In an attempt to persuade Jane to be more understanding of Mr. Rochester, Mrs. Fairfax shares her knowledge of Mr. Rochester's tense relationship with his family. According to Mrs. Fairfax, Edward Rochester is the younger brother of Rowland Rochester, who passed away nine years ago. The relationship between the brothers was strained, and Mrs. Fairfax suggests that Rowland manipulated their father into favoring him over Edward. This resulted in Rowland inheriting the entirety of the estate upon their father's death, as their father did not wish to divide the wealth of the family between his two sons. However, Mrs. Fairfax reveals that when Edward came of age,
Some steps were taken that were not quite fair, and made a great deal of mischief. Old Mr. Rochester and Mr. Rowland combined to bring Mr. Edward into what he considered a painful position, for the sake of making his fortune: what the precise nature of that position was I never clearly knew.
Though Mrs. Fairfax never tells this to Jane outright, she is likely referring to Mr. Rochester's marriage to Bertha Mason, revealed later in the novel. This union would have provided Mr. Rochester with the wealth his father valued for continuing the honor of the family name.
Mrs. Fairfax finally notes that Mr. Rochester's pride was never able to endure the situation his family placed him in—his marriage to Bertha—and he did not forgive them, estranging himself from his father and brother until his brother's death, when he inherited the estate. Mrs. Fairfax suggests to Jane that Thornfield Hall serves as a reminder to Mr. Rochester of his family and the injustices he faced at their hand.