Jane Eyre eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about Jane Eyre.

“I daresay you hardly remember me, Miss,” he said, rising as I entered; “but my name is Leaven:  I lived coachman with Mrs. Reed when you were at Gateshead, eight or nine years since, and I live there still.”

“Oh, Robert! how do you do?  I remember you very well:  you used to give me a ride sometimes on Miss Georgiana’s bay pony.  And how is Bessie?  You are married to Bessie?”

“Yes, Miss:  my wife is very hearty, thank you; she brought me another little one about two months since —­ we have three now —­ and both mother and child are thriving.”

“And are the family well at the house, Robert?”

“I am sorry I can’t give you better news of them, Miss:  they are very badly at present —­ in great trouble.”

“I hope no one is dead,” I said, glancing at his black dress.  He too looked down at the crape round his hat and replied —

“Mr. John died yesterday was a week, at his chambers in London.”

“Mr. John?”

“Yes.”

“And how does his mother bear it?”

“Why, you see, Miss Eyre, it is not a common mishap:  his life has been very wild:  these last three years he gave himself up to strange ways, and his death was shocking.”

“I heard from Bessie he was not doing well.”

“Doing well!  He could not do worse:  he ruined his health and his estate amongst the worst men and the worst women.  He got into debt and into jail:  his mother helped him out twice, but as soon as he was free he returned to his old companions and habits.  His head was not strong:  the knaves he lived amongst fooled him beyond anything I ever heard.  He came down to Gateshead about three weeks ago and wanted missis to give up all to him.  Missis refused:  her means have long been much reduced by his extravagance; so he went back again, and the next news was that he was dead.  How he died, God knows! —­ they say he killed himself.”

I was silent:  the things were frightful.  Robert Leaven resumed —

“Missis had been out of health herself for some time:  she had got very stout, but was not strong with it; and the loss of money and fear of poverty were quite breaking her down.  The information about Mr. John’s death and the manner of it came too suddenly:  it brought on a stroke.  She was three days without speaking; but last Tuesday she seemed rather better:  she appeared as if she wanted to say something, and kept making signs to my wife and mumbling.  It was only yesterday morning, however, that Bessie understood she was pronouncing your name; and at last she made out the words, ‘Bring Jane —­ fetch Jane Eyre:  I want to speak to her.’  Bessie is not sure whether she is in her right mind, or means anything by the words; but she told Miss Reed and Miss Georgiana, and advised them to send for you.  The young ladies put it off at first; but their mother grew so restless, and said, ‘Jane, Jane,’ so many times, that at last they consented.  I left Gateshead yesterday:  and if you can get ready, Miss, I should like to take you back with me early to-morrow morning.”

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Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.