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16 Preparing for the wedding

 

  I was a little nervous before seeing Mr Rochester next morning.Was I really going to marry him, or was it all a dream?But I soon felt calmer when he came to meet me and kissed me.

  'Jane,you look well and smiling and pretty,'he said.'You will be Jane Rochester in four weeks' time,not a day more.I'll send for my family jewels,which are kept in a London bank.They are for my bride,whether she's a great lady or a governess.'

  'Oh no,sir!' I cried.'I'm too plain for jewels!I'm not used to wearing them.'

  'I insist,Jane.Today I'm taking you in the carriage to Millcote to buy you some elegant clothes.In a month's time we'll have a quiet wedding in the local church,and after a few days in London we'll travel through all the countries of Europe.'

  'Well,sir,you seem very eager to please me,but I wonder if you will agree to a request of mine.'

  'Ask me anything,Jane,anything!'

  'Indeed I will.This is my request.I ask you not to give me jewels and fine clothes.'

  'If that's really your wish,I agree But can't you think of anything I can give you?'

  'Well,I'd like you to give me the answer to a question.'

  He looked worried,and turned away from me.

  'Curiosity is dangerous,'he said.'I may not be able to agree to this particular request.Well,what is it?'

  'How stern you look!I suppose that's how you will look when we are married!This is what I want to know.Why did you take such trouble to make me believe you wished to marry Miss Ingram?'

  He stopped frowning at once and smiled down at me.

  'Is that all?What a relief!All right,I shall have to confess,although you may be angry with me,Jane—as angry as you were last night,when you told me we were equal.Well,I pretended to love Miss Ingram to make you madly jealous.I wanted you to be as much in love wlth me as I was with you.'

  'And I suppose you didn't care at all about poor Miss Ingram's feelings?'

  'She only has one feeling—pride.Were you jealous,Jane?'

  'Never mind,Mr Rochester.One more request—please explain everything to Mrs Fairfax.She looked so shocked last night!'

  When I visited the old housekeeper later that day,I found she was amazed by the news that I was going to marry the master.

  'I would never have thought it!'she kept repeating.'Mr Rochester,so proud and such a gentleman!To marry his governess!'She examined me closely,as if to discover the reason for this strange event,and shook her head,still puzzled.'He's twenty years older than you!He could be your father!'

  'No,indeed,Mrs Fairfax,'I replied crossly.'He looks much younger than that!'

  'Is he really going to marry you for love?'she asked.

  I was so hurt by her amazement that tears came to my eyes.

  'Why?'I asked.'Do you think he couldn't possibly love me?'

  'No,no,Miss Eyre,but you must realize that this is a very unusual situation.You must be careful of your reputation. I advise you to keep him at a distance until you are married.'

  Although I was upset by the old lady's words,I followed her advice,and in the weeks before the wedding I went on teaching Adele as usual.Only in the evenings did I spend some time with Mr Rochester,and I was careful not to allow him to hold me in his arms or kiss me.Sometimes he was angry with me and called me a'hard little thing'or'a cruel spirit',but I preferred that to being called 'my darling'.I saw that Mrs Fairfax approved of my correct behaviour,and I knew that he respected me for it.But it was not easy for me.I would rather have shown him my love.My future husband was becoming my whole world,and more than that,my hope of heaven.

  At last the night before the wedding arrived.My clothes were packed and I was ready.But I was anxious to see Mr Rochester,who had been away on business,so I ran out of the quiet house to meet him on the road. A wild,stormy wind was blowing,and in the garden I passed the wreck of the great tree Then suddenly I saw him riding towards me.

  'You see!'he shouted.'You can't do without me!Jump up onto my horse!'Together we rode back to Thornfield.While he ate dinner,I sat quietly beside him.He looked closely at me.

  'You look sad,Jane,'he said.'Is anything wrong?Are you nervous about your new life?'

  'No,'I replied firmly.'I'm not worried about that,because I love you.But last night I had a strange dream,a terrible dream!It was dark and windy outside,and before I went to sleep I could hear a dog growling in the distance.In my dream I was carrying a small child in my arms down a long road.I was trying to catch up with you,but I couldn't. '

  'And you still worry about a foolish dream,when I'm close to you?But say you love me again,Jane.'

  'I do love you,Edward.But I haven't finished my story.'

  'Is there more?Well,go on.'

  'I dreamed that Thornfield was totally destroyed,just a heap of stones.I was still carrying the child,but now I could see you riding away into the distance.I knew you would never come back!Then I woke up.'

  'That's all then,Jane.Nothing to worry about.'

  'No,wait.There was candle-light in my room,and a strange shape examining the wedding dress hanging in my cupboard.My blood ran cold.It wasn't Mrs Fairfax or any of the servants,it wasnt't even Grace Poole.It was a horrible sight!'

  'Describe the shape,Jane.'

  'It looked like a tall woman,with long thick dark hair hanging down hhe took up the beautiful veil you bought me,put it on her own head,then turned to admire herself in the mirror.It was then that I saw her wild,inhuman face!She removed the veil,tore it in two and threw it on the floor.'

  'And then?'Mr Rochester seemed almost nervous.

  'She came to my bedside,put her candle close to my face and stared fiercely at me.I must have fainted,and I suppose she left.Now can you tell me who or what that woman was?'

  'Jane,you are too sensitive.That was just a dream. Don't think about it any more!'he answered comfortingly.

  'That's just what I said to myself when I woke up this morning,but when I looked on the floor,there was me veil,torn in two halves!'I felt Mr Rochester suddenly tremble.

  'To think what might have happened!'he cried,throwing his arms around me.'Thank God it was only the veil!'After a few moments he said calmly,'Now,Jane,be sensible.That woman must have been Grace Poole.There is no other explanation.'

  'Perhaps you're right,'I admitted slowly.

  'One day I'll explain to you why I keep her in my house.But tonight,go and sleep in Adele's room You'll be quite safe there.Just dream about our future!'

16准备婚礼

  第二天早上,我有些害怕见到罗切斯特先生。我是真的要和他结婚了,还是做了一场梦?但是,他来看我,吻了我,我很快平静下来。

  “简,你气色不错,有了笑容,还那么漂亮。”他说。“四星期后你将成为简·罗切斯特,一天也不会多。我会派人取来存在伦敦银行里的祖传珠宝。它们是留给我的新娘的,不管她是位了不起的贵妇还是家庭教师。”

  “噢,不,先生。”我说,“我太平凡了,配不上珠宝,我也不习惯戴首饰。”

  “简,我一定要你戴。今天我带你坐马车到米尔考特去买些漂亮衣服。一个月后,我们就在本地的教堂里举办安安静静的婚礼,在伦敦待几天后,我们要走遍欧洲所有的国家。”

  “好了,先生,你好像急着要让我高兴,但不知你可否答应我一个小小的请求。”

  “说吧,简,要什么都行!”

  “我是要说。这就是我的要求:我请你不要给我珠宝和漂亮的衣服。”

  “如果你真这么想,我就答应你。但是你就不能想想我能送给你点儿什么?”

  “我希望你给我一个问题的答案。”

  他看上去有些担心,转身背对着我。

  “好奇是危险的。”他说,“我或许无法答应这个特别的请求。好吧,什么问题?”

  “你怎么这么严厉!我想我们结婚后你就会是这个样子!这就是我想知道的:你为什么费那么大功夫让我相信你想娶英格姆小姐?”

  他立即眉头舒展,微笑着俯视着我。

  “就这个?真让我松了口气。好吧,我必须坦白,不过也许会惹你生气,就像昨晚上你跟我说我们是平等的那时候一样生气。我假装爱英格姆小姐,是为了让你嫉妒得发狂。我希望你能像我爱你一样地爱我。”

  “那么我想你一点儿也不顾及可怜的英格姆小姐的感情?”

  “她只有一种感情——傲慢。简,你嫉妒过吗?”

  “没什么,罗切斯特先生。还有一个请求——请向费尔法斯太太解释这一切。昨天晚上她吃惊不小。”

  那天我去看老管家时,发现她对我要与主人结婚的消息惊诧不已。

  “我永远想不到!”她一直反复说着,“罗切斯特先生,这么骄傲,这么一位绅士!要娶他的家庭教师!”她仔细打量着我,似乎想为这件怪事找出点儿什么缘由。她摇着头,还是搞不懂。“他比你年长二十岁,可以当你父亲了!”

  “不,费尔法斯太太。”我不悦地答道,“他看上去当然比这年轻。”

  “他真是因为爱你才跟你结婚吗?”她问。

  我被她的大惊小怪刺痛了,眼泪不禁涌了上来。

  “怎么了?”我问。“你觉得他不可能爱上我?”

  “不,不,爱小姐,但你必须知道这种情况很不寻常,你得注意自己的名声。我建议你结婚之前和他保持距离。”

  尽管老太太的话让我不高兴,我还是听从了劝告,在婚礼前的几星期里继续照常给阿黛拉上课。只有晚上我才和罗切斯特先生待上一会儿,并小心翼翼地不让他搂抱或亲吻我。有时他生我的气,叫我“顽固的小东西”或者“残酷的精灵”,但我更愿听这个,而不愿听他叫我“我亲爱的”。我看出费尔法斯太太赞许我的正确举动,也知道他也因此而尊重我。但是,这对于我并非易事,我宁愿向他表露我的爱。我未来的丈夫已成了我世界的全部,还不止于此,他是我希望的天堂。

  婚礼的前夜终于来临,我的衣服都已收拾停当,我也做好了准备。但我很想见到罗切斯特先生,他因事外出了。于是我跑出静悄悄的屋子,到路上去迎候他。狂风呼啸着,我走过花园里倒地的大树,突然看到他策马向我奔来。

  “你瞧!”他喊道,“你不能没有我!快上马!”我们一起骑马回到特恩费得。他吃晚饭时,我就静静地坐在他身边。他端详着我。

  “简,你好像有点悲伤。”他说,“有什么事吗?你对新生活担心吗?”

  “不。”我坚定地答道,“我不担心,因为我爱你。可是昨晚我做了一个奇怪的梦,一个可怕的梦!外面很黑,刮着风,临睡前我还听到远处的狗叫。梦中我抱着一个小孩走在一条漫漫长路上。我努力追赶着你,却追不上。”

  “我离你这么近,你还为这个愚蠢的梦担心吗?简,再说一遍你爱我。”

  “爱德华,我真的爱你。不过,我的话还没说完。”

  “还有吗?好吧,接着讲。”

  “我梦见特恩费得全被毁了,只剩下一堆石头。我仍抱着孩子,不过这时我见你骑马走向远方。我知道你永远不回来了!然后我就醒了。”

  “简,就这些吧!没什么好担心的。”

  “不,等等。我的房间里有烛光,一个奇怪的人影仔细察看着我挂在衣柜里的婚纱。我的血都凝住了。那既不是费尔法斯太太,也不是哪个仆人,甚至连格丽丝·普尔都不是。那是一个可怕的景象!”

  “简,形容一下那个样子。”

  “那看上去像个高个子女人,浓浓的长发披垂下来。她拿起你给我买的漂亮的面纱,盖在自己头上,然后转身照着镜子欣赏。正是这时我才看到她那张狂野的、不像人长的脸!她取下面纱,将它撕成两半,扔到了地上。”

  “然后呢?”罗切斯特似乎有些紧张起来了。

  “她来到我床边,用蜡烛照着我的脸,凶狠地盯着我。我一定晕过去了,她大概也离开了。现在你能告诉我这女人是谁或者是什么吗?”

  “简,你太敏感了。那只是个梦,别再想它了!”他安慰着。

  “这也是早晨醒来时我对自己说的,可我看地上的时候,那儿真有面纱,而且撕成了两半!”我感到罗切斯特突然抖了一下。

  “想想可能出什么事吧!”他叫道,伸手抱住了我。“谢天谢地只是个面纱!”过了一会儿,他镇静地说:“好了,简,理智些。那女人一定是格丽丝·普尔。没有别的解释。”

  “也许你是对的。”我迟疑地答应着。

  “总有一天我会向你解释为什么把她留在我家的。不过今晚你到阿黛拉的房间里睡,你会很安全的。做个好梦,想想我们的未来!”