Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Bronte Sisters' Mum

I am completely and entirely obsessed with pretty much anything that has to do with the Bronte Sisters.  Their short lives were full of heartbreak and poetic tragedy, much like the stories that they wrote, and the love they felt for one another is so sweet it could make me cry.  Imagine my excitement, then, when I found some of their mum's writing published online. (I'd like to picture myself discovering it in some dusty English library somewhere, perhaps with tea and my glasses and lots of old books, but for now the only resource I really have at my disposal is Google, LOL.)

Maria Branwell Bronte
Anyway, if you aren't yet familiar with Mrs. Bronte, let me give you a little bit of a crash course.  Born Maria Branwell in April 1783, she grew up in Cornwall in a respected Methodist family. Like her daughters, her youth was marked by death, too.  Of her siblings, only five survived past childhood, and her parents were both dead by the time she was 19.  The light at the end of the tunnel, however, seemed to come when Maria met Patrick Bronte through her extended family.  The two connected immediately.  Unfortunately, their relationship wasn't entirely approved of because Patrick wasn't as well-off as the Branwells had been, but Maria didn't care.  She thought humble livelihoods and poorness were positives in the eyes of God, and she genuinely loved Patrick:

Surely after this you can have no doubt
 that you posess all my heart.
Two month ago
 I could not possibly have believed
that you would ever engross so much
of my thoughts and effections
and far less could I have thought
that I should be so forward
as to tell you so
I feel that my hearth
is more ready to attach itself
to earth than heaven.
(The above is from a letter to Patrick that I found on the "The Bronte Sisters" blog, which is amazing and can be accessed here.)  Patrick and Maria married and had six children: Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Anne. But after Anne's birth, the now-Mrs. Bronte fell very ill.  She spent months in agony before dying of ovarian cancer in 1821. Her last words? "Oh, God, my poor children!"  Her story is heartbreaking, just like the tuberculosis-ridden lives of her children.  Only such poignant tragedy could've led to the production of works like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre
<3 Frances

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