Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chapter 36: A blackened ruin

Having heard Rochester's voice from some far-off place the night before, Jane's up early, ready to set off and search for him. And after 36 hours on the road, she reaches the neighborhood of Thornfield.

She decides not to ask for news of the household, but sets out and walks the two miles to her former home. Only there's a bit of a surprise when she gets there:
I looked with timorous joy towards a stately house: I saw a blackened ruin.
She returns to the inn and gets the full story from the former butler. As he is not the most concise of storytellers, here's a precis:

Rochester kicked everyone out and shut himself up at Thornfield after Jane left. One night Grace was drunk and Bertha escaped the third floor, and took the opportunity to set some fires. Which spread. Rochester got everyone out of the house, then went back for Bertha. Bertha died, and Rochester ended up blind and missing one hand.

The ex-butler reveals that Rochester is now living at Ferndean, which is 30 miles away. Suddenly that distance is nothing to our well-traveled heroine.

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