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Full text of "The Brontes"

THE   BRONTES                       71
before social pleasures and longings for a life of
the mind, and, untrained as Branwell was for a
profession, the livelihoods open to him were not
such as could yield much, if indeed any, intel-
lectual interest. Small wonder then that, after a
vain attempt to make a living by portrait paint-
ing in Bradford, he had a succession of jobs, as
had also his sister, Charlotte, for which by tem-
perament and upbringing he was, like her, utterly
unsuited, and that, in the intervals between and
leisure during these uncongenial employments, he
sought lively company and often drank more than
was good for him. He certainly idled as a clerk
at Luddenden Foot, then a remote country rail-
way station where, in between the passing of
trains, there was little to be done and where,
except for an occasional visit from a crony, Bran-
well sat alone in a wooden shanty amusing him-
self now and again by scribbling sketches on the
margins of railway account books. But he gave
satisfaction in his tutorial posts and did not go to
pieces until his last situation, from which he wras
dismissed because, having fallen madly and hope-
lessly in love with his employer's wife, he com-
pletely lost his self-control and became obsessed
by his passion. Then, and not until then (1844,
at the earliest), can Branwell5s collapse justly be
said to have started ; his history during the pre-
vious years being disappointing only to those,
including himself, who had thoughtlessly believed
that his particular abilities would carry him to
success without training or social backing, and
who had never, apparently, considered that those