Chapters 26-27 Summary and Analysis
After Jane gets ready on the morning of her wedding, Mr. Rochester hurriedly takes her to the nearby church. Jane sees two strangers lingering in the cemetery, though Mr. Rochester, in his haste, fails to notice them. The two men enter the church—ostensibly to simply watch the wedding—and the ceremony begins. However, before Mr. Rochester can make his vows, one of the men speaks up and declares that there is a lawful impediment to the marriage: Mr. Rochester is already married. Mr. Rochester unsuccessfully urges the priest to continue as the man introduces himself as Mr. Briggs, a solicitor representing Richard Mason. Mr. Briggs tells the group that fifteen years ago, Mr. Rochester married Mr. Mason’s sister, Bertha, in Jamaica. To Jane’s surprise, the second stranger turns out to be Mr. Mason himself. Mr. Mason confirms the account and tells the group that he knows Bertha Rochester is still alive; her saw her only a few months ago during his stay at Thornfield. Enraged, Mr. Rochester finally admits that Bertha is still alive and explains that no one knows about her existence because she is mad. He takes the group back to Thornfield and then up to the third-floor room where Bertha is kept confined under the care of Grace Poole. When they enter the chamber, Jane realizes that Bertha was the terrifying woman who entered her room, as well as the one who started the fire and stabbed Mr. Mason. Bertha attacks Mr. Rochester and Jane leaves the room with the other men while he grapples with her. Mr. Mason tells Jane that he is an acquaintance of John Eyre, which is how he learned of Jane’s forthcoming marriage to Mr. Rochester. Mr. Mason reveals that though John Eyre has fallen ill and is near death, he urged Mason to rush back to Thornfield and save Jane from the disastrous marriage. After everyone leaves, Jane mechanically removes her wedding dress and feels despair wash over her.
Jane quickly realizes that she must leave Thornfield, but when she steps out of her room, Mr. Rochester is waiting for her. He tells her that he never meant to harm her and begs for her forgiveness. Though...
(The entire section is 1363 words.)