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



THE recollection of about three days and nights succeeding this is
very dim in my mind. I can recall some sensations felt in that
interval; but few thoughts framed, and no actions performed. I
knew I was in a small room and in a narrow bed. To that bed I
seemed to have grown; I lay on it motionless as a stone; and to
have torn me from it would have been almost to kill me. I took no
note of the lapse of time-of the change from morning to noon, from
noon to evening. I observed when any one entered or left the
apartment: I could even tell who they were; I could understand
what was said when the speaker stood near to me; but I could not
answer; to open my lips or move my limbs was equally impossible.
Hannah, the servant, was my most frequent visitor. Her coming
disturbed me. I had a feeling that she wished me away: that she
did not understand me or my circumstances; that she was
prejudiced against me. Diana and Mary appeared in the chamber
once or twice a day. They would whisper sentences of this sort at
my bedside‘It is very well we took her in.’ ‘Yes; she would
certainly have been found dead at the door in the morning had she
been left out all night. I wonder what she has gone through?’
‘Strange hardships, I imagine-poor, emaciated, pallid wanderer?’
‘She is not an uneducated person, I should think, by her manner of
speaking; her accent was quite pure; and the clothes she took off,
though splashed and wet, were little worn and fine.’ ‘She has a
peculiar face; fleshless and haggard as it is, I rather like it; and
when in good health and animated, I can fancy her physiognomy
would be agreeable.’ Never once in their dialogues did I hear a
syllable of regret at the hospitality they had extended to me, or of
suspicion of, or aversion to, myself. I was comforted.

Mr. St. John came but once: he looked at me, and said my state of
lethargy was the result of reaction from excessive and protracted
fatigue. He pronounced it needless to send for a doctor: nature, he
was sure, would manage best, left to herself. He said every nerve
had been overstrained in some way, and the whole system must
sleep torpid a while. There was no disease. He imagined my
recovery would be rapid enough when once commenced. These
opinions he delivered in a few words, in a quiet, low voice; and
added, after a pause, in the tone of a man little accustomed to
expansive comment, ‘Rather an unusual physiognomy; certainly,
not indicative of vulgarity or degradation.’ ‘Far otherwise,’
responded Diana. ‘To speak truth, St. John, my heart rather warms
to the poor little soul. I wish we may be able to benefit her
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