Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/457

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9 th S. V. JUNE 9, 1900.]




CON TENTS. -No. 128.

NOTES : Charlotte Bronte and Manchester, 449 Horace Walpole and his Editors 'History of Norton-sub- Ham- don,' 451 Workmen's Tickets Tavistock Chapel John- son's Birthplace" Prooshan Blue," 452" Iccle "=Icicle Quincentenary of Sheriffs of Newcastle Alteration of Pronunciations An Old Windmill Midwives' Epitaphs, 453 Advertising in London, 1607 Rectangular Keeps- Lord Roberts and Suwarrow, 454 St. Mary Woolnoth, 455. QUERIES : "Bloated armaments "" Lata " "Reredos " ' ' Lardose " Costume, 1569, 455 Landor Query Arrange- ment of Library Books "Traffic" "The spotted negro boy " " They say. What say they ? " &c. " Quarter of Corn, 456 Mediaeval Sedilia Baron Haustead Author of Verses "Coarsie" The Order of Avis Game of "Fox myne Host," 457. REPLIES : The Flag, 457-Sir John Weld F. E. Accum, 458 "Les Graces" " Hognayle " Bibury J. F. Smith Mourning in 1661, 459 Duchess of Gordon Renfred Byroniana, 460" Crowdy-mutton "Old and New Style of Chronology Sir N. Rich French Quotations Myall- wood Vice- Admiral "Bed -waggons," 461 Ghosts and Suicides Shakespeare and Cicero, 462 Fahrenheit Thermometer, 463 Devil walking through Athlone Dickens and Yorkshire Schools Discoverer of Photo- graphy " Swound"" Sweepstakes," 464 'Three Wise Men of Gotham '- French Prisoners in England Old Wooden Chest, 465 " Twibil " Laymen reading the Lessons The Coloured Cow of Hamburg Leith Half- penny, 466.

NOTES ON BOOKS : Butler's Plumptre's ' Life of Dante' Brown's ' Origin of the Primitive Constellations of the Greeks 'Griffiths 's ' Lyra Fumosa 'Reviews and Maga- zines. Notices to Correspondents.



MANY persons if asked where ' Jane Eyre ' was written would reply without hesitation, At Ha worth Parsonage. The answer would not be wholly correct, for that famous book was commenced in Manchester.

The two greatest literary biographies in the English language are BoswelFs ' Johnson ' and Lockhart's * Scott.' It would not be easy to name one with a better claim to the third place than Mrs. Gaskell's ' Life of Charlotte Bronte.' Since that was written there has been a flood of writing about the household of genius in Haworth Parsonage, but those who have studied this literature with the greatest care will, I think, be the readiest to say that the subsequent revelations add little of importance, but only serve to deepen the admiration that must be felt for the sym- pathetic discernment and skill of that marvellous portraiture. On the points that have been impugned, it cannot be said that the statements made in the first edition, and afterwards rightly withdrawn, were put for- ward hastily or without testimony. Not one in a thousand would have doubted the validity of the evidence which proved untrustworthy. Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. have now issued

Mrs. Gaskell's 'Life of Charlotte Bronte,' with annotations by Mr. Clement K. Shorter, as the concluding volume of the "Haworth Edi- tion " of the writings of the three marvellous sisters. In reading this new edition I have been reminded of the slight, but interesting links which connect Charlotte Bronte, and more especially her most famous book, with Manchester.

In 1846 the eyesight of the Rev. Patrick Bronte failed. The gradual formation of a cataract made him so blind that he had to be led into the pulpit, and could not see the clock right in front by which the half- hour duration of his sermons had been regu- lated. His sense of time was, however, so accurate that the length of his discourse never varied. In the house he could grope about, and he could recognize in a strong light the figures of those he knew best, but he could not read. Emily and Charlotte Bronte came to Manchester about the end of July in search of a skilful surgeon capable of under- taking an operation if, at their father's age, one could be successfully performed. They applied to Mr. Wilson, of whose skill they heard, and as it was impossible for him to decide from their description, Charlotte brought her father to Manchester at the end of August. Mr. Wilson decided in favour of operating, and the Brontes lodged with an old servant of the surgeon. This house, as appears from a note of Mr. Shorter's, was 83, Mount Pleasant, Boundary Street, Oxford Road. "Mount Pleasant" was the name given to a terrace of houses, numbered 73 to 93. The houses have been taken down, and the back part of the Municipal School of Art stands on their site. Miss Bronte writes to Miss Ellen Nussey of the "feel- ing of strangeness" she had "in this big town," and was somewhat perplexed as to housekeeping. The mistress was away in the country ill, and Charlotte, whilst equal to providing for her father and herself, was somewhat dismayed at the prospect of cater- ing for the nurse. The operation took place on 25 August, and was successful. " The affair lasted precisely a quarter of an hour," she writes. " It was not the simple operation of couching Mr. C. described, but the more com- plicated one of extracting the cataract. Mr. Wilson entirely disapproves of couching. Papa displayed extraordinary patience and firmness ; the surgeons seemed surprised." Mr. Bronte had to stay in the darkened room for some days. The surgeon under whose skilful treatment Mr. Bronte recovered his eyesight was Mr. William James Wilson, who became M R.C.S. in 1813 and Hon. F.R.C.S.