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Bronte, Charlotte.

Charlotte Bronte, a very well-known English novelist, was born April 21, 1816, at Thomton, Yorkshire, the daughter of Patrick Bronte, later curate of Haworth, whose father was an Irish peasant by the name of Brunty or Prunty. In 1824 she and her three sisters were sent for a short time to the Clergy Daughters' School, at Cowan Bridge, but on account of an outbreak of typhus fever, remained but a short time. For the next seven years they remained at home. In 1831, Charlotte went to Miss Wooler's School in Roe Head, where two years later she was engaged as teacher. Later she became a governess in various private families, and still later taught in a private school in Brussels, where she fell in love with the master who was already married and not at all interested in his ill-dressed and homely English teacher. She returned to England in 1844. In 1845, the three Bronte sisters published a book of poems under the pen names, Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, but it was far from being a success. Charlotte then began the manuscript of her novel The Professor, which was rejected by the publishers and did not come into print until after her death. Not discouraged, she then wrote Jane Eyre, her best and immediately successful novel, published in 1847. Her brother Bramwell, an embryo artist who had taken to drink and opium and finally became mentally unbalanced, died in September, 1848; her sister Emily died in December of the same year, and Anne in May, 1849. Charlotte wrote another novel in 1849 and a third in 1852, but they did not have the success of the first. In 1854 she married her father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, and died March 31, 1855.

REFERENCES: Francis A. Leyland, The Bronte Family, London, 2 vols., 1886; E. F. Benson, Charlotte Bronte; E. Birrell, Life of Charlotte Bronte; Mrs. Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Bronte; Clement Shorter, Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle; May Sinclair, The Three Brontes; J. C. Wright, The Story of the Brontes; Allibone. Dict. of Authors, I, 1863.

Fireside Library. No. 97

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