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



FIVE o’clock had hardly struck on the morning of the 19 th of
January, when Bessie brought a candle into my closet and found
me already up and nearly dressed. I had risen half an hour before
her entrance, and had washed my face, and put on my clothes by
the light of a half-moon just setting, whose rays streamed through
the narrow window near my crib. I was to leave Gateshead that
day by a coach which passed the lodge gates at six A.M. Bessie was
the only person yet risen; she had lit a fire in the nursery, where
she now proceeded to make my breakfast. Few children can eat
when excited with the thoughts of a journey; nor could I. Bessie,
having pressed me in vain to take a few spoonfuls of the boiled
milk and bread she had prepared for me, wrapped up some
biscuits in a paper and put them into my bag; then she helped me
on with my pelisse and bonnet, and wrapping herself in a shawl,
she and I left the nursery. As we passed Mrs. Reed’s bedroom, she
said, ‘Will you go in and bid Missis good-bye?’ ‘No, Bessie: she
came to my crib last night when you were gone down to supper,
and said I need not disturb her in the morning, or my cousins
either; and she told me to remember that she had always been my
best friend, and to speak of her and be grateful to her accordingly.’
‘What did you say, Miss?’ ‘Nothing: I covered my face with the
bedclothes, and turned from her to the wall.’

‘That was wrong, Miss Jane.’ ‘It was quite right, Bessie. Your Missis
has not been my friend: she has been my foe.’ ‘O Miss Jane! don’t
say so!’ ‘Good-bye to Gateshead!’ cried I, as we passed through the
hall and went out at the front door.

The moon was set, and it was very dark; Bessie carried a lantern,
whose light glanced on wet steps and gravel road sodden by a
recent thaw. Raw and chill was the winter morning: my teeth
chattered as I hastened down the drive. There was a light in the
porter’s lodge: when we reached it, we found the porter’s wife just
kindling her fire: my trunk, which had been carried down the
evening before, stood corded at the door. It wanted but a few
minutes of six, and shortly after that hour had struck, the distant
roll of wheels announced the coming coach; I went to the door and
watched its lamps approach rapidly through the gloom.

‘Is she going by herself?’ asked the porter’s wife.
‘Yes.’ ‘And how far is it?’ ‘Fifty miles.’ ‘What a long way! I wonder
Mrs. Reed is not afraid to trust her so far alone.’

The coach drew up; there it was at the gates with its four horses
and its top laden with passengers: the guard and coachman loudly
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