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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


316

CHAPTER XXXI

MY home, then,- when I at last find a home,- is a cottage; a little
room with whitewashed walls and a sanded floor, containing four
painted chairs and a table, a clock, a cupboard, with two or three
plates and dishes, and a set of tea-things in delf. Above, a chamber
of the same dimensions as the kitchen, with a deal bedstead and
chest of drawers; small, yet too large to be filled with my scanty
wardrobe: though the kindness of my gentle and generous friends
has increased that, by a modest stock of such things as are
necessary.

It is evening. I have dismissed, with the fee of an orange, the little
orphan who serves me as a handmaid. I am sitting alone on the
hearth. This morning, the village school opened. I had twenty
scholars. But three of the number can read:none write or cipher.
Several knit, and a few sew a little. They speak with the broadest
accent of the district. At present, they and I have a difficulty in
understanding each otherís language. Some of them are
unmannered, rough, intractable, as well as ignorant; but others are
docile, have a wish to learn, and evince a disposition that pleases
me. I must not forget that these coarsely-clad little peasants are of
flesh and blood as good as the scions of gentlest genealogy; and
that the germs of native excellence, refinement, intelligence, kind
feeling, are as likely to exist in their hearts as in those of the best-
born. My duty will be to develop these germs:surely I shall find
some happiness in discharging that office. Much enjoyment I do
not expect in the life opening before me: yet it will, doubtless, if I
regulate my mind, and exert my powers as I ought, yield me
enough to live on from day to day.

Was I very gleeful, settled, content, during the hours I passed in
yonder bare, humble schoolroom this morning and afternoon? Not
to deceive myself, I must reply-No: I felt desolate to a degree. I
felt-yes, idiot that I am-I felt degraded. I doubted I had taken a
step which sank instead of raising me in the scale of social
existence. I was weakly dismayed at the ignorance, the poverty, the
coarseness of all I heard and saw round me. But let me not hate
and despise myself too much for these feelings; I know them to be
wrong-that is a great step gained; I shall strive to overcome them.
To-morrow, I trust, I shall get the better of them partially; and in a
few weeks, perhaps, they will be quite subdued. In a few months,
it is possible, the happiness of seeing progress, and a change for the
better in my scholars may substitute gratification for disgust.
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte



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