THE rainy night had ushered
in a misty morning - half frost,
half drizzle - and temporary
brooks crossed our path - gurgling
from the uplands. My feet were
thoroughly wetted; I was cross
and low; exactly the humour suited
for making the most of these
disagreeable things. We entered
the farm-house by the kitchen
way, to ascertain whether Mr.
Heathcliff were really absent:
because I put slight faith in
his own affirmation.
Joseph seemed sitting in a
sort of elysium alone, beside
a roaring fire; a quart of ale
on the table near him, bristling
with large pieces of toasted
oat-cake; and his black, short
pipe in his mouth. Catherine
ran to the hearth to warm herself.
I asked if the master was in?
My question remained so long
unanswered, that I thought the
old man had grown deaf, and repeated
'Na - ay!' he snarled, or rather
screamed through his nose. 'Na
- ay! yah muh goa back whear
yah coom frough.'
'Joseph!' cried a peevish voice,
simultaneously with me, from
the inner room. 'How often am
I to call you? There are only
a few red ashes now. Joseph!
come this moment.'
Vigorous puffs, and a resolute
stare into the grate, declared
he had no ear for this appeal.
The housekeeper and Hareton were
invisible; one gone on an errand,
and the other at his work, probably.
We knew Linton's tones, and entered.
'Oh, I hope you'll die in a
garret, starved to death!' said
the boy, mistaking our approach
for that of his negligent attendant.
He stopped on observing his
error: his cousin flew to him.
'Is that you, Miss Linton?'
he said, raising his head from
the arm of the great chair, in
which he reclined. 'No - don't
kiss me: it takes my breath.
Dear me! Papa said you would
call,' continued he, after recovering
a little from Catherine's embrace;
while she stood by looking very
contrite. 'Will you shut the
door, if you please? you left
it open; and those - those DETESTABLE
creatures won't bring coals to
the fire. It's so cold!'
I stirred up the cinders, and
fetched a scuttleful myself.
The invalid complained of being
covered with ashes; but he had
a tiresome cough, and looked
feverish and ill, so I did not
rebuke his temper.
'Well, Linton,' murmured Catherine,
when his corrugated brow relaxed,
'are you glad to see me? Can
I do you any good?'
'Why didn't you come before?'
he asked. 'You should have come,
instead of writing. It tired
me dreadfully writing those long
letters. I'd far rather have
talked to you. Now, I can neither
bear to talk, nor anything else.
I wonder where Zillah is! Will
you' (looking at me) 'step into
the kitchen and see?'
I had received no thanks for
my other service; and being unwilling
to run to and fro at his behest,
I replied - 'Nobody is out there
'I want to drink,' he exclaimed
fretfully, turning away. 'Zillah
is constantly gadding off to
Gimmerton since papa went: it's
miserable! And I'm obliged to
come down here - they resolved
never to hear me up-stairs.'
'Is your father attentive to
you, Master Heathcliff?' I asked,
perceiving Catherine to be checked
in her friendly advances.
'Attentive? He makes them a
little more attentive at least,'
he cried. 'The wretches! Do you
know, Miss Linton, that brute
Hareton laughs at me! I hate
him! indeed, I hate them all:
they are odious beings.'
Cathy began searching for some
water; she lighted on a pitcher
in the dresser, filled a tumbler,
and brought it. He bid her add
a spoonful of wine from a bottle
on the table; and having swallowed
a small portion, appeared more
tranquil, and said she was very
'And are you glad to see me?'
asked she, reiterating her former
question and pleased to detect
the faint dawn of a smile.
'Yes, I am. It's something
new to hear a voice like yours!'
he replied. 'But I have been
vexed, because you wouldn't come.
And papa swore it was owing to
me: he called me a pitiful, shuffling,
worthless thing; and said you
despised me; and if he had been
in my place, he would be more
the master of the Grange than
your father by this time. But
you don't despise me, do you,
Miss - ?'
'I wish you would say Catherine,
or Cathy,' interrupted my young
lady. 'Despise you? No! Next
to papa and Ellen, I love you
better than anybody living. I
don't love Mr. Heathcliff, though;
and I dare not come when he returns:
will he stay away many days?'
'Not many,' answered Linton;
'but he goes on to the moors
frequently, since the shooting
season commenced; and you might
spend an hour or two with me
in his absence. Do say you will.
I think I should not be peevish
with you: you'd not provoke me,
and you'd always be ready to
help me, wouldn't you?'
Catherine, stroking his long
soft hair: 'if I could
only get papa's consent, I'd
spend half my time with you.
Pretty Linton! I wish you were
'And then you would like me
as well as your father?' observed
he, more cheerfully. 'But papa
says you would love me better
than him and all the world, if
you were my wife; so I'd rather
you were that.'
'No, I should never love anybody
better than papa,' she returned
gravely. 'And people hate their
wives, sometimes; but not their
sisters and brothers: and if
you were the latter, you would
live with us, and papa would
be as fond of you as he is of
Linton denied that people ever
hated their wives; but Cathy
affirmed they did, and, in her
wisdom, instanced his own father's
aversion to her aunt. I endeavoured
to stop her thoughtless tongue.
I couldn't succeed till everything
she knew was out. Master Heathcliff,
much irritated, asserted her
relation was false.
'Papa told me; and papa does
not tell falsehoods,' she answered
'MY papa scorns yours!' cried
Linton. 'He calls him a sneaking
'Yours is a wicked man,' retorted
Catherine; 'and you are very
naughty to dare to repeat what
he says. He must be wicked to
have made Aunt Isabella leave
him as she did.'
'She didn't leave him,' said
the boy; 'you sha'n't contradict
'She did,' cried my young lady.
'Well, I'll tell you something!'
said Linton. 'Your mother hated
your father: now then.'
'Oh!' exclaimed Catherine,
too enraged to continue.
'And she loved mine,' added
'You little liar! I hate you
now!' she panted, and her face
grew red with passion.
'She did! she did!' sang Linton,
sinking into the recess of his
chair, and leaning back his head
to enjoy the agitation of the
other disputant, who stood behind.
'Hush, Master Heathcliff!'
I said; 'that's your father's
tale, too, I suppose.'
'It isn't: you hold your tongue!'
he answered. 'She did, she did,
Catherine! she did, she did!'
Cathy, beside herself, gave
the chair a violent push, and
caused him to fall against one
arm. He was immediately seized
by a suffocating cough that soon
ended his triumph. It lasted
so long that it frightened even
me. As to his cousin, she wept
with all her might, aghast at
the mischief she had done: though
she said nothing. I held him
till the fit exhausted itself.
Then he thrust me away, and leant
his head down silently. Catherine
quelled her lamentations also,
took a seat opposite, and looked
solemnly into the fire.
'How do you feel now, Master
Heathcliff?' I inquired, after
waiting ten minutes.
'I wish SHE felt as I do,'
he replied: 'spiteful, cruel
thing! Hareton never touches
me: he never struck me in his
life. And I was better to-day:
and there - ' his voice died
in a whimper.
'I didn't strike you!' muttered
Cathy, chewing her lip to prevent
another burst of emotion.
He sighed and moaned like one
under great suffering, and kept
it up for a quarter of an hour;
on purpose to distress his cousin
apparently, for whenever he caught
a stifled sob from her he put
renewed pain and pathos into
the inflexions of his voice.
'I'm sorry I hurt you, Linton,'
she said at length, racked beyond
endurance. 'But I couldn't have
been hurt by that little push,
and I had no idea that you could,
either: you're not much, are
you, Linton? Don't let me go
home thinking I've done you harm.
Answer! speak to me.'
'I can't speak to you,' he
murmured; 'you've hurt me so
that I shall lie awake all night
choking with this cough. If you
had it you'd know what it was;
but YOU'LL be comfortably asleep
while I'm in agony, and nobody
near me. I wonder how you would
like to pass those fearful nights!'
And he began to wail aloud, for
very pity of himself.
'Since you are in the habit
of passing dreadful nights,'
I said, 'it won't be Miss who
spoils your ease: you'd be the
same had she never come. However,
she shall not disturb you again;
and perhaps you'll get quieter
when we leave you.'
'Must I go?' asked Catherine
dolefully, bending over him.
'Do you want me to go, Linton?'
'You can't alter what you've
done,' he replied pettishly,
shrinking from her, 'unless you
alter it for the worse by teasing
me into a fever.'
'Well, then, I must go?' she
'Let me alone, at least,' said
he; 'I can't bear your talking.'
She lingered, and resisted
my persuasions to departure a
tiresome while; but as he neither
looked up nor spoke, she finally
made a movement to the door,
and I followed. We were recalled
by a scream. Linton had slid
from his seat on to the hearthstone,
and lay writhing in the mere
perverseness of an indulged plague
of a child, determined to be
as grievous and harassing as
it can. I thoroughly gauged his
disposition from his behaviour,
and saw at once it would be folly
to attempt humouring him. Not
so my companion: she ran back
in terror, knelt down, and cried,
and soothed, and entreated, till
he grew quiet from lack of breath:
by no means from compunction
at distressing her.
'I shall lift him on to the
settle,' I said, 'and he may
roll about as he pleases: we
can't stop to watch him. I hope
you are satisfied, Miss Cathy,
that you are not the person to
benefit him; and that his condition
of health is not occasioned by
attachment to you. Now, then,
there he is! Come away: as soon
as he knows there is nobody by
to care for his nonsense, he'll
be glad to lie still.'
She placed a cushion under
his head, and offered him some
water; he rejected the latter,
and tossed uneasily on the former,
as if it were a stone or a block
of wood. She tried to put it
'I can't do with that,' he
said; 'it's not high enough.'
Catherine brought another to
lay above it.
'That's too high,' murmured
the provoking thing.
'How must I arrange it, then?'
she asked despairingly.
He twined himself up to her,
as she half knelt by the settle,
and converted her shoulder into
'No, that won't do,' I said.
'You'll be content with the cushion,
Master Heathcliff. Miss has wasted
too much time on you already:
we cannot remain five minutes
'Yes, yes, we can!' replied
Cathy. 'He's good and patient
now. He's beginning to think
I shall have far greater misery
than he will to-night, if I believe
he is the worse for my visit:
and then I dare not come again.
Tell the truth about it, Linton;
for I musn't come, if I have
'You must come, to cure me,'
he answered. 'You ought to come,
because you have hurt me: you
know you have extremely! I was
not as ill when you entered as
I am at present - was I?'
'But you've made yourself ill
by crying and being in a passion.
- I didn't do it all,' said his
cousin. 'However, we'll be friends
now. And you want me: you would
wish to see me sometimes, really?'
'I told you I did,' he replied
impatiently. 'Sit on the settle
and let me lean on your knee.
That's as mamma used to do, whole
afternoons together. Sit quite
still and don't talk: but you
may sing a song, if you can sing;
or you may say a nice long interesting
ballad - one of those you promised
to teach me; or a story. I'd
rather have a ballad, though:
Catherine repeated the longest
she could remember. The employment
pleased both mightily. Linton
would have another, and after
that another, notwithstanding
my strenuous objections; and
so they went on until the clock
struck twelve, and we heard Hareton
in the court, returning for his
'And to-morrow, Catherine,
will you be here to-morrow?'
asked young Heathcliff, holding
her frock as she rose reluctantly.
'No,' I answered, 'nor next
day neither.' She, however, gave
a different response evidently,
for his forehead cleared as she
stooped and whispered in his
'You won't go to-morrow, recollect,
Miss!' I commenced, when we were
out of the house. 'You are not
dreaming of it, are you?'
'Oh, I'll take good care,'
I continued: 'I'll have that
lock mended, and you can escape
by no way else.'
'I can get over the wall,'
she said laughing. 'The Grange
is not a prison, Ellen, and you
are not my gaoler. And besides,
I'm almost seventeen: I'm a woman.
And I'm certain Linton would
recover quickly if he had me
to look after him. I'm older
than he is, you know, and wiser:
less childish, am I not? And
he'll soon do as I direct him,
with some slight coaxing. He's
a pretty little darling when
he's good. I'd make such a pet
of him, if he were mine. We should,
never quarrel, should we after
we were used to each other? Don't
you like him, Ellen?'
'Like him!' I exclaimed. 'The
worst-tempered bit of a sickly
slip that ever struggled into
its teens. Happily, as Mr. Heathcliff
conjectured, he'll not win twenty.
I doubt whether he'll see spring,
indeed. And small loss to his
family whenever he drops off.
And lucky it is for us that his
father took him: the kinder he
was treated, the more tedious
and selfish he'd be. I'm glad
you have no chance of having
him for a husband, Miss Catherine.'
My companion waxed serious
at hearing this speech. To speak
of his death so regardlessly
wounded her feelings.
'He's younger than I,' she
answered, after a protracted
pause of meditation, 'and he
ought to live the longest: he
will - he must live as long as
I do. He's as strong now as when
he first came into the north;
I'm positive of that. It's only
a cold that ails him, the same
as papa has. You say papa will
get better, and why shouldn't
'Well, well,' I cried, 'after
all, we needn't trouble ourselves;
for listen, Miss, - and mind,
I'll keep my word, - if you attempt
going to Wuthering Heights again,
with or without me, I shall inform
Mr. Linton, and, unless he allow
it, the intimacy with your cousin
must not be revived.'
'It has been revived,' muttered
'Must not be continued, then,'
'We'll see,' was her reply,
and she set off at a gallop,
leaving me to toil in the rear.
We both reached home before
our dinner-time; my master supposed
we had been wandering through
the park, and therefore he demanded
no explanation of our absence.
As soon as I entered I hastened
to change my soaked shoes and
stockings; but sitting such awhile
at the Heights had done the mischief.
On the succeeding morning I was
laid up, and during three weeks
I remained incapacitated for
attending to my duties: a calamity
never experienced prior to that
period, and never, I am thankful
to say, since.
My little mistress behaved
like an angel in coming to wait
on me, and cheer my solitude;
the confinement brought me exceedingly
low. It is wearisome, to a stirring
active body: but few have slighter
reasons for complaint than I
had. The moment Catherine left
Mr. Linton's room she appeared
at my bedside. Her day was divided
between us; no amusement usurped
a minute: she neglected her meals,
her studies, and her play; and
she was the fondest nurse that
ever watched. She must have had
a warm heart, when she loved
her father so, to give so much
to me. I said her days were divided
between us; but the master retired
early, and I generally needed
nothing after six o'clock, thus
the evening was her own. Poor
thing! I never considered what
she did with herself after tea.
And though frequently, when she
looked in to bid me good-night,
I remarked a fresh colour in
her cheeks and a pinkness over
her slender fingers, instead
of fancying the line borrowed
from a cold ride across the moors,
I laid it to the charge of a
hot fire in the library.