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



SOME time in the afternoon I raised my head, and looking round
and seeing the western sun gilding the sign of its decline on the
wall, I asked, ‘What am I to do?’ But the answer my mind gave-
‘Leave Thornfield at once’- was so prompt, so dread, that I stopped
my ears. I said I could not bear such words now. ‘That I am not
Edward Rochester’s bride is the least part of my woe,’ I alleged:
‘that I have wakened out of most glorious dreams, and found them
all void and vain, is a horror I could bear and master; but that I
must leave him decidedly, instantly, entirely, is intolerable. I
cannot do it.’ But, then, a voice within me averred that I could do it
and foretold that I should do it. I wrestled with my own resolution:
I wanted to be weak that I might avoid the awful passage of further
suffering I saw laid out for me; and Conscience, turned tyrant, held
Passion by the throat, told her tauntingly, she had yet but dipped
her dainty foot in the slough, and swore that with that arm of iron
he would thrust her down to unsounded depths of agony.

‘Let me be torn away, then!’ I cried. ‘Let another help me!’ ‘No; you
shall tear yourself away, none shall help you: you shall yourself
pluck out your right eye; yourself cut off your right hand: your
heart shall be the victim, and you the priest to transfix it.’

I rose up suddenly, terror-struck at the solitude which so ruthless a
judge haunted,- at the silence which so awful a voice filled. My
head swam as I stood erect. I perceived that I was sickening from
excitement and inanition; neither meat nor drink had passed my
lips that day, for I had taken no breakfast. And, with a strange
pang, I now reflected that, long as I had been shut up here, no
message had been sent to ask how I was, or to invite me to come
down: not even little Adele had tapped at the door; not even Mrs.
Fairfax had sought me. ‘Friends always forget those whom fortune
forsakes,’ I murmured, as I undrew the bolt and passed out. I
stumbled over an obstacle: my head was still dizzy, my sight was
dim, and my limbs were feeble. I could not soon recover myself. I
fell, but not on to the ground; an outstretched arm caught me. I
looked up-I was supported by Mr. Rochester, who sat in a chair
across my chamber threshold.

‘You come out at last,’ he said. ‘Well, I have been waiting for you
long, and listening: yet not one movement have I heard, nor one
sob: five minutes more of that death-like hush, and I should have
forced the lock like a burglar. So you shun me?- you shut yourself
up and grieve alone! I would rather you had come and upbraided
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