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


was quickly at the aperture. Celine’s chambermaid entered, lit a
lamp, left it on the table, and withdrew. The couple were thus
revealed to me clearly: both removed their cloaks, and there was
“the Varens,” shining in satin and jewels,- my gifts of course,- and
there was her companion in an officer’s uniform; and I knew him
for a young roue of a vicomte-a brainless and vicious youth whom
I had sometimes met in society, and had never thought of hating
because I despised him so absolutely. On recognising him, the fang
of the snake Jealousy was instantly broken; because at the same
moment my love for Celine sank under an extinguisher. A woman
who could betray me for such a rival was not worth contending
for; she deserved only scorn; less, however, than I, who had been
her dupe.

‘They began to talk; their conversation eased me completely:
frivolous, mercenary, heartless, and senseless, it was rather
calculated to weary than enrage a listener. A card of mine lay on
the table; this being perceived, brought my name under discussion.
Neither of them possessed energy or wit to belabour me soundly,
but they insulted me as coarsely as they could in their little way:
especially Celine, who even waxed rather brilliant on my personal
defects-deformities she termed them. Now it had been her custom
to launch out into fervent admiration of what she called my
“beaute male”: wherein she differed diametrically from you, who
told me point-blank, at the second interview, that you did not think
me handsome. The contrast struck me at the time and-’ Adele here
came running up again.

‘Monsieur, John has just been to say that your agent has called and
wishes to see you.’ ‘Ah! in that case I must abridge. Opening the
window, I walked in upon them; liberated Celine from my
protection; gave her notice to vacate her hotel; offered her a purse
for immediate exigencies; disregarded screams, hysterics, prayers,
protestations, convulsions; made an appointment with the vicomte
for a meeting at the Bois de Boulogne. Next morning I had the
pleasure of encountering him; left a bullet in one of his poor
etiolated arms, feeble as the wing of a chicken in the pip, and then
thought I had done with the whole crew. But unluckily the Varens,
six months before, had given me this filette Adele, who, she
affirmed, was my daughter; and perhaps she may be, though I see
no proofs of such grim paternity written in her countenance: Pilot
is more like me than she. Some years after I had broken with the
mother, she abandoned her child, and ran away to Italy with a
musician or singer. I acknowledged no natural claim on Adele’s
part to be supported by me, nor do I now acknowledge any, for I
am not her father; but hearing that she was quite destitute, I e’en
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