n her animal spirits there was an affluence of life and certainty of flow


Senior Member
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 30) | Genius

Quotation: If in our trio there was a superior and a leader, it was Diana. Physically, she far excelled me: she was handsome; she was vigorous. In her animal spirits there was an affluence of life and certainty of flow, such as excited my wonder, while it baffled my comprehension. I could talk a while when the evening commenced, but the first gush of vivacity and fluency gone, I was fain to sit on a stool at Diana’s feet, to rest my head on her knee, and listen alternately to her and Mary, while they sounded thoroughly the topic on which I had but touched.
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the bold part. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

spirit => as in my thread put spirit into a mug of milk and water
Spirit" means "brio", liveliness
animal => I guess it means "animated, lively". I have to say I'm puzzled by the word.

flow => as in my thread: the bliss given me to drink in so abundant a flow
the "flow" is a metaphor for the love and union they interchange;
The sentence => there were abundant life and undoubted emotions that would flow into others' heart in her brio. Such life and emotions amazed me, though I could not comprehend it.
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Animal spirits here means her primitiive self - her instincts, her basic nature, without the intellectual aspects of her personality.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think "animal spirits" often means "a cheerful mind", characteristic of someone who is not subject to "low spirits", or fits of depression. It suggests to me here that Diana was animated in her talk, and full of energy.

    From antiquity until the end of the 18th century, "animal spirits" were believed to be a vital substance that flowed around the body.
    In Charlotte Bronte's mind there must still have been a sense of that older meaning, even while modern science was making new discoveries about how the mind and body work together.

    Exorcising animal spirits: The discovery of nerve function
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