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


‘Which, if you like, you have, in my opinion, a right to keep, both
from St. John and every other questioner,’ remarked Diana.

‘Yet if I know nothing about you or your history, I cannot help
you,’ he said.

‘And you need help, do you not?’
‘I need it, and I seek it so far, sir, that some true philanthropist will
put me in the way of getting work which I can do, and the
remuneration for which will keep me, if but in the barest
necessaries of life.’ ‘I know not whether I am a true philanthropist;
yet I am willing to aid you to the utmost of my power in a purpose
so honest. First, then, tell me what you have been accustomed to
do, and what you can do.’ I had now swallowed my tea. I was
mightily refreshed by the beverage; as much so as a giant with
wine: it gave new tone to my unstrung nerves, and enabled me to
address this penetrating young judge steadily.

‘Mr. Rivers,’ I said, turning to him, and looking at him, as he
looked at me, openly and without diffidence, ‘you and your sisters
have done me a great servicethe greatest man can do his fellow-
being; you have rescued me, by your noble hospitality, from death.
This benefit conferred gives you an unlimited claim on my
gratitude, and a claim, to a certain extent, on my confidence. I will
tell you as much of the history of the wanderer you have
harboured, as I can tell without compromising my own peace of
mind-my own security, moral and physical, and that of others.

‘I am an orphan, the daughter of a clergyman. My parents died
before I could know them. I was brought up a dependant; educated
in a charitable institution. I will even tell you the name of the
establishment, where I passed six years as a pupil, and two as a
teacher-Lowood Orphan Asylum, ___shire: you will have heard of
it, Mr. Rivers?- the Rev. Robert Brocklehurst is the treasurer.’

‘I have heard of Mr. Brocklehurst, and I have seen the school.’ ‘I
left Lowood nearly a year since to become a private governess. I
obtained a good situation, and was happy. This place I was obliged
to leave four days before I came here. The reason of my departure I
cannot and ought not to explain: it would be useless, dangerous,
and would sound incredible. No blame attached to me: I am as free
from culpability as any one of you three. Miserable I am, and must
be for a time; for the catastrophe which drove me from a house I
had found a paradise was of a strange and direful nature. I
observed but two points in planning my departure-speed, secrecy:
to secure these, I had to leave behind me everything I possessed
except a small parcel; which, in my hurry and trouble of mind, I
forgot to take out of the coach that brought me to Whitcross. To this
neighbourhood, then, I came, quite destitute. I slept two nights in
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