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Full text of "The Brontes"

CHAPTER IV
Charlotte goes to school - Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor - re-
turns to Angria - Ellen Nussey's picture of the Parsonage
group - Charlotte's correspondence with her friends.
IT is the fashion nowadays to laugh at school
education, at any rate for geniuses. Miss Romer
Wilson, for instance, was highly contemptuous of
Charlotte's second excursion into school life in
1831, on the ground that it encouraged her prig-
gishness and zeal for improvement and brought
her home, after the year and a half at Miss
Wooler's at Roe Head, to administer her scanty
bit of book-learning to Emily and Anne - Emily
who, says Miss Wilson, " was hors concours from the
start, unteachable, thank God ! " Such an atti-
tude is all very well for a writer who wants to
poetise the Brontes and who gets a romantic
pleasure out of depicting them as fated to isolated
lives, just as a painter, enamoured of certain
atmospheric effects, likes to paint buildings in a
place where he can count on their being continu-
ously enveloped in fog. The biographer, however,
is not concerned with gloom and isolation for the
sake of their romantic effects. It is his job, cer-
tainly, to study the twisted psychic developments
which go with these surroundings, but not to
deplore the intrusion of light or of any common-
place element which, from the painter's or the
poet's point of view, robs the situation of its utmost
48