the portal yawned void

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Senior Member
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 36) | Genius

Quotation:No need to cower behind a gate-post, indeed!—to peep up at chamber lattices, fearing life was astir behind them! No need to listen for doors opening—to fancy steps on the pavement or the gravel-walk! The lawn, the grounds were trodden and waste: the portal yawned void. The front was, as I had once seen it in a dream, but a well-like wall, very high and very fragile-looking, perforated with paneless windows: no roof, no battlements, no chimneys—all had crashed in.

Context: Jane returned to Thornfield Hall, the residence of Mr. R which had been burned down

Note: in 1850 version, it wasn’t “a well-like wall” but “a shell-like wall”: JANE EYRE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold sentence, especially the word “void”. How to make it clear? My try is as below.

The sentence => the door of the mansion opened wide with no one within.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You should give a little more context: The scene is that of Mr Rochester's house that has burned down and is now nothing but a ruined shell.

    the portal yawned void
    . -> the main entrance had no door and beyond it there was nothing.
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