Jane Eyre eBook

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

Meantime, let me ask myself one question —­ Which is better? —­ To have surrendered to temptation; listened to passion; made no painful effort —­ no struggle; —­ but to have sunk down in the silken snare; fallen asleep on the flowers covering it; wakened in a southern clime, amongst the luxuries of a pleasure villa:  to have been now living in France, Mr. Rochester’s mistress; delirious with his love half my time —­ for he would —­ oh, yes, he would have loved me well for a while.  He did love me —­ no one will ever love me so again.  I shall never more know the sweet homage given to beauty, youth, and grace —­ for never to any one else shall I seem to possess these charms.  He was fond and proud of me —­ it is what no man besides will ever be. —­ But where am I wandering, and what am I saying, and above all, feeling?  Whether is it better, I ask, to be a slave in a fool’s paradise at Marseilles —­ fevered with delusive bliss one hour —­ suffocating with the bitterest tears of remorse and shame the next —­ or to be a village-schoolmistress, free and honest, in a breezy mountain nook in the healthy heart of England?

Yes; I feel now that I was right when I adhered to principle and law, and scorned and crushed the insane promptings of a frenzied moment.  God directed me to a correct choice:  I thank His providence for the guidance!

Having brought my eventide musings to this point, I rose, went to my door, and looked at the sunset of the harvest-day, and at the quiet fields before my cottage, which, with the school, was distant half a mile from the village.  The birds were singing their last strains —

“The air was mild, the dew was balm.”

While I looked, I thought myself happy, and was surprised to find myself ere long weeping —­ and why?  For the doom which had reft me from adhesion to my master:  for him I was no more to see; for the desperate grief and fatal fury —­ consequences of my departure —­ which might now, perhaps, be dragging him from the path of right, too far to leave hope of ultimate restoration thither.  At this thought, I turned my face aside from the lovely sky of eve and lonely vale of Morton —­ I say lonely, for in that bend of it visible to me there was no building apparent save the church and the parsonage, half-hid in trees, and, quite at the extremity, the roof of Vale Hall, where the rich Mr. Oliver and his daughter lived.  I hid my eyes, and leant my head against the stone frame of my door; but soon a slight noise near the wicket which shut in my tiny garden from the meadow beyond it made me look up.  A dog —­ old Carlo, Mr. Rivers’ pointer, as I saw in a moment —­ was pushing the gate with his nose, and St. John himself leant upon it with folded arms; his brow knit, his gaze, grave almost to displeasure, fixed on me.  I asked him to come in.

“No, I cannot stay; I have only brought you a little parcel my sisters left for you.  I think it contains a colour-box, pencils, and paper.”

Project Gutenberg
Jane Eyre from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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