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THE   BRONTfiS                      IOI
sisters to co-operate. Though all of them, Char-
lotte tells us, had very early cherished dreams of
one day becoming authors, these were only vague
dreams, at any rate, in Charlotte's mind, other-
wise she would not have been engrossed in the
plan of a school for so long, in fact, until the failure
of their poor little advertisement. Emily had the
most definite literary ambitions of the three, if
one can judge from the part-picture of her in
" Frances 5S in The Professor. But " to become an
author " in those days was a profoundly serious
undertaking and would-be authors approached
publishers and that great Personage, the Public,
with awe and reverence. Charlotte's account of
how she and her sisters came to take the plunge
into print is steeped in nervous dread. To have
nagged at Emily to get her to agree to what she
herself had hardly yet ventured to contemplate as
a practical step could not have occurred to her.
The poems of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell were
published in one small volume by Aylott & Jones
of Paternoster Row in the early summer of 1846.
" All . . . that merits to be known are the poems
of Ellis Bell," wrote Charlotte four years later,
and she was right. The little volume, which cost
it authors nearly 50 to publish and advertise,
and of which, in the year following publication,
only two copies were sold, contained twenty-one
poems by Emily, among them some of her best
and nearly all showing the beautiful directness
and intensity of her poetic instinct. She is a
supreme poet to those who love undecorated ex-
pression of emotion.