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Full text of "The Brontes"

8o                       THE   BRONTES
their darlings, it is not necessary to assume that
the Sidgwick children, even when understood,
were a pleasure to teach. Mr. A. G. Benson
admits that his cousin, " Benson Sidgwick, now
vicar of Ashby Parva," certainly on one occasion
threw a Bible at Miss Bronte, and seems to suggest
that Miss Bronte need not have minded that.
However, as Charlotte did not then know that
Benson Sidgwick would one day be a vicar, she
probably did mind. At any rate, she described
the Sidgwicks as " riotous, perverse, unmanage-
able cubs/5 " pampered, spoiled and turbulent,
whom I was expected constantly to amuse as well
as to instruct."
Poor Charlotte! Many things were expected of
her (sewing and mending in abundance) and,
unfortunately, she expected things of her em-
ployers that were not, under the circumstances,
to be obtained. She expected that Mrs. Sidgwick
should understand her, but governesses were just
governesses in those days, there to do their duty
and not to be understood. Charlotte's " stock of
animal spirits," never worth mentioning, sank
very low. Mrs. Sidgwick took her to task about
her depression and Charlotte cried bitterly ; it
all seemed so unkind. " Mrs. Sidgwick's health
is sound - her animal spirits are good - conse-
quently she is cheerful in company/' Charlotte
moaned to Ellen ; but how could it be expected
that she, Charlotte, could be cheerful in such a
place? She left it after three months. The
Brontes could always be trusted to leave their
situations. Except, perhaps, Anne. She, good,