"Jane Eyre"
by Charlotte Bronte

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     "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."

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