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

Something of vengeance I had tasted for the first time; as aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy:  its after-flavour, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if I had been poisoned.  Willingly would I now have gone and asked Mrs. Reed’s pardon; but I knew, partly from experience and partly from instinct, that was the way to make her repulse me with double scorn, thereby re-exciting every turbulent impulse of my nature.

I would fain exercise some better faculty than that of fierce speaking; fain find nourishment for some less fiendish feeling than that of sombre indignation.  I took a book —­ some Arabian tales; I sat down and endeavoured to read.  I could make no sense of the subject; my own thoughts swam always between me and the page I had usually found fascinating.  I opened the glass-door in the breakfast-room:  the shrubbery was quite still:  the black frost reigned, unbroken by sun or breeze, through the grounds.  I covered my head and arms with the skirt of my frock, and went out to walk in a part of the plantation which was quite sequestrated; but I found no pleasure in the silent trees, the falling fir-cones, the congealed relics of autumn, russet leaves, swept by past winds in heaps, and now stiffened together.  I leaned against a gate, and looked into an empty field where no sheep were feeding, where the short grass was nipped and blanched.  It was a very grey day; a most opaque sky, “onding on snaw,” canopied all; thence flakes felt it intervals, which settled on the hard path and on the hoary lea without melting.  I stood, a wretched child enough, whispering to myself over and over again, “What shall I do? —­ what shall I do?”

All at once I heard a clear voice call, “Miss Jane! where are you?  Come to lunch!”

It was Bessie, I knew well enough; but I did not stir; her light step came tripping down the path.

“You naughty little thing!” she said.  “Why don’t you come when you are called?”

Bessie’s presence, compared with the thoughts over which I had been brooding, seemed cheerful; even though, as usual, she was somewhat cross.  The fact is, after my conflict with and victory over Mrs. Reed, I was not disposed to care much for the nursemaid’s transitory anger; and I was disposed to bask in her youthful lightness of heart.  I just put my two arms round her and said, “Come, Bessie! don’t scold.”

The action was more frank and fearless than any I was habituated to indulge in:  somehow it pleased her.

“You are a strange child, Miss Jane,” she said, as she looked down at me; “a little roving, solitary thing:  and you are going to school, I suppose?”

I nodded.

“And won’t you be sorry to leave poor Bessie?”

“What does Bessie care for me?  She is always scolding me.”

“Because you’re such a queer, frightened, shy little thing.  You should be bolder.”

“What! to get more knocks?”

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