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Yorkshire by Gordon Home

Part 4 out of 4

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'Miss Brontė put me so in mind of her own "Jane Eyre." She looked smaller
than ever, and moved about so quietly and noiselessly, just like a
little bird, as Rochester called her, barring that all birds are
joyous, and that joy can never have entered that house since it was
first built, and yet, perhaps, when that old man married, and took home
his bride, and children's voices and feet were heard about the house,
even that desolate crowded graveyard and biting blast could not quench
cheerfulness and hope.'

Very soon after the family came to Haworth Mrs. Brontė died, when the
eldest girl, Maria, was only six years old; and far from there having
been any childish laughter about the house, we are told that the
children were unusually solemn from their infancy. In their earliest
walks, the five little girls with their one brother--all of them under
seven years--directed their steps towards the wild moors above their
home rather than into the village. Over a century has passed, and
practically no change has come to the moorland side of the house, so
that we can imagine the precocious toddling children going hand-in-hand
over the grass-lands towards the moors beyond, as though we had
travelled back over the intervening years.

The purple moors so beloved by the Brontės stretch away to the Calder
Valley, and beyond that depression in great sweeping outlines to the
Peak of Derbyshire, where they exceed 2,000 feet in height. Within easy
reach of this grand country is Sheffield, perhaps the blackest and
ugliest city in England. At night, however, the great iron and steel
works become wildly fantastic. The tops of the many chimneys emit
crimson flames, and glowing shafts of light with a nucleus of dazzling
brilliance show between the inky forms of buildings. Ceaseless activity
reigns in these industrial infernos, with three shifts of men working
during each twenty-four hours; and from the innumerable works come
every form of manufactured steel and iron goods, from a pair of
scissors or a plated teaspoon to steel rails and armour plate.

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