CHAPTER VII.

M Y first quarter at Lowood seemed an age, and not the golden age either: it comprised an irksome struggle with difficulties in habituating myself to new rules and unwonted tasks. The fear of failure in these points harassed me worse than the physical hardships of my lot, though these were no trifles.

During January, February, and part of March, the deep snows, and, after their melting, the almost impassable roads, prevented our stirring beyond the garden walls, except to go to church; but within these limits we had to pass an hour every day in the open air. Our clothing was insufficient to protect us from the severe cold; we had no boots, the snow got into our shoes, and melted there; our ungloved hands became numbed and covered with chilblains, as were our feet. I remember well the distracting irritation I endured from this cause every evening, when my feet inflamed; and the torture of thrusting the swelled, raw, and stiff toes into my shoes in the morning. Then the scanty supply of food was distressing; with the keen appetites of growing children, we had scarcely sufficient to keep alive a delicate invalid. From this deficiency of nourishment resulted an abuse, which pressed hardly on the younger pupils: whenever the famished great girls had an opportunity they would coax or menace the little ones out of their portion. Many a time I have shared between two claimants the precious morsel of brown bread distributed at tea-time; and after relinquishing to a third half the contents of my mug of coffee, I have swallowed the remainder with an accompaniment of secret tears, forced from me by the exigency of hunger.

Sundays were dreary days in that wintry season. We had to walk two miles to Brocklebridge Church, where our patron officiated. We set out cold, we arrived at church colder: during the morning service we became almost paralyzed. It was too far to return to dinner, and an allowance of cold meat and bread, in the same penurious proportion observed in our ordinary meals, was served round between the services.

At the close of the afternoon service we returned by an

-60-

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Jane Eyre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The English Comédíe Humaíne *
  • Title Page iii
  • Publishers' Note v
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter I 3
  • Chapter II 8
  • Chapter III 15
  • Chapter IV 24
  • Chapter V 39
  • Chapter VI 52
  • Chapter VII 60
  • Chapter VIII 69
  • Chapter IX 77
  • Chapter X 85
  • Chapter XI 96
  • Chapter XII 113
  • Chapter XIII 124
  • Chapter XIV 135
  • Chapter XV 148
  • Chapter XVI 160
  • Chapter XVII 170
  • Chapter XVIII 191
  • Chapter XIX 207
  • Chapter XX 217
  • Chapter XXI 233
  • Chapter XXII 255
  • Chapter XXIII 262
  • Chapter XXIV 273
  • Chapter XXV 292
  • Chapter XXVI 305
  • Chapter XXVII 316
  • Chapter XXVIII 344
  • Chapter XXIX 361
  • Chapter XXX 373
  • Chapter XXXI 383
  • Chapter XXXII 391
  • Chapter XXXIII 403
  • Chapter XXXIV 416
  • Chapter XXXV 440
  • Chapter XXXVI 451
  • Chapter XXXVII 461
  • Chapter XXXVIII 482
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