Jane Eyre (Chapter 8, page 2 of 7)


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Chapter 8

"Mr. Brocklehurst is not a god: nor is he even a great and admired
man: he is little liked here; he never took steps to make himself
liked. Had he treated you as an especial favourite, you would have
found enemies, declared or covert, all around you; as it is, the
greater number would offer you sympathy if they dared. Teachers and
pupils may look coldly on you for a day or two, but friendly
feelings are concealed in their hearts; and if you persevere in
doing well, these feelings will ere long appear so much the more
evidently for their temporary suppression. Besides, Jane"--she
paused.

"Well, Helen?" said I, putting my hand into hers: she chafed my
fingers gently to warm them, and went on "If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own
conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not
be without friends."

"No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough:
if others don't love me I would rather die than live--I cannot bear
to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real
affection from you, or Miss Temple, or any other whom I truly love,
I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to
let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it
dash its hoof at my chest--"

"Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are
too impulsive, too vehement; the sovereign hand that created your
frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources
than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides
this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world
and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is
everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to
guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us
on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures,
recognise our innocence (if innocent we be: as I know you are of
this charge which Mr. Brocklehurst has weakly and pompously repeated
at second-hand from Mrs. Reed; for I read a sincere nature in your
ardent eyes and on your clear front), and God waits only the
separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward.
Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life
is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness--
to glory?"

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