The Life of Charlotte Bronte HTML version

Chapter 13
The moors were a great resource this spring; Emily and Charlotte walked out on them
perpetually, "to the great damage of our shoes, but I hope, to the benefit of our health."
The old plan of school-keeping was often discussed in these rambles; but in-doors they
set with vigour to shirt-making for the absent Branwell, and pondered in silence over
their past and future life. At last they came to a determination.
"I have seriously entered into the enterprise of keeping a school- -or rather, taking a
limited number of pupils at home. That is, I have begun in good earnest to seek for
pupils. I wrote to Mrs.--" (the lady with whom she had lived as governess, just before
going to Brussels), "not asking her for her daughter--I cannot do that-- but informing her
of my intention. I received an answer from Mr.- -expressive of, I believe, sincere regret
that I had not informed them a month sooner, in which case, he said, they would gladly
have sent me their own daughter, and also Colonel S.'s, but that now both were promised
to Miss C. I was partly disappointed by this answer, and partly gratified; indeed, I derived
quite an impulse of encouragement from the warm assurance that if I had but applied a
little sooner they would certainly have sent me their daughter. I own I had misgivings that
nobody would be willing to send a child for education to Haworth. These misgivings are
partly done away with. I have written also to Mrs. B., and have enclosed the diploma
which M. Heger gave me before I left Brussels. I have not yet received her answer, but I
wait for it with some anxiety. I do not expect that she will send me any of her children,
but if she would, I dare say she could recommend me other pupils. Unfortunately, she
knows us only very slightly. As soon as I can get an assurance of only ONE pupil, I will
have cards of terms printed, and will commence the repairs necessary in the house. I wish
all that to be done before winter. I think of fixing the board and English education at 25L.
per annum."
Again, at a later date, July 24th, in the same year, she writes:-
"I am driving on with my small matter as well as I can. I have written to all the friends on
whom I have the slightest claim, and to some on whom I have no claim; Mrs. B., for
example. On her, also, I have actually made bold to call. She was exceedingly polite;
regretted that her children were already at school at Liverpool; thought the undertaking a
most praiseworthy one, but feared I should have some difficulty in making it succeed on
account of the SITUATION. Such is the answer I receive from almost every one. I tell
them the RETIRED SITUATION is, in some points of view, an advantage; that were it in
the midst of a large town I could not pretend to take pupils on terms so moderate (Mrs. B.
remarked that she thought the terms very moderate), but that, as it is, not having house-
rent to pay, we can offer the same privileges of education that are to be had in expensive
seminaries, at little more than half their price; and as our number must be limited, we can
devote a large share of time and pains to each pupil. Thank you for the very pretty little
purse you have sent me. I make to you a curious return in the shape of half a dozen cards