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


‘JOHN EYRE, Madeira.’
It was dated three years back.
‘Why did I never hear of this?’ I asked.
‘Because I disliked you too fixedly and thoroughly ever to lend a
hand in lifting you to prosperity. I could not forget your conduct to
me, Jane-the fury with which you once turned on me; the tone in
which you declared you abhorred me the worst of anybody in the
world; the unchildlike look and voice with which you affirmed
that the very thought of me made you sick, and asserted that I had
treated you with miserable cruelty. I could not forget my own
sensations when you thus started up and poured out the venom of
your mind: I felt fear as if an animal that I had struck or pushed
had looked up at me with human eyes and cursed me in a man’s
voice.- Bring me some water! Oh, make haste!’ ‘Dear Mrs. Reed,’
said I, as I offered her the draught she required, ‘think no more of
all this, let it pass away from your mind. Forgive me for my
passionate language: I was a child then; eight, nine years have
passed since that day.’ She heeded nothing of what I said; but
when she had tasted the water and drawn breath, she went on
thus‘I tell you I could not forget it; and I took my revenge: for you
to be adopted by your uncle, and placed in a state of ease and
comfort, was what I could not endure. I wrote to him; I said I was
sorry for his disappointment, but Jane Eyre was dead: she had died
of typhus fever at Lowood. Now act as you please: write and
contradict my assertion-expose my falsehood as soon as you like.
You were born, I think, to be my torment: my last hour is racked by
the recollection of a deed which, but for you, I should never have
been tempted to commit.’ ‘If you could but be persuaded to think
no more of it, aunt, and to regard me with kindness and
forgiveness-’ ‘You have a very bad disposition,’ said she, ‘and one
to this day I feel it impossible to understand: how for nine years
you could be patient and quiescent under any treatment, and in the
tenth break out all fire and violence, I can never comprehend.’

‘My disposition is not so bad as you think: I am passionate, but not

Many a time, as a little child, I should have been glad to love you if
you would have let me; and I long earnestly to be reconciled to you
now: kiss me, aunt.’ I approached my cheek to her lips: she would
not touch it. She said I oppressed her by leaning over the bed, and
again demanded water. As I laid her down-for I raised her and
supported her on my arm while she drank-I covered her ice-cold
and clammy hand with mine: the feeble fingers shrank from my
touch-the glazing eyes shunned my gaze.
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