Jane looks at herself in the mirror, dressed, and ready for her marriage to
When Rochester sees her he says, “Fair as a lily, and not only the pride of
his life, but the desire of his eyes.”
They walk hand-in-hand to the church, and the Minister asks if anyone knows
of any impediment to their marriage.
Mr. Briggs, a London Attorney, insists that Rochester married Bertha Antoinetta Mason in Jamaica fifteen years ago. Rochester says that there is no proof that his wife is still alive, when Richard Mason enters and declares that he saw Bertha in April.
Rochester commands that the wedding party follow him. He takes them to
the third floor of Thornfield Hall to meet Grace Poole’s patient.
Those assembled see Bertha groveling on all fours hidden beneath a mop of dark grizzled hair. She is a tall woman, almost the same height as Rochester, who wrestles her to a chair, and ties her down with a cord. He says, “That is my wife, such is the sole conjugal embrace I am ever to know”, and laying his hand on Jane’s shoulder he continues, “and this is what I wished to have. This young girl, who stands so grave and quiet at the mouth of hell, looking collectedly at the gambols of a demon,” Rochester asks the lawyer and the minister not to judge him.
It transpires that Jane’s letter to her uncle John Eyre had alerted Mr.
Mason who by coincidence is a business associate of John Eyre. He also states that John Eyre is critically ill.
In shock, Jane returns to her room. Jane remained there for quite a
while and pondered what had happened. She mused, “I looked at my love: that feeling which was my master’s – which he had created; it shivered in my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle: sickness and
anguish had seized it.” In the end, she cannot totally blame Rochester for his betrayal of her. She also blames herself for being blind and weak.
There is much imagery in this chapter.
At last the reader comes face-to-face with Mrs. Rochester, and the
circumstances concerning this marriage come to the fore.
Rochester and his family had been tricked into this arranged marriage, which
was designed to bring security to both families. He had suffered for fifteen long years, and had vainly hoped he would be released from this invisible prison.
Yet again there is reference to a child, this time shivering in a cot, which
this time symbolizes Jane’s love for Rochester. In a way it is an answer to one of the questions posed through Jane’s dreams.