Jane Eyre eBook

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

I struck straight into the heath; I held on to a hollow I saw deeply furrowing the brown moorside; I waded knee-deep in its dark growth; I turned with its turnings, and finding a moss-blackened granite crag in a hidden angle, I sat down under it.  High banks of moor were about me; the crag protected my head:  the sky was over that.

Some time passed before I felt tranquil even here:  I had a vague dread that wild cattle might be near, or that some sportsman or poacher might discover me.  If a gust of wind swept the waste, I looked up, fearing it was the rush of a bull; if a plover whistled, I imagined it a man.  Finding my apprehensions unfounded, however, and calmed by the deep silence that reigned as evening declined at nightfall, I took confidence.  As yet I had not thought; I had only listened, watched, dreaded; now I regained the faculty of reflection.

What was I to do?  Where to go?  Oh, intolerable questions, when I could do nothing and go nowhere! —­ when a long way must yet be measured by my weary, trembling limbs before I could reach human habitation —­ when cold charity must be entreated before I could get a lodging:  reluctant sympathy importuned, almost certain repulse incurred, before my tale could be listened to, or one of my wants relieved!

I touched the heath, it was dry, and yet warm with the beat of the summer day.  I looked at the sky; it was pure:  a kindly star twinkled just above the chasm ridge.  The dew fell, but with propitious softness; no breeze whispered.  Nature seemed to me benign and good; I thought she loved me, outcast as I was; and I, who from man could anticipate only mistrust, rejection, insult, clung to her with filial fondness.  To-night, at least, I would be her guest, as I was her child:  my mother would lodge me without money and without price.  I had one morsel of bread yet:  the remnant of a roll I had bought in a town we passed through at noon with a stray penny —­ my last coin.  I saw ripe bilberries gleaming here and there, like jet beads in the heath:  I gathered a handful and ate them with the bread.  My hunger, sharp before, was, if not satisfied, appeased by this hermit’s meal.  I said my evening prayers at its conclusion, and then chose my couch.

Beside the crag the heath was very deep:  when I lay down my feet were buried in it; rising high on each side, it left only a narrow space for the night-air to invade.  I folded my shawl double, and spread it over me for a coverlet; a low, mossy swell was my pillow.  Thus lodged, I was not, at least —­ at the commencement of the night, cold.

My rest might have been blissful enough, only a sad heart broke it.  It plained of its gaping wounds, its inward bleeding, its riven chords.  It trembled for Mr. Rochester and his doom; it bemoaned him with bitter pity; it demanded him with ceaseless longing; and, impotent as a bird with both wings broken, it still quivered its shattered pinions in vain attempts to seek him.

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Project Gutenberg
Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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