schöner wohnen wohnzimmer teppich

schöner wohnen wohnzimmer teppich

chapter i there was no possibility of taking a walkthat day. we had been wandering, indeed, in theleafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (mrs. reed, when there wasno company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that furtherout-door exercise was now out of the question. i was glad of it: i never liked long walks,especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the rawtwilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and


a heart saddened by the chidings of bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousnessof my physical inferiority to eliza, john, and georgiana reed. the said eliza, john, and georgiana werenow clustered round their mama in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa bythe fireside, and with her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling norcrying) looked perfectly happy. me, she had dispensed from joining thegroup; saying, "she regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance;but that until she heard from bessie, and could discover by her own observation, that


i was endeavouring in good earnest toacquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive andsprightly manner--something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were--she really must exclude me from privilegesintended only for contented, happy, little children.""what does bessie say i have done?" i asked. "jane, i don't like cavillers orquestioners; besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up herelders in that manner. be seated somewhere; and until you canspeak pleasantly, remain silent."


a breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room,i slipped in there. it contained a bookcase: i soon possessedmyself of a volume, taking care that it should be one stored with pictures. i mounted into the window- seat: gatheringup my feet, i sat cross-legged, like a turk; and, having drawn the red moreencurtain nearly close, i was shrined in double retirement. folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view tothe right hand; to the left were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but notseparating me from the drear november day. at intervals, while turning over the leavesof my book, i studied the aspect of that


winter afternoon. afar, it offered a pale blank of mist andcloud; near a scene of wet lawn and storm- beat shrub, with ceaseless rain sweepingaway wildly before a long and lamentable blast. i returned to my book--bewick's history ofbritish birds: the letterpress thereof i cared little for, generally speaking; andyet there were certain introductory pages that, child as i was, i could not passquite as a blank. they were those which treat of the hauntsof sea-fowl; of "the solitary rocks and promontories" by them only inhabited; ofthe coast of norway, studded with isles


from its southern extremity, the lindeness,or naze, to the north cape-- "where the northern ocean, in vast whirls,boils round the naked, melancholy isles of farthest thule; and the atlantic surgepours in among the stormy hebrides." nor could i pass unnoticed the suggestionof the bleak shores of lapland, siberia, spitzbergen, nova zembla, iceland,greenland, with "the vast sweep of the arctic zone, and those forlorn regions of dreary space,--that reservoir of frost andsnow, where firm fields of ice, the accumulation of centuries of winters,glazed in alpine heights above heights, surround the pole, and concentre themultiplied rigours of extreme cold."


of these death-white realms i formed anidea of my own: shadowy, like all the half- comprehended notions that float dim throughchildren's brains, but strangely impressive. the words in these introductory pagesconnected themselves with the succeeding vignettes, and gave significance to therock standing up alone in a sea of billow and spray; to the broken boat stranded on a desolate coast; to the cold and ghastlymoon glancing through bars of cloud at a wreck just sinking. i cannot tell what sentiment haunted thequite solitary churchyard, with its


inscribed headstone; its gate, its twotrees, its low horizon, girdled by a broken wall, and its newly-risen crescent,attesting the hour of eventide. the two ships becalmed on a torpid sea, ibelieved to be marine phantoms. the fiend pinning down the thief's packbehind him, i passed over quickly: it was an object of terror. so was the black horned thing seated aloofon a rock, surveying a distant crowd surrounding a gallows. each picture told a story; mysterious oftento my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundlyinteresting: as interesting as the tales


bessie sometimes narrated on winter evenings, when she chanced to be in goodhumour; and when, having brought her ironing-table to the nursery hearth, sheallowed us to sit about it, and while she got up mrs. reed's lace frills, and crimped her nightcap borders, fed our eagerattention with passages of love and adventure taken from old fairy tales andother ballads; or (as at a later period i discovered) from the pages of pamela, andhenry, earl of moreland. with bewick on my knee, i was then happy:happy at least in my way. i feared nothing but interruption, and thatcame too soon.


the breakfast- room door opened. "boh! madam mope!" cried the voice of johnreed; then he paused: he found the room apparently empty."where the dickens is she!" he continued. "lizzy! georgy!(calling to his sisters) joan is not here: tell mama she is run out into the rain--badanimal!" "it is well i drew the curtain," thought i;and i wished fervently he might not discover my hiding-place: nor would johnreed have found it out himself; he was not quick either of vision or conception; but


eliza just put her head in at the door, andsaid at once-- "she is in the window-seat, to be sure,jack." and i came out immediately, for i trembledat the idea of being dragged forth by the said jack."what do you want?" i asked, with awkward diffidence. "say, 'what do you want, master reed?'" wasthe answer. "i want you to come here;" and seatinghimself in an arm-chair, he intimated by a gesture that i was to approach and standbefore him. john reed was a schoolboy of fourteen yearsold; four years older than i, for i was but


ten: large and stout for his age, with adingy and unwholesome skin; thick lineaments in a spacious visage, heavylimbs and large extremities. he gorged himself habitually at table,which made him bilious, and gave him a dim and bleared eye and flabby cheeks. he ought now to have been at school; buthis mama had taken him home for a month or two, "on account of his delicate health." mr. miles, the master, affirmed that hewould do very well if he had fewer cakes and sweetmeats sent him from home; but themother's heart turned from an opinion so harsh, and inclined rather to the more


refined idea that john's sallowness wasowing to over-application and, perhaps, to pining after home.john had not much affection for his mother and sisters, and an antipathy to me. he bullied and punished me; not two orthree times in the week, nor once or twice in the day, but continually: every nerve ihad feared him, and every morsel of flesh in my bones shrank when he came near. there were moments when i was bewildered bythe terror he inspired, because i had no appeal whatever against either his menacesor his inflictions; the servants did not like to offend their young master by taking


my part against him, and mrs. reed wasblind and deaf on the subject: she never saw him strike or heard him abuse me,though he did both now and then in her very presence, more frequently, however, behindher back. habitually obedient to john, i came up tohis chair: he spent some three minutes in thrusting out his tongue at me as far as hecould without damaging the roots: i knew he would soon strike, and while dreading the blow, i mused on the disgusting and uglyappearance of him who would presently deal it. i wonder if he read that notion in my face;for, all at once, without speaking, he


struck suddenly and strongly.i tottered, and on regaining my equilibrium retired back a step or two from his chair. "that is for your impudence in answeringmama awhile since," said he, "and for your sneaking way of getting behind curtains,and for the look you had in your eyes two minutes since, you rat!" accustomed to john reed's abuse, i neverhad an idea of replying to it; my care was how to endure the blow which wouldcertainly follow the insult. "what were you doing behind the curtain?"he asked. "i was reading.""show the book."


i returned to the window and fetched itthence. "you have no business to take our books;you are a dependent, mama says; you have no money; your father left you none; you oughtto beg, and not to live here with gentlemen's children like us, and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at ourmama's expense. now, i'll teach you to rummage mybookshelves: for they are mine; all the house belongs to me, or will do in a fewyears. go and stand by the door, out of the way ofthe mirror and the windows." i did so, not at first aware what was hisintention; but when i saw him lift and


poise the book and stand in act to hurl it,i instinctively started aside with a cry of alarm: not soon enough, however; the volume was flung, it hit me, and i fell, strikingmy head against the door and cutting it. the cut bled, the pain was sharp: my terrorhad passed its climax; other feelings succeeded. "wicked and cruel boy!"i said. "you are like a murderer--you are like aslave-driver--you are like the roman emperors!" i had read goldsmith's history of rome, andhad formed my opinion of nero, caligula,


&c. also i had drawn parallels in silence,which i never thought thus to have declared aloud."what! what!" he cried. "did she say that to me? did you hear her, eliza and georgiana?won't i tell mama? but first--" he ran headlong at me: i felt him grasp myhair and my shoulder: he had closed with a desperate thing. i really saw in him a tyrant, a murderer. i felt a drop or two of blood from my headtrickle down my neck, and was sensible of


somewhat pungent suffering: thesesensations for the time predominated over fear, and i received him in frantic sort. i don't very well know what i did with myhands, but he called me "rat! rat!" and bellowed out aloud. aid was near him: eliza and georgiana hadrun for mrs. reed, who was gone upstairs: she now came upon the scene, followed bybessie and her maid abbot. we were parted: i heard the words-- "dear! dear!what a fury to fly at master john!" "did ever anybody see such a picture ofpassion!"


then mrs. reed subjoined-- "take her away to the red-room, and lockher in there." four hands were immediately laid upon me,and i was borne upstairs. > chapter ii i resisted all the way: a new thing for me,and a circumstance which greatly strengthened the bad opinion bessie andmiss abbot were disposed to entertain of me. the fact is, i was a trifle beside myself;or rather out of myself, as the french


would say: i was conscious that a moment'smutiny had already rendered me liable to strange penalties, and, like any other rebel slave, i felt resolved, in mydesperation, to go all lengths. "hold her arms, miss abbot: she's like amad cat." "for shame! for shame!" cried the lady's-maid. "what shocking conduct, miss eyre, tostrike a young gentleman, your benefactress's son! your young master.""master! how is he my master?am i a servant?"


"no; you are less than a servant, for youdo nothing for your keep. there, sit down, and think over yourwickedness." they had got me by this time into theapartment indicated by mrs. reed, and had thrust me upon a stool: my impulse was torise from it like a spring; their two pair of hands arrested me instantly. "if you don't sit still, you must be tieddown," said bessie. "miss abbot, lend me your garters; shewould break mine directly." miss abbot turned to divest a stout leg ofthe necessary ligature. this preparation for bonds, and theadditional ignominy it inferred, took a


little of the excitement out of me. "don't take them off," i cried; "i will notstir." in guarantee whereof, i attached myself tomy seat by my hands. "mind you don't," said bessie; and when shehad ascertained that i was really subsiding, she loosened her hold of me;then she and miss abbot stood with folded arms, looking darkly and doubtfully on myface, as incredulous of my sanity. "she never did so before," at last saidbessie, turning to the abigail. "but it was always in her," was the reply. "i've told missis often my opinion aboutthe child, and missis agreed with me.


she's an underhand little thing: i neversaw a girl of her age with so much cover." bessie answered not; but ere long,addressing me, she said--"you ought to be aware, miss, that you are under obligationsto mrs. reed: she keeps you: if she were to turn you off, you would have to go to thepoorhouse." i had nothing to say to these words: theywere not new to me: my very first recollections of existence included hintsof the same kind. this reproach of my dependence had become avague sing-song in my ear: very painful and crushing, but only half intelligible.miss abbot joined in-- "and you ought not to think yourself on anequality with the misses reed and master


reed, because missis kindly allows you tobe brought up with them. they will have a great deal of money, andyou will have none: it is your place to be humble, and to try to make yourselfagreeable to them." "what we tell you is for your good," addedbessie, in no harsh voice, "you should try to be useful and pleasant, then, perhaps,you would have a home here; but if you become passionate and rude, missis willsend you away, i am sure." "besides," said miss abbot, "god willpunish her: he might strike her dead in the midst of her tantrums, and then where wouldshe go? come, bessie, we will leave her: i wouldn'thave her heart for anything.


say your prayers, miss eyre, when you areby yourself; for if you don't repent, something bad might be permitted to comedown the chimney and fetch you away." they went, shutting the door, and lockingit behind them. the red-room was a square chamber, veryseldom slept in, i might say never, indeed, unless when a chance influx of visitors atgateshead hall rendered it necessary to turn to account all the accommodation it contained: yet it was one of the largestand stateliest chambers in the mansion. a bed supported on massive pillars ofmahogany, hung with curtains of deep red damask, stood out like a tabernacle in thecentre; the two large windows, with their


blinds always drawn down, were half shrouded in festoons and falls of similardrapery; the carpet was red; the table at the foot of the bed was covered with acrimson cloth; the walls were a soft fawn colour with a blush of pink in it; the wardrobe, the toilet-table, the chairs wereof darkly polished old mahogany. out of these deep surrounding shades rosehigh, and glared white, the piled- up mattresses and pillows of the bed, spreadwith a snowy marseilles counterpane. scarcely less prominent was an amplecushioned easy-chair near the head of the bed, also white, with a footstool beforeit; and looking, as i thought, like a pale


throne. this room was chill, because it seldom hada fire; it was silent, because remote from the nursery and kitchen; solemn, because itwas known to be so seldom entered. the house-maid alone came here onsaturdays, to wipe from the mirrors and the furniture a week's quiet dust: and mrs.reed herself, at far intervals, visited it to review the contents of a certain secret drawer in the wardrobe, where were storeddivers parchments, her jewel-casket, and a miniature of her deceased husband; and inthose last words lies the secret of the red-room--the spell which kept it so lonelyin spite of its grandeur.


mr. reed had been dead nine years: it wasin this chamber he breathed his last; here he lay in state; hence his coffin was borneby the undertaker's men; and, since that day, a sense of dreary consecration hadguarded it from frequent intrusion. my seat, to which bessie and the bittermiss abbot had left me riveted, was a low ottoman near the marble chimney-piece; thebed rose before me; to my right hand there was the high, dark wardrobe, with subdued, broken reflections varying the gloss of itspanels; to my left were the muffled windows; a great looking-glass between themrepeated the vacant majesty of the bed and room.


i was not quite sure whether they hadlocked the door; and when i dared move, i got up and went to see.alas! yes: no jail was ever more secure. returning, i had to cross before thelooking- glass; my fascinated glance involuntarily explored the depth itrevealed. all looked colder and darker in thatvisionary hollow than in reality: and the strange little figure there gazing at me,with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect ofa real spirit: i thought it like one of the tiny phantoms, half fairy, half imp,bessie's evening stories represented as


coming out of lone, ferny dells in moors, and appearing before the eyes of belatedtravellers. i returned to my stool. superstition was with me at that moment;but it was not yet her hour for complete victory: my blood was still warm; the moodof the revolted slave was still bracing me with its bitter vigour; i had to stem a rapid rush of retrospective thought beforei quailed to the dismal present. all john reed's violent tyrannies, all hissisters' proud indifference, all his mother's aversion, all the servants'partiality, turned up in my disturbed mind


like a dark deposit in a turbid well. why was i always suffering, alwaysbrowbeaten, always accused, for ever condemned?why could i never please? why was it useless to try to win any one'sfavour? eliza, who was headstrong and selfish, wasrespected. georgiana, who had a spoiled temper, a veryacrid spite, a captious and insolent carriage, was universally indulged. her beauty, her pink cheeks and goldencurls, seemed to give delight to all who looked at her, and to purchase indemnityfor every fault.


john no one thwarted, much less punished;though he twisted the necks of the pigeons, killed the little pea-chicks, set the dogsat the sheep, stripped the hothouse vines of their fruit, and broke the buds off the choicest plants in the conservatory: hecalled his mother "old girl," too; sometimes reviled her for her dark skin,similar to his own; bluntly disregarded her wishes; not unfrequently tore and spoiled her silk attire; and he was still "her owndarling." i dared commit no fault: i strove to fulfilevery duty; and i was termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaking, from morningto noon, and from noon to night.


my head still ached and bled with the blowand fall i had received: no one had reproved john for wantonly striking me; andbecause i had turned against him to avert farther irrational violence, i was loadedwith general opprobrium. "unjust!--unjust!" said my reason, forcedby the agonising stimulus into precocious though transitory power: and resolve,equally wrought up, instigated some strange expedient to achieve escape from insupportable oppression--as running away,or, if that could not be effected, never eating or drinking more, and letting myselfdie. what a consternation of soul was mine thatdreary afternoon!


how all my brain was in tumult, and all myheart in insurrection! yet in what darkness, what dense ignorance,was the mental battle fought! i could not answer the ceaseless inwardquestion--why i thus suffered; now, at the distance of--i will not say how manyyears, i see it clearly. i was a discord in gateshead hall: i waslike nobody there; i had nothing in harmony with mrs. reed or her children, or herchosen vassalage. if they did not love me, in fact, as littledid i love them. they were not bound to regard withaffection a thing that could not sympathise with one amongst them; a heterogeneousthing, opposed to them in temperament, in


capacity, in propensities; a useless thing, incapable of serving their interest, oradding to their pleasure; a noxious thing, cherishing the germs of indignation attheir treatment, of contempt of their judgment. i know that had i been a sanguine,brilliant, careless, exacting, handsome, romping child--though equally dependent andfriendless--mrs. reed would have endured my presence more complacently; her children would have entertained for me more of thecordiality of fellow-feeling; the servants would have been less prone to make me thescapegoat of the nursery.


daylight began to forsake the red-room; itwas past four o'clock, and the beclouded afternoon was tending to drear twilight. i heard the rain still beating continuouslyon the staircase window, and the wind howling in the grove behind the hall; igrew by degrees cold as a stone, and then my courage sank. my habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, forlorn depression, fell damp on the embers of my decaying ire. all said i was wicked, and perhaps i mightbe so; what thought had i been but just conceiving of starving myself to death?that certainly was a crime: and was i fit


to die? or was the vault under the chancel ofgateshead church an inviting bourne? in such vault i had been told did mr. reedlie buried; and led by this thought to recall his idea, i dwelt on it withgathering dread. i could not remember him; but i knew thathe was my own uncle--my mother's brother-- that he had taken me when a parentlessinfant to his house; and that in his last moments he had required a promise of mrs. reed that she would rear and maintain me asone of her own children. mrs. reed probably considered she had keptthis promise; and so she had, i dare say,


as well as her nature would permit her; buthow could she really like an interloper not of her race, and unconnected with her,after her husband's death, by any tie? it must have been most irksome to findherself bound by a hard-wrung pledge to stand in the stead of a parent to a strangechild she could not love, and to see an uncongenial alien permanently intruded onher own family group. a singular notion dawned upon me. i doubted not--never doubted--that if mr.reed had been alive he would have treated me kindly; and now, as i sat looking at thewhite bed and overshadowed walls-- occasionally also turning a fascinated eye


towards the dimly gleaning mirror--i beganto recall what i had heard of dead men, troubled in their graves by the violationof their last wishes, revisiting the earth to punish the perjured and avenge the oppressed; and i thought mr. reed's spirit,harassed by the wrongs of his sister's child, might quit its abode--whether in thechurch vault or in the unknown world of the departed--and rise before me in thischamber. i wiped my tears and hushed my sobs,fearful lest any sign of violent grief might waken a preternatural voice tocomfort me, or elicit from the gloom some haloed face, bending over me with strangepity.


this idea, consolatory in theory, i feltwould be terrible if realised: with all my might i endeavoured to stifle it--iendeavoured to be firm. shaking my hair from my eyes, i lifted myhead and tried to look boldly round the dark room; at this moment a light gleamedon the wall. was it, i asked myself, a ray from the moonpenetrating some aperture in the blind? no; moonlight was still, and this stirred;while i gazed, it glided up to the ceiling and quivered over my head. i can now conjecture readily that thisstreak of light was, in all likelihood, a gleam from a lantern carried by some oneacross the lawn: but then, prepared as my


mind was for horror, shaken as my nerves were by agitation, i thought the swiftdarting beam was a herald of some coming vision from another world. my heart beat thick, my head grew hot; asound filled my ears, which i deemed the rushing of wings; something seemed near me;i was oppressed, suffocated: endurance broke down; i rushed to the door and shookthe lock in desperate effort. steps came running along the outer passage;the key turned, bessie and abbot entered. "miss eyre, are you ill?" said bessie. "what a dreadful noise! it went quitethrough me!" exclaimed abbot.


"take me out!let me go into the nursery!" was my cry. "what for? are you hurt?have you seen something?" again demanded bessie."oh! i saw a light, and i thought a ghost would come." i had now got hold of bessie's hand, andshe did not snatch it from me. "she has screamed out on purpose," declaredabbot, in some disgust. "and what a scream! if she had been in great pain one wouldhave excused it, but she only wanted to


bring us all here: i know her naughtytricks." "what is all this?" demanded another voiceperemptorily; and mrs. reed came along the corridor, her cap flying wide, her gownrustling stormily. "abbot and bessie, i believe i gave ordersthat jane eyre should be left in the red- room till i came to her myself.""miss jane screamed so loud, ma'am," pleaded bessie. "let her go," was the only answer."loose bessie's hand, child: you cannot succeed in getting out by these means, beassured. i abhor artifice, particularly in children;it is my duty to show you that tricks will


not answer: you will now stay here an hourlonger, and it is only on condition of perfect submission and stillness that ishall liberate you then." "o aunt! have pity!forgive me! i cannot endure it--let me be punished someother way! i shall be killed if--""silence! this violence is all most repulsive:" andso, no doubt, she felt it. i was a precocious actress in her eyes; shesincerely looked on me as a compound of virulent passions, mean spirit, anddangerous duplicity. bessie and abbot having retreated, mrs.reed, impatient of my now frantic anguish


and wild sobs, abruptly thrust me back andlocked me in, without farther parley. i heard her sweeping away; and soon aftershe was gone, i suppose i had a species of fit: unconsciousness closed the scene. chapter iii the next thing i remember is, waking upwith a feeling as if i had had a frightful nightmare, and seeing before me a terriblered glare, crossed with thick black bars. i heard voices, too, speaking with a hollowsound, and as if muffled by a rush of wind or water: agitation, uncertainty, and anall-predominating sense of terror confused my faculties.


ere long, i became aware that some one washandling me; lifting me up and supporting me in a sitting posture, and that moretenderly than i had ever been raised or upheld before. i rested my head against a pillow or anarm, and felt easy. in five minutes more the cloud ofbewilderment dissolved: i knew quite well that i was in my own bed, and that the redglare was the nursery fire. it was night: a candle burnt on the table;bessie stood at the bed- foot with a basin in her hand, and a gentleman sat in a chairnear my pillow, leaning over me. i felt an inexpressible relief, a soothingconviction of protection and security, when


i knew that there was a stranger in theroom, an individual not belonging to gateshead, and not related to mrs. reed. turning from bessie (though her presencewas far less obnoxious to me than that of abbot, for instance, would have been), iscrutinised the face of the gentleman: i knew him; it was mr. lloyd, an apothecary, sometimes called in by mrs. reed when theservants were ailing: for herself and the children she employed a physician."well, who am i?" he asked. i pronounced his name, offering him at thesame time my hand: he took it, smiling and saying, "we shall do very well by-and-by."


then he laid me down, and addressingbessie, charged her to be very careful that i was not disturbed during the night. having given some further directions, andintimates that he should call again the next day, he departed; to my grief: i feltso sheltered and befriended while he sat in the chair near my pillow; and as he closed the door after him, all the room darkenedand my heart again sank: inexpressible sadness weighed it down."do you feel as if you should sleep, miss?" asked bessie, rather softly. scarcely dared i answer her; for i fearedthe next sentence might be rough.


"i will try.""would you like to drink, or could you eat anything?" "no, thank you, bessie.""then i think i shall go to bed, for it is past twelve o'clock; but you may call me ifyou want anything in the night." wonderful civility this! it emboldened me to ask a question."bessie, what is the matter with me? am i ill?" "you fell sick, i suppose, in the red-roomwith crying; you'll be better soon, no doubt."bessie went into the housemaid's apartment,


which was near. i heard her say-- "sarah, come and sleep with me in thenursery; i daren't for my life be alone with that poor child to-night: she mightdie; it's such a strange thing she should have that fit: i wonder if she sawanything. missis was rather too hard." sarah came back with her; they both went tobed; they were whispering together for half-an-hour before they fell asleep. i caught scraps of their conversation, fromwhich i was able only too distinctly to


infer the main subject discussed. "something passed her, all dressed inwhite, and vanished"--"a great black dog behind him"--"three loud raps on thechamber door"--"a light in the churchyard just over his grave," &c. &c.at last both slept: the fire and the candle went out. for me, the watches of that long nightpassed in ghastly wakefulness; strained by dread: such dread as children only canfeel. no severe or prolonged bodily illnessfollowed this incident of the red- room; it


only gave my nerves a shock of which i feelthe reverberation to this day. yes, mrs. reed, to you i owe some fearfulpangs of mental suffering, but i ought to forgive you, for you knew not what you did:while rending my heart-strings, you thought you were only uprooting my badpropensities. next day, by noon, i was up and dressed,and sat wrapped in a shawl by the nursery hearth. i felt physically weak and broken down: butmy worse ailment was an unutterable wretchedness of mind: a wretchedness whichkept drawing from me silent tears; no sooner had i wiped one salt drop from mycheek than another followed.


yet, i thought, i ought to have been happy,for none of the reeds were there, they were all gone out in the carriage with theirmama. abbot, too, was sewing in another room, andbessie, as she moved hither and thither, putting away toys and arranging drawers,addressed to me every now and then a word of unwonted kindness. this state of things should have been to mea paradise of peace, accustomed as i was to a life of ceaseless reprimand and thanklessfagging; but, in fact, my racked nerves were now in such a state that no calm could soothe, and no pleasure excite themagreeably.


bessie had been down into the kitchen, andshe brought up with her a tart on a certain brightly painted china plate, whose bird ofparadise, nestling in a wreath of convolvuli and rosebuds, had been wont to stir in me a most enthusiastic sense ofadmiration; and which plate i had often petitioned to be allowed to take in my handin order to examine it more closely, but had always hitherto been deemed unworthy ofsuch a privilege. this precious vessel was now placed on myknee, and i was cordially invited to eat the circlet of delicate pastry upon it. vain favour! coming, like most otherfavours long deferred and often wished for,


too late! i could not eat the tart; and the plumageof the bird, the tints of the flowers, seemed strangely faded: i put both plateand tart away. bessie asked if i would have a book: theword book acted as a transient stimulus, and i begged her to fetch gulliver'stravels from the library. this book i had again and again perusedwith delight. i considered it a narrative of facts, anddiscovered in it a vein of interest deeper than what i found in fairy tales: for as tothe elves, having sought them in vain among foxglove leaves and bells, under mushrooms


and beneath the ground-ivy mantling oldwall-nooks, i had at length made up my mind to the sad truth, that they were all goneout of england to some savage country where the woods were wilder and thicker, and the population more scant; whereas, lilliputand brobdignag being, in my creed, solid parts of the earth's surface, i doubted notthat i might one day, by taking a long voyage, see with my own eyes the little fields, houses, and trees, the diminutivepeople, the tiny cows, sheep, and birds of the one realm; and the corn-fields forest-high, the mighty mastiffs, the monster cats, the tower-like men and women, of theother.


yet, when this cherished volume was nowplaced in my hand--when i turned over its leaves, and sought in its marvellouspictures the charm i had, till now, never failed to find--all was eerie and dreary; the giants were gaunt goblins, the pigmiesmalevolent and fearful imps, gulliver a most desolate wanderer in most dread anddangerous regions. i closed the book, which i dared no longerperuse, and put it on the table, beside the untasted tart. bessie had now finished dusting and tidyingthe room, and having washed her hands, she opened a certain little drawer, full ofsplendid shreds of silk and satin, and


began making a new bonnet for georgiana'sdoll. meantime she sang: her song was-- "in the days when we went gipsying,a long time ago." i had often heard the song before, andalways with lively delight; for bessie had a sweet voice,--at least, i thought so. but now, though her voice was still sweet,i found in its melody an indescribable sadness. sometimes, preoccupied with her work, shesang the refrain very low, very lingeringly; "a long time ago" came outlike the saddest cadence of a funeral hymn.


she passed into another ballad, this time areally doleful one. "my feet they are sore, and my limbs theyare weary; long is the way, and the mountains arewild; soon will the twilight close moonless anddreary over the path of the poor orphan child. why did they send me so far and so lonely,up where the moors spread and grey rocks are piled? men are hard-hearted, and kind angels onlywatch o'er the steps of a poor orphan child.


yet distant and soft the night breeze isblowing, clouds there are none, and clear starsbeam mild, god, in his mercy, protection is showing,comfort and hope to the poor orphan child. ev'n should i fall o'er the broken bridgepassing, or stray in the marshes, by false lightsbeguiled, still will my father, with promise andblessing, take to his bosom the poor orphan child. there is a thought that for strengthshould avail me, though both of shelterand kindred despoiled;


heaven is a home, and a rest will not failme; god is a friend to the poor orphan child." "come, miss jane, don't cry," said bessieas she finished. she might as well have said to the fire,"don't burn!" but how could she divine the morbid suffering to which i was a prey? in the course of the morning mr. lloyd cameagain. "what, already up!" said he, as he enteredthe nursery. "well, nurse, how is she?" bessie answered that i was doing very well."then she ought to look more cheerful.


come here, miss jane: your name is jane, isit not?" "yes, sir, jane eyre." "well, you have been crying, miss janeeyre; can you tell me what about? have you any pain?""no, sir." "oh! i daresay she is crying because shecould not go out with missis in the carriage," interposed bessie."surely not! why, she is too old for such pettishness." i thought so too; and my self-esteem beingwounded by the false charge, i answered promptly, "i never cried for such a thingin my life: i hate going out in the


carriage. i cry because i am miserable.""oh fie, miss!" said bessie. the good apothecary appeared a littlepuzzled. i was standing before him; he fixed hiseyes on me very steadily: his eyes were small and grey; not very bright, but i daresay i should think them shrewd now: he had a hard-featured yet good-natured lookingface. having considered me at leisure, he said--"what made you ill yesterday?" "she had a fall," said bessie, againputting in her word. "fall! why, that is like a baby again!can't she manage to walk at her age?


she must be eight or nine years old." "i was knocked down," was the bluntexplanation, jerked out of me by another pang of mortified pride; "but that did notmake me ill," i added; while mr. lloyd helped himself to a pinch of snuff. as he was returning the box to hiswaistcoat pocket, a loud bell rang for the servants' dinner; he knew what it was. "that's for you, nurse," said he; "you cango down; i'll give miss jane a lecture till you come back." bessie would rather have stayed, but shewas obliged to go, because punctuality at


meals was rigidly enforced at gatesheadhall. "the fall did not make you ill; what did,then?" pursued mr. lloyd when bessie was gone."i was shut up in a room where there is a ghost till after dark." i saw mr. lloyd smile and frown at the sametime. "ghost!what, you are a baby after all! you are afraid of ghosts?" "of mr. reed's ghost i am: he died in thatroom, and was laid out there. neither bessie nor any one else will gointo it at night, if they can help it; and


it was cruel to shut me up alone without acandle,--so cruel that i think i shall never forget it." "nonsense!and is it that makes you so miserable? are you afraid now in daylight?" "no: but night will come again before long:and besides,--i am unhappy,--very unhappy, for other things.""what other things? can you tell me some of them?" how much i wished to reply fully to thisquestion! how difficult it was to frame any answer!


children can feel, but they cannot analysetheir feelings; and if the analysis is partially effected in thought, they knownot how to express the result of the process in words. fearful, however, of losing this first andonly opportunity of relieving my grief by imparting it, i, after a disturbed pause,contrived to frame a meagre, though, as far as it went, true response. "for one thing, i have no father or mother,brothers or sisters." "you have a kind aunt and cousins."again i paused; then bunglingly enounced-- "but john reed knocked me down, and my auntshut me up in the red-room."


mr. lloyd a second time produced his snuff-box. "don't you think gateshead hall a verybeautiful house?" asked he. "are you not very thankful to have such afine place to live at?" "it is not my house, sir; and abbot says ihave less right to be here than a servant." "pooh! you can't be silly enough to wish toleave such a splendid place?" "if i had anywhere else to go, i should beglad to leave it; but i can never get away from gateshead till i am a woman.""perhaps you may--who knows? have you any relations besides mrs. reed?" "i think not, sir.""none belonging to your father?"


"i don't know. i asked aunt reed once, and she saidpossibly i might have some poor, low relations called eyre, but she knew nothingabout them." "if you had such, would you like to go tothem?" i reflected. poverty looks grim to grown people; stillmore so to children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectablepoverty; they think of the word only as connected with ragged clothes, scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners, and debasingvices: poverty for me was synonymous with


degradation."no; i should not like to belong to poor people," was my reply. "not even if they were kind to you?" i shook my head: i could not see how poorpeople had the means of being kind; and then to learn to speak like them, to adopttheir manners, to be uneducated, to grow up like one of the poor women i saw sometimes nursing their children or washing theirclothes at the cottage doors of the village of gateshead: no, i was not heroic enoughto purchase liberty at the price of caste. "but are your relatives so very poor?


are they working people?""i cannot tell; aunt reed says if i have any, they must be a beggarly set: i shouldnot like to go a begging." "would you like to go to school?" again i reflected: i scarcely knew whatschool was: bessie sometimes spoke of it as a place where young ladies sat in thestocks, wore backboards, and were expected to be exceedingly genteel and precise: john reed hated his school, and abused hismaster; but john reed's tastes were no rule for mine, and if bessie's accounts ofschool-discipline (gathered from the young ladies of a family where she had lived


before coming to gateshead) were somewhatappalling, her details of certain accomplishments attained by these sameyoung ladies were, i thought, equally attractive. she boasted of beautiful paintings oflandscapes and flowers by them executed; of songs they could sing and pieces they couldplay, of purses they could net, of french books they could translate; till my spiritwas moved to emulation as i listened. besides, school would be a complete change:it implied a long journey, an entire separation from gateshead, an entrance intoa new life. "i should indeed like to go to school," wasthe audible conclusion of my musings.


"well, well! who knows what may happen?"said mr. lloyd, as he got up. "the child ought to have change of air andscene," he added, speaking to himself; "nerves not in a good state." bessie now returned; at the same moment thecarriage was heard rolling up the gravel- walk."is that your mistress, nurse?" asked mr. lloyd. "i should like to speak to her before igo." bessie invited him to walk into thebreakfast-room, and led the way out. in the interview which followed between himand mrs. reed, i presume, from after-


occurrences, that the apothecary venturedto recommend my being sent to school; and the recommendation was no doubt readily enough adopted; for as abbot said, indiscussing the subject with bessie when both sat sewing in the nursery one night,after i was in bed, and, as they thought, asleep, "missis was, she dared say, glad enough to get rid of such a tiresome, ill-conditioned child, who always looked as if she were watching everybody, and schemingplots underhand." abbot, i think, gave me credit for being asort of infantine guy fawkes. on that same occasion i learned, for thefirst time, from miss abbot's


communications to bessie, that my fatherhad been a poor clergyman; that my mother had married him against the wishes of her friends, who considered the match beneathher; that my grandfather reed was so irritated at her disobedience, he cut heroff without a shilling; that after my mother and father had been married a year, the latter caught the typhus fever whilevisiting among the poor of a large manufacturing town where his curacy wassituated, and where that disease was then prevalent: that my mother took the infection from him, and both died within amonth of each other.


bessie, when she heard this narrative,sighed and said, "poor miss jane is to be pitied, too, abbot." "yes," responded abbot; "if she were anice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot carefor such a little toad as that." "not a great deal, to be sure," agreedbessie: "at any rate, a beauty like miss georgiana would be more moving in the samecondition." "yes, i doat on miss georgiana!" cried thefervent abbot. "little darling!--with her long curls andher blue eyes, and such a sweet colour as she has; just as if she were painted!--bessie, i could fancy a welsh rabbit for


supper." "so could i--with a roast onion.come, we'll go down." they went. chapter iv from my discourse with mr. lloyd, and fromthe above reported conference between bessie and abbot, i gathered enough of hopeto suffice as a motive for wishing to get well: a change seemed near,--i desired andwaited it in silence. it tarried, however: days and weeks passed:i had regained my normal state of health, but no new allusion was made to the subjectover which i brooded.


mrs. reed surveyed me at times with asevere eye, but seldom addressed me: since my illness, she had drawn a more markedline of separation than ever between me and her own children; appointing me a small closet to sleep in by myself, condemning meto take my meals alone, and pass all my time in the nursery, while my cousins wereconstantly in the drawing-room. not a hint, however, did she drop aboutsending me to school: still i felt an instinctive certainty that she would notlong endure me under the same roof with her; for her glance, now more than ever, when turned on me, expressed an insuperableand rooted aversion.


eliza and georgiana, evidently actingaccording to orders, spoke to me as little as possible: john thrust his tongue in hischeek whenever he saw me, and once attempted chastisement; but as i instantly turned against him, roused by the samesentiment of deep ire and desperate revolt which had stirred my corruption before, hethought it better to desist, and ran from me tittering execrations, and vowing i hadburst his nose. i had indeed levelled at that prominentfeature as hard a blow as my knuckles could inflict; and when i saw that either that ormy look daunted him, i had the greatest inclination to follow up my advantage topurpose; but he was already with his mama.


i heard him in a blubbering tone commencethe tale of how "that nasty jane eyre" had flown at him like a mad cat: he was stoppedrather harshly-- "don't talk to me about her, john: i toldyou not to go near her; she is not worthy of notice; i do not choose that either youor your sisters should associate with her." here, leaning over the banister, i criedout suddenly, and without at all deliberating on my words--"they are not fit to associate with me." mrs. reed was rather a stout woman; but, onhearing this strange and audacious declaration, she ran nimbly up the stair,swept me like a whirlwind into the nursery, and crushing me down on the edge of my


crib, dared me in an emphatic voice to risefrom that place, or utter one syllable during the remainder of the day. "what would uncle reed say to you, if hewere alive?" was my scarcely voluntary demand. i say scarcely voluntary, for it seemed asif my tongue pronounced words without my will consenting to their utterance:something spoke out of me over which i had no control. "what?" said mrs. reed under her breath:her usually cold composed grey eye became troubled with a look like fear; she tookher hand from my arm, and gazed at me as if


she really did not know whether i werechild or fiend. i was now in for it. "my uncle reed is in heaven, and can seeall you do and think; and so can papa and mama: they know how you shut me up all daylong, and how you wish me dead." mrs. reed soon rallied her spirits: sheshook me most soundly, she boxed both my ears, and then left me without a word. bessie supplied the hiatus by a homily ofan hour's length, in which she proved beyond a doubt that i was the most wickedand abandoned child ever reared under a roof.


i half believed her; for i felt indeed onlybad feelings surging in my breast. november, december, and half of januarypassed away. christmas and the new year had beencelebrated at gateshead with the usual festive cheer; presents had beeninterchanged, dinners and evening parties given. from every enjoyment i was, of course,excluded: my share of the gaiety consisted in witnessing the daily apparelling ofeliza and georgiana, and seeing them descend to the drawing-room, dressed out in thin muslin frocks and scarlet sashes, withhair elaborately ringletted; and


afterwards, in listening to the sound ofthe piano or the harp played below, to the passing to and fro of the butler and footman, to the jingling of glass and chinaas refreshments were handed, to the broken hum of conversation as the drawing-roomdoor opened and closed. when tired of this occupation, i wouldretire from the stairhead to the solitary and silent nursery: there, though somewhatsad, i was not miserable. to speak truth, i had not the least wish togo into company, for in company i was very rarely noticed; and if bessie had but beenkind and companionable, i should have deemed it a treat to spend the evenings


quietly with her, instead of passing themunder the formidable eye of mrs. reed, in a room full of ladies and gentlemen. but bessie, as soon as she had dressed heryoung ladies, used to take herself off to the lively regions of the kitchen andhousekeeper's room, generally bearing the candle along with her. i then sat with my doll on my knee till thefire got low, glancing round occasionally to make sure that nothing worse than myselfhaunted the shadowy room; and when the embers sank to a dull red, i undressed hastily, tugging at knots and strings as ibest might, and sought shelter from cold


and darkness in my crib. to this crib i always took my doll; humanbeings must love something, and, in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, icontrived to find a pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image, shabby asa miniature scarecrow. it puzzles me now to remember with whatabsurd sincerity i doated on this little toy, half fancying it alive and capable ofsensation. i could not sleep unless it was folded inmy night-gown; and when it lay there safe and warm, i was comparatively happy,believing it to be happy likewise. long did the hours seem while i waited thedeparture of the company, and listened for


the sound of bessie's step on the stairs:sometimes she would come up in the interval to seek her thimble or her scissors, or perhaps to bring me something by way ofsupper--a bun or a cheese-cake--then she would sit on the bed while i ate it, andwhen i had finished, she would tuck the clothes round me, and twice she kissed me,and said, "good night, miss jane." when thus gentle, bessie seemed to me thebest, prettiest, kindest being in the world; and i wished most intensely that shewould always be so pleasant and amiable, and never push me about, or scold, or task me unreasonably, as she was too often wontto do.


bessie lee must, i think, have been a girlof good natural capacity, for she was smart in all she did, and had a remarkable knackof narrative; so, at least, i judge from the impression made on me by her nurserytales. she was pretty too, if my recollections ofher face and person are correct. i remember her as a slim young woman, withblack hair, dark eyes, very nice features, and good, clear complexion; but she had acapricious and hasty temper, and indifferent ideas of principle or justice: still, such as she was, i preferred her toany one else at gateshead hall. it was the fifteenth of january, about nineo'clock in the morning: bessie was gone


down to breakfast; my cousins had not yetbeen summoned to their mama; eliza was putting on her bonnet and warm garden-coat to go and feed her poultry, an occupationof which she was fond: and not less so of selling the eggs to the housekeeper andhoarding up the money she thus obtained. she had a turn for traffic, and a markedpropensity for saving; shown not only in the vending of eggs and chickens, but alsoin driving hard bargains with the gardener about flower-roots, seeds, and slips of plants; that functionary having orders frommrs. reed to buy of his young lady all the products of her parterre she wished tosell: and eliza would have sold the hair


off her head if she could have made ahandsome profit thereby. as to her money, she first secreted it inodd corners, wrapped in a rag or an old curl-paper; but some of these hoards havingbeen discovered by the housemaid, eliza, fearful of one day losing her valued treasure, consented to intrust it to hermother, at a usurious rate of interest-- fifty or sixty per cent.; which interestshe exacted every quarter, keeping her accounts in a little book with anxiousaccuracy. georgiana sat on a high stool, dressing herhair at the glass, and interweaving her curls with artificial flowers and fadedfeathers, of which she had found a store in


a drawer in the attic. i was making my bed, having received strictorders from bessie to get it arranged before she returned (for bessie nowfrequently employed me as a sort of under- nurserymaid, to tidy the room, dust thechairs, &c.). having spread the quilt and folded mynight-dress, i went to the window-seat to put in order some picture-books and doll'shouse furniture scattered there; an abrupt command from georgiana to let her playthings alone (for the tiny chairs andmirrors, the fairy plates and cups, were her property) stopped my proceedings; andthen, for lack of other occupation, i fell


to breathing on the frost-flowers with which the window was fretted, and thusclearing a space in the glass through which i might look out on the grounds, where allwas still and petrified under the influence of a hard frost. from this window were visible the porter'slodge and the carriage-road, and just as i had dissolved so much of the silver-whitefoliage veiling the panes as left room to look out, i saw the gates thrown open and acarriage roll through. i watched it ascending the drive withindifference; carriages often came to gateshead, but none ever brought visitorsin whom i was interested; it stopped in


front of the house, the door-bell rangloudly, the new-comer was admitted. all this being nothing to me, my vacantattention soon found livelier attraction in the spectacle of a little hungry robin,which came and chirruped on the twigs of the leafless cherry-tree nailed against thewall near the casement. the remains of my breakfast of bread andmilk stood on the table, and having crumbled a morsel of roll, i was tugging atthe sash to put out the crumbs on the window-sill, when bessie came runningupstairs into the nursery. "miss jane, take off your pinafore; whatare you doing there? have you washed your hands and face thismorning?"


i gave another tug before i answered, for iwanted the bird to be secure of its bread: the sash yielded; i scattered the crumbs,some on the stone sill, some on the cherry- tree bough, then, closing the window, ireplied-- "no, bessie; i have only just finisheddusting." "troublesome, careless child! and what areyou doing now? you look quite red, as if you had beenabout some mischief: what were you opening the window for?" i was spared the trouble of answering, forbessie seemed in too great a hurry to listen to explanations; she hauled me tothe washstand, inflicted a merciless, but


happily brief scrub on my face and hands with soap, water, and a coarse towel;disciplined my head with a bristly brush, denuded me of my pinafore, and thenhurrying me to the top of the stairs, bid me go down directly, as i was wanted in thebreakfast-room. i would have asked who wanted me: i wouldhave demanded if mrs. reed was there; but bessie was already gone, and had closed thenursery-door upon me. i slowly descended. for nearly three months, i had never beencalled to mrs. reed's presence; restricted so long to the nursery, the breakfast,dining, and drawing-rooms were become for


me awful regions, on which it dismayed meto intrude. i now stood in the empty hall; before mewas the breakfast-room door, and i stopped, intimidated and trembling. what a miserable little poltroon had fear,engendered of unjust punishment, made of me in those days! i feared to return to the nursery, andfeared to go forward to the parlour; ten minutes i stood in agitated hesitation; thevehement ringing of the breakfast-room bell decided me; i must enter. "who could want me?"i asked inwardly, as with both hands i


turned the stiff door-handle, which, for asecond or two, resisted my efforts. "what should i see besides aunt reed in theapartment?--a man or a woman?" the handle turned, the door unclosed, andpassing through and curtseying low, i looked up at--a black pillar!--such, atleast, appeared to me, at first sight, the straight, narrow, sable-clad shape standing erect on the rug: the grim face at the topwas like a carved mask, placed above the shaft by way of capital. mrs. reed occupied her usual seat by thefireside; she made a signal to me to approach; i did so, and she introduced meto the stony stranger with the words: "this


is the little girl respecting whom iapplied to you." he, for it was a man, turned his headslowly towards where i stood, and having examined me with the two inquisitive-looking grey eyes which twinkled under a pair of bushy brows, said solemnly, and in a bass voice, "her size is small: what isher age?" "ten years.""so much?" was the doubtful answer; and he prolonged his scrutiny for some minutes. presently he addressed me--"your name,little girl?" "jane eyre, sir."


in uttering these words i looked up: heseemed to me a tall gentleman; but then i was very little; his features were large,and they and all the lines of his frame were equally harsh and prim. "well, jane eyre, and are you a goodchild?" impossible to reply to this in theaffirmative: my little world held a contrary opinion: i was silent. mrs. reed answered for me by an expressiveshake of the head, adding soon, "perhaps the less said on that subject the better,mr. brocklehurst." "sorry indeed to hear it! she and i musthave some talk;" and bending from the


perpendicular, he installed his person inthe arm-chair opposite mrs. reed's. "come here," he said. i stepped across the rug; he placed mesquare and straight before him. what a face he had, now that it was almoston a level with mine! what a great nose! and what a mouth! and what large prominentteeth! "no sight so sad as that of a naughtychild," he began, "especially a naughty little girl.do you know where the wicked go after death?" "they go to hell," was my ready andorthodox answer.


"and what is hell?can you tell me that?" "a pit full of fire." "and should you like to fall into that pit,and to be burning there for ever?" "no, sir.""what must you do to avoid it?" i deliberated a moment; my answer, when itdid come, was objectionable: "i must keep in good health, and not die.""how can you keep in good health? children younger than you die daily. i buried a little child of five years oldonly a day or two since,--a good little child, whose soul is now in heaven.it is to be feared the same could not be


said of you were you to be called hence." not being in a condition to remove hisdoubt, i only cast my eyes down on the two large feet planted on the rug, and sighed,wishing myself far enough away. "i hope that sigh is from the heart, andthat you repent of ever having been the occasion of discomfort to your excellentbenefactress." "benefactress! benefactress!" said iinwardly: "they all call mrs. reed my benefactress; if so, a benefactress is adisagreeable thing." "do you say your prayers night andmorning?" continued my interrogator. "yes, sir.""do you read your bible?"


"sometimes." "with pleasure?are you fond of it?" "i like revelations, and the book ofdaniel, and genesis and samuel, and a little bit of exodus, and some parts ofkings and chronicles, and job and jonah." "and the psalms? i hope you like them?""no, sir." "no? oh, shocking! i have a little boy, younger than you, whoknows six psalms by heart: and when you ask him which he would rather have, agingerbread-nut to eat or a verse of a


psalm to learn, he says: 'oh! the verse of a psalm! angels sing psalms;' says he, 'iwish to be a little angel here below;' he then gets two nuts in recompense for hisinfant piety." "psalms are not interesting," i remarked. "that proves you have a wicked heart; andyou must pray to god to change it: to give you a new and clean one: to take away yourheart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." i was about to propound a question,touching the manner in which that operation of changing my heart was to be performed,when mrs. reed interposed, telling me to


sit down; she then proceeded to carry onthe conversation herself. "mr. brocklehurst, i believe i intimated inthe letter which i wrote to you three weeks ago, that this little girl has not quitethe character and disposition i could wish: should you admit her into lowood school, i should be glad if the superintendent andteachers were requested to keep a strict eye on her, and, above all, to guardagainst her worst fault, a tendency to deceit. i mention this in your hearing, jane, thatyou may not attempt to impose on mr. brocklehurst."


well might i dread, well might i dislikemrs. reed; for it was her nature to wound me cruelly; never was i happy in herpresence; however carefully i obeyed, however strenuously i strove to please her, my efforts were still repulsed and repaidby such sentences as the above. now, uttered before a stranger, theaccusation cut me to the heart; i dimly perceived that she was already obliteratinghope from the new phase of existence which she destined me to enter; i felt, though i could not have expressed the feeling, thatshe was sowing aversion and unkindness along my future path; i saw myselftransformed under mr. brocklehurst's eye


into an artful, noxious child, and whatcould i do to remedy the injury? "nothing, indeed," thought i, as istruggled to repress a sob, and hastily wiped away some tears, the impotentevidences of my anguish. "deceit is, indeed, a sad fault in achild," said mr. brocklehurst; "it is akin to falsehood, and all liars will have theirportion in the lake burning with fire and brimstone; she shall, however, be watched,mrs. reed. i will speak to miss temple and theteachers." "i should wish her to be brought up in amanner suiting her prospects," continued my benefactress; "to be made useful, to bekept humble: as for the vacations, she


will, with your permission, spend themalways at lowood." "your decisions are perfectly judicious,madam," returned mr. brocklehurst. "humility is a christian grace, and onepeculiarly appropriate to the pupils of lowood; i, therefore, direct that especialcare shall be bestowed on its cultivation amongst them. i have studied how best to mortify in themthe worldly sentiment of pride; and, only the other day, i had a pleasing proof of mysuccess. my second daughter, augusta, went with hermama to visit the school, and on her return she exclaimed: 'oh, dear papa, how quietand plain all the girls at lowood look,


with their hair combed behind their ears, and their long pinafores, and those littleholland pockets outside their frocks--they are almost like poor people's children!and,' said she, 'they looked at my dress and mama's, as if they had never seen asilk gown before.'" "this is the state of things i quiteapprove," returned mrs. reed; "had i sought all england over, i could scarcely havefound a system more exactly fitting a child like jane eyre. consistency, my dear mr. brocklehurst; iadvocate consistency in all things." "consistency, madam, is the first ofchristian duties; and it has been observed


in every arrangement connected with theestablishment of lowood: plain fare, simple attire, unsophisticated accommodations, hardy and active habits; such is the orderof the day in the house and its inhabitants.""quite right, sir. i may then depend upon this child beingreceived as a pupil at lowood, and there being trained in conformity to her positionand prospects?" "madam, you may: she shall be placed inthat nursery of chosen plants, and i trust she will show herself grateful for theinestimable privilege of her election." "i will send her, then, as soon aspossible, mr. brocklehurst; for, i assure


you, i feel anxious to be relieved of aresponsibility that was becoming too irksome." "no doubt, no doubt, madam; and now i wishyou good morning. i shall return to brocklehurst hall in thecourse of a week or two: my good friend, the archdeacon, will not permit me to leavehim sooner. i shall send miss temple notice that she isto expect a new girl, so that there will be no difficulty about receiving her.good-bye." "good-bye, mr. brocklehurst; remember me tomrs. and miss brocklehurst, and to augusta and theodore, and master broughtonbrocklehurst."


"i will, madam. little girl, here is a book entitled the'child's guide,' read it with prayer, especially that part containing 'an accountof the awfully sudden death of martha g---, a naughty child addicted to falsehood anddeceit.'" with these words mr. brocklehurst put intomy hand a thin pamphlet sewn in a cover, and having rung for his carriage, hedeparted. mrs. reed and i were left alone: someminutes passed in silence; she was sewing, i was watching her. mrs. reed might be at that time some six orseven and thirty; she was a woman of robust


frame, square-shouldered and strong-limbed,not tall, and, though stout, not obese: she had a somewhat large face, the under jaw being much developed and very solid; herbrow was low, her chin large and prominent, mouth and nose sufficiently regular; underher light eyebrows glimmered an eye devoid of ruth; her skin was dark and opaque, her hair nearly flaxen; her constitution wassound as a bell--illness never came near her; she was an exact, clever manager; herhousehold and tenantry were thoroughly under her control; her children only at times defied her authority and laughed itto scorn; she dressed well, and had a


presence and port calculated to set offhandsome attire. sitting on a low stool, a few yards fromher arm-chair, i examined her figure; i perused her features. in my hand i held the tract containing thesudden death of the liar, to which narrative my attention had been pointed asto an appropriate warning. what had just passed; what mrs. reed hadsaid concerning me to mr. brocklehurst; the whole tenor of their conversation, wasrecent, raw, and stinging in my mind; i had felt every word as acutely as i had heard it plainly, and a passion of resentmentfomented now within me.


mrs. reed looked up from her work; her eyesettled on mine, her fingers at the same time suspended their nimble movements. "go out of the room; return to thenursery," was her mandate. my look or something else must have struckher as offensive, for she spoke with extreme though suppressed irritation. i got up, i went to the door; i came backagain; i walked to the window, across the room, then close up to her.speak i must: i had been trodden on severely, and must turn: but how? what strength had i to dart retaliation atmy antagonist?


i gathered my energies and launched them inthis blunt sentence-- "i am not deceitful: if i were, i shouldsay i loved you; but i declare i do not love you: i dislike you the worst ofanybody in the world except john reed; and this book about the liar, you may give to your girl, georgiana, for it is she whotells lies, and not i." mrs. reed's hands still lay on her workinactive: her eye of ice continued to dwell freezingly on mine. "what more have you to say?" she asked,rather in the tone in which a person might address an opponent of adult age than suchas is ordinarily used to a child.


that eye of hers, that voice stirred everyantipathy i had. shaking from head to foot, thrilled withungovernable excitement, i continued-- "i am glad you are no relation of mine: iwill never call you aunt again as long as i live. i will never come to see you when i amgrown up; and if any one asks me how i liked you, and how you treated me, i willsay the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserablecruelty." "how dare you affirm that, jane eyre?""how dare i, mrs. reed? how dare i?


because it is the truth.you think i have no feelings, and that i can do without one bit of love or kindness;but i cannot live so: and you have no pity. i shall remember how you thrust me back--roughly and violently thrust me back--into the red-room, and locked me up there, to mydying day; though i was in agony; though i cried out, while suffocating with distress,'have mercy! have mercy, aunt reed!' and that punishment you made me sufferbecause your wicked boy struck me--knocked me down for nothing.i will tell anybody who asks me questions, this exact tale.


people think you a good woman, but you arebad, hard-hearted. you are deceitful!"{how dare i, mrs. ried? because it is the truth: p30.jpg}ere i had finished this reply, my soul began to expand, to exult, with thestrangest sense of freedom, of triumph, i ever felt. it seemed as if an invisible bond hadburst, and that i had struggled out into unhoped- for liberty. not without cause was this sentiment: mrs.reed looked frightened; her work had slipped from her knee; she was lifting upher hands, rocking herself to and fro, and


even twisting her face as if she would cry. "jane, you are under a mistake: what is thematter with you? why do you tremble so violently?would you like to drink some water?" "no, mrs. reed." "is there anything else you wish for, jane?i assure you, i desire to be your friend." "not you. you told mr. brocklehurst i had a badcharacter, a deceitful disposition; and i'll let everybody at lowood know what youare, and what you have done." "jane, you don't understand these things:children must be corrected for their


faults.""deceit is not my fault!" i cried out in a savage, high voice. "but you are passionate, jane, that youmust allow: and now return to the nursery-- there's a dear--and lie down a little." "i am not your dear; i cannot lie down:send me to school soon, mrs. reed, for i hate to live here." "i will indeed send her to school soon,"murmured mrs. reed sotto voce; and gathering up her work, she abruptly quittedthe apartment. i was left there alone--winner of thefield.


it was the hardest battle i had fought, andthe first victory i had gained: i stood awhile on the rug, where mr. brocklehursthad stood, and i enjoyed my conqueror's solitude. first, i smiled to myself and felt elate;but this fierce pleasure subsided in me as fast as did the accelerated throb of mypulses. a child cannot quarrel with its elders, asi had done; cannot give its furious feelings uncontrolled play, as i had givenmine, without experiencing afterwards the pang of remorse and the chill of reaction. a ridge of lighted heath, alive, glancing,devouring, would have been a meet emblem of


my mind when i accused and menaced mrs.reed: the same ridge, black and blasted after the flames are dead, would have represented as meetly my subsequentcondition, when half-an-hour's silence and reflection had shown me the madness of myconduct, and the dreariness of my hated and hating position. something of vengeance i had tasted for thefirst time; as aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy: its after-flavour, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if i had been poisoned. willingly would i now have gone and askedmrs. reed's pardon; but i knew, partly from


experience and partly from instinct, thatwas the way to make her repulse me with double scorn, thereby re-exciting everyturbulent impulse of my nature. i would fain exercise some better facultythan that of fierce speaking; fain find nourishment for some less fiendish feelingthan that of sombre indignation. i took a book--some arabian tales; i satdown and endeavoured to read. i could make no sense of the subject; myown thoughts swam always between me and the page i had usually found fascinating. i opened the glass-door in the breakfast-room: the shrubbery was quite still: the black frost reigned, unbroken by sun orbreeze, through the grounds.


i covered my head and arms with the skirtof my frock, and went out to walk in a part of the plantation which was quitesequestrated; but i found no pleasure in the silent trees, the falling fir-cones, the congealed relics of autumn, russetleaves, swept by past winds in heaps, and now stiffened together. i leaned against a gate, and looked into anempty field where no sheep were feeding, where the short grass was nipped andblanched. it was a very grey day; a most opaque sky,"onding on snaw," canopied all; thence flakes felt it intervals, which settled onthe hard path and on the hoary lea without


melting. i stood, a wretched child enough,whispering to myself over and over again, "what shall i do?--what shall i do?"all at once i heard a clear voice call, "miss jane! where are you? come to lunch!"it was bessie, i knew well enough; but i did not stir; her light step came trippingdown the path. "you naughty little thing!" she said. "why don't you come when you are called?"bessie's presence, compared with the thoughts over which i had been brooding,seemed cheerful; even though, as usual, she


was somewhat cross. the fact is, after my conflict with andvictory over mrs. reed, i was not disposed to care much for the nursemaid's transitoryanger; and i was disposed to bask in her youthful lightness of heart. i just put my two arms round her and said,"come, bessie! don't scold." the action was more frank and fearless thanany i was habituated to indulge in: somehow it pleased her. "you are a strange child, miss jane," shesaid, as she looked down at me; "a little roving, solitary thing: and you are goingto school, i suppose?"


i nodded. "and won't you be sorry to leave poorbessie?" "what does bessie care for me?she is always scolding me." "because you're such a queer, frightened,shy little thing. you should be bolder.""what! to get more knocks?" "nonsense! but you are rather put upon, that'scertain. my mother said, when she came to see melast week, that she would not like a little one of her own to be in your place.--now,come in, and i've some good news for you."


"i don't think you have, bessie." "child! what do you mean?what sorrowful eyes you fix on me! well, but missis and the young ladies andmaster john are going out to tea this afternoon, and you shall have tea with me. i'll ask cook to bake you a little cake,and then you shall help me to look over your drawers; for i am soon to pack yourtrunk. missis intends you to leave gateshead in aday or two, and you shall choose what toys you like to take with you.""bessie, you must promise not to scold me any more till i go."


"well, i will; but mind you are a very goodgirl, and don't be afraid of me. don't start when i chance to speak rathersharply; it's so provoking." "i don't think i shall ever be afraid ofyou again, bessie, because i have got used to you, and i shall soon have another setof people to dread." "if you dread them they'll dislike you." "as you do, bessie?""i don't dislike you, miss; i believe i am fonder of you than of all the others.""you don't show it." "you little sharp thing! you've got quite anew way of talking. what makes you so venturesome and hardy?"


"why, i shall soon be away from you, andbesides"--i was going to say something about what had passed between me and mrs.reed, but on second thoughts i considered it better to remain silent on that head. "and so you're glad to leave me?""not at all, bessie; indeed, just now i'm rather sorry.""just now! and rather! how coolly my little lady says it! i dare say now if i were to ask you for akiss you wouldn't give it me: you'd say you'd rather not.""i'll kiss you and welcome: bend your head down."


bessie stooped; we mutually embraced, and ifollowed her into the house quite comforted. that afternoon lapsed in peace and harmony;and in the evening bessie told me some of her most enchanting stories, and sang mesome of her sweetest songs. even for me life had its gleams ofsunshine. chapter v five o'clock had hardly struck on themorning of the 19th of january, when bessie brought a candle into my closet and foundme already up and nearly dressed. i had risen half-an-hour before herentrance, and had washed my face, and put


on my clothes by the light of a half-moonjust setting, whose rays streamed through the narrow window near my crib. i was to leave gateshead that day by acoach which passed the lodge gates at six a.m. bessie was the only person yet risen; shehad lit a fire in the nursery, where she now proceeded to make my breakfast.few children can eat when excited with the thoughts of a journey; nor could i. bessie, having pressed me in vain to take afew spoonfuls of the boiled milk and bread she had prepared for me, wrapped up somebiscuits in a paper and put them into my


bag; then she helped me on with my pelisse and bonnet, and wrapping herself in ashawl, she and i left the nursery. as we passed mrs. reed's bedroom, she said,"will you go in and bid missis good- bye?" "no, bessie: she came to my crib last nightwhen you were gone down to supper, and said i need not disturb her in the morning, ormy cousins either; and she told me to remember that she had always been my best friend, and to speak of her and be gratefulto her accordingly." "what did you say, miss?" "nothing: i covered my face with thebedclothes, and turned from her to the


wall.""that was wrong, miss jane." "it was quite right, bessie. your missis has not been my friend: she hasbeen my foe." "o miss jane! don't say so!" "good-bye to gateshead!" cried i, as wepassed through the hall and went out at the front door. the moon was set, and it was very dark;bessie carried a lantern, whose light glanced on wet steps and gravel road soddenby a recent thaw. raw and chill was the winter morning: myteeth chattered as i hastened down the


drive. there was a light in the porter's lodge:when we reached it, we found the porter's wife just kindling her fire: my trunk,which had been carried down the evening before, stood corded at the door. it wanted but a few minutes of six, andshortly after that hour had struck, the distant roll of wheels announced the comingcoach; i went to the door and watched its lamps approach rapidly through the gloom. "is she going by herself?" asked theporter's wife. "yes.""and how far is it?"


"fifty miles." "what a long way!i wonder mrs. reed is not afraid to trust her so far alone." the coach drew up; there it was at thegates with its four horses and its top laden with passengers: the guard andcoachman loudly urged haste; my trunk was hoisted up; i was taken from bessie's neck,to which i clung with kisses. "be sure and take good care of her," criedshe to the guard, as he lifted me into the inside. "ay, ay!" was the answer: the door wasslapped to, a voice exclaimed "all right,"


and on we drove. thus was i severed from bessie andgateshead; thus whirled away to unknown, and, as i then deemed, remote andmysterious regions. i remember but little of the journey; ionly know that the day seemed to me of a preternatural length, and that we appearedto travel over hundreds of miles of road. we passed through several towns, and inone, a very large one, the coach stopped; the horses were taken out, and thepassengers alighted to dine. i was carried into an inn, where the guardwanted me to have some dinner; but, as i had no appetite, he left me in an immenseroom with a fireplace at each end, a


chandelier pendent from the ceiling, and a little red gallery high up against the wallfilled with musical instruments. here i walked about for a long time,feeling very strange, and mortally apprehensive of some one coming in andkidnapping me; for i believed in kidnappers, their exploits having frequently figured in bessie's firesidechronicles. at last the guard returned; once more i wasstowed away in the coach, my protector mounted his own seat, sounded his hollowhorn, and away we rattled over the "stony street" of l-.


the afternoon came on wet and somewhatmisty: as it waned into dusk, i began to feel that we were getting very far indeedfrom gateshead: we ceased to pass through towns; the country changed; great grey hills heaved up round the horizon: astwilight deepened, we descended a valley, dark with wood, and long after night hadoverclouded the prospect, i heard a wild wind rushing amongst trees. lulled by the sound, i at last droppedasleep; i had not long slumbered when the sudden cessation of motion awoke me; thecoach-door was open, and a person like a servant was standing at it: i saw her faceand dress by the light of the lamps.


"is there a little girl called jane eyrehere?" she asked. i answered "yes," and was then lifted out;my trunk was handed down, and the coach instantly drove away. i was stiff with long sitting, andbewildered with the noise and motion of the coach: gathering my faculties, i lookedabout me. rain, wind, and darkness filled the air;nevertheless, i dimly discerned a wall before me and a door open in it; throughthis door i passed with my new guide: she shut and locked it behind her. there was now visible a house or houses--for the building spread far--with many


windows, and lights burning in some; wewent up a broad pebbly path, splashing wet, and were admitted at a door; then the servant led me through a passage into aroom with a fire, where she left me alone. i stood and warmed my numbed fingers overthe blaze, then i looked round; there was no candle, but the uncertain light from thehearth showed, by intervals, papered walls, carpet, curtains, shining mahogany furniture: it was a parlour, not sospacious or splendid as the drawing-room at gateshead, but comfortable enough. i was puzzling to make out the subject of apicture on the wall, when the door opened,


and an individual carrying a light entered;another followed close behind. the first was a tall lady with dark hair,dark eyes, and a pale and large forehead; her figure was partly enveloped in a shawl,her countenance was grave, her bearing erect. "the child is very young to be sent alone,"said she, putting her candle down on the table.she considered me attentively for a minute or two, then further added-- "she had better be put to bed soon; shelooks tired: are you tired?" she asked, placing her hand on my shoulder."a little, ma'am."


"and hungry too, no doubt: let her havesome supper before she goes to bed, miss miller.is this the first time you have left your parents to come to school, my little girl?" i explained to her that i had no parents. she inquired how long they had been dead:then how old i was, what was my name, whether i could read, write, and sew alittle: then she touched my cheek gently with her forefinger, and saying, "she hoped i should be a good child," dismissed mealong with miss miller. the lady i had left might be about twenty-nine; the one who went with me appeared


some years younger: the first impressed meby her voice, look, and air. miss miller was more ordinary; ruddy incomplexion, though of a careworn countenance; hurried in gait and action,like one who had always a multiplicity of tasks on hand: she looked, indeed, what i afterwards found she really was, an under-teacher. led by her, i passed from compartment tocompartment, from passage to passage, of a large and irregular building; till,emerging from the total and somewhat dreary silence pervading that portion of the house we had traversed, we came upon the hum ofmany voices, and presently entered a wide,


long room, with great deal tables, two ateach end, on each of which burnt a pair of candles, and seated all round on benches, a congregation of girls of every age, fromnine or ten to twenty. seen by the dim light of the dips, theirnumber to me appeared countless, though not in reality exceeding eighty; they wereuniformly dressed in brown stuff frocks of quaint fashion, and long holland pinafores. it was the hour of study; they were engagedin conning over their to-morrow's task, and the hum i had heard was the combined resultof their whispered repetitions. miss miller signed to me to sit on a benchnear the door, then walking up to the top


of the long room she cried out--"monitors, collect the lesson-books and put them away!" four tall girls arose from differenttables, and going round, gathered the books and removed them.miss miller again gave the word of command- - "monitors, fetch the supper-trays!" the tall girls went out and returnedpresently, each bearing a tray, with portions of something, i knew not what,arranged thereon, and a pitcher of water and mug in the middle of each tray.


the portions were handed round; those wholiked took a draught of the water, the mug being common to all. when it came to my turn, i drank, for i wasthirsty, but did not touch the food, excitement and fatigue rendering meincapable of eating: i now saw, however, that it was a thin oaten cake shared intofragments. the meal over, prayers were read by missmiller, and the classes filed off, two and two, upstairs. overpowered by this time with weariness, iscarcely noticed what sort of a place the bedroom was, except that, like theschoolroom, i saw it was very long.


to-night i was to be miss miller's bed-fellow; she helped me to undress: when laid down i glanced at the long rows of beds,each of which was quickly filled with two occupants; in ten minutes the single light was extinguished, and amidst silence andcomplete darkness i fell asleep. the night passed rapidly. i was too tired even to dream; i only onceawoke to hear the wind rave in furious gusts, and the rain fall in torrents, andto be sensible that miss miller had taken her place by my side. when i again unclosed my eyes, a loud bellwas ringing; the girls were up and


dressing; day had not yet begun to dawn,and a rushlight or two burned in the room. i too rose reluctantly; it was bitter cold,and i dressed as well as i could for shivering, and washed when there was abasin at liberty, which did not occur soon, as there was but one basin to six girls, onthe stands down the middle of the room. again the bell rang: all formed in file,two and two, and in that order descended the stairs and entered the cold and dimlylit schoolroom: here prayers were read by miss miller; afterwards she called out-- "form classes!"a great tumult succeeded for some minutes, during which miss miller repeatedlyexclaimed, "silence!" and "order!"


when it subsided, i saw them all drawn upin four semicircles, before four chairs, placed at the four tables; all held booksin their hands, and a great book, like a bible, lay on each table, before the vacantseat. a pause of some seconds succeeded, filledup by the low, vague hum of numbers; miss miller walked from class to class, hushingthis indefinite sound. a distant bell tinkled: immediately threeladies entered the room, each walked to a table and took her seat. miss miller assumed the fourth vacantchair, which was that nearest the door, and around which the smallest of the childrenwere assembled: to this inferior class i


was called, and placed at the bottom of it. business now began, the day's collect wasrepeated, then certain texts of scripture were said, and to these succeeded aprotracted reading of chapters in the bible, which lasted an hour. by the time that exercise was terminated,day had fully dawned. the indefatigable bell now sounded for thefourth time: the classes were marshalled and marched into another room to breakfast:how glad i was to behold a prospect of getting something to eat! i was now nearly sick from inanition,having taken so little the day before.


the refectory was a great, low-ceiled,gloomy room; on two long tables smoked basins of something hot, which, however, tomy dismay, sent forth an odour far from inviting. i saw a universal manifestation ofdiscontent when the fumes of the repast met the nostrils of those destined to swallowit; from the van of the procession, the tall girls of the first class, rose thewhispered words-- "disgusting!the porridge is burnt again!" "silence!" ejaculated a voice; not that ofmiss miller, but one of the upper teachers, a little and dark personage, smartlydressed, but of somewhat morose aspect, who


installed herself at the top of one table, while a more buxom lady presided at theother. i looked in vain for her i had first seenthe night before; she was not visible: miss miller occupied the foot of the table wherei sat, and a strange, foreign-looking, elderly lady, the french teacher, as i afterwards found, took the correspondingseat at the other board. a long grace was said and a hymn sung; thena servant brought in some tea for the teachers, and the meal began. ravenous, and now very faint, i devoured aspoonful or two of my portion without


thinking of its taste; but the first edgeof hunger blunted, i perceived i had got in hand a nauseous mess; burnt porridge is almost as bad as rotten potatoes; famineitself soon sickens over it. the spoons were moved slowly: i saw eachgirl taste her food and try to swallow it; but in most cases the effort was soonrelinquished. breakfast was over, and none hadbreakfasted. thanks being returned for what we had notgot, and a second hymn chanted, the refectory was evacuated for the schoolroom. i was one of the last to go out, and inpassing the tables, i saw one teacher take


a basin of the porridge and taste it; shelooked at the others; all their countenances expressed displeasure, and oneof them, the stout one, whispered-- "abominable stuff!how shameful!" a quarter of an hour passed before lessonsagain began, during which the schoolroom was in a glorious tumult; for that space oftime it seemed to be permitted to talk loud and more freely, and they used theirprivilege. the whole conversation ran on thebreakfast, which one and all abused roundly. poor things! it was the sole consolationthey had.


miss miller was now the only teacher in theroom: a group of great girls standing about her spoke with serious and sullen gestures. i heard the name of mr. brocklehurstpronounced by some lips; at which miss miller shook her head disapprovingly; butshe made no great effort to check the general wrath; doubtless she shared in it. a clock in the schoolroom struck nine; missmiller left her circle, and standing in the middle of the room, cried--"silence! to your seats!" discipline prevailed: in five minutes theconfused throng was resolved into order,


and comparative silence quelled the babelclamour of tongues. the upper teachers now punctually resumedtheir posts: but still, all seemed to wait. ranged on benches down the sides of theroom, the eighty girls sat motionless and erect; a quaint assemblage they appeared,all with plain locks combed from their faces, not a curl visible; in brown dresses, made high and surrounded by anarrow tucker about the throat, with little pockets of holland (shaped something like ahighlander's purse) tied in front of their frocks, and destined to serve the purpose of a work-bag: all, too, wearing woollenstockings and country-made shoes, fastened


with brass buckles. above twenty of those clad in this costumewere full-grown girls, or rather young women; it suited them ill, and gave an airof oddity even to the prettiest. i was still looking at them, and also atintervals examining the teachers--none of whom precisely pleased me; for the stoutone was a little coarse, the dark one not a little fierce, the foreigner harsh and grotesque, and miss miller, poor thing!looked purple, weather-beaten, and over- worked--when, as my eye wandered from faceto face, the whole school rose simultaneously, as if moved by a commonspring.


what was the matter?i had heard no order given: i was puzzled. ere i had gathered my wits, the classeswere again seated: but as all eyes were now turned to one point, mine followed thegeneral direction, and encountered the personage who had received me last night. she stood at the bottom of the long room,on the hearth; for there was a fire at each end; she surveyed the two rows of girlssilently and gravely. miss miller approaching, seemed to ask hera question, and having received her answer, went back to her place, and said aloud--"monitor of the first class, fetch the globes!"


while the direction was being executed, thelady consulted moved slowly up the room. i suppose i have a considerable organ ofveneration, for i retain yet the sense of admiring awe with which my eyes traced hersteps. seen now, in broad daylight, she lookedtall, fair, and shapely; brown eyes with a benignant light in their irids, and a finepencilling of long lashes round, relieved the whiteness of her large front; on each of her temples her hair, of a very darkbrown, was clustered in round curls, according to the fashion of those times,when neither smooth bands nor long ringlets were in vogue; her dress, also in the mode


of the day, was of purple cloth, relievedby a sort of spanish trimming of black velvet; a gold watch (watches were not socommon then as now) shone at her girdle. let the reader add, to complete thepicture, refined features; a complexion, if pale, clear; and a stately air andcarriage, and he will have, at least, as clearly as words can give it, a correct idea of the exterior of miss temple--mariatemple, as i afterwards saw the name written in a prayer-book intrusted to me tocarry to church. the superintendent of lowood (for such wasthis lady) having taken her seat before a pair of globes placed on one of the tables,summoned the first class round her, and


commenced giving a lesson on geography; the lower classes were called by the teachers:repetitions in history, grammar, &c., went on for an hour; writing and arithmeticsucceeded, and music lessons were given by miss temple to some of the elder girls. the duration of each lesson was measured bythe clock, which at last struck twelve. the superintendent rose--"i have a word to address to the pupils," said she. the tumult of cessation from lessons wasalready breaking forth, but it sank at her voice.she went on--


"you had this morning a breakfast which youcould not eat; you must be hungry:--i have ordered that a lunch of bread and cheeseshall be served to all." the teachers looked at her with a sort ofsurprise. "it is to be done on my responsibility,"she added, in an explanatory tone to them, and immediately afterwards left the room. the bread and cheese was presently broughtin and distributed, to the high delight and refreshment of the whole school.the order was now given "to the garden!" each put on a coarse straw bonnet, withstrings of coloured calico, and a cloak of grey frieze.


i was similarly equipped, and, followingthe stream, i made my way into the open air. the garden was a wide inclosure, surroundedwith walls so high as to exclude every glimpse of prospect; a covered verandah randown one side, and broad walks bordered a middle space divided into scores of little beds: these beds were assigned as gardensfor the pupils to cultivate, and each bed had an owner. when full of flowers they would doubtlesslook pretty; but now, at the latter end of january, all was wintry blight and browndecay.


i shuddered as i stood and looked round me:it was an inclement day for outdoor exercise; not positively rainy, butdarkened by a drizzling yellow fog; all under foot was still soaking wet with thefloods of yesterday. the stronger among the girls ran about andengaged in active games, but sundry pale and thin ones herded together for shelterand warmth in the verandah; and amongst these, as the dense mist penetrated to their shivering frames, i heard frequentlythe sound of a hollow cough. as yet i had spoken to no one, nor didanybody seem to take notice of me; i stood lonely enough: but to that feeling ofisolation i was accustomed; it did not


oppress me much. i leant against a pillar of the verandah,drew my grey mantle close about me, and, trying to forget the cold which nipped mewithout, and the unsatisfied hunger which gnawed me within, delivered myself up tothe employment of watching and thinking. my reflections were too undefined andfragmentary to merit record: i hardly yet knew where i was; gateshead and my pastlife seemed floated away to an immeasurable distance; the present was vague and strange, and of the future i could form noconjecture. i looked round the convent-like garden, andthen up at the house--a large building,


half of which seemed grey and old, theother half quite new. the new part, containing the schoolroom anddormitory, was lit by mullioned and latticed windows, which gave it a church-like aspect; a stone tablet over the door bore this inscription:-- "lowood institution.--this portion wasrebuilt a.d.---, by naomi brocklehurst, of brocklehurst hall, in this county." "let your light so shine before men, thatthey may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven."--st. matt.v. 16. i read these words over and over again: ifelt that an explanation belonged to them,


and was unable fully to penetrate theirimport. i was still pondering the signification of"institution," and endeavouring to make out a connection between the first words andthe verse of scripture, when the sound of a cough close behind me made me turn my head. i saw a girl sitting on a stone bench near;she was bent over a book, on the perusal of which she seemed intent: from where i stoodi could see the title--it was "rasselas;" a name that struck me as strange, andconsequently attractive. in turning a leaf she happened to look up,and i said to her directly-- "is your book interesting?"


i had already formed the intention ofasking her to lend it to me some day. "i like it," she answered, after a pause ofa second or two, during which she examined "what is it about?"i continued. i hardly know where i found the hardihoodthus to open a conversation with a stranger; the step was contrary to mynature and habits: but i think her occupation touched a chord of sympathy somewhere; for i too liked reading, thoughof a frivolous and childish kind; i could not digest or comprehend the serious orsubstantial. "you may look at it," replied the girl,offering me the book.


i did so; a brief examination convinced methat the contents were less taking than the title: "rasselas" looked dull to mytrifling taste; i saw nothing about fairies, nothing about genii; no bright variety seemed spread over the closely-printed pages. i returned it to her; she received itquietly, and without saying anything she was about to relapse into her formerstudious mood: again i ventured to disturb her-- "can you tell me what the writing on thatstone over the door means? what is lowood institution?""this house where you are come to live."


"and why do they call it institution? is it in any way different from otherschools?" "it is partly a charity-school: you and i,and all the rest of us, are charity- children. i suppose you are an orphan: are not eitheryour father or your mother dead?" "both died before i can remember." "well, all the girls here have lost eitherone or both parents, and this is called an institution for educating orphans.""do we pay no money? do they keep us for nothing?"


"we pay, or our friends pay, fifteen poundsa year for each." "then why do they call us charity-children?" "because fifteen pounds is not enough forboard and teaching, and the deficiency is supplied by subscription.""who subscribes?" "different benevolent-minded ladies andgentlemen in this neighbourhood and in london.""who was naomi brocklehurst?" "the lady who built the new part of thishouse as that tablet records, and whose son overlooks and directs everything here.""why?" "because he is treasurer and manager of theestablishment."


"then this house does not belong to thattall lady who wears a watch, and who said we were to have some bread and cheese?" "to miss temple?oh, no! i wish it did: she has to answer to mr.brocklehurst for all she does. mr. brocklehurst buys all our food and allour clothes." "does he live here?""no--two miles off, at a large hall." "is he a good man?" "he is a clergyman, and is said to do agreat deal of good." "did you say that tall lady was called misstemple?"


"yes." "and what are the other teachers called?" "the one with red cheeks is called misssmith; she attends to the work, and cuts out--for we make our own clothes, ourfrocks, and pelisses, and everything; the little one with black hair is miss scatcherd; she teaches history and grammar,and hears the second class repetitions; and the one who wears a shawl, and has apocket-handkerchief tied to her side with a yellow ribband, is madame pierrot: she comes from lisle, in france, and teachesfrench."


"do you like the teachers?""well enough." "do you like the little black one, and themadame ---?--i cannot pronounce her name as you do." "miss scatcherd is hasty--you must takecare not to offend her; madame pierrot is not a bad sort of person.""but miss temple is the best--isn't she?" "miss temple is very good and very clever;she is above the rest, because she knows far more than they do.""have you been long here?" "two years." "are you an orphan?""my mother is dead."


"are you happy here?""you ask rather too many questions. i have given you answers enough for thepresent: now i want to read." but at that moment the summons sounded fordinner; all re-entered the house. the odour which now filled the refectorywas scarcely more appetising than that which had regaled our nostrils atbreakfast: the dinner was served in two huge tin-plated vessels, whence rose astrong steam redolent of rancid fat. i found the mess to consist of indifferentpotatoes and strange shreds of rusty meat, mixed and cooked together. of this preparation a tolerably abundantplateful was apportioned to each pupil.


i ate what i could, and wondered withinmyself whether every day's fare would be like this. after dinner, we immediately adjourned tothe schoolroom: lessons recommenced, and were continued till five o'clock. the only marked event of the afternoon was,that i saw the girl with whom i had conversed in the verandah dismissed indisgrace by miss scatcherd from a history class, and sent to stand in the middle ofthe large schoolroom. the punishment seemed to me in a highdegree ignominious, especially for so great a girl--she looked thirteen or upwards.


i expected she would show signs of greatdistress and shame; but to my surprise she neither wept nor blushed: composed, thoughgrave, she stood, the central mark of all eyes. "how can she bear it so quietly--sofirmly?" i asked of myself. "were i in her place, it seems to me ishould wish the earth to open and swallow me up. she looks as if she were thinking ofsomething beyond her punishment--beyond her situation: of something not round her norbefore her.


i have heard of day-dreams--is she in aday-dream now? her eyes are fixed on the floor, but i amsure they do not see it--her sight seems turned in, gone down into her heart: she islooking at what she can remember, i believe; not at what is really present. i wonder what sort of a girl she is--whether good or naughty." soon after five p.m. we had another meal,consisting of a small mug of coffee, and half-a-slice of brown bread. i devoured my bread and drank my coffeewith relish; but i should have been glad of as much more--i was still hungry.


half-an-hour's recreation succeeded, thenstudy; then the glass of water and the piece of oat-cake, prayers, and bed.such was my first day at lowood. chapter vi the next day commenced as before, gettingup and dressing by rushlight; but this morning we were obliged to dispense withthe ceremony of washing; the water in the pitchers was frozen. a change had taken place in the weather thepreceding evening, and a keen north-east wind, whistling through the crevices of ourbedroom windows all night long, had made us shiver in our beds, and turned the contentsof the ewers to ice.


before the long hour and a half of prayersand bible-reading was over, i felt ready to perish with cold. breakfast-time came at last, and thismorning the porridge was not burnt; the quality was eatable, the quantity small.how small my portion seemed! i wished it had been doubled. in the course of the day i was enrolled amember of the fourth class, and regular tasks and occupations were assigned me:hitherto, i had only been a spectator of the proceedings at lowood; i was now tobecome an actor therein. at first, being little accustomed to learnby heart, the lessons appeared to me both


long and difficult; the frequent changefrom task to task, too, bewildered me; and i was glad when, about three o'clock in the afternoon, miss smith put into my hands aborder of muslin two yards long, together with needle, thimble, &c., and sent me tosit in a quiet corner of the schoolroom, with directions to hem the same. at that hour most of the others were sewinglikewise; but one class still stood round miss scatcherd's chair reading, and as allwas quiet, the subject of their lessons could be heard, together with the manner in which each girl acquitted herself, and theanimadversions or commendations of miss


scatcherd on the performance. it was english history: among the readers iobserved my acquaintance of the verandah: at the commencement of the lesson, herplace had been at the top of the class, but for some error of pronunciation, or some inattention to stops, she was suddenly sentto the very bottom. even in that obscure position, missscatcherd continued to make her an object of constant notice: she was continuallyaddressing to her such phrases as the following:-- "burns" (such it seems was her name: thegirls here were all called by their


surnames, as boys are elsewhere), "burns,you are standing on the side of your shoe; turn your toes out immediately." "burns, you poke your chin mostunpleasantly; draw it in." "burns, i insist on your holding your headup; i will not have you before me in that attitude," &c. &c.a chapter having been read through twice, the books were closed and the girlsexamined. the lesson had comprised part of the reignof charles i., and there were sundry questions about tonnage and poundage andship- money, which most of them appeared


unable to answer; still, every little difficulty was solved instantly when itreached burns: her memory seemed to have retained the substance of the whole lesson,and she was ready with answers on every point. i kept expecting that miss scatcherd wouldpraise her attention; but, instead of that, she suddenly cried out--"you dirty, disagreeable girl! you have never cleaned your nails this morning!" burns made no answer: i wondered at hersilence. "why," thought i, "does she not explainthat she could neither clean her nails nor


wash her face, as the water was frozen?" my attention was now called off by misssmith desiring me to hold a skein of thread: while she was winding it, shetalked to me from time to time, asking whether i had ever been at school before, whether i could mark, stitch, knit, &c.;till she dismissed me, i could not pursue my observations on miss scatcherd'smovements. when i returned to my seat, that lady wasjust delivering an order of which i did not catch the import; but burns immediatelyleft the class, and going into the small inner room where the books were kept,


returned in half a minute, carrying in herhand a bundle of twigs tied together at one end. this ominous tool she presented to missscatcherd with a respectful curtesy; then she quietly, and without being told,unloosed her pinafore, and the teacher instantly and sharply inflicted on her necka dozen strokes with the bunch of twigs. not a tear rose to burns' eye; and, while ipaused from my sewing, because my fingers quivered at this spectacle with a sentimentof unavailing and impotent anger, not a feature of her pensive face altered itsordinary expression. "hardened girl!" exclaimed miss scatcherd;"nothing can correct you of your slatternly


habits: carry the rod away." burns obeyed: i looked at her narrowly asshe emerged from the book-closet; she was just putting back her handkerchief into herpocket, and the trace of a tear glistened on her thin cheek. the play-hour in the evening i thought thepleasantest fraction of the day at lowood: the bit of bread, the draught of coffeeswallowed at five o'clock had revived vitality, if it had not satisfied hunger: the long restraint of the day wasslackened; the schoolroom felt warmer than in the morning--its fires being allowed toburn a little more brightly, to supply, in


some measure, the place of candles, not yet introduced: the ruddy gloaming, thelicensed uproar, the confusion of many voices gave one a welcome sense of liberty. on the evening of the day on which i hadseen miss scatcherd flog her pupil, burns, i wandered as usual among the forms andtables and laughing groups without a companion, yet not feeling lonely: when i passed the windows, i now and then lifted ablind, and looked out; it snowed fast, a drift was already forming against the lowerpanes; putting my ear close to the window, i could distinguish from the gleeful tumult


within, the disconsolate moan of the windoutside. probably, if i had lately left a good homeand kind parents, this would have been the hour when i should most keenly haveregretted the separation; that wind would then have saddened my heart; this obscure chaos would have disturbed my peace! as itwas, i derived from both a strange excitement, and reckless and feverish, iwished the wind to howl more wildly, the gloom to deepen to darkness, and theconfusion to rise to clamour. jumping over forms, and creeping undertables, i made my way to one of the fire- places; there, kneeling by the high wirefender, i found burns, absorbed, silent,


abstracted from all round her by the companionship of a book, which she read bythe dim glare of the embers. "is it still 'rasselas'?"i asked, coming behind her. "yes," she said, "and i have just finishedit." and in five minutes more she shut it up.i was glad of this. "now," thought i, "i can perhaps get her totalk." i sat down by her on the floor."what is your name besides burns?" "helen." "do you come a long way from here?""i come from a place farther north, quite


on the borders of scotland.""will you ever go back?" "i hope so; but nobody can be sure of thefuture." "you must wish to leave lowood?""no! why should i? i was sent to lowood to get an education;and it would be of no use going away until i have attained that object.""but that teacher, miss scatcherd, is so cruel to you?" "cruel?not at all! she is severe: she dislikes my faults.""and if i were in your place i should dislike her; i should resist her.


if she struck me with that rod, i shouldget it from her hand; i should break it under her nose." "probably you would do nothing of the sort:but if you did, mr. brocklehurst would expel you from the school; that would be agreat grief to your relations. it is far better to endure patiently asmart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evilconsequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the bible bids usreturn good for evil." "but then it seems disgraceful to beflogged, and to be sent to stand in the middle of a room full of people; and youare such a great girl: i am far younger


than you, and i could not bear it." "yet it would be your duty to bear it, ifyou could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it isyour fate to be required to bear." i heard her with wonder: i could notcomprehend this doctrine of endurance; and still less could i understand or sympathisewith the forbearance she expressed for her chastiser. still i felt that helen burns consideredthings by a light invisible to my eyes. i suspected she might be right and i wrong;but i would not ponder the matter deeply; like felix, i put it off to a moreconvenient season.


"you say you have faults, helen: what arethey? to me you seem very good." "then learn from me, not to judge byappearances: i am, as miss scatcherd said, slatternly; i seldom put, and never keep,things, in order; i am careless; i forget rules; i read when i should learn my lessons; i have no method; and sometimes isay, like you, i cannot bear to be subjected to systematic arrangements. this is all very provoking to missscatcherd, who is naturally neat, punctual, and particular."


"and cross and cruel," i added; but helenburns would not admit my addition: she kept silence."is miss temple as severe to you as miss scatcherd?" at the utterance of miss temple's name, asoft smile flitted over her grave face. "miss temple is full of goodness; it painsher to be severe to any one, even the worst in the school: she sees my errors, andtells me of them gently; and, if i do anything worthy of praise, she gives me mymeed liberally. one strong proof of my wretchedly defectivenature is, that even her expostulations, so mild, so rational, have not influence tocure me of my faults; and even her praise,


though i value it most highly, cannot stimulate me to continued care andforesight." "that is curious," said i, "it is so easyto be careful." "for you i have no doubt it is. i observed you in your class this morning,and saw you were closely attentive: your thoughts never seemed to wander while missmiller explained the lesson and questioned you. now, mine continually rove away; when ishould be listening to miss scatcherd, and collecting all she says with assiduity,often i lose the very sound of her voice; i


fall into a sort of dream. sometimes i think i am in northumberland,and that the noises i hear round me are the bubbling of a little brook which runsthrough deepden, near our house;--then, when it comes to my turn to reply, i have to be awakened; and having heard nothing ofwhat was read for listening to the visionary brook, i have no answer ready.""yet how well you replied this afternoon." "it was mere chance; the subject on whichwe had been reading had interested me. this afternoon, instead of dreaming ofdeepden, i was wondering how a man who wished to do right could act so unjustlyand unwisely as charles the first sometimes


did; and i thought what a pity it was that, with his integrity and conscientiousness,he could see no farther than the prerogatives of the crown. if he had but been able to look to adistance, and see how what they call the spirit of the age was tending!still, i like charles--i respect him--i pity him, poor murdered king! yes, his enemies were the worst: they shedblood they had no right to shed. how dared they kill him!" helen was talking to herself now: she hadforgotten i could not very well understand


her--that i was ignorant, or nearly so, ofthe subject she discussed. i recalled her to my level. "and when miss temple teaches you, do yourthoughts wander then?" "no, certainly, not often; because misstemple has generally something to say which is newer than my own reflections; herlanguage is singularly agreeable to me, and the information she communicates is oftenjust what i wished to gain." "well, then, with miss temple you aregood?" "yes, in a passive way: i make no effort;i follow as inclination guides me. there is no merit in such goodness.""a great deal: you are good to those who


are good to you. it is all i ever desire to be. if people were always kind and obedient tothose who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way:they would never feel afraid, and so they would never alter, but would grow worse andworse. when we are struck at without a reason, weshould strike back again very hard; i am sure we should--so hard as to teach theperson who struck us never to do it again." "you will change your mind, i hope, whenyou grow older: as yet you are but a little untaught girl."


"but i feel this, helen; i must dislikethose who, whatever i do to please them, persist in disliking me; i must resistthose who punish me unjustly. it is as natural as that i should lovethose who show me affection, or submit to punishment when i feel it is deserved." "heathens and savage tribes hold thatdoctrine, but christians and civilised nations disown it.""how? i don't understand." "it is not violence that best overcomeshate--nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury.""what then?" "read the new testament, and observe whatchrist says, and how he acts; make his word


your rule, and his conduct your example.""what does he say?" "love your enemies; bless them that curseyou; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you." "then i should love mrs. reed, which icannot do; i should bless her son john, which is impossible." in her turn, helen burns asked me toexplain, and i proceeded forthwith to pour out, in my own way, the tale of mysufferings and resentments. bitter and truculent when excited, i spokeas i felt, without reserve or softening. helen heard me patiently to the end: iexpected she would then make a remark, but


she said nothing. "well," i asked impatiently, "is not mrs.reed a hard-hearted, bad woman?" "she has been unkind to you, no doubt;because you see, she dislikes your cast of character, as miss scatcherd does mine; buthow minutely you remember all she has done and said to you! what a singularly deep impression herinjustice seems to have made on your heart! no ill-usage so brands its record on myfeelings. would you not be happier if you tried toforget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited?life appears to me too short to be spent in


nursing animosity or registering wrongs. we are, and must be, one and all, burdenedwith faults in this world: but the time will soon come when, i trust, we shall putthem off in putting off our corruptible bodies; when debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh,and only the spark of the spirit will remain,--the impalpable principle of lightand thought, pure as when it left the creator to inspire the creature: whence it came it will return; perhaps again to becommunicated to some being higher than man- -perhaps to pass through gradations ofglory, from the pale human soul to brighten


to the seraph! surely it will never, on the contrary, besuffered to degenerate from man to fiend? no; i cannot believe that: i hold anothercreed: which no one ever taught me, and which i seldom mention; but in which idelight, and to which i cling: for it extends hope to all: it makes eternity a rest--a mighty home, not a terror and anabyss. besides, with this creed, i can so clearlydistinguish between the criminal and his crime; i can so sincerely forgive the firstwhile i abhor the last: with this creed revenge never worries my heart, degradation


never too deeply disgusts me, injusticenever crushes me too low: i live in calm, looking to the end."helen's head, always drooping, sank a little lower as she finished this sentence. i saw by her look she wished no longer totalk to me, but rather to converse with her own thoughts. she was not allowed much time formeditation: a monitor, a great rough girl, presently came up, exclaiming in a strongcumberland accent-- "helen burns, if you don't go and put yourdrawer in order, and fold up your work this minute, i'll tell miss scatcherd to comeand look at it!"


helen sighed as her reverie fled, andgetting up, obeyed the monitor without reply as without delay.