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impatience against the iron rails I leant upon. The carriage stopped,
as I had expected, at the hotel door; my flame (that is the very
word for an opera inamorata) alighted: though muffled in a cloak-
an unnecessary encumbrance, by the bye, on so warm a June
evening-I knew her instantly by her little foot, seen peeping from
the skirt of her dress, as she skipped from the carriage step.
Bending over the balcony, I was about to murmur “Mon ange”- in
a tone, of course, which should be audible to the ear of love alone-
when a figure jumped from the carriage after her; cloaked also; but
that was a spurred heel which had rung on the pavement, and that
was a hatted head which now passed under the arched porte
cochere of the hotel.
‘You never felt jealousy, did you, Miss Eyre? Of course not: I need
not ask you; because you never felt love. You have both sentiments
yet to experience: your soul sleeps; the shock is yet to be given
which shall waken it. You think all existence lapses in as quiet a
flow as that in which your youth has hitherto slid away. Floating
on with closed eyes and muffled ears, you neither see the rocks
bristling not far off in the bed of the flood, nor hear the breakers
boil at their base.
But I tell you-and you may mark my words-you will come some
day to a craggy pass in the channel, where the whole of life’s
stream will be broken up into whirl and tumult, foam and noise:
either you will be dashed to atoms on crag points, or lifted up and
borne on by some master-wave into a calmer current-as I am now.
‘I like this day; I like that sky of steel; I like the sterness and
stillness of the world under this frost. I like Thornfield, its
antiquity, its retirement, its old crowtrees and thorn-trees, its grey
facade, and lines of dark windows reflecting that metal welkin:
and yet how long have I abhorred the very thought of it, shunned
it like a great plague-house? How I do still abhor-’ He ground his
teeth and was silent: he arrested his step and struck his boot
against the hard ground. Some hated thought seemed to have him
in its grip, and to hold him so tightly that he could not advance.
We were ascending the avenue when he thus paused; the hall was
Lifting his eye to its battlements, he cast over them a glare such as I
never saw before or since. Pain, shame, ire, impatience, disgust,
detestation, seemed momentarily to hold a quivering conflict in the
large pupil dilating under his ebon eyebrow.
Wild was the wrestle which should be paramount; but another
feeling rose and triumphed: something hard and cynical: self-
willed and resolute: it settled his passion and petrified his
countenance: he went on‘During the moment I was silent, Miss