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I had finished: Miss Temple regarded me a few minutes in silence;
she then said‘I know something of Mr. Lloyd; I shall write to him;
if his reply agrees with your statement, you shall be publicly
cleared from every imputation; to me, Jane, you are clear now.’ She
kissed me, and still keeping me at her side (where I was well
contented to stand for I derived a child’s pleasure from the
contemplation of her face, her dress, her one or two ornaments, her
white forehead, her clustered and shining curls, and beaming dark
eyes), she proceeded to address Helen Burns.

‘How are you to-night, Helen? Have you coughed much to-day?’
‘Not quite so much, I think, ma’am.’ ‘And the pain in your chest?’
‘It is a little better.’ Miss Temple got up, took her hand and
examined her pulse; then she returned to her own seat: as she
resumed it, I heard her sigh low. She was pensive a few minutes,
then rousing herself, she said cheerfully‘But you two are my
visitors to-night; I must treat you as such.’ She rang her bell.
‘Barbara,’ she said to the servant who answered it, ‘I have not yet
had tea; bring the tray and place cups for these two young ladies.’
And a tray was soon brought. How pretty, to my eyes, did the
china cups and bright teapot look, placed on the little round table
near the fire! How fragrant was the steam of the beverage, and the
scent of the toast! of which, however, I, to my dismay (for I was
beginning to be hungry), discerned only a very small portion: Miss
Temple discerned it too.

‘Barbara,’ said she, ‘can you not bring a little more bread and
butter? There is not enough for three.’

Barbara went out: she returned soon‘Madam, Mrs. Harden says she
has sent up the usual quantity.’ Mrs. Harden, be it observed, was
the housekeeper: a woman after Mr. Brocklehurst’s own heart,
made up of equal parts of whalebone and iron.

‘Oh, very well!’ returned Miss Temple; ‘we must make it do,
Barbara, I suppose.’ And as the girl withdrew she added, smiling,
‘Fortunately, I have it in my power to supply deficiencies for this
once.’ Having invited Helen and me to approach the table, and
placed before each of us a cup of tea with one delicious but thin
morsel of toast, she got up, unlocked a drawer, and taking from it a
parcel wrapped in paper, disclosed presently to our eyes a good-
sized seed-cake.

‘I meant to give each of you some of this to take with you,’ said
she, ‘but as there is so little toast, you must have it now,’ and she
proceeded to cut slices with a generous hand.

We feasted that evening as on nectar and ambrosia; and not the
least delight of the entertainment was the smile of gratification
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