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62                       THE   BRONTES
Even at this time, Mr. Bronte struck me as look-
ing very venerable, with his snow-white hair
and powdered coat-collar. His manner and
mode of speech always had the tone of highbred
courtesy. He was considered somewhat of an in-
valid and always lived in the most abstemious and
simple manner. His white cravat was not then
so remarkable as it grew to be afterwards. He
was in the habit of covering this cravat himself.
We never saw the operation but we always had to
wind for him the white sewing-silk which he used.
Charlotte said it was her father's one extravagance
- he cut up yards and yards of white lute-string
(silk) in covering his cravat and , . . went into new
silk and new size without taking any off, till at
length nearly half his head was enveloped in
cravat. His liability to bronchial attacks, no
doubt, attached him to this increasing growth of
" Miss Bran well.. . was a small, antiquated little
lady. She wore caps large enough for half a
dozen of the present fashion and a front of light
auburn curls over her forehead. She always
dressed in silk. She had a horror of the climate
so far north, and of the stone floors of the par-
sonage. She amused us by clicking about in
pattens whenever she had to go into the kitchen or
look after household operations.
" She talked a great deal of her younger days : the
gaieties of her native town, Penzance ; the soft,
warm climate. The social life of her younger
days she used to recall with regret; she gave one
the idea that she had been a belle among her own