Jane Eyre (Chapter 8, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 8

Ere the half-hour ended, five o'clock struck; school was dismissed,
and all were gone into the refectory to tea. I now ventured to
descend: it was deep dusk; I retired into a corner and sat down on
the floor. The spell by which I had been so far supported began to
dissolve; reaction took place, and soon, so overwhelming was the
grief that seized me, I sank prostrate with my face to the ground.
Now I wept: Helen Burns was not here; nothing sustained me; left to
myself I abandoned myself, and my tears watered the boards. I had
meant to be so good, and to do so much at Lowood: to make so many
friends, to earn respect and win affection. Already I had made
visible progress: that very morning I had reached the head of my
class; Miss Miller had praised me warmly; Miss Temple had smiled
approbation; she had promised to teach me drawing, and to let me
learn French, if I continued to make similar improvement two months
longer: and then I was well received by my fellow-pupils; treated
as an equal by those of my own age, and not molested by any; now,
here I lay again crushed and trodden on; and could I ever rise more?

"Never," I thought; and ardently I wished to die. While sobbing out
this wish in broken accents, some one approached: I started up--
again Helen Burns was near me; the fading fires just showed her
coming up the long, vacant room; she brought my coffee and bread.

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