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20                      THE  BRONTES
writing so early, these dull tales and duller verses
have, at any rate, historical interest.
Maria Branwell, who married the Irish curate
of Hartshead, was a Cornish woman. She was
visiting an uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. John
Fennell, who presided over a Wesleyan academy
near Bradford, when she met Mr. Bronte. Her
parents, respectable Penzance citizens, and Meth-
odists, were dead ; she was twenty-nine years of
age, her own mistress, with a small annuity. Her
young cousin, Jane Fennell, was already engaged
to another curate, Mr. Morgan, who was a friend
of Patrick Bronte's, and this circumstance no
doubt helped to bring about Maria's engagement.
The two weddings took place together at Guiseley
Church on December sgth, 1812, and each bride-
groom officiated to marry the other.
Many years afterwards, Mr. Bronte gave Char-
lotte a packet of her mother's letters written to him
during the courtship, and they are published in
Mr.   Clement  Shorter's  book.     They  are   the
letters of a young woman carefully trained in the
long-winded pieties and proprieties of Methodist
circles of that time, but with a quiet individuality
and evidently warmly attached to her future hus-
band whom, on one occasion, she is daring enough
to call her " dear, saucy Pat"     Unfortunately
the corresponding letters from  Mr.  Bronte  to
Maria Brairwell were not preserved - the bereaved
husband may have burnt them after her death -
for it would have been interesting to examine them
for evidence of sauciness  and other unclerical
qualities which are hinted at by some of Maria's