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


remembered caresses were now forbidden. I turned my face away
and put his aside.

‘What!- How is this?’ he exclaimed hastily. ‘Oh, I know! you won’t
kiss the husband of Bertha Mason? You consider my arms filled
and my embraces appropriated?’ ‘At any rate, there is neither room
nor claim for me, sir.’ ‘Why, Jane? I will spare you the trouble of
much talking; I will answer for you-Because I have a wife already,
you would reply.- I guess rightly?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘If you think so, you must
have a strange opinion of me; you must regard me as a plotting
profligate-a base and low rake who has been simulating
disinterested love in order to draw you into a snare deliberately
laid, and strip you of honour and rob you of self-respect. What do
you say to that? I see you can say nothing: in the first place, you are
faint still, and have enough to do to draw your breath; in the
second place, you cannot yet accustom yourself to accuse and
revile me, and besides, the flood-gates of tears are opened, and
they would rush out if you spoke much; and you have no desire to
expostulate, to upbraid, to make a scene: you are thinking how to
act-talking you consider is of no use. I know youI am on my
guard.’ ‘Sir, I do not wish to act against you,’ I said; and my
unsteady voice warned me to curtail my sentence.

‘Not in your sense of the word, but in mine you are scheming to
destroy me.

You have as good as said that I am a married man-as a married
man you will shun me, keep out of my way: just now you have
refused to kiss me. You intend to make yourself a complete
stranger to me: to live under this roof only as Adele’s governess; if
ever I say a friendly word to you, if ever a friendly feeling inclines
you again to me, you will say,- “That man had nearly made me his
mistress: I must be ice and rock to him”; and ice and rock you will
accordingly become.’ I cleared and steadied my voice to reply: ‘All
is changed about me, sir; I must change too-there is no doubt of
that; and to avoid fluctuations of feeling, and continual combats
with recollections and associations, there is only one way-Adele
must have a new governess, sir.’ ‘Oh, Adele will go to school-I
have settled that already; nor do I mean to torment you with the
hideous associations and recollections of Thornfield Hall-this
accursed place-this tent of Achan-this insolent vault, offering the
ghastliness of living death to the light of the open sky-this narrow
stone hell, with its one real fiend, worse than a legion of such as we
imagine. Jane, you shall not stay here, nor will I. I was wrong ever
to bring you to Thornfield Hall, knowing as I did how it was
haunted. I charged them to conceal from you, before I ever saw
you, all knowledge of the curse of the place; merely because I
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