Little more than a month after the death of Martha Taylor, another English friend of the Brontës, Julia Wheelwright, died in Brussels, on 17 November 1842. She was only seven years old. Again Winifred Gérin, without giving any evidence, attributed it to cholera, and again it certainly is not true. There was no cholera in the city, nor another serious contagious disease. It is just another Gérin lie.
Julia was at a still rather more vulnerable age. On the 30th of October she had reached the age of seven. She had thus only just reached the stage of getting mentioned by name in the newspapers’ lists of the city’s registered deaths. Had she died three weeks earlier she wouldn’t have made it to the newspapers, but would only have been listed as one of those children under the age of 7 that had died.
|From L’Indépendant, 21 November 1842, with the death of Julia
We know nothing of her last days, which makes it rather difficult to try to assess the cause of her death. Charlotte and Emily had already left Brussels, following the news of their Aunt Branwell’s severe illness. An analysis of what we do know helps quite a lot though, to get to a good educated guess. As with Martha, a main question is whether or not it could have been a contagious disease.