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Chapter 24

  • As I rose and dressed, I thought over what had happened, and wondered if i_ere 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 n_onger plain: there was hope in its aspect and life in its colour; and my eye_eemed as if they had beheld the fount of fruition, and borrowed beams fro_he lustrous ripple.  I had often been unwilling to look at my master, becaus_ feared he could not be pleased at my look; but I was sure I might lift m_ace to his now, and not cool his affection by its expression.  I took a plai_ut clean and light summer dress from my drawer and put it on: it seemed n_ttire had ever so well become me, because none had I ever worn in so blissfu_ mood.
  • I was not surprised, when I ran down into the hall, to see that a brillian_une morning had succeeded to the tempest of the night; and to feel, throug_he open glass door, the breathing of a fresh and fragrant breeze.  Natur_ust 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 al_he money I happened to have in my purse—some three or four shillings: good o_ad, they must partake of my jubilee.  The rooks cawed, and blither bird_ang; but nothing was so merry or so musical as my own rejoicing heart.
  • Mrs. Fairfax surprised me by looking out of the window with a sad countenance, and saying gravely—“Miss Eyre, will you come to breakfast?”  During the mea_he was quiet and cool: but I could not undeceive her then.  I must wait fo_y master to give explanations; and so must she.  I ate what I could, and the_ hastened upstairs.  I met Adèle leaving the schoolroom.
  • “Where are you going?  It is time for lessons.”
  • “Mr. Rochester has sent me away to the nursery.”
  • “Where is he?”
  • “In there,” pointing to the apartment she had left; and I went in, and ther_e stood.
  • “Come and bid me good-morning,” said he.  I gladly advanced; and it was no_erely a cold word now, or even a shake of the hand that I received, but a_mbrace 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 prett_his morning.  Is this my pale, little elf?  Is this my mustard-seed?  Thi_ittle sunny-faced girl with the dimpled cheek and rosy lips; the satin-smoot_azel hair, and the radiant hazel eyes?”  (I had green eyes, reader; but yo_ust excuse the mistake: for him they were new-dyed, I suppose.)
  • “It is Jane Eyre, sir.”
  • “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 consisten_ith joy—something that smote and stunned.  It was, I think almost fear.
  • “You blushed, and now you are white, Jane: what is that for?”
  • “Because you gave me a new name—Jane Rochester; and it seems so strange.”
  • “Yes, Mrs. Rochester,” said he; “young Mrs. Rochester—Fairfax Rochester’_irl-bride.”
  • “It can never be, sir; it does not sound likely.  Human beings never enjo_omplete happiness in this world.  I was not born for a different destiny t_he rest of my species: to imagine such a lot befalling me is a fairy tale—_ay-dream.”
  • “Which I can and will realise.  I shall begin to-day.  This morning I wrote t_y banker in London to send me certain jewels he has in his keeping,—heirloom_or the ladies of Thornfield.  In a day or two I hope to pour them into you_ap: for every privilege, every attention shall be yours that I would accord _eer’s daughter, if about to marry her.”
  • “Oh, sir!—never rain jewels!  I don’t like to hear them spoken of.  Jewels fo_ane Eyre sounds unnatural and strange: I would rather not have them.”
  • “I will myself put the diamond chain round your neck, and the circlet on you_orehead,—which it will become: for nature, at least, has stamped her paten_f nobility on this brow, Jane; and I will clasp the bracelets on these fin_rists, and load these fairy-like fingers with rings.”
  • “No, no, sir! think of other subjects, and speak of other things, and i_nother strain.  Don’t address me as if I were a beauty; I am your plain, Quakerish governess.”
  • “You are a beauty in my eyes, and a beauty just after the desire of m_eart,—delicate and aërial.”
  • “Puny and insignificant, you mean.  You are dreaming, sir,—or you ar_neering.  For God’s sake don’t be ironical!”
  • “I will make the world acknowledge you a beauty, too,” he went on, while _eally became uneasy at the strain he had adopted, because I felt he wa_ither deluding himself or trying to delude me.  “I will attire my Jane i_atin and lace, and she shall have roses in her hair; and I will cover th_ead I love best with a priceless veil.”
  • “And then you won’t know me, sir; and I shall not be your Jane Eyre an_onger, but an ape in a harlequin’s jacket—a jay in borrowed plumes.  I woul_s soon see you, Mr. Rochester, tricked out in stage-trappings, as myself cla_n a court-lady’s robe; and I don’t call you handsome, sir, though I love yo_ost dearly: far too dearly to flatter you.  Don’t flatter me.”
  • He pursued his theme, however, without noticing my deprecation.  “This ver_ay I shall take you in the carriage to Millcote, and you must choose som_resses for yourself.  I told you we shall be married in four weeks.  Th_edding is to take place quietly, in the church down below yonder; and then _hall waft you away at once to town.  After a brief stay there, I shall bea_y 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: sh_hall taste, too, of the life of cities; and she shall learn to value hersel_y just comparison with others.”
  • “Shall I travel?—and with you, sir?”
  • “You shall sojourn at Paris, Rome, and Naples: at Florence, Venice, an_ienna: 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 year_ince, I flew through Europe half mad; with disgust, hate, and rage as m_ompanions: now I shall revisit it healed and cleansed, with a very angel a_y comforter.”
  • I laughed at him as he said this.  “I am not an angel,” I asserted; “and _ill not be one till I die: I will be myself.  Mr. Rochester, you must neithe_xpect nor exact anything celestial of me—for you will not get it, any mor_han I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.”
  • “What do you anticipate of me?”
  • “For a little while you will perhaps be as you are now,—a very little while; and then you will turn cool; and then you will be capricious; and then yo_ill be stern, and I shall have much ado to please you: but when you get wel_sed 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 observe_n books written by men, that period assigned as the farthest to which _usband’s ardour extends.  Yet, after all, as a friend and companion, I hop_ever to become quite distasteful to my dear master.”
  • “Distasteful! and like you again!  I think I shall like you again, and ye_gain: and I will make you confess I do not only _like_ , but _love_ you—wit_ruth, fervour, constancy.”
  • “Yet are you not capricious, sir?”
  • “To women who please me only by their faces, I am the very devil when I fin_ut they have neither souls nor hearts—when they open to me a perspective o_latness, triviality, and perhaps imbecility, coarseness, and ill-temper: bu_o the clear eye and eloquent tongue, to the soul made of fire, and th_haracter that bends but does not break—at once supple and stable, tractabl_nd consistent—I am ever tender and true.”
  • “Had you ever experience of such a character, sir?  Did you ever love such a_ne?”
  • “I love it now.”
  • “But before me: if I, indeed, in any respect come up to your difficul_tandard?”
  • “I never met your likeness.  Jane, you please me, and you master me—you see_o submit, and I like the sense of pliancy you impart; and while I am twinin_he soft, silken skein round my finger, it sends a thrill up my arm to m_eart.  I am influenced—conquered; and the influence is sweeter than I ca_xpress; and the conquest I undergo has a witchery beyond any triumph I ca_in.  Why do you smile, Jane?  What does that inexplicable, that uncanny tur_f countenance mean?”
  • “I was thinking, sir (you will excuse the idea; it was involuntary), I wa_hinking of Hercules and Samson with their charmers—”
  • “You were, you little elfish—”
  • “Hush, sir!  You don’t talk very wisely just now; any more than thos_entlemen acted very wisely.  However, had they been married, they would n_oubt by their severity as husbands have made up for their softness a_uitors; and so will you, I fear.  I wonder how you will answer me a yea_ence, should I ask a favour it does not suit your convenience or pleasure t_rant.”
  • “Ask me something now, Jane,—the least thing: I desire to be entreated—”
  • “Indeed I will, sir; I have my petition all ready.”
  • “Speak!  But if you look up and smile with that countenance, I shall swea_oncession before I know to what, and that will make a fool of me.”
  • “Not at all, sir; I ask only this: don’t send for the jewels, and don’t crow_e with roses: you might as well put a border of gold lace round that plai_ocket handkerchief you have there.”
  • “I might as well ‘gild refined gold.’  I know it: your request is grante_hen—for the time.  I will remand the order I despatched to my banker.  Bu_ou have not yet asked for anything; you have prayed a gift to be withdrawn: try again.”
  • “Well then, sir, have the goodness to gratify my curiosity, which is muc_iqued on one point.”
  • He looked disturbed.  “What? what?” he said hastily.  “Curiosity is _angerous petition: it is well I have not taken a vow to accord ever_equest—”
  • “But there can be no danger in complying with this, sir.”
  • “Utter it, Jane: but I wish that instead of a mere inquiry into, perhaps, _ecret, it was a wish for half my estate.”
  • “Now, King Ahasuerus!  What do I want with half your estate?  Do you think _m a Jew-usurer, seeking good investment in land?  I would much rather hav_ll your confidence.  You will not exclude me from your confidence if yo_dmit me to your heart?”
  • “You are welcome to all my confidence that is worth having, Jane; but fo_od’s sake, don’t desire a useless burden!  Don’t long for poison—don’t tur_ut a downright Eve on my hands!”
  • “Why not, sir?  You have just been telling me how much you liked to b_onquered, and how pleasant over-persuasion is to you.  Don’t you think I ha_etter take advantage of the confession, and begin and coax and entreat—eve_ry and be sulky if necessary—for the sake of a mere essay of my power?”
  • “I dare you to any such experiment.  Encroach, presume, and the game is up.”
  • “Is it, sir?  You soon give in.  How stern you look now!  Your eyebrows hav_ecome as thick as my finger, and your forehead resembles what, in some ver_stonishing poetry, I once saw styled, ‘a blue-piled thunderloft.’  That wil_e your married look, sir, I suppose?”
  • “If that will be _your_ married look, I, as a Christian, will soon give up th_otion of consorting with a mere sprite or salamander.  But what had you t_sk, thing,—out with it?”
  • “There, you are less than civil now; and I like rudeness a great deal bette_han flattery.  I had rather be a _thing_ than an angel.  This is what I hav_o ask,—Why did you take such pains to make me believe you wished to marr_iss 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 seein_ danger averted.  “I think I may confess,” he continued, “even although _hould make you a little indignant, Jane—and I have seen what a fire-spiri_ou can be when you are indignant.  You glowed in the cool moonlight las_ight, when you mutinied against fate, and claimed your rank as my equal.
  • Janet, by-the-bye, it was you who made me the offer.”
  • “Of course I did.  But to the point if you please, sir—Miss Ingram?”
  • “Well, I feigned courtship of Miss Ingram, because I wished to render you a_adly in love with me as I was with you; and I knew jealousy would be the bes_lly I could call in for the furtherance of that end.”
  • “Excellent!  Now you are small—not one whit bigger than the end of my littl_inger.  It was a burning shame and a scandalous disgrace to act in that way.
  • Did you think nothing of Miss Ingram’s feelings, sir?”
  • “Her feelings are concentrated in one—pride; and that needs humbling.  Wer_ou jealous, Jane?”
  • “Never 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 you_ishonest coquetry?  Won’t she feel forsaken and deserted?”
  • “Impossible!—when I told you how she, on the contrary, deserted me: the ide_f my insolvency cooled, or rather extinguished, her flame in a moment.”
  • “You have a curious, designing mind, Mr. Rochester.  I am afraid you_rinciples on some points are eccentric.”
  • “My principles were never trained, Jane: they may have grown a little awry fo_ant of attention.”
  • “Once again, seriously; may I enjoy the great good that has been vouchsafed t_e, without fearing that any one else is suffering the bitter pain I mysel_elt a while ago?”
  • “That you may, my good little girl: there is not another being in the worl_as the same pure love for me as yourself—for I lay that pleasant unction t_y soul, Jane, a belief in your affection.”
  • I turned my lips to the hand that lay on my shoulder.  I loved him ver_uch—more than I could trust myself to say—more than words had power t_xpress.
  • “Ask something more,” he said presently; “it is my delight to be entreated, and to yield.”
  • I 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 misjudge_y so good a woman.”
  • “Go to your room, and put on your bonnet,” he replied.  “I mean you t_ccompany me to Millcote this morning; and while you prepare for the drive, _ill enlighten the old lady’s understanding.  Did she think, Janet, you ha_iven the world for love, and considered it well lost?”
  • “I believe she thought I had forgotten my station, and yours, sir.”
  • “Station! station!—your station is in my heart, and on the necks of those wh_ould insult you, now or hereafter.—Go.”
  • I was soon dressed; and when I heard Mr. Rochester quit Mrs. Fairfax’_arlour, I hurried down to it.  The old lady, had been reading her mornin_ortion 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’_nnouncement, seemed now forgotten: her eyes, fixed on the blank wal_pposite, 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 frame_ few words of congratulation; but the smile expired, and the sentence wa_bandoned unfinished.  She put up her spectacles, shut the Bible, and pushe_er chair back from the table.
  • “I feel so astonished,” she began, “I hardly know what to say to you, Mis_yre.  I have surely not been dreaming, have I?  Sometimes I half fall aslee_hen I am sitting alone and fancy things that have never happened.  It ha_eemed 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 _ave even heard him call me by my name, Alice, as he used to do.  Now, can yo_ell me whether it is actually true that Mr. Rochester has asked you to marr_im?  Don’t laugh at me.  But I really thought he came in here five minute_go, and said that in a month you would be his wife.”
  • “He has said the same thing to me,” I replied.
  • “He has!  Do you believe him?  Have you accepted him?”
  • “Yes.”
  • She looked at me bewildered.  “I could never have thought it.  He is a prou_an: all the Rochesters were proud: and his father, at least, liked money.
  • He, too, has always been called careful.  He means to marry you?”
  • “He tells me so.”
  • She surveyed my whole person: in her eyes I read that they had there found n_harm 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 positio_nd fortune is often advisable in such cases; and there are twenty years o_ifference in your ages.  He might almost be your father.”
  • “No, indeed, Mrs. Fairfax!” exclaimed I, nettled; “he is nothing like m_ather!  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 s_ittle acquainted with men, I wished to put you on your guard.  It is an ol_aying that ‘all is not gold that glitters;’ and in this case I do fear ther_ill 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 shoul_ave a sincere affection for me?”
  • “No: you are very well; and much improved of late; and Mr. Rochester, _aresay, is fond of you.  I have always noticed that you were a sort of pet o_is.  There are times when, for your sake, I have been a little uneasy at hi_arked preference, and have wished to put you on your guard: but I did no_ike to suggest even the possibility of wrong.  I knew such an idea woul_hock, perhaps offend you; and you were so discreet, and so thoroughly modes_nd sensible, I hoped you might be trusted to protect yourself.  Last night _annot tell you what I suffered when I sought all over the house, and coul_ind you nowhere, nor the master either; and then, at twelve o’clock, saw yo_ome in with him.”
  • “Well, never mind that now,” I interrupted impatiently; “it is enough that al_as right.”
  • “I hope all will be right in the end,” she said: “but believe me, you canno_e too careful.  Try and keep Mr. Rochester at a distance: distrust yoursel_s well as him.  Gentlemen in his station are not accustomed to marry thei_overnesses.”
  • I was growing truly irritated: happily, Adèle 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 g_ademoiselle.”
  • “That I will, Adèle;” and I hastened away with her, glad to quit my gloom_onitress.  The carriage was ready: they were bringing it round to the front, and my master was pacing the pavement, Pilot following him backwards an_orwards.
  • “Adèle may accompany us, may she not, sir?”
  • “I told her no.  I’ll have no brats!—I’ll have only you.”
  • “Do let her go, Mr. Rochester, if you please: it would be better.”
  • “Not it: she will be a restraint.”
  • He was quite peremptory, both in look and voice.  The chill of Mrs. Fairfax’_arnings, and the damp of her doubts were upon me: something o_nsubstantiality and uncertainty had beset my hopes.  I half lost the sense o_ower over him.  I was about mechanically to obey him, without furthe_emonstrance; 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 wis_he bairn to go?  Will it annoy you if she is left behind?”
  • “I would far rather she went, sir.”
  • “Then off for your bonnet, and back like a flash of lightning!” cried he t_dèle.
  • She obeyed him with what speed she might.
  • “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—fo_ife.”
  • Adèle, when lifted in, commenced kissing me, by way of expressing he_ratitude for my intercession: she was instantly stowed away into a corner o_he other side of him.  She then peeped round to where I sat; so stern _eighbour was too restrictive to him, in his present fractious mood, she dare_hisper no observations, nor ask of him any information.
  • “Let her come to me,” I entreated: “she will, perhaps, trouble you, sir: ther_s plenty of room on this side.”
  • He handed her over as if she had been a lapdog.  “I’ll send her to schoo_et,” he said, but now he was smiling.
  • Adèle heard him, and asked if she was to go to school “sans mademoiselle?”
  • “Yes,” he replied, “absolutely sans mademoiselle; for I am to tak_ademoiselle to the moon, and there I shall seek a cave in one of the whit_alleys among the volcano-tops, and mademoiselle shall live with me there, an_nly me.”
  • “She will have nothing to eat: you will starve her,” observed Adèle.
  • “I shall gather manna for her morning and night: the plains and hillsides i_he moon are bleached with manna, Adèle.”
  • “She will want to warm herself: what will she do for a fire?”
  • “Fire rises out of the lunar mountains: when she is cold, I’ll carry her up t_ peak, and lay her down on the edge of a crater.”
  • “Oh, qu’ elle y sera mal—peu comfortable!  And her clothes, they will wea_ut: how can she get new ones?”
  • Mr. Rochester professed to be puzzled.  “Hem!” said he.  “What would you do, Adèle?  Cudgel your brains for an expedient.  How would a white or a pin_loud answer for a gown, do you think?  And one could cut a pretty enoug_carf out of a rainbow.”
  • “She is far better as she is,” concluded Adèle, after musing some time: “besides, she would get tired of living with only you in the moon.  If I wer_ademoiselle, I would never consent to go with you.”
  • “She has consented: she has pledged her word.”
  • “But you can’t get her there; there is no road to the moon: it is all air; an_either you nor she can fly.”
  • “Adèle, look at that field.”  We were now outside Thornfield gates, an_owling lightly along the smooth road to Millcote, where the dust was wel_aid by the thunderstorm, and, where the low hedges and lofty timber trees o_ach side glistened green and rain-refreshed.
  • “In that field, Adèle, I was walking late one evening about a fortnigh_ince—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; an_here I took out a little book and a pencil, and began to write about _isfortune that befell me long ago, and a wish I had for happy days to come: _as writing away very fast, though daylight was fading from the leaf, whe_omething came up the path and stopped two yards off me.  I looked at it.  I_as a little thing with a veil of gossamer on its head.  I beckoned it to com_ear me; it stood soon at my knee.  I never spoke to it, and it never spoke t_e, in words; but I read its eyes, and it read mine; and our speechles_olloquy was to this effect—
  • “It was a fairy, and come from Elf-land, it said; and its errand was to mak_e happy: I must go with it out of the common world to a lonely place—such a_he moon, for instance—and it nodded its head towards her horn, rising ove_ay-hill: it told me of the alabaster cave and silver vale where we migh_ive.  I said I should like to go; but reminded it, as you did me, that I ha_o wings to fly.
  • “‘Oh,’ returned the fairy, ‘that does not signify!  Here is a talisman wil_emove all difficulties;’ and she held out a pretty gold ring.  ‘Put it,’ sh_aid, ‘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 agai_t the moon.  The ring, Adèle, is in my breeches-pocket, under the disguise o_ sovereign: but I mean soon to change it to a ring again.”
  • “But what has mademoiselle to do with it?  I don’t care for the fairy: yo_aid it was mademoiselle you would take to the moon?”
  • “Mademoiselle is a fairy,” he said, whispering mysteriously.  Whereupon I tol_er not to mind his badinage; and she, on her part, evinced a fund of genuin_rench scepticism: denominating Mr. Rochester “un vrai menteur,” and assurin_im that she made no account whatever of his “contes de fée,” and that “d_este, il n’y avait pas de fées, et quand même il y en avait:” she was sur_hey would never appear to him, nor ever give him rings, or offer to live wit_im in the moon.
  • The hour spent at Millcote was a somewhat harassing one to me.  Mr. Rocheste_bliged me to go to a certain silk warehouse: there I was ordered to choos_alf-a-dozen dresses.  I hated the business, I begged leave to defer it: no—i_hould be gone through with now.  By dint of entreaties expressed in energeti_hispers, I reduced the half-dozen to two: these however, he vowed he woul_elect himself.  With anxiety I watched his eye rove over the gay stores: h_ixed on a rich silk of the most brilliant amethyst dye, and a superb pin_atin.  I told him in a new series of whispers, that he might as well buy me _old gown and a silver bonnet at once: I should certainly never venture t_ear his choice.  With infinite difficulty, for he was stubborn as a stone, _ersuaded 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 m_littering like a parterre.”
  • Glad was I to get him out of the silk warehouse, and then out of a jeweller_hop: the more he bought me, the more my cheek burned with a sense o_nnoyance and degradation.  As we re-entered the carriage, and I sat bac_everish and fagged, I remembered what, in the hurry of events, dark an_right, 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 ca_ear being dressed like a doll by Mr. Rochester, or sitting like a secon_anae with the golden shower falling daily round me.  I will write to Madeir_he moment I get home, and tell my uncle John I am going to be married, and t_hom: if I had but a prospect of one day bringing Mr. Rochester an accessio_f fortune, I could better endure to be kept by him now.”  And somewha_elieved by this idea (which I failed not to execute that day), I venture_nce more to meet my master’s and lover’s eye, which most pertinaciousl_ought mine, though I averted both face and gaze.  He smiled; and I though_is smile was such as a sultan might, in a blissful and fond moment, bestow o_ slave his gold and gems had enriched: I crushed his hand, which was eve_unting mine, vigorously, and thrust it back to him red with the passionat_ressure.
  • “You need not look in that way,” I said; “if you do, I’ll wear nothing but m_ld Lowood frocks to the end of the chapter.  I’ll be married in this lila_ingham: you may make a dressing-gown for yourself out of the pearl-grey silk, and an infinite series of waistcoats out of the black satin.”
  • He chuckled; he rubbed his hands.  “Oh, it is rich to see and hear her?” h_xclaimed.  “Is she original?  Is she piquant?  I would not exchange this on_ittle English girl for the Grand Turk’s whole seraglio, gazelle-eyes, hour_orms, and all!”
  • The Eastern allusion bit me again.  “I’ll not stand you an inch in the stea_f a seraglio,” I said; “so don’t consider me an equivalent for one.  If yo_ave a fancy for anything in that line, away with you, sir, to the bazaars o_tamboul without delay, and lay out in extensive slave-purchases some of tha_pare cash you seem at a loss to spend satisfactorily here.”
  • “And what will you do, Janet, while I am bargaining for so many tons of fles_nd such an assortment of black eyes?”
  • “I’ll be preparing myself to go out as a missionary to preach liberty to the_hat are enslaved—your harem inmates amongst the rest.  I’ll get admitte_here, 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, fo_ne, consent to cut your bonds till you have signed a charter, the mos_iberal that despot ever yet conferred.”
  • “I would consent to be at your mercy, Jane.”
  • “I would have no mercy, Mr. Rochester, if you supplicated for it with an ey_ike that.  While you looked so, I should be certain that whatever charter yo_ight grant under coercion, your first act, when released, would be to violat_ts conditions.”
  • “Why, Jane, what would you have?  I fear you will compel me to go through _rivate marriage ceremony, besides that performed at the altar.  You wil_tipulate, I see, for peculiar terms—what will they be?”
  • “I only want an easy mind, sir; not crushed by crowded obligations.  Do yo_emember what you said of Céline Varens?—of the diamonds, the cashmeres yo_ave her?  I will not be your English Céline Varens.  I shall continue to ac_s Adèle’s governess; by that I shall earn my board and lodging, and thirt_ounds a year besides.  I’ll furnish my own wardrobe out of that money, an_ou shall give me nothing but—”
  • “Well, but what?”
  • “Your regard; and if I give you mine in return, that debt will be quit.”
  • “Well, for cool native impudence and pure innate pride, you haven’t you_qual,” said he.  We were now approaching Thornfield.  “Will it please you t_ine with me to-day?” he asked, as we re-entered the gates.
  • “No, thank you, sir.”
  • “And what for, ‘no, thank you?’ if one may inquire.”
  • “I never have dined with you, sir: and I see no reason why I should now: till—”
  • “Till what?  You delight in half-phrases.”
  • “Till I can’t help it.”
  • “Do you suppose I eat like an ogre or a ghoul, that you dread being th_ompanion of my repast?”
  • “I have formed no supposition on the subject, sir; but I want to go on a_sual for another month.”
  • “You will give up your governessing slavery at once.”
  • “Indeed, begging your pardon, sir, I shall not.  I shall just go on with it a_sual.  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’l_ome 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 Adèle would say; and unfortunately I hav_either my cigar-case, nor my snuff-box.  But listen—whisper.  It is your tim_ow, little tyrant, but it will be mine presently; and when once I have fairl_eized you, to have and to hold, I’ll just—figuratively speaking—attach you t_ chain like this” (touching his watch-guard).  “Yes, bonny wee thing, I’l_ear you in my bosom, lest my jewel I should tyne.”
  • He said this as he helped me to alight from the carriage, and while h_fterwards lifted out Adèle, I entered the house, and made good my retrea_pstairs.
  • He duly summoned me to his presence in the evening.  I had prepared a_ccupation for him; for I was determined not to spend the whole time in _tête-à-tête_ conversation.  I remembered his fine voice; I knew he liked t_ing—good singers generally do.  I was no vocalist myself, and, in hi_astidious judgment, no musician, either; but I delighted in listening whe_he performance was good.  No sooner had twilight, that hour of romance, bega_o lower her blue and starry banner over the lattice, than I rose, opened th_iano, and entreated him, for the love of heaven, to give me a song.  He sai_ was a capricious witch, and that he would rather sing another time; but _verred that no time was like the present.
  • “Did I like his voice?” he asked.
  • “Very much.”  I was not fond of pampering that susceptible vanity of his; bu_or once, and from motives of expediency, I would e’en soothe and stimulat_t.
  • “Then, Jane, you must play the accompaniment.”
  • “Very well, sir, I will try.”
  • I did try, but was presently swept off the stool and denominated “a littl_ungler.”  Being pushed unceremoniously to one side—which was precisely what _ished—he usurped my place, and proceeded to accompany himself: for he coul_lay as well as sing.  I hied me to the window-recess.  And while I sat ther_nd looked out on the still trees and dim lawn, to a sweet air was sung i_ellow tones the following strain:—
  • > “The truest 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 sore:
  • >
  • > Though haughty Hate should strike me down, >    Right, bar approach to me, > And grinding Might, with furious frown, >    Swear endless enmity.
  • >
  • > 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 ful_alcon-eye flashing, and tenderness and passion in every lineament.  I quaile_omentarily—then I rallied.  Soft scene, daring demonstration, I would no_ave; and I stood in peril of both: a weapon of defence must be prepared—_hetted my tongue: as he reached me, I asked with asperity, “whom he was goin_o marry now?”
  • “That was a strange question to be put by his darling Jane.”
  • “Indeed!  I considered it a very natural and necessary one: he had talked o_is future wife dying with him.  What did he mean by such a pagan idea?  _I_ad 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!  Deat_as not for such as I.”
  • “Indeed it was: I had as good a right to die when my time came as he had: bu_ 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 _econciling 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 stanza_rooned in her praise.”
  • I assured him I was naturally hard—very flinty, and that he would often fin_e so; and that, moreover, I was determined to show him divers rugged point_n my character before the ensuing four weeks elapsed: he should know full_hat 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 talking rationally, I flattere_yself I was doing that now.”
  • He fretted, pished, and pshawed.  “Very good,” I thought; “you may fume an_idget as you please: but this is the best plan to pursue with you, I a_ertain.  I like you more than I can say; but I’ll not sink into a bathos o_entiment: and with this needle of repartee I’ll keep you from the edge of th_ulf too; and, moreover, maintain by its pungent aid that distance between yo_nd myself most conducive to our real mutual advantage.”
  • From less to more, I worked him up to considerable irritation; then, after h_ad retired, in dudgeon, quite to the other end of the room, I got up, an_aying, “I wish you good-night, sir,” in my natural and wonted respectfu_anner, 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 despotis_ore, would have pleased his judgment, satisfied his common-sense, and eve_uited his taste less.
  • In other people’s presence I was, as formerly, deferential and quiet; an_ther line of conduct being uncalled for: it was only in the evenin_onferences I thus thwarted and afflicted him.  He continued to send for m_unctually the moment the clock struck seven; though when I appeared befor_im now, he had no such honeyed terms as “love” and “darling” on his lips: th_est words at my service were “provoking puppet,” “malicious elf,” “sprite,” “changeling,” &c.  For caresses, too, I now got grimaces; for a pressure o_he hand, a pinch on the arm; for a kiss on the cheek, a severe tweak of th_ar.  It was all right: at present I decidedly preferred these fierce favour_o anything more tender.  Mrs. Fairfax, I saw, approved me: her anxiety on m_ccount vanished; therefore I was certain I did well.  Meantime, Mr. Rocheste_ffirmed I was wearing him to skin and bone, and threatened awful vengeanc_or my present conduct at some period fast coming.  I laughed in my sleeve a_is menaces.  “I can keep you in reasonable check now,” I reflected; “and _on’t doubt to be able to do it hereafter: if one expedient loses its virtue, another must be devised.”
  • Yet after all my task was not an easy one; often I would rather have please_han teased him.  My future husband was becoming to me my whole world; an_ore than the world: almost my hope of heaven.  He stood between me and ever_hought 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 a_dol.