Skip to main content

Full text of "The Brontes"

See other formats

Il8                     THE   BRONTES
became the more intense, and so unconsciously
she went further in dramatic emphasis than she
realised. The material on which her mind worked
was dramatic enough, to begin with. In a letter
from Mrs. Gaskell on the subject of her stay with
Charlotte Bronte at Haworth, published in Miss
Haldane's recent book, Mrs. Gaskell and Her
Friends, Mrs. Gaskell writes :
" On the moors we met no one. Here and
there in the gloom of the distant hollows she
[Charlotte] pointed out a dark grey dwelling,
with Scotch firs growing near them often, and
told me such wild tales of the ungovernable
families who lived or had lived therein that
Wuthering Heights even seemed tame compara-
tively. Such dare-devil people, men especially
and women so strong and cruel in some of their
feelings, and so passionately fond in others . . .
small landed proprietors, dwelling on one spot
since Queen Elizabeth. . , . These people build
grand houses and live in the kitchens."
And Charlotte herself writes, in the Preface to
Emily's book :
" My sister's disposition was not naturally
gregarious ; circumstances favoured and fostered
her tendency to seclusion : except to go to church
or take a walk on the hills she rarely crossed the
threshold of home. Though her feeling for the
people round was benevolent, intercourse with
them she never sought; nor with very few excep-
tions, ever experienced. And yet she knew them ;
knew their ways, their language, their family
histories ; she could hear of them with interest