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


‘Not at all; he had, on the contrary, remarked that I had
scrupulously respected every association: he feared, indeed, I must
have bestowed more thought on the matter than it was worth. How
many minutes, for instance, had I devoted to studying the
arrangement of this very room?- By the bye, could I tell him where
such a book was?’ I showed him the volume on the shelf: he took it
down, and withdrawing to his accustomed window recess, he
began to read it.

Now, I did not like this, reader. St. John was a good man; but I
began to feel he had spoken truth of himself when he said he was
hard and cold. The humanities and amenities of life had no
attraction for him-its peaceful enjoyments no charm. Literally, he
lived only to aspire-after what was good and great, certainly; but
still he would never rest, nor approve of others resting round him.
As I looked at his lofty forehead, still and pale as a white stone-at
his fine lineaments fixed in study-I comprehended all at once that
he would hardly make a good husband:that it would be a trying
thing to be his wife. I understood, as by inspiration, the nature of
his love for Miss Oliver; I agreed with him that it was but a love of
the senses. I comprehended how he should despise himself for the
feverish influence it exercised over him; how he should wish to
stifle and destroy it; how he should mistrust its ever conducing
permanently to his happiness or hers. I saw he was of the material
from which nature hews her heroes-Christian and Pagan-her
lawgivers, her statesmen, her conquerors: a steadfast bulwark for
great interests to rest upon; but, at the fireside, too often a cold
cumbrous column, gloomy and out of place.

‘This parlour is not his sphere,’ I reflected: ‘the Himalayan ridge or
Caffre bush, even the plague-cursed Guinea Coast swamp would
suit him better. Well may he eschew the calm of domestic life; it is
not his element: there his faculties stagnate-they cannot develop or
appear to advantage. It is in scenes of strife and danger-where
courage is proved, and energy exercised, and fortitude tasked-that
he will speak and move, the leader and superior. A merry child
would have the advantage of him on this hearth. He is right to
choose a missionary’s career-I see it now.’ ‘They are coming! they
are coming!’ cried Hannah, throwing open the parlour door. At the
same moment old Carlo barked joyfully. Out I ran. It was now
dark; but a rumbling of wheels was audible. Hannah soon had a
lantern lit. The vehicle had stopped at the wicket; the driver
opened the door: first one well-known form, then another, stepped
out. In a minute I had my face under their bonnets, in contact first
with Mary’s soft cheek, then with Diana’s flowing curls. They
laughedkissed me-then Hannah: patted Carlo, who was half wild
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