the school called Lowood in “Jane Eyre”; their tempers were hardened and sharpened by poverty and the white slave’s life of the governess, so much dreaded and so well understood by Miss Austen’s Jane Fairfax in “Emma”. The unhappy Branwell, in the end, haunted the rectory, an awful presence of intellect degraded, and while Emily wrapped herself up in a kind of Christian stoicism, Charlotte was left to the contrast between the dreams of her fiery genius, and the facts of her narrow life. In 1842 Charlotte and Emily became inmates of the school of Monsieur and Madame Heger at Brussels, which later afforded to Charlotte the scene and two characters in “Villette”. 鏉窞鍝佽尪缇や笂璇?In 1846 the three sisters published “Poems, 鏉窞钀у北澶滅綉 by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell”. Of this book two copies were sold, of the poems Emily’s alone are still admired for their sombre energy and resolute spirit.
The sisters now wrote novels, Emily, “Wuthering Heights,”[Pg 624] Charlotte, “The Professor”; Anne, “Agnes Grey”. In August, 1846, Charlotte began “Jane Eyre,” which, when finished, came into the hands of Thackeray’s publishers, Messrs. Smith & Elder, and filled them with amazement and enthusiasm. The book appeared in autumn, 1847, pleased Lockhart, then editor of “The Quarterly Review,” no less than it pleased Mr. Smith, and at once became the “daughter of debate,” discussed everywhere, praised and reviled, and, in some unintelligible way, most reviled by “The Quarterly”. The critic detected in the author an unregenerate, 鏉窞鎸夋懇鏀荤暐 violent rebel against society, and a woman who was 鏉窞鍝佽尪缃?a dishonour to her sex! Certainly鈥?
A wounded human spirit
Here on its bed of pain.
The unparalleled vigour and genius of the early scenes, the cruelties which the lonely child supports with unconquered spirit, were things new in fiction, while the repressed passion of the plain yet seductive governess during the wooing of the too Byronic Mr. Rochester, and in a house as terrible as the castle of Mrs. Radcliffe’s “Sicilian Romance,” excited a lively romantic interest, accompanied by a tendency to smile at an ignorant imagination. Borrowed romance combined 鏉窞鏈€澶ф礂娴翠紤闂蹭細鎵€ with instinctive realism, bitter experience blended with the day-dreams of a life, a frankness long forgotten by early Victorian fiction, made the novel a strange and triumphantly successful combination. That mentor of young novelists, George Lewes, recommended to the author the study of Miss Austen, whose novels Charlotte Bront? was not happy enough (because she never had been happy) to appreciate. That she had no humour we cannot say, but she had none of the kindly humour of her great predecessor.
Meanwhile “Wuthering Heights,” that strange and strenuous study of violent characters, was eclipsed by “Jane Eyre,” though it has now come to its own, thanks to the appreciations of Mr. Matthew Arnold and Mr. Swinburne. The author did not live to find herself famous; Anne Bront? also died, leaving their sister in deeper solitude. Charlotte’s 鏉窞spa鐖借 “Shirley” (1849), with its caricatures of the local curates, caused the discovery of her authorship: the curates were forgiving, and