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mosaic I had been piecing together, and scattering too some heavy
unwelcome thoughts that were beginning to throng on my
‘Mr. Rochester would be glad if you and your pupil would take tea
with him in the drawing-room this evening,’ said she: ‘he has been
so much engaged all day that he could not ask to see you before.’
‘When is his tea-time?’ I inquired.
‘Oh, at six o’clock: he keeps early hours in the country. You had
better change your frock now; I will go with you and fasten it.
Here is a candle.’ ‘Is it necessary to change my frock?’ ‘Yes, you
had better: I always dress for the evening when Mr. Rochester is
here.’ This additional ceremony seemed somewhat stately;
however, I repaired to my room, and, with Mrs. Fairfax’s aid,
replaced my black stuff dress by one of black silk; the best and the
only additional one I had, except one of light grey, which, in my
Lowood notions of the toilette, I thought too fine to be worn, except
on first-rate occasions.
‘You want a brooch,’ said Mrs. Fairfax. I had a single little pearl
ornament which Miss Temple gave me as a parting keepsake: I put
it on, and then we went downstairs. Unused as I was to strangers,
it was rather a trial to appear thus formally summoned in Mr.
Rochester’s presence. I let Mrs. Fairfax precede me into the dining-
room, and kept in her shade as we crossed that apartment; and,
passing the arch, whose curtain was now dropped, entered the
elegant recess beyond.
Two wax candles stood lighted on the table, and two on the
mantelpiece; basking in the light and heat of a superb fire, lay
Pilot-Adele knelt near him. Half reclined on a couch appeared Mr.
Rochester, his foot supported by the cushion; he was looking at
Adele and the dog: the fire shone full on his face. I knew my
traveller with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead,
made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair. I
recognised his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than
beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim
mouth, chin, and jaw-yes, all three were very grim, and no
mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonised
in squareness with his physiognomy: I suppose it was a good
figure in the athletic sense of the termbroad chested and thin
flanked, though neither tall nor graceful.
Mr. Rochester must have been aware of the entrance of Mrs. Fairfax
and myself; but it appeared he was not in the mood to notice us,
for he never lifted his head as we approached.