Should I write, maybe I should, yes I will, where is my pen? And paper. Where did I put that paper? Where the deuce is that paper? Edward Fairfax Rochester rang the bell, and when he heard no hurrying footsteps, he ran again, and again, calling Mrs Fairfax to his side.
"Sir?" she enquired, ready to do whatever her master pleased.
"Have you heard from Miss Eyre," he demanded of her. She replied in the negative, and added:
"Do you know when she will be back, sir?" she asked, cautiously at his frantic, urgent, annoyed manner.
"Of course I don't know when she is coming back," he replied, the inexplicable annoyance rising. How would I know when she is coming back?
"She should have been back three weeks since!" she should know when Jane's coming back, it is her business. "Where is Adèle?" he asked of his housekeeper.
"Playing with Sophie," was old Dame Fairfax's reply. "It is because of her that I enquired after the girl." Mr Rochester walked out of the room, dismissing Mrs. Fairfax, and climbed down the stairs into the garden. The fields stretching out in front of him were that hay yellow colour associated with the harvest. He strolled down the lawn and towards the stables. There he found his horse, Mesrour, ready to be ridden.
Now that this was confirmed, he walked up the lawn, up the stairs, and into his room. Well, he intended to do this, but something distracted him. There was the door to the schoolroom. It was closed, and he knew the room to be empty. There was no use for a schoolroom in the absence of Jane. He stretched out his arm, and grasped the handle, slowly turning it round so as not to be heard.
The room was cold, organised, lifeless. There was nothing in there to attract him, and he turned to leave. He would have completed the action, if Pilot had not ran in and knocked over a small table, supporting a neat pile of papers. Mr Rochester stooped to pick them up, roughly tapping then against the ground to attempt to maintain the shape. In his hurry to do this, a loose sheet of the paper slipped out from the pack. He carefully placed the messy pile of paper on the table, which he had placed in its original position.
The paper was of a rough cardboard, which he remarked at. Did she really need to use this, did he not have a full supply of paper. On it there was a portrait. Simple, and of chalk. And there was Jane. His Jane. His wonderful, beautiful, enchanting Jane. His picture (for he would not sacrifice it to anyone else) was captioned: 'Portrait of a Governess, disconnected, poor, and plain'. He wondered why this was written, he would cut it off, to be sure. He carefully folded up the cardboard and slipped it into his pocket. Now he had a reason to stay in the room, so he closed the door and strode to the desk. There was very little on the desk, just some odd scraps of paper, written in Adèle's to-be-elegant hand.
Next he opened a draw, containing half a dozen simple, but elegant, pens. Even her pens reflect her character, he thought to himself. Closing the draw, he opened the second, seeing in it a sheet of light, translucent paper. He removed it, seeing underneath a smooth piece of Ivory, painted over with strong, clear tints, forming a face he new too well. This picture was captioned 'Blanche, an accomplished lady of rank.' He threw this down back into the draw, and to his anger, it split down the middle.
"What the deuce is to do now?" he cried, hoping that nobody had heard. He carefully put the two slats of ivory on the lower sheet of protective paper, for that indeed is what it was, and placed the second above it. He then hastily closed the draw and left the room, hurrying to his own. He then quickly changed into his riding clothes, and retired to the drawing room.
"What do you mean you are leaving?" pouted Miss Ingram, an indignant scowl over her face. He had hardly spoken to her in the last three weeks, since the Governess had left. He did not answer. He had tried to explain to her that he had business in town, but she would not hear it. What he didn't tell her was that he had to distract himself from thoughts to the picture tucked in his pocket, and its subject.
When he reached the crossroads, he stopped, faced with a decision he didn't like to make. One road would take him to London, and the second to Gateshead. He headed towards Millcote, cursing his love. He travelled the country roads, imagining the large house, the ill lady, the cousins, and the visitor.