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


satisfactory response! Vain aspiration! The west wind whispered in
the ivy round me; but no gentle Ariel borrowed its breath as a
medium of speech: the birds sang in the tree-tops; but their song,
however sweet, was inarticulate.

Again Mr. Rochester propounded his query:‘Is the wandering and
sinful, but now rest-seeking and repentant, man justified in daring
the world’s opinion, in order to attach to him for ever this gentle,
gracious, genial stranger, thereby securing his own peace of mind
and regeneration of life?’ ‘Sir,’ I answered, ‘a wanderer’s repose or
a sinner’s reformation should never depend on a fellow-creature.
Men and women die; philosophers falter in wisdom, and
Christians in goodness: if any one you know has suffered and
erred, let him look higher than his equals for strength to amend
and solace to heal.’ ‘But the instrument-the instrument! God, who
does the work, ordains the instrument. I have myself-I tell it you
without parable-been a worldly, dissipated, restless man; and I
believe I have found the instrument for my cure in-’ He paused: the
birds went on carolling, the leaves lightly rustling. I almost
wondered they did not check their songs and whispers to catch the
suspended revelation; but they would have had to wait many
minutes-so long was the silence protracted. At last I looked up at
the tardy speaker: he was looking eagerly at me.

‘Little friend,’ said he, in quite a changed tone-while his face
changed too, losing all its softness and gravity, and becoming
harsh and sarcastic-‘you have noticed my tender penchant for Miss
Ingram: don’t you think if I married her she would regenerate me
with a vengeance?’ He got up instantly, went quite to the other end
of the walk, and when he came back he was humming a tune.
‘Jane, Jane,’ said he, stopping before me, ‘you are quite pale with
your vigils:don’t you curse me for disturbing your rest?’ ‘Curse
you? No, sir.’ ‘Shake hands in confirmation of the word. What cold
fingers! They were warmer last night when I touched them at the
door of the mysterious chamber.

Jane, when will you watch with me again?’ ‘Whenever I can be
useful, sir.’

‘For instance, the night before I am married! I am sure I shall not be
able to sleep. Will you promise to sit up with me to bear me
company? To you I can talk of my lovely one: for now you have
seen her and know her.’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘She’s a rare one, is she not,
Jane?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘A strapper-a real strapper, Jane: big, brown, and
buxom; with hair just such as the ladies of Carthage must have
had. Bless me! there’s Dent and Lynn in the stables! Go in by the
shrubbery, through that wicket.’ As I went one way, he went
another, and I heard him in the yard, saying cheerfully‘Mason got
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