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



FROM my discourse with Mr. Lloyd, and from the above reported
conference between Bessie and Abbot, I gathered enough of hope
to suffice as a motive for wishing to get well: a change seemed
near,- I desired and waited it in silence. It tarried, however: days
and weeks passed: I had regained my normal state of health, but
no new allusion was made to the subject over which I brooded.
Mrs. Reed surveyed me at times with a severe eye, but seldom
addressed me: since my illness, she had drawn a more marked line
of separation than ever between me and her own children;
appointing me a small closet to sleep in by myself, condemning me
to take my meals alone, and pass all my time in the nursery, while
my cousins were constantly in the drawing-room. Not a hint,
however, did she drop about sending me to school: still I felt an
instinctive certainty that she would not long endure me under the
same roof with her; for her glance, now more than ever, when
turned on me, expressed an insuperable and rooted aversion.

Eliza and Georgiana, evidently acting according to orders, spoke to
me as little as possible: John thrust his tongue in his cheek
whenever he saw me, and once attempted chastisement; but as I
instantly turned against him, roused by the same sentiment of deep
ire and desperate revolt which had stirred my corruption before,
he thought it better to desist, and ran from me uttering execrations,
and vowing I had burst his nose. I had indeed levelled at that
prominent feature as hard a blow as my knuckles could inflict; and
when I saw that either that or my look daunted him, I had the
greatest inclination to follow up my advantage to purpose; but he
was already with his mama. I heard him in a blubbering tone
commence the tale of how ‘that nasty Jane Eyre’ had flown at him
like a mad cat: he was stopped rather harshly‘Don’t talk to me
about her, John: I told you not to go near her; she is not worthy of
notice; I do not choose that either you or your sisters should
associate with her.’ Here, leaning over the banister, I cried out
suddenly, and without at all deliberating on my words‘They are
not fit to associate with me.’ Mrs. Reed was rather a stout woman;
but, on hearing this strange and audacious declaration, she ran
nimbly up the stair, swept me like a whirlwind into the nursery,
and crushing me down on the edge of my crib, dared me in an
emphatic voice to rise from that place, or utter one syllable during
the remainder of the day.

‘What would Uncle Reed say to you, if he were alive?’ was my
scarcely voluntary demand. I say scarcely voluntary, for it seemed
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