Jane Eyre (Chapter 7, page 3 of 8)


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Chapter 7

I had my own reasons for being dismayed at this apparition; too well
I remembered the perfidious hints given by Mrs. Reed about my
disposition, &c.; the promise pledged by Mr. Brocklehurst to apprise
Miss Temple and the teachers of my vicious nature. All along I had
been dreading the fulfilment of this promise,--I had been looking
out daily for the "Coming Man," whose information respecting my past
life and conversation was to brand me as a bad child for ever: now
there he was.

He stood at Miss Temple's side; he was speaking low in her ear: I
did not doubt he was making disclosures of my villainy; and I
watched her eye with painful anxiety, expecting every moment to see
its dark orb turn on me a glance of repugnance and contempt. I
listened too; and as I happened to be seated quite at the top of the
room, I caught most of what he said: its import relieved me from
immediate apprehension.

"I suppose, Miss Temple, the thread I bought at Lowton will do; it
struck me that it would be just of the quality for the calico
chemises, and I sorted the needles to match. You may tell Miss
Smith that I forgot to make a memorandum of the darning needles, but
she shall have some papers sent in next week; and she is not, on any
account, to give out more than one at a time to each pupil: if they
have more, they are apt to be careless and lose them. And, O ma'am!
I wish the woollen stockings were better looked to!--when I was here
last, I went into the kitchen-garden and examined the clothes drying
on the line; there was a quantity of black hose in a very bad state
of repair: from the size of the holes in them I was sure they had
not been well mended from time to time."

He paused.

"Your directions shall be attended to, sir," said Miss Temple.

"And, ma'am," he continued, "the laundress tells me some of the
girls have two clean tuckers in the week: it is too much; the rules
limit them to one."

"I think I can explain that circumstance, sir. Agnes and Catherine
Johnstone were invited to take tea with some friends at Lowton last
Thursday, and I gave them leave to put on clean tuckers for the
occasion."

Mr. Brocklehurst nodded.

"Well, for once it may pass; but please not to let the circumstance
occur too often. And there is another thing which surprised me; I
find, in settling accounts with the housekeeper, that a lunch,
consisting of bread and cheese, has twice been served out to the
girls during the past fortnight. How is this? I looked over the
regulations, and I find no such meal as lunch mentioned. Who
introduced this innovation? and by what authority?"

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