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


hand in order to examine it more closely, but had always hitherto
been deemed unworthy of such a privilege. This precious vessel
was now placed on my knee, and I was cordially invited to eat the
circlet of delicate pastry upon it. Vain favour! coming, like most
other favours long deferred and often wished for, too late! I could
not eat the tart; and the plumage of the bird, the tints of the
flowers, seemed strangely faded: I put both plate and tart away.
Bessie asked if I would have a book: the word book acted as a
transient stimulus, and I begged her to fetch Gulliver’s Travels
from the library. This book I had again and again perused with
delight. I considered it a narrative of facts, and discovered in it a
vein of interest deeper than what I found in fairy tales: for as to the
elves, having sought them in vain among fox-glove leaves and
bells, under mushrooms and beneath the groundivy mantling old
wall-nooks, I had at length made up my mind to the sad truth, that
they were all gone out of England to some savage country where
the woods were wilder and thicker, and the population more scant;
whereas, Lilliput and Brobdingnag being, in my creed, solid parts
of the earth’s surface, I doubted not that I might one day, by taking
a long voyage, see with 4my own eyes the little fields, houses, and
trees, the diminutive people, 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 the other. Yet,
when this cherished volume was now placed in my hand-when I
turned over its leaves, and sought in its marvellous pictures the
charm I had, till now, never failed to find-all was eerie and dreary;
the giants were gaunt goblins, the pigmies malevolent and fearful
imps, Gulliver a most desolate wanderer in most dread and
dangerous regions. I closed the book, which I dared no longer
peruse, and put it on the table, beside the untasted tart.

Bessie had now finished dusting and tidying the room, and having
washed her hands, she opened a certain little drawer, full of
splendid shreds of silk and satin, and began making a new bonnet
for Georgiana’s doll. Meantime she sang: her song was-‘In the
days when we were gipsying, A long time ago.’ - I had often heard
the song before, and always 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, she sang the refrain very
low, very lingeringly; ‘A long time ago’ came out like the saddest
cadence of a funeral hymn. She passed into another ballad, this
time a really doleful one. ‘My feet they are sore, and my limbs they
are weary; Long is the way, and the mountains are wild; Soon will
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