07 September 2010

Charlotte Bronte -- personality

to F. BENNOCH, 29 September 1853

I could not help smiling at what you say respecting your preconceived expectations of Currer Bell [Charlotte Bronte], anticipating in him or her a somewhat positive and overbearing personage. I am afraid my books must be at fault in a way of which I am totally unconscious, for you are by no means singular in your idea; on the contrary I find it shared by almost all strangers. However I cannot help it, and if others consent to look upon the defect as kindly as you do -- I fear I shall scarce trouble myself to regret it. (195)

Elizabeth Gaskell visited Charlotte at the home she shared with her last remaining relative, her father, in Haworth in 1853 and wrote about her visit to John Forster who was a good friend of Charles Dickens.

Mrs. Gaskell to John Forster, 1853

There are some people, whose stock of facts & anecdotes are soon exhausted; but Miss B. is none of these. She has the wild strange facts of her own & her sister's life, -- and beyond & above these she has more original & suggestive thoughts of her own; so that, like the moors, I felt on the last day as if our talk might be extended in any direction without getting to the end of any subject. (199)

Mrs. Gaskell to John Forster, 1853

Here & there from the high moorland summit we saw newly built Churches, -- which her Irish curates see after -- everyone of ?those being literal copies of different curates in the neighbourhood, whose amusement has been ever since to call each other by the names she gave them in Shirley. (198)

Margaret Smith ed. The Letters of Charlotte Bronte vol III

picture: bronte-country.com


ksotikoula said...

I like her commenting on her personality in a letter to Branwell where she expresses her dissatisfaction the second year she was on Brussels (1 May 1843, Volume II): "I perceive however that I grow exceedingly misanthropic and sour - you will say this is no news, and that you never knew me possessed of the contrary qualities, philanthropy & sugariness - dab ist wahr (which being translated means that is true) but the fact is the people here are no go whatsoever"
There is also an older letter to Ellen Nussey where she says that thankfully she has the cover of a serious expression otherwise people would soon consider her " a frenchified fool"

Caroline Helstone said...

I really enjoy your blog and insight on Charlotte Bronte. Please update!