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THE   BRONTES                       65
miles and miles of heather, a glorious blue sky
and brightening sun. A fresh breeze wafted on
us its exhilarating influence ; we laughed and
made mirth of each other, and settled we would
call ourselves the quartette. Emily, half reclining
on a slab of stone, played like a young child with
the tadpoles in the water, making them swim
about, and then fell to moralising on the strong
and the weak, the brave and the cowardly, as she
chased them with her hand.
" The interior of the now far-famed parsonage
lacked drapery of all kinds. Mr. Bronte's horror
of fire forbade curtains to the windows . . . there
was not much carpet anywhere except in the
sitting-room and on the study floor. The hall
floor and stairs were done with sandstone, always
beautifully clean, as everything was about the
house ; the wails were not papered, but stained
in a pretty dove-coloured tint ; hair-seated chairs
and mahogany tables, bookshelves in the study,
but not many of these elsewhere. Scant and bare
indeed, many will say, yet it was not a scantness
that made itself felt. Mind and thought, I had
almost said elegance, but certainly refinement,
diffused themselves over all, and made nothing
really wanting."
This is a vivid picture. Bronte lovers would
be poor without it, indeed without it could hardly
set eyes on the Parsonage group. How clearly
we can see them all upon " Miss" Nussey's
arrival : Charlotte waiting for her friend in the
lane ; Mr. Bronte, venerable-looking at fifty-five,
his neck swathed in that huge choker, emerging