ANOTHER week over - and I am
so many days nearer health, and
spring! I have now heard all
my neighbour's history, at different
sittings, as the housekeeper
could spare time from more important
occupations. I'll continue it
in her own words, only a little
condensed. She is, on the whole,
a very fair narrator, and 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 shunned going
out, because I still carried
his letter in my pocket, and
didn't want to be threatened
or teased any more. I had made
up my mind not to give it till
my master went somewhere, as
I could not guess how its receipt
would affect Catherine. The consequence
was, that it did not reach her
before the lapse of three days.
The fourth was Sunday, and I
brought it into her room after
the family were gone to church.
There was a manservant left to
keep the house with me, and we
generally made a practice of
locking the doors during the
hours of service; but on that
occasion the weather was so warm
and pleasant that I set them
wide open, and, to fulfil my
engagement, as I knew who would
be coming, I told my companion
that the mistress wished very
much for some oranges, and he
must run over to the village
and get a few, to be paid for
on the morrow. He departed, and
I went up-stairs.
Mrs. Linton sat in a loose
white dress, with a light shawl
over her shoulders, in the recess
of the open window, as usual.
Her thick, long hair had been
partly removed at the beginning
of her illness, and now she wore
it simply combed in its natural
tresses over her temples and
neck. Her appearance was altered,
as I had told Heathcliff; but
when she was calm, there seemed
unearthly beauty in the change.
The flash of her eyes had been
succeeded by a dreamy and melancholy
softness; they no longer gave
the impression of looking at
the objects around her: they
appeared always to gaze beyond,
and far beyond - you would have
said out of this world. Then,
the paleness of her face - its
haggard aspect having vanished
as she recovered flesh - and
the peculiar expression arising
from her mental state, though
painfully suggestive of their
causes, added to the touching
interest which she awakened;
and - invariably to me, I know,
and to any person who saw her,
I should think - refuted more
tangible proofs of convalescence,
and stamped her as one doomed
A book lay spread on the sill
before her, and the scarcely
perceptible wind fluttered its
leaves at intervals. I believe
Linton had laid it there: for
she never endeavoured to divert
herself with reading, or occupation
of any kind, and he would spend
many an hour in trying to entice
her attention to some subject
which had formerly been her amusement.
She was conscious of his aim,
and in her better moods endured
his efforts placidly, only showing
their uselessness by now and
then suppressing a wearied sigh,
and checking him at last with
the saddest of smiles and kisses.
At other times, she would turn
petulantly away, and hide her
face in her hands, or even push
him off angrily; and then he
took care to let her alone, for
he was certain of doing no good.
Gimmerton chapel bells were
still ringing; and the full,
mellow flow of the beck in the
valley came soothingly on the
ear. It was a sweet substitute
for the yet absent murmur of
the summer foliage, which drowned
that music about the Grange when
the trees were in leaf. At Wuthering
Heights it always sounded on
quiet days following a great
thaw or a season of steady rain.
And of Wuthering Heights Catherine
was thinking as she listened:
that is, if she thought or listened
at all; but she had the vague,
distant look I mentioned before,
which expressed no recognition
of material things either by
ear or eye.
'There's a letter for you,
Mrs. Linton,' I said, gently
inserting it in one hand that
rested on her knee. 'You must
read it immediately, because
it wants an answer. Shall I break
the seal?' 'Yes,' she answered,
without altering the direction
of her eyes. I opened it - it
was very short. 'Now,' I continued,
'read it.' She drew away her
hand, and let it fall. I replaced
it in her lap, and stood waiting
till it should please her to
glance down; but that movement
was so long delayed that at last
I resumed - 'Must I read it,
ma'am? It is from Mr. Heathcliff.'
There was a start and a troubled
gleam of recollection, and a
struggle to arrange her ideas.
She lifted the letter, and seemed
to peruse it; and when she came
to the signature she sighed:
yet still I found she had not
gathered its import, for, upon
my desiring to hear her reply,
she merely pointed to the name,
and gazed at me with mournful
and questioning eagerness.
'Well, he wishes to see you,'
said I, guessing her need of
an interpreter. 'He's in the
garden by this time, and impatient
to know what answer I shall bring.'
As I spoke, I observed a large
dog lying on the sunny grass
beneath raise its ears as if
about to bark, and then smoothing
them back, announce, by a wag
of the tail, that some one approached
whom it did not consider a stranger.
Mrs. Linton bent forward, and
listened breathlessly. The minute
after a step traversed the hall;
the open house was too tempting
for Heathcliff to resist walking
in: most likely he supposed that
I was inclined to shirk my promise,
and so resolved to trust to his
own audacity. With straining
eagerness Catherine gazed towards
the entrance of her chamber.
He did not hit the right room
directly: she motioned me to
admit him, but he found it out
ere I could reach the door, and
in a stride or two was at her
side, and had her grasped in
He neither spoke nor loosed
his hold for some five minutes,
during which period he bestowed
more kisses than ever he gave
in his life before, I daresay:
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! The same conviction
had stricken him as me, from
the instant he beheld her, that
there was no prospect of ultimate
recovery there - she was fated,
sure to die.
'Oh, Cathy! Oh, my life! how
can I bear it?' was the first
sentence 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 burned with anguish:
they did not melt.
'What now?' said Catherine,
leaning back, and returning his
look with a suddenly clouded
brow: her humour was a mere vane
for constantly varying caprices.
'You and Edgar have broken my
heart, Heathcliff! And you both
come 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 me - and
thriven on it, I think. How strong
you are! How many years do you
mean to live after I am gone?'
Heathcliff had knelt on one
knee to embrace her; he attempted
to rise, but she seized his hair,
and kept him down.
'I wish I could
hold you,' she continued, bitterly,
we were both dead! I shouldn't
care what you suffered. I care
nothing for your sufferings.
Why shouldn't you suffer? I do!
Will you forget me? Will you
be happy when I am in the earth?
Will you say twenty years hence, "That's
the grave of Catherine Earnshaw?
I loved her long ago, and was
wretched to lose her; but it
is past. I've loved many others
since: my children are dearer
to me than she was; and, at death,
I shall not rejoice that I are
going to her: I shall be sorry
that I must leave them!" Will
you say so, Heathcliff?'
'Don't torture me till I'm
as mad as yourself,' cried he,
wrenching his head free, and
grinding his teeth.
The two, to a cool spectator,
made a strange and fearful picture.
Well might Catherine deem that
heaven would be a land of exile
to her, unless with her mortal
body she cast away her moral
character also. Her present countenance
had a wild vindictiveness in
its white cheek, and a bloodless
lip and scintillating eye; and
she retained in her closed fingers
a portion of the locks she had
been grasping. As to her companion,
while raising himself with one
hand, he had taken her arm with
the other; and 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 colourless skin.
'Are you possessed with a devil,'
he pursued, savagely, 'to talk
in that manner to me when you
are dying? Do you reflect that
all those words will be branded
in my memory, and eating deeper
eternally after you have left
me? You know you lie to say I
have killed you: and, Catherine,
you know that I could as soon
forget you as my existence! Is
it not sufficient for your infernal
selfishness, that while you are
at peace I shall writhe in the
torments of hell?'
'I shall not be at peace,'
moaned Catherine, recalled to
a sense of physical weakness
by the violent, unequal throbbing
of her heart, which beat visibly
and audibly under this excess
of agitation. She said nothing
further till the paroxysm was
over; then she continued, more
'I'm not wishing you greater
torment than I have, Heathcliff.
I only wish us never to be parted:
and should a word of mine distress
you hereafter, think I feel the
same distress underground, and
for my own sake, forgive me!
Come here and kneel down again!
You never harmed me in your life.
Nay, if you nurse anger, that
will be worse to remember than
my harsh words! Won't you come
here again? Do!'
Heathcliff went to the back
of her chair, and leant over,
but not so far as to let her
see his face, which was livid
with emotion. She bent round
to look at him; he would not
permit it: turning abruptly,
he walked to the fireplace, where
he stood, silent, with his back
towards us. Mrs. Linton's glance
followed him suspiciously: every
movement woke a new sentiment
in her. After a pause and a prolonged
gaze, she resumed; addressing
me in accents of indignant disappointment:-
'Oh, you see, Nelly, he would
not relent a moment to keep me
out of the grave. THAT is how
I'm loved! Well, never mind.
That is not MY Heathcliff. I
shall love mine yet; and take
him with me: he's in my soul.
And,' added she musingly, 'the
thing that irks me most is this
shattered prison, after all.
I'm tired of being enclosed here.
I'm wearying to escape into that
glorious world, and 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, and in it.
Nelly, you think you are better
and more fortunate than I; in
full health and strength: you
are sorry for me - very soon
that will be altered. I shall
be sorry for YOU. I shall be
incomparably beyond and above
you all. I WONDER he won't be
near me!' She went on to herself.
'I thought he wished it. Heathcliff,
dear! you should not be sullen
now. Do come to me, Heathcliff.'
In her eagerness she rose and
supported herself on the arm
of the chair. At that earnest
appeal he turned to her, looking
absolutely desperate. His eyes,
wide and 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 Catherine
made a spring, and he caught
her, and they were locked in
an embrace from which I thought
my mistress would never be released
alive: in fact, to my eyes, she
seemed directly insensible. He
flung himself into the nearest
seat, and on my approaching hurriedly
to ascertain if she had fainted,
he gnashed at me, and foamed
like a mad dog, and gathered
her to him with greedy jealousy.
I did not feel as if I were in
the company of a creature of
my own species: it appeared that
he would not understand, though
I spoke to him; so I stood off,
and held my tongue, in great
A movement of Catherine's relieved
me a little presently: she put
up her hand to clasp his neck,
and bring her cheek to his as
he held her; while he, in return,
covering her with frantic caresses,
said wildly -
'You teach me now how cruel
you've been - cruel and false.
WHY did you despise me? 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 me,
and cry; and wring out my kisses
and tears: they'll blight you
- they'll damn you. You loved
me - then what RIGHT had you
to leave me? What right - answer
me - for the poor fancy you felt
for Linton? Because misery and
degradation, and death, and nothing
that God or Satan could inflict
would have parted us, YOU, of
your own will, did it. I have
not broken your heart - YOU have
broken it; and in breaking it,
you have broken mine. So much
the worse for me that I am strong.
Do I want to live? What kind
of living will it be when you
- oh, God! would YOU like to
live with your soul in the grave?'
'Let me alone. Let me alone,'
sobbed Catherine. 'If I've done
wrong, I'm dying for it. It is
enough! You left me too: but
I won't upbraid you! I forgive
you. Forgive me!'
'It is hard to forgive, and
to look at those eyes, and feel
those wasted hands,' he answered.
'Kiss me again; and don't let
me see your eyes! I forgive what
you have done to me. I love MY
murderer - but YOURS! How can
They were silent-their faces
hid against each other, and washed
by each other's tears. At least,
I suppose the weeping was on
both sides; as it seemed Heathcliff
could weep on a great occasion
I grew very uncomfortable,
meanwhile; for the afternoon
wore fast away, the man whom
I had sent off returned from
his errand, and I could distinguish,
by the shine of the western sun
up the valley, a concourse thickening
outside Gimmerton chapel porch.
'Service is over,' I announced.
'My master will be here in half
Heathcliff groaned a curse,
and strained Catherine closer:
she never moved.
Ere long I perceived a group
of the servants passing up the
road towards the kitchen wing.
Mr. Linton was not far behind;
he opened the gate himself and
sauntered slowly up, probably
enjoying the lovely afternoon
that breathed as soft as summer.
'Now he is here,' I exclaimed.
'For heaven's sake, hurry down!
You'll not meet any one on the
front stairs. Do be quick; and
stay among the trees till he
is fairly in.'
'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 as firmly as her
strength allowed. 'You SHALL
not, I tell you.'
'For one hour,' he pleaded
'Not for one minute,' she replied.
'I MUST - Linton will be up
immediately,' persisted the alarmed
He would have risen, and unfixed
her fingers by the act - she
clung fast, gasping: there was
mad resolution in her face.
'No!' she shrieked. 'Oh, don't,
don't go. It is the last time!
Edgar will not hurt us. Heathcliff,
I shall die! I shall die!'
'Damn the fool! There he is,'
cried Heathcliff, sinking back
into his seat. 'Hush, my darling!
Hush, hush, Catherine! I'll stay.
If he shot me so, I'd expire
with a blessing on my lips.'
And there they were fast again.
I heard my master mounting the
stairs - the 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, because she
has not wit to help herself?
Get up! You could be free instantly.
That is the most diabolical deed
that ever you did. We are all
done for - master, mistress,
I wrung my hands, and cried
out; and Mr. Linton hastened
his step at the noise. In the
midst of my agitation, I was
sincerely glad to observe that
Catherine's arms had fallen relaxed,
and her head hung down.
'She's fainted, or dead,' I
thought: 'so much the better.
Far better that she should be
dead, than lingering a burden
and a misery-maker to all about
Edgar sprang to his unbidden
guest, blanched with astonishment
and rage. What he meant to do
I cannot 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 speak to me!'
He walked into the parlour,
and sat down. Mr. Linton summoned
me, and with great difficulty,
and after resorting to many means,
we managed to restore her to
sensation; but she was all bewildered;
she sighed, and moaned, and knew
nobody. Edgar, in his anxiety
for her, forgot her hated friend.
I did not. I went, at the earliest
opportunity, and besought him
to depart; affirming that Catherine
was better, and he should hear
from me in the morning how she
passed the night.
'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
to-morrow. I shall be under those
larch-trees. Mind! or I pay another
visit, whether Linton be in or
He sent a rapid glance through
the half-open door of the chamber,
and, ascertaining that what I
stated was apparently true, delivered
the house of his luckless presence.