St. John slips a note under Jane’s door in the morning; he can tell she was ready to sacrifice everything and become his wife and fellow missionary, and he’ll ask her again when he comes back in two weeks.
After St. John leaves, Jane thinks about the supernatural voice and wonders where it came from. She decides she must know what’s going on with Rochester, wherever he is.
Jane arranges a journey back to Thornfield; after 36 hours, she arrives at an inn called the Rochester Arms. She can’t bring herself to ask anyone there about him, so she just starts walking to Thornfield.
Jane comes up toward Thornfield walking along the wall of the orchard. She peeks out from around a corner of the wall – and sees a complete ruin. It’s burned down, blackened and collapsed. She compares it to a man sneaking up to peek at the face of his sleeping beloved and finding her dead.
Shocked, Jane goes back to the inn and asks the host what happened. From him she learns the whole story of what happened: Bertha burned down the house in the middle of the night by setting fire to what used to be Jane’s own bed. Rochester saved the servants and then climbed up to a high wall where Bertha was standing to try and rescue her, but she jumped off and committed suicide. Rochester was blinded and lost a hand when the wall collapsed.
Jane asks where Rochester is now, and the innkeeper tells her that he’s at his other home, Ferndean. Jane arranges to go there in a chaise right away.