.Jane has left Lowood School for a job as a governess at Thornfield Hall. When she arrives she is waited on by a woman she assumes to be her employer, Mrs. Fairfax. However, Mrs. Fairfax tells her that the estate is not hers, she is only the housekeeper. It belongs to a Mr. Rochester. Mrs. Fairfax describes Mr. Rochester’s appearance, but when Jane presses for details about his character, Mrs. Fairfax won’t say anything.
Jane’s student, Adele, is Mr. Rochester’s ward and a native of France. She is happy to have someone who can understand her native tongue. She is lively and energetic, at first difficult to teach because she won’t sit still. As time goes on, however, teacher and student develop a bond with each other.
What I find peculiar is Mr. Rochester’s entrance into the story. While Jane is on her way to the post office to deliver a letter, a man comes out of the bushes mounted on a horse. He reminds Jane of a Gytrash, a legendary creature from one of Bessie’s old fables. No sooner has she made the apparent connection when both horse and rider fall, the horse having slipped on a patch of ice. The rider is pinned to the ground under the weight of his horse. Shock and curiosity propel Jane to the man’s aid. However, instead of being grateful that someone has come to help him, he shrugs Jane off, insisting he does not need any help. Now upright and standing the man asks where Jane comes from. When she tells him she comes from Thornfield, he asks her if she knows Mr. Rochester. She doesn’t. The small talk apparently concluded, the man dismisses Jane as he attempts to remount his horse. However, Jane does not leave until she sees he is safely mounted. Back at Thornfield, she is informed by one of the servants that Mr. Rochester has returned. Upon seeing him, Jane realizes he is the man she tried to help earlier.
Okay, time out. Rochester seems to be superman if he can pull himself out from under his horse and into a standing position without any help. But why did he refuse Jane’s help? And what kind of guy doesn’t introduce himself to the person who is trying to help him? Jerk.
Back at Thornfield, Jane and Rochester are finally formally introduced. It takes Rochester a while to realize that Jane has been hired as Adele’s governess. This new information does not make him any nicer or more civil towards Jane. In his conversation with her, he implies that she is not proper and even blames her for the sprain he sustained from his fall. As time passes, he relaxes his indifference towards Jane, smiling and sometimes bowing when he sees her.
One night, Jane hears a noise. But not just any noise – an evil, maniacal laugh. Jane rises from her bed only to find that a fire has started, flames enveloping Mr. Rochester’s room and heading for the bed, where its occupant lays fast asleep. When yelling does not wake him, Jane runs for buckets of water, and pours them on the bed, dousing both the flames and her master. The water finally wakes Rochester. When Jane explains what happened, he cannot stop thanking her for saving his life. Jane and Rochester’s relationship changes again, more friendly towards each other than they were before.
Rochester goes away again, to London, returning with important people to entertain. Adele is overcome with excitement, itching to interact with the company. On her part, Jane isn’t sure what to do with her feelings toward Rochester, not wanting to be around the company because she might find that Rochester doesn’t care about her more than an employee.
Okay, now I’m confused. At what point did Jane start liking Rochester, or vice versa? I understand that natural disasters can bring people together, but apart from that, I can’t pinpoint anything else that hints at a shift in their relationship. It takes more than one event to make people fall in love, and I’m just not seeing anything other than the fire.