Jane Eyre, An Autobiography

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Charlotte Bronte
Currer Bell

     "I tell you I must go!" I retorted, roused to something like passion. "Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you, — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; — it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal, — as we are!"
     "As we are!" repeated Mr. Rochester — "so," he added, enclosing me in his arms. Gathering me to his breast, pressing his lips on my lips: "so, Jane!"
     "Yes, so, sir," I rejoined: "and yet not so; for you are a married man — or as good as a married man, and wed to one inferior to you — to one with whom you have no sympathy — whom I do not believe you truly love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her. I would scorn such a union: therefore I am better than you — let me go!"
     "Where, Jane? To Ireland?"
     "Yes — to Ireland. I have spoken my mind, and can go anywhere now."
     "Jane, be still; don't struggle so, like a wild frantic bird that is rending its own plumage in its desperation."
     "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you."
     Another effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him.
     "And your will shall decide your destiny," he said: "I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions."
     "You play a farce, which I merely laugh at."
     "I ask you to pass through life at my side — to be my second self, and best earthly companion."
     "For that fate you have already made your choice, and must abide by it."
     "Jane, be still a few moments: you are over-excited: I will be still too."

Volume number of excerpt
Chapter number of excerpt
Smith, Elder & Co.
Page numbers in original volume

Bronte, Charlotte (writing as Currer Bell). Jane Eyre. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1847.

Garrett, Edmund. Are you happy, Jane? 1897, British Library, London.