Behind today’s Advent door we have hidden another festive scene from a classic novel – today we bring you Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
The Brontes do not scream Christmas, more the gothic – novels crammed with bleak and windy moors, ghostly figures and women hidden in the attic don’t necessarily make a reader feel festive. However there is a short passage in Jane Eyre where our eponymous heroine prepares her new home for guests at Christmas – a moment of rare simple pleasure for Jane.
‘Happy at Moor House I was, and hard I worked; and so did Hannah; she was charmed to see how jovial I could be amidst the bustle of a house turned topsy-turvy – how I could brush, dust, and clean, and cook. And really after a day of two of confusion worse confounded, it was delightful, by degrees, to invoke order from the chaos ourselves have made.’
I write this as our family have just decorated our Christmas tree – as with Jane, our house is indeed ‘topsy-turvy’ with the preparations, covered in boxes, tinsel and treasures waiting to be put on display for the festive season – we do the same thing every year and, amidst the mayhem, makes me feel truly festive. When Jane is finished she sees her home as ‘a complete model of bright modest snugness within, as it was, at this season, a specimen of wintry waste and desert dreariness without’. Here we get a taster of the Bronte home at Christmastime, acknowledging the joys that the lights and the routines of Christmastime bring to the bleakest of midwinters.
Why not hunker down with Jane Eyre over the holidays?