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


fled before you: but kiss me before you go-embrace me, Jane.’
‘There, sir-and there!’ I pressed my lips to his once brilliant and
now rayless eyes-I swept his hair from his brow, and kissed that
too. He suddenly seemed to arouse himself: the conviction of the
reality of all this seized him.

‘It is you-is it, Jane? You are come back to me then?’ ‘I am.’ ‘And
you do not lie dead in some ditch under some stream? And you are
not a pining outcast amongst strangers?’

‘No, sir! I am an independent woman now.’ ‘Independent! What do
you mean, Jane?’ ‘My uncle in Madeira is dead, and he left me five
thousand pounds.’ ‘Ah! this is practical-this is real!’ he cried: ‘I
should never dream that. Besides, there is that peculiar voice of
hers, so animating and piquant, as well as soft: it cheers my
withered heart; it puts life into it.- What, Janet! Are you an
independent woman? A rich woman?’ ‘Quite rich, sir. If you won’t
let me live with you, I can build a house of my own close up to
your door, and you may come and sit in my parlour when you
want company of an evening.’ ‘But as you are rich, Jane, you have
now, no doubt, friends who will look after you, and not suffer you
to devote yourself to a blind lameter like me?’ ‘I told you I am
independent, sir, as well as rich: I am my own mistress.’ ‘And you
will stay with me?’ ‘Certainly-unless you object. I will be your
neighbour, your nurse, your housekeeper. I find you lonely: I will
be your companion-to read to you, to walk with you, to sit with
you, to wait on you, to be eyes and hands to you. Cease to look so
melancholy, my dear master; you shall not be left desolate, so long
as I live.’

He replied not: he seemed serious-abstracted; he sighed; he half-
opened his lips as if to speak: he closed them again. I felt a little
embarrassed. Perhaps I had too rashly overleaped
conventionalities; and he, like St. John, saw impropriety in my
inconsiderateness. I had indeed made my proposal from the idea
that he wished and would ask me to be his wife: an expectation,
not the less certain because unexpressed, had buoyed me up, that
he would claim me at once as his own. But no hint to that effect
escaping him and his countenance becoming more overcast, I
suddenly remembered that I might have been all wrong, and was
perhaps playing the fool unwittingly; and I began gently to
withdraw myself from his arms-but he eagerly snatched me closer.
‘No-no-Jane; you must not go. No-I have touched you, heard you,
felt the comfort of your presence-the sweetness of your
consolation: I cannot give up these joys. I have little left in myself-I
must have you. The world may laughmay call me absurd, selfish-
but it does not signify. My very soul demands you: it will be
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