For someone like me, a book-a-holic brought up on English writings, every part of England bears familiar connections. On the recent short visit to West Midlands, my friend’s house, where I stayed was just across the valley from the village of Haworth. The parsonage at Haworth was the home of the Brontes, who between the three sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, gave us Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Tenant of Wildfell Hall and a few lesser known books. At the time, in the early part of the nineteenth century, women could not publish and so wrote under the male pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.
The cottage has become a museum with Bronte memorabilia (has a heavy entrance fee and so we skipped this; also I had seen it on a earlier visit), while the church next door where the father Bronte addressed his flock, is open for wandering around. T
The village has become a major tourist attraction, luring a large number of visitors. And like many English villages, and more so in this case, great efforts are made to preserve everything as it was – stay ‘frozen in time’ as far as possible.
The school holidays had not begun, and so we had a quiet, jostle free warm, sunny afternoon to walk around. There were plaques at the inn, at the pub and the apothecary where the less well known Branwell, socialized, drank and bought his laudanum! The tragedy was that all of the Bronte children (5 daughters and Branwell) except Charlotte died by the age of 30.
The other literary giant we paid homage to was Wordsworth, William. Most of us who did our schooling in the pre-NCERT days of the 50s and 60s would not have escaped the English syllabus of ‘Daffodils’ (Wordsworth), ‘The brook’ (Tennyson) etc. On our day sojourn through the Lake District we spent a few minutes outside the Dove Cottage in the village of Grasmere. And other parts of England also carry familiar literary connections a plenty!!