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



HITHERTO I have recorded in detail the events of my insignificant
to the first ten years of my life I have given almost as many
chapters. But this is not to be a regular autobiography: I am only
bound to invoke Memory where I know her responses will possess
some degree of interest; therefore I now pass a space of eight years
almost in silence: a few lines only are necessary to keep up the
links of connection.

When the typhus fever had fulfilled its mission of devastation at
Lowood, it gradually disappeared from thence; but not till its
virulence and the number of its victims had drawn public attention
on the school. Inquiry was made into the origin of the scourge, and
by degrees various facts came out which excited public indignation
in a high degree. The unhealthy nature of the site; the quantity and
quality of the children’s food; the brackish, fetid water used in its
preparation; the pupils’ wretched clothing and accommodations-
all these things were discovered, and the discovery produced a
result mortifying to Mr. Brocklehurst, but beneficial to the

Several wealthy and benevolent individuals in the county
subscribed largely for the erection of a more convenient building in
a better situation; new regulations were made; improvements in
diet and clothing introduced; the funds of the school were
intrusted to the management of a committee. Mr. Brocklehurst,
who, from his wealth and family connections, could not be
overlooked, still retained the post of treasurer; but he was aided in
the discharge of his duties by gentlemen of rather more enlarged
and sympathising minds: his office of inspector, too, was shared by
those who knew how to combine reason with strictness, comfort
with economy, compassion with uprightness. The school, thus
improved, became in time a truly useful and noble institution. I
remained an inmate of its walls, after its regeneration, for eight
years: six as pupil, and two as teacher; and in both capacities I bear
my testimony to its value and importance.

During these eight years my life was uniform: but not unhappy,
because it was not inactive. I had the means of an excellent
education placed within my reach; a fondness for some of my
studies, and a desire to excel in all, together with a great delight in
pleasing my teachers, especially such as I loved, urged me on: I
availed myself fully of the advantages offered me. In time I rose to
be the first girl of the first class; then I was invested with the office
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