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Title: The Key to the Brontė Works
       The Key to Charlotte Brontė's 'Wuthering Heights,' 'Jane
              Eyre,' and her other works.

Author: John Malham-Dembleby

Release Date: September 3, 2012 [EBook #40655]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by StevenGibbs and the Online Distributed
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[Pg vii]


The Key to the Brontë Works is the absolutely necessary companion volume to Charlotte Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Shirley, The Professor, and Villette. Without it the reader cannot know the real Currer Bell and her people, or see her works as they were to herself. Great indeed and continuous has been the task of writing this volume: a comprehension of my duty to law and literature, to posterity and to Charlotte Brontë, set aside any other consideration. It could be no compliment to my learned and distinguished subscribers to assume importance would attach to The Key to the Brontë Works were the volume a mere skimming of extant Brontë biography, albeit that has its province of interest. The Key to the Brontë Works, I repeat, is the only book which shows us the life and works of Charlotte Brontë as intimately known to herself. Herein is my task accomplished; herewith is my reward. To quote my words from a private correspondence with Sir Charles Holroyd, Kt., Director of the National Gallery, London:—

"After her return from Brussels in 1844, Charlotte Brontë conceived the idea of perpetuating the drama of her life. Again and again, true artist as she was, she cleared her presentations, till finally the world had those great works which stand as a signal testimony to the high value of the true artist, and as testimony to the divine origin of real inspiration. And now priest, statesman, writer—whatsoever a man may be, he will discover in the works of Charlotte Brontë salutary instruction, and at the same time will perceive with thrilling admiration the greatness of Art when she is at one with Genius. As I pen these lines to you, Sir Charles, I am reminded of the evanescence of the halo of romance round so many historic characters and personages when sober history speaks apart; but Charlotte Brontë we find to be a greater luminary the closer we approach her."

[Pg viii]

The utmost possible interest attaches to my sensational evidence, now first showing Charlotte Brontë to be the author and heroine of Wuthering Heights, a book many have declared "the finest work of genius written by a woman," and some look upon as "one of the greatest novels in our or any other literature." In view of my evidence it will be impossible hereafter to convince the world that Charlotte Brontë did not write Wuthering Heights. The Key to the Brontë Works in his hands, every reader is an expert upon the subject. By resort to each indexed reference to Charlotte Brontë's methods I have discovered, and named Methods I. and II., sensational ratification of all I say hereon will be found.

It will presently seem incredible the chief argument hitherto advanced against my assertion that Charlotte Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights was that Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre are "totally dissimilar in style, thought, etc.," for my evidence is proof absolute to the opposite. A recent writer on the Brontës[1] says Wuthering Heights contains nothing whatsoever biographically, or in any way, suggestive of Emily Brontë and her personality, and admits upon the other hand that the characteristic of Charlotte Brontë's writing is her full and intimate self-revelation of the incidents of her own life. Nothing can recall these words. They are a frank, or an ingenuous, statement of irrefutable fact; and though the writer did not journey to the logical conclusion, it is well he is associated with this fundamental admission. The same significant truth is voiced still more recently by another writer, who says: "Wuthering Heights reveals nothing of Emily Brontë. Not one of the characters thought or felt as did the quiet, retiring" Emily[2].

Much detached yet valuable and interesting evidence I have omitted for the sake of clearness, but it has aided me in regard to the final discoveries I now present, and is ready further to substantiate my conclusions. One of these detached pieces of evidence shows that the younger Catherine and Hareton Earnshaw—the two lovers who at the close of Wuthering Heights become teacher and pupil—latterly were to Charlotte Brontë herself and M. Héger. Apparently she did not wish to end Wuthering Heights without a picture of reconciled relations between two characters who could [Pg ix]present a phase of M. Héger and herself. The teacher and pupil relations between Miss Brontë and M. Héger were most dear and gladdening to her memory. We have a glimpse of them in Villette, Shirley, and in The Professor, Chapter XIX., where Crimsworth is reading a book with Francis Evans Henri, whom he is teaching to read and pronounce English. These two characters represent M. Héger and Charlotte Brontë; and Miss Brontë taught M. Héger to read and pronounce English out of her own favourite old books, "consecrated to her by other associations," to quote her own words in Wuthering Heights, Chapter XXXI., though often in The Professor she alternates the position of the characters by an interchange of the sexes, a method of Miss Brontë I have discovered and termed her Method I. Let the reader peruse carefully the scene in The Professor in the light of my reference to Eugène Sue and Charlotte Brontë's old copy in English of The Imitation of Christ at Brussels, and in the light of the "reading and pronouncing" scenes in Chapters XXX., XXXI., and XXXII., of Wuthering Heights;


Charlotte Brontë in a letter:—Wuthering Heights,
Chapter XXXI.:—
"If you could see and hear the efforts I make to teach [M. Héger] to pronounce ... and [his] unavailing attempts to imitate you would laugh to all eternity."—Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë. "I heard him trying to read to himself, and pretty blunders he makes! ... it was extremely funny ... still, he has no right to appropriate what is mine, and make it ridiculous to me with his vile mistakes and mispronunciations! Those books, both prose and verse, are consecrated to me by other associations, and I hate to have them debased and profaned in his mouth."

Note how in The Professor and Wuthering Heights the male lover is unable to devote himself to the reading lesson because of the distraction of the heroine's interesting physiognomy. In this connection we may glance at the following little parallel of the hen-killing figure, with which, like the foregoing, I do not deal in the course of The Key to the Brontë Works. Again we perceive Charlotte Brontë's Method I.:—

[Pg x]

Wuthering Heights.Jane Eyre.
Chapter XXX.Chapter XIV.
Hareton contented himself with ... looking at Catherine instead of the book. She continued reading. His attention became ... quite centred in the study of her ... curls ... and perhaps not quite aware to what he did ... he put out his hand and stroked one curl as gently as if it were a bird. He might have stuck a knife into her neck, she started with such a taking.... Mr. Rochester had been looking ... at the fire, and I had been looking at him, when, turning suddenly, he caught my gaze fastened on his physiognomy.
"You examine me, Miss Eyre," said he; "do you think me handsome?"
"No sir."
"And so under the pretence of stroking and soothing me into placidity, you stick a sly penknife under my ear."

Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre were of course M. Héger and Miss Brontë. It is indeed important and interesting to find at the old farmstead of Wuthering Heights scenes reminiscent of the intimately pedagogic relations that existed between Charlotte Brontë and M. Héger of the school at Brussels.

Discovering Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre are practically as the same book, I have disclosed their relationship in parallel columns—the most satisfactory and conclusive evidence in the world. Herewith we see both volumes agree in scenes and chapters virtually word for word, and from beginning to end. Both works we now find are one in origin, each containing not less than four identical characters portrayed by Charlotte Brontë from her own life, she herself being the original of the heroine in each book, and her friend M. Héger in the main the original of the hero thereof. Charlotte Brontë's brother, Branwell Brontë, in agreement with her estimate of him as a wreck of selfishness, is the unhappy fool of both books; while her life-long companion, Tabitha Aykroyd, who was to her as nurse, mother, and friend, is therein the indispensable domestic servant and motherly good woman of the humble class.

I will not occupy my preface with an enumeration of the many important and interesting Brontë discoveries I have been enabled to make and present herewith in The Key to the Brontë Works. I may briefly indicate my chief sensational discoveries:—The discovery of the origin of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre; the discovery that in Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë immortalized not only herself and M. [Pg xi]Héger, but also her father, the Rev. Patrick Brontë, her brother, four sisters, her aunt and a cousin, and Tabitha Aykroyd, the Brontë servant or housekeeper; the discovery first revealing the history of Charlotte Brontë's life at Brussels and friendship with M. Héger, the original of her chief heroes; and the discovery of the most sensational fact that Charlotte Brontë and not Emily wrote Wuthering Heights, and was herself the original of the heroine and M. Héger that of the hero, as I have mentioned.

My warm thanks are due to Mr. Harold Hodge, who commissioned me to write my article "The Key to Jane Eyre" for The Saturday Review;[3] and to Mr. W. L. Courtney, M.A., LL.D., the editor of The Fortnightly Review, who commissioned me to write my article "The Lifting of the Brontë Veil: A New Study of the Brontë Family."[4] Mr. Courtney's words of encouragement—those of a true gentleman and an eminent literary scholar and author—have made bright to me the accomplishment of this work.

I thank Lady Ritchie—the gifted author-daughter of Thackeray the writer of Vanity Fair to whom Charlotte Brontë in her second edition dedicated Jane Eyre—for her kind permission to use in The Key to the Brontë Works what her ladyship had written me privately in regard to her sitting at dinner beside Charlotte Brontë on June 12th, 1850, with Mr. Thackeray and Mr. George Smith the publisher, when Miss Brontë was wearing a light green dress, an incident that has relation to the green dress in the interesting Héger portrait of Charlotte Brontë drawn in 1850, now the property of the nation and in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

I desire to express my gratitude to Miss Catherine Galbraith Welch, who introduced an outline of my Brontë discoveries to the readers of The New York Times Saturday Review of Books. I thank The Spectator, The Outlook, and other organs for their open acknowledgment of the fact that I have made a discovery at last throwing light upon Charlotte Brontë's Brussels experiences and her relations with the Hégers at Brussels. And I wish also to thank the anonymous and scholarly writer who penned the long and careful article in The Dundee Advertiser under the heading "The Original of Jane Eyre," containing an encouraging appreciation of the im[Pg xii]portance of my discovery I dealt with in my article "The Key to Jane Eyre" in The Saturday Review.

I would like to give a pressure of the hand to my subscribers for the first edition of The Key to the Brontë Works. Your kind letters to me and your active interest in The Key to the Brontë Works will ever dwell among my pleasant memories. One I grieve will never see on earth these pages—the late Most Honourable Marquis of Ripon, K.G., who numbered with my earliest subscribers.

The readers of The Key to the Brontë Works will love Charlotte Brontë more and know her better than ever they have loved or known her in the past. They will see her books are rich with new-found treasures, and will recognize her to be a world's writer—a character of signal eminence, one of the most illustrious of women.

Truth will out, and facts have their appointed day of revelation; thus I cannot help it that more than sixty years of writing on the Brontës is placed out of date by my discoveries.


[Pg 13]




St. Michael the Prince of Messengers—to him was dedicated the little church on the hill at Haworth, in the Parish of Bradford, Yorkshire, whose living gave sustenance to the family of the restless, ambitious son of Erin, Patrick Brontë.[5] Is it for nothing that a spiritual banner is raised by man and appeal made for the beneficent influence of a conception of definite personal character? Within this sacred circumscription came to be written the works of Charlotte Brontë, and herefrom the words of a Messenger went out to the uttermost parts of the world.

[Pg 14]

The mystery of impulse! The servant is not master, nor is the messenger he that sendeth. Behind the lives of the great was ever an influence to do: blind may be the early groping of Genius, stumbling her feet on the rugged road of a darksome journey begun in the veiling mist of life's dawn, but onward and ever onward is she impelled to the journey's end. Ere Night blots out Genius her Message has accomplished. Glancing back to the literary strivings of Charlotte Brontë's childhood, and upon those quaint little efforts περὶ τῶν ἀπίστων, which her young brother and sisters sought to emulate,[6] we see her responsive to some inward prompting that told her she must write.

Born on April 21st, 1816, at Thornton, near Bradford, during her father's curacy of that parish, Charlotte Brontë was one of a family of six, whose mother died in 1821. The story of her literary beginnings shows them to have been of the kind known to many aspirants. There were the rebuffs of editors and of at least one famous author; and, in addition, was the divertisement of her life as teacher and governess. Her correspondence is voluminous. It was ever written down to the intended recipient. As to the somewhat commonplace Ellen Nussey, whose friendship, begun at Roe Head, near Dewsbury, the school of a Miss Margaret Wooler, lasted to the end: she invariably discussed the domestic and social happenings of the acquaintances known by or of interest to them. Thus her letters[7] are commonly circumstantial and seldom soared beyond the capacity, or exceeded the limits of the departmental interests, of those for whom they were written.

This was primarily the result of Charlotte Brontë's nervous perception of character and recognition of the want of a truly psychical reciprocity with her friends. She tells us that of all living beings only "Rochester" understood her, and her letters to M. Héger, of her Brussels school—the original of this character—were not preserved. In the day of high fame, when she corresponded[Pg 15] with literary folk, she felt herself as on parade, rushed to make opinions, as say, on Miss Austen, whom she criticized somewhat adversely. Obviously she hated to be at the service of bookish letter-writers. Erratically she responded to their promptings, trying not to be ruffled, but she could not reveal her heart. From these letters, and the epistles of the class I have previously mentioned, Mrs. Gaskell in the main wrote her famous biography. The Charlotte Brontë known of the recipients of this correspondence her biographer presented, backed with the necessary local colour. She had enjoyed in the days of Miss Brontë's popularity a short acquaintance with her; and when, at the death of Currer Bell, Mr. Brontë requested her to write his daughter's "life," she was eminently fitted to give the world Charlotte Brontë as known by her acquaintances.

But of the intimate Charlotte Brontë, and the origin of the Brontë works, the method of their construction, and their relation to the facts and people of her life, Mrs. Gaskell could tell us virtually nothing. Neither could she, nor any succeeding biographer, throw light upon Miss Brontë's Brussels life, or upon the subject of her friendship with M. Héger, who is discovered by internal evidence to be the original of Currer Bell's chief heroes. Charlotte Brontë's was an intensely reserved nature. She built to herself a universe which she peopled in secret. Her real life she lived out again in her books. Therein appeared the real Charlotte Brontë, and see we her life and its people as known to herself. Whether she thought the secrets of her works would be revealed I cannot tell; but as the traveller who in far distant lands inscribes on some lonely rock the relation of his experience, conscious that a future explorer will read the tale, so does Genius, with the faith which gave her being, leave her message in the hope of an early day of revelation, and in the secure knowledge of the final penetration of truth.

We now, sixty years after, find by aid of the many discoveries I have made and present my readers in the pages of this, The Key to the Brontë Works, that Charlotte Brontë, penning in her connective works the story of her life, gave us the spectacle of a living drama wherein she was herself a leading actor. Herein we see the imperfections and shortcomings of human nature, and Charlotte Brontë herself is shown standing in the slippery places. Before our eyes flits the procession of the people who moved about her, and the air[Pg 16] is filled with the atmosphere through which her genius saw the world. In this new light of revelation we perceive her great message is—the Martyrdom of Virtue. A more poignant message I know not! And Charlotte Brontë was martyr in this moving drama—nay, I believe there also was another. Spending two years at a Brussels pensionnat she gained the friendship of Monsieur Héger, a devout Roman Catholic and a man of intellect who, himself once a teacher at the establishment, as was M. Pelet in The Professor at a similar school, came to marry the mistress. Miss Brontë went twice to Brussels, on the first occasion being accompanied by her sister Emily. Finally, Charlotte Brontë left Brussels abruptly on account, it has been said, of the harsh attitude of Madame Héger, who even forbade her husband to correspond with Miss Brontë. Concerning this period and the incidents associated therewith, I have been enabled to lift the veil. We have thus, for the first time, external evidence that shows Charlotte Brontë, at Brussels, endured the greatest ordeal through which it is the lot of a woman to pass. We see how she and M. Héger emerged triumphantly from dangerous temptation, and how they were aided, the one by her Christian upbringing, the other by the influence of his Church.

It was in January 1844 when Charlotte Brontë returned finally from Brussels; and she and her sisters printed a circular in connection with a project of starting a private school at Haworth, but no progress was made. Charlotte Brontë's life at this period will be better understood by a reference to the chapters on "The Recoil" in this work—it was her darkest time: when the human in her cried out—as it has, alas! in so many at the bitter hour. She rebelled. Not violently; but by reproach. Only her own pen can tell how cruelly she suffered mentally. She had done no wrong and had resisted a great evil, but the recoil found her weak: it was the martyrdom of virtue. She was suffering for the sake of right; and that she cried aloud as in an agony showed her suffering was intense. The storm left the world Wuthering Heights. The tone of ribald caricature in dealing with the Pharisee Joseph; the impatient, vindictive pilloring of her own nervous and physical infirmities as "Catherine"; the ruthless baring of the flesh to show "Heathcliffe's" heart was stone; the wilful plunging into an atmosphere of harsh levity, crude animalism, and repulsive hypochondria, all contributed to a sombre and powerful work of art grand in its per[Pg 17]petration, standing alone in solemn majesty like the black rack that stretches low athwart a clear sky—the rearward of the storm. But it bears the story of a sad Night, and Charlotte Brontë's subsequent works were written in repentance: for in Heathcliffe and Catherine of Wuthering Heights she had portrayed M. Héger and herself.

In this dark hour of Charlotte Brontë's life, Emily Brontë, to whom she afterwards gave Wuthering Heights, was writing, on July 30th, 1845,[8] that she, Emily, was "contented and undesponding," and was engaged upon and intended to continue some puerile compositions called The Gondal Chronicles, which she spoke of as "delighting" her and Anne. She and Anne had been engaged upon this effort three and a half years, and it was yet unfinished.

While making comparison between Emily's and Charlotte's standpoint at this time—and Charlotte obtained for herself the names of Currer Bell from Montagu's book which, as I show, contained the "plot," etc., of Wuthering Heights, for her own use in the Brontë poem publishing project of 1845-46—it is most important to note that but some months after Emily's diary entry Wuthering Heights was offered by Charlotte to Messrs. Aylott and Jones, with The Professor and Agnes Grey—on April 6th, 1846. The literal evidence of The Key to the Brontë Works does not require that we ask by what miracle the "contented" Emily Brontë, who had collaborated three and a half years with Anne on The Gondal Chronicles, and declared an intention at the end of July 1845 to "stick firmly" to their composition, could come, in addition to preparing her poems for the press, to begin and to finish Wuthering Heights by or before April 6th, 1846.[9][Pg 18]

After Charlotte Brontë's return from Brussels the degeneracy of her only brother, Patrick Branwell Brontë, a young man ambitious, but not successful, as an artist, made him an object of her disgust and antipathy, and we find she portrayed him unflinchingly as Hindley Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights, and again as John Reed of Jane Eyre. Emily, we have been told, liked her brother, though an attempt was made somewhat recently to dissipate the tradition.[10] But Charlotte, after the deaths of her elder sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, the eldest of the family, obviously was piqued from childhood by the advantage Branwell's sex gave him over her seniority, more especially as he seems to have been brutal to her:—See "A Rainy Day in Charlotte Brontë's Childhood," in The Key to the Brontë Works.

It may be observed Charlotte Brontë went to three schools, and that each had a remarkable influence upon her life and literature. The first was the Clergy Daughters' School in the Kendal locality, to which her sisters Maria, Elizabeth, and Emily also went upon the death of the ailing Mrs. Brontë at Haworth. The second was Miss Wooler's school already mentioned, and the third the Brussels pensionnat. The fact that Jane Eyre virtually opens with the Clergy Daughters' School incidents—incidents drawn from her child-memory regarding the temporary mismanagement of an establishment which subsequently has proved a most useful foundation—shows she began Jane Eyre with the utmost possible fidelity to truth in so far as regarded herself and her associations. The story of how this famous work was sent in 1847 to a firm of publishers who had just declined her novel The Professor is well known history, as is the relation of the subsequent success of the book and the elevation of Charlotte Brontë to the highest recognition.

Wuthering Heights had been published as Ellis Bell's work, a nom de guerre that also had appeared over Emily Brontë's poems. It was issued under the condition that the next book by its author went to the same publisher, a Mr. Newby, which, of course, made impossible thereafter Charlotte Brontë's acknowledging her authorship of this work, as the next book by the author of Wuthering Heights, her Jane Eyre, was published by another house. But there are evidences in Shirley that despite her nervous apprehensions, and[Pg 19] her letters show she was very much afraid of this Mr. Newby, who afterwards asserted she wrote Wuthering Heights, she therein carefully placed significations of her authorship of Wuthering Heights.

Villette was published in January 1853, and in the June of 1854 Currer Bell married her father's curate, the Rev. A. B. Nicholls, whom she previously had refused. She married him, it may be, as a final immolation of herself on the altar of Right and Duty. Her married life was but for some few months—it was so short we yet call her Charlotte Brontë. Her father outlived her by six years. The last survivor of the young Brontës, she died in March 1855, within a month of old Tabitha Aykroyd, her best loved woman friend and companion apart from her own kinsfolk. Charlotte Brontë, with other members of her family, rests in the grey fabric which is the modern representative of that early described as the church of St. Michael the Archangel de Haworth. Her message is yet with us; the tablets of her life she has bequeathed to posterity, and the key to open the way to their repository is now in our hands. Her genius has shown the price of right-doing and the grim and dangerous valley through which Virtue must go ere break of Day.

[Pg 20]



My evidence shows that between 1837 and 1847 Charlotte Brontë was perusing very attentively a little volume entitled Gleanings in Craven, or the Tourist's Guide, by one Frederic Montagu of Lincoln's Inn, son of Basil Montagu, second (natural) son of John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, whose ancestor brought Charles II. over from Holland on the Restoration in 1660 and therefor received his earldom.[11] The book, which had never been associated by any person with the name or works of Charlotte Brontë till I wrote my article, "The Key to Jane Eyre," upon it for The Saturday Review, was in the form of "Six letters to a friend in India," addressed as, "My dear Howard ... now at Bombay," and was dedicated by special permission to the Duke of Devonshire, a fact not mentioned save in the early editions. It was printed at Briggate, Leeds, by A. Pickard, and published at Skipton-in-Craven in 1838. Messrs. Simpkin, Marshall & Co. were the London publishers.

Frederick Montagu was a gentleman travelling in Yorkshire for his health's sake it seems, and it occurred to him to relate in epistolary form the story of his adventures. He had read the local writers, but it is most clear Charlotte Brontë was particularly influenced in the construction of her great masterpieces, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, by his purely personal contributions. It[Pg 21] was not only as a gleaner of local hearsay that Montagu wrote the long panegyric upon Miss Currer which obviously resulted in Charlotte Brontë's choosing the name, but as one whose attention had been drawn to her literary eminence. Thomas Frognall Dibdin, who in his Reminiscences of a Literary Life (1836) spoke so good a word for Basil Montagu, Frederic's father,[12] under whom he had studied for the bar, also devoted in those Reminiscences many pages to Miss Currer and Eshton Hall. Thus we read in Montagu's Gleanings in Craven:—

And now as to literature ... Miss Currer is the head of all the female bibliopolists (sic) in Europe, the library of Eshton Hall fully bearing out this truth.... In taking my leave of Eshton Hall, there is a subject upon which I must say a word: it is only the repetition of the echo I have heard about Eshton.... There was one name connected by every person with worth and excellence—one who in the continual performance of charity, like a pure but imbedded stream, silently pursues her kind course, nourishing all within her sweet influence:—I believe it may be truly said no person is more deservedly loved and respected than Miss Currer.

As to "Bell," which like "Currer," came to be chosen by Charlotte Brontë from Montagu's book for her pen-name in the poem publishing project of autumn 1845—only some months before Wuthering Heights was supposed to have been written—Montagu says:—

Kirkby-Lonsdale is a neat, stone-built town, and has a free Grammar School.... It was at this school that the celebrated lawyer, and one of his late Majesty's Counsels, the late John Bell, Esq., received his education.

And three lines before this Montagu has described the views of the Lune, "and the prospect from the churchyard, taking in Casterton Hall."[13] This is the very background of the early chapters of Jane Eyre. Indeed, Casterton Hall was the original of Brocklehurst Hall in Jane Eyre, and here resided the Rev. W. Carus-Wilson, the original of Mr. Brocklehurst, "the black marble clergyman" of the[Pg 22] school at Lowood; while Kirkby-Lonsdale was the original of Lowton of Jane Eyre. These facts compel us to perceive that Charlotte Brontë would naturally be led by Montagu's words, to recall she too as regards her education had been associated with the locality mentioned. These references seem to have made Currer Bell relate in Jane Eyre her experiences in that district. Neither Miss Brontë nor Mrs. Gaskell, her biographer, gave any information as to the origin of the "Currer" and "Bell" of Currer Bell, but it is known the "Bell" was not chosen from the name of the Rev. A. Bell Nicholls whom she afterwards married.[14]

A further personal contribution by Montagu, one he based on gossip rather than on tradition, was the story of a foundling who, he says, was discovered by a shepherd on a rocky elevation. This I find Charlotte Brontë evolved into "a cuckoo story." The circumstance that this male child was found on the craggy summit of a hill may have dictated to her the name of the foundling Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights.

I moreover find that, influenced by Montagu's quaint descriptions of the wild and remote neighbourhood, Charlotte Brontë made Malham and the valley of Malham the background of her story, Wuthering Heights. With Malham, Montagu associated the names of Linton and Airton (Hareton); the Fairy Cave, the Crags, glens, mists; a grey old church in the valley, the "Kirk" by Malham, Kirkby Malham Church, which Charlotte Brontë calls in Wuthering Heights Gimmerton Kirk; a rapid stream and a Methodist chapel. And he draws attention to Malham, being at the foot of a range of steep mountains—"the Heights," and having an annual sheep fair, when over one hundred thousand sheep are shown at one time, the which observation was, we now discover, responsible for Charlotte Brontë's choice of "Gimmerton" and "Gimmerden," from "gimmer," a female sheep, and meaning respectively the village of sheep and the valley of sheep, a characteristic of hers being that she often chose her names on what she termed the lucus a non lucendo principle.[15]

Having in Wuthering Heights made so pointed a reference to the Fairy Cave in the neighbourhood of Gimmerton, and having[Pg 23] therein associated with it the names of Airton (Hareton) and Linton, which Montagu connected with Gimmerton or Malham, Charlotte Brontë had not openly mentioned in that work the Fairy Janet referred to by Montagu, though she hinted at "the mysteries of the Fairy Cave." But I find that her "elfish" imagination induced her later, in Jane Eyre, to appropriate for herself the rôle of the Fairy Janet, the Queen of the Malhamdale or Gimmerden elves, who ruled in the neighbourhood of Gimmerton and of Wuthering Heights, the home of Catherine Earnshaw. Thus we see Charlotte Brontë primarily associated both Catherine Earnshaw, the heroine of Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre, the heroine of Jane Eyre, with Malham. And discovering the impetuosity of her imaginative nature and its romantic turn, I doubt not she was impatient to begin the tale of the "fairy-born and human-bred" heroine whose surname she took from the River Aire or Ayre, which sprang, as Montagu carefully indicates, from Malham, or Gimmerton, as Charlotte Brontë would say in her Wuthering Heights. From this came the suggestion of the "Rivers" family, with which I deal later, the names employed by Charlotte Brontë being River(s), Burn(s), Aire or Eyre, Severn, Reed, and Keeldar.

Another of Montagu's personal contributions which greatly influenced Charlotte Brontë was on the leaf before the mention of John Bell, Esq., and on the same leaf as the mention of Casterton Hall, headed "A Night's Repose." This was the narration of a night's adventure, Montagu telling how he went to a lonely hostelry and found an unwillingness in the hostess to give him bed and shelter. He also discovered a mystery surrounded the hostess and a peculiar, harsh-voiced country-bred man-servant—who came to be the original of Joseph of Wuthering Heights. At night the apparition of the hostess appears at Montagu's bedside, white-faced and lighted candle in hand. It is plain the peculiar man-servant appealed very strongly to Charlotte Brontë, and thus in both her Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre transcriptions of the midnight incident this characteristic is marked and recognizable: in Joseph; and in Grace Poole, by what I have termed Charlotte Brontë's Method I., interchange of the sexes of characters. In Wuthering Heights, by her same Method I., Montagu's inhospitable hostess became the inhospitable host Heathcliffe; but in[Pg 24] each of Charlotte Brontë's versions—Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre—a central figure of the incidents she based upon Montagu's story of "A Night's Repose" was the uncouth, coarse-voiced country-bred servant.

We also shall see that Montagu's reference to lunacy being an exception to his objection against the separation of husband and wife, and the use he made of a verse in his Malham letter, likening the moon to

"A ... lady lean and pale
Who totters forth wrapt in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,"

were responsible for the "plot" of Jane Eyre including an insane lady who wanders out of her chamber at night and dons a vapoury veil.

And evidence of the enthusiasm with which Charlotte Brontë applied herself to Jane Eyre is the fact that she at once took from Montagu's little volume for this her second story based upon the book's suggestions, the names of

Broughton, Poole (from Pooley), Eshton, Georgiana, Lynn (from Linton), Lowood (from Low-wood), Mason, Ingram, Helen,[16] and possibly Millcote (from Weathercote).

Thus far we see Charlotte Brontë drew Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre from the same source; that in a word, Jane Eyre, was Charlotte's second attempt to utilize and amplify the suggestions in Montagu's work which had appealed to her when she began Wuthering Heights, and we see the suggestions she utilized in Jane Eyre always bear unmistakable relationship to those she had utilized in her Wuthering Heights. But the use Charlotte Brontë made of Montagu's book was not in the nature of literary theft; that volume simply afforded suggestions which she enlarged upon.

I shall presently show how I find Jane Eyre is the second attempt of Currer Bell to enlarge upon suggestions that had appealed to her[Pg 25] when she first read Montagu. For a commencement I will refer to the early construction of her Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. As simple stories they both are based upon the description Montagu gives of an isolated hostelry with an inhospitable hostess, a midnight apparition, and an air of mystery that surrounds the hostess and a peculiar, uncouth servant, to whom I have already alluded. The stage properties of this narrative, the characters, and the "action" or plot, I will give side by side, as they appear severally, first in Montagu, next in Wuthering Heights, and finally in Jane Eyre. Herewith the reader will have excellent examples of the two chief methods I find Charlotte Brontë employed often when she drew from a character in more than one work or instance, or when she desired to veil the identity of her originals. Charlotte Brontë's Methods I. and II., being discovered equally in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre show, as conclusively as any other evidence, that she was the author of both works. No consideration whatsoever can alter the iron fact or depreciate from its significance, that it was absolutely my discovery of Charlotte Brontë's Methods I. and II., which revealed to me the sensational verbal and other parallels between Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre I give in The Key to the Brontë Works:—

Read carefully:—

Charlotte Brontë's Method I.—The interchange of sexes. Thus the original of A may be a woman, and the original of B a man; but A may be represented as a man, and B as a woman.

Charlotte Brontë's Method II.—Altering the age of a character portrayed. Thus the original of C may be young, and the original of D old; but C may be represented as old, and D as young.

The literal extracts to which I have referred I print as occurring in the three works:—Montagu the original, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. I will first give the substance, or subject matter, side by side:—

Montagu. Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Montagu goes on horseback to a solitary house at a distance from any habitable dwelling, alone, and seeks a night's repose. But though comfort is all around, he finds an air of mystery surrounds the inhospitable hostess and her deep-voiced, Yorkshire dialect-speaking, country-bred man-servant. Lockwood, of whom Montagu was palpably the original, goes on horseback to a solitary house at a distance from any habitable dwelling, alone, and seeks a night's repose. But he finds an air of mystery surrounds the inhospitable host (Charlotte Brontë's Method I., interchange of the sexes) and his harsh-voiced, Yorkshire dialect-speaking, country-bred man-servant. Jane (Method I., interchange of the sexes) goes to a solitary house, alone. Comfort is all around, but an air of mystery[Pg 26] surrounds the master's wife and a peculiar harsh-voiced female servant (Method I., interchange of the sexes).
Montagu is shown to bed up a step-ladder that leads through a trap, and sleeps only fitfully, dreaming. He hears noises and perceives a gleam of light He starts to find the white-faced apparition of his hostess standing at his bedside, lighted candle in hand, her features convulsed with diabolical rage. The deep-voiced, Yorkshire dialect-speaking peculiar man-servant he sees by looking down the step-ladder through the trap. Lockwood is shown to bed, and sleeps only fitfully, dreaming. He hears noises and perceives a gleam of light. He starts to find the white-faced apparition of his host standing at his bedside, lighted candle in hand, his features convulsed with diabolical rage. The harsh-voiced, Yorkshire dialect-speaking man-servant, a sour old man (Charlotte Brontë's Method II., the altering of the age of a character portrayed), comes down a step-ladder that vanished through a trap. Jane, in bed one night, sleeps only fitfully, dreaming. She hears noises and perceives a gleam of light. She starts to find the apparition of her master's wife standing at her bedside, lighted candle in hand, her features convulsed with diabolical rage. The harsh-voiced, peculiar female servant Jane first encountered after having gone to the attics and through a trap-door to the roof.

In the literal extracts I now give the reader will perceive that in the description of the bedside, candle-bearing apparition in Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë followed Montagu almost word for word, and in the whole staging of the midnight episode at the house of the inhospitable host in Wuthering Heights followed him entirely in outlining the story. Both the Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre versions give unequivocal evidence of being refractions from[Pg 27] Montagu conveyed through one brain alone, the peculiar idiosyncrasy and elective sensitiveness of which are undeniably recognizable as Charlotte Brontë's:—

Montagu. Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
A Night's Repose. A Night's Repose. A Night's Repose.
My servant having lamed his steed ... I arrived alone at a small hostelry in a secluded part of the country, and apparently at some distance from any habitable dwelling. Having determined to rest for the night, I discovered in the woman who seemed to be the hostess an anxiety to get rid of me; but with the usual obstinacy of curiosity caused by this apparent anxiety, I determined not to be thwarted; so, putting up my horse, I entered the house, and sat down to a humble but substantial meal, prepared during my absence in the stable; and though comfort had sway with all around me, yet there was an evident air of profound mystery between my hostess and her boy-of-all-work, a thick-set son of the north, with a deep voice and a sturdy manner; whilst I, with all the malignant pleasure of counteracting any mystery, secretly enjoyed the hope of discovering the reason of wishing my absence.... I was not at all disconcerted, but philosophically finished my meal ... and at an early hour requested to be shown where I was to rest for the night. Refusing to listen to any excuse, I was shown up a ladder into a small room.... I thanked my guide, and ... laid down with the expectation of sleeping hard, an expectation which was not realized, for thoughts obtruded themselves upon me, wholly preventing repose. Midnight had scarcely fallen when I heard voices in the room below, and by a light which grew stronger every moment I felt some person was about to ascend the ladder.
   Before Charlotte Brontë proceeds with the dramatic experiences of this terrible night she provides entirely original matter independent of Montagu, as a preface. I will give Montagu his space, however, for we have here a duet in unison, so to speak, between Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. The trio will be resumed in perfect sequence after Montagu has rested a few bars in the introduction. My reader will note with sensational interest, I am sure, that in both of Charlotte Brontë's introductions to the appearance of the candle-bearing, frenzied, bedside apparition, the separate narrators tell us that a gale is blowing; that they dreamed most disagreeably twice. The first dream being in each instance that of journeying upon an unknown road, and the second dream that of an unknown ice-cold little child (always referred to in the neuter "it"), which "wailed piteously" and "clung" to the narrators in "terror," intense horror being accentuated by their being unable to rid themselves of the clinging, shivering small "creature," as Charlotte Brontë calls "it." The "doleful" moaning and the "blast" play their part in each version, and in both a "branch" is duly grasped or seized by the dreamer. For the origin of this wailing little creature see my chapter, "Charlotte Brontë's Child Apparition."
   Further, the reader will observe that in both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre Montagu's bedside, candle-bearing apparition is not a dream, but a candlelit reality, immediately sequent to the dream of the tenacious child phantom.
   I will here resume Montagu's narrative: ... By a light which grew stronger every moment, I felt some person was about to ascend the ladder. At this moment every murder ... I had heard of crowded upon my brain, and I instantly determined to make the best fight I could, ... and with my partially closed eyes turned towards the trap-door. I had only just time to make my arrangements when, clad in a white gown, fastened close up to her neck, with her black hair, matted by carelessness, hanging over her collar, and as pale as death, ascended my hostess. Never shall I forget her dreadfully hideous expression. She came up to the bedside and looked at me for a full minute, and after passing the candle carefully before my eyes, left me, and carefully descended the ladder.
   Montagu arises, and, looking down the ladder, finds the thick-set servant is also astir with the mysterious, hideous visitant. Then Montagu hears his trap-door replaced; and he wakes to learn he has had the nightmare.
Heathcliffe, when he saw my horse's breast fairly pushing the barrier, did put out his hand to unchain it ... calling as we entered the court, "Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood's horse; and bring some wine."
   Joseph was an elderly, nay an old man, very old perhaps, though hale and sinewy. "The Lord help us!" he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse, looking ... in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of Divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent.
   "Guests are so exceedingly rare in this house that I and my dogs hardly know how to receive them," says Heathcliffe.
   Resuming his narrative in Chapter II., Lockwood tells us he goes again to Wuthering Heights and gains admittance with difficulty, after muttering, "Wretched inmates, you deserve perpetual isolation ... for your churlish inhospitality. I don't care, I will get in."
   "As to staying here," cries Heathcliffe, "I don't keep accommodations for visitors: you must share a bed with Joseph [the country-bred servant] if you do."

       Chapter III.
   Lockwood at last is guided to bed by a servant. While leading the way, she recommended ... "I should hide the candle, ... for her master had an odd notion about the chamber ... and never let anybody lodge there willingly."... I sank back in bed and fell asleep.... Alas! what could it be that made me pass such a terrible night? I don't remember another that I can compare with it since I was capable of suffering.
   ... I began to dream.... I had set out on my way home, with Joseph for a guide. The snow lay yards deep in our road. We came to a chapel.... Presently the whole chapel resounded with rappings and counter-rappings; ... at last, to my unspeakable relief, they awoke me.... What ... had suggested the tumult? ... the branch of a fir-tree that touched my lattice as the blast wailed by....
   I dreamt again, if possible still more disagreeably than before.... I heard the gusty wind, ... I thought I rose ... to unhasp the casement. "I must stop [the fir bough's teasing sound]," I muttered, knocking my hand through the glass and stretching an arm out to seize the ... branch; instead of which my fingers closed on the fingers of an ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed.... I discerned ... a child's face looking through the window. Terror made me cruel, and finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, ... rubbing it to and fro till the blood ran down; ... still it wailed ... and maintained its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear.
   I said, "Let me go!" The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine ... and stopped my ears.... Yet the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry, moaning;... I tried to jump up, but could not stir a limb....
   Hasty footsteps approached my chamber door, ... a light glimmered ... at the top of the bed. I sat shuddering yet, and wiping the perspiration from my forehead. The intruder appeared to hesitate....
   ... Heathcliffe stood near the entrance, in his shirt and trousers, with a candle dripping over his fingers and his face white.... The first creak of the oak startled him, ... the light leaped from his hold....
   "It is only your guest, sir," I called out. "I had the nightmare."
   "Mr. Lockwood ... who showed you up to this room?" grinding his teeth to control the maxillary convulsions.
   "It was your servant, Zillah," I replied, flinging myself on to the floor, and ... resuming my garments.... "The place ... is swarming with ghosts and goblins."
   "What do you mean?" asked Heathcliffe.... "Lie down and finish out the night since you are here...."
   I descended; ... nothing was stirring ... and then Joseph [shuffled] down a wooden ladder that vanished through a trap—the ascent to his garret, I suppose.
Jane is shown the bedrooms of the secluded Thornfield Hall:—
   "Do the servants sleep in these rooms?"
   "No ... no one sleeps here. One would ... say that if there were a ghost at Thornfield Hall this would be its haunt."
   ... I followed ... to the attics, and thence by a trap-door to the roof of the hall ... a laugh struck my ear ... "Who is it?"
   ... the laugh was as preternatural ... as any I ever heard....
   The ... door opened, and a servant came out—a woman of between thirty and forty; a set, square-made figure ... and with a hard, plain face....
   One day Jane, out for a walk, sees a horseman approaching who, in sympathy with Montagu's story of laming a horse, has an accident.[Pg 28]
   "Did the horse fall in Hay Lane?" Jane asks later of a servant.
   "Yes, it slipped."
   Thus Jane learns the horseman is the master of Thornfield Hall. She discovers an air of mystery surrounds the master of the house; and a thick-set woman servant is involved.

       Chapter XV.
   Though I had now extinguished my candle and was laid down in bed, I could not sleep for thinking of the [mystery that seemed to surround Mr. Rochester].... I hardly knew whether I had slept or not after this musing; at any rate I started wide awake on hearing a vague murmur.... I wished I had kept my candle burning; the night was drearily dark.... I rose and sat up in bed listening;... I was chilled with fear.... I began to feel the return of slumber. But it was not fated ... I should sleep that night. A dream had scarcely approached my ear when it fled affrighted.... There was a[Pg 29] demonia laugh ... at my chamber door.... I thought the goblin laughter stood at my bedside.... Something ... moaned. "Was that Grace Poole?" [the thick-set servant] thought I.... There was a candle burning outside.

       Chapter XXV.
   ... After I went to bed I could not sleep—a sense of anxious excitement depressed me. The gale still rising seemed to my ear to muffle a ... doleful undersound.... During my first sleep I was following the windings of an unknown road; ... rain pelted me; I was burdened with the charge of a little child—a very small creature, ... which shivered in my cold arms and wailed piteously in my ear.
   I dreamt another dream.... I still carried the unknown little child: I might not lay it down anywhere, however tired were my arms—however its weight impeded my progress, I must retain it.... I climbed[Pg 30] the thin wall [of the house] with frantic, perilous haste, ... the stones rolled from under my feet, the ivy branches I grasped gave way, the child clung round my neck in terror, and almost strangled me.... The blast blew so strong ... I sat down on the narrow ledge; I hushed the scared infant, ... the wall crumbled; I was shaken; the child rolled from my knee; I lost my balance, fell, and awoke.

   "Now, Jane, that is all," put in Rochester. To which Jane Eyre replies, "All the preface; the tale is yet to come." On waking a gleam dazzled my eyes; ... it was candle light.... A form emerged from the closet; it took the light and held it aloft.... I had risen up in bed, I bent forward, ... then my blood crept cold through my veins.... It was not even that strange woman Grace Poole [the thick-set servant].... It seemed ... a woman ... with thick and dark[Pg 31] hair hanging long down her back. I know not what dress she had on: it was white and straight; but whether gown, sheet or shroud I cannot tell. The features were fearful and ghastly to me; ... it was a savage face. I wish I could forget ... the lineaments.... Just at my bedside the figure stopped: the fiery eye glared upon me—she thrust up her candle close to my face, and extinguished it under my eyes.
   "Now," says Rochester. "I'll explain to you all about it. It was half dream, half reality: a woman did, I doubt not, enter your room; and that woman was—must have been—Grace Poole [the thick-set servant]. You call her a strange being yourself."

Truly Montagu's description of the coarse-voiced, thick-set, country-bred servant, and his implication with the mystery of the lonely house had impressed Charlotte Brontë considerably. Whether she portrayed him as the Joseph of Wuthering Heights or, by her Method I., as the Grace Poole of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë respects the original associations of this character as they were[Pg 32] figured to her by Frederic Montagu's little fiction of "A Night's Repose." Herewith have we evidence as to mental idiosyncrasy and elective-sensitiveness recognizable as Charlotte Brontë's—proof that her brain and none other was responsible for both the Wuthering Heights and the Jane Eyre versions of the midnight incident from Montagu.

[Pg 33]



We have now seen that Montagu's book provided Charlotte Brontë with the idea for a lonely house of mystery—a mystery which should surround a host with a peculiar, harsh-voiced, uncouth, north-country servant, and I have shown how that idea was adopted by her for Wuthering Heights and afterwards for Jane Eyre. At one time Charlotte Brontë wrote the Tale of a Foundling, and she certainly read with interest a remarkable story told by Montagu of a foundling who, he tells us in the letter next before the Malham letter, was discovered by a shepherd on the top of a craggy "mountain," a circumstance which perhaps led her in making use of this foundling story to name the child Heathcliffe. I will place the substance of the two stories side by side:—

Montagu. Wuthering Heights.
On the top of a craggy height a male infant "was found by a shepherd, who took it to his home, and after feeding and clothing it he had the child named Simon; being himself but a poor man he was unable to maintain the foundling," when was agreed to by his friends that the child should be kept "ameng 'em." The child was called Simon Amenghem. In a wild, hilly country, a male infant was brought home by a farmer who had found it homeless. He brought up the child, and the rest of its career is the obvious "cuckoo story": the child ousts the poor farmer's family. It was called Heathcliffe.

The cuckoo story derived obviously from the history Montagu gives of the foundling became thus the backbone of Wuthering[Pg 34] Heights; but it is possible that the cuckoo story requiring the foundling should be painted with all the viciousness and cruelty of character necessary to his part, Charlotte Brontë found herself dissatisfied with the story. And portraying herself in the narrative as Catherine Earnshaw, her hero became M. Héger. This naturally led to an awkward clashing. Whether the extreme "demonism" of Heathcliffe must be understood as being in the main due to his rôle as the "cuckoo," who was to oust the poor farmer's offspring "like unfledged dunnocks," to quote Mrs. Dean, I will not in this chapter inquire.

Turning again to Montagu's book, Charlotte saw a further suggestion that contained excellent "plot" possibilities. This was the question of lunacy being an exception to the objection against the separation of husband and wife, Montagu's relation being Barry Cornwall (to whom, by the way, Thackeray dedicated Vanity Fair), who was a Metropolitan Commissioner in Lunacy. To Charlotte Brontë, however, the subject came simply as a useful suggestion. She had no views upon it, and she desired only that her heroine would marry Rochester, the hero with an insane wife. At heart Charlotte was indifferent as to the vital point, even nullifying the very theme of the plot by making Rochester aver that if Jane Eyre had been the mad wife, he would still have loved and cherished her.

It would appear that in conjunction with Montagu's remarks on lunacy and the separation of husband and wife, an extract he gives from Shelley is also responsible for a wife's lunacy being the theme of the plot of Jane Eyre. The extract which Montagu quotes in the Malham letter is where the poet speaks of "The Waning Moon" as like—

"A ... lady lean and pale
Who totters forth wrapt in a gauzy veil
Out of her chamber led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain."

Thus was evidently suggested to Charlotte Brontë the hanging up in the closet of the "vapoury veil" for the stage purposes of the "insane lady"; and in Jane Eyre Montagu's night-wandering, candle-bearing hostess became a lady who passed, after the manner of the lines he quoted,[Pg 35]

Out of her chamber led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain—

became Mrs. Rochester. Norton Conyers, a house near Ripon, it is said, is associated with the story that a mad woman was once confined there.[17] If Charlotte Brontë was familiar with this story, and we are told the interior is somewhat similar to the descriptions of Thornfield, we can understand that, perusing Montagu's book at the time when she was utilizing his narrative of the candle-bearing, hideous-faced, white-clad midnight visitant in a house of mystery, she would the more readily appropriate the further suggestions his work contained in regard to a wife's insanity, and the "veil-clad" apparition of a night-roaming insane lady. It is important to note, however, that the evidence of my preceding chapter proves indubitably the "mad woman" was but a secondary suggestion—the primary suggestion responsible for the plot of Jane Eyre being that of Montagu's midnight apparition. And just as the thick-set country-bred servant denotes in the question as to the origin and author of the candle-bearing bedside visitant in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, the "gauzy veil" likewise denotes as to the origin of the mad woman of Jane Eyre. So we read in the beginning of Chapter XXV. of Jane Eyre, that Jane leaves the vapoury veil in the closet:—

To conceal the strange, wraith-like apparel it contained; which, at this evening hour ... gave out certainly a most ghostly shimmer through the shadow of my apartment. "I will leave you by yourself, white dream," I said.

Then farther on we read that:—

The moon shut herself wholly within her chamber, and drew close her curtain of cloud,

which is simply an antithetical paraphrase of Montagu's quoted verse on "The Waning Moon" which, like[Pg 36]

A ... lady ... pale ... totters forth wrapt in a gauzy veil, out of her chamber.

And in the same chapter of Jane Eyre we read finally that the insane lady, who has come out of her chamber,

"... took my veil from its place; she held it up, gazed at it long, and then she threw it over her head, and turned to the mirror ... it removed my veil from its gaunt head, rent it in two parts, and flinging both on the floor, trampled on them."

[Pg 37]



Seeing Catherine Earnshaw, the heroine of Wuthering Heights, was drawn, as I find, by Charlotte Brontë for her autobiographical self, the real commencement of that work, in so far as personal narrative was concerned, is the diary extract she wrote of herself in her earliest childhood.[18] In Jane Eyre she placed her earliest childhood memories at the beginning of the story. I will give extracts side by side, when it will be seen they agree practically word for word. It is of course undeniable that none but Charlotte Brontë herself would or could have penned these incidents of her own childhood.

Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Chapter III. Chapter I.
A rainy day in the early childhood of Catherine Earnshaw, as told by herself. A rainy day in the early childhood of Jane Eyre, as told by herself.
———— ————
... All day had been flooding with rain; we could not go to church. There was no possibility of taking a walk that day, ... the cold winter wind had brought with it a rain so penetrating that further outdoor exercise was out of the question.
Hindley [Branwell Brontë] and his wife [? Sister Maria] basked downstairs before a comfortable fire. Eliza, John [Branwell Brontë], and Georgiana were now clustered round their mamma [Aunt Branwell] in the drawing-room ... by the fireside ... looking perfectly happy.[Pg 38]
Heathcliffe [Method I., interchange of the sexes. In the childhood of Heathcliffe Charlotte often portrays herself], myself, and the ... ploughboy were commanded to take our prayer-books and mount ... on a sack ... [in the garret. They go downstairs again].
   "You forget you have a master in me," says the tyrant [Hindley: Branwell Brontë].
   ... We made ourselves ... snug ... in the arch of the dresser. I had just fastened our pinafores together and hung them up for a curtain, when in comes Joseph.[19]... He tears down my handiwork [the curtain], boxes my ears, and ... thrust [a book] upon us.... I took my ... volume ... and hurled it into the dog-kennel, vowing I hated a good book.
Me she had dispensed from joining the group.... A small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room; I slipped in there, ... I possessed myself of a volume, ... I mounted into the window-seat, ... and having drawn the ... curtain nearly close, I was shrined in ... retirement.... With ... [a book] on my knee I was ... happy; ... but interruption ... came too soon. The ... door opened: "Boh!" cried the voice of John Reed [Branwell Brontë].
   "It is well I drew the curtain," thought I, ... but Eliza ... said: "She is in the window-seat, ... Jack [Branwell]."
Hindley [Branwell Brontë] hurried up from his paradise on the hearth, and seizing ... us ... hurled both into the back-kitchen. I came out immediately, for I trembled at the idea of being dragged forth by the said Jack [Branwell Brontë].
   "What were you doing behind the curtain?" he asked. "I'll teach you to rummage my bookshelves, for they are mine; all the house belongs to me, or soon will do.... Go ... by the door."
   I did so, ... but ... I saw him lift the book and stand in the act to hurl it.... The volume was flung.... He ran ... at me.... I saw in him a tyrant.... Then Mrs. Reed [Aunt Branwell] subjoined: "Take her to the red-room."...[Pg 39]
... How little did I dream that Hindley [Branwell Brontë] would ever make me cry so.... My head aches, till I cannot keep it on the pillow; and still I can't give over. ... All John Reed's [Branwell Brontë's] violent tyrannies ... turned in my disturbed mind.... My head still ached ... no one reproved John [Branwell].... How all my brain was in tumult.... I could not answer the question why I thus suffered; now at the distance of—I will not say how many years—I see it clearly.

Thus we see the "volume-hurling" incident with which John Reed is associated had its origin in some incident connected with Charlotte Brontë's childhood and her brother Branwell. As Catherine, Charlotte Brontë calls Hindley "a tyrant" in this connection, and as Jane Eyre she calls John Reed "a tyrant" here. Branwell, as John Reed, is made to tell Jane in connection with this incident that "all this house belongs to me, or will do"; and as Hindley Earnshaw he tells his sister Catherine, "You forget you have a master here." By Charlotte Brontë's Method II., altering the age of a character portrayed, Branwell is represented in the Wuthering Heights scene as a man in years. Without further appeal it was likely enough that Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine's brother, was drawn for Charlotte Brontë's brother, seeing Catherine was Charlotte. Herewith we find an explanation for a fact Mr. Francis A. Leyland has strongly emphasized in his work The Brontë Family, that in Wuthering Heights incidents (the carving-knife incident, etc.) and epithets known by his intimates to have been common to Branwell Brontë are associated with Hindley Earnshaw in the days of his moral deterioration. That deterioration is reflected in the portrayal of the latter end of John Reed in Jane Eyre; in Wuthering Heights it is given in detail. As for Emily Brontë, she always liked and commiserated with Branwell Brontë.[20]

I hope the attempt to interfere with this tradition recently has no relation to the fact that I briefly stated in my Fortnightly Review article that John Reed and Hindley Earnshaw were one and the same. It is plain to see that if Emily really liked Branwell, as people stated who gleaned from hearsay, she could not have portrayed him as Hindley Earnshaw. But a wrong estimate of the[Pg 40] nature of the evidence I promised to bring has been formed if it were thought I should base my book upon such a point. It is enough that Charlotte Brontë's private letters regarding Branwell are quite in agreement with her own harsh portrayals of him in her Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

It is interesting to recall Branwell avowed he, and not Emily, wrote Wuthering Heights. This fact and the association of Branwell Brontë incidents and epithets with the book induced Mr. Leyland to advocate Branwell's authorship. The Key to the Brontë Works shows the absurdness of such a claim. Mr. Leyland suggested Branwell may have collaborated with Emily; and he professed to discover a break in the style. I find, however, that though there were violent psychical fluctuations in the mood of the writer of Wuthering Heights, the book is throughout the work of Charlotte Brontë. This may be proved alone by the Chapter III., with which I now deal: it is the "key" chapter, and is, so to speak, a microcosm of Wuthering Heights, as the reader will perceive by help of my index. Whosoever was the writer of this third chapter wrote the whole of Wuthering Heights, and we see it was Currer Bell.

By Charlotte Brontë's Method I., interchange of the sexes, the interloper Jane in the early chapters of Jane Eyre and the interloper Heathcliffe in the early chapters of Wuthering Heights become one and the same; and Hindley's tyrannizing over Heathcliffe is John Reed's (Branwell Brontë's) tyrannizing over Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë). Again, by Method I., interchange of the sexes, old Joseph, in Charlotte's Wuthering Heights version of the rainy day incident in her childhood, serves the part of the servant Tabitha Aykroyd, for whom Bessie in the Jane Eyre version of the rainy day incident was drawn. (See "Joseph" and his bit of garden, Wuthering Heights, Chapter XXXIII.; also my footnote on page 47.) Thus Charlotte Brontë as Catherine tells us that when she was banished from the comfortable fire "Joseph" sermonizes, and that she hoped he might give "a short homily for his own sake"; and in the scene in Jane Eyre drawn from the same incident Jane was left to Bessie, who "supplied the hiatus by a homily of an hour's length, in which she proved beyond a doubt that I was the most wicked and abandoned child ever reared under a roof."

Catherine's story of the rainy day in Wuthering Heights was written by her in childhood on "a 'red-hot' Methodist's tract."[Pg 41] Hence it is interesting to read Charlotte Brontë's words in Villette, where as Lucy Snowe she says she had "once read when a child certain Wesleyan Methodist tracts seasoned with ... excitation to fanaticism." As Caroline Helstone[21] in Shirley, Charlotte tells us she had read "some mad Methodist magazines, full of miracles and apparitions, of preternatural warnings, ominous dreams, and frenzied fanaticism; ... from these faded flowers Caroline had in her childhood extracted the honey—they were tasteless to her now." Let the reader compare Charlotte Brontë's reference to Briar Chapel and the shouts, yells, ejaculations, frantic cries of "the assembly" in Chapter IX. of Shirley with the references in Chapter III. of Wuthering Heights to the frantic zeal of "the assembly" of the chapel of Gimmerden Sough. It will be at once recognized that the former is but the extension of the other, amplified by the same hand.

Thus, in the light of the name Branderham ("Brander'em," from "brander," a hot iron over a fire) for the name of the zealous Rev. Jabes Branderham,[22] of the chapel of Gimmerden Sough, of Wuthering Heights, we see a connection with the play Charlotte Brontë makes upon "burning and fire" in the hymn sung at Briar Chapel in Chapter IX. of Shirley:—

"For every fight
Is dreadful and loud—
The warrior's delight
Is slaughter and blood;
His foes overturning
Till all shall expire—
And this is with burning
And fuel and fire."
[Pg 42]

In the rainy day incident Charlotte Brontë as Catherine vowed "she hated a good book," and this rebellion against the thrusting upon her of religious "lumber," as she calls it in Wuthering Heights, was a characteristic of her childhood shown also in the "Jane Eyre and Mr. Brocklehurst" incident, where the latter asks—

"And the Psalms? I hope you like them?"

"No, sir," replied Jane.

"No? Oh, shocking!"

At heart, however, Charlotte Brontë was a true Christian, though disliking excessive zealousness in the demonstrations of the members of any church. Read what M. Emanuel says in Chap. XXXVI. of Villette; the last paragraph. Lockwood tells us in the incident connected with Catherine's diary that "a glare of white letters started from the dark as vivid as spectres—the air swarmed with Catherines." This, Charlotte Brontë's idea of spectral writing running in the air, occurs in Chap. XV. of Jane Eyre, where Rochester speaks of a phantom hag (see Charlotte Brontë's phantom hag in Chap. XII. of Wuthering Heights), who "wrote in the air a memento which ran in lurid hieroglyphics all along the house-front." Says Lockwood in Wuthering Heights, continuing:—"An immediate interest kindled within me for the unknown Catherine, and I began ... to decipher her hieroglyphics"—the diary.

[Pg 43]



It is a remarkable fact that of all the members of Charlotte Brontë's home circle the one to whom, excepting herself, she gave most prominence in her works was Tabitha Aykroyd, the Brontës' servant or housekeeper. For I find this good woman was portrayed by Charlotte Brontë as Mrs. Dean of Wuthering Heights, Bessie and Hannah of Jane Eyre, and, on occasion, as Mrs. Pryor of Shirley. Indeed, strange though it may sound to say, my discovery that Tabitha Aykroyd, as she appealed to Currer Bell, was the original of these characters, alone explains the chief mystery of Wuthering Heights, and shows clearly enough Charlotte Brontë was its heroine and its author. In a word, we see by this discovery that Wuthering Heights is book the first of Charlotte Brontë's life as told by herself from old Tabitha's standpoint, and Jane Eyre book the second, giving her life's story and confession as related by herself entirely from her own point of view.

Never in Wuthering Heights did Nelly Dean really understand Catherine, and "the honest but inflexible servant," as Currer Bell calls Tabitha as Hannah of Jane Eyre, never yielded herself to a surrender of her rough-hearted but genuine nature wherein Charlotte was concerned.

"Tabby," said Mrs. Gaskell, "had a Yorkshire keenness of perception into character, and it was not everybody she liked." That Tabitha Aykroyd would readily appeal to Charlotte Brontë as fitted for the narrator of the histories in Wuthering Heights we may[Pg 44] easily perceive by reading Mrs. Gaskell's further words on this Brontë servant:—

"When Charlotte was little more than nine years old ... an elderly woman of the village came to live as servant at the parsonage. She remained there, as a member of the household, thirty years [Hannah was thirty years with the Rivers family in Jane Eyre—an approximate date, of course, when that work was written] and from the length of her faithful service, and the attachment and respect she inspired is deserving of mention. Tabby was a thorough specimen of a Yorkshire woman of her class, in dialect, in character. She abounded in strong, practical sense and shrewdness. Her words were far from flattering, but she would spare no deeds in the cause of those whom she kindly regarded. She ruled the children pretty sharply; and yet never grudged a little extra trouble to provide them with such small treats as came within her power. In return she claimed to be looked upon as a humble friend.... Tabby had lived in Haworth in the days when the pack-horses went through once a week.... What is more, she had known the 'bottom' or valley in those primitive days when the fairies frequented the margin of the 'beck' on moonlight nights, and had known folk who had seen them. [See references to 'Bessie's' fairy tales in Jane Eyre, Chaps. I., II., and IV.].... No doubt she had many a tale to tell of bygone days of the countryside: old ways of living, former inhabitants, decayed gentry, who had melted away, and whose places knew them no more; family tragedies and dark superstitious dooms; and in telling these things, without the least consciousness that there might ever be anything requiring to be softened down, would give at full length the bare and simple details."

Says Mrs. Dean, the Yorkshire servant who narrates the family tragedies of Wuthering Heights just after the manner of Tabitha Aykroyd:—

"But, Mr. Lockwood, I forget these tales cannot divert you, ... I could have told Heathcliffe's history, all that you need hear, in half-a-dozen words."

"Sit still, Mrs. Dean," cried Lockwood, "... you've done just right to tell the story leisurely. That is the method I like.... Excepting a few provincialisms, ... you have no marks of the manners ... peculiar to your class; ... you have been compelled to cultivate your reflective[Pg 45] faculties for want of occasions for frittering your life away in silly trifles."

Mrs. Dean laughed. "I certainly esteem myself a steady, reasonable kind of body," she said; "not exactly from living among the hills and seeing one set of faces, and one series of actions, from year's end to year's end; but I have undergone sharp discipline which has taught me wisdom."

"Jane" says of Mrs. Dean as "Bessie" of Jane Eyre, Chap. IV., Method II., altering the age of characters portrayed:—

When gentle, Bessie seemed to me the ... kindest being in the world;... I wished ... intensely ... she would always be so pleasant and amiable, and never push about or scold, or task me unreasonably, as she was ... wont to do. Bessie Lee[23] must, I think, have been a girl of good natural capacity, for she was smart in all she did, and had a remarkable knack of narrative; so, at least, I judge from the impression made upon me by her nursery tales.... But she had a capricious and hasty temper and indifferent ideas of principle or justice ["Hannah" would have driven off the destitute Jane Eyre], still, such as she was, I preferred her to any one else at Gateshead Hall.

"Mrs. Dean"[24] in her turn says of "Catherine"—Charlotte Brontë:—

"She was never so happy as when we were all scolding her at once and she defying us.... I vexed her frequently by trying to bring down her arrogance; she never took an aversion to me though."

In Chap. IV. of Jane Eyre Bessie says to Jane Eyre, after the latter has asked her not to scold:—

"Well, I will, but mind you are a very good girl, and don't be afraid of me. Don't start when I chance to speak sharply."

"I don't think I shall ever be afraid of you again, Bessie, because I have got used to you."

[Pg 46]

Jane suggests Bessie dislikes her, to which is replied:—

"I don't dislike you.... I believe I am fonder of you than of all the others."

"You don't show it."

"You sharp little thing!... What makes you so venturesome and hardy?"

The idiosyncratic appeal Tabitha Aykroyd made to Charlotte is related identically wherever she is portrayed. That Charlotte Brontë had been initially entranced by her fairy tales, and the old songs she sang, is shown more especially in the phases she gives of Tabitha as Bessie and as Ellen Dean. Thus we read in Jane Eyre, Chap. IV., in the close of the scene just given:—

"That afternoon lapsed in peace and harmony; ... in the evening Bessie told me some of her most enchaining stories, and sang me some of her sweetest songs. Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine." And in Wuthering Heights, Chap. XXII., Ellen Dean says of Miss Catherine Linton (see my reference to this character as a phase of Charlotte Brontë, in my preface):—"From dinner to tea she would lie doing nothing except singing old songs—my nursery lore—to herself, ... half thinking, half dreaming, happier than words can express." So in the same work, Chap. XXIV., the same Catherine says:—"He was charmed with two or three pretty songs [I sang]—your songs, Ellen." The italics are Charlotte Brontë's.

Jane Eyre, Chap. III., says:—

Bessie had now finished ... tidying the room ... she sang:—

"In the days we went agipsying
A long time ago."

I had often heard the song before, and always with lively delight; for Bessie had a sweet voice—at least I thought so. But now, though her voice was still sweet, I found in its melody an indescribable sadness. Sometimes, preoccupied with her work, she sang the refrain very low, very lingeringly: "a long time ago," came like the saddest cadence of a funeral hymn. She passed into another ballad.

Tabby Aykroyd going to the Parsonage when the motherless Charlotte Brontë was but nine, Charlotte seems to have been drawn[Pg 47] to look upon her as a new-found friend, and afterwards she idealized those memories associated with her. It is noticeable she had been impressed in childhood by her singing and the sympathetic sweetness of her voice. There is a world of meaning—a gracious waiving aside of qualifying fact in the sentence, "Bessie had a sweet voice—at least I thought so." Charlotte was fond of Scottish ballads, and in Villette, Chapter XXV., she identifies herself in her phase as Paulina (see my further reference to this phase of Charlotte Brontë) with a a love for a Scottish song. With Tabitha Aykroyd she loved to associate the singing of her favourite ballads, as we have seen in her reference to the songs of Tabitha in her phases as Bessie of Jane Eyre and Mrs. Dean of Wuthering Heights. And so it is we find Mrs. Dean telling us in Chapter IX. of Wuthering Heights, 'I was rocking Hareton on my knee, and humming a song that began:—

"It was far in the night and the bairnies grat,
The mither beneath the mools heard that."'

Whether traits of Nancy Garrs or her sister, or Martha Brown, the other Brontë servants, contributed to Charlotte's portrayal is doubtful. I think they did not. We see in this chapter the original of Bessie of Jane Eyre was certainly the original of Mrs. Dean of Wuthering Heights—Tabitha Aykroyd; and as Charlotte Brontë portrayed Mrs. Dean as an elderly woman servant, before she began Jane Eyre, we must decide the question of the real age of the original of Bessie by that fact. Confirming is the portrayal of the same character by Charlotte as the elderly Hannah in Jane Eyre. See my chapter on "The Rivers or Brontë Family."[25][Pg 48]

Of "Dean" or Tabitha Aykroyd in the rôle of Hannah of the family "Jane" says:—"I had a feeling that she did not understand me, ... that she was prejudiced against me." Nevertheless she says to her: "You ... have been an honest and faithful servant, I will say so much for you."

Much stress is placed by Tabitha Aykroyd, as Nelly Dean, and Bessie, on Charlotte Brontë's passionateness. Says Mrs. Dean of Catherine in Wuthering Heights:

"The doctor had said that she would not bear crossing much, she ought to have her own way; and it was nothing less than murder in his eyes, for any one to presume to stand up and contradict her, ... serious threats of a fit ... often attended her rages."

Thus I find there is a connection between Catherine's "fit of frenzy" and delirium in Wuthering Heights, Chapters XI. and XII., and the scenes attendant upon Jane's fit of frenzy in Jane Eyre, Chapters I., II., III. The one is told by Charlotte as from Tabitha Aykroyd's (Bessie's) standpoint, the other from Catherine's (Charlotte Brontë's), an inversion of attitude which proves Charlotte Brontë to be the author and heroine of Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Charlotte Brontë in the locked chamber, and Tabitha Aykroyd, the Brontë servant, told by Tabitha, as it were. Charlotte Brontë in the locked chamber, and Tabitha Aykroyd, the Brontë servant, told by Charlotte.
———— ————
She [Catherine—Charlotte Brontë] rang the bell till it broke.... I [Tabitha—Nelly Dean] entered leisurely. It was enough to try the temper of a saint, such senseless, wicked rages! There she lay dashing her head against the ... sofa and grinding her teeth.... I brought a glass of water; and as she would not drink, I sprinkled it on her face. In a few seconds she stretched herself out stiff, and ... assumed the aspect of death.
   Linton [? Mr. Brontë] looked terrified. "There is nothing the matter," ... and I [Tabitha—Mrs. Dean] told him how she had resolved ... on exhibiting a fit of frenzy. I incautiously gave the account aloud, ... she [Charlotte Brontë] started up ... and then rushed from the room. The master directed me to follow; I did to her chamber door; she ... secured it against me.... On the third day Catherine [Charlotte Brontë] un-barred her door, ... desired a basin of gruel, for she believed she was dying.
   "These ... awful nights; I've never closed my lids—and oh!... I've been ... haunted, Nelly! [Tabitha]. But I begin to fancy you don't like me.... They have all turned to enemies; ... they have, the people here."
   Tossing about, she increased her feverish bewilderment of madness.... "Don't you see that face?" she inquired, gazing nervously at the mirror.... "Oh! Nelly [Tabitha], the room is haunted! I'm afraid of being left alone...."
   I [Nelly Dean—Tabitha] attempted to steal to the door ... but I was summoned back by a piercing scream.
   ... "As soon as ever I barred the door," proceeded Catherine [Charlotte Brontë], "utter darkness overwhelmed me, and I fell on the floor. I couldn't explain ... how certain I felt of having a fit, or going mad."
   "A sound sleep would do you good," said Nelly Dean—Tabitha Aykroyd.
I [Jane—Charlotte Brontë] sat looking at the white bed, ... occasionally turning a fascinated eye towards the ... mirror....[Pg 49] I hushed my sobs, fearful lest ... signs of grief might waken a preternatural voice ... or elicit from the gloom some haloed face.... This ... I felt would be terrible.... At this moment a light gleamed on the wall; ... shaken as my nerves were by agitation, I thought the swift-darting beam was a herald of some coming vision from another world. My heart beat thick, my head grew hot; a sound filled my ears which I deemed the rushing of wings: something seemed near me; I was oppressed, suffocated; endurance broke down; I rushed to the door and shook the lock in desperate effort. Steps came running along the ... passage, ... Bessie and Abbot entered.
   "Miss Eyre, are you ill?" said Bessie [Tabitha Aykroyd].
   "What a dreadful noise! It went through me!" exclaimed Abbot.
   "Take me out!" was my cry.
   "... Are you hurt? Have you seen something?" demanded Bessie [Tabitha].
   "Oh! I ... thought a ghost would come."
   "She has screamed on purpose," declared Abbot [?].... "And what a scream! If she had been in pain one would have excused it, but she only wanted to bring us all here: I know her naughty tricks."
   ... Mrs. Reed [Aunt Branwell] came.... "Silence!" she exclaimed; "this scene is repulsive." I was a precocious actor in her eyes. She sincerely looked upon me [Charlotte] as a compound of virulent passions, mean[Pg 50] spirit, and dangerous duplicity.... I suppose I had a species of fit: unconsciousness closed the scene.... The next thing I remembered is waking ... with a feeling as if I had had a frightful nightmare ... agitation, uncertainty, and a predominant sense of terror confused my faculties.... Bessie [Tabby] stood at the bed-foot with a basin in her hand.
   "Do you feel as if you could sleep, Miss?" asked Bessie [Tabitha Aykroyd] rather softly.
   For me [Charlotte] the watches of that long night passed in ghostly watchfulness; ear, eye, and mind were alike strained by dread, such dread as children only can feel.

By her Method II.: altering the age of a character portrayed, Charlotte Brontë gives us Tabitha Aykroyd as a young woman in Bessie; and by the same Method II, in the scene just read from Wuthering Heights, we have an instance of her presenting, as an incident in womanhood, an incident which the testimony of Jane Eyre and other evidences show occurred really in Charlotte's own childhood. As she relates in Jane Eyre, her dread was "such dread as children only can feel"; and she goes on to say "this incident [of the locked room] gave my nerves a shock of which I feel the reverberation to this day." Thus in both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre Charlotte paints an excellent picture of the matter-of-fact but good-hearted Tabitha Aykroyd going to the room in response to her, Charlotte Brontë's, frantic appeal, sceptical and certainly unsympathetic.

The part played by the wild summoning of Tabitha to the room, the references to "a fit," the ghost and haunted chamber, the dread of the mirror, the suggestion that the frenzy of fear was wilfully assumed, the piercing scream, Tabitha Aykroyd with her basin and her final suggestion of sleep, are in themselves ample evidence that Charlotte Brontë in both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre drew[Pg 51] this scene from an experience of the kind in her own childhood. In each work stress is laid by her upon her own hypersensitiveness, and we learn how the Brontë household misunderstood her excessive passionateness and misread it as wicked acting[26].

We see Tabitha best in Mrs. Dean of Wuthering Heights, as Hannah of the Rivers family of Jane Eyre, and by Currer Bell's Method II., alteration of age of the character portrayed, as Bessie of that work. Tabitha Aykroyd lives and breathes her life through the pages of Charlotte Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre to-day, and ever will she remain in literature, a real Yorkshire woman amazingly translated from the wide Yorkshire hearth with its great, wind-whitened fire and smell of hot cakes, to the pages of two of the finest examples of the English novel. Her portrayal I declare to be one of the most admirable achievements in the works of Charlotte Brontë.

[Pg 52]



Mrs. Gaskell, the Brontë biographer, relates that a friend of Charlotte Brontë said Charlotte had told her "a misfortune was often preceded by the dream which she gives to Jane Eyre of carrying a wailing child. She, Charlotte Brontë, described herself as having the most painful sense of pity for the little thing.... The misfortunes she mentioned were not always to herself. She thought such sensitiveness to omens was ... present to susceptible people...." This in the main explains the origin of the child-apparition as an omen of disaster in Charlotte Brontë's works.

It would seem by Charlotte's statement in Jane Eyre that Tabitha Aykroyd, as "Bessie," was responsible for the origin of this little superstition; and it is instructive to find the child-apparition as an ill-omen in connection with Tabitha Aykroyd as Mrs. Dean in Wuthering Heights. I have shown John Reed and Hindley Earnshaw represent Branwell Brontë; we may notice, therefore, that the child-apparition is given equally in Wuthering Heights and in Jane Eyre as coming before disaster or disgrace to Branwell Brontë.

Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Chapter XI. Chapter XXI.
Tabitha Aykroyd's child-apparition as a token of calamity to Branwell Brontë. Tabitha Aykroyd's child-apparition as a token of calamity to Branwell Brontë.
———— ————
Says Mrs. Dean [Tabitha]: "I came to a stone which serves as a guide-post to ... the Heights and the village.... Hindley [Branwell Brontë] and I held it a favourite spot twenty years before, ... and ... it appeared that I beheld my ... playmate seated on the ... turf, ... his little hand scooping out the earth."[27]
   "Poor Hindley!" [Branwell Brontë] I exclaimed involuntarily. I started—my bodily eye was cheated in the belief that the child lifted its face and stared straight into mine! It vanished in a twinkling; but immediately I felt an irresistible yearning to be at the Heights. Superstition urged me to comply with this impulse—"Suppose he were dead! ... supposing it were a sign of death!"
Presentiments are strange things! ... and so are signs.... Sympathies I believe exist (for instance, between far-distant ... wholly estranged relatives). When I was a ... girl I[Pg 53] heard Bessie [Tabitha Aykroyd] say that to dream of children was a sure sign of trouble.... During the last week scarcely a night had gone ... that had not brought ... the dream of an infant which I ... watched playing with daisies on a lawn or ... dabbling its hands in running water.[27] It was a wailing child this night, ... a laughing one the next, ... but whatever mood the apparition evinced ... it failed not ... to meet me.... I grew nervous.... It was from companionship with this baby-phantom I had been roused ... when I heard the cry: and on the ... day following ... I found a man [Bessie's husband] waiting for me; ... he was ... in deep mourning, and the hat in his hand was surrounded with a crape band.
   "I hope no one is dead," I said. And the man replies that John Reed [Branwell Brontë] had got into great trouble and was dead.

Branwell Brontë was not dead when Charlotte Brontë wrote those two versions, but it seems certain that an apparition of a child in some period of Charlotte's life preceded a further debasement of Branwell, the original of Hindley Earnshaw and John Reed. We may note Charlotte Brontë's Method II., in regard to Hindley.

In Charlotte Brontë's The Professor we find reference to her child-phantom wailing outside, and to the eerie, premonitory signal made against a lattice, as in her Wuthering Heights:[Pg 54]

Wuthering Heights. The Professor.
Chapter III. Chapter XVI.
Scene: An isolated homestead on a winter's night, snow-wind blowing, storm threatening. Scene: An isolated homestead on a winter's night, snow-wind blowing, storm threatening.
———— ————
While leading me upstairs she [Zillah, the stout housewife] recommended that I should hide the candle and not make a noise, ... they had so many queer goings-on.
   He sleeps and is awakened by—
   The branch of a fir that touched my lattice.... I listened doubtingly, ... I heard the gusty wind and the driving of the snow;... I heard also the firbough repeat its teasing sound.... I ... endeavoured to unhasp the casement, ... knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the ... branch; instead of which my fingers closed on the fingers of a little ice-cold hand.[28]... I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it and a melancholy voice sobbed—"Let me in—let me in!"
   ... As it spoke, I discerned obscurely a child's face looking through the window.... Still it wailed "Let me in!" and it maintained its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear.
   "How can I?" I said.... "Let me go, if you want me to let you in." I stopped my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer, ... yet the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry moaning on!
   "Begone!" I shouted; "I'll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years."
Take care, young man [recommended "the herdsman's wife"], that you fasten the door well, ... whatever sound you hear stir not and look not out. The night will soon fall, ... strange noises are often heard ... you might chance to hear, as it were, a child cry, and on opening the door to give it succour ... a shadowy goblin dog might rush over the threshold; or more awful still, if something flapped, as with wings, against the lattice, and then a raven or a white dove flew in and settled on the hearth, such a visitor would be a sure sign of misfortune.
   The stranger, left alone, listens awhile to the muffled snow-wind.

[Pg 55]

In Wuthering Heights Charlotte Brontë has worked the child-phantom into the story proper, setting it for the spirit of the departed Catherine, who as a child again (Method II., altering age of the character portrayed) seeks Heathcliffe. The building of the child-phantom in the plot of Wuthering Heights created a peculiar state of affairs; but as we have seen by Charlotte Brontë's reference to it in the extract from The Professor, she was impressed by its possibilities of giving a weird spiritual atmosphere, and she did not extend the idea in The Professor. The substance of Charlotte Brontë's two versions of the child-phantom wailing outside a house for admittance is identical:—

The Professor. Wuthering Heights.
Scene: An isolated homestead on a winter's night, snow-wind blowing, storm threatening. Young stranger admonished by the good housewife that there are queer goings-on thereabouts. Scene: An isolated homestead on a winter's night, snow-wind blowing, storm threatening. Young stranger admonished by the good housewife that there are queer goings-on thereabouts.
Subjunctive Mood. Indicative Mood.
Something might brush against the lattice, and a phantom-child might wail outside for succour, On opening to admit it an awful, supernatural incident might occur. Something brushes against the lattice, and a phantom-child wails outside for succour. On opening to admit it an awful, supernatural incident occurs.

Thus we perceive the famous child-phantom incident in Chapter III. of Wuthering Heights had its origin (1) in Montagu's lonely-house incident; (2) in Charlotte Brontë's awe of a child-apparition; (3) in Charlotte Brontë's Method II., alteration of age of character portrayed, by which Catherine the woman becomes a child again; and (4) in Charlotte Brontë's notion, as evidenced in Shirley, Chapter XXIV., that a loved dead one can "revisit those they leave"; can "come in the elements"; that "wind" could give "a path to Moor(e)"—Heath(cliffe), "passing the casement sobbing"; that the loved dead one could "haunt" the wind. These, then, we see were the notions in Charlotte Brontë's head responsible for Catherine's returning so sensationally to the abode of her lover as a child-spectre. For Catherine's love for Wuthering Heights was not simply because[Pg 56] of the place and its moors, as so many writers have wrongly contended, but because it was associated with Heathcliffe.[29] Let my reader peruse again the "wailing child" passages I quote from Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre in Chapter II. of The Key to the Brontë Works.

Truly the testimony of Charlotte Brontë's child-phantom were alone the sign-manual that she and none other wrote Wuthering Heights.

[Pg 57]



The uncommon stress Charlotte Brontë has laid upon the outlandishness of the Wuthering Heights country and its solitudes assuredly would have been absent from that work had she drawn her background from the comparatively characterless Haworth moors on the skirts of manufacturing towns, and not from impressions created in her mind by Montagu's description in his Gleanings in Craven of the wildest and weirdest scenery in Yorkshire. There has been a noticeable tendency on the part of town-bred, and also of romantic, biographers to be awed by the ordinary moorland surroundings of Haworth, and to associate with them all the wildness of the Craven or Scottish Highlands, though Miss Mary Robinson, whose work entitled Emily Brontë is in effect an "appreciation" of Wuthering Heights, says frankly regarding the house standing beyond the street on the summit of Haworth Hill, shown as the original of Wuthering Heights, that to her thinking "this fine old farm of the Sowdens is far too near the mills of Haworth to represent the God-forsaken, lonely house." But of course an author can place a given abode against any background. Wuthering Heights has been connected by some people with a locality called Withins—how wrongly a reference to the origin of Gimmerton and Gimmerden alone shows. The primary origin of the name and title of "Wuthering Heights" I reveal in the final chapter on "The Recoil."

The following passage from Wuthering Heights tells that Charlotte Brontë's imagination was enjoying the latitude of a half-realized, suggested background. It reads just like the traveller Montagu with his horse, attendant servant on horseback, roadside inns,[Pg 58] hostlers, and description of country. But the connection of Montagu with Lockwood of Wuthering Heights we have already seen in the early chapters of The Key to the Brontë Works:—

1802—This September I was invited to devastate the moors of a friend in the North, and on my journey ... I unexpectedly came within fifteen miles of Gimmerton. The hostler at a roadside public-house was holding a pail of water to refresh my horses when a cart of very green oats ... passed by, and he remarked—

"Yon's frough Gimmerton, nah! They're allus three wick after other folk wi' ther harvest."

"Gimmerton?" I repeated; my residence in that locality had already grown dim and dreamy. "Ah, I know. How far is it from this?"

"Happen fourteen mile o'er th' hills; and a rough road." A sudden impulse seized me to visit Thrushcross Grange. It was scarcely noon, and I conceived that I might as well pass the night under my own roof as in an inn.... Having rested a while, I directed my servant to inquire the way to the village; and, with great fatigue to our beasts, we managed the distance in some three hours. I left him there, and proceeded ... down the valley alone. The grey church looked greyer, and the churchyard lonelier. I distinguished a moor sheep cropping the short turf on the graves.... The heat did not hinder me from enjoying the delightful scenery above and below; had I seen it nearer August, I'm sure it would have tempted me to waste a month among its solitudes. [Be it observed he would rather have done so than have gone to "the moors" of his friend.] In winter nothing more dreary than those glens shut in by hills,[30] and those bluff, bold swells of heath.

So we too would imagine, judging by Montagu's description of the district in his little work.

Throughout Wuthering Heights we hear mention of Gimmerton, but it is apparent the village was "dim and dreamy" to Charlotte Brontë—somewhere about the little valley we should imagine, to conclude by general observations. However, clear it is that Gimmerton and Gimmerden were drawn by Charlotte Brontë merely from impressions created in her mind by other than a personal acquaintance with the district. Where then, and in what peculiar circumstances, did Charlotte receive these suggestions—suggestions that must have appealed to her at a time immediately coincident[Pg 59] with her commencing this foundling story with the house of mystery, the inhospitable host, the uncouth man-servant, and the candle-bearing bedside visitant—all from Montagu's book? My evidence declares these suggestions also came from Montagu's little work, and that the originals of Gimmerton in Wuthering Heights, and Gimmerden, or the valley of Gimmerton, were Malham and Malhamdale, or the valley of Malham. This district Montagu describes as being "most interesting ... in its own variety of wildness."

I believe Kilnsey Crags, which Montagu describes on the last page of the letter next to that written from Malham, figured in Charlotte Brontë's mind as the originals of Peniston Crags ("Peniston" may have been suggested by Montagu's mention of Pennigent). Montagu's description of Kilnsey Crags I will place side by side with the reference to Peniston Crags in Wuthering Heights:—

Montagu. Wuthering Heights.
Chapter XVIII.
———— ————
Kilnsey Crags. Peniston Crags.
A lofty range of limestone rocks ... stretching nearly half a mile along the valley, and rendered perhaps, more striking by contrasting with the vale immediately at its base. The abrupt descent of Peniston Crags particularly attracted her notice; especially when the setting sun shone on it and the topmost heights, and the whole extent of the landscape, besides [by contrasting] lay in shadow.

Clearly Joseph's "leading of lime" from Peniston Crags in Wuthering Heights was suggested to Charlotte Brontë by the "Kiln" of Kilnsea Crags, and Montagu's reference to the crags being limestone. Dean describes them to Cathy, and her words are simply Montagu's description—treated antithetically—of Gordale Scar in the Malham letter:—

Montagu. Wuthering Heights.
Chapter XVIII.
In the clefts in the rocks' sides, or wherever a lodgement of earth appears [is] the ... yew. They were bare masses of stone, with hardly enough earth in their clefts to nourish ... a tree.... One of the maids mentioning the Fairy Cave, quite turned her head....

[Pg 60]

In his Malham letter Montagu describes a Fairy Cave, and of course Gimmerton has the Fairy Cave in its neighbourhood. It is placed under the Crags, but we have no description in Wuthering Heights:—

Montagu. Wuthering Heights.
Chapter XVIII.
Montagu has a boy-guide "adapted to show the prominent features to strangers." He takes Montagu on to Malham, where Montagu sees the Fairy Cave. This boy-guide was called Robert Airton, and he was aged twelve.[31] Says Catherine Linton to the boy Hareton:—"I want ... to hear about the fairishes, as you call them.".... Hareton opened the mysteries of the Fairy Cave and twenty other queer places. But ... I was not favoured with a description of the interesting objects she saw. I could gather, however, that her guide had been a favourite.

The name of Linton appears in Montagu in the letter next that in which he describes the Fairy Cave. We may understand that Charlotte Brontë's romantic imagination was entranced, as she says Catherine Linton's was, with the mention of the Fairy Cave; and Jane Eyre is testimony that after writing Wuthering Heights she turned again to consider its possibilities of suggestion.

In fact, I find that Charlotte Brontë when she chose the name of Janet Eyre for herself was also calling herself the Fairy Janet. And where, then, read Charlotte Brontë of the fairy Janet Eyre? The evidence of Montagu's work proves that when she wrote the name Eyre, she was implying by this Derbyshire variant the name Aire or Ayre, meaning the river Ayre. Where acquired Charlotte Brontë so intimate an acquaintance with the history of the Fairy Janet of the Aire as to take upon herself poetically, the rôle of that Craven elf and her name?

Mr. Harry Speight recently, in The Craven Highlands, told us "the Fairy Jennet or Janet was queen of the Malhamdale elves" who frequented the enchanted ground round the source of the[Pg 61] Aire. But prior to Montagu's dealing with Janet's Cave, the home of the Malhamdale fays, the queen-elf had been referred to as Gennet. Montagu spelt the name Jannet, and later writers having referred to him, the fairy cave now bears the name Janet's Cave. A Malham writer prior to Montagu referred only briefly to the Fairy Cave, and quite prosily. In his Malham letter Montagu says:—

"Leaving a farmhouse at the entrance of the vale to the left, we [he and his boy-guide] proceeded over two fields, then ascended about twenty yards, suddenly turned an acute angle, and penetrating some bushes we stood at the entrance of a deep and narrow glen, before a perpendicular fall of water. At the foot of this cascade is

Jannet's Cave.

It is so called from the queen or governess of a numerous tribe of faeries, which tradition assures us anciently held their court here; and as there may be some of my readers who may like at the moonlit hour to be entertained at one of Jannet's banquets, I will give an idea as to the mode of obtaining admission into such society.... On the evening when I first learned the mystic lore, the golden sun had kissed every flower, even unto the retiring lily, and was gliding westward when, from the heart's couch of a moss rose, there came the eldest daughter of faeryland, probably the self-same Jannet's daughter, saying:—

'I have come from whence
Peace with white sceptre wafting to and fro,
Smooths the wide bosom of the Elysian world,'

and who, upon being informed that I was desirous of swearing allegiance to her sweet mother, said that she would bring intelligence whether I might be admitted to her pretty vassalage; she then bade her attendants bring her car, which was a leaf of a favourite hyacinth, drawn by two lady-birds who were guided by reins of gossamer; the mellow horn of the herald bee summoned her attendants, who, to the number of twenty, obeyed the call; and taking the coronets from off their brows, made low obeisance to their young princess, which she pleasingly acknowledged. Then they each captured a sphere of thistle-down, and seating themselves thereon, followed their princess; who, attended by her guards, each[Pg 62] armed with a maiden's eye-lash, journeyed onwards towards the realms of enchanted ground. I should think that not many minutes elapsed when the cavalcade returned, and the charter written upon the leaf of a 'forget-me-not,' with the gold from a butterfly's wing, was placed into my hand by 'a fay,' with injunctions not to divulge the secrets of the order. I would have promised but awoke from this pleasant dream."

We will now read Montagu's description of the Fairy Janet, and a fairy coming to him at sundown when adapted by Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre.

Adèle asks Rochester whether she is to go to school without her governess, Jane Eyre:—

"Yes," he replied; ... "for I am to take mademoiselle to the moon, and there I shall seek a cave in one of the white valleys among the volcano tops, and mademoiselle shall live with me there, and only me."

"... But you can't get her there...."

"Adèle ... late one evening ... I sat down to rest me on a stile ... when something came up the path.... Our speechless colloquy was to this effect—

"It was a fairy, and come from Elf-land, it said.... It told me of the alabaster cave and silver vale.... I said I should like to go.... 'Oh,' returned the fairy.... 'Here is a talisman which will remove all difficulties' and she held out a pretty gold ring...."

"But what has mademoiselle [Jane Eyre] to do with it? I don't care for the fairy...."

"Mademoiselle [Jane Eyre] is a fairy," he said, whispering mysteriously.

But Adèle assures him she made no account of his "contes de fée."

For the present it is enough to know that in the main and ostensibly the Fairy Janet Eyre was Charlotte Brontë's adaptation of Montagu's Fairy Janet, the queen-elf of the Malhamdale fairies, said to frequent the enchanted land round the source of the Aire.

The fairy idea, Charlotte discovered, served well to give a certain gallantry to Rochester's bestowing of epithets. These the reader may have interest in finding in Jane Eyre. For instance, when Jane, returning from her visit to a dead relative, informs Rochester, he says:[Pg 63]

"A true Janian reply! [italics mine]. Good angels be my guard! She comes from the other world—from the abode of people who are dead, and tells me so when she meets me alone here in the gloaming! If I dared, I'd touch you, to see if you are substance or shadow, you elf!—but I'd as soon offer to take hold of a blue ignis-fatuus light in the marsh."

A few lines lower Rochester asks:—

"Tell me, now, fairy as you are—can't you give a charm?"

And then farther down:

"Pass, Janet: go up home and stay your weary little wandering feet at a friend's threshold."

When Rochester's bed is in flames, and he awakes to find Janet has thrown water upon it, he demands:—

"In the name of all the elves in Christendom, is that Jane Eyre?"

And so I might continue. It is observable Charlotte Brontë never allows Rochester to call Jane Eyre "Janet" and "fairy" in the same breath. She permits the use of Janet, however, when the fairy notion is concealed, as when Rochester says:

"Just put your hand in mine, Janet, that I may have the evidence of touch as well as sight, to prove you are near me."

Certain it is that in Charlotte Brontë's inmost heart her autobiographical self was called Janet Aire.[32]

Charlotte Brontë's conceptions, when she let her imagination have play and forgot the world of readers were, like Jane Eyre's thoughts, "elfish." See the fairy tale, The Adventures of Ernest Alembert (attributed by Charlotte Brontë to her pen in her fifteenth year). It has been remarked this story is not in the handwriting[Pg 64] Charlotte Brontë affected at this period, and that the manuscript has not Charlotte's customary title-page.[33] In view of the evidence of The Key to the Brontë Works, it is of interest to make a comparison between Alembert and Montagu's Gleanings in Craven, published eight years later than the date Charlotte Brontë ascribed to its completion. The association of the family of Lambert with hypothetical high treason and with being extinct; with the Malham country as described by Montagu—the references, so frequent in his pages, to the awe inspired by the wildness of the scenery, to the underground torrent, the contrasting range of crags, the lake, the fairy cave, the fairy and the admittance into faerydom; to "the mellow hum of the bee," etc., are interesting in the extreme, seeing by aid of Montagu that Malham as presented by him became Gimmerton of Wuthering Heights. Whether "coincidence" has to do with this matter of Alembert and Montagu, or Charlotte Brontë has for some reason ante-dated Alembert, I leave to the reader to decide.

Montagu. The Adventures of Ernest Alembert.
Montagu, speaking of the church of Kirkby-Malham, "in the ... vale of Malham," says:—"Some of the Lamberts are buried here—here is a monument to ... John Lambert, who aided Cromwell in his murder of Charles the First (as all did who were implicated in Cromwell's rebellion)[34]—after the Restoration lived he died banished and forgotten at Guernsey. The family is now extinct."
   In the chapter on Malham, Montagu accepts a guide who takes him up the vale of Malham. He mentions Malham Lake, or Tarn, and says of the River Aire in the connection that the water "delves into the mountain, and does not appear again until it reaches the village of Airton, below Malham."
Charlotte Brontë begins by relating that there once lived an Ernest Alembert. One of the Alemberts having been "beheaded" for "high treason,"[34] "the family had decayed" until the only survivor was Ernest Alembert. We are told that he beside a valley; and the river became a lake. A stranger putting him under a spell, [A]lembert accepts him for a guide, and they wend their way up the valley.
   [A]lembert finds himself at a[Pg 65] place where the torrent goes underground.
We have descriptions of wild moor, "tremendous" precipices, and "grand and terrific cataracts":—"At last we attained the summit of the mountain, when, looking down in the chasm beneath, horror and immensity were defined with thrilling truth." We have descriptions of wild moors and precipices, and foaming cataracts. When they stopped to rest after a climb "the scene was grand and awful in the extreme.... The mellow hum of the bee was no longer heard.... Above rose tremendous precipices, whose vast shadows blackened all that portion of the moor [see "Peniston Crags," page 59], and deepened the frown on the face of unpropitious nature."
Montagu and his guide go to a cave—the cave of the Fairy Janet. Montagu falling asleep as it were, a fairy comes to his side and tells him he is in the realm of fairies. She promises to induct him into the wonders of faeryland, and "the mellow horn of the herald bee" summoned her attendants. And so on. See Charlotte Brontë's mention in Alembert of "the mellow hum of the bee." [A]lembert and his guide go to a cave. Farther on the guide vanishes, but [A]lembert wakes to find him by his side as a fairy [Charlotte Brontë, Method I., interchange of the sexes], who addresses [A]lembert as follows:—
   "I am a fairy. You have been, and still are, in the land of fairies. Some wonders you have seen; many more you shall see if you choose to follow me." And so on in extension.

I have often wondered why no one has ever observed before that the hand which wrote The Adventures of Ernest Alembert must assuredly have written every line of Wuthering Heights. We may well understand why Charlotte Brontë in Wuthering Heights wrote of Catherine Linton that "the mentioning the Fairy Cave quite turned her head" with interest. And that the original of the Fairy Cave in Wuthering Heights was the Fairy Cave of Malhamdale[Pg 66] Montagu mentions at such length in his Malham letter, the use of the names Linton and Airton in the connection irrefutably proves without other appeal: Hareton—that variant of Aire, cannot be associated with Derbyshire like "Eyre"; and despite the use of "Eyre," Aire was the name in Charlotte Brontë's mind, just as "Airton" was when she wrote "Hareton."

Both the "boy-guide" and "Gimmerton's mist" were obviously suggested to Charlotte Brontë for Wuthering Heights by Montagu, the original, as I have shown, of Lockwood:—

Montagu. Wuthering Heights.
I ... took leave of my host and followed the youthful steps of my guide whose services I had accepted.... Upon the summit of the mountain is Kilnsea Moor, over which it is impossible to find a route to Malham Water without a guide, more particularly as a mist creates a difficulty, even to a person well acquainted with the locality. Says Heathcliffe:—"People familiar with these moors often miss their road on such an evening."
   "Perhaps I can get a guide among your lads, ... could you spare one?" asks Lockwood of his host.

Montagu's frequent references to the mountainous character of the Malham country were doubtless responsible for Charlotte Brontë's choice of the word "heights" used in her title. Why the name of Gimmer, from "gimmer" a female sheep, and signifying with "ton" the place of sheep, was chosen by her for Gimmerton, is clear when we read the etymology Montagu gives of Skipton. He mentions Skibden and Skipton, proceeding to explain that "Skipton, or Sceptown (from the Saxon word 'scep,' a sheep)" meant "the town of sheep"; and Montagu tells us a native spoke of the village as "the town of Malham." Hence we perceive why Charlotte Brontë coined "Gimmerton," the village of sheep, and "Gimmerden," the valley of sheep, for Malham and Malhamdale with the source of the Aire, the Fairy Cave, the Sough, the adjacent crags, the heights, the glens, the rising mists, the Methodist chapel and kirk in the lonely vale, when in the light of all the foregoing we read in Montagu's work that:—

"Here [at Malham] there is an annual fair held on the 15th of[Pg 67] October, appropriated entirely for the sale of sheep.[35] I am within the limit of fact when I say that upwards of one hundred thousand [sheep] have been shown at one time. [Joseph takes cattle to "Gimmerton Fair," of course not in October.] The houses are mostly built of limestone, and covered with grit slates, and irregularly situated at the base of a range of steep mountains"—"the Heights."

Malham he describes as "a small township, divided into east and west portions by a rapid stream"—"the beck down Gimmerton." "There is a Methodist chapel at Malham," he states, and says that the old church of Kirkby-Malham "is in the very bosom of the vale of Malham." Thus Gimmerton Kirk, in the lonely valley of Gimmerton,[36] was Charlotte Brontë's name in Wuthering Heights for the kirk[Pg 68] by Malham, in the lonely vale of Malham. This insight into the origin of the name of "kirk" for a Yorkshire church excuses what, without it, would have been an anachronistic misnomer. As for the Nonconformists' place of worship, Dean is made to remark:—"They call the Methodists' or Baptists' place—I can't say which it is at Gimmerton—a chapel."

In the light of the foregoing evidence it is impossible to ignore the reference Montagu makes to "the sinks," where the water from Malham Tarn sinks underground for a considerable distance. Whether Charlotte Brontë thought this would produce a quag in the neighbourhood I cannot tell; but if she has used the word "sough" (pronounced suff) in its ordinary acceptance in Yorkshire, she originally meant "a subterranean passage or tunnel, draining water as from a sink," if I may quote a definition in Dr. Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary. There is every sign in her writings of a loose, composite adaptation of Montagu's topography, etc., yet Charlotte Brontë was ever jealous of associations, and under a guise or not she frequently preserved carefully recognizable characteristics necessary to locality and to personality; and we see Montagu had associated a sough with Malham. We have mention of Gimmerton Sough in Chapter III. of Wuthering Heights, and in Chapter X.:—"... the valley of Gimmerton, with a long list of mist winding nearly to its top (for very soon after you pass the chapel ... the sough that runs from the marshes joins a beck which follows the bend of the glen). Wuthering Heights rose above this silvery vapour." And we have read what Montagu says about the mists of Malham.

The influence of Montagu's descriptions of this wild locality is likewise observable in the scenery and the background of Jane Eyre,[37] as I mentioned in the article "The Key to Jane Eyre" I wrote in The Saturday Review. The yews and evergreens, mentioned by Montagu in connection with Malham, and introduced by Charlotte Brontë, with other trees of the fir-tribe, in descriptions of Morton in Jane Eyre, Chap. XXX., etc., and in Wuthering Heights, are not common to Haworth.

[Pg 69]



Charlotte Brontë, while she often portrayed the main characters of her stories from people in her own life, was quite at home with them in whatsoever condition or surroundings she placed them.[38] She loved the memory of Tabitha Aykroyd—that faithful servant, companion, and friend; hated the vices of her brother Branwell Brontë, and was obsessed by thoughts of M. Héger, her Brussels friend. So she placed the good old housekeeper of the parsonage—under an ecclesiastical cognomen truly—as Mrs. Dean at Wuthering Heights; set up her brother Branwell on the same premises as Hindley Earnshaw, and put her Brussels friend in the position of master of that abode.

In Jane Eyre Tabitha Aykroyd is Bessie of Mrs. Reed's household, and Hannah of the Rivers family; Branwell is among better surroundings as John Reed, and M. Héger is portrayed more proportionately as the master of Thornfield; while in the same work Charlotte Brontë portrays her own sister Maria Brontë, and makes her say she is a native of Northumberland and describe the scenery round her birthplace there!

In Shirley Charlotte admits to having placed Emily Brontë as "Shirley Keeldar," surrounded by the environment of a wealthy woman—a landed proprietress in the Dewsbury neighbourhood; and she gives us phases of M. Héger as a resident of Yorkshire, in the two Moores.

Villette contains in Dr. John, towards the close, a portrait of the Rev. Mr. Nicholls, who became her husband, as a resident of the foreign town Villette—for I find the character Dr. John was a portrait not wholly drawn, as is supposed, from Mr. Smith of Messrs.[Pg 70] Smith & Elder, the Brontë publishers; and glimpses of Mr. Thackeray as a Villette lecturer appear in a flitting usurpation of M. Héger's rights as the original of M. Paul.

Charlotte Brontë's thus placing given characters against any background is doubtless responsible for the fact that when I wrote the Fortnightly Review article, "The Lifting of the Brontë Veil: A New Study of the Brontë Family," in March, 1907, nigh on sixty years of readers of the Brontë works had failed to recognize Charlotte Brontë had portrayed in Jane Eyre not only herself and her sister, Maria Brontë, as was commonly known, but also her brother, Branwell Brontë; her Aunt Branwell; her cousin, Eliza Branwell; her sister, Elizabeth Brontë; her sister, Emily Brontë; her sister, Anne Brontë; her father, the Rev. Patrick Brontë; and also Tabitha Aykroyd, the Brontë servant. Perhaps it was because readers believed Morton was Hathersage, Derbyshire, that a suspicion of the Rivers family being the Brontë family at Haworth never had been entertained.

I found, however, that all the above-mentioned members of the Brontë family were placed in Jane Eyre under a "Rivers" surname; and proceeding into the inquiry as to their identity, I perceived this discovery of the Brontë family in Jane Eyre numbered with the more important of my Brontë discoveries, and that despite her purposed and reasonable cross-scents—the spired church, the mention of knife-grinders, and the hinting at the proximity of Sheffield, all so necessary in her day to permit the portrayal of phases of the life at Haworth Parsonage—Morton to Charlotte Brontë was in the main Haworth. What importance would attach to a discovery of an unknown portrait group of his family deliberately painted from life by an old master! Such is the importance of this discovery of the Brontë family drawn by the pen of Charlotte Brontë herself in Jane Eyre. Currer Bell portrayed with unvarying truth; and with cunning artistry she brought forward in her literary legacy to the English novel the sure characteristics—the very soul, the shallowness, the pretty affectionateness, the cooing "dove-like voice," the "blue steel glance," of those she had watched and loved and feared.

Now, in the selection of a Christian name for the heroine Jane Eyre, in whom she had portrayed herself, there was every reason why Charlotte Brontë would be unlikely to adopt the second name of her sister, Emily Jane. We have seen, however, that Charlotte Brontë[Pg 71] had been led by Montagu's mention of the Fairy Jannet, or Janet, poetically to make her heroine a Fairy Janet. This evidence shows, therefore, that "Jane" was really only secondary. The Fairy Cave which this fairy was supposed to frequent is near Malham or Gimmerton, and, as I have said, the Fairy Janet is termed "the queen of the Malhamdale elves that frequent the enchanted land round the source of the Aire." Montagu mentions the fact that the river Ayre takes its rise at Malham—at Malham Tarn, and hence Charlotte Brontë seems to have named her heroine originally Janet Aire. Obvious it is she would be led, naturally, to use later some variant of Aire or Ayre; and the fact that she visited in the summer of 1845 (evidence shows she had read Montagu at the time)[39] her friend Miss Nussey, then at Hathersage in Derbyshire, where Eyre is a common name, would suggest she was led to adopt this variant through her visit there. We already have seen Charlotte Brontë used the variant of "Hare" for "Air" in Wuthering Heights for the boy Hareton from Montagu's boy-guide, Robert Airton. And that she wished in Jane Eyre to break through the confines of the variant she had chosen for Aire, and give open expression to her original and poetic idea, is seen plainly enough where Adèle asks:—

"And Mademoiselle—what is your name?"

"Eyre—Jane Eyre."

"Aire? bah, I cannot say it."

Having made this interesting discovery, I further found that, not satisfied with appropriating for herself the "stream" surname, she placed such a surname upon those who were related to her and whom she had portrayed in Jane Eyre. So she used Burns from "burn," a stream spelt with an "s," for Maria Brontë; Rivers, from a river also spelt with an "s," for Emily Brontë, Anne Brontë, and the Rev. Patrick Brontë, with Tabitha Aykroyd in attendance as Hannah; Reed, from the river of that name for Charlotte's Aunt Branwell, her cousin Eliza Branwell, and her brother, Branwell Brontë; Severn, from the river of that name for her sister[Pg 72] Elizabeth Brontë—just as she used Aire from the river of that name for herself, as Janet Aire.

A reference to Mrs. Gaskell's Brontë Life were sufficient to establish the identifications, when I say that by Charlotte Brontë's Method II. (the alteration of the age of a character portrayed) the Rev. Patrick Brontë is represented as a young man in the Rev. St. John Eyre Rivers—certainly a very necessary obfuscation, for it is to be seen the home at Morton gives a most enlightening insight into the life at the Haworth Parsonage. A death is supposed to have occurred in the Rivers family; and when it is remembered Thornfield to Charlotte Brontë represented the Hégers' establishment at Brussels, and that she left Brussels the first time on account of the death of her aunt, Miss Elizabeth Branwell who, after being the female head of the parsonage some years, died there in the close of 1842, we may know for whom the Rivers family were really in mourning. Charlotte Brontë tells us that, looking through the window of Moor House—Haworth Parsonage:—

I could see ... an elderly woman [Tabitha Aykroyd—the Mrs. Dean of Wuthering Heights], somewhat rough-looking, but scrupulously clean, like all about her, ... knitting a stocking.... Two young, graceful women [Emily and Anne Brontë]—ladies in every point—sat, one in a low rocking-chair, the other on a lower stool; both wore deep mourning, ... which sombre garb singularly set off very fair necks and faces: a large old ... dog [Emily had a favourite dog] rested his massive head on the knee of one girl—in the lap of the other was cushioned a black cat. A strange place was this humble kitchen for such occupants [but they were ever fond of it]. Who were they? They could not be the daughters of the elderly person at the table [Tabitha]; for she looked like a rustic, and they were all delicacy and cultivation. I had nowhere seen such faces as theirs; and yet, as I gazed on them I seemed intimate with every lineament. I cannot call them handsome—they were too pale and grave for the word: as they each bent over a book they looked thoughtful almost to severity. A stand between them supported a second candle and two great volumes to which they frequently referred; comparing them ... with the smaller books they held in their hands like people consulting a dictionary to aid ... in the task of translation. This scene was as silent as if all the figures had been shadows and the fire-lit apartment a picture.

"Listen, Diana [Emily Brontë]", said one of the absorbed students, ... and in a low voice she read ... in German.... The other girl,[Pg 73] who had lifted her head to listen to her sister, repeated, while she gazed at the fire, a line.... "Good!" ... she exclaimed, while her dark and deep eyes sparkled, ... "I like it!"

"Is there ony country where they talk i' that way?" asked the old woman [Tabitha, using her Haworth Yorkshire dialect], and being told there is:—"Well, for sure case, I knawn't how they can understand t'one t'other: and if either o' ye went there, ye could tell what they said, I guess?"

"... Not all—for we are not as clever as you think us, Hannah. We don't speak German...."

"And what good does it do you?"

"We mean to teach it some time—or at least the elements, as they say; and then we shall get more money than we do now."

"Varry like; but give ower studying: ye've done enough for to-night."

"I think we have.... I wonder when St. John [the Rev. Patrick Brontë] will come home."

"Surely he will not be long now: it is just ten" (looking at a little gold watch she drew from her girdle). "It rains fast. Hannah, will you have the goodness to look at the fire in the parlour?"

Charlotte seems to have portrayed particularly those happy months at home in 1842, when, after the death of their aunt, all three sisters were together and their brother Branwell was away. It is Anne Brontë who, as Mary Rivers, consults her watch. For the circumstances in which she acquired this gold watch see the will of Miss Elizabeth Branwell, her aunt.[40]

The woman [Tabitha] rose: she opened a door, ... soon I heard her stir the fire in an inner room. She presently came back: "Ah childer!" said she, "it fair troubles me to go into yond room now: it looks so lonesome wi' the chair empty and set back in a corner."

The Brontë sisters were "always children in the eyes of Tabitha." Continuing her description of her sisters, Charlotte as Jane says:—

Both were fair complexioned and slenderly made; both possessed faces full of distinction and intelligence. One [Emily Brontë] to be sure had hair a shade darker than the other, and there was a difference in their style of wearing it: Mary's [Anne Brontë's] pale brown locks were[Pg 74] parted and braided smooth; Diana's [Emily Brontë's] duskier tresses covered her neck with thick curls.... [She] had a voice toned to my ear, like the cooing of a dove. She possessed eyes whose gaze I delighted to encounter. Her whole face seemed to me full of charm, Mary's [Anne Brontë's] countenance was equally intelligent—her features equally pretty; but her expression was more reserved; and her manner, though gentle, more distant. Diana looked and spoke with a certain authority [it was Emily Brontë's manner]: she had a will.... It was my nature to feel pleasure in yielding to an authority supported like hers; and to bend, where my conscience and self-respect permitted, to an active will.

The following is the portrait of Charlotte Brontë's father (Method II., the altering the age of the character portrayed) as her imagination pictured him to have been in his young days. St. John's was the Rev. Patrick Brontë's college at Cambridge:—

Mr. St. John ... had he been a statue instead of a man ... could not have been easier. He was ... tall, slender; his face riveted the eye; it was like a Greek face, very pure in outline; quite a straight classic nose, quite an Athenian mouth and chin. It is seldom indeed an English face comes so near the antique models as did his.... His eyes were large and blue, ... his high forehead, colourless as ivory, was partially streaked over by careless locks of fair hair.... He ... scarcely impressed one with the idea of a gentle ... or even of a placid nature; ... there was something about his nostril, his mouth, his brow, which ... indicated elements within either restless, or hard or eager.

Charlotte Brontë's references herewith, and in other instances, to the passionate nature of her father are interesting reading, especially in view of the fact that this point has been the subject of controversy. To return to Jane Eyre:—

Mr. Rivers [Mr. Brontë] now closed his book, approached the table, and, as he took a seat, fixed his pictorial-looking eyes full upon me. There was an unceremonious directness, a searching, decided steadfastness in his gaze now which told that intention ... had hitherto kept it averted ... St. John's eyes, though clear enough in a literal sense, in a figurative one were difficult to fathom. He seemed to use them rather as instruments to search other people's thoughts, than as agents to reveal his own: the which combination of keenness and reserve was considerably more calculated to embarrass than to encourage.

[Pg 75]

Mrs. Gaskell states that even in his old age Mr. Brontë[41] was a tall and a striking-looking man, with a nobly shaped head and erect carriage, and that in youth he must have been unusually handsome. And to use the words of Hannah, "Mr. St. John when he grew up would go to college and be a parson." Continuing, Mrs. Gaskell further says:—

The course of his life shows a powerful and remarkable character, originating and pursuing a purpose in a resolute and independent manner—separating himself from his family. There was no trace of his Irish origin in his speech; he never could have shown his Celtic origin in the straight Greek lines and long oval of his face.

Another writer accentuating this says Mr. Brontë was "proud of his Greek profile," and we have now seen that Charlotte Brontë herself says his (St. John's) face was "like a Greek face, pure in outline." Mr. Brontë had also "fine blue eyes," like Mr. St. John. "His (Mr. Brontë's) passionate nature was compressed down with stoicism, but it was there, notwithstanding all his philosophic calm and dignity of demeanour, though he did not speak when displeased. He was an active walker, stretching away over the moors for many miles. He dined alone, and did not require companionship."

Which is, of course, all consonant with what we read of St. John Eyre Rivers. Charlotte Brontë continues:—

As to Mr. St. John, the intimacy which had arisen so naturally ... between me and ... [my] sisters did not extend to him. One reason of[Pg 76] the distance ... observed between us was, that he was comparatively seldom at home: a large proportion of his time appeared devoted to visiting the sick and poor among the scattered population of his parish. No weather seemed to hinder him in these pastoral excursions: rain or fair, he would, when his hours of morning study were over, take his hat and ... go out on his mission of love and duty.... But, besides his frequent absences, there was another barrier to friendship with him: he seemed of a reserved, an abstracted, and even a brooding nature. Zealous in his ministerial labours, blameless in his life and habits, he yet did not appear to enjoy that mental serenity, that inward content which should be the reward of every sincere Christian and practical philanthropist. Often of an evening, when he sat at the window, his desk and papers before him, he would cease reading or writing, rest his chin on his hand, and deliver himself up to I know not what course of thought; but that it was perturbed and exciting might be seen in the frequent dilation of his eye.

I think, moreover, that Nature was not to him that treasury of delight it was to his [my] sisters. He once expressed, and but once in my hearing, a strong sense of the rugged charm of the hills, and an inborn affection for the dark roof and hoary walls he called his home; but there was more of gloom than pleasure in the tone and words in which the sentiment was manifested; and never did he roam the moors for the sake of their soothing silence—never to seek out or dwell upon the thousand peaceful delights they could yield.

Incommunicative as he was, some time elapsed before I had an opportunity of gauging his mind. I first got an idea of its calibre when I heard him preach in his own church.... I wish I could describe that sermon; but it is past my power. I cannot even render faithfully the effect it produced on me.

It began calm, and indeed, as far as delivery and pitch of voice went, it was calm to the end: an earnestly felt, yet strictly restrained zeal breathed soon in the distinct accents, and prompted the nervous language. This grew to force—compressed, condensed, controlled.... Throughout there was a strange bitterness; an absence of consolatory gentleness; stern allusions to Calvinistic doctrines—election, predestination, reprobation—were frequent.... It seemed to me ... that the eloquence to which I had been listening had sprung from a depth where lay turbid dregs of disappointment—where moved troubling impulses of insatiable yearnings and disquieting aspirations. I was sure St. John Rivers, pure-lived, conscientious, zealous as he was—had not yet found that peace of God which passeth all understanding: he had no more found it ... than had I: with my concealed and racking regrets for my broken idol and lost elysium.

[Pg 77]

"Charlotte Brontë," says Miss Laura C. Holloway, "early exhibited antagonistic feelings towards the Calvinistic views of her father." And so I might continue at great length. Excluding the love passages necessary to "story" and the missionary suggestions for which it seems that Brussels priest whom I may call Charlotte Brontë's Fénelon was originally responsible, the portrayal of the Rev. Patrick Brontë, like that of Charlotte's sisters, is absolutely true to prototype and fact.[42] We discover that at heart Charlotte Brontë loved her father, hence she honoured him—the head of the "Rivers" family—by giving him the final word in her autobiography, speaking of him as he appeared to her: an old man whose days were drawing to a close. Jane relates of Morton:—

Near the churchyard, and in the middle of the garden, stood a well-built though small house, which I had no doubt was the parsonage.

In Charlotte Brontë's mind this was Haworth Parsonage; but it is clear that, despite the church "spire" and other efforts at obfuscation, she did not dare to portray her sisters and father in the parsonage. Thus she placed the family in another house. And now we will have another glimpse of Tabitha Aykroyd, this time as "Hannah," speaking her Haworth Yorkshire dialect:—

"Have you been with the family long?"

"I've lived here thirty year. I nursed them all three.... I thowt more o' th' childer nor of mysel'.... They've like nobody to tak' care on 'em but me ... I'm like to look sharpish."

Hannah was evidently fond of talking [see my chapter on Tabitha Aykroyd]. While I picked the fruit and she made the paste for the pies, she proceeded to give me sundry details about ... her deceased ... mistress, and "the childer," as she called the young people.... There[Pg 78] was nothing like them in these parts, nor ever had been; they had liked learning, all three, almost from the time they could speak; and they had always been "of a mak" of their own [had individual character]. They had lived very little at home for a long while, and were only come now to stay a few weeks on account of their father's [aunt's] death: but they did so like Marsh End and Morton [Haworth] and all these moors and hills about. They had been in ... many grand towns, but they always said there was no place like home; and then they were so agreeable with each other—never fell out nor "threaped" [asserted beyond the argumentative point]. She did not know where there was such a family for being united.

Emily Brontë as Diana says it is "a privilege we exercise in our home to prepare our own meals when ... so inclined, or when Hannah [Tabby] is baking, brewing, washing or ironing," which of course was true at Haworth Parsonage. To give yet another description:—

The Rivers [Brontës] clung to the purple moors behind and around their dwelling with a perfect enthusiasm of attachment. I could comprehend the feeling, and share both its strength and truth. I saw the fascination of the locality, ... my eye feasted on the outline of swell and sweep.... The strong blast and the soft breeze; the rough and the halcyon day; the hours of sunrise and sunset ... developed for me ... the same attraction as for them—wound round my faculties the same spell that entranced theirs.

Then follow pictures of the life at Haworth Parsonage, which tell us how Charlotte Brontë adored her sisters; and with the modesty of true genius she places herself at their feet, as it were. We have a sketch of Tabitha Aykroyd ironing Aunt Branwell's lace frills and crimping her nightcap borders in Jane Eyre, Chapter I., wherein both figure as Bessie and Aunt Reed. Years ago it came to be thought the original of Jane Eyre's Aunt Reed was Miss Branwell, the aunt of the Brontë children, though one writer identified her with a certain Mrs. Sidgwick whose son threw a book at Miss Brontë in her governess days, because "the son of Mrs. Reed" threw a Bible at Jane Eyre. The fact the rainy-day narrations in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre establish, that Charlotte Brontë associated a "volume-hurling" incident with her childhood and Branwell Brontë's "tyranny," disposed finally of the Sidgwick identifications. John Reed we have now seen was, like Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine's[Pg 79] brother, drawn by Charlotte Brontë from her brother Branwell Brontë. Always she wrote of him vindictively, and with a retributive justice, her strong characteristic. At about the period when Currer Bell was penning Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre Branwell was a source of considerable distress to her. He was disgraced; his habits were the reverse of temperate, and it was daily feared that in a fit of delirium he might make an attempt upon his own life. Indeed Charlotte Brontë palpably writes of Branwell Brontë and those miserable associations which brought trouble upon Mrs. Gaskell's first edition of the Brontë Life, in The Professor, Chapter XX., where she says:—

Limited as had yet been my experience of life, I had once had the opportunity of contemplating, near at hand, an example of the results produced by a course of ... domestic treachery.... I saw it bare and real, and it was very loathsome. I saw a mind degraded ... by the habit of perfidious deception, and a body depraved by the infectious influence of the vice-polluted soul. I had suffered much from the forced and prolonged view of this spectacle.

Charlotte's letters also show she was ashamed of and losing patience with him. John Reed is spoken of as "a dissipated young man; they will never make much of him, I think.... Some people call him a fine-looking young man; but he has such thick lips." For obfuscation's sake he is "tall," and Mrs. Gaskell in speaking of Branwell's profile says:—"There are coarse lines about the mouth, and the lips, though handsome in shape, are loose and thick, indicating self-indulgence." Aunt Reed exclaims at the last of her favourite:—"John is sunken and degraded, his look is frightful—I feel ashamed for him when I see him." It was near the time that Aunt Branwell died at Haworth there was this decided degradation of her favourite nephew Branwell. For story purposes Charlotte Brontë makes her aunt a married woman in Jane Eyre, and places her nephew Branwell and her niece Eliza Branwell in the relation of children to her as John and Eliza Reed—Georgiana is no doubt a Brontë relative of whom we have not heard, and Charlotte thought vain. The fact that in Jane Eyre, Chapter XXI., her name is mentioned in connection with "a title," would show Currer Bell early apportioned her a place in the book by reason of Montagu's reference to a Lady Georgiana.

A child, sympathetic and intensely emotional, Charlotte Brontë,[Pg 80] evidently, felt injustices with an acuteness not easy to understand without reading her Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre by aid of The Key to the Brontë Works. It would be like Maria Brontë to protest with her younger sister on her holding resentment against Aunt Branwell; and with the inference that she herself had endured her harshness, she says as Helen Burns:—"What a singularly deep impression her injustice seems to have made on your heart! No ill-usage so brands its record on my feelings. Would it not be happier if you tried to forget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited?"

Of Eliza Reed (Cousin Eliza Branwell), as seen by Jane at the death of Aunt Reed, we are told: "she was now very thin, and there was something ascetic in her look." She wore "a nun-like ornament of a string of ebony beads and a crucifix. This I felt sure was Eliza, though I could trace little resemblance to her former self in that elongated and colourless visage." In 1840 Charlotte Brontë wrote of her "Cousin Eliza Branwell" that she spoke of nothing but botany, her own conversion, Low Church, Evangelical clergy, and the Millennium.[43] And thus in Jane Eyre we read of Cousin Eliza Reed, by way of emphasis on this side of her character:—

Eliza ... had no time to talk, ... yet it was difficult to say what she did.... Three times a day she studied a little book which I found ... was a Common Prayer Book. I asked her once what was the great attraction of that volume, and she said 'the Rubric.' Three hours she gave to stitching, with gold thread, the border of a square crimson cloth; ... she informed me it was ... for the altar of a new church.... Two hours she devoted to ... working by herself in the kitchen garden. [Cousin Eliza's parterre is also referred to in Chapter IV. of Jane Eyre.] Eliza [attended] a saint's-day service at ... church—for in matters of religion she was a rigid formalist: no weather ever prevented the punctual discharge of what she considered her devotional duties; fair or foul she went to church thrice every Sunday, and as often on week-days as there were prayers. And by way of climax, Jane Eyre tells us that Cousin Eliza says:—"I shall devote myself ... to the examination of the Roman Catholic dogmas, and to a careful study of the workings of their system; if I find it to be, as I half suspect it is, the one best calculated to ensure the doing of all things decently and in order, I shall embrace the tenets of Rome and probably take the veil."

[Pg 81]

The river Reed, I may remark, has its rise close to the Cheviot Hills, within about five miles of the source of the Keeldar Burn, which name Charlotte Brontë used later in Shirley for the surname of Shirley Keeldar who, the world knows, is really Emily Brontë. To quote a ballad of Leyden,

"The heath-bell blows where Keeldar flows,
By Tyne the primrose pale."

The Reed has a Rochester near, which doubtless provided a name for Charlotte's hero.

Having now the key to this method of Charlotte Brontë, we also discover portrayed in Jane Eyre an utterly neglected sister of Currer Bell in Julia Severn, called after a river. Remembering that Emily Brontë would be younger than Charlotte, we perceive Julia must mean Elizabeth Brontë, born, like Emily, in July. We almost had forgotten this sister was at the Clergy Daughters' School. One of two things was responsible, it seems, for the choice of "Julia": either her natal month or her going to the above school in July. Elizabeth Brontë, the second sister of Charlotte Brontë, was born at Hartshead, near Dewsbury.

"Miss Temple," cries Mr. Brocklehurst, "... what—what is that girl with curled hair—red hair, ma'am, curled—curled all over?"

"It is Julia Severn," replies Miss Temple quietly, ... "Julia's hair curls naturally."

Thus from this discovery the world learns for the first time that Diana Rivers represents Emily Brontë, afterwards Shirley Keeldar;[44] Mary Rivers, Annie or Anne Brontë; St. John Eyre Rivers, the Rev. Patrick Brontë; and the elderly Hannah, the old, dialect-speaking Tabitha Aykroyd—the original of Charlotte Brontë's Mrs. Dean and Bessie; that Aunt Reed represents Aunt Branwell; Cousin Eliza Reed, Cousin Eliza Branwell; John Reed, Charlotte Brontë's brother Branwell; and Julia Severn, her sister Elizabeth Brontë, all of whom but for The Key to the Brontë Works would have remained for ever hidden and unrecognized in Jane Eyre.[Pg 82]

I have refrained from extending this volume with full extracts from the Brontë books, once having indicated the place and nature of my references. I must emphasize, however, that in dealing with the Rivers family Charlotte Brontë gives most appealing portrayals of the various phases of the life at Haworth Parsonage:—The studying, the painting,[45] the minor interesting domestic incidents dear to her memory, the parting of the Brontë sisters with St. John (Mr. Brontë), the "house-cleaning"—so very "Yorkshire"!—the preparations for Christmas, the return home of the Brontë girls, and many other facts and associations that render Jane Eyre in the light of The Key to the Brontë Works the surpassing of all Brontë biographies. Presented for posterity by her own sure hand, Charlotte Brontë's picture is bright and exhilarating; and as we glance uneasily again to Mrs. Gaskell's sombre portrayal, we on a sudden remember that biographer wrote in the shadow of death. But it is with life we have to do.

[Pg 83]



M. Héger, Miss Brontë's Brussels friend, by the showing of all evidence was essentially the original of her leading male characters.[46] M. Sue's Miss Mary and its "Manuscript of Mdlle. Lagrange," which I present farther on, are sufficient testimony that M. Héger was the original of the inner Heathcliffe and Rochester, and Charlotte Brontë's other chief male characters. An inquiry, therefore, is at once required as to the significance of Mrs. Gaskell's statement that she suspected Charlotte Brontë drew from the sons of the Taylor family[47] "all that was of truth in the characters of the heroes of her first two works." That the Yorkshire element of her heroes was provided by a living model or models from one family, is proved by a consistency of the characterization in this regard. I find, truly enough, that male members of the Taylor family were indeed the originals to which she referred in the composition of a Yorkshire-Héger.[48] The Taylors, of the Red House, Gomersall, (obviously the Briarmains of the Yorkes), and of Hunsworth, were mill-owner friends, and Independents, with whom Charlotte Brontë visited. In Shirley Miss Brontë ostensibly portrayed Mr. Taylor and his two daughters, her friends Mary and Martha, as Mr. Yorke and Rose and Jessie. Mary and Martha Taylor were at school with Charlotte at Roe Head, near Dewsbury and Huddersfield. They[Pg 84] were also at Brussels with Charlotte, though not at the Hégers'. Martha was taken ill and died at Brussels; a touching reference to her death is made where she is portrayed as Jessie Yorke, in Shirley, Chapter XXIII. Mary Taylor (Rose Yorke) was in New Zealand when Charlotte Brontë died. Her fondness for travel is mentioned in the Shirley chapter named. The male members of this family were thought by Currer Bell most characteristic Yorkshire folk, hence the name of Yorke. I mention Yorke Hunsden as one of the Yorkshire-Hégers of Miss Brontë's method of dual portraiture. I believe this important character in The Professor will be found, like his fellows, to be entirely a Taylor-Héger. The name for Hunsden was apparently dictated by the Taylors' connection with Hunsworth, and it may be noted his Christian name of Yorke came to be later the surname of Mr. Taylor as portrayed in Shirley.

But the Héger element was always superior to the Yorkshire element in Charlotte Brontë's heroes. The latter might provide useful and necessary external characteristics, but the "intensitives" were the lines she drew from her model, M. Héger. Of him as M. Pelet in The Professor, she writes:—

His face was pale, his cheeks were sunk, and his eyes hollow; his features ... had a French turn, ... the degree of harshness softened by ... a melancholy, almost suffering expression of countenance; his physiognomy was fine et spirituelle.

This "melancholy almost suffering expression of countenance" she thus described was evidently once a marked characteristic of M. Héger's physiognomy. A reference to it occurs in M. Sue's Miss Mary, in the French and "adapted" version, where we find M. de Morville, whom I identify as a phase of M. Héger, sitting in a reverie:—

... l'expression de légère souffrance habituelle à sa physionomie, d'ailleurs si ouverte, s'est compliquée d'une sorte de contrainte lorsqu'il se trouve au milieu de sa famille. Seul, et ne subissant pas cette contrainte ... M. de Morville semble profondément attristé.

Thus, of Yorke Hunsden in The Professor, we read:—

His general bearing intimated complete ... satisfaction, ... yet, at times, an indescribable shade passed like an eclipse over his[Pg 85] countenance, and seemed to me like the sign of a sudden and strong inward doubt of himself, ... an energetic discontent, ... perhaps ... it might only be a bilious caprice.

And again of Hunsden, in the same vein:—

I discerned ... there would be contrasts between his inward and outward man; contentions too.... Perhaps in these incompatibilities of the "physique" with the "morale" lay the secret of that fitful gloom; he would but could not, and the athletic mind scowled scorn on its more fragile companion, ... his features ... character had set a stamp upon ... expression re-cast them at her pleasure, and strange metamorphoses she wrote, giving him now the mien of a morose bull, and anon, that of an ... arch girl.

Regarding these facial metamorphoses Charlotte Brontë wrote similarly concerning M. Héger.[49]

I remark that M. Héger's harshness evidently had impressed Charlotte Brontë considerably at first, and thus reflects her thoughts on this point in the introduction of the phases she gives of him in her books. So we read of Yorke Hunsden, of Heathcliffe, and of Rochester:—

The Professor. Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
I said to myself "his rough freedom pleases me not at all."... There was something in Mr. Hunsden's point-blank mode of speech which rather pleased me than otherwise, because it set me at my ease. I continued the conversation with a degree of interest.... Hunsden's manner now bordered on the impertinent, still his manner did not offend me in the slightest—it only piqued my curiosity; I wanted him to go on. Heathcliffe's "walk in" expressed the sentiment "Go to the Deuce."[50]... I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation; I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself. There was something in the forced, stiff bow, in the impatient, yet formal tone which seemed ... to express: "What the Deuce is it to me whether Miss Eyre be there or not?[50] At this moment I am not disposed to accost her." I sat down, quite disembarrassed. A [Pg 86] reception of finished politeness would probably have confused me, ... but harsh caprice laid me under no obligation.... Besides, the eccentricity of the proceeding was piquant. I felt interested to see how he would go on.

We read of Rochester:—"The frown, the roughness of the stranger set me at my ease"; and in Villette, we read of M. Héger as M. Paul:—"Once ... I held him harsh and strange, ... the darkness, the manner displeased me. Now ... I preferred him before all humanity," which explains why Charlotte Brontë wrote of Rochester:—"The sarcasm that had repelled, the harshness that had startled me once, were only like keen condiments in a choice dish," and explains why she admits to the piquancy in exploiting the possibilities of Heathcliffe's startling harshness.

And again, as further evidence of the influence of M. Héger over her Yorkshire Hunsden, we find this character in the close of The Professor implicated with a mysterious "Lucia," whom he would have married but could not, which Lucia we discover to have meant really the original of the Lucy Snowe of Villette—Charlotte Brontë herself.

It is obvious that while Currer Bell, for "story" and other purposes, made use of a composite method in presenting a portrait, she drew from characters who possessed much in common: as with the composite character of the Rev. Mr. Helstone, meant for her father, a clergyman, but presenting also a phase of another clergyman, the Rev. Hammond Roberson; and as with Dr. John Bretton, a composite character drawn from the two Scotsmen, Mr. Smith her publisher, and the Rev. A. B. Nicholls, who subsequently became her husband. Doubtless, characteristics in the Taylors were similar to some of M. Héger's. Perhaps the fact that they spoke French and sojourned on the Continent, accentuated to her these characteristics. In a letter, Miss Brontë described all the Taylors as "Republicans." And so of Yorke Hunsden in The Professor, Chap.[Pg 87] XXIV., we read, "republican, lord-hater, as he was, Hunsden was proud of his old ——shire blood ... and family standing." Thus, in Shirley, Chap. IV., in which work that character appears stripped of the Héger element, as Mr. Yorke, we read of the latter:—

Kings and nobles and priests ... were to him an abomination.... The want of ... benevolence made him very impatient of ... all faults which grated on his strong, shrewd nature: it left no check to his ... sarcasm. As he was not merciful, he would sometimes wound ... without ... caring how deep he thrust.... Mr. Yorke's family was the first and oldest in the district.

Viâ Yorke Hunsden of The Professor and Mr. Yorke of Shirley the reader has returned to a character who typified more than any other of Charlotte Brontë's Yorkshire-Héger portrayals the merciless, strong and shrewd-natured Taylor—Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights. But the Yorkshire element in Heathcliffe was a caricature and an exaggeration for the purposes of the "cuckoo story," resulting from the tale Montagu tells of a foundling; and the emphasis laid upon his barbarity was largely a result, too, of the consideration I mention in the chapters entitled "The Recoil," which consideration had to do with the Héger phase of Heathcliffe. The fact that evidence shows Heathcliffe to have been, like Hunsden and Rochester, a composite character drawn from a dual model—the Taylor-Héger model—traceable in origin absolutely to Charlotte Brontë's idiosyncratic estimate of two male characters who are shown to have seriously interested her, in itself sufficiently demonstrates her authorship of Wuthering Heights, and is indeed of great interest.

If reference be made to a letter written by Charlotte Brontë in 1846, the year when she offered Wuthering Heights to a publisher, it will be found she mentioned that one of the Taylors had—like Heathcliffe—suffered in the teens of years from hypochondria, "a most dreadful doom," Charlotte called it, and related she herself had endured it for a year.[51]

Having herself suffered thus, there was a temptation—at what I elsewhere call the dark season of Charlotte Brontë's inner life, at the season of the recoil—to present in her work Wuthering Heights the Yorkshire-Héger with the hypochondria of her Yorkshire model,[Pg 88] and let his demon be the original of her Catherine Earnshaw—be herself. To this temptation Charlotte Brontë gave no opposition, much to her regret later. Herewith we have the origin of Heathcliffe's miserable hypochondria and monomania—his digging for Catherine in the grave till his spade scraped the coffin, in Wuthering Heights, Chap. XXIX., and his saying because his "preternatural horror" always haunted, but never abided with him:—

"She showed herself, ... a devil to me! And, since then ... I've been the sport of that intolerable torture! Infernal—keeping my nerves at such a stretch that, if they had not resembled catgut, they would long ago have relaxed.... It racked me! I've groaned aloud.... It was a strange way of killing! not by inches, but by fractions of hairbreadths, ... through eighteen years!" Mr. Heathcliffe paused, ... his hair wet with perspiration, ... the brows not contracted, but raised next the temples; diminishing the grim aspect of his countenance, but imparting a peculiar look of trouble, and a painful appearance of mental tension towards one absorbing subject.

In the light of the foregoing, therefore, we may understand the truth of Charlotte Brontë's narration in The Professor, Chap. XXIII.:—

My nerves ... jarred ... A horror of great darkness fell upon me; I felt my chamber invaded by one I had known formerly, ... I was ... a prey to hypochondria. She had been ... my guest ... before ... for a year.... I had her to myself in secret; she lay with me, she ate with me, showing me nooks in woods, hollows in hills, where we could sit together, and where she could drop her drear veil over me, and so hide sky and sun, grass and green tree; taking me entirely to her death-cold bosom and holding me with arms of bone. What tales she would tell me at such hours!... How she would discourse to me of her own country—the grave.... I was glad when ... I could ... sit ... freed from the dreadful tyranny of my demon.

Both by reason of Mrs. Gaskell's suspicion that she had drawn from them in the portrayals of the heroes of her first books and by reason of the undeniable evidence of her works, we must accept the Taylors as the originals of most that was "Yorkshire" in Charlotte Brontë's Yorke Hunsden, Heathcliffe, Rochester, and Yorke, understanding the term in Currer Bell's implication of "independent,"[Pg 89] "hard," and "open-spoken." But M. Héger contributed what Charlotte Brontë calls in Chap. XXVII. of Villette, in speaking of him as M. Paul Emanuel—"that swart, sallow, southern darkness which spoke his Spanish blood," and this gave colour to the physiognomy of "the swart, sallow" Heathcliffe and Rochester.[52]

In the succeeding chapters I deal more particularly with the relation of Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights, to Rochester of Jane Eyre, and I promise my readers to present therein most important and sensational revelations.

[Pg 90]



Without herewith further entering into the question as to the original of the morose and harsh characters who were the heroes of Charlotte Brontë's novels, I will at once show she had drawn from the same model in both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I have given in the foregoing chapter the introduction of Lockwood to Heathcliffe and that of Jane to Rochester side by side. Let us also read the following:—

Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Heathcliffe. Rochester.
With a stubborn countenance ... Heathcliffe is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman; ... rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. Possibly some people might suspect him of a degree of under-bred pride; I have a sympathetic cord within that tells me it is nothing of the sort: I know by instinct his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays of feeling—to manifestations of mutual kindliness. He'll love and hate equally under one cover, and esteem it a species of impertinence to be loved or hated again. No, I am running on too fast; I bestow my own attributes over liberally on him. Most people would have thought Mr. Rochester an ugly man; yet there was an unconscious pride in his port; so much ease in his demeanour; such a look of complete indifference to his own appearance ... that ... one inevitably shared the indifference, and even in a blind sense put faith in his confidence.... He was proud, sardonic; ... in my secret soul I knew his kindness to me was balanced by unjust severity to others. He was moody, too, ... and when he looked up a morose, almost a malignant, scowl blackened his features.

[Pg 91]

Heathcliffe and Rochester are both black-avised, stubborn of countenance, negligent as to external appearance, moody, proud in carry, and morose. Charlotte Brontë tells us of one that on external judgment "most people would have thought him" possessed of a disqualification, and of the other that "some people might suspect him" of having a disqualification. And in each case a similar offset—the internal reading of the man's character—is brought forth by Charlotte Brontë as Lockwood or Jane:—"A sympathetic cord within" tells the former that Heathcliffe's reserve read as under-bred pride springs from an aversion to "manifestations of mutual kindliness"; and Jane, commenting on Rochester's being proud and sardonic, says, "In my secret heart I knew ... his kindliness to me was balanced by unjust severity to others."

I find the singular expression indicated by the "hell's light" epithets applied to Heathcliffe's eyes was an expression Charlotte Brontë had apparently noticed in the original of this character. Rochester's eyes in Jane Eyre have "strange gleams," and we are told "his eye had a tawny—nay, a bloody light in its gloom," and so forth. Indeed, Heathcliffe's eyes, which were "clouded windows of hell" with "black-fire in them," are seen in Rochester's clearly enough, and the singular "hell's light" is associated with them at considerable length, in

Jane Eyre:—

And as for the vague something—was it a sinister or a sorrowful ... expression?—that opened upon a careful observer ... in his eye, and closed again before one could fathom the strange depth partially disclosed; that something which used to make me fear and shrink, as if I had been wandering amongst volcanic-looking hills, and had suddenly felt the ground quiver and seen it gape.

The following description of Heathcliffe could be read as of Rochester, whose "olive cheek" and "deep eyes" Jane describes:—

Wuthering Heights.

His cheeks were sallow and half-covered with black whiskers, the brows were lowering, the eyes deep-set and singular. I remembered the eyes. His upright carry suggested his having been in the army [M. Héger had fought as a soldier] ... His countenance ... looked[Pg 92] intelligent. A half-civilized ferocity lurked in the depressed brows and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued, and his manner was even dignified, though too stern for grace.

In view of the general evidence that Heathcliffe, like Rochester, was drawn by Charlotte Brontë from M. Héger, her Brussels friend the professor, it is not surprising that Heathcliffe's was "a deep voice and foreign in sound." Her reference in Wuthering Heights to his Spanish extraction reminds us of M. Paul Emanuel's "jetty hair and Spanish face" in Villette, and of course it is well known M. Paul Emanuel was drawn by Currer Bell from M. Héger.

[Pg 93]



We have already seen Catherine in Wuthering Heights represented Charlotte Brontë as intimately portrayed by herself in the work, and that Heathcliffe was drawn by her from the original of the Rochester of Jane Eyre. So faithfully did Charlotte Brontë tell again in Jane Eyre the history of her life in relation to her family and M. Héger, that she gives the main lines of her biography in both works. I will show them side by side.

For the literal parallels when not given in this chapter see the index. My amazing discovery on the return of the runaway Heathcliffe to Catherine and the return of the runaway Jane to Rochester I give literally herewith.

Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Opening scene: A rainy day in Catherine's (Charlotte Brontë's) childhood. She is treated unkindly by the rest of the household. It is impossible to go out on account of the rain. She had been commanded to keep aloof from the family group. This group included in particular, little Catherine tells us with bitter feeling, Hindley Earnshaw (Branwell Brontë), who luxuriated in the warmth of the fire with other members of the family. Opening scene: A rainy day in Jane's (Charlotte Brontë's) childhood. She is treated unkindly by the rest of the household. It is impossible to go out on account of the rain. She had been commanded to keep aloof from the family group. This group included in particular, little Jane tells us with bitter feeling, John Reed (Branwell Brontë), who luxuriated in the warmth of the fire with other members of the family.
Nevertheless, though banished, Catherine (Charlotte [Pg 94] Brontë) makes herself snug in a recess behind a curtain, and believes herself secure, when Hindley Earnshaw (Branwell Brontë), coming up from his paradise on the hearth, makes her come out of the recess precipitantly, after she has hurled the book she was reading. Little Catherine (Charlotte Brontë) sees a tyrant in Hindley Earnshaw (Branwell Brontë). He tells her that he is the master of the house. Nevertheless, though banished herself, Jane (Charlotte Brontë) makes herself snug in a recess behind a curtain, and believes herself secure, when John Reed (Branwell Brontë), coming up from his paradise on the hearth, makes her come out of the recess precipitantly. He hurls the book she was reading. Little Jane (Charlotte Brontë) sees a tyrant in John Reed (Branwell Brontë). He tells her that he is the master of the house, or soon will be.
Later, Catherine complains to herself of her brother Hindley's (Branwell's) tyrannies. He has made her cry and her head ached, she says, as a result of his behaviour. Later, Jane complains to herself of John Reed's (Branwell's) tyrannies. He has made her cry and her head ached, she says, as a result of his behaviour.
Little Catherine (Charlotte Brontë), although she was held to be passionate, and was treated harshly and almost as an outsider by the rest of the household, finds a kind, but apparently unsympathetic, friend in a woman-servant, Nelly Dean, who has a remarkable gift of narrative, like Tabitha Aykroyd, whom Charlotte Brontë loved, and who came to the Haworth parsonage when Charlotte was about nine years of age. But even Nelly Dean (Tabitha Aykroyd) sometimes tasked and scolded Catherine (Charlotte Brontë) unreasonably, and mistrusted her. Little Jane (Charlotte Brontë), although she was held to be passionate, and was treated harshly and almost an outsider by the rest of the household, finds a kind, but apparently unsympathetic, friend in a woman-servant, Bessie, who has a remarkable gift of narrative, like Tabitha Aykroyd, whom Charlotte Brontë loved, and who came to the Haworth parsonage when Charlotte was about nine years of age. But even Bessie (Tabitha Aykroyd) sometimes tasked and scolded Jane (Charlotte Brontë) unreasonably, and mistrusted her.
She even believes that Catherine (Charlotte Brontë) is an actor and feigns in regard to certain fits of frenzy. She even believes that Jane (Charlotte) is an actor and feigns in regard to certain fits of frenzy.[Pg 95]
On the occasion of one of these bouts of frenzy, Catherine (Charlotte Brontë) is in a room, the door of which has been locked. On the occasion of one of these bouts of frenzy, Jane (Charlotte Brontë) is in a room, the door of which has been locked.
In a paroxysm of alarm, Catherine (Charlotte Brontë) summons Mrs. Dean (Tabitha Aykroyd) frantically, and with a piercing scream. The latter enters annoyed, and quite unsympathetic. In a paroxysm of alarm, Jane (Charlotte Brontë) summons Bessie (Tabitha Aykroyd) frantically, and with a piercing scream. The latter enters annoyed, and quite unsympathetic.
It is suggested Catherine was only acting, and Catherine overhears this. She had desired Mrs. Dean (Tabitha Aykroyd) to bring her a basin of gruel. It is suggested Jane was only acting, and Jane overhears this. She finds Bessie (Tabitha Aykroyd) at the foot of her bed with a basin in her hand.
Catherine (Charlotte) relates her fears of the locked room: How she thought it haunted; she showed fear of the mirror, and describes excitedly to Mrs. Dean (Tabitha) her terrifying sensations previous to her losing consciousness, and how she supposed she must immediately have had a species of fit. Jane (Charlotte) relates her fears of the locked room: How she thought it haunted; she showed fear of the mirror, and describes excitedly to Bessie (Tabitha) her terrifying sensations previous to her losing consciousness. She supposed she must immediately have had a species of fit.
Mrs. Dean (Tabitha) suggests sleep to Catherine (Charlotte Brontë). Bessie (Tabitha) suggests sleep to Jane (Charlotte Brontë).
Mrs. Dean (Tabitha) believes that to see the apparition of a child is a sign of calamity having befallen some one near akin. One day Mrs. Dean sees a child-apparition, and fears it may be a sign of calamity to Catherine's (Charlotte's) brother, Hindley Earnshaw (Branwell Brontë). He is really in disgrace. Bessie (Tabitha) believes that the apparition of a child is a sign of calamity having befallen some one near akin. Jane dreams of a child-apparition, and fears it may be a sign of calamity, and the day following Bessie's husband brings word of the disgrace of John Reed (Branwell Brontë, Charlotte's brother).[Pg 96]
Catherine falls in love with a morose, "sallow-cheeked" individual with deep eyes, that have a singular expression, which makes the narrator associate "hell's light" with them. He has a handsome, erect carry, but is rather negligent in his apparel. His speech is abrupt. (His name is Heathcliffe.) Jane falls in love with a morose, "olive-cheeked" individual with deep eyes, that have a singular expression, which makes the narrator associate "hell's light" with them. He has a handsome, erect carry, but is rather negligent in his apparel. His speech is abrupt. (His name is Rochester.)
But Catherine loved him, and he loved Catherine. Indeed, Catherine likens themselves to a cloven tree by saying that whosoever would come between them to divide them would meet the fate of Mïlo, who, of course, endeavoured to drive asunder a cloven tree held firmly at its base, and was himself trapped by it for his pains. Thus she believes in the "twin-soul" or the elective affinities, and says:— But Jane loved him, and he loved Jane. Indeed, Jane likens themselves to a cloven tree, which is one at the root, but divided by storm. Thus she believes in the "twin-soul" or the elective affinities, and says of Rochester:—
"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliffe now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that not because he's handsome, ... but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."[53] "I feel akin to him.... I have something in my brain and heart that assimilates me mentally to him.... I know I must conceal my sentiments.... Yet, while I breathe and think, I must love him."[53][Pg 97]
However, Heathcliffe and Catherine part, Heathcliffe running away unexpectedly. (Method I., interchange of the sexes of characters.) However, Rochester and Jane part, Jane running away unexpectedly.
Catherine dreams she is in heaven, but broke her heart to come to earth again, upon which the angels flung her out near Heathcliffe's abode, where she awoke sobbing for joy: Catherine preferred her lover to heaven.[54] Jane finds refuge with the Rivers family (the Brontë family at Haworth). She is tempted to take to a religious life:—"Angels beckoned, and Heaven rolled together like a scroll," but she heard Rochester's voice calling, though he was miles away. Jane preferred her lover to heaven.[54]
The two parted lovers, however, meet again, and by Charlotte Brontë's Method I., (interchange of the sexes of characters portrayed), we arrive at another of my sensational and important Brontë discoveries. The two parted lovers, however, meet again, and by Charlotte Brontë's Method I., (interchange of the sexes of characters portrayed), we arrive at another of my sensational and important Brontë discoveries.[Pg 98]
The Return of the Runaway Lover Heathcliffe to Catherine.[55] The Return of the Runaway Lover Jane to Rochester.[55]
Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Chapter X. Chapter XXXVII.
On [an] ... evening ... I was coming from the garden.... It had got dusk, ... the moon causing ... shadows to lurk in the corners of ... portions of the building. I set my burden on the house steps by the ... door and lingered to rest ... my back to the entrance, when I heard a voice behind me say:—
   "... Is that you?"
   It was a deep voice, and foreign in sound.... Something stirred in the porch; and moving nearer I distinguished a tall man dressed in dark clothes, with dark face and hair. He leant against the side, and held his fingers on the latch as if intending to open for himself.... A ray fell on his features; the cheeks were sallow, and half-covered with black whiskers; the brows lowering, the eyes deep-set and singular. I remembered the eyes.
... I came, just ere dark ... the darkness ... of dusk gathered.... I beheld the house—scarce by this dim light distinguishable.... Entering a portal fastened by a latch, ... I stood.... The windows were latticed, ... the front door was narrow; ... one step led up to it.... I heard a movement—that narrow front-door was unclosing, and some shape was about to issue from the grange. [Charlotte Brontë's Wuthering Heights version of the returned runaway lover, is also staged at "the grange."] It opened slowly: a figure came out into the twilight and stood on the step; a man, ... he stretched forth his hand.... Dusk as it was I had recognized him—it was my master ... Rochester. I stayed my step, almost my breath.... His form was of the same strong and stalwart contour as ever: his port was still erect, his hair was still raven-black: nor were his features altered or sunk.... But in his countenance I saw a change: that looked desperate and brooding—that reminded me of some wronged and fettered wild beast or bird, dangerous to approach in his sullen woe.... He closed the door. I now drew near and[Pg 99] knocked: John's wife opened for me.... She started as if she had seen a ghost: I calmed her. To her hurried "Is it really you, Miss, come at this late hour...?" I answered by taking her hand.
"What!" I cried, uncertain whether to regard him as a worldly visitor, and raised my hands in amazement. "What! you come back? Is it really you? Is it?"
   "Yes; Heathcliffe," he replied ... "where is she?... Is she here? Speak! I want to have one word with her—your mistress [Catherine]. Go, and say some person ... desires to see her."
   "... And you are Heathcliffe. But altered!"
   ... I could not persuade myself to proceed. At length I resolved on making an excuse to ask if ... [Catherine] would have the candles lighted, and I opened the door. [She] sat ... by a window whose lattice lay back.
   "What does he want?" asked Catherine.
   "I did not question him," I answered.
   ... Mr. Edgar inquired ... who it was?
   "Some one mistress does not expect," I replied. "That Heathcliffe.... Hush! you must not call him ... names.... She'd be sadly grieved to hear you. She was nearly heart-broken when he ran off. I guess his return will make a jubilee to her."
   "Oh, ... Heathcliffe's come back—he is," panted Catherine. "... I'll ... secure my guest. I'm afraid the joy is too great to be real!"
   "... Catherine, try to be glad without being absurd! The whole household need not witness the sight of your welcoming a runaway servant."
   I ... found Heathcliffe ... and ushered him into the presence of the master and mistress.
   ... Now, I was amazed [by] the transformation of Heathcliffe;... A half-civilized ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued, quite divested of roughness, though too stern for grace.... He took a seat opposite Catherine, who kept her gaze fixed on him, as if she feared he would vanish were she to remove it. He did not raise his to her often; a quick glance now and then sufficed; but it flashed back each time; ... the undisguised delight he drank from hers.... Catherine ... rose and seized Heathcliffe's hands again, and laughed like one beside herself.
   "I shall think it a dream to-morrow!" she cried. "I shall not be able to believe that I have seen and touched, and spoken to you once more.... Cruel Heathcliffe! You don't deserve this welcome. To be absent and silent for three years, and never to think of me!"
   "... I've fought through a bitter life since I last heard your voice, and you must forgive me, for I struggled only for you!"
   "... The event of this evening," said Catherine, "has reconciled me to God and humanity! I had risen in angry rebellion against Providence—oh, I've endured very, very bitter misery.... I can afford to suffer anything hereafter! Should the [Pg 101] meanest thing alive slap me on the cheek, I'd not only turn the other, but I'd ask pardon for provoking it.... I'm an angel!"

   (Later on in Wuthering Heights Charlotte Brontë, temporarily neglecting her use of Method I., interchange of the sexes, in this connection, makes Heathcliffe say to Catherine:—
   "Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy?... You loved me, then what right had you to leave me?... Because misery and degradation and death and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you of your own will did it.").
"... Tell your master ... a person wishes to speak to him."
   When she returned, I inquired what he had said.
   "You are to send in your name and business," she replied.
   She then proceeded to fill a glass of water, and place it on a tray, together with candles.
   "Is that what he rang for?" I asked.
   "Yes; he always has candles brought in at dusk...."
   "Give the tray to me, I will carry it in."
   ... Mary opened the door for me.... Mr. Rochester turned mechanically.
   "This is you, Mary, is it not?"
   "Mary is in the kitchen," I answered.
   "Who is it? What is it? Who speaks?"
   "... I came only this evening," I answered.
   "Great God!—what delusion has come over me? What sweet madness has seized me?... Oh! I cannot see.... Whatever—whoever you are—be perceptible to my touch or I cannot live!"
   I arrested his hand and prisoned it in both mine.
   "Is that Jane?"
   "... This is her voice," I added.... "My dear master, ... I am Jane Eyre:... I am come back to you."[Pg 100]
   "In truth?—in the flesh? My living Jane?"
   "You touch me, sir—you hold me. I am not vacant like air, am I?"
   "... But I cannot be so blest after all my misery. It is a dream: such dreams I have had.... But I always woke and found it an empty mockery; and I was desolate and abandoned."
   ... I began ... to withdraw myself from his arms—but he eagerly snatched me closer:—
   "No, you must not go. No—I have touched you, heard you; ... my very soul demands you.... Who can tell what a dark, hopeless life I have dragged on for months past? ... feeling but a ceaseless sorrow, and at times a very delirium of desire to behold my Jane again. Yes; for her restoration I longed.... Will she not depart as suddenly as she came? To-morrow ... I shall find her no more.... Cruel, cruel deserter! O Jane, what did I feel when I discovered you had fled and left Thornfield?"
   "Jane! ... my heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth just now.... I did wrong: I would have sullied my innocent flower: the Omnipotent snatched it from me. I, in my stiff-necked rebellion, almost cursed the dispensation: instead of bending to the decree I defied it.... Of late, Jane, ... I began to experience remorse, repentance; the wish for reconciliation to my Maker.... Now I thank God."

The above parallel descriptions, it will be found, agree practically word for word. I will now give the substance side by side, and let the reader keep in mind Charlotte Brontë's Method I., interchange of the sexes of characters:—

Catherine and Heathcliffe love each other, but Heathcliffe suddenly disappears.
   One evening Heathcliffe as suddenly returns. The narrator of the return of the runaway Heathcliffe tells us that it is evening, and she is outside the house, when in the dim light she distinguishes the figure of a man, a stranger she has not seen for some time. Dusk as it is, she recognizes Heathcliffe.
Jane and Rochester love each other, but Jane suddenly disappears.
   One evening Jane as suddenly returns. The narrator of the return of the runaway Jane tells us that it is evening, and she is outside the house, when in the dim light she distinguishes the figure of a man, a stranger she has not seen for some time. Dusk as it is, she recognizes Rochester.
In his countenance, however, there is "a transformation, ... a half-civilized ferocity lurked yet in his eyes full of black fire, but was subdued." In his countenance, however, there is "a change—that looked desperate and brooding—that reminded ... of ... some fettered wild beast ... dangerous to approach in his sullen woe."[Pg 102]
"What! you come back? Is it really you?" cries the servant, "raising her hands, uncertain whether to regard him as a worldly visitor," addressing the runaway Heathcliffe. "Is it really you, Miss, come at this late hour?" cries the servant, "starting as if she had seen a ghost," addressing the runaway Jane.
"I want to have one word with your mistress," says Heathcliffe to the servant. "Go and tell her some person ... desires to see her." "... Tell your master a person wishes to see him," says Jane to the servant.
But there is a difficulty, and eventually, to accomplish the meeting of the parted lovers, the taking in of the candles is considered as a pretext. But there is a difficulty, and eventually, to accomplish the meeting of the parted lovers, the taking in of the candles is considered as a pretext.
Catherine cries:—"Heathcliffe's come back—he is.... I'm afraid the joy is too great to be real!" Rochester cries:—"... What sweet delusion has come over me? What sweet madness has seized me?"
   "I am come back to you," says Jane.
"I shall think it a dream to-morrow. I shall not be able to believe I have seen and touched and spoken to you once more," says Catherine to Heathcliffe. And reproachfully he exclaims:—
   "I've fought through a bitter life since last I heard your voice, and you must forgive me, for I struggled only for you."
   "Cruel Heathcliffe, you don't deserve this welcome," says Catherine; "to be absent ... and never think of me."
"I have touched you, heard you.... To-morrow I fear I shall find [you] no more," says Rochester to Jane. And reproachfully he exclaims:—
   "Who can tell what a dark, hopeless life I have dragged on for months past? ... feeling ... but ... a ceaseless sorrow and ... a very delirium of desire to behold my Jane again. Yes; for her restoration I longed.... Cruel, cruel, deserter! O Jane, what did I feel when I discovered you had fled from Thornfield?" says Rochester.
Catherine had risen in angry rebellion against God because of the cruel fate that had divided her and Heathcliffe; but now that he was restored to her, she was reconciled, and was thankful of heart. Rochester had risen in angry rebellion against God because of the cruel fate that had divided him and Jane, but now that she was restored to him, he was[Pg 103] reconciled, and was thankful of heart.
———— ————
And thus, from the rainy day incident in Catherine's early childhood to the reconciliation of Catherine and Heathcliffe, we have the main narrative of the heroine and hero of Wuthering Heights, obviously written by Charlotte Brontë from facts in her own life. And thus, from the rainy day incident in Jane's early childhood to the reconciliation of Jane and Rochester, we have the main narrative of the heroine and hero of Jane Eyre, obviously written by Charlotte Brontë from facts in her own life.

The absolute dependence of Charlotte Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Villette upon her own inner life in relation to M. Héger is proved by the evidence in the chapter on "The Rivers Family," in the chapters on "Eugène Sue and Charlotte Brontë's Brussels Life," and in those entitled "The Recoil."

[Pg 104]





When Mrs. Gaskell published her Brontë biography it was discovered that while she had been enabled by aid of the mass of commonplace Brontë correspondence to present an interesting picture of the domestic conditions at the Haworth parsonage, she had yet been unable to throw any light upon that episode in Charlotte Brontë's life which, it had been suspected, was responsible for the extraordinary love passages in the Brontë works and Miss Brontë's insistence in choosing the hero of each of her books from the same model.

It is therefore most miraculous and sensational that after having found Montagu's Gleanings in Craven was the key to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, I should further come to discover, what the world had thought would never be found: external evidence throwing light upon Miss Brontë's real relations with the Hégers at Brussels, to whose pensionnat she went in the 'forties. This discovery was the subject of my article "The Lifting of the Brontë Veil" Mr. W. L. Courtney commissioned me to write in the Fortnightly Review. Therein I showed Eugène Sue had presented the whole history of M. Héger's passion for Charlotte Brontë, and Madame Héger's jealousy, in a work entitled Miss Mary ou l'Institutrice, published in 1850-51—seven years before the publication of Mrs. Gaskell's Life, and before the publication of either The Professor or Villette; and we saw that M. Héger knew all Miss Brontë's literary secrets in 1850.

Skilfully enough Eugène Sue in this story—the first version of[Pg 105] which was issued serially in September 1850, from The Weekly Times Office, London, whence were published many of M. Sue's serials;[56] the second, an abridged and altered version for French readers, published in Paris in March 1851—gave two phases of Charlotte Brontë, something after the method we see Miss Brontë herself employed in Jane Eyre, wherein she gave two phases of Tabitha Aykroyd, one in the beginning as Bessie, another later on as Hannah of the Rivers family.[57]

Indeed it will be found that in this work Eugène Sue also imitated Charlotte Brontë's Method I., interchange of the sexes of characters portrayed from life.

The two phases of Miss Brontë in this romance are Miss Mary Lawson, an Irish governess at the de Morville establishment; and Mademoiselle Lagrange, a former governess at the same house. The Mademoiselle Lagrange is, however, always referred to in the abstract, and serves to illustrate, it appears, Miss Brontë before her first departure from and return to Brussels, as well as after, for she was twice at the Hégers. And it may be observed that Charlotte Brontë was called "Mademoiselle Charlotte" at the Héger pension when she was governess there in 1843. Certainly the choice of Lagrange for Miss Brontë was pertinent: la grange is French for "the barn," and may have been suggested by the Eyre of Jane Eyre, which to a French ear would recall aire—a barn floor. Mdlle. Lagrange who had left the de Morville (Anglicè, Morton. As we have seen, Morton of Jane Eyre was Haworth to Charlotte Brontë)[Pg 106] establishment on account of the jealousy of Madame de Morville, whom I identify as Madame Héger, is a plain-featured literary aspirant, and she writes a manuscript entitled not exactly Currer Bell, but "Kitty Bell, the Orphan."

This manuscript has been sent by the author for an opinion of its merits to M. de Morville, who reads it aloud to his family. It is a parody, as it were, of Jane Eyre, with an imitation of Charlotte Brontë's methods of introducing private biographical facts. For instance, in presenting the Lowood school incidents it calls the school "the Kendall Institute," named after "a Mr. Kendall, its founder." Evidently the writer had heard, as only few indeed had at this early day, that the Lowood school of Jane Eyre was afterwards removed to Casterton in the Union of Kendal, or had heard that in a wise it was connected with a place of that name.

Other extraordinary facts with which he shows acquaintance are, that Charlotte Brontë had a sister Elizabeth at this school; that Helen Burns was her sister; that there was a West Indian girl at the school; that Charlotte Brontë was born on or about the 21st of April; that she might be called Kitty (Currer) Bell at home, but she must be called Catherine (Catherine Earnshaw); that Miss Brontë was the governess-daughter of an Irishman; that the original of John Reed was her brother and was no hero, and had shown strange signs of insanity during the last year or two, as it is now known he had at the time; that a female relative had provided Miss Brontë the money for the pensionnat; that skin disorders as well as the typhus fever were prevalent at the Clergy Daughters' School (it is in a private letter that Miss Brontë referred to scrofula at this school); that the original of Mr. Rochester was a foreigner and a resident abroad, an ex-soldier, and married to a lady who was not pretty, albeit "la vivacité, l'agrément de sa physionomie expressive, suppléaient à la beauté qui lui manquait"; that Charlotte Brontë had had in her possession since her childhood an old copy in English of The Imitation of Christ; that Miss Brontë was called a bas bleu at the pensionnat; that to form an opinion of her character by Madame Héger's estimate of her disposition would be completely erroneous; that M. Héger was accustomed to read feuilletons aloud; that religious differences existed between her and others at the establishment where Charlotte Brontë was; that Catherine's (Catherine Earnshaw's) rival was Isabella (Heathcliffe's wife—Madame Héger[Pg 107] of the Rue d'Isabelle); that Miss Brontë travelled alone to Brussels and was accosted by deux jeunes gens—compare the opening chapters of Miss Mary with Lucy Snowe's arrival at Villette, evidently in some wise founded on fact, as to these two young men. See also The Professor, Chapter VII.

But to return to "Mdlle. Lagrange's Manuscript," the pseudo Jane Eyre, which of course at once identifies its author, Mdlle. Lagrange, as Charlotte Brontë, I find therein the whole Lowood school incidents—the typhus fever, the hair-cutting incident, the death of the consumptive Helen Burns, etc., amplified with biographical additions. For instance, take the hair-cutting incident of Jane Eyre as represented in "Lagrange's Manuscript"—

The master called out:—


... Meanwhile all the Elizabeths in the school must have felt the claws of the tiger in their necks, for who could tell which of them it was?...

"Superintendent of the Kendall Institute! you are aware, madam, one of the rules of this establishment enjoins you to cut short the hair of every new girl.... And yet what do I see? Six girls with long hair...."

The last of these had not been a week at the institution. She was a girl of fourteen, very dark, ... with a fine tinge of the Creole in her face. How well I thought did Isabella Hutchinson, with her dark, West Indian head, look by the side of the fair Yorkshire girl, Sophia Leigh, whose pale, straw-coloured locks, looked paler still by the side of that dark heap of hair, blacker than a raven's wing...[!]

We have seen in the chapter on "The Rivers or Brontë Family in Jane Eyre" that Charlotte Brontë portrayed in the character Julia Severn, who is first mentioned in connection with the hair-cutting incident, her sister Elizabeth, and it is most significant that M. Sue made play upon the name Elizabeth in the connection. In regard to the mention of a West Indian girl at the Lowood school and her being coupled with a fair-haired Yorkshire girl, it is important to note that no reference is made in Jane Eyre to a West Indian girl at this school. It is indeed astonishing how much M. Sue knew of Charlotte Brontë's private life. Here we find him telling the world in 1850 of a West Indian girl being with Charlotte Brontë at the Clergy Daughters' School, and not till seven years later did Mrs.[Pg 108] Gaskell learn of the Rev. Patrick Brontë—Charlotte Brontë was then dead—that a girl from the West Indies had been Charlotte's friend at this school. Her name, he thought, was Mellany Hane, so far as he could remember to pronounce it. Mysteriously enough, the words "West Indies" or "West Indian" in this connection have been deleted from the later editions of Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë. See the Second Edition.

"Lagrange's Manuscript" is of considerable length and interest, and can be drawn upon in future editions of The Key to the Brontë Works. Frequently it follows in parallel to Jane Eyre, but as parody interspersed with biographical details which must have been intended chiefly for Charlotte Brontë herself, as scarcely any one else could at that day have understood the pertinence of the references.[58] Take a Helen Burns incident whereby M. Sue shows he is aware she was a Brontë sister, older than Charlotte—Maria Brontë who died of consumption:—

But the inexorable hand ... was upon Agnes Jones [Helen Burns]. Day by day I saw her pretty cheeks growing thinner and thinner, her eyes sinking still more deeply into her head, her little mouth becoming more blue and ashy, her long, thin fingers more transparent. Her voice, at all times so meek and low, dwindled away to that thin and tiny sound to which we listen as to something absent—already gone—something that comes from above or below us—that is not living amongst us—not breathing as we breathe—a retreating echo, rather than a living voice—a sigh, and not a sound.... It was not much I had learned from Agnes [Helen] since I had been at the institution; but never till then had I known her spirit so genial, her heart so lovingly persuasive; the beneficent lessons of those days, burning like candles within me, have since guided me well through life: she spoke to me like a prophet, and I listened to her like a believer. Oh, I could have lived for ever in that chamber, and Agnes [Helen] might have been to me the world! How often, as our cheeks lay against each other have I wished that I, too, had been ill, so that I also might have died, as she was dying, in my innocence!... One evening, ... just at that pleasant hour of twilight when two of God's wonders—night and day—cross each other like ships on the sea, Agnes [Helen] said:—'Life has its holiness as well as death, Catherine [Jane]; and you may live in the world as purely and justly as those who die in the cradle.'

[Pg 109]

"The world is full of temptation?"

"So it is, but there lies the merit, my dear; wrestle with temptation and do what is right, ... you must not allow my death to afflict you much, since I rejoice at it.... If you think of me, think of me living, not dead. Think of your playfellow in the garden; think of your elder sister who lived with you for six years."

Maria Brontë, Charlotte's eldest sister, and the original of Helen Burns, died when Charlotte was eight or nine. It is sensational indeed, that M. Sue thus identified Helen Burns seven years before the publication of Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë. The death of this character in "Lagrange's Manuscript" is in perfect agreement with that of Helen Burns. I will place the two side by side:—

Jane Eyre. "Kitty Bell, the Orphan."
Chapter IX.
By Currer Bell.
By the Mademoiselle Lagrange, of Eugène Sue's
Miss Mary ou L'Institutrice.
The death of Helen Burns. The death of Agnes Jones.
———— ————
That forest dell, where Lowood lay, was the cradle of ... fog-bred pestilence, which ... crept into the Orphan Asylum, breathed typhus through [it] ... and transformed the seminary into a hospital.... One evening ... Mr. Bates came out, and ... a nurse.... I ran up to her.
   "How is Helen Burns?"
   "Very poorly," was the answer.... Two hours later ... I reached ... Miss Temple's room, ... I looked in. My eye sought Helen, and feared to find death.... "Helen!" I whispered softly; "are you awake?"
   ... I got on to her crib and kissed her: her forehead was cold, and her cheek both cold and thin, and so were her hand and wrist, but she smiled as of old.
   "Jane, ... lie down and cover yourself with the quilt."
   I did so: she put her arm over me, and I nestled close to her.
   ... I clasped my arms closer round Helen; she seemed dearer to me than ever; I felt as if I could not let her go; I lay with my face hidden on her neck. Presently she said:—"... Don't leave me, Jane; I like to have you near me."
   "I'll stay with you, dear Helen; no one shall take me away."... She kissed me, and I her; and we soon slumbered. When I awoke it was day; an unusual movement roused me.
   A day or two afterwards, I learned that Miss Temple, on returning to her own room at dawn, had found me laid in a little crib; my face against Helen Burn's shoulder, my arms round her neck. I was asleep, and Helen was—dead.
The Master of the Kendall Institution ... had ... been very much shocked by the ravages of typhus fever, and since the reports of Agnes's health had become serious, had sent several times to ascertain how she was.... "Miss Bell, I am come to inquire after our friend, Miss Jones."
   "... Agnes is always calm and easy-minded.... This is very kind of you."
   ... As I was preparing to lie down in the room, Agnes called to me:—
   "Catherine, my dear, I feel rather cold to-night; will you sleep with me?"
   Of course I complied, and we lay talking in each other's arms until the sweet dove fell asleep. Poor Agnes, she was indeed cold; a strange chill came[Pg 110] through me as I lay by her side.... I still heard my sister orphan breathe and pant.... Why did I listen ... so greedily? Why—when the poor thing turned round once in the night, and said: "Another kiss, Catherine!"—why did I feel in giving it her, as if a hundred steel arrows had gone through my heart? How long I lay awake and thinking—wondering at the cold emerging from the pure body at my side, I know not! I must have slept, too; for I remember opening my eyes with the first dawn, before the bells rang.
   "Agnes!" said I, softly; "are you awake?"
   But there was no answer!... I called again—then a third, and a fourth time! But still ... no reply! Wondering at this silence, ... I listened for that hard breathing I knew so well. But nothing—not a sound could I hear! Alarmed, but unwilling to trust my fears, I felt for her hand. Oh, God! it was cold as ice, and rigid as stone! Wild with affright, ... I started up ... and rushed out to call the Superintendent [Miss Temple]. I found her preparing to come to us.... When we entered the chamber, we found no Agnes there! No; her spirit had fled, and all we saw was the lifeless body of a poor houseless girl.

Another biographical passage occurs where Catherine Bell first sees the Miss Temple of "Lagrange's Manuscript," who herself, under the name of Ashton (Eshton),[59] is at times Miss Brontë, who[Pg 111] took the name of the original of Miss Temple (Evans) for herself in the phase of Frances Evans Henri in The Professor, a work not published, we must note, till after Charlotte Brontë's death:—

"I love you, madam," I said.

"Your name, I believe, is Catherine Bell, is it not?"

"Kitty Bell, if you please, madam," I answered.

"Kitty Bell at home, my dear, but here we must call you Catherine; for a school, you know, is where many forms must be observed. How old are you?"

"I shall be ten next birthday, madam."

"And when will that be?"

"On the 23rd of April."

"Shakespeare's Day, I declare!"

The above is, of course, not in Jane Eyre. There is a stroke of sarcasm in the last sentence. It would appear that Currer Bell playfully had moved her birthday forward two days, in her private conversation with one from whom M. Sue had gleaned information—and this could be only M. Héger himself. Charlotte Brontë, as Lucy Snowe, in Villette, Chapter XLI., tells us that M. Paul Emanuel (M. Héger) said:—

"I wanted to prove to Miss Lucy that I could keep a secret. How often has she taunted me with lack of dignified reserve and needful caution! How many times has she saucily insinuated that all my affairs are the secret of Polichinelle!" And this had doubtless a reference to some such indiscretions as resulted in M. Sue whilst at Brussels (and he was publishing L'Orgueil from Brussels in 1844, in the January of which year Charlotte Brontë arrived home from the Belgian capital), learning the literary secrets of Jane Eyre, and perhaps Wuthering Heights.

A further reference to Currer Bell's literary aspirations—in the spirit of Mdlle. Reuter's sneers, in The Professor, at Mdlle. Henri's literary ambition—occurs in M. Sue's feuilleton in another version of the fortune-telling incident of Jane Eyre:—

"Here," said I, to a brown, sunburnt damsel, ... "take this shilling and tell me when I shall be Empress of Morocco?"

I held out my hand.... The young girl looked at it, ... then shook her head doubtfully:—

[Pg 112]

"Your life, lady, will be a troubled one—full of hopes and fears!"

"So I suppose; most people's lives are pretty well divided in this manner."

"But not so much as yours will be.... First, you are without father or mother?... Without fortune, too?"

"True, what more?"

"You will be married and not married."

"That's impossible. What can you mean by married and not married?"

"That deserves another shilling!"

"No; I only want a shillingsworth, ... that will do for to-day."

"Mdlle. Lagrange's Manuscript" was bound in blue morocco leather, and the term "Empress of Morocco" may have a reference to a literary ambition, as has the "Shakspeare's Day, I declare!" passage.

For constructive purposes the West Indian girl, or Creole, in "Lagrange's Manuscript," is made to take the place of the Mrs. Rochester of Jane Eyre, who is therein represented as a Creole:—

I did my best [continues Catherine Bell] to make a friend of her, but to no purpose. Whatever was the reason she disliked me from the first. ["I am convinced she does not like me," wrote Charlotte to Emily of Madame Héger.] I felt intuitively she was my enemy.... Had we been thrown together when I was a child [!] I should probably have suited her ... for at that time I was a little given to flattery myself. But that was before I had learned how many better things there are than mere beauty.... Perhaps ... I preferred more solid advantages, because my vanity assured me that I had them myself, whilst my personal appearance was insignificant compared with hers. I was certainly fond of talking of what I knew, which answered very well with those who knew as much, and was rather pleasing to those who knew more. [M. Héger seems to have found pleasure in his intellectual talks with Currer Bell], but to Isabella [this, as I have said, is the name of Catherine's rival in Wuthering Heights, who was married to Heathcliffe] it was hateful. She imagined I wanted to expose her ignorance.

I have given some of the biographical facts respecting Miss Brontë embodied in Mdlle. Lagrange's story, and before closing this chapter dealing with that extraordinary manuscript I will print a further extract or so from it. The opening is as follows:[Pg 113]


I was not above four years old when my mother died, my father having gone to his grave two years before.... Oh, it is a sad, sad thing to be an orphan!... My little head has been cut with more than one fall, and blood has flowed down my neck. But nobody cared.... It was only Kitty Bell.... There was no loving heart to take me to itself and soothe me.... I had been taken home by some relation of my mother, ... a widow [Mrs. Burke], and though she treated me with great rigour, she melted on her death-bed.

She is locked in the room wherein Mrs. Burke died, after the manner of the same incident in Jane Eyre, and the writer takes an opportunity of inserting the most distinctive feature of Jane Eyre, the light-bearing apparition, the original of which I have shown Charlotte Brontë found in Montagu's Gleanings in Craven:—

Suddenly there came a gleam of light through the key-hole, ... and now I could hear a short, heavy tread upon the stairs—it was coming up.... The gleam shot through the key-hole a third time, with treble radiance. But what had I seen?... Was it a vision? was it a ghost? It was a tall figure in white, like a winding sheet, with a hideous face and balls of gleaming fire where the eyes should be. The sight had stunned and levelled me almost like a blow on the temple.... I cannot say how long I continued in this swoon, but when I began to recover myself I was in my own bed.

She had received medical treatment, she learns as did Jane Eyre in the similar incident. The "ghost," however, had been only George Burke—the John Reed of Jane Eyre. Hence the choice of the name Burke by reason of its connection with the Hare of the Burke and Hare association, the writer by this choice showing his acquaintance with the fact that in real life the Reeds and Jane Eyre were relations. After this incident the story is for a while occupied with the petty happenings connected with this orphan who "was not yet nine years old." An aunt of the Burkes [? Aunt Branwell] comes to live with them, a "poor, quiet, elderly spinster who paid a small stipend in order to preserve her independence and keep up her dignity.... I must not attempt to describe her ... she was fully six feet high." This is palpably antithetical: Miss Branwell was not tall. And it is this aunt who provides the money for[Pg 114] Catherine Bell to go to school. Under the guise of presenting the Lowood school in "Lagrange's Manuscript," M. Sue gives us often the Héger pensionnat. Aunt Branwell provided Charlotte Brontë the money that enabled her to go to the Hégers'.

I will give in parallel columns the arrival of Charlotte Brontë at the Clergy Daughters' Institute as it is described in "Mademoiselle Lagrange's Manuscript," and in Jane Eyre the original:—

Jane Eyre. "Kitty Bell, the Orphan."
By Currer Bell. By the Mademoiselle Lagrange, of Eugène Sue's Miss Mary ou L'Institutrice.
The first days at the Institution. The first days at the Institution.
———— ————
The coach door was open and ... a servant was standing at it: I saw her ... by the light of the lamps.
   "Is there a little girl called Jane Eyre here?" she asked. I answered "Yes," and was lifted out, my trunk was handed down.
We got to Kendall House.... I had been sitting near my trunk on the outside of the coach, and my legs were numb with cold. I was quite unable to move, so the coachman lifted me down along with my box. The door was open when the coach stopped; a servant was standing there with a lamp. "Are you Catherine Bell we expects down here to-day?" she asked me.
   "My name is Kitty Bell, if you please," replied I.
The servant led me ... into a room, with a fire, where she left me alone.... I stood and warmed my numbed fingers over the blaze; ... there was no candle. The girl returned no answer, but having ushered me into a spacious room with a fire in it, she left me there by myself; ... there was no candle. I stood ... warming my numb hands and limbs. I heard the door open ... and I saw a face ... I never can forget. My heart told me directly it was Miss Ashton [Eshton]. Dear, noble girl! her face was rather large, but accurately oval—just as you see them in the fine sacred pictures of Murillo—those pictures of grand female beauty.[Pg 115]
   Everything in that face was great, open, frank, truthlike, ... and yet there was a grave ... melancholy overspreading that regal countenance.... It was singular to see a woman acting as the manager of a benevolent institution and living apart from the world who might have shone in any court in Europe and ... perhaps had no equal on any throne ... [!] She advanced towards me stately, but kindly, touched my cheek with her finger, and then seeing me smile, she smiled in return, and, after scanning my features a moment, she lifted me up and kissed me.
The door opened, and an individual entered, ... a tall lady with dark hair, dark eyes, and a pale and large forehead [Miss Temple. Her real name was Miss Evans], her countenance was grave, her bearing erect.
She considered me attentively for a minute or two.
   ... "Are you tired?" she asked, placing her hand on my shoulder.
   ... "A little, ma'am."
"I love you, madam," I said. Then she set me down ... and, putting her hand upon my head, she asked me:—
   "Your name is Catherine Bell, is it not?"... [Here follows the "Shakespeare's Day" reference I have already given.]
I have not ... alluded to the visits of Mr. Brocklehurst [Rev. Mr. Carus Wilson]; his absence was a relief to me.... One afternoon (I had ... been three weeks at Lowood) ... I recognized almost instinctively that gaunt outline, ... it was Mr. Brocklehurst.
   After some lines we have the hair-cutting incident I have quoted already from "Lagrange's Manuscript." This incident comes after and not before Catherine (Jane) has been commanded to stand before the class.
I had been at the Kendall Institute about three weeks without seeing Mr. King [Mr. Brocklehurst] the master or registrar.... One morning when I woke up I heard the bells in the dormitories ringing louder than ever....
   I knew without being told this strange man was Mr. King.
   "Catherine Bell!" called out Miss Ashton.
... "Fetch that stool," said Mr. Brocklehurst.... "Place the child upon it."
   And I was placed there.
   "Miss Temple, ... children, it becomes my duty to warn you that this girl ... is a little castaway, ... this girl is—a liar!... Let her stand ... on that stool."
On hearing my name I left my place in the rank, and advanced....[Pg 116]
   "So! this is Catherine Bell, is it?" cried Mr. King. "I have heard her kind friends at home speak of Catherine Bell, and they tell me she is a naughty, vicious, headstrong child—very ungrateful to those for whose generosity she ought to have so much respect and gratitude! Is this true, Catherine Bell?"
   "No, sir; not a word of it."
   "What, child!... Are you a little liar as well as an ingrate? Stand here!"
What my sensations were no language can describe.... I mastered the rising hysteria ... and took a firm stand on the stool. The passions and feelings of a child are only known to children. Grown-up people seem to have forgotten them.[60] I stood there with cheeks burning with shame, indignation, and anger.... My pride had been savagely assailed. I did not want pity. I wanted ... a refutation of the cruel charge; I was not a liar; and those who taxed me with ingratitude had no gratitude to claim from me. Great God! what emotions there were raging in my breast! and how my little heart did swell!

Often Mdlle. Lagrange's "Kitty Bell the Orphan" is mysterious in its allusions. As when Catherine Bell says she does not like a French lady teacher. The seed-cake incident of Chapter VIII. of Jane Eyre, which is given at length in "Lagrange's Manuscript," is herewith worked in again:—

"I don't like Madame Dubois...."

"Why so? she is a very good sort of a woman."

"That may be, but she takes snuff...."

[Pg 117]

"What is that to you or me, Catherine Bell? Surely it is no business of ours?"

"Sometimes it is, though.... I gave her a slice of my seed-cake yesterday, and she returned me half of it."

"That showed a good disposition in poor Madame Dubois; did it not?"

"Yes; but when I was going to eat it myself I was seized with a fit of sneezing, which I shall not forget in a hurry, I promise you!"

"You took snuff then, Catherine Bell, for the first time in your life?"

"All in—all in—for school!" shouted the teachers and examples that moment.

The following is an extract dealing with the fever scenes of Jane Eyre:—

Fever and consumption had fixed their abode under the large roof of Kendall Institution, death was stealing along with its soft, wolf-like tread, to feed upon these poor children. The first symptoms I remember that startled me were certain cold shiverings and sudden fits of perspiration without warmth, which seized upon the younger children. Then sickness and nausea, followed immediately by vomiting. [M. Sue had been a surgeon.] ... Oh, how cruel, how bitter it was to us when we saw the first little coffin borne out of the school!... And now we began to hear, for the first time, the dismal word typhus uttered here and there in whispers through the school.... When we went to the church on Sundays, and saw the many little mounds of fresh black earth lying over our innocent playmates of yesterday, our heads sank upon our bosoms and we wept most sorrowfully.

Faithful to its model, "Lagrange's Manuscript" brings Isabella the Creole as the rival of Catherine Bell, and thus of the Creole's husband Catherine writes:—

Unwittingly, and quite unknown to myself, I became the object of his admiration—nay, of his marked preference; but I rejected indignantly the homage of an affection which he had sworn to another, and which it was his sacred duty to preserve undefiled.... In the hope of overcoming my persistency in refusing his so often proffered and as often rejected love, he urged on by every imaginable means the final decision, which in the eyes of man were to permit a second marriage, guilty in the sight of God. With the natural instinct of divination peculiar to female jealousy, his wife had guessed who was the deity at whose altar the captain was[Pg 118] burning his incense.... Nor did she consider whether I encouraged or rebuked him. She suspected, she spied, she believed, and unscrupulously involved me in the hateful vengeance she swore to take both on her husband and myself.

For a portrait of Mdlle. Lagrange who, as the author of this version of Jane Eyre, is of course meant for Charlotte Brontë, we turn to the feuilleton itself:—

Meanwhile we have lost sight of our blue-stocking friend, Mdlle. Lagrange ['Madame herself deemed me a regular bas bleu,' says Lucy Snowe of Madame Beck (Madame Héger) in Villette] ... her character ... remains to be described. Now, to form any opinion of it by Madame de Morville's [Madame Héger's] appreciation of that girl's disposition, would be completely erroneous. Lagrange was not devoid of intellectual faculties; she possessed an imaginative mind, rather too fond of romance, and too little of practical truths; but, above all, cunning and ambition formed the main basis of her character: she had risen from nothing, and would become something. Imbued as she was with the ideas prevalent among the lower rank [Had Charlotte Brontë related her father's history to the Hégers? She had 'views' on money. M. Sue, however, never seems to have forgotten the rank of his own god-parents], she deemed it her right and duty to concentrate all the power of her faculties towards the end she sighed for—wealth and a name. Thus it was she displayed all the resources of her subtle nature to make every circumstance serve to the gratifying of her ambition. What, then, was to be her means of success? Marriage?—yes, that perpetual dream of maidens, and a dream which too often ends in an everlasting nightmare. But the task was not easy, for, it has been said, beauty had been forgotten by Dame Nature among the few gifts she had granted her.[61] What the appearance failed in, the mind should, at any cost, supply [!]. This had become her ruling desire. Thence the manuscript ['Catherine Bell, The Orphan'] we have already read had been the first ponderous lucubration of her fortune-seeking imagination: she had been praised for this first attempt by her friends, and also by one two distinguished critics.[62] This was already a point gained, and an encouragement to her literary propensities.

[Pg 119]

Thus far the Mdlle. Lagrange phase of Currer Bell according to Eugène Sue, and before the publication of The Professor, Villette, and Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë. The next chapter shall deal with Eugène Sue's relation of her as "Miss Mary," the leading character of this extraordinary feuilleton, whereby it will be proved finally that in her works Charlotte Brontë has written from her own life-story.

[Pg 120]





I have said Eugène Sue, in Miss Mary ou l'Institutrice, gave two phases of Charlotte Brontë. With the one as Mdlle. Lagrange I dealt in the preceding chapter, and now I write concerning that wherein Miss Brontë is openly represented as the Irish governess at the de Morville establishment.[63] Easy it is to recognize this character is a phase of Charlotte Brontë, but as her pupil Alphonsine puts it plainly in describing her, she is "Mdlle. Lagrange, avec la beauté de plus"—Charlotte Brontë, with beauty and virtues exaggerated. The following incident I find only in the feuilleton (not the extant volume), the which circumstances support as history concerning the days of Miss Brontë's dejection at the Brussels pensionnat.[Pg 121] It should be read in the light of the lines in Chapter XIX. of The Professor, where she, as Frances Evans Henri, tells Crimsworth, obviously M. Héger, that he remarked her devoirs dwelt a great deal on fortitude in bearing grief. In the evening Alphonsine, M. de Morville's daughter, who says many things we know must have issued from M. Héger's lips—(this is in palpable imitation of Charlotte Brontë's Method I., interchange of the sexes of characters portrayed from life. For further use of this method see also the close of Chapter XII. and elsewhere in The Professor, and my writing on Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre)—pays a visit to the chamber of the Irish governess:—

"Were you not reading?... I see a book on your work-table. May I look?... The Imitation of Christ!" exclaimed Alphonsine, after having read the title-page. "Oh! this is a beautiful book, is it not?"

"Truly beautiful!" answered Mary; "the cover is old, the pages worn out in many places. You must not wonder at it: from the age I began to read, I don't think I ever passed three nights without reading at least one chapter of this admirable work."

The Imitation of Christ in English was a book Charlotte Brontë was setting much store upon when she was but nine years of age.[64] Her copy was then an old one. Evidently she took the book with her to Brussels and read it at the pensionnat. It would seem M. Héger, whom she instructed in English, requested to hear the work in this English translation:—

"Pray what chapter were you reading?" continues Alphonsine. "I should so much like to hear you read it to me: I have occasionally read a page of The Imitation, but always in French; now, if you would be so good as to read slowly and pronounce very distinctly, I think I could understand this pious work in your language."

She read:—

"The Necessity of Humble Submission.

"Let your conscience be pure, and surely God will know how to defend you.... Learn to suffer in silence, without repining, and you will ... receive assistance from Him."

[Pg 122]

"What a truthful, becalming lesson!" observed Alphonsine; "you will read to me every evening some passage of your Imitation, will you not? English sounds so sweetly to my ear when spoken by you. We will begin to-morrow evening, n'est ce pas?"

Surely this is M. Héger and his sympathetic, depressed English teacher.

There is in the opening chapter of Miss Mary a long conversation regarding the departed governess Lagrange, and Madame de Morville (Madame Héger) avows she had been jealous of her, and that her harshness towards the governess had resulted in her abruptly leaving on a false plea of ill-health. Thus she says to M. de Morville:—

"I am speaking seriously to you of my foolish but most acute sufferings ... tandis que tu restais seul ici avec tes livres. You never suspected them;... I endeavoured to suppress them, to suffer no part of what I felt to transpire; for I must confess poor Lagrange was quite the lamb du bon Dieu, yet in spite of myself I sometimes broke out into fits of petulance and absurd irony, which wounded her. I saw it did by the sudden dejection of that excellent young person. But even this was not all."

"Louise! is it you who speaks thus? You whose kind, benevolent heart I have so often admired."

"Would you that I should avow something worse to you? What made me tolerate that poor Lagrange is that she was as ugly as the seven cardinal sins.... In fine, I cannot conceal from myself that the result of all this was that Mdlle. Lagrange gave up her situation on the plea of ill-health. ["Ah! she was not dismissed," said Mdlle. Reuter (Madame Héger) in The Professor, Chapter XVIII., when the Professor asked whether Mdlle. Frances Henri[65] (Miss Brontë) had left voluntarily. "... No need to have recourse to such extreme measures, I assure you."] Enfin, it faut bien me l'avouer, le résultat de tout ceci a été que Mademoiselle Lagrange a demandé à quitter la maison, sous prétexte de santé; véritable prétexte. For the rest I will do myself this justice, I would have suffered even to the end rather than have sent back that excellent girl."

The Hégers were surprised at Miss Brontë's sudden resolution to leave them, but she is said to have had her father's failing eyesight[Pg 123] as a reason. "I suffered much before I left Brussels," wrote Charlotte, and this was in mind, not body.

"I have long concealed the greater part of these resentful sentiments from you," continues Madame de Morville, "notwithstanding the implicit trust reposed in you. I wish I alone had suffered by them. But no, poor Lagrange doubtless could not endure the thousand vexations and spites ('taquineries sournoises') to which she was subjected, and was thereby driven from our house."

All this should be read as in connection with the departure of Miss Mary, the other phase of Miss Brontë, towards the end of the book. "I think, however long I live I shall not forget what the parting with M. Héger cost me," said Charlotte Brontë.[66]

Here is M. Sue's version:—

M. de Morville started, then regarding the governess with stupor, for he could not believe what he heard, he cried:—

"Quoi! Miss Mary, vous dites?"

"I say, monsieur, that I return to England, where I am recalled by my family."

The real reason why Miss Brontë left is given in the Lagrange passages to which I have alluded.

"Partir! but that is impossible! A departure so brusque, si peu attendu!"

"Pray do not perceive, monsieur," says the Irish governess, "in this unlooked for departure any want of regard for you; ... il a fallu des raisons graves, very grave, to compel me to such a resolution."

"Partir!" wailed M. de Morville. "What! that this should be the last time that I should see you, that I should speak to you! But this is not possible! They do not kill a man thus by a single blow! For you well know that you kill me! You well know that I love you! Oh! do not say you were unaware of my unhappy love," he continues, "you know well enough what an irresistible charm has drawn me towards you, what happiness I have had to tell you my life, my secret thoughts, my wrongs even! A timid reserve followed the first entrancement, but it was the struggle of respect, of honour against a fatal passion. Ah! the traces of that struggle, should they not have been too evident to your eyes! What![Pg 124] have not you divined the cause of that sombre discouragement which made me seek solitude where I isolated myself from all interests, from all affection? And those nights without sleep passed in consuming my tears, exaggerating more the consequences of that fatal passion!... What! you have divined nothing, read nothing of mes traits, in my eyes red with tears and sleeplessness? Mon Dieu! mon Dieu! to have suffered so much ... suffered so much, and not to have even the consolation of saying: She knows that I have suffered."

The reader of Miss Mary will perceive throughout this scene in the extant and apparently re-written French volume that M. de Morville's unhappy love was that of an honourable and a loyal-hearted man, while the governess was also without reproach. (These extracts do not occur in the feuilleton as published in English.) As he asks:—

"Is it my fault if in the monotony of my existence est tout à coup apparue a person whose talents, education, and character have been appreciated by all and by me.... Have I attempted to pervert your mind, to seduce your heart? No, no! I have suffered, suffered in silence [see my reference to the Imitation of Christ], suffered alone, suffered always. And my crime, what is it?... It is to make to you the avowal of suffering on the day when you go to leave me for ever a prey to incurable despair!"

Thus have we real insight into the state of affairs at Brussels when Miss Brontë left. We see the divining, jealous Madame de Morville—Madame Héger, of course—subjecting her to the "taquineries sournoises"; we hear Madame saying of her: "Ce que me faisait tolérer cette pauvre Mdlle. Lagrange, c'est qu'elle était laide comme les sept péchés mortels," and sneering at the excuse she made to leave the establishment, calling it a "véritable prétexte" when the real reason was Madame's jealousy and its causes. Oh, the bitterness of it! And now in this light read the carefully worded representation of Mrs Gaskell that:—

Towards the end of 1843 various reasons conspired ... to make her [Charlotte Brontë] feel that her presence was absolutely and imperatively required at home, while she was ... no longer regarded with the former kindliness of feeling by Madame Héger. In consequence of this state of things working down with a sharp edge into a sensitive mind, she suddenly announced to that lady her immediate intention of returning to England.

[Pg 125]

Something of the foregoing I gave in my article "The Lifting of the Brontë Veil" in The Fortnightly Review, and I have to thank the press generally for their kind acknowledgment of my important discovery. The Spectator, in consonance with others, says:—"Mr. Malham-Dembleby has found a feuilleton by Eugène Sue which is curious, as it certainly indicates a knowledge of Charlotte Brontë and of Monsieur and Madame Héger at Brussels."

In the extant French copy Eugène Sue has given a dramatic version of the parting scene between "Miss Mary" and "Madame de Morville"—Charlotte Brontë and Madame Héger. The latter had surprised her husband and the Irish governess, tête-à-tête in the lonely pavilion, late in the evening. Monsieur protests:—

"Madame," he cries, "... I will not permit you, in my presence, to dare to calumniate and outrage Mademoiselle Lawson."

Miss Mary asks him not to defend her, as she does not wish to be a cause of irritating discussion between them.

"That is charming!" cried Madame de Morville, with a burst of sardonic laughter—"Grâce au bon accord du ménage, mademoiselle would desire to continue in perfect tranquillity the undignified rôle she has played at my house!"

Her husband protests that she outrages one of the purest characters in the world, but the governess interrupts by addressing the wife:—

"Madam, suspicions so odious, so senseless, are unable to wound an honourable soul.... I reply nothing to these words, which you will soon regret. The two years that I have been here [Charlotte Brontë was two years with the Hégers] I have learned to know you, madam; and if sometimes I have without complaint [see the Lagrange passages] suffered from the vivacité de vos premiers mouvements, I have also often been able to appreciate your goodness of heart."

"Enough, mademoiselle, enough! Believe you that you can dupe me by your hypocrisies and base flatteries? Do you think you can impose my silence by that pretended resignation?"

So the scene continues until Madame de Morville accuses the other of wishing to take the affections of her husband. To this, the governess retorts:[Pg 126]

"You accuse me, madam, of wishing to win the affections of M. de Morville, and of desiring to dominate at your house? Here is my reply."

And her reply is that she is returning to England.

"You go away!" cried Madame de Morville.... "No, no, that is a lie or a trick!"... Madame ... fut complètement déroutée par l'annonce du départ de Miss Mary.

The latter says she profoundly regrets if she had caused "malheurs," for she had been the involuntary cause.

"Involuntary or not," cried Madame de Morville, "you are un porte-malheur, and thus have been two years, since your arrival here. I have said it to M. de Morville, who, par prévision without doubt, took at once your part against me.... And on whom, then, will that responsibility fall!... We were all happy and peaceful before your advent here, and to-day, when you go you leave us dans le chagrin."

To which Miss Mary retorts:—

"Ah! madame, le jour le plus malheureux de ma vie serait celui où je quitterais votre famille avec la douloureuse conviction que mon nom y serait maudit."

There were, we see, conflicting views in Brussels social and literary circles, in the eighteen-forties, as to the degree of intimacy to which Charlotte Brontë and M. Héger attained. It is when we perceive the ambiguity of the relations existing between Miss Brontë and the professor that we recognize the fidelity of Eugène Sue's portrayal of Currer Bell's Brussels life. Even Charlotte Brontë herself, in Villette, published after M. Sue's story, relates that M. Paul Emanuel (M. Héger) said to her:—"I call myself your brother. I hardly know what I am—brother—friend—I cannot tell. I know I think of you—I feel I wish you well—but I must check myself; you are to be feared. My best friends point out danger and whisper caution." In Mdlle. Lagrange and Catherine Bell, Charlotte Brontë figures as represented by those who said ill of her; as Miss Mary Lawson, the Irish governess, she has "beauty, youth, and grace," which charms, Jane tells us, she possessed in Rochester's eyes. Of her, in the phase of Catherine Bell, we have many insinuations of a detractive character, the keynote to[Pg 127] which is found in the fortune-telling incident, wherein Catherine is foretold she will be "married and not married"; while in Miss Mary Lawson we have a portrayal of un bon ange[67] of whom Madame de Morville is jealous, not without reason, though, to use Miss Mary's own words, she had been "la cause involontaire."

We must, therefore, set it to the credit of Eugène Sue that he placed two versions in the balance; and his evidence for ever sweeps away the illogical and unfair contention of some writers on the Brontës, that Charlotte Brontë may have cared for M. Héger, but that he, in his turn, had been only "intellectually" interested in her. M. Sue shows the attitude of M. Héger was ever unequivocal as regards Charlotte Brontë; whether in her phase as "Lagrange," as "Catherine Bell," or as "Miss Mary Lawson"—she was loved by him. We now see Morton of Jane Eyre was Haworth to Charlotte Brontë, and Thornfield, the home of Mr. Rochester, the Pensionnat Héger. And the flight from temptation at Thornfield and seeking refuge with the Rivers family were really representative of her leaving Brussels and returning home to her father and sisters. Obviously M. Sue wrote his feuilleton to aid, maliciously or not, in breaking the dangerous friendship between M. Héger and Miss Brontë. Charlotte Brontë's works are testimony it was not only Madame Héger's harsh jealousy that led her to leave Brussels. In Chapter XX. of The Professor, published years after M. Sue's work, but written before it, she gives us the reason for this determination. By her Method I., Interchange of the sexes of characters portrayed from life, Professor Crimsworth, who is alternately Charlotte Brontë and M. Héger, in this instance is Charlotte Brontë, while Mdlle. Reuter is M. Héger. Crimsworth [Miss Brontë] says:—

I could not conceal ... that it would not do for me to remain.... Her [his] present demeanour towards me was deficient neither in dignity nor propriety; but I knew her [his] former feeling was unchanged. Decorum now repressed, and Policy masked it, but Opportunity would[Pg 128] be too strong for either of these—Temptation would shiver their restraints. I was no pope, ... in short, if I stayed, the probability was that, in three months' time, a practical modern French novel would be in full process of concoction.... From all this resulted the conclusion that I must leave, ... and that instantly.... The Spirit of Evil ... sought to lead me astray.[68] Rough and steep was the path indicated by divine suggestion; mossy and declining the green way along which Temptation strewed flowers.

And thus at last do we understand why Charlotte Brontë asks herself as Jane Eyre when at home with the Rivers family—with her father, her sisters, and Tabby at Haworth:—

Which is better? To have surrendered to temptation; listened to passion; made no painful effort—no struggle; but to have sunk down in the silken snare; fallen asleep on the flowers covering it ... to have been now living in France, Mr. Rochester's mistress ... I shall never more know the sweet homage given to beauty, youth, and grace—for never to any one else shall I seem to possess these charms.... Whether is it better, I ask, to be a slave in a fool's paradise at Marseilles—fevered with delusive bliss one hour—suffocating with the bitterest tears of remorse and shame the next—or to be a village schoolmistress [The Brontë school project was under contemplation in 1844], free and honest, in a breezy mountain nook in the healthy heart of England? Yes, I feel now that I was right when I adhered to principle and law, and crushed the insane promptings of a frenzied moment. God directed me to a correct choice: I thank His providence for the guidance.

And her fervent gratitude is as sincere when in the same connection she says in Villette of her confessor—her Fénelon[69]:—"He was kind when I needed kindness; he did me good. May Heaven bless him!" But we now see Charlotte Brontë did not suffer alone. Eugène Sue has given us an insight into the bitterness of M. de Morville's (M. Héger's) life, which resulted from their unhappy love, and doubtless those words of Heathcliffe to Catherine in Wuthering Heights were uttered or written by M. Héger in reproach to Charlotte Brontë:[Pg 129]

"Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy?... You loved me—then what right had you to leave me?... Because misery and degradation and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong."

Charlotte Brontë tells us in Jane Eyre she loved to imagine she and Mr. Rochester had met under happier conditions; and if the meeting of the runaway lovers Charlotte Brontë repeats so faithfully in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre did not refer to a private meeting subsequent to the beginning of 1844, between her and M. Héger, or to their meeting again when she returned to Brussels the second time, then have we evidence of the fact that she at one time perhaps believed Wuthering Heights would be never published. Assuredly nothing was sweeter to Currer Bell's fancy than a dream of the happiness that might have been hers, and well may she have written in the last sentences of Villette:—

Leave sunny imaginations hope. Let it be theirs to conceive the delight of joy born again fresh out of great terror, the rapture of rescue from peril, the wondrous reprieve from dread, the fruition of return. Let them picture union and a happy succeeding life.

Charlotte Brontë and M. Constantin Gilles Romain Héger loved each other as those who are worshippers of two high ideals, when one of these ideals is love, the other honour. And this was tragedy. To the agonizing nature of unrequitable affection endured for honour's sake do we owe Charlotte Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

[Pg 130]




The elements that conduce to reaction and recoil are sometimes fatal to the best proposed and ablest evolved schemes of man. Priests and counsellors may gravely devise; knight and maid may devoutly swear; the pious neophyte and the exalted religionist may make solemn pledge, but reaction often brings catastrophe. Thus the Christian Church is rightfully a watchful Body, a militant Force, preaches the weakness of man and cries "Ora continenter!" And herein lies the value of a ponderous state procedure. Irritating in its slow gravity and indifferent to the passionate appeals of emotionalism, such procedure yet withstands the backward wave which comes as answer to courageous but costly proposals.

The unsupported and undisciplined individual, like communities, cannot always safely stand alone, and finally resolves into an automaton at the service of unlicensed and unconsidered impulse when the day of reaction comes. The anthropologist and the pathologist relate how exacting straitness suddenly has broken down with a lamentable demonstration of most morbid prurience; and relentless history has chronicled grievous moral declensions in the lives of men and women whose careers in the greater part were records of generous and unselfish devotion to a noble cause or an honourable work. Until the day of reaction is safely fought through the battle is not won.

Perhaps it was to prevent all possibility of a final and definite reconciliation between M. Héger and Miss Brontë that M. Sue, aided by his friends, ridiculed their attachment in his feuilleton, Miss Mary. Not that Eugène Sue would do this necessarily for Virtue's sake, but the position of moral reprehender gave him title to the rôle he had assumed. M. Héger was sorely punished to lose Miss Brontë, as M. Sue has shown, and as we have seen Charlotte[Pg 131] Brontë herself tells us in a letter; and the intensity of his affection for her is only further accentuated by the light M. Sue throws upon the subject in a conversation which occurs between Alphonsine and the jealous mother, concerning Mdlle. Lagrange in the opening chapters of his feuilleton. As I have stated, evidence compels us to perceive M. Sue often presented by imitation of Charlotte Brontë's Method I., Interchange of the sexes for obfuscation's sake, M. Héger in Alphonsine: Madame de Morville (Madame Héger) has just said Mdlle. Lagrange (Miss Brontë) affected a little to speak of her humble origin.

"Elle affecter," replies Alphonsine, "... c'est une erreur. Quand, par hasard, elle parlait de sa famille, c'est que la conversation venait là-dessus. D'ailleurs, écoute donc, Mademoiselle Lagrange eût été fière qu'elle en avait le droit."

"Proud! what of? not of her face, poor girl."

"No, that is true."

Madame de Morville admits that Mdlle. Lagrange was endowed with patience, learning, and fortitude; and says, "Tu le sais, nous avions pour elle les plus grands égards."

"Without doubt ... and myself, I loved her like a sister."

To which Madame de Morville retorts:

"A ce point que, pendant les premiers jours qui ont suivi son départ je t'ai vue souvent pleurer, et que depuis je te trouve triste."

"Que veux-tu ... se quitter après plus de trois ans d'intimité, cela vous laisse du chagrin."

"This sensibility does credit to your heart, but after all it seems to me that you and I shall be able by our mutual tenderness to console each other for the loss d'une étrangère."

"Une étrangère!" says Alphonsine, naïvely; "dis donc une amie, une soeur.... Ainsi, toi ... tu es pour moi, n'est-ce pas, aussi affectueuse que possible; pourtant tu m'imposes toujours; il y a mille riens, mille folies, mille bêtises si tu veux, que je n'oserais jamais te dire, et qui nous amusaient et nous faisaient rire aux larmes avec cette pauvre Mademoiselle Lagrange; et puis ces causeries sans fin pendant les récréations, nos jeux mêmes, car elle était très enfant quand elle s'y mettait[70]; all this made our temps de l'étude pass like a dream, and that of recreation like a flash."

[Pg 132]

"Without doubt," replied Madame de Morville, with a forced smile; ... "and I, ... je ne jouissais de la société de ces demoiselles que lors de notre promenade d'avant dîner, ou le soir jusqu'à l'heure du thé."

The irreparableness of the loss at first to M. Héger is herein clearly shown. But whether he would confess himself to Miss Brontë afterwards is not certain. The tone of Charlotte Brontë's successive writings suggests he did not, as do many points of evidence and the reference in Villette, Chapter XIX., to that "He was a religious little man, in his way: the self-denying and self-sacrificing part of the Catholic religion commanded the homage of his soul."

Likely enough it is that M. Héger hailed, as do truly noble men, the day of trial, and elevated by the very agony of great sacrifice the personality which worshipped a conception of duty consonant with Divine law. It seems, though, that then the battle was won; his day of reaction was fought through. At the time of what M. Sue makes M. de Morville call "ce premier entraînement" was the greatest danger, and abundant testimony goes to prove he would have gone the length of indiscretion but that Charlotte Brontë, herself innately honourable and influenced by her Christian upbringing, checked the mad rush of impetuous passion. Then the Church of M. Héger intervened. As Charlotte Brontë tells us in Villette, Chapter XXXVI.: "We were under the surveillance of a sleepless eye: Rome watched jealously her son through that mystic lattice at which I had knelt once, and to which M. Emanuel drew nigh month by month—the sliding panel of the confessional." She was much gratified by M. Héger's fervent admiration, though she had perforce to remember their circumstances. As M. Sue said of Lagrange so it had been with Miss Brontë:—

The girl had never before known love, save by reading and hearing of its magical influence. All the natural tenderness which lay in her heart she had year after year suppressed.

The references in her poems to a recognition of growing coldness in a lover—see "Frances," "Preference," etc., if we may read them in the biographical sense Mr. Mackay suggests, show there had been a day when she perceived external influences were dictating to M. Héger a line of moral procedure. Obviously, while she herself[Pg 133] had held temptation at bay she was strong; but once she discovered an ally was lessening the necessity of her defence her woman's nature awoke. She doubted the sincerity of the past protestations of passion; she saw in every eye a sinister spy; she found in the Roman Church nothing but a partisan of Madame Héger (see Madame Beck and the Roman Church in Villette), and M. Héger became to her a very impersonation of insincerity and treachery. Of the secret tempest which had begun to rage within herself she would disclose nothing to M. Héger; and she would know that once the storm slept the end might be the worst. But Charlotte Brontë was not yet in the season of the recoil, though alone, wretched, and rapidly losing faith in God and man. As for M. Héger, he was supported by the knowledge that the ideal of the good and pious is glorified by sacrifice. That "Hell holds no fury like a woman scorned" is a platitude, for a woman scorned in the meaning of the writer is a woman with a shattered life. In her fullest and native sense she ceases to exist thereafter. However, as in many cases Nature provides a remedy for her maimed, woman has given her dissimulation. But to quote Charlotte Brontë's poem, "Frances":—

"Who can for ever crush the heart,
Restrain its throbbing, curb its life?
Dissemble truth with ceaseless art,
With outward calm mask inward strife?"

It is a dangerous day when woman is her very self and thwarted. Then, and only then, can she utter the distressing blasphemies Charlotte Brontë places in the mouth of the speaker in her verses, "Apostasy":—

"Talk not of thy Last Sacrament,
Tell not thy beads for me;
Both rite and prayer are vainly spent,
As dews upon the sea.
Speak not one word of Heaven above
Rave not of Hell's alarms;
Give me but back my Walter's love,
Restore me to his arms!
"Then will the bliss of Heaven be won;
Then will Hell shrink away;
As I have seen night's terrors shun
The conquering steps of day.
[Pg 134]'Tis my religion thus to love,
My creed thus fixed to be;
Not Death shall shake, nor Priestcraft break
My rock-like constancy!"

And places in the mouth of Catherine of Wuthering Heights, Chapter IX., in the same connection:—

"If I were in heaven ... I should be extremely miserable.... I dreamt once ... I was there, ... heaven 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 out ... on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.[71] ... I cannot express it; but surely you ... have a notion that there is ... an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my creation if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliffe's miseries ... my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger. I should not seem a part of it. [See my remarks on Charlotte Brontë's belief in the elective affinities, page 96-7.] My love for Heathcliffe resembles the eternal rocks beneath.... I am Heathcliffe,[Pg 135]—he's always, always in my mind—not as a pleasure, any more than I am a pleasure to myself—but as my own being—so don't talk of our separation again."

It is of the barriers which divided the woman of the verses "Apostasy" from her lover that the priest has reminded her. Thus she says:—

"... Did I need that thou shouldst tell
What mighty barriers rise
To part me from that dungeon-cell
Where my loved Walter lies?"

The whole history of Charlotte Brontë's Brussels life before us, the fact that an insurmountable barrier—his marriage—separated her from M. Héger, and the fact that she herself consulted[72] a Roman Catholic priest whom I designate as her "Fénélon," advising, like the Mentor of Télémaque,[73] the tempted one to "flee temptation," identify these "barriers" as a covert reference to the circumstances unhappily existing which made intimacy between Miss Brontë and M. Héger dangerous. To quote my words in The Fortnightly Review:—"We see why Miss Brontë, herself a Protestant, went to the confessional at Brussels.... We know this was no freak, as also that it was impossible for Charlotte to mention the subject to her sister without attributing it to a freak. More, we perceive now the nature of her confession, and, the "Flee temptation!" note of Fénélon's Les Aventures de Télémaque fresh in our minds, we see why she wrote of her father-confessor in Villette, Chapter XV.:—

There was something of Fénelon about that benign old priest; and whatever ... I may think of his Church and creed, ... of himself I must ever retain a grateful recollection. He was kind when I needed kindness; he did me good. May heaven bless him!

[Pg 136]

I mention that by her composite method of presenting characters, which Charlotte Brontë admitted to have employed, Dr. John Bretton, while often in the beginning representing Mr. Smith the publisher, becomes finally a representation of the Rev. Mr. Nicholls who married Miss Brontë.[74] So in Jane Eyre, St. John Rivers while in the main representing the Rev. Patrick Brontë, becomes associated temporarily with that priest I have called Charlotte Brontë's Brussels Fénélon. She tells us in Villette that she broke off the seduction of visiting this priest and says:—"The probabilities are that had I visited ... at the ... day appointed, I might just now ... have been counting my beads in the cell of a ... convent...." Miss Brontë admits he had had great influence with her, and this fact and the testimony of her poem "Apostasy" just quoted show this priest and his admonitions were in her mind when she wrote the final scene between herself and St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre (Chapter XXXV.). Therein, as in that poem and in Wuthering Heights, "Religion" and "Angels"[75] are set as being less to her than the vicinage of her lover. Indeed the India and the missionary life of Jane Eyre, and the marriage with St. John (see Chapter XXXIV.), may be said to have been in Miss Brontë's mind that life of religious consecration which in Villette she owns to have been the likely result of her further listening to the advice of the priest, to whom she had given "the ... outline of my experience," as she terms it.

Therefore it is interesting to observe that, as the woman in "Apostasy" suddenly hears the voice of her lover calling and says:—

"He calls—I come—my pulse scarce beats,
My heart fails in my breast.
Again that voice—how far away,
How dreary sounds that tone!
And I, methinks, am gone astray
In trackless wastes and lone.
"I fain would rest a little while:
Where can I find a stay,
Till dawn upon the hills shall smile,
And show some trodden way?[76]
[Pg 137]I come! I come! in haste she said,
'Twas Walter's voice I heard!"
Then up she sprang—but fell back, dead,
His name her latest word.

so in the scene in Jane Eyre: St. John ejaculates—

'My prayers are heard!' He pressed his hand firmer on my head, as if he claimed me; he surrounded me with his arm, almost as if he loved me ["That priest had arms which could influence me; he was naturally kind, with a sentimental French kindness, to whose softness I knew myself not wholly impervious. Without respecting some sorts of affection, there was hardly any sort having a fibre of root in reality, which I could rely on my force wholly to withstand."—Charlotte Brontë speaking of her Brussels Fénélon in Villette, Chapter XV.], I say almost—I knew the difference—for I had felt what it was to be loved; but, like him, I now ... thought only of duty;... I sincerely, ... fervently longed to do what was right.... 'Show me, show me the path!' I entreated of Heaven.... My heart beat fast and thick.... I heard a voice somewhere cry 'Jane! Jane! Jane!' nothing more.... I had heard it—where or whence, for ever impossible to know! And it was ... a known, loved, well-remembered voice—that of Edward Fairfax Rochester.... 'I am coming!' I cried.... 'Wait for me! Oh, I will come!' I broke from St. John, who would have detained me. It was my time to assume ascendency. My powers were in play, and in force. I told him to forbear question or remark.... I mounted to my chamber ... fell on my knees, and prayed in my way—a different way to St. John's, but effective in its own fashion.... I rose from the thanksgiving—took a resolve—and lay down ... eager but for the daylight.

Mrs. Gaskell related that Charlotte Brontë in private conversation in reference to this preternatural crying of a voice, replied with much gravity and without further enlightenment that such an incident really did occur in her experience. Whether it occurred in connection with her Brussels Fénélon and immediately preceded a reconciliation between herself and M. Héger I know not. As, however, Charlotte Brontë's expression of gratitude to this priest and the whole fervent story of thankfulness for the deliverance from dangerous temptation were written subsequently to her return from Brussels, it is clear there was never a reconciliation which cost either her or M. Héger honour. I do not urge this as an advocate; I state it upon the strength of unmistakable evidence.[Pg 138]

Miss Brontë believed it better to leave Brussels and avoid the possibilities of the peculiar situation—a situation always fraught with temptation. Hence her sudden resolve to return to England.

Arrived at Haworth the full recoil came. She had won through a great ordeal, and she knew that surrounded by his wife and family,[77] comforted by piety and the knowledge of his happy issue from involution in disastrous complications, M. Héger would resume tranquilly his accustomed course of life. To Charlotte Brontë, who by the showing of all evidence was initially responsible for a morally gratifying outcome of their dangerous attachment, this was a galling picture. Knowing nothing of the ecstatic delights of the pietist in the sacrificial sense of M. Héger, who was a devoted member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and, as he is made to describe himself in Villette, "a sort of lay Jesuit," she became just a woman living in the world of her primal nature and conceiving but that she had lost. Miss Rigby—afterwards Lady Eastlake—who wrote the remarkable article on Jane Eyre in The Quarterly Review of 1849, perceived with a flash of real insight and the instinct of womanhood that Currer Bell's pen had presented ungarbed, vital relations of some man and woman identical in both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. The circumstances were full difficult for the reviewer; she was irritated and encompassed. Wuthering Heights, which so soon had followed the appearance of Jane Eyre, she suddenly recognized as the very storm-centre of this literary tornado of passionate declamation; and she chastised that work in the name of Jane Eyre, for she could not know all the cruel truth, and she feared to popularize Wuthering Heights. Although Miss Rigby wrote:—"It is true Jane does right, and exerts great moral strength," she added, "but it is the strength of a mere heathenish mind which is a law unto itself." And later, turning upon Wuthering Heights she says with a final vehemency, and most sensationally:—

There can be no interest attached to the writer of Wuthering Heights—a novel succeeding Jane Eyre ... and purporting [!] to be written by Ellis Bell—unless it were for the sake of a more individual reprobation. For though there is a decided family likeness between the[Pg 139] two [!], yet the aspect of the Jane and Rochester animals in their native state as Catherine and Heathcliffe [!], is abominably pagan.

Miss Rigby thus excused herself a further consideration of Wuthering Heights. In the days of the gratification of discovering the one she loved in return loved her,[78] this recognition stood between Charlotte Brontë and "every thought of religion, as an eclipse between man and the broad sun," so in another sense truly did the contemplation of M. Héger's self-pacification intervene in the time of reaction. The doubtings and agonizing emotions of her equivocal season in Brussels were now precipitated. Her poems "Gilbert," "Frances," and "Preference" are testimony to her vengeful and retaliative instinct; as are her portrayals of M. Héger as M. Pelet of The Professor and as Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights. But as I show in the next chapter, Charlotte Brontë afterwards regretted her human weakness and her vituperations of the day of the recoil. She began to set forth the story of her ordeal more sanely and proportionately in Jane Eyre. As one who soberly rewrites of fact, she recited therein much that she already had given detachedly; and consistently she presented by aid of the frame-work of "plot" from Montagu's Gleanings in Craven which already had given her elemental suggestions for her Wuthering Heights, the history of her life in Jane Eyre—a work that stands as testimony to Charlotte Brontë's love of truth as to her heroic battling in the days of fiercest temptation.

A constant yearning to fine a presentation from untruthfulness is the God-given attribute of the artist, and this was responsible for much that is called harsh in Charlotte Brontë's character as a writer: she would not even spare her own physical and nervous imperfections in her self-portrayals. Emily Brontë would have presented Branwell Brontë as viewed through couleur de rose, yet Charlotte Brontë immortalized him as Hindley Earnshaw and John Reed—as she saw him: weak, tyrannical, a moral wreck. So she presented M. Héger. She knew his faults—and they were many; but she loved him though she hated them. Her sense of truth and justice, albeit she had lost the rancour of the time of the reaction, determined her in Jane Eyre, it is obvious, to show the occultation of her life's happiness by the incidents of her Brussels life. She would show there had been a[Pg 140] day when the barriers between them would have been rashly ignored by him. Thus Rochester is made to sing in Jane Eyre, Chap. XXIV.:—

"I dreamed it would be nameless bliss,
As I loved, loved to be;
And to this object did I press
As blind as eagerly.
But wide as pathless[79] was the space
That lay, our lives, between,
And dangerous as the foamy race
Of ocean-surges green.
And haunted as a robber-path
Through wilderness or wood;
For Might and Right, and Woe and Wrath,
Between our spirits stood.[80]
I dangers dared; I hindrance scorned;
I omens did defy:
Whatever menaced, harassed, warned,[81]
I passed impetuous by.
On sped my rainbow, fast as light;
I flew as in a dream;
For glorious rose upon my sight
That child of Shower and Gleam.
Still bright on clouds of suffering dim
Shines that soft, solemn joy;
Nor care I now, how dense and grim
Disasters gather nigh;
I care not in this moment sweet,
Though all I have rushed o'er
Should come on pinion, strong and fleet,
Proclaiming vengeance sore."
[Pg 141]

It is clear the impediment of M. Héger's marriage is suggested in these verses. But undeniable evidence as to Charlotte Brontë's having escaped by flight what she considered a most dangerous temptation, is the fact that we find she was influenced to pen these lines, wherein M. Héger (Rochester) is likened to a wild pursuer of a "shower and gleam" nymph who sped before him "fast as light" and "glorious rose upon his sight," by Montagu's reference, in Gleanings in Craven, to the story of a Craven nymph a satyr pursued yet lost by her being changed into a spring. Says Frederic Montagu:—

"In the Polyolbion, published in 1612, is the following passage:—

In all my spacious tract let them (so wise) survey
Thy Ribble's rising banks, their worst and let them say;
At Giggleswick, where I a fountain can you show,
That eight times in a day is said to ebb and flow!
Who sometime was a Nymph, and in the mountains high
Of Craven, whose blue heads, for caps put on the sky,
Among the Oreads there, and Sylvans, made abode
(It was ere human foot upon these hills had trod),
Of all the mountain kind, and since she was most fair;
It was a Satyr's chance to see her silver hair
Flow loosely at her back, as up a cliff she clame,
Her beauties noting well, her features and her frame,
And after her he goes; which when she did espy,
Before him like the wind, the nimble Nymph did fly:
They hurry down the rocks, o'er hill and dale they drive,
To take her he doth strain, t' outstrip him she doth strive,
Like one his kind that knew, and greatly feared....
And to the Topic Gods by praying to escape,
They turned her to a Spring, which as she then did pant,
When, wearied with her course, her breath grew wond'rous scant,
Even as the fearful Nymph, then thick and short did blow,
Now made by them a Spring, so doth she ebb and flow."

This is not all. We know now the truth regarding Charlotte Brontë's Brussels life, and seeing she discovered a pertinence in the state of the Craven Nymph to her own—for it is undeniable Rochester's song was modelled upon the lines Montagu quotes—it is likely that what I term the "river" suggestion and the Craven Elf suggestion which resulted in Charlotte Brontë's portraying herself[Pg 142] in the rôle of the stream-named Craven elf, Janet Aire or Eyre, had to do with Montagu's mention of this nymph of Craven who escaped a dangerous persecution by becoming a spring. It seems, indeed, that if she did not at first utilize the parallel of this narrative in verse with her own experience, she yet in Wuthering Heights was influenced by it, in the days which I call the period of the recoil, to represent her hero Heathcliffe as a ruin-creating, semi-human being. Whether the lines—

"It was a Satyr's chance to see her silver hair
Flow loosely at her back as up a cliff she clame,"

had in the connection to do with the "cliffe" in "that ghoul Heathcliffe's" name a reference to Charlotte Brontë's Preface to Wuthering Heights, and her words on the creation of Heathcliffe, in my next chapter, may declare.

It is now impossible not to understand the origin of the Satyr and Nymph passage and its implication in the chapter of Jane Eyre containing Rochester's song, when he says to Jane in the very same chapter:—

"You shall sojourn at Paris, Rome, and Naples: at Florence, Venice, and Vienna: all the ground I've wandered over shall be retrodden by you: wherever I stamped my hoof, your sylph's foot shall step also."

[Pg 143]


The Recoil.


A ridge of lighted heath, alive, glancing, devouring, would have been a meet emblem of my mind when I accused; ... the same ridge, black and blasted after the flames are dead, would have represented as meetly my subsequent condition when ... reflection had shown me the madness of my conduct, and the dreariness of my hated and hating position. Something of vengeance I had tasted.... As aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy; its after-flavour, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if I had been poisoned.... I would fain exercise some better faculty than that of fierce speaking—fain find nourishment for some less fiendish feeling than that of sombre indignation.

These words, written by Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre, Chapter IV., in relation to herself and "Mrs. Reed," give us an insight into her extraordinary alternations of mood. To inquire deeply into her determining initially to disavow the authorship of Wuthering Heights requires a somewhat ruthless baring of the "fiendish" vindictiveness against M. Héger between the dates of 1844-46, that was a characteristic of the portrayals of him I have mentioned; but it also reveals her active turn to a spirit of repentance for past vindictive feeling, the which she acknowledges to have known.

It seems that it was in a spirit of reproach Charlotte Brontë wrote the vengeful scene between Heathcliffe and Catherine in Wuthering Heights, harsh in threat almost as her poem "Gilbert," wherein the man, satisfied with the affections of his wife and children, has banished the remembrance of her of whom he boasted—"She[Pg 144] loved me more than life," and who is made to say, before her spirit in the form of a white-clad spectre comes to him:—

"As I am busied now,
I could not turn from such pursuit
To weep a broken vow."

Thus in Wuthering Heights, Chapter XV., when Catherine is embraced by Heathcliffe, she says bitterly:—

"I wish I could hold you till we were both dead! I shouldn't care what you suffered. I care nothing for your sufferings. Why shouldn't you suffer? I do! Will you forget me? Will you be happy when I am in the earth? Will you say ... 'That's the grave of Catherine Earnshaw. I loved her long ago, and was wretched to lose her; but it is past. I've loved many others since: my children are dearer to me than she was; and at death, I shall not rejoice that I am going to her; I shall be sorry that I must lose them!' Will you say so, Heathcliffe?" Well might Catherine deem that heaven would be a land of exile to her, unless with her mortal body she cast away her mortal character also. [See my footnote in the foregoing chapter, on Catherine's dream that the angels flung her out of heaven.] Her present countenance had a wild vindictiveness....

"Are you possessed with a devil," he pursued savagely, "to talk in that manner to me when you are dying?"

And later, as though in answer to the apparent threat of the poem "Gilbert," wherein, as I have said, the spectre of the woman who has died broken-hearted through the neglect of her married lover haunts him and drives him mad, Heathcliffe, in the words of that poem, "Wild as one whom demons seize," cries:—

"Catherine Earnshaw ... you said I killed you—haunt me then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad!"

Charlotte Brontë's poems, "Frances,"[82] "Gilbert," and "Preference" (wherein we have literature in allegory preferred to a[Pg 145] lover), show there had been to her a season of darkest misery when, to quote Villette concerning herself as Lucy Snowe, "all her life's hope was torn by the roots out of her riven outraged heart." Whether this was the time when, in the words of herself as Jane Eyre, "faith was blighted, confidence destroyed": a time to her when Mr. Rochester (M. Héger) was not to her "what she had thought him," the reader shall decide. But in Villette and Jane Eyre she "would not ascribe vice to him; ... would not say he had betrayed" her. She forgave him all: yet not in words, not outwardly; only at [her] heart's core. See the phase of M. Pelet in the The Professor.

Evidence shows it was in her dark season when Charlotte Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights, and that she portrayed M. Héger therein with all the vindictiveness of a woman with "a riven outraged heart," the wounds in which yet rankled sorely. Thus may we understand her saying in her famous preface to Wuthering Heights:—

Heathcliffe betrays one solitary human feeling, and that is not his love for Catherine, which is a sentiment fierce and inhuman: a passion such as might boil and glow in the bad essence of some evil genius [see my reference to "Robin-a-Ree"; and to the Craven Satyr, page 142]; a fire that might form the tormented centre—the ever-suffering soul of a magnate of the infernal world: and by its quenchless and ceaseless ravage effect the execution of the decree which dooms him to carry Hell with him ... we should say he was a man's shape animated by demon life.... Whether it is right or advisable to create a being like Heathcliffe I do not know; I scarcely think it is.

Even in Villette there were recurrences of the spasmodic spirit of vindictiveness responsible for Charlotte Brontë's harsh portrayal of M. Héger as Heathcliffe, though "at her heart's core she then forgave him." In Villette, Chapter XX., she refers to M. Paul (M. Héger) antithetically, and all the more significantly, in a comparison of him with Dr. John Bretton, of whom she says:—

Who could help liking him? He betrayed no weakness which harassed all your feelings with considerations as to how its faltering must be propped; from him broke no irritability which startled calm and quenched mirth; his lips let fall no caustic that burned to the bone; his eye shot no morose shafts that went cold, and rusty, and venomed through your heart.

[Pg 146]

Wuthering Heights, however, containing too humiliating a story of Charlotte Brontë's heart-thrall, her misery and her wild vindictiveness, and also for the reasons stated in the beginning of this chapter—her saving remorse—she seems early to have determined to repudiate her authorship of it; indeed, so largely is she now found to have used the work in Jane Eyre, we might say she once had contemplated destroying the manuscript. The subsequent arrangement made in the name of Ellis Bell that the work by the same author should go to Mr. Newby, the publisher of Wuthering Heights, gave finality to this tragedy of authorship which, but for the discoveries in this, The Key to the Brontë Works, would have remained for ever unrevealed, and a reproach to literature—a thing of untruth thickly hidden.

Had Charlotte Brontë destroyed Wuthering Heights before its publication she would have saved this sensational disclosure. But she hesitated to destroy the manuscript at once, and as an alternative to identifying herself with its authorship, she sent forth her work under a nom de guerre, part of which had been employed by her sister Emily. We well know the difficulties that resulted; the judgment of scholars and thinkers was impugned and their sane pronouncements were pilloried. To cover Charlotte Brontë's regretful error were to connive against law and literature. Wuthering Heights being published, the work was the world's property; it stood for public purposes, to submit to all criticism and research, and it came neither in Charlotte Brontë's province nor in that of any person to prevent its being subjected to the final inquiry with which the cold light of truth exposes all things.

Doubtless Charlotte Brontë perceived this, and regretting the facileness of her pen and the vituperativeness of her mood of that past and hateful night, she set herself, in her subsequent works, to make clear she had overdrawn the bitterness of the relations which one time had existed between herself and M. Héger. Perhaps she could not expect her retractions would be understood of all men, but it pleased her inmost soul, and having a final sense of justice, and a softening of her heart for her vehement passionateness, she continued in all her works subsequent to her Wuthering Heights to reconstruct this her early version. Thus Charlotte Brontë as Caroline Helstone of Shirley is Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering[Pg 147] Heights, with the distinction I mention. Moore is admitted, as I have said, to have been drawn from M. Héger[83]:—

Wuthering Heights. Shirley.
Chapter XII. Chapter XXIV.
Catherine's illness, and her doubting the absent lover, Heath(cliffe). Mrs. Dean in attendance. Caroline's illness, and her doubting the absent lover, Moor(e). Mrs Pryor in attendance.
———— ————
"And I dying!" exclaimed Catherine to Mrs. Dean. "I on the brink of the grave! My God! does he know how I'm altered?" continued she, staring at her reflection in a mirror.... How dreary to meet death surrounded by their cold faces.... Edgar [? Mr. Brontë] standing solemnly by to see it over; then offering prayers of thanks to God for restoring peace to his house, and going back to his books. Tossing about, she increased her feverish bewilderment of madness, ... then, raising herself, desired that ... [Mrs. Dean] would open the window.
   And farther on, in delirium, as though her lover were present:—
   "Heath(cliffe) ... they may bury me twelve feet deep, and throw the church down over me, and I won't rest till you are with me!" ["Heath(cliffe), I only wish us never to be parted, and should a word of mine distress you hereafter, think I feel the same distress underground," says Catherine, in a further chapter] "I never will." She paused and resumed ... [Heath(cliffe's)] considering—"He'd rather I'd come to him! Find a way then![84] not through that kirkyard. You are slow! Be content, you always followed me!"
   Mrs. Dean perceived it vain "to argue against her insanity."
"Am I ill?" asked Caroline of Mrs. Pryor, and looked at herself in the glass; ... she felt ... her brain in strange activity.... Now followed a hot, parched, restless night ... one terrible dream seized her like a tiger ... a fever of mental excitement, and a languor of long conflict and habitual sadness had fanned the flame ... and left a well-lit fire behind it....
   "Oh!" exclaimed Caroline, "God grant me a little comfort before I die!... But he [Moor(e)] will come when I am senseless, cold, and stiff. What can my departed soul feel then? Can it see or know what happens to the clay? Can spirits through any medium communicate with living flesh? Can the dead at all re-visit those they leave? Can they come in the elements? Will wind, water, fire, lend me a path to Moor(e)? Is it for nothing the wind ... passes the casement sobbing?... Does nothing haunt it?"

   When Catherine dies Heathcliffe says:—"Catherine ... you said I killed you—haunt me[Pg 148] then!" And haunt him she does. In the words of Caroline Helstone of Shirley she "revisits him she has left." She "goes in the elements," "the wind lends her a path[84] to her lover," and it is not "for nothing the wind passes the casement of Wuthering Heights sobbing"—she "haunts it" as the wailing phantom that cries as a child [Method II., altering the age of character portrayed], "Let me in—let me in!" outside "the lattice." And Heathcliffe, wrenching open "the lattice," sobs, "Come in!... Cathy, do come.... Catherine at last!" The spectre gives no sign of being; but the snow and wind whirled ... through ... blowing out the light.
Chapter XIII. Convalescent, Caroline whispers:—
   "... I am better now.... I feel where I am: this is Mrs. Pryor near me.... I was dreaming.... Does the churchyard look peaceful?... Can you see many long weeds and nettles among the graves, or do they look turfy or flowery?"
   "I see closed daisy-heads, gleaming like pearls on some mounds," replied Mrs. Pryor.[85]
Mrs. Dean continues:—
   In those two months [Catherine] encountered and conquered the worst shock of what was denominated as brain fever. The first time she left the chamber ... on her pillow [was] a handful of golden crocuses; her eye, long stranger to any gleam of pleasure, caught them in waking.
   "These are the earliest flowers at the Heights!... Is there not a south wind, and is not the snow gone?"

It is in Shirley that Charlotte Brontë gives, inadvertently or purposely, the origin of the title of Wuthering Heights, and we see therewith why she came afterwards to choose for her autobiographical-self in Villette, the name of Lucy Snowe. We perceive she [Pg 149]had been singularly impressed by an old Scottish ballad, entitled, "Puir Mary Lee," and it is important and interesting to note that Dr. Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary refers readers to this very same poem in connection with the origin of the northern word "wuthering," in the form of the verb "whudder," or "wuther." And so, in a letter to Mr. W. S. Williams, of November 6th, 1852, Miss Brontë wrote of Lucy Snowe[86]:—

As to the name of the heroine, I can hardly express what subtlety of thought made me decide upon giving her a cold name; but at first I called her 'Lucy Snowe' (spelt with an 'e'), which 'Snowe' I afterwards changed to 'Frost.' Subsequently I rather regretted the change, and wished it 'Snowe' again. If not too late, I should like the alteration to be made now throughout the MS. A cold name she must have; partly, perhaps on the lucus a non lucendo principle—partly on that of the 'fitness of things,' for she has about her an external coldness.

Thus we understand Charlotte Brontë was anxious that her autobiographical-self in Villette should be called Snowe. While, in mentioning the matter to her publishers, she endeavoured to show a superficial and commonplace reason for her singular choice, the truth underlies her words wherein she says she "can hardly express what subtlety of thought" made her decide upon "a cold name."

The subtlety of thought that dictated the choice of the "cold name" Snowe had, we shall see, a connection with the old Scottish ballad, "Puir Mary Lee," which evidence shows was responsible at the dark season to which I have referred for Charlotte Brontë's choice of the title of Wuthering Heights—for her identifying her own bitterness with that of "Puir Mary Lee."

It is in Shirley, Chapter VII., that Charlotte Brontë writes:—

Nature ... is an excellent friend, sealing the lips, interdicting utterance, commanding a placid dissimulation; a dissimulation often wearing an easy and gay mien at first, settling down to sorrow and paleness in time, then passing away, and leaving a convenient stoicism, not the less fortifying because half-bitter. [As Lucy Snowe, Charlotte Brontë writes in Villette in perfect sympathy with this: "If I feel, may I never express? I groaned under her (Reason's) bitter sternness ... she could not rest unless I were altogether crushed, cowed, broken-in, and[Pg 150] broken-down. According to her, I was born only to work for a piece of bread, to await the pains of death, and steadily through all life to despond. Reason might be right."] Who has read the ballad of 'Puir Mary Lee'?—that old Scotch ballad, written I know not in what generation nor by what hand. Mary had been ill-used—probably in being made to believe that truth which is falsehood; she is not complaining, but she is sitting alone in the snow-storm, and you hear her thoughts ... those of a deeply feeling, strongly resentful peasant girl. Anguish has driven her from the ingle-nook of home, to the white-shrouded and icy hills: crouched under the 'cauld drift,' she recalls every image of horror, ... she hates these, but 'waur' she hates 'Robin-a-Ree!'

"Oh! ance I lived happily by yon bonny burn—
The warld was in love wi' me;
But now I maun sit 'neath the cauld drift and mourn,
And curse black Robin-a-Ree!
"Then whudder awa' thou bitter biting blast,
And sough through the scrunty tree,
And smoor me up in the snaw fu' fast
And ne'er let the sun me see!
"Oh, never melt awa' thou wreath o' snaw,
That's sae kind in graving me;
But hide me frae the scorn and guffaw
O' villains like Robin-a-Ree!"

Thus internal evidence proves that the name of Wuthering Heights for the abode of the "deeply feeling, strongly resentful peasant girl," Catherine Earnshaw, was primarily chosen by Charlotte Brontë because of its special appeal to her own mood at a given period, in relation to the ballad of "Puir Mary Lee," and proves that the choice of the name of Snowe for her "cold and altered" autobiographical self in Villette was dictated by its connection therewith.

In this light glance at Charlotte Brontë's poem "Mementos," and at the following verses from her "Frances":—

"And when thy opening eyes shall see
Mementos, on the chamber wall,
Of one who has forgotten thee,
Shed not the tear of acrid gall.

[Pg 151]

"Vain as the passing gale, my crying;
Though lightning-struck,[87] I must live on;
I know, at heart, there is no dying
Of love and ruined hope alone.

"The very wildness of my sorrow
Tells me I yet have innate force;
My track of life has been too narrow,
Effort shall trace a broader course."

There is an apparent relationship of this last verse with the remarks in Chapter XXV. of The Professor, on Hunsden's "Lucia," of whom he says:—"I should ... have liked to marry her, and that I have not done so is a proof that I could not." Lucia's (Miss Brontë's) "faculty" was literature: the physiognomy was obviously an obfuscation. It is significant that Charlotte Brontë again took "Lucia," for the Christian name of Lucia or Lucy Snowe. See my references to Hunsden as a phase of M. Héger.

Perceiving, therefore, that Charlotte Brontë had likened herself to the heroine of "Puir Mary Lee," in so far as to be influenced by it to give the title of Wuthering Heights to one of her works, and to take the name of Snowe later for her autobiographical self, we understand why she wrote in Jane Eyre, Chapter XXVI.:—

Jane Eyre, who had been an ardent, expectant woman, ... was a cold, solitary girl again: her life was pale; her prospects were desolate. A Christmas frost [see my reference to the name of Lucy Frost] had come at midsummer; a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hayfield and cornfield lay a frozen shroud [see "the snow-storm, the white-shrouded and frosty hills," the "cauld drift," the "whuddering blast," etc., of "Puir Mary Lee" in Shirley], lanes which last night blushed full of flowers to-day were pathless with untrodden snow; and the woods, ... now spread waste, wild, and white as pine forests in wintry Norway. My hopes were all dead—struck with a subtle doom.... I looked at my love: that feeling which was my master's—which he had created; it shivered in my heart like a suffering child in a cold cradle; sickness and anguish had seized it; it could not seek Mr. Rochester's arms—it could not derive warmth from his breast. Oh, never more could it turn to him; for faith was blighted—confidence destroyed! Mr. Rochester was not to me [Pg 152]what he had been.... I would not say he had betrayed me: but the attribute of stainless truth was gone from his idea [see "Robin-a-Ree"], and from his presence I must go; that I perceived well.... That bitter hour cannot be described: in truth, 'the waters came into my soul; I sank in deep mire; I felt no standing; I came into deep waters; the floods overflowed me.'

The inclusion in Shirley of the ballad of "Puir Mary Lee" and the remarks anent it were apparently digressive, but they are followed by the "subtle" disclaimer:—

But what has been said in the last page or two is not germane to Caroline Helstone's feelings, or to the state of things between her and Robert Moore. Robert had done her no wrong; he had told her no lie; it was she that was to blame, if any one was; what bitterness her mind distilled should and would be poured on her own head.

Indeed, there is evidence of a reconciliation between M. Héger and Charlotte Brontë, this being most marked in Jane Eyre and Shirley. In connection with the reasons responsible for Charlotte Brontë's choice of the title of Wuthering Heights, it is interesting to note some "subtlety of thought" dictated Charlotte's telling us in Shirley, Chapter XXXIII., of Caroline and her lover that:—

The air was now dark with snow; an Iceland blast was driving it wildly. This pair neither heard the long "wuthering" rush, nor saw the white burden it drifted; each seemed conscious but of one thing—the presence of the other.

After the close of 1850, Charlotte Brontë resolved into the mood which was an earlier characteristic; and the choice of the name of Snowe for herself and the extraordinary tenacity with which she held to the name, having it re-inscribed in Villette by the printers though she had herself changed it, show she had returned somewhat to that state in regard to her affection for M. Héger responsible for the passionateness of her Wuthering Heights. And as following the completion of Villette she decided to marry a man she did not really love, I would say her mood was honestly in sympathy with that in which she wrote Wuthering Heights through bitter, adverse circumstances and the warping of destiny, and did not result from Sydney[Pg 153] Dobell's advice to her when, having read Shirley and Jane Eyre, and despite her disclaimer in a preface, thinking she was the author of Wuthering Heights, he advised her to resume the frame of mind in which she had penned her Wuthering Heights.[88]

Dobell's supposition that she wrote the book had no connection whatsoever with my discovering Charlotte Brontë was the author of Wuthering Heights; neither had the fact that Miss Rigby—Lady Eastlake—in The Quarterly Review, spoke of Wuthering Heights as "purporting to be written by Ellis Bell" but having "a decided family likeness to Jane Eyre," and with still more point, identified "Catherine and Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights as Jane and Rochester of Jane Eyre in their native state." For I early found I must credit only the internal evidence of the Brontë works as my interpretative guide. Having written "The Key to Jane Eyre" nothing could prevent my discovery of that novel's kinship with Wuthering Heights; and so far back as August 29, 1902, I penned in a private letter enclosed with the proof sheets of my article to Mr. Harold Hodge, the editor of The Saturday Review, a confession that I was finding a strong kinship between the two novels. I owe to my persistent consciousness of this close kinship the fact that I finally discovered the amazing secrets of Wuthering Heights, and was enabled to state publicly in my Fortnightly Review article of March 1907, Charlotte Brontë and none other wrote Wuthering Heights. It was then I turned with interest to the remarks of Sydney Dobell, the author of Balder, and "a notable figure in the history of English thought" as he has been named, whose review of Charlotte Brontë's works had resulted in her being acclaimed a leading author and a genius. It was in The Palladium of September 1850 Sydney Dobell said:—

That any hand but that which shaped Jane Eyre and Shirley cut out the rougher earlier statues [in Wuthering Heights] we should require more than the evidence of our senses to believe; ... the author of Jane Eyre need fear nothing in acknowledging these ... immature creations.[89]... When Currer Bell writes her next novel, let her re[Pg 154]member ... the frame of mind in which she sat down to write her first [Wuthering Heights]. She will never sin so much against consistent drawing as to draw another Heathcliffe.... In Jane Eyre we find ... only further evidence of the same producing qualities to which Wuthering Heights bears testimony.

Charlotte Brontë warmly thanked him and protested. With eager honesty he again and again begged her to visit him and discuss the authorship of Wuthering Heights. Could Sidney Dobell but have been told the secret tragedy of Currer Bell's life and the bitterness of her cup, how he would have shrunk from inflicting her with an intrusive personal inquiry. And in all innocence he had asked her to revive the frame of mind in which, to use the words in Jane Eyre, her heart had been "weeping blood"!

Wuthering Heights was wrought near the furnace of Charlotte Brontë's fiery ordeal, and gives at its intensest that which glows through her other works, finally to flash up and smoulder out in Villette. By reason of its clear portrayal of woman when she is very woman Wuthering Heights towers above all common literary artistry, one of the finest novels in the world, an abiding monument to the vital genius of Charlotte Brontë. After her return from Brussels her life was a long human conflict, with vain regrets, vindictive recriminations, and luring memories opposing heroic commandings in the name of right and virtue. All honour to her that she fought to win!

Had Charlotte Brontë and M. Héger been characterless individuals of the common type who, knowing nothing of self-sacrifice and nobleness of life, yield to the call of immediate and unlicensed impulse, we could never have had these most vital representations, these most poignant revelations of the Martyrdom of Virtue—the works of our immortal Currer Bell. Her vehicle of confession—her dialect, was what men have termed fiction. But her heart was satisfied that truth has its ultimate appeal; and in the way of those sententious writers of old who garbed in an attractive vesture veritable and momentous records which would be preserved because they entertained, she gave the history of her life in a series of dramas we call the Brontë novels. For sixty years these have been read only as the creations of a brain that spun interesting fiction! Now, by aid of The Key to the Brontë Works, it is revealed they are more than this, and we discover the real greatness of Currer Bell and the[Pg 155] high rank of her genius. Like that which creates the noblest and most enduring of the world's literature, the genius of Charlotte Brontë truthfully preserves the past, while it will intimately appeal to and have a salient lesson and an inspiring message for any one so ever who shall read, be it here and now, or in the time to come.

[Pg 156]



Charlotte Brontë loved her sisters Emily and Anne, but in her introduction to the poetical selections from their literary remains she says little concerning their verse, preferring to give of each sister a kind of short biographical memoir. In dealing with Emily she dwelt poetically upon the features of the Yorkshire moors, and thus extended to Emily's verses that atmosphere and charm which she (Charlotte) had fixed in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre; and in writing upon Anne she complained her verse gave evidence of a too melancholy religious feeling. The eldest surviving child in the Brontë family, after the deaths of Maria and Elizabeth, it was Charlotte Brontë who would first set the ideal of literary composition before the Brontë children. To her initial impulse, therefore, owe we the literary compositions that came from the pens of Emily, Anne, and Branwell. Evidence of this truth is the fact that Emily, Anne, and Branwell, in their writing, never got "right away," as the hunting phrase has it.

There are many definitions of genius: may I define it as a message? Charlotte Brontë had a message. Emily had none. Wuthering Heights and all the other works of Charlotte Brontë, prose and verse, had a vital message. Ellis Bell had no message. In a sort of idle, ruminative contemplation Emily Brontë constructed verse unburdened with purpose—verse that became involved at the moment it should have soared.

I believe we have the secret of what I may call Emily's "involved moments" in Charlotte Brontë's description of her as Shirley Keeldar in Shirley, Chapter XXII., wherein we are told Emily saw visions, as it were, "faster than Thought can effect his combinations." We feel something of the clouded chaos of her moment of writing in her more impassioned or laboured verses; their illogic and incoherence[Pg 157] fix it distressfully. Charlotte, to resume her reference to Emily in Shirley above quoted, further tells us that "so long as she is calm, indolence, indulgence, humour, and tenderness possess" her eye; "incense her, ... it instantly quickens to flame." And with her verse, so long as it was unburdened, indolent, it ran smoothly and pleasantly along with the simplicity of the insouciant; but confronted with magnitude the imagination flamed, reason and logic were involved, and there was an end of art. In her excited combativeness she hit out rashly. Thus in her last verses, considered her masterpiece, she says the "thousand creeds" which move men's hearts were "vain" to "waken doubt" in her creed, blind to the fact that truth and worship finally converge to one point, howsoever diverse their starting-places. The very unbeliever is a witness to man's innate seeking for truth and right: he is a non-believer in this or that because he conceives truth to be remote from it. He seeks truth albeit he is a wide wanderer.

In "The Old Stoic" we have a "stoic" in Emily's rôle of bold challenger of chimera. "Courage to endure" and "a chainless soul" are what this old stoic would ask for! The poet was ignorant of or indifferent to the fact that a true stoic, according to the rule of Epictetus, seeks to be not other than he is, and is content wheresoever he be, whatsoever his lot. The words of this poem are those of a bold neophyte, and they are interesting chiefly because we see advanced in them the hypothesis of punishment common to Emily's chimera-creating imagination. To repeat: so long as her mood was calm her verse ran pleasantly and smoothly along. But the saying tells us, "The good seaman is known in bad weather"; and so with the poet. Life is not a placid lake: the lethal lightnings play, and faith and happiness are threatened continually and on the whole horizon.

Charlotte Brontë, with memory of her own life-storm which has left us her Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and her other great prose works, wrote her introduction to Emily's poems in the spirit of one who looked upon her pieces as the reflections of an uneventful life in the inner sense of vital soul-conflict.

Anne Brontë's gentle poems, like Emily's, will appeal particularly to such readers as have sympathetic temperaments; they will not call to the human heart like the clarion notes of Charlotte Brontë's poem "Passion," but mayhap their low whisperings may waken sadly[Pg 158] pleasant memories. With Currer Bell's poems I deal in various chapters, wherein we perceive their relationship to Wuthering Heights and her other books which resulted from the harsh rigours of her tempest-bestormed night.

And shall we not say a word for Branwell Brontë? He too wrote verse.[90] He was not a genius in the sense of my definition, but his verse is such as might appear in a member of a family a generation or a degree of kin removed from the genius of the house. Him we must remember compassionately as one physically weak, an unhappy victim of circumstances against which he had not the moral force to fight. Nor shall we forget that the Rev. Patrick Brontë, the father, wrote and published verse. His productions were printed in pamphlet form, and have been collected and republished.[91] As literature they are unimportant, but to the curious they may have a sort of interest.

[Pg 159]



"Wuthering Heights."

There is not satisfactory evidence to enable the identification of the originals of Wuthering Heights the abode, and Thrushcross Grange. Similar homesteads are found anywhere near the Yorkshire moors. Architectural peculiarities and appointments are ever accretive properties with the novelist of imagination and latitude. This observation should be kept in mind also in regard to Charlotte Brontë's other works. See my remarks on page 57.

"Jane Eyre."

The interior of Thornfield Hall, as I mention on page 35, has been identified with that of "Norton Conyers," near Ripon; externally it has been associated with "The Rydings," near Birstall. Ferndean Manor has been identified with Wycollar Hall, near Colne. A Brontë biographer says this place was set on fire by a mad woman,[92] but the story finds no mention in The Annals of Colne, 1878, or in Lancashire Legends, 1873, though "Wyecoller Hall" is dealt with at length in each work.


Gomersall and Birstall, near Batley, Yorkshire, contribute to the background of this story. "Field Head" has been identified with Oakwell Hall, an Elizabethan mansion. Evidence shows that intimately the Rectory in Shirley was in the main Haworth Parsonage to Charlotte Brontë. In The Dictionary of National Biography Leslie Stephen says:—"Brontë, ... a strong Churchman and a man of imperious and passionate character, ... is partly represented by Mr. Helstone in Shirley, though a [Rev.] Mr. Roberson ... supplied ... characteristic traits." And Mr. Francis Leyland, who drew much of his information from Nancy Garrs, a Brontë servant, says that the fourth chapter of Shirley, wherein[Pg 160] Charlotte speaks of the grossly untrue reports of Mr. Helstone's dry-eyed mourning, etc., for his wife, is a defence really of Mr. Brontë. Helstone was a composite character, as also was Mrs. Pryor, to whom, without doubt, Miss Wooler contributed, though Charlotte Brontë once had a grave difference with her. Miss Nussey, who pathetically and wrongly believed herself Caroline Helstone, proclaimed Miss Wooler, her schoolmistress, as the prototype of Mrs. Pryor. Evidence declares, however, that in many regards this character was also drawn from Tabitha Aykroyd. And we see that Charlotte Brontë, years before, in her Wuthering Heights, had given an ecclesiastical name—that of Dean—to her portrayal of the one woman who alone ever took up the part of mother for her—Tabitha Aykroyd. Nevertheless Mrs. Pryor was in the main a composite character, largely at the service of "story" requirements. Sometimes she is Tabitha, sometimes Miss Wooler; elsewhile she is neither. Mr. Macarthey is said to represent the Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls, who became Charlotte Brontë's husband.

The references in Shirley, Chapters XII. and XXVII., to Robin Hood's connection with Nunnwood and to the ruins of a nunnery, identify Nunnely in the circumstances, with Hartshead, near Brighouse and Dewsbury; Nunnely Church with Hartshead Church (Mr. Brontë was once vicar here), and the Priory with Kirklees Hall or Priory—Kirklees Park, as we may see by turning to Dr. Whitaker's Loidis and Elmete, pages 306-9 (1816), wherein we find mention of Robin Hood and an old Cistercian nunnery in connection with Kirklees, appropriately now the residence of Sir George J. Armytage, Bart., one of the founders of the Harleian Society. Whinbury has been identified with Dewsbury; but I do not know that it has been remarked the name Dewsbury may have suggested to Charlotte Brontë the dewberry, bramble, or blackberry, thus leading her to adopt "whinberry" and, finally, Whinbury. The attack on Hollow's Mill is said to have been founded on an attempt in 1812, when an assault was made on the factory of Mr. Cartwright near Dewsbury.

"The Professor" and "Villette."

The Professor, Charlotte Brontë offered to Messrs. Aylott & Jones in April 1846, was not published till after her death. It is related to Villette in something of the way, though not so verbally and intimately, that Wuthering Heights is to Jane Eyre. The early chapters deal vaguely with a West Riding of Yorkshire town, but the scene quickly changes to Brussels. The Héger pension is recognized as the original of the schools in both novels, but in Villette the place Villette occasionally becomes London as Charlotte Brontë knew it on her visits. Mr. George Smith, the Brontë publisher, and his mother, are portrayed as the Brettons. Mr. Smith showed Charlotte Brontë the sights of London: the theatres,[Pg 161] picture galleries, churches, etc.; and we have reflected in Villette incidents associated with her seeing these places.[93] The reader will find a phase of Currer Bell in Paulina—Miss de Bassompierre, and a sympathetic phase of Mr. Brontë in her father, for after the deaths of Emily, Anne, and Branwell, Charlotte and her father were brought closer to each other. And like Mr. "Home" de Bassompierre, he had "no more daughters and no son."[94] Towards the close of Villette we may find a phase of the Rev. Mr. Nicholls, Charlotte Brontë's husband, in Dr. John Bretton, my previous remarks upon whom observe. It was shortly after the completion of Villette Mr. Nicholls proposed successfully, but it would seem by the concluding chapters Miss Brontë expected this. The picture of the disappointment of the old father that his popular daughter would marry a plain character in life suggests to us the disappointment of the Rev. Patrick Brontë in regard to his daughter's marrying a curate. See Chapter XXXVII. Paulina, of course, is the feminine of Paul; and the original of M. Paul of this work we now well know. See footnote on page 120.

The chronological sequences in Charlotte Brontë's novels are seldom carefully ordered: this should be remembered in reference to her record of events in her own life.

"Agnes Grey" and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall."

Agnes Grey contains simple and natural portrayals of governess life in the eighteen-forties; and the following Wildfell Hall, we may conjecture, is built from evolved incidents founded on hearsay and experience. Whether Miss Brontë had assisted Anne or not, it is certain Wildfell Hall has something in common with Currer Bell's novels. The books connected with the name of Acton Bell, however, are not important as literature in the higher sense of the word; and though a member of Messrs. Smith & Elder remarked to Miss Brontë upon a similarity in the leading male characters of Wildfell Hall to Rochester, interest in it is merely dependent upon its association with the greater Brontë works, and the book does not call for sedulous inquiry.

[Pg 162]


The Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery, London, purchased in July 1906, a hitherto unheard of portrait of Charlotte Brontë, painted in water-colours in 1850, and stated to be by M. Héger. A reproduction of the portrait was given in The Cornhill Magazine for October 1906, Mr. Reginald J. Smith, K.C., of Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co., the Brontë publishers, having to do with its discovery.

In the early autumn of 1906, Mr. Lionel Cust, M.V.O., Surveyor of the King's Pictures and Works of Art, then Director of the National Portrait Gallery, was busily corresponding with me in regard to this portrait of Charlotte Brontë, the authenticity of which became sensationally attacked. At once I pointed out the importance and significance of the portrait's being signed "Paul Héger," instead of "Constantin Héger"; and other matters. In March 1907, I appended a footnote[95] to my article, "The Lifting of the Brontë Veil," in The Fortnightly Review, and on May 16th, 1907, the literary editor of The Tribune, Mr. E. G. Hawke, having placed space at my disposal, I wrote as follows:—



To the Editor of The Tribune.

Sir,—As the water-colour drawing by M. Héger is now a valuable property of the nation, and gives a more intimately faithful and characteristic likeness of Charlotte Brontë than the Richmond portrait of "Currer Bell," now also hung in the National Portrait Gallery, kindly permit me[Pg 163] publicly to present some of the many interesting facts connected with it. The portrait is signed "Paul Héger, 1850" (the accent is correct), and it represents Miss Brontë with curls, and reading Shirley, on one leaf of which is a heart transfixed with an arrow. The dress that she wears is light green, and on the back of the drawing is inscribed:

The Wearin' of the Green; First since Emily's death; that being the first occasion on which Miss Brontë wore colours after the death of her sister.

And below:

This drawing is by P. Hegér (accent thus), done from life in 1850. The pose was suggested first by a sketch done by her brother Branwell many years previous.

The Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery acquired the portrait from a lady whose family obtained it nigh on forty years ago from Mr. Thomas Baylis, a personal friend of Lord Lytton. Mr. Baylis stated that he himself had acquired the portrait from the Héger family at Brussels. The children of the Mme. Héger who refused to see Mrs. Gaskell because of her dislike to Miss Brontë, aver that M. Héger never drew or painted. The statement, however, is directly opposed by indisputable evidence:

(1.) The portrait is authentic, and was drawn from life in 1850, and the inscriptions that it bears it is proved could have been inspired by none other than Charlotte Brontë herself or M. Héger.

(2.) The statement of Mr. Thomas Baylis, a well-connected gentleman.

(3.) Eugène Sue, in his 1851 volume of Miss Mary ou l'Institutrice, gives, with a clouding of mystery, a lover—Gérard de Morville—drawing a portrait of Miss Mary "d'après nature;" and M. Sue's feuilleton, as I showed in The Fortnightly Review for March, identifies Miss Mary and the de Morvilles as phases of Charlotte Brontë and the Hégers.[96]

(4.) Miss Brontë, in Shirley, herself presents M. Héger—Louis Gérard Moore—as an artist, and refers to past drawing episodes.[97]

[Pg 164]

The authenticity of the inscriptions is not involved in the question as to whether Charlotte Brontë would use careless spelling, for, if she had written them, couching them in the third person, it is clear that she had not desired to be known as the writer. Upon the other hand, it is discovered to be utterly impossible for any one but Charlotte Brontë or M. Héger to have inspired the inscriptions, whosoever wrote them.

Significant Pieces of Evidence.

I find that M. Héger was Paul to none but Charlotte Brontë in 1850, and that before the publication, two years ago, of Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters, by Mr. Clement Shorter, who, for reasons which he should explain, calls M. Constantin Gilles Romain Héger "M. Paul Héger," [Throughout that writer's correspondence in The Times, etc., and in Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters: beneath the portrait of M. Héger, facing page 198, and bearing the inscription:—M. Paul Héger: The Hero of Villette and The Professor; and on page 161 of that work] no reference in print had been made to M. Héger but as Constantin. The Hégers state that M. Héger was not called Paul, and that Dr. Paul Héger, his son, was the first member of the family named Paul.

A native of Haworth[98] who lived from 1830 till after the death of[Pg 165] Charlotte Brontë in 1855, "within twenty yards of the Haworth Parsonage," her home, has pronounced the Héger portrait of Miss Brontë to be a correct likeness and "just like her." He says that it reminds him of her as he knew her and as she was in her younger days, and he pointed out to me particularly that he had seen her with her hair as in the Héger likeness, "scores of times before she went away"—this giving the clue to the reference in the inscription to a pose in a portrait by Branwell "many years previous" to 1850; and I have seen a reproduction of a sketch by Branwell wherein the Brontë sisters have curls. Moreover, I find that Miss Brontë really liked curls and disliked the other styles, though she conformed to the fashion.

I also find that the paper on which the Héger portrait of Miss Brontë was drawn was that used in 1850 by the house where she was a guest in London in the early June of 1850, at the very time to within a day when, as there is indisputable evidence—despite assertions that she "never under any circumstances during the later period of her life wore a green dress"—Charlotte Brontë was wearing a light green dress. That was "the first occasion on which Miss Brontë wore colours," as the inscription tells us, and fact substantiates, after she had concluded the remarkably long mourning period for her sisters, which began with "the death of Emily" and did not end till twelve months after the death of Anne, who died on May 28th, 1849.

(Signed)     J. MALHAM-DEMBLEBY.

Scarr Hill, Eccleshill, Bradford, May 16th, 1907.

The publication of this letter ended the controversy.[99] Since it was published Mrs. Gaskell's daughters, who well knew Miss Brontë, have declared themselves fully satisfied as to the authenticity of the Héger portrait of Charlotte Brontë and the faithfulness of the likeness. The testimony of Lady Ritchie, Thackeray's daughter, also supports this portrait. See my further references to my cor[Pg 166]respondence with her ladyship herewith. As regards the green dress, apart from the indisputable external evidence I referred to in the printed letter, I believe Charlotte Brontë speaks of it in Villette, though therein it is for obfuscation's sake (necessary indeed, since Villette was published only a short time after her London visit) made "pink" and "flounceless." In Chapter XXVIII. we find M. Paul saying—and it is interesting thus to have connected with the green dress a character whose prototype was M. Héger—that:

"Pink or scarlet, yellow or crimson, pea-green or sky-blue, [the dress] was all one."[100]

As I stated to Lady Ritchie in 1907, I believe that in Chapter XX. of Villette we undoubtedly have a real glimpse of incidents connected with the wearing of the green dress; and it should be remembered that Mrs. Bretton and Dr. John Graham Bretton in this chapter represent Mrs. Smith, and her son Mr. George Smith, the publisher, whose guest Charlotte Brontë was in 1850, when she first wore the green dress:—

One morning, Mrs. Bretton ... desired me to ... show her my dresses; which I did, without a word.

"That will do," said she.... "You must have a new one."

... She returned presently with a dressmaker. She had me measured. "I mean," said she, "to follow my own taste, and to have my own way in this little matter."

Two days after came home—a pink [green] dress! "That is not for me," I said hurriedly, feeling that I would ... as soon clothe myself in the costume of a Chinese lady of rank.

[Pg 167]

... "You will wear it this ... evening."

I thought I should not; I thought no human force should avail to put me into it.... I knew it not. It knew not me. I had not proved it.

But wear it she did; and when Graham [Mr. George Smith] stood in the doorway looking at her, she tells us her uneasy aspiration was:—

"I do hope he will not think I have been decking myself out to draw attention."

Clearly Charlotte Brontë wished posterity to learn how it came about she was garbed in "light fabric and bright tint," because the green dress was a page in her life's history. In a green dress she sat down to dine, as Mr. Thackeray's daughter, Lady Ritchie has written me she well remembers, when Charlotte Brontë dined at Thackeray's house on June 12, 1850—not the event of the distinguished party, when Carlyle, Miss Perry, Mrs. Procter, and others were present, though Lady Ritchie had once confounded the two in writing upon the subject[101]. Mr. Thackeray's daughter was a young girl at the time to which she referred, but she has made clear to me she saw Miss Brontë three times; that the chief occasion was when Charlotte Brontë wore the light green dress. This, to quote her ladyship's words to me, was "not Mrs. Brookfield's party, when neither my sister and I nor our governess dined—though we came down in the evening. The second occasion was just casually at my father's lecture-room, when she did not speak to me, and the third, finally, at the Brookfield evening party, which seems to have been such a solemn affair[102]."

These facts fix the wearing of the light green dress by Miss Brontë as June 12, 1850. Lady Ritchie tells me that "It was[Pg 168] at an early family dinner by daylight with Charlotte Brontë, my father, Mr. George Smith, my sister and our governess, that I remember sitting next Miss Brontë at dinner and gazing at her sleeve and mittens. Her dress was of some texture like one I had had myself, which I suppose impressed it upon me, and it had a little moss or coral pattern in green on a white ground. I only remember the sleeve, the straight look, and the smooth Victorian bandeaux of hair. I am sure she was differently dressed at the Brookfield evening party."

On June 12, 1850, Charlotte Brontë wrote to her friend, Miss Nussey, from the Smiths' in London, saying:—

Thackeray made a call.... If all be well, I am to dine at his house this evening.[103]

And this was when Miss Brontë sat in a light green dress at the Thackeray dinner-table.

The Richmond portrait of Charlotte Brontë being now also in the National Portrait Gallery, I may remark that Mrs. Gaskell herself says of this portrait:—"Those best acquainted with the original were least satisfied with the resemblance.... Mr. Brontë thought ... it looked good and lifelike." Charlotte Brontë herself said her father thought the portrait looked older than she. In view of the new interest now attaching to Tabitha Aykroyd and Charlotte, it is instructive to find the latter telling us Tabitha "maintains that it is not like," and also, that Tabitha thought it "too old looking." Then she apologized for the old servant in a sentence that pathetically recalls Mrs. Dean and Bessie of "Catherine's" and "Jane's" childhood—"Doubtless she confuses her recollections of me as I was in childhood, with present impressions."[104] We discover, therefore, that in the main there was really dissatisfaction at the "old looking" presentation, and we see Charlotte Brontë from the beginning must have wished she had had her hair arrangement in that portrait as was common to her at home and in her younger days. Hence do we get a further insight into the origin of the different pose in the more characteristic and intimately faithful Héger portrait of Charlotte Brontë.

[Pg 169]



I stated in a letter to The Academy, August 1st, 1908, that "were it possible by application of a cipher code to discover the words 'Emily Brontë' in every sentence of Wuthering Heights, I could not even then say any one wrote the book but Charlotte Brontë." If people write before they think, then importance can be attached to clerical testimony and external associations to the disadvantage of internal and literal evidence. But inspiration, thought, and fact denote in questions of authorship, and therefore that is author of a work whose thoughts and words are expressed and inmost life revealed therein. Wuthering Heights, we now see, is Charlotte Brontë, and it matters not what amanuensis dealt with the relation—what sequence of complications resulted from her first day of handing over the work to her sister, and of conspiring to conceal her authorship.

Had not my own two sisters died, I might have been tempted to make them novelists: out of my bottom drawer I could have provided them with a novel each and one for a "follow-on," and yet have left myself some maturer works in hand. But my sisters would have had to copy out the manuscripts for the printers from my first drafts, and in every way possible to merit and to establish association with the books as authors. And how indignant we would have been—nay, alarmed, had there been a "Newby arrangement," at some daring critic, like Lady Eastlake and Sydney Dobell, imputing they were the work of one mind! Would we not have appealed to clerical testimony? With a more practised hand Charlotte Brontë in her days of fame corrected and edited Wuthering Heights. Emily was dead. Well might Charlotte say the labour left her "prostrate and entombed." What memories had it recalled!—what a history! It is obvious to all who consider carefully the letter Charlotte Brontë penned Wordsworth, to which I refer in the footnote on page 17 of The Key to the Brontë Works, that she wrote her books rapidly; and a review of the fact that the Brontë school project was renounced in favour of literary projects suggests Currer Bell in 1845-46 revealed to her sisters the advantages of having a bottom drawer. Let any reader use what I have termed the Key Index to the works of Charlotte Brontë, and it will be perceived quite easily that Wuthering Heights is irrefutably at one with Currer Bell and all her other books—that the works of Charlotte Brontë are all related to each other, to Charlotte Brontë, and to the facts and people of her life as seen and known by herself. The reader of a given Brontë work will glance down the list in the Key Index under the heading of the particular book in hand to find these very important and intensely interesting connections, now first shown to exist:—

[Pg 170]


to the Life and Works of Charlotte Brontë.

Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.
Its relation to Charlotte Brontë's life, vii.-xi.[105], 16-19, 32-3, 37-53, 55-7, 69, 78-9, 83, 85-103, 106, 108-112, 114-8, 120-1, 126-9, 130-155, 156-8, 160-1, 168 Its relation to Charlotte Brontë's life, vii., viii., x.[105], 15, 18, 21-2, 30, 37-56, 69-119, 121-154, 157, 168
In relation to Branwell Brontë, x., 18, 37-40, 52-3, 78-9, 93-5, 139 In relation to Branwell Brontë, x., xi., 18, 37-40, 52-3, 78-9, 93-5, 106, 139
—— Tabby Aykroyd, x., 38, 40-1, 43-53, 77, 94-5, 147-8, 160, 168 —— Tabby Aykroyd, x., 40, 43-53, 77-8, 94-5, 105, 128, 168
—— M. Héger, viii., xi., 16, 17, 34, 56, 87, 89, 91-3, 96-103, 106, 111, 120-1, 128-9, 134-154, 157 —— M. Héger, x., 14, 82-9, 92-3, 96-107, 111, 120, 126-9, 136-146, 148-154
—— Madame Héger, 106-7, 117 —— Madame Héger, 106-7, 112, 117
—— Taylor of Hunsworth, 83-9 —— Taylor of Hunsworth, 83-9
—— Rev. Patrick Brontë, 49, 147; the younger Cathy's father, 161 —— Rev. Patrick Brontë, xi., 70-2, 74-7, 81-2, 128, 136
—— Maria Brontë, 37 —— Maria Brontë, xi., 24, 70-1, 80-1, 106, 108-110
—— Anne Brontë, xi., 70-4, 77-8, 81-2; Elizabeth Brontë, xi., 72, 81, 106-7
—— Emily Brontë, viii., 17, 18, 40, 138, 146, 153, 156, 169 —— Emily Brontë, xi., 70-4, 78, 81
—— Aunt Branwell, xi., 70-3, 77-81
—— Cousin Eliza Branwell, xi., 69, 70-2, 79-81
—— M. Sue, ix., 103-4, 106-112, 114, 121, 128, 132-142 —— M. Sue, ix., x., 82-3, 103-121, 126-9, 135
—— Charlotte Brontë's Poems, 56, 97, 128, 132-7, 139, 140-5, 150-1, 157-8 —— Charlotte Brontë's Poems, 97, 128, 135-8, 140-5, 150-1, 157-8
—— Montagu, x., 17, 20-35, 55, 57-68, 71, 141-5 —— Montagu, x., 20-36, 60-8, 71-2, 140-5
—— Jane Eyre, vii., viii., x., 18, 20, 22-56, 58-68, 71-2, 79, 83, 85-103, 106, 108-112, 114-119, 121, 128-9, 134-146, 151-4, 157, 168 —— Wuthering Heights, same as opposite
—— Shirley, ix., 18-9, 41, 43, 55-6, 83, 85-9, 136, 146-153, 160-1 —— Shirley, 81, 83-9, 136, 147-153
—— The Professor, ix., x., 53-6, 78-9, 84-9, 121, 127-9, 138-9, 145, 151 —— The Professor, 79, 83-9, 111, 127-9, 139-142, 145, 151
—— Villette, ix., 92, 96-7, 103, 111, 121, 128-9, 136-8, 143-5, 148-154, 161 —— Villette, 42, 86, 89, 92, 103, 118-9, 126, 128-9, 132-154
—— Charlotte Brontë's Method I., viii.-x., 23-4, 25-31, 38, 40, 47, 97-103 —— Charlotte Brontë's Method I., x., 23-4, 25-31, 97-103, 105
—— —— Method II., viii., 25-31, 38-9, 48-51, 53, 55 —— —— Method II., 25-31, 45, 48-51, 72, 74

[Pg 171]


Its relation to Charlotte Brontë's life, vii., ix., 41, 43, 69, 75, 81, 83-4, 87-9, 120, 136, 146-153, 156-7, 159, 160, 163

In relation to Tabby Aykroyd, 43, 160

—— M. Héger, ix., 69, 81, 83-4, 120, 136, 146-153, 163

—— Taylor of Hunsworth, 83-9; Martha and Mary, 83-4

—— Rev. Patrick Brontë, 41, 75, 159-161; Mrs. Brontë, 41, 159-161; Emily Brontë, 69, 81, 156-7

—— Rev. A. B. Nicholls, 160; M. Sue, 163; Miss Wooler, 160

—— Charlotte Brontë's Poems, 136

—— Wuthering Heights. See Key Index for that work

—— Jane Eyre. See Key Index for that work

—— The Professor, 83-9, 150-3

—— Villette, 41, 86, 89, 136-142, 146-154, 160-1
The Professor. Villette.
Its relation to Charlotte Brontë's life, vii., ix., 16, 18, 53-5, 63, 71, 79, 83-9, 111, 120-9, 138-9, 145, 150-2, 160 Its relation to Charlotte Brontë's life, vii., ix., 41, 47, 86, 89, 92, 97, 103, 107, 111, 118, 126, 128-9, 132-7, 140, 144-5, 148-154, 160-1, 166-7
In relation to M. Héger, ix., 16, 63, 83-9, 111, 120-9, 138-9, 145, 150-2, 160, 164 In relation to M. Héger, ix., 70, 86, 89, 92, 97, 103, 111, 118, 126, 128-9, 132-40, 145, 150-4, 166
—— Madame Héger, 16, 111, 122-8, 131-3 —— Madame Héger, 106, 118, 133
—— Taylor of Hunsworth, 83-9 —— Taylor of Hunsworth, 89
—— M. Sue, ix., 63, 84, 104, 107, 111, 120-9 —— M. Sue, ix., 103-4, 111, 118, 120-9, 130-5
—— Branwell Brontë, 79 —— Lady Ritchie, xi., 165-8
—— Montagu, 63, 71 —— Mr. George Smith, 69, 160-1, 166-8; Mrs. Smith, 161, 166-8
—— Charlotte Brontë's Poems, 63, 71, 128, 139, 151, 158 —— Thackeray, 70, 165-8
—— Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Shirley. See Key Index for those works —— Rev. Patrick Brontë, 77, 136, 161
—— Rev. A. B. Nicholls, 69, 86, 161
—— Villette, ix., 86, 107, 111, 126-9, 139, 144-5, 149-151, 160 —— Charlotte Brontë's Poems, 128, 132-7, 140-5, 149-152
—— Charlotte Brontë's Method I., ix., 121, 127-8, 131 —— Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Shirley, and The Professor. See Key Index for those works

End of the Key Index to Charlotte Brontë's Works.

Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre.

Brontë, Charlotte, her life:—37-53, 93-103, 138-9, 153, 169;
Frances and Catherine, 133-4;
throughout the work of, 18, 40;
drawn by her from Montagu, 22-36, 57-68, 141-2;
Tale of a Foundling, 33;
Alembert, 65;
as the younger Catherine, viii., 46, 161;
as the two Cathys, 16, 17, 34, 106-118, 161;
Authoritative evidence of her Methods I. and II.:—viii., 25-6, 98-103,
and of Key Index to the Brontë Works, 169, 170;
gives it Emily, 17, 18, 169;
offers it publishers, 17;
story of a sad Night, 17;
why she disavowed authorship of, 143-6;[Pg 172]
unable to admit authorship of, 18, 146, 153, 169;
preface to, 142, 145;
rainy day in her childhood, 37-42;
fit of frenzy, 48-51;
spectral writing, 42;
phantom hag, 42;
her childhood reading, 41;
Rev. Jabez Bunting, 41;
her cold, wailing child apparition, 28-30, 52-6;
cloven tree, 96-7;
and Heathcliffe's hypochondria, 16, 55-6, 87-8, 144;
Isabella's rival, 106, 117-8;
as Catherine of Malham, 23, 57-68;
her mood in writing, 150-3;
fears publisher, 18-9, 153, 169

Brontë, Emily, unimportance of her corrected copy of, and implication, 17, 169, 170;
purporting to be by, 18, 138, 153, 169;
Wuthering Heights, no internal evidence of, viii., 169, 170

Brontë, Branwell, and authorship of, 40;
as Hindley, 18, 37-40, 52-3, 69;
carving knife incident, 39

Brontë, Rev. Patrick, as Mr. Linton, 49, 147, 161

Aykroyd, Tabitha, as Mrs. Dean, 43-51, 59, 69, 72, 78, 81, 160, 168;
her old songs, 46-7;
her fairy tales, 44-5;
as Joseph, 38, 40, 47-8

Héger, M., in, 16, 17, 34. Also, see Key Index for foregoing names

Earnshaw, Catherine, and Heathcliffe, as Jane and Rochester, 93-103, 139

Brontë, Charlotte, her life, 37-53, 69-103, 106-119, 123-155, 168, 169-170;
her second work based on Montagu, 23-36, 60-6, 68-72, 140-2;
Rivers family, 23, 69-82;
Burns, Helen, 23-4, 69-71, 80,
and Charles I., 64,
as Agnes Jones (death of), 106-110,
and M. Sue, 108-110.
"Rivers," origin of suggestion, 23, 71-2, 141-2,
Diana and Mary, 70-8, 81-2,
St. John as Mr. Brontë, 70-8, 81-2,
as Charlotte's Brussels priest, 77, 132, 136-7,
not Rev. Mr. Nussey, 77;
Hannah, and Bessie (Tabitha Aykroyd), 40, 43-53, 69-73, 78, 81;
fairy tales and old songs, 44-7;
Reed, name (and Keeldar), 23, 81;
aunt, 38, 70-1;
John (and Hindley), 37-40, 52-3, 71, 79, 113;
Eliza and Georgiana, 69, 79-82;
Severn Julia, 23, 81, 107;
Lowood school, 18, 21-2;
fever, etc., at, 106-110, 117;
Miss Temple of, 81, 110-1;
Brocklehurst, 21, 81, 115;
Morton (Haworth), Moor House, 70-82, 105;
Charlotte as Jane Eyre and Catherine Earnshaw (also see Key Index), 37-42, 93-103, 150-2;
rainy day in her childhood, 37-42;
fit of frenzy, 48-51;
spectral writing, 42;
phantom hag, 42;
cold, wailing child apparition, 28-30, 52-6, 151;
cloven tree, 96-7;
the Sidgwicks, 78;
Gateshead Hall, 37-9, 45;
her Thornfield, 72, 127-8;
as Jane Eyre and Lucia Snowe, 148-152;
as Jane Eyre, and Crimsworth of The Professor, ix.-x., 127-8;
as Janet Aire or Jane Eyre of Malham, 22-3, 60-6, 70-2, 142;
"Jane," a secondary adaptation, 71;
Fairy Janet, Queen of the Malhamdale Elves, 23, 60-4;
no views on lunacy, 34-6;
Rochester's song, 140-2;
the miraculous voice, 136-7;
nymph and satyr, 141-2;
missionary life and priest, 136-7;
the runaway, 93, 97-103, 129;
hen-killing figure in Wuthering Heights and, ix.-x.;
"Rydings," "Norton Conyers," and "Thornfield," 35, 159;
Wycollar Hall, 159

Heathcliffe, as Rochester, 89-92, 138-9, 153;
as "that ghoul," 140-6;
and Taylor, 83-9;
return of the runaway, 93, 97-103;
expression of eyes, 90-1;
the foundling, 22;
origin of name, 22, 142

Hareton, origin of name, 22-3, 60, 64, 66;
and M. Héger, viii.-x., 120-1

Joseph, original of, 23;
as Poole of Jane Eyre and Montagu's uncouth servant, 23-8, 30-1

Lockwood as Montagu, 23-32, 57-60, 66;
his boy guide, 60, 66

Newby, Mr. Thomas, publisher of, 19, 146, 153, 169

—— Rochester (see Key Index for M. Héger and the Taylors), x., 14, 145,
and Wildfell Hall, 161;
Jane Eyre the surpassing of all Brontë biographies, 82;
"Key to Jane Eyre" The, xi., 20, 68, 153

Malham as Gimmerton, and Gimmerden; Malhamdale as the valley of Gimmerton, 22-3, 57-68, 71;
Glens, 58, 66, 68;
Peniston Crags, 22-3, 59, 60, 65-6;
Fairy Cave, 22-3, 59-66;
Chapel, 22, 66-8, and Briar Chapel of Shirley, 41;
Kirk in the lonely valley, 22, 64, 66-8;
Fair, 22, 66-7;
mists, 68;
stream, 22, 68;
sough, 66-68;
Heights, 22, 66-7;
Catherine, of, 23, 71

Malham or Gimmerton, background of Jane Eyre, 22-3, 58-68;
source of river Aire or Ayre, 23, 60-71;
Jane of, 22-3, 60-6, 70-2;
see Fairy Janet Aire or Eyre of Malham

[Pg 173]Montagu and, 20;
Airton, 22-3;
Airton, Robert, 60, 64, 71;
Mrs., 60;
lonely house of mystery and uncouth servant, 17, 23-32;
cuckoo story or foundling "plot," 22-3, 33-4, 87;
a night's repose and the candle-bearing bedside apparition, 21-32, 30-2

Brunty foundling controversy, 13;
the key chapter, 40;
origin of title, 56-7, 148-152;
Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, the abodes—originals not known, 159;
Lady Eastlake and Dobell, 138-9, 153-4

Published later than Jane Eyre, 118, 138, 169

Montagu, and opening of Jane Eyre, 21-2;
lonely house of mystery, and uncouth servant (Grace Poole and Joseph), 17, 23-32;
Jane Eyre's and Lockwood's two dreams in, 28-30;
a night's repose and candle-bearing apparition in, 21, 23-32;
origin of plot of insane lady, and of the white veil scene (Shelley), 24, 34-6;
insane lady a secondary suggestion; suggests names, Aire or Eyre, Burns, Rivers, Reed, Keeldar, Broughton, Eshton, Georgiana, Helen, Ingram, Lowood, Lynn, Mason, Millcote, Poole, recalling perhaps a Rev. Mr. Pool, and Currer Bell, 21, 23-4


Brontë, Charlotte, as Shirley Keeldar, 81, 120;
as Caroline Helstone (and Catherine Earnshaw), 41, 146-8, 152;
her home the Rectory, 159;
childhood reading, 41-2;
Keeldar, name, 23;
Shirley as Emily Brontë, 69, 156-7.
Helstone, Mr., 86;
original of, 75, 159-161;
name, 41;
and Rev. H. Roberson, 86, 159-160.
Héger, M., and the Moores, 89, 146-8;
Louis, 163;
Robert, 152.
Cartwright, Mr., 89, 160.
Mr. Macarthey, 160.
Mrs. Pryor, 147-8;
a composite character, 160;
and Mrs. Dean and Tabby, 43;
Miss Wooler, 160.
Yorke (Taylor), Hiram, 83-4;
Matthew, 83;
Rose, 83-4;
Jessie, death of, 84

Birstall, Batley, 159;
"Briarmains," 83;
"Field Head," 159;
The Red House, Gomersall, 83, 159;
Oakwell House, 159.
Hartshead, Brighouse, 160;
Nunnwood, Nunnerly and church, Robin Hood, Kirklees Park, Priory, 160;
Hollows Mill, 160;
Whinbury (Dewsbury), 160.
Published in 1849

The Professor. Villette.

Brontë, Charlotte, as Henri Frances Evans, 71, 122;
as Crimsworth, ix., 127-8;
Fairy Janet, 63, 71;
wailing child apparition, 53-5;
Lucia, 86, 151

Brontë, Charlotte, as Lucy Snowe, 86, 131, 144, 120, 148-152;
origin of name, 22, 56, 149, 151;
childhood reading, 41;
and Father Confessor, 77, 132, 136-7;
as Paulina, 47, 120,
and Cathy Linton, 161;
Paulina and Mr. Home—Charlotte and Rev. Patrick Brontë, 161;
final words in, 129

Bretton, Dr. John, Paulina's lover, 69, 161;
as Mr. George Smith and Rev. A. B. Nicholls, 69, 86, 145, 160-1.
Mrs. Bretton, 166

Héger, M., as Crimsworth, 63, 127, 138;
Hunsden, 83-9, 151;
origin of name, 84;
Pelet, 16, 84, 139, 145

Héger, M., as Paul Emanuel, 42, 96-7, 126, 131, 145;
his harshness, 85-6;
and Thackeray, 70

Héger, Madame, as Mdlle. Reuter, 111, 122

Héger, Madame, as Madame Beck, 118, 133

Offered to publishers, 17;
published, 160

Ritchie, Lady, and green dress, xi., 165-8

Villette as London and Brussels, 160-1

Published, 19;
inception, 166

Agnes Grey and Wildfell Hall, 17, 161.

[Pg 174]


Aire, or Ayre, Malham, source of the, 23, 60-1, 71

Armytage, Bart., Sir Geo. J., 160

Aykroyd, Tabby. See Brontë servants

Branwell, Maria, of Penzance, marries Patrick Brontë, 75;
death of, 14, 159-161

—— Aunt (Elizabeth), and the Hégers, 113-4;
Branwell Brontë her favourite, 37, 78-9;
in mourning for, 72-3

—— Cousin Eliza, 68, 80

Brontë, Annie or Anne (Acton Bell), as understudy to Charlotte, 17, 169;
Gondal Chronicles, 17;
Agnes Grey and Wildfell Hall, 17, 161;
appearance and life, 70-4, 77-8, 81-2;
Poems, 156-8;
death of, 161-5

—— Charlotte, birthplace, 14;
birthday, 14, 106;
appearance, 118, 131, 165, 168.
a rainy day, 18, 37-42, 78;
curtain incident, 38;
Branwell as "tyrant" makes her head ache, 18, 37-42;
"volume-hurling," 38-9, 78;
Methodist literature, 40-2;
writings and Mrs. Gaskell, 14;
Tabby, 38, 40-1, 43-51, 168
—her homily, 40
—old songs and fairy tales (Charlotte's love of Scottish ballads), 47, 149, 150;
the locked chamber, 48-51;
passionateness, 45-6, 48-51, 116.
Elfish imagination, 23;
schools, 14, 16, 18, 21-2, 81, 104, 106-117
—Clergy Daughters' School, 18, 21-2, 81, 106-117,
Roe Head, 14, 16, 83,
Héger pension, 16, 18, 72, 104;
drawings, 82;
her life from childhood to womanhood, 93-103;
no psychical reciprocity with friends, 14;
Wordsworth and her facility in writing novels, 17, 169;
at Brussels (the Hégers),
teacher and pupil, viii.-x., 63, 82, 120-2, 131, 138,
dejection at, 120-1, 124;
M. Héger, viii.-xi., 14-17, 93, 96-107, 111-2, 120-154, 162-8,
and her literary secrets, 104, 162;
Madame Héger, 16, 104-7, 111-2, 117-9, 122-7, 133,
forbids corresponding, 16;
Charlotte as Mdlle., 105,
as M. Sue's Mdlle. Lagrange and Miss Mary, ix., 82, 103-132, 163;
Imitation of Christ, ix., 121-2;
her priest, 77, 132-8;
departure from Brussels, 16, 127;
flight from temptation, 105, 141-2, 122-9, 151-2;
the fiery ordeal, 154;
parting with the Hégers, 122-132;
origin of her works, vii., 15, 20-36, 138;
Montagu, see Key Index for Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre;
Alembert, 64-5;
Currer Bell, 17, 21-2;
perpetuates drama of her life, vii., 15, 16, 154;
Branwell, 18,
and his aunt, 79;
at Haworth Parsonage, 69-82;
school project given up, 16, 169.
Poems publishing, 17:
"Apostasy" and "Regret," 96-7, 133-7;
"Frances," 132, 134, 144, 150-1;
"Gilbert," 139, 143-4;
"The Letter," 105;
"Mementos," 150;
"Apostasy," 133-7;
"Preference," 132;
"Passion," 157.
Her hypochondria, 16, 87-8;
"Puir Mary Lee," 45, 149, 150;
the storm, 16, 17, 130-154, 157-8;
vindictiveness against M. Héger, 16, 17, 143-6, 152;
Ghoul and Satyr notion, 140-6;
Héger and her heroes (see also the Taylors, 83-9), 83-92;
heaven undesired by lover, 97, 133-4, 139;
elective affinities, cloven tree, and "twin-soul," 96-7, 147-8;
supernatural "way" to "twin-soul" lover (and the haunted wind), 55-6, 136-7, 140, 147-8;
eerie signal against lattice, 28-30, 53-6, 147-8;
dual portraiture, 69, 70, 77, 83-9, 120, 159, 160, 161;
ice-cold wailing child apparition, 28-30, 52-6, 151;
her two dreams preface to "bedside apparition," 28-30;
name selection method, 22, 68;
chronological sequences in her works, 161;
character of her correspondence, 14, 15;
Héger portrait of, in National Portrait Gallery, xi., 162-8;
Richmond Portrait in N.P.G., 168;
Wuthering Heights complications (conspires to accredit and sustain Emily as author), 17, 146, 169;
her fear of Mr. Newby, 19, 153, 169;
limitations of Mrs. Gaskell's Life, 15
—disappointment of, 104;
last survivor of the young Brontës, 19, 161;
Introduction to her sisters' poems, 156-7;
Miss Austen, 15;
Rev. A. B. Nicholls, marriage with, 19, 96-7, 161
—Catherine Winkworth on, 96;
Wildfell Hall, 17, 161;
at Thackeray's and the Smiths', xi., 166-8;
dedicates Jane Eyre to Thackeray, xi.;
Greenwood Dyson and, 164.
[Pg 175]Last days:
father and daughter, 161;
her resting-place, 19;
her Message and high rank of her genius, 16, 155.
Also see the Key Index to her works

—— Elizabeth, 18, 71-2, 106-7

—— Emily (Ellis Bell), as understudy to Charlotte, 17, 169;
conspires with her to sustain rôle of author of Wuthering Heights, 17, 138, 146, 169;
no internal evidence of her in Wuthering Heights, viii.;
her life contrasted with Charlotte's, 17, 18, 156-7;
relations with Branwell, 18, 39, 40, 139;
appearance and life, 17, 72-4, 78, 81-2, 156-7;
Poems, "Old Stoic," "Last Lines," 157;
her literary limitations, 17, 156-7;
death of, 161-5.
See Key Index of Shirley

—— Maria (Helen Burns), 18, 41, 71.
See Key Index; also M. Sue

—— Patrick Branwell, appearance, 79;
artist, 18, 165-6;
his verse, 158;
enjoys the hearth, 37-8;
a sign of trouble for, 52-3;
evil days, 39, 78-9, 158;
and Aunt Branwell, 78-9;
and M. Sue, 106, 110.
As Hindley and John Reed, x., 18, 37-8, 52-3, 69, 78-9, 139.
See also Key Index for Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and The Professor

—— Rev. Patrick, parents, Hugh Brunty and Alice M'Clory, 13;
at Ballynaskeagh and Drumballyroney, 13;
at Cambridge, 13, 74-5;
Wethersfield, 75, and Mary Burder;
Dewsbury, 75;
Vicar of Hartshead, 160;
marries Maria Branwell, 18, 75, 159-161;
Vicar of Thornton, 14;
of Haworth, 13;
appearance and life, 13, 70-7, 82, 147, 159-161, 167-8;
verse, 13, 158;
and Mrs. Gaskell's Life, 15.
Also see Key Index

—— Poems, 156-8;
Aylott and Jones, 17, 105, 160

—— servants:
Aykroyd Tabitha, x.;
as Nelly Dean and Bessie, 43-53, 168;
does not understand Charlotte Brontë, 43, 45-6;
and old songs, 45-7;
also, 72, 77-8, 147-8, 160, 168;
her homily, 40;
her gift of narrative and fairy tales, 44-5;
death of, 19, 96-7.
Also see Key Index for Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Shirley.
Brown, Martha, 47, 96, 161;
Brown, Tabitha (Mrs. Ratcliffe), and Charlotte Brontë's married life, 96;
Garrs, Nancy, and sister, 47, 159

Brookfield, Mrs., 167-8

Carlisle, William, 167

Carus-Wilson, Rev. Mr., 115

Casterton Hall, 23;
Clergy Daughters' School, 18, 81, 106, 108-111, 114-117

Cornwall, Barry, 34

Courtney, William Leonard, xi., 104

Cust, Lionel, 162

Devonshire, Duke of, 20

Dewsbury, 14, 83, 160;
Hartshead, 81, 160

Dobell, Sydney, 153-4, 169

Dyson, Greenwood, and Charlotte Brontë, 164

Elf, of Craven, The, 60, 141-2

Evans, Miss (Miss Temple), 110, 114

Fairy Cave, The, and Fairy Janet: see Malham

Gaskell, Mrs., and M. Héger, 15, 96, 104;
Madame Héger, 163;
West Indian girl mystery, 108

—— Misses, 165

Hathersage, 70-1, 77

Haworth, 68, 70, 138, 164;
Church, 13, 19, 164;
Parsonage, 69, 72-82, 159, 161, 164

Héger, M., as Charlotte Brontë's pupil, viii.-x., 120, 122;
original of her chief heroes, 14, 16-17, 83-6, 89-93, 96-7, etc.;
not secretive, 111, 162;
and Roman Catholic Church, 16, 132, 138;
a great and religious personality, 121, 124, 126-9, 132-3, 137-8, 154, 166;
Charlotte Brontë's harsh portrayals of, 143-6;
facial metamorphoses, 85;
the bitterness of his life, 128-9, 130-2;
"Paul," 162-6;
as M. de Morville, 82, 104-6, 120-9, 132, 163.
See Key Index for M. Héger

—— Madame, 16;
her jealousy, 104, 112, 117-8, 122-3, 121-2;
appearance of, 106;
as Madame de Morville, 106-133.
See Key Index for Madame Héger

Hawke, E. G., 163

Hodge, Harold, xi., 153

Holloway, Laura C., 77

Holmes, Professor Charles J., 165

Holroyd, Kt., Sir Charles, vii.
[Pg 176]

Kendal, 106;
Kendall Institution, 114-7

Kirkby Malham Church, 64, 66-8

Lagrange's Manuscript "Catherine Bell," 104-119

Lambert family, 64

Lucan's "Pharsalia," 14

Lytton, Lord, 163

M'Clory, Alice, 13

Malham, original of Gimmerton of Wuthering Heights:
home of Catherine Earnshaw, and of Janet Aire of Jane Eyre, 22-3, 57-68, 71;
source of the Aire or Ayre, 71.
See Key Index of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre for Malham in Montagu

Malham, or Malam, origin of family, 67

Malham and Kalderworth, 67

Malhamdale, enchanted land, 60, 71

Montagu or Mountagu, Admiral, and Charles II., 20, 64;
De Ruyter, 20

Montagu, Basil, 20-1

Montagu, Frederic, his Gleanings in Craven provides the Malham background, and the plots of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and Charlotte Brontë's nom de guerre, Currer Bell, 20-36, 57-68, 141-2, 145.
See Montagu in the Key Index for those works

Montagu, John, fourth Earl of Sandwich, 20

Morville de, M., Alphonsine, and Gérard, see M. Héger;
Madame, see Madame Héger

National Portrait Gallery, and Héger Portrait of Charlotte Brontë, xi., 162-8;
Thomas Baylis, 163;
and Richmond portrait, 168

Newby, Thomas, 19, 153, 169

Nicholls, Rev. A. B., see Charlotte Brontë; also Key Index for Villette

Nussey, Ellen or Nelly, 14, 45, 71, 77, 160, 168;
Rev. Henry, 77

Procter, Mrs., and Miss Perry, 167

Rigby, Miss (Lady Eastlake), 138-9, 153, 169

Ripon, K.G., Marquis of, xii.

Ritchie, Lady, xi., 165-8

Shorter, Clement K., viii., 22, 77, 83, 147, 162, 164

Smith, George, xi., 86, 160-1, 166-8;
Mrs. Smith, 166-7. See Key Index for Villette;
Reginald John, K.C., 162;
Smith Elder & Co., 161-2, 168

Sue, Eugène, ix., 16, 103-129.
See Key Index to the Brontë works.

Taylor family of Hunsworth, 83-9 (see Key Index);
Mary and Martha, 83-4

Thackeray, W. M., xi., 34, 167-8.
See Key Index, Villette

Welch, Catherine Galbraith, xi.

West Indian Girl, mystery of, 106-8, 112

Winkworth, Catherine, 96

Wise, Thomas J., 64

Wooler, Margaret, 18, 160

Yates, W. W., 75


Key to the Brontë Works, John Malham-Dembleby:—
Its place and importance, vii.-xii., 15, 17-19, 25, 58, 64, 80-2, 104, 108, 146, 154.
Importance of its Key Index, 169-171

Life of Charlotte Brontë, Mrs. Gaskell, 15, 22, 43-4, 52, 72, 83, 118, 123, 149, 161, 168;
cause of its sombreness, 82;
disappointment, and limitations, of, 15, 104;
and Branwell Brontë, 121.
Haworth Edition, 14, 17, 85, 121

Life of Charlotte Brontë, Augustine Birrell, 75

Brontës: Life and Letters, Clement K. Shorter, 14, 73, 80, 87

Charlotte Brontë and Her Circle, Clement K. Shorter, 17, 135

Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters, Clement K. Shorter, viii., 22, 77, 147, 159, 164

Brontë Country, Dr. Erskine Stuart, 35

Life of Emily Brontë, Miss Mary Robinson, 39;
character of work, 57

Brontë Family, Francis Leyland, 39-40, 158

Brontës, Fact and Fiction, Rev. Angus Mackay, 13, 41, 132, 144
[Pg 177]
Brontë Homeland, J. Ramsden, 13

Brontës in Ireland, Dr. William Wright, 13

Charlotte Brontë: Monograph, Sir T. Wemyss Reid, 14

Father of the Brontës, W. W. Yates, 75

Rev. Patrick Brontë's Collected Works, Horsfall Turner, 13, 158

Thornton and the Brontës, William Scruton, 161

Chapters from Some Memories, Lady Ritchie, 167

Craven Highlands, Harry Speight, 60

Dictionary of National Biography, Leslie Stephen, 21, 159

English Dialect Dictionary, Dr. Joseph Wright, 68, 149

Gleanings in Craven, Frederic Montagu, 20-36, 57-68, 141-2, 145;
Leeds and Skipton, 20;
dedicated to Duke of Devonshire, printed by A. Pickard, published by Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 20.
Also see under Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, for Malham and Montagu, and Key Index to those works

Kalderworth, or Lawyer Vavasor's Secret, John Malham-Dembleby,
Malham background of, 67;
when written, and origin of title, 67;
published by Joseph Cooke, Sir Edward Russell, Kt., and A. G. Jeans, 67

Memorials of Two Sisters: Susanna and Catherine Winkworth, 96

Miss Mary ou L'Institutrice, Eugène Sue, 82, 84, 105-6, 120, 126-7, 130, 163.
See Key Index for M. Sue

Mrs. Brookfield and Her Circle, 167

Sydney Dobell's Life and Letters, 153-4

Woman's Work in English Fiction, Clara H. Whitmore, A.M., viii.

Magazines, Etc.

Academy, 169
Cornhill Magazine, 162
Dundee Advertiser, xi.
Fortnightly Review, xi., 39, 70, 104, 125, 162-3
Liverpool Post, 67
London and Paris Courier, G. W. MacArthur Reynolds and M. Sue, 105
London Journal; Weekly Times, 105
New York Times Saturday Review, xi.
Outlook, xi.
Palladium, 153-4, 169
Quarterly Review, 138-9, 153, 169
Saturday Review, xi., xii., 20, 68, 153
Sheffield Independent, 67
Spectator, xi., 125
Times, 162, 164
Tribune, 162-5

[Pg 178]

[Pg 179]


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[Pg 180]

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[Pg 181]

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[Pg 182]

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[Pg 183]


Some libraries have ordered both the leather and cloth editions. This distinction is not noticed, nor the number of copies stated in the following lists:

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[Pg 184]

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[1] Clement Shorter in Charlotte Brontë and her Sisters, p. 236; 1905.

[2] Clara H. Whitmore, A.M., in Woman's Work in English Fiction; 1910.

[3] The Saturday Review, September 6, 1902. A correspondence followed.

[4] The Fortnightly Review, March 1907.

[5] The Brontës in Ireland, by Dr. William Wright, 1893, and The Brontë Homeland, by J. Ramsden, 1897, though they conflict, deal interestingly with Patrick Brunty's, or Brontë's, relations. "Patrick ... after being a linen weaver secured the post of teacher in the Glascar School, Ballynaskeagh, then that of teacher at Drumballyroney." Eventually he got a scholarship and entered St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated and took Holy Orders. His father was a Hugh Brunty, who married a Roman Catholic, Alice McClory, or M'Clory. She is said to have become a Protestant, as was her husband. Of this marriage there were ten children, the eldest being Charlotte Brontë's father, who early took to "larnin'," to quote the Irish hearsay. The Brontës in Ireland has been challenged as presenting many statements impossible of verification. The assertion that an Irish Brunty foundling story suggested the foundling of Wuthering Heights raised a harsh and voluminous controversy. The Rev. Angus Mackay, in his little brochure The Brontës—Fact and Fiction, 1897, controverted Dr. Wright, as did others elsewhere. The matter is summed up succinctly by Mr. Horsfall Turner, the Yorkshire genealogist, in The Rev. Patrick Brontë's Collected Works, 1898, where, speaking of the Irish Brontës and the foundling story, he says:—"The only one who could transmit this story was Hugh Brunty, and not one of his descendants ever heard of it before Dr. Wright's book was issued, not even the vaguest tradition."

[6] The "wild, weird writings" of her childhood, which awed homely Mrs. Gaskell, were merely badly, or I may say, childishly, assimilated fragments from English adaptations found in Dryden, Rowe, etc., of Lucan (Pharsalia, lib. 1, 73), and of other ancient writers.

[7] Her correspondence is given in Sir Wemyss Reid's Monograph on Charlotte Brontë, in Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë, Haworth Edition, and in Mr. Clement Shorter's The Brontës: Life and Letters, 1908.

[8] Charlotte Brontë and Her Circle, by Clement Shorter.

[9] Charlotte Brontë, upon the other hand, was a most fluent writer of prose. She sent Wordsworth a story in 1840, and spoke of her facility in writing novels. (Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë, pages 189-190, Haworth Edition.) It is said Emily corrected misprints, etc., in her printed volume of Wuthering Heights; but whether or not she did this at Charlotte Brontë's instigation is of little interest and no importance in view of the literal evidence in The Key to the Brontë Works. It may be Emily turned Charlotte's amanuensis; and it would not be difficult to show Anne Brontë also had been Charlotte's understudy. See my remarks on Wildfell Hall in Appendix.

[10] See my remarks, page 39.

[11] When King Charles II. was crowned, Montagu carried the sceptre. A historian states that the Admiral—who, I may say, had been a great friend of Richard Cromwell—perished in the sea-fight with De Ruyter, because he would not leave his ship by a piece of obstinate courage, provoked by a reflection that he took care more of himself than of the king's honour.

[12] For Basil Montagu see Dictionary of National Biography.

[13] On the other side of the same page Montagu concluded the narration of his "A Night's Repose," with which I deal later.

[14] Clement Shorter's Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters, p. 164.

[15] See my observations on the name of Lucy Snowe.

[16] The name of "Helen Burns," that saintly sister of Charlotte Brontë, may have been suggested by the St. Helen's Well which Montagu states was near Miss Currer's home, Eshton Hall.

[17] The Brontë Country, by Dr. Erskine Stuart.

[18] A recognizable idiosyncrasy of Charlotte Brontë's genius is the vivid minuteness with which she paints and records apparently unimportant details and happenings connected with her early childhood. (See footnote on page 41.)

[19] See footnote page 47.

[20] Emily Brontë, Miss Mary Robinson; 1883.

[21] Angus Mackay, in The Brontës: Fact and Fiction (1897), identifies Miss Brontë with Caroline Helstone. Charlotte Brontë's mother was a native of Penzance, near Helston.

[22] Catherine's diary was written on the margin of a printed sermon by the Rev. Jabes Branderham. Lockwood's "dream" in the connection was evidently a travesty on a sermon of the famous Rev. Jabes Bunting, a Wesleyan Methodist, and the zealousness of his hearers, concerning which preacher stories were possibly gathered by Charlotte Brontë from old Tabitha, who doubtless did occasional service as the old dialect-speaking Joseph. The Rev. Jabes Bunting was on the Halifax Circuit in the eighteen-twenties, and his sermons were printed in pamphlet form. Note the extract I have given from Villette on Lucy Snowe's having read as a child certain Wesleyan Methodist tracts.

[23] "Lee" may have been suggested by the name of the heroine of "Puir Mary Lee," a Scottish ballad, which I find influenced Charlotte Brontë greatly when she began to write Wuthering Heights.

[24] Called Nelly or Ellen Dean, perhaps because of Charlotte Brontë's affection for her friend Nelly or Ellen Nussey.

[25] Of course Tabitha Aykroyd was twenty years younger when Charlotte was a child. Thus the early references to the more active Ellen Dean and Bessie in the main imply Tabby in the eighteen-twenties; those to her as the sedate and glum Mrs. Dean and Hannah, as Tabby in the eighteen-forties. We see Tabby quite in the caricature of Joseph in Charlotte's half-humorous references to her in the diary-like descriptions of the Brontë kitchen fireside life of her childhood in 1829, etc.—of which the rainy day incident in the childhood of little Catherine and Jane is so reminiscent—quoted by Mrs. Gaskell in the Brontë Life:—

"June the 21st, 1829.

"One night, about the time when the cold sleet of November [is] succeeded by the snowstorms and the high, piercing night winds of winter, we were all sitting round the warm, blazing kitchen fire, having just concluded a quarrel with Tabby concerning the propriety of lighting a candle, from which she came off victorious, no candle having been produced. A long pause succeeded, which was at last broken by Branwell saying, in a lazy manner, 'I don't know what to do.' This was echoed by Emily and Anne.

"Tabby: 'Wha ya may go t' bed.'

"Charlotte: 'Why are you so glum to-night, Tabby?'"

As time progressed Charlotte Brontë viewed more sentimentally the associations of her early childhood. Whenever Tabby was "Joseph" of Wuthering Heights Charlotte humorously caricatured her.

[26] See footnote on page 37.

[27] A remarkably recognizable idiosyncrasy of this child-phantom of Charlotte Brontë's brain is the part the little hands of the child play. In Charlotte Brontë's child-phantom of Wuthering Heights, Chapter III., the hand of the child takes a principal part, as in her above two versions.

[28] See note on "the hand" of Charlotte Brontë's child-phantom, page 53.

[29] See the chapters on "The Recoil" for the origin of the title of Wuthering Heights, and of the name Lucy Snowe; also my remarks on Charlotte Brontë's poem "Apostasy."

[30] "The breeze was sweet with scent of heath and rush, ... the hills shut us quite in; for the glen towards its head wound to their very core."—Jane Eyre, Chapter XXXIV.

[31] I have known for many years the wife and children of this Robert Airton. His father was, I believe, parish clerk for Coniston. Mrs. Airton once told me that when she first met her husband he was playing a violin in the entrance of a cave, under a crag in Malhamdale.

[32] It will be observed that in Chapter XXIII. of The Professor Charlotte Brontë practically calls Frances the heroine, "Jane." Of course she is the elf Janet (see Chapter XXV. of The Professor), and this sprite was also Jane Eyre—Charlotte Brontë herself. Read the verses in Chapter XXIII. in the light of my writing on "Eugène Sue and Charlotte Brontë's Brussels Life" and "The Recoil."

[33] Mr. Thomas J. Wise has published and edited a valuable edition of this story, 1896.

[34] "I like Charles the First," says Helen Burns in Jane Eyre, Chapter VI.; "I respect him—I pity him, poor murdered king! Yes, his enemies were the worst: they shed blood they had no right to shed. How dared they kill him!" Montagu of course would know that his own ancestor brought over Charles the Second on the Restoration. Hence his warmth. We now understand the origin of the detached fragment in Jane Eyre.

[35] It is a remarkable coincidence that Malham was the background of my first novel, a work of the substantial number of 160,000 words, which I wrote in my teens. It was published serially in The Sheffield Independent by Mr. Joseph Cooke, beginning in May 1896 and running till September, under the title of Kalderworth, a name I had compounded from the Yorkshire river Calder. Afterwards the serial rights were also purchased by Sir Edward Russell and Mr. A. G. Jeans, of The Liverpool Post, wherein the story ran serially as Lawyer Vavasor's Secret. I did not choose Malham by reason of its being, as it is, the place from which our family of Malham, or Malam, sprung: I had cycled over to the remote village with my father. I was unaware that October 15 was an especial day at Malham, nevertheless I began my story—Kalderworth:—

    "On the evening of the 15th of October, in the latter end of the Eighteen Hundred and Eighties, as the sun sank greyly behind the distant skyline of those wild hills that stretch from Malham and away into the North of Yorkshire, a solitary horseman pushed his way over a hard moorland road to a little deserted hamlet, where only one soul lived, and that a hag whose fame had spread as a dabbler in the black art and the mischievous doctrines."

    I did not know of Montagu's book at the time; and of all the Brontë novels I had only read Jane Eyre. I remember once reflecting—while Kalderworth was being published—that Charlotte Brontë must have called her character Jane Eyre after the river Aire, just as I had called my loosely composite village up in Malhamdale Kalderworth, from the river Calder; and I thought Currer Bell, in her choice of the name "Jane Eyre," had been actuated poetically by the fact of the adjacency of the Yorkshire river Aire, or Ayre, and had changed the "A" in Aire, just as I the "C" in Calder. Nor was it till years later that I knew Charlotte Brontë had written in Shirley, Chapter XIX., of "Calder or Aire thundering in flood."

[36] That Gimmerton in Wuthering Heights means "the village of sheep" was admitted years ago. The etymology is very obvious. We now have the circumstances in which Charlotte Brontë chose the name.

[37] See my footnote, page 58.

[38] Thus she put her cousin Eliza Branwell under the same roof as herself and Branwell Brontë in Jane Eyre.

[39] The Poems prepared for publication in the autumn of 1845 bear evidence of the influence of Montagu's work. It was at this time Montagu's work provided Charlotte Brontë's nom de guerre of Currer Bell. See my foot-note on Frances of The Professor as the Fairy Jane, page 63.

[40] A copy of this will is printed in The Brontës: Life and Letters.

[41] Mr. Augustine Birrell in his Life of Charlotte Brontë (1887), gives a very interesting insight into a love episode of Mr. Brontë, during his first curacy, at Wethersfield, near Braintree, Essex. Mr. Brontë found a home with a Miss Mildred Davy, with whose niece, a "comely damsel of eighteen—a Miss Mary Mildred Davy Burder—with brown curls and blue eyes" he fell in love. A plotting guardian uncle, however, removed Miss Burder and wrongly intercepted all Mr. Brontë's letters. Subsequently Mr. Brontë married Miss Maria Branwell, of Penzance, visiting in Yorkshire, whom he married at St. Oswald's Church, Guiseley, near Leeds. After the death of his wife, Mr. Brontë offered to marry Miss Burder, but was refused. She became the wife of the Rev. Peter Sibree, of Wethersfield. Mr. W. W. Yates' book, The Father of the Brontës, 1897, shows us Mr. Brontë as a curate at Dewsbury. Mr. Yates, who is the originator of the Brontë Society and Museum, rightly associated Mr. Brontë with Mr. Helstone of Shirley, supporting his contention by evidence.

[42] For story and other purposes Miss Brontë makes St. John Rivers ask Jane's hand in marriage; and of course as the original of Moor House has been supposed to be at Hathersage in Derbyshire, and it was there the Rev. Henry Nussey lived—Miss Nussey's brother—who had offered to marry Charlotte Brontë, Mrs. Gaskell's Brontë's Life and a following (including even a recent catalogue of the Brontë Museum, wherein reference is made to Mr. Nussey's portrait!) have given it forth that Mr. Nussey was the original of St. John Rivers—notwithstanding that Mr. Nussey was a married man when Charlotte was visiting at Hathersage. That Mr. Nussey and St. John Rivers are wholly dissimilar is contended at length in Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters, pp. 166-170.

[43] The Brontës: Life and Letters.

[44] In the love relations of Shirley Keeldar, however, we must expect to find phases of circumstances associated with Charlotte Brontë herself. Thus Shirley Keeldar is at times Currer Bell.

[45] Mr. Rochester's remarks in Jane Eyre, Chapter XII., on Jane's drawings would seem to show that though M. Héger, the original of this character, was interested in Charlotte Brontë's gift as an artist (and we know she sent M. Héger a drawing of hers as late as August 1845), he spoke of them in disparagement—a fact that alone argues he was her superior in art, and understood drawing. Indeed, after seeing the various water-colour and other drawings of Charlotte Brontë, some thirty of which, including "a pencil drawing of Louis Philippe of France, drawn by C. Brontë during her stay in Brussels," are numbered with the Brontë relics, I may say we can take it as really the expression of M. Héger concerning her sketches when Mr. Rochester observes of Jane's efforts in drawing:—"You have secured the shadow of your thought, but no more probably. You had not enough of the artist's skill and science to give it being," for this is the truth concerning Charlotte Brontë's efforts of the kind. Nevertheless, I find evidence of a Brussels tradition in the eighteen-fifties that she was clever as a painter, M. Sue giving ability to his Miss Mary in this direction. It is more emphasized in his feuilleton than volume portrayal of this "Institutrice," both of which works we shall see presented phases of Miss Brontë as she was known. Hence we read, "Eh bien! monsieur, trouvez-vous qu'elle sait un peu dessiner, MA Miss Mary?" The italics, etc., are M. Sue's.

[46] Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters, page 181.

[47] The James Taylor in the firm of her publishers, who corresponded with Miss Brontë, was not related to this Hunsworth family.

[48] See Matthew Yorke, Hiram Yorke's son, a character who has several traits in common with Heathcliffe of Wuthering Heights.—Shirley, Chap. IX.

[49] Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë, Haworth edition, p. 230.

[50] Note that in both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre it is assumed this character made silent reference to "the Deuce"; though he never uttered the name, his words seemed to "express" the sentiment.

[51] The Brontës: Life and Letters, p. 340, vol. i.

[52] The Moores of Shirley were mainly drawn from M. Héger, and though a Mr. Cartwright, supposed to have had foreign blood in his veins, is conjectured to have contributed to their creation because his mill was attacked with rioters, I find that the Yorkshire, or rather, "Taylor" element, as conceived by Charlotte Brontë, also entered into their composition.

[53] It is sad indeed to find Charlotte Brontë confessed, shortly before her marriage to the Rev Mr. Nicholls, that there was no such sympathy between herself and her prospective husband. See letters of Miss Catherine Winkworth in Memorials of Two Sisters: Susanna and Catherine Winkworth (1908). Miss Winkworth and Miss Brontë discussed the matter personally. Miss Catherine Winkworth wrote of Mr. Nicholls and Charlotte Brontë:—"I am sure she will be really good to him. But I guess the true love was Paul Emanuel [of Villette] after all ... but I don't know, and don't think that Lily [Mrs. Gaskell] knows." I should say that Mrs. Ratcliffe of Haworth—Tabitha Brown: her sister, Martha Brown, was one of the Brontë servants—at whose house Tabitha Aykroyd breathed her last, stated to me on February 21st, 1907, that as to Charlotte Brontë's "wedded life, they lived happily together." Often do we discover references to the elective affinities in regard to M. Héger and Charlotte Brontë in Currer Bell's works. Thus we did not need that Rochester should say in the last chapter but one of Jane Eyre:—"I am not better than the old lightning-struck chestnut," for we had understood by the touching apostrophe in Jane Eyre, Chapter XXV., that he and Jane were implied. The words were:—"The cloven halves were not broken from each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept them unsundered below; ... they might be said to form one tree—a ruin, but an entire ruin. 'You did right to hold fast to each other,' I said, as if the monster splinters were living things; ... 'the time of pleasure and love is over with you; but ... each of you has a comrade to sympathize with.'" And Rochester tells Jane:—"You are my sympathy—my better self; ... a fervent ... passion ... wraps; my existence about you—and kindling in ... powerful flame, fuses you and me in one." M. Héger as M. Paul in Villette strikes the same note we hear in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre:—"We are alike—there is affinity between us.... Tremble! for where that is the case with mortals, the threads of their destinies are difficult to entangle."

[54] See Charlotte Brontë's poems "Regret" and "Apostasy."

[55] I discovered these most remarkable parallelisms by my knowledge and application of Charlotte Brontë's Method I., a fact that finally declares her the author of both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

[56] Mr. G. W. MacArthur Reynolds, the editor of The London Journal issued from The Weekly Times Office, which ran M. Sue's feuilleton, was well-known in French literary circles in the eighteen-forties. He founded in Paris The London and Paris Courier, and was likely enough a friend of M. Sue. It may be, indeed, there was some sort of understanding between him and Eugène Sue to set before the world an interpretation of Jane Eyre, with the extraordinary information come privily to M. Sue. Some time after its publication, Mr. Reynolds stated that "the main incidents in 'Mary Lawson' were founded on actual realities." This we shall find. It is a remarkable fact in the circumstances that The London Journal for August 1, 1846—a year before Jane Eyre was published, printed on one page the opening instalment of M. Sue's Martin the Foundling, and Charlotte Brontë's poem "The Letter," with a footnote—"From a volume entitled Poems by Cuvier (sic), Ellis and Acton Bell; London, Aylott & Jones." The reader may perhaps recognize the original of Mr. Rochester in the person to whom the letter is being written.

[57] See my footnote, page 120.

[58] It may be relative to this fact that "Lagrange's Manuscript" is not printed in the extant French edition of Miss Mary.

[59] Great stress is laid in this feuilleton by M. Sue upon the fact that the trouble of this teacher is her dissolute brother. See my footnote on p. 24.

[60] See my footnote, p. 37.

[61] Mrs. Gaskell dwelt much on Charlotte Brontë's plainness in her Life, published seven years after the above.

[62] Wuthering Heights with Agnes Grey had been accepted by Mr. Newby, its publisher, before Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. saw the manuscript of Jane Eyre, but Jane Eyre was published first.

[63] This artifice of presenting more than one phase of a character in the same work is equivalent to that practised by the portrait-painter who uses mirror effects to reveal some feature of his subject not in the ordinary line of vision. It was as difficult for M. Sue to present a complete portrait of the successful, fêted Miss Brontë in poor Lagrange as it was for Charlotte Brontë to present a complete portrait of herself in the unhappy Lucy Snowe of Villette. So M. Sue also used the phase of Miss Mary, and Charlotte Brontë that of Paulina—just as she gave us M. Héger as Crimsworth and occasionally as M. Pelet of The Professor, and just as she gave us herself in Shirley as Caroline Helstone and again (in regard only to her relations with M. Héger) as Shirley Keeldar. Methods which were responsible for her first portraying herself as the elder Catherine of Wuthering Heights and then as the younger Catherine, in which work M. Héger was portrayed by her often as Heathcliffe and finally as Hareton Earnshaw. With Charlotte Brontë, however, her secondary adaptations as portrayals, perhaps on account of their improvization, frequently give evidence of being unprepared. Thus the childhood of Paulina of Villette is scarcely Charlotte Brontë's; and Hareton Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights, save for the lover and pupil phase, was never M. Héger.

[64] Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë, Haworth Edition, p. 55. See my reference to Catherine teaching Hareton of Wuthering Heights, in the Preface.

[65] Instead of "Swiss" pastor's daughter, read Irish.

[66] Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë.

[67] As Rochester calls Jane his beneficent spirit, it is interesting to read that M. de Morville says to his wife:—"Je crois aux bons génies, aux bons anges."

"Aux bons anges?"

"Miss Mary, par exemple."

"Eh bien, Louise?"

"N'est-ce pas un bon génie, un bon ange, une bonne magicienne, enfin? Ne m'a-t-elle pas jeté un sort?"

[68] See my reference to Charlotte's Preface to Wuthering Heights in the second chapter of "The Recoil."

[69] See my references to Charlotte Brontë's poem "Apostasy"; and to St. John Rivers as a phase of Charlotte's Brussels Fénelon.

[70] See M. Paul and Lucy Snowe (M. Héger and Charlotte Brontë) in the close of Chapter XXI. of Villette.

[71] Mrs. Humphry Ward in her "Introductions" to the Haworth Edition of the Brontë novels instanced this passage as showing Emily Brontë's extravagant love for the moors, inferring she preferred the heath to heaven. But Mrs. Ward in these same "Introductions" even argued that Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre were dissimilar in characterization and style. Catherine's reference herewith in Wuthering Heights, to a "subliminal" existence in a lover and to the notion that the absence or loss of such a love (and hence, limiting of the bounds of existence,) would make the universe a blank, having no sympathy or relation—a stranger, is at one with Charlotte Brontë's further words in her poem, "Frances":—

"Unloved—I love; unwept—I weep;
.       .       .       .       . Vain is this anguish—fixed and deep;
.       .       .       .       .
"For me the universe is dumb,
Stone-deaf, and blank, and wholly blind;
Life I must bound, existence sum
In the strait limits of one mind;
"That mind my own. Oh! narrow cell;
Dark—imageless—a living tomb!"

[72] Charlotte Brontë and Her Circle.

[73] Mentor's advice to Telemachus when tempted and miserable on the island of Calypso is that given by the spirit of Jane Eyre's mother—"Flee temptation!" "Virtue," argues Mentor, "now calls you back to your country ... and forbids you to give up your heart to an unworthy passion.... Fly, fly, ... for love is conquered only by flight ... in retreat without deliberation, and ... looking back." "Neither Calypso nor Eucharis cared to fascinate Mentor" (Shirley, Chapter XXVII.). Evidently M. Sue knew Charlotte Brontë had read this book at Brussels, for he makes play upon it in "Lagrange's Manuscript," wherein "Télémaque" is substituted for "Rasselas" in the equivalent scene in Jane Eyre.

[74] See chapter on the Yorkshire element in Charlotte Brontë's heroes.

[75] "Religion called——Angels beckoned!—--"

[76] See my reference to Catherine of Wuthering Heights and Caroline of Shirley, and their crying aloud when ill and delirious for "a way" to the absent lover, pp. 147-8.

[77] See the reproach of the dying Catherine to Heathcliffe I quote in the next chapter. See also Crimsworth's words in the beginning of Chapter XIX. of The Professor.

[78] See close of Chapter XXIV. of Jane Eyre.

[79] See my footnote on "the trodden way" on p. 136.

[80] See my reference to "the barriers" in "Apostasy."

[81] "I called myself your brother," says M. Paul to Lucy Snowe, the originals of whom were M. Héger and Charlotte Brontë. "... I know I think of you—I feel I wish you well—but I must check myself; you are to be feared. My best friends point out danger and whisper caution."—Villette, Chap. xxxvi.

[82] Mr. Angus Mackay, in The Brontës: Fact and Fiction, identifies Charlotte Brontë as the original of "Frances" of Charlotte's poem.

[83] Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters, pp. 181-3.

[84] See pages 136 and 140.

[85] See my remarks on Mrs. Pryor in Appendix on Shirley.

[86] Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë.

[87] See footnote on page 97.

[88] Sydney Dobell: Life and Letters; 1878.

[89] Of course Mr. Dobell did not know that by the terms of arrangement with Mr. Newby, the publisher of Wuthering Heights, it was virtually impossible for Charlotte Brontë, after the success of Jane Eyre, to admit her authorship of Wuthering Heights publicly. See my remarks hereon in Chapter I.

[90] For this see Leyland's The Brontë Family.

[91] See footnote, page 13.

[92] Charlotte Brontë and her Sisters, page 162.

[93] Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë.

[94] The fact that towards the end great affection sprang up between the Rev. Patrick Brontë and his only surviving daughter cannot be too strongly emphasized. A most touching narration of him and the dying Currer Bell, related by Martha Brown, the Brontë servant, and herself the eye-witness, is given by Mr. William Scruton, in Thornton and The Brontës, page 133 (1898):—"When Charlotte heard her father coming upstairs to her, she would strain every nerve to give him a pleasing reception. On his entering the room she would greet him with, 'See, papa, I am looking a little better.'" Mr. Home was "papa" to Paulina. Compare the lightsome Paulina with the younger Catherine of Wuthering Heights; and Mrs. Home's death, Villette, chap, xxiv., with Mrs. Helstone's Shirley, chap. iv.

[95] The letters in The Times in the close of 1906, and in the early part of 1907, attacking the authenticity of the Héger portrait, were written by Mr. Shorter. My footnote in The Fortnightly ran:—"In attacking the water-colour portrait of Charlotte Brontë purchased by the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery, the discovery of which, signed 'Paul Héger, 1850,' was inimical to Mr. Clement Shorter's contention that Charlotte Brontë had but distantly interested M. Héger, Mr. Shorter said, 'M. Héger certainly did not know even in 1850 that Miss Brontë, his old pupil, and Currer Bell were identical,' and with another asserted M. Héger and Charlotte Brontë never met after 1844. We shall see here, however, that M. Héger knew all Miss Brontë's literary secrets in 1850, and that they must have met after 1844, for M. Héger could have acquired these secrets only in most intimate conversation with Currer Bell herself: to none other would she have revealed them."

[96] In this connection it is of interest to read the remarks of one of the jealous de Morville women on this portrait of the Irish governess:—"Patience! ... qui vivra verra. Je garde ce portrait de mademoiselle miss Mary, ça me fera souvent penser à elle—ça m'empêchera de l'oublier. Je vais la clouer à quatre épingles sur le papier de ma chambre".... She threatens to stick pins in it.... "Oui, oui, la belle Anglais!" she afterwards exclaims; "ce n'est pas seulement ton portrait que je perce à coups d'épingle, c'est toi-même!" Which would suggest that a portrait of Charlotte Brontë could have remained at the Héger establishment but at risk of being destroyed. I may observe these mysterious references occur only in the 1851 volume; not in the 1850 feuilleton.

[97] See my footnote on p. 82.

[98] Mr. Greenwood Dyson, born in 1830 in the Fold opposite the White Lion Hotel, in the house now a blacksmith's shop. "I was married in 1850," he stated to me, "and was living about twenty yards from Haworth Church when Charlotte Brontë gave a black silk dress to my wife." The Rev. Patrick Brontë signed a testimonial saying he well knew Mr. Dyson as being reliable and trustworthy, as also did the Rev. A. B. Nicholls, Miss Brontë's husband. I have examined the document. An interesting glimpse of Charlotte Brontë I have not seen in any work is one of Mr. Dyson's reminiscences. He tells me that "there was a draw-well situated in the kitchen of the Rectory from which we boys used to draw water for domestic purposes." He added that often he drew water for Charlotte Brontë or others of the Brontë household before drawing for himself. "In one of the upper windows," he once wrote me, "a board had been placed instead of one of the panes of glass, in the centre of which was bored a hole in which Miss Brontë inserted a telescope to take observations." Perceiving in conversation with him the genuine pleasure the sight of the Héger portrait of Charlotte Brontë gave Mr. Dyson, I later forwarded him a large photograph, taken direct from the original Héger drawing of Charlotte Brontë in the National Portrait Gallery. I print his reply to me written on March 2, 1907:—

    "Dear Sir,—I received the likeness of Charlotte Brontë (which you were kind enough to send me) this morning, for which I should like to express my appreciation. It really is a very nice portrait. I think it is very much like her. With sincerest thanks, I remain, very truly yours,

J. Malham-Dembleby, Esq.

(Signed)       G. DYSON."

[99] Through the courtesy of Professor Charles J. Holmes, the present Director of the National Portrait Gallery, I am able to print herewith the N.P.G. references to this portrait.

National Portrait Gallery Tablet on picture:—

Charlotte Brontë
(Mrs. Arthur Bell Nicholls).
Novelist. Author of Jane Eyre and other works.
Painted in 1850 by "Paul Héger."
Purchased, July 1906.


National Portrait Gallery Catalogue:—

    Painted in water-colours in 1850, and stated to be by "Paul" (or Constantin) Héger, after an earlier portrait by her brother Branwell Brontë.

National Portrait Gallery Illustrated Catalogue:—

    Water-colour drawing stated to be by "Paul" (or Constantin) Héger, after Branwell Brontë.


I may add that the inverted commas used in regard to M. Héger's name are employed because "Paul" was not his common name. He was an active member of the Society of S. Vincent de Paul, and Charlotte Brontë portrayed him as M. Paul in her novel, Villette, commenced not later than the close of 1850 or the beginning of 1851.

[100] Italics mine.

[101] In Chapters from Some Memories, by Anne Thackeray Ritchie.

[102] By "Mrs. Brookfield's party" Lady Ritchie means the later distinguished party. In Mrs. Brookfield and her Circle, page 305, vol ii. (1905), a first dinner given by Mr. Thackeray for Charlotte Brontë in November 1849, is spoken of by Mrs. Brookfield as not having been a success; and the second great party at which some clever women were present, to meet Miss Brontë in 1851, is mentioned with the fact of the non-success of the 1849 party, on pages 355-6. All this now leaves clear the occasion of the 1850 private family dinner at Mr. Thackeray's house, when Charlotte Brontë sat next Lady Ritchie in a light green dress.

[103] Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë.

[104] Ibid.

[105] The Roman numerals refer to the Preface.

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