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Rochester in her behalf; but, hard-favoured and matronly as she
was, the idea could not be admitted.

‘Yet,’ I reflected, ‘she has been young once; her youth would be
contemporary with her master’s: Mrs. Fairfax told me once, she
had lived here many years. I don’t think she can ever have been
pretty; but, for aught I know, she may possess originality and
strength of character to compensate for the want of personal
advantages. Mr. Rochester is an amateur of the decided and
eccentric: Grace is eccentric at least. What if a former caprice (a
freak very possible to a nature so sudden and headstrong as his)
has delivered him into her power, and she now exercises over his
actions a secret influence, the result of his own indiscretion, which
he cannot shake off, and dare not disregard?’ But, having reached
this point of conjecture, Mrs. Poole’s square, flat figure, and
uncomely, dry, even coarse face, recurred so distinctly to my
mind’s eye, that I thought, ‘No; impossible! my supposition cannot
be correct. Yet,’ suggested the secret voice which talks to us in our
own hearts, ‘you are not beautiful either, and perhaps Mr.
Rochester approves you: at any rate, you have often felt as if he
did; and last night-remember his words; remember his look;
remember his voice!’ I well remembered all; language, glance, and
tone seemed at the moment vividly renewed. I was now in the
schoolroom; Adele was drawing; I bent over her and directed her
pencil. She looked up with a sort of start.

‘Qu’avez-vous, mademoiselle?’ said she. ‘Vos doigts tremblent
comme la feuille, et vos joues sont rouges: mais, rouges comme des
cerises!’ ‘I am hot, Adele, with stooping!’ She went on sketching; I
went on thinking.

I hastened to drive from my mind the hateful notion I had been
conceiving respecting Grace Poole; it disgusted me. I compared
myself with her, and found we were different. Bessie Leaven had
said I was quite a lady; and she spoke truth-I was a lady. And now
I looked much better than I did when Bessie saw me; I had more
colour and more flesh, more life, more vivacity, because I had
brighter hopes and keener enjoyments.

‘Evening approaches,’ said I, as I looked towards the window. ‘I
have never heard Mr. Rochester’s voice or step in the house to-day;
but surely I shall see him before night: I feared the meeting in the
morning; now I desire it, because expectation has been so long
baffled that it is grown impatient.’ When dusk actually closed, and
when Adele left me to go and play in the nursery with Sophie, I
did most keenly desire it. I listened for the bell to ring below; I
listened for Leah coming up with a message; I fancied sometimes I
heard Mr. Rochester’s own tread, and I turned to the door,
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