Summary: Jane did not return a year after leaving. Rochester has not sent Adele to school, but instead, because he cares for her education, employs another governess. Molly Allen. But as she finds out her new Master's secrets, she falls for him. But his heart is already filled with another. She soon sets about to make all right.
Disclaimer: I own not Jane Eyre, or anything associated with her, including Mr. Rochester. This is AU in a way, seeing as I am only reading the book now. The basis of my story is the movies. The 2011 version of Rochester is my favorite.
My name is Molly Allen. I was born October the 20th 1830, raised with all the finery that my humble family of 5 could afford. My father, John Allen, was a gentleman, with only 2,000 pounds a year. In any other case, a considerable sum, but with all of his children – rather meager. In the year 1839 my father died unexpectedly, leaving my mother, my two sisters, and my two brothers now to fend for ourselves. A year later, my mother, Mary Allen, followed him up to heaven. This unfortunate turn of events, caused for my brother, Roger, at the tender age of eighteen, to take the responsibility of the entire family.
My elder sister Eliza, who was sixteen at the time, then became mother to the rest of us. However, after only eight months, it was soon decided that we could not take care of ourselves on our own. Our uncles and aunts soon found it in their hearts to split us up, each taking one of us to raise as their own.
Eliza went to our father's sister, Mrs. Hancock of Walton Park in Sussex. My other sister, Anne, who was two years younger than I, went to Charleston Manor – the home of our uncle, my father's brother, in Nottingham. My brother Roger stayed on at Livingston Cottage, keeping the farm going as long as he could withstand it. I was then chosen, to live with our Aunt and Uncle Polk. My mother's sister and her husband at Branhurst Hall. They had four children of their own, but could not help but allow for another to be their little ward. My little brother George went with me, being only 4 years of age.
I remember the day, it was in June, that we arrived at Branhurst as if it were yesterday. Little George sat next to me, sucking on his thumb, his little blue eyes peering out of the windows in excitement. Roger was to convey us as far as Northampton, where Mr. Polk's sister, Mrs. Greene, was to assist us on the further way to Branhurst Hall.
"Nervous sister?" I remember my brother asking. I nodded, my brown curls bouncing wildly, he chuckled, "Don't worry, I'm sure that Branhurst Hall will suit you fine. I vaguely remember my Aunt Polk, a very charming woman. You'll enjoy her no doubt." he continued to say, he was trying help, but he only made me more anxious.
"Remember, I will be visiting you every holiday, as will Eliza and Anne." he explained. I desperately wanted to ask why we were being split up, but held my tongue. I was no baby, I would bear it with my chin up high. I was a Yardley after all, we Allens did not show weaknesses. Even this however, did not stop me from asking. "Why? Why is it that we cannot stay at Livingston?" I asked, my curiosity getting the best of me. Roger sighed, hanging his head.
"Because dearest," he began, swinging his arm around my shoulders, "I cannot take care of you as easily as our dear aunt and uncle. I am currently unmarried, and will be unable to give you the home that you would require. Our relatives are much more able to do so, and you will be giving them comfort in your own little way" he said, though in truth he did not believe it himself.
"Are we there yet?" Little George asked abruptly, Roger smiled warmly, shaking his head, "No" his eyes glazed over in tears unshed, "But we will be soon" he said softly, almost unable to be heard. I remained still, not staying silent. Words were not enough for the deep feeling of sorrow that filled the carriage. I did not believe that I would ever feel this amount of pain before, but fate had taught me otherwise.
The carriage soon came to a halt, and Roger was quick to help us out of the carriage. I could vaguely hear the driver in the background say, "Flyer leaving in 15 minutes only, 15 minutes only ladies and gentlemen." "Do we know what she looks like?" I asked Roger, taking George's hand. Roger assented, taking George's and my small bag from the driver. "She's a red-head, with a permanent scowl" he supplied, I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. That information wasn't entirely helpful.
I soon spotted a woman whom I believed must be the elusive Mrs. Greene. Her hair was indeed vibrant red, and her features were neither comforting, nor elegant. Her mouth was indeed etched into a fine scowl. All in all, she seemed a fearsome creature, one which I had no desire to know on greater acquaintance. "Roger" I said softly, catching my brother's attention, I pointed out the woman whom was observing, "Is that her?" I asked, my eyes most likely wide as saucers, I was terrified if that was her. Roger just chuckled, "Yes my little plumpkin, that's her" my brother said, using the nickname that I despised.
"Mrs. Greene?" Roger asked, taking off his hat as he approached the woman. "Ah, Master Roger Allen I trust" she said, a smile which was frightening showing off her too-large teeth. George moved closer to me, he was obviously as disturbed as I was. The woman turned our way, "And this must be little Mary Yardley" "Molly" I corrected, "Mary was my mother's name. I'm Molly" Mrs. Greene must not have been expecting for me to correct her. "Indeed, she will not be called anything else, and when she sets her mind to something, good luck persuading her otherwise" my brother exclaimed proudly, throwing a massive arm around me and pulling me into his side.
Mrs. Greene humphed, raising an eyebrow and turning up her nose at me. I would not like this woman, I already knew that. "Our carriage to convey us to Branhurst is that way" she said pointing to a large and ornate carriage. "I will join you presently. The driver's name is Stevens" she said, walking into a shop behind her, and leaving us to ourselves.
Roger quickly led us to the carriage, "Stevens" he declared, catching the snoozing driver's attention. "I am Roger Allen, I was informed by Mrs. Greene to drop my sister and brother here." he said, the knot in my stomach tightening. This was really it, I would be leaving him for good. "Yessir, I hear' you was comin'. Lemme tyke the lass's bags sir" Stevens said, his Scottish brogue causing for me to have a hard time understanding him. Roger handed him the items, and turned to George and I. "Northampton flyer leaving in five minutes" the driver called out in the distance.
Roger looked up, and then looked back to us. He gently pulled me into an embrace, "Take care of yourself Molly, don't talk back. Remember, you are one of the Polk's now. I'll send for you when I can. Learn what you must, you won't always be there, and soon, you'll be home with us again." "Together?" I asked meekly, trying hard not to cry, "Together" Roger said, kissing me on the forehead and helping me into the carriage. He next embraced George, and placed him in the carriage as well.
"I'll see you in six months" he promised, shutting the door just as Mrs. Green entered the carriage from the other side. "You promise?" I asked, a lone tear dropping, he kissing my hand, "I promise plumpkin. I promise you" he said, backing away, and signaling for Stevens to drive on.
I watched through the window, as he walked behind the carriage for a ways. His eyes said everything, he was so sorry to lose us, but there was no other way. I then turned back to face Mrs. Greene who sat opposite. I would not cry, though I sincerely felt like it.
"Don't worry Molly, your tears will soon be over, you'll be at Branhurst. You'll learn how to be a lady, like your cousins, Henrietta and Georgianna. Your cousins William and Richard will be there too. You'll like them all" Mrs. Greene tried to reassure. "Yes Ma'am." I replied, but there was no comforting me. George was too little to understand, I had no one to talk to. Mrs. Greene continued to chatter of who the governess was, a certain Barbara Gold. She told me of all the wonderful things I would learn, and do. And how I must now forget the family which I had, for this was my new family. I must learn that the Polks are just as suitable to be my family as my own.
I did not pay much attention to her chattering, fo r in my mind I still pictured my own family. Eliza, Anne, and Roger. Mama, and Papa. The tears in each of their eyes, especially Roger's. I could still see him walking behind the carriage, wishing that in some way he could change all of this. "Yes Ma'am" was all I said, however, when Mrs. Greene asked me a question.
When we arrived at Branhurst, George and I were ushered immediately into the parlor. I soon saw my Aunt Polk in the flesh. A fragile little lady, with gentle features, and kind looks. She would consider me as a daughter, I was sure of it. "Come here little Molly, and sit by me" she said sweetly, patting the little area on the chaise that she was sitting on. I obeyed willingly, I did not wish to start wrong with her. She reminded me of my own dear mother.
"So Molly, you are come to live with us here at Branhurst. How do you like it?" she asked, stroking the pug on her lap, who was sleeping quietly. "Very much Aunt Polk. It is a grand house. And very beautiful. Much like Livingston, but much grander." I replied politely, it truly was a beautiful house. If only I knew then how it would be destroyed, I would have grieved.
"No, my dear. You must call me Aunt Fanny, for you are my niece, and you are to live with us. Aunt Polk is far too formal for people who are very close" my aunt said, placing a hand on my shoulder. "Do you not agree Sir John?" she asked her husband, who stood nearby.
Sir John smiled warmly at his wife, his brown eyes sparkling, "Yes my dear, I agree wholeheartedly. You are to call us Uncle John, and Aunt Fanny. There is a end to it" he told me decidedly. I smiled nervously, "Yes sir"
My brother decided at that time to attach himself to Uncle John's legs. "Here, here, what do we have?" my uncle asked, picking up my little brother. "My brother, Uncle John, George Edward Allen." I replied, watching as my brother took hold of Uncle John's hair, playing with it. For Uncle John's hair had turned hoary, that is, white. My Uncle laughed heartedly, taking a seat and bouncing my brother upon his knee. Earning for himself satisfied giggles from little George. Father always bounced him on his knees.
"Molly, surely you would like to meet the other children?" Aunt Fanny asked, "Yes Ma'am." I replied quietly. My nervousness must have shone, for she soon took hold of my hand, "Do not worry my dear, I am sure they will like you. Walters, please be so kind as to inform Richard that his cousin is here, and to gather the other children." Aunt Fanny told the servant who stood nearby. The man bowed, and left the room to do as ordered.
I wondered absentmindedly just what my cousins were like. Henrietta and Georgianna must be beautiful, they had to be. For their mother must have been quite the beauty when she was younger, yes, I vaguely remember my mother telling me that. Mother, the very thought of her made me almost cry. But I would not cry in front of my aunt and uncle. I would wait, until I had privacy before I became the banshee that I knew that I would be.
I did not have to wait long before the door opened once more, and two boys strode in, two girls trailing behind them. "Ah, Richard, William. Glad you're here" Uncle John announced, "Children" Aunt Fanny began, still stroking her pug, "Allow me to introduce your cousins Molly, and George Allen" she said, causing for the boys to bow, and the girls to curtsy. I quickly stood, and curtsied myself. However, because I was naturally clumsy, my curtsy was rather awkward.
"Molly, these are your cousins," my Aunt continued, "Richard," A handsome boy of 15 bowed, and I curtsied again. "Henrietta" the older girl,with red ringlets curtsied, and I returned the favor. "William" the other boy, his hair sandy-colored, and his eyes bright blue, bowed. He looked to only be about 12. "And our youngest, Georgianna" Aunt Fanny finished, as the younger girl with light-brown hair and striking cerulean blue eyes, curtsied. She was my age, I vaguely remember Mrs. Greene telling me. I curtsied in reply, and she smiled widely, her eyes sparkling.
"Children, why don't you take Molly to the playroom?" Aunt Fanny said, "And Richard, send for Claire, she would do better to take George" Uncle John said, chuckling as the young boy continued to gurgle at his faces. "Yes father" Richard replied, leading me out of the room and shutting the door.
"So Molly," Georgianna began, "How do you like our home?" I smiled slightly, "It is grand, much bigger than I am used to though. I feel as if I will get lost" I confessed. Georgianna laughed, "Lost? No, for the first few days, or even weeks, you will have one of us around with you." she said, William interjected, "That is, until you get acquainted with the place." he said, opening a door and leading us in.
I could not have imagined how it would have looked, we had no playroom at home. We had the library, which we could only enter if we were quiet. For the library was Papa's room, where he did his business. He was the reason that I absolutely loved books. I could see that the playroom had its share of books, the library, I decided, must be enormous. I would have to ask permission to see it.
"Well?" William asked, I had not said a word since I entered the room. "It is magnificent" I said, my brown eyes were large, I was sure. William and Georgianna simply laughed, "Yes, we can see that" William teased, then telling me of all the things which happened here. All the jokes on the instructors. Georgianna told me of all the various subject which we would study under Ms Gold, the governess.
"We're going to be just like sisters." Georgianna declared, threading her arm with mine. I smiled, I had a family again.