Awkward Moments (200 years apart)

by George Richmond, chalk, 1850

by George Richmond, chalk, 1850

I am recovering from my visit to Fishguard! Writers Holiday is fabulous but it’s a pretty ‘full on’ five days and the first thing I did when got home was…. go to sleep for two hours! Tee hee. I can’t take the pace.

In addition to 4 one-hour ‘after tea’ sessions, which I taught – and the quiz on the first night, which my friend Chris and I always run – we went to Della Galton’s 8-hour course on Writing with Emotion, which was really good fun and interesting and I’ve come back with a couple of half-finished stories to get on with.

My resolution for next year is to learn the Welsh National Anthem so I can sing along with the Cwmbach Male Voice choir who perform on the last night (and who sang it twice this time! You feel a bit of a berk, standing there, not being able to join in..!)

There was an embarrassing moment at the quiz when I was asking one of the teams to call out their score. Their name (it’s Welsh), was ‘Twp Toti’. It was an all-ladies team and in my haste to get the scores in (over the microphone, so no-one could miss my faux pas), I called them ‘Top Titty’! Yes, really. Ask Simon Whaley. He was there (and was one of the many laughing).

Free Writing Competition – c/d February 2017

The Writers & Artists Yearbook people have launched their latest competition. You’ve got until February next year for this one and this time, unusually, there’s no theme, so it’s 2000 words of your choice. More details on the website.

Charlotte Bronte

And on a different note, when I went to London a couple of weeks ago, in between the wining and dining, I did experience some culture: we went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Charlotte Bronte exhibition, which is there, until 14th August, to celebrate the bicentenary of her birth this year. (It’s free and definitely worth a look if you’re in London over the next couple of weeks!).

One of the boards tells the story of how overwhelmed she was when she found herself at a dinner to which Thackeray had also been invited. She greatly admired him and was in awe of him (in fact, she dedicated the second edition of Jane Eyre to him). Apparently, she was so nervous that she could neither eat nor drink (not something that troubled me at Fishguard).

But I’ve read another article since then, which gives the reason for that. The dedication actually caused Thackeray great embarrassment because, unbeknown to Charlotte Bronte, Thackeray had a mentally-ill wife whom he was unable to divorce and who had been placed in an institution (parallels with the character Mr Rochester, of course).

The dedication also caused speculation that ‘Currer Bell’ (Charlotte’s pseudonym), had been a governess to Thackeray’s daughters (as the character Jane Eyre is a governess). Charlotte was embarrassed when she learned that her dedication had spread gossip about Thackeray rather than being complimentary and that’s the reason that, when she finally met him, she was too nervous to eat or speak.

Awkward, as they say.

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6 Responses to Awkward Moments (200 years apart)

  1. rosgemmell says:

    Sounds like a great time at Fishguard, even with the amusing team title! Fascinating snippet about Charlotte Bronte and Thackeray. Wish I could seen the exhibition but it’s too far away.

    • Ah yes, that’s a shame Rosemary but not everyone can get to London. Whereabouts do you live? Have you ever been to Haworth? (because artefacts in the London exhibition have been loaned from the museum in Haworth, the former home of the Brontes).

  2. Tracy Fells says:

    Fishguard sounded a great week. Did not know the background to Charlotte Bronte’s nerves about meeting Thackeray – very intriguing. Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes …

    • Yes, I know what you mean, Tracy. I didn’t know any of that CB/Thackeray stuff either. Her heart must have dropped like a stone when she realised the embarrassment her dedication must have caused – almost as though the novel was based on/inspired by him! eek!

  3. juliathorley says:

    You’re such a busy woman! Thanks for sharing the Thackeray gossip, which was new to me.

  4. Pingback: Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte_chapter31 - LEARNING ENGLISH FOR MA

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