WHILE leading the way up-stairs, she recommended that I
should hide the candle, and not make a noise, for her master had an
odd notion about the chamber she would put me in; and never let
anybody lodge there willingly.
I asked the reason.
She did not know, she answered; she had only lived there a year or
two; and they had so many queer goings on, she could not begin to
Too stupified to be curious myself, I fastened my door and glanced
round for the bed.
The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press, and a
large oak case, with squares cut out near the top, resembling coach
Having approached this structure, I looked inside, and perceived it
to be a singular sort of old-fashioned couch, very conveniently
designed to obviate the necessity for every member of the family
having a room to himself.
In fact, it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window,
which it enclosed, served as a table.
I slid back the panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them
together again, and felt secure against the vigilance of
Heathcliff, and every one else.
The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled
up in one corner; and it was covered with writing scratched on the
This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds
of characters, large and small -- Catherine Earnshaw;
here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then
again to Catherine Linton.
In vapid listlessness I leant my head against the window, and
continued spelling over Catherine Earnshaw -- Heath
rested five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the
dark, as vivid as spectres -- the air swarmed with Catherines; and
rousing myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I discovered my candle
wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming the
place with an odour of roasted calf-skin.
I snuffed it off, and, very ill at ease, under the influence of
cold and lingering nausea, sat up, and spread open the injured tome
on my knee.
It was a Testament, in lean type, and smelling dreadfully musty: a
fly-leaf bore the inscription -- "Catherine Earnshaw, her book,"
and a date some quarter of a century back.
I shut it, and took up another, and another, till I had examined
Catherine's library was select; and its state of dilapidation
proved it to have been well used, though not altogether for a
legitimate purpose; scarcely one chapter had escaped a pen and ink
commentary, at least, the appearance of one, covering every morsel
of blank that the printer had left.
Some were detached sentences; other parts took the form of a
regular diary, scrawled in an unformed, childish hand.
At the top of an extra page, quite a treasure probably when first
lighted on, I was greatly amused to behold an excellent caricature
of my friend Joseph, rudely yet powerfully sketched.
An immediate interest kindled within me for the unknown Catherine,
and I began, forthwith, to decypher her faded hieroglyphics.
"An awful Sunday!" commenced the paragraph beneath.
"I wish my father were back again.
Hindley is a detestable substitute -- his conduct to Heathcliff is
atrocious -- H. and I are going to rebel -- we took our initiatory
step this evening.
"All day had been flooding with rain; we could not go
garret; and, while Hindley and his wife basked downstairs before a
comfortable fire, doing anything but reading their bibles, I'll
answer for it; Heathcliff, myself, and the unhappy plough-boy, were
commanded to take our Prayer-books, and mount -- we were ranged in
a row, on a sack of corn, groaning and shivering, and hoping that
Joseph would shiver too, so that he might give us a short homily
for his own sake.
A vain idea!
The service lasted precisely three hours; and yet my brother had
the face to exclaim, when he saw us descending,
"What, done already?"
"On Sunday evenings we used to be permitted to play, if we did not
make much noise; now a mere titter is sufficient to send us into
" 'You forget you have a master here' says the tyrant.
'I'll demolish the first who puts me out of temper!
I insist on perfect sobriety and silence.
Oh, boy! was that you?
Frances, darling, pull his hair as you go by; I heard him snap his
"Frances pulled his hair heartily; and then went and seated herself
on her husband's knee, and there they were, like two babies,
kissing and talking nonsense by the hour -- foolish palaver that we
should be ashamed of.
"We made ourselves as snug as our means allowed in the arch of the
I had just fastened our pinafores together, and hung them up for a
curtain; when in comes Joseph, on an errand from the stables.
He tears down my handy work, boxes my ears, and croaks:
"'T' maister nobbut just buried, and Sabbath nut oe'red, und t'
sahnd uh't gospel still i' yer lugs, and yah darr be laiking! shame
on ye! sit ye dahn, ill childer! they's good books eneugh if ye'll
"Saying this, he compelled us so to square our positions that we
might receive, from the far-off fire, a dull ray to show us the
text of the lumber he thrust upon us.
"I could not bear the employment.
I took my dingy volume by the scroop, and hurled it into the dog-
kennel, vowing I hated a good book.
"Heathcliff kicked his to the same place.
"Then there was a hubbub!
" 'Maister Hindley!' shouted our chaplain.
'Maister, coom hither!
Miss Cathy's riven th' back off 'Th' Helmet uh Salvation,' un'
Heathcliff's pawsed his fit intuh t' first part uh 'T' Brooad Way
It's fair flaysome ut yuh let 'em goa on this gait.
Ech! th' owd man ud uh laced 'em properly -- bud he's goan!'
"Hindley hurried up from his paradise on the hearth, and seizing
one of us by the collar, and the other by the arm, hurled both into
the back kitchen; where, Joseph asseverated, 'owd Nick' would fetch
us as sure as we were living; and, so comforted, we each sought a
separate nook to await his advent.
"I reached this book, and a pot of ink from a shelf, and pushed the
house-door ajar to give me light, and I have got the time on with
writing for twenty minutes; but my companion is impatient and
proposes that we should appropriate the dairy woman's cloak, and
have a scamper on the moors, under its shelter.
A pleasant suggestion -- and then, if the surly old man come in, he
may believe his prophesy verified -- we cannot be damper, or
colder, in the rain than we are here."
I suppose Catherine fulfilled her project, for the next sentence
took up another subject; she waxed lachrymose.
"How little did I dream that Hindley would ever make me cry so!"
and still I can't give over.
Hindley calls him a vagabond, and won't let him sit with us, nor
eat with us any more; and, he says, he and I must not play
together, and threatens to turn him out of the house if we break
"He has been blaming our father (how dared he?) for treating H. too
liberally; and swears he will reduce him to his right place --"
I began to nod drowsily over the dim page; my eye wandered from
manuscript to print.
I saw a red ornamented title..."Seventy Times Seven, and the First
of the Seventy First.
A Pious Discourse delivered by the Reverend Jabes Branderham, in
the Chapel of Gimmerden Sough."
And while I was, half consciously, worrying my brain to guess what
Jabes Branderham would make of his subject, I sank back in bed, and
Alas, for the effects of bad tea and bad temper! what else could it
be that made me pass such a terrible night?
I don't remember another that I can at all compare with it since I
was capable of suffering.
I began to dream, almost before I ceased to be sensible of my
I thought it was morning; and I had set out on my way home, with
Joseph for a guide.
The snow lay yards deep in our road; and, as we floundered on, my
companion wearied me with constant reproaches that I had not
brought a pilgrim's staff: telling me I could never get into the
house without one, and boastfully flourishing a heavy-headed
cudgel, which I understood to be so denominated.
For a moment I considered it absurd that I should need such a
weapon to gain admittance into my own residence.
Then, a new idea flashed across me.
I was not going there; we were journeying to hear the famous Jabes
Branderham preach from the text -- "Seventy Times Seven;" and
"First of the Seventy First," and were to be publicly exposed and
We came to the chapel -- I have passed it really in my walks twice
or thrice: it lies in a hollow, between two hills -- an elevated
hollow -- near a swamp, whose peaty moisture is said to answer all
the purposes of embalming on the few corpses deposited there.
The roof has been kept whole hitherto, but, as the clergyman's
stipend is only twenty pounds per annum, and a house with two
rooms, threatening speedily to determine into one, no clergyman
will undertake the duties of pastor, especially, as it is currently
reported that his flock would rather let him starve than increase
the living by one penny from their own pockets.
However, in my dream, Jabes had a full and attentive congregation:
and he preached--good God -- what a sermon!
Divided into four hundred and ninety parts -- each fully
equal to an ordinary address from the pulpit -- and each discussing
a separate sin!
Where he searched for them, I cannot tell; he had his private
manner of interpreting the phrase, and it seemed necessary the
brother should sin different sins on every occasion.
They were of the most curious character -- odd transgressions that
I never imagined previously.
Oh, how weary I grew.
How I writhed, and yawned, and nodded, and revived!
How I pinched and pricked myself, and rubbed my eyes, and stood up,
and sat down again, and nudged Joseph to inform me if he would
ever have done!
I was condemned to hear all out -- finally, he reached the
"First of the Seventy-First."
At that crisis, a sudden inspiration descended on me; I was moved
to rise and denounce Jabes Branderham as the sinner of the sin that
no Christian need pardon.
"Sir," I exclaimed, "sitting here, within these four walls, at one
and ninety heads of your discourse.
Seventy times seven times have I plucked up my hat, and been about
to depart -- Seventy times seven times have you preposterously
forced me to resume my seat.
The four hundred and ninety-first is too much.
Fellow martyrs, have at him!
Drag him down, and crush him to atoms, that the place which knows
him may know him no more!"
"Thou art the man!" cried Jabes, after a solemn pause,
leaning over his cushion.
"Seventy times seven times didst thou gapingly contort thy visage -
- seventy times seven did I take counsel with my soul -- Lo, this
is human weakness; this also may be absolved!
The First of the Seventy-First is come.
Brethren, execute upon him the judgment written! such honour have
all His saints!"
With that concluding word, the whole assembly, exalting their
pilgrim's staves, rushed round me in a body, and I, having no
weapon to raise in self-defence, commenced grappling with Joseph,
my nearest and most ferocious assailant, for his.
In the confluence of the multitude, several clubs crossed; blows,
aimed at me, fell on other sconces.
Presently the whole chapel resounded with rappings and counter-
Every man's hand was against his neighbour; and Branderham,
unwilling to remain idle, poured forth his zeal in a shower of loud
taps on the boards of the pulpit which responded so smartly, that,
at last, to my unspeakable relief, they woke me.
And what was it that had suggested the tremendous tumult, what had
played Jabes' part in the row?
Merely, the branch of a fir-tree that touched my lattice, as the
blast wailed by, and rattled its dry cones against the panes!
I listened doubtingly an instant; detected the disturber, then
turned and dosed, and dreamt again; if possible, still more
This time, I remembered I was lying in the oak closet, and I heard
distinctly the gusty wind, and the driving of the snow; I heard
also, the fir-bough repeat its teasing sound, and ascribed it to
the right cause; but, it annoyed me so much, that I resolved to
silence it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose and endeavoured to
unhasp the casement.
The hook was soldered into the staple, a circumstance observed by
me, when awake, but forgotten.
"I must stop it, nevertheless!" I muttered, knocking my knuckles
through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the
importunate branch: instead of which, my fingers closed on the
fingers of a little, ice-cold hand!
The intense horror of nightmare came over me; I tried to draw back
my arm, but, the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice,
"Let me in -- let me in!"
"Who are you?" I asked struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself.
"Catherine Linton," it replied, shiveringly, (why did I think of
I had read Earnshaw, twenty times for Linton) "I'm come
home, I'd lost my way on the moor!"
As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child's face looking through
the window -- Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to
attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the
broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and
soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, "Let me in!" and maintained
its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear.
"How can I?" I said at length.
"Let me go, if you want me to let you in!"
The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine through the hole, hurriedly
piled the books up in a pyramid against it, and stopped my ears to
I seemed to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour, yet, the
instant I listened, again, there was the doleful cry moaning on!
"Begone!" I shouted, "I'll never let you in, not if you beg for
"It's twenty years," mourned the voice, "twenty years, I've been a
waif for twenty years!"
Thereat began a feeble scratching outside, and the pile of books
moved as if thrust forward.
I tried to jump up; but, could not stir a limb; and so, yelled
aloud, in a frenzy of fright.
To my confusion, I discovered the yell was not ideal.
Hasty footsteps approached my chamber door: somebody pushed it
open, with a vigorous hand, and a light glimmered through the
squares at the top of the bed.
I sat shuddering, yet, and wiping the perspiration from my
forehead: the intruder appeared to hesitate and muttered to
At last, he said in a half-whisper, plainly not expecting an
"Is any one here?"
I considered it best to confess my presence, for I knew
Heathcliff's accents, and feared he might search further, if I kept
With this intention, I turned and opened the panels -- I shall not
soon forget the effect my action produced.
Heathcliff stood near the entrance, in his shirt and trousers; with
a candle dripping over his fingers, and his face as white as the
wall behind him.
The first creak of the oak startled him like an electric shock: the
light leaped from his hold to a distance of some feet, and his
agitation was so extreme, that he could hardly pick it up.
"It is only your guest, sir," I called out, desirous to spare him
"I had the misfortune to scream in my sleep, owing to a frightful
I'm sorry I disturbed you."
"Oh, God confound you, Mr Lockwood!
I wish you were at the -- " commenced my host setting the candle on
a chair, because he found it impossible to hold it steady.
"And who showed you up to this room?" he continued, crushing his
nails into his palms, and grinding his teeth to subdue the
"Who was it?
I've a good mind to turn them out of the house, this moment!"
"It was your servant, Zillah," I replied flinging myself, on to the
floor, and rapidly resuming my garments.
"I should not care if you did, Mr Heathcliff; she richly deserves
I suppose that she wanted to get another proof that the place was
haunted, at my expense -- Well, it is -- swarming with ghosts and
You have reason in shutting it up, I assure you.
No one will thank you for a dose in such a den!"
"What do you mean?" asked Heathcliff, "and what are you doing?
Lie down and finish out the night, since you are here;
but, for Heaven's sake! don't repeat that horrid noise -- Nothing
could excuse it, unless you were having your throat cut!"
"If the little fiend had got in at the window, she probably would
have strangled me!" I returned.
"I'm not going to endure the persecutions of your hospitable
ancestors, again -- Was not the Reverend Jabes Branderham akin to
you on the mother's side?
And that minx, Catherine Linton, or Earnshaw, or however she was
called -- she must have been a changeling -- wicked little soul!
She told me she had been walking the earth these twenty years: a
just punishment for her mortal transgressions, I've no doubt!"
Scarcely were these words uttered, when I recollected the
association of Heathcliff's with Catherine's name in the
I blushed at my inconsideration; but without showing further
consciousness of the offence, I hastened to add,
"The truth is, sir, I passed the first part of the night in --"
Here I stopped afresh -- I was about to say "perusing those old
volumes," then it would have revealed my knowledge of their
written, as well as their printed contents; so correcting myself, I
"In spelling over the name scratched on that window-ledge.
A monotonous occupation, calculated to set me asleep, like
counting, or -- "
"What can you mean, by talking in this way to me
?" thundered Heathcliff with savage vehemence.
"How -- how dare you, under my roof -- God! he's mad to
And he struck his forehead with rage.
I did not know whether to resent this language, or pursue my
explanation; but he seemed so powerfully affected that I took pity
and proceeded with my dreams; affirming I had never heard the
appellation of "Catherine Linton," before, but, reading it often
over produced an impression which personified itself when I had no
longer my imagination under control.
Heathcliff gradually fell back into the shelter of the bed, as I
spoke, finally, sitting down almost concealed behind it.
I guessed, however, by his irregular and intercepted breathing,
that he struggled to vanquish an access of violent emotion.
Not liking to show him that I had heard the conflict, I continued
my toilette rather noisily, looked at my watch, and soliloquised on
the length of the night:
"Not three o'clock, yet!
I could have taken oath it had been six -- time stagnates here --
"Always at nine in winter, and rise at four," said my host,
suppressing a groan; and, as I fancied, by the motion of his
shadow's arm, dashing a tear from his eyes.
"Mr Lockwood," he added, "you may go into my room; you'll only be
in the way, coming down stairs so early: and your childish outcry
has sent sleep to the devil for me."
"And for me too," I replied.
"I'll walk in the yard till daylight, and then I'll be off; and you
need not dread a repetition of my intrusion.
I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country
A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself."
"Delightful company!" muttered Heathcliff.
"Take the candle, and go where you please.
I shall join you directly.
Keep out of the yard, though, the dogs are unchained; and the house
-- Juno mounts sentinel there -- and -- nay, you can only ramble
about the steps and passages -- but, away with you!
I'll come in two minutes."
I obeyed, so far as to quit the chamber; when, ignorant where the
narrow lobbies led, I stood still, and was witness, involuntarily,
to a piece of superstition on the part of my landlord, which
belied, oddly, his apparent sense.
He got on to the bed, and wrenched open the lattice, bursting, as
he pulled at it, into an uncontrollable passion of tears.
"Come in! come in!" he sobbed.
"Cathy, do come!
Oh do -- once more!
Oh! my heart's darling, hear me this time -- Catherine,
The spectre showed a spectre's ordinary caprice; it gave no sign of
being; but the snow and wind whirled wildly through, even reaching
my station, and blowing out the light.
There was such anguish in the gush of grief that accompanied this
raving, that my compassion made me overlook its folly, and I drew
having related my ridiculous nightmare, since it produced that
agony; though why was beyond my comprehension.
I descended cautiously to the lower regions and landed in the back-
kitchen, where a gleam of fire, raked compactly together, enabled
me to rekindle my candle.
Nothing was stirring except a brindled, grey cat, which crept from
the ashes, and saluted me with a querulous mew.
Two benches, shaped in sections of a circle, nearly enclosed the
hearth; on one of these I stretched myself, and Grimalkin mounted
We were both of us nodding, ere any one invaded our retreat; and
then it was Joseph shuffling down a wooden ladder that vanished in
the roof, through a trap, the ascent to his garret, I suppose.
He cast a sinister look at the little flame which I had enticed to
play between the ribs, swept the cat from its elevation, and
bestowing himself in the vacancy, commenced the operation of
stuffing a three-inch pipe with tobacco; my presence in his sanctum
was evidently esteemed a piece of impudence too shameful for
He silently applied the tube to his lips, folded his arms, and
I let him enjoy the luxury, unannoyed; and after sucking out the
last wreath, and heaving a profound sigh, he got up, and departed
as solemnly as he came.
A more elastic footstep entered next, and now I opened my mouth for
a "good-morning," but closed it again, the salutation unachieved;
for Hareton Earnshaw was performing his orisons, sotto voce
, in a series of curses directed against every object he touched,
while he rummaged a corner, for a spade or shovel to dig through
He glanced over the back of the bench dilating his nostrils, and
thought as little of exchanging civilities with me, as with my
companion, the cat.
I guessed by his preparations that egress was allowed,
He noticed this, and thrust at an inner door with the end of his
spade, intimating by an inarticulate sound, that there was the
place where I must go, if I changed my locality.
It opened into the house, where the females were already astir,
Zillah urging flakes of flame up the chimney with a colossal
bellows; and Mrs Heathcliff, kneeling on the hearth, reading a book
by the aid of the blaze.
She held her hand interposed between the furnace-heat and her eyes;
and seemed absorbed in her occupation: desisting from it only to
chide the servant for covering her with sparks, or to push away a
dog, now and then, that snoozled its nose over forwardly into her
I was surprised to see Heathcliff there also.
He stood by the fire, his back towards me, just finishing a stormy
scene to poor Zillah, who ever and anon interrupted her labour to
pluck up the corner of her apron, and heave an indignant groan.
"And you, you worthless -- " he broke out as I entered, turning to
his daughter-in-law, and employing an epithet as harmless as duck,
or sheep, but generally represented by a dash.
"There you are at your idle tricks again!
The rest of them do earn their bread -- you live on my charity!
Put your trash away, and find something to do.
You shall pay me for the plague of having you eternally in my sight
-- do you hear, damnable jade?"
"I'll put my trash away, because you can make me, if I refuse,"
answered the young lady, closing her book, and throwing it on a
"But I'll not do anything, though you should swear your tongue out,
except what I please!"
Heathcliff lifted his hand, and the speaker sprang to a safer
Having no desire to be entertained by a cat and dog combat, I
stepped forward briskly, as if eager to partake the warmth of the
hearth, and innocent of any knowledge of the interrupted dispute.
Each had enough decorum to suspend further hostilities; Heathcliff
placed his fists, out of temptation, in his pockets: Mrs Heathcliff
curled her lip, and walked to a seat far off; where she kept her
word by playing the part of a statue during the remainder of my
That was not long.
I declined joining their breakfast, and, at the first gleam of
dawn, took an opportunity of escaping into the free air, now clear,
and still, and cold as impalpable ice.
My landlord hallooed for me to stop ere I reached the bottom of the
garden, and offered to accompany me across the moor.
It was well he did, for the whole hill-back was one billowy, white
ocean; the swells and falls not indicating corresponding rises and
depressions in the ground -- many pits, at least, were filled to a
level; and entire ranges of mounds, the refuse of the quarries,
blotted from the chart which my yesterday's walk left pictured in
I had remarked on one side of the road, at intervals of six or
seven yards, a line of upright stones, continued through the whole
length of the barren: these were erected, and daubed with lime, on
purpose to serve as guides in the dark, and also, when a fall, like
the present, confounded the deep swamps on either hand with the
firmer path: but, excepting a dirty dot pointing up, here and
there, all traces of their existence had vanished; and my companion
found it necessary to warn me frequently to steer to the right, or
left, when I imagined I was following, correctly, the windings of
We exchanged little conversation, and he halted at the entrance of
Thrushcross park, saying, I could make no error there.
pushed forward, trusting to my own resources, for the porter's
lodge is untenanted as yet.
The distance from the gate to the Grange is two miles: I believe I
managed to make it four; what with losing myself among the trees,
and sinking up to the neck in snow, a predicament which only those
who have experienced it can appreciate.
At any rate, whatever were my wanderings, the clock chimed twelve
as I entered the house; and that gave exactly an hour for every
mile of the usual way from Wuthering Heights.
My human fixture, and her satellites rushed to welcome me;
exclaiming, tumultuously, they had completely given me up;
everybody conjectured that I perished last night; and they were
wondering how they must set about the search for my remains.
I bid them be quiet, now that they saw me returned, and, benumbed
to my very heart, I dragged up-stairs, whence, after putting on dry
clothes, and pacing to and fro, thirty or forty minutes, to restore
the animal heat, I am adjourned to my study, feeble as a kitten,
almost too much so to enjoy the cheerful fire, and smoking coffee
which the servant has prepared for my refreshment.