Previous Next
#1 Letter to a Mr Grundy commenting upon his illness and his affair with Mrs Gisbourne. Addressed from 'Haworth, Bradford, Yorks'
#2 Letter to a Mr Grundy commenting upon his illness and his affair with Mrs Gisbourne. Addressed from 'Haworth, Bradford, Yorks'
#3 Letter to a Mr Grundy commenting upon his illness and his affair with Mrs Gisbourne. Addressed from 'Haworth, Bradford, Yorks'
#4 Letter to a Mr Grundy commenting upon his illness and his affair with Mrs Gisbourne. Addressed from 'Haworth, Bradford, Yorks'
© University of Leeds

Letter 23: Letter from Branwell Brontë to Francis Henry Grundy, c. 1848 (BC MS 19c Brontë/02/01/23)

Haworth. Bradford.K …

Dear Sir,
I fear you will burn my present
letter on recognizing the handwriting, but if you
will read it through you will perhaps rather pity
than spurn the distress of mind which could prompt
my communication after a silence of nearly three
(to me)eventful years.

While very ill, and confined to my room, I wrote to
you, two months ago, directing my letter to either the
principal Inn in Bingley or Keighley, because I did not
know your proper address; and as I heard you were
engaged on the Bradford extension line I concluded
that in your surveys you would have occasion to take your
quarters at times in either of the two houses. I never heard
from you in reply and as my letter only asked for one
day with you to ease deleted text a very wearied mind in the company
of a gentleman who use to have what I wanted
always, but most want now-cheerfulness-I am sure
you never received my letter or your generous heart
would have prompted {an an} answer.

When I say that since I last shook hands with
you in Halifax two summers ago my life till lately
has been one of apparent happiness and deleted text indulgence
you will ask deleted text why should I now complain? And I can
only reply by {shewing} the under current of distress that
bore my bark toward a whirlpool despite the surface
waves of life that seemed wafting me toward peace.

In a letter begun in the spring of 1848 and never
finished owing to incessant attacks of illness I began
tried to tell you how I was situated. As Tutor to the
only son of a wealthy gentleman whose wife was sister
to Mr Thos Gisborne M.P. for Nottingham ⟨and⟩ Mrs Evans the
wife of the member for one division of Derbyshire {.} and the
cousin of Mr. Macaulay. This lady (though her husband
detested me) {shewed} toward me a deleted text degree of
kindness which;when I was deeply grieved one day at her
husbands conduct towards me ;opened into an unexpected declaration
of more than ordinary feeling. My admiration
of her mental and personal attractions which, though she is
17 years older than myself, are both very great, my knowledge
of her totally unselfish generosity, sweet temper and
unwearied care for all others with ill requital in return
My horror at the heartless and unmanly manner in which
she was treated by an eunuch like fellow who though possessed
of such a treasure never even occupied the same apartment
with her. All combined to ⟨make me⟩ reciprocate an attachment
I had little dared to look for. During nearly three
years I had daily "Troubled pleasure soon chastised by fear"
in the society of one whom I must, till death, call my wife .
Three months since, while at home, I received a furious
letter from my Employer threatening to shoot me if
I returned from the vacation- and letters from
deleted text
her ladies maid and her physician informed me of the
outbreak and threatened proceedings only checked by her firm
courage and resolution that come what might harm might to her
none should come to me. The wretchedly broken health deleted text
and want of energy in her bloodless mock husband made
him put up with the simple joy of daily torturing her while
I was left uninjured.

Had I strength to return and meet him the results would
be serious to one or both, but providence has hitherto
deleted text
denied me this power for I have lain during nine long
weeks utterly shattered in body and broken down with mental
despair. The probability of his state of health ere long
leaving her free to give me herself and her estate as was
her hearts resolve never rose to drive off the prospect of
her decline under her present grief and sufferings and I
dreaded too the wreck of my mind and body which God knows
have both during a short life been severely tried.

Eleven continued nights of sleepless horrors reduced me
to almost blindness and while taken into Wales to rouse
me the sweet scenery, the sea, the sound of music only
caused fits of unspeakable distress and irrepressible
tears. I implored for society and comfort but could neither
be pleasant to one or pleased by the other, and wine or other
stimulants only caused not exhilaration but deeper dejection.

You will say "What a fool!" but if you knew the
many causes I have had for sorrow which I cannot hint
at here you would pity as well as blame.

I am better now but though at the kind request of
Mr Macaulay and Mr Baines I have striven to rouse
my mind by writing something that I ought to make deserving
of being read, I find I really cannot yet do so
with effect for one line of poetry like one note of music
produces in my frame a sickening thrill of despair.

I know you will - if you read it ⟨at⟩ all - despise
this letter and its writer, but I can only answer
the writer does the same, and he would not wish
to live if he did not hope that active exertion and
change of scene may yet restore him to the by past
manhood which used to boast of unconquerable health,
where for 3 year he has known no interval of one
week from agonizing sickness, and latterly not even
one day.

I should indeed be gratified if I knew that
you would soon be anywhere where deleted text an hours
visit to you would not be forbidden.

The crumpled appearance of the sheet is owing
to my having kept it unfinished for days in
my pocket.

Apologising sincerely for what will seem
deleted text

whining egotism and hardly daring to hint about
days when in your company I could sometimes laugh
or smile the deleted text thoughts of which

"Remind me of departed times"
but, I would fain hope, not
Departed never to return."
I remain,
Dear Sir,
Yours most sincerely,
Mr. F.H.Grundy.

Later annotations in ink in unknown hand at bottom of the page, written upside down. ‘1845 - Must be 1845 or 6 FGH 29/3/78’