JANE EYRE

CHAPTER I

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.

I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.

The said Eliza, John, and Georgiana were now clustered round their mama in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by the fireside, and with her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling nor crying) looked perfectly happy. Me, she had dispensed from joining the group; saying, "She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner,—something lighter, franker, more natural as it were—she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children."

"What does Bessie say I have done?" I asked.

"Jane, I don't like cavillers or questioners: besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent."

A small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room. I slipped in there. It contained a book-case: I soon possessed

-1-

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Jane Eyre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • A List of the Principal Books on the BrontË Family xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Note to the Third Edition xx
  • Illustrations xxi
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 6
  • Chapter III 12
  • Chapter IV 20
  • Chapter VI 34
  • Chapter VI 46
  • Chapter VII 54
  • Chapter VIII 62
  • Chapter IX 70
  • Chapter X 77
  • Chapter XI 88
  • Chapter XII 103
  • Chapter XIII 113
  • Chapter XIV 124
  • Chapter XV 136
  • Chapter XVI 148
  • Chapter XVII 157
  • Chapter XVIII 177
  • Chapter XIX 192
  • Chapter XX 202
  • Chapter XXI 217
  • Chapter XXII 239
  • Chapter XXIII 246
  • Chapter XXIV 256
  • Chapter XXV 274
  • Chapter XXVI 286
  • Chapter XXVII 296
  • Chapter XXVIII 322
  • Chapter XXIX 339
  • Chapter XXXI 350
  • Chapter XXXI 359
  • Chapter XXXII 367
  • Chapter XXXIII 378
  • Chapter XXXIV 391
  • Chapter XXXV 413
  • Chapter XXXVI 424
  • Chapter XXXVII 433
  • Conclusion 453
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