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


The other members of the household, viz., John and his wife, Leah
the housemaid, and Sophie the French nurse, were decent people;
but in no respect remarkable; with Sophie I used to talk French,
and sometimes I asked her questions about her native country; but
she was not of a descriptive or narrative turn, and generally gave
such vapid and confused answers as were calculated rather to
check than encourage inquiry.

October, November, December passed away. One afternoon in
January, Mrs. Fairfax had begged a holiday for Adele, because she
had a cold; and, as Adele seconded the request with an ardour that
reminded me how precious occasional holidays had been to me in
my own childhood, I accorded it, deeming that I did well in
showing pliability on the point. It was a fine, calm day, though
very cold; I was tired of sitting still in the library through a whole
long morning: Mrs. Fairfax had just written a letter which was
waiting to be posted, so I put on my bonnet and cloak and
volunteered to carry it to Hay; the distance, two miles, would be a
pleasant winter afternoon walk. Having seen Adele comfortably
seated in her little chair by Mrs. Fairfax’s parlour fireside, and
given her her best wax doll (which I usually kept enveloped in
silver paper in a drawer) to play with, and a story-book for a
change of amusement; and having replied to her ‘Revenez bientot,
ma bonne amie, ma chere Mdlle. Jeannette,’ with a kiss I set out.
The ground was hard, the air was still, my road was lonely; I
walked fast till I got warm, and then I walked slowly to enjoy and
analyse the species of pleasure brooding for me in the hour and
situation. It was three o’clock; the church bell tolled as I passed
under the belfry: the charm of the hour lay in its approaching
dimness, in the low-gliding and pale-beaming sun. I was a mile
from Thornfield, in a lane noted for wild roses in summer, for nuts
and blackberries in autumn, and even now possessing a few coral
treasures in hips and haws, but whose best winter delight lay in its
utter solitude and leafless repose. If a breath of air stirred, it made
no sound here; for there was not a holly, not an evergreen to rustle,
and the stripped hawthorn and hazel bushes were as still as the
white, worn stones which causewayed the middle of the path. Far
and wide, on each side, there were only fields, where no cattle now
browsed; and the little brown birds, which stirred occasionally in
the hedge, looked like single russet leaves that had forgotten to

This lane inclined up-hill all the way to Hay; having reached the
middle, I sat down on a stile which led thence into a field.
Gathering my mantle about me, and sheltering my hands in my
muff, I did not feel the cold, though it froze keenly; as was attested
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