Chapter 36
I looked with timorous joy towards a stately house: I saw a blackened ruin.
"I suppose you are a stranger in these parts, or you would have heard what happened last autumn,—Thornfield Hall is quite a ruin: it was burnt down just about harvest-time. A dreadful calamity!….a terrible spectacle: I witnessed it myself… The fire broke out at dead of night…” /“At dead of night!” I muttered. Yes, that was ever the hour of fatality at Thornfield./….“You are not perhaps aware…that there was a lady—a—a lunatic, kept in the house?.... This lady…turned out to be Mr. Rochester’s wife! The discovery was brought about in the strangest way. There was a young lady, a governess at the Hall, that Mr. Rochester fell in—” / “But the fire,” I suggested. / “I’m coming to that, ma’am—that Mr. Edward fell in love with. The servants say they never saw anybody so much in love as he was….They used to watch him—servants will, you know, ma’am—and he set store on her past everything: for all, nobody but him thought her so very handsome. She was a little small thing, they say, almost like a child…. Mr. Rochester was about forty, and this governess not twenty; and you see, when gentlemen of his age fall in love with girls, they are often like as if they were bewitched. Well, he would marry her.”