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Reader, She Married Me: A Short Story from the collection, Reader, I Married Him

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Reader, She Married Me: A Short Story from the collection, Reader, I Married Him
Salley Vickers

A short story by Salley Vickers from the collection Reader, I Married Him: Stories inspired by Jane Eyre.In ‘Reader, She Married Me’ Mr Rochester reveals a long-kept secret.Edited by Tracy Chevalier, the full collection, Reader I Married Him, brings together some of the finest and most creative voices in fiction today, to celebrate and salute the strength and lasting relevance of Charlotte Brontë’s game-changing novel and its beloved narrator.

Reader,

She Married Me

Salley Vickers

A short story from the collection

Copyright (#ulink_b6341d05-7700-5b5a-b696-ce45779d1089)

Published by The Borough Press

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published in Great Britain by HarperCollinsPublishers 2016

Foreword © Tracy Chevalier 2016

Reader, She Married Me © Salley Vickers 2016

The moral rights of the authors have been asserted

Cover design by Heike Schüssler © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2016

Jacket photograph © Dan Saelinger/Trunk Archive

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This story is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it, while at times based on historical events and figures, are the works of the authors’ imaginations.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780008150594

Ebook Edition © April 2016 ISBN: 9780008173449

Version: 2016-03-16

Contents

Cover (#u712b4eaf-d33a-5d01-8331-95486dd84a9b)

Title Page (#u52604e19-7bcd-5c7d-8764-21d4f1de8f85)

Copyright (#u8d00e925-417f-58fe-a7fe-e5ed796c4a13)

Foreword by Tracy Chevalier (#u10bd72bb-29e6-58d8-a2af-61e17e8c69a4)

Reader, She Married Me – Salley Vickers (#uf3b026a9-7b17-53bc-a9b5-f3a9e57e2d48)

Author Note (#litres_trial_promo)

A Note on Charlotte Brontë (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

FOREWORD BY (#ulink_ebfcee12-edf2-5166-9c2d-31f3dd558b12)TRACY CHEVALIER (#ulink_ebfcee12-edf2-5166-9c2d-31f3dd558b12)

Why is Charlotte Brontë’s “Reader, I married him” one of the most famous lines in literature? Why do we remember it and quote it so much?

Jane Eyre is “poor, obscure, plain, and little”, with no family and no prospects; the embodiment of the underdog who ultimately triumphs. And “Reader, I married him” is Jane’s defiant conclusion to her rollercoaster story. It is not, “Reader, he married me” – as you would expect in a Victorian society where women were supposed to be passive; or even, “Reader, we married.” Instead Jane asserts herself; she is the driving force of her narrative, and it is she who chooses to be with Rochester. Her self-determination is not only very appealing; it also serves to undercut the potential over-sweetness of a classic happy ending where the heroine gets her man. The mouse roars, and we pump our fist with her.

Twenty-one writers, then, have taken up this line and written what it has urged them to write. I liken it to a stone thrown into a pond, with its resulting ripples. Always, always in these stories there is love – whether it is the first spark or the last dying embers – in its many heart-breaking, life-affirming forms.

All of these stories have their own memorable lines, their own truths, their own happy or wry or devastating endings, but each is one of the ripples that finds its centre in Jane and Charlotte’s decisive clarion call: Reader, I married him.

Tracy Chevalier

READER, (#ulink_6676d2b0-d32f-56ad-b3cd-161142a94ef0)SHE MARRIED ME (#ulink_6676d2b0-d32f-56ad-b3cd-161142a94ef0)

SALLEY VICKERS (#ulink_6676d2b0-d32f-56ad-b3cd-161142a94ef0)

IT WAS SIMPLY JOY at first. So often it is joy “at first”, would you not say? It is the “at last” we should judge our human dealings by. Yet who but the Great Judge is able to do that? I do not speak here of God, for about Him I remain a cautious sceptic. No, it is that other exigent imponderable, Death, towards whose kingdom I, Edward Rochester, draw daily closer, whose judgment I am most disposed to trust now.

During those long months, when I searched vainly for Jane, I rehearsed all the blessed times we had spent together. Our first meeting that chilly winter afternoon, when, unaware of my identity, she aided me with the injury sustained from my fall and I teased her that she had bewitched my horse. The time she came in search of me, braving the wind and rain, and on finding me flew like a bird to my glad arms. The many times I found her sitting with that indefatigable knitter, good old Mrs Fairfax (who was always so doubtful over our intended union), a book in her hands and that little burr, Adele, my foster child, idly content at her knee; most speakingly, the recollection of her at the wicket gate, standing beside me in the plain square of blond she had fashioned herself for a bridal veil, when, caught by some impalpable intimation of the coming doom, I delayed our entry into the church. A myriad such images lived on in my memory. And, threaded through them all, the luminous aura of elfishness which had so enchanted me. From our first encounter she provoked in me thoughts of other worlds.

And there were few nights that passed unmolested by stricken consideration of what I might have done differently to avoid that terrible moment of revelation in the church. The shocking breach in the sacrament, the unlooked-for response to the solemn words, “I require and charge you both (as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed) that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it …” I would give half my life to undo that moment now.
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