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THE AUTHORíS PREFACE
TO THE SECOND EDITION
A PREFACE to the first edition of Jane Eyre being unnecessary, I
gave none:this second edition demands a few words both of
acknowledgment and miscellaneous remark.
My thanks are due in three quarters.
To the Public, for the indulgent ear it has inclined to a plain tale
with few pretensions.
To the Press, for the fair field its honest suffrage has opened to an
To my Publishers, for the aid their tact, their energy, their practical
sense and frank liberality have afforded an unknown and
The Press and the Public are but vague personifications for me, and
I must thank them in vague terms; but my Publishers are definite:
so are certain generous critics who have encouraged me as only
large-hearted and high-minded men know how to encourage a
struggling stranger; to them, i.e., to my Publishers and the select
Reviewers, I say cordially, Gentlemen, I thank you from my heart.
Having thus acknowledged what I owe those who have aided and
approved me, I turn to another class; a small one, so far as I know,
but not, therefore, to beoverlooked. I mean the timorous or carping
few who doubt the tendency of such books as Jane Eyre: in whose
eyes whatever is unusual is wrong; whose ears detect in each
protest against bigotry-that parent of crime-an insult to piety, that
regent of God on earth. I would suggest to such doubters certain
obvious distinctions; I would remind them of certain simple truths.
Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion.
To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from
the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown
These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as
distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they
should not be confounded:appearance should not be mistaken for
truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify
a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of
Christ. There is-I repeat it-a difference; and it is a good, and not a
bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation
The world may not like to see these ideas dissevered, for it has
been accustomed to blend them; finding it convenient to make