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Full text of "The Brontes"

66                      THE   BRONTES
from his study to greet the visitor ; little, old-
fashioned Miss Branwell rustling forward to do
the honours ; silent, lanky Emily and shy Anne,
not daring to be absent on this great occasion but
very loth to be noticed, linked together in the
background. Mr. Bronte and Miss Branwell, no
doubt, did most of the talking at tea for Miss
Nussey's benefit, until Branwell came in, small,
red-haired, spectacled and talkative, his father's
pride and his aunt's pet. Not a word, we may
be sure, came from Emily or Anne unless they
were spoken to, and as soon as they could, these
" inseparables " wrould have disappeared. Emily,
Miss Nussey observed, was the tallest of the family,
except her father, which observation has led many
people to suppose that she was very tall. But her
full-grown height was not more than five feet six
inches, as her coffin measurements show. Char-
lotte was short, though not a dwarf, as Miss
Martineau suggested when she described Char-
lotte as the smallest person she had ever seen out-
side a fair ; she was five feet two inches. Anne
and Branwrell were also short.
The visit was a great success. Miss Nussey was
highly approved of by all, including Tabby, who
did not take to everyone, by any means. Char-
lotte's letters to Ellen reported this : " Papa and
Aunt are continually adducing you as an example
for me . . . Emily and Anne say ' they never saw
anyone they liked so well as Miss Nussey ' " - and
the correspondence went on. Charlotte used
Ellen as a dumping-ground for home-manu-
factured sententiousness and wrote to her as if she