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‘I will put her to some test,’ thought I: ‘such absolute
impenetrability is past comprehension.’ ‘Good morning, Grace,’ I
said. ‘Has anything happened here? I thought I heard the servants
all talking together a while ago.’ ‘Only master had been reading in
his bed last night; he fell asleep with his candle lit, and the curtains
got on fire; but, fortunately, he awoke before the bedclothes or the
woodwork caught, and contrived to quench the flames with the
water in the ewer.’

‘A strange affair!’ I said, in a low voice: then, looking at her
fixedly-‘Did Mr. Rochester wake nobody? Did no one hear him
move?’ She again raised her eyes to me, and this time there was
something of consciousness in their expression. She seemed to
examine me warily; then she answered‘The servants sleep so far
off, you know, Miss, they would not be likely to hear. Mrs.
Fairfax’s room and yours are the nearest to master’s; but Mrs.
Fairfax said she heard nothing: when people get elderly, they often
sleep heavy.’ She paused, and then added, with a sort of assumed
indifference, but still in a marked and significant tone-‘But you are
young, Miss; and I should say a light sleeper: perhaps you may
have heard a noise?’ ‘I did,’ said I, dropping my voice, so that
Leah, who was still polishing the panes, could not hear me, ‘and at
first I thought it was Pilot: but Pilot cannot laugh; and I am certain
I heard a laugh, and a strange one.’ She took a new needleful of
thread, waxed it carefully, threaded her needle with a steady hand,
and then observed, with perfect composure‘It is hardly likely
master would laugh, I should think, Miss, when he was in such
danger: you must have been dreaming.’ ‘I was not dreaming,’ I
said, with some warmth, for her brazen coolness provoked me.
Again she looked at me; and with the same scrutinising and
conscious eye.

‘Have you told master that you heard a laugh?’ she inquired.
‘I have not had the opportunity of speaking to him this morning.’
‘You did not think of opening your door and looking out into the
gallery?’ she further asked.

She appeared to be cross-questioning me, attempting to draw from
me information unawares. The idea struck me that if she
discovered I knew or suspected her guilt, she would be playing off
some of her malignant pranks on me; I thought it advisable to be
on my guard.

‘On the contrary,’ said I, ‘I bolted my door.’ ‘Then you are not in
the habit of bolting your door every night before you get into bed?’
‘Fiend! she wants to know my habits, that she may lay her plans
accordingly!’ Indignation again prevailed over prudence: I replied
sharply, ‘Hitherto I have often omitted to fasten the bolt: I did not
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