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THE  BRONTES                      53
account of the black-coated and Tory savages
that kept the people down and provoked ex-
cesses. . , . Old Roberson said * he would wade
to the knees in blood rather than the then state of
things should be altered ' - a state including Corn
Law, Test Law and a host of other oppressions."
Mary Taylor, when this was written, was in New
Zealand, whither she had emigrated in 1845,
after family misfortunes. She was a woman of
energy and character and one who never, either
to Charlotte herself or to Charlotte's friends,
minced her opinion that Charlotte's life, from
first to last, was one of sad repression. She would
have liked to see her friend kick over all the traces
and make her own way somehow. " Charlotte,
at school, had no plan of life beyond what cir-
cumstances made for her/5 she wrote to Mrs.
Gaskell and there is, evidently, a criticism in that
remark. Mary herself was essentially rebellious,
more rebellious, probably, than clear-sighted or
possessed of definite aims. Her letters, though
always refreshingly outspoken, show a lack of
something : they start well but often tail off into
inconsequence. It is understandable that, despite
her admiration for Mary's energetic, adventurous
spirit, Charlotte was more drawn to Ellen Nussey
who, though by no means as intelligent as Mary
Taylor, was untroubled by rebellious feelings, and
whose serenity of disposition, combined with
earnest religious beliefs, made her both an ex-
ample and a prop. Besides, Ellen, a simpler
person altogether than Mary, looked up to Char-
lotte, whereas Mary just a little looked down on