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 juni 2015

The birth of Branwell Bronte.

Branwell Brontë was the fourth of six children and the only son of Patrick Brontë (1777–1861) and his wife, Maria Branwell Brontë (1783–1821).[2][3] He was born in Thornton, near Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire,[2

Bronte Parsonage Museum

vrijdag 19 juni 2015

June Weekend - excursion to Plymouth Grove


Isobel Stirk writes:
Our journey on the Brontë Society’s excursion to Manchester was certainly pleasant. It took us through some beautiful Lancashire countryside with the brooding Pendle Hill lurking in the background and soon our driver was skilfully negotiating the busy traffic of Manchester and we arrived at our destination- Plymouth Grove.

The house boasts a delightful tea room and we were offered tea or coffee and delicious cakes. We were told that when Charlotte was in residence there she asked, one evening, to be served only black tea as green tea made her very restless. Mrs Gaskell was in somewhat of a dilemma as the only tea they had was a mixture of both. She did not inform Charlotte of this but when asked next morning if she had slept well Charlotte answered very much in the affirmative. After partaking of this mouth- watering repast it was time to move on from this house which had been restored so well and sensitively- with not a touch of pink in sight! bronteparsonage/june-weekend-excursion-to-plymouth-grove

Smallpox around the Haworth area


William seems to have lived his whole life in the area around Old Snap, and died in 1823, and was buried at Haworth Churchyard, as the following parish record shows, written by the hand of Rev’d Patrick Bronte. 

Interesting article. Read all on: bancroftsfromyorkshire

donderdag 18 juni 2015

Flowers in the Parsonage Museum

The Hotel Cluysenaar

The Hotel Cluysenaar, on Rue Royale, which later became the Astoria Hotel, is more than likely the original model for the Hotel Crécy in Villette. This is how Charlotte describes it (Vashti chapter): “It was an hotel in the foreign sense: a collection of dwelling-houses, not an inn - a vast, lofty pile, with a huge arch to its street-door, leading through a vaulted covered way, into a square all built round”.

In Villette, Charlotte describes how Lucy goes up a “wide, handsome public staircase” to the second floor of the Hotel Crécy where she is admitted to “a suite of very handsome apartments” (Vashti chapter).

The Wheelwright family, friends of the Brontë sisters, took up residence at the hotel when they moved over from England to Brussels. Dr. Thomas Wheelwright, his wife and five young daughters, arrived in the city in July 1842, leaving in August 1843. One of the Wheelwright daughters, Laetitia, was to become Charlotte’s lifelong friend. 

J.J. Green in his 1916 article wrote that “at their residence in a flat at the big Hotel Cluysenaar, the Wheelwright children delighted in the big staircases, running up one and down the other” (p. 224). Mr. Green had some problems with the spelling of the hotel's name. Occasionally it gets ‘Clusyenaar’ and at one point it reads ‘Olusyenaar’. A ‘kluizenaar’, in modern Dutch spelling, means a hermit, a recluse. As a surname, in older variants, it is not uncommon in the Low Countries. thebrusselsbrontegroup

photo inside the hotel:  flickr.com/photos
A lot of beautiful photo's: charlottemathieson/charlotte-brontes-brussels/

Brontë Brussels Past Historians: Joseph Joshua Green.

An important article about the Wheelwright family, named 'The Brontë-Wheelwright friendship', was written by Joseph Joshua Green. It was published in 1916 in the somewhat obscure Friends' Quarterly Examiner (in two instalments). Thus very few people have actually read the article, while only small parts have been quoted in most biographies. Thanks to internet we can now present it to you. Click here to access the article (it has to be opened page by page).

His article begins with some interesting genealogical details. He then describes the Brontë- Wheelwright friendship and the mementoes of it which remained in his family's possession at the time of writing. It makes fascinating reading. Even though he reports how valuable Brussels material was thrown into the fire and destroyed (pp.119 and 237), there are tantalising visions of what might still exist, and which did exist when the article was written. There are "two large albums with mementoes of their travels, both in Germany and Belgium"(p.121), and also "a large coloured plan of the Protestant Burial Ground at Brussels showing the place of her [Julia's] interment" (p.221). Green also mentions the possession of "a tiny bouquet of dried flowers from the pensionnat garden" (p.226).

Green wrote his article in the middle of the First World War, a few years after Frances, the last of the Wheelwright sisters had died. This year 1916 more or less saw the end of an important period of Brussels Brontë research, and the beginning of a very long barren period, with only the exception of Edgar de Knevett's 1923 article. Read all the article: brusselsbronte

Wondering about Charlotte

Deborah Lutz, author of The Brontë Cabinet, wonders in Out whether Charlotte Brontë was gay.
When Jane Eyre was published in 1847, it quickly took its place as one of literature’s most famous love stories—straight love stories, of course, with the plain governess Jane falling for the mysteriously tormented, butch Rochester. Yet the intimacy between women in some of her lesser-known novels, especially Shirley, gives pause. And then there is the cross-dressing — Rochester as an old gypsy woman, Lucy Snowe in Villette as a young dandy flirting with a pretty woman. Shirley fancies herself an “esquire” because her parents “gave me a man’s name; I hold a man’s position.” “It is enough to inspire me with a touch of manhood... I feel quite gentlemanlike.” Her governess worries about her disdain for needlework and her habit of whistling because people will feel that she “affected masculine manners.” Evidence mounts in Charlotte Brontë’s letters to her best friend Ellen Nussey. When Vita Sackville-West read them in 1926, she had no doubt as to “what Charlotte’s tendencies really were.” She found them “love letters pure and simple.” Sackville-West (Virginia Woolf’s lover at the time) found Brontë’s courting language, the sort a Victorian man used to woo women, sapphic. In one letter, Brontë proposed to Ellen that they set up house together permanently, admitting in a postscript: “I am afraid of caring too much for you.” Nussey remembered Brontë stroking her head, exclaiming, “If I had but been a man, thou wouldst have been the very ticket for me as a wife.” (Read more)bronteblog

maandag 15 juni 2015

The Brontës and Waterloo: 10 Things I Learned

=Elizabeth Hopkinson blogs :

I've just got back from Brontë Parsonage, Haworth (not far from where I live) where I went to see a special exhibition on "The Brontës, War and Waterloo."  It was absolutely fascinating.  If you're in the area, go and see it! For those who live further afield, here are 10 things I learned from it:
Read more on: hiddengroveextra

zondag 14 juni 2015

“While this may be a very famous table, this is an awful lot of money for a piece of furniture" (verbatim)

This recent article in The Telegraph & Argus about the recent events at the Brontë Society quotes John Huxley, Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council chairman Councillor saying some very, very silly things:
“The society has become very remote and a little bit metropolitan literati," he warned.
“I don’t have any opinion about what is happening within the society, but it hasn’t been edifying to see it imploding. “As a council we'd like to be involved in trying to maximise the Brontë legacy in collaboration with the society. “But on one occasion when we called a meeting to discuss the tourist offering and invited the Brontë Society, they didn't show up." He said one example of the society’s “remoteness” was its purchase of the Brontë sisters’ writing table, using a grant of £580,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. He said this came at a time when the village had lost its fire station and was facing threats to its Treetops Children Centre and its Butt Lane community centre.
He said: “While this may be a very famous table, this is an awful lot of money for a piece of furniture."
There are so many things wrong with the words of Mr Huxley that it is hard to begin with something. Is this populist-demagogic approach to the role of the Parsonage what is to be expected from a Parish Council Chairman? Is he really so naive to think that the money given by the National Heritage Memorial  Fund could have been used for anything else but buying... National Heritage? And we are trying to remain calm about the 'metropolitan literati' bit as if that could be considered a sort of insult... The metropolitan literati are the reason behind the very existence of the Brontë tourism for God's sake!


Old Haworth

Belle Isle Haworth.

Bridgehouse Lane Haworth.

woensdag 10 juni 2015

Bonnie Greer resigns from floundering Brontë Society after months of infighting

The author Bonnie Greer has quoted Jane Eyre’s calm assertion that “I will be myself” in the wake of a dispute over the future of the Brontë Society that saw her resign from her position as president this weekend. The clash, which dates back to last summer, centres on how the organisation is being run, with one faction calling for the society, founded in 1893 and one of the oldest such literary groups in the world, to be modernised. It runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum, in the Yorkshire village of Haworth where the Brontë family once lived, and is also responsible for “promoting the Brontës’ literary legacy within contemporary society” . There are bicentenaries for Charlotte Brontë in 2016, told the Telegraph that trustees of the society “have become divorced from the local community”. He added: “They say they do not want to be seen as the snobs on the top of the hill, but they are. We have not enjoyed watching them implode. But the Brontë legacy is just bumbling on. It is not like the Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare [organisations]. The society needs to get its act together.”

Emily Brontë in 2018 and Anne Brontë in 2020. But John Huxley, local parish council chairman,
At an annual general meeting on 6 June, where Greer used a Jimmy Choo shoe as a gavel to bring order – and, she later said, “levity” – to proceedings, a report by consultants on the society’s future recommended “draw[ing] a line under past conflict”, bringing in more committee members with museum management experience and healing the “growing rift” with the village, reported the Yorkshire Post. Read more on: theguardian/bonnie-greer-resigns-bronte-society-yorkshire

vrijdag 5 juni 2015

Virginia Rushton

Virginia Rushton, who died recently, was a well-known and very hard-working member of the Brontë Society who will be greatly missed. A singer, she was also well-known in the world of music, and was largely responsible for an extraordinary operatic project for schools in 2006 entitled The Wind on the Moor. It was featured on this blog and can be accessed here:

She was also the moving force behind the restoration of Emily's piano:-rhinegold/music_teacher/news/music

This obituary appeared a few days ago:  voiceforarran

dinsdag 2 juni 2015

Does an Award Like the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Help or Hurt the Cause of Women Writers?

In August 1849, Charlotte Brontë wrote a letter to her publisher, W. S. Williams, in response to a review of her wildly successful novel, “Jane Eyre.” Like her sisters, Emily and Anne — both of whom, along with their alcoholic brother, Branwell, Charlotte had just lost to tuberculosis over the course of one terrible year — the eldest Brontë sister published her work under a gender-­ambiguous pseudonym. The runaway success of “Jane Eyre” — published the same year as Emily’s and Anne’s novels “Wuthering Heights” and “Agnes Grey” — had sparked a broad debate about the identities of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Were they one individual writing under several names — a rumor that was, at one point, deliberately circulated by Emily and Anne’s publisher in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of their sister’s best seller? Most of all, speculation raged about the Bells’ gender. One smitten woman wrote Brontë’s publisher wishing to know if Currer Bell was a man — if so, she confessed, she must surely be in love with him.
“Much of the article is clever,” Brontë writes of an essay on “Jane Eyre” in the North British Review, “and yet there are remarks which — for me — rob it of importance. . . . He says, ‘if “Jane Eyre” be the production of a woman — she must be a woman unsexed.’ ” This conditional objection to the novel’s bewitching narrative power — if a woman wrote this, then either she, the book or both must be somehow unnatural — stands as an invaluable example of Victorian-era mansplaining. But in their presupposition that male writing and female writing occupy two separate and circumscribable domains, Brontë’s indignant critics also betray an essentialist logic that’s arguably still present today (if reversed) in the rationale for gender-specific prizes like the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Read on nytimes/does-an-award-like-the-baileys-womens-prize-for-fiction-help-or-hurt-the-cause-of-women-writers

Museums at Night event.

Keighley News reports on the recent Museums at Night event.
Meanwhile a host of Brontë fans took the opportunity to visit the Parsonage Museum in Haworth after-hours as part of the annual national festival. [...]  Literature fans were able to experience the Brontë Parsonage as the famous siblings did, when the building was lit by candlelight.  The Brontë Society’s museum opened for separate events on two evenings as this year’s contribution to Museums at Night.  On the first night visitors were treated to a glass of wine as they arrived, then they viewed some of the museum’s treasures by candlelight.  Collections manager Ann Dinsdale invited visitors into the library, where she talked about some of the interesting items and artefacts belonging to the Brontë family.  
On the following night visitors were able to have a chat with Charlotte Brontë’s friend Ellen Nussey, played by a costumed actress, while looking around the museum.  Among the visitors were the Routh family, Francesca, James, Angela and Michael, from Pudsey, who had travelled to Haworth specifically for the event.  James said: “It’s the first time I’ve visited for many years, but it’s been a fantastic evening. “Seeing the museum like this is a unique and atmospheric experience, and the live interpretation brought it all the more to life.” Rebecca Yorke, marketing and communications officer at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, was delighted with the response to the evening openings.  She said: “It felt very special being in the museum as darkness fell and the candlelight definitely added to the atmosphere. “Our visitors agreed it was a very intimate event and we look forward to offering more opportunities to experience the museum after hours.”(David Knights)

Feminist Heroines in the Novels of the Brontë Sisters

Nineteenth Century Women Writers and the Challenge of Gender Roles: Feminist Heroines in the Novels of the Brontë Sisters
Tinna Sif Sindradóttir
Advisor: Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir
University of Iceland

This essay explores the challenges that women writers faced in the nineteenth century, as well as women in general. Therefore, the concept of gender roles is examined, along with the restrictions that women faced. In addition, the notion of separate spheres that were dominant in this period is briefly outlined to exemplify the male-dominated society that these women lived in. However, the main issue focused on is how women writers were able to speak out against this patriarchal society and the traditional gender roles that women were subjected to. Indeed, by becoming professional writers, they challenged the notion of the domestic sphere and the idea that women were mainly supposed to be wives and mothers. As a result, women writers had the ability to empower other women and influence the course of history.  In particular, the Brontë sisters will be discussed to illustrate women writers that challenged the patriarchal society of the nineteenth century. Through their novels and their heroines, the sisters addressed issues that their society faced and they did this in their own unique ways. Special emphasis is placed on Charlotte Brontë and Anne Brontë, as well as their novels. Charlotte and Anne concerned themselves predominantly with problems such as gender roles and equality between the sexes. However, they were also concerned with the education of women and issues concerning the domestic sphere.  The novels discussed are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. In addition, the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is briefly outlined. The novels in question can be considered as feminist novels. Indeed, the key aspect discussed in Jane Eyre is the empowerment of women through the heroine, Jane Eyre, as well as her demand for equality. Moreover, the battle for women’s rights and independence is explored in the The Tenant of Wildfell Hall through the novel’s heroine, Helen Huntingdon. Finally, it can be argued that Emily challenged gender roles through the way that she wrote, as well as through the heroine, Catherine Earnshaw, in Wuthering Heights.

Oxenhope church is to receive a £37,500

Good news for the Oxenhope Parish Church as reported in Keighley News:
An historic Oxenhope church is to receive a £37,500 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.
The money for St Mary the Virgin Church, in Hebden Bridge Road, will support a project to undertake much needed restoration to the church tower walls.
The scheme is costing £120,000 and the announcement of the latest funding will allow custodians of the Grade II listed property to complete the work. (...)
The church’s history includes a link to the world famous Brontë family.
In 1845, the Rev Patrick Brontë, father of the famous novelist sisters Charlotte, Anne and Emily, and their brother Branwell, appointed the then curate, the Rev Joseph Brett Grant, to take charge of the newly formed ecclesiastical district.
That district is now known as Oxenhope village parish.

vrijdag 29 mei 2015

donderdag 28 mei 2015

Quilt made by the Brontë sisters

Bronte Parsonage Museum Yesterday, some experts from the Quilters' Guild came to examine this quilt made by the Brontë sisters. It's extremely fragile and hasn't been on display since the 1980s, but we're considering giving it an airing in the Museum for a limited time. What do you think?

dinsdag 26 mei 2015


Busy getting the programme ready for our forthcoming conference at Cober Hill Hotel and Conference Centre. Visited on a recce last month and saw Whitby at its best in spring sunshine. Hope it's as sunny in July. We will see the farms which we believe are those that Elizabeth Gaskell used as locations in Sylvia's Lovers, as well as other places featured in the novel. Here are two prints, one of Whitby, the other Scarborough, from the Geoffrey Sharps Collection - we may use one for the Conference programme.

maandag 18 mei 2015

BBC to dramatise Brontes' lives

The home life of the Brontes will be brought to life in a new BBC1 drama about the literary sisters, written and directed by Last Tango In Halifax author Sally Wainwright. ( I love this series.)

The one-off, two-hour drama will follow Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte's relationship with each other and their brother Branwell, who in the last three years of his life was plagued by alcoholism and drug addiction. To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters will be filmed in and around Yorkshire, where the most famous sisters of English literature lived. Casting is yet to be announced for the drama, described as "an original perspective on the Bronte sisters". BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said: "The Bronte sisters have always been enigmatic but Sally Wainwright's brilliantly authentic new BBC1 drama brings the women behind some of our greatest literary masterpieces to life.
"It's an extraordinary tale of family tragedy and their passion and determination, against the odds, to have their genius recognised in a male 19th century world." Bafta-winning writer Wainwright, whose other credits include TV series Happy Valley, said of the drama: "I am thrilled beyond measure that I've been asked by the BBC to bring to life these three fascinating, talented, ingenious Yorkshire women." The drama explores the siblings' relationship with each other and their self-educated father, who grew up in an impoverished home in rural Ireland and encouraged his children - irrespective of their gender - to become passionate about literature. It also portrays their "increasingly difficult relationship with their brother Branwell, who in the last three years of his life - following a tragically misguided love affair - sank into alcoholism, drug addiction and appalling behaviour". Charlotte, arguably the most talented of the three sisters, died at the age of 38. Her most famous novel, Jane Eyre, was published in 1847 and was an instant success. Emily wrote Wuthering Heights, while Anne, the youngest of the three , penned The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall. expressandstar

zaterdag 16 mei 2015

The Brontë Society has announced on its website the subject of the 2016 conference.

The Brontë Society is pleased to announce that the 2016 conference will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 19 – 21 August 2016 at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.   In 1837 Charlotte Brontë wrote to the Poet Laureate, Robert Southey, for advice on a literary career. He replied that ‘literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life: & it ought not to be’. Our conference in 2016, the first of the three Brontë bicentenaries, takes up the challenge of what might be the ‘proper business of a woman’s life’. The many facets of this subject present a wide range of possible papers both academic and literary, including:

Women’s position in English culture and society in the nineteenth century
Contemporary writing on ‘The Woman Question’
Charlotte Brontë’s own writings on the matter
Her relationship with other women writers
Her literary reputation
Her influence on later feminist movements.
The Keynote Speaker will be Jenny Uglow, OBE.

 The conference weekend will include an optional excursion to The Gaskell House, the home of Charlotte’s friend and biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell, which has recently been opened to the public.
Abstracts for papers (no more than 300 words) should be sent by 28 February, 2016, to:
The Conference Organiser, The Brontë Society
The Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, Keighley BD22 8DR
Successful speakers will be notified by 31 March, 2016.

A tumultuous year for the Brontë Parsonage Museum

Bad news from the Brontë Parsonage Museum as reported by The Yorkshire Post:
Managers at the Bronte Society are confident of boosting visitor admissions to the Parsonage Museum after new figures revealed they dipped to under 70,000 last year.
The year saw a seven per cent drop in admissions from 73,830 in 2013 to 69,503 during a tumultuous 12 months which saw the departure of several key people including director Ann Sumner.
However, the Society claimed the drop in visitors was caused by the late reopening of the Museum following the relocation of the admissions area. Russell Watson, honorary treasurer of the Society, who has written to members ahead of the annual meeting on June 6, said: “The operating income of the Society is heavily dependent on the number of visitors to the Parsonage Museum. In 2014 the Museum did not reopen until the third week in February due to the reconfiguration of the admissions area. “Visitor admissions started slowly after this late opening, although they picked up later in the year.” [...] Finance manager, Clare Dewhirst, is expecting visitors to increase as important bicentenaries approach. She said: “Although the 2014 accounts show a small decline in visitor numbers, this is largely attributable to the fact that we opened later than usual in 2014 due to the improvement and relocation of the admissions area. “Our general admissions income for the year exceeded budget, which was due in part to the increase in visitor participation in the Government Gift Aid scheme. “We look forward to welcoming more visitors to the Museum in the coming months and years ahead as we prepare for the bicentenaries of each of the Bronte siblings.” (Andrew Robinson)

vrijdag 8 mei 2015

Brontë Studies. Volume 40, Issue 2

Brontë Studies. Volume 40, Issue 2

pp. iii-iv Author: Adams, Amber M.

Found: The ‘Lost’ Portrait of Emily Brontë
pp. 85-103    Author:   Heywood, Christopher
An illustration in The Woman at Home (1894), captioned ‘EMILY BRONTË. From a painting by Charlotte Brontë, hitherto unpublished’, matches an unsigned portrait, recently found in a private collection. The illustration was copied from the portrait of Emily Brontë that was seen in Haworth in 1879 by William Robertson Nicoll (1851–1923), owner and editor of The Woman at Home. A pencilled inscription on the back of the newly found portrait, apparently in Charlotte’s handwriting, reads: ‘Emily Brontë / Sister of Charlotte Bro[nté] / Currer Bell’. In 1908 Nicoll declared in an article that the original portrait had become ‘irrevocably lost’. This article proposes that it has been found. The painter is identified here as the Bradford portrait artist, John Hunter Thompson (1808–90).

The Library at Ponden Hall
pp. 104-149    Author:  Duckett, Bob
Abstract:The long-established Heaton family of Ponden Hall (also known as Ponden House), 2½ miles (4 km) west of Haworth, was important to the people of Haworth, the Brontë family included. This article considers the remarkable library at Ponden Hall to which the Brontës had access. Hitherto, the contents of this library have been known only by a poorly compiled auctioneer’s sale catalogue. An improved version of this catalogue has been compiled. The role of the library in the Brontës’ extensive knowledge of literature, travel and law is considered. An abridged version of this revised catalogue is appended to this article as an appendix.

New buses and a new brand to promote Brontë Country's attractions

There are new buses in Brontë country to help promote the Brontë sights according to Keighley News.

A £210,000 investment in new Brontë branded buses aims to tighten the link between the main route serving the Worth Valley and the area's visitor attractions. Bus firm Transdev in Keighley is rebranding its 500 route between Keighley, Haworth, Oxenhope and Hebden Bridge as the Brontë Bus. It features brand new vehicles with free WiFi and more comfortable seating. The service runs hourly, seven days a week. The company say it will also work with the Brontë Society and Parsonage Museum to help bring the Brontës to the world and the world to Yorkshire. Alex Hornby, Transdev’s managing director, said: “Along with the many things to see and do locally in Haworth and the surrounding area, the bus journey is an attraction in itself with amazing views across the Worth Valley. "We look forward to bringing more visitors into the area and contributing to the growth of the local economy even further.” Rebecca Yorke, marketing and communications officer at Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: The Brontë Bus 500 between Keighley and Hebden Bridge has always been a great way for local residents and visitors to travel to the museum, particularly as part of the route offers such fantastic views of the moors that inspired the Brontës’ famous novels.
“We’re delighted Transdev has decided to rename it the Brontë Bus, especially as we approach our celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth next year." (Miran Rahman)

Haworth 1940s weekend 16-17 may

To celebrate Haworth 1940s weekend, we are offering an insight into life at the Parsonage during the wartime years.

Visitors can meet Mrs Mitchell, wife of Custodian Harold Mitchell, and hear about the life of their young son Eric, the last child to be born in the Parsonage, and his 1940s childhood.

Visitors will also have the chance to see our special 1940s display which features a copy of the original screenplay for the 1943 film adaptation of Jane Eyre along with stills and other memorabilia from the 1940s Brontë films.



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.



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