Wuthering Heights (Collector's Library)

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WUTHERING HEIGHTS EMILY BRONTË

E D I T E D BY R I C H A R D J . D U N N

A NORTON CRITICAL FOURTH

EDITION

EDITION

WUTHERING HEIGHTS This best-selling Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1847 first edition of the novel. For the Fourth Edition, the editor has collated the 1847 text with several modern editions and has cor­ rected a number of variants, including accidentals. T h e text is accompanied by entirely new explanatory annotations. New to the Fourth Edition are twelve of Emily Bronte's letters regarding the publication of the 1 8 4 7 edition of Wuthering Heights as well as the evolution of the 1 8 5 0 edition, prose and poetry selections by the author, four reviews of the novel, and Edward Chitham's insightful and informative chronology of the creative process behind this beloved work. Five major critical interpretations of Wuthering Heights are in­ cluded, three of them new to the Fourth Edition. A. Stuart Daley considers the importance of chronology in the novel. J. Hillis Miller examines Wuthering Heights s problems of genre and critical reputation. Susan Gubar assesses the role Victorian Christianity plays in the novel, while Martha Nussbaum traces the novel's romanticism. Finally, Lin Haire-Sargeant scrutinizes the role of Heathcliff in film adaptations of Wuthering Heights. A Chronology and updated S e l e c t e d Bibliography are also included. ABOUT T H E S E R I E S : E a c h Norton Critical Edition includes an authori­ tative text, contextual and source materials, and a wide range of inter­ pretations—from contemporary perspectives to the most current criti­ cal theory—as well as a bibliography and, in most cases, a chronology of the author's life and work. C O V E R I L L U S T R A T I O N : Photograph o f a pathway Emily B r o n t ë fre­ quently walked when leaving her home village of Haworth to roam the nearby moorland. In her 1 8 5 0 preface, C h a r l o t t e B r o n t ë spoke of Wuthering Heights as "rustic all through. It is moorish, and wild, and knotty as a root of heath." Photograph by Bichard J . Dunn. ISBN 0 - 3 9 3 - 9 7 8 8 9 - 3

The Editor is Professor of English at the Uni­ versity of Washington, where he has taught since 1967. His publications include the Norton Critical Editions of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre; Ap­ proaches to Teaching Dickens's David Copperfield; David Copperfield: An Annotated Bibliography; The English Novel: Twentieth-Century Criticism Defoe to Hardy; and Oliver Twist: Whole Heart and Soul. He is the author of many articles on the Brontes, Dick­ ens, Tennyson, and Carlyle. RICHARD J . DUNN

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NORTON Also

& COMPANY,

INC.

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À NORTON CRITICAL

EDITION

Emily Brontë WITHERING HEIGHTS ^à^L THE 1847 TEXT BACKGROUNDS AND CONTEXTS CRITICISM

FOURTH EDITION

Edited by

RICHARD J. DUNN U N I V E R S I T Y

OF

W A S H I N G T O N

W • W • NORTON & COMPANY • New York • London

Copyright © 2003, 1990, 1972, 1963 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. The text of this book is composed in Fairfield Medium with the display set in Bernhard Modern. Composition by PennSet, Inc. Manufacturing by The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bronte, Emily, 1818-1848. Wuthering Heights : the 1847 text, backgrounds and criticism / Emily Brontë ; edited by Richard J. Dunn.— 4th ed. p. cm.— (A Norton critical edition) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-393-97889-3 (pbk.) 1. Triangles (Interpersonal relations)—Fiction. 2. Rejection (Psychology)— Fiction. 3. Yorkshire (England)—Fiction. 4. Rural families—Fiction. 5. Foundlings—Fiction. 6. Brontë, Emily, 1818-1848. Wuthering heights. I. Dunn, Richard J., 1938- II. Title. PR4172.W7 2002b 823'.8—dc21 2002026531 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110 www.wwnorton.com W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., Castle House, 75/76 Wells Street, London WIT 3QT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

Contents Preface to t h e F o u r t h E d i t i o n

The Text of Wuthering

ix

Heights

Backgrounds and Contexts THE 1847

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

T h e 1 8 5 0 Wuthering Heights S e p t e m b e r 5, 1 8 5 0 S e p t e m b e r 5, 1 8 5 0

259 261

Emily B r o n t e ' s Diary November 24, 1834 June 26, 1837 July 3 0 , 1841 July 3 0 , 1 8 4 5 " T h e Butterfly" Edward Chitham • Sculpting the Statue: A Chronology of the Process of Writing Wuthering Heights 266 P u b l i s h i n g t h e 1 8 4 7 Wuthering Heights April 6, 1 8 4 6 July 4 , 1 8 4 6 N o v e m b e r 10, 1 8 4 7 D e c e m b e r 14, 1 8 4 7 December 2 1 , 1847 F e b r u a r y 15, 1 8 4 8 Reviews of t h e 1 8 4 7 Wuthering Heights Athenaeum Atlas Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper Examiner Britannia Unidentified Review New Monthly Magazine Palladium North American Review THE 1850

l

261 261 262 263 264 264

276 277 278 278 279 280 280 280 281 282 284 285 288 291 292 293 298 303

in P r o g r e s s

304 304 304

vi

CONTENTS

September 13, 1850 September 20, 1850 September 27, 1850 November 19[?], 1850 December 8, 1850 306 Charlotte Brontë • Biographical Notice of Ellis Acton Bell 307 Charlotte Brontë • Editor's Preface to the Edition of Wuthering Heights 313 Emily Bronte's Poems for the 1850 Wuthering Heights 317 Charlotte Brontë • Selections Poems 4 0 [A little w h i l e , a little while] 4 2 [ T h e b l u e b e l l is t h e s w e e t e s t flower] 3 9 [ L o u d w i t h o u t t h e w i n d w a s roaring] 84 [Shall Earth no more inspire thee] 326 79 [The night wind] 327 85 [Aye there it is! It wakes to night] 328 128 [Love is like the wild rose briar] 329 112 [From a Dungeon Wall] 330 106 [How few, of all the hearts that loved] 332 98 [In the earth, the earth thou shalt be laid] 333 35 [Song by J. Brenzaida to G.S.] 334 32 [For him who struck thy foreign string] 335 120a [Heavy hangs the raindrop] 335 120b [Child of Delight!] 337 123 [Silent is the House] 338 89 [I do not weep] 342 201 [Stanzas] 343 125 [No coward soul is mine] 344 Reviews of t h e 1 8 5 0 Wuthering Heights Examiner Leader Athenaeum Eclectic Review

Criticism A. Stuart Daley • A Chronology of Wuthering Heights 357 J. Hillis Miller • Wuthering Heights: the "Uncanny" 361 Susan Gubar • Looking Oppositely: Bible of Hell 379 Martha Nussbaum • Wuthering Heights: Ascent 394

304 305 305 306 and New

318 320 320 322 323

345 345 348 350 351

355 Repetition

and

Emily

Bronte's

The

Romantic

CONTENTS

vii

Lin H a i r e - S a r g e a n t • S y m p a t h y for t h e Devil: T h e Problem of Heathcliff in Film Versions of Wuthering Heights 410 Emily B r o n t ë : A C h r o n o l o g y

429

S e l e c t e d Bibliography

431

Preface to tke Fourtk Edition W i l l i a m M . Sale, Jr.'s first N o r t o n Critical E d i t i o n of Wuthering Heights in 1962 w a s a p i o n e e r i n g effort t h a t e s t a b l i s h e d a reliable text, provided b a c k g r o u n d s a n d c o n t e x t s , a n d r e c o v e r e d s e l e c t e d reviews a n d criticism. F o r t h e s e c o n d e d i t i o n t e n years later, h e r e p l a c e d several of t h e critical essays w i t h n e w e r o n e s a n d a d d e d brief c o m m e n t a r y of his o w n c o n c e r n i n g t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p of E m i l y Bronte's earlier G o n d a l p o e m s a n d h e r novel. F o r t h e t h i r d edi­ tion in 1 9 9 0 , t h e first after Sale's d e a t h , I r e t a i n e d h i s t e x t u a l a n d explanatory n o t e s a n d m u c h of t h e b a c k g r o u n d m a t e r i a l , b u t rear­ r a n g e d it a n d a d d e d m a t e r i a l s to d i s t i n g u i s h b e t w e e n t h e c o m p o ­ sition, p u b l i c a t i o n , a n d r e c e p t i o n of t h e first e d i t i o n a n d t h e o n e edited by C h a r l o t t e B r o n t ë in 1 8 5 0 . B e c a u s e b i o g r a p h i c a l , textual, a n d critical a n d c u l t u r a l s t u d i e s of t h e p a s t q u a r t e r of a c e n t u r y h a v e p r o v i d e d m o r e a n d b e t t e r infor­ mation about the Brontes and their times, we can better situate Emily's novel a m o n g t h o s e of h e r sisters a n d also b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d t h e c u l t u r a l c o n t e x t of s o m e o n e r e a d i n g t h e 1 8 4 7 or 1 8 5 0 e d i t i o n s of Wuthering Heights. T h i s edition's selective b i b l i o g r a p h y p r o v i d e s a g u i d e to t h e B r o n t ë s c h o l a r s h i p w h i c h h a s m a d e p o s s i b l e t h e fourth N o r t o n Critical E d i t i o n of Wuthering Heights. I give p r i m a c y to t h e 1 8 4 7 edition, b e c a u s e given b o t h t h e i n d e p e n d e n c e of E m ­ ily's m i n d a n d art a n d t h e qualifications C h a r l o t t e ' s e d i t i o n m a d e to t h e work, it is helpful to r e a d Wuthering Heights first as it a p ­ p e a r e d in 1 8 4 7 a n d t h e n to deal w i t h it as e d i t e d a n d p r o m o t e d by the then better-known Charlotte. E d i t i o n s of Wuthering

Heights,

1847-1850

A l t h o u g h w e k n o w t h a t Emily B r o n t ë received proofs a n d cor­ r e c t e d t h e m to s o m e extent, h e r p u b l i s h e r , T h o m a s N e w b y , p r o ­ d u c e d a d i s a p p o i n t i n g first e d i t i o n , flawed by obvious t y p o g r a p h i c a l errors, e c c e n t r i c p a r a g r a p h i n g , a n d m u c h i n c o n s i s t e n c y in p u n c ­ t u a t i o n . A l t h o u g h n o c o m m e n t by Emily o n t h e finished p r o d u c t r e m a i n s , it is r e a s o n a b l e to a s s u m e s h e s h a r e d C h a r l o t t e B r o n t e ' s disgust w i t h t h e N e w b y e d i t i o n . P l e a s e d w i t h h e r o w n p u b l i s h e r s , C h a r l o t t e c o m p l a i n e d to t h e m t h a t a l t h o u g h N e w b y h a d proofix

X

P R E F A C E TO THE F O U R T H E D I T I O N

s h e e t s by t h e b e g i n n i n g of A u g u s t 1 8 4 7 , h e "shuffles, gives his word a n d b r e a k s it," a n d t h a t h e r "relatives h a v e suffered from exhausting delay a n d p r o c r a s t i n a t i o n . " After receiving copies of t h e Newby edi­ t i o n t h a t fall, s h e r e p o r t e d t h a t " T h e b o o k s [both Wuthering Heights a n d Agnes Grey] a r e n o t well got u p — t h e y a b o u n d in errors of t h e p r e s s , " particularly, " T h e o r t h o g r a p h y & p u n c t u a t i o n of t h e books a r e mortifying t o a d e g r e e — a l m o s t all t h e errors t h a t w e r e corrected in t h e p r o o f - s h e e t s a p p e a r i n t a c t in w h a t s h o u l d have b e e n t h e fair c o p i e s . If M r . N e w b y always d o e s b u s i n e s s in this way, few a u t h o r s w o u l d like t o h a v e h i m for t h e i r p u b l i s h e r a s e c o n d t i m e . " A m e r i c a n e d i t i o n s of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, a n d Agnes Grey a p p e a r e d in 1 8 4 8 . T h e r e w a s n o i n t e r n a t i o n a l copyright, a n d t h e B r o n t e s h a d n o t a u t h o r i z e d t h e A m e r i c a n e d i t i o n s . T h u s textual v a r i a n t s in t h e first A m e r i c a n e d i t i o n have n o a u t h o r i t y . T h e Amer­ i c a n e d i t i o n s , h o w e v e r , did lead t o reviews w h i c h c a m e to t h e Bron­ tes' attention. Wuthering Heights w o u l d n o t h a v e g a i n e d s t a t u r e a n d even re­ m a i n e d in p r i n t for m a n y years h a d n o t Jane Eyre b e e n s u c h a n i n s t a n t a n d c o n t i n u i n g s e n s a t i o n . C h a r l o t t e ' s novel was p u b l i s h e d by S m i t h , E l d e r i n O c t o b e r 1 8 4 7 . I n D e c e m b e r of t h e s a m e year, T h o m a s N e w b y p r i n t e d only 2 5 0 of t h e p r o m i s e d 3 5 0 copies of t h e v o l u m e s c o n t a i n i n g Wuthering Heights a n d Agnes Grey. Reviewers w e r e c o n v i n c e d t h a t Jane Eyre w a s by far t h e s u p e r i o r work, b u t t h a n k s in p a r t to N e w b y ' s u n s c r u p u l o u s a n d i n s i n u a t i v e p r o m o t i o n of t h e o t h e r t w o novels, t h e r e w a s r a m p a n t s p e c u l a t i o n t h a t t h e p s e u d o n y m s , C u r r e r , Ellis, a n d A c t o n Bell, w e r e t h o s e of a single a u t h o r or, possibly, of a c o m b i n a t i o n of b r o t h e r ( s ) a n d sister(s). T h e 1 8 4 8 N e w York e d i t i o n a t t r i b u t e d Wuthering Heights to " T h e Au­ t h o r of ' J a n e Eyre'," a n d a B o s t o n edition of t h e s a m e year simply i n d i c a t e d it w a s " E d i t e d by C u r r e r Bell" ( w h i c h h a d b e e n t h e word­ ing o n t h e title-page of t h e first British edition of Jane Eyre t h e year before). C o n f u s e d a n d m i s l e d t h o u g h t h e p u b l i c h a d b e e n in t h e late 1 8 4 0 s a b o u t t h e a u t h o r s h i p of t h e s e w o r k s , it is evident t h a t Emily's a n d A n n e ' s fictions r o d e t h e coattails or skirts ( d e p e n d i n g on w h e t h e r t h e y w e r e s e e n as m a l e or female writing) of Jane Eyre. In 1 8 4 8 , C h a r l o t t e , w h i l e Emily a n d A n n e w e r e yet alive, p e r s u a d e d h e r o w n p u b l i s h e r to r e i s s u e t h e sisters' Poems t h a t two years earlier Aylott a n d J o n e s h a d p u b l i s h e d b u t w h i c h h a d sold only two copies. T h e S m i t h , E l d e r r e i s s u e of t h e p o e m s a n d t h e i r 1 8 5 0 Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey . . . A New Edition Revised, With A Bio­ graphical Notice of the Authors, A Selection from Their Literary Re1

1. Margaret Smith, ed. The Letters of Charlotte 1995. 5 6 1 , 5 7 5 , 5 9 0 .

Brontë. Vol. I. Oxford: Clarendon Press,

P R E F A C E TO THE F O U R T H E D I T I O N

xi

mains, and a Preface by Currer Bell w e r e d i r e c t c o n s e q u e n c e s of Jane Eyre's s u c c e s s . As editor of h e r late sisters' work, C h a r l o t t e a d d r e s s e d a n u m b e r of issues c o n c e r n i n g Wuthering Heights a n d Emily. T h i s w a s h e r o p p o r t u n i t y to c o r r e c t t h e m a n y textual e r r o r s of t h e first e d i t i o n a n d to i n t r o d u c e m o r e of Emily's p o e t r y , w h i c h s h e also heavily edited. In h e r b i o g r a p h i c a l n o t i c e s h e i n t e n d e d to e n d m u c h of t h e confusion a b o u t t h e Bell p s e u d o n y m s ( a l t h o u g h s h e did n o t s t a t e t h e B r o n t ë s u r n a m e ) , a n d in h e r p r e f a c e s h e r e p l i e d to t h e m o s t hostile a n d e c h o e d t h e m o s t favorable earlier reviews of t h e 1 8 4 7 Wuthering Heights. A l t h o u g h Emily lived only a y e a r after t h e p u b ­ lication of Wuthering Heights, s h e w a s a w a r e of t h e novel's r e c e p ­ tion, a n d in h e r w r i t i n g d e s k w e r e f o u n d e x c e r p t s of five reviews. Also, C h a r l o t t e b r o u g h t to h e r a t t e n t i o n c o m m e n t s from The North American Review in 1 8 4 8 . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , w e h a v e n o inkling of w h a t s h e t h o u g h t a b o u t t h e s e or of w h e t h e r s h e m i g h t h a d s e e n o t h e r c o m m e n t s s h e did n o t r e t a i n . R e c o v e r i n g a Wuthering

Heights

Text

As is t h e c a s e w i t h t h e n u m b e r p l a n s , proofs, a n d l e t t e r s of C h a r l e s D i c k e n s , m o d e r n editors of n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y fiction of­ t e n c a n t r a c k closely a book's c o n c e p t i o n , c o m p o s i t i o n , a n d revi­ sion. S u c h is n o t possible for Wuthering Heights. T h e p r o b l e m , as n o t e d above, is t h a t n o t h i n g r e m a i n s directly from Emily's h a n d a n d w e a r e left w i t h a n error-riddled first e d i t i o n . M o d e r n e d i t o r s h a v e s c a n t i n f o r m a t i o n u p o n w h i c h to c o n s t r u c t a copy-text. A l a t e r s e c ­ tion of this N o r t o n CriticaJ^Edition provides C h a r l o t t e ' s 1 8 5 0 bio­ graphical s t a t e m e n t a n d p r e f a c e a n d also t h e p o e m s s h e s e l e c t e d to p r e s e n t as a s a m p l i n g of Emily's literary r e m a i n s . T h e s e a r e im­ p o r t a n t early a n d i n t i m a t e r e s p o n s e s t o m u c h of t h e negative r e ­ c e p t i o n of t h e first e d i t i o n , b u t textually critical m o d e r n e d i t o r s c a n g r a n t n o a u t h o r i t y to t h e 1 8 5 0 e d i t i o n b e c a u s e t h e y a r e u n a b l e t o d e t e r m i n e w h a t a w a r e n e s s C h a r l o t t e h a d of h e r sister's i n t e n t i o n s — w h e t h e r s h e h a d m a n u s c r i p t or p r o o f c o r r e c t i o n s . In t h e "Textual C o m m e n t a r y " for t h e 1 9 6 3 , 1 9 7 2 , a n d 1 9 9 0 N o r ­ t o n Critical E d i t i o n s of Wuthering Heights, W i l l i a m M . Sale, Jr. d e s c r i b e d t h e kind of textual e r r o r s a t t r i b u t a b l e to Emily's p u b ­ lisher, N e w b y , as "typographical; . . . l e t t e r s a r e t r a n s p o s e d a n d o u t of a l i g n m e n t ; ellipsis d o t s a r e s o m e t i m e s u s e d i n p l a c e of d a s h e s ; h y p h e n s a r e occasionally o m i t t e d a t t h e e n d s of lines w h e n w o r d s are divided." H e realized t h a t s o m e of t h e s e a r e " h a r d t o a c c o u n t for except as a c o n s e q u e n c e of N e w b y ' s i g n o r a n c e or c a r e l e s s n e s s , " b u t h e also g r a n t e d t h a t , w i t h n o surviving m a n u s c r i p t or c o r r e c t e d proof for t h e N e w b y e d i t i o n , it is i m p o s s i b l e to d e t e r m i n e " t h e d e -

xii

P R E F A C E TO THE F O U R T H E D I T I O N

g r e e to w h i c h p r i n t e r a n d a u t h o r s h o u l d s h a r e in t h e responsibility for t h e s t a t e of t h e text." F o r h e r 1 9 7 6 C l a r e n d o n Wuthering Heights, H i l d a M a r s d e n like­ wise c h o s e t h e N e w b y e d i t i o n as copy-text, b u t m a d e n u m e r o u s e m e n d a t i o n s to avoid " r e p r o d u c i n g t h e o r t h o g r a p h y a n d p u n c t u a ­ t i o n w h i c h C h a r l o t t e d e p l o r e d . " Like Sale, M a r s d e n c o r r e c t e d "the p u n c t u a t i o n a n d o t h e r e x a m p l e s w h e r e . . . w r o n g , misleading, ir­ ritating, or d i s c o n c e r t i n g to t h e r e a d e r " (xxxii). T h e Sale a n d M a r s ­ d e n texts differ little in s u b s t a n c e , b u t careful c o m p a r i s o n of their c o r r e c t i o n s to t h e 1 8 4 7 text i n d i c a t e s s o m e different c h o i c e s a b o u t h o w b e s t to a d d r e s s t h e i r c o n c e r n s for t h e m o d e r n r e a d e r . T h e s e c h o i c e s c e r t a i n l y reflect Sale's p r i m a r y c o n c e r n for A m e r i c a n read­ ers a n d M a r s d e n ' s for British o n e s . T h i s f o u r t h N o r t o n Critical E d i t i o n of Wuthering Heights repro­ d u c e s , w i t h only a few e x c e p t i o n s , t h e text Sale e s t a b l i s h e d for t h e first t w o N o r t o n e d i t i o n s ( 1 9 6 3 , 1 9 7 2 ) a n d w h i c h I u s e d again in t h e t h i r d N o r t o n C r i t i c a l E d i t i o n ( 1 9 9 0 ) . E a c h of t h o s e editions c o n t a i n e d a n u m b e r of textual n o t e s , w h i c h I h a v e n o t i n c l u d e d this t i m e , b e c a u s e m y p u r p o s e h a s b e e n to m a k e t h e 1 8 4 7 text as a c ­ cessible as p o s s i b l e a n d , in t h e " B a c k g r o u n d s a n d C o n t e x t s " section of t h i s novel, to d e s c r i b e t h e n a t u r e a n d i m p a c t of C h a r l o t t e ' s 1 8 5 0 e d i t i o n . T o collate Sale's a n d M a r s d e n ' s w o r k or even to r e p r i n t t h e textual v a r i a n t s Sale h i m s e l f listed in t h e first t h r e e editions w o u l d p r o v i d e , primarily in a c c i d e n t a l s , scores of v a r i a n t editorial choices t h a t d o c u m e n t t h e impossibility of arriving at a truly a u t h e n t i c text. A n y r e a d e r n e e d i n g to review t h e textual issues in detail, i n c l u d i n g t h e c h a n g e s in spelling a n d p u n c t u a t i o n m a d e by C h a r l o t t e B r o n t ë in 1 8 5 0 , s h o u l d c o n s u l t b o t h t h e 1 9 9 0 S a l e - D u n n T h i r d N o r t o n C r i t i c a l E d i t i o n a n d t h e 1 9 7 6 M a r s d e n C l a r e n d o n Edition. 2

I n t h i s text, I h a v e silently c o r r e c t e d w h a t a p p e a r to have b e e n a few e r r o r s by Sale in d e a l i n g w i t h t h e 1 8 4 7 edition, a n d in a few p l a c e s I h a v e c a n c e l l e d Sale's c h a n g e s in p u n c t u a t i o n to favor t h o s e of t h e first e d i t i o n . F o r e x a m p l e , in C h a p t e r V, Nelly D e a n speaks of C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w as "a wild, wick slip," a n d Sale, a s s u m i n g t h i s t o b e N e w b y ' s e r r o r , c o r r e c t e d t h e w o r d i n g to "a wild, wicked slip." A l t h o u g h t h e Oxford English Dictionary cites "wick" as a var­ i a n t of "wicked," it also s h o w s t h e w o r d to b e a N o r t h e r n t e r m for " q u i c k , " w h i c h b e t t e r fits t h e c o n t e x t . T h e major differences in p u n c t u a t i o n b e t w e e n t h e Sale a n d M a r s d e n texts c o n c e r n t e r m i n a l p u n c t u a t i o n . S a l e generally s h o r t e n e d s e n t e n c e s , eliminating m o r e of t h e original d a s h e s , ellipses, a n d s e m i c o l o n s t h a n did M a r s d e n . Following t h e first e d i t i o n p u n c t u a t i o n r e t a i n e d by M a r s d e n , I have

2. Marsden, Hilda and Ian Jack, eds. Wuthering xxv.

Heights.

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.

P R E F A C E TO THE F O U R T H E D I T I O N

xiii

c h o s e n to r e s t o r e d a s h e s w i t h i n a few key s p e e c h e s w h e r e t h i s p u n c t u a t i o n signifies f r a g m e n t a r y expressions of c h a r a c t e r s u n d e r t h e great stress of often inexplicable s t a t e s of m i n d or h e a r t . S u c h is t h e c a s e in C a t h e r i n e ' s efforts t o give Nelly "a feeling of h o w I feel" ( C h . IX), HeathclifPs a c c o u n t of his e x p e r i e n c e s a t t h e grave of C a t h e r i n e ( C h . XXIX), a n d Nelly's a d m i s s i o n of h e r fear of g h o s t s ( C h . XXXIV). I have e x p a n d e d a n d revised all t h e e x p l a n a t o r y f o o t n o t e s for t h i s edition, b a s e d u p o n t h e n e e d s of r e c e n t g e n e r a t i o n s of college-level r e a d e r s . In p a s s a g e s heavy w i t h N o r t h - o f - E n g l a n d dialect, f o o t n o t e s in earlier editions glossed s e l e c t e d t e r m s , a n d s t u d e n t s h a v e o b ­ j e c t e d to having t h e i r r e a d i n g i n t e r r u p t e d by s u c h n o t e s . T o e a s e this, I have n o w t r a n s l a t e d t h e p a s s a g e s of dialect, w h i c h , a c c o r d i n g to their e a r for t h e r e g i o n a l i s m s , r e a d e r s m a y t a k e or leave. H e a d n o t e s to t h e " B a c k g r o u n d s a n d C o n t e x t s " a n d " C r i t i c i s m " sections of this edition m a k e clear t h e r a t i o n a l e for s e l e c t i o n . T h e objective is to provide t h e r e a d e r w i t h reliable i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e c o m p o s i t i o n , p r o d u c t i o n , a n d r e c e p t i o n of t h e 1 8 4 7 a n d 1 8 5 0 texts a n d to supply s a m p l e s of c o n t e m p o r a r y critical c o m m e n t a r y a n d a p p r o a c h e s to Wuthering Heights. N e w to this edition are E d w a r d C h i t h a m ' s c o m m e n t a r y o n t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e novel; critical excerpts from S a n d r a G i l b e r t a n d S u s a n G u b a r , The Mad­ woman in the Attic; a n d from M a r t h a N u s s b a u m ' s "Wuthering Heights: T h e R o m a n t i c A s c e n t . " As w i t h m u c h n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y fiction, film versions of Wuthering Heights h a v e proliferated. T h u s , this edition i n c l u d e s Lin H a i r e - S a r g e a n t ' s essay o n t h e p o r t r a y a l of Heathcliff in t h e major film a d a p t a t i o n s . T o a c k n o w l e d g e all w h o have c o n t r i b u t e d to t h i s e d i t i o n w o u l d d e m a n d r e p r i n t i n g a n u m b e r of class lists n a m i n g t h e m a n y s t u ­ d e n t s w h o c o n t i n u e to b e f a s c i n a t e d a n d s o m e t i m e s r e p u l s e d by this novel. In r e c e n t years I h a v e u r g e d t h e m t o t a k e a c u e from J . Hillis Miller, w h o d e s c r i b e s t h e r e a d e r as " t h e last surviving c o n ­ s c i o u s n e s s e n v e l o p i n g all t h e s e o t h e r c o n s c i o u s n e s s e s , o n e i n s i d e t h e o t h e r . T h e r e a d e r is c o n d e m n e d . . . t o k e e p t h e b o o k o p e n a n d at t h e s a m e t i m e to close its covers o n c e a n d for all, so it m a y b e forgotten, or so it m a y b e r e a d o n c e m o r e , this t i m e definitively" (see "Wuthering Heights: R e p e t i t i o n a n d t h e ' U n c a n n y ' " ) . F o r t h e s u p p o r t of colleagues a m o n g faculty a n d staff at t h e University of W a s h i n g t o n , advisers a n d c o n t r i b u t o r s to t h i s e d i t i o n , a n d p a r t i c ­ ularly growing n u m b e r s of r e a d e r s in m y close family, I a m m o s t grateful. Seattle, W a s h i n g t o n

RICHARD J.

DUNN

The Text of WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Chapter

I

1 8 0 1 . — I have j u s t returned from a visit to my l a n d l o r d — t h e solitary neighbour that I shall b e troubled with. T h i s is certainly a beautiful country! In all E n g l a n d , I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's h e a v e n — a n d Mr. Heathcliff a n d I are s u c h a suitable pair to divide the desolation between u s . A capital fellow! H e little imagined how my heart w a r m e d towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously u n d e r their brows, as I rode u p , and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a j e a l o u s resolution, still further in his waistcoat, a s I a n n o u n c e d my name. "Mr. Heathcliff?" I said. A nod was the answer. "Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honour of calling as soon a s possible after my arrival, to express the h o p e that I have not inconvenienced you by my p e r s e v e r a n c e in soliciting the occupation of T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e : I heard, yesterday, you h a d h a d some t h o u g h t s — " "Thrushcross G r a n g e is my own, sir," he interrupted, wincing, "I should not allow any one to inconvenience m e , if I c o u l d hinder it—walk in!" T h e "walk in," was uttered with closed teeth a n d expressed the sentiment, "Go to the Deuce!". Even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathizing movement to the words, a n d I think that c i r c u m s t a n c e determined m e to a c c e p t the invitation: I felt interested in a m a n who s e e m e d m o r e exaggeratedly reserved than myself. When he saw my horse's b r e a s t fairly p u s h i n g the barrier, he did pull out his hand to u n c h a i n it, and then sullenly p r e c e d e d m e u p the causeway, calling, a s we entered the c o u r t — "Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood's horse; a n d bring u p s o m e wine." "Here we have the whole establishment of d o m e s t i c s , I s u p p o s e , " was the reflection, s u g g e s t e d by this c o m p o u n d order. "No wonder the grass grows u p between the flags, a n d cattle a r e the only hedgecutters." J o s e p h was an elderly, nay, a n old m a n , very old, p e r h a p s , though hale and sinewy. "The Lord help us!" he soliloquized in an u n d e r t o n e of peevish displeasure, while relieving m e of my horse: looking, m e a n t i m e , in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he m u s t have n e e d of divine aid to digest his dinner, a n d his pious ejaculation h a d no reference to my unexpected advent. 3

4

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

W u t h e r i n g Heights is the n a m e of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. "Wuthering" being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the a t m o s p h e r i c tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. P u r e , b r a c i n g ventilation they m u s t have u p there, at all times, indeed: one may g u e s s the power of the north wind, blowing over the e d g e , by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the h o u s e ; a n d by a r a n g e of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, a s if craving a l m s of the sun. Happily, the architect h a d foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, a n d the corners defended with large jutting stones. Before p a s s i n g the threshold, I p a u s e d to admire a quantity of g r o t e s q u e carving lavished over the front, a n d especially about the principal door, above which, a m o n g a wilderness of crumbling grif­ fins a n d s h a m e l e s s little boys, I detected the date "1500," and the n a m e "Hareton E a r n s h a w . " I would have m a d e a few c o m m e n t s , a n d r e q u e s t e d a short history of the p l a c e from the surly owner, b u t his attitude at the door a p p e a r e d to d e m a n d my speedy en­ trance, or c o m p l e t e d e p a r t u r e , a n d I h a d no desire to aggravate his i m p a t i e n c e , previous to inspecting the penetralium. O n e step brought us into the family sitting-room, without any introductory lobby or p a s s a g e : they call it here "the house" pre­ eminently. It includes kitchen a n d parlour, generally, but I believe at W u t h e r i n g Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into a n o t h e r quarter; at least I distinguished a chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils d e e p within; a n d I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking a b o u t the h u g e fire-place; nor any glitter of c o p p e r s a u c e p a n s a n d tin cullenders on the walls. One end, indeed, reflected splendidly both light and heat from ranks of i m m e n s e pewter d i s h e s , interspersed with silver j u g s and tankards, towering row after row, in a vast o a k dresser, to the very roof. T h e latter h a d never b e e n underdrawn: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes, a n d clusters of legs of beef, m u t t o n , a n d h a m , concealed it. Above the c h i m n e y were sundry villainous old g u n s , a n d a couple of horsepistols, a n d , by way of ornament, three gaudily-painted canisters d i s p o s e d along its ledge. T h e floor was of s m o o t h , white stone; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, painted green, one or two heavy b l a c k o n e s lurking in the s h a d e . In an arch under the dresser, r e p o s e d a h u g e , liver-coloured bitch pointer surrounded by a swarm of s q u e a l i n g p u p p i e s , and other dogs h a u n t e d other recesses. T h e a p a r t m e n t a n d furniture would have been nothing extraor­ dinary a s belonging to a homely, northern farmer, with a stubborn c o u n t e n a n c e , a n d stalwart limbs set out to advantage in kneeb r e e c h e s a n d gaiters. S u c h an individual, seated in his arm-chair, his m u g of ale frothing on the r o u n d table before him, is to be seen

5

CHAPTER I

in any circuit of five or six miles a m o n g these hills, if you go at the right time, after dinner. B u t M r . Heathcliff forms a singular con­ trast to his a b o d e a n d style of living. H e is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress a n d m a n n e r s a g e n t l e m a n , that is, a s m u c h a gen­ tleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, p e r h a p s , yet not looking a m i s s with his negligence, b e c a u s e he h a s a n erect a n d h a n d s o m e figure—and rather m o r o s e . Possibly, s o m e p e o p l e might s u s p e c t him of a degree of under-bred pride; I have a sympathetic chord within that tells m e it is nothing of the sort: I know, by instinct, his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays of feeling—to manifestations of m u t u a l kindliness. He'll love a n d hate, equally under cover, a n d e s t e e m it a s p e c i e s of i m p e r t i n e n c e to be loved or hated a g a i n — N o , I'm running on too f a s t — I b e s t o w my own attributes over-liberally on him. M r . Heathcliff m a y have entirely dissimilar r e a s o n s for keeping his h a n d out of the way w h e n he meets a would-be a c q u a i n t a n c e , to those which a c t u a t e m e . L e t m e hope my constitution is a l m o s t peculiar: my d e a r m o t h e r u s e d to say I should never have a comfortable h o m e , a n d only last s u m ­ mer I proved myself perfectly unworthy of one. While enjoying a m o n t h of fine weather at the s e a - c o a s t , I was thrown into the c o m p a n y of a m o s t fascinating c r e a t u r e , a real god­ dess in my eyes, a s long a s s h e took no notice of m e . I "never told my love" vocally; still, if looks have l a n g u a g e , the m e r e s t idiot might have g u e s s e d I was over h e a d a n d ears: s h e u n d e r s t o o d m e at last, and looked a r e t u r n — t h e sweetest of all i m a g i n a b l e looks. A n d what did I do? I confess it with s h a m e — s h r u n k icily into myself, like a snail; at every glance retired colder a n d farther; till, finally, the p o o r innocent was led to doubt her own s e n s e s , a n d , overwhelmed with confusion at her s u p p o s e d m i s t a k e , p e r s u a d e d her m a m m a to decamp. 1

By this curious turn of disposition I have g a i n e d the reputation of deliberate heartlessness, how undeserved, I a l o n e c a n a p p r e c i a t e . I took a seat at the end of the hearthstone o p p o s i t e that towards which my landlord a d v a n c e d , a n d filled u p a n interval of silence by attempting to c a r e s s the canine mother, who h a d left her nursery and was sneaking wolfishly to the b a c k of my legs, her lip curled up, a n d her white teeth watering for a s n a t c h . My c a r e s s provoked a long, guttural gnarl. "You'd better let the dog alone," growled M r . Heathcliff in uni­ son, checking fiercer d e m o n s t r a t i o n s with a p u n c h of his foot. "She's not a c c u s t o m e d to be s p o i l e d — n o t kept for a pet." 1. T h e a l l u s i o n m a y b e t o t h e c h a s t e O l i v i a , w h o " n e v e r t o l d h e r l o v e , / B u t l e t c o n c e a l m e n t , l i k e a w o r m i n t h ' b u d , / F e e d u p o n h e r d a m a s k c h e e k . " Twelfth

Night

2.4.110—12. Lock-

w o o d n o t o n l y e x a g g e r a t e s h i s r o m a n t i c d i s a p p o i n t m e n t b u t r e n d e r s it i r o n i c , b e c a u s e h e is in f a c t "telling" r e a d e r s o f h i s love.

6

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

T h e n , striding to a side-door, he shouted a g a i n — "Joseph!" J o s e p h m u m b l e d indistinctly in the depths of the cellar, but gave no intimation of ascending; so his m a s t e r dived down to him, leav­ ing m e vis-à-vis the ruffianly bitch a n d a pair of grim, shaggy sheep dogs, who s h a r e d with her a j e a l o u s guardianship over all my movements. Not anxious to c o m e in contact with their fangs, I sat still; but, imagining they would scarcely u n d e r s t a n d tacit insults, I unfortu­ nately indulged in winking a n d making faces at the trio, and some turn of my physiognomy so irritated m a d a m , that she suddenly broke into a fury a n d leapt on my knees. I flung her back, and h a s t e n e d to interpose the table between us. This proceeding roused the whole hive. Half-a-dozen four-footed fiends, of various sizes and ages, i s s u e d from hidden dens to the c o m m o n centre. I felt my heels and coat-laps peculiar subjects of assault; and, parrying off the larger c o m b a t a n t s as effectually as I could with the poker, I was constrained to d e m a n d , aloud, a s s i s t a n c e from s o m e of the house­ hold in re-establishing p e a c e . Mr. Heathcliff and his m a n climbed the cellar steps with vexa­ tious p h l e g m . I don't think they moved one s e c o n d faster than u s u a l , though the hearth was an a b s o l u t e tempest of worrying and yelping. Happily, a n inhabitant of the kitchen m a d e more dispatch; a lusty d a m e , with t u c k e d - u p gown, bare a r m s , and fire-flushed cheeks, r u s h e d into the midst of us flourishing a frying-pan; and used that weapon, and her tongue, to s u c h p u r p o s e , that the storm subsided magically, a n d she only r e m a i n e d , heaving like a sea after a high wind, w h e n her m a s t e r entered on the scene. "What the devil is the matter?" he asked, eyeing m e in a manner that I could ill e n d u r e after this inhospitable treatment. "What the devil, indeed!" I muttered. "The herd of possessed swine could have h a d no worse spirits in them than those animals of yours, sir. You might as well leave a stranger with a brood of tigers!" "They won't m e d d l e with p e r s o n s who touch nothing," he re­ marked, putting the bottle before m e , and restoring the displaced table. "The dogs do right to b e vigilant. T a k e a glass of wine?" "No, thank you." "Not bitten, are you?" "If I had been, I would have set my signet on the biter." Heathcliff's c o u n t e n a n c e relaxed into a grin. 2

2.

L u k e 8 . 2 7 - 3 4 is t h e s t o r y o f t h e m a n c a l l e d L e g i o n , b e c a u s e h e w a s b e s e t by devils. T h r o u g h C h r i s t ' s i n t e r c e s s i o n , the d e m o n s w e r e t r a n s f e r r e d to a h e r d of

many

swine.

C H A P T E R II

7

"Come, come," he said, "you are flurried, Mr. L o c k w o o d . H e r e , take a little wine. G u e s t s are so exceedingly rare in this h o u s e that I and my dogs, I a m willing to own, hardly know how to receive them. Your health, sir!" I bowed and returned the pledge, beginning to perceive that it would be foolish to sit sulking for the misbehaviour of a p a c k of curs: besides, I felt loath to yield the fellow further a m u s e m e n t , at my expense, since his h u m o u r took that turn. H e — p r o b a b l y swayed by prudential considerations of the folly of offending a good t e n a n t — r e l a x e d a little, in the laconic style of chipping off his p r o n o u n s a n d auxiliary verbs, a n d introduced what he s u p p o s e d would be a subject of interest to m e , a d i s c o u r s e on the advantages and disadvantages of my present p l a c e of retirement. I found him very intelligent on the topics we touched; a n d , before I went home, I was e n c o u r a g e d so far as to volunteer another visit to-morrow. H e evidently wished no repetition of my intrusion. I shall go, notwithstanding. It is astonishing how sociable I feel myself c o m ­ pared with him. Chapter

II

Yesterday afternoon set in misty a n d cold. I h a d half a m i n d to spend it by my study fire, instead of wading through heath a n d m u d to Wuthering Heights. O n coming up from dinner, however (N. B . I dine between twelve and one o'clock; the housekeeper, a matronly lady taken as a fixture along with the h o u s e , could not, or would not c o m p r e h e n d my re­ quest that I might be served at five.)—on m o u n t i n g the stairs with this lazy intention, and stepping into the room, I saw a servant-girl on her knees, surrounded by b r u s h e s a n d coal-scuttles, a n d raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames with h e a p s of cin­ ders. This spectacle drove m e b a c k immediately; I took my hat, a n d , after a four miles' walk, arrived at H e a t h c l i f f s g a r d e n gate j u s t in time to e s c a p e the first feathery flakes of a snow shower. On that bleak hilltop the earth was hard with a b l a c k frost, a n d the air m a d e m e shiver through every limb. Being u n a b l e to remove the chain, I j u m p e d over, and, running u p the flagged c a u s e w a y bordered with straggling gooseberry b u s h e s , knocked vainly for ad­ mittance, till my knuckles tingled and the dogs howled. "Wretched inmates!" I ejaculated, mentally, "you deserve perpet­ ual isolation from your species for your churlish inhospitality. At least, I would not keep my doors barred in the day time. I don't c a r e — I will get in!" S o resolved, I grasped the latch and shook it vehemently. Vinegar-

8

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

f a c e d J o s e p h projected his h e a d from a round window of the barn. "Whet are ye for?" he shouted. " T maister's dahn i't' fowld. G o a rahnd by th' end ut' laith, if yah went tuh spake tull him." "Is there nobody inside to open the door?" I hallooed, responsively. "They's n o b b u t t' missis; a n d shoo'll nut oppen't an ye m a k yer flaysome dins till neeght." "Why? c a n n o t you tell her who I a m , eh, J o s e p h ? " "Nor-ne me! Aw'll h a e noa hend wi't," muttered the head vanishing. T h e snow b e g a n to drive thickly. I seized the handle to essay another trial, when a young m a n , without coat, a n d shouldering a pitchfork, a p p e a r e d in the yard behind. H e hailed m e to follow him, and, after m a r c h i n g through a w a s h - h o u s e a n d a paved area con­ taining a coal-shed, p u m p , a n d pigeon cote, we at length arrived in the large, w a r m , cheerful a p a r t m e n t where I was formerly received. It glowed delightfully in the r a d i a n c e of an i m m e n s e fire, com­ p o u n d e d of coal, peat, a n d wood; a n d near the table, laid for a plentiful evening meal, I was p l e a s e d to observe the "missis," an individual w h o s e existence I h a d never previously s u s p e c t e d . I bowed a n d waited, thinking she would bid m e take a seat. S h e looked at m e , leaning b a c k in her chair, a n d remained motionless and mute. "Rough weather!" I remarked. "I'm afraid, M r s . Heathcliff, the door m u s t b e a r the c o n s e q u e n c e of your servants' leisure atten­ d a n c e : I had hard work to m a k e them hear me!" S h e never o p e n e d her m o u t h . I s t a r e d — s h e stared also. At any rate, s h e kept her eyes on m e , in a cool, regardless manner, ex­ ceedingly e m b a r r a s s i n g a n d disagreeable. "Sit down," said the y o u n g m a n , gruffly. "He'll be in soon." I obeyed; a n d h e m m e d , a n d called the villain J u n o , who deigned, at this s e c o n d interview, to move the extreme tip of her tail, in token of owning my a c q u a i n t a n c e . "A beautiful animal!" I c o m m e n c e d again. "Do you intend parting with the little ones, m a d a m ? " "They are not mine," said the a m i a b l e hostess more repellingly than Heathcliff himself could have replied. "Ah, your favourites are a m o n g these!" I continued, turning to an o b s c u r e c u s h i o n full of s o m e t h i n g like cats. "A strange choice of favourites," she observed scornfully. 1

2

3

1.

" W h a t d o y o u w a n t ? . . . T h e m a s t e r ' s d o w n at the [sheep] fold. G o a r o u n d by the e n d o f t h e b a r n if y o u w a n t t o s p e a k t o h i m . "

2.

" T h e r e ' s n o o n e b u t t h e m i s s u s ; a n d s h e ' l l n o t o p e n it i f y o u m a k e y o u r d r e a d f u l n o i s e s until night."

3.

" N o t m e ! I'll h a v e n o h a n d i n i t . "

C H A P T E R II

9

Unluckily, it was a h e a p of d e a d rabbits. I h e m m e d o n c e m o r e , and drew closer to the hearth, repeating my c o m m e n t on the wildness of the evening. "You should not have c o m e out," she said, rising a n d r e a c h i n g from the chimney-piece two of the painted canisters. Her position before was sheltered from the light; now, I h a d a distinct view of her whole figure a n d c o u n t e n a n c e . S h e was slender, and apparently scarcely p a s t girlhood: an a d m i r a b l e form, a n d the most exquisite little face that I have ever h a d the p l e a s u r e of b e ­ holding: small features, very fair; flaxen ringlets, or rather golden, hanging loose on her delicate neck; and e y e s — h a d they b e e n a g r e e ­ able in expression, they would have been irresistible. Fortunately for my susceptible heart, the only sentiment they evinced hovered between scorn and a kind of desperation, singularly u n n a t u r a l to be detected there. T h e canisters were almost out of her reach; I m a d e a motion to aid her; she turned u p o n m e as a miser might turn if any o n e at­ tempted to assist him in counting his gold. "I don't want your help," she s n a p p e d , "I can get t h e m for my­ self." "I beg your pardon," I h a s t e n e d to reply. "Were you asked to tea?" she d e m a n d e d , tying an apron over her neat black frock, and standing with a spoonful of the leaf p o i s e d over the pot. "I shall be glad to have a cup," I answered. "Were you asked?" she repeated. "No," I said, half smiling. "You are the proper p e r s o n to a s k me." S h e flung the tea back, spoon a n d all, and r e s u m e d her chair in a pet, her forehead corrugated, a n d her red under-lip p u s h e d out, like a child's, ready to cry. Meanwhile, the young m a n had slung onto his p e r s o n a decidedly shabby upper garment, a n d , erecting himself before the blaze, looked down on m e from the corner of his eyes, for all the world as if there were s o m e mortal feud u n a v e n g e d between us. I b e g a n to doubt whether he were a servant or not; his dress a n d s p e e c h were both rude, entirely devoid of the superiority observable in Mr. and M r s . Heathcliff; his thick, brown curls were rough and uncul­ tivated, his whiskers e n c r o a c h e d bearishly over his cheeks, a n d his hands were embrowned like those of a c o m m o n labourer. Still his bearing was free, almost haughty, a n d he showed none of a do­ mestic's assiduity in attending on the lady of the h o u s e . In the a b s e n c e of clear proofs of his condition, I d e e m e d it best to abstain from noticing his curious conduct, and, five m i n u t e s af­ terwards, the entrance of Heathcliff relieved m e , in s o m e m e a s u r e , from my uncomfortable state.

10

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

"You s e e , sir, I a m c o m e a c c o r d i n g to promise!" I exclaimed, a s ­ s u m i n g the cheerful; "and I fear I shall be weather-bound for half an hour, if you can afford m e shelter during that s p a c e . " "Half a n hour?" he said, shaking the white flakes from his clothes; "I wonder you should select the thick of a snow-storm to ramble about in. D o you know that you run a risk of being lost in the m a r s h e s ? P e o p l e familiar with these m o o r s often miss their road on s u c h evenings, a n d , I c a n tell you, there is no c h a n c e of a change at present." "Perhaps I c a n get a guide a m o n g your lads, a n d he might stay at the G r a n g e till m o r n i n g — c o u l d you spare m e one?" "No, I could not." "Oh, indeed! Well, then, I m u s t trust to my own sagacity." "Umph." "Are you going to m a k th' tea?" d e m a n d e d he of the shabby coat, shifting his ferocious gaze from m e to the young lady. "Is he to have any?" s h e asked, appealing to Heathcliff. "Get it ready, will you?" was the answer, uttered so savagely that I started. T h e tone in which the words were said revealed a genuine b a d n a t u r e . I no longer felt inclined to call Heathcliff a capital fellow. W h e n the p r e p a r a t i o n s were finished, he invited m e with— "Now, sir, bring forward your chair." And we all, including the rustic youth, drew r o u n d the table, an a u s t e r e silence prevailing while we d i s c u s s e d our meal. I thought, if I h a d c a u s e d the cloud, it was my duty to make an effort to dispel it. T h e y could not every day sit so grim and taciturn, a n d it was i m p o s s i b l e , however ill-tempered they might be, that the universal scowl they wore was their every day c o u n t e n a n c e . "It is strange," I b e g a n in the interval of swallowing one cup of tea a n d receiving another, "it is strange how c u s t o m can mould our tastes a n d ideas; m a n y could not imagine the existence of happiness in a life of s u c h c o m p l e t e exile from the world as you spend, Mr. Heathcliff; yet, I'll venture to say, that, s u r r o u n d e d by your family, and with your a m i a b l e lady as the presiding genius over your home and heart—" "My a m i a b l e lady!" he interrupted, with an almost diabolical sneer on his f a c e . "Where is s h e — m y amiable lady?" "Mrs. Heathcliff, your wife, I mean." "Well, y e s — O h ! you would intimate that her spirit has taken the post of ministering angel, a n d g u a r d s the fortunes of Wuthering Heights, even when her body is gone. Is that it?" Perceiving myself in a blunder, I attempted to correct it. I might have seen there was too great a disparity between the ages of the parties to m a k e it likely that they were m a n and wife. O n e was about

C H A P T E R II

11

forty, a period of mental vigour at which m e n s e l d o m cherish the delusion of being married for love, by girls: that d r e a m is reserved for the solace of our declining years. T h e other did not look seven­ teen. T h e n it flashed upon m e — " T h e clown at my elbow, who is drink­ ing his tea out of a basin and eating his b r e a d with u n w a s h e d h a n d s , may be her h u s b a n d . Heathcliff, junior, of c o u r s e . H e r e is the con­ s e q u e n c e of being buried alive: she has thrown herself away u p o n that boor, from sheer ignorance that better individuals existed! A sad pity—I m u s t beware how I c a u s e her to regret her choice." T h e last reflection may s e e m conceited; it was not. My neighbour struck m e as bordering on repulsive. I knew, through experience, that I was tolerably attractive. "Mrs. Heathcliff is my daughter-in-law," said Heathcliff, corrob­ orating my surmise. H e turned, a s he spoke, a peculiar look in her direction, a look of hatred, unless he has a m o s t perverse set of facial m u s c l e s that will not, like those of other people, interpret the language of his soul. "Ah, certainly—I see now; you are the favoured p o s s e s s o r of the beneficent fairy," I remarked, turning to my neighbour. This was worse than before: the youth grew crimson, a n d clenched his fist with every a p p e a r a n c e of a meditated a s s a u l t . B u t he s e e m e d to recollect himself, presently, and s m o t h e r e d the storm in a brutal c u r s e , muttered on my behalf, which, however, I took care not to notice. "Unhappy in your conjectures, sir!" observed my host; "we neither of us have the privilege of owning your good fairy; her m a t e is d e a d . I said she was my daughter-in-law, therefore, she m u s t have married my son." "And this young m a n i s — " "Not my son, assuredly!" Heathcliff smiled again, as if it were rather too bold a j e s t to attribute the paternity of that bear to him. "My n a m e is Hareton Earnshaw," growled the other; "and I'd counsel you to respect it!" "I've shown no disrespect," was my reply, laughing internally at the dignity with which he a n n o u n c e d himself. H e fixed his eye on m e longer than I c a r e d to return the stare, for fear I might be tempted either to box his ears, or render my hilarity audible. I b e g a n to feel unmistakably out of p l a c e in that pleasant family circle. T h e dismal spiritual a t m o s p h e r e o v e r c a m e , and more than neutralized the glowing physical comforts round m e ; and I resolved to be c a u t i o u s how I ventured u n d e r those rafters a third time. T h e b u s i n e s s of eating being c o n c l u d e d , and no one uttering a

12

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

word of sociable conversation, I a p p r o a c h e d a window to examine the weather. A sorrowful sight I saw: dark night c o m i n g down prematurely, a n d sky a n d hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow. "I don't think it possible for m e to get h o m e now, without a guide," I could not help exclaiming. "The roads will be buried al­ ready; a n d , if they were bare, I could scarcely distinguish a foot in advance." "Hareton, drive those dozen sheep into the barn porch. They'll be covered if left in the fold all night; and put a plank before them," said Heathcliff. "How m u s t I do?" I continued, with rising irritation. T h e r e was no reply to my question; and, on looking round, I saw only J o s e p h bringing in a pail of porridge for the dogs, and M r s . Heathcliff, leaning over the fire, diverting herself with burning a b u n d l e of m a t c h e s which had fallen from the chimney-piece as she restored the tea-canister to its place. T h e former, when he had deposited his burden, took a critical survey of the room, a n d , in cracked tones, grated o u t — "Aw woonder hagh yah c a n faishion tuh stand thear i' idleness un' war, when all on 'em's g o a n aght! B u d yah're a nowt, and it's noa u s e talking—yah'll niver m e n d uh yer ill ways; b u d goa raight tuh t' divil, like yer mother afore ye!" I imagined, for a m o m e n t , that this piece of eloquence was ad­ d r e s s e d to me; a n d , sufficiently enraged, stepped towards the aged rascal with an intention of kicking him out of the door. M r s . Heathcliff, however, checked m e by her answer. "You s c a n d a l o u s old hypocrite!" she replied. "Are you not afraid of being carried away bodily, whenever you mention the devil's n a m e ? I warn you to refrain from provoking m e , or I'll ask your a b d u c t i o n a s a special favour. S t o p , look here, J o s e p h , " she contin­ ued, taking a long, dark book from a shelf. "I'll show you how far I've p r o g r e s s e d in the B l a c k A r t — I shall soon be competent to m a k e a clear h o u s e of it. T h e red cow didn't die by chance; and your r h e u m a t i s m can hardly be reckoned a m o n g providential visitations!" "Oh, wicked, wicked!" g a s p e d the elder, "may the Lord deliver us from evil!" 4

5

4.

"I w o n d e r h o w y o u c a n b r i n g y o u r s e l f t o s t a n d t h e r e i n i d l e n e s s a n d w o r s e , w h e n a l l o f t h e m have g o n e out! B u t you're a nothing, a n d there's no u s e talking—you'll never m e n d your bad ways; but go

5.

right

to t h e devil, like y o u r m o t h e r b e f o r e you."

N e c r o m a n c y : the art of p e r f o r m i n g wonderful feats by s u p e r n a t u r a l m e a n s , with assis­ t a n c e f r o m t h e p o w e r s o f evil. T h e o t h e r w i s e i m p e r c e p t i v e L o c k w o o d h e r e r e a l i z e s C a t h y is c o u n t e r i n g J o s e p h w i t h a little witch's " m o c k m a l i g n i t y . "

C H A P T E R II

13

"No, reprobate! you are a c a s t a w a y — b e off, or I'll hurt you s e ­ riously! I'll have you all modelled in wax a n d clay; a n d the first who p a s s e s the limits I fix, shall—I'll not say what he shall b e d o n e to — b u t , you'll see! G o , I'm looking at you!" T h e little witch p u t a m o c k malignity into her beautiful eyes, a n d J o s e p h , trembling with sincere horror, hurried out praying a n d ejac­ ulating "wicked" a s he went. I thought her c o n d u c t m u s t b e p r o m p t e d by a species of dreary fun; a n d , now that we were alone, I endeavoured to interest her in my distress. "Mrs. Heathcliff," I said, earnestly, "you m u s t excuse m e for trou­ bling y o u — I p r e s u m e , b e c a u s e , with that face, I'm s u r e you c a n n o t help being good-hearted. D o point out s o m e l a n d m a r k s by which I may know my way h o m e . I have n o m o r e idea how to get there than you would have how to get to London!" "Take the road you c a m e , " s h e answered, e n s c o n c i n g herself in a chair, with a candle, a n d the long b o o k open before her. "It is brief advice, but a s s o u n d a s I c a n give." "Then, if you hear of m e being discovered d e a d in a bog, or a pit full of snow, your c o n s c i e n c e won't whisper that it is partly your fault?" "How so? I cannot escort you. They wouldn't let m e go to the end of the garden-wall." "You! I should b e sorry to a s k you to cross the threshold, for my convenience, on s u c h a night," I cried. "I want you to tell m e my way, not to show it; or else to p e r s u a d e M r . Heathcliff to give m e a guide." "Who? There is himself, E a r n s h a w , Zillah, J o s e p h , a n d I. W h i c h would you have?" "Are there no boys at the farm?" "No, those are all." "Then it follows that I a m compelled to stay." "That you m a y settle with your host. I have nothing to d o with it." "I hope it will b e a lesson to you, to m a k e n o m o r e rash journeys on these hills," cried Heathcliff's stern voice from the kitchen en­ trance. "As to staying here, I don't keep a c c o m m o d a t i o n s for visi­ tors; you m u s t share a b e d with Hareton, or J o s e p h , if you do." "I can sleep on a chair in this room," I replied. "No, no! A stranger is a stranger, b e he rich or p o o r — i t will not suit m e to permit any o n e the range of the p l a c e while I a m off guard!" said the unmannerly wretch. With this insult my patience w a s at a n end. I uttered a n expres­ sion of disgust, a n d p u s h e d p a s t him into the yard, running against Earnshaw in my haste. It was so dark that I could not s e e the m e a n s

14

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

of exit, a n d , as I w a n d e r e d round, I heard another specimen of their civil behaviour a m o n g s t e a c h other. At first, the young m a n a p p e a r e d a b o u t to befriend me. "I'll go with him a s far a s the park," he said. "You'll go with him to hell!" exclaimed his master, or whatever relation he bore. "And who is to look after the horses, eh?" "A man's life is of m o r e c o n s e q u e n c e than one evening's neglect of the horses; s o m e b o d y m u s t go," m u r m u r e d M r s . Heathcliff, more kindly than I expected. "Not at your c o m m a n d ! " retorted Hareton. "If you set store on him, you'd better be quiet." "Then I hope his ghost will h a u n t you; a n d I hope Mr. Heathcliff will never get another tenant, till the G r a n g e is a ruin!" she an­ swered sharply. "Hearken, hearken, shoo's cursing on 'em!" muttered J o s e p h , to­ wards w h o m I h a d b e e n steering. H e sat within earshot, milking the cows by the aid of a lantern which I seized unceremoniously, and, calling out that I would send it b a c k on the morrow, r u s h e d to the nearest postern. "Maister, maister, he's staling t' lantern!" shouted the ancient, p u r s u i n g my retreat. "Hey, G n a s h e r ! Hey, dog! Hey, Wolf, holld him, holld him!" O n opening the little door, two hairy monsters flew at my throat, bearing m e down a n d extinguishing the light, while a mingled guf­ faw, from Heathcliff a n d H a r e t o n , put the copestone on my rage a n d humiliation. Fortunately, the b e a s t s s e e m e d more bent on stretching their p a w s , a n d yawning a n d flourishing their tails, than devouring me alive; but they would suffer no resurrection, a n d I was forced to lie till their malignant m a s t e r s p l e a s e d to deliver me: then hatless, and trembling with wrath, I ordered the miscreants to let m e o u t — o n their peril to keep m e one m i n u t e longer—with several incoherent threats of retaliation that, in their indefinite depth of virulency, s m a c k e d of King L e a r . T h e v e h e m e n c e of my agitation brought on a copious bleeding at the n o s e , a n d still Heathcliff laughed, a n d still I scolded. I don't know what would have c o n c l u d e d the scene had there not been one p e r s o n at h a n d rather more rational than myself, and more benev­ olent than my entertainer. T h i s was Zillah, the stout housewife, who at length i s s u e d forth to inquire into the nature of the uproar. She thought that s o m e of them had been laying violent hands on me, 6

7

6.

"She's putting a curse on

7.

T h e a l l u s i o n m a y b e t o L e a r ' s p a s s i o n f o r v e n g e a n c e : "I w i l l d o s u c h t h i n g s — / W h a t t h e y

him."

a r e , y e t I k n o w n o t , b u t t h e y s h a l l b e / T h e t e r r o r s o f t h e e a r t h . " King

Lear

2.4.280-83.

CHAPTER

III

15

and, not daring to attack her master, she turned her vocal artillery against the younger scoundrel. "Well, Mr. Earnshaw," she cried, "I wonder what you'll have agait next! Are we going to murder folk on our very door-stones? I see this h o u s e will never do for m e — l o o k at t' poor lad, he's fair choking! Wisht, wisht! you mun'n't go on s o — c o m e in, a n d I'll cure that. T h e r e now, hold ye still." With these words she suddenly splashed a pint of icy water down my neck, and pulled m e into the kitchen. Mr. Heathcliff followed, his accidental merriment expiring quickly in his habitual m o r o s e ness. I was sick exceedingly, and dizzy and faint; a n d thus compelled, perforce, to accept lodgings under his roof. H e told Zillah to give me a glass of brandy, and then p a s s e d on to the inner room, while she condoled with m e on my sorry predicament, a n d having obeyed his orders, whereby I was somewhat revived, u s h e r e d m e to bed. 8

9

Chapter

III

While leading the way upstairs, she r e c o m m e n d e d that I should hide the candle, and not m a k e a noise, for her m a s t e r had a n odd notion about the c h a m b e r she would put m e in, a n d never let any­ body lodge there willingly. I asked the reason. S h e did not know, she answered; she h a d only lived there a year or two; and they had so many queer goings on, she could not begin to be curious. T o o stupified to be curious myself, I fastened my door a n d glanced round for the bed. T h e whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press, and a large oak c a s e , with s q u a r e s cut out near the top, resembling c o a c h windows. Having a p p r o a c h e d this structure, I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular sort of old-fashioned c o u c h , very conveniently designed to obviate the necessity for every m e m b e r of the family having a room to himself. In fact, it formed a little closet, a n d the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table. I slid b a c k the panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them together again, and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and every one else. T h e ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner; and it was covered with writing s c r a t c h e d on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing b u t a n a m e re­ peated in all kinds of characters, large and small—Catherine Eam8. A-going. 9 . " H u s h , h u s h , y o u m u s t n o t . . ."

16

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

show, here a n d 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 C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w — H e a t h c l i f f — L i n t o n , till my eyes closed; b u t they h a d not rested five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark, a s vivid as s p e c t r e s — the air s w a r m e d with Catherines; and rousing myself to dispel the obtrusive n a m e , I discovered my candle wick reclining on one of the a n t i q u e volumes, a n d perfuming the place with an odour of roasted calf-skin. I snuffed it off, and, very ill at e a s e under the influence of cold a n d lingering n a u s e a , sat up, a n d spread open the injured tome on my knee. It was a T e s t a m e n t , in lean type, and smelling dreadfully musty: a fly-leaf bore the inscription—"Catherine Earnshaw, her book," a n d a date s o m e quarter of a century back. I shut it, a n d took u p another, and another, till I had examined all. Catherine's library was select, and its state of dilapidation proved it to have been well u s e d , though not altogether for a legit­ imate p u r p o s e ; scarcely one chapter had e s c a p e d a pen and ink c o m m e n t a r y — a t least, the a p p e a r a n c e of o n e — c o v e r i n g every mor­ sel of blank that the printer had left. S o m e were d e t a c h e d sentences; other parts took the form of a regular diary, scrawled in an unformed, childish hand. At the top of an extra p a g e , quite a treasure probably when first lighted on, I was greatly a m u s e d to behold an excellent caricature of my friend J o s e p h , rudely yet powerfully sketched. An i m m e d i a t e interest kindled within m e for the unknown Cath­ erine, a n d I b e g a n , forthwith, to decypher her faded hieroglyphics. "An awful Sunday!" c o m m e n c e d the paragraph beneath. "I wish my father were b a c k again. Hindley is a detestable substitute—his c o n d u c t to Heathcliff is a t r o c i o u s — H . and I are going to rebel— we took our initiatory step this evening. "All day h a d been flooding with rain; we could not go to church, so J o s e p h m u s t needs get u p a congregation in the garret; and, while Hindley a n d his wife b a s k e d downstairs before a comfortable fire — d o i n g anything but reading their Bibles, I'll answer for i t — H e a t h ­ cliff, myself, a n d the u n h a p p y plough-boy were c o m m a n d e d to take our Prayer-books, and mount. W e were ranged in a row, on a sack of corn, groaning a n d shivering, and hoping that J o s e p h would shiver too, so that he might give us a short homily for his own sake. A vain idea! T h e service lasted precisely three hours; and yet my brother h a d the f a c e to exclaim, when he saw us d e s c e n d i n g — " 'What, d o n e already?' "On S u n d a y evenings we u s e d to be permitted to play, if we did

CHAPTER

17

III

not make m u c h noise; now a m e r e titter is sufficient to send us into corners! " 'You forget you have a m a s t e r here,' says the tyrant. T i l demol­ ish the first who puts m e out of temper! I insist on perfect sobriety and silence. O h , boy! was that you? F r a n c e s , darling, pull his hair as you go by; I heard him s n a p his fingers.' "Frances pulled his hair heartily a n d then went a n d s e a t e d herself on her husband's knee; a n d there they were, like two b a b i e s , kissing and talking n o n s e n s e by the h o u r — f o o l i s h palaver that we should be a s h a m e d of. "We m a d e ourselves as s n u g as our m e a n s allowed in the arch of the dresser. I had j u s t fastened our pinafores together, a n d h u n g them up for a curtain, when in c o m e s J o s e p h , on an errand from the stables. H e tears down my handywork, boxes my ears, a n d croaks— " 'T' maister nobbut j u s t buried, a n d S a b b a t h nut oe'red, u n d t' sahnd uh't gospel still i' yer lugs, a n d yah darr b e laiking! s h a m e on ye! sit ye dahn, ill childer! they's good books e n e u g h if ye'll read 'em; sit ye dahn, a n d think uh yer sowls!' "Saying this, he compelled us so to s q u a r e our positions that we might receive, from the far-off fire, a dull ray to show us the text of the lumber he thrust u p o n us. "I could not bear the employment. I took my dingy v o l u m e by the s c r o o p , a n d hurled it into the dog-kennel, vowing I h a t e d a good book. "Heathcliff kicked his to the s a m e p l a c e . "Then there was a h u b b u b ! " 'Maister Hindley!' shouted our chaplain. 'Maister, c o o m hither! Miss Cathy's riven th' b a c k off "Th' H e l m e t uh Salvation," un' Heathcliff's p a w s e d his fit intuh t' first part u h "T' B r o o a d Way to Destruction!" It's fair flaysome ut yah let 'em g o a on this gait. E c h ! th' owd m a n ud uh laced 'em p r o p e r l y — b u d he's goan!' "Hindley hurried u p from his p a r a d i s e on the hearth, a n d seizing one of us by the collar, a n d the other by the a r m , hurled both into the back-kitchen, where, J o s e p h asseverated, 'owd Nick' would fetch us as sure as we were living; and, so comforted, we e a c h sought a separate nook to await his advent. 1

2

3

1. " T h e m a s t e r n o t b u t j u s t b u r i e d , a n d S u n d a y j u s t p a s t , a n d t h e s o u n d o f t h e g o s p e l s t i l l in y o u r e a r s , a n d y o u d a r e b e p l a y i n g ! s h a m e o n y o u ! sit d o w n , b a d c h i l d r e n , t h e r e ' s g o o d b o o k s e n o u g h if y o u ' l l r e a d t h e m ; s i t y o u r s e l v e s d o w n , a n d t h i n k o f y o u r s o u l s ! " 2. T h e b a c k of the cover of a book. 3.

"Miss Cathy's torn the b a c k off . . . a n d H e a t h c l i f f ' s m a d e a h o l e by p u t t i n g his foot o n t h e first p a r t o f . . . It's j u s t d r e a d f u l o f y o u t o l e t t h e m g o o n i n t h i s w a y . O h , t h e o l d m a n w o u l d h a v e p u n i s h e d t h e m p r o p e r l y , b u t he's d e a d ! " [ T h e d a m a g e is to a p p a r e n t l y fictionally

t i t l e d t r a c t s o f t h e s o r t fit f o r S u n d a y r e a d i n g . ]

18

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HEIGHTS

"I r e a c h e d this book, and a pot of ink from a shelf, and p u s h e d the h o u s e - d o o r ajar to give m e light, and I have got the time on with writing for twenty minutes; but my c o m p a n i o n is impatient a n d p r o p o s e s that we should appropriate the dairy woman's cloak, a n d have a s c a m p e r on the m o o r s , under its shelter. A pleasant s u g g e s t i o n — a n d then, if the surly old m a n c o m e in, he may believe his prophesy verified—we cannot be d a m p e r , or colder, in the rain than we are here."

* *** * I s u p p o s e C a t h e r i n e fulfilled her project, for the next sentence took u p another subject; she waxed lachrymose. "How little did I d r e a m that Hindley would ever m a k e m e cry so!" she wrote. "My h e a d a c h e s , till I cannot keep it on the pillow; a n d still I can't give over. Poor Heathcliff! Hindley calls him a vag­ a b o n d , a n d won't let him sit with us, nor eat with us any more; and, he says, he a n d I m u s t not play together, and threatens to turn him out of the h o u s e if we b r e a k his orders. "He has b e e n b l a m i n g our father (how dared he?) for treating H. too liberally; a n d swears he will r e d u c e him to his right p l a c e — " I b e g a n to nod drowsily over the dim p a g e ; my eye wandered from m a n u s c r i p t to print. I saw a red o r n a m e n t e d title—"Seventy Times Seven, a n d the First of the Seventy-First. A Pious D i s c o u r s e deliv­ ered by the Reverend J a b e s B r a n d e r h a m , in the C h a p e l of G i m m e r d e n S o u g h . " A n d while I was, half consciously, worrying my brain to g u e s s what J a b e s B r a n d e r h a m would m a k e of his subject, I s a n k b a c k in bed, and fell asleep. Alas, for the effects of b a d tea and b a d temper! what else could it b e that m a d e m e p a s s s u c h a terrible night? I don't remember another that I can at all c o m p a r e with it since I was capable of suffering. I b e g a n to d r e a m , almost before I c e a s e d to be sensible of my locality. I thought it was morning, and I h a d set out on my way h o m e , with J o s e p h for a guide. T h e snow lay yards deep in our road; and, a s we floundered on, my c o m p a n i o n wearied m e with constant r e p r o a c h e s that I had not brought a pilgrim's staff, telling me I could never get into the h o u s e without one, and boastfully flour­ ishing a heavy-headed cudgel, which I understood to be so de­ nominated. For a m o m e n t I considered it a b s u r d that I should need such a w e a p o n to gain a d m i t t a n c e into my own residence. Then, a new idea flashed a c r o s s m e . I was not going there; we were journeying to hear the f a m o u s J a b e s B r a n d e r h a m p r e a c h from the text—"Sev­ enty T i m e s Seven"; and either J o s e p h , the preacher, or I had com-

19

C H A P T E R III

mitted the "First of the Seventy-First/' a n d were to b e publicly exposed a n d e x c o m m u n i c a t e d . W e c a m e to the chapel. I have p a s s e d it really in my walks, twice or thrice; it lies in a hollow, between two h i l l s — a n elevated hollow, near a swamp, whose peaty moisture is said to answer all the pur­ poses of embalming on the few corpses deposited there. T h e roof has been kept whole hitherto, but, a s the clergyman's stipend is only twenty p o u n d s per a n n u m , a n d a h o u s e with two r o o m s , threatening speedily to determine into o n e , n o clergyman will un­ dertake the duties of pastor, especially a s it is currently reported that his flock would rather let him starve than i n c r e a s e the living by one penny from their own pockets. However, in my d r e a m , J a b e s had a full a n d attentive congregation: a n d he p r e a c h e d — g o o d G o d — w h a t a sermon! Divided into four hundred and ninety parts, each fully equal to a n ordinary a d d r e s s from the pulpit, a n d e a c h discussing a separate sin! W h e r e he s e a r c h e d for them, I c a n n o t tell; he had his private m a n n e r of interpreting the p h r a s e , a n d it seemed necessary the brother should sin different sins on every occasion. 4

They were of the most curious c h a r a c t e r — o d d trangressions that I never imagined previously. Oh, how weary I grew. H o w I writhed, a n d yawned, a n d nodded, and revived! H o w I pinched a n d pricked myself, a n d r u b b e d my eyes, a n d stood u p , a n d sat down again, a n d n u d g e d J o s e p h to in­ form m e if he would ever have done! I was c o n d e m n e d to hear all out; finally, he r e a c h e d the "First of the Seventy-First." At that crisis, a s u d d e n inspiration d e s c e n d e d on me; I was moved to rise a n d d e n o u n c e J a b e s B r a n d e r h a m a s the sinner of the sin that no Christian need p a r d o n . "Sir," I exclaimed, "sitting here, within these four walls, at o n e stretch, I have endured a n d forgiven the four h u n d r e d a n d ninety heads of your discourse. Seventy times seven times have I p l u c k e d up my hat a n d been about to d e p a r t — S e v e n t y times seven times have you preposterously forced m e to r e s u m e my seat. T h e four hundred a n d ninety-first is too m u c h . Fellow martyrs, have at him! Drag him down, a n d crush him to a t o m s , that the p l a c e which knows him may know him no more!" "Thou art the Man!" cried J a b e s , after a solemn p a u s e , leaning over his cushion. "Seventy times seven times didst thou gapingly contort thy visage—seventy times seven did I take c o u n s e l with my

4.

Matthew

1 8 . 2 1 — 3 5 is t h e text B r a n d e r h a m e x p l o i t s b y r e l i s h i n g h i s p r o c r a s t i n a t e d o p ­

p o r t u n i t y f o r r e t r i b u t i o n . C h r i s t ' s w o r d s , w h e n a s k e d a b o u t f o r g i v e n e s s , w e r e "I w i l l n o t say unto thee, Until seven times seven: but, Until seven times

seventy."

20

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HEIGHTS

s o u l — L o , this is h u m a n weakness; this also may be absolved! T h e First of the Seventy-First is c o m e . Brethren, execute upon him the j u d g m e n t written! S u c h honour have all His saints!" With that concluding word, the whole assembly, exalting their pilgrim's staves, r u s h e d r o u n d m e in a body, and I, having no w e a p o n to raise in self-defence, c o m m e n c e d grappling with J o s e p h , my nearest a n d most ferocious assailant, for his. In the confluence of the multitude, several clubs crossed; blows, aimed at me, fell on other s c o n c e s . Presently the whole chapel resounded with rappings a n d counter-rappings. Every man's hand was against his neighbour; a n d B r a n d e r h a m , unwilling to remain idle, p o u r e d forth his zeal in a shower of loud taps on the boards of the pulpit, which responded so smartly that, at last, to my u n s p e a k a b l e relief, they woke me. And what was it that h a d s u g g e s t e d the t r e m e n d o u s tumult, what h a d played J a b e s ' s part in the row? Merely the branch of a fir tree that t o u c h e d my lattice, as the blast wailed by, and rattled its dry cones against the p a n e s ! I listened doubtingly an instant; detected the disturber, then turned a n d dozed, and d r e a m t again; if possible, still more disagreebly than before. This time, I r e m e m b e r e d 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 c a u s e ; but it annoyed m e so m u c h , that I resolved to silence it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose a n d endeavoured to u n h a s p the c a s e m e n t . T h e hook was soldered into the staple, a circumstance observed by m e when awake, but forgotten. "I m u s t stop it, nevertheless!" I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, a n d stretching an arm out to seize the importu­ nate branch: instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand! T h e intense horror of nightmare c a m e over me; I tried to draw b a c k my a r m , but the h a n d clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed— "Let m e in—let m e in!" "Who are you?" I asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself. "Catherine Linton," it replied, shiveringly (why did I think of Lin­ ton? I had read Earnshaw twenty times for Linton). "I'm come h o m e , I'd lost my way on the moor!" As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child's face looking through the window. Terror m a d e m e cruel; and, finding it useless to at­ tempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken p a n e , and r u b b e d it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked

CHAPTER

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21

the bed-clothes: still it wailed, "Let m e in!" a n d m a i n t a i n e d its te­ nacious gripe, almost m a d d e n i n g m e with fear. "How can I?" I said at length. "Let me go, if you want m e to let you in!" T h e fingers relaxed, I s n a t c h e d mine through the hole, hurriedly piled the books up in a pyramid against it, and s t o p p e d my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer. I s e e m e d to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour, yet, the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry m o a n i n g on! "Begone!" I shouted, "I'll never let you in, not if you b e g for twenty years!" "It's twenty years," m o u r n e d the voice, "twenty years, I've b e e n a waif for twenty years!" Thereat began a feeble scratching outside, a n d the pile of books moved as if thrust forward. I tried to j u m p up, but could not stir a limb; a n d so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright. T o my confusion, I discovered the yell was not ideal. H a s t y foot­ steps a p p r o a c h e d my c h a m b e r door; s o m e b o d y p u s h e d it open, with a vigorous hand, and a light glimmered through the s q u a r e s at the top of the bed. I sat shuddering yet, and wiping the perspiration from my forehead: the intruder a p p e a r e d to hesitate, a n d m u t t e r e d to himself. At last, he said in a half-whisper, plainly not expecting an answer— "Is any one here?" I considered it best to confess my p r e s e n c e , for I knew H e a t h cliff's accents, and feared he might search further, if I kept quiet. With this intention, I turned a n d o p e n e d the p a n e l s . I shall not soon forget the effect my action p r o d u c e d . Heathcliff stood near the entrance, in his shirt a n d trousers, with a candle dripping over his fingers, and his f a c e a s white as the wall behind him. T h e first creak of the o a k startled him like an electric shock: the light leaped from his hold to a d i s t a n c e of s o m e 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 the humiliation of exposing his cowardice further. "I h a d the misfortune to s c r e a m in my sleep, owing to a frightful nightmare. I'm sorry I disturbed you." "Oh, G o d confound you, Mr. Lockwood! I wish you were at t h e — " c o m m e n c e d my host, setting the c a n d l e on a chair, b e c a u s e he found it impossible to hold it steady. "And who showed you u p to this room?" he continued, c r u s h i n g

22

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his nails into his p a l m s , and grinding his teeth to s u b d u e the max­ illary convulsions. "Who was it? I've a good mind to turn them out of the h o u s e this moment!" "It was your servant, Zillah," I replied, flinging myself on to the floor, a n d rapidly r e s u m i n g my garments. "I should not care if you did, Mr. Heathcliff; she richly deserves it. I s u p p o s e that she wanted to get another proof that the place was haunted, at my expense. Well, it i s — s w a r m i n g with ghosts a n d goblins! You have reason in shutting it up, I a s s u r e you. N o one will thank you for a doze in s u c h a den!" "What do you m e a n ? " a s k e d Heathcliff, "and what are you doing? Lie down a n d 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 per­ secutions of your hospitable ancestors again. W a s not the Reverend J a b e s B r a n d e r h a m akin to you on the mother's side? And that minx, C a t h e r i n e Linton, or E a r n s h a w , or however she was c a l l e d — s h e m u s t have been a c h a n g e l i n g — w i c k e d little soul! S h e told m e she had been walking the earth these twenty years: a j u s t punishment for her mortal transgressions, I've no doubt!" Scarcely were these words uttered, when I recollected the a s s o ­ ciation of Heathcliff's with Catherine's n a m e in the book, which h a d completely slipped from my memory till thus awakened. I b l u s h e d at my inconsideration; but, without showing further con­ s c i o u s n e s s of the offence, I h a s t e n e d to a d d — "The truth is, sir, I p a s s e d the first part of the night in—" here, I s t o p p e d a f r e s h — I was a b o u t 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 went on—"in spelling over the n a m e scratched on that window-ledge. A monot­ o n o u s o c c u p a t i o n , calculated to set m e asleep, like counting, o r — " "What can you m e a n by talking in this way to me!" thundered Heathcliff with savage v e h e m e n c e . " H o w — h o w dare you, under my r o o f — G o d ! he's m a d to s p e a k so!" And he struck his forehead with rage. I did not know whether to resent this language, or p u r s u e my explanation; but he s e e m e d so powerfully affected that I took pity and p r o c e e d e d with my d r e a m s , affirming I had never heard the appellation of "Catherine Linton" before, but reading it often over p r o d u c e d a n impression which personified itself when I had no longer my imagination under control. Heathcliff gradually fell b a c k into the shelter of the bed as I spoke, finally sitting down almost c o n c e a l e d behind it. I guessed,

CHAPTER

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23

however, by his irregular a n d intercepted breathing, that he strug­ gled to vanquish an a c c e s s of violent emotion. Not liking to show him that I heard the conflict, I continued my toilette rather noisily, looked at my watch, and soliloquized on the length of the night— "Not three o'clock yet! I could have taken oath it h a d b e e n six. T i m e stagnates h e r e — w e m u s t surely have retired to rest at eight!" "Always at nine in winter, and always 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 a d d e d , "you may go into my room; you'll only be in the way, c o m i n g downstairs so early; a n d 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 a m now quite cured of seeking p l e a s u r e in society, be it country or town. A sensible m a n ought to find sufficient c o m p a n y in himself." "Delightful company!" muttered Heathcliff. "Take the candle, and go where you please. I shall join you directly. K e e p out of the yard, though; the dogs are unchained, a n d the h o u s e — J u n o m o u n t s sentinel there, a n d — n a y , you can only r a m b l e a b o u t the steps a n d p a s s a g e s — b u t , away with you! I'll c o m e 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. H e got on to the bed and wrenched open the lattice, bursting, as he pulled at it, into an uncontrollable p a s s i o n of tears. "Come in! c o m e in!" he sobbed. "Cathy, do c o m e . O h , do—once more! Oh! my heart's darling, hear m e this t i m e — C a t h e r i n e , at last!" T h e spectre showed a spectre's ordinary caprice; it gave no sign of being; but the snow and wind whirled wildly through, even reach­ ing my station, and blowing out the light. There was s u c h anguish in the g u s h of grief that a c c o m p a n i e d this raving, that my c o m p a s s i o n m a d e m e overlook its folly, a n d I drew off, half angry to have listened at all, a n d vexed at having related my ridiculous nightmare, since it p r o d u c e d that agony, though why, was beyond my c o m p r e h e n s i o n . I d e s c e n d e d cautiously to the lower regions and landed in the back-kitchen, where a gleam of fire, raked compactly together, en­ abled me to rekindle my candle. Nothing was stirring except a brindled, grey cat, which crept from the ashes and saluted m e with a q u e r u l o u s mew.

24

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

Two b e n c h e s , s h a p e d in sections of a circle, nearly enclosed the hearth; on o n e of these I stretched myself, a n d Grimalkin mounted the other. W e were both of u s nodding, ere any o n e invaded our retreat; a n d then it was J o s e p h shuffling down a wooden ladder that vanished in the roof, through a trap: the ascent to his garret, I suppose. H e c a s t a sinister look at the little flame which I h a d enticed to play between the ribs, swept the c a t from its elevation, a n d bestow­ ing himself in the vacancy, c o m m e n c e d the operation of stuffing a three-inch pipe with tobacco; my p r e s e n c e in his s a n c t u m was ev­ idently e s t e e m e d a piece of i m p u d e n c e too shameful for remark. H e silently applied the tube to his lips, folded his arms, a n d puffed away. I let him enjoy the luxury, unannoyed; a n d after sucking out the last wreath, a n d heaving a profound sigh, he got u p , a n d departed as solemnly a s he c a m e . A m o r e elastic footstep entered next, a n d now I opened my mouth for a "good morning," b u t closed it again, the salutation unachieved; for H a r e t o n E a r n s h a w w a s performing his orisons, sotto voce, in a series of c u r s e s directed against every object he touched, while he r u m m a g e d a corner for a s p a d e or shovel to dig through the drifts. H e g l a n c e d over the b a c k of the bench, dilating his nostrils, a n d thought a s little of exchanging civilities with m e a s with my com­ panion, the c a t . I g u e s s e d by his preparations that egress was allowed, and leaving my hard c o u c h , m a d e a m o v e m e n t to follow him. H e noticed this, a n d thrust at a n inner door with the end of his s p a d e , intimating by a n inarticulate sound, that there was the place where I must go, if I c h a n g e d my locality. It o p e n e d into the h o u s e , where the females were already astir, Zillah, urging flakes of flame u p the chimney with a colossal bel­ lows, a n d M r s . Heathcliff, kneeling on the hearth, reading a book by the aid of the blaze. S h e held her h a n d interposed between the furnace-heat and her eyes, a n d s e e m e d a b s o r b e d in her occupation; desisting from it only to chide the servant for covering her with sparks, or to p u s h away a d o g , now a n d then, that snoozled its n o s e over-forwardly into her face. I w a s surprised to s e e Heathcliff there also. H e stood by the fire, his b a c k towards m e , j u s t finishing a stormy scene to poor Zillah, who ever a n d a n o n interrupted her labour to pluck u p the corner of her apron, a n d heave a n indignant groan. "And you, you w o r t h l e s s — " he broke out a s I entered, turning to 5

5. A n o l d s h e - c a t , b u t t h e t e r m a p p l i e s a l s o t o a j e a l o u s o r i m p e r i o u s o l d w o m a n .

CHAPTER

25

III

his daughter-in-law, and employing an epithet a s h a r m l e s s a s duck, or sheep, but generally represented by a d a s h — " t h e r e you are at your idle tricks again! T h e rest of them do earn their b r e a d — y o u live on my charity! Put your trash away, and find s o m e t h i n g to do. You shall pay m e for the p l a g u e of having you eternally in my s i g h t — d o you hear, d a m n a b l e j a d e ? " 'TH put my trash away, b e c a u s e you can m a k e m e , if I refuse," answered the young lady, closing her book, and throwing it on a chair. "But I'll not do anything, though you should swear your tongue out, except what I please!" Heathcliff lifted his hand, and the speaker s p r a n g to a safer dis­ tance, obviously a c q u a i n t e d with its weight. Having no desire to be entertained by a c a t - a n d - d o g c o m b a t , I stepped forward briskly, as if eager to partake the warmth of the hearth, and innocent of any knowledge of the interrupted dispute. E a c h had enough d e c o r u m to s u s p e n d further hostilities: Heathcliff placed his fists, out of temptation, in his pockets; M r s . 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 stay. That was not long. I declined joining their breakfast, a n d , at the first gleam of dawn, took an opportunity of e s c a p i n g into the free air, now clear and still, and cold a s i m p a l p a b l e ice. My landlord hallooed for m e to stop, ere I r e a c h e d the b o t t o m of the garden, and offered to a c c o m p a n y m e a c r o s s the moor. It was well he did, for the whole hill-back was one billowy, white ocean, the swells and falls not indicating c o r r e s p o n d i n g rises a n d depressions in the ground: many pits, at least, were filled to a level; and entire ranges of m o u n d s , the refuse of the quarries, blotted from the chart which my yesterday's walk left pictured in my mind. 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, a n d d a u b e d with lime, on purpose to serve as guides in the dark, and also, when a fall, like the present, confounded the deep s w a m p s on either h a n d with the firmer path: but, excepting a dirty dot pointing u p here and there, all traces of their existence had vanished; and my c o m p a n i o n found it necessary to warn m e frequently to steer to the right or left, w h e n I imagined I was following, correctly, the windings of the road. W e exchanged little conversation, and he halted at the e n t r a n c e of T h r u s h c r o s s park, saying, I could m a k e no error there. O u r 6

6.

H e is r e f e r r i n g t o t h e c o n v e n t i o n p r e f a c e to the

1 8 5 0 WH,

of leaving parts of epithets b l a n k (d

Charlotte Brontë noted

n). In

her

E m i l y ' s f r a n k n e s s : "A l a r g e c l a s s o f

r e a d e r s . . . will s u f f e r g r e a t l y f r o m t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f w o r d s p r i n t e d w i t h all t h e i r l e t t e r s , w h i c h it h a s b e c o m e t h e c u s t o m t o r e p r e s e n t b y t h e i n i t i a l a n d final l e t t e r o n l y — a b l a n k line

filling

the interval."

26

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

adieux were limited to a hasty bow, and then I p u s h e d forward, trusting to my own r e s o u r c e s , for the porter's lodge is untenanted as yet. T h e d i s t a n c e from the gate to the G r a n g e is two miles: I believe I m a n a g e d to m a k e it four, what with losing myself a m o n g the trees, and sinking u p to the neck in snow, a p r e d i c a m e n t which only those who have experienced it c a n appreciate. At any rate, whatever were my wanderings, the clock c h i m e d twelve as I entered the house; and that gave exactly an hour for every mile of the usual way from Wuthering Heights. My h u m a n fixture a n d her satellites rushed to welcome me; ex­ claiming, tumultuously, they had completely given m e up: every­ body conjectured that I perished last night; and they were wondering how they m u s t set a b o u t the search for my remains. I bid t h e m be quiet, now that they saw m e returned, and, be­ n u m b e d to my very heart, I dragged upstairs, whence, after putting on dry clothes, a n d p a c i n g to and fro thirty or forty minutes, to restore the animal heat, I a m a d j o u r n e d to my study, feeble as a kitten, almost too m u c h so to enjoy the cheerful fire and smoking coffee which the servant has p r e p a r e d for my refreshment. Chapter

IV

W h a t vain weather-cocks we are! I, who had determined to hold myself i n d e p e n d e n t of all social intercourse, and thanked my stars that, at length, I h a d lighted on a spot where it was next to i m p r a c t i c a b l e — I , weak wretch, after maintaining till d u s k a strug­ gle with low spirits and solitude, was finally compelled to strike my colours; a n d , under p r e t e n c e of gaining information concerning the necessities of my establishment, I desired M r s . D e a n , when she brought in supper, to sit down while I ate it, hoping sincerely she would prove a regular gossip, and either rouse m e to animation, or lull m e to sleep by her talk. "You have lived here a considerable time," I c o m m e n c e d ; "did you not say sixteen years?" "Eighteen, sir; I c a m e , when the mistress was married, to wait on her; after she died, the m a s t e r retained m e for his house-keeper." "Indeed." T h e r e e n s u e d a p a u s e . S h e was not a gossip, I feared, unless a b o u t her own affairs, a n d those could hardly interest me. However, having studied for an interval, with a fist on either knee, a n d a cloud of meditation over her ruddy c o u n t e n a n c e , she ejaculated— "Ah, times are greatly c h a n g e d since then!"

CHAPTER

27

IV

"Yes," I remarked, "you've seen a good many alterations, I s u p ­ pose?" "I have: and troubles too," she said. "Oh, I'll turn the talk on my landlord's family!" I thought to my­ self. "A good subject to s t a r t — a n d that pretty girl-widow, I should like to know her history: whether she be a native of the country, or, as is more probable, an exotic that the surly indigenae will not recognise for kin." With this intention I asked M r s . D e a n why Heathcliff let T h r u s h ­ cross G r a n g e , and preferred living in a situation a n d residence so m u c h inferior. "Is he not rich enough to keep the estate in good order?" I enquired. "Rich, sir!" she returned. "He has, nobody knows what money, and every year it increases. Yes, yes, he's rich e n o u g h to live in a finer h o u s e than this, but he's very n e a r — c l o s e - h a n d e d ; and, if he had meant to flit to T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e , as soon a s he heard of a good tenant he could not have borne to miss the c h a n c e of getting a few hundreds more. It is strange people should b e so greedy, when they are alone in the world!" "He had a son, it s e e m s ? " "Yes, he had o n e — h e is dead." "And that young lady, M r s . Heathcliff, is his widow?" "Yes." "Where did she c o m e from originally?" "Why, sir, she is my late master's daughter; C a t h e r i n e Linton was her maiden n a m e . I nursed her, poor thing! I did wish Mr. H e a t h ­ cliff would remove here, a n d then we might have been together again." "What, Catherine Linton!" I exclaimed, astonished. B u t a min­ ute's reflection convinced m e it was not my ghostly C a t h e r i n e . "Then," I continued, "my predecessor's n a m e was L i n t o n ? " "It was." "And who is that E a r n s h a w , H a r e t o n E a r n s h a w , who lives with Mr. Heathcliff? are they relations?" "No; he is the late M r s . Linton's nephew." "The young lady's cousin, then?" "Yes; and her h u s b a n d was her cousin a l s o — o n e , on the mother's—the other, on the father's side. Heathcliff married Mr. Linton's sister." "I see the h o u s e at Wuthering Heights has 'Earnshaw' carved over the front door. Are they an old family?" 1

1.

Natives.

28

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

"Very old, sir; a n d H a r e t o n is the last of them, as our Miss Cathy is of u s — I m e a n , of the Lintons. H a v e you been to Wuthering H e i g h t s ? I b e g p a r d o n for asking; but I should like to hear how she is!" "Mrs. H e a t h c l i f f ? S h e looked very well, and very h a n d s o m e ; yet, I think, not very happy." "Oh dear, I don't wonder! And how did you like the master?" "A rough fellow, rather, M r s . D e a n . Is not that his character?" "Rough as a saw-edge, a n d hard as whinstone! T h e less you med­ dle with him the better." "He m u s t have h a d s o m e u p s and downs in life to make him such a churl. D o you know anything of his history?" "It's a c u c k o o ' s , s i r — I know all a b o u t it, except where he was born, a n d who were his parents, a n d how he got his money, at first. And H a r e t o n has b e e n cast out like an unfledged dunnock! T h e unfortunate lad is the only one, in all this parish, that does not g u e s s how he h a s b e e n cheated!" "Well, M r s . D e a n , it will be a charitable deed to tell m e some­ thing of my n e i g h b o u r s — I feel I shall not rest, if I go to bed; so, b e g o o d e n o u g h to sit a n d chat an hour." "Oh, certainly, sir! I'll j u s t fetch a little sewing, and then I'll sit as long a s you p l e a s e . B u t you've c a u g h t cold; I saw you shivering, and you m u s t have s o m e gruel to drive it out." T h e worthy w o m a n bustled off; a n d I c r o u c h e d nearer the fire; my h e a d felt hot, a n d the rest of m e chill: moreover, I was excited, a l m o s t to a pitch of foolishness, through my nerves and brain. This c a u s e d m e to feel, not uncomfortable, but rather fearful, as I a m still, of serious effects from the incidents of today and yesterday. S h e returned presently, bringing a smoking basin, and a basket of work; a n d , having p l a c e d the former on the hob, drew in her seat, evidently p l e a s e d to find m e so c o m p a n i o n a b l e . 2

Before I c a m e to live here, she c o m m e n c e d , waiting no further invitation to her story, I was almost always at Wuthering Heights, b e c a u s e my mother had n u r s e d Mr. Hindley Earnshaw, that was Hareton's father, a n d I got u s e d to playing with the children. I ran errands too, and helped to m a k e hay, and h u n g about the farm ready for anything that anybody would set m e to. O n e fine s u m m e r m o r n i n g — i t was the beginning of harvest, I r e m e m b e r — M r . E a r n s h a w , the old master, c a m e downstairs, d r e s s e d for a journey; a n d , after he had told J o s e p h what was to be d o n e during the day, he turned to Hindley, and Cathy, and m e —

2.

T h e r e f e r e n c e is to t h e c u c k o o ' s p r a c t i c e o f l a y i n g its e g g s in o t h e r birds' n e s t s (a w a y of characterizing Heathcliff as an interloper).

CHAPTER I V

29

for I sat eating my porridge with t h e m — a n d he said, s p e a k i n g to his s o n — "Now, my bonny m a n , I'm going to Liverpool, today. W h a t shall I bring you? You may c h o o s e what you like; only let it be little, for I shall walk there and back; sixty miles e a c h way, that is a long spell!" Hindley n a m e d a fiddle, a n d then he a s k e d M i s s Cathy; s h e was hardly six years old, but s h e could ride any horse in the stable, a n d she c h o s e a whip. H e did not forget m e , for he had a kind heart, though he was rather severe, s o m e t i m e s . H e p r o m i s e d to bring m e a pocketful of apples and pears, a n d then he kissed his children good-bye, a n d set off. It s e e m e d a long while to us a l l — t h e three days of his a b s e n c e — a n d often did little C a t h y a s k when he would b e h o m e . M r s . E a r n s h a w expected him by s u p p e r - t i m e , on the third evening; a n d she put the meal off hour after hour; there were no signs of his coming, however, a n d at last the children got tired of running down to the gate to look. T h e n it grew dark; she would have h a d t h e m to bed, but they begged sadly to b e allowed to stay up; and, j u s t a b o u t eleven o'clock, the door-latch was raised quietly a n d in stept the master. H e threw himself into a chair, laughing a n d groaning, a n d bid them all stand off, for he was nearly k i l l e d — h e would not have such another walk for the three kingdoms. 3

"And at the end of it, to be flighted to death!" he * a i d , opening his great-coat, which he held b u n d l e d up in his a r m s , "See here, wife; I was never so beaten with anything in my life; but you m u s t e'en take it as a gift of G o d , though it's as dark a l m o s t a s if it c a m e from the devil." W e crowded round, and, over M i s s Cathy's h e a d , I h a d a p e e p at a dirty, ragged, black-haired child; big e n o u g h both to walk a n d talk—indeed, its face looked older than C a t h e r i n e ' s — y e t , when it was set on its feet, it only stared round, a n d r e p e a t e d over a n d over again s o m e gibberish that nobody could u n d e r s t a n d . I w a s fright­ ened, and M r s . E a r n s h a w was ready to fling it out of doors: s h e did fly u p — a s k i n g how he could fashion to bring that gipsy brat into the h o u s e , when they had their own bairns to feed a n d fend for? What he m e a n t to do with it, a n d whether he were m a d ? T h e master tried to explain the matter; but he was really half dead with fatigue, and all that I could m a k e out, a m o n g s t her scold­ ing, was a tale of his seeing it starving, a n d h o u s e l e s s , a n d a s good as d u m b in the streets of Liverpool, where he picked it u p a n d inquired for its owner. Not a soul knew to w h o m it belonged, he 3.

Frightened.

30

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

said, a n d his money a n d time being both limited, he thought it better to take it h o m e with him at once, than run into vain ex­ p e n s e s there; b e c a u s e he was determined he would not leave it as he found it. Well, the c o n c l u s i o n was that my mistress grumbled herself calm; a n d M r . E a r n s h a w told m e to w a s h it, a n d give it clean things, and let it sleep with the children. Hindley a n d C a t h y contented themselves with looking and listen­ ing till p e a c e was restored; then, both b e g a n searching their father's pockets for the p r e s e n t s he had p r o m i s e d them. T h e former was a boy of fourteen, but when he drew out what had been a fid­ dle, c r u s h e d to m o r s e l s in the great-coat, he blubbered aloud, and Cathy, when she learnt the m a s t e r had lost her whip in attending on the stranger, showed her h u m o u r by grinning a n d spitting at the stupid little thing, earning for her pains a s o u n d blow from her father to teach her cleaner m a n n e r s . T h e y entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, a n d I had no m o r e s e n s e , so I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it might b e gone on the morrow. By c h a n c e , or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door and there he found it on quitting his c h a m b e r . Inquiries were m a d e as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, a n d in r e c o m p e n s e for my cowardice a n d inhumanity was sent out of the house. T h i s was Heathcliff's first introduction to the family. On coming b a c k a few days afterwards, for I did not consider my banishment perpetual, I found they had christened him "Heathcliff"; it was the n a m e of a son who died in childhood, a n d it has served him ever since, both for Christian a n d s u r n a m e . M i s s C a t h y a n d he were now very thick; but Hindley hated him, a n d to say the truth I did the s a m e ; a n d we p l a g u e d and went on with him shamefully, for I wasn't r e a s o n a b l e enough to feel my injustice, a n d the mistress never put in a word on his behalf when she saw him wronged. H e s e e m e d a sullen, patient child, hardened, p e r h a p s , to illtreatment: he would stand Hindley's blows without winking or shed­ ding a tear, a n d my p i n c h e s moved him only to draw in a breath, a n d open his eyes a s if he had hurt himself by accident, a n d nobody was to b l a m e . T h i s e n d u r a n c e m a d e old E a r n s h a w furious when he discovered his son p e r s e c u t i n g the poor, fatherless child, as he called him. H e took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said (for that matter, he said p r e c i o u s little, a n d generally the truth) a n d petting him up far above C a t h y , who was too mischievous and wayward for a favourite. S o , from the very beginning, he bred b a d feeling in the house;

C H A P T E R IV

31

and at M r s . Earnshaw's death, which h a p p e n e d in less than two years after, the young m a s t e r h a d learnt to regard his father as an oppressor rather than a friend, a n d Heathcliff a s a u s u r p e r of his parent's affections a n d his privileges, a n d he grew bitter with brood­ ing over these injuries. I sympathised a while, but, when the children fell ill of the m e a ­ sles and I had to tend them, a n d take on m e the c a r e s of a w o m a n at once, I c h a n g e d my ideas. Heathcliff was dangerously sick, a n d while he lay at the worst he would have m e constantly by his pillow; I s u p p o s e he felt I did a good deal for him, a n d he hadn't wit to guess that I was compelled to do it. However, I will say this, he was the quietest child that ever n u r s e watched over. T h e difference b e ­ tween him a n d the others forced m e to b e less partial. C a t h y a n d her brother h a r a s s e d m e terribly; he was as u n c o m p l a i n i n g a s a lamb, though h a r d n e s s , not gentleness, m a d e him give little trouble. H e got through, a n d the doctor affirmed it was in a great m e a s u r e owing to m e , a n d praised m e for my care. I was vain of his c o m ­ mendations, a n d softened towards the being by whose m e a n s I earned them, a n d thus Hindley lost his last ally; still I couldn't dote on Heathcliff, and I wondered often what my m a s t e r saw to a d m i r e so m u c h in the sullen boy who never, to my recollection, repaid his indulgence by any sign of gratitude. H e was not insolent to his benefactor; he was simply insensible, though knowing perfectly the hold he had on his heart, a n d c o n s c i o u s he had only to s p e a k a n d all the h o u s e would be obliged to b e n d to his wishes. As an instance, I r e m e m b e r M r . E a r n s h a w o n c e b o u g h t a c o u p l e of colts at the parish fair, a n d gave the lads e a c h one. Heathcliff took the h a n d s o m e s t , but it soon fell l a m e , a n d when he discovered it, he said to H i n d l e y — "You m u s t exchange horses with me; I don't like mine, a n d if you won't I shall tell your father of the three thrashings you've given me this week, a n d show him my a r m , which is b l a c k to the shoulder." Hindley put out his tongue, a n d cuffed him over the ears. "You'd better do it at once," he persisted, e s c a p i n g to the p o r c h (they were in the stable); "you will have to, a n d if I s p e a k of these blows, you'll get them again with interest." "Off, dog!" cried Hindley, threatening him with an iron weight, used for weighing potatoes a n d hay. "Throw it," he replied, standing still, "and then I'll tell how you boasted that you would turn m e out of doors as soon a s he died, and see whether he will not turn you out directly." Hindley threw it, hitting him on the breast, a n d down he fell, b u t staggered up immediately, breathless a n d white, a n d h a d not I pre­ vented it he would have gone j u s t so to the master, a n d got full

32

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

revenge by letting his condition plead for him, intimating who had c a u s e d it. "Take my colt, gipsy, then!" said young Earnshaw. "And I pray that he may b r e a k your neck; take him, and be d a m n e d , you beg­ garly interloper! a n d wheedle my father out of all he has, only af­ terwards show him what you are, imp of S a t a n — A n d take that, I h o p e he'll kick out your brains!" Heathcliff h a d gone to loose the b e a s t , and shift it to his own stall. H e was p a s s i n g behind it, when Hindley finished his speech by knocking him under its feet, a n d without stopping to examine whether his h o p e s were fulfilled, ran away as fast as he could. I was surprised to witness how coolly the child gathered himself up, and went on with his intention, exchanging saddles and all, and then sitting down on a b u n d l e of hay to overcome the qualm which the violent blow o c c a s i o n e d , before he entered the h o u s e . I p e r s u a d e d him easily to let m e lay the b l a m e of his bruises on the horse; he m i n d e d little what tale was told since he had what he wanted. H e c o m p l a i n e d so seldom, indeed, of such stirs as these, that I really thought him not vindictive—I was deceived completely, as you will hear. Chapter

V

In the c o u r s e of time, Mr. E a r n s h a w b e g a n to fail. H e had been active a n d healthy, yet his strength left him suddenly; and when he was confined to the chimney-corner he grew grievously irritable. A nothing vexed him, a n d s u s p e c t e d slights of his authority nearly threw him into fits. This was especially to b e remarked if any one attempted to im­ p o s e u p o n , or domineer over, his favourite: he was painfully j e a l o u s lest a word should b e spoken a m i s s to him, s e e m i n g to have got into his h e a d the notion that, b e c a u s e he liked Heathcliff, all hated, and longed to do him an ill-turn. It was a disadvantage to the lad, for the kinder a m o n g us did not wish to fret the master, so we h u m o u r e d his partiality; and that h u m o u r i n g was rich n o u r i s h m e n t to the child's pride and black t e m p e r s . Still it b e c a m e in a m a n n e r necessary; twice, or thrice, Hindley's manifestations of scorn, while his father was near, roused the old m a n to a fury. H e seized his stick to strike him, and shook with rage that he could not do it. At last, our c u r a t e (we h a d a c u r a t e then who m a d e the living answer by teaching the little Lintons and E a r n s h a w s , and farming his bit of land h i m s e l f ) — h e advised that the young m a n should be sent to college, a n d Mr. E a r n s h a w agreed, though with a heavy spirit, for he s a i d —

33

CHAPTER V

"Hindley was naught, a n d would never thrive a s where he wandered." I hoped heartily we should have p e a c e now. It hurt m e to think the master should be m a d e uncomfortable by his own good deed. I fancied the discontent of a g e a n d d i s e a s e a r o s e from his family disagreements, as he would have it that it did; really, you know, sir, it was in his sinking frame. W e might have got on tolerably, notwithstanding, but for two people, M i s s C a t h y a n d J o s e p h , the servant; you saw him, I dare say, up yonder. H e was, a n d is yet, m o s t likely, the w e a r i s o m e s t , self-righteous pharisee that ever r a n s a c k e d a Bible to rake the p r o m ­ ises to himself, a n d fling the c u r s e s on his n e i g h b o u r s . By his k n a c k of sermonizing a n d pious discoursing, he contrived to m a k e a great impression on Mr. E a r n s h a w , a n d the m o r e feeble the m a s t e r b e ­ c a m e , the more influence he gained. H e was relentless in worrying him a b o u t his soul's c o n c e r n s , a n d about ruling his children rigidly. H e e n c o u r a g e d him to regard Hindley as a reprobate; a n d , night after night, he regularly g r u m b l e d out a long string of tales against Heathcliff a n d C a t h e r i n e ; always minding to flatter Earnshaw's weakness by h e a p i n g the heaviest blame on the last. Certainly, she had ways with her s u c h as I never saw a child take up before; a n d she put all of us p a s t our p a t i e n c e fifty times a n d oftener in a day: from the hour she c a m e downstairs, till the hour she went to bed, we had not a minute's security that she wouldn't be in mischief. H e r spirits were always at high-water mark, her tongue always g o i n g — s i n g i n g , laughing, a n d plaguing everybody who would not do the s a m e . A wild, wick slip she w a s — b u t she had the bonniest eye, a n d sweetest smile, a n d lightest foot in the parish; and, after all, I believe she m e a n t no harm; for when o n c e she m a d e you cry in good earnest, it seldom h a p p e n e d that s h e would not keep you company, a n d oblige you to b e quiet that you might comfort her. 1

S h e was m u c h too fond of Heathcliff. T h e greatest p u n i s h m e n t we could invent for her was to keep her s e p a r a t e from him: yet she got chided more than any of us on his a c c o u n t . In play, she liked, exceedingly, to act the little mistress; u s i n g her hands freely, a n d c o m m a n d i n g her c o m p a n i o n s : she did so to me, but I would not bear slapping a n d ordering; a n d so I let her know. Now, Mr. E a r n s h a w did not u n d e r s t a n d j o k e s from his children: he had always been strict a n d grave with them; a n d C a t h e r i n e , on

1. N o r t h E n g l a n d v a r i a n t o f q u i c k ( l i v e l y ) ; OED (1848).

c i t e s it i n E l i z a b e t h G a s k e l l ' s Mary

Barton

34

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

her part, had no idea why her father should be crosser and less patient in his ailing condition, than he was in his prime. His peevish reproofs wakened in her a naughty delight to provoke him; she was never so happy as when we were all scolding her at once, and she defying us with her bold, saucy look, and her ready words; turning J o s e p h ' s religious curses into ridicule, baiting me, a n d doing j u s t what her father hated most, showing how her pre­ tended insolence, which he thought real, had more power over Heathcliff than his kindness; how the boy would do her bidding in anything, a n d his only when it suited his own inclination. After behaving a s badly as possible all day, she sometimes c a m e fondling to m a k e it u p at night. "Nay, Cathy," the old m a n would say, "I cannot love thee; thou'rt worse than thy brother. G o , say thy prayers, child, and a s k God's p a r d o n . I d o u b t thy mother a n d I m u s t rue that we ever reared thee!" T h a t m a d e her cry, at first; and then, being repulsed continually h a r d e n e d her, a n d she l a u g h e d if I told her to say she was sorry for her faults, a n d b e g to be forgiven. B u t the hour c a m e , at last, that e n d e d Mr. Earnshaw's troubles on earth. H e died quietly in his chair one October evening, seated by the fire-side. A high wind blustered round the h o u s e , and roared in the chim­ ney: it s o u n d e d wild and stormy, yet it was not cold, and we were all t o g e t h e r — I , a little removed from the hearth, busy at my knit­ ting, a n d J o s e p h reading his Bible near the table (for the servants generally sat in the h o u s e then, after their work was done). Miss C a t h y had been sick, a n d that m a d e her still; she leant against her father's knee, a n d Heathcliff was lying on the floor with his head in her lap. I r e m e m b e r the master, before he fell into a doze, stroking her bonny h a i r — i t p l e a s e d him rarely to see her g e n t l e — a n d saying— "Why c a n s t thou not always be a good lass, Cathy?" And she turned her face u p to his, and laughed, and a n s w e r e d — "Why c a n n o t you always be a good m a n , father?" B u t a s soon a s she saw him vexed again, she kissed his hand, and said she would sing him to sleep. S h e b e g a n singing very low, till his fingers d r o p p e d from hers, and his h e a d s a n k on his breast. T h e n I told her to h u s h , a n d not stir, for fear she should wake him. W e all kept as m u t e as m i c e a full half-hour, and should have done so longer, only J o s e p h , having finished his chapter, got up and said that he m u s t r o u s e the m a s t e r for prayers and bed. H e stepped 2

2.

Exceedingly.

CHAPTER V I

35

forward, a n d called him by n a m e , a n d t o u c h e d his shoulder, but he would not m o v e — s o he took the candle a n d looked at him. I thought there was something wrong as he set down the light; and seizing the children e a c h by an a r m , whispered t h e m to "frame upstairs, and m a k e little d i n — t h e y might pray alone that evening — h e had s u m m u t to do." "I shall bid father good-night first," said C a t h e r i n e , putting her arms round his neck, before we could hinder her. The poor thing discovered her loss d i r e c t l y — s h e s c r e a m e d o u t — "Oh, he's dead, Heathcliff! he's dead!" And they both set u p a heart-breaking cry. I joined my wail to theirs, loud a n d bitter; but J o s e p h a s k e d what we could be thinking of to roar in that way over a saint in heaven. H e told m e to put on my cloak a n d run to G i m m e r t o n for the doctor and the parson. I could not g u e s s the u s e that either would be of, then. However, I went, through wind a n d rain, a n d b r o u g h t one, the doctor, b a c k with m e ; the other said he would c o m e in the morning. Leaving J o s e p h to explain matters, I ran to the children's room; their door was ajar, I saw they had never laid down, though it was past midnight; but they were calmer, a n d did not n e e d m e to con­ sole them. T h e little souls were comforting e a c h other with better thoughts than I could have hit on; no p a r s o n in the world ever pictured heaven so beautifully as they did, in their innocent talk; and, while I sobbed a n d listened, I could not help wishing we were all there safe together. 3

Chapter

VI

Mr. Hindley c a m e h o m e to the funeral; a n d — a thing that a m a z e d us, and set the neighbours gossiping right a n d l e f t — h e b r o u g h t a wife with him. What she was, a n d where she was born he never informed us; probably, she had neither money nor n a m e to r e c o m m e n d her, or he would scarcely have kept the union from his father. S h e was not one that would have disturbed the h o u s e m u c h on her own account. Every object she saw, the m o m e n t she c r o s s e d the threshold, a p p e a r e d to delight her; a n d every c i r c u m s t a n c e that took place a b o u t her, except the preparing for the burial, a n d the presence of the m o u r n e r s . I thought she was half silly, from her behaviour while that went on; she ran into her c h a m b e r , a n d m a d e m e c o m e with her, though 3 . ". . . g o u p s t a i r s , a n d m a k e l i t t l e n o i s e — t h e y s o m e t h i n g to do."

might pray alone that e v e n i n g — h e

had

36

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

I should have b e e n dressing the children; and there she sat shiv­ ering a n d c l a s p i n g her h a n d s , and asking repeatedly— "Are they gone yet?" T h e n she b e g a n describing with hysterical emotion the effect it p r o d u c e d on her to see black; and started, and trembled, and, at last, fell a w e e p i n g — a n d when I a s k e d what was the matter? an­ swered, she didn't know; but she felt so afraid of dying! I imagined her as little likely to die as myself. S h e was rather thin, but young, and fresh complexioned, and her eyes sparkled as bright a s d i a m o n d s . I did remark, to be sure, that mounting the stairs m a d e her breathe very quick, that the least sudden noise set her all in a quiver, and that she c o u g h e d troublesomely sometimes: but I knew nothing of what t h e s e symptoms portended, and had no i m p u l s e to sympathize with her. W e don't in general take to for­ eigners here, Mr. Lockwood, unless they take to us first. Young E a r n s h a w was altered considerably in the three years of his a b s e n c e . H e h a d grown sparer, a n d lost his colour, and spoke a n d d r e s s e d quite differently; and, on the very day of his return, he told J o s e p h a n d m e we m u s t thenceforth quarter ourselves in the back-kitchen, a n d leave the h o u s e for him. Indeed, he would have c a r p e t e d and p a p e r e d a small spare room for a parlour; but his wife expressed s u c h p l e a s u r e at the white floor, and huge glow­ ing fire-place, at the pewter dishes, a n d delf-case, and dog-kennel, and the wide s p a c e there was to move a b o u t in, where they usually sat, that he thought it u n n e c e s s a r y to her comfort, and so dropped the intention. S h e expressed p l e a s u r e , too, at finding a sister a m o n g her new a c q u a i n t a n c e , a n d she prattled to C a t h e r i n e , and kissed her, and ran a b o u t with her, a n d gave her quantities of presents, at the be­ ginning. H e r affection tired very soon, however, and when she grew peevish, Hindley b e c a m e tyrannical. A few words from her, evincing a dislike to Heathcliff, were e n o u g h to rouse in him all his old hatred of the boy. H e drove him from their c o m p a n y to the servants, deprived him of the instructions of the curate, and insisted that he should labour out of doors instead, compelling him to do so, as hard as any other lad on the farm. Heathcliff bore his degradation pretty well at first, b e c a u s e Cathy taught him what she learnt, a n d worked or played with him in the fields. T h e y both p r o m i s e d fair to grow u p as rude as savages, the young m a s t e r being entirely negligent how they behaved, and what they did, so they kept clear of him. H e would not even have seen after their going to c h u r c h on S u n d a y s , only J o s e p h and the curate r e p r i m a n d e d his c a r e l e s s n e s s when they absented themselves, and that r e m i n d e d him to order Heathcliff a flogging, and Catherine a fast from dinner or supper.

CHAPTER

VI

37

But it was one of their chief a m u s e m e n t s to run away to the moors in the morning and remain there all day, a n d the afterpunishment grew a mere thing to laugh at. T h e c u r a t e might set a s many chapters as he p l e a s e d for C a t h e r i n e to get by heart, a n d J o s e p h might thrash Heathcliff till his a r m ached; they forgot ev­ erything the minute they were together again, at least the m i n u t e they had contrived s o m e naughty plan of revenge; a n d m a n y a time I've cried to myself to watch them growing m o r e reckless daily, a n d I not daring to s p e a k a syllable for fear of losing the small power I still retained over the unfriended creatures. O n e S u n d a y evening, it c h a n c e d that they were b a n i s h e d from the sitting-room, for making a noise, or a light offence of the kind, and when I went to call them to supper, I could discover them nowhere. W e searched the h o u s e , above a n d below, a n d the yard a n d sta­ bles; they were invisible; a n d , at last, Hindley in a p a s s i o n told us to bolt the doors, and swore nobody should let them in that night. T h e household went to bed; and I, too anxious to lie down, opened my lattice and put my h e a d out to hearken, though it rained, determined to admit them in spite of the prohibition, should they return. In a while, I distinguished steps c o m i n g up the road, a n d the light of a lantern glimmered through the gate. I threw a shawl over my h e a d a n d ran to prevent t h e m from waking Mr. E a r n s h a w by knocking. T h e r e was Heathcliff, by him­ self; it gave me a start to see him alone. "Where is M i s s C a t h e r i n e ? " I cried hurriedly. "No accident, I hope?" "At T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e , " he answered, "and I would have b e e n there too, but they had not the m a n n e r s to a s k m e to stay." "Well, you will catch it!" I said, "you'll never be content till you're sent about your b u s i n e s s . W h a t in the world led you wandering to Thrushcross Grange?" "Let me get off my wet clothes, and I'll tell you all a b o u t it, Nelly," he replied. I bid him beware of rousing the master, a n d while he u n d r e s s e d , and I waited to put out the candle, he c o n t i n u e d — "Cathy and I e s c a p e d from the w a s h - h o u s e to have a r a m b l e at liberty, and getting a glimpse of the G r a n g e lights, we thought we would j u s t go and see whether the Lintons p a s s e d their S u n d a y evenings standing shivering in corners, while their father a n d mother sat eating and drinking, and singing a n d laughing, a n d burn­ ing their eyes out before the fire. D o you think they do? Or reading sermons, and being catechised by their man-servant, a n d set to learn a column of Scripture n a m e s , if they don't answer properly?"

38

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

"Probably not," I responded. "They are good children, no doubt, a n d don't deserve the treatment you receive, for your b a d con­ duct." "Don't you cant, Nelly," he said. "Nonsense! W e ran from the top of the Heights to the park, without s t o p p i n g — C a t h e r i n e com­ pletely b e a t e n in the race, b e c a u s e she was barefoot. You'll have to s e e k for her shoes in the b o g to-morrow. W e crept through a broken h e d g e , groped our way u p the path, and planted ourselves on a flower-plot under the drawing-room window. T h e light c a m e from thence; they h a d not put u p the shutters, and the curtains were only half closed. B o t h of us were able to look in by standing on the b a s e m e n t , a n d clinging to the ledge, and we s a w — a h ! it was b e a u t i f u l — a splendid p l a c e c a r p e t e d with crimson, and crimsoncovered chairs a n d tables, and a p u r e white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of g l a s s - d r o p s hanging in silver chains from the cen­ tre, a n d s h i m m e r i n g with little soft tapers. Old Mr. and M r s . Linton were not there. E d g a r and his sister had it entirely to themselves; shouldn't they have been happy? W e should have thought ourselves in heaven! And now, g u e s s what your good children were doing? I s a b e l l a — I believe she is eleven, a year younger than C a t h y — l a y s c r e a m i n g at the farther end of the room, shrieking as if witches were running red hot needles into her. E d g a r stood on the hearth weeping silently, a n d in the middle of the table sat a little dog shaking its p a w a n d yelping, which, from their mutual a c c u s a t i o n s , we u n d e r s t o o d they h a d nearly pulled in two between them. T h e idiots! T h a t was their p l e as u r e ! to quarrel who should hold a heap of w a r m hair, a n d e a c h begin to cry b e c a u s e both, after struggling to get it, refused to take it. W e l a u g h e d outright at the petted things, we did d e s p i s e them! W h e n would you catch m e wishing to have what C a t h e r i n e w a n t e d ? or find us by ourselves, seeking entertain­ m e n t in yelling, a n d sobbing, and rolling on the ground, divided by the whole r o o m ? I'd not exchange, for a t h o u s a n d lives, my condi­ tion here, for E d g a r Linton's at T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e — n o t if I might have the privilege of flinging J o s e p h off the highest gable, and paint­ ing the house-front with Hindley's blood!" 1

"Hush, hush!" I interrupted. "Still you have not told me, Heath­ cliff, how C a t h e r i n e is left behind?" "I told you we laughed," he answered. "The Lintons heard us, a n d with one a c c o r d , they shot like arrows to the door; there was silence, a n d then a cry, 'Oh, m a m m a , m a m m a ! Oh, papa! Oh, m a m m a , c o m e here. O h , p a p a , oh!' They really did howl out, some­ thing in that way. W e m a d e frightful noises to terrify them still

1. T h e r a i s e d s t o n e w o r k a r o u n d t h e h o u s e f o u n d a t i o n . T h e r e is j u s t s u c h a b a s e m e n t o u t ­ s i d e t h e m a i n floor o f P o n d e n H a l l , o n e o f t h e p o s s i b l e m o d e l s for T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e .

CHAPTER

39

VI

more, and then we dropped off the ledge, b e c a u s e s o m e b o d y was drawing the bars, and we felt we had better flee. I h a d C a t h y by the hand, and was urging her on, when all at o n c e she fell down. " 'Run, Heathcliff, run!' she whispered. 'They have let the bulldog loose, and he holds me!' "The devil had seized her ankle, Nelly; I heard his a b o m i n a b l e snorting. S h e did not yell o u t — n o ! S h e would have s c o r n e d to do it, if she had been spitted on the horns of a m a d cow. I did, though; I vociferated curses e n o u g h to annihilate any fiend in C h r i s t e n d o m , and I got a stone and thrust it between his j a w s , and tried with all my might to c r a m it down his throat. A b e a s t of a servant c a m e u p with a lantern, at last, s h o u t i n g — " 'Keep fast, Skulker, keep fast!' "He c h a n ge d his note, however, when he s a w Skulker's g a m e . T h e dog was throttled off, his huge, purple tongue hanging half a foot out of his mouth, a n d his p e n d a n t lips s t r e a m i n g with bloody slaver. "The m a n took C a t h y up; she was sick, not from fear, I'm certain, but from pain. H e carried her in; I followed, grumbling execrations and vengeance. " 'What prey, Robert?' hallooed Linton from the e n t r a n c e . " 'Skulker has c a u g h t a little girl, sir,' he replied, 'and there's a lad here,' he added, making a clutch at m e , 'who looks an o u t - a n d outer! Very like, the robbers were for putting t h e m through the window, to open the doors to the g a n g after all were a s l e e p , that they might murder us at their e a s e . Hold your tongue, you foulmouthed thief, you! you shall go to the gallows for this. Mr. Linton, sir, don't lay by your gun!' " 'No, no, Robert!' said the old fool. 'The r a s c a l s knew that yes­ terday was my rent-day; they thought to have m e cleverly. C o m e in; I'll furnish them a reception. T h e r e , J o h n , fasten the chain. Give Skulker s o m e water, Jenny. T o b e a r d a magistrate in his strong­ hold, and on the S a b b a t h , too! W h e r e will their insolence stop? O h , my dear Mary, look here! Don't b e afraid, it is b u t a boy—yet the villain scowls so plainly in his face, would it not be a kindness to the country to hang him at once, before he shows his n a t u r e in acts, as well as features?' "He pulled m e under the chandelier, and M r s . Linton p l a c e d her spectacles on her nose a n d raised her h a n d s in horror. T h e cowardly children crept nearer also, Isabella l i s p i n g — " 'Frightful thing! Put him in the cellar, p a p a . He's exactly like 2

2. A total s c o u n d r e l , o n e w h o lives by o u t - a n d - o u t lies. D i c k e n s s a i d t h a t h e d i d n o t w h a t t o m a k e o f " s u c h a n o u t - a n d - o u t e r " a s Oliver Dickens, 441.

Twist's

F a g i n . The

Letters

of

know Charles

ed. M a d e l i n e H o u s e a n d G r a h a m S t o r e y , O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n P r e s s , 1 9 6 5 , I,

40

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

the son of the fortune-teller that stole my t a m e p h e a s a n t . Isn't he, Edgar?' "While they examined m e , C a t h y c a m e round; she heard the last s p e e c h , a n d laughed. E d g a r Linton, after an inquisitive stare, col­ lected sufficient wit to recognise her. They see us at church, you know, though we s e l d o m meet them elsewhere. " 'That's M i s s Earnshaw!' he whispered to his mother, 'and look how Skulker h a s bitten h e r — h o w her foot bleeds!' " 'Miss E a r n s h a w ? N o n s e n s e ! ' cried the d a m e , 'Miss E a r n s h a w scouring the country with a gipsy! And yet, my dear, the child is in m o u r n i n g — s u r e l y it i s — a n d she may b e l a m e d for life!' " 'What c u l p a b l e c a r e l e s s n e s s in her brother!' exclaimed Mr. Lin­ ton, turning from m e to C a t h e r i n e . 'I've understood from Shielders' (that was the c u r a t e , sir) 'that he lets her grow up in absolute hea­ thenism. B u t who is this? W h e r e did she pick up this c o m p a n i o n ? Oho! I declare he is that strange acquisition my late neighbour m a d e in his j o u r n e y to L i v e r p o o l — a little L a s c a r , or an American or S p a n i s h castaway.' " 'A wicked boy, at all events,' remarked the old lady, 'and quite unfit for a decent house! Did you notice his l a n g u a g e , Linton? I'm s h o c k e d that my children should have heard it.' "I r e c o m m e n c e d c u r s i n g — d o n ' t be angry, N e l l y — a n d so Robert was ordered to take m e o f f — I refused to go without Cathy; he dragged m e into the garden, p u s h e d the lantern into my hand, a s ­ sured m e that Mr. E a r n s h a w should b e informed of my behaviour, a n d bidding m e m a r c h directly, s e c u r e d the door again. "The curtains were still looped u p at one corner; and I r e s u m e d my station as spy, b e c a u s e , if C a t h e r i n e had wished to return, I intended shattering their great glass p a n e s to a million fragments, unless they let her out. "She sat on the sofa quietly. M r s . Linton took off the grey cloak of the dairy maid which we had borrowed for our excursion, shaking her h e a d , a n d expostulating with her, I s u p p o s e ; she was a young lady a n d they m a d e a distinction between her treatment and mine. T h e n the w o m a n servant brought a basin of warm water, and w a s h e d her feet; a n d Mr. Linton mixed a tumbler of negus, a n d Isabella emptied a plateful of c a k e s into her lap, and Edgar stood g a p i n g at a distance. Afterwards, they dried and c o m b e d her beautiful hair, a n d gave her a pair of e n o r m o u s slippers, and wheeled her to the fire, and I left her, as merry as she could be, dividing her food between the little dog and Skulker whose nose she p i n c h e d as he ate; a n d kindling a spark of spirit in the vacant blue eyes of the L i n t o n s — a dim reflection from her own en­ chanting f a c e — I saw they were full of stupid admiration; she is so

CHAPTER

VII

41

immeasurably superior to t h e m — t o everybody on earth, is she not, Nelly?" "There will more c o m e of this b u s i n e s s than you reckon on," I answered, covering him up and extinguishing the light. "You are incurable, Heathcliff, and Mr. Hindley will have to p r o c e e d to ex­ tremities, see if he won't." My words c a m e truer than I desired. T h e luckless adventure m a d e E a r n s h a w furious. And then Mr. Linton, to m e n d matters, paid us a visit himself on the morrow; a n d read the young m a s t e r such a lecture on the road he guided his family, that he was stirred to look about him, in earnest. Heathcliff received no flogging, but he was told that the first word he spoke to M i s s Catherine should e n s u r e a dismissal; a n d M r s . Earnshaw undertook to keep her sister-in-law in d u e restraint, when she returned home; employing art, not force—with force she would have found it impossible. Chapter

VII

Cathy stayed at T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e five weeks, till C h r i s t m a s . By that time her ankle was thoroughly cured, a n d her m a n n e r s m u c h improved. T h e mistress visited her often, in the interval, a n d c o m m e n c e d her plan of reform by trying to raise her self-respect with fine clothes and flattery, which she took readily: so that, in­ stead of a wild, hatless little savage j u m p i n g into the h o u s e , a n d rushing to squeeze us all breathless, there alighted from a h a n d ­ some black pony a very dignified person with brown ringlets falling from the cover of a feathered beaver, a n d a long cloth habit which she was obliged to hold u p with both h a n d s that she might sail in. Hindley lifted her from her horse, exclaiming delightedly— "Why, Cathy, you are quite a beauty! I should scarcely have known you—you look like a lady now. Isabella Linton is not to be compared with her, is she, F r a n c e s ? " "Isabella has not her natural advantages," replied his wife, "but she must mind and not grow wild again here. Ellen, help M i s s Catherine off with her things. Stay, dear, you will d i s a r r a n g e your c u r l s — l e t m e untie your hat." I removed the habit, and there shone forth b e n e a t h , a grand plaid silk frock, white trousers, and burnished shoes; and, while her eyes sparkled joyfully when the dogs c a m e b o u n d i n g u p to w e l c o m e her, she dare hardly touch them lest they should fawn u p o n her splendid garments. S h e kissed m e gently—I was all flour m a k i n g the C h r i s t m a s c a k e , and it would not have done to give m e a h u g — a n d then she looked

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r o u n d for Heathcliff. Mr. a n d M r s . E a r n s h a w watched anxiously their meeting, thinking it would enable them to j u d g e , in some m e a s u r e , what g r o u n d s they had for hoping to s u c c e e d in separating the two friends. Heathcliff was hard to discover, at first. If he were careless and u n c a r e d for, before Catherine's a b s e n c e , he had been ten times m o r e so, since. N o b o d y but I even did him the kindness to call him a dirty boy, a n d bid him w a s h himself, o n c e a week; a n d children of his age s e l d o m have a natural p l e a s u r e in s o a p a n d water. Therefore, not to mention his clothes, which had seen three months' service in mire a n d dust, a n d his thick u n c o m b e d hair, the surface of his face a n d h a n d s was dismally b e c l o u d e d . H e might well skulk behind the settle, on beholding s u c h a bright, graceful d a m s e l enter the house, instead of a r o u g h - h e a d e d counterpart to himself, as he expected. "Is Heathcliff not here?" she d e m a n d e d , pulling off her gloves, and displaying fingers wonderfully whitened with doing nothing, a n d staying indoors. "Heathcliff, you m a y c o m e forward," cried Mr. Hindley, enjoying his discomfiture a n d gratified to see what a forbidding young black­ g u a r d he would b e compelled to present himself. "You may c o m e a n d wish M i s s C a t h e r i n e welcome, like the other servants." Cathy, c a t c h i n g a glimpse of her friend in his concealment, flew to e m b r a c e him; s h e bestowed seven or eight kisses on his cheek within the s e c o n d , a n d then stopped, a n d drawing back, burst into a laugh, e x c l a i m i n g — "Why, how very b l a c k a n d cross you look! a n d h o w — h o w funny a n d grim! B u t that's b e c a u s e I'm u s e d to E d g a r a n d Isabella Linton. Well, Heathcliff, have you forgotten m e ? " S h e h a d s o m e r e a s o n to p u t the question, for s h a m e and pride threw d o u b l e gloom over his c o u n t e n a n c e , a n d kept him immov­ able. "Shake h a n d s , Heathcliff," said Mr. E a r n s h a w , condescendingly; "once in a way, that is permitted." "I shall not!" replied the boy, finding his tongue at last, "I shall not stand to be l a u g h e d at, I shall not bear it!" And he would have broken from the circle, but M i s s Cathy seized him again. "I did not m e a n to laugh at you," she said, "I could not hinder myself. Heathcliff, s h a k e h a n d s , at least! W h a t are you sulky for? It was only that you looked odd. If you wash your face a n d brush your hair, it will be all right. B u t you are so dirty!" S h e gazed concernedly at the dusky fingers she held in her own, a n d also at her d r e s s , which s h e feared had gained no embellish­ ment from its contact with his.

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"You needn't have touched me!" he answered, following her eye and snatching away his hand. "I shall be as dirty as I p l e a s e , and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty." With that he d a s h e d h e a d foremost out of the room, a m i d the merriment of the m a s t e r and mistress, and to the serious distur­ b a n c e of Catherine, who could not c o m p r e h e n d how her remarks should have p r o d u c e d s u c h an exhibition of b a d temper. After playing lady's maid to the new-comer, and putting my c a k e s in the oven, and making the h o u s e and kitchen cheerful with great fires befitting C h r i s t m a s eve, I p r e p a r e d to sit down a n d a m u s e myself by singing carols, all alone, regardless of J o s e p h ' s affirma­ tions that he considered the merry tunes I c h o s e as next door to songs. H e had retired to private prayer in his c h a m b e r , a n d Mr. and Mrs. E a r n s h a w were engaging Missy's attention by sundry gay trifles bought for her to present to the little Lintons, as an acknowledg­ ment of their kindness. They had invited them to s p e n d the morrow at W u t h e r i n g Heights, and the invitation had been a c c e p t e d , on one condition: M r s . Linton begged that her darlings might be kept carefully apart from that "naughty, swearing boy." Under these c i r c u m s t a n c e s I r e m a i n e d solitary. I smelt the rich scent of the heating spices; and a d m i r e d the shining kitchen uten­ sils, the polished clock, decked in holly, the silver m u g s r a n g e d on a tray ready to be filled with mulled ale for supper; a n d , above all, the speckless purity of my particular c a r e — t h e s c o u r e d and wellswept floor. I gave due inward a p p l a u s e to every object, a n d then I r e m e m ­ bered how old E a r n s h a w u s e d to c o m e in when all was tidied, a n d call me a cant l a s s , and slip a shilling into my hand, a s a C h r i s t m a s box; and from that I went on to think of his fondness for Heathcliff, and his dread lest he should suffer neglect after death h a d removed him; and that naturally led m e to consider the poor lad's situation now, and from singing I c h a n g e d my mind to crying. It struck m e soon, however, there would be m o r e s e n s e in endeavouring to repair s o m e of his wrongs than shedding tears over them. I got u p and walked into the court to seek him. H e was not far; I found him smoothing the glossy coat of the new pony in the stable, and feeding the other b e a s t s , a c c o r d i n g to custom. "Make haste, Heathcliff!" I said, "the kitchen is so comfortable — a n d J o s e p h is upstairs; m a k e haste, and let m e dress you s m a r t before M i s s Cathy c o m e s out, and then you c a n sit together, with 1

1. L i v e l y g i r l .

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the whole hearth to yourselves, and have a long chatter till bed­ time." H e p r o c e e d e d with his task and never turned his head towards me. " C o m e — a r e you coming?" I continued. "There's a little cake for e a c h of you, nearly enough; a n d you'll need half an hour's donning." I waited five minutes, but getting no answer left him. Catherine s u p p e d with her brother a n d sister-in-law: J o s e p h and I joined at an u n s o c i a b l e meal s e a s o n e d with reproofs on one side and saucin e s s on the other. His cake a n d cheese remained on the table all night for the fairies. H e m a n a g e d to continue work till nine o'clock, a n d then m a r c h e d d u m b a n d dour to his chamber. C a t h y sat u p late, having a world of things to order for the re­ ception of her new friends: she c a m e into the kitchen, once, to s p e a k to her old one, but he was gone, and she only stayed to ask what was the matter with him, a n d then went back. In the morning, he rose early; and, as it was a holiday, carried his ill-humour onto the moors, not re-appearing till the family were departed for church. F a s t i n g a n d reflection s e e m e d to have brought him to a better spirit. H e h u n g about m e for a while, and having screwed u p his c o u r a g e , exclaimed a b r u p t l y — "Nelly, m a k e m e decent, I'm going to be good." "High time, Heathcliff," I said, "you have grieved Catherine; she's sorry she ever c a m e h o m e , I dare say! It looks a s if you envied her, b e c a u s e she is m o r e thought of than you." T h e notion of envying C a t h e r i n e was incomprehensible to him, b u t the notion of grieving her he understood clearly enough. "Did she say she was grieved?" he inquired, looking very serious. "She cried when I told her you were off again this morning." "Well, I cried last night," he returned, "and I had more reason to cry than she." "Yes, you h a d the reason of going to bed with a proud heart and an empty s t o m a c h , " said I. "Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves. B u t , if you be a s h a m e d of your touchiness, you must a s k p a r d o n , mind, when she c o m e s in. You m u s t go up and offer to kiss her, and s a y — y o u know best what to say, only do it heartily, a n d not a s if you thought her converted into a stranger by her grand dress. And now, though I have dinner to get ready, I'll steal time to arrange you so that E d g a r Linton shall look quite a doll beside you: a n d that he does. You are younger, and yet, I'll be bound, you are taller a n d twice a s broad a c r o s s the s h o u l d e r s — y o u could knock him down in a twinkling: don't you feel that you could?" Heathcliff's f a c e brightened a moment; then it was overcast afresh, a n d he sighed. "But, Nelly, if I knocked him down twenty times, that wouldn't

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make him less h a n d s o m e , or m e m o r e so. I wish I h a d light hair and a fair skin, a n d was d r e s s e d a n d behaved as well, a n d h a d a c h a n c e of being as rich as he will be!" "And cried for m a m m a , at every turn," I a d d e d , "and trembled if a country lad heaved his fist against you, a n d sat at h o m e all day for a shower of rain. O, Heathcliff, you are showing a poor spirit! C o m e to the glass, a n d I'll let you see what you should wish. D o you m a r k those two lines between your eyes; a n d those thick brows, that instead of rising arched, sink in the middle; a n d that c o u p l e of black fiends, so deeply buried, who never open their windows boldly, but lurk glinting under them, like devil's spies? W i s h a n d learn to smooth away the surly wrinkles, to raise your lids frankly, and change the fiends to confident, innocent angels, s u s p e c t i n g a n d doubting nothing, a n d always seeing friends where they are not s u r e of foes. Don't get the expression of a vicious cur that a p p e a r s to know the kicks it gets are its desert, a n d yet hates all the world, as well as the kicker, for what it suffers." "In other words, I m u s t wish for E d g a r Linton's great b l u e eyes, and even forehead," he replied. "I d o — a n d that won't help m e to them." "A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad," I continued, "if you were a regular black; a n d a b a d one will turn the bonniest into something worse than ugly. And now that we've d o n e washing, and combing, a n d sulking—tell m e whether you don't think your­ self rather h a n d s o m e ? I'll tell you, I do. You're fit for a prince in disguise. W h o knows but your father was E m p e r o r of C h i n a , a n d your mother an Indian q u e e n , e a c h of them able to buy u p , with one week's income, Wuthering Heights a n d T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e together? And you were kidnapped by wicked sailors, a n d b r o u g h t to England. Were I in your p l a c e , I would frame high notions of my birth; and the thoughts of what I was should give m e c o u r a g e and dignity to support the o p p r e s s i o n s of a little farmer!" S o I chattered on; a n d Heathcliff gradually lost his frown, a n d began to look quite pleasant, when, all at once, our conversation was interrupted by a rumbling s o u n d moving u p the road a n d en­ tering the court. H e ran to the window, a n d I to the door, j u s t in time to behold the two Lintons d e s c e n d from the family carriage, smothered in cloaks a n d furs, a n d the E a r n s h a w s d i s m o u n t from their h o r s e s — t h e y often rode to c h u r c h in winter. C a t h e r i n e took a hand of each of the children, a n d brought t h e m into the h o u s e , and set them before the fire, which quickly p u t colour into their white faces. I urged my c o m p a n i o n to hasten now, a n d show his a m i a b l e hu­ mour, a n d he willingly obeyed; b u t ill luck would have it that, a s he opened the door leading from the kitchen on one side, Hindley

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o p e n e d it on the other. They met, and the master, irritated at seeing him clean a n d cheerful, or, p e r h a p s , eager to keep his promise to M r s . Linton, shoved him b a c k with a s u d d e n thrust, and angrily b a d e J o s e p h "keep the fellow out of the r o o m — s e n d him into the garret till dinner is over. He'll be c r a m m i n g his fingers in the tarts, a n d stealing the fruit, if left alone with them a minute." "Nay, sir," I could not avoid answering, "he'll touch nothing, not h e — a n d , I s u p p o s e , he m u s t have his share of the dainties as well as we." "He shall have his share of my hand, if I catch him downstairs again till dark," cried Hindley. "Begone, you vagabond! What! you are attempting the c o x c o m b , are you? Wait till I get hold of those elegant l o c k s — s e e if I won't pull them a bit longer!" "They are long e n o u g h already," observed M a s t e r Linton, peeping from the door-way; "I wonder they don't m a k e his head ache. It's like a colt's m a n e over his eyes!" H e ventured this remark without any intention to insult; but Heathcliff's violent nature was not prepared to endure the appear­ a n c e of impertinence from one whom he s e e m e d to hate, even then, as a rival. H e seized a tureen of hot a p p l e - s a u c e , the first thing that c a m e u n d e r his gripe, a n d d a s h e d it full against the speaker's face a n d n e c k — w h o instantly c o m m e n c e d a lament that brought Isa­ bella and C a t h e r i n e hurrying to the place. Mr. E a r n s h a w s n a t c h e d up the culprit directly and conveyed him to his c h a m b e r , where, doubtless, he administered a rough remedy to cool the fit of p a s s i o n , for he r e a p p e a r e d red and breathless. I got the dish-cloth, and, rather spitefully, s c r u b b e d Edgar's nose and m o u t h , affirming it served him right for meddling. His sister began weeping to go h o m e , a n d C a t h y stood by, confounded, blushing for all. "You should not have spoken to him!" she expostulated with M a s ­ ter Linton. "He was in a b a d temper, and now you've spoilt your visit, a n d he'll b e flogged—I hate him to be flogged! I can't eat my dinner. Why did you s p e a k to him, Edgar?" "I didn't," s o b b e d the youth, e s c a p i n g from my hands, and fin­ ishing the remainder of the purification with his cambric pockethandkerchief. "I p r o m i s e d m a m m a that I wouldn't say one word to him, a n d I didn't!" "Well, don't cry!" replied C a t h e r i n e , contemptuously. "You're not killed—don't m a k e m o r e m i s c h i e f — m y brother is c o m i n g — b e quiet! Give over, Isabella! H a s anybody hurt you?" "There, there, c h i l d r e n — t o your seats!" cried Hindley, bustling in. "That brute of a lad has w a r m e d m e nicely. Next time, M a s t e r Edgar, take the law into your own fists—it will give you an a p p e ­ tite!"

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T h e little party recovered its equanimity at sight of the fragrant feast. They were hungry after their ride, and easily consoled, since no real harm had befallen them. Mr. E a r n s h a w carved bountiful platefuls; a n d the mistress m a d e them merry with lively talk. I waited behind her chair, a n d was pained to behold C a t h e r i n e , with dry eyes a n d an indifferent air, c o m m e n c e cutting u p the wing of a g o o s e before her. "An unfeeling child," I thought to myself, "how lightly she dis­ misses her old playmate's troubles. I could not have imagined her to be so selfish." S h e lifted a mouthful to her lips; then she set it down again: her cheeks flushed, and the tears g u s h e d over them. S h e slipped her fork to the floor, and hastily dived under the cloth to c o n c e a l her emotion. I did not call her unfeeling long, for I perceived she was in purgatory throughout the day, and wearying to find an opportu­ nity of getting by herself, or paying a visit to Heathcliff, who h a d been locked u p by the master, as I discovered on endeavouring to introduce to him a private m e s s of victuals. In the evening we had a d a n c e . C a t h y b e g g e d that he might be liberated then, as Isabella Linton had no partner; her entreaties were vain, and I was appointed to supply the deficiency. W e got rid of all gloom in the excitement of the exercise, a n d our pleasure was increased by the arrival of the G i m m e r t o n b a n d , mustering fifteen strong: a trumpet, a t r o m b o n e , clarionets, b a s ­ soons, French horns, and a b a s s viol, b e s i d e s singers. T h e y go the rounds of all the respectable h o u s e s , and receive contributions every C h r i s t m a s , and we e s t e e m e d it a first-rate treat to hear them. After the usual carols had been s u n g , we set t h e m to s o n g s a n d glees. M r s . E a r n s h a w loved the m u s i c , a n d so they gave us plenty. Catherine loved it too; but she said it s o u n d e d sweetest at the top of the steps, and she went u p in the dark; I followed. T h e y shut the h o u s e door below, never noting our a b s e n c e , the p l a c e was so full of people. S h e m a d e no stay at the stairs' head, b u t m o u n t e d farther, to the garret where Heathcliff was confined, a n d called him. H e stubbornly declined answering for a while; she persevered, a n d finally p e r s u a d e d him to hold c o m m u n i o n with her through the boards. I let the poor things converse u n m o l e s t e d , till I s u p p o s e d the songs were going to c e a s e , and the singers to get s o m e refreshment: then, I clambered up the ladder to warn her. Instead of finding her outside, I heard her voice within. T h e little monkey had crept by the skylight of one garret, along the roof, into the skylight of the other, and it was with the u t m o s t difficulty I could coax her out again. W h e n she did c o m e , Heathcliff c a m e with her; a n d she insisted

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that I s h o u l d take him into the kitchen, a s my fellow-servant had gone to a neighbour's to be removed from the s o u n d of our "devil's psalmody," a s it p l e a s e d him to call it. I told t h e m I intended, by no m e a n s , to e n c o u r a g e their tricks; b u t as the prisoner h a d never broken his fast since yesterday's din­ ner, I would wink at his cheating Mr. Hindley that once. H e went down; I set him a stool by the fire, and offered him a quantity of good things; but he was sick and could eat little, and my a t t e m p t s to entertain him were thrown away. H e leant his two elbows on his knees, and his chin on his h a n d s , and remained wrapt in d u m b meditation. O n my inquiring the subject of his thoughts, he answered gravely— "I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I c a n only do it, at last. I hope he will not die before I do!" "For s h a m e , Heathcliff!" said I. "It is for G o d to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive." "No, G o d won't have the satisfaction that I shall," he returned. "I only wish I knew the best way! Let m e alone, and I'll plan it out: while I'm thinking of that, I don't feel pain." B u t , Mr. Lockwood, I forget these tales cannot divert you. I'm annoyed how I s h o u l d d r e a m of chattering on at s u c h a rate; and your gruel cold, a n d you nodding for bed! I could have told Heathcliff's history, all that you need hear, in half-a-dozen words. T h u s interrupting herself, the housekeeper rose, and proceeded to lay aside her sewing; but I felt incapable of moving from the hearth, a n d I was very far from nodding. "Sit still, M r s . Dean," I cried, "do sit still, another half hour! You've d o n e j u s t right to tell the story leisurely. T h a t is the method I like; a n d you m u s t finish in the s a m e style. I a m interested in every c h a r a c t e r you have mentioned, more or less." "The clock is on the stroke of eleven, sir." "No m a t t e r — I ' m not a c c u s t o m e d to go to bed in the long hours. O n e or two is early e n o u g h for a person who lies till ten." "You shouldn't lie till ten. There's the very prime of the morning g o n e long before that time. A person who has not done one half his day's work by ten o'clock runs a c h a n c e of leaving the other half undone." "Nevertheless, M r s . D e a n , r e s u m e your chair; b e c a u s e to-morrow I intend lengthening the night till afternoon. I prognosticate for myself an obstinate cold, at least." "I hope not, sir. Well, you m u s t allow m e to leap over s o m e three years; during that s p a c e M r s . E a r n s h a w — " "No, no, I'll allow nothing of the sort! Are you a c q u a i n t e d with

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the mood of mind in which, if you were s e a t e d alone, a n d the c a t licking its kitten on the rug before you, you would watch the op­ eration so intently that puss's neglect of one ear would p u t you seriously out of temper?" "A terribly lazy mood, I should say." "On the contrary, a tiresomely active one. It is m i n e , at present, and, therefore, continue minutely. I perceive that p e o p l e in these regions acquire over people in towns the value that a spider in a dungeon does over a spider in a cottage, to their various o c c u p a n t s ; and yet the deepened attraction is not entirely owing to the situa­ tion of the looker-on. They do live more in earnest, m o r e in themselves, and less in s u r f a c e c h a n g e , a n d frivolous external things. I could fancy a love for life here almost possible; and I was a fixed unbeliever in any love of a year's standing. O n e state r e s e m ­ bles setting a hungry m a n down to a single dish on which he may concentrate his entire appetite, and do it j u s t i c e ; the other, intro­ ducing him to a table laid out by F r e n c h cooks. H e can p e r h a p s extract as m u c h enjoyment from the whole, but e a c h part is a m e r e atom in his regard and r e m e m b r a n c e . " "Oh! here we are the s a m e as anywhere else, when you get to know us," observed M r s . D e a n , s o m e w h a t puzzled at my s p e e c h . "Excuse me," I responded; "you, my good friend, are a striking evidence against that assertion. Excepting a few provincialisms of slight c o n s e q u e n c e , you have no marks of the m a n n e r s that I a m habituated to consider as peculiar to your class. I a m s u r e you have thought a great deal more than the generality of servants think. You have been compelled to cultivate your reflective faculties, for want of occasions for frittering your life away in silly trifles." Mrs. D e a n laughed. "I certainly esteem myself a steady, r e a s o n a b l e kind of body," she said, "not exactly from living a m o n g the hills a n d seeing one set of faces, and one series of actions, from year's end to year's end; but I have undergone sharp discipline which h a s taught m e wisdom; and then, I have read m o r e than you would fancy, Mr. L o c k w o o d . You could not open a book in this library that I have not looked into, and got something out of also, unless it be that range of G r e e k and Latin, and that of F r e n c h — a n d those I know one from another: it is as m u c h as you can expect of a poor man's daughter." "However, if I a m to follow my story in true gossip's fashion, I had better go on; and instead of leaping three years, I will b e con­ tent to p a s s to the next s u m m e r — t h e s u m m e r of 1 7 7 8 , that is, nearly twenty-three years ago."

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VIII

O n the morning of a fine J u n e day, my first bonny little nursling, a n d the last of the ancient E a r n s h a w stock, was born. W e were busy with the hay in a far-away field, when the girl that usually brought our breakfasts c a m e running, an hour too soon, across the m e a d o w a n d up the lane, calling m e as she ran. "Oh, s u c h a grand bairn!" she p a n t e d out. "The finest lad that ever breathed! B u t the doctor says missis m u s t go; he says she's b e e n in a c o n s u m p t i o n these many months. I heard him tell Mr. Hindley: a n d now she has nothing to keep her, and she'll be dead before winter. You m u s t c o m e h o m e directly. You're to nurse it, N e l l y — t o feed it with s u g a r and milk, and take care of it, day and night. I wish I were you, b e c a u s e it will be all yours when there is no missis!" "But is she very ill?" I asked, flinging down my rake, and tying my bonnet. "I g u e s s she is; yet she looks bravely," replied the girl, "and she talks as if she thought of living to see it grow a m a n . She's out of her h e a d for joy, it's s u c h a beauty! If I were her, I'm certain I should not die. I should get better at the bare sight of it, in spite of Kenneth. I was fairly m a d at him. D a m e Archer brought the c h e r u b down to master, in the h o u s e , and his face j u s t began to light u p , w h e n the old croaker steps forward, and, says h e — ' E a r n ­ shaw, it's a blessing your wife h a s been spared to leave you this son. W h e n she c a m e , I felt convinced we shouldn't keep her long; a n d now, I m u s t tell you, the winter will probably finish her. Don't take on, a n d fret a b o u t it too m u c h , it can't be helped. And besides, you should have known better than to c h o o s e such a rush of a lass!' "And what did the m a s t e r answer?" I enquired. "I think he s w o r e — b u t I didn't mind him, I was straining to see the bairn," and she b e g a n again to describe it rapturously. I, as zealous as herself, hurried eagerly h o m e to admire, on my part, though I was very s a d for Hindley's sake; he had room in his heart only for two i d o l s — h i s wife and himself: he doted on both, and adored one, a n d I couldn't conceive how he would bear the loss. W h e n we got to Wuthering Heights, there he stood at the front door; and, a s I p a s s e d in, I asked, how was the baby? "Nearly ready to run about, Nell!" he replied, putting on a cheer­ ful smile. "And the m i s t r e s s ? " I ventured to inquire, "the doctor says she's—"

1.

Slender, delicate as a reed.

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"Damn the doctor!" he interrupted, reddening. "Frances is quite right—she'll be perfectly well by this time next week. Are you going upstairs? will you tell her that I'll c o m e , if she'll p r o m i s e not to talk? I left her b e c a u s e she would not hold her tongue; and she m u s t — tell her Mr. Kenneth says she m u s t be quiet." I delivered this m e s s a g e to M r s . E a r n s h a w ; she s e e m e d in flighty spirits, and replied merrily— "I hardly spoke a word, Ellen, and there he h a s gone out twice, crying. Well, say I p r o m i s e I won't speak; but that does not bind me not to laugh at him!" Poor soul! Till within a week of her death that gay heart never failed her; and her h u s b a n d persisted doggedly, nay, furiously, in affirming her health improved every day. W h e n K e n n e t h warned him that his medicines were useless at that stage of the malady, and he needn't put him to further expense by attending her, he retorted— "I know you need n o t — s h e ' s w e l l — s h e does not want any m o r e attendance from you! S h e never was in a c o n s u m p t i o n . It was a fever; and it is g o n e — h e r p u l s e is a s slow as mine now, a n d her cheek as cool." H e told his wife the s a m e story, a n d she s e e m e d to believe him; but one night, while leaning on his shoulder, in the act of saying she thought she should be able to get u p to-morrow, a fit of c o u g h ­ ing took h e r — a very slight one. H e raised her in his arms; she p u t her two hands about his neck, her face c h a n g e d , a n d she was d e a d . As the girl had anticipated, the child H a r e t o n fell wholly into my hands. Mr. E a r n s h a w , provided he saw him healthy, a n d never heard him cry, was contented, as far a s regarded him. For himself, he grew desperate; his sorrow was of that kind that will not lament. H e neither wept nor p r a y e d — h e c u r s e d a n d d e f i e d — e x e c r a t e d G o d and man, and gave himself u p to reckless dissipation. T h e servants could not bear his tyrannical a n d evil c o n d u c t long: J o s e p h and I were the only two that would stay. I h a d not the heart to leave my charge; and besides, you know, I h a d been his foster sister, and excused his behaviour m o r e readily than a stranger would. J o s e p h remained to hector over tenants a n d labourers, a n d be­ c a u s e it was his vocation to be where there was plenty of wickedness to reprove. T h e master's b a d ways and b a d c o m p a n i o n s formed a pretty ex­ ample for Catherine and Heathcliff. His treatment of the latter was enough to m a k e a fiend of a saint. And, truly, it a p p e a r e d a s if the lad were p o s s e s s e d of something diabolical at that period. H e de­ lighted to witness Hindley degrading himself p a s t redemption; and b e c a m e daily more notable for savage sullenness a n d ferocity.

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I could not half tell what an infernal h o u s e we had. T h e curate dropped calling, a n d nobody decent c a m e near u s , at last, unless E d g a r Linton's visits to M i s s C a t h y might be an exception. At fifteen she was the q u e e n of the country-side; she had no peer, and she did turn out a haughty, headstrong creature! I own I did not like her after her infancy was past; a n d I vexed her frequently by trying to bring down her arrogance; she never took an aversion to me, though. S h e h a d a wondrous constancy to old attachments; even Heathcliff kept his hold on her affections unalterably, and young Linton, with all his superiority, found it difficult to m a k e an equally d e e p impression. H e was my late master; that is his portrait over the fireplace. It u s e d to h a n g on one side, and his wife's on the other; but hers has been removed, or else you might see something of what she was. C a n you m a k e that out? M r s . D e a n raised the c a n d l e , and I discerned a soft-featured face, exceedingly resembling the young lady at the Heights, but more pensive a n d a m i a b l e in expression. It formed a sweet picture. T h e long light hair curled slightly on the temples; the eyes were large and serious; the figure almost too graceful. I did not marvel how C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w could forget her first friend for such an indi­ vidual. I marvelled m u c h how he, with a mind to correspond with his pe r s o n , could fancy my idea of C a t h e r i n e Earnshaw. "A very a g r e e a b l e portrait," I observed to the housekeeper. "Is it like?" "Yes," she answered; "but he looked better when he was ani­ m a t e d ; that is his every day c o u n t e n a n c e ; he wanted spirit in general." C a t h e r i n e had kept u p her a c q u a i n t a n c e with the Lintons since her five weeks' residence a m o n g them; and as she had no tempta­ tion to show her rough side in their company, and had the sense to b e a s h a m e d of being rude where she experienced s u c h invariable courtesy, she i m p o s e d unwittingly on the old lady and gentleman, by her ingenious cordiality; gained the admiration of Isabella, and the heart a n d soul of her b r o t h e r — a c q u i s i t i o n s that flattered her from the first, for she was full of ambition, and led her to adopt a double c h a r a c t e r without exactly intending to deceive anyone. In the p l a c e where she heard Heathcliff termed a "vulgar young ruffian," and "worse than a brute," she took care not to act like him; but at h o m e she h a d small inclination to practise politeness that would only be l a u g h e d at, and restrain an unruly nature when it would bring her neither credit nor praise. Mr. E d g a r seldom m u s t e r e d c o u r a g e to visit Wuthering Heights openly. H e h a d a terror of Earnshaw's reputation, and shrunk from e n c o u n t e r i n g him, a n d yet he was always received with our best

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attempts at civility: the m a s t e r himself avoided offending him, knowing why he c a m e , and if he could not be g r a c i o u s , kept out of the way. I rather think his a p p e a r a n c e there was distasteful to C a t h ­ erine; she was not artful, never played the c o q u e t t e , a n d had evi­ dently an objection to her two friends meeting at all; for when Heathcliff expressed contempt of Linton, in his p r e s e n c e , she could not half coincide, as she did in his a b s e n c e ; a n d when Linton evinced disgust and antipathy to Heathcliff, she dare not treat his sentiments with indifference, as if depreciation of her playmate were of scarcely any c o n s e q u e n c e to her. I've had many a laugh at her perplexities and untold troubles, which she vainly strove to hide from my mockery. T h a t s o u n d s illn a t u r e d — b u t she was so p r o u d , it b e c a m e really impossible to pity her distresses, till she should be c h a s t e n e d into m o r e humility. S h e did bring herself, finally, to confess, a n d confide in m e . T h e r e was not a soul else that she might fashion into an adviser. Mr. Hindley had gone from h o m e , one afternoon, a n d Heathcliff p r e s u m e d to give himself a holiday on the strength of it. H e had reached the age of sixteen then, I think, a n d without having b a d features or being deficient in intellect, he contrived to convey an impression of inward and outward repulsiveness that his present aspect retains no traces of. In the first p l a c e , he had, by that time, lost the benefit of his early education: continual hard work, b e g u n soon a n d c o n c l u d e d late, had extinguished any curiosity he o n c e p o s s e s s e d in pursuit of knowledge, and any love for books or learning. His childhood's sense of superiority, instilled into him by the favours of old Mr. Earnshaw, was faded away. H e struggled long to keep up an equality with Catherine in her studies and yielded with poignant though silent regret: but he yielded completely; and there was no prevailing on him to take a step in the way of moving upward, when he found he must, necessarily, sink b e n e a t h his former level. T h e n personal appearance sympathised with mental deterioration; he a c q u i r e d a slouching gait, and ignoble look; his naturally reserved disposition was exaggerated into an almost idiotic excess of u n s o c i a b l e m o roseness; and he took a grim p l e a s u r e , apparently, in exciting the aversion rather than the e s t e e m of his few a c q u a i n t a n c e . Catherine and he were constant c o m p a n i o n s still, at his s e a s o n s of respite from labour; but he had c e a s e d to express his fondness for her in words, and recoiled with angry s u s p i c i o n from her girlish caresses, as if conscious there could be no gratification in lavishing such marks of affection on him. O n the b e f o r e - n a m e d o c c a s i o n he c a m e into the h o u s e to a n n o u n c e his intention of doing nothing, while I was assisting M i s s C a t h y to arrange her dress: she had not reckoned on his taking it into his h e a d to be idle, a n d imagining

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s h e would have the whole p l a c e to herself, she m a n a g e d , by s o m e m e a n s , to inform M r . E d g a r of her brother's a b s e n c e , and was then preparing to receive him. "Cathy, are you busy, this afternoon?" asked Heathcliff. "Are you going anywhere?" "No, it is raining," she answered. "Why have you that silk frock on, then?" he said. "Nobody coming here, I hope?" "Not that I know of," s t a m m e r e d M i s s , "but you should be in the field now, Heathcliff. It is an hour p a s t dinner time; I thought you were gone." "Hindley does not often free us from his a c c u r s e d presence," observed the boy. "I'll not work any more to-day, I'll stay with you." "O, but J o s e p h will tell," she suggested. "You'd better go!" "Joseph is loading lime on the farther side of Pennistow Crag; it will take him till dark, a n d he'll never know." S o saying he lounged to the fire, a n d sat down. Catherine re­ flected an instant, with knitted b r o w s — s h e found it needful to s m o o t h the way for an intrusion. "Isabella a n d E d g a r Linton talked of calling this afternoon," she said, at the conclusion of a minute's silence. "As it rains, I hardly expect them; but they may c o m e , a n d if they do, you run the risk of being scolded for no good." "Order Ellen to say you are e n g a g e d , Cathy," he persisted. "Don't turn m e out for those pitiful, silly friends of yours! I'm on the point, s o m e t i m e s , of c o m p l a i n i n g that t h e y — b u t I'll not—" "That they what?" cried C a t h e r i n e , gazing at him with a troubled c o u n t e n a n c e . "Oh, Nelly!" she a d d e d petulantly, jerking her head away from my h a n d s , "you've c o m b e d my hair quite out of curl! That's e n o u g h , let m e alone. W h a t are you on the point of com­ plaining about, H e a t h c l i f f ? " "Nothing—only look at the a l m a n a c k on that wall." H e pointed to a f r a m e d sheet hanging near the window, a n d c o n t i n u e d — "The c r o s s e s are for the evenings you have spent with the Lintons, the dots for those spent with m e — d o you see? I've marked every day." "Yes—very foolish; a s if I took notice!" replied Catherine in a peevish tone. "And where is the s e n s e of that?" "To show that I do take notice," said Heathcliff. "And should I always be sitting with you?" she d e m a n d e d , grow­ ing m o r e irritated. "What good do I get? W h a t do you talk about? You might b e d u m b or a baby for anything you say to a m u s e me, or for anything you do, either!" "You never told m e before that I talked too little, or that you dis­ liked my c o m p a n y , Cathy!" exclaimed Heathcliff in m u c h agitation.

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"It is no c o m p a n y at all, when people know nothing a n d say noth­ ing," she muttered. Her c o m p a n i o n rose up, but he hadn't time to express his feelings further, for a horse's feet were heard on the flags, a n d , having knocked gently, young Linton entered, his face brilliant with delight at the unexpected s u m m o n s he h a d received. Doubtless C a t h e r i n e m a r k e d the difference between her friends as one c a m e in, a n d the other went out. T h e contrast r e s e m b l e d what you see in exchanging a bleak, hilly, coal country, for a b e a u ­ tiful fertile valley; a n d his voice a n d greeting were a s opposite a s his aspect. H e had a sweet, low m a n n e r of speaking, a n d pro­ nounced his words as you do: that's less gruff than we talk here, and softer. "I'm not c o m e too soon, a m I ? " he said, c a s t i n g a look at m e . I had begun to wipe the plate, a n d tidy s o m e drawers at the far end in the dresser. "No," answered C a t h e r i n e . "What are you doing there, Nelly?" "My work, Miss," I replied. (Mr. Hindley h a d given m e directions to m a k e a third party in any private visits Linton c h o s e to pay.) S h e stepped behind m e a n d whispered crossly, "Take yourself a n d your dusters off! W h e n c o m p a n y are in the h o u s e , servants don't c o m m e n c e scouring a n d cleaning in the r o o m where they are!" "It's a good opportunity, now that m a s t e r is away," I a n s w e r e d aloud: "he hates m e to b e fidgetting over these things in his p r e s ­ ence. I'm sure Mr. E d g a r will excuse me." "I hate you to be fidgetting in my p r e s e n c e , " exclaimed the young lady imperiously, not allowing her g u e s t time to speak. S h e h a d failed to recover her equanimity since the little d i s p u t e with Heathcliff. "I'm sorry for it, M i s s Catherine!" was my r e s p o n s e ; a n d I pro­ ceeded assiduously with my o c c u p a t i o n . S h e , s u p p o s i n g E d g a r could not see her, s n a t c h e d the cloth from my hand, and pinched m e , with a prolonged wrench, very spitefully on the arm. I've said I did not love her, a n d rather relished mortifying her vanity, now a n d then; besides, s h e hurt m e extremely, so I started up from my knees, a n d s c r e a m e d o u t — "O, M i s s , that's a nasty trick! you have no right to nip m e , a n d I'm not going to bear it!" "I didn't touch you, you lying creature!" cried she, her fingers tingling to repeat the act, a n d her ears red with rage. S h e never h a d power to conceal her p a s s i o n , it always set her whole complexion in a blaze. "What's that, then?" I retorted, showing a decided p u r p l e witness to refute her.

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S h e s t a m p e d her foot, wavered a m o m e n t , a n d then, irresistibly impelled by the naughty spirit within her, slapped m e on the cheek a stinging blow that filled both eyes with water. "Catherine, love! Catherine!" interposed Linton, greatly shocked at the double fault of falsehood and violence which his idol had committed. "Leave the room, Ellen!" she repeated, trembling all over. Little H a r e t o n , who followed m e everywhere, and was sitting near m e on the floor, at seeing my tears c o m m e n c e d crying himself, and s o b b e d out complaints against "wicked Aunt Cathy," which drew her fury on to his unlucky head: she seized his shoulders, and shook him till the poor child waxed livid, and E d g a r thoughtlessly laid hold of her h a n d s to deliver him. In an instant one was wrung free, and the a s t o n i s h e d young m a n felt it applied over his own ear in a way that could not be mistaken for jest. H e drew b a c k in consternation. I lifted Hareton in my arms, and walked off to the kitchen with him, leaving the door of communi­ cation open, for I was curious to watch how they would settle their disagreement. T h e insulted visitor moved to the spot where he had laid his hat, pale and with a quivering lip. "That's right!" I said to myself. "Take warning and begone! It's a kindness to let you have a glimpse of her genuine disposition." "Where are you going?" d e m a n d e d C a t h e r i n e , advancing to the door. H e swerved aside and attempted to p a s s . "You m u s t not go!" she exclaimed energetically. "I m u s t a n d shall!" he replied in a s u b d u e d voice. "No," she persisted, grasping the handle; "not yet, Edgar Linton — s i t down; you shall not leave m e in that temper. I should be miserable all night, a n d I won't be miserable for you!" "Can I stay after you have struck m e ? " asked Linton. C a t h e r i n e was m u t e . "You've m a d e m e afraid, and a s h a m e d of you," he continued; "I'll not c o m e here again!" H e r eyes b e g a n to glisten and her lids to twinkle. "And you told a deliberate untruth!" he said. "I didn't!" she cried, recovering her speech. "I did nothing deliberately—Well, go, if you p l e a s e — g e t away! And now I'll cry— I'll cry myself sick!" S h e d r o p p e d down on her knees by a chair and set to weeping in serious earnest. E d g a r persevered in his resolution as far as the court; there he lingered. I resolved to e n c o u r a g e him. "Miss is dreadfully wayward, sir!" I called out. "As b a d as any

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2

marred child —you'd better be riding h o m e , or else she will be sick, only to grieve us." The soft thing looked a s k a n c e through the window: he p o s s e s s e d the power to depart, as m u c h as a cat p o s s e s s e s the power to leave a m o u s e half killed, or a bird half eaten. Ah, I thought, there will be no saving h i m — H e ' s d o o m e d , a n d flies to his fate! And so it was; he turned abruptly, h a s t e n e d into the h o u s e again, shut the door behind him; and, when I went in a while after to inform them that E a r n s h a w had c o m e h o m e rabid drunk, ready to pull the old place about our ears (his ordinary frame of mind in that condition), I saw the quarrel had merely effected a closer intimacy—had broken the outworks of youthful timidity, a n d ena­ bled them to forsake the disguise of friendship, and confess them­ selves lovers. Intelligence of Mr. Hindley's arrival drove Linton speedily to his horse, and Catherine to her c h a m b e r . I went to hide little Hareton, and to take the shot out of the master's fowling piece, which he was fond of playing with in his insane excitement, to the hazard of the lives of any who provoked, or even attracted his notice too much; and I had hit u p o n the plan of removing it, that he might do less mischief, if he did go the length of firing the g u n . Chapter

IX

He entered, vociferating oaths dreadful to hear; a n d c a u g h t m e in the act of stowing his son away in the kitchen c u p b o a r d . H a r e t o n was impressed with a wholesome terror of encountering either his wild beast's fondness or his m a d m a n ' s rage; for in one he ran a chance of being squeezed a n d kissed to death, and in the other of being flung into the fire, or d a s h e d against the wall; a n d the poor thing remained perfectly quiet wherever I c h o s e to p u t him. "There, I've found it out at last!" cried Hindley, pulling m e b a c k by the skin of the neck, like a dog. "By H e a v e n a n d Hell, you've sworn between you to murder that child! I know how it is, now, that he is always out of my way. But, with the help of S a t a n , I shall make you swallow the carving knife, Nelly! You needn't laugh; for I've j u s t c r a m m e d Kenneth, head-downmost, in the B l a c k h o r s e marsh; and two is the s a m e as o n e — a n d I want to kill s o m e of you, I shall have no rest till I do!" "But I don't like the carving knife, Mr. Hindley," I answered; "it has been cutting red herrings. I'd rather be shot, if you please." "You'd rather be damned!" he said, "and so you shall. N o law in

2.

Spoiled child.

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E n g l a n d c a n hinder a m a n from keeping his h o u s e decent, and mine's a b o m i n a b l e ! open your mouth." H e held the knife in his h a n d , a n d p u s h e d its point between my teeth: but, for my part, I was never m u c h afraid of his vagaries. I spat out, a n d affirmed it tasted d e t e s t a b l y — I would not take it on any a c c o u n t . "Oh!" said he, releasing m e , "I see that hideous little villain is not Hareton: I b e g your p a r d o n , Nell. If it be, he deserves flaying alive for not running to welcome m e , a n d for s c r e a m i n g as if I were a goblin. U n n a t u r a l c u b , c o m e hither! I'll teach thee to impose on a good-hearted, d e l u d e d father. Now, don't you think the lad would be h a n d s o m e r c r o p p e d ? It m a k e s a dog fiercer, a n d I love something fierce—get m e a s c i s s o r s — s o m e t h i n g fierce a n d trim! Besides, it's infernal affectation—devilish conceit it i s — t o cherish our ears: we're a s s e s e n o u g h without them. H u s h , child, hush! well, then, it is my darling! wisht, dry thy eyes—there's a joy; kiss me; what! it won't? kiss m e , Hareton! D a m n thee, kiss me! By G o d , as if I would rear s u c h a monster! As sure a s I'm living, I'll break the brat's neck." Poor H a r e t o n was squalling a n d kicking in his father's a r m s with all his might, a n d redoubled his yells when he carried him upstairs a n d lifted him over the banister. I cried out that he would frighten the child into fits, a n d ran to r e s c u e him. As I r e a c h e d them, Hindley leant forward on the rails to listen to a noise below, a l m o s t forgetting what he had in his hands. "Who is that?" he asked, hearing s o m e one a p p r o a c h i n g the stair's foot. I leant forward also, for the p u r p o s e of signing to Heathcliff, w h o s e step I recognized, not to c o m e further; and, at the instant when my eye quitted H a r e t o n , he gave a s u d d e n spring, delivered himself from the careless grasp that held him, a n d fell. T h e r e was scarcely time to experience a thrill of horror before we saw that the little wretch was safe. Heathcliff arrived underneath j u s t at the critical moment; by a natural impulse, he arrested his descent, a n d setting him on his feet, looked u p to discover the author of the accident. A miser who has parted with a lucky lottery ticket for five shil­ lings, a n d finds next day he has lost in the bargain five thousand p o u n d s , could not show a blanker c o u n t e n a n c e than he did on beholding the figure of Mr. E a r n s h a w above. It expressed, plainer than words could do, the intensest a n g u i s h at having m a d e himself the i n s t r u m e n t of thwarting his own revenge. H a d it been dark, I dare say, he would have tried to remedy the mistake by s m a s h i n g Hareton's skull on the steps; but we witnessed his salvation; and I was presently below with my precious charge p r e s s e d to my heart.

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Hindley d e s c e n d e d more leisurely, sobered a n d a b a s h e d . "It is your fault, Ellen," he said, "you should have kept him out of sight; you should have taken him from me! Is he injured anywhere?" "Injured!" I cried angrily, "If he's not killed, he'll b e an idiot! Oh! I wonder his mother does not rise from her grave to see how you use him. You're worse than a h e a t h e n — t r e a t i n g your own flesh a n d blood in that manner!" H e attempted to touch the child, who, on finding himself with me, sobbed off his terror directly. At the first finger his father laid on him, however, he shrieked again louder than before, a n d strug­ gled as if he would go into convulsions. "You shall not meddle with him!" I continued, "He hates y o u — they all hate you—that's the truth! A happy family you have; a n d a pretty state you're c o m e to!" "I shall c o m e to a prettier, yet, Nelly!" l a u g h e d the m i s g u i d e d man, recovering his h a r d n e s s . "At present, convey yourself a n d him away. And, hark you, Heathcliff! clear you too, quite from my r e a c h and hearing. I wouldn't m u r d e r you to-night, u n l e s s , p e r h a p s , I set the house on fire; but that's as my fancy g o e s — " While saying this he took a pint bottle of brandy from the dresser, and poured s o m e into a tumbler. "Nay, don't!" I entreated, "Mr. Hindley, do take warning. H a v e mercy on this unfortunate boy, if you c a r e nothing for yourself!" "Any one will do better for him than I shall," he answered. "Have mercy on your own soul!" I said, endeavouring to s n a t c h the glass from his hand. "Not I! on the contrary, I shall have great p l e a s u r e in s e n d i n g it to perdition, to p u n i s h its Maker," exclaimed the b l a s p h e m e r . "Here's to its hearty damnation!" H e drank the spirits, a n d impatiently b a d e us go; terminating his c o m m a n d with a sequel of horrid imprecations, too b a d to repeat or remember. "It's a pity he c a n n o t kill himself with drink," observed Heathcliff, muttering an e c h o of c u r s e s b a c k when the door was shut. "He's doing his very utmost; but his constitution defies him. Mr. K e n n e t h says he would wager his m a r e , that he'll outlive any m a n on this side G i m m e r t o n , a n d go to the grave a hoary sinner; unless s o m e happy c h a n c e out of the c o m m o n c o u r s e befall him." I went into the kitchen a n d sat down to lull my little l a m b to sleep. Heathcliff, as I thought, walked through to the barn. It turned out, afterwards, that he only got as far as the other side the settle, when he flung himself on a b e n c h by the wall, removed from the fire, and remained silent.

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I was rocking H a r e t o n on my knee, and h u m m i n g a song that began— "It was far in the night, and the bairnies grat, T h e mither b e n e a t h the mools heard that," 1

when M i s s Cathy, who h a d listened to the h u b b u b from her room, p u t her h e a d in, a n d w h i s p e r e d — "Are you alone, Nelly?" "Yes, M i s s , " I replied. S h e entered and a p p r o a c h e d the hearth. I, s u p p o s i n g she was going to say something, looked u p . T h e expression of her face s e e m e d disturbed and anxious. H e r lips were half a s u n d e r as if she m e a n t to speak; a n d she drew a breath, but it e s c a p e d in a sigh, instead of a s e n t e n c e . I r e s u m e d my song, not having forgotten her recent behaviour. "Where's H e a t h c l i f f ? " she said, interrupting me. "About his work in the stable," was my answer. H e did not contradict me; p e r h a p s he had fallen into a doze. T h e r e followed another long p a u s e , during which I perceived a drop or two trickle from Catherine's cheek to the flags. Is she sorry for her s h a m e f u l c o n d u c t ? I asked myself. T h a t will b e a novelty, b u t she may c o m e to the point as she will—I shan't help her! N o , she felt small trouble regarding any subject, save her own concerns. "Oh, dear!" she cried at last. "I'm very unhappy!" "A pity," observed I. "You're hard to p l e a s e — s o many friends and so few c a r e s , and can't m a k e yourself content!" "Nelly, will you keep a secret for m e ? " she p u r s u e d , kneeling down by m e , a n d lifting her w i n s o m e eyes to my face with that sort of look which turns off b a d temper, even when one has all the right in the world to indulge it. "Is it worth keeping?" I inquired, less sulkily. "Yes, a n d it worries m e , a n d I m u s t let it out! I want to know what I should do. To-day, E d g a r Linton has asked me to marry him, and I've given him an answer. Now, before I tell you whether it was a consent, or denial, you tell m e which it ought to have been." "Really, M i s s C a t h e r i n e , how c a n I know?" I replied. "To be sure, considering the exhibition you performed in his p r e s e n c e this af­ ternoon, I might say it would be wise to refuse him: since he asked you after that, he m u s t either be hopelessly stupid or a venturesome fool." 1.

"It w a s l a t e i n t h e n i g h t , a n d t h e l i t t l e o n e s w e p t , / T h e m o t h e r i n t h e g r a v e h e a r d t h a t , "

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"If you talk so, I won't tell you any more," she returned, peevishly, rising to her feet, "I a c c e p t e d him, Nelly. B e quick, a n d say whether I was wrong!" "You a c c e p t e d him? then, what good is it d i s c u s s i n g the matter? You have pledged your word, a n d c a n n o t retract." "But, say whether I should have d o n e s o — d o ! " s h e exclaimed in an irritated tone, chafing her h a n d s together, a n d frowning. "There are many things to be considered before that question c a n be answered properly," I said sententiously. "First a n d foremost, do you love Mr. Edgar?" "Who can help it? O f c o u r s e I do," she answered. T h e n I put her through the following c a t e c h i s m : for a girl of twenty-two, it was not injudicious. "Why do you love him, M i s s Cathy?" "Nonsense, I d o — t h a t ' s sufficient." "By no m e a n s ; you m u s t say why." "Well, b e c a u s e he is h a n d s o m e , a n d p l e a s a n t to b e with." "Bad," was my commentary. "And b e c a u s e he is young a n d cheerful." "Bad, still." "And b e c a u s e he loves me." "Indifferent, coming there." "And he will be rich, a n d I shall like to b e the greatest w o m a n of the neighbourhood, a n d I shall b e p r o u d of having s u c h a husband." "Worst of all! And now, say how you love him." "As everybody loves—You're silly, Nelly." "Not at all—Answer." "I love the ground under his feet, a n d the air over his h e a d , a n d everything he touches, a n d every word he s a y s — I love all his looks, and all his actions, and him entirely, a n d altogether. T h e r e now!" "And why?" "Nay—you are making a j e s t of it; it is exceedingly ill-natured! It's no j e s t to me!" said the young lady, scowling, a n d turning her face to the fire. "I'm very far from jesting, M i s s Catherine," I replied. "You love Mr. Edgar, b e c a u s e he is h a n d s o m e , a n d young, a n d cheerful, a n d rich, and loves you. T h e last, however, goes for nothing. You would love him without that, probably; a n d with it, you wouldn't, unless he p o s s e s s e d the four former attractions." "No, to be sure n o t — I should only pity h i m — h a t e him, p e r h a p s , if he were ugly, a n d a clown." "But there are several other h a n d s o m e , rich young m e n in the world; handsomer, possibly, a n d richer than he is. W h a t should hinder you from loving them?"

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"If there b e any, they are out of my way—I've seen none like Edgar." "You may see s o m e ; and he won't always be h a n d s o m e , and young, and may not always b e rich." "He is now; a n d I have only to do with the p r e s e n t — I wish you would s p e a k rationally." "Well, that settles it—if you have only to do with the present, marry Mr. Linton." "I don't want your permission for t h a t — I shall marry him; and yet you have not told m e whether I'm right." "Perfectly right; if people be right to marry only for the present. And now, let us hear what you are u n h a p p y about. Your brother will b e p l e a s e d ; the old lady a n d gentleman will not object, I think; you will e s c a p e from a disorderly, comfortless h o m e into a wealthy, respectable one; a n d you love Edgar, and E d g a r loves you. All seems s m o o t h and e a s y — w h e r e is the obstacle?" "Here! a n d here!" replied C a t h e r i n e , striking one hand on her forehead, a n d the other on her breast. "In whichever place the soul lives—in my soul, a n d in my heart, I'm convinced I'm wrong!" "That's very strange! I cannot m a k e it out." "It's my secret; b u t if you will not m o c k at m e , I'll explain it; I can't do it distinctly—but I'll give you a feeling of how I feel." S h e s e a t e d herself by m e again: her c o u n t e n a n c e grew sadder a n d graver, a n d her c l a s p e d h a n d s trembled. "Nelly, do you never d r e a m queer d r e a m s ? " she said, suddenly, after s o m e minutes' reflection. "Yes, now a n d then," I answered. "And so do I. I've d r e a m t in my life d r e a m s that have stayed with m e ever after, a n d c h a n g e d my ideas; they've gone through and through m e , like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind. A n d this is o n e — I ' m going to tell i t — b u t take care not to smile at any part of it." "Oh! don't, M i s s Catherine!" I cried. "We're dismal enough with­ out conjuring u p ghosts and visions to perplex us. C o m e , come, be merry, and like yourself! L o o k at little Hareton—he's dreaming nothing dreary. H o w sweetly he smiles in his sleep!" "Yes; and how sweetly his father c u r s e s in his solitude! You re­ m e m b e r him, I dare say, when he was j u s t s u c h another as that c h u b b y t h i n g — n e a r l y as young a n d innocent. However, Nelly, I shall oblige you to listen—it's not long; and I've no power to be merry to-night." "I won't hear it, I won't hear it!" I repeated, hastily. I was superstitious a b o u t d r e a m s then, and a m still; and C a t h ­ erine h a d a n u n u s u a l gloom in her aspect, that m a d e m e dread

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something from which I might s h a p e a prophecy, a n d foresee a fearful catastrophe. S h e was vexed, but she did not p r o c e e d . Apparently taking u p another subject, she r e c o m m e n c e d in a short time. "If I were in heaven, Nelly, I should be extremely miserable." "Because you are not fit to go there," I answered. "All sinners would be miserable in heaven." "But it is not for that. I dreamt, o n c e , that I was there." "I tell you I won't harken to your d r e a m s , M i s s C a t h e r i n e ! I'll go to bed," I interrupted again. S h e laughed, a n d held m e down, for I m a d e a motion to leave my chair. "This is nothing," cried she; "I was only going to say that heaven did not s e e m to be my home; a n d I broke my heart with weeping to c o m e b a c k to earth; a n d the angels were so angry that they flung me out, into the middle of the heath on the top of W u t h e r i n g Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy. T h a t will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I've no m o r e b u s i n e s s to marry E d g a r Linton than I have to b e in heaven; a n d if the wicked m a n in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade m e to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; a n d that, not b e c a u s e he's h a n d s o m e , Nelly, but b e c a u s e he's more myself than I a m . Whatever our souls are m a d e of, his and mine are the s a m e , a n d Linton's is a s different a s a m o o n b e a m from lightning, or frost from fire." Ere this s p e e c h ended, I b e c a m e sensible of Heathcliff's p r e s ­ ence. Having noticed a slight movement, I turned my head, a n d saw him rise from the bench, a n d steal out, noiselessly. H e h a d listened till he heard C a t h e r i n e say it would d e g r a d e her to marry him, a n d then he stayed to hear no farther. My c o m p a n i o n , sitting on the ground, was prevented by the b a c k of the settle from remarking his p r e s e n c e or departure; but I started, and b a d e her hush! "Why?" she asked, gazing nervously round. "Joseph is here," I answered, catching, opportunely, the roll of his cartwheels up the road; "and Heathcliff will c o m e in with him. I'm not sure whether he were not at the door this moment." "Oh, he couldn't overhear m e at the door!" said she. "Give m e Hareton, while you get the supper, a n d when it is ready a s k m e to sup with you. I want to cheat my u n c o m f o r t a b l e c o n s c i e n c e , a n d be convinced that Heathcliff has no notion of these things. H e has not, has he? H e does not know what being in love is?" "I see no reason that he should not know, a s well as you," I returned; "and if you are his choice, he'll be the m o s t unfortunate

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creature that ever was born! As soon as you b e c o m e M r s . Linton, he loses friend, a n d love, a n d all! Have you considered how you'll bear the separation, a n d how he'll bear to be quite deserted in the world? B e c a u s e , M i s s C a t h e r i n e — " "He quite deserted! we separated!" she exclaimed, with an accent of indignation. "Who is to s e p a r a t e us, pray? They'll meet the fate of M i l o ! N o t a s long as I live, E l l e n — f o r no mortal creature. Every Linton on the face of the earth might melt into nothing, before I could c o n s e n t to forsake Heathcliff. O h , that's not what I i n t e n d — that's not what I m e a n ! I shouldn't be M r s . Linton were s u c h a price d e m a n d e d ! He'll be a s m u c h to me as he has been all his lifetime. E d g a r m u s t shake off his antipathy, a n d tolerate him, at least. H e will when he learns my true feelings towards him. Nelly, I see now, you think m e a selfish wretch, but, did it never strike you that if Heathcliff" a n d I married, we should be beggars? whereas, if I marry Linton, I c a n aid Heathcliff to rise, a n d place him out of my brother's power." 2

"With your h u s b a n d ' s money, M i s s C a t h e r i n e ? " I asked. "You'll find him not so pliable as you calculate upon: and, though I'm hardly a j u d g e , I think that's the worst motive you've given yet for being the wife of young Linton." "It is not," retorted she, "it is the best! T h e others were the sat­ isfaction of my whims; a n d for Edgar's sake, too, to satisfy him. T h i s is for the s a k e of one who c o m p r e h e n d s in his person my feelings to E d g a r a n d myself. I c a n n o t express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is, or should be, an existence of yours beyond you. W h a t were the u s e of my creation if I were en­ tirely contained here? M y great miseries in this world have been H e a t h c l i f f s miseries, a n d I watched a n d felt e a c h from the begin­ ning; my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he r e m a i n e d , I should still continue to be; and, if all else remained, a n d he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to a mighty stranger. I should not s e e m a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. T i m e will c h a n g e it, I'm well aware, as winter c h a n g e s the t r e e s — m y love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks b e n e a t h — a s o u r c e of little visible delight, but nec­ essary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff—he's always, always in my m i n d — not a s a p l e a s u r e , any more than I a m always a p l e a s u r e to myself — b u t , a s my own b e i n g — s o , don't talk of our separation a g a i n — it is impracticable; a n d — " S h e p a u s e d , a n d hid her face in the folds of my gown; but I jerked it forcibly away. I was out of p a t i e n c e with her folly! "If I c a n m a k e any s e n s e of your n o n s e n s e , Miss," I said, "it only 2. A n athlete d e v o u r e d by wild b e a s t s w h e n the tree he was trying to uproot b o u n d him.

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goes to convince m e that you are ignorant of the duties you under­ take in marrying; or else that you are a wicked, unprincipled girl. But trouble m e with no more secrets. I'll not p r o m i s e to keep them." "You'll keep that?" she asked, eagerly. "No, I'll not promise," I repeated. S h e was about to insist, w h e n the entrance of J o s e p h finished our conversation; a n d C a t h e r i n e removed her seat to a corner, and nursed Hareton, while I m a d e the supper. After it was cooked, my fellow servant and I b e g a n to quarrel who should carry s o m e to Mr. Hindley; a n d we didn't settle it till all was nearly cold. T h e n we c a m e to the agreement that we would let him ask, if he wanted any, for we feared particularly to go into his p r e s ­ ence when he had been s o m e time alone. "Und hah isn't that nowt corned in frough th' field, be this time? What is he abaht? girt eedle seeght!" d e m a n d e d the old m a n , look­ ing round for Heathcliff. "I'll call him," I replied. "He's in the barn, I've no doubt." I went and called, but got no answer. O n returning, I whispered to Catherine that he had heard a good part of what she said, I was sure; and told how I saw him quit the kitchen j u s t a s she c o m ­ plained of her brother's conduct regarding him. S h e j u m p e d up in a fine fright, flung H a r e t o n onto the settle, and ran to seek for her friend herself, not taking leisure to consider why she was so flurried, or how her talk would have affected him. S h e was absent s u c h a while that J o s e p h p r o p o s e d we s h o u l d wait no longer. H e cunningly conjectured they were staying away in or­ der to avoid hearing his protracted blessing. They were "ill e n e u g h for ony fahl manners," he affirmed. And, on their behalf, he a d d e d that night a special prayer to the u s u a l quarter of an hour's suppli­ cation before meat, and would have tacked another to the e n d of the grace, had not his young mistress broken in upon him with a hurried c o m m a n d that he m u s t run down the road, and, wherever Heathcliff had rambled, find and m a k e him re-enter directly! "I want to s p e a k to him, a n d I must, before I go upstairs," she said. "And the gate is open, he is somewhere out of hearing; for he would not reply, though I s h o u t e d at the top of the fold as loud as I could." J o s e p h objected at first; she was too m u c h in earnest, however, to suffer contradiction; and at last he p l a c e d his hat on his head, and walked grumbling forth. M e a n t i m e , Catherine p a c e d u p and down the floor, e x c l a i m i n g — "I wonder where he i s — I wonder where he can be! W h a t did I 3

3.

"And w h y h a s n o o n e c o m e in f r o m t h e sight?"

field

by n o w ? W h a t is h e d o i n g , t h a t g r e a t idle

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say, Nelly? I've forgotten. W a s he vexed at my b a d h u m o u r this afternoon? Dear! tell m e what I've said to grieve him. I do wish he'd c o m e . I do wish he would!" "What a noise for nothing!" I cried, though rather uneasy myself. "What a trifle s c a r e s you! It's surely no great c a u s e of alarm that Heathcliff should take a moonlight saunter on the moors, or even lie too sulky to s p e a k to us, in the hay-loft. I'll engage he's lurking there. S e e if I don't ferret him out!" I d e p a r t e d to renew my search; its result was disappointment, and J o s e p h ' s q u e s t e n d e d in the s a m e . "Yon lad gets war un war!" observed he on re-entering. "He's left th' yate ut t' full swing, a n d Miss's pony has trodden dahn two rigs uh corn, un plottered through, raight o'er intuh t' meadow! H a h somdiver, t' maister 'ull play t' divil to-morn, and he'll do weel. He's p a t i e n c e itsseln wi' sich careless, offald c r a t e r s — p a t i e n c e itsseln, he is! B u d he'll nut be soa a l i u s — y a h ' s see, all on ye! Yah mumn't drive him aht uf his h e e a d fur nowt!" "Have you found Heathcliff, you a s s ? " interrupted Catherine. "Have you been looking for him, as I ordered?" "Aw s u d m o r e likker look for th' horse," he replied. "It 'ud be tuh m o r e s e n s e . B u d Aw c a n look for norther horse, nur m a n uf a neeght loike t h i s — a s black a s t' chimbley! u n d Hathecliff's noan t' c h a p tuh c o o m ut maw w h i s t l e — h a p p e n he'll be less hard uh hear­ ing wi' ye!" It was a very dark evening for s u m m e r : the clouds appeared in­ clined to thunder, and I said we had better all sit down; the approach­ ing rain would be certain to bring him h o m e without further trouble. However, C a t h e r i n e would not b e p e r s u a d e d into tranquillity. S h e kept wandering to a n d fro, from the gate to the door, in a state of agitation which permitted no repose; and at length took up a p e r m a n e n t situation on one side of the wall, near the road, where, h e e d l e s s of my expostulations, and the growling thunder, and the great drops that b e g a n to p l a s h a r o u n d her, she remained, calling at intervals, a n d then listening, a n d then crying outright. S h e beat H a r e t o n , or any child, at a good, p a s s i o n a t e fit of crying. A b o u t midnight, while we still sat u p , the storm c a m e rattling over the Heights in full fury. T h e r e was a violent wind, as well as 4

5

4.

" T h a t l a d g e t s w o r s e a n d w o r s e . . . H e ' s left t h e g a t e w i d e o p e n , a n d M i s s ' s p o n y h a s trodden d o w n two rows of grain, a n d s c r a m b l e d into the m e a d o w . However, the master will b e d e v i l i s h l y a n g r y t o m o r r o w , a n d he'll d o well. H e ' s p a t i e n c e itself w i t h s u c h c a r e ­ l e s s , w o r t h l e s s c r e a t u r e s — p a t i e n c e itself, h e is! B u t he'll n o t b e s o a l w a y s — y o u ' l l

see,

all o f you! Y o u m u s t n o t drive h i m o u t o f his h e a d for n o r e a s o n ! " 5.

"I s h o u l d l i k e b e t t e r t o l o o k f o r t h e h o r s e . . . It w o u l d m a k e m o r e s e n s e . B u t I c a n l o o k for neither h o r s e , n o r m a n o n a night like t h i s — a s b l a c k as a chimney!

And

Heath-

c l i f f ' s n o t s o m e o n e t o c o m e a t m y w h i s t l e — b u t he'll b e l e s s h a r d of h e a r i n g w i t h y o u . "

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thunder, a n d either one or the other split a tree off at the corner of the building; a huge b o u g h fell a c r o s s the roof, a n d knocked down a portion of the east chimney-stack, sending a clatter of stones and soot into the kitchen fire. We thought a bolt had fallen in the middle of u s , a n d J o s e p h swung onto his knees, b e s e e c h i n g the L o r d to r e m e m b e r the Patri­ archs N o a h a n d L o t ; and, as in former times, spare the righteous, though he smote the ungodly. I felt s o m e sentiment that it m u s t be a j u d g m e n t on us also. T h e J o n a h , in my mind, was M r . E a r n ­ shaw, a n d I shook the handle of his den that I might ascertain if he were yet living. H e replied audibly e n o u g h , in a fashion which m a d e my c o m p a n i o n vociferate m o r e clamorously than before that a wide distinction might be drawn between saints like himself, a n d sinners like his master. B u t the uproar p a s s e d away in twenty minutes, leaving us all u n h a r m e d , excepting Cathy, who got thor­ oughly drenched for her obstinacy in refusing to take shelter, a n d standing bonnetless a n d shawl-less to c a t c h as m u c h water as she could with her hair a n d clothes. 6

S h e c a m e in and lay down on the settle, all s o a k e d as she w a s , turning her face to the back, a n d putting her h a n d s before it. "Well, Miss!" I exclaimed, touching her shoulder; "you are not bent on getting your death, are you? D o you know what o'clock it is? Half-past twelve. C o m e ! c o m e to bed; there's no u s e waiting longer on that foolish boy—he'll be gone to G i m m e r t o n , a n d he'll stay there now. H e g u e s s e s we shouldn't w a k e for him till this late hour; at least, he g u e s s e s that only M r . Hindley would be up; a n d he'd rather avoid having the door o p e n e d by the master." "Nay, nay, he's n o a n at Gimmerton!" said J o s e p h . "Aw's niver wonder, b u d he's at t' b o t h o m uf a bog-hoile. T h i s visitation worn't for nowt, und Aw wod hev ye tuh look aht, M i s s — y a h m u h b e t' next. T h a n k Hivin for all! All warks togither for gooid tuh them a s is chozzen a n d piked aht froo' th' r u b b i d g e ! Yah knaw whet t' Scrip­ ture s e s — " And he began quoting several texts; referring us to the c h a p t e r s and verses where we might find them. I, having vainly begged the wilful girl to rise a n d remove her wet 7

8

6.

N o a h a n d L o t r e s p e c t i v e l y s u r v i v e d f l o o d a n d fire a n d b r i m s t o n e ; t h e p a r t o f t h e J o n a h s t o r y N e l l y r e f e r s t o i s t h e ill l u c k h e b r o u g h t s h i p m a t e s w h e n h e t r i e d t o f l e e

God's

d i r e c t i v e . J o n a h 1. 7. W a i t u p . 8.

"No, no, he's not at G i m m e r t o n . . . .

It w o u l d n o t s u r p r i s e m e if h e w e r e a t t h e b o t t o m

of a bog-hole. T h i s visitation w a s not for nothing, a n d I w o u l d h a v e to look out, M i s s — y o u m a y b e t h e next. T h a n k H e a v e n for all! All w o r k s t o g e t h e r f o r g o o d t o t h e m

who

a r e c h o s e n a n d p i c k e d f r o m o u t o f t h e r u b b i s h ! " T h e a l l u s i o n is to R o m a n s 8 . 2 8 : " A n d w e k n o w t h a t all t h i n g s w o r k t o g e t h e r for g o o d to t h e m t h a t love G o d , t o t h e m w h o a r e the called a c c o r d i n g to his p u r p o s e . "

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things, left him p r e a c h i n g a n d her shivering, and betook myself to bed with little H a r e t o n , who slept as fast as if every one had been sleeping r o u n d him. I heard J o s e p h read on a while afterwards; then I distinguished his slow step on the ladder, and then I dropt asleep. C o m i n g down s o m e w h a t later than u s u a l , I saw, by the s u n b e a m s piercing the chinks of the shutters, M i s s C a t h e r i n e still seated near the fire-place. T h e h o u s e door was ajar, too; light entered from its u n c l o s e d windows; Hindley h a d c o m e out, a n d stood on the kitchen hearth, h a g g a r d a n d drowsy. "What ails you, C a t h y ? " he was saying when I entered; "you look as dismal a s a drowned whelp. Why are you so d a m p and pale, child?" "I've b e e n wet," she a n s w e r e d reluctantly, "and I'm cold, that's all." "Oh, she is naughty!" I cried, perceiving the master to be tolerably sober. "She got steeped in the shower of yesterday evening, and there she h a s sat the night through, and I couldn't prevail on her to stir." Mr. E a r n s h a w stared at us in surprise. "The night through," he repeated. "What kept her u p , not fear of the thunder, surely? That was over, hours since." Neither of us wished to mention Heathcliff's a b s e n c e , as long as we could c o n c e a l it; so I replied, I didn't know how she took it into her h e a d to sit up; and she said nothing. T h e morning was fresh a n d cool; I threw b a c k the lattice, and presently the room filled with sweet scents from the garden; but C a t h e r i n e called peevishly to m e — "Ellen, shut the window. I'm starving!" And her teeth chattered as she s h r u n k closer to the almost extinguished embers. "She's ill," said Hindley, taking her wrist, "I s u p p o s e that's the r e a s o n she would not go to bed. D a m n it! I don't want to be trou­ bled with m o r e sickness here. W h a t took you into the rain?" "Running after t'lads, as usuald!" croaked J o s e p h , catching an opportunity, from our hesitation, to thrust in his evil tongue. "If Aw wur yah, maister, Aw'd j u s t slam t' boards i' their faces, all on 'em, gentle a n d simple! Never a day ut yah're off, but yon cat u h Linton c o m e s sneaking hither; a n d M i s s Nelly shoo's a fine lass! shoo sits watching for ye i't' kitchen; and as yah're in at one door, he's aht at t' other; und, then, wer grand lady goes a coorting uf hor side! It's bonny behaviour, lurking a m a n g t' fields, after twelve ut' night, wi that fahl, flaysome divil uf a gipsy, Heathcliff! They think Aw'm blind; but Aw'm noan, nowt ut t' soart! Aw seed young 9

9.

Freezing.

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69

IX

Linton, boath coming and going, and Aw seed yah" (directing his discourse to m e ) , "yah gooid fur nowt, slattenly witch! nip u p u n d bolt intuh th' hahs, t' minute yah heard t' maister's horse fit clatter up t' road." "Silence, eavesdropper!" cried C a t h e r i n e . "None of your inso­ lence before me! E d g a r Linton c a m e yesterday, by c h a n c e , Hindley; and it was I who told him to be off, b e c a u s e I knew you would not like to have met him as you were." "You lie, Cathy, no doubt," answered her brother, "and you are a confounded simpleton! B u t never mind Linton, at present. Tell me, were you not with Heathcliff last night? S p e a k the truth, now. You need not be afraid of h a r m i n g him: though I hate him a s m u c h as ever, he did m e a good turn a short time since, that will m a k e my conscience tender of breaking his neck. T o prevent it, I shall send him about his b u s i n e s s this very morning; a n d after he's gone, I'd advise you all to look sharp, I shall only have the m o r e h u m o u r for you!" "I never saw Heathcliff last night," answered C a t h e r i n e , begin­ ning to sob bitterly: "and if you do turn him out of doors, I'll go with him. But, p e r h a p s , you'll never have an o p p o r t u n i t y — p e r h a p s , he's gone." Here she burst into uncontrollable grief, a n d the re­ mainder of her words were inarticulate. Hindley lavished on her a torrent of scornful a b u s e , a n d bid her get to her room immediately, or she shouldn't cry for nothing! I obliged her to obey; and I shall never forget what a s c e n e she acted, when we reached her c h a m b e r . It terrified m e . I thought she was going m a d , and I begged J o s e p h to run for the doctor. It proved the c o m m e n c e m e n t of delirium; Mr. K e n n e t h , as soon as he saw her, p r o n o u n c e d her dangerously ill; she h a d a fever. H e bled her, and he told m e to let her live on whey a n d watergruel, and take care she did not throw herself downstairs, or out of the window; and then he left, for he had e n o u g h to do in the parish where two or three miles was the ordinary distance between cottage and cottage. T h o u g h I cannot say I m a d e a gentle n u r s e , and J o s e p h and the master were no better; and though our patient was a s w e a r i s o m e and headstrong as a patient could be, she weathered it through. 1

1. " I f I w e r e y o u , m a s t e r , I'd j u s t s l a m t h e d o o r s i n t h e i r f a c e s , a l l o f t h e m , g e n t l e

and

simple. [There's] not a day w h e n you're away but that cat L i n t o n doesn't c o m e s n e a k i n g h e r e , a n d M i s s N e l l y s h e ' s a fine l a s s ! S h e s i t s w a i t i n g f o r y o u i n t h e k i t c h e n , a n d w h i l e y o u a r e in a t o n e d o o r , he's o u t a t t h e o t h e r ; a n d , t h e n , o u r g r a n d l a d y g o e s a c o u r t i n g o n h e r s i d e . It's s o m e g o o d b e h a v i o r , l u r k i n g a m o n g t h e

fields

with that foul, dreadful

devil of a gypsy, H e a t h c l i f f ! T h e y t h i n k I'm b l i n d ; b u t I'm not, n o t h i n g o f t h e sort! I s a w young Linton, both coming and going, and I saw you . . . you good-for-nothing,

slovenly

witch! J u m p u p a n d r u n into the h o u s e the m i n u t e you h e a r d the m a s t e r ' s horse's feet clatter u p the road."

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Old M r s . Linton paid us several visits, to be sure, and set things to rights, a n d scolded a n d ordered us all; a n d when Catherine was convalescent, she insisted on conveying her to T h r u s h c r o s s Grange: for which deliverance we were very grateful. B u t the poor d a m e had reason to repent of her kindness; she a n d her h u s b a n d both took the fever, a n d died within a few days of e a c h other. O u r young lady returned to u s , saucier and more passionate, and haughtier than ever. Heathcliff h a d never been heard of since the evening of the thunder-storm, and, one day, I had the misfortune, when she h a d provoked m e exceedingly, to lay the b l a m e of his d i s a p p e a r a n c e on her (where indeed it belonged, a s she well knew). F r o m that period, for several months, she c e a s e d to hold any com­ m u n i c a t i o n with m e , save in the relation of a mere servant. J o s e p h fell under a b a n also; he would s p e a k his mind, and lecture her all the s a m e as if she were a little girl; and she e s t e e m e d herself a w o m a n , a n d our mistress, a n d thought that her recent illness gave her a claim to be treated with consideration. T h e n the doctor had said that she would not bear crossing m u c h , she ought to have her own way; a n d it was nothing less than murder, in her eyes, for any one to p r e s u m e to stand u p and contradict her. F r o m Mr. E a r n s h a w and his c o m p a n i o n s she kept aloof; and tu­ tored by Kenneth, a n d serious threats of a fit that often attended her rages, her brother allowed her whatever she pleased to demand, a n d generally avoided aggravating her fiery temper. H e was rather too indulgent in h u m o u r i n g her caprices; not from affection, but from pride, he wished earnestly to see her bring honour to the family by an alliance with the Lintons, and, as long as she let him alone, she might trample us like slaves for ought he cared! E d g a r Linton, a s multitudes have been before and will be after him, was infatuated; and believed himself the happiest m a n alive on the day he led her to G i m m e r t o n chapel, three years s u b s e q u e n t to his father's death. M u c h against my inclination, I was p e r s u a d e d to leave Wuthering Heights a n d a c c o m p a n y her here. Little Hareton was nearly five years old, a n d I h a d j u s t b e g u n to teach him his letters. W e m a d e a s a d parting, but Catherine's tears were m o r e powerful than ours. W h e n I refused to go, a n d when she found her entreaties did not move m e , she went lamenting to her h u s b a n d and brother. T h e former offered m e munificent wages; the latter ordered m e to p a c k up. H e wanted no w o m e n in the h o u s e , he said, now that there was no mistress; a n d as to Hareton, the curate should take him in hand, by a n d by. And so I h a d b u t one choice left, to do as I was ordered. I told the m a s t e r he got rid of all decent people only to run to ruin a little faster; I kissed H a r e t o n good-bye; and, since then, he has

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been a stranger, and it's very queer to think it, b u t I've no doubt he has completely forgotten all a b o u t Ellen D e a n a n d that he was ever more than all the world to her, a n d she to him! At this point of the housekeeper's story, she c h a n c e d to g l a n c e towards the time-piece over the chimney; a n d was in a m a z e m e n t on seeing the m i n u t e - h a n d m e a s u r e half-past one. S h e would not hear of staying a second longer. In truth, I felt rather d i s p o s e d to defer the sequel of her narrative myself: and now that she is van­ ished to her rest, and I have meditated for another hour or two, I shall s u m m o n c o u r a g e to go, also, in spite of aching laziness of head and limbs. Chapter

X

A charming introduction to a hermit's life! F o u r weeks' torture, tossing and sickness! O h , these bleak winds, a n d bitter, northern skies, and i m p a s s a b l e roads, and dilatory country surgeons! And, oh, this dearth of the h u m a n physiognomy, a n d , worse than all, the terrible intimation of Kenneth that I n e e d not expect to b e out of doors till spring! Mr. Heathcliff has j u s t ho no ured m e with a call. A b o u t seven days ago he sent m e a b r a c e of g r o u s e — t h e last of the s e a s o n . Scoundrel! H e is not altogether guiltless in this illness of mine; a n d that I had a great mind to tell him. But, alas! how could I offend a m a n who was charitable enough to sit at my b e d s i d e a good hour, and talk on s o m e other subject than pills a n d d r a u g h t s , blisters a n d leeches? This is quite an easy interval. I a m too weak to read, yet I feel a s if I could enjoy something interesting. Why not have u p M r s . D e a n to finish her tale? I can recollect its chief incidents, as far a s she had gone. Yes, I r e m e m b e r her hero h a d run off, a n d never b e e n heard of for three years; a n d the heroine was married. I'll ring; she'll be delighted to find m e c a p a b l e of talking cheerfully. Mrs. D e a n c a m e . "It wants twenty minutes, sir, to taking the medicine," she commenced. "Away, away with it!" I replied; "I desire to h a v e — " "The doctor says you m u s t drop the powders." "With all my heart! Don't interrupt m e . C o m e a n d take your seat here. Keep your fingers from that bitter phalanx of vials. D r a w your knitting out of your p o c k e t — t h a t will d o — n o w continue the history of Mr. Heathcliff, from where you left off, to the p r e s e n t day. Did he finish his education on the Continent, and c o m e b a c k a gentle-

72

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m a n ? or did he get a sizer's p l a c e at college? or e s c a p e to America, and earn h o n o u r s by drawing blood from his foster country? or m a k e a fortune m o r e promptly, on the English highways?" "He may have d o n e a little in all these vocations, Mr. Lockwood; but I couldn't give my word for any. I stated before that I didn't know how he gained his money; neither a m I aware of the m e a n s he took to raise his mind from the savage ignorance into which it was sunk; but, with your leave, I'll p r o c e e d in my own fashion, if you think it will a m u s e a n d not weary you. Are you feeling better this morning?" "Much." "That's g o o d news." I got M i s s C a t h e r i n e a n d myself to T h r u s h c r o s s Grange; and to my agreeable disappointment, she behaved infinitely better than I dared to expect. S h e s e e m e d almost over-fond of Mr. Linton; and even to his sister, she showed plenty of affection. They were both very attentive to her comfort, certainly. It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, b u t the honeysuckles embracing the thorn. T h e r e were no m u t u a l concessions; one stood erect, and the others yielded; a n d who can be ill-natured and b a d - t e m p e r e d , when they e n c o u n t e r neither opposition nor indifference? I observed that Mr. E d g a r had a deep-rooted fear of ruffling her h u m o u r . H e c o n c e a l e d it from her; but if ever he heard m e answer sharply, or s a w any other servant grow cloudy at s o m e imperious order of hers, he would show his trouble by a frown of displeasure that never d a r k e n e d on his own a c c o u n t . H e , many a time, spoke sternly to m e a b o u t my pertness; a n d averred that the stab of a knife could not inflict a worse p a n g than he suffered at seeing his lady vexed. N o t to grieve a kind master, I learnt to be less touchy; and, for the s p a c e of half a year, the gunpowder lay as harmless as sand, b e c a u s e no fire c a m e near to explode it. Catherine had seasons of gloom a n d silence, now and then: they were respected with sym­ pathizing silence by her h u s b a n d , who ascribed them to an alter­ ation in her constitution, p r o d u c e d by her perilous illness, as she was never s u b j e c t to depression of spirits before. T h e return of s u n s h i n e was welcomed by answering s u n s h i n e from him. I believe I may assert that they were really in p o s s e s s i o n of deep and growing happiness. It ended. Well, we must b e for ourselves in the long run; the mild a n d g e n e r o u s are only m o r e justly selfish than the domineering— and it e n d e d when c i r c u m s t a n c e s c a u s e d e a c h to feel that the one's interest was not the chief consideration in the other's thoughts. O n a mellow evening in S e p t e m b e r , I was coming from the gar-

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den with a heavy basket of apples which I h a d b e e n gathering. It had got dusk, a n d the m o o n looked over the high wall of the court, causing undefined shadows to lurk in the corners of the n u m e r o u s projecting portions of the building. I set my b u r d e n on the h o u s e steps by the kitchen door, a n d lingered to rest a n d draw in a few more breaths of the soft, sweet air; my eyes were on the m o o n , a n d my b a c k to the entrance, when I heard a voice behind m e s a y — "Nelly, is that you?" It was a deep voice, a n d foreign in tone; yet there was s o m e t h i n g in the m a n n e r of p r o n o u n c i n g my n a m e which m a d e it s o u n d fa­ miliar. I turned about to discover who spoke, fearfully, for the doors were shut, and I had seen nobody on a p p r o a c h i n g the steps. Something stirred in the porch; a n d moving nearer, I distin­ guished a tall m a n dressed in dark clothes, with dark f a c e a n d hair. H e leant against the side, a n d held his fingers on the latch, as if intending to open for himself. "Who can it b e ? " I thought. "Mr. E a r n s h a w ? O h , no! T h e voice has no r e s e m b l a n c e to his." "I have waited here an hour," he r e s u m e d , while I continued staring; "and the whole of that time all round h a s b e e n a s still a s death. I dared not enter. You do not know m e ? L o o k , I'm not a stranger!" A ray fell on his features; the cheeks were sallow, a n d half cov­ ered with black whiskers; the brows lowering, the eyes d e e p set a n d singular. I r e m e m b e r e d the eyes. "What!" I cried, uncertain whether to regard him as a worldly visitor, a n d I raised my h a n d s in a m a z e m e n t . "What! you c o m e back? Is it really you? Is it?" "Yes, Heathcliff," he replied, glancing from m e u p to the win­ dows, which reflected a score of glittering m o o n s , but showed no lights from within. "Are they at h o m e — w h e r e is she? Nelly, you are not g l a d — y o u needn't b e so disturbed. Is s h e here? S p e a k ! I want to have one word with h e r — y o u r mistress. G o , a n d say s o m e person from G i m m e r t o n desires to see her." "How will she take it?" I exclaimed. "What will s h e do? T h e sur­ prise bewilders m e — i t will p u t her out of her head! And you are Heathcliff? B u t altered! Nay, there's no c o m p r e h e n d i n g it. Have you been for a soldier?" "Go, and carry my m e s s a g e , " he interrupted impatiently; "I'm in hell till you do!" H e lifted the latch, a n d I entered; b u t when I got to the parlour where Mr. and M r s . Linton were, I could not p e r s u a d e myself to proceed. At length, I resolved on making an e x c u s e to a s k if they would have the candles lighted, a n d I o p e n e d the door.

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T h e y sat together in a window whose lattice lay b a c k against the wall, a n d displayed, beyond the garden trees and the wild green park, the valley of G i m m e r t o n , with a long line of mist winding nearly to its top (for very soon after you p a s s the chapel, as you may have noticed, the s o u g h that runs from the m a r s h e s joins a b e c k which follows the bend of the glen). Wuthering Heights rose above this silvery vapour; but our old h o u s e was invisible—it rather dips down on the other side. B o t h the room a n d its o c c u p a n t s , a n d the scene they gazed on, looked wondrously peaceful. I s h r a n k reluctantly from performing my errand, a n d was actually going away, leaving it unsaid, after having put my question a b o u t the candles, when a sense of my folly c o m p e l l e d m e to return, a n d m u t t e r — "A p e r s o n from G i m m e r t o n wishes to see you, ma'am." "Vvriat does he want?" a s k e d M r s . Linton. "I did not question him," I answered. "Well, close the curtains, Nelly," she said; "and bring up tea. I'll be b a c k again directly." S h e quitted the apartment; Mr. E d g a r inquired carelessly, who it was? " S o m e one the mistress does not expect," I replied. "That Heath­ cliff, you recollect him, sir, who u s e d to live at Mr. Earnshaw's." "What, the g i p s y — t h e plough-boy?" he cried, "Why did you not say so to C a t h e r i n e ? " "Hush! you m u s t not call him by those n a m e s , master," I said. "She'd b e sadly grieved to hear you. S h e was nearly heart-broken when he ran off; I g u e s s his return will m a k e a jubilee to her." Mr. Linton walked to a window on the other side of the room that overlooked the court. H e u n f a s t e n e d it, and leant out. I sup­ p o s e they were below, for he exclaimed, quickly— "Don't stand there, love! Bring the person in, if it be any one particular." E r e long, I h e a r d the click of the latch, and Catherine flew up­ stairs, breathless and wild, too excited to show gladness; indeed, by her face, you would rather have s u r m i s e d an awful calamity. "Oh, E d g a r , Edgar!" she p a n t e d , flinging her a r m s round his neck. "Oh, Edgar, darling! Heathcliff's c o m e b a c k — h e is!" And she tightened her e m b r a c e to a squeeze. "Well, well," cried her h u s b a n d , crossly, "don't strangle m e for that! H e never struck m e as s u c h a marvellous treasure. There is no need to be frantic!" "I know you didn't like him," she answered, repressing a little the intensity of her delight. "Yet, for my sake, you m u s t be friends now. Shall I tell him to c o m e u p ? "

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"Here?" he said, "into the parlour?" "Where else?" she asked. H e looked vexed, and s u g g e s t e d the kitchen as a m o r e suitable place for him. M r s . Linton eyed him with a droll e x p r e s s i o n — h a l f angry, half laughing at his fastidiousness. "No," she added, after a while; "I c a n n o t sit in the kitchen. S e t two tables here, Ellen; one for your m a s t e r a n d M i s s Isabella, being gentry; the other for Heathcliff and myself, being of the lower or­ ders. Will that p l e a s e you, dear? Or m u s t I have a fire lighted else­ where? If so, give directions. I'll run down and s e c u r e my guest. I'm afraid the joy is too great to be real!" S h e was about to dart off again; but E d g a r arrested her. "You bid him step up," he said, a d d r e s s i n g m e ; "and, C a t h e r i n e , try to be glad, without being absurd! T h e whole h o u s e h o l d n e e d not witness the sight of your welcoming a runaway servant as a brother." I d e s c e n d e d and found Heathcliff waiting u n d e r the p o r c h , evi­ dently anticipating an invitation to enter. H e followed my g u i d a n c e without waste of words, and I u s h e r e d him into the p r e s e n c e of the master and mistress, whose flushed cheeks betrayed signs of w a r m talking. B u t the lady's glowed with another feeling when her friend appeared at the door; she s p r a n g forward, took both his h a n d s , a n d led him to Linton; and then she seized Linton's reluctant fingers and crushed them into his. Now fully revealed by the fire and candlelight, I was a m a z e d , more than ever, to behold the transformation of Heathcliff. H e h a d grown a tall, athletic, well-formed m a n , b e s i d e w h o m my m a s t e r seemed quite slender and youth-like. His upright carriage s u g g e s t e d the idea of his having been in the army. His c o u n t e n a n c e was m u c h older in expression and decision of feature than Mr. Linton's; it looked intelligent, and retained no m a r k s of former degradation. A half-civilized ferocity lurked yet in the d e p r e s s e d brows a n d eyes full of black fire, but it was s u b d u e d ; and his m a n n e r was even dignified, quite divested of r o u g h n e s s , though too stern for g r a c e . My master's surprise equalled or exceeded mine: he r e m a i n e d for a minute at a loss how to a d d r e s s the ploughboy, a s he h a d called him. Heathcliff dropped his slight hand, a n d stood looking at him coolly till he c h os e to speak. "Sit down, sir," he said, at length. "Mrs. Linton, recalling old times, would have m e give you a cordial reception, a n d , of c o u r s e , I a m gratified when anything o c c u r s to p l e a s e her." "And I also," answered Heathcliff, "especially if it be anything in which I have a part. I shall stay an hour or two willingly."

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H e took a seat opposite C a t h e r i n e , who kept her gaze fixed on him a s if s h e feared he would vanish were she to remove it. H e did not raise his to her often; a quick glance now a n d then sufficed; but it flashed back, e a c h time more confidently, the undisguised delight he drank from hers. They were too m u c h a b s o r b e d in their m u t u a l joy to suffer em­ b a r r a s s m e n t . N o t so Mr. Edgar; he grew pale with pure annoyance, a feeling that r e a c h e d its climax when his lady rose, and stepping a c r o s s the rug, seized H e a t h c l i f f s h a n d s again, a n d laughed like one b e s i d e herself. "I shall think it a d r e a m to-morrow!" she cried. "I shall not be able to believe that I have seen, a n d touched, a n d spoken to you o n c e m o r e — a n d yet, cruel Heathcliff! you don't deserve this wel­ c o m e . T o b e a b s e n t a n d silent for three years, a n d never to think of me!" "A little m o r e than you have thought of me!" he m u r m u r e d . "I heard of your marriage, Cathy, not long since; and, while waiting in the yard below, I m e d i t a t e d this plan: j u s t to have one glimpse of your face, a stare of surprise, p e r h a p s , a n d pretended pleasure; afterwards settle my score with Hindley; a n d then prevent the law by doing execution on myself. Your welcome has put these ideas out of my mind; but beware of meeting m e with another aspect next time! Nay, you'll not drive m e off again. You were really sorry for m e , were you? Well, there was c a u s e . I've fought through a bitter life since I last h e a r d your voice, a n d you m u s t forgive m e , for I struggled only for you." "Catherine, unless we are to have cold tea, p l e a s e to c o m e to the table," interrupted Linton, striving to preserve his ordinary tone, a n d a d u e m e a s u r e of politeness. "Mr. Heathcliff will have a long walk, wherever he m a y lodge to-night; a n d I'm thirsty." S h e took her post before the urn; and M i s s Isabella c a m e , s u m ­ m o n e d by the bell; then, having h a n d e d their chairs forward, I left the room. T h e meal hardly e n d u r e d ten minutes. Catherine's cup was never filled, s h e could neither eat nor drink. E d g a r h a d m a d e a slop in his s a u c e r , a n d scarcely swallowed a mouthful. Their g u e s t did not protract his stay that evening above an hour longer. I asked, a s he departed, if he went to G i m m e r t o n ? "No, to W u t h e r i n g Heights," he answered, "Mr. E a r n s h a w invited m e when I called this morning." Mr. E a r n s h a w invited him! a n d he called on Mr. Earnshaw! I p o n d e r e d this s e n t e n c e painfully after he was gone. Is he turning out a bit of a hypocrite, a n d c o m i n g into the country to work mis­ chief u n d e r a cloak? I m u s e d — I had a presentiment, in the bottom of my heart, that he had better have remained away.

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About the middle of the night, I was w a k e n e d from my first n a p by M r s . Linton gliding into my c h a m b e r , taking a seat on my bed­ side, and pulling m e by the hair to rouse m e . "I cannot rest, Ellen," she said by way of apology. "And I want s o m e living creature to keep m e c o m p a n y in my happiness! E d g a r is sulky, b e c a u s e I'm glad of a thing that does not interest him. H e refuses to open his mouth, except to utter pettish, silly s p e e c h e s ; and he affirmed I was cruel a n d selfish for wishing to talk when he was so sick a n d sleepy. H e always contrives to b e sick at the least cross! I gave a few sentences of c o m m e n d a t i o n to Heathcliff, a n d he, either for a h e a d a c h e or a p a n g of envy, b e g a n to cry: so I got up and left him." "What use is it praising Heathcliff to him?" I answered. "As lads they had an aversion to e a c h other, a n d Heathcliff would hate j u s t as m u c h to hear him p r a i s e d — i t ' s h u m a n n a t u r e . L e t Mr. Linton alone about him, unless you would like an open quarrel between them." "But does it not show great w e a k n e s s ? " p u r s u e d she. "I'm not envious: I never feel hurt at the brightness of Isabella's yellow hair, and the whiteness of her skin; at her dainty e l e g a n c e , a n d the fond­ ness all the family exhibit for her. Even you, Nelly, if we have a dispute s o m e t i m e s , you b a c k Isabella, at once; a n d I yield like a foolish m o t h e r — I call her a darling, a n d flatter her into a good temper. It p l e a s e s her brother to see us cordial, a n d that p l e a s e s me. But they are very m u c h alike; they are spoiled children, a n d fancy the world was m a d e for their a c c o m m o d a t i o n ; a n d , though I h u m o u r both, I think a smart c h a s t i s e m e n t might improve them, all the s a m e . " "You're mistaken, M r s . Linton," said I. "They h u m o u r you: I know what there would be to do if they did not! You can well afford to indulge their p a s s i n g whims, a s long a s their b u s i n e s s is to antici­ pate all your desires. You may, however, fall out, at last, over s o m e ­ thing of equal c o n s e q u e n c e to both sides; a n d then those you term weak are very c a p a b l e of being as obstinate a s you!" "And then we shall fight to the death, shan't we, Nelly?" she returned laughing. "No! I tell you, I have s u c h faith in Linton's love that I believe I might kill him, a n d he wouldn't wish to retaliate." I advised her to value him the more for his affection. "I do," she answered, "but he needn't resort to whining for trifles. It is childish; and, instead of melting into tears b e c a u s e I said that Heathcliff was now worthy of any one's regard, a n d it would h o n o u r the first gentleman in the country to b e his friend, he ought to have said it for m e , a n d been delighted from sympathy. H e m u s t get a c c u s t o m e d to him, a n d he may as well like him. C o n s i d e r i n g how Heathcliff has reason to object to him, I'm s u r e he behaved excellently!"

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"Wriat do you think of his going to Wuthering Heights?" I in­ q u i r e d . "He is r e f o r m e d in every r e s p e c t , a p p a r e n t l y — q u i t e a C h r i s t i a n — o f f e r i n g the right h a n d of fellowship to his enemies all round!" "He explained it," s h e replied. "I wondered as m u c h as you. H e said he called to gather information concerning m e , from you, sup­ p o s i n g you resided there still; a n d J o s e p h told Hindley, who c a m e out a n d fell to questioning him of what he had been doing, and how he had been living; a n d finally, desired him to walk in. There were s o m e p e r s o n s sitting at cards; Heathcliff joined them; my brother lost s o m e money to him; and, finding him plentifully sup­ plied, he r e q u e s t e d that he would c o m e again in the evening, to which he c o n s e n t e d . Hindley is too reckless to select his acquain­ tance prudently; he doesn't trouble himself to reflect on the c a u s e s he might have for mistrusting one w h o m he has basely injured. But Heathcliff affirms his principal reason for r e s u m i n g a connection with his ancient p e r s e c u t o r is a wish to install himself in quarters at walking d i s t a n c e from the G r a n g e , a n d an attachment to thft h o u s e where we lived together, a n d likewise a hope that I shall have m o r e opportunities of seeing him there than I could have if he settled in G i m m e r t o n . H e m e a n s to offer liberal payment for per­ mission to lodge at the Heights; a n d doubtless my brother's coveto u s n e s s will p r o m p t him to a c c e p t the terms; he was always greedy, though what he grasps with one hand, he flings away with the other." "It's a nice p l a c e for a young m a n to fix his dwelling in!" said I. "Have you no fear of the c o n s e q u e n c e s , M r s . Linton?" "None for my friend," s h e replied. "His strong head will keep him from danger; a little for Hindley, but he can't be m a d e morally worse than he is; a n d I stand between him a n d bodily harm. T h e event of this evening has reconciled m e to G o d a n d humanity! I h a d risen in angry rebellion against providence. O h , I've endured very, very bitter misery, Nelly! If that creature knew how bitter, he'd be a s h a m e d to cloud its removal with idle p e t u l a n c e . It was kind­ n e s s for him which i n d u c e d m e to bear it alone: had I expressed the agony I frequently felt, he would have been taught to long for its alleviation a s ardently a s I. However, it's over, a n d I'll take no revenge on his folly; I c a n afford to suffer anything, hereafter! S h o u l d the m e a n e s t thing alive slap m e on the cheek, I'd not only turn the other, but I'd a s k p a r d o n for provoking it; a n d , as a proof, I'll go m a k e my p e a c e with E d g a r instantly. G o o d n i g h t — I ' m an angel!" In this self-complacent conviction she departed; a n d the s u c c e s s of her fulfilled resolution was obvious on the morrow: Mr. Linton

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had not only abjured his peevishness (though his spirits s e e m e d still s u b d u e d by Catherine's exuberance of vivacity), b u t he ventured no objection to her taking Isabella with her to W u t h e r i n g Heights in the afternoon; and she rewarded him with s u c h a s u m m e r of sweet­ ness and affection in return, as m a d e the h o u s e a p a r a d i s e for sev­ eral days; both master and servants profiting from the perpetual sunshine. H e a t hc l i f f — M r . Heathcliff I should say in f u t u r e — u s e d the lib­ erty of visiting at T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e cautiously, at first: he s e e m e d estimating how far its owner would b e a r his intrusion. C a t h e r i n e , also, d e e m e d it j u d i c i o u s to m o d e r a t e her expressions of p l e a s u r e in receiving him; and he gradually established his right to be expected. H e retained a great deal of the reserve for which his boyhood was remarkable, and that served to repress all startling d e m o n s t r a ­ tions of feeling. My master's u n e a s i n e s s experienced a lull, a n d fur­ ther c i r c u m s t a n c e s diverted it into another channel for a s p a c e . His new source of trouble s p r a n g from the not anticipated mis­ fortune of Isabella Linton evincing a s u d d e n and irresistible attrac­ tion towards the tolerated guest. S h e was at that time a c h a r m i n g young lady of eighteen; infantile in m a n n e r s , though p o s s e s s e d of keen wit, keen feelings, a n d a keen temper, too, if irritated. H e r brother, who loved her tenderly, was appalled at this fantastic pref­ erence. Leaving aside the degradation of an alliance with a n a m e ­ less m a n , and the possible fact that his property, in default of heirs male, might p a s s into s u c h a one's power, he h a d s e n s e to c o m p r e ­ hend Heathcliff s d i s p o s i t i o n — t o know that, though his exterior was altered, his mind was u n c h a n g e a b l e , and u n c h a n g e d . And he dreaded that mind; it revolted him; he s h r a n k forebodingly from the idea of committing Isabella to its keeping. H e would have recoiled still m o r e h a d he been aware that her attachment rose unsolicited, and was bestowed where it awakened no reciprocation of sentiment; for the m i n u t e he discovered its ex­ istence, he laid the b l a m e on H e a t h c l i f f s deliberate designing. W e had all remarked, during s o m e time, that M i s s Linton fretted and pined over something. S h e grew cross a n d wearisome, s n a p p i n g at and teasing C a t h e r i n e continually, at the imminent risk of ex­ hausting her limited patience. W e e x c u s e d her to a certain extent, on the plea of ill h e a l t h — s h e was dwindling a n d fading before our eyes. But one day, when she had been peculiarly wayward, rejecting her breakfast, complaining that the servants did not do what she told them; that the mistress would allow her to b e nothing in the house, and Edgar neglected her; that she h a d c a u g h t a cold with the doors being left open, a n d we let the parlour fire go out on

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p u r p o s e to vex her; with a h u n d r e d yet more frivolous accusations, M r s . Linton peremptorily insisted that she should get to bed; and, having scolded her heartily, threatened to send for the doctor. M e n t i o n of K e n n e t h c a u s e d her to exclaim, instantly, that her health was perfect, a n d it was only Catherine's harshness which m a d e her unhappy. "How c a n you say I a m harsh, you naughty fondling?" cried the m i s t r e s s , a m a z e d at the u n r e a s o n a b l e assertion. "You are surely los­ ing your r e a s o n . W h e n have I been harsh, tell m e ? " "Yesterday," s o b b e d Isabella, "and now!" "Yesterday!" said her sister-in-law. "On what occasion?" "In our walk along the moor; you told m e to ramble where I p l e a s e d , while you s a u n t e r e d on with Mr. Heathcliff!" "And that's your notion of h a r s h n e s s ? " said C a t h e r i n e , laughing. "It was no hint that your c o m p a n y was superfluous; we didn't care whether you kept with us or not; I merely thought Heathcliff s talk would have nothing entertaining for your ears." "Oh, no," wept the young lady; "you wished m e away, b e c a u s e you knew I liked to b e there!" "Is s h e s a n e ? " a s k e d M r s . Linton, appealing to me. "I'll repeat our conversation, word for word, Isabella; a n d you point out any c h a r m it could have had for you." "I don't mind the conversation," she answered. "I wanted to be with—" "Well!" said C a t h e r i n e , perceiving her hesitate to complete the sentence. "With him; a n d I won't b e always sent off!" she continued, kin­ dling u p . "You are a dog in the manger, Cathy, and desire no one to be loved but yourself!" "You are an impertinent little monkey!" exclaimed M r s . Linton, in surprise. "But I'll not believe this idiocy! It is impossible that you c a n covet the admiration of Heathcliff—that you can consider him an agreeable person! I hope I have m i s u n d e r s t o o d you, Isabella?" "No, you have not," said the infatuated girl. "I love him more than ever you loved Edgar; a n d he might love m e if you would let him!" "I wouldn't be you for a kingdom, then!" Catherine declared, e m p h a t i c a l l y — a n d s h e s e e m e d to s p e a k sincerely. "Nelly, help me to convince her of her m a d n e s s . Tell her what Heathcliff i s — a n u n r e c l a i m e d c r e a t u r e , without refinement, without cultivation; an arid wilderness of furze a n d whinstone. I'd as soon put that little canary into the p a r k on a winter's day as r e c o m m e n d you to bestow your heart on him! It is deplorable ignorance of his character, child, and nothing else, which m a k e s that d r e a m enter your head. Pray don't i m a g i n e that he c o n c e a l s depths of benevolence and affection

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beneath a stern exterior! He's not a rough d i a m o n d — a pearlcontaining oyster of a rustic; he's a fierce, pitiless, wolfish m a n . I never say to him, 'Let this or that enemy alone, b e c a u s e it would be ungenerous or cruel to h a r m them'; I say, 'Let them alone, b e ­ c a u s e J should hate them to b e wronged': a n d he'd c r u s h you, like a sparrow's egg, Isabella, if he found you a t r o u b l e s o m e c h a r g e . I know he couldn't love a Linton; a n d yet he'd be quite c a p a b l e of marrying your fortune a n d expectations. Avarice is growing with him a besetting sin. There's my picture; a n d I'm his f r i e n d — s o m u c h so, that had he thought seriously to c a t c h you, I should, perhaps, have held my tongue, a n d let you fall into his trap." M i s s Linton regarded her sister-in-law with indignation. "For shame! for shame!" she repeated, angrily. "You are worse than twenty foes, you p o i s o n o u s friend!" "Ah! you won't believe m e , then?" said C a t h e r i n e . "You think I speak from wicked selfishness?" "I'm certain you do," retorted Isabella; "and I s h u d d e r at you!" "Good!" cried the other. "Try for yourself, if that b e your spirit; I have done, a n d yield the a r g u m e n t to your s a u c y insolence." "And I m u s t suffer for her egotism!" she s o b b e d , as M r s . Linton left the room. "All, all is against me; she h a s blighted my single consolation. B u t she uttered falsehoods, didn't she? Mr. Heathcliff is not a fiend; he has an honourable soul, a n d a true one, or how could he r e m e m b e r her?" "Banish him from your thoughts, M i s s , " I said. "He's a bird of bad omen; no m a t e for you. M r s . Linton spoke strongly, a n d yet I can't contradict her. S h e is better a c q u a i n t e d with his heart than I, or any one besides; and s h e never would represent him as worse than he is. H o n e s t people don't hide their d e e d s . How h a s he b e e n living? how has he got rich? why is he staying at Wuthering Heights, the house of a m a n w h o m he a b h o r s ? They say Mr. E a r n s h a w is worse and worse since he c a m e . They sit u p all night together con­ tinually; and Hindley has been borrowing money on his land, a n d does nothing but play a n d drink: I heard only a week a g o — i t was J o s e p h who told m e — I met him at G i m m e r t o n . " " 'Nelly,' he said, 'we's h a e a Crahnr's 'quest enah, at ahr folks. O n e on 'em's a'most getten his finger cut off wi' h a u d i n g t' other froo' sticking hisseln loike a cawlf. That's maister, yah knaw, ut's soa up uh going tuh t'grand 'sizes. He's n o a n feard uh t' B e n c h u h j u d g e s , norther Paul, nur Peter, nur J o h n , nor M a t h e w , nor n o a n on 'em, nut he! H e fair like's—he langs tuh set his brazened face agean 'em! And yon bonny lad Heathcliff, yah mind, he's a rare un! H e eau girn a laugh, as weel's onybody at a raight divil's j e s t . D o e s he niver say nowt of his fine living a m a n g u s , when he g o a s tuh t' G r a n g e ? This is t' way o n ' t — u p at s u n - d a h n ; dice, brandy, cloised

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shutters, u n d can'le lught till next day, at n o o i n — t h e n , t'fooil gangs b a n n i n g un' raving tuh his cham'er, makking dacent fowks dig thur fingers i' thur lugs fur varry s h a u m e ; un' the' knave, wah, he earn c a h n t his b r a s s , un' ate, un' sleep, un' off tuh his neighbour's tuh gossip wi't' wife. I' c o u r s e , he tells D a m e C a t h e r i n e hah hor father's goold runs intuh his pocket, a n d her fathur's son gallops dahn t' b r o a d road, while he flees afore tuh oppen t' pikes.' Now, Miss Linton, J o s e p h is an old rascal, but no liar; and, if his account of Heathcliff's c o n d u c t b e true, you would never think of desiring s u c h a h u s b a n d , would you?" "You are l e a g u e d with the rest, Ellen!" she replied. "I'll not listen to your slanders. W h a t malevolence you m u s t have to wish to con­ vince m e that there is no h a p p i n e s s in the world!" W h e t h e r s h e would have got over this fancy if left to herself, or persevered in nursing it perpetually, I c a n n o t say; she had little time to reflect. T h e day after, there was a justice-meeting at the next town; my m a s t e r was obliged to attend; a n d Mr. Heathcliff, aware of his a b s e n c e , called rather earlier than usual. C a t h e r i n e a n d Isabella were sitting in the library, on hostile terms, b u t silent. T h e latter, a l a r m e d at her recent indiscretion, and the d i s c l o s u r e s h e h a d m a d e of her secret feelings in a transient fit of p a s s i o n ; the former, on m a t u r e consideration, really offended with her c o m p a n i o n ; and, if s h e laughed again at her pertness, in­ clined to m a k e it no laughing matter to her. S h e did laugh as s h e saw Heathcliff p a s s the window. I was sweeping the hearth, a n d I noticed a mischievous smile on her lips. Isabella, a b s o r b e d in her meditations, or a book, remained till the door opened, a n d it was too late to attempt an e s c a p e , which she would gladly have d o n e h a d it been practicable. " C o m e in, that's right!" exclaimed the mistress, gaily, pulling a chair to the fire. "Here are two people sadly in need of a third to 1

1.

"Nelly," h e said, "We're to h a v e a c o r o n e r ' s i n q u e s t [soon] e n o u g h , at o u r h o u s e . of t h e m a l m o s t h a d his

finger

One

cut off from holding the other from sticking himself as

o n e w o u l d kill a c a l f . T h a t ' s m a s t e r , y o u k n o w , it's t h e r e f o r e t o b e g o i n g t o t h e g r a n d assizes [sessions of county court]. He's not afraid of the b e n c h of j u d g e s , neither Paul, nor Peter, nor J o h n , nor M a t t h e w , nor any of t h e m , not he! H e m u c h l i k e s — h e

longs

to set his b r a z e n e d f a c e a g a i n s t t h e m ! A n d yon g o o d lad Heathclilff, you note, he's a r a r e o n e . H e c a n s h o w his t e e t h in l a u g h i n g a s well a s a n y o n e a t a t r u e devil's j e s t . D o e s h e n e v e r s a y a n y t h i n g a b o u t h i s fine l i v i n g w i t h u s , w h e n h e g o e s t o t h e G r a n g e ? T h i s i s t h e w a y o f i t — u p a t s u n d o w n ; d i c e , b r a n d y , c l o s e d s h u t t e r s , a n d c a n d l e l i g h t till n e x t day, at n o o n — t h e n , folks dig their

fingers

t h e fool g o e s c u r s i n g a n d raving to his c h a m b e r , m a k i n g d e c e n t in their e a r s for s h a m e ; a n d the knave, why, h e c a n c o u n t

his

m o n e y , a n d eat, a n d s l e e p , a n d g o off to his n e i g h b o r s to g o s s i p with the wife. A s he d o e s s o , h e tells M i s s C a t h e r i n e h o w h e r father's g o l d r u n s into his p o c k e t , a n d

[how]

h e r f a t h e r ' s s o n g a l l o p s d o w n t h e b r o a d r o a d [to d e s t r u c t i o n ] , w h i l e h e r u n s a h e a d to o p e n t h e toll g a t e s [to h a s t e n H i n d l e y to his r u i n ] . " M a t t h e w 7 b e g i n s w i t h t h e w a r n i n g , " J u d g e n o t , t h a t y e b e n o t j u d g e d , " a n d it n o t e s t h a t " b r o a d i s t h e w a y , t h a t l e a d e t h t o destruction."

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thaw the ice between them, a n d you are the very one we should both of us choose. Heathcliff, I'm p r o u d to show you, at last, s o m e ­ body that dotes on you more than myself. I expect you to feel flat­ tered. Nay, it's not Nelly; don't look at her! My poor little sister-in-law is breaking her heart by mere contemplation of your physical and moral beauty. It lies in your own power to b e Edgar's brother! N o , no, Isabella, you shan't run off," she continued, ar­ resting, with feigned playfulness, the c o n f o u n d e d girl who had risen indignantly. "We were quarrelling like cats a b o u t you, Heathcliff; and I was fairly beaten in protestations of devotion and admiration; and, moreover, I was informed that if I would but have the m a n n e r s to stand aside, my rival, as she will have herself to be, would shoot a shaft into your soul that would fix you for ever, and send my i m a g e into eternal oblivion!" "Catherine," said Isabella, calling u p her dignity, and disdaining to struggle from the tight grasp that held her, "I'd thank you to adhere to the truth and not slander m e , even in joke! Mr. H e a t h ­ cliff, be kind enough to bid this friend of yours release me: she forgets that you and I are not intimate a c q u a i n t a n c e s , a n d what a m u s e s her is painful to m e beyond expression." As the guest answered nothing, but took his seat, and looked thoroughly indifferent what sentiments she cherished concerning him, she turned, and whispered an earnest appeal for liberty to her tormentor. "By no means!" cried M r s . Linton in answer. "I won't b e n a m e d a dog in the m a n g e r again. You shall stay: now then, Heathcliff, why don't you evince satisfaction at my p l e a s a n t news? Isabella swears that the love Edgar has for m e is nothing to that she enter­ tains for you. I'm sure she m a d e s o m e s p e e c h of the kind, did she not, Ellen? And she has fasted ever since the day before yesterday's walk, from sorrow and rage that I d e s p a t c h e d her out of your so­ ciety, under the idea of its being u n a c c e p t a b l e . " "I think you belie her," said Heathcliff, twisting his chair to f a c e them. "She wishes to be out of my society now, at any rate!" And he stared hard at the object of d i s c o u r s e , as one might do at a strange repulsive animal, a centipede from the Indies, for in­ stance, which curiosity leads one to examine in spite of the aversion it raises. The poor thing couldn't bear that; she grew white and red in rapid succession, and, while tears b e a d e d her lashes, bent the strength of her small fingers to loosen the firm clutch of C a t h e r i n e , and perceiving that as fast a s she raised one finger off her a r m , another closed down, and she could not remove the whole together, she began to m a k e u s e of her nails, a n d their s h a r p n e s s presently or­ namented the detainer's with crescents of red.

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"There's a tigress!" exclaimed M r s . Linton, setting her free, and shaking her h a n d with pain. "Begone, for God's sake, and hide your vixen face! H o w foolish to reveal those talons to him. Can't you fancy the conclusions he'll draw? Look, Heathcliff! they are instru­ m e n t s that will do e x e c u t i o n — y o u m u s t beware of your eyes." "I'd wrench them off her fingers, if they ever m e n a c e d me," he answered brutally, when the door h a d closed after her. "But what did you m e a n by teasing the creature in that manner, Cathy? You were not speaking the truth, were you?" "I a s s u r e you I was," she returned. "She has been pining for your sake several weeks; a n d raving a b o u t you this morning, and pouring forth a deluge of a b u s e , b e c a u s e I represented your failings in a plain light for the p u r p o s e of mitigating her adoration. But don't notice it further. I wished to p u n i s h her s a u c i n e s s , that's all. I like her too well, my dear Heathcliff, to let you absolutely seize and devour her up." "And I like her too ill to attempt it," said he, "except in a very ghoulish fashion. You'd hear of odd things, if I lived alone with that mawkish, waxen face; the most ordinary would be painting on its white the colours of the rainbow, a n d turning the blue eyes black, every day or two; they detestably r e s e m b l e Linton's." "Delectably," observed C a t h e r i n e . "They are dove's eyes—angel's!" "She's her brother's heir, is she not?" he asked, after a brief si­ lence. "I should be sorry to think so," returned his companion. "Half-adozen nephews shall e r a s e her title, p l e a s e Heaven! Abstract your mind from the subject, at present. You are too prone to covet your neighbour's goods: r e m e m b e r this neighbour's goods are mine." "If they were mine, they would b e none the less that," said Heath­ cliff, "but though Isabella Linton may be silly, she is scarcely mad; and, in short, we'll dismiss the matter, as you advise." F r o m their tongues, they did dismiss it; and Catherine, probably, from her thoughts. T h e other, I felt certain, recalled it often in the c o u r s e of the evening; I saw him smile to himself—grin r a t h e r — a n d lapse into o m i n o u s m u s i n g whenever M r s . Linton had occasion to be a b s e n t from the apartment. I determined to watch his movements. My heart invariably cleaved to the master's, in preference to Catherine's side; with rea­ son, I imagined, for he was kind, a n d trustful, and honourable: and s h e — s h e could not be called the opposite, yet she s e e m e d to allow herself s u c h wide latitude that I had little faith in her principles, a n d still less sympathy for her feelings. I wanted something to hap­ p e n which might have the effect of freeing both Wuthering Heights and the G r a n g e of Mr. Heathcliff, quietly, leaving us as we had

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been prior to his advent. His visits were a continual nightmare to me; and, I suspected, to my m a s t e r also. His a b o d e at the Heights was an oppression past explaining. I felt that G o d h a d forsaken the stray sheep there to its own wicked wanderings, and a n evil b e a s t prowled between it and the fold, waiting his time to spring a n d destroy. Chapter

XI

S o m e t i m e s , while meditating on these things in solitude, I've got up in a sudden terror, a n d p u t on my bonnet to go see how all was at the farm; I've p e r s u a d e d my c o n s c i e n c e that it was a duty to warn him how people talked regarding his ways; a n d then I've rec­ ollected his confirmed b a d habits, and, hopeless of benefiting him, have flinched from re-entering the dismal h o u s e , doubting if I could bear to be taken at my word. O n e time I p a s s e d the old gate, going out of my way, on a j o u r n e y to Gimmerton. It was about the period that my narrative h a s r e a c h e d — a bright, frosty afternoon, the g r o u n d bare, and the road hard and dry. I c a m e to a stone where the highway b r a n c h e s off on to the moor at your left hand; a rough sand-pillar, with the letters W. H . cut on its north side, on the east, G . , a n d on the south-west, T. G . It serves as guide-post to the G r a n g e , and Heights, a n d village. T h e sun shone yellow on its grey head, reminding m e of s u m m e r ; and I cannot say why, but all at once, a g u s h of child's s e n s a t i o n s flowed into my heart. Hindley a n d I held it a favourite spot twenty years before. I gazed long at the weather-worn block; and, stooping down, per­ ceived a hole near the bottom still full of snail-shells a n d p e b b l e s , which we were fond of storing there with m o r e perishable things; and, as fresh as reality, it a p p e a r e d that I beheld my early playmate seated on the withered turf, his dark, s q u a r e h e a d bent forward, and his little hand scooping out the earth with a piece of slate. "Poor Hindley!" I exclaimed, involuntarily. I s t a r t e d — m y bodily eye was c h e a t e d into a m o m e n t a r y belief that the child lifted its face a n d stared straight into mine! It van­ ished in a twinkling; but, immediately, I felt an irresistible yearning to be at the Heights. Superstition urged m e to comply with this impulse. S u p p o s i n g he should b e dead! I t h o u g h t — o r should die s o o n ! — s u p p o s i n g it were a sign of death! T h e nearer I got to the h o u s e the m o r e agitated I grew; a n d on catching sight of it, I trembled every limb. T h e apparition h a d out­ stripped me; it stood looking through the gate. T h a t was my first idea on observing an elf-locked, brown-eyed boy setting his ruddy

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c o u n t e n a n c e against the bars. Further reflection suggested this m u s t be H a r e t o n , my H a r e t o n , not altered greatly since I left him, ten m o n t h s since. "God bless thee, darling!" I cried, forgetting instantaneously my foolish fears. "Hareton, it's Nelly—Nelly, thy nurse." H e retreated out of arm's length, a n d picked u p a large flint. "I a m c o m e to see thy father, Hareton," I added, g u e s s i n g from the action that Nelly, if she lived in his memory at all, was not recognised as one with m e . H e raised his missile to hurl it; I c o m m e n c e d a soothing speech, b u t could not stay his hand. T h e stone struck my bonnet; and then e n s u e d , from the s t a m m e r i n g lips of the little fellow, a string of c u r s e s , which, whether he c o m p r e h e n d e d them or not, were deliv­ ered with p r a c t i s e d e m p h a s i s , a n d distorted his baby features into a shocking expression of malignity. You m a y be certain this grieved more than angered m e . Fit to cry, I took an orange from my pocket, a n d offered it to propitiate him. H e hesitated, a n d then s n a t c h e d it from my hold, as if he fancied I only intended to tempt a n d disappoint him. I showed another, keeping it out of his reach. "Who h a s taught you those fine words, my barn," I inquired. "The curate?" "Damn the c u r a t e , a n d thee! G i e m e that," he replied. "Tell u s where you got your lessons, a n d you shall have it," said I. "Who's your m a s t e r ? " "Devil daddy," was his answer. "And what do you learn from Daddy?" I continued. H e j u m p e d at the fruit; I raised it higher. "What does he teach you?" I a s k e d . "Naught," said he, "but to keep out of his gait. Daddy cannot bide m e , b e c a u s e I swear at him." "Ah! a n d the devil t e a c h e s you to swear at Daddy?" I observed. "Aye—nay," he drawled. "Who then?" "Heathcliff." I a s k e d if he liked Mr. Heathcliff? "Aye!" he a n s w e r e d again. Desiring to have his r e a s o n s for liking him, I could only gather the s e n t e n c e s — " I known't—he pays D a d b a c k what he gies to m e — h e c u r s e s D a d d y for cursing m e — h e says I m u n do as I will." 1

2

1. Barn 2.

Way.

[bairn]: child.

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"And the curate does not teach you to read a n d write, then?" I pursued. "No, I was told the curate should have his teeth d a s h e d down his throat, if he s t e p p e d over the threshold. Heathcliff had promised that!" I put the orange in his hand, a n d b a d e him tell his father that a woman called Nelly D e a n was waiting to s p e a k with him, by the garden gate. H e went u p the walk, a n d entered the h o u s e ; but, instead of Hindley, Heathcliff a p p e a r e d on the door stones, a n d I turned di­ rectly a n d ran down the road as hard a s ever I could race, m a k i n g no halt till I gained the guide post, a n d feeling as s c a r e d as if I h a d raised a goblin. This is not m u c h c o n n e c t e d with M i s s Isabella's affair; except that it urged m e to resolve further on m o u n t i n g vigilant guard, a n d doing my utmost to c h e c k the s p r e a d of s u c h b a d influence at the Grange, even though I should wake a d o m e s t i c storm by thwarting Mrs. Linton's p l e a s u r e . T h e next time Heathcliff c a m e , my young lady c h a n c e d to b e feeding s o m e pigeons in the court. S h e had never spoken a word to her sister-in-law for three days; but she h a d likewise d r o p p e d her fretful complaining, a n d we found it a great comfort. Heathcliff had not the habit of bestowing a single u n n e c e s s a r y civility on Miss Linton, I knew. Now, as s o o n a s he beheld her, his first precaution was to take a sweeping survey of the housefront. I was standing by the kitchen window, but I drew out of sight. H e then stept across the p a v e m e n t to her, a n d said something: s h e s e e m e d e m b a r r a s s e d , a n d desirous of getting away; to prevent it, he laid his h a n d on her a r m . S h e averted her face; he apparently p u t s o m e question which she h a d no mind to answer. T h e r e was a n ­ other rapid glance at the h o u s e , a n d s u p p o s i n g himself u n s e e n , the scoundrel had the i m p u d e n c e to e m b r a c e her. "Judas! Traitor!" I ejaculated. "You are a hypocrite too, are you? A deliberate deceiver." "Who is, Nelly?" said Catherine's voice at my elbow. I h a d b e e n over-intent on watching the pair outside to m a r k her e n t r a n c e . "Your worthless friend!" I answered warmly; "the sneaking rascal yonder. Ah, he has c a u g h t a glimpse of u s — h e is c o m i n g in! I wonder will he have the art to find a plausible e x c u s e for m a k i n g love to M i s s , when he told you he hated her?" Mrs. Linton saw Isabella tear herself free, a n d run into the gar­ den; and a minute after, Heathcliff o p e n e d the door. 3

3.

B y u s e of b l a n k s for c u r s e s , Nelly, even m o r e t h a n L o c k w o o d , s p a r e s the e a r s of her listener. S e e C h a p t e r I I I , n o t e 6.

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I couldn't withhold giving s o m e loose to my indignation; but C a t h e r i n e angrily insisted on silence, a n d threatened to order m e out of the kitchen, if I dared b e so p r e s u m p t u o u s a s to put in my insolent tongue. "To hear you, people might think you were the mistress!" she cried. "You want setting down in your right place! Heathcliff, what are you about, raising this stir? I said you m u s t let Isabella alone! — I b e g you will, unless you are tired of being received here, a n d wish Linton to draw the bolts against you!" "God forbid that he should try!" answered the black villain. I detested him j u s t then. "God keep him m e e k a n d patient! Every day I grow m a d d e r after sending him to heaven!" "Hush!" said C a t h e r i n e , shutting the inner door. "Don't vex m e . Why have you disregarded my request ? Did she c o m e across you on p u r p o s e ? " "What is it to you?" he growled. "I have a right to kiss her, if she c h o o s e s , a n d you have no right to object. I'm not your husband: you needn't b e j e a l o u s of me!" "I'm not j e a l o u s of you," replied the mistress, "I'm jealous for you. C l e a r your f a c e , you shan't scowl at me! If you like Isabella, you shall marry her. B u t do you like her? Tell the truth, Heathcliff! T h e r e , you won't answer. I'm certain you don't!" "And would M r . Linton approve of his sister marrying that man?" I inquired. "Mr. Linton should approve," returned my lady decisively. "He might spare himself the trouble," said Heathcliff; "I could do a s well without his approbation. A n d a s to you, C a t h e r i n e , I have a mind to s p e a k a few words now, while we are at it. I want you to b e aware that I know you have treated m e infernally—infernally! D o you hear? A n d if you flatter yourself that I don't perceive it, you are a fool; a n d if you think I c a n b e consoled by sweet words you are a n idiot; a n d if you fancy I'll suffer unrevenged, I'll convince you of the contrary, in a very little while! M e a n t i m e , thank you for telling m e your sister-in-law's secret. I swear I'll make the most of it. A n d s t a n d you aside!" "What new p h a s e of his character is this?" exclaimed M r s . Lin­ ton, in a m a z e m e n t . "I've treated you infernally—and you'll take re­ venge! H o w will you take it, ungrateful brute? H o w have I treated you infernally?" "I seek no revenge on you," replied Heathcliff less vehemently. "That's not the plan. T h e tyrant grinds down his slaves a n d they don't turn against him, they c r u s h those b e n e a t h them. You are w e l c o m e to torture m e to death for your a m u s e m e n t , only allow m e to a m u s e myself a little in the s a m e style, a n d refrain from insult, as m u c h a s you are able. Having levelled my p a l a c e , don't erect a

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hovel and complacently a d m i r e your own charity in giving m e that for a home. If I imagined you really wished m e to marry Isabella, I'd cut my throat!" "Oh, the evil is that I a m not j e a l o u s , is it?" cried C a t h e r i n e . "Well, I won't repeat my offer of a wife: it is as b a d as offering S a t a n a lost soul. Your bliss lies, like his, in inflicting misery. You prove it. Edgar is restored from the ill-temper he gave way to at your coming; I begin to be s e c u r e a n d tranquil; a n d you, restless to know us at p e a c e , a p p e a r resolved on exciting a quarrel. Quarrel with Edgar, if you p l e a s e , Heathcliff, a n d deceive his sister; you'll hit on exactly the m o s t efficient m e t h o d of revenging yourself on me." T h e conversation c e a s e d . M r s . Linton sat down by the fire, flushed and gloomy. T h e spirit which served her w a s growing in­ tractable: she could neither lay nor control it. H e stood on the hearth, with folded arms, brooding on his evil thoughts; a n d in this position I left them to seek the master, who was wondering what kept Catherine below so long. "Ellen," said he, when I entered, "have you seen your m i s t r e s s ? " "Yes, she's in the kitchen, sir," I answered. "She's sadly p u t out by Mr. Heathcliff's behaviour: and, indeed, I do think it's time to arrange his visits on another footing. There's h a r m in being too soft, and now it's c o m e to t h i s — " And I related the s c e n e in the court, and, as near as I dared, the whole s u b s e q u e n t d i s p u t e . I fancied it could not be very prejudicial to M r s . Linton, u n l e s s she m a d e it so afterwards, by a s s u m i n g the defensive for her guest. Edgar Linton had difficulty in hearing m e to the close. His first words revealed that he did not clear his wife of b l a m e . "This is insufferable!" he exclaimed. "It is disgraceful that s h e should own him for a friend, a n d force his c o m p a n y on me! C a l l m e two men out of the hall, Ellen. C a t h e r i n e shall linger no longer to argue with the low r u f f i a n — I have h u m o u r e d her enough." H e descended, a n d bidding the servants wait in the p a s s a g e , went, followed by m e , to the kitchen. Its o c c u p a n t s h a d r e c o m m ­ enced their angry discussion; M r s . Linton, at least, was scolding with renewed vigour; Heathcliff had moved to the window, a n d hung his head, somewhat cowed by her violent rating apparently. H e saw the master first, a n d m a d e a hasty motion that s h e should be silent; which she obeyed, abruptly, on discovering the r e a s o n of his intimation. "How is this?" said Linton, a d d r e s s i n g her; "what notion of pro­ priety m u s t you have to remain here, after the l a n g u a g e which h a s been held to you by that b l a c k g u a r d ? I s u p p o s e , b e c a u s e it is his ordinary talk, you think nothing of it—you are h a b i t u a t e d to his b a s e n e s s , and, p e r h a p s , imagine I can get u s e d to it too!"

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"Have you b e e n listening at the door, E d g a r ? " asked the mistress, in a tone particularly c a l c u l a t e d to provoke her h u s b a n d , implying both c a r e l e s s n e s s a n d c o n t e m p t of his irritation. Heathcliff, who h a d raised his eyes at the former speech, gave a sneering laugh at the latter, on p u r p o s e , it s e e m e d , to draw Mr. Linton's attention to him. H e s u c c e e d e d ; b u t E d g a r did not m e a n to entertain him with any high flights of p a s s i o n . "I have b e e n so far forbearing with you, sir," he said, quietly; "not that I was ignorant of your miserable, degraded character, but I felt you were only partly responsible for that; a n d C a t h e r i n e wishing to keep u p your a c q u a i n t a n c e , I acquiesced—foolishly. Your presence is a moral p o i s o n that would c o n t a m i n a t e the most virtuous: for that c a u s e , a n d to prevent worse c o n s e q u e n c e s , I shall deny you, hereafter, a d m i s s i o n into this h o u s e , a n d give notice, now, that I require your instant d e p a r t u r e . T h r e e minutes' delay will render it involuntary a n d ignominious." Heathcliff m e a s u r e d the height a n d breadth of the speaker with an eye full of derision. "Cathy, this l a m b of yours threatens like a bull!" he said. "It is in d a n g e r of splitting its skull against my knuckles. By G o d , Mr. Linton, I'm mortally sorry that you are not worth knocking down!" M y m a s t e r g l a n c e d towards the p a s s a g e , a n d signed m e to fetch the men: he h a d no intention of hazarding a personal encounter. I obeyed the hint; but M r s . Linton, s u s p e c t i n g something, fol­ lowed, a n d when I a t t e m p t e d to call them, she pulled me back, s l a m m e d the door to, a n d locked it. "Fair means!" s h e said, in answer to her husband's look of angry surprise. "If you have not the c o u r a g e to a t t a c k him, m a k e an apol­ ogy, or allow yourself to be beaten. It will correct you of feigning m o r e valour than you p o s s e s s . N o , I'll swallow the key before you shall get it! I'm delightfully rewarded for my kindness to each! After c o n s t a n t indulgence of one's weak nature, a n d the other's bad one, I earn, for thanks, two s a m p l e s of blind ingratitude, stupid to ab­ surdity! E d g a r , I was defending you a n d yours; a n d I wish Heathcliff m a y flog you sick, for daring to think an evil thought of me!" It did not n e e d the m e d i u m of a flogging to p r o d u c e that effect on the master. H e tried to wrest the key from Catherine's grasp; a n d for safety she flung it into the hottest part of the fire; where­ u p o n M r . E d g a r was taken with a nervous trembling, and his coun­ t e n a n c e grew deadly p a l e . For his life he could not avert that a c c e s s of emotion: mingled a n g u i s h a n d humiliation overcame him com­ pletely. H e leant on the b a c k of a chair, a n d covered his face. "Oh, heavens! In old days this would win you knighthood!" ex­ c l a i m e d M r s . Linton. "We are vanquished! we are vanquished!

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Heathcliff would as soon lift a finger at you a s the king would m a r c h his army against a colony of mice. C h e e r up, you shan't be hurt! Your type is not a lamb, it's a sucking leveret." "I wish you joy of the milk-blooded coward, Cathy!" said her friend. "I compliment you on your taste: and that is the slavering, shivering thing you preferred to me! I would not strike him with my fist, but I'd kick him with my foot, and experience considerable satisfaction. Is he weeping, or is he going to faint for fear?" T h e fellow a p p r o a c h e d and gave the chair on which Linton rested a push. He'd better have kept his distance: my m a s t e r quickly sprang erect, and struck him full on the throat a blow that would have levelled a slighter m a n . It took his breath for a minute; and, while he choked, Mr. Linton walked out by the b a c k door into the yard, a n d from thence, to the front entrance. "There! you've done with c o m i n g here," cried C a t h e r i n e . "Get away, now; he'll return with a b r a c e of pistols, a n d half a dozen assistants. If he did overhear u s , of c o u r s e , he'd never forgive you. You've played m e an ill turn, Heathcliff! B u t g o — m a k e haste! I'd rather see Edgar at bay than you." "Do you s u p p o s e I'm going with that blow burning in my gullet?" he thundered. "By Hell, no! I'll c r u s h his ribs in like a rotten hazel­ nut, before I cross the threshold! If I don't floor him now, I shall murder him sometime, so, as you value his existence, let m e get at him!" "He is not coming," I interposed, framing a bit of a lie. "There's the c o a c h m a n , and the two gardeners; you'll surely not wait to be thrust into the road by them! E a c h has a bludgeon, and m a s t e r will, very likely, be watching from the parlour windows to see that they fulfil his orders." T h e gardeners and c o a c h m a n were there; but Linton was with them. They had already entered the court. Heathcliff, on s e c o n d thoughts, resolved to avoid a struggle against three underlings; he seized the poker, s m a s h e d the lock from the inner door, a n d m a d e his e s c a p e as they tramped in. Mrs. Linton, who was very m u c h excited, bid m e a c c o m p a n y her upstairs. S h e did not know my share in contributing to the distur­ b a n c e , and I was anxious to keep her in ignorance. "I'm nearly distracted, Nelly!" she exclaimed, throwing herself on the sofa. "A t h o u s a n d smiths' h a m m e r s are beating in my head! Tell Isabella to shun m e — t h i s uproar is owing to her; and should she or any one else aggravate my anger at present, I shall get wild. And, Nelly, say to Edgar, if you see him again to-night, that I'm in danger of being seriously ill. I wish it may prove true. H e h a s startled and distressed me shockingly! I want to frighten him. B e s i d e s , he might

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c o m e and begin a string of a b u s e , or complainings; I'm certain I should recriminate, a n d G o d knows where we should end! Will you do so, my good Nelly? You are aware that I a m no way blameable in this matter. W h a t p o s s e s s e d him to turn listener? Heathcliff's talk was o u t r a g e o u s , after you left us; but I could soon have diverted him from Isabella, and the rest m e a n t nothing. Now, all is dashed wrong by the fool's-craving to hear evil of self that haunts some p e o p l e like a demon! H a d E d g a r never gathered our conversation, he would never have been the worse for it. Really, when he opened on m e in that u n r e a s o n a b l e tone of displeasure, after I had scolded Heathcliff till I was hoarse for him, I did not care, hardly, what they did to e a c h other, especially as I felt that, however the scene closed, we should all be driven a s u n d e r for nobody knows how long! Well, if I c a n n o t keep Heathcliff for my friend, if Edgar will be m e a n a n d j e a l o u s , I'll try to break their hearts by breaking my own. T h a t will be a p r o m p t way of finishing all, when I a m p u s h e d to extremity! B u t it's a deed to be reserved for a forlorn hope; I'd not take Linton by surprise with it. T o this point he has been discreet in dreading to provoke me; you m u s t represent the peril of quitting that policy, a n d remind him of my p a s s i o n a t e temper, verging, when kindled, on frenzy. I wish you could dismiss that apathy out of your c o u n t e n a n c e , a n d look rather more anxious about me!" T h e stolidity with which I received these instructions was, no doubt, rather exasperating, for they were delivered in perfect sin­ cerity; but I believed a person who could plan the turning of her fits of p a s s i o n to a c c o u n t , beforehand, might, by exerting her will, m a n a g e to control herself tolerably even while under their influ­ ence; a n d I did not wish to "frighten" her h u s b a n d , as she said, and multiply his a n n o y a n c e s for the p u r p o s e of serving her selfishness. Therefore I said nothing when I met the master coming towards the parlour; b u t I took the liberty of turning b a c k to listen whether they would r e s u m e their quarrel together. H e b e g a n to s p e a k first. "Remain where you are, Catherine," he said, without any anger in his voice, but with m u c h sorrowful despondency. "I shall not stay. I a m neither c o m e to wrangle, nor be reconciled; but I wish j u s t to learn whether, after this evening's events, you intend to con­ tinue your intimacy with—" "Oh, for mercy's sake," interrupted the mistress, stamping her foot, "for mercy's s a k e , let us hear no more of it now! Your cold blood cannot be worked into a fever; your veins are full of ice-water, but mine are boiling, and the sight of s u c h chillness makes them dance." "To get rid of m e , answer my question," persevered Mr. Linton. "You must answer it; and that violence does not alarm me. I have

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found that you can be as stoical as any one, when you p l e a s e . Will you give up Heathcliff hereafter, or will you give u p m e ? It is im­ possible for you to be my friend a n d his at the s a m e time; and I absolutely require to know which you choose." "I require to be let alone!" exclaimed C a t h e r i n e , furiously. "I de­ m a n d it! Don't you see I can scarcely stand? Edgar, y o u — y o u leave me!" S h e rung the bell till it broke with a twang: I entered leisurely. It was enough to try the temper of a saint, s u c h s e n s e l e s s , wicked rages! T h e r e she lay dashing her h e a d against the a r m of the sofa, and grinding her teeth, so that you might fancy she would c r a s h them to splinters! Mr. Linton stood looking at her in s u d d e n c o m p u n c t i o n a n d fear. H e told m e to fetch s o m e water. S h e h a d no breath for speaking. I brought a glass full; and, as she would not drink, I sprinkled it on her face. In a few s e c o n d s she stretched herself out stiff, and turned up her eyes, while her cheeks, at once b l a n c h e d a n d livid, a s s u m e d the aspect of death. Linton looked terrified. "There is nothing in the world the matter," I whispered. I did not want him to yield, though I could not help being afraid in my heart. "She has blood on her lips!" he said, shuddering. "Never mind!" I answered, tartly. And I told him how she h a d resolved, previous to his coming, on exhibiting a fit of frenzy. I incautiously gave the a c c o u n t aloud, a n d she heard m e , for she started u p — h e r hair flying over her shoulders, her eyes flashing, the muscles of her neck and a r m s standing out preternaturally. I m a d e up my mind for broken bones, at least; b u t she only glared about her for an instant, and then rushed from the room. T h e master directed m e to follow; I did, to her c h a m b e r door; she hindered m e from going farther by securing it against m e . As she never offered to d e s c e n d to breakfast next morning, I went to ask whether she would have s o m e carried u p . "No!" she replied, peremptorily. The s a m e question was repeated at dinner a n d tea; a n d again on the morrow after, and received the s a m e answer. Mr. Linton, on his part, spent his time in the library, a n d did not inquire concerning his wife's occupations. Isabella a n d he had had an hour's interview, during which he tried to elicit from her s o m e sentiment of proper horror for Heathcliff's advances; but he could make nothing of her evasive replies, and was obliged to close the examination unsatisfactorily; adding, however, a s o l e m n warning, that if she were so insane as to e n c o u r a g e that worthless suitor, it would dissolve all b o n d s of relationship between herself a n d him.

94

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Chapter

HEIGHTS

XII

While M i s s Linton m o p e d a b o u t the park and garden, always silent, a n d almost always in tears; and her brother shut himself u p a m o n g books that he never opened—wearying, I guessed, with a continual v a g u e expectation that Catherine, repenting her con­ duct, would c o m e of her own a c c o r d to ask pardon, and seek a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n — a n d while she fasted pertinaciously, under the idea, probably, that at every meal, E d g a r was ready to choke for her ab­ sence, a n d pride alone held him from running to cast himself at her feet, I went about my household duties, convinced that the G r a n g e h a d but one sensible soul in its walls, and that lodged in my body. I wasted no c o n d o l e n c e s on M i s s , nor any expostulations on my mistress, nor did I pay attention to the sighs of my master, who yearned to hear his lady's n a m e , since he might not hear her voice. I determined they should c o m e about as they pleased for me; and though it was a tiresomely slow p r o c e s s , I b e g a n to rejoice at length in a faint dawn of its progress, as I thought at first. M r s . Linton, on the third day, unbarred her door; and having finished the water in her pitcher and decanter, desired a renewed supply, a n d a basin of gruel, for she believed she was dying. T h a t I set down as a s p e e c h m e a n t for Edgar's ears; I believed no such thing, so I kept it to myself, and brought her s o m e tea and dry toast. S h e ate a n d drank eagerly; and s a n k b a c k on her pillow again, clenching her h a n d s a n d groaning. "Oh, I will die," she exclaimed, "since no one cares anything a b o u t m e . I wish I h a d not taken that." T h e n a good while after I heard her m u r m u r — "No, I'll not d i e — h e ' d be g l a d — h e does not love me at a l l — h e would never miss me!" "Did you want anything, m a ' a m ? " I enquired, still preserving my external c o m p o s u r e , in spite of her ghastly c o u n t e n a n c e and strange exaggerated manner. "What is that apathetic being doing?" she d e m a n d e d , pushing the thick entangled locks from her wasted face. "Has he fallen into a lethargy, or is he d e a d ? " "Neither," replied I; "if you m e a n Mr. Linton. He's tolerably well, I think, though his studies o c c u p y him rather more than they ought; he is continually a m o n g his books, since he has no other society." I should not have spoken so, if I had known her true condition, but I could not get rid of the notion that she acted a part of her disorder. "Among his books!" she cried, confounded. "And I dying! I on

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the brink of the grave! My G o d ! does he know how I'm altered?" continued she, staring at her reflection in a mirror, hanging against the opposite wall. "Is that C a t h e r i n e Linton? H e imagines m e in a p e t — i n play, p e r h a p s . C a n n o t you inform him that it is frightful earnest? Nelly, if it be not too late, a s soon a s I learn how he feels, I'll choose between these two: either to starve at o n c e — t h a t would be no p u n i s h m e n t unless he h a d a h e a r t — o r to recover and leave the country. Are you speaking the truth a b o u t him now? T a k e care. Is he actually so utterly indifferent for my life?" "Why, ma'am," I answered, "the master has no idea of your being deranged; and, of course, he does not fear that you will let yourself die of hunger." "You think not? C a n n o t you tell him I will?" she returned. "Per­ s u a d e h i m — s p e a k of your own m i n d — s a y you are certain I will!" "No, you forget, M r s . Linton," I s u g g e s t e d , "that you have eaten some food with a relish this evening, and to-morrow you will per­ ceive its good effects." "If I were only sure it would kill him," she interrupted, "I'd kill myself directly! T h e s e three awful nights, I've never closed my lids — a n d oh, I've been tormented! I've been h a u n t e d , Nelly! B u t I begin to fancy you don't like m e . H o w strange! I thought, though everybody hated and despised e a c h other, they could not avoid lov­ ing m e — a n d they have all turned to enemies in a few h o u r s . They have, I'm positive; the people here. H o w dreary to meet death, sur­ rounded by their cold faces! Isabella, terrified a n d repelled, afraid to enter the room, it would be so dreadful to watch C a t h e r i n e go. And Edgar standing solemnly by to see it over; then offering prayers of thanks to G o d for restoring p e a c e to his h o u s e , a n d going b a c k to his hooks! What, in the n a m e of all that feels, has he to do with hooks, when I a m dying?" S h e could not bear the notion which I had p u t into her h e a d of Mr. Linton's philosophical resignation. T o s s i n g about, she in­ creased her feverish bewilderment to m a d n e s s , and tore the pillow with her teeth; then raising herself u p all burning, desired that I would open the window. W e were in the middle of winter, the wind blew strong from the northeast, and I objected. Both the expressions flitting over her face, and the c h a n g e s of her moods, began to alarm m e terribly; a n d brought to my recol­ lection her former illness, and the doctor's injunction that she should not be crossed. A minute previously she was violent; now, supported on one a r m , and not noticing my refusal to obey her, she s e e m e d to find childish diversion in pulling the feathers from the rents she h a d j u s t m a d e , and ranging them on the sheet according to their different species: her mind had strayed to other associations.

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"That's a turkey's," she m u r m u r e d to herself; "and this is a wildduck's; and this is a pigeon's. Ah, they put pigeons' feathers in the p i l l o w s — n o wonder I couldn't die! L e t m e take care to throw it on the floor w h e n I lie down. And here is a moor-cock's; and t h i s — I should know it a m o n g a t h o u s a n d — i t ' s a lapwing's. Bonny bird; wheeling over our heads in the middle of the moor. It wanted to get to its nest, for the clouds touched the swells, and it felt rain coming. This feather was picked u p from the heath, the bird was not shot; we saw its nest in the winter, full of little skeletons. Heath­ cliff set a trap over it, a n d the old ones dare not c o m e . I m a d e him p r o m i s e he'd never shoot a lapwing after that, and he didn't. Yes, here are more! Did he shoot my lapwings, Nelly? Are they red, any of them? L e t m e look." "Give over with that baby-work!" I interrupted, dragging the pil­ low away, a n d turning the holes towards the mattress, for she was removing its contents by handfuls. "Lie down and shut your eyes, you're wandering. There's a m e s s ! T h e down is flying about like snow!" I went here a n d there collecting it. "I see in you, Nelly," she continued, dreamily, "an aged woman — y o u have grey hair, a n d bent shoulders. This bed is the fairy cave u n d e r Penistone C r a g , a n d you are gathering elf-bolts to hurt our heifers; pretending, while I a m near, that they are only locks of wool. That's what you'll c o m e to fifty years hence; I know you are not so now. I'm not wandering: you're mistaken, or else I should believe you really were that withered hag, and I should think I was u n d e r Penistone C r a g , a n d I'm conscious it's night, and there are two c a n d l e s on the table making the black press shine like jet." "The black p r e s s ? where is that?" I asked. "You are talking in your sleep!" "It's against the wall, as it always is," she replied. "It does appear o d d — I see a f a c e in it!" "There is no p r e s s in the room, and never was," said I, resuming my seat, and looping u p the curtain that I might watch her. "Don't you see that face?" she enquired, gazing earnestly at the mirror. And say what I could, I was incapable of making her comprehend it to b e her own; so I rose a n d covered it with a shawl. "It's behind there still!" she p u r s u e d , anxiously. "And it stirred. W h o is it? I h o p e it will not c o m e out when you are gone! Oh! Nelly, the room is haunted! I'm afraid of being alone!" 1

1.

Shots

(bolts)

by

fairies

at cattle.

Earlier,

when

Nelly

is

stoned

by y o u n g

Hareton

( C h . XI), his "string of c u r s e s " a n d "shocking expression of malignity" suggest that he a c t s u n d e r t h e a g e n c y o f a n e v i l s p i r i t (OED often e x p o s e d to the effects of elf-bolts).

mentions that shepherds and cowherds are

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I took her hand in mine, and bid her be c o m p o s e d , for a s u c c e s ­ sion of shudders convulsed her frame, a n d she would keep straining her gaze towards the glass. "There's nobody here!" I insisted. "It was yourself, M r s . Linton; you knew it a while since." "Myself," she g a s p e d , "and the clock is striking twelve! It's true, then; that's dreadful!" Her fingers clutched the clothes, and gathered them over her eyes. I attempted to steal to the door with an intention of calling her husband; but I was s u m m o n e d b a c k by a piercing shriek. T h e shawl had dropped from the frame. "Why, what is the matter?" cried I. "Who is coward now? W a k e up! T h a t is the g l a s s — t h e mirror, M r s . Linton; a n d you see yourself in it, and there a m I too, by your side." Trembling and bewildered, she held m e fast, b u t the horror grad­ ually p a s s e d from her c o u n t e n a n c e ; its p a l e n e s s gave p l a c e to a glow of s h a m e . "Oh, dear! I thought I was at home," she sighed. "I thought I was lying in my c h a m b e r at Wuthering Heights. B e c a u s e I'm weak, my brain got confused, and I s c r e a m e d unconsciously. Don't say any­ thing; but stay with me. I dread sleeping, my d r e a m s appal me." "A sound sleep would do you good, ma'am," I answered; "and I hope this suffering will prevent your trying starving again." "Oh, if I were but in my own bed in the old house!" she went on bitterly, wringing her h a n d s . "And that wind s o u n d i n g in the firs by the lattice. D o let m e feel it—it c o m e s straight down the m o o r — do let m e have one breath!" T o pacify her, I held the c a s e m e n t ajar, a few s e c o n d s . A cold blast rushed through; I closed it, and returned to my post. S h e lay still now, her face b a t h e d in tears. E x h a u s t i o n of body had entirely s u b d u e d her spirit; our fiery C a t h e r i n e was no better than a wailing child! "How long is it since I shut myself in here?" she asked, suddenly reviving. "It was M o n d a y evening," I replied, "and this is T h u r s d a y night, or rather Friday morning, at present." "What! of the s a m e week?" she exclaimed. "Only that brief time?" "Long enough to live on nothing but cold water and ill-temper," observed I. "Well, it s e e m s a weary n u m b e r of hours," she muttered doubt­ fully; "It m u s t be more. I r e m e m b e r being in the parlour after they had quarrelled; and E d g a r being cruelly provoking, and m e running into this room desperate. As soon a s ever I h a d barred the door, utter blackness overwhelmed me, a n d I fell on the floor. I couldn't explain to Edgar how certain I felt of having a fit, or going raging

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m a d , if he persisted in teasing me! I h a d no c o m m a n d of tongue, or brain, a n d he did not g u e s s my agony, perhaps; it barely left me s e n s e to try to e s c a p e from him a n d his voice. Before I recovered sufficiently to see a n d hear, it began to be dawn; and, Nelly, I'll tell you what I thought, a n d what has kept recurring and recurring till I feared for my r e a s o n . I thought as I lay there with my head against that table leg, a n d my eyes dimly discerning the grey s q u a r e of the window, that I was enclosed in the oak-panelled bed at home; and my heart a c h e d with s o m e great grief which, j u s t waking, I could not recollect. I p o n d e r e d , a n d worried myself to discover what it could be; a n d , m o s t strangely, the whole last seven years of my life grew a blank! I did not recall that they had been at all. I was a child; my father was j u s t buried, a n d my misery arose from the separation that Hindley had ordered between m e a n d Heathcliff. I was laid alone, for the first time, and, rousing from a dismal doze after a night of weeping, I lifted my h a n d to p u s h the panels aside: it struck the table-top! I swept it along the carpet, a n d then memory burst i n — m y late a n g u i s h was swallowed in a paroxysm of despair. I c a n n o t say why I felt so wildly w r e t c h e d — i t m u s t have been tem­ porary d e r a n g e m e n t , for there is scarcely c a u s e . But, supposing at twelve years old, I had b e e n wrenched from the Heights, and every early a s s o c i a t i o n , a n d my all in all, as Heathcliff was at that time, a n d been converted at a stroke into M r s . Linton, the lady of T h r u s h ­ cross G r a n g e , a n d the wife of a stranger; an exile, and outcast, thenceforth, from what had been my world. You may fancy a glimpse of the abyss where I grovelled! S h a k e your head as you will, Nelly, you have helped to unsettle me! You should have spoken to Edgar, indeed you should, a n d compelled him to leave me quiet! O h , I'm burning! I wish I were out of d o o r s — I wish I were a girl again, half savage, a n d hardy, a n d free; a n d laughing at injuries, not m a d d e n i n g under them! Why a m I so c h a n g e d ? why does my blood rush into a hell of tumult at a few words? I'm sure I should be myself were I o n c e a m o n g the heather on those hills. O p e n the window again wide, fasten it open! Quick, why don't you move?" " B e c a u s e I won't give you your death of cold," I answered. "You won't give m e a c h a n c e of life, you mean," she said sullenly. "However, I'm not helpless yet, I'll open it myself." And sliding from the bed before I could hinder her, she crossed the room, walking very uncertainly, threw it back, and bent out, careless of the frosty air that cut a b o u t her shoulders as keen as a knife. I entreated, a n d finally a t t e m p t e d to force her to retire. But I soon found her delirious strength m u c h s u r p a s s e d mine (she was delirious, I b e c a m e convinced by her s u b s e q u e n t actions, and ravings).

C H A P T E R XII

99

There was no moon, a n d everything b e n e a t h lay in misty dark­ ness; not a light g l e a m e d from any h o u s e , far or near; all had been extinguished long ago; a n d those at Wuthering Heights were never visible—still she asserted she c a u g h t their shining. "Look!" she cried eagerly, "that's my room, with the c a n d l e in it, and the trees swaying before it; a n d the other c a n d l e is in J o s e p h ' s garret. J o s e p h sits u p late, doesn't he? He's waiting till I c o m e h o m e that he may lock the gate. Well, he'll wait a while yet. It's a rough journey, and a sad heart to travel it; a n d we m u s t p a s s by G i m ­ merton Kirk, to go that journey! We've braved its ghosts often to­ gether, and dared e a c h other to stand a m o n g the graves a n d a s k them to c o m e . But Heathcliff, if I dare you now, will you venture? If you do, I'll keep you. I'll not lie there by myself; they may bury me twelve feet deep, a n d throw the c h u r c h down over m e , b u t I won't rest till you are with m e . I never will!" S h e p a u s e d , a n d r e s u m e d with a strange smile, "He's con­ sidering—he'd rather I'd c o m e to him! Find a way, then! not through that Kirkyard. You are slow! B e content, you always fol­ lowed me!" Perceiving it vain to argue against her insanity, I was p l a n n i n g how I could reach something to wrap a b o u t her, without quitting my hold of herself, for I could not trust her alone by the gaping lat­ tice, when, to my consternation, I heard the rattle of the door­ handle, and Mr. Linton entered. H e h a d only then c o m e from the library; and, in p a s s i n g through the lobby, h a d noticed our talking and been attracted by curiosity, or fear, to examine what it signified at that late hour. "Oh, sir!" I cried, checking the exclamation risen to his lips at the sight which met him, a n d the bleak a t m o s p h e r e of the c h a m b e r . "My poor mistress is ill, a n d she quite m a s t e r s m e ; I c a n n o t m a n a g e her at all; pray, c o m e a n d p e r s u a d e her to go to bed. Forget your anger, for she's hard to guide any way but her own." "Catherine ill?" he said, hastening to us. "Shut the window, El­ len! Catherine! why—" H e was silent; the h a g g a r d n e s s of M r s . Linton's a p p e a r a n c e smote him speechless, a n d he could only g l a n c e from her to m e in horrified astonishment. "She's been fretting here," I continued, "and eating scarcely any­ thing, and never complaining; s h e would admit n o n e of us till this evening, and so we couldn't inform you of her state, as we were not aware of it ourselves, but it is nothing." I felt I uttered my explanations awkwardly; the m a s t e r frowned. "It is nothing, is it, Ellen D e a n ? " he said sternly. "You shall a c c o u n t more clearly for keeping m e ignorant of this!" A n d he took his wife in his arms, and looked at her with a n g u i s h .

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At first s h e gave him no glance of r e c o g n i t i o n — h e was invisible to her a b s t r a c t e d gaze. T h e delirium was not fixed, however; having w e a n e d her eyes from contemplating the outer darkness, by degrees she centred her attention on him, a n d discovered who it was that held her. "Ah! you are c o m e , are you, E d g a r Linton?" she said, with angry animation. "You are one of those things that are ever found when least wanted, a n d when you are wanted, never! I s u p p o s e we shall have plenty of lamentations, n o w — I see we s h a l l — b u t they can't keep m e from my narrow h o m e out yonder, my resting place where I'm b o u n d before spring is over! T h e r e it is, not a m o n g the Lintons, mind, under the chapel-roof; but in the open air with a head-stone, and you may p l e a s e yourself, whether you go to them, or c o m e to me!" "Catherine, what have you done?" c o m m e n c e d the master. "Am I nothing to you, any m o r e ? D o you love that wretch, H e a t h — " "Hush!" cried M r s . Linton. "Hush, this moment! You mention that n a m e a n d I end the matter instantly, by a spring from the window! W h a t you t o u c h at present, you may have; but my soul will be on that hilltop before you lay hands on m e again. I don't want you, Edgar; I'm p a s t wanting you. Return to your books. I'm glad you p o s s e s s a consolation, for all you had in m e is gone." "Her mind w a n d e r s , sir," I interposed. "She has been talking non­ s e n s e the whole evening; but, let her have quiet a n d proper atten­ d a n c e , a n d she'll rally. Hereafter, we m u s t be cautious how we vex her." "I desire no further advice from you," answered Mr. Linton. "You knew your mistress's n a t u r e , a n d you e n c o u r a g e d m e to harass her. And not to give m e one hint of how she has been these three days! It was heartless! M o n t h s of sickness could not c a u s e such a change!" I b e g a n to defend myself, thinking it too b a d to be blamed for another's wicked waywardness! "I knew M r s . Linton's nature to be h e a d s t r o n g a n d domineering," cried I; "but I didn't know that you wished to foster her fierce tem­ per! I didn't know that, to h u m o u r her, I should wink at Mr. Heath­ cliff. I p e r f o r m e d the duty of a faithful servant in telling you, and I have got a faithful servant's wages! Well, it will teach m e to be careful next time. Next time you may gather intelligence for your­ self!" "The next time you bring a tale to m e , you shall quit my service, Ellen D e a n , " he replied. "You'd rather hear nothing a b o u t it, I s u p p o s e , then, Mr. Linton?" said I. "Heathcliff h a s your permission to c o m e a-courting to M i s s ,

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and to drop in at every opportunity your a b s e n c e offers, on p u r p o s e to poison the mistress against you?" C o n f u s e d as C a t h e r i n e was, her wits were alert at applying our conversation. "Ah! Nelly has played traitor," she exclaimed, passionately. "Nelly is my hidden enemy. You witch! S o you do seek elf-bolts to hurt us! Let m e go, and I'll m a k e her rue! I'll m a k e her howl a re­ cantation!" A maniac's fury kindled under her brows; she struggled desper­ ately to disengage herself from Linton's a r m s . I felt no inclination to tarry the event; and, resolving to seek medical aid on my own responsibility, I quitted the c h a m b e r . In p a s s i n g the garden to reach the road, at a p l a c e where a bridle hook is driven into the wall, I saw something white moved irregu­ larly, evidently by another agent than the wind. Notwithstanding my hurry, I stayed to examine it, lest ever after I should have the conviction impressed on my imagination that it was a creature of the other world. My surprise and perplexity were great to discover, by touch m o r e than vision, M i s s Isabella's springer, Fanny, s u s p e n d e d by a hand­ kerchief, and nearly at its last g a s p . I quickly released the animal, and lifted it into the g a r d e n . I h a d seen it follow its mistress upstairs, when she went to b e d , and won­ dered m u c h how it could have got out there, a n d what mischievous person had treated it so. While untying the knot round the hook, it s e e m e d to m e that I repeatedly caught the beat of horses' feet galloping at s o m e dis­ tance; but there were s u c h a n u m b e r of things to o c c u p y my re­ flections that I hardly gave the c i r c u m s t a n c e a thought, though it was a strange sound, in that p l a c e , at two o'clock in the morning. Mr. Kenneth was fortunately j u s t issuing from his h o u s e to see a patient in the village as I c a m e u p the street; and my a c c o u n t of Catherine Linton's malady induced him to a c c o m p a n y m e b a c k immediately. H e was a plain, rough m a n ; and he m a d e no scruple to s p e a k his doubts of her surviving this s e c o n d attack, unless she were m o r e submissive to his directions than she had shown herself before. "Nelly Dean," said he, "I can't help fancying there's an extra c a u s e for this. W h a t h a s there b e e n to do at the G r a n g e ? We've odd reports up here. A stout, hearty lass like C a t h e r i n e does not fall ill for a trifle; and that sort of people should not either. It's hard work bringing them through fevers, and s u c h things. H o w did it begin?" "The master will inform you," I answered; "but you are a c -

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q u a i n t e d with the E a r n s h a w s ' violent dispositions, and M r s . Linton c a p s them all. I may say this; it c o m m e n c e d in a quarrel. S h e was struck during a t e m p e s t of p a s s i o n with a kind of fit. That's her a c c o u n t , at least; for she flew off in the height of it, and locked herself u p . Afterwards, she refused to eat, and now she alternately raves a n d r e m a i n s in a half d r e a m , knowing those about her, but having her mind filled with all sorts of strange ideas and illusions." "Mr. Linton will be sorry?" observed Kenneth, interrogatively. "Sorry? He'll b r e a k his heart should anything happen!" I replied. "Don't a l a r m him m o r e than necessary." "Well, I told him to beware," said my c o m p a n i o n , "and he must bide the c o n s e q u e n c e s of neglecting my warning! Hasn't he been thick with Mr. Heathcliff lately?" "Heathcliff frequently visits at the G r a n g e , " answered I, "though m o r e on the strength of the mistress having known him when a boy, than b e c a u s e the m a s t e r likes his company. At present, he's d i s c h a r g e d from the trouble of calling; owing to s o m e p r e s u m p t u o u s aspirations after M i s s Linton which he manifested. I hardly think he'll be taken in again." "And does M i s s Linton turn a cold shoulder on him?" was the doctor's next question. "I'm not in her confidence," returned I, reluctant to continue the subject. "No, she's a sly one," he remarked, shaking his head. "She keeps her own counsel! B u t she's a real little fool. I have it from good authority that last night (and a pretty night it was!) she and Heath­ cliff were walking in the plantation at the b a c k of your h o u s e , above two hours; a n d he p r e s s e d her not to go in again, but j u s t mount his horse and away with him! My informant said she could only put him off by pledging her word of honour to be prepared on their first meeting after that: when it was to be, he didn't hear, but you urge Mr. Linton to look sharp!" This news filled m e with fresh fears; I outstripped Kenneth, and ran m o s t of the way back. T h e little dog was yelping in the garden yet. I s p a r e d a m i n u t e to open the gate for it, but instead of going to the h o u s e door, it c o u r s e d u p and down snuffing the grass, and would have e s c a p e d to the road, had I not seized and conveyed it in with m e . O n a s c e n d i n g to Isabella's room, my suspicions were confirmed: it was empty. H a d I b e e n a few hours sooner, M r s . Linton's illness might have arrested her rash step. B u t what could be done now? T h e r e was a bare possibility of overtaking them if p u r s u e d instantly. I could not p u r s u e them, however; and I dare not rouse the family, a n d fill the p l a c e with confusion; still less unfold the b u s i n e s s to

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my master, a b s o r b e d as he was in his present calamity, a n d having no heart to spare for a s e c o n d grief! I saw nothing for it but to hold my tongue, a n d suffer matters to take their course; a n d Kenneth being arrived, I went with a badly c o m p o s e d c o u n t e n a n c e to a n n o u n c e him. Catherine lay in a troubled sleep; her h u s b a n d h a d s u c c e e d e d in soothing the a c c e s s of frenzy; he now h u n g over her pillow, watch­ ing every s h a d e , a n d every c h a n g e of her painfully expressive fea­ tures. T h e doctor, on examining the c a s e for himself, spoke hopefully to him of its having a favourable termination, if we could only pre­ serve a r o u n d her perfect a n d constant tranquillity. T o m e , he sig­ nified the threatening danger was not so m u c h death, as p e r m a n e n t alienation of intellect. I did not close my eyes that night, nor did Mr. Linton; indeed, we never went to bed; and the servants were all u p long before the usual hour, moving through the h o u s e with stealthy tread, a n d ex­ changing whispers as they e n c o u n t e r e d e a c h other in their voca­ tions. Every one was active but M i s s Isabella; a n d they b e g a n to remark how s o u n d she slept. Her brother too a s k e d if she h a d risen, and s e e m e d impatient for her p r e s e n c e , a n d hurt that s h e showed so little anxiety for her sister-in-law. I trembled lest he should send m e to call her; b u t I was s p a r e d the pain of being the first proclaimant of her flight. O n e of the maids, a thoughtless girl, who had been on an early errand to G i m ­ merton, c a m e panting upstairs, o p e n - m o u t h e d , a n d d a s h e d into the chamber, crying— "Oh, dear, dear! W h a t m u n we have next? M a s t e r , master, our young lady—" "Hold your noise!" cried I hastily, enraged at her c l a m o r o u s manner. "Speak lower, M a r y — W h a t is the matter?" said M r . Linton. "What ails your young lady?" "She's gone, she's gone! Yon' Heathcliff's run off wi' her!" g a s p e d the girl. "That is not true!" exclaimed Linton, rising in agitation. "It c a n ­ not b e — h o w has the idea entered your h e a d ? Ellen D e a n , go a n d seek h e r — i t is incredible—it c a n n o t be." As he spoke he took the servant to the door, a n d then r e p e a t e d his d e m a n d to know her reasons for s u c h an assertion. "Why, I met on the road a lad that fetches milk here," s h e s t a m ­ mered, "and he asked whether we weren't in trouble at the G r a n g e . 2

1.

Must.

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I thought he m e a n t for Missis's sickness, so I answered, yes. Then, says he, 'They's s o m e b o d y gone after 'em, I g u e s s ? ' I stared. H e saw I knew n a u g h t a b o u t it, and he told how a gentleman and lady had stopped to have a horse's shoe fastened at a blacksmith's shop, two miles out of G i m m e r t o n , not very long after midnight! and how the blacksmith's lass h a d got up to spy who they were: she knew them both directly. And she noticed the m a n — H e a t h c l i f f it was, she felt certain, nob'dy could mistake him, b e s i d e s — p u t a sovereign in her father's h a n d for payment. T h e lady had a cloak about her face; but having desired a s u p of water, while she drank, it fell back, and she saw her very plain. Heathcliff held both bridles as they rode on, a n d they set their faces from the village, and went as fast as the rough roads would let them. T h e lass said nothing to her father, but she told it all over G i m m e r t o n this morning." I ran and p e e p e d , for form's sake, into Isabella's room: confirm­ ing, when I returned, the servant's statement. Mr. Linton had re­ s u m e d his seat by the bed; on my re-entrance, he raised his eyes, read the m e a n i n g of my blank aspect, and dropped them without giving an order, or uttering a word. "Are we to try any m e a s u r e s for overtaking and bringing her b a c k ? " I inquired. "How should we do?" "She went of her own accord," answered the master; "she had a right to go if she p l e a s e d . Trouble m e no more about her. Hereafter she is only my sister in n a m e , not b e c a u s e I disown her, but b e c a u s e she has disowned me." And that was all he said on the subject; he did not make a single inquiry further, or mention her in any way, except directing me to send what property she had in the h o u s e to her fresh home, wher­ ever it was, when I knew it. Chapter

XIII

For two m o n t h s the fugitives remained absent; in those two m o n t h s , M r s . Linton e n c o u n t e r e d and c o n q u e r e d the worst shock of what was d e n o m i n a t e d a brain fever. N o mother could have n u r s e d an only child more devotedly than E d g a r tended her. Day a n d night, he was watching, a n d patiently enduring all the annoy­ a n c e s that irritable nerves and a shaken reason could inflict; and, though Kenneth remarked that what he saved from the grave would only r e c o m p e n s e his care by forming the source of constant future anxiety—in fact, that his health and strength were being sacrificed to preserve a m e r e ruin of h u m a n i t y — h e knew no limits in grati­ tude a n d joy when Catherine's life was declared out of danger; and hour after hour he would sit beside her, tracing the gradual return

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to bodily health, and flattering his too s a n g u i n e h o p e s with the illusion that her mind would settle b a c k to its right b a l a n c e also, and she would soon be entirely her former self. T h e first time she left her c h a m b e r was at the c o m m e n c e m e n t of the following M a r c h . Mr. Linton had p u t on her pillow, in the morning, a handful of golden c r o c u s e s ; her eye, long stranger to any gleam of p l e a s u r e , c a u g h t them in waking, a n d s h o n e delighted as she gathered them eagerly together. "These are the earliest flowers at the Heights!" s h e exclaimed. "They remind m e of soft thaw winds, a n d w a r m s u n s h i n e , a n d nearly melted snow. Edgar, is there not a south wind, a n d is not the snow almost gone?" "The snow is quite gone down here, darling," replied her hus­ band, "and I only see two white spots on the whole range of m o o r s . T h e sky is blue, a n d the larks are singing, a n d the becks a n d brooks are all brim full. C a t h e r i n e , last spring at this time, I was longing to have you under this roof; now, I wish you were a mile or two up those hills; the air blows so sweetly, I feel that it would c u r e you." "I shall never be there, but o n c e more!" said the invalid; "and then you'll leave m e , a n d I shall remain for ever. Next spring you'll long again to have m e under this roof, a n d you'll look b a c k a n d think you were happy to-day." Linton lavished on her the kindest c a r e s s e s , a n d tried to cheer her by the fondest words; but, vaguely regarding the flowers, s h e let the tears collect on her lashes a n d s t r e a m down her cheeks unheeding. W e knew she was really better, and, therefore, decided that long confinement to a single place p r o d u c e d m u c h of this d e s p o n d e n c y , and it might be partially removed by a c h a n g e of scene. T h e master told m e to light a fire in the many-weeks-deserted parlour, and to set an easy-chair in the s u n s h i n e by the window; and then he brought her down, a n d she sat a long while enjoying the genial heat, and, as we expected, revived by the objects r o u n d her, which, though familiar, were free from the dreary a s s o c i a t i o n s investing her hated sick-chamber. By evening, she s e e m e d greatly exhausted; yet no a r g u m e n t s could p e r s u a d e her to return to that apartment, a n d I had to arrange the parlour sofa for her bed, till another room could be prepared. T o obviate the fatigue of m o u n t i n g a n d d e s c e n d i n g the stairs, we fitted up this, where you lie at present, on the s a m e floor with the parlour; and she was soon strong e n o u g h to move from one to the other, leaning on Edgar's a r m . Ah, I thought myself, she might recover, so waited on as s h e was. And there was double c a u s e to desire it, for on her existence de­ pended that of another; we cherished the hope that in a little while

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Mr. Linton's heart would be gladdened, and his lands secured from a stranger's gripe, by the birth of an heir. I should mention that Isabella sent to her brother, s o m e six weeks from her departure, a short note, a n n o u n c i n g her marriage with Heathcliff. It a p p e a r e d dry a n d cold; but at the bottom was dotted in with pencil an o b s c u r e apology, and an entreaty for kind remem­ b r a n c e and reconciliation, if her proceeding had offended him; as­ serting that she could not help it then, and being done, she had now no power to repeal it. Linton did not reply to this, I believe; and, in a fortnight more, I got a long letter, which I considered odd coming from the pen of a bride j u s t out of the honeymoon. I'll read it, for I keep it yet. Any relic of the d e a d is precious, if they were valued living. D E A R E L L E N , it begins. I c a m e last night to Wuthering Heights, and heard, for the first time, that C a t h e r i n e h a s been, and is yet, very ill. I must not write to her, I s u p p o s e , a n d my brother is either too angry or too dis­ tressed to answer what I send him. Still, I m u s t write to somebody, a n d the only choice left m e is you. Inform E d g a r that I'd give the world to see his face a g a i n — t h a t my heart returned to T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e in twenty-four hours after I left it, a n d is there at this m o m e n t , full of warm feelings for him, and Catherine! J can't follow it> though—(those words are u n d e r l i n e d ) — t h e y need not expect m e , and they may draw what conclusions they p l e a s e ; taking care, however, to lay nothing at the door of my w e a k will or deficient affection. T h e remainder of the letter is for yourself alone. I want to ask you two questions: the first i s — H o w did you contrive to preserve the c o m m o n sympathies of hu­ m a n nature when you resided here? I cannot recognise any senti­ m e n t which those a r o u n d share with m e . T h e s e c o n d question, I have great interest in; it is t h i s — Is Mr. Heathcliff a m a n ? If so, is he m a d ? And if not, is he a devil? I shan't tell my r e a s o n s for making this inquiry; but I beseech you to explain, if you c a n , what I have m a r r i e d — t h a t is, when you call to see me; a n d you m u s t call, Ellen, very soon. Don't write, but c o m e , a n d bring m e something from Edgar. Now, you shall hear how I have been received in my new home, as I a m led to imagine the Heights will be. It is to a m u s e myself that I dwell on s u c h subjects as the lack of external comforts; they never o c c u p y my thoughts, except at the m o m e n t when I miss them. I should laugh a n d d a n c e for joy, if I found their a b s e n c e was the total of my miseries, and the rest was an unnatural dream!

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T h e sun set behind the G r a n g e , as we turned on to the m o o r s ; by that, I j u d g e d it to be six o'clock; a n d my c o m p a n i o n halted halfan-hour, to inspect the park, a n d the g a r d e n s , a n d , probably, the place itself, as well as he could; so it was dark when we d i s m o u n t e d in the paved yard of the f a r m h o u s e , a n d your old fellow-servant, J o s e p h , issued out to receive us by the light of a dip candle. H e did it with a courtesy that r e d o u n d e d to his credit. His first act was to elevate his torch to a level with my face, squint malignantly, project his under-lip, and turn away. Then he took the two horses, a n d led them into the stables; reap­ pearing for the p u r p o s e of locking the outer gate, as if we lived in an ancient castle. Heathcliff stayed to s p e a k to him, a n d I entered the k i t c h e n — a dingy, untidy hole; I dare say you would not know it, it is so c h a n g e d since it was in your charge. By the fire stood a ruffianly child, strong in limb a n d dirty in garb, with a look of C a t h e r i n e in his eyes a n d a b o u t his m o u t h . "This is Edgar's legal nephew," I reflected—"mine in a manner; I must shake hands, a n d — y e s — I m u s t kiss him. It is right to es­ tablish a good u n d e r s t a n d i n g at the beginning." I a p p r o a c h e d , and, attempting to take his c h u b b y fist, s a i d — "How do you do, my dear?" H e replied in a j a r g o n I did not c o m p r e h e n d . "Shall you a n d I be friends, H a r e t o n ? " was my next e s s a y at conversation. An oath, a n d a threat to set Throttler on m e if I did not "frame off," rewarded my perseverance. "Hey, Throttler, lad!" whispered the little wretch, rousing a halfbred bull-dog from its lair in a corner. "Now, wilt tuh b e g a n g i n g ? " he asked authoritatively. Love for my life urged a c o m p l i a n c e ; I s t e p p e d over the threshold to wait till the others should enter. Mr. Heathcliff was nowhere visible; and J o s e p h , w h o m I followed to the stables a n d r e q u e s t e d to a c c o m p a n y me in, after staring a n d muttering to himself, screwed up his nose a n d r e p l i e d — "Mim! mim! mim! Did iver Christian body hear owt like it? Minching un' munching! H a h c a n Aw tell whet ye say?" "I say, I wish you to c o m e with m e into the house!" I cried, thinking him deaf, yet highly disgusted at his r u d e n e s s . "Nor nuh me! Aw getten s u m m u t else to do," he answered, a n d 1

2

3

4

1. B e g o n e . 2. Will you b e g o i n g ? 3 . " M i m " is a f f e c t e d l y p r i m s p e e c h . D i d e v e r a C h r i s t i a n h e a r a n y t h i n g l i k e i t ? M i m i n g a n d mouthing! How can I understand you?" 4.

"Not m e ! I'm g e t t i n g s o m e t h i n g else to d o . "

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continued his work, moving his lantern j a w s meanwhile, and sur­ veying my d r e s s and c o u n t e n a n c e (the former a great deal too fine, but the latter, I'm sure, as s a d as he could desire) with sovereign contempt. I walked r o u n d the yard, a n d through a wicket, to another door, at which I took the liberty of knocking, in hopes s o m e more civil servant might s h e w himself. After a short s u s p e n s e , it was opened by a tall, gaunt m a n , with­ out neckerchief, a n d otherwise extremely slovenly; his features were lost in m a s s e s of shaggy hair that h u n g on his shoulders; and his eyes, too, were like a ghostly Catherine's, with all their beauty annihilated. "What's your b u s i n e s s here?" he d e m a n d e d , grimly. "Who are you?" "My n a m e was Isabella Linton," I replied. "You've seen m e before, sir. I'm lately married to Mr. Heathcliff; and he has brought me h e r e — I s u p p o s e by your permission." "Is he c o m e back, then?" asked the hermit, glaring like a hungry wolf. "Yes—we c a m e j u s t now," I said; "but he left m e by the kitchen door; a n d when I would have gone in, your little boy played sentinel over the p l a c e , a n d frightened m e off by the help of a bull-dog." "It's well the hellish villain h a s kept his word!" growled my future host, s e a r c h i n g the d a r k n e s s beyond m e in expectation of discovering Heathcliff; a n d then he indulged in a soliloquy of execrations, and threats of what he would have done had the "fiend" deceived him. I repented having tried this s e c o n d entrance, and was almost inclined to slip way before he finished cursing, but ere I could ex­ e c u t e that intention, he ordered m e in, and shut and re-fastened the door. T h e r e was a great fire, a n d that was all the light in the huge a p a r t m e n t , whose floor h a d grown a uniform grey; and the once brilliant pewter dishes, which u s e d to attract my gaze when I was a girl, p a r t o o k of a similar obscurity, created by tarnish and dust. I inquired whether I might call the maid, and be c o n d u c t e d to a b e d - r o o m ? Mr. E a r n s h a w v o u c h s a f e d no answer. H e walked up and down, with his h a n d s in his pockets, apparently quite forgetting my p r e s e n c e ; a n d his abstraction was evidently so deep, and his whole a s p e c t so misanthropical, that I s h r a n k from disturbing him again. You'll not b e surprised, Ellen, at my feeling particularly cheerless, seated in worse than solitude on that inhospitable hearth, and re­ m e m b e r i n g that four miles distant lay my delightful home, contain­ ing the only people I loved on earth; and there might as well be the Atlantic to part u s , instead of those four miles: I could not overpass them!

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I questioned with myself—where m u s t I turn for comfort? a n d — m i n d you don't tell Edgar, or C a t h e r i n e — a b o v e every sorrow be­ side, this rose p r e - e m i n e n t — d e s p a i r at finding nobody who could or would be my ally against Heathcliff! I had sought shelter at Wuthering Heights, a l m o s t gladly, b e ­ c a u s e I was s e c u r e d by that a r r a n g e m e n t from living alone with him; but he knew the people we were c o m i n g a m o n g s t , a n d he did not fear their intermeddling. I sat and thought a doleful time; the clock struck eight, a n d nine, and still my c o m p a n i o n p a c e d to and fro, his h e a d bent on his breast, and perfectly silent, unless a groan or a bitter ejaculation forced itself out at intervals. I listened to detect a woman's voice in the h o u s e , a n d filled the interim with wild regrets and dismal anticipations, which, at last, spoke audibly in irrepressible sighing a n d weeping. I was not aware how openly I grieved, till E a r n s h a w halted opposite, in his m e a s u r e d walk, a n d gave m e a stare of newly awakened surprise. T a k i n g advantage of his recovered attention, I exclaimed— "I'm tired with my journey, and I want to go to bed! W h e r e is the maid-servant? Direct m e to her, as she won't c o m e to me!" "We have none," he answered; "you m u s t wait on yourself!" "Where m u s t I sleep, then?" I s o b b e d — I was beyond regarding self-respect, weighed down by fatigue a n d w r e t c h e d n e s s . "Joseph will show you Heathcliff's chamber," said he; "open that door—he's in there." I was going to obey, but he suddenly arrested m e , a n d a d d e d in the strangest t o n e — "Be so good as to turn your lock, and draw your b o l t — d o n ' t omit it!" "Well!" I said. "But why, Mr. E a r n s h a w ? " I did not relish the notion of deliberately fastening myself in with Heathcliff. "Look here!" he replied, pulling from his waistcoat a curiously constructed pistol, having a double-edged spring knife a t t a c h e d to the barrel. "That's a great tempter to a d e s p e r a t e m a n , is it not? I cannot resist going up with this, every night, a n d trying his door. If once I find it open, he's done for! I do it invariably, even though the minute before I have b e e n recalling a h u n d r e d r e a s o n s that should make m e refrain: it is s o m e devil that urges m e to thwart my own s c h e m e s by killing him. You fight against that devil, for love, as long as you may; when the time c o m e s , not all the angels in heaven shall save him!" I surveyed the weapon inquisitively; a hideous notion struck m e . How powerful I should b e p o s s e s s i n g s u c h an instrument! I took it from his hand, and touched the blade. H e looked a s t o n i s h e d at the

110

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expression my f a c e a s s u m e d during a brief second. It was not hor­ ror, it was covetousness. H e s n a t c h e d the pistol back, jealously; shut the knife, a n d returned it to its concealment. "I don't care if you tell him," said he. "Put him on his guard, and watch for him. You know the terms we are on, I see; his danger does not shock you." "What has Heathcliff done to you?" I asked. "In what has he wronged you to warrant this appalling hatred? Wouldn't it be wiser to bid him quit the h o u s e ? " "No," thundered E a r n s h a w ; "should he offer to leave me, he's a d e a d man: p e r s u a d e him to attempt it, and you are a murderess! A m I to lose all, without a c h a n c e of retrieval? Is Hareton to be a beggar? O h , damnation! I will have it back; and I'll have his gold too; a n d then his blood; a n d hell shall have his soul! It will be ten times blacker with that guest than ever it was before!" You've a c q u a i n t e d m e , Ellen, with your old master's habits. H e is clearly on the verge of m a d n e s s — h e was so last night, at least. I s h u d d e r e d to b e near him, and thought on the servant's ill-bred m o r o s e n e s s as comparatively agreeable. H e now r e c o m m e n c e d his moody walk, and I raised the latch, a n d e s c a p e d into the kitchen. J o s e p h was b e n d i n g over the fire, peering into a large p a n that swung above it; a n d a wooden bowl of oatmeal stood on the settle close by. T h e contents of the p a n b e g a n to boil, and he turned to p l u n g e his h a n d into the bowl; I conjectured that this preparation was probably for our supper, and, being hungry, I resolved it should be eatable; so, crying out sharply, "I'll m a k e the porridge!" I re­ moved the vessel out of his reach, and proceeded to take off my hat a n d riding habit. "Mr. E a r n s h a w , " I continued, "directs me to wait on myself: I will. I'm not going to act the lady a m o n g you, for fear I should starve." "Gooid Lord!" he muttered, sitting down, and stroking his ribbed stockings from the knee to the ankle. "If they's tuh be fresh o r t h e r i n g s — j u s t when Aw getten u s e d tuh two maisters, if Aw mun hev a mistress set o'er my heead, it's loike time tuh be flitting. Aw niver did think tuh say t' day ut Aw m u d lave th' owld p l a c e — b u t Aw daht it's nigh at hend!" T h i s lamentation drew no notice from me; I went briskly to work, sighing to r e m e m b e r a period when it would have been all merry fun, but compelled speedily to drive off the r e m e m b r a n c e . It racked 5

5.

" G o o d L o r d ! . . . If t h e r e ' s to b e n e w o r d e r s — j u s t w h e n I'm g e t t i n g u s e d to two m a s t e r s , i f I m u s t h a v e a m i s t r e s s s e t o v e r m y h e a d , it's a g o o d t i m e t o b e f l e e i n g .

I never

did

t h i n k t o s a y t h e d a y t h a t I m u s t l e a v e t h e o l d p l a c e — b u t I d o u b t [ n o t ] it's n e a r a t h a n d . "

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C H A P T E R XIII

me to recall p a s t h a p p i n e s s , and the greater peril there was of con­ juring up its apparition, the quicker the thible ran round, a n d the faster the handfuls of meal fell into the water. J o s e p h beheld my style of cookery with growing indignation. "Thear!" he ejaculated. "Hareton, thah willut s u p thy porridge tuh neeght; they'll be nowt b u d l u m p s as big as m a w nave. T h e a r , agean! Aw'd fling in bowl un all, if Aw wer yah! T h e a r , pale t' guilp off, un' then yah'll hae done wi't. B a n g , bang. It's a marcy t' b o t h o m isn't deaved aht!" It was rather a rough m e s s , I own, when p o u r e d into the basins; four had been provided, a n d a gallon pitcher of new milk was brought from the dairy, which Hareton seized a n d c o m m e n c e d drinking and spilling from the expansive lip. I expostulated, and desired that he should have his in a m u g ; affirming that I could not taste the liquid treated so dirtily. T h e old cynic chose to be vastly offended at this nicety; a s s u r i n g m e , re­ peatedly, that "the barn was every bit as gooid" as I, "and every bit as wollsome," and wondering how I could fashion to be so con­ ceited; meanwhile, the infant ruffian continued sucking; and glow­ ered up at m e defyingly, as he slavered into the j u g . "I shall have my s u p p e r in another room," I said. "Have you no place you call a parlour?" "Parlour!" he echoed, sneeringly, "parlour! Nay, we've n o a par­ lours. If yah dunnut loike wer company, they's maister's; un' if yah dunnut loike maister, they's u s . " "Then I shall go upstairs," I answered; "shew m e a chamber!" I put my basin on a tray, a n d went myself to fetch s o m e m o r e milk. With great grumblings, the fellow rose and p r e c e d e d m e in my ascent: we m o u n t e d to the garrets, he opening a door, now and then, to look into the a p a r t m e n t s we p a s s e d . "Here's a rahm," he said, at last, flinging b a c k a cranky b o a r d on hinges. "It's weel e n e u g h tuh ate a few porridge in. They's a p a c k uh corn i't' corner, thear, meeterly clane; if yah're feared uh muckying yer grand silk cloes, s p r e a d yer hankerchir ut t' top on't." 6

7

8

9

1

6. A s m o o t h s t i c k f o r s t i r r i n g b r o t h o r p o r r i d g e . 7.

" H a r e t o n , y o u will n o t e a t y o u r p o r r i d g e t o n i g h t ; t h e r e will b e n o t h i n g b u t b a d l u m p s a s b i g a s m y fist. T h e r e , a g a i n ! I'd t h r o w i n b o w l a n d a l l , i f I w e r e y o u ! T h e r e , c o o l t h e i r o n p o t off, a n d t h e n y o u w i l l b e d o n e w i t h it. B a n g , b a n g . I t ' s a m e r c y t h e b o t t o m

isn't

broken!" 8. 9.

Healthy. " N o , we've n o p a r l o r . If y o u d o n ' t like o u r c o m p a n y , t h e r e ' s m a s t e r ' s ; a n d if y o u

don't

like m a s t e r ' s , there's o u r s . " 1.

" H e r e ' s a r o o m . . . It's g o o d e n o u g h t o e a t s o m e p o r r i d g e i n . T h e r e ' s a s a c k o f g r a i n i n t h e c o r n e r , t h e r e , fairly c l e a n ; a n d if y o u a r e a f r a i d o f d i r t y i n g y o u r s p r e a d y o u r h a n d k e r c h i e f o n t h e t o p o f it."

fine

silk

clothes,

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HEIGHTS

T h e "rahm" was a kind of lumber-hole smelling strong of malt a n d grain; various sacks of which articles were piled around, leaving a wide, bare s p a c e in the middle. "Why, man!" I exclaimed, facing him angrily, "this is not a place to sleep in. I wish to see my bed-room." "Bed-rume!" he repeated, in a tone of mockery. "Yah's see all t' bed-rumes thear is—yon's mine." H e pointed into the s e c o n d garret, only differing from the first in being m o r e naked a b o u t the walls, and having a large, low, curtainless bed, with an indigo-coloured quilt, at one end. "What do I want with yours?" I retorted. " I s u p p o s e Mr. Heath­ cliff does not lodge at the top of the h o u s e , does he?" "Oh! it's M a i s t e r Hathecliff's yah're wenting?" cried he, as if mak­ ing a new discovery. "Couldn't ye uh said soa, at onst? un then, Aw m u d uh telled ye, 'baht all this wark, ut that's j u s t one yah cannut s e a — h e alias keeps it locked, un' nob'dy iver mells on't but hisseln." "You've a nice h o u s e , J o s e p h , " I could not refrain from observing, "and p l e a s a n t inmates; and I think the concentrated e s s e n c e of all the m a d n e s s in the world took up its a b o d e in my brain the day I linked my fate with theirs! However, that is not to the present p u r p o s e — t h e r e are other r o o m s . For heaven's sake, be quick, and let m e settle somewhere!" H e m a d e no reply to this adjuration; only plodding doggedly down the w o o d e n steps, and halting before an apartment which, from that halt and the superior quality of its furniture, I conjectured to be the best one. T h e r e was a carpet, a good one; but the pattern was obliterated by dust; a fire-place h u n g with cut paper, dropping to pieces; a h a n d s o m e o a k - b e d s t e a d with a m p l e crimson curtains of rather ex­ pensive material a n d m o d e r n m a k e . B u t they had evidently experi­ e n c e d rough u s a g e ; the valances h u n g in festoons, wrenched from their rings, a n d the iron rod supporting them was bent in an arc on o n e side, c a u s i n g the drapery to trail u p o n the floor. T h e chairs were also d a m a g e d , m a n y of them severely; and deep indentations deformed the panels of the walls. I was endeavouring to gather resolution for entering, and taking p o s s e s s i o n , when my fool of a guide a n n o u n c e d — "This here is t' maister's." My s u p p e r by this time was cold, my appetite gone, and my pa­ tience exhausted. I insisted on being provided instantly with a place of refuge, a n d m e a n s of repose. 2

2.

" C o u l d n ' t y o u h a v e s a i d s o , a t o n c e ? A n d t h e n , I m i g h t h a v e t o l d y o u w i t h o u t all t h i s w o r k , a n d t h a t ' s j u s t o n e [ r o o m ] y o u c a n n o t s e e — h e a l w a y s k e e p s it l o c k e d , a n d n o b o d y e v e r m e d d l e s i n it b u t h i m s e l f . "

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C H A P T E R XIII

"Whear the divil—" b e g a n the religious elder. "The Lord bless us! The Lord forgie us! W h e a r the hell wold ye g a n g ? ye marred, wearisome nowt! Yah seen all b u d Hareton's bit uf a cham'er. They's nut another hoile tuh lig d a h n in i' th' hahse!" I was so vexed, I flung my tray and its contents on the ground; and then seated myself at the stairs-head, hid my face in my h a n d s , and cried. "Ech! ech!" exclaimed J o s e p h . "Weel done, M i s s Cathy! weel done, M i s s Cathy! Hahsiver, t' maister sail j u s t tum'le o'er them brocken pots, un' then we's hear s u m m u t ; we's hear h a h it's tuh be. Gooid-fur-nowt madling! yah desarve pining froo this tuh C h u r s t m a s , flinging t' precious gifts uh G o d under fooit i' yer flaysome rages! B u d Aw'm mista'em if yah shew yer sperrit lang. Will Hathecliff bide sich bonny ways, think ye? Aw nobbut wish he m u h cotch ye i' that plisky. Aw nobbut wish he may." And so he went scolding to his den b e n e a t h , taking the c a n d l e with him, and I remained in the dark. The period of reflection s u c c e e d i n g this silly action compelled me to admit the necessity of smothering my pride, and choking my wrath, and bestirring myself to remove its effects. An unexpected aid presently a p p e a r e d in the s h a p e of Throttler, whom I now recognised as a son of our old Skulker; it had spent its whelphood at the G r a n g e , and was given by my father to Mr. Hindley. I fancy it knew me: it p u s h e d its n o s e against mine by way of salute, and then h a s t e n e d to devour the porridge, while I groped from step to step, collecting the shattered earthenware, a n d drying the spatters of milk from the banister with my pocket-handkerchief. Our labours were scarcely over when I heard Earnshaw's tread in the p a s s a g e ; my assistant tucked in his tail, and p r e s s e d to the wall; I stole into the nearest doorway. T h e dog's endeavour to avoid him was u n s u c c e s s f u l , as I g u e s s e d by a scutter downstairs, a n d a prolonged, piteous yelping. I h a d better luck. H e p a s s e d on, entered his chamber, and shut the door. Directly after, J o s e p h c a m e u p with Hareton, to put him to bed. I had found shelter in Hareton's room, a n d the old m a n , on seeing me, s a i d — "They's rahm fur boath yah un yer pride, nah, Aw s u d think i' th' 3

4

3.

"The L o r d forgive u s . W h e r e the hell w o u l d you go, you spoiled, w e a r i s o m e nothing! Y o u

4.

"Well d o n e , M i s s C a t h y . . . H o w s o e v e r ,

h a v e s e e n all e x c e p t H a r e t o n ' s bit o f a c h a m b e r . T h e r e ' s n o o t h e r h o l e t o lie d o w n in in the

house." the m a s t e r shall j u s t t u m b l e over those broken

p o t s , a n d w e ' l l h e a r s o m e t h i n g ; w e ' l l h e a r h o w it's t o b e . G o o d - f o r - n o t h i n g [ A n d r e w W r i g h t ' s English

Dialect

Dictionary

c i t e s this p a s s a g e in d e n n i n g

blockhead. "madling"].

Y o u d e s e r v e [to b e ] p i n i n g a b o u t t h i s u n t i l C h r i s t m a s , f l i n g i n g t h e p r e c i o u s gifts o f G o d u n d e r f o o t in y o u r t e r r i b l e r a g e . B u t I'm m i s t a k e n if y o u s h o w y o u r s p i r i t l o n g . D o t h i n k H e a t h c l i f f will p u t u p w i t h s u c h b e h a v i o r ? I o n l y h o p e t h a t h e m a y c a t c h y o u that rage. I only wish he

may."

you in

114

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

h a h s e . It's empty; yah m u h hev it all tuh yerseln, un H i m as alias m a k s a third, i' sich ill company!" Gladly did I take advantage of this intimation; and the minute I flung myself into a chair, by the fire, I nodded, and slept. My s l u m b e r was deep and sweet, though over far too soon. Mr. Heathcliff awoke me; he had j u s t c o m e in, and d e m a n d e d , in his loving manner, what I was doing there? I told him the c a u s e of my staying u p so l a t e — t h a t he had the key of our room in his pocket. T h e adjective our gave mortal offence. H e swore it was not, nor ever should b e mine; and h e ' d — b u t I'll not repeat his language, nor describe his habitual conduct; he is ingenious and unresting in seeking to gain my abhorrence! I sometimes wonder at him with an intensity that d e a d e n s my fear: yet, I a s s u r e you, a tiger or a ven­ o m o u s serpent could not r o u s e terror in m e equal to that which he wakens. H e told m e of Catherine's illness, and a c c u s e d my brother of c a u s i n g it; p r o m i s i n g that I should b e Edgar's proxy in suffering, till he could get a hold of him. 5

I do hate h i m — I a m w r e t c h e d — I have been a fool! Beware of uttering one breath of this to any one at the G r a n g e . I shall expect you every d a y — d o n ' t disappoint me! ISABELLA. Chapter

XIV

As soon as I h a d p e r u s e d this epistle, I went to the master, and informed him that his sister h a d arrived at the Heights, and sent m e a letter expressing her sorrow for M r s . Linton's situation, and her ardent desire to see him; with a wish that he would transmit to her, as early as possible, s o m e token of forgiveness by me. "Forgiveness!" said Linton. "I have nothing to forgive her, Ellen. You may call at Wuthering Heights this afternoon, if you like, and say that I a m not angry, but I'm sorry to have lost her: especially as I c a n never think she'll be happy. It is out of the question my going to see her, however; we are eternally divided; and should she really wish to oblige m e , let her p e r s u a d e the villain she has married to leave the country." "And you won't write her a little note, sir?" I asked, imploringly. "No," he answered. "It is needless. M y c o m m u n i c a t i o n with Heathcliff's family shall be as sparing as his with mine. It shall not exist!" 5.

" T h e r e ' s r o o m f o r b o t h y o u a n d y o u r p r i d e , n o w , I s h o u l d t h i n k i n t h e h o u s e . It's e m p t y ; y o u m a y h a v e it a l l t o y o u r s e l f , company."

and Him

[God] who

a l w a y s m a k e s a third in s u c h

ill

CHAPTER

XIV

115

Mr. Edgar's coldness d e p r e s s e d m e exceedingly; a n d all the way from the G r a n g e I puzzled my brains how to p u t m o r e heart into what he said, when I repeated it; a n d how to soften his refusal of even a few lines to console Isabella. I dare say she had been on the watch for m e since morning: I saw her looking through the lattice, as I c a m e u p the garden c a u s e way, and I nodded to her; but she drew back, as if afraid of being observed. I entered without knocking. T h e r e never was s u c h a dreary, dismal scene as the formerly cheerful h o u s e presented! I m u s t confess that, if I had been in the young lady's p l a c e , I would, at least, have swept the hearth and wiped the tables with a duster. B u t she already partook of the pervading spirit of neglect which e n c o m p a s s e d her. Her pretty face was wan and listless; her hair uncurled, s o m e locks hanging lankly down, and s o m e carelessly twisted round her head. Probably she had not touched her dress since yester evening. Hindley was not there. Mr. Heathcliff sat at a table, turning over some papers in his pocket-book; but he rose when I a p p e a r e d , a s k e d me how I did, quite friendly, a n d offered m e a chair. H e was the only thing there that s e e m e d decent, a n d I thought he never looked better. S o m u c h had c i r c u m s t a n c e s altered their positions, that he would certainly have struck a stranger as a born and bred gentleman, and his wife as a thorough little slattern! S h e c a m e forward eagerly to greet m e ; a n d held out one h a n d to take the expected letter. I shook my head. S h e wouldn't u n d e r s t a n d the hint, b u t followed me to a sideboard, where I went to lay my bonnet, a n d i m p o r t u n e d me in a whisper to give her directly what I had brought. Heathcliff g u e s s e d the m e a n i n g of her m a n œ u v r e s , and s a i d — "If you have got anything for Isabella, as no d o u b t you have, Nelly, give it to her. You needn't m a k e a secret of it; we have no secrets between us." "Oh, I have nothing," I replied, thinking it best to s p e a k the truth at once. "My master bid m e tell his sister that she m u s t not expect either a letter or a visit from him at present. H e s e n d s his love, ma'am, and his wishes for your h a p p i n e s s , a n d his p a r d o n for the grief you have occasioned; but he thinks that after this time, his household, and the household here, should drop i n t e r c o m m u n i c a tion, as nothing good could c o m e of keeping it up." Mrs. Heathcliff's lip quivered slightly, a n d she returned to her seat in the window. H e r h u s b a n d took his stand on the hearthstone, near me, and began to put questions concerning C a t h e r i n e . I told him as m u c h as I thought proper of her illness, a n d he extorted from m e , by cross-examination, m o s t of the facts connected with its origin.

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I b l a m e d her, a s s h e deserved, for bringing it all on herself; and ended by hoping that he would follow Mr. Linton's example, and avoid future interference with his family, for good or evil. "Mrs. Linton is now j u s t recovering," I said; "she'll never be like she w a s , b u t her life is spared, a n d if you really have a regard for her, you'll s h u n crossing her way again. Nay, you'll move out of this country entirely; a n d that you m a y not regret it, I'll inform you C a t h e r i n e Linton is a s different now from your old friend Catherine E a r n s h a w , a s that young lady is different from me! Her a p p e a r a n c e is c h a n g e d greatly, her character m u c h more so; a n d the person who is compelled, of necessity, to b e her c o m p a n i o n , will only sus­ tain his affection hereafter by the r e m e m b r a n c e of what s h e once was, by c o m m o n humanity, a n d a s e n s e of duty!" "That is quite possible," remarked Heathcliff, forcing himself to s e e m calm, "quite possible that your master should have nothing b u t c o m m o n humanity, a n d a s e n s e of duty to fall b a c k upon. B u t do you imagine that I shall leave Catherine to his duty and human­ ity? a n d c a n you c o m p a r e my feelings respecting Catherine, to his? Before you leave this h o u s e , I m u s t exact a promise from you, that you'll get m e a n interview with her: consent, or refuse, I will see her! W h a t do you say?" "I say, Mr. Heathcliff," I replied, "you m u s t not—you never shall, through my m e a n s . Another encounter between you and the master would kill her altogether!" "With your a i d that may b e avoided," he continued, "and should there b e danger of s u c h a n e v e n t — s h o u l d he b e the c a u s e of adding a single trouble m o r e to her existence—why, I think, I shall be justified in going to extremes! I wish you h a d sincerity enough to tell m e whether C a t h e r i n e would suffer greatly from his loss. T h e fear that s h e would restrains m e : a n d there you s e e the distinction between our feelings. H a d h e b e e n in my place, and I in his, though I hated h i m with a hatred that turned my life to gall, I never would have raised a h a n d against him. You m a y look incredulous, if you please! I never would have b a n i s h e d him from her society, a s long as s h e desired his. T h e m o m e n t her regard c e a s e d , I would have torn his heart out, a n d drank his blood! But, till t h e n — i f you don't believe m e , you don't know me—till then, I would have died by inches before I touched a single hair of his head!" "And yet," I interrupted, "you have no scruples in completely ruining all h o p e s of her perfect restoration, by thrusting yourself into her r e m e m b r a n c e , now, when s h e h a s nearly forgotten you, a n d involving h e r in a new tumult of discord a n d distress." "You s u p p o s e s h e h a s nearly forgotten m e ? " he said. "Oh, Nelly! you know s h e h a s not! You know a s well as I do, that for every

CHAPTER X I V

117

thought she spends on Linton, she s p e n d s a t h o u s a n d on me! At a most miserable period of my life, I had a notion of the kind; it haunted m e on my return to the neighbourhood last s u m m e r , b u t only her own a s s u r a n c e could m a k e m e admit the horrible idea again. And then, Linton would be nothing, nor Hindley, nor all the dreams that ever I dreamt. Two words would c o m p r e h e n d my future—death and hell; existence, after losing her, would b e hell. "Yet I was a fool to fancy for a m o m e n t that she valued E d g a r Linton's attachment more than mine. If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn't love as m u c h in eighty years a s I could in a day. And C a t h e r i n e has a heart as d e e p as I have; the sea could be as readily contained in that horse-trough, a s her whole affection be monopolized by him. T u s h ! H e is scarcely a degree dearer to her than her dog, or her horse. It is not in him to b e loved like me: how can she love in him what he h a s not?" "Catherine and E d g a r are as fond of e a c h other as any two p e o p l e can be!" cried Isabella, with s u d d e n vivacity. "No one has a right to talk in that manner, and I won't hear my brother depreciated in silence!" "Your brother is wondrous fond of you too, isn't he?" observed Heathcliff scornfully. "He turns you adrift on the world with sur­ prising alacrity." "He is not aware of what I suffer," she replied. "I didn't tell him that." "You have been telling him something, t h e n — y o u have written, have you?" "To say that I was married, I did write—you saw the note." "And nothing since?" "No." "My young lady is looking sadly the worse for her c h a n g e of con­ dition," I remarked. "Somebody's love c o m e s short in her c a s e , obviously—whose I may g u e s s ; but, p e r h a p s , I shouldn't say." "I should g u e s s it was her own," said Heathcliff. "She d e g e n e r a t e s into a mere slut! S h e is tired of trying to p l e a s e m e , u n c o m m o n l y early. You'd hardly credit it, but the very morrow of our wedding, she was weeping to go h o m e . However, she'll suit this h o u s e so m u c h the better for not being over nice, a n d I'll take care she does not disgrace m e by rambling abroad." "Well, sir," returned I, "I hope you'll consider that M r s . H e a t h ­ cliff is a c c u s t o m e d to b e looked after and waited on; and that she has been brought up like an only daughter, w h o m every o n e was ready to serve. You m u s t let her have a maid to keep things tidy about her, and you m u s t treat her kindly. Whatever be your notion of Mr. Edgar, you cannot doubt that she has a capacity for strong

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a t t a c h m e n t s , or s h e wouldn't have a b a n d o n e d the elegancies, and comforts, a n d friends of her former home, to fix contentedly, in s u c h a wilderness as this, with you." "She a b a n d o n e d them under a delusion," he answered, "picturing in m e a hero of r o m a n c e , a n d expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion. I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational c r e a t u r e , so obstinately h a s she persisted in forming a fab­ ulous notion of my character, a n d acting on the false impressions she cherished. B u t , at last, I think she begins to know me. I don't perceive the silly smiles a n d g r i m a c e s that provoked m e at first; and the s e n s e l e s s incapability of discerning that I was in earnest when I gave her my opinion of her infatuation, a n d herself. It was a mar­ vellous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her. I believed, at one time, no lessons could teach her that! And yet it is poorly learnt; for this m o r n i n g s h e a n n o u n c e d , as a piece of ap­ palling intelligence, that I had actually s u c c e e d e d in making her hate me! A positive labour of H e r c u l e s , I a s s u r e you! If it be achieved, I have c a u s e to return thanks. C a n I trust your assertion, Isabella? Are you sure you hate m e ? If I let you alone for half-aday, won't you c o m e sighing a n d wheedling to m e again? I dare say s h e would rather I had s e e m e d all tenderness before you; it wounds her vanity, to have the truth exposed. B u t I don't care who knows that the p a s s i o n was wholly on one side, a n d I never told her a lie a b o u t it. S h e c a n n o t a c c u s e m e of showing one bit of deceitful softness. T h e first thing she saw m e do, on coming out of the G r a n g e , was to h a n g up her little dog; a n d when she pleaded for it the first words I uttered were a wish that I had the hanging of every being belonging to her, except one: possibly she took that exception for herself. B u t no brutality disgusted her. I s u p p o s e she has an innate admiration of it, if only her precious person were secure from injury! Now, was it not the depth of a b s u r d i t y — o f genuine idiocy — f o r that pitiful, slavish, m e a n - m i n d e d b r a c h to d r e a m that I could love her? Tell your master, Nelly, that I never, in all my life, met with s u c h an abject thing as she is. S h e even disgraces the n a m e of Linton; a n d I've s o m e t i m e s relented, from pure lack of invention, in my experiments on what she could endure, and still creep shamefully cringing back! B u t tell him, also, to set his fra­ ternal a n d magisterial heart at e a s e , that I keep strictly within the limits of the law. I have avoided, up to this period, giving her the slightest right to claim a separation; and, what's more, she'd thank nobody for dividing us. If she desired to go she might: the nuisance of her p r e s e n c e outweighs the gratification to be derived from tor­ menting her!" 1

1.

Bitch-hound.

CHAPTER

XIV

119

"Mr. Heathcliff," said I, "this is the talk of a m a d m a n , a n d your wife, most likely, is convinced you are m a d ; and, for that r e a s o n , she has borne with you hitherto: but now that you say s h e may go, she'll doubtless avail herself of the permission. You are not so bewitched, ma'am, are you, as to remain with him of your own accord?" "Take care, Ellen!" answered Isabella, her eyes sparkling irefully; there was no misdoubting by their expression, the full s u c c e s s of her partner's endeavours to m a k e himself detested. "Don't put faith in a single word he s p e a k s . He's a lying fiend, a monster, a n d not a h u m a n being! I've been told I might leave him before; a n d I've m a d e the attempt, but I dare not repeat it! Only, Ellen, p r o m i s e you'll not mention a syllable of his i n f a m o u s conversation to my brother or C a t h e r i n e . Whatever he may pretend, he wishes to pro­ voke Edgar to desperation: he says he h a s married m e on p u r p o s e to obtain power over him; and he shan't obtain it—I'll die first! I just hope, I pray, that he may forget his diabolical p r u d e n c e , a n d kill me! T h e single p l e a s u r e I c a n imagine is to die, or to s e e him dead!" "There—that will do for the present!" said Heathcliff. "If you are called upon in a court of law, you'll r e m e m b e r her l a n g u a g e , Nelly! And take a good look at that c o u n t e n a n c e — s h e ' s n e a r the point which would suit me. N o , you're not fit to b e your own g u a r d i a n , Isabella, now; a n d I, being your legal protector, m u s t retain you in my custody, however distasteful the obligation m a y b e . G o upstairs; I have something to say to Ellen D e a n in private. That's not the way—upstairs, I tell you! Why, this is the road u p s t a i r s , child!" H e seized, and thrust her from the room; a n d returned mut­ tering— "I have no pity! I have no pity! T h e m o r e the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teething, a n d I grind with greater energy, in proportion to the i n c r e a s e of pain." "Do you understand what the word pity m e a n s ? " I said, h a s t e n i n g to r e s u m e my bonnet. "Did you ever feel a touch of it in your life?" "Put that down!" he interrupted, perceiving my intention to de­ part. "You are not going yet. C o m e here now, Nelly: I m u s t either persuade or compel you to aid m e in fulfilling my determination to see Catherine, a n d that without delay. I swear that I meditate no harm; I don't desire to c a u s e any d i s t u r b a n c e , or to e x a s p e r a t e or insult Mr. Linton; I only wish to hear from herself how s h e is, a n d why she has been ill; and to a s k if anything that I could do would be of use to her. L a s t night, I was in the G r a n g e garden six h o u r s , and I'll return there to-night; a n d every night I'll h a u n t the p l a c e , and every day, till I find an opportunity of entering. If E d g a r Linton meets me, I shall not hesitate to knock him down, a n d give him

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e n o u g h to e n s u r e his q u i e s c e n c e while I stay. If his servants oppose m e , I shall threaten them off with these pistols. B u t wouldn't it be better to prevent my c o m i n g in contact with them, or their master? And you could d o it so easily! I'd warn you when I c a m e , and then you might let m e in unobserved, a s soon a s s h e was alone, a n d watch till I departed, your c o n s c i e n c e quite calm: you would be hindering mischief." I protested against playing that treacherous part in my employer's h o u s e ; a n d b e s i d e s , I urged the cruelty a n d selfishness of his de­ stroying M r s . Linton's tranquillity, for his satisfaction. "The c o m m o n e s t o c c u r r e n c e startles her painfully," I said. "She's all nerves, a n d s h e couldn't bear the surprise, I'm positive. Don't persist, sir! or else, I shall b e obliged to inform my master of your designs, and he'll take m e a s u r e s to secure his h o u s e and its inmates from any s u c h unwarrantable intrusions!" "In that c a s e , I'll take m e a s u r e s to s e c u r e you, woman!" exclaimed Heathcliff; "you shall not leave Wuthering Heights till to-morrow morning. It is a foolish story to assert that C a t h e r i n e could not bear to s e e m e ; a n d a s to surprising her, I don't desire it: you m u s t p r e p a r e h e r — a s k her if I m a y c o m e . You say s h e never mentions my n a m e , a n d that I a m never mentioned to her. T o w h o m should she mention m e if I a m a forbidden topic in the h o u s e ? S h e thinks you a r e all spies for her h u s b a n d . O h , I've no doubt she's in hell a m o n g you! I g u e s s by her silence, a s m u c h a s any thing, what s h e feels. You s a y s h e is often restless, a n d anxious-looking—is that a proof of tranquillity? You talk of her mind being unsettled. H o w the devil could it b e otherwise, in her frightful isolation. A n d that insipid, paltry creature attending her from duty and humanity! From pity a n d charity! H e might a s well plant an oak in a flowerpot, a n d expect it to thrive, a s imagine he c a n restore her to vigour in the soil of his shallow cares! L e t u s settle it at once; will you stay here, a n d a m I to fight my way to C a t h e r i n e over Linton and his footmen? Or will you b e m y friend, a s you have been hitherto, a n d do what I r e q u e s t ? Decide! B e c a u s e there is no reason for my lingering an­ other minute, if you persist in your stubborn ill-nature!" Well, Mr. Lockwood, I a r g u e d and complained, and flatly refused him fifty times; b u t in the long run he forced m e to a n agreement. I e n g a g e d to carry a letter from him to my mistress; and should s h e consent, I p r o m i s e d to let him have intelligence of Linton's next a b s e n c e from h o m e , when h e might c o m e , a n d get in a s he was able. I wouldn't b e there, and my fellow servants should b e equally out of the way. W a s it right or wrong? I fear it w a s wrong, though expedient. I thought I prevented another explosion by my compliance; a n d I thought, too, it might create a favourable crisis in Catherine's men-

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tal illness: and then I r e m e m b e r e d Mr. Edgar's stern rebuke of my carrying tales; and I tried to smooth away all d i s q u i e t u d e on the subject, by affirming, with frequent iteration, that that betrayal of trust, if it merited so harsh an appellation, should be the last. Notwithstanding, my journey homeward was s a d d e r than my journey thither; and many misgivings I had, ere I could prevail on myself to put the missive into M r s . Linton's hand. But here is Kenneth; I'll go down, and tell him how m u c h better you are. My history is dree as we say, and will serve to wile away another morning. 2

Dree, and dreary! I reflected as the good w o m a n d e s c e n d e d to receive the doctor; and not exactly of the kind which I should have chosen to a m u s e me. B u t never mind! I'll extract w h o l e s o m e m e d ­ icines from M r s . Dean's bitter herbs; a n d firstly, let m e beware of the fascination that lurks in C a t h e r i n e Heathcliff's brilliant eyes. I should be in a curious taking if I surrendered my heart to that young person, and the daughter turned out a s e c o n d edition of the mother! Chapter

XV

1

Another week o v e r — a n d I a m so many days nearer health, a n d spring! I have now heard all my neighbour's history, at different sittings, as the housekeeper could spare time from m o r e important occupations. I'll continue it in her own words, only a little con­ densed. S h e is, on the whole, a very fair narrator a n d I don't think I could improve her style. In the evening, she said, the evening of my visit to the Heights, I knew, as well as if I saw him, that Mr. Heathcliff was about the place; and I s h u n n e d going out, b e c a u s e I still carried his letter in my pocket, and didn't want to be threatened, or t e a s e d any more. I had m a d e up my mind not to give it till my master went s o m e ­ where, as I could not g u e s s how its receipt would affect C a t h e r i n e . The c o n s e q u e n c e was, that it did not reach her before the l a p s e of three days. T h e fourth was Sunday, and I brought it into her room after the family were gone to church. There was a man-servant left to keep the h o u s e with m e , a n d we generally m a d e a practice of locking the doors during the hours of service; but on that occasion the weather was so warm and p l e a s a n t that I set them wide open, and, to fulfil my e n g a g e m e n t , as I knew 2.

Sad.

1. C h a p t e r s a r e n u m b e r e d c o n s e c u t i v e l y

in this N o r t o n C r i t i c a l E d i t i o n , b u t in t h e

e d i t i o n , t h i s w a s t h e first c h a p t e r o f t h e s e c o n d

volume.

1847

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who would be coming, I told my c o m p a n i o n that the mistress wished very m u c h for s o m e oranges, a n d he m u s t run over to the village a n d get a few, to be paid for on the morrow. H e departed, and I went upstairs. M r s . Linton sat in a loose, white dress, with a light shawl over her shoulders, in the r e c e s s of the open window, as usual. Her thick, long hair h a d been partly removed at the beginning of her illness, a n d now s h e wore it simply c o m b e d in its natural tresses over her temples a n d neck. H e r a p p e a r a n c e was altered, as I had told Heathcliff, but when she was calm, there s e e m e d unearthly beauty in the c h a n g e . T h e flash of her eyes h a d b e e n s u c c e e d e d by a dreamy and mel­ ancholy softness; they no longer gave the impression of looking at the objects a r o u n d her; they a p p e a r e d always to gaze beyond, and far b e y o n d — y o u would have said out of this world. T h e n , the pale­ ness of her f a c e — i t s haggard a s p e c t having vanished as she recov­ ered flesh—and the peculiar expression arising from her mental state, though painfully suggestive of their c a u s e s , added to the touching interest which s h e wakened, and—invariably to me, I know, a n d to any p e r s o n who saw her, I should think—refuted m o r e tangible proofs of c o n v a l e s c e n c e and s t a m p e d her as one d o o m e d to decay. A book lay s p r e a d on the sill before her, a n d the scarcely percep­ tible wind fluttered its leaves at intervals. I believe Linton had laid it there, for s h e never endeavoured to divert herself with reading, or o c c u p a t i o n of any kind, a n d he would s p e n d many an hour in trying to entice her attention to s o m e subject which had formerly been her a m u s e m e n t . S h e was c o n s c i o u s of his aim, a n d in her better m o o d s endured his efforts placidly, only showing their u s e l e s s n e s s by now and then s u p p r e s s i n g a wearied sigh, a n d checking him at last with the sad­ dest of smiles a n d kisses. At other times, she would turn petulantly away, a n d hide her f a c e in her h a n d s , or even p u s h him off angrily; a n d then he took care to let her alone, for he was certain of doing no good. G i m m e r t o n chapel bells were still ringing; a n d the full, mellow flow of the b e c k in the valley c a m e soothingly on the ear. It was a sweet substitute for the yet a b s e n t m u r m u r of the s u m m e r foliage, which drowned that m u s i c a b o u t the G r a n g e when the trees were in leaf. At Wuthering Heights it always s o u n d e d on quiet days, following a great thaw or a s e a s o n of steady rain; a n d of Wuthering Heights, C a t h e r i n e was thinking as she l i s t e n e d — t h a t is, if she thought, or listened, at a l l — b u t she h a d the vague, distant look I mentioned before, which expressed no recognition of material things either by ear or eye.

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"There's a letter for you, M r s . Linton," I said, gently inserting it in one hand that rested on her knee. "You m u s t read it immediately, b e c a u s e it wants an answer. Shall I b r e a k the seal?" "Yes," she answered, without altering the direction of her eyes. I opened it—it was very short. "Now," I continued, "read it." S h e drew away her h a n d , a n d let it fall. I replaced it in her lap, and stood waiting till it should p l e a s e her to g l a n c e down; but that movement was so long delayed that at last I r e s u m e d — "Must I read it, m a ' a m ? It is from Mr. Heathcliff." There was a start, a n d a troubled g l e a m of recollection, a n d a struggle to arrange her ideas. S h e lifted the letter, a n d s e e m e d to peruse it; a n d when she c a m e to the signature s h e sighed; yet still I found she had not gathered its import, for, u p o n my desiring to hear her reply, she merely pointed to the n a m e , a n d gazed at m e with mournful a n d questioning e a g e r n e s s . "Well, he wishes to see you," said I, g u e s s i n g her need of an interpreter. "He's in the garden by this time, a n d impatient to know what answer I shall bring." As I spoke, I observed a large dog, lying on the sunny grass b e ­ neath, raise its ears, as if a b o u t to bark, a n d then s m o o t h i n g t h e m back, a n n o u n c e by a wag of the tail that s o m e one a p p r o a c h e d whom it did not consider a stranger. Mrs. Linton bent forward, a n d listened breathlessly. T h e m i n u t e after, a step traversed the hall; the open h o u s e was too tempting for Heathcliff to resist walking in: m o s t likely he s u p p o s e d that I was inclined to shirk my p r o m i s e , a n d so resolved to trust to his own audacity. With straining e a g e r n e s s C a t h e r i n e gazed towards the e n t r a n c e of her chamber. H e did not hit the right r o o m directly; she m o ­ tioned me to admit him; but he found it out, ere I could r e a c h the door, and in a stride or two was at her side, a n d h a d her g r a s p e d in his arms. H e neither spoke, nor loosed his hold, for s o m e five m i n u t e s , during which period he bestowed m o r e kisses than ever he gave in his life before, I dare say; but then my mistress had kissed him first, and I plainly saw that he could hardly bear, for downright agony, to look into her face! T h e s a m e conviction h a d stricken him a s m e , from the instant he beheld her, that there was no p r o s p e c t of ul­ timate recovery t h e r e — s h e was fated, s u r e to die. "Oh, Cathy! O h , my life! how can I b e a r it?" was the first sen­ tence he uttered, in a tone that did not seek to disguise his despair. And now he stared at her so earnestly that I thought the very intensity of his gaze would bring tears into his eyes; but they b u r n e d with anguish, they did not melt.

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"What now?" said C a t h e r i n e , leaning back, a n d returning his look with a suddenly c l o u d e d brow: her h u m o u r was a mere vane for constantly varying c a p r i c e s . "You and Edgar have broken my heart, Heathcliff! And you both c o m e to bewail the deed to me, as if you were the people to be pitied! I shall not pity you, not I. You have killed m e — a n d thriven on it, I think. How strong you are! How many years do you m e a n to live after I a m gone?" Heathcliff had knelt on one knee to e m b r a c e her; he attempted to rise, but she seized his hair, a n d kept him down. "I wish I could hold you," she continued, bitterly, "till we were both dead! I shouldn't c a r e what you suffered. I care nothing for your sufferings. Why shouldn't you suffer? I do! Will you forget m e — w i l l you b e happy when I a m in the earth? Will you say twenty years h e n c e , 'That's the grave of C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w . I loved her long ago, a n d was wretched to lose her; but it is past. I've loved many others s i n c e — m y children are dearer to m e than she was, and, at death, I shall not rejoice that I a m going to her, I shall be sorry that I m u s t leave them!' Will you say so, Heathcliff?" "Don't torture m e till I'm as m a d as yourself," cried he, wrenching his h e a d free, a n d grinding his teeth. T h e two, to a cool spectator, m a d e a strange and fearful picture. Well might C a t h e r i n e d e e m that Heaven would be a land of exile to her, unless, with her mortal body, she cast away her mortal char­ acter also. H e r present c o u n t e n a n c e had a wild vindictiveness in its white cheek, a n d a bloodless lip a n d scintillating eye; and she re­ tained in her closed fingers a portion of the locks she had been grasping. As to her c o m p a n i o n , while raising himself with one hand, he h a d taken her a r m with the other; a n d so inadequate was his stock of gentleness to the requirements of her condition, that on his letting go, I saw four distinct impressions left blue in the col­ ourless skin. "Are you p o s s e s s e d with a devil," he p u r s u e d , savagely, "to talk in that m a n n e r to m e , when you are dying? D o you reflect that all those words will be b r a n d e d in my memory, a n d eating deeper eternally, after you have left m e ? You know you lie to say I have killed you; a n d , C a t h e r i n e , you know that I could as soon forget you as my existence! Is it not sufficient for your infernal selfish­ n e s s , that while you are at p e a c e I shall writhe in the torments of hell?" "I shall not be at p e a c e , " m o a n e d C a t h e r i n e , recalled to a sense of physical w e a k n e s s by the violent, u n e q u a l throbbing of her heart, which beat visibly a n d audibly under this excess of agita­ tion. S h e said nothing further till the paroxysm was over; then she

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125

continued, more kindly— "I'm not wishing you greater torment than I have, Heathcliff! I only wish us never to be p a r t e d — a n d should a word of mine distress you hereafter, think I feel the s a m e distress u n d e r g r o u n d , and for my own sake, forgive me! C o m e here a n d kneel down again! You never harmed m e in your life. Nay, if you n u r s e anger, that will be worse to remember than my harsh words! Won't you c o m e here again? Do!" Heathcliff went to the b a c k of her chair, and leant over, b u t not so far as to let her see his face, which was livid with emotion. S h e bent round to look at him; he would not permit it; turning abruptly, he walked to the fire-place, where he stood, silent, with his b a c k towards us. Mrs. Linton's glance followed him suspiciously: every m o v e m e n t woke a new sentiment in her. After a p a u s e , a n d a prolonged gaze, she resumed, addressing m e in accents of indignant d i s a p p o i n t m e n t — "Oh, you see, Nelly! he would not relent a m o m e n t , to keep m e out of the grave! That is how I'm loved! Well, never mind! T h a t is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with m e — he's in my soul. And," a d d e d she, musingly, "the thing that irks m e most is this shattered prison, after all. I'm tired, tired of being en­ closed here. I'm wearying to e s c a p e into that glorious world, a n d to be always there; not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart; but really with it, a n d in it. Nelly, you think you are better a n d m o r e fortunate than I; in full health and strength. You are sorry for m e — v e r y soon that will b e altered. I shall be sorry for you. I shall be incomparably beyond a n d above you all. I wonder he won't b e near me!" S h e went on to herself. "I thought he wished it. Heathcliff, dear! you should not be sullen now. D o c o m e to m e , Heathcliff." In her eagerness she rose and s u p p o r t e d herself on the a r m of the chair. At that earnest appeal, he turned to her, looking a b s o ­ lutely desperate. His eyes wide, a n d wet at last, flashed fiercely on her; his breast heaved convulsively. An instant they held asunder; and then how they met I hardly saw, but C a t h e r i n e m a d e a spring, and he caught her, and they were locked in an e m b r a c e from which I thought my mistress would never be released alive. In fact, to my eyes, she s e e m e d directly insensible. H e flung himself into the near­ est seat, and on my a p p r o a c h i n g hurriedly to ascertain if she h a d fainted, he g n a s h e d at me, and f o a m e d like a m a d dog, a n d gathered her to him with greedy jealousy. I did not feel a s if I were in the company of a creature of my own species; it a p p e a r e d that he would not understand, though I spoke to him; so I stood off, and held my tongue, in great perplexity.

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A m o v e m e n t of Catherine's relieved m e a little presently: she put u p her h a n d to c l a s p his neck, a n d bring her cheek to his, as he held her; while he, in return, covering her with frantic caresses, said wildly— "You t e a c h m e now how cruel you've b e e n — c r u e l and false. Why did you d e s p i s e m e ? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss m e , a n d cry; and wring out my kisses a n d tears. They'll blight you—they'll d a m n you. You loved m e — then what right h a d you to leave m e ? W h a t r i g h t — a n s w e r m e — f o r the poor fancy you felt for Linton? B e c a u s e misery, and degrada­ tion, and death, and nothing that G o d or S a t a n could inflict would have parted u s , you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken i t — a n d in breaking it, you have broken mine. S o m u c h the worse for m e , that I a m strong. D o I want to live? W h a t kind of living will it be when y o u — o h , G o d ! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?" "Let m e alone. L e t m e alone," s o b b e d C a t h e r i n e . "If I've done wrong, I'm dying for it. It is enough! You left m e too; but I won't upbraid you! I forgive you. Forgive me!" "It is hard to forgive, a n d to look at those eyes, and feel those wasted hands," he answered. "Kiss m e again; and don't let me see your eyes! I forgive what you have done to me. I love my m u r d e r e r — but yours! H o w c a n I?" They were silent—their faces hid against e a c h other, and washed by e a c h other's tears. At least, I s u p p o s e the weeping was on both sides; a s it s e e m e d Heathcliff could weep on a great occasion like this. I grew very u n c o m f o r t a b l e , meanwhile; for the afternoon wore fast away, the m a n w h o m I had sent off returned from his er­ rand, a n d I could distinguish, by the shine of the westering sun u p the valley, a c o n c o u r s e thickening outside G i m m e r t o n chapel porch. "Service is over," I a n n o u n c e d . "My m a s t e r will be here in halfan-hour." Heathcliff g r o a n e d a c u r s e , and strained C a t h e r i n e c l o s e r — s h e never moved. E r e long I perceived a group of the servants p a s s i n g up the road towards the kitchen wing. Mr. Linton was not far behind; he opened the gate himself, and s a u n t e r e d slowly up, probably enjoying the lovely afternoon that b r e a t h e d as soft as s u m m e r . "Now he is here," I exclaimed. "For heaven's sake, hurry down! You'll not meet any one on the front stairs. D o be quick; and stay a m o n g the trees till he is fairly in."

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"I must go, Cathy," said Heathcliff, seeking to extricate himself from his companion's arms. "But, if I live, I'll see you again before you are asleep. I won't stray five yards from your window." "You must not go!" she answered, holding him a s firmly as her strength allowed. "You shall not, I tell you." "For one hour," he pleaded, earnestly. "Not for one minute," she replied. "I must—Linton will be u p immediately," persisted the a l a r m e d intruder. H e would have risen, and unfixed her fingers by the a c t — s h e clung fast, gasping; there was m a d resolution in her face. "No!" she shrieked. "Oh, don't, don't go. It is the last time! E d g a r will not hurt us. Heathcliff, I shall die! I shall die!" "Damn the fool. T h e r e he is," cried Heathcliff, sinking b a c k into his seat. "Hush, my darling! H u s h , h u s h , C a t h e r i n e ! I'll stay. If he shot m e so, I'd expire with a blessing on my lips." And there they were fast again. I heard my m a s t e r m o u n t i n g the s t a i r s — t h e cold sweat ran from my forehead; I was horrified. "Are you going to listen to her ravings?" I said, passionately. "She does not know what she says. Will you ruin her, b e c a u s e she h a s not wit to help herself? G e t up! You could be free instantly. T h a t is the most diabolical deed that ever you did. W e are all d o n e for — m a s t e r , mistress, and servant." I wrung my h a n d s , and cried out; and Mr. Linton h a s t e n e d his step at the noise. In the midst of my agitation, I was sincerely glad to observe that Catherine's a r m s h a d fallen relaxed, a n d her h e a d hung down. "She's fainted or dead," I thought, "so m u c h the better. F a r better that she should be dead, than lingering a burden a n d a miserymaker to all about her." Edgar sprang to his unbidden guest, b l a n c h e d with a s t o n i s h m e n t and rage. What he m e a n t to do, I c a n n o t tell; however, the other stopped all demonstrations, at once, by placing the lifeless-looking form in his arms. "Look there," he said. "Unless you be a fiend, help her first— then you shall s p e a k to me!" H e walked into the parlour, and sat down. Mr. Linton s u m m o n e d me, and with great difficulty, and after resorting to m a n y m e a n s , we m a n a g e d to restore her to sensation; b u t she was all bewildered; she sighed, and m o a n e d , and knew nobody. Edgar, in his anxiety for her, forgot her hated friend. I did not. I went at the earliest opportunity, and b e s o u g h t him to depart, affirming that C a t h e r i n e was better, and he should hear from m e in the morning, how she p a s s e d the night.

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"I shall not refuse to go out of doors," he answered; "but I shall stay in the garden; and, Nelly, mind you keep your word tomorrow. I shall be under those larch trees. Mind! or I pay another visit, whether Linton b e in or not." H e sent a rapid glance through the half-open door of the cham­ ber, a n d ascertaining that what I stated was apparently true, deliv­ ered the h o u s e of his luckless p r e s e n c e . Chapter

XVI

About twelve o'clock that night was born the Catherine you saw at Wuthering Heights, a puny, seven months' child; and two hours after, the mother died, having never recovered sufficient conscious­ n e s s to miss Heathcliff, or know Edgar. T h e latter's distraction at his bereavement is a subject too painful to be dwelt on; its after effects showed how deep the sorrow sunk. A great addition, in my eyes, was his being left without an heir. I b e m o a n e d that, a s I gazed on the feeble orphan; and I mentally a b u s e d old Linton f o r — w h a t was only natural partiality—the se­ curing his estate to his own daughter, instead of his son's. An u n w e l c o m e d infant it was, poor thing! It might have wailed out of life, and nobody cared a morsel, during those first hours of existence. W e r e d e e m e d the neglect afterwards; but its beginning was a s friendless a s its end is likely to be. Next m o r n i n g — b r i g h t and cheerful out of d o o r s — s t o l e softened in through the blinds of the silent room, and suffused the couch and its o c c u p a n t with a mellow, tender glow. E d g a r Linton h a d his h e a d laid on the pillow, and his eyes shut. His young a n d fair features were almost as death-like as those of the form b e s i d e him, and almost as fixed; but his was the hush of exhausted a n g u i s h , a n d hers of perfect p e a c e . Her brow smooth, her lids closed, her lips wearing the expression of a smile. N o angel in heaven could b e m o r e beautiful than she appeared; and I partook of the infinite calm in which she lay. My mind was never in a holier frame than while I gazed on that untroubled image of Divine rest. I instinctively e c h o e d the words she had uttered, a few hours before. "Incomparably beyond, and above us all! Whether still on earth or now in heaven, her spirit is at h o m e with God!" I don't know if it be a peculiarity in me, but I a m seldom oth­ erwise than happy while watching in the c h a m b e r of death, should no frenzied or despairing m o u r n e r share the duty with me. I see a r e p o s e that neither earth nor hell can break; and I feel an a s s u r a n c e of the endless and shadowless h e r e a f t e r — t h e Eternity they have e n t e r e d — w h e r e life is b o u n d l e s s in its duration, and love in its sympathy, a n d joy in its fulness. I noticed on that occasion how

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m u c h selfishness there is even in a love like Mr. Linton's, when he so regretted Catherine's blessed release! T o be sure, one might have doubted, after the wayward a n d im­ patient existence she had led, whether she merited a haven of p e a c e at last. O n e might doubt in s e a s o n s of cold reflection, b u t not then, in the presence of her corpse. It a s s e r t e d its own tranquillity, which seemed a pledge of equal quiet to its former inhabitant. "Do you believe s u c h people are happy in the other world, sir? I'd give a great deal to know." I declined answering M r s . Dean's question, which struck m e as something heterodox. S h e p r o c e e d e d — "Retracing the c o u r s e of C a t h e r i n e Linton, I fear we have no right to think she is: but we'll leave her with her Maker." T h e master looked asleep, and I ventured soon after s u n r i s e to quit the room and steal out to the p u r e , refreshing air. T h e servants thought me gone to shake off the drowsiness of my protracted watch; in reality, my chief motive was seeing Mr. Heathcliff. If he had remained a m o n g the larches all night, he would have heard nothing of the stir at the G r a n g e , unless, p e r h a p s , he might catch the gallop of the m e s s e n g e r going to G i m m e r t o n . If he h a d c o m e nearer, he would probably be aware, from the lights flitting to and fro, and the opening and shutting of the outer doors, that all was not right within. I wished, yet feared, to find him. I felt the terrible news m u s t be told, and I longed to get it over, but how to do it I did not know. H e was t h e r e — a t least a few yards further in the park; leant against an old ash tree, his hat off, and his hair s o a k e d with the dew that had gathered on the b u d d e d b r a n c h e s , and fell pattering round him. H e had b e e n standing a long time in that position, for I saw a pair of ousels p a s s i n g and r e p a s s i n g scarcely three feet from him, busy in building their nest, a n d regarding his proximity no more than that of a piece of timber. They flew off at my a p p r o a c h , and he raised his eyes and s p o k e — "She's dead!" he said; "I've not waited for you to learn that. Put your handkerchief away—don't snivel before m e . D a m n you all! she wants none of your tears!" I was weeping as m u c h for him as her: we do s o m e t i m e s pity creatures that have none of the feeling either for themselves or others; and when I first looked into his face, I perceived that he had got intelligence of the catastrophe; a n d a foolish notion struck me that his heart was quelled and he prayed, b e c a u s e his lips moved and his gaze was bent on the ground. "Yes, she's dead!" I answered, checking my sobs and drying my cheeks. "Gone to heaven, I hope, where we may, everyone, join her, if we take d u e warning, and leave our evil ways to follow good!"

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"Did she take d u e warning, then?" a s k e d Heathcliff, attempting a sneer. "Did she die like a saint? C o m e , give m e a true history of the event. H o w d i d — " H e e n d e a v o u r e d to p r o n o u n c e the n a m e , but could not m a n a g e it; and c o m p r e s s i n g his m o u t h , he held a silent c o m b a t with his inward agony, defying, meanwhile, my sympathy with an unflinch­ ing, ferocious stare. "How did she die?" he r e s u m e d , at l a s t — f a i n , notwithstanding his hardihood, to have a support behind him, for, after the struggle, he trembled, in spite of himself, to his very finger-ends. "Poor wretch!" I thought; "you have a heart and nerves the s a m e as your brother men! Why should you be so anxious to conceal them? Your pride c a n n o t blind G o d ! You tempt H i m to wring them, till H e forces a cry of humiliation!" "Quietly a s a lamb!" I answered, aloud. "She drew a sigh, and stretched herself, like a child reviving, and sinking again to sleep; a n d five minutes after I felt one little p u l s e at her heart, and nothing more!" " A n d — a n d did she ever mention m e ? " he asked, hesitating, as if he dreaded the answer to his question would introduce details that he could not b e a r to hear. "Her s e n s e s never r e t u r n e d — s h e recognised nobody from the time you left her," I said. "She lies with a sweet smile on her face; a n d her latest ideas wandered b a c k to pleasant early days. Her life closed in a gentle d r e a m — m a y she wake as kindly in the other world!" "May she wake in torment!" he cried, with frightful vehemence, s t a m p i n g his foot, and groaning in a s u d d e n paroxysm of ungov­ ernable p a s s i o n . "Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there—not in h e a v e n — n o t p e r i s h e d — w h e r e ? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one p r a y e r — I repeat it till my tongue s t i f f e n s — C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w , may you not rest, as long a s I a m living! You said I killed y o u — h a u n t me, then! T h e m u r d e r e d do h a u n t their murderers, I believe—I know that ghosts have w a n d e r e d on earth. B e with m e a l w a y s — t a k e any form—drive m e mad! only do not leave m e in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, G o d ! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" H e d a s h e d his h e a d against the knotted trunk; and, lifting up his eyes, howled, not like a m a n , b u t like a savage beast getting goaded to death with knives a n d spears. I observed several s p l a s h e s of blood about the bark of the tree, a n d his h a n d a n d forehead were both stained; probably the scene I witnessed was a repetition of others acted during the night. It hardly moved my c o m p a s s i o n — i t appalled me; still I felt reluctant

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to quit him so. B u t the m o m e n t he recollected himself e n o u g h to notice m e watching, he thundered a c o m m a n d for m e to go, a n d I obeyed. H e was beyond my skill to quiet or console! Mrs. Linton's funeral was appointed to take p l a c e on the Friday following her d e c e a s e ; and till then her coffin r e m a i n e d uncovered, and strewn with flowers and scented leaves, in the great drawingroom. Linton spent his days and nights there, a sleepless guardian; a n d — a c i r c u m s t a n c e concealed from all but m e — H e a t h c l i f f spent his nights, at least, outside, equally a stranger to r e p o s e . I held no c o m m u n i c a t i o n with him; still I was c o n s c i o u s of his design to enter, if he could; and on the T u e s d a y , a little after dark, when my master, from sheer fatigue, had been c o m p e l l e d to retire a couple of hours, I went a n d o p e n e d one of the windows, moved by his perseverance to give him a c h a n c e of bestowing on the fading image of his idol one final adieu. H e did not omit to avail himself of the opportunity, cautiously and briefly—too cautiously to betray his p r e s e n c e by the slightest noise; indeed, I shouldn't have discovered that he h a d b e e n there, except for the disarrangement of the drapery a b o u t the corpse's face, and for observing on the floor a curl of light hair, f a s t e n e d with a silver thread, which, on examination, I a s c e r t a i n e d to have been taken from a locket h u n g a r o u n d Catherine's neck. Heathcliff had opened the trinket and c a s t out its contents, replacing them by a black lock of his own. I twisted the two, a n d e n c l o s e d them together. Mr. E a r n s h a w was, of c o u r s e , invited to attend the r e m a i n s of his sister to the grave; he sent no excuse, but he never c a m e ; so that besides her h u s b a n d , the m o u r n e r s were wholly c o m p o s e d of tenants and servants. Isabella was not asked. T h e place of Catherine's interment, to the surprise of the villag­ ers, was neither in the chapel, under the carved m o n u m e n t of the Lintons, nor yet by the tombs of her own relations, outside. It was dug on a green slope, in a corner of the kirkyard, where the wall is so low that heath and bilberry plants have climbed over it from the moor; and peat m o u l d almost buries it. H e r h u s b a n d lies in the s a m e spot, now; and they have e a c h a simple h e a d s t o n e above, and a plain grey block at their feet, to m a r k the graves. Chapter

XVII

That Friday m a d e the last of our fine days, for a month. 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 h a d been three weeks of summer: the primroses and c r o c u s e s were hidden

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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 m a s t e r kept his room. I took pos­ session of the lonely parlour, converting it into a nursery; and there I was sitting, with the m o a n i n g doll of a child laid on my knee, rocking it to a n d fro, and watching, meanwhile, the still driving flakes build u p the u n c u r t a i n e d window, when the door opened, a n d s o m e p e r s o n entered, out of breath and laughing! My anger was greater than my astonishment for a minute; I sup­ p o s e d it one of the m a i d s , a n d I c r i e d — "Have done! H o w 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, a n d I c a n n o t stop myself." With that, the speaker c a m e forward to the fire, panting and holding her h a n d to her side. "I have run the whole way from Wuthering Heights!" she contin­ ued, after a p a u s e . "Except where I've flown. I couldn't count the n u m b e r of falls I've had. Oh, I'm aching all over! Don't be alarmed. T h e r e shall be an explanation as soon a s I can give it—only j u s t have the g o o d n e s s to step out and order the carriage to take me on to G i m m e r t o n , and tell a servant to seek up a few clothes in my wardrobe." T h e intruder was M r s . Heathcliff. S h e certainly s e e m e d in no laughing predicament: her hair s t r e a m e d on her shoulders, dripping with snow and water; she was dressed in the girlish dress she com­ monly wore, befitting her age m o r e than her p o s i t i o n — a low frock, with short sleeves, a n d nothing on either head or neck. T h e frock was of light silk, and clung to her with wet; and her feet were protected merely by thin slippers; a d d to this a deep cut under one ear, which only the cold prevented from bleeding profusely, a white face s c r a t c h e d a n d bruised, a n d a frame hardly able to support itself through fatigue, a n d you may fancy my first fright was not m u c h allayed when I h a d leisure to examine her. "My dear young lady," I exclaimed, "I'll stir nowhere, and hear nothing, till you have removed every article of your clothes, and put on dry things; and certainly you shall not go to G i m m e r t o n to-night; so it is needless to order the carriage." "Certainly, I shall," she said; "walking or riding; yet I've no ob­ jection to dress myself decently; a n d — a h , see how it flows down my neck now! T h e fire does m a k e it smart." S h e insisted on my fulfilling her directions, before she would let m e touch her; a n d not till after the c o a c h m a n had been instructed to get ready, and a maid set to p a c k up s o m e necessary attire, did

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I obtain her consent for binding the w o u n d a n d helping to c h a n g e her garments. "Now, Ellen," she said, when my task was finished, and she was seated in an easy chair on the hearth, with a c u p of tea before her, "you sit down opposite m e , and put poor Catherine's baby a w a y — I don't like to see it! You mustn't think I care little for C a t h e r i n e , b e c a u s e I behaved so foolishly on entering. I've cried too, bitterly — y e s , more than any one else has reason to cry. W e parted unre­ conciled, you remember, and I shan't forgive myself. B u t for all that, I was not going to sympathise with h i m — t h e brute beast! O, give me the poker! This is the last thing of his I have a b o u t me." S h e slipped the gold ring from her third finger, and threw it on the floor. "I'll s m a s h it!" she continued, striking with childish spite. "And then I'll burn it!" and she took and dropped the m i s u s e d article a m o n g the coals. "There! he shall buy another, if he gets m e b a c k again. He'd be c a p a b l e of c o m i n g to seek m e , to tease E d g a r — I dare not stay, lest that notion should p o s s e s s his wicked head! A n d b e s i d e s , Edgar has not been kind, has he? And I won't c o m e suing for his assistance; nor will I bring him into more trouble. N e c e s s i t y c o m ­ pelled m e to seek shelter here; though, if I had not learnt he was out of the way, I'd have halted at the kitchen, w a s h e d my f a c e , warmed myself, got you to bring what I wanted, a n d d e p a r t e d again to anywhere out of the reach of my a c c u r s e d — o f that incarnate goblin! Ah, he was in s u c h a fury! If he had c a u g h t me! It's a pity Earnshaw is not his m a t c h in s t r e n g t h — 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 m a k e the cut bleed again. Drink your tea, and take breath a n d give over laughing. Laughter is sadly out of p l a c e under this roof, a n d in your con­ dition!" "An undeniable truth," she replied. "Listen to that child! It main­ tains a constant w a i l — s e n d 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 e s c a p e from W u t h e r i n g Heights in such an unlikely plight, and where she m e a n t to go, as she refused remaining with us. "I ought, and I wish to remain," answered she, "to cheer E d g a r and take care of the baby, for two things, a n d b e c a u s e the G r a n g e is my right h om e . B u t I tell you, he wouldn't let me! D o you think he could bear to see m e grow fat and merry; a n d could b e a r to think that we were tranquil, and not resolve on p o i s o n i n g our comfort? Now, I have the satisfaction of being sure that he detests m e to the

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point of its annoying him seriously to have m e within ear-shot, or eye-sight. I notice, when I enter his p r e s e n c e , the m u s c l e s of his c o u n t e n a n c e are involuntarily distorted into an expression of ha­ tred; partly arising from his knowledge of the good c a u s e s I have to feel that sentiment for him, a n d partly from original aversion. It is strong e n o u g h to m a k e m e feel pretty certain that he would not c h a s e m e over E n g l a n d , s u p p o s i n g I contrived a clear e s c a p e ; and therefore I m u s t get quite away. I've recovered from my first desire to be killed by him. I'd rather he'd kill himself! H e has extinguished my love effectually, a n d so I'm at my e a s e . I can recollect yet how I loved him; a n d c a n dimly imagine that I could still be loving him, i f — n o , no! Even if he h a d doted on m e , the devilish nature would have revealed its existence somehow, C a t h e r i n e had an awfully per­ verted taste to e s t e e m him so dearly, knowing him so well. Monster! would that he could be blotted out of creation, and out of my memory!" "Hush, hush! He's a h u m a n being," I said. "Be more charitable; there are worse m e n than he is yet!" "He's not a h u m a n being," she retorted; "and he has no claim on my charity. I gave him my heart, a n d he took and pinched it to death; a n d flung it b a c k to m e . People feel with their hearts, Ellen, a n d since he h a s destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him, a n d I would not, though he g r o a n e d from this to his dying day, and wept tears of blood for Catherine! N o , indeed, indeed, I wouldn't!" And here Isabella b e g a n to cry; but, immediately dashing the water from her l a s h e s , s h e r e c o m m e n c e d . "You a s k e d , what h a s driven m e to flight at last? I was compelled to a t t e m p t it, b e c a u s e I h a d s u c c e e d e d in rousing his rage a pitch above his malignity. Pulling out the nerves with red hot pincers requires m o r e c o o l n e s s than knocking on the head. H e was worked u p to forget the fiendish p r u d e n c e he b o a s t e d of, and proceeded to m u r d e r o u s violence. I experienced p l e a s u r e in being able to exasperate him: the s e n s e of p l e a s u r e woke my instinct of selfpreservation, so I fairly broke free, a n d if ever I c o m e into his hands again he is w e l c o m e to a signal revenge. "Yesterday, you know, Mr. E a r n s h a w should have been at the funeral. H e kept himself sober for the p u r p o s e — t o l e r a b l y sober; not going to b e d m a d at six o'clock a n d getting up drunk at twelve. C o n s e q u e n t l y , he r o s e , in suicidal low spirits, as fit for the church as for a d a n c e ; a n d instead, he sat down by the fire a n d swallowed gin or brandy by tumblerfuls. "Heathcliff—I s h u d d e r to n a m e h i m ! — h a s been a stranger in the h o u s e from last S u n d a y till to-day. Whether the angels have fed him, or his kin b e n e a t h , I c a n n o t tell; but he has not eaten a meal with us for nearly a week. H e h a s j u s t c o m e h o m e at dawn, and

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gone upstairs to his chamber; locking himself i n — a s if anybodydreamt of coveting his company! T h e r e he has continued, praying like a Methodist; only the deity he implored is s e n s e l e s s d u s t a n d ashes; a n d G o d , when a d d r e s s e d , was curiously c o n f o u n d e d with his own black father! After c o n c l u d i n g these p r e c i o u s o r i s o n s — a n d they lasted generally till he grew h o a r s e , a n d his voice was strangled in his t h r o a t — h e would be off again; always straight down to the Grange! I wonder E d g a r did not send for a c o n s t a b l e , a n d give him into custody! For m e , grieved as I was a b o u t C a t h e r i n e , it was im­ possible to avoid regarding this s e a s o n of deliverance from d e g r a d ­ ing oppression as a holiday. "I recovered spirits sufficient to hear J o s e p h ' s eternal lectures without weeping; a n d to move u p a n d down the h o u s e , less with the foot of a frightened thief than formerly. You wouldn't think that I should cry at anything J o s e p h could say, but he a n d H a r e t o n are detestable c o m p a n i o n s . I'd rather sit with Hindley, a n d hear his awful talk, than with Y little maister,' a n d his s t a u n c h supporter, that odious old man! "When Heathcliff is in, I'm often obliged to s e e k the kitchen a n d their society, or starve a m o n g the d a m p , uninhabited c h a m b e r s ; when he is not, as was the c a s e this week, I establish a table a n d chair at one corner of the h o u s e fire, a n d never mind how M r . E a r n s h a w may occupy himself; a n d he does not interfere with my arrangements. H e is quieter now than he u s e d to b e , if no one provokes him; more sullen a n d d e p r e s s e d , a n d less furious. J o s e p h affirms he's sure he's an altered m a n ; that the L o r d h a s t o u c h e d his heart, and he is saved 'so as by fire.' I'm puzzled to detect signs of the favourable c h a n g e , but it is not my b u s i n e s s . "Yester-evening, I sat in my nook reading s o m e old books till late on towards twelve. It s e e m e d so dismal to go upstairs, with the wild snow blowing outside, a n d my thoughts continually reverting to the kirkyard a n d the n e w - m a d e grave! I dared hardly lift my eyes from the p a g e before m e , that melancholy s c e n e so instantly u s u r p e d its place. "Hindley sat opposite, his h e a d leant on his h a n d , p e r h a p s m e d ­ itating on the s a m e subject. H e h a d c e a s e d drinking at a point below irrationality, a n d had neither stirred nor spoken during two or three hours. T h e r e was no s o u n d through the h o u s e but the moaning wind which shook the windows every now a n d then, the faint crackling of the coals, a n d the click of my snuffers as I re­ moved at intervals the long wick of the candle. H a r e t o n a n d J o s e p h were probably fast asleep in bed. It was very, very s a d , a n d while I read, I sighed, for it s e e m e d a s if all joy h a d vanished from the world, never to be restored. "The doleful silence was broken at length by the s o u n d of the

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kitchen latch. Heathcliff had returned from his watch earlier than u s u a l , owing, I s u p p o s e , to the s u d d e n 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 c o m p a n i o n , who had been staring towards the door, to turn and look at me. " T i l 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! p u t the key in the lock, and draw the bolts.' "Earnshaw a c c o m p l i s h e d this ere his guest reached the front; he then c a m e a n d brought his chair to the other side of my table, leaning over it, a n d searching in my eyes for a sympathy with the burning hate that g l e a m e d from his: as he both looked and felt like an a s s a s s i n , he couldn't exactly find that; but he discovered enough to e n c o u r a g e him to speak. " 'You and I,' he said, 'have e a c h a great debt to settle with the m a n out yonder! If we were neither of us cowards, we might com­ bine to discharge it. Are you as soft as your brother? Are you willing to e n d u r e to the last, a n d not once attempt a repayment?' " '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 vio­ lence are spears pointed at both e n d s — t h e y wound those who re­ sort to them, worse than their enemies.' " 'Treachery a n d violence are a j u s t return for treachery and vio­ lence!' cried Hindley. 'Mrs. Heathcliff, I'll ask you to do nothing but sit still a n d b e d u m b . Tell m e now, can you? I'm sure you would have a s m u c h p l e a s u r e as I in witnessing the conclusion of the fiend's existence; he'll be your death unless you overreach h i m — and he'll be my ruin. D a m n the hellish villain! H e knocks at the door as if he were m a s t e r here already! Promise to hold your tongue, a n d before that clock strikes—it wants three minutes of o n e — 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 a r m . " 'I'll not hold my tongue!' I said; 'you mustn't touch him. Let the door remain shut a n d be quiet!' " 'No! I've formed my resolution, and by G o d , I'll execute it!' cried the d e s p e r a t e being. T i l do you a kindness in spite of yourself, and H a r e t o n j u s t i c e ! And you needn't trouble your head to screen me; C a t h e r i n e is gone. N o b o d y alive would regret me, or be a s h a m e d , though I cut my throat this m i n u t e — a n d it's time to make an end!' "I might as well have struggled with a bear, or reasoned with a lunatic. T h e only r e s o u r c e left m e was to run to a lattice, and warn his intended victim of the fate which awaited him.

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" 'You'd better seek shelter somewhere else to-night!' I exclaimed in a rather triumphant tone. 'Mr. E a r n s h a w has a mind to shoot you, if you persist in endeavouring to enter.' " 'You'd better open the door, you ' he answered, a d d r e s s i n g me by s o m e elegant term that I don't care to repeat. " 'I shall not meddle in the matter,' I retorted again. ' C o m e in, and get shot, if you please! I've done my duty.' "With that I shut the window, and returned to my p l a c e by the fire, having too small a stock of hypocrisy at my c o m m a n d to pre­ tend any anxiety for the danger that m e n a c e d him. "Earnshaw swore passionately at m e , affirming that I loved the villain yet, and calling m e all sorts of n a m e s for the b a s e spirit I evinced. And I, in my secret heart (and c o n s c i e n c e never re­ proached me) thought what a blessing it would b e 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 reflec­ tions, the c a s e m e n t behind m e was b a n g e d on to the floor by a blow from the latter individual, and his b l a c k c o u n t e n a n c e looked blightingly through. T h e stanchions stood too close to suffer his shoulders to follow, and I smiled, exulting in my fancied s e c u ­ rity. His hair and clothes were whitened with snow, a n d his s h a r p cannibal teeth, revealed by cold and wrath, g l e a m e d through the dark. " 'Isabella, let m e in, or I'll m a k e you repent!' he 'girned,' as J o s e p h calls it. " 'I cannot commit murder,' I replied. 'Mr. Hindley s t a n d s sen­ tinel with a knife and loaded pistol.' " 'Let m e 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 snow! W e were left at p e a c e in our beds as long as the s u m m e r m o o n s h o n e , but the moment a blast of winter returns, you m u s t run for shelter! H e a t h ­ cliff, if I were you, I'd go stretch myself over her grave and die like a faithful dog. T h e world is surely not worth living in now, is it? You had distinctly i m p r e s s e d on m e the idea that C a t h e r i n e 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 c o m p a n i o n , rushing to the g a p . 'If I can get my arm out I can hit him!' "I'm afraid, Ellen, you'll set m e down a s really wicked; but you don't know all, so don't j u d g e ! I wouldn't have aided or abetted a n attempt on even his life, for anything. Wish that he were d e a d , I must; and therefore I was fearfully disappointed, a n d unnerved by 1

1.

Snarled.

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terror for the c o n s e q u e n c e s of my taunting speech, when he flung h'Tiself on Earnshaw's weapon and wrenched it from his grasp. "The c h a r g e exploded, and the knife, in springing back, closed into its owner's wrist. Heathcliff pulled it away by main force, slitting up the flesh a s it p a s s e d on, and thrust it dripping into his pocket. H e then took a stone, struck down the division between two windows, a n d s p r u n g in. His adversary h a d fallen senseless with excessive pain a n d the flow of blood that g u s h e d from an artery, or a large vein. "The ruffian kicked and trampled on him, and d a s h e d his head repeatedly against the flags, holding m e with one hand, meantime, to prevent m e s u m m o n i n g J o s e p h . "He exerted p r e t e r - h u m a n self-denial in abstaining from finishing him completely; but getting out of breath, he finally desisted, and dragged the apparently inanimate body onto the settle. "There he tore off the sleeve of Earnshaw's coat, and b o u n d up the w o u n d with brutal r o u g h n e s s , spitting and cursing during the operation, as energetically as he h a d 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, a s he d e s c e n d e d the steps two at once. " 'Whet is thur tuh do, n a h ? whet is thur tuh do, nah?' " 'There's this to do,' thundered Heathcliff, 'that your master's m a d ; a n d should he last another month, I'll have him to an asylum. And how the devil did you c o m e to fasten m e out, you toothless h o u n d ? Don't stand muttering and m u m b l i n g there. C o m e , I'm not going to n u r s e him. W a s h that stuff away; and mind the sparks of your c a n d l e — i t is m o r e than half brandy!' " 'Und soa, yah b e e n murthering on him!' exclaimed J o s e p h , lift­ ing his h a n d s a n d eyes in horror. 'If iver Aw seed a seeght loike this! M a y the L o r d — ' "Heathcliff gave him a p u s h onto his knees in the middle of the blood, a n d flung a towel to him; but instead of proceeding to dry it u p , he j o i n e d his h a n d s , and b e g a n a prayer which excited my laugh­ ter from its odd phraseology. I was in the condition of mind to be s h o c k e d at nothing; in fact, I was as reckless as s o m e malefactors show themselves at the foot of the gallows. " 'Oh, I forgot you,' said the tyrant. 'You shall do that. Down with you. A n d you c o n s p i r e with him against m e , do you, viper? There, that is work fit for you!' "He s h o o k m e till my teeth rattled, a n d pitched m e beside J o s e p h , who steadily c o n c l u d e d his supplications and then rose, vowing he would set off for the G r a n g e directly. Mr. Linton was a magistrate, a n d though he h a d fifty wives d e a d , he should inquire into this. "He was so obstinate in his resolution that Heathcliff d e e m e d it expedient to c o m p e l from my lips a recapitulation of what had taken

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place; standing over m e , heaving with malevolence, a s I reluctantly delivered the a c c o u n t in answer to his q u e s t i o n s . "It required a great deal of labour to satisfy the old m a n that Heathcliff was not the aggressor; especially with my hardly wrung replies. However, Mr. E a r n s h a w soon convinced him that he was alive still; he hastened to administer a d o s e of spirits, a n d by their succour his master presently regained motion a n d c o n s c i o u s n e s s . "Heathcliff, aware that his opponent was ignorant of the treat­ ment received while insensible, called him deliriously intoxicated; and said he should not notice his atrocious c o n d u c t further, b u t advised him to get to bed. T o my joy, he left us after giving this judicious counsel, a n d Hindley stretched himself on the hearth­ stone. I departed to my own room, marvelling that I h a d e s c a p e d so easily. "This morning, when I c a m e down, a b o u t half-an-hour before noon, Mr. E a r n s h a w was sitting by the fire, deadly sick; his evil genius, almost as gaunt a n d ghastly, leant against the chimney. Nei­ ther appeared inclined to dine, a n d having waited till all was cold on the table, I c o m m e n c e d alone. "Nothing hindered m e from eating heartily; a n d I experienced a certain sense of satisfaction a n d superiority, a s , at intervals, I cast a look towards my silent c o m p a n i o n s , a n d felt the comfort of a quiet conscience within me. "After I had done, I ventured on the u n u s u a l liberty of drawing near the fire, going round Earnshaw's seat, a n d kneeling in the corner beside him. "Heathcliff did not glance my way, a n d I gazed u p a n d c o n t e m ­ plated his features almost as confidently as if they h a d been turned to stone. His forehead, that I o n c e thought so manly, a n d that I now think so diabolical, was s h a d e d with a heavy cloud; his basilisk eyes were nearly q u e n c h e d by s l e e p l e s s n e s s , a n d weeping, p e r h a p s , for the lashes were wet then; his lips devoid of their ferocious sneer, and sealed in an expression of u n s p e a k a b l e s a d n e s s . H a d it been another, I would have covered my face in the p r e s e n c e of s u c h grief. In his c a s e , I was gratified; a n d ignoble a s it s e e m s to insult a fallen enemy, I couldn't miss this c h a n c e of sticking in a dart; his weak­ ness was the only time when I could taste the delight of paying wrong for wrong." "Fie, fie, Miss!" I interrupted. "One might s u p p o s e you h a d never opened a Bible in your life. If G o d afflict your e n e m i e s , surely that ought to suffice y o u . It is both m e a n a n d p r e s u m p t u o u s to a d d your torture to his!" 2

2.

P s a l m s 5 5 . 1 8 - 2 3 s t r e s s e s trust in G o d to afflict one's e n e m i e s , a n d u r g e s o n e to " C a s t thy b u r d e n u p o n the L o r d , a n d h e shall s u s t a i n t h e e . "

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"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 h a n d in it? I'd rather he suffered less, if I might c a u s e his sufferings a n d he might know that I was the c a u s e . O h , I owe him so much. O n 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, r e d u c e him to my level. As he was the first to injure, m a k e him the first to implore pardon; and then—why then, Ellen, I might show you s o m e generosity. B u t it is utterly impossible I can ever b e revenged, and therefore I cannot forgive him. Hindley wanted s o m e water, and I h a n d e d 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 m e is a s sore as if I had been fighting with a legion of imps!' " 'Yes, no wonder,' was my next remark. 'Catherine u s e d to boast that she stood between you and bodily harm: she meant that certain p e r s o n s would not hurt you, for fear of offending her. It's well peo­ ple 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 a n d s h o u l d e r s ? ' " 'I can't say,' he answered; 'but what do you m e a n ? Did he dare to strike m e when I was down?' " 'He trampled on, and kicked you, and d a s h e d you on the ground,' I whispered. 'And his m o u t h watered to tear you with his teeth; b e c a u s e he's only half a m a n — n o t so much.' "Mr. E a r n s h a w looked u p , like me, to the c o u n t e n a n c e of our m u t u a l foe, who, a b s o r b e d in his anguish, s e e m e d insensible to anything a r o u n d him; the longer he stood, the plainer his reflections revealed their b l a c k n e s s through his features. " 'Oh, if G o d would b u t give m e strength to strangle him in my last agony, I'd go to hell with joy,' groaned the impatient man, writh­ ing to rise, and sinking b a c k in despair, convinced of his inadequacy for the struggle. " 'Nay, it's e n o u g h that he has m u r d e r e d one of you,' I observed aloud. 'At the G r a n g e , every one knows your sister would have been living now, h a d it not b e e n for Mr. Heathcliff. After all, it is pref­ erable to b e hated than loved by him. W h e n I recollect how happy we w e r e — h o w happy C a t h e r i n e was before he c a m e — I ' m fit to c u r s e the day.' "Most likely, Heathcliff noticed m o r e 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 a m o n g the a s h e s , and he drew his breath in suffocating sighs.

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"I stared full at him, and laughed scornfully. T h e c l o u d e d win­ dows of hell flashed a m o m e n t towards me; the fiend which usually looked out, however, was so d i m m e d and drowned that I did not fear to hazard another s o u n d of derision. " 'Get up, and begone out of my s i g h t / said the mourner. "I g u e s s e d he uttered those words, at least, though his voice was hardly intelligible. " 'I b e g your pardon,' I replied. 'But I loved C a t h e r i n e too; a n d her brother requires a t t e n d a n c e which, for her s a k e , I shall supply. Now that she's dead, I see her in Hindley; Hindley h a s exactly her eyes, if you had not tried to gouge them out a n d m a d e t h e m b l a c k and red, and h e r — ' " 'Get up, wretched idiot, before I s t a m p you to death!' he cried, making a movement that c a u s e d m e to m a k e one also. " 'But then,' I continued, holding myself ready to flee, 'if poor Catherine had trusted you, a n d a s s u m e d the ridiculous, c on t e mp t ­ ible, degrading title of M r s . Heathcliff, she would soon have pre­ sented a similar picture! She wouldn't have borne your a b o m i n a b l e behaviour quietly; her detestation and disgust m u s t have found voice.' "The b a c k of the settle and Earnshaw's p e r s o n interposed be­ tween m e and him; so instead of endeavouring to reach m e , he snatched a dinner knife from the table and flung it at my head. It struck beneath my ear, and stopped the s e n t e n c e I was uttering; but, pulling it out, I s p r a n g to the door and delivered another which I hope went a little deeper than his missile. "The last glimpse I c a u g h t of him was a furious rush on his part, checked by the e m b r a c e of his host; a n d both fell locked together on the hearth. "In my flight through the kitchen I bid J o s e p h s p e e d to his m a s ­ ter; I knocked over Hareton, who was hanging a litter of p u p p i e s from a chair-back in the doorway; and, blest a s a soul e s c a p e d from purgatory, I b o u n d e d , leaped, a n d flew down the steep road; then, quitting its windings, shot direct a c r o s s the moor, rolling over b a n k s , and wading through m a r s h e s ; precipitating myself, in fact, towards the b e a c o n light of the G r a n g e . And far rather would I b e con­ d e m n e d to a perpetual dwelling in the infernal regions, than even for one night abide b e n e a t h the roof of Wuthering Heights again." Isabella c e a s e d speaking, and took a drink of tea; then she rose, and bidding m e put on her bonnet and a great shawl I h a d 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 por­ traits, bestowed a similar salute on m e , a n d d e s c e n d e d to the car­ riage a c c o m p a n i e d by Fanny, who yelped wild with joy at recovering her mistress. S h e was driven away, never to revisit this neighbour-

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hood; but a regular c o r r e s p o n d e n c e was established between her a n d my m a s t e r when things were more settled. I believe her new a b o d e was in the south, near London; there she h a d a son born, a few m o n t h s s u b s e q u e n t to her e s c a p e . H e was christened Linton, a n d , from the first, she reported him to be a n ailing, peevish creature. Mr. Heathcliff, meeting m e one day in the village, inquired where she lived. I refused to tell. H e remarked that it was not of any m o m e n t , only she m u s t beware of c o m i n g to her brother; she should not b e with him, if he had to keep her himself. T h o u g h I would give no information, he discovered, through s o m e of the other servants, both her p l a c e of residence and the existence of the child. Still he didn't molest her; for which forbear­ a n c e she might thank his aversion, I s u p p o s e . H e often a s k e d a b o u t the infant, when he saw me; and on hearing its n a m e , smiled grimly, and o b s e r v e d — "They wish m e to hate it too, do they?" "I don't think they wish you to know any thing about it," I an­ swered. "But I'll have it," he said, "when I want it. They may reckon on that!" Fortunately, its mother died before the time arrived, s o m e thir­ teen years after the d e c e a s e of C a t h e r i n e , when Linton was twelve, or a little m o r e . O n the day s u c c e e d i n g Isabella's unexpected visit, I had no op­ portunity of s p e ak i n g to my master: he s h u n n e d conversation, and was fit for d i s c u s s i n g nothing. W h e n I could get him to listen, I saw it p l e a s e d him that his sister h a d left her h u s b a n d , whom he abhorred with an intensity which the mildness of his nature would scarcely s e e m to allow. S o d e e p a n d 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 c o m p l e t e hermit: he threw u p his office of magistrate, c e a s e d even to attend c h u r c h , avoided the village on all o c c a s i o n s , and spent a life of entire seclusion within the limits of his park and grounds, only varied by solitary r a m b l e s on the m o o r s , and visits to the grave of his wife, mostly at evening, or early morning before other wan­ derers were a b r o a d . B u t he was too good to b e thoroughly unhappy long. He didn't pray for Catherine's soul to h a u n t him. T i m e brought resignation, a n d a melancholy sweeter than c o m m o n joy. H e recalled her mem­ ory with ardent, tender love, a n d hopeful aspiring to the better world, where, he d o u b t e d not, she was gone. And he had earthly consolation and affections, also. For a few days, I said, he s e e m e d regardless of the puny s u c c e s s o r to the

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departed: that coldness melted as fast as snow in April, a n d ere the tiny thing could s t a m m e r a word or totter a step, it wielded a des­ pot's sceptre in his heart. It was n a m e d C a t h e r i n e , but he never called it the n a m e in full, as he had never called the first C a t h e r i n e short, probably b e c a u s e Heathcliff had a habit of doing so. T h e little one w a s always Cathy; it formed to him a distinction from the mother, a n d yet, a c o n n e c ­ tion with her; and his a t t a c h m e n t s p r a n g from its relation to her, far more than from its being his own. I u s e d to draw a c o m p a r i s o n between him a n d Hindley E a r n s h a w , and perplex myself to explain satisfactorily why their c o n d u c t was so opposite in similar c i r c u m s t a n c e s . T h e y had both b e e n fond h u s ­ bands, and were both attached to their children; a n d I could not see how they shouldn't both have taken the s a m e road, for good or evil. But, I thought in my mind, Hindley, with apparently the stronger head, has shown himself sadly the worse a n d the weaker man. W h e n his ship struck, the captain a b a n d o n e d his post; a n d the crew, instead of trying to save her, r u s h e d into riot a n d con­ fusion, leaving no hope for their luckless vessel. Linton, on the contrary, displayed the true c o u r a g e of a loyal a n d faithful soul: he trusted G o d ; a n d G o d comforted him. O n e hoped, a n d the other despaired: they c h o s e their own lots, a n d were righteously d o o m e d to endure them. But you'll not want to hear my moralizing, Mr. Lockwood: you'll j u d g e as well as I can, all these things; at least, you'll think you will, and that's the s a m e . T h e end of E a r n s h a w was what might have b e e n expected; it followed fast on his sister's: there were scarcely six m o n t h s between them. We, at the G r a n g e , never got a very succinct a c c o u n t of his state preceding it; all that I did learn was on o c c a s i o n of going to aid in the preparations for the funeral. M r . K e n n e t h c a m e to an­ nounce the event to my master. "Well, Nelly," said he, riding into the yard one morning, too early not to alarm m e with an instant presentiment of b a d news. "It's yours and my turn to go into m o u r n i n g at present. Who's given us the slip now, do you think?" "Who?" I asked in a flurry. "Why, guess!" he returned, dismounting, a n d slinging his bridle on a hook by the door. "And nip u p 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 b l o o m i n g to-day—I've j u s t seen him. He's rapidly regaining flesh since he lost his better half."

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"Who is it, then, Mr. Kenneth?" I repeated impatiently. "Hindley E a r n s h a w ! Your old friend Hindley," he replied, "and my wicked gossip; though he's been too wild for m e this long while. There! I said we should draw water. B u t cheer up! H e died true to his character, d r u n k as a lord. Poor lad; I'm sorry, too. O n e can't help missing an old c o m p a n i o n , though he h a d the worst tricks with him that ever m a n imagined, and has done m e many a rascally turn. He's barely twenty-seven, it s e e m s ; that's your own age; who would have thought you were born in one year!" I confess this blow was greater to m e than the shock of M r s . Linton's death: ancient associations lingered round my heart; I sat down in the p o r c h a n d wept as for a blood relation, desiring Ken­ neth to get another servant to introduce him to the master. I could not hinder myself from pondering on the q u e s t i o n — " H a d 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 W u t h e r i n g Heights, a n d assist in the last duties to the dead. Mr. Linton was extremely reluctant to consent, but I pleaded elo­ quently for the friendless condition in which he lay; and I said my old m a s t e r a n d foster brother h a d a claim on my services as strong as his own. B e s i d e s , I r e m i n d e d him that the child, Hareton, was his wife's nephew, a n d , in the a b s e n c e of nearer kin, he ought to act as its g u a r d i a n ; and he ought to and m u s t inquire how the property was left, a n d look over the concerns of his brother-in-law. H e was unfit for attending to s u c h matters then, but he bid m e s p e a k to his lawyer; a n d at length permitted m e to go. His lawyer h a d been Earnshaw's also: I called at the village, and asked him to a c c o m p a n y m e . H e shook his head, a n d advised that Heathcliff should be let alone, affirming, if the truth were known, Hareton would b e found little else than a beggar. "His father died in debt," he said; "the whole property is mort­ gaged, a n d the sole c h a n c e for the natural heir is to allow him an opportunity of creating s o m e interest in the creditor's heart, that he may be inclined to deal leniently towards him." W h e n I r e a c h e d the Heights, I explained that I had c o m e to see everything carried on decently, and J o s e p h , who a p p e a r e d in suffi­ cient distress, expressed satisfaction at my p r e s e n c e . Mr. Heathcliff said he did not perceive that I was wanted, but I might stay and order the a r r a n g e m e n t s for the funeral, if I chose. "Correctly," he remarked, "that fool's body should be buried at the c r o s s - r o a d s , without ceremony of any k i n d . 1 h a p p e n e d to leave 3

3.

C r o s s r o a d s b u r i a l for c r i m i n a l s (particularly s u i c i d e s ) w a s p e r m i t t e d until R o b e r t H a l l i d a y , " C r i m i n a l G r a v e s a n d R u r a l C r o s s r o a d s , " British 1997).

Archaeology

1823. 27

See

(June

CHAPTER X V I I

145

him ten minutes, yesterday afternoon; and, in that interval, he fas­ tened the two doors of the h o u s e against m e , a n d he has spent the night in drinking himself to death deliberately! W e broke in this morning, for we heard him snorting like a horse; a n d there he was, laid over the settle: flaying and scalping would not have wakened him. I sent for Kenneth, and he c a m e ; but not till the b e a s t had changed into carrion: he was both d e a d and cold a n d stark; and so you'll allow, it was useless making more stir a b o u t him!" T h e old servant confirmed this statement, but m u t t e r e d — "Aw'd rayther he'd goan hisseln fur t' doctor! Aw s u d uh taen tent uh t' maister better nur h i m — u n he warn't d e e a d 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 m e to r e m e m b e r that the money for the whole affair c a m e out of his pocket. H e 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, in­ deed, something like exultation in his aspect: it was j u s t when the people were bearing the coffin from the h o u s e . H e had the hypoc­ risy to represent a mourner; and previous to following with H a r e t o n , he lifted the unfortunate child on to the table and muttered, with peculiar g u s t o — "Now, my bonny lad, you are mine! And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another, with the s a m e wind to twist it!" T h e u n s u s p e c t i n g thing was p l e a s e d at this speech; he played with Heathcliff's whiskers, and stroked his cheek, but I divined its meaning and observed tartly— "That boy m u s t go b a c k with m e to T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e , sir. There is nothing in the world less yours than he is!" "Does Linton say so?" he d e m a n d e d . "Of c o u r s e — h e has ordered m e to take him," I replied. "Well," said the scoundrel, "we'll not argue the s u b j e c t now; b u t I have a fancy to try my hand at rearing a young one, so intimate to your master that I m u s t supply the place of this with my own, if he attempt to remove it. I don't e n g a g e to let H a r e t o n go, undis­ puted; but I'll be pretty sure to m a k e the other come! R e m e m b e r to tell him." This hint was enough to bind our h a n d s . I repeated its s u b s t a n c e on my return, and E d g a r Linton, little interested at the c o m m e n c e ­ ment, spoke no more of interfering. I'm not aware that he could have done it to any p u r p o s e , had he been ever so willing. 4

4.

"I'd r a t h e r h e ' d g o n e h i m s e l f f o r t h e d o c t o r ! I s h o u l d h a v e t a k e n c a r e o f t h e m a s t e r b e t t e r t h a n h i m — a n d h e w a s n ' t d e a d w h e n I left, n o t h i n g o f t h e sort!"

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T h e guest was now the m a s t e r of Wuthering Heights: he held firm p o s s e s s i o n , a n d proved to the attorney, who, in his turn, proved it to Mr. Linton, that E a r n s h a w had mortgaged every yard of land he owned for c a s h to supply his m a n i a for gaming; and he, Heath­ cliff, was the m o r t g a g e e . In that m a n n e r , Hareton, who should now be the first gentleman in the neighbourhood, was r e d u c e d to a state of complete depen­ d e n c e on his father s inveterate enemy; and lives in his own house as a servant deprived of the advantage of wages, and quite unable to right himself, b e c a u s e of his friendlessness, and his ignorance that he h a s b e e n wronged. Chapter

XVIII

T h e twelve years, continued M r s . D e a n , following that dismal period, were the happiest of my life: my greatest troubles, in their p a s s a g e , rose from our little lady's trifling illnesses, which she had to experience in c o m m o n with all children, rich and poor. For the rest, after the first six months, she grew like a larch, and could walk a n d talk too, in her own way, before the heath blos­ s o m e d a s e c o n d time over M r s . Linton's dust. S h e was the m o s t winning thing that ever brought sunshine into a desolate h o u s e — a real beauty in face, with the Earnshaws' hand­ s o m e dark eyes, b u t 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. T h a t capacity for intense a t t a c h m e n t s reminded m e of her mother; still she did not r e s e m b l e her, for she could be soft and mild as a dove, a n d she h a d a gentle voice, and pensive expression: her anger was never furious; her love never fierce; it was deep and tender. However, it m u s t b e 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 tem­ pered or c r o s s . If a servant c h a n c e d to vex her, it was always: "I shall tell papa!" 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 s p e a k a h a r s h word to her. H e took her education entirely on himself, and m a d e it an a m u s e ­ ment. Fortunately, curiosity and a quick intellect urged her into an apt scholar; she learnt rapidly and eagerly, and did honour to his teaching. Till she r e a c h e d the age of thirteen, she had not once been be­ yond 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. G i m m e r t o n was an unsubstantial n a m e in her ears;

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the chapel, the only building she had a p p r o a c h e d or entered, except her own h o m e . Wuthering Heights a n d Mr. Heathcliff did not exist for her; she was a perfect r e c l u s e , and, apparently, perfectly con­ tented. S o m e t i m e s , indeed, while surveying the country from her nursery window, she would o b s e r v e — "Ellen, how long will it be before I c a n walk to the top of those hills? I wonder what lies on the other s i d e — i s it the s e a ? " "No, Miss Cathy," I would answer, "it is hills again j u s t like these." "And what are those golden rocks like, when you stand under them?" she once asked. T h e abrupt descent of Penistone C r a g s particularly attracted her notice, especially when the setting s u n s h o n e on it a n d the t o p m o s t heights, and the whole extent of l a n d s c a p e b e s i d e s lay in shadow. I explained that they were bare m a s s e s of stone, with hardly enough earth in their clefts to nourish a s t u n t e d tree. "And why are they bright so long after it is evening here?" she pursued. "Because they are a great deal higher u p than we are," replied I; "you could not climb them, they are too high a n d steep. In winter the frost is always there before it c o m e s to us; a n d , deep into s u m ­ mer, I have found snow under that b l a c k hollow on the north-east side!" "Oh, you have been on them!" she cried, gleefully. "Then I can go, too, when I a m a woman. H a s p a p a b e e n , Ellen?" "Papa would tell you, M i s s , " I answered, hastily, "that they are not worth the trouble of visiting. T h e m o o r s , where you r a m b l e with him, are m u c h nicer; and T h r u s h c r o s s p a r k is the finest p l a c e in the world." "But I know the park, a n d I don't know those," s h e m u r m u r e d to herself. "And I should delight to look r o u n d m e from the brow of that tallest p o i n t — m y little pony, Minny, shall take m e s o m e time." O n e of the maids mentioning the Fairy cave quite turned her head with a desire to fulfil this project; she t e a s e d Mr. Linton a b o u t it; and he promised she should have the j o u r n e y when she got older. But Miss Catherine m e a s u r e d her age by m o n t h s , a n d — "Now, a m I old enough to go to Penistone C r a g s ? " was the con­ stant question in her mouth. T h e road thither wound close by W u t h e r i n g Heights. E d g a r had not the heart to p a s s it; so she received as constantly the a n s w e r — "Not yet, love, not yet." I said M r s . Heathcliff lived above a dozen years after quitting her husband. Her family were of a delicate constitution: s h e a n d E d g a r both lacked the ruddy health that you will generally m e e t in these

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parts. W h a t her last illness was, I a m not certain; I conjecture they died of the s a m e thing, a kind of fever, slow at its c o m m e n c e m e n t , but incurable, a n d rapidly c o n s u m i n g life towards the close. S h e wrote to inform her brother of the probable conclusion of a four months' indisposition under which she had suffered; and en­ treated him to c o m e to her, if possible, for she had m u c h to settle, a n d she wished to bid him adieu, and deliver Linton safely into his h a n d s . H e r h o p e 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 a s s u m e the b u r d e n of his m a i n t e n a n c e or education. My m a s t e r hesitated not a m o m e n t in complying with her re­ quest; reluctant as he was to leave h o m e at ordinary calls, he flew to answer this; c o m m e n d i n g C a t h e r i n e to my peculiar vigilance in his a b s e n c e , with reiterated orders that she m u s t not wander out of the park, even under my escort: he did not calculate on her going unaccompanied. H e was away three weeks: the first day or two, my charge sat in a corner of the library, too s a d for either reading or playing: in that quiet state s h e c a u s e d m e little trouble; but it was s u c c e e d e d by an interval of impatient, fretful weariness; a n d being too busy, and too old then, to run u p a n d down a m u s i n g her, I hit on a method by which she might entertain herself. I u s e d to send her on her travels round the g r o u n d s — n o w on foot, a n d now on a pony; indulging her with a patient audience of all her real a n d imaginary adventures, when she returned. T h e s u m m e r s h o n e in full prime; a n d she took s u c h a taste for this solitary rambling that s h e often contrived to remain out from breakfast till tea; a n d then the evenings were spent in recounting her fanciful tales. I did not fear her breaking b o u n d s , b e c a u s e the gates were generally locked, a n d I thought she would scarcely ven­ ture forth alone, if they had stood wide open. Unluckily, my confidence proved misplaced. Catherine c a m e to m e , one morning, at eight o'clock, a n d said she was that day an Arabian m e r c h a n t , going to cross the Desert with his caravan; and I m u s t give her plenty of provision for herself a n d beasts, a horse a n d three c a m e l s , p e r s o n a t e d by a large h o u n d a n d a couple of pointers. I got together good store of dainties, a n d slung them in a basket on one side of the saddle; a n d she s p r a n g u p as gay as a fairy, sheltered by her wide-brimmed hat a n d gauze veil from the July s u n , a n d trotted off with a merry laugh, mocking my cautious coun­ sel to avoid galloping, a n d c o m e b a c k early. T h e naughty thing never m a d e her a p p e a r a n c e at tea. O n e trav­ eler, the h o u n d , being an old dog a n d fond of its e a s e , returned;

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but neither Cathy, nor the pony, nor the two pointers were visible in any direction; and I d e s p a t c h e d emissaries down this path, a n d that path, and, at last, went wandering in search of her myself. There was a labourer working at a fence round a plantation, on the borders of the grounds. I enquired of him if he h a d seen our young lady. "I saw her at morn," he replied; "she would have m e 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 g u e s s how I felt at hearing this news. It struck m e di­ rectly she m u s t have started for Penistone C r a g s . "What will b e c o m e of her?" I ejaculated, p u s h i n g through a g a p which the m a n was repairing, and making straight to the high road. I walked as if for a wager, mile after mile, till a turn brought m e in view of the Heights, but no C a t h e r i n e could I detect, far or near. T h e C r a g s lie about a mile and a half beyond Mr. Heathcliff's place, and that is four from the G r a n g e , so I b e g a n to fear night would fall ere I could reach them. "And what if she should have slipped in, c l a m b e r i n g a m o n g them," I reflected, "and been killed, or broken s o m e of her b o n e s ? " My s u s p e n s e was truly painful; and, at first, it gave m e delightful relief to observe, in hurrying by the f a r m - h o u s e , C h a r l i e , the fiercest of the pointers, lying under a window, with swelled h e a d a n d bleed­ ing ear. I opened the wicket and ran to the door, knocking vehemently for admittance. A w o m a n w h o m I knew, a n d who formerly lived at Gimmerton, answered: she had been servant there since the death of Mr. E a r n s h a w . "Ah," said she, "you are c o m e a seeking your little mistress! don't be frightened. She's here s a f e — b u t I'm glad it isn't the master." "He is not at h o m e then, is he?" I p a n t e d , quite breathless with quick walking and alarm. "No, no," she replied, "both he and J o s e p h are off, and I think they won't return this hour or more. S t e p in a n d rest you a bit." I entered, and beheld my stray l a m b seated on the hearth, rocking herself in a little chair that had been her mother's, when a child. Her hat was h u n g against the wall, and she s e e m e d 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; c o m p r e h e n d i n g p r e c i o u s little of the fluent s u c c e s s i o n of remarks and questions which her tongue never c e a s e d pouring forth. 1

1. A s m a l l b u t s t r o n g b r e e d o f h o r s e s p e c u l i a r t o G a l l o w a y .

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"Very well, M i s s , " I exclaimed, concealing my joy under an angry c o u n t e n a n c e . "This is your last ride, till p a p a c o m e s back. I'll not trust you over the threshold again, you naughty, naughty girl." "Aha, Ellen!" she cried gaily, j u m p i n g u p , and running to my side. "I shall have a pretty story to tell t o - n i g h t — a n d so you've found me out. Have you ever b e e n here in your life before?" "Put that hat on, a n d h o m e at once," said I. "I'm dreadfully grieved at you, M i s s Cathy, you've done extremely wrong! It's no u s e pouting a n d crying; that won't repay the trouble I've had, scour­ ing the country after you. T o think how Mr. Linton charged m e to keep you in; and you stealing off so; it shows you are a cunning little fox, a n d nobody will put faith in you any more." "What have I done?" s o b b e d she, instantly checked. "Papa c h a r g e d m e nothing: he'll not scold m e , Ellen—he's never cross, like you!" " C o m e , come!" I repeated. "I'll tie the riband. Now, let us have no p e t u l a n c e . Oh, for s h a m e . You thirteen years old, and such a baby!" This exclamation was c a u s e d by her p u s h i n g the hat from her head, a n d retreating to the chimney out of my reach. "Nay," said the servant, "don't b e hard on the bonny lass, M r s . D e a n . W e m a d e her s t o p — s h e ' d fain have ridden forwards, afeard you should b e uneasy. H a r e t o n offered to go with her, and I thought he should. It's a wild road over the hills." H a r e t o n , during the discussion, stood with his hands in his pock­ ets, too awkward to speak, though he looked as if he did not relish my intrusion. "How long a m I to wait?" I continued, disregarding the woman's interference. "It will b e dark in ten minutes. Where is the pony, M i s s C a t h y ? And where is Phoenix? I shall leave you, unless you be quick, so p l e a s e yourself." "The pony is in the yard," she replied, "and Phoenix is shut in there. He's b i t t e n — a n d so is Charlie. I was going to tell you all a b o u t it; but you are in a b a d temper, and don't deserve to hear." I picked u p her hat, and a p p r o a c h e d to reinstate it; but perceiving that the p e o p l e of the h o u s e took her part, she c o m m e n c e d capering round the room; and, on my giving c h a s e , ran like a m o u s e , over and under a n d behind the furniture, rendering it ridiculous for me to p u r s u e . H a r e t o n a n d the w o m a n laughed, and she joined them, and waxed m o r e impertinent still; till I cried, in great irritation— "Well, M i s s Cathy, if you were aware whose h o u s e this is, you'd be glad e n o u g h to get out." "It's your father's, isn't it?" said she, turning to Hareton. "Nay," he replied, looking down, a n d blushing bashfully.

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H e could not stand a steady gaze from her eyes, though they were just his own. "Whose, then—your master's?" she asked. H e coloured deeper, with a different feeling, muttered an oath, and turned away. "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, M i s s ; he s h o u l d have done, shouldn't he, if he's a servant?" Hareton grew black a s a thunder-cloud, at this childish s p e e c h . I silently shook my questioner, and, at last, s u c c e e d e d in equipping her for departure. "Now, get my horse," she said, a d d r e s s i n g her unknown k i n s m a n as she would one of the stable-boys at the G r a n g e . "And you may c o m e with me. I want to see where the goblin hunter rises in the marsh, and to hear about the fairishes, as you call t h e m — b u t m a k e haste! What's the matter? G e t my horse, I say." "I'll see thee d a m n e d , before I b e thy servant!" growled the lad. "You'll see m e what?" asked C a t h e r i n e in surprise. " D a m n e d — t h o u saucy witch!" he replied. "There, Miss Cathy! you see you have got into pretty company," I interposed. "Nice words to be u s e d to a young lady! Pray don't begin to dispute with him. C o m e , 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 b e m a d e to do a s I a s k him? You wicked creature, I shall tell p a p a what you s a i d — N o w then!" Hareton did not a p p e a r to feel this threat; so the tears s p r u n g into her eyes with indignation. "You bring the pony," she exclaimed, turning to the woman, "and let my dog free this moment!" "Softly, Miss," answered the a d d r e s s e d . "You'll lose nothing by being civil. T h o u g h Mr. Hareton, there, b e 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 s u c h things," she p u r s u e d in great trouble. "Papa is gone to fetch my cousin from L o n d o n — m y cousin is a gentleman's son. T h a t m y — " she stopped, a n d wept outright; upset at the bare notion of relationship with s u c h a clown. "Hush, hush!" I whispered, "people can have m a n y c o u s i n s and of all sorts, M i s s Cathy, without being any the worse for it; only they needn't keep their company, if they be disagreeable a n d bad." 2

2.

H a r e t o n u s e s t h e W e s t Y o r k s h i r e w o r d f o r f a i r i e s . T h e English o n e i n s t a n c e o f t h i s t e r m i n C h a r l o t t e B r o n t e ' s Shirley

(1849).

Dialect

Dictionary

cites

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"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 m u c h vexed at her and the servant for their mutual reve­ lations; having no doubt of Linton's a p p r o a c h i n g arrival, c o m m u ­ nicated by the former, being reported to Mr. Heathcliff; and feeling as confident that Catherine's first thought on her father's return would b e to seek an explanation of the latter's assertion concerning her rude-bred kindred. H a r e t o n , recovering from his disgust at being taken for a servant, s e e m e d 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 m e a n t naught. P a u s i n g in her lamentations, she surveyed him with a glance of awe a n d horror, then burst forth anew. I could scarcely refrain from smiling at this antipathy to the poor fellow, who was a well-made, athletic youth, good-looking in fea­ tures, a n d stout a n d healthy, but attired in garments befitting his daily o c c u p a t i o n s of working on the farm, and lounging a m o n g the m o o r s after rabbits a n d g a m e . Still, I thought I could detect in his physiognomy a mind owning better qualities than his father ever p o s s e s s e d . G o o d things lost amid a wilderness of weeds, to be sure, whose r a n k n e s s far over-topped their neglected growth; yet, not­ withstanding, evidence of a wealthy soil that might yield luxuriant crops under other and favourable c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Mr. Heathcliff, I believe, h a d not treated him physically ill; thanks to his fearless nature, which offered no temptation to that c o u r s e of oppression; it h a d none of the timid susceptibility that would have given zest to ill-treatment, in Heathcliff's j u d g m e n t . H e a p p e a r e d to have bent his malevolence on m a k i n g him a brute: he was never taught to read or write; never rebuked for any b a d habit which did not annoy his keeper; never led a single step towards virtue, or guarded by a single precept against vice. A n d from what I heard, J o s e p h contrib­ uted m u c h to his deterioration by a narrow-minded partiality which p r o m p t e d him to flatter a n d pet him, as a boy, b e c a u s e he was the h e a d of the old family. And as he had been in the habit of accusing C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w and Heathcliff, when children, of putting the m a s t e r p a s t his p a t i e n c e , and compelling him to seek solace in drink, by what he termed their "offald ways," so at present he laid the whole b u r d e n of Hareton's faults on the shoulders of the u s u r p e r of his property. 3

4

3.

Hush.

4.

Disreputable ways.

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If the lad swore, he wouldn't correct him; nor however culpably he behaved. It gave J o s e p h satisfaction, apparently, to watch him go the worst lengths. H e allowed that he was ruined; that his soul was a b a n d o n e d to perdition; but then, he reflected that Heathcliff must answer for it. Hareton's blood would be required at his h a n d s ; and there lay i m m e n s e consolation in that thought. J o s e p h had instilled into him a pride of n a m e , a n d 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 a m o u n t e d to superstition; and he confined his feelings regarding him to mut­ tered innuendoes and private c o m m i n a t i o n s . I don't pretend to be intimately a c q u a i n t e d with the m o d e of living customary in those days at Wuthering Heights. I only s p e a k from hearsay; for I saw little. T h e villagers affirmed Mr. Heathcliff was near, and a cruel hard landlord to his tenants; but the h o u s e , inside, had regained its ancient a s p e c t of comfort under female management; and the scenes of riot c o m m o n in Hindley's time were not now enacted within its walls. T h e m a s t e r was too gloomy to seek companionship with any people, good or b a d , a n d he is yet. This, however, is not making progress with my story. M i s s C a t h y rejected the peace-offering of the terrier, and d e m a n d e d her own dogs, Charlie and Phoenix. They c a m e limping, a n d h a n g i n g their heads; and we set out for h o m e , 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 s u p p o s e d , the goal of her pilgrimage was Penistone Crags; and she arrived without adventure to the gate of the farm­ house, when Hareton h a p p e n e d to issue forth, attended by s o m e canine followers who attacked her train. They had a smart battle, before their owners could s e p a r a t e them: that formed an introduction. C a t h e r i n e told H a r e t o n who she was, and where she was going; and a s k e d him to show her the way, finally beguiling him to a c c o m p a n y her. He opened the mysteries of the Fairy cave, a n d twenty other queer places; but, being in disgrace, I was not favoured with a de­ scription of the interesting objects she saw. I could gather, however, that her guide had b e e n a favourite till she hurt his feelings by a d d r e s s i n g him as a servant; and H e a t h c l i f f s housekeeper hurt hers by calling him her cousin. Then the language he h a d held to her rankled in her heart; she who was always "love," and "darling," a n d "queen," a n d "angel," with everybody at the G r a n g e , to b e insulted so shockingly by a stranger! S h e did not c o m p r e h e n d it; and hard work I h a d to obtain a promise that she would not lay the grievance before her father. 5

5.

Miserly.

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I explained how he objected to the whole household at the Heights, a n d 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 p e r h a p s b e so angry that I should have to leave; a n d C a t h y couldn't bear that prospect: she pledged her word, a n d kept it, for my s a k e — a f t e r all, she was a sweet little girl. Chapter

XIX

A letter, edged with black, a n n o u n c e d the day of my master's return. Isabella was dead; and he wrote to bid m e get mourning for his daughter, and arrange a room and other a c c o m m o d a t i o n s for his youthful nephew. C a t h e r i n e ran wild with joy at the idea of welcoming her father back, and indulged m o s t s a n g u i n e anticipations of the innumerable excellencies of her "real" cousin. T h e evening of their expected arrival c a m e . S i n c e early morning, she h a d b e e n busy, ordering her own small affairs; and now, attired in her new black f r o c k — p o o r thing! her aunt's death impressed her with no definite s o r r o w — s h e obliged m e , by constant worrying, to walk with her down through the grounds to meet them. "Linton is j u s t six m o n t h s younger than I am," she chattered, as we strolled leisurely over the swells and hollows of mossy turf, un­ der s h a d o w of the trees. "How delightful it will be to have him for a playfellow! Aunt Isabella sent p a p a a beautiful lock of his hair; it was lighter than m i n e — m o r e flaxen, and quite as fine. I have it carefully preserved in a little glass box; a n d I've often thought what p l e a s u r e it would be to see its owner. Oh! I a m h a p p y — a n d papa, dear, dear p a p a ! C o m e , Ellen, let us run! c o m e run!" S h e ran, and returned and ran again, many times before my sober footsteps r e a c h e d the gate, a n d then she seated herself on the grassy b a n k b e s i d e the path, and tried to wait patiently, but that was impossible; she couldn't be still a minute. "How long they are!" she exclaimed. "Ah, I see s o m e dust on the r o a d — t h e y are coming! No! W h e n will they be here? May we not go a little w a y — h a l f a mile, Ellen, only j u s t half a mile? Do say yes, to that c l u m p of birches at the turn!" I refused staunchly; and, at length, her s u s p e n s e was ended: the travelling carriage rolled in sight. M i s s C a t h y shrieked, and stretched out her arms, as soon as she c a u g h t her father's face, looking from the window. H e descended, nearly a s eager as herself; and a considerable interval elapsed ere they had a thought to spare for any but themselves. While they exchanged c a r e s s e s , I took a peep in to see after Lin­ ton. H e was asleep in a corner, wrapped in a warm, fur-lined cloak,

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as if it had been winter. A pale, delicate, effeminate boy, who might have been taken for my master's younger brother, so strong was the resemblance; but there was a sickly peevishness in his a s p e c t that Edgar Linton never had. T h e latter saw m e looking; a n d having shaken h a n d s , advised m e to close the door, a n d leave him undisturbed; for the j o u r n e y had fatigued him. Cathy would fain have taken one glance; but her father told her to c o m e on, and they walked together u p the park, while I h a s t e n e d before to prepare the servants. "Now, darling," said Mr. Linton, a d d r e s s i n g his daughter, a s they halted at the bottom of the front steps, "your cousin is not so strong or so merry as you are, a n d he h a s lost his mother, r e m e m b e r , a very short time since; therefore, don't expect him to play a n d run about with you directly. And don't h a r a s s him m u c h by t a l k i n g — let him be quiet this evening, at least, will you?" "Yes, yes, papa," answered C a t h e r i n e ; "but I do want to see him; and he hasn't once looked out." T h e carriage stopped; and the sleeper, being r o u s e d , was lifted to the ground by his uncle. "This is your cousin Cathy, Linton," he said, putting their little hands together. "She's fond of you already; a n d mind you don't grieve her by crying to-night. Try to be cheerful now; the travelling is at an end, and you have nothing to do but rest a n d a m u s e yourself as you please." "Let m e go to bed, then," answered the boy, shrinking from C a t h ­ erine's salute; and he put his fingers to his eyes to remove incipient tears. "Come, c o m e , there's a good child," I whispered, leading him in. "You'll make her weep t o o — s e e how sorry she is for you!" I do not know whether it were sorrow for him, but his c o u s i n p u t on as sad a c o u n t e n a n c e as himself, a n d returned to her father. All three entered, and m o u n t e d to the library, where tea was laid ready. I proceeded to remove Linton's c a p a n d mantle, a n d p l a c e d him on a chair by the table; but he was no sooner seated than he b e g a n to cry afresh. My m a s t e r inquired what was the matter. "I can't sit on a chair," sobbed the boy. "Go to the sofa, then, a n d Ellen shall bring you s o m e tea," an­ swered his uncle, patiently. He had been greatly tried during the journey, I felt convinced, by his fretful, ailing charge. Linton slowly trailed himself off, a n d lay down. C a t h y carried a foot-stool and her c u p to his side. At first she sat silent; but that could not last; she had resolved to make a pet of her little cousin, as she would have him to be; a n d

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she c o m m e n c e d stroking his curls, and kissing his cheek, and of­ fering him tea in her s a u c e r , like a baby. This pleased him, for he was not m u c h better; he dried his eyes, and lightened into a faint smile. "Oh, he'll do very well," said the master to m e , after watching them a m i n u t e . "Very well, if we can keep him, Ellen. T h e company of a child of his own age will instil new spirit into him soon, and by wishing for strength he'll gain it." "Aye, if we c a n keep him!" I m u s e d to myself; and sore misgivings c a m e over m e that there was slight hope of that. And then, I thought, however will that weakling live at Wuthering Heights, be­ tween his father a n d H a r e t o n ? W h a t playmates and instructors they'll be. O u r doubts were presently d e c i d e d — e v e n earlier than I expected. I h a d j u s t taken the children upstairs, after tea was finished, and seen Linton a s l e e p — h e would not suffer m e to leave him till that was the c a s e . I had c o m e down, a n d was standing by the table in the hall, lighting a b e d - r o o m candle for Mr. Edgar, when a maid s t e p p e d out of the kitchen a n d informed m e that Mr. Heathcliff's servant, J o s e p h , was at the door, and wished to s p e a k with the master. "I shall a s k him what he wants first," I said, in considerable trep­ idation. "A very unlikely hour to be troubling people, and the instant they have returned from a long journey. I don't think the master c a n see him." J o s e p h had a d va n c e d through the kitchen, as I uttered these words, a n d now p r e s e n t e d himself in the hall. H e was donned in his S u n d a y g a r m e n t s , with his most sanctimonious and sourest face; a n d holding his hat in one h a n d and his stick in the other, he p r o c e e d e d to clean his shoes on the mat. "Good evening, J o s e p h , " I said, coldly. "What b u s i n e s s brings you here to-night?" "It's M a i s t e r Linton Aw m u n spake tull," he answered, waving m e disdainfully a s i d e . "Mr. Linton is going to bed; unless you have something particular to say, I'm sure he won't hear it now," I continued. "You had better sit down in there, a n d entrust your m e s s a g e to me." "Which is his rahm?" p u r s u e d the fellow, surveying the range of closed doors. I perceived he was bent on refusing my mediation; so very reluc­ tantly I went up to the library, and a n n o u n c e d the u n s e a s o n a b l e visitor, advising that he should b e d i s m i s s e d till next day. 1

1.

S p e a k to.

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Mr. Linton had no time to empower m e to do so, for he m o u n t e d close at my heels, and, p u s h i n g into the apartment, planted himself at the far side of the table, with his two fists c l a p p e d on the h e a d of his stick, and b e g a n in an elevated tone, as if anticipating op­ position— "Hathecliff has send m e for his lad, un Aw munn't goa b a c k 'baht him." Edgar Linton was silent a minute; an expression of exceeding sorrow overcast his features; he would have pitied the child on his own account; but, recalling Isabella's hopes and fears, a n d anxious wishes for her son, and her c o m m e n d a t i o n s of him to his care, he grieved bitterly at the prospect of yielding him u p , and s e a r c h e d in his heart how it might be avoided. N o plan offered itself: the very exhibition of any desire to keep him would have rendered the claim­ ant more peremptory: there was nothing left but to resign him. However, he was not going to r o u s e him from his sleep. "Tell Mr. Heathcliff," he answered, calmly, "that his son shall come to Wuthering Heights to-morrow. H e is in bed, and too tired to go the distance now. You may also tell him that the mother of Linton desired him to remain under my guardianship; and, at pres­ ent, his health is very precarious." "Noa!" said J o s e p h , giving a thud with his prop on the floor, and a s s u m i n g an authoritative air. "Noa! that m a n e s n o w t — H a t h e c l i f f maks noa 'cahnt uh t' mother, nur yah n o r t h e r — b u d he'll hev his lad; und Aw m u n tak h i m — s o a nah yah knaw!" "You shall not to-night!" answered Linton, decisively. "Walk down stairs at once, and repeat to your m a s t e r what I have said. Ellen, show him down. G o — " And, aiding the indignant elder with a lift by the a r m , he rid the room of him, and closed the door. "Varrah weel!" shouted J o s e p h , as he slowly drew off. "Tuh morn, he's c o m e hisseln, un' thrust him aht, if yah darr!" 2

3

4

Chapter

XX

T o obviate the danger of this threat being fulfilled, Mr. Linton commissioned m e to take the boy h o m e early, on Catherine's pony, and, said h e — "As we shall now have no influence over his destiny, good or b a d , you must say nothing of where he is gone to my daughter; she

2.

". . . a n d I m u s t n ' t g o b a c k w i t h o u t

3.

"No, that m e a n s nothing. Heathcliff t a k e s n o a c c o u n t of the m o t h e r , nor of you

him."

— b u t he'll h a v e h i s l a d ; a n d I m u s t t a k e h i m — s o n o w y o u 4.

either

know!"

" V e r y w e l l . . . H e ' l l c o m e h i m s e l f i n t h e m o r n i n g , a n d t h r o w him

o u t if y o u d a r e ! "

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c a n n o t a s s o c i a t e with him hereafter, and it is better for her to re­ main in ignorance of his proximity, lest she should be restless, and anxious to visit the Heights. Merely tell her, his father sent for him suddenly, a n d he has been obliged to leave us." Linton was very reluctant to be r o u s e d from his bed at five o'clock, a n d a s t o n i s h e d to be informed that he m u s t prepare for further travelling; but I softened off the matter by stating that he was going to s p e n d s o m e time with his father, Mr. Heathcliff, who wished to s e e him so m u c h , he did not like to defer the pleasure till he should recover from his late journey. "My father?" he cried, in strange perplexity. " M a m m a never told m e I h a d a father. W h e r e does he live? I'd rather stay with uncle." "He lives a little distance from the G r a n g e , " I replied, "just be­ yond those hills—not so far but you may walk over here, when you get hearty. And you should be glad to go h o m e , and to see him. You m u s t try to love him, a s you did your mother, and then he will love you." "But why have I not heard of him before?" asked Linton; "why didn't m a m m a a n d he live together, as other people do?" "He had b u s i n e s s to keep him in the north," I answered; "and your mother's health required her to reside in the south." "And why didn't m a m m a s p e a k to m e about him?" persevered the child. "She often talked of uncle, and I learnt to love him long ago. H o w a m I to love p a p a ? I don't know him." "Oh, all children love their parents," I said. "Your mother, per­ h a p s , thought you would want to be with him, if she mentioned him often to you. L e t us m a k e h a s t e . An early ride on such a beau­ tiful morning is m u c h preferable to an hour's more sleep." "Is she to go with u s ? " he d e m a n d e d . "The little girl I saw yes­ terday?" "Not now," replied I. "Is uncle?" he continued. "No, I shall b e your c o m p a n i o n there," I said. Linton s a n k b a c k on his pillow, and fell into a brown study. "I won't go without uncle," he cried at length; "I can't tell where you m e a n to take me." I a t t e m p t e d to p e r s u a d e him of the naughtiness of showing re­ l u c t a n c e to meet his father; still he obstinately resisted any progress towards dressing, and I h a d to call for my master's assistance in coaxing him out of bed. T h e poor thing was finally got off with several delusive a s s u r a n c e s that his a b s e n c e should be short; that Mr. E d g a r and Cathy would visit him; and other p r o m i s e s , equally ill-founded, which I invented a n d reiterated at intervals throughout the way.

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T h e pure heather-scented air, a n d the bright s u n s h i n e , a n d the gentle canter of Minny relieved his despondency, after a while. H e began to put questions concerning his new h o m e , a n d its inhabi­ tants, with greater interest a n d liveliness. "Is Wuthering Heights as p l e a s a n t a p l a c e a s T h r u s h c r o s s Grange?" he inquired, turning to take a last glance into the valley, whence a light mist m o u n t e d a n d formed a fleecy cloud on the skirts of the blue. "It is not so buried in trees," I replied, "and it is not quite so large, but you can see the country beautifully, all round; a n d the air is healthier for y o u — f r e s h e r a n d dryer. You will, p e r h a p s , think the building old and dark at first—though it is a r e s p e c t a b l e h o u s e , the next best in the neighbourhood. A n d you will have s u c h nice rambles on the moors! H a r e t o n E a r n s h a w — t h a t is M i s s Cathy's other cousin, and so yours in a m a n n e r — w i l l show you all the sweetest spots; and you can bring a book in fine weather, a n d m a k e a green hollow your study; and, now a n d then, your uncle may join you in a walk: he does, frequently, walk out on the hills." "And what is my father like?" he asked. "Is he a s young a n d h a n d s o m e as uncle?" "He's as young," said I, "but he h a s b l a c k hair a n d eyes, a n d looks sterner, and he is taller a n d bigger altogether. He'll not s e e m to you so gentle and kind at first, p e r h a p s , b e c a u s e it is not his way—still, mind you be frank a n d cordial with him; a n d naturally he'll be fonder of you than any uncle, for you are his own." "Black hair and eyes!" m u s e d Linton. "I can't fancy him. T h e n I am not like him, a m I?" "Not much," I answered. Not a morsel, I thought, surveying with regret the white complexion and slim frame of my c o m p a n i o n , a n d his large languid e y e s — h i s mother's eyes, save that, unless a morbid touchiness kindled them a m o m e n t , they h a d not a vestige of her sparkling spirit. "How strange that he should never c o m e to see m a m m a a n d me," he m u r m u r e d . "Has he ever seen m e ? If he have, I m u s t have b e e n a b a b y — I r e m e m b e r not a single thing a b o u t him!" "Why, M a s t e r Linton," said I, "three h u n d r e d miles is a great distance; and ten years s e e m very different in length to a grown u p person, c o m p a r e d with what they do to you. It is p r o b a b l e M r . Heathcliff p r o p o s e d going, from s u m m e r to s u m m e r , but never found a convenient opportunity; a n d now it is too late. Don't trou­ ble him with questions on the subject: it will disturb him for no good." T h e boy was fully occupied with his own cogitations for the re­ mainder of the ride, till we halted before the f a r m - h o u s e garden

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gate. I watched to c a t c h his impressions in his c o u n t e n a n c e . H e surveyed the carved front and low-browed lattices, the straggling gooseberry b u s h e s a n d crooked firs, with solemn intentness, and then shook his head: his private feelings entirely disapproved of the exterior of his new a b o d e ; but he had sense to postpone c o m p l a i n i n g — t h e r e might be c o m p e n s a t i o n within. Before he d i s m o u n t e d , I went a n d opened the door. It was halfp a s t six; the family h a d j u s t finished breakfast; the servant was clearing a n d wiping down the table. J o s e p h stood by his master's chair telling s o m e tale concerning a lame horse; and Hareton was preparing for the hay-field. "Hallo, Nelly!" cried Mr. Heathcliff, when he saw me. "I feared I should have to c o m e down a n d fetch my property myself. You've brought it, have you? L e t us see what we can m a k e of it." H e got u p a n d strode to the door: Hareton and J o s e p h followed in gaping curiosity. Poor Linton ran a frightened eye over the faces of the three. "Sure-ly," said J o s e p h after a grave inspection, "he's swopped wi' ye, maister, an' yon's his lass!" Heathcliff, having stared his son into an a g u e of confusion, ut­ tered a scornful laugh. "God! what a beauty! what a lovely, c h a r m i n g thing!" he ex­ claimed. "Haven't they reared it on snails and sour milk, Nelly? Oh, d a m n my soul! but that's worse than I e x p e c t e d — a n d the devil knows I was not sanguine!" I bid the trembling and bewildered child get down, and enter. H e did not thoroughly c o m p r e h e n d the m e a n i n g of his father's speech, or whether it were intended for him: indeed, he was not yet certain that the grim, sneering stranger was his father; but he clung to me with growing trepidation, a n d on Mr. Heathcliff s taking a seat, and bidding him "come hither," he hid his face on my shoulder, and wept. "Tut, tut!" said Heathcliff, stretching out a h a n d and dragging him roughly between his knees, and then holding up his head by the chin. "None of that nonsense! We're not going to hurt thee, L i n t o n — i s n ' t that thy n a m e ? T h o u art thy mother's child, entirely! W h e r e is my share in thee, puling chicken?" H e took off the boy's c a p and p u s h e d b a c k his thick flaxen curls, felt his slender a r m s , and his small fingers; during which exami­ nation, Linton c e a s e d crying, a n d lifted his great blue eyes to in­ spect the inspector. "Do you know m e ? " a s k e d Heathcliff, having satisfied himself that the limbs were all equally frail and feeble. "No!" said Linton, with a gaze of vacant fear. "You've heard of m e , I dare say?"

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"No," he replied again. "No? What a s h a m e of your mother, never to waken your filial regard for me! You are my son, then, I'll tell you; a n d your mother was a wicked slut to leave you in ignorance of the sort of father you p o s s e s s e d . Now, don't wince, a n d colour up! T h o u g h it is s o m e ­ thing to see you have not white blood. B e a good lad; a n d I'll do for you. Nelly, if you be tired you may sit down; if not get h o m e again. I g u e s s you'll report what you hear a n d see, to the cipher at the G r a n g e ; and this thing won't be settled while you linger a b o u t it." "Well," replied I, "I hope you'll be kind to the boy, Mr. Heathcliff, or you'll not keep him long, and he's all you have akin in the wide world that you will ever k n o w — r e m e m b e r . " "I'll be very kind to him, you needn't fear!" he said, laughing. "Only nobody else m u s t be kind to h i m — I ' m j e a l o u s of monopoliz­ ing his affection. And, to begin my kindness, J o s e p h ! bring the lad s o m e breakfast. Hareton, you infernal calf, b e g o n e to your work. Yes, Nell," he a d d e d when they were departed, "my son is p r o s p e c ­ tive owner of your p l a c e , and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his s u c c e s s o r . B e s i d e s , he's mine, a n d I want the triumph of seeing my d e s c e n d e n t fairly lord of their estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers' lands for w a g e s . T h a t is the sole consideration which can m a k e m e e n d u r e the w h e l p — I despise him for himself, and hate him for the m e m o r i e s he revives! But that consideration is sufficient; he's as safe with m e , and shall be tended as carefully as your m a s t e r tends his own. I have a room upstairs, furnished for him in h a n d s o m e style; I've e n g a g e d a tutor, also, to c o m e three times a week, from twenty miles d i s t a n c e , to teach him what he p l e a s e s to learn. I've ordered H a r e t o n to obey him; and in fact I've arranged everything with a view to preserve the superior and the gentleman in him, above his a s s o c i a t e s . I do regret, however, that he so little deserves the trouble. If I wished any blessing in the world, it was to find him a worthy object of pride, and I'm bitterly disappointed with the whey-faced whining wretch!" While he was speaking, J o s e p h returned, bearing a b a s i n of milkporridge, and placed it before Linton. H e stirred round the homely m e s s with a look of aversion, and affirmed he could not eat it. I saw the old man-servant s h a r e d largely in his master's scorn of the child, though he was compelled to retain the sentiment in his heart, b e c a u s e Heathcliff plainly m e a n t his underlings to hold him in honour. "Cannot ate it?" repeated he, peering in Linton's f a c e , and s u b ­ duing his voice to a whisper, for fear of being overheard. "But M a i s ­ ter Hareton nivir ate nowt else, when he wer a little un: u n d what

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wer gooid e n e u g h fur him's gooid eneugh fur yah, Aw's rayther think!" "I shan't eat it!" answered Linton, snappishly. "Take it away." J o s e p h s n a t c h e d up the food indignantly, and brought it to us. "Is there owt ails th' victuals?" he asked, thrusting the tray under Heathcliff's n o s e . "What should ail them?" he said. "Wah!" answered J o s e p h , "yon dainty c h a p says he cannut ate 'em. B u d Aw g u e s s it's raight! His mother wer j u s t s o a — w e wer a'most too mucky tuh sow t' corn fur makking her breead." "Don't mention his mother to me," said the master, angrily. "Get him s o m e t h i n g that he c a n eat, that's all. W h a t is his usual food, Nelly?" I s u g g e s t e d boiled milk or tea; and the housekeeper received in­ structions to p r e p a r e s o m e . C o m e , I reflected, his father's selfishness may contribute to his comfort. H e perceives his delicate constitution, and the necessity of treating him tolerably. I'll console Mr. E d g a r by acquainting him with the turn Heathcliff's h u m o u r has taken. Having no excuse for lingering longer, I slipped out, while Linton was e n g a g e d in timidly rebuffing the advances of a friendly sheep­ dog. B u t he was too m u c h on the alert to be cheated: as I closed the door, I heard a cry, and a frantic repetition of the w o r d s — "Don't leave me! I'll not stay here! I'll not stay here!" T h e n the latch was raised and fell: they did not suffer him to c o m e forth. I m o u n t e d Minny, a n d urged her to a trot; and so my brief g u a r d i a n s h i p ended. Chapter

XXI

W e h a d s a d work with little Cathy that day: she rose in high glee, eager to join her cousin; and s u c h p a s s i o n a t e tears and lamentations followed the news of his departure, that E d g a r himself was obliged to sooth her, by affirming he should c o m e b a c k soon; he added, however, "if I c a n get him"; and there were no hopes of that. This p r o m i s e poorly pacified her, but time was more potent; and though still, at intervals, she inquired of her father when Linton would return, before she did see him again, his features had waxed so dim in her m e m o r y that she did not recognise him. W h e n I c h a n c e d to encounter the housekeeper of Wuthering Heights, in paying business-visits to G i m m e r t o n , I u s e d to ask how the y o u n g m a s t e r got on; for he lived almost as secluded as C a t h ­ erine herself, a n d was never to be seen. I could gather from her that he continued in weak health, and was a tiresome inmate. S h e said Mr. Heathcliff s e e m e d to dislike him ever longer and worse,

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though he took s o m e trouble to conceal it. H e had an antipathy to the s o u n d of his voice, and could not do at all with his sitting in the s a m e room with him many minutes together. There seldom p a s s e d m u c h talk between them; Linton learnt his lessons, and spent his evenings in a small a p a r t m e n t they called the parlour; or else lay in bed all day, for he was constantly getting coughs, and colds, and a c h e s , and p a i n s of s o m e sort. "And I never knew s u c h a faint-hearted creature," a d d e d the woman; "nor one so careful of hisseln. H e will go on, if I leave the window open, a bit late in the evening. Oh! it's killing, a breath of night air! And he m u s t have a fire in the middle of s u m m e r ; a n d Joseph's 'bacca pipe is poison; and he m u s t always have sweets a n d dainties, and always milk, milk for e v e r — h e e d i n g n a u g h t how the rest of us are pinched in winter; a n d there he'll sit, wrapped in his furred cloak in his chair by the fire, a n d s o m e toast a n d water, or other slop on the hob to sip at; and if Hareton, for pity, c o m e s to a m u s e h i m — H a r e t o n is not b a d - n a t u r e d , though he's r o u g h — they're sure to part, one swearing and the other crying. I believe the master would relish Earnshaw's thrashing him to a m u m m y , if he were not his son; and I'm certain he would be fit to turn him out of doors, if he knew half the nursing he gives hisseln. B u t then, he won't go into danger of temptation; he never enters the parlour, and should Linton show those ways in the h o u s e where he is, he sends him upstairs directly." I divined, from this account, that utter lack of sympathy had rendered young Heathcliff selfish and disagreeable, if he were not so originally; and my interest in him, consequently, decayed, though still I was moved with a s e n s e of grief at his lot, a n d a wish that he had been left with us. Mr. Edgar e n c o u r a g e d m e to gain information; he thought a great deal about him, I fancy, and would have run s o m e risk to see him; and he told me once to ask the housekeeper whether he ever c a m e into the village? S h e said he had only been twice, on horseback, a c c o m p a n y i n g his father; and both times he pretended to be quite knocked u p for three or four days afterwards. That housekeeper left, if I recollect rightly, two years after he came; and another, whom I did not know, was her successor: she lives there still. T i m e wore on at the G r a n g e in its former p l e a s a n t way, till M i s s Cathy reached sixteen. O n the anniversary of her birth we never manifested any signs of rejoicing, b e c a u s e it was also the anniver­ sary of my late mistress's death. Her father invariably spent that day alone in the library; and walked, at dusk, as far as G i m m e r t o n kirkyard, where he would frequently prolong his stay beyond mid-

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night. Therefore C a t h e r i n e was thrown on her own resources for amusement. This twentieth of M a r c h was a beautiful spring day, and when her father h a d retired, my young lady c a m e down dressed for going out, a n d said she had asked to have a ramble on the edge of the moors with m e ; a n d Mr. Linton had given her leave, if we went only a short d i s t a n c e a n d were b a c k within the hour. "So m a k e haste, Ellen!" she cried. "I know where I wish to go; where a colony of m o o r g a m e are settled. I want to see whether they have m a d e their nests yet." "That m u s t be a good distance up," I answered; "they don't breed on the edge of the moor." "No, it's not," she said. "I've gone very near with papa." I p u t on my bonnet a n d sallied out, thinking nothing more of the matter. S h e b o u n d e d before m e , a n d returned to my side, and was off again like a y o u n g greyhound; a n d , at first, I found plenty of entertainment in listening to the larks singing far and near, and enjoying the sweet, w a r m s u n s h i n e , and watching her, my pet and my delight, with her golden ringlets flying loose behind, and her bright cheek, as soft a n d p u r e in its bloom as a wild rose, and her eyes radiant with cloudless p l e a s u r e . S h e was a happy creature, and an angel, in those days. It's a pity she could not be content. "Well," said I, "where are your m o o r - g a m e , M i s s Cathy? W e should be at t h e m — t h e G r a n g e park-fence is a great way off now." "Oh, a little further—only a little further, Ellen," was her answer, continually. "Climb to that hillock, p a s s that bank, and by the time you reach the other side, I shall have raised the birds." B u t there were so m a n y hillocks and banks to climb and pass, that, at length, I b e g a n to be weary, and told her we m u s t halt, and retrace our steps. I s h o u t e d to her, as she h a d outstripped m e , a long way; she either did not hear or did not regard, for she still s p r a n g on, and I was c o m p e l l e d to follow. Finally, she dived into a hollow; and before I c a m e in sight of her again, she was two miles nearer Wuthering Heights than her own home; a n d I beheld a couple of persons arrest her, one of w h o m I felt convinced was Mr. Heathcliff himself. C a t h y h a d b e e n c a u g h t in the fact of plundering, or, at least, hunting out the nests of the g r o u s e . T h e Heights were Heathcliff's land, and he was reproving the poacher. "I've neither taken any nor found any," she said, as I toiled to them, expanding her h a n d s in corroboration of the statement. "I didn't m e a n to take them; but p a p a told m e there were quantities up here, and I wished to see the eggs."

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Heathcliff glanced at m e with an ill-meaning smile, expressing his a c q u a i n t a n c e with the party, and, consequently, his malevolence towards it, and d e m a n d e d who "papa" w a s ? "Mr. Linton of T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e , " she replied. "I thought you did not know m e , or you wouldn't have spoken in that way." "You s u p p o s e p a p a is highly e s t e e m e d and r e s p e c t e d then?" he said, sarcastically. "And what are you?" inquired C a t h e r i n e , gazing curiously on the speaker. "That m a n I've seen before. Is he your son?" S h e pointed to H a r e t o n , the other individual, who had gained nothing but increased bulk a n d strength by the addition of two years to his age: he s e e m e d as awkward and rough a s ever. "Miss Cathy," I interrupted, "it will be three hours instead of one that we are out, presently. W e really m u s t go back." "No, that m a n is not my son," answered Heathcliff, p u s h i n g m e aside. "But I have one, and you have seen him before, too; a n d , though your nurse is in a hurry, I think both you a n d she would be the better for a little rest. Will you j u s t turn this nab of h e a t h , a n d walk into my h o u s e ? You'll get h o m e earlier for the e a s e ; a n d you shall receive a kind welcome." I whispered C a t h e r i n e that she mustn't, on any a c c o u n t , a c c e d e to the proposal; it was entirely out of the question. "Why?" she asked, aloud. "I'm tired of running, a n d the g r o u n d is dewy—I can't sit here. Let us go, Ellen! B e s i d e s , he says I have seen his son. He's mistaken, I think; but I g u e s s where he lives— at the farm-house I visited in c o m i n g from Penistone C r a g s . Don't you?" "I do. C o m e , Nelly, hold your t o n g u e — i t will be a treat for her to look in on us. Hareton, get forwards with the lass. You shall walk with m e , Nelly." "No, she's not going to any s u c h place," I cried, struggling to release my arm which he had seized; but she was almost at the door-stones already, s c a m p e r i n g round the brow at full speed. H e r appointed c o m p a n i o n did not pretend to escort her; he shyed off by the road-side, and vanished. "Mr. Heathcliff, it's very wrong," I continued; "you know you m e a n no good. And there she'll see Linton, a n d all will be told, as soon as ever we return; and I shall have the b l a m e . " "I want her to see Linton," he answered; "he's looking better these few days; it's not often he's fit to b e seen. A n d we'll soon p e r s u a d e her to keep the visit s e c r e t — w h e r e is the h a r m of it?" 1

1. A nab

is a n a b r u p t t e r m i n a t i o n o f a r a n g e o f u p l a n d s . B r o n t ë m a y h a v e h a d i n m i n d t h e

e s c a r p m e n t of Millstone Grit, from which the whole of the H a w o r t h m o o r l a n d s could b e v i e w e d . It w a s k n o w n a s t h e " N a b . "

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"The h a r m of it is, that her father would hate m e if he found I suffered her to enter your h o u s e ; and I a m convinced you have a b a d design in e n c o u r a g i n g her to do so," I replied. "My design is as honest as possible. I'll inform you of its whole scope," he said. "That the two cousins may fall in love, and get married. I'm acting generously to your master; his young chit has no expectations, a n d should she s e c o n d my wishes, she'll be pro­ vided for, at once, as joint s u c c e s s o r with Linton." "If Linton died," I answered, "and his life is quite uncertain, C a t h e r i n e would be the heir." "No, she would not," he said. "There is no c l a u s e in the will to s e c u r e it so; his property would go to me; but, to prevent disputes, I desire their union, a n d a m resolved to bring it about." "And I'm resolved s h e shall never a p p r o a c h your h o u s e with m e again," I returned, a s we r e a c h e d the gate, where M i s s Cathy waited our coming. Heathcliff bid m e b e quiet; and, preceding us up the path, has­ tened to open the door. My young lady gave him several looks, as if she could not exactly m a k e u p her mind what to think of him; but now he smiled when he met her eye, a n d softened his voice in a d d r e s s i n g her, a n d I was foolish e n o u g h to imagine the memory of her mother might d i s a r m him from desiring her injury. Linton stood on the hearth. H e had been out walking in the fields, for his c a p was on, a n d he was calling to J o s e p h to bring him dry s h o e s . H e h a d grown tall of his age, still wanting s o m e months of six­ teen. His features were pretty yet, a n d his eye and complexion brighter than I r e m e m b e r e d them, though with merely temporary lustre borrowed from the salubrious air a n d genial sun. "Now, who is that?" asked Mr. Heathcliff, turning to Cathy. "Can you tell?" "Your son?" she said, having doubtfully surveyed first one and then the other. "Yes, yes," a n s w e r e d he; "but is this the only time you have beheld him? Think! Ah! you have a short memory. Linton, don't you recall your cousin, that you u s e d to tease us so with wishing to see?" "What, Linton!" cried Cathy, kindling into joyful surprise at the n a m e . "Is that little Linton? He's taller than I am! Are you Linton?" T h e youth s t e p p e d forward, a n d acknowledged himself: she kissed him fervently, a n d they gazed with wonder at the change time h a d wrought in the a p p e a r a n c e of each. C a t h e r i n e had r e a c h e d her full height; her figure was both p l u m p and slender, elastic as steel, a n d her whole a s p e c t sparkling with health a n d spirits. Linton's looks a n d movements were very languid,

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and his form extremely slight; but there was a g r a c e in his m a n n e r that mitigated these defects, a n d rendered him not u n p l e a s i n g . After exchanging n u m e r o u s m a r k s of fondness with him, his cousin went to Mr. Heathcliff, who lingered by the door, dividing his attention between the objects inside and those that lay without, pretending, that is, to observe the latter, and really noting the for­ mer alone. "And you are my uncle, then!" she cried, reaching up to salute him. "I thought I liked you, though you were cross, at first. Why don't you visit at the G r a n g e with Linton? T o live all these years such close neighbours, and never see u s , is odd; what have you done so for?" "I visited it once or twice too often before you were born," he answered. " T h e r e — d a m n it! If you have any kisses to s p a r e , give them to L i n t o n — t h e y are thrown away on me." "Naughty Ellen!" exclaimed C a t h e r i n e , flying to attack m e next with her lavish c a r e s s e s . "Wicked Ellen! to try to hinder m e from entering. But I'll take this walk every morning in future. M a y I, u n c l e — a n d s o m e t i m e s bring p a p a ? Won't you b e glad to s e e u s ? " "Of course!" replied the uncle, with a hardly s u r p r e s s e d g r i m a c e , resulting from his deep aversion to both the p r o p o s e d visitors. "But stay," he continued, turning towards the young lady. "Now I think of it, I'd better tell you. Mr. Linton h a s a prejudice against me ; we quarrelled at one time of our lives, with unchristian ferocity; a n d , if you mention coming here to him, he'll p u t a veto on your visits altogether. Therefore, you m u s t not mention it, unless you b e care­ less of seeing your cousin hereafter. You may c o m e , if you will, but you m u s t not mention it." "Why did you quarrel?" a s k e d C a t h e r i n e , considerably crestfallen. "He thought m e too poor to wed his sister," answered Heathcliff, "and was grieved that I got her. His pride was hurt, a n d he'll never forgive it." "That's wrong!" said the young lady: "some time, I'll tell him so. But Linton and I have no share in your quarrel. I'll not c o m e here, then; he shall c o m e to the G r a n g e . " "It will be too far for me," m u r m u r e d her cousin; "to walk four miles would kill m e . N o , c o m e here, M i s s C a t h e r i n e , now a n d then, not every morning, but once or twice a week." T h e father l a u n c h e d towards his son a glance of bitter c o n t e m p t . "I a m afraid, Nelly, I shall lose my labour," he m u t t e r e d to m e . "Miss Catherine, as the ninny calls her, will discover his value, and send him to the devil. Now, if it had been H a r e t o n — d o you know that, twenty times a day, I covet H a r e t o n , with all his d e g r a d a t i o n ? I'd have loved the lad had he been s o m e one else. B u t I think he's

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safe from her love. I'll pit him against that paltry creature, unless it bestir itself briskly. W e calculate it will scarcely last till it is eigh­ teen. O h , c o n f o u n d the vapid thing. He's a b s o r b e d in drying his feet, a n d never looks at h e r — L i n t o n ! " "Yes, father," a n s w e r e d the boy. "Have you nothing to show your cousin, anywhere about; not even a rabbit, or a weasel's nest? T a k e her into the garden, before you c h a n g e your shoes; a n d into the stable to see your horse." "Wouldn't you rather sit here?" asked Linton, addressing Cathy in a tone which expressed reluctance to move again. "I don't know," she replied, casting a longing look to the door, a n d evidently eager to be active. H e kept his seat, a n d s h r a n k closer to the fire. Heathcliff rose, a n d went into the kitchen, a n d from thence to the yard, calling out for H a r e t o n . H a r e t o n r e s p o n d e d , a n d presently the two re-entered. T h e young m a n had b e e n w a s h i n g himself, as was visible by the glow on his cheeks, a n d his wetted hair. "Oh, I'll a s k you, uncle," cried M i s s Cathy, recollecting the housekeeper's assertion. "That's not my cousin, is he?" "Yes," he replied, "Your mother's nephew. Don't you like him?" C a t h e r i n e looked queer. "Is he not a h a n d s o m e lad?" he continued. T h e uncivil little thing stood on tiptoe, a n d whispered a sentence in Heathcliff's ear. H e laughed; H a r e t o n darkened; I perceived he was very sensitive to s u s p e c t e d slights, a n d had obviously a dim notion of his inferior­ ity. B u t his m a s t e r or g u a r d i a n c h a s e d the frown by exclaiming— "You'll b e the favourite a m o n g u s , Hareton! S h e says you are a — w h a t was it? Well, s o m e t h i n g very flattering. Here! you go with her r o u n d the farm. A n d behave like a gentleman, mind! Don't use any b a d words; a n d don't stare, when the young lady is not looking at you, a n d b e ready to hide your face when she is; and, when you speak, say your words slowly, a n d keep your hands out of your pock­ ets. B e off, a n d entertain her as nicely as you can." H e watched the c o u p l e walking p a s t the window. E a r n s h a w had his c o u n t e n a n c e completely averted from his companion. H e s e e m e d studying the familiar l a n d s c a p e with a stranger's and an artist's interest. C a t h e r i n e took a sly look at him, expressing small admiration. S h e then turned her attention to seeking out objects of a m u s e m e n t for herself, a n d tripped merrily on, lilting a tune to supply the lack of conversation. "I've tied his tongue," observed Heathcliff. "He'll not venture a single syllable, all the time! Nelly, you recollect me at his a g e — n a y ,

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some years younger. Did I ever look so stupid, so 'gaumless,' as J o s e p h calls it?" "Worse," I replied, "because m o r e sullen with it." "I've a pleasure in him," he continued reflecting aloud. "He h a s satisfied my expectations. If he were a born fool I should not enjoy it half so m u c h . But he's no fool; and I c a n sympathise with all his feelings, having felt them myself. I know what he suffers now, for instance, exactly—it is merely a beginning of what he shall suffer, though. And he'll never be able to emerge from his bathos of c o a r s e ­ ness and ignorance. I've got him faster than his scoundrel of a father secured me, and lower; for he takes a pride in his brutishness. I've taught him to scorn everything extra-animal as silly a n d weak. Don't you think Hindley would b e p r o u d of his son, if he could see him? almost as proud as I a m of mine. B u t there's this difference; one is gold put to the u s e of paving stones, and the other is tin polished to ape a service of silver. Mine h a s nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as s u c h poor stuff can go. His had first-rate qualities, a n d they are l o s t — rendered worse than unavailing. I have nothing to regret; he would have more than any, but I, are aware of. And the best of it is, Hareton is damnably fond of me! You'll own that I've o u t m a t c h e d Hindley there. If the dead villain could rise from his grave to a b u s e me for his offspring's wrongs, I should have the fun of seeing the said offspring fight him b a c k again, indignant that he should dare to rail at the one friend he has in the world!" Heathcliff chuckled a fiendish laugh at the idea; I m a d e no reply, b e c a u s e I saw that he expected none. M e a n t i m e , our young c o m p a n i o n , who sat too removed from us to hear what was said, b e g a n to evince s y m p t o m s of u n e a s i n e s s , probably repenting that he had denied himself the treat of C a t h ­ erine's society for fear of a little fatigue. His father remarked the restless glances wandering to the win­ dow, and the hand irresolutely extended towards his c a p . "Get up, you idle boy!" he exclaimed with a s s u m e d heartiness. "Away after them! they are j u s t at the corner, by the stand of hives." Linton gathered his energies, and left the hearth. T h e lattice was open, and, as he stepped out, I heard C a t h y inquiring of her un­ sociable attendant, what was that inscription over the door? Hareton stared up, and scratched his h e a d like a true clown. "It's some d a m n a b l e writing," he answered. "I c a n n o t read it." "Can't read it?" cried Catherine; "I c a n read it: it's English. B u t I want to know why it is there." Linton giggled—the first a p p e a r a n c e of mirth he had exhibited. 2.

Witless.

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"He does not know his letters/' he said to his cousin. "Could you believe in the existence of s u c h a colossal d u n c e ? " "Is he all as he should b e ? " asked M i s s C a t h y seriously, "or is he s i m p l e — n o t right? I've q u e s t i o n e d him twice now, a n d each time he looked so stupid I think he does not u n d e r s t a n d me; I can hardly u n d e r s t a n d him, I'm sure!" Linton r e p e a t e d his laugh, a n d glanced at Hareton tauntingly, who certainly did not s e e m quite clear of comprehension at that moment. "There's nothing the matter but laziness, is there, Earnshaw?" he said. "My c o u s i n fancies you are an idiot. T h e r e you experience the c o n s e q u e n c e of scorning 'book-laming,' as you would say. Have you noticed, C a t h e r i n e , his frightful Yorkshire pronunciation?" "Why, where the devil is the u s e on't?" growled Hareton, more ready in answering his daily c o m p a n i o n . H e was about to enlarge further, but the two youngsters broke into a noisy fit of merriment; my giddy M i s s b e i n g delighted to discover that she might turn his strange talk to matter of a m u s e m e n t . "Where is the u s e of the devil in that sentence?" tittered Linton. "Papa told you not to say any b a d words, a n d you can't open your m o u t h without one. D o try to behave like a gentleman, now do!" "If thou weren't m o r e a lass than a lad, I'd fell thee this minute, I would; pitiful lath of a crater!" retorted the angry boor, retreating, while his face burnt with mingled rage a n d mortification; for he was c o n s c i o u s of being insulted, a n d e m b a r r a s s e d how to resent it. Mr. Heathcliff, having overheard the conversation as well as I, smiled when he saw him go, but immediately afterwards cast a look of singular aversion on the flippant pair, who remained chattering in the door-way: the boy finding animation e n o u g h while discussing Hareton's faults a n d deficiencies, a n d relating a n e c d o t e s of his go­ ings on; a n d the girl relishing his pert and spiteful sayings, without considering the ill-nature they evinced. B u t I began to dislike, more than to c o m p a s s i o n a t e , Linton, a n d to excuse his father, in s o m e m e a s u r e , for holding him c h e a p . W e stayed till afternoon: I could not tear M i s s Cathy away, be­ fore: but happily my m a s t e r had not quitted his apartment, and r e m a i n e d ignorant of our prolonged a b s e n c e . As we walked h o m e , I would fain have enlightened my charge on the c h a r a c t e r s of the people we had quitted; but she got it into her h e a d that I was p r e j u d i c e d against them. "Aha!" she cried, "you take papa's side, E l l e n — y o u are partial, I know, or else you wouldn't have cheated m e so many years into the notion that Linton lived a long way from here. I'm really extremely angry, only I'm so p l e a s e d , I can't show it! But you m u s t hold your

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tongue about my uncle: he's my uncle, r e m e m b e r , a n d I'll scold p a p a for quarrelling with him." And so she ran on, till I d r o p p e d endeavouring to convince her of her mistake. S h e did not mention the visit that night, b e c a u s e s h e did not see Mr. Linton. Next day it all c a m e out, sadly to my chagrin; a n d still I was not altogether sorry: I thought the b u r d e n of directing a n d warning would be more efficiently borne by him than m e , but he was too timid in giving satisfactory r e a s o n s for his wish that she would shun connection with the h o u s e h o l d of the Heights, a n d Catherine liked good r e a s o n s for every restraint that h a r a s s e d her petted will. "Papa!" she exclaimed, after the morning's salutations, "guess whom I saw yesterday, in my walk on the m o o r s . Ah, p a p a , you started! you've not done right, have you, now? I s a w — B u t listen, and you shall hear how I found you out, a n d Ellen, who is in league with you, a n d yet pretended to pity m e so, when I kept hoping, a n d was always disappointed a b o u t Linton's c o m i n g back!" S h e gave a faithful a c c o u n t of her excursion a n d its c o n s e ­ quences; and my master, though he c a s t m o r e than one reproachful look at m e , said nothing till she had c o n c l u d e d . T h e n he drew her to him, and asked if she knew why he had c o n c e a l e d Linton's near neighbourhood from her? C o u l d she think it was to deny her a pleasure that she might harmlessly enjoy? "It was b e c a u s e you disliked Mr. Heathcliff," s h e answered. "Then you believe I care more for my own feelings than yours, Cathy?" he said. "No, it was not b e c a u s e I disliked Mr. Heathcliff, but b e c a u s e Mr. Heathcliff dislikes m e ; a n d is a m o s t diabolical man, delighting to wrong a n d ruin those he hates, if they give him the slightest opportunity. I knew that you could not keep u p an a c q u a i n t a n c e with your cousin, without being brought into contact with him; and I knew he would detest you, on my a c c o u n t ; so, for your own good, a n d nothing else, I took p r e c a u t i o n s that you should not see Linton a g a i n — I m e a n t to explain this s o m e time as you grew older, a n d I'm sorry I delayed it!" "But Mr. Heathcliff was quite cordial, p a p a , " observed C a t h e r i n e , not at all convinced; "and he didn't object to our seeing e a c h other: he said I might c o m e to his h o u s e when I p l e a s e d , only I m u s t not tell you, b e c a u s e you had quarrelled with him, a n d would not for­ give him for marrying Aunt Isabella. And you won't—you are the one to be blamed. H e is willing to let us be f r i e n d s — a t least Linton and I — a n d you are not." My master, perceiving that she would not take his word for her uncle-in-law's evil disposition, gave a hasty sketch of his c o n d u c t

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to Isabella, a n d the m a n n e r in which Wuthering Heights b e c a m e his property. H e could not bear to d i s c o u r s e long upon the topic, for though he spoke little of it, he still felt the s a m e horror and detestation of his ancient enemy that had o c c u p i e d his heart ever since M r s . Linton's death. "She might have been living yet, if it had not been for him!" was his constant bitter reflection; and, in his eyes, Heathcliff s e e m e d a murderer. M i s s Cathy, conversant with no b a d deeds except her own slight acts of d i s o b e d i e n c e , in j u s t i c e a n d p a s s i o n , rising from hot temper and t h o u g h t l e s s n e s s , a n d repented of on the day they were com­ mitted, was a m a z e d at the b l a c k n e s s of spirit that could brood on and cover revenge for years, a n d deliberately p r o s e c u t e its plans, without a visitation of r e m o r s e . S h e a p p e a r e d so deeply impressed a n d s h o c k e d at this new view of h u m a n n a t u r e — e x c l u d e d from all her studies a n d all her ideas till n o w — t h a t Mr. Edgar d e e m e d it u n n e c e s s a r y to p u r s u e the subject. H e merely a d d e d — "You will know hereafter, darling, why I wish you to avoid his h o u s e a n d family; now, return to your old employments and a m u s e ­ m e n t s , a n d think no m o r e a b o u t them!" C a t h e r i n e kissed her father, a n d sat down quietly to her les­ sons for a c o u p l e of h o u r s , according to c u s t o m ; then she a c c o m ­ p a n i e d him into the g r o u n d s , a n d the whole day p a s s e d as usual: but in the evening, when she had retired to her room, and I went to help her to u n d r e s s , I found her crying, on her knees by the bedside. "Oh, fie, silly child!" I exclaimed. "If you had any real griefs, you'd be a s h a m e d to waste a tear on this little contrariety. You never had one s h a d o w of substantial sorrow, M i s s C a t h e r i n e . S u p p o s e , for a minute, that m a s t e r a n d I were d e a d , a n d you were by yourself in the w o r l d — h o w would you feel, then? C o m p a r e the present occa­ sion with s u c h a n affliction as that, and be thankful for the friend you have, instead of coveting more." "I'm not crying for myself, Ellen," she answered, "it's for him. H e expected to see m e again to-morrow, a n d there, he'll be so d i s a p p o i n t e d — a n d he'll wait for m e , a n d I shan't come!" "Nonsense!" said I, "do you imagine he has thought as m u c h of you a s you have of him? Hasn't he Hareton for a c o m p a n i o n ? Not one in a h u n d r e d would weep at losing a relation they had j u s t seen twice, for two afternoons. Linton will conjecture how it is, and trou­ ble himself no further a b o u t you." "But may I not write a note to tell him why I cannot come?" she asked, rising to her feet. "And j u s t send those books I promised to lend him? His books are not as nice as mine, a n d he wanted to have them extremely, when I told him how interesting they were. M a y I not, Ellen?"

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"No, indeed, no, indeed!" replied I with decision. "Then he would write to you, and there'd never be an end of it. N o , M i s s C a t h e r i n e , the a c q u a i n t a n c e m u s t be d r o p p e d entirely—so p a p a expects, a n d I shall see that it is done!" "But how can one little n o t e — " she r e c o m m e n c e d , putting on an imploring c o u n t e n a n c e . "Silence!" I interrupted. "We'll not begin with your little notes. Get into bed!" S h e threw at m e a very naughty look, so naughty that I would not kiss her good-night at first: I covered her u p , a n d shut her door, in great displeasure; but, repenting half-way, I returned softly, a n d lo! there was M i s s , standing at the table with a bit of blank p a p e r before her and a pencil in her hand, which she guiltily slipped out of sight, on my re-entrance. "You'll get nobody to take that, Catherine," I said, "if you write it; and at present I shall put out your candle." I set the extinguisher on the flame, receiving a s I did so a slap on my hand, and a petulant "cross thing!" I then quitted her again, and she drew the bolt in one of her worst, m o s t peevish h u m o u r s . T h e letter was finished a n d forwarded to its destination by a milkfetcher who c a m e from the village, b u t that I didn't learn till s o m e time afterwards. W e e k s p a s s e d on, a n d C a t h y recovered her temper, though she grew wondrous fond of stealing off to corners by herself, and often, if I c a m e near her suddenly while reading, s h e would start, a n d bend over the book, evidently desirous to hide it; a n d I detected edges of loose p a p e r sticking out beyond the leaves. S h e also got a trick of c o m i n g down early in the morning, a n d lingering about the kitchen, as if she were expecting the arrival of something; a n d she had a small drawer in a cabinet in the library, which she would trifle over for hours, a n d w h o s e key she took special care to remove when she left it. O n e day, as she inspected this drawer, I observed that the play­ things and trinkets, which recently formed its contents, were trans­ muted into bits of folded paper. My curiosity and suspicions were roused; I determined to take a peep at her mysterious treasures; so, at night, as soon as s h e a n d my master were safe upstairs, I s e a r c h e d a n d readily found a m o n g my h o u s e keys, one that would fit the lock. Having o p e n e d , I e m p ­ tied the whole contents into my apron, a n d took t h e m with m e to examine at leisure in my own c h a m b e r . T h o u g h I could not but s u s p e c t , I was still surprised to discover that they were a m a s s of c o r r e s p o n d e n c e — d a i l y almost, it m u s t have b e e n — f r o m Linton Heathcliff, answers to d o c u m e n t s for­ warded by her. T h e earlier dated were e m b a r r a s s e d a n d short; grad­ ually, however, they expanded into copious love letters, foolish a s the

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age of the writer rendered natural, yet with touches, here and there, which I thought were borrowed from a more experienced source. S o m e of t h e m struck m e as singularly odd c o m p o u n d s of ardour and flatness; c o m m e n c i n g in strong feeling, a n d concluding in the affected, wordy way that a school-boy might u s e to a fancied, in­ corporeal sweetheart. W h e t h e r they satisfied Cathy, I don't know, but they appeared very worthless trash to m e . After turning over as m a n y as I thought proper, I tied them in a handkerchief a n d set t h e m aside, re-locking the vacant drawer. Following her habit, my young lady d e s c e n d e d early, and visited the kitchen: I watched her go to the door, on the arrival of a certain little boy; a n d , while the dairy m a i d filled his c a n , she tucked some­ thing into his j a c k e t pocket, a n d plucked something out. I went r o u n d by the garden, a n d laid wait for the messenger, who fought valorously to defend his trust, a n d we spilt the milk between us; but I s u c c e e d e d in abstracting the epistle, and, threatening se­ rious c o n s e q u e n c e s if he did not look sharp home, I remained under the wall, a n d p e r u s e d M i s s Cathy's affectionate composition. It was m o r e simple a n d m o r e eloquent than her cousin's—very pretty and very silly. I s h o o k my head, a n d went meditating into the house. T h e day being wet, she could not divert herself with rambling a b o u t the park; so, at the conclusion of her morning studies, she resorted to the s o l a c e of the drawer. H e r father sat reading at the table; a n d I, on p u r p o s e , had sought a bit of work in s o m e unripped fringes of the window curtain, keeping my eye steadily fixed on her proceedings. Never did any bird flying b a c k to a plundered nest which it had left brim-ful of chirping young ones, express more complete despair in its a n g u i s h e d cries a n d flutterings, than she by her single "Oh!" and the c h a n g e that transfigured her late happy c o u n t e n a n c e . Mr. Linton looked u p . "What is the matter, love? Have you hurt yourself?" he said. His tone a n d look a s s u r e d her he had not been the discoverer of the hoard. "No, p a p a — " s h e g a s p e d . "Ellen! Ellen! c o m e u p s t a i r s — I ' m sick!" I obeyed her s u m m o n s , a n d a c c o m p a n i e d her out. "Oh, Ellen! you have got them," she c o m m e n c e d immediately, dropping on her knees, when we were enclosed alone. "O, give them to m e , a n d I'll never never do so again! Don't tell p a p a — y o u have not told p a p a , Ellen, say you have not! I've been exceedingly naughty, b u t I won't do it any more!" With a grave severity in my manner, I bid her stand up. "So," I exclaimed, "Miss C a t h e r i n e , you are tolerably far on, it s e e m s — y o u m a y well be a s h a m e d of them! A fine bundle of trash

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you study in your leisure hours, to be sure: why, it's good e n o u g h to be printed! And what do you s u p p o s e the m a s t e r will think, when I display it before him? I haven't shown it yet, but you needn't imagine I shall keep your ridiculous secrets. F o r s h a m e ! And you must have led the way in writing s u c h absurdities; he would not have thought of beginning, I'm certain." "I didn't! I didn't!" s o b b e d Cathy, fit to break her heart. "I didn't once think of loving him till—" "Loving!" cried I, as scornfully as I could utter the word. "Loving! Did anybody ever hear the like! I might j u s t as well talk of loving the miller who c o m e s once a year to buy our corn. Pretty loving, indeed, and both times together you have seen Linton hardly four hours in your life! Now here is the babyish trash. I'm going with it to the library; and we'll see what your father says to s u c h loving." S h e sprang at her precious epistles, but I held them above my head; and then she poured out further frantic entreaties that I would burn t h e m — d o anything rather than show them. And being really fully as inclined to laugh as scold, for I e s t e e m e d it all girlish vanity, I at length relented in a m e a s u r e , a n d a s k e d — "If I consent to burn them, will you p r o m i s e faithfully, neither to send nor receive a letter again, nor a b o o k — f o r I perceive you have sent him b o o k s — n o r locks of hair, nor rings, nor playthings?" "We don't send playthings!" cried C a t h e r i n e , her pride overcom­ ing her s h a m e . "Nor anything at all, then, my lady!" I said. "Unless you will, here I go." "I promise, Ellen!" she cried, catching my dress. "Oh, p u t them in the fire, do, do!" But when I p r o c e e d e d to open a place with the poker, the s a c ­ rifice was too painful to be borne. S h e earnestly supplicated that I would spare her one or two. "One or two, Ellen, to keep for Linton's sake!" I unknotted the handkerchief, a n d c o m m e n c e d dropping them in from an angle, and the flame curled u p the chimney. "I will have one, you cruel wretch!" she s c r e a m e d , darting her hand into the fire, and drawing forth s o m e half c o n s u m e d frag­ ments, at the expense of her fingers. "Very w e l l — a n d I will have s o m e to exhibit to papa!" I answered, shaking b a c k the rest into the bundle, a n d turning a n e w to the door. S h e emptied her blackened pieces into the flames, a n d motioned me to finish the immolation. It was done; I stirred u p the a s h e s , and interred them under a shovel-full of coals; a n d she mutely, a n d with a sense of intense injury, retired to her private a p a r t m e n t . I descended to tell my master that the young lady's q u a l m of sickness was almost gone, but I j u d g e d it best for her to lie down a while.

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S h e wouldn't dine; but she r e - a p p e a r e d at tea, pale and red about the eyes, a n d marvellously s u b d u e d in outward aspect. Next morning, I answered the letter by a slip of paper inscribed, "Master Heathcliff is r e q u e s t e d to send no more notes to M i s s Lin­ ton, a s she will not receive them." And, thenceforth, the little boy c a m e with vacant pockets. Chapter

XXII

S u m m e r drew to an end, and early Autumn: it was past Mich­ a e l m a s , but the harvest was late that year, and a few of our fields were still uncleared. Mr. Linton a n d his daughter would frequently walk out a m o n g the reapers; at the carrying of the last sheaves, they stayed till dusk, and the evening h a p p e n i n g to be chill and d a m p , my master caught a b a d cold, that, settling obstinately on his lungs, confined him indoors throughout the whole of the winter, nearly without inter­ mission. Poor Cathy, frightened from her little r o m a n c e , had been con­ siderably s a d d e r a n d duller since its a b a n d o n m e n t ; and her father insisted on her reading less, a n d taking m o r e exercise. S h e had his c o m p a n i o n s h i p no longer; I e s t e e m e d it a duty to supply its lack, as m u c h as possible, with mine: an inefficient substitute, for I could only spare two or three hours, from my n u m e r o u s diurnal occupa­ tions, to follow her footsteps, a n d then my society was obviously less desirable than his. O n a n afternoon in October, or the beginning of November, a fresh watery afternoon, when the turf and paths were rustling with moist, withered leaves, a n d the cold, blue sky was half hidden by clouds, dark grey s t r e a m e r s , rapidly mounting from the west, and boding a b u n d a n t r a i n — I r e q u e s t e d my young lady to forego her ramble b e c a u s e I was certain of showers. S h e refused; and I un­ willingly d o n n e d a cloak, a n d took my umbrella to a c c o m p a n y her on a stroll to the b o t t o m of the park: a formal walk which she generally affected if l o w - s p i r i t e d — a n d that she invariably was when Mr. E d g a r h a d b e e n worse than ordinary; a thing never known from his confession, b u t g u e s s e d both by her and m e from his increased silence, and the melancholy of his c o u n t e n a n c e . S h e 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, a n d b r u s h i n g something off her cheek. 1

1.

S e p t e m b e r 2 9 , the feast of St. M i c h a e l , o n e of four quarter-days (with C h r i s t m a s , Lady Day, and M i d s u m m e r

Day) of the

begins and ends on these days.

English b u s i n e s s year. T e n a n c y of h o u s e s

usually

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I gazed round for a m e a n s of diverting her thoughts. O n one side of the road rose a high, rough bank, where hazels a n d stunted oaks, with their roots half exposed, held uncertain tenure: the soil was too loose for the latter; and strong winds h a d blown s o m e nearly horizontal. In s u m m e r , M i s s C a t h e r i n e delighted to climb along these trunks, and sit in the b r a n c h e s , swinging twenty feet above the ground; and I, p l e a s e d with her agility, a n d her light, childish heart, still considered it proper to scold every time I c a u g h t her at such an elevation, but so that she knew there w a s no necessity for descending. F r o m dinner to tea she would lie in her breeze-rocked cradle, doing nothing except singing old s o n g s — m y nursery l o r e — to herself, or watching the birds, joint tenants, feed a n d entice their young ones to fly, or nestling with closed lids, half thinking, half dreaming, happier than words c a n express. "Look, Miss!" I exclaimed, pointing to a nook u n d e r the roots of one twisted tree. "Winter is not here yet. There's a little flower, u p yonder, the last b u d from the multitude of blue-bells that c l o u d e d those turf steps in July with a lilac mist. Will you c l a m b e r u p , a n d pluck it to show to p a p a ? " Cathy stared a long time at the lonely b l o s s o m trembling in its earthy shelter, and replied, at l e n g t h — "No, I'll not touch i t — b u t it looks melancholy, does it not, Ellen?" "Yes," I observed, "about as starved a n d s a c k l e s s as y o u — y o u r cheeks are bloodless; let us take hold of h a n d s a n d run. You're so low, I dare say I shall keep u p with you." "No," she repeated, and continued sauntering on, p a u s i n g , at in­ tervals, to m u s e over a bit of m o s s , or a tuft of b l a n c h e d grass, or a fungus spreading its bright orange a m o n g the h e a p s of brown foliage; and, ever and anon, her hand was lifted to her averted face. "Catherine, why are you crying, love?" I asked, a p p r o a c h i n g a n d putting my arm over her shoulder. "You mustn't cry b e c a u s e p a p a has a cold; be thankful it is nothing worse." S h e 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 p a p a and you leave me, a n d I a m by m y s e l f ? I can't forget your words, Ellen, they are always in my ear. H o w life will b e changed, how dreary the world will b e , when p a p a a n d 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: m a s t e r is young, and I a m strong, a n d 2

2.

Feeble.

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hardly forty-five. M y mother lived till eighty, a canty d a m e to the last. A n d s u p p o s e Mr. Linton were s p a r e d till he saw sixty, that would b e m o r e years than you have c o u n t e d , M i s s . And would it not be foolish to m o u r n a calamity above twenty years beforehand?" "But A u n t Isabella was younger than p a p a , " she remarked, gazing u p with timid h o p e to seek further consolation. "Aunt Isabella had not you a n d m e to nurse her," I replied. "She wasn't as happy a s master; she hadn't as m u c h to live for. All you need do, is to wait well on your father, a n d cheer him by letting him see you cheerful; a n d avoid giving him anxiety on any subject — m i n d that, Cathy! I'll not disguise but you might kill him, if you were wild a n d reckless, a n d cherished a foolish, fanciful affection for the son of a p e r s o n who would b e glad to have him in his grave; a n d allowed him to discover that you fretted over the separation he has j u d g e d it expedient to m a k e . " "I fret a b o u t nothing on earth except papa's illness," answered my c o m p a n i o n . "I c a r e for nothing in c o m p a r i s o n with papa. And I'll n e v e r — n e v e r — o h , 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, b e c a u s e I would rather be m i s e r a b l e than that he should b e — t h a t proves I love him better than myself." "Good words," I replied. "But deeds m u s t prove it also; and after he is well, r e m e m b e r you don't forget resolutions formed in the hour of fear." As we talked, we neared a door that o p e n e d on the road; and my young lady, lightening into s u n s h i n e again, climbed up, and seated herself on the top of the wall, reaching over to gather s o m e hips that b l o o m e d scarlet on the s u m m i t b r a n c h e s of the wild rose trees, s h a d o w i n g the highway side; the lower fruit had disappeared, but only birds could touch the upper, except from Cathy's present station. In stretching to pull them, her hat fell off; and as the door was locked, she p r o p o s e d s c r a m b l i n g down to recover it. I bid her be c a u t i o u s lest s h e got a fall, a n d she nimbly disappeared. B u t the return was no s u c h easy matter; the stones were smooth and neatly c e m e n t e d , a n d the r o s e b u s h e s a n d blackberry stragglers could yield no a s s i s t a n c e in re-ascending. I, like a fool, didn't rec­ ollect that till I heard her laughing, a n d e x c l a i m i n g — "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 keys in my pocket; p e r h a p s I may m a n a g e to open it; if not, I'll go." 3.

Lively.

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Catherine a m u s e d herself with dancing to a n d fro before the door, while I tried all the large keys in s u c c e s s i o n . I h a d applied the last, and found that none would do; so, repeating my desire that she would remain there, I was a b o u t to hurry h o m e as fast a s I could, when an a p p r o a c h i n g s o u n d arrested m e . It was the trot of a horse; Cathy's d a n c e stopped, a n d in a minute the horse s t o p p e d also. "Who is that?" I whispered. "Ellen, I wish you could open the door," whispered b a c k my c o m ­ panion, anxiously. "Ho, M i s s 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 obtain." "I shan't s p e a k to you, Mr. Heathcliff!" a n s w e r e d C a t h e r i n e . "Papa says you are a wicked m a n , a n d you hate both him a n d m e ; and Ellen says the s a m e . " "That is nothing to the p u r p o s e , " said Heathcliff. ( H e it was.) "I don't hate my son, I s u p p o s e , and it is concerning him that I de­ mand your attention. Yes! you have c a u s e to b l u s h . T w o or three months since, were you not in the habit of writing to L i n t o n ? mak­ ing 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 m e any pertness, I'll s e n d them to your father. I p r e s u m e you grew weary of the a m u s e m e n t , a n d d r o p p e d it, didn't you? Well, you dropped Linton with it, into a S l o u g h of Despond. H e was in e a r n e s t — i n love—really. As true as I live, he's dying for y o u — b r e a k i n g his heart at your fickleness, not figura­ tively, but actually. T h o u g h H a r e t o n h a s m a d e him a standing j e s t for six weeks, and I have u s e d m o r e serious m e a s u r e s , a n d at­ tempted to frighten him out of his idiocy, he gets worse daily, a n d he'll be under the sod before s u m m e r , unless you restore him!" "How can you lie so glaringly to the poor child!" I called from the inside. "Pray ride on! H o w can you deliberately get u p s u c h paltry falsehoods? M i s s Cathy, I'll knock the lock off with a stone. You won't believe that vile n o n s e n s e . 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," m u t t e r e d the de­ tected villain. "Worthy M r s . D e a n , 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 poor child'? And invent b u g b e a r stories to terrify her from my door-stones? C a t h e r i n e Linton (the very n a m e warms me), my bonny lass, I shall be from h o m e all this week; go and see if I have not spoken truth; do, there's a darling! J u s t imagine your father in my p l a c e , and Linton in yours; then think how you would value your careless lover, if he refused to stir a step to c o m -

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fort you, when your father, himself, entreated him; and don't, from p u r e stupidity, fall into the s a m e error. I swear, on my salvation, he's going to his grave, and none but you c a n save him!" T h e lock gave way, and I i s s u e d out. "I swear Linton is dying," repeated Heathcliff, looking hard at m e . "And grief a n d disappointment are hastening his death. Nelly, if you won't 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!" " C o m e in," said I, taking Cathy by the a r m 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. H e p u s h e d his horse close, and, bending down, o b s e r v e d — "Miss C a t h e r i n e , I'll own to you that I have little patience with L i n t o n — a n d H a r e t o n and J o s e p h have less. I'll own that he's with a h a r s h set. H e pines for kindness, as well as love; and a kind word from you would be his best medicine. Don't mind M r s . Dean's cruel cautions, but b e g e n e r o u s , and contrive to see him. H e dreams of you day a n d night, and cannot be p e r s u a d e d that you don't hate him, since you neither write nor call." I closed the door, a n d rolled a stone to assist the loosened lock in holding it; and spreading my umbrella, I drew my charge under­ neath, for the rain b e g a n to drive through the moaning branches of the trees, a n d warned us to avoid delay. O u r hurry prevented any c o m m e n t on the encounter with Heath­ cliff, a s we stretched towards home; but I divined instinctively that Catherine's heart was c l o u d e d now in double darkness. Her features were so s a d , they did not s e e m hers: she evidently regarded what she h a d heard as every syllable true. T h e m a s t e r h a d retired to rest before we c a m e in. Cathy stole to his room to inquire how he was; he had fallen asleep. S h e returned, and a s k e d m e to sit with her in the library. W e took our tea to­ gether; and afterwards she lay down on the rug, and told me not to talk, for she was weary. I got a book, a n d p r e t e n d e d to read. As soon as she s u p p o s e d me a b s o r b e d in my o c c u p a t i o n , she r e c o m m e n c e d her silent weeping: it a p p e a r e d , at present, her favourite diversion. I suffered her to enjoy it a while; then I expostulated, deriding and ridiculing all Mr. Heathcliff's assertions a b o u t his son, as if I were certain she would coincide. Alas! I hadn't the skill to counteract the effect his account had p r o d u c e d ; it was j u s t what he intended. "You may be right, Ellen," she answered; "but I shall never feel at e a s e till I know. And I m u s t tell Linton it is not my fault that I don't write; and convince him that I shall not change."

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What use were anger and protestations against her silly credulity? We parted that night hostile; but next day beheld m e on the road to Wuthering Heights, by the side of my wilful young mistress's pony. I couldn't bear to witness her sorrow, to see her pale, dejected countenance, and heavy eyes; a n d 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. Chapter

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T h e rainy night had ushered in a misty m o r n i n g — h a l f frost, half drizzle—and temporary brooks crossed our path, gurgling from the uplands. My feet were thoroughly wetted; I was cross a n d low, ex­ actly the h u m o u r suited for making the m o s t of these disagreeable things. W e entered the f a r m - h o u s e by the kitchen way to ascertain whether Mr. Heathcliff were really absent, b e c a u s e I put slight faith in his own affirmation. J o s e p h s e e m e d 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 m o u t h . Catherine ran to the hearth to warm herself. I asked if the m a s t e r 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 s c r e a m e d through his n o s e . "Na—ay! yah m u h goa b a c k whear yah c o o m frough." "Joseph!" cried a peevish voice, simultaneously with m e , from the inner room. "How often a m I to call you? T h e r e are only a few red ashes now. J o s e p h ! c o m e this moment." Vigorous puffs, and a resolute stare into the grate, declared he had no ear for this appeal. T h e h o u s e k e e p e r a n d H a r e t o n were invisible; one gone on an errand, and the other at his work, prob­ ably. W e knew Linton's tones a n d entered. "Oh, I hope you'll die in a garret! starved to death," said the boy, mistaking our a p p r o a c h for that of his negligent attendant. H e stopped, on observing his error; his cousin flew to him. "Is that you, M i s s Linton?" he said, raising his h e a d from the arm of the great chair in which he reclined. "No—don't kiss m e . It takes my b r e a t h — d e a r me! P a p a said you would call," continued he, after recovering a little from Catherine's e m b r a c e , while she stood by looking very contrite. "Will you shut the door, if you p l e a s e ? you left it open, and t h o s e — t h o s e detestable creatures won't bring coals to the fire. It's so cold!"

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I stirred u p the cinders, and fetched a scuttle-full myself. T h e invalid c o m p l a i n e d of being covered with ashes; but he had a tire­ s o m e c o u g h , a n d looked feverish and ill, so I did not rebuke his temper. "Well, Linton," m u r m u r e d C a t h e r i n e , when his corrugated brow relaxed. "Are you glad to see m e ? C a n I do you any good?" "Why didn't you c o m e before?" he said. "You should have come, instead of writing. It tired m e 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 m e ) step into the kitchen and see?" I had received no thanks for my other service; and being unwilling to run to a n d fro at his behest, I r e p l i e d — "Nobody is out there but J o s e p h . " "I want to drink," he exclaimed, fretfully, turning away. "Zillah is constantly g a d d i n g off to G i m m e r t o n since p a p a went. It's misera­ ble! And I'm obliged to c o m e down h e r e — t h e y resolved never to hear m e upstairs." "Is your father attentive to you, M a s t e r Heathcliff?" I asked, per­ ceiving C a t h e r i n e to b e checked in her friendly advances. "Attentive? H e m a k e s them a little more attentive, at least," he cried. "The wretches! D o you know, M i s s Linton, that brute Hare­ ton laughs at m e . I hate h i m — i n d e e d , I hate them all—they are odious beings." C a t h y b e g a n searching for s o m e water; she lighted on a pitcher in the dresser, filled a tumbler, and brought it. H e bid her add a spoonful of wine from a bottle on the table; and, having swallowed a small portion, a p p e a r e d m o r e tranquil, and said she was very kind. "And are you glad to see m e ? " asked she, reiterating her former question, and p l e a s e d to detect the faint dawn of a smile. "Yes, I a m . It's something new to hear a voice like yours!" he replied, "but I have been vexed, b e c a u s e you wouldn't c o m e . And p a p a swore it was owing to me; he called m e a pitiful, shuffling, worthless thing; and said you despised me; and if he had been in my p l a c e , he would be m o r e the m a s t e r of the G r a n g e than your father, by this time. B u t you don't despise m e , do you, M i s s — " "I wish you would say C a t h e r i n e , or Cathy!" interrupted my young lady. "Despise you? No! Next to p a p a , and Ellen, I love you better than anybody living. I don't love Mr. Heathcliff, though; and I dare not c o m e when he returns; will he stay away many days?" "Not many," a n s w e r e d Linton, "but he goes onto the moors fre­ quently, since the shooting s e a s o n c o m m e n c e d , and you might s p e n d an hour or two with m e , in his a b s e n c e . 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 m e , wouldn't you?"

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"Yes," said C a t h e r i n e , stroking his long soft hair; "if I could only get papa's consent, I'd s p e n d half my time with you. Pretty Linton! I wish you were my brother!" "And then you would like m e as well a s your father?" observed he, more cheerfully. "But p a p a says you would love m e better than him and all the world, if you were my w i f e — s o I'd rather you were that!" "No! I should never love anybody better than p a p a , " she returned gravely. "And people hate their wives, s o m e t i m e s ; but not their sis­ ters and brothers, a n d if you were the latter, you would live with us, and p a p a would be as fond of you as he is of me." Linton denied that people ever hated their wives; but C a t h y af­ firmed they did, a n d in her wisdom, instanced his own father's aver­ sion to her aunt. I endeavoured to stop her thoughtless tongue. I couldn't s u c c e e d till everything she knew was out. M a s t e r Heathcliff, m u c h irritated, asserted her relation was false. "Papa told me; a n d p a p a does not tell falsehoods!" she a n s w e r e d pertly. "My p a p a scorns yours!" cried Linton. "He calls him a sneaking fool!" "Yours is a wicked man," retorted C a t h e r i n e , "and you are very naughty to dare to repeat what he says. H e m u s t 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 h a t e d your father, now then." "Oh!" exclaimed C a t h e r i n e , too enraged to continue. "And she loved mine!" a d d e d he. "You little liar! I hate you now," she p a n t e d , a n d her face grew red with passion. "She did! she did!" s a n g Linton, sinking into the r e c e s s of his chair, and leaning b a c k his head to enjoy the agitation of the other disputant, who stood behind. "Hush, M a s t e r Heathcliff!" I said; "that's your father's tale too, I suppose." "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 p u s h , and c a u s e d him to fall against one a r m . H e was immediately seized by a suf­ focating cough that soon ended his triumph. It lasted so long that it frightened even m e . As to his c o u s i n , s h e wept with all her might, a g h a s t at the mischief she had d o n e , though she said nothing.

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I held him till the fit exhausted itself. T h e n he thrust me away, a n d leant his h e a d down, silently. Catherine quelled her lamenta­ tions also, took a seat opposite, and looked solemnly into the fire. "How do you feel now, M a s t e r Heathcliff?" I inquired, after wait­ ing ten minutes. "I wish she felt a s I do," he replied, "spiteful, cruel thing! Hareton never t o u c h e s m e , he never struck m e in his life. And I was better t o - d a y — a n d t h e r e — " his voice died in a whimper. "I didn't strike you!" muttered Cathy, chewing her lip to prevent another burst of emotion. H e sighed a n d m o a n e d like one under great suffering, and kept it u p for a quarter of an hour, on p u r p o s e to distress his cousin, apparently, for whenever he c a u g h t a stifled sob from her, he put renewed pain a n d p a t h o s into the inflexions of his voice. "I'm sorry I hurt you, Linton!" she said at length, racked beyond e n d u r a n c e . "But J couldn't have been hurt by that little push; and I had no idea that you could, either—you're not m u c h , are you, Linton? Don't let m e go h o m e thinking I've done you harm! Answer, s p e a k to me." "I can't s p e a k to you," he m u r m u r e d , "you've hurt m e 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 comfortably asleep, while I'm in a g o n y — a n d nobody near me! I wonder how you would like to pass those fearful nights!" And he b e g a n to wail aloud for very pity of himself. "Since you are in the habit of p a s s i n g dreadful nights," I said, "it won't b e M i s s who spoils your e a s e ; you'd be the s a m e , had she never c o m e . However, she shall not disturb you a g a i n — a n d perhaps you'll get quieter when we leave you." "Must I go?" a s k e d C a t h e r i n e dolefully, bending over him. "Do you want m e 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 m e into a fever." "Well, then I m u s t go?" she repeated. "Let m e alone, at least," said he; "I can't bear your talking!" S h e lingered, and resisted my p e r s u a s i o n s to departure, a tire­ s o m e while, but a s he neither looked u p nor spoke, she finally m a d e a m o v e m e n t to the door a n d I followed. W e were recalled by a s c r e a m . Linton had slid from his seat on to the hearthstone, and lay writhing in the mere perverseness of an indulged p l a g u e of a child, determined to be as grievous and ha­ rassing a s it c a n . I thoroughly g a u g e d his disposition from his behaviour, and saw at once it would b e folly to attempt h u m o u r i n g him. Not so my

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companion: she ran b a c k in terror, knelt down, a n d cried, a n d soothed, and entreated, till he grew quiet from lack of breath, by no m e a n s from c o m p u n c t i o n at distressing her. "I shall lift him on to the settle," I said, "and he m a y roll a b o u t as he pleases; we can't stop to watch him. I h o p e you are satisfied, Miss Cathy, that you are not the p e r s o n to benefit him, a n d that his condition of health is not o c c a s i o n e d by a t t a c h m e n t to you. N o w then, there he is! C o m e away; as soon as he knows there is nobody by to care for his n o n s e n s e , he'll be glad to lie still!" S h e placed a cushion under his head, a n d offered him s o m e wa­ ter; he rejected the latter, a n d tossed uneasily on the former, as if it were a stone, or a block of wood. S h e tried to put it m o r e 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!" m u r m u r e d the provoking thing. "How m u s t I arrange it, then?" she a s k e d despairingly. H e twined himself up to her, as she half knelt by the settle, a n d converted her shoulder into a support. "No, that won't do!" I said. "You'll be content with the cushion, Master Heathcliff! M i s s has wasted too m u c h time on you already; we cannot remain five minutes longer." "Yes, yes, we can!" replied Cathy. "He's good a n d 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; a n d then, I dare not c o m e again. Tell the truth a b o u t it, Linton, for I mustn't c o m e , if I have hurt you." "You m u s t c o m e , to cure me," he answered. "You ought to c o m e b e c a u s e you have hurt m e . You know you have, extremely! I was not as ill when you entered, as I a m at p r e s e n t — w a s I?" "But you've m a d e yourself ill by crying, a n d being in a p a s s i o n . " "I didn't do it all," said his cousin. "However, we'll be friends now. And you want m e — y o u would wish to see m e s o m e t i m e s , really?" "I told you I did!" he replied impatiently. "Sit on the settle a n d let me lean on your knee. That's as m a m m a u s e d to do, whole afternoons together. Sit quite still, a n d don't talk, but you may sing a song if you can sing, or you may say a nice, long interesting b a l l a d — o n e of those you p r o m i s e d to teach m e — o r a story. I'd rather have a ballad, though: begin." Catherine repeated the longest she could r e m e m b e r . T h e em­ ployment p l e a s e d both mightily. Linton would have another, a n d after that another, notwithstanding my s t r e n u o u s objections; a n d so they went on until the clock struck twelve, a n d we h e a r d H a r e t o n in the court, returning for his dinner.

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"And to-morrow, C a t h e r i n e , will you be here to-morrow?" asked young Heathcliff, holding her frock, as she rose reluctantly. "No!" I answered, "nor next day neither." S h e , however, gave a different r e s p o n s e , evidently, for his forehead cleared as she s t o o p e d a n d whispered in his ear. "You won't go to-morrow, recollect, Miss!" I c o m m e n c e d , when we were out of the h o u s e . "You are not d r e a m i n g of it, are you?" S h e smiled. "Oh, I'll take g o o d care!" I continued; "I'll have that lock mended, a n d you c a n e s c a p e by no way else." "I c a n get over the wall," she said, laughing. "The G r a n g e is not a prison, Ellen, a n d you are not my jailer. And besides, I'm almost seventeen. I'm a w o m a n — a n d I'm certain Linton would recover quickly if he h a d m e to look after him. I'm older than he is, you know, a n d wiser, less childish, a m I not? And he'll soon do as I direct him with s o m e slight coaxing. He's a pretty little darling when he's good. I'd m a k e s u c h a pet of him, if he were mine. W e should never quarrel, should we, after we were u s e d to e a c h other? Don't you like him, Ellen?" "Like him?" I exclaimed. "The worst-tempered bit of a sickly slip that ever struggled into its teens! Happily, as Mr. Heathcliff con­ j e c t u r e d , he'll not win twenty! I doubt whether he'll see spring, i n d e e d — a n d small loss to his family, whenever he drops off; and lucky it is for us that his father took him. T h e kinder he was treated, the m o r e tedious a n d selfish he'd be! I'm glad you have no c h a n c e of having him for a h u s b a n d , M i s s Catherine!" My c o m p a n i o n waxed serious at hearing this speech. T o speak of his death so regardlessly w o u n d e d her feelings. "He's younger than I," s h e answered, after a protracted p a u s e of meditation, "and he ought to live the longest; he will—he must live as long a s I do. He's as strong now as when he first c a m e into the North, I'm positive of that! It's only a cold that ails him, the s a m e as p a p a h a s . You say p a p a will get better, and why shouldn't he?" "Well, well," I cried, "after all, we needn't trouble ourselves; for listen, M i s s — a n d mind, I'll keep my w o r d — i f you attempt going to W u t h e r i n g Heights again, with or without me, I shall inform Mr. Linton, a n d , unless he allow it, the intimacy with your cousin must not be revived." "It has been revived!" muttered Cathy sulkily. "Must not b e continued, then!" I said. "We'll see!" was her reply, a n d she set off at a gallop, leaving me to toil in the rear. W e both r e a c h e d h o m e before our dinner-time; my master sup­ p o s e d we had been wandering through the park, and therefore he d e m a n d e d no explanation of our a b s e n c e . As soon as I entered, I

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hastened to c h a n g e my s o a k e d shoes and stockings; but sitting s u c h a while at the Heights had d o n e the mischief. O n the s u c c e e d i n g morning, I was laid up; a n d during three weeks I r e m a i n e d inca­ pacitated for attending to my d u t i e s — a calamity never experienced prior to that period, and never, I a m thankful to say, since. My little mistress behaved like an angel in c o m i n g to wait on m e , and cheer my solitude: the confinement brought m e exceedingly low. It is wearisome, to a stirring active body, but few have slighter reasons for complaint than I had. T h e m o m e n t C a t h e r i n e left Mr. Linton's room, she a p p e a r e d at my bed-side. Her day was divided between us; no a m u s e m e n t u s u r p e d a minute: she neglected her meals, her studies, and her play; and she was the fondest n u r s e that ever watched. S h e m u s t have had a warm heart, when she loved her father so, to give so m u c h to me! I said her days were divided between us; but the m a s t e r 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 m e good­ night, I remarked a fresh colour in her cheeks, and a p i n k n e s s over her slender fingers; instead of fancying the h u e borrowed from a cold ride across the moors, I laid it to the c h a r g e of a hot fire in the library. Chapter

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At the close of three weeks, I was able to quit my c h a m b e r , and move about the house. And on the first o c c a s i o n of my sitting u p in the evening, I asked C a t h e r i n e to read to m e , b e c a u s e my eyes were weak. W e were in the library, the m a s t e r having gone to bed: she consented, rather unwillingly, I fancied; and imagining my sort of books did not suit her, I bid her p l e a s e herself in the choice of what she perused. S h e selected one of her own favourites, and got forward steadily about an hour; then c a m e frequent questions. "Ellen, are not you tired? Hadn't you better lie down now? You'll be sick, keeping up so long, Ellen." "No, no, dear, I'm not tired," I returned, continually. Perceiving me immovable, she essayed another m e t h o d of show­ ing her dis-relish for her occupation. It c h a n g e d to yawning, a n d stretching, a n d — "Ellen, I'm tired." "Give over then and talk," I answered. That was worse: she fretted and sighed, and looked at her watch till eight; and finally went to her room, completely overdone with

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sleep, j u d g i n g by her peevish, heavy look, a n d the constant rubbing s h e inflicted on her eyes. T h e following night s h e s e e m e d m o r e impatient still; a n d on the third from recovering my company, she c o m p l a i n e d of a head-ache, a n d left m e . I thought her c o n d u c t odd; a n d having remained alone a long while, I resolved on going, a n d inquiring whether she were better, a n d asking her to c o m e a n d lie on the sofa, instead of upstairs, in the dark. N o C a t h e r i n e could I discover upstairs, a n d none below. T h e servants affirmed they h a d not seen her. I listened at Mr. Edgar's d o o r — a l l was silence. I returned to her apartment, extinguished my c a n d l e , a n d s e a t e d myself in the window. T h e m o o n s h o n e bright; a sprinkling of snow covered the ground, a n d I reflected that s h e might, possibly, have taken it into her head to walk a b o u t the garden, for refreshment. I did detect a figure creeping along the inner fence of the park, but it was not my young mistress; on its e m e r g i n g into the light, I recognised one of the grooms. H e stood a considerable period, viewing the carriage-road through the grounds; then started off at a brisk p a c e , as if he had detected something, a n d r e a p p e a r e d presently, leading Miss's pony; and there she w a s , j u s t d i s m o u n t e d , a n d walking by its side. T h e m a n took his c h a r g e stealthily a c r o s s the grass towards the stable. C a t h y entered by the casement-window of the drawing-room, a n d glided noiselessly u p to where I awaited her. S h e p u t the door gently to, slipped off her snowy shoes, untied her hat, a n d was proceeding, u n c o n s c i o u s of my espionage, to lay aside her m a n t l e , when I suddenly rose a n d revealed myself. T h e surprise petrified her an instant: she uttered an inarticulate excla­ mation, a n d stood fixed. "My dear M i s s C a t h e r i n e , " I b e g a n , too vividly impressed by her recent kindness to b r e a k into a scold, "where have you been riding out at this hour? A n d why should you try to deceive m e , by telling a tale? W h e r e have you b e e n ? Speak!" "To the b o t t o m of the park," she s t a m m e r e d . "I didn't tell a tale." "And nowhere else?" I d e m a n d e d . "No," was the m u t t e r e d reply. "Oh, C a t h e r i n e , " I cried, sorrowfully. "You know you have been doing wrong, or you wouldn't be driven to uttering an untruth to m e . T h a t does grieve m e . I'd rather be three months ill, than hear you frame a deliberate lie." S h e s p r a n g forward, a n d bursting into tears, threw her arms round my neck.

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"Well, Ellen, I'm so afraid of you being angry," she said. "Promise not to be angry, and you shall know the very truth. I hate to hide it." W e sat down in the window-seat; I a s s u r e d her I would not scold, whatever her secret might be, and I g u e s s e d it, of c o u r s e ; so she commenced— "I've been to Wuthering Heights, Ellen, and I've never m i s s e d going a day since you fell ill; except thrice before, a n d twice after you left your room. I gave M i c h a e l books a n d pictures to p r e p a r e Minny every evening, and to put her b a c k in the stable; you mustn't scold him either, mind. I was at the Heights by half-past six, and generally stayed till half-past eight, a n d then galloped h o m e . It was not to a m u s e myself that I went; I was often wretched all the time. Now and then, I was happy, o n c e in a week p e r h a p s . At first, I expected there would be s a d work p e r s u a d i n g you to let m e keep my word to Linton, for I had e n g a g e d to call again next day, when we quitted him; but, as you stayed upstairs on the morrow, I es­ caped that trouble; and while M i c h a e l was refastening the lock of the park door in the afternoon, I got p o s s e s s i o n of the key, a n d told him how my cousin wished m e to visit him, b e c a u s e he was sick, and couldn't c o m e to the G r a n g e ; and how p a p a would object to my going. And then I negotiated with him a b o u t the pony. H e is fond of reading, and he thinks of leaving soon to get married, so he offered, if I would lend him books out of the library, to do what I wished; but I preferred giving him my own, a n d that satisfied him better. "On my second visit, Linton s e e m e d in lively spirits; a n d Zillah — t h a t is their h o u s e k e e p e r — m a d e us a clean room and a g o o d fire, and told us that, as J o s e p h was out at a prayer-meeting a n d H a r e t o n E a r n s h a w was off with his d o g s — r o b b i n g our woods of p h e a s a n t s , as I heard a f t e r w a r d s — w e might do what we liked. "She brought m e s o m e w a r m wine and gingerbread, a n d a p p e a r e d exceedingly good-natured; and Linton sat in the arm-chair, and I in the little rocking chair on the hearthstone, a n d we l a u g h e d and talked so merrily, and found so m u c h to say; we p l a n n e d where we would go, and what we would do in s u m m e r . I needn't repeat that, b e c a u s e you would call it silly. "One time, however, we were near quarrelling. H e said the p l e a s antest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a b a n k of heath in the middle of the m o o r s , with the bees h u m m i n g dreamily a b o u t a m o n g the bloom, a n d the larks singing high up over head, a n d the blue sky a n d bright s u n shining steadily and cloudlessly. T h a t was his most perfect idea of heaven's happiness. M i n e was rocking in a rustling green tree, with a west

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wind blowing, a n d bright, white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuck­ oos pouring out m u s i c on every side, and the moors seen at a dis­ tance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by, great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sound­ ing water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy. H e wanted all to lie in a n ecstacy of p e a c e ; I wanted all to sparkle, and dance in a glorious jubilee. "I said his heaven would be only half alive, and he said mine would be drunk; I said I should fall asleep in his, and he said he could not breathe in mine, and b e g a n to grow very snappish. At last, we agreed to try both a s soon as the right weather c a m e ; and then we kissed e a c h other and were friends. After sitting still an hour, I looked at the great room with its smooth, uncarpeted floor, a n d thought how nice it would be to play in, if we removed the table; and I a s k e d Linton to call Zillah in to help us, and we'd have a g a m e at blind-man's b u f f — s h e should try to catch us; you used to, you know, Ellen. H e wouldn't; there was no pleasure in if, he said, b u t he c o n s e n t e d to play at ball with me. W e found two in a c u p b o a r d , a m o n g a h e a p of old toys: tops, and hoops, and battle­ dores, a n d shuttlecocks. O n e was marked C , and the other H.; I wished to have the C , b e c a u s e that stood for Catherine, and the H. might be for Heathcliff, his n a m e ; but the bran c a m e out of H., a n d Linton didn't like it. "I beat him constantly; and he got cross again, and coughed, and returned to his chair. T h a t night, though, he easily recovered his good h u m o u r ; he was c h a r m e d with two or three pretty s o n g s — your s o n g s , Ellen; and when I was obliged to go, he begged and entreated m e to c o m e the following evening, and I promised. "Minny and I went flying h o m e as light as air: and I dreamt of Wuthering Heights, a n d my sweet, darling cousin, till morning. "On the morrow, I was sad; partly b e c a u s e you were poorly, and partly that I wished my father knew, and approved of my excursions: but it was beautiful moonlight after tea; and, as I rode on, the gloom cleared. "I shall have another happy evening, I thought to myself, and what delights m e more, my pretty Linton will. "I trotted u p their garden, and was turning round to the back, when that fellow E a r n s h a w met m e , took my bridle, and bid m e go in by the front e n t r a n c e . H e patted Minny's neck, and said she was a bonny beast, and a p p e a r e d as if he wanted m e to speak to him. I only told him to leave my horse alone, or else it would kick him. "He answered in his vulgar accent. " 'It wouldn't do mitch hurt if it did'; and surveyed its legs with a smile.

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"I was half inclined to m a k e it try; however, he moved off to open the door, and, as he raised the latch, he looked u p to the inscrip­ tion above, and said, with a stupid mixture of awkwardness a n d elation— " 'Miss Catherine! I can read yon, nah.' " 'Wonderful,' I exclaimed. 'Pray let us hear y o u — y o u are grown clever!' "He spelt, and drawled over by syllables, the n a m e — " 'Hareton Earnshaw.' " 'And the figures?' I cried, encouragingly, perceiving that he c a m e to a d e a d halt. " 'I cannot tell them yet,' he answered. " 'Oh, you dunce!' I said, laughing heartily at his failure. "The fool stared, with a grin hovering a b o u t his lips, a n d a scowl gathering over his eyes, as if uncertain whether he might not join in my mirth; whether it were not p l e a s a n t familiarity, or what it really was, contempt. "I settled his doubts by suddenly retrieving my gravity, and de­ siring him to walk away, for I c a m e to see Linton, not him. "He r e d d e n e d — I saw that by the m o o n l i g h t — d r o p p e d his h a n d from the latch, and skulked off, a picture of mortified vanity. H e imagined himself to be as a c c o m p l i s h e d a s Linton, I s u p p o s e , b e ­ c a u s e he could spell his own n a m e ; and was marvellously d i s c o m ­ fited that I didn't think the s a m e . " "Stop, Miss Catherine, dear!" I interrupted. "I shall not scold, but I don't like your conduct there. If you h a d r e m e m b e r e d that H a r e ­ ton was your cousin as m u c h as M a s t e r Heathcliff, you would have felt how improper it was to behave in that way. At least, it was praiseworthy ambition for him to desire to be a s a c c o m p l i s h e d as Linton; and probably he did not learn merely to show off; you had m a d e him a s h a m e d of his ignorance before, I have no doubt; a n d he wished to remedy it and please you. T o sneer at his imperfect attempt was very b a d breeding. H a d you been brought up in his c i r c u m ­ stances, would you be less rude? H e was as quick a n d as intelligent a child as ever you were, and I'm hurt that he should be d e s p i s e d now, b e c a u s e that b a s e Heathcliff has treated him so unjustly." "Well, Ellen, you won't cry a b o u t it, will you?" she exclaimed, surprised at my earnestness. "But wait, a n d you shall hear if he conned his A B C to p l e a s e me; and if it were worth while being civil to the brute. I entered; Linton was lying on the settle, and half got up to welcome me. " 'I'm ill to-night, C a t h e r i n e , love,' he said, 'and you m u s t have all the talk, and let m e listen. C o m e , and sit by m e . I was s u r e you wouldn't break your word, and I'll m a k e you p r o m i s e again, before you go.'

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"I knew now that I mustn't tease him, as he was ill; and I spoke softly and put no questions, and avoided irritating him in any way. I had brought s o m e of my nicest books for him; he asked me to read a little of one, and I was a b o u t to comply, when E a r n s h a w burst the door open, having gathered venom with reflection. H e a d v a n c e d direct to u s , seized Linton by the arm, and swung him off the seat. " 'Get to thy own room!' he said in a voice almost inarticulate with p a s s i o n , a n d his face looked swelled and furious. 'Take her there if she c o m e s to see t h e e — t h o u shalln't keep m e out of this. B e g o n e , wi' ye both!' "He swore at u s , and left Linton no time to answer, nearly throw­ ing him into the kitchen; and he clenched his fist, as I followed, seemingly longing to knock m e down. I was afraid, for a moment, a n d I let one volume fall; he kicked it after m e , and shut us out. "I heard a malignant, crackly laugh by the fire, and turning, be­ held that odious J o s e p h , standing rubbing his bony hands, and quivering. " 'Aw wer sure he'd sarve ye eht! He's a grand lad! He's getten t' raight sperrit in him! He k n a w s — A y e , he knaws, as weel as Aw do, who s u d be t' maister yonder. E c h , ech, ech! H e m a d ye skift properly! E c h , ech, ech!' " 'Where m u s t we go?' I said to my cousin, disregarding the old wretch's mockery. "Linton was white a n d trembling. H e was not pretty then, Ellen. O h , no! he looked frightful! for his thin face and large eyes were wrought into an expression of frantic, powerless fury. H e grasped the handle of the door, and shook it—it was fastened inside. " 'If you don't let m e in, I'll kill you! If you don't let m e in, I'll kill you!' he rather shrieked than said. 'Devil! devil! I'll kill you, I'll kill you!' "Joseph uttered his croaking laugh again. " 'Thear, that's t' father!' he cried. 'That's father! We've alias s u m m u t u h orther side in u s . Niver heed Hareton, l a d — d u n n u t be ' f e a r d — h e c a n n o t get at thee!' "I took hold of Linton's h a n d s , and tried to pull him away; but he shrieked so shockingly that I dared not proceed. At last, his cries were choked by a dreadful fit of coughing; blood g u s h e d from his m o u t h , a n d he fell on the ground. "I ran into the yard, sick with terror; and called for Zillah, as loud as I could. S h e soon heard me; she was milking the cows in a shed 1

2

1.

"I w a s s u r e h e w o u l d s o s e r v e y o u . . . H e ' s g e t t i n g t h e r i g h t s p i r i t i n h i m ! He

knows—

Yes, he knows, as well as I do, w h o should b e the m a s t e r yonder . . . H e m a d e you properly!" 2.

"We've a l w a y s s o m e t h i n g o f t h e o t h e r s i d e [ o f t h e f a m i l y ; e.g. H e a t h c l i f f ] in u s . "

move

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behind the barn, and hurrying from her work, she inquired what there was to do? " I hadn't breath to explain; dragging her in, I looked a b o u t for Linton. E a r n s h a w had c o m e out to examine the mischief he had c a u s e d , and he was then conveying the poor thing u p s t a i r s . Zillah and I a s c e n d e d after him; but he s t o p p e d m e at the top of the steps, and said I shouldn't go in, I m u s t go h o m e . "I exclaimed that he had killed Linton and I would enter. "Joseph locked the door, a n d declared I should do 'no sich stuff,' and asked m e whether I were ' b a h n to be as m a d a s him.' " I stood crying, till the housekeeper re-appeared; she affirmed he would be better in a bit, but he couldn't do with that shrieking a n d din, and she took me, and nearly carried m e into the h o u s e . "Ellen, I was ready to tear my hair off my head! I s o b b e d a n d wept so that my eyes were almost blind; a n d the ruffian you have such sympathy with stood opposite, p r e s u m i n g every now a n d then to bid me 'wisht,' and denying that it was his fault; a n d finally, frightened by my assertions that I would tell p a p a , a n d that he should be put in prison and hanged, he c o m m e n c e d blubbering himself, and hurried out to hide his cowardly agitation. "Still, I was not rid of him: when at length they compelled m e to depart, and I had got s o m e h u n d r e d yards off the p r e m i s e s , he suddenly issued from the shadow of the road-side, and c h e c k e d Minny and took hold of m e . " 'Miss Catherine, I'm ill grieved,' he b e g a n , 'but it's rayther too bad—' " I gave him a cut with my whip, thinking p e r h a p s he would mur­ der me. H e let go, thundering one of his horrid c u r s e s , a n d I gal­ loped home more than half out of my s e n s e s . " I didn't bid you good-night, that evening; and I didn't go to Wuthering Heights, the next. I wished to, exceedingly; but I was strangely excited, and dreaded to hear that Linton was dead, s o m e ­ times; and sometimes s h u d d e r e d at the thoughts of encountering Hareton. "On the third day I took courage; at least, I couldn't b e a r longer s u s p e n s e and stole off once more. I went at five o'clock, a n d walked, fancying I might m a n a g e to creep into the h o u s e , a n d u p to Linton's room, unobserved. However, the dogs gave notice of my a p p r o a c h : Zillah received me, and saying 'the lad was m e n d i n g nicely,' showed me into a small, tidy, carpeted apartment, where, to my inexpress­ ible joy, I beheld Linton laid on a little sofa, reading one of my books. But he would neither s p e a k to m e nor look at me, through a whole hour, Ellen. H e has s u c h an u n h a p p y t e m p e r — a n d what 3

3.

Born.

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quite c o n f o u n d e d m e , when he did open his mouth it was to utter the falsehood that I had o c c a s i o n e d the uproar, and Hareton was not to b l a m e ! "Unable to reply, except passionately, I got up and walked from the room. H e sent after m e a faint 'Catherine!' H e did not reckon on being answered so, b u t I wouldn't turn back; and the morrow was the s e c o n d day on which I stayed at h o m e , nearly determined to visit him no m o r e . "But it was so miserable going to bed, and getting up, and never hearing anything a b o u t him, that my resolution melted into air be­ fore it was properly formed. It had a p p e a r e d wrong to take the jour­ ney once; now it s e e m e d wrong to refrain. Michael c a m e to ask if he m u s t s a d d l e Minny; I said 'Yes,' and considered myself doing a duty a s she bore m e over the hills. "I was forced to p a s s the front windows to get to the court; it was no u s e trying to conceal my p r e s e n c e . " 'Young m a s t e r is in the house,' said Zillah, as she saw me mak­ ing for the parlour. "I went in; E a r n s h a w was there also, but he quitted the room directly. Linton sat in the great a r m chair half asleep; walking up to the fire, I b e g a n in a serious tone, partly m e a n i n g it to be t r u e — " 'As you don't like m e , Linton, and as you think I c o m e on pur­ p o s e to hurt you, a n d pretend that I do so every time, this is our last m e e t i n g — l e t us say good-bye; and tell Mr. Heathcliff that you have no wish to see m e , and that he mustn't invent any more false­ hoods on the subject.' " 'Sit down a n d take your hat off, Catherine,' he answered. 'You are so m u c h happier than I a m , you ought to be better. P a p a talks e n o u g h of my defects, a n d shows e n o u g h scorn of m e , to make it natural I should doubt myself. I doubt whether I a m not altogether as worthless as he calls m e , frequently; and then I feel so cross and bitter, I hate everybody! I am worthless, and b a d in temper, and b a d in spirit, almost a l w a y s — a n d if you choose, you may say good­ bye. You'll get rid of an annoyance. Only, C a t h e r i n e , do me this j u s t i c e ; believe that if I might b e a s sweet, and as kind, and as good as you are, I would b e , a s willingly, and more so, than as happy and as healthy. A n d believe that your kindness has m a d e m e love you deeper than if I deserved your love, and though I couldn't, and c a n n o t help showing my nature to you, I regret it and repent it, a n d shall regret and repent it, till I die!' "I felt he spoke the truth; and I felt I m u s t forgive him; though he should quarrel the next m o m e n t , I m u s t forgive again. W e were reconciled, but we cried, both of us, the whole I stayed. N o t entirely for sorrow, yet I was sorry Linton had

and, him time that

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distorted nature. He'll never let his friends b e at e a s e , and he'll never be at ease himself! "I have always gone to his little parlour, since that night; b e c a u s e his father returned the day after. About three times, I think, we have been merry and hopeful, as we were the first evening; the rest of my visits were dreary and t r o u b l e d — n o w , with his selfishness and spite; and now, with his sufferings: but I've learnt to e n d u r e the former with nearly as little resent ment a s the latter. "Mr. Heathcliff purposely avoids me. I have hardly seen him at all. L a s t Sunday, indeed, c o m i n g earlier than usua l, I heard him abusing poor Linton, cruelly, for his c o n d u c t of the night before. I can't tell how he knew of it, unless he listened. Linton h a d certainly behaved provokingly; however, it was the b u s i n e s s of nobody but me; and I interrupted Mr. Heathcliff's lecture by entering a n d tell­ ing him so. H e burst into a laugh, and went away, saying he was glad I took that view of the matter. S i n c e then, I've told Linton he must whisper his bitter things. "Now, Ellen, you have heard all; a n d I can't b e prevented from going to Wuthering Heights, except by inflicting misery on two peo­ ple; whereas, if you'll only not tell p a p a , my going need disturb the tranquillity of none. You'll not tell, will you? It will b e very heartless if you do." "I'll make up my mind on that point by to-morrow, M i s s C a t h ­ erine," I replied. "It requires s o m e study; a n d so I'll leave you to your rest, and go think it over." I thought it over aloud, in my master's p r e s e n c e ; walking straight from her room to his, and relating the whole story, with the ex­ ception of her conversations with her cousin, a n d any mention of Hareton. Mr. Linton was a l a r m e d and distressed m o r e than he would a c ­ knowledge to me. In the morning, C a t h e r i n e learnt my betrayal of her confidence, and she learnt also that her secret visits were to end. In vain she wept and writhed against the interdict, a n d implored her father to have pity on Linton: all she got to comfort her was a promise that he would write, and give him leave to c o m e to the Grange when he pleased; but explaining that he m u s t no longer expect to see C a t h e r i n e at Wuthering Heights. P e r h a p s , had he been aware of his nephew's disposition a n d state of health, he would have seen fit to withhold even that slight consolation. Chapter

XXV

"These things h a p p e n e d last winter, sir," said M r s . D e a n ; "hardly more than a year ago. L a s t winter, I did not think, at another twelve

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months' end, I should be a m u s i n g a stranger to the family with relating them! Yet, who knows how long you'll be a stranger? You're too young to rest always contented, living by yourself; and I s o m e way fancy no one could see C a t h e r i n e Linton, and not love her. You smile; but why do you look so lively a n d interested, when I talk a b o u t her? a n d why have you a s k e d m e to h a n g her picture over your fireplace? a n d why—" "Stop, my g o o d friend!" I cried. "It may be very possible that I should love her; but would she love m e ? I doubt it too m u c h to venture my tranquillity by running into temptation; a n d then my h o m e is not here. I'm of the busy world, a n d to its arms I m u s t return. G o on. W a s C a t h e r i n e obedient to her father's c o m m a n d s ? " "She was," continued the housekeeper. "Her affection for him was still the chief sentiment in her heart; a n d he spoke without anger. H e spoke in the d e e p tenderness of one a b o u t to leave his treasures a m i d perils a n d foes, where his r e m e m b e r e d words would b e the only aid that he could b e q u e a t h to guide her. H e said to m e , a few days a f t e r w a r d s — "I wish my n e p h e w would write, Ellen, or call. Tell m e , sincerely, what you think of h i m — i s he c h a n g e d for the better, or is there a p r o s p e c t of improvement, a s he grows a m a n ? " "He's very delicate, sir," I replied; "and scarcely likely to reach m a n h o o d ; but this I can say, he does not resemble his father; and if M i s s C a t h e r i n e had the misfortune to marry him, he would not be beyond her control, unless she were extremely and foolishly in­ dulgent. However, master, you'll have plenty of time to get ac­ q u a i n t e d with him, a n d see whether he would suit her: it wants four years a n d m o r e to his being of age." E d g a r sighed; a n d , walking to the window, looked out towards G i m m e r t o n Kirk. It was a misty afternoon, but the February sun s h o n e dimly, a n d we could j u s t distinguish the two fir trees in the yard, a n d the sparely scattered gravestones. "I've prayed often," he half soliloquized, "for the approach of what is coming; a n d now I begin to shrink, a n d fear it. I thought the m e m o r y of the hour I c a m e down that glen a bridegroom would be less sweet than the anticipation that I was soon, in a few months, or, possibly, weeks, to be carried up, a n d laid in its lonely hollow! Ellen, I've b e e n very happy with my little Cathy. T h r o u g h winter nights a n d s u m m e r days she was a living hope at my side. But I've b e e n as happy m u s i n g by myself a m o n g those stones, under that old c h u r c h — l y i n g , through the long J u n e evenings, on the green m o u n d of her mother's grave, a n d wishing, yearning for the time w h e n I might lie b e n e a t h it. W h a t can I do for Cathy? How must I quit her? I'd not c a r e one m o m e n t for Linton being Heathcliff's son; nor for his taking her from m e , if he could console her for my

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loss. Td not care that Heathcliff gained his ends, a n d t r i u m p h e d in robbing m e of my last blessing! B u t should Linton b e unworthy— only a feeble tool to his f a t h e r — I c a n n o t a b a n d o n her to him! And, hard though it be to c r u s h her buoyant spirit, I m u s t persevere in making her sad while I live, a n d leaving her solitary when I die. Darling! I'd rather resign her to G o d , a n d lay her in the earth before me." "Resign her to G o d , as it is, sir," I answered, "and if we should lose y o u — w h i c h may H e f o r b i d — u n d e r His providence, I'll stand her friend and counsellor to the last. M i s s C a t h e r i n e is a good girl; I don't fear that she will go willfully wrong; a n d p e o p l e who do their duty are always finally rewarded." Spring advanced; yet my m a s t e r gathered no real strength, though he r e s u m e d his walks in the grounds with his daughter. T o her inexperienced notions, this itself was a sign of c o n v a l e s c e n c e ; a n d then his cheek was often flushed, a n d his eyes were bright: she felt sure of his recovering. O n her seventeenth birthday, he did not visit the churchyard; it was raining, and I o b s e r v e d — "You'll surely not go out to-night, sir?" He a n s w e r e d — "No, I'll defer it this year, a little longer." H e wrote again to Linton, expressing his great desire to see him; and, had the invalid been presentable, I've no d o u b t his father would have permitted him to c o m e . As it was, being instructed, he returned an answer, intimating that Mr. Heathcliff objected to his calling at the G r a n g e ; but his uncle's kind r e m e m b r a n c e delighted him, a n d he hoped to m e e t him, s o m e t i m e s , in his r a m b l e s , a n d personally to petition that his c o u s i n a n d he might not remain long so utterly divided. That part of his letter was simple, a n d probably his own. H e a t h ­ cliff knew he could p l e a d eloquently e n o u g h for Catherine's c o m ­ pany, t h e n — "I do not ask," he said, "that she may visit here; but a m I never to see her, b e c a u s e my father forbids m e to go to her h o m e , a n d you forbid her to c o m e to mine? Do, now a n d then, ride with her towards the Heights; a n d let us exchange a few words, in your p r e s ­ ence! W e have done nothing to deserve this separation; a n d you are not angry with m e — y o u have no r e a s o n to dislike m e , you allow, yourself. D e a r uncle! send m e a kind note to-morrow; a n d leave to join you anywhere you p l e a s e , except at T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e . I b e ­ lieve an interview would convince you that my father's c h a r a c t e r is not mine; he affirms I a m more your nephew than his son; a n d though I have faults which render m e unworthy of C a t h e r i n e , s h e has excused them, and, for her s a k e , you should also. You inquire

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after my h e a l t h — i t is better; but while I remain cut off from all hope, a n d d o o m e d to solitude, or the society of those who never did, a n d never will like m e , how can I be cheerful and well?" Edgar, though he felt for the boy, could not consent to grant his request; b e c a u s e he could not a c c o m p a n y Catherine. H e said, in s u m m e r , p e r h a p s , they might meet: meantime, he wished him to continue writing at intervals, and engaged to give him what advice a n d comfort he was able by letter; being well aware of his hard position in his family. Linton complied; a n d h a d he b e e n unrestrained, would probably have spoiled all by filling his epistles with complaints and lamen­ tations; but his father kept a sharp watch over him; and, of course, insisted on every line that my master sent being shown; so, in­ stead of p e n n i n g his peculiar personal sufferings and distresses, the themes constantly u p p e r m o s t in his thoughts, he harped on the cruel obligation of being held a s u n d e r from his friend and love; and gently intimated that Mr. Linton m u s t allow an interview soon, or he should fear he was purposely deceiving him with empty promises. C a t h y was a powerful ally at home; and, between them, they at length p e r s u a d e d my master to a c q u i e s c e in their having a ride or a walk together, a b o u t once a week, under my guardianship, and on the m o o r s nearest the G r a n g e , for J u n e found him still declining; and, though he h a d set aside, yearly, a portion of his income for my young lady's fortune, he had a natural desire that she might r e t a i n — o r , at least, return in a short time t o — t h e h o u s e of her ancestors; a n d he considered her only prospect of doing that was by a union with his heir; he h a d no idea that the latter was failing a l m o s t a s fast as himself; nor had any one, I believe: no doctor visited the Heights, and no one saw M a s t e r Heathcliff to make report of his condition, a m o n g us. I, for my part, b e g a n to fancy my forebodings were false, and that he m u s t be actually rallying, when he mentioned riding and walking on the m o o r s , a n d s e e m e d so earnest in p u r s u i n g his object. I could not picture a father treating a dying child as tyrannically and wickedly as I afterwards learnt Heathcliff had treated him, to compel this a p p a r e n t eagerness; his efforts redoubling the more imminently his avaricious and unfeeling plans were threatened with defeat by death. Chapter

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S u m m e r was already past its prime, when Edgar reluctantly yielded his a s s e n t to their entreaties, and Catherine and I set out on our first ride to join her cousin.

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It was a close, sultry day, devoid of s u n s h i n e , but with a sky too dappled and hazy to threaten rain; and our p l a c e of meeting had been fixed at the guide-stone, by the c r o s s r o a d s . O n arriving there, however, a little herd-boy, d e s p a t c h e d as a m e s s e n g e r , told us t h a t — "Maister Linton wer j u s t ut this side th' Heights: a n d he'd b e mitch obleeged to us to g a n g on a bit further." "Then M a s t e r Linton has forgot the first injunction of his uncle," I observed: "he bid us keep on the G r a n g e land, a n d here we are, off at once." "Well, we'll turn our horses' h e a d s round, when we r e a c h him," answered my companion; "our excursion shall lie towards home." But when we reached him, and that was scarcely a quarter of a mile from his own door, we found he had no horse, a n d we were forced to dismount, and leave ours to graze. H e lay on the heath, awaiting our a p p r o a c h , a n d did not rise till we c a m e within a few yards. T h e n he walked so feebly, a n d looked so pale, that I immediately e x c l a i m e d — "Why, M a s t e r Heathcliff, you are not fit for enjoying a r a m b l e this morning. How ill you do look!" Catherine surveyed him with grief a n d astonishment; she changed the ejaculation of joy on her lips, to one of alarm, a n d the congratulation on their long p o s t p o n e d meeting, to an anxious in­ quiry, whether he were worse than u s u a l ? "No—better—better!" he p a n t e d , trembling, a n d retaining her hand as if he needed its support, while his large b l u e eyes w a n d e r e d timidly over her; the hollowness round them, transforming to hag­ gard wildness the languid expression they o n c e p o s s e s s e d . "But you have been worse," persisted his c o u s i n , "worse than when I saw you l a s t — y o u are thinner, a n d — " "I'm tired," he interrupted, hurriedly. "It is too hot for walking, let us rest here. And, in the morning, I often feel s i c k — p a p a says I grow so fast." Badly satisfied, Cathy sat down, and he reclined beside her. "This is something like your paradise," said she, m a k i n g an effort at cheerfulness. "You recollect the two days we agreed to s p e n d in the place and way e a c h thought p l e a s a n t e s t ? This is nearly yours, only there are clouds; but then, they are so soft a n d mellow, it is nicer than sunshine. Next week, if you can, we'll ride down to the G r a n g e Park, and try mine." Linton did not a p p e a r to r e m e m b e r what she talked of; a n d he had evidently great difficulty in sustaining any kind of conversation. His lack of interest in the subjects she started, a n d his e q u a l in­ capacity to contribute to her entertainment, were so obvious that she could not conceal her disappointment. An indefinite alteration

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had c o m e over his whole person and manner. T h e pettishness that might be c a r e s s e d into fondness, had yielded to a listless apathy; there was less of the peevish temper of a child which frets and t e a s e s on p u r p o s e to be soothed, and m o r e of the self-absorbed m o r o s e n e s s of a confirmed invalid, repelling consolation, and ready to regard the g o o d - h u m o u r e d mirth of others as an insult. C a t h e r i n e perceived, as well as I did, that he held it rather a p u n i s h m e n t , than a gratification, to endure our company; and she m a d e no scruple of proposing, presently, to depart. T h a t proposal, unexpectedly, roused Linton from his lethargy, a n d threw him into a strange state of agitation. H e glanced fearfully towards the Heights, begging she would remain another half-hour, at least. "But, I think," said Cathy, "you'd be more comfortable at home than sitting here; and I cannot a m u s e you to-day, I see, by my tales, and s o n g s , and chatter; you have grown wiser than I, in these six months; you have little taste for my diversions now; or else, if I could a m u s e you, I'd willingly stay." "Stay to rest yourself," he replied. "And, Catherine, don't think, or say that I'm very unwell—it is the heavy weather and heat that m a k e m e dull; a n d I walked about, before you c a m e , a great deal, for m e . Tell uncle, I'm in tolerable health, will you?" "I'll tell him that you say so, Linton. I couldn't affirm that you are," observed my young lady, wondering at his pertinacious asser­ tion of what was evidently an untruth. "And b e here again next Thursday," continued he, shunning her puzzled gaze. "And give him my thanks for permitting you to c o m e — m y best thanks, C a t h e r i n e . A n d — a n d if you did meet my father, a n d he a s k e d you a b o u t me, don't lead him to s u p p o s e that I've been extremely silent and stupid; don't look sad and downcast, as you are doing—he'll be angry." "I care nothing for his anger," exclaimed Cathy, imagining she would b e its object. "But I do," said her cousin, shuddering. "Don't provoke him against m e , C a t h e r i n e , for he is very hard." "Is he severe to you, M a s t e r Heathcliff?" I inquired. "Has he grown weary of indulgence, and p a s s e d from passive, to active hatred?" Linton looked at me, but did not answer; and, after keeping her seat by his side another ten minutes, during which his head fell drowsily on his breast, a n d he uttered nothing except s u p p r e s s e d m o a n s of exhaustion or pain, C a t h y began to seek solace in looking for bilberries, and sharing the p r o d u c e of her researches with me: she did not offer them to him, for she saw further notice would only weary a n d annoy.

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"Is it half an hour now, Ellen?" she whispered in my ear, at last. "I can't tell why we should stay. He's asleep, a n d p a p a will be want­ ing us back." "Well, we must not leave him asleep," I answered; "wait till he wakes and be patient. You were mighty eager to set off, but your longing to see poor Linton h a s soon evaporated!" "Why did he wish to see m e ? " returned C a t h e r i n e . "In his c r o s s e s t h u m o u r s , formerly, I liked him better than I do in his p r e s e n t curious mood. It's j u s t as if it were a task he was c o m p e l l e d to p e r f o r m — t h i s interview—for fear his father should scold him. B u t I'm hardly going to c o m e to give Mr. Heathcliff p l e a s u r e , whatever reason he may have for ordering Linton to u n d e r g o this p e n a n c e . And, though I'm glad he's better in health, I'm sorry he's so m u c h less pleasant, a n d so m u c h less affectionate to me." "You think he is better in health, then?" I said. "Yes," she answered; "because he always m a d e s u c h a great deal of his sufferings, you know. H e is not tolerably well, a s he told m e to tell p a p a , but he's better, very likely." "Then you differ with m e , M i s s Cathy," I remarked; "I should conjecture him to be far worse." Linton here started from his s l u m b e r in bewildered terror, a n d asked if any one had called his n a m e . "No," said Catherine; "unless in d r e a m s . I c a n n o t conceive how you m a n a g e to doze, out of doors, in the morning." "I thought I heard my father," he g a s p e d , glancing u p to the frowning nab above us. "You are sure nobody spoke?" "Quite sure," replied his cousin. "Only Ellen a n d I were disputing concerning your health. Are you truly stronger, Linton, than when we separated in winter? If you be, I'm certain one thing is not stronger—your regard for m e — s p e a k , are you?" T h e tears g u s h e d from Linton's eyes a s he a n s w e r e d — "Yes, yes, I am!" And, still under the spell of the imaginary voice, his gaze wan­ dered up and down to detect its owner. Cathy rose. "For to-day we m u s t part," she said. "And I won't conceal that I have been sadly disappointed with our meeting, though I'll men­ tion it to nobody but y o u — n o t that I stand in awe of Mr. H e a t h ­ cliff!" "Hush," m u r m u r e d Linton; "for God's s a k e , hush! He's coming." And he clung to Catherine's a r m , striving to detain her; but, at that a n n o u n c e m e n t , she hastily d i s e n g a g e d herself, a n d whistled to Minny, who obeyed her like a dog. "I'll be here next Thursday," she cried, springing to the s a d d l e . "Good-bye. Quick, Ellen!"

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And so we left him, scarcely c o n s c i o u s of our departure, so ab­ sorbed was he in anticipating his father's a p p r o a c h . Before we r e a c h e d h o m e , Catherine's displeasure softened into a perplexed sensation of pity and regret largely blended with vague, uneasy d o u b t s a b o u t Linton's actual c i r c u m s t a n c e s , physical and social; in which I partook, though I counselled her not to say much, for a s e c o n d j o u r n e y would m a k e us better j u d g e s . My master r e q u e s t e d an a c c o u n t of our ongoings: his nephew's offering of thanks was duly delivered, M i s s C a t h y gently touching on the rest: I also threw little light on his inquiries, for I hardly knew what to hide, a n d what to reveal. Chapter

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Seven days glided away, every one marking its course by the henceforth rapid alteration of E d g a r Linton's state. T h e havoc that m o n t h s had previously wrought was now emulated by the inroads of hours. C a t h e r i n e , we would fain have deluded yet, but her own quick spirit refused to d e l u d e her. It divined, in secret, and brooded on the dreadful probability, gradually ripening into certainty. S h e h a d not the heart to mention her ride, when Thursday c a m e round; I mentioned it for her, and obtained permission to order her out of doors; for the library, where her father stopped a short time d a i l y — t h e brief period he could bear to sit u p — a n d his c h a m b e r h a d b e c o m e her whole world. S h e grudged each moment that did not find her bending over his pillow, or seated by his side. Her c o u n t e n a n c e grew wan with watching and sorrow, and my m a s t e r gladly d i s m i s s e d her to what he flattered himself would be a happy c h a n g e of s c e n e a n d society, drawing comfort from the h o p e that she would not now be left entirely alone after his death. H e h a d a fixed idea, I g u e s s e d by several observations he let fall, that as his n e p h e w r e s e m b l e d him in person, he would resemble him in mind; for Linton's letters bore few or no indications of his defective character. And I, through p a r d o n a b l e weakness, refrained from correcting the error; asking myself what good there would be in disturbing his last m o m e n t s with information that he had neither power nor opportunity to turn to account. W e deferred our excursion till the afternoon; a golden afternoon of A u g u s t — e v e r y breath from the hills so full of life, that it seemed whoever respired it, though dying, might revive. Catherine's face was j u s t like the l a n d s c a p e — s h a d o w s and sun­ shine flitting over it, in rapid s u c c e s s i o n ; but the shadows rested

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longer and the s u n s h i n e was m o r e transient, a n d her poor little heart reproached itself for even that p a s s i n g forgetfulness of its cares. We discerned Linton watching at the s a m e spot he had selected before. My young mistress alighted, a n d told m e that as she was resolved to stay a very little while, I had better hold the pony a n d remain on horseback; but I dissented; I wouldn't risk losing sight of the charge committed to m e a minute; so we climbed the slope of heath together. Master Heathcliff received us with greater animation on this oc­ casion; not the animation of high spirits though, nor yet of joy; it looked more like fear. "It is late!" he said, speaking short, a n d with difficulty. "Is not your father very ill? I thought you wouldn't come." "Why won't you be candid?" cried C a t h e r i n e , swallowing her greeting. "Why cannot you say at once, you don't want m e ? It is strange, Linton, that for the s e c o n d time, you have brought m e here on p u r p o s e , apparently, to distress us both, a n d for no r e a s o n b e ­ sides!" Linton shivered, and glanced at her, half supplicating, half a s h a m e d , but his cousin's patience was not sufficient to e n d u r e this enigmatical behaviour. "My father is very ill," s h e said, "and why a m I called from his bedside—why didn't you send to absolve m e from my p r o m i s e , when you wished I wouldn't keep it? C o m e ! I desire an explanation; playing and trifling are completely b a n i s h e d out of my mind, a n d I can't dance attendance on your affectations, now!" "My affectations!" he m u r m u r e d ; "what are they? For heaven's sake, Catherine, don't look so angry! D e s p i s e m e as m u c h as you please; I am a worthless, cowardly w r e t c h — I can't be s c o r n e d enough! but I'm too m e a n for your a n g e r — h a t e my father, a n d spare me, for contempt!" "Nonsense!" cried C a t h e r i n e in a p a s s i o n . "Foolish, silly boy! And there! he trembles, as if I were really going to touch him! You needn't b e s p e a k contempt, Linton; anybody will have it s p o n t a n e ­ ously, at your service. G e t off! I shall return h o m e ; it is folly drag­ ging you from the hearth-stone, a n d p r e t e n d i n g — w h a t do we pretend? Let go my frock! If I pitied you for crying a n d looking so very frightened, you should spurn s u c h pity. Ellen, tell him how disgraceful this c o n d u c t is. Rise, a n d don't d e g r a d e yourself into a n abject reptile—don't." With streaming face a n d an expression of agony, Linton h a d thrown his nerveless frame along the ground; he s e e m e d convulsed with exquisite terror.

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"Oh!" he s o b b e d , "I cannot bear it! Catherine, Catherine, I'm a traitor too, a n d I dare not tell you! B u t leave m e and I shall be killed! Dear C a t h e r i n e , my life is in your hands; and you have said you loved m e — a n d if you did, it wouldn't h a r m you. You'll not go, then? kind, sweet, good Catherine! And p e r h a p s you will consent — a n d he'll let m e die with you!" My young lady, on witnessing his intense anguish, stooped to raise him. T h e old feeling of indulgent tenderness overcame her vexation, a n d she grew thoroughly moved and alarmed. "Consent to what?" she asked. "To stay? Tell m e the meaning of this strange talk, and I will. You contradict your own words, and distract me! B e c a l m and frank, a n d confess at once all that weighs on your heart. You wouldn't injure me, Linton, would you? You wouldn't let any enemy hurt m e , if you could prevent it? I'll believe you are a coward, for yourself, but not a cowardly betrayer of your best friend." "But my father threatened me," g a s p e d the boy, clasping his at­ t e n u a t e d fingers, "and I dread h i m — I dread him! I dare not tell!" "Oh well!" said C a t h e r i n e , with scornful c o m p a s s i o n , "keep your secret, I'm no c o w a r d — s a v e yourself, I'm not afraid!" H e r magnanimity provoked his tears; he wept wildly, kissing her supporting h a n d s , a n d yet could not s u m m o n courage to speak out. I was cogitating what the mystery might b e , and determined C a t h e r i n e should never suffer to benefit him or any one else, by my good will; when hearing a rustle a m o n g the ling, I looked up, and s a w Mr. Heathcliff almost close upon us, descending the Heights. H e didn't cast a glance towards my c o m p a n i o n s , though they were sufficiently near for Linton's sobs to be audible; but hail­ ing m e in the almost hearty tone he a s s u m e d to none besides, and the sincerity of which I couldn't avoid doubting, he s a i d — "It is s o m e t h i n g to see you so near to my house, Nelly! How are you at the G r a n g e ? L e t us hear! T h e r u m o u r goes," he added in a lower tone, "that E d g a r Linton is on his d e a t h - b e d — p e r h a p s they exaggerate his illness?" "No; my m a s t e r is dying," I replied; "it is true enough. A sad thing it will be for us all, but a blessing for him!" "How long will he last, do you think?" he asked. "I don't know," I said. " B e c a u s e , " he continued, looking at the two young people, who were fixed under his e y e — L i n t o n a p p e a r e d as if he could not ven­ ture to stir, or raise his head, and C a t h e r i n e could not move, on his a c c o u n t — " B e c a u s e that lad yonder s e e m s determined to beat m e — a n d I'd thank his uncle to be quick, and go before him. Hallo! 1

1.

Heather.

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H a s the whelp been playing that g a m e long? I did give him s o m e lessons about snivelling. Is he pretty lively with M i s s Linton gen­ erally?" "Lively? n o — h e has shown the greatest distress," I answered. "To see him, I should say, that instead of rambling with his sweetheart on the hills, he ought to be in bed, under the h a n d s of a doctor." "He shall be, in a day or two," muttered Heathcliff. "But first— get up, Linton! G e t up!" he s h o u t e d . "Don't grovel on the g r o u n d , t h e r e — u p this moment!" Linton had s u n k prostrate again in another paroxysm of helpless fear, c a u s e d by his father's g l a n c e towards him, I s u p p o s e : there was nothing else to p r o d u c e s u c h humiliation. H e m a d e several efforts to obey, but his little strength was annihilated for the time, and he fell b a c k again with a m o a n . Mr. Heathcliff advanced, a n d lifted him to lean against a ridge of turf. "Now," said he with c u r b e d ferocity, "I'm getting a n g r y — a n d if you don't c o m m a n d that paltry spirit of y o u r s — D a m n you! G e t u p , directly!" "I will, father!" he p a n t e d . "Only, let m e alone, or I shall faint! I've done as you wished, I'm sure. C a t h e r i n e will tell you t h a t — that I — h a v e been cheerful. Ah! keep by m e , C a t h e r i n e ; give m e your hand." "Take mine," said his father; "stand on your feet! T h e r e n o w — she'll lend you her arm. That's right, look at her. You would imagine I was the devil himself, M i s s Linton, to excite s u c h horror. B e so kind as to walk h o m e with him, will you? H e s h u d d e r s , if I touch him." "Linton, dear!" whispered C a t h e r i n e , "I can't go to W u t h e r i n g H e i g h t s — p a p a h a s forbidden m e . He'll not h a r m you, why are you so afraid?" "I can never re-enter that house," he answered. "I a m not to re­ enter it without you!" "Stop!" cried his father. "We'll respect Catherine's filial s c r u p l e s . Nelly, take him in, a n d I'll follow your advice concerning the doctor, without delay." "You'll do well," replied I, "but I m u s t remain with my mistress. To mind your son is not my b u s i n e s s . " "You are very stiff!" said Heathcliff; "I know t h a t — b u t you'll force me to pinch the baby, a n d m a k e it s c r e a m , before it moves your charity. C o m e then, my hero. Are you willing to return, escorted by me?" He a p p r o a c h e d once more, a n d m a d e as if he would seize the fragile being; but shrinking back, Linton clung to his cousin, a n d implored her to a c c o m p a n y him, with a frantic importunity that admitted no denial.

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However I disapproved, I couldn't hinder her; indeed, how could she have refused him herself? W h a t was filling him with dread, we h a d no m e a n s of discerning, but there he was, powerless under its gripe, a n d any addition s e e m e d c a p a b l e of shocking him into idiocy. W e r e a c h e d the threshold; Catherine walked in; and I stood waiting till she h a d c o n d u c t e d the invalid to a chair, expecting her out immediately; when Mr. Heathcliff, p u s h i n g m e forward, ex­ claimed— "My h o u s e is not stricken with the p l a g u e , Nelly; and I have a mind to be hospitable to-day; sit down, and allow m e to shut the door." H e shut a n d locked it also. I started. "You shall have tea, before you go home," he added. "I am by myself. H a r e t o n is gone with s o m e cattle to the L e e s — a n d Zillah and J o s e p h are off on a j o u r n e y of p l e a s u r e . And, though I'm used to being alone, I'd rather have s o m e interesting company, if I can get it. M i s s Linton, take your seat by him. I give you what I have; the present is hardly worth accepting; but I have nothing else to offer. It is Linton, I m e a n . H o w she does stare! It's odd what a savage feeling I have to anything that s e e m s afraid of me! H a d I been born where laws are less strict, and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself to a slow vivisection of those two, as an evening's amusement." H e drew in his breath, struck the table, and swore to himself— "By hell! I hate them." "I'm not afraid of you!" exclaimed C a t h e r i n e , who could not hear the latter part of his speech. S h e s t e p p e d close up, her black eyes flashing with passion and resolution. "Give m e that k e y — I will have it!" she said. "I wouldn't eat or drink here, if I were starving." Heathcliff had the key in his hand that remained on the table. H e looked u p , seized with a sort of surprise at her boldness, or, possibly, reminded by her voice and glance, of the person from w h o m she inherited it. S h e s n a t c h e d at the instrument, and half s u c c e e d e d in getting it out of his loosened fingers; but her action recalled him to the pres­ ent; he recovered it speedily. "Now, C a t h e r i n e Linton," he said, "stand off, or I shall knock you down; and that will m a k e M r s . D e a n mad." Regardless of this warning, she captured his closed hand and its contents again. "We will go!" she repeated, exerting her utmost efforts to c a u s e the iron m u s c l e s to relax; and finding that her nails m a d e no im­ pression, she applied her teeth pretty sharply.

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Heathcliff glanced at m e a glance that kept m e from interfering a moment. Catherine was too intent on his fingers to notice his face. H e opened them suddenly, a n d resigned the object of dispute; but, ere she had well s e c u r e d it, he seized her with the liberated hand, and, pulling her on his knee, administered with the other a shower of terrific slaps on both sides of the head, e a c h sufficient to have fulfilled his threat, had she been able to fall. At this diabolical violence, I r u s h e d on him furiously. "You villain!" I b e g a n to cry, "you villain!" A touch on the chest silenced me; I a m stout, a n d soon put out of breath; a n d , what with that a n d the rage, I staggered dizzily back, and felt ready to suffocate, or to burst a blood-vessel. T h e scene was over in two minutes; C a t h e r i n e , released, p u t her two hands to her temples, and looked j u s t as if s h e were not sure whether her ears were off or on. S h e trembled like a reed, poor thing, and leant against the table perfectly bewildered. "I know how to chastise children, you see," said the scoundrel, grimly, as he stooped to r e p o s s e s s himself of the key, which h a d dropped to the floor. "Go to Linton now, as I told you; a n d cry at your ease! I shall be your father t o - m o r r o w — a l l the father you'll have in a few d a y s — a n d you shall have plenty of t h a t — y o u c a n bear plenty—you're no weakling—you shall have a daily taste, if I catch s u c h a devil of a temper in your eyes again!" Cathy ran to m e instead of Linton, a n d knelt down, a n d p u t her burning cheek on my lap, weeping aloud. H e r c o u s i n h a d s h r u n k into a corner of the settle, as quiet as a m o u s e , congratulating him­ self, I dare say, that the correction had lighted on another than him. Mr. Heathcliff, perceiving us all confounded, rose, a n d expedi­ tiously m a d e the tea himself. T h e c u p s a n d s a u c e r s were laid ready. H e poured it out, a n d h a n d e d m e a c u p . "Wash away your spleen," he said. "And help your own naughty pet and mine. It is not poisoned, though I p r e p a r e d it. I'm going out to seek your horses." Our first thought, on his departure, was to force an exit s o m e ­ where. W e tried the kitchen door, but that was f a s t e n e d outside; we looked at the windows—they were too narrow for even Cathy's little figure. "Master Linton," I cried, seeing we were regularly imprisoned, "you know what your diabolical father is after, a n d you shall tell u s , or I'll box your ears, as he has done your cousin's." "Yes, Linton; you m u s t tell," said C a t h e r i n e . "It was for your s a k e I c a m e ; and it will be wickedly ungrateful if you refuse." "Give m e s o m e tea, I'm thirsty, a n d then I'll tell you," he an­ swered. "Mrs. D e a n , go away. I don't like you standing over m e .

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Now, C a t h e r i n e , you are letting your tears fall into my cup! I won't drink that. Give m e another." C a t h e r i n e p u s h e d another to him, a n d wiped her face. I felt dis­ g u s t e d at the little wretch's c o m p o s u r e , since he was no longer in terror for himself. T h e anguish he h a d exhibited on the moor sub­ sided as soon as ever he entered Wuthering Heights; so I g u e s s e d he h a d been m e n a c e d with an awful visitation of wrath if he failed in decoying us there; and, that accomplished, he had no further i m m e d i a t e fears. "Papa wants us to be married," he continued, after sipping some of the liquid. "And he knows your p a p a wouldn't let us marry now; a n d he's afraid of my dying, if we wait; so we are to be married in the morning, a n d you are to stay here all night; and, if you do as he wishes, you shall return h o m e next day, and take me with you." "Take you with her, pitiful changeling?" I exclaimed. "You marry? Why, the m a n is m a d , or he thinks us fools, every one. And do you imagine that beautiful young lady, that healthy, hearty girl, will tie herself to a little perishing monkey like you? Are you cherishing the notion that anybody, let alone M i s s C a t h e r i n e Linton, would have you for a h u s b a n d ? You want whipping for bringing us in here at all, with your dastardly, puling tricks; a n d — d o n ' t look so silly now! I've a very good mind to shake you severely, for your contemptible treachery, and your imbecile conceit." I did give him a slight shaking, but it brought on the cough, and he took to his ordinary resource of m o a n i n g and weeping, and C a t h ­ erine rebuked m e . "Stay all night? No!" she said, looking slowly round. "Ellen, I'll burn that door down, but I'll get out." And she would have c o m m e n c e d the execution of her threat di­ rectly, but Linton was u p in alarm, for his dear self, again. He c l a s p e d her in his two feeble a r m s , s o b b i n g — "Won't you have m e , and save m e ? Not let m e c o m e to the G r a n g e ? Oh! darling Catherine! you mustn't go, and leave me, after all. You must obey my father, you must!" "I m u s t obey my own," she replied, "and relieve him from this cruel s u s p e n s e . T h e whole night! W h a t would he think? he'll be distressed already. I'll either break or burn a way out of the house. B e quiet! You're in no d a n g e r — b u t , if you hinder m e — L i n t o n , I love p a p a better than you!" T h e mortal terror he felt of Mr. Heathcliff's anger restored to the boy his coward's e l o q u e n c e . C a t h e r i n e was near distraught; still, she persisted that she m u s t go h o m e , and tried entreaty, in her turn, p e r s u a d i n g him to s u b d u e his selfish agony. While they were thus occupied, our jailer re-entered.

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"Your beasts have trotted off," he said, " a n d — N o w , Linton! sniv­ elling again? W h a t has she been doing to you? C o m e , c o m e — h a v e done, and get to bed. In a m o n t h or two, my lad, you'll be able to pay her b a c k her present tyrannies, with a vigorous h a n d . You're pining for pure love, are you not? nothing else in the w o r l d — a n d she shall have you! T h e r e , to bed! Zillah won't be here to-night; you must undress yourself. H u s h ! hold your noise! O n c e in your own room, I'll not c o m e near you, you needn't fear. By c h a n c e , you've m a n a g e d tolerably. I'll look to the rest." H e spoke these words, holding the door open for his son to p a s s ; and the latter achieved his exit exactly as a spaniel might, which suspected the person who attended on it of designing a spiteful squeeze. T h e lock was re-secured. Heathcliff a p p r o a c h e d the fire, where my mistress and I stood silent. C a t h e r i n e looked u p , and instinc­ tively raised her h a n d to her cheek: his neighbourhood revived a painful sensation. Anybody else would have been i n c a p a b l e of re­ garding the childish act with sternness, but he scowled on her, and muttered— "Oh, you are not afraid of m e ? Your c o u r a g e is well d i s g u i s e d — you seem damnably afraid!" "I am afraid now," she replied; "because if I stay, p a p a will b e miserable; and how c a n I e n d u r e m a k i n g him m i s e r a b l e — w h e n h e — w h e n h e — M r . Heathcliff, let m e go home! I p r o m i s e to marry L i n t o n — p a p a would like m e to, and I love h i m — a n d why should you wish to force m e to do what I'll willingly do of m y s e l f ? " "Let him dare to force you!" I cried. "There's law in the land, thank G o d , there is! though we be in an out-of-the-way p l a c e . I'd inform, if he were my own son, and it's felony without benefit of clergy!" "Silence!" said the ruffian. "To the devil with your clamour! I don't want you to speak. M i s s Linton, I shall enjoy myself remark­ ably in thinking your father will b e miserable; I shall not sleep for satisfaction. You could have hit on no surer way of fixing your res­ idence under my roof, for the next twenty-four hours, than inform­ ing me that s u c h an event would follow. As to your p r o m i s e to marry Linton, I'll take care you shall keep it, for you shall not quit the place till it is fulfilled." "Send Ellen then, to let p a p a know I'm safe!" exclaimed C a t h ­ erine, weeping bitterly. "Or marry m e now. Poor papa! Ellen, he'll think we're lost. W h a t shall we do?" "Not he! He'll think you are tired of waiting on him, and run off, for a little a m u s e m e n t , " answered Heathcliff. "You c a n n o t deny that you entered my h o u s e of your own accord, in c o n t e m p t of his in-

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j u n c t i o n s to the contrary. And it is quite natural that you should desire a m u s e m e n t at your age; a n d that you should weary of nursing a sick m a n , a n d that m a n only your father. Catherine, his happiest days were over when your days b e g a n . H e cursed you, I dare say, for c o m i n g into the world (I did, at least). And it would j u s t do if he c u r s e d you as he went out of it. I'd join him. I don't love you! H o w should I? W e e p away. As far as I can see, it will be your chief diversion hereafter, unless Linton m a k e a m e n d s for other losses; a n d your provident parent a p p e a r s to fancy he may. His letters of advice a n d consolation entertained m e vastly. In his last, he rec­ o m m e n d e d my jewel to be careful of his; and kind to her when he got her. Careful a n d kind—that's paternal! B u t Linton requires his whole stock of c a r e a n d kindness for himself. Linton can play the little tyrant well. He'll undertake to torture any number of cats if their teeth b e drawn, a n d their claws pared. You'll be able to tell his uncle fine tales of his kindness, when you get home again, I a s s u r e you." "You're right there!" I said; "explain your son's character. Show his r e s e m b l a n c e to yourself; a n d then, I hope, M i s s Cathy will think twice before she takes the cockatrice!" "I don't m u c h mind speaking of his amiable qualities now," he answered, "because she m u s t either a c c e p t him, or remain a pris­ oner, a n d you along with her, till your master dies. I can detain you both, quite c o n c e a l e d , here. If you doubt, e n c o u r a g e her to retract her word, a n d you'll have an opportunity of judging!" "I'll not retract my word," said Catherine. "I'll marry him, within this hour, if I may go to T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e afterwards. Mr. Heath­ cliff, you're a cruel m a n , but you're not a fiend; and you won't, from mere malice, destroy, irrevocably, all my happiness. If p a p a thought I had left him on p u r p o s e , and if he died before I returned, could I bear to live? I've given over crying; but I'm going to kneel here, at your knee; and I'll not get u p , and I'll not take my eyes from your face, till you look b a c k at me! N o , don't turn away! do look! You'll see nothing to provoke you. I don't hate you. I'm not angry that you struck m e . Have you never loved anybody, in all your life, uncle? never? Ah! you m u s t look o n c e — I ' m so wretched—you can't help being sorry a n d pitying me." "Keep your eft's fingers off; and move, or I'll kick you!" cried Heathcliff, brutally repulsing her. "I'd rather be hugged by a snake. H o w the devil c a n you d r e a m of fawning on me? I detest you!" H e shrugged his s h o u l d e r s — s h o o k himself, indeed, as if his flesh crept with aversion, and thrust b a c k his chair, while I got up, and 1

1.

"Lizzard's."

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opened my mouth, to c o m m e n c e a downright torrent of a b u s e ; but I was rendered d u m b in the middle of the first s e n t e n c e , by a threat that I should be shown into a r o o m by myself, the very next syllable I uttered. It was growing d a r k — w e h e a r d a s o u n d of voices at the garden gate. O u r host hurried out, instantly; he had his wits a b o u t him; we had not. T h e r e was a talk of two or three minutes, a n d he returned alone. "I thought it had been your c o u s i n Hareton," I observed to C a t h ­ erine. "I wish he would arrive! W h o knows but he might take our part?" "It was three servants sent to seek you from the G r a n g e , " said Heathcliff, overhearing m e . "You should have o p e n e d a lattice a n d called out; but I could swear that chit is glad you didn't. She's glad to be obliged to stay, I'm certain." At learning the c h a n c e we had m i s s e d , we both gave vent to our grief without control, a n d he allowed us to wail on till nine o'clock; then he bid us go upstairs, through the kitchen, to Zillah's c h a m b e r , and I whispered my c o m p a n i o n to obey; p e r h a p s we might contrive to get through the window there, or into a garret, a n d out by its skylight. The window, however, was narrow like those below, a n d the garret trap was safe from our attempts; for we were fastened in as before. We neither of us lay down: C a t h e r i n e took her station by the lattice, and watched anxiously for m o r n i n g — a d e e p sigh being the only answer I could obtain to my frequent entreaties that she would try to rest. I seated myself in a chair, a n d rocked, to a n d fro, p a s s i n g harsh j u d g m e n t on my many derelictions of duty; from which, it struck me then, all the misfortunes of all my employers sprang. It was not the c a s e , in reality, I a m aware; but it was, in my imagination, that dismal night, a n d I thought Heathcliff himself less guilty than I. At seven o'clock he c a m e , a n d inquired if M i s s Linton had risen. She ran to the door immediately, a n d a n s w e r e d — "Yes." "Here, then," he said, opening it, a n d pulling her out. I rose to follow, but he turned the lock again. I d e m a n d e d my release. "Be patient," he replied; "I'll send up your breakfast in a while." I thumped on the panels, a n d rattled the latch angrily; a n d C a t h ­ erine asked why I was still shut u p ? H e answered, I m u s t try to endure it another hour, and they went away. I endured it two or three hours; at length, I heard a footstep, not Heathcliff's.

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"I've brought you something to eat," said a voice; "oppen t' door!" C o m p l y i n g eagerly, I beheld Hareton, laden with food enough to last m e all day. "Tak it," he a d d e d , thrusting the tray into my hand. "Stay one minute," I b e g a n . "Nay!" cried he, and retired, regardless of any prayers I could p o u r forth to detain him. And there I r e m a i n e d enclosed, the whole day, and the whole of the next night; and another, and another. Five nights and four days I r e m a i n e d , altogether, seeing nobody but Hareton, once every morning, a n d he was a model of a j a i l e r — s u r l y , and d u m b , and deaf to every attempt at moving his s e n s e of j u s t i c e or compassion. Chapter

XXVIII

O n the fifth morning, or rather afternoon, a different step ap­ p r o a c h e d — l i g h t e r a n d s h o r t e r — a n d , this time, the person entered the room. It was Zillah, d o n n e d in her scarlet shawl, with a black silk b o n n e t on her head, and a willow basket swung to her arm. "Eh, dear! M r s . Dean," she exclaimed. "Well! there is a talk about you at G i m m e r t o n . I never thought but you were s u n k in the Blackhorse m a r s h , a n d Missy with you, till master told m e you'd been found, a n d he'd lodged you here! What, a n d you m u s t have got on an island, sure? And how long were you in the hole? Did master save you, M r s . D e a n ? B u t you're not so thin—you've not been so poorly, have you?" "Your m a s t e r is a true scoundrel!" I replied. "But he shall answer for it. H e needn't have raised that t a l e — i t shall all be laid bare!" "What do you m e a n ? " a s k e d Zillah. "It's not his tale: they tell that in the v i l l a g e — a b o u t your being lost in the marsh; and I calls to E a r n s h a w , when I c o m e i n — " " 'Eh, they's q u e e r things, Mr. Hareton, h a p p e n e d since I went off. It's a s a d pity of that likely young lass, and c a n t Nelly Dean.' "He stared. I thought he had not heard aught, so I told him the rumour. "The m a s t e r listened, a n d he j u s t smiled to himself, and s a i d — " 'If they have been in the m a r s h , they are out now, Zillah. Nelly D e a n is lodged, at this minute, in your room. You can tell her to flit, when you go up; here is the key. T h e bog-water got into her head, a n d she would have run h o m e , quite flighty, but I fixed her, till she c a m e round to her s e n s e s . You can bid her go to the G r a n g e , at once, if she be able, a n d carry a m e s s a g e from me, that her young lady will follow in time to attend the Squire's funeral." 1

1.

B r i s k or lively.

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"Mr. Edgar is not dead?" I g a s p e d . "Oh! Zillah, Zillah!" "No, n o — s i t you down, my good mistress," she replied; "you're right sickly yet. He's not dead: D o c t o r K e n n e t h thinks he m a y last another day. I met him on the road a n d asked." Instead of sitting down, I s n a t c h e d my outdoor things, a n d h a s ­ tened below, for the way was free. On entering the h o u s e , I looked a b o u t for s o m e one to give in­ formation of C a t h e r i n e . T h e place was filled with s u n s h i n e , a n d the door stood wide open, but nobody s e e m e d at hand. As I hesitated whether to go off at once, or return a n d seek my mistress, a slight c o u g h drew my attention to the hearth. Linton lay on the settle, sole tenant, sucking a stick of sugarcandy, and p u r s u i n g my movements with apathetic eyes. "Where is Miss C a t h e r i n e ? " I d e m a n d e d , sternly, s u p p o s i n g I could frighten him into giving intelligence, by c a t c h i n g him thus, alone. H e sucked on like an innocent. "Is she gone?" I said. "No," he replied; "she's u p s t a i r s — s h e ' s not to go; we won't let her." "You won't let her, little idiot!" I exclaimed. "Direct m e to her room immediately, or I'll m a k e you sing out sharply." "Papa would make you sing out, if you a t t e m p t e d to get there," he answered. "He says I'm not to be soft with C a t h e r i n e ; she's my wife, and it's shameful that she should wish to leave me! H e says, she hates me, a n d wants m e to die, that s h e m a y have my money, but she shan't have it; a n d she shan't go home! S h e never shall! she may cry, a n d be sick as m u c h as she pleases!" He r e s u m e d his former occupation, closing his lids, a s if he meant to drop asleep. "Master Heathcliff," I r e s u m e d , "have you forgotten all C a t h ­ erine's kindness to you, last winter, when you affirmed you loved her, and when she brought you books, a n d s u n g you s o n g s , a n d c a m e many a time through wind a n d snow to see you? S h e wept to miss one evening, b e c a u s e you would b e disappointed; a n d you felt then, that she was a hundred times too good to you; a n d now you believe the lies your father tells, though you know he detests you both! And you join him against her. That's fine gratitude, is it not?" T h e corner of Linton's m o u t h fell, a n d he took the s u g a r - c a n d y from his lips. "Did she c o m e to Wuthering Heights, b e c a u s e s h e h a t e d you?" I continued. "Think for yourself! As to your money, she does not even know that you will have any. And you say she's sick; a n d yet, you leave her alone, up there in a strange house! You, who have felt

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what it is to be so neglected! You could pity your own sufferings, and she pitied them, too, but you won't pity hers! I shed tears, M a s t e r Heathcliff, you s e e — a n elderly woman, and a servant m e r e l y — a n d you, after pretending s u c h affection, and having reason to worship her almost, store every tear you have for your­ self, a n d lie there quite at e a s e . Ah! you're a heartless, selfish boy!" "I can't stay with her," he answered crossly. "I'll not stay, by my­ self. S h e cries so I can't bear it. And she won't give over, though I say I'll call my father. I did call him once; and he threatened to strangle her, if she was not quiet, but she b e g a n again, the instant he left the room; m o a n i n g and grieving, all night long, though I s c r e a m e d for vexation that I couldn't sleep." "Is Mr. Heathcliff out?" I inquired, perceiving that the wretched creature had no power to sympathise with his cousin's mental tor­ tures. "He's in the court," he replied, "talking to Doctor Kenneth, who says uncle is dying, truly, at last. I'm glad, for I shall be master of the G r a n g e after h i m — a n d C a t h e r i n e always spoke of it as her h o u s e . It isn't hers! It's m i n e — p a p a says everything she has is mine. All her nice books are mine; she offered to give m e them, and her pretty birds, a n d her pony Minny, if I would get the key of our room, a n d let her out; but I told her she h a d nothing to give, they were all, all mine. And then she cried, and took a little picture from her neck, a n d said I should have t h a t — t w o pictures in a gold c a s e , on one side her mother, and on the other, uncle, when they were young. T h a t was y e s t e r d a y — I said they were mine, too; and tried to get them from her. T h e spiteful thing wouldn't let me; she p u s h e d m e off, and hurt m e . I shrieked o u t — t h a t frightens h e r — she heard p a p a coming, a n d she broke the hinges, and divided the c a s e a n d gave m e her mother's portrait; the other she attempted to hide; but p a p a a s k e d what was the matter and I explained it. H e took the one I had away; and ordered her to resign hers to me; she refused, a n d h e — h e struck her down, and wrenched it off the chain, a n d c r u s h e d it with his foot." "And were you p l e a s e d to see her struck?" I asked, having my designs in e n c o u r a g i n g his talk. "I winked," he answered. "I wink to see my father strike a dog, or a horse, he does it so hard. Yet I was glad at first—she deserved punishing for p u s h i n g me: but when p a p a was gone, she m a d e me c o m e to the window and showed m e her cheek cut on the inside, against her teeth, a n d her m o u t h filling with blood; and then she gathered u p the bits of the picture, and went and sat down with her face to the wall, and she has never spoken to m e since, and I

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sometimes think she can't s p e a k for pain. I don't like to think so! but she's a naughty thing for crying continually; a n d s h e looks so pale and wild, I'm afraid of her!" "And you can get the key if you c h o o s e ? " I said. "Yes, when I a m upstairs," he answered; "but I can't walk upstairs now." "In what a p a r t m e n t is it?" I a s k e d . "Oh," he cried, "I shan't tell you where it is! It is our secret. Nobody, neither Hareton, nor Zillah are to know. T h e r e ! you've tired m e — g o away, go away!" And he turned his face onto his a r m , and shut his eyes, again. I considered it best to depart without seeing M r . Heathcliff; a n d bring a rescue for my young lady, from the G r a n g e . O n reaching it, the a s t o n i s h m e n t of my fellow servants to see m e , and their joy also, was intense; a n d when they h e a r d that their little mistress was safe, two or three were a b o u t to hurry u p , a n d shout the news at Mr. Edgar's door: but I b e s p o k e the a n n o u n c e m e n t of it, myself. How changed I found him, even in those few days! H e lay an image of s a d n e s s , a n d resignation, waiting his death. Very young he looked: though his actual age was thirty-nine, one would have called him ten years younger, at least. H e thought of C a t h e r i n e , for he m u r m u r e d her n a m e . I touched his hand, a n d spoke. "Catherine is coming, dear master!" I whispered; "she is alive, and well; and will b e here I hope to-night." I trembled at the first effects of this intelligence: he half rose up, looked eagerly round the apartment, a n d then s u n k b a c k in a swoon. As soon as he recovered, I related our c o m p u l s o r y visit, a n d de­ tention at the Heights. I said Heathcliff forced m e to go in, which was not quite true; I uttered as little as p o s s i b l e against Linton; nor did I describe all his father's brutal conduct, my intentions being to add no bitterness, if I could help it, to his already overflowing cup. H e divined that one of his enemy's p u r p o s e s was to s e c u r e the personal property, as well as the estate, to his son, or rather himself; yet why he did not wait till his d e c e a s e , was a puzzle to my master, b e c a u s e ignorant how nearly he a n d his nephew would quit the world together. However, he felt his will had better be altered. Instead of leaving Catherine's fortune at her own disposal, he determined to put it in the hands of trustees, for her u s e during life, a n d for her children, if she had any, after her. By that m e a n s , it could not fall to M r . Heathcliff should Linton die.

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Having received his orders, I d e s p a t c h e d a m a n to fetch the at­ torney, a n d four more, provided with serviceable weapons, to de­ m a n d my young lady of her jailer. Both parties were delayed very late. T h e single servant returned first. H e said Mr. G r e e n , the lawyer, was out when he arrived at his h o u s e , a n d he h a d to wait two hours for his re-entrance: and then Mr. G r e e n told him he had a little b u s i n e s s in the village that must be done, but he would be at T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e before morning. T h e four m e n c a m e b a c k u n a c c o m p a n i e d , also. They brought word that C a t h e r i n e was ill, too ill to quit her room, and Heathcliff would not suffer them to see her. I scolded the stupid fellows well, for listening to that tale, which I would not carry to my master; resolving to take a whole bevy up to the Heights, at daylight, and storm it, literally, unless the pris­ oner were quietly surrendered to us. Her father shall see her, I vowed, and vowed again, if that devil be killed on his own doorstones in trying to prevent it! Happily, I was s p a r e d the journey, and the trouble. I h a d gone downstairs at three o'clock to fetch a j u g of water; a n d was p a s s i n g through the hall with it in my hand, when a sharp knock at the front door m a d e m e j u m p . "Oh! it is Green," I said, recollecting myself, "—only Green," and I went on, intending to send s o m e b o d y else to open it; but the knock was repeated, not loud, and still importunately. I p u t the j u g on the banister, a n d h a s t e n e d to admit him myself. T h e harvest m o o n shone clear outside. It was not the attorney. My own sweet little mistress s p r u n g on my neck s o b b i n g — "Ellen! Ellen! Is p a p a alive?" "Yes!" I cried, "yes, my angel, he is! G o d be thanked, you are safe with us again!" S h e wanted to run, breathless as she was, upstairs to Mr. Linton's room; but I compelled her to sit down on a chair, and m a d e her drink, a n d w a s h e d her pale face, chafing it into a faint colour with my apron. T h e n I said I m u s t go first, and tell of her arrival; im­ ploring her to say, she should b e happy with young Heathcliff. S h e stared, but soon c o m p r e h e n d i n g why I counselled her to utter the falsehood, she a s s u r e d m e she would not complain. I couldn't abide to b e present at their meeting. I stood outside the c h a m b e r - d o o r a quarter of an hour, and hardly ventured near the bed, then. All was c o m p o s e d , however; Catherine's despair was as silent as her father's joy. S h e s u p p o r t e d him calmly, in a p p e a r a n c e ; and he fixed on her features his raised eyes, that s e e m e d dilating with ecstasy.

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H e died blissfully, Mr. Lockwood; he died so. Kissing her cheek, he m u r m u r e d — "I a m going to her, and you, darling child, shall c o m e to us"; a n d never stirred or spoke again, but continued that rapt, radiant gaze, till his p u l s e imperceptibly stopped, a n d his soul departed. N o n e could have noticed the exact m i n u t e of his death, it was so entirely without a struggle. Whether Catherine had spent her tears, or whether the grief were too weighty to let them flow, she sat there dry-eyed till the s u n rose; she sat till noon, and would still have remained, brooding over that death-bed, but I insisted on her c o m i n g away, and taking s o m e repose. It was well I s u c c e e d e d in removing her, for at dinner-time a p ­ peared the lawyer, having called at Wuthering Heights to get his instructions how to behave. H e had sold himself to Mr. Heathcliff, and that was the c a u s e of his delay in obeying my master's s u m ­ mons. Fortunately, no thought of worldly affairs c r o s s e d the latter's mind, to disturb him, after his daughter's arrival. Mr. G r e e n took upon himself to order everything a n d everybody about the place. H e gave all the servants but m e , notice to quit. H e would have carried his delegated authority to the point of insisting that Edgar Linton should not be buried b e s i d e his wife, but in the chapel, with his family. T h e r e was the will, however, to hinder that, and my loud protestations against any infringement of its directions. T h e funeral was hurried over; C a t h e r i n e , M r s . Linton Heathcliff now, was suffered to stay at the G r a n g e , till her father's c o r p s e had quitted it. S h e told m e that her a n g u i s h had at last s p u r r e d Linton to incur the risk of liberating her. S h e heard the m e n I sent, disputing at the door, and she gathered the s e n s e of Heathcliff's answer. It drove her desperate. Linton, who h a d been conveyed u p to the little parlour soon after I left, was terrified into fetching the key before his father re-ascended. H e had the cunning to unlock, and re-lock the door, without shutting it; and when he should have gone to bed, he b e g g e d to sleep with Hareton, and his petition was granted, for once. Catherine stole out before break of day. S h e dare not try the doors, lest the dogs should raise an alarm; she visited the empty chambers, and examined their windows; and, luckily, lighting on her mother's, she got easily out of its lattice, a n d onto the ground, by m e a n s of the fir tree, close by. Her a c c o m p l i c e suffered for his share in the e s c a p e , notwithstanding his timid contrivances.

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XXIX

T h e evening after the funeral, my young lady a n d I were seated in the library; now m u s i n g mournfully, one of us despairingly, on our loss, now venturing conjectures as to the gloomy future. W e h a d j u s t agreed the best destiny which could await Catherine, would b e a permission to continue resident at the G r a n g e , at least during Linton's life: he being allowed to join her there, and I to remain as housekeeper. T h a t s e e m e d rather too favourable an ar­ r a n g e m e n t to b e h o p e d for, and yet I did hope, and began to cheer u p under the p r o s p e c t of retaining my h o m e , and my employment, and, above all, my beloved young mistress, when a s e r v a n t — o n e of the d i s c a r d e d ones, not yet d e p a r t e d — r u s h e d hastily in, and said, "that devil Heathcliff" was c o m i n g through the court: should he fasten the door in his face? If we h a d been m a d e n o u g h to order that proceeding, we had not time. H e m a d e no ceremony of knocking, or a n n o u n c i n g his name; he was master, and availed himself of the master's privilege to walk straight in, without saying a word. T h e s o u n d of our informant's voice directed him to the library; he entered, a n d motioning him out, shut the door. It was the s a m e room into which he had been ushered, as a guest, eighteen years before: the s a m e m o o n shone through the window; a n d the s a m e a u t u m n l a n d s c a p e lay outside. W e had not yet lighted a candle, but all the a p a r t m e n t was visible, even to the portraits on the w a l l — t h e splendid h e a d of M r s . Linton, and the graceful one of her h u s b a n d . Heathcliff advanced to the hearth. T i m e had little altered his person either. T h e r e was the s a m e m a n , his dark face rather sallower, a n d m o r e c o m p o s e d , his frame a stone or two heavier, per­ haps, and no other difference. C a t h e r i n e h a d risen with an impulse to d a s h out, when she saw him. "Stop!" he said, arresting her by the arm. "No more runnings away! W h e r e would you go? I'm c o m e to fetch you home; and I hope you'll be a dutiful daughter, and not e n c o u r a g e my son to further disobedience. I was e m b a r r a s s e d how to punish him, when I discovered his part in the b u s i n e s s — h e ' s s u c h a cobweb, a pinch would annihilate h i m — b u t you'll see by his look that he has re­ ceived his due! I brought him down one evening, the day before yesterday, a n d j u s t set him in a chair, and never touched him af­ terwards. I sent H a r e t o n out, and we had the room to ourselves. In two hours, I called J o s e p h to carry him up again; and, since then, my p r e s e n c e is as potent on his nerves as a ghost; and I fancy he sees m e often, though I a m not near. Hareton says he wakes and

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shrieks in the night by the hour together; a n d calls you to protect him from me; and, whether you like your precious m a t e or not, you m u s t c o m e — h e ' s your concern now; I yield all my interest in him to you." "Why not let C a t h e r i n e continue here?" I p l e a d e d , "and send Master Linton to her. As you hate them both, you'd not miss them; they can only be a daily p l a g u e to your unnatural heart." "I'm seeking a tenant for the G r a n g e , " he answered; "and I want my children a b o u t m e , to b e s u r e — b e s i d e s , that lass owes m e her services for her bread; I'm not going to nurture her in luxury and idleness after Linton is gone. M a k e haste and get ready now. And don't oblige m e to compel you." "I shall," said C a t h e r i n e . "Linton is all I have to love in the world, and, though you have done what you could to m a k e him hateful to me, and m e to him, you cannot m a k e us hate e a c h other! and I defy you to hurt him when I a m by, and I defy you to frighten me." "You are a boastful champion!" replied Heathcliff; "but I don't like you well e n o u g h to hurt him: you shall get the full benefit of the torment, as long as it lasts. It is not I who will m a k e him hateful to you—it is his own sweet spirit. He's as bitter a s gall at your desertion, and its c o n s e q u e n c e s ; don't expect thanks for this noble devotion. I heard him draw a p l e a s a n t picture to Zillah of what he would do, if he were as strong as I. T h e inclination is there, a n d his very weakness will sharpen his wits to find a substitute for strength." "I know he has a b a d nature," said C a t h e r i n e ; "he's your son. B u t I'm glad I've a better, to forgive it; a n d I know he loves m e and for that reason I love him. Mr. Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you; and, however miserable you m a k e u s , we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty rises from your greater misery! You are miserable, are you not? Lonely, like the devil, a n d envious like him? Nobody loves you—nobody will cry for you, when you die! I wouldn't be you!" Catherine spoke with a kind of dreary triumph: she s e e m e d to have m a d e up her mind to enter into the spirit of her future family, and draw p l e a s u r e from the griefs of her e n e m i e s . "You shall be sorry to be yourself presently," said her father-inlaw, "if you stand there another minute. B e g o n e , witch, and get your things." S h e scornfully withdrew. In her a b s e n c e , I b e g a n to beg for Zillah's p l a c e at the Heights, offering to resign her mine; but he would suffer it on no a c c o u n t . H e bid me be silent, and then, for the first time, allowed himself a glance round the room, and a look at the pictures. Having studied Mrs. Linton, he s a i d —

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"I shall have that at h o m e . N o t b e c a u s e I need it, b u t — " H e turned abruptly to the fire, a n d continued, with what, for lack of a better word, I m u s t call a s m i l e — "I'll tell you what I did yesterday! I got the sexton, who was dig­ ging Linton's grave, to remove the earth off her coffin lid, and I o p e n e d it. I thought, once, I would have stayed there, when I saw her face a g a i n — i t is hers y e t — h e had hard work to stir me; but he said it would c h a n g e , if the air blew on it, a n d so I struck one side of the coffin loose, a n d covered it u p — n o t Linton's side, d a m n him! I wish he'd b e e n soldered in l e a d — a n d I bribed the sexton to pull it away, when I'm laid there, a n d slide mine out too. I'll have it m a d e so, a n d then, by the time Linton gets to us, he'll not know which is which!" "You were very wicked, Mr. Heathcliff!" I exclaimed; "were you not a s h a m e d to disturb the d e a d ? " "I disturbed nobody, Nelly," he replied; "and I gave s o m e e a s e to myself. I shall be a great deal more comfortable now; a n d you'll have a better c h a n c e of keeping m e underground, when I get there. D i s t u r b e d her? No! she h a s disturbed m e , night and day, through eighteen y e a r s — i n c e s s a n t l y — r e m o r s e l e s s l y — t i l l yesternight—and yesternight, I was tranquil. I d r e a m t I was sleeping the last sleep, by that sleeper, with my heart stopped, a n d my cheek frozen against hers." "And if s h e h a d b e e n dissolved into earth, or worse, what would you have d r e a m t of then?" I said. "Of dissolving with her, a n d being more happy still!" he answered. "Do you s u p p o s e I dread any c h a n g e of that sort? I expected such a transformation on raising the lid, but I'm better pleased that it should not c o m m e n c e till I s h a r e it. B e s i d e s , unless I had received a distinct i m p r e s s i o n of her p a s s i o n l e s s features, that strange feeling would hardly have been removed. It b e g a n oddly. You know, I was wild after s h e died, a n d eternally, from dawn to dawn, praying her to return to m e — h e r s p i r i t — I have a strong faith in ghosts; I have a conviction that they c a n , a n d do exist, a m o n g us! "The day she was buried there c a m e a fall of snow. In the evening I went to the churchyard. It blew bleak as winter—all round was solitary: I didn't fear that her fool of a h u s b a n d would wander up the d e n so l a t e — a n d no one else had b u s i n e s s to bring them there. "Being alone, a n d c o n s c i o u s two yards of loose earth was the sole barrier between u s , I said to myself— " T i l have her in my a r m s again! If she be cold, I'll think it is this north wind that chills me; a n d if she be motionless, it is sleep.' 1

1.

U p the valley.

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"I got a s p a d e from the toolhouse, a n d b e g a n to delve with all my might—it s c r a p e d the coffin; I fell to work with my h a n d s ; the wood c o m m e n c e d cracking a b o u t the screws, I was on the point of attaining my object, when it s e e m e d that I heard a sigh from s o m e one above, close at the edge of the grave, a n d b e n d i n g down—'if I can only get this off/ I muttered, 'I wish they may shovel in the earth over us both!' and I wrenched at it m o r e desperately still. There was another sigh, close at my ear. I a p p e a r e d to feel the warm breath of it displacing the sleet-laden wind. I knew no living thing in flesh and blood was b y — b u t a s certainly as you perceive the approach to s o m e substantial body in the dark, though it c a n n o t b e discerned, so certainly I felt that C a t h y was there, not u n d e r m e , but on the earth. "A s u d d e n s e n s e of relief flowed from my heart through every limb. I relinquished my labour of agony, and turned c o n s o l e d at once, unspeakably consoled. Her p r e s e n c e was with me; it r e m a i n e d while I re-filled the grave, a n d led m e h o m e . You m a y laugh, if you will, but I was sure I should see her there. I was s u r e she was with me, and I could not help talking to her. "Having reached the Heights, I r u s h e d eagerly to the door. It was fastened; and, I remember, that a c c u r s e d E a r n s h a w a n d my wife opposed my entrance. I r e m e m b e r stopping to kick the breath out of him, and then hurrying upstairs, to my room, a n d hers. I looked round impatiently—I felt her by m e — I could almost see her, a n d yet I could not! I ought to have sweat blood then, from the a n g u i s h of my yearning, from the fervour of my supplications to have but one glimpse! I had not one. S h e showed herself, a s she often was in life, a devil to me! And, since then, s o m e t i m e s more, a n d s o m e ­ times less, I've been the sport of that intolerable torture! Infernal — k e e p i n g my nerves at s u c h a stretch, that, if they h a d not r e s e m ­ bled catgut, they would, long ago, have relaxed to the feebleness of Linton's. "When I sat in the h o u s e with Hareton, it s e e m e d that on going out, I should meet her; when I walked on the moors I should m e e t her coming in. W h e n I went from h o m e , I h a s t e n e d to return; she must be somewhere at the Heights, I was certain! And w h e n I slept in her c h a m b e r — I was beaten out of t h a t — I couldn't lie there; for the m o m e n t I closed my eyes, she was either outside the window, or sliding b a c k the panels, or entering the room, or even resting her darling head on the s a m e pillow a s she did when a child. And I must open my lids to see. And so I opened and closed them a hundred times a n i g h t — t o be always disappointed! It racked me! I've often groaned aloud, till that old rascal J o s e p h no doubt b e ­ lieved that my c o n s c i e n c e was playing the fiend inside of m e .

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"Now since I've seen her, I'm p a c i f i e d — a little. It was a strange way of killing, not by inches, but by fractions of hair-breadths, to beguile m e with the spectre of a hope, through eighteen years!" Mr. Heathcliff p a u s e d a n d wiped his forehead. His hair clung to it, wet with perspiration; his eyes were fixed on the red embers of the fire; the brows not contracted, but raised next the temples, di­ minishing the grim a s p e c t of his c o u n t e n a n c e , but imparting a pe­ culiar look of trouble, a n d a painful a p p e a r a n c e of mental tension towards one a b s o r b i n g subject. H e only half a d d r e s s e d m e , and I m a i n t a i n e d s i l e n c e — I didn't like to hear him talk! After a short period, he r e s u m e d his meditation on the picture, took it down, a n d leant it against the sofa to contemplate it at better advantage; a n d while so o c c u p i e d C a t h e r i n e entered, announcing that she was ready, when her pony should be saddled. "Send that over to-morrow," said Heathcliff to m e , then turning to her he a d d e d , "You may do without your pony; it is a fine evening, a n d you'll n e e d no ponies at Wuthering Heights, for what journeys you take, your own feet will serve y o u — C o m e along." "Good-bye, Ellen!" whispered my dear little mistress. As she kissed m e , her lips felt like ice. " C o m e and see m e , Ellen, don't forget." "Take c a r e you do no s u c h thing, M r s . Dean!" said her new fa­ ther. "When I wish to s p e a k to you I'll c o m e here. I want none of your prying at my house!" H e signed her to p r e c e d e him; and casting b a c k a look that cut my heart, she obeyed. I w a t c h e d them from the window walk down the garden. Heath­ cliff fixed Catherine's a r m under his, though she disputed the act, at first, evidently, and with rapid strides, he hurried her into the alley, w h o s e trees c o n c e a l e d them. Chapter

XXX

I have p a i d a visit to the Heights, but I have not seen her since she left; J o s e p h held the door in his hand, when I called to a s k after her, a n d wouldn't let m e p a s s . H e said M r s . Linton was "thrang," a n d the m a s t e r was not in. Zillah has told m e something of the way they go on, otherwise I should hardly know who was dead, and who living. S h e thinks C a t h e r i n e haughty, a n d does not like her, I can guess by her talk. My young lady asked s o m e aid of her, when she first c a m e , but Mr. Heathcliff told her to follow her own b u s i n e s s , and 1

1.

Busy.

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let his daughter-in-law look after herself, a n d Zillah willingly a c q u i ­ esced, being a narrow-minded, selfish w o m a n . C a t h e r i n e evinced a child's annoyance at this neglect; repaid it with c o n t e m p t , a n d thus enlisted my informant a m o n g her e n e m i e s , as securely a s if s h e h a d done her s o m e great wrong. I had a long talk with Zillah, a b o u t six weeks a g o , a little before you c a m e , one day when we foregathered on the moor; a n d this is what she told m e . "The first thing M r s . Linton did," she said, "on her arrival at the Heights, was to run upstairs without even wishing good-evening to me and J o s e p h ; she shut herself into Linton's room, a n d r e m a i n e d till morning. T h e n , while the m a s t e r a n d E a r n s h a w were at break­ fast, she entered the h o u s e a n d a s k e d all in a quiver if the doctor might be sent for? her cousin was very ill." " 'We know that!' answered Heathcliff, 'but his life is not worth a farthing, and I won't s p e n d a farthing on him.' " 'But I cannot tell how to do,' she said, 'and if nobody will help me, he'll die!' " 'Walk out of the room!' cried the master, 'and let m e never hear a word more a b o u t him! N o n e here c a r e what b e c o m e s of him; if you do, act the nurse; if you do not, lock him u p a n d leave him.' "Then she b e g a n to bother m e , a n d I said I'd h a d e n o u g h p l a g u e with the tiresome thing; we e a c h had our tasks, a n d hers was to wait on Linton; Mr. Heathcliff bid m e leave that labour to her. "How they m a n a g e d together, I can't tell. I fancy he fretted a great deal, and m o a n e d h i s s e l n , night a n d day; a n d she h a d pre­ cious little rest, one could g u e s s by her white face, a n d heavy eyes. S h e sometimes c a m e into the kitchen all wildered like, a n d looked as if she would fain beg a s s i s t a n c e : but I was not going to disobey the master. I never dare disobey him, M r s . D e a n , a n d though I thought it wrong that Kenneth should not be sent for, it was no concern of mine, either to advise or complain; a n d I always refused to meddle. "Once or twice, after we had gone to bed, I've h a p p e n e d to open my door again, a n d seen her sitting crying, on the stairs' top; a n d then I've shut myself in, quick, for fear of being moved to interfere. I did pity her then, I'm sure; still, I didn't wish to lose my p l a c e , you know! "At last, one night she c a m e boldly into my c h a m b e r , a n d fright­ ened m e out of my wits, by s a y i n g — " 'Tell Mr. Heathcliff that his son is dying—I'm s u r e he is, this time. G e t u p , instantly, a n d tell him!' 2

2.

M o a n e d to

himself.

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"Having uttered this s p e e c h , she vanished again. I lay a quarter of an hour listening and trembling. Nothing s t i r r e d — t h e house was quiet. " 'She's mistaken,' I said to myself. 'He's got over it. I needn't disturb them.' A n d I b e g a n to doze. B u t my sleep was marred a s e c o n d time, by a sharp ringing of the b e l l — t h e only bell we have, p u t u p on p u r p o s e for Linton; and the m a s t e r called to m e , to see what was the matter, a n d inform them that he wouldn't have that noise repeated. "I delivered Catherine's m e s s a g e . H e c u r s e d to himself, and in a few minutes, c a m e out with a lighted candle, and proceeded to their r o o m . I followed. M r s . Heathcliff was seated by the bedside, with her h a n d s folded on her knees. H e r father-in-law went up, held the light to Linton's face, looked at him, and touched him; afterwards he turned to her. " ' N o w — C a t h e r i n e , ' he said, 'how do you feel?' "She was d u m b . " 'How do you feel, C a t h e r i n e ? ' he repeated. " 'He's safe, a n d I'm free,' she answered, 'I should feel well—but,' she c o n t i n u e d with a bitterness she couldn't conceal, 'you have left m e so long to struggle against death, alone, that I feel and see only death! I feel like death!' "And she looked like it, too! I gave her a little wine. Hareton and J o s e p h , who h a d b e e n wakened by the ringing and the sound of feet, a n d heard our talk from outside, now entered. J o s e p h was fain, I believe, of the lad's removal: H a r e t o n s e e m e d a thought bothered, though he was m o r e taken up with staring at C a t h e r i n e than think­ ing of Linton. B u t the m a s t e r bid him get off to bed a g a i n — w e didn't want his help. H e afterwards m a d e J o s e p h remove the body to his c h a m b e r , a n d told m e to return to mine, and M r s . Heathcliff r e m a i n e d by herself. "In the morning, he sent m e to tell her she m u s t c o m e down to breakfast. S h e h a d u n d r e s s e d , a n d a p p e a r e d going to sleep, and said she was ill; at which I hardly wondered. I informed Mr. Heathcliff, and he r e p l i e d — " 'Well, let her b e till after the funeral; and go up now and then to get her what is needful; a n d as soon as she s e e m s better, tell me.' " C a t h y stayed upstairs a fortnight, according to Zillah, who visited her twice a day, a n d would have been rather more friendly, but her a t t e m p t s at i n c r e a s i n g kindness were proudly and promptly repelled. Heathcliff went u p once, to show her Linton's will. H e had be­ q u e a t h e d the whole of his, a n d what h a d been her, moveable prop­ erty to his father. T h e poor creature was threatened, or coaxed, into that act during her week's a b s e n c e , when his uncle died. T h e lands,

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being a minor, he could not m e d d l e with. However, Mr. Heathcliff has claimed and kept them in his wife's right, a n d his also, I s u p ­ pose legally. At any rate C a t h e r i n e , destitute of c a s h a n d friends, cannot disturb his p o s s e s s i o n . "Nobody," said Zillah, "ever a p p r o a c h e d her door, except that once, but I; and nobody asked anything a b o u t her. T h e first o c c a ­ sion of her coming down into the h o u s e , was on a S u n d a y after­ noon. "She had cried out, when I carried up her dinner, that she couldn't bear any longer being in the cold; a n d I told her the m a s t e r was going to T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e ; a n d E a r n s h a w a n d I needn't hinder her from descending; so, as soon as she heard Heathcliff's horse trot off, she m a d e her a p p e a r a n c e , d o n n e d in black, a n d her yellow curls c o m b e d b a c k behind her ears, as plain as a Q u a k e r ; she couldn't c o m b them out. "Joseph a n d I generally go to chapel on S u n d a y s , " (the Kirk, you know, has no minister now, explained M r s . D e a n , a n d they call the Methodists' or Baptists' p l a c e , I can't say which it is, at G i m m e r t o n , a c h a p e l ) . "Joseph had gone," she continued, "but I thought proper to bide at h o m e . Young folks are always the better for an elder's over-looking, a n d Hareton, with all his b a s h f u l n e s s , isn't a model of nice behaviour. I let him know that his cousin would very likely sit with us, a n d she had been always u s e d to see the S a b b a t h re­ spected, so he had as good leave his g u n s a n d bits of in-door work alone, while she stayed. "He coloured u p at the news, a n d c a s t his eyes over his h a n d s and clothes. T h e train-oil a n d gunpowder were shoved out of sight in a minute. I saw he m e a n t to give her his company; a n d I g u e s s e d , by his way, he wanted to be p r e s e n t a b l e ; so, laughing, as I durst not laugh when the m a s t e r is by, I offered to help him, if he would, and joked at his confusion. H e grew sullen, a n d b e g a n to swear. "Now, M r s . Dean," she went on, seeing m e not p l e a s e d by her manner, "you happen think your young lady too fine for Mr. H a r e ­ ton, and happen you're right; but, I own, I should love well to bring her pride a peg lower. And what will all her learning a n d her dain­ tiness do for her, now? She's as poor as you or I — p o o r e r , I'll b e bound; you're saving, a n d I'm doing my little all, that road." Hareton allowed Zillah to give him her aid; a n d s h e nattered him into a good humour; so, when C a t h e r i n e c a m e , half forgetting her 3

4

5

6

3.

M e m b e r s of t h e R e l i g i o u s S o c i e t y o f F r i e n d s ( w h i c h C a t h e r i n e is n o t ) p r a c t i c e d p l a i n n e s s o f d r e s s a n d s p e e c h . J a n e E y r e , w h e n o f f e r e d j e w e l s , r e f u s e s , telling R o c h e s t e r s h e is h i s " p l a i n , Q u a k e r i s h g o v e r n e s s " (Jane

4.

Eyre,

Ch.

XXIV).

In d i s t i n c t i o n f r o m "Kirk," w h i c h h e r e c o u l d r e f e r t o t h e s t a t e c h u r c h of e i t h e r S c o t l a n d or E n g l a n d , "chapel" w a s the term u s e d for dissenters' p l a c e s of worship.

5. O i l f r o m w h a l e s o r s e a l s , h e r e u s e d for g u n - c l e a n i n g . 6.

T h a t way.

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HEIGHTS

former insults, he tried to m a k e himself agreeable, by the house­ keeper s a c c o u n t . "Missis walked in," she said, "as chill as an icicle, and as high as a p r i n c e s s . I got u p a n d offered her my seat in the arm-chair. No, she turned u p her nose at my civility. E a r n s h a w rose too, and bid her c o m e to the settle, and sit close by the fire; he was sure she was starved. " T v e b e e n starved a m o n t h and more,' she answered, resting on the word, as scornful as she could. "And she got a chair for herself, and placed it at a distance from both of us. "Having sat till she was warm, she b e g a n to look round, and discovered a n u m b e r of books in the dresser; she was instantly upon her feet again, stretching to reach them, but they were too high up. "Her cousin, after watching her endeavours a while, at last s u m ­ m o n e d c o u r a g e to help her; she held her frock, and he filled it with the first that c a m e to hand. "That was a great a d v a n c e for the lad. S h e didn't thank him; still, he felt gratified that she had a c c e p t e d his a s s i s t a n c e , and ventured to stand behind as she examined them, and even to stoop and point out what struck his fancy in certain old pictures which they con­ tained; nor was he d a u n t e d by the s a u c y style in which she jerked the p a g e from his finger; he contented himself with going a bit farther back, a n d looking at her instead of the book. "She c o n t i n u e d reading, or seeking for something to read. His attention b e c a m e , by degrees, quite centred in the study of her thick, silky curls; her face he couldn't see, and she couldn't see him. And, p e r h a p s , not quite awake to what he did, but attracted like a child to a candle, at last he p r o c e e d e d from staring to touch­ ing; he p u t out his h a n d a n d stroked one curl, a s gently as if it were a bird. H e might have s t u c k a knife into her neck, she started round in s u c h a taking. " 'Get away, this moment! H o w dare you touch m e ? Why are you stopping there?' she cried, in a tone of disgust. 'I can't endure you! I'll go u p stairs again, if you c o m e near me.' "Mr. H a r e t o n recoiled, looking as foolish as he could do; he sat down in the settle, very quiet, and she continued turning over her volumes, another half hour; finally, E a r n s h a w crossed over, and whispered to m e — " 'Will you a s k her to read to u s , Zillah? I'm stalled of doing naught; a n d I do l i k e — I could like to hear her! D u n n o t say I wanted it, but a s k of yourseln.' " 'Mr. H a r e t o n wishes you would read to us, ma'am,' I said, im­ mediately. 'He'd take it very kind—he'd be m u c h obliged.' "She frowned; and, looking up, a n s w e r e d —

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227

" 'Mr. Hareton, a n d the whole set of you, will b e good e n o u g h to understand that I reject any pretence at kindness you have the hy­ pocrisy to offer! I despise you, a n d will have nothing to say to any of you! When I would have given my life for one kind word, even to see one of your faces, you all kept off. B u t I won't c o m p l a i n to you! I'm driven down here by the cold, not either to a m u s e you, or enjoy your society.' " 'What could I ha' done?' b e g a n E a r n s h a w . 'How was I to blame?' " 'Oh! you are an exception,' answered M r s . Heathcliff. 'I never missed s u c h a concern as you.' " 'But I offered more than once, a n d asked,' he said, kindling up at her pertness, 'I asked Mr. Heathcliff to let m e wake for y o u — ' " 'Be silent! I'll go out of doors, or anywhere, rather than have your disagreeable voice in my ear!' said my lady. "Hareton muttered, she might go to hell, for him! a n d unslinging his gun, restrained himself from his S u n d a y o c c u p a t i o n s no longer. "He talked now, freely enough; a n d she presently saw fit to retreat to her solitude: but the frost had set in, and, in spite of her pride, she was forced to c o n d e s c e n d to our c o m p a n y , m o r e a n d more. However, I took care there should be no further scorning at my good nature. Ever since, I've been a s stiff as herself; a n d she has no lover, or liker a m o n g u s — a n d s h e does not deserve o n e — f o r , let them say the least word to her, a n d she'll curl b a c k without respect of any one! She'll s n a p at the m a s t e r himself, a n d a s good as dares him to thrash her; a n d the m o r e hurt she gets, the m o r e venomous she grows." At first, on hearing this a c c o u n t from Zillah, I determined to leave my situation, take a cottage, a n d get C a t h e r i n e to c o m e a n d live with me; but Mr. Heathcliff would a s soon permit that, as he would set up Hareton in an independent h o u s e ; a n d I c a n see no remedy, at present, unless she could marry again; a n d that s c h e m e , it d o e s not c o m e within my province to arrange. 7

T h u s ended M r s . Dean's story. Notwithstanding the doctor's prophecy, I a m rapidly recovering strength, a n d , though it be only the second week in J a n u a r y , I p r o p o s e getting out on horseback, in a day or two, and riding over to Wuthering Heights, to inform my landlord that I shall s p e n d the next six m o n t h s in L o n d o n ; a n d , if he likes, he may look out for another tenant to take the p l a c e , after O c t o b e r — I would not p a s s another winter here, for m u c h .

7. W a t c h f o r , g u a r d .

228

WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Chapter

XXXI

Yesterday was bright, c a l m , a n d frosty. I went to the Heights as I p r o p o s e d ; my h o u s e k e e p e r entreated m e to bear a little note from her to her young lady, a n d I did not refuse, for the worthy woman was not c o n s c i o u s of anything odd in her request. T h e front door stood open, but the j e a l o u s gate was fastened, as at my last visit; I knocked a n d invoked E a r n s h a w from a m o n g the garden beds; he u n c h a i n e d it, and I entered. T h e fellow is as hand­ s o m e a rustic as need b e seen. I took particular notice of him this time; but then he does his best, apparently, to m a k e the least of his a d v a n t a g e s . I a s k e d if Mr. Heathcliff were at h o m e ? H e answered, no; but he would b e in at dinner-time. It was eleven o'clock, and I a n n o u n c e d my intention of going in, a n d waiting for him, at which he imme­ diately flung down his tools and a c c o m p a n i e d m e , in the office of watchdog, not as a substitute for the host. W e entered together; C a t h e r i n e was there, making herself useful in preparing s o m e vegetables for the a p p r o a c h i n g meal; she looked more sulky, and less spirited than when I had seen her first. S h e hardly raised her eyes to notice m e , and continued her employ­ m e n t with the s a m e disregard to c o m m o n forms of politeness, as before; never returning my bow and good morning by the slightest acknowledgment. "She does not s e e m so amiable," I thought, "as M r s . D e a n would p e r s u a d e m e to believe. She's a beauty, it is true; b u t not an angel." E a r n s h a w surlily bid her remove her things to the kitchen. "Remove t h e m yourself," she said, p u s h i n g them from her, as soon a s she h a d done, a n d retiring to a stool by the window, where she b e g a n to carve figures of birds and b e a s t s , out of the turnip parings in her lap. I a p p r o a c h e d her, pretending to desire a view of the garden; and, as I fancied, adroitly dropped M r s . Dean's note onto her knee, un­ noticed by H a r e t o n — b u t she a s k e d a l o u d — "What is that?" A n d c h u c k e d it off. "A letter from your old a c q u a i n t a n c e , the housekeeper at the G r a n g e , " I answered, annoyed at her exposing my kind deed, and fearful lest it should b e imagined a missive of my own. S h e would gladly have gathered it u p at this information, but H a r e t o n beat her; he seized, a n d put it in his waistcoat, saying Mr. Heathcliff should look at it first. Thereat, C a t h e r i n e silently turned her face from us, and, very stealthily, drew out her pocket-handkerchief a n d applied it to her eyes; and her cousin, after struggling a while to keep down his softer

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229

feelings, pulled out the letter a n d flung it on the floor b e s i d e her as ungraciously as he could. Catherine caught and p e r u s e d it eagerly; then she put a few q u e s ­ tions to m e concerning the i n m a t e s , rational a n d irrational, of her former home; and gazing towards the hills, m u r m u r e d in solil­ oquy— " I should like to be riding Minny down there! I should like to be climbing up t h e r e — O h ! I'm t i r e d — I ' m stalled, Hareton!" And she leant her pretty h e a d b a c k against the sill, with half a yawn and half a sigh, and l a p s e d into an a s p e c t of a b s t r a c t e d sad­ ness, neither caring nor knowing whether we r e m a r k e d her. "Mrs. Heathcliff," I said, after sitting s o m e time m u t e , "you are not aware that I a m an a c q u a i n t a n c e of yours? so intimate, that I think it strange you won't c o m e a n d s p e a k to m e . My h o u s e k e e p e r never wearies of talking about and praising you; and she'll b e greatly disappointed if I return with no news of, or from you, except that you received her letter, a n d said nothing!" S h e appeared to wonder at this s p e e c h and a s k e d — "Does Ellen like you?" "Yes, very well," I replied unhesitatingly. "You m u s t tell her," she continued, "that I would answer her letter, but I have no materials for writing, not even a b o o k from which I might tear a leaf." "No books!" I exclaimed. "How do you contrive to live here with­ out them, if I may take the liberty to inquire? T h o u g h provided with a large library, I'm frequently very dull at the G r a n g e ; take my books away, and I should be desperate!" " I was always reading, when I had them," said C a t h e r i n e , "and Mr. Heathcliff never reads; so he took it into his h e a d to destroy my books. I have not had a glimpse of one, for weeks. Only once, I searched through J o s e p h ' s store of theology, to his great irritation; and once, Hareton, I c a m e u p o n a secret stock in your r o o m — some Latin and Greek, and s o m e tales and poetry; all old friends. I brought the last h e r e — a n d you gathered them, as a m a g p i e gath­ ers silver spoons, for the mere love of stealing! T h e y are of no u s e to you; or else you concealed them in the b a d spirit, that a s you cannot enjoy them, nobody else shall. P e r h a p s your envy counselled Mr. Heathcliff to rob m e of my t r e a s u r e s ? B u t I've m o s t of them written on my brain a n d printed in my heart, a n d you c a n n o t de­ prive m e of those!" E a r n s h a w blushed crimson, when his cousin m a d e this revelation of his private literary a c c u m u l a t i o n s , a n d s t a m m e r e d an indignant denial of her a c c u s a t i o n s . "Mr. Hareton is desirous of increasing his a m o u n t of knowledge,"

230

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I said, c o m i n g to his r e s c u e . "He is not envious but emulous of your attainments. He'll b e a clever scholar in a few years!" "And he wants me to sink into a d u n c e , meantime," answered C a t h e r i n e . "Yes, I hear him trying to spell and read to himself, and pretty blunders he makes! I wish you would repeat Chevy C h a s e , as you did yesterday; it was extremely funny! I heard y o u — a n d I heard you turning over the dictionary, to seek out the hard words, a n d then cursing, b e c a u s e you couldn't read their explanations!" T h e young m a n evidently thought it too b a d that he should be l a u g h e d at for his ignorance, a n d then laughed at for trying to re­ move it. I h a d a similar notion, and, r e m e m b e r i n g M r s . Dean's an­ ecdote of his first attempt at enlightening the darkness in which he h a d b e e n reared, I o b s e r v e d — "But, M r s . Heathcliff, we have e a c h had a c o m m e n c e m e n t , and e a c h s t u m b l e d a n d tottered on the threshold, and had our teachers scorned, instead of aiding u s , we should s t u m b l e and totter yet." "Oh!" she replied, "I don't wish to limit his acquirements. Still, he h a s no right to appropriate what is mine, and m a k e it ridiculous to m e with his vile mistakes and mis-pronunciations! T h o s e books, both p r o s e a n d verse, were c o n s e c r a t e d to m e by other associations, a n d I hate to have them d e b a s e d and profaned in his mouth! B e ­ sides, of all, he h a s selected my favourite pieces that I love the most to repeat, a s if out of deliberate malice!" Hareton's chest heaved in silence a minute; he laboured under a severe s e n s e of mortification and wrath, which it was no easy task to s u p p r e s s . I rose, and, from a gentlemanly idea of relieving his embarrass­ ment, took u p my station in the door-way, surveying the external p r o s p e c t , as I stood. H e followed my example, and left the room, but presently re­ a p p e a r e d , bearing half-a-dozen volumes in his hands, which he threw into Catherine's lap, e x c l a i m i n g — "Take them! I never want to hear, or read, or think of them again!" "I won't have them, now!" she answered. "I shall connect them with you, a n d hate them." S h e o p e n e d one that h a d obviously been often turned over, and read a portion in the drawling tone of a beginner; then laughed, a n d threw it from her. "And listen!" she continued provokingly, c o m m e n c i n g a verse of an old ballad in the s a m e fashion. B u t his self-love would e n d u r e no further torment. I heard, and not altogether disapprovingly, a m a n u a l c h e c k given to her saucy tongue. T h e little wretch h a d d o n e her utmost to hurt her cousin's sensitive though uncultivated feelings, a n d a physical argument was

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231

the only m o d e he had of b a l a n c i n g the a c c o u n t a n d repaying its effects on the inflicter. H e afterwards gathered the books a n d hurled them on the fire. I read in his c o u n t e n a n c e what a n g u i s h it was to offer that sacrifice to spleen. I fancied that as they c o n s u m e d , he recalled the p l e a s u r e they had already imparted, a n d the triumph a n d ever increasing pleasure he had anticipated from them; and, I fancied, I g u e s s e d the incitement to his secret studies, also. H e had b e e n content with daily labour and rough animal enjoyments, till C a t h e r i n e c r o s s e d his path. S h a m e at her scorn, and hope of her approval were his first prompters to higher pursuits; and instead of g u a r d i n g him from one, and winning him the other, his endeavours to raise himself had produced j u s t the contrary result. "Yes, that's all the good that s u c h a brute as you c a n get from them!" cried Catherine, sucking her d a m a g e d lip, a n d watching the conflagration with indignant eyes. "You'd better hold your tongue, now!" he answered fiercely. And his agitation precluding further s p e e c h , he a d v a n c e d hastily to the entrance, where I m a d e way for him to p a s s . B u t , ere he h a d crossed the door-stones, Mr. Heathcliff, c o m i n g u p the causeway, encountered him a n d laying hold of his shoulder, a s k e d — "What's to do now, my lad?" "Naught, naught!" he said, and broke away, to enjoy his grief a n d anger in solitude. Heathcliff gazed after him, a n d sighed. "It will be odd, if I thwart myself!" he muttered, u n c o n s c i o u s that I was behind him. "But, when I look for his father in his f a c e , I find her every day more! H o w the devil is he so like? I c a n hardly bear to see him." H e bent his eyes to the ground, a n d walked moodily in. T h e r e was a restless, anxious expression in his c o u n t e n a n c e I h a d never remarked there before, and he looked sparer in person. His daughter-in-law, on perceiving him through the window, im­ mediately e s c a p e d to the kitchen, so that I r e m a i n e d alone. "I'm glad to see you out of doors again, Mr. Lockwood," he said in reply to my greeting, "from selfish motives partly; I don't think I could readily supply your loss in this desolation. I've wondered, more than once, what brought you here." "An idle whim, I fear, sir," was my answer, "or else an idle whim is going to spirit m e away. I shall set out for L o n d o n next week, and I m u s t give you warning, that I feel no disposition to retain Thrushcross G r a n g e , beyond the twelvemonths I agreed to rent it. I believe I shall not live there any more." "Oh, indeed! you're tired of being b a n i s h e d from the world, are you?" he said. "But, if you be c o m i n g to plead off paying for a p l a c e

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you won't occupy, your journey is useless. I never relent in exacting my d u e , from any one." "I'm c o m i n g to p l e a d off nothing about it!" I exclaimed, consid­ erably irritated. "Should you wish it, I'll settle with you now," and I drew my notebook from my pocket. "No, no," he replied coolly; "you'll leave sufficient behind, to cover your debts, if you fail to return. I'm not in s u c h a hurry—sit down a n d take your dinner with us; a guest that is safe from re­ p e a t i n g his visit, can generally be m a d e welcome. Catherine! bring the things i n — w h e r e are you?" C a t h e r i n e r e - a p p e a r e d , bearing a tray of knives and forks. "You may get your dinner with J o s e p h , " muttered Heathcliff aside, "and remain in the kitchen till he is gone." S h e obeyed his directions very punctually; perhaps she had no temptation to transgress. Living a m o n g clowns and misanthropists, she probably c a n n o t appreciate a better class of people, when she meets them. With Mr. Heathcliff, grim a n d saturnine, on one hand, and Hare­ ton, absolutely d u m b , on the other, I m a d e a somewhat cheerless meal, a n d bid adieu early. I would have departed by the back way to get a last glimpse of C a t h e r i n e , and annoy old J o s e p h ; but H a r e t o n received orders to lead up my horse, a n d my host himself escorted m e to the door, so I could not fulfil my wish. "How dreary life gets over in that house!" I reflected, while riding down the road. "What a realization of something more romantic than a fairy tale it would have been for M r s . Linton Heathcliff, had she a n d I struck up an attachment, as her good nurse desired, and migrated together into the stirring a t m o s p h e r e of the town!" Chapter

XXXII

1 8 0 2 . — T h i s S e p t e m b e r , I was invited to devastate the moors of a friend, in the North; and, on my journey to his abode, I unex­ pectedly c a m e within fifteen miles of G i m m e r t o n . T h e hostler at a roadside p u b l i c - h o u s e was holding a pail of water to refresh my horses, when a cart of very green oats, newly reaped, p a s s e d by, a n d he r e m a r k e d — "Yon's frough G i m m e r t o n , nah! They're alias three wick' after other folk wi' ther harvest." "Gimmerton?" I r e p e a t e d — m y residence in that locality had al­ ready grown dim a n d dreamy. "Ah! I know! How far is it from this?" "Happen fourteen mile' o'er th' hills, and a rough road," he answered. 1

1.

H e h a d b e e n invited to h u n t a n d s p e a k s with the j o c u l a r affection o f " s p o r t s m e n " w h o killed great n u m b e r s of birds.

233

C H A P T E R XXXII

A sudden impulse seized m e to visit T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e . It was scarcely noon, a n d I conceived that I might a s well p a s s the night under my own roof, as in an inn. B e s i d e s , I could spare a day easily, to arrange matters with my landlord, a n d thus save myself the trou­ ble of invading the neighbourhood again. Having rested a while, I directed my servant to inquire the way to the village; and, with great fatigue to our b e a s t s , we m a n a g e d the distance in s o m e three hours. I left him there, a n d p r o c e e d e d down the valley alone. T h e grey church looked greyer, a n d the lonely churchyard lonelier. I distin­ guished a moor sheep cropping the short turf on the graves. It was sweet, warm w e a t h e r — t o o warm for travelling; but the heat did not hinder me from enjoying the delightful scenery above a n d below; had I seen it nearer A u g u s t , I'm sure it would have t e m p t e d m e to waste a month a m o n g its solitudes. In winter, nothing m o r e dreary, in summer, nothing more divine, than those glens shut in by hills, and those bluff, bold swells of heath. I reached the G r a n g e before sunset, a n d knocked for a d m i t t a n c e ; but the family had retreated into the b a c k p r e m i s e s , I j u d g e d by one thin, blue wreath curling from the kitchen chimney, a n d they did not hear. I rode into the court. U n d e r the porch, a girl of nine or ten sat knitting, and an old w o m a n reclined on the h o r s e - s t e p s , s m o k i n g a meditative pipe. "Is M r s . D e a n within?" I d e m a n d e d of the d a m e . "Mistress D e a n ? Nay!" she answered, "shoo doesn't bide here; shoo's up at th' Heights." "Are you the housekeeper, then?" I continued. "Eea, Aw keep th' h a u s e , " she replied. "Well, I'm Mr. Lockwood, the master. Are there any r o o m s to lodge m e in, I wonder? I wish to stay here all night." "T' maister!" she cried in astonishment. "Whet, whoiver knew yah wur coming? Yah s u d ha' send word! They's nowt norther dry, nor mensful abaht t' p l a c e — n o w t there isn't!" S h e threw down her pipe a n d bustled in, the girl followed, a n d I entered too; soon perceiving that her report was true, a n d , m o r e ­ over, that I had almost upset her wits by my u n w e l c o m e appari­ tion. I bid her be c o m p o s e d — I would go out for a walk; a n d , m e a n ­ time, she m u s t try to prepare a corner of a sitting-room for m e to sup in, a n d a bed-room to sleep in. N o sweeping a n d dusting, only good fires a n d dry sheets were necessary. 2

2. "What, whoever knew you were c o m i n g ? You s h o u l d have sent word! There's dry or p r o p e r l y r e a d y a b o u t t h e p l a c e — n o t h e r e isn't!"

nothing

234

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HEIGHTS

S h e s e e m e d willing to do her best; though she thrust the hearthb r u s h into the grates in mistake for the poker, and mal-appropriated several other articles of her craft; but I retired, confiding in her energy for a resting-place against my return. Wuthering Heights was the goal of my p r o p o s e d excursion. An after-thought b r o u g h t m e b a c k , when I had quitted the court. "All well at the H e i g h t s ? " I enquired of the woman. "Eea, f 'r owt E e knaw!" she answered, skurrying away with a pan of hot cinders. I would have a s k e d why M r s . D e a n had deserted the G r a n g e ; but it was i m p o s s i b l e to delay her at s u c h a crisis, so I turned away and m a d e my exit, rambling leisurely along with the glow of a sinking s u n behind, a n d the mild glory of a rising m o o n in f r o n t — o n e fad­ ing, a n d the other brightening, as I quitted the park, a n d climbed the stony by-road b r a n c h i n g off to Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. Before I arrived in sight of it, all that remained of day was a b e a m l e s s , a m b e r light along the west; but I could see every pebble on the p a t h , a n d every blade of grass by that splendid moon. I h a d neither to climb the gate, nor to k n o c k — i t yielded to my hand. T h a t is an improvement! I thought. And I noticed another, by the aid of my nostrils; a fragrance of stocks a n d wall flowers, wafted on the air, from a m o n g s t the homely fruit trees. B o t h doors a n d lattices were open; a n d yet, as is usually the case in a coal district, a fine, red fire illumined the chimney; the comfort which the eye derives from it, renders the extra heat endurable. But the h o u s e of W u t h e r i n g Heights is so large, that the inmates have plenty of s p a c e for withdrawing out of its influence; and, accord­ ingly, what i n m a t e s there were had stationed themselves not far from one of the windows. I could both see them a n d hear them talk before I entered, a n d looked a n d listened in c o n s e q u e n c e , being moved thereto by a mingled s e n s e of curiosity a n d envy that grew as I lingered. "Con-trary/" said a voice, as sweet as a silver bell—"That for the third time, you d u n c e ! I'm not going to tell you, a g a i n — R e c o l l e c t , or I pull your hair!" "Contrary, then," a n s w e r e d another, in deep, but softened tones. "And now, kiss m e , for minding so well." "No, read it over first correctly, without a single mistake." T h e m a l e s p e a k e r b e g a n to read. H e was a young m a n , respect­ ably d r e s s e d , a n d s e a t e d at a table, having a book before him. His h a n d s o m e features glowed with p l e a s u r e , a n d his eyes kept impa­ tiently wandering from the p a g e to a small white hand over his shoulder, which recalled him by a smart slap on the cheek, when­ ever its owner detected s u c h signs of inattention.

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Its owner stood behind; her light shining ringlets blending, at intervals, with his brown locks, a s she bent to superintend his stud­ ies; and her f a c e — i t was lacky he could not see her face, or he would never have been so steady. I could, a n d I bit my lip, in spite, at having thrown away the c h a n c e I might have had of doing s o m e ­ thing besides staring at its smiting beauty. T h e task was done, not free from further blunders, but the pupil claimed a reward, and received at least five kisses, which, however, he generously returned. T h e n , they c a m e to the door, and from their conversation, I j u d g e d they were a b o u t to i s s u e out a n d have a walk on the moors. I s u p p o s e d I should be c o n d e m n e d in H a r e t o n Earnshaw's heart, if not by his m o u t h , to the lowest pit in the in­ fernal regions if I showed my unfortunate p e r s o n in his neighbour­ hood then, and feeling very m e a n and malignant, I skulked r o u n d to seek refuge in the kitchen. There was u n o b s t r u c t e d a d m i t t a n c e on that side also; a n d , at the door, sat my old friend, Nelly D e a n , sewing a n d singing a song, which was often interrupted from within, by h a r s h words of scorn and intolerance, uttered in far from m u s i c a l a c c e n t s . "Aw'd rayther, by th' haulf, hev 'em swearing i' my lugs frough morn tuh neeght, nur hearken yah, hahsiver!" said the tenant of the kitchen, in answer to an u n h e a r d s p e e c h of Nelly's. "It's a blaz­ ing shaime, ut Aw c a n n u t oppen t' B l e s s e d Book, b u d yah set u p them glories tuh S a t t a n , un' all t' flaysome wickednesses ut iver wer born intuh t' warld! Oh! yah're a raight nowt; un' shoo's another; un' that poor lad 'ull be lost, atween ye. Poor lad!" he a d d e d , with a groan; "he's witched, Aw'm sartin on't! O, Lord, j u d g e 'em, for they's norther law nur j u s t i c e a m a n g wer rullers!" "No! or we should be sitting in flaming fagots, I s u p p o s e , " re­ torted the singer. "But wisht, old m a n , and read your Bible, like a Christian, and never mind m e . This is 'Fairy Annie's W e d d i n g ' — a bonny t u n e — i t goes to a d a n c e . " Mrs. D e a n was a b o u t to r e c o m m e n c e , when I advanced, a n d re­ cognising m e directly, she j u m p e d to her feet, c r y i n g — "Why, bless you, Mr. Lockwood! H o w could you think of return­ ing in this way? All's shut up at T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e . You should have given us notice!" "I've arranged to be a c c o m m o d a t e d there, for as long as I shall stay," I answered. "I depart again to-morrow. And how are you transplanted here, M r s . D e a n ? tell m e that." 3

3.

"I'd r a t h e r , b y h a l f , h a v e h i m s w e a r i n g i n m y e a r s f r o m m o r n i n g till n i g h t , t h a n l i s t e n t o y o u , w h a t s o e v e r ! . . . It's a b l a z i n g s h a m e I c a n n o t o p e n t h e B l e s s e d B o o k , b u t t h a t y o u s i n g irreligious s o n g s , a n d all t h e terrible w i c k e d n e s s e s

that ever were born into

the

w o r l d ! O h ! Y o u ' r e all r i g h t n o w ; a n d s h e ' s a n o t h e r ; a n d t h a t p o o r l a d will b e lost, b e t w e e n y o u . . . h e ' s c u r s e d , I a m c e r t a i n o f it! O h , L o r d , j u d g e t h e m , f o r t h e r e i s n e i t h e r nor justice a m o n g our rulers!"

law

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"Zillah left, a n d Mr. Heathcliff wished m e to c o m e , soon after you went to L o n d o n , a n d stay till you returned. But, step in, pray! H a v e you walked from G i m m e r t o n this evening?" "From the G r a n g e , " I replied; "and, while they m a k e me lodging r o o m there, I want to finish my b u s i n e s s with your master, b e c a u s e I don't think of having another opportunity in a hurry." "What b u s i n e s s , sir?" said Nelly, c o n d u c t i n g m e into the house. "He's g o n e out, at present, a n d won't return soon." "About the rent," I answered. "Oh! then it is with M r s . Heathcliff you m u s t settle," she ob­ served, "or rather with m e . S h e has not learnt to m a n a g e her affairs yet, a n d I act for her; there's nobody else." I looked surprised. "Ah! you have not h e a r d of Heathcliff's death, I see!" she con­ tinued. "Heathcliff d e a d ? " I exclaimed, astonished. "How long ago?" "Three m o n t h s s i n c e — b u t , sit down, a n d let m e take your hat, and I'll tell you all a b o u t it. S t o p , you have had nothing to eat, have you?" "I want nothing. I have ordered s u p p e r at h o m e . You sit down too. I never d r e a m t of his dying! Let m e hear how it c a m e to p a s s . You say you don't expect them b a c k for s o m e t i m e — t h e young people?" " N o — I have to scold them every evening, for their late rambles, but they don't c a r e for m e . At least, have a drink of our old a l e — it will do you g o o d — y o u s e e m weary." S h e h a s t e n e d to fetch it, before I c o u l d refuse, a n d I heard J o s e p h asking whether "it warn't a crying s c a n d a l that she should have fellies at her time of life? And then, to get them j o c k s out uh t' Maister's cellar! H e fair s h a a m e d to 'bide still a n d see it." S h e did not stay to retaliate, but re-entered, in a minute, bearing a reaming, silver pint, whose contents I lauded with becoming e a r n e s t n e s s . A n d afterwards she furnished m e with the sequel of Heathcliff's history. H e h a d a "queer" end, as she expressed it. 4

I was s u m m o n e d to Wuthering Heights, within a fortnight of your leaving u s , s h e said; a n d I obeyed joyfully, for Catherine's sake. My first interview with her grieved a n d shocked me! she had altered so m u c h since our separation. Mr. Heathcliff did not explain his r e a s o n s for taking a new mind a b o u t my c o m i n g here; he only told m e he wanted m e , a n d he was tired of seeing Catherine; I must m a k e the little parlour my sitting room, a n d keep her with me. It was e n o u g h if he were obliged to see her once or twice a day. 4.

Fellies:

f e l l o w s ; jocks:

jugs.

C H A P T E R XXXII

237

S h e s e e m e d p l e a s e d at this arrangement; and, by d e g r e e s , I s m u g ­ gled over a great n u m b e r of books a n d other articles, that h a d formed her a m u s e m e n t at the G r a n g e ; a n d flattered myself we should get on in tolerable comfort. T h e delusion did not last long. C a t h e r i n e , c o n t e n t e d at first, in a brief s p a c e grew irritable a n d restless. For one thing, s h e was forbidden to move out of the g a r d e n , a n d it fretted her sadly to b e confined to its narrow b o u n d s , as S p r i n g drew on; for another, in following the h o u s e , I was forced to quit her frequently, a n d she complained of loneliness; she preferred quarrelling with J o s e p h in the kitchen, to sitting at p e a c e in her solitude. I did not mind their skirmishes; b u t H a r e t o n was often obliged to seek the kitchen also, when the m a s t e r wanted to have the h o u s e to himself; and, though, in the beginning, she either left it at his approach, or quietly j o i n e d in my o c c u p a t i o n s , a n d s h u n n e d re­ marking, or a d d r e s s i n g h i m — a n d though he was always a s sullen and silent as p o s s i b l e — a f t e r a while, s h e c h a n g e d her behaviour, and b e c a m e incapable of letting him alone: talking at him; c o m ­ menting on his stupidity a n d idleness; expressing her wonder how he could endure the life he lived—how he could sit a whole evening staring into the fire, a n d dozing. "He's j u s t like a dog, is he not, Ellen?" s h e o n c e observed, "or a cart-horse? H e does his work, eats his food, a n d sleeps, eternally! What a blank, dreary mind he m u s t have! D o you ever d r e a m , Hareton? And, if you do, what is it a b o u t ? B u t you can't s p e a k to me!" T h e n she looked at him; but he would neither open his m o u t h , nor look again. "He's p e r h a p s d r e a m i n g now," s h e continued. "He twitched his shoulder as J u n o twitches hers. A s k him, Ellen." "Mr. Hareton will a s k the m a s t e r to send you upstairs, if you don't behave!" I said. H e had not only twitched his shoulder, but clenched his fist, as if t e m p t e d to u s e it. "I know why Hareton never s p e a k s , when I a m in the kitchen," she exclaimed, on another occasion. "He is afraid I shall l a u g h at him. Ellen, what do you think? H e b e g a n to teach himself to read once; and, b e c a u s e I laughed, he b u r n e d his books, a n d d r o p p e d i t — w a s he not a fool?" "Were not you naughty?" I said; "answer m e that." "Perhaps I was," she went on, "but I did not expect him to b e so silly. Hareton, if I gave you a book, would you take it now? I'll try!" S h e placed one she had been p e r u s i n g on his hand; he flung it off, and muttered, if she did not give over, he would b r e a k her neck. "Well, I shall put it here," she said, "in the table drawer, a n d I'm going to bed."

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T h e n she whispered m e to watch whether he touched it, and de­ parted. B u t he would not c o m e near it, and so I informed her in the morning, to her great disappointment. I saw she was sorry for his per­ severing sulkiness a n d indolence. H e r c o n s c i e n c e reproved her for frightening him off improving himself; she had done it effectually. B u t her ingenuity was at work to remedy the injury; while I ironed, or p u r s u e d other stationary employments I could not well do in the parlour, she would bring s o m e p l e a s a n t volume, and read it a l o u d to m e . W h e n H a r e t o n was there, she generally p a u s e d in an interesting part, a n d left the b o o k lying a b o u t — t h a t she did repeatedly; but he was as obstinate a s a mule, and, instead of s n a t c h i n g at her bait, in wet weather he took to smoking with J o ­ s e p h , and they sat like a u t o m a t o n s , one on each side of the fire, the elder happily too d e a f to u n d e r s t a n d her wicked nonsense, as he would have called it, the younger doing his best to seem to disregard it. O n fine evenings the latter followed his shooting ex­ peditions, and C a t h e r i n e yawned and sighed, and teased me to talk to her, and ran off into the court or garden, the m o m e n t I began; and, a s a last r e s o u r c e , cried a n d said she was tired of living, her life was u s e l e s s . Mr. Heathcliff, who grew m o r e a n d m o r e disinclined to society, h a d a l m o s t b a n i s h e d E a r n s h a w out of his apartment. Owing to an accident, at the c o m m e n c e m e n t of M a r c h , he b e c a m e for s o m e days a fixture in the kitchen. His g u n burst while out on the hills by himself; a splinter cut his a r m , a n d he lost a good deal of blood before he could r e a c h h o m e . T h e c o n s e q u e n c e was, that, perforce, he was c o n d e m n e d to the fire-side a n d tranquillity, till he m a d e it u p again. It suited C a t h e r i n e to have him there: at any rate, it m a d e her hate her room upstairs m o r e than ever; and she would compel m e to find out b u s i n e s s below, that she might a c c o m p a n y me. O n E a s t e r M o n d a y , J o s e p h went to G i m m e r t o n fair with some cattle; a n d , in the afternoon, I was busy getting up linen in the kitchen. E a r n s h a w sat, m o r o s e as u s u a l , at the chimney corner, and my little mistress was beguiling an idle hour with drawing pictures on the window p a n e s , varying her a m u s e m e n t by smothered bursts of s o n g s , and whispered ejaculations, and quick glances of annoy­ a n c e a n d i m p a t i e n c e in the direction of her cousin, who steadfastly s m o k e d , a n d looked into the grate. At a notice that I could do with her no longer intercepting my light, she removed to the hearthstone. I bestowed little attention on her p r o c e e d i n g s , but, presently, I heard her b e g i n — "I've found out, H a r e t o n , that I w a n t — t h a t I'm g l a d — t h a t I should like you to b e my cousin, now, if you had not grown so cross to m e , a n d so rough."

C H A P T E R XXXII

239

Hareton returned no answer. "Hareton, Hareton, Hareton! do you hear?" she continued. "Get off wi' ye!" he growled, with u n c o m p r o m i s i n g gruffness. "Let m e take that pipe," she said, cautiously a d v a n c i n g her h a n d , and abstracting it from his m o u t h . Before he could attempt to recover it, it was broken, a n d behind the fire. H e swore at her a n d seized another. "Stop," she cried, "you m u s t listen to m e , first; a n d I can't s p e a k while those clouds are floating in my face." "Will you go to the devil!" he exclaimed, ferociously, "and let m e be!" "No," she persisted, "I won't—I can't tell what to do to m a k e you talk to m e , and you are determined not to u n d e r s t a n d . W h e n I call you stupid, I don't m e a n a n y t h i n g — I don't m e a n that I d e s p i s e you. C o m e , you shall take notice of m e , H a r e t o n — y o u are my c o u s i n , and you shall own me." "I shall have naught to do wi' you, a n d your mucky pride, a n d your d a m n e d , mocking tricks!" he answered. "I'll go to hell, body and soul, before I look sideways after you again! S i d e out of t' gait, now; this minute!" Catherine frowned, a n d retreated to the window-seat, chewing her lip, a n d endeavouring, by h u m m i n g an eccentric tune, to con­ ceal a growing tendency to sob. "You should be friends with your cousin, Mr. Hareton," I inter­ rupted, "since she repents of her s a u c i n e s s ! It would do you a great deal of g o o d — i t would m a k e you another m a n , to have her for a companion." "A companion!" he cried; "when she hates m e , a n d does not think me fit to wipe her shoon! Nay, if it m a d e m e a king, I'd not be scorned for seeking her good will any more." "It is not I who hate you, it is you who hate me!" wept C a t h y , no longer disguising her trouble. "You hate m e a s m u c h as M r . Heathcliff does, a n d more." "You're a d a m n e d liar," b e g a n E a r n s h a w ; "why have I m a d e him angry, by taking your part then, a h u n d r e d times? a n d that, w h e n you sneered at, and d e s p i s e d m e , a n d — G o on p l a g u i n g m e , a n d I'll step in yonder, a n d say you worried m e out of the kitchen!" "I didn't know you took my part," s h e answered, drying her eyes; "and I was miserable a n d bitter at everybody; but, now I t h a n k you and beg you to forgive m e , what c a n I do b e s i d e s ? " S h e returned to the hearth, a n d frankly extended her hand. H e blackened, a n d scowled like a thunder cloud, a n d kept his fists resolutely clenched, a n d his gaze fixed on the ground. 5

5. G e t o u t o f t h e w a y .

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C a t h e r i n e , by instinct, m u s t have divined it was obdurate per­ versity, a n d not dislike, that p r o m p t e d this dogged conduct; for, after r e m a i n i n g a n instant u n d e c i d e d , s h e stooped, a n d impressed on his c h e e k a gentle kiss. T h e little rogue thought I had not seen her, and, drawing back, s h e took her former station by the window, quite demurely. I s h o o k my h e a d reprovingly; a n d then she blushed, and whis­ pered— "Well! what should I have done, Ellen? H e wouldn't shake hands, and he wouldn't look. I m u s t show him s o m e way that I like him, that I want to b e friends." W h e t h e r the kiss convinced H a r e t o n , I cannot tell; he was very careful, for s o m e m i n u t e s , that his face should not be seen; and when he did raise it, he was sadly puzzled where to turn his eyes. C a t h e r i n e employed herself in wrapping a h a n d s o m e book neatly in white p a p e r ; a n d having tied it with a bit of riband, and addressed it to "Mr. H a r e t o n E a r n s h a w , " she desired m e to be her a m b a s s a ­ dress, a n d convey the present to its destined recipient. "And tell him, if he'll take it, I'll c o m e and teach him to read it right," s h e said, "and, if he refuse it, I'll go upstairs, and never tease him again." I carried it, a n d repeated the m e s s a g e , anxiously watched by my employer. H a r e t o n would not open his fingers, so I laid it on his knee. H e did not strike it off either. I returned to my work. C a t h ­ erine leaned her h e a d a n d a r m s on the table, till she heard the slight rustle of the covering being removed; then she stole away, and quietly s e a t e d herself beside her cousin. H e trembled, and his f a c e glowed. All his r u d e n e s s a n d all his surly h a r s h n e s s had de­ serted h i m — h e could not s u m m o n c o u r a g e , at first, to utter a syl­ lable, in reply to her questioning look, a n d her m u r m u r e d petition. "Say you forgive m e , H a r e t o n , do! You can m a k e me so happy, by s p e a k i n g that little word." H e m u t t e r e d s o m e t h i n g inaudible. "And you'll b e my friend?" a d d e d C a t h e r i n e , interrogatively. "Nay! you'll b e a s h a m e d of m e every day of your life," he an­ swered. "And the more, the more you know m e , a n d I cannot bide it." "So, you won't b e my friend?" she said, smiling as sweet as honey, a n d creeping close u p . I overheard no further distinguishable talk; but, on looking round again, I perceived two s u c h radiant c o u n t e n a n c e s bent over the p a g e of the a c c e p t e d book, that I did not doubt the treaty had been ratified on both sides, a n d the enemies were, thenceforth, sworn allies.

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T h e work they studied was full of costly pictures; a n d those, a n d their position, had c h a r m e n o u g h to keep them u n m o v e d , till J o s e p h c a m e home. H e , poor m a n , was perfectly a g h a s t at the s p e c t a c l e of Catherine seated on the s a m e b e n c h with H a r e t o n E a r n s h a w , lean­ ing her hand on his shoulder; and c o n f o u n d e d at his favourite's endurance of her proximity. It affected him too deeply to allow an observation on the subject that night. His emotion was only re­ vealed by the i m m e n s e sighs he drew, as he solemnly s p r e a d his large Bible on the table, a n d overlaid it with dirty b a n k - n o t e s from his pocket-book, the p r o d u c e of the day's transactions. At length, he s u m m o n e d Hareton from his seat. "Tak' these in tuh t' maister, lad," he said, "un' bide theare; Aw's gang up tuh my awn r a h m . This hoile's norther mensful, nor seemly fur u s — w e m u n side aht, a n d s e a r c h another!" "Come, Catherine," I said, "we m u s t 'side out,' too—I've d o n e my ironing, are you ready to go?" "It is not eight o'clock!" she answered, rising unwillingly, "Hare­ ton, I'll leave this book u p o n the chimney-piece, and I'll bring s o m e more to-morrow." "Ony books ut yah leave, Aw suall tak' intuh th' hahse," said J o s e p h , "un' it 'ull be mitch if yah find 'em agean; s o a , yah m u h plase yourseln!" Cathy threatened that his library should pay for hers; a n d , smiling as she p a s s e d Hareton, went singing upstairs, lighter of heart, I venture to say, than ever she had b e e n under that roof before, ex­ cept, perhaps, during her earliest visits to Linton. T h e intimacy, thus c o m m e n c e d , grew rapidly, though it e n c o u n ­ tered temporary interruptions. E a r n s h a w was not to be civilized with a wish; and my young lady was no philosopher, a n d no p a r a g o n of patience; but both their minds tending to the s a m e p o i n t — o n e loving and desiring to e s t e e m , a n d the other loving a n d desiring to be e s t e e m e d — t h e y contrived in the end to reach it. You see, Mr. Lockwood, it was easy e n o u g h to win M r s . Heathcliff's heart; but now, I'm glad you did not try. T h e crown of all my wishes will b e the union of those two; I shall envy no one on their wedding-day—there won't be a happier w o m a n than myself in England! 6

7

6.

" T a k e t h e s e in to the m a s t e r . . . a n d w a i t t h e r e . I a m g o i n g u p to m y o w n r o o m . T h i s r o o m is n e i t h e r p r o p e r , n o r s e e m l y f o r u s — w e

7.

m u s t get out, a n d

find

another."

" A n y b o o k s t h a t y o u l e a v e , I s h a l l t a k e i n t o t h e h o u s e . . . a n d it w i l l b e a m a r v e l i f y o u find

them again; so, you m a y p l e a s e yourself."

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Chapter

HEIGHTS

XXXIII

O n the morrow of that Monday, E a r n s h a w being still unable to follow his ordinary employments, and, therefore, remaining about the h o u s e , I speedily found it would be impracticable to retain my charge beside m e , a s heretofore. S h e got downstairs before m e , a n d out into the garden, where she h a d seen her cousin performing s o m e easy work; and when I went to bid them c o m e to breakfast, I saw she had p e r s u a d e d him to clear a large s p a c e of ground from currant and gooseberry b u s h e s , a n d they were busy planning together an importation of plants from the G r a n g e . I was terrified at the devastation which had been accomplished in a brief half hour; the black currant trees were the apple of J o ­ seph's eye, a n d she had j u s t fixed her choice of a flower bed in the midst of them! "There! T h a t will be all shewn to the master," I exclaimed, "the minute it is discovered. And what excuse have you to offer for taking s u c h liberties with the g a r d e n ? W e shall have a fine explosion on the h e a d of it: see if we don't! Mr. Hareton, I wonder you should have no m o r e wit, than to go a n d m a k e that m e s s at her bidding!" "I'd forgotten they were Joseph's," answered E a r n s h a w , rather puzzled, "but I'll tell him I did it." W e always ate our m e a l s with Mr. Heathcliff. I held the mistress's p o s t in m a k i n g tea and carving; so I was indispensable at table. C a t h e r i n e usually sat by me; but to-day, she stole nearer to Hare­ ton, a n d I presently saw she would have no more discretion in her friendship, than she h a d in her hostility. "Now, mind you don't talk with and notice your cousin too m u c h , " were my whispered instructions as we entered the room. "It will certainly annoy Mr. Heathcliff, and he'll be m a d at you both." "I'm not going to," she answered. T h e minute after, she h a d sidled to him, and was sticking prim­ roses in his plate of porridge. H e d a r e d not s p e a k to her, there; he dared hardly look, and yet she went on teasing, till he was twice on the point of being provoked to laugh; a n d I frowned, a n d then she glanced towards the master, w h o s e mind was o c c u p i e d on other subjects than his company, as his c o u n t e n a n c e evinced, a n d she grew serious for an instant, scru­ tinizing him with deep gravity. Afterwards she turned, and re­ c o m m e n c e d her n o n s e n s e ; at last, H a r e t o n uttered a smothered laugh. Mr. Heathcliff started; his eye rapidly surveyed our faces. C a t h ­ erine met it with her a c c u s t o m e d look of nervousness, and yet de­ fiance, which he abhorred.

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"It is well you are out of my reach"; he exclaimed. "What fiend p o s s e s s e s you to stare b a c k at m e , continually, with those infernal eyes? Down with them! and don't remind m e of your existence again. I thought I had cured you of laughing!" "It was me," muttered H a r e t o n . "What do you say?" d e m a n d e d the master. Hareton looked at his plate, a n d did not repeat the confession. Mr. Heathcliff looked at him a bit, a n d then silently r e s u m e d his breakfast, and his interrupted musing. W e had nearly finished, and the two young people prudently shifted wider asunder, so I anticipated no further d i s t u r b a n c e dur­ ing that sitting, when J o s e p h a p p e a r e d at the door, revealing by his quivering lip and furious eyes, that the outrage c o m m i t t e d on his precious shrubs was detected. H e m u s t have seen C a t h y and her cousin a b o u t the spot before he examined it, for while his j a w s worked like those of a cow chew­ ing its cud, and rendered his s p e e c h difficult to u n d e r s t a n d , he began— "Aw m u n hev my wage, and Aw m u n goa! Aw hed a i m e d tuh dee, wheare Aw'd sarved fur sixty year; un' Aw thowt Aw'd lug my books up intuh t' garret, un' all my bits uh stuff, un' they s u d hev t' kitchen tuh theirseln; fur t' sake uh quietness. It wur hard tuh gie up my awn hearthstun, b u d Aw thowt Aw could do that! B u d nah, shoo's taan my garden frough m e , un' by th' heart, Maister, Aw cannot stand it! Yah m u h b e n d tuh th' yoak, an ye will—Aw' noan u s e d to 't a n d an ow'd m a n doesn't sooin get u s e d tuh new barthens. Aw'd rayther arn my bite an' my s u p , wi' a h a m m e r in th' road!" "Now, now, idiot!" interrupted Heathcliff, "cut it short! What's your grievance? I'll interfere in no quarrels between you a n d Nelly. S h e may thrust you into the coal-hole for anything I care." "It's noan Nelly!" answered J o s e p h . "Aw sudn't shift fur Nelly— nasty, ill nowt as shoo is. T h a n k G o d ! shoo cannot stale t' sowl uh nob'dy! S h o o wer niver s o a h a n d s o m e , b u d whet a body m u d look at her 'baht winking. It's yon flaysome, graceless q u e a n , ut's witched ahr lad, wi' her bold een, un' her forrard ways till—Nay! It fair brusts my heart! He's forgetten all E d o n e for him, un m a d e on him, un' goan un' riven u p a whole row ut t' grandest currant trees 1

1. "I m u s t h a v e m y p a y , a n d I m u s t g o ! I had

p l a n n e d to die, w h e r e I h a d s e r v e d for sixty

y e a r s ; a n d I t h o u g h t I'd h a u l m y b o o k s u p i n t o t h e g a r r e t , a n d a l l m y t h i n g s , a n d t h e y s h o u l d h a v e t h e k i t c h e n t o t h e m s e l v e s ; f o r t h e s a k e o f q u i e t n e s s . It w a s h a r d t o g i v e u p m y p l a c e by the h e a r t h , b u t I t h o u g h t

I could

d o that! B u t no, she's taken m y g a r d e n

f r o m m e , a n d b y t h e h e a r t , M a s t e r , I c a n n o t s t a n d it! Y o u m a y b e n d t h e y o k e , a n d y o u w i l l — I ' m n o t u s e d t o it a n d a n o l d m a n d o e s n ' t s o o n g e t u s e d t o n e w

surroundings

[ l i t e r a l l y , t o o t h e r w a r m p l a c e s f o r c a t t l e ] . I'd r a t h e r e a r n m y m e a l a n d m y s o u p , w i t h a h a m m e r [ w o r k i n g ] in t h e r o a d . "

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2

i't' garden!" And here he l a m e n t e d outright, u n m a n n e d by a sense of his bitter injuries, a n d Earnshaw's ingratitude and dangerous condition. "Is the fool drunk?" a s k e d Mr. Heathcliff. "Hareton, is it you he's finding fault with?" "I've pulled u p two or three b u s h e s , " replied the young m a n , "but I'm going to set 'em again." "And why have you pulled t h e m up?" said the master. C a t h e r i n e wisely put in her tongue. "We wanted to plant s o m e flowers there," she cried. "I'm the only p e r s o n to b l a m e , for I wished him to do it." "And who the devil gave you leave to touch a stick about the p l a c e ? " d e m a n d e d her father-in-law, m u c h surprised. "And who or­ dered you to obey her?" he a d d e d , turning to Hareton. T h e latter was speechless; his cousin r e p l i e d — "You shouldn't g r u d g e a few yards of earth for m e to ornament, w h e n you have taken all my land!" "Your land, insolent slut? you never h a d any!" said Heathcliff. "And my money," she continued, returning his angry glare, and, m e a n t i m e , biting a piece of crust, the r e m n a n t of her breakfast. "Silence!" he exclaimed. "Get d o n e , a n d begone!" "And Hareton's land, a n d his money," p u r s u e d the reckless thing. "Hareton a n d I are friends now; a n d I shall tell him all about you!" T h e m a s t e r s e e m e d c o n f o u n d e d a m o m e n t ; he grew pale, and rose u p , eyeing her all the while, with an expression of mortal hate. "If you strike m e , Hareton will strike you!" she said; "so you may as well sit down." "If H a r e t o n does not turn you out of the room, I'll strike him to hell," t h u n d e r e d Heathcliff. " D a m n a b l e witch! dare you pretend to r o u s e him against m e ? Off with her! D o you hear? Fling her into the kitchen! I'll kill her, Ellen D e a n , if you let her c o m e into my sight again!" H a r e t o n tried u n d e r his breath to p e r s u a d e her to go. "Drag her away!" he cried savagely. "Are you staying to talk?" And he a p p r o a c h e d to execute his own c o m m a n d . "He'll not obey you, wicked m a n , any more!" said Catherine, "and he'll s o o n detest you, a s m u c h a s I do!" "Wisht! wisht!" muttered the young m a n reproachfully. "I will not hear you s p e a k so to him. H a v e done!" 2.

"It's n o t N e l l y . . . G o d ! She

I s h o u l d n ' t m o v e for N e l l y — n a s t y , b a d n o b o d y that s h e is. T h a n k

cannot steal the soul of anyone! S h e was never so beautiful, but that s o m e o n e

m i g h t l o o k a t h e r w i t h o u t w i n k i n g . It's y o n d r e a d f u l , g r a c e l e s s q u e e n , w h o ' s

bewitched

o u r l a d , w i t h h e r b o l d e y e s , a n d h e r f o r w a r d w a y s t i l l — N o ! It n e a r l y b u r s t s m y h e a r t ! H e ' s f o r g o t t e n all I d i d for h i m , a n d m a d e o f h i m , a n d g o n e a n d d u g u p t h e w h o l e r o w of c u r r a n t trees in the g a r d e n . "

C H A P T E R XXXIII

245

"But you won't let him strike m e ? " she cried. "Come then!" he whispered earnestly. It was too l a t e — H e a t h c l i f f had c a u g h t hold of her. "Now you go!" he said to E a r n s h a w . "Accursed witch! this time she has provoked m e , when I could not bear it; a n d I'll m a k e her repent it for ever!" H e had his hand in her hair; H a r e t o n a t t e m p t e d to release the locks, entreating him not to hurt her that o n c e . His b l a c k eyes flashed; he s e e m e d ready to tear C a t h e r i n e in p i e c e s , a n d I w a s j u s t worked u p to risk c o m i n g to the r e s c u e , when of a s u d d e n , his fingers relaxed, he shifted his grasp from her h e a d to her a r m , a n d gazed intently in her face. T h e n , he drew his h a n d over his eyes, stood a m o m e n t to collect himself apparently, a n d turning a n e w to Catherine, said with a s s u m e d c a l m n e s s — "You m u s t learn to avoid putting m e in a p a s s i o n , or I shall really murder you, s o m e time! G o with M r s . D e a n , a n d keep with her, and confine your insolence to her ears. As to H a r e t o n E a r n s h a w , if I see him listen to you, I'll send him seeking his b r e a d where he can get it! Your love will m a k e him an outcast, a n d a beggar. Nelly, take her, a n d leave m e , all of you! L e a v e me!" I led my young lady out; she was too glad of her e s c a p e , to resist; the other followed, a n d Mr. Heathcliff h a d the r o o m to himself, till dinner. I had counselled C a t h e r i n e to get her upstairs; but, as s o o n a s he perceived her vacant seat, he sent m e to call her. H e spoke to none of us, ate very little, a n d went out directly afterwards, inti­ mating that he should not return before evening. T h e two new friends established themselves in the h o u s e , during his a b s e n c e , where I h e a r d H a r e t o n sternly c h e c k his cousin, on her offering a revelation of her father-in-law's c o n d u c t to his father. H e said he wouldn't suffer a word to be uttered to him, in his disparagement; if he were the devil, it didn't signify; he would s t a n d by him; a n d he'd rather she would a b u s e himself, a s she u s e d to, than begin on Mr. Heathcliff. Catherine was waxing cross at this; but he found m e a n s to m a k e her hold her tongue, by asking, how she would like him to s p e a k ill of her father? a n d then she c o m p r e h e n d e d that E a r n s h a w took the master's reputation h o m e to himself, a n d was a t t a c h e d by ties stronger than reason could b r e a k — c h a i n s , forged by habit, which it would be cruel to attempt to loosen. S h e showed a good heart, thenceforth, in avoiding both c o m ­ plaints a n d expressions of antipathy concerning Heathcliff, a n d confessed to m e her sorrow that she had e n d e a v o u r e d to raise a bad spirit between him a n d Hareton; indeed, I don't believe s h e h a d

246

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ever b r e a t h e d a syllable, in the latter's hearing, against her oppres­ sor, since. W h e n this slight d i s a g r e e m e n t was over, they were thick again, and a s b u s y as p o s s i b l e , in their several o c c u p a t i o n s , of pupil and teacher. I c a m e in to sit with them, after I had done my work, and I felt so soothed a n d comforted to watch them, that I did not notice how time got on. You know, they both appeared, in a m e a s u r e , my children: I h a d long been p r o u d of one, a n d now, I was sure, the other would b e a s o u r c e of equal satisfaction. His honest, warm, a n d intelligent n a t u r e s h o o k off rapidly the clouds of ignorance and degradation in which it had been bred; and Catherine's sincere c o m m e n d a t i o n s a c t e d as a spur to his industry. His brightening m i n d brightened his features, a n d a d d e d spirit and nobility to their aspect. I could hardly fancy it the s a m e individual I had beheld on the day I discovered my little lady at Wuthering Heights, after her expedition to the C r a g s . While I a d m i r e d , a n d they laboured, d u s k drew on, and with it returned the m a s t e r . H e c a m e u p o n us quite unexpectedly, entering by the front way, a n d had a full view of the whole three, ere we could raise our h e a d s to g l a n c e at him. Well, I reflected, there was never a pleasanter, or more harmless sight; a n d it will be a burning s h a m e to scold them. T h e red firelight glowed on their two bonny h e a d s , a n d revealed their faces, ani­ m a t e d with the eager interest of children; for, though he was twenty-three, a n d s h e eighteen, e a c h had so m u c h of novelty to feel a n d learn, that neither experienced nor evinced the sentiments of sober d i s e n c h a n t e d maturity. T h e y lifted their eyes together, to encounter Mr. Heathcliff. Per­ h a p s you have never r e m a r k e d that their eyes are precisely similar, and they are those of C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w . T h e present Catherine h a s no other likeness to her, except a breadth of forehead, and a certain arch of the nostril that m a k e s her appear rather haughty, whether she will or not. With H a r e t o n the r e s e m b l a n c e is carried farther; it is singular, at all t i m e s — t h e n , it was particularly striking, b e c a u s e his s e n s e s were alert, a n d his mental faculties wakened to unwonted activity. I s u p p o s e this r e s e m b l a n c e d i s a r m e d Mr. Heathcliff: he walked to the hearth in evident agitation, but it quickly subsided, as he looked at the young m a n ; or, I should say, altered its character, for it was there yet. H e took the b o o k from his hand, a n d g l a n c e d at the open page, then returned it without any observation, merely signing Catherine away. H e r c o m p a n i o n lingered very little behind her, a n d I was about to d e p a r t also, b u t he bid m e sit still.

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247

"It is a poor conclusion, is it not," he observed, having b r o o d e d a while on the s c e n e he had j u s t witnessed. "An a b s u r d termination to my violent exertions? I get levers a n d mattocks to demolish the two h o u s e s , and train myself to b e c a p a b l e of working like H e r c u l e s , and when everything is ready, a n d in my power, I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished! My old e n e m i e s have not beaten me; now would be the precise time to revenge myself on their representatives: I could do it; a n d none could hinder m e . B u t where is the u s e ? I don't c a r e for striking, I can't take the trouble to raise my hand! T h a t s o u n d s as if I had been labouring the whole time, only to exhibit a fine trait of magnanimity. It is far from being the c a s e — I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, a n d I a m too idle to destroy for nothing. "Nelly, there is a strange c h a n g e a p p r o a c h i n g — I ' m in its s h a d o w at present. I take so little interest in my daily life, that I hardly remember to eat, a n d drink. T h o s e two, who have left the room, are the only objects which retain a distinct material a p p e a r a n c e to me; and that a p p e a r a n c e c a u s e s m e pain, a m o u n t i n g to agony. About her I won't speak; and I don't desire to think; b u t I earnestly wish she were invisible—her p r e s e n c e invokes only m a d d e n i n g sen­ sations. He moves m e differently; a n d yet if I could do it without seeming insane, I'd never see him again! You'll p e r h a p s think m e rather inclined to b e c o m e so," he a d d e d , m a k i n g an effort to smile, "if I try to describe the t h o u s a n d forms of p a s t a s s o c i a t i o n s a n d ideas he awakens, or e m b o d i e s — B u t you'll not talk of what I tell you, and my mind is so eternally s e c l u d e d in itself, it is tempting, at last, to turn it out to another. "Five minutes ago, H a r e t o n s e e m e d a personification of my youth, not a h u m a n being. I felt to him in s u c h a variety of ways, that it would have been impossible to have a c c o s t e d him rationally. "In the first place, his startling likeness to C a t h e r i n e c o n n e c t e d him fearfully with her. T h a t , however, which you m a y s u p p o s e the most potent to arrest my imagination, is actually the least, for what is not connected with her to m e ? a n d what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are s h a p e d on the flags! In every cloud, in every tree—filling the air at night, a n d caught by glimpses in every object by day, I a m s u r r o u n d e d with her image! T h e most ordinary faces of m e n a n d w o m e n — m y own f e a t u r e s — m o c k m e with a r e s e m b l a n c e . T h e entire world is a dreadful collection of m e m o r a n d a that she did exist, a n d that I have lost her! "Well, Hareton's a s p e c t was the ghost of my immortal love, of my wild endeavours to hold my right, my degradation, my pride, my happiness, a n d my a n g u i s h —

248

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"But it is frenzy to repeat these thoughts to you; only it will let you know why, with a reluctance to be always alone, his society is no benefit, rather an aggravation of the constant torment I suffer; a n d it partly contributes to render m e regardless how he and his c o u s i n go on together. I c a n give them no attention, any more." "But what do you m e a n by a change, Mr. Heathcliff?" I said, a l a r m e d at his manner, though he was neither in danger of losing his s e n s e s , nor dying; according to my j u d g m e n t he was quite strong a n d healthy; and, as to his reason, from childhood he had a delight in dwelling on dark things, a n d entertaining odd fancies. H e might have had a m o n o m a n i a on the subject of his departed idol; but on every other point his wits were as s o u n d as mine. "I shall not know that, till it comes," he said, "I'm only half con­ scious of it now." "You have no feeling of illness, have you?" I asked. "No, Nelly, I have not," he answered. "Then, you are not afraid of death?" I p u r s u e d . "Afraid? No!" he replied. "I have neither a fear, nor a presenti­ ment, nor a h o p e of death. Why should I? With my hard consti­ tution, and t e m p e r a t e m o d e of living, and unperilous occupations, I ought to, a n d probably shall remain above ground, till there is scarcely a b l a c k hair on my head. And yet I cannot continue in this condition! I have to remind myself to b r e a t h e — a l m o s t to remind my heart to beat! And it is like bending b a c k a stiff spring; it is by c o m p u l s i o n that I do the slightest act not p r o m p t e d by one thought, a n d by c o m p u l s i o n , that I notice anything alive, or dead, which is not a s s o c i a t e d with one universal idea. I have a single wish, and my whole being a n d faculties are yearning to attain it. They have yearned towards it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I'm convinced it will b e r e a c h e d — a n d soon—because it h a s devoured my exis­ tence. I a m swallowed in the anticipation of its fulfilment. "My confessions have not relieved m e , b u t they may account for s o m e otherwise u n a c c o u n t a b l e p h a s e s of humour, which I show. O , G o d ! It is a long fight, I wish it were over!" H e b e g a n to p a c e the room, muttering terrible things to himself, till I was inclined to believe, as he said J o s e p h did, that conscience h a d turned his heart to an earthly hell. I wondered greatly how it would end. T h o u g h he s e l d o m before had revealed this state of mind, even by looks, it was his habitual mood, I h a d no doubt: he asserted it himself; but not a soul, from his general bearing, would have con­ j e c t u r e d the fact. You did not, when you saw him, Mr. Lockwood; a n d at the period of which I speak, he was j u s t the s a m e as then, only fonder of continued solitude, and p e r h a p s still more laconic in c o m p a n y .

249 Chapter

XXXIV

For s o m e days after that evening, Mr. Heathcliff s h u n n e d meet­ ing us at meals; yet he would not consent, formally, to exclude Hareton and Cathy. H e had an aversion to yielding so completely to his feelings, choosing rather to a b s e n t himself; a n d eating o n c e in twenty-four hours s e e m e d sufficient s u s t e n a n c e for him. O n e night, after the family were in bed, I heard him go down­ stairs, and out at the front door: I did not hear him re-enter and, in the morning, I found he was still away. W e were in April then: the weather was sweet a n d w a r m , the grass as green as showers and s u n could m a k e it, a n d the two dwarf apple trees, near the southern wall, in full bloom. After breakfast, C a t h e r i n e insisted on my bringing a chair, a n d sitting with my work under the fir trees at the e n d of the h o u s e ; and she beguiled Hareton, who had perfectly recovered from his accident, to dig and arrange her little garden, which was shifted to that corner by the influence of J o s e p h ' s complaints. I was comfortably revelling in the spring fragrance a r o u n d , a n d the beautiful soft blue overhead, when my young lady, who h a d run down near the gate to procure s o m e primrose roots for a border, returned only half laden, and informed us that Mr. Heathcliff was coming in. "And he spoke to me," she added with a perplexed c o u n t e n a n c e . "What did he say?" a s k e d Hareton. "He told m e to b e g o n e as fast as I could," she answered. "But he looked so different from his usual look that I s t o p p e d a m o m e n t to stare at him." "How?" he enquired. "Why, almost bright and c h e e r f u l — N o , almost nothing—very much excited, and wild a n d glad!" she replied. "Night-walking a m u s e s him, then," I remarked, affecting a care­ less manner. In reality, as surprised as she was, and, anxious to a s ­ certain the truth of her statement, for to see the m a s t e r looking glad would not be an every day spectacle, I framed an excuse to go in. Heathcliff stood at the open door; he was pale, and he trembled; yet, certainly, he had a strange joyful glitter in his eyes that altered the aspect of his whole face. "Will you have s o m e breakfast?" I said, "You m u s t b e hungry rambling about all night!" I wanted to discover where he had been; but I did not like to a s k directly. "No, I'm not hungry," he answered, averting his h e a d , a n d speak­ ing rather contemptuously, as if he g u e s s e d I was trying to divine the occasion of his good humour.

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I felt perplexed; I didn't know whether it were not a proper op­ portunity to offer a bit of admonition. "I don't think it right to wander out of doors," I observed, "instead of being in bed: it is not wise, at any rate, this moist season. I dare say you'll c a t c h a b a d cold, or a fever—you have something the matter with you now!" "Nothing but what I c a n bear," he replied, "and with the greatest p l e a s u r e , provided you'll leave m e alone. G e t in, and don't annoy me." I obeyed; and, in p a s s i n g , I noticed he breathed as fast as a cat. "Yes!" I reflected to myself, "we shall have a fit of illness. I cannot conceive what he h a s b e e n doing!" T h a t noon, he sat down to dinner with us, a n d received a heapedu p plate from my h a n d s , as if he intended to make a m e n d s for previous fasting. "I've neither cold, nor fever, Nelly," he remarked, in allusion to my morning's s p e e c h . "And I'm ready to do j u s t i c e to the food you give me." H e took his knife a n d fork, a n d was going to c o m m e n c e eating, when the inclination a p p e a r e d to b e c o m e suddenly extinct. H e laid t h e m on the table, looked eagerly towards the window, then rose a n d went out. W e saw him walking, to a n d fro, in the garden, while we con­ c l u d e d our meal; a n d E a r n s h a w said he'd go a n d a s k why he would not dine; he thought we h a d grieved him s o m e way. "Well, is he c o m i n g ? " cried C a t h e r i n e , when her cousin returned. "Nay," he answered, "but he's not angry; he s e e m e d rare and p l e a s e d indeed; only, I m a d e him impatient by speaking to him twice; a n d then he bid m e be off to you; he wondered how I could want the c o m p a n y of any body else." I set his plate, to keep warm, on the fender; a n d after an hour or two, he re-entered, w h e n the r o o m was clear, in no degree calmer: the s a m e u n n a t u r a l — i t was u n n a t u r a l — a p p e a r a n c e of joy under his b l a c k brows; the s a m e bloodless hue, a n d his teeth visi­ ble, now a n d then, in a kind of smile; his frame shivering, not as one shivers with chill or w e a k n e s s , but as a tight-stretched cord v i b r a t e s — a strong thrilling, rather than trembling. I will a s k what is the matter, I thought, or who should? And I exclaimed— "Have you h e a r d any good news, Mr. Heathcliff? You look un­ c o m m o n l y animated." "Where should good news c o m e from, to m e ? " he said. "I'm an­ imated with hunger; and, seemingly, I m u s t not eat." 1

1. V e r y p l e a s e d .

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"Your dinner is here," I returned; "why won't you get it?" "I don't want it now," he muttered, hastily. "I'll wait till supper. And, Nelly, once for all, let m e b e g you to warn H a r e t o n and the other away from me. I wish to be troubled by n o b o d y — I wish to have this place to myself." "Is there s o m e new reason for this b a n i s h m e n t ? " I inquired. "Tell me why you are so queer, Mr. H e a t h c l i f f ? W h e r e were you last night? I'm not putting the question through idle curiosity, b u t — " "You are putting the question through very idle curiosity," he interrupted with a laugh. "Yet, I'll answer it. L a s t night, I was on the threshold of hell. To-day, I a m within sight of my heaven. I have my eyes on it—hardly three feet to sever me! And now you'd better go. You'll neither see nor hear anything to frighten you, if you refrain from prying." Having swept the hearth and wiped the table, I d e p a r t e d m o r e perplexed than ever. H e did not quit the h o u s e again that afternoon, a n d no one in­ truded on his solitude, till, at eight o'clock, I d e e m e d it proper, though u n s u m m o n e d , to carry a c a n d l e and his s u p p e r to him. H e was leaning against the ledge of an open lattice, but not look­ ing out; his face was turned to the interior gloom. T h e fire had smouldered to ashes; the room was filled with the d a m p , mild air of the cloudy evening, and so still, that not only the m u r m u r of the beck down G i m m e r t o n was distinguishable, but its ripples and its gurgling over the pebbles, or through the large stones which it could not cover. I uttered an ejaculation of discontent at seeing the dismal grate, and c o m m e n c e d shutting the c a s e m e n t s , one after another, till I c a m e to his. "Must I close this?" I asked, in order to r o u s e him, for he would not stir. T h e light flashed on his features, a s I spoke. O h , Mr. L o c k w o o d , I cannot express what a terrible start I got, by the m o m e n t a r y view! T h o s e deep black eyes! T h a t smile, and ghastly paleness! It a p ­ peared to me, not Mr. Heathcliff, but a goblin; a n d , in my terror, I let the candle bend towards the wall, a n d it left m e in dark­ ness. "Yes, close it," he replied, in his familiar voice. "There, that is pure awkwardness! Why did you hold the c a n d l e horizontally? B e quick, and bring another." I hurried out in a foolish state of dread, and said to J o s e p h — "The master wishes you to take him a light, a n d rekindle the fire." For I dared not go in myself again j u s t then. J o s e p h rattled s o m e fire into the shovel, and went; but he brought it back, immediately, with the s u p p e r tray in his other hand, ex-

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plaining that Mr. Heathcliff was going to bed, and he wanted noth­ ing to eat till morning. W e h e a r d him m o u n t the stairs directly; he did not proceed to his ordinary c h a m b e r , but turned into that with the panelled bed. Its window, as I mentioned before, is wide e n o u g h for anybody to get through, a n d it struck m e that he plotted another midnight excursion, which he h a d rather we had no suspicion of. "Is he a ghoul, or a vampire?" I m u s e d . I had read of such hid­ e o u s , i n c a r n a t e d e m o n s . And then I set myself to reflect how I had tended him in infancy; a n d watched him grow to youth; and fol­ lowed him almost through his whole course; and what a b s u r d non­ s e n s e it was to yield to that s e n s e of horror. "But where did he c o m e from, the little dark thing, harboured by a good m a n to his b a n e ? " muttered superstition, as I dozed into u n c o n s c i o u s n e s s . And I b e g a n , half dreaming, to weary myself with imaging s o m e fit p a r e n t a g e for him; and repeating my waking med­ itations, I tracked his existence over again, with grim variations; at last, picturing his death and funeral; of which, all I can remember is, being exceedingly vexed at having the task of dictating an in­ scription for his m o n u m e n t , and consulting the sexton about it; and, as he h a d no s u r n a m e , and we could not tell his age, we were obliged to content ourselves with the single word, "Heathcliff." That c a m e true; we were. If you enter the kirkyard, you'll read on his h e a d s t o n e only that, a n d the date of his death. D a w n restored m e to c o m m o n s e n s e . I rose, and went into the garden, a s soon as I could see, to ascertain if there were any foot­ marks u n d e r his window. T h e r e were none. "He has stayed at home," I thought, "and he'll be all right, to­ day!" I p r e p a r e d breakfast for the household, as was my usual custom, but told H a r e t o n a n d C a t h e r i n e to get theirs ere the master c a m e down, for he lay late. They preferred taking it out of doors, under the trees, a n d I set a little table to a c c o m m o d a t e them. O n my re-entrance, I found Mr. Heathcliff below. H e and J o s e p h were conversing a b o u t s o m e farming b u s i n e s s ; he gave clear, min­ ute directions concerning the matter d i s c u s s e d , but he spoke rap­ idly, and turned his head continually aside, and had the s a m e excited expression, even m o r e exaggerated. W h e n J o s e p h quitted the room, he took his seat in the place he generally c h o s e , a n d I p u t a basin of coffee before him. H e drew it nearer, a n d then rested in his a r m s on the table, and looked at the opposite wall, a s I s u p p o s e d , surveying one particular portion, up a n d down, with glittering, restless eyes, and with such eager inter­ est, that he s t o p p e d breathing, during half a minute together.

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"Come now," I exclaimed, p u s h i n g s o m e b r e a d against his h a n d . "Eat and drink that, while it is hot. It h a s b e e n waiting near a n hour." H e didn't notice m e , and yet he smiled. I'd rather have seen him gnash his teeth than smile so. "Mr. Heathcliff! master!" I cried. "Don't, for God's s a k e , stare as if you saw an unearthly vision." "Don't, for God's sake, s h o u t so loud," he replied. "Turn round, and tell m e , are we by ourselves?" "Of course," was my answer, "of c o u r s e , we are!" Still, I involuntarily obeyed him, as if I were not quite s u r e . With a sweep of his hand, he cleared a vacant s p a c e in front a m o n g the breakfast things, and leant forward to gaze m o r e at his ease. Now, I perceived he was not looking at the wall, for w h e n I re­ garded him alone, it s e e m e d exactly that he gazed at s o m e t h i n g within two yards distance. And, whatever it was, it c o m m u n i c a t e d , apparently, both p l e a s u r e and pain, in exquisite extremes; at least, the anguished, yet raptured expression of his c o u n t e n a n c e sug­ gested that idea. T h e fancied object was not fixed, either; his eyes p u r s u e d it with unwearied vigilance, and, even in s p e a k i n g to m e , were never weaned away. I vainly reminded him of his protracted a b s t i n e n c e from food; if he stirred to touch anything in c o m p l i a n c e with my entreaties, if he stretched his h a n d out to get a piece of b r e a d , his fingers clenched, before they r e a c h e d it, a n d r e m a i n e d on the table, for­ getful of their aim. I sat, a model of patience, trying to attract his a b s o r b e d attention from its engrossing speculation, till he grew irritable, a n d got u p , asking why I would not allow him to have his own time in taking his meals? and saying that, on the next o c c a s i o n , I needn't wait; I might set the things down, and go. Having uttered these words, he left the h o u s e , slowly s a u n t e r e d down the garden path, and d i s a p p e a r e d through the gate. T h e hours crept anxiously by: another evening c a m e . I did not retire to rest till late, and when I did, I could not sleep. H e returned after midnight, and, instead of going to bed, shut himself into the room beneath. I listened, and t o s s e d about; and, finally, d r e s s e d and descended. It was too irksome to lie up there, h a r a s s i n g my brain with a hundred idle misgivings. I distinguished Mr. Heathcliff's step, restlessly m e a s u r i n g the floor; and he frequently broke the silence by a deep inspiration, resembling a groan. H e muttered d e t a c h e d words also; the only one

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I could c a t c h was the n a m e of C a t h e r i n e , coupled with s o m e wild term of e n d e a r m e n t or suffering, a n d spoken as one would speak to a p e r s o n p r e s e n t — l o w a n d earnest, a n d wrung from the depth of his soul. I had not c o u r a g e to walk straight into the apartment; but I de­ sired to divert him from his reverie, and, therefore fell foul of the kitchen fire, stirred it, a n d b e g a n to s c r a p e the cinders. It drew him forth sooner than I expected. H e o p e n e d the door immediately, and said— "Nelly, c o m e h e r e — i s it morning? C o m e in with your light." "It is striking four," I answered; "you want a candle to take u p s t a i r s — y o u might have lit one at this fire." "No, I don't wish to go upstairs," he said. "Come in, and kindle me a fire, a n d do anything there is to do a b o u t the room." "I m u s t blow the coals red first, before I can carry any," I replied, getting a chair a n d the bellows. H e r o a m e d to a n d fro, m e a n t i m e , in a state approaching distrac­ tion; his heavy sighs s u c c e e d i n g e a c h other so thick as to leave no s p a c e for c o m m o n breathing between. "When day breaks, I'll send for Green," he said; "I wish to make s o m e legal inquiries of him while I can bestow a thought on those matters, a n d while I can act calmly. I have not written my will yet, a n d how to leave my property, I c a n n o t determine! I wish I could annihilate it from the face of the earth." "I would not talk so, M r . Heathcliff," I interposed. "Let your will b e , a while—you'll be s p a r e d to repent of your many injustices, yet! I never expected that your nerves would be disordered: they are, at present, marvellously so, however; and, almost entirely, through your own fault. T h e way you've p a s s e d these three last days might knock u p a Titan. D o take s o m e food, a n d s o m e repose. You need only look at yourself in a glass to see how you require both. Your cheeks are hollow, a n d your eyes blood-shot, like a person starving with hunger, a n d going blind with loss of sleep." "It is not my fault, that I c a n n o t eat or rest," he replied. "I a s s u r e you it is through no settled designs. I'll do both, as soon as I possibly c a n . B u t you might as well bid a m a n struggling in the water, rest within a r m s - l e n g t h of the shore! I m u s t reach it first, and then I'll rest. Well, never mind Mr. G r e e n ; as to repenting of my injustices, I've d o n e no injustice, a n d I repent of n o t h i n g — I ' m too happy, and yet I'm not happy e n o u g h . My soul's bliss kills my body, but does not satisfy itself." "Happy, m a s t e r ? " I cried. "Strange happiness! If you would hear m e without being angry, I might offer s o m e advice that would make you happier. "What is that?" he asked. "Give it."

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"You are aware, Mr. Heathcliff," I said, "that from the time you were thirteen years old, you have lived a selfish, unchristian life; and probably hardly had a Bible in your h a n d s during all that p e ­ riod. You m u s t have forgotten the contents of the book, a n d you may not have s p a c e to s e a r c h it now. C o u l d it be hurtful to s e n d for s o m e o n e — s o m e minister of any denomination, it does not mat­ ter which, to explain it, a n d show you how very far you have erred from its precepts, a n d how unfit you will be for its heaven, unless a change takes place before you die?" "I'm rather obliged than angry, Nelly," he said, "for you remind me of the m a n n e r that I desire to be buried in. It is to be carried to the churchyard, in the evening. You a n d H a r e t o n may, if you please a c c o m p a n y m e — a n d mind, particularly, to notice that the sexton obeys my directions concerning the two coffins! N o minister need come; nor need anything be said over m e . I tell you, I have nearly attained my heaven; a n d that of others is altogether unvalued and uncoveted by me!" "And s u p p o s i n g you persevered in your obstinate fast, a n d died by that m e a n s , and they refused to bury you in the precincts of the Kirk?" I said, shocked at his godless indifference. "How would you like it?" "They won't do that," he replied; "if they did, you m u s t have m e removed secretly; a n d if you neglect it, you shall prove, practically, that the d e a d are not annihilated!" As soon as he heard the other m e m b e r s of the family stirring he retired to his den, a n d I breathed freer. B u t in the afternoon, while J o s e p h and Hareton were at their work, he c a m e into the kitchen again, and with a wild look, bid m e c o m e , a n d sit in the h o u s e — he wanted somebody with him. I declined, telling him plainly that his strange talk a n d m a n n e r frightened m e , and I h a d neither the nerve nor the will to b e his companion, alone. "I believe you think m e a fiend!" he said, with his dismal laugh, "something too horrible to live under a decent roof!" T h e n turning to C a t h e r i n e , who was there, a n d who drew behind me at his a p p r o a c h , he a d d e d , half sneeringly— "Will you c o m e , c h u c k ? I'll not hurt you. No! to you, I've m a d e myself worse than the devil. Well, there is one who won't shrink from my company! By G o d ! she's relentless. O h , d a m n it! It's un­ utterably too m u c h for flesh a n d blood to bear, even mine." H e solicited the society of no one more. At d u s k , he went into his chamber. T h r o u g h the whole night, a n d far into the morning, we heard him groaning, a n d m u r m u r i n g to himself. H a r e t o n was anxious to enter, but I bid him fetch Mr. Kenneth, a n d he should go in and see him.

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W h e n he c a m e , a n d I r e q u e s t e d a d m i t t a n c e a n d tried to open the door, I found it locked; a n d Heathcliff bid us be d a m n e d . H e was better, a n d would be left alone; so the doctor went away. T h e following evening was very wet; indeed it poured down, till day-dawn; a n d , as I took my morning walk round the h o u s e , I ob­ served the master's window swinging open, a n d the rain driving straight in. H e c a n n o t b e in bed, I thought; those showers would drench him through! H e m u s t either be u p , or out. B u t I'll m a k e no more ado, I'll go boldly a n d look! Having s u c c e e d e d in obtaining entrance with another key, I ran to u n c l o s e the p a n e l s , for the c h a m b e r was vacant; quickly pushing them a s i d e , I p e e p e d in. Mr. Heathcliff was t h e r e — l a i d on his back. His eyes m e t mine so keen a n d fierce, I started; a n d then he s e e m e d to smile. I could not think him d e a d , but his face and throat were washed with rain; the bedclothes dripped, a n d he was perfectly still. T h e lattice, flapping to a n d fro, had grazed one h a n d that rested on the sill; no blood trickled from the broken skin, a n d when I put my fingers to it, I could doubt no m o r e — h e was d e a d and stark! I h a s p e d the window; I c o m b e d his black long hair from his fore­ head; I tried to close his e y e s — t o extinguish, if possible, that fright­ ful, life-like gaze of exultation, before any one else beheld it. They would not shut; they s e e m e d to sneer at my attempts, a n d his parted lips a n d sharp, white teeth sneered too! T a k e n with another fit of cowardice, I cried out for J o s e p h . J o s e p h shuffled up and m a d e a noise, b u t resolutely refused to m e d d l e with him. "Th' divil's harried off his soul," he cried, "and he m u h hev his c a r c a s s intuh t' bargin, for ow't Aw care! Ech! what a wicked un he looks girnning at death!" a n d the old sinner grinned in mockery. I thought he intended to cut a c a p e r round the bed; but suddenly c o m p o s i n g himself, he fell on his knees, a n d raised his hands, and returned thanks that the lawful m a s t e r a n d the ancient stock were restored to their rights. I felt s t u n n e d by the awful event; a n d my memory unavoidably recurred to former times with a sort of oppressive s a d n e s s . But poor H a r e t o n , the m o s t wronged, was the only one that really suffered m u c h . H e sat by the c o r p s e all night, weeping in bitter earnest. H e p r e s s e d its h a n d , a n d kissed the s a r c a s t i c , savage face that every one else s h r a n k from contemplating; a n d b e m o a n e d him with that strong grief which springs naturally from a generous heart, though it be tough as t e m p e r e d steel. 2

2.

Harried:

h u r r i e d ; girnning:

grinning scornfully.

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Kenneth was perplexed to p r o n o u n c e of what disorder the m a s t e r died. I concealed the fact of his having swallowed nothing for four days, fearing it might lead to trouble, and then, I a m p e r s u a d e d he did not abstain on p u r p o s e ; it was the c o n s e q u e n c e of his strange illness, not the c a u s e . We buried him, to the s c a n d a l of the whole n e i g h b o u r h o o d , as he had wished. E a r n s h a w , a n d I, the sexton and six m e n to carry the coffin, c o m p r e h e n d e d the whole a t t e n d a n c e . T h e six men departed w h e n they h a d let it down into the grave: we stayed to see it covered. H a r e t o n , with a st rea ming face, d u g green sods, and laid them over the brown m o u l d himself. At p r e s e n t it is as smooth and verdant as its c o m p a n i o n m o u n d s — a n d I h o p e its tenant sleeps as soundly. B u t the country folks, if you a s k e d them, would swear on their Bible that he walks. T h e r e are those who s p e a k to having met him near the c h u r c h , a n d on the moor, and even within this h o u s e . Idle tales, you'll say, and so say I. Yet that old m a n by the kitchen fire affirms he h a s seen two on 'em looking out of his c h a m b e r window, on every rainy night, since his d e a t h — a n d an odd thing h a p p e n e d to m e a b o u t a m o n t h a g o . I was going to the G r a n g e one e v e n i n g — a dark evening threat­ ening t h u n d e r — a n d , j u s t at the turn of the Heights, I e n c o u n t e r e d a little boy with a sheep a n d two l a m b s before him; he was crying terribly, and I s u p p o s e d the l a m b s were skittish, a n d would not be guided. "What is the matter, my little m a n ? " I asked. "They's Heathcliff and a w o m a n , yonder, under t' N a b , " he blub­ bered, "un' Aw darnut p a s s em." I saw nothing; but neither the s h e e p nor he would go on, so I bid him take the road lower down. H e probably raised the p h a n t o m s from thinking, as he traversed the moors alone, on the n o n s e n s e he h a d heard his parents a n d companions r e p e a t — y e t still, I don't like being out in the dark, now; and I don't like being left by myself in this grim h o u s e — I c a n n o t help i t — I shall be glad when they leave it, a n d shift to the G r a n g e ! "They are going to the G r a n g e , then?" I said. "Yes," answered M r s . D e a n , "as soon as they are married; and they will be on N e w Year's day." "And who will live here then?" "Why, J o s e p h will take care of the h o u s e , a n d , p e r h a p s , a lad to keep him company. They will live in the kitchen, a n d the rest will be shut up." "For the u s e of s u c h ghosts a s c h o o s e to inhabit it," I observed. "No, Mr. Lockwood," said Nelly, shaking her head. "I believe the dead are at p e a c e , but it is not right to s p e a k of t h e m with levity."

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At that m o m e n t the garden gate swung to; the ramblers were returning. "They are afraid of nothing," I grumbled, watching their approach through the window. "Together they would brave S a t a n and all his legions." As they s t e p p e d onto the door-stones, and halted to take a last look at the moon, or, m o r e correctly, at each other, by her light, I felt irresistibly impelled to e s c a p e them again; and, pressing a re­ m e m b r a n c e into the h a n d of M r s . D e a n , and disregarding her ex­ postulations at my r u d e n e s s , I vanished through the kitchen, as they o p e n e d the house-door, and so should have confirmed J o s e p h in his opinion of his fellow-servant's gay indiscretions, had he not, fortunately, recognised m e for a respectable character by the sweet ring of a sovereign at his feet. My walk h o m e was lengthened by a diversion in the direction of the Kirk. W h e n b e n e a t h its walls, I perceived decay had m a d e pro­ gress, even in seven m o n t h s — m a n y a window showed black gaps deprived of glass; a n d slates j u t t e d off, here and there, beyond the right line of the roof, to be gradually worked off in coming a u t u m n storms. I sought, a n d soon discovered, the three head-stones on the slope next the m o o r — t h e middle one, grey, and half buried in h e a t h — E d g a r Linton's only harmonized by the turf, and m o s s creeping up its f o o t — H e a t h c l i f f ' s still bare. I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering a m o n g the heath and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet s l u m b e r s for the sleepers in that quiet earth. THE

END

BACKGROUNDS AND CONTEXTS

A page from Emily's diary, with her sketch of herself and Anne writing. Photo­ copy courtesy of the Brontë Society.

260

Tke

1847

Wuthering

Heights

Emily Bronte's Diary*)" Apart from her novel and poems, few writings by Emily Brontë survive, but there are brief diary entries from 1834, 1837, 1841, and 1845. The last three are all birthday reflections, one written on her brother Branwell's birthday, the other two on her twenty-third and twenty-seventh birthdays. The diaries give glimpses of life at the Haworth parsonage and describe Emily's ongoing involvement with the imaginary world of Gondal. The diary pages are on display at the Brontë Parsonage. November

24,

1834

N o v e m b e r the 2 4 1 8 3 4 M o n d a y Emily J a n e Brontë A n n e Brontë I fed Rainbow. D i a m o n d Snowflake J a s p e r p h e a s a n t (alias) this morning Branwell went down to Mr. Driver's a n d brought news that Sir Robert Peel was going to b e invited to s t a n d for L e e d s Anne and I have been peeling apples for Charlotte to m a k e us an apple pudding and for Aunt nuts and apples Charlotte said she m a d e puddings perfectly and she was of a quick but limited intellect. Tabby said j u s t now C o m e Anne pilloputate (i.e. pill a potato) Aunt has c o m e into the kitchen j u s t now and said where are your feet Anne Anne answered O n the floor Aunt p a p a o p e n e d the parlour door and gave Branwell a letter saying here Branwell read this a n d show it to your Aunt and C h a r l o t t e — t h e G o n d a l s are discover­ ing the interior of G a a l d i n e Sally Mosley is washing in the b a c k kitchen It is past Twelve o'clock Anne a n d I have not tidied ourselves, done our bedwork or done our lessons and we want to go out to play we are goin to have for Dinner Boiled Beef, T u r n i p s , p o t a t o e s and applepudding. T h e Kitchin is in a very untidy state A n n e a n d I have not done our m u s i c exercise which consists of b major T a b y said on my putting a pen in her face Ya pitter pottering there instead of pilling a potate I answered O Dear, O Dear, O dear I will directly t

Diary entries are reprinted with the permission of the B r o n t ë

261

Society.

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EMILY BRONTE'S

DIARY

with that I get u p , take a knife and begin pilling (finished pilling the p o t a t o e s ) p a p a going to walk Mr. S u n d e r l a n d expected A n n e a n d I say I wonder what we shall be like and what we shall be a n d where we shall be if all goes well in the year 1 8 7 4 — i n which year I shall b e in my 54th year Anne will be going in her 55th year Branwell will b e going in his 58th year And Charlotte in her 57th year hoping we shall all b e well at that time we close our paper 1

* * * June

26,

J 837

M o n d a y evening J u n e 26th 1837 A bit p a s t 4 o'clock Charlotte working in Aunt's room, Branwell reading Eugene Aram to h e r — A n n e a n d I writing in the drawingr o o m — A n n e a p o e m beginning "Fair was the evening and brightly the s u n " — I A u g u s t a Almeda's life 1st V. 1—4th p a g e from the l a s t — fine rather coolish thin grey cloudy but sunny day Aunt working in the little r o o m the old nursery P a p a gone out Tabby in the k i t c h e n — t h e E m p e r o r s a n d E m p r e s s e s of G o n d a l a n d Gaaldine preparing to depart from G a a l d i n e to G o n d a l to prepare for the coronation which will be on the 12th July Q u e e n Vittoria ascended the throne this month. Northangerland in Monkey's I s l e — Z a m o r a at E v e r s h a m . All tight a n d right in which condition it is hoped we shall all b e this day 4 years at which time Charlotte will be 25 and 2 m o n t h s — B r a n w e l l j u s t 2 4 it being his birthday—myself 2 2 and 10 m o n t h s a n d a piece [sic] Anne 21 a n d nearly a half I wonder where we shall be a n d how we shall b e and what kind of a day it will be t h e n — l e t us hope for the best Emily J a n e B r o n t ë — A n n e Brontë I g u e s s that this day 4 years we shall all be in this drawing-room comfortable I hope it m a y be so. Anne g u e s s e s we shall all be gone s o m e w h e r e comfortable W e hope it may be so indeed. Aunt: C o m e Emily it's p a s t 4 o'clock Emily: Yes, Aunt Exit Aunt Ann: Well, do you intend to write in the evening Emily: Well, what think you (We agreed to go out 1st to m a k e sure if we got into the humour. W e may stay i n — ) *

1.

*

*

E m i l y m i s c a l c u l a t e s : C h a r l o t t e w a s b o r n in 1 8 1 6 , B r a n w e l l in 1 8 1 7 , E m i l y in 1 8 1 8 , a n d A n n e in 1 8 2 0 .

EMILY BRONTE'S

July 3 0 ,

DIARY

263

1841

A P A P E R to be o p e n e d when Anne is 25 years old, or my next birthday after if all be well. Emily J a n e Brontë. July the 30th, 1 8 4 1 It is Friday evening, near 9 o'clock—wild rainy weather. I a m seated in the dining-room alone, having j u s t c o n c l u d e d tidying our desk boxes, writing this d o c u m e n t . P a p a is in the p a r l o u r — a u n t upstairs in her room. S h e has been reading Blackwood's Magazine to papa. Victoria and Adelaide [the geese] are e n s c o n c e d in the peat-house. Keeper [the dog] is in the k i t c h e n — H e r o [a hawk] in his cage. W e are all stout and hearty, as I hope is the c a s e with Charlotte, Branwell, and Anne, of w h o m the first is at J o h n White, E s q . , Upperwood H o u s e , Rawdon; the s e c o n d is at L u d d e n d e d Foot; and the third is, I believe, at S c a r b o r o u g h , inditing p e r h a p s a paper corresponding to this. A s c h e m e is at present in agitation for setting us u p in a school of our own; as yet nothing is determined, b u t I h o p e a n d trust it may go on and prosper and answer our highest expectations. This day four years I wonder whether we shall still be dragging on in our p r e s ­ ent condition or established to our hearts' content. T i m e will show. I guess that at the time appointed for the opening of this p a p e r we i.e. Charlotte, Anne, a n d I, shall be all merrily seated in our own sitting-room in s o m e p l e a s a n t and flourishing seminary, having j u s t gathered in for the m i d s u m m e r holyday. O u r debts will be p a i d off, and we shall have c a s h in hand to a considerable a m o u n t . P a p a , aunt, and Branwell will either have been or will be c o m i n g to visit us. It will be a fine warm s u m m e r evening, very different from this bleak look-out, and Anne and I will p e r c h a n c e slip out into the garden for a few minutes to p e r u s e our papers. I hope either this or something better will be the c a s e . The Gondalians are at present in a threatening state, but there is no open rupture as yet. All the princes and p r i n c e s s e s of the Royalty are at the P a l a c e of Instruction. I have a good many books on hand, but I a m sorry to say that a s u s u a l I m a k e small progress with any. However, I have j u s t m a d e a new regularity paper! a n d I mean verb sap to do great things. And now I m u s t close, sending from far an exhortation, " C o u r a g e , courage," to exiled and h a r a s s e d Anne, wishing she was here.

*

* *

264

EMILY BRONTE'S

July 30,

DIARY

1845

Haworth, Thursday, July 30th, 1845 My birthday—showery, breezy, cool. I a m twenty-seven years old today. This morning Anne and I opened the papers we wrote four years since, on my twenty-third birthday. This paper we intend, if all be well, to open on my thirtieth—three years hence, in 1848. S i n c e the 1841 p a p e r the following events have taken place. Our school s c h e m e h a s been a b a n d o n e d , and instead Charlotte and I went to B r u s s e l s on the 8th F e b r u a r y 1 8 4 2 . Branwell left his place at L u d d e n d e n Foot. C . and I returned from B r u s s e l s , N o v e m b e r 8th, 1 8 4 2 , in c o n s e q u e n c e of aunt's death. Branwell went to T h o r p G r e e n as a tutor, where Anne still con­ tinued. J a n u a r y 1 8 4 3 . Charlotte returned to B r u s s e l s the s a m e month, and after staying a year, c a m e b a c k again on N e w Year's Day 1844. Anne left her situation at T h o r p G r e e n of her own accord, J u n e 1845.

"The Butterfly"! As Sue Lonoff notes in her edition of the Brontes' Belgian essays, the nine essays Emily composed in French while a student at the Pension­ nat Heger in Brussels in 1842 "make a difference" to the scant record that remains of Emily's writing. Although composed as assigned tasks for learning the French language, these essays (devoirs), were not or­ dinary schoolgirl work, because at ages 25 and 23, Charlotte and Emily were prolific writers with a considerable body of juvenilia behind them. Lonoff further notes that the Brontes "encountered a professor who also broke the mold, a man whose energy to teach matched theirs to learn. So despite the evident restrictions—composing under orders and in a foreign language—they wrote some extraordinary essays" (p. xiii). "The Butterfly," like a number of Emily Bronte's poems, has inter­ ested readers searching for the personal vision and the counterforces of creation and destruction in her work, but Lonoff asks that we regard it and the other school essays according to what was most immediate in Emily's life, the six months of intense learning in Belgium. Lonoff notes that in this essay Emily characteristically constructed an argu­ ment by working through a series of antitheses. Whatever clues "The Butterfly" may provide about the author's mind and art, its formal ten­ sions anticipate those of Wuthering Heights, as do such reflections as f

F r o m The Belgian Essays: Charlotte Brontë and Emily Brontë, ed. a n d trans, by S u e L o n o f f ( N e w H a v e n : Yale U P , 1 9 9 6 ) 1 7 6 - 7 9 . R e p r i n t e d by p e r m i s s i o n of Yale University Press.

THE BUTTERFLY

265

those concerning the "principle of destruction in nature" countered by the concept of "this globe [as] the embryo of a new heaven and a new earth."

Emily J . Brontë

A u g u s t 11th, 1 8 4 2 [Devoir]

T h e Butterfly. In one of those m o o d s that everyone falls into s o m e t i m e s , when the world of the imagination suffers a winter that blights its vegetation; when the light of life s e e m s to go out a n d existence b e c o m e s a barren desert where we wander, exposed to all the t e m p e s t s that blow under heaven, without hope of rest or s h e l t e r — i n one of these black h u m o r s , I was walking one evening at the edge of a forest. It was summer; the sun was still shining high in the west a n d the air resounded with the songs of birds. All a p p e a r e d happy, b u t for m e , it was only an a p p e a r a n c e . I sat at the foot of an old oak, a m o n g whose branches the nightingale had j u s t b e g u n its vespers. "Poor fool," I said to myself, "is it to guide the bullet to your b r e a s t or the child to your brood that you sing so loud a n d clear? S i l e n c e that untimely tune, perch yourself on your nest; tomorrow, p e r h a p s , it will be empty." B u t why a d d r e s s myself to you alone? All creation is equally m a d . Behold those flies playing above the brook; the swal­ lows and fish diminish their n u m b e r every m i n u t e . T h e s e will b e ­ c o m e , in their turn, the prey of s o m e tyrant of the air or water; a n d m a n for his a m u s e m e n t or his needs will kill their m u r d e r e r s . N a ­ ture is an inexplicable problem; it exists on a principle of d e s t r u c ­ tion. Every being m u s t be the tireless instrument of death to others, or itself m u s t c e a s e to live, yet nonetheless we celebrate the day of our birth, a n d we praise G o d for having entered s u c h a world. During my soliloquy I picked a flower at my side; it was fair a n d freshly opened, but an ugly caterpillar had hidden itself a m o n g the petals and already they were shriveling a n d fading. " S a d i m a g e of the earth and its inhabitants!" I exclaimed. "This worm lives only to injure the plant that protects it. Why was it created, a n d why was m a n created? H e torments, he kills, he devours; he suffers, dies, is d e v o u r e d — t h e r e you have his whole story. It is true that there is a heaven for the saint, but the saint leaves e n o u g h misery here below to s a d d e n him even before the throne of G o d . I threw the flower to earth. At that m o m e n t the universe a p ­ peared to m e a vast m a c h i n e c o n s t r u c t e d only to p r o d u c e evil. I almost doubted the goodness of G o d , in not annihilating m a n on

266

EDWARD

CHITHAM

the day he first sinned. "The world should have been destroyed," I sa'd, "crushed as I crush this reptile which has done nothing in its lite but render all that it touches as disgusting as itself." I had scarcely removed my foot from the poor insect when, like a cen­ soring angel sent from heaven, there c a m e fluttering through the trees a butterfly with large wings of lustrous gold and purple. It s h o n e but a m o m e n t before my eyes; then, rising a m o n g the leaves, it vanished into the height of the azure vault. I was mute, but an inner voice said to m e , "Let not the creature j u d g e his Creator; here is a symbol of the world to c o m e . As the ugly caterpillar is the origin of the splendid butterfly, so this globe is the embryo of a new heaven and a new earth whose poorest beauty will infinitely exceed your mortal imagination. And when you see the magnificent result of that which s e e m s so b a s e to you now, how you will scorn your blind p r e s u m p t i o n , in a c c u s i n g O m n i s c i e n c e for not having made nature perish in her infancy. G o d is the god of j u s t i c e a n d mercy; then surely, every grief that he inflicts on his creatures, be they h u m a n or animal, rational or irrational, every suffering of our u n h a p p y nature is only a seed of that divine harvest which will b e gathered when, Sin having spent its last drop of venom, D e a t h having launched its final shaft, both will perish on the pyre of a universe in flames and leave their an­ cient victims to an eternal empire of happiness and glory.

EDWARD CHITHAM S c u l p t i n g the S t a t u e : A Chronology of the P r o c e s s of Writing Wuthering Heights^ D u r i n g the p a s t twenty years great strides have been taken in un­ derstanding the ways in which Emily Brontë worked. T h e r e has also been a re-evaluation of her poetry, which has shown that her best p o e m s stand c o m p a r i s o n with any written in the nineteenth cen­ tury, by m a l e or female poets. T h e s e p o e m s are as important a part of her oeuvre as Wuthering Heights, and are coherent with the novel. T h e Brontë scholar, therefore, is entitled to use the evidence of Emily Bronte's working m e t h o d s in her poetry (of which many m a n u s c r i p t s survive) to u n d e r s t a n d her m e t h o d s of working on her u n i q u e novel (of which unfortunately there is no manuscript, and not a single note about its composition remains). t

F o r this N o r t o n Critical E d i t i o n , C h i t h a m h a s p r o v i d e d brief additional c o m m e n t a r y to e x c e r p t s f r o m h i s The Birth of Wuthering Heights: Emily Brontë at Work ( L o n d o n : M a c millan, 1 9 9 8 ) , c h a p t e r s 14, 15. R e p r i n t e d by p e r m i s s i o n of the a u t h o r a n d publisher.

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267

There is a certain a m o u n t of external evidence which can also b e used. In the following article, I shall present what a p p e a r s to b e a neat and h o m o g e n e o u s chronology of the novel's production. Like the novel itself, this chronology has had to b e worked at over a period of time, and s o m e parts of it are stronger than others. Emily Brontë is one of the most secretive of nineteenth-century writers, and her sister Charlotte largely respected that secrecy. M u c h con­ temporary evidence for Brontë lives s t e m s from Charlotte's letters to her close friend Ellen Nussey, and to the publishers with w h o m she gradually b e c a m e friends. S h e did not feel free to d i s c u s s Emily's work unreservedly with either of these two kinds of corre­ spondent. Ellen knew nothing of the Brontes' early a t t e m p t s at p u b ­ lishing their work. Between Charlotte and her two sisters there was strong disagreement about the merits of T h o m a s Newby, who p u b ­ lished the novels of Emily and Anne. This restricted Charlotte's freedom to discuss their work with her own publisher until after their deaths. O n c e her sisters had died, Charlotte, grief stricken, felt both a literary and family duty to present their work a n d to edit it in s u c h a way as to aid c o m m u n i c a t i o n between the two sisters and a public which might m i s u n d e r s t a n d . S h e a d d e d a "Biographical Notice" and an "Editor's Preface." A m o n g the points she m a d e in these concerning Wuthering Heights are the following: "Neither Anne nor Emily was learned; . . . they always wrote from the i m p u l s e of na­ ture" ("Biographical Notice"); "Having formed these beings, she did not know what she had done" ("Preface"); "the creative gift . . . sets to work on statue hewing" ("Preface"); "Wuthering Heights was hewn in a wild workshop, with simple tools, out of homely mater­ ials. T h e statuary found a granite rock on a solitary moor; . . . H e wrought with a c r u d e chisel, and from no model but the vision of his meditations. With time a n d labour, the c r a g took s h a p e " ("Pref­ ace"). In fact, Emily was probably more learned than Charlotte, a n d all three sisters were avid for learning, but we c a n see Charlotte's line of defence. Unfortunately part of the tone of this apologia h a s c a u s e d some critics over the years to see Emily Brontë a s "wild," "simple," and "crude" to the point of imagining that all her output must have c o m e simply to her, by s o m e form of supernatural in­ spiration, rather than as a b a l a n c e d result of inspiration a n d labour. T h e other aspect of these quotes, though, forbids us to think that the novel was written speedily a n d without angst. It has gradually b e c o m e apparent that Wuthering Heights as even­ tually published cannot be the novel as originally submitted. Dr. T o m Winnifrith set out the a r g u m e n t s as long a g o as 1983 in Brontë Facts and Brontë Problems. In The Birth of Wuthering Heights, I filled in the detail, working from an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of Emily Bronte's

268

EDWARD

CHITHAM

m e t h o d s of composition and from s u c h external sources as we can find. T h e chronology now p r e s e n t e d therefore rests on different types of evidence, and it does need to be stressed that while some of this chronology is absolutely certain, other parts have to be in­ ferred. T h e dates of Emily's p o e m s are usually given by her in the m a n u s c r i p t s , a n d these dates can be shown on external grounds in the majority of c a s e s to be composition dates, not, for example, copying d a t e s . T h e r e are s o m e dates to be gathered from Charlotte's letters; there are dates to be found in the so-called diary papers. Other dates a n d events are probable rather than certain, such as, for example, my suggestion that it was Newby, the eventual p u b ­ lisher of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, who rejected the orig­ inal p a c k a g e of the three Brontë novels in A u g u s t 1846. In the chronology p r e s e n t e d I have tried to m a k e clear how firm the dat­ ing is. Finally, I should like to s u m m a r i z e a few points from The Birth of Wuthering Heights in which detailed a r g u m e n t stretches over m a n y p a g e s a n d cannot b e fully r e p r o d u c e d here. First, the question of the form of the novel as submitted in 1846. T h e r e may b e objectors who wish to a r g u e that we have no precise knowledge of what that s u b m i s s i o n was like, and it could have been the novel a s we now know it. In answer to this, I have tried to lay out exact details of the n u m b e r s of p a g e s involved in the final threevolume presentation of Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights. The question h a s to b e a s k e d how three novels, The Master, Agnes Grey a n d Wuthering Heights, in which one was almost as long as the others put together, would have been a c c e p t a b l e either to a p u b ­ lisher or to the Brontes, having regard to Charlotte's careful bal­ ancing of length in the published p o e m edition. Her letter to C o l b u r n is very specific: '. . . three tales, e a c h occupying a volume . . .' If the novel of 1 8 4 7 was the s a m e as that submitted in 1846, how is it that it o c c u p i e d two volumes when finally issued? In p r o p o s i n g this p i e c e m e a l planning of the novel, it may seem that I have set the clock b a c k to before Sanger's discoveries of 1926 a b o u t the tight chronology of Wuthering Heights. This aspect of the b o o k is rightly pointed out as evidence of Emily Bronte's intellectual control of the material. In reply, I should agree that S a n g e r is quite right to discern this chronological underpinning, but note that al­ m o s t all the chronological clues are given in the parts of the book I see as a d d e d in O c t o b e r 1846 to J u n e 1847. M u c h chronology is found in C h a p t e r s 18—33 and the apostrophes to Lockwood by Nelly D e a n which interrupt her story. I do not deny that chronology is very important in the novel, and that the shifts and references b a c k and forth a c r o s s a period of time are crucial, and were inher-

SCULPTING THE STATUE

269

ent even in the first version, but this whole element was a c c e n t u ­ ated and systematised in the revision. T h e third objection might be the radical one that by throwing doubt on Emily Bronte's forward planning of the novel, I a m un­ dermining its status. As I have suggested, m u c h of this status de­ rives according to critics from its c o m p a c t n e s s , its intensity, its drama, its poetry, its daring, its depth of treatment, its range in raising issues both social and psychological. Critics mainly c o n c e n ­ trate on part one. T h o s e who go on to part two see different virtues in the book, interpreting it as a dialogue, an attempt to d o m e s t i c a t e the wild, a logical extension and meditation on i s s u e s raised in part one. Sanger's evidence of chronological control h a s possibly misled some commentators to see more order in the structure than is a c ­ tually present, and an e m p h a s i s p l a c e d on Emily Bronte's preplan­ ning which overvalues this element of the novel. Sanger's discovery is quite valid, the chronological control adds to the book, and the second version is better than the first would have been, but that does not m e a n we have to argue against the implication in m u c h critical work that the first part is m o r e essential than m u c h of part two. Emily Brontë has been c o m p a r e d to Beethoven: both stormy ge­ niuses whose work has great r e s o n a n c e in a R o m a n t i c m o d e . T h e knowledge that Beethoven worked furiously at his c o m p o s i t i o n s , revising and changing his plans, does not diminish him. If it is accepted that Emily Bronte's work was revised a n d altered out of recognition as a result of rejection by a publisher, leading to a di­ alogue with her sister Anne (and probably also Charlotte) a n d a change of mind concerning the main aims of the book, this does not diminish or invalidate in any way our respect for the c o m p o s i ­ tion and production of this u n i q u e book.

* * * December

1844

All three Brontë sisters are at h o m e for C h r i s t m a s . It h a d b e c o m e obvious by about October that the school s c h e m e which Charlotte had been p u r s u i n g for s o m e years was not feasible. Emily and A n n e , possibly with Charlotte, b e g a n to consider whether their stories could be turned into saleable commodities. T h e evidence of Anne's poem 'Call m e away' written on her return to T h o r p G r e e n in J a n ­ uary suggests that the two younger sisters had b e e n involved in Gondal, but this is also the last occasion on which they could have met to discuss writing fiction, and we have sufficient basis for an

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CHITHAM

opinion that A n n e was writing Agnes Grey during the middle of the year. T h o u g h Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights a p p e a r so differ­ ent, they both begin with s c e n e s related to the emergence of the two sisters into the world of teaching, Anne at Blake Hall in 1839, a n d Emily at L a w Hill in 1 8 3 8 . An a g r e e m e n t to adopt this as a starting point meant for Emily a willingness to a b a n d o n G o n d a l or at least to alter it in such a way that any public which could be coaxed to read their books would recognise an English scenario. It should not be s u p p o s e d that she was necessarily unwilling to do this, since she herself had favoured realistic settings on earlier o c c a s i o n s . January O n c e A n n e h a d returned to b e g a n work on recreating the h a d evidently visited during p o e m s recorded for J a n u a r y first and parts of the s e c o n d fitted.

1845

T h o r p G r e e n , it is likely that Emily s c e n e at High S u n d e r l a n d , which she the winter of 1838—9. T h e r e are no 1 8 4 5 , and it is into this gap that the chapter of Wuthering Heights can be

February

1845

T h e p o e m ' E n o u g h of T h o u g h t , Philosopher' is dated 3 February 1 8 4 5 . A complex p o e m of 56 lines, it is likely to have taken several days to c o m p l e t e . It is likely to have provided a diversion from the novel, still in its early stages. March

1845

During a period of snowy weather the p o e m 'Cold in the earth' was written and dated 3 M a r c h . T h e pervasive snow m a d e a strong ap­ p e a r a n c e in this first part of Wuthering Heights, especially C h a p ­ ter 3, where L o c k w o o d is lodged in the c h a m b e r with the strange closet for a bed. H e r e he d r e a m s of a figure ( J a b e s B r a n d e r h a m ) naturalised from G o n d a l , a n d of C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w , a recreation at this s t a g e of one of Emily's lost sisters, but merging with elements of G o n d a l and L a w Hill. S h e does not know how to explain this ghost child, a n d no clear solution is forthcoming. At this point, then, it s e e m s likely that the novel is allowed to lapse. It is possible to s p e c u l a t e on letters from A n n e at T h o r p G r e e n , though there is no trace of s u c h letters. Emily s e e m s u n a c c o u n t a b l y buoyed up this spring, possibly in contrast to what she hears about Anne and Branwell.

SCULPTING THE

April-June

STATUE

271

1845

This is an amazingly fruitful period in Emily Bronte's poetry, leading to the production of over 2 0 0 lines of poetry of highest quality: 'Death' (10 April); 'Stars' (14 April); 'A t h o u s a n d s o u n d s of happi­ ness' (22 April); 'Heavy hangs the raindrop' (28 May) with its coun­ terpart 'Child of Delight! with sunbright hair'; a n d 'Anticipation' (2 J u n e ) . T h e p o e m s suggest m u c h increased confidence, but they may be seen as another interlude in the composition of Wuthering Heights, which at this stage m u s t have consisted of the bulk of present C h a p t e r s 1 and 3 with s o m e of C h a p t e r 2 a n d possibly other material not present in the finished version. June

and July

1845

Brontë biography shows a s u m m e r of turmoil, with Anne finally leaving Thorp Green, Branwell losing his post there, Charlotte go­ ing on holiday with Ellen Nussey, a n d Emily and Anne going on a 'journey' which should have taken them to S c a r b o r o u g h but which ended in York. T h e diary p a p e r s written by the two youngest sisters do not mention the novels, though ' P a s s a g e s in the Life of an In­ dividual' is often thought to be Agnes Grey. Emily is writing the story of the E m p e r o r J u l i u s , whose characteristics b e c o m e merged with those of Heathcliff. O n the journey to York the pair act out parts of the Gondal story, but Anne (according to her diary p a p e r ) is m u c h less involved in the s a g a than Emily. August

1845

Emily wrote a rather uninspired p o e m about a G o n d a l prison on an unknown date this month. B u t for s o m e reason the novel b e g a n to take hold of her again. It s e e m s likely that it was now that she discovered the voice of Nelly D e a n (Emily J a n e ) and b e g a n the story of Heathcliff's arrival from the beginning. This 'very beginning' was the 'very beginning' of Emily Brontë or Prunty, an outcast's story in Liverpool. This part of the story is located in time by the p r o m i s e to bring apples and p e a r s home. T h e first of a series of theatrical scenes shows the arrival of Heathcliff. This part of the novel will proceed in a sustained series of s u c h s c e n e s , m a d e u p with one eye on the distant precepts of H o r a c e a b o u t events on stage a n d events reported. Novel writing will not be uninterrupted, however. September

1845

Emily's imagination returns to the topography of S h i b d e n a n d High Sunderland. S h e begins to see the contrast between the windy

272

EDWARD

CHITHAM

heights and the rich lowland a s integral to her story. Always acutely interested in contrasts and dialectic, she develops Lockwood's po­ sition a s a tenant of the wooded park in the valley and finds that her G o n d a l character G e r a l d can be turned into Edgar L . , the pros­ p e r o u s squire's son. Several G o n d a l characters are turned into York­ shire people. T h e girl ghost of the winter begins to s u b s u m e traits from G é r a l d i n e . As C a t h e r i n e a n d Heathcliff e s c a p e from their w a s h h o u s e prison, prisons a n d their constraints are strongly in Emily's mind, and she a s s e m b l e s fragments for a p o e m , 'Silent is the house' which she copies into her G o n d a l notebook early next month. October

1845

It is not clear why Charlotte is searching for poetry to edit and form the basis of an attempt at publication, but this is evidently the c a s e . If she knew of the fiction being p r o d u c e d by the two younger sisters it is not easy to see why she decided to interrupt the flow of writing. It is clear that her discovery of Emily's poetry, generally agreed to b e the B ( G o n d a l ) notebook, has to do with the school failure and the need to earn money by writing, but it is surprising that Charlotte did not prefer fiction. O n e possible explanation is that her own a t t e m p t s to draft the b o o k which eventually b e c a m e The Professor were proving difficult. T h e evidence is that having discovered the poetry, possibly with 'Silent is the H o u s e ' the final p o e m copied into the booklet, she tried to interest Emily in editing it and met with reluctance. It is generally thought that this reluctance was b e c a u s e of the personal nature of the poetry, but an additional point may b e that Emily was by now very involved in her novel and was unwilling to b e drawn away from it. T h e r e is still dispute a b o u t the degree to which Emily collabo­ rated in the editing of her p o e m s , but Derek Roper has shown that she did at least play s o m e part in the p r o c e s s , presumably laying aside her work on Wuthering Heights. November

and December

1845

A s s u m i n g the poetry editing to be perfunctory or speedy, Emily Brontë was ready to r e s u m e consistent work on the novel by some time in November. S h e took the story from the S u n d a y on which the two children e s c a p e d to watch their neighbours at T h r u s h c r o s s G r a n g e on to C h r i s t m a s . Edgar's rivalry with Heathcliff was reca­ pitulating G o n d a l episodes but the tone and locale of the novel was releasing a new power and intensity in Emily which may have been

SCULPTING THE STATUE

273

accentuated by the increased confidence a r o u s e d by re-reading a n d editing her strongest p o e m s . January—April

1846

Emily's strong p o e m 'No coward soul' was written on 2 J a n u a r y . T h e tone of this p o e m accords with the next section of Wuthering Heights. T h e weather at Boston, L i n e s , a county a d j a c e n t to York­ shire, was warmer than u s u a l for the time of year ( J a n u a r y an av­ erage of 5°F above normal, February an average of 4 ° F above normal, M a r c h a little above normal). T h e r e was no snow in J a n ­ uary. T h u s Emily Brontë was able to write s u m m e r s c e n e s in weather that was 'unusually fine' (February). T h e r e was a p a t c h of snow from 9 - 1 3 February and a little snow on 19 M a r c h . T h e thun­ der on 26 M a r c h may have influenced the storm s c e n e in C h a p ­ ter 9, though this s e e m s a little late for this chapter to be under construction. It m u s t be r e m e m b e r e d that there is no poetry being written in these confident months, and that is surely b e c a u s e Wuthering Heights is currently an obsession. T h e white heat of this section of the novel is very noticeable, and it s e e m s likely that it gave rise to such remarks of Charlotte's concerning her sister as that 'she never lingered' over a task. It is on 2 0 M a r c h that C a t h e r i n e the younger is born, a n d a possibility that the date is chosen to reflect the actual date; how­ ever, this does not accord with the date of the storm mentioned above. T h e tense and inspired writing begins at this point to c a l m and it may be that Emily was d i s c u s s i n g with Charlotte and Anne how near they were to offering their tales to the public. April-May

1846

6 April 1846 is the date of Charlotte's letter a n n o u n c i n g the prep­ aration of the three novels. Emily Brontë now had to c o m p l e t e the story of Heathcliff's love for C a t h e r i n e and his revenge. S h e did this in C h a p t e r 16 and parts of 17, a n d p e r h a p s early versions of parts of C h a p t e r s 32 and 3 3 , with a substantial part of C h a p t e r 34, relating Heathcliff's death. June-July

1846

T h e completed first version was copied and p e r h a p s s o m e w h a t re­ vised ready for d e s p a t c h to Henry C o l b u r n .

274

EDWARD

CHITHAM

4 July

1846

This is the date of Charlotte's letter requesting permission to send the three 'tales' to Henry C o l b u r n . A note suggests that Colburn asked to know the nature of the tales, and it is a s s u m e d but not proved that the three novels were then sent to him. W e do not have any letter in which he rejected the novels and we have no idea why he did so. S u c h decisions were m a d e quickly in the mid-nineteenth century, a n d we c a n b e fairly certain this p r o c e s s could have taken p l a c e by the end of July. July and August

1846

It is an open question whether there were two more rejections dur­ ing late July a n d A u g u s t or only one. I have argued above that the A u g u s t rejection was p e r h a p s by Newby himself. 2 4 / 2 5 August

1846

Emily a n d A n n e , at Haworth, received the rejected novels b a c k from this publisher. It can p e r h a p s be inferred from what h a p p e n e d later that Agnes Grey was substantially accepted, while Charlotte's book, then called The Master, was rejected outright. Wuthering Heights was neither praised nor d a m n e d . It is likely that the changes intro­ d u c e d by Emily were intended to answer the objections raised, and there are probably further echoes of these objections in Charlotte's later c o m m e n t s on the book and p e r h a p s also her editing of 1850. T h e two sisters at Haworth sent on The Master to Manchester, where Charlotte was attending their father while his eyes were op­ erated on. M r s Gaskell records the return of the novel. August

and September

1846

W e c a n reasonably infer a discussion between the three sisters when C h a r l o t t e returned from M a n c h e s t e r . At the end of it, Char­ lotte withdrew completely from the consortium and began work on Jane Eyre. This left the three-volume set short of a volume. Initially, as we can see from what h a p p e n e d in S e p t e m b e r , it was not clear what could be d o n e to save the situation, and it m u s t have seemed as though Anne's contribution to the set, which m u s t have been approved, would have to be a b a n d o n e d . 14 September

1846

Both Anne a n d Emily wrote narrative p o e m s with G o n d a l or partG o n d a l reference. It is notable that Anne's p o e m is a gain in strength from her earlier G o n d a l work, reflecting the a c c e p t a n c e of

275

SCULPTING THE STATUE

her novel and the growing confidence that brought, while Emily's casts about for s o m e time, beginning with a question and indicating changes of mind and attitude. In the first part of 'Why a s k to know . . . ?' we see Emily writing to distract herself and in a context which reflected the civil war in the Brontë household. September

1846

On the evidence of Wildfell Hall we can s u p p o s e that Anne disliked the tone of Wuthering Heights in its first version. This is amply supported by Charlotte's later remarks. Anne's objections were now underlined by the qualified rejection by publishers. S h e took excep­ tion to the way in which violence a n d d r u n k e n n e s s were portrayed in Wuthering Heights, and the way in which Emily h a d allowed events to occur without probing the psychological and moral con­ sequences. T h e way in which Isabella ran away from Heathcliff may have been a major point. If Anne's novel had been a c c e p t e d a n d Wuthering Heights criti­ cised as unsuitable but not irremediable, so long as Emily refused to remedy it she was standing in Anne's light. Anne m u s t have a n n o u n c e d her intention to write a new novel which would c o m ­ ment on Wuthering Heights and take over s o m e of the situations. However, Emily finally agreed to c h a n g e a n d expand the rejected book so that it could fill two volumes a n d still be issued with Agnes Grey. T h e s e c h a n g e s would have the effect of tempering the harsh­ ness of the book, showing Emily relenting as her mercenary would relent in the contemporary narrative p o e m . Anne was wishing to expand her diary style which had b e e n at the edge of the m e t h o d in Agnes Grey. T h e two sisters agreed to u s e a l m a n a c k s from the 1820s. This focused Emily's mind on the precise time-scale of Wuthering Heights. If one objection of the publisher h a d been the confusing narrative a p p r o a c h , tightening the time-scale would give sound indicators to the public. H e n c e we have tighter time control introduced in part one and a flood of time references in part two.

September

and October

1846

Emily wrote the chapter now known as 3 2 and in previous editions as Volume II, C h a p t e r 18. This includes S e p t e m b e r weather b a s e d on that of S e p t e m b e r 1 8 4 6 , a n d mirrored in the weather of the narrative p o e m contemporary with this part of Wuthering Heights. It may be that Lockwood's second visit was originally to have b e e n located at the centre of the book and was later transferred to its present position. T h e dates 1801 and 1 8 0 2 also s e e m to b e provided at this point, matching Anne's attention to dates in the 1 8 2 0 s . T h e

276

EDWARD

CHITHAM

construction of Emily's time-scale would be more difficult than Anne's a n d it m u s t surely have been p r o d u c e d on a chart at this stage. A few a n o m a l i e s e s c a p e d Emily during the imposition of the time-scale, but the original ghost girl's cry did not, causing some fluffing in what is now C h a p t e r 1 2 . November

1846-about

June

1847

D u r i n g this period Emily Brontë a d d e d her new chapters and re­ vised the rest of the book, giving Lockwood and Nelly more to say by way of explanation, inserting the 'apostrophes' we have noted, a n d tightening the time-scale. Nevertheless, there is evidence of haste in the final preparation, s u c h as the speedy writing which allowed n u m b e r s 3 a n d 5 to be confused, and the careless a c c u ­ mulation of h o u s e k e e p e r s . Two r e a s o n s for this could be pressure from Charlotte a n d Anne as they finished Jane Eyre and Wildfell Hall a n d Emily's self-doubt or impatience. Spellings of Peniston a n d the transformation of G i m m e r d e n into G i m m e r t o n were not even noticed by her as she s p e d to complete the book. Nor did she pick these points u p later at proof stage. August

1847

Proofs arrive at Haworth. T h e r e are s o m e m a n u s c r i p t corrections in a copy of Agnes Grey but nothing corresponding to this is known for Wuthering Heights, and we do not know the precise status of Anne's corrections. It is not a proof copy. December

1847

T h e three-volume set is published in the early part of the month. A review in The Spectator is dated 1 8 D e c e m b e r .

* * *

P u b l i s h i n g the 1847 Wuthering

Heights

The only surviving documentation of the Brontes' efforts to place their fiction with publishers is in a few of Charlotte's letters. In his study of the chronology of the writing of Wuthering Heights, Edward Chitham discusses the complications that arose when Charlotte's manuscript was not taken by Newby, the publisher willing to go forward with her sisters' stories. Assuming that the initial submission was of three works that would comprise the usual three-volume format, the publisher needed a work of greater length, and Chitham and others have regarded this as the occasion for Emily's expansion of the original Wuthering

P U B L I S H I N G T H E 1847

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

277

Heights. But with neither manuscript nor proofs, the precise nature of the changes cannot be determined. There are several interesting points to note beyond the dating these letters provide of the year or more it took to place the manuscripts. In April of 1846, made wary by having had to underwrite the publication of the volume of poetry, Charlotte was firm about the authors' unwill­ ingness to "publish these tales on their own account." But by July of that year, while reminding Henry Colburn that "the authors of these tales have already appeared before the public," she says nothing about assuming any share of publication costs. The letters to her own publishers representative, W. S. Williams, reveal their distrust of Newby, who "shuffles, gives his word and breaks it." Less than a month after her sisters' novels finally appeared, Char­ lotte expressed the opinion that "few authors would like to have him for their publisher a second time." Nonetheless, Newby would publish Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in 1848, and he was interested in a second work from Emily, one we now cannot be sure was even started. After her sisters' deaths, Charlotte did succeed in having her publisher, Smith, Elder, reissue the poems of 1846 and her 1850 edition of Wuth­ ering Heights and Agnes Grey.

To Messrs Aylott and Jones,

6 April

1846^

[Haworth] Gentlemen C . E & A Bell are now preparing for the Press a work of fiction —consisting of three distinct and u n c o n n e c t e d t a l e s which may b e published either together as a work of 3 vols, of the ordinary novelsize, or separately as single v o l s — a s shall b e d e e m e d m o s t ad­ visable. It is not their intention to publish these tales on their own account. They direct m e to a s k you whether you would be d i s p o s e d to undertake the work—after having of c o u r s e by d u e inspection of the M . S . ascertained that its contents are s u c h as to warrant an expectation of s u c c e s s . An early answer will oblige as in c a s e of your negativing the proposal—inquiry m u s t be m a d e of other P u b l i s h e r s — I am Gentlemen Yrs truly C Brontë 1

t

F r o m The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, ed. Margaret S m i t h (Oxford: C l a r e n d o n Press, 1 9 9 5 , 2 0 0 0 ) . T h e first five o f t h e l e t t e r s h e r e e x c e r p t e d a r e f r o m v o l . I ; t h e final l e t t e r o f t h i s s e c t i o n is f r o m v o l . I I . R e p r i n t e d b y p e r m i s s i o n o f t h e e d i t o r a n d t h e p u b l i s h e r .

1. E m i l y ' s a n d A n n e ' s n o v e l s w o u l d b e p u b l i s h e d t o g e t h e r a s t h r e e v o l u m e s i n D e c e m b e r 1 8 4 7 , w i t h Agnes Grey b e i n g t h e t h i r d v o l u m e . C h a r l o t t e ' s The Professor was not p u b ­ lished until after 1 8 5 7 , two years after her d e a t h .

278

CHARLOTTE

To Henry Colburn,

BRONTË

4 July

1846

[Haworth] Sir I request permission to send for your inspection the M . S of a work of fiction in 3 vols. It consists of three tales, each occupying a volume a n d c a p a b l e of being published together or separately, as thought m o s t advisable. T h e authors of these tales have already a p p e a r e d before the public. S h o u l d you c o n s e n t to examine the work, would you, in your reply, state at what period after transmission of the M . S . to you, the authors may expect to receive your decision upon its m e r i t s — I a m Sir Yours respectfully C Bell Address M r Currer Bell Parsonage. Haworth Bradford Yorkshire.

T o W. S . Williams,

10 November

1847 [Haworth]

D e a r Sir,

* * * Your a c c o u n t of the various s u r m i s e s respecting the identity of the brothers Bell, a m u s e d m e m u c h : were the enigma solved, it would probably b e found not worth the trouble of solution; but I will let it alone; it suits ourselves to remain quiet and certainly injures no one else. T h e Reviewer, who noticed the little book of p o e m s , in the "Dub­ lin M a g a z i n e , " conjectured that the soi-disant three personages were in reality but one, who, endowed with an unduly prominent organ of self-esteem, a n d consequently i m p r e s s e d with a somewhat weighty notion of his own merits, thought them too vast to be con­ centrated in a single individual, a n d accordingly divided himself into three, out of consideration, I s u p p o s e , for the nerves of the mucht o - b e - a s t o u n d e d public! This was an ingenious thought in the Re­ viewer; very original a n d striking, but not a c c u r a t e . W e are three. A p r o s e work by Ellis and Acton will soon appear: it should have been out, indeed, long since, for the first proof-sheets were already in the p r e s s at the c o m m e n c e m e n t of last August, before Currer

P U B L I S H I N G T H E 1 8 4 7 WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

279

Bell had placed the M . S . of "Jane Eyre" in your h a n d s . M r N(ewby), however, does not do b u s i n e s s like M e s s r s . S m i t h a n d Elder; a dif­ ferent spirit s e e m s to preside at 7 2 . Mortimer Street to that which guides the helm at 6 5 . Cornhill. Mr. N(ewby) shuffles, gives his word and breaks it; M e s s r s . S m i t h and Elder's p e r f o r m a n c e is al­ ways better than their promise. My relatives have suffered from exhausting delay and procrastination, while I have to acknowledge the benefits of a m a n a g e m e n t , at once business-like and gentle­ manlike, energetic and considerate. I should like to know if Mr. N(ewby) often acts as he has d o n e to my relatives, or whether this is an exceptional instance of his method. D o you know, and can you tell m e anything a b o u t him? You m u s t excuse m e for going to the point at once, when I want to learn anything; if my questions are importunate, you are, of c o u r s e , at liberty to decline answering t h e m . — I a m yours respectfully, C . Bell. To W. S. Williams,

14 December

1847 [Haworth]

Dear Sir

* * * "Wuthering Heights" is, I s u p p o s e , at (last) 'length' p u b l i s h e d — a t least Mr. Newby has sent the authors their six c o p i e s — I wonder how it will be received. I should say it merits the epithets of "vig­ orous" and "original" m u c h m o r e decidedly than "Jane Eyre" did. "Agnes Grey" should p l e a s e s u c h critics as Mr. L e w e s — f o r it is "true" and "unexaggerated" enough. T h e books are not well got u p — t h e y a b o u n d in errors of the press. On a former occasion I expressed myself with p e r h a p s too little reserve regarding Mr. N e w b y — y e t I cannot but feel, a n d feel painfully that Ellis and Acton have not had the j u s t i c e at his h a n d s that I have had at those of M e s s r s . S m i t h & Elder Believe m e , dear Sir, Yours respectfully C. Bell—

280

R E V I E W S O F T H E 1847 WUTHERING

To W. S. Williams,

HEIGHTS

21 December

1847 [Haworth]

D e a r Sir

* * * You a r e not far wrong in your j u d g m e n t respecting "Wuthering Heights" & "Agnes Grey". Ellis h a s a strong, original mind, full of strange though s o m b r e power: when he writes poetry that power speaks in l a n g u a g e at o n c e c o n d e n s e d , elaborated and refined—but in p r o s e it b r e a k s forth in s c e n e s which shock more than they a t t r a c t — E l l i s will improve, however, b e c a u s e he knows his defects. "Agnes Grey" is the mirror of the mind of the writer. T h e orthog­ raphy & p u n c t u a t i o n of the books a r e mortifying to a d e g r e e — almost all the errors that were corrected in the proof-sheets appear intact in what should have been the fair copies. If Mr. Newby al­ ways does b u s i n e s s in this way, few authors would like to have him for their publisher a s e c o n d time. T. C . Newby to ?Emily J. Brontë

['Ellis Bell'],

15 February

1848

D e a r Sir, I a m m u c h obliged by your kind note & shall have great pleasure in making a r r a n g e m e n t s for your next novel. I would not ?hurry its completion, for I think you a r e quite right not to let it go before the world until well satisfied with it, for m u c h depends on your next work if it b e a n improvement on your first you will have established yourself a s a first rate novelist, b u t if it fall short the Critics will be too apt to say that you have expended your talent in your first novel. I shall therefore, have p l e a s u r e in accepting it u p o n the understand­ ing that its completion b e at your own time. Believe m e my dear Sir Yrs. sincerely T C Newby

R E V I E W S O F T H E 1 8 4 7 WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

Emily Brontë saved portions of five reviews, which eventually found their way into the Brontë Parsonage Museum as part of the contents of her writing desk. Four have been identified as having appeared in the January 1848 numbers of the Atlas, Douglas Jerrold's Weekly News­ paper, the Examiner, and the Britannia. Neither the date nor the source has been located for the fifth review. T o reflect the range of speculation and opinion about Wuthering Heights, it is helpful also to read one of

281

ATHENAEUM

the first reviews, that by H. F. Chorley in December 1847, and also a brief New Monthly Magazine notice which took a line from Lockwood's first impression of Wuthering Heights to characterize the book itself as "a perfect misanthropist's heaven." From Charlotte Bronte's 1850 bio­ graphical notice, it is evident that Sydney Dobell's remarks earlier that year in the Palladium had impressed her as rare recognition of Emily's powers. The final review reprinted in this section is E. P. Whipple's of an 1848 American edition of Wuthering Heights, included because it was one Charlotte brought to Emily's attention and because it is an­ other to which Charlotte took strong exception. The grounds for her sweeping attacks on Emily's critics can best be assayed after sampling all of these reviews.

Athenaeum [H. F . December

Chorley] 25,

1847

'Jane Eyre,' it will be recollected, was edited by Mr. C u r r e r Bell. Here are two tales so nearly related to 'Jane Eyre' in cast of thought, incident, and language as to excite s o m e curiosity. All three might be the work of one h a n d , — b u t the first i s s u e d remains the best. In spite of m u c h power and cleverness; in spite of its truth to life in the remote nooks and corners of E n g l a n d , 'Wuthering Heights' is a disagreeable story. T h e Bells s e e m to affect painful and exceptional subjects:—the misdeeds and oppressions of tyranny—the eccen­ tricities of "woman's fantasy." They do not turn away from dwelling upon those physical acts of cruelty which we know to have their warrant in the real annals of crime and s u f f e r i n g , — b u t the contem­ plation of which true taste rejects. T h e brutal master of the lonely house on "Wuthering H e i g h t s " — a prison which might be pictured from life—has doubtless had his prototype in those ungenial a n d remote districts where h u m a n beings, like the trees, grow gnarled and dwarfed and distorted by the inclement climate; but he might have been indicated with far fewer touches, in place of so entirely filling the canvas that there is hardly a s c e n e untainted by his presence. It was a like d r e a r i n e s s — a like unfortunate selection of objects—which cut short the popularity of Charlotte Smith's novels, —rich though they be in true pathos and faithful descrip­ tions of Nature. E n o u g h of what is m e a n a n d bitterly painful a n d degrading gathers round us during the c o u r s e of his pilgrimage 1

1. C h a r l o t t e S m i t h ( 1 7 4 9 — 1 8 0 6 ) Old

Manor

House

(1793).

wrote gothic romances, with her best-known

being

The

282

R E V I E W S O F T H E 1 8 4 7 WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

through this vale of tears to absolve the Artist from choosing his incidents a n d characters out of s u c h a dismal catalogue; and if the Bells, singly or collectively, are contemplating future or frequent utterances in Fiction, let us hope that they will spare us further interiors so gloomy as the one here elaborated with such dismal m i n u t e n e s s . * * * In both these tales [Wuthering Heights and Ag­ nes Grey] there is so m u c h feeling for character, and nice marking of scenery, that we cannot leave them without once again warning their authors against what is eccentric and unpleasant. Never was there a period in our history of Society when we English could so ill afford to d i s p e n s e with sunshine.

Atlas January

1848

About two years ago a small volume of p o e m s by "Currer, Acton, a n d Ellis Bell" was given to the world. T h e p o e m s were of varying excellence; those by C u r r e r Bell, for the most part, exhibiting the highest order of merit; but, as a whole, the little work produced little or no sensation, a n d was speedily forgotten. Currer, Acton, a n d Ellis Bell have now all c o m e before us as novelists, and all with so m u c h s u c c e s s a s to m a k e their future career a matter of inter­ esting speculation in the literary world. Whether, as there is little reason to believe, the n a m e s which we have written are the genuine n a m e s of actual p e r s o n a g e s — w h e t h e r they are, on the other hand, mere publishing n a m e s , as is our own private conviction—whether they represent three distinct individ­ uals, or whether a single p e r s o n a g e is the actual representative of the "three gentlemen at once" of the title-pages—whether the au­ thorship of the p o e m s a n d the novels is to be assigned to one gen­ tleman or to one lady, to three gentlemen or three ladies, or to a mixed m a l e a n d female triad of a u t h o r s — a r e questions over which the curious may puzzle themselves, but are matters really of little a c c o u n t . O n e thing is certain; as in the p o e m s , so in the novels, the signature of "Currer Bell" is attached to pre-eminently the best p e r f o r m a n c e . W e were the first to welcome the author of Jane Eyre as a new writer of no ordinary power. A new edition of that singular work h a d b e e n called for, and we do not doubt that its s u c c e s s has done m u c h to e n s u r e a favourable reception for the volumes which are now before us. Wuthering Heights is a strange, inartistic story. T h e r e are evi­ d e n c e s in every chapter of a sort of rugged p o w e r — a n unconscious s t r e n g t h — w h i c h the p o s s e s s o r s e e m s never to think of turning to

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the best advantage. T h e general effect is inexpressibly painful. W e know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity. Jane Eyre is a book which affects the reader to tears; it touches the most hidden sources of emotion. Wuthering Heights c a s t s a gloom over the mind not easily to be dispelled. It does not soften; it ha­ rasses, it extenterates [sic]. T h e r e are p a s s a g e s in it which remind us of the Nowlans of the late J o h n B a n i m ; but of all pre-existent works the one which it m o s t recalls to our memory is the History of Mathew Wald. It has not, however, the unity a n d concentration of that fiction; but is a sprawling story, carrying u s , with no miti­ gation of anguish, through two generations of s u f f e r e r s — t h o u g h one presiding evil genius sheds a grim s h a d o w over the whole a n d imparts a singleness of malignity to the s o m e w h a t disjointed tale. A more natural unnatural story we do not r e m e m b e r to have read. Inconceivable as are the combinations of h u m a n degradation which are here to be found moving within the circle of a few miles, the vraisemblance is so admirably preserved; there is so m u c h truth in what we may call the costumery (not applying the word in its narrow a c c e p t a t i o n ) — t h e general mounting of the entire p i e c e — t h a t we readily identify the scenes and p e r s o n a g e s of the fiction; and when we lay aside the book it is s o m e time before we can p e r s u a d e our­ selves that we have held nothing m o r e than imaginary intercourse with the ideal creations of the brain. T h e reality of unreality h a s never been so aptly illustrated as in the s c e n e s of almost savage life which Ellis Bell has brought so vividly before u s . 2

T h e book wants relief. A few glimpses of s u n s h i n e would have increased the reality of the picture and given strength rather than weakness to the whole. T h e r e is not in the entire dramatis personae a single character which is not utterly hateful or thoroughly con­ temptible. If you do not detest the person, you d e s p i s e him; and if you do not despise him, you detest him with your whole heart. Hindley, the brutal, degraded sot, strong in the desire to work all mischief, but impotent in his degradation; Linton Heathcliff, the miserable, drivelling coward, in whom we see selfishness in its m o s t abject form; and Heathcliff himself, the presiding evil genius of the piece, the tyrant father of an imbecile son, a creature in w h o m every evil passion seems to have r e a c h e d a gigantic e x c e s s — f o r m a g r o u p of deformities such as we have rarely seen gathered together on the s a m e canvas. T h e author s e e m s to have designed to throw s o m e redeeming touches into the character of the brutal Heathcliff by portraying him as one faithful to the "idol of his boyhood"—loving

2.

Nowlans Wald

w a s p a r t o f B a n i m ' s Tales

by the

( 1 8 2 4 ) w a s by J . G . L o c k h a r t .

O'Hara

Family

( 1 8 2 6 ) . The

History

of

Matthew

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HEIGHTS

to the very l a s t — l o n g , long after death h a d divided them, the un­ happy girl who h a d cheered a n d brightened u p the early days of his wretched life. H e r e is the touch of nature which makes the whole world k i n — b u t it fails of the intended effect. There is a s e l f i s h n e s s — a ferocity in the love of Heathcliff, which scarcely suf­ fer it, in spite of its rugged constancy, to relieve the darker parts of his nature. Even the female characters excite something of loathing a n d m u c h of contempt. Beautiful a n d loveable in their childhood, they all, to u s e a vulgar expression, "turn out badly." Catherine the elder—wayward, impatient, impulsive—sacrifices herself a n d her lover to the pitiful ambition of b e c o m i n g the wife of a gentleman of station. H e n c e her own m i s e r y — h e r early d e a t h — a n d something of a brutal wickedness of Heathcliff's character a n d conduct; though we c a n n o t p e r s u a d e ourselves that even a happy love would have t a m e d down the natural ferocity of the tiger. Catherine the younger is m o r e sinned against than sinning, a n d in spite of her moral defects, we have s o m e hope of her at the last.

Douglas Jerrold's Weekly January

Newspaper

1848

Two of these volumes contain a tale by Mr. Ellis Bell, called Wuthering Heights, a n d the third volume is devoted to another story told in a n autobiographical form by Mr. Acton Bell, a n d is entitled Agnes Grey. Dissimilar a s they are in many respects, there is a distinct family likeness between these two tales; a n d , if our organ of comparison be not out of order, we are not far wrong is asserting that they are not so m u c h like e a c h other, a s they are both like a novelty recently p u b l i s h e d u n d e r the editorship of Mr. Currer Bell, viz., Jane Eyre. W e do not m e a n to say that either of the tales now before us is equal in merit to that novel, b u t they have somewhat of the s a m e fresh, original, a n d uncoventional spirit; while the style of compo­ sition is, undoubtedly, of the s a m e north-country, Doric school; it is simple, energetic, a n d apparently disdainful of prettinesses and verbal display.

*

* *

Wuthering Heights is a strange sort of book—baffling all regular criticism; yet, it is impossible to begin a n d not finish it; and quite as impossible to lay it aside afterwards a n d say nothing about it. In the midst of the reader's perplexity the ideas predominant in his mind c o n c e r n i n g this b o o k are likely to b e — b r u t a l cruelty, and

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semi-savage love. What may be the moral which the author wishes the reader to d e d u c e from his work, it is difficult to say; and we refrain from assigning any, b e c a u s e to s p e a k honestly, we have dis­ covered none but mere glimpses of hidden morals or secondary meanings. T h e r e s e e m s to us great power in this b o o k but a pur­ poseless power, which we feel a great desire to see turned to better account. W e are quite confident that the writer of Wuthering Heights wants but the practised skill to m a k e a great artist; p e r h a p s , a great dramatic artist. His qualities are, at present, excessive; a far more promising fault, let it be r e m e m b e r e d , than if they were de­ ficient. H e may tone down, whereas the weak a n d inefficient writer, however carefully he may write by rule a n d line, will never work u p his productions to the point of beauty in art. In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cru­ elty, inhumanity, and the m o s t diabolical hate a n d v e n g e a n c e , and anon c o m e p a s s a g e s of powerful testimony to the s u p r e m e power of love—even over d e m o n s in the h u m a n form. T h e w o m e n in the book are of a strange fiendish-angelic n a t u r e , tantalizing, and ter­ rible, and the men are indescribable out of the b o o k itself. Yet, towards the close of the story occurs the following pretty, soft pic­ ture, which c o m e s like the rainbow after a s t o r m . * * * 3

W e strongly r e c o m m e n d all our readers who love novelty to get this story, for we can p r o m i s e them that they never have read any­ thing like it before. It is very puzzling a n d very interesting; a n d if we had but s p a c e we would willingly devote a little m o r e time to the analysis of this remarkable story, but we m u s t leave it to our readers to decide what sort of a book it is.

Examiner January

1848

This is a strange book. It is not without evidences of considerable power: but, as a whole, it is wild, confused; disjointed, a n d improb­ able; and the people who m a k e u p the d r a m a , which is tragic enough in its c o n s e q u e n c e s , are savages ruder than those who lived before the days of Homer. With the exception of Heathcliff, the story is confined to the family of E a r n s h a w , who intermarry with the Lintons; and the scene of their exploits is a rude old-fashioned house, at the top of one of the high moors or fells in the north of England. Whoever has traversed the bleak heights of H a r t s i d e or Cross Fell, on his road from W e s t m o r e l a n d to the dales of York3. T h e "soft p i c t u r e " is t h e a c c o u n t o f C a t h y t e a c h i n g H a r e t o n t o r e a d .

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HEIGHTS

shire, and h a s been welcomed there by the winds and rain on a 'gusty day', will know how to estimate the comforts of Wuthering Heights in wintry weather. B u t it may be as well to give the author's own sketch of the spot, taken, it should be observed at a more genial season.

* * * This Heathcliff may be considered as the hero of the book, if a hero there be. H e is an incarnation of evil qualities; implacable hate, ingratitude, cruelty, falsehood, selfishness, and revenge. H e exhibits, moreover, a certain stoical e n d u r a n c e in early life, which enables him to 'bide his time', and nurse u p his wrath till it b e c o m e s m a t u r e a n d terrible; and there is one portion of his nature, one only, wherein he a p p e a r s to approximate to humanity. Like the Cor­ sair, a n d other s u c h melodramatic heroes, he is Linked to one virtue and a t h o u s a n d crimes; a n d it is with difficulty that we can prevail u p o n ourselves to believe in the a p p e a r a n c e of s u c h a p h e n o m e n o n , so near our own dwell­ ings as the s u m m i t of a L a n c a s h i r e or Yorkshire moor. It is not easy to disentangle the incidents and set them forth in chronological order. T h e tale if confused, a s we have said, notwith­ standing that the whole d r a m a takes place in the house that we have described, a n d that the sole actors are the children of Earn­ shaw, by birth or adoption, a n d their servants. 4

* * * W e are not d i s p o s e d to ascribe any particular intention to the author in drawing the character of Heathcliff, nor can we perceive any very obvious moral in the story. T h e r e are certain good rough d a s h e s at character; s o m e of the incidents look like real events; and the b o o k has the merit, which m u s t not b e undervalued, of avoiding c o m m o n - p l a c e and affectation. T h e l a n g u a g e , however, is not al­ ways appropriate and we entertain great doubts as to the truth, or rather the vraisemblance of the main character. T h e hardness, self­ ishness a n d cruelty of Heathcliff are in our opinion inconsistent with the romantic love that he is stated to have felt for Catherine E a r n s h a w . As Nelly D e a n says, "he is as hard as a whinstone." H e has no gratitude, no affection, no liking for anything h u m a n except for one person, a n d that liking is thoroughly selfish and ferocious. H e hates the son of Hindley, which is intelligible enough; but he

4 . T h e final l i n e s o f B y r o n ' s The Corsair ( 1 8 1 4 ) declare that the pirate title-character has d i s a p p e a r e d : " H e left a C o r s a i r ' s n a m e to o t h e r t i m e s , / L i n k e d with o n e virtue, a n d a thousand crimes."

EXAMINER

287

also hates and tyrannizes over his own son and the d a u g h t e r of his beloved Catherine, a n d this we cannot u n d e r s t a n d . W e have said that there are s o m e good d a s h e s at character. T h e first Catherine is sketched thus. *

*

*

F r o m what we have said, the reader will imagine that the b o o k is full of grim pictures. H e r e is o n e . It should be p r e m i s e d that Heathcliff has manifested symptoms of restlessness a n d trouble for some time past. 5

* * * If this book be, as we a p p r e h e n d it is, the first work of the author, we hope that he will p r o d u c e a s e c o n d , — g i v i n g himself more time in its composition than in the present c a s e , developing his incidents more carefully, eschewing exaggeration and obscurity, a n d looking steadily at h u m a n life, under all its m o o d s , for those pictures of the passions that he may desire to sketch for our public benefit. It m a y be well also to be sparing of certain oaths and p h r a s e s , which do not materially contribute to any character, and are by no m e a n s to be reckoned a m o n g the evidences of a writer's genius. W e detest the affectation and effeminate frippery which is b u t too frequent in the modern novel, and willingly trust ourselves with a n author who goes at once fearlessly into the moors and desolate p l a c e s , for his heroes; but we m u s t at the s a m e time stipulate with him that he shall not drag into light all that he discovers, of c o a r s e a n d loathsome, in his wanderings, but simply so m u c h good a n d ill a s he may find necessary to elucidate his h i s t o r y — s o m u c h only as may be interwoven inextricably with the p e r s o n s w h o m he p r o f e s s e s to paint. It is the province of an artist to modify a n d in s o m e c a s e s refine what he beholds in the ordinary world. T h e r e never was a man whose daily life (that is to say, all his deeds a n d sayings, entire and without exception) constituted fit materials for a b o o k of fic­ tion. Even the figures of the Greeks (which are 6

In old marbles ever b e a u t i f u l ) were without doubt selected from the vistors in the ancient g a m e s , and others, by Phidias a n d his scholars, and their forms a n d c o u n ­ tenances m a d e perfect before they were thought worthy to adorn the temple of the wise Athena. The only book which occurs to us as resembling Wuthering

5.

Heathcliff's telling of his o p e n i n g of C a t h e r i n e ' s grave.

6. T h e q u o t e d l i n e is f r o m J o h n K e a t s , Endymion, battle of Thermopylae.

I, 3 1 9 , in r e s p e c t t o t h e h e r o e s of

the

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R E V I E W S O F T H E 1 8 4 7 WUTHERING

HEIGHTS 7

Heights is a novel of the late Mr. Hooton's, a work of very great talent, in which the hero is a tramper or beggar, and the dramatis personae all derived from humble and middle life; but which, not­ withstanding its defects, we r e m e m b e r thinking better in its pecu­ liar kind than anything that h a d been p r o d u c e d since the days of Fielding.

Britannia January

1848

T h e r e are s c e n e s of savage wildness in nature which, though they inspire no p l e a s u r a b l e sensation, we are yet well satisfied to have seen. In the rugged rock, the gnarled roots which cling to it, the dark screen of overhanging vegetation, the dank, moist ground and tangled network of weeds and b u s h e s , — e v e n in the harsh cry of solitary birds, the cries of wild animals, and the startling motion of the snake as it springs away s c a r e d by the intruder's foot,—there is an i m a g e of primeval r u d e n e s s which has m u c h to fascinate, though nothing to c h a r m , the mind. T h e elements of beauty are round us in the midst of gloom a n d danger, and s o m e forms are the more p i c t u r e s q u e from their distorted growth amid so many obstacles. A tree clinging to the side of a precipice may more attract the eye than the pride of a plantation. T h e principle may, to s o m e extent, be applied to life. T h e un­ cultured freedom of native character presents more rugged aspects than we m e e t with in e d u c a t e d society. Its m a n n e r s are not only more rough but its p a s s i o n s are more violent. It knows nothing of those breakwaters to the fury of tempest which civilized training establishes to s u b d u e the harsher workings of the soul. Its wrath is unrestrained by reflection; the lips c u r s e and the hand strikes with the first implulse of anger. It is more subject to brutal instinct than to divine r e a s o n . It is humanity in this wild state that the author of Wuthering Heights essays to depict. His work is strangely original. It bears a r e s e m b l a n c e to s o m e of those irregular G e r m a n tales in which the writers, giving the reins to their fancy, represent personages as swayed and impelled to evil by supernatural influences. But they give spiritual identity to evil impulses, while Mr. Bell more naturally shows them as the natural offspring of the unregulated heart. H e displays considerable power in his creations. They have all the an7.

C h a r l e s H o o t o n ( 1 8 1 3 - 1 8 4 7 ) : novelist a n d j o u r n a l i s t , b e s t k n o w n for his writings a n d t r a v e l s i n t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s a n d C a n a d a . T h e r e v i e w e r m a y h a v e i n m i n d Lancelot Wedge, w h i c h w a s serialized in 1 8 4 7 .

BRITANNIA

289

gularity of m i s s h a p e n growth, and form in this respect a striking contrast to those regular forms we are a c c u s t o m e d to meet with in English fiction. They exhibit nothing of the c o m p o s i t e character. There is in them no trace of ideal models. They are so new, so wildly grotesque, so entirely without art, that they strike us as pro­ ceeding from a mind of limited experience, but of original energy, and of a singular and distinctive cast. In saying this we indicate both the merits and faults of the tale. It is in parts very unskilfully constructed: many p a s s a g e s in it display neither the grace of art nor the truth of nature, but only the vigour of one positive i d e a , — t h a t of p a s s i o n a t e ferocity. It blazes forth in the most unsuitable c i r c u m s t a n c e s and from p e r s o n s the least likely to be animated by it. T h e author is a Salvator R o s a with his pen. H e delineates forms of savage grandeur when he wishes to repre­ sent sylvan beauty. His Griseldas are furies and his swains Polyphemi. For this reason his narrative leaves an u n p l e a s a n t effect on the mind. T h e r e are no green spots in it on which the mind can linger with satisfaction. T h e story rushes onwards with i m p e t u o u s force, but it is the force of a dark a n d sullen torrent, flowing be­ tween high and rugged rocks. It is permitted to painting to seize one single a s p e c t of nature, and, the pleasure arising from its contemplation p r o c e e d s partly from love of imitation, objects unattractive in themselves may be m a d e interesting on canvas. B u t in fiction this kind of isolation is not allowed. T h e exhibition of one quality or p a s s i o n is not suffi­ cient for it. S o far as the design extends it m u s t present a true i m a g e of life, and if it takes in many characters it m u s t show them ani­ mated by many motives. T h e r e may be a predominant influence of one strong emotion, p e r h a p s that is necessary to unity of effect, but it should be relieved by contrasts, a n d set off by a c c e s s o r i e s . Wuth­ ering Heights would have been a far better r o m a n c e if Heathcliff alone had been a being of stormy p a s s i o n s , instead of all the other characters being nearly as violent a n d destructive as himself. In fiction, too, as the imitation of nature c a n never be so vivid a n d exact as in painting, that imitation is insufficient of itself to afford pleasure, and when it deals with brutal subjects it b e c o m e s posi­ tively disgusting. It is of c o u r s e impossible to prescribe rules for either the admission or the rejection of what is shocking and dread­ ful. It is nothing to say that reality is faithfully followed. T h e aim of fiction is to afford s o m e sensation of delight. W e admit we c a n n o t rejoice in the triumph of g o o d n e s s — t h a t triumph which consists in the superiority of spirit to body—without knowing its trials a n d 8

8.

Seventeenth-century scapes.

Italian p a i n t e r a n d poet, k n o w n for the wild b e a u t y of his

land­

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R E V I E W S O F T H E 1847

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

sufferings. B u t the end of fictitious writings should always be kept in view; a n d that end is not merely mental excitement, for a very b a d b o o k may be very exciting. Generally we are satisfied there is s o m e radical defect in those fictions which leave behind them an impression of pain and horror. It would not be difficult to show why this is, a n d m u s t be, the c a s e , but it would lead us into deeper considerations than are appropriate to this article. Mr. Ellis Bell's r o m a n c e is illuminated by s o m e gleams of sun­ shine towards the end which serve to cast a grateful light on the dreary p a t h we have travelled. Flowers rise over the grave of buried horrors. T h e violent p a s s i o n s of two generations are closed in death, yet in the vision of p e a c e with which the tale closes we almost fear their revival in the warped nature of the young survivors.

* * * It is difficult to p r o n o u n c e any decisive j u d g m e n t on a work in which there is so m u c h rude ability displayed, yet in which there is so m u c h matter for b l a m e . T h e s c e n e s of brutality are unnecessarily long and unnecessarily frequent; and as an imaginative writer the author h a s to learn the first principles of his art. But there is a singular power in his portraiture of strong passion. H e exhibits it as convulsing the whole frame of nature, distracting the intellect to m a d n e s s , a n d s n a p p i n g the heart-strings. T h e anguish of Heathcliff on the death of C a t h e r i n e a p p r o a c h e s to sublimity. W e do not know whether the author writes with any purpose; b u t we c a n s p e a k of one effect of his production. It strongly shows the brutalizing influence of u n c h e c k e d p a s s i o n . His characters are a c o m m e n t a r y on the truth that there is no tyranny in the world like that which thoughts of evil exercise in the daring and reckless breast. Another reflection springing from the narrative is, that temper is often spoiled in the years of childhood. "The child is the father of the m a n . " T h e pains and c r o s s e s of its youthful years are engrafted in its blood, a n d form a sullen and a violent disposition. G r o o m s know how often the tempers of horses are irremediably spoiled in training. B u t s o m e parents are less wise regarding their children. T h e intellect in its growth has the faculty of a c c o m m o d a t i n g itself to adverse c i r c u m s t a n c e s . T o violence it s o m e t i m e s opposes vio­ lence, s o m e t i m e s dogged obstinacy. T h e c o n s e q u e n c e in either case is fatal to the tranquility of life. Young C a t h e r i n e Linton is repre­ sented as a naturally sensitive, high-spirited girl; subjected to the 9

9 . T h e l i n e i s f r o m W o r d s w o r t h , first i n " M y h e a r t l e a p s u p " ; r e a p p e a r i n g a s t h e first l i n e of the e p i g r a p h in " O d e : I n t i m a t i o n s of I m m o r t a l i t y from R e c o l l e c t i o n s of Early Childhood."

UNIDENTIFIED

REVIEW

291

cruel u s a g e of her brutal stepfather, she is r o u s e d to resistance, a n d answers his curses with taunts, and his stripes with threatenings. Released from his tyranny, a more gracious spirit c o m e s over her, and she is gentle and peaceful. There are s o m e fine p a s s a g e s scattered through the p a g e s . H e r e is a thought on the tranquility of d e a t h : — "I don't know if it be a peculiarity in m e , but I a m s e l d o m oth­ erwise than happy while watching in the c h a m b e r of death, should no frenzied or despairing mourner share the duty with m e . I see a repose that neither earth nor hell can break, a n d I feel an a s s u r a n c e of the endless and shadowless h e r e a f t e r — t h e eternity they have entered—where life is b o u n d l e s s in its duration, a n d love in its sympathy, and joy in its fulness." Of J o s e p h , the old sullen servant of Heathcliff, it is quaintly said that he was "the sourest-hearted pharisee that ever s e a r c h e d a Bible to rake all the blessings to himself and fling all the c u r s e s to his neighbours." T h e third volume of the b o o k is m a d e up of a separate tale relating to the fortunes of a governess. S o m e characters and s c e n e s are nicely sketched in it, but it has nothing to call for special notice. The volumes a b o u n d in provincialisms. In m a n y respects they re­ mind us of the recent novel of Jane Eyre. W e p r e s u m e they p r o c e e d from one family, if not from one pen. T h e tale to which we have more particularly alluded is but a fragment, yet of colossal proportion, and bearing evidence of s o m e great design. With all its power and originality, it is so rude, so unfinished, and so careless, that we are perplexed to p r o n o u n c e an opinion on it, or to hazard a conjecture on the future career of the author. As yet it belongs to the future to decide whether he will remain a rough hewer of marble or b e c o m e a great and noble sculptor. 1

Unidentified

Review

This is a work of great ability, and contains many chapters, to the production of which talent of no c o m m o n order has contrib­ uted. At the s a m e time, the materials which the author has p l a c e d at his own disposal have been but few. In the resources of his own mind, and in his own manifestly vivid perceptions of the peculiar­ ities of c h a r a c t e r — i n short, in his knowledge of h u m a n n a t u r e — has he found them all. An antiquated f a r m - h o u s e , a n d a neigh­ bouring residence of a somewhat more pretending description, to1. Agnes

Grey.

292

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gether with their respective inmates, a m o u n t i n g to some half a dozen souls in e a c h , constitute the material and the personal com­ p o n e n t s of one of the m o s t interesting stories we have read for many a long day. T h e comfortable cheerfulness of the one abode, and the cheerless discomfort of the o t h e r — t h e latter being less the result of a cold a n d bleak situation, old and d a m p rooms, and (if we may u s e the term) of a sort of "haunted house" a p p e a r a n c e , than of the strange a n d mysterious character of its i n h a b i t a n t s — t h e loves and marriages, separations a n d hatreds, hopes and disappointments, of two or three generations of the gentle o c c u p a n t s of the one estab­ lishment, a n d the ruder tenants of the other, are brought before us at one m o m e n t with a tenderness, at another with a fearfulness, which a p p e a l s to our sympathies with the truest tones of the voice of nature; and it is quite impossible to read the b o o k — a n d this is no slight testimony to the merits of a work of the kind—without feeling that, if p l a c e d in the s a m e position as any one of the char­ acters in any p a g e of it, the c h a n c e s would be twenty to one in favour of our c o n d u c t in that position being precisely such as the author h a s a s s i g n e d to the p e r s o n a g e s he has introduced into his domestic d r a m a . B u t we m u s t at once i m p o s e upon ourselves a t a s k — a n d we confess it is a hard o n e — w e m u s t abstain (from a regard to the s p a c e at our disposal) from yielding to the temptation by which we are beset to enter into that minute description of the plot of this very d r a m a t i c production to which s u c h a work has an u n d o u b t e d claim. It is not every day that so good a novel makes its a p p e a r a n c e ; a n d to give its contents in detail would be depriving many a reader of half the delight he would experience from the perusal of the work itself. T o its p a g e s we m u s t refer him, then; there will he have a m p l e opportunity of sympathising—if he has one touch of n a t u r e that "makes the whole world kin"—with the feelings of childhood, youth, m a n h o o d , and age, and all the emo­ tions and p a s s i o n s which agitate the restless b o s o m of humanity. M a y he derive from it the delight we have ourselves experienced, and be equally grateful to its author for the genuine pleasure he has afforded him.

New Monthly January

Magazine 1848

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Ellis Bell and Acton Bell a p p e a r in the light of two n a m e s bor­ rowed to represent two totally different styles of composition and

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two utterly opposed m o d e s of treatment of the novel, rather than to indicate two real p e r s o n a g e s . They are n a m e s coupled together as mysteriously in the literary, as the sons of L e d a are in the asterial world; and there is s o m e ­ thing at least gained by being mysterious at starting. "Wuthering Heights," by Ellis Bell, is a terrifie story, a s s o c i a t e d with an equally fearful and repulsive spot. It should have been called Withering Heights, for any thing from which the mind and body would more instinctively shrink, than the m a n s i o n a n d its tenants, c a n n o t b e easily imagined. "Wuthering," however, as expressive in provincial phraseology of "the frequency of atmospheric tumults out of doors" must do, however m u c h the said tumults may b e s u r p a s s e d in fre­ quency and violence by the disturbances that o c c u r in doors. O u r novel reading experience does not enable us to refer to any thing to be compared with the p e r s o n a g e s we are introduced to at this desolate s p o t — a perfect misanthropist's heaven. 2

Palladium^ September [SYDNEY

1850 DOBELL]

* * * Who is Currer Bell? is a question which has been variously answered, and has lately, we believe, received in well-informed quarters, a satisfactory reply. A year or two ago, we mentally solved the problem thus: Currer Bell is a woman. Every word she utters is female. Not feminine, but female. T h e r e is a sex a b o u t it which cannot be mistaken, even in its manliest attire. T h o u g h she trans­ lated the manuscript of a n g e l s — e v e r y thought neutral a n d every feeling c r y p t o g a m o u s — h e r voice would betray her. * * * For her most perfect work the world is still waiting, a n d will be content for s o m e years to wait; and placing in an a s s u m e d order of production (though not of publication) the novels called Wuthering Heights, Wildfell Hall, Jane Eyre a n d Shirley, as the works of one author under sundry disguises, we should have deemed, a few days since, that an analysis of the first (and, by our

2.

C a s t o r a n d Pollux were the twin s o n s of L e d a a n d Z e u s , a n d they c o m p o s e the constel­ lation G e m i n i . T h e mystery of their "asterial" c o u p l i n g m a y refer to C a s t o r a l s o b e i n g k n o w n a s t h e p h e n o m e n o n o f " c o r p o s a n t " ( S t . E l m o ' s fire), a n d w h e n t w o s u c h b a l l s o f fire w e r e i n c o n j u n c t i o n , t h e y w e r e t h o u g h t t o p o r t e n d t h e e n d o f a s t o r m .

t

A n e x t r a c t f r o m a n e s s a y e n t i t l e d " C u r r e r B e l l , " r e p r i n t e d f r o m The Life and Letters of Sydney Dobell, e d . J o l l y ( L o n d o n , 2 v o l s . 1 8 7 8 ) , 1 . 1 6 5 - 7 1 . It o r i g i n a l l y a p p e a r e d in t h e Palladium for S e p t e m b e r 1 8 5 0 .

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theory, the earliest) of these was the amplest j u s t i c e she could at p r e s e n t receive. Opening, however, the third edition of Jane Eyre, p u b l i s h e d before the a p p e a r a n c e of Shirley, we find a preface in which all other works are disclaimed. A nom de guerrist* has many privileges, a n d we are willing to put down to a double entendre all that is serious in this disclaimer. T h a t any hand but that which s h a p e d Jane Eyre a n d Shirley cut out the rougher earlier statues, we should require m o r e than the evidence of our senses to believe. T h a t the author of Jane Eyre need fear nothing in acknowledging these yet m o r e i m m a t u r e creations of one of the most vigorous of m o d e r n idiosyncrasies, we think we shall shortly demonstrate. Laying aside Wildfell Hall, we open Wuthering Heights, as at once the earlier in date and ruder in execution. W e look upon it as the flight of an impatient fancy fluttering in the very exultation of young wings; s o m e t i m e s beating against its solitary bars, but turn­ ing, rather to exhaust, in a circumscribed s p a c e , the energy and agility which it may not yet s p e n d in the h e a v e n s — a youthful story, written for oneself in solitude, and thrown aside till other s u c c e s s e s recall the eyes to it in hope. In this thought let the critic take up the book; lay it down in what thought he will, there are some things in it he c a n lay down no more. T h a t C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w — a t once so wonderfully fresh, so fear­ fully n a t u r a l — n e w , 'as if brought from other spheres,' and familiar as the recollection of s o m e woeful e x p e r i e n c e — w h a t can surpass the strange compatibility of her s i m u l t a n e o u s loves; the involuntary art with which her two natures are so m a d e to co-exist, that in the very a r m s of her lover we dare not d o u b t her purity; the inevitable belief with which we watch the oscillations of the old and new elements in her mind, a n d the exquisite truth of the last victory of nature over education, when the p a s t returns to her as a flood, sweeping every m o d e r n l a n d m a r k from within her, and the soul of the child, expanding, fills the w o m a n ? F o u n d at last, by her h u s b a n d , insensible on the breast of her lover, and dying of the agony of their parting, one looks b a c k upon her, like that h u s b a n d , without one thought of accusation or a b ­ solution; her memory is c h a s t e as the loyalty of love, pure as the air of the Heights on which she dwelt. Heathcliff might have been as u n i q u e a creation. T h e conception in his c a s e was as wonderfully strong and original, but he is spoilt in detail. T h e a u t h o r e s s has too often disgusted, where she should have terrified, a n d h a s allowed us a familiarity with her fiend which h a d ended in unequivocal contempt. If Wuthering Heights had been written as lately as Jane Eyre, the figure of Heathcliff, symmetrised 3.

Person using a pseudonym.

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and elevated, might have been one of the m o s t natural a n d m o s t striking portraits in the gallery of fiction. Not a subordinate p l a c e or p e r s o n in this novel but b e a r s m o r e or less the s t a m p of high genius. Ellen D e a n is the ideal of the peasant playmate and servant of 'the family.' T h e s u b s t r a t u m in which her mind moves is finely preserved. J o s e p h , as a s p e c i m e n of the sixty years' servitor of 'the house,' is worthy a m u s e u m c a s e . W e feel that if C a t h e r i n e E a r n s h a w bore her h u s b a n d a child, it m u s t be that Cathy Linton, and no other. T h e very J a n e Eyre, of quiet satire, peeps out in s u c h a p a r a g r a p h as this:—'He told m e to put on my cloak, and run to G i m m e r t o n for the doctor a n d the p a r s o n . I went through wind and rain, and brought one, the doctor, b a c k with me: the other said, he would come in the morning.' W h a t ter­ rible truth, what nicety of touch, what 'uncanny' capacity for mental aberration in the first symptoms of Catherine's delirium. 'I'm not wandering; you're mistaken, or else I should believe you really were that withered hag, and I should think I was under Penistone C r a g s : and I'm conscious it's night, a n d there are two candles on the table making the black press shine like jet.' W h a t an unobtrusive, unex­ pected sense of keeping in the hanging of Isabella's dog. 4

T h e book a b o u n d s in s u c h things. B u t one looks b a c k at the whole story as to a world of brilliant figures in an a t m o s p h e r e of mist; shapes that c o m e out u p o n the eye, a n d b u r n their colours into the brain, and depart into the enveloping fog. It is the un­ formed writing of a giant's hand: the 'large utterance' of a baby god. In the sprawling of the infant Hercules, however, there m u s t have been attitudes from which the statuary might model. In the early efforts of u n u s u a l genius, there are not s e l d o m u n c o n s c i o u s felic­ ities which maturer years may look b a c k u p o n with envy. T h e child's hand wanders over the strings. It cannot c o m b i n e them in the chords and melodies of m a n h o o d ; but its s e p a r a t e notes are perfect in themselves, and p e r h a p s s o u n d all the sweeter for the ^ o l i a n discords from which they c o m e . W e repeat, that there are p a s s a g e s in this b o o k of Wuthering Heights of which any novelist, p a s t or present, might be proud. O p e n the first volume at the fourteenth p a g e , and read to the sixtyfirst. There are few things in m o d e r n p r o s e to s u r p a s s these p a g e s for native power. W e cannot praise too warmly the brave simplicity, the unaffected air of intense belief, the admirable combination of extreme likelihood with the rarest originality, the nice provision of the possible even in the highest effects of the supernatural, the easy strength and instinct of keeping with which the accessory c i r c u m -

4.

" P r o p e r s u b s e r v i e n c y o f t o n e a n d c o l o u r in every p a r t o f a p i c t u r e , s o t h a t t h e e f f e c t is h a r m o n i o u s t o t h e e y e . "

OED.

general

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s t a n c e s are g r o u p e d , the exquisite but u n c o n s c i o u s art with which the c h i a r o s c u r o of the whole is m a n a g e d , and the ungenial frigidity of p l a c e , time, weather, and p e r s o n s , is m a d e to heighten the un­ speakable p a t h o s of one ungovernable outburst. T h e thinking out of s o m e of these p a g e s * * * is the master­ p i e c e of a poet, rather than the hybrid creation of the novelist. T h e m a s s of readers will probably yawn over the whole; but, in the m e m ­ ory of those whose r e m e m b r a n c e m a k e s fame, the images in these p a g e s will live—when every word that conveyed them is forgotten — a s a recollection of things heard and seen. This is the highest triumph of description; a n d p e r h a p s every creation of the fancy is m o r e or less faulty, so long a s , in a mind fitted to reproduce them, the i m a g e s co-exist only with the words that called them up. T h e spiritual structure is not complete till the scaffolding can be safely struck away. T h a t which thou sowest is not quickened except it die. This mortal m u s t put on the immortality of the mind. Ideas should be p e r m a n e n t , words evanescent. Whoever has watched a trowel in the h a n d s of a skillful m a s o n , has seen an example of a very high excellence of authorship. T h e mortar is laid, but the trowel is al­ ready withdrawn. * * * * * * W e are at a loss to find anywhere in modern prose a less r e s i d u u m from the fiery ordeal; or to discover, in the s a m e s p a c e , s u c h wealth a n d s u c h economy, s u c h a p p a r e n t e a s e , such instinc­ tive art. Instinctive art; for to the imaginative writer, all art that is not instinctive is d a n g e r o u s . All art that is the application of prin­ ciples, however astutely those principles b e applied * * * s m a c k s not of the artist, b u t the artisan. L e t no m a n think to improve in his working by any knowledge that c a n be taken up or laid down at will, any m e a n s or a p p l i a n c e s from without. All improvement in the creation m u s t first exist in the creator. S a y not to the artist, write, paint, play, by s u c h a n d s u c h a rule, but grow by it. Have you literary p r i n c i p l e s ? — w r i t e them in your leisure hours on the fleshly tables of the heart. Have you theories of t a s t e ? — s e t your brain in idle time to their tune. Is there a virtue you would emulate, or a fault you would d i s c a r d ? — g a z e on spare days upon the one till your soul h a s risen under it as the tide under the moon, or scourge the other in the sight of all your faculties till every internal s e n s e recoils from its company. T h e n , when your error is no longer a trespass to b e c o n d e m n e d by j u d g m e n t , but an impiety at which feeling revolts—when your virtue is no m o r e obedience to a formula, but the natural action of a reconstructed s o u l — s t r i k e off the clay mould from the bronze Apollo, throw your critics to one wind and their s e r m o n s to the other, let Self be m a d e absolute as you take up your p e n a n d write, like a god, in a sublime egotism, to which your own likes a n d dislikes are u n q u e s t i o n e d law. * * * What is true of the

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poet, the creator, the intellectual viceregent of G o d , is true, in dif­ ferent degrees, of all who in any grade share the creative s p i r i t — of every one of the apostlehood and priesthood through w h o m gen­ ius evangelises, sanctifies, and regenerates the world. And the higher in the scale, the more imperative is the duty of autocracy, and the more fatal any 'tempering of the iron with the clay.' T h e s e truths supply us with the great secret of s u c c e s s a n d failure in the works of Currer Bell; and there is no a d m i s s i o n we could make which could be a higher testimony to her powers as a creative artist. If this authoress had published any novel before Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre would not have been the moral wonder which it is, a n d will for many years remain. If Jane Eyre had met with a less tri­ umphant furore of review, Shirley would have b e e n a worthier successor. T o say that an artist is spoilt by criticism, is to disprove his right to the title; to say that he is, for the present, m a i m e d a n d disabled by it, may be to bear the highest witness to his intrinsic g e n i u s — and this witness we bear to Currer Bell. W h e n Currer Bell writes her next novel, let her r e m e m b e r , as far a s possible, the frame of mind in which she sat down to her first. S h e c a n n o t now c o m m i t the faults of that early effort; it will b e well for her if she b e still capable of the virtues. S h e will never sin so m u c h against consistent keeping as to draw another Heathcliff; she is too m u c h au fait of her profession to m a k e again those sacrifices to machinery which deprive her early picture of any claim to b e ranked a s a work of art. Happy she, if her next book d e m o n s t r a t e the unimpaired p o s s e s s i o n of those powers of insight, that instinctive obedience to the nature within her, and those o c c u r r e n c e s of infallible inspiration which astound the critic in the young author of Wuthering Heights. S h e will not let her next dark-haired hero b a b b l e away the respect of her reader and the awe of his antecedents; nor will she find another housekeeper who r e m e m b e r s two volumes literatim. Let her rejoice if she can again give us s u c h an elaboration of a rare a n d fearful form of mental d i s e a s e — s o terribly strong, so exquisitely s u b t l e — with such nicety in its transitions, s u c h intimate symptomatic truth in its details, as to be at once a psychological and medical study. It has been said of S h a k e s p e a r e , that he drew c a s e s which the phy­ sician might study; Currer Bell h a s done no less. S h e will not, again, employ her wonderful pencil on a picture so destitute of moral beauty and h u m a n worth. L e t her exult, if she c a n still invest s u c h a picture with s u c h interest. W e stand painfully before her portraits; but our eyes are drawn towards them by the irresistible ties of blood relationship. Let her exult, if she can still m a k e us weep with the simple pathos of that fading face, which looked from the golden crocuses on her pillow to the hills which c o n c e a l e d the old h o m e

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a n d the churchyard of G i m m e r t o n . 'These are the earliest flowers at the H e i g h t s / she exclaimed. 'They remind m e of thaw-winds, and w a r m s u n s h i n e , a n d nearly-melted snow. Edgar, is there not a south wind, a n d is not the snow almost g o n e ? ' — ' T h e snow is quite gone down here, darling,' replied her h u s b a n d ; 'and I only see two white spots on the whole range of m o o r s . T h e sky is blue, and the larks are singing, a n d the becks and brooks are all brimful. Catherine, last spring, at this time, I was longing to have you under this roof; now, I wish you were a mile or two up those hills: the air blows so sweetly, I feel that it would cure you.'—'I shall never be there but o n c e more,' said the invalid, 'and then you'll leave me, and I shall remain for ever. Next spring, you'll long again to have me under this roof, a n d you'll look back, and think you were happy to-day.' L e t C u r r e r Bell prize the young intuition of character which dic­ tated Cathy's s p e e c h to Ellen. T h e r e is a deep, u n c o n s c i o u s philos­ ophy in it. T h e r e are minds whose crimes and sorrows are not so m u c h the result of intrinsic evil as of a false position in the s c h e m e of things, which c l a s h e s their energies with the arrangements of surrounding life. It is difficult to cure s u c h a soul from within. The point of view, not the eye or the l a n d s c a p e , is in fault. Move that, a n d as at the c h a n g i n g of a stop, the mental m a c h i n e a s s u m e s its proper relative p l a c e , and the powers of discord b e c o m e , in the s a m e m e a s u r e , the instruments of harmony. It was a fine instinct which saw this. L e t C u r r e r Bell b e p a s s i n g glad if it is as vigorous now as then; and let her thank G o d if she can now draw the ap­ parition of the 'Wanderer of the Moor.'

North American October "NOVELS OF

[E.

P.

Review 1848

THE

SEASON"

WHIPPLE]

5

T h e r e was a time when the a p p e a r a n c e of a clever novel would justify its s e p a r a t e examination in a Review. * * * But in this age 5.

In this u n s i g n e d review of A m e r i c a n editions of eight E n g l i s h novels, W h i p p l e includes Jane Eyre, an Autobiography. E d i t e d by C u r r e r Bell. Boston: Wilkins, Carter, & C o . 1848; Wuthering Heights. B y t h e A u t h o r o f Jane Eyre. N e w Y o r k : H a r p e r & B r o t h e r s . 1 8 4 8 ; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. B y A c t o n B e l l , A u t h o r o f Wuthering Heights. This misattribution of a u t h o r s h i p m a y reflect the efforts of Emily's a n d Anne's publisher, T h o m a s N e w b y , t o b e n e f i t f r o m t h e s u c c e s s o f Jane Eyre, w h i c h S m i t h , E l d e r h a d p u b l i s h e d i n L o n d o n s h o r t l y b e f o r e t h e first B r i t i s h e d i t i o n o f h e r s i s t e r s ' n o v e l s . S e e C h a r l o t t e Bronte's c o m m e n t s on this review, p. 3 0 9 .

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of ready writers, r o m a n c e s m u s t be reviewed in battalions, or al­ lowed to p a s s unchallenged. Every week beholds a new irruption of emigrants into the sunny land of fiction, sadly disturbing the old balance of power, a n d introducing a fearful confusion of n a m e s a n d habits.* * * Another evil is the comparative a b s e n c e of individu­ alities, amid all the increase of population. O p i n i o n s have nearly supplanted characters. W e look for m e n , a n d discern propositions, — f o r women, a n d are favored with woman's rights. T h e o l o g i a n s , metaphysicians, politicians, reformers, philanthropists, prophets of the general overturn a n d the good time coming, the march-ofintellect boys in a solid phalanx, have nearly p u s h e d the novelist aside. T h e dear old n o n s e n s e , which h a s delighted the heart for so many centuries, is so mixed u p with n o n s e n s e of another kind, that it cannot be recognized either in drawing-room or kitchen. T h e sacred flame still burns in s o m e sixpenny or ninepenny novellettes, the horror of the polite a n d the last hope of the sentimental; but it burns in a battered copper l a m p , a n d a m o n g ruins. Accordingly, in the novels whose titles g r a c e the h e a d of the p r e s ­ ent article, our readers m u s t not expect to find, in its full perfection, that peculiar aspect of h u m a n weakness of which the novelist is the legitimate exponent. They m u s t be content with a repast of mat­ ters and things in general, a m o n g which may be n a m e d s o m e g o o d philosophy, several dishes of controversial theology, m u c h spicy sat­ ire, a little p a s s a b l e morality, a little impertinent immorality, a n d a good deal of the philosophy of history a n d the s c i e n c e of the af­ fections. T h e first three novels on our list are those which have p r o c e e d e d from the firm of Bell & C o . Not many months ago, the N e w E n ­ gland States were visited by a distressing mental epidemic, p a s s i n g under the n a m e of the "Jane Eyre fever," which defied all the u s u a l nostrums of the established doctors of criticism. Its effects varied with different constitutions, in s o m e p r o d u c i n g a soft ethical sen­ timentality, which relaxed all the fibres of c o n s c i e n c e , a n d in others exciting a general fever of moral a n d religious indignation. It was to no p u r p o s e that the public were solemnly a s s u r e d , through the intelligent press, that the malady was not likely to have any per­ manent effect either on the intellectual or moral constitution. T h e book which c a u s e d the distemper would probably have been inof­ fensive, had not s o m e sly m a n u f a c t u r e r of mischief hinted that it was a book which no respectable m a n should bring into his family circle. Of course, every family soon h a d a copy of it, a n d one edition after another found eager p u r c h a s e r s . T h e hero, M r . R o c h e s ­ ter * * * b e c a m e a great favorite in the boarding-schools a n d in the worshipful society of governesses. T h a t portion of Y o u n g Amer-

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WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

ica known as ladies' m e n b e g a n to swagger a n d swear in the pres­ e n c e of the gentler sex, and to allude darkly to events in their lives which excused i m p u d e n c e a n d profanity. While fathers a n d mothers were m u c h distressed at this strange c o n d u c t of their innocents, a n d with a p a r d o n a b l e despair were looking for the dissolution of all the b o n d s of society, the publishers of J a n e Eyre a n n o u n c e d Wuthering Heights, by the s a m e author. W h e n it c a m e , it was p u r c h a s e d and read with universal eagerness; but, alas! it created disappointment almost as universal. It was a p a n a c e a for all the sufferers under the epidemic. Society returned to its old condition, parents were blessed in hearing once more their children talk c o m m o n s e n s e , and rakes and battered profligates of high and low degree fell instantly to their proper level. T h u s ended the last d e s p e r a t e attempt to corrupt the virtue of the sturdy de­ s c e n d a n t s of the Puritans. T h e novel of J a n e Eyre, which c a u s e d this great excitement, pur­ ports to have been edited by Currer Bell, and the said Currer divides the authorship, if we are not misinformed, with a brother and sister. T h e work b e a r s the marks of more than one mind and one sex, a n d h a s m o r e variety than either of the novels which claim to have been written by Acton Bell. T h e family mind is strikingly peculiar, giving a strong impression of unity, but it is still male and female. F r o m the m a s c u l i n e tone of J a n e Eyre, it might p a s s altogether as the composition of a m a n , were it not for s o m e u n c o n s c i o u s fem­ inine peculiarities, which the strongest-minded w o m a n that ever aspired after m a n h o o d cannot s u p p r e s s . * * * T h e r e are also s c e n e s of p a s s i o n , so hot, e m p h a t i c , and c o n d e n s e d in expression, a n d so sternly m a s c u l i n e in feeling, that we are almost sure we observe the mind of the author of Wuthering Heights at work in the text. * * * T h e truth is, that the whole firm of Bell & C o . s e e m to have a s e n s e of the depravity of h u m a n nature peculiarly their own. It is the yahoo, not the d e m o n , that they select for rep­ resentation; their P a n d e m o n i u m is of m u d rather than fire. T h i s is especially the c a s e with Acton Bell, the author of Wuth­ ering Heights, T h e T e n a n t of Wildfell Hall, and, if we mistake not, of certain offensive b u t powerful portions of J a n e Eyre. Acton, when left altogether to his own imaginations, s e e m s to take a morose satisfaction in developing a full and complete science of h u m a n brutality. In W u t h e r i n g Heights he has s u c c e e d e d in reaching the s u m m i t of this l a u d a b l e ambition. H e a p p e a r s to think that spiritual wickedness is a combination of animal ferocities, and has accord­ ingly m a d e a c o m p e n d i u m of the most striking qualities of tiger, wolf, cur, and wild-cat, in the h o p e of framing out of such elements a suitable b r u t e - d e m o n to serve as the hero of his novel. C o m p a r e d

NORTH AMERICAN

301

REVIEW

6

with Heathcote [sic], S q u e e r s is considerate a n d Quilp h u m a n e . H e is a deformed monster, w h o m the M e p h i s t o p h e l e s of G o e t h e would have nothing to say to, w h o m the S a t a n of Milton would consider as an object of simple disgust, and to w h o m D a n t e would hesitate in awarding the honor of a place a m o n g those w h o m he has consigned to the burning pitch. This epitome of brutality, dis­ avowed by m a n and devil, Mr. Acton Bell attempts in two whole volumes to delineate, and certainly he is to be congratulated on his s u c c e s s . As he is a m a n of u n c o m m o n talents, it is needless to say that it is to his subject and his dogged m a n n e r of handling it that we are to refer the burst of dislike with which the novel was re­ ceived. His m o d e of delineating a b a d character is to narrate every offensive act and repeat every vile expression which are character­ istic. H e n c e , in Wuthering Heights, he details all the ingenuities of animal malignity, and exhausts the whole rhetoric of stupid blas­ phemy, in order that there may be no mistake as to the kind of person he intends to hold u p to the popular gaze. Like all spend­ thrifts of malice and profanity, however, he overdoes the b u s i n e s s . T h o u g h he scatters oaths as plentifully as sentimental writers do interjections, the comparative parsimony of the great novelists in this respect is productive of infinitely m o r e effect. It m u s t be con­ fessed that this c o a r s e n e s s , though the prominent, is not the only characteristic of the writer. His attempt at originality does not stop with the conception of H e a t h c o t e , but he aims further to exhibit the action of the sentiment of love on the nature of the being w h o m his morbid imagination has created. This is by far the ablest a n d most subtile portion of his labors, a n d indicates that strong hold upon the elements of character, a n d that decision of t o u c h in the delineation of the most evanescent qualities of emotion, which dis­ tinguish the mind of the whole family. For all practical p u r p o s e s , however, the power evinced in Wuthering Heights is power thrown away. Nightmares and d r e a m s , through which devils d a n c e a n d wolves howl, m a k e b a d novels.

6.

Wackford Squeers, the brutal boarding school

m a s t e r i n D i c k e n s ' s Nicholas

D a n i e l Q u i l p , t h e d i a b o l i c a l d w a r f i n D i c k e n s ' s The

Old

Curiosity

Shop.

Nickleby;

WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

AND

AGNES

GREY. BT

E L L I S

AND

A NEW

A

ACTON

EDITION REVISED,

BIOGRAPHICAL

NOTICE

BELL.

WITH

OF T H E

AUTHOBS,

A S E L E C T I O N F R O M T H E I R L I T E R A R Y REMAINS, AND A PREFACE,

BY

CURRER

BELL.

LONDON* SMITH, E L D E R A N D CO., 05, CORNHILL. 1850.

302

Tke

1850

Wuthering

Heights

After the success of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë urged her sisters to offer their future work to Smith, Elder and Company, her publisher, rather than to continue with the unscrupulous T. C . Newby. However, by mid-February 1848, Newby had obtained agreements from both Emily and Anne for their next novels. No manuscript of a second novel by Emily has survived, but Newby did publish Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall later that year. Meanwhile, the sisters chose Smith, Elder for republication of Poems by Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell in 1848. Emily died in December 1848 and Anne the following May. Charlotte's publisher suggested a reprint of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, "with a prefatory and explanatory notice of the authors." Spurred no doubt by the coincident appearance in September 1850 of Sydney Dobell's favorable comments about Wuthering Heights, Charlotte welcomed the opportunity to "prepare a Preface comprising a brief and simple notice of the authors—such as might set at rest all erroneous conjectures concerning their identity—and adding a few poetical remains of each." She expressed concern that Newby might claim rights to these works, noting that after promising 350 copies he had printed only 250. Thus her conclusion "from the whole of Mr. Newby's conduct to my sisters—was that he is a man with whom it is desirable to have little to do: I think he must be needy as well as tricky—and if he is, one would not distress him, even for one's rights." Smith, Elder determined that Newby had no copyright interest and proceeded with the new edition. In December 1850 she sent Dobell a copy of the new edition, thanking him for "the noble justice" of his remarks about Emily, and asking him to let her know whether the new introduction left any lingering doubts "respecting the authorship of Wuthering Heights."* Her 1850 biographical notice was the first public statement by a Brontë "to explain briefly the origin and authorship of the books written by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell." Charlotte's judgments of Wuthering Heights, both in the "Bio­ graphical Notice" and her "Editor's Preface" to the new edition, echo earlier comments in letters and respond directly to the reviewers' failures to recognize the "very real powers revealed in Wuthering 1

2

1. M a r g a r e t S m i t h , é d . , The

Letters

of Charlotte

Brontë,

vol. II ( O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n P r e s s ,

2 0 0 0 ) 4 6 5 . All c i t a t i o n s f r o m t h e s e l e t t e r s a r e r e p r i n t e d b y p e r m i s s i o n o f t h e e d i t o r a n d Clarendon Press. 2.

Letters,

p. 4 6 5 .

3.

Letters,

p.

526.

303

304

T H E 1 8 5 0 WUTHERING HEIGHTS

IN PROGRESS

Heights" or to understand "its import and nature." Rereading the novel for the first time after her sister's death produced a mixed reaction by Charlotte: "Its power fills me with renewed admiration—but yet I am oppressed—the reader scarcely ever permitted a taste of unalloyed pleasure—every beam of sunshine is poured down through black bars of threatening cloud—every page is surcharged with a sort of moral electricity; and the writer was unconscious of this—nothing could make her conscious of it. And this makes me reflect—perhaps I too am incapable of perceiving the faults and peculiarities of my own style." 4

T h e 1850 Wuthering To W. S. Williams,

Heights in Progress 5 September

1

1850

I should m u c h like to carry out your suggestion respecting a re­ print of "Wuthering Heights" and "Agnes Grey" in 1 vol. With a prefatory a n d explanatory notice of the a u t h o r s — b u t the question o c c u r s — w o u l d Newby claim it? I could not bear to commit it to any other h a n d s than those of Mr. S m i t h . * * * To James

Taylor,

5 September

1850

T h e article in the "Palladium" is one of those notices over which an author rejoices with trembling. H e rejoices to find his work finely, fully, fervently a p p r e c i a t e d — a n d trembles under the respon­ sibility s u c h appreciation s e e m s to devolve upon him. I a m coun­ selled to wait watch. D . V. I will do so. Yet it is harder work to wait with the h a n d s b o u n d and the observant and reflective faculties (only), at their silent u n s e e n work, than to labour mechanically. I n e e d not say how I felt the remarks on "Wuthering Heights": they woke the s a d d e s t yet m o s t grateful feelings; they are true, they are discriminating; they are full of late j u s t i c e — b u t it is very late — a l a s ! In one s e n s e — t o o late. Of this, however, and of the p a n g of regret for a light prematurely extinguished—it is not wise to s p e a k m u c h . Whoever the author of this article may b e — I remain his debtor. To W. S. Williams,

13 September

1850

Mr. Newby undertook first to print 3 5 0 copies of "Wuthering Heights", but he afterwards declared he had only printed 2 5 0 . 4 . Letters, p. 4 7 9 . 1. T h i s a n d t h e f o l l o w i n g e x c e r p t s a r e f r o m M a r g a r e t S m i t h , e d . , The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, vol. II ( O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n P r e s s , 2 0 0 0 ) . R e p r i n t e d by p e r m i s s i o n o f t h e e d i t o r and Clarendon Press.

T H E 1850

WUTHERING HEIGHTS

IN PROGRESS

305

I doubt whether he could be induced to return the £ 5 0 without a good deal of t r o u b l e — m u c h m o r e than I should feel justified in delegating to Mr. S m i t h . For my own part, the co nclusio n I drew from the whole of Mr. Newby's c o n d u c t to my s i s t e r s — w a s that he is a m a n with whom it is desirable to have little to do; I think he must be needy as well as t r i c k y — a n d if he is, one would not distress him, even for one's rights. If Mr. Smith thinks proper to reprint "Wuthering Heights & Ag­ nes Grey", I would prepare a Preface c o m p r i s i n g a brief a n d simple notice of the a u t h o r s — s u c h as might set at rest all erroneous con­ jectures respecting their identity—and adding a few poetical re­ mains of each In c a s e this arrangement is a p p r o v e d — y o u will kindly let m e k n o w — a n d I will c o m m e n c e the t a s k — ( a s a d but, I b e l i e v e — a necessary o n e ) — a n d send it when finished To W. S. Williams,

20 September

1850

I herewith send you a very roughly written copy of what I have to say about my sisters. W h e n you have read it, you can better j u d g e whether the word "Notice" or "Memoir" is the m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e . I think—the former. M e m o i r s e e m s to m e to express a m o r e c i r c u m ­ stantial and different sort of a c c o u n t . My aim is to give a j u s t idea of their identity, not to write any narrative of their simple, un­ eventful lives. I d e p e n d on you for faithfully pointing out whatever may strike you as faulty. I could not write it in the conventional f o r m — t h a t I found impossible. To W. S. Williams,

27 September

1850

It is my intention to write a few lines of r e m a r k on "W. Heights" which however I p r o p o s e d to p l a c e apart as a brief preface before the t a l e — I a m likewise compelling myself to read it over for the first time of opening the book since my sister's death. Its power fills me with renewed a d m i r a t i o n — b u t yet I a m o p p r e s s e d — t h e reader is scarcely ever permitted a taste of unalloyed p l e a s u r e — e v e r y b e a m of sunshine is poured down through black bars of threatening cloud—every p a g e is s u r c h a r g e d with a sort of moral electricity; and the writer was u n c o n s c i o u s of all t h i s — n o t h i n g could m a k e her conscious of it. And this m a k e s m e r e f l e c t — p e r h a p s I too a m incapable of perceiving the faults and peculiarities of my own style. I should wish to revise the proofs, if it be not too great an in­ convenience to send them. It s e e m s to m e advisable to modify the orthography of the old servant J o s e p h ' s s p e e c h e s — f o r t h o u g h — a s it s t a n d s — i t exactly renders the Yorkshire a c c e n t to a Yorkshire

306

T H E 1 8 5 0 WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

IN P R O G R E S S

e a r — y e t I a m s u r e S o u t h e r n s m u s t find it unintelligible—and thus one of the m o s t graphic characters in the book is lost on them. W h a t the p r o b a b l e quantity of new matter will be, I cannot say e x a c t l y — b u t I think it will not exceed ( 3 0 or) thirty or, at the most forty p a g e s — s i n c e it is so inconsiderable, would it not be better to p l a c e the title thus Wuthering Heights & Agnes Grey by E & A Bell With a Notice of the Authors by Currer Bell a n d a Selection from their literary R e m a i n s ? I only s u g g e s t t h i s — i f there are r e a s o n s (for) rendering the other title p r e f e r a b l e — a d o p t it. I will p r e p a r e and send s o m e extracts from reviews. I grieve to say that I p o s s e s s no portrait of either of my sisters. Believe m e To W. S. Williams,

[?c.l9

November

1850]

I have to thank you for the care and kindness with which you have a s s i s t e d m e throughout in correcting these "Remains." W h e t h e r — w h e n they are p u b l i s h e d — t h e y will appear to others as they do to m e — I c a n n o t tell—I hope n o t — a n d indeed I s u p p o s e what to m e is bitter pain will only be soft pathos to the general reader. To Sydney Dobell,

8 December

2

1850

I offer this little b o o k to my critic in the "Palladium", and he m u s t believe it a c c o m p a n i e d by a tribute of the sincerest gratitude, not so m u c h for anything he has said of myself, as for the noble j u s t i c e he h a s rendered to one dear to m e as myself—perhaps dearer, a n d p e r h a p s one kind word spoken for her awakens a deeper, tenderer sentiment of thankfulness than eulogies heaped on my own head. As you will see when you have read the biographical notice, my sister cannot thank you herself; she is gone out of your sphere and mine, and h u m a n b l a m e and praise are nothing to her now; but to m e — f o r her s a k e — t h e y are something still; it revived me for many a day to find that (the) dead as she w a s — t h e work of her genius had at last met with worthy appreciation. Tell m e — w h e n you have read the introduction, whether any doubts still linger in your mind respecting the authorship of "Wuth­ ering Heights," "Wildfell Hall" & c . Your mistrust did me some in2 . T h e 1 8 5 0 Wuthering

Heights

w a s p u b l i s h e d o n D e c e m b e r 7.

BIOGRAPHICAL N O T I C E OF

E L L I S AND

ACTON BELL

(1850)

307

justice; it proved a general conception of character s u c h as I should be sorry to call m i n e — b u t these false ideas will naturally arise when we only j u d g e an author from his works. In fairness, I m u s t also disclaim the flattering side of the portrait: I a m no "young 'Penthesilea mediis in millibus' ", but a plain country parson's daughter. 3

[CHARLOTTE BRONTË] Biographical N o t i c e of Ellis a n d Acton Bell (1850) It has been thought that all the works published u n d e r the n a m e s of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, were, in reality, the production of one person. This mistake I endeavoured to rectify by a few words of disclaimer prefixed to the third edition of Jane Eyre. T h e s e , too, it appears, failed to gain general c r e d e n c e , and now, on the o c c a s i o n of a reprint of Wuthering Heights a n d Agnes Grey, I a m advised distinctly to state how the c a s e really stands. Indeed, I feel myself that it is time the obscurity attending those two n a m e s — E l l i s and A c t o n — w a s d o n e away. T h e little mystery, which formerly yielded s o m e h a r m l e s s p l e a s u r e , h a s lost its interest; circumstances are changed. It b e c o m e s , then, my duty to explain briefly the origin and authorship of the books written by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. About five years ago, my two sisters a n d myself, after a s o m e w h a t prolonged period of separation, found ourselves reunited, a n d at home. Resident in a remote district where education had m a d e little progress, and where, consequently, there was no i n d u c e m e n t to seek social intercourse beyond our own domestic circle, we were wholly dependent on ourselves and e a c h other, on books a n d study, for the enjoyments and o c c u p a t i o n s of life. T h e highest s t i m u l u s , as well as the liveliest p l e a s u r e we h a d known from childhood u p ­ wards, lay in attempts at literary composition; formerly we u s e d to show each other what we wrote, b u t of late years this habit of communication and consultation h a d been discontinued: h e n c e it ensued, that we were mutually ignorant of the progress we might respectively have m a d e . O n e day, in the a u t u m n of 1 8 4 5 , I accidentally lighted on a M S . volume of verse in my sister Emily's handwriting. O f c o u r s e , I was not surprised, knowing that she could and did write verse: I looked it over, and something more than surprise seized m e , — a d e e p con­ viction that these were not c o m m o n effusions, nor at all like the 3. A r e f e r e n c e to a d e p i c t i o n o f a q u e e n o f t h e A m a z o n s ( o n e in t h e m i d s t o f t h o u s a n d s ) i n Aeneid, 1.491.

308

[CHARLOTTE

BRONTË]

poetry w o m e n generally write. I thought them c o n d e n s e d and terse, vigorous a n d genuine. T o my ear, they had also a peculiar m u s i c — wild, melancholy, a n d elevating. My sister Emily was not a p e r s o n of demonstrative character, nor one, on the r e c e s s e s of whose mind and feelings, even those nearest and dearest to her could, with impunity, intrude unlicensed; it took hours to reconcile her to the discovery I had m a d e , and days to p e r s u a d e her that s u c h p o e m s merited publication. I knew, how­ ever, that a mind like hers could not be without s o m e latent spark of h o n o u r a b l e ambition, and refused to be discouraged in my at­ tempts to fan that spark to flame. M e a n t i m e , my younger sister quietly p r o d u c e d s o m e of her own compositions, intimating that since E m i l y s had given me pleasure, I might like to look at hers. I could not but be a partial j u d g e , yet I thought that these verses too had a sweet sincere pathos of their own. W e h a d very early cherished the d r e a m of one day becoming authors. T h i s d r e a m , never relinquished even when distance divided and a b s o r b i n g tasks o c c u p i e d us, now suddenly acquired strength and consistency: it took the character of a resolve. W e agreed to arrange a small selection of our p o e m s , and, if possible, get them printed. Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own n a m e s un­ der those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the a m b i g u o u s choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at a s s u m i n g Christian n a m e s , positively m a s c u l i n e , while we did not like to de­ clare ourselves women, b e c a u s e — w i t h o u t at that time suspecting that our m o d e of writing and thinking was not what is called "feminine"—we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we h a d noticed how critics some­ times u s e for their c h a s t i s e m e n t the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise. T h e bringing out of our little b o o k was hard work. As was to be expected, neither we nor our p o e m s were at all wanted; but for this we h a d b e e n p r e p a r e d at the outset; though inexperienced our­ selves, we h a d read the experience of others. T h e great puzzle lay in the difficulty of getting answers of any kind from the publishers to w h o m we applied. B e i n g greatly h a r a s s e d by this obstacle, I ven­ tured to apply to the M e s s r s . C h a m b e r s , of Edinburgh, for a word of advice; they may have forgotten the c i r c u m s t a n c e , but I have not, for from them I received a brief and business-like but civil and sensible reply, on which we acted, and at last m a d e a way. T h e b o o k was printed: it is scarcely known, and all of it that merits to be known are the p o e m s of Ellis Bell. T h e fixed conviction I held, a n d hold, of the worth of these p o e m s has not indeed re-

BIOGRAPHICAL N O T I C E OF

E L L I S AND

ACTON BELL

(1850)

309

ceived the confirmation of m u c h favourable criticism; but I m u s t retain it notwithstanding. Ill-success failed to c r u s h us: the mere effort to s u c c e e d had given a wonderful zest to existence; it m u s t be p u r s u e d . W e e a c h set to work on a prose tale: Ellis Bell p r o d u c e d Wuthering Heights. Acton Bell Agnes Grey, and C u r r e r Bell also wrote a narrative in one volume. T h e s e M S S . were perseveringly obtruded u p o n various publishers for the s p a c e of a year and a half; usually, their fate was an ignominious and abrupt dismissal. At last Wuthering Heights a n d Agnes Grey were a c c e p t e d on terms somewhat impoverishing to the two authors: C u r r e r Bell's b o o k found a c c e p t a n c e nowhere, nor any acknowledgment of merit, so that something like the chill of despair b e g a n to invade his heart. As a forlorn hope, he tried one publishing h o u s e m o r e — M e s s r s . Smith and Elder. E r e long, in a m u c h shorter s p a c e than that on which experience had taught him to c a l c u l a t e — t h e r e c a m e a letter, which he opened in the dreary expectation of finding two hard hopeless lines, intimating that M e s s r s . S m i t h a n d Elder "were not disposed to publish the M S . " and, instead, he took out of the en­ velope a letter of two p a g e s . H e read it trembling. It declined, in­ deed, to publish that tale, for b u s i n e s s r e a s o n s , but it d i s c u s s e d its merits and demerits so courteously, so considerately, in a spirit so rational, with a discrimination so enlightened, that this very refusal cheered the author better than a vulgarly-expressed a c c e p t a n c e would have done. It was added, that a work in three volumes would meet with careful attention. I was then j u s t completing Jane Eyre, at which I h a d b e e n work­ ing while the one volume tale was plodding its weary r o u n d in L o n ­ don: in three weeks I sent it off; friendly and skilful h a n d s took it in. This was in the c o m m e n c e m e n t of S e p t e m b e r 1847; it c a m e out before the close of October following, while Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, my sisters' works, which had already b e e n in the p r e s s for months, still lingered under a different m a n a g e m e n t . They appeared at last. Critics failed to do them j u s t i c e . T h e im­ mature but very real powers revealed in Wuthering Heights were scarcely recognised; its import and n a t u r e were m i s u n d e r s t o o d ; the identity of its author was misrepresented; it was said that this was an earlier and ruder attempt of the s a m e pen which h a d p r o d u c e d Jane Eyre. Unjust and grievous error! W e laughed at it at first, but I deeply lament it now. H e n c e , I fear, arose a prejudice against the book. T h a t writer who could attempt to p a l m off an inferior and 1

1. Jane Eyre w a s p u b l i s h e d o n O c t o b e r 1 9 , 1 8 4 7 ; Wuthering published during the week ending D e c e m b e r 15, 1847.

Heights

a n d Agnes

Grey

were

310

[CHARLOTTE

BRONTË]

i m m a t u r e production under cover of one successful effort, must indeed b e unduly eager after the secondary and sordid result of authorship, a n d pitiably indifferent to its true and honourable m e e d . If reviewers and the public truly believed this, no wonder that they looked darkly on the cheat. Yet I m u s t not be understood to make these things subject for reproach or complaint; I dare not do so; respect for my sister's memory forbids m e . By her any s u c h querulous manifestation would have b e e n regarded as an unworthy, and offensive weakness. It is my duty, a s well as my p l e a s u r e , to acknowledge one excep­ tion to the general rule of criticism. O n e writer, endowed with the keen vision a n d fine sympathies of genius, has discerned the real n a t u r e of Wuthering Heights, and h a s , with equal accuracy, noted its beauties a n d t o u c h e d on its faults. T o o often do reviewers re­ mind us of the m o b of Astrologers, C h a l d e a n s , and Soothsayers gathered before the "writing on the wall," and unable to read the characters or m a k e known the interpretation. W e have a right to rejoice when a true seer c o m e s at last, s o m e m a n in whom is an excellent spirit, to whom have been given light, wisdom, and un­ derstanding; who can accurately read the "Mené, M e n é , Tekel, U p h a r s i n " of an original mind (however unripe, however ineffi­ ciently cultured a n d partially expanded that mind may be); and who c a n say with confidence, "This is the interpretation thereof." 2

3

Yet even the writer to w h o m I allude shares the mistake about the authorship, a n d does m e the injustice to s u p p o s e that there was equivoque in my former rejection of this honour (as an honour, I regard it). M a y I a s s u r e him that I would scorn in this and in every other c a s e to deal in equivoque; I believe language to have been given us to m a k e our m e a n i n g clear, and not to wrap it in dishonest doubt. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Acton Bell, had likewise an un­ favourable reception. At this I cannot wonder. T h e choice of subject was a n entire mistake. Nothing less c o n g r u o u s with the writer's nature could b e conceived. T h e motives which dictated this choice were p u r e , but, I think, slightly morbid. S h e had, in the course of her life, b e e n called on to contemplate, near at hand and for a long time, the terrible effects of talents m i s u s e d and faculties abused; hers was naturally a sensitive, reserved, and dejected nature; what she saw s a n k very deeply into her mind; it did her harm. S h e b r o o d e d over it till she believed it to be a duty to reproduce every detail (of c o u r s e with fictitious characters, incidents, and situations) 2. 3.

S y d n e y D o b e l l . S e e t h e Palladium for S e p t e m b e r 1 8 5 0 . F i g u r a t i v e l y , t h e w r i t i n g o n t h e wall; literally, in D a n i e l 5 . 2 5 — 2 8 , t h e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h e s e w o r d s ["numbered, n u m b e r e d , weighed, divided"] foretold the d o o m of Belshazzar's kingdom.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF E L L I S AND ACTON B E L L

(1850)

311

as a warning to others. S h e hated her work, but would p u r s u e it. When reasoned with on the subject, she regarded s u c h r e a s o n i n g s as a temptation to self-indulgence. S h e m u s t b e honest; she m u s t not varnish, soften, or conceal. This well-meant resolution brought on her misconstruction and s o m e a b u s e , which she bore, as it was her c u s t o m to bear whatever was u n p l e a s a n t , with mild, steady p a ­ tience. S h e was a very sincere and practical Christian, but the tinge of religious melancholy c o m m u n i c a t e d a s a d s h a d e to her brief, blameless life. Neither Ellis nor Acton allowed herself for one m o m e n t to sink under want of e n c o u r a g e m e n t ; energy nerved the one, a n d endur­ ance upheld the other. They were both p r e p a r e d to try again; I would fain think that hope and the s e n s e of power was yet strong within them. But a great c h a n g e a p p r o a c h e d : affliction c a m e in that shape which to anticipate is dread; to look b a c k on, grief. In the very heat and burden of the day, the labourers failed over their work. My sister Emily first declined. T h e details of her illness are d e e p branded in my memory, but to dwell on them, either in thought or narrative, is not in my power. Never in all her life h a d she lingered over any task that lay before her, a n d she did not linger now. S h e sank rapidly. S h e m a d e haste to leave u s . Yet, while physically she perished, mentally, she grew stronger than we h a d yet known her. Day by day, when I saw with what a front she met suffering, I looked on her with an anguish of wonder and love. I have seen nothing like it; but, indeed, I have never seen her parallel in any­ thing. Stronger than a m a n , simpler than a child, her nature stood alone. T h e awful point was, that, while full of ruth for others, on herself she had no pity; the spirit was inexorable to the flesh; from the trembling hand, the unnerved limbs, the faded eyes, the s a m e service was exacted as they had rendered in health. T o stand by and witness this, and not dare to remonstrate, was a pain no words can render. Two cruel months of hope a n d fear p a s s e d painfully by, a n d the day c a m e at last when the terrors a n d pains of death were to b e undergone by this treasure, which h a d grown dearer and dearer to our hearts as it wasted before our eyes. T o w a r d s the decline of that day, we had nothing of Emily but her mortal remains a s c o n s u m p ­ tion left them. S h e died D e c e m b e r 19, 1 8 4 8 . W e thought this enough; but we were utterly and p r e s u m p t u o u s l y wrong. S h e was not buried ere A n n e fell ill. S h e had not b e e n committed to the grave a fortnight, before we received distinct in­ timation that it was necessary to prepare our m i n d s to see the younger sister go after the elder. Accordingly, she followed in the s a m e path with slower step, a n d with a p a t i e n c e that equalled

312

[CHARLOTTE

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the other's fortitude. I have said that she was religious, and it was by leaning on those Christian doctrines in which she firmly be­ lieved, that she found support through her most painful journey. I witnessed their efficacy in her latest hour a n d greatest trial, and m u s t b e a r my testimony to the calm triumph with which they brought her through. S h e died M a y 2 8 , 1 8 4 9 . W h a t m o r e shall I say about them? I cannot and need not say m u c h m o r e . In externals, they were two unobtrusive women; a per­ fectly s e c l u d e d life gave them retiring m a n n e r s and habits. In E m ­ ily's n a t u r e the extremes of vigour and simplicity s e e m e d to meet. U n d e r an unsophisticated culture, inartificial tastes, and an unpre­ tending outside, lay a secret power and fire that might have in­ formed the brain and kindled the veins of a hero; but she had no worldly wisdom; her powers were u n a d a p t e d to the practical busi­ n e s s of life; she would fail to defend her most manifest rights, to consult her m o s t legitimate advantage. An interpreter ought always to have stood between her and the world. Her will was not very flexible, a n d it generally o p p o s e d her interest. Her temper was mag­ n a n i m o u s , b u t w a r m and sudden; her spirit altogether unbending. Anne's character was milder and more s u b d u e d ; she wanted the power, the fire, the originality of her sister, but was well-endowed with quiet virtues of her own. Long-suffering, self-denying, reflec­ tive, and intelligent, a constitutional reserve a n d taciturnity placed a n d kept her in the s h a d e , a n d covered her mind, and especially her feelings, with a sort of nun-like veil, which was rarely lifted. Neither Emily nor A n n e was learned; they had no thought of filling their pitchers at the well-spring of other minds; they always wrote from the i m p u l s e of n a t u r e , the dictates of intuition, and from such stores of observation a s their limited experience had enabled them to a m a s s . I may s u m u p all by saying, that for strangers they were nothing, for superficial observers less than nothing; but for those who h a d known them all their lives in the intimacy of close rela­ tionship, they were genuinely good and truly great. This notice has been written, b e c a u s e I felt it a sacred duty to wipe the d u s t off their gravestones, a n d leave their dear n a m e s free from soil. CURRER

September

19,

1850.

BELL

313

[CHARLOTTE BRONTË] Editor's P r e f a c e to the N e w Edition of Wuthering Heights ( 1 8 5 0 ) 1

I have j u s t read over "Wuthering Heights," and, for the first time, have obtained a clear glimpse of what are termed (and, p e r h a p s , really are) its faults; have gained a definite notion of how it a p p e a r s to other p e o p l e — t o strangers who knew nothing of the author; who are u n a c q u a i n t e d with the locality where the s c e n e s of the story are laid; to whom the inhabitants, the c u s t o m s , the natural char­ acteristics of the outlying hills and hamlets in the W e s t - R i d i n g of Yorkshire are things alien and unfamiliar. To all such "Wuthering Heights" m u s t a p p e a r a rude and strange production. T h e wild moors of the north of E n g l a n d can for them have no interest: the l a n g u a g e , the m a n n e r s , the very dwellings a n d household c u s t o m s of the scattered inhabitants of those districts, must be to s u c h readers in a great m e a s u r e unintelligible, a n d — where intelligible—repulsive. M e n a n d w o m e n who, p e r h a p s , nat­ urally very calm, and with feelings m o d e r a t e in degree, a n d little marked in kind, have been trained from their cradle to observe the utmost evenness of m a n n e r and g u a r d e d n e s s of l a n g u a g e , will hardly know what to m a k e of the rough, strong u t t e r a n c e , the harshly manifested p a s s i o n s , the unbridled aversions, a n d h e a d l o n g partialities of unlettered moorland hinds a n d rugged m o o r l a n d squires, who have grown up u n t a u g h t a n d u n c h e c k e d , except by mentors as harsh as themselves. A large class of readers, likewise, will suffer greatly from the introduction into the p a g e s of this work of words printed with all their letters, which it has b e c o m e the custom to represent by the initial a n d final letter o n l y — a blank line filling the interval. I may as well say at once that, for this c i r c u m ­ stance, it is out of my power to apologize; d e e m i n g it, myself, a rational plan to write words at full length. T h e practice of hinting by single letters those expletives with which profane a n d violent persons are wont to garnish their d i s c o u r s e , strikes m e as a pro­ ceeding which, however well meant, is weak a n d futile. I cannot tell what good it d o e s — w h a t feeling it s p a r e s — w h a t horror it conceals. With regard to the rusticity of "Wuthering Heights," I admit the charge, for I feel the quality. It is rustic all through. It is moorish, and wild, and knotty as a root of heath. N o r was it natural that it 1. F o r a c o m m e n t a r y o n t h e l a s t i n g i m p a c t o f t h i s P r e f a c e o n Wuthering see J . Hillis Miller, p. 3 6 5 .

Heights

criticism,

314

[CHARLOTTE

BRONTË]

should be otherwise; the author being herself a native and nursling of the moors. D o u b t l e s s , had her lot been cast in a town, her writ­ ings, if she had written at all, would have p o s s e s s e d another char­ acter. Even h a d c h a n c e or taste led her to c h o o s e a similar subject, she would have treated it otherwise. H a d Ellis Bell been a lady or a g e n t l e m a n a c c u s t o m e d to what is called "the world," her view of a remote and u n r e c l a i m e d region, as well as of the dwellers therein, would have differed greatly from that actually taken by the home­ bred country girl. D o u b t l e s s it would have been w i d e r — m o r e com­ prehensive: whether it would have been more original or more truthful is not so certain. As far as the scenery and locality are concerned, it could scarcely have been so sympathetic: Ellis Bell did not describe as one whose eye and taste alone found pleasure in the prospect; her native hills were far more to her than a spec­ tacle; they were what she lived in, and by, as m u c h as the wild birds, their tenants, or as the heather, their p r o d u c e . Her descrip­ tions, then, of natural scenery, are what they should be, and all they should be. W h e r e delineation of h u m a n character is concerned, the c a s e is different. I a m b o u n d to avow that she had scarcely more practical knowledge of the peasantry a m o n g s t w h o m she lived, then a nun has of the country people who sometimes p a s s her convent gates. M y sister's disposition was not naturally gregarious; circumstances favoured a n d fostered her tendency to seclusion; except to go to c h u r c h or take a walk on the hills, she rarely crossed the threshold of h o m e . T h o u g h her feeling for the people round was benevolent, intercourse with them she never sought; nor, with very few excep­ tions, ever experienced. And yet she knew them: knew their ways, their l a n g u a g e , their family histories; she could hear of them with interest, and talk of them with detail, minute, graphic, and accu­ rate; but with them, she rarely exchanged a word. H e n c e it ensued that what her mind had gathered of the real concerning them, was too exclusively confined to those tragic and terrible traits of which, in listening to the secret annals of every rude vicinage, the memory is s o m e t i m e s compelled to receive the impress. Her imagination, which was a spirit m o r e s o m b r e than sunny, more powerful than sportive, found in s u c h traits material whence it wrought creations like Heathcliff, like E a r n s h a w , like Catherine. Having formed these beings, she did not know what she had done. If the auditor of her work when read in manuscript, shuddered under the grinding in­ fluence of n a t u r e s so relentless and implacable, of spirits so lost and fallen; if it was complained that the mere hearing of certain vivid and fearful s c e n e s b a n i s h e d sleep by night, and disturbed mental p e a c e by day, Ellis Bell would wonder what was meant, and s u s p e c t the c o m p l a i n a n t of affectation. H a d she but lived, her mind

E D I T O R ' S P R E F A C E T O WUTHERING

HEIGHTS

(1850)

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would of itself have grown like a strong tree, loftier, straighter, wider-spreading, a n d its m a t u r e d fruits would have attained a mel­ lower ripeness a n d sunnier bloom; but on that m i n d time a n d ex­ perience alone could work: to the influence of other intellects, it was not a m e n a b l e . Having avowed that over m u c h of "Wuthering Heights" there broods "a horror of great darkness;" that, in its s t o r m - h e a t e d a n d electrical a t m o s p h e r e , we s e e m at times to b r e a t h e lightning, let m e point to those spots where clouded daylight a n d the eclipsed s u n still attest their existence. For a s p e c i m e n of true benevolence a n d homely fidelity, look at the character of Nelly D e a n ; for an example of constancy and tenderness, remark that of E d g a r Linton. ( S o m e people will think these qualities do not shine so well incarnate in a man as they would do in a w o m a n , but Ellis Bell could never be brought to c o m p r e h e n d this notion: nothing moved her m o r e than any insinuation that the faithfulness a n d clemency, the longsuffering and loving-kindness which are e s t e e m e d virtues in the daughers of Eve, b e c o m e foibles in the s o n s of A d a m . S h e held that mercy and forgiveness are the divinest attributes of the G r e a t B e i n g who m a d e both m a n a n d w o m a n , a n d that what clothes the G o d ­ head in glory, can disgrace no form of feeble humanity.) T h e r e is a dry saturnine h u m o u r in the delineation of old J o s e p h , a n d s o m e glimpses of grace a n d gaiety a n i m a t e the younger C a t h e r i n e . N o r is even the first heroine of the n a m e destitute of a certain strange beauty in her fierceness, or of honesty in the midst of perverted passion and p a s s i o n a t e perversity. Heathcliff, indeed, stands u n r e d e e m e d ; never o n c e swerving in his arrow-straight c o u r s e to perdition, from the time when "the little black-haired, swarthy thing, as dark as if it c a m e from the Devil," was first unrolled out of the bundle a n d set on its feet in the farm­ house kitchen, to the hour when Nelly D e a n found the grim, stal­ wart corpse laid on its b a c k in the p a n e l - e n c l o s e d bed, with wide-gazing eyes that s e e m e d "to sneer at her attempt to close them, and parted lips and sharp white teeth that s n e e r e d too." Heathcliff betrays one solitary h u m a n feeling, a n d that is not his love for Catherine; which is a sentiment fierce a n d i n h u m a n : a passion such as might boil a n d glow in the b a d e s s e n c e of s o m e evil genius; a fire that might form the tormented c e n t r e — t h e eversuffering soul of a m a g n a t e of the infernal world: a n d by its q u e n c h ­ less and ceaseless ravage effect the execution of the d e c r e e which dooms him to carry Hell with him wherever he wanders. N o ; the single link that connects Heathcliff with humanity is his rudely confessed regard for Hareton E a r n s h a w — t h e young m a n w h o m he has ruined; and then his half-implied e s t e e m for Nelly D e a t h . T h e s e solitary traits omitted, we should say he was child neither of L a s c a r

316

[CHARLOTTE

BRONTË]

nor gipsy, but a man's s h a p e a n i m a t e d by d e m o n life—a G h o u l — an Afreet. Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff, I do not know: I scarcely think it is. But this I know; the writer who p o s s e s s e s the creative gift owns something of which he is not always m a s t e r — s o m e t h i n g that at times strangely wills and works for itself. H e may lay down rules and devise principles, and to rules and principles it will p e r h a p s for years lie in subjection; and then, haply without any warning of revolt, there c o m e s a time when it will not longer c o n s e n t "to harrow the vallies, or be b o u n d with a b a n d in the furrow"—when it "laughs at the multitude of the city, and regards not the crying of the driver"—when, refusing absolutely to m a k e ropes out of s e a - s a n d any longer, it sets to work on statuehewing, a n d you have a Pluto or a J o v e , a Tisiphone or a Psyche, a M e r m a i d or a M a d o n n a , as F a t e or Inspiration direct. B e the work grim or glorious, d r e a d or divine, you have little choice left but q u i e s c e n t adoption. As for y o u — t h e nominal artist—your share in it h a s b e e n to work passively under dictates you neither delivered nor could q u e s t i o n — t h a t would not be uttered at your prayer, nor s u p p r e s s e d nor c h a n g e d at your caprice. If the result be attractive, the World will p r a i s e you, who little deserve praise; if it be repulsive, the s a m e World will b l a m e you, who almost as little deserve blame. 2

"Wuthering Heights" was hewn in a wild workshop, with simple tools, out of homely materials. T h e statuary found a granite block on a solitary moor: gazing thereon, he saw how from the crag might be elicited a head, savage, swart, sinister; a form moulded with at least one element of g r a n d e u r — p o w e r . H e wrought with a rude chisel, and from no model but the vision of his meditations. With time a n d labour, the crag took h u m a n shape: and there it stands colossal, dark, a n d frowning, half statue, half rock in the former s e n s e , terrible a n d goblin-like; in the latter, almost beautiful, for its colouring is of mellow grey, and moorland m o s s clothes it; and heath, with its b l o o m i n g bells and balmy fragrance, grows faithfully close to the giant's foot. CURRER

BELL

2. T w o years earlier, C h a r l o t t e h a d called Heathcliff "quite a n o t h e r creation. H e exemplifies t h e e f f e c t s w h i c h a life o f c o n t i n u e d i n j u s t i c e a n d h a r d u s a g e m a y p r o d u c e o n a n a t u r a l l y perverse, vindictive a n d inexorable disposition. Carefully trained a n d kindly treated, the b l a c k g i p s e y - c u b [sic] m i g h t p o s s i b l y h a v e b e e n r e a r e d i n t o a h u m a n b e i n g , b u t t y r a n n y a n d i g n o r a n c e m a d e o f h i m a m e r e d e m o n . T h e w o r s t o f it i s , s o m e o f h i s s p i r i t s e e m s b r e a t h e d t h r o u g h t h e w h o l e n a r r a t i v e i n w h i c h h e figures; it h a u n t s e v e r y m o o r a n d g l e n , a n d b e c k o n s i n e v e r y fir-tree o f t h e ' H e i g h t s ' . " M a r g a r e t S m i t h , e d . , The Letters of Char­ lotte Brontë, vol. II ( O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n P r e s s , 2 0 0 0 ) , 9 9 .

317

EMILY BRONTE'S P O E M S FOR T H E 1 8 5 0 WUTHERING HEIGHTS The sisters' first effort at publication was the largely ignored 1846 Po­ ems, by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, for which the authors had shared Aylott and Jones's cost of publication. After the success of Jane Eyre, Charlotte's publisher, Smith, Elder and Company, in 1848 reissued the 1846 volume. When Charlotte selected poetry to present as the literary remains of her sisters she did not reprint work that had been in the earlier collection. Her objective in honoring their memory was to pro­ vide a reliable edition as she responded to unfounded speculations about authorship of the several works. As her brief preface put it, she was bound by "the scruples and the wishes of those whose written thoughts these papers held." She noted that some of the poetry origi­ nated in childhood writing, and she did not want "to expose in print the crude thoughts of the unripe mind, the rude efforts of the unprac­ tised hand." This may account for a number of Charlotte's editorial changes, but she well understood how much Emily had protected her privacy and how much she would have resented any revelation about Gondal, the imaginary world of her juvenilia or any comment concern­ ing her beliefs and feelings. Thus, as we can see by comparison of manuscripts with the 1850 poems, Charlotte detatched them from Gondal contexts, provided titles and headnotes, substituted wording and even added stanzas. For several of the poems she printed only a small part of the original. Mid-nineteenth-century readers had no in­ dication of how heavy Charlotte's hand was as she claimed to have "culled from the mass only a little poem here and there." However well justified by conscience and sisterly concern, Charlotte in the 1850 editorial work set out to acknowledge the unique nature of Emily's character and talent and to make that life and work more accessible to mid-Victorian readers. The consequence has been well recognized by Brontë biographer Winifred Gérin: "Interpret Emily to the world as Charlotte constantly attempted to do, she did not allow the authentic voice of Emily to be heard, except in the already pub­ lished works." Charlotte's editorial changes to the text of Wuthering Heights in 1850 were largely ones of correcting many of the sloppy errors she and her sisters found in the Newby first edition, matters of paragraphing, spelling, and punctuation. Nowhere in her editing of the novel did Charlotte change the original text to the extent she did with the poetry. Because there was no authoritative text for Emily's poems before well into the twentieth century and because only the ones pub­ lished first in 1846 along with these in 1850 were generally available, Charlotte's editorial choices long prevailed. With the most recent and scrupulously edited new edition of her poems, Emily's achievements as poet and the ties between her verse and fiction can be recognized and assessed. Thanks particularly to 1

1. W i n i f r e d G é r i n , Emily

Brontë

(Oxford: C l a r e n d o n Press, 1971)

263.

318

[CHARLOTTE

BRONTË]

Derek Roper, with the assistance of Edward Chitham, in The Poems of Emily Brontë (1995), the relationship of published poems to manu­ scripts has been clearly documented. For example, these editors show how Charlotte combined separate poems (120A and 120B), and she added one (201) for which there is no surviving manuscript and whose authorship thus has been questioned. But even though Gérin charac­ terized Charlotte's editorial work as an "altering and shortening of texts, suppressing their original Gondal titles, eliminating, in fact, the key to their inspiration and confusing their sense," Roper and Chitham con­ clude otherwise. They think the impact of Charlotte's work on the in­ terpretation of Emily's poems has been exaggerated, and suggest that she often made the poems more accessible as she made minor local verbal improvements (Gérin, p. 4 5 1 ; Roper and Chitham, p. 24). Cer­ tainly the Roper-Chitham texts for the 1850 poems, reprinted here, allow readers to see them in ways not previously possible, because we can read them both as Emily wrote them and as Charlotte changed them. Here and there we find obvious scenes, themes, and character types that recur in Wuthering Heights, and here, too, the author masks or otherwise distances her voice. Even her sister seemed unable always to distinguish when Emily the poet was speaking as herself or as a fictional being more or less like herself.

[CHARLOTTE BRONTË] Selections It would not have b e e n difficult to compile a volume out of the p a p e r s left by my sisters, had I, in making the selection, dismissed from my consideration the scruples and the wishes of those whose written thoughts these p a p e r s held. B u t this was impossible: an influence, stronger than could be exercised by any motive of expe­ diency, necessarily regulated the selection. I have, then, culled from the m a s s only a little p o e m here and there. T h e whole makes but a tiny nosegay, a n d the colour and p e r f u m e of the flowers are not s u c h as fit them for festal u s e s . It h a s b e e n already said that my sisters wrote m u c h in childhood and girlhood. Usually, it s e e m s a sort of injustice to expose in print the c r u d e thoughts of the unripe mind, the rude efforts of the un­ practised hand; yet I venture to give three little p o e m s of my sister Emily's, written in her sixteenth year, b e c a u s e they illustrate a point in her character. At that period she was sent to school. Her previous life, with the exception of a single half-year, had b e e n p a s s e d in the absolute 1

1. T h e R o p e r e d i t i o n o f t h e p o e m s s h o w s t h a t t h e m a n u s c r i p t f o r t h e t h r e e p o e m s d a t e s t h e i r c o m p o s i t i o n in E m i l y ' s t w e n t i e t h y e a r .

SELECTIONS

319

retirement of a village p a r s o n a g e , a m o n g s t the hills bordering York­ shire and L a n c a s h i r e . T h e scenery of these hills is not g r a n d — i t is not romantic; it is scarcely striking. L o n g low m o o r s , dark with heath, shut in little valleys, where a stream waters, here a n d there, a fringe of stunted c o p s e . Mills and scattered cottages c h a s e ro­ m a n c e from these valleys; it is only higher u p , d e e p in a m o n g s t the ridges of the moors, that Imagination c a n find rest for the sole of her foot: and even if she finds it there, she m u s t be a solitudeloving r a v e n — n o gentle dove. If she d e m a n d beauty to inspire her, she m u s t bring it inborn: these moors are too stern to yield any product so delicate. T h e eye of the gazer m u s t itself brim with a purple light,' intense enough to p e r p e t u a t e the brief flower-flush of August on the heather, or the rare s u n s e t - s m i l e of J u n e ; out of his heart m u s t well the freshness, that in latter spring a n d early s u m m e r brightens the bracken, nurtures the m o s s , a n d cherishes the starry flowers that spangle for a few weeks the p a s t u r e of the moor-sheep. Unless that light and freshness are innate and selfsustained, the drear prospect of a Yorkshire moor will be found a s barren of poetic as of agricultural interest: where the love of wild nature is strong, the locality will p e r h a p s be clung to with the m o r e passionate constancy, b e c a u s e from the hill-lover's self c o m e s half its charm. My sister Emily loved the moors. Flowers brighter than the rose bloomed in the blackest of the heath for her; out of a sullen hollow in a livid hillside her mind could m a k e an E d e n . S h e found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; a n d not the least and best loved was—liberty. Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; without it, she per­ ished. The c h a n g e from her own h o m e to a school, a n d from her own very noiseless, very secluded, but unrestricted a n d inartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined routine (though u n d e r the kind­ liest auspices) was what she failed in enduring. Her n a t u r e proved here too strong for her fortitude. Every morning when she woke, the vision of home and the moors r u s h e d on her, a n d d a r k e n e d and saddened the day that lay before her. N o b o d y knew what ailed her but m e — I knew only too well. In this struggle her health was quickly broken: her white face, a t t e n u a t e d form, and failing strength threatened rapid decline. I felt in my heart she would die, if she did not go h o m e , a n d with this conviction obtained her recall. S h e had only been three m o n t h s at school; and it was s o m e years before the experiment of sending her from h o m e was again ventured on. After the age of twenty, having m e a n t i m e studied alone with diligence and perseverance, she went with m e to an establishment on the Continent: the s a m e suffering a n d conflict e n s u e d , height­ ened by the strong recoil of her upright, heretic a n d English spirit

320

EMILY BRONTË

from the gentle Jesuitry of the foreign and R o m i s h system. O n c e m o r e she s e e m e d sinking, but this time she rallied through the mere force of resolution: with inward r e m o r s e and s h a m e she looked back on her former failure, and resolved to conquer in this second ordeal. S h e did conquer: b u t the victory cost her dear. S h e was never happy till she carried her hard-won knowledge b a c k to the remote English village, the old p a r s o n a g e - h o u s e , a n d desolate Yorkshire hills. Avery few years more, and she looked her last on those hills, and breathed her last in that h o u s e , a n d under the aisle of that obscure village c h u r c h found her last lowly resting-place. Merciful was the decree that s p a r e d her when she was a stranger in a strange land, and g u a r d e d her dying bed with kindred love and congenial constancy. T h e following p i e c e s were c o m p o s e d at twilight, in the school­ room, when the leisure of the evening play-hour brought b a c k in full tide the thoughts of h o m e . 2

POEMSt 40

1

December A little while, a little while T h e noisy crowd are barred away; And I c a n sing and I can s m i l e — A little while IVe holyday!

4th

1838

2

3

W h e r e wilt thou go my h a r a s s e d heart? Full m a n y a l a n d invites thee now; And p l a c e s near, and far apart H a v e rest for thee, my weary b r o w —

5

4

5

T h e r e is a spot mid barren hills W h e r e winter howls and driving rain B u t if the dreary tempest chills T h e r e is a light that warms again

10

2 . C h a r l o t t e r e f e r s t o t h e first t h r e e r e p r i n t e d p o e m s . t T h e s e s e l e c t i o n s a r e f r o m D e r e k R o p e r , e d . , w i t h E d w a r d C h i t h a m , The Poems of Emily Brontë (Oxford: C l a r e n d o n Press, 1 9 9 5 ) , a n d are reprinted with p e r m i s s i o n of C l a r e n d o n P r e s s . F o r this N o r t o n C r i t i c a l E d i t i o n , t h e p o e m s a r e r e p r o d u c e d a s they a p p e a r e d in Emily's m a n u s c r i p t s , a n d t h e f o o t n o t e s r e c o r d t h e c h a n g e s C h a r l o t t e m a d e for p u b l i c a ­ tion in 1 8 5 0 . 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1 8 5 0 title: " S t a n z a s " " T h e w e a r y t a s k is p u t " " A l i k e " ( p o s s i b l y a m i s r e a d i n g o f "A l i t t l e " ) "What thought, what scene" "Has"

POEMS

T h e h o u s e is old, the trees are bare And m o o n l e s s b e n d s the misty d o m e But what on earth is half so d e a r — S o longed for as the hearth of h o m e ?

6

T h e m u t e bird sitting on the stone, T h e dank m o s s dripping from the wall, T h e garden-walk with weeds o'e'r-grown I love t h e m — h o w I love them all! 7

8

Shall I go there? or shall I s e e k Another clime, another s k y — Where tongues familiar m u s i c s p e a k In a c c e n t s dear to memory? 9

Y e s , as I m u s e d , the naked room, T h e flickering firelight died away And from the midst of cheerless gloom I p a s s e d to bright, u n c l o u d e d d a y — 1

A little a n d a lone green lane That opened on a c o m m o n wide A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain Of m o u n t a i n s circling every s i d e — 2

A heaven so clear, an earth so c a l m , S o sweet, so soft, so h u s h e d an air And, d e e p e n i n g still the dreamlike c h a r m , Wild moor s h e e p feeding every w h e r e — 3

T h a t was the s c e n e — I knew it well I knew the pathways far a n d n e a r That winding o'er e a c h billowy swell Marked out the tracks of wandering d e e r 4

C o u l d I have lingered but an hour It well had paid a week of toil " M o o n l e s s a b o v e b e n d s twilight's d o m e " "The thorn-trees gaunt, the walks" L i n e s 21—24 o m i t t e d "Still" "alien" "moorland" "That" "turfy p a t h w a y ' s s w e e p " "sheep"

5

EMILY

BRONTË

B u t truth h a s b a n i s h e d fancy's power I hear my d u n g e o n bars r e c o i l — 6

Even as I stood with raptured eye A b s o r b e d in bliss so deep and dear My hour of rest had fleeted by And given m e b a c k to weary c a r e — 42

7

1

December

18th

T h e bluebell is the sweetest flower T h a t waves in s u m m e r air Its b l o s s e m s have the mightest power T o soothe my spirit's care T h e r e is a spell in purple heath T o o wildly, sadly dear T h e violet h a s a fragrant breath B u t fragrence will not cheer The And The The

trees are bare, the s u n is cold s e l d o m , seldom s e e n — heavens have lost their zone of gold earth its robe of green

And ice u p o n the glancing stream H a s cast i t s s o m b r e s h a d e And distant hills and valleys s e e m In frozen mist a r r a y e d — 2

T h e blue bell cannot c h a r m m e now T h e heath has lost its bloom T h e violets in the glen below They yeild no sweet p e r f u m e 3

B u t though I m o u r n the heather-bell 'Tis better far, away I know how fast my tears would swell T o see it smile to day

"Restraint & heavy task recoil" "And b a c k c a m e labour, b o n d a g e , care" 1 8 5 0 title: " T h e B l u e b e l l " "her" "sweet Bluebell"

1838

323

POEMS

And that wood flower that hides so s h y B e n e a t h the mossy stone Its balmy scent and dewy eye Tis not for them I m o a n

4

25

It is the slight a n d stately stem T h e blossem's silvery blue T h e b u d s hid like a sapphire g e m In sheathes of emerald h u e

30

'Tis these that breathe upon my heart A calm and softening spell T h a t if it makes the tear-drop start H a s power to soothe as well

35

For these I weep, so long devided T h r o u g h winter's dreary day In longing w e e p — b u t most when guided O n withered banks to stray

40

5

If chilly then the light should fall Adown t h e dreary sky And gild t h e d a n k a n d darkened wall With transient brilliency 6

7

8

How do I y e a r n , how do I pine For the time of flowers to c o m e And turn m e from that fading shine T o mourn the fields of h o m e — 39

45

1

November

11th

1838

L o u d without the wind was roaring T h r o u g h the waned a u t u m n a l sky, 2

Lines 2 5 - 4 0 omitted "For, oh! W h e n chill the s u n b e a m s fall!" "that" "yon" "weep" Titling this " S t a n z a s , " C h a r l o t t e s t a t e d that this a n d the p r e v i o u s two p o e m s h a d b e e n w r i t t e n in h e r s i s t e r ' s s i x t e e n t h y e a r , " c o m p o s e d a t t w i l i g h t , i n t h e s c h o o l r o o m , w h e n t h e l e i s u r e of the e v e n i n g p l a y - h o u r b r o u g h t b a c k in full tide t h e t h o u g h t s o f h o m e . " R o p e r points out that the c o m p o s i t i o n d a t e s indicate Emily, a g e d twenty, wrote t h e m d u r i n g h e r p e r i o d o f t e a c h i n g at L a w Hill in 1 8 3 8 - 3 9 . S o m e o f C h a r l o t t e ' s a l t e r a t i o n s r e m o v e fictional t o u c h e s that m i g h t relate to G o n d a l or S c o t l a n d , "th' a u t u m n a l "

EMILY

BRONTË

D r e n c h i n g wet, the cold rain pouring S p o k e of stormy winters nigh. 3

All T o o like that dreary eve S i g h e d within repining greif— S i g h e d at first—but sighed not l o n g S w e e t — H o w softly sweet it c a m e ! Wild words of an ancient s o n g — Undefined, without a n a m e — 4

5

6

"It was spring, f o r the skylark was singing." T h o s e words they awakened a s p e l l — They unlocked a deep fountain whose springing N o r A b s e n c e nor D i s t a n c e can quell. In the gloom of a cloudy N o v e m b e r They uttered the m u s i c of M a y — They kindled the perishing e m b e r Into fervour that could not decay Awaken on all my dear moorlands T h e wind in its glory a n d pride! O call m e from valleys a n d highlands T o walk by the hill-rivers side! 7

It is The And And

swelled with the first snowy weather; roaks they are icy a n d hoar darker waves r o u n d the long heather the firn-leaves are sunny no more 8

T h e r e are no yellow-stars on the mountain T h e blue-bells have long died away F r o m the brink of the m o s s - b e d d e d fountain, F r o m the side of the wintery b r a e — 9

B u t lovlier than corn-fields all waving In e m e r a l d a n d scarlet a n d gold 1

"of w i n t e r " "Did m y exiled spirit grieve" "Grieved at f i r s t — b u t grieved not long" "and" " A w a k e n , o'er all m y d e a r m o o r l a n d , W e s t - w i n d , in thy glory a n d p r i d e ! O! call m e from valley a n d lowland, T o walk by the hill-torrent's side!" "sullenly waves" "wintry" "vermeil"

325

POEMS

2

Are the s l o p e s where the north-wind is raving And the g l e n s where I wandered of o l d — 3

4

" It was morning, the bright s u n was b e a m i n g — " How sweetly that brought b a c k to m e T h e time when nor labour nor d r e a m i n g Broke the sleep of the happy a n d free

35

5

6

But blithely we rose as the d u s k h e a v e n W a s melting to a m b e r a n d blue And swift were the wings to our feet given W h i l e we traversed the m e a d o w s of dew.

40

7

For the moors, for the moors where the short grass Like velvet b e n e a t h us should lie! For the moors, for the moors where e a c h high p a s s Rose sunny against the clear sky! For the moors, where the linnet was trilling Its song on the old granite s t o n e — Where the l a r k — t h e wild sky-lark was filling Every breast with delight like its own.

45

50

What l a n g u a g e can utter the feeling T h a t rose when, in exile afar, O n the brow of a lonely hill kneeling I saw the brown heath growing there: 8

It was scattered a n d stunted, a n d told m e That soon even that would be gone It wispered; "The grim walls enfold m e "I have bloomed in my last s u m m e r ' s s u n — " But not the loved m u s i c whose waking M a k e s the soul of the swiss die away H a s a s p e l l — m o r e adored a n d heart-breaking T h a n in its half-blighted bells l a y — 9

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

"heights" "crags" N o quotation marks. "it" "dawn-heaven" "As" "Which" " T h a n , for m e , in t h a t b l i g h t e d h e a t h lay"

55

60

326

EMILY

BRONTË

1

T h e spirit that bent 'neath its power H o w it longed, how it burned to be free! If I could have wept in that hour T h o s e tears had been heaven to m e —

65

Well, well the s a d minutes are moving T h o u g h loaded with trouble and p a i n — And s o m e t i m e the loved and the loving Shall meet on the m o u n t a i n s a g a i n — 84

1

May Shall Thou Since Shall

70

16th

1841

E a r t h no m o r e inspire thee, lonely d r e a m e r now? passion may not fire thee N a t u r e c e a s e to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving In regions dark to thee; Recall its usless roving— C o m e b a c k and dwell with m e — I know my mountain breezes E n c h a n t and soothe thee still— I know my s u n s h i n e p l e a s e s D e s p i t e thy wayward will— W h e n day with evening blending Sinks from the s u m m e r sky, I've seen thy spirit bending In fond idolatry— I've w h a c h e d thee every h o u r — I know my mighty sway— I know my magic power T o drive thy greifs a w a y —

5

10

15

20

F e w hearts to mortals given O n earth so wildly pine

1. " w h i c h " 1. C h a r l o t t e t i t l e d t h i s " S h a l l E a r t h n o m o r e i n s p i r e t h e e , " a n d p r o v i d e d a p r e f a t o r y s e n ­ t e n c e : " T h e f o l l o w i n g l i t t l e p i e c e h a s n o t i t l e ; b u t i n it t h e G e n i u s o f a s o l i t a r y r e g i o n s e e m s to a d d r e s s his w a n d e r i n g a n d w a y w a r d votary, a n d to recall within his influence t h e p r o u d m i n d w h i c h r e b e l l e d a t t i m e s e v e n a g a i n s t w h a t it m o s t l o v e d . " R o p e r o b s e r v e s t h a t "the s p e a k e r s e e m s in f a c t to b e E a r t h , or N a t u r e . "

327

POEMS

2

Yet n o n e would a s k a H e a v e n M o r e like t h e Earth than t h i n e — 3

T h e n let my winds c a r e s s t h e e — Thy c o m r a d e let m e b e — S i n c e nought beside c a n bless t h e e Return a n d dwell with m e — 7

9

1

September T h e night wind In summer's mellow midnight A cloudless m o o n s h o n e through O u r open parlour window And rosetrees wet with d e w — I sat in silent m u s i n g — T h e soft wind waved my hair It told m e Heaven was glorious And sleeping Earth was f a i r — I needed not its breathing T o bring s u c h thoughts to m e But still it wispered lowly "How dark the woods will b e ! — "The thick leaves in my m u r m e r "Are rustling like a d r e a m , "And all their myriad voices "Instinct with spirit s e e m " I said, "go gentle singer, "Thy wooing voice is kind "But do not think its m u s i c "Has power to reach my m i n d — "play with the scented flower, "The young tree's s u p p l e b o u g h — "And leave my h u m a n feelings "In their own c o u r s e to flow" 2 . "few" 3. "this" 1. 1 8 5 0 t i t l e : " T h e N i g h t W i n d . "

11th

1840

328

EMILY

BRONTË

2

T h e W a n d e r e r would not leave m e Its kiss grew warmer still— "O c o m e / ' it sighed so sweetly 'Til win thee 'gainst thy will—

25

"Have we not been from childhood f r i e n d s ? "Have I not loved thee long? "As long as thou hast loved the night "Whose silence wakes my song?

3

30

4

"And w h e n thy heart is resting "Beneath the c h u r c h e y a r d stone " I shall have time for mourning "And t h o u for being alone"— 5

6

35

7

85

1

July 6th

1841

Aye there it is! It wakes to night Sweet thoughts that will not die And feeling's fires flash all as bright As in the years gone b y ! — 2

3

And And And How

I can tell by thine altered cheek by thy kindled gaze by the words thou scearce dost speak, wildly fancy p l a y s —

5

4

2. "heed" 3. "Were we not friends f r o m childhood?" 4. "the s o l e m n night" 5. " c h u r c h - a i s l e " ; R o p e r n o t e s t h a t E m i l y w a s b u r i e d in t h e f a m i l y v a u l t u n d e r the c h a n c e l in H a w o r t h c h u r c h . 6. " J " 7. "thou" 1. T i t l i n g t h i s " A y e , t h e r e it i s ! " C h a r l o t t e p r o v i d e d a p r e f a t o r y s e n t e n c e : "In t h e s e s t a n z a s a l o u d e r g a l e h a s r o u s e d the s l e e p e r on her pillow: the w a k e n e d soul struggles to blend w i t h t h e s t o r m b y w h i c h it i s s w a y e d . " R o p e r n o t e s t h a t " t h e s p e a k e r is n o t n e c e s s a r i l y i n b e d , a n d a b a s i c p r o b l e m is t o d e c i d e w h o is s p e a k i n g a n d t o w h o m . C B p r e s e n t s 1 4 a s s p o k e n b y E B , 5—24 a s s p o k e n t o h e r b y a b e i n g s u c h a s t h e N i g h t W i n d . . . o r E a r t h o r N a t u r e . . . . I t is e a s i e r t o r e a d t h e p o e m a s o n e s p e e c h : c o n c e i v a b l y a d d r e s s e d b y E B to s o m e r e a l o r i m a g i n e d p e r s o n s h a r i n g h e r r e s p o n s e to t h e w i n d , b u t m o r e likely a d d r e s s e d t o a n E B figure, e i t h e r b y t h i s p e r s o n o r b y a s p i r i t o f n a t u r e . " 2.

" A y e t h e r e it i s ! It w a k e s t o n i g h t D e e p feelings I thought dead; S t r o n g in t h e b l a s t — q u i c k g a t h e r i n g l i g h t — T h e heart's flame kindles red"

3. 4.

"Now" "thine eyes' full"

POEMS

Yes I could swear that glorious wind H a s swept the world aside H a s d a s h e d its memory from thy mind Like foam-bells from the t i d e —

And Thy The And

thou art now a spirit pouring p r e s e n c e into a l l — e s s e n c e of the T e m p e s t ' s roaring of the T e m p e s t ' s f a l l — 5

6

A universal influence F r o m T h i n e own influence f r e e — A principle of life intense Lost to mortality—

T h u s truely when that b r e a s t is cold Thy prisoned soul shall rise T h e D u n g e o n mingle with the m o u l d — T h e captive with the s k i e s — 7

1

128

Love is like the wild rose briar, Friendship, like the holly tree T h e holly is dark when the rose briar b l o o m s , But which will bloom most constantly?

T h e wild rose briar is sweet in spring, Its s u m m e r b l o s s e m s scent the air yet wait till winter c o m e s again And who will call the wild-briar fair

T h e n scorn the silly rose-wreath now And deck thee with the holly's sheen That when D e c e m b e r blights thy brow H e still may leave thy garland g r e e n — "thunder" " T h e w h i s p e r o f its fall:" Without a stanza break, 1 8 5 0 adds: "Nature's deep being, thine shall hold, H e r spirit all thy spirit f o l d , H e r breath a b s o r b thy sighs. M o r t a l ! T h o u g h s o o n life's t a l e is t o l d ; W h o o n c e lives, never dies!" C h a r l o t t e ' s title: " L o v e a n d F r i e n d s h i p . "

330

EMILY

BRONTË

1

112

Nov

11th

1844

F r o m a D u n g e o n Wall in the S o u t h e r n C o l l e g e — J B Sept. 1825 "Listen! when your hair like mine "Takes a tint of silver grey, "When your eyes, with dimmer shine, "Whach life's b u b b l e s float away, "When you, young m a n , have borne like me "The weary weight of sixty three "Then shall p e n a n c e sore be paid "For t h e s e hours so wildly s q u a n d e r e d "And the words that now fall dead "On your e a r s be deeply p o n d e r e d "pondered a n d approved at last "But their virtue will b e past!

5

2

3

"Glorious is the prize of Duty "Though she b e a serious p o w e r "Treacherous all the lures of Beauty "Thorny b u d and p o i s o n o u s flower!

10

4

"Mirth is but a m a d beguiling "Of the golden gifted T i m e — " L o v e — a d e m o n meteor wiling "Heedless feet to gulfs of c r i m e —

is

20

"Those who follow earthly p l e a s u r e "Heavenly knowledge will not lead "Wisdom hides from them her treasure, "Virtue bids them evil speed! "Vainly may their hearts, repenting, "Seek for aid in future y e a r s — "Wisdom s c o r n e d knows no relenting— "Virtue is not won by t e a r s

25

5

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

C h a r l o t t e ' s title: " T h e E l d e r ' s R e b u k e . " "those" "ear" " ' a s e r i o u s p o w e r ' "; R o p e r s u g g e s t s C h a r l o t t e m a y h a v e u s e d q u o t a t i o n m a r k s b e c a u s e s h e r e c a l l e d "awful P o w e r " in W o r d s w o r t h ' s " O d e to D u t y . " "fears"

POEMS

6

"Fain would we your steps r e c l a i m "Waken fear a n d holy s h a m e "And to this end, our council well "And kindly d o o m e d you to a cell "Whose d a r k n e s s , may p e r c h a n c e , disclose "A b e a c o n - g u i d e from sterner w o e s — "

S o spake my J u d g e — t h e n seized his l a m p And left m e in the d u n g e o n d a m p . A vault-like p l a c e whose stagnant air S u g g e s t s a n d nourishes dispair!

Rosina, this had never been Except for you, my despot q u e e n Except for you the billowy s e a Would now be tossing under m e T h e winds' wild voice my b o s o m thrill And my glad heart b o u n d wilder still

Flying before the rapid gale T h o s e wonderous southern isles to hail Which wait for my c o m p a n i o n s free But thank your p a s s i o n — n o t for me!

You know too w e l l — a n d so do I Your haughty beauty's soveriegnty Yet have I read those falcon e y e s — Have dived into their m y s t e r i e s — Have studied long their glance a n d feel It is not love those eyes r e v e a l —

They F l a s h — t h e y burn with lightening shine But not with s u c h fond fire as mine; T h e tender star fades faint a n d wan Before Ambition's scorching s u n — S o d e e m I n o w — a n d T i m e will prove If I have wronged Rosina's l o v e — L i n e s 2 9 - 6 0 r e p l a c e d with: "Thus s p a k e the i c e - b l o o d e d elder gray; The young m a n scoffed as he turned away, T u r n e d to the call of a sweet lute's m e a s u r e , W a k e d by the l i g h t s o m e t o u c h of p l e a s u r e : H a d he ne'er m e t a gentler teacher, W o e h a d b e e n wrought by that pitiless preacher"

332

EMILY

BRONTË

I06 E.W. to A . G . A .

1

2

March

11th

H o w few, of all the hearts that loved, are greiveing for thee now! And why should mine, to night, be moved With s u c h a s e n s e of woe? T o o often, thus, when left alone W h e r e none my thoughts can see, C o m e s b a c k a word, a p a s s i n g tone F r o m thy strange history—

S o m e t i m e s I s e e m to see thee rise A glorious child a g a i n — All virtues b e a m i n g from thine eyes T h a t ever honoured m e n — C o u r a g e and T r u t h , a generous breast W h e r e Love and G l a d n e s s lay; A being whose very M e m o r y blest And m a d e the mourner g a y — 3

4

5

O, fairly spread thy early sail And fresh and p u r e and free W a s the first impulse of the gale T h a t urged life's wave for thee! 6

Why did the pilot, too confiding D r e a m oe'r that O a c e n s f o a m ? And trust in Pleasure's careless guiding T o bring his vessel h o m e ?

For, well, he knew what dangers frowned, W h a t mists would gather dim, W h a t roaks and shelves and s a n d s lay round Between his port a n d h i m — 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

C h a r l o t t e ' s title: " T h e W a n d e r e r f r o m t h e F o l d . " O m i t t e d in 1 8 5 0 . "sinless sunshine" "presence" "Like g l a d s o m e s u m m e r - d a y " "Which"

1844

POEMS

T h e very brightness of the sun, T h e splendor of the main, T h e wind that bore him wildly on S h o u l d not have warned in vain An anxious gazer from the shore, I marked the whitening wave And wept above thy fate the more B e c a u s e I could not s a v e — It recks not now, when all is over, But, yet my heart will b e A mourner still, though freind a n d lover Have both forgotten thee! 98

1

September

6th

In the earth, the earth thou shalt be laid A grey stone standing over thee; Black mould beneath thee s p r e a d And black mould to cover t h e e — "Well, there is rest there "So fast c o m e thy p r o p h e c y — "The time when my sunny hair "Shall with grass roots twined be" 2

But cold, cold is that resting place S h u t out from J o y and Liberty And all who loved thy living face Will shrink from its gloom and t h e e "Not "And "But "And

so, here the world is chill sworn friends fall from m e there, they'll own m e still prize my memory" 4

Farewell then, all that love All that deep sympathy; Sleep on, heaven laughs a b o v e — Earth never m i s s e s thee C h a r l o t t e ' s title: " W a r n i n g a n d R e p l y . " "entwined" "Will s h r i n k f r o m it s h u d d e r i n g l y " " t h e y will"

3

1843

334

EMILY

BRONTË

T u r f - s o d a n d t o m b s t o n e drear Part h u m a n c o m p a n y O n e heart b r o k e , only, t h e r e That h e a r t was worthy thee!— 5

6

7

35

1

October

17th

1838

S o n g by J . Brenzaida to G . S . I knew n o t ' t was so dire a crime T o say the word, A d i e u — But, this shall be the only time My slighted h e a r t shall s u e . 2

3

4

T h e wild m o o r s i d e , the winter morn, T h e gnarled and ancient t r e e — If in your breast they waken scorn Shall wake the s a m e in m e . I c a n forget black eyes a n d brows And lips of rosey c h a r m If you forget the sacred vows T h o s e faithless lips could f o r m — 5

If hard c o m m a n d s c a n t a m e your love, Or p r i s o n walls can hold I would not wish to greive above A thing so false a n d c o l d —

5

10

6

And there are b o s o m s b o u n d to mine With links both tried and strong; And there are eyes, whose lightening shine H a s w a r m e d a n d blessed m e long:

15

20

T h o s e eyes shall make my only day, Shall set my spirit free 5. 6. 7. 1. 2. 3.

"breaks" "—here," "But that heart" C h a r l o t t e ' s title: " L a s t W o r d s . " "lips o r h e a r t " A l t h o u g h o t h e r r e a d e r s h a v e f o u n d parallels in t h e s e lines a n d H e a t h c l i f f s r e p r o a c h i n g C a t h e r i n e f o r l e a v i n g h i m , R o p e r p o i n t s o u t t h a t " t h e t o n e is q u i t e d i f f e r e n t . "

4. "hill-side" 5. "falsest" 6. " s t r o n g e s t "

335

POEMS

And c h a s e the foolish thoughts away That mourn your memory! 32

1

A. G . A.

August

30th

1838

For him who struck thy foreign string I ween this heart hath c e a s e d to care T h e n why dost thou s u c h feelings bring T o my s a d spirit, Old guitar? It is as if the warm sunlight In s o m e deep glen should lingering stay W h e n cloudes of tempest a n d of night H a d wrapt the parent O r b a w a y — 2

It is a s if the glassy brook S h o u l d image still its willows fair T h o u g h years a g o , the woodman's stroke Laid low in dust their g l e a m i n g hair: 3

Even so, guitar, thy majic tone Hath moved the tear a n d w o k e the sigh Hath bid the ancient torrent flow Although its very s o u r c e is dry! 4

5

120a' A.E. and R . C .

2

May 28th

1845

Heavy hangs the raindrop F r o m the b u r d e n e d spray; Heavy broods the d a m p mist O n U p l a n d s far away; Heavy looms the dull sky, Heavy rolls the s e a —

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1.

C h a r l o t t e ' s title: " T h e L a d y t o h e r g u i t a r . " "When clouds of storm, or s h a d e s of night" "dryad" "waked" "moan" This a n d the following p o e m ( 1 2 0 B ) a p p e a r e d in 1 8 5 0 without a break a n d with C h a r ­ lotte's title: " T h e T w o C h i l d r e n . "

2. O m i t t e d in 1 8 5 0 .

EMILY

BRONTË

3

And heavy b e a t s the young heart B e n e a t h that lonely T r e e — Never has a blue streak Cleft the clouds since m o r n — Never has his grim F a t e S m i l e d since he was b o r n — Frowning on the infant, S h a d o w i n g childhood's joy; G a r d i a n angel knows not T h a t melancholy boy. Day is p a s s i n g swiftly Its s a d and s o m b r e prime; Youth is fast invading S t e r n e r manhood's t i m e — 4

5

All the flowers are praying For s u n before they close And he prays too, unknowing, T h a t s u n l e s s h u m a n rose! 7

B l o s s e m s , that the westwind H a s never wooed to blow S c e n t l e s s are your petals, Your dew a s cold as s n o w — 8

9

Soul, where kindred kindness N o early p r o m i s e woke Barren is your beauty As weed u p o n t h e r o a k — 1

2

3

Wither, Brothers, wither, Y o u were vainly given— E a r t h reserves no blessing For the u n b l e s s e d of Heaven! 4

"throbs" " B o y h o o d s a d is m e r g i n g " "In s a d d e r " "unconscious" "Blossom" "thy" "Thy d e w is" "thy" "a" "Wither, soul a n d b l o s s o m " "You both"

6

337

POEMS

1

120b

Child of Delight! with sunbright hair And seablue, sea-deep eyes Spirit of Bliss, what brings thee here B e n e a t h these sullen skies?

2

T h o u s h o u l d e s t live in eternal spring Where endless day is never dim Why, seraph, has thy erring wing B o r n e thee down to weep with him?

5

3

4

"Ah, not from heaven a m I d e c e n d e d "And I do not c o m e to mingle tears "But sweet is day though with shadows blended "And though clouded, sweet are youthful y e a r s — 5

"I, the image of light "Saw and pitied that "And I swore to take "And give to him my

and gladness mournful boy his gloomy s a d n e s s beamy joy—

6

15

7

"Heavy and dark the night is closing "Heavy a n d dark may its biding be "Better for all from greif reposing "And better for all who whach like m e —

8

"Guardian angel, he lacks no longer; "Evil fortune he need not fear; "Fate is s t r o n g — b u t Love is stronger "And more unsleeping than angel's c a r e —

1. S e e 1 2 0 a , w h i c h C h a r l o t t e c o m b i n e d w i t h 1 2 0 b . 2. " s h o u l d s t " 3. "thine" 4. " W a f t e d " 5 . " N o r d o I" 6. "And I v o w e d — i f n e e d w e r e — t o s h a r e his s a d n e s s " 7. " s u n n y " 8. C h a r l o t t e i n s e r t e d t h e f o l l o w i n g s t a n z a : " W a t c h in love by a f e v e r e d pillow, C o o l i n g the fever with pity's b a l m ; S a f e as the petrel on t o s s i n g billow, S a f e in m i n e o w n soul's g o l d e n c a l m ! " 9 . " A n d my l o v e i s t r u e r t h a n a n g e l - c a r e "

10

20

338

EMILY

BRONTË

I23 Julian M

1

and A. G . R o c h e l l e —

2

October

9th

1845

Silent is the H o u s e — a l l are laid asleep; O n e , alone, looks out o'er the snow-wreaths deep; W a t c h i n g every cloud, dreading every breeze T h a t whirls the wildering drifts and bends the groaning t r e e s — Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor Not one shivering gust creeps through p a n e or door T h e little l a m p burns straight; its rays shoot strong and far I trim it well to b e the Wanderers guiding s t a r — Frown my haughty sire, chide my angry D a m e ; S e t your slaves to spy, threaten m e with s h a m e ; B u t neither sire nor d a m e , nor prying serf shall know W h a t angel nightly tracks that waste of winter snow. 3

s

10 4

In the d u n g e o n crypts idly did I stray Reckless of the lives wasteing there away; "Draw the p o n d e r o u s bars, open Warder stern!" H e dare not say m e n a y — t h e hinges harshly t u r n — "Our g u e s t s are darkly lodged" I whispered gazing through T h e vault whose grated eye showed heaven more grey than blue; ( — T h i s was when glad Spring laughed in awaking pride.) "Aye, darkly lodged enough!" returned my sullen guide.

15

20

T h e n , G o d forgive my youth, forgive my careless t o n g u e — ! I scoffed as the chill chains on the d a m p flagstones rung; "Confined in triple walls, art thou so m u c h to fear, "That we m u s t bind thee down and clench thy fetters here?" 1. T h i s c o m p l e t e p o e m w a s first p u b l i s h e d in 1 9 3 8 . F o r t h e 1 8 4 6 v o l u m e , E m i l y e x t r a c t e d l i n e s 1 3 - 4 4 a n d 6 5 - 9 2 t o g e t h e r with a n e w final s t a n z a u n d e r t h e title " T h e P r i s o n e r . " In 1 8 5 0 , C h a r l o t t e p u b l i s h e d lines 1 — 12 p l u s two a d d i t i o n a l s t a n z a s w h i c h w e r e p r o b a b l y her own. S h e titled this w o r k " T h e Visionary." 2. 3. 4.

O m i t t e d in 1 8 5 0 . "frozen" In p l a c e of the rest of Emily's p o e m , h e r e C h a r l o t t e a d d e d her stanzas: W h a t I love shall c o m e like visitant of air, S a f e in s e c r e t p o w e r f r o m l u r k i n g h u m a n s n a r e ; W h a t love's m e , n o w o r d o f m i n e s h a l l e'er b e t r a y , T h o u g h for f a i t h u n s t a i n e d m y life m u s t forfeit p a y . B u r n , t h e n , little l a m p ; g l i m m e r s t r a i g h t a n d c l e a r — H u s h ! a r u s t l i n g w i n g stirs, m e t h i n k s , the air: H e for w h o m I wait, t h u s ever c o m e s to m e ; S t r a n g e Power! I trust thy might; trust thou m y c o n s t a n c y .

POEMS

T h e captive raised her face; it was as soft and mild As sculptured marble saint or slumbering, u n w e a n e d child It was so soft and mild, it was so sweet a n d fair Pain could not trace a line nor greif a s h a d o w there! T h e captive raised her h a n d and p r e s s e d it to her brow "I have been struck, she said, and I a m suffering now "Yet these are little worth, your bolts a n d irons strong "And were they forged in steel they could not hold m e l o n g — H o a r s e laughed the jailor grim, "Shall I be won to hear "Doest think fond, dreaming wretch that I shall grant thy prayer "Or better still, wilt melt my master's heart with g r o a n s ? "Ah sooner might the sun thaw down these granite s t o n e s ! — "My master's voice is low, his a s p e c t bland a n d kind "But hard as hardest flint the soul that lurks behind: "And I a m rough and rude, yet, not m o r e rough to see "Than is the hidden ghost which has its h o m e in me!" About her lips there played a smile of almost scorn "My friend, she gently said, you have not heard m e m o u r n "When you, my parent's lives—my lost life c a n restore "Then may I weep and s u e , but, never, Friend, before!" Her head s a n k on her hands its fair curls swept the g r o u n d T h e D u n g e o n s e e m e d to swim in strange confusion r o u n d — "Is she so near to death?" I m u r m e r e d half aloud And kneeling, parted b a c k the floating golden cloud Alas, how former days upon my heart were borne, How Memory mirrored then the prisoners j o y o u s m o r n — T o o blithe, too loving child, too warmly, wildly gay! W a s that the wintry close of thy celestial M a y ? S h e knew m e and she sighed "Lord J u l i a n , can it b e , "Of all my playmates, you, alone, r e m e m b e r m e ? "Nay start not at my words, unless you d e e m it s h a m e "To own from c o n q u e r e d foe, a o n c e familiar n a m e — "I can not wonder now at aught the world will do "And insult and contempt I lightly brook from you, "Since those who vowed away their souls to win my love "Around this living grave like utter strangers move! "Nor has one voice been raised to plead that I might die "Not buried under earth but in the open sky;

340

EMILY BRONTË

"By ball or speedy knife or h e a d s m a n ' s skillful blow— "A q u i c k a n d welcome p a n g instead of lingering woe! "Yet, tell them, J u l i a n , all, I a m not d o o m e d to wear "Year after year in gloom a n d desolate despair; "A m e s s e n g e r of H o p e c o m e s every night to m e "And offers, for short life, eternal liberty— "He c o m e s with western winds, with evening's wandering airs, "With that clear d u s k of heaven that brings the thickest stars; "Winds take a pensive tone a n d stars a tender fire "And visions rise a n d c h a n g e which kill m e with d e s i r e — "Desire for nothing known in my maturer years "When j o y grew m a d with awe at counting future tears; "When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm, "I knew not w h e n c e they c a m e from s u n or thunder storm; "But first a h u s h of p e a c e , a soundless c a l m descends; "The struggle of distress a n d feirce impatience ends; "Mute m u s i c sooths my b r e a s t — u n u t t e r e d harmony "That I could never d r e a m till earth was lost to m e . "Then dawns the Invisible, the U n s e e n its truth reveals; "My outward s e n s e is gone, my inward e s s e n c e f e e l s — "Its wings are a l m o s t free, its h o m e , its harbour found; " M e a s u r i n g the gulf it stoops a n d dares the final bound! "O, dreadful is the c h e c k — i n t e n s e the agony "When the ear begins to hear a n d the eye begins to see; "When the p u l s e begins to throb, the brain to think again, "The soul to feel the flesh a n d the flesh to feel the chain! "Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less; "The m o r e that a n g u i s h racks the earlier it will bless; "And robed in fires of Hell, or bright with heavenly shine "If it but herald D e a t h , the vision is divine—" S h e c e a s e d to s p e a k a n d I, unanswering watched her there N o t daring now to touch one lock of silken h a i r — As I had knelt in scorn, on the d a n k floor I knelt still, My fingers on the links of that iron hard a n d chill— I heard a n d yet heard not the surly keeper growl; I saw, yet did not see, the flagstones d a m p a n d foul; T h e keeper, to a n d fro, p a c e d by the bolted door And shivered as he walked a n d as he shivered, s w o r e —

POEMS

341

While my cheek glowed in flame, I m a r k e d that he did rave Of air that froze his blood a n d moisture like the g r a v e — "We have been Two hours good!" he m u t t e r e d peevishly, Then, losing off his belt the rusty d u n g e o n key, He said, "you may be pleased, Lord J u l i a n , still to stay "But duty will not let m e linger here all day; "If I might go, I'd leave this b a d g e of mine with you "Not doubting that you'd prove a jailor stern a n d true"

105

I took the proffered charge; the captive's drooping lid Beneath its shady lash a s u d d e n lightening hid 110 Earth's hope was not so d e a d heavens h o m e was not so dear I read it in that flash of longing quelled by fear Then like a tender child whose h a n d did j u s t enfold Safe in its eager grasp a bird it wept to hold When peirced with one wild glance from the troubled hazle eye It gushes into tears a n d lets its treasure fly T h u s ruth and selfish love together striving tore T h e heart all newly taught to pity a n d adore; If I should break the chain I felt my bird would go Yet I m u s t break the chain or seal the prisoner's woe.

115

120

Short strife what rest could s o o t h e — w h a t p e a c e could visit m e While she lay pining there for D e a t h to set her free? "Rochelle, the d u n g e o n s teem with foes to gorge our h a t e — "Thou art too young to die by s u c h a bitter fate!" With hurried blow on blow I struck the fetters through Regardless how that deed my after hours might rue Oh, I was over-blest by the warm u n a s k e d e m b r a c e — By the smile of grateful joy that lit her angel face!

125

And I was overblest—aye, m o r e than I could d r e a m When, faint, she turned aside from noon's unwonted b e a m ; 130 W h e n though the c a g e was w i d e — t h e heaven a r o u n d it l a y — Its pinion would not waft my w o u n d e d dove a w a y — Through thirteen anxious I guarded her by day a n d While foes were prowling And only H o p e remained

weeks of terror-blent delight g u a r d e d her by night near a n d D e a t h gazed greedily a faithful friend to m e —

135

342

EMILY

BRONTË

T h e n oft with taunting smile, I heard my kindred tell "How J u l i a n loved his hearth and sheltering rooftree well; "How the trumpet's voice might call the battle-standard wave "But J u l i a n h a d no heart to fill a patriot's grave." And I, who a m so quick to answer sneer with sneer; S o ready to c o n d e m n to scorn a coward's f e a r — I held my p e a c e like one whose conscience keeps him d u m b A n d saw my k i n s m e n g o — a n d lingered still at h o m e — Another h a n d than mine, my rightful b a n n e r held And gathered my renown on Freedom's crimson field Yet I had no desire the glorious prize to g a i n — It n e e d e d braver nerve to face the world's d i s d a i n — And by the patient strength that could that world defy; By suffering with c a l m mind, c o n t e m p t and calumny; By never-doubting love, unswerving constancy, Rochelle, I e ar n e d at last an equal love from thee! 89 A S to G S

2

1

December

19th

I do not weep, I would not weep; O u r M o t h e r needs no tears: Dry thine eyes too, 'tis vain to keep This c a u s l e s s greif for years W h a t though her brow be c h a n g e d and cold, H e r sweet eyes closed for ever? W h a t though the s t o n e — t h e d a r k s o m e mould O u r mortal bodies sever? W h a t though her h a n d s m o o t h e ne'er again T h o s e silken locks of t h i n e — N o r through long hours of future pain H e r kind face o'er thee shine? R e m e m b e r still she is not d e a d S h e sees us G e r a l d now L a i d where her angel spirit fled M i d heath and frozen snow 3

1. C h a r l o t t e ' s t i t l e : " E n c o u r a g e m e n t . " 2. O m i t t e d in 1 8 5 0 . 3. "sister"

1841

343

POEMS

And from that world of heavenly light Will she not always bend, T o guide us in our lifetimes night And g u a r d us to the end? 4

20

5

T h o u knowst she will a n d well mayst m o u r n T h a t w e are left below But not that she can ne'er return T o share our earthly w o e — 6

20V Stanzas Often rebuked, yet always b a c k returning T o those first feelings that were born with m e , And leaving busy c h a s e of wealth a n d learning For idle d r e a m s of things which c a n n o t be: To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region, Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear; And visions rising, legion after legion, Bring the unreal world too strangely near. I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces, And not in paths of high morality, And not a m o n g the half-distinguished faces, T h e clouded forms of long-past history. I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes m e to c h o o s e another guide: Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding; Where the wild wind blows on the m o u n t a i n side. What have those lonely m o u n t a i n s worth revealing? M o r e glory a n d more grief than I c a n tell: T h e earth that wakes one h u m a n heart to feeling C a n centre both the worlds of Heaven a n d Hell.

5

10

15

20

"knowest" "thou" "we" T i t l e d " S t a n z a s . " B e c a u s e t h e r e is n o e x t a n t m a n u s c r i p t , t h e a u t h o r s h i p o f t h i s p o e m h a s b e e n q u e s t i o n e d , a n d R o p e r r e m a r k s : "In v i e w o f C B ' s r e v i s i o n s a n d e x p a n s i o n s o f E B ' s p o e m s in 1 8 5 0 , t h e r e is n o t h i n g i m p r o b a b l e a b o u t h e r p r o d u c i n g a c o m p l e t e p o e m o n h e r sister's b e h a l f to set h e r in a d e s i r e d light. T h i s 2 0 1 w o u l d h a v e d o n e by b r i n g i n g E B out on the side of truth a n d n a t u r e a s a g a i n s t the ' s h a d o w y region' of r o m a n c e , in a conflict which s e e m s to have disturbed C B m o r e t h a n her sister. . . . [ S ] o m e r e a s o n s for a c c e p t i n g the p o e m a s a u t h e n t i c a r e set o u t by [ E d w a r d ] C h i t h a m in ' "Often R e b u k e d " : E m i l y ' s A f t e r A l l , ' Brontë Society Transactions, 18/93 (1983), 2 2 2 - 6 . "

344

EMILY BRONTË

125' Jan 2d

1846

N o coward soul is mine N o trembler in the world's storm troubled sphere I see Heaven's glories shine And Faith shines equal arming m e from F e a r O G o d within my breast Almighty ever-present Deity Life, that in m e h a s t rest As I , — U n d y i n g Life, have power in thee

5

2

Vain are the t h o u s a n d creeds T h a t move men's hearts, unutterably vain, Worthless as withered weeds Or idlest froth a m i d the b o u n d l e s s main T o waken doubt in one Holding so fast by thy infinity S o surely a n c h o r e d on T h e steadfast rock of Immortality

10

3

With wide-embracing love Thy Spirit a n i m a t e s eternal years Pervades a n d broods above, C h a n g e s , s u s t a i n s , dissolves, creates and rears

is

20

4

T h o u g h E a r t h a n d m o o n were gone And s u n s and universes c e a s e d to be And T h o u wert left alone Every E x s i s t a n c e would exsist in thee 5

1. P r o v i d i n g t h e t i t l e , " N o C o w a r d S o u l , " C h a r l o t t e d e c l a r e d t h a t , " T h e f o l l o w i n g a r e t h e last lines m y sister E m i l y ever wrote," a c l a i m which h a s b e e n q u e s t i o n e d by the early 1 8 4 6 d a t e o f t h e m a n u s c r i p t , b u t a s R o p e r n o t e s i n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n , d u r i n g t h e final t w o y e a r s o f h e r life E m i l y is k n o w n to h a v e w r i t t e n only this p o e m a n d a l o n g u n f i n i s h e d narrative p o e m . In the a u t u m n of 1 8 4 5 , "Charlotte discovered a n d read s o m e of E m i l y s p o e m s , a n d b y d o i n g s o c a u s e d , a t first, g r e a t r e s e n t m e n t . P e r h a p s h a v i n g h e r p o e t r y b r o u g h t into the o p e n inhibited E m i l y from writing m o r e , t h o u g h the effect need not h a v e b e e n s o t r a u m a t i c a s it h a s a p p e a r e d t o s o m e b i o g r a p h e r s . T h e f a i l u r e o f Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell ( 1 8 4 6 ) w h i c h i n c l u d e d t w e n t y - o n e o f E m i l y ' s b e s t p o e m s , c a n n o t h a v e i n c r e a s e d h e r c o n f i d e n c e in h e r v e r s e . I n l a t e 1 8 4 5 a n d early 1 8 4 6 m o s t of h e r c r e a t i v e e n e r g i e s w e n t i n t o Wuthering Heights." 2. " h a s " 3. "thine" 4. " m a n " 5. "were"

EXAMINER

345

There is not room for D e a t h Nor atom that his might could render void S i n c e T h o u art Being and B r e a t h And what thou art may never b e destroyed

25

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By early 1851 the only notices Charlotte Brontë had seen of the new edition of Wuthering Heights were those of the Examiner, Leader, and Athenaeum. These had little new or different to say about the novel, but all responded to Charlotte's biographical and prefatory comments. The Examiner defended its earlier critical judgments, noting that Cur­ rer Bell herself had discussed "what was faulty as well as excellent" in her late sister's writing. The Leader noted Charlotte's points about the book's rustic truth and moral force, and wondered that such coarseness of expression had been produced by "two girls living almost alone." We know now that the author of the Athenaeum reviews of 1848 and 1850 was H. F. Chorley, who concluded his second review with the obser­ vation that the "volume, with its preface, [was] a more than unusually interesting contribution to the whole history of female authorship in England." But the Eclectic Review remarked that the issues of author­ ship addressed in the Biographical Notice "avail little against the gen­ eral complexion and air of the works in question."

Examiner December

21,

1850

In a preface to this volume the author of Jane Eyre partially lifts the veil from a history and mystery of authorship which has occu­ pied the Q u i d n u n c s of literature for the p a s t two years. * * * * * * T h e reception of Jane Eyre is known to all. T h e other books also m a d e a p p e a r a n c e at last, but, according to C u r r e r Bell, had a very different reception. "Critics," she says, "failed to do them justice. T h e immature but very real powers revealed in Wuthering Heights were scarcely recognized: its import and nature were mis­ understood; the identity of its author was misrepresented; it was said that this was an earlier and ruder attempt of the s a m e pen which produced Jane Eyre. U n j u s t a n d grievous error! W e laughed at it at first, but I deeply lament it now. H e n c e , I fear, arose a prejudice against the book." This somewhat grave charge is ad­ vanced with but one exception to be shortly noticed; when we shall at the s a m e time see what j u s t i c e there is in the a c c u s a t i o n . 6.

" T h o u — T H O U art B e i n g a n d B r e a t h " — C h a r l o t t e ' s m i s r e a d i n g of m a n u s c r i p t .

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T h e writer p r o c e e d s to describe the reception of Acton Bell's Ten­ ant of Wildfell Hall a s not more favourable, but more justly founded, than that of Ellis Bell's Wuthering Heights; but she adds that neither Ellis nor Acton suffered herself for one moment to sink under this want of e n c o u r a g e m e n t . Energy nerved the one, endur­ a n c e upheld the other, and both were prepared to try again; when there a p p r o a c h e d a m o r e fell assailant than even unjust criticism. Both sisters were d o o m e d to perish by rapid consumption. T h e ill­ ness of Emily is described in l a n g u a g e steeped and interpenetrated with bleeding recollections. * * * * * * S o ends their brief, s a d story. And if the sister who shared with them in these struggles and disappointments of genius, and excelled t h e m in its instant manifestation and a c c e p t a n c e , may not thus lift their n a m e s to the level of her own s u c c e s s , she has at least fairly challenged for them dead, more honourable recognition than she believes to have fallen to them living. S h e has done her best to reverse what she holds to have been the unjust j u d g m e n t of the critics who coldly disapproved or harshly misrepresented their productions. S h e has wiped off this dust, and freed them from this soil. B u t let us not overstate Currer Bell's c e n s u r e of the critical ne­ glect by which her sisters suffered. S h e makes one exception. It is my duty, as well as my p l e a s u r e , to acknowledge one ex­ ception to the general rule of criticism. O n e writer, endowed with the keen vision and fine sympathies of genius, has dis­ cerned the real n a t u r e of Wuthering Heights, and has, with equal accuracy, noted its beauties and touched on its faults. T o o often do reviewers remind us of the m o b of Astrologers, C h a l d e a n s , and Soothsayers gathered before the "writing on the wall," a n d u n a b l e to read the characters or make known the interpretation. W e have a right to rejoice when a true seer c o m e s at last, s o m e m a n in whom is an excellent spirit, to w h o m have been given light, wisdom, and understanding; who c a n accurately read the "Mené, M e n é , Tekel, Upharisin" of an original mind (however unripe, however inefficiently cultured and partially expanded that mind may be); and who can say with confidence, "This is the interpretation thereof." T h e "general rule of criticism" is a phrase somewhat startling in connection with the wondrous unanimity of critical j u d g m e n t s on Jane Eyre; a n d there is another p a s s a g e in the preface, where Currer Bell speaks of the a s s u m e d n a m e s of herself and her sisters, in which a yet stonger feeling of the s a m e sort perhaps unconsciously e s c a p e s . "We had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to

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be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics s o m e t i m e s use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery which is not true praise." Poor h a p l e s s critics! B u t nothing of this kind should surprise a writer who has h a d the m o s t moderate experience of the thankless vocation. Whether it b e cen­ sure contemptuously rejected as unworthy, or praise c o n d e s c e n d ­ ingly received as not worthy enough, the reviewer's fate knows very little variation. Nor be it ours to say that he may not for the m o s t part be worthy of it, a n d find himself justly in the position of the old lady in the fable whose ear was bitten off by her son at the gallows, for having refused to hear the truth of him, e n c o u r a g e d him in his extravagant c o u r s e s , and (as C u r r e r Bell expresses it) rewarded him with a flattery which was not true praise. B u t to the particular c a s e recorded in this volume we have a word or two, on our own poor behalf, to plead in arrest of j u d g m e n t . The authors of Wuthering Heights a n d the Tenant ofWildfell Hall were not unjustly or contemptuously treated in the c o l u m n s [sic] of the Examiner. W e do not lay claim to the mene-tekel-upharsin powers assigned to the critic of "keen vision and fine sympathies" singled out by Currer Bell as having alone done j u s t i c e to her sister, and who appears to have done his s o m e w h a t tardy j u s t i c e so re­ cently as last S e p t e m b e r in a j o urna l called the Palladium. W e dare say, j u d g i n g from the tone of the extracted criticism prefixed to the volume, that our style of handling t h e s e things would s e l d o m c o m e up to the mark of Currer Bell's rejoicing. B u t it is right to mention notwithstanding, that reviews of the works in question by no m e a n s depreciatory a p p e a r e d in this j o urna l almost instantly on the a p ­ pearance of the tales respectively n a m e d , and that we did not wait till "deaf the closed ear and m u t e the tuneful tongue," before we gave expression to the praise which both Ellis and Acton Bell seemed fairly to challenge at our h a n d s . Lengthy reviews with very copious extracts were given of both, at the opening of 1 8 4 8 and in the s u m m e r of the s a m e year. Wuthering Heights we characterized as a strange but powerful book, containing good "rough d a s h e s at character," the i m p r e s s of "real events," and "no c o m m o n p l a c e or affectation." W e said that it had forcibly reminded us of a b o o k which we r e m e m b e r e d think­ ing "better in its peculiar kind than anything that h a d been pro­ duced since the days of Fielding." * * * 1

1. T h e q u o t e d l i n e is f r o m A l e x a n d e r P o p e , " E l e g y t o t h e M e m o r y o f a n U n f o r t u n a t e L a d y " : "Poets themselves tuneful

tongue."

m u s t fall like t h o s e t h e y s u n g , / D e a f t h e p r a i s ' d e a r a n d m u t e

the

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W a s this scant or grudging praise? Did it refuse to recognize the "immature but very real powers" of these young and struggling au­ thors? Did it "misunderstand" or "misrepresent" them? If so, C u r r e r Bell m u s t herself share the reproach, for the lan­ g u a g e in which she speaks of her sister Emily's early habits and associations, as explaining what was faulty as well as was excellent in her writings, does not materially differ from this which has j u s t b e e n quoted. For ourselves we have nothing to add to it—neither praise to retract, nor c e n s u r e to explain. W e have only most unfeignedly to deplore the blight which fell prematurely on sure rich intellectual p r o m i s e , a n d to regret that natures so rare and noble should so early have p a s s e d away.

Leader December

28,

1850

T h e r e are various points of interest in this republication, some arising from the intrinsic excellence of the works themselves, other from the lustre reflected on them by Jane Eyre. T h e biographical notice of her two sisters is plainly and touchingly written by Currer Bell * * * Critics, we are told, failed to do them j u s t i c e . But to j u d g e from the extracts given of articles in the Britannia and Atlas, the critics were excessively indulgent, and we take it the great public was the m o s t recalcitrant, a n d would not be a m u s e d with these strange wild pictures of incult humanity, painted as if by lurid torchlight, though painted with u n m i s t a k e a b l e p o w e r — t h e very power only height­ ening their repulsiveness. T h e visions of m a d m e n are not more sav­ a g e , or more remote from ordinary life. T h e error committed is an error in a r t — t h e excessive p r e d o m i n a n c e of shadows darkening the picture. O n e c a n n o t dine off condiments, nor s u p off horrors with­ out an indigestion. And yet, although there is a want of air and light in the picture we c a n n o t deny its truth: s o m b r e , rude, brutal, yet true. T h e fierce ungoverned instincts of powerful organizations, bred up amidst vi­ olence, revolt, a n d moral apathy, are here seen in operation; such brutes we should all be, or the most of us, were our lives as insub­ ordinate to law; were our affections and sympathies as little culti­ vated, our imaginations as undirected. And herein lies the moral of the book, though most people will fail to draw the moral from very irritation at it. C u r i o u s e n o u g h it is to read Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a n d r e m e m b e r that the writers were two retiring,

LEADER

349

solitary, consumptive girls! Books, c o a r s e even for men, c o a r s e in language and coarse in conception, the c o a r s e n e s s apparently of violent and uncultivated m e n — t u r n out to b e the productions of two girls living almost alone, filling their loneliness with quiet stud­ ies, and writing these books from a s e n s e of duty, hating the pic­ tures they drew, yet drawing them with a u s t e r e c o n s c i e n t i o u s n e s s ! There is matter here for the moralist or critic to s p e c u l a t e on. That it was no caprice of a poor imagination wandering in s e a r c h of an "exciting" subject we are most thoroughly convinced. T h e three sisters have been h a u n t e d by the s a m e experience. C u r r e r Bell throws more humanity into her picture; but R o c h e s t e r belongs to the E a r n s h a w and Heathcliff family. Currer Bell's riper mind ena­ bles her to paint with a freer hand; nor can we doubt but that her two sisters, had they lived, would also have risen into greater strength and clearness, retaining the extraordinary power of vigor­ ous delineation which m a k e s their writings so r e m a r k a b l e . T h e power, indeed, is wonderful. Heathcliff, devil though he may be, is drawn with a sort of dusky splendour which fascinates, a n d we feel the truth of his burning and i m p a s s i o n e d love for C a t h e r i n e , and of her inextinguishable love for him. It was a happy thought to make her love the kind, weak, elegant Edgar, a n d yet without less­ ening her passion for Heathcliff. E d g a r appeals to her love of re­ finement, and goodness, and culture; Heathcliff clutches her soul in his passionate e m b r a c e . E d g a r is the h u s b a n d she has c h o s e n , the man who alone is fit to call her wife; but although she is a s h a m e d of her early playmate she loves him with a p a s s i o n a t e abandonment which sets culture, education, the world, at defiance. It is in the treatment of this subject that Ellis Bell shows real m a s ­ tery, and it shows more genius, in the highest s e n s e of the word, than you will find in a t h o u s a n d novels. Creative power is so rare and so valuable that we should a c c e p t even its caprices with gratitude. Currer Bell, in a p a s s a g e on this question, doubts whether the artist can control his power; she seems to think with Plato (see his a r g u m e n t in the Ion), that the artist does not p o s s e s s , but is p o s s e s s e d . * * * This is so true that we s u p p o s e every writer will easily recall his sensations of being "carried away" by the thoughts which in m o ­ ments of exaltation p o s s e s s e d his soul—will recall the headlong feeling of letting the reins s l i p — b e i n g himself as m u c h astonished at the result as any reader can be. T h e r e is at s u c h time a momen­ tum which propels the mind into regions inaccessible to calculation, u n s u s p e c t e d in our calmer m o o d s . The present publication is decidedly an interesting one. B e s i d e s the two novels of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey it contains the biographical notices already spoken of, a n d a selection from the

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p o e m s left by both sisters. W e cannot share Currer Bell's partiality for them; in no one quality distinguishing poetry from prose are they remarkable; but although their poetic interest is next to nought they have a biographical interest which justifies their publication. T h e volume is c o m p a c t , a n d may be slipped into a coat pocket for the railway, so that the traveller may wile away with it the long hours of his j o u r n e y in grim p l e a s u r e .

Athenaeum [H. F . December

Chorley] 28,

1850

F e m a l e genius a n d female authorship may be said to present s o m e peculiarities of a s p e c t a n d c i r c u m s t a n c e in England, which we find a s s o c i a t e d with them in no other country. A m o n g the most daring a n d original manifestations of invention by Englishwomen, — s o m e of the m o s t daring and original have owed their parentage, not to defying Britomarts' at war with society, who choose to make their literature m a t c h with their lives,—not to brilliant women fig­ uring in the world, in w h o m every gift and faculty has been en­ riched, a n d whetted s h a r p and e n c o u r a g e d into creative utterance, by perpetual c o m m u n i c a t i o n with the most distinguished men of the t i m e , — b u t to writers living retired lives in retired places, stim­ ulated to activity by no outward influence, driven to confession by no history that d e m a n d s apologetic p a r a b l e or subtle plea. This, as a characteristic of English female genius, we have long noticed:— but it has rarely been m o r e simply, more strongly, s o m e will add m o r e strangely, illustrated than in the volume before us. T h e lifting of that veil which for a while concealed the authorship of Jane Eyre and its sister-novels, excites in us no surprise. It s e e m e d evident from the first prose p a g e s bearing the signatures of Currer, Ellis, a n d Acton Bell, that these were Rosalinds—or a Rosalind —in m a s q u e r a d e — s o m e doubt as to the plurality of per­ sons being engendered by a certain uniformity of local colour and r e s e m b l a n c e in choice of subject, which might have arisen either from identity, or from joint peculiarities of situation and of c i r c u m s t a n c e . — I t s e e m e d no less evident * * * that the writers described from personal experience the wild and rugged scenery of the northern parts of this kingdom; and no assertion or disproval, 2

1. B r i t o m a r t w a s t h e f e m a l e k n i g h t i n S p e n s e r ' s Faerie Queene. 2. R o s a l i n d w a s t h e D u k e ' s d a u g h t e r w h o p o s e d a s a m a n i n S h a k e s p e a r e ' s As You Like

It.

ECLECTIC

REVIEW

351

no hypothesis or rumour, which obtained circulation after the s u c ­ cess of Jane Eyre, could shake convictions that h a d b e e n gathered out of the books themselves. In similar c a s e s , g u e s s e r s are too apt to raise plausible a r g u m e n t s on s o m e point of detail,—forgetting that this may have been thrown in ex proposito to m i s l e a d the by­ stander; and hence the most ingenious discoverers b e c o m e so per­ tinaciously deluded as to lose eye and ear for those less obvious indications of general tone of style, colour of incident, a n d form of fable on which more phlegmatic p e r s o n s b a s e m e a s u r e m e n t a n d comparison. Whatever of truth there may or may not be generally in the above r e m a r k s , — c e r t a i n it is, that in the novels now in q u e s ­ tion instinct or divination directed us aright. In the p r e f a c e s and notices before us, we find that the Bells were three sisters:—two of whom are no longer a m o n g s t the living.

*

*

*

T h o u g h the above particulars be little m o r e than the filling-up of an outline already clearly traced and constantly present whenever those characteristic tales recurred to u s , — b y those who have held other ideas with regard to the authorship of Jane Eyre they will be found at once curious and interesting from the plain a n d earnest sincerity of the writer. S h e subsequently enters on an analysis a n d discussion of Wuthering Heights as a work of Art:—in the closing paragraph of her preface to that novel, insinuating an a r g u m e n t , if not a defence, the urgency of which is not sufficiently admitted by the bulk of the world of readers. * * * It might have been a d d e d , that to those whose experience of m e n and manners is neither extensive nor various, the construction of a self-consistent monster is easier than the delineation of an imper­ fect or inconsistent reality—with all its fallings-short, its fitful a s ­ pirations, its mixed enterprises, and its interrupted d r e a m s . B u t we must refrain from further speculation a n d illustration:—enough having been given to justify our characterizing this volume, with its preface, as a more than usually interesting contribution to the his­ tory of female authorship in E n g l a n d .

Eclectic February

Review 1851

W e purpose dealing rather with the Biographical Notice prefixed to this volume, than with the two works which it contains. T h e r e are various reasons for this. It is sufficient to say that the former in­ terests us deeply, which the latter do not; and that the present is

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its first a p p e a r a n c e , whereas the Fictions it prefaces are already s o m e w h a t known to the public. Not that we shall wholly omit to record our j u d g m e n t , more particularly on 'Wuthering Heights'; but our special b u s i n e s s is with the 'Notice' now supplied by Currer, rather than with the productions of Ellis and Acton Bell. Our read­ ers are, d o u b t l e s s , aware of the questions which have been raised respecting the authorship of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Shirley,' with that of their p r e d e c e s s o r s reprinted in the volume on our table. Whether these works were the productions of a gentleman or a lady, and whether their authorship was single or threefold, have been mooted with considerable interest in s o m e literary circles, and have some­ times b e e n p r o n o u n c e d on with a d o g m a t i s m which would have been a m u s i n g , h a d it not indicated a s a d lack of modesty and in­ telligence. T h o u g h the internal evidence of the works is strongly favorable to the hypothesis of a female authorship, there is, nev­ ertheless, a certain m a s c u l i n e air about their style, a repudiation of conventionalisms, and a bold, nervous, cast of thought and action, which s u g g e s t s the p r e s e n c e of the other sex. Slight inaccuracies in s o m e matters of female dress are, moreover, alleged in proof of their being the production of a m a s c u l i n e pen. T h e s e considerations, however, avail little against the general complexion a n d air of the works in question. It appears to us im­ possible to read them without feeling that their excellences and faults, their instinctive a t t a c h m e n t s and occasional exaggerations, the depths of their tenderness and their want of practical judgment, all betoken the authorship of a lady. In their perusal, we are in the c o m p a n y of an intelligent, free-spoken, and hearty woman, who feels deeply, c a n describe with power, has seen s o m e of the rougher sides of life, and, though c a p a b l e of strong affection, is probably wanting in the 'sweet attractive grace' which Milton so beautifully ascribes to Eve. As to the other point which had been mooted, it is marvellous, we confess, that a doubt should ever have existed. T h a t either of the works now before us should be attributed to the s a m e writer as 'Jane Eyre' and 'Shirley,' is one of the strangest blunders of crit­ icism with which we ever met. It is true there is talent in them, a n d that too of an o r d e r — w e refer more particularly to 'Wuthering H e i g h t s ' — s i m i l a r in its general character to what those works di