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THE   BRONTES                    137
beings who understood me, and whom I under-
stood, are gone/' Charlotte wrote to Mr, Williams
after Anne died. That was not true, as regards
Emily, but Charlotte need not be blamed for the
lack of understanding. Emily resented attempts
at intimacy. Were she alive to-day, despite all
the attraction that we feel towards her, an attrac-
tion partly built up by unsatisfied enquiry and
the legend of her isolation, even with the greater
understanding that we may think that we moderns
possess of natures like hers, we might find our-
selves completely daunted. That she made no
close friends shows what excessive fear of self-
betrayal must have dominated her. Had she
lived longer, she might have overcome these
terrors. She was only thirty when she died,
an age which though not young, according to
social standards, is early in the emotional life of
a woman who lived in a remote village and was
handicapped by circumstance and disposition,
as she was, from intercourse with her fellow-
creatures. The tragedy of Emily Bronte's life was
that she died before tasting any of the sweets of
success. She would not have over-rated them ;
she would not have over-valued any of the crucial
joys of life, but that youthful bitterness, that melo-
dramatic despondency of hers would have been
tempered. Her deepest feeling of a universal
harmony, with which the moors inspired her,
would, by degrees, have made trial of, and
accepted or rejected, all the various moods of her
soul which in youth jostle and rub against one
another promiscuously, alternating in control,