THE BRONTES 73 what Emily was brooding over,, she was not likely to have told. But, probably, she did not know and homesickness for the moors was as near as she could get towards explaining what was the matter with Emily. " My sister Emily loved the moors/5 wrote Charlotte. True as that was, of course it was not the whole truth. We do not, nowadays, make Mrs. Gaskell's mistake of supposing that Emily cared only for nature and animals. The attrac- tion which has been felt towards her of late years is as much an understanding of the passionate nature that was behind that seeming coldness of hers as it is due to appreciation of her as a writer and poet. The Victorian predilection for lives of valiant souls " made perfect by suffering," to quote from a letter Charles Kingsley wrote to Mrs. Gaskell, has yielded to a sympathetic interest in the psychology of human beings regardless of whether suffering makes them perfect or not. When Mrs. Gaskell was writing her life of Char- lotte, she asked Ellen Nussey what Emily's re- ligious opinions were. Miss Nussey, a devout Churchwoman, was not at all certain and to Mrs. Gaskell, Unitarian and wide-minded as she was, this uncertainty evidently constituted a serious obstacle to knowledge of Emily, of whom, from talks with various people, she had already formed no very pleasant impression. Mrs. Gaskell's impression was, no doubt, dreary night? . . . Her removal, if it has taken place, must have been to Northangerland like the quenching of the last spark that; averted utter darkness."