The story takes off at the start of Chapter ten. This is where Jane passes from childhood dependence to slowly attaining her adult independence. She realizes she has to take charge of her future, for she is in control of it, and prepares for a change.
But I want to step back for just a moment, and discuss a characteristic of Jane’s. She shows her passion in childhood. She cannot quite account for complete unreasonableness from others, and often outbursts with what she sees as the truth, or what might be fair. Often she is reprimanded for this, but it is what I think we, as readers, respect most about this young character, and what catches the attention of her future lovers’ eye. It this part of why I feel this novel is more modern than I’d expected?
Miss Temple is the one who really turns Jane’s life, I think. Having an adult to consider her story as she had to tell it, and not to only rely on the accounts of adults (who most always have motives of their own), who showed her kindness and fairness. She is the most kind adult Jane encounters in her childhood. Paired with Helen, they serve as her true hope for Jane, that her life would not be only misery for her entire life. I was so glad to hear that she and Jane had become such close friends.
I was genuinely interested in what would happen to Jane once she left Lowood: what type of situation this would be for her, and if it would last long. It’s where I realized that I was actually enjoying a 19th century character driven novel – a first for me. I loved how assertive Jane was becoming, and her little talk to herself about getting a new life. Her friend, Miss Temple, had just been married and left Lowood, and Jane had no more desire to stay. Struck by a sudden thought, she knows she must advertise herself as a governess and see if there are any replies.
I do wonder about one thing here. Jane advertised in the newspaper closest to Lowood, and yet the journey to Thornfield is quite long. Is it the same newspaper that is popular/available at Millcote AND Lowton? It must be, because Mrs. Fairfax found her through the ad (and the only one, in that great distance, who replied). Then, perhaps it isn’t quite as far as I’m thinking. Because it took her an entire day traveling in a carriage, which is quite longer than if a man was riding purposefully on horseback carrying information (though not bushels of newspapers). I’m not sure it’s quite so large a quarrel that research into 19th century newspaper practices will be necessary to ease my mind :-)
I loved the suspense of Jane’s entry to Thornfield. Her puzzlement caused by her assumption that the one who answered her advertisement was the head of the house was very charming. She assumed quite a lot from such a short answer. Since I read the synopsis on the back of the audiobook, it, of course, mentioned a Mr. Rochester, which caused me to itch for him to make his appearance. Because of this, I already suspected something, and knew instantly as a form came trotting over the hill – it was him.
I have to say that as I read the theme of religion wasn’t really on my radar. I’m not interested in it, besides, but I thought of it more of characterization that religious commentary. I of course hated all religious alluding in the opening of the book, and especially Mr. Brocklehurst, but beyond that, I didn’t really pick up on much by way of religion. I really think of everyone in the book, my closest religious affiliation would be Edward Rochester. Not in his actions, of course, but they way he speaks of and references to God as ‘my maker’. I like this because it does not name one as such, and really, that’s where I am spiritually right now. Perhaps in another reading I would identify or at least notice more of the religious undertones in this novel. I will let them pass me by this time, happily.
I do not understand Mrs. Reed. I can see how her feeling toward Jane began and continued…but WHY did she have to just hate her on principal? Just because her husband loved his sister so dearly? It’s ridiculous, though it is a truism that women exist like this, in every generation. I hate that she tried to create such a harsh environment for Jane once she couldn’t stand to have her in her own house anymore…what reason could she have for telling Mr. Brocklehurst such hateful and untrue things except absolute hatred and spite?? It’s almost revolting to think of it.
I had a building feeling in my stomach (there is no other way to describe it) as I read Jane’s meeting of the stranger on the road and her return to Thornfield. When she saw the dog in Mrs. Fairfax’s room I had to smile to myself. Of course he was the master of the house. Was there anyone else who would be on that road who wasn’t coming to or leaving Thornfield? They both should have known each other on the road. Sweet Jane was frightened by childhood stories, and Mr. Rochester, obviously distracted by his injury. When I think of this first meeting, I smile::
“’I cannot think of leaving you, sir, at so late an hour, in this solitary lane, till I see you are fit to mount your horse.’
He looked at me when I said this; he had hardly turned his eyes in my direction before.
‘I should think you ought to be home yourself,’ said he,’ if you have a home in this neighborhood. Where do you come from?’
‘From just below; and I am not at all afraid of being out late when it is moonlight. I will run over to Hay for you with pleasure, if you wish it: indeed, I am going there to post a letter.’
‘You live just below-do you mean at that house with the battlements?’
‘Whose house is it?’
‘Do you know Mr. Rochester?’
‘No, I have never seen him.’”
Sigh. One has to admit the trickery Mr. Rochester possesses. Did this man invent playing love games; he seems rather good at them. He claims later to have loved Jane from the beginning, and yet he is constantly trying to convince her he is to marry another. What evil tricks! Would I call him dishonest? I don’t think so. While he does eventually come right out and say he will marry Miss Ingram, I’m not quite sure he’s completely decided on the matter when he does so, and at the same time, I am. The emotions in this book are so complex!
The more time that has elapsed between my first reading of the story, the more I see of faults in Mr. Rochester. I’m not saying that my opinion of him is changing, just that I can see what others may find imperfect and unlikable about both him and the book in general (I’ve been searching for them). I will address all of them I’ve noticed before the end, and try my best to argue them (you skeptics!)– or at least explain why I, as a reader, am able to look past them.
At Thornfield, the tone of the book becomes more lighthearted, I’d say – Jane is no longer oppressed by anyone. The interactions between her and Mr. Rochester always, at the same time, make me laugh and pull at my heart-strings. His swearing (“What the deuce is to do now?”,”What the deuce have you done with yourself this last month”) never ceases to put a smile on my face. Perhaps at the time it would have been much more intimidating, but it makes me regard him more endearingly. I apologize, Reader, if I ramble on here forever never-ending about the exquisite love between this pair. I cannot help myself. As I read it now for the second time, I have decidedly paid quite closer attention to his and her early interactions, and I have to say, I love all of their exchanges.
When he first calls Jane to him to be introduced, I was a little surprised at how much he asked to know of her. He was very short, he wanted only the information as it was, and yet her answers were always clever. She always answered directly, but thoughtfully as well. He was immediately interested, I could see. While he asked her very general questions at first, he always seemed to take it just one step too far, and though Jane and Mrs. Fairfax may not have noticed it, I think he does (whether intended or not). He tests her frequently in their first few conversations. Why did she not demand a gift, as Adele did; What did she think of the man who ran her school; how did she come to be there, at Thornfield?; What were her accomplishments, did she take no pride in any of them? He is an interrogator, and she keeps right up with him. He is bold and straight-forward (today you may even call him rude, though we no longer have such a class system that then prevented him from being so), she confident and comfortable.
Because I am a very shy person myself, I can relate to many things regarding that issue with Jane. There are two examples here I think are responsible for sparking the romance between she and Mr. Rochester in the first place, because if Jane hadn’t been so inertly comfortable with him, I think the odds of Rochester noticing her in such a profound way would have been unlikely after these first impressions::
“I felt no fear of him, and but little shyness. Had he been a handsome, heroic-looking young gentlemen, I should have not have dared to stand thus questioning him against his will, and offering my services unasked. I had hardly ever seen a handsome youth; never in my life spoken to one. I had a theoretical reverence and homage for beauty, elegance, gallantry, fascination; but had I met those qualities incarnate in masculine shape, I should have known instinctively that they neither had nor could have sympathy with anything in me, and should have shunned them as one would fire lightening or anything else that is bright but antipathetic.
If even this stranger had smiled or been good-humored when I had addressed him; if he had put off my offer of assistance gaily and with thanks, I should have gone on my way and not felt any vocation to renew inquiries: but the frown, the roughness of the traveler set me at my ease…”
“I sat down quite disembarrassed. A reception of finished politeness would probably have confused me: I could not have returned or repaid it by answering grace and elegance on my part; but harsh caprice laid me under no obligation; on the contrary, a decent quiescence, under the freak of manner, gave me the advantage. Besides, the eccentricity of the proceeding was piquant: I felt interested to see how he would go on.”
This leads me to one ‘argument’, well perhaps two. Why does Rochester bother with Adele’s governess at all? He does not even like the child, on most days (who has got to remind him of his ‘stupidity’ in France, another ghost that follows him around). Thornfield is only one house, of presumably many (at least two), and he does not even delight in staying there because of the guilty curse he hides on the third story. I mean, it’s unheard of for a man of his status to marry anywhere below him, unless, of course, it secures him connections, more wealth, or some other benefit. Jane offers nothing, and she’s merely a child! Rochester is twice her age! Could this book be any more unlikely? Keep reading, Reader, to hear my defense of this troubled man.
To me it was apparent after the second meeting they were both falling in love. When he takes her out to explain his tryst with the French Oprah singer, Celine (Adele’s mother), it’s sealed. Why would a man of his stature feel remotely compelled to share any of his life at all with a governess? Perhaps because it is the story of how he has come to have Adele in his keeping, yes, but to tell her of that “green snake of jealousy”? How appropriate is it? Even Rochester remarks about it:
“Strange that I should choose you for the confidant of all this, young lady; passing strange that you should listen to me quietly, as if it were the most usual thing in the world for a man like me to tell stories of his opera-mistresses to a quaint, inexperienced girl like you!”
He is also bold in this meeting:
“You never felt jealousy, did you, Miss Eyre? Of course not: I need not ask you; because you never felt love. You have both sentiments yet to experience: your soul sleeps…”
He soon makes sure she’s felt it. He hopes, anyway, as I’m not sure how confident he is in her love for him even on the night he proposes, because he seems a little timid to ask her until she gives herself entirely away. In fact, I believe the real change starts to happen when Jane asks a leave of absence. It is then Rochester makes it obvious he needs her near him. What a clever mind Miss Bronte had, to invent this little scenario: first, to offer her entirely too much, then a fair amount, and then trying to take it away so she will not be able to stay gone long, it’s adorable, exactly like young love. While Jane was away, she sketched a portrait of him, impulsively – a perfect rendition- and another moment of pure romance, yet suspended, for that is the honest truth of courtship, is it not? The uncertainty of how the other feels, uncertainty of the ending.
This is the first time, I think, that the reader is really shown how much self-loathing Rochester has for himself, although we do not understand the half of it, yet. I saw an interview with Toby Stephens, who played Rochester in a 2006 adaptation of the book, and a few of his comments were at the same time odd, and a little off the mark, I think, but at the same time circle the truth.
Rochester is living with the past actions of having held these mistresses around Europe (he has an extensive sexual history). Toby wanted to bring that forward, his sexuality (as I said, circled the truth). I think Toby took this out of context a little bit, for his character: Mr. Rochester is not a static character in this book, he is as dynamic as they come. I think that at first, in his whirlwind through Europe and all his mistresses, he was driven by a physical need, at least in part, and a vengeful need to take what he thought was his (women, in short). I think by the time we meet him, he has come to realize that his actions of the last decade brought him no joy, didn’t fill the second half of his heart. He had given up finding peace, I think, and had come to bear his curse once more. I don’t understand why he was set on legally wedding another – especially if he was considering Blanche Ingram (so he didn’t die a bachelor in everyone’s eyes?). But was he?
He may not have felt guilty about the dalliance as a rich proper man of his time, and yet we find out that he’s married. He settled with himself in Spanish Town many years before, yes, but it does not change the fact. Every time the thought of his wife came into his head he must have felt intense guilt of himself, and therefore hatred of her. Is he a bad man for wanting – needing – companionship? You may think so. I, however, am an empathetic person, and can understand him, as a man, as a human being, as one who longs for a partner in the world. You must admit, then, even if you dislike the man, that the weight bearing down on him of his past actions, and current ones, was enormous. Have you started to understand him?
The next thing we know, Jane is rescuing the man from a fire set on him in the middle of the night.
Telling the story to Adele in the carriage – so cute that he made up a whole story about taking Jane to the moon…’Mademoiselle is a fairy’.
It was adorable to see Rochester’s love finally free to express. He automatically resorts to the type of adornment someone of his class would expect and adore, not realizing that Jane does not care about any of it. Money means nothing to her, jewels and materialistic things? Meaningless. She’d lived as such a simple girl for so long that she didn’t know how to react when he started to flatter her so completely, and he really didn’t understand where she was coming from, it was completely foreign to him.
Perhaps you thought Rochester was a pompous ass during this portion of the book, but he is just expressing his love in a very flamboyant way, as someone of his class would do. In fact, I was a little more annoyed with Jane just after the proposal. To refuse to eat with him, just because she never did before; to insist on staying Adele’s governess and even keeping her salary; come on Jane, be reasonable – you are marrying into the upper class. You are no longer a ‘servant’! I feel like these few pages sort of break up the intense romance – and it shows that they are both real characters who aren’t perfect.
Another of my favorite scenes in the book is where Jane is waiting in the rain for Rochester to return from business. The first thing he says is so terribly adorable::
“’There!’ he exclaimed, as he stretched out his hand and bent from the saddle: ‘You can’t do without me, that is evident. Step on my boot-toe; give me both hands: mount!’
‘This is you, who have been as slippery as an eel this last month, and as thorny as a briar-rose? I could not lay a finger anywhere last month, but I was pricked; and now I seem to have gathered up a stray lamb in my arms. You wandered out of the fold to seek your shepherd, did you, Jane?’”
Rochester just seems so gentle and protective here, the rush and show of love now gone – this quiet gentle love is what remains.
P.S. – I talk more about the romance in the ending section, don’t worry!
The Grace Poole Mystery::
I’d mentioned before that I’d had this book assigned to read in high school (senior year, in fact), and that I did not read it then. I did, however, sit in on a few in-class discussions of it. Of course I did not remember anything of what they were about, since I had no context to place them in, having not read the book myself (slacker, I know)…but when Grace Poole came into the story, it seemed familiar to me. I was actually fooled, as I was reading, to think that it was really Grace who was crazed, and that there was no other. When it was revealed he was married, I figured it was Grace Poole, not an additional person altogether. I’m still kind of amazed that the secret was kept so completely. Now on my second read through, I realized Mrs. Fairfax tells us a good chunk of Mr. Rochester’s history after Jane first meets him. If you’re watching closely, she nearly gives it away then (is she being honest when she says she doesn’t know the full story??).
I am a little confused, though, still. I seem to remember Mr. Rochester saying that Grace, and the surgeon were the only ones who knew about Bertha Mason, but then Mrs. Fairfax knows nearly the whole story, and Jane overhears other servants speaking about wages – and it’s alluded that they both know what Grace Poole is charged with doing. Can anyone clear this up for me? I’m genuinely curious.
If I may mention a point I brought up in my last post, that no part of this book is boring (to me), I am quite surprised now that I’m reading it another time at just how little else is discussed in the book besides in what the reader is keenly interested. Are we manipulated in that way, as readers? Is Jane retelling a biased story that makes us love Mr. Rochester as much as she does?
Although Jane has not much interaction with anyone, or has much else to occupy her time with, it seems as soon as Mr. Rochester is introduced, we hear little else than their interaction….and that’s not entirely true, Jane is very observant when the party arrives at Thornfield, albeit with a jealous eye that is naturally drawn to her love whenever he is present. Perhaps what I’m trying to express is that there is no filler here. Everything explained in the story is relevant, and I am very glad it doesn’t try to explain the events of every day that transpires, for that would have made a more boring book. I’m not sure how editing worked in the mid-1800s, and I’d be very interested to learn about it, but I think Charlotte must have been largely a great self-editor to her own work. Perhaps I keep mentioning this, because I don’t see it very often anymore. It seems nearly every book I’ve ever read has had at least a short portion that didn’t interest me at all.
The Masons/The Marriage::
Part of the reason I feel I can have sympathy for Mr. Rochester is the story he desperately tells Jane about his first marriage. This comes with age and maturity, I think. If I read this in high school, I would not have had as much empathy with him, because at 17 I already thought I was making the best decisions, and I didn’t see my own immaturity and mistakes. Now that I’m 24, I can already understand that late-teens/early- twenties are impulsive and reckless in many ways, even without meaning to be.
I am a little disgusted that Rochester assumes that Jane will take it all in stride, like nothing happened, and continue to live with him unchanged…but I also feel terribly sorry for him. Here is a man who trusted his father and his family, who basically set up the marriage for him. He didn’t realize that all his father was after was the fortune, that he didn’t know himself the extent of the family’s problems. Edward was young, and for those of us who are older than 20/21, we can understand what that means. Not only was he young himself, and trusted that his father was making him a good match, but he was being blatantly deceived as well, by the family he was to wed into. He was not really even allowed to converse with her alone, or even be anywhere near her. In my eyes, Rochester does redeem himself by taking the blame, at least in part, of marrying Bertha without really knowing her at all.
Does Rochester need a partner so desperately now because he was denied even the thought of one as a young man? If he had married Bertha and she turned into an indifferent wife, would he have been happy, would he have had the affairs? He said himself he did not know her at all before they were married, which is still his fault. But then would the family have kept her so distant besides? Would they have buttered him up so thoroughly to where Rochester was pressured to make the decision right away? All of the pieces fall together in a way that takes blame, at least partly, from him. He was the victim of a cheap trick, and a terrible one.
The entire scene, starting at the church, through to her finally recovering in the house of her cousins, puts me in a foul mood to read. I am just so emotionally invested in the characters and the love story that I am completely devastated to see them torn apart. The scene where Rochester waits outside her room is brutal, and yet hopelessly romantic. He waited for her! She thought he had given up on her, and would send her away to not remind himself of shame, and there he was – it was true love, no games, just raw, rough, and real. But that makes it all the more heart breaking.
“I fell, but not on to the ground: an outstretched arm caught me. I looked up- I was supported by Mr. Rochester, who sat in a chair across my chamber threshold.
‘You come out at last,’ he said. ‘Well, I have been waiting for you long, and listening: yet not one movement have I heard, nor one sob: five minutes more of that death-like hush, and I should have forced the lock like a burglar.’”
The distinct agony that must have been piercing his heart; the absolute petrifying fear that he must have had to have – at last – found exactly what he wanted only for it to be trampled and destroyed in front of him, and could do nothing but watch.
Am I covering his faults too fully, Reader? Have I read the words of his life and this profound love story, and fallen in love with it all? Perhaps. I do not deny his faults, and his atrocities, he has made very bad choices. But it is true love that drives this story, and that scarcely graces the pages of most. Wonder, lust, enamor-ment, and yes, even love fill most pages in the literary world. But true love? True love will conquer all. True love knows no bounds, and will shape the lives of those captured by it – instantly and completely. It is true love that allowed Jane to forgive him, through all::
“Reader, I forgave him at the moment and on the spot…I forgave him all: yet not in words, not outwardly; only at my heart’s core.”
But she still left.
Left in such desolation from the previous scene, I was only half listening to most of the narrative that followed. Jane was completely destitute. She did not want to beg, but eventually had to, and still, did not receive what she needed. It is made clear that if the Rivers family did not take her in that fateful rainy night, she would have surely died.
Comparing the length of this section and my thoughts about it, I don’t really have much to say. I think it would be better to take a break before continuing to read after they take her in. The story does a lot to interest you and get the tone back up to a normal plane…but I still felt heartbroken, and I think that’s okay, because Jane was too.
It is refreshing to see Jane find new friends, even before we find that she is related to them. It does seem a little bit strange that she stays with them so long, but I think that was largely due to the time period, and St. John (Sinjin) did say he was going to find some situation for her, which he eventually did, working for him in a school he was setting up. It was nice to see scholarly women, who loved to learn in their spare time for fun (although it is said that they’d make more money once they learned German…). Women after mine own heart. I also am teaching myself German from nothing but lexicon…quite a difficult task, I can assure you, and I don’t have nearly as much time to devote to is as they seem to.
That leads me to another thing. What a glorious time in history this must have been, where people really didn’t have jobs. Not any jobs like I have, anyway. If you were a servant, you had your responsibilities, your salary, and you got your room and board in your masters house (which I daresay were quite exquisite). Not too bad of a deal, really, and those were the lowest in the household. Apparently housekeepers and governess’ were quite more respected as well, and had a little less to do (mostly ordering the lowly servants around), and got paid more, stayed in a better part of the house, etc. At the end of the day though, all these women basically had nothing to do with their time. For example, Blanche Ingram. What had she to fill her time, besides masquerading with suitors and showing off her piano skills and bloated ego? No wonder she and her mother were so disagreeable, they had nothing substantial to do with their lives. It is nice though, to dream of having nothing to do all day for an extended amount of time. You could do something like teach yourself German. And it seems to me the men of the house are just always ‘handling accounts’ (in Anna K too!). Someone please tell me what this means. The rents from their lands? The buying and selling of property? I assume it’s somewhere along those lines.
I wonder at Jane’s happiness once she is settled in to teaching at the school for uneducated farm kids. The tone is a lot different now than it was earlier in the book. She is much more mature, but she is also unhappy. She seems to have completely dismissed happiness, which makes sense, since she knows she cannot go back to her true love, who is a married man, and therefore can never be happy as she once was. She is, in some ways, haunted by the ghost of him…the shadow, the idea, the memory. She is content, that much is sure. She likes her new friends, Diana, Mary, and Sinjin, and she likes teaching well enough and especially likes the marked improvement of her students. But not truly happy.
I was a little bit shocked that SInjin decided he wanted Jane for his wife, just so she could go to India ona mission trip with him. I still think it’s a little ridiculous that he so steadfastly held that belief, but then again, he was stubborn about many things. I noticed the commentary, or perhaps it wasn’t, about how Sinjin was in lust with the most beautiful girl in town though he was basically a priest. At least he didn’t act on it…and I did respect his speech about how she would not suit him as a wife, and neither him, her husband. He is a smart man, aside from the stubbornness. I’m not sure why Jane loves him though, even as a cousin/brother. He only seems very nice to her once or twice during the whole recounting of that period. I’m very glad she refused him, obviously. She knew in her heart that it was not a good match, because even though she had thought herself void of a future with love, she didn’t want one without it either – how very human of her.
As the book nears the end, Jane, who is telling us this story of her life, more and more often addresses us as readers. I have to tell you I loved this. Each time I heard the word, said, of course, in an English accent (Ree-da), I was compelled – to her, to Jane. I’m scarcely sure I’ve ever been so close to another literary character in my entire literary life. I’m not sure if I’d have been as touched if I didn’t feel like it was Jane herself telling me her own tale (listening to it as an audiobook, that is), but as it is, Jane is now a friend of mine, which I will visit often enough in my life. And since, in this post I’ve obviously got spoilers abounding, I will say what touched my heart to the core on this point:
‘Reader, I married him.’
Now you, my Reader, I must tell you the fervor I felt as this story crept ever nearer to its resolution. On the last day of listening, I started at a place I’d already listened to, because I’d loved it so dearly: that moment where Jane Eyre returned from her stay at Gateshead Hall after Mrs. Reed had passed from the world. That moment where Jane stepped out for a walk in the garden, where she tried to conceal herself from the approaching Mr. Rochester in the hanging ivy, but who, of course, had been watching her and in fact sought her out to ask the single most influential question of a person’s life. Ah, love. I will never forget this everlasting moment. Perfect, exactly, for the two people it contained. Oh anyway! It translates to about 200 pages in my copy of the book to the end from there. I listened all day at work, with minimal pauses (don’t worry, I was still getting all my work done), I listened during my breaks, all through lunch, in the car ride home, and didn’t stop when I was there. I could not stop. I started tidying up laundry and organizing little areas about my room as Jane returned to Thornfield. I literally stopped everything I was doing in shock….several times, until Jane found herself seated again upon his knee in the parlor of Ferndean. It’s astounding to think how few words laid bare before you can bring a person to their knees. ‘Late Mr. Rochester’ nearly stopped my heart, I swear to you!
Was Jane able to stay and live with Rochester for the duration of her days just because she had proved to herself she was not one who lived guided by passion, would she still have done if she found Rochester in the same state as when she’d left him? With his wife still shut away and he, still married to another?
If ever a book has been worth the hours spent reading it, it is this one. Although there are quite a many tangents that don’t have to do with the romance this novel is greatly about, I was not bored exploring them. Once only did I have the urge to at least skip ahead (something I did not do, mostly because of the audio format), and that was continually during Jane’s stay with Diana, Mary, and St. John (Sinjin). I did not know how the novel would conclude at that point. I did not know if we would ever see Mr. Rochester again, or if this would turn out to be some sort of feminist independency preaching thing that would have an ending contrary to what it should have just to do it. I feared that happening, really, as I have no experience with other books of the time period, and I’ve read several bad ones which do that exact thing. I would have been devastated to have that happen, once I’d been so captured by its every move.
After all the suspense, mystery, and utter emotional distress the last pages of this story brought me, I could not have ever imagined a more perfect and resounding ending to such a tale. My heart is completely satisfied, if not more so. I feel privileged to have read this book, and I’m glad I waited until now, when I could properly appreciate it, to read it, instead of doing it as an obligation, where I probably would never have visited the pages again. Reading for school is a means to an end. Reading for pleasure is a true joy of life.
Other books I read and feel quite completed, setting them in their place on a bookshelf to be recalled at some leisurely future date, but with this, I feel different. I feel I cannot close it up and keep it at any distance away from my reach. I have not finished with its pages, its characters, its story. I have begun to read it again, in my leather-bound copy. I’ve been sticky noting its pages in excess all the lines and passages that move me, words that I love, essential plot developments, and any other thing that takes my fancy. I love this book, as I’ve loved no other non-living thing. It’s part of me now; perhaps it’s changed my literary life, but how can I tell so soon? All I know is that I love it, and that I cannot think of putting it down. You’ve not heard the end of this yet :-)