The Works of Charlotte Brontë - Vol. 4

By Charlotte Brontë | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI.

IN the course of another fortnight I had seen sufficient of Frances Evans Henri to enable me to form a more definite opinion of her character. I found her possessed in a somewhat remarkable degree of at least two good points, viz. perseverance and a sense of duty; I found she was really capable of applying to study, of contending with difficulties. At first I offered her the same help which I had always found it necessary to confer on the others; I began with unloosing for her each knotty point, but I soon discovered that such help was regarded by my new pupil as degrading; she recoiled from it with a certain proud impatience. Hereupon I appointed her long lessons, and left her to solve alone any perplexities they might present. She set to the task with serious ardor, and having quickly accomplished one labor, eagerly demanded more. So much for her perseverance; as to her sense of duty, it evinced itself thus: she liked to learn, but hated to teach; her progress as a pupil depended upon herself, and I saw that on herself she could calculate with certainty; her success as a teacher rested partly, perhaps chiefly, upon the will of others; it cost her a most painful effort to enter into conflict with this foreign will, to endeavor to bend it into subjection to her own; for in what regarded people in general the action of her will was impeded by many scruples; it was as unembarrassed as strong where her own affairs were concerned, and to it she could at any time subject her inclination, if that inclination went counter to her convictions of right; yet when called upon to wrestle with the propensities, the habits, the faults of others, of children especially, who are deaf to reason, and, for the most part, insensate to persuasion, her will sometimes almost refused to act; then came in the sense of duty, and forced the reluctant will into operation. A wasteful expense of energy and labor was frequently the consequence; Frances toiled for and with her pupils like a drudge, but it was long ere her conscientious exertions were rewarded by anything like docility on their part, because they saw that they had power

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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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