Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Those Poor Girls!"

The Haworth church

Church interior

In memory...

Some of the authors' personal possessions

Emily's bedroom

Thornfield chest

Cemetery and Parsonage

So exclaimed the proprietess of the farm campsite we stayed at Monday night, when I told her we were headed next for Haworth. She went on to extol their genius and achievement, despite the dreadful circumstances. I had been to Haworth before, in 1989, but had forgotten just how sad and tragic their story was. The "In Memory" plaque in the church conveys much of it. Mother and six children all died prematurely, the two elder girls before adolescence, Emily and Anne before 30, Charlotte at 39, a year married and pregnant. The son, Branwell, who was thought to be the talented one (the son, of course), drank and drugged himself to death by 31. The father outlived them all, to the the age of 85. A minister, he must have known the Book of Job by heart. The story is all the sadder, indeed, when one considers the genius and achievement.

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