Page:The complete poems of Emily Bronte.djvu/33

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xxix
INTRODUCTORY ESSAY

obstinate. I fear she has a pain in the chest, and I sometimes catch a shortness in her breathing, when she has moved at all quickly. She looks very, very thin and pale. Her reserved nature occasions me great uneasiness of mind. It is useless to question her; you get no answers. It is still more useless to recommend remedies; they are never adopted.'

On 2nd November she writes again: 'My sister Emily has something like a slow inflammation of the lungs. . . . She is a real stoic in illness: she neither seeks nor will accept sympathy. . . . When she is ill there seems to be no sunshine in the world for me. The tie of sister is near and dear indeed, and I think a certain harshness in her powerful and peculiar character only makes me cling to her more.'

1848 (22nd November).—We have a glimpse of Emily in her last days. Charlotte Brontë writes to W. S. Williams: 'The North American Review is worth reading. There is no mincing the matter there. What a bad set the Bells must be! What appalling books they write! To-day, as Emily appeared a little easier, I thought the Review would amuse her, so I read it aloud to her and Anne. As I sat between them at our quiet but now melancholy fireside,