This precious vessel was now placed on my knee, and I was cordially invited to eat the circlet of delicate pastry upon it. Vain favour! coming, like most other favours long deferred and often wished for, too late! I could not eat the tart; and the plumage of the bird, the tints of the flowers, seemed strangely faded: I put both plate and tart away.
– Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre, Chapter 3. Bessie hands Jane some delicate pastry on a bright china plate with a picture of a bird of paradise painted on it. Having always admired the plate Jane had often asked to be allowed hold it, but was refused. Now when Bessie offers her the plate with some tart, it is ironic that Jane no longer wants it. The bird’s plumage are said to be “strangely faded,” representing Jane’s feelings after her traumatic experience of being locked in the red room.