Emily Brontë is of a different class. Her imagination is narrower, but more intense; she sees less, but what she sees is absolutely present: no writer has described the moors, the wind, the skies, with her passionate fidelity, but this is all of Nature that she describes. Her narrow fervid nature accounted as simple annoyance the trivial scenes and personages touched with immortal sympathy and humour in 'Villette' and 'Shirley'; Paul Emanuel himself appeared to her only as a pedantic and exacting taskmaster; but, on the other hand, to a certain class of mind, there is nothing in fiction so moving as the spectacle of Heathcliff dying of joy--an unnatural, unreal joy--his panther nature paralysed, anéanti, in a delirium of visionary bliss.
Only an imagination of the rarest power could conceive such a dénouement, requiting a life of black ingratitude by no mere common horrors, no vulgar Bedlam frenzy; but by the torturing apprehension of a happiness never quite grasped, always just beyond the verge of realisation. Only an imagination of the finest and rarest touch, absolutely certain of tread on that path of a single hair which alone connects this world with the land of dreams. Few have trod that perilous bridge with the fearlessness of Emily Brontë: that is her own ground and there she wins our highest praise; but place her on the earth, ask her to interpret for us the common lives of the surrounding people, she can give no answer. The swift and certain spirit moves with the clumsy hesitating gait of a bird accustomed to soar.
She tells us what she saw; and what she saw and what she was incapable of seeing are equally characteristic. All the wildness of that moorland, all the secrets of those lonely farms, all the capabilities of the one tragedy of passion and weakness that touched her solitary life, she divined and appropriated; but not the life of the village at her feet, not the bustle of the mills, the riots, the sudden alternations of wealth and poverty; not the incessant rivalry of church and chapel; and while the West Riding has known the prototype of nearly every person and nearly every place in 'Jane Eyre' and 'Shirley,' not a single character in 'Wuthering Heights' ever climbed the hills round Haworth