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Villette

42. Finis
Man cannot prophesy. Love is no oracle. Fear sometimes imagines a vain thing. Those
years of absence! How had I sickened over their anticipation! The woe they must bring
seemed certain as death. I knew the nature of their course: I never had doubt how it
would harrow as it went. The Juggernaut on his car towered there a grim load. Seeing
him draw nigh, burying his broad wheels in the oppressed soil -- I, the prostrate votary --
felt beforehand the annihilating craunch.
Strange to say -- strange, yet true, and owning many parallels in life's experience -- that
anticipatory craunch proved all -- yes -- nearly all the torture. The great Juggernaut, in his
great chariot, drew on lofty, loud and sullen. He passed quietly, like a shadow sweeping
the sky at noon. Nothing but a chilling dimness was seen or felt. I looked up. Chariot and
demon charioteer were gone by; the votary still lived.
M. Emanuel was away three years. Reader, they were the three happiest years of my life.
Do you scout the paradox? Listen.
I commenced my school; I worked -- I worked hard. I deemed myself the steward of his
property, and determined, God willing, to render a good account. Pupils came -- burghers
at first -- a higher class ere long. About the middle of the second year an unexpected
chance threw into my hands an additional hundred pounds: one day I received from
England a letter containing that sum. It came from Mr. Marchmont, the cousin and heir of
my dear and dead mistress. He was just recovering from a dangerous illness; the money
was a peace-offering to his conscience, reproaching him in the matter of, I know not
what, papers or memoranda found after his kinswoman's death -- naming or
recommending Lucy Snowe. Mrs. Barrett had given him my address. How far his
conscience had been sinned against, I never inquired. I asked no questions, but took the
cash and made it useful.
With this hundred pounds I ventured to take the house adjoining mine. I would not leave
that which M. Paul had chosen, in which he had left, and where he expected again to find
me. My externat became a pensionnat; that also prospered.
The secret of my success did not lie so much in myself in any endowment, any power of
mine, as in a new state of circumstances, a wonderfully changed life, a relieved heart.
The spring which moved my energies lay far away beyond seas, in an Indian isle. At
parting, I had been left a legacy; such a thought for the present, such a hope for the
future, such a motive for a persevering, a laborious, an enterprising, a patient and a brave
course -- I could not flag. Few things shook me now; few things had importance to vex,
intimidate of depress me: most things pleased -- mere trifles had a charm.
Do not think that this genial flame sustained itself, or lived wholly on a bequeathed hope
or a parting promise. A generous provider supplied bounteous fuel. I was spared all chill,
all stint; I was not suffered to fear penury; I was not tried with suspense. By every vessel
 
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