the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne,
were known as
the authors whose literary works we have come to love and
daughters of a clergyman had no alternative but to find employment.
father, Patrick Brontë, they were ambitious to better
in life. The career options open to them were to find work as
governesses or schoolteachers, but they longed for independence and
gave them more fulfilment than pursuing their private passion of
writing. However, being successful authors was still only a dream for
Charlotte, who had
always greatly disliked her posts as governess,
upon the scheme of opening a school in Haworth one day with
sisters. This would allow them some sort of independence.
the letter in which Charlotte wrote about
wanted to include languages in their curriculum, of which French would
be the most important. They were diligent students and dreamed of
perfecting their knowledge of the language in a French-speaking school.
Her friend Mary
and her sister Martha were going to the Château de
Koekelberg, a highly
acclaimed girls’ school in a leafy suburb in Brussels, but
this was too
expensive for the Brontë girls. They were recommended a
cheaper but highly
regarded school: the Pensionnat Heger in the Rue d’Isabelle.
Taylor, Charlotte’s life-long friend, often wrote of her
continental experiences and after
reading one of her letters Charlotte’s imagination was set alight.
one of Charlotte's letters, describing Mary's travels.
the idea had taken root in her mind she could not let it go. She gained
support for her scheme by arguing that further education, and in
command of foreign languages, would secure the success of
their school. She
wrote to her aunt, who was the only one within the family to help them
financially, in a shrewd bid to enlist her help.
the letter Charlotte
wrote to her aunt.
Charlotte knew her elders would more likely agree to the
if she did not go alone. It was agreed Emily should go with her.
Charlotte now had to find the right school.
click here to enlarge the prospectus