Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chapter 37: We'd be nowhere without some misunderstandings

The previous chapter was basically just necessary background, but now we get to the meat of the story.

Jane gets to observe Rochester before she interacts with him. If she weren't already in love with him, I think she'd be unlikely to start now. This is Beauty & the Beast when the Beast has gone back to eating with his hands and clawing ancient tapestries.

So, naturally, the best way to announce to your blind and cantankerous ex-fiance that you've returned is to sneak up on him.
"When you go in," said I, "tell your master that a person wishes to speak to him, but do not give my name."
How does Rochester finally convince himself it's not a dream? Well, when kissing and embracing doesn't do it:
"My uncle in Madeira is dead, and he left me five thousand pounds."

"Ah! this is practical—this is real!" he cried: "I should never dream that. Besides, there is that peculiar voice of hers, so animating and piquant, as well as soft: it cheers my withered heart; it puts life into it.—What, Janet! Are you an independent woman? A rich woman?"
Money talks.

Not everything gets cleared up right away -- they both hold back from discussing whether marriage should be a part of their ongoing relationship. But Jane definitely wants to stick around.
"I thought you would be revolted, Jane, when you saw my arm, and my cicatrised visage."

"Did you? Don’t tell me so—lest I should say something disparaging to your judgment."
And this is why we love her:
"Am I hideous, Jane?"

"Very, sir: you always were, you know."
They spend the next day very much together ("I sought a seat for him in a hidden and lovely spot, a dry stump of a tree; nor did I refuse to let him, when seated, place me on his knee. Why should I, when both he and I were happier near than apart?"), which naturally leads to Rochester assuming that she's going to marry St. John.

Look, she doesn't love him for his mind, okay?

The upshot:
"The third day from this must be our wedding-day, Jane. Never mind fine clothes and jewels, now: all that is not worth a fillip."
Just imagine if he'd been that tractable ten chapters ago.

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