Письма Энн Бронте

От Энн Бронте сохранилось всего лишь несколько писем, но тем они ценнее. Читая их, мы можем глубже понять характер и душу Энн. А предсмертное письмо создает смешанные чувства печали и уважения. Печаль — из-за такой ранней смерти доброго и талантливого человека, уважение — из-за проглядывающих между строк письма силы и живой надежды.

В краю Йоркширских болот, деревня Хауорт очень сильно повлияла на состояние здоровья сестер с ее суровым климатом. В письме к Эллен Насси, близкой подруге Шарлотты и всех сестер Бронте, Энн говорит о том, как эти условия повлияли на всю семью.

Смерть Бренуэлла 24 сентября 1848 года повергла семью в траур, и в своем коротком письме к издателю и другу Шарлотты, Уильяму Смиту Уильямсу, Энн приносит свои извинения за временную неспособность Шарлотты писать.

19 сентября того же года умерла Эмили. А 30 декабря Энн написала письмо преподобному Дэвиду Тому о том, что верит в «спасение Господне и его бесконечную любовь».

Однако смерть подбирается и к самой Энн. В своем предсмертном письме к Эллен Насси она умоляет составить ей компанию в поездке к Скарборо, чтобы увидеть море в последний раз. В это время Энн пишет свое последнее стихотворение — Last Lines.

Энн Бронте умерла 28 мая 1849 года. Ей было 29 лет. В отличие от остальной семьи, которая похоронена в фамильном склепе в Хауорте, могила Энн находится в Скарборо, у церкви Святой Марии, около моря, которое она так любила…

To the Reverend David Thom

Haworth, 30th December 1848


Ill health must plead my excuse for this long delay in acknowledging your flattering communication; but, believe me, I am not the less gratified at the pleasure you have derived from my own and my relatives’ works, especially from the opinions they express. I have seen so little of controversial Theology that I was not aware the doctrine of Universal Salvation had so able and ardent an advocate as yourself; but I have cherished it from my very childhood — with a trembling hope at first, and afterwards with a firm and glad conviction of its truth. I drew it secretly from my own heart not from the word of God before I knew that any other held it. And since then it has ever been a source of true delight to me to find the same views either timidly suggested or boldly advocated by benevolent and thoughtful minds; and I now believe there are many more believers than professors in that consoling creed. Why good men should be so averse to admit it, I know not; — into their own hearts at least, however they might object to its promulgation among the bulk of mankind. But perhaps the world is not ripe for it yet. I have frequently thought that since it has pleased God to leave it in darkness so long respecting this particular truth, and often to use ’such doubtful language as to admit of such a general misconception thereupon, he must have some good reason for it. We see how liable men are to yield to the temptations of the passing hour; how little the dread of future punishment — how still less the promise of future reward can avail to make them forbear and wait; and if so many thousands rush into destruction with (as they suppose) the prospect of Eternal Death before their eyes, — what might not the consequence be, if that prospect were changed for one of a limited season of punishment, far distant and unseen, — however protracted and terrible it might be?

I thankfully cherish this belief; I honour those who hold it; and I would that all men had the same view of man’s hopes and God’s unbounded goodness as he has given to us, if it might be had with safety. But does not that if require some consideration? should we not remember the weak brother and the infatuated slave of satan, and beware of revealing these truths too hastily to those as yet unable to receive them? But in these suggestions I am perhaps condemning myself, for in my late novel, ’The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’, I have given as many hints in support of the doctrine as I could venture to introduce into a work of that description. They are however mere suggestions, and as such I trust you will receive them, believing that I am well aware how much may be said in favour of boldly disseminating God’s truth and leaving that to work its way. Only let our zeal be tempered with discretion, and while we labour, let us humbly look to God who is able and certain to bring his great work to perfection in his own good time and manner.

Accept my best wishes on behalf of yourself and your important undertakings, and believe me to remain with sincere esteem.

Yours truly
Acton Bell».

To William Smith Williams (Charlotte’s publisher)

Haworth, 29th September 1848

«My sister wishes to thank you for your two letters, the receipt of which gave her much pleasure, though coming in a season of severe domestic affliction, which has so wrought upon her too delicate constitution as to induce a rather serious indisposition that renders her unfit for the slightest exertion. Even the light task of writiing to a friend is at present too much for her, though, I am happy to inform you, she is now recovering; and I trust ere long, she will be able to assure you herself of her complete restoration, and to give you her own sentiments upon the contents of your letters».

To Ellen Nussey

Haworth, 4th October 1847

«Many thanks to you for your unexpected and welcome epistle. Charlotte is well, and meditates writing to you. Happily for all parties the east wind no longer prevails — during its continuance she complained of its influence as usual. I too suffered from it, in some degree, as I always do, more or less; but this time, it brought me no reinforcement of colds and coughs which is what I dread the most. Emily considers it a ’dry, uninteresting wind’, but it does not affect her nervous system».

Anne Brontë

To Ellen Nussey

Haworth, 26th January 1848

«You do not tell us how you bear the present unfavourable weather. We are all cut up by the cruel east wind: most of us i.e. Charlotte, Emily, and I, have had the influenza, or a bad cold instead, twice over within the space of a few weeks; Papa has had it once. Tabby has hitherto escaped it altogether. — I have no news to tell you, for we have been nowhere , seen no one, and done nothing (to speak of)* since you were here — and yet we contrive to be busy from morning to night. Flossy is fatter than ever, but still active enough to relish a sheep hunt».

*By this time the sisters had all published their first novels and Anne was working on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. They had agreed on anonymity so Anne, unable to tell a lie, simple says she has done nothing (to speak of).

Последнее письмо To Ellen Nussey

Haworth, 5th April 1849

«My dear Miss Nussey,

I thank you greatly for your kind letter, and your ready compliance with my proposal as far as the will can go at least. I see however that your friends are unwilling that you should undertake the responsibility of accompanying me: under present circumstances. But I do not think there would be any great responsibility in the matter. I know, and everybody knows that you would be as kind and helpful as any one could possibly be; and I hope I should not be very troublesome. It would be as a companion not as a nurse that I should wish for your company; otherwise, I should not venture to ask it. As for your kind and often repeated invitation to Brookroyd, pray give my sincere thanks to your mother and sisters, but tell them I could not think of inflicting my presence upon them as I now am. It is very kind of them to make so light of the trouble but trouble, there must be, more or less, — and certainly no pleasure from the society of a silent invalid stranger. — I hope however that Charlotte will by some means make it possible to accompany me after all, for she is certainly very delicate and greatly needs a change of air and scene to renovate her constitution. And then your going with me before the end of May is apparently out of the question, unless you are disappointed in your visitors, but I should be reluctant to wait till then if the weather would at all permit an earlier departure. You say May is a trying month, and so say others. The earlier part is often cold enough I acknowledge, but, according to my experience, we are almost certain of some fine warm days in the latter half when the laburnums and lilacs are in bloom; whereas June is often cold and July generally wet.

But I have a more serious reason than this for my impatience of delay: the doctors say that change of air or removal to a better; cIimate would hardly ever fail of success in consumptive cases if the remedy were taken in time, but the reason why there are so many disappointments is, that it is generally deferred till it is too late. Now I would not commit this error; and to say the truth, though I suffer much less from pain and fever than I did when you were with us, I am decidedly weaker and very much thinner my cough still troubles me a good deal, especially in the night, and, what seems worse than all, I am subject to great shortness of breath on going up stairs or any slight exertion. Under these circumstances I think there is no time to be lost.

I have no horror of death: if I thought it inevitable I think I could quietly resign myself to the prospect, in the hope that you, dear Miss Nussey, would give as much of your company as you possibly could to Charlotte and be a sister to her in my stead. But I wish it would please God to spare me not only for Papa’s and Charlotte’s sakes, but because I long to do some good in the world before I leave it. I have many schemes in my head for future practise — humble and limited indeed — but still I should not like them all to come to nothing, and myself to have lived to so little purpose. But God’s will be done. Remember me respectfully to your mother and sisters, and believe me, dear Miss N.

Yours most affectionately
Anne Brontë».