SP1 Child’s boots (detail)

Martha Wright reported to Mrs Gaskell that ‘one day when the children had been out on the moors, and rain had come on, she thought their feet would be wet, and accordingly she rummaged out some coloured boots which had been given to them by a friend – the Mr Morgan who married ‘Cousin Jane’, she believes. These little pairs she ranged round the kitchen fire to warm; but when the children came back, the boots were nowhere to be found; only a very strong odour of burnt leather was perceived. Mr Brontë had come in and seen them; they were too gay and luxurious for his children, and would foster a love of dress; so he had put them into the fire.’

Mr Brontë denies the act took place, exclaiming, ‘Everything in that book [The Life of Charlotte Brontë] which relates to my conduct to my family is either false or distorted. I never did commit such acts as are there ascribed to me.’ Mr Brontë believed that Mrs Gaskell had listened to village scandal and sought information from ‘some discarded servant’.

Boot length 13 cm

SP1 Child’s boots (detail)

Martha Wright reported to Mrs Gaskell that ‘one day when the children had been out on the moors, and rain had come on, she thought their feet would be wet, and accordingly she rummaged out some coloured boots which had been given to them by a friend – the Mr Morgan who married ‘Cousin Jane’, she believes. These little pairs she ranged round the kitchen fire to warm; but when the children came back, the boots were nowhere to be found; only a very strong odour of burnt leather was perceived. Mr Brontë had come in and seen them; they were too gay and luxurious for his children, and would foster a love of dress; so he had put them into the fire.’

Mr Brontë denies the act took place, exclaiming, ‘Everything in that book [The Life of Charlotte Brontë] which relates to my conduct to my family is either false or distorted. I never did commit such acts as are there ascribed to me.’ Mr Brontë believed that Mrs Gaskell had listened to village scandal and sought information from ‘some discarded servant’.

Boot length 13 cm