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Full text of "The Brontes"

134                     THE   BRONTES
He was in the village two days before he died and
in bed only for one day. His dying state evidently
broke the long tension between him and his once
favourite sister. A change came over his demean-
our and language in the last two days, so Charlotte
wrote to Mr. Williams and the Nusseys : " all
the bitterness seemed gone/5 out of herself, too,
as well as out of her unfortunate and miserable
brother. " All his errors - to speak plainly, all
his vices - seemed nothing to me in that moment;
every wrong he had done, every pain he had
caused, vanished ; his sufferings only were
remembered ; the wrench to the natural affec-
tions only was left.35 Charlotte broke down at
BranwelTs death, and was in bed for a week with
a fever and sick headache. Emily started a cold
and cough the following week.
Emily is said to have caught a cold at BranwelPs
funeral. The cold developed into inflammation
of the lungs. She would see no doctor, take no
respite from domestic duties. " We saw she was
ill, but she never would own it," said Martha, the
servant, to Mrs. Gaskell when the latter stayed
there, " never would have a doctor near her,
never would breakfast in bed - the last morning
she got up and she dying all the time, the rattle in
her throat while she would dress herself, and
neither Miss Bronte nor I dared offer to help her."
She died just before Christmas. The last months
of her life do not bear thinking of. Charlotte and
Anne must have suffered agonies, watching her
while she dragged herself about, furious if either
of them tried to persuade her to rest. Charlotte's