Skip to main content

Full text of "Patrick Bronte"

See other formats





Patrick Bronte 



THE STRATFORD CO., Publishers 

Copyright 1921 

Boston, Mass. 

The Alpine Press, Boston, Mass., U. S. A. 




i . i 

II 3 

III .... 

IV 5 

V . 6 



I . 13 

II 14 

III 15 

IV " 

V 19 


I 23 

II 24 

III 26 

IV 28 

V ... 29 




I 33 

II .34 

HI 37 

IV 38 

V 40 

VI ... 41 


I ..47 

II 50 

III . . 53 

IV 55 

V 56 



"The Perfect trinity of highest female 
fame for England, " writes Swinburne, "is 
made up of three women, Elizabeth 
Barrett Browning, Emily and Charlotte 
Bronte. They had intellect, and they had 
genius, yea, they had 

The sweet and virtuous soul 

That like seasoned timber never gives, 

But when the whole world turns to coal, 
Then chiefly lives." 

Do you wish to understand an author, 
study the associations of his birth and 
youth; study his parentage and home, his 
education, the times he lived in, and the 
various influences unto which he was sub- 
jected, and he, too, will be seen, in large 
measure, like you and me, the outcome and 
victim of the radiance of circumstance. 

The trio of the Bronte sisters, do you 
know them? Charlotte, Emily, Anne. 


Acquaintance with them will increase 
your reverence for virtue, for duty and for 

They are become, the incidents of their 
lives, and their novels, part of my intel- 
lectual equipment; Charlotte and Emily 
are my imaginative friends; to me, their 
lives and their novels are all of one, for 
their novels came out of their lives; their 
feelings, fresh and deep,* and pure and 
strong, yearned for expression, and that 
expression hath issue in poetry, and then 
in novels "Wuthering Heights, " of 
Emily, the sphinx of English literature, is 
about the most passionate, intense and 
weird of all stories I have ever read. Anne 
wrote two novels; Charlotte wrote four 
"Shirley," "The Professor," "Villette," 
and "Jane Eyre". "Jane Eyre", the 
masterpiece, is distinctive romance, mov- 
ing on steadily, with intensifying interest 
toward a memorable and romantic close; 
the story of love, the story of two souls, 
sundered apart first, then knit together 
strangely into perfect union. And "Jane 



Eyre" is love's expression of the soul of 
Charlotte Bronte "I would love infinitely, 
and be beloved. ' ' 

I well remember reading "Jane Eyre" 
for the first time. My soul was captivated, 
and, once its spell was upon me, I could 
scarce endure to put the volume down until 
I had read it quite through. Its common 
effect this, especially in the time, 1847, of 
its appearance, when novels were not so 
abundant as now, were more expensive, 
and when the public taste was not so 
satiated with fiction as it now is. 

Till Charlotte came 

Woman 's looks, 

Were her only books. 

By the Fall of the year all London was 
led captive, in the main against its will, by 
one, who, knowing little of the conventional 
ways and thoughts of society, and caring 
as little for them, writing in a new way and 
from her own viewpoint, revealed the deeps 
of human feeling as, till, then, no other 
authoress had ever revealed them. 



"Jane Eyre" gathered readers and 
admirers fast. A Jane Eyre fever became 
epidemic ; the story moulded the fashion of 
the hour, and Eochester airs and Jane 
Eyre graces become the rage. 

Writes Thackeray, to whose genius 
Charlotte Bronte was devoted, and whom 
she named as "the first social regenerator 
of the day," a Titan in intellect "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 alike unknown to me, and how, 
with my own work pressing upon me, I 
could not, having taken the volumes up, lay 
them down until they were read through." 


As patterns of high womanhood, and of 
a tragic devotion to duty, though in social 
life shy, reserved, distant, yet as inter- 
preters of the true pure emotion of love, 
daily are rising in the regard of all lovers 
of true literature, Charlotte Bronte and 



Emily, the sister. A sure niche in the 
temple of literary fame is their portion. 

Their works are flowers of life that 
bloomed from the unpromising soil of 
Yorkshire moors, moors like the bare heath 
whereon met the witches three of Macbeth ; 
And I, too, did breathe the selfsame Yorkshire 

And feel with them a kinship thro' the sod ; 
I have looked on the hills that they deemed fair, 

And trod the Yorkshire moors their feet have 

And so I am a lover of the Brontes, 
They are my friends. 


Oft lesser names shine with lustre 
reflected from a great name. For 
that Charlotte and Emily are illustrious, 
Patrick Bronte, the father, wins our 

We know his land, the Irish land, the 
land of Patrick, St. Patrick, the holy youth, 
whose was the blest fortune to be born to 
the service of Mary's Great Son. 

St. Patrick's day, March 17th. 1777, was 



born Patrick Bronte, at Emdale, in a small 
cottage ; so lowly his home it is now a shel- 
ter for cattle. Peasant-born, eldest, biggest 
boy of a family of ten, nurtured to hardi- 
hood and frugality, Patrick had big chores, 
the biggest, the potato-gathering of the 
fall of the year, days in the Emerald Isle 
cold and chilly, rainy and dreary, sleet oft 
falling, and, following the diggers from 
dawn to dark went Patrick, young boy, 
The little man, 

With cheek of tan. 
Work hand and foot, 
Work spade and hand, 
Work spade and hand 
Thro the crumbly mold ; 
The blessed fruit 

That grows at the root 
Is the real gold 
Of Ireland. 

At fourteen the young Bronte is weaver- 
boy, and, before long, quite expert in the 
art of weaving, and supplying the Bronte 
home with all the blankets and druggets 
and tweeds that were needed. Patrick 



learned to weave linen and bore his webs 
to Banbridge, finding there, in those war 
times, high price and speedy sale. 

Prosperity's right hand is industry, and 
her left hand frugality. 

The young youth 's prosperity bloomed 
to a change of occupation. 

Hugh Bronte, Patrick's father, had 
passed thro' strange experiences and could 
relate stories, some, such as melt the heart 
to pity, others such as cause the flesh to 
creep and stir the passion for the weird and 

. Storytelling fosters the love of litera- 
ture, and Patrick would visit the book- 
stalls at Banbridge and at Newry. Once 
he took his web to Belfast, and returned 
thence laden with books. 

' Twere vain to fish without a hook, 
You cannot learn without a book. 

Patrick learned to weave and to read at 
the same time, with his book propped up 
before him. 

He did weave with his hands, 

And he did weave with his brain, 
and the web woven with his brain was more 



pleasing than the web woven with his 

Prosperity attended the young weaver. 
His increased earnings bought him more 
books, and more than ever is he intent to 
know and enthusiastic to read. 


William Shakespeare, myriad-minded, 
immortal, still, in the realm of thought and 
of human sympathy, abideth supreme. 
Nigh unto him, majestic, cometh John 
Milton, the gifted organ voice. 

And there was Milton, like a seraph strong, 
Beside him, Shakespeare, bland and mild. 

And over the youthful Bronte came the 
spell of Milton's Paradise Lost. Patrick 
read and re-read incessantly, the Poem 
possessed his soul, and, in the midst of the 
weaving, he fell into a trance: Lo! in 

Fast falls the eventide; 

The darkness deepens 
Now comes still evening on, and twilight gray 

Had in her sober livery all things clad ; 
Silence accompanied, for beast and bird, 



They to their grassy couch, these to their nests 
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale, 

She all night long her amorous descant sung ; 
Silence was pleased. 

Patrick walks with Adam and Eve at 
evening-time, in the Happy Garden, and 
together with them, under open sky adored 
the Maker Omnipotent. , 

Glad, spell-bound, entranced, is the 
young youth. 

But the poetry and the dreaming 
Made it go ill with the weaving. 




Youth 's morning is mystery, 

The ripeness of its maturity, 
The out-growth of its history. 

Patrick obtained a commission from a 
Banridge merchant to weave him linen 
webs of rare fineness. The youthful 
weaver, highly expert, is prospering, for 
the reward for fine work was generous. 
He delays, however, in the delivery of his 
second web, thereby the merchant is dis- 
pleased, and placing the microscope over 
the web, the texture is found to be uneven 
and irregular in the weaving. Patrick 
pays penalty in a depreciated price. Tho 
young weaver, crestfallen and bewildered, 
returns home. 

Humiliation, like the darkness, reveals 
the lights of Heaven; the vision splendid 
the more brightly shines. 



With Othello Patrick could have said, 
' ' I do perceive here a divided duty. ' ' 

He will continue his reading upon a new 
plan ; part of each day for reading and part 
for weaving; he will concentrate now upon 
the weaving and now upon the reading. 

But his heart was in his reading, and 
when he was at the weaving, Milton 's 
angels bright and angels dark would come 
wandering by ; he would look thereon, and 
ply his shuttle as in a reverie, to awake 
soon to find serious defects rolled out on 
the cloth beam. 

Much poetry and much dreaming 
Made it go ill with the weaving. 


Patrick is possessed of the desire to 
learn, and love of learning is like the sea- 
wave, which the more you drink the more 
you thirst; and he would read and cherish 
visions, as is said of David-Lloyd George, 
he has always beheld the vision of the 
great things; cottage-born, that daring 
Welshman is, at this hour, the Strong Man 
of a mighty empire. 



Cottage-born, Patrick had ambition, and 
right ambition's first need, the desire for 
education, and this he would satisfy first. 

Cherish the worthy ambition, and to use 
strength to help onward the good, to yield 
the utmost of service, service of hand and 
service of heart, service of brain and the 
greatest service of all, the service of a 
noble character. As is being now said of 
the great Welshman, l ' David Lloyd George 
is himself in a way so wonderful that his 
service to his country consists in being 
himself, in giving himself, in expressing 
himself. " 

"Be inspired with the belief, " this, 
William Ewart Gladstone's great precept, 
"that life is a noble calling, an elevated and 
lofty destiny." 


Friend and brother wouldest thou find, 
Hearts of love around thee bind, 

Be thyself a heart of home, 

To gentle hearts, hearts gentle come. 

Patrick Bronte found the gentle heart 
and found it heart of home ; he found the 


timely friend. As is the Sun in the 
Heavens, so is Friendship to our world; 
'tis for warmth and light, for encourage- 
ment, inspiration, nourishment. 

See ! i tis a genial summer 's day, and the 
young boy, in the Emdale fort, lies prone 
on the grass, his fervor for Milton is upon 
him, and he reads aloud the admired lines, 
pausing once-a-while for self abandoned 
fervid comment; he is musing Paradise 
Lost. He thought himself alone. 

Andrew Harshaw, in amused admira- 
tion and interest stood suddenly behind the 
young youth, and, for a while, listened to 
Patrick's expressive enthusiasm. 

Conscious soon of human presence, 
Patrick, like Satan's angels, up he sprung, 

As when men wont to watch. 
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, 

Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake, 
and, like them, was abashed and stood, 
blushing before the stranger. 

Harshaw was kindly and soon won 
Patrick to conversation, and friendship's 
mission is begun. Young Bronte opened 
heart and mind, and spoke of the weaving, 



and spoke of his dreaming of his poetry 
and of his aspirations. Arm in arm walked 
the two around Elmdale fort. As Patrick 
listened to the words sympathetic from his 
timely friend he felt as if his life had been 
transformed ! 

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; 
so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by 
loving counsel. 

That spirit of his in aspiration lifts him 
aloft. The sky is now clear and the earth 
bathed with the light Divine. The lingering 
snow of neighboring mountains wears a 
rosy hue ; and in the glen the thrush sang 
sweetly his song and the lark flooded the 
skies with the rapture of Heavenly music. 
Over Faith all skies are fair 

Golden shores will yet be won 
Steering toward the setting sun. 


Andrew Harshaw was a stickit minister ; 
earnest scholar and godly man, courteous, 
and held in high esteem. He had much 
learning but like unto Moses was slow of 



The grace of man is in the mind, sings 
Cicero, and the beauty of the mind is 
eloquence. Andrew Harshaw had the 
grace but to him was denied the beauty of 
expression; wherefore no pastoral charge 
fell to him. He then is that serviceable 
union, the minister-teacher, and taught a 
little school and cultivated a farm, an affec- 
tionate visionary, his eyes oft beholding 
the things afar. 

And poets are dreamers and show 
visions that come to reality. 

One man with a dream, at pleasure, 

Shall go forth and conquer a crown : 
And three, with a new song 's measure, 
Can trample a kingdom down. 

Oh, blessedness 'tis to minister to 
youth's young dream. 

And Harshaw, for Patrick Bronte did 
dream ambition's aspiring dream. He 
taught the cottage-boy free of charge, he 
lent him books, he taught him to discipline 
and rule his mind. The weaving went well ; 
gray dawn to dusky eve found him at his 
loom a-weaving cheerily, cheerily; early 
and late he is at quiet study, reading 



Ovid and Homer and solving geometrical 

Heart and hand and mind are steadily at 
work, for the friend to guide is found. 

Asked the secret of the success of his 
life, Charles Kingsley replies, "I had a 

No wonder that the minister-author 

Can we forget one friend? Can we forget one 

Which cheered us toward the end? 
Which nerved us for our race ? 

We would not if we could forget. 

David Lloyd George, cottage-born, mas- 
ter-spirit of a mighty empire, of the race 
of Arthur the King, is son of a village- 
teacher and helped to his great career 
through self sacrifice and loyalty of a lov- 
ing brother. The President of a mighty 
Republic, master of expression and of a 
fine integrity of character, hath ascended 
from the ranks of the teacher. 

Teacher ! Go work on mind and matter now, 
A Master raised to power art thou ! 



The teacher teaching is the learner ever 
learning. Patrick proceeded to teach 
school. He studied the individual pupil, 
character, temperament, aptitude ; dull 
pupils he encouraged, capable boys he 
allured to the higher studies. Lover of 
learning he communicates the love to his 

Cheerily he pursues his studies. In 
three years he has mastered all the class- 
ical and mathematical volumes of Har- 
shaw's library. Ancient and standard 
authors he read and re-read incessantly. 

"Read, mark, learn and inwardly di- 
gest. " As Charles Darwin said Charles 
John Romanes, " Above all things, Ro- 
manes, practice the art of meditation/' 
Meditation is the nurse of thought, and 
thought the food for meditation. 

Days of teaching, evenings of learning, 
the friend's smile and genial encourage- 
ment yield the young youth happy hours 
and the years glide gently by. 




! love is the soul of a neat Irishman, 

He loves all that is lovely, loves all that he can, 

With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green ! 
For love, all for love, for in that he delights, 

With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green ! 

Patrick, endowed with a passionate love 
of nature, expressed himself thro' poetry. 
Poetry, the hand that wrings 

Music from the soul of things. 
Love of nature, fervent and deep, is wont 
to enkindle to poetry, the breath and finer 
expression of the hidden beauty of a won- 
derful world; the enlarging of the realm 
of imagination. Patrick wrote "The Cot- 
tage in the Wood," the Art of becoming 
rich and Happy; he wrote a story, "The 
Maid of Killarney;" he wrote "The Irish 
Cabin," a story of gentle adventure on the 
Mourne Mountains. Pupils had great glee 
to copy out and to learn the stories and 



poems of their poet-teacher. In due time 
is published the volume of Poems by 
Patrick Bronte. And thus he adorns the 
title page of his "Cottage Poems": 
All ye who turn the sturdy soil, 

Or ply the loom with daily toil, 
And lowly on, thro ' life turmoil 

For scanty fare, attend, 
And gather richest spoil to soothe your 

And lovers are given to poetry. 


Cultivating the intelligence of his pupils, 
Patrick, youthful teacher, came to the 
birth, within his own clear bosom, of the 
pure emotion of gentle love, centering in a 
damsel with locks auburn as his own. The 
young youth was true human, and that 
inly touch came into expression. The 
response is fervent, and meetings follow. 
Helen was the daughter of a substantial 
farmer of aristocratic tendencies; and 
meetings are forbidden. With opposition 
the flame more warmly glows and meet- 
ings continue, and the watch is set, and 
upon a day the two keep tryst 'mid the 



wheat-stacks; but the converse sweet 
comes into interruption. The allied 
brothers, who have lain in wait, declare 
war and rush upon the audacious school- 

"And there began a strong battle with many 
great strokes." 

The fiery Helen, dread cause of the fray, 
flew in between and espoused the Bronte 's 
cause with great spirit and vigor. When 
the storm of battle cleared away, teacher 
and pupil were deeper in love than ever. 
Helen 's pocket and desk were found full of 
the "neat Irishman V love verses, and 
both claimed the right to follow sweet will 
"For what I will, I will, and there 's an 

But pathetic consequence followed. 
Bronte was dismissed from his school; he 
lost his friend, Andrew Harshaw, who up- 
braided him for gaining unwarrantable 
influence over his pupil. 

Secret meetings of Helen and Patrick 
went on for some time, but gradually the 
romance ceased to thrill, and Helen, quite 
discreetly, abandoned the unhappy youth 



out of place and no prospects : She went off 
and married an honest farmer, and by and 
by is joyful matron, and auburn-haired 
children are in plenty. 


Find earth where grows no weed, and 
you may find heart where no error grows. 
Best o' men are moulded out of faults. 
Patrick, repentant, returned to his true 
friend, Andrew Harshaw, admitted his 
fault and was received once more into 

Every morning is a fresh beginning, 
Listen, brothers, to the glad refrain, 

Take heart with the day and begin again. 
By the help of the stickit minister the 
young youth is now teaching an Episcopal 
school at Drumballyroney. He is twenty- 
one years of age. He taught private pupils : 
he had his school salary. He was indus- 
trious, prosperous, studying, teaching, and 
dreaming, aspiring, an university career 
his aim. 

Native ability without education is like 
a tree without fruit. 



Eighteen hundred and two, our Irish boy 
is at Cambridge University, thither helped 
by the encouragement and teaching of 
Andrew Harshaw. The friend o' cheer 
opens, like the Spring-time, all the 
blossoms of the inward spirit. 

Patrick won three exhibitions: he had 
money saved up; he earns more, coaching 
fellow students. So, genially, creditably 
pass four years. He has tasted the sweets 
of the learned grove, and, in 1806, is 
adorned with his degree, the B. A., the 
bay of the learned. He has social position, 
and enters the sacred ministry, his mission 
to set forth the glory and magnificence of 
Christian Truth. 

He passes thro' three Curacies; twice he 
is in sole charge of a parish; finally he is 
Vicar of Haworth, world famous now, suf- 
ficiently obscure and remote then; forty 
years he ministers in Haworth, until 1861, 
when at four score years and four his 
labours were all over. 

Weaver Irish Boy to English Vicar was 
no mean upward climb for those early 


torian days. Industry and the cheer of a 
friend write the story of his life. 

Gather home the lesson of the Pleiades, 
Climb the heaven, moving slowly, shining still, 

Sparkling each distinct, yet reaching each to 


Filaments fine of irridescent lights, yea and of 
fellowship too, 

In the spirit of a common celestial journey. 


Some two or three years our "neat Irish- 
man " is curate of Weatherfield, Essex, 
where he meets Mary Burden, and each to 
the other is pleasing, until the obdurate 
uncle appears ! Alliance with an obscure 
Curate! Not for a moment! And the 
young lady is spirited away, and the lovers 
never meet again. Patrick sours some- 

Some ten months of 1809 Patrick is 
Curate at Wellington, Shropshire, and a 
wonderful woman-hater! The grapes are 
sour ! If for him, why, then for the whole 
world besides. And he quarrels with an 



old College-friend, a neighboring Curate, 
for that he had the amazing presumption 
to become engaged to be married ! 

Courage, friend, thy time soon will come ! 
A man may fail, a-wooing, twice, 

And the third time may prosper. 


At Dewsbury, Yorkshire, the ancient 
parish church, Patrick Bronte is Curate. 

When, A. D. 627, Paulinus, Eoman mis- 
sionary, visited Britain, 30 years after the 
benign coming of St. Augustine, he found, 
already set up, a Cross upon the site of the 
present parish Church. Christianity was 
already old in Britain when Roman mis- 
sionaries touched her shores. The site of 
the ancient Cross became a center of Chris- 
tian light and Christian life. And thous- 
ands at the hands of the good Paulinus 
were baptized into the Strong Name of the 
Trinity. Thus were ingathered pagan 
Saxons to the bosom of Holy Church. 

Two years is Patrick, Curate at Dews- 
bury. So our hero finds home 'mid York- 
shire folk, rugged, brusque, aggressively 


independent, possessed of a grim humor, 
withal kindly, loving much and loving long 
when once their hearts were won. 

Patrick made way r mongst them, in spirit 
kindred with them, for he was soon recog- 
nized as of strong mind, true courage and 
of a Christian manhood. The "neat Irish- 
man ' ' became a true Yorkshire man and in 
him may be discerned the sources of the 
strength and vitality of the genius of the 
Bronte sisters. 

The Reverend Patrick Bronte was hand- 
some, tall, well formed, of almost classic 
features; enthusiastic, retaining still the 
happy faculty of adoration, responsive, 
sensitive to winning ways and gracious fea- 

As minister in holy things, the Curate 
has the high regard of all, loving the Sun- 
day School and to catechize the children, 
holding cottage meetings, a center of 
spiritual influence. 

Eccentricities ! he had them, and loved 
plain living and honest oat-meal. 




With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green ! 

Oh, for the Irishman and the shillelah! 
And the Reverend Patrick Bronte carried 
the shillelah, and merry friends called him 
"Old Staff. " And a rugged Staff was he, 
independent and free and bold ; bold, bold, 
everywhere bold. 

Upon a day see him walk along the bank 
of the river Calder, the river in flood ; rain 
had fallen heavily; as boys will, a number 
were together amusing themselves upon 
the river's brink among them a youth 
half-witted him they teased, and, giving 
him too hard a push, to the dismay of all, 
he fell into the whirling waters and was 
soon battling for life. 

Shouts and shrieks won the young 
Curate 's ears. He was soon, and no swim- 
mer, in the midst of the swiftly-flowing 



flood, and the boy was gathered from a 
watery grave. 

Courage mounteth with the occasion. 


The neat Irishman with the shillelah can 
contend, too, with turbulent man! 

Whit-Monday, in Yorkshire, is a great 
day for Sunday Schools ; it is Processional 
Day. Sunday School scholars assemble in 
Churches or Schools, hold a brief service, 
then, forming in line, two and two, they so 
march in happy Procession thro' the prin- 
cipal streets of the town, 

Light-hearted and gay 

Are they, 

As they move along the way. 
They return to the school-room and eat 
currant buns and drink hot tea, a merry 
day ! They then adjourn to a field, scatter, 
and for the rest, enjoy the day, teachers 
and pupils, in such games as young folks 

Following ancient custom, pupils and 
teachers assembled at the Parish Church 
of Dewsbury upon Whit-Sunday. The 



brief service ended, the Procession is 
formed, girls and their teachers first, then 
the boys and their teachers ; so merrily 
they march thro, the principal streets of 
the town, and proceed to a village, Earl- 
sheaton, upon a terraced hill-side over- 
looking the town, thence to the Town 
Green. They halt and sing Hymns York- 
shire folk call this "The Sing." 

The Eeverend Patrick Bronte is in 
charge of the Procession. 

The scarp of the hill reached, the town 
and beautiful winding Calder Valley pres- 
ent an attractive panorama, and the land- 
scape was enjoyed by all, bright sunshine 
over all. 

The Procession went merrily on. 

And what is this ? The Procession comes 
to a confused halt ! An interruption ! 

A tall strongly-built man (notorious 
boxer, drinker) stands, arms outspread be- 
fore the column, and with foul words, bids 
the girls turn around and go back to Dews- 
bury. He will block the way; and there 
are cries of alarm ! 

But "Old Staff," the alert young Curate, 



is soon at the front. Prompt as a flash, he 
seizes the ill-conditioned fellow by the 
collar and hurls him to the side of the road 
whence he came. Muscular Christianity 
fulfills its mission, and the Procession 
moves on. The Hymns are sung upon the 
Town Green and the day comes to its close 
in peace. 

Charlotte Bronte has put this rustic epi- 
sode into that breezy Yorkshire novel of 
hers, called " Shirley/' 

The Curate of a neighboring Church, 
Sabine Baring-Gould, it was who wrote for 
the Church universal, the world-famous 

Onward, Christian soldiers, 

Marching as to war, 
With the Cross of Jesus 

Going on before. 

And the purpose of the Hymn was to sing 
it, while the children marched from the 
village to the next village, to participate 
with Sunday School children there in the 
Whit-Monday festivity, and so to increase 




When St. Augustine and forty com- 
panions, sent by the Bishop of Rome, A. 
D. 397, reached Britain, Christianity was 
already ancient in the land. Within the 
first two centuries of the Christian era 
hundreds of Churches, to the worship of 
the Lord Christ, had been erected in the 
island, some in the distant wilds of Scot- 

In the trading ships from Mediterranean 
cities went godly men who told to Britons 
how that Christ had died and would win 
men unto Himself. British soldiers who 
had fought against the Romans were taken 
prisoners to Rome. There they learned 
and took back the story of Jesus Christ. 
Christian Roman soldiers, too, there must 
have been. 

Thus early shone Christian light in 
Britain. St. Alban, A. D. 303, is the first 
British martyr. Thro' Irish and Scottish 
and Roman missionary effort, Churches 
increased and multiplied they have con- 



tinned to increase and the land is pos- 
sessed of them. 

With the Church hath constantly been 
the Church-tower and the Church-going 
bell; many Churches have the chimes of 

The sweet Church bell 
Peals over hill and dell, 
Jesus Christ be praised and from of 
old these have been rung by hands of stal- 
wart men of the parish. Each Lord's Day 
ring gladsomely out the bells, the bells, 
Come to worship, 
Come to praise, 

Come to prayer. 

Solemnizing and inspiring 'tis to listen to 
the chiming and pealing of the bells. 


Large bells are first mentioned in the 
Chronicle of the Venerable Bede, A. D. 
670 ; and the first peal of bells that we hear 
of is a peal of six bells in the Abbey of 
Croyland, A. D. 870, and each bell was 
given its name. 

Anciently each bell was consecrated be- 



fore being raised to its place in the Tower, 
and received the name of a Saint or 
Martyr, and had an inscription placed in- 
side, such as, 

Ave Maria ora pro nobis, 
St. Joseph, pray for us. 
With the Reformation such inscriptions 
ceased, and the founder's or donor's name 
is inscribed, with some ryhme or senti- 
ment, such as 

Repent, I say, be not too late, 
Thyself all times ready make. 
Let us all sound out, 
1 11 keep my place no doubt. 
The ringing and chiming of the bells was 
considered effective to still storms. The 
sounding of the bells would disperse evil 

I call the Living I toll the passing 

I mourn the departed I break the Lightning 

Thus the Bell ! 

And we hear of the evening bells ; of the 
mellow wedding bells, Golden bells; and 
Charles Lamb sings of 

The Bells, the music nearest Heaven. 
And the ancient Parish Church of Dews- 



bury had its peal of bells and its stalwart 
company of the bell-ringers. 

We have holidays now, but scarcely have 
we holy days. In the Bronte days Sunday 
was true holy day. The day most calm, 
most bright, the light celestial of all the 
week, and streets were thronged with the 
Church-going multitude, to whom 

When bells did chime, 

'Twas angels' music, 

The bonny Christ Church bells. 
Now bell-ringing is a fine art, requiring 
practice and skill, and bell-ringing con- 
tests were wont to be held. 

*Tis Sunday evening, service ended, and 
the Reverend Patrick Bronte sits in his 
study for quiet rest ; and not for long. 

Evening bells have summoned to wor- 
ship and the Church was left quiet ; and lo ! 
the bells ring out a merry peal! and ring 
and ring, busily ring ! for the amazement of 
the Curate. 

A bell ringing tournament was ap- 
proaching, and, the Vicar being away, the 



bell-ringers grasped opportunity for a 
practice-peal, even upon the Sabbath, at 

But the neat Irish Curate is near-by. 
Seizing his trusty shillelah, afire with vir- 
tuous indignation, he reaches the parish 
clerk's house. "What is the meaning of the 
bell-ringing ?" "Tomorrow is the bell- 
ringing contest; and they're practicing. " 

Such unheard-of sacrilege! this is Sab- 
bath desecration ! and with speed, Patrick 
Bronte ascends the winding stairs of the 
Church Tower, and with flourished shille- 
lah, is soon in the midst of the astonished 
bell-ringers. This display of force and 
fiery indignation, joined with reverence 
for the sacred ministry is sufficient and the 
Bell-tower is soon purified of the noisy 
bell-ringers, sacrilegious miscreants! 


Laughter, like a chime of bells, must ring 
true to season, true to occasion. 

Like Peter, the impulsive, who fell at the 
mirth of a maid, Patrick Bronte is keenly 


Upon a certain Lord's Day, the Curate 
officiates at Hartshead, miniature Church 
upon the hill-top. At evensong he is ar- 
ranged for service at Dewsbury, since the 
Vicar would spend the evening at a 
friend's house, a family gathering. 

Returning, clouds gather, thunder 
roared, lightning flashed and rain torren- 
tial fell and the Bronte clothing is flooded. 
Mr. Bronte reached the friend's house, 
meeting at the door the Vicar's friend. 
Since he is so drenched thro' the Curate 
asks, "Will the Vicar officiate?" 

With broad grim Yorkshire humor, the 
gentleman exclaims, "What! keep a dog 
and bark himself '?" The shaft of ridicule 
pierced home ! Mr. Bronte turned speedily 
away, found his rooms and changed cloth- 
ing. That night he conducts, with perfect 
self recollection, the service of Evensong 
and preaches the farewell sermon ! To the 
wonderment of all, the Curate announces 
that thence he '11 preach no more. Flagrant 
insult is the occasion of his resolution. His 
sermon is mightily effective; he had rapt 
attention; and the Eeverend Patrick 



Bronte kept his word. Faithful to all holy 
duties else, parish visitation, Sunday 
School and all besides; the Vicar must do 
all the preaching. 

The heart that's soonest awake to flowers 
Is oft the quickest to be touched by thorns. 




Greatness in the children lends luster to the 

Hartshead-Cum-Clifton, small village 
upon the hill-top melting gradually away to 
an extensive table-land, has a tiny church 
dedicated to St. Peter. The Reverend 
Patrick Bronte is appointed Curate-in- 
sole-charge of the little parish and Church. 
Friendship brings brides, and, we have 
the assurance of Touchstone, 

' * As a walled town is more worthier than 
a village, so is the forehead of a married 
man more honorable than the hare brow 
of a bachelor." 

The Reverend William Morgan, Curate 
of a neighboring Church and friend of Mr. 
Bronte, is occasional visitor in the home of 
Mr. John Fennell, Headmaster of the 
Woodhouse Green Wesleyan Academy, 
and becomes engaged to Jane Fennell, the 



Headmaster's daughter. The friend 
brought Mr. Bronte into visiting terms at 
the Wesley an Academy. 

Meanwhile, for prolonged stay in the 
Headmaster's home, comes a gentle little 
lady Maria Branwell. And Maria Bran- 
well and the Curate of Hartshead 
"changed eyes." 

' l Happy the wooing that 's not long doing. ' ' 
Patrick's wooing won, and won soon. 
"Give all to love; obey the heart." And 
the dear lady's love-letters are all pre- 
served ; they were but nine, for the days of 
the wooing were brief. Thirty-eight years 
later Patrick Bronte handed to his daugh- 
ter Charlotte a "little packet of letters and 
papers," her mother's love letters! And 
the precious letters are in print ! Precious 
memorials to Charlotte, the daughter, they 
were ; at five years of age her mother was 
taken from her. Charlotte read the let- 
ters, she tells us 

"In a frame of mind I cannot describe. 
It was strange now to peruse for the first 
time, the records of a mind from whence 
my own sprang ; and most strange, and at 
once sad and sweet to find that mind of a 


truly fine, pure and elevated order 
There is a rectitude and refinement, a 
constancy, a modesty, a sense of gentle- 
ness about them indescribable. I wish 
she had lived and that I had known her. ' ' 

The wedding day was December 29th. 
1812, and truly remarkable, for it was a 
trio of weddings, three bride-grooms, 
three brides ! 

The two Curate-friends are married to 
the two cousins, and in this wise : 

the Eeverend William Morgan joined 
in holy matrimony Patrick Bronte and 
Maria Bran well; then, congratulations 

the Reverend Patrick Bronte joined in 
holy matrimony William Morgan and Jane 
Fennell ; 

and, upon the same day, in far away 
Penzance of Cornwall the sister of Maria 
Branwell, Charlotte, was joined in holy 
matrimony to a happy bride-groom. 

And the marriages three were "pro- 
foundly happy, " and the Bronte marriage 
gave luster to English literature and made 
the name of Bronte immortal. 




Jane suits me: do I suit her ?" asks 
Mr. Rochester of Jane Eyre in Charlotte 
Bronte's great novel; and Jane replies, 
"To the finest fibre of my nature, sir." 

There's the 

Love that hath every bliss in store ; 

'Tis friendship, and 'tis something more. 

Each other every wish they give ; 
Ever to know love is ever to live. 

Two children at Hartshead are given to 
them, Maria and Elizabeth, and these were 
but visitants, their earthly period soon 

For recreation Mr. Bronte turned to 
poetry. He publishes two volumes of 
poems and a story, "The Cottage in the 

This wins our interest and suggests the 
source of the literary passion of the Bronte 
daughters ; it is a fervor inherited and cul- 


What happiness to reign a lonely king 
Vext ........ vext with waste dreams ! 

Thus reflects Arthur the King, after that 
he has seen Guienevere, and to Merlin he 



exclaims, "This damsel is the most valiant 
and the fairest lady that I know living, or 
that ever I could find." And the coming 
of Guienevere is the entry of high romance 
into the life of the King and in her train 
comes the Round Table and the Knights, 
the famed one hundred and fifty. 

So with the entry of Maria Branwell into 
Patrick Bronte's life begins the bloom of 
that life, the foundation of the Bronte 
home and the fame of the Brontes. 

Thornton, a few miles distant, is the next 
Bronte sphere of labor, the home of wor- 
ship known as the Old Bell Chapel; thither 
the Brontes come in the year 1815. Here 
in successive years are born the rest of the 
Bronte children, Charlotte, Patrick Bran- 
well, Emily, then Anne, the gentle, aimiable 
Anne, not illustrious at all, but openly win- 
ning and attractive, of an alert expressive 
sympathy and the Bronte family circle is 
complete, children six and one boy of the 
circle one sole pathetic shadow for com- 
plete family bliss, the frail figure and fra- 
gile health of the Bronte mother. 

Upon the family at home depends the 


character abroad ; and the school is the en- 
larged family, scholars the lengthening 
shadows of teachers. 

The family is like a book 

The children are the leaves, 

The parents are the covers 

That the protective beauty yield. 

Thornton, amid hills is situated, bleak 
and wild, compassed about with long, low 
moors, dark with heather, shut in narrow 
valleys and flowing water brooks, mills and 
scattered cottages climb the hillsides or lie 
settled in the vale beneath. 'Tis for the 
imagination poetic to gild the scene. 

But the love of man would do this. And 
the Yorkshire folk were, as 'twere, a re- 
action of the landscape, rugged indepen- 
dent, conscientious, religious, attentive to 
the Church-going bell and circling social 
life all and about Holy Church. 

During five years, we are sure, the Rev- 
erend Patrick Bronte, at Thornton, was a 
living sermon of the truths he taught and 
the Bronte home the radiance of Christian 
light and life. 



Upon a day, in the year of our Lord, 
1820, February 25, a lumbering procession 
of some seven or eight country carts is 
moving over the road that winds, the four 
miles, over the hills from Thornton to the 
unique and remote hamlet of Haworth. 
The country parson's household goods and 
family are moving to their final and per- 
manent earthly home, to Haworth. 

Haworth 's a place that God doth own, 

With many a sweet smile. 
But its glory is the halo of romance, for 
'tis a rugged village that straggles its cot- 
tages, factories, schools, Churches along a 
narrow and precipitous valley and up the 
eastern and western hillsides. Factory 
Chimneys towering aloft, like minarets 
industrial, summon the faithful. Come to 
work, yield hands to labor. Today Ha- 
worth is industrial, busy, in touch with the 
throbbing speedy life of the great world. 
In the Bronte days it was remote, secluded, 
aloof, far from railroad and the busy stir 
of life. 



The charm and attraction of Haworth 
are the moors, the wide spreading moors. 

" North, west and south they are to be 
found immense stretches of heather on 
almost every side, crowning nearly every 
hill, far and near, reaching apparently into 
infinity. Nor tree nor shrub is in view. 
The soil is thin, poor, scanty; trees could 
not live on these heights ; their roots would 
find no nourishment, nor could they face 
the blasts of autumnal and winter storms. ' ' 

< < There is always fresh air on the moors ; 
pleasant life-giving invigorating breezes 
are found there even on hot summer days, 
when the air is stagnant and stifling in the 
valleys; in winter the winds blow over 
them, strong and keen. The moors breathe 
liberty. On them the thoughts go free. 
They fascinate; and over those who fre- 
quent them most, falls a strangely myster- 
ious and magic spell. The moors are call- 
ing them, and they are under the charm. " 

The Brontes loved the moors. 

"I dreamt once," writes Emily Bronte, 
i ' that I was in Heaven, but it did not seem 
to be my home, and I broke my heart with 



weeping to come back to earth; and the 
angels were so angry that they flung me 
into the middle of the heath on the top of 
Wuthering Heights, where I awoke, sob- 
bing for joy." 


Luster to the father I This, the great 
names, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, 
together with the gentle Anne, quiet shin- 
ing star, give to Patrick Bronte; subdued 
glitter is to him for that Charlotte Bronte 
wrote greatly, wrote Jane Eyre, The Pro- 
fessor, Shirley, Villette; Emily wrote the 
weird and thrilling Wuthering Heights: 
and Anne wrote two gentle novels. 

Lyric and heroic souls, all three, 
pioneers for the freedom of the human 
spirit and for woman's wider liberty of 
expression. Sings Emily, the sphinx, 
Emily ever aloof, dwelling alone : 
And if I pray, the only prayer 
That moves my lips for me 
Is, Leave the heart that now I bear, 

And give me liberty, 
With courage to endure. 




Strange! Patrick Bronte survived his 
wife and all his children, living on till his 
years were four score years and. one. 

Three thousand visitors a year have re- 
paired to the Bronte home, the Bronte 
Church, and the Bronte museum of that 
moorland town of Haworth, Haworth of 
the wide spreading moors. 

And the most prized of all memorials t 
the Bronte genius and to the Bronte name 
is the gift of an American citizen. And 
this is in the expressive form of a stained 
glass window in the Parish Church of 
Haworth, where, for forty years the 
Bronte father ministered in holy things. 
And the memorial reads, 

"To the Glory of God 
And the pleasant memory of Charlotte 

By an "American Citizen;" 
and many an humble devotee to the Bronte 
genius, visiting at that Yorkshire shrine, 
has murmured gentle prayer, 

"God bless that American Citizen. "