Five o'clock had hardly struck on the morning of the 19th of January,
when Bessie brought a candle into my closet and found me already up and
nearly dressed. I had risen half-an-hour before her entrance, and had
washed my face, and put on my clothes by the light of a half-moon just
setting, whose rays streamed through the narrow window near my crib. I
was to leave Gateshead that day by a coach which passed the lodge gates
at six a.m. Bessie was the only person yet risen; she had lit a fire in
the nursery, where she now proceeded to make my breakfast. Few children
can eat when excited with the thoughts of a journey; nor could I. Bessie,
having pressed me in vain to take a few spoonfuls of the boiled milk and
bread she had prepared for me, wrapped up some biscuits in a paper and
put them into my bag; then she helped me on with my pelisse and bonnet,
and wrapping herself in a shawl, she and I left the nursery. As we
passed Mrs. Reed's bedroom, she said, "Will you go in and bid Missis good-bye?"
"No, Bessie: she came to my crib last night when you were gone down to
supper, and said I need not disturb her in the morning, or my cousins
either; and she told me to remember that she had always been my best
friend, and to speak of her and be grateful to her accordingly."
"What did you say, Miss?"
"Nothing: I covered my face with the bedclothes, and turned from her to
"That was wrong, Miss Jane."
"It was quite right, Bessie. Your Missis has not been my friend: she has
been my foe."