The following night, St. John fights through the snow to visit Jane. He tells her a story which, to Jane's astonishment, is her own personal history. It ends with something she didn't know: after Jane disappeared from Thornfield, an urgent message came that her uncle John Eyre had died and left her a fortune of 20,000 pounds.
St. John is associated with ice and snow, symbolizing his cold personality and lack of affectionate emotions. The money will make Jane independent, without having to work or to marry for financial security.
Notices and letters were posted everywhere to find Jane. One reached St. John because John Eyre is in fact his uncle, too. St. John reveals to Jane his full name: St. John Eyre Rivers. His mother was Jane's father's sister, so St. John, Mary, and Diana are all Jane's cousins. St. John says he pieced together the mystery from the scrap of drawing paper he grabbed at the end of Chapter 32: it had her signature, "Jane Eyre." Jane is elated to suddenly have close family, and decides the best thing she could do is share her new fortune equally among all of them. Jane hopes the money will allow Mary, Diana, and St. John all to be financially independent and to live nearby.
Rochester ended up married to Bertha because social convention is that people do not share inheritances. Out of love and gratitude to the Rivers, Jane breaks that social rule. As for the Rivers, Jane's generosity rewards their true Christian charity, which was given without any expectation of compensation. In sharing her inheritance, Jane also atones for the injustices of her uncle, whose dealings impoverished the Rivers' father.