What language are the letters written in?All four surviving letters to Heger are written in French – the language in which he tutored Charlotte – though the post script to the last letter she ever sent him is in English. In her parting words to Heger, she declares that the French language is ‘most precious to me because it reminds me of you – I love French for your sake with all my heart and soul’. Biographer Lyndall Gordon and scholar Sara Dudley Edwards have speculated that writing in a foreign language allowed Brontë the licence to express feelings that she mightn’t have voiced in her native English.
Why were the letters torn up and repaired?Of the four remaining letters, three were torn up. The first has been mended with strips of paper; the second and third have been sewn back together; the fourth is intact, though the name and address of a Brussels shoemaker has been scribbled in the margin. Critics have speculated that Monsieur Heger tore up the letters, only for Madame Heger to retrieve them from his wastepaper bin and piece them together again.