Jane Eyre HTML version

Chapter 36
The daylight came. I rose at dawn. I busied myself for an hour or two with
arranging my things in my chamber, drawers, and wardrobe, in the order wherein
I should wish to leave them during a brief absence. Meantime, I heard St. John
quit his room. He stopped at my door: I feared he would knock--no, but a slip of
paper was passed under the door. I took it up. It bore these words -
"You left me too suddenly last night. Had you stayed but a little longer, you would
have laid your hand on the Christian's cross and the angel's crown. I shall expect
your clear decision when I return this day fortnight. Meantime, watch and pray
that you enter not into temptation: the spirit, I trust, is willing, but the flesh, I see,
is weak. I shall pray for you hourly.--Yours, ST. JOHN."
"My spirit," I answered mentally, "is willing to do what is right; and my flesh, I
hope, is strong enough to accomplish the will of Heaven, when once that will is
distinctly known to me. At any rate, it shall be strong enough to search--inquire--
to grope an outlet from this cloud of doubt, and find the open day of certainty."
It was the first of June; yet the morning was overcast and chilly: rain beat fast on
my casement. I heard the front-door open, and St. John pass out. Looking
through the window, I saw him traverse the garden. He took the way over the
misty moors in the direction of Whitcross--there he would meet the coach.
"In a few more hours I shall succeed you in that track, cousin," thought I: "I too
have a coach to meet at Whitcross. I too have some to see and ask after in
England, before I depart for ever."
It wanted yet two hours of breakfast-time. I filled the interval in walking softly
about my room, and pondering the visitation which had given my plans their
present bent. I recalled that inward sensation I had experienced: for I could recall
it, with all its unspeakable strangeness. I recalled the voice I had heard; again I
questioned whence it came, as vainly as before: it seemed in me--not in the
external world. I asked was it a mere nervous impression--a delusion? I could not
conceive or believe: it was more like an inspiration. The wondrous shock of
feeling had come like the earthquake which shook the foundations of Paul and
Silas's prison; it had opened the doors of the soul's cell and loosed its bands--it
had wakened it out of its sleep, whence it sprang trembling, listening, aghast;
then vibrated thrice a cry on my startled ear, and in my quaking heart and
through my spirit, which neither feared nor shook, but exulted as if in joy over the
success of one effort it had been privileged to make, independent of the
cumbrous body.
"Ere many days," I said, as I terminated my musings, "I will know something of
him whose voice seemed last night to summon me. Letters have proved of no
avail--personal inquiry shall replace them."
At breakfast I announced to Diana and Mary that I was going a journey, and
should be absent at least four days.
"Alone, Jane?" they asked.
"Yes; it was to see or hear news of a friend about whom I had for some time
been uneasy."