TO obviate the danger of this
threat being fulfilled, Mr. Linton
commissioned me to take the boy
home early, on Catherine's pony;
and, said he - 'As we shall now
have no influence over his destiny,
good or bad, you must say nothing
of where he is gone to my daughter:
she cannot associate with him
hereafter, and it is better for
her to remain in ignorance of
his proximity; lest she should
be restless, and anxious to visit
the Heights. Merely tell her
his father sent for him suddenly,
and he has been obliged to leave
Linton was very reluctant to
be roused from his bed at five
o'clock, and astonished to be
informed that he must prepare
for further travelling; but I
softened off the matter by stating
that he was going to spend some
time with his father, Mr. Heathcliff,
who wished to see him so much,
he did not like to defer the
pleasure till he should recover
from his late journey.
'My father!' he cried, in strange
perplexity. 'Mamma never told
me I had a father. Where does
he live? I'd rather stay with
'He lives a little distance
from the Grange,' I replied;
'just beyond those hills: not
so far, but you may walk over
here when you get hearty. And
you should be glad to go home,
and to see him. You must try
to love him, as you did your
mother, and then he will love
'But why have I not heard of
him before?' asked Linton. 'Why
didn't mamma and he live together,
as other people do?'
'He had business to keep him
in the north,' I answered, 'and
your mother's health required
her to reside in the south.'
'And why didn't mamma speak
to me about him?' persevered
the child. 'She often talked
of uncle, and I learnt to love
him long ago. How am I to love
papa? I don't know him.'
'Oh, all children love their
parents,' I said. 'Your mother,
perhaps, thought you would want
to be with him if she mentioned
him often to you. Let us make
haste. An early ride on such
a beautiful morning is much preferable
to an hour's more sleep.'
'Is SHE to go with us,' he
demanded, 'the little girl I
'Not now,' replied I.
'Is uncle?' he continued.
'No, I shall be your companion
there,' I said.
Linton sank back on his pillow
and fell into a brown study.
'I won't go without uncle,'
he cried at length: 'I can't
tell where you mean to take me.'
I attempted to persuade him
of the naughtiness of showing
reluctance to meet his father;
still he obstinately resisted
any progress towards dressing,
and I had to call for my master's
assistance in coaxing him out
of bed. The poor thing was finally
got off, with several delusive
assurances that his absence should
be short: that Mr. Edgar and
Cathy would visit him, and other
promises, equally ill-founded,
which I invented and reiterated
at intervals throughout the way.
The pure heather-scented air,
the bright sunshine, and the
gentle canter of Minny, relieved
his despondency after a while.
He began to put questions concerning
his new home, and its inhabitants,
with greater interest and liveliness.
'Is Wuthering Heights as pleasant
a place as Thrushcross Grange?'
he inquired, turning to take
a last glance into the valley,
whence a light mist mounted and
formed a fleecy cloud on the
skirts of the blue.
'It is not so buried in trees,'
I replied, 'and it is not quite
so large, but you can see the
country beautifully all round;
and the air is healthier for
you - fresher and drier. You
will, perhaps, think the building
old and dark at first; though
it is a respectable house: the
next best in the neighbourhood.
And you will have such nice rambles
on the moors. Hareton Earnshaw
- that is, Miss Cathy's other
cousin, and so yours in a manner
- will show you all the sweetest
spots; and you can bring a book
in fine weather, and make a green
hollow your study; and, now and
then, your uncle may join you
in a walk: he does, frequently,
walk out on the hills.'
'And what is my father like?'
he asked. 'Is he as young and
handsome as uncle?'
'He's as young,' said I; 'but
he has black hair and eyes, and
looks sterner; and he is taller
and bigger altogether. He'll
not seem to you so gentle and
kind at first, perhaps, because
it is not his way: still, mind
you, be frank and cordial with
him; and naturally he'll be fonder
of you than any uncle, for you
are his own.'
'Black hair and eyes!' mused
Linton. 'I can't fancy him. Then
I am not like him, am I?'
'Not much,' I answered: not
a morsel, I thought, surveying
with regret the white complexion
and slim frame of my companion,
and his large languid eyes -
his mother's eyes, save that,
unless a morbid touchiness kindled
them a moment, they had not a
vestige of her sparkling spirit.
'How strange that he should
never come to see mamma and me!'
he murmured. 'Has he ever seen
me? If he has, I must have been
a baby. I remember not a single
thing about him!'
'Why, Master Linton,' said
I, 'three hundred miles is a
great distance; and ten years
seem very different in length
to a grown-up person compared
with what they do to you. It
is probable Mr. Heathcliff proposed
going from summer to summer,
but never found a convenient
opportunity; and now it is too
late. Don't trouble him with
questions on the subject: it
will disturb him, for no good.'
The boy was fully occupied
with his own cogitations for
the remainder of the ride, till
we halted before the farmhouse
garden- gate. I watched to catch
his impressions in his countenance.
He surveyed the carved front
and low-browed lattices, the
and crooked firs, with solemn
intentness, and then shook his
head: his private feelings entirely
disapproved of the exterior of
his new abode. But he had sense
to postpone complaining: there
might be compensation within.
Before he dismounted, I went
and opened the door. It was half-past
six; the family had just finished
breakfast: the servant was clearing
and wiping down the table. Joseph
stood by his master's chair telling
some tale concerning a lame horse;
and Hareton was preparing for
'Hallo, Nelly!' said Mr. Heathcliff,
when he saw me. 'I feared I should
have to come down and fetch my
property myself. You've brought
it, have you? Let us see what
we can make of it.'
He got up and strode to the
door: Hareton and Joseph followed
in gaping curiosity. Poor Linton
ran a frightened eye over the
faces of the three.
'Sure-ly,' said Joseph after
a grave inspection, 'he's swopped
wi' ye, Maister, an' yon's his
Heathcliff, having stared his
son into an ague of confusion,
uttered a scornful laugh.
'God! what a beauty! what a
lovely, charming thing!' he exclaimed.
'Hav'n't they reared it on snails
and sour milk, Nelly? Oh, damn
my soul! but that's worse than
I expected - and the devil knows
I was not sanguine!'
I bid the trembling and bewildered
child get down, and enter. He
did not thoroughly comprehend
the meaning of his father's speech,
or whether it were intended for
him: indeed, he was not yet certain
that the grim, sneering stranger
was his father. But he clung
to me with growing trepidation;
and on Mr. Heathcliff's taking
a seat and bidding him 'come
hither' he hid his face on my
shoulder and wept.
'Tut, tut!' said Heathcliff,
stretching out a hand and dragging
him roughly between his knees,
and then holding up his head
by the chin. 'None of that nonsense!
We're not going to hurt thee,
Linton - isn't that thy name?
Thou art thy mother's child,
entirely! Where is my share in
thee, puling chicken?'
He took off the boy's cap and
pushed back his thick flaxen
curls, felt his slender arms
and his small fingers; during
which examination Linton ceased
crying, and lifted his great
blue eyes to inspect the inspector.
'Do you know me?' asked Heathcliff,
having satisfied himself that
the limbs were all equally frail
'No,' said Linton, with a gaze
of vacant fear.
'You've heard of me, I daresay?'
'No,' he replied again.
'No! What a shame of your mother,
never to waken your filial regard
for me! You are my son, then,
I'll tell you; and your mother
was a wicked slut to leave you
in ignorance of the sort of father
you possessed. Now, don't wince,
and colour up! Though it is something
to see you have not white blood.
Be a good lad; and I'll do for
you. Nelly, if you be tired you
may sit down; if not, get home
again. I guess you'll report
what you hear and see to the
cipher at the Grange; and this
thing won't be settled while
you linger about it.'
'Well,' replied I, 'I hope
you'll be kind to the boy, Mr.
Heathcliff, or you'll not keep
him long; and he's all you have
akin in the wide world, that
you will ever know - remember.'
'I'll be very kind to him,
you needn't fear,' he said, laughing.
'Only nobody else must be kind
to him: I'm jealous of monopolising
his affection. And, to begin
my kindness, Joseph, bring the
lad some breakfast. Hareton,
you infernal calf, begone to
your work. Yes, Nell,' he added,
when they had departed, 'my son
is prospective owner of your
place, and I should not wish
him to die till I was certain
of being his successor. Besides,
he's MINE, and I want the triumph
of seeing MY descendant fairly
lord of their estates; my child
hiring their children to till
their fathers' lands for wages.
That is the sole consideration
which can make me endure the
whelp: I despise him for himself,
and hate him for the memories
he revives! But that consideration
is sufficient: he's as safe with
me, and shall be tended as carefully
as your master tends his own.
I have a room up-stairs, furnished
for him in handsome style; I've
engaged a tutor, also, to come
three times a week, from twenty
miles' distance, to teach him
what he pleases to learn. I've
ordered Hareton to obey him:
and in fact I've arranged everything
with a view to preserve the superior
and the gentleman in him, above
his associates. I do regret,
however, that he so little deserves
the trouble: if I wished any
blessing in the world, it was
to find him a worthy object of
pride; and I'm bitterly disappointed
with the whey-faced, whining
While he was speaking, Joseph
returned bearing a basin of milk-
porridge, and placed it before
Linton: who stirred round the
homely mess with a look of aversion,
and affirmed he could not eat
it. I saw the old man-servant
shared largely in his master's
scorn of the child; though he
was compelled to retain the sentiment
in his heart, because Heathcliff
plainly meant his underlings
to hold him in honour.
'Cannot ate it?' repeated he,
peering in Linton's face, and
subduing his voice to a whisper,
for fear of being overheard.
'But Maister Hareton nivir ate
naught else, when he wer a little
'un; and what wer gooid enough
for him's gooid enough for ye,
I's rayther think!'
'I SHA'N'T eat it!' answered
Linton, snappishly. 'Take it
Joseph snatched up the food
indignantly, and brought it to
'Is there aught ails th' victuals?'
he asked, thrusting the tray
under Heathcliff's nose.
'What should ail them?' he
'Wah!' answered Joseph, 'yon
dainty chap says he cannut ate
'em. But I guess it's raight!
His mother wer just soa - we
wer a'most too mucky to sow t'
corn for makking her breead.'
'Don't mention his mother to
me,' said the master, angrily.
'Get him something that he can
eat, that's all. What is his
usual food, Nelly?'
I suggested boiled milk or
tea; and the housekeeper received
instructions to prepare some.
Come, I reflected, his father's
selfishness may contribute to
his comfort. He perceives his
delicate constitution, and the
necessity of treating him tolerably.
I'll console Mr. Edgar by acquainting
him with the turn Heathcliff's
humour has taken. Having no excuse
for lingering longer, I slipped
out, while Linton was engaged
in timidly rebuffing the advances
of a friendly sheep-dog. But
he was too much on the alert
to be cheated: as I closed the
door, I heard a cry, and a frantic
repetition of the words -
'Don't leave me! I'll not stay
here! I'll not stay here!'
Then the latch was raised and
fell: they did not suffer him
to come forth. I mounted Minny,
and urged her to a trot; and
so my brief guardianship ended.