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Full text of "The Brontes"

136                     THE   BRONTES
responsibilities, found comfort, as was her wont, in
an eloquence which was not quite sincere. " I
will not now ask why Emily was torn from us in
the fullness of our attachment, rooted up in the
prime of her own days, in the promise of her
powers ; why her existence now lies like a field of
green corn trodden down, like a tree in full bear-
ing struck at the root. I will only say, sweet is rest
after labour and calm after tempest, and repeat
again and again that Emily knows that now."
" She died in a time of prorise," she repeated,
to Ellen. That was, indeed, true, and to Char-
lotte, it always remained the great tragedy. She
knew, whatever else she did not know about her
sister, Emily's outstanding power. She knew that
Emily was bigger, far bigger than she herself was.
Often, no doubt, there had been friction between
the two. Charlotte had an eldest sister side to
her which had been too positive, too managing,
too inquisitive for Emily's nerves. Charlotte had
been unkindly hard on Branwell ; she had em-
bittered herself as well as him by her cold, damn-
ing self-righteousness. She had shown no tender-
ness towards her weak brother : Emily and she
may often have been bitterly, though silently, aj;
issue over this. It is, however, impossible to be
sure. All we know is that Charlotte, after Emily's
death, indeed before her death, during that
dreadful time of watching, became aware of the
intensity of her love for Emily in a way that seems
to show something more than straightforward
anguish, a tormenting sense of longing to have
understood Emily better. " The two human