chapter xvii that friday made the last of our fine daysfor a month. in the evening the weather broke: the windshifted from south to north-east, and brought rain first, and then sleet andsnow. on the morrow one could hardly imagine thatthere had been three weeks of summer: the primroses and crocuses were hidden underwintry drifts; the larks were silent, the young leaves of the early trees smitten andblackened. and dreary, and chill, and dismal, thatmorrow did creep over! my master kept his room; i took possessionof the lonely parlour, converting it into a
nursery: and there i was, sitting with themoaning doll of a child laid on my knee; rocking it to and fro, and watching, meanwhile, the still driving flakes buildup the uncurtained window, when the door opened, and some person entered, out ofbreath and laughing! my anger was greater than my astonishmentfor a minute. i supposed it one of the maids, and icried--'have done! how dare you show your giddiness here; whatwould mr. linton say if he heard you?' 'excuse me!' answered a familiar voice;'but i know edgar is in bed, and i cannot stop myself.'
with that the speaker came forward to thefire, panting and holding her hand to her side. 'i have run the whole way from wutheringheights!' she continued, after a pause; 'except where i've flown.i couldn't count the number of falls i've had. oh, i'm aching all over!don't be alarmed! there shall be an explanation as soon as ican give it; only just have the goodness to step out and order the carriage to take meon 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 laughingpredicament: 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 shortsleeves, and nothing on either head or neck. the frock was of light silk, and clung toher with wet, and her feet were protected merely by thin slippers; add to this a deepcut under one ear, which only the cold prevented from bleeding profusely, a white
face scratched and bruised, and a framehardly able to support itself through fatigue; and you may fancy my first frightwas not much allayed when i had had leisure to examine her. 'my dear young lady,' i exclaimed, 'i'llstir 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 itis needless to order the carriage.' 'certainly i shall,' she said; 'walking orriding: yet i've no objection to dress myself decently. and--ah, see how it flows down my neck now!the fire does make it smart.'
she insisted on my fulfilling herdirections, before she would let me touch her; and not till after the coachman hadbeen instructed to get ready, and a maid set to pack up some necessary attire, did i obtain her consent for binding the woundand helping to change her garments. 'now, ellen,' she said, when my task wasfinished and she was seated in an easy- chair on the hearth, with a cup of teabefore her, 'you sit down opposite me, and put poor catherine's baby away: i don'tlike to see it! you mustn't think i care little forcatherine, because i behaved so foolishly on entering: i've cried, too, bitterly--yes, more than any one else has reason to
cry. we parted unreconciled, you remember, and isha'n't forgive myself. but, for all that, i was not going tosympathise with him--the brute beast! oh, give me the poker! this is the last thing of his i have aboutme:' she slipped the gold ring from her third finger, and threw it on the floor. 'i'll smash it!' she continued, striking itwith childish spite, 'and then i'll burn it!' and she took and dropped the misusedarticle among the coals. 'there! he shall buy another, if he gets meback again.
he'd be capable of coming to seek me, totease edgar. i dare not stay, lest that notion shouldpossess his wicked head! and besides, edgar has not been kind, hashe? and i won't come suing for his assistance;nor will i bring him into more trouble. necessity compelled me to seek shelterhere; though, if i had not learned he was out of the way, i'd have halted at thekitchen, washed my face, warmed myself, got you to bring what i wanted, and departed again to anywhere out of the reach of myaccursed--of that incarnate goblin! ah, he was in such a fury!if he had caught me!
it's a pity earnshaw is not his match instrength: i wouldn't have run till i'd seen him all but demolished, had hindley beenable to do it!' 'well, don't talk so fast, miss!' i interrupted; 'you'll disorder thehandkerchief i have tied round your face, and make the cut bleed again. drink your tea, and take breath, and giveover laughing: laughter is sadly out of place under this roof, and in yourcondition!' 'an undeniable truth,' she replied. 'listen to that child!it maintains a constant wail--send it out
of my hearing for an hour; i sha'n't stayany longer.' i rang the bell, and committed it to aservant's care; and then i inquired what had urged her to escape from wutheringheights in such an unlikely plight, and where she meant to go, as she refusedremaining with us. 'i ought, and i wished to remain,' answeredshe, 'to cheer edgar and take care of the baby, for two things, and because thegrange is my right home. but i tell you he wouldn't let me! do you think he could bear to see me growfat and merry--could bear to think that we were tranquil, and not resolve on poisoningour comfort?
now, i have the satisfaction of being surethat he detests me, to the point of its annoying him seriously to have me withinear-shot or eyesight: i notice, when i enter his presence, the muscles of his countenance are involuntarily distortedinto an expression of hatred; partly arising from his knowledge of the goodcauses i have to feel that sentiment for him, and partly from original aversion. it is strong enough to make me feel prettycertain that he would not chase me over england, supposing i contrived a clearescape; and therefore i must get quite away.
i've recovered from my first desire to bekilled 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; andcan dimly imagine that i could still be loving him, if--no, no! even if he had doted on me, the devilishnature would have revealed its existence somehow.catherine had an awfully perverted taste to esteem him so dearly, knowing him so well. monster! would that he could be blotted outof creation, and out of my memory!'
'hush, hush!he's a human being,' i said. 'be more charitable: there are worse menthan he is yet!' 'he's not a human being,' she retorted;'and he has no claim on my charity. i gave him my heart, and he took andpinched it to death, and flung it back to me. people feel with their hearts, ellen: andsince 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! no, indeed, indeed, i wouldn't!'and here isabella began to cry; but,
immediately dashing the water from herlashes, she recommenced. 'you asked, what has driven me to flight atlast? i was compelled to attempt it, because ihad succeeded in rousing his rage a pitch above his malignity. pulling out the nerves with red hot pincersrequires more coolness than knocking on the head. he was worked up to forget the fiendishprudence he boasted of, and proceeded to murderous violence. i experienced pleasure in being able toexasperate him: the sense of pleasure woke
my instinct of self-preservation, so ifairly broke free; and if ever i come into his hands again he is welcome to a signalrevenge. 'yesterday, you know, mr. earnshaw shouldhave 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. consequently, he rose, in suicidal lowspirits, as fit for the church as for a dance; and instead, he sat down by the fireand swallowed gin or brandy by tumblerfuls. 'heathcliff--i shudder to name him! hasbeen a stranger in the house from last sunday till to-day.
whether the angels have fed him, or his kinbeneath, 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 hiscompany! there he has continued, praying like amethodist: only the deity he implored is senseless dust and ashes; and god, whenaddressed, 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 histhroat--he would be off again; always
straight down to the grange! i wonder edgar did not send for aconstable, and give him into custody! for me, grieved as i was about catherine,it was impossible to avoid regarding this season of deliverance from degradingoppression as a holiday. 'i recovered spirits sufficient to bearjoseph's eternal lectures without weeping, and to move up and down the house less withthe foot of a frightened thief than formerly. you wouldn't think that i should cry atanything joseph could say; but he and hareton are detestable companions.
i'd rather sit with hindley, and hear hisawful talk, than with "t' little maister" and his staunch supporter, that odious oldman! when heathcliff is in, i'm often obliged toseek 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 noone provokes him: more sullen and depressed, and less furious.
joseph affirms he's sure he's an alteredman: that the lord has touched his heart, and he is saved "so as by fire." i'm puzzled to detect signs of thefavourable 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, withthe 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 pagebefore me, that melancholy scene so instantly usurped its place.
hindley sat opposite, his head leant on hishand; perhaps meditating on the same subject. he had ceased drinking at a point belowirrationality, and had neither stirred nor spoken during two or three hours. there was no sound through the house butthe moaning wind, which shook the windows every now and then, the faint crackling ofthe coals, and the click of my snuffers as i removed at intervals the long wick of thecandle. hareton and joseph were probably fastasleep in bed. it was very, very sad: and while i read isighed, for it seemed as if all joy had
vanished from the world, never to berestored. 'the doleful silence was broken at lengthby the sound of the kitchen latch: heathcliff had returned from his watchearlier than usual; owing, i suppose, to the sudden storm. that entrance was fastened, and we heardhim coming round to get in by the other. i rose with an irrepressible expression ofwhat i felt on my lips, which induced my companion, who had been staring towards thedoor, to turn and look at me. '"i'll keep him out five minutes," heexclaimed. "you won't object?"'"no, you may keep him out the whole night
for me," i answered. "do! put the key in the look, and draw thebolts." 'earnshaw accomplished this ere his guestreached 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 andfelt like an assassin, he couldn't exactly find that; but he discovered enough toencourage him to speak. '"you, and i," he said, "have each a greatdebt to settle with the man out yonder! if we were neither of us cowards, we mightcombine to discharge it.
are you as soft as your brother? are you willing to endure to the last, andnot once attempt a repayment?" '"i'm weary of enduring now," i replied;"and i'd be glad of a retaliation that wouldn't recoil on myself; but treacheryand violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to themworse than their enemies." '"treachery and violence are a just returnfor treachery and violence!" cried hindley. "mrs. heathcliff, i'll ask you to donothing; but sit still and be dumb. tell me now, can you? i'm sure you would have as much pleasure asi in witnessing the conclusion of the
fiend's existence; he'll be your deathunless 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 beforethat clock strikes--it wants three minutes of one--you're a free woman!" 'he took the implements which i describedto you in my letter from his breast, and would have turned down the candle.i snatched it away, however, and seized his arm.
'"i'll not hold my tongue!"i said; "you mustn't touch him. let the door remain shut, and be quiet!" '"no! i've formed my resolution, and by godi'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 screenme; catherine is gone. nobody alive would regret me, or beashamed, though i cut my throat this minute--and it's time to make an end!" 'i might as well have struggled with abear, or reasoned with a lunatic.
the only resource left me was to run to alattice and warn his intended victim of the fate which awaited him. '"you'd better seek shelter somewhere elseto-night!" i exclaimed, 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--" heanswered, 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 returnedto my place by the fire; having too small a stock of hypocrisy at my command to pretendany 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 basespirit i evinced. and i, in my secret heart (and consciencenever reproached me), thought what a blessing it would be for him shouldheathcliff put him out of misery; and what a blessing for me should he sendheathcliff to his right abode! as i sat nursing these reflections, thecasement 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 sufferhis shoulders to follow, and i smiled, exulting in my fancied security. his hair and clothes were whitened withsnow, and his sharp cannibal teeth, revealed by cold and wrath, gleamed throughthe dark. '"isabella, let me in, or i'll make yourepent!" he "girned," as joseph calls it. '"i cannot commit murder," i replied."mr. hindley stands sentinel with a knife and loaded pistol."
'"let me in by the kitchen door," he said.'"hindley will be there before me," i answered: "and that's a poor love of yoursthat cannot bear a shower of snow! we were left at peace in our beds as longas the summer moon shone, but the moment a blast of winter returns, you must run forshelter! heathcliff, if i were you, i'd go stretchmyself over her grave and die like a faithful dog.the world is surely not worth living in now, is it? you had distinctly impressed on me the ideathat catherine was the whole joy of your life: i can't imagine how you think ofsurviving her loss."
'"he's there, is he?" exclaimed mycompanion, rushing to the gap. "if i can get my arm out i can hit him!" 'i'm afraid, ellen, you'll set me down asreally 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, i must; andtherefore i was fearfully disappointed, and unnerved by terror for the consequences ofmy taunting speech, when he flung himself on earnshaw's weapon and wrenched it fromhis grasp. 'the charge exploded, and the knife, inspringing 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 thedivision between two windows, and sprang in. his adversary had fallen senseless withexcessive pain and the flow of blood, that gushed from an artery or a large vein. the ruffian kicked and trampled on him, anddashed his head repeatedly against the flags, holding me with one hand, meantime,to prevent me summoning joseph.
he exerted preterhuman self-denial inabstaining from finishing him completely; but getting out of breath, he finallydesisted, and dragged the apparently inanimate body on to the settle. there he tore off the sleeve of earnshaw'scoat, and bound up the wound with brutal roughness; spitting and cursing during theoperation as energetically as he had kicked before. being at liberty, i lost no time in seekingthe old servant; who, having gathered by degrees the purport of my hasty tale,hurried below, gasping, as he descended the steps two at once.
'"what is ther to do, now? what is ther todo, now?" '"there's this to do," thunderedheathcliff, "that your master's mad; and should he last another month, i'll have himto an asylum. and how the devil did you come to fasten meout, you toothless hound? don't stand muttering and mumbling there.come, i'm not going to nurse him. wash that stuff away; and mind the sparksof your candle--it is more than half brandy!" '"and so ye've been murthering on him?"exclaimed joseph, 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 kneesin the middle of the blood, and flung a towel to him; but instead of proceeding todry it up, he joined his hands and began a prayer, which excited my laughter from itsodd phraseology. i was in the condition of mind to beshocked at nothing: in fact, i was as reckless as some malefactors showthemselves at the foot of the gallows. '"oh, i forgot you," said the tyrant. "you shall do that.down with you. and you conspire with him against me, doyou, viper?
there, that is work fit for you!" 'he shook me till my teeth rattled, andpitched 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 hehad fifty wives dead, he should inquire into this. he was so obstinate in his resolution, thatheathcliff deemed it expedient to compel from my lips a recapitulation of what hadtaken place; standing over me, heaving with malevolence, as i reluctantly delivered theaccount in answer to his questions.
it required a great deal of labour tosatisfy the old man that heathcliff was not the aggressor; especially with my hardly-wrung replies. however, mr. earnshaw soon convinced himthat he was alive still; joseph hastened to administer a dose of spirits, and by theirsuccour his master presently regained motion and consciousness. heathcliff, aware that his opponent wasignorant of the treatment received while insensible, called him deliriouslyintoxicated; and said he should not notice his atrocious conduct further, but advisedhim to get to bed. to my joy, he left us, after giving thisjudicious counsel, and hindley stretched
himself on the hearthstone. i departed to my own room, marvelling thati had escaped so easily. 'this morning, when i came down, about halfan hour before noon, mr. earnshaw was sitting by the fire, deadly sick; his evilgenius, almost as gaunt and ghastly, leant against the chimney. neither appeared inclined to dine, and,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, as, atintervals, i cast a look towards my silent
companions, and felt the comfort of a quietconscience within me. after i had done, i ventured on the unusualliberty of drawing near the fire, going round earnshaw's seat, and kneeling in thecorner beside him. 'heathcliff did not glance my way, and igazed up, and contemplated his features almost as confidently as if they had beenturned to stone. his forehead, that i once thought so manly,and that i now think so diabolical, was shaded with a heavy cloud; his basiliskeyes were nearly quenched by sleeplessness, and weeping, perhaps, for the lashes were wet then: his lips devoid of theirferocious 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; and,ignoble as it seems to insult a fallen enemy, i couldn't miss this chance ofsticking in a dart: his weakness was the only time when i could taste the delight ofpaying wrong for wrong.' 'fie, fie, miss!'i interrupted. 'one might suppose you had never opened abible in your life. if god afflict your enemies, surely thatought to suffice you. it is both mean and presumptuous to addyour torture to his!'
'in general i'll allow that it would be,ellen,' she continued; 'but what misery laid on heathcliff could content me, unlessi have a hand in it? i'd rather he suffered less, if i mightcause his sufferings and he might know that i was the cause.oh, i owe him so much. on only one condition can i hope to forgivehim. it is, if i may take an eye for an eye, atooth for a tooth; for every wrench of agony return a wrench: reduce him to mylevel. as he was the first to injure, make him thefirst to implore pardon; and then--why then, ellen, i might show you somegenerosity.
but it is utterly impossible i can ever berevenged, 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," he replied."but leaving out my arm, every inch of me is as sore as if i had been fighting with alegion of imps!" '"yes, no wonder," was my next remark. "catherine used to boast that she stoodbetween you and bodily harm: she meant that certain persons would not hurt you for fearof offending her. it's well people don't really rise fromtheir grave, or, last night, she might have
witnessed a repulsive scene!are not you bruised, and cut over your chest and shoulders?" '"i can't say," he answered, "but what doyou mean? did he dare to strike me when i was down?"'"he trampled on and kicked you, and dashed you on the ground," i whispered. "and his mouth watered to tear you with histeeth; because he's only half man: not so much, and the rest fiend." 'mr. earnshaw looked up, like me, to thecountenance of our mutual foe; who, absorbed in his anguish, seemed insensibleto anything around him: the longer he
stood, the plainer his reflections revealedtheir blackness through his features. '"oh, if god would but give me strength tostrangle 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 forthe struggle. '"nay, it's enough that he has murdered oneof you," i observed aloud. "at the grange, every one knows your sisterwould have been living now had it not been for mr. heathcliff.after all, it is preferable to be hated than loved by him. when i recollect how happy we were--howhappy catherine was before he came--i'm fit
to curse the day." 'most likely, heathcliff noticed more thetruth of what was said, than the spirit of the person who said it. his attention was roused, i saw, for hiseyes 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 amoment towards me; the fiend which usually looked out, however, was so dimmed anddrowned that i did not fear to hazard another sound of derision.
'"get up, and begone out of my sight," saidthe mourner. 'i guessed he uttered those words, atleast, though his voice was hardly intelligible. '"i beg your pardon," i replied."but i loved catherine too; and her brother requires attendance, which, for her sake,i shall supply. now, 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 themblack and red; and her--" '"get up, wretched idiot, before i stampyou to death!" he cried, making a movement that caused me to make one also.
'"but then," i continued, holding myselfready to flee, "if poor catherine had trusted you, and assumed the ridiculous,contemptible, degrading title of mrs. heathcliff, she would soon have presented asimilar picture! she wouldn't have borne your abominablebehaviour quietly: her detestation and disgust must have found voice." 'the back of the settle and earnshaw'sperson interposed between me and him; so instead of endeavouring to reach me, hesnatched a dinner-knife from the table and flung it at my head. it struck beneath my ear, and stopped thesentence i was uttering; but, pulling it
out, i sprang to the door and deliveredanother; which i hope went a little deeper than his missile. the last glimpse i caught of him was afurious rush on his part, checked by the embrace of his host; and both fell lockedtogether on the hearth. in my flight through the kitchen i bidjoseph speed to his master; i knocked over hareton, who was hanging a litter ofpuppies from a chair-back in the doorway; and, blessed as a soul escaped from purgatory, i bounded, leaped, and flew downthe steep road; then, quitting its windings, shot direct across the moor,rolling over banks, and wading through
marshes: precipitating myself, in fact,towards the beacon-light of the grange. and far rather would i be condemned to aperpetual dwelling in the infernal regions than, even for one night, abide beneath theroof of wuthering heights again.' isabella ceased speaking, and took a drinkof tea; then she rose, and bidding me put on her bonnet, and a great shawl i hadbrought, and turning a deaf ear to my entreaties for her to remain another hour, she stepped on to a chair, kissed edgar'sand catherine's portraits, bestowed a similar salute on me, and descended to thecarriage, accompanied by fanny, who yelped wild with joy at recovering her mistress.
she was driven away, never to revisit thisneighbourhood: but a regular correspondence was established between her and my masterwhen things were more settled. i believe her new abode was in the south,near london; there she had a son born a few months subsequent to her escape. he was christened linton, and, from thefirst, she reported him to be an ailing, peevish creature.mr. heathcliff, 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 herbrother: she should not be with him, if he
had to keep her himself. though i would give no information, hediscovered, through some of the other servants, both her place of residence andthe existence of the child. still, he didn't molest her: for whichforbearance she might thank his aversion, i suppose. he often asked about the infant, when hesaw me; and on hearing its name, smiled grimly, and observed: 'they wish me to hateit too, do they?' 'i don't think they wish you to knowanything about it,' i answered. 'but i'll have it,' he said, 'when i wantit.
they may reckon on that!' fortunately its mother died before the timearrived; some thirteen years after the decease of catherine, when linton wastwelve, or a little more. on the day succeeding isabella's unexpectedvisit i had no opportunity of speaking to my master: he shunned conversation, and wasfit for discussing nothing. when i could get him to listen, i saw itpleased him that his sister had left her husband; whom he abhorred with an intensitywhich 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. grief, and that together, transformed himinto a complete hermit: he threw up his office of magistrate, ceased even to attendchurch, avoided the village on all occasions, and spent a life of entire seclusion within the limits of his park andgrounds; only varied by solitary rambles on the moors, and visits to the grave of hiswife, mostly at evening, or early morning before other wanderers were abroad. but he was too good to be thoroughlyunhappy long. he didn't pray for catherine's soul tohaunt him.
time brought resignation, and a melancholysweeter than common joy. he recalled her memory with ardent, tenderlove, and hopeful aspiring to the better world; where he doubted not she was gone. and he had earthly consolation andaffections also. for a few days, i said, he seemedregardless of the puny successor to the departed: that coldness melted as fast assnow in april, and ere the tiny thing could stammer a word or totter a step it wieldeda despot's sceptre in his heart. it was named catherine; but he never calledit the name in full, as he had never called the first catherine short: probably becauseheathcliff had a habit of doing so.
the little one was always cathy: it formedto him a distinction from the mother, and yet a connection with her; and hisattachment sprang from its relation to her, far more than from its being his own. i used to draw a comparison between him andhindley earnshaw, and perplex myself to explain satisfactorily why their conductwas so opposite in similar circumstances. they had both been fond husbands, and wereboth attached to their children; and i could not see how they shouldn't both havetaken the same road, for good or evil. but, i thought in my mind, hindley, withapparently the stronger head, has shown himself sadly the worse and the weaker man.
when his ship struck, the captain abandonedhis post; and the crew, instead of trying to save her, rushed into riot andconfusion, leaving no hope for their luckless vessel. linton, on the contrary, displayed the truecourage of a loyal and faithful soul: he trusted god; and god comforted him. one hoped, and the other despaired: theychose their own lots, and were righteously doomed to endure them. but you'll not want to hear my moralising,mr. lockwood; you'll judge, as well as i can, all these things: at least, you'llthink you will, and that's the same.
the end of earnshaw was what might havebeen expected; it followed fast on his sister's: there were scarcely six monthsbetween them. we, at the grange, never got a verysuccinct account of his state preceding it; all that i did learn was on occasion ofgoing to aid in the preparations for the funeral. mr. kenneth came to announce the event tomy master. 'well, nelly,' said he, riding into theyard 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?''who?' i asked in a flurry.'why, guess!' he returned, dismounting, and slinging his bridle on a hook by the door. 'and nip up the corner of your apron: i'mcertain you'll need it.' 'not mr. heathcliff, surely?'i exclaimed. 'what! would you have tears for him?' saidthe doctor. 'no, heathcliff's a tough young fellow: helooks blooming to-day. i've just seen him. he's rapidly regaining flesh since he losthis better half.'
'who is it, then, mr. kenneth?'i repeated impatiently. 'hindley earnshaw! your old friend hindley,' he replied, 'andmy wicked gossip: though he's been too wild for me this long while.there! i said we should draw water. but cheer up!he died true to his character: drunk as a lord.poor lad! i'm sorry, too. one can't help missing an old companion:though he had the worst tricks with him
that ever man imagined, and has done memany a rascally turn. he's barely twenty-seven, it seems; that'syour own age: who would have thought you were born in one year?' i confess this blow was greater to me thanthe shock of mrs. linton's death: ancient associations lingered round my heart; i satdown in the porch and wept as for a blood relation, desiring mr. kenneth to get another servant to introduce him to themaster. i could not hinder myself from pondering onthe 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 towuthering heights, and assist in the last duties to the dead. mr. linton was extremely reluctant toconsent, but i pleaded eloquently for the friendless condition in which he lay; and isaid my old master and foster-brother had a claim on my services as strong as his own. besides, i reminded him that the childhareton was his wife's nephew, and, in the absence of nearer kin, he ought to act asits guardian; and he ought to and must inquire how the property was left, and lookover the concerns of his brother-in-law. he was unfit for attending to such mattersthen, but he bid me speak to his lawyer;
and at length permitted me to go. his lawyer had been earnshaw's also: icalled at the village, and asked him to accompany me. he shook his head, and advised thatheathcliff should be let alone; affirming, if the truth were known, hareton would befound little else than a beggar. 'his father died in debt,' he said; 'thewhole property is mortgaged, and the sole chance for the natural heir is to allow himan opportunity of creating some interest in the creditor's heart, that he may beinclined to deal leniently towards him.' when i reached the heights, i explainedthat i had come to see everything carried
on decently; and joseph, who appeared insufficient distress, expressed satisfaction at my presence. mr. heathcliff said he did not perceivethat i was wanted; but i might stay and order the arrangements for the funeral, ifi chose. 'correctly,' he remarked, 'that fool's bodyshould be buried at the cross-roads, without ceremony of any kind. i happened to leave him ten minutesyesterday afternoon, and in that interval he fastened the two doors of the houseagainst me, and he has spent the night in drinking himself to death deliberately!
we broke in this morning, for we heard himsporting like a horse; and there he was, laid over the settle: flaying and scalpingwould not have wakened him. i sent for kenneth, and he came; but nottill the beast had changed into carrion: he was both dead and cold, and stark; and soyou'll allow it was useless making more stir about him!' the old servant confirmed this statement,but muttered: 'i'd rayther he'd goan hisseln for t'doctor! i sud ha,' taen tent o' t' maister betternor 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 waythere too: only, he desired me to remember that the money for the whole affair cameout of his pocket. he maintained a hard, careless deportment,indicative of neither joy nor sorrow: if anything, it expressed a flintygratification at a piece of difficult work successfully executed. i observed once, indeed, something likeexultation in his aspect: it was just when the people were bearing the coffin from thehouse. he had the hypocrisy to represent amourner: and previous to following with
hareton, he lifted the unfortunate child onto the table and muttered, with peculiar gusto, 'now, my bonny lad, you are mine! and we'll see if one tree won't grow ascrooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!' the unsuspecting thing was pleased at thisspeech: he played with heathcliff's whiskers, and stroked his cheek; but idivined its meaning, and observed tartly, 'that boy must go back with me tothrushcross grange, sir. there is nothing in the world less yoursthan he is!' 'does linton say so?' he demanded.
'of course--he has ordered me to take him,'i replied. 'well,' said the scoundrel, 'we'll notargue the subject now: but i have a fancy to try my hand at rearing a young one; sointimate to your master that i must supply the place of this with my own, if heattempt to remove it. i don't engage to let hareton goundisputed; 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; andedgar linton, little interested at the commencement, spoke no more of interfering.
i'm not aware that he could have done it toany purpose, had he been ever so willing. the guest was now the master of wutheringheights: 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; andhe, heathcliff, was the mortgagee. in that manner hareton, who should now bethe first gentleman in the neighbourhood, was reduced to a state of completedependence on his father's inveterate enemy; and lives in his own house as a servant, deprived of the advantage ofwages: quite unable to right himself,
because of his friendlessness, and hisignorance that he has been wronged. > chapter xviii the twelve years, continued mrs. dean,following that dismal period were the happiest of my life: my greatest troublesin their passage rose from our little lady's trifling illnesses, which she had to experience in common with all children,rich and poor. for the rest, after the first six months,she grew like a larch, and could walk and talk too, in her own way, before the heathblossomed a second time over mrs. linton's
dust. she was the most winning thing that everbrought sunshine into a desolate house: a real beauty in face, with the earnshaws'handsome dark eyes, but the lintons' fair skin and small features, and yellow curlinghair. her spirit was high, though not rough, andqualified by a heart sensitive and lively to excess in its affections. that capacity for intense attachmentsreminded me of her mother: still she did not resemble her: for she could be soft andmild as a dove, and she had a gentle voice and pensive expression: her anger was never
furious; her love never fierce: it was deepand tender. however, it must be acknowledged, she hadfaults to foil her gifts. a propensity to be saucy was one; and aperverse will, that indulged children invariably acquire, whether they be goodtempered or cross. if a servant chanced to vex her, it wasalways--'i shall tell papa!' and if he reproved her, even by a look, youwould have thought it a heart-breaking business: i don't believe he ever did speaka harsh word to her. he took her education entirely on himself,and made it an amusement. fortunately, curiosity and a quickintellect made her an apt scholar: she
learned rapidly and eagerly, and did honourto his teaching. till she reached the age of thirteen shehad not once been beyond the range of the park by herself. mr. linton would take her with him a mileor so outside, on rare occasions; but he trusted her to no one else. gimmerton was an unsubstantial name in herears; the chapel, the only building she had approached or entered, except her own home. wuthering heights and mr. heathcliff didnot exist for her: she was a perfect recluse; and, apparently, perfectlycontented.
sometimes, indeed, while surveying thecountry from her nursery window, she would observe--'ellen, how long will it be before i can walk to the top of those hills? i wonder what lies on the other side--is itthe sea?' 'no, miss cathy,' i would answer; 'it ishills again, just like these.' 'and what are those golden rocks like whenyou stand under them?' she once asked. the abrupt descent of penistone cragsparticularly attracted her notice; especially when the setting sun shone on itand the topmost heights, and the whole extent of landscape besides lay in shadow.
i explained that they were bare masses ofstone, with hardly enough earth in their clefts to nourish a stunted tree.'and why are they bright so long after it is evening here?' she pursued. 'because they are a great deal higher upthan we are,' replied i; 'you could not climb them, they are too high and steep. in winter the frost is always there beforeit comes to us; and deep into summer i have found snow under that black hollow on thenorth-east side!' 'oh, you have been on them!' she criedgleefully. 'then i can go, too, when i am a woman.has papa been, ellen?'
'papa would tell you, miss,' i answered,hastily, 'that they are not worth the trouble of visiting. the moors, where you ramble with him, aremuch nicer; and thrushcross park is the finest place in the world.''but i know the park, and i don't know those,' she murmured to herself. 'and i should delight to look round me fromthe brow of that tallest point: my little pony minny shall take me some time.' one of the maids mentioning the fairy cave,quite turned her head with a desire to fulfil this project: she teased mr. lintonabout it; and he promised she should have
the journey when she got older. but miss catherine measured her age bymonths, and, 'now, am i old enough to go to penistone crags?' was the constant questionin her mouth. the road thither wound close by wutheringheights. edgar had not the heart to pass it; so shereceived as constantly the answer, 'not yet, love: not yet.' i said mrs. heathcliff lived above a dozenyears after quitting her husband. her family were of a delicate constitution:she and edgar both lacked the ruddy health that you will generally meet in theseparts.
what her last illness was, i am notcertain: i conjecture, they died of the same thing, a kind of fever, slow at itscommencement, but incurable, and rapidly consuming life towards the close. she wrote to inform her brother of theprobable conclusion of a four-months' indisposition under which she had suffered,and entreated him to come to her, if possible; for she had much to settle, and she wished to bid him adieu, and deliverlinton safely into his hands. her hope was that linton might be left withhim, as he had been with her: his father, she would fain convince herself, had nodesire to assume the burden of his
maintenance or education. my master hesitated not a moment incomplying with her request: reluctant as he was to leave home at ordinary calls, heflew to answer this; commanding catherine to my peculiar vigilance, in his absence, with reiterated orders that she must notwander out of the park, even under my escort he did not calculate on her goingunaccompanied. he was away three weeks. the first day or two my charge sat in acorner of the library, too sad for either reading or playing: in that quiet state shecaused me little trouble; but it was
succeeded by an interval of impatient, fretful weariness; and being too busy, andtoo old then, to run up and down amusing her, i hit on a method by which she mightentertain herself. i used to send her on her travels round thegrounds--now on foot, and now on a pony; indulging her with a patient audience ofall her real and imaginary adventures when she returned. the summer shone in full prime; and shetook such a taste for this solitary rambling that she often contrived to remainout from breakfast till tea; and then the evenings were spent in recounting herfanciful tales.
i did not fear her breaking bounds; becausethe gates were generally locked, and i thought she would scarcely venture forthalone, if they had stood wide open. unluckily, my confidence proved misplaced. catherine came to me, one morning, at eighto'clock, and said she was that day an arabian merchant, going to cross the desertwith his caravan; and i must give her plenty of provision for herself and beasts: a horse, and three camels, personated by alarge hound and a couple of pointers. i got together good store of dainties, andslung them in a basket on one side of the saddle; and she sprang up as gay as afairy, sheltered by her wide-brimmed hat
and gauze veil from the july sun, and trotted off with a merry laugh, mocking mycautious counsel to avoid galloping, and come back early.the naughty thing never made her appearance at tea. one traveller, the hound, being an old dogand fond of its ease, returned; but neither cathy, nor the pony, nor the two pointerswere visible in any direction: i despatched emissaries down this path, and that path, and at last went wandering in search of hermyself. there was a labourer working at a fenceround a plantation, on the borders of the
grounds. i inquired of him if he had seen our younglady. 'i saw her at morn,' he replied: 'she wouldhave me to cut her a hazel switch, and then she leapt her galloway over the hedgeyonder, where it is lowest, and galloped out of sight.' you may guess how i felt at hearing thisnews. it struck me directly she must have startedfor penistone crags. 'what will become of her?' i ejaculated, pushing through a gap whichthe man was repairing, and making straight
to the high-road. i walked as if for a wager, mile aftermile, till a turn brought me in view of the heights; but no catherine could i detect,far or near. the crags lie about a mile and a halfbeyond mr. heathcliff's place, and that is four from the grange, so i began to fearnight would fall ere i could reach them. 'and what if she should have slipped inclambering among them,' i reflected, 'and been killed, or broken some of her bones?' my suspense was truly painful; and, atfirst, it gave me delightful relief to observe, in hurrying by the farmhouse,charlie, the fiercest of the pointers,
lying under a window, with swelled head andbleeding ear. i opened the wicket and ran to the door,knocking vehemently for admittance. a woman whom i knew, and who formerly livedat gimmerton, answered: she had been servant there since the death of mr.earnshaw. 'ah,' said she, 'you are come a-seekingyour little mistress! don't be frightened.she's here safe: but i'm glad it isn't the master.' 'he is not at home then, is he?'i panted, quite breathless with quick walking and alarm.
'no, no,' she replied: 'both he and josephare off, and i think they won't return this hour or more.step in and rest you a bit.' i entered, and beheld my stray lamb seatedon the hearth, rocking herself in a little chair that had been her mother's when achild. her hat was hung against the wall, and sheseemed perfectly at home, laughing and chattering, in the best spirits imaginable,to hareton--now a great, strong lad of eighteen--who stared at her with considerable curiosity and astonishment:comprehending precious little of the fluent succession of remarks and questions whichher tongue never ceased pouring forth.
'very well, miss!' i exclaimed, concealing my joy under anangry countenance. 'this is your last ride, till papa comesback. i'll not trust you over the thresholdagain, you naughty, naughty girl!' 'aha, ellen!' she cried, gaily, jumping upand running to my side. 'i shall have a pretty story to tell to-night; and so you've found me out. have you ever been here in your lifebefore?' 'put that hat on, and home at once,' saidi. 'i'm dreadfully grieved at you, miss cathy:you've done extremely wrong!
it's no use pouting and crying: that won'trepay the trouble i've had, scouring the country after you.to think how mr. linton charged me to keep you in; and you stealing off so! it shows you are a cunning little fox, andnobody will put faith in you any more.' 'what have i done?' sobbed she, instantlychecked. 'papa charged me nothing: he'll not scoldme, ellen--he's never cross, like you!' 'come, come!'i repeated. 'i'll tie the riband. now, let us have no petulance.oh, for shame!
you thirteen years old, and such a baby!' this exclamation was caused by her pushingthe hat from her head, and retreating to the chimney out of my reach.'nay,' said the servant, 'don't be hard on the bonny lass, mrs. dean. we made her stop: she'd fain have riddenforwards, afeard you should be uneasy. hareton offered to go with her, and ithought he should: it's a wild road over the hills.' hareton, during the discussion, stood withhis hands in his pockets, too awkward to speak; though he looked as if he did notrelish my intrusion.
'how long am i to wait?' i continued, disregarding the woman'sinterference. 'it will be dark in ten minutes.where is the pony, miss cathy? and where is phoenix? i shall leave you, unless you be quick; soplease yourself.' 'the pony is in the yard,' she replied,'and phoenix is shut in there. he's bitten--and so is charlie. i was going to tell you all about it; butyou are in a bad temper, and don't deserve to hear.'
i picked up her hat, and approached toreinstate it; but perceiving that the people of the house took her part, shecommenced capering round the room; and on my giving chase, ran like a mouse over and under and behind the furniture, renderingit ridiculous for me to pursue. hareton and the woman laughed, and shejoined them, and waxed more impertinent still; till i cried, in great irritation,--'well, miss cathy, if you were aware whose house this is you'd be glad enough to getout.' 'it's your father's, isn't it?' said she,turning to hareton. 'nay,' he replied, looking down, andblushing bashfully.
he could not stand a steady gaze from hereyes, though they were just his own. 'whose then--your master's?' she asked. he coloured deeper, with a differentfeeling, muttered an oath, and turned away. 'who is his master?' continued the tiresomegirl, appealing to me. 'he talked about "our house," and "ourfolk." i thought he had been the owner's son.and he never said miss: he should have done, shouldn't he, if he's a servant?' hareton grew black as a thunder-cloud atthis childish speech. i silently shook my questioner, and at lastsucceeded in equipping her for departure.
'now, get my horse,' she said, addressingher unknown kinsman as she would one of the stable-boys at the grange.'and you may come with me. i want to see where the goblin-hunter risesin the marsh, and to hear about the fairishes, as you call them: but makehaste! what's the matter? get my horse, i say.''i'll see thee damned before i be thy servant!' growled the lad.'you'll see me what!' asked catherine in surprise. 'damned--thou saucy witch!' he replied.'there, miss cathy! you see you have got
into pretty company,' i interposed.'nice words to be used to a young lady! pray don't begin to dispute with him. come, let us seek for minny ourselves, andbegone.' 'but, ellen,' cried she, staring fixed inastonishment, 'how dare he speak so to me? mustn't he be made to do as i ask him? you wicked creature, i shall tell papa whatyou said.--now, then!' hareton did not appear to feel this threat;so the tears sprang into her eyes with indignation. 'you bring the pony,' she exclaimed,turning to the woman, 'and let my dog free
this moment!''softly, miss,' answered she addressed; 'you'll lose nothing by being civil. though mr. hareton, there, be not themaster's son, he's your cousin: and i was never hired to serve you.''he my cousin!' cried cathy, with a scornful laugh. 'yes, indeed,' responded her reprover.'oh, ellen! don't let them say such things,' she pursued in great trouble.'papa is gone to fetch my cousin from london: my cousin is a gentleman's son. that my--' she stopped, and wept outright;upset at the bare notion of relationship
with such a clown.'hush, hush!' i whispered; 'people can have many cousinsand of all sorts, miss cathy, without being any the worse for it; only they needn'tkeep their company, if they be disagreeable and bad.' 'he's not--he's not my cousin, ellen!' shewent on, gathering fresh grief from reflection, and flinging herself into myarms for refuge from the idea. i was much vexed at her and the servant fortheir mutual revelations; having no doubt of linton's approaching arrival,communicated by the former, being reported to mr. heathcliff; and feeling as confident
that catherine's first thought on herfather's return would be to seek an explanation of the latter's assertionconcerning her rude-bred kindred. hareton, recovering from his disgust atbeing taken for a servant, seemed moved by her distress; and, having fetched the ponyround to the door, he took, to propitiate her, a fine crooked-legged terrier whelp from the kennel, and putting it into herhand, bid her whist! for he meant nought. pausing in her lamentations, she surveyedhim with a glance of awe and horror, then burst forth anew. i could scarcely refrain from smiling atthis antipathy to the poor fellow; who was
a well-made, athletic youth, good-lookingin features, and stout and healthy, but attired in garments befitting his daily occupations of working on the farm andlounging among the moors after rabbits and game. still, i thought i could detect in hisphysiognomy a mind owning better qualities than his father ever possessed. good things lost amid a wilderness ofweeds, to be sure, whose rankness far over- topped their neglected growth; yet,notwithstanding, evidence of a wealthy soil, that might yield luxuriant cropsunder other and favourable circumstances.
mr. heathcliff, i believe, had not treatedhim physically ill; thanks to his fearless nature, which offered no temptation to thatcourse of oppression: he had none of the timid susceptibility that would have given zest to ill-treatment, in heathcliff'sjudgment. he appeared to have bent his malevolence onmaking him a brute: he was never taught to read or write; never rebuked for any badhabit which did not annoy his keeper; never led a single step towards virtue, orguarded by a single precept against vice. and from what i heard, joseph contributedmuch to his deterioration, by a narrow- minded partiality which prompted him toflatter and pet him, as a boy, because he
was the head of the old family. and as he had been in the habit of accusingcatherine earnshaw and heathcliff, when children, of putting the master past hispatience, and compelling him to seek solace in drink by what he termed their 'offald ways,' so at present he laid the wholeburden of hareton's faults on the shoulders of the usurper of his property.if the lad swore, he wouldn't correct him: nor however culpably he behaved. it gave joseph satisfaction, apparently, towatch him go the worst lengths: he allowed that the lad was ruined: that his soul wasabandoned to perdition; but then he
reflected that heathcliff must answer forit. hareton's blood would be required at hishands; and there lay immense consolation in that thought. joseph had instilled into him a pride ofname, and of his lineage; he would, had he dared, have fostered hate between him andthe present owner of the heights: but his dread of that owner amounted to superstition; and he confined his feelingsregarding him to muttered innuendoes and private comminations. i don't pretend to be intimately acquaintedwith the mode of living customary in those
days at wuthering heights: i only speakfrom hearsay; for i saw little. the villagers affirmed mr. heathcliff wasnear, and a cruel hard landlord to his tenants; but the house, inside, hadregained its ancient aspect of comfort under female management, and the scenes of riot common in hindley's time were not nowenacted within its walls. the master was too gloomy to seekcompanionship with any people, good or bad; and he is yet. this, however, is not making progress withmy story. miss cathy rejected the peace-offering ofthe terrier, and demanded her own dogs,
charlie and phoenix. they came limping and hanging their heads;and we set out for home, sadly out of sorts, every one of us. i could not wring from my little lady howshe had spent the day; except that, as i supposed, the goal of her pilgrimage waspenistone crags; and she arrived without adventure to the gate of the farm-house, when hareton happened to issue forth,attended by some canine followers, who attacked her train. they had a smart battle, before theirowners could separate them: that formed an
introduction. catherine told hareton who she was, andwhere she was going; and asked him to show her the way: finally, beguiling him toaccompany her. he opened the mysteries of the fairy cave,and twenty other queer places. but, being in disgrace, i was not favouredwith a description of the interesting objects she saw. i could gather, however, that her guide hadbeen a favourite till she hurt his feelings by addressing him as a servant; andheathcliff's housekeeper hurt hers by calling him her cousin.
then the language he had held to herrankled in her heart; she who was always 'love,' and 'darling,' and 'queen,' and'angel,' with everybody at the grange, to be insulted so shockingly by a stranger! she did not comprehend it; and hard work ihad to obtain a promise that she would not lay the grievance before her father. i explained how he objected to the wholehousehold at the heights, and how sorry he would be to find she had been there; but iinsisted most on the fact, that if she revealed my negligence of his orders, he would perhaps be so angry that i shouldhave to leave; and cathy couldn't bear that
prospect: she pledged her word, and kept itfor my sake. after all, she was a sweet little girl. chapter xix a letter, edged with black, announced theday of my master's return. isabella was dead; and he wrote to bid meget mourning for his daughter, and arrange a room, and other accommodations, for hisyouthful nephew. catherine ran wild with joy at the idea ofwelcoming her father back; and indulged most sanguine anticipations of theinnumerable excellencies of her 'real' cousin.
the evening of their expected arrival came. since early morning she had been busyordering her own small affairs; and now attired in her new black frock--poor thing!her aunt's death impressed her with no definite sorrow--she obliged me, by constant worrying, to walk with her downthrough the grounds to meet them. 'linton is just six months younger than iam,' she chattered, as we strolled leisurely over the swells and hollows ofmossy turf, under shadow of the trees. 'how delightful it will be to have him fora playfellow! aunt isabella sent papa a beautiful lock ofhis hair; it was lighter than mine--more
flaxen, and quite as fine. i have it carefully preserved in a littleglass box; and i've often thought what a pleasure it would be to see its owner.oh! i am happy--and papa, dear, dear papa! come, ellen, let us run! come, run.' she ran, and returned and ran again, manytimes before my sober footsteps reached the gate, and then she seated herself on thegrassy bank beside the path, and tried to wait patiently; but that was impossible:she couldn't be still a minute. 'how long they are!' she exclaimed.'ah, i see, some dust on the road--they are coming!
no! when will they be here?may we not go a little way--half a mile, ellen, only just half a mile?do say yes: to that clump of birches at the turn!' i refused staunchly.at length her suspense was ended: the travelling carriage rolled in sight. miss cathy shrieked and stretched out herarms as soon as she caught her father's face looking from the window. he descended, nearly as eager as herself;and a considerable interval elapsed ere they had a thought to spare for any butthemselves.
while they exchanged caresses i took a peepin to see after linton. he was asleep in a corner, wrapped in awarm, fur-lined cloak, as if it had been winter. a pale, delicate, effeminate boy, who mighthave been taken for my master's younger brother, so strong was the resemblance: butthere was a sickly peevishness in his aspect that edgar linton never had. the latter saw me looking; and havingshaken hands, advised me to close the door, and leave him undisturbed; for the journeyhad fatigued him. cathy would fain have taken one glance, buther father told her to come, and they
walked together up the park, while ihastened before to prepare the servants. 'now, darling,' said mr. linton, addressinghis daughter, as they halted at the bottom of the front steps: 'your cousin is not sostrong or so merry as you are, and he has lost his mother, remember, a very short time since; therefore, don't expect him toplay and run about with you directly. and don't harass him much by talking: lethim be quiet this evening, at least, will you?' 'yes, yes, papa,' answered catherine: 'buti do want to see him; and he hasn't once looked out.'
the carriage stopped; and the sleeper beingroused, was lifted to the ground by his uncle.'this is your cousin cathy, linton,' he said, putting their little hands together. 'she's fond of you already; and mind youdon't grieve her by crying to-night. try to be cheerful now; the travelling isat an end, and you have nothing to do but rest and amuse yourself as you please.' 'let me go to bed, then,' answered the boy,shrinking from catherine's salute; and he put his fingers to remove incipient tears.'come, come, there's a good child,' i whispered, leading him in.
'you'll make her weep too--see how sorryshe is for you!' i do not know whether it was sorrow forhim, but his cousin put on as sad a countenance as himself, and returned to herfather. all three entered, and mounted to thelibrary, where tea was laid ready. i proceeded to remove linton's cap andmantle, and placed him on a chair by the table; but he was no sooner seated than hebegan to cry afresh. my master inquired what was the matter. 'i can't sit on a chair,' sobbed the boy.'go to the sofa, then, and ellen shall bring you some tea,' answered his unclepatiently.
he had been greatly tried, during thejourney, i felt convinced, by his fretful ailing charge.linton slowly trailed himself off, and lay down. cathy carried a footstool and her cup tohis side. at first she sat silent; but that could notlast: she had resolved to make a pet of her little cousin, as she would have him to be;and she commenced stroking his curls, and kissing his cheek, and offering him tea inher saucer, like a baby. this pleased him, for he was not muchbetter: he dried his eyes, and lightened into a faint smile.
'oh, he'll do very well,' said the masterto me, after watching them a minute. 'very well, if we can keep him, ellen. the company of a child of his own age willinstil new spirit into him soon, and by wishing for strength he'll gain it.''ay, if we can keep him!' i mused to myself; and sore misgivings cameover me that there was slight hope of that. and then, i thought, how ever will thatweakling live at wuthering heights? between his father and hareton, whatplaymates and instructors they'll be. our doubts were presently decided--evenearlier than i expected. i had just taken the children up-stairs,after tea was finished, and seen linton
asleep--he would not suffer me to leave himtill that was the case--i had come down, and was standing by the table in the hall, lighting a bedroom candle for mr. edgar,when a maid stepped out of the kitchen and informed me that mr. heathcliff's servantjoseph was at the door, and wished to speak with the master. 'i shall ask him what he wants first,' isaid, in considerable trepidation. 'a very unlikely hour to be troublingpeople, and the instant they have returned from a long journey. i don't think the master can see him.'joseph had advanced through the kitchen as
i uttered these words, and now presentedhimself in the hall. he was donned in his sunday garments, withhis most sanctimonious and sourest face, and, holding his hat in one hand, and hisstick in the other, he proceeded to clean his shoes on the mat. 'good-evening, joseph,' i said, coldly.'what business brings you here to-night?' 'it's maister linton i mun spake to,' heanswered, waving me disdainfully aside. 'mr. linton is going to bed; unless youhave something particular to say, i'm sure he won't hear it now,' i continued.'you had better sit down in there, and entrust your message to me.'
'which is his rahm?' pursued the fellow,surveying the range of closed doors. i perceived he was bent on refusing mymediation, so very reluctantly i went up to the library, and announced the unseasonablevisitor, advising that he should be dismissed till next day. mr. linton had no time to empower me to doso, for joseph mounted close at my heels, and, pushing into the apartment, plantedhimself at the far side of the table, with his two fists clapped on the head of his stick, and began in an elevated tone, as ifanticipating opposition-- 'hathecliff has sent me for his lad, and imunn't goa back 'bout him.'
edgar linton was silent a minute; anexpression of exceeding sorrow overcast his features: he would have pitied the child onhis own account; but, recalling isabella's hopes and fears, and anxious wishes for her son, and her commendations of him to hiscare, he grieved bitterly at the prospect of yielding him up, and searched in hisheart how it might be avoided. no plan offered itself: the very exhibitionof any desire to keep him would have rendered the claimant more peremptory:there was nothing left but to resign him. however, he was not going to rouse him fromhis sleep. 'tell mr. heathcliff,' he answered calmly,'that his son shall come to wuthering
heights to-morrow. he is in bed, and too tired to go thedistance now. you may also tell him that the mother oflinton desired him to remain under my guardianship; and, at present, his healthis very precarious.' 'noa!' said joseph, giving a thud with hisprop on the floor, and assuming an authoritative air.'noa! that means naught. hathecliff maks noa 'count o' t' mother,nor ye norther; but he'll heu' his lad; und i mun tak' him--soa now ye knaw!''you shall not to-night!' answered linton decisively.
'walk down stairs at once, and repeat toyour master what i have said. ellen, show him down.go--' and, aiding the indignant elder with a liftby the arm, he rid the room of him and closed the door.'varrah weell!' shouted joseph, as he slowly drew off. 'to-morn, he's come hisseln, and thrusthim out, if ye darr!' chapter xx to obviate the danger of this threat beingfulfilled, mr. linton commissioned me to take the boy home early, on catherine'spony; and, said he--'as we shall now have
no influence over his destiny, good or bad, you must say nothing of where he is gone tomy daughter: she cannot associate with him hereafter, and it is better for her toremain in ignorance of his proximity; lest she should be restless, and anxious tovisit the heights. merely tell her his father sent for himsuddenly, and he has been obliged to leave us.' linton was very reluctant to be roused fromhis bed at five o'clock, and astonished to be informed that he must prepare forfurther travelling; but i softened off the matter by stating that he was going to
spend some time with his father, mr.heathcliff, who wished to see him so much, he did not like to defer the pleasure tillhe should recover from his late journey. 'my father!' he cried, in strangeperplexity. 'mamma never told me i had a father.where does he live? i'd rather stay with uncle.' 'he lives a little distance from thegrange,' i replied; 'just beyond those hills: not so far, but you may walk overhere when you get hearty. and you should be glad to go home, and tosee him. you must try to love him, as you did yourmother, and then he will love you.'
'but why have i not heard of him before?'asked linton. 'why didn't mamma and he live together, asother people do?' 'he had business to keep him in the north,'i answered, 'and your mother's health required her to reside in the south.''and why didn't mamma speak to me about him?' persevered the child. 'she often talked of uncle, and i learnt tolove him long ago. how am i to love papa?i don't know him.' 'oh, all children love their parents,' isaid. 'your mother, perhaps, thought you wouldwant to be with him if she mentioned him
often to you. let us make haste.an early ride on such a beautiful morning is much preferable to an hour's moresleep.' 'is she to go with us,' he demanded, 'thelittle girl i saw yesterday?' 'not now,' replied i.'is uncle?' he continued. 'no, i shall be your companion there,' isaid. linton sank back on his pillow and fellinto a brown study. 'i won't go without uncle,' he cried atlength: 'i can't tell where you mean to take me.'
i attempted to persuade him of thenaughtiness of showing reluctance to meet his father; still he obstinately resistedany progress towards dressing, and i had to call for my master's assistance in coaxinghim out of bed. the poor thing was finally got off, withseveral delusive assurances that his absence should be short: that mr. edgar andcathy would visit him, and other promises, equally ill-founded, which i invented andreiterated at intervals throughout the way. the pure heather-scented air, the brightsunshine, and the gentle canter of minny, relieved his despondency after a while. he began to put questions concerning hisnew home, and its inhabitants, with greater
interest and liveliness. 'is wuthering heights as pleasant a placeas thrushcross grange?' he inquired, turning to take a last glance into thevalley, whence a light mist mounted and formed a fleecy cloud on the skirts of theblue. 'it is not so buried in trees,' i replied,'and it is not quite so large, but you can see the country beautifully all round; andthe air is healthier for you--fresher and drier. you will, perhaps, think the building oldand dark at first; though it is a respectable house: the next best in theneighbourhood.
and you will have such nice rambles on themoors. hareton earnshaw--that is, miss cathy'sother cousin, and so yours in a manner-- will show you all the sweetest spots; andyou can bring a book in fine weather, and make a green hollow your study; and, now and then, your uncle may join you in awalk: he does, frequently, walk out on the hills.''and what is my father like?' he asked. 'is he as young and handsome as uncle?' 'he's as young,' said i; 'but he has blackhair and eyes, and looks sterner; and he is taller and bigger altogether.
he'll not seem to you so gentle and kind atfirst, perhaps, because it is not his way: still, mind you, be frank and cordial withhim; and naturally he'll be fonder of you than any uncle, for you are his own.' 'black hair and eyes!' mused linton.'i can't fancy him. then i am not like him, am i?' 'not much,' i answered: not a morsel, ithought, surveying with regret the white complexion and slim frame of my companion,and his large languid eyes--his mother's eyes, save that, unless a morbid touchiness kindled them a moment, they had not avestige of her sparkling spirit.
'how strange that he should never come tosee mamma and me!' he murmured. 'has he ever seen me? if he has, i must have been a baby.i remember not a single thing about him!' 'why, master linton,' said i, 'threehundred miles is a great distance; and ten years seem very different in length to agrown-up person compared with what they do to you. it is probable mr. heathcliff proposedgoing from summer to summer, but never found a convenient opportunity; and now itis too late. don't trouble him with questions on thesubject: it will disturb him, for no good.'
the boy was fully occupied with his owncogitations for the remainder of the ride, till we halted before the farmhouse garden-gate. i watched to catch his impressions in hiscountenance. he surveyed the carved front and low-browedlattices, the straggling gooseberry-bushes and crooked firs, with solemn intentness,and then shook his head: his private feelings entirely disapproved of theexterior of his new abode. but he had sense to postpone complaining:there might be compensation within. before he dismounted, i went and opened thedoor. it was half-past six; the family had justfinished breakfast: the servant was
clearing and wiping down the table. joseph stood by his master's chair tellingsome tale concerning a lame horse; and hareton was preparing for the hayfield.'hallo, nelly!' said mr. heathcliff, when he saw me. 'i feared i should have to come down andfetch my property myself. you've brought it, have you?let us see what we can make of it.' he got up and strode to the door: haretonand joseph followed in gaping curiosity. poor linton ran a frightened eye over thefaces of the three. 'sure-ly,' said joseph after a graveinspection, 'he's swopped wi' ye, maister,
an' yon's his lass!' heathcliff, having stared his son into anague of confusion, uttered a scornful laugh.'god! what a beauty! what a lovely, charming thing!' he exclaimed. 'hav'n't they reared it on snails and sourmilk, nelly? oh, damn my soul! but that's worse than iexpected--and the devil knows i was not sanguine!' i bid the trembling and bewildered childget down, and enter. he did not thoroughly comprehend themeaning of his father's speech, or whether
it were intended for him: indeed, he wasnot yet certain that the grim, sneering stranger was his father. but he clung to me with growingtrepidation; and on mr. heathcliff's taking a seat and bidding him 'come hither' he hidhis face on my shoulder and wept. 'tut, tut!' said heathcliff, stretching outa hand and dragging him roughly between his knees, and then holding up his head by thechin. 'none of that nonsense! we're not going to hurt thee, linton--isn'tthat thy name? thou art thy mother's child, entirely!where is my share in thee, puling chicken?'
he took off the boy's cap and pushed backhis thick flaxen curls, felt his slender arms and his small fingers; during whichexamination linton ceased crying, and lifted his great blue eyes to inspect theinspector. 'do you know me?' asked heathcliff, havingsatisfied himself that the limbs were all equally frail and feeble. 'no,' said linton, with a gaze of vacantfear. 'you've heard of me, i daresay?''no,' he replied again. 'no! what a shame of your mother, never towaken your filial regard for me! you are my son, then, i'll tell you; andyour mother was a wicked slut to leave you
in ignorance of the sort of father youpossessed. now, don't wince, and colour up! though it is something to see you have notwhite blood. be a good lad; and i'll do for you.nelly, if you be tired you may sit down; if not, get home again. i guess you'll report what you hear and seeto the cipher at the grange; and this thing won't be settled while you linger aboutit.' 'well,' replied i, 'i hope you'll be kindto the boy, mr. heathcliff, or you'll not keep him long; and he's all you have akinin the wide world, that you will ever know-
-remember.' 'i'll be very kind to him, you needn'tfear,' he said, laughing. 'only nobody else must be kind to him: i'mjealous of monopolising his affection. and, to begin my kindness, joseph, bringthe lad some breakfast. hareton, you infernal calf, begone to yourwork. yes, nell,' he added, when they haddeparted, 'my son is prospective owner of your place, and i should not wish him todie till i was certain of being his successor. besides, he's mine, and i want thetriumph of seeing my descendant fairly
lord of their estates; my child hiringtheir children to till their fathers' lands for wages. that is the sole consideration which canmake me endure the whelp: i despise him for himself, and hate him for the memories herevives! but that consideration is sufficient: he'sas safe with me, and shall be tended as carefully as your master tends his own. i have a room up-stairs, furnished for himin handsome style; i've engaged a tutor, also, to come three times a week, fromtwenty miles' distance, to teach him what he pleases to learn.
i've ordered hareton to obey him: and infact i've arranged everything with a view to preserve the superior and the gentlemanin him, above his associates. i do regret, however, that he so littledeserves the trouble: if i wished any blessing in the world, it was to find him aworthy object of pride; and i'm bitterly disappointed with the whey-faced, whiningwretch!' while he was speaking, joseph returnedbearing a basin of milk-porridge, and placed it before linton: who stirred roundthe homely mess with a look of aversion, and affirmed he could not eat it. i saw the old man-servant shared largely inhis master's scorn of the child; though he
was compelled to retain the sentiment inhis heart, because heathcliff plainly meant his underlings to hold him in honour. 'cannot ate it?' repeated he, peering inlinton's face, and subduing his voice to a whisper, for fear of being overheard. 'but maister hareton nivir ate naught else,when he wer a little 'un; and what wer gooid enough for him's gooid enough for ye,i's rayther think!' 'i sha'n't eat it!' answered linton,snappishly. 'take it away.'joseph snatched up the food indignantly, and brought it to us.
'is there aught ails th' victuals?' heasked, thrusting the tray under heathcliff's nose.'what should ail them?' he said. 'wah!' answered joseph, 'yon dainty chapsays he cannut ate 'em. but i guess it's raight! his mother wer just soa--we wer a'most toomucky to sow t' corn for makking her breead.''don't mention his mother to me,' said the master, angrily. 'get him something that he can eat, that'sall. what is his usual food, nelly?'
i suggested boiled milk or tea; and thehousekeeper received instructions to prepare some.come, i reflected, his father's selfishness may contribute to his comfort. he perceives his delicate constitution, andthe necessity of treating him tolerably. i'll console mr. edgar by acquainting himwith the turn heathcliff's humour has taken. having no excuse for lingering longer, islipped out, while linton was engaged in timidly rebuffing the advances of afriendly sheep-dog. but he was too much on the alert to becheated: as i closed the door, i heard a
cry, and a frantic repetition of the words-- 'don't leave me! i'll not stay here!i'll not stay here!' then the latch was raised and fell: theydid not suffer him to come forth. i mounted minny, and urged her to a trot;and so my brief guardianship ended. chapter xxi we had sad work with little cathy that day:she rose in high glee, eager to join her cousin, and such passionate tears andlamentations followed the news of his departure that edgar himself was obliged to
soothe her, by affirming he should comeback soon: he added, however, 'if i can get him'; and there were no hopes of that. this promise poorly pacified her; but timewas more potent; and though still at intervals she inquired of her father whenlinton would return, before she did see him again his features had waxed so dim in hermemory that she did not recognise him. when i chanced to encounter the housekeeperof wuthering heights, in paying business visits to gimmerton, i used to ask how theyoung master got on; for he lived almost as secluded as catherine herself, and wasnever to be seen. i could gather from her that he continuedin weak health, and was a tiresome inmate.
she said mr. heathcliff seemed to dislikehim ever longer and worse, though he took some trouble to conceal it: he had anantipathy to the sound of his voice, and could not do at all with his sitting in thesame room with him many minutes together. there seldom passed much talk between them:linton learnt his lessons and spent his evenings in a small apartment they calledthe parlour: or else lay in bed all day: for he was constantly getting coughs, andcolds, and aches, and pains of some sort. 'and i never know such a faintheartedcreature,' added the woman; 'nor one so careful of hisseln. he will go on, if i leave the window opena bit late in the evening.
oh! it's killing, a breath of night air! and he must have a fire in the middle ofsummer; and joseph's bacca-pipe is poison; and he must always have sweets anddainties, and always milk, milk for ever-- heeding naught how the rest of us are pinched in winter; and there he'll sit,wrapped in his furred cloak in his chair by the fire, with some toast and water orother slop on the hob to sip at; and if hareton, for pity, comes to amuse him-- hareton is not bad-natured, though he'srough--they're sure to part, one swearing and the other crying.
i believe the master would relishearnshaw's thrashing him to a mummy, if he were not his son; and i'm certain he wouldbe fit to turn him out of doors, if he knew half the nursing he gives hisseln. but then he won't go into danger oftemptation: he never enters the parlour, and should linton show those ways in thehouse where he is, he sends him up-stairs directly.' i divined, from this account, that utterlack of sympathy had rendered young heathcliff selfish and disagreeable, if hewere not so originally; and my interest in him, consequently, decayed: though still i
was moved with a sense of grief at his lot,and a wish that he had been left with us. mr. edgar encouraged me to gaininformation: he thought a great deal about him, i fancy, and would have run some riskto see him; and he told me once to ask the housekeeper whether he ever came into thevillage? she said he had only been twice, onhorseback, accompanying his father; and both times he pretended to be quite knockedup for three or four days afterwards. that housekeeper left, if i recollectrightly, two years after he came; and another, whom i did not know, was hersuccessor; she lives there still. time wore on at the grange in its formerpleasant way till miss cathy reached
sixteen. on the anniversary of her birth we nevermanifested any signs of rejoicing, because it was also the anniversary of my latemistress's death. her father invariably spent that day alonein the library; and walked, at dusk, as far as gimmerton kirkyard, where he wouldfrequently prolong his stay beyond midnight. therefore catherine was thrown on her ownresources for amusement. this twentieth of march was a beautifulspring day, and when her father had retired, my young lady came down dressedfor going out, and said she asked to have a
ramble on the edge of the moor with me: mr. linton had given her leave, if we went onlya short distance and were back within the hour.'so make haste, ellen!' she cried. 'i know where i wish to go; where a colonyof moor-game are settled: i want to see whether they have made their nests yet.' 'that must be a good distance up,' ianswered; 'they don't breed on the edge of the moor.''no, it's not,' she said. 'i've gone very near with papa.' i put on my bonnet and sallied out,thinking nothing more of the matter.
she bounded before me, and returned to myside, and was off again like a young greyhound; and, at first, i found plenty ofentertainment in listening to the larks singing far and near, and enjoying the sweet, warm sunshine; and watching her, mypet and my delight, with her golden ringlets flying loose behind, and herbright cheek, as soft and pure in its bloom as a wild rose, and her eyes radiant withcloudless pleasure. she was a happy creature, and an angel, inthose days. it's a pity she could not be content. 'well,' said i, 'where are your moor-game,miss cathy?
we should be at them: the grange park-fenceis a great way off now.' 'oh, a little further--only a littlefurther, ellen,' was her answer, continually. 'climb to that hillock, pass that bank, andby the time you reach the other side i shall have raised the birds.' but there were so many hillocks and banksto climb and pass, that, at length, i began to be weary, and told her we must halt, andretrace our steps. i shouted to her, as she had outstripped mea long way; she either did not hear or did not regard, for she still sprang on, and iwas compelled to follow.
finally, she dived into a hollow; andbefore i came in sight of her again, she was two miles nearer wuthering heights thanher own home; and i beheld a couple of persons arrest her, one of whom i feltconvinced was mr. heathcliff himself. cathy had been caught in the fact ofplundering, or, at least, hunting out the nests of the grouse. the heights were heathcliff's land, and hewas reproving the poacher. 'i've neither taken any nor found any,' shesaid, as i toiled to them, expanding her hands in corroboration of the statement. 'i didn't mean to take them; but papa toldme there were quantities up here, and i
wished to see the eggs.' heathcliff glanced at me with an ill-meaning smile, expressing his acquaintance with the party, and, consequently, hismalevolence towards it, and demanded who 'papa' was? 'mr. linton of thrushcross grange,' shereplied. 'i thought you did not know me, or youwouldn't have spoken in that way.' 'you suppose papa is highly esteemed andrespected, then?' he said, sarcastically. 'and what are you?' inquired catherine,gazing curiously on the speaker. 'that man i've seen before.
is he your son?' she pointed to hareton, the otherindividual, who had gained nothing but increased bulk and strength by the additionof two years to his age: he seemed as awkward and rough as ever. 'miss cathy,' i interrupted, 'it will bethree hours instead of one that we are out, presently.we really must go back.' 'no, that man is not my son,' answeredheathcliff, pushing me aside. 'but i have one, and you have seen himbefore too; and, though your nurse is in a hurry, i think both you and she would bethe better for a little rest.
will you just turn this nab of heath, andwalk into my house? you'll get home earlier for the ease; andyou shall receive a kind welcome.' i whispered catherine that she mustn't, onany account, accede to the proposal: it was entirely out of the question.'why?' she asked, aloud. 'i'm tired of running, and the ground isdewy: i can't sit here. let us go, ellen.besides, he says i have seen his son. he's mistaken, i think; but i guess wherehe lives: at the farmhouse i visited in coming from penistone' crags.don't you?' 'i do.
come, nelly, hold your tongue--it will be atreat for her to look in on us. hareton, get forwards with the lass.you shall walk with me, nelly.' 'no, she's not going to any such place,' icried, struggling to release my arm, which he had seized: but she was almost at thedoor-stones already, scampering round the brow at full speed. her appointed companion did not pretend toescort her: he shied off by the road-side, and vanished.'mr. heathcliff, it's very wrong,' i continued: 'you know you mean no good. and there she'll see linton, and all willbe told as soon as ever we return; and i
shall have the blame.' 'i want her to see linton,' he answered;'he's looking better these few days; it's not often he's fit to be seen.and we'll soon persuade her to keep the visit secret: where is the harm of it?' 'the harm of it is, that her father wouldhate me if he found i suffered her to enter your house; and i am convinced you have abad design in encouraging her to do so,' i replied. 'my design is as honest as possible.i'll inform you of its whole scope,' he said.'that the two cousins may fall in love, and
get married. i'm acting generously to your master: hisyoung chit has no expectations, and should she second my wishes she'll be provided forat once as joint successor with linton.' 'if linton died,' i answered, 'and his lifeis quite uncertain, catherine would be the heir.''no, she would not,' he said. 'there is no clause in the will to secureit so: his property would go to me; but, to prevent disputes, i desire their union, andam resolved to bring it about.' 'and i'm resolved she shall never approachyour house with me again,' i returned, as we reached the gate, where miss cathywaited our coming.
heathcliff bade me be quiet; and, precedingus up the path, hastened to open the door. my young lady gave him several looks, as ifshe could not exactly make up her mind what to think of him; but now he smiled when hemet her eye, and softened his voice in addressing her; and i was foolish enough to imagine the memory of her mother mightdisarm him from desiring her injury. linton stood on the hearth. he had been out walking in the fields, forhis cap was on, and he was calling to joseph to bring him dry shoes.he had grown tall of his age, still wanting some months of sixteen.
his features were pretty yet, and his eyeand complexion brighter than i remembered them, though with merely temporary lustreborrowed from the salubrious air and genial sun. 'now, who is that?' asked mr. heathcliff,turning to cathy. 'can you tell?''your son?' she said, having doubtfully surveyed, first one and then the other. 'yes, yes,' answered he: 'but is this theonly time you have beheld him? think!ah! you have a short memory. linton, don't you recall your cousin, thatyou used to tease us so with wishing to
see?''what, linton!' cried cathy, kindling into joyful surprise at the name. 'is that little linton?he's taller than i am! are you linton?' the youth stepped forward, and acknowledgedhimself: she kissed him fervently, and they gazed with wonder at the change time hadwrought in the appearance of each. catherine had reached her full height; herfigure was both plump and slender, elastic as steel, and her whole aspect sparklingwith health and spirits. linton's looks and movements were verylanguid, and his form extremely slight; but
there was a grace in his manner thatmitigated these defects, and rendered him not unpleasing. after exchanging numerous marks of fondnesswith him, his cousin went to mr. heathcliff, who lingered by the door,dividing his attention between the objects inside and those that lay without: pretending, that is, to observe the latter,and really noting the former alone. 'and you are my uncle, then!' she cried,reaching up to salute him. 'i thought i liked you, though you werecross at first. why don't you visit at the grange withlinton?
to live all these years such closeneighbours, and never see us, is odd: what have you done so for?''i visited it once or twice too often before you were born,' he answered. 'there--damn it!if you have any kisses to spare, give them to linton: they are thrown away on me.' 'naughty ellen!' exclaimed catherine,flying to attack me next with her lavish caresses.'wicked ellen! to try to hinder me from entering. but i'll take this walk every morning infuture: may i, uncle? and sometimes bring
papa.won't you be glad to see us?' 'of course,' replied the uncle, with ahardly suppressed grimace, resulting from his deep aversion to both the proposedvisitors. 'but stay,' he continued, turning towardsthe young lady. 'now i think of it, i'd better tell you. mr. linton has a prejudice against me: wequarrelled at one time of our lives, with unchristian ferocity; and, if you mentioncoming here to him, he'll put a veto on your visits altogether. therefore, you must not mention it, unlessyou be careless of seeing your cousin
hereafter: you may come, if you will, butyou must not mention it.' 'why did you quarrel?' asked catherine,considerably crestfallen. 'he thought me too poor to wed his sister,'answered heathcliff, 'and was grieved that i got her: his pride was hurt, and he'llnever forgive it.' 'that's wrong!' said the young lady: 'sometime i'll tell him so. but linton and i have no share in yourquarrel. i'll not come here, then; he shall come tothe grange.' 'it will be too far for me,' murmured hercousin: 'to walk four miles would kill me. no, come here, miss catherine, now andthen: not every morning, but once or twice
a week.'the father launched towards his son a glance of bitter contempt. 'i am afraid, nelly, i shall lose mylabour,' he muttered to me. 'miss catherine, as the ninny calls her,will discover his value, and send him to the devil. now, if it had been hareton!--do you knowthat, twenty times a day, i covet hareton, with all his degradation?i'd have loved the lad had he been some one else. but i think he's safe from her love.i'll pit him against that paltry creature,
unless it bestir itself briskly.we calculate it will scarcely last till it is eighteen. oh, confound the vapid thing!he's absorbed in drying his feet, and never looks at her.--linton!''yes, father,' answered the boy. 'have you nothing to show your cousinanywhere about, not even a rabbit or a weasel's nest? take her into the garden, before you changeyour shoes; and into the stable to see your horse.' 'wouldn't you rather sit here?' askedlinton, addressing cathy in a tone which
expressed reluctance to move again. 'i don't know,' she replied, casting alonging look to the door, and evidently eager to be active.he kept his seat, and shrank closer to the fire. heathcliff rose, and went into the kitchen,and from thence to the yard, calling out for hareton.hareton responded, and presently the two re-entered. the young man had been washing himself, aswas visible by the glow on his cheeks and his wetted hair.
'oh, i'll ask you, uncle,' cried misscathy, recollecting the housekeeper's assertion.'that is not my cousin, is he?' 'yes,' he, replied, 'your mother's nephew. don't you like him!'catherine looked queer. 'is he not a handsome lad?' he continued. the uncivil little thing stood on tiptoe,and whispered a sentence in heathcliff's ear. he laughed; hareton darkened: i perceivedhe was very sensitive to suspected slights, and had obviously a dim notion of hisinferiority.
but his master or guardian chased the frownby exclaiming-- 'you'll be the favourite among us, hareton!she says you are a--what was it? well, something very flattering. here! you go with her round the farm.and behave like a gentleman, mind! don't use any bad words; and don't starewhen the young lady is not looking at you, and be ready to hide your face when she is;and, when you speak, say your words slowly, and keep your hands out of your pockets. be off, and entertain her as nicely as youcan.' he watched the couple walking past thewindow.
earnshaw had his countenance completelyaverted from his companion. he seemed studying the familiar landscapewith a stranger's and an artist's interest. catherine took a sly look at him,expressing small admiration. she then turned her attention to seekingout objects of amusement for herself, and tripped merrily on, lilting a tune tosupply the lack of conversation. 'i've tied his tongue,' observedheathcliff. 'he'll not venture a single syllable allthe time! nelly, you recollect me at his age--nay,some years younger. did i ever look so stupid: so "gaumless,"as joseph calls it?'
'worse,' i replied, 'because more sullenwith it.' 'i've a pleasure in him,' he continued,reflecting aloud. 'he has satisfied my expectations. if he were a born fool i should not enjoyit half so much. but he's no fool; and i can sympathise withall his feelings, having felt them myself. i know what he suffers now, for instance,exactly: it is merely a beginning of what he shall suffer, though.and he'll never be able to emerge from his bathos of coarseness and ignorance. i've got him faster than his scoundrel of afather secured me, and lower; for he takes
a pride in his brutishness.i've taught him to scorn everything extra- animal as silly and weak. don't you think hindley would be proud ofhis son, if he could see him? almost as proud as i am of mine. but there's this difference; one is goldput to the use of paving-stones, and the other is tin polished to ape a service ofsilver. mine has nothing valuable about it; yet ishall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor stuff can go.his had first-rate qualities, and they are lost: rendered worse than unavailing.
i have nothing to regret; he would havemore than any but i are aware of. and the best of it is, hareton is damnablyfond of me! you'll own that i've outmatched hindleythere. if the dead villain could rise from hisgrave to abuse me for his offspring's wrongs, i should have the fun of seeing thesaid offspring fight him back again, indignant that he should dare to rail atthe one friend he has in the world!' heathcliff chuckled a fiendish laugh at theidea. i made no reply, because i saw that heexpected none. meantime, our young companion, who sat tooremoved from us to hear what was said,
began to evince symptoms of uneasiness,probably repenting that he had denied himself the treat of catherine's societyfor fear of a little fatigue. his father remarked the restless glanceswandering to the window, and the hand irresolutely extended towards his cap. 'get up, you idle boy!' he exclaimed, withassumed heartiness. 'away after them! they are just at thecorner, by the stand of hives.' linton gathered his energies, and left thehearth. the lattice was open, and, as he steppedout, i heard cathy inquiring of her unsociable attendant what was thatinscription over the door?
hareton stared up, and scratched his headlike a true clown. 'it's some damnable writing,' he answered.'i cannot read it.' 'can't read it?' cried catherine; 'i canread it: it's english. but i want to know why it is there.'linton giggled: the first appearance of mirth he had exhibited. 'he does not know his letters,' he said tohis cousin. 'could you believe in the existence of sucha colossal dunce?' 'is he all as he should be?' asked misscathy, seriously; 'or is he simple: not right?
i've questioned him twice now, and eachtime he looked so stupid i think he does not understand me.i can hardly understand him, i'm sure!' linton repeated his laugh, and glanced athareton tauntingly; who certainly did not seem quite clear of comprehension at thatmoment. 'there's nothing the matter but laziness;is there, earnshaw?' he said. 'my cousin fancies you are an idiot.there you experience the consequence of scorning "book-larning," as you would say. have you noticed, catherine, his frightfulyorkshire pronunciation?' 'why, where the devil is the use on't?'growled hareton, more ready in answering
his daily companion. he was about to enlarge further, but thetwo youngsters broke into a noisy fit of merriment: my giddy miss being delighted todiscover that she might turn his strange talk to matter of amusement. 'where is the use of the devil in thatsentence?' tittered linton. 'papa told you not to say any bad words,and you can't open your mouth without one. do try to behave like a gentleman, now do!' 'if thou weren't more a lass than a lad,i'd fell thee this minute, i would; pitiful lath of a crater!' retorted the angry boor,retreating, while his face burnt with
mingled rage and mortification! for he was conscious of being insulted, andembarrassed how to resent it. mr. heathcliff having overheard theconversation, as well as i, smiled when he saw him go; but immediately afterwards casta look of singular aversion on the flippant pair, who remained chattering in the door- way: the boy finding animation enough whilediscussing hareton's faults and deficiencies, and relating anecdotes of hisgoings on; and the girl relishing his pert and spiteful sayings, without consideringthe ill-nature they evinced. i began to dislike, more than tocompassionate linton, and to excuse his
father in some measure for holding himcheap. we stayed till afternoon: i could not tearmiss cathy away sooner; but happily my master had not quitted his apartment, andremained ignorant of our prolonged absence. as we walked home, i would fain haveenlightened my charge on the characters of the people we had quitted: but she got itinto her head that i was prejudiced against them. 'aha!' she cried, 'you take papa's side,ellen: you are partial i know; or else you wouldn't have cheated me so many years intothe notion that linton lived a long way from here.
i'm really extremely angry; only i'm sopleased i can't show it! but you must hold your tongue about myuncle; he's my uncle, remember; and i'll scold papa for quarrelling with him.' and so she ran on, till i relinquished theendeavour to convince her of her mistake. she did not mention the visit that night,because she did not see mr. linton. next day it all came out, sadly to mychagrin; and still i was not altogether sorry: i thought the burden of directingand warning would be more efficiently borne by him than me. but he was too timid in giving satisfactoryreasons for his wish that she should shun
connection with the household of theheights, and catherine liked good reasons for every restraint that harassed herpetted will. 'papa!' she exclaimed, after the morning'ssalutations, 'guess whom i saw yesterday, in my walk on the moors. ah, papa, you started! you've not doneright, have you, now? i saw--but listen, and you shall hear how ifound you out; and ellen, who is in league with you, and yet pretended to pity me so,when i kept hoping, and was always disappointed about linton's coming back!' she gave a faithful account of herexcursion and its consequences; and my
master, though he cast more than onereproachful look at me, said nothing till she had concluded. then he drew her to him, and asked if sheknew why he had concealed linton's near neighbourhood from her?could she think it was to deny her a pleasure that she might harmlessly enjoy? 'it was because you disliked mr.heathcliff,' she answered. 'then you believe i care more for my ownfeelings than yours, cathy?' he said. 'no, it was not because i disliked mr.heathcliff, but because mr. heathcliff dislikes me; and is a most diabolical man,delighting to wrong and ruin those he
hates, if they give him the slightestopportunity. i knew that you could not keep up anacquaintance with your cousin without being brought into contact with him; and i knewhe would detest you on my account; so for your own good, and nothing else, i took precautions that you should not see lintonagain. i meant to explain this some time as yougrew older, and i'm sorry i delayed it.' 'but mr. heathcliff was quite cordial,papa,' observed catherine, not at all convinced; 'and he didn't object to ourseeing each other: he said i might come to his house when i pleased; only i must not
tell you, because you had quarrelled withhim, and would not forgive him for marrying aunt isabella.and you won't. you are the one to be blamed: he iswilling to let us be friends, at least; linton and i; and you are not.' my master, perceiving that she would nottake his word for her uncle-in-law's evil disposition, gave a hasty sketch of hisconduct to isabella, and the manner in which wuthering heights became hisproperty. he could not bear to discourse long uponthe topic; for though he spoke little of it, he still felt the same horror anddetestation of his ancient enemy that had
occupied his heart ever since mrs. linton'sdeath. 'she might have been living yet, if it hadnot been for him!' was his constant bitter reflection; and, in his eyes, heathcliffseemed a murderer. miss cathy--conversant with no bad deedsexcept her own slight acts of disobedience, injustice, and passion, arising from hottemper and thoughtlessness, and repented of on the day they were committed--was amazed at the blackness of spirit that could broodon and cover revenge for years, and deliberately prosecute its plans without avisitation of remorse. she appeared so deeply impressed andshocked at this new view of human nature--
excluded from all her studies and all herideas till now--that mr. edgar deemed it unnecessary to pursue the subject. he merely added: 'you will know hereafter,darling, why i wish you to avoid his house and family; now return to your oldemployments and amusements, and think no more about them.' catherine kissed her father, and sat downquietly to her lessons for a couple of hours, according to custom; then sheaccompanied him into the grounds, and the whole day passed as usual: but in the evening, when she had retired to her room,and i went to help her to undress, i found
her crying, on her knees by the bedside.'oh, fie, silly child!' i exclaimed. 'if you had any real griefs you'd beashamed to waste a tear on this little contrariety.you never had one shadow of substantial sorrow, miss catherine. suppose, for a minute, that master and iwere dead, and you were by yourself in the world: how would you feel, then? compare the present occasion with such anaffliction as that, and be thankful for the friends you have, instead of covetingmore.'
'i'm not crying for myself, ellen,' sheanswered, 'it's for him. he expected to see me again to-morrow, andthere he'll be so disappointed: and he'll wait for me, and i sha'n't come!' 'nonsense!' said i, 'do you imagine he hasthought as much of you as you have of him? hasn't he hareton for a companion? not one in a hundred would weep at losing arelation they had just seen twice, for two afternoons.linton will conjecture how it is, and trouble himself no further about you.' 'but may i not write a note to tell him whyi cannot come?' she asked, rising to her
feet.'and just send those books i promised to lend him? his books are not as nice as mine, and hewanted to have them extremely, when i told him how interesting they were.may i not, ellen?' 'no, indeed! no, indeed!' replied i withdecision. 'then he would write to you, and there'dnever be an end of it. no, miss catherine, the acquaintance mustbe dropped entirely: so papa expects, and i shall see that it is done.' 'but how can one little note--?' sherecommenced, putting on an imploring
countenance.'silence!' i interrupted. 'we'll not begin with your little notes.get into bed.' she threw at me a very naughty look, sonaughty that i would not kiss her good- night at first: i covered her up, and shuther door, in great displeasure; but, repenting half-way, i returned softly, and lo! there was miss standing at the tablewith a bit of blank paper before her and a pencil in her hand, which she guiltilyslipped out of sight on my entrance. 'you'll get nobody to take that,catherine,' i said, 'if you write it; and
at present i shall put out your candle.' i set the extinguisher on the flame,receiving as i did so a slap on my hand and a petulant 'cross thing!' i then quitted her again, and she drew thebolt in one of her worst, most peevish humours. the letter was finished and forwarded toits destination by a milk-fetcher who came from the village; but that i didn't learntill some time afterwards. weeks passed on, and cathy recovered hertemper; though she grew wondrous fond of stealing off to corners by herself andoften, if i came near her suddenly while
reading, she would start and bend over the book, evidently desirous to hide it; and idetected edges of loose paper sticking out beyond the leaves. she also got a trick of coming down earlyin the morning and lingering about the kitchen, as if she were expecting thearrival of something; and she had a small drawer in a cabinet in the library, which she would trifle over for hours, and whosekey she took special care to remove when she left it. one day, as she inspected this drawer, iobserved that the playthings and trinkets
which recently formed its contents weretransmuted into bits of folded paper. my curiosity and suspicions were roused; idetermined to take a peep at her mysterious treasures; so, at night, as soon as she andmy master were safe upstairs, i searched, and readily found among my house keys onethat would fit the lock. having opened, i emptied the whole contentsinto my apron, and took them with me to examine at leisure in my own chamber. though i could not but suspect, i was stillsurprised to discover that they were a mass of correspondence--daily almost, it musthave been--from linton heathcliff: answers to documents forwarded by her.
the earlier dated were embarrassed andshort; gradually, however, they expanded into copious love-letters, foolish, as theage of the writer rendered natural, yet with touches here and there which i thought were borrowed from a more experiencedsource. some of them struck me as singularly oddcompounds of ardour and flatness; commencing in strong feeling, andconcluding in the affected, wordy style that a schoolboy might use to a fancied,incorporeal sweetheart. whether they satisfied cathy i don't know;but they appeared very worthless trash to after turning over as many as i thoughtproper, i tied them in a handkerchief and
set them aside, relocking the vacantdrawer. following her habit, my young ladydescended early, and visited the kitchen: i watched her go to the door, on the arrivalof a certain little boy; and, while the dairymaid filled his can, she tucked something into his jacket pocket, andplucked something out. i went round by the garden, and laid waitfor the messenger; who fought valorously to defend his trust, and we spilt the milkbetween us; but i succeeded in abstracting the epistle; and, threatening serious consequences if he did not look sharp home,i remained under the wall and perused miss
cathy's affectionate composition.it was more simple and more eloquent than her cousin's: very pretty and very silly. i shook my head, and went meditating intothe house. the day being wet, she could not divertherself with rambling about the park; so, at the conclusion of her morning studies,she resorted to the solace of the drawer. her father sat reading at the table; and i,on purpose, had sought a bit of work in some unripped fringes of the window-curtain, keeping my eye steadily fixed on her proceedings. never did any bird flying back to aplundered nest, which it had left brimful
of chirping young ones, express morecomplete despair, in its anguished cries and flutterings, than she by her single 'oh!' and the change that transfigured herlate happy countenance. mr. linton looked up.'what is the matter, love? have you hurt yourself?' he said. his tone and look assured her he had notbeen the discoverer of the hoard. 'no, papa!' she gasped.'ellen! ellen! come up-stairs--i'm sick!' i obeyed her summons, and accompanied herout.
'oh, ellen! you have got them,' shecommenced immediately, dropping on her knees, when we were enclosed alone. 'oh, give them to me, and i'll never, neverdo so again! don't tell papa.you have not told papa, ellen? say you have not? i've been exceedingly naughty, but i won'tdo it any more!' with a grave severity in my manner i badeher stand up. 'so,' i exclaimed, 'miss catherine, you aretolerably far on, it seems: you may well be ashamed of them!
a fine bundle of trash you study in yourleisure hours, to be sure: why, it's good enough to be printed!and what do you suppose the master will think when i display it before him? i hav'n't shown it yet, but you needn'timagine i shall keep your ridiculous secrets. for shame! and you must have led the way inwriting such absurdities: he would not have thought of beginning, i'm certain.''i didn't! i didn't!' sobbed cathy, fit to break herheart. 'i didn't once think of loving him till--''loving!' cried i, as scornfully as i
could utter the word. 'loving!did anybody ever hear the like! i might just as well talk of loving themiller who comes once a year to buy our corn. pretty loving, indeed! and both timestogether you have seen linton hardly four hours in your life!now here is the babyish trash. i'm going with it to the library; and we'llsee what your father says to such loving.' she sprang at her precious epistles, but ihold them above my head; and then she
poured out further frantic entreaties thati would burn them--do anything rather than show them. and being really fully as much inclined tolaugh as scold--for i esteemed it all girlish vanity--i at length relented in ameasure, and asked,--'if i consent to burn them, will you promise faithfully neither to send nor receive a letter again, nor abook (for i perceive you have sent him books), nor locks of hair, nor rings, norplaythings?' 'we don't send playthings,' criedcatherine, her pride overcoming her shame. 'nor anything at all, then, my lady?'i said.
'unless you will, here i go.' 'i promise, ellen!' she cried, catching mydress. 'oh, put them in the fire, do, do!' but when i proceeded to open a place withthe poker the sacrifice was too painful to be borne.she earnestly supplicated that i would spare her one or two. 'one or two, ellen, to keep for linton'ssake!' i unknotted the handkerchief, and commenceddropping them in from an angle, and the flame curled up the chimney.
'i will have one, you cruel wretch!' shescreamed, darting her hand into the fire, and drawing forth some half-consumedfragments, at the expense of her fingers. 'very well--and i will have some to exhibitto papa!' i answered, shaking back the rest into thebundle, and turning anew to the door. she emptied her blackened pieces into theflames, and motioned me to finish the immolation. it was done; i stirred up the ashes, andinterred them under a shovelful of coals; and she mutely, and with a sense of intenseinjury, retired to her private apartment. i descended to tell my master that theyoung lady's qualm of sickness was almost
gone, but i judged it best for her to liedown a while. she wouldn't dine; but she reappeared attea, pale, and red about the eyes, and marvellously subdued in outward aspect. next morning i answered the letter by aslip of paper, inscribed, 'master heathcliff is requested to send no morenotes to miss linton, as she will not receive them.' and, henceforth, the little boy came withvacant pockets.