The Professor, p.1Charlotte Bronte / Romance & Love
Produced by An Anonymous Volunteer, and David Widger
by (AKA Charlotte Bronte) Currer Bell
T H E ??P R O F E S S O R
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY.
This little book was written before either Jane Eyre or Shirley,and yet no indulgence can be solicited for it on the plea of a firstattempt. A first attempt it certainly was not, as the pen which wrote ithad been previously worn a good deal in a practice of some years. I hadnot indeed published anything before I commenced The Professor, butin many a crude effort, destroyed almost as soon as composed, I hadgot over any such taste as I might once have had for ornamented andredundant composition, and come to prefer what was plain and homely.At the same time I had adopted a set of principles on the subject ofincident, &c., such as would be generally approved in theory, but theresult of which, when carried out into practice, often procures for anauthor more surprise than pleasure.
I said to myself that my hero should work his way through life as I hadseen real living men work theirs--that he should never get a shillinghe had not earned--that no sudden turns should lift him in a moment towealth and high station that whatever small competency he might gain,should be won by the sweat of his brow; that, before he could find somuch as an arbour to sit down in, he should master at least half theascent of the Hill of Difficulty; that he should not even marry abeautiful girl or a lady of rank. As Adam's son he should share Adam'sdoom, and drain throughout life a mixed and moderate cup of enjoyment.
In the sequel, however, I find that publishers in general scarcelyapproved of this system, but would have liked something more imaginativeand poetical--something more consonant with a highly wrought fancy, witha taste for pathos, with sentiments more tender, elevated, unworldly.Indeed, until an author has tried to dispose of a manuscript of thiskind, he can never know what stores of romance and sensibility liehidden in breasts he would not have suspected of casketing suchtreasures. Men in business are usually thought to prefer the real; ontrial the idea will be often found fallacious: a passionate preferencefor the wild, wonderful, and thrilling--the strange, startling, andharrowing--agitates divers souls that show a calm and sober surface.
Such being the case, the reader will comprehend that to have reachedhim in the form of a printed book, this brief narrative must have gonethrough some struggles--which indeed it has. And after all, itsworst struggle and strongest ordeal is yet to come but it takescomfort--subdues fear--leans on the staff of a moderate expectation--andmutters under its breath, while lifting its eye to that of the public,
He that is low need fear no fall.
The foregoing preface was written by my wife with a view to thepublication of The Professor, shortly after the appearance ofShirley. Being dissuaded from her intention, the authoress made someuse of the materials in a subsequent work--Villette. As, however,these two stories are in most respects unlike, it has been representedto me that I ought not to withhold The Professor from the public. Ihave therefore consented to its publication.
A. B. NICHOLLS
September 22nd, 1856.
T H E ?? P R O F E S S O R