PART FIVE - THE NEXT MRS. ROCHESTER
A Surprise at Thornfield
In the morning, I told Diana and Mary that I had to go on a journey, and that I would be gone for a few days. They did not know the reason for my trip, but they did not ask me questions. After a day and a half of traveling, I arrived at the village near Thornfield. I ran across the field, thinking that in a few minutes, I would see the man I loved. "He might be walking in the gardens, and I could surprise him!" I thought.
But when I reached the main gate,I had a horrible shock ! Thornfield Hall was nothing but a burned mountain of stones. Everything was quiet. This was why no one at Thornfield had answered my letters! There had been a terrible fire. "Is anyone hurt...or dead?" I cried out as I began to run back to the village. I had to find someone who could tell me what had happened. In the village, I stopped at a hotel and asked.
"Well, Miss," the owner said, "One of Mr. Rochester's old servants is a good friend of mine. They told me everything! I can tell you that it was that Bertha Mason who started the fire, in the room that used to belong to the governess! You see, Rochester was in love with this girl, even though she was just a plain little lady. When she left, he almost went mad himself. His wife knew about the girl and was very jealous. "When the fire began, Rochester put his life in danger, helping everyone leave the house. Then he bravely went back to save his wife, but she jumped out of a window and killed herself. But because he tried to save her, he was hurt badly in the fire. He lost one hand, and he is blind now. It's sad, isn't it, Miss?"
"Where is he now?" I asked.
"Well, I think he lives at Ferndean Manor, which is another house of his. It's thirty miles away." I found a carriage to take me there immediately.