a ruin—but an entire ruin

From my daughter Nessa this evening: “I just reread my, so far, favorite scene in Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë:

Descending the laurel-walk, I faced the wreck of the chestnut tree…. The cloven halves were not broken from each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept them unsundered below…. They might be said to form one tree—a ruin—but an entire ruin.

“You did right to hold fast to each other,” I said, as if the monster splinters were living things and could hear me. “I think, scathed as you look, and charred and scorched, there must be a little sense of life in you yet, rising out of that adhesion at the faithful, honest roots. You will never have green leaves more—never more see birds making nests, and singing idylls in your boughs; the time of pleasure and love is over with you; but you are not desolate; each of you has a comrade to sympathize with him in his decay.”

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