21 February (1855): Charlotte Brontë to Ellen Nussey

Charlotte Brontë met Ellen Nussey while attending the Roe Head school in Dewbury, Yorkshire, in 1833. The Reverend Brontë, believing Nussey to be a suitable companion for his daughters, allowed her to stay for extensive visits at the parsonage. She befriended the whole family, and saw them through the time wherein most of the Brontës died of tuberculosis. Charlotte, below, was the last to go. Newly married, she would die of T.B. and pregnancy complications within a month of this letter’s writing.

February 21st, 1855.

My Dear Ellen,

I write one line out of my weary bed. The news of Mercy’s probable recovery came like a ray of joy to me. I am not going to talk about my sufferings, it would be useless and painful—I want to give you an assurance which I know will comfort you—and that is that I find in my husband the tenderest nurse, the kindest support—the best earthly comfort that woman ever had. His patience never fails, and it is tried by sad days and broken nights. Write and tell me about Mrs. Hewitt’s case, how long she was ill and in what way. Papa, thank God! is better. Our poor old Tabby is dead and buried. Give my truest love to Miss Wooler. May God comfort and help you.

C.B. Nicholls

From The Bronte Letters. Edited by Muriel Spark. London: Macmillan, 1966. p. 204.


The Brontë family parsonage

The family dynasty