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Chapter 38


CHAPTER XXXVIII--CONCLUSION

Reader, I married him.  A quiet wedding we had:  he and I, the
parson and clerk, were alone present.  When we got back from church,
I went into the kitchen of the manor-house, where Mary was cooking
the dinner and John cleaning the knives, and I said -

"Mary, I have been married to Mr. Rochester this morning."  The
housekeeper and her husband were both of that decent phlegmatic
order of people, to whom one may at any time safely communicate a
remarkable piece of news without incurring the danger of having
one's ears pierced by some shrill ejaculation, and subsequently
stunned by a torrent of wordy wonderment.  Mary did look up, and she
did stare at me:  the ladle with which she was basting a pair of
chickens roasting at the fire, did for some three minutes hang
suspended in air; and for the same space of time John's knives also
had rest from the polishing process:  but Mary, bending again over
the roast, said only -

"Have you, Miss?  Well, for sure!"

A short time after she pursued--"I seed you go out with the master,
but I didn't know you were gone to church to be wed;" and she basted
away.  John, when I turned to him, was grinning from ear to ear.

"I telled Mary how it would be," he said:  "I knew what Mr. Edward"
(John was an old servant, and had known his master when he was the
cadet of the house, therefore, he often gave him his Christian
name)--"I knew what Mr. Edward would do; and I was certain he would
not wait long neither:  and he's done right, for aught I know.  I
wish you joy, Miss!" and he politely pulled his forelock.

"Thank you, John.  Mr. Rochester told me to give you and Mary this."
I put into his hand a five-pound note.  Without waiting to hear
more, I left the kitchen.  In passing the door of that sanctum some
time after, I caught the words -

"She'll happen do better for him nor ony o't' grand ladies."  And
again, "If she ben't one o' th' handsomest, she's noan faal and
varry good-natured; and i' his een she's fair beautiful, onybody may
see that."

I wrote to Moor House and to Cambridge immediately, to say what I
had done:  fully explaining also why I had thus acted.  Diana and
Mary approved the step unreservedly.  Diana announced that she would
just give me time to get over the honeymoon, and then she would come
and see me.

"She had better not wait till then, Jane," said Mr. Rochester, when
I read her letter to him; "if she does, she will be too late, for
our honeymoon will shine our life long:  its beams will only fade
over your grave or mine."

How St. John received the news, I don't know:  he never answered the
letter in which I communicated it:  yet six months after he wrote to
me, without, however, mentioning Mr. Rochester's name or alluding to
my marriage.  His letter was then calm, and, though very serious,
kind.  He has maintained a regular, though not frequent,
correspondence ever since:  he hopes I am happy, and trusts I am not
of those who live without God in the world, and only mind earthly
things.

You have not quite forgotten little Adele, have you, reader?  I had
not; I soon asked and obtained leave of Mr. Rochester, to go and see
her at the school where he had placed her.  Her frantic joy at
beholding me again moved me much.  She looked pale and thin:  she
said she was not happy.  I found the rules of the establishment were
too strict, its course of study too severe for a child of her age:
I took her home with me.  I meant to become her governess once more,
but I soon found this impracticable; my time and cares were now
required by another--my husband needed them all.  So I sought out a
school conducted on a more indulgent system, and near enough to
permit of my visiting her often, and bringing her home sometimes.  I
took care she should never want for anything that could contribute
to her comfort:  she soon settled in her new abode, became very
happy there, and made fair progress in her studies.  As she grew up,
a sound English education corrected in a great measure her French
defects; and when she left school, I found in her a pleasing and
obliging companion:  docile, good-tempered, and well-principled.  By
her grateful attention to me and mine, she has long since well
repaid any little kindness I ever had it in my power to offer her.

My tale draws to its close:  one word respecting my experience of
married life, and one brief glance at the fortunes of those whose
names have most frequently recurred in this narrative, and I have
done.

I have now been married ten years.  I know what it is to live
entirely for and with what I love best on earth.  I hold myself
supremely blest--blest beyond what language can express; because I
am my husband's life as fully is he is mine.  No woman was ever
nearer to her mate than I am:  ever more absolutely bone of his bone
and flesh of his flesh.  I know no weariness of my Edward's society:
he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of
the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are
ever together.  To be together is for us to be at once as free as in
solitude, as gay as in company.  We talk, I believe, all day long:
to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible
thinking.  All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence
is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character--perfect
concord is the result.

Mr. Rochester continued blind the first two years of our union;
perhaps it was that circumstance that drew us so very near--that
knit us so very close:  for I was then his vision, as I am still his
right hand.  Literally, I was (what he often called me) the apple of
his eye.  He saw nature--he saw books through me; and never did I
weary of gazing for his behalf, and of putting into words the effect
of field, tree, town, river, cloud, sunbeam--of the landscape before
us; of the weather round us--and impressing by sound on his ear what
light could no longer stamp on his eye.  Never did I weary of
reading to him; never did I weary of conducting him where he wished
to go:  of doing for him what he wished to be done.  And there was a
pleasure in my services, most full, most exquisite, even though sad-
-because he claimed these services without painful shame or damping
humiliation.  He loved me so truly, that he knew no reluctance in
profiting by my attendance:  he felt I loved him so fondly, that to
yield that attendance was to indulge my sweetest wishes.

One morning at the end of the two years, as I was writing a letter
to his dictation, he came and bent over me, and said--"Jane, have
you a glittering ornament round your neck?"

I had a gold watch-chain:  I answered "Yes."

"And have you a pale blue dress on?"

I had.  He informed me then, that for some time he had fancied the
obscurity clouding one eye was becoming less dense; and that now he
was sure of it.

He and I went up to London.  He had the advice of an eminent
oculist; and he eventually recovered the sight of that one eye.  He
cannot now see very distinctly:  he cannot read or write much; but
he can find his way without being led by the hand:  the sky is no
longer a blank to him--the earth no longer a void.  When his first-
born was put into his arms, he could see that the boy had inherited
his own eyes, as they once were--large, brilliant, and black.  On
that occasion, he again, with a full heart, acknowledged that God
had tempered judgment with mercy.

My Edward and I, then, are happy:  and the more so, because those we
most love are happy likewise.  Diana and Mary Rivers are both
married:  alternately, once every year, they come to see us, and we
go to see them.  Diana's husband is a captain in the navy, a gallant
officer and a good man.  Mary's is a clergyman, a college friend of
her brother's, and, from his attainments and principles, worthy of
the connection.  Both Captain Fitzjames and Mr. Wharton love their
wives, and are loved by them.

As to St. John Rivers, he left England:  he went to India.  He
entered on the path he had marked for himself; he pursues it still.
A more resolute, indefatigable pioneer never wrought amidst rocks
and dangers.  Firm, faithful, and devoted, full of energy, and zeal,
and truth, he labours for his race; he clears their painful way to
improvement; he hews down like a giant the prejudices of creed and
caste that encumber it.  He may be stern; he may be exacting; he may
be ambitious yet; but his is the sternness of the warrior
Greatheart, who guards his pilgrim convoy from the onslaught of
Apollyon.  His is the exaction of the apostle, who speaks but for
Christ, when he says--"Whosoever will come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross and follow me."  His is the ambition
of the high master-spirit, which aims to fill a place in the first
rank of those who are redeemed from the earth--who stand without
fault before the throne of God, who share the last mighty victories
of the Lamb, who are called, and chosen, and faithful.

St. John is unmarried:  he never will marry now.  Himself has
hitherto sufficed to the toil, and the toil draws near its close:
his glorious sun hastens to its setting.  The last letter I received
from him drew from my eves human tears, and yet filled my heart with
divine joy:  he anticipated his sure reward, his incorruptible
crown.  I know that a stranger's hand will write to me next, to say
that the good and faithful servant has been called at length into
the joy of his Lord.  And why weep for this?  No fear of death will
darken St. John's last hour:  his mind will be unclouded, his heart
will be undaunted, his hope will be sure, his faith steadfast.  His
own words are a pledge of this -

"My Master," he says, "has forewarned me.  Daily He announces more
distinctly,--'Surely I come quickly!' and hourly I more eagerly
respond,--'Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus!'"


Charlotte Bronte