Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
I RESISTED all the way: a new thing for me, and a circumstance
which greatly strengthened the bad opinion Bessie and Miss 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’s mutiny had already rendered me liable
to strange penalties, and, like any other rebel slave, I felt resolved,
in my desperation, to go all lengths.
‘Hold her arms, Miss Abbot: she’s like a mad cat.’ ‘For shame! for
shame!’ cried the lady’s-maid. ‘What shocking conduct, Miss Eyre,
to strike 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 you do nothing for your keep. There, sit
down, and think over your wickedness.’ They had got me by this
time into the apartment indicated by Mrs. Reed, and had thrust me
upon a stool: my impulse was to rise from it like a spring; their two
pair of hands arrested me instantly.
‘If you don’t sit still, you must be tied down,’ said Bessie. ‘Miss
Abbot, lend me your garters; she would break mine directly.’
Miss Abbot turned to divest a stout leg of the necessary ligature.
This preparation for bonds, and the additional ignominy it
inferred, took a little of the excitement out of me.
‘Don’t take them off,’ I cried; ‘I will not stir.’ In guarantee whereof,
I attached myself to my seat by my hands.
‘Mind you don’t,’ said Bessie; and when she had 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 my face, as incredulous of my sanity.
‘She never did so before,’ at last said Bessie, turning to the Abigail.
‘But it was always in her,’ was the reply. ‘I’ve told Missis often my
opinion about the child, and Missis agreed with me. She’s an
underhand little thing: I never saw 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 obligations to
Mrs. Reed: she keeps you: if she were to turn you off, you would
have to go to the poorhouse.’ I had nothing to say to these words:
they were not new to me: my very first recollections of existence
included hints of the same kind. This reproach of my dependence
had become a vague 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 an equality with the Misses Reed
and Master Reed, because Missis kindly allows you to be brought