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


with stone steps; and I see-Mr. Rochester sitting there, a book and
a pencil in his hand; he is writing.

Well, he is not a ghost; yet every nerve I have is unstrung: for a
moment I am beyond my own mastery. What does it mean? I did
not think I should tremble in this way when I saw him, or lose my
voice or the power of motion in his presence. I will go back as soon
as I can stir: I need not make an absolute fool of myself. I know
another way to the house. It does not signify if I knew twenty
ways; for he has seen me.

‘Hillo!’ he cries; and he puts up his book and his pencil. ‘There you
are! Come on, if you please.’ I suppose I do come on; though in
what fashion I know not; being scarcely cognisant of my
movements, and solicitous only to appear calm; and, above all, to
control the working muscles of my face-which I feel rebel
insolently against my will, and struggle to express what I had
resolved to conceal. But I have a veilit is down: I may make shift
yet to behave with decent composure.

‘And this is Jane Eyre? Are you coming from Millcote, and on foot?
Yes-just one of your tricks: not to send for a carriage, and come
clattering over street and road like a common mortal, but to steal
into the vicinage of your home along with twilight, just as if you
were a dream or a shade. What the deuce have you done with
yourself this last month?’ ‘I have been with my aunt, sir, who is
dead.’ ‘A true Janian reply! Good angels be my guard. She comes
from the other world-from the abode of people who are dead; and
tells me so when she meets me alone here in the gloaming! If I
dared, I’d touch you, to see if you are substance or shadow, you
elf!- but I’d as soon offer to take hold of a blue ignis fatuus light in
a marsh. Truant! truant!’ he added, when he had paused an instant.
‘Absent from me a whole month, and forgetting me quite, I’ll be
sworn!’ I knew there would be pleasure in meeting my master
again, even though broken by the fear that he was so soon to cease
to be my master, and by the knowledge that I was nothing to him:
but there was ever in Mr. Rochester (so at least I thought) such a
wealth of the power of communicating happiness, that to taste but
of the crumbs he scattered to stray and stranger birds like me, was
to feast genially. His last words were balm: they seemed to imply
that it imported something to him whether I forgot him or not. And
he had spoken of Thornfield as my homewould that it were my

He did not leave the stile, and I hardly liked to ask to go by. I
inquired soon if he had not been to London.

‘Yes; I suppose you found that out by second-sight.’ ‘Mrs. Fairfax
told me in a letter.’ ‘And did she inform you what I went to do?’
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