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Reflection on Rowland and the Rochesters

Originally posted 25 January 2010 on a different blog.

Wow, that header sounds like a 50s/60s band! 🙂

Work has begun on a second scene, set in Edward Rochester’s childhood, where we get to meet not only him but also his older brother Rowland. From what I can tell, there’s no names given for their parents, nor does it say what the age difference between the brothers is, or indeed what Rowland eventually died of. This means, I suppose, I’m at liberty to make these things up as I go along, which is both exciting and scary. I want to be following Charlotte Brontë’s original text as closely as possible, so if I do come across a reference that actually mentions these things, I’ll go by the book.

Now, I don’t think there are that many years between the boys. Doubt it’s more than five. Haven’t exactly decided on what, but on the other hand, I haven’t even decided how old Edward is supposed to be in the scene, or exactly what happened, but I have an incling. Something that I think has shaped part of his character, and his relationship with Rowland. Rowland comes across as a snobbish little brat, which is fun, because it reminds me of the horrid little John Reed.

Edward’s mother was a Fairfax, that much is established. Either she or Edward himself (I forget) is the second cousin of Mrs. Fairfax’s late husband. We know absolutely nothing about her other than that, because there seems to be no other mention. I wonder when she died, and of what.

The family in general seem to have been generally well liked in the area. The father didn’t want the estate split between the boys, so Rowland stood to inherit it all, but he wanted to make sure Edward was well-off as well, hence why the Masons were considered a good choice. It would secure Edward’s fortunes (and misfortunes, as it turned out).

What happened, however, is that Rowland died without leaving a will, which meant Edward inherited Thornfield by default, as he was the only living relative. The father had died a year or so prior to Rowland’s passing, which seems to have been around four to six years after Edward married Bertha. It says in the book that he inherited Thornfield “nine years ago”, and before then it’s mentioned four years before they moved to England, and it’s mentioned later that Bertha has been Mrs. Rochester for the past fifteen years.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) where she lives with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted on the way.

2 thoughts on “Reflection on Rowland and the Rochesters

  1. Hmmm… don’t see why Rowland would have needed to make a will. He was unmarried & had no legitimate children, therefore upon his death, the estate would automatically go to Edward, no?

  2. Yeees? I only stated that he didn’t leave a will and that Edward inherited the estate by being the only remaining relative. So I don’t quite know what you’re getting at?

    If Rowland would have wanted his brother NOT to inherit Thornfield, he would’ve needed to say so in a will, but he probably didn’t plan on dying quite so soon and therefore didn’t make any sort of arrangements, and yes, if he had no family himself, there would’ve been little need. I think that if you’ve got a big estate, it would be fairly standard procedure regardless to make a will just in case something happens to you.

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