SEVEN days glided away, every
one marking its course by the
henceforth rapid alteration of
Edgar Linton's state. The havoc
that months had previously wrought
was now emulated by the inroads
of hours. Catherine we would
fain have deluded yet; but her
own quick spirit refused to delude
her: it divined in secret, and
brooded on the dreadful probability,
gradually ripening into certainty.
She had not the heart to mention
her ride, when Thursday came
round; I mentioned it for her,
and obtained permission to order
her out of doors: for the library,
where her father stopped a short
time daily - the brief period
he could bear to sit up - and
his chamber, had become her whole
world. She grudged each moment
that did not find her bending
over his pillow, or seated by
his side. Her countenance grew
wan with watching and sorrow,
and my master gladly dismissed
her to what he flattered himself
would be a happy change of scene
and society; drawing comfort
from the hope that she would
not now be left entirely alone
after his death.
He had a fixed idea, I guessed
by several observations he let
fall, that, as his nephew resembled
him in person, he would resemble
him in mind; for Linton's letters
bore few or no indications of
his defective character. And
I, through pardonable weakness,
refrained from correcting the
error; asking myself what good
there would be in disturbing
his last moments with information
that he had neither power nor
opportunity to turn to account.
We deferred our excursion till
the afternoon; a golden afternoon
of August: every breath from
the hills so full of life, that
it seemed whoever respired it,
though dying, might revive. Catherine's
face was just like the landscape
- shadows and sunshine flitting
over it in rapid succession;
but the shadows rested longer,
and the sunshine was more transient;
and her poor little heart reproached
itself for even that passing
forgetfulness of its cares.
We discerned Linton watching
at the same spot he had selected
before. My young mistress alighted,
and told me that, as she was
resolved to stay a very little
while, I had better hold the
pony and remain on horseback;
but I dissented: I wouldn't risk
losing sight of the charge committed
to me a minute; so we climbed
the slope of heath together.
Master Heathcliff received us
with greater animation on this
occasion: not the animation of
high spirits though, nor yet
of joy; it looked more like fear.
'It is late!' he said, speaking
short and with difficulty. 'Is
not your father very ill? I thought
you wouldn't come.'
'WHY won't you be candid?'
cried Catherine, swallowing her
greeting. 'Why cannot you say
at once you don't want me? It
is strange, Linton, that for
the second time you have brought
me here on purpose, apparently
to distress us both, and for
no reason besides!'
Linton shivered, and glanced
at her, half supplicating, half
ashamed; but his cousin's patience
was not sufficient to endure
this enigmatical behaviour.
'My father IS very ill,' she
said; 'and why am I called from
his bedside? Why didn't you send
to absolve me from my promise,
when you wished I wouldn't keep
it? Come! I desire an explanation:
playing and trifling are completely
banished out of my mind; and
I can't dance attendance on your
'My affectations!' he murmured;
'what are they? For heaven's
sake, Catherine, don't look so
angry! Despise me as much as
you please; I am a worthless,
cowardly wretch: I can't be scorned
enough; but I'm too mean for
your anger. Hate my father, and
spare me for contempt.'
'Nonsense!' cried Catherine
in a passion. 'Foolish, silly
boy! And there! he trembles:
as if I were really going to
touch him! You needn't bespeak
contempt, Linton: anybody will
have it spontaneously at your
service. Get off! I shall return
home: it is folly dragging you
from the hearth-stone, and pretending
- what do we pretend? Let go
my frock! If I pitied you for
crying and looking so very frightened,
you should spurn such pity. Ellen,
tell him how disgraceful this
conduct is. Rise, and don't degrade
yourself into an abject reptile
With streaming face and an
expression of agony, Linton had
thrown his nerveless frame along
the ground: he seemed convulsed
with exquisite terror.
'Oh!' he sobbed, 'I cannot
bear it! Catherine, Catherine,
I'm a traitor, too, and I dare
not tell you! But leave me, and
I shall be killed! DEAR Catherine,
my life is in your hands: and
you have said you loved me, and
if you did, it wouldn't harm
you. You'll not go, then? kind,
sweet, good Catherine! And perhaps
you WILL consent - and he'll
let me die with you!'
My young lady, on witnessing
his intense anguish, stooped
to raise him. The old feeling
of indulgent tenderness overcame
her vexation, and she grew thoroughly
moved and alarmed.
'Consent to what?' she asked.
'To stay! tell me the meaning
of this strange talk, and I will.
You contradict your own words,
and distract me! Be calm and
frank, and confess at once all
that weighs on your heart. You
wouldn't injure me, Linton, would
you? You wouldn't let any enemy
hurt me, if you could prevent
it? I'll believe you are a coward,
for yourself, but not a cowardly
betrayer of your best friend.'
'But my father threatened me,'
gasped the boy, clasping his
attenuated fingers, 'and I dread
him - I dread him! I DARE not
'Oh, well!' said Catherine,
with scornful compassion, 'keep
your secret: I'M no coward. Save
yourself: I'm not afraid!'
Her magnanimity provoked his
tears: he wept wildly, kissing
her supporting hands, and yet
could not summon courage to speak
out. I was cogitating what the
mystery might be, and determined
Catherine should never suffer
to benefit him or any one else,
by my good will; when, hearing
a rustle among the ling, I looked
up and saw Mr. Heathcliff almost
close upon us, descending the
Heights. He didn't cast a glance
towards my companions, though
they were sufficiently near for
Linton's sobs to be audible;
but hailing me in the almost
hearty tone he assumed to none
besides, and the sincerity of
which I couldn't avoid doubting,
he said -
'It is something to see you
so near to my house, Nelly. How
are you at the Grange? Let us
hear. The rumour goes,' he added,
in a lower tone, 'that Edgar
Linton is on his death-bed: perhaps
they exaggerate his illness?'
'No; my master is dying,' I
replied: 'it is true enough.
A sad thing it will be for us
all, but a blessing for him!'
'How long will he last, do
you think?' he asked.
'I don't know,' I said.
'Because,' he continued, looking
at the two young people, who
were fixed under his eye - Linton
appeared as if he could not venture
to stir or raise his head, and
Catherine could not move, on
his account - 'because that lad
yonder seems determined to beat
me; and I'd thank his uncle to
be quick, and go before him!
Hallo! has the whelp been playing
that game long? I DID give him
some lessons about snivelling.
Is he pretty lively with Miss
'Lively? no - he has shown
the greatest distress,' I answered.
'To see him, I should say, that
instead of rambling with his
sweetheart on the hills, he ought
to be in bed, under the hands
of a doctor.'
'He shall be, in a day or two,'
muttered Heathcliff. 'But first
- get up, Linton! Get up!' he
shouted. 'Don't grovel on the
ground there up, this moment!'
Linton had sunk prostrate again
in another paroxysm of helpless
fear, caused by his father's
glance towards him, I suppose:
there was nothing else to produce
such humiliation. He made several
efforts to obey, but his little
strength was annihilated for
the time, and he fell back again
with a moan. Mr. Heathcliff advanced,
and lifted him to lean against
a ridge of turf.
'Now,' said he, with curbed
ferocity, 'I'm getting angry
and if you don't command that
paltry spirit of yours - DAMN
you! get up directly!'
'I will, father,' he panted.
'Only, let me alone, or I shall
faint. I've done as you wished,
I'm sure. Catherine will tell
you that I - that I - have been
cheerful. Ah! keep by me, Catherine;
give me your hand.'
'Take mine,' said his father;
'stand on your feet. There now
- she'll lend you her arm: that's
right, look at her. You would
imagine I was the devil himself,
Miss Linton, to excite such horror.
Be so kind as to walk home with
him, will you? He shudders if
I touch him.'
'Linton dear!' whispered Catherine,
'I can't go to Wuthering Heights:
papa has forbidden me. He'll
not harm you: why are you so
'I can never re-enter that
house,' he answered. 'I'm NOT
to re- enter it without you!'
'Stop!' cried his father. 'We'll
respect Catherine's filial scruples.
Nelly, take him in, and I'll
follow your advice concerning
the doctor, without delay.'
'You'll do well,' replied I.
'But I must remain with my mistress:
to mind your son is not my business.'
'You are very stiff,' said
Heathcliff, 'I know that: but
you'll force me to pinch the
baby and make it scream before
it moves your charity. Come,
then, my hero. Are you willing
to return, escorted by me?'
He approached once more, and
made as if he would seize the
fragile being; but, shrinking
back, Linton clung to his cousin,
and implored her to accompany
him, with a frantic importunity
that admitted no denial. However
I disapproved, I couldn't hinder
her: indeed, how could she have
refused him herself? What was
filling him with dread we had
no means of discerning; but there
he was, powerless under its gripe,
and any addition seemed capable
of shocking him into idiotcy.
We reached the threshold; Catherine
walked in, and I stood waiting
till she had conducted the invalid
to a chair, expecting her out
immediately; when Mr. Heathcliff,
pushing me forward, exclaimed
- 'My house is not stricken with
the plague, Nelly; and I have
a mind to be hospitable to-day:
sit down, and allow me to shut
He shut and locked it also.
'You shall have tea before
you go home,' he added. 'I am
by myself. Hareton is gone with
some cattle to the Lees, and
Zillah and Joseph are off on
a journey of pleasure; and, though
I'm used to being alone, I'd
rather have some interesting
company, if I can get it. Miss
Linton, take your seat by HIM.
I give you what I have: the present
is hardly worth accepting; but
I have nothing else to offer.
It is Linton, I mean. How she
does stare! It's odd what a savage
feeling I have to anything that
seems afraid of me! Had I been
born where laws are less strict
and tastes less dainty, I should
treat myself to a slow vivisection
of those two, as an evening's
He drew in his breath, struck
the table, and swore to himself,
'By hell! I hate them.'
'I am not afraid of you!' exclaimed
Catherine, who could not hear
the latter part of his speech.
She stepped close up; her black
eyes flashing with passion and
resolution. 'Give me that key:
I will have it!' she said. 'I
wouldn't eat or drink here, if
I were starving.'
Heathcliff had the key in his
hand that remained on the table.
He looked up, seized with a sort
of surprise at her boldness;
or, possibly, reminded, by her
voice and glance, of the person
from whom she inherited it. She
snatched at the instrument, and
half succeeded in getting it
out of his loosened fingers:
but her action recalled him to
the present; he recovered it
'Now, Catherine Linton,' he
said, 'stand off, or I shall
knock you down; and, that will
make Mrs. Dean mad.'
Regardless of this warning,
she captured his closed hand
and its contents again. 'We will
go!' she repeated, exerting her
utmost efforts to cause the iron
muscles to relax; and finding
that her nails made no impression,
she applied her teeth pretty
sharply. Heathcliff glanced at
me a glance that kept me from
interfering a moment. Catherine
was too intent on his fingers
to notice his face. He opened
them suddenly, and resigned the
object of dispute; but, ere she
had well secured it, he seized
her with the liberated hand,
and, pulling her on his knee,
administered with the other a
shower of terrific slaps on both
sides of the head, each sufficient
to have fulfilled his threat,
had she been able to fall.'
At this diabolical violence
I rushed on him furiously. 'You
villain!' I began to cry, 'you
villain!' A touch on the chest
silenced me: I am stout, and
soon put out of breath; and,
what with that and the rage,
I staggered dizzily back and
felt ready to suffocate, or to
burst a blood-vessel. The scene
was over in two minutes; Catherine,
released, put her two hands to
her temples, and looked just
as if she were not sure whether
her ears were off or on. She
trembled like a reed, poor thing,
and leant against the table perfectly
'I know how to chastise children,
you see,' said the scoundrel,
grimly, as he stooped to repossess
himself of the key, which had
dropped to the floor. 'Go to
Linton now, as I told you; and
cry at your ease! I shall be
your father, to-morrow - all
the father you'll have in a few
days - and you shall have plenty
of that. You can bear plenty;
you're no weakling: you shall
have a daily taste, if I catch
such a devil of a temper in your
Cathy ran to me instead of
Linton, and knelt down and put
her burning cheek on my lap,
weeping aloud. Her cousin had
shrunk into a corner of the settle,
as quiet as a mouse, congratulating
himself, I dare say, that the
correction had alighted on another
than him. Mr. Heathcliff, perceiving
us all confounded, rose, and
expeditiously made the tea himself.
The cups and saucers were laid
ready. He poured it out, and
handed me a cup.
'Wash away your spleen,' he
said. 'And help your own naughty
pet and mine. It is not poisoned,
though I prepared it. I'm going
out to seek your horses.'
Our first thought, on his departure,
was to force an exit somewhere.
We tried the kitchen door, but
that was fastened outside: we
looked at the windows - they
were too narrow for even Cathy's
'Master Linton,' I cried, seeing
we were regularly imprisoned,
'you know what your diabolical
father is after, and you shall
tell us, or I'll box your ears,
as he has done your cousin's.'
'Yes, Linton, you must tell,'
said Catherine. 'It was for your
sake I came; and it will be wickedly
ungrateful if you refuse.'
'Give me some tea, I'm thirsty,
and then I'll tell you,' he answered.
'Mrs. Dean, go away. I don't
like you standing over me. Now,
Catherine, you are letting your
tears fall into my cup. I won't
drink that. Give me another.'
Catherine pushed another to him,
and wiped her face. I felt disgusted
at the little wretch's composure,
since he was no longer in terror
for himself. The anguish he had
exhibited on the moor subsided
as soon as ever he entered Wuthering
Heights; so I guessed he had
been menaced with an awful visitation
of wrath if he failed in decoying
us there; and, that accomplished,
he had no further immediate fears.
'Papa wants us to be married,'
he continued, after sipping some
of the liquid. 'And he knows
your papa wouldn't let us marry
now; and he's afraid of my dying
if we wait; so we are to be married
in the morning, and you are to
stay here all night; and, if
you do as he wishes, you shall
return home next day, and take
me with you.'
'Take you with her, pitiful
changeling!' I exclaimed. 'YOU
marry? Why, the man is mad! or
he thinks us fools, every one.
And do you imagine that beautiful
young lady, that healthy, hearty
girl, will tie herself to a little
perishing monkey like you? Are
you cherishing the notion that
anybody, let alone Miss Catherine
Linton, would have you for a
husband? You want whipping for
bringing us in here at all, with
your dastardly puling tricks:
and - don't look so silly, now!
I've a very good mind to shake
you severely, for your contemptible
treachery, and your imbecile
I did give him a slight shaking;
but it brought on the cough,
and he took to his ordinary resource
of moaning and weeping, and Catherine
'Stay all night? No,' she said,
looking slowly round. 'Ellen,
I'll burn that door down but
I'll get out.'
And she would have commenced
the execution of her threat directly,
but Linton was up in alarm for
his dear self again. He clasped
her in his two feeble arms sobbing:-
'Won't you have me, and save
me? not let me come to the Grange?
Oh, darling Catherine! you mustn't
go and leave, after all. You
MUST obey my father - you MUST!'
'I must obey my own,' she replied,
'and relieve him from this cruel
suspense. The whole night! What
would he think? He'll be distressed
already. I'll either break or
burn a way out of the house.
Be quiet! You're in no danger;
but if you hinder me - Linton,
I love papa better than you!'
The mortal terror he felt of
Mr. Heathcliff's anger restored
to the boy his coward's eloquence.
Catherine was near distraught:
still, she persisted that she
must go home, and tried entreaty
in her turn, persuading him to
subdue his selfish agony. While
they were thus occupied, our
jailor re- entered.
'Your beasts have trotted off,'
he said, 'and - now Linton! snivelling
again? What has she been doing
to you? Come, come - have done,
and get to bed. In a month or
two, my lad, you'll be able to
pay her back her present tyrannies
with a vigorous hand. You're
pining for pure love, are you
not? nothing else in the world:
and she shall have you! There,
to bed! Zillah won't be here
to-night; you must undress yourself.
Hush! hold your noise! Once in
your own room, I'll not come
near you: you needn't fear. By
chance, you've managed tolerably.
I'll look to the rest.'
He spoke these words, holding
the door open for his son to
pass, and the latter achieved
his exit exactly as a spaniel
might which suspected the person
who attended on it of designing
a spiteful squeeze. The lock
was re-secured. Heathcliff approached
the fire, where my mistress and
I stood silent. Catherine looked
up, and instinctively raised
her hand to her cheek: his neighbourhood
revived a painful sensation.
Anybody else would have been
incapable of regarding the childish
act with sternness, but he scowled
on her and muttered - 'Oh! you
are not afraid of me? Your courage
is well disguised: you seem damnably
'I AM afraid now,' she replied,
'because, if I stay, papa will
be miserable: and how can I endure
making him miserable - when he
- when he - Mr. Heathcliff, let
ME go home! I promise to marry
Linton: papa would like me to:
and I love him. Why should you
wish to force me to do what I'll
willingly do of myself?'
'Let him dare to force you,'
I cried. 'There's law in the
land, thank God! there is; though
we be in an out-of-the-way place.
I'd inform if he were my own
son: and it's felony without
benefit of clergy!'
'Silence!' said the ruffian.
'To the devil with your clamour!
I don't want YOU to speak. Miss
Linton, I shall enjoy myself
remarkably in thinking your father
will be miserable: I shall not
sleep for satisfaction. You could
have hit on no surer way of fixing
your residence under my roof
for the next twenty-four hours
than informing me that such an
event would follow. As to your
promise to marry Linton, I'll
take care you shall keep it;
for you shall not quit this place
till it is fulfilled.'
'Send Ellen, then, to let papa
know I'm safe!' exclaimed Catherine,
weeping bitterly. 'Or marry me
now. Poor papa! Ellen, he'll
think we're lost. What shall
'Not he! He'll think you are
tired of waiting on him, and
run off for a little amusement,'
answered Heathcliff. 'You cannot
deny that you entered my house
of your own accord, in contempt
of his injunctions to the contrary.
And it is quite natural that
you should desire amusement at
your age; and that you would
weary of nursing a sick man,
and that man ONLY your father.
Catherine, his happiest days
were over when your days began.
He cursed you, I dare say, for
coming into the world (I did,
at least); and it would just
do if he cursed you as HE went
out of it. I'd join him. I don't
love you! How should I? Weep
away. As far as I can see, it
will be your chief diversion
hereafter; unless Linton make
amends for other losses: and
your provident parent appears
to fancy he may. His letters
of advice and consolation entertained
me vastly. In his last he recommended
my jewel to be careful of his;
and kind to her when he got her.
Careful and kind - that's paternal.
But Linton requires his whole
stock of care and kindness for
himself. Linton can play the
little tyrant well. He'll undertake
to torture any number of cats,
if their teeth be drawn and their
claws pared. You'll be able to
tell his uncle fine tales of
his KINDNESS, when you get home
again, I assure you.'
'You're right there!' I said;
'explain your son's character.
Show his resemblance to yourself:
and then, I hope, Miss Cathy
will think twice before she takes
'I don't much mind speaking
of his amiable qualities now,'
he answered; 'because she must
either accept him or remain a
prisoner, and you along with
her, till your master dies. I
can detain you both, quite concealed,
here. If you doubt, encourage
her to retract her word, and
you'll have an opportunity of
'I'll not retract my word,'
said Catherine. 'I'll marry him
within this hour, if I may go
to Thrushcross Grange afterwards.
Mr. Heathcliff, you're a cruel
man, but you're not a fiend;
and you won't, from MERE malice,
destroy irrevocably all my happiness.
If papa thought I had left him
on purpose, and if he died before
I returned, could I bear to live?
I've given over crying: but I'm
going to kneel here, at your
knee; and I'll not get up, and
I'll not take my eyes from your
face till you look back at me!
No, don't turn away! DO LOOK!
you'll see nothing to provoke
you. I don't hate you. I'm not
angry that you struck me. Have
you never loved ANYBODY in all
your life, uncle? NEVER? Ah!
you must look once. I'm so wretched,
you can't help being sorry and
'Keep your eft's fingers off;
and move, or I'll kick you!'
cried Heathcliff, brutally repulsing
her. 'I'd rather be hugged by
a snake. How the devil can you
dream of fawning on me? I DETEST
He shrugged his shoulders:
shook himself, indeed, as if
his flesh crept with aversion;
and thrust back his chair; while
I got up, and opened my mouth,
to commence a downright torrent
of abuse. But I was rendered
dumb in the middle of the first
sentence, by a threat that I
should be shown into a room by
myself the very next syllable
I uttered. It was growing dark
- we heard a sound of voices
at the garden-gate. Our host
hurried out instantly: HE had
his wits about him; WE had not.
There was a talk of two or three
minutes, and he returned alone.
'I thought it had been your
cousin Hareton,' I observed to
Catherine. 'I wish he would arrive!
Who knows but he might take our
'It was three servants sent
to seek you from the Grange,'
said Heathcliff, overhearing
me. 'You should have opened a
lattice and called out: but I
could swear that chit is glad
you didn't. She's glad to be
obliged to stay, I'm certain.'
At learning the chance we had
missed, we both gave vent to
our grief without control; and
he allowed us to wail on till
nine o'clock. Then he bid us
go upstairs, through the kitchen,
to Zillah's chamber; and I whispered
my companion to obey: perhaps
we might contrive to get through
the window there, or into a garret,
and out by its skylight. The
window, however, was narrow,
like those below, and the garret
trap was safe from our attempts;
for we were fastened in as before.
We neither of us lay down: Catherine
took her station by the lattice,
and watched anxiously for morning;
a deep sigh being the only answer
I could obtain to my frequent
entreaties that she would try
to rest. I seated myself in a
chair, and rocked to and fro,
passing harsh judgment on my
many derelictions of duty; from
which, it struck me then, all
the misfortunes of my employers
sprang. It was not the case,
in reality, I am aware; but it
was, in my imagination, that
dismal night; and I thought Heathcliff
himself less guilty than I.
At seven o'clock he came, and
inquired if Miss Linton had risen.
She ran to the door immediately,
and answered, 'Yes.' 'Here, then,'
he said, opening it, and pulling
her out. I rose to follow, but
he turned the lock again. I demanded
'Be patient,' he replied; 'I'll
send up your breakfast in a while.'
I thumped on the panels, and
rattled the latch angrily and
Catherine asked why I was still
shut up? He answered, I must
try to endure it another hour,
and they went away. I endured
it two or three hours; at length,
I heard a footstep: not Heathcliff's.
'I've brought you something
to eat,' said a voice; 'oppen
Complying eagerly, I beheld
Hareton, laden with food enough
to last me all day.
'Tak' it,' he added, thrusting
the tray into my hand.
'Stay one minute,' I began.
'Nay,' cried he, and retired,
regardless of any prayers I could
pour forth to detain him.
And there I remained enclosed
the whole day, and the whole
of the next night; and another,
and another. Five nights and
four days I remained, altogether,
seeing nobody but Hareton once
every morning; and he was a model
of a jailor: surly, and dumb,
and deaf to every attempt at
moving his sense of justice or