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

zaterdag 20 april 2013

The Rev. A. B. Nicholls, curate of Haworth since 1845, proposed marriage to Charlotte in 1852.

In 1826 Arthur Bell Nicholls was taken in by his uncle the Reverend Allan Bell, headmaster of the Royal Free School, Banagher, and 10years later went up to Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1844. His first clerical position was the curacy at Haworth, and he took up his duties in May 1845...
Mr Brontë was by then 68 years old, and besides taking services and undertaking such duties as Mr Brontë might direct, Mr Nicholls had specific responsibilities for Stanbury village, and for the Church School, where he taught five mornings a week. He was diligent, serious-minded and widely read, and both Mr Brontë and the village thought well of him. A strongly built man, he liked fresh air and exercise, and would take the Brontë dogs for walks on the moors.
Mr Nicholls lived in the sexton John Brown's house adjoining the Church School. A few months after Mr Nicholls' arrival in Haworth, Branwell returned home in disgrace, and Mr Nicholls would have witnessed every stage of Branwell's decline over the next three years, and shared the tragedy of the deaths of Branwell, Emily and Anne in 1848-9. By 1850 he would have been more familiar than anyone with the family at the Parsonage.

His proposal of marriage to Charlotte in December 1852 came as a complete surprise to both her and her father. Angered by his curate's presumption, Mr Brontë withheld his consent and Charlotte declined the offer.

December 15th, 1852.
On Monday evening Mr. Nicholls was here to tea.  I vaguely felt without clearly seeing, as without seeing I have felt for some time, the meaning of his constant looks, and strange, feverish restraint.  After tea I withdrew to the dining-room as usual.  As usual, Mr. Nicholls sat with papa till between eight and nine o’clock; I then heard him open the parlour door as if going.  I expected the clash of the front door.  He stopped in the passage; he p. 473tapped; like lightning it flashed on me what was coming.  He entered; he stood before me.  What his words were you can guess; his manner you can hardly realise, nor can I forget it.  Shaking from head to foot, looking deadly pale, speaking low, vehemently, yet with difficulty, he made me for the first time feel what it costs a man to declare affection where he doubts response.
‘The spectacle of one ordinarily so statue-like thus trembling, stirred, and overcome, gave me a kind of strange shock.  He spoke of sufferings he had borne for months, of sufferings he could endure no longer, and craved leave for some hope.  I could only entreat him to leave me then and promise a reply on the morrow.  I asked him if he had spoken to papa.  He said he dared not.  I think I half led, half put him out of the room.  When he was gone I immediately went to papa, and told him what had taken place.  Agitation and anger disproportionate to the occasion ensued; if I had loved Mr. Nicholls, and had heard such epithets applied to him as were used, it would have transported me past my patience; as it was, my blood boiled with a sense of injustice.  But papa worked himself into a state not to be trifled with: the veins on his temples started up like whip-cord, and his eyes became suddenly bloodshot.  I made haste to promise that Mr. Nicholls should on the morrow have a distinct refusal.
‘I wrote yesterday and got this note.  There is no need to add to this statement any comment.  Papa’s vehement antipathy to the bare thought of any one thinking of me as a wife, and Mr. Nicholls’s distress, both give me pain.  Attachment to Mr. Nicholls you are aware I never entertained, but the poignant pity inspired by his state on Monday evening, by the hurried revelation of his sufferings for many months, is something galling and irksome.  That he cared something for me, and wanted me to care for him, I have long suspected, but I did not know the degree or strength of his feelings.  Dear Nell, good-bye.—Yours faithfully,
C. Brontë.

1 opmerking:

  1. The spectacle of one ordinarily so statue-like thus trembling, stirred, and overcome, gave me a kind of strange shock.

    Charlotte had begun a journey of discovery. She was to learn she and her father were not the only ones capable of high emotions within Haworth Parsonage's circle.

    Under her nose there was another. One who could not express his feelings as she could and usually would not mentally dwell upon those feelings as she would; but Arthur Bell Nicholls felt his feelings very deeply indeed. He was perhaps the most feeling person Charlotte ever meet outside her own family.

    Being capable of having simular high emotions and so understand them at some levle is the most important thing I think and how they eventually established thier bond.

    He could not craft a poem. He would not think to try. But Arthur Bell Nicholls understood the emotions found in poetry and, according to George Sowden, Arthur loved to recite it. That was after all a very great deal.


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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