I did so; a brief examination convinced me that the contents were less
taking than the title: "Rasselas" looked dull to my trifling taste; I saw
nothing about fairies, nothing about genii; no bright variety seemed
spread over the closely-printed pages. I returned it to her; she
received it quietly, and without saying anything she was about to relapse
into her former studious mood: again I ventured to disturb her--
"Can you tell me what the writing on that stone over the door means? What
is Lowood Institution?"
"This house where you are come to live."
"And why do they call it Institution? Is it in any way different from
"It is partly a charity-school: you and I, and all the rest of us, are
charity-children. I suppose you are an orphan: are not either your
father or your mother dead?"
"Both died before I can remember."
"Well, all the girls here have lost either one or both parents, and this
is called an institution for educating orphans."
"Do we pay no money? Do they keep us for nothing?"