Charlotte

Brontë

Jane Eyre

An Autobiography

Übersetzt von Maria von Borch
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2012

TITELBLATT

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

CHAPTER XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

CHAPTER XXV

CHAPTER XXVI

CHAPTER XXVII

CHAPTER XXVIII

CHAPTER XXIX

CHAPTER XXX

CHAPTER XXXI

CHAPTER XXXII

CHAPTER XXXIII

CHAPTER XXXIV

CHAPTER XXXV

CHAPTER XXXVI

CHAPTER XXXVII

CHAPTER XXXVIII — CONCLUSION

IMPRESSUM

CHAPTER I

There was no pos­sib­il­ity of tak­ing a walk that day.
We had been wan­der­ing, in­deed, in the leaf­less shrub­bery an hour in the morn­ing;
but since din­ner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no com­pany, dined early)
the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so pen­et­rat­ing,
that fur­ther out-door ex­er­cise was now out of the ques­tion.
I was glad of it: I nev­er liked long walks, es­pe­cially on chilly af­ter­noons:
dread­ful to me was the com­ing home in the raw twi­light,
with nipped fin­gers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chid­ings of Bessie, the nurse,
and humbled by the con­scious­ness of my phys­ic­al in­feri­or­ity to Eliza, John, and Geor­gi­ana Reed.
The said Eliza, John, and Geor­gi­ana were now clustered round their mama in the draw­ing-room:
she lay re­clined on a sofa by the fireside, and with her darlings about her
(for the time neither quar­rel­ling nor cry­ing) looked per­fectly happy.
Me, she had dis­pensed from join­ing the group; say­ing, “She re­gret­ted to be un­der the ne­ces­sity of keep­ing me at a dis­tance;
but that un­til she heard from Bessie, and could dis­cov­er by her own ob­ser­va­tion, that I was en­deav­our­ing in good earn­est
to ac­quire a more so­ci­able and child­like dis­pos­i­tion, a more at­tract­ive and sprightly man­ner — something light­er, franker, more nat­ur­al, as it were
— she really must ex­clude me from priv­ileges in­ten­ded only for con­ten­ted, happy, little chil­dren.”
“What does Bessie say I have done?” I asked.
“Jane, I don’t like cav­illers or ques­tion­ers;
be­sides, there is something truly for­bid­ding in a child tak­ing up her eld­ers in that man­ner.
Be seated some­where; and un­til you can speak pleas­antly, re­main si­lent.”
A break­fast-room ad­joined the draw­ing-room, I slipped in there.
It con­tained a book­case: I soon pos­sessed my­self of a volume, tak­ing care that it should be one stored with pic­tures.
I moun­ted into the win­dow-seat: gath­er­ing up my feet, I sat cross-legged, like a Turk;
and, hav­ing drawn the red moreen cur­tain nearly close, I was shrined in double re­tire­ment.
Folds of scar­let drapery shut in my view to the right hand;
to the left were the clear panes of glass, pro­tect­ing, but not sep­ar­at­ing me from the drear Novem­ber day.
At in­ter­vals, while turn­ing over the leaves of my book, I stud­ied the as­pect of that winter af­ter­noon.
Afar, it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud;
near a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub, with cease­less rain sweep­ing away wildly be­fore a long and lam­ent­able blast.
I re­turned to my book — Be­wick’s His­tory of Brit­ish Birds: the let­ter­press there­of I cared little for, gen­er­ally speak­ing;
and yet there were cer­tain in­tro­duct­ory pages that, child as I was, I could not pass quite as a blank.
They were those which treat of the haunts of sea-fowl; of “the sol­it­ary rocks and promon­tor­ies” by them only in­hab­ited;
of the coast of Nor­way, stud­ded with isles from its south­ern ex­tremity, the Linde­ness, or Naze, to the North Cape —
“Where the North­ern Ocean, in vast whirls,
Boils round the na­ked, mel­an­choly isles

Of farthest Thule; and the At­lantic surge
Pours in among the stormy Hebrides.”
Nor could I pass un­noticed the sug­ges­tion of the bleak shores of Lap­land, Siber­ia, Spitzber­gen, Nova Zembla, Ice­land, Green­land,
with “the vast sweep of the Arc­tic Zone, and those for­lorn re­gions of dreary space,
— that reser­voir of frost and snow, where firm fields of ice, the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of cen­tur­ies of win­ters,
glazed in Alpine heights above heights, sur­round the pole, and con­centre the mul­ti­plied rigours of ex­treme cold.”
Of these death-white realms I formed an idea of my own:
shad­owy, like all the half-com­pre­hen­ded no­tions that float dim through chil­dren’s brains, but strangely im­press­ive.
The words in these in­tro­duct­ory pages con­nec­ted them­selves with the suc­ceed­ing vign­ettes,
and gave sig­ni­fic­ance to the rock stand­ing up alone in a sea of bil­low and spray;
to the broken boat stran­ded on a des­ol­ate coast;
to the cold and ghastly moon glan­cing through bars of cloud at a wreck just sink­ing.
I can­not tell what sen­ti­ment haunted the quite sol­it­ary church­yard, with its in­scribed head­stone;
its gate, its two trees, its low ho­ri­zon, girdled by a broken wall,
and its newly-ris­en cres­cent, at­test­ing the hour of even­tide.
The two ships be­calmed on a tor­pid sea, I be­lieved to be mar­ine phantoms.
The fiend pin­ning down the thief’s pack be­hind him, I passed over quickly: it was an ob­ject of ter­ror.
So was the black horned thing seated aloof on a rock, sur­vey­ing a dis­tant crowd sur­round­ing a gal­lows.
Each pic­ture told a story; mys­ter­i­ous of­ten to my un­developed un­der­stand­ing and im­per­fect feel­ings,
yet ever pro­foundly in­ter­est­ing: as in­ter­est­ing as the tales Bessie some­times nar­rated on winter even­ings, when she chanced to be in good hu­mour;
and when, hav­ing brought her iron­ing-table to the nurs­ery hearth,
she al­lowed us to sit about it, and while she got up Mrs. Reed’s lace frills, and crimped her night­cap bor­ders,
fed our eager at­ten­tion with pas­sages of love and ad­ven­ture taken from old fairy tales and oth­er bal­lads;
or (as at a later peri­od I dis­covered) from the pages of Pamela, and Henry, Earl of Mo­re­land.
With Be­wick on my knee, I was then happy: happy at least in my way.
I feared noth­ing but in­ter­rup­tion, and that came too soon. The break­fast-room door opened.
“Boh! Madam Mope!” cried the voice of John Reed; then he paused: he found the room ap­par­ently empty.
“Where the dick­ens is she!” he con­tin­ued. “Lizzy! Georgy! (call­ing to his sis­ters)
Joan is not here: tell mama she is run out into the rain — bad an­im­al!”
“It is well I drew the cur­tain,” thought I; and I wished fer­vently he might not dis­cov­er my hid­ing-place:
nor would John Reed have found it out him­self; he was not quick either of vis­ion or con­cep­tion;
but Eliza just put her head in at the door, and said at once —
“She is in the win­dow-seat, to be sure, Jack.”
And I came out im­me­di­ately, for I trembled at the idea of be­ing dragged forth by the said Jack.
“What do you want?” I asked, with awk­ward dif­fid­ence.
“Say, ‘What do you want, Mas­ter Reed?’” was the an­swer. “I want you to come here;” and seat­ing him­self in an arm-chair,
he in­tim­ated by a ges­ture that I was to ap­proach and stand be­fore him.
John Reed was a school­boy of four­teen years old;
four years older than I, for I was but ten: large and stout for his age, with a dingy and un­whole­some skin;
thick lin­ea­ments in a spa­cious vis­age, heavy limbs and large ex­tremit­ies.
He gorged him­self ha­bitu­ally at table, which made him bili­ous, and gave him a dim and bleared eye and flabby cheeks.
He ought now to have been at school; but his mama had taken him home for a month or two, “on ac­count of his del­ic­ate health.”
Mr. Miles, the mas­ter, af­firmed that he would do very well if he had few­er cakes and sweet­meats sent him from home;
but the moth­er’s heart turned from an opin­ion so harsh, and in­clined rather to the more re­fined idea
that John’s sal­low­ness was ow­ing to over-ap­plic­a­tion and, per­haps, to pin­ing after home.
John had not much af­fec­tion for his moth­er and sis­ters, and an an­ti­pathy to me.
He bul­lied and pun­ished me; not two or three times in the week, nor once or twice in the day, but con­tinu­ally:
every nerve I had feared him, and every morsel of flesh in my bones shrank when he came near.
There were mo­ments when I was be­wildered by the ter­ror he in­spired,
be­cause I had no ap­peal whatever against either his men­aces or his in­flic­tions;
the ser­vants did not like to of­fend their young mas­ter by tak­ing my part against him,
and Mrs. Reed was blind and deaf on the sub­ject: she nev­er saw him strike or heard him ab­use me,
though he did both now and then in her very pres­ence, more fre­quently, however, be­hind her back.
Ha­bitu­ally obed­i­ent to John, I came up to his chair:
he spent some three minutes in thrust­ing out his tongue at me as far as he could without dam­aging the roots:
I knew he would soon strike, and while dread­ing the blow,
I mused on the dis­gust­ing and ugly ap­pear­ance of him who would presently deal it.
I won­der if he read that no­tion in my face; for, all at once, without speak­ing, he struck sud­denly and strongly.
I tottered, and on re­gain­ing my equi­lib­ri­um re­tired back a step or two from his chair.
“That is for your im­pudence in an­swer­ing mama awhile since,” said he,
“and for your sneak­ing way of get­ting be­hind cur­tains, and for the look you had in your eyes two minutes since, you rat!”
Ac­cus­tomed to John Reed’s ab­use, I nev­er had an idea of reply­ing to it;
my care was how to en­dure the blow which would cer­tainly fol­low the in­sult.
“What were you do­ing be­hind the cur­tain?” he asked.
“I was read­ing.”
“Show the book.”
I re­turned to the win­dow and fetched it thence.
“You have no busi­ness to take our books; you are a de­pend­ent, mama says; you have no money; your fath­er left you none;
you ought to beg, and not to live here with gen­tle­men’s chil­dren like us,
and eat the same meals we do, and wear clothes at our mama’s ex­pense.
Now, I’ll teach you to rum­mage my book­shelves: for they are mine;
all the house be­longs to me, or will do in a few years.
Go and stand by the door, out of the way of the mir­ror and the win­dows.”
I did so, not at first aware what was his in­ten­tion; but when I saw him lift and poise the book and stand in act to hurl it,
I in­stinct­ively star­ted aside with a cry of alarm: not soon enough, however;
the volume was flung, it hit me, and I fell, strik­ing my head against the door and cut­ting it.
The cut bled, the pain was sharp: my ter­ror had passed its cli­max; oth­er feel­ings suc­ceeded.
“Wicked and cruel boy!” I said. “You are like a mur­der­er — you are like a slave-driver — you are like the Ro­man em­per­ors!”
I had read Gold­smith’s His­tory of Rome, and had formed my opin­ion of Nero, Ca­ligula, &c.
Also I had drawn par­al­lels in si­lence, which I nev­er thought thus to have de­clared aloud.
“What! what!” he cried. “Did she say that to me? Did you hear her, Eliza and Geor­gi­ana? Won’t I tell mama? but first —”
He ran head­long at me: I felt him grasp my hair and my shoulder: he had closed with a des­per­ate thing. I really saw in him a tyr­ant, a mur­der­er.
I felt a drop or two of blood from my head trickle down my neck, and was sens­ible of some­what pun­gent suf­fer­ing:
these sen­sa­tions for the time pre­dom­in­ated over fear, and I re­ceived him in frantic sort.
I don’t very well know what I did with my hands, but he called me “Rat! Rat!” and bel­lowed out aloud.
Aid was near him: Eliza and Geor­gi­ana had run for Mrs. Reed, who was gone up­stairs:
she now came upon the scene, fol­lowed by Bessie and her maid Ab­bot. We were par­ted: I heard the words —
“Dear! dear! What a fury to fly at Mas­ter John!”
“Did ever any­body see such a pic­ture of pas­sion!”
Then Mrs. Reed sub­joined —
“Take her away to the red-room, and lock her in there.” Four hands were im­me­di­ately laid upon me, and I was borne up­stairs.

Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Maria von Borch

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