A charming introduction to a hermit's life!
Four weeks' torture,
these bleak winds and bitter northern skies,
and impassable roads,
and dilatory country surgeons!
this dearth of the human physiognomy!
worse than all,
the terrible intimation of Kenneth that I need not expect to be out of doors till spring!
Mr. Heathcliff has just honoured me with a call.
About seven days ago he sent me a brace of grouse --the last of the season.
He is not altogether guiltless in this illness of mine;
and that I had a great mind to tell him.
how could I offend a man who was charitable enough to sit at my bedside a good hour,
and talk on some other subject than pills and draughts,
blisters and leeches?
This is quite an easy interval.
I am too weak to read;
yet I feel as if I could enjoy something interesting.
Why not have up Mrs. Dean to finish her tale?
I can recollect its chief incidents,
as far as she had gone.
Yes: I remember her hero had run off,
and never been heard of for three years;
and the heroine was married.
I'll ring: she'll be delighted to find me capable of talking cheerfully.
Mrs. Dean came.
'It wants twenty minutes,
to taking the medicine,'
away with it!'
'I desire to have --'
'The doctor says you must drop the powders.'
'With all my heart!
Don't interrupt me.
Come and take your seat here.
Keep your fingers from that bitter phalanx of vials.
Draw your knitting out of your pocket --that will do --now continue the history of Mr. Heathcliff,
from where you left off,
to the present day.
Did he finish his education on the Continent,
and come back a gentleman?
or did he get a sizar's place at college,
or escape to America,
and earn honours by drawing blood from his foster-country?
or make a fortune more promptly on the English highways?'
'He may have done a little in all these vocations,
but I couldn't give my word for any.
I stated before that I didn't know how he gained his money;
neither am I aware of the means he took to raise his mind from the savage ignorance into which it was sunk: but,
with your leave,
I'll proceed in my own fashion,
if you think it will amuse and not weary you.
Are you feeling better this morning?'
'That's good news.'
* * * * *
I got Miss Catherine and myself to Thrushcross Grange;
to my agreeable disappointment,
she behaved infinitely better than I dared to expect.
She seemed almost over-fond of Mr. Linton;
and even to his sister she showed plenty of affection.
They were both very attentive to her comfort,
It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles,
but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn.
There were no mutual concessions: one stood erect,
and the others yielded: and who can be ill-natured and bad-tempered when they encounter neither opposition nor indifference?
I observed that Mr. Edgar had a deep-rooted fear of ruffling her humour.
He concealed it from her;
but if ever he heard me answer sharply,
or saw any other servant grow cloudy at some imperious order of hers,
he would show his trouble by a frown of displeasure that never darkened on his own account.
He many a time spoke sternly to me about my pertness;
and averred that the stab of a knife could not inflict a worse pang than he suffered at seeing his lady vexed.
Not to grieve a kind master,
I learned to be less touchy;
for the space of half a year,
the gunpowder lay as harmless as sand,
because no fire came near to explode it.
Catherine had seasons of gloom and silence now and then: they were respected with sympathising silence by her husband,
who ascribed them to an alteration in her constitution,
produced by her perilous illness;
as she was never subject to depression of spirits before.
The return of sunshine was welcomed by answering sunshine from him.
I believe I may assert that they were really in possession of deep and growing happiness.
we _must_ be for ourselves in the long run;
the mild and generous are only more justly selfish than the domineering;
and it ended when circumstances caused each to feel that the one's interest was not the chief consideration in the other's thoughts.
On a mellow evening in September,
I was coming from the garden with a heavy basket of apples which I had been gathering.
It had got dusk,
and the moon looked over the high wall of the court,
causing undefined shadows to lurk in the corners of the numerous projecting portions of the building.
I set my burden on the house-steps by the kitchen-door,
and lingered to rest,
and drew in a few more breaths of the soft,
my eyes were on the moon,
and my back to the entrance,
when I heard a voice behind me say,
is that you?'
It was a deep voice,
and foreign in tone;
yet there was something in the manner of pronouncing my name which made it sound familiar.
I turned about to discover who spoke,
for the doors were shut,
and I had seen nobody on approaching the steps.
Something stirred in the porch;
I distinguished a tall man dressed in dark clothes,
with dark face and hair.
He leant against the side,
and held his fingers on the latch as if intending to open for himself.
'Who can it be?'
The voice has no resemblance to his.'
'I have waited here an hour,'
while I continued staring;
'and the whole of that time all round has been as still as death.
I dared not enter.
You do not know me?
I'm not a stranger!'
A ray fell on his features;
the cheeks were sallow,
and half covered with black whiskers;
the brows lowering,
the eyes deep-set and singular.
I remembered the eyes.
uncertain whether to regard him as a worldly visitor,
and I raised my hands in amazement.
you come back?
Is it really you?
glancing from me up to the windows,
which reflected a score of glittering moons,
but showed no lights from within.
'Are they at home?
where is she?
you are not glad!
you needn't be so disturbed.
Is she here?
I want to have one word with her --your mistress.
and say some person from Gimmerton desires to see her.'
'How will she take it?'
'What will she do?
The surprise bewilders me --it will put her out of her head!
And you _are_ Heathcliff!
there's no comprehending it.
Have you been for a soldier?'
'Go and carry my message,'
'I'm in hell till you do!'
He lifted the latch,
and I entered;
but when I got to the parlour where Mr. and Mrs. Linton were,
I could not persuade myself to proceed.
At length I resolved on making an excuse to ask if they would have the candles lighted,
and I opened the door.
They sat together in a window whose lattice lay back against the wall,
beyond the garden trees,
and the wild green park,
the valley of Gimmerton,
with a long line of mist winding nearly to its top (for very soon after you pass the chapel,
as you may have noticed,
the sough that runs from the marshes joins a beck which follows the bend of the glen).
Wuthering Heights rose above this silvery vapour;
but our old house was invisible;
it rather dips down on the other side.
Both the room and its occupants,
and the scene they gazed on,
looked wondrously peaceful.
I shrank reluctantly from performing my errand;
and was actually going away leaving it unsaid,
after having put my question about the candles,
when a sense of my folly compelled me to return,
'A person from Gimmerton wishes to see you ma'am.'
'What does he want?'
asked Mrs. Linton.
'I did not question him,'
close the curtains,
'and bring up tea.
I'll be back again directly.'
She quitted the apartment;
Mr. Edgar inquired,
who it was.
'Some one mistress does not expect,'
'That Heathcliff --you recollect him,
sir --who used to live at Mr. Earnshaw's.'
the gipsy --the ploughboy?'
'Why did you not say so to Catherine?'
you must not call him by those names,
'She'd be sadly grieved to hear you.
She was nearly heartbroken when he ran off.
I guess his return will make a jubilee to her.'
Mr. Linton walked to a window on the other side of the room that overlooked the court.
He unfastened it,
and leant out.
I suppose they were below,
for he exclaimed quickly:
'Don't stand there,
Bring the person in,
if it be anyone particular.'
I heard the click of the latch,
and Catherine flew up-stairs,
breathless and wild;
too excited to show gladness: indeed,
by her face,
you would rather have surmised an awful calamity.
flinging her arms round his neck.
Heathcliff's come back --he is!'
And she tightened her embrace to a squeeze.
cried her husband,
'don't strangle me for that!
He never struck me as such a marvellous treasure.
There is no need to be frantic!'
'I know you didn't like him,'
repressing a little the intensity of her delight.
for my sake,
you must be friends now.
Shall I tell him to come up?'
'into the parlour?'
He looked vexed,
and suggested the kitchen as a more suitable place for him.
Mrs. Linton eyed him with a droll expression --half angry,
half laughing at his fastidiousness.
after a while;
'I cannot sit in the kitchen.
Set two tables here,
Ellen: one for your master and Miss Isabella,
the other for Heathcliff and myself,
being of the lower orders.
Will that please you,
Or must I have a fire lighted elsewhere?
I'll run down and secure my guest.
I'm afraid the joy is too great to be real!'
She was about to dart off again;
but Edgar arrested her.
'_You_ bid him step up,'
try to be glad,
without being absurd.
The whole household need not witness the sight of your welcoming a runaway servant as a brother.'
and found Heathcliff waiting under the porch,
evidently anticipating an invitation to enter.
He followed my guidance without waste of words,
and I ushered him into the presence of the master and mistress,
whose flushed cheeks betrayed signs of warm talking.
But the lady's glowed with another feeling when her friend appeared at the door: she sprang forward,
took both his hands,
and led him to Linton;
and then she seized Linton's reluctant fingers and crushed them into his.
fully revealed by the fire and candlelight,
I was amazed,
more than ever,
to behold the transformation of Heathcliff.
He had grown a tall,
beside whom my master seemed quite slender and youth-like.
His upright carriage suggested the idea of his having been in the army.
His countenance was much older in expression and decision of feature than Mr. Linton's;
it looked intelligent,
and retained no marks of former degradation.
A half-civilised ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows and eyes full of black fire,
but it was subdued;
and his manner was even dignified: quite divested of roughness,
though stern for grace.
My master's surprise equalled or exceeded mine: he remained for a minute at a loss how to address the ploughboy,
as he had called him.
Heathcliff dropped his slight hand,
and stood looking at him coolly till he chose to speak.
recalling old times,
would have me give you a cordial reception;
I am gratified when anything occurs to please her.'
'And I also,'
'especially if it be anything in which I have a part.
I shall stay an hour or two willingly.'
He took a seat opposite Catherine,
who kept her gaze fixed on him as if she feared he would vanish were she to remove it.
He did not raise his to her often: a quick glance now and then sufficed;
but it flashed back,
each time more confidently,
the undisguised delight he drank from hers.
They were too much absorbed in their mutual joy to suffer embarrassment.
Not so Mr. Edgar: he grew pale with pure annoyance: a feeling that reached its climax when his lady rose,
and stepping across the rug,
seized Heathcliff's hands again,
and laughed like one beside herself.
'I shall think it a dream to-morrow!'
'I shall not be able to believe that I have seen,
and spoken to you once more.
you don't deserve this welcome.
To be absent and silent for three years,
and never to think of me!'
'A little more than you have thought of me,'
'I heard of your marriage,
not long since;
while waiting in the yard below,
I meditated this plan --just to have one glimpse of your face,
a stare of surprise,
and pretended pleasure;
afterwards settle my score with Hindley;
and then prevent the law by doing execution on myself.
Your welcome has put these ideas out of my mind;
but beware of meeting me with another aspect next time!
you'll not drive me off again.
You were really sorry for me,
there was cause.
I've fought through a bitter life since I last heard your voice;
and you must forgive me,
for I struggled only for you!'
unless we are to have cold tea,
please to come to the table,'
striving to preserve his ordinary tone,
and a due measure of politeness.
'Mr. Heathcliff will have a long walk,
wherever he may lodge to-night;
and I'm thirsty.'
She took her post before the urn;
and Miss Isabella came,
summoned by the bell;
having handed their chairs forward,
I left the room.
The meal hardly endured ten minutes.
Catherine's cup was never filled: she could neither eat nor drink.
Edgar had made a slop in his saucer,
and scarcely swallowed a mouthful.
Their guest did not protract his stay that evening above an hour longer.
as he departed,
if he went to Gimmerton?
to Wuthering Heights,'
'Mr. Earnshaw invited me,
when I called this morning.'
Mr. Earnshaw invited _him_!
and _he_ called on Mr. Earnshaw!
I pondered this sentence painfully,
after he was gone.
Is he turning out a bit of a hypocrite,
and coming into the country to work mischief under a cloak?
I mused: I had a presentiment in the bottom of my heart that he had better have remained away.
About the middle of the night,
I was wakened from my first nap by Mrs. Linton gliding into my chamber,
taking a seat on my bedside,
and pulling me by the hair to rouse me.
'I cannot rest,
by way of apology.
'And I want some living creature to keep me company in my happiness!
Edgar is sulky,
because I'm glad of a thing that does not interest him: he refuses to open his mouth,
except to utter pettish,
and he affirmed I was cruel and selfish for wishing to talk when he was so sick and sleepy.
He always contrives to be sick at the least cross!
I gave a few sentences of commendation to Heathcliff,
either for a headache or a pang of envy,
began to cry: so I got up and left him.'
'What use is it praising Heathcliff to him?'
'As lads they had an aversion to each other,
and Heathcliff would hate just as much to hear him praised: it's human nature.
Let Mr. Linton alone about him,
unless you would like an open quarrel between them.'
'But does it not show great weakness?'
'I'm not envious: I never feel hurt at the brightness of Isabella's yellow hair and the whiteness of her skin,
at her dainty elegance,
and the fondness all the family exhibit for her.
if we have a dispute sometimes,
you back Isabella at once;
and I yield like a foolish mother: I call her a darling,
and flatter her into a good temper.
It pleases her brother to see us cordial,
and that pleases me.
But they are very much alike: they are spoiled children,
and fancy the world was made for their accommodation;
and though I humour both,
I think a smart chastisement might improve them all the same.'
'They humour you: I know what there would be to do if they did not.
You can well afford to indulge their passing whims as long as their business is to anticipate all your desires.
over something of equal consequence to both sides;
and then those you term weak are very capable of being as obstinate as you.'
'And then we shall fight to the death,
I tell you,
I have such faith in Linton's love,
that I believe I might kill him,
and he wouldn't wish to retaliate.'
I advised her to value him the more for his affection.
'but he needn't resort to whining for trifles.
It is childish and,
instead of melting into tears because I said that Heathcliff was now worthy of anyone's regard,
and it would honour the first gentleman in the country to be his friend,
he ought to have said it for me,
and been delighted from sympathy.
He must get accustomed to him,
and he may as well like him: considering how Heathcliff has reason to object to him,
I'm sure he behaved excellently!'
'What do you think of his going to Wuthering Heights?'
'He is reformed in every respect,
apparently: quite a Christian: offering the right hand of fellowship to his enemies all around!'
'He explained it,'
'I wonder as much as you.
He said he called to gather information concerning me from you,
supposing you resided there still;
and Joseph told Hindley,
who came out and fell to questioning him of what he had been doing,
and how he had been living;
desired him to walk in.
There were some persons sitting at cards;
Heathcliff joined them;
my brother lost some money to him,
finding him plentifully supplied,
he requested that he would come again in the evening: to which he consented.
Hindley is too reckless to select his acquaintance prudently: he doesn't trouble himself to reflect on the causes he might have for mistrusting one whom he has basely injured.
But Heathcliff affirms his principal reason for resuming a connection with his ancient persecutor is a wish to install himself in quarters at walking distance from the Grange,
and an attachment to the house where we lived together;
and likewise a hope that I shall have more opportunities of seeing him there than I could have if he settled in Gimmerton.
He means to offer liberal payment for permission to lodge at the Heights;
and doubtless my brother's covetousness will prompt him to accept the terms: he was always greedy;
though what he grasps with one hand he flings away with the other.'
'It's a nice place for a young man to fix his dwelling in!'
'Have you no fear of the consequences,
'None for my friend,'
'his strong head will keep him from danger;
a little for Hindley: but he can't be made morally worse than he is;
and I stand between him and bodily harm.
The event of this evening has reconciled me to God and humanity!
I had risen in angry rebellion against Providence.
I've endured very,
very bitter misery,
If that creature knew how bitter,
he'd be ashamed to cloud its removal with idle petulance.
It was kindness for him which induced me to bear it alone: had I expressed the agony I frequently felt,
he would have been taught to long for its alleviation as ardently as I.
and I'll take no revenge on his folly;
I can afford to suffer anything hereafter!
Should the meanest thing alive slap me on the cheek,
I'd not only turn the other,
but I'd ask pardon for provoking it;
as a proof,
I'll go make my peace with Edgar instantly.
I'm an angel!'
In this self-complacent conviction she departed;
and the success of her fulfilled resolution was obvious on the morrow: Mr. Linton had not only abjured his peevishness (though his spirits seemed still subdued by Catherine's exuberance of vivacity),
but he ventured no objection to her taking Isabella with her to Wuthering Heights in the afternoon;
and she rewarded him with such a summer of sweetness and affection in return as made the house a paradise for several days;
both master and servants profiting from the perpetual sunshine.
Heathcliff --Mr. Heathcliff I should say in future --used the liberty of visiting at Thrushcross Grange cautiously,
at first: he seemed estimating how far its owner would bear his intrusion.
deemed it judicious to moderate her expressions of pleasure in receiving him;
and he gradually established his right to be expected.
He retained a great deal of the reserve for which his boyhood was remarkable;
and that served to repress all startling demonstrations of feeling.
My master's uneasiness experienced a lull,
and further circumstances diverted it into another channel for a space.
His new source of trouble sprang from the not anticipated misfortune of Isabella Linton evincing a sudden and irresistible attraction towards the tolerated guest.
She was at that time a charming young lady of eighteen;
infantile in manners,
though possessed of keen wit,
and a keen temper,
who loved her tenderly,
was appalled at this fantastic preference.
Leaving aside the degradation of an alliance with a nameless man,
and the possible fact that his property,
in default of heirs male,
might pass into such a one's power,
he had sense to comprehend Heathcliff's disposition: to know that,
though his exterior was altered,
his mind was unchangeable and unchanged.
And he dreaded that mind: it revolted him: he shrank forebodingly from the idea of committing Isabella to its keeping.
He would have recoiled still more had he been aware that her attachment rose unsolicited,
and was bestowed where it awakened no reciprocation of sentiment;
for the minute he discovered its existence he laid the blame on Heathcliff's deliberate designing.
We had all remarked,
during some time,
that Miss Linton fretted and pined over something.
She grew cross and wearisome;
snapping at and teasing Catherine continually,
at the imminent risk of exhausting her limited patience.
We excused her,
to a certain extent,
on the plea of ill-health: she was dwindling and fading before our eyes.
But one day,
when she had been peculiarly wayward,
rejecting her breakfast,
complaining that the servants did not do what she told them;
that the mistress would allow her to be nothing in the house,
and Edgar neglected her;
that she had caught a cold with the doors being left open,
and we let the parlour fire go out on purpose to vex her,
with a hundred yet more frivolous accusations,
Mrs. Linton peremptorily insisted that she should get to bed;
having scolded her heartily,
threatened to send for the doctor.
Mention of Kenneth caused her to exclaim,
that her health was perfect,
and it was only Catherine's harshness which made her unhappy.
'How can you say I am harsh,
you naughty fondling?'
cried the mistress,
amazed at the unreasonable assertion.
'You are surely losing your reason.
When have I been harsh,
said her sister-in-law.
'On what occasion?'
'In our walk along the moor: you told me to ramble where I pleased,
while you sauntered on with Mr. Heathcliff!'
'And that's your notion of harshness?'
'It was no hint that your company was superfluous?
We didn't care whether you kept with us or not;
I merely thought Heathcliff's talk would have nothing entertaining for your ears.'
wept the young lady;
'you wished me away,
because you knew I liked to be there!'
'Is she sane?'
asked Mrs. Linton,
appealing to me.
'I'll repeat our conversation,
word for word,
and you point out any charm it could have had for you.'
'I don't mind the conversation,'
'I wanted to be with --'
perceiving her hesitate to complete the sentence.
'With him: and I won't be always sent off!'
'You are a dog in the manger,
and desire no one to be loved but yourself!'
'You are an impertinent little monkey!'
exclaimed Mrs. Linton,
'But I'll not believe this idiotcy!
It is impossible that you can covet the admiration of Heathcliff --that you consider him an agreeable person!
I hope I have misunderstood you,
you have not,'
said the infatuated girl.
'I love him more than ever you loved Edgar,
and he might love me,
if you would let him!'
'I wouldn't be you for a kingdom,
emphatically: and she seemed to speak sincerely.
help me to convince her of her madness.
Tell her what Heathcliff is: an unreclaimed creature,
an arid wilderness of furze and whinstone.
I'd as soon put that little canary into the park on a winter's day,
as recommend you to bestow your heart on him!
It is deplorable ignorance of his character,
and nothing else,
which makes that dream enter your head.
don't imagine that he conceals depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior!
He's not a rough diamond --a pearl-containing oyster of a rustic: he's a fierce,
I never say to him,
"Let this or that enemy alone,
because it would be ungenerous or cruel to harm them;"
"Let them alone,
because _I_ should hate them to be wronged:" and he'd crush you like a sparrow's egg,
if he found you a troublesome charge.
I know he couldn't love a Linton;
and yet he'd be quite capable of marrying your fortune and expectations: avarice is growing with him a besetting sin.
There's my picture: and I'm his friend --so much so,
that had he thought seriously to catch you,
have held my tongue,
and let you fall into his trap.'
Miss Linton regarded her sister-in-law with indignation.
'You are worse than twenty foes,
you poisonous friend!'
you won't believe me,
'You think I speak from wicked selfishness?'
'I'm certain you do,'
'and I shudder at you!'
cried the other.
'Try for yourself,
if that be your spirit: I have done,
and yield the argument to your saucy insolence.'
'And I must suffer for her egotism!'
as Mrs. Linton left the room.
all is against me: she has blighted my single consolation.
But she uttered falsehoods,
Mr. Heathcliff is not a fiend: he has an honourable soul,
and a true one,
or how could he remember her?'
'Banish him from your thoughts,
'He's a bird of bad omen: no mate for you.
Mrs. Linton spoke strongly,
and yet I can't contradict her.
She is better acquainted with his heart than I,
or any one besides;
and she never would represent him as worse than he is.
Honest people don't hide their deeds.
How has he been living?
how has he got rich?
why is he staying at Wuthering Heights,
the house of a man whom he abhors?
They say Mr. Earnshaw is worse and worse since he came.
They sit up all night together continually,
and Hindley has been borrowing money on his land,
and does nothing but play and drink: I heard only a week ago --it was Joseph who told me --I met him at Gimmerton:
"we's hae a crowner's
at ahr folks'.
's a'most getten his finger cut off wi' hauding t' other fro' stickin' hisseln loike a cawlf.
's soa up o' going tuh t' grand
He's noan feared o' t' bench o' judges,
nor noan on
He fair likes --he langs to set his brazened face agean
And yon bonny lad Heathcliff,
he's a rare
He can girn a laugh as well
's onybody at a raight divil's jest.
Does he niver say nowt of his fine living amang us,
when he goes to t' Grange?
This is t' way on
't: --up at sun-down: dice,
und can'le-light till next day at noon: then,
t'fooil gangs banning und raving to his cham'er,
makking dacent fowks dig thur fingers i' thur lugs fur varry shame;
un' the knave,
why he can caint his brass,
un' off to his neighbour's to gossip wi' t' wife.
he tells Dame Catherine how her fathur's goold runs into his pocket,
and her fathur's son gallops down t' broad road,
while he flees afore to oppen t' pikes!"
Joseph is an old rascal,
but no liar;
if his account of Heathcliff's conduct be true,
you would never think of desiring such a husband,
'You are leagued with the rest,
'I'll not listen to your slanders.
What malevolence you must have to wish to convince me that there is no happiness in the world!'
Whether she would have got over this fancy if left to herself,
or persevered in nursing it perpetually,
I cannot say: she had little time to reflect.
The day after,
there was a justice-meeting at the next town;
my master was obliged to attend;
and Mr. Heathcliff,
aware of his absence,
called rather earlier than usual.
Catherine and Isabella were sitting in the library,
on hostile terms,
but silent: the latter alarmed at her recent indiscretion,
and the disclosure she had made of her secret feelings in a transient fit of passion;
on mature consideration,
really offended with her companion;
if she laughed again at her pertness,
inclined to make it no laughing matter to her.
She did laugh as she saw Heathcliff pass the window.
I was sweeping the hearth,
and I noticed a mischievous smile on her lips.
absorbed in her meditations,
or a book,
remained till the door opened;
and it was too late to attempt an escape,
which she would gladly have done had it been practicable.
exclaimed the mistress,
pulling a chair to the fire.
'Here are two people sadly in need of a third to thaw the ice between them;
and you are the very one we should both of us choose.
I'm proud to show you,
somebody that dotes on you more than myself.
I expect you to feel flattered.
it's not Nelly;
don't look at her!
My poor little sister-in-law is breaking her heart by mere contemplation of your physical and moral beauty.
It lies in your own power to be Edgar's brother!
you sha'n't run off,'
with feigned playfulness,
the confounded girl,
who had risen indignantly.
'We were quarrelling like cats about you,
and I was fairly beaten in protestations of devotion and admiration: and,
I was informed that if I would but have the manners to stand aside,
as she will have herself to be,
would shoot a shaft into your soul that would fix you for ever,
and send my image into eternal oblivion!'
calling up her dignity,
and disdaining to struggle from the tight grasp that held her,
'I'd thank you to adhere to the truth and not slander me,
even in joke!
be kind enough to bid this friend of yours release me: she forgets that you and I are not intimate acquaintances;
and what amuses her is painful to me beyond expression.'
As the guest answered nothing,
but took his seat,
and looked thoroughly indifferent what sentiments she cherished concerning him,
she turned and whispered an earnest appeal for liberty to her tormentor.
'By no means!'
cried Mrs. Linton in answer.
'I won't be named a dog in the manger again.
You _shall_ stay: now then!
why don't you evince satisfaction at my pleasant news?
Isabella swears that the love Edgar has for me is nothing to that she entertains for you.
I'm sure she made some speech of the kind;
did she not,
And she has fasted ever since the day before yesterday's walk,
from sorrow and rage that I despatched her out of your society under the idea of its being unacceptable.'
'I think you belie her,'
twisting his chair to face them.
'She wishes to be out of my society now,
at any rate!'
And he stared hard at the object of discourse,
as one might do at a strange repulsive animal: a centipede from the Indies,
which curiosity leads one to examine in spite of the aversion it raises.
The poor thing couldn't bear that;
she grew white and red in rapid succession,
while tears beaded her lashes,
bent the strength of her small fingers to loosen the firm clutch of Catherine;
and perceiving that as fast as she raised one finger off her arm another closed down,
and she could not remove the whole together,
she began to make use of her nails;
and their sharpness presently ornamented the detainer's with crescents of red.
'There's a tigress!'
exclaimed Mrs. Linton,
setting her free,
and shaking her hand with pain.
for God's sake,
and hide your vixen face!
How foolish to reveal those talons to him.
Can't you fancy the conclusions he'll draw?
they are instruments that will do execution --you must beware of your eyes.'
'I'd wrench them off her fingers,
if they ever menaced me,'
when the door had closed after her.
'But what did you mean by teasing the creature in that manner,
You were not speaking the truth,
'I assure you I was,'
'She has been dying for your sake several weeks,
and raving about you this morning,
and pouring forth a deluge of abuse,
because I represented your failings in a plain light,
for the purpose of mitigating her adoration.
But don't notice it further: I wished to punish her sauciness,
I like her too well,
my dear Heathcliff,
to let you absolutely seize and devour her up.'
'And I like her too ill to attempt it,'
'except in a very ghoulish fashion.
You'd hear of odd things if I lived alone with that mawkish,
waxen face: the most ordinary would be painting on its white the colours of the rainbow,
and turning the blue eyes black,
every day or two: they detestably resemble Linton's.'
'They are dove's eyes --angel's!'
'She's her brother's heir,
is she not?'
after a brief silence.
'I should be sorry to think so,'
returned his companion.
'Half a dozen nephews shall erase her title,
Abstract your mind from the subject at present: you are too prone to covet your neighbour's goods;
remember _this_ neighbour's goods are mine.'
'If they were _mine_,
they would be none the less that,'
'but though Isabella Linton may be silly,
she is scarcely mad;
we'll dismiss the matter,
as you advise.'
From their tongues they did dismiss it;
from her thoughts.
I felt certain,
recalled it often in the course of the evening.
I saw him smile to himself --grin rather --and lapse into ominous musing whenever Mrs. Linton had occasion to be absent from the apartment.
I determined to watch his movements.
My heart invariably cleaved to the master's,
in preference to Catherine's side: with reason I imagined,
for he was kind,
and she --she could not be called _opposite_,
yet she seemed to allow herself such wide latitude,
that I had little faith in her principles,
and still less sympathy for her feelings.
I wanted something to happen which might have the effect of freeing both Wuthering Heights and the Grange of Mr. Heathcliff quietly;
leaving us as we had been prior to his advent.
His visits were a continual nightmare to me;
to my master also.
His abode at the Heights was an oppression past explaining.
I felt that God had forsaken the stray sheep there to its own wicked wanderings,
and an evil beast prowled between it and the fold,
waiting his time to spring and destroy.
while meditating on these things in solitude,
I've got up in a sudden terror,
and put on my bonnet to go see how all was at the farm.
I've persuaded my conscience that it was a duty to warn him how people talked regarding his ways;
and then I've recollected his confirmed bad habits,
hopeless of benefiting him,
have flinched from re-entering the dismal house,
doubting if I could bear to be taken at my word.
One time I passed the old gate,
going out of my way,
on a journey to Gimmerton.
It was about the period that my narrative has reached: a bright frosty afternoon;
the ground bare,
and the road hard and dry.
I came to a stone where the highway branches off on to the moor at your left hand;
a rough sand-pillar,
with the letters W. H.
cut on its north side,
on the east,
and on the south-west,
T. G. It serves as a guide-post to the Grange,
The sun shone yellow on its grey head,
reminding me of summer;
and I cannot say why,
but all at once a gush of child's sensations flowed into my heart.
Hindley and I held it a favourite spot twenty years before.
I gazed long at the weather-worn block;
perceived a hole near the bottom still full of snail-shells and pebbles,
which we were fond of storing there with more perishable things;
as fresh as reality,
it appeared that I beheld my early playmate seated on the withered turf: his dark,
square head bent forward,
and his little hand scooping out the earth with a piece of slate.
I started: my bodily eye was cheated into a momentary belief that the child lifted its face and stared straight into mine!
It vanished in a twinkling;
but immediately I felt an irresistible yearning to be at the Heights.
Superstition urged me to comply with this impulse: supposing he should be dead!
I thought --or should die soon!
--supposing it were a sign of death!
The nearer I got to the house the more agitated I grew;
and on catching sight of it I trembled in every limb.
The apparition had outstripped me: it stood looking through the gate.
That was my first idea on observing an elf-locked,
brown-eyed boy setting his ruddy countenance against the bars.
Further reflection suggested this must be Hareton,
not altered greatly since I left him,
ten months since.
'God bless thee,
forgetting instantaneously my foolish fears.
He retreated out of arm's length,
and picked up a large flint.
'I am come to see thy father,
guessing from the action that Nelly,
if she lived in his memory at all,
was not recognised as one with me.
He raised his missile to hurl it;
I commenced a soothing speech,
but could not stay his hand: the stone struck my bonnet;
and then ensued,
from the stammering lips of the little fellow,
a string of curses,
whether he comprehended them or not,
were delivered with practised emphasis,
and distorted his baby features into a shocking expression of malignity.
You may be certain this grieved more than angered me.
Fit to cry,
I took an orange from my pocket,
and offered it to propitiate him.
and then snatched it from my hold;
as if he fancied I only intended to tempt and disappoint him.
I showed another,
keeping it out of his reach.
'Who has taught you those fine words,
'Damn the curate,
Gie me that,'
'Tell us where you got your lessons,
and you shall have it,'
'Who's your master?'
was his answer.
'And what do you learn from daddy?'
He jumped at the fruit;
I raised it higher.
'What does he teach you?'
'but to keep out of his gait.
Daddy cannot bide me,
because I swear at him.'
and the devil teaches you to swear at daddy?'
'I asked if he liked Mr. Heathcliff.'
he answered again.
Desiring to have his reasons for liking him,
I could only gather the sentences --'I known't: he pays dad back what he gies to me --he curses daddy for cursing me.
He says I mun do as I will.'
'And the curate does not teach you to read and write,
I was told the curate should have his --teeth dashed down his --throat,
if he stepped over the threshold --Heathcliff had promised that!'
I put the orange in his hand,
and bade him tell his father that a woman called Nelly Dean was waiting to speak with him,
by the garden gate.
He went up the walk,
and entered the house;
instead of Hindley,
Heathcliff appeared on the door-stones;
and I turned directly and ran down the road as hard as ever I could race,
making no halt till I gained the guide-post,
and feeling as scared as if I had raised a goblin.
This is not much connected with Miss Isabella's affair: except that it urged me to resolve further on mounting vigilant guard,
and doing my utmost to check the spread of such bad influence at the Grange: even though I should wake a domestic storm,
by thwarting Mrs. Linton's pleasure.
The next time Heathcliff came my young lady chanced to be feeding some pigeons in the court.
She had never spoken a word to her sister-in-law for three days;
but she had likewise dropped her fretful complaining,
and we found it a great comfort.
Heathcliff had not the habit of bestowing a single unnecessary civility on Miss Linton,
as soon as he beheld her,
his first precaution was to take a sweeping survey of the house-front.
I was standing by the kitchen-window,
but I drew out of sight.
He then stepped across the pavement to her,
and said something: she seemed embarrassed,
and desirous of getting away;
to prevent it,
he laid his hand on her arm.
She averted her face: he apparently put some question which she had no mind to answer.
There was another rapid glance at the house,
and supposing himself unseen,
the scoundrel had the impudence to embrace her.
'You are a hypocrite,
A deliberate deceiver.'
said Catherine's voice at my elbow: I had been over-intent on watching the pair outside to mark her entrance.
'Your worthless friend!'
'the sneaking rascal yonder.
he has caught a glimpse of us --he is coming in!
I wonder will he have the heart to find a plausible excuse for making love to Miss,
when he told you he hated her?'
Mrs. Linton saw Isabella tear herself free,
and run into the garden;
and a minute after,
Heathcliff opened the door.
I couldn't withhold giving some loose to my indignation;
but Catherine angrily insisted on silence,
and threatened to order me out of the kitchen,
if I dared to be so presumptuous as to put in my insolent tongue.
'To hear you,
people might think you were the mistress!'
'You want setting down in your right place!
what are you about,
raising this stir?
I said you must let Isabella alone!
--I beg you will,
unless you are tired of being received here,
and wish Linton to draw the bolts against you!'
'God forbid that he should try!'
answered the black villain.
I detested him just then.
'God keep him meek and patient!
Every day I grow madder after sending him to heaven!'
shutting the inner door!
'Don't vex me.
Why have you disregarded my request?
Did she come across you on purpose?'
'What is it to you?'
'I have a right to kiss her,
if she chooses;
and you have no right to object.
I am not _your_ husband: _you_ needn't be jealous of me!'
'I'm not jealous of you,'
replied the mistress;
'I'm jealous for you.
Clear your face: you sha'n't scowl at me!
If you like Isabella,
you shall marry her.
But do you like her?
Tell the truth,
you won't answer.
I'm certain you don't.'
'And would Mr. Linton approve of his sister marrying that man?'
'Mr. Linton should approve,'
returned my lady,
'He might spare himself the trouble,'
'I could do as well without his approbation.
And as to you,
I have a mind to speak a few words now,
while we are at it.
I want you to be aware that I _know_ you have treated me infernally --infernally!
Do you hear?
And if you flatter yourself that I don't perceive it,
you are a fool;
and if you think I can be consoled by sweet words,
you are an idiot: and if you fancy I'll suffer unrevenged,
I'll convince you of the contrary,
in a very little while!
thank you for telling me your sister-in-law's secret: I swear I'll make the most of it.
And stand you aside!'
'What new phase of his character is this?'
exclaimed Mrs. Linton,
'I've treated you infernally --and you'll take your revenge!
How will you take it,
How have I treated you infernally?'
'I seek no revenge on you,'
'That's not the plan.
The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don't turn against him;
they crush those beneath them.
You are welcome to torture me to death for your amusement,
only allow me to amuse myself a little in the same style,
and refrain from insult as much as you are able.
Having levelled my palace,
don't erect a hovel and complacently admire your own charity in giving me that for a home.
If I imagined you really wished me to marry Isabel,
I'd cut my throat!'
the evil is that I am _not_ jealous,
I won't repeat my offer of a wife: it is as bad as offering Satan a lost soul.
Your bliss lies,
in inflicting misery.
You prove it.
Edgar is restored from the ill-temper he gave way to at your coming;
I begin to be secure and tranquil;
restless to know us at peace,
appear resolved on exciting a quarrel.
Quarrel with Edgar,
if you please,
and deceive his sister: you'll hit on exactly the most efficient method of revenging yourself on me.'
The conversation ceased.
Mrs. Linton sat down by the fire,
flushed and gloomy.
The spirit which served her was growing intractable: she could neither lay nor control it.
He stood on the hearth with folded arms,
brooding on his evil thoughts;
and in this position I left them to seek the master,
who was wondering what kept Catherine below so long.
when I entered,
'have you seen your mistress?'
she's in the kitchen,
'She's sadly put out by Mr. Heathcliff's behaviour: and,
I do think it's time to arrange his visits on another footing.
There's harm in being too soft,
and now it's come to this --.'
And I related the scene in the court,
as near as I dared,
the whole subsequent dispute.
I fancied it could not be very prejudicial to Mrs. Linton;
unless she made it so afterwards,
by assuming the defensive for her guest.
Edgar Linton had difficulty in hearing me to the close.
His first words revealed that he did not clear his wife of blame.
'This is insufferable!'
'It is disgraceful that she should own him for a friend,
and force his company on me!
Call me two men out of the hall,
Catherine shall linger no longer to argue with the low ruffian --I have humoured her enough.'
and bidding the servants wait in the passage,
followed by me,
to the kitchen.
Its occupants had recommenced their angry discussion: Mrs. Linton,
was scolding with renewed vigour;
Heathcliff had moved to the window,
and hung his head,
somewhat cowed by her violent rating apparently.
He saw the master first,
and made a hasty motion that she should be silent;
which she obeyed,
on discovering the reason of his intimation.
'How is this?'
'what notion of propriety must you have to remain here,
after the language which has been held to you by that blackguard?
because it is his ordinary talk you think nothing of it: you are habituated to his baseness,
imagine I can get used to it too!'
'Have you been listening at the door,
asked the mistress,
in a tone particularly calculated to provoke her husband,
implying both carelessness and contempt of his irritation.
who had raised his eyes at the former speech,
gave a sneering laugh at the latter;
to draw Mr. Linton's attention to him.
but Edgar did not mean to entertain him with any high flights of passion.
'I've been so far forbearing with you,
he said quietly;
'not that I was ignorant of your miserable,
but I felt you were only partly responsible for that;
and Catherine wishing to keep up your acquaintance,
I acquiesced --foolishly.
Your presence is a moral poison that would contaminate the most virtuous: for that cause,
and to prevent worse consequences,
I shall deny you hereafter admission into this house,
and give notice now that I require your instant departure.
Three minutes' delay will render it involuntary and ignominious.
Heathcliff measured the height and breadth of the speaker with an eye full of derision.
this lamb of yours threatens like a bull!'
'It is in danger of splitting its skull against my knuckles.
I'm mortally sorry that you are not worth knocking down!'
My master glanced towards the passage,
and signed me to fetch the men: he had no intention of hazarding a personal encounter.
I obeyed the hint;
but Mrs. Linton,
and when I attempted to call them,
she pulled me back,
slammed the door to,
and locked it.
in answer to her husband's look of angry surprise.
'If you have not courage to attack him,
make an apology,
or allow yourself to be beaten.
It will correct you of feigning more valour than you possess.
I'll swallow the key before you shall get it!
I'm delightfully rewarded for my kindness to each!
After constant indulgence of one's weak nature,
and the other's bad one,
I earn for thanks two samples of blind ingratitude,
stupid to absurdity!
I was defending you and yours;
and I wish Heathcliff may flog you sick,
for daring to think an evil thought of me!'
It did not need the medium of a flogging to produce that effect on the master.
He tried to wrest the key from Catherine's grasp,
and for safety she flung it into the hottest part of the fire;
whereupon Mr. Edgar was taken with a nervous trembling,
and his countenance grew deadly pale.
For his life he could not avert that excess of emotion: mingled anguish and humiliation overcame him completely.
He leant on the back of a chair,
and covered his face.
In old days this would win you knighthood!'
exclaimed Mrs. Linton.
'We are vanquished!
we are vanquished!
Heathcliff would as soon lift a finger at you as the king would march his army against a colony of mice.
you sha'n't be hurt!
Your type is not a lamb,
it's a sucking leveret.'
'I wish you joy of the milk-blooded coward,
said her friend.
'I compliment you on your taste.
And that is the slavering,
shivering thing you preferred to me!
I would not strike him with my fist,
but I'd kick him with my foot,
and experience considerable satisfaction.
Is he weeping,
or is he going to faint for fear?'
The fellow approached and gave the chair on which Linton rested a push.
He'd better have kept his distance: my master quickly sprang erect,
and struck him full on the throat a blow that would have levelled a slighter man.
It took his breath for a minute;
and while he choked,
Mr. Linton walked out by the back door into the yard,
and from thence to the front entrance.
you've done with coming here,'
he'll return with a brace of pistols and half-a-dozen assistants.
If he did overhear us,
of course he'd never forgive you.
You've played me an ill turn,
But go --make haste!
I'd rather see Edgar at bay than you.'
'Do you suppose I'm going with that blow burning in my gullet?'
I'll crush his ribs in like a rotten hazel-nut before I cross the threshold!
If I don't floor him now,
I shall murder him some time;
as you value his existence,
let me get at him!'
'He is not coming,'
framing a bit of a lie.
'There's the coachman and the two gardeners;
you'll surely not wait to be thrust into the road by them!
Each has a bludgeon;
and master will,
be watching from the parlour-windows to see that they fulfil his orders.'
The gardeners and coachman were there: but Linton was with them.
They had already entered the court.
on the second thoughts,
resolved to avoid a struggle against three underlings: he seized the poker,
smashed the lock from the inner door,
and made his escape as they tramped in.
who was very much excited,
bade me accompany her up-stairs.
She did not know my share in contributing to the disturbance,
and I was anxious to keep her in ignorance.
'I'm nearly distracted,
throwing herself on the sofa.
'A thousand smiths' hammers are beating in my head!
Tell Isabella to shun me;
this uproar is owing to her;
and should she or any one else aggravate my anger at present,
I shall get wild.
say to Edgar,
if you see him again to-night,
that I'm in danger of being seriously ill.
I wish it may prove true.
He has startled and distressed me shockingly!
I want to frighten him.
he might come and begin a string of abuse or complainings;
I'm certain I should recriminate,
and God knows where we should end!
Will you do so,
my good Nelly?
You are aware that I am no way blamable in this matter.
What possessed him to turn listener?
Heathcliff's talk was outrageous,
after you left us;
but I could soon have diverted him from Isabella,
and the rest meant nothing.
Now all is dashed wrong;
by the fool's craving to hear evil of self,
that haunts some people like a demon!
Had Edgar never gathered our conversation,
he would never have been the worse for it.
when he opened on me in that unreasonable tone of displeasure after I had scolded Heathcliff till I was hoarse for him,
I did not care hardly what they did to each other;
especially as I felt that,
however the scene closed,
we should all be driven asunder for nobody knows how long!
if I cannot keep Heathcliff for my friend --if Edgar will be mean and jealous,
I'll try to break their hearts by breaking my own.
That will be a prompt way of finishing all,
when I am pushed to extremity!
But it's a deed to be reserved for a forlorn hope;
I'd not take Linton by surprise with it.
To this point he has been discreet in dreading to provoke me;
you must represent the peril of quitting that policy,
and remind him of my passionate temper,
I wish you could dismiss that apathy out of that countenance,
and look rather more anxious about me.'
The stolidity with which I received these instructions was,
rather exasperating: for they were delivered in perfect sincerity;
but I believed a person who could plan the turning of her fits of passion to account,
by exerting her will,
manage to control herself tolerably,
even while under their influence;
and I did not wish to
'frighten' her husband,
as she said,
and multiply his annoyances for the purpose of serving her selfishness.
Therefore I said nothing when I met the master coming towards the parlour;
but I took the liberty of turning back to listen whether they would resume their quarrel together.
He began to speak first.
'Remain where you are,
without any anger in his voice,
but with much sorrowful despondency.
'I shall not stay.
I am neither come to wrangle nor be reconciled;
but I wish just to learn whether,
after this evening's events,
you intend to continue your intimacy with --'
for mercy's sake,'
interrupted the mistress,
stamping her foot,
'for mercy's sake,
let us hear no more of it now!
Your cold blood cannot be worked into a fever: your veins are full of ice-water;
but mine are boiling,
and the sight of such chillness makes them dance.'
'To get rid of me,
answer my question,'
persevered Mr. Linton.
'You must answer it;
and that violence does not alarm me.
I have found that you can be as stoical as anyone,
when you please.
Will you give up Heathcliff hereafter,
or will you give up me?
It is impossible for you to be _my_ friend and _his_ at the same time;
and I absolutely _require_ to know which you choose.'
'I require to be let alone!'
'I demand it!
Don't you see I can scarcely stand?
you --you leave me!'
She rang the bell till it broke with a twang;
I entered leisurely.
It was enough to try the temper of a saint,
There she lay dashing her head against the arm of the sofa,
and grinding her teeth,
so that you might fancy she would crash them to splinters!
Mr. Linton stood looking at her in sudden compunction and fear.
He told me to fetch some water.
She had no breath for speaking.
I brought a glass full;
and as she would not drink,
I sprinkled it on her face.
In a few seconds she stretched herself out stiff,
and turned up her eyes,
while her cheeks,
at once blanched and livid,
assumed the aspect of death.
Linton looked terrified.
'There is nothing in the world the matter,'
I did not want him to yield,
though I could not help being afraid in my heart.
'She has blood on her lips!'
And I told him how she had resolved,
previous to his coming,
on exhibiting a fit of frenzy.
I incautiously gave the account aloud,
and she heard me;
for she started up --her hair flying over her shoulders,
her eyes flashing,
the muscles of her neck and arms standing out preternaturally.
I made up my mind for broken bones,
but she only glared about her for an instant,
and then rushed from the room.
The master directed me to follow;
to her chamber-door: she hindered me from going further by securing it against me.
As she never offered to descend to breakfast next morning,
I went to ask whether she would have some carried up.
The same question was repeated at dinner and tea;
and again on the morrow after,
and received the same answer.
on his part,
spent his time in the library,
and did not inquire concerning his wife's occupations.
Isabella and he had had an hour's interview,
during which he tried to elicit from her some sentiment of proper horror for Heathcliff's advances: but he could make nothing of her evasive replies,
and was obliged to close the examination unsatisfactorily;
a solemn warning,
that if she were so insane as to encourage that worthless suitor,
it would dissolve all bonds of relationship between herself and him.
While Miss Linton moped about the park and garden,
and almost always in tears;
and her brother shut himself up among books that he never opened --wearying,
with a continual vague expectation that Catherine,
repenting her conduct,
would come of her own accord to ask pardon,
and seek a reconciliation --and _she_ fasted pertinaciously,
under the idea,
that at every meal Edgar was ready to choke for her absence,
and pride alone held him from running to cast himself at her feet;
I went about my household duties,
convinced that the Grange had but one sensible soul in its walls,
and that lodged in my body.
I wasted no condolences on Miss,
nor any expostulations on my mistress;
nor did I pay much attention to the sighs of my master,
who yearned to hear his lady's name,
since he might not hear her voice.
I determined they should come about as they pleased for me;
and though it was a tiresomely slow process,
I began to rejoice at length in a faint dawn of its progress: as I thought at first.
on the third day,
unbarred her door,
and having finished the water in her pitcher and decanter,
desired a renewed supply,
and a basin of gruel,
for she believed she was dying.
That I set down as a speech meant for Edgar's ears;
I believed no such thing,
so I kept it to myself and brought her some tea and dry toast.
She ate and drank eagerly,
and sank back on her pillow again,
clenching her hands and groaning.
I will die,'
'since no one cares anything about me.
I wish I had not taken that.'
Then a good while after I heard her murmur,
I'll not die --he'd be glad --he does not love me at all --he would never miss me!'
'Did you want anything,
still preserving my external composure,
in spite of her ghastly countenance and strange,
'What is that apathetic being doing?'
pushing the thick entangled locks from her wasted face.
'Has he fallen into a lethargy,
or is he dead?'
'if you mean Mr. Linton.
He's tolerably well,
though his studies occupy him rather more than they ought: he is continually among his books,
since he has no other society.'
I should not have spoken so if I had known her true condition,
but I could not get rid of the notion that she acted a part of her disorder.
'Among his books!'
'And I dying!
I on the brink of the grave!
does he know how I'm altered?'
staring at her reflection in a mirror hanging against the opposite wall.
'Is that Catherine Linton?
He imagines me in a pet --in play,
Cannot you inform him that it is frightful earnest?
if it be not too late,
as soon as I learn how he feels,
I'll choose between these two: either to starve at once --that would be no punishment unless he had a heart --or to recover,
and leave the country.
Are you speaking the truth about him now?
Is he actually so utterly indifferent for my life?'
'the master has no idea of your being deranged;
and of course he does not fear that you will let yourself die of hunger.'
'You think not?
Cannot you tell him I will?'
speak of your own mind: say you are certain I will!'
'that you have eaten some food with a relish this evening,
and to-morrow you will perceive its good effects.'
'If I were only sure it would kill him,'
'I'd kill myself directly!
These three awful nights I've never closed my lids --and oh,
I've been tormented!
I've been haunted,
But I begin to fancy you don't like me.
though everybody hated and despised each other,
they could not avoid loving me.
And they have all turned to enemies in a few hours: they have,
the people here.
How dreary to meet death,
surrounded by their cold faces!
terrified and repelled,
afraid to enter the room,
it would be so dreadful to watch Catherine go.
And Edgar standing solemnly by to see it over;
then offering prayers of thanks to God for restoring peace to his house,
and going back to his _books_!
What in the name of all that feels has he to do with _books_,
when I am dying?'
She could not bear the notion which I had put into her head of Mr. Linton's philosophical resignation.
she increased her feverish bewilderment to madness,
and tore the pillow with her teeth;
then raising herself up all burning,
desired that I would open the window.
We were in the middle of winter,
the wind blew strong from the north-east,
and I objected.
Both the expressions flitting over her face,
and the changes of her moods,
began to alarm me terribly;
and brought to my recollection her former illness,
and the doctor's injunction that she should not be crossed.
A minute previously she was violent;
supported on one arm,
and not noticing my refusal to obey her,
she seemed to find childish diversion in pulling the feathers from the rents she had just made,
and ranging them on the sheet according to their different species: her mind had strayed to other associations.
'That's a turkey's,'
she murmured to herself;
'and this is a wild duck's;
and this is a pigeon's.
they put pigeons' feathers in the pillows --no wonder I couldn't die!
Let me take care to throw it on the floor when I lie down.
And here is a moor-cock's;
and this --I should know it among a thousand --it's a lapwing's.
wheeling over our heads in the middle of the moor.
It wanted to get to its nest,
for the clouds had touched the swells,
and it felt rain coming.
This feather was picked up from the heath,
the bird was not shot: we saw its nest in the winter,
full of little skeletons.
Heathcliff set a trap over it,
and the old ones dared not come.
I made him promise he'd never shoot a lapwing after that,
and he didn't.
here are more!
Did he shoot my lapwings,
Are they red,
any of them?
Let me look.'
'Give over with that baby-work!'
dragging the pillow away,
and turning the holes towards the mattress,
for she was removing its contents by handfuls.
'Lie down and shut your eyes: you're wandering.
There's a mess!
The down is flying about like snow.'
I went here and there collecting it.
'I see in you,
she continued dreamily,
'an aged woman: you have grey hair and bent shoulders.
This bed is the fairy cave under Penistone crags,
and you are gathering elf-bolts to hurt our heifers;
while I am near,
that they are only locks of wool.
That's what you'll come to fifty years hence: I know you are not so now.
I'm not wandering: you're mistaken,
or else I should believe you really _were_ that withered hag,
and I should think I _was_ under Penistone Crags;
and I'm conscious it's night,
and there are two candles on the table making the black press shine like jet.'
'The black press?
where is that?'
'You are talking in your sleep!'
'It's against the wall,
as it always is,'
'It _does_ appear odd --I see a face in it!'
'There's no press in the room,
and never was,'
resuming my seat,
and looping up the curtain that I might watch her.
'Don't _you_ see that face?'
gazing earnestly at the mirror.
And say what I could,
I was incapable of making her comprehend it to be her own;
so I rose and covered it with a shawl.
'It's behind there still!'
'And it stirred.
Who is it?
I hope it will not come out when you are gone!
the room is haunted!
I'm afraid of being alone!'
I took her hand in mine,
and bid her be composed;
for a succession of shudders convulsed her frame,
and she would keep straining her gaze towards the glass.
'There's nobody here!'
'It was _yourself_,
Mrs. Linton: you knew it a while since.'
'and the clock is striking twelve!
Her fingers clutched the clothes,
and gathered them over her eyes.
I attempted to steal to the door with an intention of calling her husband;
but I was summoned back by a piercing shriek --the shawl had dropped from the frame.
what is the matter?'
'Who is coward now?
That is the glass --the mirror,
and you see yourself in it,
and there am I too by your side.'
Trembling and bewildered,
she held me fast,
but the horror gradually passed from her countenance;
its paleness gave place to a glow of shame.
I thought I was at home,'
'I thought I was lying in my chamber at Wuthering Heights.
Because I'm weak,
my brain got confused,
and I screamed unconsciously.
Don't say anything;
but stay with me.
I dread sleeping: my dreams appal me.'
'A sound sleep would do you good,
'and I hope this suffering will prevent your trying starving again.'
if I were but in my own bed in the old house!'
she went on bitterly,
wringing her hands.
'And that wind sounding in the firs by the lattice.
Do let me feel it --it comes straight down the moor --do let me have one breath!'
To pacify her I held the casement ajar a few seconds.
A cold blast rushed through;
I closed it,
and returned to my post.
She lay still now,
her face bathed in tears.
Exhaustion of body had entirely subdued her spirit: our fiery Catherine was no better than a wailing child.
'How long is it since I shut myself in here?'
'It was Monday evening,'
'and this is Thursday night,
or rather Friday morning,
of the same week?'
'Only that brief time?'
'Long enough to live on nothing but cold water and ill-temper,'
it seems a weary number of hours,'
she muttered doubtfully:
'it must be more.
I remember being in the parlour after they had quarrelled,
and Edgar being cruelly provoking,
and me running into this room desperate.
As soon as ever I had barred the door,
utter blackness overwhelmed me,
and I fell on the floor.
I couldn't explain to Edgar how certain I felt of having a fit,
or going raging mad,
if he persisted in teasing me!
I had no command of tongue,
and he did not guess my agony,
perhaps: it barely left me sense to try to escape from him and his voice.
Before I recovered sufficiently to see and hear,
it began to be dawn,
I'll tell you what I thought,
and what has kept recurring and recurring till I feared for my reason.
I thought as I lay there,
with my head against that table leg,
and my eyes dimly discerning the grey square of the window,
that I was enclosed in the oak-panelled bed at home;
and my heart ached with some great grief which,
I could not recollect.
and worried myself to discover what it could be,
the whole last seven years of my life grew a blank!
I did not recall that they had been at all.
I was a child;
my father was just buried,
and my misery arose from the separation that Hindley had ordered between me and Heathcliff.
I was laid alone,
for the first time;
rousing from a dismal doze after a night of weeping,
I lifted my hand to push the panels aside: it struck the table-top!
I swept it along the carpet,
and then memory burst in: my late anguish was swallowed in a paroxysm of despair.
I cannot say why I felt so wildly wretched: it must have been temporary derangement;
for there is scarcely cause.
supposing at twelve years old I had been wrenched from the Heights,
and every early association,
and my all in all,
as Heathcliff was at that time,
and been converted at a stroke into Mrs. Linton,
the lady of Thrushcross Grange,
and the wife of a stranger: an exile,
from what had been my world.
You may fancy a glimpse of the abyss where I grovelled!
Shake your head as you will,
you have helped to unsettle me!
You should have spoken to Edgar,
indeed you should,
and compelled him to leave me quiet!
I wish I were out of doors!
I wish I were a girl again,
half savage and hardy,
and laughing at injuries,
not maddening under them!
Why am I so changed?
why does my blood rush into a hell of tumult at a few words?
I'm sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on those hills.
Open the window again wide: fasten it open!
why don't you move?'
'Because I won't give you your death of cold,'
'You won't give me a chance of life,
I'm not helpless yet;
I'll open it myself.'
And sliding from the bed before I could hinder her,
she crossed the room,
walking very uncertainly,
threw it back,
and bent out,
careless of the frosty air that cut about her shoulders as keen as a knife.
and finally attempted to force her to retire.
But I soon found her delirious strength much surpassed mine (she was delirious,
I became convinced by her subsequent actions and ravings).
There was no moon,
and everything beneath lay in misty darkness: not a light gleamed from any house,
far or near all had been extinguished long ago: and those at Wuthering Heights were never visible --still she asserted she caught their shining.
she cried eagerly,
'that's my room with the candle in it,
and the trees swaying before it;
and the other candle is in Joseph's garret.
Joseph sits up late,
He's waiting till I come home that he may lock the gate.
he'll wait a while yet.
It's a rough journey,
and a sad heart to travel it;
and we must pass by Gimmerton Kirk to go that journey!
We've braved its ghosts often together,
and dared each other to stand among the graves and ask them to come.
if I dare you now,
will you venture?
If you do,
I'll keep you.
I'll not lie there by myself: they may bury me twelve feet deep,
and throw the church down over me,
but I won't rest till you are with me.
I never will!'
and resumed with a strange smile.
'He's considering --he'd rather I'd come to him!
Find a way,
not through that kirkyard.
You are slow!
you always followed me!'
Perceiving it vain to argue against her insanity,
I was planning how I could reach something to wrap about her,
without quitting my hold of herself (for I could not trust her alone by the gaping lattice),
to my consternation,
I heard the rattle of the door-handle,
and Mr. Linton entered.
He had only then come from the library;
in passing through the lobby,
had noticed our talking and been attracted by curiosity,
to examine what it signified,
at that late hour.
checking the exclamation risen to his lips at the sight which met him,
and the bleak atmosphere of the chamber.
'My poor mistress is ill,
and she quite masters me: I cannot manage her at all;
come and persuade her to go to bed.
Forget your anger,
for she's hard to guide any way but her own.'
hastening to us.
'Shut the window,
He was silent.
The haggardness of Mrs. Linton's appearance smote him speechless,
and he could only glance from her to me in horrified astonishment.
'She's been fretting here,'
'and eating scarcely anything,
and never complaining: she would admit none of us till this evening,
and so we couldn't inform you of her state,
as we were not aware of it ourselves;
but it is nothing.'
I felt I uttered my explanations awkwardly;
the master frowned.
'It is nothing,
he said sternly.
'You shall account more clearly for keeping me ignorant of this!'
And he took his wife in his arms,
and looked at her with anguish.
At first she gave him no glance of recognition: he was invisible to her abstracted gaze.
The delirium was not fixed,
having weaned her eyes from contemplating the outer darkness,
by degrees she centred her attention on him,
and discovered who it was that held her.
you are come,
with angry animation.
'You are one of those things that are ever found when least wanted,
and when you are wanted,
I suppose we shall have plenty of lamentations now --I see we shall --but they can't keep me from my narrow home out yonder: my resting-place,
where I'm bound before spring is over!
There it is: not among the Lintons,
under the chapel-roof,
but in the open air,
with a head-stone;
and you may please yourself whether you go to them or come to me!'
what have you done?'
commenced the master.
'Am I nothing to you any more?
Do you love that wretch Heath --'
cried Mrs. Linton.
You mention that name and I end the matter instantly by a spring from the window!
What you touch at present you may have;
but my soul will be on that hill-top before you lay hands on me again.
I don't want you,
Edgar: I'm past wanting you.
Return to your books.
I'm glad you possess a consolation,
for all you had in me is gone.'
'Her mind wanders,
'She has been talking nonsense the whole evening;
but let her have quiet,
and proper attendance,
and she'll rally.
we must be cautious how we vex her.'
'I desire no further advice from you,'
answered Mr. Linton.
'You knew your mistress's nature,
and you encouraged me to harass her.
And not to give me one hint of how she has been these three days!
It was heartless!
Months of sickness could not cause such a change!'
I began to defend myself,
thinking it too bad to be blamed for another's wicked waywardness.
'I knew Mrs. Linton's nature to be headstrong and domineering,'
'but I didn't know that you wished to foster her fierce temper!
I didn't know that,
to humour her,
I should wink at Mr. Heathcliff.
I performed the duty of a faithful servant in telling you,
and I have got a faithful servant's wages!
it will teach me to be careful next time.
Next time you may gather intelligence for yourself!'
'The next time you bring a tale to me you shall quit my service,
'You'd rather hear nothing about it,
'Heathcliff has your permission to come a-courting to Miss,
and to drop in at every opportunity your absence offers,
on purpose to poison the mistress against you?'
Confused as Catherine was,
her wits were alert at applying our conversation.
Nelly has played traitor,'
'Nelly is my hidden enemy.
So you do seek elf-bolts to hurt us!
Let me go,
and I'll make her rue!
I'll make her howl a recantation!'
A maniac's fury kindled under her brows;
she struggled desperately to disengage herself from Linton's arms.
I felt no inclination to tarry the event;
resolving to seek medical aid on my own responsibility,
I quitted the chamber.
In passing the garden to reach the road,
at a place where a bridle hook is driven into the wall,
I saw something white moved irregularly,
evidently by another agent than the wind.
Notwithstanding my hurry,
I stayed to examine it,
lest ever after I should have the conviction impressed on my imagination that it was a creature of the other world.
My surprise and perplexity were great on discovering,
by touch more than vision,
Miss Isabella's springer,
suspended by a handkerchief,
and nearly at its last gasp.
I quickly released the animal,
and lifted it into the garden.
I had seen it follow its mistress up-stairs when she went to bed;
and wondered much how it could have got out there,
and what mischievous person had treated it so.
While untying the knot round the hook,
it seemed to me that I repeatedly caught the beat of horses' feet galloping at some distance;
but there were such a number of things to occupy my reflections that I hardly gave the circumstance a thought: though it was a strange sound,
in that place,
at two o'clock in the morning.
Mr. Kenneth was fortunately just issuing from his house to see a patient in the village as I came up the street;
and my account of Catherine Linton's malady induced him to accompany me back immediately.
He was a plain rough man;
and he made no scruple to speak his doubts of her surviving this second attack;
unless she were more submissive to his directions than she had shown herself before.
'I can't help fancying there's an extra cause for this.
What has there been to do at the Grange?
We've odd reports up here.
hearty lass like Catherine does not fall ill for a trifle;
and that sort of people should not either.
It's hard work bringing them through fevers,
and such things.
How did it begin?'
'The master will inform you,'
'but you are acquainted with the Earnshaws' violent dispositions,
and Mrs. Linton caps them all.
I may say this;
it commenced in a quarrel.
She was struck during a tempest of passion with a kind of fit.
That's her account,
at least: for she flew off in the height of it,
and locked herself up.
she refused to eat,
and now she alternately raves and remains in a half dream;
knowing those about her,
but having her mind filled with all sorts of strange ideas and illusions.'
'Mr. Linton will be sorry?'
he'll break his heart should anything happen!'
'Don't alarm him more than necessary.'
I told him to beware,'
said my companion;
'and he must bide the consequences of neglecting my warning!
Hasn't he been intimate with Mr. Heathcliff lately?'
'Heathcliff frequently visits at the Grange,'
'though more on the strength of the mistress having known him when a boy,
than because the master likes his company.
At present he's discharged from the trouble of calling;
owing to some presumptuous aspirations after Miss Linton which he manifested.
I hardly think he'll be taken in again.'
'And does Miss Linton turn a cold shoulder on him?'
was the doctor's next question.
'I'm not in her confidence,'
reluctant to continue the subject.
she's a sly one,'
shaking his head.
'She keeps her own counsel!
But she's a real little fool.
I have it from good authority that last night (and a pretty night it was!) she and Heathcliff were walking in the plantation at the back of your house above two hours;
and he pressed her not to go in again,
but just mount his horse and away with him!
My informant said she could only put him off by pledging her word of honour to be prepared on their first meeting after that: when it was to be he didn't hear;
but you urge Mr. Linton to look sharp!'
This news filled me with fresh fears;
I outstripped Kenneth,
and ran most of the way back.
The little dog was yelping in the garden yet.
I spared a minute to open the gate for it,
but instead of going to the house door,
it coursed up and down snuffing the grass,
and would have escaped to the road,
had I not seized it and conveyed it in with me.
On ascending to Isabella's room,
my suspicions were confirmed: it was empty.
Had I been a few hours sooner Mrs. Linton's illness might have arrested her rash step.
But what could be done now?
There was a bare possibility of overtaking them if pursued instantly.
_I_ could not pursue them,
and I dared not rouse the family,
and fill the place with confusion;
still less unfold the business to my master,
absorbed as he was in his present calamity,
and having no heart to spare for a second grief!
I saw nothing for it but to hold my tongue,
and suffer matters to take their course;
and Kenneth being arrived,
I went with a badly composed countenance to announce him.
Catherine lay in a troubled sleep: her husband had succeeded in soothing the excess of frenzy;
he now hung over her pillow,
watching every shade and every change of her painfully expressive features.
on examining the case for himself,
spoke hopefully to him of its having a favourable termination,
if we could only preserve around her perfect and constant tranquillity.
he signified the threatening danger was not so much death,
as permanent alienation of intellect.
I did not close my eyes that night,
nor did Mr. Linton: indeed,
we never went to bed;
and the servants were all up long before the usual hour,
moving through the house with stealthy tread,
and exchanging whispers as they encountered each other in their vocations.
Every one was active but Miss Isabella;
and they began to remark how sound she slept: her brother,
asked if she had risen,
and seemed impatient for her presence,
and hurt that she showed so little anxiety for her sister-in-law.
I trembled lest he should send me to call her;
but I was spared the pain of being the first proclaimant of her flight.
One of the maids,
a thoughtless girl,
who had been on an early errand to Gimmerton,
came panting up-stairs,
and dashed into the chamber,
What mun we have next?
our young lady --'
'Hold your noise!'
enraged at her clamorous manner.
Mary --What is the matter?'
said Mr. Linton.
'What ails your young lady?'
Yon' Heathcliff's run off wi' her!'
gasped the girl.
'That is not true!'
rising in agitation.
'It cannot be: how has the idea entered your head?
go and seek her.
It is incredible: it cannot be.'
As he spoke he took the servant to the door,
and then repeated his demand to know her reasons for such an assertion.
I met on the road a lad that fetches milk here,'
'and he asked whether we weren't in trouble at the Grange.
I thought he meant for missis's sickness,
so I answered,
Then says he,
"There's somebody gone after
He saw I knew nought about it,
and he told how a gentleman and lady had stopped to have a horse's shoe fastened at a blacksmith's shop,
two miles out of Gimmerton,
not very long after midnight!
and how the blacksmith's lass had got up to spy who they were: she knew them both directly.
And she noticed the man --Heathcliff it was,
she felt certain: nob'dy could mistake him,
besides --put a sovereign in her father's hand for payment.
The lady had a cloak about her face;
but having desired a sup of water,
while she drank it fell back,
and she saw her very plain.
Heathcliff held both bridles as they rode on,
and they set their faces from the village,
and went as fast as the rough roads would let them.
The lass said nothing to her father,
but she told it all over Gimmerton this morning.'
I ran and peeped,
for form's sake,
into Isabella's room;
when I returned,
the servant's statement.
Mr. Linton had resumed his seat by the bed;
on my re-entrance,
he raised his eyes,
read the meaning of my blank aspect,
and dropped them without giving an order,
or uttering a word.
'Are we to try any measures for overtaking and bringing her back,'
'How should we do?'
'She went of her own accord,'
answered the master;
'she had a right to go if she pleased.
Trouble me no more about her.
Hereafter she is only my sister in name: not because I disown her,
but because she has disowned me.'
And that was all he said on the subject: he did not make single inquiry further,
or mention her in any way,
except directing me to send what property she had in the house to her fresh home,
wherever it was,
when I knew it.
For two months the fugitives remained absent;
in those two months,
Mrs. Linton encountered and conquered the worst shock of what was denominated a brain fever.
No mother could have nursed an only child more devotedly than Edgar tended her.
Day and night he was watching,
and patiently enduring all the annoyances that irritable nerves and a shaken reason could inflict;
though Kenneth remarked that what he saved from the grave would only recompense his care by forming the source of constant future anxiety --in fact,
that his health and strength were being sacrificed to preserve a mere ruin of humanity --he knew no limits in gratitude and joy when Catherine's life was declared out of danger;
and hour after hour he would sit beside her,
tracing the gradual return to bodily health,
and flattering his too sanguine hopes with the illusion that her mind would settle back to its right balance also,
and she would soon be entirely her former self.
The first time she left her chamber was at the commencement of the following March.
Mr. Linton had put on her pillow,
in the morning,
a handful of golden crocuses;
long stranger to any gleam of pleasure,
caught them in waking,
and shone delighted as she gathered them eagerly together.
'These are the earliest flowers at the Heights,'
'They remind me of soft thaw winds,
and warm sunshine,
and nearly melted snow.
is there not a south wind,
and is not the snow almost gone?'
'The snow is quite gone down here,
replied her husband;
'and I only see two white spots on the whole range of moors: the sky is blue,
and the larks are singing,
and the becks and brooks are all brim full.
last spring at this time,
I was longing to have you under this roof;
I wish you were a mile or two up those hills: the air blows so sweetly,
I feel that it would cure you.'
'I shall never be there but once more,'
said the invalid;
'and then you'll leave me,
and I shall remain for ever.
Next spring you'll long again to have me under this roof,
and you'll look back and think you were happy to-day.'
Linton lavished on her the kindest caresses,
and tried to cheer her by the fondest words;
vaguely regarding the flowers,
she let the tears collect on her lashes and stream down her cheeks unheeding.
We knew she was really better,
decided that long confinement to a single place produced much of this despondency,
and it might be partially removed by a change of scene.
The master told me to light a fire in the many-weeks' deserted parlour,
and to set an easy-chair in the sunshine by the window;
and then he brought her down,
and she sat a long while enjoying the genial heat,
as we expected,
revived by the objects round her: which,
were free from the dreary associations investing her hated sick chamber.
By evening she seemed greatly exhausted;
yet no arguments could persuade her to return to that apartment,
and I had to arrange the parlour sofa for her bed,
till another room could be prepared.
To obviate the fatigue of mounting and descending the stairs,
we fitted up this,
where you lie at present --on the same floor with the parlour;
and she was soon strong enough to move from one to the other,
leaning on Edgar's arm.
I thought myself,
she might recover,
so waited on as she was.
And there was double cause to desire it,
for on her existence depended that of another: we cherished the hope that in a little while Mr. Linton's heart would be gladdened,
and his lands secured from a stranger's gripe,
by the birth of an heir.
I should mention that Isabella sent to her brother,
some six weeks from her departure,
a short note,
announcing her marriage with Heathcliff.
It appeared dry and cold;
but at the bottom was dotted in with pencil an obscure apology,
and an entreaty for kind remembrance and reconciliation,
if her proceeding had offended him: asserting that she could not help it then,
and being done,
she had now no power to repeal it.
Linton did not reply to this,
in a fortnight more,
I got a long letter,
which I considered odd,
coming from the pen of a bride just out of the honeymoon.
I'll read it: for I keep it yet.
Any relic of the dead is precious,
if they were valued living.
* * * * *
--I came last night to Wuthering Heights,
for the first time,
that Catherine has been,
and is yet,
I must not write to her,
and my brother is either too angry or too distressed to answer what I sent him.
I must write to somebody,
and the only choice left me is you.
Inform Edgar that I'd give the world to see his face again --that my heart returned to Thrushcross Grange in twenty-four hours after I left it,
and is there at this moment,
full of warm feelings for him,
_I can't follow it though_ --(these words are underlined) --they need not expect me,
and they may draw what conclusions they please;
to lay nothing at the door of my weak will or deficient affection.
The remainder of the letter is for yourself alone.
I want to ask you two questions: the first is,
--How did you contrive to preserve the common sympathies of human nature when you resided here?
I cannot recognise any sentiment which those around share with me.
The second question I have great interest in;
it is this --Is Mr. Heathcliff a man?
is he mad?
And if not,
is he a devil?
I sha'n't tell my reasons for making this inquiry;
but I beseech you to explain,
if you can,
what I have married: that is,
when you call to see me;
and you must call,
and bring me something from Edgar.
you shall hear how I have been received in my new home,
as I am led to imagine the Heights will be.
It is to amuse myself that I dwell on such subjects as the lack of external comforts: they never occupy my thoughts,
except at the moment when I miss them.
I should laugh and dance for joy,
if I found their absence was the total of my miseries,
and the rest was an unnatural dream!
The sun set behind the Grange as we turned on to the moors;
I judged it to be six o'clock;
and my companion halted half an hour,
to inspect the park,
and the gardens,
the place itself,
as well as he could;
so it was dark when we dismounted in the paved yard of the farm-house,
and your old fellow-servant,
issued out to receive us by the light of a dip candle.
He did it with a courtesy that redounded to his credit.
His first act was to elevate his torch to a level with my face,
project his under-lip,
and turn away.
Then he took the two horses,
and led them into the stables;
reappearing for the purpose of locking the outer gate,
as if we lived in an ancient castle.
Heathcliff stayed to speak to him,
and I entered the kitchen --a dingy,
I daresay you would not know it,
it is so changed since it was in your charge.
By the fire stood a ruffianly child,
strong in limb and dirty in garb,
with a look of Catherine in his eyes and about his mouth.
'This is Edgar's legal nephew,'
I reflected --'mine in a manner;
I must shake hands,
and --yes --I must kiss him.
It is right to establish a good understanding at the beginning.'
attempting to take his chubby fist,
said --'How do you do,
He replied in a jargon I did not comprehend.
'Shall you and I be friends,
was my next essay at conversation.
and a threat to set Throttler on me if I did not
'frame off' rewarded my perseverance.
whispered the little wretch,
rousing a half-bred bull-dog from its lair in a corner.
wilt thou be ganging?'
he asked authoritatively.
Love for my life urged a compliance;
I stepped over the threshold to wait till the others should enter.
Mr. Heathcliff was nowhere visible;
whom I followed to the stables,
and requested to accompany me in,
after staring and muttering to himself,
screwed up his nose and replied --'Mim!
Did iver Christian body hear aught like it?
Mincing un' munching!
How can I tell whet ye say?'
I wish you to come with me into the house!'
thinking him deaf,
yet highly disgusted at his rudeness.
'None o' me!
I getten summut else to do,'
and continued his work;
moving his lantern jaws meanwhile,
and surveying my dress and countenance (the former a great deal too fine,
but the latter,
as sad as he could desire) with sovereign contempt.
I walked round the yard,
and through a wicket,
to another door,
at which I took the liberty of knocking,
in hopes some more civil servant might show himself.
After a short suspense,
it was opened by a tall,
and otherwise extremely slovenly;
his features were lost in masses of shaggy hair that hung on his shoulders;
and _his_ eyes,
were like a ghostly Catherine's with all their beauty annihilated.
'What's your business here?'
'Who are you?'
'My name was Isabella Linton,'
'You've seen me before,
I'm lately married to Mr. Heathcliff,
and he has brought me here --I suppose,
by your permission.'
'Is he come back,
asked the hermit,
glaring like a hungry wolf.
'Yes --we came just now,'
'but he left me by the kitchen door;
and when I would have gone in,
your little boy played sentinel over the place,
and frightened me off by the help of a bull-dog.'
'It's well the hellish villain has kept his word!'
growled my future host,
searching the darkness beyond me in expectation of discovering Heathcliff;
and then he indulged in a soliloquy of execrations,
and threats of what he would have done had the
'fiend' deceived him.
I repented having tried this second entrance,
and was almost inclined to slip away before he finished cursing,
but ere I could execute that intention,
he ordered me in,
and shut and re-fastened the door.
There was a great fire,
and that was all the light in the huge apartment,
whose floor had grown a uniform grey;
and the once brilliant pewter-dishes,
which used to attract my gaze when I was a girl,
partook of a similar obscurity,
created by tarnish and dust.
I inquired whether I might call the maid,
and be conducted to a bedroom!
Mr. Earnshaw vouchsafed no answer.
He walked up and down,
with his hands in his pockets,
apparently quite forgetting my presence;
and his abstraction was evidently so deep,
and his whole aspect so misanthropical,
that I shrank from disturbing him again.
You'll not be surprised,
at my feeling particularly cheerless,
seated in worse than solitude on that inhospitable hearth,
and remembering that four miles distant lay my delightful home,
containing the only people I loved on earth;
and there might as well be the Atlantic to part us,
instead of those four miles: I could not overpass them!
I questioned with myself --where must I turn for comfort?
and --mind you don't tell Edgar,
or Catherine --above every sorrow beside,
this rose pre-eminent: despair at finding nobody who could or would be my ally against Heathcliff!
I had sought shelter at Wuthering Heights,
because I was secured by that arrangement from living alone with him;
but he knew the people we were coming amongst,
and he did not fear their intermeddling.
I sat and thought a doleful time: the clock struck eight,
and still my companion paced to and fro,
his head bent on his breast,
and perfectly silent,
unless a groan or a bitter ejaculation forced itself out at intervals.
I listened to detect a woman's voice in the house,
and filled the interim with wild regrets and dismal anticipations,
spoke audibly in irrepressible sighing and weeping.
I was not aware how openly I grieved,
till Earnshaw halted opposite,
in his measured walk,
and gave me a stare of newly-awakened surprise.
Taking advantage of his recovered attention,
I exclaimed --'I'm tired with my journey,
and I want to go to bed!
Where is the maid-servant?
Direct me to her,
as she won't come to me!'
'We have none,'
'you must wait on yourself!'
'Where must I sleep,
I was beyond regarding self-respect,
weighed down by fatigue and wretchedness.
'Joseph will show you Heathcliff's chamber,'
'open that door --he's in there.'
I was going to obey,
but he suddenly arrested me,
and added in the strangest tone --'Be so good as to turn your lock,
and draw your bolt --don't omit it!'
I did not relish the notion of deliberately fastening myself in with Heathcliff.
pulling from his waistcoat a curiously-constructed pistol,
having a double-edged spring knife attached to the barrel.
'That's a great tempter to a desperate man,
is it not?
I cannot resist going up with this every night,
and trying his door.
If once I find it open he's done for;
I do it invariably,
even though the minute before I have been recalling a hundred reasons that should make me refrain: it is some devil that urges me to thwart my own schemes by killing him.
You fight against that devil for love as long as you may;
when the time comes,
not all the angels in heaven shall save him!'
I surveyed the weapon inquisitively.
A hideous notion struck me: how powerful I should be possessing such an instrument!
I took it from his hand,
and touched the blade.
He looked astonished at the expression my face assumed during a brief second: it was not horror,
it was covetousness.
He snatched the pistol back,
shut the knife,
and returned it to its concealment.
'I don't care if you tell him,'
'Put him on his guard,
and watch for him.
You know the terms we are on,
I see: his danger does not shock you.'
'What has Heathcliff done to you?'
'In what has he wronged you,
to warrant this appalling hatred?
Wouldn't it be wiser to bid him quit the house?'
'should he offer to leave me,
he's a dead man: persuade him to attempt it,
and you are a murderess!
Am I to lose _all_,
without a chance of retrieval?
Is Hareton to be a beggar?
I _will_ have it back;
and I'll have _his_ gold too;
and then his blood;
and hell shall have his soul!
It will be ten times blacker with that guest than ever it was before!'
You've acquainted me,
with your old master's habits.
He is clearly on the verge of madness: he was so last night at least.
I shuddered to be near him,
and thought on the servant's ill-bred moroseness as comparatively agreeable.
He now recommenced his moody walk,
and I raised the latch,
and escaped into the kitchen.
Joseph was bending over the fire,
peering into a large pan that swung above it;
and a wooden bowl of oatmeal stood on the settle close by.
The contents of the pan began to boil,
and he turned to plunge his hand into the bowl;
I conjectured that this preparation was probably for our supper,
I resolved it should be eatable;
crying out sharply,
'_I'll_ make the porridge!'
I removed the vessel out of his reach,
and proceeded to take off my hat and riding-habit.
'directs me to wait on myself: I will.
I'm not going to act the lady among you,
for fear I should starve.'
and stroking his ribbed stockings from the knee to the ankle.
'If there's to be fresh ortherings --just when I getten used to two maisters,
if I mun hev' a _mistress_ set o'er my heead,
it's like time to be flitting.
I niver _did_ think to see t' day that I mud lave th' owld place --but I doubt it's nigh at hand!'
This lamentation drew no notice from me: I went briskly to work,
sighing to remember a period when it would have been all merry fun;
but compelled speedily to drive off the remembrance.
It racked me to recall past happiness and the greater peril there was of conjuring up its apparition,
the quicker the thible ran round,
and the faster the handfuls of meal fell into the water.
Joseph beheld my style of cookery with growing indignation.
thou willn't sup thy porridge to-neeght;
they'll be naught but lumps as big as my neive.
I'd fling in bowl un' all,
if I wer ye!
pale t' guilp off,
un' then ye'll hae done wi'
It's a mercy t' bothom isn't deaved out!'
It _was_ rather a rough mess,
when poured into the basins;
four had been provided,
and a gallon pitcher of new milk was brought from the dairy,
which Hareton seized and commenced drinking and spilling from the expansive lip.
and desired that he should have his in a mug;
affirming that I could not taste the liquid treated so dirtily.
The old cynic chose to be vastly offended at this nicety;
'the barn was every bit as good' as I,
'and every bit as wollsome,'
and wondering how I could fashion to be so conceited.
the infant ruffian continued sucking;
and glowered up at me defyingly,
as he slavered into the jug.
'I shall have my supper in another room,'
'Have you no place you call a parlour?'
we've noa _parlours_.
If yah dunnut loike wer company,
un' if yah dunnut loike maister,
'Then I shall go up-stairs,'
'show me a chamber.'
I put my basin on a tray,
and went myself to fetch some more milk.
With great grumblings,
the fellow rose,
and preceded me in my ascent: we mounted to the garrets;
he opened a door,
now and then,
to look into the apartments we passed.
'Here's a rahm,'
flinging back a cranky board on hinges.
'It's weel eneugh to ate a few porridge in.
There's a pack o' corn i' t' corner,
if ye're feared o' muckying yer grand silk cloes,
spread yer hankerchir o' t' top on't.'
'rahm' was a kind of lumber-hole smelling strong of malt and grain;
various sacks of which articles were piled around,
leaving a wide,
bare space in the middle.
facing him angrily,
'this is not a place to sleep in.
I wish to see my bed-room.'
in a tone of mockery.
'Yah's see all t' _bed-rumes_ thear is --yon's mine.'
He pointed into the second garret,
only differing from the first in being more naked about the walls,
and having a large,
with an indigo-coloured quilt,
at one end.
'What do I want with yours?'
'I suppose Mr. Heathcliff does not lodge at the top of the house,
it's Maister _Hathecliff's_ ye're wanting?'
as if making a new discovery.
'Couldn't ye ha' said soa,
I mud ha' telled ye,
baht all this wark,
that that's just one ye cannut see --he allas keeps it locked,
un' nob'dy iver mells on't but hisseln.'
'You've a nice house,
I could not refrain from observing,
'and pleasant inmates;
and I think the concentrated essence of all the madness in the world took up its abode in my brain the day I linked my fate with theirs!
that is not to the present purpose --there are other rooms.
For heaven's sake be quick,
and let me settle somewhere!'
He made no reply to this adjuration;
only plodding doggedly down the wooden steps,
before an apartment which,
from that halt and the superior quality of its furniture,
I conjectured to be the best one.
There was a carpet --a good one,
but the pattern was obliterated by dust;
a fireplace hung with cut-paper,
dropping to pieces;
a handsome oak-bedstead with ample crimson curtains of rather expensive material and modern make;
but they had evidently experienced rough usage: the vallances hung in festoons,
wrenched from their rings,
and the iron rod supporting them was bent in an arc on one side,
causing the drapery to trail upon the floor.
The chairs were also damaged,
many of them severely;
and deep indentations deformed the panels of the walls.
I was endeavouring to gather resolution for entering and taking possession,
when my fool of a guide announced,
--'This here is t' maister's.'
My supper by this time was cold,
my appetite gone,
and my patience exhausted.
I insisted on being provided instantly with a place of refuge,
and means of repose.
'Whear the divil?'
began the religious elder.
'The Lord bless us!
The Lord forgie us!
Whear the _hell_ wold ye gang?
Ye've seen all but Hareton's bit of a cham'er.
There's not another hoile to lig down in i' th' hahse!'
I was so vexed,
I flung my tray and its contents on the ground;
and then seated myself at the stairs'-head,
hid my face in my hands,
t' maister sall just tum'le o'er them brooken pots;
un' then we's hear summut;
we's hear how it's to be.
ye desarve pining fro' this to Churstmas,
flinging t' precious gifts o'God under fooit i' yer flaysome rages!
But I'm mista'en if ye shew yer sperrit lang.
Will Hathecliff bide sich bonny ways,
I nobbut wish he may catch ye i' that plisky.
I nobbut wish he may.'
And so he went on scolding to his den beneath,
taking the candle with him;
and I remained in the dark.
The period of reflection succeeding this silly action compelled me to admit the necessity of smothering my pride and choking my wrath,
and bestirring myself to remove its effects.
An unexpected aid presently appeared in the shape of Throttler,
whom I now recognised as a son of our old Skulker: it had spent its whelphood at the Grange,
and was given by my father to Mr. Hindley.
I fancy it knew me: it pushed its nose against mine by way of salute,
and then hastened to devour the porridge;
while I groped from step to step,
collecting the shattered earthenware,
and drying the spatters of milk from the banister with my pocket-handkerchief.
Our labours were scarcely over when I heard Earnshaw's tread in the passage;
my assistant tucked in his tail,
and pressed to the wall;
I stole into the nearest doorway.
The dog's endeavour to avoid him was unsuccessful;
as I guessed by a scutter down-stairs,
and a prolonged,
I had better luck: he passed on,
entered his chamber,
and shut the door.
Directly after Joseph came up with Hareton,
to put him to bed.
I had found shelter in Hareton's room,
and the old man,
on seeing me,
--'They's rahm for boath ye un' yer pride,
I sud think i' the hahse.
ye may hev' it all to yerseln,
un' Him as allus maks a third,
i' sich ill company!'
Gladly did I take advantage of this intimation;
and the minute I flung myself into a chair,
by the fire,
My slumber was deep and sweet,
though over far too soon.
Mr. Heathcliff awoke me;
he had just come in,
in his loving manner,
what I was doing there?
I told him the cause of my staying up so late --that he had the key of our room in his pocket.
The adjective _our_ gave mortal offence.
He swore it was not,
nor ever should be,
and he'd --but I'll not repeat his language,
nor describe his habitual conduct: he is ingenious and unresting in seeking to gain my abhorrence!
I sometimes wonder at him with an intensity that deadens my fear: yet,
I assure you,
a tiger or a venomous serpent could not rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakens.
He told me of Catherine's illness,
and accused my brother of causing it promising that I should be Edgar's proxy in suffering,
till he could get hold of him.
I do hate him --I am wretched --I have been a fool!
Beware of uttering one breath of this to any one at the Grange.
I shall expect you every day --don't disappoint me!
As soon as I had perused this epistle I went to the master,
and informed him that his sister had arrived at the Heights,
and sent me a letter expressing her sorrow for Mrs. Linton's situation,
and her ardent desire to see him;
with a wish that he would transmit to her,
as early as possible,
some token of forgiveness by me.
'I have nothing to forgive her,
You may call at Wuthering Heights this afternoon,
if you like,
and say that I am not angry,
but I'm sorry to have lost her;
especially as I can never think she'll be happy.
It is out of the question my going to see her,
however: we are eternally divided;
and should she really wish to oblige me,
let her persuade the villain she has married to leave the country.'
'And you won't write her a little note,
'It is needless.
My communication with Heathcliff's family shall be as sparing as his with mine.
It shall not exist!'
Mr. Edgar's coldness depressed me exceedingly;
and all the way from the Grange I puzzled my brains how to put more heart into what he said,
when I repeated it;
and how to soften his refusal of even a few lines to console Isabella.
I daresay she had been on the watch for me since morning: I saw her looking through the lattice as I came up the garden causeway,
and I nodded to her;
but she drew back,
as if afraid of being observed.
I entered without knocking.
There never was such a dreary,
dismal scene as the formerly cheerful house presented!
I must confess,
that if I had been in the young lady's place,
have swept the hearth,
and wiped the tables with a duster.
But she already partook of the pervading spirit of neglect which encompassed her.
Her pretty face was wan and listless;
her hair uncurled: some locks hanging lankly down,
and some carelessly twisted round her head.
Probably she had not touched her dress since yester evening.
Hindley was not there.
Mr. Heathcliff sat at a table,
turning over some papers in his pocket-book;
but he rose when I appeared,
asked me how I did,
and offered me a chair.
He was the only thing there that seemed decent;
and I thought he never looked better.
So much had circumstances altered their positions,
that he would certainly have struck a stranger as a born and bred gentleman;
and his wife as a thorough little slattern!
She came forward eagerly to greet me,
and held out one hand to take the expected letter.
I shook my head.
She wouldn't understand the hint,
but followed me to a sideboard,
where I went to lay my bonnet,
and importuned me in a whisper to give her directly what I had brought.
Heathcliff guessed the meaning of her manoeuvres,
and said --'If you have got anything for Isabella (as no doubt you have,
give it to her.
You needn't make a secret of it: we have no secrets between us.'
I have nothing,'
thinking it best to speak the truth at once.
'My master bid me tell his sister that she must not expect either a letter or a visit from him at present.
He sends his love,
and his wishes for your happiness,
and his pardon for the grief you have occasioned;
but he thinks that after this time his household and the household here should drop intercommunication,
as nothing could come of keeping it up.'
Mrs. Heathcliff's lip quivered slightly,
and she returned to her seat in the window.
Her husband took his stand on the hearthstone,
and began to put questions concerning Catherine.
I told him as much as I thought proper of her illness,
and he extorted from me,
most of the facts connected with its origin.
I blamed her,
as she deserved,
for bringing it all on herself;
and ended by hoping that he would follow Mr. Linton's example and avoid future interference with his family,
for good or evil.
'Mrs. Linton is now just recovering,'
'she'll never be like she was,
but her life is spared;
and if you really have a regard for her,
you'll shun crossing her way again: nay,
you'll move out of this country entirely;
and that you may not regret it,
I'll inform you Catherine Linton is as different now from your old friend Catherine Earnshaw,
as that young lady is different from me.
Her appearance is changed greatly,
her character much more so;
and the person who is compelled,
to be her companion,
will only sustain his affection hereafter by the remembrance of what she once was,
by common humanity,
and a sense of duty!'
'That is quite possible,'
forcing himself to seem calm:
'quite possible that your master should have nothing but common humanity and a sense of duty to fall back upon.
But do you imagine that I shall leave Catherine to his _duty_ and _humanity_?
and can you compare my feelings respecting Catherine to his?
Before you leave this house,
I must exact a promise from you that you'll get me an interview with her: consent,
I _will_ see her!
What do you say?'
'you must not: you never shall,
through my means.
Another encounter between you and the master would kill her altogether.'
'With your aid that may be avoided,'
'and should there be danger of such an event --should he be the cause of adding a single trouble more to her existence --why,
I think I shall be justified in going to extremes!
I wish you had sincerity enough to tell me whether Catherine would suffer greatly from his loss: the fear that she would restrains me.
And there you see the distinction between our feelings: had he been in my place,
and I in his,
though I hated him with a hatred that turned my life to gall,
I never would have raised a hand against him.
You may look incredulous,
if you please!
I never would have banished him from her society as long as she desired his.
The moment her regard ceased,
I would have torn his heart out,
and drunk his blood!
till then --if you don't believe me,
you don't know me --till then,
I would have died by inches before I touched a single hair of his head!'
'you have no scruples in completely ruining all hopes of her perfect restoration,
by thrusting yourself into her remembrance now,
when she has nearly forgotten you,
and involving her in a new tumult of discord and distress.'
'You suppose she has nearly forgotten me?'
you know she has not!
You know as well as I do,
that for every thought she spends on Linton she spends a thousand on me!
At a most miserable period of my life,
I had a notion of the kind: it haunted me on my return to the neighbourhood last summer;
but only her own assurance could make me admit the horrible idea again.
Linton would be nothing,
nor all the dreams that ever I dreamt.
Two words would comprehend my future --_death_ and _hell_: existence,
after losing her,
would be hell.
Yet I was a fool to fancy for a moment that she valued Edgar Linton's attachment more than mine.
If he loved with all the powers of his puny being,
he couldn't love as much in eighty years as I could in a day.
And Catherine has a heart as deep as I have: the sea could be as readily contained in that horse-trough as her whole affection be monopolised by him.
He is scarcely a degree dearer to her than her dog,
or her horse.
It is not in him to be loved like me: how can she love in him what he has not?'
'Catherine and Edgar are as fond of each other as any two people can be,'
with sudden vivacity.
'No one has a right to talk in that manner,
and I won't hear my brother depreciated in silence!'
'Your brother is wondrous fond of you too,
'He turns you adrift on the world with surprising alacrity.'
'He is not aware of what I suffer,'
'I didn't tell him that.'
'You have been telling him something,
then: you have written,
'To say that I was married,
I did write --you saw the note.'
'And nothing since?'
'My young lady is looking sadly the worse for her change of condition,'
'Somebody's love comes short in her case,
I may guess;
I shouldn't say.'
'I should guess it was her own,'
'She degenerates into a mere slut!
She is tired of trying to please me uncommonly early.
You'd hardly credit it,
but the very morrow of our wedding she was weeping to go home.
she'll suit this house so much the better for not being over nice,
and I'll take care she does not disgrace me by rambling abroad.'
'I hope you'll consider that Mrs. Heathcliff is accustomed to be looked after and waited on;
and that she has been brought up like an only daughter,
whom every one was ready to serve.
You must let her have a maid to keep things tidy about her,
and you must treat her kindly.
Whatever be your notion of Mr. Edgar,
you cannot doubt that she has a capacity for strong attachments,
or she wouldn't have abandoned the elegancies,
and friends of her former home,
to fix contentedly,
in such a wilderness as this,
'She abandoned them under a delusion,'
'picturing in me a hero of romance,
and expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion.
I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature,
so obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character and acting on the false impressions she cherished.
I think she begins to know me: I don't perceive the silly smiles and grimaces that provoked me at first;
and the senseless incapability of discerning that I was in earnest when I gave her my opinion of her infatuation and herself.
It was a marvellous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her.
at one time,
no lessons could teach her that!
And yet it is poorly learnt;
for this morning she announced,
as a piece of appalling intelligence,
that I had actually succeeded in making her hate me!
A positive labour of Hercules,
I assure you!
If it be achieved,
I have cause to return thanks.
Can I trust your assertion,
Are you sure you hate me?
If I let you alone for half a day,
won't you come sighing and wheedling to me again?
I daresay she would rather I had seemed all tenderness before you: it wounds her vanity to have the truth exposed.
But I don't care who knows that the passion was wholly on one side: and I never told her a lie about it.
She cannot accuse me of showing one bit of deceitful softness.
The first thing she saw me do,
on coming out of the Grange,
was to hang up her little dog;
and when she pleaded for it,
the first words I uttered were a wish that I had the hanging of every being belonging to her,
except one: possibly she took that exception for herself.
But no brutality disgusted her: I suppose she has an innate admiration of it,
if only her precious person were secure from injury!
was it not the depth of absurdity --of genuine idiotcy,
for that pitiful,
mean-minded brach to dream that I could love her?
Tell your master,
that I never,
in all my life,
met with such an abject thing as she is.
She even disgraces the name of Linton;
and I've sometimes relented,
from pure lack of invention,
in my experiments on what she could endure,
and still creep shamefully cringing back!
But tell him,
to set his fraternal and magisterial heart at ease: that I keep strictly within the limits of the law.
I have avoided,
up to this period,
giving her the slightest right to claim a separation;
she'd thank nobody for dividing us.
If she desired to go,
she might: the nuisance of her presence outweighs the gratification to be derived from tormenting her!'
'this is the talk of a madman;
is convinced you are mad;
for that reason,
she has borne with you hitherto: but now that you say she may go,
she'll doubtless avail herself of the permission.
You are not so bewitched,
as to remain with him of your own accord?'
her eyes sparkling irefully;
there was no misdoubting by their expression the full success of her partner's endeavours to make himself detested.
'Don't put faith in a single word he speaks.
He's a lying fiend!
and not a human being!
I've been told I might leave him before;
and I've made the attempt,
but I dare not repeat it!
promise you'll not mention a syllable of his infamous conversation to my brother or Catherine.
Whatever he may pretend,
he wishes to provoke Edgar to desperation: he says he has married me on purpose to obtain power over him;
and he sha'n't obtain it --I'll die first!
I just hope,
that he may forget his diabolical prudence and kill me!
The single pleasure I can imagine is to die,
or to see him dead!'
'There --that will do for the present!'
'If you are called upon in a court of law,
you'll remember her language,
And take a good look at that countenance: she's near the point which would suit me.
you're not fit to be your own guardian,
being your legal protector,
must retain you in my custody,
however distasteful the obligation may be.
I have something to say to Ellen Dean in private.
That's not the way: up-stairs,
I tell you!
this is the road upstairs,
and thrust her from the room;
and returned muttering --'I have no pity!
I have no pity!
The more the worms writhe,
the more I yearn to crush out their entrails!
It is a moral teething;
and I grind with greater energy in proportion to the increase of pain.'
'Do you understand what the word pity means?'
hastening to resume my bonnet.
'Did you ever feel a touch of it in your life?'
'Put that down!'
perceiving my intention to depart.
'You are not going yet.
Come here now,
Nelly: I must either persuade or compel you to aid me in fulfilling my determination to see Catherine,
and that without delay.
I swear that I meditate no harm: I don't desire to cause any disturbance,
or to exasperate or insult Mr. Linton;
I only wish to hear from herself how she is,
and why she has been ill;
and to ask if anything that I could do would be of use to her.
Last night I was in the Grange garden six hours,
and I'll return there to-night;
and every night I'll haunt the place,
and every day,
till I find an opportunity of entering.
If Edgar Linton meets me,
I shall not hesitate to knock him down,
and give him enough to insure his quiescence while I stay.
If his servants oppose me,
I shall threaten them off with these pistols.
But wouldn't it be better to prevent my coming in contact with them,
or their master?
And you could do it so easily.
I'd warn you when I came,
and then you might let me in unobserved,
as soon as she was alone,
and watch till I departed,
your conscience quite calm: you would be hindering mischief.'
I protested against playing that treacherous part in my employer's house: and,
I urged the cruelty and selfishness of his destroying Mrs. Linton's tranquillity for his satisfaction.
'The commonest occurrence startles her painfully,'
'She's all nerves,
and she couldn't bear the surprise,
or else I shall be obliged to inform my master of your designs;
and he'll take measures to secure his house and its inmates from any such unwarrantable intrusions!'
'In that case I'll take measures to secure you,
'you shall not leave Wuthering Heights till to-morrow morning.
It is a foolish story to assert that Catherine could not bear to see me;
and as to surprising her,
I don't desire it: you must prepare her --ask her if I may come.
You say she never mentions my name,
and that I am never mentioned to her.
To whom should she mention me if I am a forbidden topic in the house?
She thinks you are all spies for her husband.
I've no doubt she's in hell among you!
I guess by her silence,
as much as anything,
what she feels.
You say she is often restless,
and anxious-looking: is that a proof of tranquillity?
You talk of her mind being unsettled.
How the devil could it be otherwise in her frightful isolation?
And that insipid,
paltry creature attending her from _duty_ and _humanity_!
From _pity_ and _charity_!
He might as well plant an oak in a flower-pot,
and expect it to thrive,
as imagine he can restore her to vigour in the soil of his shallow cares?
Let us settle it at once: will you stay here,
and am I to fight my way to Catherine over Linton and his footman?
Or will you be my friend,
as you have been hitherto,
and do what I request?
because there is no reason for my lingering another minute,
if you persist in your stubborn ill-nature!'
I argued and complained,
and flatly refused him fifty times;
but in the long run he forced me to an agreement.
I engaged to carry a letter from him to my mistress;
and should she consent,
I promised to let him have intelligence of Linton's next absence from home,
when he might come,
and get in as he was able: I wouldn't be there,
and my fellow-servants should be equally out of the way.
Was it right or wrong?
I fear it was wrong,
I thought I prevented another explosion by my compliance;
and I thought,
it might create a favourable crisis in Catherine's mental illness: and then I remembered Mr. Edgar's stern rebuke of my carrying tales;
and I tried to smooth away all disquietude on the subject,
with frequent iteration,
that that betrayal of trust,
if it merited so harsh an appellation,
should be the last.
my journey homeward was sadder than my journey thither;
and many misgivings I had,
ere I could prevail on myself to put the missive into Mrs. Linton's hand.
But here is Kenneth;
I'll go down,
and tell him how much better you are.
My history is _dree_,
as we say,
and will serve to while away another morning.
I reflected as the good woman descended to receive the doctor: and not exactly of the kind which I should have chosen to amuse me.
But never mind!
I'll extract wholesome medicines from Mrs. Dean's bitter herbs;
let me beware of the fascination that lurks in Catherine Heathcliff's brilliant eyes.
I should be in a curious taking if I surrendered my heart to that young person,
and the daughter turned out a second edition of the mother.
Another week over --and I am so many days nearer health,
I have now heard all my neighbour's history,
at different sittings,
as the housekeeper could spare time from more important occupations.
I'll continue it in her own words,
only a little condensed.
on the whole,
a very fair narrator,
and I don't think I could improve her style.
In the evening,
the evening of my visit to the Heights,
as well as if I saw him,
that Mr. Heathcliff was about the place;
and I shunned going out,
because I still carried his letter in my pocket,
and didn't want to be threatened or teased any more.
I had made up my mind not to give it till my master went somewhere,
as I could not guess how its receipt would affect Catherine.
The consequence was,
that it did not reach her before the lapse of three days.
The fourth was Sunday,
and I brought it into her room after the family were gone to church.
There was a manservant left to keep the house with me,
and we generally made a practice of locking the doors during the hours of service;
but on that occasion the weather was so warm and pleasant that I set them wide open,
to fulfil my engagement,
as I knew who would be coming,
I told my companion that the mistress wished very much for some oranges,
and he must run over to the village and get a few,
to be paid for on the morrow.
and I went up-stairs.
Mrs. Linton sat in a loose white dress,
with a light shawl over her shoulders,
in the recess of the open window,
long hair had been partly removed at the beginning of her illness,
and now she wore it simply combed in its natural tresses over her temples and neck.
Her appearance was altered,
as I had told Heathcliff;
but when she was calm,
there seemed unearthly beauty in the change.
The flash of her eyes had been succeeded by a dreamy and melancholy softness;
they no longer gave the impression of looking at the objects around her: they appeared always to gaze beyond,
and far beyond --you would have said out of this world.
the paleness of her face --its haggard aspect having vanished as she recovered flesh --and the peculiar expression arising from her mental state,
though painfully suggestive of their causes,
added to the touching interest which she awakened;
and --invariably to me,
and to any person who saw her,
I should think --refuted more tangible proofs of convalescence,
and stamped her as one doomed to decay.
A book lay spread on the sill before her,
and the scarcely perceptible wind fluttered its leaves at intervals.
I believe Linton had laid it there: for she never endeavoured to divert herself with reading,
or occupation of any kind,
and he would spend many an hour in trying to entice her attention to some subject which had formerly been her amusement.
She was conscious of his aim,
and in her better moods endured his efforts placidly,
only showing their uselessness by now and then suppressing a wearied sigh,
and checking him at last with the saddest of smiles and kisses.
At other times,
she would turn petulantly away,
and hide her face in her hands,
or even push him off angrily;
and then he took care to let her alone,
for he was certain of doing no good.
Gimmerton chapel bells were still ringing;
and the full,
mellow flow of the beck in the valley came soothingly on the ear.
It was a sweet substitute for the yet absent murmur of the summer foliage,
which drowned that music about the Grange when the trees were in leaf.
At Wuthering Heights it always sounded on quiet days following a great thaw or a season of steady rain.
And of Wuthering Heights Catherine was thinking as she listened: that is,
if she thought or listened at all;
but she had the vague,
distant look I mentioned before,
which expressed no recognition of material things either by ear or eye.
'There's a letter for you,
gently inserting it in one hand that rested on her knee.
'You must read it immediately,
because it wants an answer.
Shall I break the seal?'
without altering the direction of her eyes.
I opened it --it was very short.
She drew away her hand,
and let it fall.
I replaced it in her lap,
and stood waiting till it should please her to glance down;
but that movement was so long delayed that at last I resumed --'Must I read it,
It is from Mr. Heathcliff.'
There was a start and a troubled gleam of recollection,
and a struggle to arrange her ideas.
She lifted the letter,
and seemed to peruse it;
and when she came to the signature she sighed: yet still I found she had not gathered its import,
upon my desiring to hear her reply,
she merely pointed to the name,
and gazed at me with mournful and questioning eagerness.
he wishes to see you,'
guessing her need of an interpreter.
'He's in the garden by this time,
and impatient to know what answer I shall bring.'
As I spoke,
I observed a large dog lying on the sunny grass beneath raise its ears as if about to bark,
and then smoothing them back,
by a wag of the tail,
that some one approached whom it did not consider a stranger.
Mrs. Linton bent forward,
and listened breathlessly.
The minute after a step traversed the hall;
the open house was too tempting for Heathcliff to resist walking in: most likely he supposed that I was inclined to shirk my promise,
and so resolved to trust to his own audacity.
With straining eagerness Catherine gazed towards the entrance of her chamber.
He did not hit the right room directly: she motioned me to admit him,
but he found it out ere I could reach the door,
and in a stride or two was at her side,
and had her grasped in his arms.
He neither spoke nor loosed his hold for some five minutes,
during which period he bestowed more kisses than ever he gave in his life before,
I daresay: but then my mistress had kissed him first,
and I plainly saw that he could hardly bear,
for downright agony,
to look into her face!
The same conviction had stricken him as me,
from the instant he beheld her,
that there was no prospect of ultimate recovery there --she was fated,
sure to die.
how can I bear it?'
was the first sentence he uttered,
in a tone that did not seek to disguise his despair.
And now he stared at her so earnestly that I thought the very intensity of his gaze would bring tears into his eyes;
but they burned with anguish: they did not melt.
and returning his look with a suddenly clouded brow: her humour was a mere vane for constantly varying caprices.
'You and Edgar have broken my heart,
And you both come to bewail the deed to me,
as if you were the people to be pitied!
I shall not pity you,
You have killed me --and thriven on it,
How strong you are!
How many years do you mean to live after I am gone?'
Heathcliff had knelt on one knee to embrace her;
he attempted to rise,
but she seized his hair,
and kept him down.
'I wish I could hold you,'
'till we were both dead!
I shouldn't care what you suffered.
I care nothing for your sufferings.
Why shouldn't you suffer?
Will you forget me?
Will you be happy when I am in the earth?
Will you say twenty years hence,
"That's the grave of Catherine Earnshaw?
I loved her long ago,
and was wretched to lose her;
but it is past.
I've loved many others since: my children are dearer to me than she was;
I shall not rejoice that I am going to her: I shall be sorry that I must leave them!"
Will you say so,
'Don't torture me till I'm as mad as yourself,'
wrenching his head free,
and grinding his teeth.
to a cool spectator,
made a strange and fearful picture.
Well might Catherine deem that heaven would be a land of exile to her,
unless with her mortal body she cast away her moral character also.
Her present countenance had a wild vindictiveness in its white cheek,
and a bloodless lip and scintillating eye;
and she retained in her closed fingers a portion of the locks she had been grasping.
As to her companion,
while raising himself with one hand,
he had taken her arm with the other;
and so inadequate was his stock of gentleness to the requirements of her condition,
that on his letting go I saw four distinct impressions left blue in the colourless skin.
'Are you possessed with a devil,'
'to talk in that manner to me when you are dying?
Do you reflect that all those words will be branded in my memory,
and eating deeper eternally after you have left me?
You know you lie to say I have killed you: and,
you know that I could as soon forget you as my existence!
Is it not sufficient for your infernal selfishness,
that while you are at peace I shall writhe in the torments of hell?'
'I shall not be at peace,'
recalled to a sense of physical weakness by the violent,
unequal throbbing of her heart,
which beat visibly and audibly under this excess of agitation.
She said nothing further till the paroxysm was over;
then she continued,
more kindly --
'I'm not wishing you greater torment than I have,
I only wish us never to be parted: and should a word of mine distress you hereafter,
think I feel the same distress underground,
and for my own sake,
Come here and kneel down again!
You never harmed me in your life.
if you nurse anger,
that will be worse to remember than my harsh words!
Won't you come here again?
Heathcliff went to the back of her chair,
and leant over,
but not so far as to let her see his face,
which was livid with emotion.
She bent round to look at him;
he would not permit it: turning abruptly,
he walked to the fireplace,
where he stood,
with his back towards us.
Mrs. Linton's glance followed him suspiciously: every movement woke a new sentiment in her.
After a pause and a prolonged gaze,
addressing me in accents of indignant disappointment: --
he would not relent a moment to keep me out of the grave.
_That_ is how I'm loved!
That is not _my_ Heathcliff.
I shall love mine yet;
and take him with me: he's in my soul.
added she musingly,
'the thing that irks me most is this shattered prison,
I'm tired of being enclosed here.
I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world,
and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears,
and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it,
and in it.
you think you are better and more fortunate than I;
in full health and strength: you are sorry for me --very soon that will be altered.
I shall be sorry for _you_.
I shall be incomparably beyond and above you all.
I _wonder_ he won't be near me!'
She went on to herself.
'I thought he wished it.
you should not be sullen now.
Do come to me,
In her eagerness she rose and supported herself on the arm of the chair.
At that earnest appeal he turned to her,
looking absolutely desperate.
wide and wet,
at last flashed fiercely on her;
his breast heaved convulsively.
An instant they held asunder,
and then how they met I hardly saw,
but Catherine made a spring,
and he caught her,
and they were locked in an embrace from which I thought my mistress would never be released alive: in fact,
to my eyes,
she seemed directly insensible.
He flung himself into the nearest seat,
and on my approaching hurriedly to ascertain if she had fainted,
he gnashed at me,
and foamed like a mad dog,
and gathered her to him with greedy jealousy.
I did not feel as if I were in the company of a creature of my own species: it appeared that he would not understand,
though I spoke to him;
so I stood off,
and held my tongue,
in great perplexity.
A movement of Catherine's relieved me a little presently: she put up her hand to clasp his neck,
and bring her cheek to his as he held her;
covering her with frantic caresses,
said wildly --
'You teach me now how cruel you've been --cruel and false.
_Why_ did you despise me?
_Why_ did you betray your own heart,
I have not one word of comfort.
You deserve this.
You have killed yourself.
you may kiss me,
and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you --they'll damn you.
You loved me --then what _right_ had you to leave me?
What right --answer me --for the poor fancy you felt for Linton?
Because misery and degradation,
and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us,
of your own will,
I have not broken your heart --_you_ have broken it;
and in breaking it,
you have broken mine.
So much the worse for me that I am strong.
Do I want to live?
What kind of living will it be when you --oh,
would _you_ like to live with your soul in the grave?'
'Let me alone.
Let me alone,'
'If I've done wrong,
I'm dying for it.
It is enough!
You left me too: but I won't upbraid you!
I forgive you.
'It is hard to forgive,
and to look at those eyes,
and feel those wasted hands,'
'Kiss me again;
and don't let me see your eyes!
I forgive what you have done to me.
I love _my_ murderer --but _yours_!
How can I?'
They were silent --their faces hid against each other,
and washed by each other's tears.
I suppose the weeping was on both sides;
as it seemed Heathcliff could weep on a great occasion like this.
I grew very uncomfortable,
for the afternoon wore fast away,
the man whom I had sent off returned from his errand,
and I could distinguish,
by the shine of the western sun up the valley,
a concourse thickening outside Gimmerton chapel porch.
'Service is over,'
'My master will be here in half an hour.'
Heathcliff groaned a curse,
and strained Catherine closer: she never moved.
Ere long I perceived a group of the servants passing up the road towards the kitchen wing.
Mr. Linton was not far behind;
he opened the gate himself and sauntered slowly up,
probably enjoying the lovely afternoon that breathed as soft as summer.
'Now he is here,'
'For heaven's sake,
You'll not meet any one on the front stairs.
Do be quick;
and stay among the trees till he is fairly in.'
'I must go,
seeking to extricate himself from his companion's arms.
'But if I live,
I'll see you again before you are asleep.
I won't stray five yards from your window.'
'You must not go!'
holding him as firmly as her strength allowed.
'You _shall_ not,
I tell you.'
'For one hour,'
he pleaded earnestly.
'Not for one minute,'
'I _must_ --Linton will be up immediately,'
persisted the alarmed intruder.
He would have risen,
and unfixed her fingers by the act --she clung fast,
gasping: there was mad resolution in her face.
It is the last time!
Edgar will not hurt us.
I shall die!
I shall die!'
'Damn the fool!
There he is,'
sinking back into his seat.
If he shot me so,
I'd expire with a blessing on my lips.'
And there they were fast again.
I heard my master mounting the stairs --the cold sweat ran from my forehead: I was horrified.
'Are you going to listen to her ravings?'
'She does not know what she says.
Will you ruin her,
because she has not wit to help herself?
You could be free instantly.
That is the most diabolical deed that ever you did.
We are all done for --master,
I wrung my hands,
and cried out;
and Mr. Linton hastened his step at the noise.
In the midst of my agitation,
I was sincerely glad to observe that Catherine's arms had fallen relaxed,
and her head hung down.
'so much the better.
Far better that she should be dead,
than lingering a burden and a misery-maker to all about her.'
Edgar sprang to his unbidden guest,
blanched with astonishment and rage.
What he meant to do I cannot tell;
the other stopped all demonstrations,
by placing the lifeless-looking form in his arms.
'Unless you be a fiend,
help her first --then you shall speak to me!'
He walked into the parlour,
and sat down.
Mr. Linton summoned me,
and with great difficulty,
and after resorting to many means,
we managed to restore her to sensation;
but she was all bewildered;
and knew nobody.
in his anxiety for her,
forgot her hated friend.
I did not.
at the earliest opportunity,
and besought him to depart;
affirming that Catherine was better,
and he should hear from me in the morning how she passed the night.
'I shall not refuse to go out of doors,'
'but I shall stay in the garden: and,
mind you keep your word to-morrow.
I shall be under those larch-trees.
or I pay another visit,
whether Linton be in or not.'
He sent a rapid glance through the half-open door of the chamber,
ascertaining that what I stated was apparently true,
delivered the house of his luckless presence.
About twelve o'clock that night was born the Catherine you saw at Wuthering Heights: a puny,
and two hours after the mother died,
having never recovered sufficient consciousness to miss Heathcliff,
or know Edgar.
The latter's distraction at his bereavement is a subject too painful to be dwelt on;
its after-effects showed how deep the sorrow sunk.
A great addition,
in my eyes,
was his being left without an heir.
I bemoaned that,
as I gazed on the feeble orphan;
and I mentally abused old Linton for (what was only natural partiality) the securing his estate to his own daughter,
instead of his son's.
An unwelcomed infant it was,
It might have wailed out of life,
and nobody cared a morsel,
during those first hours of existence.
We redeemed the neglect afterwards;
but its beginning was as friendless as its end is likely to be.
Next morning --bright and cheerful out of doors --stole softened in through the blinds of the silent room,
and suffused the couch and its occupant with a mellow,
Edgar Linton had his head laid on the pillow,
and his eyes shut.
His young and fair features were almost as deathlike as those of the form beside him,
and almost as fixed: but _his_ was the hush of exhausted anguish,
and _hers_ of perfect peace.
Her brow smooth,
her lids closed,
her lips wearing the expression of a smile;
no angel in heaven could be more beautiful than she appeared.
And I partook of the infinite calm in which she lay: my mind was never in a holier frame than while I gazed on that untroubled image of Divine rest.
I instinctively echoed the words she had uttered a few hours before:
'Incomparably beyond and above us all!
Whether still on earth or now in heaven,
her spirit is at home with God!'
I don't know if it be a peculiarity in me,
but I am seldom otherwise than happy while watching in the chamber of death,
should no frenzied or despairing mourner share the duty with me.
I see a repose that neither earth nor hell can break,
and I feel an assurance of the endless and shadowless hereafter --the Eternity they have entered --where life is boundless in its duration,
and love in its sympathy,
and joy in its fulness.
I noticed on that occasion how much selfishness there is even in a love like Mr. Linton's,
when he so regretted Catherine's blessed release!
To be sure,
one might have doubted,
after the wayward and impatient existence she had led,
whether she merited a haven of peace at last.
One might doubt in seasons of cold reflection;
but not then,
in the presence of her corpse.
It asserted its own tranquillity,
which seemed a pledge of equal quiet to its former inhabitant.
Do you believe such people are happy in the other world,
I'd give a great deal to know.
I declined answering Mrs. Dean's question,
which struck me as something heterodox.
Retracing the course of Catherine Linton,
I fear we have no right to think she is;
but we'll leave her with her Maker.
The master looked asleep,
and I ventured soon after sunrise to quit the room and steal out to the pure refreshing air.
The servants thought me gone to shake off the drowsiness of my protracted watch;
my chief motive was seeing Mr. Heathcliff.
If he had remained among the larches all night,
he would have heard nothing of the stir at the Grange;
he might catch the gallop of the messenger going to Gimmerton.
If he had come nearer,
he would probably be aware,
from the lights flitting to and fro,
and the opening and shutting of the outer doors,
that all was not right within.
to find him.
I felt the terrible news must be told,
and I longed to get it over;
but how to do it I did not know.
He was there --at least,
a few yards further in the park;
leant against an old ash-tree,
his hat off,
and his hair soaked with the dew that had gathered on the budded branches,
and fell pattering round him.
He had been standing a long time in that position,
for I saw a pair of ousels passing and repassing scarcely three feet from him,
busy in building their nest,
and regarding his proximity no more than that of a piece of timber.
They flew off at my approach,
and he raised his eyes and spoke: --'She's dead!'
'I've not waited for you to learn that.
Put your handkerchief away --don't snivel before me.
Damn you all!
she wants none of your tears!'
I was weeping as much for him as her: we do sometimes pity creatures that have none of the feeling either for themselves or others.
When I first looked into his face,
I perceived that he had got intelligence of the catastrophe;
and a foolish notion struck me that his heart was quelled and he prayed,
because his lips moved and his gaze was bent on the ground.
checking my sobs and drying my cheeks.
'Gone to heaven,
where we may,
if we take due warning and leave our evil ways to follow good!'
'Did _she_ take due warning,
attempting a sneer.
'Did she die like a saint?
give me a true history of the event.
How did --?'
He endeavoured to pronounce the name,
but could not manage it;
and compressing his mouth he held a silent combat with his inward agony,
my sympathy with an unflinching,
'How did she die?'
at last --fain,
notwithstanding his hardihood,
to have a support behind him;
after the struggle,
in spite of himself,
to his very finger-ends.
'you have a heart and nerves the same as your brother men!
Why should you be anxious to conceal them?
Your pride cannot blind God!
You tempt him to wring them,
till he forces a cry of humiliation.'
'Quietly as a lamb!'
'She drew a sigh,
and stretched herself,
like a child reviving,
and sinking again to sleep;
and five minutes after I felt one little pulse at her heart,
and nothing more!'
'And --did she ever mention me?'
as if he dreaded the answer to his question would introduce details that he could not bear to hear.
'Her senses never returned: she recognised nobody from the time you left her,'
'She lies with a sweet smile on her face;
and her latest ideas wandered back to pleasant early days.
Her life closed in a gentle dream --may she wake as kindly in the other world!'
'May she wake in torment!'
with frightful vehemence,
stamping his foot,
and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion.
she's a liar to the end!
Where is she?
Not _there_ --not in heaven --not perished --where?
you said you cared nothing for my sufferings!
And I pray one prayer --I repeat it till my tongue stiffens --Catherine Earnshaw,
may you not rest as long as I am living;
you said I killed you --haunt me,
The murdered _do_ haunt their murderers,
I know that ghosts _have_ wandered on earth.
Be with me always --take any form --drive me mad!
only _do_ not leave me in this abyss,
where I cannot find you!
it is unutterable!
I _cannot_ live without my life!
I _cannot_ live without my soul!'
He dashed his head against the knotted trunk;
lifting up his eyes,
not like a man,
but like a savage beast being goaded to death with knives and spears.
I observed several splashes of blood about the bark of the tree,
and his hand and forehead were both stained;
probably the scene I witnessed was a repetition of others acted during the night.
It hardly moved my compassion --it appalled me: still,
I felt reluctant to quit him so.
But the moment he recollected himself enough to notice me watching,
he thundered a command for me to go,
and I obeyed.
He was beyond my skill to quiet or console!
Mrs. Linton's funeral was appointed to take place on the Friday following her decease;
and till then her coffin remained uncovered,
and strewn with flowers and scented leaves,
in the great drawing-room.
Linton spent his days and nights there,
a sleepless guardian;
and --a circumstance concealed from all but me --Heathcliff spent his nights,
equally a stranger to repose.
I held no communication with him: still,
I was conscious of his design to enter,
if he could;
and on the Tuesday,
a little after dark,
when my master,
from sheer fatigue,
had been compelled to retire a couple of hours,
I went and opened one of the windows;
moved by his perseverance to give him a chance of bestowing on the faded image of his idol one final adieu.
He did not omit to avail himself of the opportunity,
cautiously and briefly;
too cautiously to betray his presence by the slightest noise.
I shouldn't have discovered that he had been there,
except for the disarrangement of the drapery about the corpse's face,
and for observing on the floor a curl of light hair,
fastened with a silver thread;
I ascertained to have been taken from a locket hung round Catherine's neck.
Heathcliff had opened the trinket and cast out its contents,
replacing them by a black lock of his own.
I twisted the two,
and enclosed them together.
Mr. Earnshaw was,
invited to attend the remains of his sister to the grave;
he sent no excuse,
but he never came;
besides her husband,
the mourners were wholly composed of tenants and servants.
Isabella was not asked.
The place of Catherine's interment,
to the surprise of the villagers,
was neither in the chapel under the carved monument of the Lintons,
nor yet by the tombs of her own relations,
It was dug on a green slope in a corner of the kirk-yard,
where the wall is so low that heath and bilberry-plants have climbed over it from the moor;
and peat-mould almost buries it.
Her husband lies in the same spot now;
and they have each a simple headstone above,
and a plain grey block at their feet,
to mark the graves.
That Friday made the last of our fine days for a month.
In the evening the weather broke: the wind shifted from south to north-east,
and brought rain first,
and then sleet and snow.
On the morrow one could hardly imagine that there had been three weeks of summer: the primroses and crocuses were hidden under wintry drifts;
the larks were silent,
the young leaves of the early trees smitten and blackened.
that morrow did creep over!
My master kept his room;
I took possession of the lonely parlour,
converting it into a nursery: and there I was,
sitting with the moaning doll of a child laid on my knee;
rocking it to and fro,
the still driving flakes build up the uncurtained window,
when the door opened,
and some person entered,
out of breath and laughing!
My anger was greater than my astonishment for a minute.
I supposed it one of the maids,
and I cried --'Have done!
How dare you show your giddiness here;
What would Mr. Linton say if he heard you?'
answered a familiar voice;
'but I know Edgar is in bed,
and I cannot stop myself.'
With that the speaker came forward to the fire,
panting and holding her hand to her side.
'I have run the whole way from Wuthering Heights!'
after a pause;
'except where I've flown.
I couldn't count the number of falls I've had.
I'm aching all over!
Don't be alarmed!
There shall be an explanation as soon as I can give it;
only just have the goodness to step out and order the carriage to take me on to Gimmerton,
and tell a servant to seek up a few clothes in my wardrobe.'
The intruder was Mrs. Heathcliff.
She certainly seemed in no laughing predicament: her hair streamed on her shoulders,
dripping with snow and water;
she was dressed in the girlish dress she commonly wore,
befitting her age more than her position: a low frock with short sleeves,
and nothing on either head or neck.
The frock was of light silk,
and clung to her with wet,
and her feet were protected merely by thin slippers;
add to this a deep cut under one ear,
which only the cold prevented from bleeding profusely,
a white face scratched and bruised,
and a frame hardly able to support itself through fatigue;
and you may fancy my first fright was not much allayed when I had had leisure to examine her.
'My dear young lady,'
'I'll stir nowhere,
and hear nothing,
till you have removed every article of your clothes,
and put on dry things;
and certainly you shall not go to Gimmerton to-night,
so it is needless to order the carriage.'
'Certainly I shall,'
'walking or riding: yet I've no objection to dress myself decently.
see how it flows down my neck now!
The fire does make it smart.'
She insisted on my fulfilling her directions,
before she would let me touch her;
and not till after the coachman had been instructed to get ready,
and a maid set to pack up some necessary attire,
did I obtain her consent for binding the wound and helping to change her garments.
when my task was finished and she was seated in an easy-chair on the hearth,
with a cup of tea before her,
'you sit down opposite me,
and put poor Catherine's baby away: I don't like to see it!
You mustn't think I care little for Catherine,
because I behaved so foolishly on entering: I've cried,
more than any one else has reason to cry.
We parted unreconciled,
and I sha'n't forgive myself.
for all that,
I was not going to sympathise with him --the brute beast!
give me the poker!
This is the last thing of his I have about me:' she slipped the gold ring from her third finger,
and threw it on the floor.
'I'll smash it!'
striking it with childish spite,
'and then I'll burn it!'
and she took and dropped the misused article among the coals.
he shall buy another,
if he gets me back again.
He'd be capable of coming to seek me,
to tease Edgar.
I dare not stay,
lest that notion should possess his wicked head!
Edgar has not been kind,
And I won't come suing for his assistance;
nor will I bring him into more trouble.
Necessity compelled me to seek shelter here;
if I had not learned he was out of the way,
I'd have halted at the kitchen,
washed my face,
got you to bring what I wanted,
and departed again to anywhere out of the reach of my accursed --of that incarnate goblin!
he was in such a fury!
If he had caught me!
It's a pity Earnshaw is not his match in strength: I wouldn't have run till I'd seen him all but demolished,
had Hindley been able to do it!'
don't talk so fast,
'you'll disorder the handkerchief I have tied round your face,
and make the cut bleed again.
Drink your tea,
and take breath,
and give over laughing: laughter is sadly out of place under this roof,
and in your condition!'
'An undeniable truth,'
'Listen to that child!
It maintains a constant wail --send it out of my hearing for an hour;
I sha'n't stay any longer.'
I rang the bell,
and committed it to a servant's care;
and then I inquired what had urged her to escape from Wuthering Heights in such an unlikely plight,
and where she meant to go,
as she refused remaining with us.
and I wished to remain,'
'to cheer Edgar and take care of the baby,
for two things,
and because the Grange is my right home.
But I tell you he wouldn't let me!
Do you think he could bear to see me grow fat and merry --could bear to think that we were tranquil,
and not resolve on poisoning our comfort?
I have the satisfaction of being sure that he detests me,
to the point of its annoying him seriously to have me within ear-shot or eyesight: I notice,
when I enter his presence,
the muscles of his countenance are involuntarily distorted into an expression of hatred;
partly arising from his knowledge of the good causes I have to feel that sentiment for him,
and partly from original aversion.
It is strong enough to make me feel pretty certain that he would not chase me over England,
supposing I contrived a clear escape;
and therefore I must get quite away.
I've recovered from my first desire to be killed by him: I'd rather he'd kill himself!
He has extinguished my love effectually,
and so I'm at my ease.
I can recollect yet how I loved him;
and can dimly imagine that I could still be loving him,
Even if he had doted on me,
the devilish nature would have revealed its existence somehow.
Catherine had an awfully perverted taste to esteem him so dearly,
knowing him so well.
would that he could be blotted out of creation,
and out of my memory!'
He's a human being,'
'Be more charitable: there are worse men than he is yet!'
'He's not a human being,'
'and he has no claim on my charity.
I gave him my heart,
and he took and pinched it to death,
and flung it back to me.
People feel with their hearts,
Ellen: and since he has destroyed mine,
I have not power to feel for him: and I would not,
though he groaned from this to his dying day,
and wept tears of blood for Catherine!
And here Isabella began to cry;
immediately dashing the water from her lashes,
what has driven me to flight at last?
I was compelled to attempt it,
because I had succeeded in rousing his rage a pitch above his malignity.
Pulling out the nerves with red hot pincers requires more coolness than knocking on the head.
He was worked up to forget the fiendish prudence he boasted of,
and proceeded to murderous violence.
I experienced pleasure in being able to exasperate him: the sense of pleasure woke my instinct of self-preservation,
so I fairly broke free;
and if ever I come into his hands again he is welcome to a signal revenge.
Mr. Earnshaw should have been at the funeral.
He kept himself sober for the purpose --tolerably sober: not going to bed mad at six o'clock and getting up drunk at twelve.
in suicidal low spirits,
as fit for the church as for a dance;
he sat down by the fire and swallowed gin or brandy by tumblerfuls.
'Heathcliff --I shudder to name him!
has been a stranger in the house from last Sunday till to-day.
Whether the angels have fed him,
or his kin beneath,
I cannot tell;
but he has not eaten a meal with us for nearly a week.
He has just come home at dawn,
and gone up-stairs to his chamber;
locking himself in --as if anybody dreamt of coveting his company!
There he has continued,
praying like a Methodist: only the deity he implored is senseless dust and ashes;
was curiously confounded with his own black father!
After concluding these precious orisons --and they lasted generally till he grew hoarse and his voice was strangled in his throat --he would be off again;
always straight down to the Grange!
I wonder Edgar did not send for a constable,
and give him into custody!
grieved as I was about Catherine,
it was impossible to avoid regarding this season of deliverance from degrading oppression as a holiday.
'I recovered spirits sufficient to bear Joseph's eternal lectures without weeping,
and to move up and down the house less with the foot of a frightened thief than formerly.
You wouldn't think that I should cry at anything Joseph could say;
but he and Hareton are detestable companions.
I'd rather sit with Hindley,
and hear his awful talk,
than with "t' little maister" and his staunch supporter,
that odious old man!
When Heathcliff is in,
I'm often obliged to seek the kitchen and their society,
or starve among the damp uninhabited chambers;
when he is not,
as was the case this week,
I establish a table and chair at one corner of the house fire,
and never mind how Mr. Earnshaw may occupy himself;
and he does not interfere with my arrangements.
He is quieter now than he used to be,
if no one provokes him: more sullen and depressed,
and less furious.
Joseph affirms he's sure he's an altered man: that the Lord has touched his heart,
and he is saved "so as by fire."
I'm puzzled to detect signs of the favourable change: but it is not my business.
'Yester-evening I sat in my nook reading some old books till late on towards twelve.
It seemed so dismal to go up-stairs,
with the wild snow blowing outside,
and my thoughts continually reverting to the kirk-yard and the new-made grave!
I dared hardly lift my eyes from the page before me,
that melancholy scene so instantly usurped its place.
Hindley sat opposite,
his head leant on his hand;
perhaps meditating on the same subject.
He had ceased drinking at a point below irrationality,
and had neither stirred nor spoken during two or three hours.
There was no sound through the house but the moaning wind,
which shook the windows every now and then,
the faint crackling of the coals,
and the click of my snuffers as I removed at intervals the long wick of the candle.
Hareton and Joseph were probably fast asleep in bed.
It was very,
very sad: and while I read I sighed,
for it seemed as if all joy had vanished from the world,
never to be restored.
'The doleful silence was broken at length by the sound of the kitchen latch: Heathcliff had returned from his watch earlier than usual;
to the sudden storm.
That entrance was fastened,
and we heard him coming round to get in by the other.
I rose with an irrepressible expression of what I felt on my lips,
which induced my companion,
who had been staring towards the door,
to turn and look at me.
'"I'll keep him out five minutes,"
"You won't object?"
you may keep him out the whole night for me,"
put the key in the lock,
and draw the bolts."
'Earnshaw accomplished this ere his guest reached the front;
he then came and brought his chair to the other side of my table,
leaning over it,
and searching in my eyes for a sympathy with the burning hate that gleamed from his: as he both looked and felt like an assassin,
he couldn't exactly find that;
but he discovered enough to encourage him to speak.
"have each a great debt to settle with the man out yonder!
If we were neither of us cowards,
we might combine to discharge it.
Are you as soft as your brother?
Are you willing to endure to the last,
and not once attempt a repayment?"
'"I'm weary of enduring now,"
"and I'd be glad of a retaliation that wouldn't recoil on myself;
but treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends;
they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies."
'"Treachery and violence are a just return for treachery and violence!"
I'll ask you to do nothing;
but sit still and be dumb.
Tell me now,
I'm sure you would have as much pleasure as I in witnessing the conclusion of the fiend's existence;
he'll be _your_ death unless you overreach him;
and he'll be _my_ ruin.
Damn the hellish villain!
He knocks at the door as if he were master here already!
Promise to hold your tongue,
and before that clock strikes --it wants three minutes of one --you're a free woman!"
'He took the implements which I described to you in my letter from his breast,
and would have turned down the candle.
I snatched it away,
and seized his arm.
'"I'll not hold my tongue!"
"you mustn't touch him.
Let the door remain shut,
and be quiet!"
I've formed my resolution,
and by God I'll execute it!"
cried the desperate being.
"I'll do you a kindness in spite of yourself,
and Hareton justice!
And you needn't trouble your head to screen me;
Catherine is gone.
Nobody alive would regret me,
or be ashamed,
though I cut my throat this minute --and it's time to make an end!"
'I might as well have struggled with a bear,
or reasoned with a lunatic.
The only resource left me was to run to a lattice and warn his intended victim of the fate which awaited him.
'"You'd better seek shelter somewhere else to-night!"
in rather a triumphant tone.
"Mr. Earnshaw has a mind to shoot you,
if you persist in endeavouring to enter."
'"You'd better open the door,
you --" he answered,
addressing me by some elegant term that I don't care to repeat.
'"I shall not meddle in the matter,"
I retorted again.
"Come in and get shot,
if you please.
I've done my duty."
'With that I shut the window and returned to my place by the fire;
having too small a stock of hypocrisy at my command to pretend any anxiety for the danger that menaced him.
Earnshaw swore passionately at me: affirming that I loved the villain yet;
and calling me all sorts of names for the base spirit I evinced.
in my secret heart (and conscience never reproached me),
thought what a blessing it would be for _him_ should Heathcliff put him out of misery;
and what a blessing for _me_ should he send Heathcliff to his right abode!
As I sat nursing these reflections,
the casement behind me was banged on to the floor by a blow from the latter individual,
and his black countenance looked blightingly through.
The stanchions stood too close to suffer his shoulders to follow,
and I smiled,
exulting in my fancied security.
His hair and clothes were whitened with snow,
and his sharp cannibal teeth,
revealed by cold and wrath,
gleamed through the dark.
let me in,
or I'll make you repent!"
as Joseph calls it.
'"I cannot commit murder,"
"Mr. Hindley stands sentinel with a knife and loaded pistol."
'"Let me in by the kitchen door,"
'"Hindley will be there before me,"
"and that's a poor love of yours that cannot bear a shower of snow!
We were left at peace in our beds as long as the summer moon shone,
but the moment a blast of winter returns,
you must run for shelter!
if I were you,
I'd go stretch myself over her grave and die like a faithful dog.
The world is surely not worth living in now,
You had distinctly impressed on me the idea that Catherine was the whole joy of your life: I can't imagine how you think of surviving her loss."
exclaimed my companion,
rushing to the gap.
"If I can get my arm out I can hit him!"
you'll set me down as really wicked;
but you don't know all,
so don't judge.
I wouldn't have aided or abetted an attempt on even _his_ life for anything.
Wish that he were dead,
and therefore I was fearfully disappointed,
and unnerved by terror for the consequences of my taunting speech,
when he flung himself on Earnshaw's weapon and wrenched it from his grasp.
'The charge exploded,
and the knife,
in springing back,
closed into its owner's wrist.
Heathcliff pulled it away by main force,
slitting up the flesh as it passed on,
and thrust it dripping into his pocket.
He then took a stone,
struck down the division between two windows,
and sprang in.
His adversary had fallen senseless with excessive pain and the flow of blood,
that gushed from an artery or a large vein.
The ruffian kicked and trampled on him,
and dashed his head repeatedly against the flags,
holding me with one hand,
to prevent me summoning Joseph.
He exerted preterhuman self-denial in abstaining from finishing him completely;
but getting out of breath,
he finally desisted,
and dragged the apparently inanimate body on to the settle.
There he tore off the sleeve of Earnshaw's coat,
and bound up the wound with brutal roughness;
spitting and cursing during the operation as energetically as he had kicked before.
Being at liberty,
I lost no time in seeking the old servant;
having gathered by degrees the purport of my hasty tale,
as he descended the steps two at once.
'"What is ther to do,
what is ther to do,
'"There's this to do,"
"that your master's mad;
and should he last another month,
I'll have him to an asylum.
And how the devil did you come to fasten me out,
you toothless hound?
Don't stand muttering and mumbling there.
I'm not going to nurse him.
Wash that stuff away;
and mind the sparks of your candle --it is more than half brandy!"
'"And so ye've been murthering on him?"
lifting his hands and eyes in horror.
"If iver I seed a seeght loike this!
May the Lord --"
'Heathcliff gave him a push on to his knees in the middle of the blood,
and flung a towel to him;
but instead of proceeding to dry it up,
he joined his hands and began a prayer,
which excited my laughter from its odd phraseology.
I was in the condition of mind to be shocked at nothing: in fact,
I was as reckless as some malefactors show themselves at the foot of the gallows.
I forgot you,"
said the tyrant.
"You shall do that.
Down with you.
And you conspire with him against me,
that is work fit for you!"
'He shook me till my teeth rattled,
and pitched me beside Joseph,
who steadily concluded his supplications,
and then rose,
vowing he would set off for the Grange directly.
Mr. Linton was a magistrate,
and though he had fifty wives dead,
he should inquire into this.
He was so obstinate in his resolution,
that Heathcliff deemed it expedient to compel from my lips a recapitulation of what had taken place;
standing over me,
heaving with malevolence,
as I reluctantly delivered the account in answer to his questions.
It required a great deal of labour to satisfy the old man that Heathcliff was not the aggressor;
especially with my hardly-wrung replies.
Mr. Earnshaw soon convinced him that he was alive still;
Joseph hastened to administer a dose of spirits,
and by their succour his master presently regained motion and consciousness.
aware that his opponent was ignorant of the treatment received while insensible,
called him deliriously intoxicated;
and said he should not notice his atrocious conduct further,
but advised him to get to bed.
To my joy,
he left us,
after giving this judicious counsel,
and Hindley stretched himself on the hearthstone.
I departed to my own room,
marvelling that I had escaped so easily.
when I came down,
about half an hour before noon,
Mr. Earnshaw was sitting by the fire,
his evil genius,
almost as gaunt and ghastly,
leant against the chimney.
Neither appeared inclined to dine,
having waited till all was cold on the table,
I commenced alone.
Nothing hindered me from eating heartily,
and I experienced a certain sense of satisfaction and superiority,
I cast a look towards my silent companions,
and felt the comfort of a quiet conscience within me.
After I had done,
I ventured on the unusual liberty of drawing near the fire,
going round Earnshaw's seat,
and kneeling in the corner beside him.
'Heathcliff did not glance my way,
and I gazed up,
and contemplated his features almost as confidently as if they had been turned to stone.
that I once thought so manly,
and that I now think so diabolical,
was shaded with a heavy cloud;
his basilisk eyes were nearly quenched by sleeplessness,
for the lashes were wet then: his lips devoid of their ferocious sneer,
and sealed in an expression of unspeakable sadness.
Had it been another,
I would have covered my face in the presence of such grief.
In _his_ case,
I was gratified;
ignoble as it seems to insult a fallen enemy,
I couldn't miss this chance of sticking in a dart: his weakness was the only time when I could taste the delight of paying wrong for wrong.'
'One might suppose you had never opened a Bible in your life.
If God afflict your enemies,
surely that ought to suffice you.
It is both mean and presumptuous to add your torture to his!'
'In general I'll allow that it would be,
'but what misery laid on Heathcliff could content me,
unless I have a hand in it?
I'd rather he suffered less,
if I might cause his sufferings and he might _know_ that I was the cause.
I owe him so much.
On only one condition can I hope to forgive him.
if I may take an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth;
for every wrench of agony return a wrench: reduce him to my level.
As he was the first to injure,
make him the first to implore pardon;
and then --why then,
I might show you some generosity.
But it is utterly impossible I can ever be revenged,
and therefore I cannot forgive him.
Hindley wanted some water,
and I handed him a glass,
and asked him how he was.
'"Not as ill as I wish,"
"But leaving out my arm,
every inch of me is as sore as if I had been fighting with a legion of imps!"
was my next remark.
"Catherine used to boast that she stood between you and bodily harm: she meant that certain persons would not hurt you for fear of offending her.
It's well people don't _really_ rise from their grave,
she might have witnessed a repulsive scene!
Are not you bruised,
and cut over your chest and shoulders?"
'"I can't say,"
"but what do you mean?
Did he dare to strike me when I was down?"
'"He trampled on and kicked you,
and dashed you on the ground,"
"And his mouth watered to tear you with his teeth;
because he's only half man: not so much,
and the rest fiend."
'Mr. Earnshaw looked up,
to the countenance of our mutual foe;
absorbed in his anguish,
seemed insensible to anything around him: the longer he stood,
the plainer his reflections revealed their blackness through his features.
if God would but give me strength to strangle him in my last agony,
I'd go to hell with joy,"
groaned the impatient man,
writhing to rise,
and sinking back in despair,
convinced of his inadequacy for the struggle.
it's enough that he has murdered one of you,"
I observed aloud.
"At the Grange,
every one knows your sister would have been living now had it not been for Mr. Heathcliff.
it is preferable to be hated than loved by him.
When I recollect how happy we were --how happy Catherine was before he came --I'm fit to curse the day."
Heathcliff noticed more the truth of what was said,
than the spirit of the person who said it.
His attention was roused,
for his eyes rained down tears among the ashes,
and he drew his breath in suffocating sighs.
I stared full at him,
and laughed scornfully.
The clouded windows of hell flashed a moment towards me;
the fiend which usually looked out,
was so dimmed and drowned that I did not fear to hazard another sound of derision.
and begone out of my sight,"
said the mourner.
'I guessed he uttered those words,
though his voice was hardly intelligible.
'"I beg your pardon,"
"But I loved Catherine too;
and her brother requires attendance,
for her sake,
I shall supply.
that she's dead,
I see her in Hindley: Hindley has exactly her eyes,
if you had not tried to gouge them out,
and made them black and red;
and her --"
before I stamp you to death!"
making a movement that caused me to make one also.
holding myself ready to flee,
"if poor Catherine had trusted you,
and assumed the ridiculous,
degrading title of Mrs. Heathcliff,
she would soon have presented a similar picture!
_She_ wouldn't have borne your abominable behaviour quietly: her detestation and disgust must have found voice."
'The back of the settle and Earnshaw's person interposed between me and him;
so instead of endeavouring to reach me,
he snatched a dinner-knife from the table and flung it at my head.
It struck beneath my ear,
and stopped the sentence I was uttering;
pulling it out,
I sprang to the door and delivered another;
which I hope went a little deeper than his missile.
The last glimpse I caught of him was a furious rush on his part,
checked by the embrace of his host;
and both fell locked together on the hearth.
In my flight through the kitchen I bid Joseph speed to his master;
I knocked over Hareton,
who was hanging a litter of puppies from a chair-back in the doorway;
blessed as a soul escaped from purgatory,
and flew down the steep road;
quitting its windings,
shot direct across the moor,
rolling over banks,
and wading through marshes: precipitating myself,
towards the beacon-light of the Grange.
And far rather would I be condemned to a perpetual dwelling in the infernal regions than,
even for one night,
abide beneath the roof of Wuthering Heights again.'
Isabella ceased speaking,
and took a drink of tea;
then she rose,
and bidding me put on her bonnet,
and a great shawl I had brought,
and turning a deaf ear to my entreaties for her to remain another hour,
she stepped on to a chair,
kissed Edgar's and Catherine's portraits,
bestowed a similar salute on me,
and descended to the carriage,
accompanied by Fanny,
who yelped wild with joy at recovering her mistress.
She was driven away,
never to revisit this neighbourhood: but a regular correspondence was established between her and my master when things were more settled.
I believe her new abode was in the south,
there she had a son born a few months subsequent to her escape.
He was christened Linton,
from the first,
she reported him to be an ailing,
meeting me one day in the village,
inquired where she lived.
I refused to tell.
He remarked that it was not of any moment,
only she must beware of coming to her brother: she should not be with him,
if he had to keep her himself.
Though I would give no information,
through some of the other servants,
both her place of residence and the existence of the child.
he didn't molest her: for which forbearance she might thank his aversion,
He often asked about the infant,
when he saw me;
and on hearing its name,
'They wish me to hate it too,
'I don't think they wish you to know anything about it,'
'But I'll have it,'
'when I want it.
They may reckon on that!'
Fortunately its mother died before the time arrived;
some thirteen years after the decease of Catherine,
when Linton was twelve,
or a little more.
On the day succeeding Isabella's unexpected visit I had no opportunity of speaking to my master: he shunned conversation,
and was fit for discussing nothing.
When I could get him to listen,
I saw it pleased him that his sister had left her husband;
whom he abhorred with an intensity which the mildness of his nature would scarcely seem to allow.
So deep and sensitive was his aversion,
that he refrained from going anywhere where he was likely to see or hear of Heathcliff.
and that together,
transformed him into a complete hermit: he threw up his office of magistrate,
ceased even to attend church,
avoided the village on all occasions,
and spent a life of entire seclusion within the limits of his park and grounds;
only varied by solitary rambles on the moors,
and visits to the grave of his wife,
mostly at evening,
or early morning before other wanderers were abroad.
But he was too good to be thoroughly unhappy long.
_He_ didn't pray for Catherine's soul to haunt him.
Time brought resignation,
and a melancholy sweeter than common joy.
He recalled her memory with ardent,
and hopeful aspiring to the better world;
where he doubted not she was gone.
And he had earthly consolation and affections also.
For a few days,
he seemed regardless of the puny successor to the departed: that coldness melted as fast as snow in April,
and ere the tiny thing could stammer a word or totter a step it wielded a despot's sceptre in his heart.
It was named Catherine;
but he never called it the name in full,
as he had never called the first Catherine short: probably because Heathcliff had a habit of doing so.
The little one was always Cathy: it formed to him a distinction from the mother,
and yet a connection with her;
and his attachment sprang from its relation to her,
far more than from its being his own.
I used to draw a comparison between him and Hindley Earnshaw,
and perplex myself to explain satisfactorily why their conduct was so opposite in similar circumstances.
They had both been fond husbands,
and were both attached to their children;
and I could not see how they shouldn't both have taken the same road,
for good or evil.
I thought in my mind,
with apparently the stronger head,
has shown himself sadly the worse and the weaker man.
When his ship struck,
the captain abandoned his post;
and the crew,
instead of trying to save her,
rushed into riot and confusion,
leaving no hope for their luckless vessel.
on the contrary,
displayed the true courage of a loyal and faithful soul: he trusted God;
and God comforted him.
and the other despaired: they chose their own lots,
and were righteously doomed to endure them.
But you'll not want to hear my moralising,
as well as I can,
all these things: at least,
you'll think you will,
and that's the same.
The end of Earnshaw was what might have been expected;
it followed fast on his sister's: there were scarcely six months between them.
at the Grange,
never got a very succinct account of his state preceding it;
all that I did learn was on occasion of going to aid in the preparations for the funeral.
Mr. Kenneth came to announce the event to my master.
riding into the yard one morning,
too early not to alarm me with an instant presentiment of bad news,
'it's yours and my turn to go into mourning at present.
Who's given us the slip now,
do you think?'
I asked in a flurry.
and slinging his bridle on a hook by the door.
'And nip up the corner of your apron: I'm certain you'll need it.'
'Not Mr. Heathcliff,
would you have tears for him?'
said the doctor.
Heathcliff's a tough young fellow: he looks blooming to-day.
I've just seen him.
He's rapidly regaining flesh since he lost his better half.'
'Who is it,
I repeated impatiently.
Your old friend Hindley,'
'and my wicked gossip: though he's been too wild for me this long while.
I said we should draw water.
But cheer up!
He died true to his character: drunk as a lord.
One can't help missing an old companion: though he had the worst tricks with him that ever man imagined,
and has done me many a rascally turn.
He's barely twenty-seven,
that's your own age: who would have thought you were born in one year?'
I confess this blow was greater to me than the shock of Mrs. Linton's death: ancient associations lingered round my heart;
I sat down in the porch and wept as for a blood relation,
desiring Mr. Kenneth to get another servant to introduce him to the master.
I could not hinder myself from pondering on the question --'Had he had fair play?'
Whatever I did,
that idea would bother me: it was so tiresomely pertinacious that I resolved on requesting leave to go to Wuthering Heights,
and assist in the last duties to the dead.
Mr. Linton was extremely reluctant to consent,
but I pleaded eloquently for the friendless condition in which he lay;
and I said my old master and foster-brother had a claim on my services as strong as his own.
I reminded him that the child Hareton was his wife's nephew,
in the absence of nearer kin,
he ought to act as its guardian;
and he ought to and must inquire how the property was left,
and look over the concerns of his brother-in-law.
He was unfit for attending to such matters then,
but he bid me speak to his lawyer;
and at length permitted me to go.
His lawyer had been Earnshaw's also: I called at the village,
and asked him to accompany me.
He shook his head,
and advised that Heathcliff should be let alone;
if the truth were known,
Hareton would be found little else than a beggar.
'His father died in debt,'
'the whole property is mortgaged,
and the sole chance for the natural heir is to allow him an opportunity of creating some interest in the creditor's heart,
that he may be inclined to deal leniently towards him.'
When I reached the Heights,
I explained that I had come to see everything carried on decently;
who appeared in sufficient distress,
expressed satisfaction at my presence.
Mr. Heathcliff said he did not perceive that I was wanted;
but I might stay and order the arrangements for the funeral,
if I chose.
'that fool's body should be buried at the cross-roads,
without ceremony of any kind.
I happened to leave him ten minutes yesterday afternoon,
and in that interval he fastened the two doors of the house against me,
and he has spent the night in drinking himself to death deliberately!
We broke in this morning,
for we heard him sporting like a horse;
and there he was,
laid over the settle: flaying and scalping would not have wakened him.
I sent for Kenneth,
and he came;
but not till the beast had changed into carrion: he was both dead and cold,
and so you'll allow it was useless making more stir about him!'
The old servant confirmed this statement,
'I'd rayther he'd goan hisseln for t' doctor!
I sud ha' taen tent o' t' maister better nor him --and he warn't deead when I left,
naught o' t' soart!'
I insisted on the funeral being respectable.
Mr. Heathcliff said I might have my own way there too: only,
he desired me to remember that the money for the whole affair came out of his pocket.
He maintained a hard,
indicative of neither joy nor sorrow: if anything,
it expressed a flinty gratification at a piece of difficult work successfully executed.
I observed once,
something like exultation in his aspect: it was just when the people were bearing the coffin from the house.
He had the hypocrisy to represent a mourner: and previous to following with Hareton,
he lifted the unfortunate child on to the table and muttered,
with peculiar gusto,
my bonny lad,
you are _mine_!
And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another,
with the same wind to twist it!'
The unsuspecting thing was pleased at this speech: he played with Heathcliff's whiskers,
and stroked his cheek;
but I divined its meaning,
and observed tartly,
'That boy must go back with me to Thrushcross Grange,
There is nothing in the world less yours than he is!'
'Does Linton say so?'
'Of course --he has ordered me to take him,'
said the scoundrel,
'we'll not argue the subject now: but I have a fancy to try my hand at rearing a young one;
so intimate to your master that I must supply the place of this with my own,
if he attempt to remove it.
I don't engage to let Hareton go undisputed;
but I'll be pretty sure to make the other come!
Remember to tell him.'
This hint was enough to bind our hands.
I repeated its substance on my return;
and Edgar Linton,
little interested at the commencement,
spoke no more of interfering.
I'm not aware that he could have done it to any purpose,
had he been ever so willing.
The guest was now the master of Wuthering Heights: he held firm possession,
and proved to the attorney --who,
in his turn,
proved it to Mr. Linton --that Earnshaw had mortgaged every yard of land he owned for cash to supply his mania for gaming;
was the mortgagee.
In that manner Hareton,
who should now be the first gentleman in the neighbourhood,
was reduced to a state of complete dependence on his father's inveterate enemy;
and lives in his own house as a servant,
deprived of the advantage of wages: quite unable to right himself,
because of his friendlessness,
and his ignorance that he has been wronged.