Jane Eyre Movie Script
JANE EYRE Written by Moira Buffini Adapted from the novel by Charlotte Bronte 2ND DRAFT 6TH MARCH 2008 EXT. A MIDSUMMER DAWN. THORNFIELD - THE GROUNDS. First light. Jane Eyre is running across a meadow, flushed and breathless; the hem of her plain, black dress soaked with dew. She carries a shawl and has a small bag of belongings over her shoulder. She trips, falls to her knees; looks back. Expressive eyes, open features. She is desperate. We see the house she is running from; a Jacobean battlemented mansion. Her need to escape is so great that she crawls forward until she is able to raise herself to her feet. She runs. She reaches an antique stile by a brook. She lifts herself on to it. She lands on the road. And runs. I/E. DAY. A ROADSIDE/COACH. The sun is higher in the sky. Jane exhausted, now running down a main road. Her spirts lift at the sight of an approaching coach. She flags it down. Jane empties her purse into the driver's hand. He looks at her money then suspiciously back at her. A terse nod indicates she can get in. CUT TO: Jane sinks into a dark corner. Her fellow passengers look shocked by her dishevelled appearance at such an early hour. She undertakes a tremendous effort not to betray her emotional state. She doesn't sob, she doesn't howl - although her breathing threatens to. Slowly, unable to bear the day, she closes her eyes. EXT. EVENING. WHITCROSS. Sunset. A whitewashed, stone pillar set up where four roads meet on a barren moor. The coach driver opens the door. With a curt nod he indicates that Jane must get out. She looks around, dismayed. In each direction there is open moorland for as far as the eye can see. The driver sets off at a good pace - glad to be rid of such a passenger. Jane puts her hand to her side for her bag of belongings. It is not there. She runs as fast as she can after the coach. It is receding towards the horizon. She comes to a halt, objectless, lost, alone. She pulls her knitted shawl around her. She leaves the road and sets off across the moor, into the gathering dark. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 2. EXT. NIGHT. THE MOOR. Jane is on her knees by a strange overhanging rock. The night sky is awesome; the universe is all around her. She is trying to calm herself with a prayer. EXT. DAY. THE MOOR. Jane lies on a great rock, soaking up the heat of the sun. She is like someone numb with pain. She watches a lizard crawl over the rock. She is mesmerised. EXT. TWILIGHT. THE MOOR. Jane squats in the heather and eats bilberries as the light fades. She hungrily licks the juice from her hand. EXT. DAWN. THE MOOR. Jane is asleep in the heather, her shawl wrapped around her. A red-haired child in a white nightgown lies by her side, watching her. It is Helen Burns. Helen reaches out. She touches Jane's hand. Jane wakes. She sits up. She is alone. EXT. DAY. BY A RIVER. Jane is crouched on a rock watching the waters go by. The sky is overcast. The first big drops of rain land on the stones. Jane makes no movement. A raven lands on a rock nearby. Jane is suddenly filled with a wild rage. She picks up a stone and hurls it at the bird with a raw cry. The gesture exhausts her. She watches the bird wheel away, as the rain starts to pour. EXT. TWILIGHT. A FARM BY A WOOD. It is raining hard. Jane sees a small girl come out of the farm with some leftovers. She drops them into a pigpen. CUT TO: Jane leaning into the pigpen. She picks a stiffened mould of porridge out of the mud. She lets the rain wash it. She eats it ravenously. EXT. NEXT DAY. A WOOD. It has stopped raining. Jane is huddled under a tree. She is shaking, shuddering. The life has gone out of her eyes. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 3. EXT. DAY. THE EDGE OF THE WOOD. The moors rise away above her to the horizon. Jane looks up at the sun starting to set. The clouds are red and gold. She sees a small red-haired girl in a white nightgown walking barefoot on the moors ahead of her. The girl turns, looks back at Jane. With her last strength, Jane follows. EXT. EVENING. THE MOOR. Dark clouds are banking up; the rain starts again. Jane is struggling through a marsh. Her boots are stuck. She falls. Her hand disappears into mud; her face pressed against the earth. She doesn't move. She has reached the point of despair. The girl's bare feet walk close by, as if waiting for her. Jane looks up. Where the child should be, she sees a light shining across the moor. Jane starts crawling. EXT. NIGHT. THE MOOR/MOOR HOUSE. Jane is toiling on through the lashing rain towards the light. It has become a window. A brief flash of lightning shows her a low stone cottage. Helen Burns is sitting on the gate. CUT TO: Jane is crawling through the narrow garden. On her knees, she peers through a window. On either side of a bright little fire sit two young women. They look exactly like Jane; slight, neat, dressed in black. One, Diana, has her hair slightly curled and hides her gentle eyes behind spectacles. The other, Mary, is very young; no more than seventeen. Each has a book on her knee. They are talking intimately. They look so close, so loving and the room looks so cosy that it pains Jane considerably. CUT TO: Jane knocking at the door. Hannah, an old servant answers. She is suspicious; Jane looks like a wretch. HANNAH What do you want? Jane manages to find her voice. JANE Shelter. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 4. HANNAH I can't take in vagrants. Here's a penny. Now take it and go. JANE I have no strength to go. HANNAH You can move off. And if there are others with you tell them we are not alone. We have a gentleman here, and dogs. JANE (DESPERATE) But I must die if I am turned away. The door slams shut. Jane lets out a hopeless wail. JANE (CONT'D) God help me. I will die. She turns away, her hope gone. As she collapses, she finds herself supported by a strong pair of black-clad arms. ST JOHN All of God's creatures must die. But not prematurely - and not on my doorstep I hope. Jane is lifted up. She finds herself looking into the face of the handsomest man she has ever seen; St John Rivers. He lifts her over the threshold into the warmth of Moor House. INT. NIGHT. MOOR HOUSE - THE KITCHEN. A fire is roaring in the stove. Hannah is bent over it. HANNAH We've had a beggar woman come, Mr Rivers. I sent her - For shame! Hannah falls silent as she sees Jane. ST JOHN You did your duty in excluding her. Let me do mine in admitting her. He sets Jane down before the hearth. She can barely stand. She is soaked to the bone, filthy with mud. Her skin has a ghastly pallor. Diana and Mary enter. DIANA St John, who is it? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 5. ST JOHN I don't know; I found her at the door. HANNAH (GUILTILY) I thought her one of the gypsies from the cross. MARY She's as white as death. Jane can hold herself up no longer. Diana moves forward. She and St John catch Jane and help her into a chair. The rain hammers on the windows. DIANA Hannah, some water. MARY She's worn to nothing. She looks like a spectre. St John, if you hadn't taken her in, we would have fallen upon her dead body in the morning. DIANA Mary. ST JOHN She's no vagrant; I'm sure of it. HANNAH There's milk and bread for you. Jane tries to mouth her thanks. She sips the milk. Eats a mouthful of bread. Diana kneels at her side. ST JOHN Ask her her name. JANE I - I am J - Jane cannot speak. She's incapable of uttering her own name. She hears John Reed's voice calling from far away. JOHN REED Jane Eyre! DIANA Please, tell us how we may help you. ST JOHN Can we send for anyone? Who are your people? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 6. The questions are deeply troubling to Jane. She is losing consciousness. She sees an image of a small girl of ten, running away through a great darkening room. Jane tries to follow her. The action draws her up out of the kitchen chair. She hears John Reed's voice again. JOHN REED (V.O.) Jane Eyre! Where are you? Jane, panicked, looking for somewhere to hide, passes out. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - A GRAND RECEPTION ROOM. Rain hammers against the windows. Jane aged ten, looking hunted, runs in looking for somewhere to hide. She springs behind a curtain. John Reed enters; a fourteen year old, his stomach bursting out of his fancy clothes. He is holding a riding crop as if it is a sword. JOHN REED Come out, rat. I know you are in here. Come out now and I won't punish you. Jane watches him pass by her. He practises a perfect lunge. JOHN REED (CONT'D) Rat. He exits. Jane breathes a sigh of relief. She slowly pulls the curtain across, making the window a private sanctuary. There is a book lying on the seat. She opens it. CUT TO: Jane is sitting cross-legged, completely absorbed in her book - a beautifully drawn picture of a cormorant. She runs her finger over it. We hear the sound of great waves plunging on to a shore. EXT. DAY. AN ARCTIC COAST. Jane, aged ten, is sitting cross-legged on an isolated rock, her eyes locked with those of a stooping black cormorant. St John's voice comes from a long way away. ST JOHN (V.O.) Diana, Mary help me get her upstairs... The cormorant raises its wings like a great black cloak. Jane watches as it takes off and flies away. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 7. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - THE WINDOW SEAT. Jane has her eyes closed. A great Atlantic wave hits the sash window behind her, drenching it with foam and brine. Suddenly the curtain is pulled back. John Reed stands in front of her. Jane shrinks back. JOHN REED I have been looking for you these last ten minutes. JANE What do you want? JOHN REED Say forgive me, Master Reed. JANE I have done nothing wrong. Master Reed. John grabs the book. JOHN REED Who gave you permission to read my book? JANE I wasn't aware it was yours. JOHN REED Everything in this house is mine. You're lucky to live here with gentleman's children like us. Your father had nothing. You should go and beg. Jane stares him out. John can sense her contempt. He belts her with the book. Jane hits her head on the window clasp, drawing blood. She is shocked. JOHN REED (CONT'D) That's for the look you had on your face. You bad animal. Jane snaps. She throws herself upon him, the rage in her released; pummelling, scratching, hurting him in any way she can. She is barely coherent. JANE Wicked and cruel - you are a slaver - a murderer - JOHN I shall tell mother - JANE I hate you John Reed. I hate you - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 8. John is flabbergasted. Like all bullies, he is terrified. JOHN Mamma! Mamma! There's a rat! Rat! Jane bites him. Hard. At that moment, Mrs Reed appears on the scene. John screams. We see Mrs Reed's shocked face. She is an overweight woman pushing forty in a bright, elaborate dress. INT. NIGHT. MOOR HOUSE - A BEDROOM Dinah and Mary are gently taking Jane's soaking clothes off; one at each side of her. Jane is distressed, approaching a delirium. She resists them. INT. DUSK. GATESHEAD - THE RED ROOM. Jane is carried in and set down on a footstool by two servants, Miss Abbot and Bessie - one at each side of her. She is still resisting. BESSIE For shame, hitting your master. MISS ABBOT If you don't sit still you must be tied down! The fight goes out of Jane. She sits, defeated. Bessie, young and plump, quickly wipes her bleeding forehead. She has some compassion. Miss Abbot has none. BESSIE What we do is for your own good. If you are passionate and rude like this, your Aunt Reed will send you away. MISS ABBOT You're worse than us servants. We work for our keep; you do nothing. Pray for forgiveness Miss Eyre or something bad will come down that chimney and fetch you away. The door slams. They are gone. Jane slowly grips the edge of the stool. The room is chill, silent. Red walls and curtains, murky in the fading light. In front of Jane, a stone fireplace gapes like a mouth. Beside it, a full length looking-glass in which her pale reflection stares out. Behind her, a bed supported on pillars of mahogany, hung with red. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 9. The piled up pillows and mattresses glare in cold white. Jane's breathing is the only sound in the room. A sudden gust sends rain pelting against the windows like fingernails. A distant moan of wind seems to breathe out of the black hearth. Jane reverts her nervous gaze to the pitted mirror. Her eyes lock on the small figure trapped in the mirror's visionary hollow; her white, bleeding face, her eyes glittering with fear. It is a phantom. The eyes are black, the skin a deathly grey. Blood. Jane's breathing becomes choked with terror. She can't get her breath. We hear blood rushing through her ears. It sounds like the beating of great wings. Slowly, a light appears over her. It may be something shining in from outside. But to Jane it seems as if it is surrounding her, enveloping her. The figure in the looking glass opens its mouth. The scream, held in so long, finally rips from Jane's throat. INT. DUSK. GATESHEAD - THE FIRESIDE. At the sound of the scream, Mrs Reed, slumbering, almost jumps out of her skin. INT. DUSK. GATESHEAD - THE KITCHEN. Miss Abbott almost drops the tea tray she is carrying. INT. DUSK. GATESHEAD - A CORRIDOR. Jane is banging on the door, screaming, hysterical with terror. Bessie rushes to the door and unlocks it. Jane flies into her arms. BESSIE Miss Eyre what is it? JANE Bessie! BESSIE Have you seen something? JANE There was a light. We see Bessie's own fear as she glances into the dark room. Mrs Reed is storming towards them, furious. MRS REED Bessie, I gave orders that she was to be left in the red room until I came. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 10. BESSIE But she screamed so loud ma'am. MRS REED It is play-acting. Let her go. I know your tricks Jane Eyre and I abhor such artifice. Loose Bessie's hands, child. Mrs Reed prises Jane away from Bessie as she speaks. MRS REED (CONT'D) You will now stay here an hour longer. JANE No - Aunt, have pity - MRS REED And only when you are perfectly submissive will I let you out. JANE Please - I cannot bear it - MRS REED Silence. This violence is repulsive. JANE I shall be killed - MRS REED Get back! JANE Have mercy, have mercy I beg you - Mrs Reed throws her back into the room, slams the door and turns the key. We hear Jane's unspeakable howls of terror, her anguished bangs upon the door. Bessie is looking at Mrs Reed aghast. Mrs Reed withers her with a frozen glare. INT. DUSK. GATESHEAD - THE RED ROOM. We see Jane in her distress, hitting her head on the door. She falls back. On the floor, her arms and legs move beyond her control. She is having a fit. When it is over, we see Jane unconscious. She is lying in a pool of ghostly light. INT. DAY. MOOR HOUSE - A BEDROOM. Through the light, Jane sees Mary and Diana Rivers at her side. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 11. MARY She's awake. St John approaches in his parson's collar, blocking out the light as he looks down. Jane gazes at him remotely. ST JOHN I'm sure we'll find she's simply had a misunderstanding with her people. I hope she's not done anything deplorable; there's nothing so sad as a fallen young woman. MARY Look at the suffering in her eyes. They're like dark pools - Diana smiles at Mary's tendency to over-dramatise. DIANA She has a peculiar face; I rather like it. ST JOHN She's not at all handsome. DIANA She's so ill, St John. ST JOHN Ill or well, she'll always be plain. Jane's eyes slide away from him and close. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - THE MORNING ROOM. A bright morning. A huge clergyman dressed in black is staring down at Jane, blocking out the sun. We see him from her POV; his expansive chest, dramatic facial hair, huge flared nostrils, frowning brows. He is Brockelhurst, the epitome of grim. BROCKLEHURST There is no sight so sad and so deplorable as that of a wicked little girl. Do you know, Jane Eyre, where the wicked go after death? JANE They go to hell. BROCKLEHURST And what is hell, can you tell me that? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 12. JANE A pit full of fire. BROCKLEHURST And should you like to fall into that pit and be burning there forever? JANE No sir. BROCKLEHURST What must you do to avoid it? JANE I must keep in good health and not die. Mrs Reed is by the fireside in an ultra-feminine dress. She puts down her tea cup in irritation. MRS REED I've been her sole benefactress and her kindest friend. But she shows no gratitude and brings nothing but discord into my house. BROCKLEHURST What is her parentage? MRS REED She's an orphan. Her mother was my late husband's sister. On his deathbed he exhorted me to care for her. I have always treated her as one of my own. Jane silently revolts against this lie. MRS REED (CONT'D) If you accept her at Lowood school Mr Brocklehurst, keep a strict eye on her. Her worst fault is a tendency to deceit. I'm sorry to tell you that Jane Eyre is a liar. Jane's eyes flash with outrage. BROCKLEHURST All liars will have their portion in the lake burning with fire and brimstone. She shall be watched, Mrs Reed. MRS REED I wish her to be made useful, to be kept humble. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 13. BROCKLEHURST You can rest assured dear lady that we mortify our girls in the sentiments of vanity and pride. They are taught to be quiet, plain and modest. A passion of resentment is forming in Jane. BROCKLEHURST (CONT'D) We shall root out the wickedness in this small, ungrateful plant. Mrs Reed smiles sweetly. MRS REED And as for its vacations, it must spend them all at Lowood. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - THE ENTRANCE HALL. Jane is climbing the staircase. John Reed blocks her way. JOHN So, Rat, you're being sent away. It's as I thought; you're not fit to associate with me. Jane snaps. She cries out: JANE You are not fit to associate with me! INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - THE MORNING ROOM. Mrs Reed is at her desk. Jane appears in front of her. JANE You said I was a liar. Well I am not. If I was, I should say that I loved you and I don't. I dislike you the worst of anybody in the world except John Reed. He is a liar, not I. MRS REED How dare you speak in this manner. JANE I'll never call you Aunt again as long as I live and if anyone asks how I liked you I'll say that the very thought of you makes me sick. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 14. MRS REED You wouldn't dare. JANE I'll remember how you thrust me back into the Red Room and locked me there to my dying day. Even when you knew it was haunted and I begged to be let out. People think you are good but you are bad and hard-hearted and I'll let everyone at Lowood know what you have done! MRS REED Children must be corrected for their faults. JANE Deceit is not my fault! MRS REED But you are passionate. JANE My Uncle Reed is in heaven and can see all that you do and think; so can my mother and father. They know how you hate me and wish me dead. They can see. They see everything you do and they will judge you, Mrs Reed. Mrs Reed has turned quite pale. Jane blazes with victory. EXT. DAY. GATESHEAD - THE GATE HOUSE. Bessie is waiting with Jane while her belongings are loaded onto a public coach, its top laden with passengers. BESSIE You're such a queer, solitary little thing. If only you could make yourself more appealing. Perhaps if you tried smiling from time to time, people would find you more pleasant - JANE Don't scold me Bessie. I know you dislike me - BESSIE I don't dislike you Miss; I'm fonder of you than of anyone. JANE You don't show it. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 15. BESSIE Miss Jane - Jane throws her arms around Bessie and embraces her with great force. Bessie returns the embrace, surprised, moved. Jane gets into the coach. Bessie looks up at the driver. BESSIE (CONT'D) You take good care of her. Jane's small, pale face peers out of the coach window, watching Gateshead recede. She doesn't cry. But Bessie can't stave off her tears. INT. NIGHT. LOWOOD - THE HALL. Jane, half asleep is carried out of a coach and into a howling gale. She is taken under a stone inscription: `Lowood Institution'. She is set down in front of a woman with striking features and intelligent eyes; Miss Temple. She bends down and looks into Jane's face. MISS TEMPLE What's your name, child? JANE Jane Eyre. MISS TEMPLE You are very young to be sent alone, Jane Eyre. She gently touches Jane's cheek with her finger. Jane manages the ghost of a smile. INT. DAY. MOOR HOUSE - A BEDROOM. Jane is lying back against clean white pillows. Her hair brushed and neatly plaited. Diana and Mary are full of kindness but St John's face is cold, dispassionate. JANE My name is Jane Elliott... MARY Jane Elliot. DIANA Where do you come from, Miss Elliott? Jane gives no answer. ST JOHN Who can we send for to help you? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 16. JANE No one. There is an intake of breath from Mary. ST JOHN Do you mean to say that you are absolutely without home and without friends? JANE Yes sir. ST JOHN How did you come to be roaming the moors, Miss Elliott? DIANA Don't upset her, St John. She must not be interrogated so. JANE Mr Rivers, you and you sisters have done me a great service, the greatest man can do - you have rescued me from death. ST JOHN How are we to help you if we know nothing about you? JANE I'll tell you as much as I can. I am an orphan; brought up a dependent; educated in a charity school where I passed six years as a pupil and two as a teacher. I left a year since to become a private governess - MARY YES - JANE A good situation, where I remained until... MARY Diana, didn't I say so? Didn't I say she was a governess? DIANA We did wonder. We mean no offence but you have a certain look. Mary and I work as governesses too. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 17. JANE (with great interest) Do you? MARY We are currently trying to teach ourselves German, so we may find better positions. JANE You're not working at present? DIANA We came home only for our father's funeral. MARY He died three weeks ago. JANE I am very sorry to hear it. St John has no patience with the change of subject. ST JOHN Why did you leave your place of employment? Jane sinks back in the pillows. JANE I... It was a catastrophe. ST JOHN What did you do? JANE I am free from any blame, sir. I was happy. Jane is deeply distressed. DIANA That's enough for now, St John. MARY You must rest, Miss Elliott. The name sounds strange to Jane. ST JOHN Why did you start? JANE Because that is not my name. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 18. DIANA You haven't given us your real name? Jane shakes her head. ST JOHN Why not? JANE Because I must not ever be found. Diana and Mary glance at each other, fascinated. INT. EVENING. MOOR HOUSE - THE BEDROOM Jane is dressing herself. She stops, weakly holding the back of a chair for support, looking out of the window at the sun setting over the hills. ST JOHN (V.O.) Merciful Jesus, enlighten thou me with the brightness of thine inward light... INT. EVENING. MOOR HOUSE - THE STAIRS Diana is helping Jane down the stairs. ST JOHN (V.O.) And take away all darkness from the habitation of my heart... INT. EVENING. MOOR HOUSE - THE PARLOUR St John is praying over Jane, Diana and Mary as they sit at the table. Mary catches Jane's eye, gives her shy smile. ST JOHN Join me to thyself with an inseparable band of love... For thou, even thou alone, dost satisfy him that loveth thee... Jane finds herself staring at St John, who prays ardently. ST JOHN (CONT'D) And without thee all things are vain and empty. Amen. St John opens his eyes and looks searchingly at Jane. She immediately looks down. JANE, MARY, DIANA Amen. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 19. DIANA Welcome to our table, Miss Elliott. JANE I'd appreciate it if you called me Jane. It is my own name. MARY It's wonderful to see you on your feet, Miss Jane. Jane turns her attention to St John. JANE I trust I will not be eating long at your expense, Mr Rivers. ST JOHN You wish to be independent of my charity? JANE I wish to work, sir. Show me how to work or how to seek work; that's all I ask. DIANA You're not fit enough to work. ST JOHN My sisters have always taken pleasure in keeping injured birds but I'm more inclined to put you in a way of keeping yourself - and shall endeavour to do so, if that's what you wish. JANE With all my heart, sir. DIANA It's a shame she has no choice of helpers, St John, and must put up with such crusty people as you. ST JOHN This school you were at, Miss Elliot, this charitable institution; what did it prepare you for? CUT TO: We see a bundle of sharp twigs come down on a girl's bare neck, like a whip. CUT TO: Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 20. Jane flinches at the memory. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Was it a thorough education? JANE Most thorough. INT. DAY. LOWOOD - THE HALL. Miss Scatcherd's bitter life is in her face and voice. MISS SCATCHERD Burns, Helen Burns! Jane, aged ten, looks up. She is wearing a brown stuff frock with a puritanical cap like all the other girls. Silence reigns in the school hall. A red haired girl of about thirteen stands up; Helen Burns. Miss Scatcherd holds up an apron in which a hole has been mistakenly cut. MISS SCATCHERD (CONT'D) You're a slattern and a disgrace! Helen Burns undoes the back of her dress. The punishment is given; a dozen sharp, stinging whacks with the birch twigs. Jane is appalled. But to her astonishment and awe, Helen Burns doesn't cry; she barely changes her expression. As the strokes go on - seven, eight, nine - Helen seems like one in a trance. Jane is deeply affected. On the eleventh stroke, the door bursts open and a visiting party walks in: the Brocklehurst family. Miss Temple escorts two young girls dressed in peacock finery and two smart, bombastic ladies. Mr Brocklehurst follows. Helen's punishment is forgotten as the students rush to their feet. Jane, in a panic, drops her slate and breaks it. Brocklehurst's eyes sweep the room. They land on her. BROCKLEHURST I might have known. The new girl. Step forward, Jane Eyre. Filled with dread, Jane steps forward. BROCKLEHURST (CONT'D) It is my duty dear children, to warn you that this girl is not one of God's own lambs. We see the look of frustration on Miss Temple's face. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 21. BROCKLEHURST (CONT'D) She is a castaway and an alien in his flock and you must be on your guard against her. For this child... is a liar! He points to a tall stool. Jane stands on it. BROCKLEHURST (CONT'D) This is the pedestal of infamy - and you'll remain upon it all day. You'll receive no sustenance and no comfort, for you must learn how barren is the life of the sinner. Children, I exhort you to shun her, exclude her, shut her out from this day forth. Withhold the hand of friendship and deny your love to Jane Eyre, the liar. INT. DAY. LOWOOD - THE HALL - LATER. The hall is empty but for the small figure of Jane, high on her stool, feeling her isolation like pain. Across the room is the slightly bigger figure of Helen, hunched, the back of her dress still open, the skin on her neck raw. The sun is setting. At last Jane starts to sob. HELEN Come now, don't cry. JANE You're not allowed to speak to me. I must be shunned. HELEN Mr Brocklehurst is not a God. He's not liked or admired here - JANE He said I was a liar. HELEN JANE - JANE I am not a liar! HELEN If your own conscience approves you, then so will I. Jane is deeply gratified. JANE How do you bear it? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 22. HELEN Bear what? JANE Being struck. HELEN I'm a trial to Miss Scatcherd. She hits me to improve me. JANE If she hit me I would get that birch from her hand and break it under her nose. HELEN You'd just be punished even more. It's part of life here. JANE I have always been excluded and alone and hated. Miss Abbott used to call me an ugly little toad. Helen approaches Jane. HELEN You're not ugly. Do you know what is inside you? JANE What? HELEN The spark of your spirit, the principle of light and thought, pure and bright, as perfect as anything created. JANE What do you mean? HELEN Your soul. Your soul is beautiful, your soul has value - more value than anything on earth. JANE Is that true? HELEN Yes. God sees your beauty. Even as you stand on that stool, there is an invisible world around you, a kingdom of spirits. It is everywhere. Angels see your pain. Angels know your innocence. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 23. JANE Angels? Helen smiles a wide smile. HELEN Do you not believe in angels? They hear the door. Helen runs back to her place; cowers. Miss Temple appears in a shaft of light at the door. MISS TEMPLE Come here, Girls. The girls approach, dreading more punishment. MISS TEMPLE (CONT'D) I shall investigate Mr Brocklehurst's claims against you, Jane. And unless they are proved, you will be exonerated. Miss Temple looks over her shoulder. MISS TEMPLE (CONT'D) Also, I understand you girls have had no food today. She quickly presses a slice of hard cake into each girl's hand and walks away. Jane and Helen look at one another, deeply moved by her kindness. EXT. DAY. MOOR HOUSE - THE GARDEN / MOORS. Jane stands between Diana and Mary high above Moor House. They are dressed similarly in bonnets and cloaks. They watch a hawk dive, their heads moving in unison. Their eyes land upon Moor House. MARY We've lived here all our lives but the house must be shut up now. JANE Why? MARY We can't afford to keep it on. Diana and I will return to our charges in a few days and St John will go to his parsonage. Down below them, St John leaves Moor House and walks towards the village. Jane watches him. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 24. DIANA It'll be a hard parting for us. We may not see him again for years. JANE Why ever not? MARY He means to be a missionary. He's going to India to do Gods's work. JANE Can he not do God's work here? MARY This quiet parish will never do for him; he almost raves in his restlessness. It breaks our hearts. DIANA St John burns with talents and ambition. But he lacks the means for advancement here. Our poverty thwarts him at every turn and so he has chosen to lay all his gifts on God's altar. MARY We've tried to persuade him to stay but in some things our brother is - he is - DIANA Inexorable as death. MARY We are now without father. We'll soon be without home and brother. Jane feels a powerful compassion for them. JANE In one thing you are fortunate. She looks over at the horizon. JANE (CONT'D) You have each other. EXT. DAY. LOWOOD - THE GROUNDS. SPRING. Jane is looking at the high wall which is the horizon of her world at Lowood. Her eyes come to rest on the main door. Two men are carrying a small coffin out of the school. Brocklehurst follows it with a menthol-soaked cloth over his mouth and nose. He becomes aware of Jane's eyes on him. He looks away. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 25. INT. NIGHT. LOWOOD - THE DORMITORY. Jane is creeping down a corridor in her night dress. She peers in through the dormitory door. It has been turned into a sanitarium. Camphor and vinegar are being burnt. Jane can hardly look at the sick girls. Miss Temple, pale with exhaustion, is speaking intimately to Madame Pierrot, the French mistress. Jane overhears. MISS TEMPLE This is the result of semi- starvation and neglected colds; Brockelhurst's idea of mortifying their bodies to save their souls. TYPHUS - Miss Temple can't say more. MADAME PIERROT Write to the governors. You must. Jane creeps on. INT. NIGHT. LOWOOD - MISS TEMPLE'S ROOM. Jane opens the door. A small bed has been set up at the foot of Miss Temple's. In it lies Helen Burns. A candle is set on a table at her side. Jane takes her hand. JANE Helen. HELEN Is it you, Jane? Have you come to say goodbye? JANE You're cold. HELEN I'm very happy. I am going home. JANE Back to your father? HELEN My father has a new wife. He'll not miss me much. JANE Then where? HELEN To my future home, where all is light. I am going to God. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 26. JANE No... Jane is devastated. She climbs into bed next to Helen. For a moment, they hold each other. Jane's tears silently fall. HELEN Don't be sad. I will escape great suffering by dying young. JANE No... HELEN I don't have any talent to make my way in life. I should be always at fault. But God is my friend. He loves me. JANE Then he must save you. HELEN He is saving me. Jane cannot articulate her distress at Helen's words. HELEN (CONT'D) I feel like I could sleep now. I like to have you near - JANE I won't leave you. HELEN You're so warm and alive. Jane, you have a passion for living. INT. DAY. LOWOOD - MISS TEMPLE'S ROOM. We see Miss Temple looking down at the bed in the dazzling, morning light. Jane, waking, has her small arms around Helen, as if fiercely protecting her. Helen is ashen, her eyes open, staring at some unseen thing. She is dead. Miss Temple lifts Jane away. MISS TEMPLE Jane... Jane realises what has happened. We hear the sound of her distress begin. She is inconsolable. JANE No, no, no - MARY (V.O.) Jane? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 27. INT. DAY. MOOR HOUSE - THE PARLOUR. Jane is staring out at the Autumn rain. She surreptitiously wipes her tears away and smiles up at Mary. JANE Have you something for me to do? MARY You are doing something already. May I see? Jane hands her a book. She has drawn a bride. JANE That's Miss Temple on her wedding day. She was my teacher; a great influence on me. Under her guidance I became a teacher too. Mary turns the page. It shows a sketch of St John Rivers. Mary gasps in delight. She takes the book straight to St John, who is diligently working at his desk. MARY St John - JANE No, Mary, please - MARY See how skilled Jane is. St John looks at the sketch of himself. He is quite taken aback. He looks over at Jane, who is quite embarrassed. MARY (CONT'D) She is better than any drawing master we have ever had. For a moment, St John seems to be weighing up whether to be insulted or not. ST JOHN How fierce I am, Miss Elliott. JANE Mr Rivers, I wondered if you had yet heard of any work that I could do. ST JOHN I found you a situation some days ago but I've delayed telling you because the work is lowly and I fear you'll scorn it. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 28. JANE I shan't mind what I do. ST JOHN As I am poor and obscure, the help I can offer is of the meanest sort. DIANA St John, what are you going to offer her? Not washerwoman, I hope? ST JOHN When I took over the parish two years ago it had no school. I opened one for boys; I now intend to open one for girls. The school mistress will have a two-roomed cottage paid for by local benefactors and she will receive fifteen pounds a year. You can see how humble, how ignoble it is. On the contrary, Jane is deeply gratified. JANE Mr Rivers, I thank you heartily and I accept with all my heart. ST JOHN But you comprehend me? It's a village school - cottagers daughters. What will you do with all your fine accomplishments? JANE I will save them until they are wanted. They will keep. Jane smiles at him. St John is impressed. INT. DAY. MORTON - THE SCHOOL ROOM. Jane is at the blackboard in a freshly painted school room. In front of her are about twenty village girls, aged from six to sixteen. They are hanging on her every word. Jane is writing a neat line of 'a's. INT. NIGHT. MORTON - JANE'S COTTAGE. Jane's first home is like a doll's house. She walks through it from the whitewashed bedroom with its little single bed, through the parlour with its tiny fireplace into the scullery kitchen. She retraces her steps back into the parlour. She turns round and surveys it. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 29. Silence but for the crackling of the fire and the blowing of the wind. She feels glad, grateful, but very, very alone. She hears Brocklehurst's voice. BROCKLEHURST I hear you are to leave us, Miss Eyre. She spins around as if he is there. EXT. DAY. A CHURCHYARD. Brocklehurst is at the church door; Jane looking at him coldly. She holds a bunch of wild flowers. JANE Yes. Excuse me. She walks into the graveyard. There are over forty small graves marked with wooden crosses, each bearing a child's name. One of them says Helen Burns. Jane lays down her flowers. She looks up at Brocklehurst. He cannot meet her eye. We hear the voice of Mrs Fairfax. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) If Jane Eyre of Lowood School... INT. NIGHT. MORTON - JANE'S COTTAGE. Jane tries to quell her great unhappiness. She springs into action, straightening her furniture, stoking her fire. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) ...Who advertised in the Yorkshire Herald, possesses the acquirements mentioned... EXT. DAY. A ROADSIDE. Jane, younger and more hopeful, with her belongings in a small trunk, awaits an approaching public coach. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) ...And if she is in a position to give satisfactory references, a situation can be offered where there is but one pupil, a little girl under ten years of age and where the salary is thirty pounds a year. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 30. EXT. DAY. MORTON - JANE'S COTTAGE. Jane is in her scullery putting all her energy into scrubbing dishes. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) Jane Eyre is requested to send references and all particulars to Mrs Fairfax at Thornfield Hall. Jane closes her eyes, trying to banish her thoughts. It is no good. The memories crowd in. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE GROUND FLOOR. A smiling lady dressed in black approaches her through the darkness - Mrs Alice Fairfax. MRS FAIRFAX How do you do, my dear? What a long and tedious journey you must have had of it. John is quite the slowest driver in the county. You must be cold to the bone. JANE Are you Mrs Fairfax? MRS FAIRFAX Indeed I am; come and warm yourself in here. Mrs Fairfax leads Jane up the dark corridor and into a cosy parlour. Leah, a young maidservant, follows. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) Your poor hands must be quite numb; here, let me help you. Mrs Fairfax undoes the ribbon on Jane's bonnet. Jane is taken aback, unused to motherliness of any kind. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) Leah, make a little hot port and cut a sandwich or two. Leah eyes Jane with great curiosity. She hurries away. MRS FAIRFAX Draw nearer the fire. John is taking your trunk up to your room. Knitting apparatus lies abandoned on a fireside chair. Mrs Fairfax moves it and gestures for Jane to sit. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 31. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) I've put you at the back of the house; I hope you don't mind. The rooms at the front have much finer furniture but they are so gloomy and solitary I think. Jane can't help noticing that every surface is covered in lace, embroidery, or fine crochet. The whole room is an advertisement for Mrs Fairfax's skill at handicrafts - and testament to the hours she has spent alone. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) I'm so glad you are come. To be sure this is a fine old house but I must confess that in winter one can feel a little dreary and alone. Leah is a very nice girl and John and Martha good people too, but they are servants - and one cannot talk to them on terms of equality. JANE Am I to have the pleasure of meeting Miss Fairfax tonight? MRS FAIRFAX Who? JANE Miss Fairfax - my pupil? MRS FAIRFAX Oh you mean Miss Varens; Mr Rochester's ward. She is to be your pupil. JANE Who is Mr Rochester? MRS FAIRFAX Why, the owner of Thornfield. JANE I thought Thornfield Hall belonged to you. MRS FAIRFAX (bursting into laughter) Oh bless you child, what an idea. To me? I am only the housekeeper. JANE Forgive me - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 32. MRS FAIRFAX There is a distant connection between Mr Rochester and I - his mother was a Fairfax - but I'd never presume on it. Heavens, me, owner of Thornfield? She continues to laugh. A bashful smile is playing on Jane's lips. Mrs Fairfax is beginning to thaw her. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE HALL / STAIRCASE. Mrs Fairfax is carrying a lamp across the great hall; the only light. Jane can perceive grandeur looming out of the darkness; Jacobean fireplace, coat of arms, head of a stag. Very gloomy, eerie. Her breath is vaporising in the cold. MRS FAIRFAX We shall have a cheerful house this winter... As Jane follows Mrs Fairfax up the stairs, light is thrown on portraits of dour, craggy, long dead ancestors. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) With Miss Varens here - and with you - we'll have quite a merry time of it. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - A LONG GALLERY. Dark heavy drapes, another striking portrait. A dark, voluptuous woman in an 18th Century gown, ruby lipped, one full breast exposed. Jane glances away, taken aback by the woman's bold expression and her nakedness. MRS FAIRFAX I'm sure that last winter - and what a severe one - if it didn't rain it snowed and if it didn't snow it blew a gale - last winter I declare that not a soul came to the house from November to February. Mrs Fairfax leads Jane through the wood-panelled darkness. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) I got quite melancholy night after night alone. When spring finally came I thought it a great relief that I hadn't gone distracted. She opens the door to a small but delightful room. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 33. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) Here. Jane looks in: a fire burning, a lamp lit by her bed, a soft quilt, pale chintz curtains. JANE OH - She is utterly speechless. Her eight years of physical discomfort and hardship are over. MRS FAIRFAX Good night, my dear. I hope you'll be comfy. JANE Thank you. Mrs Fairfax can see how affected she is - and how hard she is trying to button it down. INT. NEXT MORNING. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM. Jane opens the curtains. She draws her breath in at the sight of the grounds. They are beautiful. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE DRAWING ROOM. Jane enters a magnificent room. Mrs Fairfax is dusting. JANE What a beautiful house. MRS FAIRFAX Mr Rochester's visits here are always unexpected. He doesn't like to arrive and find everything all swathed up, so I keep it in constant readiness. Now, come and meet Miss Varens. Did I mention she was French? INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE LIBRARY. Adele Varens, an exquisitely dressed child of eight, is chatting animatedly to Jane and Mrs Fairfax. At her side is Sophie, her nurse - a desperately shy and lonely girl. ADELE (IN FRENCH) Sophie has been crying because no one understands. Nobody can speak to us except for Mr Rochester and he has gone away. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 34. MRS FAIRFAX Would you ask her about her parents? Mr Rochester's neglected to tell me anything about her. JANE (IN FRENCH) Where did you live Adele, before you came to Thornfield? ADELE (IN FRENCH) With Maman - but she is gone to the Holy Virgin now. JANE Her mother has passed away. ADELE (IN FRENCH) Maman used to teach me to dance and say verses. When gentlemen came to see her I used to dance for them or sit on their knees and sing. May I sing for you now? JANE (IN FRENCH) Well - that would be lovely. (To Mrs Fairfax) Adele is going to show us her accomplishments. Adele adopts a lovelorn pose. She sings an operetta song; a forsaken lady plotting vengeance on her lover. Her high voice warbles with pretended emotion. The effect is rather weird. Jane and Mrs Fairfax watch, open-mouthed. MRS FAIRFAX How very French... INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - MRS FAIRFAX'S PARLOUR. Adele's song continues as a voiceover. Mrs Fairfax is finishing a shawl. Jane is showing Adele pictures of little objects that she has sketched. Adele names them in English. The song ends. Jane gives Adele a sketch of herself. ADELE Me! It is me! Mrs Fairfax shakes out the finished shawl and puts it round Jane's shoulders, departing before Jane can protest. MRS FAIRFAX Here. For you. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 35. Jane is delighted at the kindness of the gift. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE LONG GALLERY Jane holds a candle, the shawl around her; the moaning sound of a gale outside. She holds her candle up to the portrait of the voluptuous woman. She stares at it curious, both as a girl and as an artist. She brings the candle close, to see how the brushwork has achieved the effect of flesh. She hears a low, knowing laugh in the darkness behind her. She is startled. JANE Who's there? Her own huge shadow is the only thing that moves. She hears the laugh again. She follows it through the darkness, alert with fear. A door clicks shut at the end of the corridor. To her relief Jane sees Mrs Fairfax approach with a lamp. JANE (CONT'D) Who sleeps up here? MRS FAIRFAX No one. This part of the house is quite empty, except for you and me. JANE I heard someone. MRS FAIRFAX You can't have done. JANE A laugh. Someone laughed. Mrs Fairfax flounders for a second. MRS FAIRFAX Oh - that must be Grace Poole. She likes to sit up here with her sewing. Rather an eccentric soul. (She shouts sharply) Grace? Grace! A door opens. Jane sees a broad-faced woman with slow, intelligent eyes. She looks as if she has just woken up. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) Miss Eyre has heard a laugh. Grace looks at Jane with sly curiosity. She leaves the sewing room and opens a door through which a flight of steep steps are revealed. Grace climbs them and disappears. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 36. EXT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE LEADS. Jane is on the turreted roof, looking up at the cawing rooks - and down at the view; a white, frosted wilderness. Jane senses a presence behind her. She quickly turns. Mrs Fairfax is coming through the rooftop door. MRS FAIRFAX I thought I might find you up here. I've been waiting to pour our tea. JANE I'm not in need of tea, thank you. Mrs Fairfax approaches, concerned. MRS FAIRFAX What is it, child? You've been here three months now and I'm worried that the position is not enough / to occupy your - JANE Oh, Mrs Fairfax, no. I'm so thankful to be at Thornfield. Please don't think I'm so ungrateful as to be discontented. MRS FAIRFAX But it's a quiet life, isn't it? This isolated house; a still doom for a young woman... Jane looks out at the view once more. JANE I wish a woman could have action in her life, like a man. It agitates me to pain that the sky- line over there is ever our limit. I long sometimes for a power of vision that would overpass it. If I could behold all I imagine... I've never seen a city, never spoken with men. I've never even seen a town of any size. And I fear my whole life will pass, without ever having... Mrs Fairfax's troubled look makes Jane fall silent. Mrs Fairfax looks as if she is about to say something - then puts on her practical face, the moment of intimacy gone. MRS FAIRFAX Well now - exercise is a great cure for anything, they say. (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 37. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) I have some letters to post; will you take them? EXT. DAY. A FROZEN MEADOW. Jane is walking with purpose, carrying a bundle of letters. The exercise is lifting her spirits. The sun is sinking, turning the frost gold. EXT. DAY. A FROZEN WOOD. A brook runs close to the path; half frozen. Its slow trickle is the only sound to be heard. Jane moves slowly, acutely aware of everything around her. Further into the wood, the brook has frozen right across the path. Jane slips on it as she passes. The noise of her feet echoes. She steadies herself. She gazes at a huddle of snowdrops, their heads bowed. A crystal drop of water runs to the end of a snowdrop and begins to freeze as she watches. It is held suspended as if the whole winter is contained in it. The moon is mounting the sky. Jane hears a sound like the beating of wings. The blood is rushing through her ears. Her trance is broken by the figure of a great dog - which glides past her so close it almost knocks her off her feet. The beating is loud; not wings she realises, but the rush of an approaching horse. It is almost on top of her before she can move. Her shocked, pale face, her black garments startle both horse and rider. ROCHESTER What the deuce - The rider gets the horse under control and continues, only to have his horse slip on the ice. Both man and horse fall with a crash. The dog begins to bark, until the hills echo with the sound. The horse is on one side; the man is lying, trapped beneath it on the ice; Edward Fairfax Rochester. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Hellfire. Jane is confounded. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Pilot, get down! GET DOWN I SAY! JANE Can I do anything, sir? Rochester stares at her; a tiny black figure, surrounded by darkening frost, the low moon behind her. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 38. ROCHESTER Get back. Jane doesn't move. Rochester turns to his horse. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Mesrour. Mesrour. With much stamping and clattering, the horse clambers to its feet. Rochester seems relieved. He tries to stand himself. His ankle will bear no weight. He lets out an involuntary cry. It echoes: ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Damnation. JANE Are you injured, sir? Rochester looks at her once more. He manages to get himself off the ice. He sits on a nearby stile. Jane approaches him. She now has the moon on her face. She begins to look less like a phantom and more like a girl. JANE (CONT'D) If you are hurt and want help I can fetch someone from the village. I'm on my way there to post a letter. Rochester looks as if he doesn't believe her. ROCHESTER Where do you come from? JANE Thornfield Hall. ROCHESTER Whose house is that? JANE Mr Rochester's. ROCHESTER Do you know Mr Rochester? JANE No, I've never seen him. Rochester is trying to place her. She is a puzzle to him. ROCHESTER You're not a servant there... JANE I am the governess, sir. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 39. ROCHESTER The governess. (A slow smile) Deuce take me, I had forgotten. Examining Jane once more, he laughs a low laugh. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) The governess. Jane does not like to be laughed at. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Have you got an umbrella I can use as a stick? JANE No. ROCHESTER Then try to get hold of his bridle and lead him to me. Jane doesn't like his imperious tone. She looks at the horse; huge, trampling, nervous. Rochester is amused. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) If you would be so kind... Jane obeys. She endeavours to catch the bridle but the horse rears away. Jane falls on the ice. Rochester bursts out laughing. Jane picks herself up. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Perhaps it would be easier to bring me to the horse. Come here. Jane resists. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Forgive me. I must beg of you to come here. Jane approaches. Rochester instantly leans all his weight on her. She almost crumples under it; the first time she has ever touched and been touched by a man. She holds him up. And walks him closer to his horse. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Mesrour. The horse approaches him. Rochester calms it. He springs into the saddle, grimacing as he wrenches his sprain. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Thank you. (He bows.) Now, make haste with your letter. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 40. Rochester's spurred heel makes the horse start and rear. Jane steps back. The horse bounds away, the dog rushing in its traces. All three disappear. Jane doesn't move until the sound of hooves has faded away. Her face is flushed, her eyes glitter in the dark. I/E. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE FRONT ENTRANCE/HALL. Jane runs up to the front door. She pushes it open. To her amazement, there is a fire burning in the stone fireplace. The whole hall is lit. The double doors are open into the library. Mrs Fairfax is hurriedly approaching. MRS FAIRFAX Mr Rochester is here. JANE Oh? MRS FAIRFAX Go and change your frock; he wishes to meet you. JANE I have to change? MRS FAIRFAX Oh yes - I always dress for the evening when Mr Rochester is here. JANE But all my dresses are the same. MRS FAIRFAX (DESPERATELY) You must have one that is better? He's in a terrible humour; the doctor has been. His horse fell in Hay lane and his ankle is sprained. Mrs Fairfax anxiously hurries back into the library. A large dog wanders out. Jane finds herself looking at Pilot. She smiles. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE LIBRARY. Jane enters. Rochester is in front of a superb fire - one foot bandaged and supported on a stool. Pilot is at his feet - and so is Adele, gazing adoringly at him. Rochester is looking through Jane's portfolio of sketches and watercolours. Jane feels utterly exposed - as if her diary is being read. Mrs Fairfax timidly interrupts. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 41. MRS FAIRFAX Here is Miss Eyre, Sir. ROCHESTER (Without looking up) Let her sit. Jane sits. Rochester continues to study her work. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I have examined Adele and I find you've taken great pains with her. She's not bright, she has no talents - yet in a short time she's made much improvement. Adele is gazing at him uncomprehending, her face radiant. JANE Thank you. ROCHESTER You've been resident here three months? JANE Yes, sir. ROCHESTER And from whence do you hail; what's your tale of woe? JANE Pardon? ROCHESTER All governesses have a tale of woe; what's yours? JANE (SLIGHTLY INSULTED) I was brought up by my Aunt, Mrs Reed of Gateshead, in a house far finer than this. At ten years old I went to Lowood school where I received as good an education as I could hope for. I have no tale of woe, sir. ROCHESTER Where are your parents? JANE Dead. ROCHESTER Do you remember them? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 42. JANE No. ROCHESTER And why are you not with Mrs Reed of Gateshead now? JANE She cast me off, sir. ROCHESTER Why? JANE Because I was burdensome and she disliked me. ROCHESTER Lowood; that's a charity school, isn't it? JANE Yes. ROCHESTER How long did you survive there? JANE Eight years. ROCHESTER No tale of woe... MRS FAIRFAX I daily thank providence for sending us Miss Eyre. She's a kind and patient teacher and an invaluable / companion - ROCHESTER Don't trouble yourself to give her a character. I'll judge for myself. She began by felling my horse. MRS FAIRFAX Sir? ROCHESTER I have her to thank for this sprain. Mrs Fairfax looks at Jane, bewildered. Rochester lifts one of her watercolours. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Adele has brought me these; are they yours? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 43. JANE Yes sir. A swollen sea. A cormorant, a golden bracelet held in its beak. A girl's arm coming out of the water, white and deathly, her drowned figure underneath. ROCHESTER Where did you get your copies? JANE Out of my head. ROCHESTER That head I now see on your shoulders? JANE Yes sir. He turns the next. The top of a hill. An expanse of twilight sky. Rising up, a girl's shape, her forehead crowned with a star, red hair flowing; Helen Burns. ROCHESTER Who's this? JANE The evening star. Rochester gives her a direct gaze. ROCHESTER Why did you bewitch my horse? Jane cannot reply. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE NURSERY. Jane is by the blackboard, where she is writing sums. ADELE Tonight I will have my cadeaux. He always bring me a cadeaux. Mrs Fairfax breathlessly enters. MRS FAIRFAX Sorry to disturb. He's asked for your art. Jane looks at her in disbelief. JANE What for? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 44. MRS FAIRFAX He wishes to have it. JANE Why? MRS FAIRFAX To show to his company, I should think. Is this it here? Thank you. Jane watches helplessly as Mrs Fairfax takes her portfolio. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE HALL/LANDING. Jane is crossing the landing holding Adele's hand. Downstairs, the library doors swing wide open. The sound of male laughter can be heard; gentlemen walk out into the hall. Rochester follows, walking with a stick. ADELE Monsieur! All eyes turn upon the landing. Jane tries to find a shadow to back into but there are none. Adele curtsies. ROCHESTER Ah, there she is... It is unclear whether he is referring to Adele or Jane. He makes a bow. The men are staring at Jane with great curiosity. It makes her uncomfortable. She tugs Adele away. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE DRAWING ROOM. A box tied with ribbons sits on the table. ADELE Ma boite, ma boite! Rochester is leaning against the mantelpiece, drinking. ROCHESTER Take it away you genuine daughter of Paris and amuse yourself with disembowelling it. MRS FAIRFAX We'll open it together, shall we? Mrs Fairfax kindly leads Adele away. Jane is about to cross the room with them. ROCHESTER Miss Eyre. Sit there. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 45. He gestures to a chair by the fire. Jane obeys. She studies Rochester. He is intent on Adele, who is pulling a pink satin dress out of the box. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I'm not fond of children. ADELE Oh Ciel! Que c'est beau! ROCHESTER Nor do I particularly enjoy simple-minded old ladies. But you might suit me - if you would. JANE How, sir? ROCHESTER By distracting me from the mire of my thoughts. Adele, irrepressible, runs across the room embracing the dress. She drops on one knee at Rochester's feet. ADELE Monsieur, je vous remercie mille fois de votre bonte... She looks up, seeking his approval. ADELE (CONT'D) That is how Maman used to say, is it not? ROCHESTER Precisely. MRS FAIRFAX Let's try it on, shall we? Adele skips off with Mrs Fairfax. ROCHESTER (TO HIMSELF) And that is how she charmed my English gold out of my English breeches pocket. Rochester notices how keenly Jane is observing him. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Your gaze is very direct, Miss Eyre? D'you think me handsome? JANE No sir. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 46. Rochester laughs. JANE (CONT'D) I was too plain; I beg your pardon. ROCHESTER What fault do you find with me? I have all my limbs and all my FEATURES - JANE Mr Rochester, it was a blunder. I ought to have replied that beauty is of little consequence - ROCHESTER Now you stick a knife under my EAR - JANE You have other qualities, sir. ROCHESTER Just so; other qualities... When I was your age I was a felling enough fellow. I might have been insulted then. You're blushing Miss Eyre. JANE Not at all. ROCHESTER And though you're not pretty any more than I am handsome, I must say it becomes you. (HE LAUGHS) And now I see you're fascinated by the flowers on the rug. Jane senses his mockery. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I'd like to draw you out. Come, speak to me. JANE What about, sir? ROCHESTER The choice of subject is entirely yours. JANE How can I introduce a subject when I don't know what'll interest you? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 47. ROCHESTER The fact is, Miss Eyre, I don't wish to treat you like an inferior. JANE Yet you'd command me to speak? ROCHESTER Well I probably have a right to be a little abrupt and exacting on the grounds of my superiority in age. There must be twenty years between us and a century's advance in experience. JANE I don't think you have a right to command me just because you're older. Your claim to superiority depends on the use you've made of your time and experience. ROCHESTER I've made indifferent use of both. And this is why I sit, galled by my own thoughts - and order you to divert me. Are you very hurt by my tone of command? Jane smiles. JANE There are few masters who'd trouble to enquire whether their paid subordinates were hurt by their commands. ROCHESTER Oh yes... paid subordinate; I'd forgotten the salary. Well on that mercenary ground, will you consent to speak with me as my equal - without thinking that the request arises from insolence? JANE I'd never mistake informality for insolence, sir. One, I rather like. The other, nothing free born should ever submit to - even for a salary. ROCHESTER Humbug. Most free-born things would submit to anything for a salary. But I mentally shake hands with you for your answer. (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 48. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Not three in three thousand schoolgirl governesses would have answered me as you've just done. JANE You've clearly not spent much time in the company of schoolgirl governesses. I'm the same plain kind of bird as all the rest, with my couple of accomplishments and my common tale of woe. ROCHESTER I envy you. JANE How? ROCHESTER Your openness, your clear conscience, your unpolluted mind. If I were eighteen I think we truly would be equals. Nature meant me to be a good man, one of the better kind and as you see, I am not so. JANE Are you a villain then, sir? ROCHESTER I'm a trite commonplace sinner, hackneyed in all the dissipations that the rich and worthless try to put on life. (HE SIGHS) When I was your age, fate dealt me a blow. I was - cursed with a burden to carry through life. I lacked the wisdom to remain cool and I turned desperate. Dread remorse, Miss Eyre. It is the poison of life. Rochester takes in her open, compassionate face. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) And since happiness is denied me, I've a right to get pleasure in its stead. And I will get it, cost what it may. JANE Then you'll degenerate still more. ROCHESTER Are you preaching to me? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 49. JANE I'm reminding you of your own words; remorse is the poison of life. ROCHESTER But, Miss Eyre, if the pleasure I was seeking was sweet and fresh; if it was an inspiration; if it wore the robes of an angel of light... what then? JANE I don't know. To speak truth, I don't understand you at all. ROCHESTER My heart has long been a charnel house. Perhaps it'll transform into a shrine. JANE Sir, I find the conversation has got out of my depth. ROCHESTER You're afraid of me because I talk like a sphynx. JANE I'm not afraid. ROCHESTER Yes you are. JANE I've simply no wish to talk nonsense. ROCHESTER If you did it would be in such a grave, quiet manner that I would mistake it for sense. Do you never laugh, Miss Eyre? This question cuts Jane to the quick. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Only rarely, perhaps. But you're not naturally austere, any more than I'm naturally vicious. I can see in you the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive. Were it but free, it would soar. Cloud high. Jane opens her mouth to speak - but she cannot. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 50. EXT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE GROUNDS. SPRING. Jane is playing battledore and shuttlecock with Adele. Her playing is full of energy, very free. Her cheeks looks almost rosy. It is spring. JANE Just as it turns to come down - that's when you hit it. Adele serves. The game continues apace. Rochester wanders out of the open double doors of the library. He watches. Something lands at his feet. A rook's feather. He looks up at the battlements. A shape disappears, too fast to see. Rochester's features cloud over with an expression of shame and detestation. He stands in a terrible inner conflict. Jane notices him - she misses her shot. JANE (CONT'D) Mademoiselle has got to rest. ADELE Because I start to win! JANE Have mercy, Adele. Play with Pilot for a while. Rochester is leaning over the balustrade, his head bowed. JANE (CONT'D) Is our game disturbing you, sir? He looks up. A hard and cynical expression has mastered his countenance, something resolute. Jane is taken aback. ROCHESTER On the contrary. I like your game. I like this cold, hard day. I like Thornfield. Rochester picks up the black feather. He starts to walk across the grounds at a fast pace. Jane follows. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I've been arranging a point with my destiny, Miss Eyre. My destiny stood up there by that chimney, like one of the hags who appeared to Macbeth. 'You like Thornfield?' She said. 'Like it if you dare'. Well, I dare. It's felt like a plague house for years - He turns, the whole house now in his sights. He shouts: Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 51. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) But Thornfield is my home and I shall like it! Adele is running after them. ADELE Mademoiselle - Il faut jouer - Rochester snaps at her with shocking ferocity. ROCHESTER Get back! Keep at a distance child, or go in! Adele's face crumples into tears. Rochester sees Jane's shock at his outburst. He walks away. Jane isn't sure whether she has been dismissed or not. Adele has run back to Pilot. Jane watches her. She suddenly finds Rochester is back at her side. He walks her along. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) She's the daughter of an opera dancer, Celine Varens. Celine was a beauty and she professed to love me. Her ardour was so great that, ugly as I am, I believed myself her idol. So I installed in her in a hotel, gave her servants, gowns cashmeres, diamonds - in short, I was an idiot. JANE To fall in love, sir? ROCHESTER You've never felt love, have you Miss Eyre? Your soul still sleeps. JANE Does it? ROCHESTER You're still floating gently in the stream of life, unaware of the rocks ahead waiting to dash you to pieces. JANE Were you dashed to pieces, Mr Rochester? ROCHESTER Not by Celine. How can one ever truly love a woman one has paid for? (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 52. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) It ended when I visited her unexpectedly one night and caught her with her handsome, charmless lover. I overheard her waxing lyrical on all my defects - she was mercenary, heartless, senseless. The whole intoxication fell away like a dream. I left her money to support the little French floweret over there, whom she swore blind was mine. I see no proof of my grim paternity in her features; I think Pilot is more like me than she. JANE But you took her on? Adele is curled up, seeking comfort from the dog. ROCHESTER Some years later, I heard that Celine had abandoned the brat, disappeared to Italy and left it destitute. So I lifted it from the mud and slime of Paris and brought it here, to grow up clean in the wholesome soil of an English country garden. My one good work in a sea of countless sins. Jane is looking at Adele full of compassion. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) You listen, Miss Eyre, as if it was the most usual thing in the world for a man like me to tell stories of his opera-mistresses to an inexperienced girl like you. Adele? Adele looks up. Rochester speaks graciously. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Forgive me; for keeping Miss Eyre from your game for so long. Adele is immensely gratified by his apology. INT. DUSK. THORNFIELD / THE RED ROOM. Jane, aged ten, is walking along the long gallery. She opens a door and finds herself in the Red Room. She stares into the mirror, searching the pale face of her reflection, as if trying to find an answer. A murmur seems to come down the gaping chimney; a woman's deep sigh. Jane's throat tightens with fear. Something moves in the shadows behind her. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 53. She scans them, her eyes full of terror. Jane knows beyond all doubt that something is there. She hears a low laugh. It seems to be right next to her. She tries to scream - INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - SECOND FLOOR. Jane wakes. Her curtains are open; moonlight spilling in. She hears it again; the laugh from her dream, right outside her door - low and deep. JANE Who's there? Footsteps run away. Jane springs out of bed and pulls the door open. A door shuts at the end of the corridor. There is a single candle burning in its holder on the rush matting, flickering in the draft. Jane picks it up. She notices something else - a curling wreath of grey smoke. She follows its trail through the pitch darkness. It is coming thickly from a half-open door at the front of the house - Rochester's. Jane rushes in. Rochester's bed is on fire; the hangings, the curtains, all are alight. The flames are leaping. Rochester is asleep. She shakes him. JANE (CONT'D) Wake up! Wake up! Sir! Rochester only stirs. The smoke has stupefied him. Jane pulls the burning sheets off - then stops; he is naked. She takes his basin and douses the bed - soaking him. ROCHESTER Who's there? JANE It is I, Jane Eyre, sir. Jane takes the ewer and throws water on the curtains. She pulls the soggy fabric from its rail and smothers the burning couch. When all the flames are out, she rushes to the windows and opens them. Smoke billows out. She stands in the moonlight, coughing. Rochester is sitting up, staring at her. ROCHESTER What in the name of all the elves in Christendom have you done with me? JANE For heaven's sake get up. Somebody has plotted something; you must find out who. I'll light the lamp - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 54. ROCHESTER Light the lamp at your peril. Rochester is springing out of bed. Jane turns away, mortified - having caught sight of his silhouetted shape. JANE I heard a laugh outside my door loud enough to wake me. I opened it. Someone was running towards the third floor. Rochester is putting on a dressing gown, lighting the lamp. JANE (CONT'D) And a candle was left burning in the middle of the floor. Shall I fetch Mrs Fairfax, sir? ROCHESTER What the deuce can she do? JANE Then I'll wake John and Martha. ROCHESTER Not at all. Stay here. You're shivering. Rochester gets his coat and puts it round her. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I have to go to the third floor. Don't make a sound. Sit there. I shan't be long. He goes. Jane looks at his ruined chamber; The blackened drapes on the four poster bed, the fireplace, the huge wardrobe. It is not unlike the red room. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - ROCHESTER'S ROOM. Half an hour later. First light. Jane is in an armchair. She has snuggled up in the coat. She takes in a breath, smelling its owner. She nuzzles her head against it. She closes her eyes, running her fingers down the lining. She looks up. Rochester is watching her. His expression is peculiar. She holds the coat closely around her. ROCHESTER Did you see anything when you opened your chamber door? JANE Only the candle on the ground. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 55. ROCHESTER But you heard a laugh? JANE Yes. ROCHESTER Have you heard that laugh before? JANE There's a woman who sews here; Grace Poole - She laughs in that way, I think. ROCHESTER Just so. Grace Poole - you have guessed it. Well, you're no talking fool; please say nothing about this. JANE BUT - ROCHESTER I will account for this state of affairs. Go back to your room and say nothing. JANE Yes, sir. (She takes off his coat) Good-night. ROCHESTER Is that how you're going to leave me? JANE You said I should go. Rochester approaches her. ROCHESTER Jane, fire is a horrible death. You have saved my life. Don't walk past me as if we were strangers. JANE What am I to do then, sir? ROCHESTER At least... shake hands. Rochester holds out his hand. Jane takes it. They shake. Rochester wraps Jane's hand in both of his. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 56. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I have a pleasure in owing you my life. JANE There is no debt. ROCHESTER I knew you would do me good in some way. I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you. Their expression did not - did not strike delight into my very inmost being so, for nothing. People talk of natural sympathies... You. Rochester is drawing her slowly closer. Jane, disconcerted, is trying to resist. JANE Good night then, sir. ROCHESTER So you will leave me? JANE I'm cold. ROCHESTER Go. At last, he relaxes his grip. She backs away. She goes. INT. DAWN. THORNFIELD. JANE'S ROOM. Jane is keeling on the windowsill, looking out at the rising sun. She is lit by its glowing rays; inspired. It's a rare feeling that prompts her mood, as new and unfolding as the day itself - happiness. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - ROCHESTER'S ROOM. Jane looks in to see Leah and Martha cleaning the soot from the woodwork and windowpanes. To her amazement, Grace Poole is there, calmly sewing rings to new curtains. GRACE Good day to you, miss. JANE What's happened here? GRACE (CANNILY) Only master reading in his bed last night. (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 57. GRACE (CONT'D) Fell asleep with his candle lit and the curtains got on fire. Managed to put it out with the water from his stand. Did you not hear anything, miss? JANE I did. I heard a strange laugh. GRACE It's hardly likely the master would laugh when he was in such danger. Perhaps you were dreaming. JANE I was not. GRACE Then you didn't think of opening your door and looking out? Jane is infuriated. She turns on her heel. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - MRS FAIRFAX'S PARLOUR. Jane walks in. Their meal is laid out. JANE Has Mr Rochester not sent for us today? MRS FAIRFAX Why, he's gone away. Were you not aware? He left after breakfast. Jane takes this piece of news like an invisible shock. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) He's gone to The Leas, Mr Eshton's place, about ten miles from here. I believe Blanche Ingram is there. She's a great favourite of his. JANE Oh? MRS FAIRFAX I saw her two years ago when Mr Rochester had a party here. Oh, she was a beauty; I daresay the most elegant girl I've ever seen. So tall, with raven hair cascading down her back; I don't know how she'd had it done. She sang a duet with Mr Rochester. They made a lovely harmony. (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 58. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) I was quite surprised he didn't make a proposal. Perhaps that is his intention now. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE NURSERY. Jane is at the window, brooding. Outside the rain is pouring. Adele, dressed in yellow frills, is concerned. ADELE Qu'avez vous mademoiselle? JANE (without looking at her) Nothing. Speak in English, please. Jane turns, expecting to see Adele. INT. DAY. MORTON - THE SCHOOL ROOM. Jane finds herself in front of her class. They are looking at her expectantly. She looks back at them curiously. Eager faces, plain rural clothes. She has quite lost her place. JANE Thank you, girls. You may go. INT. EVENING. MORTON - THE SCHOOL ROOM. Jane is tidying up at the end of the day. The classroom is empty. Her life is bare. It shows on her face. She looks up. St John Rivers is watching her from the door. ST JOHN Do you find the work too hard? Jane immediately puts on a sprightly face and continues clearing up. JANE Not at all. I'm getting on very well. ST JOHN Do you feel the solitude an oppression? JANE I hardly have time to notice it. ST JOHN Then perhaps your accommodations have disappointed you. They are in truth scanty enough - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 59. JANE A few months ago I had nothing. I was wretched. Now I have a home and work; free and honest. I wonder at the goodness of God and at the generosity of my friends. St John approaches her; speaks intimately. ST JOHN What you had left before I met you, I don't know. But I counsel you to resist firmly every temptation to look back. JANE It's what I mean to do. ST JOHN We can overcome every kind of human weakness. A year ago I was myself intensely miserable. I considered my life was so wretched that it must be changed - or I would die. After a season of darkness and struggling, light broke. I heard my call from God. Put your trust in him, Jane. Let him lead you to your future. JANE Thank you. St John is turning to go. JANE (CONT'D) Why were you intensely miserable? ST JOHN A year ago, I was weak enough to fall in love. Jane moves involuntarily towards him. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Don't pity me; I have no compassion whatsoever for you. I regarded this love as a fever of the flesh; not a thing that would ever touch my soul. I scorned the weakness, fought hard against it - and won. Jane is incredulous. St John is at her desk. It is covered in her drawings. He glances through them. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 60. ST JOHN (CONT'D) I could have listened to temptation, sunk down in the silken snare and known a feverish and delusive bliss. I could have squandered my future upon it. JANE You could have been happy. ST JOHN A slave in a fool's paradise? I'd rather my life had purpose - St John suddenly snatches up a piece of paper. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Is this yours? JANE Yes. His eyes, in an instant, seem to take in everything about her. He opens his mouth to speak - then checks himself. JANE (CONT'D) What's the matter? ST JOHN Nothing in the world. He folds the paper and takes it. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Good night. He goes. Jane looks after him, puzzled. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE HALL. Mrs Fairfax approaches Jane with a letter in her hand. MRS FAIRFAX He's back in three days he says - heavens that's Thursday - and not alone. He gives directions to prepare all the best rooms. I'm to get more staff from the George Inn. The ladies will bring their maids, the gentlemen, valets. We must accommodate them all. Supplies to be got; linen, the MATTRESSES - Mrs Fairfax has worked herself up into quite a panic. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 61. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) I'll get started. I'll go to the George. No, I'll tell Martha... Jane can sense that the old lady is overwhelmed. JANE May I assist you, Mrs Fairfax? We see Mrs Fairfax approach Jane in a rush of gratitude. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE SECOND FLOOR. Jane wears a housekeeper's apron over her dress. She enters Rochester's room with an armful of bed linen. It has been returned to its former glory. Adele is jumping up and down on the bed. Sophie is trying to coax her off it. Jane gives Sophie the sheets. Adele leaves the room with Jane and skids all the way down the newly polished gallery in her stockinged feet. Jane can't help smiling. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE KITCHENS. Jane sets down several bottles of wine on the kitchen table in order to dust them. The kitchen is a hive of activity - except for one lone figure sitting quietly in a chair by the fire, smoking a pipe; Grace Poole. Leah and one of the hired under cooks are talking abut her. UNDER COOK She gets good wages, I'd guess? LEAH Wish I had as good; not one fifth what Mrs Poole receives. Jane affects not to listen, but is keenly interested. LEAH (CONT'D) And she's laying it all by. I shouldn't wonder if she's saved enough to keep her independent. UNDER COOK She's a good hand, I daresay. LEAH Not everyone could do it, that's for sure, not even for the money. UNDER COOK No wonder the master relies on HER - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 62. Leah notices Jane's curious glance. She nudges the under cook. Jane, picks up the bottles and carries them away. As she passes she hears: UNDER COOK (CONT'D) Doesn't she know? At that moment, Adele rushes in. ADELE They're here! They're here! Mrs Fairfax tries to get her apron off. She becomes flustered. Jane helps her. MRS FAIRFAX Thank you. Mrs Fairfax and Adele go. Jane looks out of the window. Her attention is focussed on two equestrians who lead the arriving party; Rochester and Blanche, the dark beauty at his side. She is laughing at something. The sun shines behind her. Jane is dazzled. She turns away. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE SECOND FLOOR. Jane comes up the back stairs and on to the gallery, just as the ladies start to issue from their rooms. She stands back in a dark corner. There is an approach of chatter; a subdued vivacity. A flurry of multicoloured silks, lace and velvets go by. They descend the staircase as noiselessly as a bright mist. Jane steps out. She walks right into the path of Blanche Ingram, who is dressed in white. They both startle. JANE Excuse me, miss. Blanche gives her a look of ice. Rochester is at the top of the stairs. ROCHESTER Good evening. They both turn. Rochester has seen Blanche, not Jane. He offers her his arm, his gaze full of admiration. Jane sinks back into the shadows. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) May I? Blanche lays her gloved hand on Rochester's arm, barely touching him. They glide away. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 63. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE HALL. Adele and Jane sit on the stairs, listening to Blanche and Rochester sing. Their voices thrill. Jane is trying not to feel. But when Rochester hits an exceptionally beautiful note, she involuntarily closes her eyes. Adele leans into Jane. She is crying. JANE What is it, darling? ADELE She sing like Maman. Jane, full of compassion, takes Adele back to her room. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE SCHOOLROOM. Mrs Fairfax enters in a great hurry. MRS FAIRFAX Tonight. He wants you both in the drawing room after dinner. Adele leaps up, delighted. Jane is crestfallen. JANE Not me, surely. MRS FAIRFAX It's his particular wish. JANE He was being polite. MRS FAIRFAX I'm instructed to tell you that if you resist, he'll come up and get you himself. You needn't stay long. Just let him see you and then slip away. Don't worry; no one'll look at you. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE DRAWING ROOM/HALL Jane is delivering Adele into the centre of the company. JANE May I present Miss Adele Varens? ADELE Bon jour, mesdames, monsieurs. Jane finds it hard to get a proper impression of the guests, as she cannot raise her eyes to look at them. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 64. Adele makes a dainty curtsey - pink frock, hair in ringlets, little lace gloves. In the midst of the crowd is Blanche. BLANCHE Why, what a little puppet. LADY INGRAM (mutton dressed as lamb) Is this your ward, Mr Rochester? ROCHESTER Yes. LOUISA ESHTON (English rose; nineteen) What a love of a child. Adele blissfully disappears into a moving sea of dresses. Only one guest is still looking in Jane's direction; Blanche. Her lip curls in distaste. Jane backs into a nearby window seat; always her place of refuge. She closes her eyes. A great Atlantic wave hits the sash window behind her, drenching it with foam and brine. When she opens her eyes, Rochester is in her line of vision, standing out in a crowd of unmanly men. He senses her gaze; glances at her. Jane looks down, pulling her work on to her lap; a beaded purse. She does not lift her eyes from the beads, fully feeling the humiliation of her class - and of her love. Blanche sidles up to Rochester. BLANCHE I thought you weren't fond of children? ROCHESTER You're right; I'm not. BLANCHE Then what induced you to take charge of that little doll? Rochester turns away from Jane. ROCHESTER She was left on my hands. BLANCHE Why don't you send her to school? ROCHESTER She has a governess. Jane glances up; sees Rochester's back to her, throws her eyes down, once more. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 65. BLANCHE You should hear mamma on the chapter of governesses. I had half a dozen in my day - all detestable, ridiculous incubi - were they not, mamma? LADY INGRAM Did you speak, my lily flower? BLANCHE I said governesses. The reaction is instant. LADY INGRAM Oh, don't mention them; the very word makes me nervous! I've suffered a martyrdom from their incompetence and caprice. I thank heaven we're now done with them. BLANCHE I have just one word to say of the whole tribe; nuisance. Jane's fingers sew. Only the briefest flash of her eyes towards the company shows her mortification. Blanche has started playing a brilliant prelude on the piano. BLANCHE (CONT'D) We shall have music - and new subject, if you please. Signor Eduardo, what shall it be? ROCHESTER Donna Bianca, I give you beauty. BLANCHE Beauty? Why there's nothing new to be said. I give you back male beauty. Mamma, what's your idea of male beauty? LADY INGRAM My son, of course. LORD INGRAM Hear hear. BLANCHE Oh, Tedo's quite typical of the young men of today. They're so absorbed in the pursuit of fashion that they've forgotten how to be men at all. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 66. LORD INGRAM I say - BLANCHE A woman who neglects herself is a blot on humanity. But a man should pay no heed to his looks. (Glancing at Rochester) A man should possess only strength and valour. He could be a gentleman or a highwayman. His beauty lies in his power. ROCHESTER So a Levantine pirate would do for you? BLANCHE (QUIETLY) As long as he resembled you. Rochester laughs loudly. Jane is heading for the door. BLANCHE (CONT'D) I am serious. To my mind, a man is nothing without a spice of the devil in him. Jane closes the door on Blanche. She breathes in fresh air, nauseous. Blanche's splendid prelude drifts out. Rochester comes into the hall from the other door. Jane instantly bends down and pretends to be tying her shoe. ROCHESTER Why did you leave the room? JANE I am tired, sir. ROCHESTER Why didn't you come and speak to me? I haven't seen you for weeks. It would have been normal and polite to wish me good evening. JANE You seemed engaged, sir. ROCHESTER What have you been doing while I've been gone? JANE Teaching Adele. ROCHESTER You look pale. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 67. JANE I am well. ROCHESTER You're depressed; your eyes are shining with tears. What's the meaning of this? Jane catches sight of Mrs Fairfax, who is watching them with an expression of unease. Rochester glares at her. MRS FAIRFAX A gentleman has arrived to see you, sir. ROCHESTER Who? MRS FAIRFAX He says he's travelled a long way, from Spanish Town, Jamaica - Rochester seems winded. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) And indeed I think he must have come from some hot country because he won't take off his coat. ROCHESTER Spanish Town... MRS FAIRFAX Mr Richard Mason. He says you're old friends. I've put him in the morning room. Rochester cannot speak. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) Have I done wrong? ROCHESTER Not at all. Please tell him I'll see him directly. Mrs Fairfax goes. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Oh Jane - Jane. This is a blow. JANE Can I help you sir? In the drawing room, Blanche's prelude finishes to enthusiastic applause. Rochester has Jane's hand. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 68. ROCHESTER Jane, if all those people came and spat at me, what would you do? JANE Turn them out of the room sir, if I could. ROCHESTER And if they cast you out for adhering to me? JANE I should care nothing about it. ROCHESTER You'd dare censure for my sake? Jane is frightened of his passion. JANE For the sake of any friend who deserved it. Rochester lets her hand go. He steps back. He goes to the morning room. Jane peers through the door, worrying how her last words have given offence. She sees a man rising to meet Rochester; handsome but gaunt and painfully thin. His smile doesn't reach his eyes - as if his soul is not quite his own. MASON Fairfax... ROCHESTER Richard. How the devil are you? They embrace, Rochester doing a fine impression of delight. INT. DAY. LOWOOD - THE HALL. Jane is standing on the pedestal of infamy, ten years old. Helen Burns is walking towards her with something in her arms. The rising sun is all around her. HELEN He is yours. Jane looks down at the bundle. In it, is a newborn boy. Jane looks up to ask Helen for help. But Helen has gone. Jane alone with her burden, teeters on the stool. The baby starts to cry. Jane panics. The crying becomes deafening, terrifying. It is not a baby's cry but a human scream. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 69. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM/ THE GALLERY. Jane wakes, hearing a savage, sharp shriek of such power and intensity it seems to tear the night in two. Overhead, the sounds of a struggle begin - a deadly one. Jane hears footsteps rush past her door. She starts to pull on her dress. She hears a man's voice from above: MASON (O.S.) Help! Rochester, for God's sake come! A great stamp on the floor above; something falls with a thud; silence. Jane grabs her candle and leaves her room. The guests likewise are all issuing from their rooms; some with candles, some stumbling into the dark. The gallery is filling with terrified ladies and shocked gentlemen. Their shadows dance grotesquely on the walls. LADY INGRAM Oh what is it? BLANCHE Who is hurt? LORD INGRAM Where the devil is Rochester? Rochester comes forth from the door at the end of the gallery, holding a candelabra. ROCHESTER I'm here, be composed. Blanche flies towards him like a banshee. BLANCHE What awful event has taken place? She embraces him. Rochester patiently removes her. ROCHESTER A servant has had a nightmare, that's all. She's an excitable, nervous person and has taken a fit with fright. Jane, the only person behind Rochester, sees by the light of her candle that his dressing gown is trailing blood. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Now I must see you back into your rooms because until the house is settled, she can't be properly looked after. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 70. BLANCHE Is there anything I might do? ROCHESTER Miss Ingram, ladies, please return to your nests like the doves that you are. You'll take cold for certain if you stay in this icy gallery any longer. The candles flicker and fade as the guests make their way back to their rooms. Rochester sees Jane. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Come this way. Make no noise. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE THIRD FLOOR. Rochester stops by a low door. He puts a key in the lock. ROCHESTER Be steady. I need you. He unlocks it. A room hung with tapestries; a four poster bed with its curtains half drawn. One part of the tapestry is hooked up over a hidden door - which lies open to an inner chamber. A dull, sickly light shines out. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Wait. He goes to the inner chamber. A grim laugh greets him. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Thank you, Mrs Poole. He locks the door. Jane shudders. He goes to the bed. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Here. Bring the candle. Jane obeys. Richard Mason is lying, one arm and all the linen soaked in blood. Jane controls her reaction and makes herself useful. Rochester is cleaning the wound. MASON Am I dying? ROCHESTER No. MASON She bit me - while the knife was in - Bit me - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 71. ROCHESTER It was folly to attempt the interview tonight and alone. MASON I thought I might have done some good. ROCHESTER It makes me impatient to hear you. MASON She sucked the blood. Said she'd drain me - like a vampire - ROCHESTER Think of her as dead, dead and buried. Say nothing! Mason is silenced. Rochester puts the bloody sponge into Jane's hand. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I am going for a doctor. I must leave you here with him. Sponge the blood away when it returns. Give him water if he wants it. Do not speak to him for any reason. And Richard - on pain of death - do not speak to her. Rochester takes the candelabra. He is gone. Mason is staring at Jane. There is something about the pupils in his eyes that she finds deadly, chilling. She dips the sponge in the bloody water and wipes away the trickling gore. She hears a low moan. She looks over at the door to the inner chamber, aching to know the mystery behind it. Mason makes her start by taking her wrist. He is trying to say something. Jane puts her finger to her lips. She is begging him not to speak. INT. DAWN. THORNFIELD - THE THIRD FLOOR. Rochester and Dr Carter are carrying Mason down the stairs. DR CARTER I only wish I could have got here sooner. He'd not have bled so much. ROCHESTER Jane, make sure the way is clear. Jane looks out on to the gallery. She is pale, drawn. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 72. EXT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE GROUNDS. A carriage waits. Rochester lifts Mason in to Dr Carter. Jane hands in Mason's great coat. She stands back. ROCHESTER I'll ride over tomorrow to see how you do. Goodbye, Richard. MASON Fairfax - Let her treated as tenderly as may be - ROCHESTER I do my best and have done it and will do it! The carriage goes. Jane prepares to go inside but Rochester walks her towards the orchard. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Come, Jane. That house is a dungeon, don't you feel it? JANE It seems to me a splendid mansion, sir. ROCHESTER It is slime and cobwebs. EXT. DAWN. THORNFIELD - THE ORCHARD. The orchard is a different world; the dawn light illuminating dewy trees. Rochester is silent. Jane is trying to fathom him. JANE Will Grace Poole stay here now? ROCHESTER Oh yes, don't trouble your head about her. JANE But sir - ROCHESTER Grace Poole is not the danger. He walks off, pulling the heads off flowers as he passes. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) You've noticed my tender feelings for Miss Ingram? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 73. JANE Yes sir. ROCHESTER Keep vigil with me again, the night before I marry. For now you've met my lovely one and you know her. She's a rare one, isn't she? JANE Yes sir. ROCHESTER A strapper, a real strapper; big and buxom... He throws a cankered rose across the orchard. Jane manages to articulate her anxiety. JANE I'd do anything for you sir, anything that was right. ROCHESTER (GENTLY) And if I ever bid you do what was wrong, you'd turn to me, quiet and pale and say 'I cannot do it.' And you'd be as immutable as a fixed star. Rochester, gazing at her, seems to have decided something. He turns a corner and is gone. Jane is left alone. We hear the sound of a blow. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - THE WINDOW SEAT. The brutal face of John Reed, aged fourteen, triumphant after hitting Jane. JOHN That's for the look you had on your face. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE BILLIARD ROOM. Jane enters as Rochester helps Blanche to line up a shot. He is leaning intimately over her. She coyly permits him. JANE Excuse me, sir. Jane has ruined Blanche's shot. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 74. BLANCHE Does that creeping creature want you? INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE LONG GALLERY. Rochester has followed Jane out of the billiard room. JANE If you please, I want leave of absence for a week or two. ROCHESTER What to do? Jane shows him the letter. JANE This is from my old nurse, Bessie. She says my cousin John Reed is dead. He ruined himself and has committed suicide. The news has so shocked his mother, my Aunt, that it's brought on a stroke. ROCHESTER What good can you do her? JANE She's been asking for me. I parted from her very badly and I can't neglect her wishes now. ROCHESTER Promise me you won't stay long. JANE Sir, it seems you are soon to be married. ROCHESTER What of it? JANE Adele should go to school. ROCHESTER To get her out of my bride's way who might otherwise trample her? JANE And I must seek another situation. I intend to advertise. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 75. ROCHESTER At your peril you advertise. Trust it to me. I'll find you a good situation in time. He is on the point of returning to the billiard room. JANE And sir? Forgive me but I have had no wages as yet. ROCHESTER How much do I owe you? JANE Fifteen pounds. Rochester looks in his wallet. ROCHESTER Here's fifty. JANE That's too much. ROCHESTER Take your wages. JANE I cannot. ROCHESTER Then I only have a ten. JANE (TAKING IT) Now you owe me five. ROCHESTER Just so. Come back for it quickly. Meantime, I shall safeguard it in here. He taps the wallet, which is in his breast pocket. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Do you trust me to keep it, Jane? JANE (SMILING) Not a whit, sir. You are not to be trusted at all. Rochester strides away, grinning. Jane turns. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 76. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - BESSIE'S PARLOUR. Bessie, now housekeeper, is moving forward to meet Jane. BESSIE Bless you! - I knew you'd come. They embrace. JANE Bessie... I'm not too late? How is Mrs Reed? BESSIE She may linger yet a while. She's spoken of you daily. At first we couldn't tell what she was saying but when her speech came clear we heard 'Jane Eyre, get Jane Eyre.' JANE Shall I see her now? BESSIE I'll take you up directly. But look at you. What a lady you've become. Why you're almost pretty. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - MRS REED'S BEDROOM Jane takes her aunt's hand. Mrs Reed looks very near death. JANE Aunt Reed? It is Jane Eyre. You sent for me, and here I am. Mrs Reed, with an effort, pulls her hand away from Jane's. MRS REED No one knows the trouble I have with that child. Such a burden. Left on my hands. Speaking to me like a fiend. The fever at Lowood. She should have died! JANE Why do you hate her so? MRS REED Her mother. Reed's sister - his beloved. When news came of her death he wept like a fool. Sent for the baby. Sickly thing - not strong like mine. But Reed loved it. Kept it by his bed. Made me vow to bring the creature up. Why did he not love mine? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 77. The words are a revelation to Jane. Mrs Reed gazes at her. MRS REED (CONT'D) Who are you? JANE I am Jane Eyre, Aunt. MRS REED You. Is there no one in the room? Jane motions Bessie to go. JANE We are alone. MRS REED I've twice done you wrong. I broke the vow I made to Reed - JANE Please, don't think of it - MRS REED I am dying; I must get it out! Mrs Reed indicates a box on her bedside table. MRS REED (CONT'D) Open that box. Take out the letter. Read it. Jane obeys. She reads the letter aloud. JANE 'Madam, will you have the goodness to send me the address of my niece, Jane Eyre. I desire her to come to me at Madeira. Fortune has blessed my endeavours and as I am childless I wish to adopt her and bequeath her at my death whatever I may have to leave. Yours, John Eyre, Madeira.' Jane is stunned. JANE (CONT'D) This is dated three years ago. Why did I never hear of it? MRS REED Because I wrote and told him you had died of typhus at Lowood school. You fury. You were born to be my torment. I'll never forget how you turned on me and raged. (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 78. MRS REED (CONT'D) You called the names of the dead down upon me. I was afraid. JANE Forgive me. MRS REED You cursed me. JANE I would have loved you if you'd let me. MRS REED My life has been cursed. JANE Please, let us be reconciled. Mrs Reed shrinks from Jane's touch. Jane wipes her tears. JANE (CONT'D) Then love me or hate me as you will. You have my full and free forgiveness. Now ask for God's - and be at peace. Mrs Reed's eyes close. INT. DAY. GATESHEAD - THE RED ROOM. The morning sun is pouring in. Jane goes to the bed. She puts her hand upon it, gently, as if thanking her uncle for all he did. She notices a picture on the wall. A miniature of a brown-haired woman with elfin eyes. Jane takes it off the wall. Bessie comes in. JANE My mother. Bessie nods. A tear rolls down Jane's face. She clasps the picture, looking round the room. JANE (CONT'D) Why ever was I so afraid? EXT. DAY. A ROADSIDE. A coach pulls up in the lane near Thornfield. Jane gets out. We hear her voice. JANE (V.O.) My dear uncle, some years ago, my Aunt Reed mistakenly informed you that I had died. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 79. EXT. EVENING. A SUMMER WOOD. Jane is walking through the wooded glade where she first met Rochester. All is green and verdant and bathed in sunset light. There seems to be life everywhere. JANE (V.O.) I am writing to tell you that I am very much alive and living at Thornfield Hall, where I am currently governess to the ward of Mr Edward Fairfax Rochester - ROCHESTER (O.S.) There you are. Jane turns. Rochester is sitting on the stile where they first met. For a moment, her every nerve is unstrung. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Just like one of your tricks to steal into your home along with the twilight. Where the deuce have you been this last month? JANE I have been with my aunt sir, who is dead. Rochester laughs. ROCHESTER A true Janian reply. If I dared I'd touch you, to see if you were real... Jane puts out her hand. Rochester takes it. He helps Jane over the stile. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Go home - stay your wandering feet at a friend's threshold. Jane lets go of his hand. JANE Thank you Mr Rochester. I'm strangely glad to get back again to you. Wherever you are is my home. Jane, knowing she has said too much, turns and runs over the fields towards Thornfield. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - MRS FAIRFAX'S PARLOUR Jane is on a low seat, Adele nestling close to her. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 80. MRS FAIRFAX We're expecting the announcement very soon. He went down to London only last week to buy her a new carriage. JANE Then we must accept it. He'll soon bring home his bride. Mrs Fairfax nods. EXT. TWILIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE ORCHARD Jane is alone, drinking in the beauty of the evening - looking at the gardens as if she may never see them again. She turns a corner and sees Rochester staring intently at something. His back is to her. She is about to tiptoe away. ROCHESTER Come and look at this fellow, Jane. Jane approaches, wondering how he has sensed her presence. Rochester is looking at a huge moth. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Look at his wings. He looks West Indian - I have never seen one like him, here. There; flown. They watch the moth as it flies towards the house. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Thornfield is a pleasant place in summer, isn't it? JANE I'll be sad to leave it. ROCHESTER Yes, but it can't be helped. I soon hope to be a bridegroom. JANE Have you found me a new situation, sir? ROCHESTER A situation, yes of course. It's the least I can do for a faithful paid subordinate such as yourself. You're to undertake the education of the five daughters of Mrs Dionysus O'Gall of Bitternut Lodge, Connaught. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 81. JANE Connaught? ROCHESTER You'll like Ireland. They're such warm-hearted people, they say. JANE It is a long way away, sir. ROCHESTER From what? JANE From here. From you. ROCHESTER We've been good friends, Jane haven't we? But with the Irish sea between us you'd soon forget me. Jane's great distress escapes her. JANE I wish I could. I wish I'd never come here. I love Thornfield - I've lived a full life here. I've not been trampled on or petrified or buried with inferior minds. I've talked face to face with what I reverence, with what I delight in. I've known you Mr Rochester - ROCHESTER Then why must you be torn from me? JANE Because of your bride. ROCHESTER I have no bride. JANE But you will have. ROCHESTER Yes, I will. JANE Then I must go. ROCHESTER You must stay. JANE Do you think I could stay to become nothing to you? Am I an automaton, a machine without feelings? (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 82. JANE (CONT'D) Do you think that because I am poor, obscure, plain and little that I am soulless and heartless? ROCHESTER JANE - JANE I have as much soul as you and full as much heart. I'm not speaking to you through mortal flesh. It's my spirit that addresses your spirit as if we'd passed through the grave and stood at God's feet, equal - as we are. Rochester takes Jane in his arms. ROCHESTER As we are. Jane struggles away from him. JANE Let me go. ROCHESTER NO - JANE I'm a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you. Rochester releases her. She stands in front of him. ROCHESTER Then let your will decide your destiny. I offer you my hand, my heart and a share of all this. He gestures towards the house, the land. Jane is stunned. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I ask you to pass through life at my side. Jane, you are my equal and my likeness. It is you I intend to marry. JANE Are you mocking me? ROCHESTER Do you doubt me? JANE Entirely. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 83. ROCHESTER You have no faith in me? JANE Not a whit. ROCHESTER You little sceptic. JANE Your bride is Miss Ingram - ROCHESTER What love have I for Miss Ingram? What love has she for me? I caused a rumour to reach her that my fortune was lost and got instant coldness. I wanted to make you jealous, to move you to love me. It's you - you strange, unearthly thing. I love you as my own flesh. You - poor and obscure as you are - please accept me as your husband. Jane begins to believe him. JANE Are you in earnest? ROCHESTER I must have you for my own. JANE You wish me to be your wife? ROCHESTER I swear it. JANE You love me. ROCHESTER I do. JANE Then sir, I will marry you. They embrace. Neither Jane nor Rochester moves. Darkness is almost complete. Still the intensity of the embrace is held. ROCHESTER It will atone. It will atone. A sheet of lightning momentarily lights up the sky. Some moments later a distant rumble of thunder. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 84. I/E. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE FRONT HALL It is teeming with rain. Rochester and Jane run to the front entrance. He holds his jacket around her. Lightning. They reach the dry hearth inside. Thunder. They are both euphoric, breathless, laughing. JANE I must go. ROCHESTER Good night. Good night. He kisses her. They kiss again. Jane will not let him go. JANE Good night. As Jane runs upstairs she sees Mrs Fairfax, deeply shocked. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - MRS FAIRFAX'S PARLOUR Jane wears a lilac gown. Mrs Fairfax is very concerned. MRS FAIRFAX Have you accepted him? JANE Yes. MRS FAIRFAX Well I never would have thought. Jane is hurt. JANE Am I a monster? Is it so impossible that Mr Rochester should love me? MRS FAIRFAX No, I've long noticed that you were a sort of pet of his. But you're so young and so little acquainted with men. I don't want to grieve you child, but let me put you on your guard. Gentlemen in his position... Let's just say they're not accustomed to marry their governesses. Until you are wed, distrust yourself as well as him. Please, keep him at a distance - Jane has heard enough. She turns away. JANE Thank you. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 85. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE HALL Jane, walking through, finds herself in Rochester's arms. She laughs as he raises her off the ground. ROCHESTER Is this my pale elf? This sunny faced girl with the radiant eyes? JANE It is I, Jane Eyre sir. ROCHESTER Soon to be Jane Rochester. JANE It can never be, sir. Human beings were not meant to enjoy complete happiness on this earth. It's too much like a fairy tale. ROCHESTER (KISSING HER) Let the fairy tale begin. INT. DAY. A HABERDASHER'S SHOP. Rochester is rolling out reams of beautiful silks. Jane gets more uncomfortable as she looks at them. ROCHESTER This morning I wrote to my banker in London to send certain jewels. In a day or two I hope to pour them into you lap - JANE Oh, no sir - ROCHESTER I will put the diamond chain around your neck myself - JANE I don't want jewels - ROCHESTER I'll dress you in these satins - JANE Then you won't know me. I'll not be Jane Eyre any longer but an ape in a harlequin's jacket. Put them away. Jane pushes the silks away. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 86. ROCHESTER Well for cool native impudence and pure innate pride, you haven't your equal. JANE I'm naturally proud. And hard and flinty. You ought to know what sort of bargain you've made while you've still got time to rescind it. I want only one thing from you, Mr Rochester. ROCHESTER And what's that? JANE Your regard. Jane puts her arm through Rochester's. He smiles. ROCHESTER It's your time now, little tyrant but it'll soon be mine and when I have seized you, to have and to hold, I'll attach you to a chain, like this... Rochester flicks his watch into the air. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - MRS FAIRFAX'S PARLOUR. A summer gale. The moan of the wind sounds almost human. The light is sickly, nightmarish. A great box sits on the table, which Jane is opening. Adele, Sophie and Mrs Fairfax are all looking on. Jane pulls out a pearl coloured wedding gown. She is dismayed at its opulence. She holds it up to herself. Adele starts to play with the great veil. She wraps it round herself. She becomes caught in it, tangled, distressed. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM. JANE Adele? Jane wakes. There is a candle alight at the end of her bed. Her eyes focus. Her wardrobe is open. Jane is unnerved. JANE (CONT'D) Adele, is that you? Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 87. A form emerges, a woman, tall and gaunt, with thick, black hair hanging down her back. She is dressed in a nightgown - like a shroud. Over her head, she wears Jane's bridal veil; a phantom bride. Jane is paralysed with terror. The form takes the veil and slowly tears it in half; bruised arms, dirt, predatory nails, neglect. The last thing to be revealed is the woman's face, pale and ghastly. Her eyes are glittering with hatred. The figure takes the candle and bends down to Jane. Her intention looks deadly. Jane's breath catches. She cannot breathe. The figure moves closer, then blows out the candle. Darkness. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM. Jane wakes, lying half out of the bed. The veil is over her. She flings it away from her face. Jane sits, her terror dawning. Her breath comes in great dry sobs. She is shocked to find herself still alive. EXT. EVENING. - THORNFIELD - BY THE GATES Jane is waiting, pale with anxiety. A man on horseback approaches, a great dog at his side; Rochester. He is grinning. He pulls Jane up on the horse in front of him. She curls into his arms, desperate for his comfort and his strength. Rochester senses something is wrong. He slows the horse. ROCHESTER What is it? JANE I'm afraid. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM. Rochester holds the torn veil in his hands. He is aghast. He cannot think what to say. ROCHESTER Jane, this is the only explanation. It must have been half-dream, half- reality. A woman did enter your room last night and that woman was - must have been - Grace Poole - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 88. JANE It was not Grace Poole. Rochester keeps talking over her. ROCHESTER You know how strange she is. What did she do to me? To Mason? In a state between sleeping and waking - JANE I was not asleep. ROCHESTER You noticed her entrance and her actions but you've ascribed to her an appearance different from her own. That was your nightmare - JANE I know what I saw. ROCHESTER I see you'd ask why I keep such a woman in my house. When we've been married a year and a day, I promise I'll tell you. Are you satisfied Jane? Do you accept my solution? Jane clearly doesn't. Rochester takes her in his arms. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Dear God. It was only the veil... INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - ADELE'S ROOM. Jane is in an unadorned pearl wedding gown. ADELE Mademoiselle... Adele gives her a small bouquet. Jane hugs her, very moved - as if she is leaving her childhood behind. She turns to go. SOPHIE Please, you must look. Jane gazes stupefied at the stranger in the mirror. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE HALL. Rochester is waiting at the bottom of the stairs for Jane. She slows when she sees him. She finds she cannot speak. Neither can he. Mrs Fairfax is by the door. Jane can't find words for her. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 89. ROCHESTER Come. Rochester grips her hand. They quit the house. EXT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE GROUNDS. Rochester, grimly resolute, is striding at a pace Jane can hardly follow. Her satin shoes are muddy. She is becoming breathless. A rook flies over their heads, cawing. EXT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE CHURCH. Rochester is striding purposefully towards a small church of ancient design. Jane stumbles. Rochester is contrite. Jane tries to collect herself. She looks up to the sky. The rook wheels around the spire. She takes Rochester's hand. INT. DAY. THE CHURCH At the altar, Jane glances at Rochester. He is looking straight ahead at the clergyman, Wood. WOOD I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgement when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it. There is not a sound. Rochester still doesn't look at Jane. The clergyman prepares the rings. WOOD (CONT'D) Edward Fairfax Rochester, do you TAKE - A commotion at the back of the church. Two men rapidly enter. One of them Briggs, hurries up the aisle. BRIGGS The marriage cannot go on. I declare the existence of an impediment. Rochester moves, shaken. ROCHESTER Proceed. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 90. BRIGGS The ceremony is quite broken off. An insuperable impediment to this marriage exists. ROCHESTER Proceed. BRIGGS Mr Rochester has a wife now living. Wood is utterly dismayed. ROCHESTER (SHOUTS) Where is your proof? Briggs starts to read out a document. BRIGGS (O.S.) I affirm and can prove that Edward Fairfax Rochester was fifteen years ago married to my sister, Bertha Antoinetta Mason at St James church, Spanish Town, Jamaica. Jane looks at Rochester. She forces him to look at her. He denies nothing; defies everything. BRIGGS (CONT'D) The record of the marriage will be found in the register of that church - a copy of it is now in my possession. Signed, Richard Mason. Rochester turns to Briggs. ROCHESTER That does not prove that my wife is still living. BRIGGS She was living two months ago. ROCHESTER How do you know? BRIGGS I have a witness to the fact. ROCHESTER Produce him or go to hell. The figure by the door steps out of the shadows. It is Richard Mason. Rochester flies down the aisle, a groan of rage escapes him. He lifts his arm. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 91. MASON Good God - WOOD Sir, you are in a sacred place - Mason flinches away. Rochester swallows his rage. ROCHESTER What have you to say? MASON She is at Thornfield Hall. I saw her there in April. I'm her brother. A grim smile contorts Rochester's lips. He turns towards Jane. She remains where she was abandoned - at the altar - tiny, under he vaulted arch. The bouquet falls from her hand. Rochester walks to her. ROCHESTER This girl knew nothing. She thought all was fair and legal. She never dreamt she was going to be entrapped into a feigned union with a defrauded wretch. A tiny breath is the only noise Jane utters. Rochester pulls her from the altar to his side. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Come, Jane, come all of you and meet Mrs Poole's charming patient. Come and meet my wife. The sun outside is blinding. Jane closes her eyes. I/E. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE ENTRANCE / HALL Rochester enters pulling Jane after him, her hand still in his iron grip. Wood, Mason and Briggs follow. Mrs Fairfax, Adele, Sophie, Martha and Leah are waiting. Adele runs forward. Rochester stops her in her tracks. ROCHESTER Get back! Do not come near! Go, all of you - keep your congratulations - they come fifteen years too late! Adele has crumpled into frightened tears. Mrs Fairfax has her hand over her mouth, pale with shock. Jane meets her eye as Rochester pulls her up the stairs. A revelation. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 92. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE THIRD FLOOR. The tapestried room. Rochester glances at Mason. He unlocks the inner door with one hand; the other won't let go of Jane. Grace Poole sits by a strongly guarded fire, stirring something in a pot. Rochester leads Jane and the men into the room. There is no window, no furniture except for Grace's chair; only a mattress on the floor. GRACE Sir, you can't be bringing folk in here. It's madness. Bertha Antoinetta Mason stands, amazed at the sight of her visitors. She wears a white shift. There are black rook feathers twined in her hair; her only ornament. ROCHESTER This clothed hyena is my wife. Bertha's pose is dignified, her expression grows triumphant. She approaches Rochester - her eyes locked with Jane's. Jane gazes: fear, disgust, compassion. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I was duped into marriage with this lunatic fifteen years ago. Briggs and Wood are deeply repelled. WOOD Let us go. We have seen enough. Bertha puts her arm through Rochester's; lays her head on his shoulder; smiles at Jane, magnanimous in her victory. ROCHESTER My own demon, Bertha. With shocking speed and strength Bertha lays her nails into Rochester's cheek. He struggles with her. Grace assists Rochester. They do not hit; they subdue. Bertha's attack is effectively contained. They have her on her knees, her arms behind her. Bertha lifts her head and screams. If a scream could express the agony of a whole soul then this would. Jane turns on her heels. She stumbles, finds the door, exits. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE SECOND FLOOR. Jane is coming down the stairs. Briggs is at her side. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 93. BRIGGS You, madam, are clearly not to blame. Your uncle will be glad to hear it. Jane looks at Briggs, only dimly comprehending him. BRIGGS (CONT'D) You wrote to your uncle, did you not? To inform him you were going to marry Mr Rochester? Mr Mason was staying with him when your letter came. Briggs gets only a blank look of puzzlement from Jane. BRIGGS (CONT'D) Mr John Eyre has been the Madeira correspondent of the Mason trading house for some years. You can imagine his distress when Mason revealed the real state of matters. Jane starts walking towards the sanctuary of her room. BRIGGS (CONT'D) He would have come himself but I'm sad to tell you that his health is in mortal decline. He implored Mr Mason to prevent this false marriage and referred him to me for assistance. I only hope that he survives long enough to hear that you are safe. Jane opens her door. She turns to Briggs. JANE Thank you. She shuts the door on Briggs and on the world. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM. Jane sits on her bed. She mechanically starts taking off the blond square she has worn as a veil. CUT TO: Jane, standing in stillness with the pearl dress crumpled around her feet. CUT TO: Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 94. Jane has taken a black stuff dress off its hangar. She slowly puts her arms around it, as if it is her old self. She holds it, her eyes staring at nothing. CUT TO: Jane in her underclothes, sitting down on the bed. She closes her eyes. EXT. DAY. A DRY RIVER BED. Jane lies curled up on a rock at the bottom of a dried-up river bed. All of nature is suspended in stillness. Far away, we hear the sound of a flood loosened in the remote mountains. We hear the sound of the torrent approach. Jane doesn't move. She has no will to flee. The sound of rushing water pounds in her ears. She lies, waiting to be dashed away. We see the flood approach and hit. A dazzling whiteness of water and foam. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM. Jane's room is entirely unchanged except for the fact that it is full of river water from floor to ceiling. Her bedding, furniture and belongings all sit in the room as normal - underwater. The light shines murkily in through the window to reveal Jane floating, suspended. Her hair and her garments trail out. She is alive. But she is drowned. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - JANE'S BEDROOM. The moon has risen. Jane is lying in an exhausted doze on the bed. She wakes; sits up. She is faint. She recovers herself. She knows what she must do. CUT TO: Jane, dressed in black in the silver light, putting her brush, comb and brooch in a bag. She looks in her purse. She has some coins. INT. DAY. THORNFIELD - SECOND FLOOR. Jane unbolts her door, takes a step out of her room, and stumbles into Rochester's arms. He has been keeping guard. ROCHESTER JANE - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 95. His cheek has been cut by Bertha's nails. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Five minutes more of that death- like hush and I'd have forced the lock. He examines her face. He is desperate. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) No tears. Your heart has been weeping blood. Forgive me. Rochester buries his head in Jane's arms. She automatically comforts him. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) How could I? I am a worthless sinner. Don't spare me. Rain your tears up on me. JANE I cannot. ROCHESTER I deserve a hail of fire. Jane extricates herself from his embrace. JANE I'm tired and sick. I need some water. Rochester perceives Jane's inanition. He carries her down the gallery. Jane clings on to her bag of belongings. She has nothing else left. INT. NIGHT. THORNFIELD - THE LIBRARY. Rochester has lain Jane in front of the fire. She forces herself to eat. Rochester gives her wine. She sips. ROCHESTER How are you now? JANE Much better, sir. I shall be well again soon. Rochester paces away to the fire. He comes back. Stoops his head down to Jane to kiss her. She turns her head away. ROCHESTER I know you. You are thinking. Talking is no use; you are thinking how to act. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 96. JANE All is changed, sir. I must change too. ROCHESTER Yes. There is no doubt that we both must change. I was wrong ever to keep you here; this narrow stone vault with its one real fiend. I'll shut it up. I'll pay Mrs Poole two hundred a year to care for its inmate and then no one will be harmed when she is prompted to burn people, to stab them, to bite the flesh from their bones - JANE Sir - you speak of her with hate - it is cruel. She cannot help being mad. ROCHESTER It's not because she's mad that I hate her. If you were mad do you think that I'd hate you? JANE I do. ROCHESTER Then you know nothing about me, nothing about the way I love. Your mind is my treasure - and if it were broken it would be my treasure still. You are my sympathy, my better self, my angel. I will wrap my whole existence round you. Let us leave here tomorrow. Come with me - as my wife. JANE No. ROCHESTER I'll pledge you my fidelity - JANE You can't. ROCHESTER You'll live a happy, most innocent life - JANE I must leave you, sir. Rochester cannot take this in. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 97. ROCHESTER Don't you love me? JANE I do love you - But I mustn't show it or speak it ever again. I must begin a new existence - strange scenes among strange faces. I must part from you. ROCHESTER Must be a part of me; that's what you mean. You are my wife, Jane. In truth - JANE You have a wife already. ROCHESTER I was tricked, duped into wedlock with that demon-hate, that harlot, that succubus upstairs. My father wanted her money and so I was sent to Spanish Town and the match was made. I hardly spoke with her. I was dazzled, ignorant, raw. My senses were besotted and I married her - gross, grovelling mole-eyed blockhead that I was. Rochester sits, staring at the fire. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I lived with her for four years. She dragged me through all the degrading agonies which attend those bound to the intemperate and unchaste. Her excesses developed germs of madness and the doctors shut her up. One night, unable to bear her screaming hate and knowing I could never be rid of her, I put a gun to my head to kill myself. Jane is both appalled and moved. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I would have pulled the trigger, died in that tropical place but for a breeze which blew in from the sea and smelt of home. With it, I came to my senses. Bertha Antoinetta Mason had abused my long suffering, sullied my name, outraged my honour and blighted my youth. It was enough. At that moment, as I decided to live, she ceased to be my wife. (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 98. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Only my father and brother knew of the marriage and by then they were both dead. I let my connection with her be buried in oblivion and I brought her here. I have seen that she's cared for as her condition demands and that is all that God and humanity asks. JANE I earnestly pity you, sir. He sees that Jane is silently crying. ROCHESTER Jane, it's not pity that I see in your face. It's not pity - JANE Do not say it - ROCHESTER It is love. JANE STOP - They are holding each other. ROCHESTER I was wrong to deceive you. It was cowardly. I should have appealed to your spirit - as I do now - should have opened my life, described my hunger for a better existence - shown you my chains. I give you my life. I give you my pledge. Please, be my wife. JANE I can not. ROCHESTER You would be my equal. JANE How? ROCHESTER I would make it so. JANE You once told me that hiring a mistress is the next worse thing to buying a slave. ROCHESTER Not my mistress - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 99. JANE I would not degrade you by having you live with a slave. ROCHESTER I said wife, my wife - Jane tries to rise. Rochester keeps hold of her hand. He gently pulls her down again. Comforts her. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Do you really mean to leave me? JANE I do. ROCHESTER Jane... He kisses her gently, lovingly. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Do you mean it now? JANE I do. He runs his hands over her, with great tenderness. Jane offers no resistance. ROCHESTER And now? Jane nods. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Oh Jane... Rochester lays her down. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) What friends would you offend by living with me? Who would be injured? Who would care? Jane is almost lost. She speaks in a small voice. JANE I would. ROCHESTER Jane, it would not be wicked to love me... JANE It would be to obey you. I care for myself. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 100. Jane's resolve grows. She resists. JANE (CONT'D) The more alone, the more friendless, unsustained I am, the more I must respect myself - ROCHESTER Will you listen to me? JANE I must listen to myself - ROCHESTER Will you hear reason? JANE Let me go - ROCHESTER Because if you won't I'll try violence. Jane instantly stops resisting. She looks at him with utter shock. He is above her. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) I could bend you with my finger and thumb; a mere reed you feel in my hands. Jane neither moves nor speaks. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) But your eye; resolute, free. What ever I do with this cage I cannot get at you. And it is you, soul, that I want. Why don't you come of your own free will here, to my heart? Oh come, Jane, come - JANE (CRYING OUT) God help me! All the life seems to go out of Rochester. He lets Jane go. She pulls herself away from him. She stands. He remains, his face buried. She goes to the door. Rochester turns his eyes to her. ROCHESTER You have never called me by my name. My name is Edward. Jane cannot speak it. She turns away. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 101. EXT. DAWN. THORNFIELD - THE GROUNDS. First light. Jane is running; flushed, breathless, her dress soaked with dew. She has her bag of belongings over her shoulder. She trips; falls to her knees. She looks back. For a moment she seems paralysed. She returns her gaze to the route ahead. Her need to escape is so great that she crawls forwards until she is able to raise herself to her feet. She reaches the stile; lifts herself on to it; puts her arms around the post. She holds it, as if it were beloved. Her eyes close. We hear the sound of a winter blizzard. INT. NIGHT. JANE'S COTTAGE. Jane opens her eyes. She is sitting at her fireside. Outside, a snowstorm howls. On her knee is a sketchbook. She looks down at it. Rochester's dark eye is beginning to appear on her paper. She puts a line through it; scribbles it out, blinding him. She stands up, trying to escape her thoughts. She whispers: JANE Edward. There is a loud knock on the door. Jane starts. CUT TO: Jane opening the door. Rochester is there, standing in the frozen hurricane and howling darkness. ROCHESTER Jane. Jane pulls him inside. She falls into his arms. They embrace passionately. Jane is actively pulling him towards her, delirious with love and longing. CUT TO: The exact same shot of Jane opening the door. St John Rivers is there, having waded through the drifting snow. JANE Mr St John - What on earth brings you away from your hearth on a night like this? Has anything happened? There's no bad news I hope? ST JOHN How easily alarmed you are. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 102. He takes off his cloak; stamps the snow off his boots. ST JOHN (CONT'D) The snow was up to my waist at one point. JANE You are recklessly rash about your own health. ST JOHN Nonsense. St John's eyes alight on Jane's charcoal drawing. Jane snatches it away too late. There is a moment of silence. JANE Why are you come? ST JOHN An inhospitable question. JANE I mean on a night like this - ST JOHN I got tired of my mute books and empty rooms. Besides I've been told half a story and I'm most impatient to find out the end. JANE Please... Jane motions to St John to sit. He doesn't. She becomes increasingly uneasy as he speaks. ST JOHN Twenty years ago, a poor curate fell in love with a rich man's daughter and married her. She was disowned by her family and two years later the rash pair were both dead. They left a daughter which charity received into her lap - as cold as that snow drift I almost stuck fast in. Charity carried the friendless thing to the house of its rich maternal relations. It was reared by an aunt-in-law; I come to names now - Mrs Reed of Gateshead. Jane starts. She is on her feet. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Mrs Reed kept the orphan ten years and at the end of that time she was sent to Lowood school. (MORE) Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 103. ST JOHN (CONT'D) It seems her career there was very honourable. She became a teacher like yourself, and left it, like yourself, to be a governess. She undertook the education of the ward of a certain Mr Rochester - JANE Mr Rivers! - ST JOHN I can guess your feelings but hear me to the end. Of Mr Rochester's character I know nothing but he professed to offer honourable marriage to this young girl and at the very altar she discovered that he had a wife yet alive. His subsequent conduct is a matter of pure conjecture but when the governess was enquired after it was discovered that she had fled Thornfield Hall and no trace of her has since been found. Now isn't that an odd tale? JANE Since you know so much, perhaps you can tell me how he is. ST JOHN Who? JANE Mr Rochester; how is he? ST JOHN I'm ignorant of all concerning him. St John opens his pocket book and removes a piece of paper. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Well, since you won't ask the governess's name, I must tell you. I have it written down here in black and white. He hands her the paper. On it are doodled the heads of some of her pupils. She has absently written Jane Eyre in the margin several times. ST JOHN (CONT'D) A solicitor named Briggs wrote to me of a Jane Eyre. I knew a Jane Elliott. This paper resolved my suspicion into certainty. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 104. JANE The solicitor - Mr Briggs - does he have any news of Mr Rochester? ST JOHN Are you not going to enquire why he has gone to such lengths to find you? JANE What does he want with me? ST JOHN Merely to tell you that your uncle, Mr John Eyre of Madeira, is dead; that he has left you all his property and that you are now rich. JANE What? ST JOHN You are rich; quite an heiress. Silence. Jane is flabbergasted. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Your fortune is vested in the English funds; Briggs has the will and all the necessary documents. You can enter on immediate possession. At last, Jane looks questioningly up at him. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Your forehead unbends at last; I thought you were turning to stone. Perhaps now you will ask how much you are worth. JANE How much am I worth? ST JOHN Oh a trifle. Twenty thousand pounds - but what of that? The news literally takes Jane's breath away. JANE Twenty thousand pounds? St John begins to laugh at Jane's reaction. She has never seen him laugh before. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 105. ST JOHN If you'd committed a murder and I'd found you out, you could scarcely look more aghast. JANE There must be some mistake. It's two thousand, surely. ST JOHN It's twenty. You look desperately miserable about it, I must say. Jane still cannot take it in. She frowns in disbelief. JANE Why did Mr Briggs write to you? ST JOHN You see, that is the strange thing. It makes me wonder what power or providence led you to our door. Your name is Jane Eyre. JANE Yes. ST JOHN Then I'm you namesake. I was christened St John Eyre Rivers. JANE St John Eyre - ST JOHN My mother had two brothers, one was a clergyman, your father, the other was John Eyre of Madeira. Mr Briggs wrote to inform us that the clergyman's daughter was lost. I have been able to find her out; that is all. JANE Your mother was my father's sister? ST JOHN Yes. JANE My uncle John was your uncle John? ST JOHN That is correct. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 106. JANE So you, Diana and Mary - ST JOHN We are cousins, yes. Jane is deeply moved. JANE Oh, I am glad! - I am glad! She throws her arms around St John. Tears of happiness start to flow. He, finding it peculiar to be held, gently tries to calm her. ST JOHN Here you are neglecting essential points to pursue trifles. You were utterly downhearted when I told you that you were rich and now, for a matter of no moment, you are deliriously happy. JANE Of no moment? You have sisters and maybe don't care for a cousin but I have nobody. I have been alone, always. And now three relations are born into my world full grown. Oh, I am glad. You, who saved my life - ST JOHN You must try to tranquillise your feelings. Jane finally releases him, still radiant with joy. JANE Write to Diana and Mary. Tell them to hand in notice and come home. They will have five thousand each and so will you. ST JOHN I've told you the news too quickly. You're confused. JANE Don't put me out of patience, cousin. I am rational enough. Twenty thousand divided equally between the nieces and nephews of our uncle, gives five to each. ST JOHN This is acting on first impulse. You don't know what it is to have WEALTH - Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 107. JANE And you cannot imagine - family - I never had a home. I never had brothers and sisters - A terrible thought occurs to her. JANE (CONT'D) You are not reluctant to own me, are you? St John takes her hand. She has surprised and moved him. He looks at her, seeing her anew. ST JOHN Jane, I will be your brother. EXT. DAY. SPRING - THE MOORS. Jane, Diana and Mary are running over the moors. Mary has a kite. They are as delighted as children. INT. DAY. MOOR HOUSE - THE KITCHEN. Jane is sitting at the table letting Diana style her hair. They all have new summer dresses on. There is a lightness to all three as if a great weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Diana is setting Jane's hair into curls like her own. Jane looks at herself in the mirror; softer, gentler, different. INT. NIGHT. MOOR HOUSE - THE PARLOUR. The girls each have a candle. St John kisses Mary. He kisses Diana. ST JOHN Good night. DIANA You call Jane your sister but you don't treat her as such. You should kiss her too. Jane turns to Diana, embarrassed. JANE Di, you are very provoking. As she turns back, she finds St John's face right in front of her. He kisses her. A kiss with no warmth; an experiment. He examines its effect. He is satisfied. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 108. ST JOHN Good night. INT. NIGHT. MOOR HOUSE - JANE'S BEDROOM. Jane closes the door. She puts her hand across her lips. The icy kiss has agonised her with the full force of her loneliness. She curls up in a ball, desperate. EXT. EVENING. MOOR HOUSE - THE GARDEN. A glorious summer sunset. Jane is digging at a flower bed, putting all her passion into the task. She is flushed with exertion. St John watches. ST JOHN You are wasted here. JANE Am I not being useful? ST JOHN You should look beyond Moor House, beyond the selfish calm and comfort of affluence. JANE Beyond to what? ST JOHN I go to India in six weeks. JANE So soon? - St John draws Jane away from her work. ST JOHN I can see what your gifts are and why they were given. Come with me. Jane is utterly crestfallen. ST JOHN (CONT'D) God and nature intended you for a missionary's wife. You are formed for labour not for love. I want to claim you - not for my pleasure but for God's service. JANE I'm not fit for it. I have no vocation. ST JOHN You're far too humble. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 109. JANE St John have mercy. I feel my mind shrinking - ST JOHN Don't be afraid. You are diligent, faithful, docile, courageous, gentle and heroic. Cease to mistrust yourself. I trust you unreservedly. Let me give you time to think. But know this; in you, I recognise a fellow soul, a soul that would revel in the flame and excitement of sacrifice. Jane is chilled to the bone by his words. St John leaves the garden and walks away over the moors. CUT TO: Jane leaning against the garden wall, trying to think, trying to compose herself. The sun is setting. INT. NIGHT. MOOR HOUSE - THE PARLOUR. Jane carrying a candle, opens the door. St John is at the table working by lamp light. The moon shines brightly in. JANE I used to long for a life of action, to overleap the horizon, to move in the world of men. Maybe God is giving me this. And what is there for me here? Pain and longing for what can't be. I don't know how long I would survive in India. My frame isn't strong. But I'll go with you, if I may go free. ST JOHN Free? JANE You and I had better not marry. ST JOHN Why not? JANE Because I am your sister. ST JOHN But you'll go with me. JANE Conditionally - as your curate. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 110. ST JOHN Jane, I don't need a curate; I need a wife. JANE I must have my heart and mind free, my own self to turn to. I couldn't become part of you - ST JOHN A part of me you must become or the whole bargain is void. How can I, a man not yet thirty take out to India a girl of nineteen, unless she is my wife? Don't offer God half a sacrifice. He must have all. And undoubtedly enough of love would follow to make the union right, even in your eyes. Jane is shocked. JANE Enough of love? ST JOHN Yes, quite enough. JANE St John, I scorn your idea of love. I scorn the counterfeit sentiment you offer and I scorn you when you offer it! St John is mortified. A slow rage begins to boil in him. ST JOHN I've uttered nothing that deserves scorn. JANE Forgive me but the very name of love is an apple of discord between us. My dear cousin, please abandon your scheme of marriage. ST JOHN No; and if you reject it, it's not me you deny but God. Jane is stung. St John has turned from her. His face is icy in the moonlight. JANE Do not be angry with me please. It makes me wretched. I want us to be friends. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 111. ST JOHN We are friends. I hope we can be more. JANE I cannot come as your wife. ST JOHN Why this refusal? It makes no sense! JANE If I were to marry you, you'd kill me. You're killing me now. ST JOHN (FURIOUS) I'd kill you? I am killing you? Your words are violent, unfeminine and untrue - JANE You'd kill me without drawing any blood or receiving on your conscience any stain of crime. ST JOHN What nonsense is this? JANE You'd experience no pain - but I tell you it would kill me! ST JOHN Why? JANE Because I would inevitably come to conceive love for you, because you are so talented and good, because there is such grandeur in your look. You wouldn't want this strange and torturing love; if I showed it you would find it unbecoming. And my lot would be wretched. ST JOHN (UNDERSTANDING HER) Jane... JANE You're a good man, but you forget the feelings of little people. We'd better keep out of your way lest you trample us. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 112. St John's anger has faded. He is compassionate. This is far harder to resist. ST JOHN I wouldn't trample you. You'd walk at my side towards God's altar. He'd be your solace, heaven your reward. We seek to do the greatest work, to open death's gates, to save souls. Love God Jane, love God. St John puts his hand on her forehead; Christlike. Jane is falling under his power. ST JOHN (CONT'D) Give up your heart to Him. He is love. Jane falls to her knees. St John's face is angelic. JANE If I were sure; if I were certain - She suddenly hears a voice: Rochester's; clear, urgent. ROCHESTER (O.S.) Jane! Jane! Jane! She springs away from St John, crying: JANE Oh God, what is it? She looks wildly about the room; rushes to the window. ST JOHN What have you heard? What can you see? Jane glances at him, seeing him for what he is; a cold, controlling man. She shouts: JANE I am coming! She runs out, leaving St John aghast, behind her. EXT. NIGHT. THE MOOR. Jane runs on to the moors. JANE Wait for me! She looks all around her at the moonlit landscape. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 113. JANE (CONT'D) Where are you? The moors send her question back in an echo. We see Jane's face. Her path is clear. EXT. DAY. WHITCROSS MOOR. Jane is waiting for the coach at the crossroads where she arrived, almost a year before. It comes pounding towards her. She hails it. This time, the coachman respectfully descends to take her bag and help her on. She is so confident and so changed that he doesn't recognise her. EXT. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE GROUNDS. Jane is walking through the orchard. It is wild, neglected. Its untended state worries her. She looks up. Rooks are circling, cawing. CUT TO: Jane finds herself at the side of the house. The ground is pitted with weeds. The windows are dark. She half runs round to the front. What she sees takes her breath away. The great walls and battlements are blackened with fire. Windows gape on a hollow shell. The inside of the house has collapsed. Through the hanging door, only its charred remains can be seen. Weeds grow through utter devastation. Jane gazes in horror and distress. I/E. DAY. MRS FAIRFAX'S COTTAGE Jane knocks on the door. Mrs Fairfax opens it. JANE They sent me from the inn. I've been up at the house - Jane can say no more. MRS FAIRFAX Come in, come in. JANE Is he dead? Mrs Fairfax takes Jane in her arms. MRS FAIRFAX No, no. Mr Rochester still lives. Jane is crying tears of relief. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 114. JANE Tell me - please - MRS FAIRFAX Why did you run away in the night like that? I would have helped. I would have helped. INT. DAY. MRS FAIRFAX'S COTTAGE Mrs Fairfax has sat Jane on a settle near the fire. MRS FAIRFAX He sought you as if you were a lost and precious jewel. He didn't rest. And as days turned into weeks and no word came, he grew quite savage in his disappointment. JANE He stayed at Thornfield? MRS FAIRFAX Didn't leave the house... I/E. DAY. THORNFIELD - THE FRONT DOOR/GROUNDS. Rochester, unshaven and unkempt is standing at his threshold. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) Shut himself up like a hermit. He only went out at night, when he walked like a ghost through the grounds. We see what he is looking at: an open carriage piled with luggage, into which Mrs Fairfax is helping Adele. Leah and Sophie are already sitting inside, dressed for a journey. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) (CONT'D) He'd have no one near him. Adele was sent off to school. He placed me here. Only John and Martha stayed - and Mrs Poole of course. Adele looks back at Rochester with tears in her eyes. He walks across the dark hall and slams the library doors. EXT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE ORCHARD. Rochester, in his shirt sleeves, is looking at the tree where Jane promised him her hand - now dying, cleft by lightning. The rising moon inhabits the sky. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 115. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) It was harvest time when it happened. No one knows how she got out. Rochester hears a cry from the top floor. He sets off, a look of finality on his face. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE KITCHEN. Grace Poole is asleep, her empty jug of gin beside her. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) My theory is that when Mrs Poole was asleep, having taken too much of the gin and water... Rochester takes Grace's keys. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE THIRD FLOOR Rochester opens the door to the inner chamber. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) ... The mad lady must have stolen her keys and let herself out. Bertha Antoinetta Mason, standing in the last patch of daylight thrown down from her skylight, sees that it is Rochester. She calmly walks towards him. Rochester graciously bows, indicating that she may leave. Bertha glides past him. She is free. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE GALLERY Bertha walks past an elegant vase. She tips it to the floor. It smashes. Rochester pays it no heed. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE LIBRARY. Rochester has stood Bertha at his desk. A case of jewels is open before her. She has put on a tiara, a diamond necklace, bracelets. She is gazing at a ruby brooch. She turns to Rochester. His expression is calm, resigned. Bertha begins to laugh. She takes the candelabra from the table. She admires herself in the mirror; her white shift, the black feathers, the jewels. She holds up the candelabra and sets the huge curtains alight. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 116. Rochester is impassive; he does nothing to stop her. As she passes, Rochester realises he is bleeding. She has run the brooch pin across him. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE HALL/STAIRS. Bertha knocks a lamp onto the floor. The oil springs into flames, licking the tapestries and the paintings. Rochester sees his ancestors begin to burn. INT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE SECOND FLOOR The conflagration is growing. Rochester sees Bertha leaving Jane's room. As he passes, he sees everything inside it being consumed by fire. He can't bear to look. EXT. EVENING. THORNFIELD - THE LEADS. Bertha is watching the rooks. Rochester goes to the edge of the roof. Bertha looks at him. The invitation is clear. Rochester is ready to die. Bertha sees the rooks wheeling away. She runs at the edge of the roof. Rochester sees her intention too late. He puts out his arm to stop her. For the perfect fraction of a second, Bertha flies. Rochester sees her fall; almost falls himself - saves himself. Life reawakens in him. Behind him, he sees Grace Poole, coughing, crawling up through the door. GRACE Antoinetta? Responsibility floods over him. He goes to her side, lifts Grace, helps her down the stairs. MRS FAIRFAX (V.O.) He didn't leave the house until everyone was out. Some say it was a just judgement on him for having her confined there all those years but for my part, I pity him. INT. DAY. MRS FAIRFAX'S COTTAGE Jane is deeply affected. MRS FAIRFAX He's alive child, but many think he'd be better off dead. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 117. JANE Why? MRS FAIRFAX When he was taken out from under the ruins, a beam had fallen in such a way as to protect him, partly - but his eye was taken out and his left hand so crushed that he lost it. The other eye inflamed and - he is blind. He's blind. Tears fall from Jane's eyes. MRS FAIRFAX (CONT'D) I know... it's a terrible thing. JANE I had dreaded worse. I'd dreaded he was mad. A great sense of urgency is coming over her. JANE (CONT'D) Where is he? EXT. DAY. FERNDEAN - THE GROUNDS. Jane is walking through forest, along a grass grown track. Her pace is fast; her journey almost at an end. She comes to a pair of rusting iron gates hanging open between granite pillars. She walks through them. She finds herself in front of a decrepit Elizabethan manor house; no garden, just a sweeping semi circle of meadow grass, which someone has cut at with a scythe. Jane stops. Standing on the threshold is Edward Fairfax Rochester. He is in his shirtsleeves. He stands strong, stalwart, brooding. His hair is still raven black. He is looking sightlessly around his domain, with the concentration of a hawk. His strength is undiminished. He walks fifteen paces from the house. It brings him into the middle of the semicircle of grass. He is close enough for Jane to see his scarred eyes. She walks towards him, silent. A few drops of rain begin to fall. Rochester puts out his right hand to feel them. He raises his face up to the sky as if he is looking for something from there. He is absolutely still; his expression, serene. Jane is very close. She steps on a twig. It breaks with a loud crack, shattering the silence. Rochester is immediately on guard, his expression turning wary. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 118. He suddenly swipes the air with his left arm; the ruin of it passing an inch from her face. Jane steps back. Rochester swipes again. She holds her breath. He seems satisfied at last that nothing is there. He turns and walks fifteen paces back to the house. He disappears into the dark interior. Jane starts to breathe again. EXT. DAY. FERNDEAN - THE SIDE ENTRANCE. Jane lightly taps on the side door. Martha opens it; she is astonished. Jane puts her finger over her lips. INT. EVENING. FERNDEAN - THE DRAWING ROOM. Rochester is in an armchair in front of his fire. Pilot is at his feet. Jane carries in a tray with a candelabra and a jug of water. ROCHESTER I can see the candles, Martha, at your side like a luminous glow. And the fire; a red haze. Pilot notices Jane. He leaps up with a whine, wagging his tail, madly. Jane spills half the water. She cannot help finding it funny. Her entrance has been ruined by the dog. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Martha? Jane giggles. Rochester's face falls. ROCHESTER (CONT'D) Martha, is that you? JANE Martha is in the kitchen, sir. ROCHESTER Who's there? JANE Pilot knows me. Will you have some more water? I've spilt half the glass. Rochester stands, holding out his hand. ROCHESTER If you are real, touch me. Jane touches his fingers; puts her hand in his. Rochester pulls her into his arms. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 119. ROCHESTER, Her hand, her shape, her size. JANE And her voice. ROCHESTER Jane Eyre - Jane Eyre. JANE My Edward, I am Jane Eyre: I have found you out. I am come back to you. For some while neither is able to speak. ROCHESTER You're not lying dead in some ditch? Not an outcast among strangers? JANE I've been with good people; far better than you, quite more refined and exalted. ROCHESTER (DELIGHTED) She insults me - JANE And I'm an independent woman. My uncle in Madeira died and left me five thousand pounds - ROCHESTER This is real. This is practical. JANE I'm here. I'm home. I am where I love best. CUT TO: Jane curled on Rochester's knee by the fire. He is running his fingers over her face, feeling its contours. ROCHESTER You're altogether a human being, Jane? JANE I conscientiously believe so, sir. She is running her hands through his hair. Jane Eyre adapted by Moira Buffini March 2008 120. JANE (CONT'D) But I see that you're turning into a lion. It's time someone undertook to rehumanise you. ROCHESTER I'm a sightless block - JANE I know. She kisses his eyes. JANE (CONT'D) And the worst of it is, I'm in danger of loving you too well for this, and making too much of you. ROCHESTER Am I hideous, Jane? JANE Very. But you always were, you know. A smile cracks Rochester's face. Jane runs her fingers over it, feeling its contours. He holds her. Silence falls. THE END.