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


vivacity; she would withdraw her hand hastily from his, and turn
in transient petulance from his aspect, at once so heroic and so
martyr-like. St. John, no doubt, would have given the world to
follow, recall, retain her, when she thus left him; but he would not
give one chance of heaven, nor relinquish, for the elysium of her
love, one hope of the true, eternal Paradise. Besides, he could not
bind all that he had in his nature-the rover, the aspirant, the poet,
the priest-in the limits of a single passion. He could not-he would
not-renounce his wild field of mission warfare for the parlours
and the peace of Vale Hall. I learnt so much from himself in an
inroad I once, despite his reserve, had the daring to make on his

Miss Oliver already honoured me with frequent visits to my
cottage. I had learnt her whole character, which was without
mystery or disguise: she was coquettish, but not heartless; exacting,
but not worthlessly selfish. She had been indulged from her birth,
but was not absolutely spoilt. She was hasty, but good-humoured;
vain (she could not help it, when every glance in the glass showed
her such a flush of loveliness), but not affected; liberal-handed;
innocent of the pride of wealth; ingenuous; sufficiently intelligent;
gay, lively, and unthinking: she was very charming, in short, even
to a cool observer of her own sex like me; but she was not
profoundly interesting or thoroughly impressive. A very different
sort of mind was hers from that, for instance, of the sisters of St.
John. Still, I liked her almost as I liked my pupil Adele; except that,
for a child whom we have watched over and taught, a closer
affection is engendered than we can give an equally attractive
adult acquaintance.

She had taken an amiable caprice to me. She said I was like Mr.
Rivers, only, certainly, she allowed, ‘not one-tenth so handsome,
though I was a nice neat little soul enough, but he was an angel.’ I
was, however, good, clever, composed, and firm, like him. I was a
lusus naturae, she affirmed, as a village schoolmistress: she was
sure my previous history, if known, would make a delightful

One evening, while, with her usual child-like activity, and
thoughtless yet not offensive inquisitiveness, she was rummaging
the cupboard and the table-drawer of my little kitchen, she
discovered first two French books, a volume of Schiller, a German
grammar and dictionary, and then my drawing-materials and
some sketches, including a pencil-head of a pretty little cherub-like
girl, one of my scholars, and sundry views from nature, taken in
the Vale of Morton and on the surrounding moors. She was first
transfixed with surprise, and then electrified with delight.
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