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ripening fruit. I hear a nightingale warbling in a wood half a mile
off; no moving form is visible, no coming step audible; but that
perfume increases: I must flee. I make for the wicket leading to the
shrubbery, and I see Mr. Rochester entering. I step aside into the
ivy recess; he will not stay long: he will soon return whence he
came, and if I sit still he will never see me.

But no-eventide is as pleasant to him as to me, and this antique
garden as attractive; and he strolls on, now lifting the gooseberry-
tree branches to look at the fruit, large as plums, with which they
are laden; now taking a ripe cherry from the wall; now stooping
towards a knot of flowers, either to inhale their fragrance or to
admire the dew-beads on their petals. A great moth goes humming
by me; it alights on a plant at Mr. Rochester’s foot: he sees it, and
bends to examine it.

‘Now, he has his back towards me,’ thought I, ‘and he is occupied
too; perhaps, if I walk softly, I can slip away unnoticed.’ I trode on
an edging of turf that the crackle of the pebbly gravel might not
betray me: he was standing among the beds at a yard or two
distant from where I had to pass; the moth apparently engaged
him. ‘I shall get by very well,’ I meditated. As I crossed his
shadow, thrown long over the garden by the moon, not yet risen
high, he said quietly, without turning‘Jane, come and look at this
fellow.’ I had made no noise: he had not eyes behind-could his
shadow feel? I started at first, and then I approached him.

‘Look at his wings,’ said he, ‘he reminds me rather of a West
Indian insect; one does not often see so large and gay a night-rover
in England; there! he is flown.’ The moth roamed away. I was
sheepishly retreating also; but Mr. Rochester followed me, and
when we reached the wicket, he said‘Turn back: on so lovely a
night it is a shame to sit in the house; and surely no one can wish to
go to bed while sunset is thus at meeting with moonrise.’

It is one of my faults, that though my tongue is sometimes prompt
enough at an answer, there are times when it sadly fails me in
framing an excuse; and always the lapse occurs at some crisis,
when a facile word or plausible pretext is specially wanted to get
me out of painful embarrassment. I did not like to walk at this hour
alone with Mr. Rochester in the shadowy orchard; but I could not
find a reason to allege for leaving him. I followed with lagging
step, and thoughts busily bent on discovering a means of
extrication; but he himself looked so composed and so grave also, I
became ashamed of feeling any confusion: the evil-if evil existent
or prospective there was-seemed to lie with me only; his mind was
unconscious and quiet.
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