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



I BOTH wished and feared to see Mr. Rochester on the day which
followed this sleepless night: I wanted to hear his voice again, yet
feared to meet his eye.

During the early part of the morning, I momentarily expected his
coming; he was not in the frequent habit of entering the
schoolroom, but he did step in for a few minutes sometimes, and I
had the impression that he was sure to visit it that day.

But the morning passed just as usual: nothing happened to
interrupt the quiet course of Adele’s studies; only soon after
breakfast, I heard some bustle in the neighbourhood of Mr.
Rochester’s chamber, Mrs. Fairfax’s voice, and Leah’s, and the
cook’s-that is, John’s wife-and even John’s own gruff tones. There
were exclamations of ‘What a mercy master was not burnt in his
bed!’ ‘It is always dangerous to keep a candle lit at night.’ ‘How
providential that he had presence of mind to think of the water-
jug!’ ‘I wonder he waked nobody!’ ‘It is to be hoped he will not
take cold with sleeping on the library sofa,’ etc.

To much confabulation succeeded a sound of scrubbing and setting
to rights; and when I passed the room, in going downstairs to
dinner, I saw through the open door that all was again restored to
complete order; only the bed was stripped of its hangings. Leah
stood up in the window-seat, rubbing the panes of glass dimmed
with smoke. I was about to address her, for I wished to know what
account had been given of the affair: but, on advancing, I saw a
second person in the chamber-a woman sitting on a chair by the
bedside, and sewing rings to new curtains. That woman was no
other than Grace Poole.

There she sat, staid and taciturn-looking, as usual, in her brown
stuff gown, her check apron, White handkerchief, and cap. She was
intent on her work, in which her whole thoughts seemed absorbed:
on her hard forehead, and in her commonplace features, was
nothing either of the paleness or desperation one would have
expected to see marking the countenance of a woman who had
attempted murder, and whose intended victim had followed her
last night to her lair, and (as I believed), charged her with the crime
she wished to perpetrate. I was amazedconfounded. She looked
up, while I still gazed at her: no start, no increase or failure of
colour betrayed emotion, consciousness of guilt, or fear of
detection. She said ‘Good morning, Miss,’ in her usual phlegmatic
and brief manner; and taking up another ring and more tape, went
on with her sewing.
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