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Full text of "An hour with Charlotte Bronté; or, Flowers from a Yorkshire moor"



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Copyright, 1883, by Ftjxk & Wagxali s. 

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NUMB ERS 1 TO 79. 

Previous numbers of this Library were known by the name Standard Series. 
A list of these 79 books will be found on the 3d page of the cover of this volume. They 
are printed In 4to, 8vo, and 12mo sizes, and are bound In postal card manllla. They are 
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AN HOUR WITH CHARLOTTE BRONTE; 

OR, 

Flowers from a Yorkshire Moor, 

There was but one Charlotte Bronte, as there was but one William Shakespeare. 
She wa* a passionate, fire-winged genius, whose life and history form one of the most 
interesting and exciting stories ever told. No one who has read " Jane Eyre" or pored 
over the pages of " Villette" could be indifferent to the personal history of the York- 
shire girl who wrote them. Her jtrange existence in the little hamlet of Hawoi th 
reads, as her biographer tells us, "like an olden tragedy twined into English fact." 
Charlotte Bronte's character is not an easy one to understand, because of her genius, her 
environment, and her singular shyness and avoidance of publicity. To write her life 
acceptably, one must have made it the study of years, have known it in the integrity of 
all its relations, and considered it from its broadest as well as its narrowest aspects. 
This is what Mrs. Holloway has done. She has, with loving reverence and pride, gazed 
upon her great sister woman, from the standpoint of Tier literary endeavors and 
achievements and her domestic surroundings, and her conclusions are worthy of her 
• 4 Hour" with her subject. It is a fascinating biography told in a charming style. It 
has been said by a critic that " the title is a misnomer; a week, a month with Charlotte 
Bronte would better express the true character of its contents." 

Mrs. Holloway has had an extended correspondence on the subject of her literary 
idol ; has taken infinite pains to seek out " those who had enjoyed the priceless 
privilege of looking into her pure, frank face," and has introduced the facts she lias 
gleaned into her carefully written biography. The book will be welcomed by all lovt-rs 
of pure biographical literature. 



L.C. 

Holloway 



EARLIER 



NUMBERS. 

No. 80, Standard Library (No. 1, 




PAXTON HOOD'S LIFE OF CROMWELL. 
1883 Series). Price, 25 cents. 

SCIENCE IN SHORT CHAPTERS. By W. Mattieu Williams, F.R.S.A., 
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LIVES OF ILLUSTRIOUS SHOEMAKERS. By William Edward Winks. 
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THE HIGHWAYS OF LITERATURE; or, What to Read and How to Read. 
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COLIN CLOUT'S CALENDAR. A Record op a Summer. By Grant Allen. 
No. 86, Standard Library (No. 7, 1883 Series). Price, 25 cents. 

THE ESSAYS OF GEORGE ELIOT. Complete. Collected and arranged, with 
an Introduction on her " Analysis of Motives." By Nathan Shbppard. No. 87, 
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From hundreds of periodicals in all sections of the country we have received the most 
enthusiastic testimonials, like the following from the Danbury News, Danbury, Conn. : 

" Had there been an Act of Congress empowering FUNK dt WA GNALLS, the New 
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reach of all, the firm could, not have done better than it is doing. . . . There is the 
AMERICAN HUMORIST, the last issue, printed in clear, but not staring type, on fine 
paper. It contains one hundred and eighty pages and sells for 15 cents— the price of <* 
good cigar/" 



AN HOUR 



WITH 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE; 



OR, 



FLOWERS FROM A YORKSHIRE MOOR. 



BY 
5* 4 



LAURA C: HOLLO WAT 

AUTHOR OP "LADIES OP THE WHITE HOUSE," ETC., ETC. 



KEW YORK : 

FUNK & WAGKALLS, Publishers, 

10 and 12 Dey Street. 






Entered, according to Act of Congres?, in the year 1883, by 

LAURA C. HOLLOWAY, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



Biographical Essay and Review, ... 7 

Letters, 49 

Selections from Writings, .... 79 

Poems, 133 



'A being breathing thoughtful breath, 
A traveller between life and death : 
The reason firm, the temperate will, 
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; 
A perfect woman, nobly planned 
To warn, to comfort, and command ; 
And yet a spirit still, and bright 
With something of an angel light. " 

—Wordsworth. 



Pass in, pass in, the angels say, 

Into the upper doors, 

Nor count compartments of the floors, 

But mount to Paradise 

By the stairway of surprise." 

— Emerson. 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 



The story of Charlotte Bronte's life is one of the most fas- 
cinating in our language. The English reading world is ac- 
quainted with her novels, and many have enjoyed " Jane 
Eyre" as much perhaps as did a mother of several grown-up 
daughters who took the book from one of them with a reproof 
for reading a novel — something she had never done, and who 
was discovered in the night poring over it. She had opened it 
to see what it was, and had remained up all night to settle the 
question for herself. 

The author of this novel was a mere reed, physically — a 
woman frail yet strong, spiritual yet still indomitable. Few if 
any stronger women have possessed her power of endurance ; 
her patient inflexibility. She had a rare and an unusual devel- 
opment, and her domestic life was one of the most singular 
ever known. She was born at Thornton, in Yorkshire, Eng- 
land, the 21st day of April, 1816, and was the third of six 
children. Her father, Patrick Bronte, was an Episcopal cler- 
gyman, who for more than forty years was settled at Haworth, 
in Yorkshire. 

The impossibility of learning the particulars of Charlotte 
Bronte's life while she lived added increased interest to the 



8 CHARLOTTE BROHTE. 

story after she died, and yet it is but just now that all the real 
facts and true history of this wonderful woman are known. To 
understand her life it must be studied in the integrity of its re- 
lations, for the life of one human being cannot be considered 
apart from its connection with other lives, and be understood 
aright. It is but one of many fibres that form a strange and 
complex web, tangled by destiny and separated only by death. 

Her life history ought to be written in tears, so sad was it. 
But if, as we are told, the capacity to suffer is the mark of 
rank in nature, she occupied her right place. She was won- 
drously blessed with great intellectual gifts, and hence her do- 
mestic surroundings seemed all the more narrow and con- 
tracted. In the years that have passed since she died, all the 
brightness that could be gleaned from whatever legitimate 
source has been thrown upon the sad story, yet it remains as 
cruel as an olden tragedy twined into English fact. 

Her gifts were higher than intellectual culture and reflection ; 
they were spiritual, akin,to the prophetic. She was psycholog- 
ical and clairvoyant — the most exquisite and sensitive of hu- 
man beings. 

With her mind she could see, independent of the organs of 
vision ; and her wonderful intuitive powers invested her with 
a knowledge of human nature incompatible with the restricted 
life she led. And, though restricted, there was a sombre fas- 
cination in her isolated existence rendered eventful only by 
sorrow. 

None of the accessories of wealth or high rank were hers ; it 
is her genius and her intensely pathetic domestic story that 
captivates the world and holds it, and will continue to captivate 
and hold it so long as men and women remain responsive to 
noble sentiment and appreciate true greatness. 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 9 

The characteristic she possessed which men called genius she 
knew as courage and determined will, and the early consecra- 
tion of her life to others she considered duty, not self-sacrifice. 

The solitude of a gray old parsonage nursed her imaginative 
faculty, and in the absolute dearth of society she learned to 
think and to write* She lost her mother when she was five 
years old, and was left the care-taker of her younger sisters 
and brother, after the two eldest sisters had been sent away to 
school. Mr. Bronte did not know how to undertake the care 
and education of so many children, but he was a student him- 
self and enforced his Spartan ideas of stndy upon his willing 
pupils. Fortunately, they were all the inheritors of his intel- 
lectual tastes, and to this circumstance they owed all the pleas- 
ure they enjoyed. 

None of them had any childhood or knew how to be merry, 
and on one occasion they suffered severe mortification in conse- 
quence of their ignorance. The children of the parish were in- 
vited to the parsonage on a memorable afternoon, and when 
they had come Charlotte and her sisters were in despair. Their 
guests knew nothing but childish sports, and the Bronte chil- 
dren did not know how to play. Very gravely Charlotte asked 
to be taught, and the guests, instead of having a nice visit, de- 
voted the time to missionary work trying to teach the grave 
children of the parsonage the plays of childhood. Time wasted 
evidently, for the young writers were only too glad to be left 
alone again with their busy pens and busier brains. 

Of the mother of Charlotte Bronte there is little to be told, 
but that little is pleasant to record. She was a Yorkshire girl 
of excellent family, who married the handsome Irish curate 
soon after he settled in the village. Her married life was a 
brief one, spent in the care of her children and in fulfilling the 



10 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

duties required of the wife of a minister. She was a sensitive- 
ly organized woman, and was gifted with exceeding refinement 
and beauty of mind and person. From all that can be learned 
of her, it is surmised that she rather feared her excitable, irrita- 
ble, yet brilliant husband, and was not quite so thoroughly un- 
derstood as she deserved to be. Instances are recorded tend- 
ing to show Mr. Bronte's unfortunate disposition to play the 
part of domestic tyrant, and nothing in the way of conduct 
could be more unattractive than this picture of him in that role. 
A relative of his wife had sent her a pretty figured dress over 
which her gentle heart had no doubt rejoiced in happy and 
harmless vanity. Seeing that its brightness gave offence to her 
husband, she carefully put it away in a bureau drawer out of his 
sight, but, as the sequel proved, not out of his remembrance. 
One day when she was lying in her darkened room enduring 
the tortures of a nervous headache, she heard Mr. Bronte's 
footsteps in the room overhead where her treasure had been 
placed and feared the effect upon him at such a time of its gay 
tints. It was as she dreaded it would be, and when next she 
saw her pretty gift it was a wreck. He had taken the scissors 
and cut it into shreds ! In like manner he had on a previous 
occasion burned the fancy colored shoes sent his little daugh- 
ters by their aunt. 

A martial way he had of relieving his anger and quieting his 
ruffled spirits that greatly annoyed his household. He would 
take his pistol into the yard and fire it off repeatedly in the air 
or at the barn-door, the latter being his favorite target. These 
explosive moods were less annoying to his daughters, however, 
than a certain cunning he would manifest on the most trivial 
occasions. Patient endurance was the only way to meet them, 
and he had no opposition from his gentle wife or timid children. 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 11 

Hard work and too much of it exhausted the wife's delicate 
system, and she died when Charlotte was five years old. The 
two sisters older than Charlotte were put to a school kept for 
clergymen's daughters, and later, Charlotte and Emily were 
sent to join them. These two sisters both died from the treat- 
ment they received at this school, and it would have ended the 
lives of the younger girls if they had not been recalled. As it 
was, their health was permanently injured, and Charlotte, to 
the latest day of her life, had cause to remember it. The 
pupils all knew the pangs of unappeased hunger, and a feeling 
of nausea overcame her for years when she recalled the food 
she was compelled to eat there. This school was pictured in 
" Jane Eyre" as Cowan's Bridge, and the character of Helen 
Burns is an exact delineation of the eldest sister. Charlotte's 
wonderful power of reproducing character was admirably typi- 
fied in this instance, and with so much success that all who 
were pupils there at the time at once recognized the sisters, 
and all the neighborhood immediately identified the school. 
Maria Bronte must have been as rare a character as either 
Charlotte or Emily. Her sensibility was extreme, and to a 
morbid conscientiousness she added a high degree of courage, 
and the indomitable spirit noticeable in Charlotte in later years. 
She was the best pnpil in the school, and was a physical wreck 
at the age of eight, years. The shadowy outline given of her 
character reminds us strongly of Charlotte, while Elizabeth, the 
next sister, would seem to have been more of the make-up of 
Anne, docile and affectionate, but not as intellectually strong as 
her older sisters. 

The severity of the strain put upon her in this school killed 
her. Charlotte tells us of the long, cold walks the pupils were 
compelled to take in the snow and rain, hungry and insufh- 



12 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

ciently clad ; of the barren, uncomfortable church in which they 
sat shivering through a long sermon, only to resume their 
weary march at the end of it, and then to go supperless to 
bed, or eat food that was distasteful and wholly inadequate to 
supply their needs. Charlotte never grew an inch in stature 
after leaving this school. She was the smallest of women, and 
attributed all her physical woes to the treatment she had re- 
ceived there. 

She remained at home from this time, taking the responsi- 
bility of caring for the three younger children, and dividing 
her time between her books and their comfort. Her absorbing 
occupation when free to engage in it was writing, and her 
purely imaginative composition at this time was precocious and 
singular, while the amount produced was immense. The old 
nurse, their only companion, sat beside the children as they 
were grouped about the kitchen table in the evening writing, 
or listened to their unlimited stock of fairy stories, which they 
told each other for entertainment when she was cross and would 
not allow them to have the coveted candle to write by. These 
were peaceful, happy times for this closely united band, and they 
lived singularly studious lives for children who were not at 
school or subjected to any of the external incentives that lead 
the young to aspire for success. Doubtless much of the orig- 
inality and freshness of their thoughts may be ascribed, on the 
other hand, however, to their home studies. 

This story ha3 to do with but one of these children, and yet 
it cannot be separated from the others. Until death had taken 
them from her, Charlotte's life was absorbed in theirs, and she 
loved them with all the strong affection of her strong and great 
nature. Her life was largely influenced by that of her more 
masculine sister Emily, who, if she had lived, would have been 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 13 

the greater, though perhaps not the more successful, author of 
the two. Branwell, the golden-haired son of the home, and 
Anne, the youngest of that family, were both full of promise, 
and the eldest sister looked upon herself as the least among 
them all. She was the plainest in personal appearance, yet so 
spiritual and refined in organization was she, that the expression 
of her face was a study to her home companions, and a marvel 
to those who could not know that a great soul was enshrined in 
her little body. Charlotte was now sixteen years of age, and 
she was so small that she called herself stunted, but she was 
well formed, and as a child, exquisitely refined. In her attire 
she was neat and dainty, though her clothing, as befitted her 
father's idea of a minister's daughter, was plain and homely. 

Her head was beautifully shaped and very large, while her 
great brown eyes beamed with animation. Her complexion 
was as variable as her emotions. With a nature so sensitive it 
was affected by every passing feeling, but at no time was it 
ruddy or blooming. Even in her best physical states it gave 
evidence of inadequate vitality. " The usual expression of her 
eyes," said one who knew her well, " was of listening intelli- 
gence. But now and then when exercised by some strong emo- 
tion a light would shine out as if some spiritual lamp had been 
lighted behind those glowing, expressive orbs." Her features 
were plain, but her countenance was remarkable for its power 
and expression. Her hands were small and strong, and indica- 
tive of the extreme sensibility of her organism. Her fingers 
had a fineness of sensation that gave them constant unrest. 
They were never still, and when nervous she would clinch them 
together with a force that often left a bruise for days. Having 
a finely shaped head, she had a broad and handsome brow, and 
in her day it was not considered fashionable to hide it. Char- 



14 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

lotte Bronte as a girl of nineteen had much book knowledge of 
a desultory kind, but her definite acquirements were few. 
She was not very reliable in orthodox matters ; of religion in 
its sunny aspect and beautifying influence she knew little, and 
it was not surprising that she early exhibited antagonistic feel- 
ings toward the Calvinistic views of her father, and hated with 
girlish vim the long-faced curates and travelling preachers who 
occasionally appeared at the parsonage table. 

She was not devoted to mathematics, nor was she well ad- 
vanced in the sciences. She studied nature as an enthusiast, 
but not at this period as a student. She tried to be a botanist, 
but found that she loved flowers too well to dissect them. 

Though something of a musician, she did not rely upon her 
abilities in that direction very far. Her opportunities were not 
great, and her endeavors in this direction received very little 
encouragement from her austere parent. He tolerated it as a 
necessary adjunct to a girl's education and accomplishments. 
But Charlotte loved music, and its influence over her was pow- 
erful. It was a passion with her, and her soul, responsive to 
melody, caught the refrain of every accent of softness or sweet- 
ness, and its influence reached the world in the heart-music she 
sang, which vibrates and reverberates wherever the Anglo-Sax- 
on tongue is known ! 

When the question of earning her bread came to be consid- 
ered by her, and it came early, Charlotte realized that teaching 
young children was her only available accomplishment, and she 
sought and obtained a position as governess. She was but nine- 
teen years old at the time, but a woman in fixedness of purpose 
and appreciation of her worldly condition. Very bravely she 
entered upon and endured the uncongenial task, and resolutely 
attempted a second siege of it, after having been well-nigh 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 15 

prostrated by the first. But it was work which was simply re- 
pugnant to every feeling and emotion of her life, and she gave 
it up in despair. Not to live in idleness, however, or to throw 
upon others the burden of her support. To screen and protect 
her sisters, she went forth to earn money, and she ceased her 
efforts only when illness brought on by wretchedness compelled 
her to return home. 

There is something fascinating in the pictures given of Ha- 
worth parsonage at this time and previous to it. Haworth is 
now connected with the outer world by manufacturing interests 
and by a railroad which has a station there, and the villagers 
have mixed of late years more with society beyond Yorkshire, 
yet it is a sombre place, and its people retain now the dialect 
which Charlotte depicted so successfully in " Shirley." The 
straggling village has but one street, and the old gray stone 
parsonage stands quite at the top of the hill, facing down it, and 
surrounded on all sides but one by the village graveyard. The 
view from the side where there are no graves is the bleakest 
one of all. It looks out upon moors which are as barren as a 
prairie in winter, and colorless as a desert save when the heather 
is in bloom. 

To an American accustomed to great variety of scenery the 
desolate monotony of those North of England moors is well- 
nigh insupportable. There is nothing for the eye to feed upon 
in those great tracts of dun-colored wastes, and in their unvary- 
ing silence and sameness they are most depressing to one unac- 
customed to them. 

Something of the feeling that Washington Irving had when 
visiting the Border Country affects the American when viewing 
Haworth. He, fresh from the superb and matchless views of 
the Hudson River, tried hard to admire the Doon, but he 



16 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

could see nothing on its " banks and braes" to call forth en- 
thusiasm. Even with Walter Scott as a guide, he whose en- 
chantment lingers over all the land he loved so well, Irving 
could find nothing grand in the way of scenery, and turned 
from the Eildon Hills with a disappointment all the more 
keen because of his wish to be charmed. He could not forget 
the Catskiils, and the knowledge he had of finer scenes at 
home left it not possible for him to be aught than he was — 
silent. But what the Alps are to the Swiss, the sea to the 
Hollanders, are the moors to the North Country people. As- 
sociation clothes them with beauty perennial. Their change- 
less monotony grated not at all harshly on the girls of a home 
that was even more cheerless, and they spent some of their 
happiest hours upon them. A walk in the dull and waning 
light of a winter's afternoon enabled those motherless children 
to return to their writing or their planning at evening time with 
new zeal, and while the wind sang its requiem without, or 
the storm pelted the doors and windows of the kitchen in which 
they sat, they thought and wrote the compositions that were 
weird and extraordinary, and in the case of each were charac- 
teristic of their later work. If the storm was severe they cow- 
ered together, not in fear but from acute nervous pain. Their 
sensitive bodies were powerfully affected by the lightning flash 
or the roll of thunder, and they tremblingly talked, if they 
talked at all, at such a time. Their misery was born of their 
weak nerves and too vivid imaginations. For they were all 
rich in imagination, that priceless gift which enables one to 
drink the wine of human existence without the lees, and inhale 
the perpetual breath of summer even after the snows of winter 
have clogged the dull course of life. 

To know Charlotte Bronte, one must know her father. She 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 17 

was the most like him in mental qualities of any of the chil- 
dren, and yet Charlotte was not the most gifted of them. Emily 
Bronte, the Ellis Bell of English fiction, if she had reached her 
meridian of growth would have been phenomenal — at least she 
was so in promise. Her father seems never to have understood 
her, but it must be said in his extenuation that she was a hard 
nature to comprehend, and only Charlotte of all the household 
knew her great intellectual breadth and power. 

The original family name was Prunty, and it was exchanged 
to Bronte to gratify an uncle who paid Mr. Bronte's way 
through Cambridge and started him in life. His selfishness 
was cultivated as an amiable eccentricity at first, and it became 
second nature by constant indulgence and lack of opposition. 
His gentle daughters, as their mother before them, never 
thought of opposing him, and he himself did not know how 
selfish he was, nor realize until they were all dead how cheer- 
less had been the childhood he had given them. Charlotte, 
who knew him so well, and his kind so slightly, imagined 
through her early life that all men were as deeply imbued with 
this attribute as he. She could never wholly divest herself of 
the idea that selfishness was peculiarly a masculine quality. 
Few Americans can understand or thoroughly realize the lonely 
English parsonage of which there are happily not many so 
lonely as that of Ilaworth. There is no such free and cordial 
relationship between the pastor and his rustic flock as writers 
in this country picture and as really exists. 

The causes of this are not far to seek. The English clergy- 
man, however poor his benefice may be, has the twofold 
reason for indifference and self-isolation, that being the officer 
of a department of the State, his people did not give him a 
call and cannot give him a dismissal. He is there for life, as 



18 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

long as he does not break the law, unless he be promoted to a 
better living. Mr. Bronte seems to have had no ambition. 
Such men are not so rare as one might think. Once settled in 
their narrow sphere, however uncomfortable they may feel at 
first, they learn to endure and then to love it. Like the old 
debtor in the Marshalsea whom no persuasion could induce to 
accept liberation, it is doubtful if Mr. Bronte would have ac- 
cepted higher preferment in the Church if it had been offered 
him. Everything in his character and life indicates that he 
was one of the immovables so far as his own and his children's 
interests were concerned. At St. John's College, Cambridge, 
after taking his Bachelor's degree, he never proceeded farther, 
although the poorest curate in England is always anxious to 
take his Master of Arts degree. He had mind, but no ambition 
to direct and utilize it. He wasted his life as he did the gun- 
powder that fired his pistol. His career was useless practice 
with an empty gun. To use Archbishop Whately's words of 
English preaching, " He aimed at nothing and he hit it. ,, 
The effect of this may be traced in the neglected genius of his 
daughters, and still more painfully in the chaotic and purpose- 
less career of his sen. 

Branwell Bronte, this only son of the house, was a lad of 
great promise. He was the handsomest of all the family, and 
was his father's idol. He was the liveliest and wittiest of 
them all, but his training had not been of the kind to make 
him strong to meet the world. He started out in life a bril- 
liant young fellow, but he quickly fell into the snares about 
him, and came home from his first venture as a teacher in a 
private family, contaminated and already entered upon his 
downward course. Mr. Henry J. Raymond, who visited 
Haworth after Charlotte's death, found that Bran well's mem- 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 19 

ory was most lovingly cherished in the village by the people 
who had known him as a boy, and who delighted in his clever- 
ness and admired his beauty. He had mingled most with 
them, and they recalled his memory with more pride than any 
of the others of the family. He took to drink, and the sisters 
were glad to have the society of an aunt who at this time came 
to live with them. This aunt, their mother's sister, never left 
the parsonage again, and to her steadfast kindness they owed 
much gratitude. She was a matter-of-fact person, of elderly 
years, and not, in its best sense, a companion to her gifted nieces. 
The sisters were not allowed to associate with their little 
neighbors, and their acquaintance was a limited one even in that 
small hill- side hamlet. The one friend upon whom they placed 
reliance and loved without limit of affection was Tabby, the 
faithful servant who had nursed their mother through illness and 
been with her at her death. She pitied the little flock left to 
her tender mercies, and if she failed to understand them, she 
jealously watched over and protected them. The sisters helped 
her in all domestic duties, and patiently and obediently heeded 
their father's commands. But at the night-time, after their 
elders had retired, they would then possess themselves of the 
kitchen, bring out their paper and pens and write ; or, if the 
spirit for composition was absent, they would slowly pace the 
room together, talking over their cares and trials, and plan and 
consult about their future. All had ambitions to become some- 
thing above their present condition, and to make of life some- 
thing more than existence. This time was the most congenial 
of all they spent, not even excepting their afternoon walks on 
the moors, often prolonged until dark, their only protector 
being Emily's great dog, and as the years passed it became 
sacred to one of them — the last surviving sister. It was then 



20 CHAKLOTTE BRONTE, 

i 

that they discussed the plots of their novels, read each other 

the chapters when written, and comforted one another with what 

little hope they could command. When "both Emily and Anne 

were dead, Charlotte continued the habit of walking alone, 

sadly resuming her work or weeping in her misery. 

Charlotte, and indeed the others, had written much that was 
tolerably successful even in their own opinion, and for advice 
and counsel Charlotte wrote to Southey. He replied gra- 
ciously, and was evidently interested in the young girl, for he 
invited her to visit him at the " Lakes." But there was no 
money in that home to devote to visiting, and Charlotte and 
Emily had both concluded by this time that their writings 
would not bring it to them. 

Charlotte proposed to Emily the idea of enlarging the par- 
sonage and opening a school there, and Emily, who had tried 
to be a governess with even less success than Charlotte, gladly 
assented to this plan that would enable them to live at home 
and together. The obstacle they had to contend against was 
their lack of accomplishments, and they resolved to conquer 
this drawback. To do it successfully, they went to Brussels to 
study for six months. Charlotte was twenty-six years old then 
-—a time of life when most women feel that their youth is be- 
hind them, and when the generality of people consider that 
their days of study are over. 

At the expiration of the six months the two sisters were of- 
fered positions in the school in which they were, and there they 
would have remained but for the shadow that fell upon the 
home circle in the death of their aunt, the faithful relative who 
had furnished the girls with means to study abroad. They 
returned to Haworth to find the idolized brother a being upon 
whom they could only look with grief and shame. The sight 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 21 

of this brother's dissipation distressed these sisters grievously, 
and the youngest sister, Anne, who had borne the brunt of it 
so far, asked a respite from the pain, and she went out for a 
time to fill a governess' place, leaving Emily at home, while 
Charlotte turned her face again toward Brussels. 

This step in her life was a mistake, as the pages of " Villette" 
show. It has left her fame and honor as a woman as bright as 
sunshine, but it was here that Charlotte Bronte ceased to be a 
girl, and came, through a baptism of pain, to her true status as 
a woman. When she left Brussels to go home her heart was 
behind her, and in a moment of weakness and contrary to her 
best judgment she went back there. It was an unreasonable 
impulse, and for her selfish folly she suffered, as she herself has 
said, a withdrawal, for more than two years, of happiness and 
peace of mind. Her heart had been captured by an acquaint- 
ance in Brussels, and Paul Emanuel, the hero of " Villette," 
was the portraiture of the man she loved. Indeed, in all her 
writings Charlotte Bronte was more of a domestic historian 
than a creator of incidents. Her works are mainly delinea- 
tions of actual experiences ; she was not an inventor of fiction. 
Her fancy filled in the background of her pictures, but her own 
knowledge of people and things supplied the material. The 
incidents narrated in this novel were a literal transcription of 
actual facts. From its pages may be gleaned some of the pain 
she suffered while a teacher in Brussels, but not all. She was 
the one English girl in a house full of French-speaking people. 
She was poor, and could not, if she desired, find pleasure or 
companionship outside of the school. The man she loved was 
an inmate of that school, and taught her French in return for 
lessons in English. She hated herself for the weakness of 
staying there, yet could not bear to go. 



2'Z CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

The mental pain she suffered after her return had well nigh 
driven her insane. She was spending the long vacation alone 
in the deserted school, with only a servant to keep her com- 
pany, and the strain upon her nervous system made her very 
ill. One day, a close, sultry day in June, she rose from her 
bed of fever, and arraying herself went forth in the wet streets 
for a walk. She was in despair — her bright imagination, her 
strong will, both had failed her — and her grief was all the more 
keen because it was of her own making. As she rushed along, 
not caring whither she went, the bells of a church arrested her 
footsteps. She wandered in and knelt down with others on 
the stone pavement. It was an old, solemn church, its pervad- 
ing gloom not gilded but purpled by light shed through stained 
glass. When the others had gone to the confessional and 
returned consoled, she mechanically rose and went forward. 
The English girl had never before been in the confessional, and 
was ignorant of its formulae. She saw before her an elderly 
man, whose benign face was quickly turned toward her when 
she said, half in apology and half in fright, " My father, I am 
Protestant." But she received such kindly counsel, after she 
had explained her lonely position and her great mental and 
physical sufferings, that she never forgot it. He was kind to 
her when she needed kindness, and though she never returned 
as he invited her to, she pays him tribute in her book. 

None of her family ever knew from her what she had 
suffered in her unfortunate attachment for the relative of her 
employer — a cruel, despotic woman who is described accurately 
in " Villette" — but they realized a depth and strength of char- 
acter not before observable. She was a sad woman now, chas- 
tened by a sorrow she never told, but was ready to put the past 
behind her — a past in which there was no memory of wrong- 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 23 

doing, no ghost, save that of pain, to haunt the future. Peo- 
ple are so willing to believe that strong natures arrive at per- 
fection without having known pain, and are acquainted with 
human nature through their intuitions only and not their 
experiences, that it shocks them sometimes to learn their mis- 
take. Charlotte Bronte learned herself, not by the develop- 
ment of her intellect, but through a great tempest of love that 
swept over her life — a tempest which she was enabled by her 
native purity, strong character, and excellent discipline to mas- 
ter. She bridged this bitter experience by active work per- 
formed with merciless disregard for her bodily and mental con- 
dition, and won her peace at last. 

Had she not known the experience, we should not have had 
such books as she wrote, for no woman without actual self- 
knowledge could ever have pictured such a character as Roches- 
ter, or been able to write such a book as " Jane Eyre." The 
public believed the daughter of the village minister to be a 
genius whose imagination and ability supplied the materials for 
her work. But as we have seen, her knowledge of the world 
and of herself was not as limited as was generally believed. 
Before she wrote her famous books she had realized her own 
nature and governed it ; had wrestled with the great emotion 
of love ; tested her strength in its fiery school, and had found 
it sufficient for her needs. Henceforth, she was ready to 
guide the weak and teach many lessons to her kind. 

When Charlotte reached home from Brussels, she showed 
Emily and Anne some of the poetry she had been writing of 
late, and was greatly surprised to learn that they too had tried 
their talents in that direction. They consulted together and 
determined to publish their compositions. Charlotte wrote to 
a London publisher, and an agreement was made by which the 



24 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

book was issued at their expense. It was called " Poems of 
Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell," and, it is needless to add, it 
had no success. Emily's poems are the best, some of them 
possessing a lyrical beauty and a depth of meaning more 
clearly defined later in " Wuthering Heights," her only novel. 
Charlotte's poems show that she had not the true poet's faculty 
of harmonizing thought and metre. She wrote with earnestness 
and feeling, but with evident constraint, her wild, imaginative 
faculty responding awkwardly to the limitations of verse. 

The year 1846 was one of peculiar domestic hardships and 
unusual mental activity to Charlotte Bronte. She had a 
troubled heart to cure, and an increased necessity for work that 
would pay her. Her brother had by this time become a help- 
less burden, making life a continued torture to those at home, 
and, to crown all her trials, the father was threatened with 
blindness. With this crushing misfortune upon them the 
younger sisters well nigh gave up, but Charlotte, reasonable 
woman that she was, met the calamity with resolute energy 
and proposed a visit to a noted oculist. 

It was in this year of 1846 that she accompanied the almost 
sightless father to Manchester to have an operation performed 
upon his eyes, and while in a strange city and under such dis- 
cordant circumstances she made another attempt at book-mak- 
ing. Previous to this time she had written " The Professor," 
a story which no publisher would accept, and which had been 
returned to her, while both her sisters' efforts at story-writing 
had been rewarded with success. With the soiled manuscript 
of this first attempt now before her, with the thought of the 
dissipated brother whose dark shadow rested over it, in the 
presence of her fault-finding father, and dwelling constantly 
upon her absent sisters whom she loved so truly, she began 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 25 

"Jane Eyre.'* It was at such a time that her great talent, 
which she could never wholly ignore and which she had sup- 
pressed at duty's demand repeatedly, burst forth, asserted its 
sway and made her more contented and happy, for her imagi- 
native faculty was, under all circumstances, a source of 
comfort. 

Now, as in all times of trial, she must work or die, and her 
friendly pen was her solace, her salvation, her one consolation 
through all the vicissitudes of life. Very little more than this 
is known of the conception and composition of her greatest 
work ; but it is enough to stamp her heroic spirit with immor- 
tality, and send her familiar name echoing down the silent 
corridors of time. 

It was the necessity for mind occupation that impelled her 
to write, not a desire for fame. She had already lain down 
the bloom of her life and the best opportunities for self- 
improvement under the Juggernaut of duty, thereby crushing 
and impoverishing her own nature that she might fulfil her part 
as a daughter and sister. Like all people who do great work, 
she had no thirst for greatness. She wrought out her ideas in 
order to satisfy the imprisoned angel that lived within her, and 
to use that magnificent phosphoric element in her brain which 
consumed her vital forces. She published her book under her 
masculine nom de plume, il Currer Bell," and told no one but 
her sisters of its existence. When it was published, and before 
it had raised the storm of applause that followed its public 
reception, she took a copy of it in one hand and an adverse 
review of it in the other to her father, and quietly told him of 
her task and the result. Then, for the first time, he realized 
what the postman's call meant when some time before he had 
stopped at the door with a letter for Currer Bell, and was met 



26 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

with the reply from himself that there was no such person in 
the village. 

Then came the abuse which the critics who could not appre- 
ciate her book heaped upon it. She was assailed as the expo- 
nent of views not compatible with womanly purity, and her 
great soul was inexpressibly pained. She realized that she was 
not quite understood, and so she kept steadily and. silently on 
her course with the same unconscious energy that draws the 
tide up and down the yellow sands, or causes the subtle mag- 
netic currents to keep the needle forever journeying and striv- 
ing toward the poles. 

To her family she remained faithful as a slave ; to herself, 
merciless and pitiless. In her obscure home she stayed un- 
interruptedly and held herself constant to the maxims of her 
life — which were expressed in her industry and great conscien- 
tiousness. 

After her name had become a household word, even here in 
America, she withstood every temptation which extraordinary 
literary success throws in the way of women, and only exhib- 
ited herself to her London publishers on one occasion, some 
time after the book had been published, to correct the widely 
circulated charge that she had satirized Thackeray under the 
character of Rochester, and had even obtruded on the sorrows 
of his private life. 

Nothing that came of the fame that " Jane Eyre" achieved 
caused the commotion in that village parsonage that this scan- 
dal did. She and Anne started for London the evening of the 
same day they heard it, and next morning, after partaking of 
breakfast at the depot, they went to the publisher's office. 
Charlotte had some difficulty in seeing the gentleman she had 
corresponded with, and when he reluctantly left his private 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 27 

office to speak with her, he opened the conversation with an 
impatient " Well, young woman, what do you want of 
me?" 

One can imagine the quiet confidence with which she replied 
that she wished to see him privately ; that she wrote "Jane 
Eyre." He was greatly amazed, and quickly led the way to his 
office, where he plied her with questions, complimented her book, 
and persuaded the sisters to become his mother's guests. This 
they did, and Charlotte afterward spoke of the strong contrasts 
of that day in London. In the morning utter strangers, that 
night guests of people delighted to show them attentions, and 
in the midst of a distinguished audience listening to Jenny 
Lind sing. 

Immediately the report that had done her such injustice was 
corrected, and when she next visited London she was intro- 
duced to Thackeray, and was invited by him to attend one of 
his readings. He, proud of her presence, singled her out for 
special attention, and it soon became known to the audience 
that the author of " Jane Eyre" was in the hall. She blushed 
and fidgeted under the notice she received, and went back to 
her publisher's house writhing under the pangs. She was not 
at all fitted for notoriety, and never did realize that she was a 
brilliant and successful author. She wrote for pure love of 
writing, and planned her work on the best model she knew. 
Few women, comparatively speaking, were engaged in the 
pursuit then, and book-making for money was not common. 
Charlotte Bronte was fortunate in some respects, in one par- 
ticularly — she died before trashy novels became the fashion. 

The quiet home-life at the parsonage was continued after the 
publication of " Jane Eyre," and Charlotte and her sisters had 
their hands full in watching over their ruined brother, and 



28 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

cheering as best they could their disappointed and unhappy 
father. 

There never was a character more susceptible to and more 
influenced by personal environment than that of Charlotte 
Bronte. If her lot had fallen in a fair ground and pleasant 
places, with genial company of other children, and the guiding 
influence of those great minds that learned too late to love her, 
she would have shown, to her own and the world's advantage, 
less of the wild flower grown in the wilderness than she did. 
She could not then have deemed Rochester's imperiousness 
heroic or even manly ; she would have seen humanity in its 
truest phases less in the lightning and the storm, and more in 
the still small voice that sings in every true heart. The 
wonder is that the heart of Jane Eyre is so unscarred by hard- 
ship and neglect, by misunderstanding and the fatality of 
suffering from no self-inflicted wound as it is. As she teaches 
her pupil, her own childhood seems to be renewed by the gra- 
cious and invisible touch of a divine Healer's hand. A smile 
of happier thought breaks over the patient brow ; the iron that 
has entered into her soul no longer pains her ; years of heart- 
ache and distress vanish like the early mist ; she becomes as 
the lily no longer persecuted by the thorns, and feels once 

more 

" A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks." 

Such is the resuscitative vital power of noble natures only. 

But was Rochester worthy of a nature like this ? Who does 
not grudge as well as envy him his " little Jane" ? In our 
time — for the world's ideal of men and women has moved 
apace since then — a man who could browbeat a defenceless 
woman, and still more his own dependent, as he did, would be 
called a brute instead of a hero. His own sufferings were no 



CHARLOTTE BBONTE. 29 

excuse, for she had not caused them. Indeed, there is a touch 
of mock disease and egotism in his craving for Jane's sympathy 
and playing upon it with his rough, coarse hands, because he 
knew the tender music that was stored beneath that quiet 
manner. 

The relation of the sexes to each other before marriage (which 
has, in the language of orthodoxy, made of the man and the 
woman " no more twain but one flesh") is the most complex of 
social problems. We think that Charlotte Bronte managed Jane 
Eyre and Rochester far better than George Eliot manages 
Dorothea and Ladislaw. But when people talk about moral as 
apart from legal dissolution of marriage, of a wife or husband 
being morally though not technically free from the marriage 
bond, they talk nonsense, because domestic union with another 
is not a necessity, and it is a selfish love and ignoble passion 
and not a true affection which would ask a woman to forfeit 
her social status in the world. 

"JaUe Eyre" was nearly all transcribed on paper in that 
kitchen, and at night. It was a surprise to her that what had 
been written under such quiet influences should have created so 
much comment. Dickens, then in the zenith of his great pop- 
ularity, Thackeray, and Miss Martineau were among the many 
writers who quickly recognized the genius of the unknown 
author, and George Eliot, then a maiden of four and twenty, 
and already entertaining radical views on many subjects, ex- 
pressed admiration for the book, but took issue with the writer 
respecting Rochester's right to contract a fresh marriage situated 
as he was. She considered that he was justified in so doing, 
while the Quarterly Review denounced the morals of the work, 
and decided that its author was an improper woman who " for 
some sufficient reason had forfeited the society of her sex." 



30 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

It is not a little remarkable that this first work was the most 
popular of all she produced, and singular also that in it she 
does not touch upon the experiences of her own life, which are 
the characteristic features of " The Professor" and " Villette," 
and are touched upon in " Shirley." 

This second one of her novels was commenced and brought 
out in the midst of fearful domestic anguish. Branwell's career 
was drawing to a close, and the circumstances of his death 
greatly distressed his sensitive and long- suffering sisters. His 
final taking off was without much warning, but when he real- 
ized that the end was approaching he resolved to die as no one 
else had, and, rising to his feet and steadying himself against 
the wall, he expired standing. In this act he exhibited the 
eccentricity of the family, and a strength of will sadly want- 
ing in his life. 

The despair of the father was drowned in drink, and for 
months he was a care and anxiety to those about him. The 
girls faced this sorrow as they had all others, and Charlotte, 
the strongest of all, by reason of her past experience, rose to 
the demands of each new situation with an outward calm born 
of the fierce lessons she had learned. Neither Charlotte nor 
Emily suffered over Branwell's fate as did Anne. She could 
not rally from the effect his sinful course had made upon her. 
The eldest sister was deeply grieved over the blighted life of 
the only son and brother of the family, but she could not view 
his evil ways without condemnation, and she had no patience 
with the weakness he exhibited. 

In " The Professor," written some time before Branwell's 
death, she depicts his character in these words, used in de- 
scribing one of its personages : 

" Limited as has yet been my experience of life, I had onco 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 31 

had the opportunity of contemplating near at hand an example 
of the results produced by a course of domestic treachery. No 
golden halo of fiction was about this example. I saw it bare 
and real, and it was very loathsome. I saw a mind degraded 
by the practice of mean subterfuge, by the habit of perfidious 
deception, and a body depraved by the infectious influence of 
the vice-polluted soul. I had suffered much from the forced 
and prolonged view of this spectacle ; those sufferings I do not 
now regret, for their simple recollection acted as a most whole- 
some antidote to temptation. They had inscribed on my 
reason the conviction that unlawful pleasure, trenching on 
another's rights, is delusive and envenomed pleasure — its 
hollowuess disappoints at the time, its poison cruelly tortures 
afterward, its effects deprave forever." 

Writing to one of her friends after his death, she says : 
" Many, under the circumstances, would think our loss 
rather a relief than otherwise ; in truth, we must acknowledge, 
in all humility and gratitude, that God has greatly tempered 
judgment with mercy ; but yet, as you doubtless know from 
experience, the last earthly separation cannot take place be- 
tween near relatives without the keenest pangs on the part of 
the survivors. Every wrong and sin is forgotten then ; pity and 
grief share the heart and memory between them. Yet we are 
not without comfort in our affliction. A most propitious change 
marked the few last days of poor Branwell's life ; his de- 
meanor, his language, his sentiments, were all singularly altered 
and softened, and this change could not be owing to the fear 
of death, for within half an hour of his decease he seemed un- 
conscious of danger." 

Those who had sat in judgment upon her recent work and 
deemed it immoral in tone should have seen her at this time. 



32 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

Her sister, the strong-hearted and greatly endowed Emily, 
went into a rapid decline, and died in less than two months 
after her brother's death. The youngest sister, prostrated by 
this blow and already sickening from over-anxiety and grief, 
became an invalid, and Charlotte buried her six months later. 
Three deaths in the household in less than a year ! all Char- 
lotte's loves gone ; only her father, who was no stay or com- 
fort to her, left. 

Anne, the youngest sister, had died away from home. 
Charlotte and a friend had accompanied her to the seaside, and 
while there she sank rapidly, as the others had, of consump- 
tion. It was against Charlotte's better judgment to take her 
from home, for she realized that the gentle life was well nigh 
spent when they started, but Anne was hopeful, and the father 
was eager for anything that promised benefit to his child. 
When the end came, Charlotte could do no more than turn her 
face, alone, toward Haworth. Her father met her at the gate 
on her return and tried hard to be cheerful, as he welcomed 
his only child back to share his loneliness ; but the desolation 
was all-pervading, and the anguish of the two as they passed 
together into the old house was uncontrollable. 

When Charlotte Bronte was thirty-five years old she began 
to write her last work, " Villette. " It was her best beloved 
brain-child, far dearer to her than her powerful " Shirley," or 
her more popular "Jane Eyre." Every sentence of "Vil- 
lette" was written, literally, through her tears. The task was 
a cruel if a passionately absorbing one. She was picturing the 
darkest chapter of her own life, and suffering the loneliness of 
death in a house where the visits of the great destroyer had 
been so persistent. Only her active interest m the welfare of 
those about her, the lonely father and aged servant, kept her 



CHARLOTTE BROXTE. 33 

mind healthful or her heart at peace. In a letter to a friend 
she says : 

" It is useless to tell you how I live. I endure life, but 
whether I enjoy it or not is another question. However, I get 
on. The weather, I think, has not been very good lately, or 
else the beneficial effect;: of change of air and scene are evapo- 
rating. In spite of regular exercise, the old headaches and 
starting, wakeful nights are coming upon me again. But I do 
get on, and have neither wish nor right to complain.'' 

In " Villette" she gave vent to feelings that time had 
softened and which the sorrows she had passed through made 
insignificant compared to what they had been. "Madame 
Beck," however, she seems never to have forgiven, for she 
outlines her portrait in " The Professor," and touches upon it 
in " Shirley," where she quite irrelevantly introduces the 
following reference to her : 

" I remember once seeing a pair of blue eyes, that were 
usually thought sleepy, secretly on the alert, and I knew by their 
expression — an expression which chilled my blood, it was in that 
quarter so wondrously unexpected — that for years they had been 
accustomed to silent soul-reading. The world called the owner 
of those blue eyes ' bonne petite femme ' (she was not an English- 
woman). I learned her nature afterward — got it off by heart — 
studied it in its farthest, most hidden recesses — she was the 
finest, deepest, subtlest schemer in Europe." 

" Lucy Snowe" was not a match for this " subtlest schemer," 
and her soul loathed the unprincipled methods of the Belgian 
who had it in her power to hurt her so deeply. The passion 
of love was never more finely depicted than in her novels, 
and the best of her men are lovers. " Villette" was written 
after the master passion of her life had begun to die and she 



34 CHARLOTTE URONTE. 

was able to examine its corpse with the dissecting-knife of the 
physician. Therefore she makes Lucy Snovve cool, reserved, 
courageous, and strong. What Jane Eyre had been Lucy 
Snowe had then become, and her finest writing is to be 
found in this her ablest work. Her descriptions of nature 
are stirring and thrilling. Mr. Swinburne, however, quotes one 
phrase from " Shirley," which he pronounces exalted and 
perfect poetry, and her finest effort in this direction. It is 
this : " The moon reigns glorious, glad of the gale ; as glad 
as if she gave herself to its fierce caress with love." This, 
he adds, " is painting wind like David Cox, and light like 
Turner. To find anything like it in verse we must go to the 
highest springs of all ; to Pindar or to Shelley or to Hugo." 

Throughout all its pages she does as good descriptive writing 
as this, which seems to have delighted the soul of this poet ; 
and in character painting she has established her claim to genius 
in the wonderful man — Paul Emanuel. What writer of less 
power could have made this eccentric little professor, with his 
faults and infirmities, his sudden gusts of temper and childish 
weaknesses, so altogether lovable ? 

But the world preferred Rochester to Paul, just as it largely 
prefers Jane Eyre to Lucy Snowe. The coarse, imperious 
ways of Rochester pleased the English reading public of her I 
day, and led even Miss Martineau to say of the creator of the 
character, " that in her vocation she had, in addition to the 
deep intuitions of a gifted woman, the strength of a man, the 
patience of a hero, and the conscientiousness of a saint." 

As a piece of literary work " Jane Eyre" lacked, as the 
critics have told us, in artistic merit, and yet it was and is a 
passionately absorbing novel. In the power to make her read- 
ers feel as she herself must have felt in writing it, she is to-day 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 35 

one of the few great writers of fiction. So great was the fervor 
and force of her spiritual insight that she swayed her readers 
as the fierce wind does the tall pines and the low shrubs alike, 
and she reached to the core of the human heart because she 
wrote from the innermost convictions of her earnest soul. 

Poor little Charlotte Bronte, knowing neither the mother- 
love nor the child-love, and having been compelled to stifle the 
one absorbing affection of her life, gave to her heroine the un- 
attractiveness she believed she must possess. Even the portrait 
of " Emma," the fragment left unfinished when she went to 
her room one day " to lie down awhile," and never left it again, 
is the same plain, austere, and pathetic picture of childhood. 
Had she lived to have finished it under the newly awakened 
mother feelings in her own heart, we would have had a brighter 
fulfilment of life's promises, perhaps, and known her heroine 
in the central position she never reached with them. The 
womanhood of all her heroines, Jane Eyre, Shirley, and Lucy 
Snowe, we admire, but we can hardly contemplate them as 
mothers. She had not painted in all her character painting a 
proud and fond mother, happy in her home and in her chil- 
dren. 

As has been said, Charlotte's novels were mainly delineations 
of actual experiences. The rich imaginative endowment she 
possessed enabled her to clothe the commonest incidents of life 
with interest and beauty. Her life would have been intoler- 
able in its monotony to a woman of less imaginative brilliancy. 
To her readers who do not realize this fact it is a mystery how 
she dwelt amid scenes so at variance outwardly with all she has 
written. That quality of her mind enabled her to live two 
lives, be two individuals. Those who have been in the old 
stone-floored parsonage kitchen where she did the greater part 



36 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

of her literary work, and have been oppressed with the deso- 
lateness of the view that lies without, have not stopped to think 
with what eyes she looked upon it, or how much the silence 
and peace tbat characterized it helped her in her absorbing 
tasks. 

Emily Bronte had exercised an influence over the heart of 
her sister that no other of her family seemed to possess. 
Charlotte had rightly appreciated her individuality and great 
talents. She knew how heroic Emily was, and she pictured 
her faithfully in "Shirley." She had seen Emily do such 
things as only large and strong natures are capable of perform- 
ing. Had known her to take a hot iron and burn her arm 
where a dog had buried his teeth when mad, and withhold the 
fact from the household until the danger was well nigh over. 
Emily was less disciplined than Charlotte, and was less inclined 
to conform her way of life to that of others. She lived a sep- 
arate existence apart from all her kind, and wrote a book which 
to-day is one of the curiosities of English fiction. It stands 
alone, not so much for its lifelike portraitures of men and 
women, as for the revelations it gives of the great genius of a 
young girl who had known nothing of the world. It seemed a 
cruel fate that took her out of life before she had tested her 
own powers or given to literature a fitting successor to 
" Wuthering Heights." 

Charlotte Bronte was a pioneer in the woman movement so 
far as it related to literature, and was a blue-stocking when a 
blue-stocking in England was looked upon very much as a 
woman suffragist was here years ago. The majority of her sex 
when they learned her identity charged her with having un- 
sexed herself, and condemned as impure a morality that was a 
quality apart from expediency and subterfuge. It may have 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 37 

been justice, as justice was conceived for woman in that day, 
but when we think of all the opposition and abuse heaped upon 
Charlotte Bronte's " Jane Eyre," the matchless love-story of 
the age, and know how little she realized out of all that was 
made by it, a spirit of indignation is stirred. And, think of 
it, that woman whose earnest efforts to earn money which was 
sorely needed in her home ; who had to recognize and tacitly 
apologize, in her assumption of a masculine title, to the narrow- 
ness of public opinion, was continually assailed for what she 
had elevated English fiction in performing. 

And, further, this woman who toiled in poverty, who studied 
her books as she kneaded bread, and who achieved celebrity as 
a writer with the first story she published, could not demand a 
penny from America for all the happiness and entertainment 
she gave and is still giving us ; was not paid a stipend of all 
we owe her. The lack of an international copyright law de- 
prived her of much of her dues while she lived, and her friends 
after she died. Now each time that a book of hers is sold in 
America, we are just as guilty of taking that which does not 
belong to us as was Rob Roy McGregor, who found it more 
convenient to supply himself with beef by stealing it alive from 
the adjacent glens than by buying it killed in the butcher's 
market. 

To Charlotte Bronte women owe a debt of gratitude that 
cannot be paid in admiration of her achievements ; it must be 
expressed in steady endeavor to establish the principles she so 
admirably, because so womanly and gently, advocated in her 
books. She chose the field of fiction in which to work, and 
through it she taught her sister- women the way to convert 
mental poverty into riches, obstacles into opportunities, and 
their duty to demand for themselves the divine rights of 



38 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

womanhood. She was one of the first writers of her day to 
realize what Matthew Arnold speaks of as the want of corre- 
spondenee between the forms of modern England and its spirit. 
She saw this want of correspondence conspicuously displayed 
in the real and the pretended recognition of her sex in all 
fields. The popular idea that there is sex in mind she worked 
valiantly to correct, and she longed to hail that season when 
bright minds should be classed no longer as men. and women, 
but be seen only in the neutral light of authorship. 

Miss Martineau found something inexpressibly affecting in 
the aspect of the frail little creature, who had done such won- 
derful things, and who was able to bear up with so bright an 
eye and so composed a countenance, under not only such a 
weight of sorrow, but such a prospect of solitude. And we 
have a melancholy pleasure in contemplating her energy and 
her will-power, and love to meditate upon the singular life of 
this little Yorkshire girl whose vicissitudes only nerved her to 
greater effort. And yet it is always with a feeling of rebellion 
that we note the never-ending sacrifices wherein she gave up 
health and achievement, and realize what she could have been 
with greater culture and length of days ; might have been if 
taken out from her constant teachings and toilings and given a 
measure of the happiness she could have enjoyed. 

One of the least known incidents in the life of Charlotte 
Bronte is that of her marriage. Among the few of her 
father's acquaintances whom she knew well was Mr. Nicholls, 
his curate, who had been living in Haworth for some years 
when he asked her to be his wife. For herself, Charlotte pre- 
ferred her spinster state, but she realized that her father's 
active life was drawing to its close, and believed that this kindly 
gentleman would be a stay and a prop to him as he grew old and 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 30 

infirm. With these feelings, and perhaps with no emotion 
stronger than friendly interest, she told her father of the honor 
that had been paid her and asked his advice. To her astonish- 
ment he grew violently angry ; denounced his assistant as pre- 
sumptuous, and was so unreasonable that Charlotte made haste 
to assure him of her willingness to decline the offer. " The 
veins on his forehead stood out like whip-cords," Charlotte 
tells a friend in a letter, and " his eyes glared with rage." 
She really feared for his reason, and quickly and sorrowfully 
acquainted Mr. Nicholls with her father's decision. 

There is something quaint and pathetic in the filial obedience 
of this great woman, who, at a time of life when most women 
have forgotten their child-reverence for parents, is yielding the 
privileges she has earned and the rights that belong to her age 
and position to her irritable, unreasonable parent. Mr. Nich- 
olls departed from Haworth, and Charlotte and her father lived 
on alone in the silent old house. The death of Emily's faith- 
ful old dog is recorded by Charlotte as one of the few inci- 
dents that occurred of note during this lonely time. She 
wrote and kept house and watched over her father, and had 
fully made up her mind that things were not to be different 
while she lived, when one day, quite unexpectedly to her, Mr. 
Bronte proposed to recall Mr. Nicholls and asked his daughter 
to write him. He insisted, and seemed in such haste that he 
could not wait patiently until, in response to Charlotte's invita- 
tion, Mr. Nicholls returned. He had noted the failing health 
of his last child, and believing that she was grieving over his 
obduracy in this matter, relented. His daughter sent for the 
two friends she loved most ardently from her school days to 
her death, her friend " Ellen"'* and Miss Wooller, her 
* Miss Ellen Nussey. 



40 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

teacher, and very quietly one bright June morning in 1854 she 
became Charlotte Nicholls. The new husband carried his wife 
to visit his relatives in Ireland, and then they returned to the 
lonely father to cheer his life with their presence. She entered 
into her husband's interests and occupations as much as she 
could, but she was clearly unfitted for an active, matter-of-fact 
existence. He wanted her to be an assistant to him, and cared 
nothing for her celebrity as an author. He rather opposed 
allusion to it, seeming to feel that her authorship belonged to 
her single life and had no part in her present existence. She 
could not separate herself from her pen-work, and one night 
when the two sat alone, listening to the winds sighing over the 
moors, she thought it a fitting time to tell him that she was 
writing another story. " If you were not with me I should be 
writing now," she said, and then she went to her desk and 
brought from it the freshly written manuscript. He heard her 
read it, remarked upon its opening pages as recalling "Jane 
Eyre," and listened to her plans regarding it. It was laid 
away that night and never touched by her again. Her two old 
friends were asked to come and see her, and one of them has- 
tened to her side. She saw, what husband and father were 
slow to believe, that she was dying. The new year came and 
found her far on her last journey. She died very quietly early 
one Saturday morning in March, 1855, in the eighth month 
after her marriage and the ninth year of her authorship. 

The anxious villagers heard the solemn notes of the passing 
bell, and breathlessly counted the strokes as it rang out its dis- 
sonance on the chilly air. Thirty-nine times it struck. " 'Tis 
she," they said, and their hearts ached for the two left alone 
in the empty old house. For six years after Charlotte's death 
Mr. Bronte lived, ministered to and tended by her husband, 



CHARLOTTE BROXTE. 41 

and then he died. Mr. Nicholls, alone now, returned to Ire- 
land, and the parsonage passed into the hands of others. 

All that is left of the Brontes in Haworth are the graves in 
the now modernized church and their memory, kept green by the 
thousands who have nocked there to learn all the particulars of 
the life of the woman who had made her name a familiar one 
to the reading world. Some years after the death of Mr. 
Bronte Grace Greenwood visited Haworth, and gives this pic- 
ture of the old church : 

" The old church was only a few steps farther on. "We 
went first to the little cottage of the sexton, opposite — oddly 
enough, the only cheerful-looking house in the village, and not 
finding that functionary at home, easily prevailed on his wife 
to open the church for us. Never shall I forget my feelings on 
entering ! First a chill from the sunless dampness of the build- 
ing, then a sense of terrible oppression. I have been into many 
old churches, but never one which seemed so frightfully close 
and unwholesome. It was musty, and had about it a strange 
odor of mortal decay, as though exhalations were coming up 
through the very stones, from the charnel-house beneath. I 
only wondered that the delicate Bronte sisters lived so long as 
they did, having to sit through perhaps three long services 
every Sunday in that dreadful place. The family are all buried 
in the chancel, one above another — old Mr. Bronte, who died 
in 1861, last. This, is seems, was according to his wish — for 
the sexton's wife, who, by the way, was one of Charlotte 
Bronte's Sabbath-school scholars, told us that the strange old 
man had always expressed a desire to live to see them all bur- 
ied. The stone which covers them is hidden by a wooden plat- 
form, and over that a carpet ; but on the wall above is a plain 
tablet, on which are inscribed the eight names — father, 



42 CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 

mother, sisters, and brother. Here Charlotte Bronte was mar- 
ried. I wonder that she could have borne to kneel during the 
ceremony above her dead sisters. The old pew used by the 
family has been removed — why I don't know. The church 
also has been somewhat altered since Mr. Bronte's death, the 
organ-loft has been changed, the tower heightened, and a clock 
added, though the old sun-dial is still on the south side. In 
the vestry, where we wrote our names, and could find no 
record of other American pilgrims in the visitors' book, the 
sexton's wife showed us the register of the marriage of Arthur 
Bell Nicholls and Charlotte Bronte — her name written in a 
rather trembling hand." 

The destruction of this old church, which took place in 1881, 
should have been prohibited by public sentiment. The vil- 
lagers, both old and young, were in favor of its retention, and 
the feeling among the dissenters of every denomination in the 
place was opposed to its destruction. The Bronte sisters had 
glorified it with their fame, and made it a shrine to which 
strangers from all parts of the English-speaking world made 
pilgrimages. The edifice was therefore sacred to the associa- 
tions connected with the name of Bronte, and it should have 
remained a monument to them as it was the burial-place of all 
save one of the family. It was an old and venerable pile, 
standing on the site of a chapel which had been erected in 
1317, and containing within its walls a tablet to the memory 
of one of its many rectors, " W. Grimshawe, A.B., minister, 
1742." 

The church was erected in 1755, and at the time of its 
demolition had been altered but little, and was sufficient- 
ly quaint and picturesque to have been retained as a relic. 
A London paper, commenting upon its destruction, said : 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 43 

"The Emperor Valens — we think it was Valens — imported 
into England a considerable number of Vandals, according to 
Gibbon, and the seed of them, as Lord Byron once remarked, 
has not yet perished out of the land." 

But Charlotte Bronte's fame and her glory belong to no land 
or country, while her memory is cherished by the cultivated of 
every clime. The remembrance of her life is an inspiration to 
all who, like her, have pressed their bleeding feet upon the hard 
rocks of life and left their impress upon them. 

She met the ills of life with a determined and vigorous com- 
posure, and a stern and trained self-reliance, and strove, like a 
spiritual athlete, for the place and position awarded those who 
overcome self-indulged indolence and sluggish dulness. She 
saw the prize of her high calling, and recognizing only its dis- 
tance, trod down petty cares and fancied wrongs, and grasped 
at last the diadem. 

The story is soon told. The poor have no lineage, and the 
simple annals of her well-spent life comprise the nobility that 
belongs to her name. 

Nursed in solitude and under the dreary shadow of her 
father's cheerless presence, she achieved — through many trials 
and self-abnegations — success, and came at last by strange de- 
velopments from humble obscurity to a noble fame. Those 
who once enjoyed the priceless privilege of looking into her 
pure, frank face could never doubt the faith that sustained her. 
Her religion was as broad as her conception of life was earnest 
and true. Her instincts taught her, and her genius led her to 
heights which revealed the grandeur of her own endowments. 

In studying this strange life we cannot help wondering at the 
surprising courage exhibited in it, or of the gray shadows of 
solitude that rested over it. Only those 



44 CHARLOTTE BROtfTE^ 

" who have knowledge- 
How dreary 'tis for women to sit still 
On winter nights by solitary fires, 
And hear the nations praising them far off," 

could understand lier life or appreciate the perpetual loneliness 
of her whose name had reached even the camp-fires on our 
Western wilds, and been echoed over the snow-clad mountain 
peaks of the distant Ural chain ! 

Certitude was her passion, and she stood in the middle of 
the nineteenth century, this century, which belongs to woman 
as truly as the fifteenth did to the Renaissance, the sixteenth 
the Reformation, or the eighteenth the Revolution — and was a 
unique figure in it. 

Of all the women of England of the present century, the two 
who may be ranked as her worthiest successors as writers are 
Mrs. Browning and George Eliot. The life-histories of both 
these women are of equal interest with their authorship. No 
one thinks of Mrs. Browning without recalling her invalidism, 
her happy wifehood and motherhood. None now think of 
George Eliot without a feeling of pride in her as the largest en- 
dowed woman of this age, and one of the most exalted in her 
domestic life and affectional nature. 

All three of these women exemplify in their perfected lives 
the power of personal character over literary attainments ; the 
unconquerable strength of genius when allied to great virtues 
and high convictions. They each and all drew out of sorrow 
first and then out of love the fulness and richness of their lives, 
and wrote from their hearts as well as their minds ; for in great 
souls like theirs there is perfect union of pursuit and private 
opinion. 

Charlotte Bronte had more natural talent and far more spirit- 



CHARLOTTE BRONTE. 45 

ual fervor and insight than either Mrs. Browning or George 
Eliot ; she had far less culture than either, and a more limited 
acquaintance with the world. But she was the completest 
woman of her era, the worthy predecessor in authorship of these 
two great women. 

Neither of them has given to the world more than did Char- 
lotte Bronte. She gave her sister women the inheritance of 
her life — womanly excellence, intellectual greatness, noble char- 
acteristics, and a stainless history. 



Nearly three decades of time have glided into the unreturn- 
ing past since the mural which bears her name was placed in 
Haworth church. There now rests all that is earthly of that 
wondrous woman whose name touches a tender chord in the 
hearts of millions. All over the world her name is venerated. 
England claims her dust, but we in America think of her as 
our countrywoman, and find no phrase strong enough to express 
all we feel toward that gentle, child- like soul ; that face of 
strangely mixed sadness and mirth, touching in its weariness, 
sublime in its patient, trustful expression — whose eyes were ever 
looking yearningly into the future to find the promises of the 
past realized, whose lips were tightly though sweetly closed on 
all the revealings of her bruised heart. Long-suffering, yet truly 
brave and self-contained to the end, enduring in time to be glad 
in eternity. 

Inasmuch as she used every atom of available power, her life 
was truly heroic, and when all the battles of intellect are re- 
corded, inscribed high upon the scroll of fame will appear the 
imperishable name of Charlotte Bronte. 



THACKERAY'S TRIBUTE. 



From Thackeray *s introduction to the fragment of a story enti- 
tled "Emma" left by Charlotte Bronte, and published after 
her death : 

u I remember the trembling little frame, the little hand, the 
great honest eyes. An impetuous honesty seemed to me to 
characterize the woman. 

" She gave me the impression of being a very pure and 
lofty and high-minded person. A great and holy reverence 
of right and truth seemed to be with her always. Such, in our 
brief interview, she appeared to me. As one thinks of that 
life so noble, so lovely — of that passion for truth — of those 
nights and nights of eager study, swarming fancies, invention, 
depression, elation, prayer ; as one reads the necessarily in- 
complete, though most touching and admirable history of the 
heart that throbbed in this one little frame — of this one among 
the myriads of souls that have lived and died on this great 
earth — this great earth ? this little speck in the infinite universe 
of God — with what wonder do we think of to-day, with what 
awe await to-morrow, when that which is now but darkly seen 
shall be clear ! As I read this little fragmentary sketch, I 
think of the rest. Is it ? and where is it ? Will not the leaf 
be turned some day, and the story be told ? Shall the deviser 



48 thackeray's tribute. 

of the tale somewhere perfect the history of little Emma's 
griefs and troubles ? Shall Titania come forth complete with 
her sportive court, with the flowers at her feet, the forest 
around her, and all the stars of summer glittering overhead ? 
How well I remember the delight, and wonder, and pleasure 
with which I read ' Jane Eyre, ' sent to me by an author whose 
name and sex were then alike unknown to me ; the strange 
fascinations of the book ; and how my own work pressing upon 
me, I could not, having taken the volumes up, lay them down 
until they were read through !" 



LETTERS AND EXTRACTS OF LETTERS. 



Selected with the View of Giving a Better Understand- 
ing of Charlotte Bronte's Character as a Woman and 
as a Friend. 

" Haworth, January 1, 1833. 
" Dear E. : I believe we agreed to correspond once a month. 
That space of time has now elapsed since I received your last 
interesting letter, and I now therefore hasten to reply. Accept 
my congratulations on the arrival of the New Year, every suc- 
ceeding day of which will, I trust, find you wiser and better in 
the true sense of those much used words. The first day of 
January always presents to my mind a train of very solemn and 
important reflections, and a question more easily asked than 
answered frequently occurs, viz. : How have I improved the 
past year, and with what good intentions do I view the dawn 
of its successor ? These, my dearest E., are weighty consid- 
erations, which (young as we are) neither you nor I can too 
deeply or too seriously ponder. I am sorry your too great 
diffidence, arising, I think, from the want of sufficient confi- 
dence in your capabilities, prevented you from writing me in 
French, as I think the attempt would have materially contrib- 
uted to your improvement in that language. You very kindly 
caution me against being tempted by the fondness of my sister 



50 LETTERS. 

to consider myself of too much importance, and then in a 
parenthesis you beg me not to be offended. Oh, E., do you 
think I could be offended by any good advice you may give 
me ? No, I thank you heartily, and love you, if possible, bet- 
ter for it. I had a letter about a fortnight ago from Miss , 

in which she tells me of the birth of Mrs. 's little boy, 

and likewise tells me you had not been at for upward of 

a month, but does not assign any reason for your absence. I 
hope it does not arise from ill health. [I am glad you like 
' Kenil worth.' It is certainly a splendid production, more 
resembling a romance than a novel, and in my opinion one of 
the most interesting works that ever emanated from the great 
Sir Walter's pen. I was exceedingly amused at the character- 
istic and naive manner in which you expressed your detestation 
of Varney's character, so much so, indeed, that I could not 
forbear laughing aloud when I perused that part of your letter ; 
he is certainly the personification of consummate villainy, and 
in the delineation of his dark and profoundly artful mind Scott 
exhibits a wonderful knowledge of human nature as well as sur- 
prising skill in embodying his perceptions so as to enable others 
to become participators in that knowledge.] Excuse the want 
of news in this very barren epistle, for I really have none to 
communicate. Emily and Annie beg to be kindly remembered 

to you. Give my love to , and as it is very late, permit 

me to conclude with the assurance of my unchanged, unchang- 
ing, and unchangeable affection for you. Adieu, dearest E. 
I am ever yours, C. B." 

[From a letter written to her sister Emily in June, 1839, 
when she was teaching in a " wealthy Yorkshire family."] 

" I said in my last letter that Mrs. did not know me. 



LETTERS. 51 

I now begin to find she does not intend to know me, and she 
cares nothing about me, except to contrive how the greatest 
possible quantity of labor may be got out of me ; and to that 
end she overwhelms me with oceans of needlework, yards of 
cambric to hem, muslin nightcaps to make, and, above all 
things, dolls to dress. I do not think she likes me at all, be- 
cause I can't help being shy in such an entirely novel scene, 
surrounded as I have hitherto been by strange and constantly 
changing faces. ... I used to think I should like to be 
in the stir of grand folks' society, but I have had enough of 
it ; it is dreary work to look on and listen. I see more clearly 
than I have ever done before, that a private governess has no 
existence — is not considered as a living, rational being, except 
as connected with the wearisome duties she has to fulfil." . . . 

To her friend Ellen Nussey, March 3d, 1841. [Miss Bronte 
had taken another situation as governess, and it is from her 
new home that she writes.] 

" In taking the place I have made a large sacrifice in the 
way of salary in the hope of securing comfort — by which word 
I do not mean to express good eating and drinking, or warm 
fire or a soft bed, but the society of cheerful faces, and minds 
and hearts not dug out of a lead mine, or cut from a marble 
quarry. My salary is not really more than £16 per annum, 
though it is nominally £20, but the expense of washing will be 
deducted therefrom. My pupils are two in number, a girl of 
eight and a boy of six. As to my employers, you will not 
expect me to say much about their characters when I tell you 
that I only arrived here yesterday. I have not the faculty of 
telling an individual's disposition at first sight. Before I can 
venture to pronounce on a character, I must see it first under 



52 LETTERS.. 

various lights, and from various points of view. All I can say 

therefore is, both Mr. and Mrs. seem to me good sort of 

people. I have as yet had no cause to complain of want of 
considerateness or civility. My pupils are wild and unbroken, , 
but apparently well-disposed. I wish I may be able to say as 
much next time I write to you. My earnest wish and endeavor 
will be to please them. If I can but feel that I am giving 
satisfaction, and if at the same time I can keep my health, T 
shall, I hope, be moderately happy. But no one but myself 
can tell how hard a governess' work is to me ; for no one but 
myself is aware how utterly averse my whole mind and nature 
are for the employment. Do not think that I fail to blame 
myself for this, or that I leave any means unemployed to con- 
quer this feeling. Some of my greatest difficulties lie in things 
that would appear to you comparatively trivial. I find it so 
hard to repel the rude familiarity of children. I find it so 
difficult to ask either servants or mistress for anything I want, 
however much I want it. It is less pain for me to endure the 
greatest inconvenience than to go into the kitchen to request 
its removal. I am a fool. Heaven knows I cannot help it." 

' [At the end of her experiences in Brussels she writes from 
Haworth, January 23d, 1844.] 

" Every one asks me what I am going to do now that I am 
returned home ; and every one seems to expect that I should 
immediately commence a school. In truth it is what I should 
wish to do. I desire it above all things. I have sufficient 
money for the undertaking, and I hope now sufficient qualifica- 
tions to give me a fair chance of success ; yet I cannot yet 
permit myself to enter upon life — to touch the object which 



LETTERS. 53 

seems now within my reach, and which I have been so long 
straining to attain. You will ask me why ? It is on papa's 
account ; he is now, as you know, getting old, and it grieves 
me to tell you that he is losing his sight. I have felt for some 
months that I ought not to be away from him ; and I feel now 
that it would be too selfish to leave him (at least as long as 
Branwell and Anne are absent), in order to pursue selfish inter- 
ests of my own. With the help of God I will try to deny my- 
self in this matter and to wait. 

" I suffered much before I left Brussels. I think, however 
long I live, I shall not forget what the parting with M. Heger 
cost me. It grieved me so much to grieve him who has been 
so true, kind, and disinterested a friend. At parting he gave 
me a kind of diploma certifying my abilities as a teacher, 
sealed with the seal of the Athenee Royal, of which he is pro- 
fessor. I was surprised also at the degree of regret expressed 
by my Belgian pupils when they knew I was going to leave. 
I did not think it had been in their phlegmatic nature. . . . 
I do not know whether you feel as I do, but there are times 
now when it appears to me as if all my ideas and feelings, 
except a few friendships and affections, are changed from what 
they used to be ; something in me which used to be enthu- 
siasm is tamed down and broken. I have fewer illusions ; 
what I wish for is active exertion — a stake in life. Haworth 
seems such a lonely, quiet spot, buried away from the world. 
I no longer regard myself as young — indeed, I shall soon be 
twenty-eight ; and it seems as if I ought to be working and 
braving the rough realities of the world as other people do. 
It is, however, my duty to restrain this feeling at present, and 
I will endeavor to do so. ' ' 



54 LETTERS. 

" March 24, 1845. 
" I can hardly tell you how time gets on at Ha worth. 
There is no event whatever to mark its progress. One day 
resembles another, and all have heavy, lifeless physiognomies. 
Sunday, baking-day, and Saturday are the only ones that 
have any distinctive mark. Meantime, life wears away. I 
shall soon be thirty, and I have done nothing yet. Sometimes 
I get melancholy at the prospect before and behind me. Yet 
it is wrong and foolish to repine. Undoubtedly my duty 
directs me to stay at home for the present. There was a time 
when Haworth was a very pleasant place to me ; it is not so 
now. I feel as if we were all buried here. I long to travel ; 
to work ; to live a life of action. Excuse me, dear, for 
troubling you with my fruitless wishes. I will put by the rest 
and not trouble you with them. You must write to me. If 
you knew how welcome your letters are you would write very 
often. Your letters and the French newspapers are the only 
messengers that come to me from the outer world beyond our 
moors ; and very welcome messengers they are." 

" August 18, 1845. 
" I have delayed writing because I have no good news to 
communicate. My hopes ebb low indeed about Branwell. I 
sometimes fear he will never be fit for much. The late blow 
to his prospects and feelings has quite made him reckless. It 
is only absolute want of means that acts as any check to him. 
One ought, indeed, to hope to the very last ; and I try to do 
so, but occasionally hope in his case seems so fallacious." 

" December 31, 1845. 

" You say well in speaking of , that no sufferings are so 

awful as those brought on by dissipation ; alas ! I see the 



LETTERS. 00 

truth of this observation daily proved, and must have as 

weary and burden some a life of it in waiting upon their 
unhappy brother. It seems grievous, indeed, that those who 
have not sinned slfOuld suffer so largely." 

[To Miss Woole?\] 

" January 30, 1846. 
. . . . " You ask about Bran well ; he never thinks of 
seeking employment, and I begin to fear that he has rendered 
himself incapable of filling any respectable station in life ; 
besides, if money were at his disposal he would use it only 
to his own injury ; the faculty of self-government is, I fear, 
almost destroyed in him. You ask me if I do not think that 
men are strange beings. I do, indeed. I have often thought 
so ; and I think, too, that the mode of bringing them up is 
strange : they are not sufficiently guarded from temptation. 
Girls are protected as if they were something very frail or silly 
indeed, while boys are turned loose on the world as if they, 
of all beings in existence, were the wisest and least liable to be 
led astray. ... I have already got to the point of con- 
sidering that there is no more respectable character on this 
earth than an unmarried, woman who makes her own way 
through life quietly, perseveringly, without support of husband 
or brother ; and who, having attained the age of forty-five or 
upward, retains in her possession a well-regulated mind, a 
disposition to enjoy simple pleasures, and fortitude to support 
inevitable pains, sympathy with the sufferings of others, and 
willingness to relieve want as far as her means extend. ' ' 



56 LETTERS. 

[To . . . . ] 

"June 17, 1846. 
u Bran well declares that lie neither can nor will do 
anything for himself ; good situations have been offered him, 
for which, by a fortnight's work, he might have qualified 
himself, but he will do nothing except drink and make us all 
wretched." 

[Extract from Letter of July 10, 1846.] 

" The right path is that which necessitates the 
greatest sacrifice of self-interest — which implies the greatest 
good to others ; and this path, steadily followed, will lead, I 
believe, in time, to prosperity and happiness ; though it may 
seem, at the outset, to tend quite in a contrary direction." 

[To Ellen JVussey.] 

" Dear Nell : Your last letter both amused and edified me 
exceedingly. I could not but laugh at your account of the fall 

in B , yet I should by no means have liked to have made 

a third party in that exhibition. I have endured one fall in 
your company, and undergone one of your ill-timed laughs, and 
don't wish to repeat my experience. Allow me to compliment 
you on the skill with which you can seem to give an explana- 
tion, without enlightening one one whit on the question asked. 
I know no more about Miss R.'s superstition now than I did 
before. What is the superstition ? — about a dead body ? 
And what is the inference drawn ? Do you remember my 
telling you — or did I ever tell you — about that wretched and 
most criminal Mr. J. S. ? After running an infamous career 
of vice, both in England and France, abandoning his wife to 



LETTERS. 57 

disease and total destitution in Manchester, with two children, 
and without a farthing, in a strange lodging-house ? Yester- 
day evening Martha came up-stairs to say that a woman — 
1 rather lady-like,' as she said — wished to speak to me in the 
kitchen. I went down. There stood Mrs. S., pale and worn, 
but still interesting-looking and cleanly and neatly dressed, 
as was her little girl, who was with her. I kissed her heart- 
ily. I could almost have cried to see her, for I had pitied 
her with my whole soul when I heard of her undeserved 
sufferings, agonies, and physical degradation. She took tea 
with us, stayed about two hours, and frankly entered into 
the narrative of her appalling distresses. Her constitution 
has triumphed over her illness ; and her excellent sense, 
her activity, and perseverance have enabled her to regain a 
decent position in society, and to procure a respectable main- 
tenance for herself and her children. She keeps a lodging- 
house in a very eligible part of the suburbs of (which 

I know), and is doing very well. She does not know where 
Mr. S. is, and of course can never more endure to see him. 

She is now staying a few days at E with the s, who, I 

believe, have been all along very kind to her, and the circum- 
stance is greatly to their credit. 

" I wish to know whether about Whitsuntide would suit you 
for coming to Haworth. We often have fine weather just 
then. At least I remember last year it was very beautiful at 
that season. Winter seems to have returned with severity on 
us at present, consequently we are all in full enjoyment of a 
cold. Much blowing of noses is heard, and much making 
of gruel goes on in the house. How are you all ? 

" When do you think I shall see you V' she cries to her friend 
within a few days of her final return to Haworth. " I have, of 



58 LETTERS. 

course, much to tell you, and I dare say you have much also 
to tell me — things which we should neither of us wish to com- 
mit to paper. ... I do not know whether you feel as I 
do, but there are times when it appears to me as if all my 
ideas and feelings, except a few friendships and affections, 
are changed from what they used to be. Something in me 
which used to be enthusiasm is tamed down and broken. I 
have fewer illusions. What I wish for now is active exertion 
— a stake in life. Haworth seems such a lonely, quiet spot, 
buried away from the world. I no longer regard myself as 
young ; indeed, I shall soon be twenty-eight, and it seems as 
if I ought to be working and braving the rough realities of the 
world, as other people do. It is, however, my duty to re- 
strain this feeling at present, and I will endeavor to do so." 

" December 21, 1848. 
" Emily suffers no more from pain or weakness now. She 
never will suffer more in this world. She is gone, after a hard, 
short conflict. She died on Tuesday, the very day I wrote to 
you. I thought it very possible she might be with us still for 
weeks ; and a few hours afterward she was in eternity. Yes ; 
there is no Emily in time or on earth now. Yesterday we put 
her poor, wasted mortal frame quietly under the church pave- 
ment. We are very calm at present. Why should we be 
otherwise ? The anguish of seeing her suffer is over ; the 
spectacle of the pains of death is gone by ; the funeral day is 
past. We feel she is at peace. No need now to tremble 
for the hard frost and the keen wind. Emily does not feel 
them. She died in a time of promise. We saw her taken 
from life in its prime. But it is God's will, and the place 
where she is gone is better than that she has left." 



LETTERS 59 

" March 24, 1849. 
" Anne's decline is gradual and fluctuating ; out its nature is 
not doubtful. ... In spirit she is resigned : at heart she 
is, I believe, a true Christian. . . . May God support her 
and all of us through the trial of lingering sickness, and aid 
her in the last hour, when the struggle which separates soul 
from body must be gone through ! We saw Emily torn from 
the midst of us when our hearts clung to her with intense 
attachment. . . . She was scarce buried when Anne's 
health failed. . . . These things would be too much if 
reason, unsupported by religion, were condemned to bear them 
alone. I have cause to be most thankful for the strength that 
has hitherto been vouchsafed both to my father and myself. 
God, I think, is specially merciful to old age ; and for my 
own part, trials, which in perspective would have seemed to me 
quite intolerable, when they actually came, I endured without 
prostration. Yet I must 'confess that, in the time which has 
elapsed since Emily's death, there have been moments of 
solitary, deep, inert affliction, far harder to bear than those 
which immediately followed our loss. The crisis of bereave- 
ment has an acute pang which goads to exertion ; the desolate 
after-feeling sometimes paralyzes. I have learned that we are 
not to find solace in our own strength ; we must seek it in 
God's omnipotence. Fortitude is good ; but fortitude itself 
must be shaken under us to teach us how weak we are !" 

[To .... ] 

" September 20, 1849. 
. . . " The two human beings who understood me, 
and whom I understood, are gone ; I have some that love me 
yet, and whom I love, without expecting, or having a right to 



60 LETTERS. 

expect, that they shall perfectly understand me, I am satisfied ; 
but I must have my own way in the matter of writing. The 
loss of what we possess nearest and dearest to us in this world 
produces an effect upon the character : we search out what we 
have yet left that can support, and, when found, we cling to it 
with a hold of new-strung tenacity. The faculty of imagina- 
tion lifted me when I was sinking, three months ago ; its 
active exercise has kept my head above water since ; its results 
cheer me now, for I feel they have enabled me to give pleasure 
to others. I am thankful to God who gave me the faculty ; 
and it is for me a part of religion to defend this gift, and to 
profit by its possession. " 

[To ..... ] 

" (Spring of 1850.) 
" I believe I should have written to you before, but I don't 
know what heaviness of spirit has beset me of late, made my 
faculties dull, made rest weariness, and occupation burdensome. 
Now and then the silence of the house, the solitude of the 
room has pressed on me with a weight I found it difficult to 
bear, and recollection has not failed to be as alert, poignant, 
obtrusive, as other feelings w r ere languid. I attribute this state 
of things partly to the weather. Quicksilver invariably falls 
low in storms and high winds, and I have ere this been 
warned of approaching disturbance in the atmosphere by a 
sense of bodily weakness, and deep, heavy mental sadness, 
•which some would call presentiment. Presentiment indeed it 
is, but not at all supernatural. The Haworth people have 
been making great fools of themselves about * Shirley,' they 
take it in the enthusiastic light. When they got the volumes 



LETTERS. 61 

at the Mechanics' Institution, all the members wanted them ; 
they cast lots for the whole three, and whoever got a volume 
was only allowed to keep it two days, and to be fined a shil- 
ling per diem for longer detention. It would be mere non- 
sense and vanity to tell you what they say. I have had no 
letters from London for a long time, and am very much 
ashamed of myself to find, now that that stimulus is with- 
drawn, how dependent upon it I had become. I cannot help 
feeling something of the excitement of expectation till post 
hour comes, and when day after day it brings nothing I get 
low. This is a stupid, disgraceful, unmeaning state of things. 
I feel bitterly enraged at my dependence and folly. It is so 
bad for the mind to be quite alone, to have none with whom 
to talk over little crosses and disappointments, and laugh them 
away. If I could write I dare say I should be better, but I 
cannot write a line. However (D. V.), I shall contend against 

the idiocy. I had rather a foolish letter from Miss the 

other day. Some things in it nettled me, especially an un- 
necessarily earnest assurance that, in spite of all I had gone 
and done in the writing line, I still retained a place in her 
esteem. My answer took strong and high ground at once. I 
said I had been troubled by no doubts on the subject, that I 
neither did myself nor her the injustice to suppose there was 
anything in what I had written to incur the just forfeiture of 
esteem. I was aware, I intimated, that some persons thought 
proper to take exceptions at * Jane Eyre,' and that for their 
own sakes I was sorry, as I invariably found them individuals 
in whom the animal largely predominated over the intellectual, 
persons by nature coarse, by inclination sensual, whatever they 
might be by education and principle. " 



62 LETTERS. 

[To .... ] 

" July 18, 1850. 
" You must cheer up, for your letter proves to me that you 
are low-spirited. As for me, what I said is to be taken in 
this sense : that, under the circumstances, it would be pre- 
sumptuous in me to calculate on a long life — a truth obvious 
enough. For the rest, we are all in the hands of Him who 
apportions His gifts, health or sickness, length or brevity of 
days, as is best for the receiver : to him who has work to 
do, time will be given in which to do it ; for him to whom no 
task is assigned, the season of rest will come earlier. As to 
the suffering preceding our last sleep, the sickness, decay, the 
struggle of flesh and spirit, it must come sooner or later to all. 
If, in one point of view, it is sad to have few ties in the world, 
in another point of view it is soothing ; women who have 
husbands and children must look forward to death with more 
pain, more fear, than those who have none. To dismiss the 
subject, I wish (without cant, and not in any hackneyed 
sense) that both you and I could always say in this matter, The 
will of God be done. I am beginning to get settled at home, 
but the solitude seems heavy as yet. It is a great change, but 
in looking forward I try to hope for the best. So little faith 
have I in the power of any temporary excitement to do real 
good, that I put off day by day writing to London to tell them 
I have come home ; and till then it was agreed I should not 
hear from them. It is painful to be dependent on the small 
stimulus letters give. I sometimes think I will renounce it al- 
together, close all correspondence on some quiet pretext, and 
cease to look forward at post- time for any letters but yours. ' ' 



LETTERS. 63 

" 1850. 
" Ellen, it seems, told you that I spent a fortnight in 
London last December. They wished me very much to stay 
a month, alleging that I should in that time be able to secure 
a complete circle of acquaintance, but I found a fortnight of 
such excitement quite enough. The whole day was usually 
spent in sight-seeing, and often the evening was spent in 
society : it was more than I could bear for any length of time. 
On one occasion I met a party of my critics — seven of them. 
Some of them had been my bitter foes in print, but they were 
prodigiously civil face to face. These gentlemen seemed 
infinitely grander, more pompous, dashing, showy than the 
other few authors I saw. Mr. Thackeray, for example, is a 
man of very quiet, simple demeanor ; he is, however, looked 
upon with some awe and even distrust. His conversation is 
very peculiar, too perverse to be pleasant. It was proposed to 
me to see Charles Dickens, Lady Morgan, Mesdames Trollope, 
Gore, and some others ; but I was aware that these introduc- 
tions would bring a degree of notoriety I was not disposed to 
encounter ; I declined therefore with thanks. Nothing charmed 
me more during my stay in town than the pictures I saw ; one 
or two private collections of Turner's best water-colors were 
indeed a treat. His later oil paintings are strange things 
— things that baffle description. I have twice seen Mac- 
ready act — once in Macbeth, and once in Othello. I as- 
tounded a dinner party by honestly saying I did not like 
him. It is the fashion to rave about his splendid acting ; 
anything more false and artificial, less genuinely impressive 
than his whole style, I could scarcely have imagined. The 
fact is, the stage system altogether is hollow nonsense. They 
act farces well enough ; the actors comprehend their parts, 



64 LETTERS. 

and do them justice. They comprehend nothing about 
tragedy or Shakespeare, and it is a failure. I said so, and by 
so saying produced a blank silence, a mute consternation. I 
was indeed obliged to dissent on many occasions, and to offend 
by dissenting. It seems now very much the custom to admire 
a certain wordy, intricate, obscure style of poetry, such as 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning writes. Some pieces were re- 
ferred to, about which Currer Bell was expected to be very 
rapturous, and failing in this he disappointed. London people 
strike a provincial as being very much taken up with little 
matters, about which no one out of particular town circles 
cares much. They talk too of persons, literary men and 
women, whose names are scarcely heard in the country, and 
in whom you cannot get up an interest. I think I should 
scarcely like to live in London, and were I obliged to live 
there I should certainly go little in company — especially I 
should eschew the literary critics." 

[To Mien JSTussey.] 

"1850, 

" I have, since you went, had a remarkable epistle from 
Thackeray — long, interesting, and characteristic ; but it un- 
fortunately concludes with the strict injunction, Show this 
letter to no one ; adding that if he thought his letters were 
seen by others, he would either cease to write, or write only 
what was conventional. But for this circumstance I should 
have sent it with the others. I answered it at length. Whether 
my reply will give satisfaction or displeasure remains yet to 
be ascertained. Thackeray's feelings are not such as can be 



r LETTERS. 65 

gauged by ordinary calculation : variable weather is what I 
should ever expect from that quarter. Yet in correspondence, 
as in verbal intercourse, this would torment me, ' ' 



[To Miss Wooler.] 

" Haworth, September 27, 1850. 
. . . tl You say that you suspect I have formed a large 
circle of acquaintances by this time. No ; I cannot say that 
I have. I doubt whether I possess either the wish or the 
power to do so. A few friends I should like to have, and 
these few I should like to know well ; if such knowledge 
brought proportionate regard I could not help concentrating 
my feelings ; dissipation, I think, appears synonymous with 
dilution. However, I have, as yet, scarcely been tried. 
During the month I spent in London in the spring I kept very 
quiet : having the fear of lionizing before my eyes. I only 
went out once to dinner, and once was present at an evening 
party ; and the only visits I have paid have been to Sir James 
Kay Shuttleworth's and my publishers. From this system I 
should not like to depart : as far as I can see, indiscriminate 
visiting tends only to a waste of time and a vulgarizing of 
character. Besides, it would be wrong to leave papa often ; 
he is now in his seventy-fifth year, the infirmities of age begin 
to creep upon him ; during the summer he has been much 
harassed by chronic bronchitis, but I am thankful to say he 
is now somewhat better. I think my own health has derived 
benefit from change and exercise." 



GG LETTERS. 



[To he* Publisher, who wrote her in reference to Phrenology, 

then att.rar.tinr/ attention/] 



then attracting attention.] 



" July 8, 1851. 
. . . " I will not say look higher ! I think you see the 
matter as it is desirable we should all see what relates to our- 
selves. If I had a right to whisper a word of counsel, it should 
be merely this : whatever your present self may be, resolve 
with all your strength of resolution never to degenerate thence. 
Be jealous of a shadow of falling off. Determine rather to 
look above that standard, and to strive beyond it. Everybody 
appreciates certain social properties, and likes his neighbor for 
possessing them ; but perhaps few dwell upon a friend's capac- 
ity for the intellectual, or care how this might expand, if there 
were but facilities allowed for cultivation, and space given for 
growth. It seems to me that, even should space and facilities 
be denied by stringent circumstances and a rigid fate, still it 
should do you good fully to know, and tenaciously to remem- 
ber, that you have such a capacity. When other people over- 
whelm you with acquired knowledge such as you have not had 
opportunity, perhaps not application, to gain, derive not pride 
but support from the thought. If no new books had ever been 
written, some of these minds would themselves have remained 
blank pages : they only take an impression— they were not 
born with a record of thought on the brain, or an instinct of 
sensation on the heart. If I had never seen a printed volume, 
nature would have offered my perceptions a varying picture of 
a continuous narrative, which, without any teacher than herself, 
would have schooled me to knowledge, unsophisticated but 
genuine. ' ' 



LETTERS. 07 

" London, June 12, 1850. 
. . . " I have seen Lewes, too. . . I could not feel other- 
wise to hiin than half-sadly, half-tenderly — a queer word that 
last, but I use it because the aspect of Lewes' face almost 
moves me to tears ; it is so wonderfully like Emily — her eyes, 
her features, the very nose, the somewhat prominent mouth, 
the forehead — even at moments the expression : whatever 
Lewes says I believe I cannot hate him. ' ' 

[To Emily.'] 

" Haworth, December 4. 
1 ' My Dear Emily : Christmas — dear Christmas — is rapidly 
approaching, and the time is drawing on apace for your appear- 
ance among us again at the ' ingle nook. ' I yearningly desire 
■ — after this prolonged separation — to press you once again to 
my heart, my dearest sister. What a joyful meeting on that 
day of all days — the anniversary of the birth of our blessed 
Redeemer ! The cold air is bracing and exhilarating as I open 
my window this genial morning in hoary December, and I 
have a rosy glow playing around my heart, for I am truly 
happy. Et vous ! — ah, you too must be happy, for the chord, 
vibrating, is sympathetic, is responsive in your own dear breast. 
We have, in good sooth, both reason to thank the Giver of all 
things ; for have we not many blessings ? Do we not possess 
the great poetic faculty : the Ideal, the Mirthful, the Imitative ? 
Are we not both acknowledged authors ? The creative faculty 
makes us truly happy. If you start next Thursday week I 
will be waiting the coach ; do not hamper yourself with unnec- 
essary clothes and luggage ; you can have everything here — 
even to the wearing of my old slippers, out a little at the toes.' ' 



68 LETTERS. 

[To G. H. Lewes, Esq.] 

" November 1, 1849. 
" My Dear Sir : It is about a year and a half since you 
wrote to me ; but it seems a longer period, because since then 
it has been my lot to pass some black milestones in the journey 
of life. Since then there have been intervals when I have 
ceased to care about literature, and critics, and fame ; when 
I have lost sight of whatever was prominent in my thoughts at 
the first publication of ' Jane Eyre ;' but now I want these 
things to come back vividly, if possible ; consequently it was a 
pleasure to receive your note. I wish you did not think me a 
woman. I wish all reviewers believed ' Currer Bell ' to be a 
man : they would be more just to him. You will, I know, 
keep measuring me by some standard of what you deem becom- 
ing to my sex ; where I am not what you consider graceful, 
you will condemn me. All mouths will be open against that 
first chapter ; and that first chapter is true as the Bible, nor is 
it exceptional. Come what will, I cannot, when I write, 
think always of myself and of what is elegant and charming in 
feminity ; it is not on those terms, or with such ideas, I ever 
took pen in hand ; and if it is only on such terms my writing 
will be tolerated, I shall pass away from the public and trouble 
it no more. Out of obscurity I came, to obscurity I can easily 
return. Standing afar off, I now watch to see what will become 
of ' Shirley.' My expectations are very low, and my anticipa- 
tions somewhat sad and bitter ; still, I earnestly conjure you to 
say honestly what you think ; flattery would be worse than 
vain ; there is no consolation in flattery. As for condemnation, 
I cannot, on reflection, see why I should much fear it ; there is 
no one but myself to suffer therefrom, and both' happiness and 



LETTERS. 69 

suffering in this life soon pass away. Wishing you all success 
in your Scottish expedition, I am, dear sir, 

" Yours, sincerely, C. Bell." 

[To G. II. Leioes, Esq.] 

" January 19, 1850. 

" My Dear Sir : I will tell you why I was so hurt by 
that review in the Edinburgh ; not because its criticism was 
keen or its blame sometimes severe ; not because its praise 
was stinted (for, indeed, I think you give quite as much praise 
as I deserve), but because after I had said earnestly that I 
wished critics would judge me as an author, not as a woman, 
you so roughly — I even thought so cruelly — handled the ques- 
tion of sex. I dare say you meant no harm, and perhaps you 
will not now be able to understand why I was so grieved at 
what you will probably deem such a trifle ; but grieved I was, 
and indignant, too. 

" There was a passage or two which you did quite wrong to 
write. 

" However, I will not bear malice against you for it ; I know 
what your nature is ; it is not a bad or unkind one, though 
you would often jar terribly on some feelings with whose recoil 
and quiver you could not possibly sympathize. I imagine you 
are both enthusiastic and implacable, as you are at once saga- 
cious and careless ; you know much and discover much, but you 
are in such a hurry to tell it all you never give yourself time 
to think how your reckless eloquence may affect others ; and, 
what is more, if you knew how it did affect them, you would 
not much care. 

" However, I shake hands with you : you have excellent 



70 LETTERS. 

points ; you can be generous. I still feel angry, and think I 
do well to be angry ; but it is the anger one experiences for 
rough play rather than for foul play. I am yours, with a cer- 
tain respect and more chagrin, Currer Bell." 

" April 11, 1854. 
" The result of Mr. Nicholls's visit is that Papa's consent is 
gained and his respect now, for Mr. Nicholls has in all things 
proved himself disinterested and forbearing. He has shown, 
too, that while his feelings are exquisitely keen, he can freely 
forgive. ... In fact, dear Ellen, I am engaged. Mr. 
Nicholls in the course of a few months will return to the curacy 
of Haworth. I stipulated that I would not leave Papa, and to 
Papa himself I proposed a plan of residence which should 
maintain his seclusion and convenience uninvaded, and in a 
pecuniary sense bring him gain instead of loss. What seemed 
at one time impossible is now arranged, and Papa begins really 

to take pleasure in the prospect. For myself, dear E , 

while thankful to one who seems to have guided me through 
much difficulty, much and deep distress and perplexity of 
mind, I am still very calm. . . . What I taste of happi- 
ness is of the soberest order. Providence offers me this 
destiny. Doubtless, then, it is best for me. Nor do I shrink 
from wishing those dear to me one not less happy. It is 
possible that our marriage may take place in the course of the 
summer. Mr. Nicholls wishes it to be in July. He spoke of 
you with great kindness, and said he hoped you would be at 
our wedding. I said I thought of having no other brides- 
maid. Did I say right ? I mean the marriage to be literally 
as quiet as possible. Do not mention these things as yet. 
Good-by. There is a strange, half-sad feeling in making 



LETTERS. 71 

these announcements. The whole thing is something other 
than the imagination paints it beforehand — cares, fears come 
mixed inextricably with hopes. I trust yet to talk the matter 
over with you." 

" April 28, 1854. 
" Papa, thank God, continues to improve much. He 
preached twice on Sunday, and again on Wednesday, and was 
not tired. His mind and mood are different to what they 
were ; so much more cheerful and quiet. I trust the illusions 
of ambition are quite dissipated, and that he really sees it is 
better to relieve a suffering and faithful heart, to secure in its 
fidelity a solid good, than unfeelingly to abandon one who is 
truly attached to his interests, as well as mine, and pursue some 
vain, empty shadow." 

[To Mien JVussey.] 

" January, 1852. 
" I wish you could have seen the coolness with which I 
captured your letter on its way to Papa, and at once conject- 
uring its tenor, made the contents my own. Be quiet. Be 
tranquil. It is, dear Nell, my decided intention to come to 

B for a few days when I can come ; but of this last I must 

positively judge for myself, and I must take my time. I am 
better to-day — much better ; but you can have little idea of 
the sort of condition into which mercury throws people to ask 
me to go from home anywhere in close or open carriage. 
And as to talking, four days ago I could not well have artic- 
ulated three sentences. Yet I did not need nursing, and I 
kept out of bed. It was enough to burden myself ; it would 
have been misery to me to have annoyed another." 



TZ LETTERS. 

11 Haworth, May 14, 1854. 
" I took the time of the Leeds, Keighley, Skipton trains 
from the February time-table, and when I got to Leeds found 
myself all wrong. The trains on that line were changed. One 
had that moment left the station — indeed, it was just steaming 
away ; there was not another until a quarter after five o'clock ; 
so I had just four hours to sit and twirl my thumbs. I got over 
the time somehow, but I was vexed to think how much more 
pleasantly I might have spent it at B. It was just seven 
o'clock when I reached home. I found Papa well. It seems 
he has been particularly well during my absence, but to-day he 
is a little sickly, and only preached once. However, he is 
better again this evening. I could not leave you, dear Ellen, 
with a very quiet mind, or take away a satisfied feeling about 
you. Not that I think that bad cough lodged in a dangerous 
quarter ; but it shakes your system, wears you out, and makes 
you look ill. Take care of it, do, dear JiJllen. Avoid the 
evening air for a time ; keep in the house when the weather is 
cold. Observe these precautions till the cough is quite gone, 
and you regain strength, and feel better able to bear chill and 
change. Believe me, it does not suit you at present to be 
much exposed to variations of temperature. I send the mantle 
with this, but have made up my mind not to let you have the 
cushion now, lest you should sit stitching over it too closely. 
It will do any time, and whenever it comes will be your 
present all the same. ' ' 

" Haworth, May 22, 1854. 
" I wonder how you are, and whether that harassing cough 
is better ; but I am afraid the variable weather of last week 
will not be favorable to improvement. I will not and do not 



LETTERS. 73 

believe the cough lies on any vital organ. Still it is a mark of 
weakness, and a warning to be scrupulously careful about 
undue exposure. Just now, dear Ellen, an hour's inadvertence 
might derange your whole constitution for years to come — 
t might throw you into a state of chronic ill-health which would 
waste, fade, and wither you up prematurely. So, once and 

again, take care. Tf you go to , or any other evening 

party, pack yourself in blankets and a feather-bed to come 
home, also fold your boa twice over your mouth, to serve as a 
respirator. Since I came home I have been very busy sketch- 
ing. The little new room is got into order now, and the green 
and white curtains are up. They exactly suit the papering, 
and look neat and clean enough. I had a letter a day or two 
since, announcing that Mr. N. comes to-morrow. I feel 
anxious about him — more anxious on one point than I dare 
quite to express myself. It seems he has again been suffering 
sharply from his rheumatic affection. I hear this not from 
himself, but from another quarter. He was ill while I was at 
Manchester and B. He uttered no complaint to me, dropped 
no hint on the subject. Alas ! he was hoping he had got the 
better of it ; and I know how this contradiction of his hopes 
will sadden him. For unselfish reasons, he did so earnestly 
wish this complaint might not become chronic. I fear, I fear 
— but, however, I mean to stand by him now, whether in weal 
or woe. This liability to rheumatic pain was one of the strong 
arguments used against the marriage. It did not w r eigh, 
somehow. If he is doomed to suffer, it seems that so much 
the more will he need care and help. And yet the ultimate 
possibilities of such a case are appalling. Well, come what 
may, God help and strengthen both him and me. I look 
forward to to-morrow with a mixture of impatience and 



74 LETTERS. 

anxiety. Poor fellow ! I want to see with my own eyes how 
he is." 

" Haworth, September 16, 1854. 

" My dear Miss : You kindly tell me not to write while 

Ellen is with me : I am expecting her this week ; and as I think 
it would be wrong long to defer answering a letter like 
yours, I will reduce to practice the maxim, ' There is no time 
like the present, ' and do it at once. It grieves me that you 
should have any anxiety about my health ; the cough left me 
before I quitted Ireland, and since my return home I have 
scarcely had an ailment except occasional headaches. My dear 

father, too, continues much better. Dr. B was here on 

Sunday, preaching a sermon for the Jews, and he gratified me 
much by saying that he thought Papa not at all altered since 
he saw him last — nearly a year ago. I am afraid this opinion 
is rather flattering ; but still it gave me pleasure, for I had 
feared that he looked undeniably thinner and older. You 
ask what visitors we have had. A good many among the 
clergy, etc. , in the neighborhood, but none of note from a 
distance. Haworth is, as you say, a very quiet place ; it is 
also difficult of access, and unless under the stimulus of neces- 
sity, or that of strong curiosity, or finally, that of true and 
tried friendship, few take courage to penetrate to so remote a 
nook. Besides, now that I am married, I do not expect to be 
an object of such general interest. Ladies who have won some 
prominence (call it either notoriety or celebrity) in their single 
life often fall quite in the background when they change 
their names. But if true domestic happiness replace fame, 
the change is indeed for the better. Yes, I am thankful to 
say my husband is in improved health and spirits. It makes 



LETTERS. 75 

me content and grateful to hear him from time to time avow 
his happiness in the brief but plain phrase of sincerity. My 
own life is more occupied than it used to be ; I have not so 
much time for thinking : I am obliged to be more practical, for 
my dear Arthur is a very practical as well as a very punctual, 
methodical man. Every morning he is in the national school 
by nine o'clock ; he gives the children religious instruction 
until half-past ten. Almost every afternoon he pays visits 
among the poor parishioners. Of course he often finds a little 
work for his wife to do, and I hope she is not sorry to help 
him. I believe it is not bad for me that his bent should be so 
wholly toward matters of real life and active usefulness — so 
little inclined to the literary and contemplative. As to his 
continued affection and kind attentions, it does not become me 
to say much of them ; but as yet they neither change nor 

diminish. I wish, my dear Miss , you had some kind, 

faithful companion to enliven your solitude at R , some 

friend to whom to communicate your pleasure in the scenery, 
the fine weather, the pleasant walks. You never complain, 
never murmur, never seem otherwise than thankful ; but I 
know you must miss a privilege none could more keenly ap- 
preciate than yourself." 

[This letter of Charlotte Bronte's, and the succeeding one, 
written by Miss Ellen Nussey, describe the last journey made 
with Anne Bronte, and her death.] 

" Next Wednesday is the day fixed for our departure ; Ellen 
accompanies us, at her own kind and friendly wish. I would 
not refuse her society, but dared not urge her to go, for I havs 
little hope that the excursion will be one of pleasure or benefit 



76 LETTERS. 

to those engaged in it. Anne is extremely weak. She herself 
has a fixed impression that the sea-air will give her a chance of 
regaining strength. That chance, therefore, she must have. 
Having resolved to try the experiment, misgivings are useless, 
and yet when I look at her, misgivings will rise. She is more 
emaciated than Emily was at the very last ; her breath scarcely 
serves her to mount the stairs, however slowly. She sleeps very 
little at night, and often passes most of the afternoon in a 
semi-lethargic state. Still, she is up all day, and even goes out 
a little when it is fine. Fresh air usually acts as a temporary 
stimulus, but its reviving power diminishes." 

" On our way to Scarborough we stopped at York, and after 
a rest at the George Hotel, and partaking of dinner, which she 
enjoyed, Anne went out in a bath chair, and made purchases, 
along with Charlotte, of bonnets and dresses, besides visiting 
the minister. The morning after her arrival at Scarborough 
she insisted on going to the baths, and would be left there 
with only the attendant in charge. She walked back alone to 
her lodgings, but fell exhausted as she reached the garden gate. 
She never named this, but it was discovered afterward. The 
same day she had a drive in a donkey carriage, and talked with 
the boy driver on kindness for animals. On Sunday she 
wanted again to be left alone, and for us to go to church. 
Finding we would not leave her, she begged that she might go 
out, and we walked down toward the saloon, she resting half 
way, and sending us on with the excuse that she wanted us to 
see that place, this being our first visit, though not hers. In 
the evening, after again asking us to go to church, she sat by 
the sitting-room window, enjoying a very glorious sunset. 
Next morning (the day she died) she rose by seven o'clock and 



LETTEK3. 77 

dressed herself, refusing all assistance. She was the first of 
the little party to be ready to go down stairs ; but when she 
reached the head of the stairs she felt fearful of descending. 
Charlotte went to her, and discovered this. 

" I, fancying there was some difficulty, left my room to see 
what it was, when Anne smiling told me she felt afraid of the 
steps downward. I immediately said, ' Let me try to carry 
you ;' she looked pleased, but feared for me. Charlotte was 
angry at the idea, and greatly distressed. I could see, at this, 
new evidence of Anne's weakness. Charlotte was at last per- 
suaded to go to her room and leave us. I then went a step or 
two below Anne, and begged her to put her arms around my 
neck, and I said, ' I will carry you like a baby. ' Strength 
seemed to be given for the effort, but on reaching the foot of 
the stairs poor Anne's head fell like a leaden weight upon the 
top of mine. The shock was terrible, for I felt it could only be 
death that was coming. I just managed to bear her to the front 
of her easy-chair and drop her into it, falling myself on my 
knees before her, very miserable at the fact, and letting her fall 
at last, though it was not into her chair. She was shaken, but 
she put out her arms to comfort me, and said, ' You know it 
could not be helped, you did your best.' After this she sat at 
the breakfast table and partook of a basin of boiled milk pre- 
pared for her. As 11 a.m. approached, she wondered if she 
could be conveyed home in time to die there. At 2 p.m. 
death had come, and left only her beautiful form in the 
sweetest peace." 



SELECTIONS. 



The following Selections from all that she has written 
will enable those who have not read the novels of 
Charlotte Bronte to get a correct Idea of her lit- 
erary Style and Method of Composition : 

ROCHESTER'S ANALYSIS OF JANE EYRE'S 
CHARACTER. 

The flame nickers in the eye — the eye shines like dew , it 
looks soft and fnll of feeling — it smiles at my jargon — it is sus- 
ceptible ; impression follows impression through its clear 
sphere ; when it ceases to smile, it is sad — an unconscious 
lassitude weighs on the lid, that signifies melancholy resulting 
from loneliness ; it turns from me ; it will not suffer further 
scrutiny ; it seems to deny, by a mocking glance, the truth of 
the discoveries I have already made — to disown the charge 
both of sensibility and chagrin ; its pride and reserve only con- 
firm me in my opinion. The eye is favorable. 

As to the mouth, jt delights at times in laughter ; it is 
disposed to impart all that the brain conceives, though, I dare 
say, it would be silent on much the heart experiences. Mobile 
and flexible, it was never intended to be compressed in the 



SO SELECTIONS. 

eternal silence of solitude ; it is a mouth which should speak 
much and smile often, and have human affection for its inter- 
locutor. That feature, too, is propitious. 

I see no enemy to a fortunate issue but in the brow ; and 
that brow professes to say — " I can live alone, if self-respect and 
circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to 
buy bliss. I have an inward treasure, born with me, which 
can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, 
or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give." The fore- 
head declares — " Reason sits firm and holds the reins, and she 
will not let the feelings burst away and hurry her to wild 
chasms. The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, 
as they are, and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain 
things ; but judgment shall still have the last word in every 
argument, and the casting vote in every decision. Strong 
wind, earthquake shock, and fire may pass by, I shall follow 
the guiding but of that still small voice which interprets the 
dictates of conscience." 

Well said, forehead ; your declaration shall be respected. 
I have formed my plans — right plans I deem them — and in 
them I have attended to the claims of conscience, the counsels 
of reason. I know how soon youth would fade and bloom 
perish, if, in the cup of bliss offered, but one dreg of shame or 
one flavor of remorse were detected ; and I do not want sacri- 
fice, sorrow, dissolution — such is not my taste. I wish to 
foster, not to blight — to earn gratitude, not to wring tears of 
blood — no, not of brine ; my harvest must be in smiles, in en- 
dearments, in sweet — that will do. I think T rave in a kind of 
exquisite delirium. I should wish now to protract this moment 
ad infinitum, but I dare not. So far I have governed myself 
thoroughly. I have acted as I inwardly swore I would act ; 



SELECTIONS. 81 

but farther might try me beyond my strength. Rise, Miss 
Eyre, leave me ; " the play is played out." 

******* 
Jane Eyre, who had been an ardent expectant woman — 
almost a bride — was a cold solitary girl again ; her life was 
pale ; her prospects were desolate. A Christmas frost had 
come at midsummer ; a white December storm had whirled 
over June ; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the 
blowing roses ; on hay-field and corn-field lay a frozen shroud ; 
lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were 
pathless with untrodden snow ; and the woods which twelve 
hours since waved leafy and fragrant as groves between the 
tropics, now spread waste, wild, and white as pine forests in 
wintry Norway. My hopes were all dead — struck with a sub- 
tile doom, such as in one night fell on all the first-born in the 
land of Egypt. I looked on my cherished wishes, yesterday 
so blooming and glowing ; they lay stark, still, livid corpses 
that could never revive. I looked at my love ; that feeling 
which was my master's — which he had created ; it shivered in 
my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle ; sickness and 
anguish had seized it ; it could not seek Mr. Rochester's arms 
—it could not derive warmth from his breast. Oh, never more 
could it turn to him ; for faith was blighted — confidence de- 
stroyed ! Mr. Rochester was not to me what he had been ; for 
he was not what I had thought him. I would not ascribe vice 
to him ; I would not say he had betrayed me ; but the attri- 
bute of stainless truth was gone from his idea ; and from his 
presence I must go ; that I perceived well. AVhen — how, 
whither, I could not yet discern ; but he himself, I doubted 
not, would hurry from Thornfield. Real affection, it seemed, 
he could not have for me ; it had been only fitful passion : 



S2 SELECTIONS. 

that was balked ; he would want me no more. I should fear 
even to cross his path now ; my view must be hateful to him. 
Oh, how blind had been my eyes ! How weak my conduct ! 

My eyes were covered and closed ; eddying darkness seemed 
to swim round me, and reflection came in as black and confused 
a flow. Self-abandoned, relaxed and effortless, I seemed to 
have laid me down in the dried-up bed of a great river ; I 
heard a flood loosened in remote mountains, I felt the torrent 
come : to rise I had no will, to flee I had no strength. I lay 
faint, longing to be dead. One idea only throbbed lifelike 
within me — a remembrance of God : it begot an unuttered 
prayer : these words went wandering up and down in my ray- 
less mind, as something that should be whispered ; but no 
energy was found to express them. 

" Be not far from me, for trouble is near ; there is none to 
help." 

It was near ; and as I had lifted no petition to heaven to 
avert it — as I had neither joined my hands, nor bent my knees, 
nor moved my lips — it came : in full, heavy swing, the torrent 
poured over me. The whole consciousness of my life lorn, my 
love lost, my hope quenched, my faith death- struck, swayed 
full and mighty above me in one sullen mass. That bitter 
hour cannot be described ; in truth, " the waters came into 
my soul ; I sunk in deep mire ; I felt no standing ; I came 
into deep waters ; the floods overflowed me." 

That night I never thought to sleep, but a slumber fell on 
me as soon as I lay down in bed. I was transported in 
thought to the scenes of childhood : I dreamed that I lay in 
the bed room at Gateshead ; that the night was dark, and my 
mind impressed with strange fears. The light that long ago 



SELECTIONS. 83 

had struck me into syncope, recalled in this vision, seemed 
glidingly to mount the wall, and tremblingly to pause in the 
centre of the obscured ceiling. I lifted up my head to look ; 
the roof resolved to clouds, high and dim ; the gleam was such 
as the moon imparts to vapors she is about to sever. I watched 
her come, watched with the strangest anticipation, as though 
some word of doom were to be written ou her disk. She 
broke forth as never moon yet burst from cloud ; a hand first 
penetrated the sable folds and waved them away, then, not a 
moon, but a white human form shone in the azure, inclining a 
glorious brow earthward. It gazed and gazed on me. It 
spoke to my spirit ; immeasurably distant was the tone, yet so 
near, it whispered in my heart : 

" My daughter, flee temptation !" 

"Mother, I will." 

So I answered after I had waked from the trance-like dream. 
It was yet night, but July nights are short ; soon after mid- 
night, dawn comes. " It cannot be too early to commence the 
task I have to fulfil," thought I. 

HER VISION. 

I was excited more than I had ever been ; and whether what 
followed was the effect of excitement, the reader shall judge. 

All the house was still ; for I believe all, except St. John 
and myself, were now retired to rest. The one candle was 
dying out ; the room was full of moonlight. My heart beat 
fast and thick ; I heard its throb. Suddenly it stood still to 
an inexpressible feeling that thrilled it through, and passed at 
once to my head and extremities. The feeling was not like an 
electric shock ; but it was quite as sharp, as strange, as start- 



84 SELECTIONS. 

ling ; it acted on my senses us if their utmost activity hitherto 
had been but torpor, from which they were now summoned, 
and forced to wake. They rose expectant ; eye and ear waited, 
while the flesh quivered on my bones. 

''What have you heard ? What do you see?" asked St. 
John. I saw nothing ; but I heard a voice somewhere cry : 

" Jane ! Jane ! Jane !" nothing more. 

" Oh, God ! what is it ?" I gasped. 

I might have said, " Where is it ?" for it did not seem in 
the room — nor in the house — nor in the garden ; it did not 
come out of the air — nor from under the earth — -nor from over- 
head. I had heard it — where or whence, forever impossible to 
know ! And it was the voice of a human being — a known, 
loved, well-remembered voice — that of Edward Fairfax Roch- 
ester ; and it spoke in pain and woe — wildly, eerily, urgently. 

" I am coming !" I cried. " Wait for me ! Oh, I will 
come !" I flew to the door, and looked into the passage ; it 
was dark. I ran out into the garden ; it was void. 

" Where are you ?" I exclaimed. 

The hills beyond Marsh-Glen sent the answer faintly back, 
lt Where are you ?" I listened. The wind sighed low in the 
firs ; all was moorland loneliness and midnight hush. 

" Down superstition !" I commented, as that spectre rose 
up black by the black yew at the gate. " This is not thy 
deception, nor thy witchcraft ; it is the work of nature. She 
was roused, and did — no miracle — but her best." 

I broke from St. John, who had followed, and would have 
detained me. It was ray turn to assume ascendency. My 
powers were in play, and in force. I told him to forbear ques- 
tion or remark ; I desired him to leave me ; I must, and would 
be alone. He obeyed at once. Where there is energy to 



SELECTIONS. 85 

command well enough, obedience never fails. T mounted to 
my chamber ; locked myself in ; fell on my knees ; and pray- 
ed in my way — a different way to St. John's, but effective in 
its own fashion. I seemed to penetrate very near a Mighty 
Spirit ; and my soul rushed out in gratitude at his feet. I 
rose from the thanksgiving — took a resolve and lay down, un- 
scared, enlightened — eager but for the daylight. 

It wanted yet two hours of breakfast time. I filled the 
interval m walking softly about my room, and pondering the 
visitation which had given my plans their present bent. I 
recalled that inward sensation I had experienced, for I could 
recall it with all its unspeakable strangeness. I recalled the 
voice I had heard ; again I questioned whence it came, as vain- 
ly as before. It seemed in me — not in the external world. I 
asked, was it a mere nervous impression — a delusion ? I could 
not conceive or believe it ; it was more like an inspiration. 
The wondrous shock of feeling had come like the earthquake 
which shook the foundation of Paul and Silas's prison ; it had 
opened the doors of the soul's cell, and loosed its bands — it 
had wakened it out of its sleep, whence it sprung, trembling, 
listening, aghast ; then vibrated thrice a cry on my startled 
ear, and in my quaking heart, and through my spirit, which 
neither feared nor shook, but exulted as if in joy over the suc- 
cess of one effort it had been privileged to make, independent 
of the cumbrous body. 

" Ere many days," I said, as I terminated my musings, " I 
will know something of him whose voice seemed last night to 
summon me. Letters have proved of no avail — personal inquiry 
shall replace them." 



86 SELECTIONS. 



HIS VISION. 



Some days since — nay, I can number them, four ; it was 
last Monday night, a singular mood came over me ; one in 
which grief replaced frenzy ; sorrow, snllenness. I had long 
had the impression that since I could nowhere find you, you 
must be dead. Late that night, perhaps it might be between 
eleven and twelve o'clock, ere I retired to my dreary rest, I 
supplicated God, that, if it seemed good to him, I might soon 
be taken from this life, and admitted to that world to come, 
where there was still hope of rejoining Jane. 

I was in my own room, and sitting by the window, which 
was open ; it soothed me to feel the balmy night air, though I 
could see no stars, and only by a vague, luminous haze, knew 
the presence of a moon. I longed for thee, Janet ! Oh, I 
longed for thee both with soul and flesh ! I asked of God, at 
once in anguish and humility, if I had not been long enough 
desolate, afflicted, tormented, and might not soon taste bliss 
and peace once more. That I merited all I endured, I acknowl- 
edged ; that I could scarcely endure more, I pleaded ; and the 
alpha and omega of my heart's wishes broke involuntarily from 
my lips, in the words, " Jane ! Jane ! Jane !" 

" Did you speak these words aloud V 

11 1 did, Jane. If any listener had heard me he would have 
thought me mad, I pronounced them with such frantic energy. ' ' 

II And it was last Monday night ; somewhere near mid- 
night?" 

" Yes ; but the time is of no consequence ; what followed is 
the strange point. You will think me superstitious — some 
superstition I have in my blood, and always had ; nevertheless, 
this is true — true, at least, it is that I heard what I now relate. 



SELECTIONS. 87 

" As I exclaimed ' Jane ! Jane ! Jane ! ' a voice — I cannot 
tell whence the voice came, but I know whose voice it was — 
replied, ' I am coming ; wait for me ! ' and a moment after, 
went whispering on the wind, the words, 'Where are you ? ' 

" I'll tell you, if I can, the idea, the picture these words 
opened to my mind ; yet it is difficult to express what I want 
to express. Ferndean is buried, as you see, in a heavy wood, 
where sound falls dull, and lies unreverberating. ' Where are 
you V seemed spoken among mountains, for I heard a hill-sent 
echo repeat the words. Cooler and fresher at the moment the 
gale seemed to visit my brow ; I could have deemed that in 
some wild, lone scene, I and Jane were meeting. In spirit, I 
believe, we must have met. You, no doubt, were, at that 
hour, in unconscious sleep, Jane ; perhaps your soul wandered 
from its soul to comfort mine ; for those were your accents — 
as certain as I live — they were yours !" 

Reader, it was on Monday night, near midnight, that I too 
had received the mysterious summons ; those were the very 
words by which I had replied to it. I listened to Mr. Roches- 
ter's narrative, but made no disclosure in return. The coinci- 
dence struck me as too awful and inexplicable to be communi- 
cated or discussed. If I told anything, my tale w T ould be such 
as must necessarily make a profound impression on the mind of 
my hearer ; and that mind, yet from its sufferings too prone to 
gloom, needed not the deeper shade of the supernatural. I 
kept these things, then, and pondered them in my heart. 

Presentiments are strange things ! and so are sympathies, 
and so are signs ; and the three combined make one mystery to 
which humanity has not yet found the key. I never laughed 
at presentiments m my life, because I have had strange ones of 
my own. Sympathies, I believe, exist (for instance, between 



SELECTIONS. 



far-distant, long-absent, wholly estranged relatives ; asserting, 
notwithstanding their alienation, the unity of the source to 
which each traces his origin), whose workings baffle mortal com- 
prehension. And signs, for aught we know, may be but the 
sympathies of nature with man. 

When I was a little girl, only six years old, I one night 
heard Bessie Leaven say to Martha Abbott that she had been 
dreaming about a little child ; and that to dream of children 
was a sure sign of trouble, either to one's self or one's kin. 
The saying might have worn out of my memory, had not a cir- 
cumstance immediately followed which served indelibly to fix 
it there. The next day Bessie was sent for home to the 
death-bed of her little sister. 

Of late I had often recalled this saying and this incident ; 
for during the past week scarcely a night had gone over my 
couch that had not brought with it a dream of an infant, which 
I sometimes hushed in my arms, sometimes dandled on my 
knee, sometimes watched playing with daisies on a lawn ; or 
again, dabbling its hands in running water. It was a wailing 
child this night, and a laughing one the next — now it nestled 
close to me, and now it ran away from me ; but whatever 
mood the apparition evinced, whatever aspect it wore, it failed 
not for seven successive nights to meet me the moment I 
entered the land of slumber. 

I did not like this iteration of one idea — this strange re- 
currence of one image ; and I grew nervous as bedtime came. 
Night was come, and her planets were risen ; a safe, still night ; 
too serene for the companionship of fear. We know that God 
is everywhere, 'but certainly we feel his presence most when 
his works are on the grandest scale spread before us ; and it is 
in the unclouded night-sky, where his worlds wheel their silent 



SELECTIONS. 89 

course, that we read clearest his infinitude, his omnipotence, 
his omnipresence. I had risen to my knees to pray for Mr. 
Rochester. Looking up, I, with tear-dimmed eyes, saw the 
mighty milky- way. Remembering what it was — what countless 
systems there swept space like a soft trace of light — I felt the 
might and strength of God. Sure was I of his efficiency to 
save what he had made ; convinced I grew that neither earth 
should perish, nor one of the souls it treasured. I turned my 
prayer to thanksgiving ; the Source of Life was also the Saviour 
of Spirits. Mr. Rochester was safe ; he was God's, and by 
God would be guarded. I again nestled to the breast of the 
hill ; and ere-long, in sleep, forgot sorrow. 

DUTY OF FATHERS TO DAUGHTERS. 

I believe single women should have more to do — better 
chances of interesting and profitable occupation than they 
possess now. Could men live so themselves ? Would they 
not be very weary ? And, when there came no relief to their 
weariness, but only reproaches at its slightest manifestation 
would not their weariness ferment in time to frenzy ? Lucretia, 
spinning at midnight in the midst of her maidens, and Solo- 
mon's virtuous woman, are often quoted as patterns of what 
"the sex" (as they say) ought to be. I don't know. 
Lucretia, I daresay, was a most worthy sort of a person, much 
like my cousin Hortense Moore ; but she kept her servants up 
very late. I should not have liked to be among the number 
of the maidens. Hortense would just work me and Sarah in 
that fashion if she could, and neither of us would bear it. The 
" virtuous woman," again, had her household up in the very 
middle of the night ; she " got breakfast over " (as Mrs. Sykes 



90 SELECTIONS. 

says) before one o'clock a.m.; but she had something more to 
do than spin and give out portions ; she was a manufacturer — 
she made fine linen and sold it ; she was an agriculturist — she 
bought estates and planted vineyards. That woman was a 
manager ; she was what the matrons hereabouts call " a clever 
woman. ' ' On the whole, I like her a good deal better than 
Lucretia ; but I don't believe either Mr. Armitage or Mr. 
Sykes could have got the advantage of her in a bargain ; yet I 
like her. il Strength and honor were her clothing ; the heart 
of her husband safely trusted in her. She opened her mouth 
with wisdom ; in her tongue was the law of kindness ; her 
children rose up and called her blessed ; her husband also 
praised her." King of Israel ! your model of a woman is a 
worthy model ! But are we, in these days, brought up to be like 
her ? Men of Yorkshire, do your daughters reach this royal 
standard ? Can they reach it ? Can you help them to reach 
it ? Can you give them a field in which their faculties may be 
exercised and grow ? Men of England ! look at your poor 
girls, many of them fading around you, dropping off. in con- 
sumption or decline ; or, what is worse, degenerating to sour 
old maids — envious, backbiting, wretched, because life is a 
desert to them ; or, what is worst of all, reduced to strive, by 
scarce modest coquetry and debasing artifice, to gain that posi- 
tion and consideration by marriage which to celibacy is denied. 
Fathers ! cannot you alter these things ? Perhaps not all at 
once ; but consider the matter well when it is brought before 
you, receive it as a theme worthy of thought ; do not dismiss 
it with an idle jest or an unmanly insult. You would wish to 
be proud of your daughters and not to blush for them — then 
seek for them an interest and an occupation which shall raise 
them above the flirt, the manoeuvrer, the mischief-making tale- 



SELECTIONS. 91 

bearer. Keep your girls' minds narrow and fettered — they 
will still be a plague and a care, sometimes a disgrace to you ; 
cultivate them — give them scope and work — they will be your 
gayest companions in health ; your tenderest nurses in sick- 
ness ; your most faithful props in age. 

BRITISH TRADESMEN. 

All men, taken singly, are more or less selfish ; and taken 
in bodies they are intensely so. The British merchant 
is no exception to this rule : the mercantile classes illustrate 
it strikingly. These classes certainly think too exclusively 
of making money ; they are too oblivious of every national 
consideration but that of extending England's (i.e. their own) 
commerce. Chivalrous feeling, disinterestedness, pride in 
honor, is too dead in their hearts. A land ruled by them alone 
would too often make ignominious submission — not at all from 
the motives Christ teaches, but rather from those Mammon 
instils. During the late war, the tradesmen of England would 
have endured buffets from the French on the right cheek and 
on the left ; their cloak they would have given to Napoleon, 
and then have politely offered him their coat also, nor would 
they have withheld their waistcoat if urged ; they would have 
prayed permission only to retain their one other garment, for 
the sake of the purse in its pocket. Not one spark of spirit, 
not one symptom of resistance would they have shown till the 
hand of the Corsican bandit had grasped that beloved purse ; 
then, perhaps, transfigured at once into British bull-dogs, they 
would have sprung at the robber's throat, and there they would 
have fastened, and there hung — inveterate, insatiable, till the 
treasure had been restored. Tradesmen, when they speak 



93 SELECTIONS, 

against war, always profess to hate it because it is a bloody 
and barbarous proceeding ; you would think, to hear them talk, 
that they are peculiarly civilized — especially gentle and kindly 
of disposition to their fellow-men. This is not the case. Many 
of them are extremely narrow and cold-hearted, have no good 
feeling for any class but their own, are distant — even hostile to 
all others ; call them useless ; seem to question their right to 
exist ; seem to grudge them the very air they breathe, and to 
think the circumstance of their eating, drinking, and living in 
decent houses, quite unjustifiable. They do not know what 
others do in the way of helping, pleasing, or teaching their 
race ; they will not trouble themselves to inquire ; whoever is 
not in trade, is accused of eating the bread of idleness, of pass- 
ing a useless existence. Long may it be ere England really 
becomes a nation of shopkeepers ! 

LOVERS, MASCULINE AND FEMININE. 

A lover masculine so disappointed can speak and urge ex- 
planation ; a lover feminine can say nothing ; if she did, the 
result would be shame and anguish, inward remorse for self- 
treachery. Nature would brand such demonstration as a rebel- 
lion against her instincts, and would vindictively repay it 
afterward by the thunderbolt of self- contempt smiting sud- 
denly in secret. Take the matter as you find it : ask no ques- 
tions, utter no remonstrances. It is your best wisdom. You 
expected bread, and you have got a stone ; break your teeth 
on it, and don't shriek because the nerves are martyrized ; do 
not doubt that your mental stomach — if you have such a thing 
— is strong as an ostrich's — the stone will digest. You held 
out your hand for an egg, and fate put into it a scorpion. 



SELECTIONS. 93 

Show no consternation. Close jour fingers firmly upon the 
gift : let it sting through your palm. Never mind. In time, 
after your hand and arm have swelled and quivered long with 
torture, the squeezed scorpion will die, and you will have 
learned the great lesson how to endure without a sob. For the 
whole remnant of your life, if you survive the test — some, it is 
said, die under it — you will be stronger, wiser, less sensitive. 
This you are not aware of, perhaps, at the time, and so cannot 
borrow courage of that hope. Nature, however, as has been 
intimated, is an excellent friend in such cases, sealing the lips, 
interdicting utterance, commanding a placid dissimulation — a 
dissimulation often wearing an easy and gay mien at first, set- 
ting down to sorrow and paleness in time, then passing away, 
and leaving a convenient stoicism, not the less fortifying 
because it is half bitter. 

Half bitter ! Is that wrong ? No — it should be bitter ; 
bitterness is strength — it is a tonic. Sweet mild force follow- 
ing acute suffering you find nowhere : to talk of it is delusion. 
There may be apathetic exhaustion after the rack ; if energy 
remains, it will be rather a dangerous energy — deadly when 
confronted with injustice. 

Who has read the ballad of " Puir Mary Lee ?" — that old 
Scotch ballad, written I know not in what generation nor by 
what hand. Mary had been ill-used — probably in being made 
to believe that truth which was falsehood. She is not complain- 
ing, but she is sitting alone in the snow-storm, and you hear 
her thoughts. They are not the thoughts of a model heroine 
under her circumstances, but they are those of a deeply-feeling, 
strongly-resentful peasant girl. Anguish has driven her from 
the ingle-nook of home to the white-shrouded and icy hills. 
Crouched under the " cauld drift," she recalls every image of 



94 SELECTIONS. 

horror : " tbe yellow-wymed ask," " the hairy adder," " the 
auld moon-brewing-tyke," "the ghaist at e'en," "the sour 
bullister," " the milk on the taed's back." She hates these, 
but " waur she hates Robin-a-Ree !" 

" Oh, ance I lived happily by yon bonny burn — 
The warld was in love wi' me ; 
But now I maun sit 'neath the cauld drift and mourn, 
And curse black Robin-a-Ree ! 

" Then whudder awa' thou bitter biting blast, 
And sough through the scrunty tree, 
And smoor me up in the snaw fu'fast, 
And ne' er let the sun me see ! 

" Oh, ne'er melt awa' thou wreath o' snaw, 
That' s sae kind in graving me ; 
But hide me frae the scorn and guffaw 
O' villains like Robin-a-Ree. ' ' 

The gray church and grayer tombs looked divine with this 
crimson gleam on them. Nature is now at her evening 
prayers ; she is kneeling before those red hills. I see her 
prostrate on the great steps of her altar, praying for a fair night 
for mariners at sea, for travellers in deserts, for lambs on 
moors, and unfledged birds in woods. She is like what Eve 
was when she and Adam stood alone on earth. 

Well, life is short at the best ; seventy years, they say, 
pass like a vapor — like a dream when one awaketh ; and every 
path trod by human feet terminates in one bourne — the grave ; 
the little chink in the surface of this great globe — the furrow 
where the mighty husbandman with the scythe deposits the 
seed he has shaken from the ripe stem ; and there it falls, 



SELECTIONS. 95 

decays, and thence it springs again, when the world has rolled 
round a few times more. So much for the body ; the soul 
meantime wings its long flight upward, folds its wings on the 
brink of the sea of fire and glass, and gazing down through the 
burning clearness, finds there mirrored the vision of the Chris- 
tian's triple Godhead : the Sovereign Father, the Mediating 
Son, the Creator Spirit. Such words, at least, have been 
chosen to express what is inexpressible ; to describe what 
baffles description. The soul's rest hereafter, who shall 
guess ? 

Reader, when you behold an aspect for whose constant 
gloom and frown you cannot account, whose unvarying cloud 
exasperates you by its apparent causelessness, be sure that 
there is a canker somewhere, and a canker not the less deeply 
corroding because concealed. 

Let England's priests have their due ; they are a faulty set in 
some respects, being only of common flesh and blood, like us 
al) ; but the land would be badly off without them ; Britain 
would miss her church, if that church fell. God save it ! God 
also reform it 1 

It was a peaceful autumn day. The gilding of the Indian 
summer mellowed the pastures far and wide. The russet woods 
stood ripe to be stripped, but were yet full of leaf. The purple 
of heath bloom, faded but not withered, tinged the hills. The 
beck wandered down to the Hollow through a silent district ; 
no wind followed its course, or haunted its woody borders. 
Fieldhead gardens bore the seal of gentle decay. On the 
walls, swept that morning, yellow leaves had fluttered down 



96 SELECTIONS. 

again. Its time of flowers, and even of fruits, was over ; but 
a scantling of apples enriched the trees ; only a blossom here 
and there expanded pale and delicate amid a knot of faded 
leaves. 

Oh, child ! the human heart can suffer. It can hold more 
tears than the ocean holds waters. We never know how deep, 
how wide it is, till misery begins to unbind her clouds, and 
fill it with rushing blackness. 

What is that electricity they speak of, whose changes 
makes us well or ill ; whose lack or excess blasts ; whose even 
balance revives ? What are all those influences that are about 
us in the atmosphere, that keep playing over our nerves like 
fingers on stringed instruments, and call forth now a sweet 
note, and now a wail — now an exultant swell, and anon the 
saddest cadence ? 

Where is the other world ? In what will another life 
consist ? Why do I ask ? Have I not cause to think that the 
hour is hasting but too fast when the veil must be rent for 
me ? Do I not know the grand mystery is likely to burst 
prematurely on me ? Great Spirit, in whose goodness I con- 
fide, whom, as my Father, I have petitioned night and morn- 
ing from early infancy, help the weak creation of thy hands ! 
Sustain me through the ordeal I dread and must undergo ! 
Give me strength ! Give me patience ! Give me — oh, give me 
faith ! 

Sisters do not like young ladies to fall in love with their 
brothers : it seems, if not presumptuous, silly, weak, a delu- 



SELECTIONS. 97 

sion, an absurd mistake. They do not love these gentlemen 
— whatever sisterly affection they may cherish toward them — 
and that others should, repels them with a sense of crude 
romance. The first movement, in short, excited by such dis- 
covery (as with many parents on finding their children to be in 
love) is one of mixed impatience and contempt. Reason — if 
they be rational people — corrects the false feeling in time ; but 
if they be irrational, it is never corrected, and the daughter or 
sister-in-law is disliked to the end. 

Still indomitable was the reply, "I care for myself. The 
more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, 
the more t will respect myself. I will keep the law given by 
God, sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received 
by me when I was sane, and not mad — as I am now. Laws 
and principles are not for the times when there is no tempta- 
tion ; they are for such moments as this, when body and soul 
rise in mutiny against their rigor ; stringent are they ; in- 
violate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might 
break them, what would be their worth ? They have a worth, 
so I have always believed ; and if I cannot believe it now, it 
is because I am insane, quite insane, with my veins running 
fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. 
Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations are all I have 
at this hour to stand by ; there I plant my foot." 

I hate boldness — that boldness which is of the brassy brow 
and insensate nerves ; but I love the courage of the strong 
heart, the fervor of the generous blood. 

Look at the rigid and formal race of old maids — the race 
whom all despise ; they have fed themselves from youth up- 



98 SELECTIONS. 

ward on maxims of resignation and endurance. Many of them 
get ossified with their dry diet. Self-control is so continually 
their thought, so perpetually their object, that at last it absorbs 
the softer and more agreeable qualities of their nature, and 
they are mere models of austerity, fashioned out of a little parch- 
ment and much bone. 

There are impulses we can control, but there are others 
which control us, because they attain us with a tiger-leap, and 
are our masters ere we have seen them. 

No man likes to acknowledge that he has made a mistake in 
the choice of his profession, and every man worthy of the 
name will row against wind and tide before he allows himself 
to cry out, "lam baffled," and submits to be floated passively 
back to land. 

Yes, at that epoch I felt like a morning traveller who doubts 
not that from the hill he is ascending he shall behold a glorious 
sunrise. What if the track be strait, steep, and stony ? he 
sees it not ; his eyes are fixed on that summit, flushed already ; 
flushed and gilded, and, having gained it, he is certain of the 
scene beyond. He knows that the sun will face him, that his 
chariot is even now coming over the eastern horizon, and that 
the herald breeze he feels on his cheek is opening for the god's 
career a clear, vast path of azure, amid clouds soft as pearl and 
warm as flame. Difficulty and toil were to be my lot, but sus- 
tained by energy, drawn on by hopes as bright as vague, I 
deemed such a lot no hardship. I mounted now the hill in the 
shade ; there were pebbles, inequalities, briers in my path, but 
my eyes were fixed on the crimson peak above ; my imagination 



* SELECTIONS. 99 

was with the refulgent firmament beyond, and I thought 
nothing of the stones turning under my feet, or of the thorns 
scratching my face and hands. 

God knows I am not by nature vindictive. I would not 
hurt a man because I can no longer trust or like him ; but 
neither my reason nor my feelings are of the vacillating order ; 
they are not of that sandlike sort where impressions, if soon 
made, are as soon effaced. Once convinced that my friend's 
disposition is incompatible with my own, once assured that 
he it is indelibly stained with certain defects obnoxious to my 
principles, and I dissolve the connection. 

Our likings are regulated by our circumstances. The artist 
prefers a hilly country because it is picturesque ; the engineer a 
flat one because it is convenient ; the man of pleasure likes what 
he calls "a fine woman," she suits him ; the fashionable young 
gentleman admires the fashionable young lady: she is of his 
kind ; the toilworn, fagged, probably irritable tutor, blind 
almost to beauty, insensible to airs and graces, glories chiefly 
in certain mental qualities ; application, love of knowledge, 
natural capacity, docility, truthfulness, gratefulness, are the 
charms that attract his notice and win his regard. These he 
seeks, but seldom meets ; these, if by chance he finds, he 
would retain forever ; and, when separation deprives him of 
them, he feels as if some ruthless hand had snatched from 
him his only ewe lamb. 

People who are only in each other's company for amusement 
never really like each other so well, or esteem each other so 
highly, as those who work together, and perhaps suffer 
together. 



100 SELECTIONS. 

Novelists should never allow themselves to weary of the 
study of real life. If they observed this duty conscientiously, 
they would give us fewer pictures checkered with vivid con- 
trasts of light and shade ; they would seldom elevate their 
heroes and heroines to the heights of rapture, still seldom sink 
them to the depths of despair ; for, if we rarely taste the ful- 
ness of joy in this life, we yet more rarely govern the acrid 
bitterness of hopeless anguish ; unless, indeed, we have 
plunged like beasts into sensual indulgence, abused, strained, 
stimulated, again overstrained, and, at last, destroyed our 
faculties for enjoyment ; then truly, we may find ourselves 
without support, robbed of hope. Our agony is great, and 
how can it end ? We have broken the spring of our powers ; 
life must be all suffering — too feeble to conceive faith ; death 
must be darkness ; God, spirits, religion can have no place in 
our collapsed minds, where linger only hideous and polluting 
recollections of vice, and time brings us on to the brink of the 
grave, and dissolution flings us in, a rag eaten with pain, 
stamped into the chuirchyard sod by the inexorable heel of 
despair. 

But the man of regular life and rational mind never despairs. 
He loses his property — it is a blow — he staggers a moment ; 
then his energies, roused by the smart, are at work to seek a 
remedy, activity soon mitigates regret. Sickness affects him ; 
he takes patience — endures what he cannot cure. Acute pain 
racks him ; his writhing limbs know not where to find rest ; 
he leans on Hope's anchor. Death takes from him what he 
loves ; roots up and tears violently away the stem round which 
his affections were twined — a dark, dismal time, a frightful 
wrench ; but some morning religion looks into his desolate 
house with sunrise, and says that in another world, another 



SELECTIONS. 101 

life, he shall meet his kindred again. She speaks of that 
world as a place uasullied by sin — of that life as an era uniin- 
bittered by suffering ; she mightily strengthens her consola- 
tion by connecting with it two ideas — which mortals cannot 
comprehend, but on which they love to repose — Eternity, Im- 
mortality ; and the mind of the mourner being filled with an 
image, faint yet glorious — of heavenly hills all light and peace 
— of a spirit resting there in bliss — of a day when his spirit 
shall also alight there, free and disembodied — of a reunion 
perfected by love, purified from fear, he takes courage — goes 
out to encounter the necessities and discharge the duties of 
life ; and, though sadness may never lift her burden from his 
mind, Hope will enable him to support it. 

On my reason had been inscribed the conviction that un- 
lawful pleasure, trenching on another's rights, is delusive and 
envenomed pleasure ; its hollowness disappoints at the time ; 
its poison cruelly tortures afterward ; its effects deprave for- 
ever. 

If a wife's nature loathes that of the man she is wedded to, 
marriage must be slavery. Against slavery all right thinkers 
revolt, and though torture be the price of resistance, torture 
must be dared ; though the only road to freedom lie through 
the gates of death, those gates must be passed ; for freedom 
is indispensable. 

Silence is of different kinds, and breathes different mean- 
ings ; no words could inspire a pleasanter content than did 
M. Paul's wordless presence. 

I do believe there are some human beings so born, so reared, 
so guided from a soft cradle to a calm and late grave, that no 



102 SELECTIONS. 

excessive suffering penetrates their lot, and no tempestuous 
blackness overcasts their journey. And often these are not 
pampered, selfish beings, but Nature's elect, harmonious and 
benign ; men and women mild with charity, kind agents of 
God's kind attributes. 

There is in lovers a certain infatuation of egotism ; they will 
have a witness of their happiness, cost that witness what it 
may. 

Pedigree, social position, and recondite intellectual acquisi- 
tion, occupied about the same space and place in my interests 
and thoughts ; they were my third-class lodgers, to whom 
could be assigned only the small sitting-room and the little 
back bedroom. Even if the dining- and drawing-rooms stood 
empty, I never confessed it to them, as thinking minor ac- 
commodations better suited to their circumstances. The 
world, I soon learned, held a different estimate ; and I make 
no doubt the world is very right in its view, yet believe also 
that I am not quite wrong in mine. 

A calm day had settled into a crystalline evening. The 
world wore a North Pole coloring. All its lights and tints 
looked like the " reflets" of white, or violet, or pale-green 
gems. The hills wore a lilac blue ; the setting sun had purple 
in its red ; thy sky was ice, all silvered azure ; when the stars 
rose, they were of white crystal — not gold ; gray, or cerulean, 
or faint emerald hues — cool, pure, and transparent — tinged the 
mass of the landscape. 

Man is ever clogged with his mortality, and it was my 
mortal nature which now pattered and plained ; my nerves 



SELECTIONS. 103 

which jarred and gave a false sound, because the soul, of late 
rushing headlong to an aim, had overstrained the body's com- 
parative weakness. A horror of great darkness fell upon me ; 
I felt my chamber invaded by one I had known formerly, but 
had thought forever departed. I was temporarily a prey 
to hypochondria. She had been my acquaintance, nay, my 
guest once before in boyhood ; I had entertained her at bed 
and board for a year ; for that space of time I had her to 
myself in a secret ; she lay with me ; she ate with me ; she 
walked out with me, showing me nooks in woods, hollows in 
hills, where we could sit together, and where she could 
droop her drear veil over me, and so hide sky and sun, grass 
and green tree ; taking me entirely to her death-cold bosom 
and holding me with arms of bone. What tales she would tell 
me at such hours ! What songs she would recite in my ears ! 
How she would discourse to me of her own country — the 
grave — and again and again promise to conduct me there ere 
long ; and drawing me to the very brink of a black, sullen 
river, show me on the other side shores unequal with mound, 
monument, and tablet, standing up in a glimmer more hoary 
than moonlight. "Necropolis!" she would whisper, pointing 
to the pale piles, and add, " it contains a mansion prepared 
for you." But my boyhood was lonely, parentless, uncheered 
by brother or sister ; and there was no marvel that, just as I 
rose to youth, a sorceress, finding me lost in vague mental 
wanderings, with many affections and few objects, glowing- 
aspirations and gloomy prospects, strong desires and tender 
hopes, should lift up her illusive lamp to me in the distance, 
and lure me to her vaulted home of horrors. 



104 SELECTIONS. 



REASON. 



This hag, this Reason, would not let me look up, or smile, or 
hope ; she could not rest unless I were altogether crushed, 
cowed, broken-in, and broken down. According to her I was 
born only to work for a piece of bread, to await the pains of 
death, and steadily through all life to despond. Reason might 
be right ; yet no wonder we are glad at times to defy her, to 
rush from under her rod and give a truant hour to Imagination 
— her soft, bright foe, our sweet Help, our divine Hope. We 
shall and must break bounds at intervals, despite the terrible 
revenge that awaits our return. Reason is vindictive as a 
devil ; for me she was always envenomed as a stepmother. If 
I have obeyed her, it has chiefly been with the obedience of 
fear, not of love. Long ago I should have have died of her 
ill-usage ; her stint, her chill, her barren board, her icy bed, 
her savage, ceaseless blows ; but for that kinder Power who 
holds my secret and sworn allegiance. Often has Reason 
turned me out by night, in mid -winter, on cold snow, flinging 
for sustenance the gnawed bone dogs had forsaken ; sternly 
has she vowed her stores held nothing more for me — harshly 
denied my right to ask better things. . . . Then, looking 
up, have I seen in the sky a head amid circling stars, of which 
the midmost and the brightest lent a ray sympathetic and 
attent. A spirit, softer and better than Human Reason has 
descended with quiet flight to the waste — bringing all round 
her a sphere of air borrowed of eternal summer ; bringing 
perfume of flowers which cannot fade — fragrance of trees 
whose fruit is life ; bringing breezes pure from a world whose 
day needs no sun to lighten it. My hunger has this good 
angel appeased with food, sweet and strange, gathered among 



SELECTIONS. 105 

gleaning angels, garnering their dew-white harvest in the first 
fresh hour of a heavenly day ; tenderly has she assuaged the 
insufferable tears which weep away life itself — kindly given 
rest to deadly weariness — generously lent hope and impulse 
to paralyzed despair. Divine, compassionate, succorable in- 
fluence ! When I bend the knee to other than God, it shall 
be at thy white and winged feet, beautiful on mountain or on 
plain. Temples have been reared to the Sun — altars dedicated 
to the Moon. Oh, greater glory ! To thee neither hands 
build nor lips consecrate ; but hearts, through ages, are faith- 
ful to thy worship. A dwelling thou hast, too wide for walls, 
too high for dome — a temple whose floors are space — rites 
whose mysteries transpire in presence, to the kindling, the 
harmony of worlds ! 

To " sit in sunshine calm and sweet" is said to be excellent 
for weak people ; it gives them vital force. 

There are human tempers, bland, glowing, and genial, 
within whose influence it is as good for the poor in spirit to 
live, as it is for the feeble in frame to bask in the glow of noon. 

These struggles with the natural character, the strong native 
bent of the heart, may seem futile and fruitless, but in the 
end they do good. They tend, however slightly, to give the 
actions, the conduct, that turn which Reason approves, and 
which Feeling, perhaps, too often opposes. They certainly 
make a difference in the general tenor of a life, and enable 
it to be better regulated, more equable, quieter on the surface ; 
and it is on the surface only the common gaze will fall. As 
to what lies below, leave that with God. Man, your equal, 
weak as you, and not fit to be your judge, may be shut out 



106 SELECTIONS. 

thence. Take it to your Maker ; show Him the secrets of the 
spirit He gave ; ask Him how you are to bear the pains He 
has appointed ; kneel in His presence, and pray with faith for 
light in darkness, for strength in piteous weakness, for patience 
in extreme need. Certainly, at some hour, though perhaps 
not your hour, the waiting waters will stir ; in some shape, 
though perhaps not the shape you dreamed, which your heart 
loved, and for which it bled, the healing herald will descend, 
the cripple, and the blind, and the dumb, and the possessed 
will be led to bathe. Herald, come quickly ! Thousands lie 
round the pool, weeping and despairing, to see it, through 
slow years, stagnant. Long are the " times" of heaven. The 
orbits of angel messengers seem wide to mortal vision : they 
may enring ages. The cycle of one departure and return 
may clasp unnumbered generations ; and dust, kindling to 
brief suffering life, and through pain, passing back to dust, 
may meanwhile perish out of memory again, and yet again. 
To how many maimed and mourning millions is the first and 
sole angel visitant, him Easterns call Azrael ! 

The short winter day, as I perceived from the far-declined 
sun, was already approaching its close ; a chill frost-mist was 

rising from the river on which X stands, and along whose 

banks the road I had taken lay ; it dimmed the earth, but did 
not obscure the clear, icy blue of the January sky. There was 
a great stillness near and far ; the time of the day favored tran- 
quillity, as the people were all employed within doors, the hour 
of evening release from the factories not being yet arrived ; a 
sound of full-flowing water alone pervaded the air, for the river 
was deep and abundant, swelled by the melting of a late snow. 
I stood awhile leaning over a wall, and, looking down at the 



SELECTIONS. 107 

current, I watched the rapid rush of its waves. I desired 
memory to take a clear and permanent impression of the scene, 
and treasure it for future years. Grovetown church clock 
struck four. Looking up, I beheld the last of that day's sun 
glinting red through the leafless boughs of some very old oak 
trees surrounding the church : its light colored and character- 
ized the picture as I wished. I paused yet a moment till the 
sweet, low sound of the bell had quite died out of the air ; 
then ear, eye, and feeling satisfied, I quitted the wall, and once 
more turned my face toward X . 

Where my soul went during that swoon I cannot tell. 
Whatever she saw, or wherever she travelled in her trance on 
that strange night, she kept her own secret, never whispering a 
word to Memory, and baffling imagination by an indissoluble 
silence. She may have gone upward, and come in sight of 
her eternal home, hoping for leave to rest now, and deeming 
that her painful union with matter was at last dissolved. 
While she so deemed, an angel may have warned her away 
from heaven's threshold, and, guiding her weeping down, have 
bound her once more, all shuddering and unwilling, to that poor 
frame, cold and wasted, of whose companionship she was 
grown more than weary. 

How often, while women and girls sit warm at sung firesides, 
their hearts and imaginations are doomed to divorce from the 
comfort surrounding their persons, forced out by night to 
wander through dark ways, to dare stress of weather, to con- 
tend with the snow-blast, to wait at lonely gates and stiles in 
wildest storms, watching and listening to see and hear the 
father, the son, the husband coming home. 



108 SELECTIONS. 

There are people whom a lowered position degrades morally, 
to whom loss of connection costs loss of self-respect : are not 
these justified in placing the highest value on that station and 
association which is their safeguard from debasement ? If a 
man feels that he would become contemptible in his own eyes 
were it generally known that his ancestry were simple and not 
gentle, poor and not rich, workers and not capitalists, would it 
be right severely to blame him for keeping these fatal facts out 
of sight — for starting, trembling, quailing at the chance which 
threatens exposure ? The longer we live the more our experi- 
ence widens ; the less prone are we to judge our neighbor's con- 
duct, to question the world's wisdom ; whenever an accumula- 
tion of small defences is found, whether surrounding the prude's 
virtue or the man of the world's respectability, there, be sure, 
it is needed. 

Those who live in retirement, whose lives have fallen amid 
the seclusion of schools or of other walled-in and guarded dwell- 
ings, are liable to be suddenly and for a long while dropped out 
of the memory of their friends, the denizens of a freer world ! 
Unaccountably, perhaps, and close upon some space of 
unusually frequent intercourse — some congeries of rather excit- 
ing little circumstances, whose natural sequel would rather seem 
to be the quickening than the suspension of communication — 
there falls a stilly pause, a wordless silence, a long blank of 
oblivion. Unbroken always is this blank ; alike entire and 
unexplained. The letter, the message once frequent, are cut 
off ; the visit, formerly periodical, ceases to occur ; the book, 
paper, or other token that indicated remembrance, comes no 
more. 

Always there are excellent reasons for these lapses, if the 



SELECTIONS. 109 

hermit but knew them. Though he is stagnant in his cell, his 
connections without are whirling in the very vortex of life. 
That void interval which passes for him so slowly that the very 
clocks seem at a stand, and the wingless hours plod by in the 
likeness of tired tramps prone to rest at milestones — that same 
interval, perhaps, teems with events, and pants with hurry for 
his friends. 

The hermit — if he be a sensible hermit — will swallow his 
own thoughts, and lock up his own emotions during these 
weeks of inward winter. He will know that Destiny designed 
him to imitate, on occasion, the dormouse, and he will be com- 
fortable ; make a tidy ball of himself, creep into a hole of 
life's wall, and submit decently to the drift which blows in and 
soon blocks him up, preserving him in ice for the season. 

Ah ! when imagination once runs riot, where do we stop ? 
What winter tree so bare and branchless — what wayside, hedge- 
munching animal so humble, that Fancy, a passing cloud, and 
a struggling moonbeam, will not clothe it in spirituality, and 
make of it a phantom ? 

There are certain things in which we so rarely meet with our 
double that it seems a miracle when that chance befalls. 

For a little while, the blooming semblance of beauty may 
nourish round weakness, but it cannot bear a blast ; it soon 
fades, even in serenest sunshine. 

I have ever felt most burdensome that sort of sensibility 
which bends of its own will, a giant slave under the sway of 

good sense. 



110 SELECTIONS. 

We walked back to the Rue Fossette by moonlight — such 
moonlight as fell on Eden — shining through the shades of the 
Great Garden, and haply gilding a path glorious for a step 
divine — a Presence nameless. Once in their lives some men 
and women go back to these first fresh days of our great sire 
and mother — taste that grand morning's dew — bathe in its sun- 
rise. 

Faithful women err in this, that they think themselves the 
sole faithful of God's creatures. 

No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as 
that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such 
advice mean ? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in 
mould and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining 
far down upon us out of heaven. She is a divine dew which 
the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels gently drop- 
ping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of 
Paradise. 

If there are words and wrongs like knives, whose deep- 
inflicted lacerations never heal — cutting injuries and insults of 
serrated and poison-dripping edge — so, too there are consola- 
tions of tone too fine for the ear not fondly and forever to 
retain their echo : caressing kindnesses — loved, lingered over 
through a whole life, recalled with unfaded tenderness, and 
answering the call with undimmed shine, out of that raven 
cloud foreshadowing Death himself. 

Where, indeed, does the moon not look well ? What is the 
scene, confined or expansive, which her orb does not hallow ? 



SELECTIONS. Ill 

Rosy or fiery, she mounted now above a not distant bank ; 
even while we watched her flushed ascent, she cleared to gold, 
and in very brief space floated up stainless into a now calm sky. 

Our natures own predilections and antipathies alike strange. 
There are people from whom we secretly shrink, whom we 
would personally avoid, though reason confesses that they are 
good people. There are others with faults of temper, etc., evi- 
dent enough, beside whom we live content, as if the air about 
them did us good. 

No man — no woman, is always strong, always able to bear up 
against the unjust opinion — the vilifying word. Calumny, 
even from the mouth of a fool, will sometimes cut into un- 
guarded feelings. 

I believe — I daily find it proved — that we can get nothing 
in this world worth keeping, not so much as a principle or a 
conviction, except out of purifying flame, or through strength- 
ening peril. We err ; we fall ; we are humbled — then we 
walk more carefully. We greedily eat and drink poison out of 
the gilded cup of vice, or from the beggar's wallet of avarice ; 
we are sickened, degraded ; everything good in us rebels 
against us ; our souls rise bitterly indignant against our bodies ; 
there is a period of civil war ; if the soul has strength, it con- 
quers and rules thereafter. 

Not always do those who dare such divine conflict prevail. 
Night after night the sweat of agony may burst dark on the 
forehead ; the suppliant may cry for mercy with that soundless 
voice the soul utters when its appeal is to the Invisible. 



112 SELECTIONS. 

" Spare my beloved," it may implore, " Heal my life's life. 
Rend not from me what long affection entwines with my whole 
nature. God of heaven, bend — hear — be clement !" And 
after this cry and strife, the sun may rise and see him worsted. 
That opening morn, which used to salute him with the whisper 
of zephyrs, the carol of skylarks, may breathe, as its first 
accents, from the dear lips which color and heat have quitted, 
" Oh, I have had a suffering night. This morning I am worse. 
I have tried to rise. I cannot. Dreams I am unused to have 
troubled me." 

Then the watcher approaches the patient's pillow, and sees a 
new and strange moulding of the familiar features, feels at 
once that the insufferable moment draws nigh, knows that it is 
God's will that his idol shall be broken, and bends his head, 
and subdues his soul to the sentence he cannot avert, and 
scarce can bear. 

This is an autumn evening, wet and wild. There is only 
one cloud in the sky, but it curtains it from pole to pole. The 
wind cannot rest ; it hurries sobbing over hills of sullen outline, 
colorless with twilight and mist. Rain has beat all day on that 
church tower. It rises dark from the stony inclosure of its 
graveyard. The nettles, the long grass, and the tombs, all drip 
with wet. This evening reminds me too forcibly of another 
evening some years ago — a howling, rainy autumn evening, 
too, when certain persons who had that day performed a 
pilgrimage to a new-made grave in a heretic cemetery sat near 
a wood-fire on the hearth of a foreign dwelling. They were 
merry and social, but they each knew that a gap, never to be 
filled, had been made in their circle. They knew they had lost 
something whose absence could never be quite atoned for so 



SELECTIONS. 113 

long as they lived ; and they knew that heavy-falling rain was 
soaking into the wet earth which covered their lost darling, 
and that the sad, sighing gale was mourning above her buried 
head. The fire warmed thern ; life and friendship yet blessed 
them ; but Jessie lay cold, coffined, solitary, only the sod 
screening her from the storm. 

The true poet, quiet externally though he may be, has often 
a truculent spirit under his placidity, and is full of shrewdness 
in his meekness, and can measure the whole stature of those 
who look down on him, and correctly ascertain the weight and 
value of the pursuit they disdain him for not having followed. 
It is happy that he can have his own bliss, his own society with 
his great friend and goddess, nature, quite independent of 
those who find little pleasure in him, and in whom he finds no 
pleasure at all. It is just that while the world and circum- 
stances often turn a dark, cold side to him — and properly, too, 
because he first turns a dark, cold, careless side to them — he 
should be able to maintain a festal brightness and cherishing 
glow in his bosom, which makes all bright and genial for him ; 
while strangers, perhaps, deem his existence a Polar winter 
never gladdened by a sun. The true poet is not one whit to 
be pitied ; and he is apt to laugh in his sleeve when any mis- 
guided sympathizer whines over his wrongs. Even when utili- 
tarians sit in judgment on him, and pronounce him and his art 
useless, he hears the sentence with such a hard derision, such a 
broad, deep, comprehensive and merciless contempt of the 
unhappy Pharisees who pronounce it, that he is rather to be 
chidden than condoled with. 

After all, the British peasantry are the best taught, best 
mannered, most self-respecting of any in Europe. 



114 SELECTIONS. 

It is a fine thing, reader, to be lifted in a moment from in- 
digence to wealth — a very fine thing ; bat not a matter one 
can comprehend, or consequently enjoy, all at once. And 
then there are other chances in life far more thrilling and rapt- 
nre-giving ; this is solid, an affair of the actual world, nothing 
ideal about it ; all its associations are solid and sober, and its 
manifestations are the same. One does not jump, and spring, 
and shout hurrah ! at hearing one has got a fortune ; one 
begins to consider responsibilities and to ponder business ; on 
a base of steady satisfaction rise certain grave cares — and we 
contain ourselves, and brood over our bliss with a solemn brow. 

A splendid midsummer shone over England ; skies so pure, 
suns so radiant as were then seen in long succession, seldom 
favor, even singly, our wave-girt land. It was as if a band of 
Italian days had come from the South, like a flock of glorious 
passenger-birds, and lighted to rest them on the cliffs of 
Albion, The hay was all got in ; the fields around Thorn- 
field were green and shorn ; the roads white and baked ; the 
trees were in their dark prime ; hedge and wood, full-leaved 
and deeply-tinted, contrasted well with the Bunny hue of the 
cleared meadows between. 

It is a happy thing that time quells the longings of vengeance, 
and hushes the promptings of rage and aversion : I had left 
this woman in bitterness and hate, and I came back to her now 
with no other emotion than a sort of ruth for her great suffer- 
ings, and a strong yearning to forget and forgive all injuries — 
to be reconciled, and clasp hands in amity. 

All men of talent, whether they be men of feeling or not ; 
whether they be zealots, or aspirants, or despots — provided 



SELECTIONS. 115 

only they be sincere— have their sublime moments ; when they 
subdue and rule. 

If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little 
amazed ; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an 
illusion about women ; they do not read them in a true light ; 
they misapprehend them, both for good and evil : their good 
woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel ; their bad woman 
almost always a fiend. Then to hear them fall into ecstasies 
with each other's creations, worshipping the heroine of such 
a poem — novel — drama, thinking it fine — divine ! Fine and 
divine it may be, but often quite artificial — false as the rose in 
my best bonnet there. If I spoke all I think on this point ; if 
I gave my real opinion of some first-rate female characters in 
first-rate works, where should I be ? Dead under a cairn of 
avenging stones in half an hour. 

Yorkshire has such families here and t4iere among her hills 
and wolds — peculiar, racy, vigorous ; of good blood and strong 
brain ; turbulent somewhat in the pride of their strength, and 
intractable in the force of their native powers ; wanting polish, 
wanting consideration, wanting docility, but sound, spirited, 
and true-bred as the eagle on the cliff or the steed in the steppe. 

It flashes on me at this moment how sisters feel toward each 
other. Affection twined with their life, which no shocks of 
feeling can uproot, which little quarrels only trample an instant 
that it may spring more freshly when the pressure is removed ; 
affection that no passion can ultimately outrival, with which 
even love itself cannot do more than compete in force and 
truth. Love hurts us so : it is so tormenting, so racking, and 



US SELECTIONS. 

it burns away our strength with its flame ; in affection is no 
pain and no lire, only sustenance and balm. 

That British love of decency will work miracles. The 
poverty which reduces an Irish girl to rags is impotent to rob 
the English girl of the neat wardrobe she knows necessary to 
her self-respect. 

Mother, the Lord who gave each of us our talents will 
come home some day, and will demand from all an account. 
The teapot, the old stocking-foot, the linen rag, the willow- 
pattern tureen, will yield up their barren deposit in many a 
house. Suffer your daughters at least to put their money to 
the exchangers, that they may be enabled at the Master's 
coming to pay him his own with usury. 

The future sometimes seems to sob a low warning of the 
events it is bringing us, like some gathering though yet remote 
storm, which, in tones of the wind, in flushings of the firma- 
ment, in clouds strangely torn, announces a blast strong to 
strew the sea with wrecks : or commissioned to bring in fog 
the yellow taint of pestilence, covering white Western isles 
with the poisoned exhalations of the East, dimming the lattices 
of English homes with the breath of Indian plague. At other 
times, this future bursts suddenly, as if a rock had rent, and 
in it a grave had opened, whence issues the body of one that 
slept. Ere you are aware, you stand face to face Avith a 
shrouded and unthought-of calamity — a new Lazarus. 

Most people have had a period or periods in their lives 
when they have felt thus forsaken ; when, having long hoped 



SELECTIONS. 117 

against hope, and still seen the day of fruition deferred, their 
hearts have truly sickened within them. This is a terrible 
hour, but it is often that darkest point which precedes the rise 
of day ; that turn of the year when the icy January wind car- 
ries over the waste at once the dirge of departing winter and 
the prophecy of coming spring. The perishing birds, how- 
ever, cannot thus understand the blast before which they 
shiver ; and as little can the suffering soul recognize, in the 
climax of its affliction, the dawn of its deliverance. Yet let 
whoever grieves still cling fast to love and faith in God : God 
will never deceive, never finally desert him. " Whom he 
loveth, he chasteneth." These words are true, and should not 
be forgotten. 

" I saw kneeling on those hills — I now see — a woman- 
Titan ; her robe of blue air spreads to the outskirts of the 
heath, where yonder flock is grazing ; a veil, white as an 
avalanche, sweeps from her head to her feet, and arabesques 
of lightning flame on its borders. Under her breast I see her 
zone, purple like that horizon ; through its blush shines the 
star of evening. Her steady eyes I cannot picture ; they 
are clear — they are deep as lakes — they are lifted and full of 
worship — they tremble with the softness of love and the lustre 
of prayer. Her forehead has the expanse of a cloud, and 
is paler than the early moon, risen long before dark gathers ; 
she reclines her bosom on the ridge of Stilbro' Moor ; her 
mighty hands are joined beneath it. So kneeling, face to face 
she speaks with God. That Eve is Jehovah's daughter, as 
Adam was his son." 

" She is very vague and visionary ! Come, Shirley, we 
ought to go into church." 



118 SELECTIONS. 

" Caroline, ± will not : I will stay out here with my mother 
Eve, in these days called Nature. I love her — undying, 
mighty being ! Heaven may have faded from her brow when 
she fell in Paradise ; but all that is glorious on earth shines 
there still. She is taking me to her bosom, and showing me 
her heart. Hush, Caroline ! you will see her and feel as I do, 
if we are both silent." 

It was now the sweetest hour of the twenty-four. " Day 
its fervid fires had wasted," and dew fell cool on panting plain 
and scorched summit. Where the sun had gone down in simple 
state — pure of the pomp of clouds — spread a solemn purple, 
burning with the light of red jewel and furnace flame at one 
point, on one hill-peak, and extending high and wide, soft and 
still softer, over half heaven. The east had its own charm of 
fine, deep blue, and its own modest gem, a rising and solitary 
star ; soon it will coast the moon, but she was yet beneath the 
horizon. 

1 walked awhile on the pavement, but a subtile, well-known 
scent — that of a cigar — stole from some window ; I saw the 
library casement open a hand-breadth ; I knew I might be 
watched thence, so I went in the orchard. No nook in the 
grounds more sheltered and more Eden-like : it was full of 
trees, it bloomed with flowers ; a very high wall shut it out 
from the court, on one side ; on the other, a beech avenue 
screened it from the lawn. At the bottom was a sunk fence, 
its sole separation from lonely fields : a winding walk, bor- 
dered with laurels and terminating in a giant chestnut, circled 
at the base by a seat, led down to the fence. Here one could 
wander unseen. While such honey-dew fell, such silence 
reigned, such gloaming gathered, I felt us if I could haunt 



SELECTIONS. 119 

such shade forever : but in threading such flower and fruit 
parterres at the upper part of the inclosure, enticed there by 
the light the now rising moon casts ©n this more open quarter, 
my step is stayed — not by sound, not by sight, but once more 
by a warning fragrance. 

Sweetbrier and southernwood, jasmine, pink, and rose have 
long been yielding their evening sacrifice of incense : this new 
scent is neither of shrub nor flower ■ it is — I know it well — it 
is Mr. Rochester's cigar ! 

Nothing irks me like the idea of being a burden and a bore 
— an inevitable burden — a ceaseless bore ! 

Nothing ever charms me more than when I meet my su- 
perior — one who makes me sincerely feel that he is my su- 
perior. 

Often had she gone up the Hollow with him after sunset, 
to scent the freshness of the earth, where a growth of fragrant 
herbage carpeted a certain narrow terrace, edging a deep 
ravine, from whose rifted gloom was heard a sound like the 
spirit of the lonely watercourse, moaning among its wet stones, 
and between its weedv banks, and under its dark bower of 
alders. 

However old, plain, humble, desolate, afflicted we may be, 
so long as our hearts preserve the feeblest spark of life, they 
preserve also, shivering near that pale ember, a starved, ghostly 
longing for appreciation and affection. To this extenuated 
spectre, perhaps, a crumb is not thrown once a year ; but 
when ahungered and athirst to famine — when all humanity hai 



120 SELECTIONS. 

forgotten the dying tenant of a decaying house — Divine Mercy 
remembers the mourner, and a shower of manna falls for 
lips that earthly nutriment is to pass no more. Biblical 
promises, heard first in health, but then unheeded, come whis- 
pering to the couch of sickness ; it is felt that a pitying God 
watches what all mankind have forsaken ; the tender com- 
passion of Jesus is recalled and relied on ; the faded eye, 
gazing beyond Time, sees a Home, a Friend, a Refuge in 
Eternity 

" What was I created for, I wonder ? Where is my place 
in the world?" 

She mused again. 

41 Ah ! I see," she pursued presently ; " that is the question 
which most old maids are puzzled to solve ; other people solve 
it for them by saying, ' Your place is to do good to others, 
to be helpful whenever help is wanted. ' That is right in some 
measure, and a very convenient doctrine for the people who 
hold it ; but I perceive thrt certain sets of human beings are 
very apt to maintain that other sets should give up their lives 
to them and their service, and then they requite them by 
praise ; they call them devoted and virtuous. Is this enough ? 
Is it to live ? Is there not a terrible hollowness, mockery, 
want, craving, in that existence which is given away to others, 
for want of something of your own to bestow it on ? I sus- 
pect there is. Does virtue lie in abnegation of self ? I do 
not believe it. Undue humility makes tyranny ; weak con- 
cession creates selfishness. 

" Each human being has his share of rights. I suspect it 
would conduce to the happiness and welfare of all if each knew 
his allotment, and held to it as tenaciously as the martyr to 



SELECTIONS. 121 

his creed. Queer thoughts these, that surge in my mind ; are 
they right thoughts ? I am not certain. 

" The utmost which ought to be required of old maids, in 
the way of appearance, is that they should not absolutely 
offend men's eyes as they pass them in the street ; for the 
rest they should be allowed, without too much scorn, to be as 
absorbed, grave, plain-looking, and plain-dressed as they 
please. ' ' 

Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity 
or registering wrongs. We are, and must be, one and all, 
burdened with faults in this world : but the time will soon 
come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our 
corruptible bodies ; when debasement and sin will fall from us 
with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the 
spirit will remain, the impalpable principle of life and thought, 
pure as when it left the Creator to inspire the creature : whence 
it came it will return — perhaps again to be communicated to 
some being higher than man — perhaps to pass through grada- 
tions of glory, from the pale human soul to brighten to the 
seraph ! Surely it will never, on the contrary, be suffered to 
degenerate from man to fiend ! No ; I cannot believe that ; I 
hold another creed, which no one ever taught me, and which I 
seldom mention, but in which I delight, and to which I cling ; 
for it extends hope to all : it makes Eternity a rest — a mighty 
home, not a terror and abyss. Besides, with this creed, I can 
so closely distinguish between the criminal and his crime ; I 
can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last : with 
this creed, revenge never worries my heart, degradation never 
too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low. I 
live in calm, looking to the end. 



122 SELECTIONS. 

4 ' We forget Nature, imprimis. ' ' 

' ' And then Nature forgets us ; covers her vast calm brow 
with a dim veil, conceals her face, and withdraws the peaceful 
joy with which, if we had been content to worship her only, 
she would have filled our hearts." 

" What does she gives us instead ?" 

" More elation and more anxiety : an excitement that steals 
the hours away fast, and a trouble that ruffles their course.' ' 

Commonplace young ladies can be quite as hard as common- 
place young gentlemen — quite as worldly and selfish. Those 
who suffer should always avoid them ; grief and calamity they 
despise : they seem to regard them as judgments of God on the 
lowly. With them, to " love" is merely to contrive a scheme 
for achieving a good match ; to be " disappointed " is to have 
their scheme seen through and frustrated. They think the feel- 
ings and projects of others on the subject of love similar to 
their own, and judge them accordingly. 

Men and women are so different ; they are in such a differ- 
ent position. W'omen have so few things to think about — men 
so many ; you may have a friendship for a man, while he is 
almost indifferent to you. Much of what cheers your life may 
be dependent on him, while not a feeling or interest of moment 
in his eyes may have reference to you. 

Love is real : the most real, the most lasting — the sweetest 
and yet the bitterest thing we know. 

It is vulgar and puerile to confound generals with particulars ; 
in every case there is the rule, and there are the exceptions. 



SELECTION'S. 123 

Sincerity is never ludicrous ; it is always respectable. 
Whether truth — be it religious or moral truth — speak elo- 
quently and in well-chosen language or not, its voice should be 
heard with reverence. Let those who cannot nicely and with 
certainty discern the difference between the tones of hypocrisy 
and those of sincerity, never presume to laugh at all, lest they 
should have the miserable misfortune to laugh in the wrong 
place, and commit impiety when they think they are achieving 
wit. 

Eleemosynary relief never yet tranquillized the working- 
classes — it never made them grateful ; it is not in human nature 
that it should. I suppose were all things ordered aright, they 
ought not to be in a position to need that humiliating relief ; 
and this they feel : we should feel it were we so placed. 

For those who are not hungry, it is easy to palaver about the 
degradation of charity, and so on ; but they forget the brevity 
of life, as well as its bitterness. We have none of us long to 
live ; let us help each other through seasons of want and woe 
as well as we can, without heeding in the least the scruples of 
vain philosophy. 

The black frost reigned, unbroken by sun or breeze through 
the grounds. I covered my head and arms with the skirt of 
my frock, and went out to walk in a part of the plantation 
which was quite sequestered ; but I found no pleasure in the 
silent trees, the fallen fir-cones, the congealed relics of autumn, 
russet leaves, swept by past winds in heaps, and now stiffened 
together. I leaned against a gate, and looked into an empty 
field where no sheep were feeding, where the short grass was 



12A SELECTION'S. 

nipped and blanched. It was a very gray day ; a most opaque 
sky, " onding on snaw," canopied all ; thence flakes fell at 
intervals, which settled on the hard path and on the hoary lea 
without melting. I stood a wretched child enough, whispering 
to myself over and over again, " What shall I do ? what shall 
I do?" 

It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel 
itself quite alone in the world ; cut adrift from every connec- 
tion, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be 
reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning 
to that it has quitted. 

Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is 
an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits ; that world is round 
us, for it is everywhere ; and those spirits watch us, for they 
are commissioned to guard us ; and if we were dying in pain 
and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed 
us, angels see our tortures, recognize our innocence (if innocent 
we be, as I know you are of this charge which Mr. Brockle- 
hurst has weakly and pompously repeated at second-hand from 
Mrs. Reed ; for I read a sincere nature in your ardent eyes and 
on your clear front), and God waits only the separation of 
spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, 
should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so 
soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness — to 
glory ? 

Men rarely like such of their fellows as read their inward 
nature too clearly and truly. It is good for women, especially, 
to be endowed with a soft blindness ; to have mild, dim eyes, 



SELECTIONS. 125 

that never penetrate below the surface of things — that take all 
for what it seems ; thousands, knowing this, keep their eyelids 
dropped, on system ; but the most downcast glance has its 
loophole, through which it can, on occasion, take its sentinel- 
survey of life. I remember once seeing a pair of blue eyes, 
that were usually thought sleepy, secretly on the alert, and 1 
knew by their expression — an expression which chilled my 
blood, it was in that quarter so wondrously unexpected — that 
for years they had been accustomed to silent soul -reading. 
The world called the owner of these blue eyes ' ' bonne petite 
femme" (she was not an Englishwoman); I learned her nature 
afterward — got it off by heart — studied it in its farthest, most 
hidden recesses — she was the finest, deepest, subtlest schemer 
in Europe. 

I know no medium ; I never in my life have known any 
medium in my dealings with positive hard characters, antago- 
nistic to my own, between absolute submission and determined 
revolt. I have always faithfully observed the one, up to the 
very moment of bursting, sometimes with volcanic vehemence, 
into the other. 

A waft of wind came sweeping down the laurel-walk, and 
trembled through the boughs of the chestnut ; it wandered 
away — away — away — to an indefinite distance — rit died. The 
nightingale's song was then the only voice of the hour. 

\ 

It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with 
tranquillity : they must have action ; and they will make it if 
they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom 
than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. 



126 SELECTIONS. 

Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, 
ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are 
supposed to be very calm generally ; but women feel just as 
men feel ; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for 
their efforts as much as their brothers do ; they suffer from too 
rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men 
would suffer ; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged 
fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to 
making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the 
piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn 
them, or laugh at them if they seek to do more or learn more 
than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex. 

Feeling without judgment is a washy draught indeed ; but 
judgment untempered by feeling is too bitter and husky a 
morsel for human deglutition. 

Obtrusiveness is a crime ; forwardness is a crime ; and 
both disgust. But love ! — no purest angel need blush to love ! 
When I see or hear either man or woman couple shame with 
love, I know their minds are coarse, their associations debased. 
Many who think themselves refined ladies and gentlemen, and 
on whose lips the word " vulgarity " is for ever hovering, cannot 
mention * ' love ' ' without betraying their own innate and imbe- 
cile degradation ; it is a low feeling in their estimation, con- 
nected only with low ideas for them. 

Children can feel, but they cannot analyze their feelings ; 
and if the analysis is partly affected in thought, they know not 
how to express the result of the process in words. 



SELECTIONS. 127 

I then sat with my doll on my knee till the fire got low, 
glancing round occasionally to make sure that nothing worse 
than myself haunted the shadowy room ; and when the embers 
sunk to a dull red, I undressed hastily, tugging at knots and 
strings as I best might, and sought shelter from cold and dark- 
ness in my crib. To this crib I always took my doll ; human 
beings must love something, and in the dearth of worthier ob- 
jects of affection, I contrived to find a pleasure in loving and 
cherishing a faded, graven image, shabby as a miniature scare- 
crow. It puzzles me now to remember with what absurd sin- 
cerity I doted on this wooden toy, half fancying it alive and 
capable of sensation. I could not sleep unless it was folded in 
my night-gown ; and when it lay there safe and warm, I was 
comparatively happy, believing it happy likewise. 

One evening — and I was not delirious ; I was in my sane 
mind — I got up — I dressed myself, weak and shaking. The 
solitude and the stillness of the long dormitory could not be 
borne any longer ; the ghastly white beds were turning into 
spectres — the coronal of each became a death's head, huge and 
sun-bleached — dead dreams of an elder world and mightier race 
lay frozen in their wide gaping eyeholes. That evening more 
firmly than ever fastened into my soul the conviction that Fate 
was of stone, and Hope a false idol — blind, bloodless, and of 
granite core. I felt, too, that the trial God had appointed me 
was gaining its climax, and must now be turned by my own 
hands, hot, feeble, trembling as they were. It rained still, and 
blew ; but with more clemency, I thought, than it had poured 
and raged all day. Twilight was falling, and I deemed its in- 
fluence pitiful ; from the lattice I saw coming night-clouds, 
trailing low like banners drooping. It seemed to me that at 



128 SELECTIONS, 

this hour there was affection and sorrow in Heaven above for 
all pain suffered on earth beneath ; the weight of my dreadful 
dream became alleviated — that insufferable thought of being no 
more loved — no more owned, half yielded to hope of the con- 
trary — I was sure this hope would shine clearer if I got out 
from under this house-roof, which was crushing as the slab of 
a tomb, and went outside the city to a certain quiet hill, a long 
way distant in the fields. 

****** 
If the storm had lulled a little at sunset, it made up now for 
lost time. Strong and horizontal thundered the current of the 
wind from northwest to southeast ; it brought rain like spray, 
and sometimes a sharp hail, like shot. It was cold, and 
pierced me to the vitals. I bent my head to meet it, but it 
beat me back. My heart did not fail me at all in this conflict ; 
I only wished that I had wings and could ascend the gale, 
spread and repose my pinions on its strength, career in its 
course, sweep where it swept. While wishing this, I suddenly 
felt colder where before I was cold, and more powerless where 
before I was weak. I tried to reach the porch of a great 
building near, but the mass of frontage and the giant spire 
turned black and vanished from my eyes. Instead of sinking 
on the steps as I intended, I seemed to pitch headlong down 
an abyss. I remember no more. 

The first woman's breast that heaved with life on this world 
yielded the daring which could contend with Omnipotence ; 
the strength which could bear a thousand years of bondage — 
the vitality which could feed that vulture death through un- 
counted ages — the unexhausted life and uncorrupted excellence, 
sister to immortality, which, after millenniums of crimes, 



SELECTIONS; 129 

struggles, and woes, could conceive and bring forth a Messiah. 
The first woman was heaven-born : vast was the heart whence 
gushed the well-spring of the blood of nations ; and grand the 
undegenerate head where rested the consort-crown of creation. 

If the company of fools irritates, as you say, the society 
of clever men leaves its own peculiar pain also. Where the 
goodness or talent of your friend is beyond and above all 
doubt, your own unworthiness to be his associate often becomes 
a matter of question. 

The world can understand well enough the process of perishing 
for want of food ; perhaps few persons can enter into or follow 
out that of going mad from solitary confinement. They see the 
long-buried prisoner disinterred, a maniac or an idiot ! — how his 
senses left him — how his nerve's, first inflamed, underwent 
nameless agony, and then sunk to palsy — is a subject too intri- 
cate for examination, too abstract for popular comprehension. 
Speak of it ! you might as well stand up in an European market- 
place, and propound dark sayings in that language and mood 
wherein Nebuchadnezzar, the imperial hypochondriac, com- 
muned with his baffled Chaldeans. 

Men, and women too, must have delusion of some sort ; if 
not made ready to their hand, they will invent exaggeration foi 
themselves. 

Life is so constructed that the event does not, cannot, will 
not, match the expectation. 

There is no excellent beauty, no accomplished grace, no re- 
liable refinement, without strength as excellent, as complete, 



130 SELECTIONS. 

as trusthworlhy. As well might you look for good fruit and 
blossom on a rootless and sapless truee, as for charms that will 
endure in a feeble and relaxed nature. For a little while, the 
blooming semblance of beauty may flourish round weakness ; 
but it cannot bear a blast ; it soon fades, even in serenest sun- 
shine. 

Where, indeed, does the moon not look well ? What is the 
scene, confined or expansive, which her orb does not hallow ? 
Rosy or fiery, she mounted now above a not distant bank ; 
even while we watched her flushed ascent, she cleared to gold, 
and in a very brief space, floated up stainless into a now calm 
sky. 

Some real lives do — for some certain days or years — actually 
anticipate the happiness of heaven ; and I believe, if such per- 
fect happiness is once felt by good people (to the wicked it 
never comes), its sweet effect is never wholly lost. Whatever 
trials follow, whatever pains of sickness or shades of death, 
the glory precedent still shines through, cheering the keen 
anguish, and tinging the deep cloud. 

The multitude have something else to do than to read hearts 
and interpret dark sayings. Who wills, may keep his own 
counsel — be his own secret's sovereign. 

How seem in the eyes of that God who made all firmaments, 
from whose nostrils issue whatever of life is here, or in the 
stars shining yonder — how seem the differences of man ? But 
as time is not for God, nor space, so neither is measure nor 
comparison. We abase ourselves in our littleness, and we do 



SELECTIONS. 131 

right ; yet it may be that the constancy of one heart, the truth 
and faith of one mind, according to the light He has ap- 
pointed, impart as much to Him as the just motion of the 
satellites about their planets, of planets about their suns, of 
suns around that mighty unseen centre incomprehensible, irreal- 
izable, with strange mental effort only divine. 

Happy hour — stay one moment ! droop those plumes, rest 
those wings ; incline to mine that brow of heaven ! White 
Angel ! let thy light linger ; leave its reflection on succeeding 
clouds ; bequeath its cheer to that time which needs a ray in 
retrospect. 

THE CLOSE OF " VILLETTE." 

The sun passes the equinox ; the days shorten, the leaves 
grow sere ; but — he is coming. 

Frosts appear at night ; November has sent his fogs in 
advance ; the wind takes its autumn moan ; but — he is 
coming. 

The skies hang full and dark — a wreck sails from the west ; 
the clouds cast themselves into strange forms — arches and 
broad radiations ; there rise resplendent mornings — glorious, 
royal, purple as monarch in his state ; the heavens are one 
flame ; so wild are they, they rival battle at its thickest — so 
bloody, they shame Victory in her pride. I know some signs 
of the sky ; I have noted them ever since childhood. God 
watch that sail ! Oh, guard it ! 

The wind shifts to the west. Peace, peace, Banshee — 
" keening" at every window ! It will rise — it will swell — it 
shrieks out long : wander as I may through the house this 



132 SELECTIONS. 

night, I cannot lull the blast. The advancing hours make it 
strong ; by midnight all sleepless watchers hear and fear a 
wild southwest storm. 

That storm roared, frenzied, for seven days. It did not 
cease till the Atlantic was strewn with wrecks : it did not lull 
till the deeps had gorged their full of sustenance. Not till the 
destroying angel of tempest had achieved his perfect work, 
would he fold the wings whose waft was thunder — the tremor 
of whose plumes was storm. 

Peace, be still ! Oh, a thousand weepers, praying in agony 
on waiting shores, listened for that voice, but it was not uttered 
— not uttered till, when the hush came, some could not feel it : 
till, when the sun returned, his light was night to some ! 



POEMS. 



ROCHESTER'S SONG. 

The truest love that ever heart 

Felt at its kindled core, 
Did through each vein, in quickened start, 

The tide of being pour. 

Her coming was my hope each day, 

Her parting was my pain ; 
The chance that did her steps delay 

Was ice in ©very vein. 

I dreamed it would be nameless bliss, 

As I loved, loved to be ; 
And to this object did I press 

As blind as eagerly. 

But wide as pathless was the space 

That lay, our lives, between, 
And dangerous as the foamy race 

Of ocean-surges green. 



134 POEMS. 

* And haunted as a robber-path 
Through wilderness of wood, 
For Might and Right, and Woe and Wrath 
Between our spirits stood. 

I dangers dared ; I hind' ranee scorned ; 

I omens did defy ; 
Whatever menaced, harassed, warned, 

I passed impetuous by. 

On sped my rainbow, fast as light ; 

I flew as in a dream ; 
For glorious rose upon my sight 

That child of Shower and Gleam. 

Still bright on clouds of suffering dim 
Shines that soft, solemn joy ; 

Nor care I now how dense and grim 
Disasters gather nigh : 

I care not in this moment sweet, 
Though all I have rushed o'er 

Should come on pinion, strong and fleet, 
Proclaiming vengeance sore : 

Though haughty hate should strike me down, 

Right, bar approach to me, 
And grinding Might, with furious frown, 

Swear endless enmity, 



POEMS. lad 

My love has placed her little hand 

With noble faith in mine, 
And vowed that wedlock's sacred band 

Our natures shall entwine. 

My love has sworn, with sealing kiss, 

With me to live — to die ; 
I have at last my nameless bliss : 

As I love — loved am I ! 



EVENING SOLACE. 

The human heart has hidden treasures, 

In secret kept, in silence sealed ; — 
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, 

Whose charms were broken if revealed. 
And days may pass in gay confusion, 

And nights in rosy riot fly, 
While, lost in Fame's or Wealth's illusion, 

The memory of the Past may die. 

But there are hours of lonely musing, 

Such as in evening silence come, 
When, soft as birds their pinions closing, 

The heart's best feelings gather home. 
Then in our souls there seems to languish 

A tender grief that is not woe ; 
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish, 

Now cause but some mild tears to flow. 



136 POEMS. 

And feelings, once as strong as passions, 

Float softly back — a faded dream ; 
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations, 

The tale of others' sufferings seem. 
Oh ! when the heart is freshly bleeding, 

How longs it for that time to be, 
When, through the mist of years receding, 

Its woes but live in reverie ! 



And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer, 

On evening shade and loneliness ; 
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer, 

Feel no untold and strange distress — 
Only a deeper impulse given 

By lonely hour and darkened room, 
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven, 

Seeking a life and a world to come. 



REGRET. 

Long ago I wished to leave 

" The house where I was born ;" 
Long ago I used to grieve, 

My home seemed so forlorn. 
In other years, its silent rooms 

Were filled with haunting fears ; 
Now, their very memory comes 

O'ercharged with tender tears. 



poems. 137 

Life and marriage I have known, 

Things once deemed so bright, 
Now how utterly is flown 

Every ray of light ! 
'Mid the unknown sea of life 

I no blest isle have found ; 
At last, through all its wild waves' strife, 

My bark is homeward bound. 

Farewell, dark and rolling deep ! 

Farewell, foreign shore ! 
Open, in unclouded sweep, 

Thy glorious realm before ! 
Yet though I had safely passed 

That weary, vexed main, 
One loved voice, through surge and blast, 

Could call me back again. 

Though the soul's bright morning rose 

O'er Paradise for me, 
William, even from Heaven's repose 

I'd turn, invoked by thee ! 
Storm nor surge should e'er arrest 

My soul, exulting then : 
All my heaven was once thy breast, 

Would it were mine again ! 



138 POEMS. 



LIFE. 



Life, believe, is not a dream, 

So dark as sages say ; 
Oft a little morning rain 

Foretells a pleasant day : 
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom, 

But these are transient all ; 
If the shower will make the roses bloom, 
Oh, why lament its fall ? 
Rapidly, merrily, 
Life's sunny hours flit by ; 

Gratefully, cheerily, 
Enjoy them as they fly. 

What though death at times steps in, 

And calls our Best away ? 
What though sorrow seems to win 

O'er Hope a heavy sway ? 
Yet Hope again elastic springs 

Unconquered though she fell ; 
Still buoyant are her golden wings, 
Still strong to bear us well. 
Manfully, fearlessly, 
The day of trial bear, 

For gloriously, victoriously, 
Can courage quell despair. 



POEMS. 

[From Poem entitled "Preference."] 

Man of conscience — man of reason ; 

Stern, perchance, but ever just ; 
For to falsehood, wrong, and treason, 

Honor's shield, and virtue's trust 1 
Worker, thinker, firm defender 

Of Heaven's truth — -man's liberty ; 
Soul of iron — proof to slander 

Rock where founders tyranny. 

Fame he seeks not — but full surely 

She will seek him, in his home ; 
This I know, and wait securely 

For the atoning hour to come. 
To that man my faith is given, 

Therefore, soldier, cease to sue ; 
While God reigns in earth and heaven, 

I to him will still be true ! 



[From Poem entitled "Parting."] 

In the evening when we're sitting 

By the fire, perchance alone, 
Then shall heart with warm heart meeting 

Give responsive tone for tone. 

We can burst the bonds which chain us, 
Which cold human hands have wrought, 

And where none shall dare restrain us 
We can meet again in thought. 



139 



140 POEMS. 

So there's no use in weeping, 
Bear a cheerful spirit still ; 

Never doubt that Fate is keeping 
Future good for present ill ! 



WINTER STORES. 

We take from life one little share, 

And say that this shall be 
A space, redeemed from toil and care, 

From tears and sadness free. 

And, haply, Death unstrings his bow, 

And Sorrow stands apart, 
And, for a little while, we know 

The sunshine of the heart. 

Existence seems a summer eve, 
Warm, soft, and full of peace ; 

Our free, unfettered feelings give 
The soul its full release. 

A moment, then, it takes the power 
To call up thoughts that throw 

Around that charmed and hallowed hour, 
This life's divinest glow. 

But time, though viewlessly it flies, 

And slowly, will not stay ; 
Alike through clear and clouded skies, 

It cleaves its silent way. 



POEMS. 141 

Alike the bitter cup of grief, 

Alike the draught of bliss, 
Its progress leaves but moraeut brief 

For baffled lips to kiss. 

The sparkling draught is dried away, 

The hour of rest is gone, 
And urgent voices, round us, say, 
" Ho, lingerer, hasten on l" 

And has the soul, then, only gained, 

From this brief time of ease, 
A moment's rest, when overstrained, 

One hurried glimpse of peace ? 

No ; while the sun shone kindly o'er us, 
And flowers bloomed round our feet — 

While many a bud of joy before us 
Unclosed its petals sweet — 

An unseen work within was plying : 

Like honey-sucking bee, 
From flower to flower, unwearied, flying, 

Labored one faculty — 

Thoughtful for Winter's future sorrow, 

Its gloom and scarcity ; 
Prescient to-day of wan to-morrow, 

Toiled quiet Memory. 



142 POEMS. 

'Tis she that from each transient pleasure 

Extracts a lasting good ; 
'Tis she that finds, in summer, treasure 

To serve for Winter's food. 

And when Youth's summer day is vanished, 
And Age brings Winter's stress, 

Her stores, with hoarded sweets replenished, 
Life's evening hours will bless. 



WATCHING AND WISHING. 

Oh, would I were the golden light 

That shines around thee now, 
As slumber shades the spotless white 

Of that unclouded brow ! 
It watches through each changeful dream 

Thy features' varied play ; 
It meets thy waking eyes' soft gleam 

By dawn — by op'ning day. 

Oh, would I were the crimson veil 

Above thy couch of snow, 
To dye that cheek so soft, so pale, 

With my reflected glow ! 
Oh, would I were the cord of gold 

Whose tassel, set with pearls, 
Just meets the silken cov'ring's fold 

And rests upon thy curls, 



poems. 143 



DishevelPd in thy rosy sleep, 

And shading soft thy dreams ; 
Across their bright and raven sweep 

The golden tassel gleams ! 
I would be anything for thee, 

My love — my radiant love — 
A flower, a bird, for sympathy, 

A watchful star above. 



[From ''The Teacher's Monologue."] 

'Tis not the air I wished to play, 

The strain I wished to sing ; 
My wilful spirit slipped away 

And struck another string. 
I neither wanted smile nor tear, 

Bright joy nor bitter woe, 
But just a song that, sweet and clear, 

Though haply sad, might flow. 

A quiet song, to solace me 

When sleep refused to come ; 
A strain to chase despondency 

When sorrowful for home. 
In vain I try ; I cannot sing ; 

All feels so cold and dead ; 
No wild distress, no gushing spring 

Of tears in anguish shed ; 



144 POEMS. 



But all the impatient gloom of one 

Who waits a distant day, 
When, some great task of suffering done, 

Repose shall toil repay. 
For youth departs, and pleasure flies, 

And life consumes away, 
And youth's rejoicing ardor dies 

Beneath this drear delay ; 

And Patience, weary with her yoke, 

Is yielding to despair, 
And Health's elastic spring is broke 

Beneath the strain of care. 
Life will be gone ere I have lived — 

Where now is life's first prime ? 
I've worked and studied, longed and grieved, 

Through all that rosy time. 

To toil, to think, to long, to grieve — 

Is such my future fate ? 
The morn was dreary, must the eve 

Be also desolate ? 
Well, such a life at least makes Death 

A welcome, wished-for friend ; 
Then aid me, Reason, Patience, Faith, 

To suffer to the end. 



TO Otm ^OOIS BUTEHS- 



14S 



Tlie Dlew Yorlt Journal of 

Commerce, one of the oldest, most 
substantial and influential dailies on the 
continent, says: "Announcements of 
new books by Funk & Wagnalls should 
always be carefully consulted. The 
publications they advertise are entirely 
different from anything issued by any 
other firm in America. The peculiar 
work to which they devote themselves 
is the supply cf books of the highest 
character and of permanent value, * * * 
at prices as low as the cheapest novels. 
They occupy a field previously unfilled. 
These cheap volumes have strong and 
handsome covers, and are printed on the 
finest paper in large clear type. Kow 
they sell them so cheaply is a mystery 
to all but themselves." 

Royalties to Authors on our 

Standaed Libeaby books.— There are 
those who profess to be unable to be- 
lieve that we can afford royalty on our 
cheap books to English authors and 
publishers. The following letters ought 
to bring conviction to the most skep- 
tical mind : 

Messes. Funk & Wagnaeles : 

G.ntlemen : I beg to acknowledge 
the receipt through Messrs. Hodder & 
Stoughton, my London publishers, of 

£ royalty on your publication of 

my "Oliver Cromwell," right of pub- 
lication in the United States being re- 
serve! to me. I thank you for your 
generous acknowledgment of tlis right, 
and will mate it known. I would be 
pleased if you could soe your way to 
publish others of my books on your 
royalty basis, etc. 

Edwin Paxton Hood. 
Islington, London. 
Messes. Funk & Wagnalls: 

Dear Sirs : We return our best thanks 
for your favor containing remittance of 
£— in recognition cf our rights in 



Mattieu Williams' "Science in Short 

Chapters: " also remittance of £ 

on account of Haweis' " American Hu- 
morists." We highly appreciate this 
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successful, etc., etc. 

CHATTO & WlNDUS. 

214 Piccadilly, London. 

Messes. Funs & Wagnalls : 

Your favor containing £ for re- 
print cf Winks' " Illustrious Shoe" 
makers," came duly to hand and is 
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Yours faithfully, 

Sampson, Low & Co. 

London O, wn Builuing, 188 Flset St. 

Messes. Funk & Wagnalls; 

Deir Siis: 

I thank you most heartily for the 
Three Hundred Pounds ($1,500) you 
have just remitted as royalty on my 
'Treasury of David" in America, fright 
gratefully acknowledge tkis. You have 
acted toward me in a highly honorable 
and satisfactory manner, and I have 
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publish my works. Fair dealing, where 
there is no law to compel it, is not so 
common that it becomes a matter of 
course. Long may you prosper, and 
find it to be all the sweeter to prosper 
because you deal generously with au- 
thors. 

I am now forty-nine, and cannot ex- 
pect as many more years of authorship 
as I have had. Yours most heartily, 
C. H. Spubgedn. 

London, England. 

Kev. Charles F. Deems, Lfj.D,, 

New York, says: " I have placed the 
first two volumes of the 1883 Eeries in 
our church library.'" 



TO O"0"S. BOOK BTT2"EK.S. 



Five Dollars.— The price of sub- 
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The New Yorlc San says: * Mr. 
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a positive boon to the mass of readers, 
because it presents a more correct view 
cf the great Puritan s oldier and states- 
man than is attainable in any of the 
shorter lives heretofore published 
whether we compare it with Southey's, 
Guizot's or even Forster's." 

Rev. Geo. C. Wielding, Presid- 
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«'A few days since I sent a letter, like 
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147 



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edition. * Carlyle," page 413, says: "In 
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149 



TALKS TO FARMERS. 

BY CHARLES H. SPURGEON. 

300 pp., 12mo, Cloth, $1.00. 

This is the last, and one of the best, of the wonderful productions 
of the fertile pen and prolific brain of Mr. Spurgcon It consists of a 
series of Talks to Farmers. Each Talk is a short sermon from a 
text on some subject concerning agriculture. Mr. Spurgeon is as 
much at home in, and as famili:r with, the scores of nature as he is 
with the stores and business of mighty London. 

WHAT IS THOUGHT OF IT. 

'The Corn of Wheat Dying to Bring 
Forth Fruit,' 'The Ploughman," 
•Ploughing the Rock,' *Tbe Pnrable 
of the Sower,' 'The Principal Wh< at,' 
♦ Spring in the Heart,' « Farm Labor- 
er-',' 'What the Farm Laborers Can 
Do and What They Cannot Do,' "I he 
Sieep before the Shearers,' 'In the 
Hay Field,' ' Spiritual Gleaning.' 
'Meal lime in the Cornfield,' ' Tbe 
reading Wagon,' 'Threshing,' 'The 
Wheat in tbe Barn.' Every farmer 
should read this book." 

TIio Christian IWonitor, St. 
Louis, Mo., rays : "Most interesting and 
unique. The arguments in favor of 
C ris'ianity a r e able and convincing, 
and there is not adry.uninteresting lino 
in the book; the distinguished author 
presents ihe principles cf religious lif^ 
in a novel but instructive manner, and 
tbe garniture of truth and earnestness 
in his competent hands mabes the book 
eminently readable. ' 



Canadian Bnpt's* says : "Oar 
readers need no information about Mr. 
Spurgeon. His name is a household 
word. They read his sermons con- 
stantly. They have only to be told that 
something new of bis has appeared, and 
they are eager to procure and read. In 
nothing, perbaps, does Mr. Spurgeon's 
greatness manifest itself mere con- 
spicuously than in his wonderful 
powr of adapting his discourse •) to tho 
needs of th'>fe to wh m he speaks 
'John Pioughman's Tal.s' and 'John 
Ploughman's Pictures' are admirable 
illustrations of this power. So is tho 
Do-\k before us. It will bo especially 
interesting to farm rs, but all will en- 
joy the practical common sense, tho 
abundance of illustrative anecdote, the 
depth of spiritual insight, the richness 
of .magery, that prevail in the volume. 
The subjects of the different chapters 
are: 'The Sluggard's Farm,' -The 
Broken Fence,' * Frost and Thaw,' 



Codet's Commentary on. Eomaas, 



This American edition is edited by Talbot W. Chambers, D.D. 
large octavo pages. Cloth, $2.50. 



544 



Howard Crostoy, K.D., says: 

■* I consider Godet a man of soundest 
learning and purest orthodoxy." 

Thomas Arm'tagp, H.r»., pays: 
"Especially must I commend the fair, 
pains(,aking,thorougb and devout work 
of Dr. Godet. All his works are wel- 
come to every true thinker." 



Arthur Brooks, D.D., says : 
" Any one acquainted with Godet's 
other works will congratulate himself 
that the same author s clear logic an 1 
deep leai-ning, as brought to bear upon 
the difficulties of the Epistle to the Ro- 
mans, are to be made accessible through 
this publication." 



&&■ The above w rks ivi.l be sent by mail, postage paid, oh receipt of the prux. 



iro 



THROUGH THE PRISON TO THE THRONE: 

Illustrations of Life from the Biography of Joseph. 
By Kev. JOS. S. VAN DYKE. 

Price, $1. 

This volume presents in succinct from and in fascinating style 
the rich, wholesome and abundant fruits of careful study upon an 
interesting theme — the life and times of Joseph. Into this narra- 
tive is woven, in sententious and striking language, such an 
amount of attractive moral precept, proverbial philosophy and 
practical knowledge of life as renders the volume, in the language 
of one of its reviewers, "the best Bible history to be found.' ' In 
its adaptations to the young it has few rivals. As an assistant to 
pastors in suggesting fruitful thoughts, especially for addresses to 
the young, it is invaluable. To Sunday-school pupils, and particu- 
larly to Bible Classes, it is very attractive. In the family circle it 
is eagerly read by all. Into the captivating narrative is adroitly 
woven valuable and beautiful lessons for every period of life. It 
is a striking biography skilfully written, " containing passages of 
very great beauty ;" but it is more, being an admirable commen- 
tary of that portion of God's word, and an able exposition of many 
practical doctrinal questions. These statements of ours are more 
than sustained by the 



NOTICES OIT THE JPXIESS. 



"Fresh in thought and vigorous in 
method of presentation, the book 
will be read with interest."— Luth. 
Obs. 

" The lessons are practical and sug- 
gestive, and evince careful reading 
and deep thought. We heart iij 
commend this volume." — Christian 
Guardian, Toronto, Ca. 

" A rare amount of pleasing truth 
and strong common sense. As an aid 
to Sunday-school teachers and ad- 
vanced pupils it is very valuable. The 
general reader, and especially the 
ministry, will find it interesting and 
profitable. "—Luth. Evangelist. 

"The fruit is pleasant, wholesome, 
and abundant. ' ' — Ca. Pres. 

"A valuable addition to Sunday- 
school libraries, and parents would 
do well to get their children to read 
it, while they also might profit largely 
by reading it."— The Pacific. 

"An excellent book." — Central 
Christian Advocate. 

'.' An interesting work and one cal- 
culated to do much good. Sunday- 



school teachers and advanced pupils 
will find valuable aid here."— Balti- 
more Presbyter. 

" Appropriate thoughts tersely and 
interestingly expressed. It is adapted 
especially to youth and members of 
Bible classes."— Lpis. Reg. 

"Its discussion of questions of 
Egyptology is conducted with dis- 
cretion. Sunday-school teachers 
will here find much valuable material 
for use in t heir classes."— The Chris- 
tian Union. 

" A good book for the young to 
read."— The Gos. Adv. 

" We welcome another book, one of 
the best of all, upon the story of the 
long ago— the story God has given for 
old and young. Not written especially 
for children, the volume will find 
easier readers among them, and the 
older people will find food for mature 
thought."— Chris. Adv. 

"No history of Joseph presents a 
greater amount of pleasing truth and 
Btrong common sense."— Ike Interior. 



PUBLICATIONS OF FUNK <& WAGNALLS, NEW YORK. 15! 

«• The most important and practical work of the age on. the 

Psalms.'-SCKAFF. 

SIX VOLUMES NOW R.KAUV. 

-SPURGEOW'S CHE&T LIFE WORK- 

THE TREASURY OF DAVID! 

To be published in seven octavo volumes of about 470 pages each, 
uniformly bound, and making a library of 3,300 pages, 
in handy form for reading and reference. 
It is published simultaneously with, and contains the exact matter of, 
the English Edition, which ha3 sold at $4.00 per volume 
in this country — $28.00 for the work when com- 
pleted. Oar edition is in every way pref- 
erable, and is furnished at 

ONE-HALF TEE PEICE OP 

THE ENGUSH 

EDITION. 

Price, Per Vol. $2X0. 

"Messrs. Funk cr 5 Wagnalls have entered into an arrangement zuith 
me to reprint THE TREASUR Y OF DA VID in the United States. I 
have every confidence in them that they will issue it correctly and worthily. 
It has been the great literary work of my life, and I trust it will be as 
kindly received in America as in England. I wish for Messrs. Funk suc- 
cess in a venture which must involve a great risk and much outlay. 

"Dec. 8, 1881. C. II. SPURGE ON:' 

Volumes I., II., EX, IV., V. and VI. are now ready; volume 
VII., which completes the great work, is now under the hand of the 
author. Subscribers can consult their convenience by ordering all 
the volumes issued, or one volume at a time, at stated intervals, until 
the set is completed by the delivery of Volume VII. 

From the large number of hearty commendations of this import- 
ant work, we give the following to indicate the value set upon the 
eame by 

EMINENT THEOLOGIANS AND SCHOLARS. 

Philip Schatff, ?>.D., the Eminent tical v^oik of the age on the Psalter is 

' The Treasury of David,' by Charles H 
Spurgeon. It is full of the force and 
genius of this celebrated preacher, and 



Commentator and the President of the 
American Bjble Revision Committee, 
says: "The most important and prac- 



(OVER. 



&g~The above works -will be sent by mail, postage Paid, on receipt of the price. 



3E2 



PUBLIC A TIONS OF FUNK J- WAGh 



NEW YORK. 



rich in selections from the entire range 
ol literature." 

Wi liam M. Taylor. D.O., 

New York says: ' In the exposition of 
the heart 'The TREASURy of Davi / is 
sui gen-ris, rich in experience and pre- 
eminently devotional. The exposition 
is alwa^ s fresh. To the preacher it is 
especially suggestive." 

John H*I\ D.T>., New York, 
says: -'There are two questions that 
must interest every expositor of tha 
Divine Word. What does a particular 
passage mean, and to what use is it to 
"be applied in public teaching? In the 
department of the latter Mr. Spur- 
geon's great work on the Psalms is 
without an equal. Eminently practical 
in his own teaching, he has c fleeted in 
these volumes the best thoughts of the 
best minds on the Ps-lter, and es e- 
cially of that great body .loose'y grouped 
together as the Puritan divines. lam 
heartily glad that by arrangements, 
sa> isfactory to all concerned, tl e Messr3. 
Punk & Waanalls are to bring mis gr at 
work within ths reach ot ministers 
everywhere, as the English edition is 
necessarily expensive. I wish the 
highest success to the enterprise." 

William Ormiston, Tl.^., New 
York, says: " I consider « 1 he Treasury 
of David' a work of surpassing excel- 
lence, of inest:niablo value to every stu- 
dent of the ► Salter. It will prove a 
standard work on the Psalms lor all 
time. The instructive introductions, 
the racy ori inal expositions, the 
numerous q aint illustrations gath- 
ered irom wide and varied fields, and 
the suggestive sarmonic hints, render 
the volumes invaluable toallpreacheis, 
and indispensable to every minister's 
library. All who delight in reading the 
Psj1u,s — and what Christian does not? 
— will prize this work. It i3 a rich 
•cycl rpaedia of the literature of these 
ancient odes." 

Then. L.. r U yler, D.D.. Brook- 
lyn, says: " I have use 1 Mr. Spurgeon's 
* Tee Treasury of David' for three 
years, and lound it worthy of its name. 
Whoso goeth in there will find ' rich 
spoils.' At both my visits to Mr. S ha 
spoke with much enthusiasm of this 
undertaking as one of his favor te 
injthods of enriching himself and 
others." 

JesaeB. Thomas, D.D , Brook- 
lyn, says: " I have the highest concep- 



mst 



tion of the sterling worth of all Mr. 
Spurgeon's publications, and I incline 
to regard his Treasury of David' as 
having received more of his loving 
labor than any other. I regard its 
publication at a lower price as a great 
service to American Bible Students." 

New York: Observer says: " A 
rich compendium of suggestive com- 
ment upon the richest devotional 
poetry ever given to mankind. ' 

Thi Congregatlrnalist, Bos- 
ton, says: " As a devout and spiritually 
sugg stive work, it is meeting with 
the warmest approval and receiving 
the hearty commendation of the most 
distinguished divines." 

United Presbyterian, Pitts- 
burg, Pa , says: " It is unapproached 
as a commentary on the Psalms. It is 
of equal value to ministers and lay- 
men — a quality that works of the kind 
rarely possess." 

North. American, Philadelphia, 
Pa.: says: "Vvill find a place in the 
l.brary of every minister who knows 
how to appreciate a good thing." 

New York Indepe**d« nt says: 
" He has ransacked evangelical litera- 
ture, and comes forth, like Jessica from 
her father's house, 'gilded with 
ducats' and rich plunder in the shape 
of good and li.dp.ul quotations.' 

Kew York Tribune says: "For 
tho great majority of readers who seek 
in the Psalms those practical lessons 
in which they are so rich, and those 
vronderful interpretations of heart-life 
and expressionof emotion in which 
they anticipate 'the New Testament, we 
know of no book like this, nor as good. 
Ic is literally a ' Treasury.' " 

P. S. Times sas: "Mr. Fpurgeon'a 
style is simple, direct and perspicuous, 
oiten reminding one of the matchless 
prose of Bunyan." 

Western Christian Advca'c, 
Cincinnati, O., says: "The price is ex- 
tremely moderate for so Jarge and im- 
portant a work. * * * We have ex- 
amined this volume with care, and v, e 
are greatly pleased with the plan of 
execution." 

Christian Herald says: "Con- 
tains mora felicitous illustraiions, 
more valuable sermonic hints, than can 
be found in all other works on the 
same book put together." 



The above works will be sent by mail, postage paid, on receipt of the price. 



FVB LIGATIONS OF FUNK &* W AG N ALLS, NFJV YORK. 



153 



GEMS OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

From the Writings of Dr. Guthrie, arranged under 

the subjects which they illustrate. 

By an American Clergyman. 

Price, in Cloth, $1.50. 

This book abounds in picturesque similes. Dr. Guthrie has rarely, 
if ever, been equaled either in the number, beauty or force of tho 
illustrations with which his sermons and writings abound. They 
have boen collected by an American clergyman, a great admirer of 
the author, and the book forms a perfect storehouse of anecdotes, 
comparisons, examples and illustrations. It contains the choicest of 
his illustrations, arranged under the subjects which they illustrate. 

Ihe L mdo i T.mes says: " Dr. Guthrie is the most elegant orator in 
Europe." 

Dr. Gondii h says: "Dr. Guthrie's genius has long since placed 
him at the head of all the gifted and popular preachers of our day." 

Dr. James W. Alexander says : "I listened to him for fifty minutes, 
but they rassed like nothing." 



The WesUrn Chrlettian Ad- 
vocate says : "Dr. Guthrie was pe- 
culiarly heppy in tiie use 01 brilliant 
and forcible illustrations in his ser- 
mons and writings, An American hs-s 
selected many of these gems oi thought 
end arranged taem under the subjects 
wliich they illustrate. Headers and 
preachers will enjoy them, and will find 
many bjantiful sentiments and seed- 
thoughts for present and future use." 

The Bo-ton Sunday Globe 

says : "Dr. Guthrie's illustrations are 
rich and well chosen and give great 
force to his ideas. Love, faith, hope, 
charity are the pillars of hii belief." 

The Laihernn Observer, Phila- 
delphia, says: "Tho power of illustra- 
tion should be cu tivated by preachers 
of the Gospel, and this volume o. speci- 
mens, if used aright, will •urnish valu- 
able suggestions. A good illustration 
in a sermon awakens the imagination, 
helps the memory and gives the barb 
to truth that it may fasten ia the 
heart. 5 ' 



The Christian Tr»<elllgs>ncpr 

says : " It is a large repository full of 
stirring thoughts set in those splendid 
furms of * spiritualized imagination,' of 
which Dr. Guthrie was the peerless 
master. ' 

The Christian Observe-, Louis- 
ville, says: "No words of ours could 
a^d to its value." 

The Bost-n P >st says: "A rare 
mine of literary wealth." 

Tho Observer, New York, says: "It 
was no; given to every generation to 
have a Guthrie.'' 

^h?» C'jr s'i^ti Advoea'e, New 

York, says: " Th's book will be read 
with interest by ths religious world.' 

The Z Ion's Il»rnl ', Boston, says: 
"Preichers will appreciate this vol- 
ume." 

The Christian Ganrdian. To- 
mato, says: "An exceedingly interesting 
and valuable work." 



The above works will be sent by mail, p. -stage paid, on receipt of the price. 



154 



PUBLICATIONS OF FUNK &> WAGNALLS, NEW YuRA' 



What Our Girls Ought to Know. 

—BY- 
MARY J. STUDLEY, M. D. 

261 pp., 12 mo. Cloth $1.03. 

A most practical and valuable book; should be placed in the hands of every 
girl. 

Intelligently read, it will accomplish much in the elevation of the human race. 

It is lull of information which every girl ought to know. 

Paren's Teachers. Clergymen and others who have the education of children, 
or who have occasion to address, in sermon or lecture, girls, will find this book 
' crammed -^ith suggestiveness." 

The authoress, Mary J. Studley, M. D., was a physician of large practice and 
great success. She was a graduate, resident physician and teacher ot the Natural 
Sciences in the State Normal School, Framingham. Mass.: also graduate of the 
"Woman's Medical College, New York; Dr. Emily Blackwell, Secretary oi the 
Faculty, and Dr. Wiilard Parker. Chairman of the Loard of Examiners. 

WMJl T IS TM O UG T OF IT. 

is a practical book, and will do good if 
thjughfully read." 

Montreal T*aily Witness says: 



\ew York World says: " Sen si- 
able essays on subjects which the au- 
thor has taught in the schoolroom, 
written in a style that is clear and pro- 
perly chosen for girls." 

Boston Wom»n's Jnnrna' 
Bays: "It derives its principal value 
from the fact that Dr. Studley was a 
firm believer in the possibiiity and duty 
of so regulating the details of every-day 
life as to secure and preserve physical 
health and vigor, and that such a course 
is essential as a foundatio i for the 
higher moral and intellectual develop- 
ment." 

Union Argus, Brooklyn, says: "It 



" It is a valuable book for girls." 

MelSviist Recorder, Pittsburg, 
says: "It should be placed in the 
hands of every girl." 

(Joinmerci»l, Cincinnati, says: 
"Dr. Mary Studley waa a gifted woman. 
Her knowledge was ripe. The book is a 
good one." 

School Jonrnar, New York, says: 
"Every sensible mother will wish to 
place a book like this in her daughter's 
hands." 

.Journal of Commerce, New 
York, says: " This is a capital book." 



THIS AND STORIES ADCUT HEROES ASD HOLIDAYS. 

Price, cloth, illustrated, $1.25.; paper, 60 cents. 
This book contains most interesting talks to boys and girls by- 
many well-known men, such as Drs. Cuyler, Storrs, Newton, and 
others, aud is richly illustrated by forty new cuts and many inci- 
dent nnd object-illustrations, making it a beautiful gift book. The 
addresses are nearly ell written in a cheerful and happy style. 

WHAT MS SAID OF IT. 



711us*ra/*-i! rhr'stian W*>eltlv 

says: "A good many bright and suggest- 
ive things will be found herein." 

teniral Presbyteii'n says: "A 
beautiful present for a child, a parent, 
a teacher, ora preacher.' 

The Advaiiee says: "The ser- 
mons are plain, practical, easily under- 
stood and full of illustration." 

BIfeie '*'« ach**r says: "A very 
interesting book for the home circle." 

American Literary Church- 



man says: "Are well adapted to ar- 
rest attention." 

Con-. v reg:stJOTjalist says: "Spec" 
iinens of the work which many pastors 
are doing week by week for the children 
of their congregations." 

National G-azet'e says: "Both 
edifying and entertaining." 

Gospel in All L»nds says: 
" Brief, racy sermons full of the Gospel 
and common 3ense." 



The above works will be sent by mail, postage paid, on receipt of the price. 



155 



THE STANDARD LIBRARY. 

WHAT REPRESENTATIVE CLERGYMEN SAY 

OF IT. 



Chas. K. Hall, D.D., Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Brooklyn, 
says : 
" Great book monopolies, like huge railroad syndicates, are now the mo- 
narchical relics against which the benevolence and radicalism of tbe age, 
from different standpoints, are bound to wage war. Each source will have 
its own motives and arguments, but each will resolve to conquer in the long 
run. At one end of the scale we have the Life of Dickens offered for $80u, 
that some one wealthy man may enjoy the comfort of his proud privilege 
of wealth in having what no other mortal possesses ; at the other, we find 
the volume offered at 10 or 20 cents, which any newsboy or thoughtful 
laborer uses in common with thousands. In the great strife for the great- 
est good of the largest number, put me down as on the side of the last. I 
enclose my subscription order for a year." 

Rev. Chas. W. Cashing, D.D., First M. E. Church, Rochester, 

N. Y., says : 
"One of the most pernicious sources of evil among onr young people 
is the books they read. When I can get a young man interested in substan- 
tial books, I have great hope of him. For this reason 1 have been deeply 
interested in your effort to make good books as cheap as bad ones. I rnen- 
_ tioned the matter from my pulpit. As a result I at once got fifty-four sub- 
scribers for the full set, and more to come." 

J. O. Peck, D.D., First M. E. Church, Brooklyn, N. Y., says: 

" Your effort is commendable. You ought to have the co-operation of 
all good men. It is a moral, heroic, and humane enterprise." 

Pres. Mark Hopkins, D.D., of Williams College, says : 

"The attempt of Messrs. Funk and Wagnalls to place good literature 
within reach of the masses is worthy of all commendation and encourage- 
ment. If the plan can be successfully carried out, it will be a great boon 
to the country." 

Geo. C. Lorrimer, D.D., Baptist Church, Chicago, says : 

u I sincerely hope your endeavors to circulate a wholesome and elevat- 
ing class of books will prove successful. Certainly, clergymen, and Chris- 
tians generally, cannot afford thnt it should fail. In proof of my personal 
iuterestin your endeavors, I subscribe for a year." 

J. P. Newman, D.D., New York, says : 

" I have had faith from the beginning in the mission of Messrs. Funk .% 
Wagnalls. It required great faith on their part, and their success is in 
proof that all things are possible to him that believeth. Thev hnve done 
for the public what long was needed, but what other publishers did not 
venture to do." 

Henry J. Van Dyke, D.I>., Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, N, Y., 

says : 
" Good books are orent blessings. They drive out darkness by letting 
* light. Your plan ought not to fail for lack of support. Put my name 
°Hhe list of subscribers." 



156 

T. W. ChamVrs, P.D., Collegiate Reformed Church, New York, says: 

" The plan seems to me both praiseworthy and feasible. I trust it will 
meet with speedy and abundant success." 

Sylvester F. Scovel, D.D., First Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, 
Pa., says : 

"Your plans deserve a place in the category of moral reforms. The 
foes they meet, the width of the battle-ground they can be expanded to 
cover, the manifold incidental blessings they may convey to thousands of 
households, the national and international currents of thought they may 
set in motion, entitle them beyond all question to prompt and efficient aid 
from clergymen and the whole Christian Church." 

Ezra Abbot, D.B., JLL.D., of Harvard College, says: 

"I heartily approve of your project. I shall be glad to receive and 
commend the volumes to buyers. I send you my subscription." 

Tbos. Armitage, D.D., Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, New York, 
says: 
" Your plan is grand and philanthropic. I wish you success, and ask 
you to put me down for one set, with the assurance that I will aid you by 
every kind word which opportunity suggests." 

William M. Taylor, D.D., Broadway Tabernacle, New York, says : 

" The success of the plan depends very much on the character of the 
books selected ; but if you are wise in that particular, as I have no doubt, 
you will be benefactors to many struggling readers in whose experience ji 
new book is one of the rarest treats. I am glad to see, too, that you are 
making arrangements with the English publishers, so that in conferring 
a boon upon readers here you will not be doing injustice to authors across 
the sea." 

James Eells, D.D., Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, O., says : 
" From the reputation of your house I am ready to believe that you will 
publish only worthy books. I heartily wish you success." 

E. J. Wolf, D.D., of the Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg, Pa., says: 

" A more laudable project I can hardly conceive of. Vicious literature 
has long had the advantage in that it was put within easy reach of: the 
masses/ The poverty of many who fain would use the very best books has 
often distressed me. I feel in my heart that the noble enterprise of your 
house is deserving of the most liberal encouragement." 

Bishop Samuel Fallows, Reformed Episcopalian Church, Chicago, 

says: 
"Your plan for supplying the masses with the best reading at such a 
nominal price cannot be too highly commended." 

J. L. Burrows, D.D., Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va., says: 

" Every endeavor to supersede poison by food for the people deserves 
encouragement." 

Rev. W. F. Crafts, Lee Avenue Congregationalist Church, Brooklyn, 

says : 
"In the West they displace the worthless prairie grass by sowing blue 
grass. The soil is too rich to be inactive. It will have a right or wrong 
activity. So about the love of reading in the young. It is prime soil aud 
will bear tall wire grass if we do not give it blue grass. It will have b?^ 
leading, if the good, equally cheap and attractive, is not provided." 



the: standard series. 

Best Books fox- a, Trifle. 

Thbsz booka are printed in readable type, on fair paper, and are bound in postal 
Mrd manilla. 

These books are printed wholly -without abridgment, except Canon Farrar's "Life 
Bf Christ" and his "Life of Paul." 



No. Prict. 

1. John Ploughman's Talk. C. H. 
Spurgeon. On Choice of Books. 
Thomas Varlyle. 4to. Both.... $0 12 

2. Manlin* of Christ. Thomas 
Hughes. 4to 10 

3. Essays. Lord Macaulay. 4to... 15 

4. Lniht of Asia. Edwin Arnold. 4to. 15 

5. Imitation of Christ. Thomas a 
Kempis. 4to 15 

6-7. Life of Christ. Canon Farrar. 

4to... 50 

8. Essays. Thomas Carlyle. 4to.. 20 
9-10. Life >nd Work of St. Paul. 

Cation Farrar. 4to 2 parts, both 50 
11. Self-Culture. Prof. J. S. Blackie. 

4to. 2 parts, both 10 

12-19. Popular History of England. 

Chas. Knight. 4to 2 80 

10-21. Ru«kin r s Letters to Workmen 

and Laborer*. 4to. 2 parts, both 30 

22. Idyls of the King. Alfred Tenny- 
son. 4to 20 

23. Life of Rowland Hill. Rev. V. J. 
Charlesworth. 4ro 15 

24. Town Geology. Charles Kings- 
ley. 4to 15 

25. Alfred the Great. Thos. Hughes. 

4to 20 

26. Outdoor Life in Europe. Rev. E. 

P. Thwing. 4to 20 

27. Calamities of Authors. I. DTs- 
raeli. 4to 20 

28. Salon of Madame Necker. Parti. 

4to 15 

29. Ethics of the Dust. JohnRuskin. 

4to 15 

30-31. Memories of My Exile. Louis 

Kossuth. 4ro 40 

32. Mister Horn and His Friend*. 

Illustrated. 4to 15 

33-34. Orations of Demosthenes. 4to. 40 

35. Frondes Agrestes. John Rus- 

kin. 4to 15 

36. Joan of Arc. Alphonse de La- 
martine. 4to 10 

37. Thoughts of M. Aurelius Anto- 
ninus. 4to 15 

38. Salon of Madame Necker. Part 

II. 4to 15 

39. The Hermits. Chas. Kingsley. 4to. 15 

40. John Ploughman's Pictures. C. 

H. Spurgeon. 4to 15 

41. Pulpit Table-Talk. Dean Ram- 
say. 4fo 10 

42. Bible and Newspaper. C. H. 
Spurgeon. 4to 15 

43. Lacon. Rev. C. C. Colton. 4to. 20 



No. PriM. 

44. Goldsmith's Citizen of the World. 

4to $0 20 

45. America Revisited. George Au- 

fustus Sala. 4to 20 
ife of C. H. Spurgeon. 8vo 20 

47. John Calvin. M. Guizot. 4to... 15 
48-49. Dickens' Christmas Books. 

Illustrated. 8vo 50 

50. Shairp's Culture and Religion. 8vo. 15 
51-52. Godet's Commentary on Luke. 
Ed. by Dr. John Hall. 8vo,2parts, 

both 2 00 

53. Diary of a Minister's Wife. Part 

I. 8vo 15 

54-57. Van Doren's Suggestive Com- 
mentary on Luke. New edition, 
enlarged. 8vo 3 00 

58. Diary of a Minister's Wife. Part 

II. 8vo 15 

59. The Nutritive Cure. Dr. Robert 
Walter. 8vo 15 

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