Jane Eyre: The Darcy Equivalent

As the (presumed) romantic interest is introduced in Jane Eyre, one Edward Fairfax Rochester (a name I'd be shocked to learn isn't being used as a pseudonym by a romance novelist), it's hard not to draw parallels between his depiction and that of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth's sparring partner in Pride and Prejudice.

By Jane's first description, Rochester comes across as haughty, stiff, arrogant, demanding, and brusque. Here he "compliments" her on some watercolor sketches:

"You have secured the shadow of your thought; but no more, probably. You had not enough of the artist's skill and science to give it ful being: yet the drawings are, for a school-girl, peculiar. As to the thoughts, they are elfish. These eyes in the Evening Star you must have seen in a dream. HOw could you make them look so clear, and yet not at all brilliant?"

And then in the drawing room, discussing his ward Adele, for whom Jane has been hired as a governess:

"Ah! well, come forward and be seated here." He drew a chair near his own. "I am not fond of the prattle of children," he continued; "for, old bachelor as I am, I have no pleasant associations connected with their lisp. It would be intolerable to me to pass a whole evening tete-a-tete with a brat. Don't draw that chair farther off, Miss Eyre; sit down exactly where I placed it -- if you please, that is."

Very soon, though, her opinion begins to change. Just as with Elizabeth and Darcy, the change comes about as they match wits in rather exciting verbal exchanges. Jane, however, comes to the realization of her feelings much more quickly.

What to do about these -- as our lovers come from quite separate social classes and have something like a 20-year age difference -- is, presumably, what the next 300 pages of the book are about.

I'm enjoying the book more, and the reading is getting easier, though I'd still pick up another Jane Austen before I'd read my next Charlotte Bronte.