Part 6 out of 7
'I can't tell why we should stay. He's asleep, and papa will be
wanting us back.'
'Well, we must not leave him asleep,' I answered; 'wait till lie
wakes, and be patient. You were mighty eager to set off, but your
longing to see poor Linton has soon evaporated!'
'Why did HE wish to see me?' returned Catherine. 'In his crossest
humours, formerly, I liked him better than I do in his present
curious mood. It's just as if it were a task he was compelled to
perform - this interview - for fear his father should scold him.
But I'm hardly going to come to give Mr. Heathcliff pleasure;
whatever reason he may have for ordering Linton to undergo this
penance. And, though I'm glad he's better in health, I'm sorry
he's so much less pleasant, and so much less affectionate to me.'
'You think HE IS better in health, then?' I said.
'Yes,' she answered; 'because he always made such a great deal of
his sufferings, you know. He is not tolerably well, as he told me
to tell papa; but he's better, very likely.'
'There you differ with me, Miss Cathy,' I remarked; 'I should
conjecture him to be far worse.'
Linton here started from his slumber in bewildered terror, and
asked if any one had called his name.
'No,' said Catherine; 'unless in dreams. I cannot conceive how you
manage to doze out of doors, in the morning.'
'I thought I heard my father,' he gasped, glancing up to the
frowning nab above us. 'You are sure nobody spoke?'
'Quite sure,' replied his cousin. 'Only Ellen and I were disputing
concerning your health. Are you truly stronger, Linton, than when
we separated in winter? If you be, I'm certain one thing is not
stronger - your regard for me: speak, - are you?'
The tears gushed from Linton's eyes as he answered, 'Yes, yes, I
am!' And, still under the spell of the imaginary voice, his gaze
wandered up and down to detect its owner.
Cathy rose. 'For to-day we must part,' she said. 'And I won't
conceal that I have been sadly disappointed with our meeting;
though I'll mention it to nobody but you: not that I stand in awe
of Mr. Heathcliff.'
'Hush,' murmured Linton; 'for God's sake, hush! He's coming.' And
he clung to Catherine's arm, striving to detain her; but at that
announcement she hastily disengaged herself, and whistled to Minny,
who obeyed her like a dog.
'I'll be here next Thursday,' she cried, springing to the saddle.
'Good-bye. Quick, Ellen!'
And so we left him, scarcely conscious of our departure, so
absorbed was he in anticipating his father's approach.
Before we reached home, Catherine's displeasure softened into a
perplexed sensation of pity and regret, largely blended with vague,
uneasy doubts about Linton's actual circumstances, physical and
social: in which I partook, though I counselled her not to say
much; for a second journey would make us better judges. My master
requested an account of our ongoings. His nephew's offering of
thanks was duly delivered, Miss Cathy gently touching on the rest:
I also threw little light on his inquiries, for I hardly knew what
to hide and what to reveal.
SEVEN days glided away, every one marking its course by the
henceforth rapid alteration of Edgar Linton's state. The havoc
that months had previously wrought was now emulated by the inroads
of hours. Catherine we would fain have deluded yet; but her own
quick spirit refused to delude her: it divined in secret, and
brooded on the dreadful probability, gradually ripening into
certainty. She had not the heart to mention her ride, when
Thursday came round; I mentioned it for her, and obtained
permission to order her out of doors: for the library, where her
father stopped a short time daily - the brief period he could bear
to sit up - and his chamber, had become her whole world. She
grudged each moment that did not find her bending over his pillow,
or seated by his side. Her countenance grew wan with watching and
sorrow, and my master gladly dismissed her to what he flattered
himself would be a happy change of scene and society; drawing
comfort from the hope that she would not now be left entirely alone
after his death.
He had a fixed idea, I guessed by several observations he let fall,
that, as his nephew resembled him in person, he would resemble him
in mind; for Linton's letters bore few or no indications of his
defective character. And I, through pardonable weakness, refrained
from correcting the error; asking myself what good there would be
in disturbing his last moments with information that he had neither
power nor opportunity to turn to account.
We deferred our excursion till the afternoon; a golden afternoon of
August: every breath from the hills so full of life, that it
seemed whoever respired it, though dying, might revive.
Catherine's face was just like the landscape - shadows and sunshine
flitting over it in rapid succession; but the shadows rested
longer, and the sunshine was more transient; and her poor little
heart reproached itself for even that passing forgetfulness of its
We discerned Linton watching at the same spot he had selected
before. My young mistress alighted, and told me that, as she was
resolved to stay a very little while, I had better hold the pony
and remain on horseback; but I dissented: I wouldn't risk losing
sight of the charge committed to me a minute; so we climbed the
slope of heath together. Master Heathcliff received us with
greater animation on this occasion: not the animation of high
spirits though, nor yet of joy; it looked more like fear.
'It is late!' he said, speaking short and with difficulty. 'Is not
your father very ill? I thought you wouldn't come.'
'WHY won't you be candid?' cried Catherine, swallowing her
greeting. 'Why cannot you say at once you don't want me? It is
strange, Linton, that for the second time you have brought me here
on purpose, apparently to distress us both, and for no reason
Linton shivered, and glanced at her, half supplicating, half
ashamed; but his cousin's patience was not sufficient to endure
this enigmatical behaviour.
'My father IS very ill,' she said; 'and why am I called from his
bedside? Why didn't you send to absolve me from my promise, when
you wished I wouldn't keep it? Come! I desire an explanation:
playing and trifling are completely banished out of my mind; and I
can't dance attendance on your affectations now!'
'My affectations!' he murmured; 'what are they? For heaven's sake,
Catherine, don't look so angry! Despise me as much as you please;
I am a worthless, cowardly wretch: I can't be scorned enough; but
I'm too mean for your anger. Hate my father, and spare me for
'Nonsense!' cried Catherine in a passion. 'Foolish, silly boy!
And there! he trembles: as if I were really going to touch him!
You needn't bespeak contempt, Linton: anybody will have it
spontaneously at your service. Get off! I shall return home: it
is folly dragging you from the hearth-stone, and pretending - what
do we pretend? Let go my frock! If I pitied you for crying and
looking so very frightened, you should spurn such pity. Ellen,
tell him how disgraceful this conduct is. Rise, and don't degrade
yourself into an abject reptile - DON'T!'
With streaming face and an expression of agony, Linton had thrown
his nerveless frame along the ground: he seemed convulsed with
'Oh!' he sobbed, 'I cannot bear it! Catherine, Catherine, I'm a
traitor, too, and I dare not tell you! But leave me, and I shall
be killed! DEAR Catherine, my life is in your hands: and you have
said you loved me, and if you did, it wouldn't harm you. You'll
not go, then? kind, sweet, good Catherine! And perhaps you WILL
consent - and he'll let me die with you!'
My young lady, on witnessing his intense anguish, stooped to raise
him. The old feeling of indulgent tenderness overcame her
vexation, and she grew thoroughly moved and alarmed.
'Consent to what?' she asked. 'To stay! tell me the meaning of
this strange talk, and I will. You contradict your own words, and
distract me! Be calm and frank, and confess at once all that
weighs on your heart. You wouldn't injure me, Linton, would you?
You wouldn't let any enemy hurt me, if you could prevent it? I'll
believe you are a coward, for yourself, but not a cowardly betrayer
of your best friend.'
'But my father threatened me,' gasped the boy, clasping his
attenuated fingers, 'and I dread him - I dread him! I DARE not
'Oh, well!' said Catherine, with scornful compassion, 'keep your
secret: I'M no coward. Save yourself: I'm not afraid!'
Her magnanimity provoked his tears: he wept wildly, kissing her
supporting hands, and yet could not summon courage to speak out. I
was cogitating what the mystery might be, and determined Catherine
should never suffer to benefit him or any one else, by my good
will; when, hearing a rustle among the ling, I looked up and saw
Mr. Heathcliff almost close upon us, descending the Heights. He
didn't cast a glance towards my companions, though they were
sufficiently near for Linton's sobs to be audible; but hailing me
in the almost hearty tone he assumed to none besides, and the
sincerity of which I couldn't avoid doubting, he said -
'It is something to see you so near to my house, Nelly. How are
you at the Grange? Let us hear. The rumour goes,' he added, in a
lower tone, 'that Edgar Linton is on his death-bed: perhaps they
exaggerate his illness?'
'No; my master is dying,' I replied: 'it is true enough. A sad
thing it will be for us all, but a blessing for him!'
'How long will he last, do you think?' he asked.
'I don't know,' I said.
'Because,' he continued, looking at the two young people, who were
fixed under his eye - Linton appeared as if he could not venture to
stir or raise his head, and Catherine could not move, on his
account - 'because that lad yonder seems determined to beat me; and
I'd thank his uncle to be quick, and go before him! Hallo! has the
whelp been playing that game long? I DID give him some lessons
about snivelling. Is he pretty lively with Miss Linton generally?'
'Lively? no - he has shown the greatest distress,' I answered. 'To
see him, I should say, that instead of rambling with his sweetheart
on the hills, he ought to be in bed, under the hands of a doctor.'
'He shall be, in a day or two,' muttered Heathcliff. 'But first -
get up, Linton! Get up!' he shouted. 'Don't grovel on the ground
there up, this moment!'
Linton had sunk prostrate again in another paroxysm of helpless
fear, caused by his father's glance towards him, I suppose: there
was nothing else to produce such humiliation. He made several
efforts to obey, but his little strength was annihilated for the
time, and he fell back again with a moan. Mr. Heathcliff advanced,
and lifted him to lean against a ridge of turf.
'Now,' said he, with curbed ferocity, 'I'm getting angry and if you
don't command that paltry spirit of yours - DAMN you! get up
'I will, father,' he panted. 'Only, let me alone, or I shall
faint. I've done as you wished, I'm sure. Catherine will tell you
that I - that I - have been cheerful. Ah! keep by me, Catherine;
give me your hand.'
'Take mine,' said his father; 'stand on your feet. There now -
she'll lend you her arm: that's right, look at her. You would
imagine I was the devil himself, Miss Linton, to excite such
horror. Be so kind as to walk home with him, will you? He
shudders if I touch him.'
'Linton dear!' whispered Catherine, 'I can't go to Wuthering
Heights: papa has forbidden me. He'll not harm you: why are you
'I can never re-enter that house,' he answered. 'I'm NOT to re-
enter it without you!'
'Stop!' cried his father. 'We'll respect Catherine's filial
scruples. Nelly, take him in, and I'll follow your advice
concerning the doctor, without delay.'
'You'll do well,' replied I. 'But I must remain with my mistress:
to mind your son is not my business.'
'You are very stiff,' said Heathcliff, 'I know that: but you'll
force me to pinch the baby and make it scream before it moves your
charity. Come, then, my hero. Are you willing to return, escorted
He approached once more, and made as if he would seize the fragile
being; but, shrinking back, Linton clung to his cousin, and
implored her to accompany him, with a frantic importunity that
admitted no denial. However I disapproved, I couldn't hinder her:
indeed, how could she have refused him herself? What was filling
him with dread we had no means of discerning; but there he was,
powerless under its gripe, and any addition seemed capable of
shocking him into idiotcy. We reached the threshold; Catherine
walked in, and I stood waiting till she had conducted the invalid
to a chair, expecting her out immediately; when Mr. Heathcliff,
pushing me forward, exclaimed - 'My house is not stricken with the
plague, Nelly; and I have a mind to be hospitable to-day: sit
down, and allow me to shut the door.'
He shut and locked it also. I started.
'You shall have tea before you go home,' he added. 'I am by
myself. Hareton is gone with some cattle to the Lees, and Zillah
and Joseph are off on a journey of pleasure; and, though I'm used
to being alone, I'd rather have some interesting company, if I can
get it. Miss Linton, take your seat by HIM. I give you what I
have: the present is hardly worth accepting; but I have nothing
else to offer. It is Linton, I mean. How she does stare! It's
odd what a savage feeling I have to anything that seems afraid of
me! Had I been born where laws are less strict and tastes less
dainty, I should treat myself to a slow vivisection of those two,
as an evening's amusement.'
He drew in his breath, struck the table, and swore to himself, 'By
hell! I hate them.'
'I am not afraid of you!' exclaimed Catherine, who could not hear
the latter part of his speech. She stepped close up; her black
eyes flashing with passion and resolution. 'Give me that key: I
will have it!' she said. 'I wouldn't eat or drink here, if I were
Heathcliff had the key in his hand that remained on the table. He
looked up, seized with a sort of surprise at her boldness; or,
possibly, reminded, by her voice and glance, of the person from
whom she inherited it. She snatched at the instrument, and half
succeeded in getting it out of his loosened fingers: but her
action recalled him to the present; he recovered it speedily.
'Now, Catherine Linton,' he said, 'stand off, or I shall knock you
down; and, that will make Mrs. Dean mad.'
Regardless of this warning, she captured his closed hand and its
contents again. 'We will go!' she repeated, exerting her utmost
efforts to cause the iron muscles to relax; and finding that her
nails made no impression, she applied her teeth pretty sharply.
Heathcliff glanced at me a glance that kept me from interfering a
moment. Catherine was too intent on his fingers to notice his
face. He opened them suddenly, and resigned the object of dispute;
but, ere she had well secured it, he seized her with the liberated
hand, and, pulling her on his knee, administered with the other a
shower of terrific slaps on both sides of the head, each sufficient
to have fulfilled his threat, had she been able to fall.'
At this diabolical violence I rushed on him furiously. 'You
villain!' I began to cry, 'you villain!' A touch on the chest
silenced me: I am stout, and soon put out of breath; and, what
with that and the rage, I staggered dizzily back and felt ready to
suffocate, or to burst a blood-vessel. The scene was over in two
minutes; Catherine, released, put her two hands to her temples, and
looked just as if she were not sure whether her ears were off or
on. She trembled like a reed, poor thing, and leant against the
table perfectly bewildered.
'I know how to chastise children, you see,' said the scoundrel,
grimly, as he stooped to repossess himself of the key, which had
dropped to the floor. 'Go to Linton now, as I told you; and cry at
your ease! I shall be your father, to-morrow - all the father
you'll have in a few days - and you shall have plenty of that. You
can bear plenty; you're no weakling: you shall have a daily taste,
if I catch such a devil of a temper in your eyes again!'
Cathy ran to me instead of Linton, and knelt down and put her
burning cheek on my lap, weeping aloud. Her cousin had shrunk into
a corner of the settle, as quiet as a mouse, congratulating
himself, I dare say, that the correction had alighted on another
than him. Mr. Heathcliff, perceiving us all confounded, rose, and
expeditiously made the tea himself. The cups and saucers were laid
ready. He poured it out, and handed me a cup.
'Wash away your spleen,' he said. 'And help your own naughty pet
and mine. It is not poisoned, though I prepared it. I'm going out
to seek your horses.'
Our first thought, on his departure, was to force an exit
somewhere. We tried the kitchen door, but that was fastened
outside: we looked at the windows - they were too narrow for even
Cathy's little figure.
'Master Linton,' I cried, seeing we were regularly imprisoned, 'you
know what your diabolical father is after, and you shall tell us,
or I'll box your ears, as he has done your cousin's.'
'Yes, Linton, you must tell,' said Catherine. 'It was for your
sake I came; and it will be wickedly ungrateful if you refuse.'
'Give me some tea, I'm thirsty, and then I'll tell you,' he
answered. 'Mrs. Dean, go away. I don't like you standing over me.
Now, Catherine, you are letting your tears fall into my cup. I
won't drink that. Give me another.' Catherine pushed another to
him, and wiped her face. I felt disgusted at the little wretch's
composure, since he was no longer in terror for himself. The
anguish he had exhibited on the moor subsided as soon as ever he
entered Wuthering Heights; so I guessed he had been menaced with an
awful visitation of wrath if he failed in decoying us there; and,
that accomplished, he had no further immediate fears.
'Papa wants us to be married,' he continued, after sipping some of
the liquid. 'And he knows your papa wouldn't let us marry now; and
he's afraid of my dying if we wait; so we are to be married in the
morning, and you are to stay here all night; and, if you do as he
wishes, you shall return home next day, and take me with you.'
'Take you with her, pitiful changeling!' I exclaimed. 'YOU marry?
Why, the man is mad! or he thinks us fools, every one. And do you
imagine that beautiful young lady, that healthy, hearty girl, will
tie herself to a little perishing monkey like you? Are you
cherishing the notion that anybody, let alone Miss Catherine
Linton, would have you for a husband? You want whipping for
bringing us in here at all, with your dastardly puling tricks: and
- don't look so silly, now! I've a very good mind to shake you
severely, for your contemptible treachery, and your imbecile
I did give him a slight shaking; but it brought on the cough, and
he took to his ordinary resource of moaning and weeping, and
Catherine rebuked me.
'Stay all night? No,' she said, looking slowly round. 'Ellen,
I'll burn that door down but I'll get out.'
And she would have commenced the execution of her threat directly,
but Linton was up in alarm for his dear self again. He clasped her
in his two feeble arms sobbing:- 'Won't you have me, and save me?
not let me come to the Grange? Oh, darling Catherine! you mustn't
go and leave, after all. You MUST obey my father - you MUST!'
'I must obey my own,' she replied, 'and relieve him from this cruel
suspense. The whole night! What would he think? He'll be
distressed already. I'll either break or burn a way out of the
house. Be quiet! You're in no danger; but if you hinder me -
Linton, I love papa better than you!' The mortal terror he felt of
Mr. Heathcliff's anger restored to the boy his coward's eloquence.
Catherine was near distraught: still, she persisted that she must
go home, and tried entreaty in her turn, persuading him to subdue
his selfish agony. While they were thus occupied, our jailor re-
'Your beasts have trotted off,' he said, 'and - now Linton!
snivelling again? What has she been doing to you? Come, come -
have done, and get to bed. In a month or two, my lad, you'll be
able to pay her back her present tyrannies with a vigorous hand.
You're pining for pure love, are you not? nothing else in the
world: and she shall have you! There, to bed! Zillah won't be
here to-night; you must undress yourself. Hush! hold your noise!
Once in your own room, I'll not come near you: you needn't fear.
By chance, you've managed tolerably. I'll look to the rest.'
He spoke these words, holding the door open for his son to pass,
and the latter achieved his exit exactly as a spaniel might which
suspected the person who attended on it of designing a spiteful
squeeze. The lock was re-secured. Heathcliff approached the fire,
where my mistress and I stood silent. Catherine looked up, and
instinctively raised her hand to her cheek: his neighbourhood
revived a painful sensation. Anybody else would have been
incapable of regarding the childish act with sternness, but he
scowled on her and muttered - 'Oh! you are not afraid of me? Your
courage is well disguised: you seem damnably afraid!'
'I AM afraid now,' she replied, 'because, if I stay, papa will be
miserable: and how can I endure making him miserable - when he -
when he - Mr. Heathcliff, let ME go home! I promise to marry
Linton: papa would like me to: and I love him. Why should you
wish to force me to do what I'll willingly do of myself?'
'Let him dare to force you,' I cried. 'There's law in the land,
thank God! there is; though we be in an out-of-the-way place. I'd
inform if he were my own son: and it's felony without benefit of
'Silence!' said the ruffian. 'To the devil with your clamour! I
don't want YOU to speak. Miss Linton, I shall enjoy myself
remarkably in thinking your father will be miserable: I shall not
sleep for satisfaction. You could have hit on no surer way of
fixing your residence under my roof for the next twenty-four hours
than informing me that such an event would follow. As to your
promise to marry Linton, I'll take care you shall keep it; for you
shall not quit this place till it is fulfilled.'
'Send Ellen, then, to let papa know I'm safe!' exclaimed Catherine,
weeping bitterly. 'Or marry me now. Poor papa! Ellen, he'll
think we're lost. What shall we do?'
'Not he! He'll think you are tired of waiting on him, and run off
for a little amusement,' answered Heathcliff. 'You cannot deny
that you entered my house of your own accord, in contempt of his
injunctions to the contrary. And it is quite natural that you
should desire amusement at your age; and that you would weary of
nursing a sick man, and that man ONLY your father. Catherine, his
happiest days were over when your days began. He cursed you, I
dare say, for coming into the world (I did, at least); and it would
just do if he cursed you as HE went out of it. I'd join him. I
don't love you! How should I? Weep away. As far as I can see, it
will be your chief diversion hereafter; unless Linton make amends
for other losses: and your provident parent appears to fancy he
may. His letters of advice and consolation entertained me vastly.
In his last he recommended my jewel to be careful of his; and kind
to her when he got her. Careful and kind - that's paternal. But
Linton requires his whole stock of care and kindness for himself.
Linton can play the little tyrant well. He'll undertake to torture
any number of cats, if their teeth be drawn and their claws pared.
You'll be able to tell his uncle fine tales of his KINDNESS, when
you get home again, I assure you.'
'You're right there!' I said; 'explain your son's character. Show
his resemblance to yourself: and then, I hope, Miss Cathy will
think twice before she takes the cockatrice!'
'I don't much mind speaking of his amiable qualities now,' he
answered; 'because she must either accept him or remain a prisoner,
and you along with her, till your master dies. I can detain you
both, quite concealed, here. If you doubt, encourage her to
retract her word, and you'll have an opportunity of judging!'
'I'll not retract my word,' said Catherine. 'I'll marry him within
this hour, if I may go to Thrushcross Grange afterwards. Mr.
Heathcliff, you're a cruel man, but you're not a fiend; and you
won't, from MERE malice, destroy irrevocably all my happiness. If
papa thought I had left him on purpose, and if he died before I
returned, could I bear to live? I've given over crying: but I'm
going to kneel here, at your knee; and I'll not get up, and I'll
not take my eyes from your face till you look back at me! No,
don't turn away! DO LOOK! you'll see nothing to provoke you. I
don't hate you. I'm not angry that you struck me. Have you never
loved ANYBODY in all your life, uncle? NEVER? Ah! you must look
once. I'm so wretched, you can't help being sorry and pitying me.'
'Keep your eft's fingers off; and move, or I'll kick you!' cried
Heathcliff, brutally repulsing her. 'I'd rather be hugged by a
snake. How the devil can you dream of fawning on me? I DETEST
He shrugged his shoulders: shook himself, indeed, as if his flesh
crept with aversion; and thrust back his chair; while I got up, and
opened my mouth, to commence a downright torrent of abuse. But I
was rendered dumb in the middle of the first sentence, by a threat
that I should be shown into a room by myself the very next syllable
I uttered. It was growing dark - we heard a sound of voices at the
garden-gate. Our host hurried out instantly: HE had his wits
about him; WE had not. There was a talk of two or three minutes,
and he returned alone.
'I thought it had been your cousin Hareton,' I observed to
Catherine. 'I wish he would arrive! Who knows but he might take
'It was three servants sent to seek you from the Grange,' said
Heathcliff, overhearing me. 'You should have opened a lattice and
called out: but I could swear that chit is glad you didn't. She's
glad to be obliged to stay, I'm certain.'
At learning the chance we had missed, we both gave vent to our
grief without control; and he allowed us to wail on till nine
o'clock. Then he bid us go upstairs, through the kitchen, to
Zillah's chamber; and I whispered my companion to obey: perhaps we
might contrive to get through the window there, or into a garret,
and out by its skylight. The window, however, was narrow, like
those below, and the garret trap was safe from our attempts; for we
were fastened in as before. We neither of us lay down: Catherine
took her station by the lattice, and watched anxiously for morning;
a deep sigh being the only answer I could obtain to my frequent
entreaties that she would try to rest. I seated myself in a chair,
and rocked to and fro, passing harsh judgment on my many
derelictions of duty; from which, it struck me then, all the
misfortunes of my employers sprang. It was not the case, in
reality, I am aware; but it was, in my imagination, that dismal
night; and I thought Heathcliff himself less guilty than I.
At seven o'clock he came, and inquired if Miss Linton had risen.
She ran to the door immediately, and answered, 'Yes.' 'Here,
then,' he said, opening it, and pulling her out. I rose to follow,
but he turned the lock again. I demanded my release.
'Be patient,' he replied; 'I'll send up your breakfast in a while.'
I thumped on the panels, and rattled the latch angrily and
Catherine asked why I was still shut up? He answered, I must try
to endure it another hour, and they went away. I endured it two or
three hours; at length, I heard a footstep: not Heathcliff's.
'I've brought you something to eat,' said a voice; 'oppen t' door!'
Complying eagerly, I beheld Hareton, laden with food enough to last
me all day.
'Tak' it,' he added, thrusting the tray into my hand.
'Stay one minute,' I began.
'Nay,' cried he, and retired, regardless of any prayers I could
pour forth to detain him.
And there I remained enclosed the whole day, and the whole of the
next night; and another, and another. Five nights and four days I
remained, altogether, seeing nobody but Hareton once every morning;
and he was a model of a jailor: surly, and dumb, and deaf to every
attempt at moving his sense of justice or compassion.
ON the fifth morning, or rather afternoon, a different step
approached - lighter and shorter; and, this time, the person
entered the room. It was Zillah; donned in her scarlet shawl, with
a black silk bonnet on her head, and a willow-basket swung to her
'Eh, dear! Mrs. Dean!' she exclaimed. 'Well! there is a talk
about you at Gimmerton. I never thought but you were sunk in the
Blackhorse marsh, and missy with you, till master told me you'd
been found, and he'd lodged you here! What! and you must have got
on an island, sure? And how long were you in the hole? Did master
save you, Mrs. Dean? But you're not so thin - you've not been so
poorly, have you?'
'Your master is a true scoundrel!' I replied. 'But he shall answer
for it. He needn't have raised that tale: it shall all be laid
'What do you mean?' asked Zillah. 'It's not his tale: they tell
that in the village - about your being lost in the marsh; and I
calls to Earnshaw, when I come in - "Eh, they's queer things, Mr.
Hareton, happened since I went off. It's a sad pity of that likely
young lass, and cant Nelly Dean." He stared. I thought he had not
heard aught, so I told him the rumour. The master listened, and he
just smiled to himself, and said, "If they have been in the marsh,
they are out now, Zillah. Nelly Dean is lodged, at this minute, in
your room. You can tell her to flit, when you go up; here is the
key. The bog-water got into her head, and she would have run home
quite flighty; but I fixed her till she came round to her senses.
You can bid her go to the Grange at once, if she be able, and carry
a message from me, that her young lady will follow in time to
attend the squire's funeral."'
'Mr. Edgar is not dead?' I gasped. 'Oh! Zillah, Zillah!'
'No, no; sit you down, my good mistress,' she replied; 'you're
right sickly yet. He's not dead; Doctor Kenneth thinks he may last
another day. I met him on the road and asked.'
Instead of sitting down, I snatched my outdoor things, and hastened
below, for the way was free. On entering the house, I looked about
for some one to give information of Catherine. The place was
filled with sunshine, and the door stood wide open; but nobody
seemed at hand. As I hesitated whether to go off at once, or
return and seek my mistress, a slight cough drew my attention to
the hearth. Linton lay on the settle, sole tenant, sucking a stick
of sugar-candy, and pursuing my movements with apathetic eyes.
'Where is Miss Catherine?' I demanded sternly, supposing I could
frighten him into giving intelligence, by catching him thus, alone.
He sucked on like an innocent.
'Is she gone?' I said.
'No,' he replied; 'she's upstairs: she's not to go; we won't let
'You won't let her, little idiot!' I exclaimed. 'Direct me to her
room immediately, or I'll make you sing out sharply.'
'Papa would make you sing out, if you attempted to get there,' he
answered. 'He says I'm not to be soft with Catherine: she's my
wife, and it's shameful that she should wish to leave me. He says
she hates me and wants me to die, that she may have my money; but
she shan't have it: and she shan't go home! She never shall! -
she may cry, and be sick as much as she pleases!'
He resumed his former occupation, closing his lids, as if he meant
to drop asleep.
'Master Heathcliff,' I resumed, 'have you forgotten all Catherine's
kindness to you last winter, when you affirmed you loved her, and
when she brought you books and sung you songs, and came many a time
through wind and snow to see you? She wept to miss one evening,
because you would be disappointed; and you felt then that she was a
hundred times too good to you: and now you believe the lies your
father tells, though you know he detests you both. And you join
him against her. That's fine gratitude, is it not?'
The corner of Linton's mouth fell, and he took the sugar-candy from
'Did she come to Wuthering Heights because she hated you?' I
continued. 'Think for yourself! As to your money, she does not
even know that you will have any. And you say she's sick; and yet
you leave her alone, up there in a strange house! You who have
felt what it is to be so neglected! You could pity your own
sufferings; and she pitied them, too; but you won't pity hers! I
shed tears, Master Heathcliff, you see - an elderly woman, and a
servant merely - and you, after pretending such affection, and
having reason to worship her almost, store every tear you have for
yourself, and lie there quite at ease. Ah! you're a heartless,
'I can't stay with her,' he answered crossly. 'I'll not stay by
myself. She cries so I can't bear it. And she won't give over,
though I say I'll call my father. I did call him once, and he
threatened to strangle her if she was not quiet; but she began
again the instant he left the room, moaning and grieving all night
long, though I screamed for vexation that I couldn't sleep.'
'Is Mr. Heathcliff out?' I inquired, perceiving that the wretched
creature had no power to sympathize with his cousin's mental
'He's in the court,' he replied, 'talking to Doctor Kenneth; who
says uncle is dying, truly, at last. I'm glad, for I shall be
master of the Grange after him. Catherine always spoke of it as
her house. It isn't hers! It's mine: papa says everything she
has is mine. All her nice books are mine; she offered to give me
them, and her pretty birds, and her pony Minny, if I would get the
key of our room, and let her out; but I told her she had nothing to
give, they ware all, all mine. And then she cried, and took a
little picture from her neck, and said I should have that; two
pictures in a gold case, on one side her mother, and on the other
uncle, when they were young. That was yesterday - I said they were
mine, too; and tried to get them from her. The spiteful thing
wouldn't let me: she pushed me off, and hurt me. I shrieked out -
that frightens her - she heard papa coming, and she broke the
hinges and divided the case, and gave me her mother's portrait; the
other she attempted to hide: but papa asked what was the matter,
and I explained it. He took the one I had away, and ordered her to
resign hers to me; she refused, and he - he struck her down, and
wrenched it off the chain, and crushed it with his foot.'
'And were you pleased to see her struck?' I asked: having my
designs in encouraging his talk.
'I winked,' he answered: 'I wink to see my father strike a dog or
a horse, he does it so hard. Yet I was glad at first - she
deserved punishing for pushing me: but when papa was gone, she
made me come to the window and showed me her cheek cut on the
inside, against her teeth, and her mouth filling with blood; and
then she gathered up the bits of the picture, and went and sat down
with her face to the wall, and she has never spoken to me since:
and I sometimes think she can't speak for pain. I don't like to
think so; but she's a naughty thing for crying continually; and she
looks so pale and wild, I'm afraid of her.'
'And you can get the key if you choose?' I said.
'Yes, when I am up-stairs,' he answered; 'but I can't walk up-
'In what apartment is it?' I asked.
'Oh,' he cried, 'I shan't tell YOU where it is. It is our secret.
Nobody, neither Hareton nor Zillah, is to know. There! you've
tired me - go away, go away!' And he turned his face on to his
arm, and shut his eyes again.
I considered it best to depart without seeing Mr. Heathcliff, and
bring a rescue for my young lady from the Grange. On reaching it,
the astonishment of my fellow-servants to see me, and their joy
also, was intense; and when they heard that their little mistress
was safe, two or three were about to hurry up and shout the news at
Mr. Edgar's door: but I bespoke the announcement of it myself.
How changed I found him, even in those few days! He lay an image
of sadness and resignation awaiting his death. Very young he
looked: though his actual age was thirty-nine, one would have
called him ten years younger, at least. He thought of Catherine;
for he murmured her name. I touched his hand, and spoke.
'Catherine is coming, dear master!' I whispered; 'she is alive and
well; and will be here, I hope, to-night.'
I trembled at the first effects of this intelligence: he half rose
up, looked eagerly round the apartment, and then sank back in a
swoon. As soon as he recovered, I related our compulsory visit,
and detention at the Heights. I said Heathcliff forced me to go
in: which was not quite true. I uttered as little as possible
against Linton; nor did I describe all his father's brutal conduct
- my intentions being to add no bitterness, if I could help it, to
his already over-flowing cup.
He divined that one of his enemy's purposes was to secure the
personal property, as well as the estate, to his son: or rather
himself; yet why he did not wait till his decease was a puzzle to
my master, because ignorant how nearly he and his nephew would quit
the world together. However, he felt that his will had better be
altered: instead of leaving Catherine's fortune at her own
disposal, he determined to put it in the hands of trustees for her
use during life, and for her children, if she had any, after her.
By that means, it could not fall to Mr. Heathcliff should Linton
Having received his orders, I despatched a man to fetch the
attorney, and four more, provided with serviceable weapons, to
demand my young lady of her jailor. Both parties were delayed very
late. The single servant returned first. He said Mr. Green, the
lawyer, was out when he arrived at his house, and he had to wait
two hours for his re-entrance; and then Mr. Green told him he had a
little business in the village that must be done; but he would be
at Thrushcross Grange before morning. The four men came back
unaccompanied also. They brought word that Catherine was ill: too
ill to quit her room; and Heathcliff would not suffer them to see
her. I scolded the stupid fellows well for listening to that tale,
which I would not carry to my master; resolving to take a whole
bevy up to the Heights, at day-light, and storm it literally,
unless the prisoner were quietly surrendered to us. Her father
SHALL see her, I vowed, and vowed again, if that devil be killed on
his own doorstones in trying to prevent it!
Happily, I was spared the journey and the trouble. I had gone
down-stairs at three o'clock to fetch a jug of water; and was
passing through the hall with it in my hand, when a sharp knock at
the front door made me jump. 'Oh! it is Green,' I said,
recollecting myself - 'only Green,' and I went on, intending to
send somebody else to open it; but the knock was repeated: not
loud, and still importunately. I put the jug on the banister and
hastened to admit him myself. The harvest moon shone clear
outside. It was not the attorney. My own sweet little mistress
sprang on my neck sobbing, 'Ellen, Ellen! Is papa alive?'
'Yes,' I cried: 'yes, my angel, he is, God be thanked, you are
safe with us again!'
She wanted to run, breathless as she was, up-stairs to Mr. Linton's
room; but I compelled her to sit down on a chair, and made her
drink, and washed her pale face, chafing it into a faint colour
with my apron. Then I said I must go first, and tell of her
arrival; imploring her to say, she should be happy with young
Heathcliff. She stared, but soon comprehending why I counselled
her to utter the falsehood, she assured me she would not complain.
I couldn't abide to be present at their meeting. I stood outside
the chamber-door a quarter of an hour, and hardly ventured near the
bed, then. All was composed, however: Catherine's despair was as
silent as her father's joy. She supported him calmly, in
appearance; and he fixed on her features his raised eyes that
seemed dilating with ecstasy.
He died blissfully, Mr. Lockwood: he died so. Kissing her cheek,
he murmured, - 'I am going to her; and you, darling child, shall
come to us!' and never stirred or spoke again; but continued that
rapt, radiant gaze, till his pulse imperceptibly stopped and his
soul departed. None could have noticed the exact minute of his
death, it was so entirely without a struggle.
Whether Catherine had spent her tears, or whether the grief were
too weighty to let them flow, she sat there dry-eyed till the sun
rose: she sat till noon, and would still have remained brooding
over that deathbed, but I insisted on her coming away and taking
some repose. It was well I succeeded in removing her, for at
dinner-time appeared the lawyer, having called at Wuthering Heights
to get his instructions how to behave. He had sold himself to Mr.
Heathcliff: that was the cause of his delay in obeying my master's
summons. Fortunately, no thought of worldly affairs crossed the
latter's mind, to disturb him, after his daughter's arrival.
Mr. Green took upon himself to order everything and everybody about
the place. He gave all the servants but me, notice to quit. He
would have carried his delegated authority to the point of
insisting that Edgar Linton should not be buried beside his wife,
but in the chapel, with his family. There was the will, however,
to hinder that, and my loud protestations against any infringement
of its directions. The funeral was hurried over; Catherine, Mrs.
Linton Heathcliff now, was suffered to stay at the Grange till her
father's corpse had quitted it.
She told me that her anguish had at last spurred Linton to incur
the risk of liberating her. She heard the men I sent disputing at
the door, and she gathered the sense of Heathcliff's answer. It
drove her desperate. Linton who had been conveyed up to the little
parlour soon after I left, was terrified into fetching the key
before his father re-ascended. He had the cunning to unlock and
re-lock the door, without shutting it; and when he should have gone
to bed, he begged to sleep with Hareton, and his petition was
granted for once. Catherine stole out before break of day. She
dared not try the doors lest the dogs should raise an alarm; she
visited the empty chambers and examined their windows; and,
luckily, lighting on her mother's, she got easily out of its
lattice, and on to the ground, by means of the fir-tree close by.
Her accomplice suffered for his share in the escape,
notwithstanding his timid contrivances.
THE evening after the funeral, my young lady and I were seated in
the library; now musing mournfully - one of us despairingly - on
our loss, now venturing conjectures as to the gloomy future.
We had just agreed the best destiny which could await Catherine
would be a permission to continue resident at the Grange; at least
during Linton's life: he being allowed to join her there, and I to
remain as housekeeper. That seemed rather too favourable an
arrangement to be hoped for; and yet I did hope, and began to cheer
up under the prospect of retaining my home and my employment, and,
above all, my beloved young mistress; when a servant - one of the
discarded ones, not yet departed - rushed hastily in, and said
'that devil Heathcliff' was coming through the court: should he
fasten the door in his face?
If we had been mad enough to order that proceeding, we had not
time. He made no ceremony of knocking or announcing his name: he
was master, and availed himself of the master's privilege to walk
straight in, without saying a word. The sound of our informant's
voice directed him to the library; he entered and motioning him
out, shut the door.
It was the same room into which he had been ushered, as a guest,
eighteen years before: the same moon shone through the window; and
the same autumn landscape lay outside. We had not yet lighted a
candle, but all the apartment was visible, even to the portraits on
the wall: the splendid head of Mrs. Linton, and the graceful one
of her husband. Heathcliff advanced to the hearth. Time had
little altered his person either. There was the same man: his
dark face rather sallower and more composed, his frame a stone or
two heavier, perhaps, and no other difference. Catherine had risen
with an impulse to dash out, when she saw him.
'Stop!' he said, arresting her by the arm. 'No more runnings away!
Where would you go? I'm come to fetch you home; and I hope you'll
be a dutiful daughter and not encourage my son to further
disobedience. I was embarrassed how to punish him when I
discovered his part in the business: he's such a cobweb, a pinch
would annihilate him; but you'll see by his look that he has
received his due! I brought him down one evening, the day before
yesterday, and just set him in a chair, and never touched him
afterwards. I sent Hareton out, and we had the room to ourselves.
In two hours, I called Joseph to carry him up again; and since then
my presence is as potent on his nerves as a ghost; and I fancy he
sees me often, though I am not near. Hareton says he wakes and
shrieks in the night by the hour together, and calls you to protect
him from me; and, whether you like your precious mate, or not, you
must come: he's your concern now; I yield all my interest in him
'Why not let Catherine continue here,' I pleaded, 'and send Master
Linton to her? As you hate them both, you'd not miss them: they
can only be a daily plague to your unnatural heart.'
'I'm seeking a tenant for the Grange,' he answered; 'and I want my
children about me, to be sure. Besides, that lass owes me her
services for her bread. I'm not going to nurture her in luxury and
idleness after Linton is gone. Make haste and get ready, now; and
don't oblige me to compel you.'
'I shall,' said Catherine. 'Linton is all I have to love in the
world, and though you have done what you could to make him hateful
to me, and me to him, you cannot make us hate each other. And I
defy you to hurt him when I am by, and I defy you to frighten me!'
'You are a boastful champion,' replied Heathcliff; 'but I don't
like you well enough to hurt him: you shall get the full benefit
of the torment, as long as it lasts. It is not I who will make him
hateful to you - it is his own sweet spirit. He's as bitter as
gall at your desertion and its consequences: don't expect thanks
for this noble devotion. I heard him draw a pleasant picture to
Zillah of what he would do if he were as strong as I: the
inclination is there, and his very weakness will sharpen his wits
to find a substitute for strength.'
'I know he has a bad nature,' said Catherine: 'he's your son. But
I'm glad I've a better, to forgive it; and I know he loves me, and
for that reason I love him. Mr. Heathcliff YOU have NOBODY to love
you; and, however miserable you make us, we shall still have the
revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises from your greater
misery. You ARE miserable, are you not? Lonely, like the devil,
and envious like him? NOBODY loves you - NOBODY will cry for you
when you die! I wouldn't be you!'
Catherine spoke with a kind of dreary triumph: she seemed to have
made up her mind to enter into the spirit of her future family, and
draw pleasure from the griefs of her enemies.
'You shall be sorry to be yourself presently,' said her father-in-
law, 'if you stand there another minute. Begone, witch, and get
She scornfully withdrew. In her absence I began to beg for
Zillah's place at the Heights, offering to resign mine to her; but
he would suffer it on no account. He bid me be silent; and then,
for the first time, allowed himself a glance round the room and a
look at the pictures. Having studied Mrs. Linton's, he said - 'I
shall have that home. Not because I need it, but - ' He turned
abruptly to the fire, and continued, with what, for lack of a
better word, I must call a smile - 'I'll tell you what I did
yesterday! I got the sexton, who was digging Linton's grave, to
remove the earth off her coffin lid, and I opened it. I thought,
once, I would have stayed there: when I saw her face again - it is
hers yet! - he had hard work to stir me; but he said it would
change if the air blew on it, and so I struck one side of the
coffin loose, and covered it up: not Linton's side, damn him! I
wish he'd been soldered in lead. And I bribed the sexton to pull
it away when I'm laid there, and slide mine out too; I'll have it
made so: and then by the time Linton gets to us he'll not know
which is which!'
'You were very wicked, Mr. Heathcliff!' I exclaimed; 'were you not
ashamed to disturb the dead?'
'I disturbed nobody, Nelly,' he replied; 'and I gave some ease to
myself. I shall be a great deal more comfortable now; and you'll
have a better chance of keeping me underground, when I get there.
Disturbed her? No! she has disturbed me, night and day, through
eighteen years - incessantly - remorselessly - till yesternight;
and yesternight I was tranquil. I dreamt I was sleeping the last
sleep by that sleeper, with my heart stopped and my cheek frozen
'And if she had been dissolved into earth, or worse, what would you
have dreamt of then?' I said.
'Of dissolving with her, and being more happy still!' he answered.
'Do you suppose I dread any change of that sort? I expected such a
transformation on raising the lid - but I'm better pleased that it
should not commence till I share it. Besides, unless I had
received a distinct impression of her passionless features, that
strange feeling would hardly have been removed. It began oddly.
You know I was wild after she died; and eternally, from dawn to
dawn, praying her to return to me her spirit! I have a strong
faith in ghosts: I have a conviction that they can, and do, exist
among us! The day she was buried, there came a fall of snow. In
the evening I went to the churchyard. It blew bleak as winter -
all round was solitary. I didn't fear that her fool of a husband
would wander up the glen so late; and no one else had business to
bring them there. Being alone, and conscious two yards of loose
earth was the sole barrier between us, I said to myself - 'I'll
have her in my arms again! If she be cold, I'll think it is this
north wind that chills ME; and if she be motionless, it is sleep."
I got a spade from the tool-house, and began to delve with all my
might - it scraped the coffin; I fell to work with my hands; the
wood commenced cracking about the screws; I was on the point of
attaining my object, when it seemed that I heard a sigh from some
one above, close at the edge of the grave, and bending down. "If I
can only get this off," I muttered, "I wish they may shovel in the
earth over us both!" and I wrenched at it more desperately still.
There was another sigh, close at my ear. I appeared to feel the
warm breath of it displacing the sleet-laden wind. I knew no
living thing in flesh and blood was by; but, as certainly as you
perceive the approach to some substantial body in the dark, though
it cannot be discerned, so certainly I felt that Cathy was there:
not under me, but on the earth. A sudden sense of relief flowed
from my heart through every limb. I relinquished my labour of
agony, and turned consoled at once: unspeakably consoled. Her
presence was with me: it remained while I re-filled the grave, and
led me home. You may laugh, if you will; but I was sure I should
see her there. I was sure she was with me, and I could not help
talking to her. Having reached the Heights, I rushed eagerly to
the door. It was fastened; and, I remember, that accursed Earnshaw
and my wife opposed my entrance. I remember stopping to kick the
breath out of him, and then hurrying up-stairs, to my room and
hers. I looked round impatiently - I felt her by me - I could
ALMOST see her, and yet I COULD NOT! I ought to have sweat blood
then, from the anguish of my yearning - from the fervour of my
supplications to have but one glimpse! I had not one. She showed
herself, as she often was in life, a devil to me! And, since then,
sometimes more and sometimes less, I've been the sport of that
intolerable torture! Infernal! keeping my nerves at such a stretch
that, if they had not resembled catgut, they would long ago have
relaxed to the feebleness of Linton's. When I sat in the house
with Hareton, it seemed that on going out I should meet her; when I
walked on the moors I should meet her coming in. When I went from
home I hastened to return; she MUST be somewhere at the Heights, I
was certain! And when I slept in her chamber - I was beaten out of
that. I couldn't lie there; for the moment I closed my eyes, she
was either outside the window, or sliding back the panels, or
entering the room, or even resting her darling head on the same
pillow as she did when a child; and I must open my lids to see.
And so I opened and closed them a hundred times a night - to be
always disappointed! It racked me! I've often groaned aloud, till
that old rascal Joseph no doubt believed that my conscience was
playing the fiend inside of me. Now, since I've seen her, I'm
pacified - a little. It was a strange way of killing: not by
inches, but by fractions of hairbreadths, to beguile me with the
spectre of a hope through eighteen years!'
Mr. Heathcliff paused and wiped his forehead; his hair clung to it,
wet with perspiration; his eyes were fixed on the red embers of the
fire, the brows not contracted, but raised next the temples;
diminishing the grim aspect of his countenance, but imparting a
peculiar look of trouble, and a painful appearance of mental
tension towards one absorbing subject. He only half addressed me,
and I maintained silence. I didn't like to hear him talk! After a
short period he resumed his meditation on the picture, took it down
and leant it against the sofa to contemplate it at better
advantage; and while so occupied Catherine entered, announcing that
she was ready, when her pony should be saddled.
'Send that over to-morrow,' said Heathcliff to me; then turning to
her, he added: 'You may do without your pony: it is a fine
evening, and you'll need no ponies at Wuthering Heights; for what
journeys you take, your own feet will serve you. Come along.'
'Good-bye, Ellen!' whispered my dear little mistress.
As she kissed me, her lips felt like ice. 'Come and see me, Ellen;
'Take care you do no such thing, Mrs. Dean!' said her new father.
'When I wish to speak to you I'll come here. I want none of your
prying at my house!'
He signed her to precede him; and casting back a look that cut my
heart, she obeyed. I watched them, from the window, walk down the
garden. Heathcliff fixed Catherine's arm under his: though she
disputed the act at first evidently; and with rapid strides he
hurried her into the alley, whose trees concealed them.
I HAVE paid a visit to the Heights, but I have not seen her since
she left: Joseph held the door in his hand when I called to ask
after her, and wouldn't let me pass. He said Mrs. Linton was
'thrang,' and the master was not in. Zillah has told me something
of the way they go on, otherwise I should hardly know who was dead
and who living. She thinks Catherine haughty, and does not like
her, I can guess by her talk. My young lady asked some aid of her
when she first came; but Mr. Heathcliff told her to follow her own
business, and let his daughter-in-law look after herself; and
Zillah willingly acquiesced, being a narrow-minded, selfish woman.
Catherine evinced a child's annoyance at this neglect; repaid it
with contempt, and thus enlisted my informant among her enemies, as
securely as if she had done her some great wrong. I had a long
talk with Zillah about six weeks ago, a little before you came, one
day when we foregathered on the moor; and this is what she told me.
'The first thing Mrs. Linton did,' she said, 'on her arrival at the
Heights, was to run up-stairs, without even wishing good-evening to
me and Joseph; she shut herself into Linton's room, and remained
till morning. Then, while the master and Earnshaw were at
breakfast, she entered the house, and asked all in a quiver if the
doctor might be sent for? her cousin was very ill.
'"We know that!" answered Heathcliff; "but his life is not worth a
farthing, and I won't spend a farthing on him."
'"But I cannot tell how to do," she said; "and if nobody will help
me, he'll die!"
'"Walk out of the room," cried the master, "and let me never hear a
word more about him! None here care what becomes of him; if you
do, act the nurse; if you do not, lock him up and leave him."
'Then she began to bother me, and I said I'd had enough plague with
the tiresome thing; we each had our tasks, and hers was to wait on
Linton: Mr. Heathcliff bid me leave that labour to her.
'How they managed together, I can't tell. I fancy he fretted a
great deal, and moaned hisseln night and day; and she had precious
little rest: one could guess by her white face and heavy eyes.
She sometimes came into the kitchen all wildered like, and looked
as if she would fain beg assistance; but I was not going to disobey
the master: I never dare disobey him, Mrs. Dean; and, though I
thought it wrong that Kenneth should not be sent for, it was no
concern of mine either to advise or complain, and I always refused
to meddle. Once or twice, after we had gone to bed, I've happened
to open my door again and seen her sitting crying on the stairs'-
top; and then I've shut myself in quick, for fear of being moved to
interfere. I did pity her then, I'm sure: still I didn't wish to
lose my place, you know.
'At last, one night she came boldly into my chamber, and frightened
me out of my wits, by saying, "Tell Mr. Heathcliff that his son is
dying - I'm sure he is, this time. Get up, instantly, and tell
'Having uttered this speech, she vanished again. I lay a quarter
of an hour listening and trembling. Nothing stirred - the house
'She's mistaken, I said to myself. He's got over it. I needn't
disturb them; and I began to doze. But my sleep was marred a
second time by a sharp ringing of the bell - the only bell we have,
put up on purpose for Linton; and the master called to me to see
what was the matter, and inform them that he wouldn't have that
'I delivered Catherine's message. He cursed to himself, and in a
few minutes came out with a lighted candle, and proceeded to their
room. I followed. Mrs. Heathcliff was seated by the bedside, with
her hands folded on her knees. Her father-in-law went up, held the
light to Linton's face, looked at him, and touched him; afterwards
he turned to her.
'"Now - Catherine," he said, "how do you feel?"
'She was dumb.
'"How do you feel, Catherine?" he repeated.
'"He's safe, and I'm free," she answered: "I should feel well -
but," she continued, with a bitterness she couldn't conceal, "you
have left me so long to struggle against death alone, that I feel
and see only death! I feel like death!"
'And she looked like it, too! I gave her a little wine. Hareton
and Joseph, who had been wakened by the ringing and the sound of
feet, and heard our talk from outside, now entered. Joseph was
fain, I believe, of the lad's removal; Hareton seemed a thought
bothered: though he was more taken up with staring at Catherine
than thinking of Linton. But the master bid him get off to bed
again: we didn't want his help. He afterwards made Joseph remove
the body to his chamber, and told me to return to mine, and Mrs.
Heathcliff remained by herself.
'In the morning, he sent me to tell her she must come down to
breakfast: she had undressed, and appeared going to sleep, and
said she was ill; at which I hardly wondered. I informed Mr.
Heathcliff, and he replied, - "Well, let her be till after the
funeral; and go up now and then to get her what is needful; and, as
soon as she seems better, tell me."'
Cathy stayed upstairs a fortnight, according to Zillah; who visited
her twice a day, and would have been rather more friendly, but her
attempts at increasing kindness were proudly and promptly repelled.
Heathcliff went up once, to show her Linton's will. He had
bequeathed the whole of his, and what had been her, moveable
property, to his father: the poor creature was threatened, or
coaxed, into that act during her week's absence, when his uncle
died. The lands, being a minor, he could not meddle with.
However, Mr. Heathcliff has claimed and kept them in his wife's
right and his also: I suppose legally; at any rate, Catherine,
destitute of cash and friends, cannot disturb his possession.
'Nobody,' said Zillah, 'ever approached her door, except that once,
but I; and nobody asked anything about her. The first occasion of
her coming down into the house was on a Sunday afternoon. She had
cried out, when I carried up her dinner, that she couldn't bear any
longer being in the cold; and I told her the master was going to
Thrushcross Grange, and Earnshaw and I needn't hinder her from
descending; so, as soon as she heard Heathcliff's horse trot off,
she made her appearance, donned in black, and her yellow curls
combed back behind her ears as plain as a Quaker: she couldn't
comb them out.
'Joseph and I generally go to chapel on Sundays:' the kirk, you
know, has no minister now, explained Mrs. Dean; and they call the
Methodists' or Baptists' place (I can't say which it is) at
Gimmerton, a chapel. 'Joseph had gone,' she continued, 'but I
thought proper to bide at home. Young folks are always the better
for an elder's over-looking; and Hareton, with all his bashfulness,
isn't a model of nice behaviour. I let him know that his cousin
would very likely sit with us, and she had been always used to see
the Sabbath respected; so he had as good leave his guns and bits of
indoor work alone, while she stayed. He coloured up at the news,
and cast his eyes over his hands and clothes. The train-oil and
gunpowder were shoved out of sight in a minute. I saw he meant to
give her his company; and I guessed, by his way, he wanted to be
presentable; so, laughing, as I durst not laugh when the master is
by, I offered to help him, if he would, and joked at his confusion.
He grew sullen, and began to swear.
'Now, Mrs. Dean,' Zillah went on, seeing me not pleased by her
manner, 'you happen think your young lady too fine for Mr. Hareton;
and happen you're right: but I own I should love well to bring her
pride a peg lower. And what will all her learning and her
daintiness do for her, now? She's as poor as you or I: poorer,
I'll be bound: you're saying, and I'm doing my little all that
Hareton allowed Zillah to give him her aid; and she flattered him
into a good humour; so, when Catherine came, half forgetting her
former insults, he tried to make himself agreeable, by the
'Missis walked in,' she said, 'as chill as an icicle, and as high
as a princess. I got up and offered her my seat in the arm-chair.
No, she turned up her nose at my civility. Earnshaw rose, too, and
bid her come to the settle, and sit close by the fire: he was sure
she was starved.
'"I've been starved a month and more," she answered, resting on the
word as scornful as she could.
'And she got a chair for herself, and placed it at a distance from
both of us. Having sat till she was warm, she began to look round,
and discovered a number of books on the dresser; she was instantly
upon her feet again, stretching to reach them: but they were too
high up. Her cousin, after watching her endeavours a while, at
last summoned courage to help her; she held her frock, and he
filled it with the first that came to hand.
'That was a great advance for the lad. She didn't thank him;
still, he felt gratified that she had accepted his assistance, and
ventured to stand behind as she examined them, and even to stoop
and point out what struck his fancy in certain old pictures which
they contained; nor was he daunted by the saucy style in which she
jerked the page from his finger: he contented himself with going a
bit farther back and looking at her instead of the book. She
continued reading, or seeking for something to read. His attention
became, by degrees, quite centred in the study of her thick silky
curls: her face he couldn't see, and she couldn't see him. And,
perhaps, not quite awake to what he did, but attracted like a child
to a candle, at last he proceeded from staring to touching; he put
out his hand and stroked one curl, as gently as if it were a bird.
He might have stuck a knife into her neck, she started round in
such a taking.
'"Get away this moment! How dare you touch me? Why are you
stopping there?" she cried, in a tone of disgust. "I can't endure
you! I'll go upstairs again, if you come near me."
'Mr. Hareton recoiled, looking as foolish as he could do: he sat
down in the settle very quiet, and she continued turning over her
volumes another half hour; finally, Earnshaw crossed over, and
whispered to me.
'Will you ask her to read to us, Zillah? I'm stalled of doing
naught; and I do like - I could like to hear her! Dunnot say I
wanted it, but ask of yourseln."
'"Mr. Hareton wishes you would read to us, ma'am," I said,
immediately. "He'd take it very kind - he'd be much obliged."
'She frowned; and looking up, answered -
'"Mr. Hareton, and the whole set of you, will be good enough to
understand that I reject any pretence at kindness you have the
hypocrisy to offer! I despise you, and will have nothing to say to
any of you! When I would have given my life for one kind word,
even to see one of your faces, you all kept off. But I won't
complain to you! I'm driven down here by the cold; not either to
amuse you or enjoy your society."
'"What could I ha' done?" began Earnshaw. "How was I to blame?"
'"Oh! you are an exception," answered Mrs. Heathcliff. "I never
missed such a concern as you."
'"But I offered more than once, and asked," he said, kindling up at
her pertness, "I asked Mr. Heathcliff to let me wake for you - "
'"Be silent! I'll go out of doors, or anywhere, rather than have
your disagreeable voice in my ear!" said my lady.
'Hareton muttered she might go to hell, for him! and unslinging his
gun, restrained himself from his Sunday occupations no longer. He
talked now, freely enough; and she presently saw fit to retreat to
her solitude: but the frost had set in, and, in spite of her
pride, she was forced to condescend to our company, more and more.
However, I took care there should be no further scorning at my good
nature: ever since, I've been as stiff as herself; and she has no
lover or liker among us: and she does not deserve one; for, let
them say the least word to her, and she'll curl back without
respect of any one. She'll snap at the master himself, and as good
as dares him to thrash her; and the more hurt she gets, the more
venomous she grows.'
At first, on hearing this account from Zillah, I determined to
leave my situation, take a cottage, and get Catherine to come and
live with me: but Mr. Heathcliff would as soon permit that as he
would set up Hareton in an independent house; and I can see no
remedy, at present, unless she could marry again; and that scheme
it does not come within my province to arrange.
Thus ended Mrs. Dean's story. Notwithstanding the doctor's
prophecy, I am rapidly recovering strength; and though it be only
the second week in January, I propose getting out on horseback in a
day or two, and riding over to Wuthering Heights, to inform my
landlord that I shall spend the next six months in London; and, if
he likes, he may look out for another tenant to take the place
after October. I would not pass another winter here for much.
YESTERDAY was bright, calm, and frosty. I went to the Heights as I
proposed: my housekeeper entreated me to bear a little note from
her to her young lady, and I did not refuse, for the worthy woman
was not conscious of anything odd in her request. The front door
stood open, but the jealous gate was fastened, as at my last visit;
I knocked and invoked Earnshaw from among the garden-beds; he
unchained it, and I entered. The fellow is as handsome a rustic as
need be seen. I took particular notice of him this time; but then
he does his best apparently to make the least of his advantages.
I asked if Mr. Heathcliff were at home? He answered, No; but he
would be in at dinner-time. It was eleven o'clock, and I announced
my intention of going in and waiting for him; at which he
immediately flung down his tools and accompanied me, in the office
of watchdog, not as a substitute for the host.
We entered together; Catherine was there, making herself useful in
preparing some vegetables for the approaching meal; she looked more
sulky and less spirited than when I had seen her first. She hardly
raised her eyes to notice me, and continued her employment with the
same disregard to common forms of politeness as before; never
returning my bow and good-morning by the slightest acknowledgment.
'She does not seem so amiable,' I thought, 'as Mrs. Dean would
persuade me to believe. She's a beauty, it is true; but not an
Earnshaw surlily bid her remove her things to the kitchen. 'Remove
them yourself,' she said, pushing them from her as soon as she had
done; and retiring to a stool by the window, where she began to
carve figures of birds and beasts out of the turnip-parings in her
lap. I approached her, pretending to desire a view of the garden;
and, as I fancied, adroitly dropped Mrs. Dean's note on to her
knee, unnoticed by Hareton - but she asked aloud, 'What is that?'
And chucked it off.
'A letter from your old acquaintance, the housekeeper at the
Grange,' I answered; annoyed at her exposing my kind deed, and
fearful lest it should be imagined a missive of my own. She would
gladly have gathered it up at this information, but Hareton beat
her; he seized and put it in his waistcoat, saying Mr. Heathcliff
should look at it first. Thereat, Catherine silently turned her
face from us, and, very stealthily, drew out her pocket-
handkerchief and applied it to her eyes; and her cousin, after
struggling awhile to keep down his softer feelings, pulled out the
letter and flung it on the floor beside her, as ungraciously as he
could. Catherine caught and perused it eagerly; then she put a few
questions to me concerning the inmates, rational and irrational, of
her former home; and gazing towards the hills, murmured in
'I should like to be riding Minny down there! I should like to be
climbing up there! Oh! I'm tired - I'm STALLED, Hareton!' And
she leant her pretty head back against the sill, with half a yawn
and half a sigh, and lapsed into an aspect of abstracted sadness:
neither caring nor knowing whether we remarked her.
'Mrs. Heathcliff,' I said, after sitting some time mute, 'you are
not aware that I am an acquaintance of yours? so intimate that I
think it strange you won't come and speak to me. My housekeeper
never wearies of talking about and praising you; and she'll be
greatly disappointed if I return with no news of or from you,
except that you received her letter and said nothing!'
She appeared to wonder at this speech, and asked, -
'Does Ellen like you?'
'Yes, very well,' I replied, hesitatingly.
'You must tell her,' she continued, 'that I would answer her
letter, but I have no materials for writing: not even a book from
which I might tear a leaf.'
'No books!' I exclaimed. 'How do you contrive to live here without
them? if I may take the liberty to inquire. Though provided with a
large library, I'm frequently very dull at the Grange; take my
books away, and I should be desperate!'
'I was always reading, when I had them,' said Catherine; 'and Mr.
Heathcliff never reads; so he took it into his head to destroy my
books. I have not had a glimpse of one for weeks. Only once, I
searched through Joseph's store of theology, to his great
irritation; and once, Hareton, I came upon a secret stock in your
room - some Latin and Greek, and some tales and poetry: all old
friends. I brought the last here - and you gathered them, as a
magpie gathers silver spoons, for the mere love of stealing! They
are of no use to you; or else you concealed them in the bad spirit
that, as you cannot enjoy them, nobody else shall. Perhaps YOUR
envy counselled Mr. Heathcliff to rob me of my treasures? But I've
most of them written on my brain and printed in my heart, and you
cannot deprive me of those!'
Earnshaw blushed crimson when his cousin made this revelation of
his private literary accumulations, and stammered an indignant
denial of her accusations.
'Mr. Hareton is desirous of increasing his amount of knowledge,' I
said, coming to his rescue. 'He is not ENVIOUS, but EMULOUS of
your attainments. He'll be a clever scholar in a few years.'
'And he wants me to sink into a dunce, meantime,' answered
Catherine. 'Yes, I hear him trying to spell and read to himself,
and pretty blunders he makes! I wish you would repeat Chevy Chase
as you did yesterday: it was extremely funny. I heard you; and I
heard you turning over the dictionary to seek out the hard words,
and then cursing because you couldn't read their explanations!'
The young man evidently thought it too bad that he should be
laughed at for his ignorance, and then laughed at for trying to
remove it. I had a similar notion; and, remembering Mrs. Dean's
anecdote of his first attempt at enlightening the darkness in which
he had been reared, I observed, - 'But, Mrs. Heathcliff, we have
each had a commencement, and each stumbled and tottered on the
threshold; had our teachers scorned instead of aiding us, we should
stumble and totter yet.'
'Oh!' she replied, 'I don't wish to limit his acquirements: still,
he has no right to appropriate what is mine, and make it ridiculous
to me with his vile mistakes and mispronunciations! Those books,
both prose and verse, are consecrated to me by other associations;
and I hate to have them debased and profaned in his mouth!
Besides, of all, he has selected my favourite pieces that I love
the most to repeat, as if out of deliberate malice.'
Hareton's chest heaved in silence a minute: he laboured under a
severe sense of mortification and wrath, which it was no easy task
to suppress. I rose, and, from a gentlemanly idea of relieving his
embarrassment, took up my station in the doorway, surveying the
external prospect as I stood. He followed my example, and left the
room; but presently reappeared, bearing half a dozen volumes in his
hands, which he threw into Catherine's lap, exclaiming, - 'Take
them! I never want to hear, or read, or think of them again!'
'I won't have them now,' she answered. 'I shall connect them with
you, and hate them.'
She opened one that had obviously been often turned over, and read
a portion in the drawling tone of a beginner; then laughed, and
threw it from her. 'And listen,' she continued, provokingly,
commencing a verse of an old ballad in the same fashion.
But his self-love would endure no further torment: I heard, and
not altogether disapprovingly, a manual cheek given to her saucy
tongue. The little wretch had done her utmost to hurt her cousin's
sensitive though uncultivated feelings, and a physical argument was
the only mode he had of balancing the account, and repaying its
effects on the inflictor. He afterwards gathered the books and
hurled them on the fire. I read in his countenance what anguish it
was to offer that sacrifice to spleen. I fancied that as they
consumed, he recalled the pleasure they had already imparted, and
the triumph and ever-increasing pleasure he had anticipated from
them; and I fancied I guessed the incitement to his secret studies
also. He had been content with daily labour and rough animal
enjoyments, till Catherine crossed his path. Shame at her scorn,
and hope of her approval, were his first prompters to higher
pursuits; and instead of guarding him from one and winning him to
the other, his endeavours to raise himself had produced just the
'Yes that's all the good that such a brute as you can get from
them!' cried Catherine, sucking her damaged lip, and watching the
conflagration with indignant eyes.
'You'd BETTER hold your tongue, now,' he answered fiercely.
And his agitation precluded further speech; he advanced hastily to
the entrance, where I made way for him to pass. But ere he had
crossed the door-stones, Mr. Heathcliff, coming up the causeway,
encountered him, and laying hold of his shoulder asked, - 'What's
to do now, my lad?'
'Naught, naught,' he said, and broke away to enjoy his grief and
anger in solitude.
Heathcliff gazed after him, and sighed.
'It will be odd if I thwart myself,' he muttered, unconscious that
I was behind him. 'But when I look for his father in his face, I
find HER every day more! How the devil is he so like? I can
hardly bear to see him.'
He bent his eyes to the ground, and walked moodily in. There was a
restless, anxious expression in his countenance. I had never
remarked there before; and he looked sparer in person. His
daughter-in-law, on perceiving him through the window, immediately
escaped to the kitchen, so that I remained alone.
'I'm glad to see you out of doors again, Mr. Lockwood,' he said, in
reply to my greeting; 'from selfish motives partly: I don't think
I could readily supply your loss in this desolation. I've wondered
more than once what brought you here.'
'An idle whim, I fear, sir,' was my answer; 'or else an idle whim
is going to spirit me away. I shall set out for London next week;
and I must give you warning that I feel no disposition to retain
Thrushcross Grange beyond the twelve months I agreed to rent it. I
believe I shall not live there any more.'
'Oh, indeed; you're tired of being banished from the world, are
you?' he said. 'But if you be coming to plead off paying for a
place you won't occupy, your journey is useless: I never relent in
exacting my due from any one.'
'I'm coming to plead off nothing about it,' I exclaimed,
considerably irritated. 'Should you wish it, I'll settle with you
now,' and I drew my note-book from my pocket.
'No, no,' he replied, coolly; 'you'll leave sufficient behind to
cover your debts, if you fail to return: I'm not in such a hurry.
Sit down and take your dinner with us; a guest that is safe from
repeating his visit can generally be made welcome. Catherine bring
the things in: where are you?'
Catherine reappeared, bearing a tray of knives and forks.
'You may get your dinner with Joseph,' muttered Heathcliff, aside,
'and remain in the kitchen till he is gone.'
She obeyed his directions very punctually: perhaps she had no
temptation to transgress. Living among clowns and misanthropists,
she probably cannot appreciate a better class of people when she
With Mr. Heathcliff, grim and saturnine, on the one hand, and
Hareton, absolutely dumb, on the other, I made a somewhat cheerless
meal, and bade adieu early. I would have departed by the back way,
to get a last glimpse of Catherine and annoy old Joseph; but
Hareton received orders to lead up my horse, and my host himself
escorted me to the door, so I could not fulfil my wish.
'How dreary life gets over in that house!' I reflected, while
riding down the road. 'What a realisation of something more
romantic than a fairy tale it would have been for Mrs. Linton
Heathcliff, had she and I struck up an attachment, as her good
nurse desired, and migrated together into the stirring atmosphere
of the town!'
1802. - This September I was invited to devastate the moors of a
friend in the north, and on my journey to his abode, I unexpectedly
came within fifteen miles of Gimmerton. The ostler at a roadside
public-house was holding a pail of water to refresh my horses, when
a cart of very green oats, newly reaped, passed by, and he
remarked, - 'Yon's frough Gimmerton, nah! They're allas three
wick' after other folk wi' ther harvest.'
'Gimmerton?' I repeated - my residence in that locality had already
grown dim and dreamy. 'Ah! I know. How far is it from this?'
'Happen fourteen mile o'er th' hills; and a rough road,' he
A sudden impulse seized me to visit Thrushcross Grange. It was
scarcely noon, and I conceived that I might as well pass the night
under my own roof as in an inn. Besides, I could spare a day
easily to arrange matters with my landlord, and thus save myself
the trouble of invading the neighbourhood again. Having rested
awhile, I directed my servant to inquire the way to the village;
and, with great fatigue to our beasts, we managed the distance in
some three hours.
I left him there, and proceeded down the valley alone. The grey
church looked greyer, and the lonely churchyard lonelier. I
distinguished a moor-sheep cropping the short turf on the graves.
It was sweet, warm weather - too warm for travelling; but the heat
did not hinder me from enjoying the delightful scenery above and
below: had I seen it nearer August, I'm sure it would have tempted
me to waste a month among its solitudes. In winter nothing more
dreary, in summer nothing more divine, than those glens shut in by
hills, and those bluff, bold swells of heath.
I reached the Grange before sunset, and knocked for admittance; but
the family had retreated into the back premises, I judged, by one
thin, blue wreath, curling from the kitchen chimney, and they did
not hear. I rode into the court. Under the porch, a girl of nine
or ten sat knitting, and an old woman reclined on the housesteps,
smoking a meditative pipe.
'Is Mrs. Dean within?' I demanded of the dame.
'Mistress Dean? Nay!' she answered, 'she doesn't bide here:
shoo's up at th' Heights.'
'Are you the housekeeper, then?' I continued.
'Eea, aw keep th' hause,' she replied.
'Well, I'm Mr. Lockwood, the master. Are there any rooms to lodge
me in, I wonder? I wish to stay all night.'
'T' maister!' she cried in astonishment. 'Whet, whoiver knew yah
wur coming? Yah sud ha' send word. They's nowt norther dry nor
mensful abaht t' place: nowt there isn't!'
She threw down her pipe and bustled in, the girl followed, and I
entered too; soon perceiving that her report was true, and,
moreover, that I had almost upset her wits by my unwelcome
apparition, I bade her be composed. I would go out for a walk;
and, meantime she must try to prepare a corner of a sitting-room
for me to sup in, and a bedroom to sleep in. No sweeping and
dusting, only good fire and dry sheets were necessary. She seemed
willing to do her best; though she thrust the hearth-brush into the
grates in mistake for the poker, and malappropriated several other
articles of her craft: but I retired, confiding in her energy for
a resting-place against my return. Wuthering Heights was the goal
of my proposed excursion. An afterthought brought me back, when I
had quitted the court.
'All well at the Heights?' I inquired of the woman.
'Eea, f'r owt ee knaw!' she answered, skurrying away with a pan of
I would have asked why Mrs. Dean had deserted the Grange, but it
was impossible to delay her at such a crisis, so I turned away and
made my exit, rambling leisurely along, with the glow of a sinking
sun behind, and the mild glory of a rising moon in front - one
fading, and the other brightening - as I quitted the park, and
climbed the stony by-road branching off to Mr. Heathcliff's
dwelling. Before I arrived in sight of it, all that remained of
day was a beamless amber light along the west: but I could see
every pebble on the path, and every blade of grass, by that
splendid moon. I had neither to climb the gate nor to knock - it
yielded to my hand. That is an improvement, I thought. And I
noticed another, by the aid of my nostrils; a fragrance of stocks
and wallflowers wafted on the air from amongst the homely fruit-
Both doors and lattices were open; and yet, as is usually the case
in a coal-district, a fine red fire illumined the chimney: the
comfort which the eye derives from it renders the extra heat
endurable. But the house of Wuthering Heights is so large that the
inmates have plenty of space for withdrawing out of its influence;
and accordingly what inmates there were had stationed themselves
not far from one of the windows. I could both see them and hear
them talk before I entered, and looked and listened in consequence;
being moved thereto by a mingled sense of curiosity and envy, that
grew as I lingered.
'Con-TRARY!' said a voice as sweet as a silver bell. 'That for the
third time, you dunce! I'm not going to tell you again.
Recollect, or I'll pull your hair!'
'Contrary, then,' answered another, in deep but softened tones.
'And now, kiss me, for minding so well.'
'No, read it over first correctly, without a single mistake.'
The male speaker began to read: he was a young man, respectably
dressed and seated at a table, having a book before him. His
handsome features glowed with pleasure, and his eyes kept
impatiently wandering from the page to a small white hand over his
shoulder, which recalled him by a smart slap on the cheek, whenever
its owner detected such signs of inattention. Its owner stood
behind; her light, shining ringlets blending, at intervals, with
his brown looks, as she bent to superintend his studies; and her
face - it was lucky he could not see her face, or he would never
have been so steady. I could; and I bit my lip in spite, at having
thrown away the chance I might have had of doing something besides
staring at its smiting beauty.
The task was done, not free from further blunders; but the pupil
claimed a reward, and received at least five kisses; which,
however, he generously returned. Then they came to the door, and
from their conversation I judged they were about to issue out and
have a walk on the moors. I supposed I should be condemned in
Hareton Earnshaw's heart, if not by his mouth, to the lowest pit in
the infernal regions if I showed my unfortunate person in his
neighbourhood then; and feeling very mean and malignant, I skulked
round to seek refuge in the kitchen. There was unobstructed
admittance on that side also; and at the door sat my old friend
Nelly Dean, sewing and singing a song; which was often interrupted
from within by harsh words of scorn and intolerance, uttered in far
from musical accents.
'I'd rayther, by th' haulf, hev' 'em swearing i' my lugs fro'h morn
to neeght, nor hearken ye hahsiver!' said the tenant of the
kitchen, in answer to an unheard speech of Nelly's. 'It's a
blazing shame, that I cannot oppen t' blessed Book, but yah set up
them glories to sattan, and all t' flaysome wickednesses that iver
were born into th' warld! Oh! ye're a raight nowt; and shoo's
another; and that poor lad 'll be lost atween ye. Poor lad!' he
added, with a groan; 'he's witched: I'm sartin on't. Oh, Lord,
judge 'em, for there's norther law nor justice among wer rullers!'
'No! or we should be sitting in flaming fagots, I suppose,'
retorted the singer. 'But wisht, old man, and read your Bible like
a Christian, and never mind me. This is "Fairy Annie's Wedding" -
a bonny tune - it goes to a dance.'
Mrs. Dean was about to recommence, when I advanced; and recognising
me directly, she jumped to her feet, crying - 'Why, bless you, Mr.
Lockwood! How could you think of returning in this way? All's
shut up at Thrushcross Grange. You should have given us notice!'
'I've arranged to be accommodated there, for as long as I shall
stay,' I answered. 'I depart again to-morrow. And how are you
transplanted here, Mrs. Dean? tell me that.'
'Zillah left, and Mr. Heathcliff wished me to come, soon after you
went to London, and stay till you returned. But, step in, pray!
Have you walked from Gimmerton this evening?'
'From the Grange,' I replied; 'and while they make me lodging room
there, I want to finish my business with your master; because I
don't think of having another opportunity in a hurry.'
'What business, sir?' said Nelly, conducting me into the house.
'He's gone out at present, and won't return soon.'
'About the rent,' I answered.
'Oh! then it is with Mrs. Heathcliff you must settle,' she
observed; 'or rather with me. She has not learnt to manage her
affairs yet, and I act for her: there's nobody else.'
I looked surprised.
'Ah! you have not heard of Heathcliff's death, I see,' she
'Heathcliff dead!' I exclaimed, astonished. 'How long ago?'
'Three months since: but sit down, and let me take your hat, and
I'll tell you all about it. Stop, you have had nothing to eat,
'I want nothing: I have ordered supper at home. You sit down too.
I never dreamt of his dying! Let me hear how it came to pass. You
say you don't expect them back for some time - the young people?'
'No - I have to scold them every evening for their late rambles:
but they don't care for me. At least, have a drink of our old ale;
it will do you good: you seem weary.'
She hastened to fetch it before I could refuse, and I heard Joseph
asking whether 'it warn't a crying scandal that she should have
followers at her time of life? And then, to get them jocks out o'
t' maister's cellar! He fair shaamed to 'bide still and see it.'
She did not stay to retaliate, but re-entered in a minute, bearing
a reaming silver pint, whose contents I lauded with becoming
earnestness. And afterwards she furnished me with the sequel of
Heathcliff's history. He had a 'queer' end, as she expressed it.
I was summoned to Wuthering Heights, within a fortnight of your
leaving us, she said; and I obeyed joyfully, for Catherine's sake.
My first interview with her grieved and shocked me: she had
altered so much since our separation. Mr. Heathcliff did not
explain his reasons for taking a new mind about my coming here; he
only told me he wanted me, and he was tired of seeing Catherine: I
must make the little parlour my sitting-room, and keep her with me.
It was enough if he were obliged to see her once or twice a day.
She seemed pleased at this arrangement; and, by degrees, I smuggled
over a great number of books, and other articles, that had formed
her amusement at the Grange; and flattered myself we should get on
in tolerable comfort. The delusion did not last long. Catherine,
contented at first, in a brief space grew irritable and restless.
For one thing, she was forbidden to move out of the garden, and it
fretted her sadly to be confined to its narrow bounds as spring
drew on; for another, in following the house, I was forced to quit
her frequently, and she complained of loneliness: she preferred
quarrelling with Joseph in the kitchen to sitting at peace in her
solitude. I did not mind their skirmishes: but Hareton was often
obliged to seek the kitchen also, when the master wanted to have
the house to himself! and though in the beginning she either left
it at his approach, or quietly joined in my occupations, and
shunned remarking or addressing him - and though he was always as
sullen and silent as possible - after a while, she changed her
behaviour, and became incapable of letting him alone: talking at
him; commenting on his stupidity and idleness; expressing her
wonder how he could endure the life he lived - how he could sit a
whole evening staring into the fire, and dozing.
'He's just like a dog, is he not, Ellen?' she once observed, 'or a
cart-horse? He does his work, eats his food, and sleeps eternally!
What a blank, dreary mind he must have! Do you ever dream,
Hareton? And, if you do, what is it about? But you can't speak to
Then she looked at him; but he would neither open his mouth nor
'He's, perhaps, dreaming now,' she continued. 'He twitched his
shoulder as Juno twitches hers. Ask him, Ellen.'
'Mr. Hareton will ask the master to send you up-stairs, if you
don't behave!' I said. He had not only twitched his shoulder but
clenched his fist, as if tempted to use it.
'I know why Hareton never speaks, when I am in the kitchen,' she
exclaimed, on another occasion. 'He is afraid I shall laugh at
him. Ellen, what do you think? He began to teach himself to read
once; and, because I laughed, he burned his books, and dropped it:
was he not a fool?'
'Were not you naughty?' I said; 'answer me that.'
'Perhaps I was,' she went on; 'but I did not expect him to be so
silly. Hareton, if I gave you a book, would you take it now? I'll
She placed one she had been perusing on his hand; he flung it off,
and muttered, if she did not give over, he would break her neck.
'Well, I shall put it here,' she said, 'in the table-drawer; and
I'm going to bed.'
Then she whispered me to watch whether he touched it, and departed.
But he would not come near it; and so I informed her in the
morning, to her great disappointment. I saw she was sorry for his
persevering sulkiness and indolence: her conscience reproved her
for frightening him off improving himself: she had done it
effectually. But her ingenuity was at work to remedy the injury:
while I ironed, or pursued other such stationary employments as I
could not well do in the parlour, she would bring some pleasant
volume and read it aloud to me. When Hareton was there, she
generally paused in an interesting part, and left the book lying
about: that she did repeatedly; but he was as obstinate as a mule,
and, instead of snatching at her bait, in wet weather he took to
smoking with Joseph; and they sat like automatons, one on each side
of the fire, the elder happily too deaf to understand her wicked
nonsense, as he would have called it, the younger doing his best to
seem to disregard it. On fine evenings the latter followed his
shooting expeditions, and Catherine yawned and sighed, and teased
me to talk to her, and ran off into the court or garden the moment
I began; and, as a last resource, cried, and said she was tired of
living: her life was useless.
Mr. Heathcliff, who grew more and more disinclined to society, had
almost banished Earnshaw from his apartment. Owing to an accident
at the commencement of March, he became for some days a fixture in
the kitchen. His gun burst while out on the hills by himself; a
splinter cut his arm, and he lost a good deal of blood before he
could reach home. The consequence was that, perforce, he was
condemned to the fireside and tranquillity, till he made it up
again. It suited Catherine to have him there: at any rate, it
made her hate her room up-stairs more than ever: and she would
compel me to find out business below, that she might accompany me.
On Easter Monday, Joseph went to Gimmerton fair with some cattle;
and, in the afternoon, I was busy getting up linen in the kitchen.
Earnshaw sat, morose as usual, at the chimney corner, and my little
mistress was beguiling an idle hour with drawing pictures on the
window-panes, varying her amusement by smothered bursts of songs,
and whispered ejaculations, and quick glances of annoyance and
impatience in the direction of her cousin, who steadfastly smoked,
and looked into the grate. At a notice that I could do with her no
longer intercepting my light, she removed to the hearthstone. I
bestowed little attention on her proceedings, but, presently, I
heard her begin - 'I've found out, Hareton, that I want - that I'm
glad - that I should like you to be my cousin now, if you had not
grown so cross to me, and so rough.'
Hareton returned no answer.
'Hareton, Hareton, Hareton! do you hear?' she continued.
'Get off wi' ye!' he growled, with uncompromising gruffness.
'Let me take that pipe,' she said, cautiously advancing her hand
and abstracting it from his mouth.
Before he could attempt to recover it, it was broken, and behind
the fire. He swore at her and seized another.
'Stop,' she cried, 'you must listen to me first; and I can't speak
while those clouds are floating in my face.'
'Will you go to the devil!' he exclaimed, ferociously, 'and let me
'No,' she persisted, 'I won't: I can't tell what to do to make you
talk to me; and you are determined not to understand. When I call
you stupid, I don't mean anything: I don't mean that I despise
you. Come, you shall take notice of me, Hareton: you are my
cousin, and you shall own me.'
'I shall have naught to do wi' you and your mucky pride, and your
damned mocking tricks!' he answered. 'I'll go to hell, body and
soul, before I look sideways after you again. Side out o' t' gate,
now, this minute!'
Catherine frowned, and retreated to the window-seat chewing her
lip, and endeavouring, by humming an eccentric tune, to conceal a
growing tendency to sob.
'You should be friends with your cousin, Mr. Hareton,' I
interrupted, 'since she repents of her sauciness. It would do you
a great deal of good: it would make you another man to have her
for a companion.'
'A companion!' he cried; 'when she hates me, and does not think me
fit to wipe her shoon! Nay, if it made me a king, I'd not be
scorned for seeking her good-will any more.'
'It is not I who hate you, it is you who hate me!' wept Cathy, no
longer disguising her trouble. 'You hate me as much as Mr.
Heathcliff does, and more.'
'You're a damned liar,' began Earnshaw: 'why have I made him
angry, by taking your part, then, a hundred times? and that when
you sneered at and despised me, and - Go on plaguing me, and I'll
step in yonder, and say you worried me out of the kitchen!'
'I didn't know you took my part,' she answered, drying her eyes;
'and I was miserable and bitter at everybody; but now I thank you,
and beg you to forgive me: what can I do besides?'
She returned to the hearth, and frankly extended her hand. He
blackened and scowled like a thunder-cloud, and kept his fists
resolutely clenched, and his gaze fixed on the ground. Catherine,
by instinct, must have divined it was obdurate perversity, and not
dislike, that prompted this dogged conduct; for, after remaining an
instant undecided, she stooped and impressed on his cheek a gentle
kiss. The little rogue thought I had not seen her, and, drawing
back, she took her former station by the window, quite demurely. I
shook my head reprovingly, and then she blushed and whispered -
'Well! what should I have done, Ellen? He wouldn't shake hands,
and he wouldn't look: I must show him some way that I like him -
that I want to be friends.'
Whether the kiss convinced Hareton, I cannot tell: he was very
careful, for some minutes, that his face should not be seen, and
when he did raise it, he was sadly puzzled where to turn his eyes.
Catherine employed herself in wrapping a handsome book neatly in
white paper, and having tied it with a bit of ribbon, and addressed
it to 'Mr. Hareton Earnshaw,' she desired me to be her
ambassadress, and convey the present to its destined recipient.
'And tell him, if he'll take it, I'll come and teach him to read it
right,' she said; 'and, if he refuse it, I'll go upstairs, and
never tease him again.'
I carried it, and repeated the message; anxiously watched by my
employer. Hareton would not open his fingers, so I laid it on his
knee. He did not strike it off, either. I returned to my work.
Catherine leaned her head and arms on the table, till she heard the
slight rustle of the covering being removed; then she stole away,
and quietly seated herself beside her cousin. He trembled, and his
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