Jane Eyre eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about Jane Eyre.

Next day, by noon, I was up and dressed, and sat wrapped in a shawl by the nursery hearth.  I felt physically weak and broken down:  but my worse ailment was an unutterable wretchedness of mind:  a wretchedness which kept drawing from me silent tears; no sooner had I wiped one salt drop from my cheek than another followed.  Yet, I thought, I ought to have been happy, for none of the Reeds were there, they were all gone out in the carriage with their mama.  Abbot, too, was sewing in another room, and Bessie, as she moved hither and thither, putting away toys and arranging drawers, addressed to me every now and then a word of unwonted kindness.  This state of things should have been to me a paradise of peace, accustomed as I was to a life of ceaseless reprimand and thankless fagging; but, in fact, my racked nerves were now in such a state that no calm could soothe, and no pleasure excite them agreeably.

Bessie had been down into the kitchen, and she brought up with her a tart on a certain brightly painted china plate, whose bird of paradise, nestling in a wreath of convolvuli and rosebuds, had been wont to stir in me a most enthusiastic sense of admiration; and which plate I had often petitioned to be allowed to take in my hand in order to examine it more closely, but had always hitherto been deemed unworthy of such a privilege.  This precious vessel was now placed on my knee, and I was cordially invited to eat the circlet of delicate pastry upon it.  Vain favour! coming, like most other favours long deferred and often wished for, too late!  I could not eat the tart; and the plumage of the bird, the tints of the flowers, seemed strangely faded:  I put both plate and tart away.  Bessie asked if I would have a book:  the word book acted as a transient stimulus, and I begged her to fetch Gulliver’s Travels from the library.  This book I had again and again perused with delight.  I considered it a narrative of facts, and discovered in it a vein of interest deeper than what I found in fairy tales:  for as to the elves, having sought them in vain among foxglove leaves and bells, under mushrooms and beneath the ground-ivy mantling old wall-nooks, I had at length made up my mind to the sad truth, that they were all gone out of England to some savage country where the woods were wilder and thicker, and the population more scant; whereas, Lilliput and Brobdignag being, in my creed, solid parts of the earth’s surface, I doubted not that I might one day, by taking a long voyage, see with my own eyes the little fields, houses, and trees, the diminutive people, the tiny cows, sheep, and birds of the one realm; and the corn-fields forest-high, the mighty mastiffs, the monster cats, the tower-like men and women, of the other.  Yet, when this cherished volume was now placed in my hand —­ when I turned over its leaves, and sought in its marvellous pictures the charm I had, till now, never failed to find —­ all was eerie and dreary; the giants were gaunt goblins, the pigmies malevolent and fearful imps, Gulliver a most desolate wanderer in most dread and dangerous regions.  I closed the book, which I dared no longer peruse, and put it on the table, beside the untasted tart.

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Project Gutenberg
Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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