"Yes," she said, "it is a pretty place; but I fear it will be getting out
of order, unless Mr. Rochester should take it into his head to come and
reside here permanently; or, at least, visit it rather oftener: great
houses and fine grounds require the presence of the proprietor."
"Mr. Rochester!" I exclaimed. "Who is he?"
"The owner of Thornfield," she responded quietly. "Did you not know he
was called Rochester?"
Of course I did not--I had never heard of him before; but the old lady
seemed to regard his existence as a universally understood fact, with
which everybody must be acquainted by instinct.
"I thought," I continued, "Thornfield belonged to you."
"To me? Bless you, child; what an idea! To me! I am only the
housekeeper--the manager. To be sure I am distantly related to the
Rochesters by the mother's side, or at least my husband was; he was a
clergyman, incumbent of Hay--that little village yonder on the hill--and
that church near the gates was his. The present Mr. Rochester's mother
was a Fairfax, and second cousin to my husband: but I never presume on
the connection--in fact, it is nothing to me; I consider myself quite in
the light of an ordinary housekeeper: my employer is always civil, and I
expect nothing more."