Charlotte Brontë: What a Treasure is Thought!

How few would believe that from sources purely imaginary such happiness could be derived. Pen cannot pourtray [sic] the deep interest of the scenes, of the untimed trains of events, I have witnessed in that little low room with the low, narrow bed and bare, white-washed walls, twenty miles away. What a treasure is thought! What a privilege is reverie. I am thankful that I have the power of solacing myself with the dream of creations whose reality I shall never behold. May I never lose that power! May I never feel it growing weaker! If I should, how little pleasure life would afford me—its lapses of shade are so wide, so gloomy, its gleams of sunshine so limited and dim!

—Charlotte Brontë, Roe Head Journal

This was written during her “wretched bondage” as a teacher at Roe Head School, and is part of an extensive section of supporting materials in the Norton Critical Edition of Jane Eyre. The scenes she refers to are from the elaborate imaginary world she and her siblings created and wrote about (“Angria”), and the room is her tiny, shared bedroom at home. In effect she was homesick for both her real and imaginary homes, neither of which she had much time to meditate on due to her endless toil as a teacher.

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One comment on “Charlotte Brontë: What a Treasure is Thought!

  1. Julie says:

    That is an extremely moving quote. “What a treasure is thought! What a privilege is reverie.” If I had a coat of arms that would be my motto. No question about it.

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