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 7 april 2012

Happy Easter for all of you

'_Tuesday Morning_.

'I cannot accept your kind invitation. I must be at home at Easter, on two or three accounts connected with sermons to be preached, parsons to be entertained, Mechanics' Institute meetings and tea-drinkings to be solemnised, and ere long I have promised to go and see Mrs. Gaskell; but till this wintry weather is passed, I would rather eschew visiting anywhere. I trust that bad cold of yours is _quite_ well, and that you will take good care of yourself in future. That night work is always perilous.--Yours faithfully,
'C. BRONTE.' charlotte-bronte

vrijdag 6 april 2012

More newspapers echo the growing opposition against the windfarm project in Brontë countryThe Telegraphtalks about "fears over wind turbine plans" (regrettably the article consistently misspells Haworth):
Plans to build a £12 million wind farm on the "wild and wonderful" moorland that inspiredWuthering Heights have enraged conservationists and locals.
Thornton Moor at Howarth was a source of inspiration to all three Bronte sisters who enjoyed its breath-taking views during their frequent walks from the Parsonage.
Now the Brontë Society and local villagers have been devastated by moves to build four 328ft high wind turbines on the beauty spot - flanking both sides of the Brontë Way tourist trail.
Bradford councillors are due to vote on an application to install a data-gathering mast next week and objectors fear the full £12m scheme could go to planning by September and be built within 12 months.
Thornton Moor is less than five miles from Howarth and the Brontë Parsonage Museum where the Brontës spent most of their lives and part of landscape steeped in literary history.
Sally McDonald, chairman of the Brontë Society board of trustees, said: "These moors should continue undisturbed for generations to come and for the swathes of visitors from the UK and overseas drawn to Haworth and Yorkshire by their interest in the lives and works of the Brontës.
"We are concerned it is more skyline pollution in an area of international historical interest.
"Howarth is regarded as a heritage at risk area in its own right. The Brontës were passionate about the landscape and the moorland hugely influenced the writing of all three sisters.
"Wuthering Heights was set in and around that area. You cannot see the moor from the parsonage window but it would be a view they knew from their walks. "They thought nothing about scampering out for a seven or eight mile on the moor. "Four one hundred meter tall turbines will have a huge visual impact. Preserving the nature of the moor is very important. "The heather is beautiful, and the wild flowers are lovely to see. It would be awful if they were lost. There is also birdlife such as lapwings. "The moorland is undulating, providing a wonderful open vista of unbroken landscape which sweeps up and down in beautiful banks and falls. "It is wild and wonderful place. It is a very special part of the Yorkshire landscape which draws a huge number of visitors to Yorkshire every year including visitors who want to see what is represented in the writings of the Brontës - and I don't think that includes wind masts." bronteblog./huge-visual-impact

donderdag 5 april 2012

New pictures of Isabelle quarter

A Historic Picture Album

By Selina Busch, 2005
Copies may be ordered from Selina Busch, Ridderstraat 24, 4101 BK CULEMBORG, THE

Selina Busch was one of the guides on the 2003 Brontë Society Excursion and for that event she assembled a number of photographs of old Brussels, especially of the Isabella Quarter in which the Pensionnat Heger once stood. Many people encouraged her to continue this work and to publish an album. With the help of the Daphne Carrick Scholarship, awarded by the Brontë Society, she has been able to produce this present volume.There are over 130 photographs and maps. These are organised into chapters as follows. Chapter One contains photographs of the Pensionnat and its garden. Chapter Two is devoted to the Rue d’Isabelle and the Rue Terarcken, the immediate neighbourhood of the school. These are streets that Charlotte and Emily would have walked along almost every day. Chapter Three takes us a little further away with pictures of the Isabella Quarter of Brussels. In Chapter Four we have pictures of the park and the royal quarter. In Chapter Five we have the churches that Charlotte would have known. Chapter Six is of other streets and sights. Chapter Seven gives some panoramas of the city, and some maps. In Chapter Eight, we haveSelina Busch was one of the guides on the 2003 Brontë Selina Busch was one of the guides on the 2003 Brontë.
Interesting photo's of the Pensionat Heger look maths.mq.edu.au/bronte/docs

woensdag 4 april 2012

On this day

On this day in 1850 Benjamin Herschel Babbage Inspector of the General Board of Health in London opened his investigation on the state of the water supply in Haworth. His report found the sanitation was poor, open sewers coursing down Main St and water leaching from the graveyard into the main source of drinking water.

On this day in 1855 Charlotte Bronte was buried in the family vault at Haworth Parish Church.

Read what happened this day: kleurrijkbrontesisters/what-happened-after-death-of-charlotte


While Gaskell’s entire characterization of her subject aims to “show what a noble, true, and tender woman Charlotte Brontë really was” (396), meaning middle class and feminine, I will touch on two illustrative instances, dress and love, the knowledge and handling of which attest to Gaskell’s middle-class status as much as Brontë’s.  Dress stands out as one of the many seemingly trivial matters that Gaskell highlights in her biography in an effort to help middle-class readers, particularly of course women readers, relate to Charlotte Brontë. Modern feminist scholars are Masters 89 particularly inclined to recognize clothing as a socially meaningful element of Victorian life, and according to Langland, “details of dress, always associated with status, took on increasing subtlety as indicators of class rank within the middle classes. Likewise, dress historian Rachel Worth believes that “the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell are extremely enlightening . . . for their delineation of class as construed through specific styles of dress and specific fabrics 

In The Life, then, clothing presents a possible problem as asign of Brontë’s failure in the realm of middle-class femininity, since, for example, her sister “Emily had taken a fancy to the fashion, ugly and preposterous even during its reign, of gigot sleeves, and persisted in wearing them long after they were ‘gone out.’ Her petticoats, too, had, not a curve or a wave in them, but hung straight and long, clinging to her lank figure” (166). Furthermore, beyond this association with her unfashionable sister, Brontë had apparently failed to clothe her fictional characters appropriately, for in her review, Rigby insinuates that the author must be a man as “no woman attires another in such fancy dresses as Jane’s ladies assume” (111). Through careful maneuvering on Gaskell’s part, however, such alleged ignorance of flattering and socially-appropriate apparel serves as another illustration of how Brontë eventually transcends the disadvantages of her early life. Recurring references to clothing function first as a sign of Brontë’s early social deprivation, then as learning experience, and ultimately as evidence of her “gentle breeding” rather than social ignorance (311). As in many of her fictional works, including Cranford and Wives and Daughters, in The Life, Gaskell reaffirms the importance of dress as a marker of class status and femininity, drawing on the specifically upper middle-class “emphasis . . . on subtle understatement in apparel” rather than ostentatious displays of fashion (Langland 35).

To reach the point where readers see Brontë as simply and elegantly dressed as befitting her middle-class position, Gaskell first has to grapple with the public knowledge that as children the Brontë girls had “strange, odd, insular ideas about dress” (166), as their Belgian schoolfellows noticed when Charlotte and Emily Brontë lived abroad to study French. To account for this social ignorance in terms of fashion, Gaskell locates several contributing factors, including the lack of shops for “dress, or dainties” in Haworth (39), the early death of Mrs. Brontë which left Mr. Brontë to raise daughters (nearly) without female aid, and their spinster Aunt Branwell’s hopelessly out-of-date sense of style. 

Thus, in writing about Brontë as a teenager, Gaskell asks her readers to “think of her as a little, set, antiquated girl, very quiet in manners, and very quaint in dress” (75), though, importantly, through no fault of her own. For one, as an evangelical clergyman, “Mr. Brontë wished to make his children hardy, and indifferent to the pleasures of eating and dress,” and as the knowledgeable Gaskell confirms, “in the latter he succeeded, as far as regarded his daughters” (42). Likewise, Aunt Branwell “on whom the duty of dressing her nieces principally devolved, had never been in society since she left Penzance, eight or nine years before, and the Penzance fashions of that day were still dear to her heart” (75). Noble or kind as their intentions ma have been, neither Mr. Brontë nor Aunt Branwell manage the household with the kind of success Gaskell imagines in her character Mrs. Gibson from Wives and Daughters, who recognizes the importance of selecting appropriate, class-signifying clothing for the young women of a middle-class household.  

Fortunately, at least in Gaskell’s opinion, Brontë rectified this early disadvantage in terms of clothing once she experienced the wider world and discovered her innate “feminine taste” and “love for modest, dainty, neat attire” (356), which could so appropriately signal her position as a respectable woman of limited means. To show this transformation from “very quaint in dress” to fashion-conscious, Gaskell brilliantly allows Brontë to speak for herself through quotations from personal letters. 

In 1851, for example, Brontë wrote to her friend Ellen Nussey, requesting assistance with the purchase of some “lace cloaks, both black and white,” and she spends a full paragraph 
enumerating the details involved in this fashion decision (qtd. in Life 356). Of this letter, Miller suggests that it “lets us share an everyday private moment between two female friends, but is also used by Gaskell as proof of Miss Brontë’s ‘feminine taste’ and ‘love for modest, dainty, neat attire,’ moral indicators of her irreproachable womanliness” (67). While Miller correctly assesses how the letter contributes to Gaskell’s feminine picture of Brontë, we should remember that this instance is one of the more positive references to dress in the biography, occurring late in the second volume, and after the publication of  Jane Eyre.

The earlier passages in The Life, in which Gaskell deliberately mentions the poor and strange clothing the Brontës wore, make such later references to cloaks, bonnets, gloves, and scarves all the more relevant. In the manner of Gaskell’s fictional heroine Molly Gibson, as the protagonist of The Life, Brontë matures in her sense of style and thus her womanly appeal. In turn, tainted by a penchant for “preposterous” sleeves and petticoats, Emily Brontë, as Jay suggests, is once again “offered up as the scapegoat” (xx), while her more sociable sister Charlotte learns how to present herself properly and in accordance with modern taste. A sign of Brontë’s true success in mastering the art of dressing is the reaction, or rather lack of one, from the ever style-conscious Gaskell upon their first meeting. Although she gossiped freely in her letter to Catherine Winkworth about Brontë’s “undeveloped” body, “altogether plain” face, and unique childhood, Gaskell apparently found nothing to criticize in terms of dress in the “little lady in a black-silk gown” (Letters 123). 
Read on: etd.lib.umt.edu/theses/

A Comparison of Charlotte Bronte Biographies

Over the years, there have been many biographies written about Charlotte Bronte. Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Bronte has been regarded as the standard work. Winifred Gerin's biography, Charlotte Bronte: The Evolution of Genius (published in 1967) was the first to include new information on Bronte. Gerin says, "It is paradoxical that the standard work is still Mrs. Gaskell's Life. This remains a great biography, but published two years after its subject's death it suffered from the inevitable limitations thus imposed . . . and was not bettered by immediate followers" (xiv). Gerin felt that "the main contributions to Bronte studies in this century have been on the editorial plane" and sought to write a factual, unbiased biography (xiv). Lyndall Gordon's biography, Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life, took a feminist view, which was a different view from that of all previous biographies. Each biographer was affected by the cultural views of women of the time. Since Jane Eyre is seen as a reflection of Bronte’s life, the view of Jane Eyre has also changed with the times. In her biography, Gaskell sought to hide Bronte's excess passion and blamed it on the tragedies she suffered, whereas Gerin recognized Bronte 's passion as a part of her personality that contributed to her writing, and Gordon embraced it as the most important aspect of Bronte 's life. 

In June of 1855, Mrs. Gaskell received a letter from Reverend Patrick Bronte, on behalf of himself and Bronte's husband, Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls, asking if she would write a biography of Charlotte Bronte. Ellen Nussey, Bronte's friend, had written to Patrick Bronte and Nicholls concerned with her friend's reputation and some speculations made by the press. Ellen Nussey demanded that these speculations be challenged. Had the Bell brothers (Charlotte, Emily and Anne's pseudonyms) been three separate people? Were they male or female? According to Gaskell, people began wondering if the "author [of Jane Eyre] forfeited the right to keep the company of respectable women" (vii) because of her coarseness ("by which Victorians meant vehemence and passion") (Gordon 347)? Ellen suggested that Gaskell, a friend of Bronte’s and an established author, write Charlotte's biography. 

In writing the biography, Gaskell used her own notes and letters describing her meetings with Charlotte Bronte. Patrick Bronte provided a skeleton biographical outline (not always accurate in detail) of himself and his family (Gaskell xiii). Gaskell traveled to Haworth and Cowan Bridge, to Casterton (where the clergy daughter's school located) to Thorton (where Bronte was born), to London to see George Smith and to Brussels to meet Constantin Heger. She spoke to those who had known Bronte and relied heavily on letters Bronte had written to Ellen Nussey, which Ellen had saved (Gaskell xv). 
Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Bronte was published in 1857. Gaskell then spent some time in Italy and upon her return "found a heap of correspondence waiting for her" most of which were "attacks on grounds of misrepresentation" (Gaskell x). She then wrote a revised edition, which was later revised again and expanded (x). 

Through the biography Gaskell sought to repudiate charges of "coarseness" (brought on by Bronte's bold, passionate writing) by showing that "It was not Bronte's nature but her environment that made her wild" (ix). Gaskell felt that Charlotte's life "was but labour and pain" (457). She attempted to protect her friend by removing all reference to Bronte's love for M. Heger from the biography. Due to the fact that the biography was published only two years after Bronte's death, Gaskell had to omit information that could have damaged the reputations of people who were still living. 

Gaskell's perspective of Bronte's life is one of loss and grief. To this, she attributes the aspects of Bronte's writing and personality that were unacceptable at the time. She writes: 

Miss Bronte never dared to allow herself to look forward with hope; she had no confidence in the future; and I thought, when I heard of the sorrowful years she had passed through, that it had been this pressure of grief which had crushed all buoyancy of expectation out of her. (94) 

This perspective of Bronte also applies to Jane Eyre. After reading Gaskell's biography, one can see how autobiographical aspects of Bronte's life emerge in Jane Eyre. For example, Charlotte Bronte attended Cowan Bridge as a child, a school for the clergy’s daughters, which is represented as "Lowood" and her sister Maria is represented as the character "Helen Burns" (Gaskell 51). It is important to remember that Gaskell was writing for a different time, when women were to be seen and not heard. Bronte's bold behavior was not normal and could only be explained by the misery Bronte endured. Taking this into consideration, one can see Gaskell's view of Bronte's life reflected in Jane: her passion a result of her suffering. 

Winifred Gerin's biography, Charlotte Bronte: Evolution of a Genius, was published in 1967. She used a variety of sources in writing the biography including Bronte's juvenile writings (preserved in manuscript only), and Bronte's letters. Gerin researched the personalities and backgrounds of Bronte's known acquaintances and visited sights from Bronte's life (from Thorton, to Cowan Bridge, to the home in Ireland where she stayed on her honeymoon) (Gerin xv). Gerin received information on Charlotte Bronte's experience in Belgium first hand from the Heger family. All of this was published for the first time in her biography. 

Gerin focused on Bronte's "evolution towards fulfillment" (xv). Gerin viewed Bronte’s grief as an essential part of her character. Gerin revealed the passion that Bronte had felt for M. Heger, which was something Gaskell had not done. Gerin also saw the importance of Bronte's childhood writings and felt that they traced Bronte's development as a writer. She felt that they were the "key to her mature productions" and spent a great deal of time analyzing them (xv). 

Gerin's biography recognized how the events in Bronte's life shaped her character. She recognized that Bronte's love for M. Heger was an important factor in her life and included it in her book. She was as concerned as Gaskell with defending Bronte, rather with presenting facts, and thus she did not omit things or modify them as Gaskell did. One hundred years later, women are viewed differently. What was once considered coarse, is no longer so. Gerin was able to present Bronte's life as it was. 

Read on: 123helpme/view.
wiki/Winifred Gerin

dinsdag 3 april 2012

I don’t think there ever was such an apple of discord as that unlucky book. (Elizabeth Gaskell to George Smith, 26 November 1857)

I am curious 
about the backgrounds
of the biography
Elisabeth Gaskell 
made from Charlotte Bronte
I am going to search for background information.

On 16 July 1855, Patrick Brontë wrote to Mrs. Gaskell, acknowledging her as the person “best qualified” to write an account of Charlotte’s life and works, and asking if she would agree to the task (SHB. XV. 190-191).  Within a week, Gaskell arrived at Haworth Parsonage to discuss the biography.  From the beginning, she intended to do much more than  the “brief account of [Charlotte’s] life and . . . some remarks on her works” for which Patrick had asked
(XV. 190).  She wrote to Ellen Nussey:

I told Mr Brontë how much I felt the difficulty of the task I had undertaken, yet how much I wished to do it well, and make his daughter’s most unusual character (as taken separately from her genius,) known to those who from their deep interest and admiration of her writings would naturally, if her life was to be written, expect to be informed as to the circumstances which made her what she was (Letters 361)

Gaskell’s biography was to be a tribute to both the woman and the writer; she also intended it to be an expression of their treasured friendship, as she said in her letters both before and after the book’s publication.  Indeed, before she had even been approached by Patrick Brontë, she had written to Charlotte’s publisher, George Smith, that she longed to “publish what I know of her, and make the world . . . honour the woman as much as they have admired the writer” (345).  And when the “unlucky book” was published, and Gaskell was “in the Hornet’s nest with a vengeance” (453) from those unhappy with their particular portrayals, she stood true to herfriend’s memory, asking Charles Kingsley to “[r]espect & value the memory of Charlotte Brontë as she deserves” (452), and telling Ellen Nussey:
I weighed every line with all my whole power & heart, so that every line should go to it’s [sic] great purpose of making her known & valued, as one who had gone through such a terrible life with a brave & faithful heart. (454)
Gaskell had mourned Charlotte’s passing; indeed, she most likely still mourned her, or at least she expected to: My dear dear friend that I shall never see again on earth! . . . I loved her dearly, more than I think she knew.  I shall never cease to be thankful that I knew
her: or to mourn her loss. (335-336) Thus, as Pollard says, Mrs. Gaskell wrote with a “tender concern” that highlighted the “profound attachment” she had for Charlotte Brontë (Mrs Gaskell 142-143), a woman she considered “truth itself” (Letters 128).  If, indeed, her purpose was to exalt Charlotte’s goodness (Pollard 146), it was also certainly sincere.  Gaskell’s purpose was to write an account of Charlotte just short of hagiography, and she never claimed otherwise: I appeal to that larger and more solemn public, who know how to look with tender humility at faults and errors; how to admire generously extraordinary genius, and how to reverence with warm, full hearts all noble virtue. To that Public I commit the memory of Charlotte Brontë. (Life 429) Wise and Symington state that, though the friendship between Elizabeth and Charlotte was brief, “[n]ever, anywhere, do we find a single jarring note” (SHB. XV. 61).  It is appropriate that the friendship between these two extraordinary women be emphasised, for in the nineteenth century, a friendship like theirs was considered most rare. lang/EG

Here you can read an opinion completely different: guardian/classics.charlottebronte 
Since her death 150 years ago, Charlotte Brontë has been sanitised as a dull, Gothic drudge. Far from it, says Tanya Gold; the author was a filthy, frustrated, sex-obsessed genius.

maandag 2 april 2012

On this day in 1850 Benjamin Herschel Babbage travelled to Haworth to examine the sanitary condition of the village on behalf of the General Board of Health.

Benjamin Herschel Babbage (6 August 1815 – 22 October 1878) was an English engineer, scientist, explorer and politician, best known for his work in the colony of South Australia. He invariably signed his name "B. Herschel Babbage" and was frequently referred to as "Herschel Babbage"
In 1850, Babbage was invited by Patrick Brontë (clergyman and father of the Brontë sisters) to conduct an inspection in the West Yorkshiretown of Haworth, partly brought about by Haworth's high rate of early mortality.[2] Babbage was horrified by the unsanitary conditions in the town, and The Babbage Report to the General Board of Health into the town's water supply and lack of a sewerage system resulted in the board taking notice and working to improve the town's sanitation.[3] In 1851, the Colonial Secretary Earl Grey, on the recommendation of the geologist Sir Henry De la Beche, assigned Babbage to perform a geological and mineralogical survey of the colony of South Australia requested by the colony's government. Babbage arrived in South Australia on 27 November on the "Hydaspes",[4] and over the next few years worked on a number of government projects, first setting up the Government Gold Assay Office in Victoria Square.[5]
He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1852.[6] In January 1853 he was appointed Chief Engineer by the company undertaking the railway from Port Adelaide to the city.[7] In 1853, Babbage was one of the first five members of the Mitcham District Council, serving as the council's first chairman from 1855. A ward in the City of Mitcham was named after him.[8] In 1854 he was elected to the Central Road Board.[9] In 1855, Babbage served as President of the Adelaide Philosophical Society.[10]
In 1857, Babbage was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly in the inaugural election in 1857, representing the electorate ofEncounter Bay. He resigned late in the year after being appointed to lead an expedition to explore the north of the colony between Lake Torrens and Lake Gairdner.[11] He was replaced by Henry Strangways in a by-election.[1]
Babbage began his exploration of South Australia in 1856 when sent to search for gold up to the Flinders Ranges,[12] during which time he discovered the MacDonnell River, Blanchewater and Mount Hopeful (renamed Mount Babbage after him in 1857 by George Goyder). Babbage also disproved the notion that Lake Torrens was a single horseshoe-shaped lake or inland sea, ascertaining a number of gaps in the lake, which were later traversed other explorers such as Augustus Gregory and Peter Warburton.[11] On 15 June 1858 near Pernatty Creek he discovered the remains of William Coulthard of Angas Park, Nuriootpa, who had died of thirst around 10 March 1858.[13] On 22 October 1858 he discovered Emerald Springs.[14]
Babbage also discovered that Lake Eyre (sighted by Edward John Eyre in 1840) actually consisted of a large northern and a smaller southern lake. A peninsula on Lake Eyre North was named Babbage Peninsula in 1963.[15]
As Babbage continued his explorations, sometimes accompanied by his son, Charles Whitmore Babbage,[16] the government grew tired of his slow, methodical pace, and the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Francis Dutton, responded to the controversy by replacing him withPeter Warburton in 1858. Babbage complained of unfair treatment and petitioned the House of Assembly to conduct a parliamentary inquiry into the issue.[17] A critically acclaimed book of his pen-and-ink sketches from this expedition is held by the Mortlock Library.[16]
His last years were spent at his home on South Road, St Mary's, where he had an excellent vineyard and was a keen winemaker (nine varieties on 25 acres in 1878[18]). He announced his candidature for the 1877 Legislative Council elections but refused to participate in any public meetings and did not go to the polls.[19]

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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