“This morning I wrote to my banker in London to send me certain jewels he has in his keeping, – heirlooms for the ladies of Thornfield. In a day or two I hope to pour them into your lap: for every privilege, every attention shall be yours that I would accord a peer’s daughter, if about to marry her.”
“Oh, sir! – never rain jewels! I don’t like to hear them spoken of. Jewels for Jane Eyre sounds unnatural and strange: I would rather not have them.”
“I will myself put the diamond chain round your neck, and the circlet on your forehead, – which it will become: for nature, at least, has stamped her patent of nobility on this brow, Jane; and I will clasp the bracelets on these fine wrists, and load these fairy-like fingers with rings.”
“No, no, sir! think of other subjects, and speak of other things, and in another strain. Don’t address me as if I were a beauty; I am your plain, Quakerish governess.”
“You are a beauty in my eyes, and a beauty just after the desire of my heart, – delicate and aërial.”
“Puny and insignificant, you mean. You are dreaming, sir, – or you are sneering. For God’s sake don’t be ironical!”
– Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre, Chapter 24. After proposing to Jane, Rochester wants to drape her in the family jewels and finery for their wedding, as befits her new social position. He wants the world to pay attention to Jane, as she is a beauty in his eyes. But the modest Jane doesn’t want any of this, it doesn’t feel natural or comfortable to her. She protests that she doesn’t see herself as a beauty, but is “your plain, Quakerish governess.” And she admonishes Rochester not to be ironical by calling her a beauty.