"I don't know. I asked Aunt Reed once, and she said possibly I might
have some poor, low relations called Eyre, but she knew nothing about
"If you had such, would you like to go to them?"
I reflected. Poverty looks grim to grown people; still more so to
children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable
poverty; they think of the word only as connected with ragged clothes,
scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners, and debasing vices: poverty
for me was synonymous with degradation.
"No; I should not like to belong to poor people," was my reply.
"Not even if they were kind to you?"
I shook my head: I could not see how poor people had the means of being
kind; and then to learn to speak like them, to adopt their manners, to be
uneducated, to grow up like one of the poor women I saw sometimes nursing
their children or washing their clothes at the cottage doors of the
village of Gateshead: no, I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at
the price of caste.
"But are your relatives so very poor? Are they working people?"