One afternoon, Rochester takes Jane aside and explains his history with Adèle. Years ago in Paris, Rochester fell for Céline Varens, a French singer. Rochester caught Céline with another man, ended the relationship, and wounded the man in a duel. Céline claimed that Adèle was Rochester's daughter, which Rochester doubts based on her looks. Even so, when Céline abandoned Adèle, Rochester brought her back to England to insure her a good upbringing.
Rochester raises and educates Adèle as a way of trying to repent for his past. To 19-century readers, it would seem inappropriate for Rochester to walk alone with Jane and talk about his morally questionable history. Jane seems to walk a fine line between being an equal and a servant.
That night, Jane thinks over Rochester's story and realizes that she really likes speaking with him now that he no longer acts like such a haughty aristocrat around her.
The connection between Jane and Rochester deepens when Rochester abandons his secrecy and aristocratic formality.
Later, when trying to sleep, Jane is disturbed by strange noises in the hallway, a demonic laugh at her door, and footsteps retreating to the third floor. She runs into the hallway and sees smoke coming from Rochester's bedroom—Rochester is asleep, but his bed curtains are on fire. She douses the curtains with water, putting out the fire and saving his life.
The Gothic mystery in Thornfield deepens, and becomes more dangerous. A fire in the bedroom suggests that the raging passion symbolized by the fire is connected to love, sex, and marriage.
Rochester, now awake, rushes up to the third floor. He returns and asks Jane if she's ever heard the demonic laughter before. When Jane responds that she has heard Grace Poole's laugh, Rochester quickly says, "Just so. Grace Poole—you have guessed it." He makes Jane promise to keep quiet about the events of the night. Emotionally moved, Rochester confesses his deep gratitude to Jane and goes to sleep on the sofa in the library. Jane spends a wakeful night contemplating her new emotions.
Jane again saves Rochester, just as she did when his horse slipped in Chapter 12. Though deeply grateful to Jane and seemingly on the verge of telling her that he loves her, Rochester continues to keep secrets and does not treat Jane as an equal. Jane's own feelings for Rochester become passionate.