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


candle burnt dimly on the table. Miss Temple was not to be seen: I
knew afterwards that she had been called to a delirious patient in
the feverroom. I advanced; then paused by the crib side: my hand
was on the curtain, but I preferred speaking before I withdrew it. I
still recoiled at the dread of seeing a corpse.

‘Helen!’ I whispered softly, ‘are you awake?’ She stirred herself,
put back the curtain, and I saw her face, pale, wasted, but quite
composed: she looked so little changed that my fear was instantly

‘Can it be you, Jane?’ she asked, in her own gentle voice.
‘Oh!’ I thought, ‘she is not going to die; they are mistaken: she
could not speak and look so calmly if she were.’ I got on to her crib
and kissed her: her forehead was cold, and her cheek both cold and
thin, and so were her hand and wrist; but she smiled as of old.
‘Why are you come here, Jane? It is past eleven o’clock: I heard it
strike some minutes since.’ ‘I came to see you, Helen: I heard you
were very ill, and I could not sleep till I had spoken to you.’ ‘You
came to bid me good-bye, then: you are just in time probably.’ ‘Are
you going somewhere, Helen? Are you going home?’ ‘Yes; to my
long home-my last home.’ ‘No, no, Helen!’ I stopped, distressed.
While I tried to devour my tears, a fit of coughing seized Helen; it
did not, however, wake the nurse; when it was over, she lay some
minutes exhausted; then she whispered‘Jane, your little feet are
bare; lie down and cover yourself with my quilt.’ I did so: she put
her arm over me, and I nestled close to her. After a long silence,
she resumed, still whispering‘I am very happy, Jane; and when
you hear that I am dead, you must be sure and not grieve: there is
nothing to grieve about. We all must die one day, and the illness
which is removing me is not painful; it is gentle and gradual: my
mind is at rest. I leave no one to regret me much: I have only a
father; and he is lately married, and will not miss me. By dying
young, I shall escape great sufferings. I had not qualities or talents
to make my way very well in the world: I should have been
continually at fault.’ ‘But where are you going to, Helen? Can you
see? Do you know?’ ‘I believe; I have faith: I am going to God.’
‘Where is God? What is God?’ ‘My Maker and yours, who will
never destroy what He created. I rely implicitly on His power, and
confide wholly in His goodness: I count the hours till that eventful
one arrives which shall restore me to Him, reveal Him to me.’ ‘You
are sure, then, Helen, that there is such a place as heaven, and that
our souls can get to it when we die?’ ‘I am sure there is a future
state; I believe God is good; I can resign my immortal part to Him
without any misgiving. God is my father; God is my friend: I love
Him; I believe He loves me.’ ‘And shall I see you again, Helen,
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