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


My seat, to which Bessie and the bitter Miss Abbot had left me
riveted, was a low ottoman near the marble chimney-piece; the bed
rose before me; to my right hand there was the high, dark
wardrobe, with subdued, broken reflections varying the gloss of its
panels; to my left were the muffled windows; a great looking-glass
between them repeated the vacant majesty of the bed and room. I
was not quite sure whether they had locked 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 the looking-glass; my
fascinated glance involuntarily explored the depth it revealed. All
looked colder and darker in that visionary 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 of a 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 belated travellers. I returned to my

Superstition was with me at that moment; but it was not yet her
hour for complete victory: my blood was still warm; the mood of
the revolted slave was still bracing me with its bitter vigour; I had
to stem a rapid rush of retrospective thought before I quailed to the
dismal present.

All John Reed’s violent tyrannies, all his sisters’ 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, always browbeaten, always accused, for ever
condemned? Why could I never please? Why was it useless to try
to win any one’s favour? Eliza, who, was headstrong and selfish,
was respected. Georgiana, who had a spoiled temper, a very acrid
spite, a captious and insolent carriage, was universally indulged.
Her beauty, her pink cheeks and golden curls, seemed to give
delight to all who, looked at her, and to purchase indemnity for
every fault. John no one thwarted, much less punished; though he
twisted the necks of the pigeons, killed the little pea-chicks, set the
dogs at the sheep, stripped the hothouse vines of their fruit, and
broke the buds off the choicest plants in the conservatory: he called
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
own darling.’ I dared commit no fault: I strove to fulfil every duty;
and I was termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaking, from
morning to noon, and from noon to night.
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