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Full text of "The Brontes"

THE   BRONTES                      125
dipped her pen in pious horror to rebuke the
author of Wuthering Heights. It was received,
when it was noticed, as an impersonal creation :
the product of a powerful but unpleasant mind.
The chief characters were repulsive : the idiom
was bare and uncouth : it was rude and strange
and violent in a day when a direct display of these
qualities was not likely to lead to popular favour
or to fame.
Emily was bitterly disappointed at the apparent
failure of her novel. The rumour that it was by
the author of Jane Eyre must have galled her, as
also the change of tune in some later reviews as to
the respective merits of the authors of the poems.
When these were first published, Ellis5 poems had
been recognised as the best, but when Currer Bell
had become famous, her poems were referred to as
the outstanding ones. To want success and to be
so hopeful of at least a small measure of it that you
hide yourself from publicity behind a pseudonym,
and then to get scant recognition and further to
have your very identity put in doubt is a bitterly
disappointing experience. Emily's seeming in-
difference to and scorn of success were only a mask.
Those who doubt her authorship of Wuthering
Heights should refer to Charlotte's letters to
Mr. Williams and to a passage in the before-
mentioned letter from Mrs. Gaskell, quoted
in Miss Haldane's book, where Mrs. Gaskell
says :
" But Emily, poor Emily - the pangs of dis-
appointment as review after review came out
about Wuthering Heights were terrible. Miss