WARNING: Reading this will give away the plot of Jane Eyre, which is a classic, and this, well, suffice to say that it is not. If, on the other hand, you have read the story and enjoy wasting your time, then please feel free.

CHAPTER 4: Watching Her

The next morning before business called, I observed Miss Eyre in secret from my chamber door as she played with Adele in the gallery. She seemed no more than a child in face and figure. She appeared very young, but it was difficult to determine her age. Her eyes were green and rather too large for her face. The rest of her features were nondescript, except for her mouth, which, though small, was soft. Her brows were blond, lighter than the color of her hair, which was a golden brown, parted in the middle and together with some braided locks was swept up into a neat knot. Her black dress was not fine, but simple in the extreme, almost to the point of austerity.
Miss Eyre was not handsome, but strangely enough, although I considered myself a connoisseur of feminine beauty and form, she did not displease me. She was, petite, as Adele would say, but her figure was light. Though pale, her countenance was fresh with the radiance of youth and innocence, not of the childish sort, but of the kind unacquainted with the sordidness of life. Her eyes shone with a kind of feeling resembling hope. In short, I verily believe that beauty would have served as a kind of distraction, much as an overly ornate frame overpowers a simple yet well-executed painting. So, instead of dwelling on a tall magnificent figure, or masses of shiny curls, an ivory neck, or fine flashing eyes, I noted her intelligence of expression, her energy and quick movements, her patience, and her delighted expression when Adele performed a dance and sang a chanson. With her smile did come something quite unexpected: delicately dimpled cheeks. So she was not without grace after all, I thought.
To be sure, had it not been for the incident in Hay Lane I would have taken absolutely no notice of her, perhaps thinking of her as a dependent and nothing more, with barely an acknowledgement of her existence if I chanced to walk past her. And yet, here was I, the master, spying on a plain young lady. This felt foolish, but I knew that I had encountered a new personality that I had never before known, and I was determined to find her out. I impatiently waited for evening when I would summon her to my presence and learn more of her character.

Chapter 5:  Let Miss Eyre Be Seated (Click here.)


The Contentious Centrist said...

"In short, I verily believe that beauty would have served as a kind of distraction, much as an overly ornate frame overpowers a simple yet well-executed painting."

This is a very nice metaphor and is quite accurate, in my opinion, of the way Rochester would have thought.

Why do you think he wanted to change Jane later on, into something more along the lines of this "overly ornate frame"?

What a challenge you undertook with this experiment!

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

A True Janian Reply said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A True Janian Reply said...

Thank you for your comment and for visiting my blog. I want to inhabit Bronte's world for a little while in order to learn more from her inimitable style.
As for Rochester wanting to change Jane along the lines of an ornate frame later on, I think that at the time he was being an overly enthusiastic lover, accustomed to showering ladies with gifts. However, he did honor Jane's request that he not send in the jewels from London. I believe that Rochester thought he would prevail in the end. In time he would influence her as she did him. As he told her in the beginning of their acquaintance, "You are not naturally austere, anymore than I am naturally vicious." Maybe she'd never wear purple, but a lovely pink would suit it very nicely, indeeed.

Eryl Ravenwell said...

I've finally found your blog! So you're telling the story from Rochester's POV.

The Contentious Centrist said...

At the conclusion of the novel we are told, more or less off-handedly, that Jane had modified her "nonette"'s attire to a something more cheerful:

"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."

A pale blue dress and a gold locket! What a relief, isn't it?

I once had an exchange with a prof who was writing a book about Victorian Heroines. He was pissed off with Jane becuase, as he saw it, as soon as she had Rochester, she tried to change him. While I had the diamertically opposed view that it was Rochester who wanted to change Jane.

I suppose they both walked towards each other, diminishing the distance between them. But they would never become alike which is why we have the expectation that they never grew tired or bored with each other.

I see you are a translator. So am I. Funny concidence, that.