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THE   BRONTES                      IIQ
and talk of them with detail, minute, graphic,
and accurate : but with them she rarely exchanged
a word. Hence it ensued that what her mind had
gathered of the real concerning them, was too
exclusively confined to those tragic and terrible
traits of which, in listening to the secret annals of
every rude vicinage, the memory is sometimes
compelled to receive the impress." And Emily,
she goes on to say, could not understand what
was meant " if the auditor of her work, when read
in manuscript, shuddered under the grinding in-
fluence of natures so relentless and implacable."
To Emily, Heathcliff was ruthless, cruel in his
ruthlessness, violent in his passion for Catherine
and his hatred of Earnshaw and Edgar, hard as
a whin-stone, but he was not monstrous. He was
as so many moorland people were, as Charlotte
told Mrs. Gaskell they were. Emily did not shrink
from hearing about them or writing about them,
She could not tone down their violent behaviour
by psychological explanation ; she was too used
to hearing of such behaviour to indulge in horrified
comments. She was not horrified. Life, as she
knew it, was like that. As to passing harsh judg-
ments on such people, leave judgment to God.
God who understands will forgive.
Emily had no definite religious views, which
fact, as we know, wras a source of anxiety to Mrs.
Gaskell and others ; but, all the same, she was
deeply religious in feeling. She believed in an all-
loving, eternal Power who pitied human trans-
gressions and granted rest, in the end, to all
sinners. This deep, religiously felt tolerance of