"Wild Apples" – a Jane Eyre epilogue of sorts

Originally posted 23 January 2010 on a different blog.

Handwritten draft, exactly as it was written on paper, so no corrections more than the ones on the paper itself. Just typing it down makes me want to change stuff around, add things, remove repetitions, and realise that there are a few instances of where the text gets rather confusing, or even goes to innuendo town…

First Draft

Holding her in my arms again, I was alive, more alive than I have ever been. I had to make sure she was truly mine, and mine forever, and her sweet consent filled my heart with joy. We were wed in the morning of the third day of her return. My Jane. My sweet wife. When we got back from the chapel, I asked her to give John & Mary five pounds each and then come join me in the garden. I could not see her approaching, but I could feel it, all through my despicably crippled body; a body once so strong and vigorous, now just a shell.

She was smiling at me, I knew it, felt its rays of warmth and light draw ever closer.
“Jane,” said I and felt her tiny, elfinn hands around my single limb.
“I am here,” said she.
“Will you walk with me?”

We walked in silence for a while, no words needed to fill the gap, until we sat down by a tree. I felt its cool shade and the soft grass around it. She said it was a wild apple tree, its green fruits not yet ripe for gathering.

“So too were you, once.”
“Unripe?”
“Of sorts. Hard with a bitter outside and a sour inside.”
“Is this how you will address your new husband?”
“You changed, hard became crisp, sour turned to sweet.”
“And bitter?”
I could tell she struggled to keep serious.
“It is all in the past.”

Gathering her into my arms, I felt at peace. The struggle was over, all in the past, buried in the heavy —shire soil along with Bertha Mason’s remains. She was gone, I had turned over a new leaf. This would be the life I had always dreamed of and aspired to. Her little breaths, her heart beating next to mine, how I longed to behold her, who I love most. She took my hand and placed it on her cheek, so I could use my fingers for eyes again. I felt her slight contours under the fabric of the dress, as if I had never felt the likes before. They were new to me, while at the same time, as familiar to me as my own flesh.

“Oh Janet, my wife from another world. You have already done me so much good.”
“Hush now. Listen to the birds. Can you hear them? Larch, sparrow, blackbird, robin…”
I listened for a while, but soon grew weary.
“What care have I for birds today?” said I. “It is not them I have married only this morning.”

Lying down in the grass, I wish I could see the clouds trying to chase one another away, see the apple tree and everything else around us that should be so familiar but which were now rendered invisible to my eye. Most of all, I longed for Jane Rochester, but she was already near; her soft, gentle lips on mine, their flavour as fresh and sweet as the morning dew, but with a passionate force behind them.

She had refused being my mistress (she is so much wiser than I), but now she was my one and only wife, and as such, allowed me – no, allowed herself to open up to me in a way she had never allowed any man before me. It all began there, on that day.

For the first time in my life, I, Edward Fairfax Rochester, was truly happy and contented, and finally, I truly deserved it. Fortune had finally smiled at me.


Originally posted 23 January 2010 on a different blog.

Why did I opt to place the scene just after they had come back from being wed? It was the thing I had just read in Jane Eyre, simple as that. We know they live happily ever after, but their new journey together has only just begun. They don’t know yet that he’ll regain some of his sight, or that they will have children, or anything.

I’m not actually sure what time of the year it is when they get married, so it might not be season for unripe apples. Also, I picked some birds at random. I’m sure Charlotte Brontë mentioned some birds that could be heard around Ferndean, but I need to look that up.

While I liked the idea of the newlyweds having a bit of a fondle under the tree, I found it very difficult to write and in the end, it came out as a sort of sad mish-mash. Could’ve done a lot better there, or just skipped it all together. I don’t think either of them would be the sort of person who’d rip the other person’s clothes off – at least not a couple hours after the wedding and outside in full view of anyone who happened to pass that way!

Also, I think I’m trying too hard to pretend to be Charlotte Brontë. If I can’t stop having the idea that a story about Rochester should be like she wrote it, it’ll be pants, because her voice isn’t my voice. Compared with Charlotte Brontë, my writing looks like a heap of stinking manure. As a starting point, it’s something, because at least then I know that trying to imitate Charlotte Brontë doesn’t work. It’s too difficult to write and it turns out really bad. On the other hand, why should I need to feel like it should be written as if Charlotte Brontë wrote it? She wrote Jane Eyre from a first person perspective, so the voice she’s using is really Jane’s. If the story told by Edward Rochester was to be told in the exact same way, then it’s not told by him, it’s told by Jane, realistically, as I doubt they see the world in exactly the same way and narrate it thus. So no, I think it’s better to approach it from a completely different route. My own route.


Originally posted 5 February 2010 on a different blog.

Doing a course in creative writing now, and as we were supposed to write something in the style of a certain author… well, guess what? 😉

Second Draft

Holding her in my arms again, I was alive, more alive than I have ever been. My Jane: my sweet wife. Sitting in the garden, I could not see her approaching, but I could feel it, all through my despicably crippled body; a body once so strong and vigorous, now just a hollow shell.

She was smiling at me, I knew it, felt its rays of warmth and light draw ever closer to me.
‘Jane,’ said I and felt her tiny, elfin hands around my single, healthy hand.
‘I am here,’ said she.
‘Will you walk with me?’

We walked in silence for a while, no words needed to fill the gap, until we sat down by a tree. I felt its cool shade and the soft grass around it. She said it was a wild apple tree, its green fruits not yet ripe for gathering, and said I was their likeness once.

‘Unripe?’
‘Of sorts. Hard, bitter and sour.’
‘I see. Is this how you will address your new husband?’
I could tell she smiled; her voice was as tender as ever.
‘You changed — hard became crisp, sour turned to sweet.’
‘But by your own account, I’m still bitter?’
‘It is all in the past.’

Gathering her into my arms, I felt at peace. The struggle was over, all in the past, buried in the heavy —shire soil along with Bertha Mason’s scorched remains. With her gone, I could finally turn over a new leaf. This would be the life I had always dreamed of and aspired to. Hearing my Jane’s sweet little breaths and her heart beating next to mine, how I longed to behold her whom I love most. She took my hand and placed it on her cheek. I felt her slight contours under the fabric of the dress, as if I had never felt the likes before. They were new to me, while at the same time, as familiar to me as my own flesh.

‘Oh Janet, you creature of another world. You have already done me so much good.’
‘Hush now. Listen to the birds. Can you hear them? Larch, sparrow, blackbird, robin …’
I listened for a while, but soon grew weary.
‘What care have I for birds today?’ said I. ‘It is not them I married only this morning.’

Lying down in the grass, I wish I could see the clouds trying to chase one another away, see the apple tree and everything else around us that should be so familiar but which were now rendered invisible to my eye. Most of all, I longed for her, my former quakerish governess, but she, my wife, was already near; her soft, gentle lips on mine, their flavour as fresh and sweet as the morning dew. For the first time in my life, I, Edward Fairfax Rochester, was truly happy and contented, and this time no one was going to spoil it. Fortune had finally shone her benevolent smile upon me.

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