Text Encoding Initiative

2. A Short Example


We begin with a short example, intended to show what happens when a passage of prose is typed into a computer by someone with little sense of the purpose of mark-up, or the potential of electronic texts. In an ideal world, such output might be generated by a very accurate optical scanner. It attempts to be faithful to the appearance of the printed text, by retaining the original line breaks, by introducing blanks to represent the layout of the original headings and page breaks, and so forth. Where characters not available on the keyboard are needed (such as the accented letter a in fal or the long dash), it attempts to mimic their appearance.

                          CHAPTER 38

READER, I married him. A quiet wedding we had: he and I, the par-
son and clerk, were alone present. When we got back from church, I
went into the kitchen of the manor-house, where Mary was cooking
the dinner, and John cleaning the knives, and I said --
  'Mary, I have been married to Mr Rochester this morning.' The
housekeeper and her husband were of that decent, phlegmatic
order of people, to whom one may at any time safely communicate a
remarkable piece of news without incurring the danger of having
one's ears pierced by some shrill ejaculation and subsequently stunned
by a torrent of wordy wonderment. Mary did look up, and she did
stare at me; the ladle with which she was basting a pair of chickens
roasting at the fire, did for some three minutes hang suspended in air,
and for the same space of time John's knives also had rest from the
polishing process; but Mary, bending again over the roast, said only --
   'Have you, miss? Well, for sure!'
   A short time after she pursued, 'I seed you go out with the master,
but I didn't know you were gone to church to be wed'; and she
basted away. John, when I turned to him, was grinning from ear to
ear.
   'I telled Mary how it would be,' he said: 'I knew what Mr Ed-
ward' (John was an old servant, and had known his master when he
was the cadet of the house, therefore he often gave him his Christian
name) -- 'I knew what Mr Edward would do; and I was certain he
would not wait long either: and he's done right, for aught I know. I
wish you joy, miss!' and he politely pulled his forelock.
   'Thank you, John. Mr Rochester told me to give you and Mary
this.'
   I put into his hand a five-pound note.  Without waiting to hear
more, I left the kitchen. In passing the door of that sanctum some time
after, I caught the words --
   'She'll happen do better for him nor ony o' t' grand ladies.' And
again, 'If she ben't one o' th' handsomest, she's noan faa\l, and varry
good-natured; and i' his een she's fair beautiful, onybody may see
that.'
   I wrote to Moor House and to Cambridge immediately, to say what
I had done: fully explaining also why I had thus acted. Diana and

                            474

                 JANE EYRE                      475

Mary approved the step unreservedly. Diana announced that she
would just give me time to get over the honeymoon, and then she
would come and see me.
   'She had better not wait till then, Jane,' said Mr Rochester, when I
read her letter to him; 'if she does, she will be too late, for our honey-
moon will shine our life long: its beams will only fade over your
grave or mine.'
   How St John received the news I don't know: he never answered
the letter in which I communicated it: yet six months after he wrote
to me, without, however, mentioning Mr Rochester's name or allud-
ing to my marriage. His letter was then calm, and though very serious,
kind. He has maintained a regular, though not very frequent correspond-
ence ever since: he hopes I am happy, and trusts I am not of those who
live without God in the world, and only mind earthly
      things.

This transcription suffers from a number of shortcomings:

We now present the same passage, as it might be encoded using the TEI Guidelines. As we shall see, there are many ways in which this encoding could be extended, but as a minimum, the TEI approach allows us to represent the following distinctions:

<pb n='474'/>
<div1 type="chapter" n='38'>

<p>Reader, I married him.  A quiet wedding we had: he and I,
the parson and clerk, were alone present.  When we got back
from church, I went into the kitchen of the manor-house,
where Mary was cooking the dinner, and John cleaning the
knives, and I said &mdash;</p>

<p><q>Mary, I have been married to Mr Rochester this
morning.</q> The housekeeper and her husband were of that
decent, phlegmatic order of people, to whom one may at any
time safely communicate a remarkable piece of news without
incurring the danger of having one's ears pierced by some
shrill ejaculation and subsequently stunned by a torrent of
wordy wonderment.  Mary did look up, and she did stare at
me; the ladle with which she was basting a pair of chickens
roasting at the fire, did for some three minutes hang
suspended in air, and for the same space of time John's
knives also had rest from the polishing process; but Mary,
bending again over the roast, said only &mdash;</p>

<p><q>Have you, miss? Well, for sure!</q></p>

<p>A short time after she pursued, <q>I seed you go out with
the master, but I didn't know you were gone to church to be
wed</q>; and she basted away.  John, when I turned to him,
was grinning from ear to ear.  <q>I telled Mary how it would
be,</q> he said: <q>I knew what Mr Edward</q> (John was an
old servant, and had known his master when he was the cadet
of the house, therefore he often gave him his Christian
name) &mdash; <q>I knew what Mr Edward would do; and I was
certain he would not wait long either: and he's done right,
for aught I know.  I wish you joy, miss!</q> and he politely
pulled his forelock.</p>

<p><q>Thank you, John.  Mr Rochester told me to give you and
Mary this.</q></p>

<p>I put into his hand a five-pound note.  Without waiting
to hear more, I left the kitchen.  In passing the door of
that sanctum some time after, I caught the words &mdash;</p>

<p><q>She'll happen do better for him nor ony o' t' grand
ladies.</q> And again, <q>If she ben't one o' th'
handsomest, she's noan fa&agrave;l, and varry good-natured;
and i' his een she's fair beautiful, onybody may see
that.</q></p>

<p>I wrote to Moor House and to Cambridge immediately, to
say what I had done: fully explaining also why I had thus
acted.  Diana and <pb n='475'/> Mary approved the step
unreservedly.  Diana announced that she would just give me
time to get over the honeymoon, and then she would come and
see me.</p>

<p><q>She had better not wait till then, Jane,</q> said Mr
Rochester, when I read her letter to him; <q>if she does,
she will be too late, for our honeymoon will shine our life
long: its beams will only fade over your grave or mine.</q></p>

<p>How St John received the news I don't know: he never
answered the letter in which I communicated it: yet six
months after he wrote to me, without, however, mentioning Mr
Rochester's name or alluding to my marriage.  His letter was
then calm, and though very serious, kind.  He has maintained
a regular, though not very frequent correspondence ever
since: he hopes I am happy, and trusts I am not of those who
live without God in the world, and only mind earthly things.</p>

The decision to focus on Bront's text, rather than on the printing of it in this particular edition, is one aspect of a fundamental encoding issue: that of selectivity. An encoding makes explicit only those textual features of importance to the encoder. It is not difficult to think of ways in which the encoding of even this short passage might readily be extended. For example:

The TEI-recommended way of carrying all of these out is described in the remainder of this document. The TEI scheme as a whole also provides for an enormous range of other possibilities, of which we cite only a few:

For recommendations on these and many other possibilities, the full Guidelines should be consulted.

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Date: (revised October 2004) Author: Lou Burnard (revised SPQR).
Copyright TEI 1995