This is a generous comment on Jane Eyre’s wicked stepmother, whose husband extracts a promise from her on his death-bed, pressing her to take responsibility for his young ward. Not only does she never love the ‘strange child’, she nearly crushes her. Bizarrely, decades later, she summons Jane to her own death-bed, not for any reconciliation, but rather to affirm her dislike.
‘It must have been most irksome to find herself bound by a hard-wrung pledge to stand in the stead of a parent to a strange child she could not love.’
Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books, 2012 (1847)), p. 14