AS soon as I had perused this epistle, I went to the
master, and informed him that his sister had arrived at the
Heights, and sent me a letter expressing her sorrow for Mrs
Linton's situation, and her ardent desire to see him; with a wish
that he would transmit to her, as early as possible, some token of
forgiveness by me.
"Forgiveness?" said Linton, "I have nothing to forgive her, Ellen -
- you may call at Wuthering Heights this afternoon, if you like,
and say that I am not angry, but I'm sorry to
have lost her: especially as I can never think she'll be happy.
It is out of the question my going to see her, however; we are
eternally divided; and should she really wish to oblige me, let her
persuade the villain she has married to leave the country."
"And you won't write her a little note, sir?" I asked imploringly.
"No," he answered.
"It is needless.
My communication with Heathcliff's family shall be as sparing as
his with mine.
It shall not exist!"
Mr Edgar's coldness depressed me exceedingly; and all the way from
the Grange, I puzzled my brains how to put more heart into what he
said, when I repeated it; and how to soften his refusal of even a
few lines to console Isabella.
I dare say she had been on the watch for me since morning: I saw
her looking through the lattice, as I came up the garden causeway,
and I nodded to her; but she drew back, as if afraid of being
I entered without knocking.
There never was such a dreary, dismal scene as the formerly
cheerful house presented!
I must confess that, if I had been in the young lady's
the tables with a duster.
But she already partook of the pervading spirit of neglect which
Her pretty face was wan and listless; her hair uncurled; some locks
hanging lankly down, and some carelessly twisted round her head.
Probably she had not touched her dress since yester evening.
Hindley was not there.
Mr Heathcliff sat at a table, turning over some papers in his
pocket-book; but he rose when I appeared, asked me how I did, quite
friendly, and offered me a chair.
He was the only thing there that seemed decent, and I thought he
never looked better.
So much had circumstances altered their positions, that he would
certainly have struck a stranger as a born and bred gentleman, and
his wife as a thorough little slattern!
She came forward eagerly to greet me; and held out one hand to take
the expected letter.
I shook my head.
She wouldn't understand the hint, but followed me to a sideboard,
where I went to lay my bonnet, and importuned me in a whisper to
give her directly what I had brought.
Heathcliff guessed the meaning of her manoeuvres, and said --
"If you have got anything for Isabella, as no doubt you have,
Nelly, give it to her.
You needn't make a secret of it; we have no secrets between us."
"Oh, I have nothing," I replied, thinking it best to speak the
truth at once.
"My master bid me tell his sister that she must not expect either a
letter or a visit from him at present.
He sends his love, ma'am, and his wishes for your happiness, and
his pardon for the grief you have occasioned; but he thinks that
here, should drop intercommunication; as nothing could come of
keeping it up."
Mrs Heathcliff's lip quivered slightly, and she returned to her
seat in the window.
Her husband took his stand on the hearthstone, near me, and began
to put questions concerning Catherine.
I told him as much as I thought proper of her illness, and he
extorted from me, by cross-examination, most of the facts connected
with its origin.
I blamed her, as she deserved, for bringing it all on herself; and
ended by hoping that he would follow Mr Linton's example, and avoid
future interference with his family, for good or evil.
"Mrs Linton is now just recovering," I said, "she'll never be like
she was, but her life is spared, and if you really have a regard
for her, you'll shun crossing her way again.
Nay, you'll move out of this country entirely; and that you may not
regret it, I'll inform you Catherine Linton is as different now,
from your old friend Catherine Earnshaw, as that young lady is
different from me!
Her appearance is changed greatly, her character much more so; and
the person, who is compelled, of necessity, to be her companion,
will only sustain his affection hereafter, by the remembrance of
what she once was, by common humanity, and a sense of duty!"
"That is quite possible," remarked Heathcliff, forcing himself to
seem calm, "quite possible that your master should have nothing but
common humanity, and a sense of duty to fall back upon.
But do you imagine that I shall leave Catherine to his duty
and humanity? and can you compare my feelings
respecting Catherine, to his?
Before you leave this house, I must exact a promise from you, that
you'll get me an interview with her -- consent, or refuse, I
will see her!
"I say, Mr Heathcliff," I replied, "you must not -- you never shall
through my means.
Another encounter between you and the master, would kill her
"With your aid, that may be avoided;" he continued, "and should
there be danger of such an event -- should he be the cause of
adding a single trouble more to her existence -- Why, I think, I
shall be justified in going to extremes!
I wish you had sincerity enough to tell me whether Catherine would
suffer greatly from his loss.
The fear that she would restrains me: and there you see the
distinction between our feelings -- Had he been in my place, and I
in his, though I hated him with a hatred that turned my life to
gall, I never would have raised a hand against him.
You may look incredulous, if you please!
I never would have banished him from her society, as long as she
The moment her regard ceased, I would have torn his heart out, and
drunk his blood!
But, till then, if you don't believe me, you don't know me -- till
then, I would have died by inches before I touched a single hair of
"And yet," I interrupted, "you have no scruples in completely
ruining all hopes of her perfect restoration, by thrusting yourself
in to her remembrance, now, when she has nearly forgotten you, and
involving her in a new tumult of discord, and distress."
"You suppose she has nearly forgotten me?" he said.
Nelly you know she has not!
You know as well as I do, that for every thought she spends on
Linton, she spends a thousand on me!
At a most miserable period of my life, I had a notion of the kind,
it haunted me on my return to the neighbourhood, last summer, but
only her own assurance, could make me admit the horrible idea
And then, Linton would be nothing, nor Hindley, nor all the dreams
that ever I dreamt.
Two words would comprehend my future -- death and
hell -- existence, after losing her, would be hell.
"Yet I was a fool to fancy for a moment that she valued Edgar
Linton's attachment more than mine -- If he loved with all the
powers of his puny being, he couldn't love as much in eighty years,
as I could in a day.
And Catherine has a heart as deep as I have; the sea could be as
readily contained in that horse-trough, as her whole affection be
monopolized by him -- Tush!
He is scarcely a degree dearer to her than her dog, or her horse --
It is not in him to be loved like me, how can she love in him what
he has not?"
"Catherine and Edgar are as fond of each other, as any two people
can be!" cried Isabella with sudden vivacity.
"No one has a right to talk in that manner, and I won't hear my
brother depreciated in silence!"
"Your brother is wondrous fond of you too, isn't he?" observed
"He turns you adrift on the world with surprising alacrity."
"He is not aware of what I suffer," she replied.
"I didn't tell him that."
"You have been telling him something, then -- you have written,
"To say that I was married, I did write -- you saw the note."
"And nothing since?"
"My young lady is looking sadly the worse for her change of
condition," I remarked.
"Somebody's love comes short in her case, obviously -- whose I may
guess; but, perhaps, I shouldn't say."
"I should guess it was her own," said Heathcliff.
She degenerates into a mere slut!
She is tired of trying to please me, uncommonly early -- You'd
hardly credit it, but the very morrow of our wedding, she was
weeping to go home.
However, she'll suit this house so much the better for not being
over nice, and I'll take care she does not disgrace me by rambling
"Well, sir;" returned I, "I hope you'll consider that Mrs
Heathcliff is accustomed to be looked after, and waited on; and
that she has been brought up like an only daughter whom every one
was ready to serve -- You must let her have a maid to keep things
tidy about her, and you must treat her kindly -- Whatever be your
notion of Mr Edgar, you cannot doubt that she has a capacity for
strong attachments or she wouldn't have abandoned the elegancies,
and comforts, and friends of her former home, to fix contentedly,
in such a wilderness as this, with you."
"She abandoned them under a delusion;" he answered; "picturing in
me a hero of romance, and expecting unlimited indulgences from my
I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature, so
obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my
character, and acting on the false impressions she cherished.
But at last, I think she begins to know me -- I don't perceive the
silly smiles and grimaces that provoked me, at first; and the
senseless incapability of discerning that I was in earnest when I
gave her my opinion of her infatuation, and herself -- It was a
marvellous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love
I believed at one time, no lessons could teach her that! and yet it
is poorly learnt; for this morning she announced, as a piece of
appalling intelligence, that I had actually succeeded in making her
A positive labour of Hercules, I assure you!
If it be achieved, I have cause to return thanks -- Can I trust
your assertion, Isabella? are you sure you hate me?
If I let you alone for half-a-day, won't you come sighing and
wheedling to me again?
I dare say she would rather I had seemed all tenderness before you;
it wounds her vanity to have the truth exposed.
But, I don't care who knows that the passion was wholly on one
side, and I never told her a lie about it.
She cannot accuse me of showing a bit of deceitful softness.
The first thing she saw me do, on coming out of the Grange, was to
hang up her little dog, and when she pleaded for it, the first
words I uttered, were a wish that I had the hanging of every being
belonging to her, except one: possibly, she took that exception for
herself -- But no brutality disgusted her -- I suppose, she has an
innate admiration of it, if only her precious person were secure
Now, was it not the depth of absurdity -- of genuine idiocy, for
that pitiful, slavish, mean-minded brach to dream that I could love
Tell your master, Nelly, that I never, in all my life, met with
such an abject thing as she is.
-- She even disgraces the name of Linton; and I've sometimes
relented, from pure lack of invention, in my experiments on what
she could endure, and still creep shamefully cringing back!
But tell him also, to set his fraternal and magisterial heart at
ease, that I keep strictly within the limits of the law -- I have
avoided, up to this period, giving her the slightest right to claim
a separation; and what's more, she'd thank nobody for dividing us -
- if she desired to go she might -- the nuisance of her presence
outweighs the gratification to be derived from tormenting her!"
"Mr Heathcliff," said I, "this is the talk of a madman, and your
wife, most likely is convinced you are mad; and, for that reason,
she has borne with you hitherto: but now that you say she may go,
she'll doubtless avail herself of the permission -- You are not so
bewitched, ma'am, are you, as to remain with him of your own
"Take care, Ellen!" answered Isabella, her eyes sparkling irefully
-- there was no misdoubting by their expression the full success of
her partner's endeavours to make himself detested.
"Don't put faith in a single word he speaks.
He's a lying fiend, a monster, and not a human being!
I've been told I might leave him before; and I've made the attempt,
but I dare not repeat it!
his infamous conversation to my brother or Catherine -- whatever he
may pretend, he wishes to provoke Edgar to desperation -- he says
he has married me on purpose to obtain power over him; and he
shan't obtain it -- I'll die first!
I just hope, I pray that he may forget his diabolical prudence, and
The single pleasure I can imagine is to die, or to see him dead!"
"There--that will do for the present!" said Heathcliff.
"If you are called upon in a court of law, you'll remember her
And take a good look at that countenance -- she's near the point
which would suit me.
No, you're not fit to be your own guardian, Isabella, now; and I,
being your legal protector, must retain you in my custody, however
distasteful the obligation may be -- Go up-stairs; I have something
to say to Ellen Dean, in private.
That's not the way -- up-stairs, I tell you!
Why this is the road up-stairs, child!"
He seized, and thrust her from the room; and returned muttering,
"I have no pity!
I have no pity!
The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their
It is a moral teething, and I grind with greater energy, in
proportion to the increase of pain."
"Do you understand what the word pity means?" I said hastening to
resume my bonnet.
"Did you ever feel a touch of it in your life?"
"Put that down!" he interrupted, perceiving my intention to depart.
"You are not going yet -- Come here now, Nelly -- I must either
persuade, or compel you to aid me in fulfilling my determination to
see Catherine, and that without delay -- I swear that I meditate no
harm; I don't desire to cause any disturbance, or to exasperate, or
insult Mr Linton; I only wish to hear from herself how she is, and
could do would be of use to her.
Last night, I was in the Grange garden six hours, and I'Il return
there to-night; and every night I'll haunt the place, and every
day, till I find an opportunity of entering.
If Edgar Linton meets me, I shall not hesitate to knock him down,
and give him enough to insure his quiescence while I stay -- If his
servants oppose me, I shall threaten them off with these pistols --
But wouldn't it be better to prevent my coming in contact with
them, or their master?
And you could do it so easily!
I'd warn you when I came, and then you might let me in unobserved,
as soon as she was alone, and watch till I departed -- your
conscience quite calm, you would be hindering mischief."
I protested against playing that treacherous part in my employer's
house; and besides, I urged the cruelty, and selfishness of his
destroying Mrs Linton's tranquillity, for his satisfaction.
"The commonest occurrence startles her painfully," I said.
"She's all nerves, and she couldn't bear the surprise, I'm positive
-- Don't persist, sir! or else, I shall be obliged to inform my
master of your designs, and he'll take measures to secure his house
and its inmates from any such unwarrantable intrusions!"
"In that case, I'll take measures to secure you, woman!" exclaimed
Heathcliff, "you shall not leave Wuthering Heights till to-morrow
It is a foolish story to assert that Catherine could not bear to
see me; and as to surprising her, I don't desire it, you must
prepare her -- ask her if I may come.
You say she never mentions my name, and that I am never mentioned
To whom should she mention me if I am a forbidden topic in the
She thinks you are all spies for her husband -- Oh, I've no doubt
she's in hell among you!
You say she is often restless, and anxious-looking -- is that a
proof of tranquillity?
You talk of her mind being unsettled -- How the devil could it be
otherwise, in her frightful isolation.
And that insipid, paltry creature attending her from duty
>From pity and charity.
He might as well plant an oak in a flower-pot, and expect it to
thrive, as imagine he can restore her to vigour in the soil of his
Let us settle it at once; will you stay here, and am I to fight my
way to Catherine over Linton, and his footmen?
Or will you be my friend, as you have been hitherto, and do what I
Decide! because there is no reason for my lingering another minute,
if you persist in your stubborn ill-nature!"
Well, Mr Lockwood, I argued, and complained, and flatly refused him
fifty times; but in the long run he forced me to an agreement -- I
engaged to carry a letter from him to my mistress; and, should she
consent, I promised to let him have intelligence of Linton's next
absence from home, when he might come, and get in as he was able --
I wouldn't be there, and my fellow servants should be equally out
of the way.
Was it right, or wrong?
I fear it was wrong, though expedient.
I thought I prevented another explosion by my compliance; and I
thought too, it might create a favourable crisis in Catherine's
mental illness: and then I remembered Mr Edgar's stern rebuke of my
carrying tales; and I tried to smooth away all disquietude on the
subject, by affirming, with frequent iteration, that, that betrayal
of trust, if it merited so harsh an appellation, should be the
Notwithstanding, my journey homeward was sadder than my journey
thither; and many misgivings I had, ere I could prevail on myself
to put the missive in Mrs Linton's hand.
But here is Kenneth -- I'll go down, and tell him how
My history is dree, as we say, and will serve to wile
away another morning.
Dree, and dreary!
I reflected as the good woman descended to receive the doctor; and
not exactly of the kind which I should have chosen to amuse me; but
I'll extract wholesome medicines from Mrs Dean's bitter herbs; and
firstly, let me beware of the fascination that lurks in Catherine
Heathcliff's brilliant eyes.
I should be in a curious taking if I surrendered my heart to that
young person, and the daughter turned out a second edition of the