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THE   BRONTES                       75
they spoke of her In the village, " the genius of the
family," as in old age, Mr. Bronte once admitted
to a visitor, that he considered her to have been,
may have come by her fierce and excessive reserve
out of sub-conscious jealousy of Bran well who, as
the only son. received all the attention, and of
Charlotte who, as the eldest, ordered the others
about. Her poems around the ifi mournful boy "
theme, as Miss Romer Wilson has insisted, all
point to that recurring idea of herself as a friend-
less, unwanted child cast into an alien world -
/ am the only being whose doom
No tongue would ask, no eye would mourn -
and the attraction wnicn orpnans ana castaways
had for all the Bronte children resolved itself, in
her case, into that passion for the dme damnee
which came to fullest expression in the creation of
Heathcliff in Wut/iering Heights.
It seems, however, a mistake to represent Emily
as within the conscious heart of her at enmity
with mankind. She was evidently a proud, deep-
natured, loving and undemonstrative person,
bent on her own way, but that way was a simple
straightforward one, directed not so much against
the world as away from conventional bounds and
restrictions. Freedom was the breath of her soul;
and to get that, and to be relieved from the odious
necessity of becoming a governe'ss, she willingly
undertook at home domestic duties far less irk-
some to her than looking after tiresome childre
and being boxed up with strangers.