By F. B. Pinion

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Extra info for A Brontë Companion: Literary Assessment, Background, and Reference

Example text

Anne's wish to see the sea could not be resisted, weak though she was. They took rooms at the Cliff lodgings where Anne had stayed with the Robinsons, and there she died. To spare her father anguish, Charlotte decided that Anne should be buried at Scarborough. Mr Bronte recommended that his one remaining daughter should stay by the sea for her health, and, after another week at Scarborough, she and Ellen spent a fortnight at Filey and Easton. Back at the parsonage she had only her father, Tabitha and Martha, and Keeper and Flossy as companions.

He had fought at the barricades during the Belgian revolution of 1830, lost his first wife and child during the cholera epidemic of 1833, and married his present wife in 1836. She was five years his senior, and kept a strict eye on her school. Her fourth child was born in July after the arrival of the Brontes. They were received kindly, and given special privileges because of their seniority. The number of pupils was to increase, but at this time there were only twelve other boarders and forty to fifty day-girls.

Back at the parsonage she had only her father, Tabitha and Martha, and Keeper and Flossy as companions. She was determined to face up to the agony of loneliness, and find release in her work. Shirley had been laid aside, and then continued at intervals; when Anne was dying, it had helped to distract Charlotte from 'dark and desolate' reality. The novel was finished by the end of August. It was published at the end of October, when she was at Brookroyd with Ellen Nussey. By this time the secret of the Bronte authorship was out; Charlotte had concealed it even from Ellen.

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