The Recipient of Secrets

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That is the working title for the next Jane Rochester Mystery – assuming it ever gets written. This has proved to be a busy year for me and writing has moved to the back burner, but I do have a nice mystery planned out, with some characters I look forward to spending time with.

For this story I decided to bring Jane back to Moor House, where she lived for several months with her cousins before reuniting with Mr. Rochester. I am a small town girl myself, and I’ve enjoyed plotting out a mystery that relies on the intricacies of village life.

And then there is the moor, the vast, empty country that Bronte and her sisters spent so much time roaming over. For some time I’ve had a scene written in which Jane introduces Mr. Rochester to the moor country that she (and her creator) loved. Here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Excerpt from a forthcoming Jane Rochester mystery:

“Edward, I have your greatcoat.”

“Greatcoat? Whatever for, Jane?”

“There is still a heavy frost on the ground, but the sun will carry it away soon. Come, I want to show you something.”

He obediently held out his arms while I wrapped the coat around him, then laced up his boots for him. A servant might have done it for me, but I was in no mood for officious interference. I wanted to be on the moor.

The path was as I thought it would be, wrought in shades of silver by the frosty night, glimmering in the strong light of day. We traveled over rock and under branch, until we came to the open vale. Before us lay a fairy land – every blade and twig glittered like adamantine. The grass lay dead and bowed to the earth, but the sound of our boots crunching over it gladdened my heart like music. We climbed the long hill with care and emerged on the empty moor. I told Mr. Rochester of everything in view – the soft, shimmering hills, the limitless sky of azure, laced with trailing wisps of cloud, and every faded blossom of heather frosted with white. We stood side by side, his knee touching mine, his arm around my waist – we breathed deep of the keen air, invigorating in its cool clarity.

A bird, perched on a long stalk of grass that swayed in the stillness, sang blythely to the morning, its call filling our ears, the very air replete with sudden joy. Mr. Rochester raised his good hand and caressed my face, his fingers tracing my lips. I asked him what he was thinking of.

“I wanted to know that smile, for I could hear it in your voice, and feel it my soul. I remembered how sad you once were; my little girl alone in the world.”

“I am not alone anymore, Edward.”

“No indeed! Jane departed her fairy home in search of one she could bless and tend, for one in need of her vivacious mind and loving heart. But now it seems we have found out your home, my bonny wanderer. Your kingdom lies round about here somewhere, I think. And now that you have brought me thither, you must grant me a boon, must you not?”

“A boon? Must I? I was not aware of such an obligation.”

“A hardly like to ask, ennobled as you are, revealed in the glory of your own country.”

I turned my eye from the brilliant scene before me to examine his face.

“And what would you request?”

“I would ask to pass all my mortal days by your side, as your husband.”

“But I have all ready granted that wish, when I married you.”

“So you did. Well then, let me think.” He rubbed his chin in contemplation. “Ah, I have it! The very thing – a kiss.”

“Edward, you would not ask for kisses on a morning like this?”

“Grant me just one, Jane. Surely these silvered fields have felt the breath of an angel, a kiss divine as it is passing swiftly. Let me feel the solid warmth of your lips, and know you will not forsake me for your home in yonder fairyland.”

I kissed him as he bid; he demanded more; the bird sang on, its music heralded by the empty moor alone.

“My feet are cold,” I said. “We must move. You do not dislike it, that I brought you out here?”

“Dislike it? Your pleasure is mine, and your happiness my treasure. God bless you, my dear, for your reverence of all that is bright and high. It renews me every day.”

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