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THE LIBRARY
OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



GIFT OF

FREDERIC THOMAS BLANCHARD

FOR THE
ENGLISH READING ROOM



THE UAWOItm EDITION



S H I K L E Y



BY

CHARLOTTE \JJR O N T E

(CURRKR BELL)
WITH AN INTRODUCTION

BT

MRS. HUMPHRY WARD

ILLUSTRATED




NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER it BROTHERS PUBLISHERS



THE BRONTE NOVELS

Haworth Edition

JANE EYRE

SHIRLEY

VILLETTE

THE PROFESSOR AND POEMS

WUTHERING HEIGHTS

TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL

MRS. GASKELL'S LIFE OF

CHARLOTTE BRONTE

Prefaces by Mrs. Humphry Ward
Illustrated Crown 8vo



HARPER & BROTHERS
ESTABLISHED 1817



Copyright, 1890, by HARPER i BKOTHMS.



Printed in ths United States of America
O-B



CONTENTS



INTRODUCTION ix

I. LEVITICAL 1

II. THE WAGGONS 16

III. MB. YORKE 34

IV. MR. YORKE (continued] 44

V. HOLLOW'S COTTAGE 57

VI. CORIOLANUS 75

VII. THE CURATES AT TEA 98

VIII. NOAH AND MOSES 128

IX. BRIARMAINS 146

X. OLD MAIDS 171

XI. FlELDHEAD 191

XII. SHIRLEY AND CAROLINE 211

XIII. FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS ON BUSINESS 235

XIV. SHIRLEY SEEKS TO BE SAVED BY WORKS . 204
XV. MR. DONNE'S EXODUS 280

XVI. WHITSUNTIDE 296

XVII. THE SCHOOL-FEAST 309

XVIII. WHICH THE GENTEEL READER is RECOM-
MENDED TO SKIP, Low PERSONS BEING

HERE INTRODUCED .... 327



VI



SHIRLEY



CH1FTKK MOB

XIX. A SUMMER NIGHT 340

XX. TO-MORROW 3,58

XXI. MRS. PRYOR 373

XXII. Two LIVES 393

XXIII. AN EVENING OUT 404

XXIV. THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH 427
XXV. THE WEST WIND BLOWS 449

XXVI. OLD COPY-BOOKS 458

XXVII. THE FIRST BLUE-STOCKING .... 479

XXVIII. PHCEBE 506

XXIX. Louis MOORE 530

XXX. RUSHEDGE, A CONFESSIONAL .... 540

XXXI. UNCLE AND NIECE 557

XXXII. THE SCHOOLBOY AND THE WOOD-
NYMPH 576

XXXIII. MARTIN'S TACTICS 589

XXXIV. CASE OF DOMESTIC PERSECUTION. RE-

MARKABLE INSTANCE OF Pious PER-
SEVERANCE IN THE DISCHARGE OF

RELIGIOUS DUTIES 602

XXXV. WHEREIN MATTERS MAKE SOME PROG-
RESS, BUT NOT MUCH 611

XXXVI. WRITTEN' IN THE SCHOOLROOM . . . 626

XXXVII. THE WINDING-UP . 651



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FACSIMILE OF THE TITLE-PAGE OF THE FIRST

EDITION Page xxvii

Views of places described in the work, reproduced from photo-
graphs taken by Mr. W. R. Bland of Duffield, Derby,
in conjunction ivith Mr. C. Barrow-Keene of Derby :
RED HOUSE, GOMEKSAL (front} (Briar-
mains) Frontispiece

HARTSHEAD CHURCH (Nunnely Church) To face page 4
RED HOUSE, GOMERSAL (from the gar-
den) (Briarmains) " 150

OAKWELL HALL, NEAR BIRSTALL (the

approach) (Ficldhead) " 192

OAKWELL HALL, NEAR BIRSTALL (gen-
eral view) (Ficldhead) " 196

INTERIOR OF OAKWELL HALL (Fieldhead) " 200

OAKWELL HALL (interior) (Fieldhead) . " 206

OAKWELL HALL (front) (Ficldhead) . " 212

OAKWELL HALL (the garden) (Fieldhead) " 294

BIRSTALL CHURCH (Kriarfidd Church) . " 606

The tower only remain* of the church described.



INTRODUCTION



' SHIRLEY* was published in the autumn of 1849, two
years after the appearance of ' Jane Eyre.' No book
was ever written under more pathetic, more torturing
conditions. It was begun very soon after the publica-
tion of ' Jane Eyre,' amid the first rushings of the blast
of fame ; it was continued all through those miserable
and humiliating months of 1848, when the presence of
Branwell at the parsonage was a perpetual shadow on
his sisters' lives, when they never knew what a day
might bring forth and would lie trembling and wake-
ful at night, listening for sounds from their father's
room where Branwell slept Branwell who had often
threatened them in the delirium of an opium-eater and
a drunkard that either his father or he would be dead
by the morning.

'Wuthering Heights' and * Agnes Grey' had ap-
peared in December 1847, a few weeks after 'Jane
Eyre.' During 1848 they seem to have been generally
regarded as earlier efforts from the pen of the writer of
' Jane Eyre ' ; and it was this misconception, in fact,
which led to the first hurried visit of Charlotte and
Anne to London in July, when Charlotte put into the



x SHIRLEY

hands of her astonished publisher the letter from him-
self, addressed to Currer Bell, which had reached lia-
worth Parsonage the day before, and so, nine months
after its publication, disclosed the secret of 'Jane
Eyre.'

In these first interviews with her publisher thence-
forward her friend also she was able to tell him that
4 Shirley,' her second story, was well advanced. The
second volume, indeed, was nearly finished by Septem-
ber, when Bran well died. The end of the year, or the
beginning of the next, should have seen its publication.
The poor sisters may well have hoped, now that Bran-
well's vices and sufferings distracted them no more, to
pass into quieter and happier hours, hours of home peace
and fruitful work.

Alas ! one needs only to put down the bare dates and
facts of the six months that followed, to realise the havoc
that they made at once in Charlotte's heart, and in the
history of English genius. Emily, the strong, indomi-
table Emily who had borne with Bran well throughout
more patiently, more indulgently than the other two-
developed tuberculosis, the family scourge, at the very
moment of Bran well's last struggle, and she left the
house only once after his death. The tragic, the unbear-
able story of those three months, during which Emily
fought with death and would let no one help her, has
been often told. The memory of them haunts any visitor
to the little parsonage to-day. As one mounts the stone
staircase, witli one's hand on the old rail, suddenly ghosts
are there. Emily mounts before one, clinging to the
rail, dragging her wasted frame from step to step. The
laboured breath sounds once more through the small,



xi

quiet house, and the sisters in the dining-room below
turn to each other in misery as they hear it. For it is
Emily's spirit that still holds the parsonage ; amid all
the memories of the house hers, fierce, passionate, in-
scrutable is still pre-eminent. For she is the mystery.
The others ' abide our question.' We can know Charlotte
and understand poor Anne ; we shall never either know
or understand Emily.

For three months she battled for her life, in her own
cruel way. The sisters, -vho saw her perishing, were
helpless. She would accept nothing at their hands, and
when the last whisper came ' If you send for a doctor
I will see him now' it was too late. The suffering of
the elder sister has left many piteous traces in her let-
ters, and in 'Shirley ' itself. 'Moments so dark as these
I have never known,' she writes on the very morning
of Emily's death 'I think Emily seems the nearest
thing to my heart in the world.' And when Emily
is gone, and Anne also has set her feet upon the road
that leads to the last shadow, Charlotte's poor heart is
crushed between longing for the dead and fear for the
living. She talks in March 1849 three months after
Emily's death, two months before Anne's of the
'intense attachment' with which 'our hearts clung to
Emily,' and then she adds : ' she was scarce buried when
Anne's health failed her decline is gradual and fluc-
tuating, but its nature is not doubtful.' Yet in these
spring days, between the two deaths, she has taken up
her pen again. And she is cheered by the praise given
to the early volumes of ' Shirley ' by Mr. Smith and Mr.
Williams. 'Oh! if Anne were well,' she cries, 'if the
void death has left were a little closed up, if the dreary



xii SHIRLEY

word nevermore would cease sounding in my ears, I think
I could yet do something.'

But May comes, and Charlotte takes Anne to Scar-
borough, thinks no more of her book hangs day by
day, and hour by hour, on tne last looks and words of
this gentle creature, this ardent Christian, who yet is of
the indomitable Broiite clay like the rest of them, and
leaves behind her no record of soft and pious imagin-
ings, but a warning tale of drunkenness and profligacy,
steadily carried out through all its bitter truth. By the
end of May, Anne is in her grave, and Charlotte stays
on a while by the sea, waiting for the mere passage of
the days that may give her strength to go home and
take up her work again.

By the beginning of July, however, she had returned
to Haworth. She writes to her friend in words that
paint the very heart of grief :

' All received me with an affection that should have
consoled. The dogs were in strange ecstasy. I am cer-
tain they regarded me as the harbinger of others. The
dumb creatures thought that as I was returned, those
who had been so long absent were not far behind.

'I left papa soon, and went into the dining-room:
I shut the door I tried to be glad that I was come
home. . . But ... I felt that the house was all silent
the rooms were all empty. I remembered where the
three were laid in what narrow dark dwellings never
more to reappear on earth. . . . The agony that was to be
undergone, and was not to be avoided, came on. I under-
went it, and passed a dreary evening and night, and a
mournful morrow. To-day I am better.'

During the weeks that followed she resolutely set



INTRODUCTION xiii

herself to finish 'Shirley,' and some months later she
beurs passionate testimony to the supporting, stimulating
power of her great gift. ' The faculty of imagination,'
she says to Mr. Williams, 'lifted me when I was sinking,
three months ago (i.e. immediately after the death of
Anne); its active exercise has kept my head above wa-
ter since.'

It was at the 24th chapter of her story that she began
again ; it was with the description of Caroline's wrestle
with death, Caroline's discovery of her mother, Caroline's
rescue from the destroyer at the hands of Tenderness
and Hope, that the poor forsaken sister filled her first
lonely hours, cheating her grief by dreams, by ' making
out,' as she had often consoled the physical and moral
trouble of her girlhood. Mrs. Pryor's agony of nursing
and of dread is Charlotte's.

Not always do those who dare such divine conflict prevail.
Night after night the sweat of agony may burst dark on the
forehead ; the supplicant may cry for mercy with that sound-
less voice the soul utters when its appeal is to the Invisible.
' Spare my beloved/ it may implore. ' Heal my life's life.
Rend not from me what long affection entwines with my
whole nature. God of heaven bend hear be clement !'
And after this cry and strife, the sun may rise and see him
worsted. That opening morn which used to salute him
with the whisper of zephyrs, the carol of skylarks, may
breathe as its first accents, from the dear lips which colour
and heat have quitted ' Oh ! I have had a suffering night.
This morning I am worse. I have tried to rise. I cannot.
Dreams I am unused to have troubled me.*

Then the watcher approaches the patient's pillow, and
sees a new and strange moulding of the familiar features,



xiv SHIRLEY

feels at once that the insufferable moment draws nigh,
knows that it is God's will his idol shall be broken, and
bends his head, and subdues his soul to the sentence he
cannot avert, and scarce can bear.

Happy Mrs. Pryor ! She was still praying, unconscious
that the summer sun hung above the hills, when her child
softly woke in her arms. No piteous unconscious moaning
sound which so wastes onr strength that, even if we have
sworn to be firm, a rush of unconquerable fears sweeps away
the oath, preceded her waking. No space of deaf apathy
followed. The first words spoken were not those of one
becoming estranged from this world, and already permitted
to stray at times into realms foreign to the living. Caroline
evidently remembered with clearness what had happened.

Thus did poor Charlotte, dreaming alone, make use of
her own pain for the imagining of joy ; thus, sitting in
her ' lonely room the clock ticking loud in a still house,'
did she comfort her own desolation by this exquisite and
tender picture of mother and daughter reunited, made
known to each other, after years of separation and under
the shadow of death. Caroline Helstone shall not be
left in darkness and forlorn! Charlotte will bring her
to the light place her in loving shelter.

Mrs. Pryor held Caroline to her bosom ; she cradled her
in her arms ; she rocked her softly, as if lulling a young
child to sleep.

' My mother ! My own mother !' The offspring nestled
to the parent : that parent, feeling the endearment and hear-
ing the appeal, gathered her closer still. She covered her
with noiseless kisses : she murmured love over her, like a
cushat fostering its young.



INTRODUCTION iv

Then from the ecstasy of mother and child, the ' maker'
passed on to the love-story of Shirley and Louis Moore
Shirley who stood in Charlotte's mind, as she herself
tells us, for Emity. Emily lay under the floor of the
old church, a stone's throw from Charlotte, as she wrote ;
and Charlotte, looking up at each passing sound, would
be clutched anew, hour after hour, by the thought of
Emily's pain, Emily's death-anguish, the waste of Emily's
genius. But as the small writing covered the advancing
page, Emily lived again grown rich, beautiful, happy.
Her dog, old Tartar, rambled beside her; the glow of
health is on her cheek ; she has a lover, and a wedding-
dress ; length of days and of joy both are secured to
her. One may say what one will of these last chapters
of ' Shirley.' Louis Moore is no favourite with any
reader of the Brontes ; his courting of Shirley has noth-
ing to do with the realities either of love or of the male
human being; his very creation involves a certain dull-
ing and weakening of Charlotte's faculty a certain
morbidness also. But those who recall the circumstances
of 'Shirley's' composition will for ever forgive him;
they will remember how tired and trembling was the
hand that drew him ; how he stood in Charlotte's sad
fancy for protecting strength, and passionate homage,
for all that Emily would never know, and all that the
woman in Charlotte, at that desolate moment of her life,
most yearned to know.



xvi SHIRLEY



II

There can be no question, however, that 'Shirley,'
from a literary point of view, suffered seriously from the
tension and distraction of mind amid which it was com-
posed. It was neither the unity, the agreeable old-
fashioned unity of 'Jane Eyre,' nor, as a whole, the
passionate truth of ' Villette.' In the very centre of the
book, the story suddenly gives way. The love-story of
Kobert and Caroline has somehow to be delayed ; and
one divines that the writer - for whom life has tem-
porarily made impossible that fiery concentration of soul,
in which a year or two later she wrote ' Villette ' hesi-
tates as to the love-story of Shirley and Louis. She does
not see her way ; she gropes a little ; and that angel of
imagination, to which she pays so many a glowing tribute
in the course of her work, seems to droop its wing beside
her, and move listlessly through two or three chapters,
which do little more than mark time till the divine breath
returns. These are the chapters headed ' Shirley seeks
to be saved by works,' ' Whitsuntide,' * The School Feast.'
They are really scene -shifting chapters while the new
act is preparing ; and the interval is long and the ma-
chinery a little clumsy. ' Villette' also passes from one
motive to another, from Lucy's first love for Graham
Bretton, to her second love for Paul Eraanuel. But in.
' Villette ' the transition is made with admirable swift-
ness. As Graham Bretton recedes, parri passu, Paul
Emanuel advances. The two themes are interwoven ;
the book never ceases to be an organism ; there is no
faltering in the writer, no uncertainty in the touch.



INTRODUCTION xvii

Invention full and warm flows through it in a never
slackening tide ; there are few or none of the cold and
superfluous passages that disfigure the middle region of

* Shirley.'

Signs of the same momentary failure in the artist's
fusing and vivifying power are numerous also in the
style of ' Shirley,' as compared with the style of ' Yil-
lette.' Commonplaces writ large; a tendency to pro-
duce pages of ' copy,' pages that any ' descriptive report-
er' could do as well ; an Extravagance which is not power,
but rather a kind of womanish violence ; and a humour
j\lso that sometimes leaves the scene on which it is turned
colder and more laboured than it found it these are
some of the faults that attach especially to the central
scenes of ' Shirley,' to the many pages devoted to Shirley's
charitable plans, to the school-treat, to the curates, to the
old maids. Take these sentences, for instance, from the
account of Miss Ainley : ' Sincerity is never ludicrous ; it
is always respectable. Whether truth be it religious or
moral truth speak eloquently and in well -chosen lan-
guage or not, its voice should be heard with reverence.
Let those who cannot nicely, and with certainty, discern
the difference between those of hypocrisy and those of
sincerity, never presume to laugh at all, lest they should
have the miserable misfortune to laugh in the wrong
place and commit impiety when they think they are
achieving wit.'

A great creative artist, an artist capable of writing a

* Villette' does not drop into surplusage of this kind, un-
less there is some sterilising and hostile influence over-
shadowing her. In her happy hour she will fall upon
sentences like this and sweep them from the page, or



xviii SHIRLEY

rather she will never conceive them. Humble truth,
modest piety, the scorner to be scorned no need then
to talk or prate about them. She sees them in act as
they live, and move, and walk ; and she records the
vision not any personal opinion about them.



Ill

Nevertheless, it may be argued, and with truth, that
even these slacker and more diffuse chapters of the story
have a real and abiding interest for the student of Eng-
lish manners that this clerical, middle-class, country
life was intimately known to Charlotte Bronte, and that
the portraits of Mr. Helstone, Cyril Hall, the Curates,
and the rest, have at least an historical interest. And
indeed the matter, the subject, is rich enough ; it is
the matter of Jane Austen, of 'Middlemareh,' and the
'Scenes from Clerical Life,' of Trollope and Mrs. Gaskell,
of half the eminent and most of the readable novels of
English life. Charlotte Bronte presents it with force
and knowledge, often with bursts of poetic or satiric ob-
servation, but without either the humour or the charm
that other English hands have been able to give it. This
country and clerical life, though as a human being she
was part of it, was not her subject in literature ; let any-
one compare the relative failure of 'Shirley' with the
unwavering power and mastery of 'Villette.' It was
in the play of personal passion, set amid the foreign
scenes of 'Villette' scenes that stirred her curiosity,
her wrath, her fancy, as novelty and change must al-
ways stir the poetic, as distinguished from the critical



INTRODUCTION xix

or humorous genius, that Charlotte at last found her
best, her crowning opportunity.

The men, for instance, of * Shirley,' on their first ap-
pearance roused a protest among readers and reviewers
that can only be repeated now. Among them Mr. Hel-
stone makes, on the whole, the best impression. Miss
Bronte drew him from experience, or at least from a
germ of reality sufficient to give life and persuasiveness
to the creation that sprang from it. Mr. Robersou, of
Heald's Hall, the indomitable fighting parson of the
thirties, who was the original of Helstone, little knew
to whom he was preaching, when at the consecration of
a church near Haworth in 1826 he numbered among his
hearers a child of ten years old, small, sharp-faced, with
bright dreamy eyes. ' I never saw him but that once,'
Miss Bronte said later to Mr. Williams. But he was
known to her father; his character and exploits made
an impression in her neighbourhood ; she heard much of
him, and probably his truculent Tory virtues raised him
to hero -height in the fancy of an infant worshipper of
Wellington and hater of Lord Grey. This was not much
foundation, but it was enough. Helstone has life and
truth ; his hardness or violence, his courtesies and his
scorns, his rare tendernesses, his unconquerable reserves,
his smaller habits and gestures are finely studied, finely
rendered. But he alone and Martin Yorke have any
convincing veracious quality among the men of the book.
Mr. Yorke also was studied from life, but the writer has
reproduced only the incongruities and oddities of the
character, not the unity of the man. Robert Moore is
ingeniously imagined and often interesting. But at the
critical moment of the book the cloud of sorrow and be-



XT SHIRLEY

wilderraent that descended on the mind of the writer,
dulling nerve and vision, blurs him also, so that he seems
to dissolve and break up, to be no longer a man and an
entity.

And Louis Moore! When her friendly critics in Corn-
hill, Mr. Williams and Mr. Taylor, sent her during the
progress of the book which they were allowed to see
in manuscript some 'complaints' of her heroes, Char-
lotte answered in much depression, that her critics were
probably justified. ' When I write about women I am
sure of my ground in the other case I am not so sure.'
Anrl once or twice, in meeting criticisms on 'Jane E}Te'
or 'Shirley,' she says with perfect frankness that it may
all be very true. She has seen too little of society ;
known too little of men. Yet all the time she had with-
in her that store of passionate and complete observation,
whence, later on, Paul Eraanuel was to rise and have his
being. And she was by no means meek in her general
estimate of the power of women to describe and pene-
trate men in fiction. There is a passage in ' Shirley '
where Miss Keeldar, after pouring scorn on some of
the well-known heroines of men's novels, maintains,
with warmth, that in fiction women read men more
truly than men are able to read women ; and one hears
through her animated talk the voice of Charlotte her-
self.

That Charlotte Bronte, under adequate stimulus, could
draw a living man with truth, humour and variety, Paul
Emanuel is there to testify. No single atom of true ex-
perience was ever lost upon her genius. But her shyness;
and silence allowed her too little of this experience, and
in the pure play of imagination she was inferior, in deal.



INTRODUCTION xxl

ing with character, to her sister Emily. Emily knew
less of men personally than Charlotte. But she had no
illusions about them, and Charlotte had many. Emily is
the true creator, using the most limited material in the
puissant, detached impersonal way that belongs only to
the highest gifts the way of Shakespeare. Charlotte
is often parochial, womanish, and morbid in her imagina-
tion of men and their relation to women ; Emily who has
known two men only, her father and her brother, and
derives all other knowledge of the sex from books, from
Tabby's talk in the kitchen, from the forms and features
she passes in the village street, or on the moors Emily
can create a Heathcliff, a Hareton Earnshaw, a Joseph,
an Edgar Linton, with equal force, passion, and indiffer-
ence. All of them up to a certain point, owing to the
fact that she knows nothing of certain ground-truths of
life, are equally false ; but beyond that point all have
the same magnificent, careless truth of imagination. She
never bowed before her creatures, in a sort of personal
subjection to them, as Charlotte did.

Again, nothing is more curious than to compare Char-
lotte Bronte's conceptions of Rochester and the two
Moores, her painting of the relations between these heroes
and the women of the piece, with the ideas and concep-
tions of George Sand in almost all her earlier stories.
To Jane Eyre, Rochester is ' my master ' from first to
last; Louis Moore is the tutor and the tyrant even in
love-making; Paul Emanuel, for all his foibles and tem-
pers that make him so welcome and so real, is still in
relation to the woman he loves, the captor, the teacher,
the breaker-in. And there is plenty of evidence in Miss
Bronte's letters, and in what is known of her married life,



xxii SHIRLEY

to show that this, in fact, was her own personal ideal.
She had battled with the world, and she dreamed of
rest ; she had been forced to exercise her own will with
so strong and unceasing an effort, that the thought of
dropping the tension for ever, of handing all judgment,
all choice, over to another's will, became delight ; and,
last and most important, what she did not know she
glorified. But George Sand, alas! knew too much, and
knew too well. No schoolroom imaginations are possible



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