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



THE promise of a smooth career, which my first calm introduction
to Thornfield Hall seemed to pledge, was not belied on a longer
acquaintance with the place and its inmates. Mrs. Fairfax turned
out to be what she appeared, a placidtempered, kind-natured
woman, of competent education and average intelligence.

My pupil was a lively child, who had been spoilt and indulged,
and therefore was sometimes wayward; but as she was committed
entirely to my care, and no injudicious interference from any
quarter ever thwarted my plans for her improvement, she soon
forgot her little freaks, and became obedient and teachable. She
had no great talents, no marked traits of character, no peculiar
development of feeling or taste which raised her one inch above
the ordinary level of childhood; but neither had she any deficiency
or vice which sunk her below it. She made reasonable progress,
entertained for me a vivacious, though perhaps not very profound,
affection; and by her simplicity, gay prattle, and efforts to please,
inspired me, in return, with a degree of attachment sufficient to
make us both content in each otherís society.

This, par parenthese, will be thought cool language by persons
who entertain solemn doctrines about the angelic nature of
children, and the duty of those charged with their education to
conceive for them an idolatrous devotion: but I am not writing to
flatter parental egotism, to echo cant, or prop up humbug; I am
merely telling the truth. I felt a conscientious solicitude for Adeleís
welfare and progress, and a quiet liking for her little self: just as I
cherished towards Mrs. Fairfax a thankfulness for her kindness,
and a pleasure in her society proportionate to the tranquil regard
she had for me, and the moderation of her mind and character.
Anybody may blame me who likes, when I add further, that, now
and then, when I took a walk by myself in the grounds; when I
went down to the gates and looked through them along the road;
or when, while Adele played with her nurse, and Mrs. Fairfax
made jellies in the storeroom, I climbed the three staircases, raised
the trap-door of the attic, and having reached the leads, looked out
afar over sequestered field and hill, and along dim sky-line-that
then I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that
limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life
I had heard of but never seen-that then I desired more of practical
experience than I possessed; more of intercourse with my kind, of
acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my
reach. I valued what was good in Mrs. Fairfax, and what was good
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