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Full text of "The Brontes"

THE   BRONTES                      121
not in reality the devil incarnate. Mrs. Dean's
inclination at times to see him as such has to be
discounted. For one thing, she was, though a
superior, still a simple-minded, countrywoman,
wiiose very intellectual shortcomings make for
\iolent impressions and the use of crude similes,
and there has also to be taken into account the
glimpses of Heathcliff through Lockwood's eyes.
Lockwood found Heathcliff surly, inhospitable,
ill-natured., but all the same, during his illness,
he was thankful to have a visit from him. " I
found him very intelligent on the subjects we
touched," he reports, unfortunately telling us no
more than that.
Lockwood's impression, slight though it is, is
clearly more impartial than Mrs. Dean's, and in
it we get the only attempt which is made in the
book to give an independent view of Heathcliff,
perhaps to put into concrete form something of
Emily's owrn wider, though undeveloped, under-
standing of the tragedy which finds abstract ex-
pression in Lockwood's graveside soliloquy, and
is implied in the various shiftings of perspective to
which attention has been drawn. The attempt is
feebly begun and soon abandoned ; Emily Bronte
could not make Lockwood, who did not belong to
the moorland world, or his intercourse with the
rough characters of that world, real because she
had no direct experience of that kind to draw
upon. Her experience was of being told of moor-
land folk and moorland life by the Mrs. Deans of
her acquaintance whom she was not afraid to talk
to, whose tales, indeed, she relished inordinately,