That Friday made the last of our fine days for a month. In the evening
the weather broke: the wind shifted from south to north-east, and brought
rain first, and then sleet and snow. On the morrow one could hardly
imagine that there had been three weeks of summer: the primroses and
crocuses were hidden under wintry drifts; the larks were silent, the
young leaves of the early trees smitten and blackened. And dreary, and
chill, and dismal, that morrow did creep over! My master kept his room;
I took possession of the lonely parlour, converting it into a nursery:
and there I was, sitting with the moaning doll of a child laid on my
knee; rocking it to and fro, and watching, meanwhile, the still driving
flakes build up the uncurtained window, when the door opened, and some
person entered, out of breath and laughing! My anger was greater than my
astonishment for a minute. I supposed it one of the maids, and I
cried--'Have done! How dare you show your giddiness here; What would Mr.
Linton say if he heard you?'
'Excuse me!' answered a familiar voice; 'but I know Edgar is in bed, and
I cannot stop myself.'
With that the speaker came forward to the fire, panting and holding her
hand to her side.
'I have run the whole way from Wuthering Heights!' she continued, after a
pause; 'except where I've flown. I couldn't count the number of falls
I've had. Oh, I'm aching all over! Don't be alarmed! There shall be an
explanation as soon as I can give it; only just have the goodness to step
out and order the carriage to take me on to Gimmerton, and tell a servant
to seek up a few clothes in my wardrobe.'
The intruder was Mrs. Heathcliff. She certainly seemed in no laughing
predicament: her hair streamed on her shoulders, dripping with snow and
water; she was dressed in the girlish dress she commonly wore, befitting
her age more than her position: a low frock with short sleeves, and
nothing on either head or neck. The frock was of light silk, and clung
to her with wet, and her feet were protected merely by thin slippers; add
to this a deep cut under one ear, which only the cold prevented from
bleeding profusely, a white face scratched and bruised, and a frame
hardly able to support itself through fatigue; and you may fancy my first
fright was not much allayed when I had had leisure to examine her.
'My dear young lady,' I exclaimed, 'I'll stir nowhere, and hear nothing,
till you have removed every article of your clothes, and put on dry
things; and certainly you shall not go to Gimmerton to-night, so it is
needless to order the carriage.'
'Certainly I shall,' she said; 'walking or riding: yet I've no objection
to dress myself decently. And--ah, see how it flows down my neck now!
The fire does make it smart.'
She insisted on my fulfilling her directions, before she would let me
touch her; and not till after the coachman had been instructed to get
ready, and a maid set to pack up some necessary attire, did I obtain her
consent for binding the wound and helping to change her garments.
'Now, Ellen,' she said, when my task was finished and she was seated in
an easy-chair on the hearth, with a cup of tea before her, 'you sit down
opposite me, and put poor Catherine's baby away: I don't like to see it!
You mustn't think I care little for Catherine, because I behaved so
foolishly on entering: I've cried, too, bitterly--yes, more than any one
else has reason to cry. We parted unreconciled, you remember, and I
sha'n't forgive myself. But, for all that, I was not going to sympathise
with him--the brute beast! Oh, give me the poker! This is the last
thing of his I have about me:' she slipped the gold ring from her third
finger, and threw it on the floor. 'I'll smash it!' she continued,
striking it with childish spite, 'and then I'll burn it!' and she took
and dropped the misused article among the coals. 'There! he shall buy
another, if he gets me back again. He'd be capable of coming to seek me,
to tease Edgar. I dare not stay, lest that notion should possess his
wicked head! And besides, Edgar has not been kind, has he? And I won't
come suing for his assistance; nor will I bring him into more trouble.
Necessity compelled me to seek shelter here; though, if I had not learned
he was out of the way, I'd have halted at the kitchen, washed my face,
warmed myself, got you to bring what I wanted, and departed again to
anywhere out of the reach of my accursed--of that incarnate goblin! Ah,
he was in such a fury! If he had caught me! It's a pity Earnshaw is not
his match in strength: I wouldn't have run till I'd seen him all but
demolished, had Hindley been able to do it!'
'Well, don't talk so fast, Miss!' I interrupted; 'you'll disorder the
handkerchief I have tied round your face, and make the cut bleed again.
Drink your tea, and take breath, and give over laughing: laughter is
sadly out of place under this roof, and in your condition!'
'An undeniable truth,' she replied. 'Listen to that child! It maintains
a constant wail--send it out of my hearing for an hour; I sha'n't stay
I rang the bell, and committed it to a servant's care; and then I
inquired what had urged her to escape from Wuthering Heights in such an
unlikely plight, and where she meant to go, as she refused remaining with
'I ought, and I wished to remain,' answered she, 'to cheer Edgar and take
care of the baby, for two things, and because the Grange is my right
home. But I tell you he wouldn't let me! Do you think he could bear to
see me grow fat and merry--could bear to think that we were tranquil, and
not resolve on poisoning our comfort? Now, I have the satisfaction of
being sure that he detests me, to the point of its annoying him seriously
to have me within ear-shot or eyesight: I notice, when I enter his
presence, the muscles of his countenance are involuntarily distorted into
an expression of hatred; partly arising from his knowledge of the good
causes I have to feel that sentiment for him, and partly from original
aversion. It is strong enough to make me feel pretty certain that he
would not chase me over England, supposing I contrived a clear escape;
and therefore I must get quite away. I've recovered from my first desire
to be killed by him: I'd rather he'd kill himself! He has extinguished
my love effectually, and so I'm at my ease. I can recollect yet how I
loved him; and can dimly imagine that I could still be loving him, if--no,
no! Even if he had doted on me, the devilish nature would have revealed
its existence somehow. Catherine had an awfully perverted taste to
esteem him so dearly, knowing him so well. Monster! would that he could
be blotted out of creation, and out of my memory!'
'Hush, hush! He's a human being,' I said. 'Be more charitable: there
are worse men than he is yet!'
'He's not a human being,' she retorted; 'and he has no claim on my
charity. I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death, and
flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen: and since he
has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him: and I would not,
though he groaned from this to his dying day, and wept tears of blood for
Catherine! No, indeed, indeed, I wouldn't!' And here Isabella began to
cry; but, immediately dashing the water from her lashes, she recommenced.
'You asked, what has driven me to flight at last? I was compelled to
attempt it, because I had succeeded in rousing his rage a pitch above his
malignity. Pulling out the nerves with red hot pincers requires more
coolness than knocking on the head. He was worked up to forget the
fiendish prudence he boasted of, and proceeded to murderous violence. I
experienced pleasure in being able to exasperate him: the sense of
pleasure woke my instinct of self-preservation, so I fairly broke free;
and if ever I come into his hands again he is welcome to a signal
'Yesterday, you know, Mr. Earnshaw should have been at the funeral. He
kept himself sober for the purpose--tolerably sober: not going to bed mad
at six o'clock and getting up drunk at twelve. Consequently, he rose, in
suicidal low spirits, as fit for the church as for a dance; and instead,
he sat down by the fire and swallowed gin or brandy by tumblerfuls.
'Heathcliff--I shudder to name him! has been a stranger in the house from
last Sunday till to-day. Whether the angels have fed him, or his kin
beneath, I cannot tell; but he has not eaten a meal with us for nearly a
week. He has just come home at dawn, and gone up-stairs to his chamber;
looking himself in--as if anybody dreamt of coveting his company! There
he has continued, praying like a Methodist: only the deity he implored is
senseless dust and ashes; and God, when addressed, was curiously
confounded with his own black father! After concluding these precious
orisons--and they lasted generally till he grew hoarse and his voice was
strangled in his throat--he would be off again; always straight down to
the Grange! I wonder Edgar did not send for a constable, and give him
into custody! For me, grieved as I was about Catherine, it was
impossible to avoid regarding this season of deliverance from degrading
oppression as a holiday.
'I recovered spirits sufficient to bear Joseph's eternal lectures without
weeping, and to move up and down the house less with the foot of a
frightened thief than formerly. You wouldn't think that I should cry at
anything Joseph could say; but he and Hareton are detestable companions.
I'd rather sit with Hindley, and hear his awful talk, than with "t'
little maister" and his staunch supporter, that odious old man! When
Heathcliff is in, I'm often obliged to seek the kitchen and their
society, or starve among the damp uninhabited chambers; when he is not,
as was the case this week, I establish a table and chair at one corner of
the house fire, and never mind how Mr. Earnshaw may occupy himself; and
he does not interfere with my arrangements. He is quieter now than he
used to be, if no one provokes him: more sullen and depressed, and less
furious. Joseph affirms he's sure he's an altered man: that the Lord has
touched his heart, and he is saved "so as by fire." I'm puzzled to
detect signs of the favourable change: but it is not my business.
'Yester-evening I sat in my nook reading some old books till late on
towards twelve. It seemed so dismal to go up-stairs, with the wild snow
blowing outside, and my thoughts continually reverting to the kirk-yard
and the new-made grave! I dared hardly lift my eyes from the page before
me, that melancholy scene so instantly usurped its place. Hindley sat
opposite, his head leant on his hand; perhaps meditating on the same
subject. He had ceased drinking at a point below irrationality, and had
neither stirred nor spoken during two or three hours. There was no sound
through the house but the moaning wind, which shook the windows every now
and then, the faint crackling of the coals, and the click of my snuffers
as I removed at intervals the long wick of the candle. Hareton and
Joseph were probably fast asleep in bed. It was very, very sad: and
while I read I sighed, for it seemed as if all joy had vanished from the
world, never to be restored.
'The doleful silence was broken at length by the sound of the kitchen
latch: Heathcliff had returned from his watch earlier than usual; owing,
I suppose, to the sudden storm. That entrance was fastened, and we heard
him coming round to get in by the other. I rose with an irrepressible
expression of what I felt on my lips, which induced my companion, who had
been staring towards the door, to turn and look at me.
'"I'll keep him out five minutes," he exclaimed. "You won't object?"
'"No, you may keep him out the whole night for me," I answered. "Do! put
the key in the look, and draw the bolts."
'Earnshaw accomplished this ere his guest reached the front; he then came
and brought his chair to the other side of my table, leaning over it, and
searching in my eyes for a sympathy with the burning hate that gleamed
from his: as he both looked and felt like an assassin, he couldn't
exactly find that; but he discovered enough to encourage him to speak.
'"You, and I," he said, "have each a great debt to settle with the man
out yonder! If we were neither of us cowards, we might combine to
discharge it. Are you as soft as your brother? Are you willing to
endure to the last, and not once attempt a repayment?"
'"I'm weary of enduring now," I replied; "and I'd be glad of a
retaliation that wouldn't recoil on myself; but treachery and violence
are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them
worse than their enemies."
'"Treachery and violence are a just return for treachery and violence!"
cried Hindley. "Mrs. Heathcliff, I'll ask you to do nothing; but sit
still and be dumb. Tell me now, can you? I'm sure you would have as
much pleasure as I in witnessing the conclusion of the fiend's existence;
he'll be _your_ death unless you overreach him; and he'll be _my_ ruin.
Damn the hellish villain! He knocks at the door as if he were master
here already! Promise to hold your tongue, and before that clock
strikes--it wants three minutes of one--you're a free woman!"
'He took the implements which I described to you in my letter from his
breast, and would have turned down the candle. I snatched it away,
however, and seized his arm.
'"I'll not hold my tongue!" I said; "you mustn't touch him. Let the door
remain shut, and be quiet!"
'"No! I've formed my resolution, and by God I'll execute it!" cried the
desperate being. "I'll do you a kindness in spite of yourself, and
Hareton justice! And you needn't trouble your head to screen me;
Catherine is gone. Nobody alive would regret me, or be ashamed, though I
cut my throat this minute--and it's time to make an end!"
'I might as well have struggled with a bear, or reasoned with a lunatic.
The only resource left me was to run to a lattice and warn his intended
victim of the fate which awaited him.
'"You'd better seek shelter somewhere else to-night!" I exclaimed, in
rather a triumphant tone. "Mr. Earnshaw has a mind to shoot you, if you
persist in endeavouring to enter."
'"You'd better open the door, you--" he answered, addressing me by some
elegant term that I don't care to repeat.
'"I shall not meddle in the matter," I retorted again. "Come in and get
shot, if you please. I've done my duty."
'With that I shut the window and returned to my place by the fire; having
too small a stock of hypocrisy at my command to pretend any anxiety for
the danger that menaced him. Earnshaw swore passionately at me:
affirming that I loved the villain yet; and calling me all sorts of names
for the base spirit I evinced. And I, in my secret heart (and conscience
never reproached me), thought what a blessing it would be for _him_
should Heathcliff put him out of misery; and what a blessing for _me_
should he send Heathcliff to his right abode! As I sat nursing these
reflections, the casement behind me was banged on to the floor by a blow
from the latter individual, and his black countenance looked blightingly
through. The stanchions stood too close to suffer his shoulders to
follow, and I smiled, exulting in my fancied security. His hair and
clothes were whitened with snow, and his sharp cannibal teeth, revealed
by cold and wrath, gleamed through the dark.
'"Isabella, let me in, or I'll make you repent!" he "girned," as Joseph
'"I cannot commit murder," I replied. "Mr. Hindley stands sentinel with
a knife and loaded pistol."
'"Let me in by the kitchen door," he said.
'"Hindley will be there before me," I answered: "and that's a poor love
of yours that cannot bear a shower of snow! We were left at peace in our
beds as long as the summer moon shone, but the moment a blast of winter
returns, you must run for shelter! Heathcliff, if I were you, I'd go
stretch myself over her grave and die like a faithful dog. The world is
surely not worth living in now, is it? You had distinctly impressed on
me the idea that Catherine was the whole joy of your life: I can't
imagine how you think of surviving her loss."
'"He's there, is he?" exclaimed my companion, rushing to the gap. "If I
can get my arm out I can hit him!"
'I'm afraid, Ellen, you'll set me down as really wicked; but you don't
know all, so don't judge. I wouldn't have aided or abetted an attempt on
even _his_ life for anything. Wish that he were dead, I must; and
therefore I was fearfully disappointed, and unnerved by terror for the
consequences of my taunting speech, when he flung himself on Earnshaw's
weapon and wrenched it from his grasp.
'The charge exploded, and the knife, in springing back, closed into its
owner's wrist. Heathcliff pulled it away by main force, slitting up the
flesh as it passed on, and thrust it dripping into his pocket. He then
took a stone, struck down the division between two windows, and sprang
in. His adversary had fallen senseless with excessive pain and the flow
of blood, that gushed from an artery or a large vein. The ruffian kicked
and trampled on him, and dashed his head repeatedly against the flags,
holding me with one hand, meantime, to prevent me summoning Joseph. He
exerted preterhuman self-denial in abstaining from finishing him
completely; but getting out of breath, he finally desisted, and dragged
the apparently inanimate body on to the settle. There he tore off the
sleeve of Earnshaw's coat, and bound up the wound with brutal roughness;
spitting and cursing during the operation as energetically as he had
kicked before. Being at liberty, I lost no time in seeking the old
servant; who, having gathered by degrees the purport of my hasty tale,
hurried below, gasping, as he descended the steps two at once.
'"What is ther to do, now? what is ther to do, now?"
'"There's this to do," thundered Heathcliff, "that your master's mad; and
should he last another month, I'll have him to an asylum. And how the
devil did you come to fasten me out, you toothless hound? Don't stand
muttering and mumbling there. Come, I'm not going to nurse him. Wash
that stuff away; and mind the sparks of your candle--it is more than half
'"And so ye've been murthering on him?" exclaimed Joseph, lifting his
hands and eyes in horror. "If iver I seed a seeght loike this! May the
'Heathcliff gave him a push on to his knees in the middle of the blood,
and flung a towel to him; but instead of proceeding to dry it up, he
joined his hands and began a prayer, which excited my laughter from its
odd phraseology. I was in the condition of mind to be shocked at
nothing: in fact, I was as reckless as some malefactors show themselves
at the foot of the gallows.
'"Oh, I forgot you," said the tyrant. "You shall do that. Down with
you. And you conspire with him against me, do you, viper? There, that
is work fit for you!"
'He shook me till my teeth rattled, and pitched me beside Joseph, who
steadily concluded his supplications, and then rose, vowing he would set
off for the Grange directly. Mr. Linton was a magistrate, and though he
had fifty wives dead, he should inquire into this. He was so obstinate
in his resolution, that Heathcliff deemed it expedient to compel from my
lips a recapitulation of what had taken place; standing over me, heaving
with malevolence, as I reluctantly delivered the account in answer to his
questions. It required a great deal of labour to satisfy the old man
that Heathcliff was not the aggressor; especially with my hardly-wrung
replies. However, Mr. Earnshaw soon convinced him that he was alive
still; Joseph hastened to administer a dose of spirits, and by their
succour his master presently regained motion and consciousness.
Heathcliff, aware that his opponent was ignorant of the treatment
received while insensible, called him deliriously intoxicated; and said
he should not notice his atrocious conduct further, but advised him to
get to bed. To my joy, he left us, after giving this judicious counsel,
and Hindley stretched himself on the hearthstone. I departed to my own
room, marvelling that I had escaped so easily.
'This morning, when I came down, about half an hour before noon, Mr.
Earnshaw was sitting by the fire, deadly sick; his evil genius, almost as
gaunt and ghastly, leant against the chimney. Neither appeared inclined
to dine, and, having waited till all was cold on the table, I commenced
alone. Nothing hindered me from eating heartily, and I experienced a
certain sense of satisfaction and superiority, as, at intervals, I cast a
look towards my silent companions, and felt the comfort of a quiet
conscience within me. After I had done, I ventured on the unusual
liberty of drawing near the fire, going round Earnshaw's seat, and
kneeling in the corner beside him.
'Heathcliff did not glance my way, and I gazed up, and contemplated his
features almost as confidently as if they had been turned to stone. His
forehead, that I once thought so manly, and that I now think so
diabolical, was shaded with a heavy cloud; his basilisk eyes were nearly
quenched by sleeplessness, and weeping, perhaps, for the lashes were wet
then: his lips devoid of their ferocious sneer, and sealed in an
expression of unspeakable sadness. Had it been another, I would have
covered my face in the presence of such grief. In _his_ case, I was
gratified; and, ignoble as it seems to insult a fallen enemy, I couldn't
miss this chance of sticking in a dart: his weakness was the only time
when I could taste the delight of paying wrong for wrong.'
'Fie, fie, Miss!' I interrupted. 'One might suppose you had never opened
a Bible in your life. If God afflict your enemies, surely that ought to
suffice you. It is both mean and presumptuous to add your torture to
'In general I'll allow that it would be, Ellen,' she continued; 'but what
misery laid on Heathcliff could content me, unless I have a hand in it?
I'd rather he suffered less, if I might cause his sufferings and he might
_know_ that I was the cause. Oh, I owe him so much. On only one
condition can I hope to forgive him. It is, if I may take an eye for an
eye, a tooth for a tooth; for every wrench of agony return a wrench:
reduce him to my level. As he was the first to injure, make him the
first to implore pardon; and then--why then, Ellen, I might show you some
generosity. But it is utterly impossible I can ever be revenged, and
therefore I cannot forgive him. Hindley wanted some water, and I handed
him a glass, and asked him how he was.
'"Not as ill as I wish," he replied. "But leaving out my arm, every inch
of me is as sore as if I had been fighting with a legion of imps!"
'"Yes, no wonder," was my next remark. "Catherine used to boast that she
stood between you and bodily harm: she meant that certain persons would
not hurt you for fear of offending her. It's well people don't _really_
rise from their grave, or, last night, she might have witnessed a
repulsive scene! Are not you bruised, and cut over your chest and
'"I can't say," he answered, "but what do you mean? Did he dare to
strike me when I was down?"
'"He trampled on and kicked you, and dashed you on the ground," I
whispered. "And his mouth watered to tear you with his teeth; because
he's only half man: not so much, and the rest fiend."
'Mr. Earnshaw looked up, like me, to the countenance of our mutual foe;
who, absorbed in his anguish, seemed insensible to anything around him:
the longer he stood, the plainer his reflections revealed their blackness
through his features.
'"Oh, if God would but give me strength to strangle him in my last agony,
I'd go to hell with joy," groaned the impatient man, writhing to rise,
and sinking back in despair, convinced of his inadequacy for the
'"Nay, it's enough that he has murdered one of you," I observed aloud.
"At the Grange, every one knows your sister would have been living now
had it not been for Mr. Heathcliff. After all, it is preferable to be
hated than loved by him. When I recollect how happy we were--how happy
Catherine was before he came--I'm fit to curse the day."
'Most likely, Heathcliff noticed more the truth of what was said, than
the spirit of the person who said it. His attention was roused, I saw,
for his eyes rained down tears among the ashes, and he drew his breath in
suffocating sighs. I stared full at him, and laughed scornfully. The
clouded windows of hell flashed a moment towards me; the fiend which
usually looked out, however, was so dimmed and drowned that I did not
fear to hazard another sound of derision.
'"Get up, and begone out of my sight," said the mourner.
'I guessed he uttered those words, at least, though his voice was hardly
'"I beg your pardon," I replied. "But I loved Catherine too; and her
brother requires attendance, which, for her sake, I shall supply. Now,
that she's dead, I see her in Hindley: Hindley has exactly her eyes, if
you had not tried to gouge them out, and made them black and red; and
'"Get up, wretched idiot, before I stamp you to death!" he cried, making
a movement that caused me to make one also.
'"But then," I continued, holding myself ready to flee, "if poor
Catherine had trusted you, and assumed the ridiculous, contemptible,
degrading title of Mrs. Heathcliff, she would soon have presented a
similar picture! _She_ wouldn't have borne your abominable behaviour
quietly: her detestation and disgust must have found voice."
'The back of the settle and Earnshaw's person interposed between me and
him; so instead of endeavouring to reach me, he snatched a dinner-knife
from the table and flung it at my head. It struck beneath my ear, and
stopped the sentence I was uttering; but, pulling it out, I sprang to the
door and delivered another; which I hope went a little deeper than his
missile. The last glimpse I caught of him was a furious rush on his
part, checked by the embrace of his host; and both fell locked together
on the hearth. In my flight through the kitchen I bid Joseph speed to
his master; I knocked over Hareton, who was hanging a litter of puppies
from a chair-back in the doorway; and, blessed as a soul escaped from
purgatory, I bounded, leaped, and flew down the steep road; then,
quitting its windings, shot direct across the moor, rolling over banks,
and wading through marshes: precipitating myself, in fact, towards the
beacon-light of the Grange. And far rather would I be condemned to a
perpetual dwelling in the infernal regions than, even for one night,
abide beneath the roof of Wuthering Heights again.'
Isabella ceased speaking, and took a drink of tea; then she rose, and
bidding me put on her bonnet, and a great shawl I had brought, and
turning a deaf ear to my entreaties for her to remain another hour, she
stepped on to a chair, kissed Edgar's and Catherine's portraits, bestowed
a similar salute on me, and descended to the carriage, accompanied by
Fanny, who yelped wild with joy at recovering her mistress. She was
driven away, never to revisit this neighbourhood: but a regular
correspondence was established between her and my master when things were
more settled. I believe her new abode was in the south, near London;
there she had a son born a few months subsequent to her escape. He was
christened Linton, and, from the first, she reported him to be an ailing,
Mr. Heathcliff, meeting me one day in the village, inquired where she
lived. I refused to tell. He remarked that it was not of any moment,
only she must beware of coming to her brother: she should not be with
him, if he had to keep her himself. Though I would give no information,
he discovered, through some of the other servants, both her place of
residence and the existence of the child. Still, he didn't molest her:
for which forbearance she might thank his aversion, I suppose. He often
asked about the infant, when he saw me; and on hearing its name, smiled
grimly, and observed: 'They wish me to hate it too, do they?'
'I don't think they wish you to know anything about it,' I answered.
'But I'll have it,' he said, 'when I want it. They may reckon on that!'
Fortunately its mother died before the time arrived; some thirteen years
after the decease of Catherine, when Linton was twelve, or a little more.
On the day succeeding Isabella's unexpected visit I had no opportunity of
speaking to my master: he shunned conversation, and was fit for
discussing nothing. When I could get him to listen, I saw it pleased him
that his sister had left her husband; whom he abhorred with an intensity
which the mildness of his nature would scarcely seem to allow. So deep
and sensitive was his aversion, that he refrained from going anywhere
where he was likely to see or hear of Heathcliff. Grief, and that
together, transformed him into a complete hermit: he threw up his office
of magistrate, ceased even to attend church, avoided the village on all
occasions, and spent a life of entire seclusion within the limits of his
park and grounds; only varied by solitary rambles on the moors, and
visits to the grave of his wife, mostly at evening, or early morning
before other wanderers were abroad. But he was too good to be thoroughly
unhappy long. _He_ didn't pray for Catherine's soul to haunt him. Time
brought resignation, and a melancholy sweeter than common joy. He
recalled her memory with ardent, tender love, and hopeful aspiring to the
better world; where he doubted not she was gone.
And he had earthly consolation and affections also. For a few days, I
said, he seemed regardless of the puny successor to the departed: that
coldness melted as fast as snow in April, and ere the tiny thing could
stammer a word or totter a step it wielded a despot's sceptre in his
heart. It was named Catherine; but he never called it the name in full,
as he had never called the first Catherine short: probably because
Heathcliff had a habit of doing so. The little one was always Cathy: it
formed to him a distinction from the mother, and yet a connection with
her; and his attachment sprang from its relation to her, far more than
from its being his own.
I used to draw a comparison between him and Hindley Earnshaw, and perplex
myself to explain satisfactorily why their conduct was so opposite in
similar circumstances. They had both been fond husbands, and were both
attached to their children; and I could not see how they shouldn't both
have taken the same road, for good or evil. But, I thought in my mind,
Hindley, with apparently the stronger head, has shown himself sadly the
worse and the weaker man. When his ship struck, the captain abandoned
his post; and the crew, instead of trying to save her, rushed into riot
and confusion, leaving no hope for their luckless vessel. Linton, on the
contrary, displayed the true courage of a loyal and faithful soul: he
trusted God; and God comforted him. One hoped, and the other despaired:
they chose their own lots, and were righteously doomed to endure them.
But you'll not want to hear my moralising, Mr. Lockwood; you'll judge, as
well as I can, all these things: at least, you'll think you will, and
that's the same. The end of Earnshaw was what might have been expected;
it followed fast on his sister's: there were scarcely six months between
them. We, at the Grange, never got a very succinct account of his state
preceding it; all that I did learn was on occasion of going to aid in the
preparations for the funeral. Mr. Kenneth came to announce the event to
'Well, Nelly,' said he, riding into the yard one morning, too early not
to alarm me with an instant presentiment of bad news, 'it's yours and my
turn to go into mourning at present. Who's given us the slip now, do you
'Who?' I asked in a flurry.
'Why, guess!' he returned, dismounting, and slinging his bridle on a hook
by the door. 'And nip up the corner of your apron: I'm certain you'll
'Not Mr. Heathcliff, surely?' I exclaimed.
'What! would you have tears for him?' said the doctor. 'No, Heathcliff's
a tough young fellow: he looks blooming to-day. I've just seen him. He's
rapidly regaining flesh since he lost his better half.'
'Who is it, then, Mr. Kenneth?' I repeated impatiently.
'Hindley Earnshaw! Your old friend Hindley,' he replied, 'and my wicked
gossip: though he's been too wild for me this long while. There! I said
we should draw water. But cheer up! He died true to his character:
drunk as a lord. Poor lad! I'm sorry, too. One can't help missing an
old companion: though he had the worst tricks with him that ever man
imagined, and has done me many a rascally turn. He's barely
twenty-seven, it seems; that's your own age: who would have thought you
were born in one year?'
I confess this blow was greater to me than the shock of Mrs. Linton's
death: ancient associations lingered round my heart; I sat down in the
porch and wept as for a blood relation, desiring Mr. Kenneth to get
another servant to introduce him to the master. I could not hinder
myself from pondering on the question--'Had he had fair play?' Whatever
I did, that idea would bother me: it was so tiresomely pertinacious that
I resolved on requesting leave to go to Wuthering Heights, and assist in
the last duties to the dead. Mr. Linton was extremely reluctant to
consent, but I pleaded eloquently for the friendless condition in which
he lay; and I said my old master and foster-brother had a claim on my
services as strong as his own. Besides, I reminded him that the child
Hareton was his wife's nephew, and, in the absence of nearer kin, he
ought to act as its guardian; and he ought to and must inquire how the
property was left, and look over the concerns of his brother-in-law. He
was unfit for attending to such matters then, but he bid me speak to his
lawyer; and at length permitted me to go. His lawyer had been Earnshaw's
also: I called at the village, and asked him to accompany me. He shook
his head, and advised that Heathcliff should be let alone; affirming, if
the truth were known, Hareton would be found little else than a beggar.
'His father died in debt,' he said; 'the whole property is mortgaged, and
the sole chance for the natural heir is to allow him an opportunity of
creating some interest in the creditor's heart, that he may be inclined
to deal leniently towards him.'
When I reached the Heights, I explained that I had come to see everything
carried on decently; and Joseph, who appeared in sufficient distress,
expressed satisfaction at my presence. Mr. Heathcliff said he did not
perceive that I was wanted; but I might stay and order the arrangements
for the funeral, if I chose.
'Correctly,' he remarked, 'that fool's body should he buried at the cross-
roads, without ceremony of any kind. I happened to leave him ten minutes
yesterday afternoon, and in that interval he fastened the two doors of
the house against me, and he has spent the night in drinking himself to
death deliberately! We broke in this morning, for we heard him sporting
like a horse; and there he was, laid over the settle: flaying and
scalping would not have wakened him. I sent for Kenneth, and he came;
but not till the beast had changed into carrion: he was both dead and
cold, and stark; and so you'll allow it was useless making more stir
The old servant confirmed this statement, but muttered:
'I'd rayther he'd goan hisseln for t' doctor! I sud ha,' taen tent o' t'
maister better nor him--and he warn't deead when I left, naught o' t'
I insisted on the funeral being respectable. Mr. Heathcliff said I might
have my own way there too: only, he desired me to remember that the money
for the whole affair came out of his pocket. He maintained a hard,
careless deportment, indicative of neither joy nor sorrow: if anything,
it expressed a flinty gratification at a piece of difficult work
successfully executed. I observed once, indeed, something like
exultation in his aspect: it was just when the people were bearing the
coffin from the house. He had the hypocrisy to represent a mourner: and
previous to following with Hareton, he lifted the unfortunate child on to
the table and muttered, with peculiar gusto, 'Now, my bonny lad, you are
_mine_! And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another, with
the same wind to twist it!' The unsuspecting thing was pleased at this
speech: he played with Heathcliff's whiskers, and stroked his cheek; but
I divined its meaning, and observed tartly, 'That boy must go back with
me to Thrushcross Grange, sir. There is nothing in the world less yours
than he is!'
'Does Linton say so?' he demanded.
'Of course--he has ordered me to take him,' I replied.
'Well,' said the scoundrel, 'we'll not argue the subject now: but I have
a fancy to try my hand at rearing a young one; so intimate to your master
that I must supply the place of this with my own, if he attempt to remove
it. I don't engage to let Hareton go undisputed; but I'll be pretty sure
to make the other come! Remember to tell him.'
This hint was enough to bind our hands. I repeated its substance on my
return; and Edgar Linton, little interested at the commencement, spoke no
more of interfering. I'm not aware that he could have done it to any
purpose, had he been ever so willing.
The guest was now the master of Wuthering Heights: he held firm
possession, and proved to the attorney--who, in his turn, proved it to
Mr. Linton--that Earnshaw had mortgaged every yard of land he owned for
cash to supply his mania for gaming; and he, Heathcliff, was the
mortgagee. In that manner Hareton, who should now be the first gentleman
in the neighbourhood, was reduced to a state of complete dependence on
his father's inveterate enemy; and lives in his own house as a servant,
deprived of the advantage of wages: quite unable to right himself,
because of his friendlessness, and his ignorance that he has been