Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting: as interesting as the tales Bessie sometimes narrated on winter evenings, when she chanced to be in good humour; and when, having brought her ironing-table to the nursery-hearth, she allowed us to sit about it, and while she got up Mrs. Reed’s lace frills, and crimped her night-cap borders, fed our eager attention with passages of love and adventure taken from the old fairy tales and older ballads or (as at a later period I discovered) from the pages of Pamela, and Henry, Earl of Moreland.
With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy: happy at least in my way.
– Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre, Chapter 1. From early in her life Jane is eager to learn about the world and she soaks up knowledge from books and tales told to her by her nursemaid Bessie Lee. Bessie shows some kindness by reading to her. This passage emphasies 10-year-old Jane’s isolation as she sits alone in a window seat reading Bewick’s History of British Birds, where each picture has a story to tell her.