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 16 juli 2011

The Night Wind

My sister Emily loved the moors. Flowers brighter than the rose bloomed in the blackest of the heath for her; out of a sullen hollow in a livid hill-side her mind could make an Eden. She found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; and not the least and best loved was--liberty.

Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; without it, she perished. The change from her own home to a school, and from her own very noiseless, very secluded, but unrestricted and inartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined routine (though under the kindliest auspices), was what she failed in enduring. Her nature proved here too strong for her fortitude. Every morning when she woke, the vision of home and the moors rushed on her, and darkened and saddened the day that lay before her. Nobody knew what ailed her but me--I knew only too well.

The following poem was composed at twilight, in the school-room, when the leisure of the evening play-hour brought back in full tide the thoughts of home.

In summer's mellow midnight,
A cloudless moon shone through
Our open parlour window,
And rose-trees wet with dew.

I sat in silent musing;
The soft wind waved my hair;
It told me heaven was glorious,
And sleeping earth was fair.

I needed not its breathing
To bring such thoughts to me;
But still it whispered lowly,
How dark the woods will be!

"The thick leaves in my murmur
Are rustling like a dream,
And all their myriad voices
Instinct with spirit seem."

I said, "Go, gentle singer,
Thy wooing voice is kind:
But do not think its music
Has power to reach my mind.

"Play with the scented flower,
The young tree's supple bough,
And leave my human feelings
In their own course to flow."

The wanderer would not heed me;
Its kiss grew warmer still.
"O come!" it sighed so sweetly;
"I'll win thee 'gainst thy will.

"Were we not friends from childhood?
Have I not loved thee long?
As long as thou, the solemn night,
Whose silence wakes my song.

"And when thy heart is resting
Beneath the church-aisle stone,
I shall have time for mourning,
And Thou for being alone."
Emily Bronte

vrijdag 15 juli 2011

Haworth and the newly-married couple

The people of Haworth welcomed in a loyal manner the  return of the newly-married couple, and in return Mr. Nicholls and his wife gave a tea and supper to five hundred of the day and Sunday scholars, teachers, bell-ringers, and choristers, etc. This gathering was a great success, and the votes of thanks touched Charlotte Bronte very deeply " One of the villagers, in proposing my husband's health, described him as a ' consistent Christian, and a kind gentleman.' I own the words touched me deeply, and I thought . . . that to merit and win such a character was better than to earn either wealth, or fame, or power."

The curate's wife had to drop the mantle of a novelist, as she was kept very busy in various ways. Visitors called at the old vicarage, and return calls had to be made. All the clergy in the neighbourhood and their wives made a point of calling and offering their congratulations, and the parsonage put
on a new life, for it had been a lonely and desolate place for a long time. http://www.archive.


Good news

Let's begin with the good news that the Charlotte Brontë letter auctioned yesterday at Sotheby's has been sold to the Brontë Society and will be going home again after so many years.

"...I know my own sentiments because I can read my own mind, but the mind of the rest of man and woman-kind, are to me sealed volumes, hieroglyphicked scrolls which I cannot easily either unseal or decipher; yet time, careful study, long acquaintance overcome most difficulties, and in your case, I think they have succeeded well in bringing to light and Construing that hidden language whose turnings, windings, inconsistencies, and obscurities, so frequently baffle the researches of the honest observer of human Nature... "bronteblogletter-of-charlotte-to-be-auctioned

donderdag 14 juli 2011

What did the Bronte Sisters see, whem they make their walks over the moors in july?

July can be the warmest month but we can expect to get heavy rain and thunderstorms.

What to see 
  • During this month Dragonfly and Damselflies should be around, when depends on how warm the weather is. Usually first to appear are Damselflies, the Large Red and Common Blue are often the first to be seen.
  • Birds have been busy rearing their young most of them will have left the nest by now.
  • Early in the month some of the flowers you can see are Foxgloves, Birds-foot-trefoil, Dog-rose and Yellow Iris, later in the month Common Spotted Orchid and Heather. Bilberry will be ripenenig and ready to pick at early in the month.
Key dates: 
  • July 2nd 2009:  Bilberries are ripe on Haworth moor. 
  • July 13th 2009: Bog Asphodel beginning to flower at Penistone

Back home

Charlotte and Arthur returned to Haworth  in the early evening of 1 august 1854. Her father was unwell when they arrived but under Charlotte's care he soon recovered.

Charlotte wrote to Ellen:

TO MISS ELLEN NUSSEY.                        ‘Haworth, August 9th, 1854.

Dear Ellen,
I earnestly hope you are by yourself now, and relieved from the fag of entertaining guests. You do not complain, but I am afraid you have had too much of it.

‘Since I came home I have not had an unemployed moment. My life is changed indeed: to be wanted continually, to be constantly called for and occupied seems so strange; yet it is a marvellously good thing. As yet I don’t quite understand how some wives grow so selfish. As far as my experience of matrimony goes, I think it tends to draw you out of, and away from yourself. ‘We have had sundry callers this week. Yesterday Mr. Sowden and another gentleman dined here, and Mr. and Mrs. Grant joined them at tea. ‘I do not think we shall go to Brookroyd soon, on papa’s account. I do not wish again to leave home for a time, but I trust you will ere long come here.
‘I really like Mr. Sowden very well. He asked after you. Mr. Nicholls told him we expected you would be coming to stay with us in the course of three or four weeks, and that he should then invite him over again as he wished us to take sundry rather long walks, and as he should have his wife to look after, and she was trouble enough, it would be quite necessary to have a guardian for the other lady. Mr. Sowden seemed perfectly acquiescent.

During the last six weeks, the colour of my thoughts is a good deal changed: I know more of the realities of life than I once did. I think many false ideas are propagated, perhaps unintentionally. I think those married women who indiscriminately urge their acquaintance to marry, much to blame. For my part, I can only say with deeper sincerity and fuller significance what I always said in theory, “Wait God’s will.” Indeed, indeed, Nell, it is a solemn and strange and perilous thing for a woman to become a wife. Man’s lot is far, far different. Tell me when you think you can come. Papa is better, but not well. How is your mother? give my love to her.—Yours faithfully,

‘C. B. Nicholls.

maandag 11 juli 2011


I found this interesting story on: charlotte bronte's kilkee. On this website you can also find pictures of the West End Hotel, Charlotte and Arthur stayed in during their honeymoon.

Charlotte wrote of the hotel:
Here at our Inn - splendidly designated 'the West End Hotel' - there is a good deal to carp at, were in a carping humour - but we laugh instead of grumbling -for out of doors there is much indeed to compensate for any indoor shortcomings, so magnificent an ocean - so bold and grand a coast - I never yet saw.
Limerick Chronicle, 5 July 1854
MRS. SHANNON begs leave to acquaint her friends and the Public, that she has fitted up her Hotel, in very
Superior Style for the accommodation of Tourists and Visitors to that beautifu watering place. From the long Patronage Mrs. S. has received fiom her Friends, she expects a continuance of their support. Families
requiring private apartments can be accommodated by application at Cruise's Royal Hotel, Limerick; or at 
West End Hotel, Kilkee. This hotel commands a magnificent view of the Cliffs, Bay, and surrounding

Mrs. Shannon and her daughters had moved to Francis Street (modern Grattan St.) Kilkee. Here she
opened her 'Kilkee Boarding House. She was also the post-mistress of Kilkee. This 'Boarding House' changed its name to the 'Kilkee Board and Lodging House' by June 1831, which changed again to 'Kilkee
Hotel' in 1832, and like the two other hotels in the resort charged 25 shillings per week for full board in 1830.  A letter headed 'Bubbles From Bathing Places' in a Limerick newspaper in 1840 stated:
'Katty Fitzgerald and the widdy Shannon have commodious an' cleanly accommodation, no doubt. Moderate charges an' great civility ...

This hotel in Francis St. was later taken over by a Michael McNamara of Limerick as a public house.  By May 1841 Mrs. Shannon had moved to the West End. By May 1841 Mrs. Shannon had moved to the West End, Kilkee, where she had built a large house (now occupied by Mr. Gubbins of Limerick and Mrs. Jim Frawley of Kilkee). Here, with her daughters, she ran the 'West End Boarding House' which name she later, in 1844, changed to the 'West End - not to be confused with the later and larger building of the same name nearby. She  continued as post-mistress until September 1854. This post-office stood on the Dunlickey Road adjoining the hotel. The drawing-rooms of her hotel were  described as 'large and comfortable' and the bedrooms were 'spacious and airy. The Limerick Chronicle was able to state:
'Mrs. Shannon's new Hotel, or West End Boarding House, as well from its accommodation as its beautiful situation on the cliffs over the enchanting bay, and commanding a view of the village promise
every comfort to be desired at this delightful resort.

By the summer of 1843 she had 'made great and extensive improvements'" and in 1844, 1845, 1847,1848 built several additional rooms 'which with the entire Establishment are fitted up with the greatest elegance and comfort. These new additions later formed the nucleus of her private residence after 1870, and is now called 'West End House' (now owned by Mrs. Maureen McMahon of Limerick). In Charlotte Bronte's time it was part of the West End Hotel. Here Mrs Shannon supplied her guests with brandy, genuine malt whiskey, ale and Guinness's porter,  'all of the purest and best quality' and her terms were 'extremely moderate.

photos of Kilkee

zondag 10 juli 2011


The Lakes of Killarney naturally proved to be the place of greatest interest to them in this part of Ireland. Charlotte had described it in imagination, and her father, too, had a story connected with this district, entitled " The Maid of Killarney," which was his most ambitious effort in prose.
Beautiful Glengariff, Tralee, Cork, and probably Blarney Castle, were visited, and Charlotte Bronte says, " The scenery in some parts of Ireland exceeded all I had ever imagined."

Cork City

The Rose of Tralee

Accident with a horse
Gap of Dunloe

It was whilst visiting Killarney that she had a narrow escape of losing her life an incident not mentioned by Mrs. Gaskell in the Life, either because she decided not to pierce the " sacred doors " after the marriage, or else that Mr. Nicholls did not wish an account of his honeymoon to appear.

    Charlotte Bronte tells, in a letter to Miss Winkworth, how they went through the gap of Dunloe, she on horseback. Finding that the horse was nervous and trembled when it came to a dangerous part, her husband asked her to alight, but as she did not feel afraid she declined. Mr. Nicholls was at the horse's head when suddenly it reared and Charlotte Bronte was thrown beneath it. Mr. Nicholls did not see that his wife had fallen off, and the horse kicked and trampled around her. In the few seconds that she was
on the ground she says she thought of the consequences to her husband and father if anything should happen to her. When her plight was seen, the horse was let loose and sprang over her. She was neither bruised by the fall, nor touched by the horse's hoofs, and she was grateful for more reasons than one.

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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