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

vrijdag 12 juli 2013

The Taylors

Red House. House of the Taylors

Taylor, Joshua (known as Joshua II) (1766–1840):
Father of Mary. His family had been involved in the cloth trade for many generations. He himself was of a type new and fascinating to Charlotte when she visited the family: he was a manufacturer who could talk broad Yorkshire when it suited him, where others might be fearful of compromising their “gentry” status, but who was a traveled man, a first-rate French speaker, and one who kept abreast of artistic and intellectual trends in Britain and (especially) on the Continent. So a figure who was radical (in the early nineteenth-century sense), a republican, and a man of wide culture invaded Charlotte’s Tory, provincially limited mind, to exhilarating effect. She found the whole family much more stimulating than the Nusseys, and Joshua contributed to various families in the juvenilia, as well as eventually to Mr De Capell in “Ashworth,” York Hunsden in The Professor , and Mr Yorke in Shirley . When Charlotte knew Joshua he had been a declared bankrupt since 1826. He was determined to repay in full the losses of “my suffering creditors” ( Leeds Intelligencer , 16 Feb 1826), and they in their turn realized it was better for the cloth-manufacturing concern, with its lucrative government contracts for army uniform cloth, to continue. Initially five shillings in the pound was paid, but three years after Joshua II’s death the creditors had been paid off in full.

Taylor, Mrs Anne (1781–1856):
Mother of Mary, disliked by Charlotte and apparently by nearly everyone she came in contact with. She is depicted as Mrs Yorke in Shirley – autocratic, narrow-minded, repressing every sign of joy, originality, and vigor in those around her. After her husband’s death her children fled the Red House, except Joshua, who with his family stuck with her until 1845, when he left her in sole occupancy of the family home for the rest of her life – years in which she probably fulfilled Charlotte’s prophecy that “her unhappy disposition is preparing for her a most desolate old age” (to EN, 20 Nov 1845). The nature of her relationship with her energetic and free-thinking husband is a mystery. Charlotte speaks of her having “made her spouse give up his pre-matrimonial friends & kin” (to EN, 3 or 10 Aug 1851?), a piece of subservience on his part that seems quite out of character both with his real-life character and his depiction as Mr Yorke. In Shirley Charlotte suggested that Yorke’s “shadowy side found sympathy and affinity in . . . his wife’s uniformly overcast nature” (ch. 9). This seems an unsatisfactory explanation for the real-life situation. It seems likely that Joshua left to his wife the early upbringing of the children, hence Mary’s declaration that they never “ventured to speak at all” (MT to CB, 13 Aug 1850)

Taylor, Joshua (known as Joshua III) (1812–80):
Son of the above. He inherited leadership of the family business on his father’s death, and the Red House on his mother’s (he and his family had tried to live with his widowed mother, but the experiment had predictably failed). His wife was a Moravian, and the family was active in that church. He seems to have run the business competently, employing a large workforce, but his nature was moody, jealous, and changeable (Charlotte’s unattractive and menacing picture of him as Matthew Yorke in Shirley seems to have been generally accepted), and he is never mentioned by his sister Mary. At the end of his life he became a victim of grasping spiritualists. 

Taylor, Joseph (Joe) (?1816–57):
Brother of Mary Taylor, whom he helped and supported during her early years in New Zealand. He was the male Taylor who most fascinated Charlotte, as a human study in himself, and perhaps because she realized she had not exhausted his possibilities in the character of Martin Yorke in Shirley . He was talented, mercurial, and often generous. He was also aggressive, self-obsessed, and inconsiderate. Charlotte speaks of his “organ of combativeness and contradiction” (to EN, 1 July 1852), but could at times admire his devotion and “great kindness” to his wife and to the child to which they both showed “unbounded indulgence” (to MW, 30 Aug 1853). She spoke most admiringly of the young Joe – “worthy of being liked and admired also” (to EN, late June 1843?) – but as his puppyish self-regard and heedlessness took hold of him she lost patience with him entirely. Joe for his part managed to call at the Parsonage surprisingly often, not from any romantic interest in Charlotte, so perhaps because he valued her judgment, wanted to impress her, or eventually because she was a “celebrity” to be cultivated. She, for her part, thought well enough of him to make him a trustee of her wedding settlement. It was in the years after Brussels that Charlotte was most critical of him, particularly his heartlessness and chronic inclination to flirt with vulnerable single women.

Taylor, Mary (1817–93):

Daughter of Joshua Taylor II, a school friend of Charlotte’s at Roe Head who remained her friend for life: to her other lifelong school friend, Ellen Nussey, Charlotte wrote: “I have in fact two friends you & her staunch & true” (20 Jan 1842). Mary Taylor’s account of their schooldays together enlivens Gaskell’s Life (ch. 2), particularly the visual impression Charlotte made on her (“a little old woman, so short-sighted that she always appeared to be seeking something”) and her reaction to Charlotte’s account of the games and compulsive writing of herself and her siblings (“I told her sometimes they were like growing potatoes in a cellar”). However, her memory that Charlotte spoke with a strong Irish accent has been questioned. The friendship between Charlotte and Mary flourished after they left Roe Head, and there were frequent references to letters passing between them – letters almost all now lost, since they were not kept. When Charlotte went to teach at Roe Head the intimacy with the whole family could be resumed. Mary and Martha stayed at the Parsonage in June 1838, and Mary alone in June 1840 and December 1844. On one of these first two occasions, if Charlotte’s observation was correct, Mary began to conceive a romantic interest in Branwell, whose attitude to her changed immediately to contempt – an interesting sidelight on both characters.

Taylor Martha (1819–42):
Tthe ebullient and charming youngest daughter of the Taylors, often described by Charlotte in adjectives connoting childish qualities, though in fact she was only her junior by three years. She knew Martha at home, and then at Roe Head, and words like “chatter,” “clatter,” and “vivacity” cling to her accounts of her, as well as references to her “constant flow of good-humour” (to EN, 9 June 1838). This was during the visit Mary and Martha made to the Parsonage, a notable milestone in the relationship between the families. Even when Charlotte complains of her, there is a good-humored toleration behind the words: “you have a peculiar fashion of your own of reporting a saying or a doing and Martha has a still more peculiar fashion of re-reporting it” (to EN, 17 Mar 1840). The close relationship continued in Brussels where she and Mary were pupils at the Château de Kockleberg (more expensive than the Pensionnat Heger). Taylors, Dixons, and Brontës enjoyed frequent meetings, marred only by Emily’s noncommunication. Martha’s end came quickly – so much so that Charlotte heard of it too late to visit the deathbed. The cause of her death was almost certainly cholera – the idea that she might have died in childbirth rests more on speculation than documentation, and the haste of her burial and lack of information on the death certificate were probably a vain attempt to protect the school from ...

Taylor, Ellen (1826–51):
Cousin of the Red House Taylors, daughter of William and Margaret (née Mossman) Taylor, both of whom died in the 1830s. A maternal uncle, G. R. Mossman, cared for her for some time, and another uncle, Abraham Dixon, took an interest. Plans to send her to the Heger school in Brussels were abortive, and in 1849 she and her brother William Henry sailed for New Zealand, where their cousins Mary and Waring Taylor had been established for some years. By then she was probably already tubercular, but Mary had great joy in the early days of their companionship and partnership. They established and ran a shop, each alternating housework and shopwork week by week. Letters, sometimes joint ones, speak of their happiness together: they sketch on Sundays, hoping to send a batch home, though they “seldom succeed in making the slightest resemblance to the thing we sit down to” (MT to CB, 5 Apr 1850); they go out more, because Ellen is a more welcome guest than Mary alone was; they talk about how much profit will secure an “independence” and enable them to return home. The shop was a modest success, aided by gifts from Mary’s brothers John and Joe. But all the time there is the undercurrent of Ellen’s ill-health. “I fear hers will not be a long life” wrote Charlotte, experienced in short female lives (to EN, 6 Jan 1852). blackwellreference


Birth: b. 26 Feb 1817, Gomersall; d. 01 Mar 1893, High Royd Gomersall
"Quiet but self-possessed, she was an admirable businesswoman, with a way of going straight to the point that was at times disconcerting...Miss Taylor was indeed a remarkable woman - probably in her mental endowments the strongest woman who came within the Bronte circle". Cleckheaton Guardian 24 Dec 1903. maggieblanck/Taylor

9 opmerkingen:

  1. Very fascinating! ...I don't think most Bronte fans realize the Taylors are far involved with Charlotte more than just Mary or Martha

    Charlotte did not approve of Joe's antics , but she was quite close to him for 20 years . Particularly near the end of both their lives Sadly, Joseph lived only two years after Charlotte herself, his death having taken place in March 1857

    She trusted him with a letter to M. Heger and later trusted him with her fiances after they were removed from George Smith's care .
    And I have read he was a witness to the marriage settlement between Charlotte and Rev Nicholls.

    Joe was something of a brother for Charlotte... that is, he fulfills that office when in Victorian England one needs a male. When Charlotte needed business or legal advice , Joe usually had his say

    Charlotte saw Joe and his wife, Amelia a good deal in the last two years of her life and while she complained about them to Ellen , Charlotte cared for them and their daughter Tim very much

    Writing to Amelia when Joe was ill in Dec 1855 Charlotte said

    Dear Amelia

    You were never more thoroughly right in your thoughts than when you believe I cared for yourself and Joe-- that I do with my whole heart. I have known Joe above twenty years and differed from him and been enraged with him and liked him and cared for him as long....

    The only issue from this group of Miss Wooler girls ( Charlotte, Mary, Martha, Ellen, Amelia ) was Joe and Amelia's daughter , sweetly named for lost sisters, Emily Martha, but known as" Tim ."

    Charlotte disproved how Tim was doted upon , but loved the little girl herself . Tim called Charlotte" grandmamma " Charlotte seemed proud of the name.

    On her death bed Charlotte wondered with longing " when will Tim see her grandmamma again " ?

    There is a funny quote from Miss Wooler about Tim and her parents devotion

    Amelia wrote to Ellen that Tim had the ability to forgive

    When Miss Wooler heard this she tartly remarked

    " Children don't forgive, they forget" lol

    1. Nice and interesting comment, Anne. I admire your knowledge of the Brontes
      Greetings, Geri

    2. Thank you Geri! When it comes to the Brontes, there is always more to learn :)

  2. Very interesting. Joe Taylor's influence on Charlotte has been underrated. Many people like to say Charlotte had only 2 good friends (Mary and Ellen) but clearly she got along well with Joe, and there was something in Charlotte that could attract people's friendship - and probably she showed her satirical side to Joe Taylor. In fact she went on holiday with him and his wife (without Mary) which shows a good friendship, and when she wrote Shirley, she showed him the manuscript to ask his opinion on the Yorkes, and he said they were not drawn strongly enough. Though to Ellen she warned that Joe Taylor "was a noodle" and that he would get tired of Amelia. There seems to be more friendship between her and Mary's siblings, than between her and Ellen's siblings, which is ironic as they were politically different. I think it shows that Charlotte was not a total bigot when it came to politics.

    I visited the Red House only a few days ago! So it is a pleasant surprise to see a post about it. Have you read Mary Taylor's novel, Miss Miles?

    1. No, I never did. Maybe the library in my town owns an example. I will ask for it.

      Nice comment.

  3. Though to Ellen she warned that Joe Taylor "was a noodle" and that he would get tired of Amelia.

    Indeed...but she seems to say these things in the way a sister would say it of a brother...

    There seems to be more friendship between her and Mary's siblings, than between her and Ellen's siblings, which is ironic as they were politically different.

    Excellent point. I think more intelligence was found within the ranks of Taylor siblings and this was partly the draw ( imo) But also Mary was not in the hemisphere. Ellen most certainly was and we know Ellen's tendencies to jealously.( which became increasingly a problem ) I believe Ellen would expect to be in charge of any exchange between CB and her siblings. This would not foster close relations .

    I think it shows that Charlotte was not a total bigot when it came to politics.

    Oh by no means...she was rather proud of that as well. But her class bigotries is another matter

    ...and when she wrote Shirley, she showed him the manuscript to ask his opinion on the Yorkes, and he said they were not drawn strongly enough

    I didn't know that! Than you for that information . Rather unusual she showed him that it seems to me. I believe most people found themselves in Charlotte's novels by surprise! lol

  4. Oh by no means...she was rather proud of that as well. But her class bigotries is another matter

    Though I always remember the Bruntys just climbed up from "the lower orders" themselves and those who do so are exacting about the line.

    Charlotte admired the landed gentry their ease within their class because she and her father could not emulate it...that takes a few generations .

  5. So happy Red House is still available for all to enjoy, I know it has been in a precarious state lately, nice to know you were just there 'Caroline Helstnone' (love the name), what a treat.
    Thank goodness Charlotte chose to feature the Taylor's in Shirley, we know so much more about the them personally because of it (that Mrs. Taylor sure was a piece of work!).
    Wonderful post Geri...
    xo J~


    There is a funny quote from Miss Wooler about Tim and her parents devotion

    Amelia wrote to Ellen that Tim had the ability to forgive

    When Miss Wooler heard this she tartly remarked

    " Children don't forgive, they forget" lol

    Turns out Miss Wooler did not say that...Mary Taylor did in a letter to Ellen

    Dated Aug 10 1854

    and really doesn't it sound like Mary?

    I had read some where it was Miss Wooler

    Mary wrote about Tim's " forgiving disposition" as her mother called it.

    Children don't forgive , they forget . And many full grown people who get praise for being placable are children in this respect . To forgive requires a mind full grown which does not always exist in a full grown body "


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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