Jane Eyre (Chapter 4, page 1 of 13)

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Chapter 4

From my discourse with Mr. Lloyd, and from the above reported
conference between Bessie and Abbot, I gathered enough of hope to
suffice as a motive for wishing to get well: a change seemed near,-
-I desired and waited it in silence. It tarried, however: days and
weeks passed: I had regained my normal state of health, but no new
allusion was made to the subject over which I brooded. Mrs. Reed
surveyed me at times with a severe eye, but seldom addressed me:
since my illness, she had drawn a more marked line of separation
than ever between me and her own children; appointing me a small
closet to sleep in by myself, condemning me to take my meals alone,
and pass all my time in the nursery, while my cousins were
constantly in the drawing-room. Not a hint, however, did she drop
about sending me to school: still I felt an instinctive certainty
that she would not long endure me under the same roof with her; for
her glance, now more than ever, when turned on me, expressed an
insuperable and rooted aversion.

Eliza and Georgiana, evidently acting according to orders, spoke to
me as little as possible: John thrust his tongue in his cheek
whenever he saw me, and once attempted chastisement; but as I
instantly turned against him, roused by the same sentiment of deep
ire and desperate revolt which had stirred my corruption before, he
thought it better to desist, and ran from me tittering execrations,
and vowing I had burst his nose. I had indeed levelled at that
prominent feature as hard a blow as my knuckles could inflict; and
when I saw that either that or my look daunted him, I had the
greatest inclination to follow up my advantage to purpose; but he
was already with his mama. I heard him in a blubbering tone
commence the tale of how "that nasty Jane Eyre" had flown at him
like a mad cat: he was stopped rather harshly "Don't talk to me about her, John: I told you not to go near her;
she is not worthy of notice; I do not choose that either you or your
sisters should associate with her."

Here, leaning over the banister, I cried out suddenly, and without
at all deliberating on my words "They are not fit to associate with me."

Mrs. Reed was rather a stout woman; but, on hearing this strange and
audacious declaration, she ran nimbly up the stair, swept me like a
whirlwind into the nursery, and crushing me down on the edge of my
crib, dared me in an emphatic voice to rise from that place, or
utter one syllable during the remainder of the day.

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