"Helen, why do you stay with a girl whom everybody believes to be a
"Everybody, Jane? Why, there are only eighty people who have heard you
called so, and the world contains hundreds of millions."
"But what have I to do with millions? The eighty, I know, despise me."
"Jane, you are mistaken: probably not one in the school either despises
or dislikes you: many, I am sure, pity you much."
"How can they pity me after what Mr. Brocklehurst has said?"
"Mr. Brocklehurst is not a god: nor is he even a great and admired man:
he is little liked here; he never took steps to make himself liked. Had
he treated you as an especial favourite, you would have found enemies,
declared or covert, all around you; as it is, the greater number would
offer you sympathy if they dared. Teachers and pupils may look coldly on
you for a day or two, but friendly feelings are concealed in their
hearts; and if you persevere in doing well, these feelings will ere long
appear so much the more evidently for their temporary suppression.
Besides, Jane"--she paused.
"Well, Helen?" said I, putting my hand into hers: she chafed my fingers
gently to warm them, and went on--