Jane Eyre eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about Jane Eyre.
weeping wildly as I walked along my solitary way:  fast, fast I went like one delirious.  A weakness, beginning inwardly, extending to the limbs, seized me, and I fell:  I lay on the ground some minutes, pressing my face to the wet turf.  I had some fear —­ or hope —­ that here I should die:  but I was soon up; crawling forwards on my hands and knees, and then again raised to my feet —­ as eager and as determined as ever to reach the road.

When I got there, I was forced to sit to rest me under the hedge; and while I sat, I heard wheels, and saw a coach come on.  I stood up and lifted my hand; it stopped.  I asked where it was going:  the driver named a place a long way off, and where I was sure Mr. Rochester had no connections.  I asked for what sum he would take me there; he said thirty shillings; I answered I had but twenty; well, he would try to make it do.  He further gave me leave to get into the inside, as the vehicle was empty:  I entered, was shut in, and it rolled on its way.

Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt!  May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine.  May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonised as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love.

CHAPTER XXVIII

Two days are passed.  It is a summer evening; the coachman has set me down at a place called Whitcross; he could take me no farther for the sum I had given, and I was not possessed of another shilling in the world.  The coach is a mile off by this time; I am alone.  At this moment I discover that I forgot to take my parcel out of the pocket of the coach, where I had placed it for safety; there it remains, there it must remain; and now, I am absolutely destitute.

Whitcross is no town, nor even a hamlet; it is but a stone pillar set up where four roads meet:  whitewashed, I suppose, to be more obvious at a distance and in darkness.  Four arms spring from its summit:  the nearest town to which these point is, according to the inscription, distant ten miles; the farthest, above twenty.  From the well-known names of these towns I learn in what county I have lighted; a north-midland shire, dusk with moorland, ridged with mountain:  this I see.  There are great moors behind and on each hand of me; there are waves of mountains far beyond that deep valley at my feet.  The population here must be thin, and I see no passengers on these roads:  they stretch out east, west, north, and south —­ white, broad, lonely; they are all cut in the moor, and the heather grows deep and wild to their very verge.  Yet a chance traveller might pass by; and I wish no eye to see me now:  strangers would wonder what I am doing, lingering here at the sign-post, evidently objectless and lost.  I might be questioned:  I could give no answer but what would sound incredible and excite suspicion.  Not a tie holds me to human society at this moment —­ not a charm or hope calls me where my fellow-creatures are —­ none that saw me would have a kind thought or a good wish for me.  I have no relative but the universal mother, Nature:  I will seek her breast and ask repose.

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Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.