The Books of My Numberless Dreams

An eclipse intervenes

Posted on: March 28, 2007

He fretted, pished and pshawed. ‘Very good,’ I thought, ‘you may fume and fidget as you please: but this is the best plan to pursue with you, I am certain. I like you more than I can say; but I’ll not sink into a bathos of sentiment: and with this needle of repartee I’ll keep you from the edge of the gulph too; and, moreover, maintain by its pungent aid that distance between you and myself most conducive to our real mutual advantage.

From less to more, I worked him up to considerable irritation; then, after he had retired, in dudgeon, quite to the other end of the room, I got up, and saying, ‘I wish you good-night, sir,’ in my natural and wonted respectful manner, I slipped out by the side-door and got away.

The system thus entered on, I pursued during the whole season of probation; and with the best success. He was kept, to be sure, rather cross and crusty: but on the whole I could see he was excellently entertained; and that a lamb-like submission and turtle-dove sensibility, while fostering his despotism more, would have pleased his judgment, satisfied his common-sense, and even suited his taste, less.

In other people’s presence I was, as formerly, deferential and quiet; any other line of conduct being uncalled for: it was only in the evening conferences I thus thwarted and afflicted him. He continued to send for me punctually the moment the clock struck seven; though when I appeared before him now, he had no such honeyed terms as ‘love’ and ‘darling’ on his lips: the best words at my service were ‘provoking puppet’, ‘malicious elf’, ‘sprite’, ‘changeling’, &c. For caresses too, I now got grimaces; for a pressure of the hand, a pinch on the arm; for a kiss on the cheek, a severe tweak of the ear. It was all right: at present I decidedly preferred these fierce favours to anything more tender. Mrs Fairfax, I saw approved me: her anxiety on my account vanished; therefore I was certain I did well. Meantime, Mr Rochester affirmed I was wearing him to skin and bone, and threatened awful vengeance for my present conduct at some period fast coming. I laughed in my sleeve at his menaces: ‘I can keep you in reasonable check now,’ I reflected; ‘and I don’t doubt to be able to do it hereafter: if one expedient loses its virtue, another must be devised.’

Yet after all my task was not an easy one; often I would rather have pleased than teased him. My future husband was becoming to me my whole world; and more than the world: almost my hope of heaven. He stood between me and every thought of religion, as an eclipse intervenes between man and the broad sun. I could not, in those days, see God for his creature: of whom I had made an idol.

From “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë

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5 Responses to "An eclipse intervenes"

She’s fabulous, no?

Oops, that was me. But you might enjoy yesterday’s post at http://savethellbc.wordpress.com. 🙂

Dagnabit! That’s: http://savethellbc.wordpress.com
(for some reason wordpress latched on to that last period)

Some comments here are ripe for deletion. *cracks whip*

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