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 7 januari 2011

Cuba Court

Read the Original

While we are on the literary theme Mr Charlotte Bronte himself the Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls is buried in Banagher Co Offally where he became a farmer after returning to Ireland following the death of Charlotte and her father.
Five days later they travelled over from Holyhead to Dublin, enjoying a smooth passage and calm weather. However, at the prospect of meeting her new in-laws Charlotte was feeling quite nervous. In deference to her cold the couple travelled by railway to Birr and then by horse and carriage to Banagher. While on honeymoon she wrote in her journal:
"" what she thought of Cuba Court…….. "I cannot help feeling singulary interested in all about the house. In this house Mr. Nicholls was brought up by his uncle Dr.Bell. It is very large and looks extremely like a gentleman's country-house. Within, most of the rooms are lofty and spacious and some, the drawing room, dining room, etc.-handsomely and commodiously furnished. The passages look desolate and bare. Our bedroom, a great room on the ground-floor would have looked gloomy when we were shewn into it but for the turf-fire that was burning in the wide old chimney."

auction, January 24th Elizabeth Gaskell

Highly influential among her peers, Gaskell was the author of more than six novels—including the critically acclaimed North and South and Cranford—and was a regular contributor for Dickens’ periodicals. She forged friendships with many contemporary authors—most famously, perhaps, with Charlotte Brontë. Brontë’s biography, written by Gaskell, is regarded as one of the finest examples of life-writing to this day. Famed for her adeptness at capturing local dialect and the voices of middle-class characters, Gaskell skillfully imbued all her writing with a sense of the intimate and everyday. Due to her prolific letter writing, impeccable records remain of her own daily experiences and thoughts. In this new biography, a brilliant light is shed on the life of the woman behind the writing—including her writing themes, her literary successes, her marriage, and her humanitarian work.

Knutsford Guardian:  There will be an auction, January 24th in Knutsford, Cheshire at the Frank Marshall Auction House of the former town’s headmistresses collection of item, they are expected to fetch between £15,000 and £20,000. It includes:
A large number of maps, focusing on Cheshire, more than 100 books about the Holland family (Gaskell's maternal family) and Elizabeth Gaskell, among other topics, and paintings, including a rare scene of the Knutsford Races in 1815. One of the earliest maps dates back to 1630 – with one book being produced in 1656

Book: The Empire Inside. The relation between Charlotte Bronte and James Taylor

VThe Empire Inside
Indian Commodities in Victorian Domestic Novels
Suzanne Daly
The University of Michigan Press (November 28, 2010)
Cloth: 978-0-472-07134-0
Paper: 978-0-472-05134-2

By the early nineteenth century, imperial commodities had become commonplace in middle-class English homes. Such Indian goods as tea, textiles, and gemstones led double lives, functioning at once as exotic foreign artifacts and as markers of proper Englishness. The Empire Inside: Indian Commodities in Victorian Domestic Novels reveals how Indian imports encapsulated new ideas about both the home and the world in Victorian literature and culture. In novels by Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope, the regularity with which Indian commodities appear bespeaks their burgeoning importance both ideologically and commercially. Such domestic details as the drinking of tea and the giving of shawls as gifts point us toward suppressed connections between the feminized realm of private life and the militarized realm of foreign commerce.

Tracing the history of Indian imports yields a record of the struggles for territory and political power that marked the coming-into-being of British India; reading the novels of the period for the ways in which they infuse meaning into these imports demonstrates how imperialism was written into the fabric of everyday life in nineteenth-century England. Situated at the intersection of Victorian studies, material cultural studies, gender studies, and British Empire studies, The Empire Inside is written for academics, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates in all of these fields.


1851 Charlotte rejects a marriage proposal from James Taylor, a member of her publishing house.

When James Taylor came in 1851 to set up Smith Taylor &amp ; Co, an Indian branch of the publishers Smith Elder, he had called at Haworth en route and – as if in bizarre imitation of St John Rivers’s proposal at the end of the novel, Jane Eyre – had asked Charlotte to marry him. Charlotte Brontë turned him down flat, for he was ugly, red-headed and Scottish. She did not fancy a life in India but she did like writing letters, so for a few years the pair maintained a desultory, rather desperate long-distance correspondence.


George III mahogany desk formerly belonging to Charlotte Bronte


‘Haworth, November 15th, 1851.

‘My dear Sir,—Both your communications reached me safely—the note of the 17th September and the letter of the 2nd October. You do yourself less than justice when you stigmatise the latter as “ill-written.” I found it quite legible, nor did I lose a word, though the lines and letters were so close. I should have been sorry if such had not been the case, as it appeared to me throughout highly interesting. It is observable that the very same information which we have previously collected, perhaps with rather languid attention, from printed books, when placed before us in familiar manuscript, and comprising p. 320the actual experience of a person with whom we are acquainted, acquires a new and vital interest: when we know the narrator we seem to realise the tale.

‘The bath scene amused me much. Your account of that operation tallies in every point with Mr. Thackeray’s description in the Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo. The usage seems a little rough, and I cannot help thinking that equal benefit might be obtained through less violent means; but I suppose without the previous fatigue the after-sensation would not be so enjoyable, and no doubt it is that indolent after-sensation which the self-indulgent Mahometans chiefly cultivate. I think you did right to disdain it.

‘It would seem to me a matter of great regret that the society at Bombay should be so deficient in all intellectual attraction. Perhaps, however, your occupations will so far absorb your thoughts as to prevent them from dwelling painfully on this circumstance. No doubt there will be moments when you will look back to London and Scotland, and the friends you have left there, with some yearning; but I suppose business has its own excitement. The new country, the new scenes too, must have their interest; and as you will not lack books to fill your leisure, you will probably soon become reconciled to a change which, for some minds, would too closely resemble exile.

‘I fear the climate—such as you describe it—must be very trying to an European constitution. In your first letter, you mentioned October as the month of danger; it is now over. Whether you have passed its ordeal safely, must yet for some weeks remain unknown to your friends in England—they can but wish that such may be the case. You will not expect me to write a letter that shall form a parallel with your own either in quantity or quality; what I write must be brief, and what I communicate must be commonplace and of trivial interest.

‘My father, I am thankful to say, continues in pretty good health. I read portions of your letter to him and he was interested in hearing them. He charged me when I wrote to convey his very kind remembrances.

p. 321‘I had myself ceased to expect a letter from you. On taking leave at Haworth you said something about writing from India, but I doubted at the time whether it was not one of those forms of speech which politeness dictates; and as time passed, and I did not hear from you, I became confirmed in this view of the subject. With every good wish for your welfare,—I am, yours sincerely,

Price ""The Brontes by Juliet Barker""

heb ik
mijn prijs

1154 bladzijden
dat wordt smullen.....

Dear readers
 I received my price

At the end of last year
the Bronte Blog
had a context
and I was one of the tree winners.

I am so glad with my book
1154 pages!!!!!!!!!!!!!

donderdag 6 januari 2011

Emily Bronte wrote her poem "O God of Heaven! The dream of horror".

On 07/08/1837 Emily Bronte
wrote the poem

O God of heaven! The dream of horror
The frightful dream is over now
The sickened heart, the blasting sorrow
The ghastly night, the ghastlier morrow
The aching sense of utter woe

The burning tears that would keep welling
The groan that mocked at every tear
That burst from our dreary dwelling
As if each gasp were life expelling
But life was nourished by despair

The tossing and the anguished pining
The grinding teeth and starting eye
The agony of still repining
when not a spark of hope was shining
From gloomy fate's reletless sky

The impatient rage, the useless shrinking
From thoughts that yet could not be borne
The soul that was for ever thinking
Till nature maddened, tortured, sinking
At last refused to mourn
It's over now--and I am free
And the ocean wind is caressing me
The wild wind from the wavy main
I never thought to see again

Bless thee, bright Sea, and glorious dome
And my own world, my spirit's home
Bless thee, bless all--I cannot speak
My voice is choked, but not with grief
And salt drops from my haggard cheek
Descend like rain upon the heath

How long they've wet a dungeon floor
Falling on flagstones damp and grey
I used to weep even in my sleep
The night was dreadful like the day

I used to weep when winter's snow
Whirled through the grating stormily
But then it was a calmer woe
For everything was drear to me

The bitterest time, the worst of all
Was that in which the summer sheen
Cast a green lustre on the wall
That told of fields of lovelier green

often I've sat down on the ground
Gazing up to the flush scarce seen
Till, heedless of the darkness round
My soul has sought a land serene
It sought the arch of heaven divine
The pure blue heaven with clouds of gold
It sought thy father's home and mine
As I remembered it of old

Oh, even now too horribly
Come back the feelings that would swell
When with my face hid on my knee
I strove the bursting groans to quell

I flung myself upon the stone
I howled, and tore my tangled hair
And then, when the first gust had flown
Lay in unspeakable despair

Sometimes a curse, sometimes a prayer
Would quiver on my parched tongue
But both without a murmur there
Died in the breast from whence they sprung

And so the day would fade on high
And darkness quench that lonely beam
And slumber mould my misery
Into some strange and spectral dream
Whose phantom horrors made me know
The worst extent of human woe

But this is past, and why return
O'er such a path to brood and mourn?
Shake off the fetters, break the chain
And live and love and smile again
The waste of youth, the waste of years
Departed in that dungeon thrall
The gnawing grief, the hopeless tears
Forget them--oh, forget them all!

I received a beautiful reaction on this poem. I like this very much. it is interesting because it places the poem in a period of Emily's live, so it makes it beter to understand.

""This is such a powerful poem...at first I thought Emily wrote it after Branwell's death but then I realized the dates didn't match up. It must somehow be attached to her time at Law Hill School, where she was so miserable. It's very moving...""

Please, if other readers want to give a reaction, please do so.....

woensdag 5 januari 2011

Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë, ed Margaret Smith

Margaret Smith's exemplary three-volume edition of all Charlotte Brontë's surviving letters has now spawned this very welcome selection at an affordable price. About 950 letters from Charlotte, written between 1829, when she was immersed in the creation of her juvenile imaginary world of Angria in collaboration with her brother Branwell, and February 1855, a month before her death in the early stages of pregnancy, exist either in print or manuscript sources. This selection publishes about a fifth of them, and manages to include examples written to a wide range of Charlotte's correspondents, while at the same time conveying the salient aspects of the moving and dramatic Brontë story.
Most important, from posterity's point of view, are the letters to Charlotte's schoolfriend Ellen Nussey, "a conscientious, observant, calm, well-bred Yorkshire girl", without "romance" or intellectual pretension. Although Ellen later destroyed many letters that she considered too sensitive for publication, we have reason to be grateful to her for preserving so many which provide us with much detailed insight into the Brontës' lives. Among the most riveting in this selection are the four letters that Charlotte wrote from Haworth to her Brussels professor, Constantin Heger, after her return to England in 1844, which reveal the extent of her infatuation with him and her longing for the assurance of his continuing friendship for her. To her great distress, it was not forthcoming. In November 1845 she told him that: "To forbid me to write to you, to refuse to reply to me – that will be to tear from me the only joy I have on earth, to deprive me of my last remaining privilege... Day after day I await a letter and day after day disappointment flings me down again into overwhelming misery..." Her heart's loss was Charlotte's creative gain. From the relationship with Heger, and her time in Belgium, flowed the genius of Jane Eyre and Villette.

Margaret Smith has printed some of Charlotte's letters to her publisher Smith, Elder which chart the rise of her fame (and notoriety for her lack of "taste"); and a large number of those to W S Williams, Smith, Elder's literary adviser, who encouraged her after the firm rejected her first novel, The Professor, and who recommended acceptance of Jane Eyre. Some of Charlotte's most poignant letters on the deaths of Branwell, Emily and Anne were addressed to Williams. "A year ago," she wrote to him, after witnessing the death from tuberculosis of her sole surviving sibling Anne, "had a prophet warned me how I should stand in June 1849 – how stripped and bereaved – had he foretold the autumn, the winter, the spring of sickness and suffering to be gone through – I should have thought – this can never be endured. It is over. Branwell – Emily –Anne are gone like dreams... One by one I have watched them fall asleep on my arm – and closed their glazed eyes..."

Charlotte's letters to Williams also range freely over her views of contemporary writers, and of her own position as Currer Bell, the artist. From these emerges a strong sense of Charlotte as a survivor, of the professional writer, confident in her craft, who stands back from the brink of despair, and transmutes her experience into art: "The faculty of imagination lifted me when I was sinking three months ago." She wrote to him after the completion of Shirley, "Its active exercise has kept my head above water since – its results cheer me now – for I feel they have enabled me to give pleasure to others – I am thankful to God who gave me the faculty – and it is for me a part of my religion to defend this gift and to profit by its possession."

Margaret Smith has more than earned the plaudits of Brontë lovers for her patient and scrupulous work in establishing reliable texts of Charlotte's letters, and in annotating them so expertly. My only, very slight, regret about this selected edition is that she has omitted the extraordinary story of the letters' afterlife. This centres on the activities of one of the great forgers of the age, T J Wise, who wheedled Charlotte's letters from Ellen Nussey, promising that they would never be "scattered abroad", but would be preserved in the South Kensington Museum, and used "to enhance the honour & reputation of their gloriously gifted writer". In an act of blatant desecration, Wise proceeded to sell Charlotte's letters at auction. In his zeal for selling to the highest bidder, many of the letters were split up and lost forever to untraceable locations. It is a tale rich in skulduggery and deceit which still remains to be told in full.

Redecorating the Parsonage

Redecorating the Parsonage

Experts have been called in to help recreate the interior decoration at one of the most famous literary homes in the country.They are examining minute samples of paint and scrutinising small pieces of wallpaper in an effort to uncover what the inside of the Brontë Parsonage looked like when it was occupied by the famous sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne.The work is being carried out this month while the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth is closed to the public.The aim is to gather enough evidence to recreate the interior of the building in the early 19th century when the house was occupied by the family.Andrew McCarthy, the museum’s director, said when the investigation was completed it was hoped to attract funding and to start the redecoration in the closed period next year.“It’s a very exciting project,” he said. “We’re looking forward to discovering what the house looked like during that time. Who knows what the investigation might throw up?“We already have a book which was owned by Charlotte and covered by wallpaper. We will be attempting to find out if that was a left-over piece used in the house at the time. It might be possible to match that with a paper design of the period.“We have some other examples, including some paper used in a writing desk owned by the family.”The papers could be reproduced as they would originally have been, using wooden blocks or by a modern digital process.The paints would have to be more robust than the original distemper type in order to cope with the 75,000 people who visit the museum every year. Called in to help has been Allyson McDermott, a specialist in recreating period schemes, especially in reproducing historic wallpapers and paints, and Crick Smith, consultants with expertise in analysing paints. (Clive White)


I really am curious what the result will be
The first two pictures
you see below
are from a book
 of mine
 what I bought
when I visited Haworth
 in 1984

I don't know the period
 of these pictures
but the wallpaper
 and furniture
complitely different

So, what will be the result of
Allyson McDermott
Crick Smith?

In a letter to a friend, Elizabeth Gaskell said: 'I don't know that I ever saw a spot more exquisitely clean...Everything fits into, and is in harmony with, the idea of a country parsonage, possessed by people of very moderate means.''The parlour has evidently been refurbished within the last few years, since Miss Brontë's success has enabled her to have a little more money to spend...The prevailing colour of the room is crimson

The furnishings in the Parsonage reflect the simplicity of the late Georgian and early Victorian period. Ellen described the effect as 'scant and bare indeed' but nevertheless, 'mind and thought, I had almost said elegance but certainly refinement, diffused themselves over all, and made nothing really wanting.' Although Ellen stated that 'there was not much carpet anywhere', except in the dining room and Mr Brontë's study, a stair carpet and stair rods were sold at the 1861 sale, along with several other 'Kiddiminster Carpets and Rugs'. Ellen also recalled that Mr Brontë was fearful that the combination of young children, candles and curtains would be a fire hazard. The windows were shuttered at night and curtains were introduced at a later date. An early ambrotype photograph of the Parsonage shows a combination of shutters, blinds and curtains in use in the 1850s. Charlotte purchased curtains for the dining room in 1851 and for her husband's study prior to their marriage in 1854. Damask and muslin curtains are also recorded in the 1861 Bill of Sale.

According to Elizabeth Gaskell, Mr. Nicoll's was originally 'a sort of flagged store-room', probably used for fuel, which could only be reached from the outside. Before her marriage in 1854 Charlotte converted the room into a study for her future husband, the Revd. Arthur Bell Nicholls, who in 1844 had come to assist her father as curate at Haworth Church. A fireplace was added to the room and the present doorway created into the entrance hall. Charlotte died within a year of her marriage, and Mr Nicholls remained at the Parsonage for the next six years to care for the elderly Patrick Brontë. On Patrick's death in 1861, Mr Nicholls returned to his native Ireland, taking with him many mementoes of the Brontë family. He died in 1906 aged eighty-eight, having survived Charlotte by fifty-one years.

Describing her preparations for the room's conversion in a letter dated 22 May 1854, Charlotte wrote: '... I have been very busy stitching; the new little room is got into order, and the green and white curtains are up; they exactly suit the paper, and look neat and clean enough'. Three wallpaper samples were found in Charlotte's writing desk. A fourth sample, held in the New York Public Library, is accompanied by a note, authenticated by Elizabeth Gaskell, which describes it as being a 'Slip of the paper with which Charlotte Brontë papered her future husband's study, before they were married.'

dinsdag 4 januari 2011

Devoir written by Emily Bronte in Brussels (Pensionnat Heger)

The Butterfly

In one of those moods that everyone falls into sometimes, when the world of the imagination suffers a winter that blights its vegetation; when the light of life seems to go out and existence becomes a barren desert where we wander, exposed to all the tempests that blow under heaven, without hope of rest or shelter-- in one of these black humors, I was walking one evening at the edge of a forest. It was summer; the sun was still shining high in the west and the air resounded with the songs of birds. All appeared happy, but for me, it was only an appearance. I sat at the foot of an old oak, among whose branches the nightingale had just begun its vespers. "Poor fool," I said to myself, "is it to guide the bullet to your breast or the child to your brood that you sing so loud and clear? Silence that untimely tune, perch yourself on your nest; tomorrow, perhaps, it will be empty." But why address myself to you alone? All creation is equally mad. Behold those flies playing above the brook; the swallows and fish diminish their number every minute. These will become, in their turn, the prey of some tyrant of the air or water; and man for his amusement or his needs will kill their murderers. Nature is an inexplicable problem; it exists on a principle of destruction. Every being must be the tireless instrument of death to others, or itself must cease to live, yet nonetheless we celebrate the day of our birth, and we praise God for having entered such a world.

During my soliloquy I picked a flower at my side; it was fair and freshly opened, but an ugly caterpillar had hidden itself among the petals and already they were shriveling and fading. "Sad image of the earth and its inhabitants!" I exclaimed. "This worm lives only to injure the plant that protects it. Why was it created, and why was man created? He torments, he kills, he devours; he suffers, dies, is devoured-- there you have his whole story. It is true that there is a heaven for the saint, but the saint leaves enough misery here below to sadden him even before the throne of God.

I threw the flower to earth. At that moment the universe appeared to me a vast machine constructed only to produce evil. I almost doubted the goodness of God, in not annihilating man on the day he first sinned. "The world should have been destroyed," I said, "crushed as I crush this reptile which has done nothing in its life but render all that it touches as disgusting as itself."

I had scarcely removed my foot from the poor insect when, like a censoring angel sent from heaven, there came fluttering through the trees a butterfly with large wings of lustrous gold and purple. It shone but a moment before my eyes; then, riding among the leaves, it vanished into the height of the azure vault. I was mute, but an inner voice said to me, "let not the creature judge his Creator; here is a symbol of the world to come. As the ugly caterpillar is the origin of the splendid butterfly, so this globe is the embryo of a new heaven and a new earth whose poores beauty will infinitely exceed your mortal imagination. And when you see the magnificent result of that which seems so base to you now, how you will scorn your blind presumption, in accusing Omniscience for not having made nature perish in her infancy.

God is the god of justice and mercy; then surely, every grief that he inflicts on his creatures, be they human or animal, rational or irrational, every suffering of our unhappy nature is only a seed of that divine harvest which will be gathered when, Sin having spent its last drop of venom, Death having launched its final shaft, both will perish on the pyre of a universe in flames and leave their ancient victims to an eternal empire of happiness and glory.

Brontë Studies goes quarterly

Brontë Studies goes quarterly

In response to the mushrooming global fascination with the Brontës’ work and all aspects of their lives, we shall be publishing four issues of Brontë Studies each year, commencing in 2011. From then the pattern of publication will be January, April, September and November.Special Issue January 2011Men in the Brontës’ Lives - Influences, Publishers, Critics and CharactersGuest edited by Sue Lonoff.This issue presents the papers from the Brontë Society’s York Conference of 2009. Among the many eminent scholars whose papers are now published are Christine Alexander, Dudley Green, Sue Lonoff, Margaret Smith and Patsy Stoneman. Topics include:* A look at the relationship between Charlotte and Thackeray, and that between Charlotte and G. H. Lewes.* Emily’s poetry in the context of the male Romantic tradition* Shakespeare in Anne’s writings,* The influences of Patrick Brontë and Arthur Bell Nicholls

maandag 3 januari 2011

In Memoriam. Joan Quarm

In Memoriam. Joan Quarm

Cultural and arts icon Joan Quarm died from natural causes on Dec. 28 in El Paso. She was 90 years old. (...)Quarm was a world authority for the Brontë Society, was named to the El Paso Hall of Fame in 2003 and to the Older El Pasoans Hall of Fame in 2009.Quarm studied at Redding College and Cambridge University. She taught at the progressive Summerhill School in Suffolk, England, directed by Alexander S. Neil. She moved to Portugal, where she taught at St. Julian's School near Lisbon.She was married to G. Harvey Summ, became a U.S. citizen, and moved to Washington, D.C.Later, she moved to Peru, where she taught for the American Council and met her second husband, Thomas A.A. Quarm. The Quarms lived in Kitwe, Northern Rhodesia, before moving to El Paso. (...)A memorial celebration of her life will take place at 2 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the Scottish Rite Theatre in Downtown El Paso. (Diana Washington Valdez)


On this day in 1844
Charlotte Bronte
arrived back home at Haworth Parsonage
she had been studying
at the Heger's Pensionnat at Brussels.

To increase their income Charlotte and her sisters laid ill-considered plans to establish a school. In order to study languages Emily and Charlotte spent 1842 at the Pensionnat Héger in Brussels, but returned home at the death of their aunt, who had willed them her small fortune. Both girls were offered positions at the pensionnat, but only Charlotte returned in 1843. She went home the following year, because, it is thought, she was in love with M. Héger and had aroused the jealousy of Mme Héger.

She  writes to her friend Ellen Nussey
"April, 1843.

"Is there any talk of your coming to Brussels? During the bitter cold weather we had through February, and the principal part of March, I did not regret that you had not accompanied me. If I had seen you shivering as I shivered myself, if I had seen your hands and feet as red and swelled as mine were, my discomfort would just have been doubled. I can do very well under this sort of thing; it does not fret me; it only makes me numb and silent; but if you were to pass a winter in Belgium, you would be ill. However, more genial weather is coming now, and I wish you were here. Yet I never have pressed you, and never would press you too warmly to come. There are privations and humiliations to submit to; there is monotony and uniformity of life; and, above all, there in a constant sense of solitude in the midst of numbers. The Protestant, the foreigner, is a solitary being, whether as teacher or pupil. I do not say this by way of complaining of my own lot; for though I acknowledge that there are certain disadvantages in my present position, what position on earth is without them? And, whenever I turn back to compare what I am with what I was--my place here with my place at Mrs.----'s for instance--I am thankful. There was an observation in your last letter which excited, for a moment, my wrath. At first, I thought it would be folly to reply to it, and I would let it die. Afterwards, I determined to give one answer, once for all. 'Three or four people,' it seems, 'have the idea that the future epouse of Mademoiselle Bronte is on the Continent.' These people are wiser than I am. They could not believe that I crossed the sea merely to return as teacher to Madame Heger's. I must have some more powerful motive than respect for my master and mistress, gratitude for their kindness, etc., to induce me to refuse a salary of £50 in England, and accept one of £16 in Belgium. I must, forsooth, have some remote hope of entrapping a husband somehow, or somewhere. If these charitable people knew the total seclusion of the life I lead, that I never exchange a word with any other man than Monsieur Heger, and seldom indeed with him, they would, perhaps, cease to suppose that any such chimerical and groundless notion had influenced my proceedings. Have I said enough to clear myself of so silly an imputation? Not that it is a crime to marry, or a crime to wish to be married; but it is an imbecility, which I reject with contempt, for women, who have neither fortune nor beauty, to make marriage the principal object of their wishes. and hopes, and the aim of all their actions; not to be able to convince themselves that they are unattractive, and that they had better be quiet, and think of other things than wedlock."

The following is an extract from one of the few letters Which have been preserved, of her correspondence with her sister Emily.
"May 29th, 1843.

"I get on here from day to day in a Robinson-Crusoe-like sort of way, very lonely, but that does not signify. In other respects, I have nothing substantial to complain of, nor is this a cause for complaint. I hope you are well. Walk out often on the moors. My love to Tabby. I hope she keeps well."

And about this time she wrote to her father.
"June 2nd, 1843.

"I was very glad to hear from home. I had begun to get low-spirited at not receiving any news, and to entertain. indefinite fears that something was wrong. You do not say anything about your own health, but I hope you are well, and Emily also. I am afraid she will have a good deal of bard work to--do now that Hannah" (a servant-girl. who had been assisting Tabby) "is gone. I am exceedingly glad to hear that you still keep Tabby" (considerably. upwards of seventy). "It is an act of great charity to her, and I do not think it will be unrewarded, for she is very faithful, and will always serve you, when she has occasion, to the best of her abilities; besides, she will be company for Emily, who, without her, would be very lonely."

"Brussels, August 1st, 1843.

"If I complain in this letter, have mercy and don't blame me, for, I forewarn you, I am in low spirits, and that earth and heaven are dreary and empty to me at this moment. In a few, days our vacation will begin; everybody is joyous and animated at the prospect, because everybody is to go home. I know that I am to stay here during the five weeks that the holidays last, and that I shall be much alone during that time, and consequently get downcast, and find both days and nights of a weary length. It is the first time in my life that I have really dreaded the vacation. Alas! I can hardly write, I have such a dreary weight at my heart; and I do o wish to go home. Is not this childish? Pardon me, for I cannot help it. However, though I am not strong enough to bear up cheerfully, I can still bear up; and I will continue to stay (D. V.) some .months. longer, till I have acquired German; and then I hope to see all your faces again. Would that the vacation were well over! it will pass so slowly. Do have the Christian charity to write me a long, long letter; fill it with the minutest details; nothing will be uninteresting. Do not think it is because people are unkind to me that I wish to leave Belgium; nothing of the sort. Everybody is abundantly civil, but home-sickness keeps creeping over me. I cannot shake it off. Believe me, very merrily, vivaciously, gaily, yours,

C. B."

The Heger family by Ange François in 1846

"October 13th, 1843.
"Mary is getting on well, as she deserves to do. I often hear from her. Her letters and yours are one of my few pleasures. She urges me very much to leave Brussels and go to her; but, at present, however tempted to take such a step, I should not feel justified in doing so. To leave a certainty for a complete uncertainty, would be to the last degree imprudent. Notwithstanding that, Brussels is indeed desolate to me now. Since the D.'s left, I have had no friend. I had, indeed, some very kind acquaintances in the family of a Dr.----, but they too are gone now. They left in the latter part of August, and I am completely alone. I cannot count the Belgians anything. It is a curious position to be so utterly solitary in the midst of numbers. Sometimes the solitude oppresses me to an excess. One day, lately, I felt as if I could bear it no longer, and I went to Madame Heger, and gave her notice. If it had depended on her, I should certainly have soon been at liberty; but M. Heger, having heard of what was in agitation, sent for me the day after, and pronounced with vehemence his decision, that I should not leave. I could not, at that time, have persevered in my intention without exciting him to anger; so I promised to stay a little while longer. How long that will be, I do not know. I should not like to return to England to do nothing. I am too old for that now; but if I could hear of a favourable opportunity for commencing a school, I think I should embrace it. We have as yet no fires here, and I suffer much from cold; otherwise, I am well in health. Mr.---- will take this letter to England. He is a pretty-looking and pretty behaved young man, apparently constructed without a backbone; by which I don't allude to his corporal spine, which is all right enough, but to his character.
"I get on here after a fashion; but now that Mary D. has left Brussels, I have nobody to speak to, for I count the Belgians as nothing. Sometimes I ask myself how long shall I stay here; but as yet I have only asked the question; have not answered it. However, when I have acquired as much German as I think fit, I think I shall pack up bag and baggage, and depart. Twinges of home-sickness cut me to the heart, every now and then. To-day the weather is glaring, and I am stupefied with a bad cold and headache. I have nothing to tell you. One day is like another in this place. I know you, living in the country, can hardly believe it is possible life can be monotonous in the centre of a brilliant capital like Brussels; but so it is. I feel it most on holidays, when all the girls and teachers go out to visit, and it sometimes happens that I am left, during several hours, quite alone, with four great desolate school-rooms at my disposition. I try to read, I try to write; but in vain. I then wander about from room to room, but the silence and loneliness of all the house weighs down one's spirits like lead. You will hardly believe that Madame Heger (good and kind as I have described her) never comes near me on these occasions. I own, I was astonished the first time I was left alone thus; when everybody else was enjoying the pleasures of a fete day with their friends, and she knew I was quite by myself, and never took the least notice of me. Yet, I understand, she praises me very much to everybody, and says what excellent lessons I give. She is not colder to me than she is to the other teachers; but they are less dependent on her than I am. They have relations and acquaintances in Bruxelles. You remember the letter she wrote me, when I was in England? How kind and affectionate that was? is it not odd? In the meantime, the complaints I make at present are a sort of relief which I permit myself. In all other respects I am well satisfied with my position, and you may say so to people who inquire after me (if any one does). Write to me, dear, whenever you can. You do a good deed when you send me a letter, for you comfort a very desolate heart."
to Emily:--
"Dec. 1st, 1843.

"This is Sunday morning. They are at their idolatrous 'messe,' and I am here, that is in the Refectoire. I should like uncommonly to be in the dining-room at home, or in the kitchen, or in the back kitchen. I should like even to be cutting up the hash, with the clerk and some register people at the other table, and you standing by, watching that I put enough flour, not too much pepper, and, above all, that I save the best pieces of the leg of mutton for Tiger and Keeper, the first of which personages would be jumping about the dish and carving-knife, and the latter standing like a devouring flame on the kitchen-floor. To complete the picture, Tabby blowing the fire, in order to boil the potatoes to a sort of vegetable glue! How divine are these recollections to me at this moment! Yet I have no thought of coming home just now. I lack a real pretext for doing so: it is true this place is dismal to me, but I cannot go 'home without a fixed prospect when I get there; and this prospect must not be a situation; that would be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. You call yourself idle! absurd, absurd!... Is papa well? Are you well? and Tabby? You ask about Queen Victoria's visit to Brussels. I saw her for an instant flashing through the Rue Royale in a carriage and six, surrounded by soldiers. She was laughing and talking very gaily. She looked a little stout, vivacious lady, very plainly dressed, not much dignity or pretension about her. The Belgians liked her very well on the whole. They said she enlivened the sombre court of King Leopold, which is usually as gloomy as a conventicle. Write to me again soon. Tell me whether papa really wants me very much to come home, and whether you do likewise. I have an idea that I should be of no use there--a sort of aged person upon the parish. I pray, with heart and soul, that all may continue well at Haworth; above all in our grey half-inhabited house. God bless the walls thereof! Safety, health, happiness, and prosperity to you, papa, and Tabby. Anien.
C. B."

On the 23rd of december 1843 Charlotte writes as follows:--

"Every one asks me what I am going to do, now that I amreturned home; and every one seems to expect that I should immediately commence a school. In truth it is what I should wish to do. I desire it above all things. I have sufficient money for the undertaking, and I hope now sufficient qualifications to give me a fair chance of success; yet I cannot yet permit myself to enter upon life--to touch the object which seems now within my reach, and which I have been so long straining to attain. You will ask me why? It is on papa's account; he is now, as you know, getting old, and it grieves me to tell you that he is losing his sight. I have felt for some months that I ought not to be away from him; and I feel now that it would be too selfish to leave him (at least, as long as Branwell and Anne are absent), in order to pursue selfish interests of my own. With the help of God, I will try to deny myself in this matter, and to wait.

"I suffered much before I left Brussels. I think, however long I live, I shall not forget what the parting with M. Heger cost me. It grieved me so much to grieve him who has been so true, kind, and disinterested a friend. At parting he gave me a kind of diploma certifying my abilities as a teacher, sealed with the seal of the Athenee Royal, of which he is professor. I was surprised also at the degree of regret expressed by my Belgian pupils, when they knew I was going to leave. I did not think it had been in their phlegmatic nature.... I do not know whether you feel as I do, but there are times now when it appears to me as if all my ideas and feelings, except a few friendships and affections, are changed from what they used to be; something in me, which used to be enthusiasm, is tamed down and broken. I have fewer illusions; what I wish for now is active exertion--a stake in life. Haworth seems such a lonely, quiet spot, buried away from the world. I no longer regard myself as young--indeed, I shall soon be twenty-eight; and it seems as if I ought to be working and braving the rough realities of the world, as other people do. It is, however, my duty to restrain this feeling at present, and I will endeavour to do so."

To facilitate her success in her plan to start a school, M. Heger gave her a kind of diploma, dated from, and sealed with the seal of the Athenee Royale de Bruxelles, certifying that she was perfectly capable of teaching the French language, having well studied the grammar and composition thereof, and, moreover, having prepared herself for teaching by studying and practising the best methods of instruction. This certificate is dated December 29th, 1843,

Charlotte  was far from well or strong when she arrives home 03-01-1844, and the short journey of fourteen miles seems to have fatigued her greatly.

zondag 2 januari 2011

02-01-1846 No coward soul is mine

On this day in 1846 Emily Bronte wrote her 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

Woolf and the Brontës

Woolf and the Brontës

Virginia Woolf and the Literary Marketplace
Edited by Jeanne Dubino
# Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1 edition (24 Dec 2010)
# ISBN-10: 0230107060
# ISBN-13: 978-0230107069

These unique essays focus primarily on Woolf's non-fiction and considers her in the context of the modernist marketplace. With research based on new archival material, this volume makes important new contributions to the study of the 'gift economy.'
Her readings sensitive, her prose style elegant, authoritative and at times thoroughly opinionated, who better equipped than Virginia Woolf to ruminate on the art of fiction? In this selection of lesser-known essays on reading and storytelling, Woolf turns her critical gaze on treasured favourites including 'the four great women novelists - Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot', and unearths some less familiar talents. Her discussion of differing approaches to reading is characteristically forward-thinking, and pinpoints the joys of this favourite pastime, in all its guises. 'Here, then, very briefly and with inevitable simplification, an attempt is made to show the mind at work upon a shelf full of novels and to watch it as it chooses and rejects, making itself a dwelling-place in accordance with its own appetites. Of these appetites, perhaps, the simplest is the desire to believe wholly and entirely in something which is fictitious.'

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.



Related Posts with Thumbnails