Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë & Sierra Cartwright Read Free Book Online

Book: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë & Sierra Cartwright Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charlotte Brontë & Sierra Cartwright
sought all England over, I could scarcely have found a system more exactly fitting a child like Jane Eyre. Consistency, my dear Mr Brocklehurst. I advocate consistency in all things.”
    “Consistency, madam, is the first of Christian duties and it has been observed in every arrangement connected with the establishment of Lowood, plain fare, simple attire, unsophisticated accommodations, hardy and active habits. Such is the order of the day in the house and its inhabitants.”
    “Quite right, sir. I may then depend upon this child being received as a pupil at Lowood, and there being trained in conformity to her position and prospects?”
    “Madam, you may. She shall be placed in that nursery of chosen plants, and I trust she will show herself grateful for the inestimable privilege of her election.”
    “I will send her, then, as soon as possible, Mr Brocklehurst, for, I assure you, I feel anxious to be relieved of a responsibility that was becoming too irksome.”
    “No doubt, no doubt, madam; and now I wish you good morning. I shall return to Brocklehurst Hall in the course of a week or two, my good friend, the Archdeacon, will not permit me to leave him sooner. I shall send Miss Temple notice that she is to expect a new girl, so that there will be no difficulty about receiving her. Good-bye.”
    “Good-bye, Mr Brocklehurst, remember me to Mrs and Miss Brocklehurst, and to Augusta and Theodore, and Master Broughton Brocklehurst.”
    “I will, madam. Little girl, here is a book entitled the ‘Child’s Guide’, read it with prayer, especially that part containing ‘An account of the awfully sudden death of Martha G, a naughty child addicted to falsehood and deceit.’”
    With these words Mr Brocklehurst put into my hand a thin pamphlet sewn in a cover, and having rung for his carriage, he departed.
    Mrs Reed and I were left alone. Some minutes passed in silence—she was sewing, I was watching her. Mrs Reed might be at that time some six or seven and thirty. She was a woman of robust frame, square-shouldered and strong limbed, not tall, and, though stout, not obese. She had a somewhat large face, the under jaw being much developed and very solid. Her brow was low, her chin large and prominent, mouth and nose sufficiently regular. Under her light eyebrows glimmered an eye devoid of ruth. Her skin was dark and opaque, her hair nearly flaxen, her constitution was sound as a bell—illness never came near her. She was an exact, clever manager, her household and tenantry were thoroughly under her control, her children only at times defied her authority and laughed it to scorn. She dressed well, and had a presence and port calculated to set off handsome attire.
    Sitting on a low stool, a few yards from her arm chair, I examined her figure. I perused her features. In my hand I held the tract containing the sudden death of the liar, to which narrative my attention had been pointed as to an appropriate warning. What had just passed—what Mrs Reed had said concerning me to Mr Brocklehurst—the whole tenor of their conversation, was recent, raw, and stinging in my mind. I had felt every word as acutely as I had heard it plainly, and a passion of resentment fomented now within me.
    Mrs Reed looked up from her work, her eye settled on mine, her fingers at the same time suspended their nimble movements.
    “Go out of the room, return to the nursery,” was her mandate. My look or something else must have struck her as offensive, for she spoke with extreme though suppressed irritation. I got up, I went to the door. I came back again. I walked to the window, across the room, then close up to her.
    Speak I must. I had been trodden on severely, and must turn, but how? What strength had I to dart retaliation at my antagonist? I gathered my energies and launched them in this blunt sentence, “I am not deceitful, if I were, I should say I loved you. But I declare I do not love you, I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world

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