I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

vrijdag 3 mei 2013

It is a pleasure to honour her in this modest way, in the coastal town she loved so much.”

The Scarborough News covers the story of the recent ceremony at Anne Brontë's grave, including a video as well.
Overlooking the serene South Bay, nestled among the ageing headstones in what is now partly a car park, is the burial place of one of England’s great literary heroines.
However, the passing of time left Anne Bronte’s grave at St Mary’s Church almost undetectable, with weather scarring the headstone as crumbling chunks of lettering fell from the frontage. The decaying dedication posed a dilemma for The Bronte Society, which wanted to preserve the grave but not disturb the tribute that had been put in place by Anne’s sister Charlotte. The resolution was to place a new plaque at the site of the grave, carrying the wording of the original headstone as well as the correction of a few mistakes. To mark the installion of the interpretive plaque members of The Bronte Society travelled from far and wide for a dedication and blessing service at the Scarborough church, paying respect to the author famous for writing Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Led by the Rev Martin Dunning, the service featured prayers and readings of several of Anne’s works by members of the Society.
Speaking from the graveside following the service, Sally McDonald, chairman of The Bronte Society’s council, said: “Today is the culmination of several years of decision work about what to do to make sure that the headstone is preserved but that the grave isn’t disturbed. Read on: bronteblog/it-is-pleasure-to-honour-her-in-this

donderdag 2 mei 2013

Charlotte Brontë: Astrology and Birth Chart

“Do you know that I was in Leeds......

“Do you know that I was in Leeds on the very same day with you last Wednesday? I had thought of telling you where I was going, and having your help and company in buying a bonnet, &c., but then I
reflected this would merely be making a selfish use of you, so I determined to manage or mismanage the matter alone. I went to Hurst and Hall’s for the bonnet, and got one which seemed grave and
quiet there amongst all the splendours; but now it looks infinitely too gay with its pink lining. I saw some beautiful silks of pale sweet colours, but had not the spirit nor the means to launch out at the rate of five shillings per yard, and went and bought a black silk at three shillings after all. I rather regret this, because papa says he would have lent me a sovereign if he had known. I believe, if you had been there, you would have forced me to get into debt....

The Illustrated London News of September 11, 1858 stated that Leeds was the "largest and most flourishing" city in Yorkshire, the fifth in England "in point of population and commercial activity. The population in 1851 was 172,270. The number of inhabited houses in 1851 was 36,165


maandag 29 april 2013

29, 30, & 31 August 2014 at the Scarman Conference Centre, Warwick University

The Brontë Society is pleased to announce that the conference will take place on 29, 30, & 31 August 2014 at the Scarman Conference Centre, Warwick University
In the nineteenth century the term, ‘Condition of England’ was applied mainly to the economic and commercial problems of the nation. For this conference we would like to broaden the meaning to include, if possible, some of the other major national concerns of the day, which would have impacted on the Brontë family and possibly influenced their works. Some of the most obvious examples are: development of the railways; controversy over home-rule for Ireland; abolition of slavery; Catholic emancipation; Law reform; and the Chartist Movement. The last topic is particularly pertinent, as Haworth was at the very centre of the rapid industrialisation of the former cottage industries of wool-combing, spinning, and weaving.
In addition to formal papers, we are looking to include a limited number of seminar sessions on the conference theme, and are calling for proposals and leaders for these sessions.
Abstracts for papers and proposals for seminar sessions should be sent to: The Conference Organiser, Brontë Society, Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, Keighley BD22 8DR, or by email here.
Deadline for receipt of submissions: February 28, 2014
Abstracts should be limited to no more than 300 words.
Successful speakers will be notified no later than March 31, 2014

Ceremony at Anne Brontë's grave

The Yorkshire Post reports on Saturday's ceremony at Anne Brontë's grave.
BRONTË fans from across the country gathered at Anne Brontë’s grave at the weekend to dedicate a new memorial slab which corrects a 164-year-old mistake in the original headstone. [...]
Charlotte made the burial arrangements from Haworth and while she attended the service, it is thought she must have failed to check the headstone’s inscription, resulting in her sister’s age appearing as 28.
The Brontë Society had grown increasingly concerned about both the error and weather damage which has left the headstone’s writing almost unreadable. On Saturday, a service of dedication was held at the graveside to mark the official unveiling of the plaque, laid without publicity in 2011.
Brontë Society chairman Sally McDonald said: “This was a place Anne very much loved. I do not ever think of this as a tourist destination. I think of it as a place of pilgrimage and it is right Anne’s resting place is properly identified for those who arrive here.” bronteblog/a-place-of-pilgrimage

zondag 28 april 2013

Mr. Nicolls in love with Charlotte Bronte

13-12-1852      Mr. Nicolls proposed marriage to Charlotte
05-01-1853      Charlotte set out for London. Correcting the proofs for Vilette.
     02-1853      Back in Haworth
The Bishop of Ripon, Reverend  Dr. Charles Longley paid a visit. 
Charlotte:"" 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:""wiki/Charles_Longley

      04-1853     Charlotte visits Mrs. Gaskell in Manchester.

15-05-1853      Last communion service Mr. Nicolls.

"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. 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".

      08-1853     Mr Nicolls is writing to Charlotte that he will become the the curate of Kirk Smeaton. After let many letters unanswered Charlotte writes back. By the autumn they were in regular

     09-1853     Mr Gaskell is visiting Haworth. Elizabeth Gaskell asks Richard Monckton Milnes to give Mr. Nicolls a pension. Richard_Monckton_Milnes

During the troubled period when Patrick was opposing his daughter’s connection with Arthur Bell Nicholls he met him (his family seat was close to Kirk Smeaton, whither Nicholls had “exiled” himself) and dangled in front of him two chances of possible Church preferment, which Nicholls refused. At Mrs Gaskell’s instigation he attempted to get him a pension, but he was – unusually for him – unsuccessful. blackwellreference

21-11-1853 Charlotte receives a letter from Mrs. Smith about the wedding plans of George Smith.This may have helped finally to pave the way for mr. Nicolls. She braved her father's wrath  and demanded to be allowed the meeting for which Mr. Nicolls had asked.the meeting.
  • George Smith was unmarried, and, though eight years younger than Charlotte, she was clearly attracted to him, writing to her friend Ellen Nussey in January 1851:
‘Were there no vast barrier of age, fortune etc. there is perhaps enough personal regard to make things possible which are now impossible. If men and women married because they like each others’ temper, look, conversation, nature and so on – and if besides, years were more closely equal – the chance you allude to might be admitted as a chance – but other reasons regulate matrimony – reasons of convenience, of connection, of money. Meantime I am content to have him as a friend – and pray to God to continue to me the commonsense to look on one so young, so rising and so hopeful in no other light...’
  • Many years after Charlotte’s death the author Mrs Humphry Ward asked Smith directly whether he had ever been in love with Charlotte. He replied:
‘No, I was never in the least bit in love with Charlotte Brontë... The truth is I never could have loved any woman who had not some charm or grace of person, and Charlotte Brontë had none. I liked her and was interested by her, and I admired her – especially when she was in Yorkshire and I was in London. I never was coxcomb enough to suppose that she was in love with me. But I believe that my mother was at one time rather alarmed.’
  • Smith’s mother had no cause for alarm, however. In February 1854 he married the pretty, very sociable, eminently suitable Elizabeth Blakeway. Four months later Charlotte herself was married to Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate. george-smith 
01-1854 Mr. Nicolls came to stay for 10 days with his friend  Mr Sowden at Oxenhope. Here in the bitterly cold weather  Charlotte and Mr. Nicolls met and walked. Charlotte had the opportunaty to become better acquainted.   the-blue-snow-of-new-england

Elizabeth Gaskell  wrote that Charlotte told her father
Father, I am not a young girl, nor a young woman, even--I never was pretty. I now am ugly. At your death I will have £300 besides the little I have earned myself--do you think there are many men who would serve seven years for me?... Yes, I must marry a curate if I marry at all; not merely a curate but your curate; not merely your curate but he must live in the house with you, for I cannot leave you.
In a letter to Miss Wooler, a friend, she wrote of her engagement:
"I must tell you then, that since I wrote last, papa's mind has gradually come round to a view very different to that which he once took; and that after some correspondence, and as the result of a visit Mr. Nicholls paid here about a week ago, it was agreed that he was to resume the curacy of Haworth, as soon as papa's present assistant is provided with a situation, and in due course of time he is to be received as an inmate into this house.

24-02-1854   The situation had caused a cooling in the friendship on Nussey's part, who was probably jealous of Brontë's attachment to Nicholls, having thought they would both live as spinsters.
Answer of  MARY TAYLOR to ELLEN NUSSEY on a letter Ellen waswriting.

""You talk wonderful nonsense abt C. Bronte in yr letter. What do you mean about "bearing her position so long, & enduring to the end"? & still better -- "bearing our lot whatever it is". If it's C's lot to be married shd n't she bear that too? Or does your strange morality mean that she shd refuse to ameliorate her lot when it lies in her power. how wd. she be inconsistent with herself in marrying? Because she considers her own pleasure? If this is so new for her to do, it is high time she began to make it more common. It is an outrageous exaction to expect her to give up her choice in a manner so important, & I think her to blame in having been hitherto so yielding that her friends can think of making such an impudent demand"".

11-04-1854 Charlotte announced her engagement in a letter to Ellen Nussey

18-04-1854   Charlotte Bronte made up a marriage settlement in anticipation of her marriage to Arthur Bell Nicholls. Charlotte.s marriage settlement was unusual because most marriage settlements stated that if the wife predeceased the husband and was childless, only then would the money revert to the husband. In Charlotte Brontë.s case, the intention of the marriage settlement was to exclude Arthur Bell Nicholls altogether, because if Charlotte died childless, the money would go to her father, Patrick Brontë. As it turned out, Charlotte later revoked this marriage settlement before her death by
changing her will, and leaving everything to her husband.
22-05-1854   Before her marriage in 1854 Charlotte converted the room into a study for her future husband, the Revd. Arthur Bell Nicholls, who in 1845 had come to assist her father as curate at Haworth Church. A fireplace was added to the room and the present doorway created into the entrance hall.

Describing her preparations for the room's conversion in a letter dated 22 May 1854, Charlotte wrote: '...I have been very busy stitching - the little new room is got into order now and the green and white curtains are up - they exactly suit the papering and look neat and clean enough.' Three wallpaper samples were found in Charlotte's writing desk. A fourth sample, held in the New York Public Library, is accompanied by a note, authenticated by Elizabeth Gaskell, which describes it as being a 'Slip of the paper with which Charlotte Brontë papered her future husband's study, before they were married'. bronte-parsonage

08-05-1854           CATHERINE WINKWORTH to EMMA SHAEN,

If only he is not altogether far too narrow for her, one can fancy her much more really happy with such a man than with one who might have made her more in love, and I am sure she will be really good to him. But I guess the true love was Paul Emanuel [Charlotte's character in VILLETTE based off M. Heger] after all, and is dead; but I don't know, and don't think that Lily [Mrs. Gaskell] knows...

29-06-1854 The marriage took place at Haworth.

Henceforward the sacred doors of home are closed upon her married life. We, her loving friends, standing outside, caught occasional glimpses of brightness, and pleasant peaceful murmurs of sound, telling of the gladness within; and we looked at each other, and gently said, "After a hard and long struggle - after many cares and many bitter sorrows - she is tasting happiness now!" We thought of the slight astringencies of her character, and how they would turn to full ripe sweetness in that calm sunshine of domestic peace. We remembered her trials, and were glad in the idea that God had seen fit to wipe away the tears from her eyes. Those who saw her, saw an outward change in her look, telling of inward things. And we thought, and we hoped, and we prophesied, in our great love and reverence. life-of-charlotte-bronte-elizabeth.html

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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