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Mr. Rochester-‘so,’ he added, enclosing me in his arms, gathering
me to his breast, pressing his lips on my lips: ‘so, Jane!’ ‘Yes, so,
sir,’ I rejoined: ‘and yet not so; for you are a married man-or as
good as a married man, and wed to one inferior to you-to one with
whom you have no sympathy-whom I do not believe you truly
love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her. I would scorn
such a union: therefore I am better than youlet me go!’ ‘Where,
Jane? To Ireland?’ ‘Yes-to Ireland. I have spoken my mind, and
can go anywhere now.’ ‘Jane, be still; don’t struggle so, like a wild
frantic bird that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.’ ‘I
am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with
an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.’ Another
effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him.
‘And your will shall decide your destiny,’ he said: ‘I offer you my
hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions.’ ‘You play a
farce, which I merely laugh at.’ ‘I ask you to pass through life at my
side-to be my second self, and best earthly companion.’ ‘For that
fate you have already made your choice, and must abide by it.’
‘Jane, be still a few moments: you are over-excited: I will be still
too.’ A waft of wind came sweeping down the laurel-walk and
trembled through the boughs of the chestnut: it wandered away-
away-to an indefinite distance-it died. The nightingale’s song was
then the only voice of the hour: in listening to it,I again wept. Mr.
Rochester sat quiet, looking at me gently and seriously. Some time
passed before he spoke; he at last said‘Come to my side, Jane, and
let us explain and understand one another.’ ‘I will never again
come to your side: I am torn away now, and cannot return.’ ‘But,
Jane, I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry.’ I
was silent: I thought he mocked me.
‘Come, Jane-come hither.’ ‘Your bride stands between us.’ He rose,
and with a stride reached me.
‘My bride is here,’ he said, again drawing me to him, ‘because my
equal is here, and my likeness. Jane, will you marry me?’ Still I did
not answer, and still I writhed myself from his grasp: for I was still
‘Do you doubt me, Jane?’ ‘Entirely.’ ‘You have no faith in me?’ ‘Not
a whit.’ ‘Am I a liar in your eyes?’ he asked passionately. ‘Little
sceptic, you shall be convinced. What love have I for Miss Ingram?
None: and that you know. What love has she for me? None: as I
have taken pains to prove: I caused a rumour to reach her that my
fortune was not a third of what was supposed, and after that I
presented myself to see the result; it was coldness both from her
and her mother. I would not-I could not-marry Miss Ingram. You-
you strange, you almost unearthly thing!- I love as my own flesh.