Blanche Ingram Quotes

Listen, then, Jane Eyre, to your sentence: to-morrow, place the glass before you, and draw in chalk your own picture, faithfully, without softening one defect; omit no harsh line, smooth away no displeasing irregularity; write under it, “Portrait of a Governess, disconnected, poor, and plain.”
Afterwards, take a piece of smooth ivory – you have one prepared in your drawing-box: take your palette, mix your freshest, finest, clearest tints; choose your most delicate camel-hair pencils; delineate carefully the loveliest face you can imagine; paint it in your softest shades and sweetest lines, according to the description given by Mrs. Fairfax of Blanche Ingram; remember the raven ringlets, the oriental eye; – What! you revert to Mr. Rochester as a model! Order! No snivel! – no sentiment! – no regret! I will endure only sense and resolution. Recall the august yet harmonious lineaments, the Grecian neck and bust; let the round and dazzling arm be visible, and the delicate hand; omit neither diamond ring nor gold bracelet; portray faithfully the attire, aërial lace and glistening satin, graceful scarf and golden rose; call it “Blanche, an accomplished lady of rank.”

– Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, Chapter 16. Jane realizes that she is falling in love with Rochester, so she gives herself a reality check. She compares herself to the attractive and high-class Blanche Ingram, whom Rochester is due to meet at a party of aristocrats. In the contest for Rochester’s love, Jane decides that Blanche is the clear winner. She goes on to paint imaginary portraits of herself and Miss Ingram. In her self-portrait in chalk, she depicts herself as “plain” Jane the governess, omitting none of her defects. But Blanche’s portrait, on the other hand, is in color and on ivory and depicts her as a beautiful and accomplished woman of rank.

I have not yet said anything condemnatory of Mr. Rochester’s project of marrying for interest and connections. It surprised me when I first discovered that such was his intention; I had thought him a man unlikely to be influenced by motives so commonplace in his choice of a wife; but the longer I considered the position, education, etc., of the parties, the less I felt justified in judging and blaming either him or Miss Ingram, for acting in conformity to ideas and principles instilled into them, doubtless, from their childhood. All their class held these principles; I supposed, then, they had reasons for holding them such as I could not fathom. It seemed to me that, were I a gentleman like him, I would take to my bosom only such a wife as I could love; but the very obviousness of the advantages to the husband’s own happiness, offered by this plan, convinced me that there must be arguments against its general adoption of which I was quite ignorant: otherwise I felt sure all the world would act as I wished to act.

– Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, Chapter 18. Jane is considering the possible marriage between Mr. Rochester and Miss Ingram. She concedes that both have grown up in a world where they are expected to follow the rules of their social class. But she finds it difficult to understand why a man like Rochester would be influenced by these rules to marry simply for “interests and connections.” Jane, who is in love with Rochester, is adament that she would have to love the person she marries.