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Haworth Happiness
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On Saturday we finally did something I've been fantasizing about since I was seven years old and read Jane Eyre for the first time: we went to Haworth (with some friends) and visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum. And it was incredible.

The trip would have been worthwhile just for the drive, actually--remember how I said most of the snow had melted around here? Well, to get out to Haworth (near wind-swept moors, etc.), we had to drive high into the very snowy hills, overlooking dramatic landscapes, with almost surreally beautiful white peaks in the distance. Low, rambling old stone walls ran along the hillsides, sheep grazed in the snow, and every so often we glimpsed little stone farmhouses.

Once we got to Haworth, the town where the Brontes lived, the good times just continued. It's beautiful--little narrow cobblestoned streets with old stone houses, overlooking incredible views of the moors. Apparently it was hideously over-industrialized during the Brontes' time, with no sewer system and therefore refuse and slaughterhouse waste continuously running down along the center of the main street--the average lifespan at the time was 25 years, and the infant mortality was 40% (!), so, as the Bronte Society info package pointed out, in the context of their town, the Brontes' deaths were sad but not unusual. But now that that's all been cleaned up, it's a fantastic little town, and we got there in the swing of their (early!!!) Christmas festival. It was incredibly touristy but very fun.

But we spent most of our time there at the Parsonage itself, which is just the most drool-worthy museum for any writer. It's all been restored with the original furniture, so not only is it fascinating in its period detail (looking around the kitchen, we kept pointing at different implements and saying, "What are those? What did people use them for? Gotta find out and use them in a book!"), but it's just amazing to see the Bronte sisters' writing desks, etcetera. When they were all at home (instead of off at their various miserable jobs), all three sisters wrote together at a round table next to the fireplace in the dining room every night, with their two dogs sitting by them and the women taking turns pacing around, all discussing their ideas and working out plot issues together. At nine o'clock every night, their father locked the front door and stopped in to remind them not to stay up too late (!).

I don't know if I can even express how badly I want a cool quilled pen like the ones they used!

If I get organized soon, I'll post a picture or two up here. (Only of the outside of the Parsonage, alas, but still...)

I am a happy writer.

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