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and an old servant, Tabby, came, at this made them. Inheriting the paternal time, full of all kinds of traditional lore, strength with the mother's gentleness, for which she found delighted
and enthu. a youth bereaved of childhood had passsiastic listeners in the girls. There was a ed in solitude and gloom. They had brother Branwell, also, a weak, fascinat- undoubtedly that nervous sensitiveness ing, brilliant character, self-indulgent, which we call morbid, and all their lives and idolized by his sisters, and so winning were tinged by this temperament. in his ways and lively in conversation, In 1835, Charlotte went as teacher, that he was always summoned to the and Emily as pupil, to Miss Wooler's. village inn when the passing traveler But the intractable Emily chafed and wanted amusement. The talent of the pined for the bleak hillsides of home, girls began to display itself in domestic to which she soon returned, and never literature. They wrote every kind of again left it but twice. At home she work, and imagined an island, like baked and ironed, and studied German Hartley Coleridge's boyish fancy of a while she kneaded the dough. country, and had each their heroes Charlotte's duties were upon her among the living and eminent English- health. She dreamed dreams and saw men of the timne. Wellington was visions, and her religious sensibilities Charlotte's hero. He occupied her im- began to annoy her as if, poor child, agination, and all her contributions to the sho were chiefest of sinners. She wont mimic domestic magazine purported to home again and wrote to Southey for be written by Lord C. Wellesley, Lord advice about a literary life, and he anC. A. F. Wellesley, Lord Charles Al- swered like the trua, honest, literary bert Florian Wellesley, etc.
bero that he was, wisely and calmly, It was now 1831. Charlotte was the and dissuadingly. Emily had returned oldest living child ; very small in figure, from a hopeless effort to teach in the calling herself “stunted,” with soft, town of Halifax, and Anne began to thick brown hair, and eyes of a reddish - sicken, and the futile fascinating brother brown. The rest of her features wero Branwell began seriously to perplex his large and plain, and she was altogether family with his shiftless irregularities. very quiet in manners and quaint in In 1839, some person, faintly shadowdress. She went to school to a kind, ed, perhaps, in the St. John of Jano motherly woman, Miss Wooler, and Eyre,” made Charlotte an offer of maramazed all the girls by knowing a great riage which she quietly set aside. But Jeal less and a great deal inore than something must be done ; and Emily they did, by being moody and silent, remained at home, while Charlotte and then repeating long pages of poetry, Anne went away to teach, once more, and declining to play ball
. Sho stood as private governesses. Charlotte's on the play-ground and looked at the fate was hard.
She fell upon a very sky and the shadows of the trees, and Mrs. Reed, and quickly came home talked politics furiously, or frightened again, and shared the household drudg- . the poor little girls out of their poor ery with Emily. At this time the last little wits, by telling horriblo stories as happy glimpse of the brother Branwell thiy lay abed at vight.
flashes across this monotonously mournBut the girls loved her, and Miss
He had an eager literary Wouler loved her, then and always af- ambition and wrote letters and verses terward. After a year she went home to Wordsworth and Coleridge; often, again, and saw nobody but female teach- doubtless, lighting up the melancholy ers in the Haworth Sunday-school, and homo with a sparkling jest and a merry curates, passing her time in drawing, laugh, and running off to the ale-house reading, and walking out ainong tho at night, while Aunt Branwell read pray: " purple-black” moors with her sisters, ers to the Rev. Patrick Bronte and and devising plans with them for the Tabby, and they three went to bed, education of their brother, who was while the three girls paced the parlor finally destined for a painter.
and wondered about the future. They The three girls grew up together, wanted to keep a school, but they saw Charlotte sad and shy and religious ; no way to do it. And so, for the second Emily with a suppressed vehemence of and last time, Charlotte became a govnature, and very reserved ; Anne, the erness, in a family of “good sort of youngest, and mildest of all. They were people” who paid her twenty pounds a what their parents and their lifo bad year, deducting four pounds for wasb.
ing. But they wero mutually touched Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, the iniat parting, the noxt Christmas, when tials being the same as their own. Of the four children met again at the damp these poems Einily's are the most powHaworth parsonage..
erful, and were always preferred by It was clear that if Charlotte and Em- Charlotte to the others. The book was ily meant to keep school they must learn not successful. but it is interesting to French, so they went to Brussels, to read it now with the new and full knowlthe school of M. and Madame Héger. edge of the authors. She has told us everything about it in While the book failed and the brother “Villette,"—the strange, foreign life; diod, the father's sight was almost gone. the singular girls among strangers.
and he was taken to Manchester to have Thoy hurried home suddenly, to seo an operation performed upon his eyes. their dying aunt, but they arrived tom But tho undaunted girls were busy in late: and presently Charlotte returned the midst of every afiliction, and had as teacher to the Hégor3. Hard work each written a novel. Charlotte's was followed, and in the midst came rumors called “The Professor;" Einily's, “ Wuof Branwell's irregularities and her thering Heights;" and Anne's, Agnes
“ father's failing sight. With M. Héger, Grey." And even in Manchester, in Charlotte formed a warm friendship. 1846, during all the doubt and dismay He could not bo blind or indifferent to of tho surgical operation, the care and her great abilities, and it was very hard weariness of nursing, Charlotte began to part with him. But she came weari- “Jane Eyre." She could not find a ly back again to Haworth, and with publisher for " The Professor," which Emily tried to discover how they could will now, however, be soon in our hands undertake a school.
At home again, the sisters put away their The sickening shadows closed more work at nine in the evening, and puced nearly. Branwell had been to London the old parsonage parlor, talking over as a tutor in the family of a man whose the stories which they were writing. wife, twenty years older than the tutor, " You cannot mako a heroine interest. Aattered him, and won and ruined him. ing if she be not beautiful,” said the The brilliant boy was infatuated with fragile, desponding Anne. “ I will prove his mistress, and, coming home for tho to you that you are wrong," said the holidays, only longed to return, with brave Charlotte ; " I will show you a an inexplicable feverish eagerness that heroino as plain and as small as myself, alarmed his sisters. He went to London, who shall be as interesting as any of but soon after appeared at Hawortlı, yours.” She wrote her story with penand on the day of his arrival received a cil, in little square paper books held letter from the injured husband forbid- close to her eyes, and with such passionding his return. He was consumed with ate eagerness that she fell ill. On the passion and disappointment, and tried 24th of August, 1847, “Jane Eyre" was to quench the fires of bis soul with drink. sent to the publishers, and on the 16th Day by day he imbruted himself more of October it was issued. The little, and more.
Wben, a few mouths af- shy, sad governess in Yorksire shook ter, the injured husband died, and left the world by the heart and said, “ This bis fortune to his wife upon the condi- is no goddess I bring you, but a governtion that she would never see her para- ess. She owes none of your sympathy, mour again, Branwell thought only of if you give it, to the red of her cheeks or returning to her arms, and happiness; the yellow of her gold, but everything but a servant came post from her, tell- to the integrity and loyalty of her ing him never to dare to visit her again. character." Stunned and lost, the uphappy boy reel- The Reverend Brother Chadband is ed through every besotting debauchery still, to this day, a little uncertain about to death. He bad fearful attacks of de. the moral character of the novel of lirium tremens ; the pale sisters often * Jano Eyre;”. but Jane Eyre is still listened for the report of a pistol in the the most striking heroine in English dead of night. The tragedy dragged fiction since Scott's Jeanie Deans, on for threc years, and then he died, who is, doubtless, the finest female crying out to be raised to his feet, that character in English literature since he might die standing.
Shakespeare's women. In 1846, the three sisters published a It is not essential that a woman should volume of poems, under the names of be plain and in unhappy circumstances:
it does not make a story moral, that the ering Heights" and "Agnes Grey" were heroine resists temptation; nor demo- published in December, but they had cratic, that she is a governess or å small comparative success. dependent. Shakespeare's women are The readers of England and America often princesses, usually nobles, always puzzled themselves to know whether a ladies. But the triumph of “ Jane man or woman wrote “Jane Eyre." Eyre" is the splendor of its vindica- But when the second edition appeared, tion of woman as woman, deprived of dedicated to Thackeray, everybody all the accessories which generally in- said : “ This is evidently a woman;" veigle interest. And this was a victory and that sagacious Bottom, “the world." achieved in the literature of a people pricked up its long ears and grunted among whom the prejudice of caste is under its bestial breath : “ Ab! yes, I most impregnable. A plain governess see : a governess: hum! he is Rochesis the very ideal of that form of the sex ter-she is his mistress." which is most repugnant to the British The instinctive penetration of the mind. But the uncompromising story scope and tendency of Thackeray's borrows no rainbow from romance. It power is not the least of the many depicts a poor, plain, dependent woman, acute perceptions of Mrs. Brontë's gosoro beset by social scorn and suspicion, nius. Her criticism of Miss Austen, fighting her little battle of life, which her only rival among English female was greater in the history of her soul novelists, is singularly lucid and just; than Marathon or Waterloo in the his, and her common-sense seems never to tory of the world; and the story is so have been hoodwinked by enthusiasm told, that the little battle becomes as in her literary estimates. When she poetic and pathetic as those greater went to London she saw Thackeray, combats; and every honest heart cries and was satisfied. “It is sentiment," out: “God-speed !” The book is the she writes, “sentiment jealously hidden, book of a woman's life. Its strong, in- but genuine, which extracts the venom dignant tone is the wail of a thousand from that formidable Thackeray, and hearts in a thousand homes, where they converts, what might be corrosive poi. are aliens and pariahs. It surpasses son, into purifying elixir." whole ranges of novels with one stroke, Branwell died in September._In Noand that a stroke of nature. There is vember Emily was very ill. The savnothing more fearful, in all the Mrs ageness of the father was more untamed Radcliffe ghostly machinery, than in in her than in the others. She had all the terrible reality of the scratching the symptoms of settled consumption. along the wall of the wife of Roches- She would not own it. She would not ter. And nowhere among modern writ- see a doctor : when he came into the ers, except in Tennyson and Browning, house she refused to meet him. Charis there such identification of the indi- lotte wrote to London for advice, but vidual with the landscape, so that the Emily would not listen to it. Stern and book becomes entirely dramatic, and silent, she went on to meet death. The we see nature, as we see the men and moors had been her home and her paswomen around her, with the eyes of the sion: a sprig of heather was the loveliheroine. This is especially remarkable est of flowers to her; but at length her in the description of the pictures that dim and fading eyes could not even interested Jane Eyre at Mrs. Reed's, see the heather blooms that Charlotto and those she afterward painted at Mr. brought her. One Tuesday morning, in Rochester's. This is a touch from life. December, she arose and dressed her. It is the Yorkshire loneliness of deso- self, unaided, with many a pause, with late balls pressing through the author's catching and rattling breath, while Charheart and mind, and finding the scenery lotte, and Anne, and the servants, looked of that mind to be its own melancholy on speechlessly. At noon she said to reflection.
Charlotte : " If you will send for a docWhen success was beyond question, tor I will see him now.” At two o'clock Charlotte told her father she had writ- she died. Charlottte loved her more ten a novel, and showed him some of than anybody in the world. the reviews. The old gontleman said She was scarcely buried when Anne to the others : “Girls, do you know began to die. Gentlest of all the sisters, Charlotte has been writing a book, and her delicate, drooping nature is strangeit is much better than likely.” “Wuth- ly contrasted with Emily's. As she
slowly faded, Charlotte did not deceive suffered in compliance with the feeling herself. She took her to Scarborough of Mr. Brontë, who could not bear to in May, and she died there, tranquillyhave a tale end sadly. The death at on the edge of June. During all this sea was as a fact to her, and she could time Charlotte was writing “ Shirley.” only “veil the fact in oracular words.” She had nearly finished the second One evening in December, 1852, her volume of the tale when Branwell died, father's curate, Mr. Nicholls—a grave, then Emily, then Anne. In the cbar. conscientious man, who had watched her acter of Sbirley," wbich was publish- for years, and loved her long, with a ed in November, 1819, she portrays trembling earnestness which touched ber own conception of her sister Emily. and thrilled her-asked her to marry The book was received with no less him. She could not answer bim at once, favor than “Jane Eyre" had been; but but half led, half put him out of the the inevitable Nemesis waited in the room. The next day she told her father shadow, and a railway stock, in which and ho, disliking marriages, vehemently she had shares, depreciated.
opposed the suit.
Charlotte yielded, At home, she and her father and the and Mr. Nicholls resigned the curacy old servant Tabby lived alone. Mr. of Haworth, and went away. Brontë dined alono in his room; Char- Mrs. Gaskell went down to see ber in lotte read, and worked, and wrote, and September, and copies a charming letdrifted about in a whirlpool of terrible ter of her own, written at the time, derocollections. She was famous, and scribing the place, and the life in it people began to come to see Haworth the little snug parlor of Miss Brontë; and the scenes of "Shirley," and, above the clean home; the ticking clock in the all
, the author. This disposition brought kitchen ; the grand and stately father; her some pleasant friends, and she made the little Miss Brontë, knitting and rare and brief visits from home. She talking; and, “oh! those high, wild, read with seriousness and profit, as desolate moors, up above the whole every sensible author does, whatever world, and the very realms of silence !" was written about her books, and wrote The grand and stately father gradumany letters of all kinds to persons ally yielded. In April she was engaged seeking advice or proffering compli- to Mr. Nicholls, who was to resume the ment. Left alone with her father, they curacy of Haworth, and live at the parevidently eyed each other keenly, to sonage as one of the family. Charlotte detect the slightest unpromising symp- Brontë was now thirty-eight years of tom, but saying nothing about it, and age. The Aush of youth was passed. each silent and busy: She traveled Her feeling for Mr. Nicholls was ovi. a little among the lakes, and read all dently one of great tenderness and the current literature which was sent respect-not at all romantic, but grave to her by her publishers. She wrote a and conscientious. She began to set letter of friendly thanks to Sydney Do- the little parsonage in order for the bell for speaking kindly of "Wuthering wedding; went to make a few visits Heights," and passed some time with before her marriage, and to buy the Miss Martineau. Going up to London few things she needed. She was to be again, she heard Thackeray's lectures married on the 29th of June. On the on the humorists, and was lionized; she evening before, the whimsicality of the saw Rachel, “who is not a woman, but old father broke out again, and he ana snake ;" heard the London preachers, nounced that he should not go to the and went to the Crystal Palace with church to the wedding. But Miss Sir David Brewster; then went home Brontë's old friend Miss Wooler was to Haworth, and began “ Villette.” there to give her away; and, the next She was very ill at this time (the winter morning, wearing a dress of white emof 1852), but she was always busy. broidered muslin, with a lace mantle, Reading." Henry Esmond," she sevore- and white bonnet trimmed with green ly criticises her great Thackeray, as leaves, she was married to the man who all women criticise him, although she had loved her so long and faithfully. was just to him as few men or women In happy travel, in kind society of
• Villette” was finished in No. husband and friends-with chastened vember. When it was published, there memories and wise hopes—in earnest was great doubt whether M. Paul endeavor and thoughtful sympathyEmanuel died at sea. But the doubt was the few months of her married life went
by. But, as they passed, the wife, who silence cease; the clouds break into was to be a mother, slowly sickened and softer forms-into tender depths and failed. The long-loving, fuithful hus- gleams of heavenly peace-until, in the band was “the tenderest nurse, the very moment of sunset, the refluent kindest support, the best earthly com- clouds toss back upon the sky the kinfort that cver woman bad.” Surely no dling glory of which it has been all day husband could hear or remember sweeter bereaved; while, transfiguring the world words than those. In the last days of and indemnifying years of sorrow by March she whispered faintly in his ear a momentary opening of the gates of
We have been so happy!" and, on heaven, the sun shines out calm, in unthe 31st of March, 1855, the old bell of utterable splendor, and, even Haworth church tolled for the death of gaze, sinks slowly, slowly, and is seen Charlotte Brontë Nicholls.
There is sometimes a summer day, In many a lonely valley among mounbeginning with clouds, and sultriness, tains, by many a shore of sounding and suppressed thunder, which deve- waves, by man, and woman, and child, lops through no transparent, increasing
will this book be read this suminer, with dawn, no jubilant morning, but begins touched hearts and tearful eyes. at once, as if it were only sultry yester- And whoever remembers the patient day, which had been suspended for a few faithfulness, and steady care, and humdark hours—and, glooming and threat- ble service, that saw, without a sigb, ening, dropping heavy rain, and flashing the great prizes of ease, and comfort, lightning, with long intervals of mourn- and content, forever out of reach, will ful silence, wears through the weary owe, to this woman's record of a wo. hours. Then, toward evening, as if the man's life, a summer lesson that will fury of its passion were over, and the not fade with its flowers, but bloom foranwilling conflict done, the wild glare, ever in a gentler sympathy and more and moaning tempest, and dreadful Christian patience.
LUCK. JOHN SCHENCK, with twelve oth: ing, stretching or shrinking, will clotho IN ,
, ers, set out one night to commit every event that may be found upon the what proper people call a "depreda- inclined plane of John's existence. tion" upon a neighboring melon-patch : Of the many who may read this para They went to fetch water-melons. In graph, at least ten thousand will know a manner well known to New Jersey Jobn Schenck personally. He lives in farmers of that and the present period, every city, and every little village in but not known to John Schenck or his the United States; he is a cosmopolitan companions, the patch was planted with and more; for ho not only lives in all an alternation of pumpkins, which in lands, but has been known in every age that, as in all similar cases (at least to -a Cagliostro. He dances an almost boyish eyes), throve the better of the eternal tight-rope, stretched from the
, brethren. The night was dark, and the two poles of nothing—it is as impossiwork was wordless; and as each boy ble to say where he began, as it would secured his prize, he stole off at a run be imaginary to point to where he will to the rendezvous. When all were as- terminate. Yet may we mark his first sembled it became known to the party positive appearance to our eyes-prethat twelve boys had stolen pumpkins, mising that, in the mutations of time, he and one boy had a watermelon. Of has suffered a change of name—and we course that boy was Jobn Schenck. would say other changes, also, but there That is the history of John Schenck's may be the deceit of distance of the life; he always had a watermelon to eve- view down the long vista of ages. His ry pumpkin—to every man's pumpkin. name was Endymion : According to Carlyle's "outer garb or
“I've thought upon this boy, Endymion, sensuous covering of things," this de
Until the music of his name has gone tailed circumstance, with a little patch- Into my being."