On this page
344 NOTICES OF BOOKS.
¦ ^* Reprin Sail Ts . . B Mrs Y Acton . ...
Brussels quent works and , sketcMng to tlie real 1 her , g characters iving us her closel actual y from experiences the life . In in
, " Agues Grey , " Anne tells us what she did and suffered as governess . Emily , on the contrary , invents . She does not write of the
governess or Brussels episodes of her life ; these , as it seeins to us , left no impression on her . She does Dot write of the individual
people and circumstances round her ; we would almost venture to that not one of her characters is a portrait . From her own
imag say ination she evolves her plot and its actors ; and yet this unreal drama has in it an ideal truth in which the other half-autobiographic
books fail . It is an embodiment of the spirit of that wild north country . The impressions received from childhood , through her
whole life , ( save during her short absence from Haworth , —and then she was absent in body only ) find expression here . She does not
, recount personal adventures , nor portray personal acquaintances , as her sisters do whileon the other handher inspiration is drawn
from her immediate ; and , ordinary surroundings , , not , as with them , from circumstances to themselves exceptional and foreign . She
paints , whether consciously or unconsciously , the picture of that Nature which had nurtured her . If this fiction be measured by the
rules of art , it will of course be found disproportional and unsymmetrical ; it is an immature Titan , not a full-formed human figure ,
and there is a difficulty in cutting a suit of criticism to fit it . Love and Hate are personified in the character of Heathcliffe ; both
superhumanly intensified , so that he is not a loving and hating man , but a demoniac . To make the same person possessed by the two
antagonistic demons was a grand idea , having a correlativeness in it deeply true . The human origin of these two demons ; the
tyranny of the powerful over the powerless producing Hate , and the sympathy of like with like producing Love , is wrought out so
naturally , as to make the strength of these passions seem scarcely supernatural . Heathcliff has his human side . "We find ourselves
pitying him , not because he shows any tenderness or ruth , but because he is a mortal so carried away by a power pitiless and
resistless . The effect of that opening part of the story , where he sobs at the little window" Come in ! come in ! Cattydo come . Oh
, , do — once more . Gh ! my heart ' s darling ! hear me this time , Catherine , at least ! " never wholly leaves us through all the after
brutalities . Catherine , ( the elder , ) too , with her strong love for Heathcliff , and her weak affection for her husband , is a character
unique . In this love for Pleathcliff there is no shadow of impurity . Only those of impure mind could interpret it in this light . It is a
natural affinity , a spiritual sympathy , which has nothing of the flesh in it . In her is repeated the good weakness of Edgar Linton and
the bad strength of Pleathcliff ; and the latter , when he is present , has power to draw her to him , as a magnet draws steel . The
younger Catherine ( as it has _Tbeen before observed ) is precisely
what the child of Edgar Linton and his wife must have been ; and
344 Notices Of Books.
344 NOTICES OF BOOKS .
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Jan. 1, 1860, page 344, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01011860/page/56/