74 THE BRONTES correct Emily's farouche reserve and self-will could not have made her an agreeable person. Outside her family, she had no personal friends ; only a few people knew her even superficially ; most of those of her own social standing who came in contact with her found her most difficult to get on with.1 That towards humbler folk like the Haworth villagers she was unalarming, kind and even genial at times, as Mme. Duclaux records, is quite compatible with the story of her disagree- ableness. Where no fear of intrusion upon her inner self threatened, she could be at ease. So, with Anne, and with anyone or anything turning to her for protection, she was devotion itself, giving loving companionship, unselfishness, sympathy, everything, in short, with which natures like Emily's are so often endowed, except those ulti- mate, inmost confidences which some innate fear forbade her ever giving. Fear of what, she could not probably have told, but it must have been something which made community of thought and feeling a terror to her and turned the idea of friendship into a sort of threat. There seems no need to search for some par- ticular psychological disturbance, issuing from a fit or a shock in childhood, to account for the almost sterilising fear which isolated Emily Bronte from so much in life that she needed, needed as much as the light and air and expanses of her moors* " The cliverest o5 the Brontes/5 so 1 In 1924, Sir Clifford Allbutt wrote to the late Sir Edmund Gosse: 44It was not Charlotte who was *gey ill to live with* but Emily. No human being . . . could get on with Emily Bronte."