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


‘What did you say, my dear? I am a little deaf,’ returned the good
lady, approaching her ear to my mouth.

I repeated the question more distinctly.
‘Miss Fairfax? Oh, you mean Miss Varens! Varens is the name of
your future pupil.’ ‘Indeed! Then she is not your daughter?’ ‘No,- I
have no family.’

I should have followed up my first inquiry, by asking in what way
Miss Varens was connected with her; but I recollected it was not
polite to ask too many questions: besides, I was sure to hear in

‘I am so glad,’ she continued, as she sat down opposite to me, and
took the cat on her knee; ‘I am so glad you are come; it will be quite
pleasant living here now with a companion. To be sure it is
pleasant at any time; for Thornfield is a fine old hall, rather
neglected of late years perhaps, but still it is a respectable place; yet
you know in winter-time one feels dreary quite alone in the best
quarters. I say alone-Leah is a nice girl to be sure, and John and his
wife are very decent people; but then you see they are only
servants, and one can’t converse with them on terms of equality:
one must keep them at due distance, for fear of losing one’s
authority. I’m sure last winter (it was a very severe one, if you
recollect, and when it did not snow, it rained and blew), not a
creature but the butcher and postman came to the house, from
November till February; and I really got quite melancholy with
sitting night after night alone; I had Leah in to read to me
sometimes; but I don’t think the poor girl liked the task much: she
felt it confining. In spring and summer one got on better: sunshine
and long days make such a difference; and then, just at the
commencement of this autumn, little Adela Varens came and her
nurse: a child makes a house alive all at once; and now you are
here I shall be quite gay.’

My heart really warmed to the worthy lady as I heard her talk; and
I drew my chair a little nearer to her, and expressed my sincere
wish that she might find my company as agreeable as she

‘But I’ll not keep you sitting up late to-night,’ said she; ‘it is on the
stroke of twelve now, and you have been travelling all day: you
must feel tired. If you have got your feet well warmed, I’ll show
you your bedroom. I’ve had the room next to mine prepared for
you; it is only a small apartment, but I thought you would like it
better than one of the large front chambers: to be sure they have
finer furniture, but they are so dreary and solitary, I never sleep in
them myself.’ I thanked her for her considerate choice, and as I
really felt fatigued with my long journey, expressed my readiness
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