Jane Eyre HTML version

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 entrusted 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.
Miss Temple, through all changes, had thus far continued superintendent of the
seminary: to her instruction I owed the best part of my acquirements; her
friendship and society had been my continual solace; she had stood me in the
stead of mother, governess, and, latterly, companion. At this period she married,
removed with her husband (a clergyman, an excellent man, almost worthy of
such a wife) to a distant county, and consequently was lost to me.
From the day she left I was no longer the same: with her was gone every settled
feeling, every association that had made Lowood in some degree a home to me.
I had imbibed from her something of her nature and much of her habits: more