Jane Eyre eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about Jane Eyre.

I heard him go as I stood at the half-open door of my own room, to which I had now withdrawn.  The house cleared, I shut myself in, fastened the bolt that none might intrude, and proceeded —­ not to weep, not to mourn, I was yet too calm for that, but —­ mechanically to take off the wedding dress, and replace it by the stuff gown I had worn yesterday, as I thought, for the last time.  I then sat down:  I felt weak and tired.  I leaned my arms on a table, and my head dropped on them.  And now I thought:  till now I had only heard, seen, moved —­ followed up and down where I was led or dragged —­ watched event rush on event, disclosure open beyond disclosure:  but now, I thought.

The morning had been a quiet morning enough —­ all except the brief scene with the lunatic:  the transaction in the church had not been noisy; there was no explosion of passion, no loud altercation, no dispute, no defiance or challenge, no tears, no sobs:  a few words had been spoken, a calmly pronounced objection to the marriage made; some stern, short questions put by Mr. Rochester; answers, explanations given, evidence adduced; an open admission of the truth had been uttered by my master; then the living proof had been seen; the intruders were gone, and all was over.

I was in my own room as usual —­ just myself, without obvious change:  nothing had smitten me, or scathed me, or maimed me.  And yet where was the Jane Eyre of yesterday? —­ where was her life? —­ where were her prospects?

Jane Eyre, who had been an ardent, expectant woman —­ almost a bride, was a cold, solitary girl again:  her life was pale; her prospects were desolate.  A Christmas frost had come at midsummer; a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hayfield and cornfield lay a frozen shroud:  lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were pathless with untrodden snow; and the woods, which twelve hours since waved leafy and flagrant as groves between the tropics, now spread, waste, wild, and white as pine-forests in wintry Norway.  My hopes were all dead —­ struck with a subtle doom, such as, in one night, fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt.  I looked on my cherished wishes, yesterday so blooming and glowing; they lay stark, chill, livid corpses that could never revive.  I looked at my love:  that feeling which was my master’s —­ which he had created; it shivered in my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle; sickness and anguish had seized it; it could not seek Mr. Rochester’s arms —­ it could not derive warmth from his breast.  Oh, never more could it turn to him; for faith was blighted —­ confidence destroyed!  Mr. Rochester was not to me what he had been; for he was not what I had thought him.  I would not ascribe vice to him; I would not say he had betrayed me; but the attribute of stainless truth was gone from his idea, and from his presence I must go:  That I

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Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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