Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre: Ch. 10

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Replies rose smooth and prompt now:—

“You must enclose the advertisement and the money to pay for it under a cover directed to the editor of the Herald; you must put it, the first opportunity you have, into the post at Lowton; answers must be addressed to J.E., at the post-office there; you can go and inquire in about a week after you send your letter, if any are come, and act accordingly.”

This scheme I went over twice, thrice; it was then digested in my mind; I had it in a clear practical form: I felt satisfied, and fell asleep.

With earliest day, I was up: I had my advertisement written, enclosed, and directed before the bell rang to rouse the school; it ran thus:—

“A young lady accustomed to tuitionw” (had I not been a teacher two years?) “is desirous of meeting with a situation in a private family where the children are under fourteen (I thought that as I was barely eighteen, it would not do to undertake the guidance of pupils nearer my own age).  She is qualified to teach the usual branches of a good English education,d together with French, Drawing, and Music” (in those days, reader, this now narrow catalogue of accomplishments, would have been held tolerably comprehensive).  “Address, J.E., Post-office, Lowton, ---shire.”

This document remained locked in my drawer all day: after tea, I asked leave of the new superintendent to go to Lowton, in order to perform some small commissions for myself and one or two of my fellow-teachers; permission was readily granted; I went.  It was a walk of two miles, and the evening was wet, but the days were still long; I visited a shop or two, slipped the letter into the post-office, and came back through heavy rain, with streaming garments, but with a relieved heart.

The succeeding week seemed long: it came to an end at last, however, like all sublunaryw things, and once more, towards the close of a pleasant autumn day, I found myself afoot on the road to Lowton.  A picturesque track it was, by the way; lying along the side of the beck and through the sweetest curves of the dale: but that day I thought more of the letters, that might or might not be awaiting me at the little burgh whither I was bound, than of the charms of lea and water.

My ostensible errand on this occasion was to get measured for a pair of shoes; so I discharged that business first, and when it was done, I stepped across the clean and quiet little street from the shoemaker’s to the post-office: it was kept by an old dame, who wore horn spectacles on her nose, and black mittens on her hands.

“Are there any letters for J.E.?” I asked.

She peered at me over her spectacles, and then she opened a drawer and fumbled among its contents for a long time, so long that my hopes began to falter.  At last, having held a document before her glasses for nearly five minutes, she presented it across the counter, accompanying the act by another inquisitive and mistrustful glance—it was for J.E.

“Is there only one?” I demanded.

“There are no more,” said she; and I put it in my pocket and turned my face homeward: I could not open it then; rules obliged me to be back by eight, and it was already half-past seven.

Various duties awaited me on my arrival.  I had to sit with the girls during their hour of study; then it was my turn to read prayers; to see them to bed: afterwards I supped with the other teachers.  Even when we finally retired for the night, the inevitable Miss Gryce was still my companion:(d) we had only a short end of candle in our candlestick, and I dreaded lest she should talk till it was all burnt out; fortunately, however, the heavy supper she had eaten produced a soporific effect: she was already snoring before I had finished undressing.  There still remained an inch of candle: I now took out my letter; the seal was an initial F.; I broke it; the contents were brief.

X [w] tuition

Teaching.

X [d] the usual branches of a good English educatio…

Education

For a girl this would include handwriting, grammar, geography, some arithmetic, as well as deportment. 

X [w] sublunary

Literally, under the moon; hence, earthly, mundane.

Before about 1600 everything from the moon outward was considered heavenly and perfect. Then Galileo's telescope revealed imperfections in the moon, and Kepler's speculations indicated that the planetary orbits were not perfect circles and but instead elliptical and imperfect. 

X [(d)] Even when we finally retired for the night, t…

Illustration.