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With the arrival of Mr. Rochester, Thornfield Hall changes completely. There are frequent visitors, who cause much activity in the house. Adèle finds it difficult to apply herself to her studies. She keeps thinking about the box of presents Mr. Rochester has brought her. Mr. Rochester takes over the library, and Jane and Adèle are given a schoolroom upstairs.
One day, Mr. Rochester summons them to the drawing room for tea. Jane dresses up formally for the occasion. Mr. Rochester acknowledges them with a mere nod. For some time, he pretends to take no notice of them. After tea, he questions Jane about her past. He asks her to play the piano and show him her drawings. He is not impressed with her piano recital but is fascinated by her painting. He abruptly sends them away at nine.
When Jane questions Mrs. Fairfax about the master's "abrupt" behavior, the housekeeper acknowledges his moody nature. According to her, Rochester has led an "unsettled kind of life." His father and his brother were unfair to him, especially with regard to the family's finances. She believes that Mr. Rochester probably shuns Thornfield because he finds the place too gloomy.
Mr. Rochester's presence reanimates the entire atmosphere of Thornfield Hall. It is "no longer silent as a church." Jane herself has come to like the place better now. On a naturalistic level, Jane thinks of the house as taking its personality from the presence of Mr. Rochester. However, the novelist moves beyond this to make a symbolic identification between the house and its master.
Jane is introduced by Mrs. Fairfax as an "invaluable" companion to her and "a kind and careful teacher" to Adèle. In the course of Mr. Rochester's conversation with Jane, the reader discovers that Jane is in a position to look back over her life at Lowood under Brocklehurst with a certain amount of detachment and objectivity. Mr. Rochester detects in Jane's eyes the "look of another world." He goes to the extent of asking if she bewitched his horse during their first encounter.
In this chapter, Jane seems to be reasonably proud of her achievement in her profession as a governess. Mr. Rochester, however, is critical of her. He finds Jane to be a mere novice at playing the piano. He does respond favorably to her paintings. The only suggestion of Mr. Rochester's that can upset her is that she may have been helped by an art master. Jane discovers Mr. Rochester to be somewhat overbearing, but she refuses to become unnerved by him.
The conversation between Jane and Mrs. Fairfax in the last section of this chapter provides Mrs. Fairfax's insight into Mr. Rochester's character. She finds him very "changeful" and "abrupt." Mrs. Fairfax, however, does not provide Jane with more explicit information on the origin and nature of Mr. Rochester's family troubles. The reader learns that Mr. Rochester's "unsettled kind of life" has not allowed him to stay at Thornfield continuously for even two weeks. Mrs. Fairfax is not surprised by the fact that he shuns the place.