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THE  BRONTfiS                      5!
was given a bad mark. She had been set to read
a quantity of Blair's Lectures on Belles-Lettres^ more
than she could get through in the time, and she
failed to answer some questions on these. The
school were furious ; it wasn't fair, they said, to
punish Charlotte, who had worked harder than
anyone else, and they went on strike in various
ways until the bad mark was withdrawn. Char-
lotte had wept floods over her failure, just as she
had wept when, on first going to school, Miss
Wooler had told her that until she knew grammar
she must be placed in the second class. Miss
Wooler's kind heart had been softened, and
Charlotte had been put among girls of her own
age in the first class and allowed to " catch up "
in grammar in her free time,
She was not stand-offish. She was always ready,
says Mrs. Gaskell, to try and do what her school-
fellows wished, though not sorry when they called
her awkward and left her out of their games.
Physically, she was feeble and, according to Mary
Taylor, " ate no animal food." " Charlotte was
never in wild excitement that I know of. When
in health she used to talk better and, indeed,
when in low spirits, never spoke at all." Mary
once told her she was very ugly but repented of
it afterwards and said so. Charlotte answered :
" You did me a great deal of good, Polly, so don't
repent of it." Mary also told her that she and
her brother and sisters were like growing potatoes
in a cellar. Charlotte said, sadly : " Yes, I know
we are." Evidently, she talked to her friends
about the others at home, and of the two elder