Sometimes, even a house as large as Thornfield Hall can feel a bit restrictive; especially if when the weather has acted as jailer. To say that nerves are a bit frayed from the inclement weather is like saying Malvolio might hold a high opinion of himself. When Mrs. Fairfax accidentally launched a Quaich at Grace Poole’s empty head after she mistakenly set the table backwards for the third time this week, Mr. Rochester and I felt it best to quell the building tension among the staff. So we woke early and snuck out without the staffs knowledge.
It was a lovely stroll. I mean, the idea of a nice stroll with Mr. Rochester was lovely… or should have been lovely. I was so excited to actually take air into my lungs that had not be breathed out by the 30 other people under Thornfield’s roof, I put on one of my best day dresses. It’s beige which beautifully displays the utter lack of color I generally possess. I even put on my new corset I had brought in from London. I had forgotten than cinching a corset is not the easiest task to accomplish on your own. After I had laced every last string into those tiny eye-holes, I realized I had not removed my napkin from my breakfast tray and it was making the most unflattering bulge to the right of my ribs. So out all the laces came and I started all over again. By that point I was fairly winded but I tied that silly thing to within an inch of my life. Unfortunately I had somehow caught up a few of the bed linens in the lacing and when I tried to walk to the dressing room, I knocked my bedside table over with the waterfall of pillows trailing behind me. Finally dressed and determined not to pummel Pilot with my favorite Vesper Boot he had recently chewed, I met Mr. Rochester in the front hall surreptitiously and we slipped out the door. Well, I slipped out, Mr. Rochester slipped into the door, but it didn’t bleed that much so went on.
The walk was lovely. The sky was a terrifying collection of clouds the color of scorched silver but the rain, mercifully, was being held within them. I was so happy to have something other than cobwebs upon my face; I held it up to where the sun would have been if Mr. Rochester did not insist on building his home where dreams go to die. I should have looked down at some point because my steps were becoming leaden with each one I took. I started to feel somehow encased. When I cast my gaze southward, I saw that I had accumulated enough muck on my clothing to have a fine foundation for my own sarcophagus. Mr. Rochester, oblivious to my circumstances, suggested we quicken our pace since his “I lost one sense so I believe I can tell the future through the rest of them” kicked in and his faculties said rain was on its way. It would have been nice if those stupid faculties had mentioned something a little earlier because no sooner did I release my foot from the mud vacuum that held it prisoner, than the heavens opened and unleashed upon us more rain than Emma Woodhouse has witless advice.
We ran as fast as we could back to Thornfield Hall but unfortunately our road back was mired with Mr. Rochester being averted by clasp of thunder and veering off into the chicken coop; my ever-tightening corset squeezing my kidneys into my gallbladder and Bertha catching wind of our plight and launching dress forms out the window that Mr. Rochester stopped to engage in conversation once freed from the chicken wire.
When we fell back into the front hall, the staff looked upon us with not the most sympathetic of gazes. In retrospect, given their generally unpleasant demeanor, I should not have attempted to make amends by acquiescing to their good judgment when I asked Mrs. Fairfax where she suggested we take our tea.