The wedding day was a month later. I was busy and happy as I got ready
for the marriage. Two nights before the wedding, I was asleep in my room.
My wedding dress was in the room with me. The night was windy, and the
wind made a strange noise. Suddenly, I woke up. There was a light in my
room. I thought at first that it was morning, but when I looked at the window
I saw that it was still dark outside.
Someone was in my room. Was it Mrs Fairfax or Grace Poole? It was a
woman, but a woman I had never seen before. She was big, tall and strong.
Her black hair was long and thick. She was dressed in a long, white
garment. I could not see her face.
She held my wedding dress and veil up in front of her. She looked at her
reflection in the mirror and it was then that I saw her face! It was the most
terrible face. She had large, red eyes and her skin was purple. She looked
angry and dangerous. I felt great fear.
Then she took my veil, and tore it to pieces. She threw the pieces down
on the floor and went over to look out of the window. Then she turned and
started to come towards my bed. I was so frightened that I was unable to
move. I couldn't even scream for help. 'She is going to kill me,' I thought.
But then the light disappeared, and the room was dark once more.
I woke up in the morning. The sun was shining in through the window,
and at once I remembered the strange woman. I thought at first that I had
had a bad dream. Then I saw my ruined veil, lying on the floor, torn to
pieces. It was true! The strange woman was real!
Mr Rochester looked very worried and was silent for a long time when I
told him about the woman, but he just said, 'You had a bad dream, Jane. It
was probably Grace Poole who tore your veil, but you dreamt that it was a
I could not believe that the strange woman had been just a dream, but I
said nothing. That night, the night before the wedding, I slept in Adele's
The next day, we went to the church for the wedding. In the church, while
the clergyman was speaking, someone threw open the church door and said,
'Stop the wedding! It cannot go on. Mr Rochester already has a wife. He is
married to my sister!'
All the people in the church turned to see who was speaking.
It was Mr Mason, the visitor from the West Indies, with two other men.
What was he talking about? How could Mr Rochester be married? My heart
turned cold. I could not believe that this was happening on my wedding day.
'But where is Mr Rochester's wife?' asked the clergyman. 'Why haven't we
'She lives at Thornfield Hall,' Mr Mason replied. 'She is alive. I saw her
Mr Rochester struggled to speak. His face was white and distressed. At
last he said, 'It is true. My wife is living at Thornfield Hall. We were married
fifteen years ago in the West Indies, when we were both young. Her name is
Bertha Mason, and she is Mason's sister. Soon after we were married, she
changed. She became very strange, and then she became mad and dangerous.
She attacked me, and anyone who came near her. Last April, she tried to
kill her own brother.
'She has a nurse, Grace Poole, who looks after her at Thornfield. I have
told no one else that she is my wife. This young woman, Jane Eyre, knows
nothing about her.' Mr Rochester's face was sad. 'Come with me, and I will
take you to see her.'
We were all silent as we walked from the church back to Thornfield Hall.
Mr Rochester took us up to the attic and unlocked the door. Grace Poole was
there, and in the room, too, was the frightening, terrible woman that I had
seen in my bedroom. She was the person who had the cruel laugh. She was
the one who had set fire to Mr Rochester's bed, who had tried to killMr
Mason, and who had ruined my veil. Yes, she was mad, but she was also Mr
Rochester's wife. I knew that I could not marry him.
Although I felt sorry for Mr Rochester, I knew that I must leave my home,
Thornfield Hall, forever. I put a few clothes into a small bag. I took a little
money, and quietly left Thornfield Hall early the next morning. I told no one
that I was going, and no one saw me leave.