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


you through life till death, and a fount of rapture would spring to
my lips. I thought of this.

That kind master, who could not sleep now, was waiting with
impatience for day. He would send for me in the morning; I should
be gone. He would have me sought for: vainly. He would feel
himself forsaken; his love rejected: he would suffer; perhaps grow
desperate. I thought of this too. My hand moved towards the lock: I
caught it back, and glided on.

Drearily I wound my way downstairs: I knew what I had to do,
and I did it mechanically. I sought the key of the side-door in the
kitchen; I sought, too, a phial of oil and a feather; I oiled the key
and the lock. I got some water, I got some bread: for perhaps I
should have to walk far; and my strength, sorely shaken of late,
must not break down. All this I did without one sound. I opened
the door, passed out, shut it softly. Dim dawn glimmered in the
yard. The great gates were closed and locked; but a wicket in one
of them was only latched. Through that I departed: it, too, I shut;
and now I was out of Thornfield.

A mile off, beyond the fields, lay a road which stretched in the
contrary direction to Millcote; a road I had never travelled, but
often noticed, and wondered where it led: thither I bent my steps.
No reflection was to be allowed now: not one glance was to be cast
back; not even one forward. Not one thought was to be given either
to the past or to the future. The first was a page so heavenly
sweetso deadly sad-that to read one line of it would dissolve my
courage and break down my energy. The last was an awful blank:
something like the world when the deluge was gone by.

I skirted fields, and hedges, and lanes till after sunrise. I believe it
was a lovely summer morning: I know my shoes, which I had put
on when I left the house, were soon wet with dew. But I looked
neither to rising sun, nor smiling sky, nor wakening nature. He
who is taken out to pass through a fair scene to the scaffold, thinks
not of the flowers that smile on his road, but of the block and
axeedge; of the disseverment of bone and vein; of the grave gaping
at the end: and I thought of drear flight and homeless wandering-
and oh! with agony I thought of what I left. I could not help it. I
thought of him now-in his room-watching the sunrise; hoping I
should soon come to say I would stay with him and be his. I
longed to be his; I panted to return: it was not too late; I could yet
spare him the bitter pang of bereavement. As yet my flight, I was
sure, was undiscovered. I could go back and be his comforter-his
pride; his redeemer from misery, perhaps from ruin. Oh, that fear
of his self-abandonment-far worse than my abandonmenthow it
goaded me! It was a barbed arrow-head in my breast; it tore me
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