'Of Mr. Reed's ghost I am: he died in that room, and was laid outthere. Neither Bessie nor any one else will go into it at night, ifthey can help it; and it was cruel to shut me up alone without acandle,- so cruel that I think I shall never forget it.'。， FROM my discourse with Mr. Lloyd, and from the above reportedconference between Bessie and Abbot, I gathered enough of hope tosuffice as a motive for wishing to get well: a change seemed near,-I desired and waited it in silence. It tarried, however: days andweeks passed: I had regained my normal state of health, but no newallusion was made to the subject over which I brooded. Mrs. Reedsurveyed me at times with a severe eye, but seldom addressed me: sincemy illness, she had drawn a more marked line of separation than everbetween me and her own children; appointing me a small closet to sleepin by myself, condemning me to take my meals alone, and pass all mytime in the nursery, while my cousins were constantly in thedrawing-room. Not a hint, however, did she drop about sending me toschool: still I felt an instinctive certainty that she would notlong endure me under the same roof with her; for her glance, nowmore than ever, when turned on me, expressed an insuperable and rootedaversion.
It was the fifteenth of January, about nine o'clock in the morning:Bessie was gone down to breakfast; my cousins had not yet beensummoned to their mama; Eliza was putting on her bonnet and warmgarden-coat to go and feed her poultry, an occupation of which she wasfond: and not less so of selling the eggs to the housekeeper andhoarding up the money she thus obtained. She had a turn for traffic,and a marked propensity for saving; shown not only in the vending ofeggs and chickens, but also in driving hard bargains with the gardenerabout flower-roots, seeds, and slips of plants; that functionaryhaving orders from Mrs. Reed to buy of his young lady all the productsof her parterre she wished to sell: and Eliza would have sold the hairoff her head if she could have made a handsome profit thereby. As toher money, she first secreted it in odd corners, wrapped in a rag oran old curl-paper; but some of these hoards having been discoveredby the housemaid, Eliza, fearful of one day losing her valuedtreasure, consented to intrust it to her mother, at a usurious rate ofinterest- fifty or sixty per cent.; which interest she exacted everyquarter, keeping her accounts in a little book with anxious accuracy.。， The lady I had left might be about twenty-nine; the one who wentwith me appeared some years younger: the first impressed me by hervoice, look, and air. Miss Miller was more ordinary; ruddy incomplexion, though of a careworn countenance; hurried in gait andaction, like one who had always a multiplicity of tasks on hand: shelooked, indeed, what I afterwards found she really was, anunder-teacher. Led by her, I passed from compartment to compartment,from passage to passage, of a large and irregular building; till,emerging from the total and somewhat dreary silence pervading thatportion of the house we had traversed, we came upon the hum of manyvoices, and presently entered a wide, long room, with great dealtables, two at each end, on each of which burnt a pair of candles, andseated all round on benches, a congregation of girls of every age,from nine or ten to twenty. Seen by the dim light of the dips, theirnumber to me appeared countless, though not in reality exceedingeighty; they were uniformly dressed in brown stuff frocks of quaintfashion, and long holland pinafores. It was the hour of study; theywere engaged in conning over their to-morrow's task, and the hum I hadheard was the combined result of their whispered repetitions.
Soon after five P.M. we had another meal, consisting of a small mugof coffee, and half a slice of brown bread. I devoured my bread anddrank my coffee with relish; but I should have been glad of as muchmore- I was still hungry. Half an hour's recreation succeeded, thenstudy; then the glass of water and the piece of oat-cake, prayers, andbed. Such was my first day at Lowood.。，
， I explained to her that I had no parents. She inquired how longthey had been dead: then how old I was, what was my name, whether Icould read, write, and sew a little: then she touched my cheekgently with her forefinger, and saying, 'She hoped I should be agood child,' dismissed me along with Miss Miller.。，