The time Charlotte and Emily spent in Brussels was crucial to the development of both sisters. It was not a happy time. They had an odd position halfway between being pupils and being teachers. It would have been only natural for Charlotte and Emily to have found it strange and demeaning to have to go back to the schoolroom again, and neither of them had much aptitude as teachers. Belgium contributed to the unhappy impression we form of schools and teachers which has been recorded in previous chapters. William Crimsworth, Lucy Snowe, and even the rather pallid Frances Henri win their way to success in their profession, but we cannot help feeling that this success, so clearly desired, was not achieved in real life, and that the disciplinary measures which the two former adopt with their recalcitrant pupils were measures which Charlotte wished she had adopted. There is some evidence for Emily’s almost total failure to communicate with her pupils, and Charlotte complains of the bad behaviour of the other girls.1
KeywordsWalk Away Modern Reader Disciplinary Measure French Culture Lame Duck
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- 3.W. Gerin, Charlotte Brontë: The Evolution of Genius (Oxford, 1966) pp. 181–215. This research is excellent, but Miss Gerin equates fact and fiction much too readily in this chapter.Google Scholar
- 4.E. Duthie, The Foreign Vision of Charlotte Brontë (London, 1975).Google Scholar
- 5.M. Robinson, Emily Brontë, A Memoir (London, 1883).Google Scholar