The Governess of Thornfield

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FORTY-EIGHT

As you look at St. John, the veneration you feel for him - for his talent and his aspirations - becomes stronger. The temptation to cease your struggles and trust his judgment overwhelms your senses, and yes, even the thought of your love for Mr. Rochester.

“Yes, St. John, I will marry you and accompany you to India.” The words echo faintly about you - it seems as though you hear God’s commands now that your sacrifice to him will be made complete.

St. John embraces you as if claiming you; he surrounds you with his arms, almost as if he loves you, but you know the difference. However, you have now put love out of the question and think only of your duty.

Diana and Mary’s joy at the sudden tidings of your engagement turns to dismay at the news you will also leave for India with St. John. Diana’s first words at the news is “Madness! You would not live three months there, I am certain. It is a task of incessant fatigue - where fatigue kills even the strong! You cannot go; have you consented?”

“I have, Di. St. John is a good and a great man and you must not worry. I know he will care for me.”

Her faint agreement at your claim concerns you, but you have already made your choice.

The marriage is quickly achieved within a few weeks, and in three more, you are on a ship with St. John heading to India. The heat and the close press of human flesh in Calcutta is a shock to your sensibilities. Here, indeed, is a life no book could have prepared you for. Your work with the women, as directed by St. John, is difficult - communication and the differences in culture are obstacles that initially feel insurmountable. But as St. John is so exacting in his demands, you force yourself to perform and feel some satisfaction in your work.

Sadly, your toils do eventually overwhelm your strength, and on your deathbed, your only comfort is St. John praying assiduously over you. For the last time, you close your eyes.

THE END

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