THE 50/50 PROJECT: Visiting the Bronte Vicarage at Haworth

On my website I have a page called The 50/50 Project, where I have listed the 50 things I still wish to do in my life.

No 11 on the list is "See where the Bronte sisters grew up and wrote their books".

"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' by Anne Bronte are among my all-time favourite books, and I have read so many books about them and their work. I re-read one of their novels every few years, and never fail to fall in love with them again.

I have wanted to go to the Bronte Vicarage in Haworth for as long as I can remember, and at last - in July 2015 - I finally made the pilgrimage.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and - although I had been warned I'd have to fight flocks of tourists - I practically had the house to myself.

I found the little house very moving - Charlotte Bronte's flower-trimmed wedding bonnet and tiny lace gloves:

"Nothing would satisfy some of my friends but white which I told you I would not wear. Accordingly they dressed me in white by way of trial--vowed away their consciences that nothing had ever suited me so well--and white I had to buy and did buy to my own amazement--but I took care to get it in cheap material--there were some insinuations about silk, tulle and I don't know what--but I stuck convulsively to muslin--plain book muslin with a tuck or two. Also the white veil--I took care should be a matter of 5s being simply of tulle with little tucks. If I must make a fool of myself--it shall be on an economical plan."

~ Charlotte Brontë wrote in a letter to Elizabeth Gaskell, early June 1854

Poor Charlotte died while in the early stages of pregnancy, perhaps from tuberculosis, perhaps from typhoid, perhaps from malnutrition following severe morning sickness. She was 38.

I also loved the little books in which they wrote their poem and stories:

And the couch on which Emily Bronte is said to have died, aged only 30:

I had not realised how close the vicarage was to the church and to the village. Somehow I had always imagined it as being high on a windswept moor ...

Here are some of my favourite quotes from these favourite authors of mine:

Anne died far too young as well, and its impossible not to wish that they had all and a chance to live and be happy and write more wonderful books and have children, to pass on (perhaps) their extraordinary genuis.

I am even more fascinated by this brilliant and heart-wrenching family since having visited their home at Haworth - if you are ever travelling the wild windswept moors of Yorkshire, you must go too!

Kate Forsyth
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