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


Hannah: she was charmed to see how jovial I could be amidst the
bustle of a house turned topsyturvy-how I could brush, and dust,
and clean, and cook. And really, after a day or two of confusion
worse confounded, it was delightful by degrees to invoke order
from the chaos ourselves had made. I had previously taken a
journey to S___ to purchase some new furniture: my cousins
having given me carte blanche to effect what alterations I pleased,
and a sum having been set aside for that purpose. The ordinary
sitting-room and bedrooms I left much as they were: for I knew
Diana and Mary would derive more pleasure from seeing again the
old homely tables, and chairs, and beds, than from the spectacle of
the smartest innovations. Still some novelty was necessary, to give
to their return the piquancy with which I wished it to be invested.
Dark handsome new carpets and curtains, an arrangement of some
carefully selected antique ornaments in porcelain and bronze, new
coverings, and mirrors, and dressing-cases, for the toilet-tables,
answered the end: they looked fresh without being glaring. A
spare parlour and bedroom I refurnished entirely, with old
mahogany and crimson upholstery: I laid canvas on the passage,
and carpets on the stairs. When all was finished, I thought Moor
House as complete a model of bright modest snugness within, as it
was, at this season, a specimen of wintry waste and desert
dreariness without.

The eventful Thursday at length came. They were expected about
dark, and ere dusk fires were lit upstairs and below; the kitchen
was in perfect trim; Hannah and I were dressed, and all was in

St. John arrived first. I had entreated him to keep quite clear of the
house till everything was arranged: and, indeed, the bare idea of
the commotion, at once sordid and trivial, going on within its walls
sufficed to scare him to estrangement. He found me in the kitchen,
watching the progress of certain cakes for tea, then baking.
Approaching the hearth, he asked, ‘If I was at last satisfied with
housemaid’s work?’ I answered by inviting him to accompany me
on a general inspection of the result of my labours. With some
difficulty, I got him to make the tour of the house. He just looked
in at the doors I opened; and when he had wandered upstairs and
downstairs, he said I must have gone through a great deal of
fatigue and trouble to have effected such considerable changes in
so short a time: but not a syllable did he utter indicating pleasure
in the improved aspect of his abode.

This silence damped me. I thought perhaps the alterations had
disturbed some old associations he valued. I inquired whether this
was the case: no doubt in a somewhat crestfallen tone.
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