A charming introduction to a hermit’s
life! Four weeks’ torture, tossing, and
sickness! Oh, these bleak winds and bitter northern
skies, and impassable roads, and dilatory country
surgeons! And oh, this dearth of the human physiognomy!
and, worse than all, the terrible intimation of Kenneth
that I need not expect to be out of doors till spring!
Mr. Heathcliff has just honoured me
with a call. About seven days ago he sent me
a brace of grouse the last of the season.
Scoundrel! He is not altogether guiltless in
this illness of mine; and that I had a great mind
to tell him. But, alas! how could I offend a
man who was charitable enough to sit at my bedside
a good hour, and talk on some other subject than pills
and draughts, blisters and leeches? This is quite
an easy interval. I am too weak to read; yet
I feel as if I could enjoy something interesting.
Why not have up Mrs. Dean to finish her tale?
I can recollect its chief incidents, as far as she
had gone. Yes: I remember her hero had
run off, and never been heard of for three years;
and the heroine was married. I’ll ring:
she’ll be delighted to find me capable of talking
cheerfully. Mrs. Dean came.
‘It wants twenty minutes, sir,
to taking the medicine,’ she commenced.
‘Away, away with it!’ I replied; ‘I
desire to have ’
‘The doctor says you must drop the powders.’
’With all my heart! Don’t
interrupt me. Come and take your seat here.
Keep your fingers from that bitter phalanx of vials.
Draw your knitting out of your pocket that
will do now continue the history of Mr.
Heathcliff, from where you left off, to the present
day. Did he finish his education on the Continent,
and come back a gentleman? or did he get a sizar’s
place at college, or escape to America, and earn honours
by drawing blood from his foster-country? or make
a fortune more promptly on the English highways?’
’He may have done a little in
all these vocations, Mr. Lockwood; but I couldn’t
give my word for any. I stated before that I
didn’t know how he gained his money; neither
am I aware of the means he took to raise his mind
from the savage ignorance into which it was sunk:
but, with your leave, I’ll proceed in my own
fashion, if you think it will amuse and not weary
you. Are you feeling better this morning?’
‘That’s good news.’
I got Miss Catherine and myself to
Thrushcross Grange; and, to my agreeable disappointment,
she behaved infinitely better than I dared to expect.
She seemed almost over-fond of Mr. Linton; and even
to his sister she showed plenty of affection.
They were both very attentive to her comfort, certainly.
It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles,
but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn. There
were no mutual concessions: one stood erect,
and the others yielded: and who can be ill-natured
and bad-tempered when they encounter neither opposition
nor indifference? I observed that Mr. Edgar had
a deep-rooted fear of ruffling her humour. He
concealed it from her; but if ever he heard me answer
sharply, or saw any other servant grow cloudy at some
imperious order of hers, he would show his trouble
by a frown of displeasure that never darkened on his
own account. He many a time spoke sternly to
me about my pertness; and averred that the stab of
a knife could not inflict a worse pang than he suffered
at seeing his lady vexed. Not to grieve a kind
master, I learned to be less touchy; and, for the space
of half a year, the gunpowder lay as harmless as sand,
because no fire came near to explode it. Catherine
had seasons of gloom and silence now and then:
they were respected with sympathising silence by her
husband, who ascribed them to an alteration in her
constitution, produced by her perilous illness; as
she was never subject to depression of spirits before.
The return of sunshine was welcomed by answering sunshine
from him. I believe I may assert that they were
really in possession of deep and growing happiness.
It ended. Well, we must
be for ourselves in the long run; the mild and generous
are only more justly selfish than the domineering;
and it ended when circumstances caused each to feel
that the one’s interest was not the chief consideration
in the other’s thoughts. On a mellow evening
in September, I was coming from the garden with a
heavy basket of apples which I had been gathering.
It had got dusk, and the moon looked over the high
wall of the court, causing undefined shadows to lurk
in the corners of the numerous projecting portions
of the building. I set my burden on the house-steps
by the kitchen-door, and lingered to rest, and drew
in a few more breaths of the soft, sweet air; my eyes
were on the moon, and my back to the entrance, when
I heard a voice behind me say, ’Nelly,
is that you?’
It was a deep voice, and foreign in
tone; yet there was something in the manner of pronouncing
my name which made it sound familiar. I turned
about to discover who spoke, fearfully; for the doors
were shut, and I had seen nobody on approaching the
steps. Something stirred in the porch; and,
moving nearer, I distinguished a tall man dressed in
dark clothes, with dark face and hair. He leant
against the side, and held his fingers on the latch
as if intending to open for himself. ’Who
can it be?’ I thought. ’Mr. Earnshaw?
Oh, no! The voice has no resemblance to his.’
‘I have waited here an hour,’
he resumed, while I continued staring; ’and
the whole of that time all round has been as still
as death. I dared not enter. You do not
know me? Look, I’m not a stranger!’
A ray fell on his features; the cheeks
were sallow, and half covered with black whiskers;
the brows lowering, the eyes deep-set and singular.
I remembered the eyes.
‘What!’ I cried, uncertain
whether to regard him as a worldly visitor, and I
raised my hands in amazement. ’What! you
come back? Is it really you? Is it?’
‘Yes, Heathcliff,’ he
replied, glancing from me up to the windows, which
reflected a score of glittering moons, but showed no
lights from within. ’Are they at home?
where is she? Nelly, you are not glad! you needn’t
be so disturbed. Is she here? Speak!
I want to have one word with her your
mistress. Go, and say some person from Gimmerton
desires to see her.’
‘How will she take it?’
I exclaimed. ’What will she do? The
surprise bewilders me it will put her out
of her head! And you are Heathcliff!
But altered! Nay, there’s no comprehending
it. Have you been for a soldier?’
‘Go and carry my message,’
he interrupted, impatiently. ’I’m
in hell till you do!’
He lifted the latch, and I entered;
but when I got to the parlour where Mr. and Mrs. Linton
were, I could not persuade myself to proceed.
At length I resolved on making an excuse to ask if
they would have the candles lighted, and I opened
They sat together in a window whose
lattice lay back against the wall, and displayed,
beyond the garden trees, and the wild green park, the
valley of Gimmerton, with a long line of mist winding
nearly to its top (for very soon after you pass the
chapel, as you may have noticed, the sough that runs
from the marshes joins a beck which follows the bend
of the glen). Wuthering Heights rose above this
silvery vapour; but our old house was invisible; it
rather dips down on the other side. Both the
room and its occupants, and the scene they gazed on,
looked wondrously peaceful. I shrank reluctantly
from performing my errand; and was actually going
away leaving it unsaid, after having put my question
about the candles, when a sense of my folly compelled
me to return, and mutter, ‘A person from Gimmerton
wishes to see you ma’am.’
‘What does he want?’ asked Mrs. Linton.
‘I did not question him,’ I answered.
‘Well, close the curtains, Nelly,’
she said; ’and bring up tea. I’ll
be back again directly.’
She quitted the apartment; Mr. Edgar inquired, carelessly,
who it was.
‘Some one mistress does not
expect,’ I replied. ’That Heathcliff you
recollect him, sir who used to live at Mr.
‘What! the gipsy the
ploughboy?’ he cried. ’Why did you
not say so to Catherine?’
‘Hush! you must not call him
by those names, master,’ I said. ’She’d
be sadly grieved to hear you. She was nearly
heartbroken when he ran off. I guess his return
will make a jubilee to her.’
Mr. Linton walked to a window on the
other side of the room that overlooked the court.
He unfastened it, and leant out. I suppose they
were below, for he exclaimed quickly: ’Don’t
stand there, love! Bring the person in, if it
be anyone particular.’ Ere long, I heard
the click of the latch, and Catherine flew up-stairs,
breathless and wild; too excited to show gladness:
indeed, by her face, you would rather have surmised
an awful calamity.
‘Oh, Edgar, Edgar!’ she
panted, flinging her arms round his neck. ’Oh,
Edgar darling! Heathcliff’s come back he
is!’ And she tightened her embrace to a squeeze.
‘Well, well,’ cried her
husband, crossly, ’don’t strangle me for
that! He never struck me as such a marvellous
treasure. There is no need to be frantic!’
‘I know you didn’t like
him,’ she answered, repressing a little the
intensity of her delight. ’Yet, for my
sake, you must be friends now. Shall I tell him
to come up?’
‘Here,’ he said, ‘into the parlour?’
‘Where else?’ she asked.
He looked vexed, and suggested the
kitchen as a more suitable place for him. Mrs.
Linton eyed him with a droll expression half
angry, half laughing at his fastidiousness.
‘No,’ she added, after
a while; ’I cannot sit in the kitchen.
Set two tables here, Ellen: one for your master
and Miss Isabella, being gentry; the other for Heathcliff
and myself, being of the lower orders. Will
that please you, dear? Or must I have a fire
lighted elsewhere? If so, give directions.
I’ll run down and secure my guest. I’m
afraid the joy is too great to be real!’
She was about to dart off again; but Edgar arrested
‘You bid him step up,’
he said, addressing me; ’and, Catherine, try
to be glad, without being absurd. The whole
household need not witness the sight of your welcoming
a runaway servant as a brother.’
I descended, and found Heathcliff
waiting under the porch, evidently anticipating an
invitation to enter. He followed my guidance
without waste of words, and I ushered him into the
presence of the master and mistress, whose flushed
cheeks betrayed signs of warm talking. But the
lady’s glowed with another feeling when her friend
appeared at the door: she sprang forward, took
both his hands, and led him to Linton; and then she
seized Linton’s reluctant fingers and crushed
them into his. Now, fully revealed by the fire
and candlelight, I was amazed, more than ever, to
behold the transformation of Heathcliff. He had
grown a tall, athletic, well-formed man; beside whom
my master seemed quite slender and youth-like.
His upright carriage suggested the idea of his having
been in the army. His countenance was much older
in expression and decision of feature than Mr. Linton’s;
it looked intelligent, and retained no marks of former
degradation. A half-civilised ferocity lurked
yet in the depressed brows and eyes full of black
fire, but it was subdued; and his manner was even
dignified: quite divested of roughness, though
stern for grace. My master’s surprise
equalled or exceeded mine: he remained for a
minute at a loss how to address the ploughboy, as he
had called him. Heathcliff dropped his slight
hand, and stood looking at him coolly till he chose
‘Sit down, sir,’ he said,
at length. ’Mrs. Linton, recalling old
times, would have me give you a cordial reception;
and, of course, I am gratified when anything occurs
to please her.’
‘And I also,’ answered
Heathcliff, ’especially if it be anything in
which I have a part. I shall stay an hour or
He took a seat opposite Catherine,
who kept her gaze fixed on him as if she feared he
would vanish were she to remove it. He did not
raise his to her often: a quick glance now and
then sufficed; but it flashed back, each time more
confidently, the undisguised delight he drank from
hers. They were too much absorbed in their mutual
joy to suffer embarrassment. Not so Mr. Edgar:
he grew pale with pure annoyance: a feeling that
reached its climax when his lady rose, and stepping
across the rug, seized Heathcliff’s hands again,
and laughed like one beside herself.
‘I shall think it a dream to-morrow!’
she cried. ’I shall not be able to believe
that I have seen, and touched, and spoken to you once
more. And yet, cruel Heathcliff! you don’t
deserve this welcome. To be absent and silent
for three years, and never to think of me!’
‘A little more than you have
thought of me,’ he murmured. ’I heard
of your marriage, Cathy, not long since; and, while
waiting in the yard below, I meditated this plan just
to have one glimpse of your face, a stare of surprise,
perhaps, and pretended pleasure; afterwards settle
my score with Hindley; and then prevent the law by
doing execution on myself. Your welcome has
put these ideas out of my mind; but beware of meeting
me with another aspect next time! Nay, you’ll
not drive me off again. You were really sorry
for me, were you? Well, there was cause.
I’ve fought through a bitter life since I last
heard your voice; and you must forgive me, for I struggled
only for you!’
‘Catherine, unless we are to
have cold tea, please to come to the table,’
interrupted Linton, striving to preserve his ordinary
tone, and a due measure of politeness. ’Mr.
Heathcliff will have a long walk, wherever he may
lodge to-night; and I’m thirsty.’
She took her post before the urn;
and Miss Isabella came, summoned by the bell; then,
having handed their chairs forward, I left the room.
The meal hardly endured ten minutes. Catherine’s
cup was never filled: she could neither eat nor
drink. Edgar had made a slop in his saucer, and
scarcely swallowed a mouthful. Their guest did
not protract his stay that evening above an hour longer.
I asked, as he departed, if he went to Gimmerton?
‘No, to Wuthering Heights,’
he answered: ’Mr. Earnshaw invited me, when
I called this morning.’
Mr. Earnshaw invited him! and
he called on Mr. Earnshaw! I pondered
this sentence painfully, after he was gone. Is
he turning out a bit of a hypocrite, and coming into
the country to work mischief under a cloak? I
mused: I had a presentiment in the bottom of my
heart that he had better have remained away.
About the middle of the night, I was
wakened from my first nap by Mrs. Linton gliding into
my chamber, taking a seat on my bedside, and pulling
me by the hair to rouse me.
‘I cannot rest, Ellen,’
she said, by way of apology. ’And I want
some living creature to keep me company in my happiness!
Edgar is sulky, because I’m glad of a thing
that does not interest him: he refuses to open
his mouth, except to utter pettish, silly speeches;
and he affirmed I was cruel and selfish for wishing
to talk when he was so sick and sleepy. He always
contrives to be sick at the least cross! I gave
a few sentences of commendation to Heathcliff, and
he, either for a headache or a pang of envy, began
to cry: so I got up and left him.’
‘What use is it praising Heathcliff
to him?’ I answered. ’As lads they
had an aversion to each other, and Heathcliff would
hate just as much to hear him praised: it’s
human nature. Let Mr. Linton alone about him,
unless you would like an open quarrel between them.’
‘But does it not show great
weakness?’ pursued she. ’I’m
not envious: I never feel hurt at the brightness
of Isabella’s yellow hair and the whiteness
of her skin, at her dainty elegance, and the fondness
all the family exhibit for her. Even you, Nelly,
if we have a dispute sometimes, you back Isabella
at once; and I yield like a foolish mother: I
call her a darling, and flatter her into a good temper.
It pleases her brother to see us cordial, and that
pleases me. But they are very much alike:
they are spoiled children, and fancy the world was
made for their accommodation; and though I humour
both, I think a smart chastisement might improve them
all the same.’
‘You’re mistaken, Mrs.
Linton,’ said I. ’They humour you:
I know what there would be to do if they did not.
You can well afford to indulge their passing whims
as long as their business is to anticipate all your
desires. You may, however, fall out, at last,
over something of equal consequence to both sides;
and then those you term weak are very capable of being
as obstinate as you.’
‘And then we shall fight to
the death, sha’n’t we, Nelly?’ she
returned, laughing. ’No! I tell you,
I have such faith in Linton’s love, that I believe
I might kill him, and he wouldn’t wish to retaliate.’
I advised her to value him the more for his affection.
‘I do,’ she answered,
’but he needn’t resort to whining for trifles.
It is childish and, instead of melting into tears
because I said that Heathcliff was now worthy of anyone’s
regard, and it would honour the first gentleman in
the country to be his friend, he ought to have said
it for me, and been delighted from sympathy.
He must get accustomed to him, and he may as well
like him: considering how Heathcliff has reason
to object to him, I’m sure he behaved excellently!’
‘What do you think of his going
to Wuthering Heights?’ I inquired. ’He
is reformed in every respect, apparently: quite
a Christian: offering the right hand of fellowship
to his enemies all around!’
‘He explained it,’ she
replied. ’I wonder as much as you.
He said he called to gather information concerning
me from you, supposing you resided there still; and
Joseph told Hindley, who came out and fell to questioning
him of what he had been doing, and how he had been
living; and finally, desired him to walk in.
There were some persons sitting at cards; Heathcliff
joined them; my brother lost some money to him, and,
finding him plentifully supplied, he requested that
he would come again in the evening: to which
he consented. Hindley is too reckless to select
his acquaintance prudently: he doesn’t trouble
himself to reflect on the causes he might have for
mistrusting one whom he has basely injured. But
Heathcliff affirms his principal reason for resuming
a connection with his ancient persecutor is a wish
to install himself in quarters at walking distance
from the Grange, and an attachment to the house where
we lived together; and likewise a hope that I shall
have more opportunities of seeing him there than I
could have if he settled in Gimmerton. He means
to offer liberal payment for permission to lodge at
the Heights; and doubtless my brother’s covetousness
will prompt him to accept the terms: he was always
greedy; though what he grasps with one hand he flings
away with the other.’
‘It’s a nice place for
a young man to fix his dwelling in!’ said I.
’Have you no fear of the consequences, Mrs.
‘None for my friend,’
she replied: ’his strong head will keep
him from danger; a little for Hindley: but he
can’t be made morally worse than he is; and
I stand between him and bodily harm. The event
of this evening has reconciled me to God and humanity!
I had risen in angry rebellion against Providence.
Oh, I’ve endured very, very bitter misery, Nelly!
If that creature knew how bitter, he’d be ashamed
to cloud its removal with idle petulance. It
was kindness for him which induced me to bear it alone:
had I expressed the agony I frequently felt, he would
have been taught to long for its alleviation as ardently
as I. However, it’s over, and I’ll take
no revenge on his folly; I can afford to suffer anything
hereafter! Should the meanest thing alive slap
me on the cheek, I’d not only turn the other,
but I’d ask pardon for provoking it; and, as
a proof, I’ll go make my peace with Edgar instantly.
Good-night! I’m an angel!’
In this self-complacent conviction
she departed; and the success of her fulfilled resolution
was obvious on the morrow: Mr. Linton had not
only abjured his peevishness (though his spirits seemed
still subdued by Catherine’s exuberance of vivacity),
but he ventured no objection to her taking Isabella
with her to Wuthering Heights in the afternoon; and
she rewarded him with such a summer of sweetness and
affection in return as made the house a paradise for
several days; both master and servants profiting from
the perpetual sunshine.
Heathcliff Mr. Heathcliff
I should say in future used the liberty
of visiting at Thrushcross Grange cautiously, at first:
he seemed estimating how far its owner would bear
his intrusion. Catherine, also, deemed it judicious
to moderate her expressions of pleasure in receiving
him; and he gradually established his right to be
expected. He retained a great deal of the reserve
for which his boyhood was remarkable; and that served
to repress all startling demonstrations of feeling.
My master’s uneasiness experienced a lull,
and further circumstances diverted it into another
channel for a space.
His new source of trouble sprang from
the not anticipated misfortune of Isabella Linton
evincing a sudden and irresistible attraction towards
the tolerated guest. She was at that time a
charming young lady of eighteen; infantile in manners,
though possessed of keen wit, keen feelings, and a
keen temper, too, if irritated. Her brother,
who loved her tenderly, was appalled at this fantastic
preference. Leaving aside the degradation of
an alliance with a nameless man, and the possible fact
that his property, in default of heirs male, might
pass into such a one’s power, he had sense to
comprehend Heathcliff’s disposition: to
know that, though his exterior was altered, his mind
was unchangeable and unchanged. And he dreaded
that mind: it revolted him: he shrank forebodingly
from the idea of committing Isabella to its keeping.
He would have recoiled still more had he been aware
that her attachment rose unsolicited, and was bestowed
where it awakened no reciprocation of sentiment; for
the minute he discovered its existence he laid the
blame on Heathcliff’s deliberate designing.
We had all remarked, during some time,
that Miss Linton fretted and pined over something.
She grew cross and wearisome; snapping at and teasing
Catherine continually, at the imminent risk of exhausting
her limited patience. We excused her, to a certain
extent, on the plea of ill-health: she was dwindling
and fading before our eyes. But one day, when
she had been peculiarly wayward, rejecting her breakfast,
complaining that the servants did not do what she told
them; that the mistress would allow her to be nothing
in the house, and Edgar neglected her; that she had
caught a cold with the doors being left open, and we
let the parlour fire go out on purpose to vex her,
with a hundred yet more frivolous accusations, Mrs.
Linton peremptorily insisted that she should get to
bed; and, having scolded her heartily, threatened to
send for the doctor. Mention of Kenneth caused
her to exclaim, instantly, that her health was perfect,
and it was only Catherine’s harshness which
made her unhappy.
‘How can you say I am harsh,
you naughty fondling?’ cried the mistress, amazed
at the unreasonable assertion. ’You are
surely losing your reason. When have I been
hash, tell me?’
‘Yesterday,’ sobbed Isabella, ‘and
‘Yesterday!’ said her sister-in-law.
‘On what occasion?’
’In our walk along the moor:
you told me to ramble where I pleased, while you sauntered
on with Mr. Heathcliff!’
‘And that’s your notion
of harshness?’ said Catherine, laughing.
’It was no hint that your company was superfluous?
We didn’t care whether you kept with us or
not; I merely thought Heathcliff’s talk would
have nothing entertaining for your ears.’
‘Oh, no,’ wept the young
lady; ’you wished me away, because you knew I
liked to be there!’
‘Is she sane?’ asked Mrs.
Linton, appealing to me. ’I’ll repeat
our conversation, word for word, Isabella; and you
point out any charm it could have had for you.’
‘I don’t mind the conversation,’
she answered: ‘I wanted to be with ’
‘Well?’ said Catherine,
perceiving her hesitate to complete the sentence.
‘With him: and I won’t
be always sent off!’ she continued, kindling
up. ’You are a dog in the manger, Cathy,
and desire no one to be loved but yourself!’
‘You are an impertinent little
monkey!’ exclaimed Mrs. Linton, in surprise.
’But I’ll not believe this idiotcy!
It is impossible that you can covet the admiration
of Heathcliff that you consider him an
agreeable person! I hope I have misunderstood
‘No, you have not,’ said
the infatuated girl. ’I love him more than
ever you loved Edgar, and he might love me, if you
would let him!’
‘I wouldn’t be you for
a kingdom, then!’ Catherine declared, emphatically:
and she seemed to speak sincerely. ’Nelly,
help me to convince her of her madness. Tell
her what Heathcliff is: an unreclaimed creature,
without refinement, without cultivation; an arid wilderness
of furze and whinstone. I’d as soon put
that little canary into the park on a winter’s
day, as recommend you to bestow your heart on him!
It is deplorable ignorance of his character, child,
and nothing else, which makes that dream enter your
head. Pray, don’t imagine that he conceals
depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern
exterior! He’s not a rough diamond a
pearl-containing oyster of a rustic: he’s
a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man. I never say
to him, “Let this or that enemy alone, because
it would be ungenerous or cruel to harm them;”
I say, “Let them alone, because I should
hate them to be wronged:” and he’d
crush you like a sparrow’s egg, Isabella, if
he found you a troublesome charge. I know he
couldn’t love a Linton; and yet he’d be
quite capable of marrying your fortune and expectations:
avarice is growing with him a besetting sin.
There’s my picture: and I’m his friend so
much so, that had he thought seriously to catch you,
I should, perhaps, have held my tongue, and let you
fall into his trap.’
Miss Linton regarded her sister-in-law with indignation.
‘For shame! for shame!’
she repeated, angrily. ’You are worse than
twenty foes, you poisonous friend!’
‘Ah! you won’t believe
me, then?’ said Catherine. ’You think
I speak from wicked selfishness?’
‘I’m certain you do,’
retorted Isabella; ‘and I shudder at you!’
‘Good!’ cried the other.
’Try for yourself, if that be your spirit:
I have done, and yield the argument to your saucy
‘And I must suffer for her egotism!’
she sobbed, as Mrs. Linton left the room. ’All,
all is against me: she has blighted my single
consolation. But she uttered falsehoods, didn’t
she? Mr. Heathcliff is not a fiend: he
has an honourable soul, and a true one, or how could
he remember her?’
‘Banish him from your thoughts,
Miss,’ I said. ’He’s a bird
of bad omen: no mate for you. Mrs. Linton
spoke strongly, and yet I can’t contradict her.
She is better acquainted with his heart than I, or
any one besides; and she never would represent him
as worse than he is. Honest people don’t
hide their deeds. How has he been living? how
has he got rich? why is he staying at Wuthering Heights,
the house of a man whom he abhors? They say Mr.
Earnshaw is worse and worse since he came. They
sit up all night together continually, and Hindley
has been borrowing money on his land, and does nothing
but play and drink: I heard only a week ago it
was Joseph who told me I met him at Gimmerton:
“Nelly,” he said, “we’s hae
a crowner’s ‘quest enow, at ahr folks’.
One on ’em ’s a’most getten his
finger cut off wi’ hauding t’ other fro’
stickin’ hisseln loike a cawlf. That’s
maister, yeah knaw, ’at ‘s soa up o’
going tuh t’ grand ‘sizes. He’s
noan feared o’ t’ bench o’ judges,
norther Paul, nur Peter, nur John,
nur Matthew, nor noan on ’em, not he!
He fair likes he längs to set his
brazened face agean ’em! And yon bonny
lad Heathcliff, yah mind, he’s a rare ’un.
He can girn a laugh as well ’s onybody at a
raight divil’s jest. Does he niver say
nowt of his fine living amang us, when he goes to
t’ Grange? This is t’ way on ’t: up
at sun-down: dice, brandy, cloised shutters,
und can’le-light till next day at noon:
then, t’fooil gangs banning und raving
to his cham’er, makking dacent fowks dig thur
fingers i’ thur lugs fur varry shame; un’
the knave, why he can caint his brass, un’ ate,
un’ sleep, un’ off to his neighbour’s
to gossip wi’ t’ wife. I’
course, he tells Dame Catherine how her fathur’s
goold runs into his pocket, and her fathur’s
son gallops down t’ broad road, while he flees
afore to oppen t’ pikes!” Now, Miss Linton,
Joseph is an old rascal, but no liar; and, if his
account of Heathcliff’s conduct be true, you
would never think of desiring such a husband, would
‘You are leagued with the rest,
Ellen!’ she replied. ’I’ll
not listen to your slanders. What malevolence
you must have to wish to convince me that there is
no happiness in the world!’
Whether she would have got over this
fancy if left to herself, or persevered in nursing
it perpetually, I cannot say: she had little time
to reflect. The day after, there was a justice-meeting
at the next town; my master was obliged to attend;
and Mr. Heathcliff, aware of his absence, called rather
earlier than usual. Catherine and Isabella were
sitting in the library, on hostile terms, but silent:
the latter alarmed at her recent indiscretion, and
the disclosure she had made of her secret feelings
in a transient fit of passion; the former, on mature
consideration, really offended with her companion;
and, if she laughed again at her pertness, inclined
to make it no laughing matter to her. She did
laugh as she saw Heathcliff pass the window.
I was sweeping the hearth, and I noticed a mischievous
smile on her lips. Isabella, absorbed in her
meditations, or a book, remained till the door opened;
and it was too late to attempt an escape, which she
would gladly have done had it been practicable.
‘Come in, that’s right!’
exclaimed the mistress, gaily, pulling a chair to
the fire. ’Here are two people sadly in
need of a third to thaw the ice between them; and
you are the very one we should both of us choose.
Heathcliff, I’m proud to show you, at last, somebody
that dotes on you more than myself. I expect
you to feel flattered. Nay, it’s not Nelly;
don’t look at her! My poor little sister-in-law
is breaking her heart by mere contemplation of your
physical and moral beauty. It lies in your own
power to be Edgar’s brother! No, no, Isabella,
you sha’n’t run off,’ she continued,
arresting, with feigned playfulness, the confounded
girl, who had risen indignantly. ’We were
quarrelling like cats about you, Heathcliff; and I
was fairly beaten in protestations of devotion and
admiration: and, moreover, I was informed that
if I would but have the manners to stand aside, my
rival, as she will have herself to be, would shoot
a shaft into your soul that would fix you for ever,
and send my image into eternal oblivion!’
‘Catherine!’ said Isabella,
calling up her dignity, and disdaining to struggle
from the tight grasp that held her, ’I’d
thank you to adhere to the truth and not slander me,
even in joke! Mr. Heathcliff, be kind enough
to bid this friend of yours release me: she forgets
that you and I are not intimate acquaintances; and
what amuses her is painful to me beyond expression.’
As the guest answered nothing, but
took his seat, and looked thoroughly indifferent what
sentiments she cherished concerning him, she turned
and whispered an earnest appeal for liberty to her
‘By no means!’ cried Mrs.
Linton in answer. ’I won’t be named
a dog in the manger again. You shall
stay: now then! Heathcliff, why don’t
you evince satisfaction at my pleasant news?
Isabella swears that the love Edgar has for me is
nothing to that she entertains for you. I’m
sure she made some speech of the kind; did she not,
Ellen? And she has fasted ever since the day
before yesterday’s walk, from sorrow and rage
that I despatched her out of your society under the
idea of its being unacceptable.’
‘I think you belie her,’
said Heathcliff, twisting his chair to face them.
‘She wishes to be out of my society now, at
And he stared hard at the object of
discourse, as one might do at a strange repulsive
animal: a centipede from the Indies, for instance,
which curiosity leads one to examine in spite of the
aversion it raises. The poor thing couldn’t
bear that; she grew white and red in rapid succession,
and, while tears beaded her lashes, bent the strength
of her small fingers to loosen the firm clutch of
Catherine; and perceiving that as fast as she raised
one finger off her arm another closed down, and she
could not remove the whole together, she began to make
use of her nails; and their sharpness presently ornamented
the detainer’s with crescents of red.
‘There’s a tigress!’
exclaimed Mrs. Linton, setting her free, and shaking
her hand with pain. ’Begone, for God’s
sake, and hide your vixen face! How foolish to
reveal those talons to him. Can’t you fancy
the conclusions he’ll draw? Look, Heathcliff!
they are instruments that will do execution you
must beware of your eyes.’
‘I’d wrench them off her
fingers, if they ever menaced me,’ he answered,
brutally, when the door had closed after her.
’But what did you mean by teasing the creature
in that manner, Cathy? You were not speaking
the truth, were you?’
‘I assure you I was,’
she returned. ’She has been dying for your
sake several weeks, and raving about you this morning,
and pouring forth a deluge of abuse, because I represented
your failings in a plain light, for the purpose of
mitigating her adoration. But don’t notice
it further: I wished to punish her sauciness,
that’s all. I like her too well, my dear
Heathcliff, to let you absolutely seize and devour
‘And I like her too ill to attempt
it,’ said he, ’except in a very ghoulish
fashion. You’d hear of odd things if I
lived alone with that mawkish, waxen face: the
most ordinary would be painting on its white the colours
of the rainbow, and turning the blue eyes black, every
day or two: they detestably resemble Linton’s.’
Catherine. ‘They are dove’s eyes angel’s!’
‘She’s her brother’s
heir, is she not?’ he asked, after a brief silence.
‘I should be sorry to think
so,’ returned his companion. ’Half
a dozen nephews shall erase her title, please heaven!
Abstract your mind from the subject at present:
you are too prone to covet your neighbour’s
goods; remember this neighbour’s goods
‘If they were mine, they
would be none the less that,’ said Heathcliff;
’but though Isabella Linton may be silly, she
is scarcely mad; and, in short, we’ll dismiss
the matter, as you advise.’
From their tongues they did dismiss
it; and Catherine, probably, from her thoughts.
The other, I felt certain, recalled it often in the
course of the evening. I saw him smile to himself grin
rather and lapse into ominous musing whenever
Mrs. Linton had occasion to be absent from the apartment.
I determined to watch his movements.
My heart invariably cleaved to the master’s,
in preference to Catherine’s side: with
reason I imagined, for he was kind, and trustful,
and honourable; and she she could not be
called opposite, yet she seemed to allow herself
such wide latitude, that I had little faith in her
principles, and still less sympathy for her feelings.
I wanted something to happen which might have the
effect of freeing both Wuthering Heights and the Grange
of Mr. Heathcliff quietly; leaving us as we had been
prior to his advent. His visits were a continual
nightmare to me; and, I suspected, to my master also.
His abode at the Heights was an oppression past explaining.
I felt that God had forsaken the stray sheep there
to its own wicked wanderings, and an evil beast prowled
between it and the fold, waiting his time to spring