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


something, and, in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, I
contrived to find a pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded
graven image, shabby as a miniature scarecrow. It puzzles me now
to remember with what absurd sincerity I doated on this little toy,
half fancying it alive and capable of sensation. I could not sleep
unless it was folded in my night-gown; and when it lay there safe
and warm, I was comparatively happy, believing it to be happy

Long did the hours seem while I waited the departure of the
company, and listened for the sound of Bessie’s step on the stairs:
sometimes she would come up in the interval to seek her thimble
or her scissors, or perhaps to bring me something by way of
supper-a bun or a cheese-cake-then she would sit on the bed
while I ate it, and when I had finished, she would tuck the clothes
round me, and twice she kissed me, and said, ‘Good night, Miss
Jane.’ When thus gentle, Bessie seemed to me the best, prettiest,
kindest being in the world; and I wished most intensely that she
would always be so pleasant and amiable, and never push me
about, or scold, or task me unreasonably, as she was too often wont
to do. Bessie, Lee must, I think, have been a girl of good natural
capacity, for she was smart in all she did, and had a remarkable
knack of narrative; so, at least, I judge from the impression made
on me by her nursery tales. She was pretty too, if my recollections
of her face and person are correct. I remember her as a slim young
woman, with black hair, dark eyes, very nice features, and good,
clear complexion; but she had a capricious and hasty temper, and
indifferent ideas of principle or justice: still, such as she was, I
preferred her to any one else at Gateshead Hall.

It was the fifteenth of January, about nine o’clock in the morning:
Bessie was gone down to breakfast; my cousins had not yet been
summoned to their mama; Eliza was putting on her bonnet and
warm garden-coat to go and feed her poultry, an occupation of
which she was fond: and not less so of selling the eggs to the
housekeeper and hoarding up the money she thus obtained. She
had a turn for traffic, and a marked propensity for saving; shown
not only in the vending of eggs and chickens, but also in driving
hard bargains with the gardener about flowerroots, seeds, and
slips of plants; that functionary having orders from Mrs. Reed to
buy of his young lady all the products of her parterre she wished
to sell: and Eliza would have sold the hair off her head if she could
have made a handsome profit thereby. As to her money, she first
secreted it in odd corners, wrapped in a rag or an old curl-paper;
but some of these hoards having been discovered by the
housemaid, Eliza, fearful of one day losing her valued treasure,
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