It was the first of June…
Today is the first of June, a memorable day for Jane Eyre. It was the day Jane decided to return to Thornfield one last time and search for Edward Rochester, before leaving England, probably to move to Ireland:
It was the first of June; yet the morning was overcast and chilly: rain beat fast on my casement. I heard the front-door open, and St. John pass out. Looking through the window, I saw him traverse the garden. He took the way over the misty moors in the direction of Whitcross—there he would meet the coach.
“In a few more hours I shall succeed you in that track, cousin,” thought I: “I too have a coach to meet at Whitcross. I too have some to see and ask after in England, before I depart for ever.”
Jane Eyre says these words the very morning she leaves Moor House, where she had been living after leaving Thornfield Hall, and discovering that Edward Rochester, the man who had proposed to her, was already married to Bertha Mason. The previous night, when St. John had proposed to Jane, she had turned him down, and heard Rochester calling her across the moors in one of the most enigmatic moments in the novel:
“Jane! Jane! Jane!”—nothing more.
“O God! what is it?” I gasped.
I might have said, “Where is it?” for it did not seem in the room—nor in the house—nor in the garden; it did not come out of the air—nor from under the earth—nor from overhead. I had heard it—where, or whence, for ever impossible to know! And it was the voice of a human being—a known, loved, well-remembered voice—that of Edward Fairfax Rochester; and it spoke in pain and woe, wildly, eerily, urgently.
“I am coming!” I cried. “Wait for me! Oh, I will come!” I flew to the door and looked into the passage: it was dark. I ran out into the garden: it was void.
“Where are you?” I exclaimed.
There are numerous other significant events in Jane’s life which take place in June. It was also one day at the beginning of June, when Jane went to visit her ailing best friend at Lowood, Helen Burns, and she died in her arms that very night.
It was also a day in early June when she returned to Thornfield, after a short visit to her bedridden Aunt Reed, with whom she stayed until she died. It was two weeks later, in midsummer, traditionally St. John’s Day, the 24th of June, when Edward Rochester proposed, as they walked along a winding walk, bordered with laurels.
June was a bitter-sweet month for Jane; her best friend died, Rochester proposed, and a year later on that same month, she returned to him, after the ‘accident’, in which Thornfield burnt down, and Bertha died. June marks significant endings and beginnings in Janes life.
June is the sixth month of the year which boasts of having the longest hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere. According to Ovid’s Fasti (a long poem about the Roman Calendar), ‘Junius’ is named after the Roman goddess Juno, known as the goddess of marriage and fertility. As the wife of the supreme deity, Jupiter, she was therefore the Queen of the Gods. Juno is the Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess, Hera. Hera, was renowned for her jealousy and ruthless nature, due mainly to her vanity, and her husband, Zeus’s, infidelities.
June is both an optimistic month, announcing the beginning of summer and the long awaited holidays and warm weather, as well as the end of the enthusiasm of lively spring. June is also a challenging time for students around the world, who face final exams and the stressful end of the academic year, and consequently the end of an irreplaceable stage in their lives.
It’s also a very special month for me, because my birthday is on the 4th of June, and I have always considered it a lucky time of the year.
I hope you all have a wonderful June, this year!