A letter, edged with black, announced the day of my master's return,
Isabella was dead; and he wrote to bid me get mourning for his daughter,
and arrange a room, and other accommodations, for his youthful nephew.
Catherine ran wild with joy at the idea of welcoming her father back; and
indulged most sanguine anticipations of the innumerable excellencies of
her 'real' cousin. The evening of their expected arrival came. Since
early morning she had been busy ordering her own small affairs; and now
attired in her new black frock--poor thing! her aunt's death impressed
her with no definite sorrow--she obliged me, by constant worrying, to
walk with her down through the grounds to meet them.
'Linton is just six months younger than I am,' she chattered, as we
strolled leisurely over the swells and hollows of mossy turf, under
shadow of the trees. 'How delightful it will be to have him for a
playfellow! Aunt Isabella sent papa a beautiful lock of his hair; it was
lighter than mine--more flaxen, and quite as fine. I have it carefully
preserved in a little glass box; and I've often thought what a pleasure
it would be to see its owner. Oh! I am happy--and papa, dear, dear papa!
Come, Ellen, let us run! come, run.'
She ran, and returned and ran again, many times before my sober footsteps
reached the gate, and then she seated herself on the grassy bank beside
the path, and tried to wait patiently; but that was impossible: she
couldn't be still a minute.
'How long they are!' she exclaimed. 'Ah, I see, some dust on the
road--they are coming! No! When will they be here? May we not go a
little way--half a mile, Ellen, only just half a mile? Do say Yes: to
that clump of birches at the turn!'
I refused staunchly. At length her suspense was ended: the travelling
carriage rolled in sight. Miss Cathy shrieked and stretched out her arms
as soon as she caught her father's face looking from the window. He
descended, nearly as eager as herself; and a considerable interval
elapsed ere they had a thought to spare for any but themselves. While
they exchanged caresses I took a peep in to see after Linton. He was
asleep in a corner, wrapped in a warm, fur-lined cloak, as if it had been
winter. A pale, delicate, effeminate boy, who might have been taken for
my master's younger brother, so strong was the resemblance: but there was
a sickly peevishness in his aspect that Edgar Linton never had. The
latter saw me looking; and having shaken hands, advised me to close the
door, and leave him undisturbed; for the journey had fatigued him. Cathy
would fain have taken one glance, but her father told her to come, and
they walked together up the park, while I hastened before to prepare the
'Now, darling,' said Mr. Linton, addressing his daughter, as they halted
at the bottom of the front steps: 'your cousin is not so strong or so
merry as you are, and he has lost his mother, remember, a very short time
since; therefore, don't expect him to play and run about with you
directly. And don't harass him much by talking: let him be quiet this
evening, at least, will you?'
'Yes, yes, papa,' answered Catherine: 'but I do want to see him; and he
hasn't once looked out.'
The carriage stopped; and the sleeper being roused, was lifted to the
ground by his uncle.
'This is your cousin Cathy, Linton,' he said, putting their little hands
together. 'She's fond of you already; and mind you don't grieve her by
crying to-night. Try to be cheerful now; the travelling is at an end,
and you have nothing to do but rest and amuse yourself as you please.'
'Let me go to bed, then,' answered the boy, shrinking from Catherine's
salute; and he put his fingers to remove incipient tears.
'Come, come, there's a good child,' I whispered, leading him in. 'You'll
make her weep too--see how sorry she is for you!'
I do not know whether it was sorrow for him, but his cousin put on as sad
a countenance as himself, and returned to her father. All three entered,
and mounted to the library, where tea was laid ready. I proceeded to
remove Linton's cap and mantle, and placed him on a chair by the table;
but he was no sooner seated than he began to cry afresh. My master
inquired what was the matter.
'I can't sit on a chair,' sobbed the boy.
'Go to the sofa, then, and Ellen shall bring you some tea,' answered his
He had been greatly tried, during the journey, I felt convinced, by his
fretful ailing charge. Linton slowly trailed himself off, and lay down.
Cathy carried a footstool and her cup to his side. At first she sat
silent; but that could not last: she had resolved to make a pet of her
little cousin, as she would have him to be; and she commenced stroking
his curls, and kissing his cheek, and offering him tea in her saucer,
like a baby. This pleased him, for he was not much better: he dried his
eyes, and lightened into a faint smile.
'Oh, he'll do very well,' said the master to me, after watching them a
minute. 'Very well, if we can keep him, Ellen. The company of a child
of his own age will instil new spirit into him soon, and by wishing for
strength he'll gain it.'
'Ay, if we can keep him!' I mused to myself; and sore misgivings came
over me that there was slight hope of that. And then, I thought, how
ever will that weakling live at Wuthering Heights? Between his father
and Hareton, what playmates and instructors they'll be. Our doubts were
presently decided--even earlier than I expected. I had just taken the
children up-stairs, after tea was finished, and seen Linton asleep--he
would not suffer me to leave him till that was the case--I had come down,
and was standing by the table in the hall, lighting a bedroom candle for
Mr. Edgar, when a maid stepped out of the kitchen and informed me that
Mr. Heathcliff's servant Joseph was at the door, and wished to speak with
'I shall ask him what he wants first,' I said, in considerable
trepidation. 'A very unlikely hour to be troubling people, and the
instant they have returned from a long journey. I don't think the master
can see him.'
Joseph had advanced through the kitchen as I uttered these words, and now
presented himself in the hall. He was donned in his Sunday garments,
with his most sanctimonious and sourest face, and, holding his hat in one
hand, and his stick in the other, he proceeded to clean his shoes on the
'Good-evening, Joseph,' I said, coldly. 'What business brings you here
'It's Maister Linton I mun spake to,' he answered, waving me disdainfully
'Mr. Linton is going to bed; unless you have something particular to say,
I'm sure he won't hear it now,' I continued. 'You had better sit down in
there, and entrust your message to me.'
'Which is his rahm?' pursued the fellow, surveying the range of closed
I perceived he was bent on refusing my mediation, so very reluctantly I
went up to the library, and announced the unseasonable visitor, advising
that he should be dismissed till next day. Mr. Linton had no time to
empower me to do so, for Joseph mounted close at my heels, and, pushing
into the apartment, planted himself at the far side of the table, with
his two fists clapped on the head of his stick, and began in an elevated
tone, as if anticipating opposition--
'Hathecliff has sent me for his lad, and I munn't goa back 'bout him.'
Edgar Linton was silent a minute; an expression of exceeding sorrow
overcast his features: he would have pitied the child on his own account;
but, recalling Isabella's hopes and fears, and anxious wishes for her
son, and her commendations of him to his care, he grieved bitterly at the
prospect of yielding him up, and searched in his heart how it might be
avoided. No plan offered itself: the very exhibition of any desire to
keep him would have rendered the claimant more peremptory: there was
nothing left but to resign him. However, he was not going to rouse him
from his sleep.
'Tell Mr. Heathcliff,' he answered calmly, 'that his son shall come to
Wuthering Heights to-morrow. He is in bed, and too tired to go the
distance now. You may also tell him that the mother of Linton desired
him to remain under my guardianship; and, at present, his health is very
'Noa!' said Joseph, giving a thud with his prop on the floor, and
assuming an authoritative air. 'Noa! that means naught. Hathecliff maks
noa 'count o' t' mother, nor ye norther; but he'll heu' his lad; und I
mun tak' him--soa now ye knaw!'
'You shall not to-night!' answered Linton decisively. 'Walk down stairs
at once, and repeat to your master what I have said. Ellen, show him
And, aiding the indignant elder with a lift by the arm, he rid the room
of him and closed the door.
'Varrah weell!' shouted Joseph, as he slowly drew off. 'To-morn, he's
come hisseln, and thrust _him_ out, if ye darr!'