The children, on the other hand, bonded together deeply and naturally, rather to the exclusion of outsiders. As Charlotte put it: Resident in a remote district in which education had made little progress, and where consequently there was little inducement to seek social intercourse beyond our own domestic circle, we were wholly dependent on ourselves and each other. They played together in the house, and walked out onto the moors which started at the back of the garden. At a very early age, they began to create communal make-believe worlds. It may have been a strange household, but the children were happy within their cocoon. However, they needed an education. If the five girls were to move in the right kind of society with a view to marriage, or failing that to the only permissible career for a spinster, teaching, whether as a governess or in a private school, they needed to learn how to conduct themselves; and Branwell would need to prepare for a career of some kind. But schooling had to be paid for, and Patrick could not really afford it. Suddenly a new school opened, run as a charity especially for the daughters of clergymen. It had a number of illustrious patrons, and looked absolutely perfect for the purpose. In 1824 Maria, Elizabeth and Charlotte were taken the 45 miles (72km) to the Clergy Daughters School at Cowan Bridge, which is on A65 between Ingleton and Kirkby Lonsdale and Emily followed a few months later. No one who has read Jane Eyre can forget Charlotte’s picture of life there, with inedible food, bitter cold, and treatment that verges on the sadistic, often in the name of religion. Much of that description is probably accurate, but it is deliberately presented through the eyes of an unhappy and lonely child, torn from her home and hating the fact that she is an object of charity. No doubt charlotte found it cathartic to express her bitterness. In fact, Cowan Bridge was in many ways typical of boarding schools of that time. It was certainly typical in that some of the pupils died from contagious diseases, partly caused by insanitary conditions, but also inevitable in boarding school communities at a time when the diseases were not understood, and little could be done to prevent them. Children often died at home too. The girls at Cowan Bridge were taught how to die a good death, repenting their sins and showing confidence in the mercy of the Lord. The two eldest Bronte sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, succumbed to TB (tuberculosis in those days called ‘consumption’) while the rest of the school was enduring an outbreak of typhus. They were separately sent back to Haworth where they died within six weeks of each other. Patrick rushed off to collect Charlotte (just turned nine years old) and Emily (six) and bring them back, at the beginning of June 1825, to the protection of home.