THE rainy night had ushered in a misty morning -- half
frost, half drizzle -- and temporary brooks crossed our path,
gurgling from the uplands.
My feet were thoroughly wetted; I was cross and low, exactly the
humour suited for making the most of these disagreeable things.
We entered the farm-house by the kitchen way to ascertain whether
Mr Heathcliff were really absent; because I put slight faith in his
Joseph seemed sitting in a sort of elysium alone, beside a roaring
fire; a quart of ale on the table near him, bristling with large
pieces of toasted oat cake; and his black, short pipe in his mouth.
Catherine ran to the hearth to warm herself.
I asked if the master were in?
My question remained so long unanswered, that I thought the old man
had grown deaf, and repeated it louder.
"Na -- ay!" he snarled, or rather screamed through his nose.
"Na -- ay! yah mun goa back whear yah coom frough."
"Joseph," cried a peevish voice, simultaneously with me, from the
"How often am I to call you?
There are only a few red ashes now.
Joseph! come this moment."
Vigorous puffs, and a resolute stare into the grate declared he had
no ear for this appeal.
The housekeeper and Hareton were invisible; one gone on an errand,
and the other at his work, probably.
We knew Linton's tones and entered.
"Oh, I hope you'll die in a garret! starved to death," said the
boy, mistaking our approach for that of his negligent attendant.
He stopped, on observing his error; his cousin flew to him.
"Is that you, Miss Linton?" he said, raising his head from the arm
of the great chair, in which he reclined.
"No -- don't kiss me.
It takes my breath -- dear me!
Papa said you would call," continued he, after recovering a little
from Catherine's embrace; while she stood by looking very contrite.
"Will you shut the door, if you please? you left it open -- and
those -- those detestable creatures won't bring coals to
It's so cold!"
I stirred up the cinders, and fetched a scuttle full myself.
The invalid complained of being covered with ashes; but he had a
tiresome cough, and looked feverish and ill, so I did not rebuke
"Well, Linton," murmured Catherine, when his corrugated brow
"Are you glad to see me?
Can I do you any good?"
"Why didn't you come before?" he said.
"You should have come, instead of writing.
It tired me dreadfully, writing those long letters.
I'd far rather have talked to you.
Now, I can neither bear to talk, nor anything else.
I wonder where Zillah is! will you (looking at me,) step into the
kitchen and see?"
I had received no thanks for my other service; and being unwilling
to run to and fro at his behest, I replied --
"Nobody is out there but Joseph."
"I want to drink," he exclaimed, fretfully, turning away.
"Zillah is constantly gadding off to Gimmerton since papa went.
And I'm obliged to come down here -- they resolved never to hear me
"Is your father attentive to you, Master Heathcliff?" I asked,
perceiving Catherine to be checked in her friendly advances.
He makes them a little more attentive, at
Do you know, Miss Linton, that brute Hareton laughs at me -- I hate
him -- indeed, I hate them all -- they are odious beings."
Cathy began searching for some water; she lighted on a pitcher in
the dresser; filled a tumbler, and brought it.
He bid her add a spoonful of wine from a bottle on the table; and
having swallowed a small portion, appeared more tranquil, and said
she was very kind.
"And are you glad to see me?" asked she, reiterating her former
question, and pleased to detect the faint dawn of a smile.
"Yes, I am -- It's something new to hear a voice like yours!" he
replied, "But I have been vexed, because you wouldn't
come -- And papa swore it was owing to me; he called me a pitiful,
shuffling, worthless thing; and said you despised me; and if he had
been in my place, he would be more the master of the Grange than
your father, by this time.
But you don't despise me, do you Miss -- -- "
"I wish you would say Catherine, or Cathy!" interrupted my young
Next to papa, and Ellen, I love you better than anybody living.
I don't love Mr Heathcliff, though; and I dare not come when he
returns; will he stay away many days?"
"Not many:" answered Linton, "but he goes onto the moors
frequently, since the shooting season commenced, and you might
spend an hour or two with me, in his absence -- Do! say you will!
I think I should not be peevish with you; you'd not provoke me, and
you'd always be ready to help me, wouldn't you?"
"Yes," said Catherine, stroking his long soft hair, "if I could
only get papa's consent, I'd spend half my time with you -- Pretty
I wish you were my brother!"
"And then you would like me as well as your father?" observed he
all the world, if you were my wife -- so I'd rather you were that!"
I should never love anybody better than papa," she returned
"And people hate their wives, sometimes; but not their sisters and
brothers, and if you were the latter, you would live with us, and
papa would be as fond of you, as he is of me."
Linton denied that people ever hated their wives; but Cathy
affirmed they did, and in her wisdom, instanced his own father's
aversion to her aunt.
I endeavoured to stop her thoughtless tongue -- I couldn't succeed,
till everything she knew was out.
Master Heathcliff, much irritated, asserted her relation was false.
"Papa told me; and papa does not tell falsehoods!" she answered
"My papa scorns yours!" cried Linton.
"He calls him a sneaking fool!"
"Yours is a wicked man," retorted Catherine, "and you are very
naughty to dare to repeat what he says -- He must be wicked, to
have made Aunt Isabella leave him as she did!"
"She didn't leave him," said the boy, "you shan't contradict me!"
"She did!" cried my young lady.
"Well, I'll tell you something!" said Linton.
"Your mother hated your father, now then."
"Oh!" exclaimed Catherine, too enraged to continue.
"And she loved mine!" added he.
"You little liar!
I hate you now!" she panted, and her face grew red with passion.
"She did! she did!" sang Linton sinking into the recess of his
chair, and leaning back his head to enjoy the agitation of the
other disputant who stood behind.
"Hush, Master Heathcliff!" I said, "that's your father's tale too,
"It isn't -- you hold your tongue!" he answered, "she did, she did,
Catherine, she did, she did!"
Cathy, beside herself, gave the chair a violent push, and caused
him to fall against one arm.
He was immediately seized by a suffocating cough that soon ended
It lasted so long, that it frightened even me.
As to his cousin, she wept with all her might, aghast at the
mischief she had done, though she said nothing.
I held him, till the fit exhausted itself.
Then he thrust me away; and leant his head down, silently --
Catherine quelled her lamentations also, took a seat opposite, and
looked solemnly into the fire.
"How do you feel now, Master Heathcliff," I inquired after waiting
"I wish she felt as I do," he replied, "spiteful, cruel
Hareton never touches me, he never struck me in his life -- And I
was better to-day -- and there -- --" his voice died in a whimper.
"I didn't strike you!" muttered Cathy chewing her lip to
prevent another burst of emotion.
He sighed and moaned like one under great suffering; and kept it up
for a quarter of an hour, on purpose to distress his cousin,
apparently, for whenever he caught a stifled sob from her, he put
renewed pain and pathos into the inflections of his voice.
"I'm sorry I hurt you, Linton!" she said at length, racked beyond
"But I couldn't have been hurt by that little push; and I
had no idea that you could, either -- you're not much, are you,
Don't let me go home, thinking I've done you harm! answer, speak to
"I can't speak to you," he murmured, "you've hurt me so, that I
shall lie awake all night, choking with this cough!
If you had it you'd know what it was -- but you'll be
I wonder how you would like to pass those fearful nights!"
And he began to wail aloud for very pity of himself.
"Since you are in the habit of passing dreadful nights," I said,
"it won't be Miss who spoils your ease; you'd be the same, had she
never come -- However, she shall not disturb you, again -- and
perhaps, you'll get quieter when we leave you."
"Must I go?" asked Catherine dolefully, bending over him.
"Do you want me to go, Linton?"
"You can't alter what you've done," he replied pettishly, shrinking
from her, "unless you alter it for the worse, by teasing me into a
"Well, then I must go?" she repeated.
"Let me alone, at least," said he "I can't bear your talking!"
She lingered, and resisted my persuasions to departure, a tiresome
while, but as he neither looked up, nor spoke, she finally made a
movement to the door, and I followed.
We were recalled by a scream -- Linton had slid from his seat on to
the hearthstone, and lay writhing in the mere perverseness of an
indulged plague of a child, determined to be as grievous and
harassing as it can.
I thoroughly gauged his disposition from his behaviour, and saw at
once it would be folly to attempt humouring him.
Not so my companion, she ran back in terror, knelt down, and cried,
and soothed, and entreated, till he grew quiet from lack of breath,
by no means from compunction at distressing her.
"I shall lift him on to the settle," I said, "and he may roll about
as he pleases; we can't stop to watch him -- I hope you are
satisfled, Miss Cathy, that you are not the person to
benefit him, and that his condition of health is not occasioned by
Now then, there he is!
Come away, as soon as he knows there is nobody by to care for his
nonsense, he'll be glad to lie still!"
She placed a cushion under his head, and offered him some water, he
rejected the latter, and tossed uneasily on the former, as if it
were a stone, or a block of wood.
She tried to put it more comfortably.
"I can't do with that," he said, "it's not high enough!"
Catherine brought another to lay above it.
"That's too high!" murmured the provoking thing.
"How must I arrange it, then?" she asked despairingly.
He twined himself up to her, as she half knelt by the settle, and
converted her shoulder into a support.
"No, that won't do!" I said.
"You'll be content with the cushion, Master Heathcliff!
Miss has wasted too much time on you, already; we cannot remain
five minutes longer."
"Yes, yes, we can!" replied Cathy.
"He's good and patient, now -- He's beginning to think I shall have
far greater misery than he will, to-night, if I believe he is the
worse for my visit; and then, I dare not come again -- Tell the
truth about it, Linton -- for I mustn't come, if I have hurt you."
"You must come, to cure me," he answered.
"You ought to come because you have hurt me -- You know you have,
I was not as ill, when you entered, as I am at present -- was I?"
"But you've made yourself ill by crying, and being in a passion."
"I didn't do it all," said his cousin.
"However, we'll be friends now.
And you want me -- you would wish to see me sometimes, really?"
"I told you, I did!" he replied impatiently.
"Sit on the settle and let me lean on your knee -- That's as mamma
used to do, whole afternoons together -- Sit quite still, and don't
talk, but you may sing a song if you can sing, or you may
promised to teach me, or a story -- I'd rather have a ballad
Catherine repeated the longest she could remember.
The employment pleased both mightily.
Linton would have another, and after that another; notwithstanding
my strenuous objections; and so, they went on, until the clock
struck twelve, and we heard Hareton in the court, returning for his
"And to-morrow, Catherine, will you be here to-morrow?" asked young
Heathcliff, holding her frock, as she rose reluctantly.
"No!" I answered, "nor next day neither."
She, however, gave a different response, evidently, for his
forehead cleared as she stooped, and whispered in his ear.
"You won't go to-morrow, recollect, Miss!" I commenced when we were
out of the house.
"You are not dreaming of it, are you?"
"Oh, I'll take good care!" I continued, "I'll have that lock
mended, and you can escape by no way else."
"I can get over the wall," she said laughing.
"The Grange is not a prison, Ellen, and you are not my jailer.
And besides I'm almost seventeen.
I'm a woman -- and I'm certain Linton would recover quickly if he
had me to look after him -- I'm older than he is, you know, and
wiser, less childish, am I not?
And he'll soon do as I direct him with some slight coaxing -- He's
a pretty little darling when he's good.
I'd make such a pet of him, if he were mine -- We should never
quarrel, should we, after we were used to each other?
Don't you like him, Ellen?"
"Like him?" I exclaimed.
"The worst tempered bit of a sickly slip that ever struggled into
Happily, as Mr Heathcliff conjectured, he'll not win twenty!
loss to his family, whenever he drops off; and lucky it is for us
that his father took him -- The kinder he was treated, the more
tedious and selfish he'd be!
I'm glad you have no chance of having him for a husband, Miss
My companion waxed serious at hearing this speech -- To speak of
his death so regardlessly wounded her feelings.
"He's younger than I," she answered, after a protracted pause of
meditation, "and he ought to live the longest, he will -- he must
live as long as I do.
He's as strong now as when he first came into the North, I'm
positive of that!
It's only a cold that ails him, the same as papa has -- You say
papa will get better, and why shouldn't he?"
"Well, well," I cried, "after all, we needn't trouble ourselves;
for listen, Miss, and mind, I'll keep my word -- If you attempt
going to Wuthering Heights again, with, or without me, I shall
inform Mr Linton, and unless he allow it, the intimacy with your
cousin must not be revived."
"It has been revived!" muttered Cathy sulkily.
"Must not be continued, then!" I said.
"We'll see!" was her reply, and she set off at a gallop, leaving me
to toil in the rear.
We both reached home before our dinner-time: my master supposed we
had been wandering through the park, and therefore, he demanded no
explanation of our absence.
As soon as I entered, I hastened to change my soaked shoes, and
stockings; but sitting such a while at the Heights, had done the
On the succeeding morning, I was laid up; and during three weeks I
remained incapacitated for attending to my duties -- a calamity
never experienced prior to that period, and, never I am thankful to
My little mistress behaved like an angel in coming to wait on me,
and cheer my solitude: the confinement brought me exceedingly low--
have slighter reasons for complaint than I had.
The moment Catherine left Mr Linton's room, she appeared at my bed-
Her day was divided between us; no amusement usurped a minute: she
neglected her meals, her studies, and her play; and she was the
fondest nurse that ever watched: she must have had a warm heart,
when she loved her father so, to give so much to me!
I said her days were divided between us; but the master retired
early, and I generally needed nothing after six o'clock, thus the
evening was her own.
Poor thing, I never considered what she did with herself after tea.
And though frequently, when she looked in to bid me good night I
remarked a fresh colour in her cheeks, and a pinkness over her
slender fingers; instead of fancying the hue borrowed from a cold
ride across the moors, I laid it to the charge of a hot fire in the