Description

This diary paper was written by Emily Brontë on 26 June 1837. It has particular interest not only because of its rarity but also because it is illustrated. The rough sketch below the bulk of the text shows two seated female figures, clearly labelled ‘Anne’ and ‘Emily’, at a large table. A number of sheets of paper, labelled ‘The papers’, are scattered over the table and next to Emily’s right elbow is ‘The Tin Box’. This, then, is an illustration of the diary papers and the box in which they were kept. Written at irregular intervals of approximately four years, the old papers were re-opened and examined when a new one was written. This paper, like the others, still bears crease marks where it was folded into quarters before being inserted in the box. The tin box itself is now in the Brontë Parsonage Museum [HAOBP: H109] as are the chairs in the sketch [HAOBP: FP: 1 & 2].

Mixing fact and fiction

The paper is a typical Brontë concoction: a mix of vivid fact and fiction. The plans for Queen Victoria’s coronation has evidently inspired a similar event in Gondal – both Emily and Anne were hard at work on their Gondal stories at this time. Charlotte and Branwell, even at this late date, kept their younger sisters informed of the progress of affairs in Angria and these too are noted in the diary paper. The reported conversation at the end of the paper is again typical but it is of interest in that it is clear from Emily’s poetry in particular that imaginative inspiration was most often caused by the experience of weather and natural environment.

Credit: Juliet R V Barker, Sixty Treasures (Keighley: Brontë Society, 1988)

This item is owned by The Bronte Parsonage Museum

Transcript

Monday evening June 26 1837
A bit past 4 o’Clock Charlotte working in Aunts room
Branwell read- / ing Eugene Aram to her Anne and I
writing in the drawing room – Anne / a poem beginning
“Fair was the Evening and brightly the Sun – I
Agustus - / Almedas life 1st vol – 4th page from the [back:
?] a fine rather coolish thin / grey cloudy but Sunny day
Aunt working in the little Room papa - / gone out. Tabby
in the Kitchin – the Emperors and Empreses of / Gondal
and Gaaldine preparing to depart from Gaaldine to Gondal
to / prepare for the coranation which will be on the 12th of
July / Queen Victoria ascended the throne this month
Northangerland in / [Monceys:/] Isle – Zamorna at
Eversham. all tight and right in which / condition it is to
be hoped we shall all be on this day 4 years at / which
time Charolotte will be 25 and 2 months – Branwell / just
24 it being his birthday – myself 22 and 10 months and a
peice / Anne 21 and nearly a half I wonder where we shall
be and / how we shall be and what kind of a day it will be
then let us hope / for the best /
Emily Jane Brontë – Anne Brontë
[drawing]
Aunt. come Emily Its past 4 o’Clock. [Emily: sub]
Yes Aunt / Anne [well: sup] do you intend to write in the
evening / Emily well what think you / (we agreed to go
out 1st to make sure if we / get into / a humour / we may /
Stay / [out:?])

[at right angles to main text, alongside the drawing:]
I guess that this day 4 years we shall / all be in this
drawing room comfortable / I hope it may be so / Anne
guesses we shall all be gone some- / where together
comfortable We hope it / may be either

  1. Transcript

    Monday evening June 26 1837
    A bit past 4 o’Clock Charlotte working in Aunts room
    Branwell read- / ing Eugene Aram to her Anne and I
    writing in the drawing room – Anne / a poem beginning
    “Fair was the Evening and brightly the Sun – I
    Agustus - / Almedas life 1st vol – 4th page from the [back:
    ?] a fine rather coolish thin / grey cloudy but Sunny day
    Aunt working in the little Room papa - / gone out. Tabby
    in the Kitchin – the Emperors and Empreses of / Gondal
    and Gaaldine preparing to depart from Gaaldine to Gondal
    to / prepare for the coranation which will be on the 12th of
    July / Queen Victoria ascended the throne this month
    Northangerland in / [Monceys:/] Isle – Zamorna at
    Eversham. all tight and right in which / condition it is to
    be hoped we shall all be on this day 4 years at / which
    time Charolotte will be 25 and 2 months – Branwell / just
    24 it being his birthday – myself 22 and 10 months and a
    peice / Anne 21 and nearly a half I wonder where we shall
    be and / how we shall be and what kind of a day it will be
    then let us hope / for the best /
    Emily Jane Brontë – Anne Brontë
    [drawing]
    Aunt. come Emily Its past 4 o’Clock. [Emily: sub]
    Yes Aunt / Anne [well: sup] do you intend to write in the
    evening / Emily well what think you / (we agreed to go
    out 1st to make sure if we / get into / a humour / we may /
    Stay / [out:?])

    [at right angles to main text, alongside the drawing:]
    I guess that this day 4 years we shall / all be in this
    drawing room comfortable / I hope it may be so / Anne
    guesses we shall all be gone some- / where together
    comfortable We hope it / may be either