Reader, I finished it. Jane Eyre, that is; after reading a chapter or two a day for weeks, I gobbled up the last sixty or seventy pages today, and am still not sure how to think about it. There is a fair amount of Gothic nonsense, and an almost intolerable quantity of Christian sanctimony (I am astonished to learn from Wikipedia that “In 1848 Elizabeth Rigby […], reviewing Jane Eyre in The Quarterly Review, found it ‘pre-eminently an anti-Christian composition'”), but I can see why Dostoevsky was so struck by it when he read a translation in Otechestvennye Zapiski (the same journal that was carrying his Netochka Nezvanova) — it could be called more a Russian novel in feeling than an English one. I’ll be mulling over its characters and conflicts for some time.
Of linguistic interest is an odd word that occurs in the portion I read today: lameter. It means, as I guessed from context, “a lame person; a cripple” (in the words of the OED’s 1901 entry), but the pronunciation was unexpected: /ˈleɪmɪtə(r)/ (three syllables, LAME-iter). For an etymology, the OED says (after the obvious information that it’s from lame) “the formation is obscure”; the DSL (it’s a Scots and dialectal word) is more precise: “Appar. from lamit, lamed, + –er, personal n.suff., in imitation of curator, debitor, servitor, etc.” S. R. Crockett’s Men of Moss-hags (1895) provides a fine quote for both reference works to cite: “A foot … came into the passage, dunt-duntin’ like a lameter hirplin’ on two staves.”