“If a woman is fair and amiable, she is praised for both qualities, but especially the former, by the bulk of mankind: if, on the other hand, she is disagreeable in person and character, her plainness is commonly inveighed against as her greatest crime, because, to common observers, it gives the greatest offence; while, if she is plain and good, provided she is a person of retired manners and secluded life, no one ever knows of her goodness, except her immediate connections.” Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
“Well, and what was there in that?–Who ever hung his hopes upon so frail a twig?” Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
“No, but still it is very unpleasant to live with such unimpressible, incomprehensible creatures. You cannot love them; and if you could, your love would be utterly thrown away: they could neither return it, nor value, nor understand it.” Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
“She spoke of these with animation, and heard my admiring comments with a smile of pleasure: that soon, however, vanished, and was followed by a melancholy sigh; as if in consideration of the insufficiency of all such baubles to the happiness of the human heart, and their woeful inability to supply its insatiate demands.” Anges Grey by Anne Bronte
“When we are harassed by sorrows or anxieties, or long oppressed by any powerful feelings which we must keep to ourselves, for which we can obtain and seek no sympathy from any living creature, and which yet we cannot, or will not wholly crush, we often naturally seek relief in poetry— and often find it, too— whether in the effusions of others, which seem to harmonize with our existing case, or in our own attempts to give utterance to those thoughts and feelings in strains less musical, perchance, but more appropriate, and therefore more penetrating and sympathetic, and, for the time, more soothing, or more powerful to rouse and to unburden the oppressed and swollen heart.” Anges Grey by Anne Bronte
“When we had surmounted the acclivity, I was about to withdraw my arm from his, but by a slight tightening of the elbow was tacitly informed that such was not his will, and accordingly desisted.” Anges Grey by Anne Bronte
“Whatever was wrong, in either her or her brother, he would encourage by laughing at, if not by actually praising: people little know the injury they do to children by laughing at their faults, and making a pleasant jest of what their true friends have endeavoured to teach them to hold in grave abhorrence.” Anges Grey by Anne Bronte
“But still, I would think of him: I would cherish his image in my mind; and treasure every word, look, and gesture that my memory could retain; and brood over his excellences and his peculiarities, and, in fact, all I had seen, heard, or imagined respecting him.” Anges Grey by Anne Bronte
“God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Anges Grey by Anne Bronte
The novels, written by Emily Brontë as Ellis Bell, and Anne Brontë, writing as Acton Bell, have remained steadfast in their popularity for nearly two centuries.
I confess I haven’t read either in a long time—remember when earlier this year I said I was going to re-read Austen’s works and never got beyond the first three chapters of Mansfield Park? Yeah, that.—and one of these days I will rectify that but until then, I raise a glass of hot tea to two ladies who broke molds and remained true to themselves.