of Ferndean was a building
of considerable antiquity,
moderate size, and no architectural
pretensions, deep buried in
a wood. I had heard of it before.
Mr. Rochester often spoke of
it, and sometimes went there.
His father had purchased the
estate for the sake of the game covers. He would have let the
house, but could find no tenant, in consequence of its ineligible
and insalubrious site. Ferndean then remained uninhabited and
unfurnished, with the exception of some two or three rooms fitted up
for the accommodation of the squire when he went there in the season
To this house I came just ere
dark on an evening marked by
the characteristics of sad sky,
cold gale, and continued small
penetrating rain. The last mile
I performed on foot, having dismissed
the chaise and driver with the
double remuneration I had promised.
Even when within a very short
distance of the manor- house,
you could see nothing of it,
so thick and dark grew the timber
of the gloomy wood about it.
Iron gates between granite pillars
showed me where to enter, and
passing through them, I found
myself at once in the twilight
of close-ranked trees. There
was a grass-grown track descending
the forest aisle between hoar
and knotty shafts and under branched
arches. I followed it, expecting
soon to reach the dwelling; but
it stretched on and on, it would
far and farther: no sign of habitation
or grounds was visible.
I thought I had taken a wrong
direction and lost my way. The
darkness of natural as well as
of sylvan dusk gathered over
me. I looked round in search
of another road. There was none:
all was interwoven stem, columnar
trunk, dense summer foliage--no
at last my
the trees thinned
presently I beheld a railing,
then the house--scarce, by this
dim light, distinguishable from
the trees; so dank and green
were its decaying walls. Entering
a portal, fastened only by a
latch, I stood amidst a space
of enclosed ground, from which
the wood swept away in a semicircle.
There were no flowers, no garden-beds;
only a broad gravel-walk girdling
a grass-plat, and this set in
the heavy frame of the forest.
The house presented two pointed
gables in its front; the windows
were latticed and narrow: the
front door was narrow too, one
step led up to it. The whole
looked, as the host of the Rochester
Arms had said, "quite a desolate
spot." It was as still as a church
on a week-day: the pattering
rain on the forest leaves was
the only sound audible in its
"Can there be life here?" I
Yes, life of some kind there
was; for I heard a movement--that
narrow front-door was unclosing,
and some shape was about to issue
from the grange.
It opened slowly: a figure
came out into the twilight and
stood on the step; a man without
a hat: he stretched forth his
hand as if to feel whether it
rained. Dusk as it was, I had
recognised him--it was my master,
Edward Fairfax Rochester, and
I stayed my step, almost my
breath, and stood to watch him--to
examine him, myself unseen, and
alas! to him invisible. It was
a sudden meeting, and one in
which rapture was kept well in
check by pain. I had no difficulty
in restraining my voice from
exclamation, my step from hasty
His form was of the same strong
and stalwart contour as ever:
his port was still erect, his
heir was still raven black; nor
were his features altered or
sunk: not in one year's space,
by any sorrow, could his athletic
strength be quelled or his vigorous
prime blighted. But in his countenance
I saw a change: that looked desperate
and brooding--that reminded me
of some wronged and fettered
wild beast or bird, dangerous
to approach in his sullen woe.
The caged eagle, whose gold-ringed
eyes cruelty has extinguished,
might look as looked that sightless
And, reader, do you think I
feared him in his blind ferocity?--if
you do, you little know me. A
soft hope blest with my sorrow
that soon I should dare to drop
a kiss on that brow of rock,
and on those lips so sternly
sealed beneath it: but not yet.
I would not accost him yet.
He descended the one step,
and advanced slowly and gropingly
towards the grass-plat. Where
was his daring stride now? Then
he paused, as if he knew not
which way to turn. He lifted
his hand and opened his eyelids;
gazed blank, and with a straining
effort, on the sky, and toward
the amphitheatre of trees: one
saw that all to him was void
darkness. He stretched his right
hand (the left arm, the mutilated
one, he kept hidden in his bosom);
he seemed to wish by touch to
gain an idea of what lay around
him: he met but vacancy still;
for the trees were some yards
off where he stood. He relinquished
the endeavour, folded his arms,
and stood quiet and mute in the
rain, now falling fast on his
uncovered head. At this moment
John approached him from some
"Will you take my arm, sir?" he
said; "there is a heavy shower
coming on: had you not better
"Let me alone," was
John withdrew without having
observed me. Mr. Rochester now
tried to walk about: vainly,--all
was too uncertain. He groped
his way back to the house, and,
re-entering it, closed the door.
now drew near
John's wife opened for me. "Mary," I
said, "how are you?"
if she had
seen a ghost:
I calmed her.
hurried "Is it really you, miss,
come at this late hour to this
lonely place?" I answered by
taking her hand; and then I followed
her into the kitchen, where John
now sat by a good fire. I explained
to them, in few words, that I
had heard all which had happened
since I left Thornfield, and
that I was come to see Mr. Rochester.
I asked John to go down to the
turn-pike-house, where I had
dismissed the chaise, and bring
my trunk, which I had left there:
and then, while I removed my
bonnet and shawl, I questioned
Mary as to whether I could be
accommodated at the Manor House
for the night; and finding that
arrangements to that effect,
though difficult, would not be
impossible, I informed her I
should stay. Just at this moment
the parlour-bell rang.
"When you go in," said I, "tell
your master that a person wishes
to speak to him, but do not give
"I don't think he will see
you," she answered; "he refuses
what he had
said. "You are to
send in your name and your business," she
replied. She then proceeded to
fill a glass with water, and
place it on a tray, together
"Is that what he rang for?" I
he always has
in at dark,
the tray to
me; I will
carry it in."
I took it from her hand: she
pointed me out the parlour door.
The tray shook as I held it;
the water spilt from the glass;
my heart struck my ribs loud
and fast. Mary opened the door
for me, and shut it behind me.
gloomy: a neglected
low in the grate; and, leaning
over it, with his head supported
against the high, old-fashioned
mantelpiece, appeared the blind
tenant of the room. His old dog,
Pilot, lay on one side, removed
out of the way, and coiled up
as if afraid of being inadvertently
trodden upon. Pilot pricked up
his ears when I came in: then
he jumped up with a yelp and
a whine, and bounded towards
me: he almost knocked the tray
from my hands. I set it on the
table; then patted him, and said
softly, "Lie down!" Mr. Rochester
turned mechanically to SEE what
the commotion was: but as he
SAW nothing, he returned and
"Give me the water, Mary," he
I approached him with the now
only half-filled glass; Pilot
followed me, still excited.
"What is the matter?" he
"Down, Pilot!" I again said.
He checked the water on its way
to his lips, and seemed to listen:
he drank, and put the glass down. "This
is you, Mary, is it not?"
"Mary is in the kitchen," I
put out his
hand with a
quick gesture, but not seeing
where I stood, he did not touch
me. "Who is this? Who is this?" he
demanded, trying, as it seemed,
to SEE with those sightless eyes--
unavailing and distressing attempt! "Answer
me--speak again!" he ordered,
imperiously and aloud.
"Will you have a little more
water, sir? I spilt half of what
was in the glass," I said.
is it? WHAT
is it? Who
"Pilot knows me, and John and
Mary know I am here. I came only
this evening," I answered.
come over me?
madness has seized me?"
mind, sir, is too strong for
delusion, your health too sound
where is the
it only a voice?
Oh! I CANNOT
see, but I must feel, or my heart
will stop and my brain burst.
Whatever--whoever you are--be
perceptible to the touch or I
He groped; I arrested his wandering
hand, and prisoned it in both
"Her very fingers!" he cried; "her
small, slight fingers! If so
there must be more of her."
The muscular hand broke from
my custody; my arm was seized,
my shoulder--neck--waist--I was
entwined and gathered to him.
it Jane? WHAT
is it? This
is her shape--this is her size--"
"And this her voice," I added. "She
is all here: her heart, too.
God bless you, sir! I am glad
to be so near you again."
"Jane Eyre!--Jane Eyre," was
all he said.
"My dear master," I answered, "I
am Jane Eyre: I have found you
out--I am come back to you."
My living Jane?"
touch me, sir,--you
hold me, and
I am not
cold like a corpse, nor vacant
like air, am I?"
These are certainly
her features; but I cannot be
so blest, after all my misery.
It is a dream; such dreams as
I have had at night when I have
clasped her once more to my heart,
as I do now; and kissed her,
as thus--and felt that she loved
me, and trusted that she would
not leave me."
I never will,
sir, from this
But I always woke and found it
an empty mockery; and I was desolate
and abandoned--my life dark,
lonely, hopeless--my soul athirst
and forbidden to drink--my heart
famished and never to be fed.
Gentle, soft dream, nestling
in my arms now, you will fly,
too, as your sisters have all
fled before you: but kiss me
before you go--embrace me, Jane."
"There, sir--and there!"'
I pressed my lips to his once
brilliant and now rayless eyes--I
swept his hair from his brow,
and kissed that too. He suddenly
seemed to arouse himself: the
conviction of the reality of
all this seized him.
it, Jane? You
are come back to me then?"
you do not
lie dead in
some ditch under some stream?
And you are not a pining outcast
sir! I am an
What do you
uncle in Madeira
is dead, and
he left me
"Ah! this is practical--this
is real!" he cried: "I should
never dream that. Besides, there
is that peculiar voice of hers,
so animating and piquant, as
well as soft: it cheers my withered
heart; it puts life into it.--What,
Janet! Are you an independent
woman? A rich woman?"
you won't let
me live with
you, I can build a house of my
own close up to your door, and
you may come and sit in my parlour
when you want company of an evening."
as you are
you have now, no doubt, friends
who will look after you, and
not suffer you to devote yourself
to a blind lameter like me?"
told you I
sir, as well as rich: I am my
you will stay
I will be your neighbour, your
nurse, your housekeeper. I find
you lonely: I will be your companion--to
read to you, to walk with you,
to sit with you, to wait on you,
to be eyes and hands to you.
Cease to look so melancholy,
my dear master; you shall not
be left desolate, so long as
He replied not: he seemed serious--abstracted;
he sighed; he half- opened his
lips as if to speak: he closed
them again. I felt a little embarrassed.
Perhaps I had too rashly over-leaped
conventionalities; and he, like
St. John, saw impropriety in
my inconsiderateness. I had indeed
made my proposal from the idea
that he wished and would ask
me to be his wife: an expectation,
not the less certain because
unexpressed, had buoyed me up,
that he would claim me at once
as his own. But no hint to that
effect escaping him and his countenance
becoming more overcast, I suddenly
remembered that I might have
been all wrong, and was perhaps
playing the fool unwittingly;
and I began gently to withdraw
myself from his arms--but he
eagerly snatched me closer.
you must not
go. No--I have touched you, heard
you, felt the comfort of your
presence--the sweetness of your
consolation: I cannot give up
these joys. I have little left
in myself--I must have you. The
world may laugh--may call me
absurd, selfish--but it does
not signify. My very soul demands
you: it will be satisfied, or
it will take deadly vengeance
on its frame."
sir, I will
stay with you:
I have said
one thing by
I understand another. You, perhaps,
could make up your mind to be
about my hand and chair--to wait
on me as a kind little nurse
(for you have an affectionate
heart and a generous spirit,
which prompt you to make sacrifices
for those you pity), and that
ought to suffice for me no doubt.
I suppose I should now entertain
none but fatherly feelings for
you: do you think so? Come--tell
what you like,
sir: I am content to be only
your nurse, if you think it better."
always be my
nurse, Janet: you are young--you
must marry one day."
Janet: if I
were what I
once was, I
try to make you care--but--a
He relapsed again into gloom.
I, on the contrary, became more
cheerful, and took fresh courage:
these last words gave me an insight
as to where the difficulty lay;
and as it was no difficulty with
me, I felt quite relieved from
my previous embarrassment. I
resumed a livelier vein of conversation.
"It is time some one undertook
to rehumanise you," said I, parting
his thick and long uncut locks; "for
I see you are being metamorphosed
into a lion, or something of
that sort. You have a 'faux air'
of Nebuchadnezzar in the fields
about you, that is certain: your
hair reminds me of eagles' feathers;
whether your nails are grown
like birds' claws or not, I have
not yet noticed."
"On this arm, I have neither
hand nor nails," he said, drawing
the mutilated limb from his breast,
and showing it to me. "It is
a mere stump--a ghastly sight!
Don't you think so, Jane?"
is a pity to
see it; and
a pity to see your eyes--and
the scar of fire on your forehead:
and the worst of it is, one is
in danger of loving you too well
for all this; and making too
much of you."
would be revolted,
Jane, when you saw my arm, and
my cicatrised visage."
tell me so--lest
I should say something disparaging
to your judgment. Now, let me
leave you an instant, to make
a better fire, and have the hearth
swept up. Can you tell when there
is a good fire?"
with the right
eye I see a
you see the
is a luminous
you see me?"
my fairy: but
I am only too
hear and feel
do you take
you shall have
I am hungry: so are you, I daresay,
only you forget."
Summoning Mary, I soon had
the room in more cheerful order:
I prepared him, likewise, a comfortable
repast. My spirits were excited,
and with pleasure and ease I
talked to him during supper,
and for a long time after. There
was no harassing restraint, no
repressing of glee and vivacity
with him; for with him I was
at perfect ease, because I knew
I suited him; all I said or did
seemed either to console or revive
him. Delightful consciousness!
It brought to life and light
my whole nature: in his presence
I thoroughly lived; and he lived
in mine. Blind as he was, smiles
played over his face, joy dawned
on his forehead: his lineaments
softened and warmed.
began to ask
me many questions, of where I
had been, what I had been doing,
how I had found him out; but
I gave him only very partial
replies: it was too late to enter
into particulars that night.
Besides, I wished to touch no
deep- thrilling chord--to open
no fresh well of emotion in his
heart: my sole present aim was
to cheer him. Cheered, as I have
said, he was: and yet but by
fits. If a moment's silence broke
the conversation, he would turn
restless, touch me, then say, "Jane."
a human being,
Jane? You are
how, on this
dark and doleful
suddenly rise on my lone hearth?
I stretched my hand to take a
glass of water from a hireling,
and it was given me by you: I
asked a question, expecting John's
wife to answer me, and your voice
spoke at my ear."
I had come
in, in Mary's
there is enchantment
in the very
hour I am now
with you. Who can tell what a
dark, dreary, hopeless life I
have dragged on for months past?
Doing nothing, expecting nothing;
merging night in day; feeling
but the sensation of cold when
I let the fire go out, of hunger
when I forgot to eat: and then
a ceaseless sorrow, and, at times,
a very delirium of desire to
behold my Jane again. Yes: for
her restoration I longed, far
more than for that of my lost
sight. How can it be that Jane
is with me, and says she loves
me? Will she not depart as suddenly
as she came? To-morrow, I fear
I shall find her no more."
A commonplace, practical reply,
out of the train of his own disturbed
ideas, was, I was sure, the best
and most reassuring for him in
this frame of mind. I passed
my finger over his eyebrows,
and remarked that they were scorched,
and that I would apply something
which would make them grow as
broad and black as ever.
is the use
of doing me
good in any
spirit, when, at some fatal moment,
you will again desert me--passing
like a shadow, whither and how
to me unknown, and for me remaining
you a pocket-comb
to comb out
black mane. I find you rather
alarming, when I examine you
close at hand: you talk of my
being a fairy, but I am sure,
you are more like a brownie."
sir: you always
were, you know."
has not been
taken out of
you have sojourned."
I have been
with good people;
a hundred times better people;
possessed of ideas and views
you never entertained in your
life: quite more refined and
the deuce have
you been with?"
you twist in
that way you
will make me pull the hair out
of your head; and then I think
you will cease to entertain doubts
of my substantiality."
have you been
shall not get
it out of me
you must wait
till to-morrow; to leave my tale
half told, will, you know, be
a sort of security that I shall
appear at your breakfast table
to finish it. By the bye, I must
mind not to rise on your hearth
with only a glass of water then:
I must bring an egg at the least,
to say nothing of fried ham."
and human-bred! You make me feel
as I have not felt these twelve
months. If Saul could have had
you for his David, the evil spirit
would have been exorcised without
the aid of the harp."
sir, you are
redd up and
Now I'll leave
you: I have been travelling these
last three days, and I believe
I am tired. Good night."
one word, Jane:
in the house
where you have been?"
made my escape,
still laughing as I ran upstairs. "A
good idea!" I thought with glee. "I
see I have the means of fretting
him out of his melancholy for
some time to come."
early the next
morning I heard
him up and
from one room to another. As
soon as Mary came down I heard
the question: "Is Miss Eyre here?" Then: "Which
room did you put her into? Was
it dry? Is she up? Go and ask
if she wants anything; and when
she will come down."
I came down as soon as I thought
there was a prospect of breakfast.
Entering the room very softly,
I had a view of him before he
discovered my presence. It was
mournful, indeed, to witness
the subjugation of that vigorous
spirit to a corporeal infirmity.
He sat in his chair--still, but
not at rest: expectant evidently;
the lines of now habitual sadness
marking his strong features.
His countenance reminded one
of a lamp quenched, waiting to
be re-lit-- and alas! it was
not himself that could now kindle
the lustre of animated expression:
he was dependent on another for
that office! I had meant to be
gay and careless, but the powerlessness
of the strong man touched my
heart to the quick: still I accosted
him with what vivacity I could.
"It is a bright, sunny morning,
sir," I said. "The rain is over
and gone, and there is a tender
shining after it: you shall have
a walk soon."
I had wakened the glow: his
you are indeed
there, my skylark!
Come to me.
not gone: not vanished? I heard
one of your kind an hour ago,
singing high over the wood: but
its song had no music for me,
any more than the rising sun
had rays. All the melody on earth
is concentrated in my Jane's
tongue to my ear (I am glad it
is not naturally a silent one):
all the sunshine I can feel is
in her presence."
The water stood in my eyes
to hear this avowal of his dependence;
just as if a royal eagle, chained
to a perch, should be forced
to entreat a sparrow to become
its purveyor. But I would not
be lachrymose: I dashed off the
salt drops, and busied myself
with preparing breakfast.
Most of the morning was spent
in the open air. I led him out
of the wet and wild wood into
some cheerful fields: I described
to him how brilliantly green
they were; how the flowers and
hedges looked refreshed; how
sparklingly blue was the sky.
I sought a seat for him in a
hidden and lovely spot, a dry
stump of a tree; nor did I refuse
to let him, when seated, place
me on his knee. Why should I,
when both he and I were happier
near than apart? Pilot lay beside
us: all was quiet. He broke out
suddenly while clasping me in
his arms -
Oh, Jane, what
did I feel
discovered you had fled from
Thornfield, and when I could
nowhere find you; and, after
examining your apartment, ascertained
that you had taken no money,
nor anything which could serve
as an equivalent! A pearl necklace
I had given you lay untouched
in its little casket; your trunks
were left corded and locked as
they had been prepared for the
bridal tour. What could my darling
do, I asked, left destitute and
penniless? And what did she do?
Let me hear now."
Thus urged, I began the narrative
of my experience for the last
year. I softened considerably
what related to the three days
of wandering and starvation,
because to have told him all
would have been to inflict unnecessary
pain: the little I did say lacerated
his faithful heart deeper than
I should not have left him
thus, he said, without any means
of making my way: I should have
told him my intention. I should
have confided in him: he would
never have forced me to be his
mistress. Violent as he had seemed
in his despair, he, in truth,
loved me far too well and too
tenderly to constitute himself
my tyrant: he would have given
me half his fortune, without
demanding so much as a kiss in
return, rather than I should
have flung myself friendless
on the wide world. I had endured,
he was certain, more than I had
confessed to him.
"Well, whatever my sufferings
had been, they were very short," I
answered: and then I proceeded
to tell him how I had been received
at Moor House; how I had obtained
the office of schoolmistress, &c.
The accession of fortune, the
discovery of my relations, followed
in due order. Of course, St.
John Rivers' name came in frequently
in the progress of my tale. When
I had done, that name was immediately
St. John, then,
is your cousin?"
of him often:
do you like him?"
was a very
good man, sir;
I could not help liking him."
good man. Does
that mean a
man of fifty? Or what does it
John was only
say. Is he
a person of
phlegmatic, and plain. A person
whose goodness consists rather
in his guiltlessness of vice,
than in his prowess in virtue."
and exalted deeds are what he
lives to perform."
That is probably
rather soft? He means well: but
you shrug your shoulders to hear
sir: what he
does say is
ever to the
His brain is first-rate, I should
think not impressible, but vigorous."
he an able
John is an
and profound scholar."
said are not
to your taste?--priggish
but, unless I had a very bad
taste, they must suit it; they
are polished, calm, and gentlemanlike."
you gave of
his appearance;--a sort of raw
curate, half strangled with his
white neckcloth, and stilted
up on his thick-soled high-lows,
well. He is
with blue eyes, and a Grecian
(Aside.) "Damn him!"--(To me.) "Did
you like him, Jane?"
I liked him:
but you asked
me that before."
I perceived, of course, the
drift of my interlocutor. Jealousy
had got hold of him: she stung
him; but the sting was salutary:
it gave him respite from the
gnawing fang of melancholy. I
would not, therefore, immediately
charm the snake.
"Perhaps you would rather not
sit any longer on my knee, Miss
Eyre?" was the next somewhat
not, Mr. Rochester?"
have just drawn
of a rather
too overwhelming contrast. Your
words have delineated very prettily
a graceful Apollo: he is present
to your imagination,--tall, fair,
blue-eyed, and with a Grecian
profile. Your eyes dwell on a
Vulcan,--a real blacksmith, brown,
broad-shouldered: and blind and
lame into the bargain."
of it, before;
but you certainly are rather
like Vulcan, sir."
"Well, you can leave me, ma'am:
but before you go" (and he retained
me by a firmer grasp than ever), "you
will be pleased just to answer
me a question or two." He paused.
Then followed this cross-examination.
John made you
of Morton before he knew you
were his cousin?"
see him? He
would visit the school sometimes?"
of your plans,
Jane? I know they would be clever,
for you are a talented creature!"
in you he could not have expected
to find? Some of your accomplishments
are not ordinary."
had a little
the school, you say: did he ever
come there to see you?"
long did you
him and his sisters after the
cousinship was discovered?"
much time with
of his family?"
the back parlour
was both his
study and ours:
near the window, and we by the
he study much?"
what did you
he teach you?"
did not understand
he teach you
you ask to
wished to teach
A second pause.
did he wish
it? Of what
use could Hindostanee be to you?"
to go with
him to India."
here I reach
the root of
He wanted you
to marry him?"
asked me to
is a fiction--an
to vex me."
beg your pardon,
it is the literal
truth: he asked
than once, and was as stiff about
urging his point as ever you
Eyre, I repeat
it, you can
leave me. How
often am I
to say the same thing? Why do
you remain pertinaciously perched
on my knee, when I have given
you notice to quit?"
I am comfortable
Jane, you are
there, because your heart is
not with me: it is with this
cousin--this St. John. Oh, till
this moment, I thought my little
Jane was all mine! I had a belief
she loved me even when she left
me: that was an atom of sweet
in much bitter. Long as we have
been parted, hot tears as I have
wept over our separation, I never
thought that while I was mourning
her, she was loving another!
But it is useless grieving. Jane,
leave me: go and marry Rivers."
me off, then,
me away, for
I'll not leave
of my own accord."
I ever like
your tone of
voice: it still
it sounds so truthful. When I
hear it, it carries me back a
year. I forget that you have
formed a new tie. But I am not
must I go,
you have chosen."
St. John Rivers."
is not my husband,
nor ever will
be. He does
me: I do not love him. He loves
(as he CAN love, and that is
not as you love) a beautiful
young lady called Rosamond. He
wanted to marry me only because
he thought I should make a suitable
missionary's wife, which she
would not have done. He is good
and great, but severe; and, for
me, cold as an iceberg. He is
not like you, sir: I am not happy
at his side, nor near him, nor
with him. He has no indulgence
for me--no fondness. He sees
nothing attractive in me; not
even youth--only a few useful
mental points.--Then I must leave
you, sir, to go to him?"
I shuddered involuntarily,
and clung instinctively closer
to my blind but beloved master.
Jane! Is this
true? Is such
state of matters
between you and Rivers?"
sir! Oh, you
need not be
wanted to tease
you a little to make you less
sad: I thought anger would be
better than grief. But if you
wish me to love you, could you
but see how much I DO love you,
you would be proud and content.
All my heart is yours, sir: it
belongs to you; and with you
it would remain, were fate to
exile the rest of me from your
presence for ever."
as he kissed
thoughts darkened his aspect. "My
scared vision! My crippled strength!" he
I caressed, in order to soothe
him. I knew of what he was thinking,
and wanted to speak for him,
but dared not. As he turned aside
his face a minute, I saw a tear
slide from under the sealed eyelid,
and trickle down the manly cheek.
My heart swelled.
"I am no better than the old
in Thornfield orchard," he remarked
ere long. "And what right would
that ruin have to bid a budding
woodbine cover its decay with
are no ruin,
tree: you are green and vigorous.
Plants will grow about your roots,
whether you ask them or not,
because they take delight in
your bountiful shadow; and as
they grow they will lean towards
you, and wind round you, because
your strength offers them so
safe a prop."
Again he smiled: I gave him
"You speak of friends, Jane?" he
"Yes, of friends," I
for I knew
I meant more than friends, but
could not tell what other word
to employ. He helped me.
Jane. But I
want a wife."
is it news
about it before."
sir--on your choice."
you shall make
for me, Jane.
I will abide
by your decision."
WHO LOVES YOU
will at least
I LOVE BEST. Jane, will you marry
man, whom you
will have to lead about by the
older than you, whom you will
have to wait on?"
God bless you
if ever I did
a good deed in my life--if ever
I thought a good thought--if
ever I prayed a sincere and blameless
prayer--if ever I wished a righteous
wish,--I am rewarded now. To
be your wife is, for me, to be
as happy as I can be on earth."
What do I sacrifice?
Famine for food, expectation
for content. To be privileged
to put my arms round what I value--to
press my lips to what I love--to
repose on what I trust: is that
to make a sacrifice? If so, then
certainly I delight in sacrifice."
to bear with
Jane: to overlook my deficiencies."
are none, sir,
to me. I love
now, when I
can really be useful to you,
than I did in your state of proud
independence, when you disdained
every part but that of the giver
I have hated
to be helped--to
be led: henceforth,
I feel I shall hate it no more.
I did not like to put my hand
into a hireling's, but it is
pleasant to feel it circled by
Jane's little fingers. I preferred
utter loneliness to the constant
attendance of servants; but Jane's
soft ministry will be a perpetual
joy. Jane suits me: do I suit
fibre of my
so, we have
nothing in the world to wait
for: we must be married instantly."
He looked and spoke with eagerness:
his old impetuosity was rising.
one flesh without
any delay, Jane: there is but
the licence to get--then we marry."
I have just
discovered the sun is far declined
from its meridian, and Pilot
is actually gone home to his
dinner. Let me look at your watch."
it into your
and keep it
I have no use for it."
is nearly four
you feel hungry?"
third day from
this must be
mind fine clothes and jewels,
now: all that is not worth a
sun has dried
up all the
sir. The breeze
still: it is quite hot."
you know, Jane,
I have your
this moment fastened round my
bronze scrag under my cravat?
I have worn it since the day
I lost my only treasure, as a
memento of her."
will go home
wood: that will be the shadiest
He pursued his own thoughts
without heeding me.
you think me,
dog: but my
swells with gratitude to the
beneficent God of this earth
just now. He sees not as man
sees, but far clearer: judges
not as man judges, but far more
wisely. I did wrong: I would
have sullied my innocent flower--breathed
guilt on its purity: the Omnipotent
snatched it from me. I, in my
stiff-necked rebellion, almost
cursed the dispensation: instead
of bending to the decree, I defied
it. Divine justice pursued its
course; disasters came thick
on me: I was forced to pass through
the valley of the shadow of death.
HIS chastisements are mighty;
and one smote me which has humbled
me for ever. You know I was proud
of my strength: but what is it
now, when I must give it over
to foreign guidance, as a child
does its weakness? Of late, Jane--only--only
of late--I began to see and acknowledge
the hand of God in my doom. I
began to experience remorse,
repentance; the wish for reconcilement
to my Maker. I began sometimes
to pray: very brief prayers they
were, but very sincere.
nay, I can
it was last
Monday night, a singular mood
came over me: one in which grief
replaced frenzy--sorrow, sullenness.
I had long had the impression
that since I could nowhere find
you, you must be dead. Late that
night-- perhaps it might be between
eleven and twelve o'clock--ere
I retired to my dreary rest,
I supplicated God, that, if it
seemed good to Him, I might soon
be taken from this life, and
admitted to that world to come,
where there was still hope of
was in my own
room, and sitting
by the window,
was open: it soothed me to feel
the balmy night-air; though I
could see no stars and only by
a vague, luminous haze, knew
the presence of a moon. I longed
for thee, Janet! Oh, I longed
for thee both with soul and flesh!
I asked of God, at once in anguish
and humility, if I had not been
long enough desolate, afflicted,
tormented; and might not soon
taste bliss and peace once more.
That I merited all I endured,
I acknowledged--that I could
scarcely endure more, I pleaded;
and the alpha and omega of my
heart's wishes broke involuntarily
from my lips in the words--'Jane!
you speak these
If any listener
had heard me, he would have thought
me mad: I pronounced them with
such frantic energy."
it was last
somewhere near midnight?"
but the time
is of no consequence:
the strange point. You will think
me superstitious,--some superstition
I have in my blood, and always
had: nevertheless, this is true--
true at least it is that I heard
what I now relate.
Jane!' a voice--I cannot tell
whence the voice came, but I
know whose voice it was--replied,
'I am coming: wait for me;' and
a moment after, went whispering
on the wind the words--'Where
tell you, if
I can, the
idea, the picture
opened to my mind: yet it is
difficult to express what I want
to express. Ferndean is buried,
as you see, in a heavy wood,
where sound falls dull, and dies
unreverberating. 'Where are you?'
seemed spoken amongst mountains;
for I heard a hill-sent echo
repeat the words. Cooler and
fresher at the moment the gale
seemed to visit my brow: I could
have deemed that in some wild,
lone scene, I and Jane were meeting.
In spirit, I believe we must
have met. You no doubt were,
at that hour, in unconscious
sleep, Jane: perhaps your soul
wandered from its cell to comfort
mine; for those were your accents-
-as certain as I live--they were
Reader, it was on Monday night--near
midnight--that I too had received
the mysterious summons: those
were the very words by which
I replied to it. I listened to
Mr. Rochester's narrative, but
made no disclosure in return.
The coincidence struck me as
too awful and inexplicable to
be communicated or discussed.
If I told anything, my tale would
be such as must necessarily make
a profound impression on the
mind of my hearer: and that mind,
yet from its sufferings too prone
to gloom, needed not the deeper
shade of the supernatural. I
kept these things then, and pondered
them in my heart.
"You cannot now wonder," continued
my master, "that when you rose
upon me so unexpectedly last
night, I had difficulty in believing
you any other than a mere voice
and vision, something that would
melt to silence and annihilation,
as the midnight whisper and mountain
echo had melted before. Now,
I thank God! I know it to be
otherwise. Yes, I thank God!"
He put me off his knee, rose,
and reverently lifting his hat
from his brow, and bending his
sightless eyes to the earth,
he stood in mute devotion. Only
the last words of the worship
thank my Maker,
that, in the
midst of judgment,
remembered mercy. I humbly entreat
my Redeemer to give me strength
to lead henceforth a purer life
than I have done hitherto!"
Then he stretched his hand
out to be led. I took that dear
hand, held it a moment to my
lips, then let it pass round
my shoulder: being so much lower
of stature than he, I served
both for his prop and guide.
We entered the wood, and wended