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THE   BRONTE   SISTERS                           39
Charlotte's writing is uneven accordingly. Anne solved
the problem by pious resignation, Emily by a spacious
vision which easily comprehended both.
Although the Brontes, like all other human phenomena,
are necessarily to some extent a product of what went before
them, they are not derivative in the usual sense of the word,
for as we have seen they added to the ingredients with which
reading furnished their mental cauldron, rare and strongly
flavoured elements which gave a peculiar pungency to the
whole. Nor have they greatly influenced later writers by
their mode of writing. It is not as forerunners or successors,
as literary innovators or contributors to a tradition, that we
read them, but for their intrinsic interest and merit—for the
high and singular pleasure, to be obtained from no other
writers, which we gain from the strange, matchless, darkly
noble quality of their creations.