31 August 2010

Charlotte Bronte Letters -- Misc.

to W. S. WILLIAMS, 23 March 1853

I had a letter the other day announcing that a lady of some note who had always determined that whenever she married, her elect should be the counterpart of Mr. Knightley in Miss Austen's "Emma" -- had now changed her mind and vowed that she would either find the duplicate of Professor Emanuel or remain forever single!!! (138)


That's one thing I like in Miss Bronte, that her men are so much better than most women's men. (141)

to GEORGE SMITH, 26 March 1853

With regards to that momentous point -- M. Paul's fate -- in case any one in future should request to be enlightened thereon -- they may be told that it was designed that every reader should settle the catastrophe for himself, according to the quality of his disposition, the tender or remorseless impulse of his nature. 'drowning and Matrimony are the fearful alternatives' The Merciful...will of course choose the former and milder doom -- drown him to put him out of pain. The cruel-hearted will on the contrary pitilessly impale him on the second horn of the dilemma -- marrying him without ruth or compunction to that -- person -- that -- that -- individual -- "Lucy Snowe." (142)

to GEORGE SMITH, 26 March 1853

I deny, and must deny that Mr. Thackeray is very good or very amiable, but the Man is great. (143)


The difference between Miss Bronte and me is that she puts all her naughtiness into her books, and I put all my goodness. I am sure she works off a great deal that is morbid into her writing, and out of her life; and my books are so far better than I am that I often feel ashamed of having written them and as if I were a hypocrite. (150)


I like her more & (b) more. She is so true, she wins respect, deep respect, from the very first, -- and then comes hearty liking, -- and last of all comes love. I throughly loved her before she left, -- and I was so sorry for her! She has had so little kindness & affection shown to her. She said that she was afraid of loving me as much as she could, because she had never been able to inspire the kind of love she felt. (159).


The Letters of Charlotte Bronte, ed. Margaret Smith, Volume III

Charlotte Bronte letters -- A.B. NICHOLLS

A.B. NICHOLLS -- the man charlotte bronte would eventually marry.

to ELLEN NUSSEY about A.B. NICHOLLS, 4 March 1853

The fact is I shall be most thankful when he is well away -- I pity him -- but I don't like that dark gloom of his -- He dogged me up the lane after the evening service in no pleasant manner -- he stopped also in the passage after the Bishop and the other clergy were gone into the room -- and it was because I drew away and went upstairs that he gave that look which filled Martha's soul with horror She -- it seems -- meantime, was making it her business to watch him from the kitchen door -- If Mr. N----- be a good man at bottom -- it is a sad thing that Nature has not given him the faculty to put goodness into a more attractive form -- Into the bargain of all the rest he managed to get up a most pertinacious and needless dispute with the Inspector -- in listening to which all my old unfavourable impression revived so strongly -- I fear my countenance could not but shew them. (130)

to ELLEN NUSSEY, 27 May 1853

He left Haworth this morning at 6 o'clock. Yesterday evening he called to render into papa's hands the deeds of the National School -- and to say good-bye. They were busy cleaning -- washing the paint &c. in the dining-room so he did not find me there. I would not go into the parlour to speak to him in Papa's last moment -- I thought it best not -- But perceiving that he stayed long before going out at the gate -- and remembering his long grief I took courage and went out trembling and miserable. I found him leaning again[st] the garden-door in a paroxysm of anguish -- sobbing as women never sob. Of course I went straight to him. Very few words were interchanged -- those few barely articulate: several things I should have liked to ask him were swept entirely from my memory. Poor fellow! but he wanted such hope and such encouragement as I could not give him. Still I trust he must know now tha[t] I am not cruelly blind and indifferent to his constancy and grief. For a few weeks he goes to the south of England -- afterwards he takes a curacy somewhere in Yorkshire but I don't know where. (168-9)

...to be continued...


The Letters of Charlotte Bronte, edited by Margaret Smith, volume III

22 August 2010


‎'The defect of your character, Helen, remember I tell you, is this -- inordinate desire to be loved, this impatience of not being loved...' -- HELEN, Maria Edgeworth

08 August 2010


I am feeling particularly anti-social right now. Sometimes I just really dislike people. Dislike consumes me: people's inane thoughts and words and lifestyles. There has to be better, doesn't there?

03 August 2010

charlotte -- george smith

page 74-5
To George Smith, 30 October 1852

My dear Sir
You must notify honestly what you think of "Villette" when you have read it. I can hardly tell you how much I hunger to have some opinion besides my own, and how I have sometimes desponded and almost despaired because there was no one to whom to read a line -- or of whom to ask a counsel. "Jane Eyre" was not written under such circumstances, nor were two-thirds of "Shirley". I got so miserable about it, I could bear no allusion to the book -- it is not finished yet, but now -- I hope.

As to the anonymous publication -- I have this to say. If the withholding of the author's name should tend materially to injure the publisher's interest -- to interfere with booksellers' orders &c. I would not press the point; but if no such detriment is contingent -- I should be most thankful for the sheltering shadow of an incognito. I seem to dread the advertisements -- the large lettered "Currer Bell's New Novel" or "New Work by the Author of 'Jane Eyre' ". These, however, I feel well enough are the transcendentalisms of a retired wretch -- and must not be intruded in the way of solid considerations; so you must speak frankly.


You will see that "Villette" touches on no matter of public interest. I cannot write books handling the topics of the day -- it is of no use trying. Nor can I write a book for its moral -- Nor can I take up a philanthropic scheme though I honour Philanthropy -- And voluntarily and sincerely veil my face before such a might subject as that handled in Mrs. beecher Stowe's work -- "Uncle Tom's Cabin".

To manage these great matters rightly they must be long and practically studied -- their bearings known intimately and their evils felt genuinely -- they must not be taken up as a business-matter and a trading-speculation. I doubt not Mrs. Stowe had felt the iron of slavery enter into her heart from childhood upwards long before she ever thought of writing books. The feeling rthroughout her work is sincere and not got up.

Remember to be an honest critic of "Villette" and tell Mr. Williams to be unsparing -- not that I am likely to alter anything -- but I want to know his impression and yours.

Believe me
Yours sincerely
C. Bronte

01 August 2010

beginning sentence of a novel

Years ago I fell in love with someone who was not in love with me, and I haven't been able to feel since.