TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY
‘April 23rd, 1851.
‘My dear Ellen,—I have heard from Mr. Taylor to-day—a quiet little note. He returned to London a week since on Saturday; he has since kindly chosen and sent me a parcel of books. He leaves England May 20th. His note concludes with asking whether he has any chance of seeing me in London before that time. I must tell him that I have already fixed June for my visit, and therefore, in all human probability, we shall see each other no more.
‘There is still a want of plain mutual understanding in this business, and there is sadness and pain in more ways than one. My conscience, I can truly say, does not now accuse me of having treated Mr. Taylor with injustice or unkindness. What I once did wrong in this way, I have endeavoured to remedy both to himself and in speaking of him to others—Mr. Smith to wit, though I more than doubt whether that last opinion will ever reach him. I am sure he has estimable and sterling qualities; but with every disposition and with every wish, with every intention even to look on him in the most favourable point of view at his last visit, it was impossible to me in my inward heart to think of him as one that might one day be acceptable as a husband. It would sound harsh were I to tell even you of the estimate I felt compelled to form respecting him. Dear Nell, I looked for something of the gentleman—something I mean of the natural gentleman; you know I can dispense with acquired polish, and for looks, I know myself too well to think that I have any right to be exacting on that point. I could not find one gleam, I could not see one passing glimpse of true good-breeding. It is hard to say, but it is true. In mind too, though clever, he is second-rate—thoroughly second-rate. One does not like to say these things, but one had better be honest. Were I to marry him my heart would bleed in pain and humiliation; I could not, could not look up to him. No; if Mr. Taylor be the only husband fate offers to me, single I must always remain. But yet, at times I grieve for him, and perhaps it is superfluous, for I cannot think he will suffer much: a hard nature, occupation, and change of scene will befriend him.
‘With kind regards to all,—I am, dear Nell, your middle-aged friend,
‘C. Brontë.‘Write soon.’
TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY
‘May 5th, 1851.
‘My dear Ellen,—I have had a long kind letter from Miss Martineau lately. She says she is well and happy. Also, I have had a very long letter from Mr. Williams. He speaks with much respect of Mr. Taylor. I discover with some surprise, papa has taken a decided liking to Mr. Taylor. The marked kindness of his manner when he bid him good-bye, exhorting him to be "true to himself, his country, and his God," and wishing him all good wishes, struck me with some astonishment. Whenever he has alluded to him since, it has been with significant eulogy. When I alluded that he was no gentleman, he seemed out of patience with me for the objection. You say papa has penetration. On this subject I believe he has indeed. I have told him nothing, yet he seems to be au fait to the whole business. I could think at some moments his guesses go farther than mine. I believe he thinks a prospective union, deferred for five years, with such a decorous reliable personage, would be a very proper and advisable affair.
‘How has your tic been lately? I had one fiery night when this same dragon "tic" held me for some hours with pestilent violence. It still comes at intervals with abated fury. Owing to this and broken sleep, I am looking singularly charming, one of my true London looks—starved out and worn down. Write soon, dear Nell.—Yours faithfully,