During Mr. Rochester’s absence, Jane observes Grace Poole’s odd behavior and then overhears other servants whispering about Poole’s high pay, although they stop when they see Jane. (Something is going on with that woman!)
Meanwhile, as Mr. Rochester returns to Thornfield Hall with a large group of guests, including Blanche (who reminds me of Ashton from North and South), Jane is instructed to bring Adèle to meet the women and to stay within the room; although Blanche and her mother are utterly boorish towards Jane; however, when she finds a moment to escape, Mr. Rochester attempts to stop her until he sees tears in her eyes, and allowing her to depart, he almost slips, “Good night, my ____!” (Hold your tongue, Mr. Rochester!)
During the week, the guests play a game of charades, and since Mr. Rochester and Blanche are a pair, Jane observes that while they may be married soon, it will not be for love but rather money or position. During one of the days that Mr. Rochester must leave on business, a friend, Mr. Mason, arrives and says that he will wait for Mr. Rochester to return. Meanwhile, a sorceress appears at Thornfield and seeks to tell fortunes of all the ladies, to which they oblige; unfortunately, Blanche is sullen over her fortune. Before the chapter ends, the sorceress asks to see Jane…
Jane has her turn with the sorcerer, who tells her details about herself, including that her happiness is very near to come; before long, though, Mr. Rochester reveals himself as the sorcerer to her, and Jane does not find it amusing. Neither would I. When Jane finally tells Mr. Rochester that Mr. Mason has arrived and is waiting for him, he is uneasy, and tests Jane’s loyalty, though I do not know why, yet. Then he asks Jane to quietly bring Mr. Mason in to see him.
Am I supposed to like this man, Mr. Rochester? I am utterly perplexed by this man, and it bothers me, as does Thornfield. And Mr. Rochester asked, “Yet would to God there was an end of all this!” You can say that again.
There is another mystery this night at Thornfield - above Jane’s apartment: screams and a scuffle, and before you know it, Jane is in the middle of it: Mr. Rochester has Jane assist Mr. Mason, up on that mysterious third level, who is bleeding profusely from his injury, until a doctor arrives and they are able to send Mr. Mason quietly off at dawn.
Afterward, Mr. Rochester speaks privately with Jane: he tells her a story (I suspect about himself) of a man who commits an “error” in another country and lives a life of sin, however, now wants to redeem himself by living morally through marriage; yet, customs prevent him from doing so, and he asks Jane for her opinion. She rightly suggests repentance from God not mortal man or woman. As if it goes in one ear and out the other, he wonders if he may know salvation through a marriage with Blanche, but Jane cannot respond because some of the guests have awakened.