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.

CHAPER 7: At a Disadvantage

When I awoke I was not as morose as I had been the night before. The morning was bright with a fine dusting of snow that had settled over the landscape and shone like crystal, making it reflect light into every corner of my room. It had been many years since I had spent winter at Thornfield. I remembered only the bitter cold and the interminable nights spent in utter dejection. In escaping its dreariness I had also forgotten its occasional beauty. I gazed upon the scene in wonderment; it reminded me somewhat of one of Miss Eyre's fantastical paintings. Perhaps she could appreciated the severe beauty of the leafless branches of the thorn and crow trees standing out in high relief against the blinding white snow.
My thoughts turned to the night before. Despite my masterful ways I was at a disadvantage with this fairy of a governess, for as quiet as she was, her probing eyes scrutinized me, registering in her mind every line of my face, every movement of my hand, every word, down to the tone of my voice, perhaps not to judge, but to flesh out my character as I did hers with my relentless questioning.
Miss Eyre mystified me; I knew not what to make of her, for every one of her characteristics seemed at variance with one another. She was an orphan with but little beauty and elegance to recommend her, yet she was ladylike and refined by nature. More drilled in religious forms than in a classical education, she did not seen fanatical in the least. I was struck that her modesty was a odds with her impertinence—it amused me that this nonnette [a kind of small bird] of a girl glared at me so fiercely when her pride was pricked and even uttered some brusque rejoinders such as when I supposed that a master had aided her with her drawings or when I warned her that I recognised patchwork. She was proud and would not cower before me as any flunky would have done. Though shy, there was an independent self-possession in her comportment; yet she obediently played the piano when I ordered her to, and did not seem at all affronted when I criticized her musical ability or artistic skill; on the other hand, it was apparent that my opinion was a matter of complete indifference to her.
For someone who had no home, no friends or family, Miss Eyre betrayed a remarkable lack of self-pity; indeed she left the security of an institutional cage to find a new situation, or at least a new servitude that would better suit her. She was now free from the confines of Lowood and Mr. Brocklehurst's cruel ways, yet she was not free: imprisoned by her station, her lack of connections, by her poverty, I saw a hard track before her. Suddenly I was ashamed of my own self-pity. Cursed as I was, I recognized that her prospects were entirely much bleaker than my own. I had many advantages which were closed to her: a position in society, even if I was a sinner of the first water, great wealth, and a place to come home to, if one could but call it that.
I knew not what Miss Eyre thought of me, but I was stimulated by what I saw of her, and wanted to know what she thought, to know her deeper. I knew that there was piquancy, a keenness of mind beneath that fragile exterior. I recognized that hers was a new kind of personality that I had never before encountered, but I was not insensible that this young lady lived under my protection. Degraded as I was, I never cared to trifle with servant girls, and though not a servant, she was certainly a dependent. This young lady, unlike others I had known, was unaccustomed to society. Too much attention or gallantry would make her recoil from me, I was sure. Therefore, for the time being, I decided to keep ours to a slight acquaintance, calling on her occasionally to inquire of Adèle's progress, but not more. 

Chapter 8:  Mrs. Poole's Cool Stone Eyes (Click here.)


ThursdayNext said...

Oh my goodness I love this concept! I am so grateful you stopped by my blog...I am excited to read from your chapter one tonight. What a creative and amazing premise...

A True Janian Reply said...

Thank you for your comments! This exercise will never compare to jane Eyre, but I hope you'll enjoy it as long as it lasts.