WHILE Miss Linton moped about
the park and garden, always silent,
and almost always in tears; and
her brother shut himself up among
books that he never opened -
wearying, I guessed, with a continual
vague expectation that Catherine,
repenting her conduct, would
come of her own accord to ask
pardon, and seek a reconciliation
- and SHE fasted pertinaciously,
under the idea, probably, that
at every meal Edgar was ready
to choke for her absence, and
pride alone held him from running
to cast himself at her feet;
I went about my household duties,
convinced that the Grange had
but one sensible soul in its
walls, and that lodged in my
body. I wasted no condolences
on Miss, nor any expostulations
on my mistress; nor did I pay
much attention to the sighs of
my master, who yearned to hear
his lady's name, since he might
not hear her voice. I determined
they should come about as they
pleased for me; and though it
was a tiresomely slow process,
I began to rejoice at length
in a faint dawn of its progress:
as I thought at first.
Mrs. Linton, on the third day,
unbarred her door, and having
finished the water in her pitcher
and decanter, desired a renewed
supply, and a basin of gruel,
for she believed she was dying.
That I set down as a speech meant
for Edgar's ears; I believed
no such thing, so I kept it to
myself and brought her some tea
and dry toast. She ate and drank
eagerly, and sank back on her
pillow again, clenching her hands
and groaning. 'Oh, I will die,'
she exclaimed, 'since no one
cares anything about me. I wish
I had not taken that.' Then a
good while after I heard her
murmur, 'No, I'll not die - he'd
be glad - he does not love me
at all - he would never miss
'Did you want anything, ma'am?'
I inquired, still preserving
my external composure, in spite
of her ghastly countenance and
strange, exaggerated manner.
'What is that apathetic being
doing?' she demanded, pushing
the thick entangled locks from
her wasted face. 'Has he fallen
into a lethargy, or is he dead?'
'Neither,' replied I; 'if you
mean Mr. Linton. He's tolerably
well, I think, though his studies
occupy him rather more than they
ought: he is continually among
his books, since he has no other
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
the brink of the grave! My God!
does he know how I'm altered?'
continued she, staring at her
reflection in a mirror hanging
against the opposite wall. 'Is
that Catherine Linton? He imagines
me in a pet - in play, perhaps.
Cannot you inform him that it
is frightful earnest? Nelly,
if it be not too late, as soon
as I learn how he feels, I'll
choose between these two: either
to starve at once - that would
be no punishment unless he had
a heart - or to recover, and
leave the country. Are you speaking
the truth about him now? Take
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? Cannot you
tell him I will?' she returned.
'Persuade him! speak of your
own mind: say you are certain
'No, you forget, Mrs. Linton,'
I suggested, 'that you have eaten
some food with a relish this
evening, and to-morrow you will
perceive its good effects.'
'If I were only sure it would
kill him,' she interrupted, 'I'd
kill myself directly! These three
awful nights I've never closed
my lids - and oh, I've been tormented!
I've been haunted, Nelly! But
I begin to fancy you don't like
me. How strange! I thought, though
everybody hated and despised
each other, they could not avoid
loving me. And they have all
turned to enemies in a few hours:
they have, I'm positive; the
people here. How dreary to meet
death, surrounded by their cold
faces! Isabella, terrified and
repelled, afraid to enter the
room, it would be so dreadful
to watch Catherine go. And Edgar
standing solemnly by to see it
over; then offering prayers of
thanks to God for restoring peace
to his house, and going back
to his BOOKS! What in the name
of all that feels has he to do
with BOOKS, when I am dying?'
She could not bear the notion
which I had put into her head
of Mr. Linton's philosophical
resignation. Tossing about, she
increased her feverish bewilderment
to madness, and tore the pillow
with her teeth; then raising
herself up all burning, desired
that I would open the window.
We were in the middle of winter,
the wind blew strong from the
north-east, and I objected. Both
the expressions flitting over
her face, and the changes of
her moods, began to alarm me
terribly; and brought to my recollection
her former illness, and the doctor's
injunction that she should not
be crossed. A minute previously
she was violent; now, supported
on one arm, and not noticing
my refusal to obey her, she seemed
to find childish diversion in
pulling the feathers from the
rents she had just made, and
ranging them on the sheet according
to their different species: her
mind had strayed to other associations.
'That's a turkey's,' she murmured
to herself; 'and this is a wild
duck's; and this is a pigeon's.
Ah, they put pigeons' feathers
in the pillows - no wonder I
couldn't die! Let me take care
to throw it on the floor when
I lie down. And here is a moor-cock's;
and this - I should know it among
a thousand - it'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 had touched the
swells, and it felt rain coming.
This feather was picked up from
the heath, the bird was not shot:
we saw its nest in the winter,
full of little skeletons. Heathcliff
set a trap over it, and the old
ones dared not come. I made him
promise 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? Let me look.'
'Give over with that baby-work!'
I interrupted, dragging the pillow
away, and 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 mess! The
down is flying about like snow.'
I went here and there collecting
'I see in you, Nelly,' she
continued dreamily, 'an aged
woman: you have grey hair and
bent shoulders. This bed is the
fairy cave under Penistone crags,
and you are gathering elf-bolts
to hurt our heifers; pretending,
while I am near, that they are
only locks of wool. That's what
you'll come 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 under
Penistone Crags; and I'm conscious
it's night, and there are two
candles on the table making the
black press shine like jet.'
'The black press? 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 odd - I see a face
'There's no press in the room,
and never was,' said I, resuming
my seat, and looping up the curtain
that I might watch her.
'Don't YOU see that face?'
she inquired, gazing earnestly
at the mirror.
And say what I could, I was
incapable of making her comprehend
it to be her own; so I rose and
covered it with a shawl.
'It's behind there still!'
she pursued, anxiously. 'And
it stirred. Who is it? I hope
it will not come out when you
are gone! Oh! Nelly, the room
is haunted! I'm afraid of being
I took her hand in mine, and
bid her be composed; for a succession
of shudders convulsed her frame,
and she would keep straining
her gaze towards the glass.
'There's nobody here!' I insisted.
'It was YOURSELF, Mrs. Linton:
you knew it a while since.'
'Myself!' she gasped, '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 summoned
back by a piercing shriek - the
shawl had dropped from the frame.
'Why, what is the matter?'
cried I. 'Who is coward now?
Wake up! That is the glass -
the mirror, Mrs. Linton; and
you see yourself in it, and there
am I too by your side.'
Trembling and bewildered, she
held me fast, but the horror
gradually passed from her countenance;
its paleness gave place to a
glow of shame.
'Oh, dear! I thought I was
at home,' she sighed. 'I thought
I was lying in my chamber at
Wuthering Heights. Because I'm
weak, my brain got confused,
and I screamed unconsciously.
Don't say anything; but stay
with me. I dread sleeping: my
dreams 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 hands.
'And that wind sounding in the
firs by the lattice. Do let me
feel it - it comes straight down
the moor - do let me have one
breath!' To pacify her I held
the casement ajar a few seconds.
A cold blast rushed through;
I closed it, and returned to
my post. She lay still now, her
face bathed in tears. Exhaustion
of body had entirely subdued
her spirit: our fiery Catherine
was no better than a wailing
'How long is it since I shut
myself in here?' she asked, suddenly
'It was Monday evening,' I
replied, 'and this is Thursday
night, or rather Friday morning,
'What! of the same week?' she
exclaimed. 'Only that brief time?'
'Long enough to live on nothing
but cold water and ill-temper,'
'Well, it seems a weary number
of hours,' she muttered doubtfully:
'it must be more. I remember
being in the parlour after they
had quarrelled, and Edgar being
cruelly provoking, and me running
into this room desperate. As
soon as ever I had barred the
door, utter blackness overwhelmed
me, and I fell on the floor.
I couldn't explain to Edgar how
certain I felt of having a fit,
or going raging mad, if he persisted
in teasing me! I had no command
of tongue, or brain, and he did
not guess my agony, perhaps:
it barely left me sense to try
to escape from him and his voice.
Before I recovered sufficiently
to see and hear, it began to
be dawn, and, Nelly, I'll tell
you what I thought, and what
has kept recurring and recurring
till I feared for my reason.
I thought as I lay there, with
my head against that table leg,
and my eyes dimly discerning
the grey square of the window,
that I was enclosed in the oak-panelled
bed at home; and my heart ached
with some great grief which,
just waking, I could not recollect.
I pondered, and worried myself
to discover what it could be,
and, most 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 just buried,
and my misery arose from the
separation that Hindley had ordered
between me and Heathcliff. I
was laid alone, for the first
time; and, rousing from a dismal
doze after a night of weeping,
I lifted my hand to push the
panels aside: it struck the table-top!
I swept it along the carpet,
and then memory burst in: my
late anguish was swallowed in
a paroxysm of despair. I cannot
say why I felt so wildly wretched:
it must have been temporary derangement;
for there is scarcely cause.
But, supposing at twelve years
old I had been wrenched from
the Heights, and every early
association, and my all in all,
as Heathcliff was at that time,
and been converted at a stroke
into Mrs. Linton, the lady of
Thrushcross Grange, and 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! Shake your head
as you will, Nelly, you have
helped to unsettle me! You should
have spoken to Edgar, indeed
you should, and compelled him
to leave me quiet! Oh, I'm burning!
I wish I were out of doors! I
wish I were a girl again, half
savage and hardy, and free; and
laughing at injuries, not maddening
under them! Why am I so changed?
why does my blood rush into a
hell of tumult at a few words?
I'm sure I should be myself were
I once among the heather on those
hills. Open the window again
wide: fasten it open! Quick,
why don't you move?'
'Because I won't give you your
death of cold,' I answered.
'You won't give me a chance
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 about her shoulders as keen
as a knife. I entreated, and
finally attempted to force her
to retire. But I soon found her
delirious strength much surpassed
mine (she was delirious, I became
convinced by her subsequent actions
and ravings). There was no moon,
and everything beneath lay in
misty darkness: not a light gleamed
from any house, far or near all
had been extinguished long ago:
and those at Wuthering Heights
were never visible - still she
asserted she caught their shining.
'Look!' she cried eagerly,
'that's my room with the candle
in it, and the trees swaying
before it; and the other candle
is in Joseph's garret. Joseph
sits up late, doesn't he? He's
waiting till I come home 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; and we must pass by Gimmerton
Kirk to go that journey! We've
braved its ghosts often together,
and dared each other to stand
among the graves and ask them
to come. 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,
and throw the church down over
me, but I won't rest till you
are with me. I never will!'
She paused, and resumed with
a strange smile. 'He's considering
- he'd rather I'd come to him!
Find a way, then! not through
that kirkyard. You are slow!
Be content, you always followed
Perceiving it vain to argue
against her insanity, I was planning
how I could reach something to
wrap about her, without quitting
my hold of herself (for I could
not trust her alone by the gaping
lattice), when, to my consternation,
I heard the rattle of the door-handle,
and Mr. Linton entered. He had
only then come from the library;
and, in passing through the lobby,
had 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,
and the bleak atmosphere of the
chamber. 'My poor mistress is
ill, and she quite masters me:
I cannot manage her at all; pray,
come and persuade her to go to
bed. Forget your anger, for she's
hard to guide any way but her
'Catherine ill?' he said, hastening
to us. 'Shut the window, Ellen!
Catherine! why - '
He was silent. The haggardness
of Mrs. Linton's appearance smote
him speechless, and he could
only glance from her to me in
'She's been fretting here,'
I continued, 'and eating scarcely
anything, and never complaining:
she would admit none 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 master frowned.
'It is nothing, is it, Ellen
Dean?' he said sternly. 'You
shall account more clearly for
keeping me ignorant of this!'
And he took his wife in his arms,
and looked at her with anguish.
At first she gave him no glance
of recognition: he was invisible
to her abstracted gaze. The delirium
was not fixed, however; having
weaned her eyes from contemplating
the outer darkness, by degrees
she centred her attention on
him, and discovered who it was
that held her.
'Ah! you are come, are you,
Edgar Linton?' she said, with
angry animation. 'You are one
of those things that are ever
found when least wanted, and
when you are wanted, never! I
suppose we shall have plenty
of lamentations now - I see we
shall - but they can't keep me
from my narrow home out yonder:
my resting-place, where I'm bound
before spring is over! There
it is: not among the Lintons,
mind, under the chapel-roof,
but in the open air, with a head-stone;
and you may please yourself whether
you go to them or come to me!'
'Catherine, what have you done?'
commenced the master. 'Am I nothing
to you any more? Do you love
that wretch Heath - '
'Hush!' cried Mrs. Linton.
'Hush, this moment! You mention
that name and I end the matter
instantly by a spring from the
window! What you touch at present
you may have; but my soul will
be on that hill-top before you
lay hands on me again. I don't
want you, Edgar: I'm past wanting
you. Return to your books. I'm
glad you possess a consolation,
for all you had in me is gone.'
'Her mind wanders, sir,' I
interposed. 'She has been talking
nonsense the whole evening; but
let her have quiet, and proper
attendance, and she'll rally.
Hereafter, we must be cautious
how we vex her.'
'I desire no further advice
from you,' answered Mr. Linton.
'You knew your mistress's nature,
and you encouraged me to harass
her. And not to give me one hint
of how she has been these three
days! It was heartless! Months
of sickness could not cause such
I began to defend myself, thinking
it too bad to be blamed for another's
wicked waywardness. 'I knew Mrs.
Linton's nature to be headstrong
and domineering,' cried I: 'but
I didn't know that you wished
to foster her fierce temper!
I didn't know that, to humour
her, I should wink at Mr. Heathcliff.
I performed the duty of a faithful
servant in telling you, and I
have got a faithful servant's
wages! Well, it will teach me
to be careful next time. Next
time you may gather intelligence
'The next time you bring a
tale to me you shall quit my
service, Ellen Dean,' he replied.
'You'd rather hear nothing
about it, I suppose, then, Mr.
Linton?' said I. 'Heathcliff
has your permission to come a-courting
to Miss, and to drop in at every
opportunity your absence offers,
on purpose to poison the mistress
Confused as Catherine was,
her wits were alert at applying
'Ah! Nelly has played traitor,'
she exclaimed, passionately.
'Nelly is my hidden enemy. You
witch! So you do seek elf-bolts
to hurt us! Let me go, and I'll
make her rue! I'll make her howl
A maniac's fury kindled under
her brows; she struggled desperately
to disengage herself from Linton's
arms. I felt no inclination to
tarry the event; and, resolving
to seek medical aid on my own
responsibility, I quitted the
In passing the garden to reach
the road, at a place where a
bridle hook is driven into the
wall, I saw something white moved
irregularly, 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 on discovering, by touch
more than vision, Miss Isabella's
springer, Fanny, suspended by
a handkerchief, and nearly at
its last gasp. I quickly released
the animal, and lifted it into
the garden. I had seen it follow
its mistress up-stairs when she
went to bed; and wondered much
how it could have got out there,
and what mischievous person had
treated it so. While untying
the knot round the hook, it seemed
to me that I repeatedly caught
the beat of horses' feet galloping
at some distance; but there were
such a number of things to occupy
my reflections that I hardly
gave the circumstance a thought:
though it was a strange sound,
in that place, at two o'clock
in the morning.
Mr. Kenneth was fortunately
just issuing from his house to
see a patient in the village
as I came up the street; and
my account of Catherine Linton's
malady induced him to accompany
me back immediately. He was a
plain rough man; and he made
no scruple to speak his doubts
of her surviving this second
attack; unless she were more
submissive to his directions
than she had shown herself before.
'Nelly Dean,' said he, 'I can't
help fancying there's an extra
cause for this. What has there
been to do at the Grange? We've
odd reports up here. A stout,
hearty lass like Catherine does
not fall ill for a trifle; and
that sort of people should not
either. It's hard work bringing
them through fevers, and such
things. How did it begin?'
'The master will inform you,'
I answered; 'but you are acquainted
with the Earnshaws' violent dispositions,
and Mrs. Linton caps them all.
I may say this; it commenced
in a quarrel. She was struck
during a tempest of passion with
a kind of fit. That's her account,
at least: for she flew off in
the height of it, and locked
herself up. Afterwards, she refused
to eat, and now she alternately
raves and remains in a half dream;
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 break his heart
should anything happen!' I replied.
'Don't alarm him more than necessary.'
'Well, I told him to beware,'
said my companion; 'and he must
bide the consequences of neglecting
my warning! Hasn't he been intimate
with Mr. Heathcliff lately?'
'Heathcliff frequently visits
at the Grange,' answered I, 'though
more on the strength of the mistress
having known him when a boy,
than because the master likes
his company. At present he's
discharged from the trouble of
calling; owing to some presumptuous
aspirations after Miss Linton
which he manifested. I hardly
think he'll be taken in again.'
'And does Miss Linton turn
a cold shoulder on him?' was
the doctor's next question.
'I'm not in her confidence,'
returned I, reluctant to continue
'No, she's a sly one,' he remarked,
shaking his head. 'She keeps
her own counsel! But she's a
real little fool. I have it from
good authority that last night
(and a pretty night it was!)
she and Heathcliff were walking
in the plantation at the back
of your house above two hours;
and he pressed her not to go
in again, but just 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 me with fresh
fears; I outstripped Kenneth,
and ran most of the way back.
The little dog was yelping in
the garden yet. I spared a minute
to open the gate for it, but
instead of going to the house
door, it coursed up and down
snuffing the grass, and would
have escaped to the road, had
I not seized it and conveyed
it in with me. On ascending to
Isabella's room, my suspicions
were confirmed: it was empty.
Had I been a few hours sooner
Mrs. Linton's illness might have
arrested her rash step. But what
could be done now? There was
a bare possibility of overtaking
them if pursued instantly. I
could not pursue them, however;
and I dared not rouse the family,
and fill the place with confusion;
still less unfold the business
to my master, absorbed as he
was in his present calamity,
and having no heart to spare
for a second grief! I saw nothing
for it but to hold my tongue,
and suffer matters to take their
course; and Kenneth being arrived,
I went with a badly composed
countenance to announce him.
Catherine lay in a troubled sleep:
her husband had succeeded in
soothing the excess of frenzy;
he now hung over her pillow,
watching every shade and every
change of her painfully expressive
The doctor, on examining the
case for himself, spoke hopefully
to him of its having a favourable
termination, if we could only
preserve around her perfect and
constant tranquillity. To me,
he signified the threatening
danger was not so much death,
as permanent 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 up long before
the usual hour, moving through
the house with stealthy tread,
and exchanging whispers as they
encountered each other in their
vocations. Every one was active
but Miss Isabella; and they began
to remark how sound she slept:
her brother, too, asked if she
had risen, and seemed impatient
for her presence, and hurt that
she showed so little anxiety
for her sister-in-law. I trembled
lest he should send me to call
her; but I was spared the pain
of being the first proclaimant
of her flight. One of the maids,
a thoughtless girl, who had been
on an early errand to Gimmerton,
came panting up-stairs, open-mouthed,
and dashed into the chamber,
crying: 'Oh, dear, dear! What
mun we have next? Master, master,
our young lady - '
'Hold your noise!' cried, I
hastily, enraged at her clamorous
'Speak lower, Mary - What is
the matter?' said Mr. Linton.
'What ails your young lady?'
'She's gone, she's gone! Yon'
Heathcliff's run off wi' her!'
gasped the girl.
'That is not true!' exclaimed
Linton, rising in agitation.
'It cannot be: how has the idea
entered your head? Ellen Dean,
go and seek her. It is incredible:
it cannot be.'
As he spoke he took the servant
to the door, and then repeated
his demand to know her reasons
for such an assertion.
'Why, I met
on the road a lad that fetches
milk here,' she
stammered, 'and he asked whether
we weren't in trouble at the
Grange. I thought he meant for
missis's sickness, so I answered,
yes. Then says he, "There's somebody
gone after 'em, I guess?" I stared.
He saw I knew nought about 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 Gimmerton,
not very long after midnight!
and how the blacksmith's lass
had got up to spy who they were:
she knew them both directly.
And she noticed the man - Heathcliff
it was, she felt certain: nob'dy
could mistake him, besides -
put a sovereign in her father's
hand for payment. The lady had
a cloak about her face; but having
desired a sup of water, while
she drank it fell back, and she
saw her very plain. Heathcliff
held both bridles as they rode
on, and they set their faces
from the village, and went as
fast as the rough roads would
let them. The lass said nothing
to her father, but she told it
all over Gimmerton this morning.'
I ran and peeped, for form's
sake, into Isabella's room; confirming,
when I returned, the servant's
statement. Mr. Linton had resumed
his seat by the bed; on my re-entrance,
he raised his eyes, read the
meaning of my blank aspect, and
dropped them without giving an
order, or uttering a word.
'Are we to try any measures
for overtaking and bringing her
back,' I inquired. 'How should
'She went of her own accord,'
answered the master; 'she had
a right to go if she pleased.
Trouble me no more about her.
Hereafter she is only my sister
in name: not because I disown
her, but because she has disowned
And that was all he said on
the subject: he did not make
single inquiry further, or mention
her in any way, except directing
me to send what property she
had in the house to her fresh
home, wherever it was, when I