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



A NEW chapter in a novel is something like a new scene in a play;
and when I draw up the curtain this time, reader, you must fancy
you see a room in the George Inn at Millcote, with such large
figured papering on the walls as inn rooms have; such a carpet,
such furniture, such ornaments on the mantel-piece, such prints,
including a portrait of George the Third, and another of the Prince
of Wales, and a representation of the death of Wolfe. All this is
visible to you by the light of an oil lamp hanging from the ceiling,
and by that of an excellent fire, near which I sit in my cloak and
bonnet; my muff and umbrella lie on the table, and I am warming
away the numbness and chill contracted by sixteen hours’ exposure
to the rawness of an October day: I left Lowton at four o’clock
A.M., and the Millcote town clock is now just striking eight.
Reader, though I look comfortably accommodated, I am not very
tranquil in my mind. I thought when the coach stopped here there
would be some one to meet me; I looked anxiously round as I
descended the wooden steps the ‘boots’ placed for my convenience,
expecting to hear my name pronounced, and to see some
description of carriage waiting to convey me to Thornfield.
Nothing of the sort was visible; and when I asked a waiter if any
one had been to inquire after a Miss Eyre, I was answered in the
negative: so I had no resource but to request to be shown into a
private room: and here I am waiting, while all sorts of doubts and
fears are troubling my thoughts.

It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself
quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection,
uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached,
and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has
quitted. The charm of adventure sweetens that sensation, the glow
of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it; and fear
with me became predominant when half an hour elapsed and still I
was alone. I bethought myself to ring the bell.

‘Is there a place in this neighbourhood called Thornfield?’ I asked
of the waiter who answered the summons.

‘Thornfield? I don’t know, ma’am; I’ll inquire at the bar.’ He
vanished, but reappeared instantly‘Is your name Eyre, Miss?’ ‘Yes.’
‘Person here waiting for you.’ I jumped up, took my muff and
umbrella, and hastened into the inn-passage: a man was standing
by the open door, and in the lamp-lit street I dimly saw a onehorse

‘This will be your luggage, I suppose?’ said the man rather
abruptly when he saw me, pointing to my trunk in the passage.
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