Chapter 35: St. John does not leave for Cambridge the next day as he said he was going to, but he stays another week. During this time Jane sees that he had not forgotten all she said to him. The night before he was to leave for Cambridge, Jane asks him to be friends with her. He says that he thought they were friends, but is not moved. When Jane asks if he will leave her to go to India like this, he is startled, and asks then if she does not mean to go with him. She tells him again that she will not marry him, and when again he asks for a reason, she says that he almost hates her and that he should kill her if they were to be married. She tries to explain what she means, but he does not understand. He continues to try to talk her into marrying him and leaving with him, but she refuses, saying that there are things in England that she must find out about. He understands that she is talking about Rochester, and says he will pray for her so that she does not become a castaway.
Diana has seen them talking and asks Jane if St. John is in love with her. Jane tells her no, but that he has asked her to marry him and be a companion to him on his voyage. Diana agrees that it would be out of the question to marry a man who regarded her only as a useful tool. After supper they say their good-byes, and St. John tells Jane that she should reflect while he is gone. He lays his hand on Jane's head, and at that moment she feels such veneration for him that she almost yields to him and forgets her refusals. But just at the moment that she would perhaps tell him so, her heart beats faster, and she gets a strange feeling. Suddenly she hears someone calling "Jane! Jane! Jane!" She recognizes the voice and yells, "I am coming.Where are you?" Of course she does not find Rochester, but bids goodbye to St. John and goes to her room.
Chapter 36: Early in the morning Jane hears St. John leave while she is getting ready for her own journey. She tells Diana and Mary that she must go on a trip and in the afternoon goes to meet the coach. It takes thirty-six hours to get near Thornfield, and at the coach stop Jane starts to walk to the Hall. Jane is quite excited about being near Thornfield again, and walks so that her first view of the Hall will be from the front. She peeps out from the gates in case someone is looking from the windows, but then gapes at what she sees. Thornfield is no longer a stately house, but a blackened ruin. All of the walls are crashed in, and it had obviously happened a while ago.
Jane returns to the inn at the coach stop to try to find out what happened. She learns from the waiter (who also tries to tell her a story about Mr. Rochester and his governess) that there was a lunatic living at the Hall who was Rochester's wife, and she burned it down. He relates that Rochester tried to get her out, but that she jumped from the top of the house, killing herself. Rochester was injured in the fire, and has lost his left hand and is blind. He tells her that Mrs. Fairfax was sent away (and well cared for monetarily) and that Adele was sent to school. He tells her that he now lives at Ferndean, a manor house that he owns about thirty miles from there. He lives there with John (his coachman) and his wife. Jane calls for a coach, and sets out for Ferndean.