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Chapter 16

  • ABOUT twelve o'clock that night was born the Catherine you saw at Wutherin_eights: a puny, seven-months' child; and two hours after the mother died,
  • having never recovered sufficient consciousness to miss Heathcliff, or kno_dgar. The latter's distraction at his bereavement is a subject too painful t_e dwelt on; its after-effects showed how deep the sorrow sunk. A grea_ddition, in my eyes, was his being left without an heir. I bemoaned that, a_ gazed on the feeble orphan; and I mentally abused old Linton for (what wa_nly natural partiality) the securing his estate to his own daughter, instea_f his son's. An unwelcomed infant it was, poor thing! It might have waile_ut of life, and nobody cared a morsel, during those first hours of existence.
  • We redeemed the neglect afterwards; but its beginning was as friendless as it_nd is likely to be.
  • Next morning - bright and cheerful out of doors - stole softened in throug_he blinds of the silent room, and suffused the couch and its occupant with _ellow, tender glow. Edgar Linton had his head laid on the pillow, and hi_yes shut. His young and fair features were almost as deathlike as those o_he form beside him, and almost as fixed: but HIS was the hush of exhauste_nguish, and HERS of perfect peace. Her brow smooth, her lids closed, her lip_earing the expression of a smile; no angel in heaven could be more beautifu_han she appeared. And I partook of the infinite calm in which she lay: m_ind was never in a holier frame than while I gazed on that untroubled imag_f Divine rest. I instinctively echoed the words she had uttered a few hour_efore: 'Incomparably beyond and above us all! Whether still on earth or no_n heaven, her spirit is at home with God!'
  • I don't know if it be a peculiarity in me, but I am seldom otherwise tha_appy while watching in the chamber of death, should no frenzied or despairin_ourner share the duty with me. I see a repose that neither earth nor hell ca_reak, and I feel an assurance of the endless and shadowless hereafter - th_ternity they have entered - where life is boundless in its duration, and lov_n its sympathy, and joy in its fulness. I noticed on that occasion how muc_elfishness there is even in a love like Mr. Linton's, when he so regrette_atherine's blessed release! To be sure, one might have doubted, after th_ayward and impatient existence she had led, whether she merited a haven o_eace at last. One might doubt in seasons of cold reflection; but not then, i_he presence of her corpse. It asserted its own tranquillity, which seemed _ledge of equal quiet to its former inhabitant.
  • Do you believe such people are happy in the other world, sir? I'd give a grea_eal to know.
  • I declined answering Mrs. Dean's question, which struck me as somethin_eterodox. She proceeded:
  • Retracing the course of Catherine Linton, I fear we have no right to think sh_s; but we'll leave her with her Maker.
  • The master looked asleep, and I ventured soon after sunrise to quit the roo_nd steal out to the pure refreshing air. The servants thought me gone t_hake off the drowsiness of my protracted watch; in reality, my chief motiv_as seeing Mr. Heathcliff. If he had remained among the larches all night, h_ould have heard nothing of the stir at the Grange; unless, perhaps, he migh_atch the gallop of the messenger going to Gimmerton. If he had come nearer,
  • he would probably be aware, from the lights flitting to and fro, and th_pening and shutting of the outer doors, that all was not right within. _ished, yet feared, to find him. I felt the terrible news must be told, and _onged to get it over; but how to do it I did not know. He was there - a_east, a few yards further in the park; leant against an old ash-tree, his ha_ff, and his hair soaked with the dew that had gathered on the budde_ranches, and fell pattering round him. He had been standing a long time i_hat position, for I saw a pair of ousels passing and repassing scarcely thre_eet from him, busy in building their nest, and regarding his proximity n_ore than that of a piece of timber. They flew off at my approach, and h_aised his eyes and spoke:- 'She's dead!' he said; 'I've not waited for you t_earn that. Put your handkerchief away - don't snivel before me. Damn you all!
  • she wants none of your tears!'
  • I was weeping as much for him as her: we do sometimes pity creatures that hav_one of the feeling either for themselves or others. When I first looked int_is face, I perceived that he had got intelligence of the catastrophe; and _oolish notion struck me that his heart was quelled and he prayed, because hi_ips moved and his gaze was bent on the ground.
  • 'Yes, she's dead!' I answered, checking my sobs and drying my cheeks. 'Gone t_eaven, I hope; where we may, every one, join her, if we take due warning an_eave our evil ways to follow good!'
  • 'Did SHE take due warning, then?' asked Heathcliff, attempting a sneer. 'Di_he die like a saint? Come, give me a true history of the event. How did - ?'
  • He endeavoured to pronounce the name, but could not manage it; and compressin_is mouth he held a silent combat with his inward agony, defying, meanwhile,
  • my sympathy with an unflinching, ferocious stare. 'How did she die?' h_esumed, at last - fain, notwithstanding his hardihood, to have a suppor_ehind him; for, after the struggle, he trembled, in spite of himself, to hi_ery finger-ends.
  • 'Poor wretch!' I thought; 'you have a heart and nerves the same as you_rother men! Why should you be anxious to conceal them? Your pride canno_lind God! You tempt him to wring them, till he forces a cry of humiliation.'
  • 'Quietly as a lamb!' I answered, aloud. 'She drew a sigh, and stretche_erself, like a child reviving, and sinking again to sleep; and five minute_fter I felt one little pulse at her heart, and nothing more!'
  • 'And - did she ever mention me?' he asked, hesitating, as if he dreaded th_nswer to his question would introduce details that he could not bear to hear.
  • 'Her senses never returned: she recognised nobody from the time you left her,'
  • I said. 'She lies with a sweet smile on her face; and her latest idea_andered back to pleasant early days. Her life closed in a gentle dream - ma_he wake as kindly in the other world!'
  • 'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping hi_oot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. 'Why, she's _iar to the end! Where is she? Not THERE - not in heaven - not perished -
  • where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer
  • - I repeat it till my tongue stiffens - Catherine Earnshaw, may you not res_s long as I am living; you said I killed you - haunt me, then! The murdere_O haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered o_arth. Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only DO not leave m_n this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNO_ive without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul!'
  • He dashed his head against the knotted trunk; and, lifting up his eyes,
  • howled, not like a man, but like a savage beast being goaded to death wit_nives and spears. I observed several splashes of blood about the bark of th_ree, and his hand and forehead were both stained; probably the scene _itnessed was a repetition of others acted during the night. It hardly move_y compassion - it appalled me: still, I felt reluctant to quit him so. Bu_he moment he recollected himself enough to notice me watching, he thundered _ommand for me to go, and I obeyed. He was beyond my skill to quiet o_onsole!
  • Mrs. Linton's funeral was appointed to take place on the Friday following he_ecease; and till then her coffin remained uncovered, and strewn with flower_nd scented leaves, in the great drawing- room. Linton spent his days an_ights there, a sleepless guardian; and - a circumstance concealed from al_ut me - Heathcliff spent his nights, at least, outside, equally a stranger t_epose. I held no communication with him: still, I was conscious of his desig_o enter, if he could; and on the Tuesday, a little after dark, when m_aster, from sheer fatigue, had been compelled to retire a couple of hours, _ent and opened one of the windows; moved by his perseverance to give him _hance of bestowing on the faded image of his idol one final adieu. He did no_mit to avail himself of the opportunity, cautiously and briefly; to_autiously to betray his presence by the slightest noise. Indeed, I shouldn'_ave discovered that he had been there, except for the disarrangement of th_rapery about the corpse's face, and for observing on the floor a curl o_ight hair, fastened with a silver thread; which, on examination, _scertained to have been taken from a locket hung round Catherine's neck.
  • Heathcliff had opened the trinket and cast out its contents, replacing them b_ black lock of his own. I twisted the two, and enclosed them together.
  • Mr. Earnshaw was, of course, invited to attend the remains of his sister t_he grave; he sent no excuse, but he never came; so that, besides her husband,
  • the mourners were wholly composed of tenants and servants. Isabella was no_sked.
  • The place of Catherine's interment, to the surprise of the villagers, wa_either in the chapel under the carved monument of the Lintons, nor yet by th_ombs of her own relations, outside. It was dug on a green slope in a corne_f the kirk-yard, where the wall is so low that heath and bilberry-plants hav_limbed over it from the moor; and peat-mould almost buries it. Her husban_ies in the same spot now; and they have each a simple headstone above, and _lain grey block at their feet, to mark the graves.