PART ONE - LIFE AT GATESHEAD
It hit me and I fell, cutting my head on the door. I was in great pain, and suddenly for the first time in my life, I was so angry that I forgot my fear of John Reed.
"You awful, cruel boy!" I shouted at him. "Why did you hit me? I haven't done anything to you. You don't even read those books, anyway. You are nothing but a stupid pig! You are as bad as a murderer!"
"What! What!" he screamed. "How dare you say these things to me? Do you hear this, sisters? I'll tell Mamma, but first..."
He ran to attack me, but now he was fighting with an angry girl. In those moments I really thought he was as bad as a murderer. I felt the blood running down my face, and the pain gave me strength. I fought him as hard as I could, kicking and biting. My strength surprised him, and he shouted for help. His sisters ran and told their mother. She called Bessie and Miss Abbott, her maid. They pulled us apart and I heard them say,"What a wild little animal! She attacked Master John!"
Mrs. Reed said calmly, "Take her away to the red room and lock her in there." And so they took me upstairs.