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Full text of "The Brontes"

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what is happening, the while they observe. Their
speech is rough and ready, graphic with the in-
stant impression, immensely telling because of the
way in which, in phrases like that which Mrs.
Dean used to describe Heathcliff- " hard as a
whin-stone " - it sculptures, in high relief, that
instant impression upon the listener's imagina-
tion, but not psychologically enlightening. But
the vivid picture is wThat matters to most people ;
undoubtedly it mattered a great deal to Emily
Bronte. It would be misleading to say that she
had a taste for the violent, because that would
suggest that she consciously sought it out. She
did not consciously seek it. Charlotte was right
when she told Mrs. Gaskell that Emily never
realised that her story was a shocking one. Life
presented itself violently and dramatically to her,
first because she had little contact with other than
village and moorland people, and that mainly at
second-hand through her father's, Tabby's and
village talk and tales, and also because she was
not a prober into the inner side of happenings,
the psychological side - few people were in those
days and her own unconquerable shyness and
reticence stood in the way. Perhaps, too, we
should not be far wrong in thinking that just be-
cause she was so shy, she saw life in unusually
bare, dramatic lines. For behind that excessive
shyness of hers there was probably an unconscious
longing, only a little less strong than the shyness,
for deeper knowledge of and closer contact with
people and things. Cut off from the inner aspect,
her concentration upon the outside view of events