Lost Charlotte Bronte story published for the first time

February 29th, 2012 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 29 (IANS) A long-lost short story written by Charlotte Bronte for a married man with whom she had fallen in love was Wednesday published online for the first time and comes out in print Thursday.

The manuscript — composed in French and titled “L’Ingratitude” — was found in a Belgian museum, the Musee Royal de Mariemont, by Brussels-based architect Brian Bracken, the Daily Mail reported.

Bronte reportedly wrote the story as homework for a Belgian tutor, who taught her and sister Emily French literature, when they were 25 and 23, respectively, at a boarding house in Brussels.

The tutor, Constantin Heger, is also thought to have been the inspiration behind her novel “Villette”.

Bracken said the unpublished short story was last heard of in 1913, when it was given to a wealthy collector by Heger’s son Paul.

“It was finished a month after Charlotte arrived in Brussels and is the first known devoir (piece of homework) of thirty the sisters would write for Heger,” Bracken wrote in the London Review of Books (LRB).

The story was published on the LRB website Wednesday and will appear in a print edition Thursday.

The tale — dated March 16, 1842 — is about a young rat who runs away from his father in search of adventure and comes to an unhappy end.

It contrasts the selfish behaviour of the “ingrate” son with the devotion of his loving parent.

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