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


its miseries and terrors for ever! I have a place to repair to, which
will be a secure sanctuary from hateful reminiscences, from
unwelcome intrusion-even from falsehood and slander.’ ‘And take
Adele with you, sir,’ I interrupted; ‘she will be a companion for
you.’ ‘What do you mean, Jane? I told you I would send Adele to
school; and what do I want with a child for a companion, and not
my own child,- a French dancer’s bastard? Why do you importune
me about her! I say, why do you assign Adele to me for a
companion?’ ‘You spoke of a retirement, sir; and retirement and
solitude are dull: too dull for you.’ ‘Solitude! solitude!’ he
reiterated with irritation. ‘I see I must come to an explanation. I
don’t know what sphynx-like expression is forming in your
countenance. You are to share my solitude. Do you understand?’ I
shook my head: it required a degree of courage, excited as he was
becoming, even to risk that mute sign of dissent. He had been
walking fast about the room, and he stopped, as if suddenly rooted
to one spot. He looked at me long and hard: I turned my eyes from
him, fixed them on the fire, and tried to assume and maintain a
quiet, collected aspect.

‘Now for the hitch in Jane’s character,’ he said at last, speaking
more calmly than from his look I had expected him to speak. ‘The
reel of silk has run smoothly enough so far; but I always knew
there would come a knot and a puzzle: here it is. Now for vexation,
and exasperation, and endless trouble! By God! I long to exert a
fraction of Samson’s strength, and break the entanglement like
tow!’ He recommenced his walk, but soon again stopped, and this
time just before me.

‘Jane! will you hear reason?’ (he stooped and approached his lips
to my ear); ‘because, if you won’t, I’ll try violence. His voice was
hoarse; his look that of a man who is just about to burst an
insufferable bond and plunge headlong into wild license. I saw
that in another moment, and with one impetus of frenzy more, I
should be able to do nothing with him. The present-the passing
second of timewas all I had in which to control and restrain him: a
movement of repulsion, flight, fear would have sealed my doom,-
and his. But I was not afraid: not in the least. I felt an inward
power; a sense of influence, which supported me. The crisis was
perilous; but not without its charm: such as the Indian, perhaps,
feels when he slips over the rapid in his canoe. I took hold of his
clenched hand, loosened the contorted fingers, and said to him,
soothingly‘Sit down; I’ll talk to you as long as you like, and hear all
you have to say, whether reasonable or unreasonable.’

He sat down: but he did not get leave to speak directly. I had been
struggling with tears for some time: I had taken great pains to
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