What Adele Knew

AN: This is just a silly little piece that just came to me one day. Hope you enjoy it. I had a hard time trying to figure out how to write this in Adele's voice. I don't speak French. Any French phrases are taken from the book or run through BabelFish. My problem was to write in English in the manner of a young child, for whom English is not a fist language, but is learning it under a watchful teacher – simple, but struggling to be correct. I hope I was able to properly capture the feeling I was going for in this story.

La Belle Dame, Mademoiselle Ingram. How beautiful she is! I long to be a beautiful English lady like her, with her pretty dresses and her lovely hair. Miss Eyre tells me Miss Ingram is going to marry Mr. Rochester. I hope that when they are married, she will teach me to be as pretty as she is, but right now she does not seem to like me very much.

Thornfield Hall has been very dull. Miss Ingram and all of the fine ladies have left. Miss Eyre is gone too. I have no one to talk to but Sophie. Mrs. Fairfax is dull. Mr. Rochester went to London to buy a beautiful new carriage. Even though he returned, he does not like to talk to me. I miss my Mademoiselle Jeanette. I do not like having to do her lessons every day, but Miss Eyre is kind to me and plays games with me and tells me stories. Mrs. Fairfax says she is away visiting her sick aunt and will be back soon. Miss Eyre does not seem to like Miss Ingram very much. Whenever I say how much I admire Miss Ingram, Miss Eyre looks unhappy and her temper grows short.

Miss Eyre returns on a pretty spring evening where I am playing outside with Sophie. I see her come through the gates and run to meet her. Sophie has missed her too and follows me calling, "Bon soir." Miss Eyre takes me in her arms and holds me very tightly. "How I've missed you Adele," she says. Something about her seems sad though. We go inside to Mrs. Fairfax's parlor. Mrs. Fairfax is happy to see Miss Eyre too. Thornfield is a different place with Miss Eyre home. I wonder if Mr. Rochester knows she is home and if he is also happy to see her. We all eat supper together and gather by the fire. My Mademoiselle Jeanette takes me on her knee and tells me she has learned some new stories for me.

We do not expect Mr. Rochester to come in and I almost fall down when Miss Eyre pushes me off her lap to stand, but he tells us to sit. He does not look stern or angry as he often does. He looks pleased with us. "I just came to bid you ladies good evening." He turns to Mrs. Fairfax. "You must be very happy to have your adopted daughter back," he says. Then he turns to me and smiles, "Adele, you are pret a coquer avec petite maman anglaise. I hope you ladies all have a good night." I notice Miss Eyre looks sad when he leaves. I know I am often sad when he speaks roughly to me. Why should she be so sad when he is being so kind?

I see that Miss Eyre and Mr. Rochester spend much time together. He calls for her when she sends me off to bed. The days grow longer and it is sometimes still day when I go to bed. I can look out my window and see them together in the garden. She seems happy when he calls for her, but still seems sad during our lessons. I wonder sometimes if she is sad because I am not being a good girl, so I try harder to behave and learn my lessons, even when they are hard.

A night comes when it is too beautiful outside for me to be good. Sophie puts me to bed, but Mrs. Fairfax comes and asks her to join her and Miss Eyre in the parlour. I climb out of bed and look out of my window. The sun is still in the sky. I do not want to be in bed this night. I put on a frock and shoes and leave my room. I expect to be caught, but no one sees me. I go downstairs and cross the hall and leave through the front door. Still no one sees me.

I walk through the gardens of Thornfield, searching for the strawberries that have begun to grow along the lane. That is when I smell the scent of Mr. Rochester's cigars. I see him sitting in the seat beneath the horse chestnut tree. He sees me too. I could run away, but I know I am caught, so I stay and face his anger.

"Adele," he says. "What are you doing out of bed? Where is Sophie? Where is Miss Eyre?"

I do not know what to tell him. I know I am being naughty. "I'm sorry, Monsier," I say. "The night, it is so pretty that I could not stay inside. I sneaked out. I know it was bad of me."

"Just so," said Mr. Rochester. He said nothing more. He does not stand and take me back to the house. He just sits and looks at me then says, "It's almost midsummer Adele. Fairies are about this time of year. If they see a child prowling about they may kidnap her and make her a changeling, just like they did to your governess.

"Bah. I do not believe in fairies. But I will go back to my room now."

He laughs. "My little French cynic. Don't go back just yet. Come sit here with me."

Mr. Rochester has never invited me to sit with him before. I sit on the bench next to him. He does not speak again. Sometimes I hear him sigh. Finally he says something.

"Adele, what do you think of Miss Ingram?"

I know Mr. Rochester is going to marry her and that he must admire her. I say only nice things. "Miss Ingram is beautiful," I say. "I want to be a lady just like her."

Mr. Rochester laughs. "I think you will indeed be just like her." I think I should be happy when he says this, but there is something about how he says this that makes me afraid. He laughs some more and then pats his knee. "Come sit here, Adele."

I obey him. He looks at me for a long time and says, "Tell me. Adele. What do you think of Miss Eyre?"

I wonder if Miss Eyre has done something wrong. Is he angry? Is that why Miss Eyre looks so sad? I would say only good things about her. "I love Miss Eyre," I said. "She is my good friend and so kind to me."

"You love Miss Eyre?" he asks. "Can you promise to keep something a secret?"

"Yes, Monsier," I say.

He looks at me for so long I don't know if he will tell me his secret or not. Finally he says, "I love Miss Eyre too."

"But Monsier Rochester," I say. "You are going to marry the beautiful lady, no?"

He pulls me close to him. I can feel his breath as he whispers into my hair, "Yes. I will marry the beautiful lady."

I do no understand him. My mama used to say that many times rich men would fall in love with beautiful ladies because their wives were mean and ugly. But Miss Ingram is beautiful and mean. Miss Eyre is ugly, but good. I would say this to him, but he holds me so tight that I can not speak.

He lets me go and says, "Come Adele. You must go to bed before the fairies come get you. I'll take you to Sophie so she can put you to bed. Do not go sneaking off again."

"Yes Monsieur Rochester."

He adds, "Remember your promise."

He holds my hand as he walks me back to the hall. I am happy to be walking with him. We go to Mrs. Fairfax's parlour. I see Miss Eyre and Mrs. Fairfax there. Miss Eyre is writing in a little book while Mrs. Fairfax reads something from a piece of paper. They don't notice us until Mr. Rochester speaks. He drops my hand.

"Miss Eyre! Mrs. Fairfax! What is the meaning of this?"

Miss Eyre looks up and sees me. "Adele," she exclaims. "Why are you out of bed?"

Mr. Rochester looks angry again. "Why isn't someone watching her? Where is Sophie?"

Mrs. Fairfax speaks. "I'm sorry, Sir. We sent Adele to bed. We were working on the household accounts, so we asked Sophie to help us with the inventory. She's in the kitchen with Mary right now."

Mr. Rochester says, "I'll overlook it this time, but see to it that it doesn't happen again. Find Sophie and have her put Adele to bed."

Miss Eyre comes over to me. "I'll put her to bed myself, Sir," she says. She takes my hand. "Good night, Sir. Good night Mrs. Fairfax. I'm very sorry about this, Sir. I hope she wasn't a bother to you."

He only says, "Goodnight Jane," and leave the room.

As we go upstairs Miss Eyre asks me why I had left my bed that way. I tell her that I could not stay inside when the sunset was so pretty and the night was so warm. She does not scold me too roughly. We reach the nursery and she helps me back into my nightgown. She tells me, "I'm afraid tomorrow you will have no sweets and you will be doing extra sums."

"Yes, Miss Eyre," I say.

I am about to get in bed when she tells me to say my prayers.

"But Miss Eyre, I already said my prayers."

"Yes, but now you have been naughty, so you have to ask God to forgive you."

I kneel down and do as I am told. I wonder if it is wrong to pray that Mr. Rochester will always be as kind as he was tonight and if he and Miss Eyre could be my papa and mama. I climbed into bed and Miss Eyre tucks the blankets around me and kisses my forehead. "Good night, Adele."

I am about to say goodnight when I remember what Mr. Rochester said to me. "Miss Eyre," I say.

"Yes, Adele."

"Do you love Mr. Rochester?"

Miss Eyre looks surprised. "Why do you ask such a thing, Adele?"

I remember my promise. I can not tell her that Mr. Rochester has said he loves her even though he said he is marrying the beautiful lady. "He is so kind to us. Shouldn't we love him?"

She smiles. "Mr. Rochester is a good friend to us all. We should all be grateful for his kindness. Now go to sleep, Adele."

"Bon nuit, Mademoiselle Jeanette," I say.

"Bon nuit," Mon Cheri," she answers.

I fall asleep wondering if Miss Eyre will ever know Mr. Rochester's secret.