Jane Eyre


Chapter 11 to Chapter 15

Chapter 11

Jane arrives at the Inn at Millcote expecting to be received by someone from Thornfield, but finds instead that no one seems to have inquired after her. She sits idly by until apprehension begins to take her and she asks a waiter if Thornfield is near. He says he does not know but returns momentarily with the announcement that someone is waiting for her.

On the short carriage ride to Thornfield, Jane hopes that Mrs. Fairfax will not be like Mrs. Reed. Her fears prove to be unfounded, however, as Mrs. Fairfax receives her with great solicitude, offering her a fireside by which she might warm herself and some food to satisfy her hunger. Jane is greatly relieved to be welcomed by such a nice, old, unpretentious woman as Mrs. Fairfax.

Jane learns that she will be the governess not of Miss Fairfax (for Mrs. Fairfax has no family) but of one Miss Varens. Mrs. Fairfax also tells Jane that she is glad that the latter has come, for she is quite lonesome living in the big house with no one of equal status to talk to. Jane is similarly glad to be on an equal footing with Mrs. Fairfax. Mrs. Fairfax chooses a smaller, cozier room for Jane near her own rather than one of the larger, colder rooms on the other side of the house. Jane is grateful for the consideration.

In the morning, Jane inspects her new surroundings and is pleased to see that Thornfield is comfortably secluded from the busier Millcote by hills and trees. Her surroundings are calm and somewhat serene.

When Jane tells Mrs. Fairfax that she is quite pleased with the place, Mrs. Fairfax answers that she is glad and that Mr. Rochester should come to it more often. Jane asks who Mr. Rochester is and learns that he is the owner of the property. Jane announces that she thought Mrs. Fairfax was the owner and learns rather that Mrs. Fairfax is merely the housekeeper, a hired hand like herself. This information causes Jane to like Mrs. Fairfax even more: She feels quite equal to her now, whereas before she felt that their equality was based on...

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