Chapters 33 and 34
St. John and Jane have a long talk. He has discovered her true
identity, for the strip of paper that he tore off one of her sketches had her name ‘Jane Eyre’ on it.
He recounts Jane’s life story and then continues the tale after she fled from Thornfield, saying that a lawyer, Mr. Briggs, is urgently seeking Jane concerning her uncle John Eyre of Madeira. He has died leaving her a legacy of '20,000 and he is the same Uncle John that the Rivers family recently mourned, so they are in fact cousins.
Jane is excited, firstly because the Rivers are related to her, and secondly
because she will be financially independent.
She immediately declares that her inheritance can be easily shared four ways, and she wishes that her three cousins shared in her fortune. St. John is impressed with his new cousin’s Christian attitude to this good fortune. She advises St. John that she will continue at the school until a substitute administrator can be found, and she presses ahead with the legal transfer of the inheritance to her cousins.
Christmas approaches and Jane and Hannah the maid, work hard in preparing
the house for the return of Diana and Mary. Jane takes it upon herself to carry out some renovation to the old house, and although St. John has reservations about this, Diana and Mary are delighted when they
Whilst the three young ladies and Hannah enjoy the holiday break, St. John continues his pastoral care often being out until late at night, visiting the sick and poor. They learn that Rosamond is to marry someone else. St. John wants Jane to stop her study of German and practice Hindustani.
Spring arrives and Jane decides to write to Mrs. Fairfax and Mr. Briggs for
news of Rochester, but she receives no reply.
St. John wishes to marry Jane so that they can both work in India
together. She agrees to go with him to India, but as his sister and not his wife. St. John is hurt by Jane’s refusal to marry him, and he shuns her.
We get further information concerning St. John’s makeup.
He is surprised at Jane’s reaction to the letter concerning the death of her Uncle John. She shows sadness at the loss of a relative, delight that she has found new relatives in the Rivers family, and only then does she appreciate the inheritance she has received. He perhaps thinks he is the only one capable of leading a truly Christian life, but Jane’s totally honest reaction to the revelation contained in Uncle John’s letter contradicts this view. He starts to seriously consider Jane as a wife to share in his missionary duties. He regards her as being “docile, diligent, disinterested, faithful, constant and courageous.” He doesn’t consider her independent spirit and his unfeeling description of her sounds as if he would treat her like a pet.
He is aware that her love for Rochester is still apparent, but this is
sinful and she can perhaps atone for this by devoting her life to God’s work.
Jane deals with St. John’s proposal cleverly, offering to go with him as a
helper rather than a wife, knowing that this would not suit St. John.