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

dinsdag 16 april 2013

I saw him very near, and once through my glass. His absence leave me certainly with less support and in deeper solitude than before.

Bombay Kalbadevie Road 1890
April 5th, 1851.
Dear Ellen,—Mr. Taylor has been and is gone; things are just as they were.  I only know in addition to the slight information I possessed before, that this Indian undertaking is necessary to the continued prosperity of the firm of Smith, Elder, & Co., and that he, Taylor, alone was pronounced to possess the power and means to carry it out successfully—that mercantile honour, combined with his own sense of duty, obliged him to accept the post of honour and of danger to which he has been appointed, that he goes with great personal reluctance, and that he contemplates an absence of five years.
‘He looked much thinner and older.  I saw him very near, and once through my glass; the resemblance to Branwell struck me forcibly—it is marked.  He is not ugly, but very peculiar; the lines in his face show an inflexibility, and, I must add, a hardness of character which do not attract.  As he stood near me, as he looked at me in his keen way, it was all I could do to stand my ground tranquilly and steadily, and not to recoil as before.  It is no use saying anything if I am not candid.  I avow then, that on this occasion, predisposed as I was to regard him very favourably, his manners and his personal presence scarcely pleased me more than at the first interview.  He gave me a book at parting, requesting in his brief way that I would keep it for his sake, and adding hastily, “I shall hope to hear from you in India—your letters have been and will be a greater refreshment than you can think or I can tell.”
‘And so he is gone; and stern and abrupt little man as he  is—too often jarring as are his manners—his absence and the exclusion of his idea from my mind leave me certainly with less support and in deeper solitude than before.
‘You see, dear Nell, though we are still precisely on the same level—you are not isolated.  I feel that there is a certain mystery about this transaction yet, and whether it will ever be cleared up to me I do not know; however, my plain duty is to wean my mind from the subject, and if possible to avoid pondering over it.  In his conversation he seemed studiously to avoid reference to Mr. Smith individually, speaking always of the “house”—the “firm.”  He seemed throughout quite as excited and nervous as when I first saw him.  I feel that in his way he has a regard for me—a regard which I cannot bring myself entirely to reciprocate in kind, and yet its withdrawal leaves a painful blank.’
April 9th, 1851
Dear Nell,—Thank you for your kind note; it was just like you to write it though it was your school-day.  I never knew you to let a slight impediment stand in the way of a friendly action.
‘Certainly I shall not soon forget last Friday, and never, I think, the evening and night succeeding that morning and afternoon.  Evils seldom come singly.

And soon after Mr. Taylor was gone, papa, who had been better, grew much worse.  He went to bed early, and was very sick and ill for an hour; and when at last he began to doze, and I left him, I came down to the dining-room with a sense of weight, fear, and desolation hard to express and harder to endure.  A wish that you were with me did cross my mind, but I repulsed it as a most selfish wish; indeed, it was only short-lived: my natural tendency in moments of this sort is to get through the struggle alone—to think that one is burdening and racking others makes all worse.
‘You speak to me in soft consolating accents, but I hold far sterner language to myself, dear Nell.
‘An absence of five years—a dividing expanse of three oceans—the wide difference between a man’s active career and a woman’s passive existence—these things are almost equivalent to an eternal separation.  But there is another thing which forms a barrier more difficult to pass than any of these.  Would Mr. Taylor and I ever suit? Could I ever feel for him enough love to accept him as a husband?  Friendship—gratitude—esteem I have, but each moment he came near me, and that I could see his eyes fastened on me, my veins ran ice.  Now that he is away I feel far more gently towards him; it is only close by that I grow rigid—stiffening with a strange mixture of apprehension and anger, which nothing softens but his retreat and a perfect subduing of his manner. I did not want to be proud, nor intend to be proud, but I was forced to be so.
‘Most true is it that we are over-ruled by one above us—that in his hands our very will is as clay in the hands of the potter.
‘Papa continues very far from well, though yesterday, and I hope this morning, he is a little better.  How is your mother?  Give my love to her and your sister.  How are you?  Have you suffered from tic since you returned home?  Did they think you improved in looks?
‘Write again soon.—Yours faithfully,
C. Brontë.’
Extracts from George Smith's - The Recollections of a long and busy life, c1895
The business of Smith, Elder & Co was now prospering and a new partner named Patrick Stewart had been taken into the firm. Stewart was the son of an Edinburgh divine of some fame and a ward of Mr Aeneas Mackintosh, at that time the head of the great firm of Mackintosh & Co, of Calcutta. He was a young man of social tastes and, in some respects, of brilliant gifts. His guardian arranged that Stewart should join my father’s firm, and advanced the necessary capital, which was to be repaid by the firm out of Stewart’s share of the profits. nineteenth_century_literary_manuscripts

The British Empire in India
The 1850s witnessed the introduction of the three "engines of social improvement" that heightened the British illusion of permanence in India. They were the railroads, the telegraph, and the uniform postal service, inaugurated during the tenure of Dalhousie as governor-general. The first railroad lines were built in 1850 from Howrah (Haora, across the Hughli River from Calcutta) inland to the coalfields at Raniganj, Bihar, a distance of 240 kilometers. In 1851 the first electric telegraph line was laid in Bengal and soon linked Agra, Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore, Varanasi, and other cities. The three different presidency or regional postal systems merged in 1854 to facilitate uniform methods of communication at an all-India level. With uniform postal rates for letters and newspapers--one-half anna and one anna, respectively (sixteen annas equalled one rupee)--communication between the rural and the metropolitan areas became easier and faster. The increased ease of communication and the opening of highways and waterways accelerated the movement of troops, the transportation of raw materials and goods to and from the interior, and the exchange of commercial information.

1 opmerking:

  1. but each moment he came near me, and that I could see his eyes fastened on me, my veins ran ice.

    Mr. Taylor's suit was hopeless in that case. Warmth was something CB had to have. In her books chilled veins is not a good sign lol . In Mr. Taylor's case, it was an instinct she could not disobey or discount even in the mist of with her dreadful loneliness.

    I feel that there is a certain mystery about this transaction yet, and whether it will ever be cleared up to me I do not know; however, my plain duty is to wean my mind from the subject, and if possible to avoid pondering over it.

    This is very similar language Charlotte used about the situation with Arthur Bell Nicholls at an early point. Others thoughts and feelings and even her own could be at times mystery to Charlotte. Odd in someone so perceptive usually . Sometimes she had to learn things the hard way ....though trial and error.

    Mr. Nicholls could put her "pass her patience" with his narrow views...but Charlotte never mocked his physical appearances as she did with so many others. What a difference with the ink she spent on James Taylor's short comings in that regard! She cannot speak of him without pointing them out! lol


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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