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


have already made,- to disown the charge both of sensibility and
chagrin: its pride and reserve only confirm me in my opinion. The
eye is favourable.

‘As to the mouth, it delights at times in laughter; it is disposed to
impart all that the brain conceives; though I daresay it would be
silent on much the heart experiences. Mobile and flexible, it was
never intended to be compressed in the eternal silence of solitude;
it is a mouth which should speak much and smile often, and have
human affection for its interlocutor. That feature too is propitious.

‘I see no enemy to a fortunate issue but in the brow; and that brow
professes to say,- “I can live alone, if self-respect and circumstances
require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an
inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all
extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I
cannot afford to give.” The forehead declares, “Reason sits firm
and holds the reins, and she will not let the feelings burst away
and hurry her to wild chasms. The passions may rage furiously,
like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all
sorts of vain things: but judgment shall still have the last word in
every argument, and the casting vote in every decision. Strong
wind, earthquake-shock, and fire may pass by: but I shall follow
the guiding of that still small voice which interprets the dictates of

‘Well said, forehead; your declaration shall be respected. I have
formed my plans-right plans I deem them-and in them I have
attended to the claims of conscience, the counsels of reason. I know
how soon youth would fade and bloom perish, if, in the cup of
bliss offered, but one dreg of shame, or one flavour of remorse
were detected; and I do not want sacrifice, sorrow, dissolution-
such is not my taste. I wish to foster, not to blight-to earn
gratitude, not to wring tears of blood-no, nor of brine: my harvest
must be in smiles, in endearments, in sweetThat will do. I think I
rave in a kind of exquisite delirium. I should wish now to protract
this moment ad infinitum; but I dare not. So far I have governed
myself thoroughly. I have acted as I inwardly swore I would act;
but further might try me beyond my strength. Rise, Miss Eyre:
leave me; “the play is played out.”’ Where was I? Did I wake or
sleep? Had I been dreaming? Did I dream still? The old woman’s
voice had changed: her accent, her gesture, and all were familiar to
me as my own face in a glass-as the speech of my own tongue. I
got up, but did not go. I looked; I stirred the fire, and I looked
again: but she drew her bonnet and her bandage closer about her
face, and again beckoned me to depart. The flame illuminated her
hand stretched out: roused now, and on the alert for discoveries, I
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