Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre: Ch. 25

[+] | [-] | reset
 

“I wanted you: but don’t boast.  Here we are at Thornfield: now let me get down.”

He landed me on the pavement.  As John took his horse, and he followed me into the hall, he told me to make haste and put something dry on, and then return to him in the library; and he stopped me, as I made for the staircase, to extort a promise that I would not be long: nor was I long; in five minutes I rejoined him.  I found him at supper.(d)

“Take a seat and bear me company, Jane: please God, it is the last meal but one you will eat at Thornfield Hall for a long time.”d

I sat down near him, but told him I could not eat.  “Is it because you have the prospect of a journey before you, Jane?  Is it the thoughts of going to London that takes away your appetite?”

“I cannot see my prospects clearly to-night, sir; and I hardly know what thoughts I have in my head.  Everything in life seems unreal.”

“Except me: I am substantial enough—touch me.”

“You, sir, are the most phantom-like of all: you are a mere dream.”

He held out his hand, laughing.  “Is that a dream?” said he, placing it close to my eyes.  He had a rounded, muscular, and vigorous hand, as well as a long, strong arm.

“Yes; though I touch it, it is a dream,” said I, as I put it down from before my face.  “Sir, have you finished supper?”

“Yes, Jane.”

I rang the bell and ordered away the tray.  When we were again alone, I stirred the fire, and then took a low seat at my master’s knee.

“It is near midnight,” I said.

“Yes: but remember, Jane, you promised to wake with me the night before my wedding.”

“I did; and I will keep my promise, for an hour or two at least: I have no wish to go to bed.”

“Are all your arrangements complete?”

“All, sir.”

“And on my part likewise,” he returned, “I have settled everything; and we shall leave Thornfield to-morrow, within half-an-hour after our return from church.”

“Very well, sir.”

“With what an extraordinary smile you uttered that word—‘very well,’ Jane!  What a bright spot of colour you have on each cheek! and how strangely your eyes glitter!  Are you well?”

“I believe I am.”

“Believe!  What is the matter?  Tell me what you feel.”

“I could not, sir: no words could tell you what I feel.  I wish this present hour would never end: who knows with what fate the next may come charged?”

“This is hypochondria, Jane.  You have been over-excited, or over-fatigued.”

“Do you, sir, feel calm and happy?”

“Calm?—no: but happy—to the heart’s core.”

I looked up at him to read the signs of bliss in his face: it was ardent and flushed.

“Give me your confidence, Jane,” he said: “relieve your mind of any weight that oppresses it, by imparting it to me.  What do you fear?—that I shall not prove a good husband?”

“It is the idea farthest from my thoughts.”

X [(d)] I found him at supper.

Illustration.

X [d] “Take a seat and bear me company, Jane: pleas…

Arts

Image.