Letter M #AtoZChallenge #JaneEyre and The Mason Family

This post is part of this year’s April Challenge to write a post a day. I’ve chosen to write about my greatest literary passion: Jane Eyre. Today Jane is going to tell you all about the Mason family, her husband’s troublesome in-laws.

M

I met two members of the Mason family personally; Mr. Richard Mason and his sister, Bertha Mason, who was Mr. Rochester’s first wife.

Richard Mason was Edward’s brother-in-Law, when I first met him, Richard took the liberty of installing himself as a guest at Thornfield. When Edward discovered that he was at Thornfield he was distressed and asked me to spy on him, worried that he might be talking about grave and mysterious things, but I told him he seemed engaged in a merry conversation with the other guests. Then he asked to speak with him privately in his study. I was worried about Mr. Mason’s intentions. They talked for an hour and seemed to part on friendly terms.

Later that night there was a great commotion at Thornfield Hall. Everyone was woken up by cries of help coming from the third storey. Edward told them it was a servant who had had a nightmare, but later, when everyone had gone back to bed, he called me to nurse Mr. Mason, who had been attacked, but I knew not by what kind of creature. I should have realized they were keeping a dark secret, but I had no idea what had happened and dared not even ask.

I met, no it could not be called a meeting, I mean I came face to face with Bertha Mason the night before my first ill-fated wedding day. She stood before my eyes in my room in the dead of night. ‘She was tall and large, with thick and dark hair hanging long down her back. I know not what dress she had on: it was white and straight; but whether gown, sheet, or shroud, I could not tell.  Her face was a fearful, ghastly, discoloured and savage face with red eyes. She reminded me of a Vampire. She tore my veil and approached me with a candle and I fainted.

Edward tried to convince me it had been a nightmare until I saw the torn veil on the floor. I would find out who she was on my wedding day, after the wedding was interrupted and we were taken upstairs to see her in her windowless room on the third floor.

Richard interrupted our marriage because he was defending his sister from her husband. Rochester was given a high dowry of 30,000 pounds for marrying her, by Mason’s father.

It seemed strange to me that he was not concerned about her physical welfare. He seemed to agree that she should stay in the attic. I suspected that Mason was a villain who had tried to blackmail Edward.

Many years later, one of my Dear Readers, who knew Mr. Mason was a villain, imagined he would return to haunt me twenty-two years later, while my husband lay on his death bed, in her novel, All Hallows at Eyre Hall. She has written another post about Richard’s role as villain.

Richard Maso Villain

Kevin Spacey would be a great Richard Mason, 22 years later.

There were other members of the Mason family, whom I never met. Edward also told me that Richard and Bertha’s father, had been an acquaintance of Edward’s father, and they had planned Edward and Bertha’s marriage as a business arrangement. Edward’s father negotiated a 30,000 pound dowry and conditions, such as his removal to Jamaica to marry and live there with Bertha.

Much later, when Bertha’s presence became known to me, Edward also told me he found out Bertha’s mother was a lunatic, who lived in an asylum, and that she had another brother, who was a ‘dumb idiot’.

Finally, Bertha burnt down Thornfield Hall and committed suicide, at least that what I was told…

It does indeed seem that the Mason family were the most unpleasant in-laws.

Another Dear Reader called Jean Rhys, wrote a whole book about the Mason family called Wide Sargasso Sea. It’s a prequel to Jane Eyre. More about that in letter ‘P’ for Prequel, on Tuesday.

 

 

 

Letter H #AtoZChallenge #JaneEyre’s Husband

This post is part of this year’s April Challenge to write a post a day. I’ve chosen to write about my greatest literary passion: Jane Eyre. Today it’s all about Jane Eyre’s Husband. Edward Rochester himself will tell us all about his life. This is Edward Rochester’s autobiography.

H

My name is Edward Fairfax Rochester. My honourable surname, dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. It’s etymology is related to a fortress, ‘chester’ meaning Roman fort in Old English. My family has lived in Yorkshire since the 12th century. My surname was briefly changed to ‘de Rochester’ after the Conquest, which was probably when my ancestor moved from Kent, where there were too many Norman invaders, to Yorkshire.

Battle_of_Marston_Moor,_1644

My first famous ancestor was Damer de Rochester, a brave soldier who had been struck by a cannon ball on Marston Moor in 1642, fighting for the Parliamentarians against the Royalists. My father used to say that was why King George, whom he considered a vengeful man, had denied my grandfather a Peerdom.

My mother’s surname is also of ancient Anglo-Saxon origins. In this case, the Fairfax were landed gentry who have always lived in Yorkshire. My mother’s older brother, retained all the land, as was customary. Her father remarried, when his wife died, and her younger step-brother, was later disowned and became a clergyman. My mother was rather fond of her little brother, so she insisted my father should employ him as vicar at Hay church, and when he died, his wife, Mrs. Fairfax, was employed as our housekeeper.

Mrs. Fairfax was a good woman who knew her place and never boasted of her husband’s relationship with the landowning Fairfax family. My parents cut off their relationship with the Fairfax shortly after they married. My mother’s family considered the Rochesters too fierce and warlike. I’ll admit, my father was never a patient man, much like myself, but he was an honourable Rochester.

Haddon_Hall

Our house, Thornfield Hall, and the nearby church, was built by my ancestors in the 12th century, shortly after moving to Yorkshire. Additions were made in the 13th and the 17th centuries.

The Hay district church stood just beyond the gates of Thornfield Hall. It was a small village place of worship, which was erected, when the original house was built in the 12th century. My grandfather renovated the older derelict building. It was the church where my grandparents were buried, where my parents married and were buried, and where my brother, Roland, was buried, too, in the family vault at the front of the altar. It was the same altar where I had stood as Jane’s groom, twice. It is where we christened our son, too. My unfortunate first wife, Bertha Mason, was buried anonymously in the graveyard.

This quiet, secluded place of worship, which would also be my last resting place, had been Roman Catholic before Henry VIII’s ecclesiastical reform, and although we had become Anglicans, not wanting to vex the King, there are still many reminders of our ancient religion, both in the church and in our minds.

Adele

I once confessed to Jane that I had brought Adele over from France when her mother died on the Roman Catholic principle of expiating numerous sins, great or small, by one good work. Adele was my expiation, and she was the person who brought Jane to me, so perhaps we shouldn’t have swapped our ancient beliefs so easily. In any case, officially, I’m an Anglican.

I was the spare, the second son, who would not inherit my ancestor’s lands. I hated being second best to my brother, simply because he had been born first. He was a whining, fair-haired and sickly Fairfax, like my mother. I was my father, and grandfather’s living image. I was the Rochester, but my brother, Rowland Rochester was destined to inherit what was mine. I realized I would always be the aimless and unlikely replacement to my brother, and behaved recklessly in my youth.

My father and my brother schemed to get me as far away as possible, out of the country, to be rid of the troublesome young man I had become. So, my father provided me with a wealthy marriage. He had an old acquaintance, Mr. Mason, a West India planter and merchant, whose possessions were vast. Mason had a son, Richard and a daughter, Bertha Antoinette. He offered thirty thousand pounds as dowry for his daughter, and my father signed the deal. I left college and was sent out to Jamaica, to espouse a bride already courted for me. My father told me Miss Mason was the boast of Spanish Town for her beauty, and this was no lie. She was a beautiful woman, tall, dark, and majestic, and I was suitably dazzled. Her family wished to secure me because I was of a good race, but they did not tell me the truth until it was too late.

Bertha

Miss Mason was Mr. Mason’s step-daughter. She was a creole, like her mother, his first wife, who was shut up in a lunatic asylum, and there was a younger brother, who was a dumb idiot. I soon learned her splendid dresses, and demure glances were a farce, because she had been familiar with other men on the island. I had been tricked to marring her.

I found her nature wholly alien to mine, her tastes obnoxious to me, her cast of mind common, low, narrow, and singularly incapable of being led to anything higher. In short, she had a pigmy mind. I found that I could not pass a single evening, nor even a single hour of the day with her. Soon she showed me her outbreaks of violent and unreasonable temper.

I lived with that monster for four years, on that infernal island, until I received news that both my father and my brother had died, and the Rochester Estate was mine, at last. I brought her back with me. Her brother insisted and what could I do? He reminded me of the dowry and I told him that it was insufficient for everything I had put up with, and still had to endure.

I made sure she was well fed and comfortably hidden in my attic. I paid a trustworthy woman to look after her. She had everything she needed, but her madness spiraled after our arrival in England. She escaped and tried to burn the house down, on several occasions

I could not stand living under the same roof as her, even though I never saw her, but I heard her. I began to abhor Thornfield Hall, so I travelled to the continent in search of a good and intelligent woman. Instead I fell under the spell of the beautiful but fickle opera singer, Celine Varens.

Six months before Jane arrived at Thornfield Hall, Celine gave me her daughter, Adele, affirming she was mine. I tell you Pilot is more like me than Adele! Celine abandoned her child, and ran away to Italy with a musician or singer. I am convinced I am not her father, but hearing that she was quite destitute, I took the poor thing out of the slime and mud of Paris, and transplanted it here, to grow up clean in the wholesome soil of an English country garden.

You see, my goodwill has always turned against me. I vowed never to become involved with a beautiful woman again.

Horse

One day, nine years after returning from Jamaica, I met a small, pale, elf-like creature who stole my heart. I fell in love with her youth, her naiveté, her quick, sharp mind and her generous spirit enraptured me. However, I soon learnt she was as independent and headstrong as I was selfish and scheming. I had to have her as my wife, not my employee or my mistress. I wanted her skin on my skin, our bodies joined as soon as possible, so I devised a plan.

I thought she was too young to realize she loved me yet, so I had to make her feel jealous,  I invited Blanche Ingram, a beautiful woman, who was the antithesis of Jane. Blanche was tall, with raven hair and dark eyes. She wore expensive clothes and jewels to catch a husband. She was also a snob and a bitch. I would tease them both nicely. It was a game for my enjoyment. I knew Jane would win. She already had my heart and Blanche was only after my money. I would never marry a dark beauty again, I had already done that once. I wanted a real, English rose, on this occasion. An intelligent, soul mate. I wanted Jane Eyre.

Wedding

After Jane left Thornfield Hall, when Richard Mason cruelly interrupted my first wedding attempt, the lunatic’s madness escalated. She succeeded in burning down the house, and when she went up to the battlements to throw herself down, I tried to save her. I swear that’s why I went up there, but she threw herself off, after burning down my ancestral home.

I had lied, and I had broken the law, God’s law and man’s law, to make Jane mine. I even tried to ruin her, by trying to convince her to be my mistress. I would have done anything in my power to have her back at my side, but she disappeared like a summer breeze. I became a desperate and brooding beast living in a decrepit and secluded manor house with two old servants.

I was crippled. On one arm, I had neither hand nor nails, but a mere, ghastly stump. My face had ugly burn marks, and I was almost blind. My eyes could only perceive a glow. Everything around me was a ruddy shapeless cloud, until a year later, when my fairy returned.

Mr. Rochester Blind

After the fire, I had a long time to think about my deeds. I did wrong to Jane. I would have sullied my innocent flower, breathed guilt on her purity. I began to experience remorse, repentance, and the wish for reconcilement to my Maker. I prayed that Jane would return to me and promised the heavens that I would be a better man. When she returned to me, I humbly entreated my Redeemer to give me strength to lead henceforth a purer life than I have done hitherto.

After we married, I recovered the sight of one eye, and learned to cater for my needs with one hand, instead of two. I held my son in my arms and saw he was a Rochester, like me, and thanked God for the second chance I had been awarded. I would try to be the man Jane Eyre deserved for the rest of my days.

I know some people don’t believe in me, and I can understand that. They think I can’t change, but I know I can. I’m not sorry for my past, I did what I had to do. I was a reckless youth and I married the wrong woman, but I was misled by my father and enticed by selfish women. None of it was my fault.

I’m only sorry for the unjust way I treated Jane. You may think I’m not good enough for Jane, and that’s true, too, but I’m going to try to be a better man for her. I will not go back to my gallivanting ways and I will never hurt her again.

Jane3

Dear Reader, do you believe him?

Meet The Main Characters in Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall

Three Days to Book Launch

Main Characters in Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is the second volume in the sequel to Jane Eyre. Some of the main characters in this novel also appeared in Charlotte Bronte’s original novel, nevertheless, I have moved them on 22 years. I have developed their characters, reinventing them at a later stage in their lives. Other characters are my own creation.

Characters mentioned in Jane Eyre:

Jane Eyre, Richard Mason, Leah, Admiral Fitzjames (he was captain in Jane Eyre), Mrs. Diana Fitzjames, Adele Varens, Bertha Mason, Dr. Carter.

Characters of my own creation:

John Eyre Rochester, Michael and Susan Kirkpatrick, Annette Mason, ‘young’ Dr. Carter, Captain Carrington, Mr. Greenwood, Dante Greenwood, Nell Rosset, Jenny Rosset, Phoebe, Simon and Beth.

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Jane Eyre. Jane is no longer a nineteen-year-old naïve and young girl. She is a mature woman in her early forties. She is involved in social work, mainly with orphans and parish schools. She writes novels, much like Charlotte Bronte did, and manages the Rochester estate. She had been married to Mr. Rochester for over 20 years, and had one son and several miscarriages. There were many ups and downs in the marriage, which ended with Edward Rochester’s death in book 1, All Hallows at Eyre Hall. The end of book one left Jane in a state of confusion, depression and physical illness. Her husband had died, she was blackmailed into marrying Mr. Mason, her husband’s brother-in-law, she suffered yet another miscarriage, and the man she thought she loved left her. She is gradually recovering her physical and mental stability.

Mr. Mason. Richard Mason was Mr. Rochester’s greedy and evil brother-in-law. He was Bertha Mason’s brother. Bertha Mason was Mr. Rochester’s first mad wife. Richard returned from Jamaica with Miss Annette Mason, Bertha’s secret daughter (Book 1). Jane married him because he promised to hide Mr. Rochester’s secrets from young John Eyre Rochester.

Annette Mason. She was born in Thornfield Hall from an unknown father, while her mother, Bertha Mason, was married to Edward Rochester and locked in his attic. Her uncle, Richard Mason, took Annette back with him to Jamaica, where she was brought up in a convent, as an orphan, supervised by her uncle. Her uncle brought her back to England to claim her birthright when Mr. Rochester died (book 1). She is living at Eyre Hall as Jane’s ward.

John Rochester. He is Jane and Rochester’s son. He is headstrong, spoilt, and rich. He is in love with Annette, whom he believes is his cousin. He had accepted an arranged marriage of convenience, but his fiancée died, and now Jane is trying to convince him to marry her flirtatious younger sister, Phoebe. He is studying Law at Oxford.

Michael Kirkpatrick. In book 1, he was Jane’s faithful valet, but he left when she accepted Mr. Mason’s proposal, because he was in love with Jane. He joined the Royal Navy and is promoted to lieutenant by Captain Carrington. In book 2 he returns to Eyre Hall to help his sister, Susan, who also works for the Rochester family.

Captain Carrington is Michael’s captain on board the HMS Princess Helena. He is a father-figure to Michael, whose father was killed at sea when he was a child. He was captain to Admiral Fitzjames, who is married to Jane’s cousin, Diana.

Nell Rosset. Nell is a lively, young girl who is Jane’s companion throughout her illness. She reads to her and walks with her. Her mother, Jenny, is a seamstress at Eyre Hall and Mr. Mason’s mistress.

Adele Varens was Mr. Rochester’s ward. Jane Eyre was first employed at Thornfield Hall as her governess. Her mother, Céline Varens, was Mr. Rochester’s mistress in France, for a time. He always denied being her father. She was a spinster, who now has a widowed suitor, the poet, Mr. Greenwood. They have been living in Venice for the past year with Mr. Greenwood’s young son, Dante. Susan, Michael’s sister, has accompanied Adele as her maid and companion. Adele and Mr. Greenwood are soon to be married.

‘Young’ Dr. Carter is Dr. Carter’s son. He is an intelligent young man, who has taken over his father’s practice in the area, with modern ideas on medicine. He is living at Ferndean, a manor house on the Rochester Estate, with his mother.

Mrs. Leah is the housekeeper at Eyre Hall. She also worked at Thornfield Hall before Jane Eyre arrived. She is the only living person who knows everything about the Rochester family, including their secrets.

 Simon and Beth are two loyal servants at Eyre Hall who are in a relationship.

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Would you like to know anything else about any of these characters?

For those of you who have read book one or two, which is your favourite character, and why?

 

 

Richard Mason: The Villain in Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, and All Hallows at Eyre Hall

Richard Mason is a fascinating character, created by Charlotte Bronte, for her novel Jane Eyre, and taken up a century later in the prequel written by Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea. Mason reappears in All Hallows at Eyre Hall, the sequel to both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, as one of the main characters. 

This article will take a closer look at this pivotal character, drawn by Charlotte Bronte in the 19th sentury, developed by Jean Rhys in the 20th century, and reiterpreted by Luccia Gray in the 21st century.

Jane Eyre

Mason makes two brief appearances, which are essential for the plot of Jane Eyre. Mason’s character is only briefly sketched; nevertheless the reader is able to identify him in his specific and crucial role as both villain and foil to Rochester.

A simplified approach to these four characters may lead us to the conclusion that both Mason and Bertha could be interpreted as antagonists to Jane and Rochester. Jane is plain, good and pure, as opposed to Bertha, who is, or was, dazzling, wicked and sexual, whereas Rochester is unattractive, strong and honest, in contrast to Mason, who is good-looking, cowardly and deceitful.

However my interpretation of the novel is far from simplistic and aims to contribute to the unveiling the subtext of Jane Eyre; what was really meant (connotation), not was actually said (denotation). Bertha deserves, and therefore will be the subject of another article, because on this occasion I want to focus all attention on Richard Mason’s character and role in the novel.

Mason first appears in the novel arriving at a lively, guest-filled Thornfield Hall in a horse drawn carriage, claiming to be an old friend, while Mr. Rochester is out riding:

“The post-chaise stopped; the driver rang the door-bell, and a gentleman alighted attired in travelling garb; but it was not Mr. Rochester; it was a tall, fashionable-looking man, a stranger.”

At first, Jane is somewhat impressed by the newcomer:

“His manner was polite; his accent, in speaking, struck me as being somewhat unusual,—not precisely foreign, but still not altogether English: his age might be about Mr. Rochester’s,—between thirty and forty; his complexion was singularly sallow: otherwise he was a fine-looking man, at first sight especially.”

However it took her only seconds to realize there was something untrustworthy about him:

“On closer examination, you detected something in his face that displeased, or rather that failed to please. His features were regular, but too relaxed: his eye was large and well cut, but the life looking out of it was a tame, vacant life—at least so I thought.

The guests at Thornfield Hall were impressed with the visitor. According to the ladies gathered he was attractive, using adjectives such as: “a beautiful man,” and, “a love of a creature,” some “adored” him and referred to “his pretty little mouth, and nice nose,” and others said he was “ideal” and “charming.” However Jane decides that he is repulsive:

“But I liked his physiognomy even less than before: it struck me as being at the same time unsettled and inanimate. His eye wandered, and had no meaning in its wandering: this gave him an odd look, such as I never remembered to have seen. For a handsome and not an unamiable looking man, he repelled me exceedingly: there was no power in that smooth-skinned face of a full oval shape: no firmness in that aquiline nose and small cherry mouth; there was no thought on the low, even forehead; no command in that blank, brown eye.”

Two paragraphs later, comparing him to Mr. Rochester, she has framed him as the villain by comparing Mason to a falcon and Rochester to a sheep:

“I compared him with Mr. Rochester. I think (with deference be it spoken) the contrast could not be much greater between a sleek gander and a fierce falcon: between a meek sheep and the rough-coated keen eyed dog, its guardian.”

Shortly after, Rochester returns disguised as an old gipsy who wishes to tell the guests their fortune. After the farce, which Jane discovers easily, she tells him that he has a visitor and he reacts with horror:

“His name is Mason, sir; and he comes from the West Indies; from Spanish Town, in Jamaica, I think.”

Mr. Rochester was standing near me; he had taken my hand, as if to lead me to a chair. As I spoke he gave my wrist a convulsive grip; the smile on his lips froze: apparently a spasm caught his breath.”

He lets her know immediately that Mason is a big problem for him:

“Jane, I’ve got a blow; I’ve got a blow, Jane!” He staggered. “Oh, lean on me, sir.”

However the two men converse alone together and she hears them bid each other good might amiably, as if they had reached some kind of gentlemanly agreement.

Later, in the middle of the night, Jane and all the guests hear a terrible howl coming from the third storey crying for help. It comes from the room directly above hers, where we later discover Bertha has been hidden for eleven years. Everyone wakes up and leaves their rooms in fright. The worried and curious guests are sent back to bed while Rochester asks Jane to follow him upstairs:

“Mr. Rochester held the candle over him; I recognised in his pale and seemingly lifeless face—the stranger, Mason: I saw too that his linen on one side, and one arm, was almost soaked in blood.”

He then left her alone with him while he went to fetch Dr.Carter:

“I shall have to leave you in this room with this gentleman, for an hour, or perhaps two hours: you will sponge the blood as I do when it returns: if he feels faint, you will put the glass of water on that stand to his lips, and your salts to his nose. You will not speak to him on any pretext—and—Richard, it will be at the peril of your life if you speak to her: open your lips—agitate yourself—and I’ll not answer for the consequences.”

The Jane did not know at the time who or what had attacked Richard, but we will find out it was his sister, Bertha Mason, who had bitten him and attacked him with a knife. Rochester eventually returns with Dr. Carter who carries him away from Thornfield Hall to cure his wounds.

(In the first chapter of All Hallows at Eyre Hall, Mr. Mason refers to this incident and reminds Jane of the noises she heard that night, disclosing a shocking secret which lay behind the closed door and was only partially disclosed in Jane Eyre).

Mason’s second and last appearance occurs three months later, when Mr. Briggs, a London solicitor interrupts the wedding by accusing Mr. Rochester of attempted bigamy. Rochester denies being married, denying the authenticity of the marriage certificate, and later suggesting that if he ever had a wife she was not living, until Mason intervenes by answering the vicar’s question:

Then addressing Mason, he inquired gently, “Are you aware, sir, whether or not this gentleman’s

wife is still living?”

“Courage,” urged the lawyer, “speak out.”

“She is now living at Thornfield Hall,” said Mason, in more articulate tones: “I saw her there last April. I am her brother.”

That is when they all return to Thornfield hall and discover the cruel secret in the attic.

Following the discovery, Rochester tried to convince Jane that he was tricked into marrying a mad Creole, by his own father as well as her father and her brother. Jane believes him, as many readers have done in the last hundred and fifty years, but in any case, Jane leaves because, tricked or not, mad or not, Bertha Antoinette Mason is his legal wife; she is Mrs. Bertha Rochester.

 

Wide Sargasso Sea

In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys expands on the story of Bertha and Richard Mason, who plays a major role in this novel, too. We learn that Richard and Bertha are not blood relations. Richard was Mr. Jonas Mason’s son by his first marriage, and she was her mother, Antoinetta’s, daughter by her first marriage. When they married, they had no children. Bertha’s mother was a Creole, although her father and Richard’s father were both English.

Rochester tells Jane his marriage to Bertha had been arranged by their respective fathers and in Wide Sargasso Sea, Rochester writes a letter to his father informing him that the transaction has been conducted according to their plans:

“All is well and has gone according to your plans and wishes. I dealt of course with Richard Mason. His father died soon after I left for the West Indies as you probably know. He is a good fellow, hospitable and friendly; he seemed to become attached to me and trusted me completely.”

Wide Sargasso Sea confirms the information Rochester tells Jane after Bertha’s discovery in Jane Eyre in another letter to his father:

Dear Father. The thirty thousand pounds have been paid to me without question or condition. No provision made for her (that must be seen to). I have a modest competence now I will never be a disgrace to you or to my dear brother the son you love. No begging letters, no mean requests. None of the furtive shabby manoeuvres of a younger son. I have sold my soul or you have sold it, and after all is it such a bad bargain? The girl is thought to be beautiful, she is beautiful. And yet…

In Wide Sargasso Sea, it is Rochester who convinces Mason of his honesty. Rochester is awarded the thirty thousand pound dowry, and when her father dies she inherits a great deal of money, which also goes to Rochester because he is her husband. When Bertha’s aunt Cora suggests she should be protected legally, Richard answers:

“You are talking about an honourable gentleman, not a rascal,” Richard said. “I am not in a position to make conditions, as you know very well. She is damn lucky to get him, all things considered. Why should I insist on a lawyer’s settlement when I trust him? I would trust him with my life,” he went on in an affected voice.”

So, in Jane Eyre, Richard Mason is protecting his sister. Rochester was given a great deal of money in exchange for the wedding, and he pledged to love her in sickness and in health. He is naturally looking after his sister’s interests.

But there are many unanswered questions. Why did Mason return to see his sister in April? Did he visit his sister frequently? Did he know how about her living conditions? What did he talk to Rochester about? What was their secret agreement which is not fully disclosed in Jane Eyre? All Hallows at Eyre Hall holds the answers to these enigmatic questions.

 

All Hallows at Eyre Hall 

Mason does not appear in  All Hallows at Eyre Hall by chance. There is a specific and unexpected reason for Richard Mason’s presence at Eyre Hall. Richard Mason has some disquieting news for Jane Rochester which will turn her world upside down, once more. She will find out exactly what happened the night Bertha attacked her brother. We will discover why she attacked him and what those strange animal noises and squeals coming from the attic were all about.

Bertha’s presence was only one of the secrets at Thornfield Hall, and although both secrets were conveniently removed before Jane and Rochester married, Bertha’s shadow will haunt Jane once more twenty-three years after that fateful night.

Richard Mason was a villain in Jane Eyre because he interrupted Jane and Rochester’s wedding, but in all honesty, he simply reminded Rochester that he was already married to his sister for whose hand he had received a great deal of money. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Richard is the gullible and careless older brother who neglected to look after his sister’s financial well-being, allowing Rochester control over all her funds and finally take her to England, out of her family’s reach. Mason does not do any of the things villains do in either novel; he is not seen to kill anyone, deceive anyone, steal from anyone, abuse anyone, etc. He is more an irresponsible coward than a villain.

On the other hand, in All Hallows at Eyre Hall, Richard Mason is finally given his true role as villain in the style of Count Fosco in The Woman in White. He is a scheming manipulator who has his own selfish ulterior motives. Mason will finally be allowed to play a major role as a really nasty piece of work. He has become a more ambitious, vicious, and clever schemer. You are going to love this villain!

However, I must warn you, there is another, unexpected villain in All Hallows At Eyre Hall, and he is even worse than Shakespeare’s greatest villain, Richard III. He murders, plots and schemes, even helpless children and his family are included amongst his victims, and his name is not Richard Mason.