Part 2, Section 5 Summary
Antoinette resumes narration. She has come to Christophine’s house to tell the old woman that her husband, Rochester, does not love her. Rochester might even hate her. He no longer sleeps with her, and all the servants know they are not doing well in their relationship. Antoinette can no longer stand Rochester’s silences and cold treatment. She does not know what to do, so she has come to Christophine to seek advice.
Christophine is quiet as she thinks. She knows what Antoinette should do, but the task would be very difficult. Finally she tells Antoinette to leave Rochester. If she leaves him, he will miss her, Christophine says. Only then can they renew their relationship. Antoinette cannot fathom doing this. She is concerned that if she leaves, everyone will laugh at her for being a failure. Christophine tells her that people might laugh, but they will be laughing at Rochester.
Antoinette cannot imagine leaving Rochester. She does not want to give him up; she wants him back. She wants their lives to be as they were just a few months ago, when they were first married. She then asks Christophine if there is something else she might do to get him back. However, Christophine states that when a man no longer loves a woman, the more she tries to win him back, the more he hates her.
Antoinette repeats that she cannot leave him. He is, after all, her husband. At this statement, Christophine spits on the ground. She says all women who think that way are fools. Christophine is glad she has no husband to control her. But Antoinette reminds Christophine that she has no money because all her wealth has been assigned to Rochester. So Christophine tells her to ask Rochester for enough money to allow her to live on her own. Still, Antoinette refuses to consider leaving him. What she has in mind is a potion that she believes Christophine can brew—a potion to make Rochester love her again.
Christophine tells Antoinette to rest. While resting, Antoinette has a flashback to the time just before she was married. She overhears her Aunt Cora arguing with Richard Mason, who was preparing the marriage settlement. Aunt Cora yells at Richard that he is threatening Antoinette’s future by handing over to Rochester everything Antoinette’s stepfather left her. But Richard does not listen to her.
When Antoinette resumes her conversation with Christophine, she says she is scared. So Christophine finally gives in to Antoinette’s wishes. The only condition Christophine makes is that Antoinette must have a discussion with Rochester before giving the potion to him. Antoinette agrees and then heads back for home.