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


‘What a dreadful noise! it went quite through me!’ exclaimed

‘Take me out! Let me go into the nursery!’ was my cry.
‘What for? Are you hurt? Have you seen something?’ again
demanded Bessie.

‘Oh! I saw a light, and I thought a ghost would come.’ I had now
got hold of Bessie’s hand, and she did not snatch it from me.

‘She has screamed out on purpose,’ declared Abbot, in some
disgust. ‘And what a scream! If she had been in great pain one
would have excused it, but she only wanted to bring us all here: I
know her naughty tricks.’

‘What is all this?’ demanded another voice peremptorily; and Mrs.
Reed came along the corridor, her cap flying wide, her gown
rustling stormily. ‘Abbot and Bessie, I believe I gave orders that
Jane Eyre should be left in the red-room till I came to her myself.’
‘Miss Jane screamed so loud, ma’am,’ pleaded Bessie.

‘Let her go,’ was the only answer. ‘Loose Bessie’s hand, child: you
cannot succeed in getting out by these means, be assured. I abhor
artifice, particularly in children; it is my duty to show you that
tricks will not answer: you will now stay here an hour longer, and
it is only on condition of perfect submission and stillness that I
shall liberate you then.’ ‘O aunt! have pity! forgive me! I cannot
endure it-let me be punished some other way! I shall be killed if-’
‘Silence! This violence is all most repulsive:’ and so, no doubt, she
felt it. I was a precocious actress in her eyes; she sincerely. looked
on me as a compound of virulent passions, mean spirit, and
dangerous duplicity.

Bessie and Abbot having retreated, Mrs. Reed, impatient of my
now frantic anguish and wild sobs, abruptly thrust me back and
locked me in, without farther parley. I heard her sweeping away;
and soon after she was gone, I suppose I had a species of fit:
unconsciousness closed the scene.
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