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

woensdag 17 april 2013

James Taylor, a reader at the firm of Smith, Elder and Co, Charlotte Brontë’s publisher. He proposed to Charlotte, she rejected him and he went off to India

 Charlotte remained good friends with James Taylor but could not feel "enough love to accept him as a husband". James went to India, as a representative of the publishing firm. Charlotte wrote to him in India. She also wrote about her feelings for him to 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.’

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,

‘C. Brontë.’

1 opmerking:

  1. Dear Nell, I looked for something of the gentleman—something I mean of the natural gentleman;

    The issue of one being a gentlemen or not was a big one for the Brontes. It was something they always made note of in others. Charlotte's sense of it was particularly keen. They had the appreciation of the state that comes from being newly minted themselves...that is, Patrick made himself a gentleman ...he was not born such.

    I believe one of the reasons Branwell's death hit his father so hard was, of course, the terriable loss of his son, but also the loss of the first Bantyn, er...I mean Bronte, born gentleman.

    Branwell was a final cap stone to Partick's own amazing rise from an Irish farmer boy to clergyman gentleman. In a sense Patrick lost what he had been working towards since Branwell's birth and really his whole life...a Bronte who was a born gentleman . Branwell was rare commodity indeed and when he died, so did a dream

    When a Bronte says you are no gentleman, it's a very serious charge and the case is well nye hopeless

    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 don't think it would be hard to figure out what was in the air. People did not come to Haworth lightly.

    Considering Papa's distaste for the idea Charlotte marrying at all , it's no wonder his liking and marked kindness to Mr. Taylor astonished his daughter. But James Taylor was about to go off for 5 years to India... So I guess he seemed ideal son in law material to Patrick!

    ...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,....

    How diffrent was the case of Mr. Nicholls's suit ...where CB disposition was not, with every wish, and intention, trying to to find the favourable ... but eventually did


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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