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It’s a miserable experience, poking around the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth. Even soaked in sunshine, the museum is as much a reminder of physical and emotional suffering as of literary genius. There’s the sofa that Emily died on, in full view of the cemetery outside (can you hear her bone-shaking TB coughs?). The bed that Branwell died in (that’s him, begging for laudanum and alcohol). And the room that Charlotte died in (retching morning sickness blood from her own mother’s death bed). Anne died away from home. The ghosts are all still here, industriously darning, writing, kneading, checking on Father, drawing, blotting, waiting for Branwell to get back from the Black Bull and working out who is most at one with the heather, brook and larks.

Heck – it’s 10.20am. My day, according to goody-goody Emily B, is already in tatters: “A person who has not done one half his day’s work by ten o’clock runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.”

Tamsin Constable finished this sampler on 5 October 2010.

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