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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Digital Library-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


‘Yes,’ said the good lady, who now knew what ground we were
upon, ‘and I am daily thankful for the choice Providence led me to
make. Miss Eyre has been an invaluable companion to me, and a
kind and careful teacher to Adele.’ ‘Don’t trouble yourself to give
her a character,’ returned Mr. Rochester: ‘eulogiums will not bias
me; I shall judge for myself. She began by felling my horse.’ ‘Sir?’
said Mrs. Fairfax.

‘I have to thank her for this sprain.’ The widow looked bewildered.
‘Miss Eyre, have you ever lived in a town?’ ‘No, sir.’ ‘Have you
seen much society?’ ‘None but the pupils and teachers of Lowood,
and now the inmates of Thornfield.’ ‘Have you read much?’ ‘Only
such books as came in my way; and they have not been numerous
or very learned.’ ‘You have lived the life of a nun: no doubt you are
well drilled in religious forms;- Brocklehurst, who I understand
directs Lowood, is a parson, is he not?’ ‘Yes, sir.’

‘And you girls probably worshipped him, as a convent full of
religieuses would worship their director.’ ‘Oh, no.’ ‘You are very
cool! No! What! a novice not worship her priest! That sounds
blasphemous.’ ‘I disliked Mr. Brocklehurst; and I was not alone in
the feeling. He is a harsh man; at once pompous and meddling; he
cut off our hair; and for economy’s sake bought us bad needles and
thread, with which we could hardly sew.’ ‘That was very false
economy,’ remarked Mrs. Fairfax, who now again caught the drift
of the dialogue.

‘And was that the head and front of his offending?’ demanded Mr.

‘He starved us when he had the sole superintendence of the
provision department, before the committee was appointed; and he
bored us with long lectures once a week, and with evening
readings from books of his own inditing, about sudden deaths and
judgments, which made us afraid to go to bed.’ ‘What age were
you when you went to Lowood?’ ‘About ten.’ ‘And you stayed
there eight years: you are now, then, eighteen?’ I assented.
‘Arithmetic, you see, is useful; without its aid, I should hardly have
been able to guess your age. It is a point difficult to fix where the
features and countenance are so much at variance as in your case.
And now what did you learn at Lowood? Can you play?’ ‘A little.’
‘Of course: that is the established answer. Go into the library-I
mean, if you please.- (Excuse my tone of command; I am used to
say, “Do this,” and it is done: I cannot alter my customary habits
for one new inmate.)- Go, then, into the library; take a candle with
you; leave the door open; sit down to the piano, and play a tune.’ I
departed, obeying his directions.
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