Maria died when her six children – including the authors Emily, Anne and Charlotte – were very young. Among her possessions was a copy of Robert Southey’s The Remains of Henry Kirke White, which the Bronte Society maintains was “much-treasured” by the family. It was in this book that Charlotte’s unpublished works were found, along with other sketches, annotations and markings by other family members.
Charlotte’s pieces have been dated to 1883, when Charlotte would have been 17. The story she penned runs to 74 lines; the poem to 77 lines.
This particular copy of Southey’s book has traversed the world. The Bronte family sold the book after the death of Charlotte’s father, Patrick, in 1861. It travelled from the family home in Hawthorn, UK to the US, where it eventually settled with an American book collector. The book is set to return home and go on display at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth sometime in 2016.
The story and poem authored by Charlotte mentions the world Angria that she and her brother Branwell imagined. The story features embezzling from a chapel, a public flogging and focuses on Mary Percy, the lovesick wife of the king of Angria.
Historians, museum folk and fans of the classics are having a field day.