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


sprinkling of rain turn me aside from these easy tasks, what
preparation would such sloth be for the future I propose to
myself?’ Diana and Mary’s general answer to this question was a
sigh, and some minutes of apparently mournful meditation.

But besides his frequent absences, there was another barrier to
friendship with him: he seemed of a reserved, an abstracted, and
even of a brooding nature. Zealous in his ministerial labours,
blameless in his life and habits, he yet did not appear to enjoy that
mental serenity, that inward content, which should be the reward
of every sincere Christian and practical philanthropist. Often, of an
evening, when he sat at the window, his desk and papers before
him, he would cease reading or writing, rest his chin on his hand,
and deliver himself up to I know not what course of thought; but
that it was perturbed and exciting might be seen in the frequent
flash and changeful dilation of his eye.

I think, moreover, that Nature was not to him that treasury of
delight it was to his sisters. He expressed once, and but once in my
hearing, a strong sense of the rugged charm of the hills, and an
inborn affection for the dark roof and hoary walls he called his
home; but there was more of gloom than pleasure in the tone and
words in which the sentiment was manifested; and never did he
seem to roam the moors for the sake of their soothing silence-never
seek out or dwell upon the thousand peaceful delights they could

Incommunicative as he was, some time elapsed before I had an
opportunity of gauging his mind. I first got an idea of its calibre
when I heard him preach in his own church at Morton. I wish I
could describe that sermon: but it is past my power. I cannot even
render faithfully the effect it produced on me.

It began calm-and indeed, as far as delivery and pitch of voice
went, it was calm to the end: an earnestly felt, yet strictly
restrained zeal breathed soon in the distinct accents, and prompted
the nervous language. This grew to force-compressed, condensed,
controlled. The heart was thrilled, the mind astonished, by the
power of the preacher: neither were softened. Throughout there
was a strange bitterness; an absence of consolatory gentleness;
stern allusions to Calvinistic doctrines-election, predestination,
reprobation-were frequent; and each reference to these points
sounded like a sentence pronounced for doom. When he had done,
instead of feeling better, calmer, more enlightened by his
discourse, I experienced an expressible sadness; for it seemed to
me-I know not whether equally so to others-that the eloquence to
which I had been listening had sprung from a depth where lay
turbid dregs of disappointment-where moved troubling impulses
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