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



A WEEK passed, and no news arrived of Mr. Rochester: ten days,
and still he did not come. Mrs. Fairfax said she should not be
surprised if he were to go straight from the Leas to London, and
thence to the Continent, and not show his face again at Thornfield
for a year to come; he had not unfrequently quitted it in a manner
quite as abrupt and unexpected. When I heard this, I was
beginning to feel a strange chill and failing at the heart. I was
actually permitting myself to experience a sickening sense of
disappointment; but rallying my wits, and recollecting my
principles, I at once called my sensations to order; and it was
wonderful how I got over the temporary blunder-how I cleared up
the mistake of supposing Mr. Rochester’s movements a matter in
which I had any cause to take a vital interest. Not that I humbled
myself by a slavish notion of inferiority: on the contrary, I just
said‘You have nothing to do with the master of Thornfield, further
than to receive the salary he gives you for teaching his protegee,
and to be grateful for such respectful and kind treatment as, if you
do your duty, you have a right to expect at his hands. Be sure that
is the only tie he seriously acknowledges between you and him; so
don’t make him the object of your fine feelings, your raptures,
agonies, and so forth. He is not of your order: keep to your caste,
and be too self-respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart,
soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be

I went on with my day’s business tranquilly; but ever and anon
vague suggestions kept wandering across my brain of reasons why
I should quit Thornfield; and I kept involuntarily framing
advertisements and pondering conjectures about new situations:
these thoughts I did not think it necessary to check; they might
germinate and bear fruit if they could.

Mr. Rochester had been absent upwards of a fortnight, when the
post brought Mrs. Fairfax a letter.

‘It is from the master,’ said she, as she looked at the direction.
‘Now I suppose we shall know whether we are to expect his return
or not.’ And while she broke the seal and perused the document, I
went on taking my coffee (we were at breakfast): it was hot, and I
attributed to that circumstance a fiery glow which suddenly rose to
my face. Why my hand shook, and why I involuntarily spilt half
the contents of my cup into my saucer, I did not choose to consider.
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