
    favoured him with a fairer outside, as well as a finer constitution,
    than his sisters) and asked myself what had made him go ever wrong,
    tend ever downwards, when he had so many gifts to induce to, and aid
    in, an upward course, I seemed to receive an oppressive revelation of
    the feebleness of humanity--of the inadequacy of even genius to lead
    to true greatness if unaided by religion and principle.  In the
    value, or even the reality, of these two things he would never
    believe till within a few days of his end; and then all at once he
    seemed to open his heart to a conviction of their existence and
    worth.  The remembrance of this strange change now comforts my poor
    father greatly.  I myself, with painful, mournful joy, heard him
    praying softly in his dying moments; and to the last prayer which my
    father offered up at his bedside he added, "Amen."  How unusual that
    word appeared from his lips, of course you, who did not know him,
    cannot conceive.  Akin to this alteration was that in his feelings
    towards his relations--all the bitterness seemed gone.

    'When the struggle was over, and a marble calm began to succeed the
    last dread agony, I felt, as I had never felt before, that there was
    peace and forgiveness for him in Heaven.  All his errors--to speak
    plainly, all his vices--seemed nothing to me in that moment: every
    wrong he had done, every pain he had caused, vanished; his sufferings
    only were remembered; the wrench to the natural affections only was
    left.  If man can thus experience total oblivion of his fellow's
    imperfections, how much more can the Eternal Being, who made man,
    forgive His creature?

    'Had his sins been scarlet in their dye, I believe now they are white
    as wool.  He is at rest, and that comforts us all.  Long before he
    quitted this world, life had no happiness for him.

    '_Blackwood's_ mention of _Jane Eyre_ gratified me much, and will
    gratify me more, I dare say, when the ferment of other feelings than
    that of literary ambition shall have a little subsided in my mind.

    'The doctor has told me I must not expect too rapid a restoration to
    health; but to-day I certainly feel better.  I am thankful to say my
    father has hitherto stood the storm well; and so have my _dear_
    sisters, to whose untiring care and kindness I am chiefly indebted
    for my present state of convalescence.--Believe me, my dear sir,
    yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The last letter in order of date that I have concerning Branwell is
addressed to Ellen Nussey's sister:--

                             TO MISS MERCY NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _October_ 25_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--Accept my sincere thanks for your kind letter.
    The event to which you allude came upon us with startling suddenness,
    and was a severe shock to us all.  My poor brother has long had a
    shaken constitution, and during the summer his appetite had been
    diminished, and he had seemed weaker, but neither we, nor himself,
    nor any medical man who was consulted on the case, thought it one of
    immediate danger.  He was out of doors two days before death, and was
    only confined to bed one single day.

    'I thank you for your kind sympathy.  Many, under the circumstances,
    would think our loss rather a relief than otherwise; in truth, we
    must acknowledge, in all humility and gratitude, that God has greatly
    tempered judgment with mercy.  But yet, as you doubtless know from
    experience, the last earthly separation cannot take place between
    near relatives without the keenest pangs on the part of the
    survivors.  Every wrong and sin is forgotten then, pity and grief
    share the heart and the memory between them.  Yet we are not without
    comfort in our affliction.  A most propitious change marked the few
    last days of poor Branwell's life: his demeanour, his language, his
    sentiments were all singularly altered and softened.  This change
    could not be owing to the fear of death, for till within half-an-hour
    of his decease he seemed unconscious of danger.  In God's hands we
    leave him: He sees not as man sees.

    'Papa, I am thankful to say, has borne the event pretty well.  His
    distress was great at first--to lose an only son is no ordinary
    trial, but his physical strength has not hitherto failed him, and he
    has now in a great measure recovered his mental composure; my dear
    sisters are pretty well also.  Unfortunately, illness attacked me at
    the crisis when strength was most needed.  I bore up for a day or
    two, hoping to be better, but got worse.  Fever, sickness, total loss
    of appetite, and internal pain were the symptoms.  The doctor
    pronounced it to be bilious fever, but I think it must have been in a
    mitigated form; it yielded to medicine and care in a few days.  I was
    only confined to my bed a week, and am, I trust, nearly well now.  I
    felt it a grievous thing to be incapacitated from action and effort
    at a time when action and effort were most called for.  The past
    month seems an overclouded period in my life.

    'Give my best love to Mrs. Nussey and your sister, and--Believe me,
    my dear Miss Nussey, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

    _My unhappy brother never knew what his sisters had done in
    literature_--_he was not aware that they had ever published a line_.

Who that reads these words addressed to Mr. Williams can for a moment
imagine that Charlotte is speaking other than the truth?  And yet we have
Mr. Grundy writing:

    _Patrick Bronte declared to me that he wrote a great portion of_
    '_Wuthering Heights_' _himself_.

And Mr. George Searle Phillips, {142} with more vivid imagination,
describes Branwell holding forth to his friends in the parlour of the
Black Bull at Haworth, upon the genius of his sisters, and upon the
respective merits of _Jane Eyre_ and other works.  Mr. Leyland is even so
foolish as to compare Branwell's poetry with Emily's, to the advantage of
the former--which makes further comment impossible.  'My unhappy brother
never knew what his sisters had done in literature'--these words of
Charlotte's may be taken as final for all who had any doubts concerning
the authorship of _Wuthering Heights_.




CHAPTER VI: EMILY JANE BRONTE


Emily Bronte is the sphinx of our modern literature.  She came into being
in the family of an obscure clergyman, and she went out of it at
twenty-nine years of age without leaving behind her one single
significant record which was any key to her character or to her mode of
thought, save only the one famous novel, _Wuthering Heights_, and a few
poems--some three or four of which will live in our poetic anthologies
for ever.  And she made no single friend other than her sister Anne.
With Anne she must have corresponded during the two or three periods of
her life when she was separated from that much loved sister; and we may
be sure that the correspondence was of a singularly affectionate
character.  Charlotte, who never came very near to her in thought or
sympathy, although she loved her younger sister so deeply, addressed her
in one letter 'mine own bonnie love'; and it is certain that her own
letters to her two sisters, and particularly to Anne, must have been
peculiarly tender and in no way lacking in abundant self-revelation.
When Emily and Anne had both gone to the grave, Charlotte, it is
probable, carefully destroyed every scrap of their correspondence, and,
indeed, of their literary effects; and thus it is that, apart from her
books and literary fragments, we know Emily only by two formal letters to
her sister's friend.  Beyond these there is not one scrap of information
as to Emily's outlook upon life.  In infancy she went with Charlotte to
Cowan Bridge, and was described by the governess as 'a pretty little
thing.'  In girlhood she went to Miss Wooler's school at Roe Head; but
there, unlike Charlotte, she made no friends.  She and Anne were
inseparable when at home, but of what they said to one another there is
no record.  The sisters must have differed in many ways.  Anne, gentle
and persuasive, grew up like Charlotte, devoted to the Christianity of
her father and mother, and entirely in harmony with all the conditions of
a parsonage.  It is impossible to think that the author of 'The Old
Stoic' and 'Last Lines' was equally attached to the creeds of the
churches; but what Emily thought on religious subjects the world will
never know.  Mrs. Gaskell put to Miss Nussey this very question: 'What
was Emily's religion?'  But Emily was the last person in the world to
have spoken to the most friendly of visitors about so sacred a theme.
For a short time, as we know, Emily was in a school at Law Hill near
Halifax--a Miss Patchet's. {145a}  She was, for a still longer period, at
the Heger Pensionnat at Brussels.  Mrs. Gaskell's business was to write
the life of Charlotte Bronte and not of her sister Emily; and as a result
there is little enough of Emily in Mrs. Gaskell's book--no record of the
Halifax and Brussels life as seen through Emily's eyes.  Time, however,
has brought its revenge.  The cult which started with Mr. Sydney Dobell,
and found poetic expression in Mr. Matthew Arnold's fine lines on her,

                      'Whose soul
    Knew no fellow for might,
    Passion, vehemence, grief,
    Daring, since Byron died,' {145b}

culminated in an enthusiastic eulogy by Mr. Swinburne, who placed her in
the very forefront of English women of genius.

We have said that Emily Bronte is a sphinx whose riddle no amount of
research will enable us to read; and this chapter, it may be admitted,
adds but little to the longed-for knowledge of an interesting
personality.  One scrap of Emily's handwriting, of a personal character,
has indeed come to me--overlooked, I doubt not, by Charlotte when she
burnt her sister's effects.  I have before me a little tin box about two
inches long, which one day last year Mr. Nicholls turned out from the
bottom of a desk.  It is of a kind in which one might keep pins or beads,
certainly of no value whatever apart from its associations.  Within were
four little pieces of paper neatly folded to the size of a sixpence.
These papers were covered with handwriting, two of them by Emily, and two
by Anne Bronte.  They revealed a pleasant if eccentric arrangement on the
part of the sisters, which appears to have been settled upon even after
they had passed their twentieth year.  They had agreed to write a kind of
reminiscence every four years, to be opened by Emily on her birthday.
The papers, however, tell their own story, and I give first the two which
were written in 1841.  Emily writes at Haworth, and Anne from her
situation as governess to Mr. Robinson's children at Thorp Green.  At
this time, at any rate, Emily was fairly happy and in excellent health;
and although it is five years from the publication of the volume of
poems, she is full of literary projects, as is also her sister Anne.  The
_Gondaland Chronicles_, to which reference is made, must remain a mystery
for us.  They were doubtless destroyed, with abundant other memorials of
Emily, by the heart-broken sister who survived her.  We have plentiful
material in the way of childish effort by Charlotte and by Branwell, but
there is hardly a scrap in the early handwriting of Emily and Anne.  This
chapter would have been more interesting if only one possessed _Solala
Vernon's Life_ by Anne Bronte, or the _Gondaland Chronicles_ by Emily!

           [Picture: Facsimile of page of Emily Bronte's Diary]

                            _A PAPER to be opened_
                                _when Anne is_
                               25 _years old_,
                         _or my next birthday after_
                                     _if_
                                _all be well_.

    _Emily Jane Bronte_.  _July the_ 30_th_, 1841.

    _It is Friday evening_, _near 9 o'clock_--_wild rainy weather_.  _I
    am seated in the dining-room_, _having just concluded tidying our
    desk boxes_, _writing this document_.  _Papa is in the
    parlour_--_aunt upstairs in her room_.  _She has been reading
    Blackwood's Magazine to papa_.  _Victoria and Adelaide are ensconced
    in the peat-house_.  _Keeper is in the kitchen_--_Hero in his cage_.
    _We are all stout and hearty_, _as I hope is the case with
    Charlotte_, _Branwell_, _and Anne_, _of whom the first is at John
    White_, _Esq._, _Upperwood House_, _Rawdon_; _the second is at
    Luddenden Foot_; _and the third is_, _I believe_, _at Scarborough_,
    _enditing perhaps a paper corresponding to this_.

    _A scheme is at present in agitation for setting us up in a school of
    our own_; _as yet nothing is determined_, _but I hope and trust it
    may go on and prosper and answer our highest expectations_.  _This
    day four years I wonder whether we shall still be dragging on in our
    present condition or established to our hearts' content_.  _Time will
    show_.

    _I guess that at the time appointed for the opening of this paper
    we_, i.e. _Charlotte_, _Anne_, _and I_, _shall be all merrily seated
    in our own sitting-room in some pleasant and flourishing seminary_,
    _having just gathered in for the midsummer ladyday_.  _Our debts will
    be paid off_, _and we shall have cash in hand to a considerable
    amount_.  _Papa_, _aunt_, _and Branwell will either_ _have been or be
    coming to visit us_.  _It will be a fine warm_, _summer evening_,
    _very different from this bleak look-out_, _and Anne and I will
    perchance slip out into the garden for a few minutes to peruse our
    papers_.  _I hope either this or something better will be the case_.

    _The_ Gondaliand _are at present in a threatening state_, _but there
    is no open rupture as yet_.  _All the princes and princesses of the
    Royalty are at the Palace of Instruction_.  _I have a good many books
    on hand_, _but I am sorry to say that as usual I make small progress
    with any_.  _However_, _I have just made a new regularity paper_!
    _and I must verb sap to do great things_.  _And now I close_,
    _sending from far an exhortation of courage_, _boys_! _courage_, _to
    exiled and harassed Anne_, _wishing she was here_.

Anne, as I have said, writes from Thorp Green.

                        _July the_ 30_th_, A.D. 1841.

    _This is Emily's birthday_.  _She has now completed her_ 23_rd_
    _year_, _and is_, _I believe_, _at home_.  _Charlotte is a governess
    in the family of Mr. White_.  _Branwell is a clerk in the railroad
    station at Luddenden Foot_, _and I am a governess in the family of
    Mr. Robinson_.  _I dislike the situation and wish to change it for
    another_.  _I am now at Scarborough_.  _My pupils are gone to bed and
    I am hastening to finish this before I follow them_.

    _We are thinking of setting up a school of our own_, _but nothing
    definite is settled about it yet_, _and we do not know whether we
    shall be able to or not_.  _I hope we shall_.  _And I wonder what
    will be our condition and how or where we shall all be on this day
    four years hence_; _at which time_, _all be well_, _I shall be_ 25
    _years and_ 6 _months old_, _Emily will be_ 27 _years old_,
    _Branwell_ 28 _years and_ 1 _month_, _and Charlotte_ 29 _years and a
    quarter_.  _We are now all separate and not likely to meet again for
    many a weary week_, _but we are none of us ill_ _that I know of and
    all are doing something for our own livelihood except Emily_, _who_,
    _however_, _is as busy as any of us_, _and in reality earns her food
    and raiment as much as we do_.

       _How little know we what we are_
       _How less what we may be_!

    _Four years ago I was at school_.  _Since then I have been a
    governess at Blake Hall_, _left it_, _come to Thorp Green_, _and seen
    the sea and York Minster_.  _Emily has been a teacher at Miss
    Patchet's school_, _and left it_.  _Charlotte has left Miss
    Wooler's_, _been a governess at Mrs. Sidgwick's_, _left her_, _and
    gone to Mrs. White's_.  _Branwell has given up painting_, _been a
    tutor in Cumberland_, _left it_, _and become a clerk on the
    railroad_.  _Tabby has left us_, _Martha Brown has come in her
    place_.  _We have got Keeper_, _got a sweet little cat and lost it_,
    _and also got a hawk_.  _Got a wild goose which has flown away_, _and
    three tame ones_, _one of which has been killed_.  _All these
    diversities_, _with many others_, _are things we did not expect or
    foresee in the July of_ 1837.  _What will the next four years bring
    forth_?  _Providence only knows_.  _But we ourselves have sustained
    very little alteration since that time_.  _I have the same faults
    that I had then_, _only I have more wisdom and experience_, _and a
    little more self-possession than I then enjoyed_.  _How will it be
    when we open this paper and the one Emily has written_?  _I wonder
    whether the Gondaliand will still be flourishing_, _and what will be
    their condition_.  _I am now engaged in writing the fourth volume of
    Solala Vernon's Life_.

    _For some time I have looked upon_ 25 _as a sort of era in my
    existence_.  _It may prove a true presentiment_, _or it may be only a
    superstitious fancy_; _the latter seems most likely_, _but time will
    show_.

                                                            _Anne Bronte_.

Let us next take up the other two little scraps of paper.  They are dated
July the 30th, 1845, or Emily's twenty-seventh birthday.  Many things
have happened, as she says.  She has been to Brussels, and she has
settled definitely at home again.  They are still keenly interested in
literature, and we still hear of the Gondals.  There is wonderfully
little difference in the tone or spirit of the journals.  The concluding
'best wishes for this whole house till July the 30th, 1848, and as much
longer as may be,' contain no premonition of coming disaster.  Yet July
1848 was to find Branwell Bronte on the verge of the grave, and Emily on
her deathbed.  She died on the 14th of December of that year.

                               _Haworth_, _Thursday_, _July_ 30_th_, 1845.

    _My birthday_--_showery_, _breezy_, _cool_.  _I am twenty-seven years
    old to-day_.  _This morning Anne and I opened the papers we wrote
    four years since_, _on my twenty-third birthday_.  _This paper we
    intend_, _if all be well_, _to open on my thirtieth_--_three years
    hence_, _in_ 1848.  _Since the_ 1841 _paper the following events have
    taken place_.  _Our school scheme has been abandoned_, _and instead
    Charlotte and I went to Brussels on the_ 8_th_ _of February_ 1842.

    _Branwell left his place at Luddenden Foot_.  _C. and I returned from
    Brussels_, _November_ 8_th_ 1842, _in consequence of aunt's death_.

    _Branwell went to Thorp Green as a tutor_, _where Anne still
    continued_, _January_ 1843.

    _Charlotte returned to Brussels the same month_, _and_, _after
    staying a year_, _came back again on New Year's Day_ 1844.

    _Anne left her situation at Thorp Green of her own accord_, _June_
    1845.

    _Anne and I went our first long journey by ourselves together_,
    _leaving home on the_ 30_th_ _of June_, _Monday_, _sleeping at York_,
    _returning to Keighley Tuesday evening_, _sleeping there and walking
    home on Wednesday morning_.  _Though the weather was broken we
    enjoyed ourselves very much_, _except during a few hours at
    Bradford_.  _And during our_ _excursion we were_, _Ronald Macalgin_,
    _Henry Angora_, _Juliet Augusteena_, _Rosabella Esmaldan_, _Ella and
    Julian Egremont_, _Catharine Navarre_, _and Cordelia Fitzaphnold_,
    _escaping from the palaces of instruction to join the Royalists who
    are hard driven at present by the victorious Republicans_.  _The
    Gondals still flourish bright as ever_.  _I am at present writing a
    work on the First War_.  _Anne has been writing some articles on
    this_, _and a book by Henry Sophona_.  _We intend sticking firm by
    the rascals as long as they delight us_, _which I am glad to say they
    do at present_.  _I should have mentioned that last summer the school
    scheme was revived in full vigour_.  _We had prospectuses printed_,
    _despatched letters to all acquaintances imparting our plans_, _and
    did our little all_; _but it was found no go_.  _Now I don't desire a
    school at all_, _and none of us have any great longing for it_.  _We
    have cash enough for our present wants_, _with a prospect of
    accumulation_.  _We are all in decent health_, _only that papa has a
    complaint in his eyes_, _and with the exception of B._, _who_, _I
    hope_, _will be better and do better hereafter_.  _I am quite
    contented for myself_: _not as idle as formerly_, _altogether as
    hearty_, _and having learnt to make the most of the present and long
    for the future with the fidgetiness that I cannot do all I wish_;
    _seldom or ever troubled with nothing to do_, _and merely desiring
    that everybody could be as comfortable as myself and as
    undesponding_, _and then we should have a very tolerable world of
    it_.

    _By mistake I find we have opened the paper on the_ 31_st_ _instead
    of the_ 30_th_.  _Yesterday was much such a day as this_, _but the
    morning was divine_.

    _Tabby_, _who was gone in our last paper_, _is come back_, _and has
    lived with us two years and a half_; _and is in good health_.
    _Martha_, _who also departed_, _is here too_.  _We have got Flossy_;
    _got and lost Tiger_; _lost the hawk Hero_, _which_, _with the
    geese_, _was given away_, _and is doubtless dead_, _for when I came
    back from Brussels I inquired on all hands and could_ _hear nothing
    of him_.  _Tiger died early last year_.  _Keeper and Flossy are
    well_, _also the canary acquired four years since_.  _We are now all
    at home_, _and likely to be there some time_.  _Branwell went to
    Liverpool on Tuesday to stay a week_.  _Tabby has just been teasing
    me to turn as formerly to_ '_Pilloputate_.'  _Anne and I should have
    picked the black currants if it had been fine and sunshiny_.  _I must
    hurry off now to my turning and ironing_.  _I have plenty of work on
    hands_, _and writing_, _and am altogether full of business_.  _With
    best wishes for the whole house till_ 1848, _July_ 30_th_, _and as
    much longer as may be_,--_I conclude_.

                                                           _Emily Bronte_.

Finally, I give Anne's last fragment, concerning which silence is
essential.  Interpretation of most of the references would be mere
guess-work.

    _Thursday_, _July the_ 31_st_, 1845.  _Yesterday was Emily's
    birthday_, _and the time when we should have opened our_ 1845
    _paper_, _but by mistake we opened it to-day instead_.  _How many
    things have happened since it was written_--_some pleasant_, _some
    far otherwise_.  _Yet I was then at Thorp Green_, _and now I am only
    just escaped from it_.  _I was wishing to leave it then_, _and if I
    had known that I had four years longer to stay how wretched I should
    have been_; _but during my stay I have had some very unpleasant and
    undreamt-of experience of human nature_.  _Others have seen more
    changes_.  _Charlotte has left Mr. White's and been twice to
    Brussels_, _where she stayed each time nearly a year_.  _Emily has
    been there too_, _and stayed nearly a year_.  _Branwell has left
    Luddenden Foot_, _and been a tutor at Thorp Green_, _and had much
    tribulation and ill health_.  _He was very ill on Thursday_, _but he
    went with John Brown to Liverpool_, _where he now is_, _I suppose_;
    _and we hope he will be better and do better in future_.  _This is a
    dismal_, _cloudy_, _wet evening_.  _We have had so far a very cold
    wet summer_.  _Charlotte has lately been to Hathersage_, _in_
    _Derbyshire_, _on a visit of three weeks to Ellen Nussey_.  _She is
    now sitting sewing in the dining-room_.  _Emily is ironing upstairs_.
    _I am sitting in the dining-room in the rocking-chair before the fire
    with my feet on the fender_.  _Papa is in the parlour_.  _Tabby and
    Martha are_, _I think_, _in the kitchen_.  _Keeper and Flossy are_,
    _I do not know where_.  _Little Dick is hopping in his cage_.  _When
    the last paper was written we were thinking of setting up a school_.
    _The scheme has been dropt_, _and long after taken up again and dropt
    again because we could not get pupils_.  _Charlotte is thinking about
    getting another situation_.  _She wishes to go to Paris_.  _Will she
    go_?  _She has let Flossy in_, _by-the-by_, _and he is now lying on
    the sofa_.  _Emily is engaged in writing the Emperor Julius's life_.
    _She has read some of it_, _and I want very much to hear the rest_.
    _She is writing some poetry_, _too_.  _I wonder what it is about_?
    _I have begun the third volume of Passages in the Life of an
    Individual_.  _I wish I had finished it_.  _This afternoon I began to
    set about making my grey figured silk frock that was dyed at
    Keighley_.  _What sort of a hand shall I make of it_?  _E. and I have
    a great deal of work to do_.  _When shall we sensibly diminish it_?
    _I want to get a habit of early rising_.  _Shall I succeed_?  _We
    have not yet finished our Gondal Chronicles that we began three years
    and a half ago_.  _When will they be done_?  _The Gondals are at
    present in a sad state_.  _The Republicans are uppermost_, _but the
    Royalists are not quite overcome_.  _The young sovereigns_, _with
    their brothers and sisters_, _are still at the Palace of
    Instruction_.  _The Unique Society_, _above half a year ago_, _were
    wrecked on a desert island as they were returning from Gaul_.  _They
    are still there_, _but we have not played at them much yet_.  _The
    Gondals in general are not in first-rate playing condition_.  _Will
    they improve_?  _I wonder how we shall all be and where and how
    situated on the thirtieth of July_ 1848, _when_, _if we are all
    alive_, _Emily will be just_ 30.  _I shall_ _be in my_ 29th _year_,
    _Charlotte in her_ 33rd, _and Branwell in his_ 32nd; _and what
    changes shall we have seen and known_; _and shall we be much changed
    ourselves_?  _I hope not_, _for the worse at least_.  _I for my part
    cannot well be flatter or older in mind than I am now_.  _Hoping for
    the best_, _I conclude_.

                                                            _Anne Bronte_.

Exactly fifty years were to elapse before these pieces of writing saw the
light.  The interest which must always centre in Emily Bronte amply
justifies my publishing a fragment in facsimile; and it has the greater
moment on account of the rough drawing which Emily has made of herself
and of her dog Keeper.  Emily's taste for drawing is a pathetic element
in her always pathetic life.  I have seen a number of her sketches.
There is one in the possession of Mr. Nicholls of Keeper and Flossy, the
former the bull-dog which followed her to the grave, the latter a little
King Charlie which one of the Miss Robinsons gave to Anne.  The sketch,
however, like most of Emily's drawings, is technically full of errors.
She was not a born artist, and possibly she had not the best
opportunities of becoming one by hard work.  Another drawing before me is
of the hawk mentioned in the above fragment; and yet another is of the
dog Growler, a predecessor of Keeper, which is not, however, mentioned in
the correspondence.  Upon Emily Bronte, the poet, I do not propose to
write here.  She left behind her, and Charlotte preserved, a manuscript
volume containing the whole of the poems in the two collections of her
verse, and there are other poems not yet published.  Here, for example,
are some verses in which the Gondals make a slight reappearance.

        [Picture: Facsimile of two pages of Emily Bronte's Diary]

                                                      '_May_ 21_st_, 1838.

                              GLENEDEN'S DREAM.

    'Tell me, whether is it winter?
    Say how long my sleep has been.
    Have the woods I left so lovely
    Lost their robes of tender green?

    'Is the morning slow in coming?
    Is the night time loth to go?
    Tell me, are the dreary mountains
    Drearier still with drifted snow?

    '"Captive, since thou sawest the forest,
    All its leaves have died away,
    And another March has woven
    Garlands for another May.

    '"Ice has barred the Arctic waters;
    Soft Southern winds have set it free;
    And once more to deep green valley
    Golden flowers might welcome thee."

    'Watcher in this lonely prison,
    Shut from joy and kindly air,
    Heaven descending in a vision
    Taught my soul to do and bear.

    'It was night, a night of winter,
    I lay on the dungeon floor,
    And all other sounds were silent--
    All, except the river's roar.

    'Over Death and Desolation,
    Fireless hearths, and lifeless homes;
    Over orphans' heartsick sorrows,
    Patriot fathers' bloody tombs;

    'Over friends, that my arms never
    Might embrace in love again;
    Memory ponderous until madness
    Struck its poniard in my brain.

    'Deepest slumbers followed raving,
    Yet, methought, I brooded still;
    Still I saw my country bleeding,
    Dying for a Tyrant's will.

    'Not because my bliss was blasted,
    Burned within the avenging flame;
    Not because my scattered kindred
    Died in woe or lived in shame.

    'God doth know I would have given
    Every bosom dear to me,
    Could that sacrifice have purchased
    Tortured Gondal's liberty!

    'But that at Ambition's bidding
    All her cherished hopes should wane,
    That her noblest sons should muster,
    Strive and fight and fall in vain.

    'Hut and castle, hall and cottage,
    Roofless, crumbling to the ground,
    Mighty Heaven, a glad Avenger
    Thy eternal Justice found.

    'Yes, the arm that once would shudder
    Even to grieve a wounded deer,
    I beheld it, unrelenting,
    Clothe in blood its sovereign's prayer.

    'Glorious Dream!  I saw the city
    Blazing in Imperial shine,
    And among adoring thousands
    Stood a man of form divine.

    'None need point the princely victim--
    Now he smiles with royal pride!
    Now his glance is bright as lightning,
    Now the knife is in his side!

    'Ah! I saw how death could darken,
    Darken that triumphant eye!
    His red heart's blood drenched my dagger;
    My ear drank his dying sigh!

    'Shadows come! what means this midnight?
    O my God, I know it all!
    Know the fever dream is over,
    Unavenged, the Avengers fall!'

There are, indeed, a few fragments, all written in that tiny handwriting
which the girls affected, and bearing various dates from 1833 to 1840.  A
new edition of Emily's poems, will, by virtue of these verses, have a
singular interest for her admirers.  With all her gifts as a poet,
however, it is by _Wuthering Heights_ that Emily Bronte is best known to
the world; and the weirdness and force of that book suggest an inquiry
concerning the influences which produced it.  Dr. Wright, in his
entertaining book, _The Brontes in Ireland_, recounts the story of
Patrick Bronte's origin, and insists that it was in listening to her
father's anecdotes of his own Irish experiences that Emily obtained the
weird material of _Wuthering Heights_.  It is not, of course, enough to
point out that Dr. Wright's story of the Irish Brontes is full of
contradictions.  A number of tales picked up at random from an illiterate
peasantry might very well abound in inconsistencies, and yet contain some
measure of truth.  But nothing in Dr. Wright's narrative is confirmed,
save only the fact that Patrick Bronte continued throughout his life in
some slight measure of correspondence with his brothers and sisters--a
fact rendered sufficiently evident by a perusal of his will.  Dr. Wright
tells of many visits to Ireland in order to trace the Bronte traditions
to their source; and yet he had not--in his first edition--marked the
elementary fact that the registry of births in County Down records the
existence of innumerable Bruntys and of not a single Bronte.  Dr. Wright
probably made his inquiries with the stories of Emily and Charlotte well
in mind.  He sought for similar traditions, and the quick-witted Irish
peasantry gave him all that he wanted.  They served up and embellished
the current traditions of the neighbourhood for his benefit, as the
peasantry do everywhere for folklore enthusiasts.  Charlotte Bronte's
uncle Hugh, we are told, read the _Quarterly Review_ article upon _Jane
Eyre_, and, armed with a shillelagh, came to England, in order to wreak
vengeance upon the writer of the bitter attack.  He landed at Liverpool,
walked from Liverpool to Haworth, saw his nieces, who 'gathered round
him,' and listened to his account of his mission.  He then went to London
and made abundant inquiries--but why pursue this ludicrous story further?
In the first place, the _Quarterly Review_ article was published in
December 1848--after Emily was dead, and while Anne was dying.  Very soon
after the review appeared Charlotte was informed of its authorship, and
references to Miss Rigby and the _Quarterly_ are found more than once in
her correspondence with Mr. Williams. {158}

This is a lengthy digression from the story of Emily's life, but it is of
moment to discover whether there is any evidence of influences other than
those which her Yorkshire home afforded.  I have discussed the matter
with Miss Ellen Nussey, and with Mr. Nicholls.  Miss Nussey never, in all
her visits to Haworth, heard a single reference to the Irish legends
related by Dr. Wright, and firmly believes them to be mythical.  Mr.
Nicholls, during the six years that he lived alone at the parsonage with
his father-in-law, never heard one single word from Mr. Bronte--who was
by no means disposed to reticence--about these stories, and is also of
opinion that they are purely legendary.

It has been suggested that Emily would have been guilty almost of a crime
to have based the more sordid part of her narrative upon her brother's
transgressions.  This is sheer nonsense.  She wrote _Wuthering Heights_
because she was impelled thereto, and the book, with all its morbid force
and fire, will remain, for all time, as a monument of the most striking
genius that nineteenth century womanhood has given us.  It was partly her
life in Yorkshire--the local colour was mainly derived from her brief
experience as a governess at Halifax--but it was partly, also, the German
fiction which she had devoured during the Brussels period, that inspired
_Wuthering Heights_.

Here, however, are glimpses of Emily Bronte on a more human side.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_March_ 25_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR NELL,--I got home safely, and was not too much tired on
    arriving at Haworth.  I feel rather better to-day than I have been,
    and in time I hope to regain more strength.  I found Emily and Papa
    well, and a letter from Branwell intimating that he and Anne are
    pretty well too.  Emily is much obliged to you for the flower seeds.
    She wishes to know if the Sicilian pea and crimson corn-flower are
    hardy flowers, or if they are delicate, and should be sown in warm
    and sheltered situations?  Tell me also if you went to Mrs. John
    Swain's on Friday, and if you enjoyed yourself; talk to me, in short,
    as you would do if we were together.  Good-morning, dear Nell; I
    shall say no more to you at present.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_April_ 5_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR NELL,--We were all very glad to get your letter this morning.
    _We_, I say, as both Papa and Emily were anxious to hear of the safe
    arrival of yourself and the little _varmint_. {159}  As you
    conjecture, Emily and I set-to to shirt-making the very day after you
    left, and we have stuck to it pretty closely ever since.  We miss
    your society at least as much as you miss ours, depend upon it; would
    that you were within calling distance.  Be sure you write to me.  I
    shall expect another letter on Thursday--don't disappoint me.  Best
    regards to your mother and sisters.--Yours, somewhat irritated,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Earlier than this Emily had herself addressed a letter to Miss Nussey,
and, indeed, the two letters from Emily Bronte to Ellen Nussey which I
print here are, I imagine, the only letters of Emily's in existence.  Mr.
Nicholls informs me that he has never seen a letter in Emily's
handwriting.  The following letter is written during Charlotte's second
stay in Brussels, and at a time when Ellen Nussey contemplated joining
her there--a project never carried out.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                          '_May_ 12, 1843.

    'DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--I should be wanting in common civility if I did
    not thank you for your kindness in letting me know of an opportunity
    to send postage free.

    'I have written as you directed, though if next Tuesday means
    to-morrow I fear it will be too late.  Charlotte has never mentioned
    a word about coming home.  If you would go over for half-a-year,
    perhaps you might be able to bring her back with you--otherwise, she
    might vegetate there till the age of Methuselah for mere lack of
    courage to face the voyage.

    'All here are in good health; so was Anne according to her last
    account.  The holidays will be here in a week or two, and then, if
    she be willing, I will get her to write you a proper letter, a feat
    that I have never performed.--With love and good wishes,

                                                        'EMILY J. BRONTE.'

The next letter is written at the time that Charlotte is staying with her
friend at Mr. Henry Nussey's house at Hathersage in Derbyshire.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _February_ 9_th_, 1846.

    'DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--I fancy this note will be too late to decide one
    way or other with respect to Charlotte's stay.  Yours only came this
    morning (Wednesday), and unless mine travels faster you will not
    receive it till Friday.  Papa, of course, misses Charlotte, and will
    be glad to have her back.  Anne and I ditto; but as she goes from
    home so seldom, you may keep her a day or two longer, if your
    eloquence is equal to the task of persuading her--that is, if she
    still be with you when you get this permission.  Love from
    Anne.--Yours truly,

    'EMILY J. BRONTE.'

_Wuthering Heights_ and _Agnes Grey_, 'by Ellis and Acton Bell,' were
published together in three volumes in 1847.  The former novel occupied
two volumes, and the latter one.  By a strange freak of publishing, the
book was issued as _Wuthering Heights_, vol. I. and II., and _Agnes
Grey_, vol. III., in deference, it must be supposed, to the passion for
the three volume novel.  Charlotte refers to the publication in the next
letter, which contained as inclosure the second preface to _Jane
Eyre_--the preface actually published. {161}  An earlier preface,
entitled 'A Word to the _Quarterly_,' was cancelled.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_December_ 21_st_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I am, for my own part, dissatisfied with the preface I
    sent--I fear it savours of flippancy.  If you see no objection I
    should prefer substituting the inclosed.  It is rather more lengthy,
    but it expresses something I have long wished to express.

    'Mr. Smith is kind indeed to think of sending me _The Jar of Honey_.
    When I receive the book I will write to him.  I cannot thank you
    sufficiently for your letters, and I can give you but a faint idea of
    the pleasure they afford me; they seem to introduce such light and
    life to the torpid retirement where we live like dormice.  But,
    understand this distinctly, you must never write to me except when
    you have both leisure and inclination.  I know your time is too fully
    occupied and too valuable to be often at the service of any one
    individual.

    'You are not far wrong in your judgment respecting _Wuthering
    Heights_ and _Agnes Grey_.  Ellis has a strong, original mind, full
    of strange though sombre power.  When he writes poetry that power
    speaks in language at once condensed, elaborated, and refined, but in
    prose it breaks forth in scenes which shock more than they attract.
    Ellis will improve, however, because he knows his defects.  _Agnes
    Grey_ is the mirror of the mind of the writer.  The orthography and
    punctuation of the books are mortifying to a degree: almost all the
    errors that were corrected in the proof-sheets appear intact in what
    should have been the fair copies.  If Mr. Newby always does business
    in this way, few authors would like to have him for their publisher a
    second time.--Believe me, dear sir, yours respectfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

When _Jane Eyre_ was performed at a London theatre--and it has been more
than once adapted for the stage, and performed many hundreds of times in
England and America--Charlotte Bronte wrote to her friend Mr. Williams as
follows:--

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_February_ 5_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR SIR,--A representation of _Jane Eyre_ at a minor theatre would
    no doubt be a rather afflicting spectacle to the author of that work.
    I suppose all would be wofully exaggerated and painfully vulgarised
    by the actors and actresses on such a stage.  What, I cannot help
    asking myself, would they make of Mr. Rochester?  And the picture my
    fancy conjures up by way of reply is a somewhat humiliating one.
    What would they make of Jane Eyre?  I see something very pert and
    very affected as an answer to that query.

    'Still, were it in my power, I should certainly make a point of being
    myself a witness of the exhibition.  Could I go quietly and alone, I
    undoubtedly should go; I should endeavour to endure both rant and
    whine, strut and grimace, for the sake of the useful observations to
    be collected in such a scene.

    'As to whether I wish _you_ to go, that is another question.  I am
    afraid I have hardly fortitude enough really to wish it.  One can
    endure being disgusted with one's own work, but that a friend should
    share the repugnance is unpleasant.  Still, I know it would interest
    me to hear both your account of the exhibition and any ideas which
    the effect of the various parts on the spectators might suggest to
    you.  In short, I should like to know what you would think, and to
    hear what you would say on the subject.  But you must not go merely
    to satisfy my curiosity; you must do as you think proper.  Whatever
    you decide on will content me: if you do not go, you will be spared a
    vulgarising impression of the book; if you _do_ go, I shall perhaps
    gain a little information--either alternative has its advantage.
    {163}

    'I am glad to hear that the second edition is selling, for the sake
    of Messrs. Smith & Elder.  I rather feared it would remain on hand,
    and occasion loss.  _Wuthering Heights_ it appears is selling too,
    and consequently Mr. Newby is getting into marvellously good tune
    with his authors.--I remain, my dear sir, yours faithfully,

                                                            'CURRER BELL.'

I print the above letter here because of its sequel, which has something
to say of Ellis--of Emily Bronte.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_February_ 15_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR SIR,--Your letter, as you may fancy, has given me something to
    think about.  It has presented to my mind a curious picture, for the
    description you give is so vivid, I seem to realise it all.  I wanted
    information and I have got it.  You have raised the veil from a
    corner of your great world--your London--and have shown me a glimpse
    of what I might call loathsome, but which I prefer calling _strange_.
    Such, then, is a sample of what amuses the metropolitan populace!
    Such is a view of one of their haunts!

    'Did I not say that I would have gone to this theatre and witnessed
    this exhibition if it had been in my power?  What absurdities people
    utter when they speak of they know not what!

    'You must try now to forget entirely what you saw.

    'As to my next book, I suppose it will grow to maturity in time, as
    grass grows or corn ripens; but I cannot force it.  It makes slow
    progress thus far: it is not every day, nor even every week that I
    can write what is worth reading; but I shall (if not hindered by
    other matters) be industrious when the humour comes, and in due time
    I hope to see such a result as I shall not be ashamed to offer you,
    my publishers, and the public.

    'Have you not two classes of writers--the author and the bookmaker?
    And is not the latter more prolific than the former?  Is he not,
    indeed, wonderfully fertile; but does the public, or the publisher
    even, make much account of his productions?  Do not both tire of him
    in time?

    'Is it not because authors aim at a style of living better suited to
    merchants, professed gain-seekers, that they are often compelled to
    degenerate to mere bookmakers, and to find the great stimulus of
    their pen in the necessity of earning money?  If they were not
    ashamed to be frugal, might they not be more independent?

    'I should much--very much--like to take that quiet view of the "great
    world" you allude to, but I have as yet won no right to give myself
    such a treat: it must be for some future day--when, I don't know.
    Ellis, I imagine, would soon turn aside from the spectacle in
    disgust.  I do not think he admits it as his creed that "the proper
    study of mankind is man"--at least not the artificial man of cities.
    In some points I consider Ellis somewhat of a theorist: now and then
    he broaches ideas which strike my sense as much more daring and
    original than practical; his reason may be in advance of mine, but
    certainly it often travels a different road.  I should say Ellis will
    not be seen in his full strength till he is seen as an essayist.

    'I return to you the note inclosed under your cover, it is from the
    editor of the _Berwick Warder_; he wants a copy of _Jane Eyre_ to
    review.

    'With renewed thanks for your continued goodness to me,--I remain, my
    dear sir, yours faithfully,

                                                            'CURRER BELL.'

A short time afterwards the illness came to Emily from which she died the
same year.  Branwell died in September 1848, and a month later Charlotte
writes with a heart full of misgivings:--

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_October_ 29_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I am sorry you should have been uneasy at my not
    writing to you ere this, but you must remember it is scarcely a week
    since I received your last, and my life is not so varied that in the
    interim much should have occurred worthy of mention.  You insist that
    I should write about myself; this puts me in straits, for I really
    have nothing interesting to say about myself.  I think I have now
    nearly got over the effects of my late illness, and am almost
    restored to my normal condition of health.  I sometimes wish that it
    was a little higher, but we ought to be content with such blessings
    as we have, and not pine after those that are out of our reach.  I
    feel much more uneasy about my sisters than myself just now.  Emily's
    cold and cough are very obstinate.  I fear she has pain in the chest,
    and I sometimes catch a shortness in her breathing, when she has
    moved at all quickly.  She looks very, very thin and pale.  Her
    reserved nature occasions me great uneasiness of mind.  It is useless
    to question her--you get no answers.  It is still more useless to
    recommend remedies--they are never adopted.  Nor can I shut my eyes
    to the fact of Anne's great delicacy of constitution.  The late sad
    event has, I feel, made me more apprehensive than common.  I cannot
    help feeling much depressed sometimes.  I try to leave all in God's
    hands; to trust in His goodness; but faith and resignation are
    difficult to practise under some circumstances.  The weather has been
    most unfavourable for invalids of late: sudden changes of
    temperature, and cold penetrating winds have been frequent here.
    Should the atmosphere become settled, perhaps a favourable effect
    might be produced on the general health, and those harassing coughs
    and colds be removed.  Papa has not quite escaped, but he has, so
    far, stood it out better than any of us.  You must not mention my
    going to Brookroyd this winter.  I could not, and would not, leave
    home on any account.  I am truly sorry to hear of Miss Heald's
    serious illness, it seems to me she has been for some years out of
    health now.  These things make one _feel_ as well as _know_, that
    this world is not our abiding-place.  We should not knit human ties
    too close, or clasp human affections too fondly.  They must leave us,
    or we must leave them, one day.  Good-bye for the present.  God
    restore health and strength to you and to all who need it.--Yours
    faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_November_ 2_nd_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have received, since I last wrote to you, two
    papers, the _Standard of Freedom_ and the _Morning Herald_, both
    containing notices of the Poems; which notices, I hope, will at least
    serve a useful purpose to Mr. Smith in attracting public attention to
    the volume.  As critiques, I should have thought more of them had
    they more fully recognised Ellis Bell's merits; but the lovers of
    abstract poetry are few in number.

    'Your last letter was very welcome, it was written with so kind an
    intention: you made it so interesting in order to divert my mind.  I
    should have thanked you for it before now, only that I kept waiting
    for a cheerful day and mood in which to address you, and I grieve to
    say the shadow which has fallen on our quiet home still lingers round
    it.  I am better, but others are ill now.  Papa is not well, my
    sister Emily has something like slow inflammation of the lungs, and
    even our old servant, who lived with us nearly a quarter of a
    century, is suffering under serious indisposition.

    'I would fain hope that Emily is a little better this evening, but it
    is difficult to ascertain this.  She is a real stoic in illness: she
    neither seeks nor will accept sympathy.  To put any questions, to
    offer any aid, is to annoy; she will not yield a step before pain or
    sickness till forced; not one of her ordinary avocations will she
    voluntarily renounce.  You must look on and see her do what she is
    unfit to do, and not dare to say a word--a painful necessity for
    those to whom her health and existence are as precious as the life in
    their veins.  When she is ill there seems to be no sunshine in the
    world for me.  The tie of sister is near and dear indeed, and I think
    a certain harshness in her powerful and peculiar character only makes
    me cling to her more.  But this is all family egotism (so to
    speak)--excuse it, and, above all, never allude to it, or to the name
    Emily, when you write to me.  I do not always show your letters, but
    I never withhold them when they are inquired after.

    'I am sorry I cannot claim for the name Bronte the honour of being
    connected with the notice in the _Bradford Observer_.  That paper is
    in the hands of dissenters, and I should think the best articles are
    usually written by one or two intelligent dissenting ministers in the
    town.  Alexander Harris {168a} is fortunate in your encouragement, as
    Currer Bell once was.  He has not forgotten the first letter he
    received from you, declining indeed his MS. of _The Professor_, but
    in terms so different from those in which the rejections of the other
    publishers had been expressed--with so much more sense and kind
    feeling, it took away the sting of disappointment and kindled new
    hope in his mind.

    'Currer Bell might expostulate with you again about thinking too well
    of him, but he refrains; he prefers acknowledging that the expression
    of a fellow creature's regard--even if more than he deserves--does
    him good: it gives him a sense of content.  Whatever portion of the
    tribute is unmerited on his part, would, he is aware, if exposed to
    the test of daily acquaintance, disperse like a broken bubble, but he
    has confidence that a portion, however minute, of solid friendship
    would remain behind, and that portion he reckons amongst his
    treasures.

    'I am glad, by-the-bye, to hear that _Madeline_ is come out at last,
    and was happy to see a favourable notice of that work and of _The
    Three Paths_ in the _Morning Herald_.  I wish Miss Kavanagh all
    success. {168b}

    'Trusting that Mrs. Williams's health continues strong, and that your
    own and that of all your children is satisfactory, for without health
    there is little comfort,--I am, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The next letter gives perhaps the most interesting glimpse of Emily that
has been afforded us.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_November_ 22_nd_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I put your most friendly letter into Emily's hands as
    soon as I had myself perused it, taking care, however, not to say a
    word in favour of homoeopathy--that would not have answered.  It is
    best usually to leave her to form her own judgment, and _especially_
    not to advocate the side you wish her to favour; if you do, she is
    sure to lean in the opposite direction, and ten to one will argue
    herself into non-compliance.  Hitherto she has refused medicine,
    rejected medical advice; no reasoning, no entreaty, has availed to
    induce her to see a physician.  After reading your letter she said,
    "Mr. Williams's intention was kind and good, but he was under a
    delusion: Homoeopathy was only another form of quackery."  Yet she
    may reconsider this opinion and come to a different conclusion; her
    second thoughts are often the best.

    'The _North American Review_ is worth reading; there is no mincing
    the matter there.  What a bad set the Bells must be!  What appalling
    books they write!  To-day, as Emily appeared a little easier, I
    thought the _Review_ would amuse her, so I read it aloud to her and
    Anne.  As I sat between them at our quiet but now somewhat melancholy
    fireside, I studied the two ferocious authors.  Ellis, the "man of
    uncommon talents, but dogged, brutal, and morose," sat leaning back
    in his easy chair drawing his impeded breath as he best could, and
    looking, alas! piteously pale and wasted; it is not his wont to
    laugh, but he smiled half-amused and half in scorn as he listened.
    Acton was sewing, no emotion ever stirs him to loquacity, so he only
    smiled too, dropping at the same time a single word of calm amazement
    to hear his character so darkly portrayed.  I wonder what the
    reviewer would have thought of his own sagacity could he have beheld
    the pair as I did.  Vainly, too, might he have looked round for the
    masculine partner in the firm of "Bell & Co."  How I laugh in my
    sleeve when I read the solemn assertions that _Jane Eyre_ was written
    in partnership, and that it "bears the marks of more than one mind
    and one sex."

    'The wise critics would certainly sink a degree in their own
    estimation if they knew that yours or Mr. Smith's was the first
    masculine hand that touched the MS. of _Jane Eyre_, and that till you
    or he read it no masculine eye had scanned a line of its contents, no
    masculine ear heard a phrase from its pages.  However, the view they
    take of the matter rather pleases me than otherwise.  If they like, I
    am not unwilling they should think a dozen ladies and gentlemen aided
    at the compilation of the book.  Strange patchwork it must seem to
    them--this chapter being penned by Mr., and that by Miss or Mrs.
    Bell; that character or scene being delineated by the husband, that
    other by the wife!  The gentleman, of course, doing the rough work,
    the lady getting up the finer parts.  I admire the idea vastly.

    'I have read _Madeline_.  It is a fine pearl in simple setting.
    Julia Kavanagh has my esteem; I would rather know her than many far
    more brilliant personages.  Somehow my heart leans more to her than
    to Eliza Lynn, for instance.  Not that I have read either _Amymone_
    or _Azeth_, but I have seen extracts from them which I found it
    literally impossible to digest.  They presented to my imagination
    Lytton Bulwer in petticoats--an overwhelming vision.  By-the-bye, the
    American critic talks admirable sense about Bulwer--candour obliges
    me to confess that.

    'I must abruptly bid you good-bye for the present.--Yours sincerely,

                                                            'CURRER BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_December_ 7_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I duly received Dr. Curie's work on Homoeopathy, and
    ought to apologise for having forgotten to thank you for it.  I will
    return it when I have given it a more attentive perusal than I have
    yet had leisure to do.  My sister has read it, but as yet she remains
    unshaken in her former opinion: she will not admit there can be
    efficacy in such a system.  Were I in her place, it appears to me
    that I should be glad to give it a trial, confident that it can
    scarcely do harm and might do good.

    'I can give no favourable report of Emily's state.  My father is very
    despondent about her.  Anne and I cherish hope as well as we can, but
    her appearance and her symptoms tend to crush that feeling.  Yet I
    argue that the present emaciation, cough, weakness, shortness of
    breath are the results of inflammation, now, I trust, subsided, and
    that with time these ailments will gradually leave her.  But my
    father shakes his head and speaks of others of our family once
    similarly afflicted, for whom he likewise persisted in hoping against
    hope, and who are now removed where hope and fear fluctuate no more.
    There were, however, differences between their case and
    hers--important differences I think.  I must cling to the expectation
    of her recovery, I cannot renounce it.

    'Much would I give to have the opinion of a skilful professional man.
    It is easy, my dear sir, to say there is nothing in medicine, and
    that physicians are useless, but we naturally wish to procure aid for
    those we love when we see them suffer; most painful is it to sit
    still, look on, and do nothing.  Would that my sister added to her
    many great qualities the humble one of tractability!  I have again
    and again incurred her displeasure by urging the necessity of seeking
    advice, and I fear I must yet incur it again and again.  Let me leave
    the subject; I have no right thus to make you a sharer in our sorrow.

    'I am indeed surprised that Mr. Newby should say that he is to
    publish another work by Ellis and Acton Bell.  Acton has had quite
    enough of him.  I think I _have_ before intimated that that author
    never more intends to have Mr. Newby for a publisher.  Not only does
    he seem to forget that engagements made should be fulfilled, but by a
    system of petty and contemptible manoeuvring he throws an air of
    charlatanry over the works of which he has the management.  This does
    not suit the "Bells": they have their own rude north-country ideas of
    what is delicate, honourable, and gentlemanlike.

    'Newby's conduct in no sort corresponds with these notions; they have
    found him--I will not say what they have found him.  Two words that
    would exactly suit him are at my pen point, but I shall not take the
    trouble to employ them.

    'Ellis Bell is at present in no condition to trouble himself with
    thoughts either of writing or publishing.  Should it please Heaven to
    restore his health and strength, he reserves to himself the right of
    deciding whether or not Mr. Newby has forfeited every claim to his
    second work.

    'I have not yet read the second number of _Pendennis_.  The first I
    thought rich in indication of ease, resource, promise; but it is not
    Thackeray's way to develop his full power all at once.  _Vanity Fair_
    began very quietly--it was quiet all through, but the stream as it
    rolled gathered a resistless volume and force.  Such, I doubt not,
    will be the case with _Pendennis_.

    'You must forget what I said about Eliza Lynn.  She may be the best
    of human beings, and I am but a narrow-minded fool to express
    prejudice against a person I have never seen.

    'Believe me, my dear sir, in haste, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The next four letters speak for themselves.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_December_ 9_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Your letter seems to relieve me from a difficulty and
    to open my way.  I know it would be useless to consult Drs. Elliotson
    or Forbes: my sister would not see the most skilful physician in
    England if he were brought to her just now, nor would she follow his
    prescription.  With regard to Homoeopathy, she has at least admitted
    that it cannot do much harm; perhaps if I get the medicines she may
    consent to try them; at any rate, the experiment shall be made.

    'Not knowing Dr. Epps's address, I send the inclosed statement of her
    case through your hands. {173}

    'I deeply feel both your kindness and Mr. Smith's in thus interesting
    yourselves in what touches me so nearly.--Believe me, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_December_ 15_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I mentioned your coming here to Emily as a mere
    suggestion, with the faint hope that the prospect might cheer her, as
    she really esteems you perhaps more than any other person out of this
    house.  I found, however, it would not do; any, the slightest
    excitement or putting out of the way is not to be thought of, and
    indeed I do not think the journey in this unsettled weather, with the
    walk from Keighley and walk back, at all advisable for yourself.  Yet
    I should have liked to see you, and so would Anne.  Emily continues
    much the same; yesterday I thought her a little better, but to-day
    she is not so well.  I hope still, for I _must_ hope--she is dear to
    me as life.  If I let the faintness of despair reach my heart I shall
    become worthless.  The attack was, I believe, in the first place,
    inflammation of the lungs; it ought to have been met promptly in
    time.  She is too intractable.  I _do_ wish I knew her state and
    feelings more clearly.  The fever is not so high as it was, but the
    pain in the side, the cough, the emaciation are there still.

    'Remember me kindly to all at Brookroyd, and believe me, yours
    faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_December_ 21_st_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--Emily suffers no more from pain or weakness now.
    She will never suffer more in this world.  She is gone, after a hard,
    short conflict.  She died on _Tuesday_, the very day I wrote to you.
    I thought it very possible she might be with us still for weeks, and
    a few hours afterwards she was in eternity.  Yes, there is no Emily
    in time or on earth now.  Yesterday we put her poor, wasted, mortal
    frame quietly under the church pavement.  We are very calm at
    present.  Why should we be otherwise?  The anguish of seeing her
    suffer is over; the spectacle of the pains of death is gone by; the
    funeral day is past.  We feel she is at peace.  No need now to
    tremble for the hard frost and the keen wind.  Emily does not feel
    them.  She died in a time of promise.  We saw her taken from life in
    its prime.  But it is God's will, and the place where she is gone is
    better than she has left.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_December_ 25_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I will write to you more at length when my heart can
    find a little rest--now I can only thank you very briefly for your
    letter, which seemed to me eloquent in its sincerity.

    'Emily is nowhere here now, her wasted mortal remains are taken out
    of the house.  We have laid her cherished head under the church aisle
    beside my mother's, my two sisters'--dead long ago--and my poor,
    hapless brother's.  But a small remnant of the race is left--so my
    poor father thinks.

    'Well, the loss is ours, not hers, and some sad comfort I take, as I
    hear the wind blow and feel the cutting keenness of the frost, in
    knowing that the elements bring her no more suffering; their severity
    cannot reach her grave; her fever is quieted, her restlessness
    soothed, her deep, hollow cough is hushed for ever; we do not hear it
    in the night nor listen for it in the morning; we have not the
    conflict of the strangely strong spirit and the fragile frame before
    us--relentless conflict--once seen, never to be forgotten.  A dreary
    calm reigns round us, in the midst of which we seek resignation.

    'My father and my sister Anne are far from well.  As for me, God has
    hitherto most graciously sustained me; so far I have felt adequate to
    bear my own burden and even to offer a little help to others.  I am
    not ill; I can get through daily duties, and do something towards
    keeping hope and energy alive in our mourning household.  My father
    says to me almost hourly, "Charlotte, you must bear up, I shall sink
    if you fail me"; these words, you can conceive, are a stimulus to
    nature.  The sight, too, of my sister Anne's very still but deep
    sorrow wakens in me such fear for her that I dare not falter.
    Somebody _must_ cheer the rest.

    'So I will not now ask why Emily was torn from us in the fulness of
    our attachment, rooted up in the prime of her own days, in the
    promise of her powers; why her existence now lies like a field of
    green corn trodden down, like a tree in full bearing struck at the
    root.  I will only say, sweet is rest after labour and calm after
    tempest, and repeat again and again that Emily knows that now.--Yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

And then there are these last pathetic references to the beloved sister.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_January_ 2_nd_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Untoward circumstances come to me, I think, less
    painfully than pleasant ones would just now.  The lash of the
    _Quarterly_, however severely applied, cannot sting--as its praise
    probably would not elate me.  Currer Bell feels a sorrowful
    independence of reviews and reviewers; their approbation might indeed
    fall like an additional weight on his heart, but their censure has no
    bitterness for him.

    'My sister Anne sends the accompanying answer to the letter received
    through you the other day; will you be kind enough to post it?  She
    is not well yet, nor is papa, both are suffering under severe
    influenza colds.  My letters had better be brief at present--they
    cannot be cheerful.  I am, however, still sustained.  While looking
    with dismay on the desolation sickness and death have wrought in our
    home, I can combine with awe of God's judgments a sense of gratitude
    for his mercies.  Yet life has become very void, and hope has proved
    a strange traitor; when I shall again be able to put confidence in
    her suggestions, I know not: she kept whispering that Emily would
    not, _could_ not die, and where is she now?  Out of my reach, out of
    my world--torn from me.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                                     '_March_ 3_rd_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Hitherto, I have always forgotten to acknowledge the
    receipt of the parcel from Cornhill.  It came at a time when I could
    not open it nor think of it; its contents are still a mystery.  I
    will not taste, till I can enjoy them.  I looked at it the other day.
    It reminded me too sharply of the time when the first parcel arrived
    last October: Emily was then beginning to be ill--the opening of the
    parcel and examination of the books cheered her; their perusal
    occupied her for many a weary day.  The very evening before her last
    morning dawned I read to her one of Emerson's essays.  I read on,
    till I found she was not listening--I thought to recommence next day.
    Next day, the first glance at her face told me what would happen
    before night-fall.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                                 '_November_ 19_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am very sorry to hear that Mr. Taylor's illness has
    proved so much more serious than was anticipated, but I do hope he is
    now better.  That he should be quite well cannot be as yet expected,
    for I believe rheumatic fever is a complaint slow to leave the system
    it has invaded.

    'Now that I have almost formed the resolution of coming to London,
    the thought begins to present itself to me under a pleasant aspect.
    At first it was sad; it recalled the last time I went and with whom,
    and to whom I came home, and in what dear companionship I again and
    again narrated all that had been seen, heard, and uttered in that
    visit.  Emily would never go into any sort of society herself, and
    whenever I went I could on my return communicate to her a pleasure
    that suited her, by giving the distinct faithful impression of each
    scene I had witnessed.  When pressed to go, she would sometimes say,
    "What is the use?  Charlotte will bring it all home to me."  And
    indeed I delighted to please her thus.  My occupation is gone now.

    'I shall come to be lectured.  I perceive you are ready with
    animadversion; you are not at all well satisfied on some points, so I
    will open my ears to hear, nor will I close my heart against
    conviction; but I forewarn you, I have my own doctrines, not
    acquired, but innate, some that I fear cannot be rooted up without
    tearing away all the soil from which they spring, and leaving only
    unproductive rock for new seed.

    'I have read the _Caxtons_, I have looked at _Fanny Hervey_.  I think
    I will not write what I think of either--should I see you I will
    speak it.

    'Take a hundred, take a thousand of such works and weigh them in the
    balance against a page of Thackeray.  I hope Mr. Thackeray is
    recovered.

    'The _Sun_, the _Morning Herald_, and the _Critic_ came this morning.
    None of them express disappointment from _Shirley_, or on the whole
    compare her disadvantageously with _Jane_.  It strikes me that those
    worthies--the _Athenaeum_, _Spectator_, _Economist_, made haste to be
    first with their notices that they might give the tone; if so, their
    manoeuvre has not yet quite succeeded.

    'The _Critic_, our old friend, is a friend still.  Why does the pulse
    of pain beat in every pleasure?  Ellis and Acton Bell are referred
    to, and where are they?  I will not repine.  Faith whispers they are
    not in those graves to which imagination turns--the feeling,
    thinking, the inspired natures are beyond earth, in a region more
    glorious.  I believe them blessed.  I think, I _will_ think, my loss
    has been _their_ gain.  Does it weary you that I refer to them?  If
    so, forgive me.--Yours sincerely,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Before closing this I glanced over the letter inclosed under your
    cover.  Did you read it?  It is from a lady, not quite an old maid,
    but nearly one, she says; no signature or date; a queer, but
    good-natured production, it made me half cry, half laugh.  I am sure
    _Shirley_ has been exciting enough for her, and too exciting.  I
    cannot well reply to the letter since it bears no address, and I am
    glad--I should not know what to say.  She is not sure whether I am a
    gentleman or not, but I fancy she thinks so.  Have you any idea who
    she is?  If I were a gentleman and like my heroes, she suspects she
    should fall in love with me.  She had better not.  It would be a pity
    to cause such a waste of sensibility.  You and Mr. Smith would not
    let me announce myself as a single gentleman of mature age in my
    preface, but if you had permitted it, a great many elderly spinsters
    would have been pleased.'

The last words that I have to say concerning Emily are contained in a
letter to me from Miss Ellen Nussey.

    'So very little is known of Emily Bronte,' she writes, 'that every
    little detail awakens an interest.  Her extreme reserve seemed
    impenetrable, yet she was intensely lovable; she invited confidence
    in her moral power.  Few people have the gift of looking and smiling
    as she could look and smile.  One of her rare expressive looks was
    something to remember through life, there was such a depth of soul
    and feeling, and yet a shyness of revealing herself--a strength of
    self-containment seen in no other.  She was in the strictest sense a
    law unto herself, and a heroine in keeping to her law.  She and
    gentle Anne were to be seen twined together as united statues of
    power and humility.  They were to be seen with their arms lacing each
    other in their younger days whenever their occupations permitted
    their union.  On the top of a moor or in a deep glen Emily was a
    child in spirit for glee and enjoyment; or when thrown entirely on
    her own resources to do a kindness, she could be vivacious in
    conversation and enjoy giving pleasure.  A spell of mischief also
    lurked in her on occasions when out on the moors.  She enjoyed
    leading Charlotte where she would not dare to go of her own
    free-will.  Charlotte had a mortal dread of unknown animals, and it
    was Emily's pleasure to lead her into close vicinity, and then to
    tell her of how and of what she had done, laughing at her horror with
    great amusement.  If Emily wanted a book she might have left in the
    sitting-room she would dart in again without looking at any one,
    especially if any guest were present.  Among the curates, Mr.
    Weightman was her only exception for any conventional courtesy.  The
    ability with which she took up music was amazing; the style, the
    touch, and the expression was that of a professor absorbed heart and
    soul in his theme.  The two dogs, Keeper and Flossy, were always in
    quiet waiting by the side of Emily and Anne during their breakfast of
    Scotch oatmeal and milk, and always had a share handed down to them
    at the close of the meal.  Poor old Keeper, Emily's faithful friend
    and worshipper, seemed to understand her like a human being.  One
    evening, when the four friends were sitting closely round the fire in
    the sitting-room, Keeper forced himself in between Charlotte and
    Emily and mounted himself on Emily's lap; finding the space too
    limited for his comfort he pressed himself forward on to the guest's
    knees, making himself quite comfortable.  Emily's heart was won by
    the unresisting endurance of the visitor, little guessing that she
    herself, being in close contact, was the inspiring cause of
    submission to Keeper's preference.  Sometimes Emily would delight in
    showing off Keeper--make him frantic in action, and roar with the
    voice of a lion.  It was a terrifying exhibition within the walls of
    an ordinary sitting-room.  Keeper was a solemn mourner at Emily's
    funeral and never recovered his cheerfulness.'




CHAPTER VII: ANNE BRONTE


It can scarcely be doubted that Anne Bronte's two novels, _Agnes Grey_
and _The Tenant of Wildfell Hall_, would have long since fallen into
oblivion but for the inevitable association with the romances of her two
greater sisters.  While this may he taken for granted, it is impossible
not to feel, even at the distance of half a century, a sense of Anne's
personal charm.  Gentleness is a word always associated with her by those
who knew her.  When Mr. Nicholls saw what professed to be a portrait of
Anne in a magazine article, he wrote: 'What an awful caricature of the
dear, gentle Anne Bronte!'  Mr. Nicholls has a portrait of Anne in his
possession, drawn by Charlotte, which he pronounces to be an admirable
likeness, and this does convey the impression of a sweet and gentle
nature.

Anne, as we have seen, was taken in long clothes from Thornton to
Haworth.  Her godmother was a Miss Outhwaite, a fact I learn from an
inscription in Anne's _Book of Common Prayer_.  '_Miss Outhwaite to her
goddaughter_, _Anne Bronte_, _July _13_th_, 1827.'  Miss Outhwaite was
not forgetful of her goddaughter, for by her will she left Anne 200
pounds.

There is a sampler worked by Anne, bearing date January 23rd, 1830, and
there is a later book than the Prayer Book, with Anne's name in it, and,
as might be expected, it is a good-conduct prize.  _Prize for good
conduct presented to Miss A. Bronte with Miss Wooler's kind love_, _Roe
Head_, _Dec._ 14_th_, 1836, is the inscription in a copy of Watt _On the
Improvement of the Mind_.

Apart from the correspondence we know little more than this--that Anne
was the least assertive of the three sisters, and that she was more
distinctly a general favourite.  We have Charlotte's own word for it that
even the curates ventured upon 'sheep's eyes' at Anne.  We know all too
little of her two experiences as governess, first at Blake Hall with Mrs.
Ingham, and later at Thorp Green with Mrs. Robinson.  The painful episode
of Branwell's madness came to disturb her sojourn at the latter place,
but long afterwards her old pupils, the Misses Robinson, called to see
her at Haworth; and one of them, who became a Mrs. Clapham of Keighley,
always retained the most kindly memories of her gentle governess.

                          [Picture: Anne Bronte]

With the exception of these two uncomfortable episodes as governess, Anne
would seem to have had no experience of the larger world.  Even before
Anne's death, Charlotte had visited Brussels, London, and Hathersage (in
Derbyshire).  Anne never, I think, set foot out of her native county,
although she was the only one of her family to die away from home.  Of
her correspondence I have only the two following letters:--

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                          'HAWORTH, _October_ 4_th_, 1847.

    'MY DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--Many thanks to you for your unexpected and
    welcome epistle.  Charlotte is well, and meditates writing to you.
    Happily for all parties the east wind no longer prevails.  During its
    continuance she complained of its influence as usual.  I too suffered
    from it in some degree, as I always do, more or less; but this time,
    it brought me no reinforcement of colds and coughs, which is what I
    dread the most.  Emily considers it a very uninteresting wind, but it
    does not affect her nervous system.  Charlotte agrees with me in
    thinking the --- {183a} a very provoking affair.  You are quite
    mistaken about her parasol; she affirms she brought it back, and I
    can bear witness to the fact, having seen it yesterday in her
    possession.  As for my book, I have no wish to see it again till I
    see you along with it, and then it will be welcome enough for the
    sake of the bearer.  We are all here much as you left us.  I have no
    news to tell you, except that Mr. Nicholls begged a holiday and went
    to Ireland three or four weeks ago, and is not expected back till
    Saturday; but that, I dare say, is no news at all.  We were all and
    severally pleased and gratified for your kind and judiciously
    selected presents, from papa down to Tabby, or down to myself,
    perhaps I ought rather to say.  The crab-cheese is excellent, and
    likely to be very useful, but I don't intend to need it.  It is not
    choice but necessity has induced me to choose such a tiny sheet of
    paper for my letter, having none more suitable at hand; but perhaps
    it will contain as much as you need wish to read, and I to write, for
    I find I have nothing more to say, except that your little Tabby must
    be a charming little creature.  That is all, for as Charlotte is
    writing, or about to write to you herself, I need not send any
    messages from her.  Therefore accept my best love.  I must not omit
    the Major's {183b} compliments.  And--Believe me to be your
    affectionate friend,

                                                            'ANNE BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                          'HAWORTH, _January_ 4_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--I am not going to give you a "nice _long_
    letter"--on the contrary, I mean to content myself with a shabby
    little note, to be ingulfed in a letter of Charlotte's, which will,
    of course, be infinitely more acceptable to you than any production
    of mine, though I do not question your friendly regard for me, or the
    indulgent welcome you would accord to a missive of mine, even without
    a more agreeable companion to back it; but you must know there is a
    lamentable deficiency in my organ of language, which makes me almost
    as bad a hand at writing as talking, unless I have something
    particular to say.  I have now, however, to thank you and your friend
    for your kind letter and her pretty watch-guards, which I am sure we
    shall all of us value the more for being the work of her own hands.
    You do not tell us how _you_ bear the present unfavourable weather.
    We are all cut up by this cruel east wind.  Most of us, i.e.
    Charlotte, Emily, and I have had the influenza, or a bad cold
    instead, twice over within the space of a few weeks.  Papa has had it
    once.  Tabby has escaped it altogether.  I have no news to tell you,
    for we have been nowhere, seen no one, and done nothing (to speak of)
    since you were here--and yet we contrive to be busy from morning till
    night.  Flossy is fatter than ever, but still active enough to relish
    a sheep-hunt.  I hope you and your circle have been more fortunate in
    the matter of colds than we have.

    'With kind regards to all,--I remain, dear Miss Nussey, yours ever
    affectionately,

                                                            'ANNE BRONTE.'

_Agnes Grey_, as we have noted, was published by Newby, in one volume, in
1847.  _The Tenant of Wildfell Hall_ was issued by the same publisher, in
three volumes, in 1848.  It is not generally known that _The Tenant of
Wildfell Hall_ went into a second edition the same year; and I should
have pronounced it incredible, were not a copy of the later issue in my
possession, that Anne Bronte had actually written a preface to this
edition.  The fact is entirely ignored in the correspondence.  The
preface in question makes it quite clear, if any evidence of that were
necessary, that Anne had her brother in mind in writing the book.  'I
could not be understood to suppose,' she says, 'that the proceedings of
the unhappy scapegrace, with his few profligate companions I have here
introduced, are a specimen of the common practices of society: the case
is an extreme one, as I trusted none would fail to perceive; but I knew
that such characters do exist, and if I have warned one rash youth from
following in their steps, or prevented one thoughtless girl from falling
into the very natural error of my heroine, the book has not been written
in vain.'  'One word more and I have done,' she continues.  'Respecting
the author's identity, I would have it to be distinctly understood that
Acton Bell is neither Currer nor Ellis Bell, and, therefore, let not his
faults be attributed to them.  As to whether the name is real or
fictitious, it cannot greatly signify to those who know him only by his
works.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_January_ 18_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--In sitting down to write to you I feel as if I were
    doing a wrong and a selfish thing.  I believe I ought to discontinue
    my correspondence with you till times change, and the tide of
    calamity which of late days has set so strongly in against us takes a
    turn.  But the fact is, sometimes I feel it absolutely necessary to
    unburden my mind.  To papa I must only speak cheeringly, to Anne only
    encouragingly--to you I may give some hint of the dreary truth.

    'Anne and I sit alone and in seclusion as you fancy us, but we do not
    study.  Anne cannot study now, she can scarcely read; she occupies
    Emily's chair; she does not get well.  A week ago we sent for a
    medical man of skill and experience from Leeds to see her.  He
    examined her with the stethoscope.  His report I forbear to dwell on
    for the present--even skilful physicians have often been mistaken in
    their conjectures.

    'My first impulse was to hasten her away to a warmer climate, but
    this was forbidden: she must not travel; she is not to stir from the
    house this winter; the temperature of her room is to be kept
    constantly equal.

    'Had leave been given to try change of air and scene, I should hardly
    have known how to act.  I could not possibly leave papa; and when I
    mentioned his accompanying us, the bare thought distressed him too
    much to be dwelt upon.  Papa is now upwards of seventy years of age;
    his habits for nearly thirty years have been those of absolute
    retirement; any change in them is most repugnant to him, and probably
    could not, at this time especially when the hand of God is so heavy
    upon his old age, be ventured upon without danger.

    'When we lost Emily I thought we had drained the very dregs of our
    cup of trial, but now when I hear Anne cough as Emily coughed, I
    tremble lest there should be exquisite bitterness yet to taste.
    However, I must not look forwards, nor must I look backwards.  Too
    often I feel like one crossing an abyss on a narrow plank--a glance
    round might quite unnerve.

    'So circumstanced, my dear sir, what claim have I on your friendship,
    what right to the comfort of your letters?  My literary character is
    effaced for the time, and it is by that only you know me.  Care of
    papa and Anne is necessarily my chief present object in life, to the
    exclusion of all that could give me interest with my publishers or
    their connections.  Should Anne get better, I think I could rally and
    become Currer Bell once more, but if otherwise, I look no farther:
    sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

    'Anne is very patient in her illness, as patient as Emily was
    unflinching.  I recall one sister and look at the other with a sort
    of reverence as well as affection--under the test of suffering
    neither has faltered.

    'All the days of this winter have gone by darkly and heavily like a
    funeral train.  Since September, sickness has not quitted the house.
    It is strange it did not use to be so, but I suspect now all this has
    been coming on for years.  Unused, any of us, to the possession of
    robust health, we have not noticed the gradual approaches of decay;
    we did not know its symptoms: the little cough, the small appetite,
    the tendency to take cold at every variation of atmosphere have been
    regarded as things of course.  I see them in another light now.

    'If you answer this, write to me as you would to a person in an
    average state of tranquillity and happiness.  I want to keep myself
    as firm and calm as I can.  While papa and Anne want me, I hope, I
    pray, never to fail them.  Were I to see you I should endeavour to
    converse on ordinary topics, and I should wish to write on the
    same--besides, it will be less harassing to yourself to address me as
    usual.

    'May God long preserve to you the domestic treasures you value; and
    when bereavement at last comes, may He give you strength to bear
    it.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_February_ 1_st_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Anne seems so tranquil this morning, so free from pain
    and fever, and looks and speaks so like herself in health, that I too
    feel relieved, and I take advantage of the respite to write to you,
    hoping that my letter may reflect something of the comparative peace
    I feel.

    'Whether my hopes are quite fallacious or not, I do not know; but
    sometimes I fancy that the remedies prescribed by Mr. Teale, and
    approved--as I was glad to learn--by Dr. Forbes, are working a good
    result.  Consumption, I am aware, is a flattering malady, but
    certainly Anne's illness has of late assumed a less alarming
    character than it had in the beginning: the hectic is allayed; the
    cough gives a more frequent reprieve.  Could I but believe she would
    live two years--a year longer, I should be thankful: I dreaded the
    terrors of the swift messenger which snatched Emily from us, as it
    seemed, in a few days.

    'The parcel came yesterday.  You and Mr. Smith do nothing by halves.
    Neither of you care for being thanked, so I will keep my gratitude in
    my own mind.  The choice of books is perfect.  Papa is at this moment
    reading Macaulay's _History_, which he had wished to see.  Anne is
    engaged with one of Frederika Bremer's tales.

    'I wish I could send a parcel in return; I had hoped to have had one
    by this time ready to despatch.  When I saw you and Mr. Smith in
    London, I little thought of all that was to come between July and
    Spring: how my thoughts were to be caught away from imagination,
    enlisted and absorbed in realities the most cruel.

    'I will tell you what I want to do; it is to show you the first
    volume of my MS., which I have copied.  In reading Mary Barton (a
    clever though painful tale) I was a little dismayed to find myself in
    some measure anticipated both in subject and incident.  I should like
    to have your opinion on this point, and to know whether the
    resemblance appears as considerable to a stranger as it does to
    myself.  I should wish also to have the benefit of such general
    strictures and advice as you choose to give.  Shall I therefore send
    the MS. when I return the first batch of books?

    'But remember, if I show it to you it is on two conditions: the
    first, that you give me a faithful opinion--I do not promise to be
    swayed by it, but I should like to have it; the second, that you show
    it and speak of it to _none_ but Mr. Smith.  I have always a great
    horror of premature announcements--they may do harm and can never do
    good.  Mr. Smith must be so kind as not to mention it yet in his
    quarterly circulars.  All human affairs are so uncertain, and my
    position especially is at present so peculiar, that I cannot count on
    the time, and would rather that no allusion should be made to a work
    of which great part is yet to create.

    'There are two volumes in the first parcel which, having seen, I
    cannot bring myself to part with, and must beg Mr. Smith's permission
    to retain: Mr. Thackeray's _Journey from Cornhill_, _etc_. and _The
    testimony to the Truth_.  That last is indeed a book after my own
    heart.  I _do_ like the mind it discloses--it is of a fine and high
    order.  Alexander Harris may be a clown by birth, but he is a
    nobleman by nature.  When I could read no other book, I read his and
    derived comfort from it.  No matter whether or not I can agree in all
    his views, it is the principles, the feelings, the heart of the man I
    admire.

    'Write soon and tell me whether you think it advisable that I should
    send the MS.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                         'HAWORTH, _February_ 4_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I send the parcel up without delay, according to your
    request.  The manuscript has all its errors upon it, not having been
    read through since copying.  I have kept _Madeline_, along with the
    two other books I mentioned; I shall consider it the gift of Miss
    Kavanagh, and shall value it both for its literary excellence and for
    the modest merit of the giver.  We already possess Tennyson's _Poems_
    and _Our Street_.  Emerson's _Essays_ I read with much interest, and
    often with admiration, but they are of mixed gold and clay--deep and
    invigorating truth, dreary and depressing fallacy seem to me combined
    therein.  In George Borrow's works I found a wild fascination, a
    vivid graphic power of description, a fresh originality, an athletic
    simplicity (so to speak), which give them a stamp of their own.
    After reading his _Bible in Spain_ I felt as if I had actually
    travelled at his side, and seen the "wild Sil" rush from its mountain
    cradle; wandered in the hilly wilderness of the Sierras; encountered
    and conversed with Manehegan, Castillian, Andalusian, Arragonese,
    and, above all, with the savage Gitanos.

    'Your mention of Mr. Taylor suggests to me that possibly you and Mr.
    Smith might wish him to share the little secret of the MS.--that
    exclusion might seem invidious, that it might make your mutual
    evening chat less pleasant.  If so, admit him to the confidence by
    all means.  He is attached to the firm, and will no doubt keep its
    secrets.  I shall be glad of another censor, and if a severe one, so
    much the better, provided he is also just.  I court the keenest
    criticism.  Far rather would I never publish more, than publish
    anything inferior to my first effort.  Be honest, therefore, all
    three of you.  If you think this book promises less favourably than
    _Jane Eyre_, say so; it is but trying again, _i.e._, if life and
    health be spared.

    'Anne continues a little better--the mild weather suits her.  At
    times I hear the renewal of hope's whisper, but I dare not listen too
    fondly; she deceived me cruelly before.  A sudden change to cold
    would be the test.  I dread such change, but must not anticipate.
    Spring lies before us, and then summer--surely we may hope a little!

    'Anne expresses a wish to see the notices of the poems. You had
    better, therefore, send them.  We shall expect to find painful
    allusions to one now above blame and beyond praise; but these must be
    borne.  For ourselves, we are almost indifferent to censure.  I read
    the _Quarterly_ without a pang, except that I thought there were some
    sentences disgraceful to the critic.  He seems anxious to let it be
    understood that he is a person well acquainted with the habits of the
    upper classes.  Be this as it may, I am afraid he is no gentleman;
    and moreover, that no training could make him such. {190}  Many a
    poor man, born and bred to labour, would disdain that reviewer's cast
    of feeling.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_March_ 2_nd_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--My sister still continues better: she has less languor
    and weakness; her spirits are improved.  This change gives cause, I
    think, both for gratitude and hope.

    'I am glad that you and Mr. Smith like the commencement of my present
    work.  I wish it were _more than a commencement_; for how it will be
    reunited after the long break, or how it can gather force of flow
    when the current has been checked or rather drawn off so long, I know
    not.

    'I sincerely thank you both for the candid expression of your
    objections.  What you say with reference to the first chapter shall
    be duly weighed.  At present I feel reluctant to withdraw it,
    because, as I formerly said of the Lowood part of _Jane Eyre_, _it is
    true_.  The curates and their ongoings are merely photographed from
    the life.  I should like you to explain to me more fully the ground
    of your objections.  Is it because you think this chapter will render
    the work liable to severe handling by the press?  Is it because
    knowing as you now do the identity of "Currer Bell," this scene
    strikes you as unfeminine?  Is it because it is intrinsically
    defective and inferior?  I am afraid the two first reasons would not
    weigh with me--the last would.

    'Anne and I thought it very kind in you to preserve all the notices
    of the Poems so carefully for us.  Some of them, as you said, were
    well worth reading.  We were glad to find that our old friend the
    _Critic_ has again a kind word for us.  I was struck with one curious
    fact, viz., that four of the notices are fac-similes of each other.
    How does this happen?  I suppose they copy.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_March_ 8_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Anne's state has apparently varied very little during
    the last fortnight or three weeks.  I wish I could say she gains
    either flesh, strength, or appetite; but there is no progress on
    these points, nor I hope, as far as regards the two last at least,
    any falling off; she is piteously thin.  Her cough, and the pain in
    her side continue the same.

    'I write these few lines that you may not think my continued silence
    strange; anything like frequent correspondence I cannot keep up, and
    you must excuse me.  I trust you and all at Brookroyd are happy and
    well.  Give my love to your mother and all the rest, and--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_March_ 11_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--My sister has been something worse since I wrote last.
    We have had nearly a week of frost, and the change has tried her, as
    I feared it would do, though not so severely as former experience had
    led me to apprehend.  I am thankful to say she is now again a little
    better.  Her state of mind is usually placid, and her chief
    sufferings consist in the harassing cough and a sense of languor.

    'I ought to have acknowledged the safe arrival of the parcel before
    now, but I put it off from day to day, fearing I should write a
    sorrowful letter.  A similar apprehension induces me to abridge this
    note.

    'Believe me, whether in happiness or the contrary, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                         TO MISS LAETITIA WHEELWRIGHT

                                           'HAWORTH, _March_ 15_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR LAETITIA,--I have not quite forgotten you through the winter,
    but I have remembered you only like some pleasant waking idea
    struggling through a dreadful dream.  You say my last letter was
    dated September 14th.  You ask how I have passed the time since.
    What has happened to me?  Why have I been silent?

    'It is soon told.

    'On the 24th of September my only brother, after being long in weak
    health, and latterly consumptive--though we were far from
    apprehending immediate danger--died, quite suddenly as it seemed to
    us.  He had been out two days before.  The shock was great.  Ere he
    could be interred I fell ill.  A low nervous fever left me very weak.
    As I was slowly recovering, my sister Emily, whom you knew, was
    seized with inflammation of the lungs; suppuration took place; two
    agonising months of hopes and fears followed, and on the 19th of
    December _she died_.

    'She was scarcely cold in her grave when Anne, my youngest and last
    sister, who has been delicate all her life, exhibited symptoms that
    struck us with acute alarm.  We sent for the first advice that could
    be procured.  She was examined with the stethoscope, and the dreadful
    fact was announced that her lungs too were affected, and that
    tubercular consumption had already made considerable progress.  A
    system of treatment was prescribed, which has since been ratified by
    the opinion of Dr. Forbes, whom your papa will, I dare say, know.  I
    hope it has somewhat delayed disease.  She is now a patient invalid,
    and I am her nurse.  God has hitherto supported me in some sort
    through all these bitter calamities, and my father, I am thankful to
    say, has been wonderfully sustained; but there have been hours, days,
    weeks of inexpressible anguish to undergo, and the cloud of impending
    distress still lowers dark and sullen above us.  I cannot write much.
    I can only pray Providence to preserve you and yours from such
    affliction as He has seen good to accumulate on me and mine.

    'With best regards to your dear mamma and all your circle,--Believe
    me, yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                           'HAWORTH, _March_ 24_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I have delayed answering your letter in the
    faint hope that I might be able to reply favourably to your inquiries
    after my sister's health.  This, however, is not permitted me to do.
    Her decline is gradual and fluctuating, but its nature is not
    doubtful.  The symptoms of cough, pain in the side and chest, wasting
    of flesh, strength, and appetite, after the sad experience we have
    had, cannot but be regarded by us as equivocal.

    'In spirit she is resigned; at heart she is, I believe, a true
    Christian.  She looks beyond this life, and regards her home and rest
    as elsewhere than on earth.  May God support her and all of us
    through the trial of lingering sickness, and aid her in the last hour
    when the struggle which separates soul from body must be gone
    through!

    'We saw Emily torn from the midst of us when our hearts clung to her
    with intense attachment, and when, loving each other as we did--well,
    it seemed as if (might we but have been spared to each other) we
    could have found complete happiness in our mutual society and
    affection.  She was scarcely buried when Anne's health failed, and we
    were warned that consumption had found another victim in her, and
    that it would be vain to reckon on her life.

    'These things would be too much if Reason, unsupported by Religion,
    were condemned to bear them alone.  I have cause to be most thankful
    for the strength which has hitherto been vouchsafed both to my father
    and myself.  God, I think, is specially merciful to old age; and for
    my own part, trials which in prospective would have seemed to me
    quite intolerable, when they actually came, I endured without
    prostration.  Yet, I must confess, that in the time which has elapsed
    since Emily's death, there have been moments of solitary, deep, inert
    affliction, far harder to bear than those which immediately followed
    our loss.  The crisis of bereavement has an acute pang which goads to
    exertion, the desolate after-feeling sometimes paralyses.

    'I have learned that we are not to find solace in our own strength:
    we must seek it in God's omnipotence.  Fortitude is good, but
    fortitude itself must be shaken under us to teach us how weak we are.

    'With best wishes to yourself and all dear to you, and sincere thanks
    for the interest you so kindly continue to take in me and my
    sister,--Believe me, my dear Miss Wooler, yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_April_ 16_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Your kind advice on the subject of Homoeopathy
    deserves and has our best thanks.  We find ourselves, however, urged
    from more than one quarter to try different systems and medicines,
    and I fear we have already given offence by not listening to all.
    The fact is, were we in every instance compliant, my dear sister
    would be harassed by continual changes.  Cod-liver oil and carbonate
    of iron were first strongly recommended.  Anne took them as long as
    she could, but at last she was obliged to give them up: the oil
    yielded her no nutriment, it did not arrest the progress of
    emaciation, and as it kept her always sick, she was prevented from
    taking food of any sort.  Hydropathy was then strongly advised.  She
    is now trying Gobold's Vegetable Balsam; she thinks it does her some
    good; and as it is the first medicine which has had that effect, she
    would wish to persevere with it for a time.  She is also looking
    hopefully forward to deriving benefit from change of air.  We have
    obtained Mr. Teale's permission to go to the seaside in the course of
    six or eight weeks.  At first I felt torn between two duties--that of
    staying with papa and going with Anne; but as it is papa's own most
    kindly expressed wish that I should adopt the latter plan, and as,
    besides, he is now, thank God! in tolerable health, I hope to be
    spared the pain of resigning the care of my sister to other hands,
    however friendly.  We wish to keep together as long as we can.  I
    hope, too, to derive from the change some renewal of physical
    strength and mental composure (in neither of which points am I what I
    ought or wish to be) to make me a better and more cheery nurse.

    'I fear I must have seemed to you hard in my observations about _The
    Emigrant Family_.  The fact was, I compared Alexander Harris with
    himself only.  It is not equal to the _Testimony to the Truth_, but,
    tried by the standard of other and very popular books too, it is very
    clever and original.  Both subject and the manner of treating it are
    unhackneyed: he gives new views of new scenes and furnishes
    interesting information on interesting topics.  Considering the
    increasing necessity for and tendency to emigration, I should think
    it has a fair chance of securing the success it merits.

    'I took up Leigh Hunt's book _The Town_ with the impression that it
    would be interesting only to Londoners, and I was surprised, ere I
    had read many pages, to find myself enchained by his pleasant,
    graceful, easy style, varied knowledge, just views, and kindly
    spirit.  There is something peculiarly anti-melancholic in Leigh
    Hunt's writings, and yet they are never boisterous.  They resemble
    sunshine, being at once bright and tranquil.

    'I like Carlyle better and better.  His style I do not like, nor do I
    always concur in his opinions, nor quite fall in with his hero
    worship; but there is a manly love of truth, an honest recognition
    and fearless vindication of intrinsic greatness, of intellectual and
    moral worth, considered apart from birth, rank, or wealth, which
    commands my sincere admiration.  Carlyle would never do for a
    contributor to the _Quarterly_.  I have not read his _French
    Revolution_.

    'I congratulate you on the approaching publication of Mr. Ruskin's
    new work.  If the _Seven Lamps of Architecture_ resemble their
    predecessor, _Modern Painters_, they will be no lamps at all, but a
    new constellation--seven bright stars, for whose rising the reading
    world ought to be anxiously agaze.

    'Do not ask me to mention what books I should like to read.  Half the
    pleasure of receiving a parcel from Cornhill consists in having its
    contents chosen for us.  We like to discover, too, by the leaves cut
    here and there, that the ground has been travelled before us.  I may
    however say, with reference to works of fiction, that I should much
    like to see one of Godwin's works, never having hitherto had that
    pleasure--_Caleb Williams_ or _Fleetwood_, or which you thought best
    worth reading.

    'But it is yet much too soon to talk of sending more books; our
    present stock is scarcely half exhausted.  You will perhaps think I
    am a slow reader, but remember, Currer Bell is a country housewife,
    and has sundry little matters connected with the needle and kitchen
    to attend to which take up half his day, especially now when, alas!
    there is but one pair of hands where once there were three.  I did
    not mean to touch that chord, its sound is too sad.

    'I try to write now and then.  The effort was a hard one at first.
    It renewed the terrible loss of last December strangely.  Worse than
    useless did it seem to attempt to write what there no longer lived an
    "Ellis Bell" to read; the whole book, with every hope founded on it,
    faded to vanity and vexation of spirit.

    'One inducement to persevere and do my best I still have, however,
    and I am thankful for it: I should like to please my kind friends at
    Cornhill.  To that end I wish my powers would come back; and if it
    would please Providence to restore my remaining sister, I think they
    would.

    'Do not forget to tell me how you are when you write again.  I trust
    your indisposition is quite gone by this time.--Believe me, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                       '_May_ 1_st_, 1849.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I returned Mary Taylor's letter to Hunsworth as soon as
    I had read it.  Thank God she was safe up to that time, but I do not
    think the earthquake was then over.  I shall long to hear tidings of
    her again.

    'Anne was worse during the warm weather we had about a week ago.  She
    grew weaker, and both the pain in her side and her cough were worse;
    strange to say, since it is colder, she has appeared rather to revive
    than sink.  I still hope that if she gets over May she may last a
    long time.

    'We have engaged lodgings at Scarbro'.  We stipulated for a
    good-sized sitting-room and an airy double-bedded lodging room, with
    a sea view, and if not deceived, have obtained these desiderata at
    No. 2 Cliff.  Anne says it is one of the best situations in the
    place.  It would not have done to have taken lodgings either in the
    town or on the bleak steep coast, where Miss Wooler's house is
    situated.  If Anne is to get any good she must have every advantage.
    Miss Outhwaite [her godmother] left her in her will a legacy of 200
    pounds, and she cannot employ her money better than in obtaining what
    may prolong existence, if it does not restore health.  We hope to
    leave home on the 23rd, and I think it will be advisable to rest at
    York, and stay all night there.  I hope this arrangement will suit
    you.  We reckon on your society, dear Ellen, as a real privilege and
    pleasure.  We shall take little luggage, and shall have to buy
    bonnets and dresses and several other things either at York or
    Scarbro'; which place do you think would be best?  Oh, if it would
    please God to strengthen and revive Anne, how happy we might be
    together!  His will, however, must be done, and if she is not to
    recover, it remains to pray for strength and patience.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                       '_May_ 8_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I hasten to acknowledge the two kind letters for which
    I am indebted to you.  That fine spring weather of which you speak
    did not bring such happiness to us in its sunshine as I trust it did
    to you and thousands besides--the change proved trying to my sister.
    For a week or ten days I did not know what to think, she became so
    weak, and suffered so much from increased pain in the side, and
    aggravated cough.  The last few days have been much colder, yet,
    strange to say, during their continuance she has appeared rather to
    revive than sink.  She not unfrequently shows the very same symptoms
    which were apparent in Emily only a few days before she died--fever
    in the evenings, sleepless nights, and a sort of lethargy in the
    morning hours; this creates acute anxiety--then comes an improvement,
    which reassures.  In about three weeks, should the weather be genial
    and her strength continue at all equal to the journey, we hope to go
    to Scarboro'.  It is not without misgiving that I contemplate a
    departure from home under such circumstances; but since she herself
    earnestly wishes the experiment to be tried, I think it ought not to
    be neglected.  We are in God's hands, and must trust the results to
    Him.  An old school-fellow of mine, a tried and faithful friend, has
    volunteered to accompany us.  I shall have the satisfaction of
    leaving papa to the attentions of two servants equally tried and
    faithful.  One of them is indeed now old and infirm, and unfit to
    stir much from her chair by the kitchen fireside; but the other is
    young and active, and even she has lived with us seven years.  I have
    reason, therefore, you see, to be thankful amidst sorrow, especially
    as papa still possesses every faculty unimpaired, and though not
    robust, has good general health--a sort of chronic cough is his sole
    complaint.

    'I hope Mr. Smith will not risk a cheap edition of _Jane Eyre_ yet,
    he had better wait awhile--the public will be sick of the name of
    that one book.  I can make no promise as to when another will be
    ready--neither my time nor my efforts are my own.  That absorption in
    my employment to which I gave myself up without fear of doing wrong
    when I wrote _Jane Eyre_, would now be alike impossible and blamable;
    but I do what I can, and have made some little progress.  We must all
    be patient.

    'Meantime, I should say, let the public forget at their ease, and let
    us not be nervous about it.  And as to the critics, if the Bells
    possess real merit, I do not fear impartial justice being rendered
    them one day.  I have a very short mental as well as physical sight
    in some matters, and am far less uneasy at the idea of public
    impatience, misconstruction, censure, etc., than I am at the thought
    of the anxiety of those two or three friends in Cornhill to whom I
    owe much kindness, and whose expectations I would earnestly wish not
    to disappoint.  If they can make up their minds to wait tranquilly,
    and put some confidence in my goodwill, if not my power, to get on as
    well as may be, I shall not repine; but I verily believe that the
    "nobler sex" find it more difficult to wait, to plod, to work out
    their destiny inch by inch, than their sisters do.  They are always
    for walking so fast and taking such long steps, one cannot keep up
    with them.  One should never tell a gentleman that one has commenced
    a task till it is nearly achieved.  Currer Bell, even if he had no
    let or hindrance, and if his path were quite smooth, could never
    march with the tread of a Scott, a Bulwer, a Thackeray, or a Dickens.
    I want you and Mr. Smith clearly to understand this.  I have always
    wished to guard you against exaggerated anticipations--calculate low
    when you calculate on me.  An honest man--and woman too--would always
    rather rise above expectation than fall below it.

    'Have I lectured enough? and am I understood?

    'Give my sympathising respects to Mrs. Williams. I hope her little
    daughter is by this time restored to perfect health.  It pleased me
    to see with what satisfaction you speak of your son.  I was glad,
    too, to hear of the progress and welfare of Miss Kavanagh.  The
    notices of Mr. Harris's works are encouraging and just--may they
    contribute to his success!

    'Should Mr. Thackeray again ask after Currer Bell, say the secret is
    and will be well kept because it is not worth disclosure.  This fact
    his own sagacity will have already led him to divine.  In the hope
    that it may not be long ere I hear from you again,--Believe me, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                             'HAWORTH, _May_ 16_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I will lose no time in thanking you for your
    letter and kind offer of assistance.  We have, however, already
    engaged lodgings.  I am not myself acquainted with Scarbro', but Anne
    knows it well, having been there three or four times.  She had a
    particular preference for the situation of some lodgings (No. 2
    Cliff).  We wrote about them, and finding them disengaged, took them.
    Your information is, notwithstanding, valuable, should we find this
    place in any way ineligible.  It is a satisfaction to be provided
    with directions for future use.

    'Next Wednesday is the day fixed for our departure.  Ellen Nussey
    accompanies us (by Anne's expressed wish).  I could not refuse her
    society, but I dared not urge her to go, for I have little hope that
    the excursion will be one of pleasure or benefit to those engaged in
    it.  Anne is extremely weak.  She herself has a fixed impression that
    the sea air will give her a chance of regaining strength; that
    chance, therefore, we must have.  Having resolved to try the
    experiment, misgivings are useless; and yet, when I look at her,
    misgivings will rise.  She is more emaciated than Emily was at the
    very last; her breath scarcely serves her to mount the stairs,
    however slowly.  She sleeps very little at night, and often passes
    most of the forenoon in a semi-lethargic state.  Still, she is up all
    day, and even goes out a little when it is fine.  Fresh air usually
    acts as a stimulus, but its reviving power diminishes.

    'With best wishes for your own health and welfare,--Believe me, my
    dear Miss Wooler, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                              'No. 2 CLIFF, SCARBORO', _May_ 27_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--The date above will inform you why I have not answered
    your last letter more promptly.  I have been busy with preparations
    for departure and with the journey.  I am thankful to say we reached
    our destination safely, having rested one night at York.  We found
    assistance wherever we needed it; there was always an arm ready to do
    for my sister what I was not quite strong enough to do: lift her in
    and out of the carriages, carry her across the line, etc.

    'It made her happy to see both York and its Minster, and Scarboro'
    and its bay once more.  There is yet no revival of bodily strength--I
    fear indeed the slow ebb continues.  People who see her tell me I
    must not expect her to last long--but it is something to cheer her
    mind.

    'Our lodgings are pleasant.  As Anne sits at the window she can look
    down on the sea, which this morning is calm as glass.  She says if
    she could breathe more freely she would be comfortable at this
    moment--but she cannot breathe freely.

    'My friend Ellen is with us.  I find her presence a solace.  She is a
    calm, steady girl--not brilliant, but good and true.  She suits and
    has always suited me well.  I like her, with her phlegm, repose,
    sense, and sincerity, better than I should like the most talented
    without these qualifications.

    'If ever I see you again I should have pleasure in talking over with
    you the topics you allude to in your last--or rather, in hearing
    _you_ talk them over.  We see these things through a glass darkly--or
    at least I see them thus.  So far from objecting to speculation on,
    or discussion of, the subject, I should wish to hear what others have
    to say.  By _others_, I mean only the serious and reflective--levity
    in such matters shocks as much as hypocrisy.

    'Write to me.  In this strange place your letters will come like the
    visits of a friend.  Fearing to lose the post, I will add no more at
    present.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                      '_May_ 30_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--My poor sister is taken quietly home at last.  She
    died on Monday.  With almost her last breath she said she was happy,
    and thanked God that death was come, and come so gently.  I did not
    think it would be so soon.

    'You will not expect me to add more at present.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_June_ 25_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am now again at home, where I returned last
    Thursday.  I call it _home_ still--much as London would be called
    London if an earthquake should shake its streets to ruins.  But let
    me not be ungrateful: Haworth parsonage is still a home for me, and
    not quite a ruined or desolate home either.  Papa is there, and two
    most affectionate and faithful servants, and two old dogs, in their
    way as faithful and affectionate--Emily's large house-dog which lay
    at the side of her dying bed, and followed her funeral to the vault,
    lying in the pew couched at our feet while the burial service was
    being read--and Anne's little spaniel.  The ecstasy of these poor
    animals when I came in was something singular.  At former returns
    from brief absences they always welcomed me warmly--but not in that
    strange, heart-touching way.  I am certain they thought that, as I
    was returned, my sisters were not far behind.  But here my sisters
    will come no more.  Keeper may visit Emily's little bed-room--as he
    still does day by day--and Flossy may look wistfully round for Anne,
    they will never see them again--nor shall I--at least the human part
    of me.  I must not write so sadly, but how can I help thinking and
    feeling sadly?  In the daytime effort and occupation aid me, but when
    evening darkens, something in my heart revolts against the burden of
    solitude--the sense of loss and want grows almost too much for me.  I
    am not good or amiable in such moments, I am rebellious, and it is
    only the thought of my dear father in the next room, or of the kind
    servants in the kitchen, or some caress from the poor dogs, which
    restores me to softer sentiments and more rational views.  As to the
    night--could I do without bed, I would never seek it.  Waking, I
    think, sleeping, I dream of them; and I cannot recall them as they
    were in health, still they appear to me in sickness and suffering.
    Still, my nights were worse after the first shock of Branwell's
    death--they were terrible then; and the impressions experienced on
    waking were at that time such as we do not put into language.  Worse
    seemed at hand than was yet endured--in truth, worse awaited us.

    'All this bitterness must be tasted.  Perhaps the palate will grow
    used to the draught in time, and find its flavour less acrid.  This
    pain must be undergone; its poignancy, I trust, will be blunted one
    day.  Ellen would have come back with me but I would not let her.  I
    knew it would be better to face the desolation at once--later or
    sooner the sharp pang must be experienced.

    'Labour must be the cure, not sympathy.  Labour is the only radical
    cure for rooted sorrow.  The society of a calm, serenely cheerful
    companion--such as Ellen--soothes pain like a soft opiate, but I find
    it does not probe or heal the wound; sharper, more severe means, are
    necessary to make a remedy.  Total change might do much; where that
    cannot be obtained, work is the best substitute.

    'I by no means ask Miss Kavanagh to write to me.  Why should she
    trouble herself to do it?  What claim have I on her?  She does not
    know me--she cannot care for me except vaguely and on hearsay.  I
    have got used to your friendly sympathy, and it comforts me.  I have
    tried and trust the fidelity of one or two other friends, and I lean
    upon it.  The natural affection of my father and the attachment and
    solicitude of our two servants are precious and consolatory to me,
    but I do not look round for general pity; conventional condolence I
    do not want, either from man or woman.

    'The letter you inclosed in your last bore the signature H. S.
    Mayers--the address, Sheepscombe, Stroud, Gloucestershire; can you
    give me any information respecting the writer?  It is my intention to
    acknowledge it one day.  I am truly glad to hear that your little
    invalid is restored to health, and that the rest of your family
    continue well.  Mrs. Williams should spare herself for her husband's
    and children's sake.  Her life and health are too valuable to those
    round her to be lavished--she should be careful of them.--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

It is not necessary to tell over again the story of Anne's death.  Miss
Ellen Nussey, who was an eye witness, has related it once for all in Mrs.
Gaskell's Memoir.  The tomb at Scarborough hears the following
inscription:--

                           HERE LIE THE REMAINS OF
                                 ANNE BRONTE
                        DAUGHTER OF THE REV. P. BRONTE
                       INCUMBENT OF HAWORTH, YORKSHIRE
                  _She Died_, _Aged_ 28, _May_ 28_th_, 1849




CHAPTER VIII: ELLEN NUSSEY


If to be known by one's friends is the index to character that it is
frequently assumed to be, Charlotte Bronte comes well out of that ordeal.
She was discriminating in friendship and leal to the heart's core.  With
what gratitude she thought of the publisher who gave her the 'first
chance' we know by recognising that the manly Dr. John of _Villette_ was
Mr. George Smith of Smith & Elder.  Mr. W. S. Williams, again, would seem
to have been a singularly gifted and amiable man.  To her three girl
friends, Ellen Nussey, Mary Taylor, and Laetitia Wheelwright, she was
loyal to her dying day, and pencilled letters to the two of them who were
in England were written in her last illness.  Of all her friends, Ellen
Nussey must always have the foremost place in our esteem.  Like Mary
Taylor, she made Charlotte's acquaintance when, at fifteen years of age,
she first went to Roe Head School.  Mrs. Gaskell has sufficiently
described the beginnings of that friendship which death was not to break.
Ellen Nussey and Charlotte Bronte corresponded with a regularity which
one imagines would be impossible had they both been born half a century
later.  The two girls loved one another profoundly.  They wrote at times
almost daily.  They quarrelled occasionally over trifles, as friends
will, but Charlotte was always full of contrition when a few hours had
passed.  Towards the end of her life she wrote to Mr. Williams a letter
concerning Miss Nussey which may well be printed here.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_January_ 3_rd_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of the _Morning
    Chronicle_ with a good review, and of the _Church of England
    Quarterly_ and the _Westminster_ with bad ones.  I have also to thank
    you for your letter, which would have been answered sooner had I been
    alone; but just now I am enjoying the treat of my friend Ellen's
    society, and she makes me indolent and negligent--I am too busy
    talking to her all day to do anything else.  You allude to the
    subject of female friendships, and express wonder at the infrequency
    of sincere attachments amongst women.  As to married women, I can
    well understand that they should be absorbed in their husbands and
    children--but single women often like each other much, and derive
    great solace from their mutual regard.  Friendship, however, is a
    plant which cannot be forced.  True friendship is no gourd, springing
    in a night and withering in a day.  When I first saw Ellen I did not
    care for her; we were school-fellows.  In course of time we learnt
    each other's faults and good points.  We were contrasts--still, we
    suited.  Affection was first a germ, then a sapling, then a strong
    tree--now, no new friend, however lofty or profound in intellect--not
    even Miss Martineau herself--could be to me what Ellen is; yet she is
    no more than a conscientious, observant, calm, well-bred Yorkshire
    girl.  She is without romance.  If she attempts to read poetry, or
    poetic prose, aloud, I am irritated and deprive her of the book--if
    she talks of it, I stop my ears; but she is good; she is true; she is
    faithful, and I love her.

    'Since I came home, Miss Martineau has written me a long and truly
    kindly letter.  She invites me to visit her at Ambleside.  I like the
    idea.  Whether I can realise it or not, it is pleasant to have in
    prospect.

    'You ask me to write to Mrs. Williams.  I would rather she wrote to
    me first; and let her send any kind of letter she likes, without
    studying mood or manner.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Good, True, Faithful--friendship has no sweeter words than these; and it
was this loyalty in Miss Nussey which has marked her out in our day as a
fine type of sweet womanliness, and will secure to her a lasting name as
the friend of Charlotte Bronte.

Miss Ellen Nussey was one of a large family of children, all of whom she
survives.  Her home during the years of her first friendship with
Charlotte Bronte was at the Rydings, at that time the property of an
uncle, Reuben Walker, a distinguished court physician.  The family in
that generation and in this has given many of its members to high public
service in various professions.  Two Nusseys, indeed, and two Walkers,
were court physicians in their day.  When Earl Fitzwilliam was canvassing
for the county in 1809, he was a guest at the Rydings for two weeks, and
on his election was chaired by the tenantry.  Reuben Walker, this uncle
of Miss Nussey's, was the only Justice of the Peace for the district
which included Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, and Halifax, during the
Luddite riots--a significant reminder of the growth of population since
that day.  Ellen Nussey's home was at the Rydings, then tenanted by her
brother John, until 1837, and she then removed to Brookroyd, where she
lived until long after Charlotte Bronte died.

The first letter to Ellen Nussey is dated May 31, 1831, Charlotte having
become her school-fellow in the previous January.  It would seem to have
been a mere play exercise across the school-room, as the girls were then
together at Roe Head.

             [Picture: Ellen Nussey as schoolgirl and adult]

    'DEAR MISS NUSSEY,--I take advantage of the earliest opportunity to
    thank you for the letter you favoured me with last week, and to
    apologise for having so long neglected to write to you; indeed, I
    believe this will be the first letter or note I have ever addressed
    to you.  I am extremely obliged to Mary for her kind invitation, and
    I assure you that I should very much have liked to hear the Lectures
    on Galvanism, as they would doubtless have been amusing and
    instructive.  But we are often compelled to bend our inclination to
    our duty (as Miss Wooler observed the other day), and since there are
    so many holidays this half-year, it would have appeared almost
    unreasonable to ask for an extra holiday; besides, we should perhaps
    have got behindhand with our lessons, so that, everything considered,
    it is perhaps as well that circumstances have deprived us of this
    pleasure.--Believe me to remain, your affectionate friend,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

But by the Christmas holidays, 'Dear Miss Nussey' has become 'Dear
Ellen,' and the friendship has already well commenced.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 13_th_, 1832.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--The receipt of your letter gave me an agreeable
    surprise, for notwithstanding your faithful promises, you must excuse
    me if I say that I had little confidence in their fulfilment, knowing
    that when school girls once get home they willingly abandon every
    recollection which tends to remind them of school, and indeed they
    find such an infinite variety of circumstances to engage their
    attention and employ their leisure hours, that they are easily
    persuaded that they have no time to fulfil promises made at school.
    It gave me great pleasure, however, to find that you and Miss Taylor
    are exceptions to the general rule.  The cholera still seems slowly
    advancing, but let us yet hope, knowing that all things are under the
    guidance of a merciful Providence.  England has hitherto been highly
    favoured, for the disease has neither raged with the astounding
    violence, nor extended itself with the frightful rapidity which
    marked its progress in many of the continental countries.--From your
    affectionate friend,

                                                       'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                          'HAWORTH, _January_ 1_st_, 1833.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I believe we agreed to correspond once a month.  That
    space of time has now elapsed since I received your last interesting
    letter, and I now therefore hasten to reply.  Accept my
    congratulations on the arrival of the New Year, every succeeding day
    of which will, I trust, find you _wiser_ and _better_ in the true
    sense of those much-used words.  The first day of January always
    presents to my mind a train of very solemn and important reflections,
    and a question more easily asked than answered frequently occurs,
    viz.--How have I improved the past year, and with what good
    intentions do I view the dawn of its successor?  These, my dearest
    Ellen, are weighty considerations which (young as we are) neither you
    nor I can too deeply or too seriously ponder.  I am sorry your too
    great diffidence, arising, I think, from the want of sufficient
    confidence in your own capabilities, prevented you from writing to me
    in French, as I think the attempt would have materially contributed
    to your improvement in that language.  You very kindly caution me
    against being tempted by the fondness of my sisters to consider
    myself of too much importance, and then in a parenthesis you beg me
    not to be offended.  O Ellen, do you think I could be offended by any
    good advice you may give me?  No, I thank you heartily, and love you,
    if possible, better for it.  I am glad you like _Kenilworth_.  It is
    certainly a splendid production, more resembling a romance than a
    novel, and, in my opinion, one of the most interesting works that
    ever emanated from the great Sir Walter's pen.  I was exceedingly
    amused at the characteristic and naive manner in which you expressed
    your detestation of Varney's character--so much so, indeed, that I
    could not forbear laughing aloud when I perused that part of your
    letter.  He is certainly the personification of consummate villainy;
    and in the delineation of his dark and profoundly artful mind, Scott
    exhibits a wonderful knowledge of human nature as well as surprising
    skill in embodying his perceptions so as to enable others to become
    participators in that knowledge.  Excuse the want of news in this
    very barren epistle, for I really have none to communicate.  Emily
    and Anne beg to be kindly remembered to you.  Give my best love to
    your mother and sisters, and as it is very late permit me to conclude
    with the assurance of my unchanged, unchanging, and unchangeable
    affection for you.--Adieu, my sweetest Ellen, I am ever yours,

                                                              'CHARLOTTE.'

Here is a pleasant testimony to Miss Nussey's attractions from Emily and
Anne.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                       'HAWORTH, _September_ 11_th_, 1833.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have hitherto delayed answering your last letter
    because from what you said I imagined you might be from home.  Since
    you were here Emily has been very ill.  Her ailment was erysipelas in
    the arm, accompanied by severe bilious attacks, and great general
    debility.  Her arm was obliged to be cut in order to relieve it.  It
    is now, I am happy to say, nearly healed--her health is, in fact,
    almost perfectly re-established.  The sickness still continues to
    recur at intervals.  Were I to tell you of the impression you have
    made on every one here you would accuse me of flattery.  Papa and
    aunt are continually adducing you as an example for me to shape my
    actions and behaviour by.  Emily and Anne say "they never saw any one
    they liked so well as Miss Nussey," and Tabby talks a great deal more
    nonsense about you than I choose to report.  You must read this
    letter, dear Ellen, without thinking of the writing, for I have
    indited it almost all in the twilight.  It is now so dark that,
    notwithstanding the singular property of "seeing in the night-time"
    which the young ladies at Roe Head used to attribute to me, I can
    scribble no longer.  All the family unite with me in wishes for your
    welfare.  Remember me respectfully to your mother and sisters, and
    supply all those expressions of warm and genuine regard which the
    increasing darkness will not permit me to insert.

                                                       'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _February_ 11_th_, 1834.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--My letters are scarcely worth the postage, and
    therefore I have, till now, delayed answering your last
    communication; but upwards of two months having elapsed since I
    received it, I have at length determined to take up my pen in reply
    lest your anger should be roused by my apparent negligence.  It
    grieved me extremely to hear of your precarious state of health.  I
    trust sincerely that your medical adviser is mistaken in supposing
    you have any tendency to a pulmonary affection.  Dear Ellen, that
    would indeed be a calamity.  I have seen enough of consumption to
    dread it as one of the most insidious and fatal diseases incident to
    humanity.  But I repeat it, I _hope_, nay _pray_, that your alarm is
    groundless.  If you remember, I used frequently to tell you at school
    that you were constitutionally nervous--guard against the gloomy
    impressions which such a state of mind naturally produces.  Take
    constant and regular exercise, and all, I doubt not, will yet be
    well.  What a remarkable winter we have had!  Rain and wind
    continually, but an almost total absence of frost and snow.  Has
    _general_ ill health been the consequence of wet weather at Birstall
    or not?  With us an unusual number of deaths have lately taken place.
    According to custom I have no news to communicate, indeed I do not
    write either to retail gossip or to impart solid information; my
    motives for maintaining our mutual correspondence are, in the first
    place, to get intelligence from you, and in the second that we may
    remind each other of our separate existences; without some such
    medium of reciprocal converse, according to the nature of things,
    _you_, who are surrounded by society and friends, would soon forget
    that such an insignificant being as myself ever lived.  _I_, however,
    in the solitude of our wild little hill village, think of my only
    unrelated friend, my dear ci-devant school companion daily--nay,
    almost hourly.  Now Ellen, don't you think I have very cleverly
    contrived to make up a letter out of nothing?  Goodbye, dearest.
    That God may bless you is the earnest prayer of your ever faithful
    friend,

                                                       'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _November_ 10_th_, 1834.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have been a long while, a very long while without
    writing to you.  A letter I received from Mary Taylor this morning
    reminded me of my neglect, and made me instantly sit down to atone
    for it, if possible.  She tells me your aunt, of Brookroyd, is dead,
    and that Sarah is very ill; for this I am truly sorry, but I hope her
    case is not yet without hope.  You should however remember that
    death, should it happen, will undoubtedly be great gain to her.  In
    your last, dear Ellen, you ask my opinion respecting the amusement of
    dancing, and whether I thought it objectionable when indulged in for
    an hour or two in parties of boys and girls.  I should hesitate to
    express a difference of opinion from Mr. Atkinson, but really the
    matter seems to me to stand thus: It is allowed on all hands that the
    sin of dancing consists not in the mere action of shaking the shanks
    (as the Scotch say), but in the consequences that usually attend
    it--namely, frivolity and waste of time; when it is used only, as in
    the case you state, for the exercise and amusement of an hour among
    young people (who surely may without any breach of God's commandments
    be allowed a little light-heartedness), these consequences cannot
    follow.  Ergo (according to my manner of arguing), the amusement is
    at such times perfectly innocent.  Having nothing more to say, I will
    conclude with the expression of my sincere and earnest attachment
    for, Ellen, your own dear self.

                                                       'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 12_th_, 1835.

    'DEAREST ELLEN,--I thought it better not to answer your kind letter
    too soon, lest I should (in the present fully occupied state of your
    time) appear intrusive.  I am happy to inform you papa has given me
    permission to accept the invitation it conveyed, and ere long I hope
    once more to have the pleasure of seeing _almost_ the _only_ and
    certainly the _dearest_ friend I possess (out of our own family).  I
    leave it to you to fix the time, only requesting you not to appoint
    too early a day; let it be a fortnight or three weeks at least from
    the date of the present letter.  I am greatly obliged to you for your
    kind offer of meeting me at Bradford, but papa thinks that such a
    plan would involve uncertainty, and be productive of trouble to you.
    He recommends that I should go direct in a gig from Haworth at the
    time you shall determine, or, if that day should prove unfavourable,
    the first subsequent fine one.  Such an arrangement would leave us
    both free, and if it meets with your approbation would perhaps be the
    best we could finally resolve upon.  Excuse the brevity of this
    epistle, dear Ellen, for I am in a great hurry, and we shall, I
    trust, soon see each other face to face, which will be better than a
    hundred letters.  Give my respectful love to your mother and sisters,
    accept the kind remembrances of all our family, and--Believe me in
    particular to be, your firm and faithful friend,

                                                        'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.

    '_P.S._--You ask me to stay a month when I come, but as I do not wish
    to tire you with my company, and as, besides, papa and aunt both
    think a fortnight amply sufficient, I shall not exceed that period.
    Farewell, _dearest_, _dearest_.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                      'ROE HEAD, _September_ 10_th_, 1835.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--You are far too kind and frequent in your
    invitations.  You puzzle me: I hardly know how to refuse, and it is
    still more embarrassing to accept.  At any rate, I cannot come this
    week, for we are in the very thickest _melee_ of the repetitions; I
    was hearing the terrible fifth section when your note arrived.  But
    Miss Wooler says I must go to Gomersall next Friday as she promised
    for me on Whitsunday; and on Sunday morning I will join you at
    church, if it be convenient, and stay at Rydings till Monday morning.
    There's a free and easy proposal!  Miss Wooler has driven me to
    it--she says her character is implicated!  I am very sorry to hear
    that your mother has been ill.  I do hope she is better now, and that
    all the rest of the family are well.  Will you be so kind as to
    deliver the accompanying note to Miss Taylor when you see her at
    church on Sunday?  Dear Ellen, excuse the most horrid scrawl ever
    penned by mortal hands.  Remember me to your mother and sisters,
    and--Believe me, E. Nussey's friend,

                                                              'CHARLOTTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_February_ 20_th_, 1837.

    'I read your letter with dismay, Ellen--what shall I do without you?
    Why are we so to be denied each other's society?  It is an
    inscrutable fatality.  I long to be with you because it seems as if
    two or three days or weeks spent in your company would beyond measure
    strengthen me in the enjoyment of those feelings which I have so
    lately begun to cherish.  You first pointed out to me that way in
    which I am so feebly endeavouring to travel, and now I cannot keep
    you by my side, I must proceed sorrowfully alone.

    'Why are we to be divided?  Surely, Ellen, it must be because we are
    in danger of loving each other too well--of losing sight of the
    _Creator_ in idolatry of the _creature_.  At first I could not say,
    "Thy will be done."  I felt rebellious; but I know it was wrong to
    feel so.  Being left a moment alone this morning I prayed fervently
    to be enabled to resign myself to _every_ decree of God's
    will--though it should be dealt forth with a far severer hand than
    the present disappointment.  Since then, I have felt calmer and
    humbler--and consequently happier.  Last Sunday I took up my Bible in
    a gloomy frame of mind; I began to read; a feeling stole over me such
    as I have not known for many long years--a sweet placid sensation
    like those that I remember used to visit me when I was a little
    child, and on Sunday evenings in summer stood by the open window
    reading the life of a certain French nobleman who attained a purer
    and higher degree of sanctity than has been known since the days of
    the early Martyrs.  I thought of my own Ellen--I wished she had been
    near me that I might have told her how happy I was, how bright and
    glorious the pages of God's holy word seemed to me.  But the
    "foretaste" passed away, and earth and sin returned.  I must see you
    before you go, Ellen; if you cannot come to Roe Head I will contrive
    to walk over to Brookroyd, provided you will let me know the time of
    your departure.  Should you not be at home at Easter I dare not
    promise to accept your mother's and sisters' invitation.  I should be
    miserable at Brookroyd without you, yet I would contrive to visit
    them for a few hours if I could not for a few days.  I love them for
    your sake.  I have written this note at a venture.  When it will
    reach you I know not, but I was determined not to let slip an
    opportunity for want of being prepared to embrace it.  Farewell, may
    God bestow on you all His blessings.  My darling--Farewell.  Perhaps
    you may return before midsummer--do you think you possibly can?  I
    wish your brother John knew how unhappy I am; he would almost pity
    me.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_June_ 8_th_, 1837.

    'MY DEAREST ELLEN,--The inclosed, as you will perceive, was written
    before I received your last.  I had intended to send it by this, but
    what you said altered my intention.  I scarce dare build a hope on
    the foundation your letter lays--we have been disappointed so often,
    and I fear I shall not be able to prevail on them to part with you;
    but I will try my utmost, and at any rate there is a chance of our
    meeting soon; with that thought I will comfort myself.  You do not
    know how selfishly _glad_ I am that you still continue to dislike
    London and the Londoners--it seems to afford a sort of proof that
    your affections are not changed.  Shall we really stand once again
    together on the moors of Haworth?  I _dare_ not flatter myself with
    too sanguine an expectation.  I see many doubts and difficulties.
    But with Miss Wooler's leave, which I have asked and in part
    obtained, I will go to-morrow and try to remove them.--Believe me, my
    own Ellen, yours always truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 12_th_, 1839.

    'MY _dear kind_ ELLEN,--I can hardly help laughing when I reckon up
    the number of urgent invitations I have received from you during the
    last three months.  Had I accepted all or even half of them, the
    Birstallians would certainly have concluded that I had come to make
    Brookroyd my permanent residence.  When you set your mind upon it,
    you have a peculiar way of edging one in with a circle of dilemmas,
    so that they hardly know how to refuse you; however, I shall take a
    running leap and clear them all.  Frankly, my dear Ellen, I _cannot
    come_.  Reflect for yourself a moment.  Do you see nothing absurd in
    the idea of a person coming again into a neighbourhood within a month
    after they have taken a solemn and formal leave of all their
    acquaintance?  However, I thank both you and your mother for the
    invitation, which was most kindly expressed.  You give no answer to
    my proposal that you should come to Haworth with the Taylors.  I
    still think it would be your best plan.  I wish you and the Taylors
    were safely here; there is no pleasure to be had without toiling for
    it.  You must invite me no more, my dear Ellen, until next Midsummer
    at the nearest.  All here desire to be remembered to you, aunt
    particularly.  Angry though you are, I will venture to sign myself as
    usual (no, not as usual, but as suits circumstances).--Yours, under a
    cloud,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                       '_May_ 5_th_, 1838.

    'MY DEAREST ELLEN,--Yesterday I heard that you were ill.  Mr. and
    Miss Heald were at Dewsbury Moor, and it was from them I obtained the
    information.  This morning I set off to Brookroyd to learn further
    particulars, from whence I am but just returned.  Your mother is in
    great distress about you, she can hardly mention your name without
    tears; and both she and Mercy wish very much to see you at home
    again.  Poor girl, you have been a fortnight confined to your bed;
    and while I was blaming you in my own mind for not writing, you were
    suffering in sickness without one kind _female_ friend to watch over
    you.  I should have heard all this before and have hastened to
    express my sympathy with you in this crisis had I been able to visit
    Brookroyd in the Easter holidays, but an unexpected summons back to
    Dewsbury Moor, in consequence of the illness and death of Mr. Wooler,
    prevented it.  Since that time I have been a fortnight and two days
    quite alone, Miss Wooler being detained in the interim at Rouse Mill.
    You will now see, Ellen, that it was not neglect or failure of
    affection which has occasioned my silence, though I fear you will
    long ago have attributed it to those causes.  If you are well enough,
    do write to me just two lines--just to assure me of your
    convalescence; not a word, however, if it would harm you--not a
    syllable.  They value you at home.  Sickness and absence call forth
    expressions of attachment which might have remained long enough
    unspoken if their object had been present and well.  I wish your
    _friends_ (I include myself in that word) may soon cease to have
    cause for so painful an excitement of their regard.  As yet I have
    but an imperfect idea of the nature of your illness--of its
    extent--or of the degree in which it may now have subsided.  When you
    can let me know all, no particular, however minute, will be
    uninteresting to me.  How have your spirits been?  I trust not much
    overclouded, for that is the most melancholy result of illness.  You
    are not, I understand, going to Bath at present; they seem to have
    arranged matters strangely.  When I parted from you near White-lee
    Bar, I had a more sorrowful feeling than ever I experienced before in
    our temporary separations.  It is foolish to dwell too much on the
    idea of presentiments, but I certainly had a feeling that the time of
    our reunion had never been so indefinite or so distant as then.  I
    doubt not, my dear Ellen, that amidst your many trials, amidst the
    sufferings that you have of late felt in yourself, and seen in
    several of your relations, you have still been able to look up and
    find support in trial, consolation in affliction, and repose in
    tumult, where human interference can make no change.  I think you
    know in the right spirit how to withdraw yourself from the vexation,
    the care, the meanness of life, and to derive comfort from purer
    sources than this world can afford.  You know how to do it silently,
    unknown to others, and can avail yourself of that hallowed communion
    the Bible gives us with God.  I am charged to transmit your mother's
    and sister's love.  Receive mine in the same parcel, I think it will
    scarcely be the smallest share.  Farewell, my dear Ellen.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 15_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I read your last letter with a great deal of
    interest.  Perhaps it is not always well to tell people when we
    approve of their actions, and yet it is very pleasant to do so; and
    as, if you had done wrongly, I hope I should have had honesty enough
    to tell you so, so now, as you have done rightly, I shall gratify
    myself by telling you what I think.

    'If I made you my father confessor I could reveal weaknesses which
    you do not dream of.  I do not mean to intimate that I attach a _high
    value_ to empty compliments, but a word of panegyric has often made
    me feel a sense of confused pleasure which it required my strongest
    effort to conceal--and on the other hand, a hasty expression which I
    could construe into neglect or disapprobation has tortured me till I
    have lost half a night's rest from its rankling pangs.

    'C. BRONTE.

    '_P.S._--Don't talk any more of sending for me--when I come I will
    _send_ myself.  All send their love to you.  I have no prospect of a
    situation any more than of going to the moon.  Write to me again as
    soon as you can.'

Here is the only glimpse that we find of her Penzance relatives in these
later years.  They would seem to have visited Haworth when Charlotte was
twenty-four years of age.  The impression they left was not a kindly one.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_August_ 14_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--As you only sent me a note, I shall only send you
    one, and that not out of revenge, but because like you I have but
    little to say.  The freshest news in our house is that we had, a
    fortnight ago, a visit from some of our South of England relations,
    John Branwell and his wife and daughter.  They have been staying
    above a month with Uncle Fennell at Crosstone.  They reckon to be
    very grand folks indeed, and talk largely--I thought assumingly.  I
    cannot say I much admired them.  To my eyes there seemed to be an
    attempt to play the great Mogul down in Yorkshire.  Mr. Branwell was
    much less assuming than the womenites; he seemed a frank, sagacious
    kind of man, very tall and vigorous, with a keen active look.  The
    moment he saw me he exclaimed that I was the very image of my aunt
    Charlotte.  Mrs. Branwell sets up for being a woman of great talent,
    tact, and accomplishment.  I thought there was much more noise than
    work.  My cousin Eliza is a young lady intended by nature to be a
    bouncing, good-looking girl--art has trained her to be a languishing,
    affected piece of goods.  I would have been friendly with her, but I
    could get no talk except about the Low Church, Evangelical clergy,
    the Millennium, Baptist Noel, botany, and her own conversion.  A
    mistaken education has utterly spoiled the lass.  Her face tells that
    she is naturally good-natured, though perhaps indolent.  Her
    affectations were so utterly out of keeping with her round rosy face
    and tall bouncing figure, I could hardly refrain from laughing as I
    watched her.  Write a long letter next time and I'll write you ditto.
    Good-bye.'

We have already read the letters which were written to Miss Nussey during
the governess period, and from Brussels.  On her final return from
Brussels, Charlotte implores a letter.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _February_ 10_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I cannot tell what occupies your thoughts and time.
    Are you ill?  Is some one of your family ill?  Are you married?  Are
    you dead?  If it be so, you may as well write a word and let me
    know--for my part, I am again in old England.  I shall tell you
    nothing further till you write to me.

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Write to me directly, that is a good girl; I feel really anxious,
    and have felt so for a long time to hear from you.'

She visits Miss Nussey soon afterwards at Brookroyd, and a little later
writes as follows:

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_April_ 7_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR NELL,--I have received your note.  It communicated a piece of
    good news which I certainly did not expect to hear.  I want, however,
    further enlightenment on the subject.  Can you tell me what has
    caused the change in Mary's plans, and brought her so suddenly back
    to England?  Is it on account of Mary Dixon?  Is it the wish of her
    brother, or is it her own determination?  I hope, whatever the reason
    be, it is nothing which can give her uneasiness or do her harm.  Do
    you know how long she is likely to stay in England? or when she
    arrives at Hunsworth?

    'You ask how I am.  I really have felt much better the last week--I
    think my visit to Brookroyd did me good.  What delightful weather we
    have had lately.  I wish we had had such while I was with you.  Emily
    and I walk out a good deal on the moors, to the great damage of our
    shoes, but I hope to the benefit of our health.

    'Good-bye, dear Ellen.  Send me another of your little notes soon.
    Kindest regards to all,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_June_ 9_th_, 1844.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--Anne and Branwell are now at home, and they and
    Emily add their request to mine, that you will join us at the
    beginning of next week.  Write and let us know what day you will
    come, and how--if by coach, we will meet you at Keighley.  Do not let
    your visit be later than the beginning of next week, or you will see
    little of Anne and Branwell as their holidays are very short.  They
    will soon have to join the family at Scarborough.  Remember me kindly
    to your mother and sisters.  I hope they are all well.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_November_ 14_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Your letter came very apropos, as, indeed, your letters
    always do; but this morning I had something of a headache, and was
    consequently rather out of spirits, and the epistle (scarcely legible
    though it be--excuse a rub) cheered me.  In order to evince my
    gratitude, as well as to please my own inclination, I sit down to
    answer it immediately.  I am glad, in the first place, to hear that
    your brother is going to be married, and still more so to learn that
    his wife-elect has a handsome fortune--not that I advocate marrying
    for money in general, but I think in many cases (and this is one)
    money is a very desirable contingent of matrimony.

    'I wonder when Mary Taylor is expected in England.  I trust you will
    be at home while she is at Hunsworth, and that you, she, and I, may
    meet again somewhere under the canopy of heaven.  I cannot, dear
    Ellen, make any promise about myself and Anne going to Brookroyd at
    Christmas; her vacations are so short she would grudge spending any
    part of them from home.

    'The catastrophe, which you related so calmly, about your book-muslin
    dress, lace bertha, etc., convulsed me with cold shudderings of
    horror.  You have reason to curse the day when so fatal a present was
    offered you as that infamous little "varmint."  The perfect serenity
    with which you endured the disaster proves most fully to me that you
    would make the best wife, mother, and mistress in the world.  You and
    Anne are a pair for marvellous philosophical powers of endurance; no
    spoilt dinners, scorched linen, dirtied carpets, torn sofa-covers,
    squealing brats, cross husbands, would ever discompose either of you.
    You ought never to marry a good-tempered man, it would be mingling
    honey with sugar, like sticking white roses upon a black-thorn
    cudgel.  With this very picturesque metaphor I close my letter.
    Good-bye, and write very soon.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Much has been said concerning Charlotte Bronte's visit to Hathersage in
Derbyshire, and it is interesting because of the fact that Miss Bronte
obtained the name of 'Eyre' from a family in that neighbourhood, and
Morton in _Jane Eyre_ may obviously be identified with Hathersage. {221}
Miss Ellen Nussey's brother Henry became Vicar of Hathersage, and he
married shortly afterwards.  While he was on his honeymoon his sister
went to Hathersage to keep house for him, and she invited her friend
Charlotte Bronte to stay with her.  The visit lasted three weeks.  This
was the only occasion that Charlotte visited Hathersage.  Here are two or
three short notes referring to that visit.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_June_ 10_th_, 1845.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--It is very vexatious for you to have had to go to
    Sheffield in vain.  I am glad to hear that there is an omnibus on
    Thursday, and I have told Emily and Anne I will try to come on that
    day.  The opening of the railroad is now postponed till July 7th.  I
    should not like to put you off again, and for that and some other
    reasons they have decided to give up the idea of going to Scarbro',
    and instead, to make a little excursion next Monday and Tuesday, to
    Ilkley or elsewhere.  I hope no other obstacle will arise to prevent
    my going to Hathersage.  I do long to be with you, and I feel
    nervously afraid of being prevented, or put off in some way.
    Branwell only stayed a week with us, but he is to come home again
    when the family go to Scarboro'.  I will write to Brookroyd directly.
    Yesterday I had a little note from Henry inviting me to go to see
    you.  This is one of your contrivances, for which you deserve
    smothering.  You have written to Henry to tell him to write to me.
    Do you think I stood on ceremony about the matter?

    'The French papers have ceased to come.  Good-bye for the present.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                                TO MRS. NUSSEY

                                                     '_July_ 23_rd_, 1845.

    'MY DEAR MRS. NUSSEY,--I lose no time after my return home in writing
    to you and offering you my sincere thanks for the kindness with which
    you have repeatedly invited me to go and stay a few days at
    Brookroyd.  It would have given me great pleasure to have gone, had
    it been only for a day, just to have seen you and Miss Mercy (Miss
    Nussey I suppose is not at home) and to have been introduced to Mrs.
    Henry, but I have stayed so long with Ellen at Hathersage that I
    could not possibly now go to Brookroyd.  I was expected at home; and
    after all _home_ should always have the first claim on our attention.
    When I reached home (at ten o'clock on Saturday night) I found papa,
    I am thankful to say, pretty well, but he thought I had been a long
    time away.

    'I left Ellen well, and she had generally good health while I stayed
    with her, but she is very anxious about matters of business, and
    apprehensive lest things should not be comfortable against the
    arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Henry--she is so desirous that the day of
    their arrival at Hathersage should be a happy one to both.

    'I hope, my dear Mrs. Nussey, you are well; and I should be very
    happy to receive a little note either from you or from Miss Mercy to
    assure me of this.--Believe me, yours affectionately and sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_July_ 24_th_, 1845.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--A series of toothaches, prolonged and severe, bothering
    me both day and night, have kept me very stupid of late, and
    prevented me from writing to you.  More than once I have sat down and
    opened my desk, but have not been able to get up to par.  To-day,
    after a night of fierce pain, I am better--much better, and I take
    advantage of the interval of ease to discharge my debt.  I wish I had
    50 pounds to spare at present, and that you, Emily, Anne, and I were
    all at liberty to leave home without our absence being detrimental to
    any body.  How pleasant to set off _en masse_ to the seaside, and
    stay there a few weeks, taking in a stock of health and strength.--We
    could all do with recreation.  Adversity agrees with you, Ellen.
    Your good qualities are never so obvious as when under the pressure
    of affliction.  Continued prosperity might develope too much a
    certain germ of ambition latent in your character.  I saw this little
    germ putting out green shoots when I was staying with you at
    Hathersage.  It was not then obtrusive, and perhaps might never
    become so.  Your good sense, firm principle, and kind feeling might
    keep it down.  Holding down my head does not suit my toothache.  Give
    my love to your mother and sisters.  Write again as soon as may
    be.--Yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_August_ 18_th_, 1845.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I am writing to you, not because I have anything to
    tell you, but because I want you to write to me.  I am glad to see
    that you were pleased with your new sister.  When I was at Hathersage
    you were talking of writing to Mary Taylor.  I have lately written to
    her a brief, shabby epistle of which I am ashamed, but I found when I
    began to write I had really very little to say.  I sent the letter to
    Hunsworth, and I suppose it will go sometime.  You must write to me
    soon, a long letter.  Remember me respectfully to Mr. and Mrs. Henry
    Nussey.  Give my love to Miss R.--Yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_December_ 14_th_, 1845.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I was glad to get your last note, though it was so
    short and crusty.  Three weeks had elapsed without my having heard a
    word from you, and I began to fear some new misfortune had occurred.
    I was relieved to find such was not the case.  Anne is obliged by the
    kind regret you express at not being able to ask her to Brookroyd.
    She wishes you could come to Haworth.  Do you scold me out of habit,
    or are you really angry?  In either case it is all nonsense.  You
    know as well as I do that to go to Brookroyd is always a pleasure to
    me, and that to one who has so little change, and so few friends as I
    have, it must be a _great pleasure_, but I am not at all times in the
    mood or circumstances to take my pleasure.  I wish so much to see
    you, that I shall certainly sometime after New Year's Day, if all be
    well, be going over to Birstall.  Now I could _not go_ if I _would_.
    If you think I stand upon ceremony in this matter, you miscalculate
    sadly.  I have known you, and your mother and sisters, too long to be
    ceremonious with any of you.  Invite me no more now, till I invite
    myself--be too proud to trouble yourself; and if, when at last I
    mention coming (for I shall give you warning), it does not happen to
    suit you, tell me so, with quiet hauteur.  I should like a long
    letter next time.  No more lovers' quarrels.

    'Good-bye.  Best love to your mother and sisters.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 28_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Long may you look young and handsome enough to dress in
    white, dear, and long may you have a right to feel the consciousness
    that you look agreeable.  I know you have too much judgment to let an
    overdose of vanity spoil the blessing and turn it into a misfortune.
    After all though, age will come on, and it is well you have something
    better than a nice face for friends to turn to when that is changed.
    I hope this excessively cold weather has not harmed you or yours
    much.  It has nipped me severely, taken away my appetite for a while
    and given me toothache; in short, put me in the ailing condition, in
    which I have more than once had the honour of making myself such a
    nuisance both at Brookroyd and Hunsworth.  The consequence is that at
    this present speaking I look almost old enough to be your
    mother--grey, sunk, and withered.  To-day, however, it is milder, and
    I hope soon to feel better; indeed I am not _ill_ now, and my
    toothache is now subsided, but I experience a loss of strength and a
    deficiency of spirit which would make me a sorry companion to you or
    any one else.  I would not be on a visit now for a large sum of
    money.

    'Write soon.  Give my best love to your mother and
    sisters.--Good-bye, dear Nell,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_April_ 21_st_, 1847.

    'DEAR NELL,--I am very much obliged to you for your gift, which you
    must not undervalue, for I like the articles; they look extremely
    pretty and light.  They are for wrist frills, are they not?  Will you
    condescend to accept a yard of lace made up into nothing?  I thought
    I would not offer to spoil it by stitching it into any shape.  Your
    creative fingers will turn it to better account than my destructive
    ones.  I hope, such as it is, they will not peck it out of the
    envelope at the Bradford Post-office, where they generally take the
    liberty of opening letters when they feel soft as if they contained
    articles.  I had forgotten all about your birthday and mine, till
    your letter arrived to remind me of it.  I wish you many happy
    returns of yours.  Of course your visit to Haworth must be regulated
    by Miss Ringrose's movements.  I was rather amused at your fearing I
    should be jealous.  I never thought of it.  She and I could not be
    rivals in your affections.  You allot her, I know, a different set of
    feelings to what you allot me.  She is amiable and estimable, I am
    not amiable, but still we shall stick to the last I don't doubt.  In
    short, I should as soon think of being jealous of Emily and Anne in
    these days as of you.  If Miss Ringrose does not come to Brookroyd
    about Whitsuntide, I should like you to come.  I shall feel a good
    deal disappointed if the visit is put off--I would rather Miss
    Ringrose fixed her time in summer, and then I would come to see you
    (D.V.) in the autumn.  I don't think it will be at all a good plan to
    go back with you.  We see each other so seldom, that I would far
    rather divide the visits.  Remember me to all.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 25_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR NELL,--I have a small present for Mercy.  You must fetch it,
    for I repeat you shall _come to Haworth before I go to Brookroyd._

    'I do not say this from pique or anger--I am not angry now--but
    because my leaving home at present would from solid reasons be
    difficult to manage.  If all be well I will visit you in the autumn,
    at present I _cannot_ come.  Be assured that if I could come I
    should, after your last letter, put scruples and pride away and "go
    over into Macedonia" at once.  I never could manage to help you yet.
    You have always found me something like a new servant, who requires
    to be told where everything is, and shown how everything is to be
    done.

    'My sincere love to your mother and Mercy.--Yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 29_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Your letter and its contents were most welcome.  You
    must direct your luggage to Mr. Bronte's, and we will tell the
    carrier to inquire for it.  The railroad has been opened some time,
    but it only comes as far as Keighley.  If you arrive about 4 o'clock
    in the afternoon, Emily, Anne, and I will all meet you at the
    station.  We can take tea jovially together at the Devonshire Arms,
    and walk home in the cool of the evening.  This arrangement will be
    much better than fagging through four miles in the heat of noon.
    Write by return of post if you can, and say if this plan suits
    you.--Yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_November_ 10_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--The old pang of fearing you should fancy I forget you
    drives me to write to you, though heaven knows I have precious little
    to say, and if it were not that I wish to hear from you, and hate to
    appear disregardful when I am not so, I might let another week or
    perhaps two slip away without writing.  There is much in Ruth's
    letter that I thought very melancholy.  Poor girls! theirs, I fear,
    must be a very unhappy home.  Yours and mine, with all disadvantages,
    all absences of luxury and wealth and style, are, I doubt not,
    happier.  I wish to goodness you were rich, that you might give her a
    temporary asylum, and a relief from uneasiness, suffering, and gloom.
    What you say about the effects of ether on your sister rather
    startled me.  I had always consoled myself with the idea of having
    some teeth extracted some day under its soothing influence, but now I
    should think twice before I consented to inhale it; one would not
    like to make a fool of one's self.--I am, yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_March_ 11_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--There is a great deal of good-sense in your last
    letter.  Be thankful that God gave you sense, for what are beauty,
    wealth, or even health without it?  I had a note from Miss Ringrose
    the other day.  I do not think I shall write again, for the reasons I
    before mentioned to you; but the note moved me much, it was almost
    all about her dear Ellen, a kind of gentle enthusiasm of affection,
    enough to make one smile and weep--her feelings are half truth, half
    illusion.  No human being could be altogether what she supposes you
    to be, yet your kindness must have been very great.  If one were only
    rich, how delightful it would be to travel and spend the winter in
    climates where there are no winters.  Give my love to your mother and
    sisters.--Believe me, faithfully yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_April_ 22_nd_, 1848.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have just received your little parcel, and beg to
    thank you in all our names for its contents, and also for your
    letter, of the arrival of which I was, to speak truth, getting rather
    impatient.

    'The housewife's travelling companion is a most commodious
    thing--just the sort of article which suits one to a T, and which yet
    I should never have the courage or industry to sit down and make for
    myself.  I shall keep it for occasions of going from home, it will
    save me a world of trouble.  It must have required some thought to
    arrange the various compartments and their contents so aptly.  I had
    quite forgotten till your letter reminded me that it was the
    anniversary of your birthday and mine.  I am now thirty-two.  Youth
    is gone--gone--and will never come back; can't help it.  I wish you
    many returns of your birthday and increase of happiness with increase
    of years.  It seems to me that sorrow must come sometime to every
    body, and those who scarcely taste it in their youth often have a
    more brimming and bitter cup to drain in after-life; whereas, those
    who exhaust the dregs early, who drink the lees before the wine, may
    reasonably expect a purer and more palatable draught to succeed.  So,
    at least, one fain would hope.  It touched me at first a little
    painfully to hear of your purposed governessing, but on second
    thoughts I discovered this to be quite a foolish feeling.  You are
    doing right even though you should not gain much.  The effort will do
    you good; no one ever does regret a step towards self-help; it is so
    much gained in independence.

    'Give my love to your mother and sisters.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 24_th_, 1848.

    'Dear Ellen,--I shall begin by telling you that you have no right to
    be angry at the length of time I have suffered to slip by since
    receiving your last, without answering it, because you have often
    kept me waiting much longer; and having made this gracious speech,
    thereby obviating reproaches, I will add that I think it a great
    shame when you receive a long and thoroughly interesting letter, full
    of the sort of details you fully relish, to read the same with
    selfish pleasure and not even have the manners to thank your
    correspondent, and express how much you enjoyed the narrative.  I
    _did_ enjoy the narrative in your last very keenly; the exquisitely
    characteristic traits concerning the Bakers were worth gold; just
    like not only them but all their class--respectable, well-meaning
    people enough, but with all that petty assumption of dignity, that
    small jealousy of senseless formalities, which to such people seems
    to form a second religion.  Your position amongst them was
    detestable.  I admire the philosophy with which you bore it.  Their
    taking offence because you stayed all night at their aunt's is rich.
    It is right not to think much of casual attentions; it is quite
    justifiable also to derive from them temporary gratification,
    insomuch as they prove that their object has the power of pleasing.
    Let them be as ephemera--to last an hour, and not be regretted when
    gone.

    'Write to me again soon and--Believe me, yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                        '_August_ 3, 1849.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have received the furs safely.  I like the sables
    very much, and shall keep them; and 'to save them' shall keep the
    squirrel, as you prudently suggested.  I hope it is not too much like
    the steel poker to save the brass one.  I return Mary's letter.  It
    is another page from the volume of life, and at the bottom is written
    "Finis"--mournful word.  Macaulay's _History_ was only _lent_ to
    myself--all the books I have from London I accept only as a loan,
    except in peculiar cases, where it is the author's wish I should
    possess his work.

    'Do you think in a few weeks it will be possible for you to come to
    see me?  I am only waiting to get my labour off my hands to permit
    myself the pleasure of asking you.  At our house you can read as much
    as you please.

    'I have been much better, very free from oppression or irritation of
    the chest, during the last fortnight or ten days.  Love to
    all.--Good-bye, dear Nell.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_August_ 23_rd_, 1849.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Papa has not been well at all lately--he has had
    another attack of bronchitis.  I felt very uneasy about him for some
    days, more wretched indeed than I care to tell you.  After what has
    happened, one trembles at any appearance of sickness, and when
    anything ails papa I feel too keenly that he is the _last_, the
    _only_ near and dear relation I have in the world.  Yesterday and
    to-day he has seemed much better, for which I am truly thankful.

    'For myself, I should be pretty well but for a continually recurring
    feeling of slight cold, slight soreness in the throat and chest, of
    which, do what I will, I cannot quite get rid.  Has your cough
    entirely left you?  I wish the atmosphere would return to a
    salubrious condition, for I really think it is not healthy.  English
    cholera has been very prevalent here.

    'I _do_ wish to see you.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                       '_August_ 16, 1850.

    'DEAR NELL,--I am going on Monday (D.V.) a journey, whereof the
    prospect cheers me not at all, to Windermere, in Westmoreland, to
    spend a few days with Sir J. K. S., who has taken a house there for
    the autumn and winter.  I consented to go with reluctance, chiefly to
    please papa, whom a refusal on my part would have much annoyed; but I
    dislike to leave him.  I trust he is not worse, but his complaint is
    still weakness.  It is not right to anticipate evil, and to be always
    looking forward in an apprehensive spirit; but I think grief is a
    two-edged sword--it cuts both ways: the memory of one loss is the
    anticipation of another.  Take moderate exercise and be careful, dear
    Nell, and--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 10_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR NELL,--Poor little Flossy!  I have not yet screwed up nerve to
    tell papa about her fate, it seems to me so piteous.  However, she
    had a happy life with a kind mistress, whatever her death has been.
    Little hapless plague!  She had more goodness and patience shown her
    than she deserved, I fear.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 26_th_, 1852.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I should not have written to you to-day by choice.
    Lately I have again been harassed with headache--the heavy electric
    atmosphere oppresses me much, yet I am less miserable just now than I
    was a little while ago.  A severe shock came upon me about papa.  He
    was suddenly attacked with acute inflammation of the eye.  Mr.
    Ruddock was sent for; and after he had examined him, he called me
    into another room, and said papa's pulse was bounding at 150 per
    minute, that there was a strong pressure of blood upon the brain,
    that, in short, the symptoms were decidedly apoplectic.

    'Active measures were immediately taken.  By the next day the pulse
    was reduced to ninety.  Thank God he is now better, though not well.
    The eye is a good deal inflamed.  He does not know his state.  To
    tell him he had been in danger of apoplexy would almost be to kill
    him at once--it would increase the rush to the brain and perhaps
    bring about rupture.  He is kept very quiet.

    'Dear Nell, you will excuse a short note.  Write again soon.  Tell me
    all concerning yourself that can relieve you.--Yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_August_ 3_rd_, 1852.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I write a line to say that papa is now considered out
    of danger.  His progress to health is not without relapse, but I
    think he gains ground, if slowly, surely.  Mr. Ruddock says the
    seizure was quite of an apoplectic character; there was a partial
    paralysis for two days, but the mind remained clear, in spite of a
    high degree of nervous irritation.  One eye still remains inflamed,
    and papa is weak, but all muscular affection is gone, and the pulse
    is accurate.  One cannot be too thankful that papa's sight is yet
    spared--it was the fear of losing that which chiefly distressed him.

    'With best wishes for yourself, dear Ellen,--I am, yours faithfully,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'My headaches are better.  I have needed no help, but I thank you
    sincerely for your kind offers.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                          'HAWORTH, _August_ 12_th_, 1852.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Papa has varied occasionally since I wrote to you last.
    Monday was a very bad day, his spirits sunk painfully.  Tuesday and
    yesterday, however, were much better, and to-day he seems wonderfully
    well.  The prostration of spirits which accompanies anything like a
    relapse is almost the most difficult point to manage.  Dear Nell, you
    are tenderly kind in offering your society; but rest very tranquil
    where you are; be fully assured that it is not now, nor under present
    circumstances, that I feel the lack either of society or occupation;
    my time is pretty well filled up, and my thoughts appropriated.

    'Mr. Ruddock now seems quite satisfied there is no present danger
    whatever; he says papa has an excellent constitution and may live
    many years yet.  The true balance is not yet restored to the
    circulation, but I believe that impetuous and dangerous termination
    to the head is quite obviated.  I cannot permit myself to comment
    much on the chief contents of your last; advice is not necessary.  As
    far as I can judge, you seem hitherto enabled to take these trials in
    a good and wise spirit.  I can only pray that such combined strength
    and resignation may be continued to you.  Submission, courage,
    exertion, when practicable--these seem to be the weapons with which
    we must fight life's long battle.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

To Miss Nussey we owe many other letters than those here printed--indeed,
they must needs play an important part in Charlotte Bronte's biography.
They do not deal with the intellectual interests which are so marked in
the letters to W. S. Williams, and which, doubtless, characterised the
letters to Miss Mary Taylor.  'I ought to have written this letter to
Mary,' Charlotte says, when on one occasion she dropped into literature
to her friend; but the friendship was as precious as most intellectual
friendships, because it was based upon a common esteem and an unselfish
devotion.  Ellen Nussey, as we have seen, accompanied Anne Bronte to
Scarborough, and was at her death-bed.  She attended Charlotte's wedding,
and lived to mourn over her tomb.  For forty years she has been the
untiring advocate and staunch champion, hating to hear a word in her
great friend's dispraise, loving to note the glorious recognition, of
which there has been so rich and so full a harvest.  That she still lives
to receive our reverent gratitude for preserving so many interesting
traits of the Brontes, is matter for full and cordial congratulation,
wherever the names of the authors of _Jane Eyre_ and _Wuthering Heights_
are held in just and wise esteem.




CHAPTER IX: MARY TAYLOR


Mary Taylor, the 'M---' of Mrs. Gaskell's biography, and the 'Rose Yorke'
of _Shirley_, will always have a peculiar interest to those who care for
the Brontes.  She shrank from publicity, and her name has been less
mentioned than that of any other member of the circle.  And yet hers was
a personality singularly strenuous and strong.  She wrote two books 'with
a purpose,' and, as we shall see, vigorously embodied her teaching in her
life.  It will be remembered that Charlotte Bronte, Ellen Nussey, and
Mary Taylor first met at Roe Head School, when Charlotte and Mary were
fifteen and her friend about fourteen years of age.  Here are Miss
Nussey's impressions--

    'She was pretty, and very childish-looking, dressed in a red-coloured
    frock with short sleeves and low neck, as then worn by young girls.
    Miss Wooler in later years used to say that when Mary went to her as
    a pupil she thought her too pretty to live.  She was not talkative at
    school, but industrious, and always ready with lessons.  She was
    always at the top in class lessons, with Charlotte Bronte and the
    writer; seldom a change was made, and then only with the three--one
    move.  Charlotte and she were great friends for a time, but there was
    no withdrawing from me on either side, and Charlotte never quite knew
    how an estrangement arose with Mary, but it lasted a long time.  Then
    a time came that both Charlotte and Mary were so proficient in
    schoolroom attainments there was no more for them to learn, and Miss
    Wooler set them Blair's _Belles Lettres_ to commit to memory.  We all
    laughed at their studies.  Charlotte persevered, but Mary took her
    own line, flatly refused, and accepted the penalty of disobedience,
    going supper-less to bed for about a month before she left school.
    When it was moonlight, we always found her engaged in drawing on the
    chest of drawers, which stood in the bay window, quite happy and
    cheerful.  Her rebellion was never outspoken.  She was always quiet
    in demeanour.  Her sister Martha, on the contrary, spoke out
    vigorously, daring Miss Wooler so much, face to face, that she
    sometimes received a box on the ear, which hardly any saint could
    have withheld.  Then Martha would expatiate on the danger of boxing
    ears, quoting a reverend brother of Miss Wooler's.  Among her school
    companions, Martha was called "Miss Boisterous," but was always a
    favourite, so piquant and fascinating were her ways.  She was not in
    the least pretty, but something much better, full of change and
    variety, rudely outspoken, lively, and original, producing laughter
    with her own good-humour and affection.  She was her father's pet
    child.  He delighted in hearing her sing, telling her to go to the
    piano, with his affectionate "Patty lass."

    'Mary never had the impromptu vivacity of her sister, but was lively
    in games that engaged her mind.  Her music was very correct, but
    entirely cultivated by practice and perseverance.  Anything underhand
    was detestable to both Mary and Martha; they had no mean pride
    towards others, but accepted the incidents of life with imperturbable
    good-sense and insight.  They were not dressed as well as other
    pupils, for economy at that time was the rule of their household.
    The girls had to stitch all over their new gloves before wearing
    them, by order of their mother, to make them wear longer.  Their dark
    blue cloth coats were worn when _too short_, and black beaver bonnets
    quite plainly trimmed, with the ease and contentment of a fashionable
    costume.  Mr. Taylor was a banker as well as a monopolist of army
    cloth manufacture in the district.  He lost money, and gave up
    banking.  He set his mind on paying all creditors, and effected this
    during his lifetime as far as possible, willing that his sons were to
    do the remainder, which two of his sons carried out, as was
    understood, during their lifetime--Mark and Martin of _Shirley_.'

Let us now read Charlotte's description in _Shirley_, and I think we have
a tolerably fair estimate of the sisters.

    'The two next are girls, Rose and Jessie; they are both now at their
    father's knee; they seldom go near their mother, except when obliged
    to do so.  Rose, the elder, is twelve years old; she is like her
    father--the most like him of the whole group--but it is a granite
    head copied in ivory; all is softened in colour and line.  Yorke
    himself has a harsh face; his daughter's is not harsh, neither is it
    quite pretty; it is simple--childlike in feature; the round cheeks
    bloom; as to the grey eyes, they are otherwise than childlike--a
    serious soul lights them--a young soul yet, but it will mature, if
    the body lives; and neither father nor mother has a spirit to compare
    with it.  Partaking of the essence of each, it will one day be better
    than either--stronger, much purer, more aspiring.  Rose is a still,
    and sometimes a stubborn girl now; her mother wants to make of her
    such a woman as she is herself--a woman of dark and dreary duties;
    and Rose has a mind full-set, thick-sown with the germs of ideas her
    mother never knew.  It is agony to her often to have these ideas
    trampled on and repressed.  She has never rebelled yet; but if hard
    driven, she will rebel one day, and then it will be once for all.
    Rose loves her father; her father does not rule her with a rod of
    iron; he is good to her.  He sometimes fears she will not live, so
    bright are the sparks of intelligence which, at moments, flash from
    her glance and gleam in her language.  This idea makes him often
    sadly tender to her.

    'He has no idea that little Jessie will die young, she is so gay and
    chattering, arch--original even now; passionate when provoked, but
    most affectionate if caressed; by turns gentle and rattling; exacting
    yet generous; fearless--of her mother, for instance, whose
    irrationally hard and strict rule she has often defied--yet reliant
    on any who will help her.  Jessie, with her little piquant face,
    engaging prattle, and winning ways, is made to be a pet; and her
    father's pet she accordingly is.'

Mary Taylor was called 'Pag' by her friends, and the first important
reference to her that I find is contained in a letter written by
Charlotte to Ellen Nussey, when she was seventeen years of age.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _June_ 20_th_, 1833.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I know you will be very angry because I have not
    written sooner; my reason, or rather my motive for this apparent
    neglect was, that I had determined not to write until I could ask you
    to pay us your long-promised visit.  Aunt thought it would be better
    to defer it until about the middle of summer, as the winter and even
    the spring seasons are remarkably cold and bleak among our mountains.
    Papa now desires me to present his respects to your mother, and say
    that he should feel greatly obliged if she would allow us the
    pleasure of your company for a few weeks at Haworth.  I will leave it
    to you to fix whatever day may be most convenient, but let it be an
    early one.  I received a letter from Pag Taylor yesterday; she was in
    high dudgeon at my inattention in not promptly answering her last
    epistle.  I however sat down immediately and wrote a very humble
    reply, candidly confessing my faults and soliciting forgiveness; I
    hope it has proved successful.  Have you suffered much from that
    troublesome though not (I am happy to hear) generally fatal disease,
    the influenza?  We have so far steered clear of it, but I know not
    how long we may continue to escape.  Your last letter revealed a
    state of mind which seemed to promise much.  As I read it I could not
    help wishing that my own feelings more resembled yours; but unhappily
    all the good thoughts that enter _my mind_ evaporate almost before I
    have had time to ascertain their existence; every right resolution
    which I form is so transient, so fragile, and so easily broken, that
    I sometimes fear I shall never be what I ought.  Earnestly hoping
    that this may not be your case, that you may continue steadfast till
    the end,--I remain, dearest Ellen, your ever faithful friend,

                                                       'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.'

The next letter refers to Mr. Taylor's death.  Mr. Taylor, it is scarcely
necessary to add, is the Mr. Yorke of Briarmains, who figures so largely
in _Shirley_.  I have visited the substantial red-brick house near the
high-road at Gomersall, but descriptions of the Bronte country do not
come within the scope of this volume.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_January_ 3_rd_, 1841.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I received the news in your last with no surprise,
    and with the feeling that this removal must be a relief to Mr. Taylor
    himself and even to his family.  The bitterness of death was past a
    year ago, when it was first discovered that his illness must
    terminate fatally; all between has been lingering suspense.  This is
    at an end now, and the present certainty, however sad, is better than
    the former doubt.  What will be the consequence of his death is
    another question; for my own part, I look forward to a dissolution
    and dispersion of the family, perhaps not immediately, but in the
    course of a year or two.  It is true, causes may arise to keep them
    together awhile longer, but they are restless, active spirits, and
    will not be restrained always.  Mary alone has more energy and power
    in her nature than any ten men you can pick out in the united
    parishes of Birstall and Haworth.  It is vain to limit a character
    like hers within ordinary boundaries--she will overstep them.  I am
    morally certain Mary will establish her own landmarks, so will the
    rest of them.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Soon after her father's death Mary Taylor turned her eyes towards New
Zealand, where she had friends, but two years were to go by before
anything came of the idea.

                           TO MISS EMILY J. BRONTE

                                    'UPPERWOOD HOUSE, _April_ 2_nd_, 1841.

    'DEAR E. J.,--I received your last letter with delight as usual.  I
    must write a line to thank you for it and the inclosure, which
    however is too bad--you ought not to have sent me those packets.  I
    had a letter from Anne yesterday; she says she is well.  I hope she
    speaks absolute truth.  I had written to her and Branwell a few days
    before.  I have not heard from Branwell yet.  It is to be hoped that
    his removal to another station will turn out for the best.  As you
    say, it _looks_ like getting on at any rate.

    'I have got up my courage so far as to ask Mrs. White to grant me a
    day's holiday to go to Birstall to see Ellen Nussey, who has offered
    to send a gig for me.  My request was granted, but so coldly and
    slowly.  However, I stuck to my point in a very exemplary and
    remarkable manner.  I hope to go next Saturday.  Matters are
    progressing very strangely at Gomersall.  Mary Taylor and Waring have
    come to a singular determination, but I almost think under the
    peculiar circumstances a defensible one, though it sounds
    outrageously odd at first.  They are going to emigrate--to quit the
    country altogether.  Their destination unless they change is Port
    Nicholson, in the northern island of New Zealand!!!  Mary has made up
    her mind she can not and will not be a governess, a teacher, a
    milliner, a bonnet-maker nor housemaid.  She sees no means of
    obtaining employment she would like in England, so she is leaving it.
    I counselled her to go to France likewise and stay there a year
    before she decided on this strange unlikely-sounding plan of going to
    New Zealand, but she is quite resolved.  I cannot sufficiently
    comprehend what her views and those of her brothers may be on the
    subject, or what is the extent of their information regarding Port
    Nicholson, to say whether this is rational enterprise or absolute
    madness.  With love to papa, aunt, Tabby, etc.--Good-bye.

                                                                    'C. B.

    '_P.S._--I am very well; I hope you are.  Write again soon.'

Soon after this Mary went on a long visit to Brussels, which, as we have
seen, was the direct cause of Charlotte and Emily establishing themselves
at the Pensionnat Heger.  In Brussels Martha Taylor found a grave.  Here
is one of her letters.

                            TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY.

                                           'BRUSSELS, _Sept_. 9_th_, 1841.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I received your letter from Mary, and you say I am
    to write though I have nothing to say.  My sister will tell you all
    about me, for she has more time to write than I have.

    'Whilst Mary and John have been with me, we have been to Liege and
    Spa, where we stayed eight days.  I found my little knowledge of
    French very useful in our travels.  I am going to begin working again
    very hard, now that John and Mary are going away.  I intend beginning
    German directly.  I would write some more but this pen of Mary's
    won't write; you must scold her for it, and tell her to write you a
    long account of my proceedings.  You must write to me sometimes.
    George Dixon is coming here the last week in September, and you must
    send a letter for me to Mary to be forwarded by him.  Good-bye.  May
    you be happy.

                                                          'MARTHA TAYLOR.'

It was while Charlotte was making her second stay in Brussels that she
heard of Mary's determination to go with her brother Waring to New
Zealand, with a view to earning her own living in any reasonable manner
that might offer.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                           'BRUSSELS, _April_ 1_st_, 1843.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--That last letter of yours merits a good dose of
    panegyric--it was both long and interesting; send me quickly such
    another, longer still if possible.  You will have heard of Mary
    Taylor's resolute and intrepid proceedings.  Her public letters will
    have put you in possession of all details--nothing is left for me to
    say except perhaps to express my opinion upon it.  I have turned the
    matter over on all sides and really I cannot consider it otherwise
    than as very rational.  Mind, I did not jump to this opinion at once,
    but was several days before I formed it conclusively.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                    '_Sunday Evening_, _June_ 1_st_, 1845.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--You probably know that another letter has been received
    from Mary Taylor.  It is, however, possible that your absence from
    home will have prevented your seeing it, so I will give you a sketch
    of its contents.  It was written at about 4 degrees N. of the
    Equator.  The first part of the letter contained an account of their
    landing at Santiago.  Her health at that time was very good, and her
    spirits seemed excellent.  They had had contrary winds at first
    setting out, but their voyage was then prosperous.  In the latter
    portion of the letter she complains of the excessive heat, and says
    she lives chiefly on oranges; but still she was well, and freer from
    headache and other ailments than any other person on board.  The
    receipt of this letter will have relieved all her friends from a
    weight of anxiety.  I am uneasy about what you say respecting the
    French newspapers--do you mean to intimate that you have received
    none?  I have despatched them regularly.  Emily and I keep them
    usually three days, sometimes only two, and then send them forward to
    you.  I see by the cards you sent, and also by the newspaper, that
    Henry is at last married.  How did you like your office of
    bridesmaid? and how do you like your new sister and her family?  You
    must write to me as soon as you can, and give me an _observant_
    account of everything.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                    'MANCHESTER, _September_ 13_th_, 1846.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Papa thinks his own progress rather slow, but the
    doctor affirms he is getting on very well.  He complains of extreme
    weakness and soreness in the eye, but I suppose that is to be
    expected for some time to come.  He is still kept in the dark, but
    now sits up the greater part of the day, and is allowed a little fire
    in the room, from the light of which he is carefully screened.

    'By this time you will have got Mary's letters; most interesting they
    are, and she is in her element because she is where she has a
    toilsome task to perform, an important improvement to effect, a weak
    vessel to strengthen.  You ask if I had any enjoyment here; in truth,
    I can't say I have, and I long to get home, though, unhappily, home
    is not now a place of complete rest.  It is sad to think how it is
    disquieted by a constant phantom, or rather two--sin and suffering;
    they seem to obscure the cheerfulness of day, and to disturb the
    comfort of evening.

    'Give my love to all at Brookroyd, and believe me, yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_June_ 5_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I return you Mary Taylor's letter; it made me somewhat
    sad to read it, for I fear she is not quite content with her
    existence in New Zealand.  She finds it too barren.  I believe she is
    more home-sick than she will confess.  Her gloomy ideas respecting
    you and me prove a state of mind far from gay.  I have also received
    a letter; its tone is similar to your own, and its contents too.

    'What brilliant weather we have had.  Oh! I do indeed regret you
    could not come to Haworth at the time fixed, these warm sunny days
    would have suited us exactly; but it is not to be helped.  Give my
    best love to your mother and Mercy.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _June_ 26_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I should have answered your last long ago if I had
    known your address, but you omitted to give it me, and I have been
    waiting in the hope that you would perhaps write again and repair the
    omission.  Finding myself deceived in this expectation however, I
    have at last hit on the plan of sending the letter to Brookroyd to be
    directed; be sure to give me your address when you reply to this.

    'I was glad to hear that you were well received at London, and that
    you got safe to the end of your journey.  Your _naivete_ in gravely
    inquiring my opinion of the "last new novel" amuses me.  We do not
    subscribe to a circulating library at Haworth, and consequently "new
    novels" rarely indeed come in our way, and consequently, again, we
    are not qualified to give opinions thereon.

    'About three weeks ago, I received a brief note from Hunsworth, to
    the effect that Mr. Joe Taylor and his cousin Henry would make some
    inquiries respecting Mme.  Heger's school on account of Ellen Taylor,
    and that if I had no objection, they would ride over to Haworth in a
    day or two.  I said they might come if they would.  They came,
    accompanied by Miss Mossman, of Bradford, whom I had never seen, only
    heard of occasionally.  It was a pouring wet and windy day; we had
    quite ceased to expect them.  Miss Mossman was quite wet, and we had
    to make her change her things, and dress her out in ours as well as
    we could.  I do not know if you are acquainted with her; I thought
    her unaffected and rather agreeable-looking, though she has very red
    hair.  Henry Taylor does indeed resemble John most strongly.  Joe
    looked thin; he was in good spirits, and I think in tolerable
    good-humour.  I would have given much for you to have been there.  I
    had not been very well for some days before, and had some difficulty
    in keeping up the talk, but I managed on the whole better than I
    expected.  I was glad Miss Mossman came, for she helped.  Nothing new
    was communicated respecting Mary.  Nothing of importance in any way
    was said the whole time; it was all rattle, rattle, of which I should
    have great difficulty now in recalling the substance.  They left
    almost immediately after tea.  I have not heard a word respecting
    them since, but I suppose they got home all right.  The visit strikes
    me as an odd whim.  I consider it quite a caprice, prompted probably
    by curiosity.

    'Joe Taylor mentioned that he had called at Brookroyd, and that Anne
    had told him you were ill, and going into the South for change of
    air.

    'I hope you will soon write to me again and tell me particularly how
    your health is, and how you get on.  Give my regards to Mary Gorham,
    for really I have a sort of regard for her by hearsay, and--Believe
    me, dear Nell, yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The Ellen Taylor mentioned in the above letter did not go to Brussels.
She joined her cousin Mary in New Zealand instead.

                           TO MISS CHARLOTTE BRONTE

                                        'WELLINGTON, _April_ 10_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR CHARLOTTE,--I've been delighted to receive a very interesting
    letter from you with an account of your visit to London, etc.  I
    believe I have tacked this acknowledgment to the tail of my last
    letter to you, but since then it has dawned on my comprehension that
    you are becoming a very important personage in this little world, and
    therefore, d'ye see? I must write again to you.  I wish you would
    give me some account of Newby, and what the man said when confronted
    with the real Ellis Bell.  By the way, having got your secret, will
    he keep it?  And how do you contrive to get your letters under the
    address of Mr. Bell?  The whole scheme must be particularly
    interesting to hear about, if I could only talk to you for half a
    day.  When do you intend to tell the good people about you?

    'I am now hard at work expecting Ellen Taylor.  She may possibly be
    here in two months.  I once thought of writing you some of the dozens
    of schemes I have for Ellen Taylor, but as the choice depends on her
    I may as well wait and tell you the one she chooses.  The two most
    reasonable are keeping a school and keeping a shop.  The last is
    evidently the most healthy, but the most difficult of accomplishment.
    I have written an account of the earthquakes for _Chambers_, and
    intend (now don't remind me of this a year hence, because _la femme
    propose_) to write some more.  What else I shall do I don't know.  I
    find the writing faculty does not in the least depend on the leisure
    I have, but much more on the _active_ work I have to do.  I write at
    my novel a little and think of my other book.  What this will turn
    out, God only knows.  It is not, and never can be forgotten.  It is
    my child, my baby, and _I assure you_ such a wonder as never was.  I
    intend him when full grown to revolutionise society and _faire
    epoque_ in history.

    'In the meantime I'm doing a collar in crochet work.

                                                                    'PAG.'

                           TO MISS CHARLOTTE BRONTE

                                                 'WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND,
                                                     '_July_ 24_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR CHARLOTTE,--About a month since I received and read _Jane
    Eyre_.  It seemed to me incredible that you had actually written a
    book.  Such events did not happen while I was in England.  I begin to
    believe in your existence much as I do in Mr. Rochester's.  In a
    believing mood I don't doubt either of them.  After I had read it I
    went on to the top of Mount Victoria and looked for a ship to carry a
    letter to you.  There was a little thing with one mast, and also
    H.M.S. _Fly_, and nothing else.  If a cattle vessel came from Sydney
    she would probably return in a few days, and would take a mail, but
    we have had east wind for a month and nothing can come in.

    '_Aug_. 1.--The _Harlequin_ has just come from Otago, and is to sail
    for Singapore _when the wind changes_, and by that route (which I
    hope to take myself sometime) I send you this.  Much good may it do
    you.  Your novel surprised me by being so perfect as a work of art.
    I expected something more changeable and unfinished.  You have
    polished to some purpose.  If I were to do so I should get tired, and
    weary every one else in about two pages.  No sign of this weariness
    in your book--you must have had abundance, having kept it all to
    yourself!

    'You are very different from me in having no doctrine to preach.  It
    is impossible to squeeze a moral out of your production.  Has the
    world gone so well with you that you have no protest to make against
    its absurdities?  Did you never sneer or declaim in your first
    sketches?  I will scold you well when I see you.  I do not believe in
    Mr. Rivers.  There are no _good_ men of the Brocklehurst species.  A
    missionary either goes into his office for a piece of bread, or he
    goes from enthusiasm, and that is both too good and too bad a quality
    for St. John.  It's a bit of your absurd charity to believe in such a
    man.  You have done wisely in choosing to imagine a high class of
    readers.  You never stop to explain or defend anything, and never
    seem bothered with the idea.  If Mrs. Fairfax or any other
    well-intentioned fool gets hold of this what will she think?  And
    yet, you know, the world is made up of such, and worse.  Once more,
    how have you written through three volumes without declaring war to
    the knife against a few dozen absurd doctrines, each of which is
    supported by "a large and respectable class of readers"?  Emily seems
    to have had such a class in her eye when she wrote that strange thing
    _Wuthering Heights_.  Anne, too, stops repeatedly to preach
    commonplace truths.  She has had a still lower class in her mind's
    eye.  Emily seems to have followed the bookseller's advice.  As to
    the price you got, it was certainly Jewish.  But what could the
    people do?  If they had asked you to fix it, do you know yourself how
    many ciphers your sum would have had?  And how should they know
    better?  And if they did, that's the knowledge they get their living
    by.  If I were in your place, the idea of being bound in the sale of
    two more would prevent me from ever writing again.  Yet you are
    probably now busy with another.  It is curious for me to see among
    the old letters one from Anne sending _a copy of a whole article_ on
    the currency question written by Fonblanque!  I exceedingly regret
    having burnt your letters in a fit of caution, and I've forgotten all
    the names.  Was the reader Albert Smith?  What do they all think of
    you?

    'I mention the book to no one and hear no opinions.  I lend it a good
    deal because it's a novel, and _it's as good as another_!  They say
    "it makes them cry."  They are not literary enough to give an
    opinion.  If ever I hear one I'll embalm it for you.  As to my own
    affair, I have written 100 pages, and lately 50 more.  It's no use
    writing faster.  I get so disgusted, I can do nothing.

    'If I could command sufficient money for a twelve-month, I would go
    home by way of India and write my travels, which would prepare the
    way for my novel.  With the benefit of your experience I should
    perhaps make a better bargain than you.  I am most afraid of my
    health.  Not that I should die, but perhaps sink into a state of
    betweenity, neither well nor ill, in which I should observe nothing,
    and be very miserable besides.  My life here is not disagreeable.  I
    have a great resource in the piano, and a little employment in
    teaching.

    'It's a pity you don't live in this world, that I might entertain you
    about the price of meat.  Do you know, I bought six heifers the other
    day for 23 pounds, and now it is turned so cold I expect to hear
    one-half of them are dead.  One man bought twenty sheep for 8 pounds,
    and they are all dead but one.  Another bought 150 and has 40 left.

    'I have now told you everything I can think of except that the cat's
    on the table and that I'm going to borrow a new book to read--no less
    than an account of all the systems of philosophy of modern Europe.  I
    have lately met with a wonder, a man who thinks Jane Eyre would have
    done better to marry Mr. Rivers!  He gives no reason--such people
    never do.

                                'MARY TAYLOR.'

                           TO MISS CHARLOTTE BRONTE

                                                 'WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND.

    'DEAR CHARLOTTE,--I have set up shop!  I am delighted with it as a
    whole--that is, it is as pleasant or as little disagreeable as you
    can expect an employment to be that you earn your living by.  The
    best of it is that your labour has some return, and you are not
    forced to work on hopelessly without result.  _Du reste_, it is very
    odd.  I keep looking at myself with one eye while I'm using the
    other, and I sometimes find myself in very queer positions.
    Yesterday I went along the shore past the wharfes and several
    warehouses on a street where I had never been before during all the
    five years I have been in Wellington.  I opened the door of a long
    place filled with packages, with passages up the middle, and a row of
    high windows on one side.  At the far end of the room a man was
    writing at a desk beneath a window.  I walked all the length of the
    room very slowly, for what I had come for had completely gone out of
    my head.  Fortunately the man never heard me until I had recollected
    it.  Then he got up, and I asked him for some stone-blue, saltpetre,
    tea, pickles, salt, etc.  He was very civil.  I bought some things
    and asked for a note of them.  He went to his desk again; I looked at
    some newspapers lying near.  On the top was a circular from Smith &
    Elder containing notices of the most important new works.  The first
    and longest was given to _Shirley_, a book I had seen mentioned in
    the _Manchester Examiner_ as written by Currer Bell.  I blushed all
    over.  The man got up, folding the note.  I pulled it out of his hand
    and set off to the door, looking odder than ever, for a partner had
    come in and was watching.  The clerk said something about sending
    them, and I said something too--I hope it was not very silly--and
    took my departure.

    'I have seen some extracts from _Shirley_ in which you talk of women
    working.  And this first duty, this great necessity, you seem to
    think that some women may indulge in, if they give up marriage, and
    don't make themselves too disagreeable to the other sex.  You are a
    coward and a traitor.  A woman who works is by that alone better than
    one who does not; and a woman who does not happen to be rich and who
    _still_ earns no money and does not wish to do so, is guilty of a
    great fault, almost a crime--a dereliction of duty which leads
    rapidly and almost certainly to all manner of degradation.  It is
    very wrong of you to _plead_ for toleration for workers on the ground
    of their being in peculiar circumstances, and few in number or
    singular in disposition.  Work or degradation is the lot of all
    except the very small number born to wealth.

    'Ellen is with me, or I with her.  I cannot tell how our shop will
    turn out, but I am as sanguine as ever.  Meantime we certainly amuse
    ourselves better than if we had nothing to do.  We _like_ it, and
    that's the truth.  By the _Cornelia_ we are going to send our
    sketches and fern leaves.  You must look at them, and it will need
    all your eyes to understand them, for they are a mass of confusion.
    They are all within two miles of Wellington, and some of them rather
    like--Ellen's sketch of me especially.  During the last six months I
    have seen more "society" than in all the last four years.  Ellen is
    half the reason of my being invited, and my improved circumstances
    besides.  There is no one worth mentioning particularly.  The women
    are all ignorant and narrow, and the men selfish.  They are of a
    decent, honest kind, and some intelligent and able.  A Mr. Woodward
    is the only _literary_ man we know, and he seems to have fair sense.
    This was the clerk I bought the stone-blue of.  We have just got a
    mechanic's institute, and weekly lectures delivered there.  It is
    amusing to see people trying to find out whether or not it is
    fashionable and proper to patronise it.  Somehow it seems it is.  I
    think I have told you all this before, which shows I have got to the
    end of my news.  Your next letter to me ought to bring me good news,
    more cheerful than the last.  You will somehow get drawn out of your
    hole and find interests among your fellow-creatures.  Do you know
    that living among people with whom you have not the slightest
    interest in common is just like living alone, or worse?  Ellen Nussey
    is the only one you can talk to, that I know of at least.  Give my
    love to her and to Miss Wooler, if you have the opportunity.  I am
    writing this on just such a night as you will likely read it--rain
    and storm, coming winter, and a glowing fire.  Ours is on the ground,
    wood, no fender or irons; no matter, we are very comfortable.

                                                                    'PAG.'

                           TO MISS CHARLOTTE BRONTE

                                  'WELLINGTON, N. Z., _April_ 3_rd_, 1850.

    'DEAR CHARLOTTE,--About a week since I received your last melancholy
    letter with the account of Anne's death and your utter indifference
    to everything, even to the success of your last book.  Though you do
    not say this, it is pretty plain to be seen from the style of your
    letter.  It seems to me hard indeed that you who would succeed,
    better than any one, in making friends and keeping them, should be
    condemned to solitude from your poverty.  To no one would money bring
    more happiness, for no one would use it better than you would.  For
    me, with my headlong self-indulgent habits, I am perhaps better
    without it, but I am convinced it would give you great and noble
    pleasures.  Look out then for success in writing; you ought to care
    as much for that as you do for going to Heaven.  Though the
    advantages of being employed appear to you now the best part of the
    business, you will soon, please God, have other enjoyments from your
    success.  Railway shares will rise, your books will sell, and you
    will acquire influence and power; and then most certainly you will
    find something to use it in which will interest you and make you
    exert yourself.

    'I have got into a heap of social trickery since Ellen came, never
    having troubled my head before about the comparative numbers of young
    ladies and young gentlemen.  To Ellen it is quite new to be of such
    importance by the mere fact of her femininity.  She thought she was
    coming wofully down in the world when she came out, and finds herself
    better received than ever she was in her life before.  And the class
    are not _in education_ inferior, though they are in money.  They are
    decent well-to-do people: six grocers, one draper, two parsons, two
    clerks, two lawyers, and three or four nondescripts.  All these but
    one have families to "take tea with," and there are a lot more single
    men to flirt with.  For the last three months we have been out every
    Sunday sketching.  We seldom succeed in making the slightest
    resemblance to the thing we sit down to, but it is wonderfully
    interesting.  Next year we hope to send a lot home.  With all this my
    novel stands still; it might have done so if I had had nothing to do,
    for it is not want of time but want of freedom of mind that makes me
    unable to direct my attention to it.  Meantime it grows in my head,
    for I never give up the idea.  I have written about a volume I
    suppose.  Read this letter to Ellen Nussey.

                                                            'MARY TAYLOR.'

                           TO MISS CHARLOTTE BRONTE

                                       'WELLINGTON, _August_ 13_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR CHARLOTTE,--After waiting about six months we have just got
    _Shirley_.  It was landed from the _Constantinople_ on Monday
    afternoon, just in the thick of our preparations for a "small party"
    for the next day.  We stopped spreading red blankets over everything
    (New Zealand way of arranging the room) and opened the box and read
    all the letters.  Soyer's _Housewife_ and _Shirley_ were there all
    right, but Miss Martineau's book was not.  In its place was a silly
    child's tale called _Edward Orland_.  On Tuesday we stayed up dancing
    till three or four o'clock, what for I can't imagine.  However, it
    was a piece of business done.  On Wednesday I began _Shirley_ and
    continued in a curious confusion of mind till now, principally at the
    handsome foreigner who was nursed in our house when I was a little
    girl.  By the way, you've put him in the servant's bedroom.  You make
    us all talk much as I think we should have done if we'd ventured to
    speak at all.  What a little lump of perfection you've made me!
    There is a strange feeling in reading it of hearing us all talking.
    I have not seen the matted hall and painted parlour windows so plain
    these five years.  But my father is not like.  He hates well enough
    and perhaps loves too, but he is not honest enough.  It was from my
    father I learnt not to marry for money nor to tolerate any one who
    did, and he never would advise any one to do so, or fail to speak
    with contempt of those who did.  Shirley is much more interesting
    than Jane Eyre, who never interests you at all until she has
    something to suffer.  All through this last novel there is so much
    more life and stir that it leaves you far more to remember than the
    other.  Did you go to London about this too?  What for?  I see by a
    letter of yours to Mr. Dixon that you _have_ been.  I wanted to
    contradict some of your opinions, now I can't.  As to when I'm coming
    home, you may well ask.  I have wished for fifteen years to begin to
    earn my own living; last April I began to try--it is too soon to say
    yet with what success.  I am woefully ignorant, terribly wanting in
    tact, and obstinately lazy, and almost too old to mend.  Luckily
    there is no other dance for me, so I must work.  Ellen takes to it
    kindly, it gratifies a deep ardent _wish_ of hers as of mine, and she
    is habitually industrious.  For _her_, ten years younger, our shop
    will be a blessing.  She may possibly secure an independence, and
    skill to keep it and use it, before the prime of life is past.  As to
    my writings, you may as well ask the Fates about that too.  I can
    give you no information.  I write a page now and then.  I never
    forget or get strange to what I have written.  When I read it over it
    looks very interesting.

                                                            'MARY TAYLOR.'

The Ellen Taylor referred to so frequently was, as I have said, a cousin
of Mary's.  Her early death in New Zealand gives the single letter I have
of hers a more pathetic interest.

                           TO MISS CHARLOTTE BRONTE

                                                        'WELLINGTON, N. Z.

    'MY DEAR MISS BRONTE,--I shall tell you everything I can think of,
    since you said in one of your letters to Pag that you wished me to
    write to you.  I have been here a year.  It seems a much shorter
    time, and yet I have thought more and done more than I ever did in my
    life before.  When we arrived, Henry and I were in such a hurry to
    leave the ship that we didn't wait to be fetched, but got into the
    first boat that came alongside.  When we landed we inquired where
    Waring lived, but hadn't walked far before we met him.  I had never
    seen him before, but he guessed we were the cousins he expected, so
    caught us and took us along with him.  Mary soon joined us, and we
    went home together.  At first I thought Mary was not the least
    altered, but when I had seen her for about a week I thought she
    looked rather older.  The first night Mary and I sat up till 2 A.M.
    talking.  Mary and I settled we would do something together, and we
    talked for a fortnight before we decided whether we would have a
    school or shop; it ended in favour of the shop.  Waring thought we
    had better be quiet, and I believe he still thinks we are doing it
    for amusement; but he never refuses to help us.  He is teaching us
    book-keeping, and he buys things for us now and then.  Mary gets as
    fierce as a dragon and goes to all the wholesale stores and looks at
    things, gets patterns, samples, etc., and asks prices, and then comes
    home, and we talk it over; and then she goes again and buys what we
    want.  She says the people are always civil to her.  Our keeping shop
    astonishes every body here; I believe they think we do it for fun.
    Some think we shall make nothing of it, or that we shall get tired;
    and all laugh at us.  Before I left home I used to be afraid of being
    laughed at, but now it has very little effect upon me.

    'Mary and I are settled together now: I can't do without Mary and she
    couldn't get on by herself.  I built the house we live in, and we
    made the plan ourselves, so it suits us.  We take it in turns to
    serve in the shop, and keep the accounts, and do the housework--I
    mean, Mary takes the shop for a week and I the kitchen, and then we
    change.  I think we shall do very well if no more severe earthquakes
    come, and if we can prevent fire.  When a wooden house takes fire it
    doesn't stop; and we have got an oil cask about as high as I am, that
    would help it.  If some sparks go out at the chimney-top the shingles
    are in danger.  The last earthquake but one about a fortnight ago
    threw down two medicine bottles that were standing on the table and
    made other things jingle, but did no damage.  If we have nothing
    worse than that I don't care, but I don't want the chimney to come
    down--it would cost 10 pounds to build it up again.  Mary is making
    me stop because it is nearly 9 P.M. and we are going to Waring's to
    supper.  Good-bye.--Yours truly,

                                                           'ELLEN TAYLOR.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                             'HAWORTH, _July_ 4_th_, 1849.

    'I get on as well as I can.  Home is not the home it used to be--that
    you may well conceive; but so far, I get on.

    'I cannot boast of vast benefits derived from change of air yet; but
    unfortunately I brought back the seeds of a cold with me from that
    dismal Easton, and I have not got rid of it yet.  Still I think I
    look better than I did before I went.  How are you?  You have never
    told me.

    'Mr. Williams has written to me twice since my return, chiefly on the
    subject of his third daughter, who wishes to be a governess, and has
    some chances of a presentation to Queen's College, an establishment
    connected with the Governess Institution; this will secure her four
    years of instruction.  He says Mr. George Smith is kindly using his
    influence to obtain votes, but there are so many candidates he is not
    sanguine of success.

    'I had a long letter from Mary Taylor--interesting but sad, because
    it contained many allusions to those who are in this world no more.
    She mentioned you, and seemed impressed with an idea of the
    lamentable nature of your unoccupied life.  She spoke of her own
    health as being excellent.

    'Give my love to your mother and sisters, and,--Believe me, yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   'HAWORTH, _May_ 18_th_.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I inclose Mary Taylor's letter announcing Ellen's
    death, and two last letters--sorrowful documents, all of them.  I
    received them this morning from Hunsworth without any note or
    directions where to send them, but I think, if I mistake not, Amelia
    in a previous note told me to transmit them to you.--Yours
    faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                           TO MISS CHARLOTTE BRONTE

                                                        'WELLINGTON, N. Z.

    'DEAR CHARLOTTE,--I began a letter to you one bitter cold evening
    last week, but it turned out such a sad one that I have left it and
    begun again.  I am sitting all alone in my own house, or rather what
    is to be mine when I've paid for it.  I bought it of Henry when Ellen
    died--shop and all, and carry on by myself.  I have made up my mind
    not to get any assistance.  I have not too much work, and the
    annoyance of having an unsuitable companion was too great to put up
    with without necessity.  I find now that it was Ellen that made me so
    busy, and without her to nurse I have plenty of time.  I have begun
    to keep the house very tidy; it makes it less desolate.  I take great
    interest in my trade--as much as I could do in anything that was not
    _all_ pleasure.  But the best part of my life is the excitement of
    arrivals from England.  Reading all the news, written and printed, is
    like living another life quite separate from this one.  The old
    letters are strange--very, when I begin to read them, but quite
    familiar notwithstanding.  So are all the books and newspapers,
    though I never see a human being to whom it would ever occur to me to
    mention anything I read in them.  I see your _nom de guerre_ in them
    sometimes.  I saw a criticism on the preface to the second edition of
    _Wuthering Heights_.  I saw it among the notables who attended
    Thackeray's lectures.  I have seen it somehow connected with Sir J.
    K. Shuttleworth.  Did he want to marry you, or only to lionise you?
    _or was it somebody else_?

    'Your life in London is a "new country" to me, which I cannot even
    picture to myself.  You seem to like it--at least some things in it,
    and yet your late letters to Mrs. J. Taylor talk of low spirits and
    illness.  "What's the matter with you now?" as my mother used to say,
    as if it were the twentieth time in a fortnight.  It is really
    melancholy that now, in the prime of life, in the flush of your
    hard-earned prosperity, you can't be well.  Did not Miss Martineau
    improve you?  If she did, why not try her and her plan again?  But I
    suppose if you had hope and energy to try, you would be well.  Well,
    it's nearly dark and you will surely be well when you read this, so
    what's the use of writing?  I should like well to have some details
    of your life, but how can I hope for it?  I have often tried to give
    you a picture of mine, but I have not the skill.  I get a heap of
    details, mostly paltry in themselves, and not enough to give you an
    idea of the whole.  Oh, for one hour's talk!  You are getting too far
    off and beginning to look strange to me.  Do you look as you used to
    do, I wonder?  What do you and Ellen Nussey talk about when you meet?
    There! it's dark.

    '_Sunday night_.--I have let the vessel go that was to take this.  As
    there were others going soon I did not much care.  I am in the height
    of cogitation whether to send for some worsted stockings, etc.  They
    will come next year at this time, and who can tell what I shall want
    then, or shall be doing?  Yet hitherto we have sent such orders, and
    have guessed or known pretty well what we should want.  I have just
    been looking over a list of four pages long in Ellen's handwriting.
    These things ought to come by the next vessel, or part of them at
    least.  When tired of that I began to read some pages of "my book"
    intending to write some more, but went on reading for pleasure.  I
    often do this, and find it very interesting indeed.  It does not get
    on fast, though I have written about one volume and a half.  It's
    full of music, poverty, disputing, politics, and original views of
    life.  I can't for the life of me bring the lover into it, nor tell
    what he's to do when he comes.  Of the men generally I can never tell
    what they'll do next.  The women I understand pretty well, and rare
    _tracasserie_ there is among them--they are perfectly _feminine_ in
    that respect at least.

    'I am just now in a state of famine.  No books and no news from
    England for this two months.  I am thinking of visiting a circulating
    library from sheer dulness.  If I had more time I should get
    melancholy.  No one can prize activity more than I do.  I never am
    long without it than a gloom comes over me.  The cloud seems to be
    always there behind me, and never quite out of sight but when I keep
    on at a good rate.  Fortunately, the more I work the better I like
    it.  I shall take to scrubbing the floor before it's dirty and
    polishing pans on the outside in my old age.  It is the only thing
    that gives me an appetite for dinner.

                                                                     'PAG.

    'Give my love to Ellen Nussey.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                    'WELLINGTON, N. Z., 8_th_ _Jan_. 1857.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--A few days ago I got a letter from you, dated 2nd May
    1856, along with some patterns and fashion-book.  They seem to have
    been lost somehow, as the box ought to have come by the _Hastings_,
    and only now makes its appearance by the _Philip Lang_.  It has come
    very _apropos_ for a new year's gift, and the patterns were not
    opened twenty-four hours before a silk cape was cut out by one of
    them.  I think I made a very impertinent request when I asked you to
    give yourself so much trouble.  The poor woman for whom I wanted them
    is now a first-rate dressmaker--her drunken husband, who was her main
    misfortune, having taken himself off and not been heard of lately.

    'I am glad to hear that Mrs. Gaskell is progressing with the _Life_.

    'I wish I had kept Charlotte's letters now, though I never felt it
    safe to do so until latterly that I have had a home of my own.  They
    would have been much better evidence than my imperfect recollection,
    and infinitely more interesting.  A settled opinion is very likely to
    look absurd unless you give the grounds for it, and even if I could
    remember them it might look as if there might be other facts which I
    have neglected which ought to have altered it.  Your news of the
    "neighbours" is very interesting, especially of Miss Wooler and my
    old schoolfellows.  I wish I knew how to give you some account of my
    ways here and the effect of my position on me.  First of all, it
    agrees with me.  I am in better health than at any time since I left
    school.  My life now is not overburdened with work, and what I do has
    interest and attraction in it.  I think it is that part that I shall
    think most agreeable when I look back on my death-bed--a number of
    small pleasures scattered over my way, that, when seen from a
    distance, will seem to cover it thick.  They don't cover it by any
    means, but I never had so many.

    'I look after my shopwoman, make out bills, decide who shall have
    "trust" and who not.  Then I go a-buying, not near such an anxious
    piece of business now that I understand my trade, and have, moreover,
    a good "credit."  I read a good deal, sometimes on the sofa, a vice I
    am much given to in hot weather.  Then I have some friends--not many,
    and no geniuses, which fact pray keep strictly to yourself, for how
    the doings and sayings of Wellington people in England always come
    out again to New Zealand!  They are not very interesting any way.
    This is my fault in part, for I can't take interest in their
    concerns.  A book is worth any of them, and a good book worth them
    all put together.

    '_Our_ east winds are much the pleasantest and healthiest we have.
    The soft moist north-west brings headache and depression--it even
    blights the trees.--Yours affectionately,

                                                            'MARY TAYLOR.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                           'WELLINGTON, 4_th_ _June_ 1858.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have lately heard that you are leaving Brookroyd.  I
    shall not even see Brookroyd again, and one of the people who lived
    there; and _one_ whom I used to see there I shall never see more.
    Keep yourself well, dear Ellen, and gather round you as much
    happiness and interest as you can, and let me find you cheery and
    thriving when I come.  When that will be I don't yet know; but one
    thing is sure, I have given over ordering goods from England, so that
    I must sometime give over for want of anything to sell.  The last
    things ordered I expect to arrive about the beginning of the year
    1859.  In the course of that year, therefore, I shall be left without
    anything to do or motive for staying.  Possibly this time twelve
    months I may be leaving Wellington.

    'We are here in the height of a political crisis.  The election for
    the highest office in the province (Superintendent) comes off in
    about a fortnight.  There is altogether a small storm going on in our
    teacup, quite brisk enough to stir everything in it.  My principal
    interest therein is the sale of election ribbons, though I am afraid,
    owing to the bad weather, there will be little display.  Besides the
    elections, there is nothing interesting.  We all go on pretty well.
    I have got a pony about four feet high, that carries me about ten
    miles from Wellington, which is much more than walking distance, to
    which I have been confined for the last ten years.  I have given over
    most of the work to Miss Smith, who will finally take the business,
    and if we had fine weather I think I should enjoy myself.  My main
    want here is for books enough to fill up my idle time.  It seems to
    me that when I get home I will spend half my income on books, and
    sell them when I have read them to make it go further.  I know this
    is absurd, but people with an unsatisfied appetite think they can eat
    enormously.

    'Remember me kindly to Miss Wooler, and tell me all about her in your
    next.--Yours affectionately,

                                                            'MARY TAYLOR.'

Miss Taylor wrote one or two useful letters to Mrs. Gaskell, while the
latter was preparing her Memoir of Charlotte Bronte, and her favourable
estimate of the book we have already seen.  About 1859 or 1860 she
returned to England and lived out the remainder of her days in complete
seclusion in a Yorkshire home that she built for herself.  The novel to
which she refers in a letter to her friend never seems to have got itself
written, or at least published, for it was not until 1890 that Miss Mary
Taylor produced a work of fiction--_Miss Miles_. {259a}  This novel
strives to inculcate the advantages as well as the duty of women learning
to make themselves independent of men.  It is well, though not
brilliantly written, and might, had the author possessed any of the
latter-day gifts of self-advertisement, have attracted the public, if
only by the mere fact that its author was a friend of Currer Bell's.  But
Miss Taylor, it is clear, hated advertisement, and severely refused to be
lionised by Bronte worshippers.  Twenty years earlier than _Miss Miles_,
I may add, she had preached the same gospel in less attractive guise.  A
series of papers in the _Victorian Magazine_ were reprinted under the
title of _The First Duty of Women_. {259b}  'To inculcate the duty of
earning money,' she declares, 'is the principal point in these articles.'
'It is to the feminine half of the world that the commonplace duty of
providing for themselves is recommended,' and she enforces her doctrine
with considerable point, and by means of arguments much more accepted in
our day than in hers.  Miss Taylor died in March 1893, at High Royd, in
Yorkshire, at the age of seventy-six.  She will always occupy an
honourable place in the Bronte story.




CHAPTER X: MARGARET WOOLER


The kindly, placid woman who will ever be remembered as Charlotte
Bronte's schoolmistress, had, it may be safely said, no history.  She was
a good-hearted woman, who did her work and went to her rest with no
possible claim to a place in biography, save only that she assisted in
the education of two great women.  For that reason her brief story is
worth setting forth here.

    'I am afraid we cannot give you very much information about our aunt,
    Miss Wooler,' writes one of her kindred.  'She was the eldest of a
    large family, born June 10th, 1792.  She was extremely intelligent
    and highly educated, and throughout her long life, which lasted till
    within a week of completing her ninety-third year, she took the
    greatest interest in religious, political, and every charitable work,
    being a life governor to many institutions.  Part of her early life
    was spent in the Isle of Wight with relations, where she was very
    intimate with the Sewell family, one of whom was the author of _Amy
    Herbert_.  By her own family, she was ever looked up to with the
    greatest respect, being always called "Sister" by her brothers and
    sisters all her life.  After she retired from her school at Roe Head,
    and afterwards Dewsbury Moor, she used sometimes to make her home for
    months together with my father and mother at Heckmondwike Vicarage;
    then she would go away for a few months to the sea-side, either alone
    or with one of her sisters.  The last ten or twelve years of her life
    were spent at Gomersall, along with two of her sisters and a niece.
    The three sisters all died within a year, the youngest going first
    and the eldest last.  They are buried in Birstall Churchyard, close
    to my parents and sister.

    'Miss Bronte was her pupil when at Roe Head; the late Miss Taylor and
    Miss E. Nussey were also her pupils at the same time.  Afterwards
    Miss Bronte stayed on as governess.  My father prepared Miss Bronte
    for confirmation when he was curate-in-charge at Mirfield Parish
    Church.  When Miss Bronte was married, Miss Wooler was one of the
    guests.  Mr. Bronte, not feeling well enough to go to Church that
    morning, my aunt gave her away, as she had no other relative there to
    do it.

    'Miss Wooler kept up a warm friendship with her former pupil, up to
    the time of her death.

    'My aunt was a most loyal subject, and devotedly attached to the
    Church.  She made a point of reading the Bible steadily through every
    year, and a chapter out of her Italian Testament each day, for she
    used to say "she never liked to lose anything she had learnt."  It
    was always a pleasure, too, if she met with any one who could
    converse with her in French.

    'I fear these few items will not be of much use, but it is difficult
    to record anything of one who led such a quiet and retiring, but
    useful life.'

    'My recollections of Miss Wooler,' writes Miss Nussey, 'are, that she
    was short and stout, but graceful in her movements, very fluent in
    conversation and with a very sweet voice.  She had Charlotte and
    myself to stay with her sometimes after we left school.  We had
    delightful sitting-up times with her when the pupils had gone to bed.
    She would treat us so confidentially, relating her six years'
    residence in the Isle of Wight with an uncle and aunt--Dr. More and
    his wife.  Dr. More was on the military staff, and the society of the
    island had claims upon him.  Mrs. More was a fine woman and very
    benevolent.  Personally, Miss Wooler was like a lady abbess.  She
    wore white, well-fitting dresses embroidered.  Her long hair plaited,
    formed a coronet, and long large ringlets fell from her head to
    shoulders.  She was not pretty or handsome, but her quiet dignity
    made her presence imposing.  She was nobly scrupulous and
    conscientious--a woman of the greatest self-denial.  Her income was
    small.  She lived on half of it, and gave the remainder to charitable
    objects.'

It is clear that Charlotte was very fond of her schoolmistress, although
they had one serious difference during the brief period of her stay at
Dewsbury Moor with Anne.  Anne was home-sick and ill, and Miss Wooler,
with her own robust constitution, found it difficult to understand Anne's
illness.  Charlotte, in arms for her sister, spoke out with vehemence,
and both the sisters went home soon afterwards. {262}  Here are a bundle
of letters addressed to Miss Wooler.

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                          'HAWORTH, _August_ 28_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--Since you wish to hear from me while you are
    from home, I will write without further delay.  It often happens that
    when we linger at first in answering a friend's letter, obstacles
    occur to retard us to an inexcusably late period.

    'In my last I forgot to answer a question you asked me, and was sorry
    afterwards for the omission; I will begin, therefore, by replying to
    it, though I fear what I can give will now come a little late.  You
    said Mrs. Chapham had some thoughts of sending her daughter to
    school, and wished to know whether the Clergy Daughters' School at
    Casterton was an eligible place.

    'My personal knowledge of that institution is very much out of date,
    being derived from the experience of twenty years ago; the
    establishment was at that time in its infancy, and a sad rickety
    infancy it was.  Typhus fever decimated the school periodically, and
    consumption and scrofula in every variety of form, which bad air and
    water, and bad, insufficient diet can generate, preyed on the
    ill-fated pupils.  It would not then have been a fit place for any of
    Mrs. Chapham's children.  But, I understand, it is very much altered
    for the better since those days.  The school is removed from Cowan
    Bridge (a situation as unhealthy as it was picturesque--low, damp,
    beautiful with wood and water) to Casterton; the accommodation, the
    diet, the discipline, the system of tuition, all are, I believe,
    entirely altered and greatly improved.  I was told that such pupils
    as behaved well and remained at school till their educations were
    finished were provided with situations as governesses if they wish to
    adopt that vocation, and that much care was exercised in the
    selection; it was added they were also furnished with an excellent
    wardrobe on quitting Casterton.

    'If I have the opportunity of reading _The Life of Dr. Arnold_, I
    shall not fail to profit thereby; your recommendation makes me
    desirous to see it.  Do you remember once speaking with approbation
    of a book called _Mrs. Leicester's School_, which you said you had
    met with, and you wondered by whom it was written?  I was reading the
    other day a lately published collection of the _Letters of Charles
    Lamb_, edited by Serjeant Talfourd, where I found it mentioned that
    _Mrs. Leicester's School_ was the first production of Lamb and his
    sister.  These letters are themselves singularly interesting; they
    have hitherto been suppressed in all previous collections of Lamb's
    works and relics, on account of the frequent allusions they contain
    to the unhappy malady of Miss Lamb, and a frightful incident which
    darkened her earlier years.  She was, it appears, a woman of the
    sweetest disposition, and, in her normal state, of the highest and
    clearest intellect, but afflicted with periodical insanity which came
    on once a year, or oftener.  To her parents she was a most tender and
    dutiful daughter, nursing them in their old age, when one was
    physically and the other mentally infirm, with unremitting care, and
    at the same time toiling to add something by needlework to the
    slender resources of the family.  A succession of laborious days and
    sleepless nights brought on a frenzy fit, in which she had the
    miserable misfortune to kill her own mother.  She was afterwards
    placed in a madhouse, where she would have been detained for life,
    had not her brother Charles promised to devote himself to her and
    take her under his care--and for her sake renounce a project of
    marriage he then entertained.  An instance of abnegation of self
    scarcely, I think, to be paralleled in the annals of the "coarser
    sex."  They passed their subsequent lives together--models of
    fraternal affection, and would have been very happy but for the dread
    visitation to which Mary Lamb continued liable all her life.  I
    thought it both a sad and edifying history.  Your account of your
    little niece's naive delight in beholding the morning sea for the
    first time amused and pleased me; it proves she has some
    sensations--a refreshing circumstance in a day and generation when
    the natural phenomenon of children wholly destitute of all pretension
    to the same is by no means an unusual occurrence.

    'I have written a long letter as you requested me, but I fear you
    will not find it very amusing.  With love to your little
    companion,--Believe me, my dear Miss Wooler, yours affectionately and
    respectfully,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Papa, I am most thankful to say, continues in very good health,
    considering his age.  My sisters likewise are pretty well.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                           'HAWORTH, _March_ 31_st_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I had been wishing to hear from you for some
    time before I received your last.  There has been so much sickness
    during the last winter, and the influenza especially has been so
    severe and so generally prevalent, that the sight of suffering around
    us has frequently suggested fears for absent friends.  Ellen Nussey
    told me, indeed, that neither you nor Miss C. Wooler had escaped the
    influenza, but, since your letter contains no allusion to your own
    health or hers, I trust you are completely recovered.  I am most
    thankful to say that papa has hitherto been exempted from any attack.
    My sister and myself have each had a visit from it, but Anne is the
    only one with whom it stayed long or did much mischief; in her case
    it was attended with distressing cough and fever; but she is now
    better, though it has left her chest weak.

    'I remember well wishing my lot had been cast in the troubled times
    of the late war, and seeing in its exciting incidents a kind of
    stimulating charm which it made my pulse beat fast only to think
    of--I remember even, I think, being a little impatient that you would
    not fully sympathise with my feelings on this subject, that you heard
    my aspirations and speculations very tranquilly, and by no means
    seemed to think the flaming sword could be any pleasant addition to
    the joys of paradise.  I have now outlived youth; and, though I dare
    not say that I have outlived all its illusions, that the romance is
    quite gone from life, the veil fallen from truth, and that I see both
    in naked reality, yet, certainly, many things are not to me what they
    were ten years ago; and amongst the rest, "the pomp and circumstance
    of war" have quite lost in my eyes their factitious glitter.  I have
    still no doubt that the shock of moral earthquakes wakens a vivid
    sense of life both in nations and individuals; that the fear of
    dangers on a broad national scale diverts men's minds momentarily
    from brooding over small private perils, and, for the time, gives
    them something like largeness of views; but, as little doubt have I
    that convulsive revolutions put back the world in all that is good,
    check civilisation, bring the dregs of society to its surface--in
    short, it appears to me that insurrections and battles are the acute
    diseases of nations, and that their tendency is to exhaust by their
    violence the vital energies of the countries where they occur.  That
    England may be spared the spasms, cramps, and frenzy-fits now
    contorting the Continent and threatening Ireland, I earnestly pray!

    'With the French and Irish I have no sympathy.  With the Germans and
    Italians I think the case is different--as different as the love of
    freedom is from the lust of license.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                       'HAWORTH, _September_ 27_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--When I tell you that I have already been to
    the Lakes this season, and that it is scarcely more than a month
    since I returned, you will understand that it is no longer within my
    power to accept your kind invitation.

    'I wish I could have gone to you.  I wish your invitation had come
    first; to speak the truth, it would have suited me better than the
    one by which I profited.  It would have been pleasant, soothing, in
    many ways beneficial, to have spent two weeks with you in your
    cottage-lodgings.  But these reflections are vain.  I have already
    had my excursion, and there is an end of it.  Sir J. K. Shuttleworth
    is residing near Windermere, at a house called "The Briary," and it
    was there I was staying for a little while in August.  He very kindly
    showed me the scenery--_as it can be seen from a carriage_--and I
    discerned that the "Lake Country" is a glorious region, of which I
    had only seen the similitude in dream--waking or sleeping.  But, my
    dear Miss Wooler, I only half enjoyed it, because I was only half at
    my ease.  Decidedly I find it does not agree with me to prosecute the
    search of the picturesque in a carriage; a waggon, a spring-cart,
    even a post-chaise might do, but the carriage upsets everything.  I
    longed to slip out unseen, and to run away by myself in amongst the
    hills and dales.  Erratic and vagrant instincts tormented me, and
    these I was obliged to control, or rather, suppress, for fear of
    growing in any degree enthusiastic, and thus drawing attention to the
    "lioness," the authoress, the artist.  Sir J. K. Shuttleworth is a
    man of ability and intellect, but not a man in whose presence one
    willingly unbends.

    'You say you suspect I have found a large circle of acquaintance by
    this time.  No, I cannot say that I have.  I doubt whether I possess
    either the wish or the power to do so.  A few friends I should like
    to know well; if such knowledge brought proportionate regard I could
    not help concentrating my feelings.  Dissipation, I think, appears
    synonymous with dilution.  However, I have as yet scarcely been
    tried.  During the month I spent in London in the spring, I kept very
    quiet, having the fear of "lionising" before my eyes.  I only went
    out once to dinner, and was once present at an evening party; and the
    only visits I have paid have been to Sir J. K. Shuttleworth and my
    publishers.  From this system I should not like to depart.  As far as
    I can see, indiscriminate visiting tends only to a waste of time and
    a vulgarising of character.  Besides, it would be wrong to leave papa
    often; he is now in his 75th year, the infirmities of age begin to
    creep upon him.  During the summer he has been much harassed by
    chronic bronchitis, but, I am thankful to say, he is now somewhat
    better.  I think my own health has derived benefit from change and
    exercise.

    'You ask after Ellen Nussey.  When I saw Ellen, about two months ago,
    she looked remarkably well.  I sometimes hear small fragments of
    gossip which amuse me.  Somebody professes to have authority for
    saying that "When Miss Bronte was in London she neglected to attend
    divine service on the Sabbath, and in the week spent her time in
    going about to balls, theatres, and operas."  On the other hand, the
    London quidnuncs make my seclusion a matter of wonder, and devise
    twenty romantic fictions to account for it.  Formerly I used to
    listen to report with interest and a certain credulity; I am now
    grown deaf and sceptical.  Experience has taught me how absolutely
    devoid of foundations her stories may be.

    'With the sincere hope that your own health is better, and kind
    remembrances to all old friends whenever you see them or write to
    them (and whether or not their feeling to me has ceased to be
    friendly, which I fear is the case in some instances),--I am, my dear
    Miss Wooler, always yours, affectionately and respectfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 14_th_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--My first feeling on receiving your note was
    one of disappointment; but a little consideration sufficed to show me
    that "all was for the best."  In truth, it was a great piece of
    extravagance on my part to ask you and Ellen together; it is much
    better to divide such good things.  To have your visit in _prospect_
    will console me when hers is in _retrospect_.  Not that I mean to
    yield to the weakness of clinging dependently to the society of
    friends, however dear, but still as an occasional treat I must value
    and even seek such society as a necessary of life.  Let me know,
    then, whenever it suits your convenience to come to Haworth, and,
    unless some change I cannot now foresee occurs, a ready and warm
    welcome will await you.  Should there be any cause rendering it
    desirable to defer the visit, I will tell you frankly.

    'The pleasures of society I cannot offer you, nor those of fine
    scenery, but I place very much at your command the moors, some books,
    a series of "curling-hair times," and an old pupil into the bargain.
    Ellen may have told you that I have spent a month in London this
    summer.  When you come you shall ask what questions you like on that
    point, and I will answer to the best of my stammering ability.  Do
    not press me much on the subject of the "Crystal Palace."  I went
    there five times, and certainly saw some interesting things, and the
    _coup d'oeil_ is striking and bewildering enough, but I never was
    able to get up any raptures on the subject, and each renewed visit
    was made under coercion rather than my own free-will.  It is an
    excessively bustling place; and, after all, it's wonders appeal too
    exclusively to the eye and rarely touch the heart or head.  I make an
    exception to the last assertion in favour of those who possess a
    large range of scientific knowledge.  Once I went with Sir David
    Brewster, and perceived that he looked on objects with other eyes
    than mine.

    'Ellen I find is writing, and will therefore deliver her own messages
    of regard.  If papa were in the room he would, I know, desire his
    respects; and you must take both respects and a good bundle of
    something more cordial from yours very faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                       'HAWORTH, _September_ 22_nd_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--Our visitor (a relative from Cornwall) having
    left us, the coast is now clear, so that whenever you feel inclined
    to come, papa and I will be truly glad to see you.  I _do_ wish the
    splendid weather we have had and are having may accompany you here.
    I fear I have somewhat grudged the fine days, fearing a change before
    you come.--Believe me, with papa's regards, yours respectfully and
    affectionately,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Come soon; if you can, on Wednesday.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_October_ 3_rd_, 1851.

    'DEAR NELL,--Do not think I have forgotten you because I have not
    written since your last.  Every day I have had you more or less in my
    thoughts, and wondered how your mother was getting on; let me have a
    line of information as soon as possible.  I have been busy, first
    with a somewhat unexpected visitor, a cousin from Cornwall, who has
    been spending a few days with us, and now with Miss Wooler, who came
    on Monday.  The former personage we can discuss any time when we
    meet.  Miss Wooler is and has been very pleasant.  She is like good
    wine: I think time improves her; and really whatever she may be in
    person, in mind she is younger than when at Roe Head.  Papa and she
    get on extremely well.  I have just heard papa walk into the
    dining-room and pay her a round compliment on her good-sense.  I
    think so far she has been pretty comfortable and likes Haworth, but
    as she only brought a small hand-basket of luggage with her she
    cannot stay long.

    'How are _you_?  Write directly.  With my love to your mother, etc.,
    good-bye, dear Nell.--Yours faithfully,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                                  '_February_ 6_th_, 1852.

    'Ellen Nussey, it seems, told you I spent a fortnight in London last
    December; they wished me very much to stay a month, alleging that I
    should in that time be able to secure a complete circle of
    acquaintance, but I found a fortnight of such excitement quite
    enough.  The whole day was usually spent in sight-seeing, and often
    the evening was spent in society; it was more than I could bear for a
    length of time.  On one occasion I met a party of my critics--seven
    of them; some of them had been very bitter foes in print, but they
    were prodigiously civil face to face.  These gentlemen seemed
    infinitely grander, more pompous, dashing, showy, than the few
    authors I saw.  Mr. Thackeray, for instance, is a man of quiet,
    simple demeanour; he is however looked upon with some awe and even
    distrust.  His conversation is very peculiar, too perverse to be
    pleasant.  It was proposed to me to see Charles Dickens, Lady Morgan,
    Mesdames Trollope, Gore, and some others, but I was aware these
    introductions would bring a degree of notoriety I was not disposed to
    encounter; I declined, therefore, with thanks.

    'Nothing charmed me more during my stay in town than the pictures I
    saw.  One or two private collections of Turner's best water-colour
    drawings were indeed a treat; his later oil-paintings are strange
    things--things that baffle description.

    'I twice saw Macready act--once in _Macbeth_ and once in _Othello_.
    I astonished a dinner-party by honestly saying I did not like him.
    It is the fashion to rave about his splendid acting.  Anything more
    false and artificial, less genuinely impressive than his whole style
    I could scarcely have imagined.  The fact is, the stage-system
    altogether is hollow nonsense.  They act farces well enough: the
    actors comprehend their parts and do them justice.  They comprehend
    nothing about tragedy or Shakespeare, and it is a failure.  I said
    so; and by so saying produced a blank silence--a mute consternation.
    I was, indeed, obliged to dissent on many occasions, and to offend by
    dissenting.  It seems now very much the custom to admire a certain
    wordy, intricate, obscure style of poetry, such as Elizabeth Barrett
    Browning writes.  Some pieces were referred to about which Currer
    Bell was expected to be very rapturous, and failing in this, he
    disappointed.

    'London people strike a provincial as being very much taken up with
    little matters about which no one out of particular town-circles
    cares much; they talk, too, of persons--literary men and women--whose
    names are scarcely heard in the country, and in whom you cannot get
    up an interest.  I think I should scarcely like to live in London,
    and were I obliged to live there, I should certainly go little into
    company, especially I should eschew the literary coteries.

    'You told me, my dear Miss Wooler, to write a long letter.  I have
    obeyed you.--Believe me now, yours affectionately and respectfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                           'HAWORTH, _March_ 12_th_, 1852.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--Your kind note holds out a strong temptation,
    but one that _must be resisted_.  From home I must not go unless
    health or some cause equally imperative render a change necessary.
    For nearly four months now (_i.e._ since I became ill) I have not put
    pen to paper.  My work has been lying untouched, and my faculties
    have been rusting for want of exercise.  Further relaxation is out of
    the question, and I _will not permit myself to think of it_.  My
    publisher groans over my long delays; I am sometimes provoked to
    check the expression of his impatience with short and crusty answers.

    'Yet the pleasure I now deny myself I would fain regard as only
    deferred.  I heard something about your proposing to visit Scarbro'
    in the course of the summer, and could I by the close of July or
    August bring my task to a certain point, how glad should I be to join
    you there for awhile!

    'Ellen will probably go to the south about May to make a stay of two
    or three months; she has formed a plan for my accompanying her and
    taking lodgings on the Sussex Coast; but the scheme seems to me
    impracticable for many reasons, and, moreover, my medical man doubts
    the advisability of my going southward in summer, he says it might
    prove very enervating, whereas Scarbro' or Burlington would brace and
    strengthen.  However, I dare not lay plans at this distance of time.
    For me so much must depend, first on papa's health (which throughout
    the winter has been, I am thankful to say, really excellent), and
    second, on the progress of work, a matter not wholly contingent on
    wish or will, but lying in a great measure beyond the reach of effort
    and out of the pale of calculation.

    'I will not write more at present, as I wish to save this post.  All
    in the house would join in kind remembrances to you if they knew I
    was writing.  Tabby and Martha both frequently inquire after Miss
    Wooler, and desire their respects when an opportunity offers of
    presenting the same.--Believe me, yours always affectionately and
    respectfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                        'HAWORTH, _September_ 2_nd_, 1852.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I have delayed answering your very kind letter
    till I could speak decidedly respecting papa's health.  For some
    weeks after the attack there were frequent variations, and once a
    threatening of a relapse, but I trust his convalescence may now be
    regarded as confirmed.  The acute inflammation of the eye, which
    distressed papa so much as threatening loss of sight, but which I
    suppose was merely symptomatic of the rush of blood to the brain, is
    now quite subsided; the partial paralysis has also disappeared; the
    appetite is better; weakness with occasional slight giddiness seem
    now the only lingering traces of disease.  I am assured that with
    papa's excellent constitution, there is every prospect of his still
    being spared to me for many years.

    'For two things I have reason to be most thankful, viz., that the
    mental faculties have remained quite untouched, and also that my own
    health and strength have been found sufficient for the occasion.
    Solitary as I certainly was at Filey, I yet derived great benefit
    from the change.

    'It would be pleasant at the sea-side this fine warm weather, and I
    should dearly like to be there with you; to such a treat, however, I
    do not now look forward at all.  You will fully understand the
    impossibility of my enjoying peace of mind during absence from papa
    under present circumstances; his strength must be very much more
    fully restored before I can think of leaving home.

    'My dear Miss Wooler, in case you should go to Scarbro' this season,
    may I request you to pay one visit to the churchyard and see if the
    inscription on the stone has been altered as I directed.  We have
    heard nothing since on the subject, and I fear the alteration may
    have been neglected.

    'Ellen has made a long stay in the south, but I believe she will soon
    return now, and I am looking forward to the pleasure of having her
    company in the autumn.

    'With kind regards to all old friends, and sincere love to
    yourself,--I am, my dear Miss Wooler, yours affectionately and
    respectfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                       'HAWORTH, _September_ 21_st_, 1852.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I was truly sorry to hear that when Ellen
    called at the Parsonage you were suffering from influenza.  I know
    that an attack of this debilitating complaint is no trifle in your
    case, as its effects linger with you long.  It has been very
    prevalent in this neighbourhood.  I did not escape, but the sickness
    and fever only lasted a few days and the cough was not severe.  Papa,
    I am thankful to say, continues pretty well; Ellen thinks him little,
    if at all altered.

    'And now for your kind present.  The book will be precious to
    me--chiefly, perhaps, for the sake of the giver, but also for its own
    sake, for it is a good book; and I wish I may be enabled to read it
    with some approach to the spirit you would desire.  Its perusal came
    recommended in such a manner as to obviate danger of neglect; its
    place shall always be on my dressing-table.

    'As to the other part of the present, it arrived under these
    circumstances:

    'For a month past an urgent necessity to buy and make some things for
    winter-wear had been importuning my conscience; the _buying_ might be
    soon effected, but the _making_ was a more serious consideration.  At
    this juncture Ellen arrives with a good-sized parcel, which, when
    opened, discloses the things I required, perfectly made and of
    capital useful fabric; adorned too--which seemly decoration it is but
    too probable I might myself have foregone as an augmentation of
    trouble not to be lightly incurred.  I felt strong doubts as to my
    right to profit by this sort of fairy gift, so unlooked for and so
    curiously opportune; on reading the note accompanying the garments, I
    am told that to accept will be to confer a favour(!)  The doctrine is
    too palatable to be rejected; I even waive all nice scrutiny of its
    soundness--in short, I submit with as good a grace as may be.

    'Ellen has only been my companion one little week.  I would not have
    her any longer, for I am disgusted with myself and my delays, and
    consider it was a weak yielding to temptation in me to send for her
    at all; but, in truth, my spirits were getting low--prostrate
    sometimes, and she has done me inexpressible good.  I wonder when I
    shall see you at Haworth again.  Both my father and the servants have
    again and again insinuated a distinct wish that you should be
    requested to come in the course of the summer and autumn, but I
    always turned a deaf ear: "Not yet," was my thought, "I want first to
    be free--work first, then pleasure."

    'I venture to send by Ellen a book which may amuse an hour: a Scotch
    tale by a minister's wife.  It seems to me well told, and may serve
    to remind you of characters and manners you have seen in Scotland.
    When you have time to write a line, I shall feel anxious to hear how
    you are.  With kind regards to all old friends, and truest affection
    to yourself; in which Ellen joins me,--I am, my dear Miss Wooler,
    yours gratefully and respectfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                          'HAWORTH, _October_ 8_th_, 1852.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I wished much to write to you immediately on
    my return home, but I found several little matters demanding
    attention, and have been kept busy till now.

    'I reached home about five o'clock in the afternoon, and the anxiety
    which is inseparable from a return after absence was pleasantly
    relieved by finding papa well and cheerful.  He inquired after you
    with interest.  I gave him your kind regards, and he specially
    charged me whenever I wrote to present his in return, and to say also
    that he hoped to see you at Haworth at the earliest date which shall
    be convenient to you.

    'The week I spent at Hornsea was a happy and pleasant week.  Thank
    you, my dear Miss Wooler, for the true kindness which gave it its
    chief charm.  I shall think of you often, especially when I walk out,
    and during the long evenings.  I believe the weather has at length
    taken a turn: to-day is beautifully fine.  I wish I were at Hornsea
    and just now preparing to go out with you to walk on the sands or
    along the lake.

    I would not have you to fatigue yourself with writing to me when you
    are not inclined, but yet I should be glad to hear from you some day
    ere long.  When you _do_ write, tell me how you liked _The Experience
    of Life_, and whether you have read _Esmond_, and what you think of
    it.--Believe me always yours, with true affection and respect,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                       'BROOKROYD, _December_ 7_th_, 1852.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--Since you were so kind as to take some
    interest in my small tribulation of Saturday, I write a line to tell
    you that on Sunday morning a letter came which put me out of pain and
    obviated the necessity of an impromptu journey to London.

    'The _money transaction_, of course, remains the same, and perhaps is
    not quite equitable; but when an author finds that his work is
    cordially approved, he can pardon the rest--indeed, my chief regret
    now lies in the conviction that papa will be disappointed: he
    expected me to earn 500 pounds, nor did I myself anticipate that a
    lower sum would be offered; however, 250 pounds is not to be
    despised. {275}

    'Your sudden departure from Brookroyd left a legacy of consternation
    to the bereaved breakfast-table.  Ellen was not easily to be soothed,
    though I diligently represented to her that you had quitted Haworth
    with the same inexorable haste.  I am commissioned to tell you,
    first, that she has decided not to go to Yarmouth till after
    Christmas, her mother's health having within the last few days
    betrayed some symptoms not unlike those which preceded her former
    illness; and though it is to be hoped that those may pass without any
    untoward result, yet they naturally increase Ellen's reluctance to
    leave home for the present.

    'Secondly, I am to say, that when the present you left came to be
    examined, the costliness and beauty of it inspired some concern.
    Ellen thinks you are too kind, as I also think every morning, for I
    am now benefiting by your kind gift.

    'With sincere regards to all at the Parsonage,--I am, my dear Miss
    Wooler, yours respectfully and affectionately,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    '_P.S._--I shall direct that _Esmond_ (Mr. Thackeray's work) shall be
    sent on to you as soon as the Hunsworth party have read it.  It has
    already reached a second edition.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 20_th_, 1853.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--Your last kind note would not have remained so
    long unanswered if I had been in better health.  While Ellen was with
    me, I seemed to revive wonderfully, but began to grow worse again the
    day she left; and this falling off proved symptomatic of a relapse.
    My doctor called the next day; he said the headache from which I was
    suffering arose from inertness in the liver.

    'Thank God, I now feel better; and very grateful am I for the
    improvement--grateful no less for my dear father's sake than for my
    own.

    'Most fully can I sympathise with you in the anxiety you express
    about your friend.  The thought of his leaving England and going out
    alone to a strange country, with all his natural sensitiveness and
    retiring diffidence, is indeed painful; still, my dear Miss Wooler,
    should he actually go to America, I can but then suggest to you the
    same source of comfort and support you have suggested to me, and of
    which indeed I know you never lose sight--namely, reliance on
    Providence.  "God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," and He will
    doubtless care for a good, though afflicted man, amidst whatever
    difficulties he may be thrown.  When you write again, I should be
    glad to know whether your anxiety on this subject is relieved.  I was
    truly glad to learn through Ellen that Ilkley still continued to
    agree with your health.  Earnestly trusting that the New Year may
    prove to you a happy and tranquil time,--I am, my dear Miss Wooler,
    sincerely and affectionately yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                                  '_January_ 27_th_, 1853.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--I received your letter here in London where I
    have been staying about three weeks, and shall probably remain a few
    days longer.  _Villette_ is to be published to-morrow.  Its
    appearance has been purposely delayed hitherto, to avoid discourteous
    clashing with Mrs. Gaskell's new work.  Your name was one of the
    first on the list of presentees, and directed to the Parsonage, where
    I shall also send this letter, as you mention that you are to leave
    Halifax at the close of this week.  I will bear in mind what you say
    about Mrs. Morgan; and should I ever have an opportunity of serving
    her, will not omit to do so.  I only wish my chance of being useful
    were greater.  Schools seem to be considered almost obsolete in
    London.  Ladies' colleges, with professors for every branch of
    instruction, are superseding the old-fashioned seminary.  How the
    system will work I can't tell.  I think the college classes might be
    very useful for finishing the education of ladies intended to go out
    as governesses, but what progress little girls will make in them
    seems to me another question.

    'My dear Miss Wooler, I read attentively all you say about Miss
    Martineau; the sincerity and constancy of your solicitude touches me
    very much.  I should grieve to neglect or oppose your advice, and yet
    I do not feel that it would be right to give Miss Martineau up
    entirely.  There is in her nature much that is very noble.  Hundreds
    have forsaken her, more, I fear, in the apprehension that their fair
    names may suffer if seen in connection with hers, than from any pure
    convictions, such as you suggest, of harm consequent on her fatal
    tenets.  With these fair-weather friends I cannot bear to rank.  And
    for her sin, is it not one of those which God and not man must judge?

    'To speak the truth, my dear Miss Wooler, I believe if you were in my
    place, and knew Miss Martineau as I do--if you had shared with me the
    proofs of her rough but genuine kindliness, and had seen how she
    secretly suffers from abandonment, you would be the last to give her
    up; you would separate the sinner from the sin, and feel as if the
    right lay rather in quietly adhering to her in her strait, while that
    adherence is unfashionable and unpopular, than in turning on her your
    back when the world sets the example.  I believe she is one of those
    whom opposition and desertion make obstinate in error, while patience
    and tolerance touch her deeply and keenly, and incline her to ask of
    her own heart whether the course she has been pursuing may not
    possibly be a faulty course.  However, I have time to think of this
    subject, and I shall think of it seriously.

    'As to what I have seen in London during my present visit, I hope one
    day to tell you all about it by our fireside at home.  When you write
    again will you name a time when it would suit you to come and see me;
    everybody in the house would be glad of your presence; your last
    visit is pleasantly remembered by all.

    'With kindest regards,--I am always, affectionately and respectfully
    yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

A note to Miss Nussey written after Charlotte's death indicates a fairly
shrewd view on the part of Miss Wooler as regards the popularity of her
friend.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

    'MY DEAR MISS ELLEN,--The third edition of Charlotte's Life has at
    length ventured out.  Our curate tells me he is assured it is quite
    inferior to the former ones.  So you see Mrs. Gaskell displayed
    worldly wisdom in going out of her way to furnish gossip for the
    discerning public.  Did I mention to you that Mrs. Gibson knows two
    or three young ladies in Hull who finished their education at Mme.
    Heger's pension?  Mrs. G. said they read _Villette_ with keen
    interest--of course they would.  I had a nice walk with a Suffolk
    lady, who was evidently delighted to meet with one who had personally
    known our dear C. B., and would not soon have wearied of a
    conversation in which she was the topic.--Love to yourself and
    sisters, from--Your affectionate,

                                                              'M. WOOLER.'




CHAPTER XI: THE CURATES AT HAWORTH


Something has already been said concerning the growth of the population
of Haworth during the period of Mr. Bronte's Incumbency.  It was 4668 in
1821, and 6301 in 1841.  This makes it natural that Mr. Bronte should
have applied to his Bishop for assistance in his pastoral duty, and such
aid was permanently granted him in 1838, when Mr. William Weightman
became his first curate. {280}  Mr. Weightman would appear to have been a
favourite.  He many times put in an appearance at the parsonage, although
I do not recognise him in any one of Charlotte's novels, and he certainly
has no place among the three famous curates of _Shirley_.  He would seem
to have been the only man, other than her father and brother, whom Emily
was known to tolerate.  We know that the girls considered him effeminate,
and they called him 'Celia Amelia,' under which name he frequently
appears in Charlotte's letters to Ellen Nussey.  That he was good-natured
seems to be indisputable.  There is one story of his walking to Bradford
to post valentines to the incumbent's daughters, when he found they had
never received any.  There is another story of a trip to Keighley to hear
him lecture.  He was a bit of a poet, it seems, and Ellen Nussey was the
heroine of some of his verses when she visited at Haworth.  Here is a
letter which throws some light upon Charlotte's estimate of the young
man--he was twenty-three years of age at this time.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_March_ 17_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAR MRS. ELEANOR,--I wish to scold you with a forty-horse power
    for having told Mary Taylor that I had requested you not to tell her
    everything, which piece of information has thrown her into tremendous
    ill-humour, besides setting the teeth of her curiosity on edge.  Tell
    her forthwith every individual occurrence, including valentines,
    "Fair E---, Fair E---," etc.; "Away fond love," etc.; "Soul divine,"
    and all; likewise the painting of Miss Celia Amelia Weightman's
    portrait, and that _young lady's_ frequent and agreeable visits.
    By-the-bye, I inquired into the opinion of that intelligent and
    interesting young person respecting you.  It was a favourable one.
    "She" thought you a fine-looking girl, and a very good girl into the
    bargain.  Have you received the newspaper which has been despatched,
    containing a notice of "her" lecture at Keighley?  Mr. Morgan came
    and stayed three days.  By Miss Weightman's aid, we got on pretty
    well.  It was amazing to see with what patience and good-temper the
    innocent creature endured that fat Welshman's prosing, though she
    confessed afterwards that she was almost done up by his long stories.
    We feel very dull without you.  I wish those three weeks were to come
    over again.  Aunt has been at times precious cross since you
    went--however, she is rather better now.  I had a bad cold on Sunday
    and stayed at home most of the day.  Anne's cold is better, but I
    don't consider her strong yet.  What did your sister Anne say about
    my omitting to send a drawing for the Jew basket?  I hope she was too
    much occupied with the thoughts of going to Earnley to think of it.
    I am obliged to cut short my letter.  Everybody in the house unites
    in sending their love to you.  Miss Celia Amelia Weightman also
    desires to be remembered.  Write soon again and--Believe me, yours
    unalterably,

                                                              'CHARIVARI.'

He would seem to have been a much teased curate.  Now it is Miss Ellen
Nussey, now a Miss Agnes Walton, who is supposed to be the object of his
devotion.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_April_ 9_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAR MRS. MENELAUS,--I think I am exceedingly good to write to
    you so soon, indeed I am quite afraid you will begin to consider me
    intrusive with my frequent letters.  I ought by right to let an
    interval of a quarter of a year elapse between each communication,
    and I will, in time; never fear me.  I shall improve in
    procrastination as I get older.

    'My hand is trembling like that of an old man, so I don't expect you
    will be able to read my writing; never mind, put the letter by and
    I'll read it to you the next time I see you.

    'I have been painting a portrait of Agnes Walton for our friend Miss
    Celia Amelia.  You would laugh to see how his eyes sparkle with
    delight when he looks at it, like a pretty child pleased with a new
    plaything.  Good-bye to you.  Let me have no more of your humbug
    about Cupid, etc.  You know as well as I do it is all groundless
    trash.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_August_ 20_th_, 1840.

    'DEAR MRS. ELLEN,--I was very well pleased with your capital long
    letter.  A better farce than the whole affair of that letter-opening
    (ducks and Mr. Weightman included) was never imagined. {282}
    By-the-bye, speaking of Mr. W., I told you he was gone to pass his
    examination at Ripon six weeks ago.  He is not come back yet, and
    what has become of him we don't know.  Branwell has received one
    letter since he went, speaking rapturously of Agnes Walton,
    describing certain balls at which he had figured, and announcing that
    he had been twice over head and ears desperately in love.  It is my
    devout belief that his reverence left Haworth with the fixed
    intention of never returning.  If he does return, it will be because
    he has not been able to get a "living."  Haworth is not the place for
    him.  He requires novelty, a change of faces, difficulties to be
    overcome.  He pleases so easily that he soon gets weary of pleasing
    at all.  He ought not to have been a parson; certainly he ought not.
    Our _august_ relations, as you choose to call them, are gone back to
    London.  They never stayed with us, they only spent one day at our
    house.  Have you seen anything of the Miss Woolers lately?  I wish
    they, or somebody else, would get me a situation.  I have answered
    advertisements without number, but my applications have met with no
    success.

                                                                'CALIBAN.'

One wonders if a single letter by Charlotte Bronte applying for a
'situation' has been preserved!  I have not seen one.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                '_September_ 29_th_, 1840.

    'I know Mrs. Ellen is burning with eagerness to hear something about
    William Weightman.  I think I'll plague her by not telling her a
    word.  To speak heaven's truth, I have precious little to say,
    inasmuch as I seldom see him, except on a Sunday, when he looks as
    handsome, cheery, and good-tempered as usual.  I have indeed had the
    advantage of one long conversation since his return from Westmorland,
    when he poured out his whole warm fickle soul in fondness and
    admiration of Agnes Walton.  Whether he is in love with her or not I
    can't say; I can only observe that it sounds very like it.  He sent
    us a prodigious quantity of game while he was away--a brace of wild
    ducks, a brace of black grouse, a brace of partridges, ditto of
    snipes, ditto of curlews, and a large salmon.  If you were to ask Mr.
    Weightman's opinion of my character just now, he would say that at
    first he thought me a cheerful chatty kind of body, but that on
    farther acquaintance he found me of a capricious changeful temper,
    never to be reckoned on.  He does not know that I have regulated my
    manner by his--that I was cheerful and chatty so long as he was
    respectful, and that when he grew almost contemptuously familiar I
    found it necessary to adopt a degree of reserve which was not
    natural, and therefore was very painful to me.  I find this reserve
    very convenient, and consequently I intend to keep it up.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_November_ 12_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAR NELL,--You will excuse this scrawled sheet of paper,
    inasmuch as I happen to be out of that article, this being the only
    available sheet I can find in my desk.  I have effaced one of the
    delectable portraitures, but have spared the others--lead pencil
    sketches of horse's head, and man's head--being moved to that act of
    clemency by the recollection that they are not the work of my hand,
    but of the sacred fingers of his reverence William Weightman.  You
    will discern that the eye is a little too elevated in the horse's
    head, otherwise I can assure you it is no such bad attempt.  It shows
    taste and something of an artist's eye.  The fellow had no copy for
    it.  He sketched it, and one or two other little things, when he
    happened to be here one evening, but you should have seen the vanity
    with which he afterwards regarded his productions.  One of them
    represented the flying figure of Fame inscribing his own name on the
    clouds.

    'Mrs. Brook and I have interchanged letters.  She expressed herself
    pleased with the style of my application--with its candour, etc.  (I
    took care to tell her that if she wanted a showy, elegant,
    fashionable personage, I was not the man for her), but she wants
    music and singing.  I can't give her music and singing, so of course
    the negotiation is null and void.  Being once up, however, I don't
    mean to sit down till I have got what I want; but there is no sense
    in talking about unfinished projects, so we'll drop the subject.
    Consider this last sentence a hint from me to be applied practically.
    It seems Miss Wooler's school is in a consumptive state of health.  I
    have been endeavouring to obtain a reinforcement of pupils for her,
    but I cannot succeed, because Mrs. Heap is opening a new school in
    Bradford.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 10_th_, 1841.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I promised to write to you, and therefore I must
    keep my promise, though I have neither much to say nor much time to
    say it in.

    'Mary Taylor's visit has been a very pleasant one to us, and I
    believe to herself also.  She and Mr. Weightman have had several
    games at chess, which generally terminated in a species of mock
    hostility.  Mr. Weightman is better in health; but don't set your
    heart on him, I'm afraid he is very fickle--not to you in particular,
    but to half a dozen other ladies.  He has just cut his _inamorata_ at
    Swansea, and sent her back all her letters.  His present object of
    devotion is Caroline Dury, to whom he has just despatched a most
    passionate copy of verses.  Poor lad, his sanguine temperament
    bothers him grievously.

    'That Swansea affair seems to me somewhat heartless as far as I can
    understand it, though I have not heard a very clear explanation.  He
    sighs as much as ever.  I have not mentioned your name to him yet,
    nor do I mean to do so until I have a fair opportunity of gathering
    his real mind.  Perhaps I may never mention it at all, but on the
    contrary carefully avoid all allusion to you.  It will just depend
    upon the further opinion I may form of his character.  I am not
    pleased to find that he was carrying on a regular correspondence with
    this lady at Swansea all the time he was paying such pointed
    attention to you; and now the abrupt way in which he has cut her off,
    and the evident wandering instability of his mind is no favourable
    symptom at all.  I shall not have many opportunities of observing him
    for a month to come.  As for the next fortnight, he will be
    sedulously engaged in preparing for his ordination, and the fortnight
    after he will spend at Appleby and Crackenthorp with Mr. and Miss
    Walton.  Don't think about him; I am not afraid you will break your
    heart, but don't think about him.

    'Give my love to Mercy and your mother, and,--Believe me, yours
    sincerely,

                                                                 'CA'IRA.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                             'RAWDON, _March_ 3_rd_, 1841.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I dare say you have received a valentine this year
    from our bonny-faced friend the curate of Haworth.  I got a precious
    specimen a few days before I left home, but I knew better how to
    treat it than I did those we received a year ago.  I am up to the
    dodges and artifices of his lordship's character.  He knows I know
    him, and you cannot conceive how quiet and respectful he has long
    been.  Mind I am not writing against him--I never _will_ do that.  I
    like him very much.  I honour and admire his generous, open
    disposition, and sweet temper--but for all the tricks, wiles, and
    insincerities of love, the gentleman has not his match for twenty
    miles round.  He would fain persuade every woman under thirty whom he
    sees that he is desperately in love with her.  I have a great deal
    more to say, but I have not a moment's time to write it in.  My dear
    Ellen, _do_ write to me soon, don't forget.--Good-bye.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_March_ 21_st_, 1841.

    'MY DEAREST ELLEN,--I do not know how to wear your pretty little
    handcuffs.  When you come you shall explain the mystery.  I send you
    the precious valentine.  Make much of it.  Remember the writer's blue
    eyes, auburn hair, and rosy cheeks.  You may consider the concern
    addressed to yourself, for I have no doubt he intended it to suit
    anybody.

    'Fare-thee-well.

                                                                   'C. B.'

Then there are these slighter inferences, that concerning Anne being
particularly interesting.

    'Write long letters to me, and tell me everything you can think of,
    and about everybody.  "His young reverence," as you tenderly call
    him, is looking delicate and pale; poor thing, don't you pity him?  I
    do from my heart!  When he is well, and fat, and jovial, I never
    think of him, but when anything ails him I am always sorry.  He sits
    opposite to Anne at church, sighing softly, and looking out of the
    corners of his eyes to win her attention, and Anne is so quiet, her
    look so downcast, they are a picture.'

                                                     '_July_ 19_th_, 1841.

    'Our revered friend, W. W., is quite as bonny, pleasant,
    lighthearted, good-tempered, generous, careless, fickle, and
    unclerical as ever.  He keeps up his correspondence with Agnes
    Walton.  During the last spring he went to Appleby, and stayed
    upwards of a month.'

During the governess and Brussels episodes in Charlotte's life we lose
sight of Mr. Weightman, and the next record is of his death, which took
place in September 1842, while Charlotte and Emily were in Brussels.  Mr.
Bronte preached the funeral sermon, {287} stating by way of introduction
that for the twenty years and more that he had been in Haworth he had
never before read his sermon.  'This is owing to a conviction in my
mind,' he says, 'that in general, for the ordinary run of hearers,
extempore preaching, though accompanied with some peculiar disadvantages,
is more likely to be of a colloquial nature, and better adapted, on the
whole, to the majority.'  His departure from the practice on this
occasion, he explains, is due to the request that his sermon should be
printed.

Mr. Weightman, he told his hearers, was a native of Westmoreland,
educated at the University of Durham.  'While he was there,' continued
Mr. Bronte, 'I applied to the justly venerated Apostolical Bishop of this
diocese, requesting his Lordship to send me a curate adequate to the
wants and wishes of the parishioners.  This application was not in vain.
Our Diocesan, in the scriptural character of the Overlooker and Head of
his clergy, made an admirable choice, which more than answered my
expectations, and probably yours.  The Church Pastoral Aid Society, in
their pious liberality, lent their pecuniary aid, without which all
efforts must have failed.'  'He had classical attainments of the first
order, and, above all, his religious principles were sound and orthodox,'
concludes Mr. Bronte.  Mr. Weightman was twenty-six years of age when he
died.  His successor was Mr. Peter Augustus Smith, whom Charlotte Bronte
has made famous in _Shirley_ as Mr. Malone, curate of Briarfield.  Mr.
Smith was Mr. A. B. Nicholls's predecessor at Haworth.  Here is Charlotte
Bronte's vigorous treatment of him in a letter to her friend.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 26_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR NELL,--We were all very glad to get your letter this morning.
    _We_, I say, as both papa and Emily were anxious to hear of the safe
    arrival of yourself and the little _varmint_. {288}

    'As you conjecture, Emily and I set to shirt-making the very day
    after you left, and we have stuck to it pretty closely ever since.
    We miss your society at least as much as you miss ours, depend upon
    it.  Would that you were within calling distance, that you could as
    you say burst in upon us in an afternoon, and, being despoiled of
    your bonnet and shawl, be fixed in the rocking-chair for the evening
    once or twice every week.  I certainly cherished a dream during your
    stay that such might one day be the case, but the dream is somewhat
    dissipating.  I allude of course to Mr. Smith, to whom you do not
    allude in your letter, and I think you foolish for the omission.  I
    say the dream is dissipating, because Mr. Smith has not mentioned
    your name since you left, except once when papa said you were a nice
    girl, he said, "Yes, she is a nice girl--rather quiet.  I suppose she
    has money," and that is all.  I think the words speak volumes; they
    do not prejudice one in favour of Mr. Smith.  I can well believe what
    papa has often affirmed, and continues to affirm, _i.e._, that Mr.
    Smith is a very fickle man, that if he marries he will soon get tired
    of his wife, and consider her as a burden, also that money will be a
    principal consideration with him in marrying.

    'Papa has two or three times expressed a fear that since Mr. Smith
    paid you so much attention he will perhaps have made an impression on
    your mind which will interfere with your comfort.  I tell him I think
    not, as I believe you to be mistress of yourself in those matters.
    Still, he keeps saying that I am to write to you and dissuade you
    from thinking of him.  I never saw papa make himself so uneasy about
    a thing of the kind before; he is usually very sarcastic on such
    subjects.

    'Mr. Smith be hanged!  I never thought very well of him, and I am
    much disposed to think very ill of him at this blessed minute.  I
    have discussed the subject fully, for where is the use of being
    mysterious and constrained?--it is not worth while.

    'Be sure you write to me and immediately, and tell me whether you
    have given up eating and drinking altogether.  I am not surprised at
    people thinking you looked pale and thin.  I shall expect another
    letter on Thursday--don't disappoint me.

    'My best regards to your mother and sisters.--Yours, somewhat
    irritated,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

    'DEAR NELL,--I did not "swear at the postman" when I saw another
    letter from you.  And I hope you will not "swear" at me when I tell
    you that I cannot think of leaving home at present, even to have the
    pleasure of joining you at Harrogate, but I am obliged to you for
    thinking of me.  I have nothing new about Rev. Lothario Smith.  I
    think I like him a little bit less every day.  Mr. Weightman was
    worth 200 Mr. Smiths tied in a bunch.  Good-bye.  I fear by what you
    say, "Flossy jun." behaves discreditably, and gets his mistress into
    scrapes.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_March_ 16_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I received your kind note last Saturday, and should
    have answered it immediately, but in the meantime I had a letter from
    Mary Taylor, and had to reply to her, and to write sundry letters to
    Brussels to send by opportunity.  My sight will not allow me to write
    several letters per day, so I was obliged to do it gradually.

    'I send you two more circulars because you ask for them, not because
    I hope their distribution will produce any result.  I hope that if a
    time should come when Emily, Anne, or I shall be able to serve you,
    we shall not forget that you have done your best to serve us.

    'Mr. Smith is gone hence.  He is in Ireland at present, and will stay
    there six weeks.  He has left neither a bad nor a good character
    behind him.  Nobody regrets him, because nobody could attach
    themselves to one who could attach himself to nobody.  I thought once
    he had a regard for you, but I do not think so now.  He has never
    asked after you since you left, nor even mentioned you in my hearing,
    except to say once when I purposely alluded to you, that you were
    "not very locomotive."  The meaning of the observation I leave you to
    divine.

    'Yet the man is not without points that will be most useful to
    himself in getting through life.  His good qualities, however, are
    all of the selfish order, but they will make him respected where
    better and more generous natures would be despised, or at least
    neglected.

    'Mr. Grant fills his shoes at present decently enough--but one cares
    naught about these sort of individuals, so drop them.

    'Mary Taylor is going to leave our hemisphere.  To me it is something
    as if a great planet fell out of the sky.  Yet, unless she marries in
    New Zealand, she will not stay there long.

    'Write to me again soon and I promise to write you a regular long
    letter next time.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The Mr. Grant here described had come to Haworth as master of the small
grammar school in which Branwell had received some portion of his
education.  He is the Mr. Donne, curate of Whinbury, in _Shirley_.
Whinbury is Oxenhope, of which village and district Mr. Grant after a
time became incumbent.  The district was taken out of Haworth Chapelry,
and Mr. Grant collected the funds to build a church, schoolhouse, and
parsonage.  He died at Oxenhope, many years ago, greatly respected by his
parishioners.  He seems to have endured good-naturedly much chaff from
Mr. Bronte and others, who always called him Mr. Donne.  It was the
opinion of many of his acquaintances that the satire of _Shirley_ had
improved his disposition.

Mr. Smith left Haworth in 1844, to become curate of the parish church of
Keighley.  He became, at a later date, incumbent of a district church,
but, his health failing, he returned to his native country, where he
died.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_October_ 15_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR NELL,--I send you two additional circulars, and will send you
    two more, if you desire it, when I write again.  I have no news to
    give you.  Mr. Smith leaves in the course of a fortnight.  He will
    spend a few weeks in Ireland previously to settling at Keighley.  He
    continues just the same: often anxious and bad-tempered, sometimes
    rather tolerable--just supportable.  How did your party go off?  How
    are you?  Write soon, and at length, for your letters are a great
    comfort to me.  We are all pretty well.  Remember me kindly to each
    member of the household at Brookroyd.--Yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

The third curate of _Shirley_, Mr. Sweeting of Nunnely, was Mr. Richard
Bradley, curate of Oakworth, an outlying district of Keighley parish.  He
is at this present time vicar of Haxby, Yorkshire, but far too aged and
infirm to have any memories of those old Haworth days.

Mr. Bronte's one other curate was Mr. De Renzi, who occupied the position
for a little more than a year,--during the period, in fact, of Mr.
Bronte's quarrel with Mr. Nicholls for aspiring to become his son-in-law.
After he left Haworth, Mr. De Renzi became a curate at Bradford.  He has
been dead for some years.  The story of Mr. Nicholls's curacy belongs to
another chapter.  It is sufficient testimony to his worth, however, that
he was able to win Charlotte Bronte in spite of the fact that his
predecessors had inspired in her such hearty contempt.  'I think he must
be like all the curates I have seen,' she writes of one; 'they seem to me
a self-seeking, vain, empty race.'




CHAPTER XII: CHARLOTTE BRONTE'S LOVERS


Charlotte Bronte was not beautiful, but she must have been singularly
fascinating.  That she was not beautiful there is abundant evidence.
When, as a girl of fifteen, she became a pupil at Roe Head, Mary Taylor
once told her to her face that she was ugly.  Ugly she was not in later
years.  All her friends emphasise the soft silky hair, and the beautiful
grey eyes which in moments of excitement seemed to glisten with
remarkable brilliancy.  But she had a sallow complexion, and a large nose
slightly on one side.  She was small in stature, and, in fact, the casual
observer would have thought her a quaint, unobtrusive little body.  Mr.
Grundy's memory was very defective when he wrote about the Brontes; but,
with the exception of the reference to red hair--and all the girls had
brown hair--it would seem that he was not very wide of the mark when he
wrote of 'the daughters--distant and distrait, large of nose, small of
figure, red of hair, prominent of spectacles, showing great intellectual
development, but with eyes constantly cast down, very silent, painfully
retiring.'

Charlotte was indeed painfully shy.  Miss Wheelwright, who saw much of
her during her visits to London in the years of her literary success,
says that she would never enter a room without sheltering herself under
the wing of some taller friend.  A resident of Haworth, still alive,
remembers the girls passing him frequently on the way down to the shops,
and their hands would involuntarily be lifted to the face on the side
nearest to him, with a view to avoid observation.  This was not
affectation; it was absolute timidity.  Miss Wheelwright always thought
George Richmond's portrait--for which Charlotte sat during a stay at Dr.
Wheelwright's in Phillimore Place--entirely flattering.  Many of
Charlotte's friends were pleased that it should be so, but there can be
no doubt that the magnificent expanse of forehead was an exaggeration.
Charlotte's forehead was high, but very narrow.

All this is comparatively unimportant.  Charlotte certainly was under no
illusion; and we who revere her to-day as one of the greatest of
Englishwomen need have no illusions.  It is sufficient that, if not
beautiful, Charlotte possessed a singular charm of manner, and, when
interested, an exhilarating flow of conversation which carried
intelligent men off their feet.  She had at least four offers of
marriage.  The three lovers she refused have long since gone to their
graves, and there can be no harm now in referring to the actual facts as
they present themselves in Charlotte's letters.  Two of these offers of
marriage were made in one year, when she was twenty-three years of age.
Her first proposal came from the brother of her friend Ellen Nussey.
Henry Nussey was a curate at Donnington when he asked Charlotte Bronte to
be his wife.  Two letters on the subject, one of which is partly printed
in a mangled form in Mrs. Gaskell's Memoir, speak for themselves.

                             TO REV. HENRY NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _March_ 5_th_, 1839.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Before answering your letter I might have spent a long
    time in consideration of its subject; but as from the first moment of
    its reception and perusal I determined on what course to pursue, it
    seemed to me that delay was wholly unnecessary.  You are aware that I
    have many reasons to feel grateful to your family, that I have
    peculiar reasons for affection towards one at least of your sisters,
    and also that I highly esteem yourself--do not therefore accuse me of
    wrong motives when I say that my answer to your proposal must be a
    _decided negative_.  In forming this decision, I trust I have
    listened to the dictates of conscience more than to those of
    inclination.  I have no personal repugnance to the idea of a union
    with you, but I feel convinced that mine is not the sort of
    disposition calculated to form the happiness of a man like you.  It
    has always been my habit to study the characters of those amongst
    whom I chance to be thrown, and I think I know yours and can imagine
    what description of woman would suit you for a wife.  The character
    should not be too marked, ardent, and original, her temper should be
    mild, her piety undoubted, her spirits even and cheerful, and her
    _personal attractions_ sufficient to please your eyes and gratify
    your just pride.  As for me, you do not know me; I am not the
    serious, grave, cool-headed individual you suppose; you would think
    me romantic and eccentric; you would say I was satirical and severe.
    However, I scorn deceit, and I will never, for the sake of attaining
    the distinction of matrimony and escaping the stigma of an old maid,
    take a worthy man whom I am conscious I cannot render happy.  Before
    I conclude, let me thank you warmly for your other proposal regarding
    the school near Donnington.  It is kind in you to take so much
    interest about me; but the fact is, I could not at present enter upon
    such a project because I have not the capital necessary to insure
    success.  It is a pleasure to me to hear that you are so comfortably
    settled and that your health is so much improved.  I trust God will
    continue His kindness towards you.  Let me say also that I admire the
    good-sense and absence of flattery and cant which your letter
    displayed.  Farewell.  I shall always be glad to hear from you as a
    _friend_.--Believe me, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                           'HAWORTH, _March_ 12_th_, 1839.

    'MY DEAREST ELLEN,--When your letter was put into my hands, I said,
    "She is coming at last, I hope," but when I opened it and found what
    the contents were, I was vexed to the heart.  You need not ask me to
    go to Brookroyd any more.  Once for all, and at the hazard of being
    called the most stupid little wretch that ever existed, I _won't_ go
    till you have been to Haworth.  I don't blame _you_, I believe you
    would come if you might; perhaps I ought not to blame others, but I
    am grieved.

    'Anne goes to Blake Hall on the 8th of April, unless some further
    unseen cause of delay should occur.  I've heard nothing more from
    Mrs. Thos. Brook as yet.  Papa wishes me to remain at home a little
    longer, but I begin to be anxious to set to work again; and yet it
    will be _hard work_ after the indulgence of so many weeks, to return
    to that dreary "gin-horse" round.

    'You ask me, my dear Ellen, whether I have received a letter from
    Henry.  I have, about a week since.  The contents, I confess, did a
    little surprise me, but I kept them to myself, and unless you had
    questioned me on the subject, I would never have adverted to it.
    Henry says he is comfortably settled at Donnington, that his health
    is much improved, and that it is his intention to take pupils after
    Easter.  He then intimates that in due time he should want a wife to
    take care of his pupils, and frankly asks me to be that wife.
    Altogether the letter is written without cant or flattery, and in a
    common-sense style, which does credit to his judgment.

    'Now, my dear Ellen, there were in this proposal some things which
    might have proved a strong temptation.  I thought if I were to marry
    Henry Nussey, his sister could live with me, and how happy I should
    be.  But again I asked myself two questions: Do I love him as much as
    a woman ought to love the man she marries?  Am I the person best
    qualified to make him happy?  Alas! Ellen, my conscience answered
    _no_ to both these questions.  I felt that though I esteemed, though
    I had a kindly leaning towards him, because he is an amiable and
    well-disposed man, yet I had not, and could not have, that intense
    attachment which would make me willing to die for him; and, if ever I
    marry, it must be in that light of adoration that I will regard my
    husband.  Ten to one I shall never have the chance again; but
    _n'importe_.  Moreover, I was aware that Henry knew so little of me
    he could hardly be conscious to whom he was writing.  Why, it would
    startle him to see me in my natural home character; he would think I
    was a wild, romantic enthusiast indeed.  I could not sit all day long
    making a grave face before my husband.  I would laugh, and satirise,
    and say whatever came into my head first.  And if he were a clever
    man, and loved me, the whole world weighed in the balance against his
    smallest wish should be light as air.  Could I, knowing my mind to be
    such as that, conscientiously say that I would take a grave, quiet,
    young man like Henry?  No, it would have been deceiving him, and
    deception of that sort is beneath me.  So I wrote a long letter back,
    in which I expressed my refusal as gently as I could, and also
    candidly avowed my reasons for that refusal.  I described to him,
    too, the sort of character that would suit him for a wife.--Good-bye,
    my dear Ellen.

    'C. BRONTE.'

Mr. Nussey was a very good man, with a capacity for making himself
generally esteemed, becoming in turn vicar of Earnley, near Chichester,
and afterwards of Hathersage, in Derbyshire.  It was honourable to his
judgment that he had aspired to marry Charlotte Bronte, who, as we know,
had neither money nor much personal attraction, and at the time no
possible prospect of literary fame.  Her common-sense letter in reply to
his proposal had the desired effect.  He speedily took the proffered
advice, and six months later we find her sending him a letter of
congratulation upon his engagement to be married.

                             TO REV. HENRY NUSSEY

                                         'HAWORTH, _October_ 28_th_, 1839.

    'DEAR SIR,--I have delayed answering your last communication in the
    hopes of receiving a letter from Ellen, that I might be able to
    transmit to you the latest news from Brookroyd; however, as she does
    not write, I think I ought to put off my reply no longer lest you
    should begin to think me negligent.  As you rightly conjecture, I had
    heard a little hint of what you allude to before, and the account
    gave me pleasure, coupled as it was with the assurance that the
    object of your regard is a worthy and estimable woman.  The step no
    doubt will by many of your friends be considered scarcely as a
    prudent one, _since_ fortune is not amongst the number of the young
    lady's advantages.  For my own part, I must confess that I esteem you
    the more for not hunting after wealth if there be strength of mind,
    firmness of principle, and sweetness of temper to compensate for the
    absence of that usually all-powerful attraction.  The wife who brings
    riches to her husband sometimes also brings an idea of her own
    importance and a tenacity about what she conceives to be her rights,
    little calculated to produce happiness in the married state.  Most
    probably she will wish to control when nature and affection bind her
    to submit--in this case there cannot, I should think, be much
    comfort.

    'On the other hand, it must be considered that when two persons marry
    without money, there ought to be moral courage and physical exertion
    to atone for the deficiency--there should be spirit to scorn
    dependence, patience to endure privation, and energy to labour for a
    livelihood.  If there be these qualities, I think, with the blessing
    of God, those who join heart and hand have a right to expect success
    and a moderate share of happiness, even though they may have departed
    a step or two from the stern maxims of worldly prudence.  The bread
    earned by honourable toil is sweeter than the bread of idleness; and
    mutual love and domestic calm are treasures far preferable to the
    possessions rust can corrupt and moths consume away.

    'I enjoyed my late excursion with Ellen with the greater zest because
    such pleasures have not often chanced to fall in my way.  I will not
    tell you what I thought of the sea, because I should fall into my
    besetting sin of enthusiasm.  I may, however, say that its glories,
    changes, its ebbs and flow, the sound of its restless waves, formed a
    subject for contemplation that never wearied either the eye, the ear,
    or the mind.  Our visit at Easton was extremely pleasant; I shall
    always feel grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Hudson for their kindness.  We
    saw Agnes Burton, during our stay, and called on two of your former
    parishioners--Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Dalton.  I was pleased to hear your
    name mentioned by them in terms of encomium and sincere regard.
    Ellen will have detailed to you all the minutia of our excursion; a
    recapitulation from me would therefore be tedious.  I am happy to say
    that her health appeared to be greatly improved by the change of air
    and regular exercise.  I am still at home, as I have not yet heard of
    any situation which meets with the approbation of my friends.  I
    begin, however, to grow exceedingly impatient of a prolonged period
    of inaction.  I feel I ought to be doing something for myself, for my
    health is now so perfectly re-established by this long rest that it
    affords me no further pretext for indolence.  With every wish for
    your future welfare, and with the hope that whenever your proposed
    union takes place it may contribute in the highest sense to your good
    and happiness,--Believe me, your sincere friend,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    '_P.S._--Remember me to your sister Mercy, who, I understand, is for
    the present your companion and housekeeper.'

The correspondence did not end here.  Indeed, Charlotte was so excellent
a letter-writer, that it must have been hard indeed for any one who had
had any experience of her in that capacity to readily forgo its
continuance.

                             TO REV. HENRY NUSSEY

                                             'HAWORTH, _May_ 26_th_, 1840.

    'DEAR SIR,--In looking over my papers this morning I found a letter
    from you of the date of last February with the mark upon it
    unanswered.  Your sister Ellen often accuses me of want of
    punctuality in answering letters, and I think her accusation is here
    justified.  However, I give you credit for as much considerateness as
    will induce you to excuse a greater fault than this, especially as I
    shall hasten directly to repair it.

    'The fact is, when the letter came Ellen was staying with me, and I
    was so fully occupied in talking to her that I had no time to think
    of writing to others.  This is no great compliment, but it is no
    insult either.  You know Ellen's worth, you know how seldom I see
    her, you partly know my regard for her; and from these premises you
    may easily draw the inference that her company, when once obtained,
    is too valuable to be wasted for a moment.  One woman can appreciate
    the value of another better than a man can do.  Men very often only
    see the outside gloss which dazzles in prosperity, women have
    opportunities for closer observation, and they learn to value those
    qualities which are useful in adversity.

    'There is much, too, in that mild even temper and that placid
    equanimity which keep the domestic hearth always bright and
    peaceful--this is better than the ardent nature that changes twenty
    times in a day.  I have studied Ellen and I think she would make a
    good wife--that is, if she had a good husband.  If she married a fool
    or a tyrant there is spirit enough in her composition to withstand
    the dictates of either insolence or weakness, though even then I
    doubt not her sense would teach her to make the best of a bad
    bargain.

    'You will see my letters are all didactic.  They contain no news,
    because I know of none which I think it would interest you to hear
    repeated.  I am still at home, in very good health and spirits, and
    uneasy only because I cannot yet hear of a situation.

    'I shall always be glad to have a letter from you, and I promise when
    you write again to be less dilatory in answering.  I trust your
    prospects of happiness still continue fair; and from what you say of
    your future partner I doubt not she will be one who will help you to
    get cheerfully through the difficulties of this world and to obtain a
    permanent rest in the next; at least I hope such may be the case.
    You do right to conduct the matter with due deliberation, for on the
    step you are about to take depends the happiness of your whole
    lifetime.

    'You must not again ask me to write in a regular literary way to you
    on some particular topic.  I cannot do it at all.  Do you think I am
    a blue-stocking?  I feel half inclined to laugh at you for the idea,
    but perhaps you would be angry.  What was the topic to be?
    Chemistry? or astronomy? or mechanics? or conchology? or entomology?
    or what other ology?  I know nothing at all about any of these.  I am
    not scientific; I am not a linguist.  You think me far more learned
    than I am.  If I told you all my ignorance, I am afraid you would be
    shocked; however, as I wish still to retain a little corner in your
    good opinion, I will hold my tongue.--Believe me, yours respectfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO REV. HENRY NUSSEY

                                                    '_January_ 11th, 1841.

    'DEAR SIR,--It is time I should reply to your last, as I shall fail
    in fulfilling my promise of not being so dilatory as on a former
    occasion.

    'I shall be glad to receive the poetry which you offer to send me.
    You ask me to return the gift in kind.  How do you know that I have
    it in my power to comply with that request?  Once indeed I was very
    poetical, when I was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years
    old, but I am now twenty-four, approaching twenty-five, and the
    intermediate years are those which begin to rob life of some of its
    superfluous colouring.  At this age it is time that the imagination
    should be pruned and trimmed, that the judgment should be cultivated,
    and a few, at least, of the countless illusions of early youth should
    be cleared away.  I have not written poetry for a long while.

    'You will excuse the dulness, morality, and monotony of this epistle,
    and--Believe me, with all good wishes for your welfare here and
    hereafter, your sincere friend,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

This letter closes the correspondence; but, as we have seen, Charlotte
spent three pleasant weeks in Mr. Nussey's home with his sister Ellen
when that gentleman became vicar of Hathersage, in Derbyshire.  She thus
congratulates her friend when Mr. Nussey is appointed to the latter
living.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_July_ 29_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR NELL,--I am very glad to hear of Henry's good fortune.  It
    proves to me what an excellent thing perseverance is for getting on
    in the world.  Calm self-confidence (not impudence, for that is
    vulgar and repulsive) is an admirable quality; but how are those not
    naturally gifted with it to attain it?  We all here get on much as
    usual.  Papa wishes he could hear of a curate, that Mr. Smith may be
    at liberty to go.  Good-bye, dear Ellen.  I wish to you and yours
    happiness, health, and prosperity.

    'Write again before you go to Burlington.  My best love to Mary.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Meanwhile, as I have said, a second lover appeared on the field in this
same year, 1839, and the quickness of his wooing is a remarkable
testimony to the peculiar fascination which Miss Bronte must have
exercised.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_August_ 4_th_, 1839.

    'MY DEAREST ELLEN,--I have an odd circumstance to relate to
    you--prepare for a hearty laugh!  The other day Mr. Hodgson, papa's
    former curate, now a vicar, came over to spend the day with us,
    bringing with him his own curate.  The latter gentleman, by name Mr.
    Price, is a young Irish clergyman, fresh from Dublin University.  It
    was the first time we had any of us seen him, but, however, after the
    manner of his countrymen, he soon made himself at home.  His
    character quickly appeared in his conversation: witty, lively,
    ardent, clever too, but deficient in the dignity and discretion of an
    Englishman.  At home, you know, Ellen, I talk with ease, and am never
    shy, never weighed down and oppressed by that miserable _mauvaise
    honte_ which torments and constrains me elsewhere.  So I conversed
    with this Irishman and laughed at his jests, and though I saw faults
    in his character, excused them because of the amusement his
    originality afforded.  I cooled a little, indeed, and drew in towards
    the latter part of the evening, because he began to season his
    conversation with something of Hibernian flattery, which I did not
    quite relish.  However, they went away, and no more was thought about
    them.  A few days after I got a letter, the direction of which
    puzzled me, it being in a hand I was not accustomed to see.
    Evidently, it was neither from you nor Mary Taylor, my only
    correspondents.  Having opened and read it, it proved to be a
    declaration of attachment and proposal of matrimony, expressed in the
    ardent language of the sapient young Irishman!  Well! thought I, I
    have heard of love at first sight, but this beats all.  I leave you
    to guess what my answer would be, convinced that you will not do me
    the injustice of guessing wrong.  When we meet I'll show you the
    letter.  I hope you are laughing heartily.  This is not like one of
    my adventures, is it?  It more nearly resembles Martha Taylor's.  I
    am certainly doomed to be an old maid.  Never mind, I made up my mind
    to that fate ever since I was twelve years old.  Write soon.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

It was not many months after this that we hear the last of poor Mr.
Price.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 24_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--Mr. Price is dead.  He had fallen into a state of
    delicate health for some time, and the rupture of a blood-vessel
    carried him off.  He was a strong, athletic-looking man when I saw
    him, and that is scarcely six months ago.  Though I knew so little of
    him, and of course could not be deeply or permanently interested in
    what concerned him, I confess, when I suddenly heard he was dead, I
    felt both shocked and saddened: it was no shame to feel so, was it?
    I scold you, Ellen, for writing illegibly and badly, but I think you
    may repay the compliment with cent per cent interest.  I am not in
    the humour for writing a long letter, so good-bye.  God bless you.

                                                                   'C. B.'

There are many thoughts on marriage scattered through Charlotte's
correspondence.  It was a subject upon which she never wearied of asking
questions, and of finding her own answers.  'I believe it is better to
marry _to_ love than to marry _for_ love,' she says on one occasion.  And
in reference to the somewhat uncertain attitude of the admirer of one of
her friends, she thus expresses herself to Miss Nussey:

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_November_ 20_th_, 1840.

    'MY DEAREST NELL,--That last letter of thine treated of matters so
    high and important I cannot delay answering it for a day.  Now I am
    about to write thee a discourse, and a piece of advice which thou
    must take as if it came from thy grandmother.  But in the first
    place, before I begin with thee, I have a word to whisper in the ear
    of Mr. Vincent, and I wish it could reach him.  In the name of St.
    Chrysostom, St. Simon, and St. Jude, why does not that amiable young
    gentleman come forward like a man and say all that he has to say
    personally, instead of trifling with kinsmen and kinswomen.  "Mr.
    Vincent," I say, "go personally, and say: 'Miss ---, I want to speak
    to you.'  Miss --- will of course civilly answer: 'I am at your
    service, Mr. Vincent.'  And then, when the room is cleared of all but
    yourself and herself, just take a chair nearer.  Insist upon her
    laying down that silly . . . work, and listening to you.  Then begin,
    in a clear, distinct, deferential, but determined voice: 'Miss ---, I
    have a question to put to you--a very important question: "Will you
    take me as your husband, for better, for worse.  I am not a rich man,
    but I have sufficient to support us.  I am not a great man, but I
    love you honestly and truly.  Miss ---, if you knew the world better
    you would see that this is an offer not to be despised--a kind
    attached heart and a moderate competency."  Do this, Mr. Vincent, and
    you may succeed.  Go on writing sentimental and love-sick letters to
    ---, and I would not give sixpence for your suit."  So much for Mr.
    Vincent.  Now Miss ---'s turn comes to swallow the black bolus,
    called a friend's advice.  Say to her: "Is the man a fool? is he a
    knave? a humbug, a hypocrite, a ninny, a noodle?  If he is any or all
    of these, of course there is no sense in trifling with him.  Cut him
    short at once--blast his hopes with lightning rapidity and keenness.
    Is he something better than this? has he at least common sense, a
    good disposition, a manageable temper?  Then consider the matter."
    Say further: "You feel a disgust towards him now--an utter
    repugnance.  Very likely, but be so good as to remember you don't
    know him; you have only had three or four days' acquaintance with
    him.  Longer and closer intimacy might reconcile you to a wonderful
    extent.  And now I'll tell you a word of truth, at which you may be
    offended or not as you like."  Say to her: "From what I know of your
    character, and I think I know it pretty well, I should say you will
    never love before marriage.  After that ceremony is over, and after
    you have had some months to settle down, and to get accustomed to the
    creature you have taken for your worse half, you will probably make a
    most affectionate and happy wife; even if the individual should not
    prove all you could wish, you will be indulgent towards his little
    follies and foibles, and will not feel much annoyance at them.  This
    will especially be the case if he should have sense sufficient to
    allow you to guide him in important matters."  Say also: "I hope you
    will not have the romantic folly to wait for what the French call
    'une grande passion.'  My good girl, 'une grande passion' is 'une
    grande folie.'  Mediocrity in all things is wisdom; mediocrity in the
    sensations is superlative wisdom."  Say to her: "When you are as old
    as I am (I am sixty at least, being your grandmother), you will find
    that the majority of those worldly precepts, whose seeming coldness
    shocks and repels us in youth, are founded in wisdom."

    'No girl should fall in love till the offer is actually made.  This
    maxim is just.  I will even extend and confirm it: No young lady
    should fall in love till the offer has been made, accepted, the
    marriage ceremony performed, and the first half-year of wedded life
    has passed away.  A woman may then begin to love, but with great
    precaution, very coolly, very moderately, very rationally.  If she
    ever loves so much that a harsh word or a cold look cuts her to the
    heart she is a fool.  If she ever loves so much that her husband's
    will is her law, and that she has got into a habit of watching his
    looks in order that she may anticipate his wishes, she will soon be a
    neglected fool.

    'I have two studies: you are my study for the success, the credit,
    and the respectability of a quiet, tranquil character; Mary is my
    study for the contempt, the remorse, the misconstruction which follow
    the development of feelings in themselves noble, warm, generous,
    devoted, and profound, but which, being too freely revealed, too
    frankly bestowed, are not estimated at their real value.  I never
    hope to see in this world a character more truly noble.  She would
    die willingly for one she loved.  Her intellect and her attainments
    are of the very highest standard.  Yet I doubt whether Mary will ever
    marry.  Mr. Weightman expresses himself very strongly on young ladies
    saying "No," when they mean "Yes."  He assures me he means nothing
    personal.  I hope not.  Assuredly I quite agree with him in his
    disapprobation of such a senseless course.  It is folly indeed for
    the tongue to stammer a negative when the heart is proclaiming an
    affirmative.  Or rather, it is an act of heroic self-denial, of which
    _I_ for one confess myself wholly incapable.  _I would not tell such
    a lie_ to gain a thousand pounds.  Write to me again soon.  What made
    you say I admired Hippocrates?  It is a confounded "fib."  I tried to
    find something admirable in him, and failed.'

    'He is perhaps only like the majority of men' (she says of an
    acquaintance).  'Certainly those men who lead a gay life in their
    youth, and arrive at middle-age with feelings blunted and passions
    exhausted, can have but one aim in marriage--the selfish advancement
    of their interest.  Hard to think that such men take as wives--as
    second-selves--women young, modest, sincere, pure in heart and life,
    with feelings all fresh and emotions all unworn, and bind such virtue
    and vitality to their own withered existence, such sincerity to their
    own hollowness, such disinterestedness to their own haggard
    avarice--to think this, troubles the soul to its inmost depths.
    Nature and justice forbid the banns of such wedlock.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_August_ 9_th_, 1846.

    'DEAR NELL,--Anne and I both thank you for your kind invitation.  And
    our thanks are not mere words of course--they are very sincere, both
    as addressed to yourself and your mother and sisters.  But we cannot
    accept it; and I _think_ even _you_ will consider our motives for
    declining valid this time.

    'In a fortnight I hope to go with papa to Manchester to have his eyes
    couched.  Emily and I made a pilgrimage there a week ago to search
    out an operator, and we found one in the person of Mr. Wilson.  He
    could not tell from the description whether the eyes were ready for
    an operation.  Papa must therefore necessarily take a journey to
    Manchester to consult him.  If he judges the cataract ripe, we shall
    remain; if, on the contrary, he thinks it not yet sufficiently
    hardened, we shall have to return--and Papa must remain in darkness a
    while longer.

    'There is a defect in your reasoning about the feelings a wife ought
    to experience.  Who holds the purse will wish to be master, Ellen,
    depend on it, whether man or woman.  Who provided the cash will now
    and then value himself, or herself, upon it, and, even in the case of
    ordinary minds, reproach the less wealthy partner.  Besides, no
    husband ought to be an object of charity to his wife, as no wife to
    her husband.  No, dear Ellen; it is doubtless pleasant to marry
    _well_, as they say, but with all pleasures are mixed bitters.  I do
    not wish for my friend a very rich husband.  I should not like her to
    be regarded by any man ever as "a sweet object of charity."  Give my
    sincere love to all.--Yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Many years were to elapse before Charlotte Bronte received her third
offer of marriage.  These were the years of Brussels life, and the year
during which she lost her sisters.  It came in the period of her early
literary fame, and indeed was the outcome of it.  Mr. James Taylor was in
the employment of Smith & Elder.  He was associated with the literary
department, and next in command to Mr. W. S. Williams as adviser to the
firm.  Mr. Williams appears to have written to Miss Bronte suggesting
that Mr. Taylor should come to Haworth in person for the manuscript of
her new novel, _Shirley_, and here is Charlotte's reply.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_August_ 24_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I think the best title for the book would be
    _Shirley_, without any explanation or addition--the simpler and
    briefer, the better.

    'If Mr. Taylor calls here on his return to town he might take charge
    of the Ms.; I would rather intrust it to him than send it by the
    ordinary conveyance.  Did I see Mr. Taylor when I was in London?  I
    cannot remember him.

    'I would with pleasure offer him the homely hospitalities of the
    Parsonage for a few days, if I could at the same time offer him the
    company of a brother, or if my father were young enough and strong
    enough to walk with him on the moors and show him the neighbourhood,
    or if the peculiar retirement of papa's habits were not such as to
    render it irksome to him to give much of his society to a stranger,
    even in the house.  Without being in the least misanthropical or
    sour-natured, papa habitually prefers solitude to society, and custom
    is a tyrant whose fetters it would now be impossible for him to
    break.  Were it not for difficulties of this sort, I believe I should
    ere this have asked you to come down to Yorkshire.  Papa, I know,
    would receive any friend of Mr. Smith's with perfect kindness and
    goodwill, but I likewise know that, unless greatly put out of his
    way, he could not give a guest much of his company, and that,
    consequently, his entertainment would be but dull.

    'You will see the force of these considerations, and understand why I
    only ask Mr. Taylor to come for a day instead of requesting the
    pleasure of his company for a longer period; you will believe me
    also, and so will he, when I say I shall be most happy to see him.
    He will find Haworth a strange uncivilised little place, such as, I
    daresay, he never saw before.  It is twenty miles distant from Leeds;
    he will have to come by rail to Keighley (there are trains every two
    hours I believe).  He must remember that at a station called Shipley
    the carriages are changed, otherwise they will take him on to Skipton
    or Colne, or I know not where.  When he reaches Keighley, he will yet
    have four miles to travel; a conveyance may be hired at the
    Devonshire Arms--there is no coach or other regular communication.

    'I should like to hear from him before he comes, and to know on what
    day to expect him, that I may have the MS. ready; if it is not quite
    finished I might send the concluding chapter or two by post.

    'I advise you to send this letter to Mr. Taylor--it will save you the
    trouble of much explanation, and will serve to apprise him of what
    lies before him; he can then weigh well with himself whether it would
    suit him to take so much trouble for so slight an end.--Believe me,
    my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL.

                                                 '_September_ 3_rd_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--It will be quite convenient to my father and myself to
    secure your visit on Saturday the 8th inst.

    'The MS. is now complete, and ready for you.

    'Trusting that you have enjoyed your holiday and derived from your
    excursion both pleasure and profit,--I am, dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Mr. Taylor was small and red-haired.  There are two portraits of him
before me.  They indicate a determined, capable man, thick-set, well
bearded: on the whole a vigorous and interesting personality.  In any
case, Mr. Taylor lost his heart to Charlotte, and was much more
persistent than earlier lovers.  He had also the advantage of Mr.
Bronte's goodwill.  This is all there is to add to the letters
themselves.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                '_September_ 14_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I found after sealing my last note to you that I had
    forgotten after all to inclose Amelia's letter; however, it appears
    it does not signify.  While I think of it I must refer to an act of
    petty larceny committed by me when I was last at Brookroyd.  Do you
    remember lending me a parasol, which I should have left with you when
    we parted at Leeds?  I unconsciously carried it away in my hand.  You
    shall have it when you next come to Haworth.

    'I wish, dear Ellen, you would tell me what is the "twaddle about my
    marrying, etc.," which you hear.  If I knew the details I should have
    a better chance of guessing the quarter from which such gossip
    comes--as it is, I am quite at a loss.  Whom am I to marry?  I think
    I have scarcely seen a single man with whom such a union would be
    possible since I left London.  Doubtless there are men whom, if I
    chose to encourage, I might marry; but no matrimonial lot is even
    remotely offered me which seems to me truly desirable.  And even if
    that were the case, there would be many obstacles.  The least
    allusion to such a thing is most offensive to papa.

    'An article entitled _Currer Bell_ has lately appeared in the
    _Palladium_, a new periodical published in Edinburgh.  It is an
    eloquent production, and one of such warm sympathy and high
    appreciation as I had never expected to see.  It makes mistakes about
    authorships, etc., but these I hope one day to set right.  Mr. Taylor
    (the little man) first informed me of this article.  I was somewhat
    surprised to receive his letter, having concluded nine months ago
    that there would be no more correspondence from that quarter.  I
    inclose you a note from him received subsequently, in answer to my
    acknowledgment.  Read it and tell me exactly how it impresses you
    regarding the writer's character, etc.  His little newspaper
    disappeared for some weeks, and I thought it was gone to the tomb of
    the Capulets; however, it has reappeared, with an explanation that he
    had feared its regular transmission might rather annoy than gratify.
    I told him this was a mistake--that I was well enough pleased to
    receive it, but hoped he would not make a task of sending it.  For
    the rest, I cannot consider myself placed under any personal
    obligation by accepting this newspaper, for it belongs to the
    establishment of Smith & Elder.  This little Taylor is deficient
    neither in spirit nor sense.

    'The report about my having published again is, of course, an arrant
    lie.

    'Give my kind regards to all, and--Believe me, yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

Her friend's reference to _Jupiter_ is to another suggested lover, and
the kindly allusion to the 'little man' may be taken to imply that had he
persevered, or not gone off to India, whither he was sent to open a
branch establishment in Bombay for Smith & Elder, Mr. Taylor might
possibly have been successful in the long run.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 30_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR NELL,--I am very sorry to hear that Amelia is again far from
    well; but I think both she and I should try and not be too anxious.
    Even if matters do not prosper this time, all may go as well some
    future day.  I think it is not these _early_ mishaps that break the
    constitution, but those which occur in a much later stage.  She must
    take heart--there may yet be a round dozen of little Joe Taylors to
    look after--run after--to sort and switch and train up in the way
    they should go--that is, with a generous use of pickled birch.  From
    whom do you think I have received a couple of notes lately?  From
    Alice.  They are returned from the Continent, it seems, and are now
    at Torquay.  The first note touched me a little by what I thought its
    subdued tone; I trusted her character might be greatly improved.
    There were, indeed, traces of the "old Adam," but such as I was
    willing to overlook.  I answered her soon and kindly.  In reply I
    received to-day a longish letter, full of clap-trap sentiment and
    humbugging attempts at fine writing.  In each production the old
    trading spirit peeps out; she asks for autographs.  It seems she had
    read in some paper that I was staying with Miss Martineau; thereupon
    she applies for specimens of her handwriting, and Wordsworth's, and
    Southey's, and my own.  The account of her health, if given by any
    one else, would grieve and alarm me.  She talks of fearing that her
    constitution is almost broken by repeated trials, and intimates a
    doubt as to whether she shall live long: but, remembering her of old,
    I have good hopes that this may be a mistake.  Her "beloved papa and
    mama" and her "precious sister," she says, are living, and "gradely."
    (That last is my word.  I don't know whether they use it in Birstall
    as they do here--it means in a middling way.)

    'You are to say no more about "Jupiter" and "Venus"--what do you mean
    by such heathen trash?  The fact is, no fallacy can be wilder, and I
    won't have it hinted at even in jest, because my common sense laughs
    it to scorn.  The idea of the "little man" shocks me less--it would
    be a more likely match if "matches" were at all in question, which
    _they are not_.  He still sends his little newspaper; and the other
    day there came a letter of a bulk, volume, pith, judgment, and
    knowledge, worthy to have been the product of a giant.  You may laugh
    as much and as wickedly as you please; but the fact is, there is a
    quiet constancy about this, my diminutive and red-haired friend,
    which adds a foot to his stature, turns his sandy locks dark, and
    altogether dignifies him a good deal in my estimation.  However, I am
    not bothered by much vehement ardour--there is the nicest distance
    and respect preserved now, which makes matters very comfortable.

    'This is all nonsense, Nell, and so you will understand it.--Yours
    very faithfully,

                                                                    'C. B.

'The name of Miss Martineau's coadjutor is Atkinson.  She often writes to
me with exceeding cordiality.'

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL

                                                    '_March_ 22_nd_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Yesterday I despatched a box of books to Cornhill,
    including the number of the _North British Review_ which you kindly
    lent me.  The article to which you particularly directed my attention
    was read with pleasure and interest, and if I do not now discuss it
    more at length, it is because I am well aware how completely your
    attention must be at present engrossed, since, if I rightly
    understood a brief paragraph in Mr. Smith's last note, you are now on
    the eve of quitting England for India.

    'I will limit myself, then, to the expression of a sincere wish for
    your welfare and prosperity in this undertaking, and to the hope that
    the great change of climate will bring with it no corresponding risk
    to health.  I should think you will be missed in Cornhill, but
    doubtless "business" is a Moloch which demands such sacrifices.

    'I do not know when you go, nor whether your absence is likely to be
    permanent or only for a time; whichever it be, accept my best wishes
    for your happiness, and my farewell, if I should not again have the
    opportunity of addressing you.--Believe me, sincerely yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL

                                                    '_March_ 24_th_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I had written briefly to you before I received yours,
    but I fear the note would not reach you in time.  I will now only say
    that both my father and myself will have pleasure in seeing you on
    your return from Scotland--a pleasure tinged with sadness certainly,
    as all partings are, but still a pleasure.

    'I do most entirely agree with you in what you say about Miss
    Martineau's and Mr. Atkinson's book.  I deeply regret its publication
    for the lady's sake; it gives a death-blow to her future usefulness.
    Who can trust the word, or rely on the judgment, of an avowed
    atheist?

    'May your decision in the crisis through which you have gone result
    in the best effect on your happiness and welfare; and indeed, guided
    as you are by the wish to do right and a high sense of duty, I trust
    it cannot be otherwise.  The change of climate is all I fear; but
    Providence will over-rule this too for the best--in Him you can
    believe and on Him rely.  You will want, therefore, neither solace
    nor support, though your lot be cast as a stranger in a strange
    land.--I am, yours sincerely,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'When you shall have definitely fixed the time of your return
    southward, write me a line to say on what day I may expect you at
    Haworth.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_April_ 5_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Mr. Taylor has been and is gone; things are just as
    they were.  I only know in addition to the slight information I
    possessed before, that this Indian undertaking is necessary to the
    continued prosperity of the firm of Smith, Elder, & Co., and that he,
    Taylor, alone was pronounced to possess the power and means to carry
    it out successfully--that mercantile honour, combined with his own
    sense of duty, obliged him to accept the post of honour and of danger
    to which he has been appointed, that he goes with great personal
    reluctance, and that he contemplates an absence of five years.

    'He looked much thinner and older.  I saw him very near, and once
    through my glass; the resemblance to Branwell struck me forcibly--it
    is marked.  He is not ugly, but very peculiar; the lines in his face
    show an inflexibility, and, I must add, a hardness of character which
    do not attract.  As he stood near me, as he looked at me in his keen
    way, it was all I could do to stand my ground tranquilly and
    steadily, and not to recoil as before.  It is no use saying anything
    if I am not candid.  I avow then, that on this occasion, predisposed
    as I was to regard him very favourably, his manners and his personal
    presence scarcely pleased me more than at the first interview.  He
    gave me a book at parting, requesting in his brief way that I would
    keep it for his sake, and adding hastily, "I shall hope to hear from
    you in India--your letters _have_ been and _will_ be a greater
    refreshment than you can think or I can tell."

    'And so he is gone; and stern and abrupt little man as he is--too
    often jarring as are his manners--his absence and the exclusion of
    his idea from my mind leave me certainly with less support and in
    deeper solitude than before.

    'You see, dear Nell, though we are still precisely on the same
    level--_you_ are not isolated.  I feel that there is a certain
    mystery about this transaction yet, and whether it will ever be
    cleared up to me I do not know; however, my plain duty is to wean my
    mind from the subject, and if possible to avoid pondering over it.
    In his conversation he seemed studiously to avoid reference to Mr.
    Smith individually, speaking always of the "house"--the "firm."  He
    seemed throughout quite as excited and nervous as when I first saw
    him.  I feel that in his way he has a regard for me--a regard which I
    cannot bring myself entirely to reciprocate in kind, and yet its
    withdrawal leaves a painful blank.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_April_ 9_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR NELL,--Thank you for your kind note; it was just like you to
    write it _though_ it was your school-day.  I never knew you to let a
    slight impediment stand in the way of a friendly action.

    'Certainly I shall not soon forget last Friday, and _never_, I think,
    the evening and night succeeding that morning and afternoon.  Evils
    seldom come singly.  And soon after Mr. Taylor was gone, papa, who
    had been better, grew much worse.  He went to bed early, and was very
    sick and ill for an hour; and when at last he began to doze, and I
    left him, I came down to the dining-room with a sense of weight,
    fear, and desolation hard to express and harder to endure.  A wish
    that you were with me _did_ cross my mind, but I repulsed it as a
    most selfish wish; indeed, it was only short-lived: my natural
    tendency in moments of this sort is to get through the struggle
    alone--to think that one is burdening and racking others makes all
    worse.

    'You speak to me in soft consolating accents, but I hold far sterner
    language to myself, dear Nell.

    'An absence of five years--a dividing expanse of three oceans--the
    wide difference between a man's active career and a woman's passive
    existence--these things are almost equivalent to an eternal
    separation.  But there is another thing which forms a barrier more
    difficult to pass than any of these.  Would Mr. Taylor and I ever
    suit?  Could I ever feel for him enough love to accept him as a
    husband?  Friendship--gratitude--esteem I have, but each moment he
    came near me, and that I could see his eyes fastened on me, my veins
    ran ice.  Now that he is away I feel far more gently towards him; it
    is only close by that I grow rigid--stiffening with a strange mixture
    of apprehension and anger, which nothing softens but his retreat and
    a perfect subduing of his manner.  I did not want to be proud, nor
    intend to be proud, but I was forced to be so.

    'Most true is it that we are over-ruled by one above us--that in his
    hands our very will is as clay in the hands of the potter.

    'Papa continues very far from well, though yesterday, and I hope this
    morning, he is a little better.  How is your mother?  Give my love to
    her and your sister.  How are you?  Have you suffered from tic since
    you returned home?  Did they think you improved in looks?

    'Write again soon.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_April_ 23_rd_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I have heard from Mr. Taylor to-day--a quiet little
    note.  He returned to London a week since on Saturday; he has since
    kindly chosen and sent me a parcel of books.  He leaves England May
    20th.  His note concludes with asking whether he has any chance of
    seeing me in London before that time.  I must tell him that I have
    already fixed June for my visit, and therefore, in all human
    probability, we shall see each other no more.

    'There is still a want of plain mutual understanding in this
    business, and there is sadness and pain in more ways than one.  My
    conscience, I can truly say, does not _now_ accuse me of having
    treated Mr. Taylor with injustice or unkindness.  What I once did
    wrong in this way, I have endeavoured to remedy both to himself and
    in speaking of him to others--Mr. Smith to wit, though I more than
    doubt whether that last opinion will ever reach him.  I am sure he
    has estimable and sterling qualities; but with every disposition and
    with every wish, with every intention even to look on him in the most
    favourable point of view at his last visit, it was impossible to me
    in my inward heart to think of him as one that might one day be
    acceptable as a husband.  It would sound harsh were I to tell even
    _you_ of the estimate I felt compelled to form respecting him.  Dear
    Nell, I looked for something of the gentleman--something I mean of
    the _natural_ gentleman; you know I can dispense with acquired
    polish, and for looks, I know myself too well to think that I have
    any right to be exacting on that point.  I could not find one gleam,
    I could not see one passing glimpse of true good-breeding.  It is
    hard to say, but it is true.  In mind too, though clever, he is
    second-rate--thoroughly second-rate.  One does not like to say these
    things, but one had better be honest.  Were I to marry him my heart
    would bleed in pain and humiliation; I could not, _could not_ look up
    to him.  No; if Mr. Taylor be the only husband fate offers to me,
    single I must always remain.  But yet, at times I grieve for him, and
    perhaps it is superfluous, for I cannot think he will suffer much: a
    hard nature, occupation, and change of scene will befriend him.

    'With kind regards to all,--I am, dear Nell, your middle-aged friend,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Write soon.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                       '_May_ 5_th_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I have had a long kind letter from Miss Martineau
    lately.  She says she is well and happy.  Also, I have had a very
    long letter from Mr. Williams.  He speaks with much respect of Mr.
    Taylor.  I discover with some surprise, papa has taken a decided
    liking to Mr. Taylor.  The marked kindness of his manner when he bid
    him good-bye, exhorting him to be "true to himself, his country, and
    his God," and wishing him all good wishes, struck me with some
    astonishment.  Whenever he has alluded to him since, it has been with
    significant eulogy.  When I alluded that he was no gentleman, he
    seemed out of patience with me for the objection.  You say papa has
    penetration.  On this subject I believe he has indeed.  I have told
    him nothing, yet he seems to be _au fait_ to the whole business.  I
    could think at some moments his guesses go farther than mine.  I
    believe he thinks a prospective union, deferred for five years, with
    such a decorous reliable personage, would be a very proper and
    advisable affair.

    'How has your tic been lately?  I had one fiery night when this same
    dragon "tic" held me for some hours with pestilent violence.  It
    still comes at intervals with abated fury.  Owing to this and broken
    sleep, I am looking singularly charming, one of my true London
    looks--starved out and worn down.  Write soon, dear Nell.--Yours
    faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '112 GLOUCESTER PLACE,
                                           'HYDE PARK, _June_ 2_nd_, 1851.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Mr. Taylor has gone some weeks since.  I hear more open
    complaints now about his temper.  Of Mr. Williams' society I have
    enjoyed one evening's allowance, and liked it and him as usual.  On
    such occasions his good qualities of ease, kindliness, and
    intelligence are seen, and his little faults and foibles hidden.  Mr.
    Smith is somewhat changed in appearance.  He looks a little older,
    darker, and more careworn; his ordinary manner is graver, but in the
    evening his spirits flow back to him.  Things and circumstances seem
    here to be as usual, but I fancy there has been some crisis in which
    his energy and filial affection have sustained them all.  This I
    judge from the fact that his mother and sisters are more peculiarly
    bound to him than ever, and that his slightest wish is an
    unquestioned law.--Faithfully yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    'November 4_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Papa, Tabby, and Martha are at present all better, yet
    none of them well.  Martha at present looks feeble.  I wish she had a
    better constitution.  As it is, one is always afraid of giving her
    too much to do; and yet there are many things I cannot undertake
    myself, and we do not like to change when we have had her so long.
    How are you getting on in the matter of servants?  The other day I
    received a long letter from Mr. Taylor.  I told you I did not expect
    to hear thence, nor did I.  The letter is long, but it is worth your
    while to read it.  In its way it has merit, that cannot be denied;
    abundance of information, talent of a certain kind, alloyed (I think)
    here and there with errors of taste.  He might have spared many of
    the details of the bath scene, which, for the rest, tallies exactly
    with Mr. Thackeray's account of the same process.  This little man
    with all his long letters remains as much a conundrum to me as ever.
    Your account of the domestic joys at Hunsworth amused me much.  The
    good folks seem very happy--long may they continue so!  It somewhat
    cheers me to know that such happiness _does_ exist on the earth.
    Return Mr. Taylor's letter when you have read it.  With love to your
    mother,--I am, dear Nell, sincerely yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                           TO JAMES TAYLOR, BOMBAY

                                        'HAWORTH, _November_ 15_th_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Both your communications reached me safely--the note
    of the 17th September and the letter of the 2nd October.  You do
    yourself less than justice when you stigmatise the latter as
    "ill-written."  I found it quite legible, nor did I lose a word,
    though the lines and letters were so close.  I should have been sorry
    if such had not been the case, as it appeared to me throughout highly
    interesting.  It is observable that the very same information which
    we have previously collected, perhaps with rather languid attention,
    from printed books, when placed before us in familiar manuscript, and
    comprising the actual experience of a person with whom we are
    acquainted, acquires a new and vital interest: when we know the
    narrator we seem to realise the tale.

    'The bath scene amused me much.  Your account of that operation
    tallies in every point with Mr. Thackeray's description in the
    _Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo_.  The usage seems a little
    rough, and I cannot help thinking that equal benefit might be
    obtained through less violent means; but I suppose without the
    previous fatigue the after-sensation would not be so enjoyable, and
    no doubt it is that indolent after-sensation which the self-indulgent
    Mahometans chiefly cultivate.  I think you did right to disdain it.

    'It would seem to me a matter of great regret that the society at
    Bombay should be so deficient in all intellectual attraction.
    Perhaps, however, your occupations will so far absorb your thoughts
    as to prevent them from dwelling painfully on this circumstance.  No
    doubt there will be moments when you will look back to London and
    Scotland, and the friends you have left there, with some yearning;
    but I suppose business has its own excitement.  The new country, the
    new scenes too, must have their interest; and as you will not lack
    books to fill your leisure, you will probably soon become reconciled
    to a change which, for some minds, would too closely resemble exile.

    'I fear the climate--such as you describe it--must be very trying to
    an European constitution.  In your first letter, you mentioned
    October as the month of danger; it is now over.  Whether you have
    passed its ordeal safely, must yet for some weeks remain unknown to
    your friends in England--they can but _wish_ that such may be the
    case.  You will not expect me to write a letter that shall form a
    parallel with your own either in quantity or quality; what I write
    must be brief, and what I communicate must be commonplace and of
    trivial interest.

    'My father, I am thankful to say, continues in pretty good health.  I
    read portions of your letter to him and he was interested in hearing
    them.  He charged me when I wrote to convey his very kind
    remembrances.

    'I had myself ceased to expect a letter from you.  On taking leave at
    Haworth you said something about writing from India, but I doubted at
    the time whether it was not one of those forms of speech which
    politeness dictates; and as time passed, and I did not hear from you,
    I became confirmed in this view of the subject.  With every good wish
    for your welfare,--I am, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_November_ 19_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--All here is much as usual, and I was thinking of
    writing to you this morning when I received your note.  I am glad to
    hear your mother bears this severe weather tolerably, as papa does
    also.  I had a cold, chiefly in the throat and chest, but I applied
    cold water, which relieved me, I think, far better than hot
    applications would have done.  The only events in my life consist in
    that little change occasional letters bring.  I have had two from
    Miss Wooler since she left Haworth which touched me much.  She seems
    to think so much of a little congenial company.  She says she has not
    for many days known such enjoyment as she experienced during the ten
    days she stayed here.  Yet you know what Haworth is--dull enough.

    'How could you imagine your last letter offended me?  I only
    disagreed with you on _one point_.  The little man's disdain of the
    sensual pleasure of a Turkish bath had, I must own, my approval.
    Before answering his epistle I got up my courage to write to Mr.
    Williams, through whose hands or those of Mr. Smith I knew the Indian
    letter had come, and beg him to give me an impartial judgment of Mr.
    Taylor's character and disposition, owning that I was very much in
    the dark.  I did not like to continue correspondence without further
    information.  I got the answer, which I inclose.  You say nothing
    about the Hunsworth Turtle-doves--how are they? and how is the branch
    of promise?  I hope doing well.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_January_ 1_st_, 1852.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am glad of the opportunity of writing to you, for I
    have long wished to send you a little note, and was only deterred
    from doing so by the conviction that the period preceding Christmas
    must be a very busy one to you.

    'I have wished to thank you for your last, which gave me very genuine
    pleasure.  You ascribe to Mr. Taylor an excellent character; such a
    man's friendship, at any rate, should not be disregarded; and if the
    principles and disposition be what you say, faults of manner and even
    of temper ought to weigh light in the balance.  I always believed in
    his judgment and good-sense, but what I doubted was his kindness--he
    seemed to me a little too harsh, rigid, and unsympathising.  Now,
    judgment, sense, principle are invaluable and quite indispensable
    points, but one would be thankful for a _little_ feeling, a _little_
    indulgence in addition--without these, poor fallible human nature
    shrinks under the domination of the sterner qualities.  I answered
    Mr. Taylor's letter by the mail of the 19th November, sending it
    direct, for, on reflection, I did not see why I should trouble you
    with it.

    'Did your son Frank call on Mrs. Gaskell? and how did he like her?

    'My health has not been very satisfactory lately, but I think, though
    I vary almost daily, I am much better than I was a fortnight ago.
    All the winter the fact of my never being able to stoop over a desk
    without bringing on pain and oppression in the chest has been a great
    affliction to me, and the want of tranquil rest at night has tried me
    much, but I hope for the better times.  The doctors say that there is
    no organic mischief.

    'Wishing a happy New Year to you,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_March_ 7_th_, 1852.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I hope both your mother's cold and yours are quite well
    ere this.  Papa has got something of his spring attack of bronchitis,
    but so far it is in a greatly ameliorated form, very different to
    what it has been for three years past.  I do trust it may pass off
    thus mildly.  I continue better.

    'Dear Nell, I told you from the beginning that my going to Sussex was
    a most improbable event; I tell you now that unless want of health
    should absolutely compel me to give up work and leave home (which I
    trust and hope will not be the case) I _certainly shall not think of
    going_.  It is better to be decided, and decided I must be.  You can
    never want me less than when in Sussex surrounded by amusement and
    friends.  I do not know that I shall go to Scarbro', but it might be
    possible to spare a fortnight to go there (for the sake of a sad duty
    rather than pleasure), when I could not give a month to a longer
    excursion.  I have not a word of news to tell you.  Many mails have
    come from India since I was at Brookroyd.  Expectation would at times
    be on the alert, but disappointment knocked her down.  I have not
    heard a syllable, and cannot think of making inquiries at Cornhill.
    Well, long suspense in any matter usually proves somewhat cankering,
    but God orders all things for us, and to His Will we must submit.  Be
    sure to keep a calm mind; expect nothing.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

When Mr. Taylor returned to England in 1856 Charlotte Bronte was dead.
His after-life was more successful than happy.  He did not, it is true,
succeed in Bombay with the firm of Smith, Taylor & Co.  That would seem
to have collapsed.  But he made friends in Bombay and returned there in
1863 as editor of the _Bombay Gazette_ and the _Bombay Quarterly Review_.
A little later he became editor of the _Bombay Saturday Review_, which
had not, however, a long career.  Mr. Taylor's successes were not
journalistic but mercantile.  As Secretary of the Bombay Chamber of
Commerce, which appointment he obtained in 1865, he obtained much real
distinction.  To this post he added that of Registrar of the University
of Bombay and many other offices.  He was elected Sheriff in 1874, in
which year he died.  An imposing funeral ceremony took place in the
Cathedral, and he was buried in the Bombay cemetery, where his tomb may
be found to the left of the entrance gates, inscribed--

    JAMES TAYLOR.  DIED APRIL 29, 1874, AGED 57.

He married during his visit to England, but the marriage was not a happy
one.  That does not belong to the present story.  Here, however, is a
cutting from the _Times_ marriage record in 1863:--

    'On the 23rd inst., at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, St.
    Pancras, by the Rev. James Moorhouse, M.A., James Taylor, Esq., of
    Furnival's-inn, and Bombay, to Annie, widow of Adolph Ritter, of
    Vienna, and stepdaughter of Thos. Harrison, Esq., of Birchanger
    Place, Essex.'




CHAPTER XIII: LITERARY AMBITIONS


We have seen how Charlotte Bronte and her sisters wrote from their
earliest years those little books which embodied their vague aspirations
after literary fame.  Now and again the effort is admirable, notably in
_The Adventures of Ernest Alembert_, but on the whole it amounts to as
little as did the juvenile productions of Shelley.  That poet, it will be
remembered, wrote _Zastrozzi_ at nineteen, and much else that was bad,
some of which he printed.  Charlotte Bronte was mercifully restrained by
a well-nigh empty purse from this ill-considered rashness.  It was not
till the death of their aunt had added to their slender resources that
the Bronte girls conceived the idea of actually publishing a book at
their own expense.  They communicated with the now extinct firm of Aylott
& Jones of Paternoster Row, and Charlotte appears to have written many
letters to the firm, {325} only two or three of which are printed by Mrs.
Gaskell.  The correspondence is comparatively insignificant, but as the
practical beginning of Charlotte's literary career, the hitherto
unpublished letters which have been preserved are perhaps worth
reproducing here.

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                  '_January_ 28_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--May I request to be informed whether you would undertake
    the publication of a collection of short poems in one volume, 8vo.

    'If you object to publishing the work at your own risk, would you
    undertake it on the author's account?--I am, gentlemen, your obedient
    humble servant,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Address--Rev. P. Bronte, Haworth, Bradford, Yorkshire.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                     '_March_ 3_rd_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--I send a draft for 31 pounds, 10s., being the amount of
    your estimate.

    'I suppose there is nothing now to prevent your immediately
    commencing the printing of the work.

    'When you acknowledge the receipt of the draft, will you state how
    soon it will be completed?--I am, gentlemen, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                    '_March_ 11_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--I have received the proof-sheet, and return it
    corrected.  If there is any doubt at all about the printer's
    competency to correct errors, I would prefer submitting each sheet to
    the inspection of the authors, because such a mistake, for instance,
    as _tumbling_ stars, instead of _trembling_, would suffice to throw
    an air of absurdity over a whole poem; but if you know from
    experience that he is to be relied on, I would trust to your
    assurance on the subject, and leave the task of correction to him, as
    I know that a considerable saving both of time and trouble would be
    thus effected.

    'The printing and paper appear to me satisfactory.  Of course I wish
    to have the work out as soon as possible, but I am still more anxious
    that it should be got up in a manner creditable to the publishers and
    agreeable to the authors.--I am, gentlemen, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                    '_March_ 13_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--I return you the second proof.  The authors have finally
    decided that they would prefer having all the proofs sent to them in
    turn, but you need not inclose the Ms., as they can correct the
    errors from memory.--I am, gentlemen, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                    '_March_ 23_rd_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--As the proofs have hitherto come safe to hand under the
    direction of C. Bronte, _Esq_., I have not thought it necessary to
    request you to change it, but a little mistake having occurred
    yesterday, I think it will be better to send them to me in future
    under my real address, which is Miss Bronte, Rev. P. Bronte, etc.--I
    am, gentlemen, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                     '_April_ 6_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--C., E., and A. Bell are now preparing for the press a
    work of fiction, consisting of three distinct and unconnected tales,
    which may be published either together, as a work of three volumes,
    of the ordinary novel size, or separately as single volumes, as shall
    be deemed most advisable.

    'It is not their intention to publish these tales on their own
    account.  They direct me to ask you whether you would be disposed to
    undertake the work, after having, of course, by due inspection of the
    Ms., ascertained that its contents are such as to warrant an
    expectation of success.

    'An early answer will oblige, as, in case of your negativing the
    proposal, inquiry must be made of other publishers.--I am, gentlemen,
    yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                    '_April_ 15_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--I have to thank you for your obliging answer to my last.
    The information you give is of value to us, and when the MS. is
    completed your suggestions shall be acted on.

    'There will be no preface to the poems.  The blank leaf may be filled
    up by a table of contents, which I suppose the printer will prepare.
    It appears the volume will be a thinner one than was calculated
    on.--I am, gentlemen, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                      '_May_ 11_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--The books may be done up in the style of Moxon's
    duodecimo edition of Wordsworth.

    'The price may be fixed at 5s., or if you think that too much for the
    size of the volume, say 4s.

    'I think the periodicals I mentioned in my last will be sufficient
    for advertising in at present, and I should not wish you to lay out a
    larger sum than 2 pounds, especially as the estimate is increased by
    nearly 5 pounds, in consequence, it appears, of a mistake.  I should
    think the success of a work depends more on the notice it receives
    from periodicals, than on the quantity of advertisements.

    'If you do not object, the additional amount of the estimate can be
    remitted when you send in your account at the end of the first six
    months.

    'I should be obliged to you if you could let me know how soon copies
    can be sent to the editors of the magazines and newspapers
    specified.--I am, gentlemen, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                      '_May_ 25_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--I received yours of the 22nd this morning.  I now
    transmit 5 pounds, being the additional sum necessary to defray the
    entire expense of paper and printing.  It will leave a small surplus
    of 11s. 9d., which you can place to my account.

    'I am glad you have sent copies to the newspapers you mention, and in
    case of a notice favourable or otherwise appearing in them, or in any
    of the other periodicals to which copies have been sent, I should be
    obliged to you if you would send me down the numbers; otherwise, I
    have not the opportunity of seeing these publications regularly.  I
    might miss it, and should the poems be remarked upon favourably, it
    is my intention to appropriate a further sum to advertisements.  If,
    on the other hand, they should pass unnoticed or be condemned, I
    consider it would be quite useless to advertise, as there is nothing,
    either in the title of the work or the names of the authors, to
    attract attention from a single individual.--I am, gentlemen, yours
    truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO AYLOTT & JONES

                                                     '_July_ 10_th_, 1846.

    'GENTLEMEN,--I am directed by the Messrs. Bell to acknowledge the
    receipt of the _Critic_ and the _Athenaeum_ containing notices of the
    poems.

    'They now think that a further sum of 10 pounds may be devoted to
    advertisements, leaving it to you to select such channels as you deem
    most advisable.

    'They would wish the following extract from the _Critic_ to be
    appended to each advertisement:--

    '"They in whose hearts are chords strung by Nature to sympathise with
    the beautiful and the true, will recognise in these compositions the
    presence of more genius than it was supposed this utilitarian age had
    devoted to the loftier exercises of the intellect."

    'They likewise request you to send copies of the poems to _Fraser's
    Magazine_, _Chambers' Edinburgh Journal_, the Globe, and
    _Examiner_.--I am, gentlemen, yours truly,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

To an appreciative editor Currer Bell wrote as follows:--

              TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE.'

                                                   '_October_ 6_th_, 1846.

    'SIRS,--I thank you in my own name and that of my brothers, Ellis and
    Acton, for the indulgent notice that appeared in your last number of
    our first humble efforts in literature; but I thank you far more for
    the essay on modern poetry which preceded that notice--an essay in
    which seems to me to be condensed the very spirit of truth and
    beauty.  If all or half your other readers shall have derived from
    its perusal the delight it afforded to myself and my brothers, your
    labours have produced a rich result.

    'After such criticism an author may indeed be smitten at first by a
    sense of his own insignificance--as we were--but on a second and a
    third perusal he finds a power and beauty therein which stirs him to
    a desire to do more and better things.  It fulfils the right end of
    criticism: without absolutely crushing, it corrects and rouses.  I
    again thank you heartily, and beg to subscribe myself,--Your constant
    and grateful reader,

                                                            'CURRER BELL.'

The reception which it met with from the public may be gathered from the
following letter which accompanied De Quincey's copy. {330}

                            TO THOMAS DE QUINCEY.

                                                     '_June_ 16_th_, 1847.

    'SIRS,--My relatives, Ellis and Acton Bell, and myself, heedless of
    the repeated warnings of various respectable publishers, have
    committed the rash act of printing a volume of poems.

    'The consequences predicted have, of course, overtaken us: our book
    is found to be a drug; no man needs it or heeds it.  In the space of
    a year our publisher has disposed but of two copies, and by what
    painful efforts he succeeded in getting rid of these two, himself
    only knows.

    'Before transferring the edition to the trunkmakers, we have decided
    on distributing as presents a few copies of what we cannot sell; and
    we beg to offer you one in acknowledgment of the pleasure and profit
    we have often and long derived from your works.--I am, sir, yours
    very respectfully,

                                                            'CURRER BELL.'

Charlotte Bronte could not have carried out the project of distribution
to any appreciable extent, as a considerable 'remainder' appear to have
been bound up with a new title-page by Smith & Elder.  With this Smith &
Elder title-page, the book is not uncommon, whereas, with the Aylott &
Jones title-page it is exceedingly rare.  Perhaps there were a dozen
review copies and a dozen presentation copies, in addition to the two
that were sold, but only three or four seem to have survived for the
pleasure of the latter-day bibliophile.

Here is the title-page in question:

                                    POEMS

                                      BY

                                CURRER, ELLIS
                                     AND
                                  ACTON BELL

                                    LONDON
                      AYLOTT & JONES, 8 PATERNOSTER ROW
                                     1846

We see by the letter to Aylott & Jones the first announcement of
_Wuthering Heights_, _Agnes Grey_, and _The Professor_.  It would not
seem that there was much, or indeed any, difficulty in disposing of
_Wuthering Heights_ and _Agnes Grey_.  They bear the imprint of Newby of
Mortimer Street, and they appeared in three uniform volumes, the two
first being taken up by _Wuthering Heights_, and the third by _Agnes
Grey_, {332a} which is quaintly marked as if it were a three-volumed
novel in itself, having 'Volume III' on title-page and binding.  I have
said that there were no travels before the manuscripts of Emily and Anne.
That is not quite certain.  Mrs. Gaskell implies that there were; but, at
any rate, there is no definite information on the subject.  Newby, it is
clear, did not publish them until all the world was discussing _Jane
Eyre_.  _The Professor_, by Currer Bell, had, however, travel enough!  It
was offered to six publishers in succession before it came into the hands
of Mr. W. S. Williams, the 'reader' for Smith & Elder.  The circumstance
of its courteous refusal by that firm, and the suggestion that a
three-volumed novel would be gladly considered, are within the knowledge
of all Charlotte Bronte's admirers. {332b}

One cannot but admire the fearless and uncompromising honesty with which
Charlotte Bronte sent the MSS. round with all its previous journeys
frankly indicated.

It is not easy at this time of day to understand why Mr. Williams refused
_The Professor_.  The story is incomparably superior to the average
novel, and, indeed, contains touches which are equal to anything that
Currer Bell ever wrote.  It seems to me possible that Charlotte Bronte
rewrote the story after its rejection, but the manuscript does not bear
out that impression. {332c}

Charlotte Bronte's method of writing was to take a piece of
cardboard--the broken cover of a book, in fact--and a few sheets of
note-paper, and write her first form of a story upon these sheets in a
tiny handwriting in pencil.  She would afterwards copy the whole out upon
quarto paper very neatly in ink.  None of the original pencilled MSS.  of
her greater novels have been preserved.  The extant manuscripts of _Jane
Eyre_ and _The Professor_ are in ink.

_Jane Eyre_ was written, then, under Mr. Williams's kind encouragement,
and immediately accepted.  It was published in the first week of October
1847.

The following letters were received by Mr. Williams while the book was
beginning its course.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_October_ 4_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I thank you sincerely for your last letter.  It is
    valuable to me because it furnishes me with a sound opinion on points
    respecting which I desired to be advised; be assured I shall do what
    I can to profit by your wise and good counsel.

    'Permit me, however, sir, to caution you against forming too
    favourable an idea of my powers, or too sanguine an expectation of
    what they can achieve.  I am myself sensible both of deficiencies of
    capacity and disadvantages of circumstance which will, I fear, render
    it somewhat difficult for me to attain popularity as an author.  The
    eminent writers you mention--Mr. Thackeray, Mr. Dickens, Mrs. Marsh,
    {333} etc., doubtless enjoyed facilities for observation such as I
    have not; certainly they possess a knowledge of the world, whether
    intuitive or acquired, such as I can lay no claim to, and this gives
    their writings an importance and a variety greatly beyond what I can
    offer the public.

    'Still, if health be spared and time vouchsafed me, I mean to do my
    best; and should a moderate success crown my efforts, its value will
    be greatly enhanced by the proof it will seem to give that your kind
    counsel and encouragement have not been bestowed on one quite
    unworthy.--Yours respectfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_October_ 9_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I do not know whether the _Dublin University Magazine_ is
    included in the list of periodicals to which Messrs. Smith & Elder
    are accustomed to send copies of new publications, but as a former
    work, the joint production of myself and my two relatives, Ellis and
    Acton Bell, received a somewhat favourable notice in that magazine,
    it appears to me that if the editor's attention were drawn to _Jane
    Eyre_ he might possibly bestow on it also a few words of remark.

    'The_ Critic_ and the _Athenaeum_ also gave comments on the work I
    allude to.  The review in the first-mentioned paper was unexpectedly
    and generously eulogistic, that in the _Athenaeum_ more qualified,
    but still not discouraging.  I mention these circumstances and leave
    it to you to judge whether any advantage is derivable from them.

    'You dispensed me from the duty of answering your last letter, but my
    sense of the justness of the views it expresses will not permit me to
    neglect this opportunity both of acknowledging it and thanking you
    for it.--Yours sincerely,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                        'HAWORTH, _December_ 13_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--Your advice merits and shall have my most serious
    attention.  I feel the force of your reasoning.  It is my wish to do
    my best in the career on which I have entered.  So I shall study and
    strive; and by dint of time, thought, and effort, I hope yet to
    deserve in part the encouragement you and others have so generously
    accorded me.  But time will be necessary--that I feel more than ever.
    In case of _Jane Eyre_ reaching a second edition, I should wish some
    few corrections to be made, and will prepare an errata.  How would
    the accompanying preface do?  I thought it better to be brief.

    'The _Observer_ has just reached me.  I always compel myself to read
    the analysis in every newspaper-notice.  It is a just punishment, a
    due though severe humiliation for faults of plan and construction.  I
    wonder if the analysis of other fictions read as absurdly as that of
    _Jane Eyre_ always does.--I am, dear sir, yours respectfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

The following letter is interesting because it discusses the rejected
novel, and refers to the project of recasting it, which ended in the
writing of _Villette_. {335}

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_December_ 14_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I have just received your kind and welcome letter of the
    11th.  I shall proceed at once to discuss the principal subject of
    it.

    'Of course a second work has occupied my thoughts much.  I think it
    would be premature in me to undertake a serial now--I am not yet
    qualified for the task: I have neither gained a sufficiently firm
    footing with the public, nor do I possess sufficient confidence in
    myself, nor can I boast those unflagging animal spirits, that even
    command of the faculty of composition, which as you say, and, I am
    persuaded, most justly, is an indispensable requisite to success in
    serial literature.  I decidedly feel that ere I change my ground I
    had better make another venture in the three volume novel form.

    'Respecting the plan of such a work, I have pondered it, but as yet
    with very unsatisfactory results.  Three commencements have I
    essayed, but all three displease me.  A few days since I looked over
    _The Professor_.  I found the beginning very feeble, the whole
    narrative deficient in incident and in general attractiveness.  Yet
    the middle and latter portion of the work, all that relates to
    Brussels, the Belgian school, etc., is as good as I can write: it
    contains more pith, more substance, more reality, in my judgment,
    than much of _Jane Eyre_.  It gives, I think, a new view of a grade,
    an occupation, and a class of characters--all very commonplace, very
    insignificant in themselves, but not more so than the materials
    composing that portion of _Jane Eyre_ which seems to please most
    generally.

    'My wish is to recast _The Professor_, add as well as I can what is
    deficient, retrench some parts, develop others, and make of it a
    three volume work--no easy task, I know, yet I trust not an
    impracticable one.

    'I have not forgotten that _The Professor_ was set aside in my
    agreement with Messrs. Smith & Elder; therefore before I take any
    step to execute the plan I have sketched, I should wish to have your
    judgment on its wisdom.  You read or looked over the Ms.--what
    impression have you now respecting its worth? and what confidence
    have you that I can make it better than it is?

    'Feeling certain that from business reasons as well as from natural
    integrity you will be quite candid with me, I esteem it a privilege
    to be able thus to consult you.--Believe me, dear sir, yours
    respectfully,

                                                                 'C. BELL.

    '_Wuthering Heights_ is, I suppose, at length published, at least Mr.
    Newby has sent the authors their six copies.  I wonder how it will be
    received.  I should say it merits the epithets of "vigorous" and
    "original" much more decidedly than _Jane Eyre_ did.  _Agnes Grey_
    should please such critics as Mr. Lewes, for it is "true" and
    "unexaggerated" enough.  The books are not well got up--they abound
    in errors of the press.  On a former occasion I expressed myself with
    perhaps too little reserve regarding Mr. Newby, yet I cannot but
    feel, and feel painfully, that Ellis and Acton have not had the
    justice at his hands that I have had at those of Messrs. Smith &
    Elder.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_December_ 31_st_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIRS,--I think, for the reasons you mention, it is better to
    substitute _author_ for _editor_.  I should not be ashamed to be
    considered the author of _Wuthering Heights_ and _Agnes Grey_, but,
    possessing no real claim to that honour, I would rather not have it
    attributed to me, thereby depriving the true authors of their just
    meed.

    'You do very rightly and very kindly to tell me the objections made
    against _Jane Eyre_--they are more essential than the praises.  I
    feel a sort of heart-ache when I hear the book called "godless" and
    "pernicious" by good and earnest-minded men; but I know that
    heart-ache will be salutary--at least I trust so.

    'What is meant by the charges of _trickery_ and _artifice_ I have yet
    to comprehend.  It was no art in me to write a tale--it was no trick
    in Messrs. Smith & Elder to publish it.  Where do the trickery and
    artifice lie?

    'I have received the _Scotsman_, and was greatly amused to see Jane
    Eyre likened to Rebecca Sharp--the resemblance would hardly have
    occurred to me.

    'I wish to send this note by to-day's post, and must therefore
    conclude in haste.--I am, dear sir, yours respectfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                          'HAWORTH, _January_ 4_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR SIR,--Your letter made me ashamed of myself that I should ever
    have uttered a murmur, or expressed by any sign that I was sensible
    of pain from the unfavourable opinions of some misjudging but
    well-meaning people.  But, indeed, let me assure you, I am not
    ungrateful for the kindness which has been given me in such abundant
    measure.  I can discriminate the proportions in which blame and
    praise have been awarded to my efforts: I see well that I have had
    less of the former and more of the latter than I merit.  I am not
    therefore crushed, though I may be momentarily saddened by the frown,
    even of the good.

    'It would take a great deal to crush me, because I know, in the first
    place, that my own intentions were correct, that I feel in my heart a
    deep reverence for religion, that impiety is very abhorrent to me;
    and in the second, I place firm reliance on the judgment of some who
    have encouraged me.  You and Mr. Lewes are quite as good authorities,
    in my estimation, as Mr. Dilke or the editor of the _Spectator_, and
    I would not under any circumstances, or for any opprobrium, regard
    with shame what my friends had approved--none but a coward would let
    the detraction of an enemy outweigh the encouragement of a friend.
    You must not, therefore, fulfil your threat of being less
    communicative in future; you must kindly tell me all.

    'Miss Kavanagh's view of the maniac coincides with Leigh Hunt's.  I
    agree with them that the character is shocking, but I know that it is
    but too natural.  There is a phase of insanity which may be called
    moral madness, in which all that is good or even human seems to
    disappear from the mind, and a fiend-nature replaces it.  The sole
    aim and desire of the being thus possessed is to exasperate, to
    molest, to destroy, and preternatural ingenuity and energy are often
    exercised to that dreadful end.  The aspect, in such cases,
    assimilates with the disposition--all seem demonized.  It is true
    that profound pity ought to be the only sentiment elicited by the
    view of such degradation, and equally true is it that I have not
    sufficiently dwelt on that feeling: I have erred in making _horror_
    too predominant.  Mrs. Rochester, indeed, lived a sinful life before
    she was insane, but sin is itself a species of insanity--the truly
    good behold and compassionate it as such.

    '_Jane Eyre_ has got down into Yorkshire, a copy has even penetrated
    into this neighbourhood.  I saw an elderly clergyman reading it the
    other day, and had the satisfaction of hearing him exclaim, "Why,
    they have got --- School, and Mr. --- here, I declare! and Miss ---"
    (naming the originals of Lowood, Mr. Brocklehurst and Miss Temple).
    He had known them all.  I wondered whether he would recognise the
    portraits, and was gratified to find that he did, and that, moreover,
    he pronounced them faithful and just.  He said, too, that Mr. ---
    (Brocklehurst) "deserved the chastisement he had got."

    'He did not recognise Currer Bell.  What author would be without the
    advantage of being able to walk invisible?  One is thereby enabled to
    keep such a quiet mind.  I make this small observation in confidence.

    'What makes you say that the notice in the _Westminster Review_ is
    not by Mr. Lewes?  It expresses precisely his opinions, and he said
    he would perhaps insert a few lines in that periodical.

    'I have sometimes thought that I ought to have written to Mr. Lewes
    to thank him for his review in _Fraser_; and, indeed, I did write a
    note, but then it occurred to me that he did not require the author's
    thanks, and I feared it would be superfluous to send it, therefore I
    refrained; however, though I have not _expressed_ gratitude I have
    _felt_ it.

    'I wish you, too, _many many_ happy new years, and prosperity and
    success to you and yours.--Believe me, etc.,

                                                             'CURRER BELL.

    'I have received the _Courier_ and the _Oxford Chronicle_.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_January_ 22_nd_, 1848.

    'DEAR SIR,--I have received the _Morning Herald_, and was much
    pleased with the notice, chiefly on account of the reference made to
    that portion of the preface which concerns Messrs. Smith & Elder.  If
    my tribute of thanks can benefit my publishers, it is desirable that
    it should have as much publicity as possible.

    'I do not know if the part which relates to Mr. Thackeray is likely
    to be as well received; but whether generally approved of and
    understood or not, I shall not regret having written it, for I am
    convinced of its truth.

    'I see I was mistaken in my idea that the _Athenaeum_ and others
    wished to ascribe the authorship of _Wuthering Heights_ to Currer
    Bell; the contrary is the case, _Jane Eyre_ is given to Ellis Bell;
    and Mr. Newby, it appears, thinks it expedient so to frame his
    advertisements as to favour the misapprehension.  If Mr. Newby had
    much sagacity he would see that Ellis Bell is strong enough to stand
    without being propped by Currer Bell, and would have disdained what
    Ellis himself of all things disdains--recourse to trickery.  However,
    Ellis, Acton, and Currer care nothing for the matter personally; the
    public and the critics are welcome to confuse our identities as much
    as they choose; my only fear is lest Messrs. Smith & Elder should in
    some way be annoyed by it.

    'I was much interested in your account of Miss Kavanagh.  The
    character you sketch belongs to a class I peculiarly esteem: one in
    which endurance combines with exertion, talent with goodness; where
    genius is found unmarred by extravagance, self-reliance unalloyed by
    self-complacency.  It is a character which is, I believe, rarely
    found except where there has been toil to undergo and adversity to
    struggle against: it will only grow to perfection in a poor soil and
    in the shade; if the soil be too indigent, the shade too dank and
    thick, of course it dies where it sprung.  But I trust this will not
    be the case with Miss Kavanagh.  I trust she will struggle ere long
    into the sunshine.  In you she has a kind friend to direct her, and I
    hope her mother will live to see the daughter, who yields to her such
    childlike duty, both happy and successful.

    'You asked me if I should like any copies of the second edition of
    _Jane Eyre_, and I said--no.  It is true I do not want any for myself
    or my acquaintances, but if the request be not unusual, I should much
    like one to be given to Miss Kavanagh.  If you would have the
    goodness, you might write on the fly-leaf that the book is presented
    with the author's best wishes for her welfare here and hereafter.  My
    reason for wishing that she should have a copy is because she said
    the book had been to her a _suggestive_ one, and I know that
    suggestive books are valuable to authors.

    'I am truly sorry to hear that Mr. Smith has had an attack of the
    prevalent complaint, but I trust his recovery is by this time
    complete.  I cannot boast entire exemption from its ravages, as I now
    write under its depressing influence.  Hoping that you have been more
    fortunate,--I am, dear sir, yours faithfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_March_ 3_rd_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have received the _Christian Remembrancer_, and read
    the review.  It is written with some ability; but to do justice was
    evidently not the critic's main object, therefore he excuses himself
    from performing that duty.

    'I daresay the reviewer imagines that Currer Bell ought to be
    extremely afflicted, very much cut up, by some smart things he
    says--this however is not the case.  C. Bell is on the whole rather
    encouraged than dispirited by the review: the hard-wrung praise
    extorted reluctantly from a foe is the most precious praise of
    all--you are sure that this, at least, has no admixture of flattery.
    I fear he has too high an opinion of my abilities and of what I can
    do; but that is his own fault.  In other respects, he aims his shafts
    in the dark, and the success, or, rather, ill-success of his hits
    makes me laugh rather than cry.  His shafts of sarcasm are nicely
    polished, keenly pointed; he should not have wasted them in shooting
    at a mark he cannot see.

    'I hope such reviews will not make much difference with me, and that
    if the spirit moves me in future to say anything about priests, etc.,
    I shall say it with the same freedom as heretofore.  I hope also that
    their anger will not make _me_ angry.  As a body, I had no ill-will
    against them to begin with, and I feel it would be an error to let
    opposition engender such ill-will.  A few individuals may possibly be
    called upon to sit for their portraits some time; if their brethren
    in general dislike the resemblance and abuse the artist--_tant
    pis_!--Believe me, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

It seems that Mr. Williams had hinted that Charlotte might like to
emulate Thackeray by illustrating her own books.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_March_ 11_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR SIR,--I have just received the copy of the second edition, and
    will look over it, and send the corrections as soon as possible; I
    will also, since you think it advisable, avail myself of the
    opportunity of a third edition to correct the mistake respecting the
    authorship of _Wuthering Heights_ and _Agnes Grey_.

    'As to your second suggestion, it is, one can see at a glance, a very
    judicious and happy one; but I cannot adopt it, because I have not
    the skill you attribute to me.  It is not enough to have the artist's
    eye, one must also have the artist's hand to turn the first gift to
    practical account.  I have, in my day, wasted a certain quantity of
    Bristol board and drawing-paper, crayons and cakes of colour, but
    when I examine the contents of my portfolio now, it seems as if
    during the years it has been lying closed some fairy had changed what
    I once thought sterling coin into dry leaves, and I feel much
    inclined to consign the whole collection of drawings to the fire; I
    see they have no value.  If, then, _Jane Eyre_ is ever to be
    illustrated, it must be by some other hand than that of its author.
    But I hope no one will be at the trouble to make portraits of my
    characters.  Bulwer and Byron heroes and heroines are very well, they
    are all of them handsome; but my personages are mostly unattractive
    in look, and therefore ill-adapted to figure in ideal portraits.  At
    the best, I have always thought such representations futile.  You
    will not easily find a second Thackeray.  How he can render, with a
    few black lines and dots, shades of expression so fine, so real;
    traits of character so minute, so subtle, so difficult to seize and
    fix, I cannot tell--I can only wonder and admire.  Thackeray may not
    be a painter, but he is a wizard of a draughtsman; touched with his
    pencil, paper lives.  And then his drawing is so refreshing; after
    the wooden limbs one is accustomed to see pourtrayed by commonplace
    illustrators, his shapes of bone and muscle clothed with flesh,
    correct in proportion and anatomy, are a real relief.  All is true in
    Thackeray.  If Truth were again a goddess, Thackeray should be her
    high priest.

    'I read my preface over with some pain--I did not like it.  I wrote
    it when I was a little enthusiastic, like you, about the French
    Revolution.  I wish I had written it in a cool moment; I should have
    said the same things, but in a different manner.  One may be as
    enthusiastic as one likes about an author who has been dead a century
    or two, but I see it is a fault to bore the public with enthusiasm
    about a living author.  I promise myself to take better care in
    future.  _Still_ I will _think_ as I please.

    'Are the London republicans, and _you_ amongst the number, cooled
    down yet?  I suppose not, because your French brethren are acting
    very nobly.  The abolition of slavery and of the punishment of death
    for political offences are two glorious deeds, but how will they get
    over the question of the organisation of labour!  Such theories will
    be the sand-bank on which their vessel will run aground if they don't
    mind.  Lamartine, there is not doubt, would make an excellent
    legislator for a nation of Lamartines--but where is that nation?  I
    hope these observations are sceptical and cool enough.--Believe me,
    my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_November_ 16_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIRS,--I have already acknowledged in a note to Mr. Smith
    the receipt of the parcel of books, and in my thanks for this
    well-timed attention I am sure I ought to include you; your taste, I
    thought, was recognisable in the choice of some of the volumes, and a
    better selection it would have been difficult to make.

    'To-day I have received the _Spectator_ and the _Revue des deux
    Mondes_.  The _Spectator_ consistently maintains the tone it first
    assumed regarding the Bells.  I have little to object to its opinion
    as far as Currer Bell's portion of the volume is concerned.  It is
    true the critic sees only the faults, but for these his perception is
    tolerably accurate.  Blind is he as any bat, insensate as any stone,
    to the merits of Ellis.  He cannot feel or will not acknowledge that
    the very finish and _labor limae_ which Currer wants, Ellis has; he
    is not aware that the "true essence of poetry" pervades his
    compositions.  Because Ellis's poems are short and abstract, the
    critics think them comparatively insignificant and dull.  They are
    mistaken.

    'The notice in the _Revue des deux Mondes_ is one of the most able,
    the most acceptable to the author, of any that has yet appeared.
    Eugene Forcade understood and enjoyed _Jane Eyre_.  I cannot say that
    of all who have professed to criticise it.  The censures are as
    well-founded as the commendations.  The specimens of the translation
    given are on the whole good; now and then the meaning of the original
    has been misapprehended, but generally it is well rendered.

    'Every cup given us to taste in this life is mixed.  Once it would
    have seemed to me that an evidence of success like that contained in
    the _Revue_ would have excited an almost exultant feeling in my mind.
    It comes, however, at a time when counteracting circumstances keep
    the balance of the emotions even--when my sister's continued illness
    darkens the present and dims the future.  That will seem to me a
    happy day when I can announce to you that Emily is better.  Her
    symptoms continue to be those of slow inflammation of the lungs,
    tight cough, difficulty of breathing, pain in the chest, and fever.
    We watch anxiously for a change for the better--may it soon come.--I
    am, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'As I was about to seal this I received your kind letter.  Truly glad
    am I to hear that Fanny is taking the path which pleases her parents.
    I trust she may persevere in it.  She may be sure that a contrary one
    will never lead to happiness; and I should think that the reward of
    seeing you and her mother pleased must be so sweet that she will be
    careful not to run the risk of forfeiting it.

    'It is somewhat singular that I had already observed to my sisters, I
    did not doubt it was Mr. Lewes who had shown you the _Revue_.'

The many other letters referring to Emily's last illness have already
been printed.  When the following letters were written, Emily and Anne
were both in their graves.

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL

                                                     '_March_ 1_st_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--The parcel arrived on Saturday evening.  Permit me to
    express my sense of the judgment and kindness which have dictated the
    selection of its contents.  They appear to be all good books, and
    good books are, we know, the best substitute for good society; if
    circumstances debar me from the latter privilege, the kind attentions
    of my friends supply me with ample measure of the former.

    'Thank you for your remarks on _Shirley_.  Some of your strictures
    tally with some by Mr. Williams.  You both complain of the want of
    distinctness and impressiveness in my heroes.  Probably you are
    right.  In delineating male character I labour under disadvantages:
    intuition and theory will not always adequately supply the place of
    observation and experience.  When I write about women I am sure of my
    ground--in the other case, I am not so sure.

    'Here, then, each of you has laid the critical finger on a point that
    by its shrinking confesses its vulnerability; whether the
    disapprobation you intimate respecting the Briarchapel scenes, the
    curates, etc., be equally merited, time will show.  I am well aware
    what will be the author's present meed for these passages: I
    anticipate general blame and no praise.  And were my motive-principle
    in writing a thirst for popularity, or were the chief check on my pen
    a dread of censure, I should withdraw these scenes--or rather, I
    should never have written them.  I will not say whether the
    considerations that really govern me are sound, or whether my
    convictions are just; but such as they are, to their influence I must
    yield submission.  They forbid me to sacrifice truth to the fear of
    blame.  I accept their prohibition.

    'With the sincere expression of my esteem for the candour by which
    your critique is distinguished,--I am, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_August_ 16_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Since I last wrote to you I have been getting on with
    my book as well as I can, and I think I may now venture to say that
    in a few weeks I hope to have the pleasure of placing the MS. in the
    hands of Mr. Smith.

    'The _North British Review_ duly reached me.  I read attentively all
    it says about _E. Wyndham_, _Jane Eyre_, and _F. Hervey_.  Much of
    the article is clever, and yet there are remarks which--for me--rob
    it of importance.

    'To value praise or stand in awe of blame we must respect the source
    whence the praise and blame proceed, and I do not respect an
    inconsistent critic.  He says, "if _Jane Eyre_ be the production of a
    woman, she must be a woman unsexed."

    'In that case the book is an unredeemed error and should be
    unreservedly condemned.  _Jane Eyre_ is a woman's autobiography, by a
    woman it is professedly written.  If it is written as no woman would
    write, condemn it with spirit and decision--say it is bad, but do not
    eulogise and then detract.  I am reminded of the _Economist_.  The
    literary critic of that paper praised the book if written by a man,
    and pronounced it "odious" if the work of a woman.

    'To such critics I would say, "To you I am neither man nor woman--I
    come before you as an author only.  It is the sole standard by which
    you have a right to judge me--the sole ground on which I accept your
    judgment."

    'There is a weak comment, having no pretence either to justice or
    discrimination, on the works of Ellis and Acton Bell.  The critic did
    not know that those writers had passed from time and life.  I have
    read no review since either of my sisters died which I could have
    wished _them_ to read--none even which did not render the thought of
    their departure more tolerable to me.  To hear myself praised beyond
    them was cruel, to hear qualities ascribed to them so strangely the
    reverse of their real characteristics was scarce supportable.  It is
    sad even now; but they are so remote from earth, so safe from its
    turmoils, I can bear it better.

    'But on one point do I now feel vulnerable: I should grieve to see my
    father's peace of mind perturbed on my account; for which reason I
    keep my author's existence as much as possible out of his way.  I
    have always given him a carefully diluted and modified account of the
    success of _Jane Eyre_--just what would please without startling him.
    The book is not mentioned between us once a month.  The _Quarterly_ I
    kept to myself--it would have worried papa.  To that same _Quarterly_
    I must speak in the introduction to my present work--just one little
    word.  You once, I remember, said that review was written by a
    lady--Miss Rigby.  Are you sure of this?

    'Give no hint of my intention of discoursing a little with the
    _Quarterly_.  It would look too important to speak of it beforehand.
    All plans are best conceived and executed without noise.--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_August_ 21_st_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I can only write very briefly at present--first to
    thank you for your interesting letter and the graphic description it
    contained of the neighbourhood where you have been staying, and then
    to decide about the title of the book.

    'If I remember rightly, my Cornhill critics objected to _Hollow's
    Mill_, nor do I now find it appropriate.  It might rather be called
    _Fieldhead_, though I think _Shirley_ would perhaps be the best
    title.  Shirley, I fancy, has turned out the most prominent and
    peculiar character in the work.

    'Cornhill may decide between _Fieldhead_ and _Shirley_.--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The famous _Quarterly Review_ article by Miss Rigby, afterwards Lady
Eastlake, {348} appeared in December 1848, under the title of '_Vanity
Fair_, _Jane Eyre_, and Governesses.'  It was a review of two novels and
a treatise on schools, and but for one or two offensive passages might
have been pronounced fairly complimentary.  To have coupled _Jane Eyre_
with Thackeray's great book, at a time when Thackeray had already reached
to heroic proportions in the literary world, was in itself a compliment.
It is small wonder that the speculation was hazarded that J. G. Lockhart,
the editor of the _Quarterly_, had himself supplied the venom.  He could
display it on occasion.  It is quite clear now, however, that that was
not the case.  Miss Rigby was the reviewer who thought it within a
critic's province to suggest that the writer might be a woman 'who had
forfeited the society of her sex.'  Lockhart must have read the review
hastily, as editors will on occasion.  He writes to his contributor on
November 13, 1848, before the article had appeared:--

    'About three years ago I received a small volume of 'Poems by Currer,
    Acton, and Ellis Bell,' and a queer little note by Currer, who said
    the book had been published a year, and just two copies sold, so they
    were to burn the rest, but distributed a few copies, mine being one.
    I find what seems rather a fair review of that tiny tome in the
    _Spectator_ of this week; pray look at it.

    'I think the poems of Currer much better than those of Acton and
    Ellis, and believe his novel is vastly better than those which they
    have more recently put forth.

    'I know nothing of the writers, but the common rumour is that they
    are brothers of the weaving order in some Lancashire town.  At first
    it was generally said Currer was a lady, and Mayfair
    circumstantialised by making her the _chere amie_ of Mr. Thackeray.
    But your skill in "dress" settles the question of sex.  I think,
    however, some woman must have assisted in the school scenes of _Jane
    Eyre_, which have a striking air of truthfulness to me--an ignoramus,
    I allow, on such points.

    'I should say you might as well glance at the novels by Acton and
    Ellis Bell--_Wuthering Heights_ is one of them.  If you have any
    friend about Manchester, it would, I suppose, be easy to learn
    accurately as to the position of these men.'  {349}

This was written in November, and it was not till December that the
article appeared.  Apart from the offensive imputations upon the morals
of the author of _Jane Eyre_, which reduces itself to smart impertinence
when it is understood that Miss Rigby fully believed that the author was
a man, the review is not without its compensations for a new writer.  The
'equal popularity' of _Jane Eyre_ and _Vanity Fair_ is referred to.  'A
very remarkable book,' the reviewer continues; 'we have no remembrance of
another containing such undoubted power with such horrid taste.'  There
is droll irony, when Charlotte Bronte's strong conservative sentiments
and church environment are considered, in the following:--

    'We do not hesitate to say that the tone of mind and thought which
    has overthrown authority, and violated every code, human and divine,
    abroad, and fostered chartism and rebellion at home, is the same
    which has also written _Jane Eyre_.'

In another passage Miss Rigby, musing upon the masculinity of the author,
finally clinches her arguments by proofs of a kind.

    'No woman _trusses game_, and garnishes dessert dishes with the same
    hands, or talks of so doing in the same breath.  Above all, no woman
    attires another in such fancy dresses as Jane's ladies assume.  Miss
    Ingram coming down irresistible in a _morning_ robe of sky-blue
    crape, a gauze azure scarf twisted in her hair!!  No lady, we
    understand, when suddenly roused in the night, would think of
    hurrying on "a frock."  They have garments more convenient for such
    occasions, and more becoming too.'

_Wuthering Heights_ is described as 'too odiously and abominably pagan to
be palatable to the most vitiated class of English readers.'  This no
doubt was Miss Rigby's interpolation in the proofs in reply to her
editor's suggestion that she should 'glance at the novels by Acton and
Ellis Bell.'  It is a little difficult to understand the _Quarterly_
editor's method, or, indeed, the letter to Miss Rigby which I have
quoted, as he had formed a very different estimate of the book many
months before.  'I have finished the adventures of Miss Jane Eyre,' he
writes to Mrs. Hope (Dec. 29th, 1847), 'and think her far the cleverest
that has written since Austen and Edgeworth were in their prime, worth
fifty Trollopes and Martineaus rolled into one counterpane, with fifty
Dickenses and Bulwers to keep them company--but rather a brazen Miss.'
{350}

When the _Quarterly Review_ appeared, Charlotte Bronte, as we have seen,
was in dire domestic distress, and it was not till many months later,
when a new edition of _Jane Eyre_ was projected, that she discussed with
her publishers the desirability of an effective reply, which was not
however to disclose her sex and environment.  A first preface called 'A
Word to the _Quarterly_' was cancelled, and after some debate, the
preface which we now have took its place.  The 'book' is of course
_Shirley_.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_August_ 29_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR SIR,--The book is now finished (thank God) and ready for Mr.
    Taylor, but I have not yet heard from him.  I thought I should be
    able to tell whether it was equal to _Jane Eyre_ or not, but I find I
    cannot--it may be better, it may be worse.  I shall be curious to
    hear your opinion, my own is of no value.  I send the Preface or
    "Word to the _Quarterly_" for your perusal.

    'Whatever now becomes of the work, the occupation of writing it has
    been a boon to me.  It took me out of dark and desolate reality into
    an unreal but happier region.  The worst of it is, my eyes are grown
    somewhat weak and my head somewhat weary and prone to ache with close
    work.  You can write nothing of value unless you give yourself wholly
    to the theme, and when you so give yourself, you lose appetite and
    sleep--it cannot be helped.

    'At what time does Mr. Smith intend to bring the book out?  It is his
    now.  I hand it and all the trouble and care and anxiety over to
    him--a good riddance, only I wish he fairly had it.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_August_ 31_st_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I cannot change my preface.  I can shed no tears
    before the public, nor utter any groan in the public ear.  The deep,
    real tragedy of our domestic experience is yet terribly fresh in my
    mind and memory.  It is not a time to be talked about to the
    indifferent; it is not a topic for allusion to in print.

    'No righteous indignation can I lavish on the _Quarterly_.  I can
    condescend but to touch it with the lightest satire.  Believe me, my
    dear sir, "C. Bronte" must not here appear; what she feels or has
    felt is not the question--it is "Currer Bell" who was insulted--he
    must reply.  Let Mr. Smith fearlessly print the preface I have
    sent--let him depend upon me this once; even if I prove a broken
    reed, his fall cannot be dangerous: a preface is a short distance, it
    is not three volumes.

    'I have always felt certain that it is a deplorable error in an
    author to assume the tragic tone in addressing the public about his
    own wrongs or griefs.  What does the public care about him as an
    individual?  His wrongs are its sport; his griefs would be a bore.
    What we deeply feel is our own--we must keep it to ourselves.  Ellis
    and Acton Bell were, for me, Emily and Anne; my sisters--to me
    intimately near, tenderly dear--to the public they were
    nothing--worse than nothing--beings speculated upon, misunderstood,
    misrepresented.  If I live, the hour may come when the spirit will
    move me to speak of them, but it is not come yet.--I am, my dear sir,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_September_ 17, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Your letter gave me great pleasure.  An author who has
    showed his book to none, held no consultation about plan, subject,
    characters, or incidents, asked and had no opinion from one living
    being, but fabricated it darkly in the silent workshop of his own
    brain--such an author awaits with a singular feeling the report of
    the first impression produced by his creation in a quarter where he
    places confidence, and truly glad he is when that report proves
    favourable.

    'Do you think this book will tend to strengthen the idea that Currer
    Bell is a woman, or will it favour a contrary opinion?

    'I return the proof-sheets.  Will they print all the French phrases
    in italics?  I hope not, it makes them look somehow obtrusively
    conspicuous.

    'I have no time to add more lest I should be too late for the
    post.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                '_September_ 10_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR SIR,--Your advice is very good, and yet I cannot follow it: I
    _cannot_ alter now.  It sounds absurd, but so it is.

    'The circumstances of Shirley's being nervous on such a matter may
    appear incongruous because I fear it is not well managed; otherwise
    it is perfectly natural.  In such minds, such odd points, such queer
    unexpected inconsistent weaknesses _are_ found--perhaps there never
    was an ardent poetic temperament, however healthy, quite without
    them; but they never communicate them unless forced, they have a
    suspicion that the terror is absurd, and keep it hidden.  Still the
    thing is badly managed, and I bend my head and expect in resignation
    what, _here_, I know I deserve--the lash of criticism.  I shall wince
    when it falls, but not scream.

    'You are right about Goth, you are very right--he is clear, deep, but
    very cold.  I acknowledge him great, but cannot feel him genial.

    'You mention the literary coteries.  To speak the truth, I recoil
    from them, though I long to see some of the truly great literary
    characters.  However, this is not to be yet--I cannot sacrifice my
    incognito.  And let me be content with seclusion--it has its
    advantages.  In general, indeed, I am tranquil, it is only now and
    then that a struggle disturbs me--that I wish for a wider world than
    Haworth.  When it is past, Reason tells me how unfit I am for
    anything very different.  Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                '_September_ 15_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--You observed that the French of _Shirley_ might be
    cavilled at.  There is a long paragraph written in the French
    language in that chapter entitled "_Le coeval damped_."  I forget the
    number.  I fear it will have a pretentious air.  If you deem it
    advisable, and will return the chapter, I will efface, and substitute
    something else in English.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL

                                                '_September_ 20_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--It is time I answered the note which I received from
    you last Thursday; I should have replied to it before had I not been
    kept more than usually engaged by the presence of a clergyman in the
    house, and the indisposition of one of our servants.

    'As you may conjecture, it cheered and pleased me much to learn that
    the opinion of my friends in Cornhill was favourable to
    _Shirley_--that, on the whole, it was considered no falling off from
    _Jane Eyre_.  I am trying, however, not to encourage too sanguine an
    expectation of a favourable reception by the public: the seeds of
    prejudice have been sown, and I suppose the produce will have to be
    reaped--but we shall see.

    'I read with pleasure _Friends in Council_, and with very great
    pleasure _The Thoughts and Opinions of a Statesman_.  It is the
    record of what may with truth be termed a beautiful mind--serene,
    harmonious, elevated, and pure; it bespeaks, too, a heart full of
    kindness and sympathy.  I like it much.

    'Papa has been pretty well during the past week, he begs to join me
    in kind remembrances to yourself.--Believe me, my dear sir, yours
    very sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                '_September_ 29_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR SIR,--I have made the alteration; but I have made it to please
    Cornhill, not the public nor the critics.

    'I am sorry to say Newby does know my real name.  I wish he did not,
    but that cannot be helped.  Meantime, though I earnestly wish to
    preserve my incognito, I live under no slavish fear of discovery.  I
    am ashamed of nothing I have written--not a line.

    'The envelope containing the first proof and your letter had been
    received open at the General Post Office and resealed there.  Perhaps
    it was accident, but I think it better to inform you of the
    circumstance.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_October_ 1_st_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am chagrined about the envelope being opened: I see
    it is the work of prying curiosity, and now it would be useless to
    make a stir--what mischief is to be apprehended is already done.  It
    was not done at Haworth.  I know the people of the post-office there,
    and am sure they would not venture on such a step; besides, the
    Haworth people have long since set me down as bookish and quiet, and
    trouble themselves no farther about me.  But the gossiping
    inquisitiveness of small towns is rife at Keighley; there they are
    sadly puzzled to guess why I never visit, encourage no overtures to
    acquaintance, and always stay at home.  Those packets passing
    backwards and forwards by the post have doubtless aggravated their
    curiosity.  Well, I am sorry, but I shall try to wait patiently and
    not vex myself too much, come what will.

    'I am glad you like the English substitute for the French _devour_.

    'The parcel of books came on Saturday.  I write to Mr. Taylor by this
    post to acknowledge its receipt.  His opinion of _Shirley_ seems in a
    great measure to coincide with yours, only he expresses it rather
    differently to you, owing to the difference in your casts of mind.
    Are you not different on some points?--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_November_ 1_st_, 1849

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I reached home yesterday, and found your letter and
    one from Mr. Lewes, and one from the Peace Congress Committee,
    awaiting my arrival.  The last document it is now too late to answer,
    for it was an invitation to Currer Bell to appear on the platform at
    their meeting at Exeter Hall last Tuesday!  A wonderful figure Mr.
    Currer Bell would have cut under such circumstances!  Should the
    "Peace Congress" chance to read _Shirley_ they will wash their hands
    of its author.

    'I am glad to hear that Mr. Thackeray is better, but I did not know
    he had been seriously ill, I thought it was only a literary
    indisposition.  You must tell me what he thinks of _Shirley_ if he
    gives you any opinion on the subject.

    'I am also glad to hear that Mr. Smith is pleased with the commercial
    prospects of the work.  I try not to be anxious about its literary
    fate; and if I cannot be quite stoical, I think I am still tolerably
    resigned.

    'Mr. Lewes does not like the opening chapter, wherein he resembles
    you.

    'I have permitted myself the treat of spending the last week with my
    friend Ellen.  Her residence is in a far more populous and stirring
    neighbourhood than this.  Whenever I go there I am unavoidably forced
    into society--clerical society chiefly.

    'During my late visit I have too often had reason, sometimes in a
    pleasant, sometimes in a painful form, to fear that I no longer walk
    invisible.  _Jane Eyre_, it appears, has been read all over the
    district--a fact of which I never dreamt--a circumstance of which the
    possibility never occurred to me.  I met sometimes with new
    deference, with augmented kindness: old schoolfellows and old
    teachers, too, greeted me with generous warmth.  And again,
    ecclesiastical brows lowered thunder at me.  When I confronted one or
    two large-made priests, I longed for the battle to come on.  I wish
    they would speak out plainly.  You must not understand that my
    schoolfellows and teachers were of the Clergy Daughters School--in
    fact, I was never there but for one little year as a very little
    girl.  I am certain I have long been forgotten; though for myself, I
    remember all and everything clearly: early impressions are
    ineffaceable.

    'I have just received the _Daily News_.  Let me speak the truth--when
    I read it my heart sickened over it.  It is not a good review, it is
    unutterably false.  If _Shirley_ strikes all readers as it has struck
    that one, but--I shall not say what follows.

    'On the whole I am glad a decidedly bad notice has come first--a
    notice whose inexpressible ignorance first stuns and then stirs me.
    Are there no such men as the Helstones and Yorkes?

    'Yes, there are.

    'Is the first chapter disgusting or vulgar?

    '_It is not_, _it is real_.

    'As for the praise of such a critic, I find it silly and nauseous,
    and I scorn it.

    'Were my sisters now alive they and I would laugh over this notice;
    but they sleep, they will wake no more for me, and I am a fool to be
    so moved by what is not worth a sigh.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                                    'C. B.

    'You must spare me if I seem hasty, I fear I really am not so firm as
    I used to be, nor so patient.  Whenever any shock comes, I feel that
    almost all supports have been withdrawn.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_November_ 5_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I did not receive the parcel of copies till Saturday
    evening.  Everything sent by Bradford is long in reaching me.  It is,
    I think, better to direct: Keighley.  I was very much pleased with
    the appearance and getting up of the book; it looks well.

    'I have got the _Examiner_ and your letter.  You are very good not to
    be angry with me, for I wrote in indignation and grief.  The critic
    of the _Daily News_ struck me as to the last degree incompetent,
    ignorant, and flippant.  A thrill of mutiny went all through me when
    I read his small effusion.  To be judged by such a one revolted me.
    I ought, however, to have controlled myself, and I did not.  I am
    willing to be judged by the _Examiner_--I like the _Examiner_.
    Fonblanque has power, he has discernment--I bend to his censorship, I
    am grateful for his praise; his blame deserves consideration; when he
    approves, I permit myself a moderate emotion of pride.  Am I wrong in
    supposing that critique to be written by Mr. Fonblanque?  But whether
    it is by him or Forster, I am thankful.

    'In reading the critiques of the other papers--when I get them--I
    will try to follow your advice and preserve my equanimity.  But I
    cannot be sure of doing this, for I had good resolutions and
    intentions before, and, you see, I failed.

    'You ask me if I am related to Nelson.  No, I never heard that I was.
    The rumour must have originated in our name resembling his title.  I
    wonder who that former schoolfellow of mine was that told Mr. Lewes,
    or how she had been enabled to identify Currer Bell with C. Bronte.
    She could not have been a Cowan Bridge girl, none of them can
    possibly remember me.  They might remember my eldest sister, Maria;
    her prematurely-developed and remarkable intellect, as well as the
    mildness, wisdom, and fortitude of her character might have left an
    indelible impression on some observant mind amongst her companions.
    My second sister, Elizabeth, too, may perhaps be remembered, but I
    cannot conceive that I left a trace behind me.  My career was a very
    quiet one.  I was plodding and industrious, perhaps I was very grave,
    for I suffered to see my sisters perishing, but I think I was
    remarkable for nothing.--Believe me, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_November_ 15_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have received since I wrote last the Globe, Standard
    of Freedom, Britannia, Economist, and Weekly Chronicle.

    'How is _Shirley_ getting on, and what is now the general feeling
    respecting the work?

    'As far as I can judge from the tone of the newspapers, it seems that
    those who were most charmed with _Jane Eyre_ are the least pleased
    with _Shirley_; they are disappointed at not finding the same
    excitement, interest, stimulus; while those who spoke disparagingly
    of _Jane Eyre_ like _Shirley_ a little better than her predecessor.
    I suppose its dryer matter suits their dryer minds.  But I feel that
    the fiat for which I wait does not depend on newspapers, except,
    indeed, such newspapers as the _Examiner_.  The monthlies and
    quarterlies will pronounce it, I suppose.  Mere novel-readers, it is
    evident, think _Shirley_ something of a failure.  Still, the majority
    of the notices have on the whole been favourable.  That in the
    _Standard of Freedom_ was very kindly expressed; and coming from a
    dissenter, William Howitt, I wonder thereat.

    'Are you satisfied at Cornhill, or the contrary?  I have read part of
    _The Caxtons_, and, when I have finished, will tell you what I think
    of it; meantime, I should very much like to hear your opinion.
    Perhaps I shall keep mine till I see you, whenever that may be.

    'I am trying by degrees to inure myself to the thought of some day
    stepping over to Keighley, taking the train to Leeds, thence to
    London, and once more venturing to set foot in the strange, busy
    whirl of the Strand and Cornhill.  I want to talk to you a little and
    to hear by word of mouth how matters are progressing.  Whenever I
    come, I must come quietly and but for a short time--I should be
    unhappy to leave papa longer than a fortnight.--Believe me, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_November_ 22_nd_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--If it is discouraging to an author to see his work
    mouthed over by the entirely ignorant and incompetent, it is equally
    reviving to hear what you have written discussed and analysed by a
    critic who is master of his subject--by one whose heart feels, whose
    powers grasp the matter he undertakes to handle.  Such refreshment
    Eugene Forcade has given me.  Were I to see that man, my impulse
    would be to say, "Monsieur, you know me, I shall deem it an honour to
    know you."

    'I do not find that Forcade detects any coarseness in the work--it is
    for the smaller critics to find that out.  The master in the art--the
    subtle-thoughted, keen-eyed, quick-feeling Frenchman, knows the true
    nature of the ingredients which went to the composition of the
    creation he analyses--he knows the true nature of things, and he
    gives them their right name.

    'Yours of yesterday has just reached me.  Let me, in the first place,
    express my sincere sympathy with your anxiety on Mrs. Williams's
    account.  I know how sad it is when pain and suffering attack those
    we love, when that mournful guest sickness comes and takes a place in
    the household circle.  That the shadow may soon leave your home is my
    earnest hope.

    'Thank you for Sir J. Herschel's note.  I am happy to hear Mr. Taylor
    is convalescent.  It may, perhaps, be some weeks yet before his hand
    is well, but that his general health is in the way of
    re-establishment is a matter of thankfulness.

    'One of the letters you sent to-day addressed "Currer Bell" has
    almost startled me.  The writer first describes his family, and then
    proceeds to give a particular account of himself in colours the most
    candid, if not, to my ideas, the most attractive.  He runs on in a
    strain of wild enthusiasm about _Shirley_, and concludes by
    announcing a fixed, deliberate resolution to institute a search after
    Currer Bell, and sooner or later to find him out.  There is power in
    the letter--talent; it is at times eloquently expressed.  The writer
    somewhat boastfully intimates that he is acknowledged the possessor
    of high intellectual attainments, but, if I mistake not, he betrays a
    temper to be shunned, habits to be mistrusted.  While laying claim to
    the character of being affectionate, warm-hearted, and adhesive,
    there is but a single member of his own family of whom he speaks with
    kindness.  He confesses himself indolent and wilful, but asserts that
    he is studious and, to some influences, docile.  This letter would
    have struck me no more than the others rather like it have done, but
    for its rash power, and the disagreeable resolve it announces to seek
    and find Currer Bell.  It almost makes me feel like a wizard who has
    raised a spirit he may find it difficult to lay.  But I shall not
    think about it.  This sort of fervour often foams itself away in
    words.

    'Trusting that the serenity of your home is by this time restored
    with your wife's health,--I am, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_February_ 16_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR NELL,--Yesterday, just after dinner, I heard a loud bustling
    voice in the kitchen demanding to see Mr. Bronte.  Somebody was shown
    into the parlour.  Shortly after, wine was rung for.  "Who is it,
    Martha?" I asked.  "Some mak of a tradesman," said she.  "He's not a
    gentleman, I'm sure."  The personage stayed about an hour, talking in
    a loud vulgar key all the time.  At tea-time I asked papa who it was.
    "Why," said he, "no other than the vicar of B---!" {361}  Papa had
    invited him to take some refreshment, but the creature had ordered
    his dinner at the Black Bull, and was quite urgent with papa to go
    down there and join him, offering by way of inducement a bottle, or,
    if papa liked, "two or three bottles of the best wine Haworth could
    afford!"  He said he was come from Bradford just to look at the
    place, and reckoned to be in raptures with the wild scenery!  He
    warmly pressed papa to come and see him, and to bring his daughter
    with him!!!  Does he know anything about the books, do you think; he
    made no allusion to them.  I did not see him, not so much as the tail
    of his coat.  Martha said he looked no more like a parson than she
    did.  Papa described him as rather shabby-looking, but said he was
    wondrous cordial and friendly.  Papa, in his usual fashion, put him
    through a regular catechism of questions: what his living was worth,
    etc., etc.  In answer to inquiries respecting his age he affirmed
    himself to be thirty-seven--is not this a lie?  He must be more.
    Papa asked him if he were married.  He said no, he had no thoughts of
    being married, he did not like the trouble of a wife.  He described
    himself as "living in style, and keeping a very hospitable house."

    'Dear Nell, I have written you a long letter; write me a long one in
    answer.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_April_ 3_rd_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have received the _Dublin Review_, and your letter
    inclosing the Indian Notices.  I hope these reviews will do good;
    they are all favourable, and one of them (the _Dublin_) is very able.
    I have read no critique so discriminating since that in the _Revue
    des deux Mondes_.  It offers a curious contrast to Lewes's in the
    _Edinburgh_, where forced praise, given by jerks, and obviously
    without real and cordial liking, and censure, crude, conceited, and
    ignorant, were mixed in random lumps--forming a very loose and
    inconsistent whole.

    'Are you aware whether there are any grounds for that conjecture in
    the _Bengal Hurkaru_, that the critique in the _Times_ was from the
    pen of Mr. Thackeray?  I should much like to know this.  If such were
    the case (and I feel as if it were by no means impossible), the
    circumstance would open a most curious and novel glimpse of a very
    peculiar disposition.  Do you think it likely to be true?

    'The account you give of Mrs. Williams's health is not cheering, but
    I should think her indisposition is partly owing to the variable
    weather; at least, if you have had the same keen frost and cold east
    winds in London, from which we have lately suffered in Yorkshire.  I
    trust the milder temperature we are now enjoying may quickly confirm
    her convalescence.  With kind regards to Mrs. Williams,--Believe me,
    my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_April_ 25_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I cannot let the post go without thanking Mr. Smith
    through you for the kind reply to Greenwood's application; and, I am
    sure, both you and he would feel true pleasure could you see the
    delight and hope with which these liberal terms have inspired a good
    and intelligent though poor man.  He thinks he now sees a prospect of
    getting his livelihood by a method which will suit him better than
    wool-combing work has hitherto done, exercising more of his faculties
    and sparing his health.  He will do his best, I am sure, to extend
    the sale of the cheap edition of _Jane Eyre_; and whatever twinges I
    may still feel at the thought of that work being in the possession of
    all the worthy folk of Haworth and Keighley, such scruples are more
    than counterbalanced by the attendant good;--I mean, by the
    assistance it will give a man who deserves assistance.  I wish he
    could permanently establish a little bookselling business in Haworth:
    it would benefit the place as well as himself.

    'Thank you for the _Leader_, which I read with pleasure.  The notice
    of Newman's work in a late number was very good.--Believe me, my dear
    sir, in haste, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                       '_May_ 6_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have received the copy of _Jane Eyre_.  To me the
    printing and paper seem very tolerable.  Will not the public in
    general be of the same opinion?  And are you not making yourselves
    causelessly uneasy on the subject?

    'I imagine few will discover the defects of typography unless they
    are pointed out.  There are, no doubt, technical faults and
    perfections in the art of printing to which printers and publishers
    ascribe a greater importance than the majority of readers.

    'I will mention Mr. Smith's proposal respecting the cheap
    publications to Greenwood.  I believe him to be a man on whom
    encouragement is not likely to be thrown away, and who, if fortune
    should not prove quite adverse, will contrive to effect something by
    dint of intelligence and perseverance.

    'I am sorry to say my father has been far from well lately--the cold
    weather has tried him severely; and, till I see him better, my
    intended journey to town must be deferred.  With sincere regards to
    yourself and other Cornhill friends,--I am, my dear sir, yours
    faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_September_ 5_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I trust your suggestion for Miss Kavanagh's benefit
    will have all success.  It seems to me truly felicitous and
    excellent, and, I doubt not, she will think so too.  The last class
    of female character will be difficult to manage: there will be nice
    points in it--yet, well-managed, both an attractive and instructive
    book might result therefrom.  One thing may be depended upon in the
    execution of this plan.  Miss Kavanagh will commit no error, either
    of taste, judgment, or principle; and even when she deals with the
    feelings, I would rather follow the calm course of her quiet pen than
    the flourishes of a more redundant one where there is not strength to
    restrain as well as ardour to impel.

    'I fear I seemed to you to speak coolly of the beauty of the Lake
    scenery.  The truth is, it was, as scenery, exquisite--far beyond
    anything I saw in Scotland; but it did not give me half so much
    pleasure, because I saw it under less congenial auspices.  Mr. Smith
    and Sir J. K. Shuttleworth are two different people with whom to
    travel.  I need say nothing of the former--you know him.  The latter
    offers me his friendship, and I do my best to be grateful for the
    gift; but his is a nature with which it is difficult to
    assimilate--and where there is no assimilation, how can there be real
    regard?  Nine parts out of ten in him are utilitarian--the tenth is
    artistic.  This tithe of his nature seems to me at war with all the
    rest--it is just enough to incline him restlessly towards the artist
    class, and far too little to make him one of them.  The consequent
    inability to _do_ things which he _admires_, embitters him I
    think--it makes him doubt perfections and dwell on faults.  Then his
    notice or presence scarcely tend to set one at ease or make one
    happy: he is worldly and formal.  But I must stop--have I already
    said too much?  I think not, for you will feel it is said in
    confidence and will not repeat it.

    'The article in the _Palladium_ is indeed such as to atone for a
    hundred unfavourable or imbecile reviews.  I have expressed what I
    think of it to Mr. Taylor, who kindly wrote me a letter on the
    subject.  I thank you also for the newspaper notices, and for some
    you sent me a few weeks ago.

    'I should much like to carry out your suggestions respecting a
    reprint of _Wuthering Heights_ and _Agnes Grey_ in one volume, with a
    prefatory and explanatory notice of the authors; but the question
    occurs, Would Newby claim it?  I could not bear to commit it to any
    other hands than those of Mr. Smith.  _Wildfell Hall_, it hardly
    appears to me desirable to preserve.  The choice of subject in that
    work is a mistake: it was too little consonant with the character,
    tastes, and ideas of the gentle, retiring, inexperienced writer.  She
    wrote it under a strange, conscientious, half-ascetic notion of
    accomplishing a painful penance and a severe duty.  Blameless in deed
    and almost in thought, there was from her very childhood a tinge of
    religious melancholy in her mind.  This I ever suspected, and I have
    found amongst her papers mournful proofs that such was the case.  As
    to additional compositions, I think there would be none, as I would
    not offer a line to the publication of which my sisters themselves
    would have objected.

    'I must conclude or I shall be too late for the post.--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                '_September_ 13_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Mr. Newby undertook first to print 350 copies of
    _Wuthering Heights_, but he afterwards declared he had only printed
    250.  I doubt whether he could be induced to return the 50 pounds
    without a good deal of trouble--much more than I should feel
    justified in delegating to Mr. Smith.  For my own part, the
    conclusion I drew from the whole of Mr. Newby's conduct to my sisters
    was that he is a man with whom it is desirable to have little to do.
    I think he must be needy as well as tricky--and if he is, one would
    not distress him, even for one's rights.

    'If Mr. Smith thinks right to reprint _Wuthering Heights_ and _Agnes
    Grey_, I would prepare a preface comprising a brief and simple notice
    of the authors, such as might set at rest all erroneous conjectures
    respecting their identity--and adding a few poetical remains of each.

    'In case this arrangement is approved, you will kindly let me know,
    and I will commence the task (a sad, but, I believe, a necessary
    one), and send it when finished.--I am, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_October_ 16_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--On the whole it is perhaps as well that the last
    paragraph of the Preface should be omitted, for I believe it was not
    expressed with the best grace in the world.  You must not, however,
    apologise for your suggestion--it was kindly meant and, believe me,
    kindly taken; it was not _you_ I misunderstood--not for a moment, I
    never misunderstand you--I was thinking of the critics and the
    public, who are always crying for a moral like the Pharisees for a
    sign.  Does this assurance quite satisfy you?

    'I forgot to say that I had already heard, first from Miss Martineau,
    and subsequently through an intimate friend of Sydney Yendys (whose
    real name is Mr. Dobell) that it was to the author of the _Roman_ we
    are indebted for that eloquent article in the _Palladium_.  I am glad
    you are going to send his poem, for I much wished to see it.

    'May I trouble you to look at a sentence in the Preface which I have
    erased, because on reading it over I was not quite sure about the
    scientific correctness of the expressions used.  Metal, I know, will
    burn in vivid-coloured flame, exposed to galvanic action, but whether
    it is consumed, I am not sure.  Perhaps you or Mr. Taylor can tell me
    whether there is any blunder in the term employed--if not, it might
    stand.--I am, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Miss Bronte would seem to have corresponded with Mr. George Smith, and
not with Mr. Williams, over her third novel, _Villette_, and that
correspondence is to be found in Mrs. Gaskell's biography.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_February_ 1_st_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I cannot lose any time in telling you that your
    letter, after all, gave me heart-felt satisfaction, and such a
    feeling of relief as it would be difficult to express in words.  The
    fact is, what goads and tortures me is not any anxiety of my own to
    publish another book, to have my name before the public, to get cash,
    etc., but a haunting fear that my dilatoriness disappoints others.
    Now the "others" whose wish on the subject I really care for, reduces
    itself to my father and Cornhill, and since Cornhill ungrudgingly
    counsels me to take my own time, I think I can pacify such impatience
    as my dear father naturally feels.  Indeed, your kind and friendly
    letter will greatly help me.

    'Since writing the above, I have read your letter to papa.  Your
    arguments had weight with him: he approves, and I am content.  I now
    only regret the necessity of disappointing the _Palladium_, but that
    cannot be helped.--Good-bye, my dear sir, yours very sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                       '_Tuesday Morning_.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--The rather dark view you seem inclined to take of the
    general opinion about _Villette_ surprises me the less, dear Nell, as
    only the more unfavourable reviews seem to have come in your way.
    Some reports reach me of a different tendency; but no matter, time
    will shew.  As to the character of Lucy Snow, my intention from the
    first was that she should not occupy the pedestal to which Jane Eyre
    was raised by some injudicious admirers.  She is where I meant her to
    be, and where no charge of self-laudation can touch her.

    'I cannot accept your kind invitation.  I must be at home at Easter,
    on two or three accounts connected with sermons to be preached,
    parsons to be entertained, Mechanics' Institute meetings and
    tea-drinkings to be solemnised, and ere long I have promised to go
    and see Mrs. Gaskell; but till this wintry weather is passed, I would
    rather eschew visiting anywhere.  I trust that bad cold of yours is
    _quite_ well, and that you will take good care of yourself in future.
    That night work is always perilous.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                                TO MISS WOOLER

                                           'HAWORTH, _April_ 13_th_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR MISS WOOLER,--Your last kind letter ought to have been
    answered long since, and would have been, did I find it practicable
    to proportion the promptitude of the response to the value I place
    upon my correspondents and their communications.  You will easily
    understand, however, that the contrary rule often holds good, and
    that the epistle which importunes often takes precedence of that
    which interests.

    'My publishers express entire satisfaction with the reception which
    has been accorded to _Villette_, and indeed the majority of the
    reviews has been favourable enough; you will be aware, however, that
    there is a minority, small in number but influential in character,
    which views the work with no favourable eye.  Currer Bell's remarks
    on Romanism have drawn down on him the condign displeasure of the
    High Church party, which displeasure has been unequivocally expressed
    through their principal organs--the _Guardian_, the _English
    Churchman_, and the _Christian Remembrancer_.  I can well understand
    that some of the charges launched against me by those publications
    will tell heavily to my prejudice in the minds of most readers--but
    this must be borne; and for my part, I can suffer no accusation to
    oppress me much which is not supported by the inward evidence of
    conscience and reason.

    '"Extremes meet," says the proverb; in proof whereof I would mention
    that Miss Martineau finds with _Villette_ nearly the same fault as
    the Puseyites.  She accuses me with attacking popery "with
    virulence," of going out of my way to assault it "passionately."  In
    other respects she has shown with reference to the work a spirit so
    strangely and unexpectedly acrimonious, that I have gathered courage
    to tell her that the gulf of mutual difference between her and me is
    so wide and deep, the bridge of union so slight and uncertain, I have
    come to the conclusion that frequent intercourse would be most
    perilous and unadvisable, and have begged to adjourn _sine die_ my
    long projected visit to her.  Of course she is now very angry, and I
    know her bitterness will not be short-lived--but it cannot be helped.

    'Two or three weeks since I received a long and kind letter from Mr.
    White, which I answered a short time ago.  I believe Mr. White thinks
    me a much hotter advocate for _change_ and what is called "political
    progress" than I am.  However, in my reply, I did not touch on these
    subjects.  He intimated a wish to publish some of his own MSS.  I
    fear he would hardly like the somewhat dissuasive tendency of my
    answer; but really, in these days of headlong competition, it is a
    great risk to publish.  If all be well, I purpose going to Manchester
    next week to spend a few days with Mrs. Gaskell.  Ellen's visit to
    Yarmouth seems for the present given up; and really, all things
    considered, I think the circumstance is scarcely to be regretted.

    'Do you not think, my dear Miss Wooler, that you could come to
    Haworth before you go to the coast?  I am afraid that when you once
    get settled at the sea-side your stay will not be brief.  I must
    repeat that a visit from you would be anticipated with pleasure, not
    only by me, but by every inmate of Haworth Parsonage.  Papa has given
    me a general commission to send his respects to you whenever I
    write--accept them, therefore, and--Believe me, yours affectionately
    and sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'




CHAPTER XIV: WILLIAM SMITH WILLIAMS


In picturing the circle which surrounded Charlotte Bronte through her
brief career, it is of the utmost importance that a word of recognition
should be given, and that in no half-hearted manner, to Mr. William Smith
Williams, who, in her later years, was Charlotte Bronte's most intimate
correspondent.  The letters to Mr. Williams are far and away the best
that Charlotte wrote, at least of those which have been preserved.  They
are full of literary enthusiasm and of intellectual interest.  They show
Charlotte Bronte's sound judgment and good heart more effectually than
any other material which has been placed at the disposal of biographers.
They are an honour both to writer and receiver, and, in fact, reflect the
mind of the one as much as the mind of the other.  Charlotte has
emphasised the fact that she adapted herself to her correspondents, and
in her letters to Mr. Williams we have her at her very best.  Mr.
Williams occupied for many years the post of 'reader' in the firm of
Smith & Elder.  That is a position scarcely less honourable and important
than authorship itself.  In our own days Mr. George Meredith and Mr. John
Morley have been 'readers,' and Mr. James Payn has held the same post in
the firm which published the Bronte novels.

Mr. Williams, who was born in 1800, and died in 1875, had an interesting
career even before he became associated with Smith & Elder.  In his
younger days he was apprenticed to Taylor & Hessey of Fleet Street; and
he used to relate how his boyish ideals of Coleridge were shattered on
beholding, for the first time, the bulky and ponderous figure of the
great talker.  When Keats left England, for an early grave in Rome, it
was Mr. Williams who saw him off.  Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt, and many other
well-known men of letters were friendly with Mr. Williams from his
earliest days, and he had for brother-in-law, Wells, the author of
_Joseph and his Brethren_.  In his association with Smith & Elder he
secured the friendship of Thackeray, of Mrs. Gaskell, and of many other
writers.  He attracted the notice of Ruskin by a keen enthusiasm for the
work of Turner.  It was he, in fact, who compiled that most interesting
volume of _Selections from the writings of John Ruskin_, which has long
gone out of print in its first form, but is still greatly sought for by
the curious.  In connection with this volume I may print here a letter
written by John Ruskin's father to Mr. Williams, and I do so the more
readily, as Mr. Williams's name was withheld from the title-page of the
_Selections_.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                      DENMARK HILL, 25_th November_, 1861.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am requested by Mrs. Ruskin to return her very
    sincere and grateful thanks for your kind consideration in presenting
    her with so beautifully bound a copy of the _Selections_ from her
    son's writings; and which she will have great pleasure in seeing by
    the side of the very magnificent volumes which the liberality of the
    gentlemen of your house has already enriched our library with.

    'Mrs. Ruskin joins me in offering congratulations on the great
    judgment you have displayed in your _Selections_, and, sending my own
    thanks and those of my son for the handsome gift to Mrs. Ruskin,--I
    am, my dear sir, yours very truly,

                                                      'JOHN JAMES RUSKIN.'

What Charlotte Bronte thought of Mr. Williams is sufficiently revealed by
the multitude of letters which I have the good fortune to print, and that
she had a reason to be grateful to him is obvious when we recollect that
to him, and to him alone, was due her first recognition.  The parcel
containing _The Professor_ had wandered from publisher to publisher
before it came into the hands of Mr. Williams.  It was he who recognised
what all of us recognise now, that in spite of faults it is really a most
considerable book.  I am inclined to think that it was refused by Smith &
Elder rather on account of its insufficient length than for any other
cause.  At any rate it was the length which was assigned to her as a
reason for non-acceptance.  She was told that another book, which would
make the accredited three volume novel, might receive more favourable
consideration.

Charlotte Bronte took Mr. Williams's advice.  She wrote _Jane Eyre_, and
despatched it quickly to Smith & Elder's house in Cornhill.  It was read
by Mr. Williams, and read afterwards by Mr. George Smith; and it was
published with the success that we know.  Charlotte awoke to find herself
famous.  She became a regular correspondent with Mr. Williams, and not
less than a hundred letters were sent to him, most of them treating of
interesting literary matters.

One of Mr. Williams's daughters, I may add, married Mr. Lowes Dickenson
the portrait painter; his youngest child, a baby when Miss Bronte was
alive, is famous in the musical world as Miss Anna Williams.  The family
has an abundance of literary and artistic association, but the father we
know as the friend and correspondent of Charlotte Bronte.  He still lives
also in the memory of a large circle as a kindly and attractive--a
singularly good and upright man.

Comment upon the following letters is in well-nigh every case
superfluous.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_February_ 25_th_ 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I thank you for your note; its contents moved me much,
    though not to unmingled feelings of exultation.  Louis Philippe
    (unhappy and sordid old man!) and M. Guizot doubtless merit the sharp
    lesson they are now being taught, because they have both proved
    themselves men of dishonest hearts.  And every struggle any nation
    makes in the cause of Freedom and Truth has something noble in
    it--something that makes me wish it success; but I cannot believe
    that France--or at least Paris--will ever be the battle-ground of
    true Liberty, or the scene of its real triumphs.  I fear she does not
    know "how genuine glory is put on."  Is that strength to be found in
    her which will not bend "but in magnanimous meekness"?  Have not her
    "unceasing changes" as yet always brought "perpetual emptiness"?  Has
    Paris the materials within her for thorough reform?  Mean, dishonest
    Guizot being discarded, will any better successor be found for him
    than brilliant, unprincipled Thiers?

    'But I damp your enthusiasm, which I would not wish to do, for true
    enthusiasm is a fine feeling whose flash I admire wherever I see it.

    'The little note inclosed in yours is from a French lady, who asks my
    consent to the translation of _Jane Eyre_ into the French language.
    I thought it better to consult you before I replied.  I suppose she
    is competent to produce a decent translation, though one or two
    errors of orthography in her note rather afflict the eye; but I know
    that it is not unusual for what are considered well-educated French
    women to fail in the point of writing their mother tongue correctly.
    But whether competent or not, I presume she has a right to translate
    the book with or without my consent.  She gives her address: Mdlle
    B--- {373}  W. Cumming, Esq., 23 North Bank, Regent's Park.

    'Shall I reply to her note in the affirmative?

    'Waiting your opinion and answer,--I remain, dear sir, yours
    faithfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_February_ 28_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR SIR,--I have done as you advised me respecting Mdlle B---,
    thanked her for her courtesy, and explained that I do not wish my
    consent to be regarded in the light of a formal sanction of the
    translation.

    'From the papers of Saturday I had learnt the abdication of Louis
    Philippe, the flight of the royal family, and the proclamation of a
    republic in France.  Rapid movements these, and some of them
    difficult of comprehension to a remote spectator.  What sort of spell
    has withered Louis Philippe's strength?  Why, after having so long
    infatuatedly clung to Guizot, did he at once ignobly relinquish him?
    Was it panic that made him so suddenly quit his throne and abandon
    his adherents without a struggle to retain one or aid the other?

    'Perhaps it might have been partly fear, but I daresay it was still
    more long-gathering weariness of the dangers and toils of royalty.
    Few will pity the old monarch in his flight, yet I own he seems to me
    an object of pity.  His sister's death shook him; years are heavy on
    him; the sword of Damocles has long been hanging over his head.  One
    cannot forget that monarchs and ministers are only human, and have
    only human energies to sustain them; and often they are sore beset.
    Party spirit has no mercy; indignant Freedom seldom shows forbearance
    in her hour of revolt.  I wish you _could_ see the aged gentleman
    trudging down Cornhill with his umbrella and carpet-bag, in good
    earnest; he would be safe in England: John Bull might laugh at him
    but he would do him no harm.

    'How strange it appears to see literary and scientific names figuring
    in the list of members of a Provisional Government!  How would it
    sound if Carlyle and Sir John Herschel and Tennyson and Mr. Thackeray
    and Douglas Jerrold were selected to manufacture a new constitution
    for England?  Whether do such men sway the public mind most
    effectually from their quiet studies or from a council-chamber?

    'And Thiers is set aside for a time; but won't they be glad of him
    by-and-by?  Can they set aside entirely anything so clever, so
    subtle, so accomplished, so aspiring--in a word, so thoroughly
    French, as he is?  Is he not the man to bide his time--to watch while
    unskilful theorists try their hand at administration and fail; and
    then to step out and show them how it should be done?

    'One would have thought political disturbance the natural element of
    a mind like Thiers'; but I know nothing of him except from his
    writings, and I always think he writes as if the shade of Bonaparte
    were walking to and fro in the room behind him and dictating every
    line he pens, sometimes approaching and bending over his shoulder,
    _pour voir de ses yeux_ that such an action or event is represented
    or misrepresented (as the case may be) exactly as he wishes it.
    Thiers seems to have contemplated Napoleon's character till he has
    imbibed some of its nature.  Surely he must be an ambitious man, and,
    if so, surely he will at this juncture struggle to rise.

    'You should not apologise for what you call your "crudities."  You
    know I like to hear your opinions and views on whatever subject it
    interests you to discuss.

    'From the little inscription outside your note I conclude you sent me
    the _Examiner_.  I thank you therefore for your kind intention and am
    sorry some unscrupulous person at the Post Office frustrated it, as
    no paper has reached my hands.  I suppose one ought to be thankful
    that letters are respected, as newspapers are by no means sure of
    safe conveyance.--I remain, dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                      '_May_ 12_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I take a large sheet of paper, because I foresee that
    I am about to write another long letter, and for the same reason as
    before, viz., that yours interested me.

    'I have received the _Morning Chronicle_, and was both surprised and
    pleased to see the passage you speak of in one of its leading
    articles.  An allusion of that sort seems to say more than a regular
    notice.  I _do_ trust I may have the power so to write in future as
    not to disappoint those who have been kind enough to think and speak
    well of _Jane Eyre_; at any rate, I will take pains.  But still,
    whenever I hear my one book praised, the pleasure I feel is chastened
    by a mixture of doubt and fear; and, in truth, I hardly wish it to be
    otherwise: it is much too early for me to feel safe, or to take as my
    due the commendation bestowed.

    'Some remarks in your last letter on teaching commanded my attention.
    I suppose you never were engaged in tuition yourself; but if you had
    been, you could not have more exactly hit on the great
    qualification--I had almost said the _one_ great
    qualification--necessary to the task: the faculty, not merely of
    acquiring but of imparting knowledge--the power of influencing young
    minds--that natural fondness for, that innate sympathy with,
    children, which, you say, Mrs. Williams is so happy as to possess.
    He or she who possesses this faculty, this sympathy--though perhaps
    not otherwise highly accomplished--need never fear failure in the
    career of instruction.  Children will be docile with them, will
    improve under them; parents will consequently repose in them
    confidence.  Their task will be comparatively light, their path
    comparatively smooth.  If the faculty be absent, the life of a
    teacher will be a struggle from beginning to end.  No matter how
    amiable the disposition, how strong the sense of duty, how active the
    desire to please; no matter how brilliant and varied the
    accomplishments; if the governess has not the power to win her young
    charge, the secret to instil gently and surely her own knowledge into
    the growing mind intrusted to her, she will have a wearing, wasting
    existence of it.  To _educate_ a child, as I daresay Mrs. Williams
    has educated her children, probably with as much pleasure to herself
    as profit to them, will indeed be impossible to the teacher who lacks
    this qualification.  But, I conceive, should circumstances--as in the
    case of your daughters--compel a young girl notwithstanding to adopt
    a governess's profession, she may contrive to _instruct_ and even to
    instruct well.  That is, though she cannot form the child's mind,
    mould its character, influence its disposition, and guide its conduct
    as she would wish, she may give lessons--even good, clear, clever
    lessons in the various branches of knowledge.  She may earn and
    doubly earn her scanty salary as a daily governess.  As a
    school-teacher she may succeed; but as a resident governess she will
    never (except under peculiar and exceptional circumstances) be happy.
    Her deficiency will harass her not so much in school-time as in
    play-hours; the moments that would be rest and recreation to the
    governess who understood and could adapt herself to children, will be
    almost torture to her who has not that power.  Many a time, when her
    charge turns unruly on her hands, when the responsibility which she
    would wish to discharge faithfully and perfectly, becomes
    unmanageable to her, she will wish herself a housemaid or kitchen
    girl, rather than a baited, trampled, desolate, distracted governess.

    'The Governesses' Institution may be an excellent thing in some
    points of view, but it is both absurd and cruel to attempt to raise
    still higher the standard of acquirements.  Already governesses are
    not half nor a quarter paid for what they teach, nor in most
    instances is half or a quarter of their attainments required by their
    pupils.  The young teacher's chief anxiety, when she sets out in
    life, always is to know a great deal; her chief fear that she should
    not know enough.  Brief experience will, in most instances, show her
    that this anxiety has been misdirected.  She will rarely be found too
    ignorant for her pupils; the demand on her knowledge will not often
    be larger than she can answer.  But on her patience--on her
    self-control, the requirement will be enormous; on her animal spirits
    (and woe be to her if these fail!) the pressure will be immense.

    'I have seen an ignorant nursery-maid who could scarcely read or
    write, by dint of an excellent, serviceable, sanguine, phlegmatic
    temperament, which made her at once cheerful and unmoveable; of a
    robust constitution and steady, unimpassionable nerves, which kept
    her firm under shocks and unharassed under annoyances--manage with
    comparative ease a large family of spoilt children, while their
    governess lived amongst them a life of inexpressible misery:
    tyrannised over, finding her efforts to please and teach utterly
    vain, chagrined, distressed, worried--so badgered, so trodden on,
    that she ceased almost at last to know herself, and wondered in what
    despicable, trembling frame her oppressed mind was prisoned, and
    could not realise the idea of ever more being treated with respect
    and regarded with affection--till she finally resigned her situation
    and went away quite broken in spirit and reduced to the verge of
    decline in health.

    'Those who would urge on governesses more acquirements, do not know
    the origin of their chief sufferings.  It is more physical and mental
    strength, denser moral impassibility that they require, rather than
    additional skill in arts or sciences.  As to the forcing system,
    whether applied to teachers or taught, I hold it to be a cruel
    system.

    'It is true the world demands a brilliant list of accomplishments.
    For 20 pounds per annum, it expects in one woman the attainments of
    several professors--but the demand is insensate, and I think should
    rather be resisted than complied with.  If I might plead with you in
    behalf of your daughters, I should say, "Do not let them waste their
    young lives in trying to attain manifold accomplishments.  Let them
    try rather to possess thoroughly, fully, one or two talents; then let
    them endeavour to lay in a stock of health, strength, cheerfulness.
    Let them labour to attain self-control, endurance, fortitude,
    firmness; if possible, let them learn from their mother something of
    the precious art she possesses--these things, together with sound
    principles, will be their best supports, their best aids through a
    governess's life.

    'As for that one who, you say, has a nervous horror of exhibition, I
    need not beg you to be gentle with her; I am sure you will not be
    harsh, but she must be firm with herself, or she will repent it in
    after life.  She should begin by degrees to endeavour to overcome her
    diffidence.  Were she destined to enjoy an independent, easy
    existence, she might respect her natural disposition to seek
    retirement, and even cherish it as a shade-loving virtue; but since
    that is not her lot, since she is fated to make her way in the crowd,
    and to depend on herself, she should say: I will try and learn the
    art of self-possession, not that I may display my accomplishments,
    but that I may have the satisfaction of feeling that I am my own
    mistress, and can move and speak undaunted by the fear of man.
    While, however, I pen this piece of advice, I confess that it is much
    easier to give than to follow.  What the sensations of the nervous
    are under the gaze of publicity none but the nervous know; and how
    powerless reason and resolution are to control them would sound
    incredible except to the actual sufferers.

    'The rumours you mention respecting the authorship of _Jane Eyre_
    amused me inexpressibly.  The gossips are, on this subject, just
    where I should wish them to be, _i.e._, as far from the truth as
    possible; and as they have not a grain of fact to found their
    fictions upon, they fabricate pure inventions.  Judge Erle must, I
    think, have made up his story expressly for a hoax; the other _fib_
    is amazing--so circumstantial! called on the author, forsooth!  Where
    did he live, I wonder?  In what purlieu of Cockayne?  Here I must
    stop, lest if I run on further I should fill another sheet.--Believe
    me, yours sincerely,

                                                             'CURRER BELL.

    '_P.S._--I must, after all, add a morsel of paper, for I find, on
    glancing over yours, that I have forgotten to answer a question you
    ask respecting my next work.  I have not therein so far treated of
    governesses, as I do not wish it to resemble its predecessor.  I
    often wish to say something about the "condition of women" question,
    but it is one respecting which so much "cant" has been talked, that
    one feels a sort of repugnance to approach it.  It is true enough
    that the present market for female labour is quite overstocked, but
    where or how could another be opened?  Many say that the professions
    now filled only by men should be open to women also; but are not
    their present occupants and candidates more than numerous enough to
    answer every demand?  Is there any room for female lawyers, female
    doctors, female engravers, for more female artists, more authoresses?
    One can see where the evil lies, but who can point out the remedy?
    When a woman has a little family to rear and educate and a household
    to conduct, her hands are full, her vocation is evident; when her
    destiny isolates her, I suppose she must do what she can, live as she
    can, complain as little, bear as much, work as well as possible.
    This is not high theory, but I believe it is sound practice, good to
    put into execution while philosophers and legislators ponder over the
    better ordering of the social system.  At the same time, I conceive
    that when patience has done its utmost and industry its best, whether
    in the case of women or operatives, and when both are baffled, and
    pain and want triumph, the sufferer is free, is entitled, at last to
    send up to Heaven any piercing cry for relief, if by that cry he can
    hope to obtain succour.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                          '_June_ 2, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I snatch a moment to write a hasty line to you, for it
    makes me uneasy to think that your last kind letter should have
    remained so long unanswered.  A succession of little engagements,
    much more importunate than important, have quite engrossed my time
    lately, to the exclusion of more momentous and interesting
    occupations.  Interruption is a sad bore, and I believe there is
    hardly a spot on earth, certainly not in England, quite secure from
    its intrusion.  The fact is, you cannot live in this world entirely
    for one aim; you must take along with some single serious purpose a
    hundred little minor duties, cares, distractions; in short, you must
    take life as it is, and make the best of it.  Summer is decidedly a
    bad season for application, especially in the country; for the
    sunshine seems to set all your acquaintances astir, and, once bent on
    amusement, they will come to the ends of the earth in search thereof.
    I was obliged to you for your suggestion about writing a letter to
    the _Morning Chronicle_, but I did not follow it up.  I think I would
    rather not venture on such a step at present.  Opinions I would not
    hesitate to express to you--because you are indulgent--are not mature
    or cool enough for the public; Currer Bell is not Carlyle, and must
    not imitate him.

    'Whenever you can write to me without encroaching too much on your
    valuable time, remember I shall always be glad to hear from you.
    Your last letter interested me fully as much as its two predecessors;
    what you said about your family pleased me; I think details of
    character always have a charm even when they relate to people we have
    never seen, nor expect to see.  With eight children you must have a
    busy life; but, from the manner in which you allude to your two
    eldest daughters, it is evident that they at least are a source of
    satisfaction to their parents; I hope this will be the case with the
    whole number, and then you will never feel as if you had too many.  A
    dozen children with sense and good conduct may be less burdensome
    than one who lacks these qualities.  It seems a long time since I
    heard from you.  I shall be glad to hear from you again.--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

    'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                            'HAWORTH, _June_ 15_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Thank you for your two last letters.  In reading the
    first I quite realised your May holiday; I enjoyed it with you.  I
    saw the pretty south-of-England village, so different from our
    northern congregations of smoke-dark houses clustered round their
    soot-vomiting mills.  I saw in your description, fertile, flowery
    Essex--a contrast indeed to the rough and rude, the mute and sombre
    yet well-beloved moors over-spreading this corner of Yorkshire.  I
    saw the white schoolhouse, the venerable school-master--I even
    thought I saw you and your daughters; and in your second letter I see
    you all distinctly, for, in describing your children, you
    unconsciously describe yourself.

    'I may well say that your letters are of value to me, for I seldom
    receive one but I find something in it which makes me reflect, and
    reflect on new themes.  Your town life is somewhat different from any
    I have known, and your allusions to its advantages, troubles,
    pleasures, and struggles are often full of significance to me.

    'I have always been accustomed to think that the necessity of earning
    one's subsistence is not in itself an evil, but I feel it may become
    a heavy evil if health fails, if employment lacks, if the demand upon
    our efforts made by the weakness of others dependent upon us becomes
    greater than our strength suffices to answer.  In such a case I can
    imagine that the married man may wish himself single again, and that
    the married woman, when she sees her husband over-exerting himself to
    maintain her and her children, may almost wish--out of the very force
    of her affection for him--that it had never been her lot to add to
    the weight of his responsibilities.  Most desirable then is it that
    all, both men and women, should have the power and the will to work
    for themselves--most advisable that both sons and daughters should
    early be inured to habits of independence and industry.  Birds teach
    their nestlings to fly as soon as their wings are strong enough, they
    even oblige them to quit the nest if they seem too unwilling to trust
    their pinions of their own accord.  Do not the swallow and the
    starling thus give a lesson by which man might profit?

    'It seems to me that your kind heart is pained by the thought of what
    your daughter may suffer if transplanted from a free and indulged
    home existence to a life of constraint and labour amongst strangers.
    Suffer she probably will; but take both comfort and courage, my dear
    sir, try to soothe your anxiety by this thought, which is not a
    fallacious one.  Hers will not be a barren suffering; she will gain
    by it largely; she will "sow in tears to reap in joy."  A governess's
    experience is frequently indeed bitter, but its results are precious:
    the mind, feeling, temper are there subjected to a discipline equally
    painful and priceless.  I have known many who were unhappy as
    governesses, but not one who regretted having undergone the ordeal,
    and scarcely one whose character was not improved--at once
    strengthened and purified, fortified and softened, made more enduring
    for her own afflictions, more considerate for the afflictions of
    others, by passing through it.

    'Should your daughter, however, go out as governess, she should first
    take a firm resolution not to be too soon daunted by difficulties,
    too soon disgusted by disagreeables; and if she has a high spirit,
    sensitive feelings, she should tutor the one to submit, the other to
    endure, _for the sake of those at home_.  That is the governess's
    best talisman of patience, it is the best balm for wounded
    susceptibility.  When tried hard she must say, "I will be patient,
    not out of servility, but because I love my parents, and wish through
    my perseverance, diligence, and success, to repay their anxieties and
    tenderness for me."  With this aid the least-deserved insult may
    often be swallowed quite calmly, like a bitter pill with a draught of
    fair water.

    'I think you speak excellent sense when you say that girls without
    fortune should be brought up and accustomed to support themselves;
    and that if they marry poor men, it should be with a prospect of
    being able to help their partners.  If all parents thought so, girls
    would not be reared on speculation with a view to their making
    mercenary marriages; and, consequently, women would not be so
    piteously degraded as they now too often are.

    'Fortuneless people may certainly marry, provided they previously
    resolve never to let the consequences of their marriage throw them as
    burdens on the hands of their relatives.  But as life is full of
    unforeseen contingencies, and as a woman may be so placed that she
    cannot possibly both "guide the house" and earn her livelihood (what
    leisure, for instance, could Mrs. Williams have with her eight
    children?), young artists and young governesses should think twice
    before they unite their destinies.

    'You speak sense again when you express a wish that Fanny were placed
    in a position where active duties would engage her attention, where
    her faculties would be exercised and her mind occupied, and where, I
    will add, not doubting that my addition merely completes your
    half-approved idea, the image of the young artist would for the
    present recede into the background and remain for a few years to come
    in modest perspective, the finishing point of a vista stretching a
    considerable distance into futurity.  Fanny may feel sure of this: if
    she intends to be an artist's wife she had better try an
    apprenticeship with Fortune as a governess first; she cannot undergo
    a better preparation for that honourable (honourable if rightly
    considered) but certainly not luxurious destiny.

    'I should say then--judging as well as I can from the materials for
    forming an opinion your letter affords, and from what I can thence
    conjecture of Fanny's actual and prospective position--that you would
    do well and wisely to put your daughter out.  The experiment might do
    good and could not do harm, because even if she failed at the first
    trial (which is not unlikely) she would still be in some measure
    benefited by the effort.

    'I duly received _Mirabeau_ from Mr. Smith.  I must repeat, it is
    really _too_ kind.  When I have read the book, I will tell you what I
    think of it--its subject is interesting.  One thing a little annoyed
    me--as I glanced over the pages I fancied I detected a savour of
    Carlyle's peculiarities of style.  Now Carlyle is a great man, but I
    always wish he would write plain English; and to imitate his
    Germanisms is, I think, to imitate his faults.  Is the author of this
    work a Manchester man?  I must not ask his name, I suppose.--Believe
    me, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                            'CURRER BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_June_ 22_nd_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--After reading a book which has both interested and
    informed you, you like to be able, on laying it down, to speak of it
    with unqualified approbation--to praise it cordially; you do not like
    to stint your panegyric, to counteract its effect with blame.

    'For this reason I feel a little difficulty in telling you what I
    think of _The Life of Mirabeau_.  It has interested me much, and I
    have derived from it additional information.  In the course of
    reading it, I have often felt called upon to approve the ability and
    tact of the writer, to admire the skill with which he conducts the
    narrative, enchains the reader's attention, and keeps it fixed upon
    his hero; but I have also been moved frequently to disapprobation.
    It is not the political principles of the writer with which I find
    fault, nor is it his talents I feel inclined to disparage; to speak
    truth, it is his manner of treating Mirabeau's errors that
    offends--then, I think, he is neither wise nor right--there, I think,
    he betrays a little of crudeness, a little of presumption, not a
    little of indiscretion.

    'Could you with confidence put this work into the hands of your son,
    secure that its perusal would not harm him, that it would not leave
    on his mind some vague impression that there is a grandeur in vice
    committed on a colossal scale?  Whereas, the fact is, that in vice
    there is no grandeur, that it is, on whichever side you view it, and
    in whatever accumulation, only a foul, sordid, and degrading thing.
    The fact is, that this great Mirabeau was a mixture of divinity and
    dirt; that there was no divinity whatever in his errors, they were
    all sullying dirt; that they ruined him, brought down his genius to
    the kennel, deadened his fine nature and generous sentiments, made
    all his greatness as nothing; that they cut him off in his prime,
    obviated all his aims, and struck him dead in the hour when France
    most needed him.

    'Mirabeau's life and fate teach, to my perception, the most
    depressing lesson I have read for years.  One would fain have hoped
    that so many noble qualities must have made a noble character and
    achieved noble ends.  No--the mighty genius lived a miserable and
    degraded life, and died a dog's death, for want of self-control, for
    want of morality, for lack of religion.  One's heart is wrung for
    Mirabeau after reading his life; and it is not of his greatness we
    think, when we close the volume, so much as of his hopeless
    recklessness, and of the sufferings, degradation, and untimely end in
    which it issued.  It appears to me that the biographer errs also in
    being too solicitous to present his hero always in a striking point
    of view--too negligent of the exact truth.  He eulogises him too
    much; he subdues all the other characters mentioned and keeps them in
    the shade that Mirabeau may stand out more conspicuously.  This, no
    doubt, is right in art, and admissible in fiction; but in history
    (and biography is the history of an individual) it tends to weaken
    the force of a narrative by weakening your faith in its accuracy.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                           CHAPTER COFFEE-HOUSE, IVY LANE,
                                                      '_July_ 8_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Your invitation is too welcome not to be at once
    accepted.  I should much like to see Mrs. Williams and her children,
    and very much like to have a quiet chat with yourself.  Would it suit
    you if we came to-morrow, after dinner--say about seven o'clock, and
    spent Sunday evening with you?

    'We shall be truly glad to see you whenever it is convenient to you
    to call.--I am, my dear sir, yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 13_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--We reached home safely yesterday, and in a day or two
    I doubt not we shall get the better of the fatigues of our journey.

    'It was a somewhat hasty step to hurry up to town as we did, but I do
    not regret having taken it.  In the first place, mystery is irksome,
    and I was glad to shake it off with you and Mr. Smith, and to show
    myself to you for what I am, neither more nor less--thus removing any
    false expectations that may have arisen under the idea that Currer
    Bell had a just claim to the masculine cognomen he, perhaps somewhat
    presumptuously, adopted--that he was, in short, of the nobler sex.

    'I was glad also to see you and Mr. Smith, and am very happy now to
    have such pleasant recollections of you both, and of your respective
    families.  My satisfaction would have been complete could I have seen
    Mrs. Williams.  The appearance of your children tallied on the whole
    accurately with the description you had given of them.  Fanny was the
    one I saw least distinctly; I tried to get a clear view of her
    countenance, but her position in the room did not favour my efforts.

    'I had just read your article in the _John Bull_; it very clearly and
    fully explains the cause of the difference obvious between ancient
    and modern paintings.  I wish you had been with us when we went over
    the Exhibition and the National Gallery; a little explanation from a
    judge of art would doubtless have enabled us to understand better
    what we saw; perhaps, one day, we may have this pleasure.

    'Accept my own thanks and my sister's for your kind attention to us
    while in town, and--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                        'CHARLOTTE BRONTE.

    'I trust Mrs. Williams is quite recovered from her indisposition.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 31_st_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have lately been reading _Modern Painters_, and I
    have derived from the work much genuine pleasure and, I hope, some
    edification; at any rate, it made me feel how ignorant I had
    previously been on the subject which it treats.  Hitherto I have only
    had instinct to guide me in judging of art; I feel more as if I had
    been walking blindfold--this book seems to give me eyes.  I _do_ wish
    I had pictures within reach by which to test the new sense.  Who can
    read these glowing descriptions of Turner's works without longing to
    see them?  However eloquent and convincing the language in which
    another's opinion is placed before you, you still wish to judge for
    yourself.  I like this author's style much: there is both energy and
    beauty in it; I like himself too, because he is such a hearty
    admirer.  He does not give Turner half-measure of praise or
    veneration, he eulogises, he reverences him (or rather his genius)
    with his whole soul.  One can sympathise with that sort of devout,
    serious admiration (for he is no rhapsodist)--one can respect it; and
    yet possibly many people would laugh at it.  I am truly obliged to
    Mr. Smith for giving me this book, not having often met with one that
    has pleased me more.

    'You will have seen some of the notices of _Wildfell Hall_.  I wish
    my sister felt the unfavourable ones less keenly.  She does not _say_
    much, for she is of a remarkably taciturn, still, thoughtful nature,
    reserved even with her nearest of kin, but I cannot avoid seeing that
    her spirits are depressed sometimes.  The fact is, neither she nor
    any of us expected that view to be taken of the book which has been
    taken by some critics.  That it had faults of execution, faults of
    art, was obvious, but faults of intention or feeling could be
    suspected by none who knew the writer.  For my own part, I consider
    the subject unfortunately chosen--it was one the author was not
    qualified to handle at once vigorously and truthfully.  The simple
    and natural--quiet description and simple pathos are, I think, Acton
    Bell's forte.  I liked _Agnes Grey_ better than the present work.

    'Permit me to caution you not to speak of my sisters when you write
    to me.  I mean, do not use the word in the plural.  Ellis Bell will
    not endure to be alluded to under any other appellation than the _nom
    de plume_.  I committed a grand error in betraying his identity to
    you and Mr. Smith.  It was inadvertent--the words, "we are three
    sisters" escaped me before I was aware.  I regretted the avowal the
    moment I had made it; I regret it bitterly now, for I find it is
    against every feeling and intention of Ellis Bell.

    'I was greatly amused to see in the _Examiner_ of this week one of
    Newby's little cobwebs neatly swept away by some dexterous brush.  If
    Newby is not too old to profit by experience, such an exposure ought
    to teach him that "Honesty is indeed the best policy."

    'Your letter has just been brought to me.  I must not pause to thank
    you, I should say too much.  Our life is, and always has been, one of
    few pleasures, as you seem in part to guess, and for that reason we
    feel what passages of enjoyment come in our way very keenly; and I
    think if you knew _how_ pleased I am to get a long letter from you,
    you would laugh at me.

    'In return, however, I smile at you for the earnestness with which
    you urge on us the propriety of seeing something of London society.
    There would be an advantage in it--a great advantage; yet it is one
    that no power on earth could induce Ellis Bell, for instance, to
    avail himself of.  And even for Acton and Currer, the experiment of
    an introduction to society would be more formidable than you,
    probably, can well imagine.  An existence of absolute seclusion and
    unvarying monotony, such as we have long--I may say, indeed,
    ever--been habituated to, tends, I fear, to unfit the mind for lively
    and exciting scenes, to destroy the capacity for social enjoyment.

    'The only glimpses of society I have ever had were obtained in my
    vocation of governess, and some of the most miserable moments I can
    recall were passed in drawing-rooms full of strange faces.  At such
    times, my animal spirits would ebb gradually till they sank quite
    away, and when I could endure the sense of exhaustion and solitude no
    longer, I used to steal off, too glad to find any corner where I
    could really be alone.  Still, I know very well, that though that
    experiment of seeing the world might give acute pain for the time, it
    would do good afterwards; and as I have never, that I remember,
    gained any important good without incurring proportionate suffering,
    I mean to try to take your advice some day, in part at least--to put
    off, if possible, that troublesome egotism which is always judging
    and blaming itself, and to try, country spinster as I am, to get a
    view of some sphere where civilised humanity is to be contemplated.

    'I smile at you again for supposing that I could be annoyed by what
    you say respecting your religious and philosophical views; that I
    could blame you for not being able, when you look amongst sects and
    creeds, to discover any one which you can exclusively and implicitly
    adopt as yours.  I perceive myself that some light falls on earth
    from Heaven--that some rays from the shrine of truth pierce the
    darkness of this life and world; but they are few, faint, and
    scattered, and who without presumption can assert that he has found
    the _only_ true path upwards?

    'Yet ignorance, weakness, or indiscretion, must have their creeds and
    forms; they must have their props--they cannot walk alone.  Let them
    hold by what is purest in doctrine and simplest in ritual;
    _something_, they _must_ have.

    'I never read Emerson; but the book which has had so healing an
    effect on your mind must be a good one.  Very enviable is the writer
    whose words have fallen like a gentle rain on a soil that so needed
    and merited refreshment, whose influence has come like a genial
    breeze to lift a spirit which circumstances seem so harshly to have
    trampled.  Emerson, if he has cheered you, has not written in vain.

    'May this feeling of self-reconcilement, of inward peace and
    strength, continue!  May you still be lenient with, be just to,
    yourself!  I will not praise nor flatter you, I should hate to pay
    those enervating compliments which tend to check the exertions of a
    mind that aspires after excellence; but I must permit myself to
    remark that if you had not something good and superior in you,
    something better, whether more _showy_ or not, than is often met
    with, the assurance of your friendship would not make one so happy as
    it does; nor would the advantage of your correspondence be felt as
    such a privilege.

    'I hope Mrs. Williams's state of health may soon improve and her
    anxieties lessen.  Blameable indeed are those who sow division where
    there ought to be peace, and especially deserving of the ban of
    society.

    'I thank both you and your family for keeping our secret.  It will
    indeed be a kindness to us to persevere in doing so; and I own I have
    a certain confidence in the honourable discretion of a household of
    which you are the head.--Believe me, yours very sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_October_ 18_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Not feeling competent this evening either for study or
    serious composition, I will console myself with writing to you.  My
    malady, which the doctors call a bilious fever, lingers, or rather it
    returns with each sudden change of weather, though I am thankful to
    say that the relapses have hitherto been much milder than the first
    attack; but they keep me weak and reduced, especially as I am obliged
    to observe a very low spare diet.

    'My book, alas! is laid aside for the present; both head and hand
    seem to have lost their cunning; imagination is pale, stagnant, mute.
    This incapacity chagrins me; sometimes I have a feeling of cankering
    care on the subject, but I combat it as well as I can; it does no
    good.

    'I am afraid I shall not write a cheerful letter to you.  A letter,
    however, of some kind I am determined to write, for I should be sorry
    to appear a neglectful correspondent to one from whose communications
    I have derived, and still derive, so much pleasure.  Do not talk
    about not being on a level with Currer Bell, or regard him as "an
    awful person"; if you saw him now, sitting muffled at the fireside,
    shrinking before the east wind (which for some days has been blowing
    wild and keen over our cold hills), and incapable of lifting a pen
    for any less formidable task than that of writing a few lines to an
    indulgent friend, you would be sorry not to deem yourself greatly his
    superior, for you would feel him to be a poor creature.

    'You may be sure I read your views on the providence of God and the
    nature of man with interest.  You are already aware that in much of
    what you say my opinions coincide with those you express, and where
    they differ I shall not attempt to bias you.  Thought and conscience
    are, or ought to be, free; and, at any rate, if your views were
    universally adopted there would be no persecution, no bigotry.  But
    never try to proselytise, the world is not yet fit to receive what
    you and Emerson say: man, as he now is, can no more do without creeds
    and forms in religion than he can do without laws and rules in social
    intercourse.  You and Emerson judge others by yourselves; all mankind
    are not like you, any more than every Israelite was like Nathaniel.

    '"Is there a human being," you ask, "so depraved that an act of
    kindness will not touch--nay, a word melt him?"  There are hundreds
    of human beings who trample on acts of kindness and mock at words of
    affection.  I know this though I have seen but little of the world.
    I suppose I have something harsher in my nature than you have,
    something which every now and then tells me dreary secrets about my
    race, and I cannot believe the voice of the Optimist, charm he never
    so wisely.  On the other hand, I feel forced to listen when a
    Thackeray speaks.  I know truth is delivering her oracles by his
    lips.

    'As to the great, good, magnanimous acts which have been performed by
    some men, we trace them up to motives and then estimate their value;
    a few, perhaps, would gain and many lose by this test.  The study of
    motives is a strange one, not to be pursued too far by one fallible
    human being in reference to his fellows.

    'Do not condemn me as uncharitable.  I have no wish to urge my
    convictions on you, but I know that while there are many good,
    sincere, gentle people in the world, with whom kindness is
    all-powerful, there are also not a few like that false friend (I had
    almost written _fiend_) whom you so well and vividly described in one
    of your late letters, and who, in acting out his part of domestic
    traitor, must often have turned benefits into weapons wherewith to
    wound his benefactors.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_April_ 2_nd_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--My critics truly deserve and have my genuine thanks
    for the friendly candour with which they have declared their opinions
    on my book.  Both Mr. Williams and Mr. Taylor express and support
    their opinions in a manner calculated to command careful
    consideration.  In my turn I have a word to say.  You both of you
    dwell too much on what you regard as the _artistic_ treatment of a
    subject.  Say what you will, gentlemen--say it as ably as you
    will--truth is better than art.  Burns' Songs are better than
    Bulwer's Epics.  Thackeray's rude, careless sketches are preferable
    to thousands of carefully finished paintings.  Ignorant as I am, I
    dare to hold and maintain that doctrine.

    'You must not expect me to give up Malone and Donne too suddenly--the
    pair are favourites with me; they shine with a chastened and pleasing
    lustre in that first chapter, and it is a pity you do not take
    pleasure in their modest twinkle.  Neither is that opening scene
    irrelevant to the rest of the book, there are other touches in store
    which will harmonise with it.

    'No doubt this handling of the surplice will stir up such
    publications as the _Christian Remembrancer_ and the
    _Quarterly_--those heavy Goliaths of the periodical press; and if I
    alone were concerned, this possibility would not trouble me a second.
    Full welcome would the giants be to stand in their greaves of brass,
    poising their ponderous spears, cursing their prey by their gods, and
    thundering invitations to the intended victim to "come forth" and
    have his flesh given to the fowls of the air and the beasts of the
    field.  Currer Bell, without pretending to be a David, feels no awe
    of the unwieldy Anakim; but--comprehend me rightly, gentlemen--it
    would grieve him to involve others in blame: any censure that would
    really injure and annoy his publishers would wound himself.
    Therefore believe that he will not act rashly--trust his discretion.

    'Mr. Taylor is right about the bad taste of the opening
    apostrophe--that I had already condemned in my own mind.  Enough said
    of a work in embryo.  Permit me to request in conclusion that the MS.
    may now be returned as soon as convenient.

    'The letter you inclosed is from Mary Howitt.  It contained a
    proposal for an engagement as contributor to an American periodical.
    Of course I have negatived it.  When I _can_ write, the book I have
    in hand must claim all my attention.  Oh! if Anne were well, if the
    void Death has left were a little closed up, if the dreary word
    _nevermore_ would cease sounding in my ears, I think I could yet do
    something.

    'It is a long time since you mentioned your own family affairs.  I
    trust Mrs. Williams continues well, and that Fanny and your other
    children prosper.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                      '_July_ 3_rd_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--You do right to address me on subjects which compel
    me, in order to give a coherent answer, to quit for a moment my
    habitual train of thought.  The mention of your healthy-living
    daughters reminds me of the world where other people live--where I
    lived once.  Theirs are cheerful images as you present them--I have
    no wish to shut them out.

    'From all you say of Ellen, the eldest, I am inclined to respect her
    much.  I like practical sense which works to the good of others.  I
    esteem a dutiful daughter who makes her parents happy.

    'Fanny's character I would take on second hand from nobody, least of
    all from her kind father, whose estimate of human nature in general
    inclines rather to what _ought_ to be than to what _is_.  Of Fanny I
    would judge for myself, and that not hastily nor on first
    impressions.

    'I am glad to hear that Louisa has a chance of a presentation to
    Queen's College.  I hope she will succeed.  Do not, my dear sir, be
    indifferent--be earnest about it.  Come what may afterwards, an
    education secured is an advantage gained--a priceless advantage.
    Come what may, it is a step towards independency, and one great curse
    of a single female life is its dependency.  It does credit both to
    Louisa's heart and head that she herself wishes to get this
    presentation.  Encourage her in the wish.  Your daughters--no more
    than your sons--should be a burden on your hands.  Your daughters--as
    much as your sons--should aim at making their way honourably through
    life.  Do not wish to keep them at home.  Believe me, teachers may be
    hard-worked, ill-paid, and despised, but the girl who stays at home
    doing nothing is worse off than the hardest-wrought and worst-paid
    drudge of a school.  Whenever I have seen, not merely in humble, but
    in affluent homes, families of daughters sitting waiting to be
    married, I have pitied them from my heart.  It is doubtless
    well--very well--if Fate decrees them a happy marriage; but, if
    otherwise, give their existence some object, their time some
    occupation, or the peevishness of disappointment and the listlessness
    of idleness will infallibly degrade their nature.

    'Should Louisa eventually go out as a governess, do not be uneasy
    respecting her lot.  The sketch you give of her character leads me to
    think she has a better chance of happiness than one in a hundred of
    her sisterhood.  Of pleasing exterior (that is always an
    advantage--children like it), good sense, obliging disposition,
    cheerful, healthy, possessing a good average capacity, but no
    prominent master talent to make her miserable by its cravings for
    exercise, by its mutiny under restraint--Louisa thus endowed will
    find the post of governess comparatively easy.  If she be like her
    mother--as you say she is--and if, consequently, she is fond of
    children, and possesses tact for managing them, their care is her
    natural vocation--she ought to be a governess.

    'Your sketch of Braxborne, as it is and as it was, is sadly pleasing.
    I remember your first picture of it in a letter written a year
    ago--only a year ago.  I was in this room--where I now am--when I
    received it.  I was not alone then.  In those days your letters often
    served as a text for comment--a theme for talk; now, I read them,
    return them to their covers and put them away.  Johnson, I think,
    makes mournful mention somewhere of the pleasure that accrues when we
    are "solitary and cannot impart it."  Thoughts, under such
    circumstances, cannot grow to words, impulses fail to ripen to
    actions.

    'Lonely as I am, how should I be if Providence had never given me
    courage to adopt a career--perseverance to plead through two long,
    weary years with publishers till they admitted me?  How should I be
    with youth past, sisters lost, a resident in a moorland parish where
    there is not a single educated family?  In that case I should have no
    world at all: the raven, weary of surveying the deluge, and without
    an ark to return to, would be my type.  As it is, something like a
    hope and motive sustains me still.  I wish all your daughters--I wish
    every woman in England, had also a hope and motive.  Alas! there are
    many old maids who have neither.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_July_ 26_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I must rouse myself to write a line to you, lest a
    more protracted silence should seem strange.

    'Truly glad was I to hear of your daughter's success.  I trust its
    results may conduce to the permanent advantage both of herself and
    her parents.

    'Of still more importance than your children's education is your
    wife's health, and therefore it is still more gratifying to learn
    that your anxiety on that account is likely to be alleviated.  For
    her own sake, no less than for that of others, it is to be hoped that
    she is now secured from a recurrence of her painful and dangerous
    attacks.  It was pleasing, too, to hear of good qualities being
    developed in the daughters by the mother's danger.  May your girls
    always so act as to justify their father's kind estimate of their
    characters; may they never do what might disappoint or grieve him.

    'Your suggestion relative to myself is a good one in some respects,
    but there are two persons whom it would not suit; and not the least
    incommoded of these would be the young person whom I might request to
    come and bury herself in the hills of Haworth, to take a church and
    stony churchyard for her prospect, the dead silence of a village
    parsonage--in which the tick of the clock is heard all day long--for
    her atmosphere, and a grave, silent spinster for her companion.  I
    should not like to see youth thus immured.  The hush and gloom of our
    house would be more oppressive to a buoyant than to a subdued spirit.
    The fact is, my work is my best companion; hereafter I look for no
    great earthly comfort except what congenial occupation can give.  For
    society, long seclusion has in a great measure unfitted me, I doubt
    whether I should enjoy it if I might have it.  Sometimes I think I
    should, and I thirst for it; but at other times I doubt my capability
    of pleasing or deriving pleasure.  The prisoner in solitary
    confinement, the toad in the block of marble, all in time shape
    themselves to their lot.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                '_September_ 13_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I want to know your opinion of the subject of this
    proof-sheet.  Mr. Taylor censured it; he considers as defective all
    that portion which relates to Shirley's nervousness--the bite of the
    dog, etc.  How did it strike you on reading it?

    'I ask this though I well know it cannot now be altered.  I can work
    indefatigably at the correction of a work before it leaves my hands,
    but when once I have looked on it as completed and submitted to the
    inspection of others, it becomes next to impossible to alter or
    amend.  With the heavy suspicion on my mind that all may not be
    right, I yet feel forced to put up with the inevitably wrong.

    'Reading has, of late, been my great solace and recreation.  I have
    read J. C. Hare's _Guesses at Truth_, a book containing things that
    in depth and far-sought wisdom sometimes recall the _Thoughts_ of
    Pascal, only it is as the light of the moon recalls that of the sun.

    'I have read with pleasure a little book on _English Social Life_ by
    the wife of Archbishop Whately.  Good and intelligent women write
    well on such subjects.  This lady speaks of governesses.  I was
    struck by the contrast offered in her manner of treating the topic to
    that of Miss Rigby in the _Quarterly_.  How much finer the
    feeling--how much truer the feeling--how much more delicate the mind
    here revealed!

    'I have read _David Copperfield_; it seems to me very good--admirable
    in some parts.  You said it had affinity to _Jane Eyre_.  It has, now
    and then--only what an advantage has Dickens in his varied knowledge
    of men and things!  I am beginning to read Eckermann's _Goethe_--it
    promises to be a most interesting work.  Honest, simple,
    single-minded Eckermann!  Great, powerful, giant-souled, but also
    profoundly egotistical, old Johann Wolfgang von Goethe!  He _was_ a
    mighty egotist--I see he was: he thought no more of swallowing up
    poor Eckermann's existence in his own than the whale thought of
    swallowing Jonah.

    'The worst of reading graphic accounts of such men, of seeing graphic
    pictures of the scenes, the society, in which they moved, is that it
    excites a too tormenting longing to look on the reality.  But does
    such reality now exist?  Amidst all the troubled waters of European
    society does such a vast, strong, selfish, old Leviathan now roll
    ponderous!  I suppose not.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_March_ 19_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--The books came yesterday evening just as I was wishing
    for them very much.  There is much interest for me in opening the
    Cornhill parcel.  I wish there was not pain too--but so it is.  As I
    untie the cords and take out the volumes, I am reminded of those who
    once on similar occasions looked on eagerly; I miss familiar voices
    commenting mirthfully and pleasantly; the room seems very still, very
    empty; but yet there is consolation in remembering that papa will
    take pleasure in some of the books.  Happiness quite unshared can
    scarcely be called happiness--it has no taste.

    'I hope Mrs. Williams continues well, and that she is beginning to
    regain composure after the shock of her recent bereavement.  She has
    indeed sustained a loss for which there is no substitute.  But rich
    as she still is in objects for her best affections, I trust the void
    will not be long or severely felt.  She must think, not of what she
    has lost, but of what she possesses.  With eight fine children, how
    can she ever be poor or solitary!--Believe me, dear sir, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_April_ 12_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I own I was glad to receive your assurance that the
    Calcutta paper's surmise was unfounded. {398}  It is said that when
    we _wish_ a thing to be true, we are prone to believe it true; but I
    think (judging from myself) we adopt with a still prompter credulity
    the rumour which shocks.

    'It is very kind in Dr. Forbes to give me his book.  I hope Mr. Smith
    will have the goodness to convey my thanks for the present.  You can
    keep it to send with the next parcel, or perhaps I may be in London
    myself before May is over.  That invitation I mentioned in a previous
    letter is still urged upon me, and well as I know what penance its
    acceptance would entail in some points, I also know the advantage it
    would bring in others.  My conscience tells me it would be the act of
    a moral poltroon to let the fear of suffering stand in the way of
    improvement.  But suffer I shall.  No matter.

    'The perusal of _Southey's Life_ has lately afforded me much
    pleasure.  The autobiography with which it commences is deeply
    interesting, and the letters which follow are scarcely less so,
    disclosing as they do a character most estimable in its integrity and
    a nature most amiable in its benevolence, as well as a mind admirable
    in its talent.  Some people assert that genius is inconsistent with
    domestic happiness, and yet Southey was happy at home and made his
    home happy; he not only loved his wife and children _though_ he was a
    poet, but he loved them the better _because_ he was a poet.  He seems
    to have been without taint of worldliness.  London with its pomps and
    vanities, learned coteries with their dry pedantry, rather scared
    than attracted him.  He found his prime glory in his genius, and his
    chief felicity in home affections.  I like Southey.

    'I have likewise read one of Miss Austen's works--_Emma_--read it
    with interest and with just the degree of admiration which Miss
    Austen herself would have thought sensible and suitable.  Anything
    like warmth or enthusiasm--anything energetic, poignant, heart-felt
    is utterly out of place in commending these works: all such
    demonstration the authoress would have met with a well-bred sneer,
    would have calmly scorned as _outre_ and extravagant.  She does her
    business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English
    people curiously well.  There is a Chinese fidelity, a miniature
    delicacy in the painting.  She ruffles her reader by nothing
    vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound.  The passions are
    perfectly unknown to her; she rejects even a speaking acquaintance
    with that stormy sisterhood.  Even to the feelings she vouchsafes no
    more than an occasional graceful but distant recognition--too
    frequent converse with them would ruffle the smooth elegance of her
    progress.  Her business is not half so much with the human heart as
    with the human eyes, mouth, hands, and feet.  What sees keenly,
    speaks aptly, moves flexibly, it suits her to study; but what throbs
    fast and full, though hidden, what the blood rushes through, what is
    the unseen seat of life and the sentient target of death--this Miss
    Austen ignores.  She no more, with her mind's eye, beholds the heart
    of her race than each man, with bodily vision, sees the heart in his
    heaving breast.  Jane Austen was a complete and most sensible lady,
    but a very incomplete and rather insensible (_not senseless_) woman.
    If this is heresy, I cannot help it.  If I said it to some people
    (Lewes for instance) they would directly accuse me of advocating
    exaggerated heroics, but I am not afraid of your falling into any
    such vulgar error.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_November_ 9_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have read Lord John Russell's letter with very great
    zest and relish, and think him a spirited sensible little man for
    writing it.  He makes no old-womanish outcry of alarm and expresses
    no exaggerated wrath.  One of the best paragraphs is that which
    refers to the Bishop of London and the Puseyites.  Oh! I wish Dr.
    Arnold were yet living, or that a second Dr. Arnold could be found!
    Were there but ten such men amongst the hierarchs of the Church of
    England she might bid defiance to all the scarlet hats and stockings
    in the Pope's gift.  Her sanctuaries would be purified, her rites
    reformed, her withered veins would swell again with vital sap; but it
    is not so.

    'It is well that _truth_ is _indestructible_--that ruin cannot crush
    nor fire annihilate her divine essence.  While forms change and
    institutions perish, "_truth_ is great and shall prevail."

    'I am truly glad to hear that Miss Kavanagh's health is improved.
    You can send her book whenever it is most convenient.  I received
    from Cornhill the other day a periodical containing a portrait of
    Jenny Lind--a sweet, natural, innocent peasant-girl face, curiously
    contrasted with an artificial fine-lady dress.  I _do_ like and
    esteem Jenny's character.  Yet not long since I heard her torn to
    pieces by the tongue of detraction--scarcely a virtue left--twenty
    odious defects imputed.

    'There was likewise a most faithful portrait of R. H. Home, with his
    imaginative forehead and somewhat foolish-looking mouth and chin,
    indicating that mixed character which I should think he owns.  Mr.
    Home writes well.  That tragedy on the _Death of Marlowe_ reminds me
    of some of the best of Dumas' dramatic pieces.--Yours very sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                         '_January_, 1851.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I sent yesterday the _Leader_ newspaper, which you must
    always send to Hunsworth as soon as you have done with it.  I will
    continue to forward it as long as I get it.

    'I am trying a little Hydropathic treatment; I like it, and I think
    it has done me good.  Inclosed is a letter received a few days since.
    I wish you to read it because it gives a very fair notion both of the
    disposition and mind; read, return, and tell me what you think of it.

    'Thackeray has given dreadful trouble by his want of punctuality.
    Mr. Williams says if he had not been helped out with the vigour,
    energy, and method of Mr. Smith, he must have sunk under the day and
    night labour of the last few weeks.

    'Write soon.

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_July_ 21_st_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I delayed answering your very interesting letter until
    the box should have reached me; and now that it is come I can only
    acknowledge its arrival: I cannot say at all what I felt as I
    unpacked its contents.  These Cornhill parcels have something of the
    magic charm of a fairy gift about them, as well as of the less
    poetical but more substantial pleasure of a box from home received at
    school.  You have sent me this time even more books than usual, and
    all good.

    'What shall I say about the twenty numbers of splendid engravings
    laid cozily at the bottom?  The whole Vernon Gallery brought to one's
    fireside!  Indeed, indeed I can say nothing, except that I will take
    care, and keep them clean, and send them back uninjured.--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_November_ 6_th_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have true pleasure in inclosing for your son Frank a
    letter of introduction to Mrs. Gaskell, and earnestly do I trust the
    acquaintance may tend to his good.  To make all sure--for I dislike
    to go on doubtful grounds--I wrote to ask her if she would permit the
    introduction.  Her frank, kind answer pleased me greatly.

    'I have received the books.  I hope to write again when I have read
    _The Fair Carew_.  The very title augurs well--it has no hackneyed
    sound.--Believe me, sincerely yours,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                             'HAWORTH, _May_ 28_th_, 1853.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--The box of books arrived safely yesterday evening, and
    I feel especially obliged for the selection, as it includes several
    that will be acceptable and interesting to my father.

    'I despatch to-day a box of return books.  Among them will be found
    two or three of those just sent, being such as I had read
    before--_i.e._, Moore's _Life and Correspondence_, 1st and 2nd vols.;
    Lamartine's _Restoration of the Monarchy_, etc.  I have thought of
    you more than once during the late bright weather, knowing how genial
    you find warmth and sunshine.  I trust it has brought this season its
    usual cheering and beneficial effect.  Remember me kindly to Mrs.
    Williams and her daughters, and,--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_December_ 6_th_, 1853.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I forwarded last week a box of return books to
    Cornhill, which I trust arrived safely.  To-day I received the
    _Edinburgh Guardian_, {402} for which I thank you.

    'Do not trouble yourself to select or send any more books.  These
    courtesies must cease some day, and I would rather give them up than
    wear them out.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'




CHAPTER XV: WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY


The devotion of Charlotte Bronte to Thackeray, or rather to Thackeray's
genius, is a pleasant episode in literary history.  In 1848 he sent Miss
Bronte, as we have seen, a copy of _Vanity Fair_.  In 1852 he sent her a
copy of _Esmond_, with the more cordial inscription which came of
friendship.

                 [Picture: Second Thackeray Inscription]

The second edition of _Jane Eyre_ was dedicated to him as possessed of
'an intellect profounder and more unique than his contemporaries have yet
recognised,' and as 'the first social regenerator of the day.'  And when
Currer Bell was dead, it was Thackeray who wrote by far the most eloquent
tribute to her memory.  When a copy of Lawrence's portrait of Thackeray
{403} was sent to Haworth by Mr. George Smith, Charlotte Bronte stood in
front of it and, half playfully, half seriously, shook her fist,
apostrophising its original as 'Thou Titan!'

With all this hero-worship, it may be imagined that no favourable
criticism gave her more unqualified pleasure than that which came from
her 'master,' as she was not indisposed to consider one who was only
seven years her senior, and whose best books were practically
contemporaneous with her own.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                         'HAWORTH, _October_ 28_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--Your last letter was very pleasant to me to read, and is
    very cheering to reflect on.  I feel honoured in being approved by
    Mr. Thackeray, because I approve Mr. Thackeray.  This may sound
    presumptuous perhaps, but I mean that I have long recognised in his
    writings genuine talent, such as I admired, such as I wondered at and
    delighted in.  No author seems to distinguish so exquisitely as he
    does dross from ore, the real from the counterfeit.  I believed too
    he had deep and true feelings under his seeming sternness.  Now I am
    sure he has.  One good word from such a man is worth pages of praise
    from ordinary judges.

    'You are right in having faith in the reality of Helen Burns's
    character; she was real enough.  I have exaggerated nothing there.  I
    abstained from recording much that I remember respecting her, lest
    the narrative should sound incredible.  Knowing this, I could not but
    smile at the quiet self-complacent dogmatism with which one of the
    journals lays it down that "such creations as Helen Burns are very
    beautiful but very untrue."

    'The plot of _Jane Eyre_ may be a hackneyed one.  Mr. Thackeray
    remarks that it is familiar to him.  But having read comparatively
    few novels, I never chanced to meet with it, and I thought it
    original.  The work referred to by the critic of the _Athenaeum_, I
    had not had the good fortune to hear of.

    'The _Weekly Chronicle_ seems inclined to identify me with Mrs.
    Marsh.  I never had the pleasure of perusing a line of Mrs. Marsh's
    in my life, but I wish very much to read her works, and shall profit
    by the first opportunity of doing so.  I hope I shall not find I have
    been an unconscious imitator.

    'I would still endeavour to keep my expectations low respecting the
    ultimate success of _Jane Eyre_.  But my desire that it should
    succeed augments, for you have taken much trouble about the work, and
    it would grieve me seriously if your active efforts should be baffled
    and your sanguine hopes disappointed.  Excuse me if I again remark
    that I fear they are rather _too_ sanguine; it would be better to
    moderate them.  What will the critics of the monthly reviews and
    magazines be likely to see in _Jane Eyre_ (if indeed they deign to
    read it), which will win from them even a stinted modicum of
    approbation?  It has no learning, no research, it discusses no
    subject of public interest.  A mere domestic novel will, I fear, seem
    trivial to men of large views and solid attainments.

    'Still, efforts so energetic and indefatigable as yours ought to
    realise a result in some degree favourable, and I trust they will.--I
    remain, dear sir, yours respectfully,

                                                                 'C. BELL.

                                                  '_October_ 28_th_, 1847.

    'I have just received the _Tablet_ and the _Morning Advertiser_.
    Neither paper seems inimical to the book, but I see it produces a
    very different effect on different natures.  I was amused at the
    analysis in the _Tablet_, it is oddly expressed in some parts.  I
    think the critic did not always seize my meaning; he speaks, for
    instance, of "Jane's inconceivable alarm at Mr. Rochester's repelling
    manner."  I do not remember that.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                 '_December_ 11_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I have delayed writing to you in the hope that the parcel
    you sent would reach me; but after making due inquiries at the
    Keighley, Bradford, and Leeds Stations and obtaining no news of it, I
    must conclude that it has been lost.

    'However, I have contrived to get a sight of _Fraser's Magazine_ from
    another quarter, so that I have only to regret Mr. Home's kind
    present.  Will you thank that gentleman for me when you see him, and
    tell him that the railroad is to blame for my not having acknowledged
    his courtesy before?

    'Mr. Lewes is very lenient: I anticipated a degree of severity which
    he has spared me.  This notice differs from all the other notices.
    He must be a man of no ordinary mind: there is a strange sagacity
    evinced in some of his remarks; yet he is not always right.  I am
    afraid if he knew how much I write from intuition, how little from
    actual knowledge, he would think me presumptuous ever to have written
    at all.  I am sure such would be his opinion if he knew the narrow
    bounds of my attainments, the limited scope of my reading.

    'There are moments when I can hardly credit that anything I have done
    should be found worthy to give even transitory pleasure to such men
    as Mr. Thackeray, Sir John Herschel, Mr. Fonblanque, Leigh Hunt, and
    Mr. Lewes--that my humble efforts should have had such a result is a
    noble reward.

    'I was glad and proud to get the bank bill Mr. Smith sent me
    yesterday, but I hardly ever felt delight equal to that which cheered
    me when I received your letter containing an extract from a note by
    Mr. Thackeray, in which he expressed himself gratified with the
    perusal of _Jane Eyre_.  Mr. Thackeray is a keen ruthless satirist.
    I had never perused his writings but with blended feelings of
    admiration and indignation.  Critics, it appears to me, do not know
    what an intellectual boa-constrictor he is.  They call him
    "humorous," "brilliant"--his is a most scalping humour, a most deadly
    brilliancy: he does not play with his prey, he coils round it and
    crushes it in his rings.  He seems terribly in earnest in his war
    against the falsehood and follies of "the world."  I often wonder
    what that "world" thinks of him.  I should think the faults of such a
    man would be distrust of anything good in human nature--galling
    suspicion of bad motives lurking behind good actions.  Are these his
    failings?

    'They are, at any rate, the failings of his written sentiments, for
    he cannot find in his heart to represent either man or woman as at
    once good and wise.  Does he not too much confound benevolence with
    weakness and wisdom with mere craft?

    'But I must not intrude on your time by too long a letter.--Believe
    me, yours respectfully,

                                                                 'C. BELL.

    'I have received the _Sheffield Iris_, the _Bradford Observer_, the
    _Guardian_, the _Newcastle Guardian_, and the _Sunday Times_ since
    you wrote.  The contrast between the notices in the two last named
    papers made me smile.  The _Sunday Times_ almost denounces _Jane
    Eyre_ as something very reprehensible and obnoxious, whereas the
    _Newcastle Guardian_ seems to think it a mild potion which may be
    "safely administered to the most delicate invalid."  I suppose the
    public must decide when critics disagree.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                        'HAWORTH, _December_ 23_rd_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I am glad that you and Messrs. Smith & Elder approve the
    second preface.

    'I send an errata of the first volume, and part of the second.  I
    will send the rest of the corrections as soon as possible.

    'Will the inclosed dedication suffice?  I have made it brief, because
    I wished to avoid any appearance of pomposity or pretension.

    'The notice in the _Church of England Journal_ gratified me much, and
    chiefly because it _was_ the _Church of England Journal_.  Whatever
    such critics as he of the _Mirror_ may say, I love the Church of
    England.  Her ministers, indeed, I do not regard as infallible
    personages, I have seen too much of them for that, but to the
    Establishment, with all her faults--the profane Athanasian creed
    _ex_cluded--I am sincerely attached.

    'Is the forthcoming critique on Mr. Thackeray's writings in the
    _Edinburgh Review_ written by Mr. Lewes?  I hope it is.  Mr. Lewes,
    with his penetrating sagacity and fine acumen, ought to be able to do
    the author of _Vanity Fair_ justice.  Only he must not bring him down
    to the level of Fielding--he is far, far above Fielding.  It appears
    to me that Fielding's style is arid, and his views of life and human
    nature coarse, compared with Thackeray's.

    'With many thanks for your kind wishes, and a cordial reciprocation
    of them,--I remain, dear sir, yours respectfully,

                                                                 'C. BELL.

    'On glancing over this scrawl, I find it so illegibly written that I
    fear you will hardly be able to decipher it; but the cold is partly
    to blame for this--my fingers are numb.'

The dedication here referred to is that to Thackeray.  People had been
already suggesting that the book might have been written by Thackeray
under a pseudonym; others had implied, knowing that there was 'something
about a woman' in Thackeray's life, that it was written by a mistress of
the great novelist.  Indeed, the _Quarterly_ had half hinted as much.
Currer Bell, knowing nothing of the gossip of London, had dedicated her
book in single-minded enthusiasm.  Her distress was keen when it was
revealed to her that the wife of Mr. Thackeray, like the wife of
Rochester in _Jane Eyre_, was of unsound mind.  However, a correspondence
with him would seem to have ended amicably enough. {408}

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 28_th_, 1848.

    'DEAR SIR,--I need not tell you that when I saw Mr. Thackeray's
    letter inclosed under your cover, the sight made me very happy.  It
    was some time before I dared open it, lest my pleasure in receiving
    it should be mixed with pain on learning its contents--lest, in
    short, the dedication should have been, in some way, unacceptable to
    him.

    'And, to tell you the truth, I fear this must have been the case; he
    does not say so, his letter is most friendly in its noble simplicity,
    but he apprises me, at the commencement, of a circumstance which both
    surprised and dismayed me.

    'I suppose it is no indiscretion to tell you this circumstance, for
    you doubtless know it already.  It appears that his private position
    is in some points similar to that I have ascribed to Mr. Rochester;
    that thence arose a report that _Jane Eyre_ had been written by a
    governess in his family, and that the dedication coming now has
    confirmed everybody in the surmise.

    'Well may it be said that fact is often stranger than fiction!  The
    coincidence struck me as equally unfortunate and extraordinary.  Of
    course I knew nothing whatever of Mr. Thackeray's domestic concerns,
    he existed for me only as an author.  Of all regarding his
    personality, station, connections, private history, I was, and am
    still in a great measure, totally in the dark; but I am _very very_
    sorry that my inadvertent blunder should have made his name and
    affairs a subject for common gossip.

    'The very fact of his not complaining at all and addressing me with
    such kindness, notwithstanding the pain and annoyance I must have
    caused him, increases my chagrin.  I could not half express my regret
    to him in my answer, for I was restrained by the consciousness that
    that regret was just worth nothing at all--quite valueless for
    healing the mischief I had done.

    'Can you tell me anything more on this subject? or can you guess in
    what degree the unlucky coincidence would affect him--whether it
    would pain him much and deeply; for he says so little himself on the
    topic, I am at a loss to divine the exact truth--but I fear.

    'Do not think, my dear sir, from my silence respecting the advice you
    have, at different times, given me for my future literary guidance,
    that I am heedless of, or indifferent to, your kindness.  I keep your
    letters and not unfrequently refer to them.  Circumstances may render
    it impracticable for me to act up to the letter of what you counsel,
    but I think I comprehend the spirit of your precepts, and trust I
    shall be able to profit thereby.  Details, situations which I do not
    understand and cannot personally inspect, I would not for the world
    meddle with, lest I should make even a more ridiculous mess of the
    matter than Mrs. Trollope did in her _Factory Boy_.  Besides, not one
    feeling on any subject, public or private, will I ever affect that I
    do not really experience.  Yet though I must limit my sympathies;
    though my observation cannot penetrate where the very deepest
    political and social truths are to be learnt; though many doors of
    knowledge which are open for you are for ever shut for me; though I
    must guess and calculate and grope my way in the dark, and come to
    uncertain conclusions unaided and alone where such writers as Dickens
    and Thackeray, having access to the shrine and image of Truth, have
    only to go into the temple, lift the veil a moment, and come out and
    say what they have seen--yet with every disadvantage, I mean still,
    in my own contracted way, to do my best.  Imperfect my best will be,
    and poor, and compared with the works of the true masters--of that
    greatest modern master Thackeray in especial (for it is him I at
    heart reverence with all my strength)--it will be trifling, but I
    trust not affected or counterfeit.--Believe me, my dear sir, yours
    with regard and respect,

                                                            'CURRER BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_March_ 29_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--The notice from the _Church of England Quarterly
    Review_ is not on the whole a bad one.  True, it condemns the
    tendency of _Jane Eyre_, and seems to think Mr. Rochester should have
    been represented as going through the mystic process of
    "regeneration" before any respectable person could have consented to
    believe his contrition for his past errors sincere; true, also, that
    it casts a doubt on Jane's creed, and leaves it doubtful whether she
    was Hindoo, Mahommedan, or infidel.  But notwithstanding these
    eccentricities, it is a conscientious notice, very unlike that in the
    _Mirror_, for instance, which seemed the result of a feeble sort of
    spite, whereas this is the critic's real opinion: some of the ethical
    and theological notions are not according to his system, and he
    disapproves of them.

    'I am glad to hear that Mr. Lewes's new work is soon to appear, and
    pleased also to learn that Messrs. Smith & Elder are the publishers.
    Mr. Lewes mentioned in the last note I received from him that he had
    just finished writing his new novel, and I have been on the look out
    for the advertisement of its appearance ever since.  I shall long to
    read it, if it were only to get a further insight into the author's
    character.  I read _Ranthorpe_ with lively interest--there was much
    true talent in its pages.  Two thirds of it I thought excellent, the
    latter part seemed more hastily and sketchily written.

    'I trust Miss Kavanagh's work will meet with the success that, from
    your account, I am certain she and it deserve.  I think I have met
    with an outline of the facts on which her tale is founded in some
    periodical, _Chambers' Journal_ I believe.  No critic, however rigid,
    will find fault with "the tendency" of her work, I should think.

    'I will tell you why you cannot fully sympathise with the French, or
    feel any firm confidence in their future movements: because too few
    of them are Lamartines, too many Ledru Rollins.  That, at least, is
    my reason for watching their proceedings with more dread than hope.
    With the Germans it is different: to their rational and justifiable
    efforts for liberty one can heartily wish well.

    'It seems, as you say, as if change drew near England too.  She is
    divided by the sea from the lands where it is making thrones rock,
    but earthquakes roll lower than the ocean, and we know neither the
    day nor the hour when the tremor and heat, passing beneath our
    island, may unsettle and dissolve its foundations.  Meantime, one
    thing is certain, all will in the end work together for good.

    'You mention Thackeray and the last number of _Vanity Fair_.  The
    more I read Thackeray's works the more certain I am that he stands
    alone--alone in his sagacity, alone in his truth, alone in his
    feeling (his feeling, though he makes no noise about it, is about the
    most genuine that ever lived on a printed page), alone in his power,
    alone in his simplicity, alone in his self-control.  Thackeray is a
    Titan, so strong that he can afford to perform with calm the most
    herculean feats; there is the charm and majesty of repose in his
    greatest efforts; _he_ borrows nothing from fever, his is never the
    energy of delirium--his energy is sane energy, deliberate energy,
    thoughtful energy.  The last number of _Vanity Fair_ proves this
    peculiarly.  Forcible, exciting in its force, still more impressive
    than exciting, carrying on the interest of the narrative in a flow,
    deep, full, resistless, it is still quiet--as quiet as reflection, as
    quiet as memory; and to me there are parts of it that sound as solemn
    as an oracle.  Thackeray is never borne away by his own ardour--he
    has it under control.  His genius obeys him--it is his servant, it
    works no fantastic changes at its own wild will, it must still
    achieve the task which reason and sense assign it, and none other.
    Thackeray is unique.  I _can_ say no more, I _will_ say no
    less.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_March_ 2_nd_, 1849.

    'Your generous indignation against the _Quarterly_ touched me.  But
    do not trouble yourself to be angry on Currer Bell's account; except
    where the May-Fair gossip and Mr. Thackeray's name were brought in he
    was never stung at all, but he certainly thought that passage and one
    or two others quite unwarrantable.  However, slander without a germ
    of truth is seldom injurious: it resembles a rootless plant and must
    soon wither away.

    'The critic would certainly be a little ashamed of herself if she
    knew what foolish blunders she had committed, if she were aware how
    completely Mr. Thackeray and Currer Bell are strangers to each other,
    that _Jane Eyre_ was written before the author had seen one line of
    _Vanity Fair_, or that if C. Bell had known that there existed in Mr.
    Thackeray's private circumstances the shadow of a reason for fancying
    personal allusion, so far from dedicating the book to that gentleman,
    he would have regarded such a step as ill-judged, insolent, and
    indefensible, and would have shunned it accordingly.--Believe me, my
    dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_August_ 14_th_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--My sister Anne thanks you, as well as myself, for your
    just critique on _Wildfell Hall_.  It appears to me that your
    observations exactly hit both the strong and weak points of the book,
    and the advice which accompanies them is worthy of, and shall
    receive, our most careful attention.

    'The first duty of an author is, I conceive, a faithful allegiance to
    Truth and Nature; his second, such a conscientious study of Art as
    shall enable him to interpret eloquently and effectively the oracles
    delivered by those two great deities.  The Bells are very sincere in
    their worship of Truth, and they hope to apply themselves to the
    consideration of Art, so as to attain one day the power of speaking
    the language of conviction in the accents of persuasion; though they
    rather apprehend that whatever pains they take to modify and soften,
    an abrupt word or vehement tone will now and then occur to startle
    ears polite, whenever the subject shall chance to be such as moves
    their spirits within them.

    'I have already told you, I believe, that I regard Mr. Thackeray as
    the first of modern masters, and as the legitimate high priest of
    Truth; I study him accordingly with reverence.  He, I see, keeps the
    mermaid's tail below water, and only hints at the dead men's bones
    and noxious slime amidst which it wriggles; _but_, his hint is more
    vivid than other men's elaborate explanations, and never is his
    satire whetted to so keen an edge as when with quiet mocking irony he
    modestly recommends to the approbation of the public his own
    exemplary discretion and forbearance.  The world begins to know
    Thackeray rather better than it did two years or even a year ago, but
    as yet it only half knows him.  His mind seems to me a fabric as
    simple and unpretending as it is deep-founded and enduring--there is
    no meretricious ornament to attract or fix a superficial glance; his
    great distinction of the genuine is one that can only be fully
    appreciated with time.  There is something, a sort of "still
    profound," revealed in the concluding part of _Vanity Fair_ which the
    discernment of one generation will not suffice to fathom.  A hundred
    years hence, if he only lives to do justice to himself, he will be
    better known than he is now.  A hundred years hence, some thoughtful
    critic, standing and looking down on the deep waters, will see
    shining through them the pearl without price of a purely original
    mind--such a mind as the Bulwers, etc., his contemporaries have
    _not_,--not acquirements gained from study, but the thing that came
    into the world with him--his inherent genius: the thing that made
    him, I doubt not, different as a child from other children, that
    caused him, perhaps, peculiar griefs and struggles in life, and that
    now makes him as a writer unlike other writers.  Excuse me for
    recurring to this theme, I do not wish to bore you.

    'You say Mr. Huntingdon reminds you of Mr. Rochester.  Does he?  Yet
    there is no likeness between the two; the foundation of each
    character is entirely different.  Huntingdon is a specimen of the
    naturally selfish, sensual, superficial man, whose one merit of a
    joyous temperament only avails him while he is young and healthy,
    whose best days are his earliest, who never profits by experience,
    who is sure to grow worse the older he grows.  Mr. Rochester has a
    thoughtful nature and a very feeling heart; he is neither selfish nor
    self-indulgent; he is ill-educated, misguided; errs, when he does
    err, through rashness and inexperience: he lives for a time as too
    many other men live, but being radically better than most men, he
    does not like that degraded life, and is never happy in it.  He is
    taught the severe lessons of experience and has sense to learn wisdom
    from them.  Years improve him; the effervescence of youth foamed
    away, what is really good in him still remains.  His nature is like
    wine of a good vintage: time cannot sour, but only mellows him.  Such
    at least was the character I meant to pourtray.

    'Heathcliffe, again, of _Wuthering Heights_ is quite another
    creation.  He exemplifies the effects which a life of continued
    injustice and hard usage may produce on a naturally perverse,
    vindictive, and inexorable disposition.  Carefully trained and kindly
    treated, the black gipsy-cub might possibly have been reared into a
    human being, but tyranny and ignorance made of him a mere demon.  The
    worst of it is, some of his spirit seems breathed through the whole
    narrative in which he figures: it haunts every moor and glen, and
    beckons in every fir-tree of the Heights.

    'I must not forget to thank you for the _Examiner_ and _Atlas_
    newspapers.  Poor Mr. Newby!  It is not enough that the _Examiner_
    nails him by both ears to the pillory, but the _Atlas_ brands a token
    of disgrace on his forehead.  This is a deplorable plight, and he
    makes all matters worse by his foolish little answers to his
    assailants.  It is a pity that he has no kind friend to suggest to
    him that he had better not bandy words with the _Examiner_.  His plea
    about the "printer" was too ludicrous, and his second note is
    pitiable.  I only regret that the names of Ellis and Acton Bell
    should perforce be mixed up with his proceedings.  My sister Anne
    wishes me to say that should she ever write another work, Mr. Smith
    will certainly have the first offer of the copyright.

    'I hope Mrs. Williams's health is more satisfactory than when you
    last wrote.  With every good wish to yourself and your
    family,--Believe me, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_October_ 19_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am again at home; and after the first sensations
    consequent on returning to a place more dumb and vacant than it once
    was, I am beginning to feel settled.  I think the contrast with
    London does not make Haworth more desolate; on the contrary, I have
    gleaned ideas, images, pleasant feelings, such as may perhaps cheer
    many a long winter evening.

    'You ask my opinion of your daughters.  I wish I could give you one
    worth acceptance.  A single evening's acquaintance does not suffice
    with me to form an _opinion_, it only leaves on my mind an
    _impression_.  They impressed me, then, as pleasing in manners and
    appearance: Ellen's is a character to which I could soon attach
    myself, and Fanny and Louisa have each their separate advantages.  I
    can, however, read more in a face like Mrs. Williams's than in the
    smooth young features of her daughters--time, trial, and exertion
    write a distinct hand, more legible than smile or dimple.  I was told
    you had once some thoughts of bringing out Fanny as a professional
    singer, and it was added Fanny did not like the project.  I thought
    to myself, if she does not like it, it can never be successfully
    executed.  It seems to me that to achieve triumph in a career so
    arduous, the artist's own bent to the course must be inborn, decided,
    resistless.  There should be no urging, no goading; native genius and
    vigorous will should lend their wings to the aspirant--nothing less
    can lift her to real fame, and who would rise feebly only to fall
    ignobly?  An inferior artist, I am sure, you would not wish your
    daughter to be, and if she is to stand in the foremost rank, only her
    own courage and resolve can place her there; so, at least, the case
    appears to me.  Fanny probably looks on publicity as degrading, and I
    believe that for a woman it is degrading if it is not glorious.  If I
    could not be a Lind, I would not be a singer.

    'Brief as my visit to London was, it must for me be memorable.  I
    sometimes fancied myself in a dream--I could scarcely credit the
    reality of what passed.  For instance, when I walked into the room
    and put my hand into Miss Martineau's, the action of saluting her and
    the fact of her presence seemed visionary.  Again, when Mr. Thackeray
    was announced, and I saw him enter, looked up at his tall figure,
    heard his voice, the whole incident was truly dream-like, I was only
    certain it was true because I became miserably destitute of
    self-possession.  Amour propre suffers terribly under such
    circumstances: woe to him that thinks of himself in the presence of
    intellectual greatness!  Had I not been obliged to speak, I could
    have managed well, but it behoved me to answer when addressed, and
    the effort was torture--I spoke stupidly.

    'As to the band of critics, I cannot say they overawed me much; I
    enjoyed the spectacle of them greatly.  The two contrasts, Forster
    and Chorley, have each a certain edifying carriage and conversation
    good to contemplate.  I by no means dislike Mr. Forster--quite the
    contrary, but the distance from his loud swagger to Thackeray's
    simple port is as the distance from Shakespeare's writing to
    Macready's acting.

    'Mr. Chorley tantalised me.  He is a peculiar specimen--one whom you
    could set yourself to examine, uncertain whether, when you had probed
    all the small recesses of his character, the result would be utter
    contempt and aversion, or whether for the sake of latent good you
    would forgive obvious evil.  One could well pardon his unpleasant
    features, his strange voice, even his very foppery and grimace, if
    one found these disadvantages connected with living talent and any
    spark of genuine goodness.  If there is nothing more than
    acquirement, smartness, and the affectation of philanthropy, Chorley
    is a fine creature.

    'Remember me kindly to your wife and daughters, and--Believe me,
    yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _December_ 19_th_, 1849.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Here I am at Haworth once more.  I feel as if I had
    come out of an exciting whirl.  Not that the hurry or stimulus would
    have seemed much to one accustomed to society and change, but to me
    they were very marked.  My strength and spirits too often proved
    quite insufficient for the demand on their exertions.  I used to bear
    up as well and as long as I possibly could, for, whenever I flagged,
    I could see Mr. Smith became disturbed; he always thought that
    something had been said or done to annoy me, which never once
    happened, for I met with perfect good breeding even from
    antagonists--men who had done their best or worst to write me down.
    I explained to him, over and over again, that my occasional silence
    was only failure of the power to talk, never of the will, but still
    he always seemed to fear there was another cause underneath.

    'Mrs. Smith is rather stern, but she has sense and discrimination;
    she watched me very narrowly.  When surrounded by gentlemen she never
    took her eye from me.  I liked the surveillance, both when it kept
    guard over me amongst many, or only with her cherished one.  She
    soon, I am convinced, saw in what light I received all, Thackeray
    included.  Her "George" is a very fine specimen of a young English
    man of business; so I regard him, and I am proud to be one of his
    props.

    'Thackeray is a Titan of mind.  His presence and powers impress me
    deeply in an intellectual sense; I do not see him or know him as a
    man.  All the others are subordinate to these.  I have esteem for
    some, and, I trust, courtesy for all.  I do not, of course, know what
    they thought of me, but I believe most of them expected me to come
    out in a more marked eccentric, striking light.  I believe they
    desired more to admire and more to blame.  I felt sufficiently at my
    ease with all except Thackeray, and with him I was painfully stupid.

    'Now, dear Nell, when can you come to Haworth?  Settle, and let me
    know as soon as you can.  Give my best love to all.--Yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_January_ 10_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Mrs. Ellis has made her "morning call."  I rather
    relished her chat about _Shirley_ and _Jane Eyre_.  She praises
    reluctantly and blames too often affectedly.  But whenever a reviewer
    betrays that he has been thoroughly influenced and stirred by the
    work he criticises, it is easy to forgive the rest--hate and
    personality excepted.

    'I have received and perused the _Edinburgh Review_--it is very
    brutal and savage.  I am not angry with Lewes, but I wish in future
    he would let me alone, and not write again what makes me feel so cold
    and sick as I am feeling just now.

    'Thackeray's Christmas Book at once grieved and pleased me, as most
    of his writings do.  I have come to the conclusion that whenever he
    writes, Mephistopheles stands on his right hand and Raphael on his
    left; the great doubter and sneerer usually guides the pen, the
    Angel, noble and gentle, interlines letters of light here and there.
    Alas! Thackeray, I wish your strong wings would lift you oftener
    above the smoke of cities into the pure region nearer heaven!

    'Good-bye for the present.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 25_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Your indisposition was, I have no doubt, in a great
    measure owing to the change in the weather from frost to thaw.  I had
    one sick-headachy day; but, for me, only a slight attack.  You must
    be careful of cold.  I have just written to Amelia a brief note
    thanking her for the cuffs, etc.  It was a burning shame I did not
    write sooner.  Herewith are inclosed three letters for your perusal,
    the first from Mary Taylor.  There is also one from Lewes and one
    from Sir J. K. Shuttleworth, both which peruse and return.  I have
    also, since you went, had a remarkable epistle from Thackeray, long,
    interesting, characteristic, but it unfortunately concludes with the
    strict injunction, _show this letter to no one_, adding that if he
    thought his letters were seen by others, he should either cease to
    write or write only what was conventional; but for this circumstance
    I should have sent it with the others.  I answered it at length.
    Whether my reply will give satisfaction or displeasure remains yet to
    be ascertained.  Thackeray's feelings are not such as can be gauged
    by ordinary calculation: variable weather is what I should ever
    expect from that quarter, yet in correspondence as in verbal
    intercourse, this would torment me.--Yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                        '76 GLOUCESTER TERRACE, HYDE PARK,
                                              'LONDON, _Thursday Morning_.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I write one hasty line just to tell you that I got here
    quite safely at ten o'clock last night without any damage or smash in
    tunnels or cuttings.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith met me at the station and
    gave me a kind and cordial welcome.  The weather was beautiful the
    whole way, and warm; it is the same to-day.  I have not yet been out,
    but this afternoon, if all be well, I shall go to Mr. Thackeray's
    lecture.  I don't know when I shall see the Exhibition, but when I
    do, I shall write and tell you all about it.  I hope you are well,
    and will continue well and cheerful.  Give my kind regards to Tabby
    and Martha, and--Believe me, your affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

It cannot be said that Charlotte Bronte and Thackeray gained by personal
contact.  'With him I was painfully stupid,' she says.  It was the case
of Heine and Goethe over again.  Heine in the presence of the king of
German literature could talk only of the plums in the garden.  Charlotte
Bronte in the presence of her hero Thackeray could not express herself
with the vigour and intelligence which belonged to her correspondence
with Mr. Williams.  Miss Bronte, again, was hyper-critical of the smaller
vanities of men, and, as has been pointed out, she emphasised in
_Villette_ a trivial piece of not unpleasant egotism on Thackeray's part
after a lecture--his asking her if she had liked it.  This question,
which nine men out of ten would be prone to ask of a woman friend, was
'over-eagerness' and '_naivete_' in her eyes.  Thackeray, on his side,
found conversation difficult, if we may judge by a reminiscence by his
daughter Mrs. Ritchie:--

    'One of the most notable persons who ever came into our bow-windowed
    drawing-room in Young Street is a guest never to be forgotten by
    me--a tiny, delicate, little person, whose small hand nevertheless
    grasped a mighty lever which set all the literary world of that day
    vibrating.  I can still see the scene quite plainly--the hot summer
    evening, the open windows, the carriage driving to the door as we all
    sat silent and expectant; my father, who rarely waited, waiting with
    us; our governess and my sister and I all in a row, and prepared for
    the great event.  We saw the carriage stop, and out of it sprang the
    active well-knit figure of Mr. George Smith, who was bringing Miss
    Bronte to see our father.  My father, who had been walking up and
    down the room, goes out into the hall to meet his guests, and then,
    after a moment's delay, the door opens wide, and the two gentlemen
    come in, leading a tiny, delicate, serious, little lady, pale, with
    fair straight hair, and steady eyes.  She may be a little over
    thirty; she is dressed in a little _barege_ dress, with a pattern of
    faint green moss.  She enters in mittens, in silence, in seriousness;
    our hearts are beating with wild excitement.  This, then, is the
    authoress, the unknown power whose books have set all London talking,
    reading, speculating; some people even say our father wrote the
    books--the wonderful books.  To say that we little girls had been
    given _Jane Eyre_ to read scarcely represents the facts of the case;
    to say that we had taken it without leave, read bits here and read
    bits there, been carried away by an undreamed-of and hitherto
    unimagined whirlwind into things, times, places, all utterly
    absorbing, and at the same time absolutely unintelligible to us,
    would more accurately describe our state of mind on that summer's
    evening as we look at Jane Eyre--the great Jane Eyre--the tiny little
    lady.  The moment is so breathless that dinner comes as a relief to
    the solemnity of the occasion, and we all smile as my father stoops
    to offer his arm; for, though genius she may be, Miss Bronte can
    barely reach his elbow.  My own personal impressions are that she is
    somewhat grave and stern, especially to forward little girls who wish
    to chatter.  Mr. George Smith has since told me how she afterwards
    remarked upon my father's wonderful forbearance and gentleness with
    our uncalled-for incursions into the conversation.  She sat gazing at
    him with kindling eyes of interest, lighting up with a sort of
    illumination every now and then as she answered him.  I can see her
    bending forward over the table, not eating, but listening to what he
    said as he carved the dish before him.

    'I think it must have been on this very occasion that my father
    invited some of his friends in the evening to meet Miss Bronte--for
    everybody was interested and anxious to see her.  Mrs. Crowe, the
    reciter of ghost-stories, was there.  Mrs. Brookfield, Mrs. Carlyle,
    Mr. Carlyle himself was present, so I am told, railing at the
    appearance of cockneys upon Scotch mountain sides; there were also
    too many Americans for his taste, "but the Americans were as gods
    compared to the cockneys," says the philosopher.  Besides the
    Carlyles, there were Mrs. Elliott and Miss Perry, Mrs. Procter and
    her daughter, most of my father's habitual friends and companions.
    In the recent life of Lord Houghton I was amused to see a note quoted
    in which Lord Houghton also was convened.  Would that he had been
    present--perhaps the party would have gone off better.  It was a
    gloomy and a silent evening.  Every one waited for the brilliant
    conversation which never began at all.  Miss Bronte retired to the
    sofa in the study, and murmured a low word now and then to our kind
    governess, Miss Truelock.  The room looked very dark, the lamp began
    to smoke a little, the conversation grew dimmer and more dim, the
    ladies sat round still expectant, my father was too much perturbed by
    the gloom and the silence to be able to cope with it at all.  Mrs.
    Brookfield, who was in the doorway by the study, near the corner in
    which Miss Bronte was sitting, leant forward with a little
    commonplace, since brilliance was not to be the order of the evening.
    "Do you like London, Miss Bronte?" she said; another silence, a
    pause, then Miss Bronte answers, "Yes and No," very gravely.  Mrs.
    Brookfield has herself reported the conversation.  My sister and I
    were much too young to be bored in those days; alarmed, impressed we
    might be, but not yet bored.  A party was a party, a lioness was a
    lioness; and--shall I confess it?--at that time an extra dish of
    biscuits was enough to mark the evening.  We felt all the importance
    of the occasion: tea spread in the dining-room, ladies in the
    drawing-room.  We roamed about inconveniently, no doubt, and
    excitedly, and in one of my incursions crossing the hall, after Miss
    Bronte had left, I was surprised to see my father opening the front
    door with his hat on.  He put his fingers to his lips, walked out
    into the darkness, and shut the door quietly behind him.  When I went
    back to the drawing-room again, the ladies asked me where he was.  I
    vaguely answered that I thought he was coming back.  I was puzzled at
    the time, nor was it all made clear to me till long years afterwards,
    when one day Mrs. Procter asked me if I knew what had happened once
    when my father had invited a party to meet Jane Eyre at his house.
    It was one of the dullest evenings she had ever spent in her life,
    she said.  And then with a good deal of humour she described the
    situation--the ladies who had all come expecting so much delightful
    conversation, and the gloom and the constraint, and how, finally,
    overwhelmed by the situation, my father had quietly left the room,
    left the house, and gone off to his club.  The ladies waited,
    wondered, and finally departed also; and as we were going up to bed
    with our candles after everybody was gone, I remember two pretty Miss
    L---s, in shiny silk dresses, arriving, full of expectation. . . . We
    still said we thought our father would soon be back, but the Miss
    L---s declined to wait upon the chance, laughed, and drove away again
    almost immediately.' {423}

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                                      '_May_ 28_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I must write another line to you to tell you how I am
    getting on.  I have seen a great many things since I left home about
    which I hope to talk to you at future tea-times at home.  I have been
    to the theatre and seen Macready in Macbeth.  I have seen the
    pictures in the National Gallery.  I have seen a beautiful exhibition
    of Turner's paintings, and yesterday I saw Mr. Thackeray.  He dined
    here with some other gentlemen.  He is a very tall man--above six
    feet high, with a peculiar face--not handsome, very ugly indeed,
    generally somewhat stern and satirical in expression, but capable
    also of a kind look.  He was not told who I was, he was not
    introduced to me, but I soon saw him looking at me through his
    spectacles; and when we all rose to go down to dinner he just stepped
    quietly up and said, "Shake hands"; so I shook hands.  He spoke very
    few words to me, but when he went away he shook hands again in a very
    kind way.  It is better, I should think, to have him for a friend
    than an enemy, for he is a most formidable-looking personage.  I
    listened to him as he conversed with the other gentlemen.  All he
    says is most simple, but often cynical, harsh, and contradictory.  I
    get on quietly.  Most people know me I think, but they are far too
    well bred to show that they know me, so that there is none of that
    bustle or that sense of publicity I dislike.

    'I hope you continue pretty well; be sure to take care of yourself.
    The weather here is exceedingly changeful, and often damp and misty,
    so that it is necessary to guard against taking cold.  I do not mean
    to stay in London above a week longer, but I shall write again two or
    three days before I return.  You need not give yourself the trouble
    of answering this letter unless you have something particular to say.
    Remember me to Tabby and Martha.--I remain, dear papa, your
    affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                                   '76 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                   'HYDE PARK, LONDON, _May_ 30_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I have now heard one of Mr. Thackeray's lectures and
    seen the great Exhibition.  On Thursday afternoon I went to hear the
    lecture.  It was delivered in a large and splendid kind of
    saloon--that in which the great balls of Almacks are given.  The
    walls were all painted and gilded, the benches were sofas stuffed and
    cushioned and covered with blue damask.  The audience was composed of
    the _elite_ of London society.  Duchesses were there by the score,
    and amongst them the great and beautiful Duchess of Sutherland, the
    Queen's Mistress of the Robes.  Amidst all this Thackeray just got up
    and spoke with as much simplicity and ease as if he had been speaking
    to a few friends by his own fireside.  The lecture was truly good: he
    has taken pains with the composition.  It was finished without being
    in the least studied; a quiet humour and graphic force enlivened it
    throughout.  He saw me as I entered the room, and came straight up
    and spoke very kindly.  He then took me to his mother, a fine,
    handsome old lady, and introduced me to her.  After the lecture
    somebody came behind me, leaned over the bench, and said, "Will you
    permit me, as a Yorkshireman, to introduce myself to you?"  I turned
    round, was puzzled at first by the strange face I met, but in a
    minute I recognised the features.  "You are the Earl of Carlisle," I
    said.  He smiled and assented.  He went on to talk for some time in a
    courteous, kind fashion.  He asked after you, recalled the platform
    electioneering scene at Haworth, and begged to be remembered to you.
    Dr. Forbes came up afterwards, and Mr. Monckton Milnes, a Yorkshire
    Member of Parliament, who introduced himself on the same plea as Lord
    Carlisle.

    'Yesterday we went to the Crystal Palace.  The exterior has a strange
    and elegant but somewhat unsubstantial effect.  The interior is like
    a mighty Vanity Fair.  The brightest colours blaze on all sides; and
    ware of all kinds, from diamonds to spinning jennies and printing
    presses, are there to be seen.  It was very fine, gorgeous, animated,
    bewildering, but I liked Thackeray's lecture better.

    'I hope, dear papa, that you are keeping well.  With kind regards to
    Tabby and Martha, and hopes that they are well too,--I am, your
    affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                                  '112 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                           'HYDE PARK, _June_ 7_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I was very glad to hear that you continued in pretty
    good health, and that Mr. Cartman came to help you on Sunday.  I fear
    you will not have had a very comfortable week in the dining-room; but
    by this time I suppose the parlour reformation will be nearly
    completed, and you will soon be able to return to your old quarters.
    The letter you sent me this morning was from Mary Taylor.  She
    continues well and happy in New Zealand, and her shop seems to answer
    well.  The French newspaper duly arrived.  Yesterday I went for the
    second time to the Crystal Palace.  We remained in it about three
    hours, and I must say I was more struck with it on this occasion than
    at my first visit.  It is a wonderful place--vast, strange, new, and
    impossible to describe.  Its grandeur does not consist in _one_
    thing, but in the unique assemblage of _all_ things.  Whatever human
    industry has created, you find there, from the great compartments
    filled with railway engines and boilers, with mill-machinery in full
    work, with splendid carriages of all kinds, with harness of every
    description--to the glass-covered and velvet-spread stands loaded
    with the most gorgeous work of the goldsmith and silversmith, and the
    carefully guarded caskets full of real diamonds and pearls worth
    hundreds of thousands of pounds.  It may be called a bazaar or a
    fair, but it is such a bazaar or fair as Eastern genii might have
    created.  It seems as if magic only could have gathered this mass of
    wealth from all the ends of the earth--as if none but supernatural
    hands could have arranged it thus, with such a blaze and contrast of
    colours and marvellous power of effect.  The multitude filling the
    great aisles seems ruled and subdued by some invisible influence.
    Amongst the thirty thousand souls that peopled it the day I was
    there, not one loud noise was to be heard, not one irregular movement
    seen--the living tide rolls on quietly, with a deep hum like the sea
    heard from the distance.

    'Mr. Thackeray is in high spirits about the success of his lectures.
    It is likely to add largely both to his fame and purse.  He has,
    however, deferred this week's lecture till next Thursday, at the
    earnest petition of the duchesses and marchionesses, who, on the day
    it should have been delivered, were necessitated to go down with the
    Queen and Court to Ascot Races.  I told him I thought he did wrong to
    put it off on their account--and I think so still.  The amateur
    performance of Bulwer's play for the Guild of Literature has likewise
    been deferred on account of the races.  I hope, dear papa, that you,
    Mr. Nicholls, and all at home continue well.  Tell Martha to take her
    scrubbing and cleaning in moderation and not overwork herself.  With
    kind regards to her and Tabby,--I am, your affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                                  '112 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                          'HYDE PARK, _June_ 14_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR PAPA,--If all be well, and if Martha can get the cleaning,
    etc., done by that time, I think I shall be coming home about the end
    of next week or the beginning of the week after.  I have been pretty
    well in London, only somewhat troubled with headaches, owing, I
    suppose, to the closeness and oppression of the air.  The weather has
    not been so favourable as when I was last here, and in wet and dark
    days this great Babylon is not so cheerful.  All the other sights
    seem to give way to the great Exhibition, into which thousands and
    tens of thousands continue to pour every day.  I was in it again
    yesterday afternoon, and saw the ex-royal family of France--the old
    Queen, the Duchess of Orleans, and her two sons, etc., pass down the
    transept.  I almost wonder the Londoners don't tire a little of this
    vast Vanity Fair--and, indeed, a new toy has somewhat diverted the
    attention of the grandees lately, viz., a fancy ball given last night
    by the Queen.  The great lords and ladies have been quite wrapt up in
    preparations for this momentous event.  Their pet and darling, Mr.
    Thackeray, of course sympathises with them.  He was here yesterday to
    dinner, and left very early in the evening in order that he might
    visit respectively the Duchess of Norfolk, the Marchioness of
    Londonderry, Ladies Chesterfield and Clanricarde, and see them all in
    their fancy costumes of the reign of Charles II. before they set out
    for the Palace!  His lectures, it appears, are a triumphant success.
    He says they will enable him to make a provision for his daughters;
    and Mr. Smith believes he will not get less than four thousand pounds
    by them.  He is going to give two courses, and then go to Edinburgh
    and perhaps America, but _not_ under the auspices of Barnum.  Amongst
    others, the Lord Chancellor attended his last lecture, and Mr.
    Thackeray says he expects a place from him; but in this I think he
    was joking.  Of course Mr. T. is a good deal spoiled by all this, and
    indeed it cannot be otherwise.  He has offered two or three times to
    introduce me to some of his great friends, and says he knows many
    great ladies who would receive me with open arms if I would go to
    their houses; but, seriously, I cannot see that this sort of society
    produces so good an effect on him as to tempt me in the least to try
    the same experiment, so I remain obscure.

    'Hoping you are well, dear papa, and with kind regards to Mr.
    Nicholls, Tabby, and Martha, also poor old Keeper and Flossy,--I am,
    your affectionate daughter,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    '_P.S._--I am glad the parlour is done and that you have got safely
    settled, but am quite shocked to hear of the piano being dragged up
    into the bedroom--there it must necessarily be absurd, and in the
    parlour it looked so well, besides being convenient for your books.
    I wonder why you don't like it.'

There are many pleasant references to Thackeray to be found in Mrs.
Gaskell's book, including a letter to Mr. George Smith, thanking him for
the gift of the novelist's portrait.  'He looks superb in his beautiful,
tasteful, gilded gibbet,' she says.  A few years later, and Thackeray was
to write the eloquent tribute to his admirer, which is familiar to his
readers: 'I fancied an austere little Joan of Arc marching in upon us and
rebuking our easy lives, our easy morals.'  'She gave me,' he tells us,
'the impression of being a very pure, and lofty, and high-minded person.
A great and holy reverence of right and truth seemed to be with her
always.  Who that has known her books has not admired the artist's noble
English, the burning love of truth, the bravery, the simplicity, the
indignation at wrong, the eager sympathy, the pious love and reverence,
the passionate honour, so to speak, of the woman?  What a story is that
of the family of poets in their solitude yonder on the gloomy Yorkshire
moors!'




CHAPTER XVI: LITERARY FRIENDSHIPS


There is a letter, printed by Mrs. Gaskell, from Charlotte Bronte to
Ellen Nussey, in which Miss Bronte, when a girl of seventeen, discusses
the best books to read, and expresses a particular devotion to Sir Walter
Scott.  During those early years she was an indefatigable student of
literature.  She read all that her father's study and the Keighley
library could provide.  When the years brought literary fame and its
accompanying friendships, she was able to hold her own with the many men
and women of letters whom she was destined to meet.  Her staunchest
friend was undoubtedly Mr. Williams, who sent her, as we have seen, all
the newest books from London, and who appears to have discussed them with
her as well.  Next to Mr. Williams we must place his chief at Cornhill,
Mr. George Smith, and Mr. Smith's mother.  Mr. Smith happily still lives
to reign over the famous house which introduced Thackeray, John Ruskin,
and Charlotte Bronte to the world.  What Charlotte thought of him may be
gathered from her frank acknowledgment that he was the original of Dr.
John in _Villette_, as his mother was the original of Mrs.
Bretton--perhaps the two most entirely charming characters in Charlotte
Bronte's novels.  Mrs. Smith and her son lived, at the beginning of the
friendship, at Westbourne Place, but afterwards removed to Gloucester
Terrace, and Charlotte stayed with them at both houses.  It was from the
former that this first letter was addressed.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '4 WESTBOURNE PLACE,
                                                   'BISHOP'S ROAD, LONDON.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have just remembered that as you do not know my
    address you cannot write to me till you get it; it is as above.  I
    came to this big Babylon last Thursday, and have been in what seems
    to me a sort of whirl ever since; for changes, scenes, and stimulus
    which would be a trifle to others, are much to me.  I found when I
    mentioned to Mr. Smith my plan of going to Dr. Wheelwright's it would
    not do at all--he would have been seriously hurt.  He made his mother
    write to me, and thus I was persuaded to make my principal stay at
    his house.  I have found no reason to regret this decision.  Mrs.
    Smith received me at first like one who had received the strictest
    orders to be scrupulously attentive.  I had fires in my bed-room
    evening and morning, wax candles, etc., etc.  Mrs. Smith and her
    daughters seemed to look upon me with a mixture of respect and alarm.
    But all this is changed--that is to say, the attention and politeness
    continues as great as ever, but the alarm and estrangement are quite
    gone.  She treats me as if she liked me, and I begin to like her
    much; kindness is a potent heart-winner.  I had not judged too
    favourably of her son on a first impression; he pleases me much.  I
    like him better even as a son and brother than as a man of business.
    Mr. Williams, too, is really most gentlemanly and well-informed.  His
    weak points he certainly has, but these are not seen in society.  Mr.
    Taylor--the little man--has again shown his parts; in fact, I suspect
    he is of the Helstone order of men--rigid, despotic, and self-willed.
    He tries to be very kind and even to express sympathy sometimes, but
    he does not manage it.  He has a determined, dreadful nose in the
    middle of his face, which, when poked into my countenance, cuts into
    my soul like iron.  Still, he is horribly intelligent, quick,
    searching, sagacious, and with a memory of relentless tenacity.  To
    turn to Mr. Williams after him, or to Mr. Smith himself, is to turn
    from granite to easy down or warm fur.  I have seen Thackeray.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL

                                                  '_November_ 6_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am afraid Mr. Williams told you I was sadly "put
    out" about the _Daily News_, and I believe it is to that circumstance
    I owe your letters.  But I have now made good resolutions, which were
    tried this morning by another notice in the same style in the
    _Observer_.  The praise of such critics mortifies more than their
    blame; an author who becomes the object of it cannot help momentarily
    wishing he had never written.  And to speak of the press being still
    ignorant of my being a woman!  Why can they not be content to take
    Currer Bell for a man?

    'I imagined, mistakenly it now appears, that _Shirley_ bore fewer
    traces of a female hand than _Jane Eyre_; that I have misjudged
    disappoints me a little, though I cannot exactly see where the error
    lies.  You keep to your point about the curates.  Since you think me
    to blame, you do right to tell me so.  I rather fancy I shall be left
    in a minority of one on that subject.

    'I was indeed very much interested in the books you sent.
    Eckermann's _Conversations with Goethe_, _Guesses at Truth_, _Friends
    in Council_, and the little work on English social life pleased me
    particularly, and the last not least.  We sometimes take a partiality
    to books as to characters, not on account of any brilliant intellect
    or striking peculiarity they boast, but for the sake of something
    good, delicate, and genuine.  I thought that small book the
    production of a lady, and an amiable, sensible woman, and I like it.

    'You must not think of selecting any more works for me yet, my stock
    is still far from exhausted.

    'I accept your offer respecting the _Athenaeum_; it is a paper I
    should like much to see, providing you can send it without trouble.
    It shall be punctually returned.

    'Papa's health has, I am thankful to say, been very satisfactory of
    late.  The other day he walked to Keighley and back, and was very
    little fatigued.  I am myself pretty well.

    'With thanks for your kind letter and good wishes,--Believe me, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Mrs. Gaskell has much to say of Miss Bronte's relations with George Henry
Lewes. {432}  He was a critic with whom she had much correspondence and
not a few differences.  It will be remembered that Charlotte describes
him as bearing a resemblance to Emily--a curious circumstance by the
light of the fact that Lewes was always adjudged among his acquaintances
as a peculiarly ugly man.  Here is a portion of a letter upon which Mrs.
Gaskell practised considerable excisions, and of which she prints the
remainder:--

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_June_ 12_th_, 1850.

    'I have seen Lewes.  He is a man with both weakness and sins, but
    unless I err greatly, the foundation of his nature is not bad; and
    were he almost a fiend in character I could not feel otherwise to him
    than half-sadly, half-tenderly.  A queer word that last, but I use it
    because the aspect of Lewes's face almost moves me to tears, it is so
    wonderfully like Emily--her eyes, her features, the very nose, the
    somewhat prominent mouth, the forehead--even, at moments, the
    expression.  Whatever Lewes does or says, I believe I cannot hate
    him.  Another likeness I have seen, too, that touched me sorrowfully.
    You remember my speaking of a Miss Kavanagh, a young authoress, who
    supported her mother by her writings.  Hearing from Mr. Williams that
    she had a longing to see me, I called on her yesterday.  I found a
    little, almost dwarfish figure, to which even I had to look down; not
    deformed--that is, not hunch-backed, but long-armed and with a large
    head, and (at first sight) a strange face.  She met me half-frankly,
    half-tremblingly; we sat down together, and when I had talked with
    her five minutes, her face was no longer strange, but mournfully
    familiar--it was Martha Taylor on every lineament.  I shall try to
    find a moment to see her again.  She lives in a poor but clean and
    neat little lodging.  Her mother seems a somewhat weak-minded woman,
    who can be no companion to her.  Her father has quite deserted his
    wife and child, and this poor little, feeble, intelligent, cordial
    thing wastes her brains to gain a living.  She is twenty-five years
    old.  I do not intend to stay here, at the furthest, more than a week
    longer; but at the end of that time I cannot go home, for the house
    at Haworth is just now unroofed; repairs were become necessary.

    'I should like to go for a week or two to the sea-side, in which case
    I wonder whether it would be possible for you to join me.  Meantime,
    with regards to all--Believe me, yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

But her acquaintance with Lewes had apparently begun three years earlier.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_November_ 6_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I should be obliged to you if you will direct the
    inclosed to be posted in London as I wish to avoid giving any clue to
    my place of residence, publicity not being my ambition.

    'It is an answer to the letter I received yesterday, favoured by you.
    This letter bore the signature G. H. Lewes, and the writer informs me
    that it is his intention to write a critique on _Jane Eyre_ for the
    December number of _Fraser's Magazine_, and possibly also, he
    intimates, a brief notice to the _Westminster Review_.  Upon the
    whole he seems favourably inclined to the work, though he hints
    disapprobation of the melodramatic portions.

    'Can you give me any information respecting Mr. Lewes? what station
    he occupies in the literary world and what works he has written?  He
    styles himself "a fellow novelist."  There is something in the candid
    tone of his letter which inclines me to think well of him.

    'I duly received your letter containing the notices from the
    _Critic_, and the two magazines, and also the _Morning Post_.  I hope
    all these notices will work together for good; they must at any rate
    give the book a certain publicity.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Mr. R. H. Horne {434} sent her his _Orion_.

                                TO R. H. HORNE

                                                 '_December_ 15_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--You will have thought me strangely tardy in acknowledging
    your courteous present, but the fact is it never reached me till
    yesterday; the parcel containing it was missent--consequently it
    lingered a fortnight on its route.

    'I have to thank you, not merely for the gift of a little book of 137
    pages, but for that of a _poem_.  Very real, very sweet is the poetry
    of _Orion_; there are passages I shall recur to again and yet
    again--passages instinct both with power and beauty.  All through it
    is genuine--pure from one flaw of affectation, rich in noble imagery.
    How far the applause of critics has rewarded the author of _Orion_ I
    do not know, but I think the pleasure he enjoyed in its composition
    must have been a bounteous meed in itself.  You could not, I imagine,
    have written that epic without at times deriving deep happiness from
    your work.

    'With sincere thanks for the pleasure its perusal has afforded me,--I
    remain, dear sir, yours faithfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                        'HAWORTH, _December_ 15_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR SIR,--I write a line in haste to apprise you that I have got
    the parcel.  It was sent, through the carelessness of the railroad
    people, to Bingley, where it lay a fortnight, till a Haworth carrier
    happening to pass that way brought it on to me.

    'I was much pleased to find that you had been kind enough to forward
    the _Mirror_ along with _Fraser_.  The article on "the last new
    novel" is in substance similar to the notice in the _Sunday Times_.
    One passage only excited much interest in me; it was that where
    allusion is made to some former work which the author of _Jane Eyre_
    is supposed to have published--there, I own, my curiosity was a
    little stimulated.  The reviewer cannot mean the little book of
    rhymes to which Currer Bell contributed a third; but as that, and
    _Jane Eyre_, and a brief translation of some French verses sent
    anonymously to a magazine, are the sole productions of mine that have
    ever appeared in print, I am puzzled to know to what else he can
    refer.

    'The reviewer is mistaken, as he is in perverting my meaning, in
    attributing to me designs I know not, principles I disown.

    'I have been greatly pleased with Mr. R. H. Horne's poem of _Orion_.
    Will you have the kindness to forward to him the inclosed note, and
    to correct the address if it is not accurate?--Believe me, dear sir,
    yours respectfully,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

The following elaborate criticism of one of Mr. Lewes's now forgotten
novels is almost pathetic; it may give a modern critic pause in his
serious treatment of the abundant literary ephemera of which we hear so
much from day to day.

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                       '_May_ 1_st_, 1848.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am glad you sent me your letter just as you had
    written it--without revisal, without retrenching or softening touch,
    because I cannot doubt that I am a gainer by the omission.

    'It would be useless to attempt opposition to your opinions, since,
    in fact, to read them was to recognise, almost point for point, a
    clear definition of objections I had already felt, but had found
    neither the power nor the will to express.  Not the power, because I
    find it very difficult to analyse closely, or to criticise in
    appropriate words; and not the will, because I was afraid of doing
    Mr. Lewes injustice.  I preferred overrating to underrating the
    merits of his work.

    'Mr. Lewes's sincerity, energy, and talent assuredly command the
    reader's respect, but on what points he depends to win his attachment
    I know not.  I do not think he cares to excite the pleasant feelings
    which incline the taught to the teacher as much in friendship as in
    reverence.  The display of his acquirements, to which almost every
    page bears testimony--citations from Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish,
    French, and German authors covering as with embroidery the texture of
    his English--awes and astonishes the plain reader; but if, in
    addition, you permit yourself to require the refining charm of
    delicacy, the elevating one of imagination--if you permit yourself to
    be as fastidious and exacting in these matters as, by your own
    confession, it appears _you_ are, then Mr. Lewes must necessarily
    inform you that he does not deal in the article; probably he will add
    that _therefore_ it must be non-essential.  I should fear he might
    even stigmatise imagination as a figment, and delicacy as an
    affectation.

    'An honest rough heartiness Mr. Lewes will give you; yet in case you
    have the misfortune to remark that the heartiness might be quite as
    honest if it were less rough, would you not run the risk of being
    termed a sentimentalist or a dreamer?

    'Were I privileged to address Mr. Lewes, and were it wise or becoming
    to say to him exactly what one thinks, I should utter words to this
    effect--

    '"You have a sound, clear judgment as far as it goes, but I conceive
    it to be limited; your standard of talent is high, but I cannot
    acknowledge it to be the highest; you are deserving of all attention
    when you lay down the law on principles, but you are to be resisted
    when you dogmatise on feelings.

    '"To a certain point, Mr. Lewes, you can go, but no farther.  Be as
    sceptical as you please on whatever lies beyond a certain
    intellectual limit; the mystery will never be cleared up to you, for
    that limit you will never overpass.  Not all your learning, not all
    your reading, not all your sagacity, not all your perseverance can
    help you over one viewless line--one boundary as impassable as it is
    invisible.  To enter that sphere a man must be born within it; and
    untaught peasants have there drawn their first breath, while learned
    philosophers have striven hard till old age to reach it, and have
    never succeeded."  I should not dare, nor would it be right, to say
    this to Mr. Lewes, but I cannot help thinking it both of him and many
    others who have a great name in the world.

    'Hester Mason's character, career, and fate appeared to me so
    strange, grovelling, and miserable, that I never for a moment doubted
    the whole dreary picture was from the life.  I thought in describing
    the "rustic poetess," in giving the details of her vulgar provincial
    and disreputable metropolitan notoriety, and especially in touching
    on the ghastly catastrophe of her fate, he was faithfully recording
    facts--thus, however repulsively, yet conscientiously "pointing a
    moral," if not "adorning a tale"; but if Hester be the daughter of
    Lewes's imagination, and if her experience and her doom be inventions
    of his fancy, I wish him better, and higher, and truer taste next
    time he writes a novel.

    'Julius's exploit with the side of bacon is not defensible; he might
    certainly, for the fee of a shilling or sixpence, have got a boy to
    carry it for him.

    'Captain Heath, too, must have cut a deplorable figure behind the
    post-chaise.

    'Mrs. Vyner strikes one as a portrait from the life; and it equally
    strikes one that the artist hated his original model with a personal
    hatred.  She is made so bad that one cannot in the least degree
    sympathise with any of those who love her; one can only despise them.
    She is a fiend, and therefore not like Mr. Thackeray's Rebecca, where
    neither vanity, heartlessness, nor falsehood have been spared by the
    vigorous and skilful hand which portrays them, but where the human
    being has been preserved nevertheless, and where, consequently, the
    lesson given is infinitely more impressive.  We can learn little from
    the strange fantasies of demons--we are not of their kind; but the
    vices of the deceitful, selfish man or woman humble and warn us.  In
    your remarks on the good girls I concur to the letter; and I must add
    that I think Blanche, amiable as she is represented, could never have
    loved her husband after she had discovered that he was utterly
    despicable.  Love is stronger than Cruelty, stronger than Death, but
    perishes under Meanness; Pity may take its place, but Pity is not
    Love.

    'So far, then, I not only agree with you, but I marvel at the nice
    perception with which you have discriminated, and at the accuracy
    with which you have marked each coarse, cold, improbable, unseemly
    defect.  But now I am going to take another side: I am going to
    differ from you, and it is about Cecil Chamberlayne.

    'You say that no man who had intellect enough to paint a picture, or
    write a comic opera, could act as he did; you say that men of genius
    and talent may have egregious faults, but they cannot descend to
    brutality or meanness.  Would that the case were so!  Would that
    intellect could preserve from low vice!  But, alas! it cannot.  No,
    the whole character of Cecil is painted with but too faithful a hand;
    it is very masterly, because it is very true.  Lewes is nobly right
    when he says that intellect is _not_ the highest faculty of man,
    though it may be the most brilliant; when he declares that the
    _moral_ nature of his kind is more sacred than the _intellectual_
    nature; when he prefers "goodness, lovingness, and quiet
    self-sacrifice to all the talents in the world."

    'There is something divine in the thought that genius preserves from
    degradation, were it but true; but Savage tells us it was not true
    for him; Sheridan confirms the avowal, and Byron seals it with
    terrible proof.

    'You never probably knew a Cecil Chamberlayne.  If you had known such
    a one you would feel that Lewes has rather subdued the picture than
    overcharged it; you would know that mental gifts without moral
    firmness, without a clear sense of right and wrong, without the
    honourable principle which makes a man rather proud than ashamed of
    honest labour, are no guarantee from even deepest baseness.

    'I have received the _Dublin University Magazine_.  The notice is
    more favourable than I had anticipated; indeed, I had for a long time
    ceased to anticipate any from that quarter; but the critic does not
    strike one as too bright.  Poor Mr. James is severely handled; _you_,
    likewise, are hard upon him.  He always strikes me as a miracle of
    productiveness.

    'I must conclude by thanking you for your last letter, which both
    pleased and instructed me.  You are quite right in thinking it
    exhibits the writer's character.  Yes, it exhibits it _unmistakeably_
    (as Lewes would say).  And whenever it shall be my lot to submit
    another MS. to your inspection, I shall crave the full benefit of
    certain points in that character: I shall ever entreat my _first
    critic_ to be as impartial as he is friendly; what he feels to be out
    of taste in my writings, I hope he will unsparingly condemn.  In the
    excitement of composition, one is apt to fall into errors that one
    regrets afterwards, and we never feel our own faults so keenly as
    when we see them exaggerated in others.

    'I conclude in haste, for I have written too long a letter; but it is
    because there was much to answer in yours.  It interested me.  I
    could not help wishing to tell you how nearly I agreed with
    you.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                                'C. BELL.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                     '_April_ 5_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Your note was very welcome.  I purposely impose on
    myself the restraint of writing to you seldom now, because I know but
    too well my letters cannot be cheering.  Yet I confess I am glad when
    the post brings me a letter: it reminds me that if the sun of action
    and life does not shine on us, it yet beams full on other parts of
    the world--and I like the recollection.

    'I am not going to complain.  Anne has indeed suffered much at
    intervals since I last wrote to you--frost and east wind have had
    their effect.  She has passed nights of sleeplessness and pain, and
    days of depression and languor which nothing could cheer--but still,
    with the return of genial weather she revives.  I cannot perceive
    that she is feebler now than she was a month ago, though that is not
    saying much.  It proves, however, that no rapid process of
    destruction is going on in her frame, and keeps alive a hope that
    with the renovating aid of summer she may yet be spared a long time.

    'What you tell me of Mr. Lewes seems to me highly characteristic.
    How sanguine, versatile, and self-confident must that man be who can
    with ease exchange the quiet sphere of the author for the bustling
    one of the actor!  I heartily wish him success; and, in happier
    times, there are few things I should have relished more than an
    opportunity of seeing him in his new character.

    'The Cornhill books are still our welcome and congenial resource when
    Anne is well enough to enjoy reading.  Carlyle's _Miscellanies_
    interest me greatly.  We have read _The Emigrant Family_.  The
    characters in the work are good, full of quiet truth and nature, and
    the local colouring is excellent; yet I can hardly call it a good
    novel.  Reflective, truth-loving, and even elevated as is Alexander
    Harris's mind, I should say he scarcely possesses the creative
    faculty in sufficient vigour to excel as a writer of fiction.  He
    _creates_ nothing--he only copies.  His characters are
    portraits--servilely accurate; whatever is at all ideal is not
    original.  _The Testimony to the Truth_ is a better book than any
    tale he can write will ever be.  Am I too dogmatical in saying this?

    'Anne thanks you sincerely for the kind interest you take in her
    welfare, and both she and I beg to express our sense of Mrs.
    Williams's good wishes, which you mentioned in a former letter.  We
    are grateful, too, to Mr. Smith and to all who offer us the sympathy
    of friendship.

    'Whenever you can write with pleasure to yourself, remember Currer
    Bell is glad to hear from you, and he will make his letters as little
    dreary as he can in reply.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

It was always a great trouble to Miss Wheelwright, whose friendship, it
will be remembered, she had made in Brussels, that Charlotte was
monopolised by the Smiths on her rare visits to London, but she
frequently came to call at Lower Phillimore Place.

                         TO MISS LAETITIA WHEELWRIGHT

                              'HAWORTH, KEIGHLEY, _December_ 17_th_, 1849.

    'MY DEAR LAETITIA,--I have just time to save the post by writing a
    brief note.  I reached home safely on Saturday afternoon, and, I am
    thankful to say, found papa quite well.

    'The evening after I left you passed better than I expected.  Thanks
    to my substantial lunch and cheering cup of coffee, I was able to
    wait the eight o'clock dinner with complete resignation, and to
    endure its length quite courageously, nor was I too much exhausted to
    converse; and of this I was glad, for otherwise I know my kind host
    and hostess would have been much disappointed.  There were only seven
    gentlemen at dinner besides Mr. Smith, but of these, five were
    critics--a formidable band, including the literary Rhadamanthi of the
    _Times_, the _Athenaeum_, the _Examiner_, the _Spectator_, and the
    _Atlas_: men more dreaded in the world of letters than you can
    conceive.  I did not know how much their presence and conversation
    had excited me till they were gone, and then reaction commenced.
    When I had retired for the night I wished to sleep; the effort to do
    so was vain--I could not close my eyes.  Night passed, morning came,
    and I rose without having known a moment's slumber.  So utterly worn
    out was I when I got to Derby, that I was obliged to stay there all
    night.

    'The post is going.  Give my affectionate love to your mamma, Emily,
    Fanny, and Sarah Anne.  Remember me respectfully to your papa,
    and--Believe me, dear Laetitia, yours faithfully,

    'C. BRONTE.'

Miss Wheelwright's other sisters well remember certain episodes in
connection with these London visits.  They recall Charlotte's anxiety and
trepidation at the prospect of meeting Thackeray.  They recollect her
simple, dainty dress, her shy demeanour, her absolutely unspoiled
character.  They tell me it was in the _Illustrated London News_, about
the time of the publication of _Shirley_, that they first learnt that
Currer Bell and Charlotte Bronte were one.  They would, however, have
known that _Shirley_ was by a Brussels pupil, they declared, from the
absolute resemblance of Hortense Moore to one of their governesses--Mlle.
Hausse.

At the end of 1849 Miss Bronte and Miss Martineau became acquainted.
Charlotte's admiration for her more strong-minded sister writer was at
first profound.

                               TO JAMES TAYLOR

                                                   '_January_ 1_st_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I am sorry there should have occurred an irregularity
    in the transmission of the papers; it has been owing to my absence
    from home.  I trust the interruption has occasioned no inconvenience.
    Your last letter evinced such a sincere and discriminating admiration
    for Dr. Arnold, that perhaps you will not be wholly uninterested in
    hearing that during my late visit to Miss Martineau I saw much more
    of Fox How and its inmates, and daily admired, in the widow and
    children of one of the greatest and best men of his time, the
    possession of qualities the most estimable and endearing.  Of my kind
    hostess herself I cannot speak in terms too high.  Without being able
    to share all her opinions, philosophical, political, or religious,
    without adopting her theories, I yet find a worth and greatness in
    herself, and a consistency, benevolence, perseverance in her practice
    such as wins the sincerest esteem and affection.  She is not a person
    to be judged by her writings alone, but rather by her own deeds and
    life--than which nothing can be more exemplary or nobler.  She seems
    to me the benefactress of Ambleside, yet takes no sort of credit to
    herself for her active and indefatigable philanthropy.  The
    government of her household is admirably administered; all she does
    is well done, from the writing of a history down to the quietest
    female occupation.  No sort of carelessness or neglect is allowed
    under her rule, and yet she is not over strict nor too rigidly
    exacting; her servants and her poor neighbours love as well as
    respect her.

    'I must not, however, fall into the error of talking too much about
    her, merely because my own mind is just now deeply impressed with
    what I have seen of her intellectual power and moral worth.  Faults
    she has, but to me they appear very trivial weighed in the balance
    against her excellencies.

    'With every good wish of the season,--I am, my dear sir, yours very
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Meanwhile the excitement which _Shirley_ was exciting in Currer Bell's
home circle was not confined to the curates.  Here is a letter which
Canon Heald (Cyril Hall) wrote at this time:--

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    'BIRSTALL, near LEEDS,
                                                    '8_th_ _January_ 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Fame says you are on a visit with the renowned Currer
    Bell, the "great unknown" of the present day.  The celebrated
    _Shirley_ has just found its way hither.  And as one always reads a
    book with more interest when one has a correct insight into the
    writer's designs, I write to ask a favour, which I ought not to be
    regarded presumptuous in saying that I think I have a species of
    claim to ask, on the ground of a sort of "poetical justice."  The
    interpretation of this enigma is, that the story goes that either I
    or my father, I do not exactly know which, are part of "Currer
    Bell's" stock-in-trade, under the title of Mr. Hall, in that Mr. Hall
    is represented as black, bilious, and of dismal aspect, stooping a
    trifle, and indulging a little now and then in the indigenous
    dialect.  This seems to sit very well on your humble servant--other
    traits do better for my good father than myself.  However, though I
    had no idea that I should be made a means to amuse the public, Currer
    Bell is perfectly welcome to what she can make of so unpromising a
    subject.  But I think _I have a fair claim in return to be let into
    the secret of the company I have got into_.  Some of them are good
    enough to tell, and need no OEdipus to solve the riddle.  I can
    tabulate, for instance, the Yorke family for the Taylors, Mr.
    Moore--Mr. Cartwright, and Mr. Helstone is clearly meant for Mr.
    Robertson, though the authoress has evidently got her idea of his
    character through an unfavourable medium, and does not understand the
    full value of one of the most admirable characters I ever knew or
    expect to know.  May thinks she descries Cecilia Crowther and Miss
    Johnston (afterwards Mrs. Westerman) in two old maids.

    'Now pray get us a full light on all other names and localities that
    are adumbrated in this said _Shirley_.  When some of the prominent
    characters will be recognised by every one who knows our quarters,
    there can be no harm in letting one know who may be intended by the
    rest.  And, if necessary, I will bear Currer Bell harmless, and not
    let the world know that I have my intelligence from head-quarters.
    As I said before, I repeat now, that as I or mine are part of the
    stock-in-trade, I think I have an equitable claim to this
    intelligence, by way of my dividend.  Mary and Harriet wish also to
    get at this information; and the latter at all events seems to have
    her own peculiar claim, as fame says she is "in the book" too.  One
    had need "walk . . . warily in these dangerous days," when, as Burns
    (is it not he?) says--

          'A chield's among you taking notes,
          And faith he'll prent it.'--

    'Yours sincerely,

                                                             'W. M. HEALD.

    'Mary and Harriet unite with me in the best wishes of the season to
    you and C--- B---.  Pray give my best respects to Mr. Bronte also,
    who may have some slight remembrance of me as a child.  I just
    remember him when at Hartshead.' {444}

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                  '_February_ 2_nd_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have despatched to-day a parcel containing _The
    Caxtons_, Macaulay's _Essays_, _Humboldt's Letters_, and such other
    of the books as I have read, packed with a picturesque irregularity
    well calculated to excite the envy and admiration of your skilful
    functionary in Cornhill.  By-the-bye, he ought to be careful of the
    few pins stuck in here and there, as he might find them useful at a
    future day, in case of having more bonnets to pack for the East
    Indies.  Whenever you send me a new supply of books, may I request
    that you will have the goodness to include one or two of Miss
    Austen's.  I am often asked whether I have read them, and I excite
    amazement by replying in the negative.  I have read none except
    _Pride and Prejudice_.  Miss Martineau mentioned _Persuasion_ as the
    best.

    'Thank you for your account of the _First Performance_.  It was
    cheering and pleasant to read it, for in your animated description I
    seemed to realise the scene; your criticism also enables me to form
    some idea of the play.  Lewes is a strange being.  I always regret
    that I did not see him when in London.  He seems to me clever, sharp,
    and coarse; I used to think him sagacious, but I believe now he is no
    more than shrewd, for I have observed once or twice that he brings
    forward as grand discoveries of his own, information he has casually
    received from others--true sagacity disdains little tricks of this
    sort.  But though Lewes has many smart and some deserving points
    about him, he has nothing truly great; and nothing truly great, I
    should think, will he ever produce.  Yet he merits just such
    successes as the one you describe--triumphs public, brief, and noisy.
    Notoriety suits Lewes.  Fame--were it possible that he could achieve
    her--would be a thing uncongenial to him: he could not wait for the
    solemn blast of her trumpet, sounding long, and slowly waxing louder.

    'I always like your way of mentioning Mr. Smith, because my own
    opinion of him concurs with yours; and it is as pleasant to have a
    favourable impression of character confirmed, as it is painful to see
    it dispelled.  I am sure he possesses a fine nature, and I trust the
    selfishness of the world and the hard habits of business, though they
    may and must modify him disposition, will never quite spoil it.

    'Can you give me any information respecting Sheridan Knowles?  A few
    lines received from him lately, and a present of his _George Lovel_,
    induce me to ask the question.  Of course I am aware that he is a
    dramatic writer of eminence, but do you know anything about him as a
    man?

    'I believe both _Shirley_ and _Jane Eyre_ are being a good deal read
    in the North just now; but I only hear fitful rumours from time to
    time.  I ask nothing, and my life of anchorite seclusion shuts out
    all bearers of tidings.  One or two curiosity-hunter have made their
    way to Haworth Parsonage, but our rude hill and rugged neighbourhood
    will, I doubt not, form a sufficient barrier to the frequent
    repetition of such visits.--Believe me, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The most permanent friend among the curiosity-hunters, was Sir James
Kay-Shuttleworth, {446} who came a month later to Haworth.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_March_ 1_st_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I scribble you a line in haste to tell you of my
    proceedings.  Various folks are beginning to come boring to Haworth,
    on the wise errand of seeing the scenery described in _Jane Eyre_ and
    _Shirley_; amongst others, Sir J. K. Shuttleworth and Lady S. have
    persisted in coming; they were here on Friday.  The baronet looks in
    vigorous health; he scarcely appears more than thirty-five, but he
    says he is forty-four.  Lady Shuttleworth is rather handsome, and
    still young.  They were both quite unpretending.  When here they
    again urged me to visit them.  Papa took their side at once--would
    not hear of my refusing.  I must go--this left me without plea or
    defence.  I consented to go for three days.  They wanted me to return
    with them in the carriage, but I pleaded off till to-morrow.  I wish
    it was well over.

    'If all be well I shall be able to write more about them when I come
    back.  Sir J. is very courtly--fine-looking; I wish he may be as
    sincere as he is polished.--In haste, yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                    '_March_ 16_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I found your letter with several others awaiting me on
    my return home from a brief stay in Lancashire.  The mourning border
    alarmed me much.  I feared that dread visitant, before whose coming
    every household trembles, had invaded your hearth and taken from you
    perhaps a child, perhaps something dearer still.  The loss you have
    actually sustained is painful, but so much _less_ painful than what I
    had anticipated, that to read your letter was to be greatly relieved.
    Still, I know what Mrs. Williams will feel.  We can have but one
    father, but one mother, and when either is gone, we have lost what
    can never be replaced.  Offer her, under this affliction, my sincere
    sympathy.  I can well imagine the cloud these sad tidings would cast
    over your young cheerful family.  Poor little Dick's exclamation and
    burst of grief are most naive and natural; he felt the sorrow of a
    child--a keen, but, happily, a transient pang.  Time will, I trust,
    ere long restore your own and your wife's serenity and your
    children's cheerfulness.

    'I mentioned, I think, that we had one or two visitors at Haworth
    lately; amongst them were Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth and his lady.
    Before departing they exacted a promise that I would visit them at
    Gawthorpe Hall, their residence on the borders of East Lancashire.  I
    went reluctantly, for it is always a difficult and painful thing to
    me to meet the advances of people whose kindness I am in no position
    to repay.  Sir James is a man of polished manners, with clear
    intellect and highly cultivated mind.  On the whole, I got on very
    well with him.

    'His health is just now somewhat broken by his severe official
    labours; and the quiet drives to old ruins and old halls situate
    amongst older hills and woods, the dialogues (perhaps I should rather
    say monologues, for I listened far more than I talked) by the
    fireside in his antique oak-panelled drawing-room, while they suited
    him, did not too much oppress and exhaust me.  The house, too, is
    very much to my taste, near three centuries old, grey, stately, and
    picturesque.  On the whole, now that the visit is over, I do not
    regret having paid it.  The worst of it is that there is now some
    menace hanging over my head of an invitation to go to them in London
    during the season--this, which would doubtless be a great enjoyment
    to some people, is a perfect terror to me.  I should highly prize the
    advantages to be gained in an extended range of observation, but I
    tremble at the thought of the price I must necessarily pay in mental
    distress and physical wear and tear.  But you shall have no more of
    my confessions--to you they will appear folly.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_March_ 19_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have got home again, and now that the visit is over,
    I am, as usual, glad I have been; not that I could have endured to
    prolong it: a few days at once, in an utterly strange place, amongst
    utterly strange faces, is quite enough for me.

    'When the train stopped at Burnley, I found Sir James waiting for me.
    A drive of about three miles brought us to the gates of Gawthorpe,
    and after passing up a somewhat desolate avenue, there towered the
    hall--grey, antique, castellated, and stately--before me.  It is 250
    years old, and, within as without, is a model of old English
    architecture.  The arms and the strange crest of the Shuttleworths
    are carved on the oak pannelling of each room.  They are not a
    parvenue family, but date from the days of Richard III.  This part of
    Lancashire seems rather remarkable for its houses of ancient race.
    The Townleys, who live near, go back to the Conquest.

    'The people, however, were of still more interest to me than the
    house.  Lady Shuttleworth is a little woman, thirty-two years old,
    with a pretty, smooth, lively face.  Of pretension to aristocratic
    airs she may be entirely acquitted; of frankness, good-humour, and
    activity she has enough; truth obliges me to add, that, as it seems
    to me, grace, dignity, fine feeling were not in the inventory of her
    qualities.  These last are precisely what her husband possesses.  In
    manner he can be gracious and dignified; his tastes and feelings are
    capable of elevation; frank he is not, but, on the contrary, politic;
    he calls himself a man of the world and knows the world's ways;
    courtly and affable in some points of view, he is strict and rigorous
    in others.  In him high mental cultivation is combined with an
    extended range of observation, and thoroughly practical views and
    habits.  His nerves are naturally acutely sensitive, and the present
    very critical state of his health has exaggerated sensitiveness into
    irritability.  His wife is of a temperament precisely suited to nurse
    him and wait on him; if her sensations were more delicate and acute
    she would not do half so well.  They get on perfectly together.  The
    children--there are four of them--are all fine children in their way.
    They have a young German lady as governess--a quiet, well-instructed,
    interesting girl, whom I took to at once, and, in my heart, liked
    better than anything else in the house.  She also instinctively took
    to me.  She is very well treated for a governess, but wore the usual
    pale, despondent look of her class.  She told me she was home-sick,
    and she looked so.

    'I have received the parcel containing the cushion and all the
    etcetera, for which I thank you very much.  I suppose I must begin
    with the group of flowers; I don't know how I shall manage it, but I
    shall try.  I have a good number of letters to answer--from Mr.
    Smith, from Mr. Williams, from Thornton Hunt, Laetitia Wheelwright,
    Harriet Dyson--and so I must bid you good-bye for the present.  Write
    to me soon.  The brief absence from home, though in some respects
    trying and painful in itself, has, I think, given me a little better
    tone of spirit.  All through this month of February I have had a
    crushing time of it.  I could not escape from or rise above certain
    most mournful recollections--the last few days, the sufferings, the
    remembered words, most sorrowful to me, of those who, Faith assures
    me, are now happy.  At evening and bed-time such thoughts would haunt
    me, bringing a weary heartache.  Good-bye, dear Nell.--Yours
    faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 21_st_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--My visit is again postponed.  Sir James Shuttleworth, I
    am sorry to say, is most seriously ill.  Two physicians are in
    attendance twice a day, and company and conversation, even with his
    own relatives, are prohibited as too exciting.  Notwithstanding this,
    he has written two notes to me himself, claiming a promise that I
    will wait till he is better, and not allow any one else "to introduce
    me" as he says, "into the Oceanic life of London."  Sincerely sorry
    as I was for him, I could not help smiling at this sentence.  But I
    shall willingly promise.  I know something of him, and like part, at
    least, of what I do know.  I do not feel in the least tempted to
    change him for another.  His sufferings are very great.  I trust and
    hope God will be pleased to spare his mind.  I have just got a note
    informing me that he is something better; but, of course, he will
    vary.  Lady Shuttleworth is much, much to be pitied too; his nights,
    it seems, are most distressing.--Good-bye, dear Nell.  Write soon to

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '76 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                   'HYDE PARK GARDENS, _June_ 3_rd_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I came to London last Thursday.  I am staying at Mrs.
    Smith's, who has changed her residence, as the address will show.  A
    good deal of writing backwards and forwards, persuasion, etc., took
    place before this step was resolved on; but at last I explained to
    Sir James that I had some little matters of business to transact, and
    that I should stay quietly at my publisher's.  He has called twice,
    and Lady Shuttleworth once; each of them alone.  He is in a fearfully
    nervous state.  To my great horror he talks of my going with them to
    Hampton Court, Windsor, etc.  God knows how I shall get on.  I
    perfectly dread it.

    'Here I feel very comfortable.  Mrs. Smith treats me with a serene,
    equable kindness which just suits me.  Her son is, as before, genial
    and kindly.  I have seen very few persons, and am not likely to see
    many, as the agreement was that I was to be very quiet.  We have been
    to the Exhibition of the Royal Academy, to the Opera, and the
    Zoological Gardens.  The weather is splendid.  I shall not stay
    longer than a fortnight in London.  The feverishness and exhaustion
    beset me somewhat, but not quite so badly as before, as indeed I have
    not yet been so much tried.  I hope you will write soon and tell me
    how you are getting on.  Give my regards to all.--Yours faithfully,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                                   '76 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                   'HYDE PARK GARDENS, _June_ 4_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I was very glad to get your letter this morning, and
    still more glad to learn that your health continues in some degree to
    improve.  I fear you will feel the present weather somewhat
    debilitating, at least if it is as warm in Yorkshire as in London.  I
    cannot help grudging these fine days on account of the roofing of the
    house.  It is a great pity the workmen were not prepared to begin a
    week ago.

    'Since I wrote I have been to the Opera; to the Exhibition of the
    Royal Academy, where there were some fine paintings, especially a
    large one by Landseer of the Duke of Wellington on the field of
    Waterloo, and a grand, wonderful picture of Martin's from Campbell's
    poem of the "Last Man," showing the red sun fading out of the sky,
    and all the soil of the foreground made up of bones and skulls.  The
    secretary of the Zoological Society also sent me an honorary ticket
    of admission to their gardens, which I wish you could see.  There are
    animals from all parts of the world inclosed in great cages in the
    open air amongst trees and shrubs--lions, tigers, leopards,
    elephants, numberless monkies, camels, five or six cameleopards, a
    young hippopotamus with an Egyptian for its keeper; birds of all
    kinds--eagles, ostriches, a pair of great condors from the Andes,
    strange ducks and water-fowl which seem very happy and comfortable,
    and build their nests amongst the reeds and sedges of the lakes where
    they are kept.  Some of the American birds make inexpressible noises.

    'There are also all sorts of living snakes and lizards in cages, some
    great Ceylon toads not much smaller than Flossy, some large foreign
    rats nearly as large and fierce as little bull-dogs.  The most
    ferocious and deadly-looking things in the place were these rats, a
    laughing hyena (which every now and then uttered a hideous peal of
    laughter such as a score of maniacs might produce) and a cobra di
    capello snake.  I think this snake was the worst of all: it had the
    eyes and face of a fiend, and darted out its barbed tongue sharply
    and incessantly.

    'I am glad to hear that Tabby and Martha are pretty well.  Remember
    me to them, and--Believe me, dear papa, your affectionate daughter,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'I hope you don't care for the notice in _Sharpe's Magazine_; it does
    not disturb me in the least.  Mr. Smith says it is of no consequence
    whatever in a literary sense.  Sharpe, the proprietor, was an
    apprentice of Mr. Smith's father.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '76 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                  'HYDE PARK GARDENS, _June_ 21_st_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I am leaving London, if all be well, on Tuesday, and
    shall be very glad to come to you for a few days, if that arrangement
    still remains convenient to you.  I intend to start at nine o'clock
    A.M. by the express train, which arrives in Leeds thirty-five minutes
    past two.  I should then be at Batley about four in the afternoon.
    Would that suit?

    'My London visit has much surpassed my expectations this time; I have
    suffered less and enjoyed more than before.  Rather a trying
    termination yet remains to me.  Mrs. Smith's youngest son is at
    school in Scotland, and George, her eldest, is going to fetch him
    home for the vacation.  The other evening he announced his intention
    of taking one of his sisters with him, and proposed that Miss Bronte
    should go down to Edinburgh and join them there, and see that city
    and its suburbs.  I concluded he was joking, laughed and declined;
    however, it seems he was in earnest.  The thing appearing to me
    perfectly out of the question, I still refused.  Mrs. Smith did not
    favour it; you may easily fancy how she helped me to sustain my
    opposition, but her worthy son only waxed more determined.  His
    mother is master of the house, but he is master of his mother.  This
    morning she came and entreated me to go.  "George wished it so much";
    he had begged her to use her influence, etc., etc.  Now I believe
    that George and I understand each other very well, and respect each
    other very sincerely.  We both know the wide breach time has made
    between us; we do not embarrass each other, or very rarely; my six or
    eight years of seniority, to say nothing of lack of all pretension to
    beauty, etc., are a perfect safeguard.  I should not in the least
    fear to go with him to China.  I like to see him pleased, I greatly
    _dis_like to ruffle and disappoint him, so he shall have his mind;
    and if all be well, I mean to join him in Edinburgh after I shall
    have spent a few days with you.  With his buoyant animal spirits and
    youthful vigour he will make severe demands on my muscles and nerves,
    but I daresay I shall get through somehow, and then perhaps come back
    to rest a few days with you before I go home.  With kind regards to
    all at Brookroyd, your guests included,--I am, dear Ellen, yours
    faithfully,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Write by return of post.'

                         TO MISS LAETITIA WHEELWRIGHT

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 30_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR LAETITIA,--I promised to write to you when I should have
    returned home.  Returned home I am, but you may conceive that many,
    many matters solicit attention and demand arrangement in a house
    which has lately been turned topsy-turvy in the operation of
    unroofing.  Drawers and cupboards must wait a moment, however, while
    I fulfil my promise, though it is imperatively necessary that this
    fulfilment should be achieved with brevity.

    'My stay in Scotland was short, and what I saw was chiefly comprised
    in Edinburgh and the neighbourhood, in Abbotsford and Melrose, for I
    was obliged to relinquish my first intention of going from Glasgow to
    Oban and thence through a portion of the Highlands.  But though the
    time was brief, and the view of objects limited, I found such a charm
    of situation, association, and circumstances that I think the
    enjoyment experienced in that little space equalled in degree and
    excelled in kind all which London yielded during a month's sojourn.
    Edinburgh compared to London is like a vivid page of history compared
    to a huge dull treatise on political economy; and as to Melrose and
    Abbotsford, the very names possess music and magic.

    'I am thankful to say that on my return home I found papa pretty
    well.  Full often had I thought of him when I was far away; and
    deeply sad as it is on many accounts to come back to this old house,
    yet I was glad to be with him once more.

    'You were proposing, I remember, to go into the country; I trust you
    are there now and enjoying this fine day in some scene where the air
    will not be tainted, nor the sunshine dimmed, by London smoke.  If
    your papa, mamma, or any of your sisters are within reach, give them
    my kindest remembrances--if not, save such remembrances till you see
    them.--Believe me, my dear Laetitia, yours hurriedly but faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                        'AMBLESIDE, _August_ 15_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I think I shall not come home till Thursday.  If all be
    well I shall leave here on Monday and spend a day or two with Ellen
    Nussey.  I have enjoyed my visit exceedingly.  Sir J. K. Shuttleworth
    has called several times and taken me out in his carriage.  He seems
    very truly friendly; but, I am sorry to say, he looks pale and very
    much wasted.  I greatly fear he will not live very long unless some
    change for the better soon takes place.  Lady S. is ill too, and
    cannot go out.  I have seen a good deal of Dr. Arnold's family, and
    like them much.  As to Miss Martineau, I admire her and wonder at her
    more than I can say.  Her powers of labour, of exercise, and social
    cheerfulness are beyond my comprehension.  In spite of the unceasing
    activity of her colossal intellect she enjoys robust health.  She is
    a taller, larger, and more strongly made woman than I had imagined
    from that first interview with her.  She is very kind to me, though
    she must think I am a very insignificant person compared to herself.
    She has just been into the room to show me a chapter of her history
    which she is now writing, relating to the Duke of Wellington's
    character and his proceedings in the Peninsula.  She wanted an
    opinion on it, and I was happy to be able to give a very approving
    one.  She seems to understand and do him justice.

    'You must not direct any more letters here as they will not reach me
    after to-day.  Hoping, dear papa, that you are well, and with kind
    regards to Tabby and Martha,--I am, your affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO W. S. WILLIAMS

                                                   '_October_ 2_nd_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I have to thank you for the care and kindness with
    which you have assisted me throughout in correcting these _Remains_.

    'Whether, when they are published, they will appear to others as they
    do to me, I cannot tell.  I hope not.  And indeed I suppose what to
    me is bitter pain will only be soft pathos to the general public.

    'Miss Martineau has several times lately asked me to go and see her;
    and though this is a dreary season for travelling northward, I think
    if papa continues pretty well I shall go in a week or two.  I feel to
    my deep sorrow, to my humiliation, that it is not in my power to bear
    the canker of constant solitude.  I had calculated that when shut out
    from every enjoyment, from every stimulus but what could be derived
    from intellectual exertion, my mind would rouse itself perforce.  It
    is not so.  Even intellect, even imagination, will not dispense with
    the ray of domestic cheerfulness, with the gentle spur of family
    discussion.  Late in the evenings, and all through the nights, I fall
    into a condition of mind which turns entirely to the past--to memory;
    and memory is both sad and relentless.  This will never do, and will
    produce no good.  I tell you this that you may check false
    anticipations.  You cannot help me, and must not trouble yourself in
    any shape to sympathise with me.  It is my cup, and I must drink it,
    as others drink theirs.--Yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

Among Miss Bronte's papers I find the following letter to Miss Martineau,
written with a not unnatural resentment after the publication of a severe
critique of _Shirley_.

                          TO MISS HARRIET MARTINEAU.

    'MY DEAR MISS MARTINEAU,--I think I best show my sense of the tone
    and feeling of your last, by immediate compliance with the wish you
    express that I should send your letter.  I inclose it, and have
    marked with red ink the passage which struck me dumb.  All the rest
    is fair, right, worthy of you, but I protest against this passage;
    and were I brought up before the bar of all the critics in England,
    to such a charge I should respond, "Not guilty."

    'I know what _love_ is as I understand it; and if man or woman should
    be ashamed of feeling such love, then is there nothing right, noble,
    faithful, truthful, unselfish in this earth, as I comprehend
    rectitude, nobleness, fidelity, truth, and disinterestedness.--Yours
    sincerely,

                                                                    'C. B.

    'To differ from you gives me keen pain.'

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL

                                                  '_November_ 6_th_, 1850.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--Mrs. Arnold seemed an amiable, and must once have been
    a very pretty, woman; her daughter I liked much.  There was present
    also a son of Chevalier Bunsen, with his wife, or rather bride.  I
    had not then read Dr. Arnold's Life--otherwise, the visit would have
    interested me even more than it actually did.

    'Mr. Williams told me (if I mistake not) that you had recently
    visited the Lake Country.  I trust you enjoyed your excursion, and
    that our English Lakes did not suffer too much by comparison in your
    memory with the Scottish Lochs.--I am, my dear sir, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                      'AMBLESIDE, _December_ 21_st_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have managed to get off going to Sir J. K.
    Shuttleworth's by a promise to come some other time.  I thought I
    really should like to spend two or three days with you before going
    home; therefore, if it is not inconvenient for you, I will come on
    Monday and stay till Thursday.  I shall be at Bradford (D.V.) at ten
    minutes past two, Monday afternoon, and can take a cab at the station
    forward to Birstall.  I have truly enjoyed my visit.  I have seen a
    good many people, and all have been so marvellously kind; not the
    least so the family of Dr. Arnold.  Miss Martineau I relish
    inexpressibly.  Sir James has been almost every day to take me a
    drive.  I begin to admit in my own mind that he is sincerely
    benignant to me.  I grieve to say he looks to me as if wasting away.
    Lady Shuttleworth is ill.  She cannot go out, and I have not seen
    her.  Till we meet, good-bye.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

It was during this visit to Ambleside that Charlotte Bronte and Matthew
Arnold met.

    'At seven,' writes Mr. Arnold from Fox How (December 21, 1850), 'came
    Miss Martineau and Miss Bronte (Jane Eyre); talked to Miss Martineau
    (who blasphemes frightfully) about the prospects of the Church of
    England, and, wretched man that I am, promised to go and see her
    cow-keeping miracles {457a} to-morrow--I, who hardly know a cow from
    a sheep.  I talked to Miss Bronte (past thirty and plain, with
    expressive grey eyes, though) of her curates, of French novels, and
    her education in a school at Brussels, and sent the lions roaring to
    their dens at half-past nine, and came to talk to you.'  {457b}

By the light of this 'impression,' it is not a little interesting to see
what Miss Bronte, 'past thirty and plain,' thought of Mr. Matthew Arnold!

                          TO JAMES TAYLOR, CORNHILL,

                                                  '_January_ 15_th_, 1851.

    'MY DEAR SIR,--I fancy the imperfect way in which my last note was
    expressed must have led you into an error, and that you must have
    applied to Mrs. Arnold the remarks I intended for Miss Martineau.  I
    remember whilst writing about "my hostess" I was sensible to some
    obscurity in the term; permit me now to explain that it referred to
    Miss Martineau.

    'Mrs. Arnold is, indeed, as I judge from my own observations no less
    than from the unanimous testimony of all who really know her, a good
    and amiable woman, but the intellectual is not her forte, and she has
    no pretensions to power or completeness of character.  The same
    remark, I think, applies to her daughters.  You admire in them the
    kindliest feeling towards each other and their fellow-creatures, and
    they offer in their home circle a beautiful example of family unity,
    and of that refinement which is sure to spring thence; but when the
    conversation turns on literature or any subject that offers a test
    for the intellect, you usually felt that their opinions were rather
    imitative than original, rather sentimental than sound.  Those who
    have only seen Mrs. Arnold once will necessarily, I think, judge of
    her unfavourably; her manner on introduction disappointed me
    sensibly, as lacking that genuineness and simplicity one seemed to
    have a right to expect in the chosen life-companion of Dr. Arnold.
    On my remarking as much to Mrs. Gaskell and Sir J. K. Shuttleworth, I
    was told for my consolation it was a "conventional manner," but that
    it vanished on closer acquaintance; fortunately this last assurance
    proved true.  It is observable that Matthew Arnold, the eldest son,
    and the author of the volume of poems to which you allude, inherits
    his mother's defect.  Striking and prepossessing in appearance, his
    manner displeases from its seeming foppery.  I own it caused me at
    first to regard him with regretful surprise; the shade of Dr. Arnold
    seemed to me to frown on his young representative.  I was told,
    however, that "Mr. Arnold improved upon acquaintance."  So it was:
    ere long a real modesty appeared under his assumed conceit, and some
    genuine intellectual aspirations, as well as high educational
    acquirements, displaced superficial affectations.  I was given to
    understand that his theological opinions were very vague and
    unsettled, and indeed he betrayed as much in the course of
    conversation.  Most unfortunate for him, doubtless, has been the
    untimely loss of his father.

    'My visit to Westmoreland has certainly done me good.  Physically, I
    was not ill before I went there, but my mind had undergone some
    painful laceration.  In the course of looking over my sister's
    papers, mementos, and memoranda, that would have been nothing to
    others, conveyed for me so keen a sting.  Near at hand there was no
    means of lightening or effacing the sad impression by refreshing
    social intercourse; from my father, of course, my sole care was to
    conceal it--age demanding the same forbearance as infancy in the
    communication of grief.  Continuous solitude grew more than I could
    bear, and, to speak truth, I was glad of a change.  You will say that
    we ought to have power in ourselves either to bear circumstances or
    to bend them.  True, we should do our best to this end, but sometimes
    our best is unavailing.  However, I am better now, and most thankful
    for the respite.

    'The interest you so kindly express in my sister's works touches me
    home.  Thank you for it, especially as I do not believe you would
    speak otherwise than sincerely.  The only notices that I have seen of
    the new edition of _Wuthering Heights_ were those in the _Examiner_,
    the _Leader_, and the _Athenaeum_.  That in the _Athenaeum_ somehow
    gave me pleasure: it is quiet but respectful--so I thought, at least.

    'You asked whether Miss Martineau made me a convert to mesmerism?
    Scarcely; yet I heard miracles of its efficacy and could hardly
    discredit the whole of what was told me.  I even underwent a personal
    experiment; and though the result was not absolutely clear, it was
    inferred that in time I should prove an excellent subject.

    'The question of mesmerism will be discussed with little reserve, I
    believe, in a forthcoming work of Miss Martineau's, and I have some
    painful anticipations of the manner in which other subjects, offering
    less legitimate ground for speculation, will be handled.

    'You mention the _Leader_; what do you think of it?  I have been
    asked to contribute; but though I respect the spirit of fairness and
    courtesy in which it is on the whole conducted, its principles on
    some points are such that I have hitherto shrunk from the thought of
    seeing my name in its columns.

    'Thanking you for your good wishes,--I am, my dear sir, yours
    sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                         TO MISS LAETITIA WHEELWRIGHT

                                         'HAWORTH, _January_ 12_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR LAETITIA,--A spare moment must and shall be made for you, no
    matter how many letters I have to write (and just now there is an
    influx).  In reply to your kind inquiries, I have to say that my stay
    in London and excursion to Scotland did me good--much good at the
    time; but my health was again somewhat sharply tried at the close of
    autumn, and I lost in some days of indisposition the additional flesh
    and strength I had previously gained.  This resulted from the painful
    task of looking over letters and papers belonging to my sisters.
    Many little mementos and memoranda conspired to make an impression
    inexpressibly sad, which solitude deepened and fostered till I grew
    ill.  A brief trip to Westmoreland has, however, I am thankful to
    say, revived me again, and the circumstance of papa being just now in
    good health and spirits gives me many causes for gratitude.  When we
    have but one precious thing left we think much of it.

    'I have been staying a short time with Miss Martineau.  As you may
    imagine, the visit proved one of no common interest.  She is
    certainly a woman of wonderful endowments, both intellectual and
    physical, and though I share few of her opinions, and regard her as
    fallible on certain points of judgment, I must still accord her my
    sincerest esteem.  The manner in which she combines the highest
    mental culture with the nicest discharge of feminine duties filled me
    with admiration, while her affectionate kindness earned my gratitude.

    'Your description of the magician Paxton's crystal palace is quite
    graphic.  Whether I shall see it or not I don't know.  London will be
    so dreadfully crowded and busy this season, I feel a dread of going
    there.

    'Compelled to break off, I have only time to offer my kindest
    remembrances to your whole circle, and my love to yourself.--Yours
    ever,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                              TO REV. P. BRONTE

                                       '112 GLOUCESTER TERRACE, HYDE PARK,
                                             'LONDON, _June_ 17_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I write a line in haste to tell you that I find they
    will not let me leave London till next Tuesday; and as I have
    promised to spend a day or two with Mrs. Gaskell on my way home, it
    will probably be Friday or Saturday in next week before I return to
    Haworth.  Martha will thus have a few days more time, and must not
    hurry or overwork herself.  Yesterday I saw Cardinal Wiseman and
    heard him speak.  It was at a meeting for the Roman Catholic Society
    of St. Vincent de Paul; the Cardinal presided.  He is a big portly
    man something of the shape of Mr. Morgan; he has not merely a double
    but a treble and quadruple chin; he has a very large mouth with oily
    lips, and looks as if he would relish a good dinner with a bottle of
    wine after it.  He came swimming into the room smiling, simpering,
    and bowing like a fat old lady, and sat down very demure in his chair
    and looked the picture of a sleek hypocrite.  He was dressed in black
    like a bishop or dean in plain clothes, but wore scarlet gloves and a
    brilliant scarlet waistcoat.  A bevy of inferior priests surrounded
    him, many of them very dark-looking and sinister men.  The Cardinal
    spoke in a smooth whining manner, just like a canting Methodist
    preacher.  The audience seemed to look up to him as to a god.  A
    spirit of the hottest zeal pervaded the whole meeting.  I was told
    afterwards that except myself and the person who accompanied me there
    was not a single Protestant present.  All the speeches turned on the
    necessity of straining every nerve to make converts to popery.  It is
    in such a scene that one feels what the Catholics are doing.  Most
    persevering and enthusiastic are they in their work!  Let Protestants
    look to it.  It cheered me much to hear that you continue pretty
    well.  Take every care of yourself.  Remember me kindly to Tabby and
    Martha, also to Mr. Nicholls, and--Believe me, dear papa, your
    affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_June_ 19_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I shall have to stay in London a few days longer than I
    intended.  Sir J. K. Shuttleworth has found out that I am here.  I
    have some trouble in warding off his wish that I should go directly
    to his house and take up my quarters there, but Mrs. Smith helped me,
    and I got off with promising to spend a day.  I am engaged to spend a
    day or two with Mrs. Gaskell on my way home, and could not put her
    off, as she is going away for a portion of the summer.  Lady
    Shuttleworth looks very delicate.  Papa is now very desirous I should
    come home; and when I have as quickly as possible paid my debts of
    engagements, home I must go.  Next Tuesday I go to Manchester for two
    days.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '112 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                          'HYDE PARK, _June_ 24_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I cannot now leave London till Friday.  To-morrow is
    Mr. Smith's only holiday.  Mr. Taylor's departure leaves him loaded
    with work.  More than once since I came he has been kept in the city
    till three in the morning.  He wants to take us all to Richmond, and
    I promised last week I would stay and go with him, his mother, and
    sisters.  I go to Mrs. Gaskell's on Friday.--Believe me, yours
    faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                      TO REV. P. BRONTE, HAWORTH, YORKS

                                                  '112 GLOUCESTER TERRACE,
                                                     '_June_ 26_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR PAPA,--I have not yet been able to get away from London, but if
    all be well I shall go to-morrow, stay two days with Mrs. Gaskell at
    Manchester, and return home on Monday 30th _without fail_.  During
    this last week or ten days I have seen many things, some of them very
    interesting, and have also been in much better health than I was
    during the first fortnight of my stay in London.  Sir James and Lady
    Shuttleworth have really been very kind, and most scrupulously
    attentive.  They desire their regards to you, and send all manner of
    civil messages.  The Marquis of Westminster and the Earl of Ellesmere
    each sent me an order to see their private collection of pictures,
    which I enjoyed very much.  Mr. Rogers, the patriarch-poet, now
    eighty-seven years old, invited me to breakfast with him.  His
    breakfasts, you must understand, are celebrated throughout Europe for
    their peculiar refinement and taste.  He never admits at that meal
    more than four persons to his table: himself and three guests.  The
    morning I was there I met Lord Glenelg and Mrs. Davenport, a relation
    of Lady Shuttleworth's, and a very beautiful and fashionable woman.
    The visit was very interesting; I was glad that I had paid it after
    it was over.  An attention that pleased and surprised me more I think
    than any other was the circumstance of Sir David Brewster, who is one
    of the first scientific men of his day, coming to take me over the
    Crystal Palace and pointing out and explaining the most remarkable
    curiosities.  You will know, dear papa, that I do not mention those
    things to boast of them, but merely because I think they will give
    you pleasure.  Nobody, I find, thinks the worse of me for avoiding
    publicity and declining to go to large parties, and everybody seems
    truly courteous and respectful, a mode of behaviour which makes me
    grateful, as it ought to do.  Good-bye till Monday.  Give my best
    regards to Mr. Nicholls, Tabby, and Martha, and--Believe me your
    affectionate daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'




CHAPTER XVII: THE REV. ARTHUR BELL NICHOLLS


Without the kindly assistance of Mr. Arthur Bell Nicholls, this book
could not have been written, and I might therefore be supposed to guide
my pen with appalling discretion in treating of the married life of
Charlotte Bronte.  There are, however, no painful secrets to reveal, no
skeletons to lay bare.  Mr. Nicholls's story is a very simple one; and
that it is entirely creditable to him, there is abundant evidence.  Amid
the full discussion to which the lives of the Brontes have necessarily
been subjected through their ever-continuous fame, it was perhaps
inevitable that a contrary opinion should gain ground.  Many of Mr.
Nicholls's relatives in his own country have frequently sighed over the
perverted statements which have obtained currency.  'It is cruel that
your uncle Arthur, the best of men, as we know, should be thus treated,'
was the comment of Mr. Nicholls's brother to his daughter after reading
an unfriendly article concerning Charlotte's husband.  Yet it was not
unnatural that such an estimate should get abroad; and I may frankly
admit that until I met Mr. Nicholls I believed that Charlotte Bronte's
marriage had been an unhappy one--an opinion gathered partly from Mrs.
Gaskell, partly from current tradition in Yorkshire.  Mrs. Gaskell, in
fact, did not like Mr. Nicholls, and there were those with whom she came
in contact while writing Miss Bronte's Life who were eager to fan that
feeling in the usually kindly biographer.  Mr. Nicholls himself did not
work in the direction of conciliation.  He was, as we shall see, a
Scotchman, and Scottish taciturnity brought to bear upon the genial and
jovial Yorkshire folk did not make for friendliness.  Further, he would
not let Mrs. Gaskell 'edit' and change _The Professor_, and here also he
did wisely and well.  He hated publicity, and above all things viewed the
attempt to pierce the veil of his married life with almost morbid
detestation.  Who shall say that he was not right, and that his
retirement for more than forty years from the whole region of controversy
has not abundantly justified itself?  One at least of Miss Bronte's
friends has been known in our day to complain bitterly of all the trouble
to which she has been subjected by the ill-considered zeal of Bronte
enthusiasts.  Mr. Nicholls has escaped all this by a judicious silence.
Now that forty years and more have passed since his wife's death, it
cannot be inopportune to tell the public all that they can fairly ask to
know.

Mr. Nicholls was born in Co. Antrim in 1817, but of Scottish parents on
both sides.  He was left at the age of seven to the charge of an
uncle--the Rev. Alan Bell--who was headmaster of the Royal School at
Banagher, in King's Co.  Mr. Nicholls afterwards entered Trinity College,
Dublin, and it was thence that he went to Haworth, his first curacy.  He
succeeded a fellow countryman, Mr. Peter Augustus Smith, in 1844.  The
first impression we have of the new curate in Charlotte's letters is
scarcely more favourable than that of his predecessors.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_October_ 9_th_, 1844.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--We are getting on here the same as usual, only that
    Branwell has been more than ordinarily troublesome and annoying of
    late; he leads papa a wretched life.  Mr. Nicholls is returned just
    the same.  I cannot for my life see those interesting germs of
    goodness in him you discovered; his narrowness of mind always strikes
    me chiefly.  I fear he is indebted to your imagination for his hidden
    treasure.--Yours,

                                                                   'C. B.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_July_ 10_th_, 1846.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Who gravely asked you whether Miss Bronte was not going
    to be married to her papa's curate?  I scarcely need say that never
    was rumour more unfounded.  A cold faraway sort of civility are the
    only terms on which I have ever been with Mr. Nicholls.  I could by
    no means think of mentioning such a rumour to him even as a joke.  It
    would make me the laughing-stock of himself and his fellow curates
    for half a year to come.  They regard me as an old maid, and I regard
    them, one and all, as highly uninteresting, narrow, and unattractive
    specimens of the coarser sex.

    'Write to me again soon, whether you have anything particular to say
    or not.  Give my sincere love to your mother and sisters.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_November_ 17_th_, 1846.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I will just write a brief despatch to say that I
    received yours and that I was very glad to get it.  I do not know
    when you have been so long without writing to me before.  I had begun
    to imagine you were gone to your brother Joshua's.

    'Papa continues to do very well.  He read prayers twice in the church
    last Sunday.  Next Sunday he will have to take the whole duty of the
    three services himself, as Mr. Nicholls is in Ireland.  Remember me
    to your mother and sisters.  Write as soon as you possibly can after
    you get to Oundle.  Good luck go with you.

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

That Scotch reticence held sway, and told against Mr. Nicholls for many a
day to come.

                 [Picture: THE REV. ARTHUR BELL NICHOLLS]

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_October_ 7_th_, 1847.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I have been expecting you to write to me; but as you
    don't do it, and as, moreover, you may possibly think it is my turn,
    and not yours, though on that point I am far from clear, I shall just
    send you one of my scrubby notes for the express purpose of eliciting
    a reply.  Anne was very much pleased with your letter; I presume she
    has answered it before now.  I would fain hope that her health is a
    little stronger than it was, and her spirits a little better, but she
    leads much too sedentary a life, and is continually sitting stooping
    either over a book or over her desk.  It is with difficulty we can
    prevail upon her to take a walk or induce her to converse.  I look
    forward to next summer with the confident intention that she shall,
    if possible, make at least a brief sojourn at the sea-side.

    'I am sorry I inoculated you with fears about the east wind; I did
    not feel the last blast so severely as I have often done.  My
    sympathies were much awakened by the touching anecdote.  Did you
    salute your boy-messenger with a box on the ear the next time he came
    across you?  I think I should have been strongly tempted to have done
    as much.  Mr. Nicholls is not yet returned.  I am sorry to say that
    many of the parishioners express a desire that he should not trouble
    himself to recross the Channel.  This is not the feeling that ought
    to exist between shepherd and flock.  It is not such as is prevalent
    at Birstall.  It is not such as poor Mr. Weightman excited.

    'Give my best love to all of them, and--Believe me, yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

The next glimpse is more kindly.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                  '_January_ 28_th_, 1850.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I cannot but be concerned to hear of your mother's
    illness; write again soon, if it be but a line, to tell me how she
    gets on.  This shadow will, I trust and believe, be but a passing
    one, but it is a foretaste and warning of what _must come_ one day.
    Let it prepare your mind, dear Ellen, for that great trial which, if
    you live, it _must_ in the course of a few years be your lot to
    undergo.  That cutting asunder of the ties of nature is the pain we
    most dread and which we are most certain to experience.  Lewes's
    letter made me laugh; I cannot respect him more for it.  Sir J. K.
    Shuttleworth's letter did not make me laugh; he has written again
    since.  I have received to-day a note from Miss Alexander, daughter,
    she says, of Dr. Alexander.  Do you know anything of her?  Mary
    Taylor seems in good health and spirits, and in the way of doing
    well.  I shall feel anxious to hear again soon.

                                    'C. B.

    '_P.S._--Mr. Nicholls has finished reading _Shirley_; he is delighted
    with it.  John Brown's wife seriously thought he had gone wrong in
    the head as she heard him giving vent to roars of laughter as he sat
    alone, clapping his hands and stamping on the floor.  He would read
    all the scenes about the curates aloud to Papa.  He triumphed in his
    own character. {468}  What Mr. Grant will say is another thing.  No
    matter.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _July_ 27_th_, 1851.

    'DEAR NELL,--I hope you have taken no cold from your wretched journey
    home; you see you should have taken my advice and stayed till
    Saturday.  Didn't I tell you I had a "presentiment" it would be
    better for you to do so?

    'I am glad you found your mother pretty well.  Is she disposed to
    excuse the wretched petrified condition of the bilberry preserve, in
    consideration of the intent of the donor?  It seems they had high
    company while you were away.  You see what you lose by coming to
    Haworth.  No events here since your departure except a long letter
    from Miss Martineau.  (She did not write the article on "Woman" in
    the _Westminster_; by the way, it is the production of a man, and one
    of the first philosophers and political economists and metaphysicians
    of the day.) {469}  Item, the departure of Mr. Nicholls for Ireland,
    and his inviting himself on the eve thereof to come and take a
    farewell tea; good, mild, uncontentious.  Item, a note from the
    stiff-like chap who called about the epitaph for his cousin.  I
    inclose this--a finer gem in its way it would be difficult to
    conceive.  You need not, however, be at the trouble of returning it.
    How are they at Hunsworth yet?  It is no use saying whether I am
    solitary or not; I drive on very well, and papa continues pretty
    well.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

I print the next letter here because, although it contains no reference
to Mr. Nicholls, it has a bearing upon the letter following it.  Dr.
Wheelwright shared Mr. Bronte's infirmity of defective eyesight.

                         TO MISS LAETITIA WHEELWRIGHT

                                           'HAWORTH, _April_ 12_th_, 1852.

    'DEAR LAETITIA,--Your last letter gave me much concern.  I had hoped
    you were long ere this restored to your usual health, and it both
    pained and surprised me to hear that you still suffer so much from
    debility.  I cannot help thinking your constitution is naturally
    sound and healthy.  Can it be the air of London which disagrees with
    you?  For myself, I struggled through the winter and the early part
    of spring often with great difficulty.  My friend stayed with me a
    few days in the early part of January--she could not be spared
    longer.  I was better during her visit, but had a relapse soon after
    she left me, which reduced my strength very much.  It cannot be
    denied that the solitude of my position fearfully aggravated its
    other evils.  Some long, stormy days and nights there were when I
    felt such a craving for support and companionship as I cannot
    express.  Sleepless, I lay awake night after night; weak and unable
    to occupy myself, I sat in my chair day after day, the saddest
    memories my only company.  It was a time I shall never forget, but
    God sent it and it must have been for the best.

    'I am better now, and very grateful do I feel for the restoration of
    tolerable health; but, as if there was always to be some affliction,
    papa, who enjoyed wonderful health during the whole winter, is ailing
    with his spring attack of bronchitis.  I earnestly trust it may pass
    over in the comparatively ameliorated form in which it has hitherto
    shown itself.

    'Let me not forget to answer your question about the cataract.  Tell
    your papa my father was seventy at the time he underwent an
    operation; he was most reluctant to try the experiment--could not
    believe that at his age and with his want of robust strength it would
    succeed.  I was obliged to be very decided in the matter and to act
    entirely on my own responsibility.  Nearly six years have now elapsed
    since the cataract was extracted (it was not merely depressed).  He
    has never once, during that time, regretted the step, and a day
    seldom passes that he does not express gratitude and pleasure at the
    restoration of that inestimable privilege of vision whose loss he
    once knew.

    'I hope the next tidings you hear of your brother Charles will be
    satisfactory for his parents' and sisters' sake as well as his own.
    Your poor mamma has had many successive trials, and her uncomplaining
    resignation seems to offer us all an example worthy to be followed.
    Remember me kindly to her, to your papa, and all your circle,
    and--Believe me, with best wishes to yourself, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                      TO REV. P. BRONTE, HAWORTH, YORKS

                                  'CLIFF HOUSE, FILEY, _June_ 2_nd_, 1852.

    'DEAR PAPA,--Thank you for your letter, which I was so glad to get
    that I think I must answer it by return of post.  I had expected one
    yesterday, and was perhaps a little unreasonably anxious when
    disappointed, but the weather has been so very cold that I feared
    either you were ill or Martha worse.  I hope Martha will take care of
    herself.  I cannot help feeling a little uneasy about her.

    'On the whole I get on very well here, but I have not bathed yet as I
    am told it is much too cold and too early in the season.  The sea is
    very grand.  Yesterday it was a somewhat unusually high tide, and I
    stood about an hour on the cliffs yesterday afternoon watching the
    tumbling in of great tawny turbid waves, that made the whole shore
    white with foam and filled the air with a sound hollower and deeper
    than thunder.  There are so very few visitors at Filey yet that I and
    a few sea-birds and fishing-boats have often the whole expanse of
    sea, shore, and cliff to ourselves.  When the tide is out the sands
    are wide, long, and smooth, and very pleasant to walk on.  When the
    high tides are in, not a vestige of sand remains.  I saw a great dog
    rush into the sea yesterday, and swim and bear up against the waves
    like a seal.  I wonder what Flossy would say to that.

    'On Sunday afternoon I went to a church which I should like Mr.
    Nicholls to see.  It was certainly not more than thrice the length
    and breadth of our passage, floored with brick, the walls green with
    mould, the pews painted white, but the paint almost all worn off with
    time and decay.  At one end there is a little gallery for the
    singers, and when these personages stood up to perform they all
    turned their backs upon the congregation, and the congregation turned
    _their_ backs on the pulpit and parson.  The effect of this manoeuvre
    was so ludicrous, I could hardly help laughing; had Mr. Nicholls been
    there he certainly would have laughed out.  Looking up at the gallery
    and seeing only the broad backs of the singers presented to their
    audience was excessively grotesque.  There is a well-meaning but
    utterly inactive clergyman at Filey, and Methodists flourish.

    'I cannot help enjoying Mr. Butterfield's defeat; and yet in one
    sense this is a bad state of things, calculated to make working
    people both discontented and insubordinate.  Give my kind regards,
    dear papa, to Mr. Nicholls, Tabby, and Martha.  Charge Martha to
    beware of draughts, and to get such help in her cleaning as she shall
    need.  I hope you will continue well.--Believe me, your affectionate
    daughter,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                 '_December_ 15_th_, 1852.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I return the note, which is highly characteristic, and
    not, I fear, of good omen for the comfort of your visit.  There must
    be something wrong in herself as well as in her servants.  I inclose
    another note which, taken in conjunction with the incident
    immediately preceding it, and with a long series of indications whose
    meaning I scarce ventured hitherto to interpret to myself, much less
    hint to any other, has left on my mind a feeling of deep concern.
    This note you will see is from Mr. Nicholls.

    'I know not whether you have ever observed him specially when staying
    here.  Your perception is generally quick enough--_too_ quick, I have
    sometimes thought; yet as you never said anything, I restrained my
    own dim misgivings, which could not claim the sure guide of vision.
    What papa has seen or guessed I will not inquire, though I may
    conjecture.  He has minutely noticed all Mr. Nicholls's low spirits,
    all his threats of expatriation, all his symptoms of impaired
    health--noticed them with little sympathy and much indirect sarcasm.
    On Monday evening Mr. Nicholls was here to tea.  I vaguely felt
    without clearly seeing, as without seeing I have felt for some time,
    the meaning of his constant looks, and strange, feverish restraint.
    After tea I withdrew to the dining-room as usual.  As usual, Mr.
    Nicholls sat with papa till between eight and nine o'clock; I then
    heard him open the parlour door as if going.  I expected the clash of
    the front door.  He stopped in the passage; he tapped; like lightning
    it flashed on me what was coming.  He entered; he stood before me.
    What his words were you can guess; his manner you can hardly realise,
    nor can I forget it.  Shaking from head to foot, looking deadly pale,
    speaking low, vehemently, yet with difficulty, he made me for the
    first time feel what it costs a man to declare affection where he
    doubts response.

    'The spectacle of one ordinarily so statue-like thus trembling,
    stirred, and overcome, gave me a kind of strange shock.  He spoke of
    sufferings he had borne for months, of sufferings he could endure no
    longer, and craved leave for some hope.  I could only entreat him to
    leave me then and promise a reply on the morrow.  I asked him if he
    had spoken to papa.  He said he dared not.  I think I half led, half
    put him out of the room.  When he was gone I immediately went to
    papa, and told him what had taken place.  Agitation and anger
    disproportionate to the occasion ensued; if I had _loved_ Mr.
    Nicholls, and had heard such epithets applied to him as were used, it
    would have transported me past my patience; as it was, my blood
    boiled with a sense of injustice.  But papa worked himself into a
    state not to be trifled with: the veins on his temples started up
    like whip-cord, and his eyes became suddenly bloodshot.  I made haste
    to promise that Mr. Nicholls should on the morrow have a distinct
    refusal.

    'I wrote yesterday and got this note.  There is no need to add to
    this statement any comment.  Papa's vehement antipathy to the bare
    thought of any one thinking of me as a wife, and Mr. Nicholls's
    distress, both give me pain.  Attachment to Mr. Nicholls you are
    aware I never entertained, but the poignant pity inspired by his
    state on Monday evening, by the hurried revelation of his sufferings
    for many months, is something galling and irksome.  That he cared
    something for me, and wanted me to care for him, I have long
    suspected, but I did not know the degree or strength of his feelings.
    Dear Nell, good-bye.--Yours faithfully,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'I have letters from Sir J. K. Shuttleworth and Miss Martineau, but I
    cannot talk of them now.'

With this letter we see the tragedy beginning.  Mr. Bronte, with his
daughter's fame ringing in his ears, thought she should do better than
marry a curate with a hundred pounds per annum.  For once, and for the
only time in his life there is reason to believe, his passions were
thoroughly aroused.  It is to the honour of Mr. Nicholls, and says much
for his magnanimity, that he has always maintained that Mr. Bronte was
perfectly justified in the attitude he adopted.  His present feeling for
Mr. Bronte is one of unbounded respect and reverence, and the occasional
unfriendly references to his father-in-law have pained him perhaps even
more than when he has been himself the victim.

'Attachment to Mr. Nicholls you are aware I never entertained.'  A good
deal has been made of this and other casual references of Charlotte
Bronte to her slight affection for her future husband.  Martha Brown, the
servant, used in her latter days to say that Charlotte would come into
the kitchen and ask her if it was right to marry a man one did not
entirely love--and Martha Brown's esteem for Mr. Nicholls was very great.
But it is possible to make too much of all this.  It is a commonplace of
psychology to say that a woman's love is of slow growth.  It is quite
certain that Charlotte Bronte suffered much during this period of
alienation and separation; that she alone secured Mr. Nicholls's return
to Haworth, after his temporary estrangement from Mr. Bronte; and
finally, that the months of her married life, prior to her last illness,
were the happiest she was destined to know.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                        'HAWORTH, _December_ 18_th_, 1852.

    'DEAR NELL,--You may well ask, how is it? for I am sure I don't know.
    This business would seem to me like a dream, did not my reason tell
    me it has long been brewing.  It puzzles me to comprehend how and
    whence comes this turbulence of feeling.

    'You ask how papa demeans himself to Mr. Nicholls.  I only wish you
    were here to see papa in his present mood: you would know something
    of him.  He just treats him with a hardness not to be bent, and a
    contempt not to be propitiated.  The two have had no interview as
    yet; all has been done by letter.  Papa wrote, I must say, a most
    cruel note to Mr. Nicholls on Wednesday.  In his state of mind and
    health (for the poor man is horrifying his landlady, Martha's mother,
    by entirely rejecting his meals) I felt that the blow must be
    parried, and I thought it right to accompany the pitiless despatch by
    a line to the effect that, while Mr. Nicholls must never expect me to
    reciprocate the feeling he had expressed, yet, at the same time, I
    wished to disclaim participation in sentiments calculated to give him
    pain; and I exhorted him to maintain his courage and spirits.  On
    receiving the two letters, he set off from home.  Yesterday came the
    inclosed brief epistle.

    'You must understand that a good share of papa's anger arises from
    the idea, not altogether groundless, that Mr. Nicholls has behaved
    with disingenuousness in so long concealing his aim.  I am afraid
    also that papa thinks a little too much about his want of money; he
    says the match would be a degradation, that I should be throwing
    myself away, that he expects me, if I marry at all, to do very
    differently; in short, his manner of viewing the subject is on the
    whole far from being one in which I can sympathise.  My own
    objections arise from a sense of incongruity and uncongeniality in
    feelings, tastes, principles.

    'How are you getting on, dear Nell, and how are all at Brookroyd?
    Remember me kindly to everybody.--Yours, wishing devoutly that papa
    would resume his tranquillity, and Mr. Nicholls his beef and pudding,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'I am glad to say that the incipient inflammation in papa's eye is
    disappearing.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                   '_January_ 2_nd_, 1853.

    'DEAR NELL,--I thought of you on New Year's night, and hope you got
    well over your formidable tea-making.  I trust that Tuesday and
    Wednesday will also pass pleasantly.  I am busy too in my little way
    preparing to go to London this week, a matter which necessitates some
    little application to the needle.  I find it is quite necessary I
    should go to superintend the press, as Mr. Smith seems quite
    determined not to let the printing get on till I come.  I have
    actually only received three proof-sheets since I was at Brookroyd.
    Papa wants me to go too, to be out of the way, I suppose; but I am
    sorry for one other person whom nobody pities but me.  Martha is
    bitter against him; John Brown says "he should like to shoot him."
    They don't understand the nature of his feelings, but I see now what
    they are.  He is one of those who attach themselves to very few,
    whose sensations are close and deep, like an underground stream,
    running strong, but in a narrow channel.  He continues restless and
    ill; he carefully performs the occasional duty, but does not come
    near the church, procuring a substitute every Sunday.  A few days
    since he wrote to papa requesting permission to withdraw his
    resignation.  Papa answered that he should only do so on condition of
    giving his written promise never again to broach the obnoxious
    subject either to him or to me.  This he has evaded doing, so the
    matter remains unsettled.  I feel persuaded the termination will be
    his departure for Australia.  Dear Nell, without loving him, I don't
    like to think of him suffering in solitude, and wish him anywhere so
    that he were happier.  He and papa have never met or spoken yet.  I
    am very glad to learn that your mother is pretty well, and also that
    the piece of challenged work is progressing.  I hope you will not be
    called away to Norfolk before I come home: I should like you to pay a
    visit to Haworth first.  Write again soon.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_March_ 4_th_, 1853.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--We had the parsons to supper as well as to tea.  Mr. N.
    demeaned himself not quite pleasantly.  I thought he made no effort
    to struggle with his dejection but gave way to it in a manner to draw
    notice; the Bishop was obviously puzzled by it.  Mr. Nicholls also
    showed temper once or twice in speaking to papa.  Martha was
    beginning to tell me of certain "flaysome" looks also, but I desired
    not to hear of them.  The fact is, I shall be most thankful when he
    is well away.  I pity him, but I don't like that dark gloom of his.
    He dogged me up the lane after the evening service in no pleasant
    manner.  He stopped also in the passage after the Bishop and the
    other clergy were gone into the room, and it was because I drew away
    and went upstairs that he gave that look which filled Martha's soul
    with horror.  She, it seems, meantime, was making it her business to
    watch him from the kitchen door.  If Mr. Nicholls be a good man at
    bottom, it is a sad thing that nature has not given him the faculty
    to put goodness into a more attractive form.  Into the bargain of all
    the rest he managed to get up a most pertinacious and needless
    dispute with the Inspector, in listening to which all my old
    unfavourable impressions revived so strongly, I fear my countenance
    could not but shew them.

    'Dear Nell, I consider that on the whole it is a mercy you have been
    at home and not at Norfolk during the late cold weather.  Love to all
    at Brookroyd.--Yours faithfully,

    'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_March_ 9_th_, 1853.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I am sure Miss Wooler would enjoy her visit to you, as
    much as you her company.  Dear Nell, I thank you sincerely for your
    discreet and friendly silence on the point alluded to.  I had feared
    it would be discussed between you two, and had an inexpressible
    shrinking at the thought; now less than ever does it seem a matter
    open to discussion.  I hear nothing, and you must quite understand
    that if I feel any uneasiness it is not that of confirmed and fixed
    regard, but that anxiety which is inseparable from a state of
    absolute uncertainty about a somewhat momentous matter.  I do not
    know, I am not sure myself, that any other termination would be
    better than lasting estrangement and unbroken silence.  Yet a good
    deal of pain has been and must be gone through in that case.
    However, to each his burden.

    'I have not yet read the papers; D.V. I will send them
    to-morrow.--Yours faithfully,

                                                               'C. BRONTE.

    'Understand that in whatever I have said above, it was not for pity
    or sympathy.  I hardly pity myself.  Only I wish that in all matters
    in this world there was fair and open dealing, and no underhand
    work.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                            'HAWORTH, _April_ 6_th_, 1853.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--My visit to Manchester is for the present put off by
    Mr. Morgan having written to say that since papa will not go to
    Buckingham to see him he will come to Yorkshire to see papa; when, I
    don't yet know, and I trust in goodness he will not stay long, as
    papa really cannot bear putting out of his way.  I must wait,
    however, till the infliction is over.

    'You ask about Mr. Nicholls.  I hear he has got a curacy, but do not
    yet know where.  I trust the news is true.  He and papa never speak.
    He seems to pass a desolate life.  He has allowed late circumstances
    so to act on him as to freeze up his manner and overcast his
    countenance not only to those immediately concerned but to every one.
    He sits drearily in his rooms.  If Mr. Grant or any other clergyman
    calls to see, and as they think, to cheer him, he scarcely speaks.  I
    find he tells them nothing, seeks no confidant, rebuffs all attempts
    to penetrate his mind.  I own I respect him for this.  He still lets
    Flossy go to his rooms, and takes him to walk.  He still goes over to
    see Mr. Sowden sometimes, and, poor fellow, that is all.  He looks
    ill and miserable.  I think and trust in Heaven that he will be
    better as soon as he fairly gets away from Haworth.  I pity him
    inexpressibly.  We never meet nor speak, nor dare I look at him;
    silent pity is just all that I can give him, and as he knows nothing
    about that, it does not comfort.  He is now grown so gloomy and
    reserved that nobody seems to like him.  His fellow-curates shun
    trouble in that shape; the lower orders dislike it.  Papa has a
    perfect antipathy to him, and he, I fear, to papa.  Martha hates him.
    I think he might almost be _dying_ and they would not speak a
    friendly word to or of him.  How much of all this he deserves I can't
    tell; certainly he never was agreeable or amiable, and is less so now
    than ever, and alas! I do not know him well enough to be sure that
    there is truth and true affection, or only rancour and corroding
    disappointment at the bottom of his chagrin.  In this state of things
    I must be, and I am, _entirely passive_.  I may be losing the purest
    gem, and to me far the most precious, life can give--genuine
    attachment--or I may be escaping the yoke of a morose temper.  In
    this doubt conscience will not suffer me to take one step in
    opposition to papa's will, blended as that will is with the most
    bitter and unreasonable prejudices.  So I just leave the matter where
    we must leave all important matters.

    'Remember me kindly to all at Brookroyd, and--Believe me, yours
    faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                        '_May_ 16th, 1853.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--The east winds about which you inquire have spared me
    wonderfully till to-day, when I feel somewhat sick physically, and
    not very blithe mentally.  I am not sure that the east winds are
    entirely to blame for this ailment.  Yesterday was a strange sort of
    a day at church.  It seems as if I were to be punished for my doubts
    about the nature and truth of poor Mr. Nicholls's regard.  Having
    ventured on Whit Sunday to stop the sacrament, I got a lesson not to
    be repeated.  He struggled, faltered, then lost command over
    himself--stood before my eyes and in the sight of all the
    communicants white, shaking, voiceless.  Papa was not there, thank
    God!  Joseph Redman spoke some words to him.  He made a great effort,
    but could only with difficulty whisper and falter through the
    service.  I suppose he thought this would be the last time; he goes
    either this week or the next.  I heard the women sobbing round, and I
    could not quite check my own tears.  What had happened was reported
    to papa either by Joseph Redman or John Brown; it excited only anger,
    and such expressions as "unmanly driveller."  Compassion or relenting
    is no more to be looked for than sap from firewood.

    'I never saw a battle more sternly fought with the feelings than Mr.
    Nicholls fights with his, and when he yields momentarily, you are
    almost sickened by the sense of the strain upon him.  However, he is
    to go, and I cannot speak to him or look at him or comfort him a
    whit, and I must submit.  Providence is over all, that is the only
    consolation.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                      '_May_ 19_th_, 1853.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--I cannot help feeling a certain satisfaction in finding
    that the people here are getting up a subscription to offer a
    testimonial of respect to Mr. Nicholls on his leaving the place.
    Many are expressing both their commiseration and esteem for him.  The
    Churchwardens recently put the question to him plainly: Why was he
    going?  Was it Mr. Bronte's fault or his own?  "His own," he
    answered.  Did he blame Mr. Bronte?  "No! he did not: if anybody was
    wrong it was himself."  Was he willing to go?  "No! it gave him great
    pain."  Yet he is not always right.  I must be just.  He shows a
    curious mixture of honour and obstinacy--feeling and sullenness.
    Papa addressed him at the school tea-drinking, with _constrained_
    civility, but still with _civility_.  He did not reply civilly; he
    cut short further words.  This sort of treatment offered in public is
    what papa never will forget or forgive, it inspires him with a silent
    bitterness not to be expressed.  I am afraid both are unchristian in
    their mutual feelings.  Nor do I know which of them is least
    accessible to reason or least likely to forgive.  It is a dismal
    state of things.

    'The weather is fine now, dear Nell.  We will take these sunny days
    as a good omen for your visit to Yarmouth.  With kind regards to all
    at Brookroyd, and best wishes to yourself,--I am, yours sincerely,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                             'HAWORTH, _May_ 27_th_, 1853.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--You will want to know about the leave-taking?  The
    whole matter is but a painful subject, but I must treat it briefly.
    The testimonial was presented in a public meeting.  Mr. Taylor and
    Mr. Grant were there.  Papa was not very well and I advised him to
    stay away, which he did.  As to the last Sunday, it was a cruel
    struggle.  Mr. Nicholls ought not to have had to take any duty.

    'He left Haworth this morning at six o'clock.  Yesterday evening he
    called to render into papa's hands the deeds of the National School,
    and to say good-bye.  They were busy cleaning--washing the paint,
    etc., in the dining-room, so he did not find me there.  I would not
    go into the parlour to speak to him in papa's presence.  He went out,
    thinking he was not to see me; and indeed, till the very last moment,
    I thought it best not.  But perceiving that he stayed long before
    going out at the gate, and remembering his long grief, I took courage
    and went out, trembling and miserable.  I found him leaning against
    the garden door in a paroxysm of anguish, sobbing as women never sob.
    Of course I went straight to him.  Very few words were interchanged,
    those few barely articulate.  Several things I should have liked to
    ask him were swept entirely from my memory.  Poor fellow!  But he
    wanted such hope and such encouragement as I could not give him.
    Still, I trust he must know now that I am not cruelly blind and
    indifferent to his constancy and grief.  For a few weeks he goes to
    the south of England, afterwards he takes a curacy somewhere in
    Yorkshire, but I don't know where.

    'Papa has been far from strong lately.  I dare not mention Mr.
    Nicholls's name to him.  He speaks of him quietly and without
    opprobrium to others, but to me he is implacable on the matter.
    However, he is gone--gone, and there's an end of it.  I see no chance
    of hearing a word about him in future, unless some stray shred of
    intelligence comes through Mr. Sowden or some other second-hand
    source.  In all this it is not I who am to be pitied at all, and of
    course nobody pities me.  They all think in Haworth that I have
    disdainfully refused him.  If pity would do Mr. Nicholls any good, he
    ought to have, and I believe has it.  They may abuse me if they will;
    whether they do or not I can't tell.

    'Write soon and say how your prospects proceed.  I trust they will
    daily brighten.--Yours faithfully,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                         TO MISS LAETITIA WHEELWRIGHT

                                           'HAWORTH, _March_ 18_th_, 1854.

    'MY DEAR LAETITIA,--I was very glad to see your handwriting again; it
    is, I believe, a year since I heard from you.  Again and again you
    have recurred to my thoughts lately, and I was beginning to have some
    sad presages as to the cause of your silence.  Your letter happily
    does away with all these; it brings, on the whole, good tidings both
    of your papa, mamma, your sister, and, last but not least, your dear
    respected English self.

    'My dear father has borne the severe winter very well, a circumstance
    for which I feel the more thankful, as he had many weeks of very
    precarious health last summer, following an attack from which he
    suffered last June, and which for a few hours deprived him totally of
    sight, though neither his mind, speech, nor even his powers of motion
    were in the least affected.  I can hardly tell you how thankful I
    was, dear Laetitia, when, after that dreary and almost despairing
    interval of utter darkness, some gleam of daylight became visible to
    him once more.  I had feared that paralysis had seized the optic
    nerve.  A sort of mist remained for a long time, and indeed his
    vision is not yet perfectly clear, but he can read, write, and walk
    about, and he preaches _twice_ every Sunday, the curate only reading
    the prayers.  _You_ can well understand how earnestly I pray that
    sight may be spared him to the end; he so dreads the privation of
    blindness.  His mind is just as strong and active as ever, and
    politics interest him as they do _your_ papa.  The Czar, the war, the
    alliance between France and England--into all these things he throws
    himself heart and soul.  They seem to carry him back to his
    comparatively young days, and to renew the excitement of the last
    great European struggle.  Of course, my father's sympathies, and mine
    too, are all with justice and Europe against tyranny and Russia.

    'Circumstanced as I have been, you will comprehend that I had neither
    the leisure nor inclination to go from home much during the past
    year.  I spent a week with Mrs. Gaskell in the spring, and a
    fortnight with some other friends more recently, and that includes
    the whole of my visiting since I saw you last.  My life is indeed
    very uniform and retired, more so than is quite healthful either for
    mind or body; yet I feel reason for often renewed feelings of
    gratitude in the sort of support which still comes and cheers me from
    time to time.  My health, though not unbroken, is, I sometimes fancy,
    rather stronger on the whole than it was three years ago; headache
    and dyspepsia are my worst ailments.  Whether I shall come up to town
    this season for a few days I do not yet know; but if I do I shall
    hope to call in Phillimore Place.  With kindest remembrances to your
    papa, mamma, and sisters,--I am, dear Laetitia, affectionately yours,

    'C. BRONTE.'

Mr. Nicholls's successor did not prove acceptable to Mr. Bronte.  He
complained again and again, and one day Charlotte turned upon her father
and told him pretty frankly that he was alone to blame--that he had only
to let her marry Mr. Nicholls, with whom she corresponded and whom she
really loved, and all would be well.  A little arrangement, the transfer
of Mr. Nicholls's successor, Mr. De Renzi, to a Bradford church, and Mr.
Nicholls left his curacy at Kirk-Smeaton and returned once more to
Haworth as an accepted lover.

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                           'HAWORTH, _March_ 28_th_, 1854.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--The inclosure in yours of yesterday puzzled me at
    first, for I did not immediately recognise my own hand-writing; when
    I did, the sensation was one of consternation and vexation, as the
    letter ought by all means to have gone on Friday.  It was intended to
    relieve him of great anxiety.  However, I trust he will get it
    to-day; and on the whole, when I think it over, I can only be
    thankful that the mistake was no worse, and did not throw the letter
    into the hands of some indifferent and unscrupulous person.  I wrote
    it after some days of indisposition and uneasiness, and when I felt
    weak and unfit to write.  While writing to him, I was at the same
    time intending to answer your note, which I suppose accounts for the
    confusion of ideas, shown in the mixed and blundering address.

    'I wish you could come about Easter rather than at another time, for
    this reason: Mr. Nicholls, if not prevented, proposes coming over
    then.  I suppose he will stay at Mr. Grant's, as he has done two or
    three times before, but he will be frequently coming here, which
    would enliven your visit a little.  Perhaps, too, he might take a
    walk with us occasionally.  Altogether it would be a little change,
    such as, you know, I could not always offer.

    'If all be well he will come under different circumstances to any
    that have attended his visits before; were it otherwise, I should not
    ask you to meet him, for when aspects are gloomy and unpropitious,
    the fewer there are to suffer from the cloud the better.

    'He was here in January and was then received, but not pleasantly.  I
    trust it will be a little different now.

    'Papa breakfasts in bed and has not yet risen; his bronchitis is
    still troublesome.  I had a bad week last week, but am greatly better
    now, for my mind is a little relieved, though very sedate, and rising
    only to expectations the most moderate.

    'Sometime, perhaps in May, I may hope to come to Brookroyd, but, as
    you will understand from what I have now stated, I could not come
    before.

    'Think it over, dear Nell, and come to Haworth if you can.  Write as
    soon as you can decide.--Yours affectionately,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                     '_April_ 1_st_, 1854.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--You certainly were right in your second
    interpretation of my note.  I am too well aware of the dulness of
    Haworth for any visitor, not to be glad to avail myself of the chance
    of offering even a slight change.  But this morning my little plans
    have been disarranged by an intimation that Mr. Nicholls is coming on
    Monday.  I thought to put him off, but have not succeeded.  As Easter
    now consequently seems an unfavourable period both from your point of
    view and mine, we will adjourn it till a better opportunity offers.
    Meantime, I thank you, dear Ellen, for your kind offer to come in
    case I wanted you.  Papa is still very far from well: his cough very
    troublesome, and a good deal of inflammatory action in the chest.
    To-day he seems somewhat better than yesterday, and I earnestly hope
    the improvement may continue.

    'With kind regards to your mother and all at Brookroyd,--I am, dear
    Ellen, yours affectionately,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                           'HAWORTH, _April_ 11_th_, 1854.

    'DEAR ELLEN,--Thank you for the collar; it is very pretty, and I will
    wear it for the sake of her who made and gave it.

    'Mr. Nicholls came on Monday, and was here all last week.  Matters
    have progressed thus since July.  He renewed his visit in September,
    but then matters so fell out that I saw little of him.  He continued
    to write.  The correspondence pressed on my mind.  I grew very
    miserable in keeping it from papa.  At last sheer pain made me gather
    courage to break it.  I told all.  It was very hard and rough work at
    the time, but the issue after a few days was that I obtained leave to
    continue the communication.  Mr. Nicholls came in January; he was ten
    days in the neighbourhood.  I saw much of him.  I had stipulated with
    papa for opportunity to become better acquainted.  I had it, and all
    I learnt inclined me to esteem and affection.  Still papa was very,
    very hostile, bitterly unjust.

    'I told Mr. Nicholls the great obstacle that lay in his way.  He has
    persevered.  The result of this, his last visit, is, that papa's
    consent is gained, that his respect, I believe, is won, for Mr.
    Nicholls has in all things proved himself disinterested and
    forbearing.  Certainly, I must respect him, nor can I withhold from
    him more than mere cool respect.  In fact, dear Ellen, I am engaged.

    'Mr. Nicholls, in the course of a few months, will return to the
    curacy of Haworth.  I stipulated that I would not leave papa; and to
    papa himself I proposed a plan of residence which should maintain his
    seclusion and convenience uninvaded, and in a pecuniary sense bring
    him gain instead of loss.  What seemed at one time impossible is now
    arranged, and papa begins really to take a pleasure in the prospect.

    'For myself, dear Ellen, while thankful to One who seems to have
    guided me through much difficulty, much and deep distress and
    perplexity of mind, I am still very calm, very inexpectant.  What I
    taste of happiness is of the soberest order.  I trust to love my
    husband.  I am grateful for his tender love to me.  I believe him to
    be an affectionate, a conscientious, a high-principled man; and if,
    with all this, I should yield to regrets that fine talents, congenial
    tastes and thoughts are not added, it seems to me I should be most
    presumptuous and thankless.

    'Providence offers me this destiny.  Doubtless, then, it is the best
    for me.  Nor do I shrink from wishing those dear to me one not less
    happy.

    'It is possible that our marriage may take place in the course of the
    summer.  Mr. Nicholls wishes it to be in July.  He spoke of you with
    great kindness, and said he hoped you would be at our wedding.  I
    said I thought of having no other bridesmaid.  Did I say rightly?  I
    mean the marriage to be literally as quiet as possible.

    'Do not mention these things just yet.  I mean to write to Miss
    Wooler shortly.  Good-bye.  There is a strange half-sad feeling in
    making these announcements.  The whole thing is something other than
    imagination paints it beforehand; cares, fears, come mixed
    inextricably with hopes.  I trust yet to talk the matter over with
    you.  Often last week I wished for your presence and said so to Mr.
    Nicholls--Arthur, as I now call him, but he said it was the only time
    and place when he could not have wished to see you.  Good-bye.--Yours
    affectionately,

                                                              'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_April_ 15_th_, 1854.

    'MY OWN DEAR NELL,--I hope to see you somewhere about the second week
    in May.

    'The Manchester visit is still hanging over my head.  I have deferred
    it, and deferred it, but have finally promised to go about the
    beginning of next month.  I shall only stay three days, then I spend
    two or three days at Hunsworth, then come to Brookroyd.  The three
    visits must be compressed into the space of a fortnight, if possible.

    'I suppose I shall have to go to Leeds.  My purchases cannot be
    either expensive or extensive.  You must just resolve in your head
    the bonnets and dresses; something that can be turned to decent use
    and worn after the wedding-day will be best, I think.

    'I wrote immediately to Miss Wooler and received a truly kind letter
    from her this morning.  If you think she would like to come to the
    marriage I will not fail to ask her.

    'Papa's mind seems wholly changed about the matter, and he has said
    both to me and when I was not there, how much happier he feels since
    he allowed all to be settled.  It is a wonderful relief for me to
    hear him treat the thing rationally, to talk over with him themes on
    which once I dared not touch.  He is rather anxious things should get
    forward now, and takes quite an interest in the arrangement of
    preliminaries.  His health improves daily, though this east wind
    still keeps up a slight irritation in the throat and chest.

    'The feeling which had been disappointed in papa was ambition,
    paternal pride--ever a restless feeling, as we all know.  Now that
    this unquiet spirit is exorcised, justice, which was once quite
    forgotten, is once more listened to, and affection, I hope, resumes
    some power.

    'My hope is that in the end this arrangement will turn out more truly
    to papa's advantage than any other it was in my power to achieve.
    Mr. Nicholls in his last letter refers touchingly to his earnest
    desire to prove his gratitude to papa, by offering support and
    consolation to his declining age.  This will not be mere talk with
    him--he is no talker, no dealer in professions.--Yours
    affectionately,

    'C. BRONTE.'

                             TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY

                                                    '_April_ 28_th_, 1854.

    'MY DEAR ELLEN,--I have delayed writing till I could give you some
    clear notion of my movements.  If all be well, I go to Manchester on
    the 1st of May.  Thence, on Thursday, to Hunsworth till Monday, when
    (D.V.) I come to Brookroyd.  I must be at home by the close of the
    week.  Papa, thank God! continues to improve much.  He preached twice
    on Sunday and again on Wednesday, and was not tired; his mind and
    mood are different to what they were, so much more cheerful and
    quiet.  I trust the illusions of ambition are quite dissipated, and
    that he really sees it is better to relieve a suffering and faithful
    heart, to secure its fidelity, a solid good, than unfeelingly to
    abandon one who is truly attached to his interest as well as mine,
    and pursue some vain empty shadow.

    'I thank you, dear Ellen, for your kind invitation to Mr. Nicholls.
    He was asked likewise to Manchester and Hunsworth.  I would not have
    opposed his coming had there been no real obstacle to the
    arrangement--certain little awkwardnesses of feeling I would have
    tried to get over for the sake of introducing him to old friends; but
    it so happens that he cannot leave on account of his rector's
    absence.  Mr. C. will be in town with his family till June, and he
    always stipulates that his curate shall remain at Kirk-Smeaton while
    he is away.

    'How did you get on at the Oratorio?  And what did Miss Wooler say to
    the proposal of being at the wedding?  I have many points to di