A New Life of Charlotte Brontë by Tom Winnifrith (auth.)

By Tom Winnifrith (auth.)

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Sample text

The energy and ingenuity which the young Brontes put into these magazines at a time when Charlotte was only fourteen must amaze us. The tiny handwriting, the despair of the modern researcher, was an attempt to imitate real print, although the Brontes were always economical with paper. Articles about painters and actual illustrations in the magazines show their interest in art. Branwell tried to become a portrait painter, and at one stage Charlotte was working up to nine hours a day practising drawing.

Few could doubt her intellect and her capacity for hard work. Mr Bronte and Miss Branwell are likely to have fostered her talents, albeit in rather an unsystematic manner. Mr Bronte's enthusiasm for education has already been commented upon. The year at Cowan Bridge, in spite of its charitable status had, unless he received some help, cost him almost half his income as well as the lives of two of his daughters, but is unlikely to have dimmed that enthusiasm. There were of course some handicaps to learning.

The move of Miss W ooler' s school from Roe Head to Dewsbury Moor may not have taken place until 1838, and Anne Bronte who soon replaced Emily as a student may not have seen Dewsbury. Moor, since she appears to have become ill at Roe Head, and returned home in 1837. Ellen Nussey's family moved at some stage from the grand Rydings to the humbler Brookroyd, but we cannot date this move exactly. Ellen's visits to her brother John in London and Bath would appear to have taken place in 1837 and 1838, although we do not know if she returned home in the meantime.

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