Letter to William S. Williams, 2 October 1848, page 4

Charlotte Brontë

Letter to William S. Williams, dated Haworth, 2 October 1848

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

MA 2696.36

A few days after her brother, Branwell, died in 1848, Brontë used a sheet of mourning stationery to share the news with William S. Williams of the publishing firm Smith, Elder & Co., who had become a friend. Her grief was compounded by her anger that Branwell had, in her view, squandered his “burning” talent.


for my Father’s sake – I am better now – though still feeble – I wish indeed I had more general physical strength – the want of it is sadly in my way. I cannot do what I would do, for want of sustained animal spirits – and efficient bodily vigour.

My unhappy brother never knew what his sisters had done in literature – he was not aware that they had ever published a line; we could not tell him of our efforts for fear of causing him too deep a pang of remorse for his own time misspent, and talents misapplied – Now he will never know. I cannot dwell longer on the subject at present; it is too painful.

I thank you for your kind sympathy – and pray earnestly that your sons may all do well and that you may be spared the sufferings my Father has gone through.

Yours sincerely

C Brontë