Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 21

  • WE had sad work with little Cathy that day: she rose in high glee, eager t_oin her cousin, and such passionate tears and lamentations followed the new_f his departure that Edgar himself was obliged to soothe her, by affirming h_hould come back soon: he added, however, 'if I can get him'; and there wer_o hopes of that. This promise poorly pacified her; but time was more potent; and though still at intervals she inquired of her father when Linton woul_eturn, before she did see him again his features had waxed so dim in he_emory that she did not recognise him.
  • When I chanced to encounter the housekeeper of Wuthering Heights, in payin_usiness visits to Gimmerton, I used to ask how the young master got on; fo_e lived almost as secluded as Catherine herself, and was never to be seen. _ould gather from her that he continued in weak health, and was a tiresom_nmate. She said Mr. Heathcliff seemed to dislike him ever longer and worse, though he took some trouble to conceal it: he had an antipathy to the sound o_is voice, and could not do at all with his sitting in the same room with hi_any minutes together. There seldom passed much talk between them: Linto_earnt his lessons and spent his evenings in a small apartment they called th_arlour: or else lay in bed all day: for he was constantly getting coughs, an_olds, and aches, and pains of some sort.
  • 'And I never know such a fainthearted creature,' added the woman; 'nor one s_areful of hisseln. He WILL go on, if I leave the window open a bit late i_he evening. Oh! it's killing, a breath of night air! And he must have a fir_n the middle of summer; and Joseph's bacca-pipe is poison; and he must alway_ave sweets and dainties, and always milk, milk for ever - heeding naught ho_he rest of us are pinched in winter; and there he'll sit, wrapped in hi_urred cloak in his chair by the fire, with some toast and water or other slo_n the hob to sip at; and if Hareton, for pity, comes to amuse him - Hareto_s not bad-natured, though he's rough - they're sure to part, one swearing an_he other crying. I believe the master would relish Earnshaw's thrashing hi_o a mummy, if he were not his son; and I'm certain he would be fit to tur_im out of doors, if he knew half the nursing he gives hisseln. But then h_on't go into danger of temptation: he never enters the parlour, and shoul_inton show those ways in the house where he is, he sends him up-stair_irectly.'
  • I divined, from this account, that utter lack of sympathy had rendered youn_eathcliff selfish and disagreeable, if he were not so originally; and m_nterest in him, consequently, decayed: though still I was moved with a sens_f grief at his lot, and a wish that he had been left with us. Mr. Edga_ncouraged me to gain information: he thought a great deal about him, I fancy, and would have run some risk to see him; and he told me once to ask th_ousekeeper whether he ever came into the village? She said he had only bee_wice, on horseback, accompanying his father; and both times he pretended t_e quite knocked up for three or four days afterwards. That housekeeper left, if I recollect rightly, two years after he came; and another, whom I did no_now, was her successor; she lives there still.
  • Time wore on at the Grange in its former pleasant way till Miss Cathy reache_ixteen. On the anniversary of her birth we never manifested any signs o_ejoicing, because it was also the anniversary of my late mistress's death.
  • Her father invariably spent that day alone in the library; and walked, a_usk, as far as Gimmerton kirkyard, where he would frequently prolong his sta_eyond midnight. Therefore Catherine was thrown on her own resources fo_musement. This twentieth of March was a beautiful spring day, and when he_ather had retired, my young lady came down dressed for going out, and sai_he asked to have a ramble on the edge of the moor with me: Mr. Linton ha_iven her leave, if we went only a short distance and were back within th_our.
  • 'So make haste, Ellen!' she cried. 'I know where I wish to go; where a colon_f moor-game are settled: I want to see whether they have made their nest_et.'
  • 'That must be a good distance up,' I answered; 'they don't breed on the edg_f the moor.'
  • 'No, it's not,' she said. 'I've gone very near with papa.'
  • I put on my bonnet and sallied out, thinking nothing more of the matter. Sh_ounded before me, and returned to my side, and was off again like a youn_reyhound; and, at first, I found plenty of entertainment in listening to th_arks singing far and near, and enjoying the sweet, warm sunshine; an_atching her, my pet and my delight, with her golden ringlets flying loos_ehind, and her bright cheek, as soft and pure in its bloom as a wild rose, and her eyes radiant with cloudless pleasure. She was a happy creature, and a_ngel, in those days. It's a pity she could not be content.
  • 'Well,' said I, 'where are your moor-game, Miss Cathy? We should be at them: the Grange 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, pass that bank, and by the time you reac_he other side I shall have raised the birds.'
  • But there were so many hillocks and banks to climb and pass, that, at length, I began to be weary, and told her we must halt, and retrace our steps. _houted to her, as she had outstripped me a long way; she either did not hea_r did not regard, for she still sprang on, and I was compelled to follow.
  • Finally, she dived into a hollow; and before I came in sight of her again, sh_as two miles nearer Wuthering Heights than her own home; and I beheld _ouple of persons arrest her, one of whom I felt convinced was Mr. Heathclif_imself.
  • Cathy had been caught in the fact of plundering, or, at least, hunting out th_ests of the grouse. The Heights were Heathcliff's land, and he was reprovin_he poacher.
  • 'I've neither taken any nor found any,' she said, as I toiled to them, expanding her hands in corroboration of the statement. 'I didn't mean to tak_hem; but papa told me there were quantities up here, and I wished to see th_ggs.'
  • Heathcliff glanced at me with an ill-meaning smile, expressing hi_cquaintance with the party, and, consequently, his malevolence towards it, and demanded who 'papa' was?
  • 'Mr. Linton of Thrushcross Grange,' she replied. 'I thought you did not kno_e, or you wouldn't have spoken in that way.'
  • 'You suppose papa is highly esteemed and respected, then?' he said, sarcastically.
  • 'And what are you?' inquired Catherine, gazing curiously on the speaker. 'Tha_an I've seen before. Is he your son?'
  • She pointed to Hareton, the other individual, who had gained nothing bu_ncreased bulk and strength by the addition of two years to his age: he seeme_s awkward and rough as ever.
  • 'Miss Cathy,' I interrupted, 'it will be three hours instead of one that w_re out, presently. We really must go back.'
  • 'No, that man is not my son,' answered Heathcliff, pushing me aside. 'But _ave one, and you have seen him before too; and, though your nurse is in _urry, I think both you and she would be the better for a little rest. Wil_ou just turn this nab of heath, and walk into my house? You'll get hom_arlier for the ease; and you shall receive a kind welcome.'
  • I whispered Catherine that she mustn't, on any account, accede to th_roposal: it was entirely out of the question.
  • 'Why?' she asked, aloud. 'I'm tired of running, and the ground is dewy: _an't sit here. Let us go, Ellen. Besides, he says I have seen his son. He'_istaken, I think; but I guess where he lives: at the farmhouse I visited i_oming from Penistone' Crags. Don't you?'
  • 'I do. Come, Nelly, hold your tongue - it will he a treat for her to look i_n us. Hareton, get forwards with the lass. You shall walk with me, Nelly.'
  • 'No, she's not going to any such place,' I cried, struggling to release m_rm, which he had seized: but she was almost at the door-stones already, scampering round the brow at full speed. Her appointed companion did no_retend to escort her: he shied off by the road-side, and vanished.
  • 'Mr. Heathcliff, it's very wrong,' I continued: 'you know you mean no good.
  • And there she'll see Linton, and all will be told as soon as ever we return; and I shall have the blame.'
  • 'I want her to see Linton,' he answered; 'he's looking better these few days; it's not often he's fit to be seen. And we'll soon persuade her to keep th_isit secret: where is the harm of it?'
  • 'The harm of it is, that her father would hate me if he found I suffered he_o enter your house; and I am convinced you have a bad design in encouragin_er to do so,' I replied.
  • 'My design is as honest as possible. I'll inform you of its whole scope,' h_aid. 'That the two cousins may fall in love, and get married. I'm actin_enerously to your master: his young chit has no expectations, and should sh_econd my wishes she'll be provided for at once as joint successor wit_inton.'
  • 'If Linton died,' I answered, 'and his life is quite uncertain, Catherin_ould be the heir.'
  • 'No, she would not,' he said. 'There is no clause in the will to secure it so: his property would go to me; but, to prevent disputes, I desire their union, and am resolved to bring it about.'
  • 'And I'm resolved she shall never approach your house with me again,' _eturned, as we reached the gate, where Miss Cathy waited our coming.
  • Heathcliff bade me be quiet; and, preceding us up the path, hastened to ope_he door. My young lady gave him several looks, as if she could not exactl_ake up her mind what to think of him; but now he smiled when he met her eye, and softened his voice in addressing her; and I was foolish enough to imagin_he memory of her mother might disarm him from desiring her injury. Linto_tood on the hearth. He had been out walking in the fields, for his cap wa_n, and he was calling to Joseph to bring him dry shoes. He had grown tall o_is age, still wanting some months of sixteen. His features were pretty yet, and his eye and complexion brighter than I remembered them, though with merel_emporary lustre borrowed from the salubrious air and 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 th_ther.
  • 'Yes, yes,' answered 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, tha_ou used to tease us so with wishing to see?'
  • 'What, Linton!' cried Cathy, kindling into joyful surprise at the name. 'I_hat little Linton? He's taller than I am! Are you Linton?'
  • The youth stepped forward, and acknowledged himself: she kissed him fervently, and they gazed with wonder at the change time had wrought in the appearance o_ach. Catherine had reached her full height; her figure was both plump an_lender, elastic as steel, and her whole aspect sparkling with health an_pirits. Linton's looks and movements were very languid, and his for_xtremely slight; but there was a grace in his manner that mitigated thes_efects, and rendered him not unpleasing. After exchanging numerous marks o_ondness with him, his cousin went to Mr. Heathcliff, who lingered by th_oor, dividing his attention between the objects inside and those that la_ithout: pretending, that is, to observe the latter, and really noting th_ormer alone.
  • 'And you are my uncle, then!' she cried, reaching up to salute him. 'I though_ liked you, though you were cross at first. Why don't you visit at the Grang_ith Linton? To live all these years such close neighbours, and never see us, is odd: what have you done so for?'
  • 'I visited it once or twice too often before you were born,' he answered.
  • 'There - damn it! If you have any kisses to spare, give them to Linton: the_re thrown away on me.'
  • 'Naughty Ellen!' exclaimed Catherine, flying to attack me next with her lavis_aresses. 'Wicked Ellen! to try to hinder me from entering. But I'll take thi_alk every morning in future: may I, uncle? and sometimes bring papa. Won'_ou be glad to see us?'
  • 'Of course,' replied the uncle, with a hardly suppressed grimace, resultin_rom his deep aversion to both the proposed visitors. 'But stay,' h_ontinued, turning towards the young lady. 'Now I think of it, I'd better tel_ou. Mr. Linton has a prejudice against me: we quarrelled at one time of ou_ives, with unchristian ferocity; and, if you mention coming here to him, he'll put a veto on your visits altogether. Therefore, you must not mentio_t, unless you be careless of seeing your cousin hereafter: you may come, i_ou will, but you must not mention it.'
  • 'Why did you quarrel?' asked Catherine, considerably crestfallen.
  • 'He thought me too poor to wed his sister,' answered Heathcliff, 'and wa_rieved that I got her: his pride was hurt, and he'll never forgive it.'
  • 'That's wrong!' said the young lady: 'some time I'll tell him so. But Linto_nd I have no share in your quarrel. I'll not come here, then; he shall com_o the Grange.'
  • 'It will be too far for me,' murmured her cousin: 'to walk four miles woul_ill me. No, come here, Miss Catherine, now and then: not every morning, bu_nce or twice a week.'
  • The father launched towards his son a glance of bitter contempt.
  • 'I am afraid, Nelly, I shall lose my labour,' he muttered to me. 'Mis_atherine, as the ninny calls her, will discover his value, and send him t_he devil. Now, if it had been Hareton! - Do you know that, twenty times _ay, I covet Hareton, with all his degradation? I'd have loved the lad had h_een some one else. But I think he's safe from HER love. I'll pit him agains_hat paltry creature, unless it bestir itself briskly. We calculate it wil_carcely last till it is eighteen. Oh, confound the vapid thing! He's absorbe_n drying his feet, and never looks at her. - Linton!'
  • 'Yes, father,' answered the boy.
  • 'Have you nothing to show your cousin anywhere about, not even a rabbit or _easel's nest? Take her into the garden, before you change your shoes; an_nto the stable to see your horse.'
  • 'Wouldn't you rather sit here?' asked Linton, addressing Cathy in a tone whic_xpressed reluctance to move again.
  • 'I don't know,' she replied, casting a longing look to the door, and evidentl_ager to be active.
  • He kept his seat, and shrank closer to the fire. Heathcliff rose, and wen_nto the kitchen, and from thence to the yard, calling out for Hareton.
  • Hareton responded, and presently the two re-entered. The young man had bee_ashing himself, as was visible by the glow on his cheeks and his wetted hair.
  • 'Oh, I'll ask YOU, uncle,' cried Miss Cathy, recollecting the housekeeper'_ssertion. 'That is not my cousin, is he?'
  • 'Yes,' he, replied, 'your mother's nephew. Don't you like him!'
  • Catherine looked queer.
  • 'Is he not a handsome lad?' he continued.
  • The uncivil little thing stood on tiptoe, and whispered a sentence i_eathcliff's ear. He laughed; Hareton darkened: I perceived he was ver_ensitive to suspected slights, and had obviously a dim notion of hi_nferiority. But his master or guardian chased the frown by exclaiming -
  • 'You'll be the favourite among us, Hareton! She says you are a - What was it?
  • Well, something very flattering. Here! you go with her round the farm. An_ehave like a gentleman, mind! Don't use any bad words; and don't stare whe_he young lady is not looking at you, and be ready to hide your face when sh_s; and, when you speak, say your words slowly, and keep your hands out o_our pockets. Be off, and entertain her as nicely as you can.'
  • He watched the couple walking past the window. Earnshaw had his countenanc_ompletely averted from his companion. He seemed studying the familia_andscape with a stranger's and an artist's interest. Catherine took a sl_ook at him, expressing small admiration. She then turned her attention t_eeking out objects of amusement for herself, and tripped merrily on, liltin_ tune to supply the lack of conversation.
  • 'I've tied his tongue,' observed Heathcliff. 'He'll not venture a singl_yllable all the time! Nelly, you recollect meat his age - nay, some year_ounger. Did I ever look so stupid: so "gaumless," as Joseph calls it?'
  • 'Worse,' I replied, 'because more sullen with it.'
  • 'I've a pleasure in him,' he continued, reflecting aloud. 'He has satisfied m_xpectations. If he were a born fool I should not enjoy it half so much. Bu_e's no fool; and I can sympathise with all his feelings, having felt the_yself. I know what he suffers now, for instance, exactly: it is merely _eginning of what he shall suffer, though. And he'll never be able to emerg_rom his bathos of coarseness and ignorance. I've got him faster than hi_coundrel of a father secured me, and lower; for he takes a pride in hi_rutishness. I've taught him to scorn everything extra- animal as silly an_eak. Don't you think Hindley would be proud of his son, if he could see him?
  • almost as proud as I am of mine. But there's this difference; one is gold pu_o the use of paving- stones, and the other is tin polished to ape a servic_f silver. MINE has nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit o_aking it go as far as such poor stuff can go. HIS had first-rate qualities, and they are lost: 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, Hareto_s damnably fond of me! You'll own that I've outmatched Hindley there. If th_ead villain could rise from his grave to abuse me for his offspring's wrongs, I should have the fun of seeing the said offspring fight him back 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 made no reply, because _aw that he expected none. Meantime, our young companion, who sat too remove_rom us to hear what was said, began to evince symptoms of uneasiness, probably repenting that he had denied himself the treat of Catherine's societ_or fear of a little fatigue. His father remarked the restless glance_andering to the window, and the hand irresolutely extended towards his cap.
  • 'Get up, you idle boy!' he exclaimed, with assumed heartiness.
  • 'Away after them! they are just at the corner, by the stand of hives.'
  • Linton gathered his energies, and left the hearth. The lattice was open, and, as he stepped out, I heard Cathy inquiring of her unsociable attendant wha_as that inscription over the door? Hareton stared up, and scratched his hea_ike a true clown.
  • 'It's some damnable writing,' he answered. 'I cannot read it.'
  • 'Can't read it?' cried Catherine; 'I can read it: it's English. But I want t_now why it is there.'
  • Linton giggled: the first appearance of mirth he had exhibited.
  • 'He does not know his letters,' he said to his cousin. 'Could you believe i_he existence of such a colossal dunce?'
  • 'Is he all as he should be?' asked Miss Cathy, seriously; 'or is he simple: not right? I've questioned him twice now, and each time he looked so stupid _hink he does not understand me. I can hardly understand him, I'm sure!'
  • Linton repeated his laugh, and glanced at Hareton tauntingly; who certainl_id not seem quite clear of comprehension at that moment.
  • 'There's nothing the matter but laziness; is there, Earnshaw?' he said. 'M_ousin fancies you are an idiot. There you experience the consequence o_corning "book-larning," as you would say. Have you noticed, Catherine, hi_rightful Yorkshire pronunciation?'
  • 'Why, where the devil is the use on't?' growled Hareton, more ready i_nswering his daily companion. He was about to enlarge further, but the tw_oungsters broke into a noisy fit of merriment: my giddy miss being delighte_o discover that she might turn his strange talk to matter of amusement.
  • 'Where is the use of the devil in that sentence?' tittered Linton. 'Papa tol_ou not to say any bad words, and you can't open your mouth without one. D_ry to behave like a gentleman, now do!'
  • 'If thou weren't more 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 fac_urnt with mingled rage and mortification! for he was conscious of bein_nsulted, and embarrassed how to resent it.
  • Mr. Heathcliff having overheard the conversation, as well as I, smiled when h_aw him go; but immediately afterwards cast a look of singular aversion on th_lippant pair, who remained chattering in the door-way: the boy findin_nimation enough while discussing Hareton's faults and deficiencies, an_elating anecdotes of his goings on; and the girl relishing his pert an_piteful sayings, without considering the ill-nature they evinced. I began t_islike, more than to compassionate Linton, and to excuse his father in som_easure for holding him cheap.
  • We stayed till afternoon: I could not tear Miss Cathy away sooner; but happil_y master had not quitted his apartment, and remained ignorant of ou_rolonged absence. As we walked home, I would fain have enlightened my charg_n the characters of the people we had quitted: but she got it into her hea_hat I was prejudiced against them.
  • 'Aha!' she cried, 'you take papa's side, Ellen: you are partial I know; o_lse you wouldn't have cheated me so many years into the notion that Linto_ived a long way from here. I'm really extremely angry; only I'm so pleased _an't show it! But you must hold your tongue about MY uncle; he's my uncle, remember; and I'll scold papa for quarrelling with him.'
  • And so she ran on, till I relinquished the endeavour to convince her of he_istake. She did not mention the visit that night, because she did not see Mr.
  • Linton. Next day it all came out, sadly to my chagrin; and still I was no_ltogether sorry: I thought the burden of directing and warning would be mor_fficiently borne by him than me. But he was too timid in giving satisfactor_easons for his wish that she should shun connection with the household of th_eights, and Catherine liked good reasons for every restraint that harasse_er petted will.
  • 'Papa!' she exclaimed, after the morning's salutations, 'guess whom I sa_esterday, in my walk on the moors. Ah, papa, you started! you've not don_ight, have you, now? I saw - but listen, and you shall hear how I found yo_ut; and Ellen, who is in league with you, and yet pretended to pity me so, when I kept hoping, and was always disappointed about Linton's coming back!'
  • She gave a faithful account of her excursion and its consequences; and m_aster, though he cast more than one reproachful look at me, said nothing til_he had concluded. Then he drew her to him, and asked if she knew why he ha_oncealed Linton's near neighbourhood from her? Could she think it was to den_er a pleasure that she might harmlessly enjoy?
  • 'It was because you disliked Mr. Heathcliff,' she answered.
  • 'Then you believe I care more for my own feelings than yours, Cathy?' he said.
  • 'No, it was not because I disliked Mr. Heathcliff, but because Mr. Heathclif_islikes me; and is a most diabolical man, delighting to wrong and ruin thos_e hates, if they give him the slightest opportunity. I knew that you coul_ot keep up an acquaintance with your cousin without being brought int_ontact with him; and I knew he would detest you on my account; so for you_wn good, and nothing else, I took precautions that you should not see Linto_gain. I meant to explain this some time as you grew older, and I'm sorry _elayed it.'
  • 'But Mr. Heathcliff was quite cordial, papa,' observed Catherine, not at al_onvinced; 'and he didn't object to our seeing each other: he said I migh_ome to his house when I pleased; only I must not tell you, because you ha_uarrelled with him, and would not forgive him for marrying aunt Isabella. An_ou won't. YOU are the one to be blamed: he is willing to let us be friends, at least; Linton and I; and you are not.'
  • My master, perceiving that she would not take his word for her uncle-in-law'_vil disposition, gave a hasty sketch of his conduct to Isabella, and th_anner in which Wuthering Heights became his property. He could not bear t_iscourse long upon the topic; for though he spoke little of it, he still fel_he same horror and detestation of his ancient enemy that had occupied hi_eart ever since Mrs. Linton's death. 'She might have been living yet, if i_ad not been for him!' was his constant bitter reflection; and, in his eyes, Heathcliff seemed a murderer. Miss Cathy - conversant with no bad deeds excep_er own slight acts of disobedience, injustice, and passion, arising from ho_emper and thoughtlessness, and repented of on the day they were committed - was amazed at the blackness of spirit that could brood on and cover reveng_or years, and deliberately prosecute its plans without a visitation o_emorse. She appeared so deeply impressed and shocked at this new view o_uman nature - excluded from all her studies and all her ideas till now - tha_r. Edgar deemed it unnecessary to pursue the subject. He merely added: 'Yo_ill know hereafter, darling, why I wish you to avoid his house and family; now return to your old employments and amusements, and think no more abou_hem.'
  • Catherine kissed her father, and sat down quietly to her lessons for a coupl_f hours, according to custom; then she accompanied him into the grounds, an_he whole day passed as usual: but in the evening, when she had retired to he_oom, and I went to help her to undress, I found her crying, on her knees b_he bedside.
  • 'Oh, fie, silly child!' I exclaimed. 'If you had any real griefs you'd b_shamed to waste a tear on this little contrariety. You never had one shado_f substantial sorrow, Miss Catherine. Suppose, for a minute, that master an_ were dead, and you were by yourself in the world: how would you feel, then?
  • Compare the present occasion with such an affliction as that, and be thankfu_or the friends you have, instead of coveting more.'
  • 'I'm not crying for myself, Ellen,' she answered, 'it's for him. He expecte_o see me again to-morrow, and there he'll be so disappointed: and he'll wai_or me, and I sha'n't come!'
  • 'Nonsense!' said I, 'do you imagine he has thought as much of you as you hav_f him? Hasn't he Hareton for a companion? Not one in a hundred would weep a_osing a relation they had just seen twice, for two afternoons. Linton wil_onjecture how it is, and trouble himself no further about you.'
  • 'But may I not write a note to tell him why I cannot come?' she asked, risin_o her feet. 'And just send those books I promised to lend him? His books ar_ot as nice as mine, and he wanted to have them extremely, when I told him ho_nteresting they were. May I not, Ellen?'
  • 'No, indeed! no, indeed!' replied I with decision. 'Then he would write t_ou, and there'd never be an end of it. No, Miss Catherine, the acquaintanc_ust be dropped entirely: so papa expects, and I shall see that it is done.'
  • 'But how can one little note - ?' she recommenced, putting on an implorin_ountenance.
  • 'Silence!' I interrupted. 'We'll not begin with your little notes. Get int_ed.'
  • She threw at me a very naughty look, so naughty that I would not kiss he_ood-night at first: I covered her up, and shut her door, in grea_ispleasure; but, repenting half-way, I returned softly, and lo! there wa_iss standing at the table with a bit of blank paper before her and a penci_n her hand, which she guiltily slipped out of sight on my entrance.
  • 'You'll get nobody to take that, Catherine,' I said, 'if you write it; and a_resent I shall put out your candle.'
  • I set the extinguisher on the flame, receiving as I did so a slap on my han_nd a petulant 'cross thing!' I then quitted her again, and she drew the bol_n one of her worst, most peevish humours. The letter was finished an_orwarded to its destination by a milk- fetcher who came from the village; bu_hat I didn't learn till some time afterwards. Weeks passed on, and Cath_ecovered her temper; though she grew wondrous fond of stealing off to corner_y herself and often, if I came near her suddenly while reading, she woul_tart and bend over the book, evidently desirous to hide it; and I detecte_dges of loose paper sticking out beyond the leaves. She also got a trick o_oming down early in the morning and lingering about the kitchen, as if sh_ere expecting the arrival of something; and she had a small drawer in _abinet in the library, which she would trifle over for hours, and whose ke_he took special care to remove when she left it.
  • One day, as she inspected this drawer, I observed that the playthings an_rinkets which recently formed its contents were transmuted into bits o_olded paper. My curiosity and suspicions were roused; I determined to take _eep at her mysterious treasures; so, at night, as soon as she and my maste_ere safe upstairs, I searched, and readily found among my house keys one tha_ould fit the lock. Having opened, I emptied the whole contents into my apron, and took them with me to examine at leisure in my own chamber. Though I coul_ot but suspect, I was still surprised to discover that they were a mass o_orrespondence - daily almost, it must have been - from Linton Heathcliff: answers to documents forwarded by her. The earlier dated were embarrassed an_hort; gradually, however, they expanded into copious love- letters, foolish, as the age of the writer rendered natural, yet with touches here and ther_hich I thought were borrowed from a more experienced source. Some of the_truck me as singularly odd compounds of ardour and flatness; commencing i_trong feeling, and concluding in the affected, wordy style that a schoolbo_ight use to a fancied, incorporeal sweetheart. Whether they satisfied Cathy _on't know; but they appeared very worthless trash to me. After turning ove_s many as I thought proper, I tied them in a handkerchief and set them aside, relocking the vacant drawer.
  • Following her habit, my young lady descended early, and visited the kitchen: _atched her go to the door, on the arrival of a certain little boy; and, whil_he dairymaid filled his can, she tucked something into his jacket pocket, an_lucked something out. I went round by the garden, and laid wait for th_essenger; who fought valorously to defend his trust, and we spilt the mil_etween us; but I succeeded in abstracting the epistle; and, threatenin_erious consequences if he did not look sharp home, I remained under the wal_nd perused Miss Cathy's affectionate composition. It was more simple and mor_loquent than her cousin's: very pretty and very silly. I shook my head, an_ent meditating into the house. The day being wet, she could not diver_erself with rambling about the park; so, at the conclusion of her mornin_tudies, she resorted to the solace of the drawer. Her father sat reading a_he table; and I, on purpose, had sought a bit of work in some unrippe_ringes of the window-curtain, keeping my eye steadily fixed on he_roceedings. Never did any bird flying back to a plundered nest, which it ha_eft brimful of chirping young ones, express more complete despair, in it_nguished cries and flutterings, than she by her single 'Oh!' and the chang_hat transfigured her late happy countenance. Mr. Linton looked up.
  • 'What is the matter, love? Have you hurt yourself?' he said.
  • His tone and look assured her HE had not been the discoverer of the hoard.
  • 'No, papa!' she gasped. 'Ellen! Ellen! come up-stairs - I'm sick!'
  • I obeyed her summons, and accompanied her out.
  • 'Oh, Ellen! you have got them,' she commenced immediately, dropping on he_nees, when we were enclosed alone. 'Oh, give them to me, and I'll never, never do so again! Don't tell papa. You have not told papa, Ellen? say yo_ave not? I've been exceedingly naughty, but I won't do it any more!'
  • With a grave severity in my manner I bade her stand up.
  • 'So,' I exclaimed, 'Miss Catherine, you are tolerably far on, it seems: yo_ay well be ashamed of them! A fine bundle of trash you study in your leisur_ours, to be sure: why, it's good enough to be printed! And what do yo_uppose the master will think when I display it before him? I hav'n't shown i_et, but you needn't imagine I shall keep your ridiculous secrets. For shame!
  • and you must have led the way in writing such absurdities: he would not hav_hought of beginning, I'm certain.'
  • 'I didn't! I didn't!' sobbed Cathy, fit to break her heart. 'I didn't onc_hink of loving him till - '
  • 'LOVING!' cried I, as scornfully as I could utter the word. 'LOVING! Di_nybody ever hear the like! I might just as well talk of loving the miller wh_omes once a year to buy our corn. Pretty loving, indeed! and both time_ogether you have seen Linton hardly four hours in your life! Now here is th_abyish trash. I'm going with it to the library; and we'll see what you_ather says to such LOVING.'
  • She sprang at her precious epistles, but I hold them above my head; and the_he poured out further frantic entreaties that I would burn them - do anythin_ather than show them. And being really fully as much inclined to laugh a_cold - for I esteemed it all girlish vanity - I at length relented in _easure, and asked, \- 'If I consent to burn them, will you promise faithfull_either to send nor receive a letter again, nor a book (for I perceive yo_ave sent him books), nor locks of hair, nor rings, nor playthings?'
  • 'We don't send playthings,' cried Catherine, her pride overcoming her shame.
  • 'Nor anything at all, then, my lady?' I said. 'Unless you will, here I go.'
  • 'I promise, Ellen!' she cried, catching my dress. 'Oh, put them in the fire, do, do!'
  • But when I proceeded to open a place with the poker the sacrifice was to_ainful to be borne. She earnestly supplicated that I would spare her one o_wo.
  • 'One or two, Ellen, to keep for Linton's sake!'
  • I unknotted the handkerchief, and commenced dropping them in from an angle, and the flame curled up the chimney.
  • 'I will have one, you cruel wretch!' she screamed, darting her hand into th_ire, and drawing forth some half-consumed fragments, at the expense of he_ingers.
  • 'Very well - and I will have some to exhibit to papa!' I answered, shakin_ack the rest into the bundle, and turning anew to the door.
  • She emptied her blackened pieces into the flames, and motioned me to finis_he immolation. It was done; I stirred up the ashes, and interred them under _hovelful of coals; and she mutely, and with a sense of intense injury, retired to her private apartment. I descended to tell my master that the youn_ady's qualm of sickness was almost gone, but I judged it best for her to li_own a while. She wouldn't dine; but she reappeared at tea, pale, and re_bout the eyes, and marvellously subdued in outward aspect. Next morning _nswered the letter by a slip of paper, inscribed, 'Master Heathcliff i_equested to send no more notes to Miss Linton, as she will not receive them.'
  • And, henceforth, the little boy came with vacant pockets.