THE twelve years, continued Mrs Dean, following that
dismal period, were the happiest of my life: my greatest troubles,
in their passage, rose from our little lady's trifling illnesses
which she had to experience in common with all children, rich and
For the rest, after the first six months, she grew like a larch;
and could walk and talk too, in her own way, before the heath
blossomed a second time over Mrs Linton's dust.
She was the most winning thing that ever brought sunshine into a
desolate house--a real beauty in face -- with the Earnshaws'
handsome dark eyes, but the Lintons' fair skin, and small features,
and yellow curling hair.
Her spirit was high, though not rough, and qualified by a heart,
sensitive and lively to excess in its affections.
That capacity for intense attachments reminded me of her mother;
still she did not resemble her; for she could be soft and mild as a
dove, and she had a gentle voice, and pensive expression: her anger
was never furious; her love never fierce; it was deep and tender.
However, it must be acknowledged, she had faults to foil her gifts.
A propensity to be saucy was one; and a perverse will that indulged
children invariably acquire, whether they be good tempered or
If a servant chanced to vex her, it was always: "I shall tell
And if he reproved her, even by a look, you would have thought it a
heart-breaking business: I don't believe he ever did speak a harsh
word to her.
He took her education entirely on himself, and made it an
amusement: fortunately, curiosity, and a quick intellect urged her
into an apt scholar; she learnt rapidly and eagerly, and did honour
Till she reached the age of thirteen, she had not once been beyond
the range of the park by herself.
Mr Linton would take her with him, a mile or so outside, on rare
occasions; but he trusted her to no one else.
Gimmerton was an unsubstantial name in her ears; the chapel, the
only building she had approached, or entered, except her own home;
Wuthering Heights and Mr Heathcliff did not exist for her; she was
a perfect recluse; and, apparently, perfectly contented.
Sometimes, indeed, while surveying the country from her nursery
window, she would observe --
"Ellen, how long will it be before I can walk to the top of those
I wonder what lies on the other side -- is it the sea?"
"No, Miss Cathy," I would answer, "it is hills again just like
"And what are those golden rocks like, when you stand under them?"
she once asked.
The abrupt descent of Penistone Craggs particularly attracted her
notice, especially when the setting sun shone on it, and the
topmost Heights; and the whole extent of landscape besides lay in
I explained that they were bare masses of stone, with hardly enough
earth in their clefts to nourish a stunted tree.
"And why are they bright so long after it is evening here?" she
"Because they are a great deal higher up than we are," replied I;
"you could not climb them, they are too high and steep.
In winter the frost is always there before it comes to us; and,
deep into summer, I have found snow under that black hollow on the
"Oh, you have been on them!" she cried, gleefully.
"Then I can go, too, when I am a woman.
Has papa been, Ellen?"
"Papa would tell you, Miss," I answered, hastily, "that they are
not worth the trouble of visiting.
and Thrushcross park is the finest place in the world."
"But I know the park, and I don't know those," she murmured to
"And I should delight to look round me, from the brow of that
tallest point -- my little pony, Minny, shall take me sometime."
One of the maids mentioning the Fairy cave, quite turned her head
with a desire to fulfil this project; she teased Mr Linton about
it; and he promised she should have the journey when she got older:
but Miss Catherine measured her age by months, and --
"Now, am I old enough to go to Penistone Craggs?" was the constant
question in her mouth.
The road thither wound close by Wuthering Heights.
Edgar had not the heart to pass it; so she received as constantly
"Not yet, love, not yet."
I said Mrs Heathcliff lived above a dozen years after quitting her
Her family were of a delicate constitution: she and Edgar both
lacked the ruddy health that you will generally meet in these
What her last illness was, I am not certain; I conjecture, they
died of the same thing, a kind of fever, slow at its commencement,
but incurable, and rapidly consuming life towards the close.
She wrote to inform her brother of the probable conclusion of a
four months' indisposition, under which she had suffered; and
entreated him to come to her, if possible, for she had much to
settle, and she wished to bid him adieu, and deliver Linton safely
into his hands.
Her hope was, that Linton might be left with him, as he had been
with her; his father, she would fain convince herself, had no
desire to assume the burden of his maintenance or education.
My master hesitated not a moment in complying with her request;
he flew to answer this; commending Catherine to my peculiar
vigilance, in his absence; with reiterated orders that she must not
wander out of the park, even under my escort; he did not calculate
on her going unaccompanied.
He was away three weeks: the first day or two, my charge sat in a
corner of the library, too sad for either reading or playing: in
that quiet state she caused me little trouble; but it was succeeded
by an interval of impatient, fretful weariness; and being too busy,
and too old then, to run up and down amusing her, I hit on a method
by which she might entertain herself.
I used to send her on her travels round the grounds -- now on foot,
and now on a pony; indulging her with a patient audience of all her
real and imaginary adventures, when she returned.
The summer shone in full prime; and she took such a taste for this
solitary rambling that she often contrived to remain out from
breakfast till tea; and then the evenings were spent in recounting
her fanciful tales.
I did not fear her breaking bounds, because the gates were
generally locked, and I thought she would scarcely venture forth
alone, if they had stood wide open.
Unluckily, my confidence proved misplaced.
Catherine came to me, one morning, at eight o'clock, and said she
was that day an Arabian merchant, going to cross the Desert with
his caravan; and I must give her plenty of provision for herself,
and beasts, a horse, and three camels, personated by a large hound,
and a couple of pointers.
I got together good store of dainties, and slung them in a basket
on one side of the saddle; and she sprang up as gay as a fairy,
sheltered by her wide-brimmed hat and gauze veil from the July sun,
and trotted off with a merry laugh, mocking my cautious counsel to
The naughty thing never made her appearance at tea.
One traveller, the hound, being an old dog, and fond of its ease,
returned; but neither Cathy, nor the pony, nor the two pointers
were visible in any direction; I despatched emissaries down this
path, and that path, and, at last, went wandering in search of her
There was a labourer working at a fence round a plantation, on the
borders of the grounds.
I enquired of him if he had seen our young lady?
"I saw her at morn," he replied, "she would have me to cut her a
hazel switch; and then she leapt her galloway over the hedge
yonder, where it is lowest, and galloped out of sight."
You may guess how I felt at hearing this news.
It struck me directly she must have started for Penistone Craggs.
"What will become of her?" I ejaculated, pushing through a gap
which the man was repairing, and making straight to the high road.
I walked as if for a wager, mile after mile, till a turn brought me
in view of the Heights, but no Catherine could I detect, far or
The Craggs lie about a mile and a half beyond Mr Heathcliff's
place, and that is four from the Grange, so I began to fear night
would fall ere I could reach them.
"And what if she should have slipped in clambering among them," I
reflected, "and been killed, or broken some of her bones?"
My suspense was truly painful; and, at first, it gave me delightful
relief to observe, in hurrying by the farmhouse, Charlie, the
fiercest of the pointers, lying under a window, with swelled head,
and bleeding ear.
I opened the wicket, and ran to the door, knocking vehemently for
A woman whom I knew, and who formerly lived at Gimmerton, answered
-- she had been servant there since the death of Mr Earnshaw.
"Ah," said she, "you are come a seeking your little mistress! don't
She's here safe -- but I'm glad it isn't the master."
"He is not at home then, is he?" I panted, quite breathless with
quick walking and alarm.
"No, no," she replied: "both he and Joseph are off, and I think
they won't return this hour or more.
Step in and rest you a bit."
I entered, and beheld my stray lamb, seated on the hearth, rocking
herself in a little chair that had been her mother's, when a child.
Her hat was hung against the wall, and she seemed perfectly at
home, laughing and chattering, in the best spirits imaginable, to
Hareton, now a great, strong lad of eighteen, who stared at her
with considerable curiosity and astonishment; comprehending
precious little of the fluent succession of remarks and questions
which her tongue never ceased pouring forth.
"Very well, Miss," I exclaimed, concealing my joy under an angry
"This is your last ride, till papa comes back.
I'll not trust you over the threshold again, you naughty, naughty
"Aha, Ellen!" she cried, gaily, jumping up, and running to my side.
"I shall have a pretty story to tell to-night -- and so you've
found me out.
Have you ever been here in your life before?"
"Put that hat on, and home at once," said I.
"I'm dreadfully grieved at you, Miss Cathy, you've done extremely
It's no use pouting and crying; that won't repay the trouble I've
had, scouring the country after you.
To think how Mr Linton charged me to keep you in; and you stealing
off so; it shows you are a cunning little fox, and nobody will put
faith in you any more."
"Papa charged me nothing -- he'll not scold me, Ellen -- he's never
cross, like you!"
"Come, come!" I repeated.
"I'll tie the riband.
Now, let us have no petulance.
Oh, for shame.
You thirteen years old, and such a baby!"
This exclamation was caused by her pushing the hat from her head,
and retreating to the chimney out of my reach.
"Nay," said the servant, "don't be hard on the bonny lass, Mrs
We made her stop -- she'd fain have ridden forwards, afeard you
should be uneasy.
But Hareton offered to go with her, and I thought he should.
It's a wild road over the hills."
Hareton, during the discussion, stood with his hands in his
pockets, too awkward to speak, though he looked as if he did not
relish my intrusion.
"How long am I to wait?" I continued, disregarding the woman's
"It will be dark in ten minutes.
Where is the pony, Miss Cathy?
And where is Phenix?
I shall leave you, unless you be quick, so please yourself."
"The pony is in the yard," she replied, "and Phenix is shut in
He's bitten -- and so is Charlie.
I was going to tell you all about it; but you are in a bad temper,
and don't deserve to hear."
I picked up her hat, and approached to reinstate it; but perceiving
that the people of the house took her part, she commenced capering
round the room; and, on my giving chase, ran like a mouse, over and
under, and behind the furniture, rendering it ridiculous for me to
Hareton and the woman laughed; and she joined them, and waxed more
impertinent still; till I cried, in great irritation,
"Well, Miss Cathy, if you were aware whose house this is, you'd be
"It's your father's, isn't it?" said she, turning to
"Nay," he replied, looking down, and blushing bashfully.
He could not stand a steady gaze from her eyes, though they were
just his own.
"Whose then -- your master's?" she asked.
He coloured deeper, with a different feeling, muttered an oath, and
"Who is his master?" continued the tiresome girl, appealing to me.
"He talked about 'our house,' and 'our folk.'
I thought he had been the owner's son.
And he never said, Miss; he should have done, shouldn't he, if he's
Hareton grew black as a thunder-cloud, at this childish speech.
I silently shook my questioner, and, at last, succeeded in
equipping her for departure.
"Now, get my horse," she said, addressing her unknown kinsman as
she would one of the stable-boys at the Grange.
"And you may come with me.
I want to see where the goblin hunter rises in the marsh, and to
hear about the fairishes, as you call them -- but, make
What's the matter?
Get my horse, I say."
"I'll see thee damned, before I be thy servant!" growled
"You'll see me what?" asked Catherine in surprise.
"Damned -- thou saucy witch!" he replied.
"There, Miss Cathy! you see you have got into pretty company," I
"Nice words to be used to a young lady!
Pray don't begin to dispute with him -- Come, let us seek for Minny
ourselves, and begone."
"But, Ellen," cried she, staring, fixed in astonishment.
"How dare he speak so to me?
Mustn't he be made to do as I ask him?
You wicked creature, I shall tell papa what you said -- Now then!"
Hareton did not appear to feel this threat; so the tears sprung
into her eyes with indignation.
woman, "and let my dog free this moment!"
"Softly, Miss," answered the addressed.
"You'll lose nothing, by being civil.
Though Mr Hareton, there, be not the master's son, he's your
cousin; and I was never hired to serve you."
"He my cousin!" cried Cathy with a scornful laugh.
"Yes, indeed," responded her reprover.
"Oh, Ellen! don't let them say such things," she pursued in great
"Papa is gone to fetch my cousin from London -- my cousin is a
gentleman's son -- That my -- " she stopped, and wept outright;
upset at the bare notion of relationship with such a clown.
"Hush, hush!" I whispered, "people can have many cousins, and of
all sorts, Miss Cathy, without being any the worse for it; only
they needn't keep their company, if they be disagreeable, and bad."
"He's not, he's not my cousin, Ellen!" she went on, gathering fresh
grief from reflection, and flinging herself into my arms for refuge
from the idea.
I was much vexed at her and the servant for their mutual
revelations; having no doubt of Linton's approaching arrival,
communicated by the former, being reported to Mr Heathcliff; and
feeling as confident that Catherine's first thought on her father's
return, would be to seek an explanation of the latter's assertion,
concerning her rude-bred kindred.
Hareton, recovering from his disgust at being taken for a servant,
seemed moved by her distress; and, having fetched the pony round to
the door, he took, to propitiate her, a fine crooked-legged terrier
whelp from the kennel; and putting it into her hand, bid her wisht!
for he meant naught.
Pausing in her lamentations, she surveyed him with a glance of awe,
I could scarcely refrain from smiling at this antipathy to the poor
fellow; who was a well-made, athletic youth, good looking in
features, and stout and healthy, but attired in garments befitting
his daily occupations of working on the farm, and lounging among
the moors after rabbits and game.
Still, I thought I could detect in his physiognomy a mind owning
better qualities than his father ever possessed.
Good things lost amid a wilderness of weeds, to be sure, whose
rankness far over-topped their neglected growth; yet
notwithstanding, evidence of a wealthy soil that might yield
luxuriant crops, under other and favourable circumstances.
Mr Heathcliff, I believe, had not treated him physically ill;
thanks to his fearless nature which offered no temptation to that
course of oppression; it had none of the timid susceptibility that
would have given zest to ill-treatment, in Heathcliff's judgment.
He appeared to have bent his malevolence on making him a brute: he
was never taught to read or write; never rebuked for any bad habit
which did not annoy his keeper; never led a single step towards
virtue, or guarded by a single precept against vice.
And from what I heard, Joseph contributed much to his deterioration
by a narrow minded partiality which prompted him to flatter, and
pet him, as a boy, because he was the head of the old family.
And as he had been in the habit of accusing Catherine Earnshaw, and
Heathcliff, when children, of putting the master past his patience,
and compelling him to seek solace in drink, by what he termed,
their "offalld ways," so at present, he laid the whole burden of
Hareton's faults on the shoulders of the usurper of his property.
If the lad swore he wouldn't correct him; nor however culpably he
It gave Joseph satisfaction, apparently, to watch him go the worst
He allowed that he was ruined; that his soul was abandoned to
perdition; but then, he reflected that Heathcliff must answer for
there lay immense consolation in that thought.
Joseph had instilled into him a pride of name, and of his lineage;
he would had he dared, have fostered hate between him and the
present owner of the Heights, but his dread of that owner amounted
to superstition; and he confined his feelings, regarding him, to
muttered innuendoes and private comminations.
I don't pretend to be intimately acquainted with the mode of living
customary in those days, at Wuthering Heights.
I only speak from hearsay; for I saw little.
The villagers affirmed Mr Heathcliff was near, and a
cruel hard landlord to his tenants; but the house, inside, had
regained its ancient aspect of comfort under female management; and
the scenes of riot common in Hindley's time, were not now enacted
within its walls.
The master was too gloomy to seek companionship with any people,
good or bad, and he is yet --
This, however, is not making progress with my story.
Miss Cathy rejected the peace-offering of the terrier, and demanded
her own dogs, Charlie and Phenix.
They came limping, and hanging their heads; and we set out for
home, sadly out of sorts, every one of us.
I could not wring from my little lady how she had spent the day;
except that, as I supposed, the goal of her pilgrimage was
Penistone Crags; and she arrived without adventure to the gate of
the farmhouse, when Hareton happened to issue forth, attended by
some canine followers who attacked her train.
They had a smart battle, before their owners could separate them:
that formed an introduction.
Catherine told Hareton who she was, and where she was going; and
asked him to show her the way; finally, beguiling him to accompany
He opened the mysteries of the Fairy cave, and twenty
favoured with the description of the interesting objects she saw.
I could gather however, that her guide had been a favourite till
she hurt his feelings by addressing him as a servant, and
Heathcliff's housekeeper hurt hers, by calling him her cousin.
Then the language he had held to her rankled in her heart; she who
was always "love," and "darling," and "queen," and "angel," with
everybody at the Grange; to be insulted so shockingly by a
She did not comprehend it; and hard work I had, to obtain a promise
that she would not lay the grievance before her father.
I explained how he objected to the whole household at the Heights,
and how sorry he would be to find she had been there; but, I
insisted most on the fact, that if she revealed my negligence of
his orders, he would perhaps, be so angry that I should have to
leave; and Cathy couldn't bear that prospect: she pledged her word,
and kept it, for my sake -- after all, she was a sweet little girl.