A heart-stopping shriek fills Thornfield Hall and Rochester explains it as
one of the servants having had a nightmare. He rushes upstairs and Jane soon joins him, and they find Richard Mason soaked in blood. From the adjacent room, Grace Poole’s distinctive cackle can be heard.
Rochester gives Jane instructions on how to care for Mason’s wound while he
leaves to get help. As he leaves, he locks the door so that Jane is trapped between the outside world and the snarling beast she can hear in the adjacent room.
When the surgeon arrives, he notes that Mason has been bitten and stabbed,
and Rochester makes plans for Mason to depart as soon as possible. Mason begs Rochester to take care of ‘her’, and he departs in a carriage for the surgeon’s house.
Rochester seems subdued by the oppressive atmosphere of Thornfield and asks
Jane if marriage to Blanche will rejuvenate him. Jane doesn’t think so.
The Gothic theme continues into this chapter. It starts with cries for
help. The silence of the night was shattered by a savage, sharp, shrilly sound that filled Thornfield Hall.
Rochester explains that it must be one of the servants having a nightmare. Little do they know of the nightmare that resides on the top floor of Thornfield Hall.
Jane is taken up there by Rochester when they find the wounded Mason.
Whilst Rochester is away getting the surgeon, Jane has “to listen for the movements of the wild beast or fiend in yonder side-den.”
This is perhaps the most mysterious and suspense filled chapter to date.
The reader is obtaining an insight as to why Rochester is so brusque and
grim at times.
The house clearly contains some evil that oppresses Rochester. The only release from this pressure has been the arrival of Jane. Although Jane is happy in the house with her new family, all that keeps Rochester here is Jane herself, for there is some evil that haunts him. He makes reference to this after Jane describes Thornfield as a ‘splendid mansion’. Rochester: “You see it through a charmed medium; you cannot discern that the gilding is slime and the silk draperies cobwebs; that the marble is sordid slate, and the polished woods mere refuse chips and scaly bark.” This quotation gives the reader a foretaste of what Thornfield will become by the end of the story.
As the plot develops, Jane does not receive answers to her questions, only
more questions, such as - What hold does Mason have over Rochester? What is the source of the snarling sounds?
Is it Grace Poole? What has she to do with Mason? Why would Rochester have to care for her?
All that Jane knows is that she is becoming more and more embroiled in her
master’s problems, but her love for him is undiminished.