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


Eyre, I was arranging a point with my destiny. She stood there, by
that beech-trunk-a hag like one of those who appeared to Macbeth
on the heath of Forres. “You like Thornfield?” she said, lifting her
finger; and then she wrote in the air a memento, which ran in lurid
hieroglyphics all along the house-front, between the upper and
lower row of windows, “Like it if you can? Like it if you dare!” ‘”I
will like it” said I; “I dare like it;” and’ (he subjoined moodily) ‘I
will keep my word; I will break obstacles to happiness, to
goodness-yes, goodness. I wish to be a better man than I have
been, than I am; as Job’s leviathan broke the spear, the dart, and
the habergeon, hindrances which others count as iron and brass, I
will esteem but straw and rotten wood.’ Adele here ran before him
with her shuttlecock. ‘Away!’ he cried harshly; ‘keep at a distance,
child; or go in to Sophie!’ Continuing then to pursue his walk in
silence, I ventured to recall him to the point whence he had
abruptly diverged‘Did you leave the balcony, sir,’ I asked, ‘when
Mdlle. Varens entered?’ I almost expected a rebuff for this hardly
well-timed question, but, on the contrary, waking out of his
scowling abstraction, he turned his eyes towards me, and the shade
seemed to clear off his brow. ‘Oh, I had forgotten Celine! Well, to
resume. When I saw my charmer thus come in accompanied by a
cavalier, I seemed to hear a hiss, and the green snake of jealousy,
rising on undulating coils from the moonlit balcony, glided within
my waistcoat, and ate its way in two minutes to my heart’s core.
Strange!’ he exclaimed, suddenly starting again from the point.
‘Strange that I should choose you for the confidant of all this,
young lady; passing strange that you should listen to me quietly, as
if it were the most usual thing in the world for a man like me to tell
stories of his opera-mistresses to a quaint, inexperienced girl like
you! But the last singularity explains the first, as I intimated once
before: you, with your gravity, considerateness, and caution were
made to be the recipient of secrets. Besides, I know what sort of a
mind I have placed in communication with my own: I know it is
one not liable to take infection: it is a peculiar mind: it is a unique
one. Happily I do not mean to harm it: but, if I did, it would not
take harm from me. The more you and I converse, the better; for
while I cannot blight you, you may refresh me.’ After this
digression he proceeded‘I remained in the balcony. “They will
come to her boudoir, no doubt,” thought I: “Let me prepare an
ambush.” So putting my hand in through the open window, I drew
the curtain over it, leaving only an opening through which I could
take observations; then I closed the casement, all but a chink just
wide enough to furnish an outlet to lovers’ whispered vows: then I
stole back to my chair; and as I resumed it the pair came in. My eye
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