Jane Eyre (Chapter 10, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 10

Hitherto I have recorded in detail the events of my insignificant
existence: to the first ten years of my life I have given almost as
many chapters. But this is not to be a regular autobiography. I am
only bound to invoke Memory where I know her responses will possess
some degree of interest; therefore I now pass a space of eight years
almost in silence: a few lines only are necessary to keep up the
links of connection.

When the typhus fever had fulfilled its mission of devastation at
Lowood, it gradually disappeared from thence; but not till its
virulence and the number of its victims had drawn public attention
on the school. Inquiry was made into the origin of the scourge, and
by degrees various facts came out which excited public indignation
in a high degree. The unhealthy nature of the site; the quantity
and quality of the children's food; the brackish, fetid water used
in its preparation; the pupils' wretched clothing and
accommodations--all these things were discovered, and the discovery
produced a result mortifying to Mr. Brocklehurst, but beneficial to
the institution.

Several wealthy and benevolent individuals in the county subscribed
largely for the erection of a more convenient building in a better
situation; new regulations were made; improvements in diet and
clothing introduced; the funds of the school were intrusted to the
management of a committee. Mr. Brocklehurst, who, from his wealth
and family connections, could not be overlooked, still retained the
post of treasurer; but he was aided in the discharge of his duties
by gentlemen of rather more enlarged and sympathising minds: his
office of inspector, too, was shared by those who knew how to
combine reason with strictness, comfort with economy, compassion
with uprightness. The school, thus improved, became in time a truly
useful and noble institution. I remained an inmate of its walls,
after its regeneration, for eight years: six as pupil, and two as
teacher; and in both capacities I bear my testimony to its value and
importance.

During these eight years my life was uniform: but not unhappy,
because it was not inactive. I had the means of an excellent
education placed within my reach; a fondness for some of my studies,
and a desire to excel in all, together with a great delight in
pleasing my teachers, especially such as I loved, urged me on: I
availed myself fully of the advantages offered me. In time I rose
to be the first girl of the first class; then I was invested with
the office of teacher; which I discharged with zeal for two years:
but at the end of that time I altered.

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