This delightful book contains a wealth of information about world geography in all its social and physical aspects and it is easy to understand its appeal to the Brontë children, who owned this copy. The list of questions and the exercises at the back of the book have been well used and there are pencil marks beside most of the entries, perhaps indicating correct answers. Inside the front and back covers and on the fly-leaves there are sketches of grotesque figures and random jottings in both pencil and ink; these are typical of the Brontë children.
Real places and imaginary places
More interesting and more unusual, however, is the gazetteer of places at the end of the book which has been heavily annotated by either Emily or Anne. Between the printed names of real places listed in alphabetical order one of them has entered in pencil places to be found in the imaginary world of Gondal. Thus, for instance, between the printed entries for ‘Eurestenburg; a principality of the Grand Duchy of Baden and’ and ‘Gareta; a celebrated town of Naples’ there is a pencil insertion in miniscule script: ‘Gaaldine a large Island newly discovered in the south pacific’. The book is thus an important source for Gondal names as well as providing evidence of the blurring between fiction and reality which was such a feature of the Brontës’ lives.
Credit: Juliet R V Barker, Sixty Treasures (Keighley: Brontë Society, 1988)