Part 4 out of 7
chamber. He did not hit the right room directly: she motioned me
to admit him, but he found it out ere I could reach the door, and
in a stride or two was at her side, and had her grasped in his
He neither spoke nor loosed his hold for some five minutes, during
which period he bestowed more kisses than ever he gave in his life
before, I daresay: but then my mistress had kissed him first, and
I plainly saw that he could hardly bear, for downright agony, to
look into her face! The same conviction had stricken him as me,
from the instant he beheld her, that there was no prospect of
ultimate recovery there - she was fated, sure to die.
'Oh, Cathy! Oh, my life! how can I bear it?' was the first
sentence he uttered, in a tone that did not seek to disguise his
despair. And now he stared at her so earnestly that I thought the
very intensity of his gaze would bring tears into his eyes; but
they burned with anguish: they did not melt.
'What now?' said Catherine, leaning back, and returning his look
with a suddenly clouded brow: her humour was a mere vane for
constantly varying caprices. 'You and Edgar have broken my heart,
Heathcliff! And you both come to bewail the deed to me, as if you
were the people to be pitied! I shall not pity you, not I. You
have killed me - and thriven on it, I think. How strong you are!
How many years do you mean to live after I am gone?'
Heathcliff had knelt on one knee to embrace her; he attempted to
rise, but she seized his hair, and kept him down.
'I wish I could hold you,' she continued, bitterly, 'till we were
both dead! I shouldn't care what you suffered. I care nothing for
your sufferings. Why shouldn't you suffer? I do! Will you forget
me? Will you be happy when I am in the earth? Will you say twenty
years hence, "That's the grave of Catherine Earnshaw? I loved her
long ago, and was wretched to lose her; but it is past. I've loved
many others since: my children are dearer to me than she was; and,
at death, I shall not rejoice that I are going to her: I shall be
sorry that I must leave them!" Will you say so, Heathcliff?'
'Don't torture me till I'm as mad as yourself,' cried he, wrenching
his head free, and grinding his teeth.
The two, to a cool spectator, made a strange and fearful picture.
Well might Catherine deem that heaven would be a land of exile to
her, unless with her mortal body she cast away her moral character
also. Her present countenance had a wild vindictiveness in its
white cheek, and a bloodless lip and scintillating eye; and she
retained in her closed fingers a portion of the locks she had been
grasping. As to her companion, while raising himself with one
hand, he had taken her arm with the other; and so inadequate was
his stock of gentleness to the requirements of her condition, that
on his letting go I saw four distinct impressions left blue in the
'Are you possessed with a devil,' he pursued, savagely, 'to talk in
that manner to me when you are dying? Do you reflect that all
those words will be branded in my memory, and eating deeper
eternally after you have left me? You know you lie to say I have
killed you: and, Catherine, you know that I could as soon forget
you as my existence! Is it not sufficient for your infernal
selfishness, that while you are at peace I shall writhe in the
torments of hell?'
'I shall not be at peace,' moaned Catherine, recalled to a sense of
physical weakness by the violent, unequal throbbing of her heart,
which beat visibly and audibly under this excess of agitation. She
said nothing further till the paroxysm was over; then she
continued, more kindly -
'I'm not wishing you greater torment than I have, Heathcliff. I
only wish us never to be parted: and should a word of mine
distress you hereafter, think I feel the same distress underground,
and for my own sake, forgive me! Come here and kneel down again!
You never harmed me in your life. Nay, if you nurse anger, that
will be worse to remember than my harsh words! Won't you come here
Heathcliff went to the back of her chair, and leant over, but not
so far as to let her see his face, which was livid with emotion.
She bent round to look at him; he would not permit it: turning
abruptly, he walked to the fireplace, where he stood, silent, with
his back towards us. Mrs. Linton's glance followed him
suspiciously: every movement woke a new sentiment in her. After a
pause and a prolonged gaze, she resumed; addressing me in accents
of indignant disappointment:-
'Oh, you see, Nelly, he would not relent a moment to keep me out of
the grave. THAT is how I'm loved! Well, never mind. That is not
MY Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with me: he's
in my soul. And,' added she musingly, 'the thing that irks me most
is this shattered prison, after all. I'm tired of being enclosed
here. I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be
always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for
it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and
in it. Nelly, you think you are better and more fortunate than I;
in full health and strength: you are sorry for me - very soon that
will be altered. I shall be sorry for YOU. I shall be
incomparably beyond and above you all. I WONDER he won't be near
me!' She went on to herself. 'I thought he wished it.
Heathcliff, dear! you should not be sullen now. Do come to me,
In her eagerness she rose and supported herself on the arm of the
chair. At that earnest appeal he turned to her, looking absolutely
desperate. His eyes, wide and wet, at last flashed fiercely on
her; his breast heaved convulsively. An instant they held asunder,
and then how they met I hardly saw, but Catherine made a spring,
and he caught her, and they were locked in an embrace from which I
thought my mistress would never be released alive: in fact, to my
eyes, she seemed directly insensible. He flung himself into the
nearest seat, and on my approaching hurriedly to ascertain if she
had fainted, he gnashed at me, and foamed like a mad dog, and
gathered her to him with greedy jealousy. I did not feel as if I
were in the company of a creature of my own species: it appeared
that he would not understand, though I spoke to him; so I stood
off, and held my tongue, in great perplexity.
A movement of Catherine's relieved me a little presently: she put
up her hand to clasp his neck, and bring her cheek to his as he
held her; while he, in return, covering her with frantic caresses,
said wildly -
'You teach me now how cruel you've been - cruel and false. WHY did
you despise me? WHY did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have
not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed
yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses
and tears: they'll blight you - they'll damn you. You loved me -
then what RIGHT had you to leave me? What right - answer me - for
the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery and
degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict
would have parted us, YOU, of your own will, did it. I have not
broken your heart - YOU have broken it; and in breaking it, you
have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I
want to live? What kind of living will it be when you - oh, God!
would YOU like to live with your soul in the grave?'
'Let me alone. Let me alone,' sobbed Catherine. 'If I've done
wrong, I'm dying for it. It is enough! You left me too: but I
won't upbraid you! I forgive you. Forgive me!'
'It is hard to forgive, and to look at those eyes, and feel those
wasted hands,' he answered. 'Kiss me again; and don't let me see
your eyes! I forgive what you have done to me. I love MY murderer
- but YOURS! How can I?'
They were silent-their faces hid against each other, and washed by
each other's tears. At least, I suppose the weeping was on both
sides; as it seemed Heathcliff could weep on a great occasion like
I grew very uncomfortable, meanwhile; for the afternoon wore fast
away, the man whom I had sent off returned from his errand, and I
could distinguish, by the shine of the western sun up the valley, a
concourse thickening outside Gimmerton chapel porch.
'Service is over,' I announced. 'My master will be here in half an
Heathcliff groaned a curse, and strained Catherine closer: she
Ere long I perceived a group of the servants passing up the road
towards the kitchen wing. Mr. Linton was not far behind; he opened
the gate himself and sauntered slowly up, probably enjoying the
lovely afternoon that breathed as soft as summer.
'Now he is here,' I exclaimed. 'For heaven's sake, hurry down!
You'll not meet any one on the front stairs. Do be quick; and stay
among the trees till he is fairly in.'
'I must go, Cathy,' said Heathcliff, seeking to extricate himself
from his companion's arms. 'But if I live, I'll see you again
before you are asleep. I won't stray five yards from your window.'
'You must not go!' she answered, holding him as firmly as her
strength allowed. 'You SHALL not, I tell you.'
'For one hour,' he pleaded earnestly.
'Not for one minute,' she replied.
'I MUST - Linton will be up immediately,' persisted the alarmed
He would have risen, and unfixed her fingers by the act - she clung
fast, gasping: there was mad resolution in her face.
'No!' she shrieked. 'Oh, don't, don't go. It is the last time!
Edgar will not hurt us. Heathcliff, I shall die! I shall die!'
'Damn the fool! There he is,' cried Heathcliff, sinking back into
his seat. 'Hush, my darling! Hush, hush, Catherine! I'll stay.
If he shot me so, I'd expire with a blessing on my lips.'
And there they were fast again. I heard my master mounting the
stairs - the cold sweat ran from my forehead: I was horrified.
'Are you going to listen to her ravings?' I said, passionately.
'She does not know what she says. Will you ruin her, because she
has not wit to help herself? Get up! You could be free instantly.
That is the most diabolical deed that ever you did. We are all
done for - master, mistress, and servant.'
I wrung my hands, and cried out; and Mr. Linton hastened his step
at the noise. In the midst of my agitation, I was sincerely glad
to observe that Catherine's arms had fallen relaxed, and her head
'She's fainted, or dead,' I thought: 'so much the better. Far
better that she should be dead, than lingering a burden and a
misery-maker to all about her.'
Edgar sprang to his unbidden guest, blanched with astonishment and
rage. What he meant to do I cannot tell; however, the other
stopped all demonstrations, at once, by placing the lifeless-
looking form in his arms.
'Look there!' he said. 'Unless you be a fiend, help her first -
then you shall speak to me!'
He walked into the parlour, and sat down. Mr. Linton summoned me,
and with great difficulty, and after resorting to many means, we
managed to restore her to sensation; but she was all bewildered;
she sighed, and moaned, and knew nobody. Edgar, in his anxiety for
her, forgot her hated friend. I did not. I went, at the earliest
opportunity, and besought him to depart; affirming that Catherine
was better, and he should hear from me in the morning how she
passed the night.
'I shall not refuse to go out of doors,' he answered; 'but I shall
stay in the garden: and, Nelly, mind you keep your word to-morrow.
I shall be under those larch-trees. Mind! or I pay another visit,
whether Linton be in or not.'
He sent a rapid glance through the half-open door of the chamber,
and, ascertaining that what I stated was apparently true, delivered
the house of his luckless presence.
ABOUT twelve o'clock that night was born the Catherine you saw at
Wuthering Heights: a puny, seven-months' child; and two hours
after the mother died, having never recovered sufficient
consciousness to miss Heathcliff, or know Edgar. The latter's
distraction at his bereavement is a subject too painful to be dwelt
on; its after-effects showed how deep the sorrow sunk. A great
addition, in my eyes, was his being left without an heir. I
bemoaned that, as I gazed on the feeble orphan; and I mentally
abused old Linton for (what was only natural partiality) the
securing his estate to his own daughter, instead of his son's. An
unwelcomed infant it was, poor thing! It might have wailed out of
life, and nobody cared a morsel, during those first hours of
existence. We redeemed the neglect afterwards; but its beginning
was as friendless as its end is likely to be.
Next morning - bright and cheerful out of doors - stole softened in
through the blinds of the silent room, and suffused the couch and
its occupant with a mellow, tender glow. Edgar Linton had his head
laid on the pillow, and his eyes shut. His young and fair features
were almost as deathlike as those of the form beside him, and
almost as fixed: but HIS was the hush of exhausted anguish, and
HERS of perfect peace. Her brow smooth, her lids closed, her lips
wearing the expression of a smile; no angel in heaven could be more
beautiful than she appeared. And I partook of the infinite calm in
which she lay: my mind was never in a holier frame than while I
gazed on that untroubled image of Divine rest. I instinctively
echoed the words she had uttered a few hours before: 'Incomparably
beyond and above us all! Whether still on earth or now in heaven,
her spirit is at home with God!'
I don't know if it be a peculiarity in me, but I am seldom
otherwise than happy while watching in the chamber of death, should
no frenzied or despairing mourner share the duty with me. I see a
repose that neither earth nor hell can break, and I feel an
assurance of the endless and shadowless hereafter - the Eternity
they have entered - where life is boundless in its duration, and
love in its sympathy, and joy in its fulness. I noticed on that
occasion how much selfishness there is even in a love like Mr.
Linton's, when he so regretted Catherine's blessed release! To be
sure, one might have doubted, after the wayward and impatient
existence she had led, whether she merited a haven of peace at
last. One might doubt in seasons of cold reflection; but not then,
in the presence of her corpse. It asserted its own tranquillity,
which seemed a pledge of equal quiet to its former inhabitant.
Do you believe such people are happy in the other world, sir? I'd
give a great deal to know.
I declined answering Mrs. Dean's question, which struck me as
something heterodox. She proceeded:
Retracing the course of Catherine Linton, I fear we have no right
to think she is; but we'll leave her with her Maker.
The master looked asleep, and I ventured soon after sunrise to quit
the room and steal out to the pure refreshing air. The servants
thought me gone to shake off the drowsiness of my protracted watch;
in reality, my chief motive was seeing Mr. Heathcliff. If he had
remained among the larches all night, he would have heard nothing
of the stir at the Grange; unless, perhaps, he might catch the
gallop of the messenger going to Gimmerton. If he had come nearer,
he would probably be aware, from the lights flitting to and fro,
and the opening and shutting of the outer doors, that all was not
right within. I wished, yet feared, to find him. I felt the
terrible news must be told, and I longed to get it over; but how to
do it I did not know. He was there - at least, a few yards further
in the park; leant against an old ash-tree, his hat off, and his
hair soaked with the dew that had gathered on the budded branches,
and fell pattering round him. He had been standing a long time in
that position, for I saw a pair of ousels passing and repassing
scarcely three feet from him, busy in building their nest, and
regarding his proximity no more than that of a piece of timber.
They flew off at my approach, and he raised his eyes and spoke:-
'She's dead!' he said; 'I've not waited for you to learn that. Put
your handkerchief away - don't snivel before me. Damn you all! she
wants none of your tears!'
I was weeping as much for him as her: we do sometimes pity
creatures that have none of the feeling either for themselves or
others. When I first looked into his face, I perceived that he had
got intelligence of the catastrophe; and a foolish notion struck me
that his heart was quelled and he prayed, because his lips moved
and his gaze was bent on the ground.
'Yes, she's dead!' I answered, checking my sobs and drying my
cheeks. 'Gone to heaven, I hope; where we may, every one, join
her, if we take due warning and leave our evil ways to follow
'Did SHE take due warning, then?' asked Heathcliff, attempting a
sneer. 'Did she die like a saint? Come, give me a true history of
the event. How did - ?'
He endeavoured to pronounce the name, but could not manage it; and
compressing his mouth he held a silent combat with his inward
agony, defying, meanwhile, my sympathy with an unflinching,
ferocious stare. 'How did she die?' he resumed, at last - fain,
notwithstanding his hardihood, to have a support behind him; for,
after the struggle, he trembled, in spite of himself, to his very
'Poor wretch!' I thought; 'you have a heart and nerves the same as
your brother men! Why should you be anxious to conceal them? Your
pride cannot blind God! You tempt him to wring them, till he
forces a cry of humiliation.'
'Quietly as a lamb!' I answered, aloud. 'She drew a sigh, and
stretched herself, like a child reviving, and sinking again to
sleep; and five minutes after I felt one little pulse at her heart,
and nothing more!'
'And - did she ever mention me?' he asked, hesitating, as if he
dreaded the answer to his question would introduce details that he
could not bear to hear.
'Her senses never returned: she recognised nobody from the time
you left her,' I said. 'She lies with a sweet smile on her face;
and her latest ideas wandered back to pleasant early days. Her
life closed in a gentle dream - may she wake as kindly in the other
'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence,
stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of
ungovernable passion. 'Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is
she? Not THERE - not in heaven - not perished - where? Oh! you
said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer -
I repeat it till my tongue stiffens - Catherine Earnshaw, may you
not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you - haunt me,
then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know
that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always - take any
form - drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I
cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live
without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul!'
He dashed his head against the knotted trunk; and, lifting up his
eyes, howled, not like a man, but like a savage beast being goaded
to death with knives and spears. I observed several splashes of
blood about the bark of the tree, and his hand and forehead were
both stained; probably the scene I witnessed was a repetition of
others acted during the night. It hardly moved my compassion - it
appalled me: still, I felt reluctant to quit him so. But the
moment he recollected himself enough to notice me watching, he
thundered a command for me to go, and I obeyed. He was beyond my
skill to quiet or console!
Mrs. Linton's funeral was appointed to take place on the Friday
following her decease; and till then her coffin remained uncovered,
and strewn with flowers and scented leaves, in the great drawing-
room. Linton spent his days and nights there, a sleepless
guardian; and - a circumstance concealed from all but me -
Heathcliff spent his nights, at least, outside, equally a stranger
to repose. I held no communication with him: still, I was
conscious of his design to enter, if he could; and on the Tuesday,
a little after dark, when my master, from sheer fatigue, had been
compelled to retire a couple of hours, I went and opened one of the
windows; moved by his perseverance to give him a chance of
bestowing on the faded image of his idol one final adieu. He did
not omit to avail himself of the opportunity, cautiously and
briefly; too cautiously to betray his presence by the slightest
noise. Indeed, I shouldn't have discovered that he had been there,
except for the disarrangement of the drapery about the corpse's
face, and for observing on the floor a curl of light hair, fastened
with a silver thread; which, on examination, I ascertained to have
been taken from a locket hung round Catherine's neck. Heathcliff
had opened the trinket and cast out its contents, replacing them by
a black lock of his own. I twisted the two, and enclosed them
Mr. Earnshaw was, of course, invited to attend the remains of his
sister to the grave; he sent no excuse, but he never came; so that,
besides her husband, the mourners were wholly composed of tenants
and servants. Isabella was not asked.
The place of Catherine's interment, to the surprise of the
villagers, was neither in the chapel under the carved monument of
the Lintons, nor yet by the tombs of her own relations, outside.
It was dug on a green slope in a corner of the kirk-yard, where the
wall is so low that heath and bilberry-plants have climbed over it
from the moor; and peat-mould almost buries it. Her husband lies
in the same spot now; and they have each a simple headstone above,
and a plain grey block at their feet, to mark the graves.
THAT Friday made the last of our fine days for a month. In the
evening the weather broke: the wind shifted from south to north-
east, and brought rain first, and then sleet and snow. On the
morrow one could hardly imagine that there had been three weeks of
summer: the primroses and crocuses were hidden under wintry
drifts; the larks were silent, the young leaves of the early trees
smitten and blackened. And dreary, and chill, and dismal, that
morrow did creep over! My master kept his room; I took possession
of the lonely parlour, converting it into a nursery: and there I
was, sitting with the moaning doll of a child laid on my knee;
rocking it to and fro, and watching, meanwhile, the still driving
flakes build up the uncurtained window, when the door opened, and
some person entered, out of breath and laughing! My anger was
greater than my astonishment for a minute. I supposed it one of
the maids, and I cried - 'Have done! How dare you show your
giddiness here; What would Mr. Linton say if he heard you?'
'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 the fire, panting and holding
her hand to her side.
'I have run the whole way from Wuthering Heights!' 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 I can give it;
only just have the goodness to step out and order the carriage to
take me on to Gimmerton, and tell a servant to seek up a few
clothes in my wardrobe.'
The intruder was Mrs. Heathcliff. She certainly seemed in no
laughing predicament: her hair streamed on her shoulders, dripping
with snow and water; she was dressed in the girlish dress she
commonly wore, befitting her age more than her position: a low
frock with short sleeves, and nothing on either head or neck. The
frock was of light silk, and clung to her with wet, and her feet
were protected merely by thin slippers; add to this a deep cut
under one ear, which only the cold prevented from bleeding
profusely, a white face scratched and bruised, and a frame hardly
able to support itself through fatigue; and you may fancy my first
fright was not much allayed when I had had leisure to examine her.
'My dear young lady,' I exclaimed, 'I'll stir nowhere, and hear
nothing, till you have removed every article of your clothes, and
put on dry things; and certainly you shall not go to Gimmerton to-
night, so it is needless to order the carriage.'
'Certainly I shall,' she said; 'walking or riding: 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 her directions, before she would let
me touch her; and not till after the coachman had been instructed
to get ready, and a maid set to pack up some necessary attire, did
I obtain her consent for binding the wound and helping to change
'Now, Ellen,' she said, when my task was finished and she was
seated in an easy-chair on the hearth, with a cup of tea before
her, 'you sit down opposite me, and put poor Catherine's baby away:
I don't like to see it! You mustn't think I care little for
Catherine, because I behaved so foolishly on entering: I've cried,
too, bitterly - yes, more than any one else has reason to cry. We
parted unreconciled, you remember, and I sha'n't forgive myself.
But, for all that, I was not going to sympathise with him - the
brute beast! Oh, give me the poker! This is the last thing of his
I have about me:' she slipped the gold ring from her third finger,
and threw it on the floor. 'I'll smash it!' she continued,
striking it with childish spite, 'and then I'll burn it!' and she
took and dropped the misused article among the coals. 'There! he
shall buy another, if he gets me back again. He'd be capable of
coming to seek me, to tease Edgar. I dare not stay, lest that
notion should possess his wicked head! And besides, Edgar has not
been kind, has he? And I won't come suing for his assistance; nor
will I bring him into more trouble. Necessity compelled me to seek
shelter here; though, if I had not learned he was out of the way,
I'd have halted at the kitchen, washed my face, warmed myself, got
you to bring what I wanted, and departed again to anywhere out of
the reach of my accursed - 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 in strength: I wouldn't have run till I'd seen him all but
demolished, had Hindley been able to do it!'
'Well, don't talk so fast, Miss!' I interrupted; 'you'll disorder
the handkerchief I have tied round your face, and make the cut
bleed again. Drink your tea, and take breath, and give over
laughing: laughter is sadly out of place under this roof, and in
'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 stay any longer.'
I rang the bell, and committed it to a servant's care; and then I
inquired what had urged her to escape from Wuthering Heights in
such an unlikely plight, and where she meant to go, as she refused
remaining with us.
'I ought, and I wished to remain,' answered she, 'to cheer Edgar
and take care of the baby, for two things, and because the Grange
is my right home. But I tell you he wouldn't let me! Do you think
he could bear to see me grow fat and merry - could bear to think
that we were tranquil, and not resolve on poisoning our comfort?
Now, I have the satisfaction of being sure that he detests me, to
the point of its annoying him seriously to have me within ear-shot
or eyesight: I notice, when I enter his presence, the muscles of
his countenance are involuntarily distorted into an expression of
hatred; partly arising from his knowledge of the good causes I have
to feel that sentiment for him, and partly from original aversion.
It is strong enough to make me feel pretty certain that he would
not chase me over England, supposing I contrived a clear escape;
and therefore I must get quite away. I've recovered from my first
desire to be killed by him: I'd rather he'd kill himself! He has
extinguished my love effectually, and so I'm at my ease. I can
recollect yet how I loved him; and can dimly imagine that I could
still be loving him, if - no, no! Even if he had doted on me, the
devilish nature would have revealed its existence somehow.
Catherine had an awfully perverted taste to esteem him so dearly,
knowing him so well. Monster! would that he could be blotted out
of creation, and out of my memory!'
'Hush, hush! He's a human being,' I said. 'Be more charitable:
there are worse men than 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 and pinched it to death,
and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen:
and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him:
and I would not, though he groaned from this to his dying day, and
wept tears of blood for Catherine! No, indeed, indeed, I
wouldn't!' And here Isabella began to cry; but, immediately
dashing the water from her lashes, she recommenced. 'You asked,
what has driven me to flight at last? I was compelled to attempt
it, because I had succeeded in rousing his rage a pitch above his
malignity. Pulling out the nerves with red hot pincers requires
more coolness than knocking on the head. He was worked up to
forget the fiendish prudence he boasted of, and proceeded to
murderous violence. I experienced pleasure in being able to
exasperate him: the sense of pleasure woke my instinct of self-
preservation, so I fairly broke free; and if ever I come into his
hands again he is welcome to a signal revenge.
'Yesterday, you know, Mr. Earnshaw should have been at the funeral.
He kept himself sober for the purpose - tolerably sober: not going
to bed mad at six o'clock and getting up drunk at twelve.
Consequently, he rose, in suicidal low spirits, as fit for the
church as for a dance; and instead, he sat down by the fire and
swallowed gin or brandy by tumblerfuls.
'Heathcliff - I shudder to name him! has been a stranger in the
house from last Sunday till to-day. Whether the angels have fed
him, or his kin beneath, I cannot tell; but he has not eaten a meal
with us for nearly a week. He has just come home at dawn, and gone
up-stairs to his chamber; looking himself in - as if anybody dreamt
of coveting his company! There he has continued, praying like a
Methodist: only the deity he implored is senseless dust and ashes;
and God, when addressed, was curiously confounded with his own
black father! After concluding these precious orisons - and they
lasted generally till he grew hoarse and his voice was strangled in
his throat - he would be off again; always straight down to the
Grange! I wonder Edgar did not send for a constable, and give him
into custody! For me, grieved as I was about Catherine, it was
impossible to avoid regarding this season of deliverance from
degrading oppression as a holiday.
'I recovered spirits sufficient to bear Joseph's eternal lectures
without weeping, and to move up and down the house less with the
foot of a frightened thief than formerly. You wouldn't think that
I should cry at anything Joseph could say; but he and Hareton are
detestable companions. I'd rather sit with Hindley, and hear his
awful talk, than with "t' little maister" and his staunch
supporter, that odious old man! When Heathcliff is in, I'm often
obliged to seek the kitchen and their society, or starve among the
damp uninhabited chambers; when he is not, as was the case this
week, I establish a table and chair at one corner of the house
fire, and never mind how Mr. Earnshaw may occupy himself; and he
does not interfere with my arrangements. He is quieter now than he
used to be, if no one provokes him: more sullen and depressed, and
less furious. Joseph affirms he's sure he's an altered man: that
the Lord has touched his heart, and he is saved "so as by fire."
I'm puzzled to detect signs of the favourable change: but it is
not my business.
'Yester-evening I sat in my nook reading some old books till late
on towards twelve. It seemed so dismal to go up-stairs, with the
wild snow blowing outside, and my thoughts continually reverting to
the kirk-yard and the new-made grave! I dared hardly lift my eyes
from the page before me, that melancholy scene so instantly usurped
its place. Hindley sat opposite, his head leant on his hand;
perhaps meditating on the same subject. He had ceased drinking at
a point below irrationality, and had neither stirred nor spoken
during two or three hours. There was no sound through the house
but the moaning wind, which shook the windows every now and then,
the faint crackling of the coals, and the click of my snuffers as I
removed at intervals the long wick of the candle. Hareton and
Joseph were probably fast asleep in bed. It was very, very sad:
and while I read I sighed, for it seemed as if all joy had vanished
from the world, never to be restored.
'The doleful silence was broken at length by the sound of the
kitchen latch: Heathcliff had returned from his watch earlier than
usual; owing, I suppose, to the sudden storm. That entrance was
fastened, and we heard him coming round to get in by the other. I
rose with an irrepressible expression of what I felt on my lips,
which induced my companion, who had been staring towards the door,
to turn and look at me.
'"I'll keep him out five minutes," he exclaimed. "You won't
'"No, you may keep him out the whole night for me," I answered.
"Do! put the key in the look, and draw the bolts."
'Earnshaw accomplished this ere his guest reached the front; he
then came and brought his chair to the other side of my table,
leaning over it, and searching in my eyes for a sympathy with the
burning hate that gleamed from his: as he both looked and felt
like an assassin, he couldn't exactly find that; but he discovered
enough to encourage him to speak.
'"You, and I," he said, "have each a great debt to settle with the
man out yonder! If we were neither of us cowards, we might combine
to discharge it. Are you as soft as your brother? Are you willing
to endure to the last, and not once attempt a repayment?"
'"I'm weary of enduring now," I replied; "and I'd be glad of a
retaliation that wouldn't recoil on myself; but treachery and
violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who
resort to them worse than their enemies."
'"Treachery and violence are a just return for treachery and
violence!" cried Hindley. "Mrs. Heathcliff, I'll ask you to do
nothing; but sit still and be dumb. Tell me now, can you? I'm
sure you would have as much pleasure as I in witnessing the
conclusion of the fiend's existence; he'll be YOUR death unless you
overreach him; and he'll be MY ruin. Damn the hellish villain! He
knocks at the door as if he were master here already! Promise to
hold your tongue, and before that clock strikes - it wants three
minutes of one - you're a free woman!"
'He took the implements which I described to you in my letter from
his breast, and would have turned down the candle. I snatched it
away, 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 God I'll execute it!"
cried the desperate being. "I'll do you a kindness in spite of
yourself, and Hareton justice! And you needn't trouble your head
to screen me; Catherine is gone. Nobody alive would regret me, or
be ashamed, though I cut my throat this minute - and it's time to
make an end!"
'I might as well have struggled with a bear, or reasoned with a
lunatic. The only resource left me was to run to a lattice and
warn his intended victim of the fate which awaited him.
'"You'd better seek shelter somewhere else to-night!" 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 - " he answered, addressing me by
some elegant term that I don't care to repeat.
'"I shall not meddle in the matter," I retorted again. "Come in
and get shot, if you please. I've done my duty."
'With that I shut the window and returned to my place by the fire;
having too small a stock of hypocrisy at my command to pretend any
anxiety for the danger that menaced him. Earnshaw swore
passionately at me: affirming that I loved the villain yet; and
calling me all sorts of names for the base spirit I evinced. And
I, in my secret heart (and conscience never reproached me), thought
what a blessing it would be for HIM should Heathcliff put him out
of misery; and what a blessing for ME should he send Heathcliff to
his right abode! As I sat nursing these reflections, the casement
behind me was banged on to the floor by a blow from the latter
individual, and his black countenance looked blightingly through.
The stanchions stood too close to suffer his shoulders to follow,
and I smiled, exulting in my fancied security. His hair and
clothes were whitened with snow, and his sharp cannibal teeth,
revealed by cold and wrath, gleamed through the dark.
'"Isabella, let me in, or I'll make you repent!" 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 yours that cannot bear a shower of snow! We were left at
peace in our beds as long as the summer moon shone, but the moment
a blast of winter returns, you must run for shelter! Heathcliff,
if I were you, I'd go stretch myself over her grave and die like a
faithful dog. The world is surely not worth living in now, is it?
You had distinctly impressed on me the idea that Catherine was the
whole joy of your life: I can't imagine how you think of surviving
'"He's there, is he?" exclaimed my companion, rushing to the gap.
"If I can get my arm out I can hit him!"
'I'm afraid, Ellen, you'll set me down as really wicked; but you
don't know all, so don't judge. I wouldn't have aided or abetted
an attempt on even HIS life for anything. Wish that he were dead,
I must; and therefore I was fearfully disappointed, and unnerved by
terror for the consequences of my taunting speech, when he flung
himself on Earnshaw's weapon and wrenched it from his grasp.
'The charge exploded, and the knife, in springing back, closed into
its owner's wrist. Heathcliff pulled it away by main force,
slitting up the flesh as it passed on, and thrust it dripping into
his pocket. He then took a stone, struck down the division between
two windows, and sprang in. His adversary had fallen senseless
with excessive pain and the flow of blood, that gushed from an
artery or a large vein. The ruffian kicked and trampled on him,
and dashed his head repeatedly against the flags, holding me with
one hand, meantime, to prevent me summoning Joseph. He exerted
preterhuman self-denial in abstaining from finishing him
completely; but getting out of breath, he finally desisted, and
dragged the apparently inanimate body on to the settle. There he
tore off the sleeve of Earnshaw's coat, and bound up the wound with
brutal roughness; spitting and cursing during the operation as
energetically as he had kicked before. Being at liberty, I lost no
time in seeking the old servant; 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 to do, now?"
'"There's this to do," thundered Heathcliff, "that your master's
mad; and should he last another month, I'll have him to an asylum.
And how the devil did you come to fasten me out, you toothless
hound? Don't stand muttering and mumbling there. Come, I'm not
going to nurse him. Wash that stuff away; and mind the sparks of
your candle - it is more than half brandy!"
'"And so ye've been murthering on him?" 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 knees in the middle of the
blood, and flung a towel to him; but instead of proceeding to dry
it up, he joined his hands and began a prayer, which excited my
laughter from its odd phraseology. I was in the condition of mind
to be shocked at nothing: in fact, I was as reckless as some
malefactors show themselves at the foot of the gallows.
'"Oh, I forgot you," said the tyrant. "You shall do that. Down
with you. And you conspire with him against me, do you, viper?
There, that is work fit for you!"
'He shook me till my teeth rattled, and pitched me beside Joseph,
who steadily concluded his supplications, and then rose, vowing he
would set off for the Grange directly. Mr. Linton was a
magistrate, and though he had fifty wives dead, he should inquire
into this. He was so obstinate in his resolution, that Heathcliff
deemed it expedient to compel from my lips a recapitulation of what
had taken place; standing over me, heaving with malevolence, as I
reluctantly delivered the account in answer to his questions. It
required a great deal of labour to satisfy the old man that
Heathcliff was not the aggressor; especially with my hardly-wrung
replies. However, Mr. Earnshaw soon convinced him that he was
alive still; Joseph hastened to administer a dose of spirits, and
by their succour his master presently regained motion and
consciousness. Heathcliff, aware that his opponent was ignorant of
the treatment received while insensible, called him deliriously
intoxicated; and said he should not notice his atrocious conduct
further, but advised him to get to bed. To my joy, he left us,
after giving this judicious counsel, and Hindley stretched himself
on the hearthstone. I departed to my own room, marvelling that I
had escaped so easily.
'This morning, when I came down, about half an hour before noon,
Mr. Earnshaw was sitting by the fire, deadly sick; his evil genius,
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, at intervals, I cast a look towards my silent
companions, and felt the comfort of a quiet conscience within me.
After I had done, I ventured on the unusual liberty of drawing near
the fire, going round Earnshaw's seat, and kneeling in the corner
'Heathcliff did not glance my way, and I gazed up, and contemplated
his features almost as confidently as if they had been turned to
stone. His forehead, that I once thought so manly, and that I now
think so diabolical, was shaded with a heavy cloud; his basilisk
eyes were nearly quenched by sleeplessness, and weeping, perhaps,
for the lashes were wet then: his lips devoid of their ferocious
sneer, and sealed in an expression of unspeakable sadness. Had it
been another, I would have covered my face in the presence of such
grief. In HIS case, I was gratified; and, ignoble as it seems to
insult a fallen enemy, I couldn't miss this chance of sticking in a
dart: his weakness was the only time when I could taste the
delight of paying wrong for wrong.'
'Fie, fie, Miss!' I interrupted. 'One might suppose you had never
opened a Bible in your life. If God afflict your enemies, surely
that ought to suffice you. It is both mean and presumptuous to add
your torture to his!'
'In general I'll allow that it would be, Ellen,' she continued;
'but what misery laid on Heathcliff could content me, unless I have
a hand in it? I'd rather he suffered less, if I might cause his
sufferings and he might KNOW that I was the cause. Oh, I owe him
so much. On only one condition can I hope to forgive him. It is,
if I may take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; for every
wrench of agony return a wrench: reduce him to my level. As he
was the first to injure, make him the first to implore pardon; and
then - why then, Ellen, I might show you some generosity. But it
is utterly impossible I can ever be revenged, and therefore I
cannot forgive him. Hindley wanted some water, and I handed him a
glass, and asked him how he was.
'"Not as ill as I wish," he replied. "But leaving out my arm,
every inch of me is as sore as if I had been fighting with a legion
'"Yes, no wonder," was my next remark. "Catherine used to boast
that she stood between you and bodily harm: she meant that certain
persons would not hurt you for fear of offending her. It's well
people don't REALLY rise from their grave, 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 do you mean? Did he dare to
strike me when I was down?"
'"He trampled on and kicked you, and dashed you on the ground," I
whispered. "And his mouth watered to tear you with his teeth;
because he's only half man: not so much, and the rest fiend."
'Mr. Earnshaw looked up, like me, to the countenance of our mutual
foe; who, absorbed in his anguish, seemed insensible to anything
around him: the longer he stood, the plainer his reflections
revealed their blackness through his features.
'"Oh, if God would but give me strength to strangle him in my last
agony, I'd go to hell with joy," groaned the impatient man,
writhing to rise, and sinking back in despair, convinced of his
inadequacy for the struggle.
'"Nay, it's enough that he has murdered one of you," I observed
aloud. "At the Grange, every one knows your sister would have been
living now had it not been for Mr. Heathcliff. After all, it is
preferable to be hated than loved by him. When I recollect how
happy we were - how happy Catherine was before he came - I'm fit to
curse the day."
'Most likely, Heathcliff noticed more the truth of what was said,
than the spirit of the person who said it. His attention was
roused, I saw, for his eyes rained down tears among the ashes, and
he drew his breath in suffocating sighs. I stared full at him, and
laughed scornfully. The clouded windows of hell flashed a moment
towards me; the fiend which usually looked out, however, was so
dimmed and drowned that I did not fear to hazard another sound of
'"Get up, and begone out of my sight," said the mourner.
'I guessed he uttered those words, at least, though his voice was
'"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
them black and red; and her - "
'"Get up, wretched idiot, before I stamp you to death!" he cried,
making a movement that caused me to make one also.
'"But then," I continued, holding myself ready to flee, "if poor
Catherine had trusted you, and assumed the ridiculous,
contemptible, degrading title of Mrs. Heathcliff, she would soon
have presented a similar picture! SHE wouldn't have borne your
abominable behaviour quietly: her detestation and disgust must
have found voice."
'The back of the settle and Earnshaw's person interposed between me
and him; so instead of endeavouring to reach me, he snatched a
dinner-knife from the table and flung it at my head. It struck
beneath my ear, and stopped the sentence I was uttering; but,
pulling it out, I sprang to the door and delivered another; which I
hope went a little deeper than his missile. The last glimpse I
caught of him was a furious rush on his part, checked by the
embrace of his host; and both fell locked together on the hearth.
In my flight through the kitchen I bid Joseph speed to his master;
I knocked over Hareton, who was hanging a litter of puppies from a
chair-back in the doorway; and, blessed as a soul escaped from
purgatory, I bounded, leaped, and flew down the 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 a perpetual dwelling in the infernal regions than,
even for one night, abide beneath the roof of Wuthering Heights
Isabella ceased speaking, and took a drink of tea; then she rose,
and bidding me put on her bonnet, and a great shawl I had brought,
and turning a deaf ear to my entreaties for her to remain another
hour, she stepped on to a chair, kissed Edgar's and Catherine's
portraits, bestowed a similar salute on me, and descended to the
carriage, accompanied by Fanny, who yelped wild with joy at
recovering her mistress. She was driven away, never to revisit
this neighbourhood: but a regular correspondence was established
between her and my master when things were more settled. I believe
her new abode was in the south, near London; there she had a son
born a few months subsequent to her escape. He was christened
Linton, and, from the first, she reported him to be an ailing,
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 her brother: she should
not be with him, if he had to keep her himself. Though I would
give no information, he discovered, through some of the other
servants, both her place of residence and the existence of the
child. Still, he didn't molest her: for which forbearance she
might thank his aversion, I suppose. He often asked about the
infant, when he saw me; and on hearing its name, smiled grimly, and
observed: 'They wish me to hate it too, do they?'
'I don't think they wish you to know anything about it,' I
'But I'll have it,' he said, 'when I want it. They may reckon on
Fortunately its mother died before the time arrived; some thirteen
years after the decease of Catherine, when Linton was twelve, or a
On the day succeeding Isabella's unexpected visit I had no
opportunity of speaking to my master: he shunned conversation, and
was fit for discussing nothing. When I could get him to listen, I
saw it pleased him that his sister had left her husband; whom he
abhorred with an intensity which the mildness of his nature would
scarcely seem to allow. So deep and sensitive was his aversion,
that he refrained from going anywhere where he was likely to see or
hear of Heathcliff. Grief, and that together, transformed him into
a complete hermit: he threw up his office of magistrate, ceased
even to attend church, avoided the village on all occasions, and
spent a life of entire seclusion within the limits of his park and
grounds; only varied by solitary rambles on the moors, and visits
to the grave of his wife, mostly at evening, or early morning
before other wanderers were abroad. But he was too good to be
thoroughly unhappy long. HE didn't pray for Catherine's soul to
haunt him. Time brought resignation, and a melancholy sweeter than
common joy. He recalled her memory with ardent, tender love, and
hopeful aspiring to the better world; where he doubted not she was
And he had earthly consolation and affections also. For a few
days, I said, he seemed regardless of the puny successor to the
departed: that coldness melted as fast as snow in April, and ere
the tiny thing could stammer a word or totter a step it wielded a
despot's sceptre in his heart. It was named Catherine; but he
never called it the name in full, as he had never called the first
Catherine short: probably because Heathcliff had a habit of doing
so. The little one was always Cathy: it formed to him a
distinction from the mother, and yet a connection with her; and his
attachment sprang from its relation to her, far more than from its
being his own.
I used to draw a comparison between him and Hindley Earnshaw, and
perplex myself to explain satisfactorily why their conduct was so
opposite in similar circumstances. They had both been fond
husbands, and were both attached to their children; and I could not
see how they shouldn't both have taken the same road, for good or
evil. But, I thought in my mind, Hindley, with apparently the
stronger head, has shown himself sadly the worse and the weaker
man. When his ship struck, the captain abandoned his post; and the
crew, instead of trying to save her, rushed into riot and
confusion, leaving no hope for their luckless vessel. Linton, on
the contrary, displayed the true courage of a loyal and faithful
soul: he trusted God; and God comforted him. One hoped, and the
other despaired: they chose their own lots, and were righteously
doomed to endure them. But you'll not want to hear my moralising,
Mr. Lockwood; you'll judge, as well as I can, all these things: at
least, you'll think you will, and that's the same. The end of
Earnshaw was what might have been expected; it followed fast on his
sister's: there were scarcely six months between them. We, at the
Grange, never got a very succinct account of his state preceding
it; all that I did learn was on occasion of going to aid in the
preparations for the funeral. Mr. Kenneth came to announce the
event to my master.
'Well, Nelly,' said he, riding into the yard one morning, too early
not to alarm me with an instant presentiment of bad news, 'it's
yours and my turn to go into mourning at present. Who's given us
the slip now, do you think?'
'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'm
certain you'll need it.'
'Not Mr. Heathcliff, surely?' I exclaimed.
'What! would you have tears for him?' said the doctor. 'No,
Heathcliff's a tough young fellow: he looks blooming to-day. I've
just seen him. He's rapidly regaining flesh since he lost his
'Who is it, then, Mr. Kenneth?' I repeated impatiently.
'Hindley Earnshaw! Your old friend Hindley,' he replied, 'and my
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 me many a
rascally turn. He's barely twenty-seven, it seems; that's your own
age: who would have thought you were born in one year?'
I confess this blow was greater to me than the shock of Mrs.
Linton's death: ancient associations lingered round my heart; I
sat down in the porch and wept as for a blood relation, desiring
Mr. Kenneth to get another servant to introduce him to the master.
I could not hinder myself from pondering on the question - 'Had he
had fair play?' Whatever I did, that idea would bother me: it was
so tiresomely pertinacious that I resolved on requesting leave to
go to Wuthering Heights, and assist in the last duties to the dead.
Mr. Linton was extremely reluctant to consent, but I pleaded
eloquently for the friendless condition in which he lay; and I said
my old master and foster-brother had a claim on my services as
strong as his own. Besides, I reminded him that the child Hareton
was his wife's nephew, and, in the absence of nearer kin, he ought
to act as its guardian; and he ought to and must inquire how the
property was left, and look over the concerns of his brother-in-
law. He was unfit for attending to such matters then, but he bid
me speak to his lawyer; and at length permitted me to go. His
lawyer had been Earnshaw's also: I called at the village, and
asked him to accompany me. He shook his head, and advised that
Heathcliff should be let alone; affirming, if the truth were known,
Hareton would be found little else than a beggar.
'His father died in debt,' he said; 'the whole property is
mortgaged, and the sole chance for the natural heir is to allow him
an opportunity of creating some interest in the creditor's heart,
that he may be inclined to deal leniently towards him.'
When I reached the Heights, I explained that I had come to see
everything carried on decently; and Joseph, who appeared in
sufficient distress, expressed satisfaction at my presence. Mr.
Heathcliff said he did not perceive that I was wanted; but I might
stay and order the arrangements for the funeral, if I chose.
'Correctly,' he remarked, 'that fool's body should he buried at the
cross-roads, without ceremony of any kind. I happened to leave him
ten minutes yesterday afternoon, and in that interval he fastened
the two doors of the house against me, and he has spent the night
in drinking himself to death deliberately! We broke in this
morning, for we heard him sporting like a horse; and there he was,
laid over the settle: flaying and scalping would not have wakened
him. I sent for Kenneth, and he came; but not till the beast had
changed into carrion: he was both dead and cold, and stark; and so
you'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 better nor him - and he warn't deead when I left,
naught o' t' soart!'
I insisted on the funeral being respectable. Mr. Heathcliff said I
might have my own way there too: only, he desired me to remember
that the money for the whole affair came out of his pocket. He
maintained a hard, careless deportment, indicative of neither joy
nor sorrow: if anything, it expressed a flinty gratification at a
piece of difficult work successfully executed. I observed once,
indeed, something like exultation in his aspect: it was just when
the people were bearing the coffin from the house. He had the
hypocrisy to represent a mourner: and previous to following with
Hareton, he lifted the unfortunate child on to the table and
muttered, with peculiar gusto, 'Now, my bonny lad, you are MINE!
And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another, with
the same wind to twist it!' The unsuspecting thing was pleased at
this speech: he played with Heathcliff's whiskers, and stroked his
cheek; but I divined its meaning, and observed tartly, 'That boy
must go back with me to Thrushcross Grange, sir. There is nothing
in the world less yours than 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 not argue the subject now: but
I have a fancy to try my hand at rearing a young one; so intimate
to your master that I must supply the place of this with my own, if
he attempt to remove it. I don't engage to let Hareton go
undisputed; but I'll be pretty sure to make the other come!
Remember to tell him.'
This hint was enough to bind our hands. I repeated its substance
on my return; and Edgar Linton, little interested at the
commencement, spoke no more of interfering. I'm not aware that he
could have done it to any purpose, had he been ever so willing.
The guest was now the master of Wuthering Heights: he held firm
possession, and proved to the attorney - who, in his turn, proved
it to Mr. Linton - that Earnshaw had mortgaged every yard of land
he owned for cash to supply his mania for gaming; and he,
Heathcliff, was the mortgagee. In that manner Hareton, who should
now be the first gentleman in the neighbourhood, was reduced to a
state of complete dependence on his father's inveterate enemy; and
lives in his own house as a servant, deprived of the advantage of
wages: quite unable to right himself, because of his
friendlessness, and his ignorance that he has been wronged.
THE twelve years, continued Mrs. Dean, following that dismal period
were the happiest of my life: my greatest troubles in 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 heath blossomed
a second time over Mrs. Linton's dust. She was the most winning
thing that ever brought 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 curling hair.
Her spirit was high, though not rough, and qualified by a heart
sensitive and lively to excess in its affections. That capacity
for intense attachments reminded me of her mother: still she did
not resemble her: for she could be soft and mild as a dove, and
she had a gentle voice and pensive expression: her anger was never
furious; her love never fierce: it was deep and tender. However,
it must be acknowledged, she had faults to foil her gifts. A
propensity to be saucy was one; and a perverse will, that indulged
children invariably acquire, whether they be good tempered or
cross. If a servant chanced to vex her, it was always - 'I shall
tell papa!' And if he reproved her, even by a look, you would have
thought it a heart-breaking business: I don't believe he ever did
speak a harsh word to her. He took her education entirely on
himself, and made it an amusement. Fortunately, curiosity and a
quick intellect made her an apt scholar: she learned rapidly and
eagerly, and did honour to his teaching.
Till she reached the age of thirteen she had not once been beyond
the range of the park by herself. Mr. Linton would take her with
him a mile or so outside, on rare occasions; but he trusted her to
no one else. Gimmerton was an unsubstantial name in her ears; the
chapel, the only building she had approached or entered, except her
own home. Wuthering Heights and Mr. Heathcliff did not exist for
her: she was a perfect recluse; and, apparently, perfectly
contented. Sometimes, indeed, while surveying the country 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 it the sea?'
'No, Miss Cathy,' I would answer; 'it is hills again, just like
'And what are those golden rocks like when you stand under them?'
she once asked.
The abrupt descent of Penistone Crags particularly attracted her
notice; especially when the setting sun shone on it and the topmost
heights, and the whole extent of landscape besides lay in shadow.
I explained that they were bare masses of stone, 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
'Because they are a great deal higher up than we are,' replied I;
'you could not climb them, they are too high and steep. In winter
the frost is always there before it comes to us; and deep into
summer I have found snow under that black hollow on the north-east
'Oh, you have been on them!' she cried gleefully. '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, are much 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 from the 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. Linton about
it; and he promised she should have the journey when she got older.
But Miss Catherine measured her age by months, and, 'Now, am I old
enough to go to Penistone Crags?' was the constant question in her
mouth. The road thither wound close by Wuthering Heights. Edgar
had not the heart to pass it; so she received as constantly the
answer, 'Not yet, love: not yet.'
I said Mrs. Heathcliff lived above a dozen years 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
these parts. What her last illness was, I am not certain: I
conjecture, they died of the same thing, a kind of fever, slow at
its commencement, but incurable, and rapidly consuming life towards
the close. She wrote to inform her brother of the probable
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 deliver
Linton safely into his hands. Her hope was that Linton might be
left with him, as he had been with her: his father, she would fain
convince herself, had no desire to assume the burden of his
maintenance or education. My master hesitated not a moment in
complying with her request: reluctant as he was to leave home at
ordinary calls, he flew to answer this; commanding Catherine to my
peculiar vigilance, in his absence, with reiterated orders that she
must not wander out of the park, even under my escort he did not
calculate on her going unaccompanied.
He was away three weeks. The first day or two my charge sat in a
corner of the library, too sad for either reading or playing: in
that quiet state she caused me little trouble; but it was succeeded
by an interval of impatient, fretful weariness; and being too busy,
and too old then, to run up and down amusing her, I hit on a method
by which she might entertain herself. I used to send her on her
travels round the grounds - now on foot, and now on a pony;
indulging her with a patient audience of all her real and imaginary
adventures when she returned.
The summer shone in full prime; and she took such a taste for this
solitary rambling that she often contrived to remain out from
breakfast till tea; and then the evenings were spent in recounting
her fanciful tales. I did not fear her breaking bounds; because
the gates were generally looked, and I thought she would scarcely
venture forth alone, if they had stood wide open. Unluckily, my
confidence proved misplaced. Catherine came to me, one morning, at
eight o'clock, and said she was that day an Arabian merchant, going
to cross the Desert with his caravan; and I must give her plenty of
provision for herself and beasts: a horse, and three camels,
personated by a large hound and a couple of pointers. I got
together good store of dainties, and slung them in a basket on one
side of the saddle; and she sprang up as gay as a fairy, sheltered
by her wide-brimmed hat and gauze veil from the July sun, and
trotted off with a merry laugh, mocking my cautious counsel to
avoid galloping, and come back early. The naughty thing never made
her appearance at tea. One traveller, the hound, being an old dog
and fond of its ease, returned; but neither Cathy, nor the pony,
nor the two pointers were visible in any direction: I despatched
emissaries down this path, and that path, and at last went
wandering in search of her myself. There was a labourer working at
a fence round a plantation, on the borders of the grounds. I
inquired of him if he had seen our young lady.
'I saw her at morn,' he replied: 'she would have me to cut her a
hazel switch, and then she leapt her Galloway over the hedge
yonder, where it is lowest, and galloped out of sight.'
You may guess how I felt at hearing this news. It struck me
directly she must have started for Penistone Crags. 'What will
become of her?' I ejaculated, pushing through a gap which the man
was repairing, and making straight to the high-road. I walked as
if for a wager, mile after mile, 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 half beyond Mr. Heathcliff's place,
and that is four from the Grange, so I began to fear night would
fall ere I could reach them. 'And what if she should have slipped
in clambering among them,' I reflected, 'and been killed, or broken
some of her bones?' My suspense was truly painful; and, at first,
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 and bleeding ear. I opened the wicket
and ran to the door, knocking vehemently for admittance. A woman
whom I knew, and who formerly lived at Gimmerton, answered: she
had been servant there since the death of Mr. Earnshaw.
'Ah,' said she, 'you are come a-seeking your little mistress!
Don't be frightened. She's here safe: but I'm glad it isn't the
'He is not at home then, is he?' I panted, quite breathless with
quick walking and alarm.
'No, no,' she replied: 'both he and Joseph are 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 seated on the hearth, rocking
herself in a little chair that had been her mother's when a child.
Her hat was hung against the wall, and she seemed 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
which her tongue never ceased pouring forth.
'Very well, Miss!' I exclaimed, concealing my joy under an angry
countenance. 'This is your last ride, till papa comes back. I'll
not trust you over the threshold again, you naughty, naughty girl!'
'Aha, Ellen!' she cried, gaily, jumping up and 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 life before?'
'Put that hat on, and home at once,' said I. 'I'm dreadfully
grieved at you, Miss Cathy: you've done extremely wrong! It's no
use pouting and crying: that won't repay 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, and nobody will put faith in you any more.'
'What have I done?' sobbed she, instantly checked. 'Papa charged
me nothing: he'll not scold me, Ellen - he's never cross, like
'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
This exclamation was caused by her pushing the 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 ridden forwards, afeard
you should be uneasy. Hareton offered to go with her, and I
thought he should: it's a wild road over the hills.'
Hareton, during the discussion, stood with his hands in his
pockets, too awkward to speak; though he looked as if he did not
relish my intrusion.
'How long am I to wait?' I continued, disregarding the woman's
interference. '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; so please 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; but you are in a bad temper, and don't deserve to
I picked up her hat, and approached to reinstate it; but perceiving
that the people of the house took her part, she commenced capering
round the room; and on my giving chase, ran like a mouse over and
under and behind the furniture, rendering it ridiculous for me to
pursue. Hareton and the woman laughed, and she joined 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 get out.'
'It's YOUR father's, isn't it?' said she, turning to Hareton.
'Nay,' he replied, looking down, and blushing bashfully.
He could not stand a steady gaze from her eyes, though they were
just his own.
'Whose then - your master's?' she asked.
He coloured deeper, with a different feeling, muttered an oath, and
'Who is his master?' continued the tiresome girl, appealing to me.
'He talked about "our house," and "our folk." 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 at this childish speech. I
silently shook my questioner, and at last succeeded in equipping
her for departure.
'Now, get my horse,' she said, addressing her 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 rises in the marsh,
and to hear about the FAIRISHES, as you call them: but make haste!
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,
'But, Ellen,' cried she, staring fixed in astonishment, '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 what you 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 the master'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 cousins and of all
sorts, Miss Cathy, without being any the worse for it; only they
needn't keep their company, if they be disagreeable and bad.'
'He's not - he's not my cousin, Ellen!' she went on, gathering
fresh grief from reflection, and flinging herself into my arms for
refuge from the idea.
I was much vexed at her and the servant for their 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 her father's
return would be to seek an explanation of the latter's assertion
concerning her rude-bred kindred. Hareton, recovering from his
disgust at being taken for a servant, seemed moved by her distress;
and, having fetched the pony round to the door, he took, to
propitiate her, a fine crooked-legged terrier whelp from the
kennel, and putting it into her hand, bid her whist! for he meant
nought. Pausing in her lamentations, she surveyed him with a
glance of awe and horror, then burst forth anew.
I could scarcely refrain from smiling at this antipathy to the poor
fellow; who was a well-made, athletic youth, good-looking in
features, and stout and healthy, but attired in garments befitting
his daily occupations of working on the farm and lounging among the
moors after rabbits and game. Still, I thought I could detect in
his physiognomy a mind owning better qualities than his father ever
possessed. Good things lost amid a wilderness of weeds, to be
sure, whose rankness far over-topped their neglected growth; yet,
notwithstanding, evidence of a wealthy soil, that might yield
luxuriant crops under other and favourable circumstances. Mr.
Heathcliff, I believe, had not treated him physically ill; thanks
to his fearless nature, which offered no temptation to that course
of oppression: he had none of the timid susceptibility that would
have given zest to ill-treatment, in Heathcliff s judgment. He
appeared to have bent his malevolence on making him a brute: he
was never taught to read or write; never rebuked for any bad habit
which did not annoy his keeper; never led a single step towards
virtue, or guarded by a single precept against vice. And from what
I heard, Joseph contributed much to his deterioration, by a narrow-
minded partiality which prompted him to flatter and pet him, as a
boy, because he was the head of the old family. And as he had been
in the habit of accusing Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, when
children, of putting the master past his patience, and compelling
him to seek solace in drink by what he termed their 'offald ways,'
so at present he laid the whole burden 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, to watch him go the worst lengths:
he allowed that the lad was ruined: that his soul was abandoned to
perdition; but then he reflected that Heathcliff must answer for
it. Hareton's blood would be required at his hands; and there lay
immense consolation in that thought. Joseph had instilled into him
a pride of name, and of his lineage; he would, had he dared, have
fostered hate between him and the present owner of the Heights:
but his dread of that owner amounted to superstition; and he
confined his feelings regarding him to muttered innuendoes and
private comminations. I don't pretend to be intimately acquainted
with the mode of living customary in those days at Wuthering
Heights: I only speak from hearsay; for I saw little. The
villagers affirmed Mr. Heathcliff was NEAR, and a cruel hard
landlord to his tenants; but the house, inside, had regained its
ancient aspect of comfort under female management, and the scenes
of riot common in Hindley's time were not now enacted within its
walls. The master was too gloomy to seek companionship with any
people, good or bad; and he is yet.
This, however, is not making progress with my story. Miss Cathy
rejected the peace-offering of the 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 how she had spent the
day; except that, as I supposed, the goal of her pilgrimage was
Penistone 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 their owners could separate them: that formed an
introduction. Catherine told Hareton who she was, and where she
was going; and asked him to show her the way: finally, beguiling
him to accompany her. He opened the mysteries of the Fairy Cave,
and twenty other queer places. But, being in disgrace, I was not
favoured with a description of the interesting objects she saw. I
could gather, however, that her guide had been a favourite till she
hurt his feelings by addressing him as a servant; and Heathcliff's
housekeeper hurt hers by calling him her cousin. Then the language
he had held to her rankled 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 I had to obtain a promise that she
would not lay the grievance before her father. I explained how he
objected to the whole household at the Heights, and how sorry he
would be to find she had been there; but I insisted most on the
fact, that if she revealed my negligence of his orders, he would
perhaps be so angry that I should have to leave; and Cathy couldn't
bear that prospect: she pledged her word, and kept it for my sake.
After all, she was a sweet little girl.
A LETTER, edged with black, announced the day of my master's
return, Isabella was dead; and he wrote to bid me get mourning for
his daughter, and arrange a room, and other accommodations, for his
youthful nephew. Catherine ran wild with joy at the idea of
welcoming her father back; and indulged most sanguine anticipations
of the innumerable excellencies of her 'real' cousin. The evening
of their expected arrival came. Since early morning she had been
busy ordering 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 down through the grounds to meet them.
'Linton is just six months younger than I am,' she chattered, as we
strolled leisurely over the swells and hollows of mossy turf, under
shadow of the trees. 'How delightful it will be to have him for a
playfellow! Aunt Isabella sent papa a beautiful lock of his hair;
it was lighter than mine - more flaxen, and quite as fine. I have
it carefully preserved in a little glass 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,
She ran, and returned and ran again, many times before my sober
footsteps reached the gate, and then she seated herself on the
grassy 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 her arms 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 but themselves. While they exchanged caresses I took a
peep in to see after Linton. He was asleep in a corner, wrapped in
a warm, fur-lined cloak, as if it had been winter. A pale,
delicate, effeminate boy, who might have been taken for my master's
younger brother, so strong was the resemblance: but there was a
sickly peevishness in his aspect that Edgar Linton never had. The
latter saw me looking; and having shaken hands, advised me to close
the door, and leave him undisturbed; for the journey had fatigued
him. Cathy would fain have taken one glance, but her father told
her to come, and they walked together up the park, while I hastened
before to prepare the servants.
'Now, darling,' said Mr. Linton, addressing his daughter, as they
halted at the bottom of the front steps: 'your cousin is not so
strong or so merry as you are, and he has lost his mother,
remember, a very short time since; therefore, don't expect him to
play and run about with you directly. And don't harass him much by
talking: let him be quiet this evening, at least, will you?'
'Yes, yes, papa,' answered Catherine: 'but I do want to see him;
and he hasn't once looked out.'
The carriage stopped; and the sleeper being roused, 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 you don't
grieve her by crying to-night. Try to be cheerful now; the
travelling is at 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
'Come, come, there's a good child,' I whispered, leading him in.
'You'll make her weep too - see how sorry she is for you!'
I do not know whether it was sorrow for him, but his cousin put on
as sad a countenance as himself, and returned to her father. All
three entered, and mounted to the library, where tea was laid
ready. I proceeded to remove Linton's cap and mantle, and placed
him on a chair by the table; but he was no sooner seated than he
began 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 uncle patiently.
He had been greatly tried, during the journey, I felt convinced, by
his fretful ailing charge. Linton slowly trailed himself off, and
lay down. Cathy carried a footstool and her cup to his side. At
first she sat silent; but that could not last: 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 in her saucer, like a baby. This pleased him, for
he was not much better: he dried his eyes, and lightened into a
'Oh, he'll do very well,' said the master to me, after watching
them a minute. 'Very well, if we can keep him, Ellen. The company
of a child of his own age will instil 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
came over me that there was slight hope of that. And then, I
thought, how ever will that weakling live at Wuthering Heights?
Between his father and Hareton, what playmates and instructors
they'll be. Our doubts were presently decided - even earlier 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
him till 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 servant Joseph was at the door, and wished to speak
with the master.
'I shall ask him what he wants first,' I said, in considerable
trepidation. 'A very unlikely hour to be troubling people, 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 presented himself in the hall. He was donned in his Sunday
garments, with his most sanctimonious and sourest face, and,
holding his hat in one hand, and his stick in the other, he
proceeded to clean his shoes on the mat.
'Good-evening, Joseph,' I said, coldly. 'What business brings you
'It's Maister Linton I mun spake to,' he answered, waving me
'Mr. Linton is going to bed; unless you have 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
I perceived he was bent on refusing my mediation, so very
reluctantly I went up to the library, and announced the
unseasonable visitor, advising that he should be dismissed till
next day. Mr. Linton had no time to empower me to do so, for
Joseph mounted close at my heels, and, pushing into the apartment,
planted himself 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
if anticipating opposition -
'Hathecliff has sent me for his lad, and I munn't goa back 'bout
Edgar Linton was silent a minute; an expression of exceeding sorrow
overcast his features: he would have pitied the child on his own
account; but, recalling Isabella's hopes and fears, and anxious
wishes for her son, and her commendations of him to his care, he
grieved bitterly at the prospect of yielding him up, and searched
in his heart how it might be avoided. No plan offered itself: the
very exhibition of 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 from his 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
the distance now. You may also tell him that the mother of Linton
desired him to remain under my guardianship; and, at present, his
health is very precarious.'
'Noa!' said Joseph, giving a thud with his prop 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 to your master what I have said. Ellen,
show him down. Go - '
And, aiding the indignant elder with a lift by 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 thrust HIM out, if ye darr!'
TO obviate the danger of this threat being fulfilled, Mr. Linton
commissioned me to take the boy home early, on Catherine's pony;
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 to my
daughter: she cannot associate with him hereafter, and it is
better for her to remain in ignorance of his proximity; lest she
should be restless, and anxious to visit the Heights. Merely tell
her his father sent for him suddenly, and he has been obliged to
Linton was very reluctant to be roused from his bed at five
o'clock, and astonished to be informed that he must prepare for
further 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 till he should recover from his late journey.
'My father!' he cried, in strange perplexity. 'Mamma never told me
I had a father. Where does he live? I'd rather stay with uncle.'
'He lives a little distance from the Grange,' I replied; 'just
beyond those hills: not so far, but you may walk over here when
you get hearty. And you should be glad to go home, and to see him.
You must try to love him, as you did your mother, and then he will
'But why have I not heard of him before?' asked Linton. 'Why
didn't mamma and he live together, as other 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 to love him long ago. How
am I to love papa? I don't know him.'
'Oh, all children love their parents,' I said. 'Your mother,
perhaps, thought you would want 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 more sleep.'
'Is SHE to go with us,' he demanded, 'the little girl I saw
'Not now,' replied I.
'Is uncle?' he continued.
'No, I shall be your companion there,' I said.
Linton sank back on his pillow and fell into a brown study.
'I won't go without uncle,' he cried at length: 'I can't tell
where you mean to take me.'
I attempted to persuade him of the naughtiness of showing
reluctance to meet his father; still he obstinately resisted any
progress towards dressing, and I had to call for my master's
assistance in coaxing him out of bed. The poor thing was finally
got off, with several delusive assurances that his absence should
be short: that Mr. Edgar and Cathy would visit him, and other
promises, equally ill-founded, which I invented and reiterated at
intervals throughout the way. The pure heather-scented air, the
bright sunshine, and the gentle canter of Minny, relieved his
despondency after a while. He began to put questions concerning
his new home, and its inhabitants, with greater interest and
'Is Wuthering Heights as pleasant a place as Thrushcross Grange?'
he inquired, turning to take a last glance into the valley, whence
a light mist mounted and formed a fleecy cloud on the skirts of the
'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; and the
air is healthier for you - fresher and drier. You will, perhaps,
think the building old and dark at first; though it is a
respectable house: the next best in the neighbourhood. And you
will have such nice rambles on the moors. Hareton Earnshaw - that
is, Miss Cathy's other cousin, and so yours in a manner - will show
you all the sweetest spots; and you can bring a book in fine
weather, and make a green hollow your study; and, now and then,
your uncle may join you in a walk: 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 black hair and eyes, and looks
sterner; and he is taller and bigger altogether. He'll not seem to
you so gentle and kind at first, perhaps, because it is not his
way: still, mind you, be frank and cordial with him; 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, I thought, 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 a vestige of her
'How strange that he should never come to see 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, 'three hundred miles is a great
distance; and ten years seem very different in length to a grown-up
person compared with what they do to you. It is probable Mr.
Heathcliff proposed going from summer to summer, but never found a
convenient opportunity; and now it is too late. Don't trouble him
with questions on the subject: it will disturb him, for no good.'
The boy was fully occupied with his own cogitations for the
remainder of the ride, till we halted before the farmhouse garden-
gate. I watched to catch his impressions in his countenance. He
surveyed the carved front and low-browed lattices, the straggling
gooseberry-bushes and crooked firs, with solemn intentness, and
then shook his head: his private feelings entirely disapproved of
the exterior of his new abode. But he had sense to postpone
complaining: there might be compensation within. Before he
dismounted, I went and opened the door. It was half-past six; the
family had just finished breakfast: the servant was clearing and
wiping down the table. Joseph stood by his master's chair telling
some tale concerning a lame horse; and Hareton was preparing for
'Hallo, Nelly!' said Mr. Heathcliff, when he saw me. 'I feared I
should have to come down and fetch 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: Hareton and Joseph followed in
gaping curiosity. Poor Linton ran a frightened eye over the faces
of the three.
'Sure-ly,' said Joseph after a grave inspection, 'he's swopped wi'
ye, Maister, an' yon's his lass!'
Heathcliff, having stared his son into an ague 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 sour milk, Nelly? Oh, damn
my soul! but that's worse than I expected - and the devil knows I
was not sanguine!'
I bid the trembling and bewildered child get down, and enter. He
did not thoroughly comprehend the meaning of his father's speech,
or whether it were intended for him: indeed, he was not yet
certain that the grim, sneering stranger was his father. But he
clung to me with growing trepidation; and on Mr. Heathcliff's
taking a seat and bidding him 'come hither' he hid his face on my
shoulder and wept.
'Tut, tut!' said Heathcliff, stretching out a hand and dragging him
roughly between his knees, and then holding up his head by the
chin. 'None of that nonsense! We're not going to hurt thee,
Linton - isn't that 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 back his thick flaxen curls,
felt his slender arms and his small fingers; during which
examination Linton ceased crying, and lifted his great blue eyes to
inspect the inspector.
'Do you know me?' asked Heathcliff, having satisfied himself that
the limbs were all equally frail and feeble.
'No,' said Linton, with a gaze of vacant fear.
'You've heard of me, I daresay?'
'No,' he replied again.
'No! What a shame of your mother, never to waken your filial
regard for me! You are my son, then, I'll tell you; and your
mother was a wicked slut to leave you in ignorance of the sort of
father you possessed. Now, don't wince, and colour up! Though it
is something to see you have not white 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 see to the
cipher at the Grange; and this thing won't be settled while you
linger about it.'
'Well,' replied I, 'I hope you'll be kind to the boy, Mr.
Heathcliff, or you'll not keep him long; and he's all you have akin
in the wide world, that you will ever know - remember.'
'I'll be very kind to him, you needn't fear,' he said, laughing.
'Only nobody else must be kind to him: I'm jealous of monopolising
his affection. And, to begin my kindness, Joseph, bring the lad
some breakfast. Hareton, you infernal calf, begone to your work.
Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, 'my son is
prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die
till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's MINE, and
I want the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their
estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers'
lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me
endure the whelp: I despise him for himself, and hate him for the
memories he revives! But that consideration is sufficient: he's
as safe with me, and shall be tended as carefully as your master
tends his own. I have a room up-stairs, furnished for him in
handsome style; I've engaged a tutor, also, to come three times a
week, from twenty miles' distance, to teach him what he pleases to
learn. I've ordered Hareton to obey him: and in fact I've
arranged everything with a view to preserve the superior and the
gentleman in him, above his associates. I do regret, however, that
he so little deserves the trouble: if I wished any blessing in the
world, it was to find him a worthy object of pride; and I'm
bitterly disappointed with the whey-faced, whining wretch!'
While he was speaking, Joseph returned bearing a basin of milk-
porridge, and placed it before Linton: who stirred round the
homely mess with a look of aversion, and affirmed he could not eat
it. I saw the old man-servant shared largely in his master's scorn
of the child; though he was compelled to retain the sentiment in
his heart, because Heathcliff plainly meant his underlings to hold
him in honour.
'Cannot ate it?' repeated he, peering in Linton'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
'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?' he asked, thrusting the tray
under Heathcliff's nose.
'What should ail them?' he said.
'Wah!' answered Joseph, 'yon dainty chap says he cannut ate 'em.
But I guess it's raight! His mother wer just soa - we wer a'most
too mucky 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's all. What is his usual food,
I suggested boiled milk or tea; and the housekeeper received
instructions to prepare some. Come, I reflected, his father's
selfishness may contribute to his comfort. He perceives his
delicate constitution, and the necessity of treating him tolerably.
I'll console Mr. Edgar by acquainting him with the turn
Heathcliff's humour has taken. Having no excuse for lingering
longer, I slipped out, while Linton was engaged in timidly
rebuffing the advances of a friendly sheep-dog. But he was too
much on the alert to be cheated: 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: they did not suffer him to
come forth. I mounted Minny, and urged her to a trot; and so my
brief guardianship ended.