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


renown, a luster after power, beat under my curate’s surplice. I
considered; my life was so wretched, it must be changed, or I must
die. After a season of darkness and struggling, light broke and
relief fell: my cramped existence all at once spread out to a plain
without bounds-my powers heard a call from heaven to rise,
gather their full strength, spread their wings, and mount beyond
ken. God had an errand for me; to bear which afar, to deliver it
well, skill and strength, courage and eloquence, the best
qualifications of soldier, statesman, and orator, were all needed: for
these all centre in the good missionary.

‘A missionary I resolved to be. From that moment my state of mind
changed; the fetters dissolved and dropped from every faculty,
leaving nothing of bondage but its galling soreness-which time
only can heal. My father, indeed, opposed the determination, but
since his death, I have not a legitimate obstacle to contend with;
some affairs settled, a successor for Morton provided, an
entanglement or two of the feelings broken through or cut asunder-
a last conflict with human weakness, in which I know I shall
overcome, because I have vowed that I will overcome-and I leave
Europe for the East.’ He said this, in his peculiar, subdued, yet
emphatic voice; looking, when he had ceased speaking, not at me,
but at the setting sun, at which I looked too. Both he and I had our
backs towards the path leading up the field to the wicket. We had
heard no step on the grass-grown track; the water running in the
vale was the one lulling sound of the hour and scene; we might
well then start when a gay voice, sweet as a silver bell,
exclaimed‘Good evening, Mr. Rivers. And good evening, old
Carlo. Your dog is quicker to recognise his friends than you are, sir;
he pricked his ears and wagged his tail when I was at the bottom of
the field, and you have your back towards me now.’ It was true.
Though Mr. Rivers had started at the first of those musical accents,
as if a thunderbolt had split a cloud over his head, he stood yet, at
the close of the sentence, in the same attitude in which the speaker
had surprised him-his arm resting on the gate, his face directed
towards the west. He turned at last, with measured deliberation. A
vision, as it seemed to me, had risen at his side. There appeared,
within three feet of him, a form clad in pure white-a youthful,
graceful form: full, yet fine in contour; and when, after bending to
caress Carlo, it lifted up its head, and threw back a long veil, there
bloomed under his glance a face of perfect beauty. Perfect beauty is
a strong expression; but I do not retrace or qualify it: as sweet
features as ever the temperate clime of Albion moulded; as pure
hues of rose and lily as ever her humid gales and vapoury skies
generated and screened, justified, in this instance, the term. No
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Digital Library-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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