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Chapter 16
 Janet lay still, as she had promised; but the tea, which had warmed her and given her a sense of greater bodily ease, had only heightened the previous excitement of her brain. Her ideas had a new vividness, which made her feel as if she had only seen life through a dim haze1 before; her thoughts, instead of springing from the action of her own mind, were external existences, that thrust themselves imperiously upon her like haunting visions. The future took shape after shape of misery2 before her, always ending in her being dragged back again to her old life of terror, and stupor3, and fevered despair. Her husband had so long overshadowed her life that her imagination could not keep hold of a condition in which that great dread4 was absent; and even his absence—what was it? only a dreary5 vacant flat, where there was nothing to strive after, nothing to long for.  
At last, the light of morning quenched6 the rushlight, and Janet’s thoughts became more and more fragmentary and confused. She was every moment slipping off the level on which she lay thinking, down, down into some depth from which she tried to rise again with a start. Slumber7 was stealing over her weary brain: that uneasy slumber which is only better than wretched waking, because the life we seemed to live in it determines no wretched future, because the things we do and suffer in it are but hateful shadows, and leave no impress that petrifies8 into an irrevocable past.
She had scarcely been asleep an hour when her movements became more violent, her mutterings more frequent and agitated9, till at last she started up with a smothered10 cry, and looked wildly round her, shaking with terror.
‘Don’t be frightened, dear Mrs. Dempster,’ said Mrs. Pettifer, who was up and dressing11, ‘you are with me, your old friend, Mrs. Pettifer. Nothing will harm you.’
Janet sank back again on her pillow, still trembling. After lying silent a little while, she said, ‘It was a horrible dream. Dear Mrs. Pettifer, don’t let any one know I am here. Keep it a secret. If he finds out, he will come and drag me back again.’
‘No, my dear, depend on me. I’ve just thought I shall send the servant home on a holiday—I’ve promised her a good while. I’ll send her away as soon as she’s had her breakfast, and she’ll have no occasion to know you’re here. There’s no holding servants’ tongues, if you let ’em know anything. What they don’t know, they won’t tell; you may trust ’em so far. But shouldn’t you like me to go and fetch your mother?’
‘No, not yet, not yet. I can’t bear to see her yet.’
‘Well, it shall be just as you like. Now try and get to sleep again. I shall leave you for an hour or two, and send off Phœbe, and then bring you some breakfast. I’ll lock the door behind me, so that the girl mayn’t come in by chance.’
The daylight changes the aspect of misery to us, as of everything else. In the night it presses on our imagination—the forms it takes are false, fitful, exaggerated; in broad day it sickens our sense with the dreary persistence12 of definite measurable reality. The man who looks with ghastly horror on all his property aflame in the dead of night, has not half the sense of destitution13 he will have in the morning, when he walks over the ruins lying blackened in the pitiless sunshine. That moment of intensest depression was come to Janet, when the daylight which showed her the walls, and chairs, and tables, and all the commonplace reality that surrounded her, seemed to lay bare the future too, and bring out into oppressive distinctness all the details of a weary life to be lived from day to day, with no hope to strengthen her against that evil habit, which she loathed14 in retrospect15 and yet was powerless to resist. Her husband would never consent to her living away from him: she was become necessary to his tyranny; he would never willingly loosen his grasp on her. She had a vague notion of some protection the law might give her, if she could prove her life in danger from him; but she shrank utterly16, as she had always done, from any active, public resistance or vengeance17: she felt too crushed, too faulty, too liable to reproach, to have the courage, even if she had had the wish to put herself openly in the position of a wronged woman seeking redress18. She had no strength to sustain her in a course of self-defence and independence: there was a darker shadow over her life than the dread of her husband—it was the shadow of self-despair. The easiest thing would be to go away and hide herself from him. But then there was her mother: Robert had all her little property in his hands, and that little was scarcely enough to keep her in comfort without his aid. If Janet went away alone he would be sure to persecute19 her mother; and if she did go away—what then? She must work to maintain herself; she must exert herself, weary and hopeless as she was, to begin life afresh. How hard that seemed to her! Jane............
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