by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre Volume 2, Chapter 3 Summary
READ THE BOOK: Volume 2, Chapter 3
- The party at Thornfield continues; things are much more active than they were during the first three months Jane spent there.
- One evening, the guests play charades, but it’s a much more elaborate version of charades than we play these days, complete with costumes and teams of people working together to act out just one word or phrase.
- Rochester invites Jane to play, but she won’t; she does watch, though.
- Blanche and Rochester team up and go first; they think up a phrase, and then put together costumes and silent actions to act out the parts of the phrase. The phrase they choose has two parts.
- The first part of the phrase is the word "bride," and Rochester and Blanche pretend to be a couple getting married, wearing costumes and everything. We’re sure Jane’s not too happy to see their wedding, even if it is just a joke—this time.
- The second part of the phrase is harder for everyone to guess. Rochester and Blanche act out a complicated Biblical scene in which Rebecca gives Isaac a drink at the well of Nahor. Basically, this is a lot like the first scene, because the story is about Isaac wooing Rebecca, so once again there’s a romantic undertone.
- Nobody can guess what word the Isaac and Rebecca scene is supposed to represent, so Rochester and Blanche act out the whole phrase. This time Rochester is dressed like a prisoner in a cell.
- The team that’s guessing correctly identifies the word or phrase they’re acting out as "Bridewell," which is a prison. (So the second scene represented the word "well.")
- Blanche giggles obnoxiously about the way she and Rochester just got "married."
- The teams switch, and some other people start acting out their scenes. Jane doesn’t notice anything they do because she’s watching Mr. Rochester.
- Rochester is letting Blanche flirt with him and kind of flirting back, but Jane can tell that he really sees through her. This makes it much worse for Jane: she can tell Rochester doesn’t really love Blanche, and she can also tell that Blanche isn’t worthy of him, but it seems like he’s going to marry her anyway. If he were really smitten, or Blanche were a better person, Jane claims she wouldn’t mind so much.
- Jane also notices that Blanche isn’t very good at pleasing Rochester. The few times that Jane has been with him alone, she’s figured out how to get him in a good mood, and Blanche can’t do it.
- Rochester is more interesting to Jane than ever; she’s come to like his rudeness and sarcastic nature, because they make him a deeper person. She also notices that, in spite of the way he behaves, Rochester is pretty much the life and soul of the party, and when he’s gone everyone else seems depressed.
- One day Rochester has to go to the nearest town (Millcote) on some kind of business, and everyone’s pretty bored, especially Blanche Ingram. Just before dinner, with Rochester still absent, a stranger arrives at Thornfield.
- The stranger is a polite man in his thirties or forties; he has an unusual accent and claims to be an old friend of Mr. Rochester’s. He joins the group for dinner while he waits for Rochester to come back.
- Jane evaluates him and decides that he’s the exact opposite of Mr. Rochester—in fact, she suggests that, if Mr. Rochester is a sheepdog, this guy is a sheep. The other women at dinner think he’s adorable, which just proves that they’re ninnies.
- Sitting with the group in the drawing room (remember, Rochester ordered her to join them every night), Jane learns more about the stranger: his last name is Mason, he’s from the West Indies, and that’s where he met Mr. Rochester.
- Suddenly, a strange gypsy woman arrives. There’s a gypsy camp in the area and some of the women had wanted to visit it, but they couldn’t because it rained too much that day. Now one of the gypsy women has come to them offering to tell their fortunes.
- Some of the guests want to send the woman away, but a few of the women are excited about getting their fortunes told, and the old woman refuses to leave until she tells the fortune of each and every woman there.
- Blanche Ingram insists that they let the gypsy woman tell their fortunes. The woman insists that the servants put her in a little room by herself and the guests go in to see her one by one.
- One of the men wants to check the gypsy out first to make sure it’s safe for the ladies to see her, but the gypsy woman says that she’ll only tell fortunes for the young, single women in the group.
- Blanche Ingram goes first. Everyone waits excitedly for her to come back and tell them what the woman said, but when she does come back she’s all grumpy-pants, says the woman is obviously a fraud, and starts reading a book and ignoring everyone.
- Each of the other single women—Mary Ingram, Amy Eshton, and Louisa Eshton—goes to have her fortune told with lots of "hysterical giggling and little shrieks." They come back amazed at how much the gypsy seems to know about them.
- The servant, Sam, tells Jane that the gypsy woman says she knows there’s another single woman in the group, and that he thinks that must mean her. Jane’s curious about the woman, so she goes to see her and have her own fortune told.
READ THE BOOK: Volume 2, Chapter 3