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Full text of "The Brontes"

THE  BRONTES                       47
in Heaven now with Mamma, waiting for the
others to join them and, meantime, hoping that
Charlotte and Branwell and Emily and Anne
were being good and growing up to be a comfort
to Papa who had so much to bear. The world,
early, must have seemed to them a hostile place,
and love an almost unattainable ideal. It is
easy to see how the themes of" neglected orphan,"
" mournful boy,53 " outcast," and " exile," which
pervaded their later writings, germinated and
developed. Cowper's " Castaway " was a favour-
ite poem of theirs. All of them in turn appro-
priated its theatrical melancholy :
But I beneath a rougher sea
And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.
Emily, passionate and intense, but without
Charlotte's lust for knowledge and culture, or
Anne's awful religious conscience, and up against
the fuss made of Branwell, genius as he was
thought to be, was soon forced into a silent, defen-
sive "reserve" and early, it seems, became firmly
convinced of her unchangeable and bitter fate.
Left out of the Angrian game by Charlotte and
Branwell, she had to make shift with Anne as a
companion, and the family grouping had evidently
fallen into these two couples before Charlotte
went to school again in 1831, for Charlotte begins
a letter from school to Branwell :
" DEAR BRANWELL, - As usual, I address my
weekly letter to you because to you I find the
most to say."