10. Letter to William S. Williams, 8 May 1849, page 1

Charlotte Brontë

Letter to William S. Williams, dated Haworth, 8 May 1849

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

MA 2696.37

Brontë wrote this letter to her friend William S. Williams of the firm Smith, Elder, & Co., which had published Jane Eyre, to send him a wrenching update of her sister Anne’s decline. She wrote on black-edged mourning stationery, having recently lost her sister Emily and brother, Branwell, both of whom had died a few months before.


My dear Sir

I hasten to acknowledge the two kind letters for which I am indebted to you. That fine Spring weather of which you speak did not bring such happiness to us in its sunshine as I trust it did to you and thousands besides – the change proved trying to my sister. For a week or ten days I did not know what to think – she became so weak, and suffered so much from increased pain in the side and aggravated cough. The last few days have been much colder yet, strange to say, during their continuance she has appeared