THE STRATFORD CO., Publishers
The STRATFORD COMPANY, Publishers
The Alpine Press, Boston, Mass., U. S. A.
i . i
V . 6
I . 13
V ... 29
VI ... 41
III . . 53
"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
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
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
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,
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
"Be inspired with the belief, " this,
William Ewart Gladstone's great precept,
"that life is a noble calling, an elevated and
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
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart;
so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
' 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
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."
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
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. "
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