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Full text of "The Brontes"

26                       THE   BRONT&S
could do nothing for the sufferer.    " After above
seven months of more agonising pain than I ever
saw anyone endure," she died.   He evidently felt
his wife's death terribly ; " There were seasons,"
he says, " when an affectionate, agonising some-
thing, sickened my whole frame "  and " could
not be described.53    " And when my dear wife
was  dead  and  buried  and  gone,  and  when I
missed her at every corner, and when her memory
was hourly revived by the innocent, yet distressing
prattle of my children ... I was happy at the
recollection that to sorrow, not as those without
hope, was  no sin."     He  then  tells  his  corres-
pondent, the Vicar of Dewsbury, of the practical
kindness of friends wrho sent him money to meet
the expenses and debts incurred during the ill-
ness.   He had received in all 250.   This shows
that Mr. Bronte had good friends and also that
his wife had, as he said, the best medical attention
and nursing that he could provide for her, both
of which facts go counter to the legend of him as
a  violent  eccentric  who  bullied   his   wife   and
insisted on such meagre fare for the children that
they suffered all their lives from under-nourish-
ment in infancy.   There is no basis for the legend.
Mr. Bronte " was perhaps peculiar " - as one of
his wife's Cornish nieces wrote to Mr.  Shorter
- but,  she  added,  she  had  always  heard  her
mother (a sister of Mrs. Bronte's) say that he was
devotedly fond of his wife and she of him.    The
stories were mischievous village gossip, at most,
gross exaggerations and distortions of facts.   Mr.
Bronte did regularly keep a pistol by him and