Emily Bront
by A. Mary F. (Agnes Mary Frances) Robinson
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Disinterested, headstrong, noble Emily Bronte, at this time, while your magical sister was weaving for you, with golden words, a web of fate as fortunate as dreams, the true Norns were spinning a paler shrouding garment. You were never to see the brightest things in life. Sisterly love, free solitude, unpraised creation, were to remain your most poignant joys. No touch of love, no hint of fame, no hours of ease, lie for you across the knees of Fate. Neither rose nor laurel will be shed on your coffined form. Meanwhile, your sister writes and dreams for Shirley. Terrible difference between ideas and truth; wonderful magic of the unreal to take their sting from the veritable wounds we endure!

Neither rose nor laurel will we lay reverently for remembrance over the tomb where you sleep; but the flower that was always your own, the wild, dry heather. You, who were, in your sister's phrase, "moorish, wild and knotty as a root of heath," you grew to your own perfection on the waste where no laurel rustles its polished leaves, where no sweet, fragile rose ever opened in the heart of June. The storm and the winter darkness, the virgin earth, the blasting winds of March, would have slain them utterly; but all these served to make the heather light and strong, to flush its bells with a ruddier purple, to fill its cells with honey more pungently sweet. The cold wind and wild earth make the heather; it would not grow in the sheltered meadows. And you, had you known the fate that love would have chosen, you too would not have thrived in your full bloom. Another happy, prosperous north-country matron would be dead. But now you live, still singing of freedom, the undying soul of courage and loneliness, another voice in the wind, another glory on the mountain-tops, Emily Bronte, the author of 'Wuthering Heights.'


[Footnote 28: Mrs. Gaskell.]

[Footnote 29: 'Biographical Notice.' C. Bronte.]



The autumn of the year 1848 was tempestuous and wild, with sudden and frequent changes of temperature, and cold penetrating wind. Those chilling blasts whirling round the small grey parsonage on its exposed hill-top, brought sickness in their train. Anne and Charlotte drooped and languished; Branwell, too, was ill. His constitution seemed shattered by excesses which he had not the resolution to forego. Often he would sleep most of the day; or at least sit dosing hour after hour in a lethargy of weakness; but with the night this apathy would change to violence and suffering. "Papa, and sometimes all of us have sad nights with him," writes Charlotte in the last days of July.

Yet, so well the little household knew the causes of this reverse, no immediate danger was suspected. He was weak, certainly, and his appetite failed; but opium-eaters are not strong nor hungry. Neither Branwell himself, nor his relations, nor any physician consulted in his case thought it one of immediate danger; it seemed as if this dreary life might go on for ever, marking its hours by a perpetual swing and rebound of excess and suffering.

During this melancholy autumn Mr. Grundy was staying at Skipton, a town about seventeen miles from Haworth. Mindful of his old friend, he invited Branwell to be his guest; but the dying youth was too weak to make even that little journey, although he longed for the excitement of change. Mr. Grundy was so much moved by the miserable tone of Branwell's letter that he drove over to Haworth to see for himself what ailed his old companion. He was very shocked at the change. Pale, sunk, tremulous, utterly wrecked; there was no hope for Branwell now; he had again taken to eating opium.

Anything for excitement, for a variation to his incessant sorrow. Weak as he was, and scarcely able to leave his bed, he craved piteously for an appointment of any kind, any reason for leaving Haworth, for getting quit of his old thoughts, any post anywhere for Heaven's sake so it were out of their whispering. He had not long to wait.

Later in that cold and bleak September Mr. Grundy again visited Haworth. He sent to the Vicarage for Branwell, and ordered dinner and a fire to welcome him; the room looked cosy and warm. While Mr. Grundy sat waiting for his guest, the Vicar was shown in. He, too, was strangely altered; much of his old stiffness of manner gone; and it was with genuine affection that he spoke of Branwell, and almost with despair that he touched on his increasing miseries. When Mr. Grundy's message had come, the poor, self-distraught sufferer had been lying ill in bed, apparently too weak to move; but the feverish restlessness which marked his latter years was too strong to resist the chance of excitement. He had insisted upon coming, so his father said, and would immediately be ready. Then the sorrowful half-blind old gentleman made his adieus to his son's host, and left the inn.

"Presently the door opened cautiously, and a head appeared. It was a mass of red, unkempt, uncut hair, wildly floating round a great, gaunt forehead; the cheeks yellow and hollow, the mouth fallen, the thin white lips not trembling but shaking, the sunken eyes, once small, now glaring with the light of madness—all told the sad tale but too surely. I hastened to my friend, greeted him in my gayest manner, as I knew he best liked, drew him quickly into the room, and forced upon him a stiff glass of hot brandy. Under its influence and that of the bright, cheerful surroundings, he looked frightened—frightened of himself. He glanced at me a moment, and muttered something of leaving a warm bed to come out in the cold night. Another glass of brandy, and returning warmth gradually brought him back to something like the Bronte of old. He even ate some dinner, a thing which he said he had not done for long; so our last interview was pleasant though grave. I never knew his intellect clearer. He described himself as waiting anxiously for death—indeed, longing for it, and happy, in these his sane moments, to think it was so near. He once again declared that that death would be due to the story I knew, and to nothing else.

"When at last I was compelled to leave, he quietly drew from his coat-sleeve a carving-knife, placed it on the table, and, holding me by both hands, said that, having given up all hopes of ever seeing me again, he imagined when my message came that it was a call from Satan. Dressing himself, he took the knife which he had long secreted, and came to the inn, with a full determination to rush into the room and stab the occupant. In the excited state of his mind, he did not recognise me when he opened the door, but my voice and manner conquered him, and 'brought him home to himself,' as he expressed it. I left him standing bare-headed in the road with bowed form and dropping tears."[30]

He went home, and a few days afterwards he died. That little intervening time was happier and calmer than any he had known for years; his evil habits, his hardened feelings slipped, like a mask, from the soul already touched by the final quiet. He was singularly altered and softened, gentle and loving to the father and sisters who had borne so much at his hands. It was as though he had awakened from the fierce delirium of a fever; weak though he was and shattered, they could again recognise in him their Branwell of old times, the hope and promise of all their early dreams. Neither they nor he dreamed that the end was so near; he had often talked of death, but now that he stood in the shadow of its wings, he was unconscious of that subduing presence. And it is pleasant to think that the sweet demeanour of his last days was not owing to the mere cowardly fear of death; but rather a return of the soul to its true self, a natural dropping-off of all extraneous fever and error, before the suffering of its life should close. Half an hour before he died Branwell was unconscious of danger; he was out in the village two days before, and was only confined to bed one single day. The next morning was a Sunday, the twenty-fourth of September. Branwell awoke to it perfectly conscious, and through the holy quiet of that early morning he lay, troubled by neither fear nor suffering, while the bells of the neighbouring church, the neighbouring tower whose fabulous antiquity had furnished him with many a boyish pleasantry, called the villagers to worship. They all knew him, all as they passed the house would look up and wonder if "t' Vicar's Patrick" were better or worse. But those of the Parsonage were not at church: they watched in Branwell's hushed and peaceful chamber.

Suddenly a terrible change came over the quiet face; there was no mistaking the sudden, heart-shaking summons. And now Charlotte sank; always nervous and highly strung, the mere dread of what might be to come, laid her prostrate. They led her away, and for a week she kept her bed in sickness and fever. But Branwell, the summoned, the actual sufferer, met death with a different face. He insisted upon getting up; if he had succumbed to the horrors of life he would defy the horrors of extinction; he would die as he thought no one had ever died before, standing. So, like some ancient Celtic hero, when the last agony began, he rose to his feet; hushed and awe-stricken, the old father, praying Anne, loving Emily, looked on. He rose to his feet and died erect after twenty minutes' struggle.

They found his pockets filled with the letters of the woman he had so passionately loved.

He was dead, this Branwell who had wrung the hearts of his household day by day, who drank their tears as wine. He was dead, and now they mourned him with acute and bitter pain. "All his vices were and are nothing now; we remember only his woes," writes Charlotte. They buried him in the same vault that had been opened twenty-three years ago to receive the childish, wasted corpses of Elizabeth and Maria. Sunday came round, recalling minute by minute the ebbing of his life, and Emily Bronte, pallid and dressed in black, can scarcely have heard her brother's funeral sermon for looking at the stone which hid so many memories, such useless compassion. She took her brother's death very much to heart, growing thin and pale and saying nothing. She had made an effort to go to church that Sunday, and as she sat there, quiet and hollow-eyed, perhaps she felt it was well that she had looked upon his resting-place, upon the grave where so much of her heart was buried. For, after his funeral, she never rallied; a cold and cough, taken then, gained fearful hold upon her, and she never went out of doors after that memorable Sunday.

But looking on her quiet, uncomplaining eyes, you would not have guessed so much.

"Emily and Anne are pretty well," says Charlotte, on the ninth of October, "though Anne is always delicate and Emily has a cold and cough at present."


[Footnote 30: 'Pictures of the Past.']



Already by the 29th of October of this melancholy year of 1848 Emily's cough and cold had made such progress as to alarm her careful elder sister. Before Branwell's death she had been, to all appearance, the one strong member of a delicate family. By the side of fragile Anne (already, did they but know it, advanced in tubercular consumption), of shattered Branwell, of Charlotte, ever nervous and ailing, this tall, muscular Emily had appeared a tower of strength. Working early and late, seldom tired and never complaining, finding her best relaxation in long, rough walks on the moors, she seemed unlikely to give them any poignant anxiety. But the seeds of phthisis lay deep down beneath this fair show of life and strength; the shock of sorrow which she experienced for her brother's death developed them with alarming rapidity.

The weariness of absence had always proved too much for Emily's strength. Away from home we have seen how she pined and sickened. Exile made her thin and wan, menaced the very springs of life. And now she must endure an inevitable and unending absence, an exile from which there could be no return. The strain was too tight, the wrench too sharp: Emily could not bear it and live. In such a loss as hers, bereaved of a helpless sufferer, the mourning of those who remain is embittered and quickened a hundred times a day when the blank minutes come round for which the customary duties are missing, when the unwelcome leisure hangs round the weary soul like a shapeless and encumbering garment. It was Emily who had chiefly devoted herself to Branwell. He being dead, the motive of her life seemed gone.

Had she been stronger, had she been more careful of herself at the beginning of her illness, she would doubtless have recovered, and we shall never know the difference in our literature which a little precaution might have made. But Emily was accustomed to consider herself hardy; she was so used to wait upon others that to lie down and be waited on would have appeared to her ignominious and absurd. Both her independence and her unselfishness made her very chary of giving trouble. It is, moreover, extremely probable that she never realised the extent of her own illness; consumption is seldom a malady that despairs; attacking the body it leaves the spirit free, the spirit which cannot realise a danger by which it is not injured. A little later on when it was Anne's turn to suffer, she is choosing her spring bonnet four days before her death. Which of us does not remember some such pathetic tale of the heart-wringing, vain confidence of those far gone in phthisis, who bear on their faces the marks of death for all eyes but their own to read?

To those who look on, there is no worse agony than to watch the brave bearing of these others unconscious of the sudden grave at their feet. Charlotte and Anne looked on and trembled. On the 29th of October, Charlotte, still delicate from the bilious fever which had prostrated her on the day of Branwell's death, writes these words already full of foreboding:

"I feel much more uneasy about my sister than myself just now. Emily's cold and cough are very obstinate. I fear she has pain in her chest, and I sometimes catch a shortness in her breathing when she has moved at all quickly. She looks very thin and pale. Her reserved nature occasions me great uneasiness of mind. It is useless to question her; you get no answer. It is still more useless to recommend remedies; they are never adopted."[31]

It was, in fact, an acute inflammation of the lungs which this unfortunate sufferer was trying to subdue by force of courage. To persons of strong will it is difficult to realise that their disease is not in their own control. To be ill, is with them an act of acquiescence; they have consented to the demands of their feeble body. When necessity demands the sacrifice, it seems to them so easy to deny themselves the rest, the indulgence. They set their will against their weakness and mean to conquer. They will not give up.

Emily would not give up. She felt herself doubly necessary to the household in this hour of trial. Charlotte was still very weak and ailing. Anne, her dear little sister, was unusually delicate and frail. Even her father had not quite escaped. That she, Emily, who had always been relied upon for strength and courage and endurance, should show herself unworthy of the trust when she was most sorely needed; that she, so inclined to take all duties on herself, so necessary to the daily management of the house, should throw up her charge in this moment of trial, cast away her arms in the moment of battle, and give her fellow-sufferers the extra burden of her weakness; such a thing was impossible to her.

So the vain struggle went on. She would resign no one of her duties, and it was not till within the last weeks of her life that she would so much as suffer the servant to rise before her in the morning and take the early work. She would not endure to hear of remedies; declaring that she was not ill, that she would soon be well, in the pathetic self-delusion of high-spirited weakness. And Charlotte and Anne, for whose sake she made this sacrifice, suffered terribly thereby. Willingly, thankfully would they have taken all her duties upon them; they burned to be up and doing. But—seeing how weak she was—they dare not cross her; they had to sit still and endure to see her labour for their comfort with faltering and death-cold hands.

"Day by day," says Charlotte, "day by day when I saw with what a front she met suffering, I looked on her with a wonder of anguish and love. I have seen nothing like it; but, indeed, I have never seen her parallel in anything. Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone. The awful point was that, while full of ruth for others, on herself she had no pity; the spirit was inexorable to the flesh; from the trembling hand, the unnerved limbs, the fading eyes, the same service was exacted as they had rendered in health. To stand by and witness this, and not dare to remonstrate, was a pain no words can render."

The time went on. Anxious to try what influence some friend, not of their own household, might exert upon this wayward sister, Charlotte thought of inviting Miss Nussey to Haworth. Emily had ever been glad to welcome her. But when the time came it was found that the least disturbance of the day's routine would only make Emily's burden heavier. And that scheme, too, was relinquished.

Another month had gone. Emily, paler and thinner, but none less resolute, fulfilled her duties with customary exactness, and insisted on her perfect health with defiant fortitude. On the 23rd of November, Charlotte writes again:—

"I told you Emily was ill in my last letter. She has not rallied yet. She is very ill. I believe if you were to see her your impression would be that there is no hope. A more hollow, wasted, pallid aspect I have not beheld. The deep, tight cough continues; the breathing after the least exertion is a rapid pant; and these symptoms are accompanied by pains in the chest and side. Her pulse, the only time she allowed it to be felt, was found to beat 115 per minute. In this state she resolutely refuses to see a doctor; she will give no explanation of her feelings; she will scarcely allow her feelings to be alluded to."

"No poisoning doctor" should come near her, Emily declared with the irritability of her disease. It was an insult to her will, her resolute endeavours. She was not, would not, be ill, and could therefore need no cure. Perhaps she felt, deep in her heart, the conviction that her complaint was mortal; that a delay in the sentence was all that care and skill could give; for she had seen Maria and Elizabeth fade and die, and only lately the physicians had not saved her brother.

But Charlotte, naturally, did not feel the same. Unknown to Emily, she wrote to a great London doctor drawing up a statement of the case and symptoms as minute and careful as she could give. But either this diagnosis by guesswork was too imperfect, or the physician saw that there was no hope; for his opinion was expressed too obscurely to be of any use. He sent a bottle of medicine, but Emily would not take it.

December came, and still the wondering, anxious sisters knew not what to think. By this time Mr. Bronte also had perceived the danger of Emily's state, and he was very anxious. Yet she still denied that she was ill with anything more grave than a passing weakness; and the pain in her side and chest appeared to diminish. Sometimes the little household was tempted to take her at her word, and believe that soon, with the spring, she would recover; and then, hearing her cough, listening to the gasping breath with which she climbed the short staircase, looking on the extreme emaciation of her form, the wasted hands, the hollow eyes, their hearts would suddenly fail. Life was a daily contradiction of hope and fear.

The days drew on towards Christmas; it was already the middle of December, and still Emily was about the house, able to wait upon herself, to sew for the others, to take an active share in the duties of the day. She always fed the dogs herself. One Monday evening, it must have been about the 14th of December, she rose as usual to give the creatures their supper. She got up, walking slowly, holding out in her thin hands an apronful of broken meat and bread. But when she reached the flagged passage the cold took her; she staggered on the uneven pavement and fell against the wall. Her sisters, who had been sadly following her, unseen, came forwards much alarmed and begged her to desist; but, smiling wanly, she went on and gave Floss and Keeper their last supper from her hands.

The next morning she was worse. Before her waking, her watching sisters heard the low, unconscious moaning that tells of suffering continued even in sleep; and they feared for what the coming year might hold in store. Of the nearness of the end they did not dream. Charlotte had been out over the moors, searching every glen and hollow for a sprig of heather, however pale and dry, to take to her moor-loving sister. But Emily looked on the flower laid on her pillow with indifferent eyes. She was already estranged and alienate from life.

Nevertheless she persisted in rising, dressing herself alone, and doing everything for herself. A fire had been lit in the room, and Emily sat on the hearth to comb her hair. She was thinner than ever now—the tall, loose-jointed "slinky" girl—her hair in its plenteous dark abundance was all of her that was not marked by the branding finger of death. She sat on the hearth combing her long brown hair. But soon the comb slipped from her feeble grasp into the cinders. She, the intrepid, active Emily, watched it burn and smoulder, too weak to lift it, while the nauseous, hateful odour of burnt bone rose into her face. At last the servant came in: "Martha," she said, "my comb's down there; I was too weak to stoop and pick it up."

I have seen that old, broken comb, with a large piece burned out of it; and have thought it, I own, more pathetic than the bones of the eleven thousand virgins at Cologne, or the time-blackened Holy Face of Lucca. Sad, chance confession of human weakness; mournful counterpart of that chainless soul which to the end maintained its fortitude and rebellion. The flesh is weak. Since I saw that relic, the strenuous verse of Emily Bronte's last poem has seemed to me far more heroic, far more moving; remembering in what clinging and prisoning garments that free spirit was confined.

The flesh was weak, but Emily would grant it no indulgence. She finished her dressing, and came very slowly, with dizzy head and tottering steps, downstairs into the little bare parlour where Anne was working and Charlotte writing a letter. Emily took up some work and tried to sew. Her catching breath, her drawn and altered face were ominous of the end. But still a little hope flickered in those sisterly hearts. "She grows daily weaker," wrote Charlotte, on that memorable Tuesday morning; seeing surely no portent that this—this! was to be the last of the days and the hours of her weakness.

The morning drew on to noon, and Emily grew worse. She could no longer speak, but—gasping in a husky whisper—she said: "If you will send for a doctor. I will see him now!" Alas, it was too late. The shortness of breath and rending pain increased; even Emily could no longer conceal them. Towards two o'clock her sisters begged her, in an agony, to let them put her to bed. "No, no," she cried; tormented with the feverish restlessness that comes before the last, most quiet peace. She tried to rise, leaning with one hand upon the sofa. And thus the chord of life snapped. She was dead.

She was twenty-nine years old.

They buried her, a few days after, under the church pavement; under the slab of stone where their mother lay, and Maria and Elizabeth and Branwell.

She who had so mourned her brother had verily found him again, and should sleep well at his side.

[Greek: phile met' autou keisomai, philou meta.]

And though no wind ever rustles over the grave on which no scented heather springs, nor any bilberry bears its sprigs of greenest leaves and purple fruit, she will not miss them now; she who wondered how any could imagine unquiet slumbers for them that sleep in the quiet earth.

They followed her to her grave—her old father, Charlotte, the dying Anne; and as they left the doors, they were joined by another mourner, Keeper, Emily's dog. He walked in front of all, first in the rank of mourners; and perhaps no other creature had known the dead woman quite so well. When they had lain her to sleep in the dark, airless vault under the church, and when they had crossed the bleak churchyard, and had entered the empty house again, Keeper went straight to the door of the room where his mistress used to sleep, and lay down across the threshold. There he howled piteously for many days; knowing not that no lamentations could wake her any more. Over the little parlour below a great calm had settled. "Why should we be otherwise than calm," says Charlotte, writing to her friend on the 21st of December. "The anguish of seeing her suffer is over; the spectacle of the pains of death is gone by; the funeral day is past. We feel she is at peace. No need now to tremble for the hard frost and the keen wind. Emily does not feel them."

The death was over, indeed, and the funeral day was past; yet one duty remained to the heart-wrung mourners, not less poignant than the sight of the dead changed face, not less crushing than the thud of stones and clods on the coffin of one beloved. They took the great brown desk in which she used to keep her papers, and sorted and put in order all that they found in it. How appealing the sight of that hurried, casual writing of a hand now stark in death! How precious each of those pages whose like should never be made again till the downfall of the earth in the end of time! How near, how utterly cut-off, the Past!

They found no novel, half-finished or begun, in the old brown desk which she used to rest on her knees, sitting under the thorns. But they discovered a poem, written at the end of Emily's life, profound, sincere, as befits the last words one has time to speak. It is the most perfect and expressive of her work: the fittest monument to her heroic spirit.

Thus run the last lines she ever traced:

"No coward soul is mine, No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere; I see heaven's glories shine, And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

"O God, within my breast, Almighty, ever-present Deity! Life, that in me has rest, As I—undying life—have power in Thee.

"Vain are the thousand creeds That move men's hearts: unutterably vain; Worthless as withered weeds, Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

"To waken doubt in one Holding so fast by thine infinity; So surely anchored on The steadfast rock of immortality.

"With wide-embracing love Thy spirit animates eternal years, Pervades and broods above, Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

"Though earth and man were gone, And suns and universes ceased to be, And Thou wert left alone, Every existence would exist in Thee.

"There is not room for Death, No atom that his might could render void; Thou—Thou art Being, Breath, And what Thou art may never be destroyed."


[Footnote 31: Mrs. Gaskell.]


"She died in a time of promise."

So writes Charlotte, in the first flush of her grief. "She died in a time of promise;" having done much, indeed, having done enough to bring her powers to ripe perfection. And the fruit of that perfection is denied us. She died, between the finishing of labour and the award of praise. Before the least hint of the immortality that has been awarded her could reach her in her obscure and distant home. Without one success in all her life, with her school never kept, her verses never read, her novel never praised, her brother dead in ruin. All her ambitions had flagged and died of the blight. But she was still young, ready to live, eager to try again.

"She died in a time of promise. We saw her taken from life in its prime."

Truly a prime of sorrow, the dark mid-hour of the storm, dark with the grief gone by and the blackness of the on-coming grief. With Branwell dead, with her dearest sister dying, Emily died. Had she lived, what profit could she have made of her life? For us, indeed, it would have been well; but for her? Fame in solitude is bitter food; and Anne will die in May; and Charlotte six years after; and Emily never could make new friends. Better far for her, that loving, faithful spirit, to die while still her life was dear, while still there was hope in the world, than to linger on a few years longer, in loneliness and weakness, to quit in fame and misery a disillusioned life.

"She died in a time of promise. We saw her taken from life in its prime. But it is God's will, and the place where she is gone is better than that she has left."

Truly better, to leave her soul to speak in the world for aye, for the wind to be stronger for her breath, and the heather more purple from her heart; better far to be lost in the all-embracing, all-transmuting process of life, than to live in cramped and individual pain. So at least, wrong or right, thought this woman who loved the earth so well. She was not afraid to die. The thought of death filled her with no perplexities; but with assured and happy calm. She held it more glorious than fame, and sweeter than love, to give her soul to God and her body to the earth. And which of us shall carp at the belief which made a very painful life contented?

"The thing that irks me most is this shattered prison, after all. I'm tired of being enclosed here. I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there; not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart; but really with it and in it. You think you are better and more fortunate than I, in full health and strength; you are sorry for me—very soon that will be altered. I shall be sorry for you. I shall be incomparably above and beyond you all."[32]

Ah, yes; incomparably above and beyond. Not only because of the keen vision with which she has revealed the glorious world in which her memory is fresher wind, and brighter sunshine, not only for that; but because the remembrance of her living self is a most high and noble precept. Never before were hands so inspired alike for daily drudgery and for golden writing never to fade. Never was any heart more honourable and strong, nor any more pitiful to shameful weakness. Seldom, indeed, has any man, more seldom still any woman, owned the inestimable gift of genius and never once made it an excuse for a weakness, a violence, a failing, which in other mortals we condemn. No deed of hers requires such apology. Therefore, being dead she persuades us to honour; and not only her works but the memory of her life shall rise up and praise her, who lived without praise so well.


[Footnote 32: 'Wuthering Heights.']




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Mary Wollstonecraft. By Elizabeth Robins Pennell.

Madame Roland. By Mathilde Blind.

Madame de Stael. By Bella Duffy.

Margaret of Navarre. By Mary A. Robinson.

Vittoria Colonna. By Miss A. Kennard.

London: W. H. ALLEN & CO., 13 Waterloo Place. S.W.

* * * * *

Eminent Women Series.


GEORGE ELIOT. By Mathilde Blind.

"Miss Blind's book is a most excellent and careful study of a great genius."—Vanity Fair.

"No page of this interesting monograph should be skipped."—Graphic.

"Nothing is more needed in the present day than short treatises on great writers like these. Miss Blind has spared no pains to make a coherent and attractive narrative, and has succeeded in presenting us with a complete biography; interspersing her account with incisive criticisms."—British Quarterly Review.

EMILY BRONTE. By A. Mary F. Robinson.

"Miss Robinson makes the biographical part of her book of extreme interest, while her criticism of her author is just, searching, and brilliant."—Truth.

"In the volume before us we have a critical biography of the author of 'Wuthering Heights,' and presenting to the mind's eye a clear and definite conception of the truest and most unalloyed genius this country has produced. What Mrs. Gaskell did for Charlotte Bronte, Miss Robinson has with equal grace and sympathy done for her younger sister."—Manchester Courier.

"Emily Bronte is lovingly and faithfully presented both as a woman and as a writer, and the volume is one for which all lovers of literature will thank Miss Robinson, and the Editor who persuaded her to perform the task."—Derby Mercury.

GEORGE SAND. By Bertha Thomas.

"Miss Thomas' book is well written and fairly complete; she is well intentioned, always fair, and her book deserves decided recommendation as an introduction to its subject."—Athenaeum.

"In this unpretending volume general readers will find all that they need to know about the life and writings of George Sand. Miss Thomas has accomplished a rather difficult task with great adroitness."—St. James' Gazette.

"A life of George Sand written carefully and with adequate knowledge, must, and doubtless will, be of interest to many readers, and this little book shows both care and knowledge."—Vanity Fair.

London: W. H. ALLEN & CO., 13 Waterloo Place. S.W.

* * * * *

Eminent Women Series.


MARY LAMB. By Anne Gilchrist.

"Mrs. Gilchrist's 'Mary Lamb' is a painstaking cultivated sketch, written with knowledge and feeling."—Pall Mall Gazette.

"To her task of recording this life, Mrs. Gilchrist has evidently brought wide reading and accurate knowledge. She is to be congratulated on the clearness and interest of her narrative, on the success with which she has placed before us one of the gentlest and most pathetic figures of English literature."—Academy.

"A thoroughly delightful volume, lovingly sympathetic in its portraiture, and charged with much new and interesting matter."—Harpers' Magazine.

"To all persons who enjoy a narrative of private life, and to all who desire a greater intimacy than they have hitherto enjoyed with Elia and Bridget, we cordially recommend Mrs. Gilchrist's 'Mary Lamb.'"—Vanity Fair.

MARIA EDGEWORTH. By Helen Zimmern.

"A very pleasing resume of the life and works of our gifted countrywoman."—Freeman's Journal.

"An interesting biography."—Echo.

"Miss Zimmern is the first to tell the story as a whole for English readers, and the way in which she describes the Irish home, the literary partnership of eccentric father and obedient daughter, the visit to France, and Miss Edgeworth's sight of certain French celebrities including Madame de Genlis, is full of liveliness."—Pall Mall Gazette.

MARGARET FULLER. By Julia Ward Howe.

"A very fresh and engaging piece of biography, and a worthy addition to Mr. Ingram's carefully-selected and well-edited series."—Freeman's Journal.

"Well worthy of association with its popular predecessors, and among the new books that should be read."—Derby Mercury.

London: W. H. ALLEN & CO. 13 Waterloo Place. S.W.

* * * * *

Eminent Women Series.


ELIZABETH FRY. By Mrs. E. R. Pitman.

"Of all English philanthropists, none exhibits a nobler nature or is worthier of a permanent record than Mrs. Fry. For this reason we welcome the sketch of her by Mrs. Pitman, published in the Eminent Women Series."—Times.

"An excellent idea of Mrs. Fry's noble life and work can be got from Mrs. Pitman's simple but impressive work."—Contemporary Review.

"One of the best and most interesting of the series."—Literary World.

"This is a good book, worthy of a place in the interesting Eminent Women Series."—Spectator.

"Excellent in arrangement and proportioned with judgment."—Academy.


"The accomplished authoress has done her work con amore, and left no stone unturned in her endeavour to show the world the flesh-and-blood aspect of the wife of the young Pretender and of her lover, the poet Alfieri."—Lady's Pictorial.

"Every page of the book bears witness to the author's ability and determination to realize her subject, and make readers realize it."—Athenaeum.

"There is a vivid power in Vernon Lee's realization of Florentine life and society, and much beauty and glow of colour in her descriptions."—Saturday Review.

"This romantic biography is as exciting as any work of imagination, and the incisive and graphic style of its author renders it singularly attractive."—Morning Post.

HARRIET MARTINEAU. By Mrs. Fenwick Miller.

"A faithful and sympathetic account of this remarkable woman."—Scotsman.

"As a reflective broad-minded woman's faithful description of another woman's private life and brilliant literary career, this critical sketch is admirable."—Whitehall Review.

"It is not in any sense of the word a compilation, but a memoir which is a model of that conciseness which is not incompatible with distinct portraiture or with a fresh and living interest in the narrative."—Daily News.

"Mrs. Miller has done her difficult work well, and her volume is one of the ablest and most interesting of the able and interesting series to which it belongs."—Derby Mercury.

London: W. H. ALLEN & CO., 13 Waterloo Place. S.W.

* * * * *


Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings. Obvious typographical errors in punctuation (misplaced quotes and the like) have been corrected. Corrections [in brackets] in the text are noted below:

page 20: typographical error corrected

in front two moderate-sized parlours looking on the garden, hat[that] on the right being Mr. Bronte's study, and

page 30: added quote mark

["]The projectors' object will not be fully realised until the means are afforded of reducing the terms still lower,

page 49: added possible dropped word

The girls would take their friend [for] long walks on the moor. When they

page 96: typographical errors corrected

before his employers' gain. He must have made a pretty penny out of those escapades of Barnwell's[Branwell's], for some

strong, his constitution was deranged and broken by his excesses; yet, strangly[strangely] enough, consumption,

page 109: typographical error corrected

in that controlling influence so characteristic of her elder sister. Her burden of doubt was more that[than] she could

page 140: typographical error corrected

from them I received a brief and business-like but civi[civil] and sensible reply, on which we acted, and at

page 154: typographical error corrected

and full of pity. Was is[it] wonderful that she summed up life in one bitter line?—

page 181: typographical error corrected

had driven him to desperation. In the summer following Catharine's visit to Thushcross[Thrushcross] Grange, his

page 184: added comma

know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly[,] but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever

page 207: added missing word

quiet envelops him. His violence was not strong enough to reach that final peace and mar its completeness. [His] grave is next to Catharine's, and near to Edgar Linton's;


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