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THE   BRONTES                      67
were an elderly aunt -" What a remarkable
winter we have had ! Rain and wind continu-
ally but an almost total absence of frost and
snow " - and continued the task of cultivating
Ellen's taste for elegant literature, winding up
a disquisition by the remark -" adhere to
standard authors and avoid novelty."
Ellen, whether she profited or not, kept all
Charlotte's letters, which is more than Mary
Taylor, to whom Charlotte also wrote occasion-
ally, did ; this is a loss for the biographer for it
would have been interesting to compare the two
sets of letters and to see whether Charlotte was
essentially didactic or whether the elderly aunt
strain was brought out of her by Ellen's admira-
tion for her clever friend. Evidently, however,
Charlotte held forth on politics when she wrote
to Mary. " Brougham, you see, is triumphant.
Wretch ! I am a hearty hater, and if there is
anyone I thoroughly abhor, it is that man." She
writes this to Ellen and then remarks that Ellen
has brought this rodomontade on herself by tell-
ing her to write as she writes to Mary Taylor.
Mary was stony ground, as far as reclamation to
Tory principles was concerned ; but still, for all
her fiery Radicalism, her letters were worth having
and, on paper, Charlotte loved crossing swords.
There was no cc kick " to be got out of Ellen, but,
all the same, Charlotte loved her best. " In the
solitude of our wild little hill village," wrote Char-
lotte to her,úC I think of my only unrelated friend -
my dear, ci-devant school-companion, daily, nay
almost hourly." " Farewell, dearest, dearest"