Jane Eyre eBook

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

“Gentlemen, you hear!  Now which of you most resembles Bothwell?” cried Mr. Rochester.

“I should say the preference lies with you,” responded Colonel Dent.

“On my honour, I am much obliged to you,” was the reply.

Miss Ingram, who had now seated herself with proud grace at the piano, spreading out her snowy robes in queenly amplitude, commenced a brilliant prelude; talking meantime.  She appeared to be on her high horse to-night; both her words and her air seemed intended to excite not only the admiration, but the amazement of her auditors:  she was evidently bent on striking them as something very dashing and daring indeed.

“Oh, I am so sick of the young men of the present day!” exclaimed she, rattling away at the instrument.  “Poor, puny things, not fit to stir a step beyond papa’s park gates:  nor to go even so far without mama’s permission and guardianship!  Creatures so absorbed in care about their pretty faces, and their white hands, and their small feet; as if a man had anything to do with beauty!  As if loveliness were not the special prerogative of woman —­ her legitimate appanage and heritage!  I grant an ugly woman is a blot on the fair face of creation; but as to the gentlemen, let them be solicitous to possess only strength and valour:  let their motto be:- Hunt, shoot, and fight:  the rest is not worth a fillip.  Such should be my device, were I a man.”

“Whenever I marry,” she continued after a pause which none interrupted, “I am resolved my husband shall not be a rival, but a foil to me.  I will suffer no competitor near the throne; I shall exact an undivided homage:  his devotions shall not be shared between me and the shape he sees in his mirror.  Mr. Rochester, now sing, and I will play for you.”

“I am all obedience,” was the response.

“Here then is a Corsair-song.  Know that I doat on Corsairs; and for that reason, sing it con spirito.”

“Commands from Miss Ingram’s lips would put spirit into a mug of milk and water.”

“Take care, then:  if you don’t please me, I will shame you by showing how such things should be done.”

“That is offering a premium on incapacity:  I shall now endeavour to fail.”

“Gardez-vous en bien!  If you err wilfully, I shall devise a proportionate punishment.”

“Miss Ingram ought to be clement, for she has it in her power to inflict a chastisement beyond mortal endurance.”

“Ha! explain!” commanded the lady.

“Pardon me, madam:  no need of explanation; your own fine sense must inform you that one of your frowns would be a sufficient substitute for capital punishment.”

“Sing!” said she, and again touching the piano, she commenced an accompaniment in spirited style.

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Project Gutenberg
Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.