Brontë, Charlotte

Brontë, Charlotte
(1816-1855) and Emily (1818-1848).
   On 15 February 1842, Charlotte and Emily Brontë arrived in Brus-sels as students at the Pensionnat Héger (demolished in 1911 and now the site of the Palais des Beaux-Arts). They sought to learn French and acquire knowledge of the social graces, intending to return to England to open a girls' boarding school. The two spent the next nine months at the school until their aunt's death took them back to Ha-worth, the family home in Yorkshire. Charlotte returned to Brussels in 1843 to continue her studies and to teach. She departed on 1 January 1844, never to return to the Continent.
   During her stay, Charlotte developed a deep but frustrated emotional attachment to Constantin Héger, the husband of the school's director and one of her teachers, whom she would later call her "master." She brought with her back to England many of her dictations and writing compositions that, together with her memories, would serve as source materials for her fiction, most notably Villette (1853), her last novel. Héger also preserved a number of her writing assignments. The collection has thinned out over time; however, by the late 20th century, 30 compositions together with second drafts, fragments, and dictations remained on record—nine by Emily and the rest by Charlotte.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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