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


‘Hold the candle,’ said Mr. Rochester, and I took it: he fetched a
basin of water from the washstand: ‘Hold that,’ said he. I obeyed.
He took the sponge, dipped it in, and moistened the corpse-like
face; he asked for my smelling-bottle, and applied it to the nostrils.
Mr. Mason shortly unclosed his eyes; he groaned.

Mr. Rochester opened the shirt of the wounded man, whose arm
and shoulder were bandaged: he sponged away blood, trickling
fast down.

‘Is there immediate danger?’ murmured Mr. Mason.
‘Pooh! No-a mere scratch. Don’t be so overcome, man: bear up! I’ll
fetch a surgeon for you now, myself: you’ll be able to be removed
by morning, I hope. Jane,’ he continued.

‘Sir?’ ‘I shall have to leave you in this room with this gentleman,
for an hour, or perhaps two hours: you will sponge the blood as I
do when it returns: if he feels faint, you will put the glass of water
on that stand to his lips, and your salts to his nose. You will not
speak to him on any pretext-and-Richard, it will be at the peril of
your life if you speak to her: open your lips-agitate yourself-and
I’ll not answer for the consequences.’ Again the poor man groaned;
he looked as if he dared not move; fear, either of death or of
something else, appeared almost to paralyse him. Mr. Rochester
put the now bloody sponge into my hand, and I proceeded to use it
as he had done.

He watched me a second, then saying, ‘Remember!- No
conversation,’ he left the room. I experienced a strange feeling as
the key grated in the lock, and the sound of his retreating step
ceased to be heard.

Here then I was in the third storey, fastened into one of its mystic
cells; night around me; a pale and bloody spectacle under my eyes
and hands; a murderess hardly separated from me by a single
door: yes-that was appalling-the rest I could bear; but I
shuddered at the thought of Grace Poole bursting out upon me.

I must keep to my post, however. I must watch this ghastly
countenancethese blue, still lips forbidden to unclose-these eyes
now shut, now opening, now wandering through the room, now
fixing on me, and ever glazed with the dulness of horror. I must
dip my hand again and again in the basin of blood and water, and
wipe away the trickling gore. I must see the light of the unsnuffed
candle wane on my employment; the shadows darken on the
wrought, antique tapestry round me, and grow black under the
hangings of the vast old bed, and quiver strangely over the doors
of a great cabinet opposite-whose front, divided into twelve
panels, bore, in grim design, the heads of the twelve apostles, each
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