Jane was walking to post a letter for Mrs. Fairfax when she first met Mr. Rochester. It was three o'clock in the afternoon, and she was only a mile away from Thornfield when she heard the approach of a horse. Jane moved away from the path and stilled herself in order to let the rider pass, but the horse was moving quickly and slipped on the ice. The horse and its rider fell to the ground.
Their conversation was generic. Jane inquired as to the rider's condition after the fall; the rider inquired as to why she was out and about alone at such an hour. They spoke about Thornfield, why Jane lived there, and whether or not she knew anything about the allusive Mr. Rochester. Jane never guessed that she was in fact, speaking with her boss!
Jane Eyre/ Chapter 12