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Full text of "The Brontes"

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."