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


Stay till he comes, reader: and, when I disclose my secret to him,
you shall share the confidence.

I sought the orchard, driven to its shelter by the wind, which all
day had blown strong and full from the south, without, however,
bringing a speck of rain.

Instead of subsiding as night drew on, it seemed to augment its
rush and deepen its roar: the trees blew steadfastly one way, never
writhing round, and scarcely tossing back their boughs once in an
hour; so continuous was the strain bending their branchy heads
northward-the clouds drifted from pole to pole, fast following,
mass on mass: no glimpse of blue sky had been visible that July

It was not without a certain wild pleasure I ran before the wind,
delivering my trouble of mind to the measureless air-torrent
thundering through space. Descending the laurel walk, I faced the
wreck of the chestnut-tree; it stood up black and riven: the trunk,
split down the centre, gaped ghastly. The cloven halves were not
broken from each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept
them unsundered below; though community of vitality was
destroyed-the sap could flow no more: their great boughs on each
side were dead, and next winter’s tempests would be sure to fell
one or both to earth: as yet, however, they might be said to form
one tree-a ruin, but an entire ruin.

‘You did right to hold fast to each other,’ I said: as if the monster-
splinters were living things, and could hear me. ‘I think, scathed as
you look, and charred and scorched, there must be a little sense of
life in you yet, rising out of that adhesion at the faithful, honest
roots: you will never have green leaves more-never more see birds
making nests and singing idyls in your boughs; the time of
pleasure and love is over with you: but you are not desolate: each
of you has a comrade to sympathise with him in his decay.’ As I
looked up at them, the moon appeared momentarily in that part of
the sky which filled their fissure; her disk was blood-red and half
overcast; she seemed to throw on me one bewildered, dreary
glance, and buried herself again instantly in the deep drift of
cloud. The wind fell, for a second, round Thornfield; but far away
over wood and water, poured a wild, melancholy wail: it was sad
to listen to, and I ran off again.

Here and there I strayed through the orchard, gathered up the
apples with which the grass round the tree roots was thickly
strewn; then I employed myself in dividing the ripe from the
unripe; I carried them into the house and put them away in the
storeroom. Then I repaired to the library to ascertain whether the
fire was lit, for, though summer, I knew on such a gloomy evening
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