2354. Emily’s stratagem
© Bruce Goodman 12 February 2022

A recently discovered letter from Emily Bronte to her sisters Charlotte and Anne:

Dear Charlotte and Anne,

The feigning of my death in 1848 has been a great success, and I am free now to write without distraction.

After the mostly scornful reception of my novel Wuthering Heights I have decided that style of writing to be not for me. I therefore took eight of the nine subsequent novels I have written under the name of Ellis Bell and tossed them (with a great deal of relief I might add) into the incinerator.

As for my most recent novel in that ilk, Hunter’s Orgiastic Depravity, I have been keeping it aside because it is my favourite. Papa, who has read it, says that it is too full of sex, drugs and debauched gavottes to be seen as emanating from a vicarage so he encouraged me to burn that as well. I shall do so this afternoon.

In the meantime I am happy to keep sending manuscripts to my good friend in Coventry, Mary Ann Evans, who as you know, has been publishing them as her own under the name of George Eliot. Such a ploy yet again leaves me free to pursue writing without distraction.

Further to all this, I shall continue to co-write every second chapter of a novel called Great Expectations that is published weekly. Charles Dickens puts it out all under his own name which is something I don’t mind one bit as his name rakes in the money.

Finally, I have recently discovered a pliable Jesuit called Gerard Manley Hopkins who is prepared to accept my poems as his own. That is provided I keep my avid atheism to myself and provided too I don’t revert, as has been my tendency, back into sex, drugs, and bacchanalian can-cans.

I am, I remain,
Your beloved sister,

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