Mrs. Barrett is a kindly old servant of Lucy Snowe's family, who's now working as a housekeeper at a large estate near Miss Marchmont's place. It is while visiting Mrs. Barrett that Lucy notices that the daughter of the house, an old school-friend of hers, employs a French nurse for her child. Mrs. Barrett informs Lucy that English governesses are also in great demand abroad. As such, they tend to be very well paid and looked after.
This plants the idea in Lucy's mind to go to France. Initially, however, she makes her way to London. After a brief stay in the capital, she takes a berth on a ship called The Vivid, which is scheduled to travel over the English Channel to France. There, Lucy's life will change forever when she becomes an English teacher in a school in the city of Villette.