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



MERRY days were these at Thornfield Hall; and busy days too:
how different from the first three months of stillness, monotony,
and solitude I had passed beneath its roof! All sad feelings seemed
now driven from the house, all gloomy associations forgotten:
there was life everywhere, movement all day long. You could not
now traverse the gallery, once so hushed, nor enter the front
chambers, once so tenantless, without encountering a smart lady’s-
maid or a dandy valet.

The kitchen, the butler’s pantry, the servants’ hall, the entrance
hall, were equally alive; and the saloons were only left void and
still when the blue sky and halcyon sunshine of the genial spring
weather called their occupants out into the grounds. Even when
that weather was broken, and continuous rain set in for some days,
no damp seemed cast over enjoyment: indoor amusements only
became more lively and varied, in consequence of the stop put to
outdoor gaiety.

I wondered what they were going to do the first evening a change
of entertainment was proposed: they spoke of ‘playing charades,’
but in my ignorance I did not understand the term. The servants
were called in, the dining-room tables wheeled away, the lights
otherwise disposed, the chairs placed in a semicircle opposite the
arch. While Mr. Rochester and the other gentlemen directed these
alterations, the ladies were running up and down stairs ringing for
their maids. Mrs. Fairfax was summoned to give information
respecting the resources of the house in shawls, dresses, draperies
of any kind; and certain wardrobes of the third storey were
ransacked, and their contents, in the shape of brocaded and
hooped petticoats, satin sacques, black modes, lace lappets, etc.,
were brought down in armfuls by the abigails; then a selection was
made, and such things as were chosen were carried to the boudoir
within the drawing-room.

Meantime, Mr. Rochester had again summoned the ladies round
him, and was selecting certain of their number to be of his party.
‘Miss Ingram is mine, of course,’ said he: afterwards he named the
two Misses Eshton, and Mrs. Dent. He looked at me: I happened to
be near him, as I had been fastening the clasp of Mrs. Dent’s
bracelet, which had got loose.

‘Will you play?’ he asked. I shook my head. He did not insist,
which I rather feared he would have done; he allowed me to return
quietly to my usual seat.

He and his aids now withdrew behind the curtain: the other party,
which was headed by Colonel Dent, sat down on the crescent of
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