Jane eyre. charlotte bronte

CHAPTER I

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been
Wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but
Since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold
Winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so
Penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.

I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly
Afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with
Nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie,
The nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to
Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.

The said Eliza, John, and Georgiana were now clustered round their mama
In the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by the fireside, and with
Her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling nor crying)
Looked perfectly happy.

Me, she had dispensed from joining the group;
Saying, “She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a
Distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her
Own observation, that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a
More sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly
Manner – something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were – she really
Must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy,
Little children.”

“What does Bessie say I have done?” I asked.

“Jane, I don’t like cavillers or questioners; besides, there is something
Truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be
Seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.”

A breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room, I slipped in there. It
Contained a bookcase: I soon possessed myself of a volume, taking care
That it should be one stored with pictures. I mounted into the window-
Seat: gathering up my feet, I sat cross-legged, like a Turk; and, having
Drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close, I was shrined in double
Retirement.

Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view to the right hand; to the left
Were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but not separating me from the
Drear November day. At intervals, while turning over the leaves of my
Book, I studied the aspect of that winter afternoon. Afar, it offered a
Pale blank of mist and cloud; near a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat
Shrub, with ceaseless rain sweeping away wildly before a long and
Lamentable blast.

I returned to my book – Bewick’s History of British Birds: the letterpress
Thereof I cared little for, generally speaking; and yet there were
Certain introductory pages that, child as I was, I could not pass quite
As a blank. They were those which treat of the haunts of sea-fowl; of
“the solitary rocks and promontories” by them only inhabited; of the
Coast of Norway, studded with isles from its southern extremity, the
Lindeness, or Naze, to the North Cape –

“Where the Northern Ocean, in vast whirls,
Boils round the naked, melancholy isles
Of farthest Thule; and the Atlantic surge
Pours in among the stormy Hebrides.”

Nor could I pass unnoticed the suggestion of the bleak shores of Lapland,
Siberia, Spitzbergen, Nova Zembla, Iceland, Greenland, with “the vast
Sweep of the Arctic Zone, and those forlorn regions of dreary space, – that
Reservoir of frost and snow, where firm fields of ice, the accumulation
Of centuries of winters, glazed in Alpine heights above heights, surround



Jane eyre. charlotte bronte