"Jane Eyre"
by Charlotte Bronte

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     "Well, you know Missis always said they were poor and quite despicable: and they may be poor; but I believe they are as much gentry as the Reeds are; for one day, nearly seven years ago, a Mr. Eyre came to Gateshead and wanted to see you; Missis said you were at school fifty miles off; he seemed so much disappointed, for he could not stay: he was going on a voyage to a foreign country, and the ship was to sail from London in a day or two. He looked quite a gentleman, and I believe he was your father's brother."

     "What foreign country was he going to, Bessie?"

     "An island thousands of miles off, where they make wine--the butler did tell me--"


     "Madeira?" I suggested.

     "Yes, that is it--that is the very word."

     "So he went?"

     "Yes; he did not stay many minutes in the house: Missis was very high with him; she called him afterwards a 'sneaking tradesman.' My Robert believes he was a wine-merchant."

     "Very likely," I returned; "or perhaps clerk or agent to a wine-merchant."

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