A Dark Mirror

Location

Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Summary

The narrator looks into an old mirror and imagines the sad and troubled life of the Bronte family in the vicarage at Haworth.

Q and the Bronte Family

A short summary of the lives of the Bronte sisters: Dr Richard Q. Couch practised medicine in the same street from which the mother and the aunt of the sisters came. Q would have known the street as he stayed in Penzance with Dr. John Q. Couch and Richard’s children. Richard and John were Q’s uncles, although Richard died before Q was able to meet him. When Elizabeth and Maria Branwell moved to Yorkshire they left many relatives in the town and Q would certainly have met some of them. Today, the Branwell house in Chapel Street, Penzance, exhibits a small plaque.

The Branwells were a Wesleyan family who joined the Methodist schism in 1814, as did Dr. Jonathan Couch (Q’s grandfather) in Polperro. Elizabeth had left Penzance by that time but Maria would still have been in the town. The Branwells continued their association with Chapel Street Wesleyan chapel until the middle of the twentieth century. When Dr. Richard Q. Couch, Q’s uncle, came to practice medicine in Chapel Street, Penzance, he attended St. Mary’s Anglican. Q was a devout Anglican. However, he had little time for Evangelical Anglicans, especially those like the Revd. Patrick Bronte who were strongly influenced by Continental Reformed theology. Recent works have been more sympathetic to Patrick. Interestingly, both Patrick and Elizabeth were Celts, coming from Ireland and from Cornwall.