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


sign of the inn, and I read in gilt letters, ‘The Rochester Arms.’ My
heart leapt up: I was already on my master’s very lands. It fell
again: the thought struck it:‘Your master himself may be beyond
the British Channel, for aught you know: and then, if he is at
Thornfield Hall, towards which you hasten, who besides him is
there? His lunatic wife: and you have nothing to do with him: you
dare not speak to him or seek his presence. You have lost your
labour-you had better go no farther,’ urged the monitor. ‘Ask
information of the people at the inn; they can give you all you seek:
they can solve your doubts at once. Go up to that man, and inquire
if Mr. Rochester be at home.’

The suggestion was sensible, and yet I could not force self to act on
it. I so dreaded a reply that would crush me with despair. To
prolong doubt was to prolong hope. I might yet once more see the
Hall under the ray of her star. There was the stile before me-the
very fields through which I had hurried, blind, deaf, distracted
with a revengeful fury tracking and scourging me, on the morning
I fled from Thornfield: ere I well knew what course I had resolved
to take, I was in the midst of them. How fast I walked! How I ran
sometimes? How I looked forward to catch the first view of the
well-known woods! With what feelings I welcomed single trees I
knew, and familiar glimpses of meadow and hill between them!

At last the woods rose; the rookery clustered dark; a loud cawing
broke the morning stillness. Strange delight inspired me: on I
hastened. Another field crossed-a lane threaded-and there were
the courtyard walls-the back offices: the house itself, the rookery
still hid. ‘My first view of it shall be in front,’ I determined, ‘where
its bold battlements will strike the eye nobly at once, and where I
can single out my master’s very window: perhaps he will be
standing at it-he rises early: perhaps he is now walking in the
orchard, or on the pavement in front.

Could I but see him!- but a moment? Surely, in that case, I should
not be so mad as to run to him? I cannot tell-I am not certain. And
if I did-what then? God bless him! What then? Who would be hurt
by my once more tasting the life his glance can give me? I rave:
perhaps at this moment he is watching the sun rise over the
Pyrenees, or on the tideless sea of the south.’

I had coasted along the lower wall of the orchard-turned its angle:
there was a gate just there, opening into the meadow, between two
stone pillars crowned by stone balls. From behind one pillar I
could peep round quietly at the full front of the mansion. I
advanced my head with precaution, desirous to ascertain if any
bedroom window-blinds were yet drawn up: battlements,
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