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THE   BRONTES                       21
gentle remarks. Though it is now recognised
that there is nothing substantial behind the
charge of violent eccentricity that Mrs. Gaskell at
first brought against Mr. Bronte, and that other
writers from time to time have chosen to main-
tain, one need only look at Mr. Bronte's photo-
graphs - there are several taken in old age besides
one of him as a younger man - to see that he had
a marked individuality such as might easily have
issued in unclerical behaviour. He was, however,
a man of considerable outward dignity and char-
acter. He had a regard for education, of the kind
that had raised him from an Irish cabin to the
Church, but, to judge from his literary produc-
tions, he was without any originality or distinc-
tion of mind, and his eccentricities, on which so
much stress has been laid, do not seem much more
than relics of the crude goings on of the peasant
class from which he came. His writings are so
commonplace that it is odd to hear that their
author used to regale the breakfast table with
lurid tales, the more startling, perhaps, for a
visitor, by being told by a silver-haired clergy-
man, erect in broadcloth and huge choker cravat,
within sight, through the breakfast-room windows,
of his own church and grim churchyard. Many
of these tales, according to Dr. William Wright,
author of The Brontes in Ireland^ were from the
rich store of Grandfather Brunty, the peasant
Hugh in Ireland, who, from the same account, was
a remarkable character as well as a famous story-
teller. Mr. Bronte, whether or not he inherited
his father's imagination, had, anyway, harvested