The Bronte Story

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    1 Haworth
    1 Haworth
    There was a cold wind this afternoon,but the sun shone for an hour or two.I walked out on the moors behind the house.The sheep were hiding from the wind under the stone walls,and there were grey clouds over the hills to the west.It is only November,but I could smell snow in the air.
    It will be a cold winter,this year of 1855.
    the rector of the village of Haworth.Haworth is a village of small,grey stone houses on the side of a hill in the north of England,and I live in a house at the top of the hill,next to the church and the graveyard.
    I walked through the graveyard to the church this afternoon.All my family except Anne are buried there.The wind had blown some dead leaves through the door into the church,and I watched them dancing in the sunlight near the grave.Soon I shall be in that grave with my wife and children,under the cold grey stone and dancing leaves.
    It is dark outside now,and it is very quiet in this house.Charlotte's husband,Mr Nicholls,is reading in his room,and our servant is cooking in the kitchen.Only the three of us live here now.It is very quiet.I can hear the sounds of the wood burning in the fire,and the big clock on the stairs.
    There is another sound too—the sound of the wind outside.The wind has many voices.It sings and laughs and shouts to itself all night long.Last night it cried like a little child,and I got out of bed and went to the window to listen.
    There was no child,of course.Only the wind and the grave-stones,cold in the pale moonlight.But I decided then that Iwould write the story of my children,today,before it is too late.Charlotte's friend,Mrs Gaskell,is writing a book about her,and perhaps she will want to read my story.
    It is a fine story.It began in April 1820,when we came to Haworth for the first time...
    There was a strong wind blowing that day too,out of a dark,cloudy sky.We could see snow on the moors.The road to Haworth goes up a hill,and there was ice on the stones of the road Maria,my wife,was afraid to ride up the hill in the carts.
    'We'll walk,children,'she said.'If one of those horses falls down,there'll be a terrible accident.Come on,let's go and see our new house.'
    She was a small woman,my wife,and not very strong. But she carried the baby,Anne,up the hill in her arms.I carried Emily—she was one and a half years old then.The others walked.My two-year-old son,Patrick Branwell,walked with me,and Charlotte,who was nearly four,walked with her mother.The two oldest children—Elizabeth and Maria—ran on in front.They were very excited,and laughed and talked all the way.
    The people of Haworth came out to watch us.Some of them helped,but most of them just stood in their doorways and watched.They are very poor people,in this village.I was their new rector.
    We had seven carts to carry our furniture up that icy hill,but it was hard work for the horses.When we reached our house,the wind was blowing had in our faces.My wife hur-ried inside,and began to light fires.
    'Do you like it,my dear?'I asked her that night,when the children were in bed.She looked pale and tired.I thought it was because of the long journey,and the children.Perhaps it was.
    She held out her hands to the fire,and said:'Of course,Patrick.It's a fine house.I do hope it will be a good home for you,and the children.'
    I was a little surprised by that.'And for you,Maria,'I said.'Don't forget yourself.You are the most important per-son in the world,to me.'
    She smiled then—a lovely smile.'Thank you,Patrick,'she said.She was a very small woman,and she was often tired because of the children.But when she smiled at me like that,I thought she was the most beautiful woman in England.
    A year and a half later,she was dead.
    She did not die quickly.She was in bed for seven long months,in awful pain.The doctor came often,and her sister Elizabeth came too,to help.The children were ill,as well.It was a terrible time.
    My wife Maria died in September,1821.She was thirty-eight.It was my job to bury her in the church.Our six young children stood and watched quietly.
    Afterwards,we went back to the house.I called them into this room and spoke to them.
    I said:'You must not cry too much,my dears.Your mother is with God now.She is happy.One day you will all die,and if you are good,you will go to God too.'
    'But why?'Maria asked.'Why did she die now,father?We need her.'
    'This world is a hard place,children,and we cannot under-stand everything that God does.But God loves us,never forget that.Your mother loved you,and perhaps she can see you now.We must all try to work hard,learn as much as possible,and be kind to each other.Will you do that?'
    They all looked so sad,I remember,and they listened so carefully.Little Emily said:'Who will be our mother now?'
    'Maria is the oldest,so she will help me.You must all listen to her,and do what she says.And your Aunt Elizabeth is here,too.Perhaps she will stay for a while.'
    Elizabeth did stay.She was older than my wife,and she wasn't married.We called her Aunt Branwell.She came from Penzance in Cornwall,a warm,sunny place by the sea in the south—west of England.It is often cold on the moors behind Haworth,and the winds blow all winter.Aunt Branwell hated Haworth,but she stayed here all her life,to help me with her sister's children.She was a good,kind woman.
    I was very proud of my little Maria.She was only eight years old,but she worked all day like an adult.She helped the little ones to get washed and dressed;she helped them to play and draw and read.She was like a little mother to them.
    She could read very well herself.We always had books and newspapers in the house,and I talked to the children about them every day.I talked to them about adult things:the Duke of Wellington,and the important things that he was doing in London.The children listened carefully,and tried hard to un-derstand.Maria often read to the others from the newspaper,and asked me questions about it.She understood it better than most men.
    I was sure my children were very clever.But I did not have time to talk to them all day;I had my work to do.So,in 1824,I sent them to school.
    1 霍沃斯

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