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


to meet it where it waits you.’ She again put her short black pipe to
her lips, and renewed her smoking with vigour.

‘You might say all that to almost any one who you knew lived as a
solitary dependant in a great house.’ ‘I might say it to almost any
one: but would it be true of almost any one?’ ‘In my
circumstances.’ ‘Yes; just so, in your circumstances: but find me
another precisely placed as you are.’ ‘It would be easy to find you
thousands.’ ‘You could scarcely find me one. If you knew it, you
are peculiarly situated: very near happiness; yes, within reach of it.
The materials are all prepared; there only wants a movement to
combine them. Chance laid them somewhat apart; let them be once
approached and bliss results.’ ‘I don’t understand enigmas. I never
could guess a riddle in my life.’ ‘If you wish me to speak more
plainly, show me your palm.’

‘And I must cross it with silver, I suppose?’ ‘To be sure.’ I gave her
a shilling: she put it into an old stocking-foot which she took out of
her pocket, and having tied it round and returned it, she told me to
hold out my hand. I did. She approached her face to the palm, and
pored over it without touching it.

‘It is too fine,’ said she. ‘I can make nothing of such a hand as that;
almost without lines: besides, what is in a palm? Destiny is not
written there.’ ‘I believe you,’ said I.

‘No,’ she continued, ‘it is in the face: on the forehead, about the
eyes, in the eyes themselves, in the lines of the mouth. Kneel, and
lift up your head.’ ‘Ah! now you are coming to reality,’ I said, as I
obeyed her. ‘I shall begin to put some faith in you presently.’ I
knelt within half a yard of her. She stirred the fire, so that a ripple
of light broke from the disturbed coal: the glare, however, as she
sat, only threw her face into deeper shadow: mine, it illumined.

‘I wonder with what feelings you came to me to-night,’ she said,
when she had examined me a while. ‘I wonder what thoughts are
busy in your heart during all the hours you sit in yonder room
with the fine people flitting before you like shapes in a magic-
lantern: just as little sympathetic communion passing between you
and them as if they were really mere shadows of human forms,
and not the actual substance.’ ‘I feel tired often, sleepy sometimes,
but seldom sad.’ ‘Then you have some secret hope to buoy you up
and please you with whispers of the future?’ ‘Not I. The utmost I
hope is, to save money enough out of my earnings to set up a
school some day in a little house rented by myself.’ ‘A mean
nutriment for the spirit to exist on: and sitting in that window-seat
(you see I know your habits)-’ ‘You have learned them from the
servants.’ ‘Ah! you think yourself sharp. Well, perhaps I have: to
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