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

donderdag 3 maart 2011

More information about Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor came out from England to join her brother, Waring Taylor, in the forties, and remained until about 1860. Her sojourn in early Wellington gains much interest from the fact that she was the life-long friend and correspondent of the Bronte sisters, more especially of the eldest sister, Charlotte. She is the M- of Mrs. Gaskell's biography of Charlotte Bronte and the Rose Yorke of "Shirley," as her brother was the Martin Yorke of the same novel. Unfortunately, the letters of Charlotte Bronte to Mary Taylor in New Zealand were never kept, but the letters to Charlotte Bronte from her friend in Port Nicholson make interesting reading and are freely quoted in "Charlotte Bronte and her Circle" by Clement Shorter (1896).
Mary Taylor, joined later by her cousin Ellen Taylor, though well educated for her day, had no inclination to follow any academic calling in the New World and opened a shop, a small general store, on the site of what is now Selfridge's stores, Cuba Street. She appears to have had good business ability, enjoyed the companionship of her cousin, whose early death she deeply deplored, wrote articles occasionally to English papers, and was engaged in desultory fashion in writing a novel, "Miss Miles or a Tale of Yorkshire Life Sixty Years Ago." This was not published, however, until 1890, when it created but little interest. It is apparent from her letters that in New Zealand she missed the literary associations of her friends, and felt isolated, mentally and physically, especially when the mails brought from her beloved Charlotte such "incredible" achievements as "Jane Eyre" and "Shirley," with news of their repercussions. There is no doubt that each gained from the other's friendship. Had Mary Taylor not been staying at Brussels in her youth, the Bronte sisters might never have gone there, and the world would have been the poorer by the powerful novel "Villette" and its interesting Professor. About 1859 or 1860 she returned to England and spent the remainder of her days in seclusion in a home she had built for herself in Yorkshire. She died in 1893.

Mary Taylor's little shop has long since melted away into the dim forgotten past, but she has left a more permanent memorial in a busy little city thoroughfare whose entrance is almost hidden between lofty buildings in Ghuznee Street east. This is Leeds Street, constructed across sec. 181, a stone's throw from her shop in Cuba Street. In 1852 this section was granted to the Hon. Algernon Tollemache (1805-1897), a picturesque figure of early Wellington, who, with 'a deep purse, a lengthy family-tree (7) and good mixing capacity, enjoyed pioneering life for some years in a cottage at the corner of Abel Smith Street and Willis Street. He appeared to have done nothing with the section and in 1859 sold it to Mary Taylor, who cut it up and sold portions, leaving the street as a reminder of her Yorkshire memories. She herself was the daughter of a Yorkshire merchant.


The Cuba Street Memories Project is the libraries' first collaborative history project. Help us build a history of Cuba Street online - share your memories and pictures of Cuba Street and contribute your knowledge of the

This site gives VERY INTERESTING information about Mary Taylor!!!!!!http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1t21/1

For instance:
Soon after she reached New Zealand Charlotte Brontë sent her £10, having heard that her circumstances were worse than they in fact were. She bought a cow with the money.

In August 1849 Mary Taylor's cousin Ellen Taylor arrived in Wellington on the Jane Catherine from England. With financial help from Mary's brothers in England the two women leased a subdivision of Town Acre 178 on the south-western corner of Dixon and Cuba streets and there Ellen built a small, two-storeyed house. They then carried out the plan, which Mary had been considering for some time, of opening a shop. Mary had met many potential customers and had gained valuable experience in business by observing, and probably taking part in, her brother Waring's dealings. He had a shop and import agency, near where Mary and Ellen had their drapery and clothing shop, and traded in a variety of commodities including land, wool, cattle and clothing. Waring taught bookkeeping to the two women and helped with the wholesale purchases. Mary and Ellen took turns in the work week about, one attending to the shop and the accounts while the other did housework in their living accommodation over and behind the shop.
The arrival of her cousin not only encouraged Mary Taylor to open this shop, but also provided her with a closer companionship than she had previously known in New Zealand. In 1850 she wrote to Charlotte Brontë that she had wished for 15 years to earn her own living and that keeping a shop appeared healthier than schoolteaching. She hoped to make a profit of £300 or £400 per year. Once the shop was established, she was delighted with it and thoroughly enjoyed the manual labour involved.

Ellen Taylor died of tuberculosis in December 1851. Mary Taylor, who had nursed her cousin in her illness, was deeply grieved but continued alone with the shop. Since the building had been put up with Ellen's money, Mary bought it from Ellen's brother. The shop continued to be successful: Mary extended the premises and took on an assistant; relatives and friends continued to supply her with goods from England; and she appears to have been the first to import a sewing machine to Wellington. By 1853 the Wellington Almanack listed her shop as one of the principal stores.

Several years after Ellen's death, however, Mary found her shop was becoming less profitable and by June 1858 she had stopped ordering any more goods from England. She had decided to leave New Zealand by the following year.

Before she left, Mary Taylor sold her shop to her assistant and invested £400 of her capital in buying two blocks of land in Te Aro. She left Wellington for Wanganui in May 1859 and by the following year had returned to Yorkshire where she lived for the rest of her life.
Read more on the site http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1t21/1

1 opmerking:

  1. There could be a movie made about Mary's life, couldn't there?! The 'teara' site is great, so much information, she really was a pioneer in New Zealand merchandising, amazing! Sad about her cousin Ellen...I didn't know that fact.
    Another great post Geri...
    xo J~


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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