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 During the earlier months of this spring, Haworth was extremely unhealthy. The weather was damp, low fever was prevalent, and the household at the Parsonage suffered along with its neighbours. Charlotte says, "I have felt it (the fever) in frequent thirst and infrequent appetite; Papa too, and even Martha, have complained." This depression of health produced depression of spirits, and she grew more and more to dread1 the proposed journey to London with Sir James and Lady Kay Shuttleworth. "I know what the effect and what the pain will be, how wretched I shall often feel, and how thin and haggard I shall get; but he who shuns2 suffering will never win victory. If I mean to improve, I must strive and endure. . . . Sir James has been a physician, and looks at me with a physician's eye: he saw at once that I could not stand much fatigue3, nor bear the presence of many strangers. I believe he would partly understand how soon my stock of animal spirits was brought to a low ebb4; but none—not the most skilful5 physician—can get at more than the outside of these things: the heart knows its own bitterness, and the frame its own poverty, and the mind its own struggles. Papa is eager and restless for me to go; the idea of a refusal quite hurts him."  
But the sensations of illness in the family increased; the symptoms were probably aggravated6, if not caused, by the immediate7 vicinity of the church-yard, "paved with rain-blackened tomb-stones." On April 29th she writes:—
"We have had but a poor week of it at Haworth. Papa continues far from well; he is often very sickly in the morning, a symptom which I have remarked before in his aggravated attacks of bronchitis; unless he should get much better, I shall never think of leaving him to go to London. Martha has suffered from tic-douloureux, with sickness and fever, just like you. I have a bad cold, and a stubborn sore throat; in short, everybody but old Tabby is out of sorts. When —— was here, he complained of a sudden headache, and the night after he was gone I had something similar, very bad, lasting8 about three hours."
A fortnight later she writes:—
"I did not think Papa well enough to be left, and accordingly begged Sir James and Lady Kay Shuttleworth to return to London without me. It was arranged that we were to stay at several of their friends' and relatives' houses on the way; a week or more would have been taken up on the journey. I cannot say that I regret having missed this ordeal9; I would as lief have walked among red-hot plough-shares; but I do regret one great treat, which I shall now miss. Next Wednesday is the anniversary dinner of the Royal Literary Fund Society, held in Freemasons' Hall. Octavian Blewitt, the secretary, offered me a ticket for the ladies' gallery. I should have seen all the great literati and artists gathered in the hall below, and heard them speak; Thackeray and Dickens are always present among the rest. This cannot now be. I don't think all London can afford another sight to me so interesting."
It became requisite10, however, before long, that she should go to London on business; and as Sir James Kay Shuttleworth was detained in the country by indisposition, she accepted Mrs. Smith's invitation to stay quietly at her house, while she transacted11 her affairs.
In the interval12 between the relinquishment14 of the first plan and the adoption15 of the second, she wrote the following letter to one who was much valued among her literary friends:—
"May 22nd.
"I had thought to bring the Leader and the Athenaeum myself this time, and not to have to send them by post, but it turns out otherwise; my journey to London is again postponed16, and this time indefinitely. Sir James Kay Shuttleworth's state of health is the cause—a cause, I fear, not likely to be soon removed. . . . Once more, then, I settle myself down in the quietude of Haworth Parsonage, with books for my household companions, and an occasional letter for a visitor; a mute society, but neither quarrelsome, nor vulgarising, nor unimproving.
"One of the pleasures I had promised myself consisted in asking you several questions about the Leader, which is really, in its way, an interesting paper. I wanted, amongst other things, to ask you the real names of some of the contributors, and also what Lewes writes besides his Apprenticeship17 of Life. I always think the article headed 'Literature' is his. Some of the communications in the 'Open Council' department are odd productions; but it seems to me very fair and right to admit them. Is not the system of the paper altogether a novel one? I do not remember seeing anything precisely18 like it before.
"I have just received yours of this morning; thank you for the enclosed note. The longings20 for liberty and leisure which May sunshine wakens in you, stir my sympathy. I am afraid Cornhill is little better than a prison for its inmates21 on warm spring or summer days. It is a pity to think of you all toiling22 at your desks in such genial23 weather as this. For my part, I am free to walk on the moors24; but when I go out there alone, everything reminds me of the times when others were with me, and then the moors seem a wilderness25, featureless, solitary26, saddening. My sister Emily had a particular love for them, and there is not a knoll27 of heather, not a branch of fern, not a young bilberry leaf, not a fluttering lark28 or linnet, but reminds me of her. The distant prospects29 were Anne's delight, and when I look round, she is in the blue tints30, the pale mists, the waves and shadows of the horizon. In the hill-country silence, their poetry comes by lines and stanzas31 into my mind: once I loved it; now I dare not read it, and am driven often to wish I could taste one draught32 of oblivion, and forget much that, while mind remains33, I never shall forget. Many people seem to recall their departed relatives with a sort of melancholy34 complacency, but I think these have not watched them through lingering sickness, nor witnessed their last moments: it is these reminiscences that stand by your bedside at night, and rise at your pillow in the morning. At the end of all, however, exists the Great Hope. Eternal Life is theirs now."
She had to write many letters, about this time, to authors who sent her their books, and strangers who expressed their admiration35 of her own. The following was in reply to one of the latter class, and was addressed to a young man at Cambridge:—
"May 23rd, 1850.
"Apologies are indeed unnecessary for a 'reality of feeling, for a genuine unaffected impulse of the spirit,' such as prompted you to write the letter which I now briefly36 acknowledge.
"Certainly it is 'something to me' that what I write should be acceptable to the feeling heart and refined intellect; undoubtedly37 it is much to me that my creations (such as they are) should find harbourage, appreciation38, indulgence, at any friendly hand, or from any generous mind. You are very welcome to take Jane, Caroline, and Shirley for your sisters, and I trust they will often speak to their adopted brother when he is solitary, and soothe39 him when he is sad. If they cannot make themselves at home in a thoughtful, sympathetic mind, and diffuse40 through its twilight41 a cheering, domestic glow, it is their fault; they are not, in that case, so amiable42, so benignant, not so real as they ought to be. If they CAN, and can find household altars in human hearts, they will fulfil the best design of their creation, in therein maintaining a genial flame, which shall warm but not scorch43, light but not dazzle.
"What does it matter that part of your pleasure in such beings has its source in the poetry of your own youth rather than in any magic of theirs? What, that perhaps, ten years hence, you may smile to remember your present recollections, and view under another light both 'Currer Bell' and his writings? To me this consideration does not detract from the value of what you now feel. Youth has its romance, and maturity44 its wisdom, as morning and spring have their freshness, noon and summer their power, night and winter their repose45. Each attribute is good in its own season. Your letter gave me pleasure, and I thank you for it.
Miss Brontë went up to town at the beginning of June, and much enjoyed her stay there; seeing very few persons, according to the agreement she made before she went; and limiting her visit to a fortnight, dreading46 the feverishness47 and exhaustion48 which were the inevitable49 consequences of the slightest excitement upon her susceptible50 frame.
"June 12th.
"Since I wrote to you last, I have not had many moments to myself, except such as it was absolutely necessary to give to rest. On the whole, however, I have thus far got on very well, suffering much less from exhaustion than I did last time.
"Of course I cannot give you in a letter a regular chronicle of how my time has been spent. I can only—just notify. what I deem three of its chief incidents: a sight of the Duke of Wellington at the Chapel51 Royal (he is a real grand old man), a visit to the House of Commons (which I hope to describe to you some day when I see you), and last, not least, an interview with Mr. Thackeray. He made a morning call, and sat above two hours. Mr. Smith only was in the room the whole time. He described it afterwards as a 'queer scene,' and—I suppose it was. The giant sate52 before me; I was moved to speak to him of some of his short-comings (literary of cour............
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