Letter to Ellen Nussey, 24 January 1840, page 4

Charlotte Brontë

Letter to Ellen Nussey, dated Haworth, 24 January 1840

Henry H. Bonnell Collection, bequest of Helen Safford Bonnell, 1969

MA 2696.25

A few months after she left the Sidgwick family’s employ, Brontë wrote this letter to her friend Ellen to let her know that she had just turned down a new job offer. Susanna Halliley of Leeds, a Brontë family acquaintance, had advertised for a churchgoing young lady of “amiable disposition, and some experience, willing to make herself generally useful, and competent to teach Music, French and Drawing.” The letter, which Brontë wrote in a moment of ill humor as she contemplated an unappealing future, shows evidence of her eventual fame: there is a hole in the paper where someone (presumably Ellen, later in her life) has clipped out Brontë’s signature for an autograph seeker.