Jane Eyre eBook

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

“Would I be quiet and talk rationally?”

“I would be quiet if he liked, and as to talking rationally, I flattered myself I was doing that now.”

He fretted, pished, and pshawed.  “Very good,” I thought; “you may fume and fidget as you please:  but this is the best plan to pursue with you, I am certain.  I like you more than I can say; but I’ll not sink into a bathos of sentiment:  and with this needle of repartee I’ll keep you from the edge of the gulf too; and, moreover, maintain by its pungent aid that distance between you and myself most conducive to our real mutual advantage.”

From less to more, I worked him up to considerable irritation; then, after he had retired, in dudgeon, quite to the other end of the room, I got up, and saying, “I wish you good-night, sir,” in my natural and wonted respectful manner, I slipped out by the side-door and got away.

The system thus entered on, I pursued during the whole season of probation; and with the best success.  He was kept, to be sure, rather cross and crusty; but on the whole I could see he was excellently entertained, and that a lamb-like submission and turtle-dove sensibility, while fostering his despotism more, would have pleased his judgment, satisfied his common-sense, and even suited his taste less.

In other people’s presence I was, as formerly, deferential and quiet; any other line of conduct being uncalled for:  it was only in the evening conferences I thus thwarted and afflicted him.  He continued to send for me punctually the moment the clock struck seven; though when I appeared before him now, he had no such honeyed terms as “love” and “darling” on his lips:  the best words at my service were “provoking puppet,” “malicious elf,” “sprite,” “changeling,” &c.  For caresses, too, I now got grimaces; for a pressure of the hand, a pinch on the arm; for a kiss on the cheek, a severe tweak of the ear.  It was all right:  at present I decidedly preferred these fierce favours to anything more tender.  Mrs. Fairfax, I saw, approved me:  her anxiety on my account vanished; therefore I was certain I did well.  Meantime, Mr. Rochester affirmed I was wearing him to skin and bone, and threatened awful vengeance for my present conduct at some period fast coming.  I laughed in my sleeve at his menaces.  “I can keep you in reasonable check now,” I reflected; “and I don’t doubt to be able to do it hereafter:  if one expedient loses its virtue, another must be devised.”

Yet after all my task was not an easy one; often I would rather have pleased than teased him.  My future husband was becoming to me my whole world; and more than the world:  almost my hope of heaven.  He stood between me and every thought of religion, as an eclipse intervenes between man and the broad sun.  I could not, in those days, see God for His creature:  of whom I had made an idol.

CHAPTER XXV

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.