Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
passage led into the hall: in crossing it, I perceived my sandal was
loose; I stopped to tie it, kneeling down for that purpose on the mat
at the foot of the staircase. I heard the dining-room door unclose; a
gentleman came out; rising hastily, I stood face to face with him: it
was Mr. Rochester.
‘How do you do?’ he asked.
‘I am very well, sir.’ ‘Why did you not come and speak to me in the
room?’ I thought I might have retorted the question on him who
put it: but I would not take that freedom. I answered‘I did not wish
to disturb you, as you seemed engaged, sir.’ ‘What have you been
doing during my absence?’ ‘Nothing particular; teaching Adele as
usual.’ ‘And getting a good deal paler than you were-as I saw at
first sight. What is the matter?’ ‘Nothing at all, sir.’ ‘Did you take
any cold that night you half drowned me?’ ‘Not the least.’ ‘Return
to the drawing-room: you are deserting too early.’ ‘I am tired, sir.’
He looked at me for a minute.
‘And a little depressed,’ he said. ‘What about? Tell me.’ ‘Nothing-
nothing, sir. I am not depressed.’ ‘But I affirm that you are: so
much depressed that a few more words would bring tears to your
eyes-indeed, they are there now, shining and swimming; and a
bead has slipped from the lash and fallen on to the flag. If I had
time, and was not in mortal dread of some prating prig of a servant
passing, I would know what all this means. Well, to-night I excuse
you; but understand that so long as my visitors stay, I expect you
to appear in the drawing-room every evening; it is my wish; don’t
neglect it. Now go, and send Sophie for Adele. Good-night, my-’
He stopped, bit his lip, and abruptly left me.