FOR two months the fugitives remained absent; in those
two months, Mrs Linton encountered and conquered the worst shock of
what was denominated a brain fever.
No mother could have nursed an only child more devotedly than Edgar
Day and night, he was watching, and patiently enduring all the
annoyances that irritable nerves and a shaken reason could inflict:
and, though Kenneth remarked that what he saved from the grave
would only recompense his care by forming the source of constant
future anxiety, in fact, that his health and strength were being
sacrificed to preserve a mere ruin of humanity, he knew no limits
in gratitude and joy, when Catherine's life was declared out of
danger; and hour after hour, he would sit beside her, tracing the
gradual return to bodily health, and flattering his too sanguine
hopes with the illusion that her mind would settle back to its
right balance also, and she would soon be entirely her former self.
The first time she left her chamber, was at the commencement of the
Mr Linton had put on her pillow, in the morning, a handful of
golden crocuses; her eye, long stranger to any gleam of pleasure,
caught them in waking, and shone delighted as she gathered them
"These are the earliest flowers at the Heights!" she exclaimed.
"They remind me of soft thaw winds, and warm sunshine, and nearly
melted snow -- Edgar, is there not a south wind, and is not the
snow almost gone?"
"The snow is quite gone down here, darling!" replied her husband;
"and I only see two white spots on the whole range of moors -- The
sky is blue, and the larks are singing, and the becks and brooks
are all brim full.
have you under this roof -- now, I wish you were a mile or two up
those hills, the air blows so sweetly, I feel that it would cure
"I shall never be there, but once more!" said the invalid; "and
then you'll leave me, and I shall remain, for ever.
Next spring you'll long again to have me under this roof, and
you'll look back and think you were happy to-day."
Linton lavished on her the kindest caresses, and tried to cheer her
by the fondest words; but, vaguely regarding the flowers, she let
the tears collect on her lashes, and stream down her cheeks
We knew she was really better, and therefore, decided that long
confinement to a single place produced much of this despondency,
and it might be partially removed by a change of scene.
The master told me to light a fire in the many-weeks deserted
parlour, and to set an easy-chair in the sunshine by the window;
and then he brought her down, and she sat a long while enjoying the
genial heat, and, as we expected, revived by the objects round her,
which, though familiar, were free from the dreary associations
investing her hated sick-chamber.
By evening, she seemed greatly exhausted; yet no arguments could
persuade her to return to that apartment, and I had to arrange the
parlour sofa for her bed, till another room could be prepared.
To obviate the fatigue of mounting and descending the stairs, we
fitted up this, where you lie at present; on the same floor with
the parlour: and she was soon strong enough to move from one to the
other, leaning on Edgar's arm.
Ah, I thought myself, she might recover, so waited on as she was.
And there was double cause to desire it, for on her existence
depended that of another; we cherished the hope that in a little
while, Mr Linton's heart would be gladdened, and his lands secured
I should mention that Isabella sent to her brother, some six weeks
from her departure a short note, announcing her marriage with
It appeared dry and cold; but at the bottom, was dotted in with
pencil, an obscure apology, and an entreaty for kind remembrance,
and reconciliation, if her proceeding had offended him; asserting
that she could not help it then, and being done, she had now no
power to repeal it.
Linton did not reply to this, I believe; and in a fortnight more, I
got a long letter which I considered odd coming from the pen of a
bride just out of the honeymoon.
I'll read it, for I keep it yet.
Any relic of the dead is precious, if they were valued living.
DEAR ELLEN, it begins.
I came last night to Wuthering Heights, and heard, for the first
time, that Catherine has been, and is yet, very ill.
I must not write to her I suppose, and my brother is either too
angry, or too distressed to answer what I send him.
Still, I must write to somebody, and the only choice left me is
Inform Edgar that I'd give the world to see his face again -- that
my heart returned to Thrushcross Grange in twenty-four hours after
I left it, and is there at this moment, full of warm feelings for
him and Catherine!
I can't follow it though -- (those words are underlined)
-- they need not expect me, and they may draw what conclusions they
please; taking care however, to lay nothing at the door of my weak
will, or deficient affection.
The remainder of the letter is for yourself alone.
I want to ask you two questions: the first is,
How did you contrive to preserve the common sympathies of human
nature when you resided here?
I cannot recognize any sentiment which those around, share with me.
The second question, I have great interest in; it is this -- Is Mr
Heathcliff a man?
If so, is he mad?
I shan't tell my reasons for making this inquiry; but, I beseech
you to explain, if you can, what I have married -- that is, when
you call to see me; and you must call, Ellen, very soon.
Don't write, but come, and bring me something from Edgar.
Now, you shall hear how I have been received in my new home, as I
am led to imagine the Heights will be.
It is to amuse myself that I dwell on such subjects as the lack of
external comforts; they never occupy my thoughts, except at the
moment when I miss them -- I should laugh and dance for joy, if I
found their absence was the total of my miseries, and the rest was
an unnatural dream!
The sun set behind the Grange, as we turned on to the moors; by
that, I judged it to be six o'clock; and my companion halted half-
an-hour, to inspect the park, and the gardens, and, probably, the
place itself, as well as he could; so it was dark when we
dismounted in the paved yard of the farmhouse, and your old fellow-
servant, Joseph, issued out to receive us by the light of a dip
He did it with a courtesy that redounded to his credit.
His first act was to elevate his torch to a level with my face,
squint malignantly, project his under lip, and turn away.
Then he took the two horses, and led them into the stables;
reappearing for the purpose of locking the outer gate, as if we
lived in an ancient castle.
Heathcliff stayed to speak to him, and I entered the kitchen -- a
dingy, untidy hole; I dare say you would not know it, it is so
changed since it was in your charge.
By the fire stood a ruffianly child, strong in limb, and dirty in
garb, with a look of Catherine in his eyes, and about his mouth.
"This is Edgar's legal nephew," I reflected -- "mine in a manner; I
must shake hands, and -- yes -- I must kiss him.
It is right to establish a good understanding at the beginning."
I approached, and, attempting to take his chubby fist, said --
"How do you do, my dear?"
He replied in a jargon I did not comprehend.
"Shall you and I be friends, Hareton?" was my next essay at
An oath, and a threat to set Throttler on me if I did not "frame
off" rewarded my perseverance.
"Hey, Throttler, lad!" whispered the little wretch, rousing a half-
bred bull-dog from its lair in a corner.
"Now, wilt tuh be ganging?" he asked authoritatively.
Love for my life urged a compliance; I stepped over the threshold
to wait till the others should enter.
Mr Heathcliff was nowhere visible; and Joseph, whom I followed to
the stables, and requested to accompany me in, after staring and
muttering to himself, screwed up his nose and replied --
"Mim! mim! mim!
Did iver Christian body hear owt like it?
Minching un' munching!
Hah can aw tell whet ye say?"
"I say, I wish you to come with me into the house!" I cried,
thinking him deaf, yet highly disgusted at his rudeness.
"Nor nuh me!
Aw getten summut else to do," he answered, and continued his work,
moving his lantern jaws meanwhile, and surveying my dress and
countenance (the former a great deal too fine, but the latter, I'm
sure, as sad as he could desire) with sovereign contempt.
I walked round the yard, and through a wicket, to another door, at
which I took the liberty of knocking, in hopes some more civil
servant might show himself.
After a short suspense it was opened by a tall, gaunt man, without
neckerchief, and otherwise extremely slovenly; his features were
lost in masses of shaggy hair that hung on his shoulders; and
his eyes, too, were like a ghostly Catherine's, with all
"What's your business here?" he demanded, grimly.
"Who are you?"
"My name was Isabella Linton," I replied.
"You've seen me before, sir.
I'm lately married to Mr Heathcliff: and he has brought me here--I
suppose by your permission."
"Is he come back, then?" asked the hermit, glaring like a hungry
"Yes -- we came just now," I said; "but he left me by the kitchen
door; and when I would have gone in, your little boy played
sentinel over the place, and frightened me off by the help of a
"It's well the hellish villain has kept his word!" growled my
future host, searching the darkness beyond me in expectation of
discovering Heathcliff, and then he indulged in a soliloquy of
execrations, and threats of what he would have done had the "fiend"
I repented having tried this second entrance; and was almost
inclined to slip away before he finished cursing, but ere I could
execute that intention, he ordered me in, and shut and re-fastened
There was a great fire, and that was all the light in the huge
apartment, whose floor had grown a uniform grey; and the once
brilliant pewter dishes which used to attract my gaze when I was a
girl partook of a similar obscurity, created by tarnish and dust.
I inquired whether I might call the maid, and be conducted to a
Mr Earnshaw vouchsafed no answer.
He walked up and down, with his hands in his pockets, apparently
quite forgetting my presence; and his abstraction was evidently so
deep, and his whole aspect so misanthropical, that I shrank from
disturbing him again.
You'll not be surprised, Ellen, at my feeling particularly
cheerless, seated in worse than solitude, on that inhospitable
hearth, and remembering that four miles distant lay my de
and there might as well be the Atlantic to part us, instead of
those four miles, I could not overpass them!
I questioned with myself -- where must I turn for comfort? and --
mind you don't tell Edgar, or Catherine -- above every sorrow
beside, this rose pre-eminent -- despair at finding nobody who
could or would be my ally against Heathcliff!
I had sought shelter at Wuthering Heights, almost gladly, because I
was secured by that arrangement from living alone with him; but he
knew the people we were coming amongst, and he did not fear their
I sat and thought a doleful time; the clock struck eight, and nine,
and still my companion paced to and fro, his head bent on his
breast, and perfectly silent, unless a groan, or a bitter
ejaculation forced itself out at intervals.
I listened to detect a woman's voice in the house, and filled the
interim with wild regrets, and dismal anticipations, which, at
last, spoke audibly in irrepressible sighing, and weeping.
I was not aware how openly I grieved, till Earnshaw halted
opposite, in his measured walk, and gave me a stare of newly
Taking advantage of his recovered attention, I exclaimed --
"I'm tired with my journey, and I want to go to bed!
Where is the maid-servant?
Direct me to her, as she won't come to me!"
"We have none," he answered; "you must wait on yourself."
"Where must I sleep, then?" I sobbed -- I was beyond regarding
self-respect, weighed down by fatigue and wretchedness.
"Joseph will show you Heathcliff's chamber," said he; "open that
I was going to obey, but he suddenly arrested me, and added in the
strangest tone --
"Be so good as to turn your lock, and draw your bolt -- don't omit
"Well!" I said.
"But why, Mr Earnshaw?"
I did not relish the notion of deliberately fastening myself in
"Look here!" he replied, pulling from his waistcoat a curiously
constructed pistol, having a double edged spring knife attached to
"That's a great tempter to a desperate man, is it not?
I cannot resist going up with this every night, and trying his
If once I find it open he's done for!
I do it invariably, even though the minute before I have been
recalling a hundred reasons that should make me refrain -- it is
some devil that urges me to thwart my own schemes by killing him --
you fight against that devil, for love, as long as you may; when
the time comes, not all the angels in heaven shall save him!"
I surveyed the weapon inquisitively; -- a hideous notion struck me.
How powerful I should be possessing such an instrument!
I took it from his hand, and touched the blade.
He looked astonished at the expression my face assumed during a
It was not horror, it was covetousness.
He snatched the pistol back, jealously; shut the knife, and
returned it to its concealment.
"I don't care if you tell him," said he.
"Put him on his guard, and watch for him.
You know the terms we are on, I see; his danger does not shock
"What has Heathcliff done to you?" I asked.
"In what has he wronged you, to warrant this appalling hatred?
Wouldn't it be wiser to bid him quit the house?"
"No!" thundered Earnshaw, "should he offer to leave me, he's a dead
Am I to lose all without a chance of retrieval?
Is Hareton to be a beggar?
I will have it back; and I'll have his gold
too; and then his blood; and hell shall have his soul!
It will be ten times blacker with that guest than ever it was
You've acquainted me, Ellen, with your old master's habits.
He is clearly on the verge of madness -- he was so, last night, at
I shuddered to be near him, and thought on the servant's ill-bred
moroseness as comparatively agreeable.
He now recommenced his moody walk, and I raised the latch, and
escaped into the kitchen.
Joseph was bending over the fire, peering into a large pan that
swung above it; and a wooden bowl of oatmeal stood on the settle
The contents of the pan began to boil, and he turned to plunge his
hand into the bowl; I conjectured that this preparation was
probably for our supper, and, being hungry, I resolved it should be
eatable -- so, crying out, sharply -- "I'll make the
porridge!" I removed the vessel out of his reach, and proceeded to
take off my hat and riding habit.
"Mr Earnshaw," I continued, "directs me to wait on myself -- I will
-- I'm not going to act the lady among you, for fear I should
"Gooid Lord!" he muttered, sitting down, and stroking his ribbed
stockings from the knee to the ankle.
"If they's tuh be fresh ortherings -- just when Aw getten used tuh
two maisters, if aw mun hev a mistress set o'er my heead,
it's loike time tuh be flitting.
Aw niver did think tuh say t' day ut aw mud lave th' owld
place -- but aw daht it's nigh at hend!"
This lamentation drew no notice from me; I went briskly to work;
sighing to remember a period when it would have been all merry fun;
It racked me to recall past happiness, and the greater peril there
was of conjuring up its apparition, the quicker the thible ran
round, and the faster the handfuls of meal fell into the water.
Joseph beheld my style of cookery with growing indignation.
"Thear!" he ejaculated.
"Hareton, thah willn't sup thy porridge tuh neeght; they'll be nowt
bud lumps as big as maw nave.
Aw'd fling in bowl un all, if aw wer yah!
Thear, pale t' guilp off, un' then yah'll hae done wi't.
It's a marcy t' bothom isn't deaved aht!"
It was rather a rough mess, I own, when poured into the
basins; four had been provided, and a gallon pitcher of new milk
was brought from the dairy, which Hareton seized and commenced
drinking and spilling from the expansive lip.
I expostulated, and desired that he should have his in a mug;
affirming that I could not taste the liquid treated so dirtily.
The old cynic chose to be vastly offended at this nicety; assuring
me, repeatedly, that "the barn was every bit as gooid" as I, "and
every bit as wollsome," and wondering how I could fashion to be so
conceited; meanwhile, the infant ruffian continued sucking; and
glowered up at me defyingly, as he slavered into the jug.
"I shall have my supper in another room," I said.
"Have you no place you call a parlour?"
"Parlour!" he echoed, sneeringly, "parlour!
Nay, we've noa parlours.
If yah dunnut loike wer company, they's maister's; un' if yah
dunnut loike maister, they's us."
"Then I shall go up-stairs," I answered; "show me a chamber."
I put my basin on a tray, and went myself to fetch some more milk.
With great grumblings, the fellow rose, and preceded me
now and then, to look into the apartments we passed.
"Here's a rahm," he said, at last, flinging back a cranky board on
"It's weel eneugh tuh ate a few porridge in.
They's a pack uh corn i' t' corner, thear, meeterly clane; if
yah're feared uh muckying yer grand silk cloes, spread yer
hankerchir ut t' top on't."
The "rahm" was a kind of lumber-hole smelling strong of malt and
grain; various sacks of which articles were piled around, leaving a
wide, bare space in the middle.
"Why, man!" I exclaimed, facing him angrily, "this is not a place
to sleep in.
I wish to see my bed-room."
"Bed-rume!" he repeated, in a tone of mockery.
"Yah's see all t' bed-rumes thear is -- yon's mine."
He pointed into the second garret, only differing from the first in
being more naked about the walls, and having a large, low,
curtainless bed, with an indigo-coloured quilt, at one end.
"What do I want with yours?" I retorted.
"I suppose Mr Heathcliff does not lodge at the top of the house,
"Oh! it's Maister Hathecliff's yah're wenting?" cried he,
as if making a new discovery.
"Couldn't ye uh said soa, at onst? un' then, aw mud ha' telled ye,
baht all this wark, ut that's just one yah cannut sea -- he allas
keeps it locked, un' nob'dy iver mells on't but hisseln."
"You've a nice house, Joseph," I could not refrain from observing,
"and pleasant inmates; and I think the concentrated essence of all
the madness in the world took up its abode in my brain the day I
linked my fate with theirs!
However, that is not to the present purpose -- there are other
For Heaven's sake, be quick, and let me settle somewhere!"
He made no reply to this adjuration; only plodding dog
apartment which, from that halt, and the superior quality of its
furniture, I conjectured to be the best one.
There was a carpet, a good one; but the pattern was obliterated by
dust; a fire-place hung with cut paper dropping to pieces; a
handsome oak-bedstead with ample crimson curtains of rather
expensive material, and modern make.
But they had evidently experienced rough usage, the vallances hung
in festoons, wrenched from their rings; and the iron rod supporting
them was bent in an arc, on one side, causing the drapery to trail
upon the floor.
The chairs were also damaged, many of them severely; and deep
indentations deformed the panels of the walls.
I was endeavouring to gather resolution for entering, and taking
possession, when my fool of a guide announced --
"This here is t' maister's."
My supper by this time was cold, my appetite gone, and my patience
I insisted on being provided instantly with a place of refuge, and
means of repose.
"Whear the divil?" began the religious elder.
"The Lord bless us!
The Lord forgie us!
Whear the hell wold ye gang? ye marred, wearisome nowt!
Yah seen all bud Hareton's bit uf a cham'er.
There's nut another hoile tuh lig dahn in i' th' hahse!"
I was so vexed, I flung my tray and its contents on the ground; and
then seated myself at the stairs-head, hid my face in my hands, and
"Ech! ech!" exclaimed Joseph.
"Weel done, Miss Cathy! weel done, Miss Cathy!
Hahsiver, t' maister sall just tum'le o'er them brocken pots; un'
then we's hear summut; we's hear hah it's tuh be.
Gooid-fur-nowt madling! yah desarve pining froo this tuh Churstmas,
flinging t' precious gifts uh God under fooit i' yer flaysome
Bud, aw'm mista'en if yah shew yer sperrit long.
Aw nobbut wish he muh cotch ye i' that plisky.
Aw nobbut wish he may."
And so he went on scolding to his den beneath, taking the candle
with him, and I remained in the dark.
The period of reflection succeeding this silly action, compelled me
to admit the necessity of smothering my pride, and choking my
wrath, and bestirring myself to remove its effects.
An unexpected aid presently appeared in the shape of Throttler,
whom I now recognized as a son of our old Skulker; it had spent its
whelphood at the Grange, and was given by my father to Mr Hindley.
I fancy it knew me -- it pushed its nose against mine by way of
salute, and then hastened to devour the porridge, while I groped
from step to step, collecting the shattered earthenware, and drying
the spatters of milk from the bannisters with my pocket-
Our labours were scarcely over when I heard Earnshaw's tread in the
passage; my assistant tucked in his tail, and pressed to the wall;
I stole into the nearest doorway.
The dog's endeavour to avoid him was unsuccessful; as I guessed by
a scutter down stairs, and a prolonged, piteous yelping.
I had better luck.
He passed on, entered his chamber, and shut the door.
Directly after Joseph came up with Hareton, to put him to bed.
I had found shelter in Hareton's room, and the old man on seeing
me, said --
"They's rahm fur boath yah un' yer pride, nah, I sud think i' th'
It's empty; yah muh hev it all tuh yerseln, un Him as allas makes a
third, i' sich ill company!"
Gladly did I take advantage of this intimation; and the minute I
flung myself into a chair, by the fire, I nodded, and slept.
My slumber was deep, and sweet; though over far too soon.
Mr Heathcliff awoke me; he had just come in, and
I told him the cause of my staying up so late--that he had the key
of our room in his pocket.
The adjective our gave mortal offence.
He swore it was not, nor ever should be mine; and he'd -- but I'll
not repeat his language, nor describe his habitual conduct; he is
ingenious and unresting in seeking to gain my abhorrence!
I sometimes wonder at him with an intensity that deadens my fear:
yet, I assure you, a tiger, or a venomous serpent could not rouse
terror in me equal to that which he wakens.
He told me of Catherine's illness, and accused my brother of
causing it; promising that I should be Edgar's proxy in suffering,
till he could get a hold of him.
I do hate him -- I am wretched -- I have been a fool!
Beware of uttering one breath of this to any one at the Grange.
I shall expect you every day -- don't disappoint me!