"He is stone-blind," he said at last. "Yes -- he is stoneblind -- is Mr. Edward."
I had dreaded worse. I had dreaded he was mad. I summoned strength to ask what had caused this calamity.
"It was all his own courage, and a body may say, his kindness, in a way, ma'am: he wouldn't leave the house till everyone else was out before him. As he came down the great staircase at last, after Mrs. Rochester had flung herself from the battlements, there was a great crash -- all fell. He was taken out from under the ruins, alive, but sadly hurt: a beam had fallen in such a way as to protect him partly; but one eye was knocked out, and one hand so crushed that Mr. Carter, the surgeon, had to amputate it directly. The other eye inflamed: he lost the sight of that also. He is now helpless, indeed -- blind and a cripple."
"Where is he? Where does he now live?"
"At Ferndean, a manor-house, on a farm he has, about thirty miles off: quite a desolate spot."
"Who is with him?"
"Old John and his wife: he would have none else. He is quite broken down, they say."
"Have you any sort of conveyance?"
"We have a chaise, ma'am, a very handsome chaise."
"Let it be got ready instantly; and if your post-boy can drive me to Ferndean before dark this day, I'll pay both you and him twice the hire you usually demand."
T HE manor-house of Ferndean was a building of considerable antiquity, moderate size, and no architectural pretensions, deep buried in a wood. I had heard of it before. Mr. Rochester often spoke of it, and sometimes went there. His father had purchased the estate for the sake of the game covers. He would have let the house: but could find no tenant, in consequence of its ineligible and insalubrious site. Ferndean then remained uninhabited and unfurnished; with the exception of some two or three rooms fitted up for the