The parsonage cellars could be turned into dungeons fot political prisones or cells for punishing naughty school children.
In acting their early plays, they performed them with childish glee, and did not fail at times to ' tear a passion to tatters.' They observed that Tabby did not approve of such extraordinary proceedings; but on one occasion, with increased energy of action and voice, they so wrought on her fears that she retreated to her nephew's house, and, as soon as she could regain her breath, she exclaimed,
William ! yah muu gooa up to Mr. Bronte's, for aw'm sure yon childer's all gooin mad, and aw darn't stop 'ith hause ony longer wi' 'em; an' aw'll stay here woll yah come back!'
When the nephew reached the parsonage, ' the childer set up a great crack o' laughin',' at the wonderful joke they had perpetrated on faithful Tabby.
When my children were very young/ says Mr. Bronte, ' when, as far as I can remember, the oldest was about ten years of age, and the youngest about four, thinking that they knew more than I had yet discovered, in order to make them speak with less timidity, I deemed that, if they were put under a sort of cover, I might gain my end ; and, happening to have a mask in the house, I told them all to stand and
speak boldly from under cover of the mask. I began with the youngest (Anne, afterwards Acton Bell), and asked what a child like her most wanted ; she answered, " Age and experience." I asked the next (Emily, afterwards Ellis Bell) what I had best do with her brother Branwell, who was sometimes a naughty boy; she answered, " Reason with him, and, when he won't listen to reason, whip him. 1 ' I asked
Branwell what was the best way of knowing the difference between the intellects of man and woman; he answered, " By considering the difference between them as to their bodies." ' In answer to a question as to which were the two best books, Charlotte said that ' the Bible,' and after it the ' Book of Nature,' were the best. Mr. Bronte then asked the next daughter, ' What is the best mode of education for a woman ;' she answered, ' That which would make her rule her house well.' He then asked the eldest, Maria, ' What is the best mode of spending time ;' she answered, ' By laying it out in preparation for a happy eternity.' He says he may not have given the exact words, but they were nearly so, and they had made a
lasting impression on his memory.