1. With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy: happy, at least in my way. I feared nothing but interruption, and that came too soon. The breakfast-room door opened.
2. “Boh! Madam Mope!” cried the voice of John Reed; then, he paused: he found the room apparently empty
“Where the dickens is she!” he continued. “Lizzy! Georgy! (calling to his sisters) Jane is not here: tell mama she is run out into the rain - bad animal!”
3. “Glad I drew the curtain,” thought
I; and I wished fervently
my hiding place. John Reed could not have found it out himself; he was not quick either of vision
, but Eliza just put her head in at the door and said at once; -
“She is in the window seat, John.”
4. And I came out immediately
, for I trembled at the idea of being dragged forth by John.
“What do you want?” I asked, with shyness.
“Say, ‘What do you want, Master Reed?’” was John’s answer. “I want you to come here,” and seating himself in an arm-chair, he showed by a gesture
that I was to approach
and stand before him.
5. John Reed was a schoolboy of fourteen years old; four years older than I, for I was but ten. Large and stout
for his age, with a dingy
and unwholesome skin, thick lines in a large face, heavy limbs, and large extremities. He gorged himself habitually at the table
, which made him gave him a dim
and bleared eye and flabby cheeks. He ought now to have been at school, but his mama had taken him home for a month or two, “on account
of his delicate health
.” Mr. Miles, the master
, affirmed that he would do very well if he had fewer cakes and sweetmeats, but the mother’s heart
turned from opinion
rather to the more refined
idea that John’s sickness was due to over-word and, perhaps, to missing after home.
6. John had not much affection
for his mother and sisters, and antipathy
toward me. He bullied and punished me, not two or three times in the week, nor once or twice in the day, but continually: every nerve
I had feared him, and every morsel
of flesh in my bones shrank when he came near. There were moments when I was bewildered
by the terror
because I had no safety from his threats or his punishments.
7. The servants did not like to offend
their young master
by taking my side against him, and Mrs. Reed was blind
and deaf on the subject
: she never saw him strike
or heard him abuse
me, though he did both now and then in her very presence
. More frequently
, however, he did it behind her back.