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 9 maart 2013

Letters from Anne to Ellen Nussey and my search for a watch-guard

Haworth, October 4th, 1847.
My dear Miss Nussey,—Many thanks to you for your unexpected and welcome epistle. Charlotte is well, and meditates writing to you. Happily for all parties the east wind no longer prevails. During its continuance she complained of its influence as usual. I too suffered from it in some degree, as I always do, more or less; but this time, it brought me no reinforcement of colds and coughs, which is what I dread the most. Emily considers it a very uninteresting wind, but it does not affect her nervous system. Charlotte p. 183agrees with me in thinking the --- [183a] a very provoking affair. You are quite mistaken about her parasol; she affirms she brought it back, and I can bear witness to the fact, having seen it yesterday in her possession. As for my book, I have no wish to see it again till I see you along with it, and then it will be welcome enough for the sake of the bearer. We are all here much as you left us. I have no news to tell you, except that Mr. Nicholls begged a holiday and went to Ireland three or four weeks ago, and is not expected back till Saturday; but that, I dare say, is no news at all. We were all and severally pleased and gratified for your kind and judiciously selected presents, from papa down to Tabby, or down to myself, perhaps I ought rather to say. The crab-cheese is excellent, and likely to be very useful, but I don’t intend to need it. It is not choice but necessity has induced me to choose such a tiny sheet of paper for my letter, having none more suitable at hand; but perhaps it will contain as much as you need wish to read, and I to write, for I find I have nothing more to say, except that your little Tabby must be a charming little creature. That is all, for as Charlotte is writing, or about to write to you herself, I need not send any messages from her. Therefore accept my best love. I must not omit the Major’s [183b] compliments. And—Believe me to be your affectionate friend,
Anne Brontë.’
Haworth, January 4th, 1848.
My dear Miss Nussey,—I am not going to give you a “nice long letter”—on the contrary, I mean to content myself with a shabby little note, to be ingulfed in a letter of Charlotte’s, which will, of course, be infinitely more acceptable to you than any production of mine, though I do not question your friendly regard for me, or the indulgent welcome you would accord to a missive of mine, even without a more agreeable companion to p. 184 back it; but you must know there is a lamentable deficiency in my organ of language, which makes me almost as bad a hand at writing as talking, unless I have something particular to say. I have now, however, to thank you and your friend for your kind letter and her pretty watch-guards, which I am sure we shall all of us value the more for being the work of her own hands. You do not tell us how you bear the present unfavourable weather. We are all cut up by this cruel east wind. Most of us, i.e. Charlotte, Emily, and I have had the influenza, or a bad cold instead, twice over within the space of a few weeks. Papa has had it once. Tabby has escaped it altogether. I have no news to tell you, for we have been nowhere, seen no one, and done nothing (to speak of) since you were here—and yet we contrive to be busy from morning till night. Flossy is fatter than ever, but still active enough to relish a sheep-hunt. I hope you and your circle have been more fortunate in the matter of colds than we have.
‘With kind regards to all,—I remain, dear Miss Nussey, yours ever affectionately, Anne Brontë.

I didn't have any idea what is a watch-guard. So I was looking on the internet. This photograph gives an idea. the chain is NOT the one from the Brontes, just to give an idea. I wonder which material the friend of Ellen Nussey used for her watch-guard.


I thought, maybe I can find it on the new website of the museum.  bronte.org.uk
What I found, you can see it here. Is this the one the friend of Ellen Nussey sent?

Title black cord watch guard
Description Black knotted cord with beads. Tassles at one end, metal secure hook clasp at the other end.
Material silk
  • whole 240 mm
  • whole 13 mm
  • donderdag 7 maart 2013

    Cowan Bridge

    From Google Earth
    I was searching on Google Earth to see Cowan Bridge, Streetview is amazing. Going back in the time, searching for the school the Bronte Sisters visited, and see.......it is still all there ( not all, part of it is demolished).
    VISIT to Cowan Bridge, where part of the Lowood School of Jane Eyre is still in existence, reveals a beautiful little hamlet near Kirkby Lonsdale. A drive from the hotel in Kirkby Lonsdale, where, in the old coaching days the conveyance in which the Bronte sisters travelled made its last halt, takes one over the Devil's Bridge, a narrow stone structure, which spans the river Lune, and after a quarter of an hour's drive Cowan Bridge is reached.

    Through Cowan Bridge the Leeds and Kendal coach used to pass, and in the days when the Brontes were there it was busier than now, for not only did the stage coaches pass to and fro, but the pack-horses were constantly on the road, taking the wool from the outlying districts to Leeds and Bradford.

    I always thought the period of the Cowan Bridge School was full of sad memories for Charlotte Bronte. So, I was surprised to read about these happy memories.

    The little stream, with the huge stones in its bed, flowing past the old school, Charlotte Bronte described as her favourite spot when at Cowan Bridge. Along its banks she used to wander, frequently taking off her shoes and stockings and wading in its waters. Here she was free from intrusion, and could enjoy her broken day dreams. In later years she told Mary Taylor how she enjoyed this beautiful spot, sitting on a stone in the middle of the stream. Mary told her she should have gone fishing, but she replied that she had no inclination
    Just where the Leck-fells swoop into the plain; and by the course of the beck alder-trees and willows and hazel bushes grow. The current of the stream is interrupted by broken pieces of grey rock; and the waters flow over a bed of large round white pebbles, which a flood heaves up and moves on either side out of its impetuous way till in some parts they almost form a wall."

    Elizabeth Gaskell; "The Life of Charlotte Bronte" (1857)

    A large sycamore tree overhangs the end cottage, and on the opposite side of the road is a small house, now known as Lowood Cottage. It was formerly the Rev. W. Cams- Wilson's stable and coach-house ; he was the founder of the Clergy Daughters' School, and known in Jane Eyre as the black marble clergyman Mr. Brocklehurst. In addition to being the manager of the school, he was vicar of two parishes, Tunstall and Whittington, which were a few miles apart.

    Formerly the old part of the school consisted of one house, at one time the residence of an old Yorkshire family of the name of Picard. This building was purchased in 1824 by Mr. Carus- Wilson, who adapted it as a residence for the teachers of the school. At right angles to this he added a long building for a school-room and dormitories for the pupils.

    It is a pity that Mrs. Gaskell and other writers have com mented only on Charlotte Bronte's description of Lowood in winter, for during her stay from August, 1824, to June, 1825, she had the benefit both of the autumn and the spring. The garden was always a source of attraction to her

    " The garden was a wide enclosure, surrounded with walls so high as to exclude every glimpse of prospect ; a covered verandah ran down one side, and a broad walk bordered a middle space divided into scores of little beds : these beds were assigned as gardens for the pupils to cultivate, and each bed had an owner."

     In these days, when it is considered quite a modern move ment to interest children in rural and suburban schools in gardening, it is well to remember that nearly ninety years ago the pupils at this school for clergymen's daughters were encouraged to keep a small plot of garden in good order, so that they might be interested in such work, and have their powers of observation improved.


    dinsdag 5 maart 2013

    It was all rattle, rattle


    ‘Haworth, June 26th, 1848

    ‘About three weeks ago, I received a brief note from Hunsworth, to the effect that Mr. Joe Taylor (Mary Taylor's brother, a clever practical and theoretical chemist) and his cousin Henry would make some inquiries respecting Mme. Héger’s school on account of Ellen Taylor, and that if I had no objection, they would ride over to Haworth in a day or two.

    They came, accompanied by Miss Mossman, of Bradford, whom I had never seen, only heard of occasionally. It was a pouring wet and windy day; we had quite ceased to expect them. Miss Mossman was quite wet, and we had to make her change her things, and dress her out in ours as well as we could. I do not know if you are acquainted with her; I thought her unaffected and rather agreeable-looking, though she has very red hair. Henry Taylor does indeed resemble John most strongly. Joe looked thin; he was in good spirits, and I think in tolerable good-humour. I would have given much for you to have been there. I had not been very well for some days before, and had some difficulty in keeping up the talk, but I managed on the whole better than I expected. I was glad Miss Mossman came, for she helped. Nothing new was communicated respecting Mary. Nothing of importance in any way was said the whole time; it was all rattle, rattle, of which I should have great difficulty now in recalling the substance. They left almost immediately after tea. I have not heard a word respecting them since, but I suppose they got home all right. The visit strikes me as an odd whim. I consider it quite a caprice, prompted probably by curiosity. ‘C. Brontë.’ gutenberg


    Spring is coming

    maandag 4 maart 2013

    Animated talk about the Rev. William Carus Wilson

    Carus Wilson (Mr. Brocklehurst)

    In the afternoon, Paul Gretton gave an animated talk about the Rev. William Carus Wilson, the inspiration behind the character of Mr. Brocklehurst, the evangelical clergyman in charge of Lowood School where the young Jane Eyre suffers so much. Wilson founded the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge, where Patrick Bronte sent four of his daughters, including Charlotte. 
    Charlotte’s characterization of Mr. Brocklehurst flared into a controversy only 10 years after the publication of ‘Jane Eyre’ - when Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1857 biography identified Cowan Bridge as the model for Lowood in the novel. But Gaskell admits the evidence as to the truth about Cowan Bridge and Carus Wilson ‘is so conflicting that it seems almost impossible to arrive at the truth.’ Paul argues that in painting Mr. Brocklehurst, Charlotte focused on one aspect of Wilson’s character - the strict side of his Calvinism - and ignored other facets, including his charity and his opposition to slavery.

    Paul stresses that while ‘Jane Eyre’ is very autobiographical, Charlotte Brontë changed more than she didn't in transmuting her experience into the novel. For instance, Jane arrives at Lowood on Jan. 19 - in the middle of winter and part of a harsh journey of transition for the character. Charlotte arrived at Cowen Bridge on Aug. 10 - in the middle of summer. Charlotte was at Cowen Bridge for nine months; Jane was at Lowood for eight years. Also some of the description of Lowood in the novel is connected with Roe Head instead of Cowan Bridge. Read more on: Brussels Bronte

    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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