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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Digital Library-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


the hall-front, caught a light kindling in a window: it reminded me
that I was late, and I hurried on.

I did not like re-entering Thornfield. To pass its threshold was to
return to stagnation; to cross the silent hall, to ascend the darksome
staircase, to seek my own lonely little room, and then to meet
tranquil Mrs. Fairfax, and spend the long winter evening with her,
and her only, was to quell wholly the faint excitement wakened by
my walk,- to slip again over my faculties the viewless fetters of an
uniform and too still existence; of an existence whose very
privileges of security and ease I was becoming incapable of
appreciating. What good it would have done me at that time to
have been tossed in the storms of an uncertain struggling life, and
to have been taught by rough and bitter experience to long for the
calm amidst which I now repined! Yes, just as much good as it
would do a man tired of sitting still in a ‘too easy chair’ to take a
long walk: and just as natural was the wish to stir, under my
circumstances, as it would be under his.

I lingered at the gates; I lingered on the lawn; I paced backwards
and forwards on the pavement; the shutters of the glass door were
closed; I could not see into the interior; and both my eyes and spirit
seemed drawn from the gloomy housefrom the grey hollow filled
with rayless cells, as it appeared to me-to that sky expanded
before me,- a blue sea absolved from taint of cloud; the moon
ascending it in solemn march; her orb seeming to look up as she
left the hill-tops, from behind which she had come, far and farther
below her, and aspired to the zenith, midnight dark in its
fathomless depth and measureless distance; and for those
trembling stars that followed her course; they made my heart
tremble, my veins glow when I viewed them. Little things recall us
to earth; the clock struck in the hall; that sufficed; I turned from
moon and stars, opened a side-door, and went in.

The hall was not dark, nor yet was it lit, only by the high-hung
bronze lamp; a warm glow suffused both it and the lower steps of
the oak staircase. This ruddy shine issued from the great dining-
room, whose two-leaved door stood open, and showed a genial fire
in the grate, glancing on marble hearth and brass fire-irons, and
revealing purple draperies and polished furniture, in the most
pleasant radiance. It revealed, too, a group near the mantelpiece: I
had scarcely caught it, and scarcely become aware of a cheerful
mingling of voices, amongst which I seemed to distinguish the
tones of Adele, when the door closed.

I hastened to Mrs. Fairfax’s room; there was a fire there too, but no
candle, and no Mrs. Fairfax. Instead, all alone, sitting upright on
the rug, and gazing with gravity at the blaze, I beheld a great black
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