Which is right; semi-colon or colon?
Daylight began to forsake the red-room; it was past four o’clock, and the beclouded afternoon was tending to drear twilight. I heard the rain still beating continuously on the staircase window, and the wind howling in the grove behind the hall; I grew by degrees cold as a stone, and then my courage sank. My habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, forlorn depression, fell damp on the embers of my decaying ire. All said I was wicked, and perhaps I might be so:?:; what thought had I been but just conceiving of starving myself to death? That certainly was a crime: and was I fit to die? Or was the vault under the chancel of Gateshead Church an inviting bourne? In such vault I had been told did Mr. Reed lie buried; and led by this thought to recall his idea, I dwelt on it with gathering dread. (Jane Eyre)
The highlighted punctuation is semi-colon in Gutenberg eBook, and colon in Penguin Books. Which is proper, or more proper in the context?
Re: Which is right; semi-colon or colon?
There are four examples of sentences joined with colons or semicolons in this short paragraph. That would be uncommon in modern English. There are justifications for either in the one you've queried.
Originally Posted by eipjoo
Are you sure you've copied the clause after the semicolon correctly? It seems to mean, "what thought had I been
but just conceiving but of starving myself to death?"