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


You-poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are-I entreat to
accept me as a husband.’ ‘What, me!’ I ejaculated, beginning in his
earnestness-and especially in his incivility-to credit his sincerity:
‘me who have not a friend in the world but you-if you are my
friend: not a shilling but what you have given me?’ ‘You, Jane, I
must have you for my own-entirely my own. Will you be mine?
Say yes, quickly.’ ‘Mr. Rochester, let me look at your face: turn to
the moonlight.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because I want to read your countenance-
turn!’ ‘There! you will find it scarcely more legible than a
crumpled, scratched page.

Read on: only make haste, for I suffer.’ His face was very much
agitated and very much flushed, and there were strong workings
in the features, and strange gleams in the eyes.

‘Oh, Jane, you torture me!’ he exclaimed. ‘With that searching and
yet faithful and generous look, you torture me!’

‘How can I do that? If you are true, and your offer real, my only
feelings to you must be gratitude and devotion-they cannot
torture.’ ‘Gratitude!’ he ejaculated; and added wildly-‘Jane, accept
me quickly. Say, Edward-give me my name-Edward-I will marry
you.’ ‘Are you in earnest? Do you truly love me? Do you sincerely
wish me to be your wife?’ ‘I do; and if an oath is necessary to
satisfy you, I swear it.’ ‘Then, sir, I will marry you.’ ‘Edward-my
little wife!’ ‘Dear Edward!’ ‘Come to me-come to me entirely now,’
said he; and added, in his deepest tone, speaking in my ear as his
cheek was laid on mine, ‘Make my happiness-I will make yours.’
‘God pardon me!’ he subjoined ere long; ‘and man meddle not
with me: I have her, and will hold her.’ ‘There is no one to meddle,
sir. I have no kindred to interfere.’ ‘No-that is the best of it,’ he
said. And if I had loved him less I should have thought his accent
and look of exultation savage; but, sitting by him, roused from the
nightmare of parting-called to the paradise of union-I thought
only of the bliss given me to drink in so abundant a flow. Again
and again he said, ‘Are you happy, Jane?’ And again and again I
answered, ‘Yes,’ After which he murmured, ‘It will atone-it will
atone. Have I not found her friendless, and cold, and comfortless?
Will I not guard, and cherish, and solace her? Is there not love in
my heart, and constancy in my resolves? It will expiate at God’s
tribunal. I know my Maker sanctions what I do. For the world’s
judgment-I wash my hands thereof. For man’s opinion-I defy it.’
But what had befallen the night? The moon was not yet set, and we
were all in shadow: I could scarcely see my master’s face, near as I
was. And what ailed the chestnut tree? it writhed and groaned;
while wind roared in the laurel walk, and came sweeping over us.
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