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BUT the privations, or rather the hardships, of Lowood lessened.
Spring drew on: she was indeed already come; the frosts of winter
had ceased; its snows were melted, its cutting winds ameliorated.
My wretched feet, flayed and swollen to lameness by the sharp air
of January, began to heal and subside under the gentler breathings
of April; the nights and mornings no longer by their Canadian
temperature froze the very blood in our veins; we could now
endure the play-hour passed in the garden: sometimes on a sunny
day it began even to be pleasant and genial, and a greenness grew
over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the
thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning
brighter traces of her steps. Flowers peeped out amongst the
leaves; snowdrops, crocuses, purple auriculas, and golden-eyed
pansies. On Thursday afternoons (half-holidays) we now took
walks, and found still sweeter flowers opening by the wayside,
under the hedges.
I discovered, too, that a great pleasure, an enjoyment which the
horizon only bounded, lay all outside the high and spike-guarded
walls of our garden: this pleasure consisted in prospect of noble
summits girdling a great hill-hollow, rich in verdure and shadow;
in a bright beck, full of dark stones and sparkling eddies.
How different had this scene looked when I viewed it laid out
beneath the iron sky of winter, stiffened in frost, shrouded with
snow!- when mists as chill as death wandered to the impulse of
east winds along those purple peaks, and rolled down ‘ing’ and
holm till they blended with the frozen fog of the beck! That beck
itself was then a torrent, turbid and curbless: it tore asunder the
wood, and sent a raving sound through the air, often thickened
with wild rain or whirling sleet; and for the forest on its banks, that
showed only ranks of skeletons.
April advanced to May: a bright, serene May it was; days of blue
sky, placid sunshine, and soft western or southern gales filled up
its duration. And now vegetation matured with vigour; Lowood
shook loose its tresses; it became all green, all flowery; its great
elm, ash, and oak skeletons were restored to majestic life;
woodland plants sprang up profusely in its recesses; unnumbered
varieties of moss filled its hollows, and it made a strange ground-
sunshine out of the wealth of its wild primrose plants: I have seen
their pale gold gleam in overshadowed spots like scatterings of the
sweetest lustre. All this I enjoyed often and fully, free, unwatched,