The Works of Charlotte Brontë - Vol. 4

By Charlotte Brontë | Go to book overview

in X_____ I felt my occupation irksome. The thing itself--the work of copying and translating business-letters--was a dry and tedious task enough, but had that been all, I should long have borne with the nuisance; I am not of an impatient nature, and, influenced by the double desire of getting my living and justifying to myself and others the resolution I had taken to become a tradesman, I should have endured in silence the rust and cramp of my best faculties; I should not have whispered, even inwardly, that I longed for liberty; I should have pent in every sigh by which my heart might have ventured to intimate its distress under the closeness, smoke, monotony and joyless tumult of Bigben Close, and its panting desire for freer and fresher scenes; I should have set up the image of Duty, the fetish of Perseverance, in my small bedroom of Mrs. King's lodgings, and they too should have been my household gods, from which my darling, my cherished-in-secret Imagination, the tender and the mighty, should never, either by softness or strength, have severed me. But this was not all; the antipathy which had sprung up between myself and my employer striking deeper root and spreading denser shade daily, excluded me from every glimpse of the sunshine of life; and I began to feel like a plant growing in humid darkness out of the slimy walls of a well.

Antipathy is the only word which can express the feeling Edward Crimsworth had for me--a feeling, in a great measure, involuntary, and which was liable to be excited by even the most trifling movement, look, or word of mine. My southern accent annoyed him: the degree of education evinced in my language irritated him; my punctuality, industry, and accuracy fixed his dislike, and gave it the high flavor and poignant relish of envy; he feared that I too should one day make a successful tradesman. Had I been anything inferior to him, he would not have hated me so thoroughly, but I knew all that he knew, and what was worse, he suspected that I kept the padlock of silence on mental wealth in which he was no sharer. If he could have once placed me in a ridiculous or mortifying position, he would have forgiven me much; but I was guarded by three faculties--caution, tact, observation; and prowling and prying as was Edward's malignity, it could never baffle

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The Works of Charlotte Brontë - Vol. 4
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Contents iii
  • Preface vii
  • The Professor. 10
  • Chapter III 18
  • Chapter IV 24
  • Chapter V 30
  • Chapter VI 39
  • Chapter VIII 64
  • Chapter XI 83
  • Chapter XIII 102
  • Chapter XV 113
  • Chapter XVI 118
  • Chapter XVIII 132
  • Chapter XIX 143
  • Chapter XX 162
  • Chapter XXII 171
  • Chapter XXIII 178
  • Chapter XXV 218
  • Chapter II 245
  • Poems. 261
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