Letter to William S. Williams, 8 May 1849, page 4

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.


that one book. I can make no promise as to when another will be ready – neither my time nor my efforts are my own. That absorption in my employment to which I gave myself up without fear of doing wrong when I wrote “Jane Eyre” would now be alike impossible and blamable; but I do what I can – and have made some little progress: we must all be patient.

Meantime – I should say – let the Public forget at their ease and let us not be nervous about it; and as to the critics, if the Bells possess real merit – I do not fear impartial justice being rendered them one day.

I have a very short mental as well as physical sight in some matters, and am far less uneasy at the idea