THAT Friday made the last of our fine days, for a
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,
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
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 leisure to examine her.
"My dear young lady," I exclaimed, "I'll stir no-where, 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
yes, more than any one else has reason to cry -- we parted
unreconciled, you remember, and I shan't forgive myself.
But for all that, I was not going to sympathize with him -- the
O 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 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 learnt 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 shan'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
"I ought, and I wish 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; and could
bear to think that we were tranquil, and not resolve on poisoning
Now, I have the satisfaction of being sure that he detests me to
the point of its annoying him seriously to have me within earshot,
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!"
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!"
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 redhot 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 I ever 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 upstairs to his chamber; locking 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
For me, grieved as I was about Catherine, it was impossible to
degrading oppression as a holiday.
"I recovered spirits sufficient to hear 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 favourble 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 kirkyard, 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
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 object?'
" 'No, you may keep him out the whole night, for me,' I answered.
'Do! put the key in the lock, 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, 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
" '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
" '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!'
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
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
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;
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
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
" '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
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
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 her loss.'
" 'He's there... is he?' exclaimed my companion, rushing to the
'If I can get my arm out I can hit him!'
"I'm afraid, Ellen, you'll set me down, as really wicked --
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 sprung 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 preter-human 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.
" 'Whet is thur tuh do, nah? whet is thur tuh do, nah?'
" '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
Don't stand muttering and mumbling there.
Wash that stuff away; and mind the sparks of your candle -- it is
more than half brandy!'
" 'And soa, yah been murthering on him?' exclaimed Joseph, lifting
his hands and eyes in horror.
'If iver Aw seed a seeght loike this!
May the Lord -- --'
"Heathcliff gave him a push onto 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
" '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 he
was not the aggressor; especially with my hardly wrung replies.
However, Mr Earnshaw soon convinced him that he was alive still; he
hastened to administer a dose of spirits, and by their succour his
master presently regained motion and consciousness.
"Heathcliiff, aware that he was ignorant of the treatment received
while insensible, called him deliriously intoxicated; and said he
advised him to get to bed.
To my joy, he left us after giving this judicious counsel, and
Hindley stretched himself on the hearth-stone.
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 beside him.
"Heathcliff did not glance my way, and I gazed up, and contemplated
his features, almost as confidently as if they had been turned to
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
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 of imps!'
" '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
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
'And his mouth watered to tear you with his teeth; because, he's
only half man -- not so much.'
"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
" '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
'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 derision.
" '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!
behaviour quietly; her detestation and disgust must have found
"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
chairback in the doorway; and, blest 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 again."
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 onto 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
He was christened Linton, and, from the first, she reported him to
be an ailing, peevish creature.
Mr Heathcliff, meeting me one day in the village, inquired where
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 that."
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,
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 gone.
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
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,
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 moralizing, 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 was 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 better half."
"Who is it, then, Mr Kenneth?" I repeated impatiently.
Your old friend Hindley -- " he replied.
"And my wicked gossip; though he's been too wild for me this long
I said we should draw water -- But cheer up!
He died true to his character drunk as a lord -- Poor lad; I'm
One can't help missing an old companion; though he had the worst
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
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
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
appeared in sufficient distress, expressed satisfaction at my
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 be 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 snorting 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,
"Aw'd rayther he'd goan hisseln fur t' doctor!
Aw sud uh taen tent uh t' maister better nur him -- un he warn't
deead when Aw left, nowt uh 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
"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 advantages of wages, and quite unable to
right himself, because of his friendlessness, and his ignorance
that he has been wronged.