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Full text of "The Brontes"

THE   BRONTES                       QI
added to injury, for the picture was cc set up in
the best light, having a cordon of protection
stretched before it5> and a cushioned bench in
front for the accommodation of worshippers.
Lucy, be it observed, sat on this bench, so
absorbed in her annoyance with Cleopatra's
improprieties as not to notice M. EmanueFs
approach from behind.
Yet, with all the rancour of which the above is
a specimen, goes - and those who study human
nature will not need to have the connection ex-
plained - a continuity of sincere and exalted feel-
ing of the spiritual dignity of the narrator and
the almost cosmic importance of her fate which
gives the story an epic grandeur and even turns
the snubs which Lucy so often administers to
trifling mortals into impressive rebukes. Rhe-
torical the book is to modern readers ; absurdly
over-serious to modern, light-hearted habits of
thought; over-strained in its idealism of love and
all the stages of approach to it; but these sen-
tentious dialogues with Reason, these neophytic
invocations of the Deities of Hope and Happiness,
are the solemnities of intense feeling and con-
science, the pomp arid state of excessive (pathetic-
ally excessive and over-sensitive) self-respect.
Lucy Snowe, the unhappy, love-starved, morbidly
self-conscious governess, attains, through pain and
tribulation, a glorious apotheosis. She has des-
paired ; she has struggled ; she has schooled her-
self to hopelessness ; she has rigorously held " the
quick of her nature in a catalepsy and a dead
trance " ; her struggles have been rewarded ;