BRONTË (CHARLOTTE) Autograph letter signed ("C Brontë"), to Miss Holmes, complimenting her on her book, 1852
Lot 33
BRONTË (CHARLOTTE) Autograph letter signed ("C Brontë"), to Miss Holmes, complimenting her on her book, 1852
Sold for £11,250 (US$ 18,909) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("C Brontë"), to Miss Holmes, complimenting her on her book: "Now I have read it – I cannot help smiling at the notion of my 'criticising' it – or the apprehension of my thinking it 'frivolous.' It seems to very [sic] clever and very leaned. The writer of that small treatise knows more than I do – and has read a score of books I have never handled. You erred in telling me to skip the final chapter; I am glad I disobeyed the injunction"; expressing admiration for her skill in teaching music ("...Though I understand nothing of you art, I cannot but feel interested in your sincere love for it: I feel too that there is both good sense and good feeling in the views you take of – the principles you lay down for – music teaching"; and touching on what being a governess means to her, 3 pages, name of recipient formerly pasted over, some light foxing and staining but overall in sound and attractive condition, 8vo, [Haworth], 22 April 1852


  • CHARLOTTE BRONTË ON THE GOVERNESS'S PLIGHT, AND DECLARING THAT SHE PREFERS 'THE STUDY OF THE HUMAN BEING – TO THAT OF THE HUMAN BEING'S REQUIREMENTS':"The latter part of the book evinces the author's knowledge; the former contains some of the author's self; I own I prefer the study of the human being – to that of the human being's requirements... I must feel a degree of interest in the details of a Governess-life. That life has on me the hold of actual experience; to all who live it – I cannot but incline with a certain sympathy; and any kind feeling they express for me – comes pleasantly and meets with grateful acceptance". She had, of course, drawn on her life as a governess for Jane Eyre, and was at the time she wrote our letter working on her last completed novel, Villette , which likewise draws on her life as a teacher in Brussels. (She was fair-copying the first volume on 29 March and appears to have been working on it throughout April, breaking off in May and resuming in July; the completed book being submitted to her publisher at the end of October and published the following January).

    The recipient of this letter lived for a while with the Thackeray family at Young Street and was not only an excellent musician, but an ardent Roman Catholic who greatly irritated Thackeray by her attempts to convert him. The book she sent has not been traced. Our letter is published from the lithographed facsimile printed in The Autographic Mirror (1865), in consultation with the original, by Margaret Smith, The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, iii (2003).
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