Reader, I married him. A quiet wedding we had: he and I, the parson an_lerk, were alone present. When we got back from church, I went into th_itchen of the manor-house, where Mary was cooking the dinner and Joh_leaning the knives, and I said—
“Mary, I have been married to Mr. Rochester this morning.” The housekeepe_nd her husband were both of that decent phlegmatic order of people, to who_ne may at any time safely communicate a remarkable piece of news withou_ncurring the danger of having one’s ears pierced by some shrill ejaculation,
and subsequently stunned by a torrent of wordy wonderment. Mary did look up,
and she did stare at me: the ladle with which she was basting a pair o_hickens roasting at the fire, did for some three minutes hang suspended i_ir; and for the same space of time John’s knives also had rest from th_olishing process: but Mary, bending again over the roast, said only—
“Have you, Miss? Well, for sure!”
A short time after she pursued—“I seed you go out with the master, but _idn’t know you were gone to church to be wed;” and she basted away. John,
when I turned to him, was grinning from ear to ear.
“I telled Mary how it would be,” he said: “I knew what Mr. Edward” (John wa_n old servant, and had known his master when he was the cadet of the house,
therefore, he often gave him his Christian name)—“I knew what Mr. Edward woul_o; and I was certain he would not wait long neither: and he’s done right, fo_ught I know. I wish you joy, Miss!” and he politely pulled his forelock.
“Thank you, John. Mr. Rochester told me to give you and Mary this.” I pu_nto his hand a five-pound note. Without waiting to hear more, I left th_itchen. In passing the door of that sanctum some time after, I caught th_ords—
“She’ll happen do better for him nor ony o’t’ grand ladies.” And again, “I_he ben’t one o’ th’ handsomest, she’s noan faâl and varry good-natured; an_’ his een she’s fair beautiful, onybody may see that.”
I wrote to Moor House and to Cambridge immediately, to say what I had done:
fully explaining also why I had thus acted. Diana and Mary approved the ste_nreservedly. Diana announced that she would just give me time to get ove_he honeymoon, and then she would come and see me.
“She had better not wait till then, Jane,” said Mr. Rochester, when I read he_etter to him; “if she does, she will be too late, for our honeymoon wil_hine our life long: its beams will only fade over your grave or mine.”
How St. John received the news, I don’t know: he never answered the letter i_hich I communicated it: yet six months after he wrote to me, without,
however, mentioning Mr. Rochester’s name or alluding to my marriage. Hi_etter was then calm, and, though very serious, kind. He has maintained _egular, though not frequent, correspondence ever since: he hopes I am happy,
and trusts I am not of those who live without God in the world, and only min_arthly things.
You have not quite forgotten little Adèle, have you, reader? I had not; _oon asked and obtained leave of Mr. Rochester, to go and see her at th_chool where he had placed her. Her frantic joy at beholding me again move_e much. She looked pale and thin: she said she was not happy. I found th_ules of the establishment were too strict, its course of study too severe fo_ child of her age: I took her home with me. I meant to become her governes_nce more, but I soon found this impracticable; my time and cares were no_equired by another—my husband needed them all. So I sought out a schoo_onducted on a more indulgent system, and near enough to permit of my visitin_er often, and bringing her home sometimes. I took care she should never wan_or anything that could contribute to her comfort: she soon settled in her ne_bode, became very happy there, and made fair progress in her studies. As sh_rew up, a sound English education corrected in a great measure her Frenc_efects; and when she left school, I found in her a pleasing and obligin_ompanion: docile, good-tempered, and well-principled. By her gratefu_ttention to me and mine, she has long since well repaid any little kindness _ver had it in my power to offer her.
My tale draws to its close: one word respecting my experience of married life,
and one brief glance at the fortunes of those whose names have most frequentl_ecurred in this narrative, and I have done.
I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for an_ith what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest—blest beyon_hat language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he i_ine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutel_one of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward’_ociety: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation o_he heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are eve_ogether. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, a_ay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other i_ut a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed o_im, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited i_haracter—perfect concord is the result.
Mr. Rochester continued blind the first two years of our union; perhaps it wa_hat circumstance that drew us so very near—that knit us so very close: for _as then his vision, as I am still his right hand. Literally, I was (what h_ften called me) the apple of his eye. He saw nature—he saw books through me;
and never did I weary of gazing for his behalf, and of putting into words th_ffect of field, tree, town, river, cloud, sunbeam—of the landscape before us;
of the weather round us—and impressing by sound on his ear what light could n_onger stamp on his eye. Never did I weary of reading to him; never did _eary of conducting him where he wished to go: of doing for him what he wishe_o be done. And there was a pleasure in my services, most full, mos_xquisite, even though sad—because he claimed these services without painfu_hame or damping humiliation. He loved me so truly, that he knew n_eluctance in profiting by my attendance: he felt I loved him so fondly, tha_o yield that attendance was to indulge my sweetest wishes.
One morning at the end of the two years, as I was writing a letter to hi_ictation, he came and bent over me, and said—“Jane, have you a glitterin_rnament round your neck?”
I had a gold watch-chain: I answered “Yes.”
“And have you a pale blue dress on?”
I had. He informed me then, that for some time he had fancied the obscurit_louding one eye was becoming less dense; and that now he was sure of it.
He and I went up to London. He had the advice of an eminent oculist; and h_ventually recovered the sight of that one eye. He cannot now see ver_istinctly: he cannot read or write much; but he can find his way withou_eing led by the hand: the sky is no longer a blank to him—the earth no longe_ void. When his first-born was put into his arms, he could see that the bo_ad inherited his own eyes, as they once were—large, brilliant, and black. O_hat occasion, he again, with a full heart, acknowledged that God had tempere_udgment with mercy.
My Edward and I, then, are happy: and the more so, because those we most lov_re happy likewise. Diana and Mary Rivers are both married: alternately, onc_very year, they come to see us, and we go to see them. Diana’s husband is _aptain in the navy, a gallant officer and a good man. Mary’s is a clergyman,
a college friend of her brother’s, and, from his attainments and principles,
worthy of the connection. Both Captain Fitzjames and Mr. Wharton love thei_ives, and are loved by them.
As to St. John Rivers, he left England: he went to India. He entered on th_ath he had marked for himself; he pursues it still. A more resolute,
indefatigable pioneer never wrought amidst rocks and dangers. Firm, faithful,
and devoted, full of energy, and zeal, and truth, he labours for his race; h_lears their painful way to improvement; he hews down like a giant th_rejudices of creed and caste that encumber it. He may be stern; he may b_xacting; he may be ambitious yet; but his is the sternness of the warrio_reatheart, who guards his pilgrim convoy from the onslaught of Apollyon. Hi_s the exaction of the apostle, who speaks but for Christ, when h_ays—“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up hi_ross and follow me.” His is the ambition of the high master-spirit, whic_ims to fill a place in the first rank of those who are redeemed from th_arth—who stand without fault before the throne of God, who share the las_ighty victories of the Lamb, who are called, and chosen, and faithful.
St. John is unmarried: he never will marry now. Himself has hitherto suffice_o the toil, and the toil draws near its close: his glorious sun hastens t_ts setting. The last letter I received from him drew from my eyes huma_ears, and yet filled my heart with divine joy: he anticipated his sur_eward, his incorruptible crown. I know that a stranger’s hand will write t_e next, to say that the good and faithful servant has been called at lengt_nto the joy of his Lord. And why weep for this? No fear of death wil_arken St. John’s last hour: his mind will be unclouded, his heart will b_ndaunted, his hope will be sure, his faith steadfast. His own words are _ledge of this—
“My Master,” he says, “has forewarned me. Daily He announces mor_istinctly,—‘Surely I come quickly!’ and hourly I more eagerly respond,—‘Amen;