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Mr. Rochester. Chapter 4.
Three months passed. I had not met the owner of Thornfield Hall. Mr Rochester had not come home.
One January afternoon, I went out and I walked towards the road. I was going to the village of Hay. 1 was going to post a letter in the village. Hay was two miles from Thornfield Hall. The day was fine but it was very cold. I walked quickly and soon I was near the village.
Suddenly, a big black-and-white dog ran past me. A moment later, a man on a black horse followed the dog.
Then, I heard an angry shout. The dog ran past me again. It was barking loudly. I turned round. The horse had fallen on the icy ground and the man had fallen from the horse. I walked towards them.
'Can I help you, sir?' I asked.
'My horse fell. I've hurt my foot,' the man said.
The horse stood up. The man tried to stand up too. But he could not stand. He fell onto the ground again.
The man was about thirty-five years old. He was not handsome but he had a strong face. He had dark eyes and black hair. He was not very tall but his body was powerful.
'I'll bring somebody from Thornfield Hall,' I said.
'Do you live at Thornfield?' the man asked.
'I am the governess,' I replied.
'Ah, yes. The governess,' the man said. 'Help me, please.'
The man stood up very slowly, and he put his hand on my shoulder. He walked slowly towards his horse. I helped him. He pulled himself onto the horse.
'Thank you. Now go home quickly,' the man said. And he rode away.
I walked on to the village and 1 posted my letter. Then I returned to Thornfield Hall. Bright lights were shining in the big house. I went inside.
A big black-and-white dog walked towards me. It came from the dining-room. I had seen the dog before.
'Whose dog is that?' I asked a servant.
'It's Mr Rochester's dog,' the servant replied. 'Mr Rochester has come home. But he has hurt his foot. His horse fell on some ice.'
I smiled. The owner of Thornfield Hall had returned! But I did not see Mr Rochester again that day.
I saw Mr Rochester the next day. He sent for me in the evening. I put on a clean dress. I brushed my hair carefully.
Mr Rochester was in the large sitting-room. He was sitting in a big chair. His right foot was on a small chair. Mrs Fairfax and Adиle were sitting with him.
'This is Miss Eyre, sir,' Mrs Fairfax said.
Mr Rochester looked at me. He did not smile.
'Sit by the fire, Miss Eyre,' he said. 'Where have you come from?'
'From Lowood School,' I replied. 'I was there for eight years.'
'Eight years!' Mr Rochester said. 'That is a long time! Who are your parents?'
'I have no parents, sir,' I answered. 'They are dead.'
'But where is your home, Miss Eyre?' Mr Rochester asked.
'I have no home, sir. I have no family,' I said.
'Why did you come to Thornfield Hall?' Mr Rochester asked.
'I wanted to leave Lowood, sir,' I replied. 'I put an advertisement in a newspaper. Mrs Fairfax replied to my advertisement.'
'Yes, I did,' Mrs Fairfax said. 'Miss Eyre is a good teacher, Mr Rochester.'
Mr Rochester smiled for the first time.
'You are very young, Miss Eyre,' he said.
'I am eighteen, sir,' I replied.
Mr Rochester smiled again. He did not ask me more questions.
After that evening, I did not see Mr Rochester for a few days. Then, one night, he sent for me again.
'Sit near me, Miss Eyre,' he said. 'Mrs Fairfax will talk to Adиle.'
I sat down quietly, but I did not speak. The fire was very bright. 1 saw Mr Rochester's face clearly. I saw his
large, dark eyes. He was smiling. He was happy.
After a minute, Mr Rochester spoke.
'Miss Eyre,' he said. 'You are looking at me very carefully. Am 1 a handsome man?'
'No, sir,' I said.
'You speak the truth, Miss Eyre!' Mr Rochester said. 'Look at me again. Am I a kind man?'
'No, sir,' I said again. 'You are smiling now. But you are not always kind.'
'That is true,' Mr Rochester replied. 'I have had a difficult life. I have met bad people. I have been a bad person myself. Now Thornfield Hall is my home. But I hate this house. You are very young, Miss Eyre. You
cannot understand me.'
'You are right. I don't understand you, sir,' I said. I stood up.
'Where are you going?' Mr Rochester asked. 'It is late. Adиle must go to bed,' I said. 'Are you frightened of me, Miss Eyre?' Mr Rochester asked.
'No, sir,' I replied. 'But you say strange things, sir.' Mr Rochester smiled.
'Take Adиle to her bedroom now, Miss Eyre,' he said. 'We will talk again tomorrow.'
After that night, we talked together many times. Mr Rochester was an interesting man. But he was a strange man too. I often thought about him.
'Why does Mr Rochester hate Thornfield?' I asked myself. 'Thornfield Hall is a beautiful place. But Mr Rochester is not happy.'