Yesterday afteroon, I went out and bought a used Penguin of Jane Eyre (one of the many books I had jettisoned, some of which I am slowly replacing), so I could read beyond the opening line, "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day."
And was immediately rewarded by the scrumptious second line:
"We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shubbery 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 outdoor exercise was now out of the question."
Charlotte Bronte writes like a boxer--a quick jab followed by a thorough pummeling.
But look! Here's the last line of the story, though not the last line of the book, whose final chapter is more by way of an epilogue. Jane has returned to the blighted Mr Rochester, her love, and at the end of their reunion:
"We entered the wood, and wended homeward."
Really, the whole novel has been the tale of this curious girl/woman wandering bravely through an immense maze of ominous shrubbery, until finally she makes her way clear--on her own terms.
Illustration by Edward Gorey (from the Gashlycrumb Tinies).
I tried to find some images of his ominous shrubbery, a murderous topiary perhaps, but couldn't, though he draws them plenty, in The Dwindling Pary, for instance. This will do--though it's more suited to the death of Jane's only friend, Helen Burns, at Lowood School.
*****Don't miss Shaenon Garrity's Edward Gorey's "The Trouble With Tribbles".