Jane Eyre (Chapter 9, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 9

But the privations, or rather the hardships, of Lowood lessened.
Spring drew on: she was indeed already come; the frosts of winter
had ceased; its snows were melted, its cutting winds ameliorated.
My wretched feet, flayed and swollen to lameness by the sharp air of
January, began to heal and subside under the gentler breathings of
April; the nights and mornings no longer by their Canadian
temperature froze the very blood in our veins; we could now endure
the play-hour passed in the garden: sometimes on a sunny day it
began even to be pleasant and genial, and a greenness grew over
those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought
that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter
traces of her steps. Flowers peeped out amongst the leaves; snow-
drops, crocuses, purple auriculas, and golden-eyed pansies. On
Thursday afternoons (half-holidays) we now took walks, and found
still sweeter flowers opening by the wayside, under the hedges.

I discovered, too, that a great pleasure, an enjoyment which the
horizon only bounded, lay all outside the high and spike-guarded
walls of our garden: this pleasure consisted in prospect of noble
summits girdling a great hill-hollow, rich in verdure and shadow; in
a bright beck, full of dark stones and sparkling eddies. How
different had this scene looked when I viewed it laid out beneath
the iron sky of winter, stiffened in frost, shrouded with snow!--
when mists as chill as death wandered to the impulse of east winds
along those purple peaks, and rolled down "ing" and holm till they
blended with the frozen fog of the beck! That beck itself was then
a torrent, turbid and curbless: it tore asunder the wood, and sent
a raving sound through the air, often thickened with wild rain or
whirling sleet; and for the forest on its banks, THAT showed only
ranks of skeletons.

April advanced to May: a bright serene May it was; days of blue
sky, placid sunshine, and soft western or southern gales filled up
its duration. And now vegetation matured with vigour; Lowood shook
loose its tresses; it became all green, all flowery; its great elm,
ash, and oak skeletons were restored to majestic life; woodland
plants sprang up profusely in its recesses; unnumbered varieties of
moss filled its hollows, and it made a strange ground-sunshine out
of the wealth of its wild primrose plants: I have seen their pale
gold gleam in overshadowed spots like scatterings of the sweetest
lustre. All this I enjoyed often and fully, free, unwatched, and
almost alone: for this unwonted liberty and pleasure there was a
cause, to which it now becomes my task to advert.

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