Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chapter 24: This is why long engagements are discouraged

They're engaged! Birds are singing, mice are hard at work on a dress -- wait. Wrong story.

They're engaged, and everything is wonderful. Except not.

Jane is simultaneously blissful and terrified when she thinks about the fact that she's about to marry Rochester. And he's not helping by insisting that it's now his prerogative to shower her with brocade and diamonds.
"Jewels for Jane Eyre sounds unnatural and strange: I would rather not have them."
While Jane wants to be practical, Rochester has his own plans for married life:
"You shall sojourn at Paris, Rome, and Naples: at Florence, Venice, and Vienna: all the ground I have wandered over shall be re-trodden by you: wherever I stamped my hoof, your sylph’s foot shall step also. Ten years since, I flew through Europe half mad; with disgust, hate, and rage as my companions: now I shall revisit it healed and cleansed, with a very angel as my comforter."
Uh huh. Our girl's take:
"For a little while you will perhaps be as you are now,—a very little while; and then you will turn cool; and then you will be capricious; and then you will be stern, and I shall have much ado to please you: but when you get well used to me, you will perhaps like me again,—like me, I say, not love me. I suppose your love will effervesce in six months, or less."
Show of hands: which scenario is more plausible?

(Side note: Really, Charlotte, you had to throw in that bit of casual antisemitism there? It's not even an accurate reference -- since Esther never asked for half of Ahasuerus' kingdom; he just kept offering it -- and it's so totally unnecessary.)

Elsewhere in the chapter: Mrs. Fairfax is rather shocked at the idea of the governess marrying the employer; there is a shopping trip; Jane announces that she has no intention of being treated like Celine Varens; Rochester whines; Jane takes action:
"I like you more than I can say; but I’ll not sink into a bathos of sentiment: and with this needle of repartee I’ll keep you from the edge of the gulf too; and, moreover, maintain by its pungent aid that distance between you and myself most conducive to our real mutual advantage."


He continued to send for me punctually the moment the clock struck seven; though when I appeared before him now, he had no such honeyed terms as “love” and “darling” on his lips: the best words at my service were “provoking puppet,” “malicious elf,” “sprite,” “changeling,” &c. For caresses, too, I now got grimaces; for a pressure of the hand, a pinch on the arm; for a kiss on the cheek, a severe tweak of the ear. It was all right: at present I decidedly preferred these fierce favours to anything more tender.

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