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13 Sept. 1809
      Edward Rochester was arrested at his home, Thornfield, in Millcote and was brought to London for trial under a new law just passed by Parliament. Mr. Rochester was charged with three counts of Assault by Mental Cruelty towards his governess, Miss Jane Eyre. He is the first person to be charged under this new law, passed last month. The law was designed to protect women who have no one to shield them from villains who browbeat their victims into committing heinous acts or into asylums. Details about the indictment are expected to be made public at the preliminary hearing. This trial will be the test case for future legislation and will be covered in depth by this reporter.

15 Sept. 1809
      Pandemonium reigned at the courthouse today as Edward Rochester was brought in for the preliminary hearing. Men and women craned for a sight of him as he was hustled into the court. Coverage in the newspapers has made this case an overnight sensation. The coffee houses and bars are humming as everyone tries to find a way of attending the trial as soon as it is decided which court will hear the case. Due to the nature of the crime and legal technicalities, it was finally decided to assign the case to the court of Chancery. Details about what actually happened will have to wait until the trial since the preliminary hearing was not open to the public. It is being rumored that the trial will be closed also. However, members of the press are expected to be admitted. I will continue to bring you details.

19 Sept. 1809
      Feelings are running high concerning the Rochester-Eyre trial. The Chancellor, fearing a riot in the courtroom, has banned from the proceedings the general public, but is allowing the trial to start in a couple of days as soon as the calendar is cleared. This reporter is one of the press to be admitted and I will continue to keep my readers apprised of all the details surrounding this case.

21 Sept. 1809
      There were boos and catcalls as Mr. Rochester was sighted being led into the courthouse. Any thoughts the crowd had of administering their own justice was quelled by the dozens of constables and mounted policemen surrounding the court. Inside, an excited murmur rose in the press section. This quickly died at a glare from the Chancellor. After Mr. Rochester was placed in the dock, the barristers took their positions and the case was started. A plea of not guilty was entered as Mr. Rochester from the dock. The barrister for the prosecution, Sir William Bentley, spoke first.
      "We intend to prove that on three separate occasions, Mr. Edward Rochester was deliberately and maliciously cruel to his governess, Miss Jane Eyre. The first of these occasions was a house party at Thornfield where he allowed her to be humiliated by a house guest. The second occasion was when he told her that he was getting married to Miss Ingram and that she would have to leave; when all along he had no intention of marrying Miss Ingram and was just testing Miss Eyre's affections. The third and final time was when he tried to marry her when he already had a wife whom he kept locked in an attic and forced her to leave Thornfield to seek shelter elsewhere. I intend to call witnesses to prove these charges and show this man for the monster that he is.
      "If it please the court, I would like to start with the first count and call my first witness."

      When Mrs. Fairfax had been escorted to the witness box and sworn in, Sir Bentley asked, "Mrs. Fairfax, you are the housekeeper at Thornfield?"
      "I am."
      "Do you recall a houseparty there when Lady Ingram, Miss Ingram and others were guests there?"
      "Did you have a conversation with Miss Eyre on the second day of the houseparty about bringing her pupil into the drawing room that night?"
      "Yes, I told Miss Eyre that she was expected to accompany Miss Adele to the drawing room after dinner to meet the ladies."
      "Did Miss Eyre want to go?"
      "No. I thought that she wouldn't and made mention of this to Mr. Rochester. He said to tell her that it was his particular wish; and if she resists, tell her I will come and fetch her in case of contumacy."
      "Thank you, Mrs. Fairfax. Any questions, Mr. Smythe?"
      Mr. Smythe, the defense barrister, rose and replied, "Not at this time."
      Bentley proceed to call his next witness to the stand.


      "Miss Ingram, do you recall attending a houseparty at Thornfield?"
      "Do you recall a conversation that you had with Mr. Rochester on the second evening of the houseparty?"
      "We had many conversations."
      "The conversation was about governesses."
      "Oh yes, I remember."
      "What did you say?"
      "Oh, that I was surprised that he kept the child at home instead of sending her to school. After all, school would be cheaper."
      "Did you say anything else?"
      "Yes, that he should ask my mother about our governesses."
      "Miss Ingram, did you give your opinion of governesses?"
      "What is your opinion?"
      "Well. I said that I find them either detestable or ridiculous. Why, the governesses I had were all nuisances. My brother and I took delight in tormenting them, especially Madame Joubert. We'd drive her to extremities and then we'd sermonize her on the presumption of teaching such clever blades as we were, when she herself was so ignorant. We even brought a liaison between my brother's tutor and Miss Wilson to my mother's attention in order to hoist the deadweights from the house."
      "Miss Ingram, were you aware that Miss Eyre was in the room and could hear your conversation?"
      "Yes, I was."
      "Was Mr. Rochester aware of her presence?"
      "Why yes, I told him myself that she was behind the window curtain."
      "Did he made any comment?"
      "Not then, but he did ask my mother to continue with her remarks about governesses. However, she asked me to continue them for her."
      "Thank you, Miss Ingram. Any questions, Mr. Smythe?"
      "Yes. Miss Ingram, did Mr. Rochester make any remarks about governesses or give his opinion of them?"
      Not then, but, but he did ask my mother to continue with her remarks about governesses. However, she asked me to continue them for her."
      "Thank you, Miss Ingram, that will be all."
      "I'd like to call my next witness, Lady Ingram."


      "Lady Ingram, do you remember taking part in the conversation about governesses?"
      "Yes, of course."
      "What did you say?"
      "I said I had suffered a martyrdom from their incompetence and caprice. Thank God I don't have to deal with them anymore."
      "What did Mr. Rochester ask you about?"
      "Oh. I had said that I was a judge of physiognomy and that I could the faults of her class in the governess, and he wanted to know what they were. I referred him to Blanche."
      "Did Miss Eyre hear your conversation?"
      "I neither know nor care. It would do her good if she did."
      "Thank you, Lady Ingram. Any questions, Mr. Smythe?
      "Not at this time."
      "At this time, I'd like to call Miss Jane Eyre to the stand."


      "Miss Eyre, you are governess to Mr. Rochester's ward, Adele?"
      "Do you remember the conversation that we have been discussing?"
      "Yes, I do."
      "What were your feelings during and after this conversation?"
      "At first, I drew back, hoping that no one would notice me. Then, I left as soon as I could do so unnoticed. I was a bit upset and just wanted to go up to my room."
      "Was Mr. Rochester aware of how you felt?"
      "Yes. He saw me go out and stopped me on the stairs."
      "What did he say?"
      "He wanted me to return to the drawing room. I said I was tired. Mr. Rochester remarked that I looked depressed and saw that my eyes were teary. He excused me for that night, but wanted me to be in the drawing room every night the visitors were there."
      "Did he say why?"
      "Thank you, Miss Eyre."
      The Chancellor called for a break in the proceedings, and the case will continue tomorrow.

22 Sept. 1809
      Torrential rains drove the spectators indoors today to eagerly await the next installment of testimony, and the session started without incident. Sir Bentley started the session.
      "I would like to call the witness for the second count at this time. (The second count is when he tells her that he's getting married to Miss Ingram when he has no intention of doing so.) I would like Miss Eyre to return to the stand."
      "Miss Eyre, would you please give us the details of your conversation with Mr. Rochester concerning to Miss Ingram?"
      "It was Midsummer Eve and Adele had just gone to bed, exhausted from berry picking. I was walking in the garden when Mr. Rochester joined me there. He told me that the time had come for me to move on. He expected to be a bridegroom in about a month's time, and would find me employment and an asylum. In fact, his future mother-in-law had heard of a position in Ireland with the O'Gall family. I protested that it was far away. He said that the bond that joined us would break with that much distance, and that I would forget him. I started to sob. I sobbed that I wished I'd never been born or come to Thornfield. I love Thornfield. I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence; with what I delight in, with an original, vigorous, expanded mind. I told him that I didn't want to be torn from him forever, even though I saw the necessity. He asked what necessity? I responded: The necessity you have placed before me in the shape of your bride, Miss Ingram. After I explained to him in explicit terms that I could not remain with him and his wife, he confessed to me that he was not getting married to Miss Ingram; that he wanted to marry me instead. Miss Ingram was only after his money, whereas he was sure now that I loved him and he wanted me to marry him."
      "Miss Eyre, did you accept his proposal?"
      "Yes, I did."
      "Thank you, Miss Eyre. Mr. Smythe, do you have any questions?"
      "Not at this time."
      "The final count against Mr. Rochester is the most serious of the charges. Attempted bigamy is a capital offense. I wish to call my first witness, Mr. Briggs."


      "Mr. Briggs, what is your occupation?"
      "I am a lawyer."
      "And how are you connected to Mr. Rochester?"
      "I was asked by my client to stop a wedding between Mr. Rochester and Miss Eyre."
      "Why was that?"
      "Mr. Rochester was already married to my client's sister."
      "Thank you, Mr. Briggs. Any questions, Mr. Smythe?"
      Mr. Smythe just shook his head.
      "I would like to call my next witness, Mr. Mason."


      "Mr. Mason, were you present when Mr. Rochester attempted to marry Miss Eyre?"
      "Yes, I was the witness that swore she was alive three months earlier and in residence at Thornfield."
      "How come no one knew of her existence?"
      "Rochester had her locked away in an attic with a nurse-keeper. Those that knew of her existence had no idea she was his wife."
      "How long were they married?"
      "Fifteen years."
      "When did she become mad?"
      "Shortly after the marriage. Mr. Rochester told us all and took us to see her. She resembled an animal more than anything, and she attacked him while we were there. He told us Miss Eyre knew nothing of the previous marriage."
      "Thank you, Mr. Mason. Any questions, Mr. Smythe?"
      As Mr. Smythe rose to start his questions, Mr. Rochester summoned him to the dock. His features set into a fierce scowl, he waved aside Mr. Smythe's arguments and insisted upon something.
      "If the Court pleases, Mr. Rochester would like to change his plea to guilty in order to spare Miss Eyre additional suffering."
      "So be it. I will retire to consider the sentence. Court will reconvene in two days."
      Pandemonium broke out in the court; as reported, all tried to be out the door first. Rochester was led away giving one last longing look toward Miss Eyre. Miss Eyre was being helped from the courtroom by her barrister.
      Speculation on what the sentence will be is running wild. There are those who favor hanging. This will not help Miss Eyre since it is obvious that she is still in love with him. I will have details of the sentence as soon as possible.

24 Sept. 1809
      Readers, if I were not at the courtroom myself, and heard the sentence with my own ears, I would not have believed it. The Chancellor declared that since this was a highly unusual case, and since Miss Eyre had no one to protect her, he, the Chancellor, would provide her with someone. Now for the details of the sentence.
      First, the court is appointing Mr. St. John Rivers, her cousin, as her trustee. Second, Mr. Rochester has to relinquish his money and his land to the Crown. The Crown then awarded said money and land in trust for Miss Eyre to Mr. Rivers. Third, since Mrs. Rochester perished in a fire last year, Edward Rochester is ordered by the Crown to marry Miss Eyre, and he will be dependent on her for his life and liberty.
      At the conclusion of the trial, a cheer went up as Mr. Rochester freed from the dock went over to Miss Eyre, Knelt down on one knee, and kissed her hang. There were cheers and boos heard all over the city. Those that had favored hanging could not understand the sentence, saying he got what he wanted all along. However, manacles are manacles be they of velvet or of steel.


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