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my apprehensions unfounded, however, and calmed by the deep
silence that reigned as evening declined at nightfall, I took
confidence. As yet I had not thought; I had only listened, watched,
dreaded; now I regained the faculty of reflection.
What was I to do? Where to go? Oh, intolerable questions, when I
could do nothing and go nowhere!- when a long way must yet be
measured by my weary, trembling limbs before I could reach
human habitation-when cold charity must be entreated before I
could get a lodging: reluctant sympathy importuned, almost
certain repulse incurred, before my tale could be listened to, or one
of my wants relieved! I touched the heath: it was dry, and yet
warm with the heat of the summer day.
I looked at the sky; it was pure: a kindly star twinkled just above
the chasm ridge.
The day fell, but with propitious softness; no breeze whispered.
Nature seemed to me benign and good; I thought she loved me,
outcast as I was; and I, who from man could anticipate only
mistrust, rejection, insult, clung to her with filial fondness. To-
night, at least, I would be her guest, as I was her child: my mother
would lodge me without money and without price. I had one
morsel of bread yet: the remnant of a roll I had bought in a town
we passed through at noon with a stray penny-my last coin. I saw
ripe bilberries gleaming here and there, like jet beads in the heath: I
gathered a handful and ate them with the bread. My hunger, sharp
before, was, if not satisfied, appeased by this hermitís meal. I said
my evening prayers at its conclusion, and then chose my couch.
Beside the crag the heath was very deep: when I lay down my feet
were buried in it; rising high on each side, it left only a narrow
space for the night-air to invade. I folded my shawl double, and
spread it over me for a coverlet; a low, mossy swell was my pillow.
Thus lodged, I was not, at least at the commencement of the night,
My rest might have been blissful enough, only a sad heart broke it.
It plained of its gaping wounds, its inward bleeding, its riven
chords. It trembled for Mr. Rochester and his doom; it bemoaned
him with bitter pity; it demanded him with ceaseless longing; and,
impotent as a bird with both wings broken, it still quivered its
shattered pinions in vain attempts to seek him.
Worn out with this torture of thought, I rose to my knees. Night
was come, and her planets were risen: a safe, still night: too serene
for the companionship of fear. We know that God is everywhere;
but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the
grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-
sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read