Jane Eyre Chapters 13-16 Summary

     Jane shows no interest in meeting Mr. Rochester, unaware that she has already met him, but notices a difference in the house while he is around. It seems to her that Thornfield Hall has come to life since he arrived. Every now and then someone knocks on the door, rings a bell- guests are coming, voices are heard.

     Jane is having difficulties with Adèle since Mr. Rochester arrived, she is too excited and cannot focus on studying. Their class is interrupted by Mrs. Fairfax who informs Jane that she is invited to join Mr. Rochester during his tea-time and suggests her to change her dress. Jane shows no emotions about the upcoming event, nor she understand the necessity to change her clothes for the occasion, but agrees both to come and change her dress.

     When Jane and Mrs. Fairfax enter the room, Mr. Rochester shows no sign of interest in either of them. He keeps his eyes on Adèle and the dog. The conversation finally starts when little Adèle asks if he has brought a present for Jane. He then asks Jane if she would like a present, but Jane has no definite answer, since she has no much experience with them.

     Right from the beginning their conversation seems odd. Rochester keeps asking peculiar questions, assuming the answers himself. His conclusions show a sting of prejudice and serve to belittle Jane, but she does not seem offended at all. For example, he asks her to play a piano for him, and stops her, telling her that she plays like any other school girl. Or, he asks her to show him her sketches, and concludes that she has no artist's skills. Then he abruptly ends the conversation wishing them all good night.

     Couple of days later, Rochester sends for Jane again. This time, he is more talkative than before, but their conversation is as odd as the previous one. It seems that they are constantly trying to outwit each other. He puts her to test by provoking her with the master-servant game, where he toys with his superior status- as a man, as an adult, as her employer, etc. Jane is the one who does not want to cross the line during this conversation and reminds him now and then that he is the one who has a power over her, suggesting that there are rules to be obeyed. As she confesses to Rochester herself, their conversation makes her bewildered, but not afraid.

     In Chapter 15, Rochester seizes the opportunity to talk to Jane and get to know her better. In one occasion, he tells her all about the betrayal of his former mistress and Adèle's mother, Celine Varens, a French opera dancer. Although he had provided Celine with a hotel room, luxurious wardrobe, diamonds, servants, she dared to cheat on him. The end of their relationship did not bring him entire freedom, as he got stuck with Adèle, whom he accepted as his daughter six months earlier, even if she is not his blood. Having shared his intimate problems with Jane, Rochester becomes more friendly toward her. Jane finds him kind, intelligent and communicative, in contrast to the previous image she have had, as of a moody, dark and rude man.

     One night, Jane's thoughts about Rochester are distracted by strange noise in the hall. She assures herself that it must be Rochester's dog, Pilot, who makes the noise, but suddenly she hears familiar demonic laugh which she has heard in the attic. She rushes outside her room to seek Mrs. Fairfax's help, but notices the smoke gushing from Rochester's room. Rochester's room is in fire, with Rochester lying in his bed motionlessly. Her attempt to wake him up fails, the only response from him is murmur, so she fills an ewer with water and extinguishes the fire. She finally manages to wake Rochester up, who humorously asks if she is attempting to drown him. Jane seems more shaken by the incident than Rochester, who, at the mention of Grace Pool's demonic laugh, uses the opportunity to check her knowledge about the residents of the third floor. Without much fuss he concludes that it must have been Grace Pool who did it.

     The following morning, Jane is impatient to see her master again, but he is nowhere to be seen or heard. She only hears servants murmuring about the previous night and Rochester's bravery of battling the fire without waking anybody up for help. Curious to hear what account was given to the incident, Jane heads downstairs, where she meets Grace Pool, calmly sewing the curtains. Jane initiates the conversation by pretending that she does not know anything about the incident, asking her what happened the previous night. Grace replies that Mr. Rochester fell asleep with the candle on and caused the fire, making Jane stunned with Grace's hypocrisy.

     Later, Jane is invited to join Mrs. Fairfax at the dinner, but she finds it hard to follow Mrs. Fairfax's chit chat with all the chaos in her head. She cannot stop thinking about Grace Pool and Rochester's reason for keeping her in the house after the incident. She wonders what is the secret that is preventing her to see the bigger picture. Thoughts of Rochester haunt her the entire day, she finds herself miserable, unaware that the new information will make her even more wretched- Rochester has left for a party with some fine gentlemen and ladies and probably will not be back for a week or two. Mrs. Fairfax describes those lovely ladies, especially Mary Ingram, the incarnation of the 19th century beauty, with noble features, long neck, perfect skin, glossy curls and luxurious dress. Jane is devastated, feeling like a fool for believing that Mr. Rochester finds her special, with her pale skin and plain look.

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