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wish you well: you have some sense.’ I then returned: ‘You are not
without sense, cousin Eliza; but what you have, I suppose, in
another year will be walled up alive in a French convent. However,
it is not my business, and so it suits you, I don’t much care.’

‘You are in the right,’ said she; and with these words we each went
our separate way. As I shall not have occasion to refer either to her
or her sister again, I may as well mention here, that Georgiana
made an advantageous match with a wealthy worn-out man of
fashion, and that Eliza actually took the veil, and is at this day
superior of the convent where she passed the period of her
novitiate, and which she endowed with her fortune.

How people feel when they are returning home from an absence,
long or short, I did not know: I had never experienced the
sensation. I had known what it was to come back to Gateshead
when a child after a long walk, to be scolded for looking cold or
gloomy; and later, what it was to come back from church to
Lowood, to long for a plenteous meal and a good fire, and to be
unable to get either. Neither of these returnings was very pleasant
or desirable: no magnet drew me to a given point, increasing in its
strength of attraction the nearer I came. The return to Thornfield
was yet to be tried.

My journey seemed tedious-very tedious: fifty miles one day, a
night spent at an inn; fifty miles the next day. During the first
twelve hours I thought of Mrs. Reed in her last moments; I saw her
disfigured and discoloured face, and heard her strangely altered
voice. I mused on the funeral day, the coffin, the hearse, the black
train of tenants and servants-few was the number of relatives-the
gaping vault, the silent church, the solemn service. Then I thought
of Eliza and Georgiana; I beheld one the cynosure of a ball-room,
the other the inmate of a convent cell; and I dwelt on and analysed
their separate peculiarities of person and character. The evening
arrival at the great town of scattered these thoughts; night gave
them quite another turn: laid down on my traveller’s bed, I left
reminiscence for anticipation.

I was going back to Thornfield: but how long was I to stay there?
Not long; of that I was sure. I had heard from Mrs. Fairfax in the
interim of my absence: the party at the hall was dispersed; Mr.
Rochester had left for London three weeks ago, but he was then
expected to return in a fortnight. Mrs. Fairfax surmised that he was
gone to make arrangements for his wedding, as he had talked of
purchasing a new carriage: she said the idea of his marrying Miss
Ingram still seemed strange to her; but from what everybody said,
and from what she had herself seen, she could no longer doubt that
the event would shortly take place. ‘You would be strangely
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