I was glad of it: I never liked long walks,especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by theconsciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.
The said Eliza, John, and Georgiana were now clustered round their mama in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by thefireside, and with her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling nor crying) looked perfectly happy. Me, she had dispensed from joining the group; saying, "She regretted to be under thenecessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation, that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlikedisposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner --something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were-- she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, littlechildren."
"What does Bessie say I have done?" I asked.
"Jane, I don't like cavillers or questioners; besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Beseated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent."
A breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room, I slipped in there. It contained a bookcase: I soon possessed myself of a volume,taking care that it should be one stored with pictures. I mounted into the window-seat: gathering up my feet, I sat cross-legged, like a Turk; and, having drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close, I...