Jane Eyre: Novel Summary: Chapters 27-28
Chapter 27: Jane stays in her room a long time and is surprised that no one has come to check on her, but when she leaves the room she sees Rochester sitting in a chair outside the door. He says that he had expected some kind of scene, and asks if she can ever forgive him. Jane writes that there was so much remorse in his eyes that she forgave him instantly. However, when they are in the library together, she will not let him kiss or touch her. He asks if she will make herself a stranger to him now, and she says that she will leave Thornfield. He says that yes, she must leave, and that they will stay there that night and will leave in the morning. Jane says that she will not go with him, but that she still loves him. He tries to tell her they will go to France and she will be Mrs. Rochester, but she replies that he already has a wife and she will not be his mistress. He tries to explain his marriage to Bertha.
He says that he was the second of his father's sons, and as his father did not want to break up his property but wanted to give it all to his first son, he sought a wealthy marriage for his second. He sent him to Jamaica to meet the girl he had chosen, and Rochester married her without really knowing her. He says he then learned that his wife's mother was mad and that she had a dumb idiot brother. His own father and brother had known this but had let him marry her anyway. His wife soon showed signs of madness, and Rochester comprehended that they had nothing in common and he could not stand her. When his father and brother died, he realized that few in Europe knew of his marriage, so he could go there and lock his mad wife up and travel as if he were not married. He did so, and had a few mistresses. He says that he was taken with Jane when he first met her, and he begins to relate how he felt at each of their meetings, when Jane tells him to stop. She is undergoing quite a struggle, but she does tell Rochester that she cannot be his and leaves the room.
The next morning Jane arises before sunrise, says a silent farewell to everyone, and quietly leaves Thornfield, walking to Millcote. On the way she meets a coach that is going to a place a long way off, and she gives all of her money for a ride.
Chapter 28: Two days have passed since Jane left Thornfield, and the money that she had could only allow the driver to take her as far as Whitcross, which is not even a town, but a crossroads. Jane had forgotten her parcel on the coach, so now realizes she is quite penniless and destitute. She spends the night outside, and the next morning, driven by hunger, walks to the nearest village. She stops at a shop to see if the woman knows of any work needed in the village. The woman does not, and neither does a woman at a small house Jane stops at. Jane continues on, her hunger getting stronger, until she sees the parsonage. She asks if the clergyman is in, but is told that he is not expected for another fortnight, as his father died and he had to leave town. She goes again to the shop, mastering her embarrassment to ask for some bread in exchange for her gloves, but the woman will not trade.
Jane walks out of town and begs some bread from a man in a farmhouse and again sleeps outside. In the morning she passes a girl about to throw porridge to a pig, but the girl gives it to Jane when she asks for it. Jane wanders farther out of the town, and it gets darker. She sees a light in the distance, but feels too weak to approach it. She finally finds the strength and approaches a small house. Inside are an older woman and two, young graceful women, and Jane watches them through the window. When she knocks, the older woman tells her to go away. Jane tells her that she will die, and when the older woman closes the door, Jane collapses on the doorstep. Just then a man approaches and opens the door and tells the woman to let Jane in. Jane tells the people that her name is Jane Elliot (she had decided to present an alias) and that she is too tired and famished to answer any questions. They give her some food and a bed for the night.