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THE   BRONTES                     103
she was acutely familiar with, but psychical pro-
cesses are strangely devious and illogical, and the
rationalised expression of a complex is far from
being a replica, or a direct inversion, of the
original drama.
The sisters3 venture into publication was known
to no one but themselves. Branwell, at this time,
was in no condition to be joined in the secret.
While tutor to the Robinsons, where he was with
Anne, from the beginning of 1843, he had de-
veloped a violent passion for Mrs. Robinson which,
though she was seventeen years older than he was,
he fancied was reciprocated. His delusions were
so fixed that his family evidently were deceived by
his story, as is shown by Mrs. Gaskell's repetition
of it, drawn from Charlotte, in the first edition
of her book. It is not known whether Branwell
had taken to opium before he went to the Robin-
sons - De Quincey's Confessions were published in
BranwelTs boyhood - but upon his dismissal from
Thorp Green, which occurred in the summer of
1845, ne certainly had recourse to it and to
whisky. Letters from him to his friends reveal a
pitiable condition of collapse from which he never
recovered. He became a monomaniac on this
subject and when, about a year later, the elderly
Mr. Robinson died, leaving his widow well pro-
vided for under her marriage settlement and
benefiting under his will to the extent of a life
interest in his estate during widowhood, Branwell
proceeded to the invention of a crowning calamity
and circulated the story that Mrs. Robinson
would have married him had she not been