Chapter summaries 16-27

Chapter 16

Jane is both anxious and excited to see Rochester the next day, but he does not appear. She hears the servants discussing the incident in Rochester’s bedroom and finds Grace Poole sewing new curtains for Rochester’s bed. She asks Grace about the incident, hoping to find a sign of her guilt, but Grace only says what all the servants are saying: Rochester fell asleep with his candle lit and awoke to find the bed in flames. Jane is annoyed that Grace does not admit her guilt and wonders why Rochester did not fire her after the incident. She wonders whether Rochester might be in love with Grace, but rejects the idea, and then wonders whether Rochester’s behavior the previous night might suggest he has feelings for Jane. 

Jane finds out Rochester has left Thornfield for a party at a nearby estate and will not return for several days. She asks Mrs Fairfax about the women who will be at the party and finds out about the beautiful and accomplished Blanche Ingram. Jane scolds herself for believing Rochester might favor someone as plain as her. She draws a homely portrait of herself and one of the beautiful Blanche, to remind herself that Rochester could never love someone like her.

Chapter 17

After Rochester is gone from Thornfield for a week, Mrs Fairfax receives a letter from him. He says to prepare for the arrival of guests in three days. Jane observes the habits of Grace Poole, who does not spend much time with the other servants, mostly retreating to the third floor. One day, Jane hears the other servants talking about Grace, implying that she is getting paid more than them but has a difficult job to do. When they notice Jane, they stop talking.

Rochester’s party arrives and Jane observes their elegance, especially Blanche’s, whom Rochester seems to favor. Rochester calls Jane and Adèle to join him and the guests one evening, but Jane is nervous to be in their presence and mostly hides near ...

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