Jane describes the gypsy as a sibyl (a female prophet or oracle), who goes
on to read the fortunes of all those present apart from Jane. She insists on having her private audience with Jane before she leaves the house. Out of curiosity Jane enters the darkened room and
approaches the gypsy.
Jane tells the gypsy that she does not believe such nonsense, but from their early conversation, Jane admits that the gypsy is quick of ear, eye and brain. The gypsy asks, “Why don’t you tremble?”
“I am not cold.”
“Why don’t you turn pale?”
“I am not sick.”
“Why don’t you consult my art?”
“I am not silly.”
The old crone laughed under her bonnet and started to smoke a short pipe,
and then said, “You are cold; you are sick; you are silly.”
Jane responded, “Prove it.”
The gypsy continued to probe Jane with pointed questions and also revealed
that she had an understanding of Jane, which unsettled her.
Jane is concerned that the gypsy seems to know about matters close to her
heart. Still suspecting that a trick is being played on her, she wonders if the gypsy is Grace Poole. The gypsy removes her disguise to reveal Mr. Rochester, who begs forgiveness from Jane.
Jane reveals that Mr. Mason has arrived, and the color leaves Rochester’s
face. He takes a glass of wine.
There is a vague Gothic tone in these chapters, with the introduction of the
The scene is set in a darkened room with the old hag predicting the future
for the guests at Thornfield.
When Jane is summoned, she goes out of curiosity and perhaps she should be
in fear of such practices. The pipe-smoking gypsy is able to touch on matters close of Jane’s heart, and she starts to wonder if the gypsy does possess the gift of foretelling the future – for how would she
know of these matters. When Rochester is revealed as the gypsy, all is made plain.
Chapter 19 should be read in detail for Rochester just about confesses his
love for Jane.
It is important that the reader picks up on this, as it is a key development of the plot. He is in fact trying to encourage Jane to admit her true feelings, which he suspects. He tells her to listen to her heart instead of her brain, and that he is aware of her inner beauty and charm.