Well this is the final snippet of fanfic that I’ll post for now – because I’ve got no more stories up my sleeve! This one started out as an idea but quickly turned into my longest Jane Eyre piece. So for a touch of whimsy, read on…
Edward had been in a fierce mood since daybreak. He snapped at George for not having his green coat ready, berated Mary for being slow to bring the hot water, and grumbled incessantly as I helped him tie his cravat.
The cause of his moodiness? Our visit to town.
“Why do we need to go to Millcote?” he protested. “Why do you not charge George with your errands and be done with it?”
“George is not so young to be travelling twenty-five miles a day,” I reasoned, “And besides, he has plenty to do here now that there are two of us to keep.”
“Then John or Mary would do just as well. Mrs. Rochester should not be undertaking such common duties.”
“Mrs. Rochester will do whatever she thinks is right! I need to enquire after my packages from Diana and Mary, and post my letter to Adèle. Then we will visit the apothecary for your dressings, and the dressmaker’s after that – my summer gowns are quite worn out and it will be warm soon. Only then shall we rest at the inn for a much deserved dinner.”
When he protested that he would collapse in exhaustion from so much activity, I said teasingly, “You do not have to go. I shall do quite well on my own.”
“No! No, I will come and keep you company. It is a long ride without a companion.”
I knew that he was reluctant to go as he did not want to encounter any of his acquaintances in his changed state – not because he was ashamed of his infirmities, but because he loathed their pity. This was the reason why he had shut himself up at Ferndean since the fire, and considering the arrogance held by such people as Blanche Ingram, I did not at all blame him.
When he had buttoned up his coat, I urged him to sit at the dressing table while I combed his wild mane.
“As unruly as ever.” I jested as I forced his pocket-comb through it, a remark that induced a smile from him.
“Yes, I know,” he chucked quietly, “It is still hideous.”
He sighed, relaxing while I completed my ministrations.
“Edward, you know you cannot stay hidden at Ferndean forever. Even if you will not re-enter society you will still have to venture out sometime.”
He scoffed, but said nothing in reply.
“You have never cared for other’s opinions so why should you care now?” I cajoled, “I shall not leave your side, and if we do encounter old acquaintances I will not let them mock you.”
“I know, my dear.” he finally said, “And neither will I let them mock you. Forgive me for being a foolish old man – I should know such things aren’t worth my worrying about. Besides, Millcote is large enough that we may not meet any of our acquaintances.”
And taking my hand, he gently kissed it before rising straight and proud. “Well, Mrs. Rochester,” he said more spiritedly, “Let us brave the hordes!”
The ride into Millcote was uneventful enough, but when we arrived it became plain that we had perhaps mistimed our visit. I had forgotten that it was market day, the one day in the month when the entire district descended upon the town, causing considerable havoc and delay on the roads.
“Why are we moving so slowly?” cried my vexed husband, “Has John gone to sleep up there?”
The news that it was market day did not ease his irritation. “The deuce it is! There goes my plan to remain inconspicuous. My appearance is sure to give the gossip-mongers food for the next year at least.”
We first alighted at the post office, where my trunk from Morton awaited along with letters from Diana and Mary. There was nothing from St. John, a circumstance that did not escape Edward’s notice.
“That man St. John must certainly be heartless. When I found you gone, I was on my horse scouring the entire county, while he has sent you nary a letter! You were right, Jane – he could not love you.”
The visit to the apothecary passed without incident, but when we reached the dressmaker’s, we were greeted by a familiar face.