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Free Barron's Booknotes-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte-Free Online Book Notes
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CHAPTER 13

Jane does not see Mr. Rochester again until the next evening, after dinner. At this time, Rochester tells her then when he first saw her sitting near the road the previous evening he thought of "fairy tales" and wondered if she had bewitched his horse. Jane doesn't mention that she was having similar thoughts about him, but Rochester's confession makes her feel that there's some special bond between the two of them. Normally, Jane is shy with strangers, but soon she and her employer are engaged in a light-hearted conversation about the "men in green" (fairies), much to the confusion of Mrs. Fairfax.

Rochester asks to see Jane's watercolors. He agrees with her judgment that she isn't yet a very skillful painter, but he says there is thought in them and insists the thoughts are "elfish." "And who taught you to paint wind?" he asks, amazed. Then, for no reason that Jane can see, his mood abruptly turns gloomy and Jane and Mrs. Fairfax are dismissed from the room.

After a cheerful beginning the chapter ends on a note of mystery. Mrs. Fairfax explains to Jane that Edward Rochester, their employer, didn't get along with his father and elder brother, which is why he has spent so much of his life traveling in Europe. Furthermore, Mr. Rochester never expected to be the owner of Thornfield; he inherited the house just nine years ago after his brother died without a will. Mrs. Fairfax hints that unpleasant memories of his brother keep Mr. Rochester from spending more time at home.


CHAPTER 14

For the next few days Mr. Rochester is occupied with business and his gentlemen friends from the neighborhood, and Jane and Adele hardly see him. Finally, one evening after dinner he sends for them in the drawing room and gives Adele a beautifully wrapped box containing a rose-colored silk dress-the present from France she has been eagerly hoping for.

Noticing Jane looking at him, Mr. Rochester suddenly asks her whether she thinks he's handsome. Jane, all too honestly, blurts out, "No, sir." She doesn't believe in flattery.

He keeps questioning her, and she begins to suspect that he's amusing himself at her expense. She refuses to be drawn into the game. But he's not offended; he admires her proud, outspoken manner. When Jane says that no one "free-born" would stand for being insulted, even by an employer, Mr. Rochester answers cynically, "Most things free-born will submit to anything for a salary." But Jane is the exception. "I find it impossible to be conventional with you," Rochester confesses.

Adele comes into the room to show off her new dress, and falls to one knee in front of Mr. Rochester, saying in French that she is thanking him "as her mother would have done." Rochester winces at this and tells Jane that, even though he doesn't love Adele, he's bringing her up in order to pay for numerous sins. Once again, just when Jane is beginning to feel comfortable in Mr. Rochester's company, she gets a hint that there's some dark, and perhaps guilty, secret connected with his past.

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