rose and dressed, I thought over
what had happened, and wondered
if it were a dream. I could not
be certain of the reality till
I had seen Mr. Rochester again,
and heard him renew his words
of love and promise.
While arranging my hair, I
looked at my face in the glass,
and felt it was no longer plain:
there was hope in its aspect
and life in its colour; and my
eyes seemed as if they had beheld
the fount of fruition, and borrowed
beams from the lustrous ripple.
I had often been unwilling to
look at my master, because I
feared he could not be pleased
at my look; but I was sure I
might lift my face to his now,
and not cool his affection by
its expression. I took a plain
but clean and light summer dress
from my drawer and put it on:
it seemed no attire had ever
so well become me, because none
had I ever worn in so blissful
I was not surprised, when I
ran down into the hall, to see
that a brilliant June morning
had succeeded to the tempest
of the night; and to feel, through
the open glass door, the breathing
of a fresh and fragrant breeze.
Nature must be gladsome when
I was so happy. A beggar-woman
and her little boy--pale, ragged
objects both--were coming up
the walk, and I ran down and
gave them all the money I happened
to have in my purse--some three
or four shillings: good or bad,
they must partake of my jubilee.
The rooks cawed, and blither
birds sang; but nothing was so
merry or so musical as my own
me by looking
out of the
a sad countenance, and saying
gravely--"Miss Eyre, will you
come to breakfast?" During the
meal she was quiet and cool:
but I could not undeceive her
then. I must wait for my master
to give explanations; and so
must she. I ate what I could,
and then I hastened upstairs.
I met Adele leaving the schoolroom.
are you going?
It is time
sent me away
to the nursery."
"In there," pointing
to the apartment
she had left;
went in, and there he stood.
"Come and bid me good-morning," said
he. I gladly advanced; and it
was not merely a cold word now,
or even a shake of the hand that
I received, but an embrace and
a kiss. It seemed natural: it
seemed genial to be so well loved,
so caressed by him.
"Jane, you look blooming, and
smiling, and pretty," said he: "truly
pretty this morning. Is this
my pale, little elf? Is this
my mustard-seed? This little
sunny-faced girl with the dimpled
cheek and rosy lips; the satin-smooth
hazel hair, and the radiant hazel
eyes?" (I had green eyes, reader;
but you must excuse the mistake:
for him they were new-dyed, I
is Jane Eyre,
"Soon to be Jane Rochester," he
added: "in four weeks, Janet;
not a day more. Do you hear that?"
I did, and I could not quite
comprehend it: it made me giddy.
The feeling, the announcement
sent through me, was something
stronger than was consistent
with joy--something that smote
and stunned. It was, I think
now you are
white, Jane: what is that for?"
you gave me
a new name--Jane
seems so strange."
"Yes, Mrs. Rochester," said
he; "young Mrs. Rochester--Fairfax
can never be,
sir; it does
not sound likely. Human beings
never enjoy complete happiness
in this world. I was not born
for a different destiny to the
rest of my species: to imagine
such a lot befalling me is a
fairy tale--a day-dream."
I can and will
I wrote to my banker in London
to send me certain jewels he
has in his keeping,--heirlooms
for the ladies of Thornfield.
In a day or two I hope to pour
them into your lap: for every
privilege, every attention shall
be yours that I would accord
a peer's daughter, if about to
I don't like to hear them spoken
of. Jewels for Jane Eyre sounds
unnatural and strange: I would
rather not have them."
put the diamond
chain round your neck, and the
circlet on your forehead,--which
it will become: for nature, at
least, has stamped her patent
of nobility on this brow, Jane;
and I will clasp the bracelets
on these fine wrists, and load
these fairy- like fingers with
no, sir! think
of other subjects,
and speak of
things, and in another strain.
Don't address me as if I were
a beauty; I am your plain, Quakerish
are a beauty
in my eyes,
and a beauty just after the desire
of my heart,--delicate and aerial."
you mean. You
you are sneering. For God's sake
don't be ironical!"
"I will make the world acknowledge
you a beauty, too," he went on,
while I really became uneasy
at the strain he had adopted,
because I felt he was either
deluding himself or trying to
delude me. "I will attire my
Jane in satin and lace, and she
shall have roses in her hair;
and I will cover the head I love
best with a priceless veil."
then you won't
know me, sir;
and I shall
not be your
Jane Eyre any longer, but an
ape in a harlequin's jacket--a
jay in borrowed plumes. I would
as soon see you, Mr. Rochester,
tricked out in stage-trappings,
as myself clad in a court-lady's
robe; and I don't call you handsome,
sir, though I love you most dearly:
far too dearly to flatter you.
Don't flatter me."
without noticing my deprecation. "This
very day I shall take you in
the carriage to Millcote, and
you must choose some dresses
for yourself. I told you we shall
be married in four weeks. The
wedding is to take place quietly,
in the church down below yonder;
and then I shall waft you away
at once to town. After a brief
stay there, I shall bear my treasure
to regions nearer the sun: to
French vineyards and Italian
plains; and she shall see whatever
is famous in old story and in
modern record: she shall taste,
too, of the life of cities; and
she shall learn to value herself
by just comparison with others."
with you, sir?"
at Paris, Rome,
Venice, and Vienna: all the ground
I have wandered over shall be
re-trodden by you: wherever I
stamped my hoof, your sylph's
foot shall step also. Ten years
since, I flew through Europe
half mad; with disgust, hate,
and rage as my companions: now
I shall revisit it healed and
cleansed, with a very angel as
him as he said
this. "I am not an angel," I
asserted; "and I will not be
one till I die: I will be myself.
Mr. Rochester, you must neither
expect nor exact anything celestial
of me--for you will not get it,
any more than I shall get it
of you: which I do not at all
do you anticipate
a little while
you will perhaps
be as you are
very little while; and then you
will turn cool; and then you
will be capricious; and then
you will be stern, and I shall
have much ado to please you:
but when you get well used to
me, you will perhaps like me
again,--LIKE me, I say, not LOVE
me. I suppose your love will
effervesce in six months, or
less. I have observed in books
written by men, that period assigned
as the farthest to which a husband's
ardour extends. Yet, after all,
as a friend and companion, I
hope never to become quite distasteful
to my dear master."
and like you
again! I think I shall like you
again, and yet again: and I will
make you confess I do not only
LIKE, but LOVE you--with truth,
are you not
women who please
me only by
I am the very
devil when I find out they have
neither souls nor hearts--when
they open to me a perspective
of flatness, triviality, and
perhaps imbecility, coarseness,
and ill-temper: but to the clear
eye and eloquent tongue, to the
soul made of fire, and the character
that bends but does not break--at
once supple and stable, tractable
and consistent- -I am ever tender
you ever experience
of such a character,
sir? Did you
ever love such an one?"
love it now."
if I, indeed,
in any respect come up to your
never met your
me, and you
master me- -you seem to submit,
and I like the sense of pliancy
you impart; and while I am twining
the soft, silken skein round
my finger, it sends a thrill
up my arm to my heart. I am influenced--conquered;
and the influence is sweeter
than I can express; and the conquest
I undergo has a witchery beyond
any triumph I can win. Why do
you smile, Jane? What does that
inexplicable, that uncanny turn
of countenance mean?"
sir (you will
excuse the idea; it was involuntary),
I was thinking of Hercules and
Samson with their charmers--"
were, you little
sir! You don't
talk very wisely
just now; any
than those gentlemen acted very
wisely. However, had they been
married, they would no doubt
by their severity as husbands
have made up for their softness
as suitors; and so will you,
I fear. I wonder how you will
answer me a year hence, should
I ask a favour it does not suit
your convenience or pleasure
least thing: I desire to be entreated--"
I will, sir;
I have my petition
But if you
look up and
I shall swear concession before
I know to what, and that will
make a fool of me."
at all, sir;
I ask only
send for the
and don't crown me with roses:
you might as well put a border
of gold lace round that plain
pocket handkerchief you have
might as well
gold.' I know it: you request
is granted then--for the time.
I will remand the order I despatched
to my banker. But you have not
yet asked for anything; you have
prayed a gift to be withdrawn:
have the goodness
to gratify my curiosity, which
is much piqued on one point."
looked disturbed. "What?
what?" he said hastily. "Curiosity
is a dangerous petition: it is
well I have not taken a vow to
accord every request--"
there can be
no danger in
it, Jane: but
I wish that
a mere inquiry
into, perhaps, a secret, it was
a wish for half my estate."
What do I want
with half your
Do you think I am a Jew-usurer,
seeking good investment in land?
I would much rather have all
your confidence. You will not
exclude me from your confidence
if you admit me to your heart?"
to all my confidence
that is worth
Jane; but for God's sake, don't
desire a useless burden! Don't
long for poison--don't turn out
a downright Eve on my hands!"
not, sir? You
have just been
how much you
liked to be conquered, and how
pleasant over-persuasion is to
you. Don't you think I had better
take advantage of the confession,
and begin and coax and entreat--even
cry and be sulky if necessary--for
the sake of a mere essay of my
dare you to
any such experiment.
Encroach, presume, and the game
it, sir? You
soon give in.
How stern you
look now! Your
eyebrows have become as thick
as my finger, and your forehead
resembles what, in some very
astonishing poetry, I once saw
styled, 'a blue-piled thunderloft.'
That will be your married look,
sir, I suppose?"
that will be
look, I, as a Christian, will
soon give up the notion of consorting
with a mere sprite or salamander.
But what had you to ask, thing,--out
you are less
now; and I
deal better than flattery. I
had rather be a THING than an
angel. This is what I have to
ask,--Why did you take such pains
to make me believe you wished
to marry Miss Ingram?"
"Is that all? Thank God it
is no worse!" And now he unknit
his black brows; looked down,
smiling at me, and stroked my
hair, as if well pleased at seeing
a danger averted. "I think I
may confess," he continued, "even
although I should make you a
little indignant, Jane--and I
have seen what a fire-spirit
you can be when you are indignant.
You glowed in the cool moonlight
last night, when you mutinied
against fate, and claimed your
rank as my equal. Janet, by-the-bye,
it was you who made me the offer."
course I did.
But to the
point if you
I feigned courtship
of Miss Ingram, because I wished
to render you as madly in love
with me as I was with you; and
I knew jealousy would be the
best ally I could call in for
the furtherance of that end."
Now you are
one whit bigger
than the end
of my little finger. It was a
burning shame and a scandalous
disgrace to act in that way.
Did you think nothing of Miss
Ingram's feelings, sir?"
in one--pride; and that needs
humbling. Were you jealous, Jane?"
mind, Mr. Rochester:
it is in no way interesting to
you to know that. Answer me truly
once more. Do you think Miss
Ingram will not suffer from your
dishonest coquetry? Won't she
feel forsaken and deserted?"
I told you
how she, on
me: the idea of my insolvency
cooled, or rather extinguished,
her flame in a moment."
have a curious,
I am afraid
your principles on some points
they may have
grown a little
awry for want of attention."
may I enjoy
the great good
been vouchsafed to me, without
fearing that any one else is
suffering the bitter pain I myself
felt a while ago?"
you may, my
girl: there is not another being
in the world has the same pure
love for me as yourself--for
I lay that pleasant unction to
my soul, Jane, a belief in your
I turned my lips to the hand
that lay on my shoulder. I loved
him very much--more than I could
trust myself to say--more than
words had power to express.
"Ask something more," he said
presently; "it is my delight
to be entreated, and to yield."
was again ready
with my request. "Communicate
your intentions to Mrs. Fairfax,
sir: she saw me with you last
night in the hall, and she was
shocked. Give her some explanation
before I see her again. It pains
me to be misjudged by so good
"Go to your room, and put on
your bonnet," he replied. "I
mean you to accompany me to Millcote
this morning; and while you prepare
for the drive, I will enlighten
the old lady's understanding.
Did she think, Janet, you had
given the world for love, and
considered it well lost?"
thought I had
forgotten my station, and yours,
in my heart,
and on the
of those who would insult you,
now or hereafter.--Go."
I was soon dressed; and when
I heard Mr. Rochester quit Mrs.
Fairfax's parlour, I hurried
down to it. The old lady, had
been reading her morning portion
of Scripture--the Lesson for
the day; her Bible lay open before
her, and her spectacles were
upon it. Her occupation, suspended
by Mr. Rochester's announcement,
seemed now forgotten: her eyes,
fixed on the blank wall opposite,
expressed the surprise of a quiet
mind stirred by unwonted tidings.
Seeing me, she roused herself:
she made a sort of effort to
smile, and framed a few words
of congratulation; but the smile
expired, and the sentence was
abandoned unfinished. She put
up her spectacles, shut the Bible,
and pushed her chair back from
"I feel so astonished," she
began, "I hardly know what to
say to you, Miss Eyre. I have
surely not been dreaming, have
I? Sometimes I half fall asleep
when I am sitting alone and fancy
things that have never happened.
It has seemed to me more than
once when I have been in a doze,
that my dear husband, who died
fifteen years since, has come
in and sat down beside me; and
that I have even heard him call
me by my name, Alice, as he used
to do. Now, can you tell me whether
it is actually true that Mr.
Rochester has asked you to marry
him? Don't laugh at me. But I
really thought he came in here
five minutes ago, and said that
in a month you would be his wife."
"He has said the same thing
to me," I replied.
has! Do you
Have you accepted him?"
looked at me
could never have thought it.
He is a proud man: all the Rochesters
were proud: and his father, at
least, liked money. He, too,
has always been called careful.
He means to marry you?"
tells me so."
She surveyed my whole person:
in her eyes I read that they
had there found no charm powerful
enough to solve the enigma.
"It passes me!" she continued; "but
no doubt, it is true since you
say so. How it will answer, I
cannot tell: I really don't know.
Equality of position and fortune
is often advisable in such cases;
and there are twenty years of
difference in your ages. He might
almost be your father."
"No, indeed, Mrs. Fairfax!" exclaimed
I, nettled; "he is nothing like
my father! No one, who saw us
together, would suppose it for
an instant. Mr. Rochester looks
as young, and is as young, as
some men at five-and-twenty."
"Is it really for love he is
going to marry you?" she asked.
I was so hurt by her coldness
and scepticism, that the tears
rose to my eyes.
"I am sorry to grieve you," pursued
the widow; "but you are so young,
and so little acquainted with
men, I wished to put you on your
guard. It is an old saying that
'all is not gold that glitters;'
and in this case I do fear there
will be something found to be
different to what either you
or I expect."
"Why?--am I a monster?" I said: "is
it impossible that Mr. Rochester
should have a sincere affection
you are very
well; and much
late; and Mr.
Rochester, I daresay, is fond
of you. I have always noticed
that you were a sort of pet of
his. There are times when, for
your sake, I have been a little
uneasy at his marked preference,
and have wished to put you on
your guard: but I did not like
to suggest even the possibility
of wrong. I knew such an idea
would shock, perhaps offend you;
and you were so discreet, and
so thoroughly modest and sensible,
I hoped you might be trusted
to protect yourself. Last night
I cannot tell you what I suffered
when I sought all over the house,
and could find you nowhere, nor
the master either; and then,
at twelve o'clock, saw you come
in with him."
"Well, never mind that now," I
interrupted impatiently; "it
is enough that all was right."
"I hope all will be right in
the end," she said: "but believe
me, you cannot be too careful.
Try and keep Mr. Rochester at
a distance: distrust yourself
as well as him. Gentlemen in
his station are not accustomed
to marry their governesses."
I was growing truly irritated:
happily, Adele ran in.
"Let me go,--let me go to Millcote
too!" she cried. "Mr. Rochester
won't: though there is so much
room in the new carriage. Beg
him to let me go mademoiselle."
"That I will, Adele;" and
away with her,
to quit my gloomy monitress.
The carriage was ready: they
were bringing it round to the
front, and my master was the
pavement, Pilot following him
backwards and forwards.
us, may she
told her no.
I'll have no
brats!--I'll have only you."
let her go,
if you please: it would be better."
it: she will
be a restraint."
He was quite peremptory, both
in look and voice. The chill
of Mrs. Fairfax's warnings, and
the damp of her doubts were upon
me: something of unsubstantiality
and uncertainty had beset my
hopes. I half lost the sense
of power over him. I was about
mechanically to obey him, without
further remonstrance; but as
he helped me into the carriage,
he looked at my face.
"What is the matter?" he asked; "all
the sunshine is gone. Do you
really wish the bairn to go?
Will it annoy you if she is left
would far rather
she went, sir."
"Then off for your bonnet,
and back like a flash of lightning!" cried
he to Adele.
She obeyed him with what speed
"After all, a single morning's
interruption will not matter
much," said he, "when I mean
shortly to claim you--your thoughts,
conversation, and company--for
Adele, when lifted in, commenced
kissing me, by way of expressing
her gratitude for my intercession:
she was instantly stowed away
into a corner on the other side
of him. She then peeped round
to where I sat; so stern a neighbour
was too restrictive to him, in
his present fractious mood, she
dared whisper no observations,
nor ask of him any information.
"Let her come to me," I entreated: "she
will, perhaps, trouble you, sir:
there is plenty of room on this
over as if
she had been
a lapdog. "I'll send
her to school yet," he said,
but now he was smiling.
and asked if
she was to
go to school "sans
"Yes," he replied, "absolutely
sans mademoiselle; for I am to
take mademoiselle to the moon,
and there I shall seek a cave
in one of the white valleys among
the volcano-tops, and mademoiselle
shall live with me there, and
"She will have nothing to eat:
you will starve her," observed
manna for her
morning and night: the plains
and hillsides in the moon are
bleached with manna, Adele."
will want to
what will she do for a fire?"
rises out of
the lunar mountains:
when she is
I'll carry her up to a peak,
and lay her down on the edge
of a crater."
qu' elle y
comfortable! And her clothes,
they will wear out: how can she
get new ones?"
to be puzzled. "Hem!" said he. "What
would you do, Adele? Cudgel your
brains for an expedient. How
would a white or a pink cloud
answer for a gown, do you think?
And one could cut a pretty enough
scarf out of a rainbow."
"She is far better as she is," concluded
Adele, after musing some time: "besides,
she would get tired of living
with only you in the moon. If
I were mademoiselle, I would
never consent to go with you."
she has pledged
you can't get
there is no
road to the
it is all air; and neither you
nor she can fly."
"Adele, look at that field." We
were now outside Thornfield gates,
and bowling lightly along the
smooth road to Millcote, where
the dust was well laid by the
thunderstorm, and, where the
low hedges and lofty timber trees
on each side glistened green
and rain- refreshed.
Adele, I was
walking late one evening about
a fortnight since--the evening
of the day you helped me to make
hay in the orchard meadows; and,
as I was tired with raking swaths,
I sat down to rest me on a stile;
and there I took out a little
book and a pencil, and began
to write about a misfortune that
befell me long ago, and a wish
I had for happy days to come:
I was writing away very fast,
though daylight was fading from
the leaf, when something came
up the path and stopped two yards
off me. I looked at it. It was
a little thing with a veil of
gossamer on its head. I beckoned
it to come near me; it stood
soon at my knee. I never spoke
to it, and it never spoke to
me, in words; but I read its
eyes, and it read mine; and our
speechless colloquy was to this
was a fairy,
and come from
Elf-land, it said; and its errand
was to make me happy: I must
go with it out of the common
world to a lonely place--such
as the moon, for instance--and
it nodded its head towards her
horn, rising over Hay-hill: it
told me of the alabaster cave
and silver vale where we might
live. I said I should like to
go; but reminded it, as you did
me, that I had no wings to fly.
does not signify!
is a talisman will remove all
difficulties;' and she held out
a pretty gold ring. 'Put it,'
she said, 'on the fourth finger
of my left hand, and I am yours,
and you are mine; and we shall
leave earth, and make our own
heaven yonder.' She nodded again
at the moon. The ring, Adele,
is in my breeches-pocket, under
the disguise of a sovereign:
but I mean soon to change it
to a ring again."
what has mademoiselle
to do with it? I don't care for
the fairy: you said it was mademoiselle
you would take to the moon?"
"Mademoiselle is a fairy," he
said, whispering mysteriously.
Whereupon I told her not to mind
his badinage; and she, on her
part, evinced a fund of genuine
French scepticism: denominating
Mr. Rochester "un vrai menteur," and
assuring him that she made no
account whatever of his "contes
de fee," and that "du reste,
il n'y avait pas de fees, et
quand meme il y en avait:" she
was sure they would never appear
to him, nor ever give him rings,
or offer to live with him in
was a somewhat harassing one
to me. Mr. Rochester obliged
me to go to a certain silk warehouse:
there I was ordered to choose
half-a-dozen dresses. I hated
the business, I begged leave
to defer it: no--it should be
gone through with now. By dint
of entreaties expressed in energetic
whispers, I reduced the half-dozen
to two: these however, he vowed
he would select himself. With
anxiety I watched his eye rove
over the gay stores: he fixed
on a rich silk of the most brilliant
amethyst dye, and a superb pink
satin. I told him in a new series
of whispers, that he might as
well buy me a gold gown and a
silver bonnet at once: I should
certainly never venture to wear
his choice. With infinite difficulty,
for he was stubborn as a stone,
I persuaded him to make an exchange
in favour of a sober black satin
and pearl-grey silk. "It might
pass for the present," he said; "but
he would yet see me glittering
like a parterre."
was I to get
him out of
the silk warehouse,
out of a jewellers shop: the
more he bought me, the more my
cheek burned with a sense of
annoyance and degradation. As
we re-entered the carriage, and
I sat back feverish and fagged,
I remembered what, in the hurry
of events, dark and bright, I
had wholly forgotten--the letter
of my uncle, John Eyre, to Mrs.
Reed: his intention to adopt
me and make me his legatee. "It
would, indeed, be a relief," I
thought, "if I had ever so small
an independency; I never can
bear being dressed like a doll
by Mr. Rochester, or sitting
like a second Danae with the
golden shower falling daily round
me. I will write to Madeira the
moment I get home, and tell my
uncle John I am going to be married,
and to whom: if I had but a prospect
of one day bringing Mr. Rochester
an accession of fortune, I could
better endure to be kept by him
now." And somewhat relieved by
this idea (which I failed not
to execute that day), I ventured
once more to meet my master's
and lover's eye, which most pertinaciously
sought mine, though I averted
both face and gaze. He smiled;
and I thought his smile was such
as a sultan might, in a blissful
and fond moment, bestow on a
slave his gold and gems had enriched:
I crushed his hand, which was
ever hunting mine, vigorously,
and thrust it back to him red
with the passionate pressure.
"You need not look in that
way," I said; "if you do, I'll
wear nothing but my old Lowood
frocks to the end of the chapter.
I'll be married in this lilac
gingham: you may make a dressing-gown
for yourself out of the pearl-grey
silk, and an infinite series
of waistcoats out of the black
hands. "Oh, it is rich to see
and hear her?" he exclaimed. "Is
she original? Is she piquant?
I would not exchange this one
little English girl for the Grand
Turk's whole seraglio, gazelle-eyes,
houri forms, and all!"
bit me again. "I'll not stand you an
inch in the stead of a seraglio," I
said; "so don't consider me an
equivalent for one. If you have
a fancy for anything in that
line, away with you, sir, to
the bazaars of Stamboul without
delay, and lay out in extensive
slave-purchases some of that
spare cash you seem at a loss
to spend satisfactorily here."
what will you
while I am
many tons of flesh and such an
assortment of black eyes?"
myself to go
out as a missionary
liberty to them that are enslaved--your
harem inmates amongst the rest.
I'll get admitted there, and
I'll stir up mutiny; and you,
three-tailed bashaw as you are,
sir, shall in a trice find yourself
fettered amongst our hands: nor
will I, for one, consent to cut
your bonds till you have signed
a charter, the most liberal that
despot ever yet conferred."
to be at your
no mercy, Mr.
Rochester, if you supplicated
for it with an eye like that.
While you looked so, I should
be certain that whatever charter
you might grant under coercion,
your first act, when released,
would be to violate its conditions."
would you have?
I fear you
me to go through a private marriage
ceremony, besides that performed
at the altar. You will stipulate,
I see, for peculiar terms--what
will they be?"
only want an
sir; not crushed
Do you remember what you said
of Celine Varens?--of the diamonds,
the cashmeres you gave her? I
will not be your English Celine
Varens. I shall continue to act
as Adele's governess; by that
I shall earn my board and lodging,
and thirty pounds a year besides.
I'll furnish my own wardrobe
out of that money, and you shall
give me nothing but--"
if I give you
mine in return,
will be quit."
"Well, for cool native impudence
and pure innate pride, you haven't
your equal," said he. We were
now approaching Thornfield. "Will
it please you to dine with me
to-day?" he asked, as we re-entered
what for, 'no,
if one may inquire."
you, sir: and
I see no reason
I should now: till--"
what? You delight
I can't help
I eat like
an ogre or
a ghoul, that
dread being the companion of
on the subject, sir; but I want
to go on as usual for another
will give up
slavery at once."
I shall not.
I shall just
go on with it as usual. I shall
keep out of your way all day,
as I have been accustomed to
do: you may send for me in the
evening, when you feel disposed
to see me, and I'll come then;
but at no other time."
"I want a smoke, Jane, or a
pinch of snuff, to comfort me
under all this, 'pour me donner
une contenance,' as Adele would
say; and unfortunately I have
neither my cigar-case, nor my
snuff-box. But listen--whisper.
It is your time now, little tyrant,
but it will be mine presently;
and when once I have fairly seized
you, to have and to hold, I'll
you to a chain like this" (touching
his watch-guard). "Yes, bonny
wee thing, I'll wear you in my
bosom, lest my jewel I should
He said this as he helped me
to alight from the carriage,
and while he afterwards lifted
out Adele, I entered the house,
and made good my retreat upstairs.
He duly summoned me to his
presence in the evening. I had
prepared an occupation for him;
for I was determined not to spend
the whole time in a tete-e-tete
conversation. I remembered his
fine voice; I knew he liked to
sing--good singers generally
do. I was no vocalist myself,
and, in his fastidious judgment,
no musician, either; but I delighted
in listening when the performance
was good. No sooner had twilight,
that hour of romance, began to
lower her blue and starry banner
over the lattice, than I rose,
opened the piano, and entreated
him, for the love of heaven,
to give me a song. He said I
was a capricious witch, and that
he would rather sing another
time; but I averred that no time
was like the present.
"Did I like his voice?" he
"Very much." I
was not fond
of pampering that susceptible
vanity of his; but for once,
and from motives of expediency,
I would e'en soothe and stimulate
Jane, you must
play the accompaniment."
I will try."
did try, but
swept off the stool and denominated "a
little bungler." Being pushed
unceremoniously to one side--which
was precisely what I wished--he
usurped my place, and proceeded
to accompany himself: for he
could play as well as sing. I
hied me to the window-recess.
And while I sat there and looked
out on the still trees and dim
lawn, to a sweet air was sung
in mellow tones the following
love that ever heart Felt at
its kindled core,
Did through each vein, in quickened
start, The tide of being pour.
Her coming was my hope each
day, Her parting was my pain;
The chance that did her steps
delay Was ice in every vein.
I dreamed it would be nameless
bliss, As I loved, loved to be;
And to this object did I press
As blind as eagerly.
But wide as pathless was the
space That lay our lives between,
And dangerous as the foamy race
Of ocean-surges green.
And haunted as a robber-path
Through wilderness or wood; For
Might and Right, and Woe and
Wrath, Between our spirits stood.
I dangers dared; I hindrance
scorned; I omens did defy: Whatever
menaced, harassed, warned, I
passed impetuous by.
On sped my rainbow, fast as
light; I flew as in a dream;
For glorious rose upon my sight
That child of Shower and Gleam.
Still bright on clouds of suffering
dim Shines that soft, solemn
joy; Nor care I now, how dense
and grim Disasters gather nigh.
I care not in this moment sweet,
Though all I have rushed o'er
Should come on pinion, strong
and fleet, Proclaiming vengeance
Though haughty Hate should
strike me down, Right, bar approach
to me, And grinding Might, with
furious frown, Swear endless
My love has placed her little
hand With noble faith in mine,
And vowed that wedlock's sacred
band Our nature shall entwine.
My love has
sworn, with sealing kiss, With
me to live--to die;
I have at last my nameless bliss.
As I love--loved am I!"
He rose and
came towards me, and I saw
his face all kindled,
and his full falcon-eye flashing,
and tenderness and passion in
every lineament. I quailed momentarily--then
I rallied. Soft scene, daring
demonstration, I would not have;
and I stood in peril of both:
a weapon of defence must be prepared--I
whetted my tongue: as he reached
me, I asked with asperity, "whom
he was going to marry now?"
"That was a
strange question to be put
by his darling Jane."
considered it a very natural
and necessary one:
he had talked of his future wife
dying with him. What did he mean
by such a pagan idea? I had no
intention of dying with him--he
might depend on that."
"Oh, all he
longed, all he prayed for,
was that I might
live with him! Death was not
for such as I."
was: I had as good a right
to die when my time came
as he had: but I should bide
that time, and not be hurried
away in a suttee."
"Would I forgive
him for the selfish idea, and
prove my pardon
by a reconciling kiss?"
"No: I would
rather be excused."
Here I heard
myself apostrophised as a "hard little thing;" and
it was added, "any other woman
would have been melted to marrow
at hearing such stanzas crooned
in her praise."
I assured him I was naturally
hard--very flinty, and that he
would often find me so; and that,
moreover, I was determined to
show him divers rugged points
in my character before the ensuing
four weeks elapsed: he should
know fully what sort of a bargain
he had made, while there was
yet time to rescind it.
"Would I be
quiet and talk rationally?"
"I would be
quiet if he liked, and as to
I flattered myself I was doing
pished, and pshawed. "Very
good," I thought; "you may fume
and fidget as you please: but
this is the best plan to pursue
with you, I am certain. I like
you more than I can say; but
I'll not sink into a bathos of
sentiment: and with this needle
of repartee I'll keep you from
the edge of the gulf too; and,
moreover, maintain by its pungent
aid that distance between you
and myself most conducive to
our real mutual advantage."
From less to
more, I worked him up to considerable
then, after he had retired, in
dudgeon, quite to the other end
of the room, I got up, and saying, "I
wish you good-night, sir," in
my natural and wonted respectful
manner, I slipped out by the
side-door and got away.
The system thus entered on,
I pursued during the whole season
of probation; and with the best
success. He was kept, to be sure,
rather cross and crusty; but
on the whole I could see he was
excellently entertained, and
that a lamb-like submission and
turtle- dove sensibility, while
fostering his despotism more,
would have pleased his judgment,
satisfied his common-sense, and
even suited his taste less.
In other people's
presence I was, as formerly,
and quiet; any other line of
conduct being uncalled for: it
was only in the evening conferences
I thus thwarted and afflicted
him. He continued to send for
me punctually the moment the
clock struck seven; though when
I appeared before him now, he
had no such honeyed terms as "love" and "darling" on
his lips: the best words at my
service were "provoking puppet," "malicious
elf," "sprite," "changeling," &c.
For caresses, too, I now got
grimaces; for a pressure of the
hand, a pinch on the arm; for
a kiss on the cheek, a severe
tweak of the ear. It was all
right: at present I decidedly
preferred these fierce favours
to anything more tender. Mrs.
Fairfax, I saw, approved me:
her anxiety on my account vanished;
therefore I was certain I did
well. Meantime, Mr. Rochester
affirmed I was wearing him to
skin and bone, and threatened
awful vengeance for my present
conduct at some period fast coming.
I laughed in my sleeve at his
menaces. "I can keep you in reasonable
check now," I reflected; "and
I don't doubt to be able to do
it hereafter: if one expedient
loses its virtue, another must
Yet after all my task was not
an easy one; often I would rather
have pleased than teased him.
My future husband was becoming
to me my whole world; and more
than the world: almost my hope
of heaven. He stood between me
and every thought of religion,
as an eclipse intervenes between
man and the broad sun. I could
not, in those days, see God for
His creature: of whom I had made