I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

maandag 7 maart 2011

Letters from Ellen Nussey, where are they?

http://24corners.blogspot.com/ asked me:

Have you ever read any of Ellen's letters to Charlotte? I've only read Charlotte's to her. It would be nice to hear Ellen's voice, as it has been so nice to hear Mary's.

I like this question and I am looking for an answer.
I found  this information about a letter from Charlotte, it is not about the topic, but still interesting.
A letter by Charlotte Brontë found in a laundry room
This book is about Ellens' letters, but now ....
are Ellen's letters on internet?

Over 350 letters from Charlotte Brontë to Nussey were used in Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë he prevented at least one other publication from using them. Following Nussey's death in 1897, aged 80, her possessions and letters were dispersed at auction, and many of Brontë's letters to her eventually made their way through donation or purchase to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth in Yorkshire.  
Catalogue of letters
(This is interesting, doesn't have to do with the letters I am searching for.
http://www.spring.net/ )

Ellen Nussey, visiting Haworth for the first time some twenty years earlier, also found the Parsonage scrupulously clean but considerably more austere. There were no curtains at the windows because, she said, of Patrick's fear of fire though internal wooden shutters more than adequately supplied their place.

'There was not much carpet any where except in the Sitting room, and on the centre of the study floor. The hall floor and stairs were done with sand stone, always beautifully clean as everything about the house was, the walls were not papered but coloured in a pretty dove-coloured tint, hair-seated chairs and mahogany tables, book-shelves in the Study but not many of these elsewhere. Scant and bare indeed many will say, yet it was not a scantness that made itself felt . . .'

In 1871, Ellen Nussey, a lifelong friend of the Brontës, wrote of her first impressions of the fifteen-year-old Emily in Reminiscences of Charlotte Brontë:

Emily Brontë had by this time acquired a lithesome, graceful figure. She was the tallest person in the house, except her father. Her hair, which was naturally as beautiful as Charlotte's, was in the same unbecoming tight curl and frizz, and there was the same want of complexion. She had very beautiful eyes – kind, kindling, liquid eyes; but she did not often look at you; she was too reserved. Their colour might be said to be dark grey, at other times dark blue, they varied so. She talked very little. She and Anne were like twins – inseparable companions, and in the very closest sympathy, which never had any interruption.


I only find letters from Charlotte to Ellen,
 but no letters of Ellen to Charlotte

I read on an website that non of the letters of Ellen exists anymore.
When I go to this website again I am not allowed anymore.
What I did read was:
Presumably they were destroyed just as Nussey was asked by Brontë’s husband Arthur Bell, soon after their marriage, to destroy those she had received from Brontë because of their ‘passionate language’. She refused.

 A surviving letter from Charlotte to Ellen dated 20 october 1854 shows her husband’s surveillance in action:
Arthur has just been glancing over this note . . . you must BURN it when read. Arthur says such letters as mine never ought to be kept, they are dangerous as Lucifer matches so be sure to follow the recommendation he has just given, ‘fire them’ or ‘there will be no more,’ such is his resolve . . . he is bending over the desk with his eyes full of concern. I am now desired to have done with it . . .
The writer of the book Letters tot Charlotte Caeia March keeps an weblog, she writes:
The next day I had a small an intimate reading in a friend’s home – a warm and friendly gathering in which I was asked: Why do you think that Ellen Nussey chose not to burn her letters? This I shall answer more fully in an Ezine article soon. Here I would comment that I am certain she kept them as an embodiment of the Charlotte whom she had loved so deeply and for all of her own life. Ellen did not die until she was over eighty, in the November of 1897. I think she would have read and reread Charlotte’s hand writing, imagining or even feeling Charlotte’s presence though the sight of the formed words and phrases and the shape of the signatures.

What I wonder is: Is this about the letters Charlotte wrote to Ellen, or also about the letters Ellen wrote to Charlotte.
Question: What happened to the letters Ellen Nussey sent to Charlotte Bronte?

3 opmerkingen:

  1. We have quite a mystery here don't we!? I wonder if Arthur disposed of Ellen's letter's to Charlotte...but like you said, then how could there be a book about them if they were destroyed.
    In Charlotte's and Anne's books, you can see that women who were good friends spoke much more affectionately to one another than they do today, this can be seen in Charlotte's letters to Ellen and even is some to other. Her friendships meant so much to her, especially during times of agony and loneliness.
    I know that Arthur was appalled in the way that Charlotte and Ellen discussed and analyzed people's characters (just as women are want to do) and I believe that is the reason he wanted the letters destroyed, he was shocked by the openess of character assasination and dissection...I don't believe it was more than that.
    It seems that searching for Ellen's letters will be an interesting hunt!
    xo J~

  2. I just came back from Amazon.com as I was looking up "Letters To Charlotte", and discovered that these are fictionalized letters from Ellen. There are three reader reviews which were interesting to read though.
    Someone has to know what happened to those letters, so strange!
    xo J~

  3. Charlotte did not keep Ellen's letters. I believe she routinely burned others letters

    When CB sent Ellen the letter where Rev Bronte signed off as Flossy to read , CB said
    " you are free to burn this after reading "

    and CB's routine of burning of letters is why when Arthur said Ellen must burn Charlotte's letters,
    Charlotte said " okay fine " lol

    As far as I can tell the only, letter Charlotte kept was Southey 's

    and you know what? I don't think Ellen's were that great anyway
    I'd much rather have Mary Taylor's letters to CB lol


The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte

Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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