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 29 april 2011

Second visit Charlotte Bronte to London, june 1850

Do you like London, Miss Bronte', she said; another silence, a pause, then Miss Bronte answers, `Yes and No'.

George Smith persuaded his morher to invite Charlotte to stay with them in their new home at Gloucester Terrace in Paddington, Hyde Park Gardens.

Read more: Victorian London.- Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "Paddington"
Paddington, a large district with no specially distinctive title, lies to the north of Tyburnia proper, and affords a large choice of comfortably-built houses at a comparatively moderate rental. Soil, London clay. It occupies a large triangle, of which the two longer sides are Edgware-road from Maida-hill to Kilburn, and the Grand Junction Canal to Kensal Green. NEAREST Railway Station, Praed-st, Bishops-road, and Royal Oak. Omnibus Routes, Harrow-road, Bishop’s. road, and Edgware-road.


On sunday, 09 june, George Smith took her tot the Chapel Royal, where he could be very sure that she would catch side of her hero, the Duke of Wellington.

Charlotte had a big admiration of Wellington. Her fictional characters Charles and Arthur Wellesley feature prominently in her early Angrian writings. In Brussels she wrote an essay on ‘The Death of Napoleon’, in which she praises Wellington, making his genius superior to Napoleon’s. Throughout her life she would follow her hero's progress, finally seeing him in the flesh when she visited London in 1850.

"Of course I cannot give you in a letter a regular chronicle of how my time has been spent. I can only - just notify. what I deem three of its chief incidents: a sight of the Duke of Wellington at the Chapel Royal (he is a real grand old man), a visit to the House of Commons (which I hope to describe to you some day when I see you), and last, not least, an interview with Mr. Thackeray. He made a morning call, and sat above two hours. Mr. Smith only was in the room the whole time. He described it afterwards as a 'queer scene,' and - I suppose it was. The giant sat before me; I was moved to speak to him of some of his short-comings (literary of course); one by one the faults came into my head, and one by one I brought them out, and sought some explanation or defence. He did defend himself, like a great Turk and heathen; that is to say, the excuses were often worse than the crime itself. The matter ended in decent amity; if all be well, I am to dine at his house this evening.

She was reintroduced to literary society.
 G.H. Lewes

'A little, plain, provincial, sickly-looking old maid', is how George Lewes described Charlotte Brontë to George Eliot.

Charlotte Bronte:
"I have seen Lewes too. . . . I could not feel otherwise to him than half-sadly, half-tenderly, - a queer word that last, but I use it because the aspect of Lewes's face almost moves me to tears; it is so wonderfully like Emily, her eyes, her features, the very nose, the somewhat prominent mouth, the forehead, even, at moments, the expression: whatever Lewes says, I believe I cannot hate him. Another likeness I have seen, too, that touched me sorrowfully. You remember my speaking of a Miss K., a young authoress, who supported her mother by writing? Hearing that she had a longing to see me, I called on her yesterday. . . . She met me half-frankly, half-tremblingly; we sat down together, and when I had talked with her five minutes, her face was no longer strange, but mournfully familiar; - it was Martha in every lineament. I shall try to find a moment to see her again. . . . I do not intend to stay here, at the furthest, more than a week longer; but at the end of that time I cannot go home, for the house at Haworth is just now unroofed; repairs were become necessary."  
Julia Kavanagh

Julia Kavanagh was a woman who lived a hard but successful life as a writer: crippled when young (spinal curvature), she was Irish Catholic and her parent separated sometime after the three moved to London (there were no other children). Her father was useless as a partner or companion for life: he never made a living, was continually involving himself with other women, a promiscuous ne’er-do-well philanderer. She and her mother made their way through their connections and her genius into the writing world and she published novels, books about women of letters, travel writing. They lived in London, eventually made their home-refuge, France, and travelled in Italy. Kavanagh became fluent in both Italian and English. She died relatively young.

Once again Thackeray
Thackeray's daughter, the writer Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie recalled a visit to her father by Charlotte Brontë:

Two gentlemen come in, leading a tiny, delicate, serious, little lady, with fair straight hair, and steady eyes. She may be a little over thirty; she is dressed in a little barège dress with a pattern of faint green moss. She enters in mittens, in silence, in seriousness; our hearts are beating with wild excitement. This then is the authoress, the unknown power whose books have set all London talking, reading, speculating; some people even say our father wrote the books - the wonderful books. The moment is so breathless that dinner comes as a relief to the solemnity of the occasion, and we all smile as my father stoops to offer his arm; for, genius though she may be, Miss Brontë can barely reach his elbow. My own personal impressions are that she is somewhat grave and stern, specially to forward little girls who wish to chatter. Every one waited for the brilliant conversation which never began at all. Miss Brontë retired to the sofa in the study, and murmured a low word now and then to our kind governess the conversation grew dimmer and more dim, the ladies sat round still expectant, my father was too much perturbed by the gloom and the silence to be able to cope with it at all after Miss Brontë had left, I was surprised to see my father opening the front door with his hat on. He put his fingers to his lips, walked out into the darkness, and shut the door quietly behind him long afterwards Mrs. Procter asked me if I knew what had happened It was one of the dullest evenings [Mrs Procter] had ever spent in her life the ladies who had all come expecting so much delightful conversation, and the gloom and the constraint, and how finally, overwhelmed by the situation, my father had quietly left the room, left the house, and gone off to his club.
Lady Ritchie/ Anne Thackeray

The painter Richmond

woensdag 27 april 2011

Charlotte Bronte in London

She set about marshalling a small trousseau for the visit. November 1849 Charlotte sent out for London, armed with her new wardrobe, including the sable boa and cuffs that she had commissioned Ellen to buy for her that summer with money from Jane Eyre, along with a squirrel tipped for every day.
She went straight to the Smiths' house in Westbourne Place.

George Smith had assembled an illustrious party of guests.

I bought this book.

One of the pictures gives an idea about this kind of social event.

Elizabeth Gaskell   ""The Life of Charlotte Brontë"":

At 7 o'clock Tackeray was announced.
"As to being happy, I am under scenes and circumstances of excitement; but I suffer acute pain sometimes, - mental pain, I mean. At the moment Mr. Thackeray presented himself, I was thoroughly faint from inanition, having eaten nothing since a very slight breakfast, and it was then seven o'clock in the evening. Excitement and exhaustion made savage work of me that evening. What he thought of me I cannot tell."
She told me how difficult she found it, this first time of meeting Mr. Thackeray, to decide whether he was speaking in jest or in earnest, and that she had (she believed) completely misunderstood an inquiry of his, made on the gentlemen's coming into the drawing-room. He asked her "if she had perceived the secret of their cigars;" to which she replied literally, discovering in a minute afterwards, by the smile on several faces, that he was alluding to a passage in Jane Eyre. Her hosts took pleasure in showing her the sights of London. On one of the days which had been set apart for some of these pleasant excursions, a severe review of Shirley was published in the Times. She had heard that her book would be noticed by it, and guessed that there was some particular reason for the care with which her hosts mislaid it on that particular morning. She told them that she was aware why she might not see the paper. Mrs. Smith at once admitted that her conjecture was right, and said that they had wished her to go to the day's engagement before reading it. But she quietly persisted in her request to be allowed to have the paper. Mrs. Smith took her work, and tried not to observe the countenance, which the other tried to hide between the large sheets; but she could not help becoming aware of tears stealing down the face and dropping on the lap. The first remark Miss Brontë made was to express her fear lest so severe a notice should check the sale of the book, and injuriously affect her publishers. Wounded as she was, her first thought was for others. Later on (I think that very afternoon) Mr. Thackeray called; she suspected (she said) that he came to see how she bore the attack on Shirley; but she had recovered her composure, and conversed very quietly with him: he only learnt from the answer to his direct inquiry that she had read the Times' article.

William Makepeace Thackeray

George Smith and his mother took her to the Theatre, to the new Houses of Parliament, to the National Gallery, where Charlotte enjoyed the exhibition of Turner's paintings.

Charlotte sent a note to Harriet Martineau, she wants to visit here.

By the end of her stay Charlotte was exhausted by the whirl of social life.
Later she wrote to Ellen Nussey:

‘Haworth, December 19th, 1849.
‘Dear Ellen,—Here I am at Haworth once more. I feel as if I had come out of an exciting whirl. Not that the hurry or stimulus would have seemed much to one accustomed to society and change, but to me they were very marked. My strength and spirits too often proved quite insufficient for the demand on their exertions. I used to bear up as well and as long as I possibly could, for, whenever I flagged, I could see Mr. Smith became disturbed; he always thought that something had been said or done to annoy me, which never once happened, for I met with perfect good breeding even from antagonists—men who had done their best or worst to write me down. I explained to him, over and over again, that my occasional silence was only failure of the power to talk, never of the will, but still he always seemed to fear there was another cause underneath.
‘Mrs. Smith is rather stern, but she has sense and discrimination; she watched me very narrowly. When surrounded by gentlemen she never took her eye from me. I liked the surveillance, both when it kept guard over me amongst many, or only with her cherished one. She soon, I am convinced, saw in what light I received all, Thackeray included. Her “George” is a very fine specimen of a young English man of business; so I regard him, and I am proud to be one of his props.
‘Thackeray is a Titan of mind. His presence and powers impress me deeply in an intellectual sense; I do not see him or know him as a man. All the others are subordinate to these. I have esteem for some, and, I trust, courtesy for all. I do not, of course, know what they thought of me, but I believe most of them expected me to come out in a more marked eccentric, striking light. I believe they desired more to admire and more to blame. I felt sufficiently at my ease with all except Thackeray, and with him I was painfully stupid.

‘Now, dear Nell, when can you come to Haworth? Settle, and let me know as soon as you can. Give my best love to all.—Yours,

‘C. B.’


More photo's of London at that time.

maandag 25 april 2011

Charlotte Bronte ugly?

This drawing is from a letter Charlotte sent tot Ellen Nussey.
The person in the right is Ellen, the small figure at the left is Charlotte herself.......

Why did Charlotte Bronte thought she is ugly?
On her portraits
she is certainly not
Juliet Barker in her book: Richmond captured the beauty of her large hazel eyes and played down the size of her prominent nose and mouth, he reduces the squareness of her lower jaw.
Mary Taylor was later to comment the portrait:

'It must upset most people's notions of beauty
 to be told that the portrait at the beginning is that of an ugly woman.
I do not altogether like the idea of publishing a flattered  likeness.
I had rather the mouth and eyes had been nearer together
and shown the veritable square face and large disproportionate nose'

Of all the actresses playing Jane Eyre,
Ruth Wilson seems in my opinion
a look alike of
Charlotte Bronte

The cobble stones of Haworth

I received an email from Jar Bancroft from the weblog Bancrofts from Yorkshire
Jar is living in Yorkshire and when he sees an interesting article in the media he makes me aware of this. I like this very much.

Hi Geri,
Here's an interesting article about The Setts in Haworth Main Street. Just in case you have not come across the word "Setts", it's the Yorkshire word for the cobble stones which make up Haworth Main Street.
Work to restore Haworth’s historic setts will halt shortly before next month’s 1940s Weekend celebration, then begin again in October.
Bradford Council’s principal traffic and highways officer, Keith Escritt, said the workers had been lucky with the weather since they began the job on Main Street in January.
He said: “They’ve been cleaning out the joints between the setts around the bottom of the street.
“They should get as far as the Fleece pub by the end of this month.” This year’s 1940s Weekend will take place on May 14 and 15. Mr Escritt said the workers would make sure they removed their material from Weaver’s Hill car park in time for the event. He said: “When we restart in October we hope to complete the stretch from the Butt Lane area to the top of Main Street, depending on the weather.
“We’ve got to relay a lot of the setts on West Lane. “Then we’ve got the asphalt stretch between the car park there and North Street. “We’re thinking of removing the asphalt and revealing the setts underneath.”
Coun Huxley said: “I think they’ve done a first class job on the setts. “Bradford Council deserves some praise because it’s really got on with it and this is something that will last for a long time.” In response to a query from Mike Hutchinson, of the Haworth Village Association, Mr Escritt said: “I’ve been told that we’ve got funding for this scheme for the next two years.”

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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