Chapter 15
Tongues of flame darted round the bed: the curtains were on fire.  In the midst of blaze and vapour, Mr. Rochester lay stretched motionless, in deep sleep. / “Wake! wake!” I cried. I shook him, but he only murmured and turned: the smoke had stupefied him.

"If you are not warm enough, you may take my cloak yonder; wrap it about you, and sit down in the arm-chair: there,—I will put it on. Now place your feet on the stool, to keep them out of the wet. I am going to leave you a few minutes. I shall take the candle. Remain where you are till I return; be as still as a mouse. I must pay a visit to the second storey. Don’t move, remember, or call any one.”

He re-entered, pale and very gloomy. “I have found it all out,” said he, setting his candle down on the washstand; “it is as I thought.” / “How, sir?” / He made no reply, but stood with his arms folded, looking on the ground. At the end of a few minutes he inquired in rather a peculiar tone—/ “I forget whether you said you saw anything when you opened your chamber door.” / “No, sir, only the candlestick on the ground.” / “But you heard an odd laugh? You have heard that laugh before, I should think, or something like it?” / “Yes, sir: there is a woman who sews here, called Grace Poole,—she laughs in that way. She is a singular person.” / “Just so. Grace Poole—you have guessed it. She is, as you say, singular—very. Well, I shall reflect on the subject. Meantime, I am glad that you are the only person, besides myself, acquainted with the precise details of to-night’s incident. You are no talking fool: say nothing about it. I will account for this state of affairs” (pointing to the bed): “and now return to your own room. I shall do very well on the sofa in the library for the rest of the night. It is near four:—in two hours the servants will be up.” / “Good-night, then, sir,” said I, departing.

He held out his hand; I gave him mine: he took it first in one, then in both his own. / “You have saved my life: I have a pleasure in owing you so immense a debt…. Nothing else that has being would have been tolerable to me in the character of creditor for such an obligation: but you: it is different;—I feel your benefits no burden, Jane.” / He paused; gazed at me: words almost visible trembled on his lips,—but his voice was checked. / “Good-night again, sir. There is no debt, benefit, burden, obligation, in the case.” / “I knew,” he continued, “you would do me good in some way, at some time;—I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you: their expression and smile did not”—(again he stopped)—“did not” (he proceeded hastily) “strike delight to my very inmost heart so for nothing. People talk of natural sympathies; I have heard of good genii: there are grains of truth in the wildest fable. My cherished preserver, goodnight!” / Strange energy was in his voice, strange fire in his look. /“I am glad I happened to be awake,” I said: and then I was going. /“What! you will go?” / “I am cold, sir.” / “Cold? Yes,—and standing in a pool! Go, then, Jane; go!” But he still retained my hand, and I could not free it.

"Strange!” he exclaimed, suddenly starting again from the point. “Strange that I should choose you for the confidant of all this, young lady; passing strange that you should listen to me quietly, as if it were the most usual thing in the world for a man like me to tell stories of his opera-mistresses to a quaint, inexperienced girl like you! But the last singularity explains the first, as I intimated once before: you, with your gravity, considerateness, and caution were made to be the recipient of secrets.  Besides, I know what sort of a mind I have placed in communication with my own: I know it is one not liable to take infection: it is a peculiar mind: it is a unique one. Happily I do not mean to harm it: but, if I did, it would not take harm from me. The more you and I converse, the better; for while I cannot blight you, you may refresh me.


He was proud, sardonic, harsh to inferiority of every description: in my secret soul I knew that his great kindness to me was balanced by unjust severity to many others. He was moody, too; unaccountably so; I more than once, when sent for to read to him, found him sitting in his library alone, with his head bent on his folded arms; and, when he looked up, a morose, almost a malignant, scowl blackened his features….  I cannot deny that I grieved for his grief, whatever that was, and would have given much to assuage it.