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‘Now, Dent,’ continued Mr. Rochester, ‘it is your turn.’ And as the
other party withdrew, he and his band took the vacated seats. Miss
Ingram placed herself at her leader’s right hand; the other diviners
filled the chairs on each side of him and her. I did not now watch
the actors; I no longer waited with interest for the curtain to rise;
my attention was absorbed by the spectators; my eyes, erewhile
fixed on the arch, were now irresistibly attracted to the semicircle
of chairs. What charade Colonel Dent and his party played, what
word they chose, how they acquitted themselves, I no longer
remember; but I still see the consultation which followed each
scene: I see Mr. Rochester turn to Miss Ingram, and Miss Ingram to
him; I see her incline her head towards him, till the jetty curls
almost touch his shoulder and wave against his cheek; I hear their
mutual whisperings; I recall their interchanged glances; and
something even of the feeling roused by the spectacle returns in
memory at this moment.

I have told you, reader, that I had learnt to love Mr. Rochester: I
could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had
ceased to notice me-because I might pass hours in his presence,
and he would never once turn his eyes in my direction-because I
saw all his attentions appropriated by a great lady, who scorned to
touch me with the hem of her robes as she passed; who, if ever her
dark and imperious eye fell on me by chance, would withdraw it
instantly as from an object too mean to merit observation. I could
not unlove him, because I felt sure he would soon marry this very
lady-because I read daily in her a proud security in his intentions
respecting her-because I witnessed hourly in him a style of
courtship which, if careless and choosing rather to be sought than
to seek, was yet, in its very carelessness, captivating, and in its very
pride, irresistible.

There was nothing to cool or banish love in these circumstances,
though much to create despair. Much too, you will think, reader, to
engender jealousy: if a woman, in my position, could presume to
be jealous of a woman in Miss Ingram’s. But I was not jealous: or
very rarely;- the nature of the pain I suffered could not be
explained by that word. Miss Ingram was a mark beneath jealousy:
she was too inferior to excite the feeling. Pardon the seeming
paradox; I mean what I say. She was very showy, but she was not
genuine: she had a fine person, many brilliant attainments; but her
mind was poor, her heart barren by nature: nothing bloomed
spontaneously on that soil; no unforced natural fruit delighted by
its freshness. She was not good; she was not original: she used to
repeat sounding phrases from books: she never offered, nor had,
an opinion of her own. She advocated a high tone of sentiment; but
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