Jane Eyre

An Autobiography

Übersetzt von Maria von Borch
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2022










































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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