Jane Eyre (Chapter 3, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 3

The next thing I remember is, waking up with a feeling as if I had
had a frightful nightmare, and seeing before me a terrible red
glare, crossed with thick black bars. I heard voices, too, speaking
with a hollow sound, and as if muffled by a rush of wind or water:
agitation, uncertainty, and an all-predominating sense of terror
confused my faculties. Ere long, I became aware that some one was
handling me; lifting me up and supporting me in a sitting posture,
and that more tenderly than I had ever been raised or upheld before.
I rested my head against a pillow or an arm, and felt easy.

In five minutes more the cloud of bewilderment dissolved: I knew
quite well that I was in my own bed, and that the red glare was the
nursery fire. It was night: a candle burnt on the table; Bessie
stood at the bed-foot with a basin in her hand, and a gentleman sat
in a chair near my pillow, leaning over me.

I felt an inexpressible relief, a soothing conviction of protection
and security, when I knew that there was a stranger in the room, an
individual not belonging to Gateshead., and not related to Mrs.
Reed. Turning from Bessie (though her presence was far less
obnoxious to me than that of Abbot, for instance, would have been),
I scrutinised the face of the gentleman: I knew him; it was Mr.
Lloyd, an apothecary, sometimes called in by Mrs. Reed when the
servants were ailing: for herself and the children she employed a
physician.

"Well, who am I?" he asked.

I pronounced his name, offering him at the same time my hand: he
took it, smiling and saying, "We shall do very well by-and-by."
Then he laid me down, and addressing Bessie, charged her to be very
careful that I was not disturbed during the night. Having given
some further directions, and intimates that he should call again the
next day, he departed; to my grief: I felt so sheltered and
befriended while he sat in the chair near my pillow; and as he
closed the door after him, all the room darkened and my heart again
sank: inexpressible sadness weighed it down.

"Do you feel as if you should sleep, Miss?" asked Bessie, rather
softly.

Scarcely dared I answer her; for I feared the next sentence might be
rough. "I will try."

"Would you like to drink, or could you eat anything?"

"No, thank you, Bessie."

"Then I think I shall go to bed, for it is past twelve o'clock; but
you may call me if you want anything in the night."

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