On that same occasion I learned, for the first time, from Miss Abbot's communications to Bessie, that my father had been a poor clergyman; that my mother had married him against the wishes of her friends, who considered the match beneath her; that my grandfather Reed was so irritated at her disobedience, he cut her off without a shilling; that after my mother and father had been married a year, the latter caught the typhus fever while visiting among the poor of a large manufacturing town where his curacy was situated, and where that disease was then prevalent; that my mother took the infection from him, and both died within a month of each other.

Bessie, when she heard this narrative, sighed and said, "Poor Miss Jane is to be pitied, too, Abbot."

"Yes," responded Abbot; "if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that."

"Not a great deal to be sure," agreed Bessie: "at any rate, a beauty like Miss Georgiana would be more moving in the same condition."

"Yes, I doat on Miss Georgiana!" cried the fervent Abbot.

"Little darling!—with her long curls and her blue eyes, and such a sweet colour as she has; just as if she were painted!— Bessie, I could fancy a Welsh rabbit for supper."

"So could I—with a roast onion. Come, we'll go down." They went.


CHAPTER IV

From my discourse with Mr. Lloyd, and from the above reported conference between Bessie and Abbot, I gathered enough of hope to suffice as a motive for wishing to get well: a change seemed near,—I desired and waited it in silence. It tarried, however: days and weeks passed: I had regained my normal state of health, but no new allusion was made to the subject over which I brooded. Mrs. Reed surveyed me at times with a severe eye, but seldom addressed me: since my illness, she had drawn a more marked line of separation than ever between me and her own children; appointing me a small closet to sleep in by myself, condemning me to take my meals alone, and pass all my time in the nursery, while my

-20-

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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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