This is a YouTube video about letter I imagined Charlotte Brontë Nicholls composed for her husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls at the time she signed her Will in February of 1855.
I have her write it in case her illness in proved mortal, which,of course, it did.
It is made up as part of the Brontë novel I'm currently writing, but it is based on the tenor of Charlotte's last letters from her death bed. Letters where she praises Arthur to one and all as " the best husband a woman ever had" , and she declares that " My heart " is Knit to Him". Also Charlotte 's last words spoke of their happiness.
Usually I keep a tight lid on what I'm writing as it's likely best to present it as one piece, whole cloth. But this letter insisted on a public platform now and so I made this video.
Its message is somewhat the core of the novel;
"Where there is love, there can be no separation. "
What is illustrated here is Charlotte 's ability to see though the veil of time and death, which the seriously ill often do.
They move back and forth from one dimension to another far more easily than the we, the healthy can.
In her altered state, Charlotte experiences time differently and the sense of separation that death brings is not as strong in her vision as it was of course, for her husband who will be left behind.
Charlotte sees" the bigger picture" as it were. She sees the continuance of love and she wants to assure Arthur that one day he too will fully know ; that death cannot separate them. That because of their love, they already exist in Eternity together .
Charlotte was extremely happy in her marriage." My Dear Boy " is a real endearment she used for Arthur. That's not lightly earned or given.
The gate I have her speak about in this letter is a reference to an event in May of 1853. Arthur was leaving the Parsonage for, what he thought, was the last time. He stopped at the back gate and could not go forward. Charlotte opened the door too see what was happening, and heard him ," sob as women never do" and she went to him.
In the letter I composed, I have her say to her husband she will wait until his own passing and at that time Arthur will come to her at the "gate" between life and death. Then they will go though it together.
In the book Charlotte's illness is due to the same disease that carried off the Brontë's beloved servant, Tabby. She died just before Charlotte. Charlotte was caring for Tabby during her last illness and I believe in that way Charlotte caught the disease herself. Her last letter in ink was to a doctor about Tabby’s symptoms.
The coming child is a separate issue for them. That's my take on it. Some people don't believe Charlotte was expecting. Charlotte and Arthur thought she was ,and so in the book, she is. It was a great concern for them of course, which in the letter she alludes to..... but in their mind, the child was months away ; then this illness comes about well before the time the baby is due.
Arthur Bell Nicholls was no artistic genius like his beloved wife. But he was an "emotional genius" as it were, capable of a shattering "grand passion" in his deep, life long love for Charlotte Brontë.
Indeed, outside of her family, Charlotte never met a more feeling person as Arthur Bell Nicholls. Here is what she said
"I never saw a battle more sternly fought with the feelings than Mr. N. fights with his, and when he yields momentarily, you are almost sickened by the sense of the strain upon him. "
It's high praise when your power of feeling can so deeply impress a Brontë! Many times Charlotte said she would stand with feeling and kindness over reason, or high gifts. In the former attributes Arthur was richly endowed. So it's not surprising to me they married and were happy.
Yet they had so little time, a scant 8 months. In this imagined letter, Charlotte is telling Arthur they don't need much time on earth. They already have Eternity.
It's interesting because the music is from "The Bridges of Madison County" Those lovers had but 4 days! But again, much physical time is not always needed to have something forever. It just has to be. It doesn't have to be long. A timely message.
Music: "The Bridges of Madison County" by Lennie Niehaus