Rhyme and Reason: January 8, 2013

“This St. John, then, is your cousin?”
“Yes.”
“You have spoken of him often: do you like him?”
“He was a very good man, sir; I could not help liking him.”
“A good man. Does that mean a respectable well-conducted man of fifty? Or what does it mean?”
“St. John was only twenty-nine, sir.”
“‘Jeune encore,’ as the French say. Is he a person of low stature, phlegmatic, and plain. A person whose goodness consists rather in his guiltlessness of vice, than in his prowess in virtue.”
“He is untiringly active. Great and exalted deeds are what he lives to perform.”
“But his brain? That is probably rather soft? He means well: but you shrug your shoulders to hear him talk?”
“He talks little, sir: what he does say is ever to the point. His brain is first-rate, I should think not impressible, but vigorous.”
“Is he an able man, then?”
“Truly able.”
“A thoroughly educated man?”
“St. John is an accomplished and profound scholar.”
“His manners, I think, you said are not to your taste? – priggish and parsonic?”
“I never mentioned his manners; but, unless I had a very bad taste, they must suit it; they are polished, calm, and gentlemanlike.”
“His appearance, – I forget what description you gave of his appearance; – a sort of raw curate, half strangled with his white neckcloth, and stilted up on his thick-soled high-lows, eh?”
“St. John dresses well. He is a handsome man: tall, fair, with blue eyes, and a Grecian profile.”
(Aside.) “Damn him!”

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (A dialogue between the titular Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester)

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