On this rainy, blowy day, I’m working on my final project for my Brontë class. Thankfully, we’ve been given a lot of freedom on this. My classmates’ projects, if I remember right, include Victorian fashion, the geology of the moors, and Victorian food (yum!). One classmate has been doing her project all semester, maintaining and adding to a Brontë Sisters Facebook page that’s a lot of fun. My project will focus on letters, either written by the Brontës or incorporated into their novels.
I’ve been reading The Brontës: A Life in Letters by Juliet Barker to find some gems for the project and came across this passage, written by Charlotte in a letter to her friend, Ellen Nussey. At this point, Charlotte and Emily are at Pensionnat Heger, a school in Brussels:
“I was twenty-six years old a week or two since – and at that ripe time of life I am a schoolgirl – a complete school-girl and on the whole very happy in that capacity. It felt very strange at first to submit to authority instead of exercising it – to obey orders instead of giving them – but I like that state of things…”
Yes, my friends. Charlotte Brontë was a nontrad! She started her schooling, such as it was, a little later in life, after previously being part of the work force as a governess. Counts as a nontraditional student in my book.