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Full text of "The Brontes"

96                       THE   BRONT&S
would not have caused her to return if this object
had not been a genuine one. She had little regard
for anyone else in the Pensionnat; she felt exceed-
ingly solitary in Brussels. The foreign ways jarred,
and M. Heger, to whom she had not yet begun
to give English lessons, probably only appeared
as a redeeming feature of an otherwise, in many
ways, uncongenial life. Her letters home and to
Ellen show this and show too the ups and downs
of her relationship with the " black swan," as she
called M. Heger. He was evidently critical of her
general unamiability and was, or appeared to her
to be, spasmodic in his kindness to her, loading
her with books to read from time to time, but
anxious, naturally, not to incur gossip or his wife's
jealousy by being the only person to whom Char-
lotte cared to talk. Charlotte, no doubt, interested
him - " foreigners " are, as a rule, very ready to
be interested in English people - she was serious,
intelligent and ambitious and her pride attracted
as well as provoked the impetuous, tempera-
mental, demonstrative little man. As time passed,
and Charlotte became more and more oppressed
by her loneliness - especially in the summer when
her English friends had left the town - the fitful-
ness of M. Heger's apparent interest in her must
have become something on which she brooded,
often misconstruing the cause and, it goes with-
out saying, for one circumstanced as she was, set-
ting such store on the occasional tete-a-tete that
an intense emotional stress was engendered and
many of the symptoms associated with being in
love were set up. Matters came to a crisis in the