Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about Jane Eyre.
I might be so; what thought had I been but just conceiving of starving myself to death?  That certainly was a crime:  and was I fit to die?  Or was the vault under the chancel of Gateshead Church an inviting bourne?  In such vault I had been told did Mr. Reed lie buried; and led by this thought to recall his idea, I dwelt on it with gathering dread.  I could not remember him; but I knew that he was my own uncle —­ my mother’s brother —­ that he had taken me when a parentless infant to his house; and that in his last moments he had required a promise of Mrs. Reed that she would rear and maintain me as one of her own children.  Mrs. Reed probably considered she had kept this promise; and so she had, I dare say, as well as her nature would permit her; but how could she really like an interloper not of her race, and unconnected with her, after her husband’s death, by any tie?  It must have been most irksome to find herself bound by a hard-wrung pledge to stand in the stead of a parent to a strange child she could not love, and to see an uncongenial alien permanently intruded on her own family group.

A singular notion dawned upon me.  I doubted not —­ never doubted —­ that if Mr. Reed had been alive he would have treated me kindly; and now, as I sat looking at the white bed and overshadowed walls —­ occasionally also turning a fascinated eye towards the dimly gleaning mirror —­ I began to recall what I had heard of dead men, troubled in their graves by the violation of their last wishes, revisiting the earth to punish the perjured and avenge the oppressed; and I thought Mr. Reed’s spirit, harassed by the wrongs of his sister’s child, might quit its abode —­ whether in the church vault or in the unknown world of the departed —­ and rise before me in this chamber.  I wiped my tears and hushed my sobs, fearful lest any sign of violent grief might waken a preternatural voice to comfort me, or elicit from the gloom some haloed face, bending over me with strange pity.  This idea, consolatory in theory, I felt would be terrible if realised:  with all my might I endeavoured to stifle it —­ I endeavoured to be firm.  Shaking my hair from my eyes, I lifted my head and tried to look boldly round the dark room; at this moment a light gleamed on the wall.  Was it, I asked myself, a ray from the moon penetrating some aperture in the blind?  No; moonlight was still, and this stirred; while I gazed, it glided up to the ceiling and quivered over my head.  I can now conjecture readily that this streak of light was, in all likelihood, a gleam from a lantern carried by some one across the lawn:  but then, prepared as my mind was for horror, shaken as my nerves were by agitation, I thought the swift darting beam was a herald of some coming vision from another world.  My heart beat thick, my head grew hot; a sound filled my ears, which I deemed the rushing of wings; something seemed near me; I was oppressed, suffocated:  endurance broke down; I rushed to the door and shook the lock in desperate effort.  Steps came running along the outer passage; the key turned, Bessie and Abbot entered.

Follow Us on Facebook