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88                        THE   BRONT&S
"There are so many foreigners here." Brussels
was full of foreigners : Charlotte discovered this
immediately, and was and continued to be
horrified at the outward signs of the Catholic
religion and Catholics' ways of life. Shyness,
added to intolerance, isolated her and her sister :
the two can be pictured, avoiding their fellow-
pupils and walking up and down the avenue of
the Pensionnat garden, a lonely, linked couple in
old-fashioned clothes. Emily persisted in wear-
ing out-of-date leg of mutton sleeves and lank
skirts, and was, of course, completely unsociable,
silent even with English friends of the Taylors at
school near by, who often invited the Bronte girls
to spend the weekly jour de vacance at their house.
Charlotte might have donned a frill or flounce
occasionally if Emily had not been there to snort
at any departure from the Parsonage style of dress
- it was more timidity than scorn of new fashions
which kept Charlotte a guy - and if Lucy Snowe's
conversations with Ginevra Fanshawe were like
Charlotte's own with an English fellow-pupil, she
was at least open to conversation, though on her
side, generally, of a reproving and snubbing kind.
Still, evidently, Lucy could not altogether resist
Ginevra's chatter about her young men and had
a soft corner hi her embittered heart for that
flighty young lady.
Yet it is because Charlotte was so narrow-
minded, " superior " and solitary that Villette is
a great book. A genial, open-hearted and open-
minded person could not have written it, would
not have gone through, really or imaginatively.