A chapter having been read through twice, the books were closed and the girls examined. The lesson had comprised part of the reign of Charles I, and there were sundry questions about tonnage and poundage and ship-money, which most of them appeared unable to answer; still every little difficulty was solved instantly when it reached Burns: her memory seemed to have retained the substance of the whole lesson, and she was ready with answers on every point. (Jane Eyre)

What do ‘still,’ ‘little,’ means respectively, and what does the highlighted part all mean?

2 Answers 2


The passage could be rewritten like this:

The questions (about commercial shipping) were very difficult. However, every single question was solved instantly when it reached Burns...

The passage as a whole describes how Burns was a genius (at least in this subject), and was able to crack any problem thrown at her about tonnage, poundage, and ship-money.

The word still is being used as an adverb, meaning "nevertheless."

The words every little difficulty refer to "each puzzling problem" accompanying the lesson.


It means that despite the problems were extremely hard to solve for everybody else, Burns solved them very quickly. All of them. Every last one of them, to the last detail.

still = even with the situation being how it is

little = even the smallest problem and even the smallest details of those problems

  • Shoona, welcome to English Language Learners! Great first answer :) +1, hope you stick around!
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 5, 2013 at 3:38

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