Jane Eyre eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about Jane Eyre.

“Justly thought; rightly said, Miss Eyre; and, at this moment, I am paving hell with energy.”

“Sir?”

“I am laying down good intentions, which I believe durable as flint.  Certainly, my associates and pursuits shall be other than they have been.”

“And better?”

“And better —­ so much better as pure ore is than foul dross.  You seem to doubt me; I don’t doubt myself:  I know what my aim is, what my motives are; and at this moment I pass a law, unalterable as that of the Medes and Persians, that both are right.”

“They cannot be, sir, if they require a new statute to legalise them.”

“They are, Miss Eyre, though they absolutely require a new statute:  unheard-of combinations of circumstances demand unheard-of rules.”

“That sounds a dangerous maxim, sir; because one can see at once that it is liable to abuse.”

“Sententious sage! so it is:  but I swear by my household gods not to abuse it.”

“You are human and fallible.”

“I am:  so are you —­ what then?”

“The human and fallible should not arrogate a power with which the divine and perfect alone can be safely intrusted.”

“What power?”

“That of saying of any strange, unsanctioned line of action, —­ ‘Let it be right.’”

“‘Let it be right’ —­ the very words:  you have pronounced them.”

May it be right then,” I said, as I rose, deeming it useless to continue a discourse which was all darkness to me; and, besides, sensible that the character of my interlocutor was beyond my penetration; at least, beyond its present reach; and feeling the uncertainty, the vague sense of insecurity, which accompanies a conviction of ignorance.

“Where are you going?”

“To put Adele to bed:  it is past her bedtime.”

“You are afraid of me, because I talk like a Sphynx.”

“Your language is enigmatical, sir:  but though I am bewildered, I am certainly not afraid.”

“You are afraid —­ your self-love dreads a blunder.”

“In that sense I do feel apprehensive —­ I have no wish to talk nonsense.”

“If you did, it would be in such a grave, quiet manner, I should mistake it for sense.  Do you never laugh, Miss Eyre?  Don’t trouble yourself to answer —­ I see you laugh rarely; but you can laugh very merrily:  believe me, you are not naturally austere, any more than I am naturally vicious.  The Lowood constraint still clings to you somewhat; controlling your features, muffling your voice, and restricting your limbs; and you fear in the presence of a man and a brother —­ or father, or master, or what you will —­ to smile too gaily, speak too freely, or move too quickly:  but, in time, I think you will learn to be natural with me, as I find it impossible to be conventional with you; and then your looks and movements will have more vivacity and variety than they dare offer now.  I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close-set bars of a cage:  a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high.  You are still bent on going?”

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Project Gutenberg
Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.