forgotten to draw my curtain,
which I usually did, and also
to let down my window-blind.
The consequence was, that when
the moon, which was full and
bright (for the night was fine),
came in her course to that space
in the sky opposite my casement,
and looked in at me through the
unveiled panes, her glorious
gaze roused me. Awaking in the
dead of night, I opened my eyes
on her disk--silver- white and
crystal clear. It was beautiful,
but too solemn; I half rose,
and stretched my arm to draw
Good God! What a cry!
The night--its silence--its
rest, was rent in twain by a
savage, a sharp, a shrilly sound
that ran from end to end of Thornfield
My pulse stopped: my heart
stood still; my stretched arm
was paralysed. The cry died,
and was not renewed. Indeed,
whatever being uttered that fearful
shriek could not soon repeat
it: not the widest-winged condor
on the Andes could, twice in
succession, send out such a yell
from the cloud shrouding his
eyrie. The thing delivering such
utterance must rest ere it could
repeat the effort.
It came out of the third storey;
for it passed overhead. And overhead--yes,
in the room just above my chamber-ceiling--I
now heard a struggle: a deadly
one it seemed from the noise;
and a half-smothered voice shouted
"Help! help! help!" three
"Will no one come?" it
and stamping went on wildly,
I distinguished through plank
for God's sake,
A chamber-door opened: some
one ran, or rushed, along the
gallery. Another step stamped
on the flooring above and something
fell; and there was silence.
had put on
though horror shook all my limbs;
I issued from my apartment. The
sleepers were all aroused: ejaculations,
terrified murmurs sounded in
every room; door after door unclosed;
one looked out and another looked
out; the gallery filled. Gentlemen
and ladies alike had quitted
their beds; and "Oh! what is
it?"--"Who is hurt?"--"What has
happened?"--"Fetch a light!"--"Is
it fire?"--"Are there robbers?"--"Where
shall we run?" was demanded confusedly
on all hands. But for the moonlight
they would have been in complete
darkness. They ran to and fro;
they crowded together: some sobbed,
some stumbled: the confusion
"Where the devil is Rochester?" cried
Colonel Dent. "I cannot find
him in his bed."
"Here! here!" was shouted in
return. "Be composed, all of
you: I'm coming."
And the door at the end of
the gallery opened, and Mr. Rochester
advanced with a candle: he had
just descended from the upper
storey. One of the ladies ran
to him directly; she seized his
arm: it was Miss Ingram.
"What awful event has taken
place?" said she. "Speak! let
us know the worst at once!"
"But don't pull me down or
strangle me," he replied: for
the Misses Eshton were clinging
about him now; and the two dowagers,
in vast white wrappers, were
bearing down on him like ships
in full sail.
"All's right!--all's right!" he
cried. "It's a mere rehearsal
of Much Ado about Nothing. Ladies,
keep off, or I shall wax dangerous."
And dangerous he looked: his
black eyes darted sparks. Calming
himself by an effort, he added
"A servant has had the nightmare;
that is all. She's an excitable,
nervous person: she construed
her dream into an apparition,
or something of that sort, no
doubt; and has taken a fit with
fright. Now, then, I must see
you all back into your rooms;
for, till the house is settled,
she cannot be looked after. Gentlemen,
have the goodness to set the
ladies the example. Miss Ingram,
I am sure you will not fail in
evincing superiority to idle
terrors. Amy and Louisa, return
to your nests like a pair of
doves, as you are. Mesdames" (to
the dowagers), "you will take
cold to a dead certainty, if
you stay in this chill gallery
And so, by dint of alternate
coaxing and commanding, he contrived
to get them all once more enclosed
in their separate dormitories.
I did not wait to be ordered
back to mine, but retreated unnoticed,
as unnoticed I had left it.
Not, however, to go to bed:
on the contrary, I began and
dressed myself carefully. The
sounds I had heard after the
scream, and the words that had
been uttered, had probably been
heard only by me; for they had
proceeded from the room above
mine: but they assured me that
it was not a servant's dream
which had thus struck horror
through the house; and that the
explanation Mr. Rochester had
given was merely an invention
framed to pacify his guests.
I dressed, then, to be ready
for emergencies. When dressed,
I sat a long time by the window
looking out over the silent grounds
and silvered fields and waiting
for I knew not what. It seemed
to me that some event must follow
the strange cry, struggle, and
No: stillness returned: each
murmur and movement ceased gradually,
and in about an hour Thornfield
Hall was again as hushed as a
desert. It seemed that sleep
and night had resumed their empire.
Meantime the moon declined: she
was about to set. Not liking
to sit in the cold and darkness,
I thought I would lie down on
my bed, dressed as I was. I left
the window, and moved with little
noise across the carpet; as I
stooped to take off my shoes,
a cautious hand tapped low at
"Am I wanted?" I
"Are you up?" asked
the voice I
I obeyed. Mr. Rochester stood
in the gallery holding a light.
"I want you," he said: "come
this way: take your time, and
make no noise."
My slippers were thin: I could
walk the matted floor as softly
as a cat. He glided up the gallery
and up the stairs, and stopped
in the dark, low corridor of
the fateful third storey: I had
followed and stood at his side.
"Have you a sponge in your
room?" he asked in a whisper.
you any salts--volatile
back and fetch
I returned, sought the sponge
on the washstand, the salts in
my drawer, and once more retraced
my steps. He still waited; he
held a key in his hand: approaching
one of the small, black doors,
he put it in the lock; he paused,
and addressed me again.
sick at the
sight of blood?"
think I shall
not: I have
never been tried yet."
I felt a thrill while I answered
him; but no coldness, and no
"Just give me your hand," he
said: "it will not do to risk
a fainting fit."
put my fingers
into his. "Warm
and steady," was his remark:
he turned the key and opened
saw a room
to have seen
Fairfax showed me over the house:
it was hung with tapestry; but
the tapestry was now looped up
in one part, and there was a
door apparent, which had then
been concealed. This door was
open; a light shone out of the
room within: I heard thence a
snarling, snatching sound, almost
like a dog quarrelling. Mr. Rochester,
putting down his candle, said
to me, "Wait a minute," and he
went forward to the inner apartment.
A shout of laughter greeted his
entrance; noisy at first, and
terminating in Grace Poole's
own goblin ha! ha! SHE then was
there. He made some sort of arrangement
without speaking, though I heard
a low voice address him: he came
out and closed the door behind
"Here, Jane!" he
said; and I
to the other
of a large bed, which with its
drawn curtains concealed a considerable
portion of the chamber. An easy-chair
was near the bed-head: a man
sat in it, dressed with the exception
of his coat; he was still; his
head leant back; his eyes were
closed. Mr. Rochester held the
candle over him; I recognised
in his pale and seemingly lifeless
face--the stranger, Mason: I
saw too that his linen on one
side, and one arm, was almost
soaked in blood.
"Hold the candle," said Mr.
Rochester, and I took it: he
fetched a basin of water from
the washstand: "Hold that," said
he. I obeyed. He took the sponge,
dipped it in, and moistened the
corpse-like face; he asked for
my smelling-bottle, and applied
it to the nostrils. Mr. Mason
shortly unclosed his eyes; he
groaned. Mr. Rochester opened
the shirt of the wounded man,
whose arm and shoulder were bandaged:
he sponged away blood, trickling
"Is there immediate danger?" murmured
"Pooh! No--a mere scratch.
Don't be so overcome, man: bear
up! I'll fetch a surgeon for
you now, myself: you'll be able
to be removed by morning, I hope.
Jane," he continued.
to leave you
in this room with this gentleman,
for an hour, or perhaps two hours:
you will sponge the blood as
I do when it returns: if he feels
faint, you will put the glass
of water on that stand to his
lips, and your salts to his nose.
You will not speak to him on
any pretext--and--Richard, it
will be at the peril of your
life if you speak to her: open
your lips--agitate yourself-
-and I'll not answer for the
the poor man
looked as if
he dared not
move; fear, either of death or
of something else, appeared almost
to paralyse him. Mr. Rochester
put the now bloody sponge into
my hand, and I proceeded to use
it as he had done. He watched
me a second, then saying, "Remember!--No
conversation," he left the room.
I experienced a strange feeling
as the key grated in the lock,
and the sound of his retreating
step ceased to be heard.
Here then I was in the third
storey, fastened into one of
its mystic cells; night around
me; a pale and bloody spectacle
under my eyes and hands; a murderess
hardly separated from me by a
single door: yes--that was appalling--the
rest I could bear; but I shuddered
at the thought of Grace Poole
bursting out upon me.
I must keep to my post, however.
I must watch this ghastly countenance--these
blue, still lips forbidden to
unclose--these eyes now shut,
now opening, now wandering through
the room, now fixing on me, and
ever glazed with the dulness
of horror. I must dip my hand
again and again in the basin
of blood and water, and wipe
away the trickling gore. I must
see the light of the unsnuffed
candle wane on my employment;
the shadows darken on the wrought,
antique tapestry round me, and
grow black under the hangings
of the vast old bed, and quiver
strangely over the doors of a
great cabinet opposite--whose
front, divided into twelve panels,
bore, in grim design, the heads
of the twelve apostles, each
enclosed in its separate panel
as in a frame; while above them
at the top rose an ebon crucifix
and a dying Christ.
According as the shifting obscurity
and flickering gleam hovered
here or glanced there, it was
now the bearded physician, Luke,
that bent his brow; now St. John's
long hair that waved; and anon
the devilish face of Judas, that
grew out of the panel, and seemed
gathering life and threatening
a revelation of the arch-traitor--of
Satan himself--in his subordinate's
Amidst all this, I had to listen
as well as watch: to listen for
the movements of the wild beast
or the fiend in yonder side den.
But since Mr. Rochester's visit
it seemed spellbound: all the
night I heard but three sounds
at three long intervals,--a step
creak, a momentary renewal of
the snarling, canine noise, and
a deep human groan.
Then my own thoughts worried
me. What crime was this that
lived incarnate in this sequestered
mansion, and could neither be
expelled nor subdued by the owner?--what
mystery, that broke out now in
fire and now in blood, at the
deadest hours of night? What
creature was it, that, masked
in an ordinary woman's face and
shape, uttered the voice, now
of a mocking demon, and anon
of a carrion-seeking bird of
And this man I bent over--this
commonplace, quiet stranger--how
had he become involved in the
web of horror? and why had the
Fury flown at him? What made
him seek this quarter of the
house at an untimely season,
when he should have been asleep
in bed? I had heard Mr. Rochester
assign him an apartment below--what
brought him here! And why, now,
was he so tame under the violence
or treachery done him? Why did
he so quietly submit to the concealment
Mr. Rochester enforced? Why DID
Mr. Rochester enforce this concealment?
His guest had been outraged,
his own life on a former occasion
had been hideously plotted against;
and both attempts he smothered
in secrecy and sank in oblivion!
Lastly, I saw Mr. Mason was submissive
to Mr. Rochester; that the impetuous
will of the latter held complete
sway over the inertness of the
former: the few words which had
passed between them assured me
of this. It was evident that
in their former intercourse,
the passive disposition of the
one had been habitually influenced
by the active energy of the other:
whence then had arisen Mr. Rochester's
dismay when he heard of Mr. Mason's
arrival? Why had the mere name
of this unresisting individual--whom
his word now sufficed to control
like a child--fallen on him,
a few hours since, as a thunderbolt
might fall on an oak?
I could not
look and his
whispered: "Jane, I have got
a blow--I have got a blow, Jane." I
could not forget how the arm
had trembled which he rested
on my shoulder: and it was no
light matter which could thus
bow the resolute spirit and thrill
the vigorous frame of Fairfax
"When will he come? When will
he come?" I cried inwardly, as
the night lingered and lingered--as
my bleeding patient drooped,
moaned, sickened: and neither
day nor aid arrived. I had, again
and again, held the water to
Mason's white lips; again and
again offered him the stimulating
salts: my efforts seemed ineffectual:
either bodily or mental suffering,
or loss of blood, or all three
combined, were fast prostrating
his strength. He moaned so, and
looked so weak, wild, and lost,
I feared he was dying; ant I
might not even speak to him.
The candle, wasted at last,
went out; as it expired, I perceived
streaks of grey light edging
the window curtains: dawn was
then approaching. Presently I
heard Pilot bark far below, out
of his distant kennel in the
courtyard: hope revived. Nor
was it unwarranted: in five minutes
more the grating key, the yielding
lock, warned me my watch was
relieved. It could not have lasted
more than two hours: many a week
has seemed shorter.
Mr. Rochester entered, and
with him the surgeon he had been
"Now, Carter, be on the alert," he
said to this last: "I give you
but half-an-hour for dressing
the wound, fastening the bandages,
getting the patient downstairs
is he fit to
doubt of it;
it is nothing
serious; he is nervous, his spirits
must be kept up. Come, set to
Mr. Rochester drew back the
thick curtain, drew up the holland
blind, let in all the daylight
he could; and I was surprised
and cheered to see how far dawn
was advanced: what rosy streaks
were beginning to brighten the
east. Then he approached Mason,
whom the surgeon was already
"Now, my good fellow, how are
you?" he asked.
"She's done for me, I fear," was
the faint reply.
This day fortnight
a pin the worse of it: you've
lost a little blood; that's all
Carter, assure him there's no
"I can do that conscientiously," said
Carter, who had now undone the
bandages; "only I wish I could
have got here sooner: he would
not have bled so much--but how
is this? The flesh on the shoulder
is torn as well as cut. This
wound was not done with a knife:
there have been teeth here!"
"She bit me," he murmured. "She
worried me like a tigress, when
Rochester got the knife from
"You should not have yielded:
you should have grappled with
her at once," said Mr. Rochester.
"But under such circumstances,
what could one do?" returned
Mason. "Oh, it was frightful!" he
added, shuddering. "And I did
not expect it: she looked so
quiet at first."
"I warned you," was his friend's
answer; "I said--be on your guard
when you go near her. Besides,
you might have waited till to-
morrow, and had me with you:
it was mere folly to attempt
the interview to-night, and alone."
thought I could
have done some
it makes me
hear you: but, however, you have
suffered, and are likely to suffer
enough for not taking my advice;
so I'll say no more. Carter--hurry!--hurry!
The sun will soon rise, and I
must have him off."
sir; the shoulder
is just bandaged. I must look
to this other wound in the arm:
she has had her teeth here too,
"She sucked the blood: she
said she'd drain my heart," said
I saw Mr. Rochester shudder:
a singularly marked expression
of disgust, horror, hatred, warped
his countenance almost to distortion;
but he only said -
don't repeat it."
"I wish I could forget it," was
will when you
are out of
when you get
back to Spanish Town, you may
think of her as dead and buried--or
rather, you need not think of
her at all."
to forget this
"It is not impossible: have
some energy, man. You thought
you were as dead as a herring
two hours since, and you are
all alive and talking now. There!--Carter
has done with you or nearly so;
I'll make you decent in a trice.
Jane" (he turned to me for the
first time since his re-entrance), "take
this key: go down into my bedroom,
and walk straight forward into
my dressing-room: open the top
drawer of the wardrobe and take
out a clean shirt and neck- handkerchief:
bring them here; and be nimble."
I went; sought the repository
he had mentioned, found the articles
named, and returned with them.
"Now," said he, "go
to the other
side of the
bed while I
order his toilet; but don't leave
the room: you may be wanted again."
I retired as directed.
"Was anybody stirring below
when you went down, Jane?" inquired
Mr. Rochester presently.
sir; all was
shall get you
Dick: and it will be better,
both for your sake, and for that
of the poor creature in yonder.
I have striven long to avoid
exposure, and I should not like
it to come at last. Here, Carter,
help him on with his waist-coat.
Where did you leave your furred
cloak? You can't travel a mile
without that, I know, in this
damned cold climate. In your
room?--Jane, run down to Mr.
Mason's room,--the one next mine,--and
fetch a cloak you will see there."
Again I ran, and again returned,
bearing an immense mantle lined
and edged with fur.
"Now, I've another errand for
you," said my untiring master; "you
must away to my room again. What
a mercy you are shod with velvet,
Jane!--a clod-hopping messenger
would never do at this juncture.
You must open the middle drawer
of my toilet-table and take out
a little phial and a little glass
you will find there,--quick!"
I flew thither and back, bringing
the desired vessels.
doctor, I shall
take the liberty
a dose myself, on my own responsibility.
I got this cordial at Rome, of
an Italian charlatan--a fellow
you would have kicked, Carter.
It is not a thing to be used
indiscriminately, but it is good
upon occasion: as now, for instance.
Jane, a little water."
He held out the tiny glass,
and I half filled it from the
water- bottle on the washstand.
wet the lip
of the phial."
I did so; he measured twelve
drops of a crimson liquid, and
presented it to Mason.
will give you
the heart you
lack, for an
hour or so."
will it hurt
Mr. Mason obeyed, because it
was evidently useless to resist.
He was dressed now: he still
looked pale, but he was no longer
gory and sullied. Mr. Rochester
let him sit three minutes after
he had swallowed the liquid;
he then took his arm -
"Now I am sure you can get
on your feet," he said--"try."
The patient rose.
take him under
the other shoulder.
Be of good
Richard; step out--that's it!"
"I do feel better," remarked
am sure you
do. Now, Jane,
trip on before us away to the
backstairs; unbolt the side-passage
door, and tell the driver of
the post-chaise you will see
in the yard--or just outside,
for I told him not to drive his
rattling wheels over the pavement--to
be ready; we are coming: and,
Jane, if any one is about, come
to the foot of the stairs and
It was by this time half-past
five, and the sun was on the
point of rising; but I found
the kitchen still dark and silent.
The side- passage door was fastened;
I opened it with as little noise
as possible: all the yard was
quiet; but the gates stood wide
open, and there was a post-chaise,
with horses ready harnessed,
and driver seated on the box,
stationed outside. I approached
him, and said the gentlemen were
coming; he nodded: then I looked
carefully round and listened.
The stillness of early morning
slumbered everywhere; the curtains
were yet drawn over the servants'
chamber windows; little birds
were just twittering in the blossom-blanched
orchard trees, whose boughs drooped
like white garlands over the
wall enclosing one side of the
yard; the carriage horses stamped
from time to time in their closed
stables: all else was still.
The gentlemen now appeared.
Mason, supported by Mr. Rochester
and the surgeon, seemed to walk
with tolerable ease: they assisted
him into the chaise; Carter followed.
"Take care of him," said Mr.
Rochester to the latter, "and
keep him at your house till he
is quite well: I shall ride over
in a day or two to see how he
gets on. Richard, how is it with
fresh air revives
open on his
side, Carter; there is no wind--good-
what is it?"
"Let her be taken care of;
let her be treated as tenderly
as may be: let her--" he stopped
and burst into tears.
"I do my best; and have done
it, and will do it," was the
answer: he shut up the chaise
door, and the vehicle drove away.
"Yet would to God there was
an end of all this!" added Mr.
Rochester, as he closed and barred
the heavy yard-gates.
done, he moved
with slow step
a door in the wall bordering
the orchard. I, supposing he
had done with me, prepared to
return to the house; again, however,
I heard him call "Jane!" He had
opened feel portal and stood
at it, waiting for me.
"Come where there is some freshness,
for a few moments," he said; "that
house is a mere dungeon: don't
you feel it so?"
seems to me
"The glamour of inexperience
is over your eyes," he answered; "and
you see it through a charmed
medium: you cannot discern that
the gilding is slime and the
silk draperies cobwebs; that
the marble is sordid slate, and
the polished woods mere refuse
chips and scaly bark. Now HERE" (he
pointed to the leafy enclosure
we had entered) "all is real,
sweet, and pure."
He strayed down a walk edged
with box, with apple trees, pear
trees, and cherry trees on one
side, and a border on the other
full of all sorts of old-fashioned
flowers, stocks, sweet-williams,
primroses, pansies, mingled with
southernwood, sweet-briar, and
various fragrant herbs. They
were fresh now as a succession
of April showers and gleams,
followed by a lovely spring morning,
could make them: the sun was
just entering the dappled east,
and his light illumined the wreathed
and dewy orchard trees and shone
down the quiet walks under them.
will you have
He gathered a half-blown rose,
the first on the bush, and offered
it to me.
you like this
That sky with
and light clouds which are sure
to melt away as the day waxes
warm--this placid and balmly
do, very much."
a strange night,
it has made
you look pale--were
you afraid when I left you alone
of some one
of the inner
I had fastened
had the key in my pocket: I should
have been a careless shepherd
if I had left a lamb--my pet
lamb--so near a wolf's den, unguarded:
you were safe."
live here still,
head about her--put the thing
out of your thoughts."
it seems to
me your life
is hardly secure while she stays."
take care of
last night gone by now, sir?"
for that till
Mason is out of England: nor
even then. To live, for me, Jane,
is to stand on a crater-crust
which may crack and spue fire
Mr. Mason seems
a man easily
led. Your influence,
is evidently potent with him:
he will never set you at defiance
or wilfully injure you."
no! Mason will
not defy me;
it, will he
hurt me-- but, unintentionally,
he might in a moment, by one
careless word, deprive me, if
not of life, yet for ever of
him to be cautious,
sir: let him
know what you
show him how to avert the danger."
He laughed sardonically, hastily
took my hand, and as hastily
threw it from him.
I could do
where would the danger be? Annihilated
in a moment. Ever since I have
known Mason, I have only had
to say to him 'Do that,' and
the thing has been done. But
I cannot give him orders in this
case: I cannot say 'Beware of
harming me, Richard;' for it
is imperative that I should keep
him ignorant that harm to me
is possible. Now you look puzzled;
and I will puzzle you further.
You are my little friend, are
like to serve
you, sir, and
to obey you
in all that
I see you do.
I see genuine
gait and mien, your eye and face,
when you are helping me and pleasing
me--working for me, and with
me, in, as you characteristically
say, 'ALL THAT IS RIGHT:' for
if I bid you do what you thought
wrong, there would be no light-footed
running, no neat-handed alacrity,
no lively glance and animated
complexion. My friend would then
turn to me, quiet and pale, and
would say, 'No, sir; that is
impossible: I cannot do it, because
it is wrong;' and would become
immutable as a fixed star. Well,
you too have power over me, and
may injure me: yet I dare not
show you where I am vulnerable,
lest, faithful and friendly as
you are, you should transfix
me at once."
you have no
more to fear
from Mr. Mason than you have
from me, sir, you are very safe."
grant it may
be so! Here,
Jane, is an arbour; sit down."
The arbour was an arch in the
wall, lined with ivy; it contained
a rustic seat. Mr. Rochester
took it, leaving room, however,
for me: but I stood before him.
"Sit," he said; "the
bench is long
two. You don't
hesitate to take a place at my
side, do you? Is that wrong,
I answered him by assuming
it: to refuse would, I felt,
have been unwise.
my little friend,
while the sun
all the flowers in this old garden
awake and expand, and the birds
fetch their young ones' breakfast
out of the Thornfield, and the
early bees do their first spell
of work--I'll put a case to you,
which you must endeavour to suppose
your own: but first, look at
me, and tell me you are at ease,
and not fearing that I err in
detaining you, or that you err
sir; I am content."
call to aid
your fancy:- suppose you were
no longer a girl well reared
and disciplined, but a wild boy
indulged from childhood upwards;
imagine yourself in a remote
foreign land; conceive that you
there commit a capital error,
no matter of what nature or from
what motives, but one whose consequences
must follow you through life
and taint all your existence.
Mind, I don't say a CRIME; I
am not speaking of shedding of
blood or any other guilty act,
which might make the perpetrator
amenable to the law: my word
is ERROR. The results of what
you have done become in time
to you utterly insupportable;
you take measures to obtain relief:
unusual measures, but neither
unlawful nor culpable. Still
you are miserable; for hope has
quitted you on the very confines
of life: your sun at noon darkens
in an eclipse, which you feel
will not leave it till the time
of setting. Bitter and base associations
have become the sole food of
your memory: you wander here
and there, seeking rest in exile:
happiness in pleasure--I mean
in heartless, sensual pleasure--such
as dulls intellect and blights
feeling. Heart-weary and soul-withered,
you come home after years of
voluntary banishment: you make
a new acquaintance--how or where
no matter: you find in this stranger
much of the good and bright qualities
which you have sought for twenty
years, and never before encountered;
and they are all fresh, healthy,
without soil and without taint.
Such society revives, regenerates:
you feel better days come back--higher
wishes, purer feelings; you desire
to recommence your life, and
to spend what remains to you
of days in a way more worthy
of an immortal being. To attain
this end, are you justified in
overleaping an obstacle of custom--a
mere conventional impediment
which neither your conscience
sanctifies nor your judgment
He paused for an answer: and
what was I to say? Oh, for some
good spirit to suggest a judicious
and satisfactory response! Vain
aspiration! The west wind whispered
in the ivy round me; but no gentle
Ariel borrowed its breath as
a medium of speech: the birds
sang in the tree-tops; but their
song, however sweet, was inarticulate.
Again Mr. Rochester propounded
but now rest-seeking and repentant,
man justified in daring the world's
opinion, in order to attach to
him for ever this gentle, gracious,
genial stranger, thereby securing
his own peace of mind and regeneration
"Sir," I answered, "a
repose or a
should never depend on a fellow-creature.
Men and women die; philosophers
falter in wisdom, and Christians
in goodness: if any one you know
has suffered and erred, let him
look higher than his equals for
strength to amend and solace
God, who does the work, ordains
the instrument. I have myself--I
tell it you without parable--been
a worldly, dissipated, restless
man; and I believe I have found
the instrument for my cure in--"
He paused: the birds went on
carolling, the leaves lightly
rustling. I almost wondered they
did not check their songs and
whispers to catch the suspended
revelation; but they would have
had to wait many minutes--so
long was the silence protracted.
At last I looked up at the tardy
speaker: he was looking eagerly
"Little friend," said he, in
quite a changed tone--while his
face changed too, losing all
its softness and gravity, and
becoming harsh and sarcastic--"you
have noticed my tender penchant
for Miss Ingram: don't you think
if I married her she would regenerate
me with a vengeance?"
He got up instantly, went quite
to the other end of the walk,
and when he came back he was
humming a tune.
"Jane, Jane," said he, stopping
before me, "you are quite pale
with your vigils: don't you curse
me for disturbing your rest?"
you? No, sir."
hands in confirmation
of the word. What cold fingers!
They were warmer last night when
I touched them at the door of
the mysterious chamber. Jane,
when will you watch with me again?"
I can be useful,
I am married! I am sure I shall
not be able to sleep. Will you
promise to sit up with me to
bear me company? To you I can
talk of my lovely one: for now
you have seen her and know her."
a rare one,
is she not,
Jane: big, brown, and buxom;
with hair just such as the ladies
of Carthage must have had. Bless
me! there's Dent and Lynn in
the stables! Go in by the shrubbery,
through that wicket."
As I went one way, he went
another, and I heard him in the
yard, saying cheerfully -
got the start
of you all
he was gone
before sunrise: I rose at four
to see him off."