"Jane Eyre Chpt 37"


The manor-house of Ferndean was a building of considerable antiquity, moderate size, and no architectural pretensions, deep buried in a wood. I had heard of it before. Mr. Rochester often spoke of it, and sometimes went there. His father had purchased the estate for the sake of the game covers. He would have let the house, but could find no tenant, in consequence of its ineligible and insalubrious site. Ferndean then remained uninhabited and unfurnished, with the exception of some two or three rooms fitted up for the accommodation of the squire when he went there in the season to shoot(….)
(..) “Can there be life here?” I asked. Yes, life of some kind there was; for I heard a movement—that narrow front-door was unclosing, and some shape was about to issue from the grange( fattoria). It opened slowly: a figure came out into the twilight and stood on the step; a man without a hat: he stretched forth his hand as if to feel whether it rained. Dusk(crepuscolo) as it was, I had recognised him—it was my master, Edward Fairfax Rochester, and no other.I stayed my step, almost my breath, and stood to watch him—to examine him, myself unseen, and alas! to him invisible. It was a sudden meeting, and one in which rapture (estasi) was kept well in check by pain. I had no difficulty in restraining(frenare) my voice from exclamation, my step from hasty advance.His form was of the same strong and stalwart(coraggioso) contour as ever: his port was still erect, his hair was still raven black; nor were his features altered or sunk: not in one year’s space, by any sorrow, could his athletic strength be quelled(domato) or his vigorous prime blighted(rovinato). But in his countenance I saw a change: that looked desperate and brooding (pensieroso)—that reminded me of some wronged and fettered (incatenato) wild beast or bird, dangerous to approach in his sullen woe (triste dolore). The caged eagle, whose gold-ringed eyes cruelty has extinguished, might look as looked that sightless Samson. And, reader, do you think I feared him in his blind ferocity?—if you do, you little know me. A soft hope blest with my sorrow that soon I should dare to drop a kiss on that brow of rock, and on those lips so sternly sealed beneath it: but not yet. I would not accost him yet.He descended the one step, and advanced slowly and gropingly(a tentoni) towards the grass-plat. Where was his daring stride (passo) now? Then he paused, as if he knew not which way to turn. He lifted his hand and opened his eyelids; gazed blank, and with a straining effort, on the sky, and toward the amphitheatre of trees: one saw that all to him was void darkness. He stretched his right hand (the left arm, the mutilated one, he kept hidden in his bosom); he seemed to wish by touch to gain an idea of what lay around him: he met but vacancy still; for the trees were some yards off where he stood. He relinquished the endeavour, folded his arms, and stood quiet and mute in the rain, now falling fast on his uncovered head. At this moment John approached him from some quarter.“Will you take my arm, sir?” he said; “there is a heavy shower coming on: had you not better go in?”“Let me alone,” was the answer. John withdrew without having observed me. Mr. Rochester now tried to walk about: vainly,—all was too uncertain. He groped his way back to the house, and, re-entering it, closed the door.I now drew near and knocked: John’s wife opened for me. “Mary,” I said, “how are you?” (…) I informed her I should stay. Just at this moment the parlour-bell rang.“When you go in,” said I, “tell your master that a person wishes to speak to him, but do not give my name.”“I don’t think he will see you,” she answered; “he refuses everybody.”When she returned, I inquired what he had said. “You are to send in your name and your business,” she replied. She then proceeded to fill a glass with water, and place it on a tray, together with candles. “Is that what he rang for?” I asked.“Yes: he always has candles brought in at dark, though he is blind.”“Give the tray to me; I will carry it in.”
I took it from her hand: she pointed me out the parlour door. The tray shook as I held it; the water spilt from the glass; my heart struck my ribs loud and fast. Mary opened the door for me, and shut it behind me. This parlour looked gloomy: a neglected handful of fire burnt low in the grate; and, leaning over it, with his head supported against the high, old-fashioned mantelpiece (mensola del camino), appeared the blind tenant of the room. His old dog, Pilot, lay on one side, removed out of the way, and coiled up(arrotolato) as if afraid of being inadvertently trodden upon. Pilot pricked up his ears when I came in: then he jumped up with a yelp(guaito) and a whine(gemito), and bounded (saltò)towards me: he almost knocked the tray from my hands. I set it on the table; then patted him, and said softly, “Lie down!” Mr. Rochester turned mechanically to see what the commotion was: but as he saw nothing, he returned and sighed.“Give me the water, Mary,” he said. I approached him with the now only half-filled glass; Pilot followed me, still excited. “What is the matter?” he inquired.“Down, Pilot!” I again said. He checked the water on its way to his lips, and seemed to listen: he drank, and put the glass down. “This is you, Mary, is it not?”“Mary is in the kitchen,” I answered. He put out his hand with a quick gesture, but not seeing where I stood, he did not touch me. “Who is this? Who is this?” he demanded, trying, as it seemed, to see with those sightless eyes—unavailing (inutile) and distressing attempt! “Answer me—speak again!” he ordered, imperiously and aloud.“Will you have a little more water, sir? I spilt half of what was in the glass,” I said.“Who is it? What is it? Who speaks?”“Pilot knows me, and John and Mary know I am here. I came only this evening,” I answered.“Great God!—what delusion (illusione) has come over me? What sweet madness has seized me?” “No delusion—no madness: your mind, sir, is too strong for delusion, your health too sound for frenzy.”“And where is the speaker? Is it only a voice? Oh! I cannot see, but I must feel, or my heart will stop and my brain burst. Whatever—whoever you are—be perceptible to the touch or I cannot live!”He groped; I arrested his wandering hand, and prisoned it in both mine.“Her very fingers!” he cried; “her small, slight fingers! If so there must be more of her.”The muscular hand broke from my custody; my arm was seized, my shoulder—neck—waist—I was entwined and gathered to him.“Is it Jane? What is it? This is her shape—this is her size—”“And this her voice,” I added. “She is all here: her heart, too. God bless you, sir! I am glad to be so near you again.”“Jane Eyre!—Jane Eyre,” was all he said.“My dear master,” I answered, “I am Jane Eyre: I have found you out—I am come back to you.”“In truth?—in the flesh? My living Jane?”“You touch me, sir,—you hold me, and fast enough: I am not cold like a corpse, nor vacant like air, am I?” “My living darling! These are certainly her limbs, and these her features; but I cannot be so blest(benedetto), after all my misery. It is a dream; such dreams as I have had at night when I have clasped her once more to my heart, as I do now; and kissed her, as thus—and felt that she loved me, and trusted that she would not leave me.” “Which I never will, sir, from this day.” “Never will, says the vision? But I always woke and found it an empty mockery; and I was desolate and abandoned—my life dark, lonely, hopeless—my soul athirst(avida) and forbidden to drink—my heart famished and never to be fed. Gentle, soft dream, nestling in my arms now, you will fly, too, as your sisters have all fled before you: but kiss me before you go—embrace me, Jane.”“There, sir—and there!”’I pressed my lips to his once brilliant and now rayless eyes—I swept his hair from his brow, and kissed that too. He suddenly seemed to arouse himself: the conviction of the reality of all this seized him. “It is you—is it, Jane? You are come back to me then?”“I am.” “And you do not lie dead in some ditch under some stream? And you are not a pining(struggersi) outcast amongst strangers?” “No, sir! I am an independent woman now.” “Independent! What do you mean, Jane?”“My uncle in Madeira is dead, and he left me five thousand pounds.”“Ah! this is practical—this is real!” he cried: “I should never dream that. Besides, there is that peculiar voice of hers, so animating and piquant(intrigante), as well as soft: it cheers my withered heart; it puts life into it.—What, Janet! Are you an independent woman? A rich woman?” “If you won’t let me live with you, I can build a house of my own close up to your door, and you may come and sit in my parlour when you want company of an evening.”“But as you are rich, Jane, you have now, no doubt, friends who will look after you, and not suffer you to devote yourself to a blind lameter like me?” “I told you I am independent, sir, as well as rich: I am my own mistress.” “And you will stay with me?” “Certainly—unless you object. I will be your neighbour, your nurse, your housekeeper. I find you lonely: I will be your companion—to read to you, to walk with you, to sit with you, to wait on you, to be eyes and hands to you. Cease to look so melancholy, my dear master; you shall not be left desolate, so long as I live.” He replied not: he seemed serious—abstracted; he sighed; he half-opened his lips as if to speak: he closed them again. I felt a little embarrassed. Perhaps I had too rashly over-leaped conventionalities; and he, like St. John, saw impropriety in my inconsiderateness. I had indeed