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Full text of "The Brontes"

CHAPTER III
The  children's  library - Charlotte's   and   Branwell's   Angrian
-    literature  its  origin  and development - the Bronte shy-
ness,
THERE were not too many books in the Parsonage
and Charlotte was probably drawing from
memory in Shirley when she described the " col-
lection of light literature" which Caroline
Helstone had access to at Briarfield Rectory as
" chiefly contained on a shelf which had belonged
to her Aunt Mary : some venerable Lady's Maga-
zines that had once performed a sea-voyage with
their owner and whose pages were stained with
salt water : some mad Methodist magazines, full
of miracles and apparitions, of preternatural
warnings, ominous dreams and frenzied fanati-
cism : the equally mad Letters of Mrs. Elizabeth
Rowe from the Dead to the Living : a few old
English classics," Mrs. Bronte, of Methodist
upbringing, might well have had such a collec-
tion and the reference to salt water damage
tallies with the mention in one of her love-letters
that a box of her belongings had been ship-
wrecked on its journey by sea from Cornwall to
Yorkshire.
Keighley, however, had a lending library which
the family, as they grew up, made use of, and
Mrs. Gaskell tells how the girls used to tramp
to the town and back again to get a new book
34