YESTERDAY was bright, calm,
and frosty. I went to the Heights
as I proposed: my housekeeper
entreated me to bear a little
note from her to her young lady,
and I did not refuse, for the
worthy woman was not conscious
of anything odd in her request.
The front door stood open, but
the jealous gate was fastened,
as at my last visit; I knocked
and invoked Earnshaw from among
the garden-beds; he unchained
it, and I entered. The fellow
is as handsome a rustic as need
be seen. I took particular notice
of him this time; but then he
does his best apparently to make
the least of his advantages.
I asked if Mr. Heathcliff were
at home? He answered, No; but
he would be in at dinner-time.
It was eleven o'clock, and I
announced my intention of going
in and waiting for him; at which
he immediately flung down his
tools and accompanied me, in
the office of watchdog, not as
a substitute for the host.
We entered together; Catherine
was there, making herself useful
in preparing some vegetables
for the approaching meal; she
looked more sulky and less spirited
than when I had seen her first.
She hardly raised her eyes to
notice me, and continued her
employment with the same disregard
to common forms of politeness
as before; never returning my
bow and good-morning by the slightest
'She does not seem so amiable,'
I thought, 'as Mrs. Dean would
persuade me to believe. She's
a beauty, it is true; but not
Earnshaw surlily bid her remove
her things to the kitchen. 'Remove
them yourself,' she said, pushing
them from her as soon as she
had done; and retiring to a stool
by the window, where she began
to carve figures of birds and
beasts out of the turnip-parings
in her lap. I approached her,
pretending to desire a view of
the garden; and, as I fancied,
adroitly dropped Mrs. Dean's
note on to her knee, unnoticed
by Hareton - but she asked aloud,
'What is that?' And chucked it
'A letter from your old acquaintance,
the housekeeper at the Grange,'
I answered; annoyed at her exposing
my kind deed, and fearful lest
it should be imagined a missive
of my own. She would gladly have
gathered it up at this information,
but Hareton beat her; he seized
and put it in his waistcoat,
saying Mr. Heathcliff should
look at it first. Thereat, Catherine
silently turned her face from
us, and, very stealthily, drew
out her pocket- handkerchief
and applied it to her eyes; and
her cousin, after struggling
awhile to keep down his softer
feelings, pulled out the letter
and flung it on the floor beside
her, as ungraciously as he could.
Catherine caught and perused
it eagerly; then she put a few
questions to me concerning the
inmates, rational and irrational,
of her former home; and gazing
towards the hills, murmured in
'I should like to be riding
Minny down there! I should like
to be climbing up there! Oh!
I'm tired - I'm STALLED, Hareton!'
And she leant her pretty head
back against the sill, with half
a yawn and half a sigh, and lapsed
into an aspect of abstracted
sadness: neither caring nor knowing
whether we remarked her.
'Mrs. Heathcliff,' I said,
after sitting some time mute,
'you are not aware that I am
an acquaintance of yours? so
intimate that I think it strange
you won't come and speak to me.
My housekeeper never wearies
of talking about and praising
you; and she'll be greatly disappointed
if I return with no news of or
from you, except that you received
her letter and said nothing!'
She appeared to wonder at this
speech, and asked, -
'Does Ellen like you?'
'Yes, very well,' I replied,
'You must tell her,' she continued,
'that I would answer her letter,
but I have no materials for writing:
not even a book from which I
might tear a leaf.'
'No books!' I exclaimed. 'How
do you contrive to live here
without them? if I may take the
liberty to inquire. Though provided
with a large library, I'm frequently
very dull at the Grange; take
my books away, and I should be
'I was always reading, when
I had them,' said Catherine;
'and Mr. Heathcliff never reads;
so he took it into his head to
destroy my books. I have not
had a glimpse of one for weeks.
Only once, I searched through
Joseph's store of theology, to
his great irritation; and once,
Hareton, I came upon a secret
stock in your room - some Latin
and Greek, and some tales and
poetry: all old friends. I brought
the last here - and you gathered
them, as a magpie gathers silver
spoons, for the mere love of
stealing! They are of no use
to you; or else you concealed
them in the bad spirit that,
as you cannot enjoy them, nobody
else shall. Perhaps YOUR envy
counselled Mr. Heathcliff to
rob me of my treasures? But I've
most of them written on my brain
and printed in my heart, and
you cannot deprive me of those!'
Earnshaw blushed crimson when
his cousin made this revelation
of his private literary accumulations,
and stammered an indignant denial
of her accusations.
'Mr. Hareton is desirous of
increasing his amount of knowledge,'
I said, coming to his rescue.
'He is not ENVIOUS, but EMULOUS
of your attainments. He'll be
a clever scholar in a few years.'
'And he wants me to sink into
a dunce, meantime,' answered
Catherine. 'Yes, I hear him trying
to spell and read to himself,
and pretty blunders he makes!
I wish you would repeat Chevy
Chase as you did yesterday: it
was extremely funny. I heard
you; and I heard you turning
over the dictionary to seek out
the hard words, and then cursing
because you couldn't read their
The young man evidently thought
it too bad that he should be
laughed at for his ignorance,
and then laughed at for trying
to remove it. I had a similar
notion; and, remembering Mrs.
Dean's anecdote of his first
attempt at enlightening the darkness
in which he had been reared,
I observed, - 'But, Mrs. Heathcliff,
we have each had a commencement,
and each stumbled and tottered
on the threshold; had our teachers
scorned instead of aiding us,
we should stumble and totter
'Oh!' she replied, 'I don't
wish to limit his acquirements:
still, he has no right to appropriate
what is mine, and make it ridiculous
to me with his vile mistakes
and mispronunciations! Those
books, both prose and verse,
are consecrated to me by other
associations; and I hate to have
them debased and profaned in
his mouth! Besides, of all, he
has selected my favourite pieces
that I love the most to repeat,
as if out of deliberate malice.'
Hareton's chest heaved in silence
a minute: he laboured under a
severe sense of mortification
and wrath, which it was no easy
task to suppress. I rose, and,
from a gentlemanly idea of relieving
his embarrassment, took up my
station in the doorway, surveying
the external prospect as I stood.
He followed my example, and left
the room; but presently reappeared,
bearing half a dozen volumes
in his hands, which he threw
into Catherine's lap, exclaiming,
- 'Take them! I never want to
hear, or read, or think of them
'I won't have them now,' she
answered. 'I shall connect them
with you, and hate them.'
She opened one that had obviously
been often turned over, and read
a portion in the drawling tone
of a beginner; then laughed,
and threw it from her. 'And listen,'
she continued, provokingly, commencing
a verse of an old ballad in the
But his self-love would endure
no further torment: I heard,
and not altogether disapprovingly,
a manual cheek given to her saucy
tongue. The little wretch had
done her utmost to hurt her cousin's
sensitive though uncultivated
feelings, and a physical argument
was the only mode he had of balancing
the account, and repaying its
effects on the inflictor. He
afterwards gathered the books
and hurled them on the fire.
I read in his countenance what
anguish it was to offer that
sacrifice to spleen. I fancied
that as they consumed, he recalled
the pleasure they had already
imparted, and the triumph and
ever-increasing pleasure he had
anticipated from them; and I
fancied I guessed the incitement
to his secret studies also. He
had been content with daily labour
and rough animal enjoyments,
till Catherine crossed his path.
Shame at her scorn, and hope
of her approval, were his first
prompters to higher pursuits;
and instead of guarding him from
one and winning him to the other,
his endeavours to raise himself
had produced just the contrary
'Yes that's all the good that
such a brute as you can get from
them!' cried Catherine, sucking
her damaged lip, and watching
the conflagration with indignant
'You'd BETTER hold your tongue,
now,' he answered fiercely.
And his agitation precluded
further speech; he advanced hastily
to the entrance, where I made
way for him to pass. But ere
he had crossed the door-stones,
Mr. Heathcliff, coming up the
causeway, encountered him, and
laying hold of his shoulder asked,
- 'What's to do now, my lad?'
'Naught, naught,' he said,
and broke away to enjoy his grief
and anger in solitude.
Heathcliff gazed after him,
'It will be odd if I thwart
myself,' he muttered, unconscious
that I was behind him. 'But when
I look for his father in his
face, I find HER every day more!
How the devil is he so like?
I can hardly bear to see him.'
He bent his eyes to the ground,
and walked moodily in. There
was a restless, anxious expression
in his countenance. I had never
remarked there before; and he
looked sparer in person. His
daughter-in-law, on perceiving
him through the window, immediately
escaped to the kitchen, so that
I remained alone.
'I'm glad to see you out of
doors again, Mr. Lockwood,' he
said, in reply to my greeting;
'from selfish motives partly:
I don't think I could readily
supply your loss in this desolation.
I've wondered more than once
what brought you here.'
'An idle whim, I fear, sir,'
was my answer; 'or else an idle
whim is going to spirit me away.
I shall set out for London next
week; and I must give you warning
that I feel no disposition to
retain Thrushcross Grange beyond
the twelve months I agreed to
rent it. I believe I shall not
live there any more.'
'Oh, indeed; you're tired of
being banished from the world,
are you?' he said. 'But if you
be coming to plead off paying
for a place you won't occupy,
your journey is useless: I never
relent in exacting my due from
'I'm coming to plead off nothing
about it,' I exclaimed, considerably
irritated. 'Should you wish it,
I'll settle with you now,' and
I drew my note-book from my pocket.
'No, no,' he replied, coolly;
'you'll leave sufficient behind
to cover your debts, if you fail
to return: I'm not in such a
hurry. Sit down and take your
dinner with us; a guest that
is safe from repeating his visit
can generally be made welcome.
Catherine bring the things in:
where are you?'
Catherine reappeared, bearing
a tray of knives and forks.
'You may get your dinner with
Joseph,' muttered Heathcliff,
aside, 'and remain in the kitchen
till he is gone.'
She obeyed his directions very
punctually: perhaps she had no
temptation to transgress. Living
among clowns and misanthropists,
she probably cannot appreciate
a better class of people when
she meets them.
With Mr. Heathcliff, grim and
saturnine, on the one hand, and
Hareton, absolutely dumb, on
the other, I made a somewhat
cheerless meal, and bade adieu
early. I would have departed
by the back way, to get a last
glimpse of Catherine and annoy
old Joseph; but Hareton received
orders to lead up my horse, and
my host himself escorted me to
the door, so I could not fulfil
'How dreary life gets over
in that house!' I reflected,
while riding down the road. 'What
a realisation of something more
romantic than a fairy tale it
would have been for Mrs. Linton
Heathcliff, had she and I struck
up an attachment, as her good
nurse desired, and migrated together
into the stirring atmosphere
of the town!'