Pictures of Anne's Letter to Ellen Nussey (April 1849)
Considering the content of this letter and the conditions under which it was composed, it seems ironic that it was written on paper designed for use in times of mourning (this is the significance of the black border around the 'front' of the letter). No doubt the Brontës were using this paper while in mourning for Branwell and Emily, who had died seven, and four months earlier respectively.

The letter, as shown below, would normally be folded down the middle, in the same manner as a birthday or Christmas card; hence, the right-hand half (as seen here) formed the front, or page 1; while the left-hand half became the 'back' - page 4. The reverse side contained pages 2 and 3, as shown in the second picture below.

Anne's letter to Ellen Nussey (April 1849) - sides 1 and 4
Side 4                                           Side 1


The Reverse Side

Anne's letter to Ellen Nussey (April 1849) sides 2 and 3
Side 2                              Side 3

'Crossed' letters (writing horizontal and vertical) were so written to limit the total number of sheets of paper used. This was primarily because the postage, prior to 1840, was very expensive and charged 'per sheet' (and to the recipient rather than the sender). In the UK, 1840 saw the introduction of the 'Penny Black' - the world's first stick-on postage stamp, which revolutionised the way postage was levied; however, the 'crossed letter' technique continued as the cost of writing-paper was also high. A number of the Brontës' letters were written in this format.164n


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