Part Nine: Return to Thornfield

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Part Nine: Return to Thornfield

I was so excited to think that I was going to see my old home again. The trees and the road were just the same as when I left. I arrived at the house, and stood and looked. I could not believe what I saw. My beautiful home was in ruins①! No one could live here now. I now knew why Mrs Fairfax never answered my letters. The walls of the house were still standing, but the roof had gone. The windows were dark and empty. The gardens were neglected②. The walls of the old house were black. There was no sound except for the song of birds and the noise of the wind. Where was Mrs Fairfax? Where was little Adele? And where —oh where was Mr Rochester?

I hurried back to the village and asked a man to tell me what had happened. ‘Last autumn, the house burned down in the middle of the night,’ he told me.

‘How did it happen?’ I asked him.

‘People say that Mr Rochester’s wife started the fire,’ he said. ‘No one ever saw the lady, but they say that she was mad. They say she started the fire in the attic, where she lived. Mrs Fairfax was visiting friends when it happened, and the little girl, Adele, was away at school.’

I stared at the man. I could not believe what he was telling me. ‘Mr Rochester didn’t want to see anyone at the time,’ he said.

‘It seems he was very unhappy. He wanted to marry a young girl, but she ran away.’

‘What happened when the fire started?’ I asked.
① in ruins:破败不堪。
② neglected:荒废的。

‘Mr Rochester got all the servants out of the house,’ he continued, ‘and then he went back in to save his wife. I saw her standing on the roof. She was waving① her arms and shouting. Mr Rochester tried to help her, but she would not let him. Suddenly, she fell from the roof.’

‘Did she die?’ I asked.

‘Yes, she died at once,’ he said. ‘And Mr Rochester was badly injured. When he came out of the house, he was blind② and he had lost one hand.’

I had been so afraid that the man was going to tell me that Mr Rochester was dead. I began to hope again. He was hurt, but he was still alive!

‘Where does Mr Rochester live now?’ I asked the man.

‘He lives near here, at a quiet little place called Ferndean,’ he replied. ‘He can’t travel far since he was hurt. He lives with just two servants. He never has any visitors.’

I went to Ferndean at once, and arrived there just before dark. When I got near the house, I saw a man come out. I knew at once that it was Mr Rochester. He looked so different from the man I had known. He was still tall and his hair was still dark, but his face was sad. He could not walk without help.

After a few minutes, he turned and went slowly back into the house. I knocked on the door and Mary, a servant, answered it. She recognised③ me at once. I told her that I had heard about the fire at Thornfield Hall, and about what had happened to Mr Rochester.

‘Go to Mr Rochester and tell him that he has a visitor,’ I said to Mary. ‘But don’t tell him who it is.’
① waving:挥舞。
② blind:瞎的。
③ recognized:认出。

‘He won’t see you, Miss Jane,’ she said. ‘He has refused to see anyone since the fire.’

I went into the room where Mr Rochester was sitting. ‘Is that you, Mary?’ he asked. ‘Answer me!’

‘Will you have some water?’ I said to him. ‘That is Jane Eyre’s voice,’ Mr Rochester said. ‘Jane, is it really you?’

‘Yes. It is really me,’ I said. ‘I’ve come home to be with you. I’ll never leave you again.’

‘Oh Jane, why did you go?’ he asked. ‘Why did you leave so suddenly?

Why did you not stay and let me help you?’ ‘You know why I went,’ I said. ‘It was the only thing that I could do. But things have changed. I am a rich woman now.’ I told Mr Rochester all about my cousins, and about my new home.

‘Then you do not need me now,’ he said. ‘Will you really stay with me?’ There was hope in his voice. I smiled at him, although he could not see me.

‘Of course I will,’ I said.

‘But you’re so young,’ he said. ‘You don’t want to marry me. I’m blind, and I can’t do anything. You must marry a young man. What is your cousin, St John Rivers, like? Is he young or old?’

‘He is young and handsome,’ I answered. ‘Do you like him?’ he asked.

‘Yes, I do,’ I answered. ‘He’s a very good man.’ ‘Does he like you?’ he asked.

‘Yes, he does,’ I answered. ‘He wants me to marry him.’ ‘Will you marry him?’ he asked.

‘No, I don’t love him.’ I told him.

Mr Rochester looked happy. He held my hand, and he was silent for a long time. Then, at last he said to me very quietly, ‘Jane, may I ask you again now? Will you marry me?’

‘Yes, I will marry you,’ I said. I suddenly felt a great surge① of happiness. Mr Rochester, too, looked happier than I had ever seen him.

Three days later, Mr Rochester and I were married.

Diana and Mary were delighted when I wrote to tell them the news. I also wrote to St John, but he never replied. He went to India and did much good work there, but he never married.

Little Adele came back to live with us when she had finished school. She is now a wonderful friend to me.

Mr Rochester and I have now been married for ten years.

Two years after we were married, Mr Rochester began to see again with one eye. He can now see me and our two children.

Our story has been a strange and terrible one. We both suffered greatly before we could be together, but now, at last, we are happy.

① surge:急剧上升。

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