Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Finish Line

Charlotte Brontë

The race is finished; I have crossed the line and stand in the winner's circle.

All that chatter just means I have completed Derby Day and Other Adventures by A. Edward Newton. He ends his book with two tales of the Brontës. One chapter about his first visit to the parsonage where the father, son, and three daughters lived in Yorkshire. A dreary, desolate place by all accounts.

The final chapter has to do mostly with information about Charlotte and her life. I was surprised to read that Mrs. Gaskell, of Cranford fame, had written a biography of Charlotte. Later, it was discovered that she had left out or simply ignored certain information that didn't fit her idea of who Charlotte was. Since then who knows how many books about the Brontës have been written.

According to Mr. Newton, it was a friend on his who called on Mr. Nichols, Charlotte's widower, after he had returned to Ireland and remarried. With the offer of some coin, this friend walked away with a chest full of letters, stories, and other Brontë personal papers.

Also, there was a story about an unrequited love of Charlotte's, a married tutor, whom she met in Brussels. Some letters of hers, expressing undying devotion, came to light.

Of course, by then, all the Brontës were dead.

I don't consider myself a fan of the family. I have never read Jane Eyre. I may have read Wuthering Heights in high school, but am more familiar with that story through film. And I must admit, even after reading about them, the Brontës are not on my To Be Read list.

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