Monday, 15 October 2018

The Brontë Brussels Calendar: September 1842

1 September, Thursday – Weather: 9 to 19 C, quite clouded, some evening rain, strong wind
On this day an art exhibition was opened in Koekelberg. The aim was to raise money for a new local church. “Les dames directrices,” the Journal de Bruxelles wrote on the fourth, “are Mesdames Goussaert, née Phelps, directress of the English pensionnat” and six other women. Two days later it wrote that the ‘beauty and freshness of most of the works excited the attention of all visitors.’ On the 20th l’Indépendant wrote that ‘many curious people go to Koekelberg each day to see the exhibition.’ It added that there was also a large number of works by women. The Brontë sisters may well have visited this exhibition, together with the Taylor sisters.
Rachel, accompanied by her mother and brother, left Brussels on this day, for Paris. With her 12 performances in the city and one in Gent she had earned more than 30,000 francs, l’Indépendent wrote the next day.

2 September, Friday – W: 12 to 18 C, clouded, rainy morning

3 September, Saturday – W: 15 to 23 C, clouded morning, bright afternoon
l’Indépendant had four extra pages about the debate in Parliament concerning the city of Brussels which had run into heavy debts. The city wanted to renegotiate the convention with the state of November 1841, which had not worked out well for Brussels. This debate dominated the newspapers around this time.

4 September, Saturday – W: 14 to 23 C, pretty clouded, rainy afternoon
‘They are going to demolish the pump in the rue d’Isabelle in order to construct a new one,’ l’Indépendant wrote. It possibly refers to the water well in the garden of the Pensionnat.

5 September, Sunday – W: 10 to 19 C, quite sunny
More than 5000 people visited the Salon on this day, including the King and Queen. There were also ever more foreigners who came to see the art exhibition. Paintings were still being added to the exhibition.

The Journal de Bruxelles had a Rue d’Isabelle advertisement.

Rue d’Isabelle 3 (at the corner with Rue Terarken) was also the ‘depot’ for the Paris Journal des Economistes (as the Moniteur belge wrote a week earlier). The Brontës obviously knew this bookshop well.
Here’s another ad from them (l’Indépendant, 23 January 1842):

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Brontë Brussels Calendar: August 1842

1 August, Monday – Weather: 13 to 19 C, clouded morning, some sunshine in the afternoon
The actress Rachel gave her fourth performance in Brussels. Franz Liszt went to the St Gudule, to judge an organist of that cathedral. The papers wrote he approved.

2 August, Tuesday – W: 11 to 23 C, cumulus clouds
August was a warm month. The maximum temperature for each day of the rest of the month would be at least today’s. During most of it there was almost no wind.

3 August, Wednesday – W: 14 to 26 C, sunny morning, somewhat clouded afternoon
The King and Queen arrive back in Brussels, after several weeks in France following the death of the Duc d’Orléans ( July), but before he would find his final resting place, in Dreux on Thursday.

4 August, Thursday – W: 16 to 29 C, some clouds, especially in the afternoon
Charlotte, on this half-free day makes a drawing of a river scene with trees. She had surely gone out for a good walk, with her sister, one would think. ( 6 August) Another drawing is dated as probably from this month.

Courtesy of the Brontë Society
If it is a real view it must have been drawn at or close to the Zenne river, southeast of the city. That much is clear. We hope to be able to identify the place later, if it indeed is.