Chapter 20 – Jane, I knew you’d do me good
Prayers are good for mental support but they don’t actually help you out when you are physically in trouble. So I concentrated on trying to revive my husband. I rubbed his chest as hard as I could, and I blew into his mouth, hoping to keep him alive with my own breath. How long I kept doing this I do not recall but eventually I stopped. I was exhausted, and my spirits were very low. We would die, all three of us. However, we would not be separated in death. Determined to be as close to him as I could, I positioned myself lengthwise on top of his body. I laid my head on Edward’s chest and closed my eyes.
“Damn and blast, woman! What are you doing, you are choking me!”
A violent fit of coughing sent me sliding off Edward’s body. He sat up abruptly, I could feel it, and shook himself like a wet dog, sprinkling me with a shower of dirt.
“Stop, Edward, stop!” Then I was laughing and throwing myself against him and kissing him, I was so extremely happy!
He kissed me back and chuckled, “And I love you too, Jane, don’t worry!”
We laughed and kissed like there was no tomorrow. That’s why we didn’t hear the shouting voice above us at first.
“Sir? Sir, are you there? Mr. Rochester, sir, is that you?”
Norton! They found us! A stream of earth was raining upon us and we hastily crawled away.
“Damn it, Norton! You are busy burying us alive, would you please take care?”
Light! Lovely yellow light from a lamp, no, from many lamps!
“Seems like we’re not yet in St. Peter’s book just now, my little witch! You’d probably scare the wits out of him anyway!”, my rake of a husband said and I swear I could see him smirking, even in the feeble light from above.
A few days later, we were all gathered in the drawing room of Ferndean Manor.
There was I, and Edward, Adèle, Edwina, Charles Mason and John Eshton, Alice, Keithley and Norton. Also present was Special Constable Jeremiah Jones, acting on behalf of Mr. Justice of the Peace Lord Brackenberry of the Newcastle Royal Court. He had a story to tell.
As soon as Edward had made a formal complaint about the attack of the Ingram women on his life, His Lordship had ordered their arrest. Edwina’s testimony provided him with sufficient ammunition to bring on a lawsuit against them. The two women, however, had made full confessions because it seemed that they were not entirely to blame for the whole miserable affair.
The present baron of Ingram Park, Geoffrey Ingram, Blanche’s brother, was Edwina’s father. Apparently, he had raped poor Adelaide Eshton during a party at her father’s estate, when she was barely sixteen years old. He had threatened the innocent, unworldly girl in keeping silent over his despicable feat, convincing her that she would never be believed if she told the truth. Later, when Adelaide and her daughter fled the Blackthorn house and came to live at Ingram Park, he again threatened the poor woman saying he would ravish her daughter if she breathed a word over what had happened. It had been Lady Adelaide’s death. She succumbed, both physically and mentally destroyed.
So, of the once so proud family Ingram, only poor young Mary remained out of His Majesty’s Prison. She was to go and live with an aunt in Hampshire for the rest of her days, as it was very unlikely she would make a suitable marriage now.
Ultimately, we had reasons enough to celebrate the outcome of all this uproar. Edward cracked several bottles of champagne, and we toasted with friends and family.
Edward took me by the hand after Mr. Jones had departed, claiming he was not feeling well enough to stay up too late. Ignoring my mild protests about the presence of our guests, he dragged me with him to our bedchamber. Closing the door firmly behind us, he scooped me up into his arms and carried me to our bed.
“Now, Jane,” he murmured, “will you be so good as to clarify something to me that I do not fully understand?”
His green-grey eyes were full of mischief, and I knew where this would lead us.
“Edward,” I answered, “if you want to have marital intercourse with me, just say so. You know I could never deny you.”
It seemed I was wrong. He cupped my face and looked into my eyes in a very serious way.
“No jesting now, Jane, I’m serious. I heard you say something, my adorable little wife, when we were buried in that cellar. Now, since I was in a state of semi-unconsciousness, I do not know if I heard you correctly. You said, and I quote: ‘Don’t leave us, Edward!’ Us, Jane, whatever did you mean by that?”
“Well, Edward, it is all your doing, you know. You have been doing things to me that will have a result in approximately seven months from now and …”
He silenced me with a kiss, and I let him.
“Oh, my precious witch, this is the best of news! I insist on you seeing Dr. Woodhouse as soon as possible. Being buried cannot be good for my son.”
“Your son? Why not my daughter? The chances are equal, you know?”
Edward threw his head back and roared with laughter, which vexed me a bit. He seemed so confident! “No, Jane, you are so wrong in this! We Rochesters do not breed daughters. After all, we are a weak and degenerated lot so we only produce males. A shame, for I’m convinced a daughter of ours would be as beautiful as her mother. Now, my sweet own Jane, have I already thanked you for saving my life, again? It seems that I cannot stay alive without your rescue operations, so from now on, I’m not leaving your side anymore. It might prove fatal for me one day!”
“No,” I answered in a dignified manner, desperately trying not to laugh, “you have yet to thank me, Edward.”
My words had barely left my mouth before he pushed me onto our bed, pinning my arms above my head and shoving my skirts upwards with his powerful knee. Then, however, he checked himself. Instead he laid himself down beside me and took me in his arms.
“Jane … how long do you think I can … thank you before …”
“I don’t know for sure, my love, but I think we still have some months full of thanking ahead of us.”
That was all he needed, and he applied himself in thanking me most thoroughly.
So after a considerable period of time we lay in a close embrace, resting from our exertions and Edward’s chuckled, “Jane, I knew you’d do me good. I knew you’d make an honourable man of me, eventually.”
Next week from Luce: The Lost Northbound Train
What if the train John and Margaret took to go home never reached Milton?
What if some time portal was opened, and they ended up in the twenty-first century?
Would their love survive?
Read it next week on this page!