Of course, these characters are not mine, however, that does not mean I don’t appreciate reviews.
The plan had been simple. The maid was easily startled and Thornfield seemed right of a gothic novel with its dark and mysterious corridors. It didn’t make much for Blanche to convince the girl to create the diversion. She knew where his room was, it would only take correct timing to ensure that her place as Mrs. Rochester would never be doubted.
The maid screamed and as expected, all ran out of their room and Blanche came out of the nook leading to his room and joined the hysteria.
“Where the devil is Rochester?” cried Colonel Dent. “I can not find him in his bed.”
“Here! here!” was shouted in return. “Be composed, all of you: I’m coming.”
And the door at the end of the gallery opened, and Mr. Rochester advanced with a candle: he had just descended from the upper story. One of the ladies ran to him directly; she seized his arm: it was Miss Ingram.
“What awful event has taken place?” said she. “Speak! let us know the worst at once!”
“But don’t pull me down or strangle me,” he replied: for the Misses Eshton were clinging about him now; and the two dowagers, in vast white wrappers, were bearing down on him like ships in full sail.
“All’s right!—all’s right!” he cried. “It’s a mere rehearsal of “Much Ado about Nothing.” Ladies, keep off, or I shall wax dangerous.”
And dangerous he looked: his black eyes darted sparks. Calming himself by an effort, he added, “A servant has had the nightmare; that is all. She’s an excitable, nervous person: she construed her dream into an apparition, or something of that sort, no doubt; and has taken a fit with fright. Now, then, I must see you all back into your rooms; for, till the house is settled, she can not be looked after. Gentlemen, have the goodness to set the ladies the example. Miss Ingram, I am sure you will not fail in evincing superiority to idle terrors. Amy and Louisa, return to your nests like a pair of doves, as you are. Mesdames” (to the dowagers) “you will take cold, to a dead certainty, if you stay in this chill gallery any longer.”
What Blanche was unaware of is that Edward Rochester had other matrimonial plans; his plans included a young woman few in the party truly saw.
Some two months later, the summer sun started to disappear into the hills; Edward Rochester made his passionate declaration, of which the results were surprising even to him.
“Come to my side Jane, and let us explain and understand one another.”
“I will never again come to your side: I am torn away now, and can not return.”
“But, Jane, I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry.”
I was silent: I thought he mocked me.
“Come, Jane—come hither.”
“Your bride stands between us.”
He rose, and with a stride reached me.
“My bride is here,” he said, again drawing me to him, “because my equal is here, and my likeness. Jane, will you marry me?”
Still I did not answer, and still I writhed myself from his grasp: for I was still incredulous.
“Do you doubt me, Jane?”
“You have no faith in me?”
“Not a whit.”
“Am I a liar in your eyes?” he asked passionately. “Little skeptic, you shall be convinced. What love have I for Miss Ingram? None: and that you know. What love has she for me? None: as I have taken pains to prove; I caused a rumor to reach her that my fortune was not a third of what was supposed, and after that I presented myself to see the result; it was coldness both from her and her mother. I would not—I could not—marry Miss Ingram. You—you strange—you almost unearthly thing!—I love as my own flesh. You—poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are—I entreat to accept me as a husband.”
“What, me?” I ejaculated: beginning in his earnestness—and especially in his incivility—to credit his sincerity: “me who have not a friend in the world but you—if you are my friend: not a shilling but what you have given me?”
“You, Jane. I must have you for my own—entirely my own. Will you be mine? Say yes, quickly.”
“Tell me why not”.
“I saw Miss Ingram come out of your room the night Mr. Mason was injured”.
He saw the tears in her eyes; how his actions had hurt the one woman he loved most in the world.
“Jane, come here, please allow me to explain” he held out his hand to her.
“Jane, come back”.
“I am sorry, Mr. Rochester, but I will not” he watched her back disappear as she ran back inside the hall.
For the next few weeks, she avoided him and took her meals with Adele and Mrs. Fairfax.
“Mrs. Fairfax, where has Miss Eyre gone to?” Edward asked, she had not been seen since midday.
“I do not know, sir”.
“Is she in her room?’.
“I do not know” the housekeeper replied.
He walked towards her room and knocked on the door, she did not answer.
“I believe I saw Miss Eyre walking to Hay, she mentioned something of a letter that was waiting for her” Leah informed him.
“Tell John to saddle my horse”.
“As you wish, sir” Leah turned around to find John.
He found her on the lane returning from Hay.
“Why did you go alone, Janet?” he asked.
“I had a letter waiting for me”.
“You should have told me where you going, I would have at least send the carriage to take you”.
“The walk was reasonable; there was no need of taking the carriage”.
“Will you at least ride back with me?”.
“I can walk”.
“If that is what you wish, I will walk with you” he got off his horse and began to walk with her.
They walked for nearly 30 minutes in silence.
“You must know, Janet, I meant what I said. My heart, as well everything I own, is yours, if you will have me”.
“You know I cannot. In fact, I will be leaving”.
“Janet, you cannot be serious”.
“I am perfectly serious; my uncle has written to me, he is on death bed”.
“Where is this uncle of yours, you have never mentioned him before”.
“I only learned of him when I went to visit Aunt Reed, he had been searching for me while I was still at Lowood”.
“You would leave me, Jane, forever” Edward balked.
“You are a married man; I will not be your mistress”.
“I care nothing for Miss Ingram”.
“I am referring to your living wife, if I do not say goodbye now, I shall never say goodbye”.
“What wife? Have you heard speak of a wife? I have no wife, save for you, if you will only tell me that you will marry me”.
“You know I cannot”.
“Janet…” again he watched her enter Thornfield and go up the stairs toward her room.
Two days later, the carriage disappeared into Hay and away from Thornfield, the letter from her uncle, John Eyre in her bag.
“My dearest niece,
I must apologize for not being able to locate you sooner, as I was unaware of the fabrication of Mrs. Reed.
I feel I must explain my actions. Your late father and I did not get along as we should have as boys and quarreled often. One quarrel led our separation, which I now regret. My physician says that I am on my deathbed, which has led me to locate you. I am unmarried and without children and I wish to leave you all of my worldly possessions.
I have heard through channels that you are currently employed by Edward Rochester of Thornfield Hall, whose reputation precedes him. I warn you Jane, keep your guard around him, for he is not what he seems. If he should propose marriage, I warn to decline, my contacts warn me that he has a wife living, though she is mad.
Please come dearest Jane, so I may see you with my own eyes and make amends for my past.
The next day, she was met by her uncle’s manservant at the dock in Portsmith, where a ship would take her to Madeira, where her new life would begin.
He would never know her tears, or the heartbreak of the lies he had created. But no matter how many years she lived or if she had the opportunity to marry for true affection, Edward Fairfax Rochester would forever live in her heart.