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50                       THE   BRONTES
her head over it till her nose nearly touched it and
when she was told to hold her head up, up went
the book after it, still close to her nose so that it
was not possible to help laughing.53
Ellen Nussey also remembered Charlotte, on
that first day at Miss Wooler's, standing by the
schoolroom window and crying because of the
strangeness. Charlotte was nearly fifteen then :
Ellen a year younger. So the two met and be-
came life-long friends.
Charlotte was well read but not well grounded.
She knew no grammar and very little geography,
" We thought her very ignorant/' said Mary
Taylor. But it was soon seen that she could quote
lots of poetry, and could draw much better than
any of them and knew about celebrated pictures
and painters ; and though she could not play
games (she said she never had played games) and
in play-hours always sat or stood with a book,
she was a favourite with her school-fellows (not
more than ten in all) and in great demand at
night as a story-teller of fearsome tales. She
was too much in earnest about learning to be
thought a prig by her school-fellows, or snubbed
because of her passion for improving her mind.
" We had a rage for practicality,5' said Mary
Taylor, " and laughed all poetry to scorn.*3
Charlotte, undaunted, went on her solitary way
of " picking up every scrap of information con-
cerning painting, sculpture, poetry, music, as if
it were gold." The girls, though they teased her
and thought her an oddity, championed her. All
of them were up in arms once because Charlotte