not like the ponderous gift of gold: rich and welcome enough in its way

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 33) | Genius

Quotation: Glorious discovery to a lonely wretch! This was wealth indeed!—wealth to the heart!—a mine of pure, genial affections. This was a blessing, bright, vivid, and exhilarating;—not like the ponderous gift of gold: rich and welcome enough in its way, but sobering from its weight. I now clapped my hands in sudden joy—my pulse bounded, my veins thrilled.

Context: Jane discovered that St. John was her cousin a while after she had been told her uncle bequeathed 20000 pounds to her.
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Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold part. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

Ponderous => 1 : of very great weight [M-W dictionary]
Sober => 4. marked by seriousness, gravity, solemnity, etc., as of demeanor, speech, etc.:
Weight = 6 a burden, as of responsibility: The debts were a weight on his mind.

The sentence => …not like the burdensome gift of gold: it’s rich and welcome as it is, but it carries such a heavy responsibility that the receiver has to take it seriously. .

I suppose Jane suggested she had to be self-controlled to take the legacy seriously, but could freely express joy towards the glorious discovery.
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Context: Jane discovered that St. John was his cousin
    Whose cousin? :confused:


    In short, Jane sees the inheritance, not as "wealth" which she sees as dull; she sees the inheritance as a route to freedom.

    Paraphrased:
    This was not like pure wealth, which is stultifying, because although wealth would have been generous and very welcome in a certain way, nevertheless wealth is accompanied by the great responsibility which is required to manage it properly.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    To give you an idea of how much £20,000 was worth then, each pound was worth an ounce/31 grams of gold: today that is $26,000,000/£20,000,000! (Lovely! :D)
     
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