PART ONE - LIFE AT GATESHEAD
John did not love his mother or his sisters, and he hated me. He was always cruel to me. Sometimes he hit me, and sometimes he just threatened me. But I was always afraid when he was near. I did not know how to make him treat me well. The servants did not want to make him angry, so they did whatever he wanted. Mrs. Reed, his mother, loved him too much and thought he never did anything wrong.
While I walked over to John I thought about how ugly he was. I think he knew what I was thinking, because he suddenly hit me hard on the face.
"That is for your rudeness to Mamma just now," he said,"and for hiding, and for looking at me like that, you dirty little rat!" I was too afraid of John to hit him back.
"Now, what were you doing behind that curtain?" he asked.
"I was reading," I answered softly.
"Give me the book." I gave it to him.
"You can't touch these books!" he said."You have no money, because your father gave you nothing when he died. You're nothing but a poor street rat. You ought to beg in the city, not live here with a gentleman's family. Anyway, all these books are mine, and so is the whole house! I'll teach you not to touch my things again!" Before I could run away, he lifted the heavy book and threw it hard at me.