We now slowly ascended a drive, and came upon the long front of a house: candlelight gleamed from one curtained bow-window; all the rest were dark.
We were ascending the avenue when he thus paused; the hall was before us.
I watched it ascending the drive with indifference; carriages often came to Gateshead, but none ever brought visitors in whom I was interested; it stopped in front of the house, the door-bell rang loudly, the new-comer was admitted.
He passed on and ascended the stairs, still holding my hand, and still beckoning the gentlemen to follow him, which they did.
Then light steps ascended the stairs; and there was a tripping through the gallery, and soft cheerful laughs, and opening and closing doors, and, for a time, a hush.
It was also accompanied by her that I had, nearly nine years ago, walked down the path I was now ascending.
I briefly related to him what had transpired: the strange laugh I had heard in the gallery: the step ascending to the third storey; the smoke, — the smell of fire which had conducted me to his room; in what state I had found matters there, and how I had deluged him with all the water I could lay hands on.
I witnessed, and several more witnessed, Mr. Rochester ascend through the sky-light on to the roof; we heard him call ’Bertha!’
I looked at the blank wall: it seemed a sky thick with ascending stars, — every one lit me to a purpose or delight.
To pass its threshold was to return to stagnation; to cross the silent hall, to ascend the darksome staircase, to seek my own lonely little room, and then to meet tranquil Mrs. Fairfax, and spend the long winter evening with her, and her only, was to quell wholly the faint excitement wakened by my walk, — to slip again over my faculties the viewless fetters of an uniform and too still existence; of an existence whose very privileges of security and ease I was becoming incapable of…
…see into the interior; and both my eyes and spirit seemed drawn from the gloomy house — from the grey-hollow filled with rayless cells, as it appeared to me — to that sky expanded before me, — a blue sea absolved from taint of cloud; the moon ascending it in solemn march; her orb seeming to look up as she left the hill-tops, from behind which she had come, far and farther below her, and aspired to the zenith, midnight dark in its fathomless depth and measureless distance; and for those…
His eye, as I have often said, was a black eye: it had now a tawny, nay, a bloody light in its gloom; and his face flushed — olive cheek and hueless forehead received a glow as from spreading, ascending heart-fire: and he stirred, lifted his strong arm — he could have struck Mason, dashed him on the church-floor, shocked by ruthless blow the breath from his body — but Mason shrank away, and cried faintly, "Good God!"