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Full text of "The Brontèˆ sisters"

THE BRONTE  SISTERS                            9
married in 1812, Mr. Bronte being at that time curate at
Hartshead.   Six children were born of the marriage in
rapid succession: in Hartshead, Maria (1813) and Elizabeth
(1815); in Thornton, a remote and hilly village north-west
of Bradford,  Charlotte (1816), Patrick Branweli (1817),
Emily Jane (1818) and Anne "(1820).  In 1820 Mr. Bronte
became incumbent of Haworth, a still more remote village,
farther to the north-west and therefore set amongst the
higher and wilder hills of the Pennine Range; in 1821 Mrs.
Bronte died, and her sister Elizabeth Branweli from Corn-
wall stayed in Haworth to look after the motherless children.
These facts already constitute a series of important clues
to the understanding of the Brontes. It will be observed
that their parents, born in Ireland and Cornwall respectively,
were both of Celtic stock, and both Patrick and Maria had
a good measure of the picturesque eloquence, the flowing
ease of speech, which is one of the Celtic characteristics.
Both had been touched by the revival of religious fervour
and enthusiasm begun in England by John Wesley and his
Methodist   followers   in   the   previous   century.    Maria
BranweiTs family were prominent Methodists in a county
where Methodism had strong hold, while Mr. Bronte,
though never a professed Methodist, and not given to
emotional piety, was in his youth an earnest Evangelical
clergyman frequenting Methodist society, whose phrases in
his  early writings  often  echo  contemporary  Methodist
speech. His children, except the pious gentle Anne, show
hostility to Methodism, perhaps because their somewhat
rigid and narrow aunt professed it, perhaps because by their
day the separation between Methodism and the Established
Anglican Church had become more definite, and Methodist
chapel and school formed a kind of opposition to their
father's   Anglican,  ministry  in  Haworth.   But  a  strong
religious feeling, coupled with the belief in self-improvement
by reading and study which Wesley inculcated, characterized
the Bronte household climate during their early formative
years.