Charlotte Bronte's heroine "Jane Eyre" defies the stereotype of the docile Victorian woman and shines as a fully realized person who jumps off the page at a time when women were often portrayed as one-dimensional characters (etext found
Although the words "carefully on one side" suggest the idea of a boundary, "mete" is used as a verb here to show that the personified Chance had chosen "to distribute" a measure of happiness for Jane to stretch out her hand and claim. But to do so at this point would require crossing moral, legal, and social boundaries.
Your fortune is yet doubtful: when I examined your face, one trait contradicted another. Chance has meted you a measure of happiness: that I know. I knew it before I came here this evening. She has laid it carefully on one side for you.
The flame flickers in the eye; the eye shines like dew; it looks soft and full of feeling; it smiles at my jargon: it is susceptible; impression follows impression through its clear sphere; where it ceases to smile, it is sad; an unconscious
lassitude weighs on the lid: that signifies melancholy resulting from loneliness.
presenting favorable circumstances; likely to result in or show signs of success
The fortune-teller seems to be practicing physiognomy ("the art of appraising character or personality from facial features"--often in connection with a divination of the individual's future). But the points being made are partly observations Mr. Rochester had gathered during his talks with Jane, and they are partly his testing of her feelings for him and the possibility of a shameful union.
Mobile and flexible, it was never intended to be compressed in the eternal silence of solitude: it is a mouth which should speak much and smile often, and have human affection for its interlocutor. That feature too is
to render motionless, as with a fixed stare or by arousing terror or awe
"Transfix" also means "pierce with a sharp stake or point"--Jane has the power to pierce Mr. Rochester's heart, as well as to render him motionless with her refusal of him, but she does not know this at the time that these words were said to her (as an autobiographer looking back over twenty years of her life, she did know it at the time she wrote the words down for her reader).
Well, you too have power over me, and may injure me: yet I dare not show you where I am vulnerable, lest, faithful and friendly as you are, you should
transfix me at once.
It was a wailing child this night, and a laughing one the next: now it nestled close to me, and now it ran from me; but whatever mood the apparition
evinced, whatever aspect it wore, it failed not for seven successive nights to meet me the moment I entered the land of slumber.
A niggard is "a selfish person who is unwilling to give or spend"--this sounds like Mr. Rochester is insulting Jane, but he really isn't because 1) he's asking her to give back most of the money that he'd just given her (to insure that she'd return); 2) he says the words almost in the same affectionate tone as he says "little friend" and later, "little elf," "little darling," "little wife," and "my little Jane."
“Little niggard!” said he, “refusing me a
Her own fortune she had taken care to secure; and when her mother died—and it was wholly improbable, she tranquilly remarked, that she should either recover or linger long—she would execute a long-cherished project: seek a retirement where punctual habits would be permanently secured from disturbance, and place safe barriers between herself and a
As I shall not have occasion to refer either to her or her sister again, I may as well mention here, that Georgiana made an advantageous match with a wealthy worn-out man of fashion, and that Eliza actually took the veil, and is at this day superior of the convent where she passed the period of her novitiate, and which she
endowed with her fortune.
social status or position conferred by a system based on class
The thought of Mrs. O’Gall and Bitternutt Lodge struck cold to my heart; and colder the thought of all the brine and foam, destined, as it seemed, to rush between me and the master at whose side I now walked, and coldest the remembrance of the wider ocean—wealth,
caste, custom intervened between me and what I naturally and inevitably loved.
not permitting extrication; incapable of being disentangled or untied
“Because,” he said, “I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you—especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame.
characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation
"Impetuous" also means "marked by violent force"--this could describe the "acute distress" that is causing Jane to sob convulsively and shake from head to toe. Although Jane is crying over the thought of leaving Mr. Rochester, her expression of impetuous feelings here actually brings her closer to his nature and heart.
When I did speak, it was only to express an
impetuous wish that I had never been born, or never come to Thornfield.
"Fruition" also means "something that is made real or concrete"--this definition is suggested by Jane's wondering if Mr. Rochester's proposal and love for her are real, while the chosen definition connects to her declaration that "Nature must be gladsome when I was so happy."
While arranging my hair, I looked at my face in the glass, and felt it was no longer plain: there was hope in its aspect and life in its colour; and my eyes seemed as if they had beheld the fount of
fruition, and borrowed beams from the lustrous ripple.
a process of increasing by addition (as to a collection or group)
I will write to Madeira the moment I get home, and tell my uncle John I am going to be married, and to whom: if I had but a prospect of one day bringing Mr. Rochester an
accession of fortune, I could better endure to be kept by him now.
I assured him I was naturally hard—very flinty, and that he would often find me so; and that, moreover, I was determined to show him divers rugged points in my character before the ensuing four weeks elapsed: he should know fully what sort of a bargain he had made, while there was yet time to
a manifestation of God's foresightful care for his creatures
Yesterday I trusted well in
Providence, and believed that events were working together for your good and mine: it was a fine day, if you recollect—the calmness of the air and sky forbade apprehensions respecting your safety or comfort on your journey.