Mrs. Reed and I were left alone: some minutes passed in silence; she was
sewing, I was watching her. Mrs. Reed might be at that time some six or
seven and thirty; she was a woman of robust frame, square-shouldered and
strong-limbed, not tall, and, though stout, not obese: she had a somewhat
large face, the under jaw being much developed and very solid; her brow
was low, her chin large and prominent, mouth and nose sufficiently
regular; under her light eyebrows glimmered an eye devoid of ruth; her
skin was dark and opaque, her hair nearly flaxen; her constitution was
sound as a bell--illness never came near her; she was an exact, clever
manager; her household and tenantry were thoroughly under her control;
her children only at times defied her authority and laughed it to scorn;
she dressed well, and had a presence and port calculated to set off
Sitting on a low stool, a few yards from her arm-chair, I examined her
figure; I perused her features. In my hand I held the tract containing
the sudden death of the Liar, to which narrative my attention had been
pointed as to an appropriate warning. What had just passed; what Mrs.
Reed had said concerning me to Mr. Brocklehurst; the whole tenor of their
conversation, was recent, raw, and stinging in my mind; I had felt every
word as acutely as I had heard it plainly, and a passion of resentment
fomented now within me.
Mrs. Reed looked up from her work; her eye settled on mine, her fingers
at the same time suspended their nimble movements.