Brontë’s Haworth

If there were no Bronte sisters, then Haworth would be nothing more than an ordinary English village, located deep in the mountains of North Yorkshire, far away from the prosperous cities, and accompanied by barren wasteland all day long. The fate of the small town ushered in a change on February 25, 1820. On that day, seven carriages loaded with luggage slowly moved along the stone path of the Pennine Mountains, with the Bronte family in the car. Not long ago, Patrick Bronte had just been appointed as the permanent associate pastor of Haworth Church, so he moved here from Sandton with his wife Maria and six children. The people of Haworth would certainly not think that the three youngest daughters of these six children would make this poor town a center of literary pilgrimage in the future, and the descendants of Haworth people will continue to recite Virginia Woolf once said the famous saying: Haworth represents Bronte, and Bronte represents Haworth, they complement each other like a snail and its shell.

The “Bronte Village” described by literary travelers is today’s Haworth Town. At first, I had no plans to visit this place, because apart from Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” and Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”, I had the youngest of the three Bronte sisters Anne Brontë knew very little. Even Charlotte and Emily, my understanding of them has never exceeded the narrative of literary history. However, the way to enter Bronte Village is really attractive. Among the dozens of retro steam locomotive lines in the UK, one goes from Keighley to Haworth in North Yorkshire. I haven’t been on a steam locomotive for 30 years. I can not only meet my childhood memories, but also reach the scene of the life of the Brontë sisters. This makes me firm in my determination to travel and hope to see it in the wasteland of Haworth The sky they looked at.

Take a car from Leeds to Keighley. This railway station has specially retained a part of the retro station building with a carved wrought iron vault. The platform is surrounded by a dark red rose-colored wooden fence. The fire-fighting equipment in the station is unexpectedly These are two red-painted iron buckets, which have been placed in this location since 1909. The masonry building of the waiting room has been baptized over a century of years, and the appearance is charred black honey color, which is the iconic color of old buildings in England. Three heavy oak benches are placed inside, and the mottled marks on them silently reveal their loyalty to the station. Sitting on a bench by the window, I carefully looked at the propaganda posters and railway maps posted on the wall two centuries ago, and waited alone for the train to arrive.

Because it is a retro travel route, there are actually very few trains to Haworth in a day. I was bored in the waiting hall, so I opened the door and walked to the platform. The cold summer wind in the north of England was strong, and I lingered in it for a long time. When my body could not distinguish the summer and winter, I suddenly found gray smoke coming out of the distance, and then a train of steam locomotives slowly entered the station. Indulging in the high-speed city life for a long time, it is undoubtedly exciting and happy to have the chance to revisit the retro slow car by chance. I noticed that the nameplate of the locomotive seems to be engraved with the words “Made in the 19th Century” and “Scotland”, while the train cars are mostly wooden structures, which seem to be outdated, but in fact it is to maintain the appearance of a hundred years ago. There is a door next to each seat. Passengers only need to open the door beside them to get on and off the bus, as if they are riding a carriage, which is quite novel.

In 1867, this railway dedicated to the pilgrimage of Bronte fans to Haworth was officially opened. The total distance was 5 miles and there were 5 stations. Haworth was the penultimate station. Curiously, until the early 20th century, literary pilgrims from the middle class still rejected this train line. Because the works of the Bronte sisters show the “pre-rail era” of walking, riding or riding a carriage, the pilgrims insisted on walking to Haworth, thinking that only in this way could they reach the Bronte literature. Where the poetry lies.

Of course, today’s pilgrims have accepted train travel, and Haworth Station has become a frequent location in many British dramas. But if you don’t mention it, you are likely to use the station as a public toilet or a small shop. It is really small. After all, even Haworth himself is a small town.

How small is Haworth? You start from the station and go up a huge steep slope for about 1 kilometer. You will see a stone road surrounded by one or two floors of honey-colored stone buildings, mostly shops and taverns. This is the master of Haworth street. In fact, the two ends of Haworth’s not-long main street form almost all of the town. You stand in the center of the town, in front of the church where Old Bronte worked, and take a picture of the front and back of the street, which is enough to include the main scenery of Haworth. Haworth has always reminded people with the unchanging simplicity of a hundred years that, in the face of the great British literary tradition, any entrant should have a humble heart of pilgrimage.

According to the habit of traveling in Western literature, I plan to visit the cemetery of the Brontë family in Haworth Church first, and then visit their former residence. The scale of Haworth Church is small in the UK, with only a dozen rows of black oak benches. According to the description in Mrs. Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Brown, there is no altar and organ here. Simple and shabby. However, when the church has undergone reconstruction and many renovations, the situation has obviously changed a lot. For example, a small pipe organ is placed on the left side of the main altar, and the right side of it is the focus of attention of visitors-built by future generations with donations. Bronte Chapel. There are many memorials about the Bronte family, such as Charlotte Bronte’s marriage certificate, the Bronte family’s burial registration certificate, the “Bible” used by the old Bronte, and so on. A white marble stele with cornices is embedded on the stone wall to the right of the hall, on which is engraved the name, time and age of the dead in the Bronte family.

Mrs. Gaswell once recorded the words on the stone tablet, but the old Bronte was still in the world at that time, and the “Bible” entry on the stone tablet was also different from the current one. It can be seen that the earlier stone tablet has been replaced. From the quotation of the Bible at the end of the inscription, we can read the proverbs about using love to defeat death. However, in addition to the old Bronte, Bronte’s family members have hurried away in the first chapters of life, even if love defeats death, this victory is bleak and sad. Emily Brontë died of lung disease at the age of 30. The most beautiful Anne Brontë never lived at the age of 30, even if she watched her relatives fall asleep in her arms one by one, another Charlotte Bronte, who was buried next, was 39 years old when she died. I can’t help but think of a poem called “Night Wind” written by Emily, in which a few lines read:

When your heart has fallen asleep,/under the tombstone of the church,/I still have time to grieve,/and you are lonely and desolate.

Isn’t this how I feel at the moment — one afternoon in the 21st century, standing in the Bronte Chapel, under my feet is the burial of old Bronte, his wife Maria, and his five children (Annie Burial Tomb of Uscabro). I gently put my hand on the carpet painted with dark red patterns, trying to feel the breath of the souls below the ground, but the empty inspiration in my heart has long inspired me that I am far away from them.

When I walked out of the church, there was a vast cemetery in front of me. I carefully looked at some tombstones and found that some tombs were shared tombs for infants, and there were a considerable number of tombstones for children. Later, some information was found, saying that in the age when the Bronte sisters lived, the average life expectancy of Haworth was less than 26 years, and even 40% of the population in this small town lived less than 6 years old. In this comparison, the early death of the Brontë sisters is not so surprising. As for the reason why Haworth’s mortality rate remains high, it may be related to the bad weather and water pollution here. Some people attribute the short life of the Bronte family to the fact that their home is too close to the cemetery and is contaminated with bad feng shui. This is definitely groundless.

Through the tombstones covered with moss, you can see Bronte’s home. In the eyes of old Bronte, this is a good house because it is a priest’s residence and does not require rent. Today, this Georgian-style two-story rectangular building still maintains the appearance of the year. The building is neatly built of stones collected from the swamp behind the house, exuding a natural seriousness and tranquility. The first floor contains four rooms. On the right side of the corridor is the study of Mr. Bronte, behind the study is the kitchen, and on the left is the living room that he personally remodeled and enlarged, and there is a storage room behind the living room. There are also four houses on the upper floor, all of the same size, used as bedrooms or guest rooms.

On Mr. Bronte’s desk are the glasses and magnifying glasses he used, and the walls are decorated with prints of scenes from the Bible by the British romantic painter John Martin. From a distance, these paintings seem to be related to the theme of salvation and sacrifice. It is also the source of early literary inspiration for the three Bronte sisters. I think that if there is no faith in religion, it would be difficult for Old Bronte to listen to the quiet house where the ticking bells are ringing. Whenever he looks out the window, he can see the church and cemetery where his loved ones are buried. , This is really a harsh torture and test. Perhaps, staying in the room to remember and feel the breath of family gatherings is the most practical comfort for him. This study room retains the love between father and child. It is here that the old Bronte, who graduated from Cambridge University, taught the children literature and art, and bought a cabinet that looks very unique today. The piano is used to cultivate children’s musical cells. Later, Emily and Annie became frequent visitors to this piano, and Charlotte prefers to stay in the hall opposite the study, playing with girls’ needlework or dolls. Many warm furnishings whisper to us: This is a quiet and happy family with a short life.

I believe that the living room of Bronte’s house can satisfy all the imagination of Bronte fans, at least most of them. There are three sets of classic long-sleeved tunic dresses from the era of the Bronte sisters on display in the living room. One is red with dark yellow patterns, one is dark green florals, and the other is brown plaid. They are not originals, but props used in the biopic “Hidden Behind the Book” filmed by the BBC for the Bronte sisters. The wallpaper and curtains in the living room are all red chosen by Charlotte. In the center of the house is a fireplace, and directly above there is an oval frame with gold rims. Inside is a portrait of Charlotte created by George Richmond in 1850 (this is a reproduction, the original is at the National Gallery in London). Bookshelves are embedded in the walls on both sides of the fireplace, and in front is a large square table with stationery and needlework toys used by Charlotte. It was on this table that Charlotte and Emily wrote “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” respectively. It was also around this table that the three Bronte sisters and his brother Branwell Discuss writing together. Especially for the three sisters, they have to walk around the table and chat every night as a necessary homework before going to bed. When the two sisters died, Charlotte could only walk around the table alone, reviewing the intimate ceremony that belonged to their sisters with sorrow.

There is also a rocking chair on the right side of the living room. Annie likes to sit on it and meditate. Next to the rocking chair is a black leather sofa with a red velvet blanket on the left armrest. Seeing this sofa, I felt as if I was hit by something hidden in the spiritual world, and I couldn’t help shaking. In the afternoon of December 19, 1848, Emily Bronte left the world after a violent and short struggle on this sofa. I can’t be sure whether this sofa is a silent witness to Emily’s illness, but Emily did die in this position.

Leaving the living room and walking along the corridor to the corner of the stairs from the first floor to the second floor, you can see the only “group photo” painting of the three Bronte sisters hanging on the wall. This is the portrait of the three Brontë sisters created by his younger brother Branwell in 1834. There is a white light in the middle of the picture, and Branwell’s own outline is vaguely visible, as if it fits people’s understanding of him-Branwell is just The blurred shadow behind Sister Langte. This meaningful painting has been folded for many years in the kitchen cupboard on the first floor, and the creases on the canvas are still clearly visible.

The second floor of the former residence is the bedrooms of Bronte’s family and servants. The room where Charlotte died was transformed into the current Charlotte showroom. Hand-painted drafts of her facial features, her myopia glasses, used quill pens, ink bottles, jewelry cases, wooden overshoes, smelling salts, and the white woolen socks that she knitted for the children of her friends are all displayed in a row. In the open glass showcase. I can feel that the protagonist of Bronte’s house is Charlotte, and everything revolves around her. But when the tour was about to end, I saw words like this on the wall of the exhibition hall: “I have had many dreams in my life. These dreams have been with me and changed my mind. They passed through me, passed through me, It’s like wine passing through water, changing the color of my thoughts.” This sentence comes from Emily’s “Wuthering Heights”. “Wuthering” (Wuthering) is the local dialect, referring to the roaring sound of nature when the storm is sweeping. When we walked out of the former residence and strolled along the slope behind the house, a sign told us that if we continued to the west, we could find the prototype of the building “Wuthering Heights”. At this time, the protagonist we pursued was transferred from Charlotte to Emily.

Walking along the narrow slope, along the foothills to the west, as the terrain continues to rise, there are fewer and fewer plants in front, only the sparse bilberry and fern, and the fence separated by fine stones, planted inside oat. The British people’s preference for plants makes it easy for them to judge the prosperity of a place by the types of flowers and plants. The Haworth described by Mrs. Gaskell is a desolate scene with no flowers and plants, desolate and barren. But the children of the Bronte family love this velvety wilderness paradise. They ran hand in hand on the slope, fell together, watched the waves and shadows of the clouds, and listened to the whistling wind of the swamp in the Penning Mountains. Over. Especially for Emily, the wilderness around Haworth made her forget loneliness and inspired her creation. She likes to wander among mountain streams and amethyst heather flowers, listening to the mysterious sounds of nature . As Charlotte said: “My sister Emily loves that wasteland very much. The heather bushes are full of wildflowers that are more brilliant than roses. For her, this is not a gloomy valley, but a vibrant place. Here is the Garden of Eden. She found a lot of happiness in these hazes, and at least gave her the freedom she wanted most. Freedom is Emily’s breath, and you cannot live without it.”

If you follow the roadside tips all the way west, about three or four hours walk, you can reach some important literary places, such as the stone bridge that Charlotte and Emily often visit (now called Charlotte Bridge). And the mountain stream waterfall that Charlotte and her husband once watched (now called Charlotte Falls. It was because Charlotte caught the cold on the way to visit the waterfalls, she never became ill). On the high ground of the wasteland, there is also a farm called Top Wiesen. This low brown stone building is the address of Wuthering Heights, which directly inspired Emily’s literary imagination. Emily fans will come here to worship with respect. The wildness and desolation of the highlands are in full compliance with people’s imagination and expectations of Heathcliff’s living environment. I believe that the dwarf fir trees and thin thorns that Emily saw in Top Wiesen will still capture the imagination of today’s people with the original force of nature, and make every pilgrim who visits here feel The Gothic sublime of the wasteland. Any Bronte fan dreams of being in a mild open air, like the end of “Wuthering Heights”, watching moths flutter their wings in the heather bushes and penmans willow, listening to the gentle wind. The sound of breathing drifting across the grass, and then to think about a question:

Under this desolate and quiet land, has the sleeper been asleep?