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


You seem to doubt me; I don’t doubt myself: I know what my aim
is, what my motives are; and at this moment I pass a law,
unalterable as that of the Medes and Persians, that both are right.’
‘They cannot be, sir, if they require a new statute to legalise them.’
‘They are, Miss Eyre, though they absolutely require a new statute:
unheardof combinations or circumstances demand unheard-of
rules.’ ‘That sounds a dangerous maxim, sir; because one can see at
once that it is liable to abuse.’ ‘Sententious sage! so it is: but I swear
by my household gods not to abuse it.’ ‘You are human and
fallible.’ ‘I am: so are you-what then?’ ‘The human and fallible
should not arrogate a power with which the divine and perfect
alone can be safely intrusted.’ ‘What power?’ ‘That of saying of any
strange, unsanctioned line of action,- “Let it be right.”’ ‘”Let it be
right”- the very words: you have pronounced them.’ ‘May it be
right then,’ I said, as I rose, deeming it useless to continue a
discourse which was all darkness to me; and, besides, sensible that
the character of my interlocutor was beyond my penetration; at
least, beyond its present reach; and feeling the uncertainty, the
vague sense of insecurity, which accompanies a conviction of

‘Where are you going?’ ‘To put Adele to bed: it is past her
bedtime.’ ‘You are afraid of me, because I talk like a Sphynx.’ ‘Your
language is enigmatical, sir: but though I am bewildered, I am
certainly not afraid.’ ‘You are afraid-your self-love dreads a
blunder.’ ‘In that sense I do feel apprehensive-I have no wish to
talk nonsense.’ ‘If you did, it would be in such a grave, quiet
manner, I should mistake it for sense. Do you never laugh, Miss
Eyre? Don’t trouble yourself to answer-I see you laugh rarely; but
you can laugh very merrily: believe me, you are not naturally
austere, any more than I am naturally vicious. The Lowood
constraint still clings to you somewhat; controlling your features,
muffling your voice, and restricting your limbs; and you fear in the
presence of a man and a brother-or father, or master, or what you
will-to smile too gaily, speak too freely, or move too quickly: but,
in time, I think you will learn to be natural with me, as I find it
impossible to be conventional with you; and then your looks and
movements will have more vivacity and variety than they dare
offer now. I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird
through the close-set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute
captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high. You are
still bent on going?’ ‘It has struck nine, sir.’ ‘Never mind,- wait a
minute: Adele is not ready to go to bed yet. My position, Miss
Eyre, with my back to the fire, and my face to the room, favours
observation. While talking to you, I have also occasionally watched
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