SUMMER drew to an end, and early Autumn -- it was past
Michaelmas, but the harvest was late that year, and a few of our
fields were still uncleared.
Mr Linton and his daughter would frequently walk out among the
reapers: at the carrying of the last sheaves, they stayed till
dusk, and the evening happening to be chill and damp, my master
caught a bad cold, that settling obstinately on his lungs, confined
him indoors throughout the whole of the winter, nearly without
Poor Cathy, frightened from her little romance, had been
considerably sadder and duller since its abandonment: and her
father insisted on her reading less, and taking more exercise.
She had his companionship no longer; I esteemed it a duty to supply
its lack, as much as possible, with mine; an inefficient
substitute, for I could only spare two or three hours, from my
numerous diurnal occupations, to follow her footsteps, and then, my
society was obviously less desirable than his.
On an afternoon in October, or the beginning of November, a fresh
watery afternoon, when the turf and paths were rustling with moist,
withered leaves, and the cold, blue sky was half hidden by clouds,
dark grey streamers, rapidly mounting from the west, and boding
abundant rain; I requested my young lady to forego her ramble
because I was certain of showers.
She refused; and I unwillingly donned a cloak, and took my umbrella
to accompany her on a stroll to the bottom of the park; a formal
walk which she generally affected if low-spirited; and that she
invariably was when Mr Edgar had been worse than ordinary; a thing
her and me from his increased silence, and the melancholy of his
She went sadly on; there was no running or bounding now; though the
chill wind might well have tempted her to a race.
And often, from the side of my eye, I could detect her raising a
hand, and brushing something off her cheek.
I gazed round for a means of diverting her thoughts.
On one side of the road rose a high, rough bank, where hazels and
stunted oaks, with their roots half exposed, held uncertain tenour:
the soil was too loose for the latter; and strong winds had blown
some nearly horizontal.
In summer, Miss Catherine delighted to climb along these trunks,
and sit in the branches, swinging twenty feet above the ground; and
I pleased with her agility, and her light, childish heart, still
considered it proper to scold every time I caught her at such an
elevation; but so that she knew there was no necessity for
>From dinner to tea she would lie in her breeze-rocked cradle, doing
nothing except singing old songs -- my nursery lore -- to herself,
or watching the birds, joint tenants, feed and entice their young
ones to fly, or nestling with closed lids, half thinking, half
dreaming, happier than words can express.
"Look, Miss!" I exclaimed, pointing to a nook under the roots of
one twisted tree.
"Winter is not here yet.
There's a little flower, up yonder, the last bud from the multitude
of blue-bells that clouded those turf steps in July with a lilac
Will you clamber up, and pluck it to show to papa?"
Cathy stared a long time at the lonely blossom trembling in its
earthy shelter, and replied, at length --
"No, I'll not touch it -- but it looks melancholy, does it not,
"Yes," I observed, "about as starved and sackless as you -- your
cheeks are bloodless; let us take hold of hands and run.
"No," she repeated, and continued sauntering on, pausing, at
intervals, to muse over a bit of moss, or a tuft of blanched grass,
or a fungus spreading its bright orange among the heaps of brown
foliage; and, ever and anon, her hand was lifted to her averted
"Catherine, why are you crying, love?" I asked, approaching and
putting my arm over her shoulder.
"You mustn't cry, because papa has a cold; be thankful it is
She now put no further restraint on her tears; her breath was
stifled by sobs.
"Oh, it will be something worse," she said.
"And what shall I do when papa and you leave me, and I am by
I can't forget your words, Ellen, they are always in my ear.
How life will be changed, how dreary the world will be, when papa
and you are dead."
"None can tell, whether you won't die before us," I replied.
"It's wrong to anticipate evil -- we'll hope there are years and
years to come before any of us go -- master is young, and I am
strong, and hardly forty-five.
My mother lived till eighty, a canty dame to the last.
And suppose Mr Linton were spared till he saw sixty, that would be
more years than you have counted, Miss.
And would it not be foolish to mourn a calamity above twenty years
"But Aunt Isabella was younger than papa," she remarked, gazing up
with timid hope to seek further consolation.
"Aunt Isabella had not you and me to nurse her," I replied.
"She wasn't as happy as master; she hadn't as much to live for.
All you need do, is to wait well on your father, and cheer him by
letting him see you cheerful; and avoid giving him anxiety on any
subject -- mind that, Cathy!
I'll not disguise, but you might kill him, if you were wild and
reckless, and cherished a foolish, fanciful affection for the
-- and allowed him to discover that you fretted over the
separation, he has judged it expedient to make."
"I fret about nothing on earth except papa's illness," answered my
"I care for nothing in comparison with papa.
And I'll never -- never -- oh, never, while I have my senses, do an
act, or say a word to vex him.
I love him better than myself, Ellen; and I know it by this -- I
pray every night that I may live after him; because I would rather
be miserable than that he should be -- that proves I love him
better than myself."
"Good words," I replied.
"But deeds must prove it also; and after he is well, remember you
don't forget resolutions formed in the hour of fear."
As we talked, we neared a door that opened on the road: and my
young lady, lightening into sunshine again, climbed up, and seated
herself on the top of the wall, reaching over to gather some hips
that bloomed scarlet on the summit branches of the wild rose trees,
shadowing the highway side, the lower fruit had disappeared, but
only birds could touch the upper, except from Cathy's present
In stretching to pull them, her hat fell off; and as the door was
locked, she proposed scrambling down to recover it.
I bid her be cautious lest she got a fall, and she nimbly
But the return was no such easy matter; the stones were smooth and
neatly cemented, and the rosebushes, and blackberry stragglers
could yield no assistance in re-ascending.
I, like a fool, didn't recollect that till I heard her laughing,
and exclaiming --
"Ellen! you'll have to fetch the key, or else I must run round to
the porter's lodge.
I can't scale the ramparts on this side!"
"Stay where you are," I answered, "I have my bundle of
Catherine amused herself with dancing to and fro before the door,
while I tried all the large keys in succession.
I had applied the last, and found that none would do; so, repeating
my desire that she would remain there, I was about to hurry home as
fast as I could, when an approaching sound arrested me.
It was the trot of a horse; Cathy's dance stopped; and in a minute
the horse stopped also.
"Who is that?" I whispered.
"Ellen, I wish you could open the door," whispered back my
"Ho, Miss Linton!" cried a deep voice, (the rider's.)
"I'm glad to meet you.
Don't be in haste to enter, for I have an explanation to ask and
"I shan't speak to you, Mr Heathcliff!" answered Catherine.
"Papa says you are a wicked man, and you hate both him and me; and
Ellen says the same."
"That is nothing to the purpose," said Heathcliff.
(He it was.)
"I don't hate my son, I suppose, and it is concerning him, that I
demand your attention.
Yes! you have cause to blush.
Two or three months since, were you not in the habit of writing to
Linton? making love in play, eh?
You deserved, both of you, flogging for that!
You especially, the elder, and less sensitive, as it turns out.
I've got your letters, and if you give me any pertness, I'll send
them to your father.
I presume you grew weary of the amusement, and dropped it, didn't
Well, you dropped Linton with it, into a Slough of Despond.
He was in earnest -- in love -- really.
As true as I live, he's dying for you -- breaking his heart at your
fickleness, not figuratively, but actually.
Though Hareton has made him a standing jest for six weeks, and I
have used more serious measures, and attempted to
he'll be under the sod before summer, unless you restore him!"
"How can you lie so glaringly to the poor child!"
I called from the inside.
"Pray ride on!
How can you deliberately get up such paltry falsehoods?
Miss Cathy, I'll knock the lock off with a stone, you wont believe
that vile nonsense.
You can feel in yourself, it is impossible that a person should die
for love of a stranger."
"I was not aware there were eaves-droppers," muttered the detected
"Worthy Mrs Dean, I like you, but I don't like your double
dealing," he added, aloud.
"How could you lie so glaringly, as to affirm I hated the
And invent bugbear stories to terrify her from my door-stones?
Catherine Linton, (the very name warms me), my bonny lass, I shall
be from home all this week, go and see if I have not spoken truth;
do, there's a darling!
Just imagine your father in my place, and Linton in yours; then
think how you would value your careless lover, if he refused to
stir a step to comfort you, when your father, himself, entreated
him; and don't, from pure stupidity, fall into the same error.
I swear, on my salvation, he's going to his grave, and none but you
can save him!"
The lock gave way, and I issued out.
"I swear Linton is dying," repeated Heathcliff, looking hard at me.
"And grief and disappointment are hastening his death.
Nelly, if you wont let her go, you can walk over yourself.
But I shall not return till this time next week; and I think your
master himself would scarcely object to her visiting her cousin!"
"Come in," said I, taking Cathy by the arm and half forcing her to
re-enter, for she lingered, viewing, with troubled eyes, the
features of the speaker, too stern to express his inward deceit.
He pushed his horse close, and, bending down, observed --
"Miss Catherine, I'll own to you that I have little patience with
Linton -- and Hareton and Joseph have less.
I'll own he's with a harsh set.
He pines for kindness, as well as love; and a kind word from you
would be his best medicine.
Don't mind Mrs Dean's cruel cautions, but be generous, and contrive
to see him.
He dreams of you day and night, and cannot be persuaded that you
don't hate him, since you neither write nor call."
I closed the door, and rolled a stone to assist the loosened lock
in holding it; and spreading my umbrella, I drew my charge
underneath, for the rain began to drive through the moaning
branches of the trees, and warned us to avoid delay.
Our hurry prevented any comment on the encounter with Heathcliff,
as we stretched towards home; but I divined instinctively that
Catherine's heart was clouded now in double darkness.
Her features were so sad, they did not seem hers: she evidently
regarded what she had heard as every syllable true.
The master had retired to rest before we came in.
Cathy stole to his room to inquire how he was; he had fallen
She returned, and asked me to sit with her in the library.
We took our tea together; and afterwards she lay down on the rug,
and told me not to talk for she was weary.
I got a book, and pretended to read.
As soon as she supposed me absorbed in my occupation, she
recommenced her silent weeping: it appeared, at present, her
I suffered her to enjoy it a while; then, I expostulated; deriding
and ridiculing all Mr Heathcliff's assertions about his son; as if
I were certain she would coincide.
I hadn't skill to counteract the effect his account had produced;
"You may be right, Ellen," she answered; "but I shall never feel at
ease till I know -- and I must tell Linton it is not my fault that
I don't write; and convince him that I shall not change."
What use were anger and protestations against her silly credulity?
We parted that night hostile -- but next day beheld me on the road
to Wuthering Heights, by the side of my wilful young mistress's
I couldn't bear to witness her sorrow, to see her pale, dejected
countenance, and heavy eyes; and I yielded in the faint hope that
Linton himself might prove by his reception of us, how little of
the tale was founded on fact.