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 18 december 2010

Love and Friendship - a poem by Emily Bronte

Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?

The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.

Haworth Old Hall, Sun Street

Running out from the cellars of this four hundred-year old manorial hall house are elaborate escape routes and two tunnels, one connected with the church, each nearly a mile in length. The Emmotts who once lived here, owning most of the property in the vicinity, were recusants who kept up the old faith in the church and protected priest and people from persecution during penal times. In other times of religious persecution there was an escape route for meetings of nonconformists in this house.

In 1816 Dr Whittaker, Vicar of Whalley, writes 'Haworth is to Bradford as Heptonstall is to Halifax – almost at the extremity of population, high bleak, dirty and difficult of access.' As though that and the conditions provided by the present owners are not atmosphere enough, Emmott Old Hall, as it is known locally, has a far older history.

This fine specimen of an old hall house – a communal dwelling house, court house and resting place for the inhabitants of the area, the manorial lord and his court. – stands at the bottom of the Church Gate, no doubt on the site of the original manor house. In the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth, the present house was erected as rooms off the entrance hall, which itself was a most magnificent room with polished oak rafters.

By the 1870's the Old Hall, though still regarded as a capital specimen, was divided into two cottages. Tenants came and went, certain additions were made to the house early in the twentieth and in recent times it has been reconverted into one residence, the ancient hall becoming the dining area, revealing the two magnificent stone fire places which are the principal features of it. The last of the Emmott line to remain at the hall was General Emmott Rawdon, but the association of the family with it continues among the characters described by the Bronte sisters in their novels. Reading from these, perhaps one can add a little to the atmosphere of this house on the wuthering heights.

vrijdag 17 december 2010

Bronte Christmas lunch

Eric Ruijssenaars told during the Bronte Christmas lunch about the scholarship he has been granted by the New Netherland Institute in Albany, US, to do a research project involving 17th C Dutch colonial archives. While in the US Eric will also make contact with the Brontë Society there and talk to its New York section and will also address the annual meeting of all the American sections of the Society. The subject of his talk will of course be Brussels Brontë research and our group!

donderdag 16 december 2010

Wuthering Heights official photographer

Read : Wuthering Heights official photographer

Victorians were terrified of debt because inability to pay meant one could lose everything -- even one's liberty. Ireland maintains a touching collection of Victoriana, including letter boxes, the Dublin Custom House coats of arms, and laws which prescribe prison for not repaying loans.Literary critics say Charlotte Bronte's novel 'Villette,' is really about the dangers of Victorian life, before the invention of limited liability. One commentator notes the frequent use of the words crisis, panic, dread, terror, fever, frenzy and peril in the book.The ups and downs of the financial cycle cause the heroine's family to suffer, "shocks and repulses... humiliations and desolations." Ah yes, indeed.We may be entering a more Victorian world, where people's spending will be more in line with their incomes, and exposure to debt on mortgages and purchases of expensive consumer items will be more limited. For the time being at least, they are likely to receive every encouragement in this approach from the banks.

woensdag 15 december 2010

Christmas Contest

Christmas Contest

Send the Bronte Blog (read more above) your favourite, more Christmas-like quote from any Brontë work or letter.
It doesn't need to include the word 'Christmas'. We would rather the quotation conveys the feeling of what Christmas time feels like for you, or what Christmas time should be all about in your opinion.

maandag 13 december 2010

13-12-1852 Arthur Bell Nicholls proposed to Charlotte Bronte.


Arthur Bell Nicholls proposed to Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte informed her father who was not pleased about the marriage proposal. She wrote to Nicholls rejecting him.

This picture was taken in 1904, depicted Arthur Bell Nicholls as an old man, standing with his dog Pincher and a little girl outside his house in Ireland. He had returned to his native country after Charlotte’s death, taking with him the remaining Brontë dogs, servant and everything of sentimental value connected with her.
More information of Arthur Bell Nicholls click here.

zondag 12 december 2010


In deze dagen denk ik vaak aan de Bronte Sisters
Hoe vierden zij kerstfeest?

Een kerstboom heeft Charlotte misschien
alleen gezien,
 toen haar zussen en broer
overleden waren en zij beroemd was
en naar Londen reisde
de kerstboom kwam pas later
in de Victoriaanse tijd in de mode

misschien zag het er ongeveer zo uit
toen Maria Branwell
nog leefde

In alle biografieën lees ik
dat de zussen en broer
tijdens Kerstmis
 naar huis terugkeerden. 

Zij zullen ongetwijfeld
 een kerstdienst
in de kerk van hun vader
bijgewoond hebben
Ik kan me zo voorstellen
dat Anne en Charlotte
bezoeken aflegden
manden met voedingsmiddelen
 rondbrachten naar de armen
Versierden zij het huis?
Kookten zij extra lekker?
Wat aten ze?

The Christmas dinner was generally a huge family affair. In addition to the main meat dish, they served Christmas pudding with beef, raisins and prunes. Mince pie was a traditional dish to be eaten during the Twelve Days of Christmas to ensure luck throughout the coming new year.

Ze maakten vast muziek
Emily spelend op de piano
Wat we weten is dat
 ze schreven en lazen
en blij waren
dat ze bij elkaar waren.

Christmas Plum Pudding
2 cups soft bread crumbs
2 cups chopped suet
1 cup chopped raisins
1 cup chopped citron
1 cup cleaned currants
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
6 eggs
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 tablespoon lemon rind
Mix ingredients; pour into buttered mold; cover and steam four hours; bake in oven one-half hour. Serve with Wine Sauce
Wine Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
wine, brandy or vanilla
1 teaspoon hot water
Cream butter; add sugar by the teaspoon, and beat until light and creamy. Flavor and serve.

How did the Brontës celebrate Christmas? The simple answer is we do not know: apart from a poem by Anne celebrating music on Christmas morning and Mrs Gaskell’s passing reference to the recently married Charlotte and her husband taking a spice-cake as a gift to an elderly parishioner on Christmas Day, the biographical record is remarkably blank. Attending church would have been obligatory for the parson’s children but their novels suggest that the usual festivities were not neglected.

There is goose with apple sauce for Christmas dinner at Wuthering Heights, not to mention dancing and carol-singing when the Gimmerton band arrives.

And Jane Eyre’s preparations for her cousins’ return to Moor-House suggest first-hand experience: the ‘cleaning down’ of the house from top to bottom, laying fires in every room and the ‘solemnizing of … culinary rites’ including making Christmas cakes and mince-pies.

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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