Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Bronte Family

Having just posted about the suffering in families we found ourselves at the Parsonage Museum, Haworth contemplating information about the Bronte family.
In 1812 Patrick Bronte, married Maria Branwell. They had 6 children and in 1820 he was given the the curacy of Haworth Parish Church. A year later Maria died from uterine cancer, aged 38. Her sister came to live at the Parsonage to care for the children.
In May 1825 Maria, their eldest child, died of tuberculosis, aged 12 and in the following month Elizabeth died aged 11.
Branwell Bronte, the only son died in 1848, aged 31. He had lived with an alcohol and opium addiction.'I do not weep from a sense of bereavement,' Charlotte wrote about him, 'but for the wreck of talent, the ruin of promise, the untimely dreary extinction of what might have been a burning and a shining light.'
Three months later, Emily died, aged 30. The following year Anne died, aged 29
Charlotte married in 1854 and died in March 1855, aged 38, pregnant with her first child.
Patrick died in 1861, aged 84. He had outlived his wife and all of his children - a lifetime of personal tragedy. 
Charlotte, Emily and Anne have all written literary maserpieces although they published under pseudonyms. Branwell had once been a promising artist. So much sadness to bear and yet by the standards of the day they they lived longer than many others and their names live on because of what they managed to do and how they lived as a family, even for the short time they had each other. In the words of Charlotte, "But life is a battle: may we all be enabled to fight it well!"

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