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42                       THE   BRONTES
in 1834, when Charlotte was nineteen. The Spell
is said by its editor to be " by all means the best "
of eight pieces contained in a booklet now in the
British Museum which was picked up at a sale in
Brussels and is supposed, on that account, to
have been taken there by Charlotte and given
by her to M. H^ger. But the trouble with all
these early writings is that evidently it is only as a
whole (and an amazingly voluminous whole) that
they are interesting and even so, only interesting
as showing Charlotte's complete absorption in
this imaginary world, not as awakening in the
reader any interest in, or sympathetic attention to
the subject matter. The Spell., for instance, is pure
bombast; there is no trace of genuine expression
in it; it might have been written by a child of
twelve with a passion for mouthy grandiloquence
derived from reading the old-fashioned kind of
cheap romantic literature. The mixture of
grandiloquence and slang in the dialogue is not
even funny, as in the Irene Iddesleigh type of novel;
nor is there any of the naivete of The Young Visiters.
The earlier published writings - The Twelve Ad-
venturers, etc., Hodder & Stoughton, 1925-have
not the glaring defects of The Spell, but most of
them are, nevertheless, pretentious efforts, con-
scientious meditations upon appropriate themes
pursued by Charlotte with touching literary am-
bition, her young head excitedly full of flowers of
rhetoric, borrowed thoughts, borrowed emotions,
borrowed impressions, no one of which she had
ever realised or examined critically. Charlotte,,
later, learned to write, that is to say to make her