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


spent in drawing or reading contentedly alone-I used to rush into
strange dreams at night: dreams many-coloured, agitated, full of
the ideal, the stirring, the stormy-dreams where, amidst unusual
scenes, charged with adventure, with agitating risk and romantic
chance, I still again and again met Mr. Rochester, always at some
exciting crisis; and then the sense of being in his arms, hearing his
voice, meeting his eye, touching his hand and cheek, loving him,
being loved by him-the hope of passing a lifetime at his side,
would be renewed, with all its first force and fire. Then I awoke.
Then I recalled where I was, and how situated.

Then I rose up on my curtainless bed, trembling and quivering;
and then the still, dark night witnessed the convulsion of despair,
and heard the burst of passion. By nine o’clock the next morning I
was punctually opening the school; tranquil, settled, prepared for
the steady duties of the day.

Rosamond Oliver kept her word in coming to visit me. Her call at
the school was generally made in the course of her morning ride.
She would canter up to the door on her pony, followed by a
mounted livery servant. Anything more exquisite than her
appearance, in her purple habit, with her Amazon’s cap of black
velvet placed gracefully above the long curls that kissed her cheek
and floated to her shoulders, can scarcely be imagined: and it was
thus she would enter the rustic building, and glide through the
dazzled ranks of the village children. She generally came at the
hour when Mr. Rivers was engaged in giving his daily catechising
lesson. Keenly, I fear, did the eye of the visitress pierce the young
pastor’s heart. A sort of instinct seemed to warn him of her
entrance, even when he did not see it; and when he was looking
quite away from the door, if she appeared at it, his cheek would
glow, and his marble-seeming features, though they refused to
relax, changed indescribably, and in their very quiescence became
expressive of a repressed fervour, stronger than working muscle or
darting glance could indicate.

Of course, she knew her power: indeed, he did not, because he
could not, conceal it from her. In spite of his Christian stoicism,
when she went up and addressed him, and smiled gaily,
encouragingly, even fondly in his face, his hand would tremble
and his eye burn. He seemed to say, with his sad and resolute look,
if he did not say it with his lips, ‘I love you, and I know you prefer
me. It is not despair of success that keeps me dumb. If I offered my
heart, I believe you would accept it. But that heart is already laid
on a sacred altar: the fire is arranged round it. It will soon be no
more than a sacrifice consumed.’ And then she would pout like a
disappointed child; a pensive cloud would soften her radiant
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