About twelve o'clock that night was born the Catherine you saw at
Wuthering Heights: a puny, seven-months' child; and two hours after the
mother died, having never recovered sufficient consciousness to miss
Heathcliff, or know Edgar. The latter's distraction at his bereavement
is a subject too painful to be dwelt on; its after-effects showed how
deep the sorrow sunk. A great addition, in my eyes, was his being left
without an heir. I bemoaned that, as I gazed on the feeble orphan; and I
mentally abused old Linton for (what was only natural partiality) the
securing his estate to his own daughter, instead of his son's. An
unwelcomed infant it was, poor thing! It might have wailed out of life,
and nobody cared a morsel, during those first hours of existence. We
redeemed the neglect afterwards; but its beginning was as friendless as
its end is likely to be.
Next morning--bright and cheerful out of doors--stole softened in through
the blinds of the silent room, and suffused the couch and its occupant
with a mellow, tender glow. Edgar Linton had his head laid on the
pillow, and his eyes shut. His young and fair features were almost as
deathlike as those of the form beside him, and almost as fixed: but _his_
was the hush of exhausted anguish, and _hers_ of perfect peace. Her brow
smooth, her lids closed, her lips wearing the expression of a smile; no
angel in heaven could be more beautiful than she appeared. And I partook
of the infinite calm in which she lay: my mind was never in a holier
frame than while I gazed on that untroubled image of Divine rest. I
instinctively echoed the words she had uttered a few hours before:
'Incomparably beyond and above us all! Whether still on earth or now in
heaven, her spirit is at home with God!'
I don't know if it be a peculiarity in me, but I am seldom otherwise than
happy while watching in the chamber of death, should no frenzied or
despairing mourner share the duty with me. I see a repose that neither
earth nor hell can break, and I feel an assurance of the endless and
shadowless hereafter--the Eternity they have entered--where life is
boundless in its duration, and love in its sympathy, and joy in its
fulness. I noticed on that occasion how much selfishness there is even
in a love like Mr. Linton's, when he so regretted Catherine's blessed
release! To be sure, one might have doubted, after the wayward and
impatient existence she had led, whether she merited a haven of peace at
last. One might doubt in seasons of cold reflection; but not then, in
the presence of her corpse. It asserted its own tranquillity, which
seemed a pledge of equal quiet to its former inhabitant.
Do you believe such people are happy in the other world, sir? I'd give a
great deal to know.
I declined answering Mrs. Dean's question, which struck me as something
heterodox. She proceeded:
Retracing the course of Catherine Linton, I fear we have no right to
think she is; but we'll leave her with her Maker.
The master looked asleep, and I ventured soon after sunrise to quit the
room and steal out to the pure refreshing air. The servants thought me
gone to shake off the drowsiness of my protracted watch; in reality, my
chief motive was seeing Mr. Heathcliff. If he had remained among the
larches all night, he would have heard nothing of the stir at the Grange;
unless, perhaps, he might catch the gallop of the messenger going to
Gimmerton. If he had come nearer, he would probably be aware, from the
lights flitting to and fro, and the opening and shutting of the outer
doors, that all was not right within. I wished, yet feared, to find him.
I felt the terrible news must be told, and I longed to get it over; but
how to do it I did not know. He was there--at least, a few yards further
in the park; leant against an old ash-tree, his hat off, and his hair
soaked with the dew that had gathered on the budded branches, and fell
pattering round him. He had been standing a long time in that position,
for I saw a pair of ousels passing and repassing scarcely three feet from
him, busy in building their nest, and regarding his proximity no more
than that of a piece of timber. They flew off at my approach, and he
raised his eyes and spoke:--'She's dead!' he said; 'I've not waited for
you to learn that. Put your handkerchief away--don't snivel before me.
Damn you all! she wants none of your tears!'
I was weeping as much for him as her: we do sometimes pity creatures that
have none of the feeling either for themselves or others. When I first
looked into his face, I perceived that he had got intelligence of the
catastrophe; and a foolish notion struck me that his heart was quelled
and he prayed, because his lips moved and his gaze was bent on the
'Yes, she's dead!' I answered, checking my sobs and drying my cheeks.
'Gone to heaven, I hope; where we may, every one, join her, if we take
due warning and leave our evil ways to follow good!'
'Did _she_ take due warning, then?' asked Heathcliff, attempting a sneer.
'Did she die like a saint? Come, give me a true history of the event.
He endeavoured to pronounce the name, but could not manage it; and
compressing his mouth he held a silent combat with his inward agony,
defying, meanwhile, my sympathy with an unflinching, ferocious stare.
'How did she die?' he resumed, at last--fain, notwithstanding his
hardihood, to have a support behind him; for, after the struggle, he
trembled, in spite of himself, to his very finger-ends.
'Poor wretch!' I thought; 'you have a heart and nerves the same as your
brother men! Why should you be anxious to conceal them? Your pride
cannot blind God! You tempt him to wring them, till he forces a cry of
'Quietly as a lamb!' I answered, aloud. 'She drew a sigh, and stretched
herself, like a child reviving, and sinking again to sleep; and five
minutes after I felt one little pulse at her heart, and nothing more!'
'And--did she ever mention me?' he asked, hesitating, as if he dreaded
the answer to his question would introduce details that he could not bear
'Her senses never returned: she recognised nobody from the time you left
her,' I said. 'She lies with a sweet smile on her face; and her latest
ideas wandered back to pleasant early days. Her life closed in a gentle
dream--may she wake as kindly in the other world!'
'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping
his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion.
'Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not _there_--not in
heaven--not perished--where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my
sufferings! And I pray one prayer--I repeat it till my tongue
stiffens--Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living;
you said I killed you--haunt me, then! The murdered _do_ haunt their
murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts _have_ wandered on earth. Be
with me always--take any form--drive me mad! only _do_ not leave me in
this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I
_cannot_ live without my life! I _cannot_ live without my soul!'
He dashed his head against the knotted trunk; and, lifting up his eyes,
howled, not like a man, but like a savage beast being goaded to death
with knives and spears. I observed several splashes of blood about the
bark of the tree, and his hand and forehead were both stained; probably
the scene I witnessed was a repetition of others acted during the night.
It hardly moved my compassion--it appalled me: still, I felt reluctant to
quit him so. But the moment he recollected himself enough to notice me
watching, he thundered a command for me to go, and I obeyed. He was
beyond my skill to quiet or console!
Mrs. Linton's funeral was appointed to take place on the Friday following
her decease; and till then her coffin remained uncovered, and strewn with
flowers and scented leaves, in the great drawing-room. Linton spent his
days and nights there, a sleepless guardian; and--a circumstance
concealed from all but me--Heathcliff spent his nights, at least,
outside, equally a stranger to repose. I held no communication with him:
still, I was conscious of his design to enter, if he could; and on the
Tuesday, a little after dark, when my master, from sheer fatigue, had
been compelled to retire a couple of hours, I went and opened one of the
windows; moved by his perseverance to give him a chance of bestowing on
the faded image of his idol one final adieu. He did not omit to avail
himself of the opportunity, cautiously and briefly; too cautiously to
betray his presence by the slightest noise. Indeed, I shouldn't have
discovered that he had been there, except for the disarrangement of the
drapery about the corpse's face, and for observing on the floor a curl of
light hair, fastened with a silver thread; which, on examination, I
ascertained to have been taken from a locket hung round Catherine's neck.
Heathcliff had opened the trinket and cast out its contents, replacing
them by a black lock of his own. I twisted the two, and enclosed them
Mr. Earnshaw was, of course, invited to attend the remains of his sister
to the grave; he sent no excuse, but he never came; so that, besides her
husband, the mourners were wholly composed of tenants and servants.
Isabella was not asked.
The place of Catherine's interment, to the surprise of the villagers, was
neither in the chapel under the carved monument of the Lintons, nor yet
by the tombs of her own relations, outside. It was dug on a green slope
in a corner of the kirk-yard, where the wall is so low that heath and
bilberry-plants have climbed over it from the moor; and peat-mould almost
buries it. Her husband lies in the same spot now; and they have each a
simple headstone above, and a plain grey block at their feet, to mark the