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


She approached the basin, and bent over it as if to fill her pitcher;
she again lifted it to her head. The personage on the well-brink
now seemed to accost her; to make some request:- ‘She hasted, let
down her pitcher on her hand, and gave him to drink.’ From the
bosom of his robe he then produced a casket, opened it and
showed magnificent bracelets and earrings; she acted astonishment
and admiration; kneeling, he laid the treasure at her feet;
incredulity and delight were expressed by her looks and gestures;
the stranger fastened the bracelets on her arms and the rings in her
ears. It was Eliezer and Rebecca: the camels only were wanting.
The divining party again laid their heads together: apparently they
could not agree about the word or syllable the scene illustrated.
Colonel Dent, their spokesman, demanded ‘the tableau of the
whole’; whereupon the curtain again descended.

On its third rising only a portion of the drawing-room was
disclosed; the rest being concealed by a screen, hung with some
sort of dark and coarse drapery. The marble basin was removed; in
its place stood a deal table and a kitchen chair: these objects were
visible by a very dim light proceeding from a horn lantern, the wax
candles being all extinguished.

Amidst this sordid scene, sat a man with his clenched hands
resting on his knees, and his eyes bent on the ground. I knew Mr.
Rochester; though the begrimed face, the disordered dress (his coat
hanging loose from one arm, as if it had been almost torn from his
back in a scuffle), the desperate and scowling countenance the
rough, bristling hair might well have disguised him. As he moved,
a chain clanked; to his wrists were attached fetters.

‘Bridewell!’ exclaimed Colonel Dent, and the charade was solved.
A sufficient interval having elapsed for the performers to resume
their ordinary costume, they re-entered the dining-room. Mr.
Rochester led in Miss Ingram; she was complimenting him on his

‘Do you know,’ said she, ‘that, of the three characters, I liked you
in the last best? Oh, had you but lived a few years earlier, what a
gallant gentleman-highwayman you would have made!’ ‘Is all the
soot washed from my face?’ he asked, turning it towards her.
‘Alas! yes: the more’s the pity! Nothing could be more becoming to
your complexion than that ruffian’s rouge.’ ‘You would like a hero
of the road then?’ ‘An English hero of the road would be the next
best thing to an Italian bandit; and that could only be surpassed by
a Levantine pirate.’ ‘Well, whatever I am, remember you are my
wife; we were married an hour since, in the presence of all these
witnesses.’ She giggled, and her colour rose.
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