Письма Шарлотты Бронте

Письма Шарлотты — очень важный аспект в изучении феномена семьи Бронте. Ее письма, как профессионального, так и личного характера, раскрывают все потайные уголки в жизни семьи Бронте. Без этих писем мы бы имели лишь скудные познания и догадки. Многие письма Шарлотты были адресованы ее школьной подруге — Эллен Насси, с которой она поддерживала близкие и крепкие отношения в течение всей жизни. И эти драгоценные источники информации были почти утеряны для современного читателя. После замужества Шарлотты, ее супруг, Артур, решил, что письма находятся в «плохих руках», и заставил Эллен Насси пообещать, чтобы та уничтожила все полученные ею от Шарлотты письма. Она пообещала сделать это, но, к счастью, обещание не сдержала. Только благодаря этому, на данный момент мы имеем практически всю корреспонденцию Шарлотты.

Также Шарлотта достаточно интенсивно писала своим издателям под псевдонимом Каррер Белл, а позже стала подписываться настоящим именем. Это раскрывает литературный аспект жизни Шарлотты и ее сестер. С Эллен она, например, не говорила о своей литературной славе, и ее подруга была в неведении до тех пор, пока не раскрылась тайна «братьев Белл», и сестры не стали известны повсеместно.

To Ellen Nussey

Roe-Head, May 11th, 1831

«Dear Ellen,

I take advantage of the earliest opportunity to thank you for the letter you favoured me with last week and to apologize for having so long neglected to write to you, indeed I believe this will be the first letter or note I have ever addressed to you. I am extremely obliged to you Sister for her kind invitation and I assure you that I should very much have liked to hear Mr Murray’s lectures on Galvanism as they ‘would’ doubtless have been both amusing, and instructive. But we are often compelled “to bend our inclinations to our duty” (as Miss Wooler observed the other day) and since there [are] so many holidays this half-year it would have appeared almost unreasonable to ask for an extra holiday; besides we should perhaps have got behind-hand with our lessons so that, everything considered it is perhaps as well that circumstances have deprived us of this pleasure.

Believe me to remain.
You affect. Friend
C. Brontë»

Шарлотта, которая недолюбливала свою работу гувернантки, рассчитывала открыть собственную школу в Хауорте вместе с сестрами. Это бы помогло им стать независимыми. В следующем письме Шарлотта делится своими мыслями по этому поводу.

to Ellen Nussey

Haworth, July 18th, 1841

«We waited long and anxiously for you, on the Thursday that you promised to come. I quite wearied my eyes with watching from the window, eye-glass in hand, and sometimes spectacles on nose. However, you are not to blame . . . and as to disappointment, why, all must suffer disappointment at some period or other of their lives. But a hundred things I had to say to you will now be forgotten, and never said. There is a project hatching in this house, which both Emily and I anxiously wished to discuss with you. The project is yet in its infancy, …. To come to the point: Papa and aunt talk, by fits and starts, of our—id est, Emily, Anne, and myself—commencing a school! I have often, you know, said how much I wished such a thing; but I never could conceive where the capital was to come from for making such a speculation. I was well aware, indeed, that aunt had money, but I always considered that she was the last person who would offer a loan for the purpose in question. A loan, however, she has offered, or rather intimates that she perhaps will offer in case pupils can be secured, an eligible situation obtained, &c. This sounds very fair, but still there are matters to be considered which throw something of a damp upon the scheme. I do not expect that aunt will sink more than 150L. in such a venture; and would it be possible to establish a respectable (not by any means a showy) school, and to commence housekeeping with a capital of only that amount? Propound the question to your sister, if you think she can answer it; if not, don’t say a word on the subject. As to getting into debt, that is a thing we could none of us reconcile our mind to for a moment. We do not care how modest, how humble our commencement be, so it be made on sure grounds, and have a safe foundation. In thinking of all possible and impossible places where we could establish a school, I have thought of Burlington, or rather of the neighbourhood of Burlington. Do you remember whether there was any other school there besides that of Miss —? This is, of course, a perfectly crude and random idea. There are a hundred reasons why it should be an impracticable one. We have no connections, no acquaintances there; it is far from home, &c. Still, I fancy the ground in the East Riding is less fully occupied than in the West. Much inquiry and consideration will be necessary, of course, before any place is decided on; and I fear much time will elapse before any plan is executed …Write as soon as you can. I shall not leave my present situation till my future prospects assume a more fixed and definite aspect».

Charlotte Brontë

Сестры хотели включить изучение языков в свою школьную программу, среди которых французский должен был занимать значительное место. Они были старательными ученицами, и хотели улучшить свои познания в области французского языка в специальной школе. Мэри Тейлор, хорошая подруга Шарлотты, часто писала ей о своем опыте ученичества на Континенте, и после прочтения Шарлоттой одного из таких писем, она загорелась идеей поехать за новыми знаниями.

Charlotte’s «Wish for Wings»

August 7th, 1841

«……Martha —, it appears, is in the way of enjoying great advantages; so is Mary, for you will be surprised to hear that she is returning immediately to the Continent with her brother; not, however, to stay there, but to take a month’s tour and recreation. I have had a long letter from Mary, and a packet containing a present of a very handsome black silk scarf, and a pair of beautiful kid gloves, bought at Brussels. Of course, I was in one sense pleased with the gift—pleased that they should think of me so far off, amidst the excitements of one of the most splendid capitals of Europe; …. Mary’s letters spoke of some of the pictures and cathedrals she had seen— pictures the most exquisite, cathedrals the most venerable. I hardly know what swelled to my throat as I read her letter: such a vehement impatience of restraint and steady work; such a strong wish for wings—wings such as wealth can furnish; such an urgent thirst to see, to know, to learn; something internal seemed to expand bodily for a minute. I was tantalised by the consciousness of faculties unexercised,—then all collapsed, and I despaired. My dear, I would hardly make that confession to any one but yourself; and to you, rather in a letter than viva voce. These rebellious and absurd emotions were only momentary; I quelled them in five minutes. I hope they will not revive, for they were acutely painful. No further steps have been taken about the project I mentioned to you, nor probably will be for the present; but Emily, and Anne, and I, keep it in view. It is our polar star, and we look to it in all circumstances of despondency. I begin to suspect I am writing in a strain which will make you think I am unhappy. This is far from being the case; on the contrary, I know my place is a favourable one, for a governess. What dismays and haunts me sometimes, is a conviction that I have no natural knack for my vocation. If teaching only were requisite, it would be smooth and easy; but it is the living in other people’s houses—the estrangement from one’s real character- -the adoption of a cold, rigid, apathetic exterior, that is painful . . . You will not mention our school project at present. A project not actually commenced is always uncertain. Write to me often, my dear Nell; you know your letters are valued. Your ‘loving child’ (as you choose to call me so),

C. B.»

Если какая-то толковая мысль зародилась в голове Шарлотты, она бы не успокоилась, пока не привела эту идею в исполнение. Она получила поддержку со стороны семьи, ведь главным ее аргументом в пользу получения нового образования было то, что это сделает их собственную школу максимально успешной. Шарлотта написала письмо своей тетушке, которая единственная из их семьи, могла помочь с финансированием и поддержать подобные затеи.

September 29th, 1841

«Dear Aunt,

…. My friends recommend me, if I desire to secure permanent success, to delay commencing the school for six months longer, and by all means to contrive, by hook or by crook, to spend the intervening time in some school on the continent. They say schools in England are so numerous, competition so great, that without some such step towards attaining superiority, we shall probably have a very hard struggle, and may fail in the end. They say, moreover, that the loan of 100L., which you have been so kind as to offer us, will, perhaps, not be all required now, as Miss W— will lend us the furniture; and that, if the speculation is intended to be a good and successful one, half the sum, at least, ought to be laid out in the manner I have mentioned, thereby insuring a more speedy repayment both of interest and principal.

I would not go to France or to Paris. I would go to Brussels, in Belgium. The cost of the journey there, at the dearest rate of travelling, would be 5L.; living is there little more than half as dear as it is in England, and the facilities for education are equal or superior to any other place in Europe. In half a year, I could acquire a thorough familiarity with French. I could improve greatly in Italian, and even get a dash of German, i.e., providing my health continued as good as it is now. Mary is now staying at Brussels, at a first-rate establishment there. I should not think of going to the Château de Koekelberg, where she is resident, as the terms are much too high; but if I wrote to her, she, with the assistance of Mrs. Jenkins, the wife of the British Chaplain, would be able to secure me a cheap, decent residence and respectable protection. I should have the opportunity of seeing her frequently; she would make me acquainted with the city; and, with the assistance of her cousins, I should probably be introduced to connections far more improving, polished, and cultivated, than any I have yet known.

These are advantages which would turn to real account, when we actually commenced a school; and, if Emily could share them with me, we could take a footing in the world afterwards which we can never do now. I say Emily instead of Anne; for Anne might take her turn at some future period, if our school answered. I feel certain, while I am writing, that you will see the propriety of what I say. You always like to use your money to the best advantage. You are not fond of making shabby purchases; when you do confer a favour, it is often done in style; and depend upon it, 50L., or 100L., thus laid out, would be well employed. Of course, I know no other friend in the world to whom I could apply on this subject except yourself. I feel an absolute conviction that, if this advantage were allowed us, it would be the making of us for life. Papa will, perhaps, think it a wild and ambitious scheme; but who ever rose in the world without ambition? When he left Ireland to go to Cambridge University, he was as ambitious as I am now. I want us all to get on. I know we have talents, and I want them to be turned to account. I look to you, aunt, to help us. I think you will not refuse. I know, if you consent, it shall not be my fault if you ever repent your kindness».

Charlotte Brontë

Помимо всего прочего, Шарлотта решила взять с собой на обучение сестру Эмили, ведь в таком случае старшие спокойнее отпустят детей в путешествие. Теперь Шарлотте оставалось лишь найти подходящую школу. Подруга Шарлотты, Мэри и ее сестра Марта, уехали учиться в очень престижный девичий пансионат в пригороде Брюсселя (Бельгия), но оплата за такое место была не по карману сестрам Бронте. И им посоветовали отправиться в не менее уважаемую школу семьи Эже в столице Бельгии.

Письмо отцу

September 23th, 1829

Parsonage House, Crosstone
To the Revd Patrick Brontë,

«My Dear Papa,

At Aunts, request I write these lines to inform you that “if all be well” we shall be at home on Friday by dinner time, when we hope to find you in good health-On account of the bad weather we have not been out much, but notwithstanding we have spent our time very pleasantly, between reading, working, and learning out lessons, which Uncle Fenell has been so kind as to teach us every day, Branwell has taken two sketches from nature, & Emily Anne & myself have likewise each of us drawn a piece from some views of the lakes which Mr. Fennell brought with him from Westmorland, the whole of these he intends on keeping — Mr Fenell is sorry he cannot accompany us to Howarth on Friday for want of room, but hopes to have the pleasure of seeing you soon, all unite in sending their kind love with your Affectionate Daughter,

Charlotte Brontë»