Then tell me so roundly and sharplydont spare me.
I cannot: I am tired and sick. I want some water. He heaved a sort of shuddering sigh, and taking me in his arms, carried me downstairs. At first I did not know to what room he had borne me; all was cloudy to my glazed sight: presently I felt the reviving warmth of a fire; for, summer as it was, I had become icy cold in my chamber. He put wine to my lips; I tasted it and revived; then I ate something he offered me, and was soon myself. I was in the librarysitting in his chairhe was quite near. If I could go out of life now, without too sharp a pang, it would be well for me, I thought; then I should not have to make the effort of cracking my heart-strings in rending them from among Mr. Rochesters. I must leave him, it appears. I do not want to leave himI cannot leave him.
How are you now, Jane?
Much better, sir; I shall be well soon.
Taste the wine again, Jane.
I obeyed him; then he put the glass on the table, stood before me, and looked at me attentively. Suddenly he turned away, with an inarticulate exclamation, full of passionate emotion of some kind; he walked fast through the room and came back; he stooped towards me as if to kiss me; but I remembered caresses were now forbidden. I turned my face away and put his aside.
What!How is this? he exclaimed hastily. Oh, I know! you wont kiss the husband of Bertha Mason? You consider my arms filled and my embraces appropriated?
At any rate, there is neither room nor claim for me, sir.
Why, Jane? I will spare you the trouble of much talking; I will answer for youBecause I have a wife already, you would reply.I guess rightly?
If you think so, you must have a strange opinion of me; you must regard me as a plotting profligatea base and low rake who has been simulating disinterested love in order to draw you into a snare deliberately laid, and strip you of honour and rob you of self- respect. What do you say to that? I see you can say nothing in the first place, you are faint still, and have enough to do to draw your breath; in the second place, you cannot yet accustom yourself to accuse and revile me, and besides, the flood-gates of tears are opened, and they would rush out if you spoke much; and you have no desire to expostulate, to upbraid, to make a scene: you are thinking how to acttalking you consider is of no use. I know youI am on my guard.
Sir, I do not wish to act against you, I said; and my unsteady voice warned me to curtail my sentence.
Not in your sense of the word, but in mine you are scheming to destroy me. You have as good as said that I am a married manas a married man you will shun me, keep out of my way: just now you have refused to kiss me. You intend to make yourself a complete stranger to me: to live under this roof only as Adèles governess; if ever I say a friendly word to you, if ever a friendly feeling inclines you again to me, you will say,That man had nearly made me his mistress: I must be ice and rock to him; and ice and rock you will accordingly become.
I cleared and steadied my voice to reply: All is changed about me, sir; I must change toothere is no doubt of that; and to avoid fluctuations of feeling, and continual combats with recollections and associations, there is only one wayAdèle must have a new governess, sir.
Oh, Adèle will go to schoolI have settled that already; nor do I mean to torment you with the hideous associations and recollections of Thornfield Hallthis accursed placethis tent of Achanthis insolent
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