Jane’s first full declaration of love for Rochester appears in the great Chapter 17 of Jane Eyre. The party is underway, Jane is watching over Adele while knitting in the shadows, decidedly not part of the group.
“He is not to them what he is to me,” I thought: “he is not of their kind. I believe he is of mine;—I am sure he is—I feel akin to him—I understand the language of his countenance and movements: though rank and wealth sever us widely, I have something in my brain and heart, in my blood and nerves, that assimilates me mentally to him. Did I say, a few days since, that I had nothing to do with him but to receive my salary at his hands? Did I forbid myself to think of him in any other light than as a paymaster? Blasphemy against nature! Every good, true, vigorous feeling I have gathers impulsively round him. I know I must conceal my sentiments: I must smother hope; I must remember that he cannot care much for me. For when I say that I am of his kind, I do not mean that I have his force to influence, and his spell to attract; I mean only that I have certain tastes and feelings in common with him. I must, then, repeat continually that we are for ever sundered:—and yet, while I breathe and think, I must love him.”
How many novels does Jane Eyre surpass? Nearly all of them, all of the novels ever published and unpublished. The pleasure of re-reading Jane (and Jane) is to re-encounter two geniuses, Bronte’s and Jane’s; I maintain they are not the same thing. Bronte published four novels, two of which are considered great (Jane and Villette). Had Jane wrote more novels, all would be works of genius.