“Yet,” suggested the secret voice which talks to us in our own hearts, “you are not beautiful either, and perhaps Mr. Rochester approves you: at any rate, you have often felt as if he did; and last night—remember his words; remember his look; remember his voice!”—Jane Eyre, Chapter XVI
1. You have one dream, and it is very small, and everyone around you wants to crush it.
2. Your grandest ambition is to open a small school with four chairs and three well-behaved students, and to someday own a vase with a flower in it, and perhaps to have a second dress.
3. You take that part about the second dress back; you dare not fly so close to the sun, lest Icarus-like, your wings are singed.
4. You have just been walking in the rain, and everyone who raised you is dead, and you are glad.
5. A beautiful and shallow woman that you hate is your best friend for reasons you cannot explain. The more she demands your respect and esteem, the more cruelly you withhold it, which drives her wild. She mocks your station in public; you criticize her morals in private. You suspect her of being Catholic. One night you share a bed and have a fever dream together. She marries a terrible man and sends you fat letters stuffed with passion and longing.
6. Someone compares you to a sparrow. Someone compares your best friend to a scarlet-breasted robin. Someone compares the man you secretly love to a hawk or a crow.
7. None of your pupils are interested in Latin. Your pupils are scatterbrained monsters.
8. You have an enemy who claims to love you. You are competent at embroidering, but not accomplished.
9. You draw horrifying shipwrecks and lightning-ruined oak trees in your spare time. You have never danced, not even once, not even in your dreams.
10. You never tell anyone anything.
11. Someone you have never met has died and left you 20 pounds; you are the richest woman in the world and no man is your master now. You quit your soul-crushing job and move into a cottage. The cottage has whitewashed walls and a small chair for you to sit in; you have never dreamed of so much happiness.
12. You went to France once. You didn’t think much of it.
13. Something has been forbidden to you.
14. You know a man with easily excitable features and very dark whiskers. The two of you argue frequently over points of theology and may very well be in love. He handed you a flower once, and you have never forgotten it.
I was sorry for her; I was amazed, disgusted at her heartless vanity; I wondered why so much beauty should be given to those who made so bad a use of it, and denied to some who would make it a benefit to both themselves and others.
But, God knows best, I concluded. There are, I suppose, some men as vain, as selfish, and as heartless as she is, and, perhaps, such women may be useful to punish them.
“If a woman is fair and amiable, she is praised for both qualities, but especially the former, by the bulk of mankind: if, on the other hand, she is disagreeable in person and character, her plainness is commonly inveighed against as her greatest crime, because, to common observers, it gives the greatest offence; while, if she is plain and good, provided she is a person of retired manners and secluded life, no one ever knows of her goodness, except her immediate connections”—Brontë, Anne. “Agnes Grey.” (via abookishtype)
“It was named Catherine, but [Edgar] never called it the name in full, as he had never called the first Catherine short, probably because Heathcliff had a habit of doing so. The little one was always Cathy, it formed to him a distinction from the mother, and yet, a connection with her, and his attachment sprang from its relation to her, far more than from its being his own.”—Wuthering Heights (VII, Chapter III, p. 184-5) Emily Brontë (via bibliophiling)
“Lucy Snowe is the woman to be. Rising from the shadows, she looks to the future. The book ends when she is ready to write it: the work of art to complement an exchange of letters which, at the crest of rapport, shapes character and extends expression. We leave Lucy advancing into a future in which she will record her rise in heretic terms. What is to be the fate of such a woman? This question looms in the ‘pause: pause’ at the end of ‘Villette’.”—Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life, Lyndall Gorndon, p314 (via fycharlottebronte)
“This was very pleasant : there is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort”—Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (via meeshmatched)
“I see, at intervals, the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close-set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high.”—Jane Eyre (via inkspotteddreams)
“There is an old saying that those who eat toasted cheese at night will dream of Lucifer. The author of Wuthering Heights has evidently eaten toasted cheese.”—from a review of Wuthering Heights in 1848 (via melusines)
“Now it is not everybody, even amongst our respected friends and esteemed acquaintance, whom we like to have near us, whom we like to watch us, to wait on us, to approach us with the proximity of a nurse to a patient. It is not every friend whose eye is a light in a sickroom, whose presence is there a solace.”—From ‘Villette’ by Charlotte Bronte (via hidinggabriel)
“… I have likewise read one of Miss Austen’s works “Emma” — read it with interest and with just the degree of admiration which Miss Austen herself would have thought sensible or suitable — anything like warmth or enthusiasm … is utterly out of place in commending these works …”—
Charlotte Bronte commenting on Jane Austen’s Emma, 12 April 1850