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"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.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

2 thoughts on “"Wild Apples" – a Jane Eyre epilogue of sorts

  1. As to when they got married, Jane goes to Ferndean in July (it’s been a year since she left, and the first marriage attempt was in July), and once she meets Edward again and they’ve decided to marry:

    “.The case being so, we have nothing in the world to wait for; we must be married instantly.”

    He looked and spoke with eagerness ; his old impetuosity was rising.

    ” We must become one flesh without any delay, Jane; there is but the license to get — then we marry “

    Now, the longest they could wait is a month for the reading of the banns, which would put the wedding in August, or with a licence, they might be able to get married quicker, but I don’t know much about how that would work. Bronte might have known – being the daughter of a vicar she would probably know about the admin side of marriage. I know in some of the trashy Regency romances I’ve read, there’s men exploding with so much ardour that they have to get a licence and marry quickly otherwise their vitals will burst all over the drawing room, but I don’t know if those licences were invented as plot devices. And when Rochester says he’ll get a licence, he could just mean the usual one month one.

    However, as an unmarried woman, it might be rather awkward for her to live in the house with Rochester – before it didn’t present quite the same problem as she was still technically the governess up until the wedding day. So it would be in their interests to get the marriage through very quickly. Not that a man who attempted bigamy is exactly bothered by society’s mores, but Jane may well be, and maybe his ardour is about to explode all over the drawing room, in which case, get the wedding done soon!

    Which leaves us with a marriage taking place in late July (round about now?). The apple harvest is in October, so any apples on the trees wouldn’t be ripe in July.

    So in other words, you’re spot on with your unripe apples!

  2. A comment, a comment! *dances around joyfully* Thanks! 😀

    With the timing, I thought it was only about three days after the proposal? *checks* (How sad is it to have the HTML version of JE at Project Gutenberg bookmarked? *cough*) Ah, okay. It’s Rochester who says, “The third day from this must be our wedding-day, Jane.” – There doesn’t seem to be anything else that talks about how long they have to wait. I know the license takes a month or so today, but back then, maybe they could just go and pick it up or something? Tricky bits, historical accuracy!

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