CHAPTER VII

my 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 paralysed. 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 exposed and hilly road, where the bitter winter wind, blowing over a range of snowy summits to the north, almost flayed the skin from our faces.

-54-

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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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