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


communication with strong, discreet, and refined minds, whether
male or female, till I had passed the outworks of conventional
reserve, and crossed the threshold of confidence, and won a place
by their heart’s very hearthstone.

‘You are original,’ said he, ‘and not timid. There is something
brave in your spirit, as well as penetrating in your eye; but allow
me to assure you that you partially misinterpret my emotions. You
think them more profound and potent than they are. You give me a
larger allowance of sympathy than I have a just claim to.

When I colour, and when I shake before Miss Oliver, I do not pity
myself. I scorn the weakness. I know it is ignoble: a mere fever of
the flesh: not, I declare, the convulsion of the soul. That is just as
fixed as a rock, firm set in the depths of a restless sea. Know me to
be what I am-a cold, hard man.’ I smiled incredulously.

‘You have taken my confidence by storm,’ he continued, ‘and now
it is much at your service. I am simply, in my original state-
stripped of that blood-bleached robe with which Christianity
covers human deformity-a cold, hard, ambitious man. Natural
affection only, of all the sentiments, has permanent power over me.
Reason, and not feeling, is my guide; my ambition is unlimited: my
desire to rise higher, to do more than others, insatiable. I honour
endurance, perseverance, industry, talent; because these are the
means by which men achieve great ends and mount to lofty
eminence. I watch your career with interest, because I consider you
a specimen of a diligent, orderly, energetic woman: not because I
deeply compassionate what you have gone through, or what you
still suffer.’ ‘You would describe yourself as a mere pagan
philosopher,’ I said. ‘No. There is this difference between me and
deistic philosophers: I believe; and I believe the Gospel. You
missed your epithet. I am not a pagan, but a Christian philosopher-
a follower of the sect of Jesus. As His disciple I adopt His pure, His
merciful, His benignant doctrines. I advocate them: I am sworn to
spread them. Won in youth to religion, she has cultivated my
original qualities thus:From the minute germ, natural affection, she
has developed the overshadowing tree, philanthropy. From the
wild stringy root of human uprightness, she has reared a due sense
of the Divine justice. Of the ambition to win power and renown for
my wretched self, she has formed the ambition to spread my
Master’s kingdom; to achieve victories for the standard of the cross.
So much has religion done for me; turning the original materials to
the best account; pruning and training nature. But she could not
eradicate nature: nor will it be eradicated “till this mortal shall put
on immortality.”’ Having said this, he took his hat, which lay on
the table beside my palette.
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