Jane Eyre (Chapter 5, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 5

Five o'clock had hardly struck on the morning of the 19th of
January, when Bessie brought a candle into my closet and found me
already up and nearly dressed. I had risen half-an-hour before her
entrance, and had washed my face, and put on my clothes by the light
of a half-moon just setting, whose rays streamed through the narrow
window near my crib. I was to leave Gateshead that day by a coach
which passed the lodge gates at six a.m. Bessie was the only person
yet risen; she had lit a fire in the nursery, where she now
proceeded to make my breakfast. Few children can eat when excited
with the thoughts of a journey; nor could I. Bessie, having pressed
me in vain to take a few spoonfuls of the boiled milk and bread she
had prepared for me, wrapped up some biscuits in a paper and put
them into my bag; then she helped me on with my pelisse and bonnet,
and wrapping herself in a shawl, she and I left the nursery. As we
passed Mrs. Reed's bedroom, she said, "Will you go in and bid Missis
good-bye?"

"No, Bessie: she came to my crib last night when you were gone down
to supper, and said I need not disturb her in the morning, or my
cousins either; and she told me to remember that she had always been
my best friend, and to speak of her and be grateful to her
accordingly."

"What did you say, Miss?"

"Nothing: I covered my face with the bedclothes, and turned from
her to the wall."

"That was wrong, Miss Jane."

"It was quite right, Bessie. Your Missis has not been my friend:
she has been my foe."

"O Miss Jane! don't say so!"

"Good-bye to Gateshead!" cried I, as we passed through the hall and
went out at the front door.

The moon was set, and it was very dark; Bessie carried a lantern,
whose light glanced on wet steps and gravel road sodden by a recent
thaw. Raw and chill was the winter morning: my teeth chattered as
I hastened down the drive. There was a light in the porter's lodge:
when we reached it, we found the porter's wife just kindling her
fire: my trunk, which had been carried down the evening before,
stood corded at the door. It wanted but a few minutes of six, and
shortly after that hour had struck, the distant roll of wheels
announced the coming coach; I went to the door and watched its lamps
approach rapidly through the gloom.

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