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 27 april 2013

He continued to write to Charlotte, and while she initially did not respond to his letters, they gradually developed a clandestine correspondence, and met secretly whenever Nicholls stayed with the family of Reverend Joseph Brett Grant near Haworth.

Charlotte's own accounts of this courtship and eventual engagement, given in her letters to Ellen Nussey as it went along, could not be bettered in the finest novel in the world. Mr. Bronte's jealous fury, expressing itself as snobbish resentment - a curate with £100 a year marry his famous daughter! Mr. Nicholl's stubborn passion, which almost unseated his reason - he would not eat or drink; stayed shut up in his lodgings at the Browns' (though he still took poor old Flossy out for walks); broke down in the Communion Service, while the village women sobbed around; was rude to a visiting Bishop; resigned his Haworth curacy and agreed to remain till Mr. Bronte found another curate; volunteered as a missionary to Australia but finally took a curacy at Kirk Smeaton, in the West Riding itself. Charlotte, exasperated by Nicholl's lack of the qualities she desired in a husband, infuriated by her father's ignoble objections to the match, conscious of the absence of alternatives. The villagers, torn between opposing parties - some say they would like to shoot Mr. Nicholls, but they gave him a gold watch as a parting present. What a tragic drama - or a roaring comedy, depending on its result. Love, coupled with Charlotte's loneliness and Mr. Bronte's dissatisfaction with his new curate, Mr. De Renzi, triumphed." bronte_Charlotte

Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls, who had been licensed to the curacy of Haworth in June 1845, had first professed his affection for Charlotte Brontë in December 1852, to the great disapproval of her father Reverend Patrick Brontë. Charlotte consequently refused him, and Nicholls left for a curacy at Kirk Smeaton near Pontefract. He continued to write to Charlotte, and while she initially did not respond to his letters, they gradually developed a clandestine correspondence, and met secretly whenever Nicholls stayed with the family of Reverend Joseph Brett Grant near Haworth. Patrick Brontë gradually though grudgingly increased his acquaintance with Nicholls and eventually consented to a marriage between him and Charlotte.brontes-1854

Reverend Joseph Brett Grant
As the population had increased because of the mills, the Rev. Patrick Bronte of Haworth sent his curate, the Rev. Joseph Brett Grant to start the church in Oxenhope. He had to hold services in a house at the top of the catsteps, although nobody now knows which one it was. He was allowed to perform baptisms, but marriages and funerals could only take place in a church. As a school and vicarage were needed as well as a church, it was decided to build the school first. This was completed in 1846, and services were held there. The Rev. Brett Grant raised money by approaching people, telling them he needed money to build a church, holding out his hand and asking them how much they would give him. Charlotte Bronte described him in her novel 'Shirley' under the name of the Rev. Don, adding that he had walked so far he had worn out 14 pairs of shoes! She quite rightly described him as 'the champion beggar'. As a result of his persistence, the foundation stone was laid on 14 February 1849 and the finished building was consecrated by the Bishop of Ripon on 11 October 1849 OxenhopeVillage/history

I found him leaning against the garden door in a paroxysm of anguish, sobbing as women never sob. Of course I went straight to him.

May 19th, 1853.
Dear Ellen,—I cannot help feeling a certain satisfaction in finding that the people here are getting up a subscription to offer a testimonial of respect to Mr. Nicholls on his leaving the place.  Many are expressing both their commiseration and esteem for him.  The Churchwardens recently put the question to him plainly: Why was he going?  Was it Mr. Brontë’s fault or his own?  “His own,” he answered.  Did he blame Mr. Brontë?  “No! he did not: if anybody was wrong it was himself.”  Was he willing to go?  “No! it gave him great pain.”  Yet he is not always right.  I must be just.  He shows a curious mixture of honour and obstinacy—feeling and sullenness.  Papa addressed him at the school tea-drinking, with constrained civility, but still with civility.  He did not reply civilly; he cut short further words.  This sort of treatment offered in public is what papa never will forget or forgive, it inspires him with a silent bitterness not to be expressed.  I am afraid both are unchristian in their mutual feelings.  Nor do I know which of them is least accessible to reason or least likely to forgive.  It is a dismal state of things.
‘The weather is fine now, dear Nell.  We will take these sunny days as a good omen for your visit to Yarmouth.  With kind regards to all at Brookroyd, and best wishes to yourself,—I am, yours sincerely,
C. Brontë.’
Haworth, May 27th, 1853.
Dear Ellen,—You will want to know about the leave-taking?  The whole matter is but a painful subject, but I must treat it briefly.  The testimonial was presented in a public meeting.  Mr. Taylor and Mr. Grant were there. Papa was not very well and I advised him to stay away, which he did.  As to the last Sunday, it was a cruel struggle.  Mr. Nicholls ought not to have had to take any duty.
‘He left Haworth this morning at six o’clock.  Yesterday evening he called to render into papa’s hands the deeds of the National School, and to say good-bye.  They were busy cleaning—washing the paint, etc., in the dining-room, so he did not find me there.  I would not go into the parlour to speak to him in papa’s presence.  He went out, thinking he was not to see me; and indeed, till the very last moment, I thought it best not.  But perceiving that he stayed long before going out at the gate, and remembering his long grief, I took courage and went out, trembling and miserable.  I found him leaning against the garden door in a paroxysm of anguish, sobbing as women never sob.  Of course I went straight to him.  Very few words were interchanged, those few barely articulate.  Several things I should have liked to ask him were swept entirely from my memory.  Poor fellow!  But he wanted such hope and such encouragement as I could not give him.  Still, I trust he must know now that I am not cruelly blind and indifferent to his constancy and grief.  For a few weeks he goes to the south of England, afterwards he takes a curacy somewhere in Yorkshire, but I don’t know where.
‘Papa has been far from strong lately.  I dare not mention Mr. Nicholls’s name to him.  He speaks of him quietly and without opprobrium to others, but to me he is implacable on the matter.  However, he is gone—gone, and there’s an end of it.  I see no chance of hearing a word about him in future, unless some stray shred of intelligence comes through Mr. Sowden or some other second-hand source.  In all this it is not I who am to be pitied at all, and of course nobody pities me.  They all think in Haworth that I have disdainfully refused him.  If pity would do Mr. Nicholls any good, he ought to have, and I believe has it.  They may abuse me if they will; whether they do or not I can’t tell.
‘Write soon and say how your prospects proceed.  I trust they will daily brighten.—Yours faithfully,
C. Brontë.’

donderdag 25 april 2013

I got a lesson not to be repeated. He struggled, faltered, then lost command over himself—stood before my eyes and in the sight of all the communicants white, shaking, voiceless.

March 4th, 1853.
Dear Ellen,—We had the parsons to supper as well as to tea.  Mr. N. demeaned himself not quite pleasantly.  I thought he made no effort to struggle with his dejection but gave way to it in a manner to draw notice; the Bishop was obviously puzzled by it.  Mr. Nicholls also showed temper once or twice in speaking to papa.  Martha was beginning to tell me of certain “flaysome” looks also, but I desired not to hear of them.  The fact is, I shall be most thankful when he is well away.  I pity him, but I don’t like that dark gloom of his.  He dogged me up the lane after the evening service in no pleasant manner.  He stopped also in the passage after the Bishop and the other clergy were gone into the room, and it was because I drew away and went upstairs that he gave that look which filled Martha’s soul with horror.  She, it seems, meantime, was making it her business to watch him from the kitchen door. If Mr. Nicholls be a good man at bottom, it is a sad thing that nature has not given him the faculty to put goodness into a more attractive form.  Into the bargain of all the rest he managed to get up a most pertinacious and needless dispute with the Inspector, in listening to which all my old unfavourable impressions revived so strongly, I fear my countenance could not but shew them.
‘Dear Nell, I consider that on the whole it is a mercy you have been at home and not at Norfolk during the late cold weather.  Love to all at Brookroyd.—Yours faithfully,
c. Brontë.’

‘You ask about Mr. Nicholls.  I hear he has got a curacy, but do not yet know where.  I trust the news is true.  He and papa never speak.  He seems to pass a desolate life.  He has allowed late circumstances so to act on him as to freeze up his manner and overcast his countenance not only to those immediately concerned but to every one.  He sits drearily in his rooms.  If Mr. Grant or any other clergyman calls to see, and as they think, to cheer him, he scarcely speaks.  I find he tells them nothing, seeks no confidant, rebuffs all attempts to penetrate his mind.  I own I respect him for this.  He still lets Flossy go to his rooms, and takes him to walk.  He still goes over to see Mr. Sowden sometimes, and, poor fellow, that is all.  He looks ill and miserable.  I think and trust in Heaven that he will be better as soon as he fairly gets away from Haworth.  I pity him inexpressibly.  We never meet nor speak, nor dare I look at him; silent pity is just all that I can give him, and as he knows nothing about that, it does not comfort.  He is now grown so gloomy and reserved that nobody seems to like him.  His fellow-curates shun trouble in that shape; the lower orders dislike it.  Papa has a perfect antipathy to him, and he, I fear, to papa.  Martha hates him.  I think he might almost be dying and they would not speak a friendly word to or of him.  How much of all this he deserves I can’t tell; certainly he never was agreeable or amiable, and is less so now than ever, and alas! I do not know him well enough to be sure that there is truth and true affection, or only rancour and corroding disappointment at the bottom of his chagrin.  In this state of things I must be, and I am, entirely passive.  I may be losing the purest gem, and to me far the most precious, life can give—genuine attachment—or I may be escaping the yoke of a morose temper.  In this doubt conscience will not suffer me to take one step in opposition to papa’s will, blended as that will is with the most bitter and unreasonable prejudices.  So I just leave the matter where we must leave all important matters.
‘Remember me kindly to all at Brookroyd, and—Believe me, yours faithfully,
C. Brontë.’‘Haworth, April 6th, 1853
May 16th, 1853.
Dear Ellen,—The east winds about which you inquire have spared me wonderfully till to-day, when I feel somewhat sick physically, and not very blithe mentally.  I am not sure that the east winds are entirely to blame for this ailment.  Yesterday was a strange sort of a day at church.  It seems as if I were to be punished for my doubts about the nature and truth of poor Mr. Nicholls’s regard.  Having ventured on Whit Sunday to stop the sacrament, I got a lesson not to be repeated.  He struggled, faltered, then lost command over himself—stood before my eyes and in the sight of all the communicants white, shaking, voiceless.  Papa was not there, thank God!  Joseph Redman spoke some words to him.  He made a great effort, but could only with difficulty whisper and falter through the service.  I suppose he thought this would be the last time; he goes either this week or the next.  I heard the women sobbing round, and I could not quite check my own tears.  What had happened was reported to papa either by Joseph Redman or John Brown; it excited only anger, and such expressions as “unmanly driveller.”  Compassion or relenting is no more to be looked for than sap from firewood.
‘I never saw a battle more sternly fought with the feelings than Mr. Nicholls fights with his, and when he yields momentarily, you are almost sickened by the sense of the strain upon him.  However, he is to go, and I cannot speak to him or look at him or comfort him a whit, and I must submit.  Providence is over all, that is the only consolation.—Yours faithfully,
C. Brontë.’

zondag 21 april 2013

Today, April 21 is the 197th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birthday

Happy anniversary, Charlotte
We don't forget this day!!!!

Yours, wishing devoutly that papa would resume his tranquillity, and Mr. Nicholls his beef and pudding,

Haworth, December 18th, 1852.
You ask how papa demeans himself to Mr. Nicholls.  I only wish you were here to see papa in his present mood: you would know something of him.  He just treats him with a hardness not to be bent, and a contempt not to be propitiated.  The two have had no interview as yet; all has been done by letter.  Papa wrote, I must say, a most cruel note to Mr. Nicholls on Wednesday.  In his state of mind and health (for the poor man is horrifying his landlady, Martha’s mother, by entirely rejecting his meals) I felt that the blow must be parried, and I thought it right to accompany the pitiless despatch by a line to the effect that, while Mr. Nicholls must never expect me to reciprocate the feeling he had expressed, yet, at the same time, I wished to disclaim participation in sentiments calculated to give him pain; and I exhorted him to maintain his courage and spirits.  On receiving the two letters, he set off from home.  Yesterday came the inclosed brief epistle.
‘You must understand that a good share of papa’s anger arises from the idea, not altogether groundless, that Mr. Nicholls has behaved with disingenuousness in so long concealing his aim.  I am afraid also that papa thinks a little too much about his want of money; he says the match would be a degradation, that I should be throwing myself away, that he expects me, if I marry at all, to do very differently; in short, his manner of viewing the subject is on the whole far from being one in which I can sympathise.  My own objections arise from a sense of incongruity and uncongeniality in feelings, tastes, principles.
‘How are you getting on, dear Nell, and how are all at Brookroyd?  Remember me kindly to everybody.—Yours, wishing devoutly that papa would resume his tranquillity, and Mr. Nicholls his beef and pudding,
C. Brontë

January 2nd, 1853.
Dear Nell,—I thought of you on New Year’s night, and hope you got well over your formidable tea-making.  I trust that Tuesday and Wednesday will also pass pleasantly.  I am busy too in my little way preparing to go to London this week, a matter which necessitates some little application to the needle.  I find it is quite necessary I should go to superintend the press, as Mr. Smith seems quite determined not to let the printing get on till I come.  I have actually only received three proof-sheets since I was at Brookroyd.  Papa wants me to go too, to be out of the way, I suppose; but I am sorry for one other person whom nobody pities but me.  Martha is bitter against him; John Brown says “he should like to shoot him.”  They don’t understand the nature of his feelings, but I see now what they are.  He is one of those who attach themselves to very few, whose sensations are close and deep, like an underground stream, running strong, but in a narrow channel.  He continues restless and ill; he carefully performs the occasional duty, but does not come near the church, procuring a substitute every Sunday.  A few days since he wrote to papa requesting permission to withdraw his resignation.  Papa answered that he should only do so on condition of giving his written promise never again to broach the obnoxious subject either to him or to me.  This he has evaded doing, so the matter remains unsettled.  I feel persuaded the termination will be his departure for Australia.  Dear Nell, without loving him, I don’t like to think of him suffering in solitude, and wish him anywhere so that he were happier.  He and papa have never met or spoken yet.  I am very glad to learn that your mother is pretty well, and also that the piece of challenged work is progressing.  I hope you will not be called away to Norfolk before I come home: I should like you to pay a visit to Haworth first.  Write again soon.—Yours faithfully,
C. Brontë.’

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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