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138                     THE   BRONTES
mingling sometimes in ugly confusion. At forty,
had she lived, she might have smiled indulgently
at the unnecessarily Promethean note of " The
Old Stoic " :
Riches I hold in light esteem,
And Love I laugh to scorn,
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn
realising then that Life, God, Reality, or whatever
other abstraction she was addressing so defiantly
in that poem, exists quite regardless of our
approval or scorn, our postures, humble or proud,
and requires us to be neither its hale champions
nor its heroic adversaries.
But she died " in a time of promise," and
partly owing to the peculiarities of her disposition
and wnrk, partly because of Charlotte's over-
shadowing reputation, she remained for years in
the background. When, in 1883, Madame
Duclaux, then Miss Mary Robinson, was asked
to write a life of Charlotte for an Eminent Women
series of books, and chose instead to write about
Emily, her publishers cut down the fee first
offered. Madame Duclaux, a girl herself at that
time, had the privilege of visiting Miss Nussey,
who lived until 1897, anc^ s^e saw besides many
elderly Haworth villagers who remembered Emily
Bronte. But, to quote a saying of Vauvenargues,
" on tire pen des vieillards," and it is one of life's
little ironies that those who happen to have seen
" Shelley plain " are rarely those who are best
qualified to tell us vital things about him. This