Mr. Rochester, it seems, by the surgeon's orders, went to bed early that night;
nor did he rise soon next morning. When he did come down, it was to attend to
business: his agent and some of his tenants were arrived, and waiting to speak
Adele and I had now to vacate the library: it would be in daily requisition as a
reception-room for callers. A fire was lit in an apartment upstairs, and there I
carried our books, and arranged it for the future schoolroom. I discerned in the
course of the morning that Thornfield Hall was a changed place: no longer silent
as a church, it echoed every hour or two to a knock at the door, or a clang of the
bell; steps, too, often traversed the hall, and new voices spoke in different keys
below; a rill from the outer world was flowing through it; it had a master: for my
part, I liked it better.
Adele was not easy to teach that day; she could not apply: she kept running to
the door and looking over the banisters to see if she could get a glimpse of Mr.
Rochester; then she coined pretexts to go downstairs, in order, as I shrewdly
suspected, to visit the library, where I knew she was not wanted; then, when I got
a little angry, and made her sit still, she continued to talk incessantly of her "ami,
Monsieur Edouard Fairfax de Rochester," as she dubbed him (I had not before
heard his prenomens), and to conjecture what presents he had brought her: for it
appears he had intimated the night before, that when his luggage came from
Millcote, there would be found amongst it a little box in whose contents she had
"Et cela doit signifier," said she, "qu'il y aura là dedans un cadeau pour moi, et
peut-être pour vous aussi, mademoiselle. Monsieur a parle de vous: il m'a
demande le nom de ma gouvernante, et si elle n'etait pas une petite personne,
assez mince et un peu pâle. J'ai dit qu'oui: car c'est vrai, n'est-ce pas,
I and my pupil dined as usual in Mrs. Fairfax's parlour; the afternoon was wild
and snowy, and we passed it in the schoolroom. At dark I allowed Adele to put
away books and work, and to run downstairs; for, from the comparative silence
below, and from the cessation of appeals to the door-bell, I conjectured that Mr.
Rochester was now at liberty. Left alone, I walked to the window; but nothing was
to be seen thence: twilight and snowflakes together thickened the air, and hid the
very shrubs on the lawn. I let down the curtain and went back to the fireside.
In the clear embers I was tracing a view, not unlike a picture I remembered to
have seen of the castle of Heidelberg, on the Rhine, when Mrs. Fairfax came in,
breaking up by her entrance the fiery mosaic I had been piercing together, and
scattering too some heavy unwelcome thoughts that were beginning to throng on
"Mr. Rochester would be glad if you and your pupil would take tea with him in the
drawing-room this evening," said she: "he has been so much engaged all day
that he could not ask to see you before."
"When is his tea-time?" I inquired.