CB to EN 7 nov.1854: as to my own notes, I never thougt of attaching importance to them, or considering their fate- till Arthus seemed to reflect on both so seriously. http://greeneyedmystic.blogspot.com/2010/09/charlotte-bronte-letters-1853-55.html
A sharp exchange, through Clement Shorter, over 40 years later, revealed the fact that Charlotte had not kept Ellen's letters.
EN to Clement Shorter 10-04-1895 ""Pray to mr. Nicholls that if he has found letters written by me to Charlotte before marriage, that I request that in faith to his wifes wishes he will seal them to me at once""- She declared her intention of destroying everything of the kind.
ABN to Clement Shorter 26-04-1895: You may tell Miss Nussey that her letters never came into my possession; in fact I cannot remember having ever seen a scrap of her handwriting. I presume my wife burned them as soon as read.
Who is Clement Shorter?
The story of how Arthur Nicholls was persuaded to part with his treasured mementos
And by whom, has itself been the subject of books, but the bones of the story are this: on the 31 July 1895, the fortieth anniversary of Charlotte’s death, Arthur Nicholls received a visit from Clement Shorter, a book collector and journalist on the Illustrated London News who had written an introduction to one of the cheap editions of Jane Eyre. Shorter was researching a new biography of Charlotte that was to come out the following year underthe title Charlotte Brontë and her Circle (1896), and he interviewed Nicholls at length.
However, during the interview, Shorter managed to persuade Nicholls to part with the
greater part of his manuscripts and letters, including the little books. Shorter told Nicholls that close study of the juvenilia would cast valuable new light on the Brontës’literary development, and he promised that, when he had finished with the manuscripts, they would be deposited in the safe keeping of the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. Nicholls was, by 1895, seventy-six years old, and the promise of his treasures being secured for the nation rather than cast, after his death, upon the market,
evidently appealed to him, as too would the money, for his means were by thenstraightened. He sold the collection, with exclusive rights, to Clement Shorter. But Shorter was not working alone in the purchase of Nicholls’ collection, he had a partner in the London bibliographer and book dealer, T. J. Wise, and Nicholls received cheques from both of them. Over the years that followed, most of the Brontës’ early
poems and stories were first published (under Shorter’s assumed copyright) by either Shorter or Wise, but none of the manuscripts ever saw the inside of the South
Kensington Museum. Wise vandalized Nicholls’ collection and sold it, scattering it across the globe.