"The Rookery" – Edward Rochester as a child

Originally posted 3 April 2010 on a different blog.

(Another handwritten draft, but this time, I’ve corrected a couple of places where I had left out some words. Here, I’m trying out a third-person narrative. Which didn’t feel quite right either, as it happens…)

Black like night the birds in the nests on top of the roof of Thornfield Hall. They had been told many times they were not allowed up there, but when you’re an invincible youth, you don’t always heed warnings from those of superior age.

A boy appeared through the hatch from the attics below, his hair as black as the rooks in their nests.
   “Come on, Edward! You’re not scared are you?”
   From below, the voice of a younger boy was heard: “Mamma said we were not to go up there. You should come down.”
   “Mamma is in Millcote all day, she will never find out. Unless you tell her. If you keep quiet, all will be well. Do you not wish to see the view from up here? All this will be mine one day, you know.”
   “I know, and I can see it from a window if I choose. I’m going back down below.”
   “You will stay! I command you to stay!”
   The younger boy hesitated, then climbed up the ladder and out on the roof.
   “I am your brother, not your servant! You cannot command me, I am your equal!”
   The older boy laughed, but it was a joyless laugh, one of mocking rather than amusement.
   “My equal? How the deuce can you profess to call yourself my equal when all this is going to be mine one day? Mine, not yours! You will get nothing, because I’m the eldest.”

A fist flew through the air and landed on the older booy’s chest. Fury across his face, he pushed his younger brother aside and headed to the hatch and the stairs. As Edward reached the hatch, it was closed and bolted from the inside.
   “Let me in!”
   “You wicked, passionate brat!” Rowland’s voice was heard. “You stay there until you learn to be civil!”
   Edward pounded on the door, but his brother had already descended from the attic, leaving him alone with the crows.

He had never had a great liking of heights. Sitting atop a horse was one thing, he liked horseriding, and seeing the surroundings safely from a window was also fine. Being locked out of the roof on the hall, with the only way down blocked off was not. Had he been a child prone to risk-taking, perhaps he would have ventured to climb down a drainpipe or even some of the clingy greens, but he valued his life more than he dreaded a period of solace on top of the world, and thus decided to wait. Rowland was sure to be back eventually, or maybe a servant or even father himself would come along before that.

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