WE had sad work with little
Cathy that day: she rose in high
glee, eager to join her cousin,
and such passionate tears and
lamentations followed the news
of his departure that Edgar himself
was obliged to soothe her, by
affirming he should come back
soon: he added, however, 'if
I can get him'; and there were
no 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 would
return, before she did see him
again his features had waxed
so dim in her memory that she
did not recognise him.
When I chanced to encounter
the housekeeper of Wuthering
Heights, in paying business visits
to Gimmerton, I used to ask how
the young master got on; for
he lived almost as secluded as
Catherine herself, and was never
to be seen. I could gather from
her that he continued in weak
health, and was a tiresome inmate.
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 of his voice, and
could not do at all with his
sitting in the same room with
him many minutes together. There
seldom passed much talk between
them: Linton learnt his lessons
and spent his evenings in a small
apartment they called the parlour:
or else lay in bed all day: for
he was constantly getting coughs,
and colds, and aches, and pains
of some sort.
'And I never know such a fainthearted
creature,' added the woman; 'nor
one so careful of hisseln. He
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 must have a
fire in the middle of summer;
and Joseph's bacca-pipe is poison;
and he must always have sweets
and dainties, and always milk,
milk for ever - heeding naught
how the rest of us are pinched
in winter; and there he'll sit,
wrapped in his furred cloak in
his chair by the fire, with some
toast and water or other slop
on the hob to sip at; and if
Hareton, for pity, comes to amuse
him - Hareton is not bad-natured,
though he's rough - they're sure
to part, one swearing and the
other crying. I believe the master
would relish Earnshaw's thrashing
him to a mummy, 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. But then he won't
go into danger of temptation:
he never enters the parlour,
and should Linton show those
ways in the house where he is,
he sends him up-stairs 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 sense of grief at his lot,
and a wish that he had been left
with us. Mr. Edgar encouraged
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 the housekeeper whether
he ever came into the village?
She said he had only been twice,
on horseback, accompanying his
father; and both times he pretended
to be 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 not know,
was her successor; she lives
Time wore on at the Grange
in its former pleasant way till
Miss Cathy reached sixteen. On
the anniversary of her birth
we never manifested any signs
of rejoicing, because it was
also the anniversary of my late
mistress's death. Her father
invariably spent that day alone
in the library; and walked, at
dusk, as far as Gimmerton kirkyard,
where he would frequently prolong
his stay beyond midnight. Therefore
Catherine was thrown on her own
resources for amusement. This
twentieth of March was a beautiful
spring day, and when her father
had retired, my young lady came
down dressed for going out, and
said she asked to have a ramble
on the edge of the moor with
me: Mr. Linton had given her
leave, if we went only a short
distance and were back within
'So make haste, Ellen!' she
cried. 'I know where I wish to
go; where a colony of moor-game
are settled: I want to see whether
they have made their nests yet.'
'That must 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 put on my bonnet and sallied
out, thinking nothing more of
the matter. She bounded before
me, and returned to my side,
and was off again like a young
greyhound; and, at first, I found
plenty of entertainment in listening
to the larks singing far and
near, and enjoying the sweet,
warm sunshine; and watching her,
my pet and my delight, with her
golden ringlets flying loose
behind, 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
an angel, 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
'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 reach the
other side I shall have raised
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. I shouted
to her, as she had outstripped
me a long way; she either did
not hear or 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, she was two miles nearer
Wuthering Heights than her own
home; and I beheld a couple of
persons arrest her, one of whom
I felt convinced was Mr. Heathcliff
Cathy had been caught in the
fact of plundering, or, at least,
hunting out the nests of the
grouse. The Heights were Heathcliff's
land, and he was reproving the
'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 take them;
but papa told me there were quantities
up here, and I wished to see
Heathcliff glanced at me with
an ill-meaning smile, expressing
his acquaintance with the party,
and, consequently, his malevolence
towards it, and demanded who
'Mr. Linton of Thrushcross
Grange,' she replied. 'I thought
you did not know me, 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. 'That man I've seen
before. Is he your son?'
She pointed to Hareton, the
other individual, who had gained
nothing but increased bulk and
strength by the addition of two
years to his age: he seemed as
awkward and rough as ever.
'Miss Cathy,' I interrupted,
'it will be three hours instead
of one that we are out, presently.
We really must go back.'
'No, that man is not my son,'
answered Heathcliff, pushing
me aside. 'But I have one, and
you have seen him before too;
and, though your nurse is in
a hurry, I think both you and
she would be the better for a
little rest. Will you just turn
this nab of heath, and walk into
my house? You'll get home earlier
for the ease; and you shall receive
a kind welcome.'
I whispered Catherine that
she mustn't, on any account,
accede to the proposal: it was
entirely out of the question.
'Why?' she asked, aloud. 'I'm
tired of running, and the ground
is dewy: I can't sit here. Let
us go, Ellen. Besides, he says
I have seen his son. He's mistaken,
I think; but I guess where he
lives: at the farmhouse I visited
in coming from Penistone' Crags.
'I do. Come, Nelly, hold your
tongue - it will he a treat for
her to look in on 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 my arm, which he had
seized: but she was almost at
the door-stones already, scampering
round the brow at full speed.
Her appointed companion did not
pretend 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 the
visit secret: where is the harm
'The harm of it is, that her
father would hate me if he found
I suffered her to enter your
house; and I am convinced you
have a bad design in encouraging
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, and should
she second my wishes she'll be
provided for at once as joint
successor with Linton.'
'If Linton died,' I answered,
'and his life is quite uncertain,
Catherine would 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,' I returned, as we
reached the gate, where Miss
Cathy waited our coming.
Heathcliff bade me be quiet;
and, preceding us up the path,
hastened to open the door. My
young lady gave him several looks,
as if she could not exactly make
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 imagine
the memory of her mother might
disarm him from desiring her
injury. Linton stood on the hearth.
He had been out walking in the
fields, for his cap was on, and
he was calling to Joseph to bring
him dry shoes. He had grown tall
of his age, still wanting some
months of sixteen. His features
were pretty yet, and his eye
and complexion brighter than
I remembered them, though with
merely temporary lustre borrowed
from the salubrious air and genial
'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,' 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, that
you used to tease us so with
wishing to see?'
'What, Linton!' cried Cathy,
kindling into joyful surprise
at the name. 'Is that 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
of each. Catherine had reached
her full height; her figure was
both plump and slender, elastic
as steel, and her whole aspect
sparkling with health and spirits.
Linton's looks and movements
were very languid, and his form
extremely slight; but there was
a grace in his manner that mitigated
these defects, and rendered him
not unpleasing. After exchanging
numerous marks 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 former 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 Grange
with 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: they are
thrown away on me.'
'Naughty Ellen!' exclaimed
Catherine, flying to attack me
next with her lavish caresses.
'Wicked Ellen! to try to hinder
me from entering. But I'll take
this walk every morning in future:
may I, uncle? and sometimes bring
papa. Won't you be glad to see
'Of course,' replied the uncle,
with a hardly suppressed grimace,
resulting from his deep aversion
to both the proposed visitors.
'But stay,' he continued, turning
towards the young lady. 'Now
I think of it, I'd better tell
you. Mr. Linton has a prejudice
against me: we quarrelled at
one time of our lives, with unchristian
ferocity; and, if you mention
coming here to him, he'll put
a veto on your visits altogether.
Therefore, you must not mention
it, unless you be careless of
seeing your cousin hereafter:
you may come, if you 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 was grieved 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 Linton and I have no
share in your quarrel. I'll not
come here, then; he shall come
to the Grange.'
'It will be too far for me,'
murmured her cousin: 'to walk
four miles would kill me. No,
come here, Miss Catherine, now
and then: not every morning,
but once 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. 'Miss Catherine, as the
ninny calls her, will discover
his value, and send him to the
devil. Now, if it had been Hareton!
- Do you know that, twenty times
a day, I covet Hareton, with
all his degradation? I'd have
loved the lad had he been some
one else. But I think he's safe
from HER love. I'll pit him against
that paltry creature, unless
it bestir itself briskly. We
calculate it will scarcely last
till it is eighteen. Oh, confound
the vapid thing! He's absorbed
in drying his feet, and never
looks at her. - Linton!'
'Yes, father,' answered the
'Have you nothing to show your
cousin anywhere about, not even
a rabbit or a weasel's nest?
Take her into the garden, before
you change your shoes; and 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, and evidently eager to
He kept his seat, and shrank
closer to the fire. Heathcliff
rose, and went into the kitchen,
and from thence to the yard,
calling out for Hareton. Hareton
responded, and presently the
two re-entered. The young man
had been washing 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's assertion.
'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?'
The uncivil little thing stood
on tiptoe, and whispered a sentence
in Heathcliff's ear. He laughed;
Hareton darkened: I perceived
he was very sensitive to suspected
slights, and had obviously a
dim notion of his inferiority.
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. And
behave like a gentleman, mind!
Don't use any bad words; and
don't stare when the young lady
is not looking at you, and be
ready to hide your face when
she is; and, when you speak,
say your words slowly, and keep
your hands out of your pockets.
Be off, and entertain her as
nicely as you can.'
He watched the couple walking
past the window. Earnshaw had
his countenance completely averted
from his companion. He seemed
studying the familiar landscape
with a stranger's and an artist's
interest. Catherine took a sly
look at him, expressing small
admiration. She then turned her
attention to seeking out objects
of amusement for herself, and
tripped merrily on, lilting a
tune to supply the lack of conversation.
his tongue,' observed Heathcliff.
'He'll not venture
a single syllable all the time!
Nelly, you recollect meat his
age - nay, some years younger.
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 my expectations.
If he were a born fool I should
not enjoy it half so much. But
he's no fool; and I can 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 coarseness
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 and weak.
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 put to
the use of paving- stones, and
the other is tin polished to
ape a service of silver. MINE
has nothing valuable about it;
yet I shall have the merit of
making 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, Hareton is damnably
fond of me! You'll own that I've
outmatched Hindley there. If
the dead 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 I saw that he
expected none. Meantime, our
young companion, who sat too
removed from us to hear what
was said, began to evince symptoms
of uneasiness, probably repenting
that he had denied himself the
treat of Catherine's society
for fear of a little fatigue.
His father remarked the restless
glances wandering 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
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 what
was that inscription over the
door? Hareton stared up, and
scratched his head like a true
'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 to know why it is
Linton giggled: the first appearance
of mirth he had exhibited.
'He does not know his letters,'
he said to his cousin. 'Could
you believe in the 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
I think he does not understand
me. I can hardly understand him,
Linton repeated his laugh,
and glanced at Hareton tauntingly;
who certainly did not seem quite
clear of comprehension at that
the matter but laziness; is
he said. 'My cousin fancies you
are an idiot. There you experience
the consequence of scorning "book-larning," as
you would say. Have you noticed,
Catherine, his frightful Yorkshire
'Why, where the devil is the
use on't?' growled Hareton, more
ready in answering his daily
companion. He was about to enlarge
further, but the two youngsters
broke into a noisy fit of merriment:
my giddy miss being delighted
to discover that she might turn
his strange talk to matter of
'Where is the use of the devil
in that sentence?' tittered Linton.
'Papa told you not to say any
bad words, and you can't open
your mouth without one. Do try
to behave like a gentleman, now
'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 face
burnt with mingled rage and mortification!
for he was conscious of being
insulted, and embarrassed 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 enough
while discussing Hareton's faults
and deficiencies, and relating
anecdotes of his goings on; and
the girl relishing his pert and
spiteful sayings, without considering
the ill-nature they evinced.
I began to dislike, more than
to compassionate Linton, and
to excuse his father in some
measure for holding him cheap.
We stayed till afternoon: I
could not tear Miss Cathy away
sooner; but happily my master
had not quitted his apartment,
and remained ignorant of our
prolonged absence. As we walked
home, I would fain have enlightened
my charge on the characters of
the people we had quitted: but
she got it into her head that
I was prejudiced against them.
'Aha!' she cried, 'you take
papa's side, Ellen: you are partial
I know; or else you wouldn't
have cheated me so many years
into the notion that Linton lived
a long way from here. I'm really
extremely angry; only I'm so
pleased I can't show it! But
you must hold your tongue about
MY uncle; he's my uncle, remember;
and I'll scold papa for quarrelling
And so she ran on, till I relinquished
the endeavour to convince her
of her mistake. 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 not
altogether sorry: I thought the
burden of directing and warning
would be more efficiently borne
by him than me. But he was too
timid in giving satisfactory
reasons for his wish that she
should shun connection with the
household of the Heights, and
Catherine liked good reasons
for every restraint that harassed
her petted will.
'Papa!' she exclaimed, after
the morning's salutations, 'guess
whom I saw yesterday, in my walk
on the moors. Ah, papa, you started!
you've not done right, have you,
now? I saw - but listen, and
you shall hear how I found you
out; 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 my master, though he cast
more than one reproachful look
at me, said nothing till she
had concluded. Then he drew her
to him, and asked if she knew
why he had concealed Linton's
near neighbourhood from her?
Could she think it was to deny
her a pleasure that she might
'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. Heathcliff dislikes
me; and is a most diabolical
man, delighting to wrong and
ruin those he hates, if they
give him the slightest opportunity.
I knew that you could not keep
up an acquaintance with your
cousin without being brought
into contact with him; and I
knew he would detest you on my
account; so for your own good,
and nothing else, I took precautions
that you should not see Linton
again. I meant to explain this
some time as you grew older,
and I'm sorry I delayed it.'
'But Mr. Heathcliff was quite
cordial, papa,' observed Catherine,
not at all convinced; 'and he
didn't object to our seeing each
other: he said I might come to
his house when I pleased; only
I must not tell you, because
you had quarrelled with him,
and would not forgive him for
marrying aunt Isabella. And you
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's evil disposition,
gave a hasty sketch of his conduct
to Isabella, and the manner in
which Wuthering Heights became
his property. He could not bear
to discourse long upon the topic;
for though he spoke little of
it, he still felt the same horror
and detestation of his ancient
enemy that had occupied his heart
ever since Mrs. 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
seemed a murderer. Miss Cathy
- conversant with no bad deeds
except her own slight acts of
disobedience, injustice, and
passion, arising from hot temper
and thoughtlessness, and repented
of on the day they were committed
- was amazed at the blackness
of spirit that could brood on
and cover revenge for years,
and deliberately prosecute its
plans without a visitation of
remorse. She appeared so deeply
impressed and shocked at this
new view of human nature - excluded
from all her studies and all
her ideas till now - that Mr.
Edgar deemed it unnecessary to
pursue the subject. He merely
added: 'You will 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 about them.'
Catherine kissed her father,
and sat down quietly to her lessons
for a couple of hours, according
to custom; then she accompanied
him into the grounds, and the
whole day passed as usual: but
in the evening, when she had
retired to her room, and I went
to help her to undress, I found
her crying, on her knees by the
'Oh, fie, silly child!' I exclaimed.
'If you had any real griefs you'd
be ashamed to waste a tear on
this little contrariety. You
never had one shadow of substantial
sorrow, Miss Catherine. Suppose,
for a minute, that master and
I 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 thankful for
the friends you have, instead
of coveting more.'
'I'm not crying for myself,
Ellen,' she answered, 'it's for
him. He expected to see me again
to-morrow, and there he'll be
so disappointed: and he'll wait
for me, and I sha'n't come!'
'Nonsense!' said I, 'do you
imagine he has thought as much
of you as you have of him? Hasn't
he Hareton for a companion? Not
one in a hundred would weep at
losing a relation they had just
seen twice, for two afternoons.
Linton will conjecture how it
is, and trouble himself no further
'But may I not write a note
to tell him why I cannot come?'
she asked, rising to her feet.
'And just send those books I
promised to lend him? His books
are not as nice as mine, and
he wanted to have them extremely,
when I told him how interesting
they were. May I not, Ellen?'
'No, indeed! no, indeed!' replied
I with decision. 'Then he would
write to you, and there'd never
be an end of it. No, Miss Catherine,
the acquaintance must 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 imploring countenance.
'Silence!' I interrupted. 'We'll
not begin with your little notes.
Get into bed.'
She threw at me a very naughty
look, so naughty that I would
not kiss her good-night at first:
I covered her up, and shut her
door, in great displeasure; but,
repenting half-way, I returned
softly, and lo! there was Miss
standing at the table with a
bit of blank paper before her
and a pencil in 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 at present
I shall put out your candle.'
I set the extinguisher on the
flame, receiving as 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, most peevish
humours. The letter was finished
and forwarded to its destination
by a milk- fetcher who came from
the village; but that I didn't
learn till some time afterwards.
Weeks passed on, and Cathy recovered
her temper; though she grew wondrous
fond of stealing off to corners
by herself and often, if I came
near her suddenly while reading,
she would start and bend over
the book, evidently desirous
to hide it; and I detected edges
of loose paper sticking out beyond
the leaves. She also got a trick
of coming down early in the morning
and lingering about the kitchen,
as if she were expecting the
arrival of something; and she
had a small drawer in a cabinet
in the library, which she would
trifle over for hours, and whose
key she took special care to
remove when she left it.
One day, as she inspected this
drawer, I observed that the playthings
and trinkets which recently formed
its contents were transmuted
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 she
and my master were safe upstairs,
I searched, and readily found
among my house keys one that
would 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 could
not but suspect, I was still
surprised to discover that they
were a mass of correspondence
- daily almost, it must have
been - from Linton Heathcliff:
answers to documents forwarded
by her. The earlier dated were
embarrassed and short; gradually,
however, they expanded into copious
love- letters, foolish, as the
age of the writer rendered natural,
yet with touches here and there
which I thought were borrowed
from a more experienced source.
Some of them struck me as singularly
odd compounds of ardour and flatness;
commencing in strong feeling,
and concluding in the affected,
wordy style that a schoolboy
might use to a fancied, incorporeal
sweetheart. Whether they satisfied
Cathy I don't know; but they
appeared very worthless trash
to me. After turning over as
many as I thought proper, I tied
them in a handkerchief and set
them aside, relocking the vacant
Following her habit, my young
lady descended early, and visited
the kitchen: I watched her go
to the door, on the arrival of
a certain little boy; and, while
the dairymaid filled his can,
she tucked something into his
jacket pocket, and plucked something
out. I went round by the garden,
and laid wait for the messenger;
who fought valorously to defend
his trust, and we spilt the milk
between us; but I succeeded in
abstracting the epistle; and,
threatening serious consequences
if he did not look sharp home,
I remained under the wall and
perused Miss Cathy's affectionate
composition. It was more simple
and more eloquent than her cousin's:
very pretty and very silly. I
shook my head, and went meditating
into the house. The day being
wet, she could not divert herself
with rambling about the park;
so, at the conclusion of her
morning studies, she resorted
to the solace of the drawer.
Her father sat reading at the
table; and I, on purpose, had
sought a bit of work in some
unripped fringes of the window-curtain,
keeping my eye steadily fixed
on her proceedings. Never did
any bird flying back to a plundered
nest, which it had left brimful
of chirping young ones, express
more complete despair, in its
anguished cries and flutterings,
than she by her single 'Oh!'
and the change that 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
'Oh, Ellen! you have got them,'
she commenced immediately, dropping
on her knees, 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 you have
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: you may well be ashamed
of them! A fine bundle of trash
you study in your leisure hours,
to be sure: why, it's good enough
to be printed! And what do you
suppose the master will think
when I display it before him?
I hav'n't shown it yet, 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 have thought of
beginning, I'm certain.'
'I didn't! I didn't!' sobbed
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 just as well talk of
loving the miller who comes 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 such LOVING.'
She sprang at her precious
epistles, but I hold them above
my head; and then she poured
out further frantic entreaties
that I would burn them - do anything
rather than show them. And being
really fully as much inclined
to laugh as scold - for I esteemed
it all girlish vanity - I at
length relented in a measure,
and asked, - 'If I consent to
burn them, will you promise faithfully
neither to send nor receive a
letter again, nor a book (for
I perceive you have sent him
books), nor locks of hair, nor
rings, nor playthings?'
'We don't send playthings,'
cried Catherine, her pride overcoming
'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 too painful to be borne.
She earnestly supplicated that
I would spare her one or two.
'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 the fire, and drawing
forth some half-consumed fragments,
at the expense of her fingers.
'Very well - and I will have
some to exhibit to papa!' I answered,
shaking back the rest into the
bundle, and turning anew to the
She emptied her blackened pieces
into the flames, and motioned
me to finish the immolation.
It was done; I stirred up the
ashes, and interred them under
a shovelful 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 young lady's
qualm of sickness was almost
gone, but I judged it best for
her to lie down a while. She
wouldn't dine; but she reappeared
at tea, pale, and red about the
eyes, and marvellously subdued
in outward aspect. Next morning
I answered the letter by a slip
of paper, inscribed, 'Master
Heathcliff is requested to send
no more notes to Miss Linton,
as she will not receive them.'
And, henceforth, the little boy
came with vacant pockets.