"'If all these people [the party guests] came in a body and spat at me, what would you do, Jane?'We know now that Rochester was testing Jane, to see how much power public opinion might hold over her own opinion; what Rochester failed to account for above, and by not being honest with Jane from the get-go, was Jane's opinion. And if we know anything, we know that Jane is rather opinionated. To say the least.
'Turn them out of the room, sir, if I could.'
He half-smiled. 'But if I were to go to them, and they only looked at me coldly, and whispered sneeringly amongst each other, and then dropped off and left me one by one, what then? Would you go with them?'
'I rather think not, sir: I should have more pleasure in staying with you.;
... 'And if they laid you under a ban for adhering to me?'
'I, probably, should know nothing about their ban; and if I did, I should care nothing about it.'
'Then, you could dare censure for my sake?'
'I could dare it for the sake of any friend who deserved my adherence; as you, I am sure, do.'"
To back up, though, we moved from flirtation to marriage proposal at the opening of this section, and spent a large portion of these pages watching Jane and Rochester interact as an engaged couple. I struggled with Jane a bit, here; she seemed so cautious and so terrified of saying the wrong thing, or in some way deceiving Rochester, that she stopped acting herself.
Rather than speak her mind, as she always has, she has an internal dialogue with herself that is quite at odds with her external conversations with Rochester. And while I appreciated her refusal to allow him to put her on a pedestal--as anyone who's ever read any kind of love story know that that is just a recipe for disaster--I found her actions as an engaged woman bordered on cold. I, as did Rochester, missed her witty banter and somewhat flirtatious interactions with her fiance. I, as a 21st-century woman, was also particularly irked by the fact that even up to their very wedding day, she continued to call him "Sir."
Which brings us to the wedding day, and all its calamities. It was clear from the dawning of the day that the wedding would not go off without a hitch; Jane was so hesitant to label her boxes for shipping, and Rochester so distracted, bordering on obsessed, with everything going according to plan. What was surprising to me, as a first-timer, was the fact that the crazy thing in the attic (we all knew there was a crazy in the attic, right?) was Rochester's despised, deranged wife. What was even more surprising to me was the readiness with which Rochester gave up his ruse--and the readiness with which Jane quit him.
I don't disagree with Jane's decisions, or her logic. There was no reasonable way for her to marry her dear Rochester with the knowledge that he was already married. But given her earlier stance that she would stand by him no matter the censure of the public, she sure didn't hesitate long before taking off.
In the dead of night.
With little money, less connections, and absolutely no plan. And a piece of bread.
And then she promptly spent all of her money on a coach ride to nowhere.
Where did she think she would go? What did she expect would happen?
I can't help but raise my eyebrows just a little bit at the previously cool, collected woman we've come to know acting so blatantly irrationally.
So, following some slightly odd turns of event and a few doses of good luck, Jane is now set up with a nice family (though still no money and no resources), once again dependent on others to determine her way forward, once again resuming her hardened exterior designed to betray nothing of who she really is. I'm skeptical about this St. John character (as I suppose I am meant to be), and momentarily disappointed in Jane, but hopeful for what's to come! Readalongers, link up to your post below: