ë were residing at a pensionnat in Brussels, where they were learning French so that they could open a school and make a living back in England. While doing research for a biography of their teacher, Constantin Heger (and the school's co-owner, along with his wife), Brian Bracken found a creative writing exercise in Charlotte's own hand, reminiscent of the fables of La Fontaine. The text and translation of "L'ingratitude" appears on the London Review of Books' website, along with a reading of the story by Gillian Andersen and background on Charlotte's unrequited passion for Heger, a happily married man with a passel of children. (Her torments were transmogrified into The Professor, which she reworked as the great novel Villette.) Right, Charlotte Brontë, from the portrait of the three Brontë sisters by their brother Branwell (digitally restored).
More background on this important interlude in Charlotte's all-too-brief career can be found in Charlotte Brontë: The British Library: Writers' Lives. As all Brontë devotees know, her passionate nature was never to find the kind of soul mate depicted in Jane Eyre.