Mr. Rochester has been entertaining many guests, among them the lovely Blanche Ingram, who Jane discerns, determines to marry Rochester. One day in the absence of Rochester's "animating influence," the party decides it will have an excursion to Hay Common where there is a gypsy camp, but this trip is deferred by the arrival of an unexpected man who has come to see Mr. Rochester. The man named Mr. Mason waits closely by the fire when the footman enters and tells the party that a gypsy woman has come to tell fortunes, and she will not leave until she sees all the ladies in the party.
When all but Jane have their fortunes told, the gypsy demands to see her. After Jane enters and sits down, the gypsy wonders aloud,
"I wonder with what feelings you came to me tonight....I wonder wha thoughts are busy in you heart during all the hours you sit in yonder room with the fine people flitting before you like shapes in a magic lantern: just as little sympathetic communion passing between you and them, as if they were really mere shadows of human forms and not the actual substance."
The gypsy, who describes Jane to herself with great perspicacity, continues to ask Jane probing questions in an eagerness to know better what troubles her, for Jane's feelings are not as easily discerned. After a time, the gypsy's identity is revealed; Mr. Rochester has disguised himself so. He asks Jane's forgiveness and begs her to stay a moment in order to inform him about the activities of his guests in the other room. Jane tells him they are probably discussing the gypsy; in addition, she informs Rochester that a Mr. Mason from the West Indies awaits him. Hearing this news, Rochester must lean upon Jane, saying, "I've got a blow;---I've got a blow, Jane!"