Reader, I died.

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Life in the 19th Century was rough. Want proof? Look to the Brontë family. Patrick Bronte managed to outlive his entire family. By six years. No, no, wait for it, it gets better (worse?)

Patrick marries Maria in 1812, she dies less than 10 years later, having given him six children. Of these six, the two eldest die in 1825 (of consumption). The youngest three all die within 10 months of each other in 1848/49. Of course, all three died of some respiratory ailment. Because that's what people did in Victorian England (see above). Especially, if like Branwell, the son, you were an opium addict. I'm curious how Charlotte felt, out-surviving every single member of her family except her father. Apparently she got over it enough to get married. And pregnant. AND THEN DIE. Yep, she died with child, less than a year after her wedding.

Even better than all this is the fact that the sisters were never considered to be the success stories of the family. All the family's hopes were centered on Branwell. Then, of course, he seems to have either lost or stolen some money from his railway job, had an affair with the mother of the pupil he tutored, and became an alcoholic. So, maybe his death isn't so tragic. Well, it is tragic that it all had to happen at once to this family. So much dying. All over the place.

Sheesh, how did anyone survive in Victorian England?

Also: why did no one tell me that William James and Henry James were brothers? Doesn't that seem a bit excessive to have that much century-later impact birthed in one family?

5 comments:

daine said...

Wait, are you saying that Branwell shouldn't be considered the jewel of his family? He was, after all, the male, and should be the heir apparent to any laurels that the family would earn.

alea said...

Oh, I forgot. For a second there, I was under the impression that girls matter. Oops.

Tristachio said...

Do you know how people survived in Victorian England? Booze and lots of it.

ke said...

Fun fact: the town the Brontes lived in was built on a very steep hill with a church at the top of it. Kind of picturesque-sounding, but the church cemetery was also, unfortunately, at the top of the hill. So lots of people died there all the time. Fabulous.

alea said...

wait, did you just go back to this post after learning a fun fact? AWESOME.

Also, poorly planned, small English town. Poorly planned.

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