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THE  BRONTES                      ig
the love affair. Mary Burder, it seems, had a
worldly uncle who had no intention of allowing
his niece, who was well provided for, to marry an
Irish curate who kicked at questions about his
parentage, and by his ruthless machinations the
lovers were parted, never to meet again. Mr.
Bronte may have found Wethersfield unbearable
after this disappointment for, in 1809, he departed
to a curacy at Wellington. He did not, however,
stay long at Wellington ; he soon went on to
Yorkshire where, before being appointed to Harts-
head, he was for more than a year curate to the
Rev. John Buckworth, Vicar of Dewsbury.
Except for the Mary Burder episode which came
to grief through no lack of ardour on the part of
either of the lovers, little is known about Mr.
Bronte in these years until he met and married
the mother of his famous family, in 1812. A few
stories have been raked from the memories of
acquaintances and parishioners : he knocked a
bully down, on one occasion ; he rescued a child
who fell into a river ; he took a leading part in
petitioning for the release of a young man who
had been wrongly convicted. He attended to his
clerical duties and was respected. In 1811, he
published a small book of Cottage Poems, and
during the next seven years, another book of
poems and two books of prose tales, all very dull
and didactic, came from his pen. Still, as Mr.
Shorter says, he seems to have given himself no
airs in consequence of being an author, and as it
was, no doubt, their father's example and taste
for writing which made the young Brontes start