Keeper, a large mastiff, was an impressive dog, a match for Emily. A villager remembered Keeper as a “conglomerate, combining every species of English caninity from the turnspit to the sheepdog, with a strain of Haworth originality superadded” ( Smith, 1995, p. 332). Charlotte said that when Keeper stood silently, he was “like a devouring flame," and she noted in one letter, “Keeper is well, big—and grim as ever” (Smith, p. 259).
Under : Flossy, the dog of Anne.
make him spring and roar like a lion. She taught him this kind of occasional play without any coercion. * Flossy long, silky-haired, black and white ' Flossy ' was Anne's favourite ; and black ' Tom/ the tabby, was everybody's favourite. It received such gentle treatment it seemed to
have lost cat's nature, and subsided into luxurious amiability and contentment. The Brontes' love of dumb creatures made them very sensitive of the treatment bestowed upon them. For anyone to offend in this respect was with them an infallible bad sign, and a blot on the disposition." infootstepsofthe Brontes
Keeper used to steal upstairs and sleep on the beds, which were covered in white counterpanes. This upset Emily, who was in charge of all of the housekeeping chores. One evening the servant Tabby came and told Emily that Keeper was sleeping on the bed again. Emily immediately went up after the dog while Tabby and Charlotte watched:
Down-stairs came Emily, dragging after the unwilling Keeper, his hind legs set in a heavy attitude of resistance, held by the "scruff of his neck" but growling low and savagely all the time…She let him go, planted in a dark corner at the bottom of the stairs...her bare clenched fist struck against his red fierce eyes, before he had time to make his spring...she “punished him” till his eyes were swelled up, and the half-blind, stupefied beast was led to his accustomed lair to have his swelled head fomented and cared for by the very Emily herself. The generous dog owed her no grudge; he loved her dearly ever after. (Gaskell, 1975, pp. 268-269) societyandanimalsforum
Under: A drawing from Emily
Ellen remembered evenings in the parsonage with Emily, “habitually kneeling on the hearth, reading a book, with her arm round Keeper” (Gerin, 1971, p.156). Ellen recalled that Emily and Keeper developed small, daily rituals that are an important part of the human-dog bond, “The two dogs, Keeper and Flossey were always in quiet waiting by the side of Emily and Anne during their breakfast of Scotch oatmeal and milk, and always had a share handed down to them at the close of the meal” (Shorter, 1896, p. 178).
Ellen found that the best approach to Emily, who was indifferent to friendly overtures, was through Keeper. Once Keeper tried to climb up on Emily's lap but could not quite fit, so he stretched out across Ellen's knees. She did not complain about his heaviness because she knew that “Emily's heart was won by [my] unresisting endurance” (Gerin, 1971, p.110).
Keeper and Flossey had become part of the family, somehow winning over Aunt Branwell who allowed previous dogs only into the parlor of the house and then only at stated times (Frank, 1990). The dogs' taken-for-granted presence in everyday life can be seen in the “diary papers” that Emily and Anne wrote for each other on their birthdays. On July 31,1845, Anne wrote, “Keeper and Flossey are I do not know where” and then added that Charlotte “has let Flossey in by the by and [s] he is now lying on the sofa” (Smith, 1995, p.410). In a diary paper dated 1841, Emily wrote, “ Victoria and Adelaide [the geese] are ensconced in the peat-house—Keeper is in the kitchen—We are all stout and healthy” (Barker, 1998, p. 95). societyandanimalsforum
Thursday, July 30, 1845. We have got Flossey, got and lost Tiger–lost the Hawk. Hero which with the geese was given away and is doubtless dead for when I came back from Brussels I enquired on all hands and could hear nothing of him–Tiger died early last year–Keeper and Flossey are well also the canary acquired 4 years since. diary_papers
Anne Brontë's Birthday Paper, July 30, 1841. We have got Keeper, got a sweet little cat and lost it, and also got a hawk. Got a wild goose which has flown away, and three tame ones, one of which has been killed. diary_papers
Anne Brontë's Diary Paper, Thursday July 31, 1845. Tabby and Martha are I think in the Kitchen Keeper and Flossy are I do not know where little Dick is hopping in his cage. diary_papers
One long ramble made in these early days was far away over the moors, to a spot familiar
to Emily and Anne, which they called 4 The Meeting of the Waters.' It was a small oasis of emerald green turf, broken here and there by small clear springs ; a few large stones served as resting-places ; seated here, we were hidden from all the world, nothing appearing in view but miles and miles of
heather, a glorious blue sky, and brightening sun. A fresh breeze wafted on us its exhilaiating influence ; we laughed and made mirth of each other, and settled we would call ourselves
the quartette. Emily, half reclining on a slab of stone, played like a young child with the tadpoles in the water, making them swim about, and then fell to moralising on the strong and the weak, the brave and the cowardly, as she chased them with her hand. infootsteps