shows number 65, Cornhill, London - the premises of Smith, Elder & Co. - Charlotte's publishers. It was into this building where she and Anne walked on Saturday, 8 July 1848, and shocked George Smith (who had already published Jane Eyre, but had never met its author) by presenting him with his own letter that he had addressed to 'Currer Bell': it took him several moments to realise that standing in front of him were Currer and Acton Bell - authors of Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
William Smith Williams was the literary advisor (or 'reader', as he was more commonly referred to) to Smith, Elder & Co. - Charlotte's publisher. The company's manager and joint owner was one George Smith. Charlotte ultimately became close friends with these gentlemen, writing frequently to them both. On one occasion, when she was ill, Anne wrote a letter on her behalf to Smith Williams (see 'The Letters of Anne Brontë' - from 'Main Page'). When Anne and Charlotte paid an uninvited visit to the publishers in July 1848 in order to dispel the rumour that the three 'Bell brothers' were in fact all one and the same person, they were greeted by a shocked George Smith. He did, however, take it upon himself to entertain the two ladies during their four-day stay in London. Both these gentlemen lived into old age, Smith Williams dying at the age of 77 in 1875, and George Smith, who went on to become 'the grand old man of English publishing' died in 1901 at the age of 78.