What a consternation of soul was mine that dreary afternoon! How all my brain was in tumult, and all my heart in insurrection! Yet in what darkness, what dense ignorance, was the mental battle fought! I could not answer the ceaseless inward question—why I thus suffered; now, at the distance of—I will not say how many years, I see it clearly. (Jane Eyre)
(1) Is the highlighted sentence an interrogative one externally, yet denoting exclamatory expression?
(2) Is the object of preposition ‘of’ ‘years’?
1 - Yes, though 'externally' is an odd way of putting it.
2 - The object of 'of' is the unstated number of years.