فصل 04

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER FOUR

Growing up

When Branwell was fourteen or fifteen, he did a lot of oil-paintings. He painted people in the village, and it was easy to recognize the faces in the pictures. Later, he did a fine painting of his three sisters. I was very proud of him. We all decided he would become a famous artist.

Charlotte went to school again when she was fifteen. It was a much better school - Miss Wooler’s school at Roe Head. I don’t think Charlotte liked school, but she wanted to be a teacher - a governess - so she worked hard. I taught Branwell at home, and Aunt Branwell taught Emily and Anne. The girls and Branwell were learning to play the piano, and Branwell played the music in church.

Emily and Anne had dogs, and they used to take them for walks on the moors. Anne’s dog was called Flossy, and Emily had a big strong one called Keeper. Keeper went everywhere with her - I think Emily loved that dog more than any person. Emily was sometimes a difficult child. She was very shy, and did not often speak to anyone outside the family. When she was older, I sent her to school with Charlotte, but she hated it, so I brought her home and sent Anne instead.

Branwell was not shy. He could talk to anyone for hours. Everyone in Haworth liked him. I remember the day in 1835 when Branwell went to London. He was eighteen years old, and he was going to the Royal Academy in London to learn to be an artist. He walked down the hill in Haworth with a bag of his best paintings on his back, and everyone in the village came out to see him go. That was a great day for me.

Something terrible happened in London, but I don’t know what it was. Branwell came back two weeks later, his face white, his clothes dirty. I don’t know where he went or what happened in London. He refused to tell me. He just sat upstairs, alone in his room for hours.

Later, I paid for a room in Bradford for him to work in. He could paint pictures of famous people there, I thought. It was easy work for him. But he couldn’t do it. He spent all my money, and came home again after a while.

This was a sad time for me. My eyes were very bad, and I had to pay a young curate to help me with my work for the church. My old servant, Tabby, broke her leg and was very ill. And then one day I got a letter from Miss Wooler’s school. My curate read it to me.

Dear Mr Bronte, the letter said. I am afraid that your daughter Anne is very ill, and…

I don’t think I ever moved so fast in all my life. Six hours later, I was at Roe Head. The next day Anne and Charlotte were home.

Anne was still alive, thank God! A month later she was well again. Thank God.

All my children were safe at home.

I was happy to have them here. They were so clever, and kind, and they loved each other so much. But I was an old man with bad eyes, and Aunt Branwell and I had very little money. My children had to find work somewhere, in order to live.

But what sort of work could they do?

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