Fed up with teaching young girls their lessons, future novelist Charlotte Brontë began a diary entry that grew into a fictional fantasy.
During this rare moment alone, Brontë confessed her feelings of alienation. "It is strange," she wrote, "I cannot get used to the ongoings that surround me. I fulfil my duties strictly & well," but "as God was not in the wind, nor the fire, nor the earth-quake, so neither is my heart in the task, the theme or the exercises." Over the course of her teenage years, Brontë had found a creative way to get through such uncomfortable moments. She had learned to listen to what she called the "still small voice alone that comes to me at eventide"—an imaginative voice that granted her escape and release. "It is that which wakes my spirit & engrosses all my living feelings," she wrote in this diary entry, "all my energies which are not merely mechanical, &, like Haworth & home, wakes sensations which lie dormant elsewhere."
Brontë recalled how the previous night's "stormy blast . . . whirled me away like heath in the wilderness for five seconds of ecstasy." While the others were at tea, she said, she approached an exotic palace in the kingdom of Angria, peered through the windows at a lushly appointed room, and observed a drunken man shamelessly stretched out on the queen's voluptuous ottoman. But this, of course, was pure invention. Having begun writing a straightforward diary entry—a real-time description of her life at Roe Head—Brontë had stepped seamlessly into fiction. She allowed her high-flown storytelling to provide an antidote to the dreary everyday, her diary serving as a gateway from the real world into the fantastical.
Charlotte's and Branwell's invented Angria, and it was to this kingdom (and this script) that she returned that evening in 1836 when took a much-needed break from her schoolroom duties.
Go here to read the complete entry and see Charlotte's handwritten page.
two nerdy history girls