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Men don't seem to understand making letters a vehicle of communication--they always seem to think us incautious. I'm sure I don't think I have said anything rash--however you must burn it when read. Arthur says such letters as mine never ought to be kept--they are dangerous as lucifer matches. . .With volumes like the Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë edited by Margaret Smith we can never be grateful enough that Ellen Nussey didn't keep her word to burn Charlotte Brontë's letters. But that was only the first and most important step. Now Margaret Smith's extraordinary editing renders them both alive and accessible to everyone. Charlotte's letters are printed as she wrote them, with her spelling mistakes and her peculiar punctuation. But, especially, each letter is accompanied by a set of notes where the names mentioned in the letter, the references to historical events, fragments from Mrs Gaskell's Life, French words, the now-outdated expressions are all explained carefully and in depth without clashing with the reading of the letter itself. A number of black and white plates has also been included: portraits of people Charlotte knew as well as a specimen of Charlotte's handwriting.
~ Charlotte Brontë to Ellen Nussey, ?20 October 1854