They betray an unfortunate state of mind

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Senior Member
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 35) | Genius

Quotation: “You are killing me now.” (said Jane)

His lips and cheeks turned white—quite white.

“I should kill you—I am killing you? Your words are such as ought not to be used: violent, unfeminine, and untrue. They betray an unfortunate state of mind: they merit severe reproof: they would seem inexcusable, but that it is the duty of man to forgive his fellow even until seventy-and-seven times.”

Context: Jane had just said “if I were to marry you, you would kill me”.
Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold sentence. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

To betray => 4. to reveal unconsciously (something a person would prefer to hide):
Unfortunate => 2. regrettable; unsuitable; not appropriate: made an unfortunate remark about your weight.

The sentence => they reveal unconsciously an regrettable mood.
  • Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    You are basically right in the interpretation you have made here. Your choice of meaning for "betray" and "unfortunate" look perfect to me.

    "State of mind" doesn't here only mean "mood" but also more generally mindset, viewpoint, opinion - Jane's overall mental status.

    So my paraphrase would be, "Your words reveal that your mind is full of inappropriate thoughts and unsuitable opinions."
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