Jane Ross has rat-cunning and street-smarts, having grown up in the back alleys. Despite her impoverished background, she is highly intelligent, having taught herself to read while caring for her mentally unwell mother. Up until recently, Jane has been living at a hellish boarding house where she was forced to steal for her ‘owner’ Mr Merton. When Phryne first encounters Jane on the Ballarat train she is reminded of her younger self – a good liar with a good heart. After an initial battle of wills that almost has Phryne outwitted, she fights to take Jane into her guardianship.
Miss Fisher's GuardianshipEdit
Phryne becomes attached to Jane over the course of the pilot due to the girl's personality and being reminded of her sister, and unlike other girls from the boarding house the initial investigation doesn't turn up family to claim her. When Jane asks when she will return her to Children's Welfare, Phryne says that she doesn't think she can. She is able to be named Jane's foster mother.
Jane begins school, but soon after is suspended. Before leaving, she takes the diary of the girl whose case Phryne is investigating. Phryne offers to find her a new school, or a more adventurous option such as travel, but Jane believes the school is worth it just for the library. Jane later tells her guardian how, earlier in the day, she had been informed that the school did not want to expel her because she is such a gifted student. As she finishes, Aunt Prudence arrives with a tale of how she had just used her influence to help Jane get back into the school's good graces.
While Aunt Prudence's actions were unnecessary, it does show that she has accepted the girl.