The appropriately named housekeeper at Jane Eyre’s orphanage has qualities the patron of the establishment values. He believes – firmly – that little tikes living on charity need to be regularly reminded how lucky they are to have a crust to eat.
Nowadays he’d probably be locked up as a perv.
‘Mrs. Harden, be it observed, was the housekeeper: a woman after Mr. Brocklehurst’s own heart, made up of equal parts of whalebone and iron.’
Source: Charlotte Bronte,Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books, 2012 (1847)), p. 90