(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Wuthering Heights"

t 




It 



LIBRARY OF 
WELLES LEY COLLEGE 




PRESENTED BY 

istate of Susan Minns 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS 

AND 

AGNES GREY 



9550 



POCKET EDITION 

OF THE 

LIFE AND WORKS 

OF 

CHARLOTTE BRONTE 

(CuRRER Bell), 

AND HER SISTERS, 

EMILY AND ANNE BRONTE 

(Ellis and Acton Bell). 

In Seven Volumes, each containing a Frontispiece, bound in 
Half Cloth, with cut or uncut edges. 

Price IS. 6d. per Volume. 



Thd Volumes will he issued at moyithly intervals in 
thefollowifig order : — 

1. JANE EYRE. By Charlotte Bronte. 

2. SHIRLEY. By Charlotte Bronte. 

3. VILLETTE. By Charlotte Bronte. 

4. THE PROFESSOR and POEMS, by Charlotte Bronte; and 

POEMS, by her Sisters and Father. 

6. WUTHBRING HEIGHTS, by Emily Bronte. AGNES GREY, 
by Anne Bronte. With a Preface and Memoir of both 
Authors, by Charlotte Bronte. 

6. THE TENANT OP "WILDFELL HALL. By Anne Bronte. 

[April I. 

7. THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE. By Mrs. Gaskell. 



LONDON : SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE. 



WuTHERiNG Heights 

By EMILY BRONTE 

AND 

Agnes Grey 

By ANNE BRONTE 

WITH A PREFACE AXD MEMOIR OF BOTH AUTHORS 

By charlotte BRONTE 



LONDON 

SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE 

1889 



%o^^ 3-^b 



Pre??' 

Estcle n,' 



9R 
W7 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF ELLIS AND ACTON BELL, 

BY CURRER BELL vii 

CURRER BELL'S PREFACE TO WUTHERING HEIGHTS . xiv 

WUTHERING HEIGHTS, BY ELLIS BELL .... 19 

AGNES GREY, BY ACTON BELL 3°! 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE 

OF 

ELLIS AND ACTON BELL. 



T T has been thought that all the works published under the 
•*■ names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, were, in reality, 
the production of one person. This mistake I endeavoured to 
rectify by a few words of disclaimer prefixed to the third edition 
of "Jane Eyre." These, too, it appears, failed to gain general 
credence, and now, on the occasion of a reprint of "Wuthering 
Heights" and "Agnes Grey," I am advised distinctly to state 
how the case really stands. 

Indeed, I feel myself that it is time the obscurity attending 
those two names — Ellis and Acton — was done away. The little 
mystery, which formerly yielded some harmless pleasure, has 
lost its interest ; circumstances are changed. It becomes, then, 
my duty to explain briefly the origin and authorship of the 
books written by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. 

About five years ago, my two sisters and myself, after a some- 
what prolonged period of separation, found ourselves reunited, 
and at home. Resident in a remote district, where education 
had made little progress, and where, consequently, there was no 
inducement to seek social intercourse beyond our own domestic 
circle, we were wholly dependent on ourselves and each other, 
on books and study, for the enjoyments and occupations of life. 
The highest stimulus, as well as the liveliest pleasure we had 
known from childhood upwards, lay in attempts at literar)- 
composition; formerly we used to show each other what we 
wrote, but of late years this habit of communication and con- 



VUl BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF 

sultation had been discontinued ; hence it ensued, that we were 
mutually ignorant of the progress wc might respectively have 
made. 

One day, in the autumn of 1845, ^ accidentally lighted on a 
MS. volume of verse in my sister Emily's handwriting. Of 
course, I was not surprised, knowing that she could and did 
write verse : I looked it over, and something more than surprise 
seized me, — a deep conviction that these were not common 
effusions, nor at all like the poetry women generally write. I 
thought them condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To 
my ear, they had also a peculiar music — wild, melancholy, and 
elevating. 

My sister Emily was not a person of demonstrative character, 
nor one on the recesses of whose mind and feelings, even those 
nearest and dearest to her could, with impunity, intrude un- 
licensed ; it took hours to reconcile her to the discovery I 
had made, and days to persuade her that such poems merited 
publication. I knew, however, that a mind like hers could not 
be without some latent spark of honourable ambition, and refused 
to be discouraged in my attempts to fan that spark to flame. 

Meantime, my younger sister quietly produced some of her 
own compositions, intimating that, since Emily's had given me 
pleasure, I might like to look at hers. I could not but be a 
partial judge, yet I thought that these verses, too, had a sweet 
sincere pathos of their own. 

We had very early cherished the dream of one day becoming 
authors. This dream, never relinquished even when distance 
divided and absorbing tasks occupied us, now suddenly acquired 
strength and consistency : it took the character of a resolve. 
We agreed to arrange a small selection of our poems, and, if 
possible, get them printed. Averse to personal publicity, we 
veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton 
Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of con- 
scientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively mascu- 
line, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because 
— without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and 
thinking was not what is called "feminine" — we had a vague 
impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with 
prejudice ; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their 



ELLIS AND ACTON BELL. IX 

chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a 
flattery which is not true praise. 

The bringing out of our little book was hard work. As was 
to be expected, neither we nor our poems were at all wanted; 
but for this we had been prepared at the outset ; though in- 
experienced ourselves, we had read the experience of others. 
The great puzzle lay in the difficulty of getting answers of any 
kind from the publishers to whom we applied. Being greatly 
harassed by this obstacle, I ventured to apply to the Messrs. 
Chambers, of Edinburgh, for a word of advice ; they may have 
forgotten the circumstance, but I have not, for from them I 
received a brief and business-like, but civil and sensible reply, 
on which we acted, and at last made a way. 

The book was printed : it is scarcely known, and all of it that 
merits to be known are the poems of Ellis Bell. The fixed con- 
viction I held, and hold, of the worth of these poems has not 
indeed received the confirmation of much favourable criticism ; 
but I must retain it notwithstanding. 

Ill-success failed to crush us : the mere effort to succeed had 
given a wonderful zest to existence ; it must be pursued. We 
each set to work on a prose tale : Ellis Bell produced " Wuthering 
Heights," Acton Bell "Agnes Grey," and Currer Bell also wrote 
a narrative in one volume. These MSS. were perseveringly ob- 
truded upon various publishers for the space of a year and a half; 
usually, their fate was an ignominious and abrupt dismissal. 

At last " Wuthering Heights" and "Agnes Grey" were 
accepted on terms somewhat impoverishing to the two authors ; 
Currer Bell's book found acceptance nowhere, nor any acknow- 
ledgment of merit, so that something like the chill of despair 
began to invade his heart. As a forlorn hope, he tried one 
publishing house more— Messrs. Smith, Elder, &; Co. Ere 
long, in a much shorter space than that on which experience 
had taught him to calculate— there came a letter, which he 
opened in the dreary expectation of finding two hard hopeless 
lines, intimating that Messrs. Smith, Elder, & Co. "were not 
disposed to publish the MS.," and, instead, he took out of the 
envelope a letter of two pages. He read it trembling. It de- 
clined, indeed, to publish that tale, for business reasons, but it 
discussed its merits and demerits so courteously, so considerately, 

A 2 



X BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF 

in a spirit so rational, v^ith a discrimination so enlightened, that 
this very refusal cheered the author better than a vulgarl}^- 
expressed acceptance would have done. It was added, that a 
work in three volumes would meet with careful attention. 

I was then just completing ''Jane Eyre," at which I had been 
working while the one-volume tale was plodding its weary round 
in London: in three weeks I sent it off; friendly and skilful 
hands took it in. This was in the commencement of September 
1847 ; it came out before the close of October following, while 
" Wuthering Heights" and "Agnes Grey," my sisters' works, 
which had already been in the press for months, still lingered 
under a different management. 

They appeared at last. Critics failed to do them justice. The 
immature but very real powers revealed in " Wuthering Heights " 
were scarcely recognised ; its import and nature were misunder- 
stood ; the identity of its author was misrepresented ; it was said 
that this was an earlier and ruder attempt of the same pen which 
had produced '■' Jane Eyre." Unjust and grievous error ! We 
laughed at it at first, but I deeply lament it now. Hence, I fear, 
arose a prejudice against the book. That writer who could 
attempt to palm off an inferior and immature production under 
cover of one successful effort, must indeed be unduly eager after 
the secondary and sordid result of authorship, and pitiably in- 
different to its true and honourable meed. If reviewers and 
the public truly believed this, no wonder that they looked 
darkly on the cheat. 

Yet I must not be understood to make these things subject for 
reproach or complaint ; I dare not do so ; respect for my sister's 
memory forbids me. By her any such querulous manifestation 
would have been regarded as an unworthy and offensive weak- 
ness. 

It is my duty, as well as my pleasure, to acknowledge one 
exception to the general rule of criticism. One writer,* en- 
dowed with the keen vision and fine sympathies of genius, has 
discerned the real nature of ** Wuthering Heights," and has, 
with equal accuracy, noted its beauties and touched on its faults. 
Too often do reviewers remind us of the mob of Astrologers, 
ChaJdeans, and Soothsayers gathered before the " writing on 
* See the PaUadhun for September 1850. 



ELLIS AND ACTON BELL. xi 

the wall," and unable to read the characters or make known the 
interpretation. We have a right to rejoice when a true seer 
comes at last, some man in whom is an excellent spirit, to whom 
have been given light, wisdom, and understanding; who can 
accurately read the " Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin " of an 
original mind (however unripe, however inefficiently cultured 
and partially expanded that mind may be) ; and who can say 
with confidence, " This is the interpretation thereof." 

Yet even the writer to whom I allude shares the mistake about 
the authorship, and does me the injustice to suppose that there 
was equivoque in my former rejection of this honour (as an 
honour I regard it). May I assure him that I would scorn in 
this and in every other case to deal in equivoque ; I believe 
language to have been given us to make our meaning clear, 
and not to wrap it in dishonest doubt. 

" The Tenant of Wildfell Hall," by Acton Bell, had likewise an 
unfavourable reception. At this I cannot wonder. The choice 
of subject was an entire mistake. Nothing less congruous with 
the writer's nature could be conceived. The motives which 
dictated this choice were pure, but, I think, slightl}' morbid. 
She had, in the course of her life, been called on to contemplate, 
near at hand, and for a long time, the terrible effects of talents 
misused and faculties abused ; hers was naturally a sensitive, 
reserved, and dejected nature ; what she saw sank very deeply 
into her mind ; it did her harm. She brooded over it till she 
believed it to be a duty to reproduce every detail (of course with 
fictitious characters, incidents, and situations), as a warning to 
others. She hated her work, but would pursue it. When 
reasoned with on the subject, she regarded such reasonings as a 
temptation to self-indulgence. She must be honest : she must 
not varnish, soften, or conceal. This well-meant resolution 
brought on her misconstruction, and some abuse, which she 
bore, as it was her custom to bear whatever was unpleasant, 
with mild, steady patience. She was a very sincere and 
practical Christian, but the tinge of religious melancholy com.' 
municated a sad shade to her brief, blameless life. 

Neither Ellis nor Acton allowed herself for one moment to 
sink under want of encouragement ; energy nerved the one, and 
endurance upheld the other. They were both prepared totcy 



Xll BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF 

again ; I would fain think that hope and the sense of power was 
yet strong within them. But a great change approached : afflic- 
tion came in that shape which to anticipate is dread : to look 
back on, grief. In the very heat and burden of the day, the 
labourers failed over their work. 

My sister Emily first declined. The details of her illness are 
deep-branded in my memory, but to dwell on them, either in 
thought or narrative, is not in my power. Never in all her life 
had she lingered over any task that lay before her, and she did 
not linger now. She sank rapidly. She made haste to leave us. 
Yet, while physically she perished, mentally she grew stronger 
than we had yet known her. Day by day, when I saw with 
what a front she met suffering, I looked on her with an anguish 
of wonder and love. I have seen nothing like it ; but, indeed, 
I have never seen her parallel in anything. Stronger than a 
man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone. The awful 
point was, that while full of ruth for others, on herself she had 
no pity ; the spirit was inexorable to the flesh ; from the 
trembling hand, the unnerved limbs, the faded eyes, the same 
service was exacted as they had rendered in health. To stand 
by and witness this, and not dare to remonstrate, was a pain no 
words can render. 

Two cruel months of hope and fear passed painfully by, and 
the day came at last when the terrors and pains of death were 
to be undergone by this treasure, which had grown dearer and 
dearer to our hearts as it wasted before our eyes. Towards the 
decline of that day, we had nothing of Emily but her mortal re- 
mains as consumption left them. She died December 19, 1848. 

We thought this enough : but we were utterly and presump- 
tuously wrong. She was not buried ere Anne fell ill. She had 
not been committed to the grave a fortnight, before we received 
distinct intimation that it was necessary to prepare our minds 
to see the younger sister go after the elder. Accordingly, she 
followed in the same path with slower step, and with a patience 
that equalled the other's fortitude. I have said that she was 
religious, and it was by leaning on those Christian doctrines in 
which she firmly believed, that she found support through her 
most painful journey. I witnessed their eflicacy in her latest 
hour and greatest trial, and must bear my testimony to the calm 



ELLIS AND ACTON BELL. Xlll 

triumph with which they brought her through. She died 
May 28, 1849. 

What more shall I say about them ? I cannot and need not 
say much more. In externals, they were two unobtrusive 
women ; a perfectly secluded life gave them retiring manners and 
habits. In Emily's nature the extremes of vigour and simplicity 
seemed to meet. Under an unsophisticated culture, inartificial 
tastes, and an unpretending outside, lay a secret power and tire 
that might have informed the brain and kindled the veins of a 
hero ; but she had no worldly wisdom ; her powers were un- 
adapted to the practical business of life : she would fail to defend 
her most manifest rights, to consult her most legitimate advantage. 
An interpreter ought always to have stood between her and the 
world. Her will was not very flexible, and it generally opposed 
her interest. Her temper was magnanimous, but warm and 
sudden ; her spirit altogether unbending. 

Anne's character was milder and more subdued ; she wanted 
the power, the fire, the originality of her sister, but was well 
endowed with quiet virtues of her own. Long-suffering, self- 
denying, reflective, and intelligent, a constitutional reserve and 
taciturnity placed and kept her in the shade, and covered her 
mind, and especially her feelings, with a sort of nun-like veil, 
which was rarely lifted. Neither Emily nor Anne was learned ; 
they had no thought of filling their pitchers at the well-spring 
of other minds ; they alwaj'S wrote from the impulse of nature, 
the dictates of intuition, and from such stores of observation as 
their limited experience had enabled them to amass. I may sum 
up all by saying, that for strangers they were nothing, for super- 
ficial observers less than nothing ; but for those who had known 
them all their lives in the intimacy of close relationship, they 
were genuinely good and truly great. 

This notice has been written, because I felt it a sacred duty 
to wipe the dust off their gravestones, and leave their dear 
names free from soil. 

CURKER BELL. 

September 19, 1850. 



EDITOR'S PREFACE 

TO THE NEW EDITION OF 

WUTHERING HEIGHTS, 



I HAVE just read over " Wuthering Heights," and, for the 
first time, have obtained a clear glimpse of what are termed 
(and, perhaps, really are) its faults ; have gained a definite notion 
of how it appears to other people — to strangers who knew 
nothing of the author ; who are unacquainted with the locality 
where the scenes of the story are laid ; to whom the inhabitants, 
the customs, the natural characteristics of the outlying hills and 
hamlets in the West Riding of Yorkshire are things alien and 
unfamiliar. 

To all such " Wuthering Heights" must appear a rude and 
strange production. The wild moors of the north of England 
can for them have no interest ; the language, the manners, the 
very dwellings and household customs of the scattered inhabitants 
of those districts, must be to such readers in a great measure 
unintelligible, and — where intelligible — repulsive. Men and 
women who, perhaps naturally very calm, and with feelings 
moderate in degree, and little marked in kind, have been trained 
from their cradle to observe the utmost evenness of manner and 
guardedness of language, will hardly know what to make of the 
rough, strong utterance, the harshly manifested passions, the 
unbridled aversions, and headlong partialities of unlettered moor- 
land hinds and rugged moorland squires, who have grown up 
untaught and unchecked, except by mentors as harsh as them- 
selves. A large class of readers, likewise, will suffer greatly 
from the introduction into the pages of this work of words- 



PREFACE. XV 

printed with, all their letters, which it has become the custom 
to represent by the initial and final letter only — a blank line 
filling the interval. I may as well say at once that, for this 
circumstance, it is out of my power to apologise ; deeming it, 
myself, a rational plan to write words at full length. The 
practice of hinting by single letters those expletives with which 
profane and violent persons are wont to garnish their discourse, 
strikes me as a proceeding which, however well meant, is weak 
and futile. I cannot tell what good it does — what feeling it 
spares — what horror it conceals. 

With regard to the rusticity of "Wuthering Heights," I 
admit the charge, for I feel the quality. It is rustic all through. 
It is moorish, and wild, and knotty as a root of heath. Nor 
was it natural that it should be otherwise ; the author being 
herself a native and nursling of the moors. Doubtless, had her 
lot been cast in a town, her writings, if she had written at all, 
would have possessed another character. Even had chance or 
taste led her to choose a similar subject, she would have treated 
it otherwise. Had Ellis Bell been a lady or a gentleman 
accustomed to what is called " the world," her view of a remote 
and unreclaimed region, as well as of the dwellers therein, would 
have differed greatly from that actuallj' taken by the homebred 
country girl. Doubtless it would have been wider — more com- 
prehensive : whether it would have been more original or more 
truthful is not so certain- As far as the scenery and locality are 
concerned, it could scarcely have been so sympathetic : Ellis Bell 
did not describe as one whose e3'e and taste alone found pleasure 
in the prospect ; her native hills were far more to her than a 
spectacle ; they were what she lived in, and by, as much as the 
wild birds, their tenants, or as the heather, their produce. Her 
descriptions, then, of natural scenery, are what they should be, 
and all they should be. 

Where delineation of human character is concerned, the case 
is different. I am bound to avow that she had scarcely more 
practical knowledge of the peasantry amongst whom she lived, 
than a nun has of the country people who sometimes pass her 
convent gates. My sister's disposition was not naturally gre- 
garious ; circumstances favoured and fostered her tendency to 
seclusion ; except to go to church or take a walk on the liills. 



XVI PREFACE. 

she rarely crossed the threshold of home. Though her feeling 
for the people round was benevolent, intercourse with them she 
never sought ; nor, with very few exceptions, ever experienced. 
And yet she knew them : knew their ways, their language, their 
family histories ; she could hear of them with interest, and talk 
of them with detail, minute, graphic, and accurate ; but with 
them, she rarely exchanged a word. Hence it ensued that what 
her mind had gathered of the real concerning them, was too 
exclusively confined to those tragic and terrible traits of which, 
in listening to the secret annals of every rude vicinage, the 
memory is sometimes compelled to receive the impress. Her 
imagination, which was a spirit more sombre than sunny, more 
powerful than sportive, found in such traits material whence it 
wrought creations like Heathcliff, like Earnshaw, like Catherine. 
Having formed these beings, she did not know what she had 
done. If the auditor of her work when read in manuscript, 
shuddered under the grinding influence of natures so relentless and 
implacable, of spirits so lost and fallen ; if it was complained that 
the mere hearing of certain vivid and fearful scenes banished 
sleep by night, and disturbed mental peace by day, Ellis Bell 
■would wonder what was meant, and suspect the complainant 
of affectation. Had she but lived, her mind would of itself have 
grown like a strong tree, loftier, straighter, wider-spreading, and 
its matured fruits would have attained a mellower ripeness and 
sunnier bloom ; but on that mind time and experience alone 
could work: to the influence of other intellects, it was not 
amenable. 

Having avowed that over much of " Wuthering Heights " there 
broods "a horror of great darkness;" that, in its storm-heated 
and electrical atmosphere, we seem at times to breathe lightning, 
let me point to those spots where clouded daylight and the 
eclipsed sun still attest their existence. For a specimen of true 
benevolence and homely fidelity, look at the character of Nelly 
Dean ; for an example of constancy and tenderness, remark that 
of Edgar Linton. (Some people will think these qualities do not 
shine so well incarnate in a man as they would do in a woman, 
but Ellis Bell could never be brought to comprehend this notion : 
nothing moved her more than any insinuation that the faithful- 
ness and clemency, the long-suffering and loving-kindness which 



PREFACE. Xvii 

are esteemed virtues in the daughters of Eve, become foibles in 
the sons of Adam. She held that mercy and forgiveness are the 
divinest attributes of the Great Being who made both man and 
Avoman, and that what clothes the Godhead in glorj', can dis- 
grace no form of feeble humanity.) There is a dry saturnine 
humour in the delineation of old Joseph, and some glimpses of 
grace and gaiety animate the younger Catherine. Nor is even 
the first heroine of the name destitute of a certain strange beauty 
in her fierceness, or of honesty in the midst of perverted passion 
and passionate perversity. 

HeathclifF, indeed, stands unredeemed ; never once swers'ing 
in his arrow-straight course to perdition, from the time when 
*'the little black-haired swarthy thing, as dark as if it came from 
the Devil," was first unrolled out of the bundle and set on its 
feet in the farm-house kitchen, to the hour when Nelly Dean 
found the grim, stalwart corpse laid on its back in the panel- 
enclosed bed, with wide-gazing eyes that seemed " to sneer at 
her attempt to close them, and parted lips and sharp white teeth 
that sneered too." 

Heathcliff" betrays one solitary human feeling, and that is not 
hislove for Catherine ; which is a sentiment fierce and inhuman ; 
a passion such as might boil and glow in the bad essence of 
some evil genius ; a fire that might form the tormented centre — 
the ever-suffering soul of a magnate of the infernal world : and. 
by its quenchless and ceaseless ravage effect the execution of the 
decree which dooms him to carry Hell with him wherever he 
wanders. No ; the single link that connects Heathcliff" with 
humanity is his rudely-confessed regard for Hareton Earnshaw — 
the young man whom he has ruined ; and then his half-implied 
esteem for Nelly Dean. These solitary traits omitted, we should 
say he was child neither of Lascar nor gipsy, but a man's shape 
animated by demon life — a Ghoul — an Afreet. 

Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff, 
I do not know: I scarcely think it is. But this I know: the 
writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which 
he is not always master — something that, at times, strangely wills 
and works for itself. He may lay down rules and devise prin- 
ciples, and to rules and principles it will perhaps for years lie in 
subjection ; and then, haply without any warning of revolt, there 



XVllI PREFACE. 

comes a time when it will no longer consent to " harrow the 
valleys, or be bound with a band in the furrow " — when it 
"laughs at the multitude of the city, and regards not the crying 
of the driver" — when, refusing absolutely to make ropes out 
of sea-sand any longer, it sets to work on statue-hewing, and 
you have a Pluto or a Jove, a Tisiphone or a Psyche, a Mermaid 
or a Madonna, as Fate or Inspiration direct. Be the work grim 
or glorious, dread or divine, you have little choice left but 
quiescent adoption. As for you — the nominal artist— your share 
in it has been to work passively under dictates you neither 
delivered nor could question — that would not be uttered at your 
prayer, nor suppressed nor changed at 3'our caprice. If the 
result be attractive, the World will praise you, who little deserve 
praise; if it be repulsive, the same World will blame you, who 
almost as little deserve blame. 

"Wuthering Heights" was hewn in a wild workshop, with 
simple tools, out of homely materials. The statuary found a 
granite block on a solitary moor ; gazing thereon, he saw how 
from the crag might be elicited a head, savage, swart, sinister; 
a form moulded with at least one element of grandeur — power. 
He wrought with a rude chisel, and from no model but the vision 
of his meditations. With time and labour, the crag took human 
shape ; and there it stands colossal, dark, and frowning, half 
statue, half rock : in the former sense, terrible and goblin-like ; 
in the latter, almost beautiful, for its colouring is of mellow 
grey, and moorland moss clothes it ; and heath, with its bloom- 
ing bells and balmy fragrance, grows faithfully close to the 
giant's foot. 

CURRER BELL. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

BY ELLIS BELL. 

CHAPTER i. 

1801. — I HAVE just returned from a visit to my landlord — the 
solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is cer- 
tainly "a beautiful country ! In all England, I do not believe 
that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed 
from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's heaven : and 
Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the ' 
desolation between us. A capital fellow ! He little imagined 
how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black 
eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, 
and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous reso- 
lution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name, 

" Mr. Heathcliff! " I said. 

A nod was the answer. 

"Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the 
honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to ex- 
press the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my per- 
severance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange : I 
heard yesterday you had had some thoughts " 

"Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir," he interrupted, 
wincing. ' ' I should not allow any one to inconvenience me, 
if I could hinder it — ^walk in ! " 

The "walk in" was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed 
the sentiment, "Go to the deuce:" even the gate over which 
he leant manifested no sympathising movement to the words ; 
and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the 
invitation : I felt interested in a man who seemed more exag- 
geratedly reserved than myself. 

When he saw my horse's breast fairly pushing the barrier, he 



20 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

did put out his hand to unclmin it, and then sullenly preceded 
me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court — "Joseph, 
take Mr. Lockwood's horse ; and bring up some wine." 

" Here we have the whole establishment of domestics, I sup- 
pose," was the reflection suggested by this compound order. 
" No wonder the grass grows up between the flags, and cattle 
are the only hedge-cutters." 

Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man : very old, perhaps, 
though hale and sinewy. " The Lord help us ! " he soliloquised 
in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my 
horse : looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably 
conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, 
and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected 
advent. 

Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliffs dwelling. 
"Wuthering" being a significant provincial adjective, descrip- 
tive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in 
stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up 
there at all times, indeed : one may guess the power of the north 
wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few 
stunted firs at the end of the house ; and by a range of gaunt 
thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of 
the sun. Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong : 
the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners 
defended with large jutting stones. 

Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity 
of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially 
about the principal door ; above which, among a wilderness 
of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the 
date " 1500," and the name " Hareton Earnshaw." I would 
have made a few comments, and requested a short history of 
the place from the surly owner ; but his attitude at the door 
appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, 
and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to 
inspecting the penetralium. 

One step brought us into the family sitting-room, without any 
introductory lobby or passage: they call it here "the house" 
pre-eminently. It includes kitchen and parlour, generally ; but 
I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat 
altogether into another quarter : at least I distinguished a 
chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils, deep 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 21 

within ; and I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking, 
about the huge fire-place ; nor any glitter of copper saucepans 
and tin cullenders on the walls. One end, indeed, reflected 
splendidly both light and heat from ranks of immense pewter 
dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row 
after row, on a vast oak dresser, to the very roof. The latter 
had never been underdrawn : its entire anatomy lay bare to an 
inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes 
and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it. 
Above the chimney were sundry villainous old guns, and a couple 
of horse-pistols : and, by way of ornament, three gaudily painted 
canisters disposed along its ledge. The floor was of smooth, 
white stone ; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, 
painted green : one or two heavy black ones lurking in the 
shade. In an arch under the dresser, reposed a huge, liver- 
coloured bitch pointer, surrounded by a swarm of squealing 
puppies ; and other dogs haunted other recesses. 

The apartment and furniture would have been nothing extra- 
ordinary as belonging to a homely, northern farmer, with a 
stubborn countenance, and stalwart limbs set out to advantage 
in knee-breeches and gaiters. Such an individual seated in 
his arm-chair, his mug of ale frothing on the round table 
before him, is to be seen in any circuit of five or six miles 
among these hills, if you go at the right time after dinner. But 
f\lr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style. 
of living. / He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and 
mannersa gentleman : that is, as much a gentleman as many a 
country squire : rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss 
with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome 
figure ; and rather morose. Possibly, some people might suspect 
him of a degree of under-bred pride ; I have a sympathetic chord 
within that tells me it is nothing of the sort : I know, by 
instinct, his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays 
of feeling — to manifestations of mutual kindliness. He'll love 
and hate equally under cover, and esteem it a species of 
impertinence to be loved or hated again. No, I'm running on 
too fast : I bestow my own attributes over liberally on him. 
Mr. Heathcliff may have entirely dissimilar reasons for keeping 
his hand out of the way when he meets a would-be acquaint- 
ance, to those which actuate me. Let me hope my constitution 
is almost peculiar : my dear mother used to say I should never 



22 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

liave a comfortable home ; and only last summer I proved 
myself perfectly unworthy of one. 

While enjoying a month of fine weather at the sea-coast, I 
was thrown into the company of a most fascinating creature : 
a real goddess in my eyes, as long as she took no notice of 
me. I *' never told my love " vocally ; still, if looks have 
language, the merest idiot might have guessed I was over head 
and ears : she understood me at last, and looked a return — 
the sweetest of all imaginable looks. And what did I do? 
I confess it with shame — shrunk icily into myself, like a snail ; 
at every glance retired colder and farther ; till finally the poor 
innocent was led to doubt her own senses, and, overwhelmed 
with confusion at her supposed mistake, persuaded her mamma 
to decamp. By this curious turn of disposition I have gained 
the reputation of deliberate heartlessness ; how undeserved, I 
alone can appreciate. 

I took a seat at the end of the hearthstone opposite that towards 
which my landlord advanced, and filled up an interval of silence 
by attempting to caress the canine mother who had left her 
nursery, and was sneaking .wolfishly to the back of my legs, 
her lip curled up, and her white teeth watering for a snatch. 
My caress provoked a long, guttural gnarU 

"You'd better let the dog alone," growled Mr. Heathcliff 
in unison, checking fiercer demonstrations with a punch of 
his foot. "She's not accustomed to be spoiled — not kept 
for a pet." Then, striding to a side door, he shouted again, 
" Joseph ! " 

Joseph mumbled indistinctly in the depths of the cellar, but 
gave no intimation of ascending ; so his master dived down to 
him, leaving me vis-a-vis the ruffianly bitch and a pair of grim 
shaggy sheep-dogs, who shared with her a jealous guardian- 
ship over all my movements. Not anxious to come in contact 
with their fangs, I sat still ; but, imagining they would scarcely 
understand tacit insults, I unfortunately indulged in winking and 
malting faces at the trio, and some turn of my physiognomy 
so irritated madam, that she suddenly broke into a fury and 
leapt on my knees. I flung her back, and hastened to inter- 
pose the table between us. This proceeding roused the whole 
hive : half-a-dozen four-footed fiends, of various sizes and ages, 
issued from hidden dens to the common centre. I felt my heels 
and coat-laps peculiar subjects of assault ; and parrying off the 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

larger combatants as effectually as I could with the poker, I was 
■constrained to demand, aloud, assistance from some of the 
liousehold in re-establishing peace. 

Mr. Heathcliff and his man climbed the cellar steps with 
vexatious phlegm : I don't think they moved one second faster 
than usual, though the hearth was an absolute tempest of 
worrying and yelping. Happily, an inhabitant of the kitchen 
made more despatch : a lusty dame, with tucked-up gown, 
bare arms, and fire-flushed cheeks, rushed into the midst of 
us flourishing a frying-pan : and used that weapon, and her 
tongue, to such purpose, that the storm subsided magically, 
and she only remained, heaving like a sea after a high wind, 
when her master entered on the scene. 

"What the devil is the matter?" he asked, eyeing me in a 
manner that I could ill endure after this inhospitable treatment, 

"What the devil, indeed!" I muttered. "The herd of 
possessed swine could have had no worse spirits in them than 
those animals of yours, sir. You might as well leave a stranger 
with a brood of tigers ! " 

" They won't meddle with persons who touch nothing," he 
remarked, putting the bottle before me, and restoring the dis- 
placed table. ' ' The dogs do right to be vigilant. Take a 
glass of wine?" 

" No, thank you." 

•" Not bitten, are you ? " 

*' If I had been, I would have set my signet on the biter." 

Heathcliff's countenance relaxed into a grin. 

"Come, come," he said, "you are flurried, Mr. Lockwood. 
Here, take a little wine. Guests are so exceedingly rare in 
this house that I and my dogs, I am willing to own, hardly 
know how to receive them. Your health, sir ! " 

I bowed and returned the pledge ; beginning to perceive 
that it would be foolish to sit sulking for the misbehaviour of 
a pack of curs : besides, I felt loath to yield the fellow further 
amusement at my expense ; since his humour took that turn. 
He — probably swayed by prudential consideration of the folly 
of offending a good tenant — relaxed a little in the laconic 
style of chipping off his pronouns and auxiliary verbs, and 
introduced what he supposed would be a subject of interest to 
me, — a discourse on the advantages and disadvantages of my 
present place of retirement. I found him very intelligent on 



22, WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

the topics we touched ; and before I went home, I was en- 
couraged so far as to volunteer another visit to-morrow. He 
evidently wished no repetition of my intrusion. I shall go, not- 
withstanding. It is astonishing how sociable I feel myself 
compared with him. 



CHAPTER n. 

Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a 
mind to spend it by my study fire, instead of wading through 
heath and mud to Wuthering Heights. On coming up from 
dinner however (N.B. — I dine between twelve and one o'clock ; 
the housekeeper, a matronly lady, taken as a fixture along with 
the house, could not, or would not, comprehend my request 
that I might be served at five), on mounting the stairs with 
this lazy intention, and stepping into the room, I saw a servant- 
girl on her knees surrounded by brushes and coal-scuttles, 
and raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames 
with heaps of cinders. This spectacle drove me back immedi- 
ately ; I took my hat, and, after a four miles' walk, arrived at 
Heathcliff 's garden gate just in time to escape the first feathery 
flakes of a snow-shower. 

On that bleak hill-top the earth was hard with a black 
frost, and the air made me shiver through every limb. Being 
unable to remove the chain, I jumped over, and, running up 
the flagged causeway bordered with straggling gooseberry 
bushes, knocked vainly for admittance, till my knuckles tingled 
and the dogs howled. 

"Wretched inmates!" I ejaculated mentally, "you deserve 
perpetual isolation from your species for your churlish inhos- 
pitality. At least, I would not keep my doors barred in the 
day-time. I don't care — I will get in ! " So resolved, I grasped 
the latch and shook it vehemently. Vinegar-faced Joseph pro- 
jected his head from a round window of the barn. 

"What are ye for?" he shouted. " T' maister's down i' 
l' fowld. Go round by th' end ot' laith, if ye went to spake 
to him." 

"Is there nobody inside to open the door?" I hallooed, 
responsively. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 2) 

"There's nobbut t' missis; and shoo'll not oppen't an ye 
mak yer flaysome dins till neeght." 

"Why? Cannot you tell her who I am, eh, Joseph ?" 

" Nor-ne me! I'll hae no hend wi't," muttered the head, 
vanishing. * 

The snow began to drive thickly. I seized the handle to 
essay another trial ; when a young man without coat, and 
shouldering a pitchfork, appeared in the yard behind. He 
hailed me to follow him, and, after marching through a wash- 
house, and a paved area containing a coal-shed, pump, and 
pigeon-cot, we at length arrived in the huge, warm, cheerful 
apartment, where I was formerly received. It glowed dehght- 
fully in the radiance of an immense fire, compounded of coal, 
peat, and wood ; and near the table, laid for a plentiful evening 
meal, I was pleased to observe the " missis," an individual whose 
existence I had never previously suspected. I bowed and waited, 
thinking she would bid me take a seat. She looked at me, lean- 
ing back in her chair, and remained motionless and mute. 

"Rough weather!" I remarked. "I'm afraid, Mrs. Heath- 
cliff, the door must bear the consequence of your servants" 
leisure attendance : I had hard work to make them hear me." 

She never opened her mouth. I stared — she stared also : at 
any rate, she kept her eyes on me in a cool, regardless manner, 
exceedingly embarrassing and disagreeable. 

"Sit down," said the young man gruffly. " He'll be in soon." 

I obeyed ; and hemmed, and called the villain Juno, who 
deigned, at this second interview, to move the extreme tip of 
her tail, in token of owning my acquaintance. 

" A beautiful animal ! " I commenced again. " Do you intend 
parting with the little ones, madam? " 
/ "They are not mine," said the amiable hostess, more repel- 
lingly than Heathcliff himself could have replied. 

"Ah, your favourites are among these?" I continued, turning 
to an obscure cushion full of something like cats. 

"A strange choice of favourites ! " she observed scornfully. 

Unluckily, it was a heap of dead rabbits. I hemmed once 
more, and drew closer to the hearth, repeating my comment on 
the wildness of the evening. 

"You should not have come out," she said, rising and 
reaching from the chimney-piece two of the painted canisters. 

Her position before was sheltered from the light ; now, I had 



26 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

a distinct view of her whole figure and countenance. She was 
slender, and apparently scarcely past girlhood : an admirable 
form, and the most exquisite little face that I have ever had the 
pleasure of beholding ; small features, very fair ; flaxen ringlets, 
or rather golden, hanging^oose on her delicate neck ; and eyes, 
had they been agreeable in expression, that would have been 
irresistible : fortunately for my susceptible heart, the only senti- 
ment they evinced hovered between scorn, and a kind of despera- 
tion, singularly unnatural to be detected there. The canisters 
were almost out of her reach ; I made a motion to aid her ; she 
turned upon me as a miser might turn if any one attempted to 
assist him in counting his gold. 

" I don't want your help," she snapped ; " I can get them for 
myself." 

" I beg your pardon !" I hastened to reply. 

"Were you asked to tea?" she demanded, tying an apron 
over her neat black frock, and standing with a spoonful of the 
leaf poised over the pot. 

" I shall be glad to have a cup," I answered. 

' ' Were you asked ? " she repeated. 

" No," I said, half smiling. " You are the proper person to 
ask me." 

She flung the tea back, spoon and all, and resumed her chair 
in a pet ; her forehead corrugated, and her red under-lip pushed 
out, like a child's ready to cry. 

Meanwhile, the young man had slung on to his person a 
decidedly shabby upper garment, and, erecting himself before 
the blaze, looked down on me from the corner of his eyes, for 
all the world as if there were some mortal feud unavenged 
between us. I began to doubt whether he were a servant or 
not : his dress and speech were both rude, entirely devoid of 
the superiority observable in Mr. and Mrs. Heathcliff; his 
thick, brown curls were rough and uncultivated, his whiskers 
encroached bearishly over his cheeks, and his hands were em- 
browned like those of a common labourer: still his bearing 
was free, almost haughty, and he showed none of a domestic's 
assiduity in attending on the lady of the house. In the absence 
of clear proofs of his condition, I deemed it best to abstain 
from noticing his curious conduct ; and, five minutes after- 
wards, the entrance of Heathcliff relieved me, in some measure, 
from my uncomfortable state. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. TJ 

"You see, sir, I am come, according' to promise!" I 
exclaimed, assuming the cheerful; "and I fear I shall be 
weather-bound for half-an-hour, if you can afford me shelter 
during that space." 

"Half-an-hour?" he said, shaking the white flakes from his 
clothes ; " I wonder you should select the thick of a snowstorm 
to ramble about in. Do you know that you run a risk of being 
lost in the marshes? People familiar with these moors often 
miss their road on such evenings ; and I can tell you there is 
no chance of a change at present." 

" Perhaps I can get a guide among your lads, and he might 
stay at the Grange till morning — could you spare me one ? " 

" No, I could not." 

" Oh, indeed ! Well, then, I must trust to my own sagacity." 

"Umph!" 

"Are you going to mak th' tea ? " demanded he of the shabby 
coat, shifting his ferocious gaze from me to the young lady. 

" Is he to have any ? " she asked, appealing to Heathcliff. 

"Get it ready, will you? " was the answer, uttered so savagely 
that I started. The tone in which the words were said revealed 
a genuine bad nature. I no lougijr felt inclined-tQucall Heath- 
cliff a capital fellQ:\v. When the preparations were finished, he 
invited me with — " Now, sir, bring forward your chair." And 
we all, including the rustic youth, drew round the table : an 
austere silence prevaiHng while m'c discussed our meal. 

I thought, if I had caused the cloud, it was my duty to make 
an effort to dispel it. They could not every day sit so grim and 
taciturn ; and it was impossible, however ill-tempered they 
might be, that the universal scowl they wore was their every- 
day countenance. 

"It is strange," I began, in the interv'al of swallowing one 
cup of tea and receiving another — "it is strange how custom 
can mould our tastes and ideas : many could not imagine the 
existence of happiness in a life of such complete exile from the 
world as you spend, Mr. Heathcliff; yet I'll venture to say, 
that, suiTOunded by your family, and with your amiable lady 
as the presiding genius over your home and heart "-^^ 

"My amiable lady!" he interrupted, with an almost 
diabolical sneer on his face. "Where is she — my amiable 
lady?" 

"Mrs. Heathcliff, your wife, I mean." 



25 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I 

"Well, yes — Oh, you would intimate that her spirit has 
taken the post of ministering angel, and guards the fortunes 
of Wuthering Heights even when her body is gone. Is 
that it?" 

Perceiving myself in a blunder, I attempted to correct it. I 
might have seen there was too great a disparity between the 
ages of the parties to make it likely that they were man and 
wife. One was about forty : a period of mental vigour at 
which men seldom cherish the delusion of being married for 
love by girls : that dream is reserved for the solace of our 
declining years. The other did not look seventeen. 

Then it flashed upon me — "The clown at my elbow, who 
is drinking his tea out of a basin and eating his bread with 
unwashed hands, may be her husband : Heathcliff, junior, of 
course. Here is the consequence of being buried alive : she 
has thrown herself away upon that boor from sheer ignorance 
that better individuals existed ! A sad pity — I must beware 
how I cause her to regret her choice." The last reflection 
may seem conceited ; it was not. My neighbour struck me 
as bordering on repulsive ; I knew, through experience, that 
I was tolerably attractive. 

"Mrs. Heathcliff is my daughter-in-law," said Heathcliff, 
corroborating my surmise. He turned, as he spoke, a peculiar 
look in her direction : a look of hatred ; unless he has a most 
perverse set of facial muscles that will not, like those of other 
people, interpret the language of his soul. 

" Ah, certainly — I see now : you are the favoured possessor of 
the beneficent fairy," I remarked, turning to my neighbour. 

This was worse than before : the youth grew crimson, and 
clenched his fist, with every appearance of a meditated assault. 
But he seemed to recollect himself presently, and smothered the 
storm in a brutal curse, muttered on my behalf : which, however, 
I took care not to notice. 

" Unhappy in your conjectures, sir," observed my host ; "we 
neither of us have the privilege of owning your good fairy ; her 
mate is dead. I said she was my daughter-in-law, therefore, she 
must have married my son." 

"And this young man is " 

" Not my son, assuredly." 

Heathcliff smiled again, as if it were rather too bold a jest to 
attribute the paternity of that bear to him. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 29 

" My name is Hareton Earnshaw," growled the other ; " and 
I'd counsel you to respect it ! " 

" I've shown no disrespect," was my reply, laughing internally 
at the dignity with which he announced himself. 

He fixed his eye on me longer than I cared to return the stare, 
for fear I might be tempted either to box his ears or render my 
hilarity audible. I began to feel unmistakably out of place in 
that pleasant family circle. The dismal spiritual atmosphere 
overcame, and more than neutralised, the glowing physical 
comforts round me ; and I resolved to be cautious how I 
ventured under those rafters a third time. 

The business of eating being concluded, and no one uttering 
a word of sociable conversation, I approached a window to 
examine the weather. A sorrowful sight I saw : dark night 
coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one 
bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow. 

" I don't think it possible for me to get home now without a 
guide," I could not help exclaiming. "The roads will be 
buried already ; and, if they were bare, I could scarcely dis- 
tinguish a foot in advance." 

"Hareton, drive those dozen sheep into the barn porch. 
They'll be covered if left in the fold all night : and put a plank 
before them," said Heathcliff. 

" How must I do?" I continued, with rising irritation. 

There was no reply to my question ; and on looking round I 
saw only Joseph bringing in a pail of porridge for the dogs, and 
Mrs. Heathcliff leaning over the fire, diverting herself with 
burning a bundle of matches which had fallen from the chimney- 
piece as she restored the tea canister to its place. The former, 
when he had deposited his burden, took a critical survey of the 
room, and in cracked tones, grated out — 

" Aw wonder how yah can faishion to stand thear i' idleness 
un war, when all on 'em's goan out ! Bud yah're a nowt, and 
it's no use talking — yah'll niver mend o' yer ill ways, but goa 
raight to t' divil, like yer mother afore ye ! " 

I imagined, for a moment, that this piece of eloquence was 
addressed to me ; and, suflRciently enraged, stepped towards the 
aged rascal with an intention of kicking him out of the door. 
Mrs. Heathcliff, however, checked me by her answer. 

"You scandalous old hypocrite ! " she replied. " Are you not 
afraid of being carried away bodily, whenever you mention the 



30 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

devil's name? I warn you to refrain from provoking me, or I'll 
ask your abduction as a special favour. Stop ! look here, 
Joseph," she continued, taking a long, dark book from a shelf; 
" I'll show you how far I've progressed in the Black Art: I shall 
soon be competent to make a clear house of it. The red cow 
didn't die by chance ; and your rheumatism can hardly be 
reckoned among providential visitations ! " 

"Oh, wicked, wicked!" gasped the elder; "may the Lord 
deliver us from evil ! " 

"No, reprobate! you are a castaway — be off, or I'll hurt 
you seriously ! I'll have you all modelled in wax and clay ; 
and the first who passes the kmits I fix, shall — I'll not say 
what he shall be done to — but, you'll see ! Go, I'm looking at 
you ! " 

The little witch put a mock malignity into her beautiful 
eyes, and Joseph, trembling with sincere horror, hurried out 
praying and ejaculating " wicked " as he went. I thought her 
conduct must be prompted by a species of dreary fun : and, 
now that we were alone, I endeavoured to interest her in my 
distress. 

"Mrs. Heathcliff," I said oarnestly, "you must excuse me 
for troubling you. I presume, because, with that face, I'm sure 
you cannot help being good-hearted. Do point out some land- 
marks by which I may know my way home : I have no more 
idea how to get there than you would have how to get to 
London ! " 

"Take the road you came," she answered, ensconcing herself 
in a chair, with a candle, and the long book open before her, 
" It is brief advice, but as sound as I can give." 

" Then, if you hear of me being discovered dead in a bog or 
a pit full of snow, your conscience won't whisper that it is partly 
your fault ? " 

"How so? I cannot escort you. They wouldn't let me go 
to the end of the garden-wall." 

' • Yo7i ! I should be sorry to ask you to cross the threshold, 
for my convenience, on such a night," I cried. " I want you to 
tell me my way, not to show it ; or else to persuade Mr. Heath- 
cliff to give me a guide." 

"Who? There is himself, Earnshaw, Zillah, Joseph and L 
Which would you have? " 

' ' Are there no boys at the farm ? " 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Jt 

*' No ; those are all." 

" Then, it follows that I am compelled to stay," 

' ' That you may settle with your host. I have nothing to do 
with it." 

"I hope it will be a lesson to you to make no more rash 
journeys on these hills," cried Heathcliff's stern voice from the 
kitchen entrance. "As to staying here, I don't keep accom- 
modations for visitors : you must share a bed with Hareton or 
Joseph, if you do." 

" I can sleep on a chair in this room," I replied. 

" No, no ! A stranger is a stranger, be he rich or poor : it 
will not suit me to permit any one the range of the place while 
I am off guard ! " said the unmannerly wretch. 

With this insult, my patience was at an end, I uttered an 
expression of disgust, and pushed past him into the yard, 
running against Earnshaw in my haste. It was so dark that 
I could not see the means of exit ; and, as I wandered round, 
I heard another specimen of their civil behaviour amongst each 
other. At first the young man appeared about to befriend me. 

" I'll go with him as far as the park," he said. 

"You'll go with him to hell!" exclaimed his master, or 
whatever relation he bore. "And who is to look after the 
horses, eh?" 

"A man's life is of more consequence than one evening's 
neglect of the horses : somebody must go," murmured Mrs, 
HeathclifT, more kindly than I expected, 

"Not at your command!" retorted Hareton. "If you set 
store on him, you'd better be quiet." 

"Then I hope his ghost will haunt you; and I hope ]Mr. 
HeathcUff will never get another tenant till the Grange is a 
ruin ! " she answered sharply. 

" Hearken, hearken, shoo's cursing on 'em !" muttered Joseph, 
towards whom I had been steering. 

He sat within earshot, milking the cows by the light of a 
lantern, which I seized unceremoniously, and, calhng out that I 
would send it back on the morrow, rushed to the nearest postern. 

"Maister, maister, he's stahng t' lanthern ! " -shouted the 
ancient, pursuing my retreat. "Hey, Gnasher ! Hev, dog! 
Hey, Wolf, holld him, holld him ! " 

On opening the little door, two hairy monsters flew at my throat, 
bearing me down and extinguishing the light ; while a mingled 



32 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

guffaw from Heathcliff and Hareton, put the copestone on my 
rage and humiliation. Fortunately, the beasts seemed more 
bent on stretching their paws and yawning, and flourishing their 
tails, than devouring me alive ; but they would suffer no resurrec- 
tion, and I was forced to lie till their malignant masters pleased 
to deliver me : then, hatless and trembling with wrath, I ordered 
the miscreants to let me out — on their peril to keep me one 
minute longer — with several incoherent threats of retaliation that, 
in their indefinite depth of virulency, smacked of King Lear. 

The vehemence of my agitation brought on a copious bleeding 
at the nose, and still Heathcliff laughed, and still I scolded. I 
don't know what would have concluded the scene, had there not 
been one person at hand rather more rational than myself, and 
more benevolent than my entertainer. This was Zillah, the 
stout housewife ; who at length issued forth to inquire into the 
nature of the uproar. She thought that some of them had been 
laying violent hands on me ; and, not daring to attack her 
master, she turned her vocal artillery against the younger 
scoundrel. 

"Well, Mr. Earnshaw," she cried, "I wonder what you'll 
have agait next ! Are we going to murder folk on our very door- 
stones? I see this house will never do for me — look at t' poor 
lad, he's fair choking ! Wisht, wisht ! you mun'n't go on so. 
Come in, and I'll cure that : there now, hold ye still." 

With these words she suddenly splashed a pint of icy water 
down my neck, and pulled me into the kitchen. Mr. Heathcliff 
followed, his accidental merriment expiring quickly in his habitual 
moroseness. 

I was sick exceedingly, and dizzy and faint ; and thus com- 
pelled perforce to accept lodgings under his roof. He told Zillah 
to give me a glass of brandy, and then passed on to the inner 
room ; while she condoled with me on my sorry predicament, 
and having obeyed his orders, whereby I was somewhat revived, 
ushered me to bed. 



CHAPTER ni. 

While leading the way upstairs, she recommended that I 
should hide the candle, and not make a noise ; for her master 
had an odd notion about the chamber she would put me in, and 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 3 3 

never let anybody lodge there willingly. I asked the reason. 
She did not know, she answered : she had only lived there a 
year or two ; and they had so many queer goings on, she could 
not begin to be curious. 

Too stupified to be curious myself, I fastened my door and 
glanced round for the bed. The whole furniture consisted of a 
chair, a clothes-press, and a large oak case, with squares cut out 
near the top resembling coach windows. Having approached 
this structure I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular 
sort of old-fashioned couch, very conveniently designed to obviate 
the necessity for every member of the family having a room to 
himself. In fact, it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a 
window, which it enclosed, served as a table. I slid back the 
panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them together again, 
and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and every 
one else. 

The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed 
books piled up in one corner ; and it was covered with writing 
scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing 
but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small 

— Catheriyie Eanishaiv, here and there varied to Catheriiie 
Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton. 

In vapid listlessness I leant my head against the window, 
and continued spelling over Catherine Earnshaw — Heathcliff 

— Linton, till my eyes closed ; but they had not rested five 
minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark as 
vivid as spectres — the air swarmed with Catherines ; and rousing 
myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I discovered my candle- 
wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming 
the place with an odour of roasted calf-skin. I snuffed it off, 
and, very ill at ease under the influence of cold and lingering 
nausea, sat up and spread open the injured tome on my knee 
It was a Testament, in lean type, and smelling dreadfully musty I 
a fly-leaf bore the inscription — " Catherine Earnshaw, her book," 
and a date some quarter of a century back. I shut it, and took 
up another, and another, till I had examined all. Catherine's 
library was select, and its state of dilapidation proved it to have 
been well used ; though not altogether for a legitimate purpose : 
scarcely one chapter had escaped a pen-and-ink commentary — at 
least, the appearance of one — covering every morsel of blank 
that the printer had left. Some were detached sentences ; other 

B 



34 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

parts took the form of a regular diary, scrawled in an unformed, 
childish hand. At the top of an extra page (quite a treasure, 
probably, when first lighted on) I was greatly amused to behold 
an excellent caricature of my friend- Joseph, — rudely yet power- 
fully sketched. An immediate interest kindled within me for the 
unknown Catherine, and I began forthwith to decipher her faded 
.hieroglyphics. 

"An awful Sunday!" commenced the paragraph beneath. 
' ' I wish my father were back again. Hindley is a detestable 
substitute — his conduct to Heathcliff is atrocious — H. and I are 
going to rebel — we took our initiatory step this evening. 

"All day had been flooding with rain; we could not go to 
church, so Joseph must needs get up a congregation in the 
garret ; and, while Hindley and his wife basked downstairs 
before a comfortable fire — doing anything but reading their 
Bibles, I'll answer for it — Heathcliff, myself, and the unhappy 
plough-boy, were commanded to take our Prayer-books, and 
mount : we were ranged in a row, on a sack of corn, groaning 
and shivering, and hoping that Joseph would shiver too, so that 
he might give us a short homily for his own sake. A vain idea ! 
The service lasted precisely three hours ; and yet my brother had 
the face to exclaim, when he saw us descending, 'What, done 
already ? ' On Sunday evenings we used to be permitted to play, 
if we did not make much noise ; now a mere titter is sufficient to 
send us into corners ! 

" ' You forget you have a master here,' says the tyrant. ' I'll 
demolish the first who puts me out of temper ! I insist on perfect 
sobriety and silence. Oh, boy ! was that you ? Frances, darling, 
pull his hair as you go by : I heard him snap his fingers.' Frances 
pulled his hair heartily, and then went and seated herself on her 
husband's knee ; and there they were, like two babies, kissing 
and talking nonsense by the hour — foolish palaver that we should 
be ashamed of. We made ourselves as snug as our means 
allowed in the arch of the dresser. I had just fastened our 
pinafores together, and hung them up for a curtain, when in 
comes Joseph on an errand from the stables. He tears down 
my handywork, boxes my ears, and croaks — 

" ' T' maister nobbut just buried, and Sabbath no o'ered, und 
t' sound o' t' gospel still i' yer lugs, and ye darr be laiking ! 
Shame on ye ! sit ye down, ill childer ! there's good books eneugh 
if ye'll read 'em : sit ye down, and think o' yer sowls ! ' 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 35 

•' Saying this, he compelled us so to square our positions that 
^ve might receive from the far-off fire a dull ray to show us the 
text of the lumber he thrust upon us. I could not bear the P^^ 
employment. I took my dingy volume by the scroop, and hurled 
it into the dog-kennel, vowing I hated a good book. Heathcliff 
kicked his to the same place. Then there was a hubbub ! 

" ' Maister Hindley ! ' shouted our chaplain. ' Maister, coom 
hither ! Miss Cathy's riven th' back off ' Th' Helmet o' Salva- 
tion,' un' Heathcliff 's pawsed his fit into t' first part o' ' T' Brooad'\ f\ 
^^"ay to Destruction ! ' It's fair flaysome that ye let 'em go on 
this gait. Ech ! th' owd man wad ha' laced 'em properly — but 
he's goan ! ' 

"Hindley hurried up from his paradise on the hearth, and 
seizing one of us by the collar, and the other by the arm, hurled 
both into the back-kitchen ; where, Joseph asseverated, ' owd 
Xick' \vould fetch us as sure as we were living: and, so 
comforted, we each sought a separate nook to await his advent. 
S^reached this book, and a pot of ink from a shelf, and pushed 55 
nie house-door ajar to give me light, and I have got the time on 
with writing for twenty minutes |\ but my companion is impatient, 
and proposes that we should appropriate the dairywoman's cloak, 
and have a scamper on the moors, under its shelter. A pleasant 
suggestion — and then, if the surly old man come in, he may 
believe his prophecy verified — we cannot be damper, or colder, 
in the rain than we are here." 

I suppose Catherine fulfilled her project, for the next sentence 
took up another subject : she waxed lachrymose. 

" How little did I dream that Hindley would ever make me 
cry so ! " she wrote. " My head aches, till I cannot keep it on 
the pillow ; and still I can't give over. Poor Heathcliff ! Hindley 
calls him a vagabond, and won't let him sit with us, nor eat with 
us any more ; and, he says, he and I must not play together, and 
threatens to turn him out of ♦he house if we break his orders. He 
has been blaming our father (how dared he?) for treating H. too 
liberally ; and swears he will re >ice him to his right place " 

I began to nod drowsily over l!he dim page : my eye wandered 
from manuscript to print. If saw a red ornamented title— 
"Seventy Times Seven, and tlie First of the Seventy-First. A 
Pious Discourse delivered by the Reverend Jabes Branderham, 






^6 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

in the Chapel of Gimmerden Sough." And while I was, half 
consciously, worrying my brain to guess what Jabes Branderham 
would make of his subject, I sank back in bed, and fell asleep. 
Alas, for the effects of bad tea and bad temper ! what else could 
it be that made me pass such a terrible night ? I don't remember 
another that I can at all compare with it since I was capable 
of suffering. 

I began to dream, almost before I ceased to be sensible of my 
locality. I thought it was morning ; and I had set out on my 
way home, with Joseph for a guide. The snow lay yards deep 
in our road ; and, as we floundered on, my companion wearied 
me with constant reproaches that I had not brought a pilgrim's 
staff: telling me that I could never get into the house without 
one, and boastfully flourishing a heavy-headed cudgel, which I 
understood to be so denominated. For a moment I considered 
it absurd that I should need such a weapon to gain admittance 
into my own residence. Then a new idea flashed across me. I 
was not going there : we were journeying to hear the famous 
Jabes Branderham preach from the text — "Seventy Times 
Seven ; " and either Joseph, the preacher, or I had committed 
the " First of the Seventy-First," and were to be publicly exposed 
and excommunicated. 

We came to the chapel. I have passed it really in my walks, 
twice or thrice ; it lies in a hollow, between two hills : an elevated 
hollow, near a swamp, whose peaty moisture is said to answer 
all the purposes of embalming on the few corpses deposited there. 
The roof has been kept whole hitherto ; but as the clergyman's 
stipend is only twenty pounds per annum, and a house with two 
rooms, threatening speedily to determine into one, no clergyman 
will undertake the duties of pastor : especially as it is currently 
reported that his flock would rather let him starve than increase 
the living by one penny from their own pockets. However, in 
my dream, Jabes had a full and attentive congregation ; and he 
preached — good God ! what a sermor, . divided mio four himdred 
and nifiety parts, each fully equal to an ordinary address from 
the pulpit, and each discussing, a separate sin ! Where he 
searched for them, I cannot tell. He had his private manner 
of interpreting the phrase, and it seemed necessary the brother 
should sin different sins on every occasion. They were of the 
most curious character : odd transgressions that I never imagined 
previously. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. yj 

Oh, how weary I grew. How I writhed, and yawned, and 
nodded, and revived ! How I pinched and pricked myself, and 
rubbed my eyes, and stood up, and sat down again, and nudged 
Joseph to inform me if he would ever have done. I was con- 
demned to hear all out : finally, he reached the ' ' First of the 
Seventy-First." At that crisis, a sudden inspiration descended 
on me ; I was moved to rise and denounce Jabes Branderham 
as the sinner of the sin that no Christian need pardon. 

"Sir," I exclaimed, "sitting here within these four walls, at 
one stretch, I have endured and forgiven the four hundred and 
ninety heads of your discourse. Seventy times seven times have 
I plucked up my hat and been about to depart — Seventy times 
seven times have you preposterously forced me to resume my 
seat. The four hundred and ninety-first is too much. Fellow- 
martyrs, have at him ! Drag him down, and crush him to 
atoms, that the place which knows him may know him no 
more ! " 

" Thou art the Man!" cried Jabes, after a solemn pause, 
leaning over his cushion. " Seventy times seven times didst 
thou gapingly contort thy visage— seventy times seven did I 
take counsel with my soul— Lo, this is human weakness : this 
also may be absolved ! The First of the Seventy-First is come. 
Brethren, execute upon him the judgment written. Such honour 
have all His saints ! " 

With that concluding word, the whole assembly, exalting 
their pilgrim's staves, rushed round me in a body ; and I, having 
no weapon to raise in self-defence, commenced grappling with 
Joseph, my nearest and most ferocious assailant, for his. In 
the confluence of the multitude, several clubs crossed ; blows, 
aimed at me, fell on other sconces. Presently the whole chapel 
resounded with rappings and counter-rappings : every man's 
hand was against his neighbour; and Branderham, unwilling 
to remain idle, poured forth his zeal in a shower of loud taps on 
the boards of the pulpit, which responded so smartly that, at 
last, to my unspeakable relief, they woke me. And what was it 
that had suggested the tremendous tumult? What had played 
Tabes's part in the row? Merely, the branch of a fir-tree that 
touched my lattice, as the blast wailed by, and rattled its dry 
cones against the panes ! I listened doubtingly an instant ; 
detected the disturber, then turned and dozed, and dreamt 
again : if possible, still more disagreeably than before. 



38 WUTHERING HEKiHTS. 

This time, I remembered I was lying in the oak closet, and 
I heard distinctly the gusty wind, and the driving of the snow ; 
I heard, also, the fir-bough repeat its teasing sound, and 
ascribed it to the right cause : but it annoyed me so much, that 
I resolved to silence it, if possible ; and, I thought, I rose and 
endeavoured to unhasp the casement. The hook was soldered 
into the staple : a circumstance observed by me when awake, 
but forgotten. "I must stop it, nevertheless!" I muttered, 
knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm 
out to seize the importunate branch ; instead of which, my 
fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand ! The 
intense horror of nightmare came over me : I tried to draw 
back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy 
voice sobbed, "Let me in— let me in !" "Who are you?" I 
asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself. " Catherine 
Linton," it replied shiveringly (why did I think of Linfoii"? I 
had read Earnshaiu twenty times for Linton) ; " I'm come home : 
I'd lost my way on the moor ! " As it spoke, I discerned, 
obscurely, a child's face looking through the window. Terror 
made me cruel ; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the 
creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pain, and 
rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the 
bedclothes: still it wailed, "Let me in!" and maintained its 
tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear. " How can 
I ! " I said at length, " Let me go, if you want me to let you 
in ! " The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine through the hole, 
hurriedly piled the books up in a pyramid against it, and 
stopped my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer. I seemed 
to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour ; yet, the 
instant I hstened again, there was the doleful cry moaning on ! 
"Begone!" I shouted, "I'll never let you in, not if you beg 
for twenty years." "It is twenty years," mourned the voice: 
"twenty years. I've been a waif for twenty years ! " Thereat 
began a feeble scratching outside, and the pile of books moved 
as if thrust forward. I tried to jump up ; but could not stir a 
limb ; and so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright. To my con- 
fusion, I discovered the yell was not ideal : hasty footsteps 
approached my chamber door ; somebody pushed it open, with 
a vigorous hand, and a light glimmered through the squares at 
the top of the bed. I sat shuddering yet, and wiping the 
perspiration from my forehead : the intruder appeared to 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 39 

hesitate, and muttered to himself. At last, he said in a half- 
\vhisper, plainly not expecting an answer, "Is anyone here?" 
I considered it best to confess my presence ; for I knew Heath- 
cliff's accents, and feared he might search further, if I kept 
quiet. With this intention, I turned and opened the panels. I 
shall not soon forget the effect my action produced. 

Heathcliff stood near the entrance, in his shirt and trousers: 
with a candle dripping over his fingers, and his face as white 
as the wall behind him. The first creak of the oak startled 
him hke an electric shock ! the light leaped from his hold to a 
distance of some feet, and bis agitation was so extreme, that he 
could hardly pick it up. 

"It is only your guest, sir," I called out, desirous to spare 
him the humiliation of exposing his cowardice further. " I had 
the misfortune to scream in my sleep, owing to a frightful night- 
mare. I'm sorry I disturbed you." 

"Oh, God confound you, Mr. Lockwood ! I wish you were 

at the " commenced my host, setting the candle on a chair, 

because he found it impossible to hold it steady. "And who 
showed you up into this room?" he continued, crushing his 
nails into his palms, and grinding his teeth to subdue the 
maxillary convulsions. "Who was it? I've a good mind to 
turn them out of the house this moment? " 

"It was your sen^ant, Zillah," I replied, flinging myself on 
tQ^he floor, and rapidly resuming my garments. " I should 
not care if you did, Mr. Heathcliff ; she richly deserves it. I 
suppose that she wanted to get another proof that the place 
was haunted, at my expense. Well, it is — swarming with ghosts 
and goblins ! You have reason in shutting it up, I assure yoiu 
No one will thank you for a doze in such a den ! " 

"What do you mean?" asked Heathchff, " and what are you 
doing? Lie down and finish out the night, since you a7-e here ; 
but, for Heaven's sake ! don't repeat that horrid noise : nothing 
could excuse it, unless you were having your throat cut ! " 

"If the little fiend had got in at the window, she probably 
would have strangled me!" I returned. "I'm not going to 
endure the persecutions of your hospitable ancestors again. 
Was not the Reverend Jabes Branderham akin to you on the 
mother's side? And that minx, Catherine Linton, or Earn- 
shaw, or however she was called — she must have been a change- 
ling — wicked little soul ! She told me she had been walking. 



40 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

the earth those twenty years : a just punishment for her mortal 
transgressions, I've no doubt ! " 

Scarcely were these words uttered, when I recollected the 
association of Heathcliff's with Catherine's name in the book, 
which had completely slipped from my memory, till thus 
awakened. I blushed at my inconsideration ; but, without 
showing further consciousness of the offence, I hastened to add 

— " The truth is, sir, I passed the first part of the night in" 

Here I stopped afresh — I was about to say " perusing those old 
volumes," then it would have revealed my knowledge of their 
written, as well as their printed, contents : so, correcting myself, 
I went on, " In spelling over the name scratched on that window- 
ledge. A monotonous occupation, calculated to set me asleep, 
like counting, or" 

"What can you mean by talking in this way to me'?" thun- 
dered Heathcliff with savage vehemence. ' ' How — how dare you, 
under my roof ?— God ! he's mad to speak so ! " And he struck 
his forehead with rage. 

I did not know whether to resent this language or pursue 
my explanation ; but he seemed so powerfully affected that I 
took pity and proceeded with my dreams ; affirming I had never 
heard the appellation of " Catherine Linton " before, but read- 
ing it often over produced an impression which personified itself 
when I had no longer my imagination under control. Heathcliff 
gradually fell back into the shelter of the bed, as I spoke ; finally 
sitting down almost concealed behind it. I guessed, however, 
by his irregular and intercepted breathing, that he struggled to 
vanquish an excess of violent emotion. Not liking to show him 
that I had heard the conflict, I continued my toilette rather 
noisily, looked at my watch, and soliloquised on the length of 
the night : " Not three o'clock yet ! I could have taken oath 
it had been six. Time stagnates here: we must surely have 
retired to rest at eight ! " 

"Always at nine in winter, and rise at four," said my host, 
suppressing a groan : and, as I fancied, by the motion of his 
arm's shadow, dashing a tear from his eyes. " Mr. Lockwood," 
he added, "you may go into my room: you'll only be in the 
way, coming downstairs so early ; and your childish outcry has 
sent sleep to the devil for me." 

" And for me, too," I replied. " I'll walk in the yard till day- 
light, and then I'll be off; and you need not dread a repetition 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 4 1 

of my intrusion. I'm now quite cured of seeking pleasure in 
society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find 
sufficient company in himself." 

"Delightful company!" muttered Heathcliff. "Take the 
candle, and go where you please. I shall join you directly. 
Keep out of the yard, though, the dogs are unchained ; and the 
house — Juno mounts sentinel there, and — nay, you can only 
ramble about the steps and passages. But, away with you ! 
I'll come in two minutes ! " 

I obeyed, so far as to quit the chamber ; when, ignorant where 
the narrow lobbies led, I stood still, and was witness, involun- 
tarily, to a piece of superstition on the' part of my landlord, 
which belied, oddly, his apparent sense. He got on to the bed, 
and wrenched open the lattice, bursting, as he pulled at it, into 
an uncontrollable passion of tears. " Come in ! come in ! " he 
sobbed. ' ' Cathy, do come. Oh do — 07ice more ! Oh ! my 
heart's darling ! hear me this time, Catherine, at last ! " The 
spectre showed a spectre's ordinary caprice : it gave no sign of 
being ; but the snow and wind whirled wildly through, even 
reaching my station, and blowing out the light. 

There was such anguish in the gush of grief that accompanied 
this raving, that my compassion made me overlook its folly, and 
I drew off, half angry to have listened at all, and vexed at having 
related my ridiculous nightmare, since it produced that agony ; 
though ivhy, was beyond my comprehension. I descended 
cautiously to the lower regions, and landed in the back-kitchen, 
where a gleam of fire, raked compactly together, enabled me to 
rekindle my candle. Nothing was stirring except a brindled, grey 
cat, which crept from the ashes, and saluted me with a queru- 
lous mew. 

Two benches, shaped in sections of a circle, nearly enclosed 
the hearth ; on one of these I stretched myself, and Grimalkin 
mounted the other. We were both of us nodding, ere any one 
invaded our retreat, and then it was Joseph, shuffling down a 
wooden ladder that vanished in the roof, through a trap : the 
ascent to his garret, I suppose. He cast a sinister look at the 
little flame which I had enticed to play between the o-ibs, swept 
the cat from its elevation, and bestowing himself in the vacancy, 
commenced the operation of stuffing a three-inch pipe with 
tobacco. My presence in his sanctum was evidently esteemed a 
piece of impudence too shameful for remark : he silently applied 



42 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

the tube to his hps, folded his arms, and puffed away. I let him 
enjoy the luxury unannoyed ; and after sucking out his last 
wreath, and heaving a profound sigh, he got up, and departed 
as solemnly as he came. 

A more elastic footstep entered next ; and now I opened my 
mouth for a " good morning," but closed it again, the salutation 
unachieved ; for Hareton Earnshaw was performing his orisons 
sotto voce, in a series of curses directed against every object he 
touched, while he rummaged a corner for a spade or shovel to 
dig through the drifts. He glanced over the back of the bench, 
dilating his nostrils, and thought as little of exchanging civilities 
with me as with my companion the cat. I guessed, by his pre- 
parations, that egress was allowed, and, leaving my hard couch, 
made a movement to follow him. He noticed this, and thrust 
at an inner door with the end of his spade, intimating by an 
inarticulate sound that there was the place where I must go, if I 
changed my locality. 

It opened into the house, where the females were already astir. 
Zillah urging flakes of flame up the chimney with a colossal 
fi . bellows ; and Mrs. Heatlicliff, kneeling on the hearth^r ^a ding a 
book by the aid of the blaze. She held her hand interposed 
between the furnace-heat and her eyes, and seemed absorbed in 
her occupation ; desisting from it only to chide the servant for 
covering her with sparks, or to push away a dog, now and then, 
that snoozled its nose over-forwardly into her face. I was 
surprised to see Heathcliflf there also. He stood by the fire, his 
back towards me, just finishing a stormy scene to poor Zillah ; 
who ever and anon interrupted her labour to pluck up the corner 
of her apron, and heave an indignant groan. 

' ' And you, you worthless " — he broke out as I entered, turning 
to his daughter-in-law, and employing an epithet as harmless as 

duck, or sheep, but generally represented by a dash . "There 

you are, at your idle tricks again ! The rest of them do earn 
their bread — you live on my charity ! Put your trash away, and 
find something to do. You shall pay me for the plague of having 
you eternally in my sight — do you hear, damnable jade?" 

"I'll put rrty .tnisl>.away, because you can make me, if I 
refuse," answered the young lady, closing her book, and throwing 
it on a chair. "But I'll not do anything, though you should 
swear your tongue out, except what I please ! " 

Heathcliff lifted his hand, and the speaker sprang to a safer 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 43 

distance, obviously acquainted with its weight. Having no desire 
to be entertained by a cat-and-dog combat, I stepped forward 
briskly, as if eager to partake the warmth of the hearth, and 
innocent of any knowledge of the interrupted dispute. Each 
had enough decorum to suspend fui'ther hostilities : Heathcliff 
placed his fists, out of temptation, in his pockets ; Mrs. Heath- 
cliff curled her lip, and walked to a seat far off, where she kept 
her word by playing the part of a statue during the remainder of 
my stay. That was not long. I declined joining their break- 
fast, and, at the first gleam of dawn, took an opportunity of 
escaping into the free air, now clear, and still, and cold as im- 
palpable ice. 

My landlord hallooed for me to stop, ere I reached the 
bottom of the garden, and offered to accompany me across the 
moor. It was well he did, for the whole hill-back was one 
billowy, white ocean ; the swells and falls not indicating corres- 
ponding rises and depressions in the ground : many pits, at 
least, were filled to a level ; and entire ranges of mounds, the 
refuse of the quarries, blotted from the chart which my yester- 
ilay's walk left pictured in my mind. I had remarked on one 
side of the road, at intervals of six or seven }'ards, a line of up- 
right stones, continued through the whole length of the barren : 
these were erected, and daubed with lime on purpose to serve 
as guides in the dark ; and also when a fall, like the present, 
confounded the deep swamps on either hand with the firmer 
path : but, excepting a dirty dot pointing up here and there, 
all traces of their existence had vanished : and my companion 
found it necessary to warn me frequently to steer to the right or 
left, when I imagined I was following, correctly, the windings 
of the road. 

We exchanged little conversation, and he halted at the 
entrance of Thrushcross Park, saying, I could make no error 
there. Our adieux were limited to a hasty bow, and then I 
pushed forward, trusting to my own resources ; for the porter's 
lodge is untenanted as yet. The distance from the gate to the 
Grange is two miles : I believe I managed to make it four ; what 
with losing myself among the trees, and sinking up to the neck in 
snow : a predicament which only those who have experienced it 
can appreciate. At any rate, whatever were my wanderings, the 
clock chimed twelve as I entered the house ; and that gave exactly 
an hour for every mile of the usual way from Wuthering Heights. 



44 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

My human fixture and her satellites rushed to welcome me ; 
exclaiming, tumultuously, they had completely given me up : 
everybody conjectured that I perished last night ; and they 
were wondering how they must set about the search for my 
remains. I bid them be quiet, now that they saw me returned, 
and, benumbed to my very heart, I dragged upstairs ; whence, 
after putting on dry clothes, and pacing to and fro thirty or 
forty minutes, to restore the animal heat, I am adjourned to 
my study, feeble as a kitten : almost too much so to enjoy the 
cheerful fire and smoking coffee which the servant has prepared 
for my refreshment. 



CHAPTER IV. 

What vain weather-cocks we are ! I, who had determined to 
hold myself independent of all social intercourse, and thanked 
my stars that, at length, I had lighted on a spot where it was 
next to impracticable — I, weak wretch, after maintaining till 
dusk a struggle with low spirits and solitude, was finally com- 
pelled to strike my colours ; and, under pretence of gaining 
information concerning the necessities of my establishment, I 
desired Mrs. Dean, when she brought in supper, to sit down 
while I ate it ; hoping sincerely she would prove a regular gossip, 
and either rouse me to animation or lull me to sleep by her talk. 

"You have lived here a considerable time," I commenced ; 
"did you not say sixteen years?" 

"Eighteen, sir: I came, when the mistress was married, to 
wait on her ; after she died, the master retained me for his 
housekeeper." 

" Indeed." 

There ensued a pause. She was not a gossip, I feared ; 
unless about her own affairs, and those could hardly interest me. 
However, having studied for an interval, with a fist on either 
knee, and a cloud of meditation over her ruddy countenance, 
she ejaculated — 

"Ah, times arc greatly changed since then ! " 

"Yes," I remarked, "you've seen a good many alterations, I 
suppose?" 

" I have : and troubles too," she said. 

"Oh, I'll turn the talk on my landlord's family!" I thought 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 45 

to myself. " A good subject to start ! And that pretty girl- 
widow, I should like to know her history : whether she be a 
native of the country, or, as is more probable, an exotic that the 
surly indigence will not recognise for kin." With this intention 
I asked Airs. Dean why Heathcliff let Thrushcross Grange, and 
preferred living in a situation and residence so much inferior. 
"Is he not rich enough to keep the estate in good order?" I 
inquired. 

"Rich, sir!" she returned. "He has, nobody knows what 
money, and every year it increases. Yes, yes, he's rich enough 
to live in a finer house than this : but he's very near — close- 
handed ; and, if he had meant to flit to Thrushcross Grange, as 
soon as he heard of a good tenant he could not have borne to 
miss the chance of getting a few hundreds more. It is strange 
people should be so greedy, when they are alone in the 
world ! " 

" He had a son, it seems?" 

" Yes, he had one — he is dead." 

"And that young lady, Mrs. Heathchff, is his widow?" 

"Yes." 

' ' Where did she come from originally ? " 

" Why, sir, she is my late master's daughter : Catherine Linton 
was her maiden name. I nursed her, poor thing ! I did wish 
Mr. Heathcliff would remove here, and then we might have been 
together again." 

"What ! Catherine Linton? " I exclaimed, astonished. But 
a minute's reflection convinced me it was not my ghostly 
Catherine. "Then," I continued, " my predecessor's name was 
Linton?" 

" It was." 

' ' And who is that Earnshaw : Hareton Earnshaw, who lives 
with Mr. Heathchff? are they relations?" 

" No ; he is the late Mrs. Linton's nephew." 

" The young lady's cousin, then ?" 
■ "Yes; and her husband was her cousin also: one on the 
mother's, the other on the father's side : Heathcliff married Mr. 
Linton's sister." 

"I see the house at Wuthering Heights has 'Earnshaw' 
carved over the front door. Are they an old family?" 

" Very old, sir ; and Hareton is the last of them, as our Miss 
Cathy is of us— I mean of the Lintons. Have you been to 



46 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Wutherin^ Heights ? I beg pardon for asking ; but I should 
like to hear how she is ! " 

"Mrs. Heathchff ? She looked very well, and very handsome ; 
yet, I think, not very happy." 

"Oh dear, I don't wonder! And how did you like the 
master?" 

"Aroughfeilow,rather, Mrs. Dean. Isnotthat his character?" 

"Rough as a saw-edge, and hard as whinstone ! The less you 
meddle with him the better." 

" He must have had some ups and downs in life to make him 
such a churl. Do you know anything of his history? " 

" It's a cuckoo's, sir — I know ail about it : except where he was 
born, and who were his parents, and how he got his money, at 
first. And Hareton has been cast out like an unfledged dunnock ! 
The unfortunate lad is the only one in all this parisiv-4hat does 
not guess how he has been cheated." 

"Well, Mrs. Dean, it will be a charitable deed to tell me 
something of my neighbours : I feel I shall not rest, if I go to 
bed ; so be good enough to sit and chat an hour." 

"Oh, certainly, sir! I'll just fetch a little sewing, and then 
I'll sit as long as you please. But you've caught cold ; I saw 
you shivering, and you must have some gruel to drive it out." 

The worthy woman bustled off, and I crouched nearer the fire; 
my head felt hot, and the rest of me chill : moreover, I was ex- 
cited, almost to a pitch of foolishness, through my nerves and 
brain. This caused me to feel, not uncomfortable, but rather 
fearful (as I am still) of serious effects from the incidents of to- 
day and yesterday. She returned presently, bringing a smoking 
basin and a basket of work ; and, having placed the former on 
the hob, drew in her seat, evidently pleased to find me so com- 
panionable. 



Before I came to live here, she commenced— waiting no 
farther invitation to her story — I was almost always at Wuthering 
Heights; because my mother had nursed Mr. Hindley Earnshaw, 
that was Hareton's father, and I got used to playing with the 
children : I ran errands too, and helped to make hay, and 
hung about the farm ready for anything that anybody would set 
me to. One fine summer morning — it was the beginning of 
harvest, I remember — Mr. Earnshaw, the old master, came down- 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 47 

Stairs, dressed for a journey; and after he had told Joseph what 
was to be done during the day, he turned to Hindley, and Cathy, 
and me— for I sat eating my porridge with them — and he said, 
speaking to his son, " Now my bonny man, I'm going to Liver- 
pool to-day, w^hat shall I bring you ? You may choose what you 
like : only let it be little, for I shall walk there and back : sixty 
miles each way, that is a long spell 1 " Hindley named a fiddle, 
and then he asked Miss Cathy; she w^as hardly six years old, but 
She could ride any horse in the stable, and she chose a whip. 
He did not forget me ; for he had a kind heart, though he was 
rather severe sometimes. He promised to bring me a pocket- 
ful of apples and pears, and then he kissed his children, said 
good-bye, and set off. 

It seemed a long while to us all — the three days of his absence 
— and often did little Cathy ask when he would be home. Mrs. 
Earnshaw expected him by supper-time on the third evening, 
and she put the meal off hour after hour ; there were no signs of 
his coming, however, and at last the children got tired of running 
down to the gate to look. Then it grew dark ; she would have 
had them to bed, but they begged sadly to be allowed to stay up ; 
and, just about eleven o'clock, the door-latch was raised quietly 
and in stepped the master. He threw himself into a chair, 
laughing and groaning, and bid them all stand off, for he was 
nearly killed — he would not have such another walk for the 
three kingdoms. 

" And at the end of it, to be flighted to death ! " he said, open- 
ing his great-coat, which he held bundled up in his arms. " Sec 
here, wife ! I was never so beaten with anything in my life : but 
you must e'en take it as a gift of God ; though it's as dark 
almost as if it came from the devil."— 

We crowded round, and over Miss Cathy's head, I had a peep 
at a dirty, ragged, black-haired child ; big enough both to walk 
and talk : indeed, its face looked older than Catherine's ; yet, 
Avhen it was set on its feet, it only stared round, and repeated 
over and over again some gibberish, that nobody could under- 
stand. I was frightened, and Mrs. Earnshaw was ready to fling 
it out of doors : she did fly up, asking how he could fashion to 
bring that gipsy brat into the house, when they had their own 
bairns to feed and fend for? What he meant to do with it, and 
whether he were mad ? The master tried to explain the matter ; 
but he was really half dead with fatigue, and all that I could 



48 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

make out, amongst her scolding, was a tale of his seeing it 
starving, and houseless, and as good as dumb, in the streets of 
Liverpool ; where he picked it up and inquired for its owner. 
Not a soul knew to whom it belonged, he said ; and his money 
and time being both limited, he thought it better to take it home 
with him at once, than run into vain expenses there : because he 
was determined he would not leave it as he found it. Well, the 
conclusion was that my mistress grumbled herself calm ; and 
Mr. Earnshaw told me to wash it, and give it clean things, and 
let it sleep with the children. 

Hindley and Cathy contented themselves with looking and 
listening till peace was restored : then, both began searching 
their father's pockets for the presents he had promised them. 
The former was a boy of fourteen, but when he drew out what 
had been a fiddle crushed to morsels in the great-coat, he 
blubbered aloud ; and Cathy, when she learned the master had 
lost her whip in attending on the stranger, showed her humour 
by grinning and spitting at the stupid little thing ; earning for 
her pains a sound blow from her father to teach her cleaner 
manners. They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or 
even in their room ; and I had no more sense, so I put it on the 
landing of the stairs, hoping it might be gone on the morrow. 
By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. 
Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. 
Inquiries were made as to how it got there ; I was obliged to 
confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity 
was sent out of the house. 

This was Heathcliffs first introduction to the family. On 
coming back a few days afterwards (for I did not consider my 
banishment perpetual) I found they had christened him " Heath- 
cliff: " it was the name of a son who died in childhood, and it 
has served him ever since, both for Christian and surname. Miss 
Cathy and he were now very thick ; but Hindley hated him ! and 
to say the truth I did the same ; and we plagued and went on 
with him shamefully : for I wasn't reasonable enough to feel my 
injustice, and the mistress never put in a word on his behalf 
when she saw him wronged. 

He seemed a sullen, patient child ; hardened, perhaps, to ill- 
treatment : he would stand Hindley's blows without winking or 
.shedding a tear, and my pinches moved him only to draw in a 
breath and open his eyes, as if he had hurt himself by accident 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 49 

and nobody was to blame. This endurance made old Earnshaw 
furious, when he discovered his son persecuting the poor, father- 
less child, as he called him. He took to Heathcliff strangely, 
believing all he said (for that matter, he said precious little, and 
generally the truth); and petting him up far above Cathy, who 
was too mischievous and wayward for a favourite. 

So, from the very beginning, he bred bad feeling in the house ; 
and at Mrs. Earnshaw's death, which happened in less than two 
years after, the young master had learned to regard his father 
as an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper 
of his parent's affections and his privileges ; and he grew bitter 
with brooding over these injuries. I sympathised a while ; but 
when the children fell ill of the measles, and I had to tend them, 
and take on me the cares of a woman at once, I changed my 
ideas. Heathcliff was dangerously sick : and while he lay at the 
worst he would have me constantly by his pillow : I suppose he 
felt I did a good deal for him, and he hadn't wit to guess that 
I was compelled to do it. However, I will say this, he was the 
quietest child that ever nurse watched over. The difference 
between him and the others forced me to be less partial. Cathy 
and her brother harassed me terribly : he was as uncomplaining 
as a lamb ; though hardness, not gentleness, made him give 
little trouble. 

He got through, and the doctor affirmed it was in a great 
measure owing to me, and praised me for my care. I was vain 
of his commendations, and softened towards the being by whose 
means I earned them, and thus Hindley lost his last ally : still 
I couldn't dote on Heathcliff, and I wondered often what my 
master saw to admire so much in the sullen boy, who never, to 
my recollection, repaid his indulgence by any sign of gratitude. 
He was not insolent to his benefactor, he was simply insensible ; 
though knowing perfectly the hold he had on his heart, and 
conscious he had only to speak and all the house would be 
obliged to bend to his wishes. As an instance, I remember Mr. 
Earnshaw once bought a couple of colts at the parish fair, and 
gave the lads each one. Heathcliff took the handsomest, but it 
soon fell lame, and when he discovered it, he said to Hindley — 

" You must exchange horses with me : I don't like mine ; and 
if you won't I shall tell your father of the three thrashings you've 
given me this week, and show him my arm, which is black to 
the shoulder." Hindley put out his tongue and cuffed him over 



50 WUTHERINCx HEIGHTS. 

the ears. "You'd better do it at once," he persisted, escaping; 
to the porch (they were in the stable) : " you will have to ; and 
if I speak of these blows, you'll get them again with interest." 
"Off, dog!" cried Hindley, threatening him with an iron 
weight used for weighing potatoes and hay. "Throw it," he 
replied, standing still, " and then I'll tell how you boasted that 
you would turn me out of doors as soon as he died, and see 
whether he will not turn you out directly." Hindley threw it,' 
hitting him on the breast, and down he fell, but staggered up 
immediately, breathless and white ; and, had not I prevented 
it, he would have gone just so to the master, and got full 
revenge by letting his condition plead for him, intimating who 
had caused it. "Take my colt, gipsy, then ! " said young Earn- 
shaw. "And I pray that he may break your neck : take him, 
and be damned, you beggarly interloper ! and wheedle my father 
out of all he has : only afterwards show him what you are, imp 
of Satan. — And take that, I hope he'll kick out your brains ! " 

Heathchff had gone to loose the beast, and shift it to his own 
stall ; he was passing behind it, when Hindley finished his 
speech by knocking him under its feet, and without stopping to 
examine whether his hopes were fulfilled, ran away as fast as 
he could. I was surprised to witness how coolly the child 
gathered himself up, and went on with his intention ; exchanging 
saddles and all, and then sitting down on a bundle of hay to 
overcome the qualm which the violent blow occasioned, before 
he entered the house. I persuaded him easily to let me lay the 
blame of his bruises on the horse : he minded little what tale 
was told since he had what he wanted. He complained so 
seldom, indeed, of such stirs as these, that I really thought him 
not vindictive : I was deceived completely, as you will hear. 



CHAPTER V. 

In the course of time, Mr, Earnshaw began to fail. He had 
been active and healthy, yet his strength left him suddenly ; and 
when he was confined to the chimney-corner he grew grievously 
irritable. A nothing vexed him ; and suspected slights of his 
authority nearly threw him into fits. This was especially to be 
remarked if any one attempted to impose upon, or domineer 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 5 1 

over, his favourite : he was painfully jealous lest a word should 
be spoken amiss to him ; seeming to have got into his head the 
notion that, because he liked Heathcliff, all hated, and longed to 
do him an ill turn. It was a disadvantage to the lad ; for the 
kinder among us did not wish to fret the master, so we humoured 
his partiality ; and that humouring was rich nourishment to the 
child's pride and black tempers. Still it became in a manner 
necessary; twice, or thrice, Hindley's manifestation of scorn, 
while his father was near, roused the old man to a fury : he seized 
his stick to strike him, and shook with rage that he could not do it. 

At last, our curate (we had a curate then who made the 
living answer by teaching the little Lintons and Earnshaws, 
and farming his bit of land himself) advised that the young 
man should be sent to college ; and Mr. Earnshaw agreed^ 
though with a heavy spirit, for he said — " Hindley was nought^ 
and would never thrive as where he wandered." 

I hoped heartily we should have peace now. It hurt me to 
think the master should be made uncomfortable by his own 
good deed. I fancied the discontent of age and disease arose 
from his family disagreements : as he would have it that it did : 
really, you know, sir, it was in his sinking frame. We might 
have got on tolerably, notwithstanding, but for two people. 
Miss Cathy and Joseph, the servant : you saw him, I dare say, 
up yonder. He was, and is yet most likely, the wearisomest 
self-righteous pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake the 
promises to himself and fling the curses to his neighbours. By 
his knack of sermonising and pious discoursing, he contrived ta 
make a great impression on Mr. Earnshaw ; and the more 
feeble the master became, the more influence he gained. He 
was relentless in worrying him about his soul's concerns, and 
about ruling his children rigidly. He encouraged him to regard 
Hindley as a reprobate ; and, night after night, he regularly 
grumbled out a long string of tales against Heathcliff and 
Catherine : alway minding to flatter Earnshaw's weakness by 
heaping the heaviest blame on the latter. 

Certainly, she had ways with her such as I never saw a child 
take up before ; and she put all of us past our patience fifty times 
and ofter^er in a day : from the hour she came downstairs till 
the hour she went to bed, we had not a minute's security that 
she wouldn't be in mischief. Her spirits were always at high- 
water mark, her tongue always going — singing, laughing, and 



52 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

plaguing everybody who would not do the same. A wild, wicked 
slip she was — but she had the bonniest eye, the sweetest smile, 
and hghtest foot in the parish : and, after all, I believe she meant 
no harm ; for when once she made you cry in good earnest, it 
seldom happened that she would not keep you company, and 
oblige you to be quiet that you might comfort her. She was ' 
much too fond of Heathcliff. The greatest punishment we could 
invent for her was to keep her separate from him : yet she got 
chided more than any of us on his account. In play, she liked 
exceedingly to act the little mistress ; using her hands freely, and 
commanding her companions : she did so to me, but I would not 
bear shopping and ordering ; and so I let her know. 

Now, Mr. Earnshaw did not understand jokes from his 
children : he had always been strict and grave with them ; and 
Catherine, on her part, had no idea why her father should be 
Grosser and less patient in his ailing condition, than he was in 
his prime. His peevish reproofs wakened in her a naughty 
delight to provoke him : she was never so happy as when we 
were all scolding her at once, and she defying us with her bold, 
saucy look, and her ready words ; turning Joseph's religious 
curses into ridicule, baiting me, and doing just what her father 
hated most — showing how her pretended insolence, which he 
thought real, had more power over Heathcliff than his kindness : 
how the boy would do her bidding in anything, and his only 
when it suited his own inchnation. After behaving as badly as 
possible all day, she sometimes came fondling to make it up at 
night. " Nay, Cathy," the old man would say, '' I cannot love 
thee ; thou'rt worse than thy brother. Go, say thy prayers, child, 
and ask God's pardon. I doubt thy mother and I must rue that 
we ever reared thee ! " That made her cry, at first : and then 
being repulsed continually hardened her, and she laughed if I told 
her to say she was sorry for her faults, and beg to be forgiven. 

But the hour came, at last, that ended Mr. Earnshaw's troubles 
on earth. He died quietly in his chair one October evening, 
seated by the fireside. A high wind blustered round the house, 
and roared in the chimney : it sounded wild and stormy, yet it 
was not cold, and we were all together — I, a little removed from 
the hearth, busy at my knitting/an d Joseph reading his Bible 
near the table (for the servants gfenefally sat liT^the house then, 
after their work was done). Miss Cathy had been sick, and that 
made her still ; she leant against her father s knee, and Heathcliff 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 55 

was lying on the floor with his head in her lap. I remember the 
master, before he fell into a doze, stroking her bonny hair — it 
pleased him rarely to see her gentle — and saying — " Why canst 
thou not always be a good lass, Cathy?" And she turned her 
face up to his, and laughed, and answered, " Why cannot you 
always be a good man, father?" But as soon as she saw him 
vexed again, she kissed his hand, and said she would sing him 
to sleep. She began singing very low, till his fingers dropped 
' from hers, and his head sank on his breast. Then I told her to 
hush, and no^tir, for fear she should wake him. We all kept as 
mute as mice a full half-hour, and should have done so longer, 
only Joseph, having finished his chapter, got up and said that 
he must rouse the master for prayers and bed. He stepped 
forward, and called him by name, and touched his shoulder ; 
but he would not move, so he took the candle and looked at him. 
I thought there was something wrong as he set down the light ; 
and seizing the children each by an arm, whispered them to 
"frame upstairs, and make little din — they might pray alone 
that evening — he had summut to do." 

"I shall bid father good-night first," said Catherine, putting 
her arms round his neck, before we could hinder her. The poor 
thing discovered her loss directly — she screamed out — "Oh, 
he's dead, Heathcliff ! he's dead ! " And they both set up a 
heart-breaking cry. 

I joined my wail to theirs, loud and bitter ; but Joseph asked 
what we could be thinking of to roar in that way over a saint in 
heaven. He told me to put on my cloak and run to Gimmerton 
for the doctor and the parson. I could not guess the use that 
either would be of, then. However, I went, through wind and 
rain, and brought one, the doctor, back with me ; the other said 
he would come in the morning. Leaving Joseph to explain 
matters ; I ran to the children's room : their door was ajar, I 
saw they had never laid down, though it was past midnight ; 
but they were calmer, and did not need me to console them. 
The little souls were comforting each other with better thoughts 
than I could have hit on : no parson in the world ever pictured 
heaven so beautifully as they did, in their innocertt talk : and, 
while I sobbed and listened, I could not help wishing we were 
all there safe tosrether. 



54 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 



CHAPTER VI. 



]\Ir. Hindley came home to the fmieral ; and — a thing that 
amazed us, and set the neighbours gossiping right and left— he 
brought a wi/e with him. What she was, and where she was 
born, he never informed us : probably she had neither money 
nor name to recommend her, or he would scarcely have kept 
the union from his father. 

She Avas not one that would have disturbed the house much 
on her own account. Every object she saw, the moment she 
crossed the threshold, appeared to delight her ; and every cir- 
cumstance that took place about her : except the preparing for 
the burial, and the presence of the mourners. I thought she 
was half silly, from her behaviour while that went on : she ran 
into her chamber, and made me come with her, though I should 
have been dressing the children ; and there she sat shivering and 
clasping her hands, and asking repeatedly — "Are they gone 
yet?" Then she began describing with hysterical emotion the 
effect it produced on her to see black ; and started, and trembled, 
and, at last, fell a-weeping — and when I asked what was the 
matter? answered, she didn't know ; but she felt so afraid of 
dying ! I imagined her as little likely to die as myself. She . 
was rather thin, but young, and fresh-complexioned, and her 
eyes sparkled as bright as diamonds. I did remark, to be sure, 
that mounting the stairs made her breathe very quick : that the 
least sudden noise set her all in a quiver, and that she coughed 
troublesomely sometimes : but I knew nothing of what these 
symptoms portended, and had no impulse to sympathise with 
her. We don't in general take to foreigners here, jMr. Lock- 
wood, unless they take to us first. 

Young Earnshaw was altered considerably in the three years 
of his absence. He had grown sparer, and lost his colour, and 
spoke and dressed quite differently ; and, on the very day of his 
return, he told Joseph and me we must thenceforth quarter our- 
selves in the back-kitchen, and leave the house for him. Indeed, 
he would have carpeted and papered a small spare room for a 
parlour ; but his wife expressed such pleasure at the white floor 
and huge glowing fire-place, at the pewter dishes and delf-case, 
and dog-kennel, and the wide space there was to move about 
in where they usually sat, that he thought it unnecessary to her 
comfort, and so dropped the intention. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 55 

She expressed pleasure, too, at finding a sister among her new 
acquaintance ; and she prattled to Catherine, and kissed her, 
and ran about with her, and gave her quantities of presents, 
at the beginning. Her affection tired very soon, however, and 
when she grew peevish, Hindley became tyrannical. A few 
words from her, evincing a dislike to Heathcliff, were enough 
to rouse in him all his old hatred of the boy. He drove him 
from their company to the servants, deprived him of the instruc- 
tions of the curate, and insisted that he should labour out of 
doors instead ; compelling him to do so as hard as any other 
lad on the farm. 

Heathcliff bore his degradation pretty well at first, because 
Cathy taught him what she learnt, and worked or played with 
him in the fields. They both promised fair to grow up as rude 
as savages ; the young master being entirely negligent how they 
behaved, and what they did, so they kept clear of him. He 
would not even have seen after their going to church on Sundays, 
only Joseph and the curate reprimanded his carelessness when 
they absented themselves ; and that reminded him to order 
Heathchff a flogging, and Catherine a fast from dinner or supper. 
But it was one of their chief amusements to run away to the moors 
in the morning and remain there all day, and the after punish- 
ment grew a mere thing to laugh at. The curate might set as 
many chapters as he pleased for Catherine to get by heart, and 
Joseph might thrash Heathcliff till his arm ached ; they forgot 
everything the minute they were together again : at least the 
minute they had contrived some naughty plan of revenge ; and 
maoy a time I've cried to myself to watch them growing more 
reckless daily, and I not daring to speak a syllable, for fear of 
losing the small power I still retained over the unfriended creatures. 
One Sunday evening, it chanced that they were banished from 
the sitting-room, for making a noise, or a light offence of the 
kind ; and when I went to call them to supper, I could discover 
them nowhere. We searched the house, above and below, and 
the yard and stables ; they were invisible : and at last, Hindley in a 
passion told us to bolt the doors, and swore nobody should let them 
in that night. The household went to bed ; and I, toolinxious to 
lie down, opened my lattice and put my head out to hearken, 
though it rained : determined to admit them in spite of the pro- 
hibition, should they return. In a while, I distinguished steps 
coming up the road, and the light of a lantern glimmered through 



56 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

the gate. I threw a shawl over my head and ran to prevent thera 
from waking Mr. Earnshaw by knocking. There was Heathchff, 
by himself : it gave me a start to see him alone. 

' ' Where is Miss Catherine ? " I cried hurriedly. " No accident, 
I hope?" "At Thrushcross Grange," he answered; "and I 
would have been there too, but they had not the manners to ask 
me to stay." " Well, you will catch it ! " I said : "you'll never 
be content till you're sent about your business. What in the 
world led you wandering to Tlirushcross Grange?' " Let me 
get off my wet clothes, and I'll tell you all about it, Nelly," he 
replied. I bid him beware of rousing the master, and while he 
undressed and I waited to put out the candle, he continued — 
"Cathy and I escaped from the wash-house to have a ramble at 
liberty, and getting a glimpse of the Grange lights, we thought 
we would just go and see whether the Lintons passed their 
Sunday evenings standing shivering in corners, while their father 
and mother sat eating and drinking, and singing and laughing, 
and burning their eyes out before the fire. Do you think they 
do ? Or reading sermons, and being catechised by their man- 
servant, and set to learn a column of Scripture names, if they 
don't answer properly? " " Probably not," I responded. "They 
are good children, no doubt, and don't deserve the treatment 
you receive, for your bad conduct." "Don't cant, Nelly," he 
said : "nonsense ! We ran from the top of the Heights to the 
park, without stopping — Catherine completely beaten in the race, 
because she was barefoot. You'll have to seek for her shoes in 
the bog to-morrow. We crept through a broken hedge, groped 
our way up the path, and planted ourselves on a flower-plot under 
the drawing-room window. The light came from thence ; they 
had not put up the shutters, and the curtains were only half closed. 
Both of us were able to look in by standing on the basement, and 
clinging to the ledge, and we saw — ah ! it was beautiful — a 
splendid place carpeted with crimson, and crimson-covered chairs 
and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower 
of glass-drops hanging in silver chains from the centre, and 
shimmering with little soft tapers. Old Mr. and Mrs. Linton 
were not there ; Edgar and his sister had it entirely to themselves. 
Shouldn't they have been happy ? We should have thought our- 
selves in heaven ! And now, guess what your good children were 
doing? Isabella — I believe she is eleven, a year younger than 
Cathy — lay screaming at the farther end of the room, shrieking 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 57 

as if witches were running red-hot needles into her. Edgar stood 
on the hearth weeping silently, and in the middle of the table 
sat a httle dog, shaking its paw and yelping ; which, from their 
mutual accusations, we understood they had nearly pulled in two 
between them. The idiots ! That was their pleasure ! to quarrel 
who should hold a heap of w^arm hair, and each begin to cry 
because both, after struggling to get it, refused to take it. We 
laughed outright at the petted things ; we did despise them ! 
When would you catch me wishing to have what Catherine 
wanted ? or find us by ourselves, seeking entertainment in yelling, 
and sobbing, and rolling on the ground, divided by the whole 
room? I'd not exchange, for a thousand lives, my condition 
here, for Edgar Linton's at Thrushcross Grange — not if I might 
have the privilege of flinging Joseph off the highest gable, and 
painting the house-front with Hindley's blood ! " 

" Hush, hush ! " I interrupted. " Still you have not told me, 
Heathcliff, how Catherine is left behind?" 

" I told you w^e laughed," he answered. " The Lintons heard 
us, and with one accord, they shot hke arrows to the door ; there 
was silence, and then a cry, ' Oh, mamma, mamma ! Oh, papa ! 
Oh, mamma, come here. Oh, papa, oh ! ' They really did 
howl out something in that way. We made frightful noises to 
terrify them still more, and then we dropped off the ledge, 
because somebody was drawing the bars, and we felt we had 
better flee. I had Cathy by the hand, and was urging her on, 
W'hen all at once she fell down. ' Run, Heathcliff, run ! ' she 
whispered. ' They have let the bull-dog loose, and he holds me ! ' 
The devil had seized her ankle, Nelly : I heard his abominable 
snorting. She did not yell out— no ! she would have scorned to 
do it, if she had been spitted on the horns of a mad cow. I did, 
though : I vociferated curses enough to annihilate any fiend in 
Christendom ; and I got a stone and thrust it between his jaws, 
and tried with all my might to cram it down his throat. A beast of 
a servant came up with a lantern, at last, shouting — ' Keep fast. 
Skulker, keep fast ! ' He changed his note, however, when he 
saw Skulker's game. The dog was throttled off; his huge, 
purple tongue hanging half a foot out of his moutlr, and his 
pendent lips streaming with bloody slaver. The man took 
Cathy up : she was sick : not from fear, I'm certain, but from 
pain. He carried her in ; I followed, grumbling execrations and 
vengeance. ' What prey, Robert ? ' hallooed Linton from the 



58 V/UTHERING HEIGHTS. 

entrance. 'Skulker has caught a Httle girl, sir,' he replied; 
' and there's a lad here,' he added, making a clutch at me, ' who 
looks an out-and-outer ! Very like, the robbers were for putting 
them through the window to open the doors to the gang after all 
were asleep, that they might murder us at their ease. Hold 
your tongue, you foul-mouthed thief, you 1 you shall go to the 
gallows for this. Mr. Linton, sir, don't lay by your gun.' ' No, 
no, Robert,' said the old fool. ' The rascals knew that yesterday 
was my rent-day : they thought to have me cleverly. Come in ; 
I'll furnish them a reception. There, John, fasten the chain. 
Give Skulker some water, Jenny. To beard a magistrate in his 
stronghold, and on the Sabbath, too ! Where will their insolence 
stop? Oh, my dear Mary, look here! Don't be afraid, it is 
but a boy — yet the villain scowls so plainly in his face ; would 
it not be a kindness to the country to hang him at once, before 
he shows his nature in acts as well as features?' He pulled me 
under the chandelier, and Mrs, Linton placed her spectacles on 
her nose and raised her hands in horror. The cowardly children 
crept nearer also, Isabella lisping — ' Frightful thing ! Put him 
in the cellar, papa. He's exactly hke the son of the fortune- 
teller that stole my tame pheasant. Isn't he, Edgar?' 

" While they examined me, Cathy came round ; she heard the 
last speech, and laughed. Edgar Linton, after an inquisitive 
stare, collected sufficient wit to recognise her. They see us at 
church, you know, though we seldom meet them elsewhere. 
' That's Miss Earnshaw ! ' he whispered to his mother, ' and 
look how Skulker has bitten her — how her foot bleeds ! ' 

"'Miss Earnshaw? Nonsense!' cried the dame; 'Miss 
Earnshaw scouring the country with a gipsy ! And yet, my 
dear, the child is in mourning — surely it is — and she may be 
lamed for life ! ' 

"'What culpable carelessness in her brother!' exclaimed 
Mr. Linton, turning from me to Catherine. ' I've understood 
from Shielders'" (that was the curate, sir) "'that he lets her, 
grow up in absolute heathenism. But who is this? Where did 
she pick up this companion ? Oho ! I declare he is that strange 
acquisition my late neighbour made, in his journey to Liverpool 
' — a little Lascar, or an American or Spanish castaway.' 

" 'A wicked boy, at all events,' remarked the old lady, ' and 
quite unfit for a decent house ! Did you notice his language, 
Linton? I'm shocked that my children should have heard it.' 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 59 

" I recommenced cursing — don't be angry, Nelly — and so 
Robert was ordered to take me off. I refused to go without 
Cathy ; he dragged me into the garden, pushed the lantern into 
my hand, assured me that Mr. Earnshaw should be informed of 
my behaviour, and, bidding me march directly, secured the 
door again. The curtains were still looped up at one corner, 
and I resumed my station as spy ; because, if Catherine had 
wished to return, I intended shattering their great glass panes to 
a million of fragments, unless they let her out. She sat on the 
sofa quietly. Mrs. Linton took off the grey cloak of the dairy- 
maid which we had borrowed for our excursion, shaking her 
head and expostulating with her, I suppose : she was a young 
lady, and they made a distinction between her treatment and 
mine. Then the woman-servant brought a basin of warm water, 
and washed her feet ; and Mr. Linton mixed a tumbler of negus, 
and Isabella emptied a plateful of cakes into her lap, and Edgar 
stood gaping at a distance. Afterwards, they dried and combed 
her beautiful hair, and gave her a pair of enormous slippers, and 
wheeled her to the fire ; and I left her, as merry as she could be, 
dividing her food between the little dog and Skulker, whose nose 
she pinched as he ate ; and kindling a spark of spirit in the 
vacant blue eyes of the Lintons — a dim reflection from her own 
enchanting face. I saw they were full of stupid admiration ; 
she is so immeasurably superior to them — to everybody on earth, 
is she not, Nelly?" 

"There will more come of this business than you reckon on." I 
^answered, covering him up and extinguishing the light. "You 
are incurable, Heathcliff ; and Mr. Hindley will have to proceed 
to extremities, see if he won't." My words came truer than I 
desired. The luckless adventure made Earnshaw furious. And 
then Mr. Linton, to mend manners, paid us a visit himself on 
the morrow ; and read the young master such a lecture on the 
road he guided his family, that he was stirred to look about him , 
in earnest. Heathcliff received no flogging, but he was told that 
tl>e first word he spoke to ISIiss Catherine should ensure a dis- 
missal ; and Mrs. Earnshaw undertook to keep her sister-in-law 
in due restraint when she returned home; employing --art, not 
force : with force she would have found it impossible. 



60 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 



CHAPTER VII. 



Cathy stayed at Thrushcross Grange five weeks : till Christmas. 
By that time her ankle was thoroughly cured, and her manners 
much improved. The mistress visited her often in the interval, 
and commenced her plan of reform by trying to raise her self- 
respect with fine clothes and flattery, which she took readily ; so 
that, instead of a wild, hatless little savage jumping into the 
house, and rushing to squeeze us all breathless, there 'lighted 
from a handsome black pony a very dignified person, with brown 
ringlets falling from the cover of a feathered beaver, and a long 
cloth habit, which she was obliged to hold up with both hands 
that she might sail in. Hindley lifted her from her horse, ex- 
claiming delightedly, " Why, Cathy, you are quite a beauty ! I 
should scarcely have known you : you look like a lady now. 
Isabella Linton is not to be compared with her, is she, Frances ? " 
"Isabella has not her natural advantages," replied his wife: 
" but she must mind and not grow wild again here. Ellen, help 
Miss Catherine off with her things — Stay, dear, you will dis- 
arrrange your curls — let me untie your hat." 

I removed the habit, and there shone forth beneath, a grand 
plaid silk frock, white trousers, and burnished shoes ; and, while 
her eyes sparkled joyfully when the dogs came bounding up to 
welcome her, she dare hardly touch them lest they should fawn 
upon her splendid garments. She kissed me gently : I was all 
flour making the Christmas cake, and it would not have done 
to give me a hug ; and, then, she looked round for Heathcliff. 
Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw watched anxiously their meeting ; think- 
ing it would enable them to judge, in some measure, what grounds 
they had for hoping to succeed in separating the two friends. 

Heathcliff was hard to discover, at first. If he were careless, 
and uncared for, before Catherine's absence, he had been ten 
times more so, since. Nobody but I even did him the kindness 
to call him a dirty boy, and bid him wash himself, once a week ; 
and children of his age seldom have a natural pleasure in soap 
and water. Therefore, not to mention his clothes, which had 
seen three months' service in mire and dust, and his thick im- 
comhjed hair, the surface of his face and hands was dismally 
beclouded. He might well skulk behind the settle, on beholding 
such a bright, graceful damsel enter the house, instead of a rougli- 
headed counterpart of himself, as he expected. " Is Heathcliff 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 6 1 

not here?" she demanded, pulling off her gloves, and displaying 
fingers wonderfully whitened with doing nothing and staying 
indoors. 

" Heathcliff, you may come forward," cried Mr. Hindley, 
enjoying his discomfiture, and gratified to see what a forbidding 
young blackguard he would be compelled to present himself. 
"You may come and wish Miss Catherine welcome, like the 
other servants." 

Cathy, catching a glimpse of her friend in his concealment, 
flew to embrace him ; she bestowed seven or eight kisses on his 
cheek within the second, and then stopped, and drawing back, 
burst into a laugh, exclaiming, "Why, how very black and 
cross you look ! and how — how funny and grim ! But that's 
because I'm used to Edgar and Isabella Linton. Well, Heath- 
cliff, have you forgotten me?" 

She had some reason to put the question, for shame and 
pride threw double gloom over his countenance, and kept him 
immovable. 

"Shake hands, Heathcliff," said Mr. Earnshaw, condescend- 
ingly ; " once in a way, that is permitted." 

" I shall not," replied the boy, finding his tongue at last ; " I 
shall not stand to be laughed at. I shall not bear it ! " 

And he would have broken from the circle, but Miss Cathy 
seized him again. 

" I did not mean to laugh at you," she said ; " I could not 
hinder myself: Heathcliff, shake hands at least ! What are you 
sulky for? It was only that you looked odd. If you wash your 
face and brush your hair it will be all right : but you are so dirty ! '\ 

She gazed concernedly at the dusky fingers she held in her 
own, and also at her dress ; which she feared had gained no 
embellishment from its contact with his. 

"You needn't have touched me!" he answered, following 
her eye and snatching away his hand. ' ' I shall be as dirty as 
I please : and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty." 

With that he dashed head foremost out of thc'room, amid the 
merriment of the master and mistress, and to the serious disturb- 
ance of Catherine ; who could not comprehend how her^remarks 
should have produced such an exhibition of bad temper. 

After playing lady's-maid to the new-comer, and putting my 
cakes in the oven, and making the house and kitchen cheerful 
with great fires, befitting Christmas eve, I prepared to sit down 



62 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

and amuse myself by singing carols, all alone ; regardless of 
Joseph's affirmations that he considered the merry tunes I chose 
as next door to songs. He had retired to private prayer in his 
chamber, and Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw were engaging Missy's 
attention by sundry gay trifles bought for her to present to the 
little Lintons, as an acknowledgment of their kindness. They 
had invited them to spend the morrow at Wuthering Heights, 
and the invitation had been accepted, on one condition : Mrs. 
Linton begged that her darlings might be kept carefully apart 
from that " naughty swearing boy." 

Under these circumstances I remained solitary. I smelt the 
rich scent of the heating spices ; and admired the shining kitchen 
utensils, the polished clock, decked in holly, the silver mugs 
ranged on a tray ready to be filled with mulled ale for supper ; 
and above all, the speckless purity of my particular care — the 
scoured and well-swept floor. I gave due inward applause to 
every object, and then I remembered how old Earnshaw used 
to come in when all was tidied, and call me a cant lass, and shp 
a shilling into my hand as a Christmas-box ; and from that I 
went on to think of his fondness for Heathcliff, and his dread 
lest he should suffer neglect after death had removed him ; and 
that naturally led me to consider the poor lad's situation now, 
and from singing I changed my mind to crying. It struck me 
soon, however, there would be more sense in endeavouring to 
repair some of his wrongs than shedding tears over them : I got 
up and walked into the court to seek him. He was not far ; I 
found him smoothing the glossy coat of the new pony in the 
stable, and feeding the other beasts, according to custom. 

"Make haste, Heathcliff!" I said, "the kitchen is so com- 
fortable ; and Joseph is upstairs : make haste, and let me dress 
you smart before Miss Cathy comes out, and then you can sit 
together, with the whole hearth to yourselves, and have a long 
chatter till bedtime." 

He proceeded with his task and never turned his head 
towards me. 

"Come — are you coming?" I continued. "There's a little 
cake for each of you, nearly enough ; and you'll need half-an- 
hour's donning." 

I waited five minutes, but getting no answer left him. 
Catherine supped with her brother and sister-in-law: Joseph 
and I joined at an unsociable meal, seasoned with reproofs on 



WUTHERIXG HEIGHTS. 63 

one side and sauciness on the other. His cake and cheese re- 
mained on the table all night for the fairies. He managed to 
continue work till nine o'clock, and then marched dumb and 
dour to his chamber. Cathy sat up late, having a world of 
things to order for the reception of her new friends : she came 
into the kitchen once to speak to her old one ; but he was gone, 
and she only stayed to ask what was the matter with him, and then 
went back. In the morning he rose early ; and as it was a holiday 
carried his ill-humour on to the moors ; not re-appearing till the 
family were departed for church. Fasting and reflection seemed 
to have brought him to a better spirit. He hung about me for a 
while, and having screwed up his courage, exclaimed abruptly — 

" Nelly, make me decent, I'm going to be good." 

"High time, Heathcliff," I said; " you /z^iz'^ grieved Catherine: 
she's sorry she ever came home, I dare say ! It looks as if you 
envied her, because she is more thought of than you." 

The notion oi envying Catherine was incomprehensible to him, 
but the notion of grieving her he understood clearly enough. 

"Did she say she was grieved?" he inquired, looking very 
serious. 

" She cried when I told her you were off again this morning." 

"Well, / cried last night," he returned, "and I had more 
reason to cry than she." 

" Yes : you had the reason of going to bed with a proud heart 
and an empty stomach," said I. " Proud people breed sad 
sorrows for themselves. But, if you be ashamed of your touchi- 
ness, you must ask pardon, mind, when she comes in. You 
must go up and offer to kiss her, and say — you know best what 
to say ; only do it heartily, and not as if you thought her con- 
verted into a stranger by her grand dressx And now, though I 
have dinner to get ready, I'll steal time to arrange you so that 
Edgar Linton shall look quite a doll beside you : and that he 
does. You are younger, and yet, I'll be bound, you are taller 
and twnce as broad across the shoulders : you could knock him 
■down in a twinkling? don't you feel that you could?" 

Heathcliff's face brightened a moment ; then it was overcast 
afresh, and he sighed. 

"But, Nelly, if I knocked him down twenty times, that 
wouldn't make him less handsome or me more so. I wish I had 
light hair and a fair skin, and was dressed and behaved as well, 
and had a chance of being as rich as he will be ! " 



64 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"And cried for mamma at every turn," I added, " and trem- 
bled if a country lad heaved his fist against you, and sat at 
home all day for a shower of rain. Oh, Heathcliff, you are 
showing a poor spirit ! Come to the glass, and I'll let you see 
what you should wish. Do you mark those two lines between 
your eyes ; and those thick brows, that instead of rising arched, 
sink in the middle ; and that couple of black fiends, so deeply 
buried, who never open their windows boldly, but lurk glinting 
under them, like devil's spies? Wish and learn to smooth away 
the surly wrinkles, to raise your lids frankly, and change the 
fiends to confident, innocent angels, suspecting and doubting 
nothing, and always seeing friends where they are not sure of 
foes. Don't get the expression of a vicious cur that appears to 
know the kicks it gets are its desert, and yet hates all the world 
as well as the kicker, for what it suffers." 

" In other words, I must wish for Edgar Linton's great blue 
eyes and even forehead," he replied. "I do — and that won't 
help me to them." 

"A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad," I con- 
tinued, " if you were a regular black ; and a bad one will turn 
the bonniest into something worse than ugly. And now that 
we've done washing, and combing, and sulking — tell me whether 
you don't think yourself rather handsome? I'll tell you, I do. 
You're fit for a prince in disguise. Who knows but your father 
was Emperor of China, and your mother an Indian queen, each 
of them able to buy up, with one week's income, Wuthering 
Heights and Thrushcross Grange together? And you were 
kidnapped by wicked sailors and brought to England. Were I 
in your place, I would frame high notions of my birth ; and the 
thoughts of what I was should give me courage and dignity to 
support the oppressions of a little farmer 1 " 

So I chattered on ; and Heathcliff gradually lost his frown 
and began to look quite pleasant, when all at once our conver- 
sation was interrupted by a rumbling sound moving up the road 
and entering the court. He ran to the window and I to the- 
door, just in time to behold the two Lintons descend from the 
family carriage, smothered in cloaks and furs, and the Earnshaws- 
dismount from their horses : they often rode to church in winter. 
Catherine took a hand of each of the children, and brought them 
into the house and set them before the fire, which quickly put. 
colour into their white faces. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 6) 

I urged my companion to hasten now and show his amiable 
humour, and he willingly obeyed ; but ill luck would have it that, 
as he opened the door leading from the kitchen on one side, 
Hindley opened it on the other. They met, and the master, 
irritated at seeing him clean and cheerful ; or, perhaps, eager to 
keep his promise to Mrs. Linton, shoved him back with a sudden 
thrust, and angrily bade Joseph "keep the fellow out of the 
room — send him into the garret till dinner is over. He'll be 
cramming his fingers in the tarts and stealing the fruit, if left 
alone with them a minute." 

" Nay, sir," I could not avoid answering, " he'll touch nothing, 
not he : and I suppose he must have his share of the dainties as 
well as we." 

" He shall have his share of my hand, if I catch him down- 
stairs till dark," cried Hindley. "Begone, you vagabond! 
What! you are attempting the coxcomb, are you? Wait tiQ 
I get hold of those elegant locks — see if I won't pull them a 
bit longer." 

" They are long enough already," observed Master Linton, 
peeping from the doorway ; "I wonder they don't make his head 
ache. It's like a colt's mane over his eyes 1 " 

He ventured this remark without any intention to insult ; but 
Heathcliffs violent nature was not prepared to endure the 
appearance of impertinence from one whom he seemed to hate, 
even then, as a rival. He seized a tureen of hot apple sauce (the 
first thing that came under his gripe) and dashed it full against 
the speaker's face and neck ; who instantly commenced a lament 
that brought Isabella and Catherine hurrying to the place. Mr. 
Earnshaw snatched up the culprit directly and conveyed him to 
his chamber ; where, doubtless, he administered a rough remedy 
to cool the fit of passion, for he appeared red and breathless. I 
got the dish-cloth, and rather spitefully scrubbed Edgar's nose 
and mouth, affirming it served him right for meddling. His 
sister began weeping to go home, and Cathy stood by con- 
founded, blushing for all. 

" You should not have spoken to him I " she expostulated with 
Master Linton. "He was in a bad temper, and now you've 
spoilt your visit ; and he'll be flogged : I hate him to be flogged ! 
I can't eat my dinner. Why did you speak to him, Edgar? " 

" I didn't," sobbed the youth, escaping from my hands, and 
finishing the remainder of the purification with his cambric 

c 



66 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. | 

pocket-handkerchief. " I promised mamma that I wouldn'l say 
one word to him, and I didn't." 

" Well, don't cry," replied Catherine contemptuously, "you're 
not killed. Don't make more mischief ; my brother is coming : 
be quiet ! Hush 1 Isabella! Has anybody hurt j>'C« f" 

"There, there, children — to your seats!" cried Hindley, 
bustling in. " That brute of a lad has warmed me nicely. Next 
time, Master Edgar, take the law into your own fists — it will give 
you an appetite ! " 

The little party recovered its equanimity at sight of the fragrant 
feast. They were hungry after their ride, and easily consoled, 
since no real harm had befallen them. Mr. Earnshaw carved 
bountiful platefuls, and the mistress made them merry with lively 
talk. I waited behind her chair, and was pained to behold 
Catherine, with dry eyes and an indifferent air, commence cutting 
up the wing of a goose before her. "An unfeeling child," I 
thought to myself; "how lightly she dismisses her old play- 
mate's troubles. I could not have imagined her to be so selfish." 
She lifted a mouthful to her lips ; then she set it down again : 
her cheeks flushed, and the tears gushed over them. She slipped 
her fork to the floor, and hastily dived under the cloth to conceal 
her emotion, I did not call her unfeeling long ; for I perceived 
she was in purgatory throughout the day, and wearying to find 
an opportunity of getting by herself, or paying a visit to Heath- 
cliff, who had been locked up by the master : as I discovered, on 
endeavouring to introduce to him a private mess of victuals. 

In the evening we had a dance. Cathy begged that he might 
be liberated then, as Isabella Linton had no partner ; her en- 
treaties were vain, and I was appointed to supply the deficiency. 
We got rid of all gloom in the excitement of the exercise, and our 
pleasure was increased by the arrival of the Gimmerton band, mus- 
tering fifteen strong : a trumpet, a trombone, clarionets, bassoons, 
French horns, and a bass viol, besides singers. They go the 
I'ounds of all the respectable houses, and receive contributions 
every Christmas, and we esteemed it a first-rate treat to hear them. 
After the usual carols had been sung, we set them to songs and 
glees. Mrs. Earnshaw loved the music, and so they gave us plenty. 

Catherine loved it too ; but she said it sounded sweetest at the 
top of the steps, and she went up in the dark : I followed. They 
shut the house door below, never noting our absence, it was so 
full of people. She made no stay at the stairs' head, but mounted 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 67 

farther, to the garret ^vhere Heathcliff was confined, and called 
him. He stubbornly declined answering for a while ; she per- 
severed, and finally persuaded him to hold communion with her 
through the boards. I let the poor things converse unmolested, 
till I supposed the songs were going to cease, and the singers to 
get some refreshment ; then, I clambered up the ladder to warn 
her. Instead of finding her outside, I heard her voice within. 
The little monkey had crept by the skylight of one garret, along 
the roof, into the skylight of the other, and it was with the utmost 
tlifficulty I could coax her out again. When she did come 
Heathcliff came with her, and she insisted that I should take 
him into the kitchen, as my fellow-servant had gone to a neigh- 
bour's to be removed from the sound of our " devil's psalmody," 
as it pleased him to call it. I told them I intended by no means 
to encourage their tricks ; but as the prisoner had never broken 
his fast since yesterday's dinner, I would wink at his cheating 
JNIr. Hindley that once. He went down ; I set him a stool by 
the fire, and offered him a quantity of good things ; but he was 
side and could eat little, and my attempts to entertain him were 
thrown away. He leant his two elbows on his knees, and his chin 
on his hands, and remained wrapt in dumb meditation. On my 
inquiring the subject of his thoughts, he answered gravely — 

" I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't 
care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will 
not die before I do ! " 

" For shame, Heathcliff! " said I. "It is for God to punish 
wicked people ; we should learn to forgive." 

" No, God won't have the satisfaction that I shall," he returned. 
" I only wish I knew the best way ! Let me alone, and I'll plan 
it out : while I'm thinking of that I don't feel pain." 

But, Mr. Lockwood, I forget these tales cannot divert you. I'm 
annoyed how I should dream of chattering on at such a rate ; and 
your gruel cold, and you nodding for bed ! I could have told 
Heathcliff 's history, all that you need hear, in half-a-dozen words. 
Thus interrupting herself, the housekeeper rose, and proceeded 
to lay aside her sewing ; but I felt incapable of moving from the 
hearth, and I was very far from nodding. " Sit still, Mrs. Dean," 
I cried, "do sit still, another half-hour ! You've done just right 
to tell the story leisurely. That is the method I like ; and you 
must finish it in the same style. I am interested in every char- 
acter you have mentioned, more or less." 



6S WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" The clock is on the stroke of eleven, sir." 

' ' No matter — I'm not accustomed to go to bed in the long hours. 
One or two is early enough for a person who lies till ten." 

"You shouldn't lie till ten. There's the very prime of the- 
morning gone long before that time. A person who has not 
done one half his day's work by ten o'clock, runs a chance of 
leaving the other half undone." 

"Nevertheless, Mrs. Dean, resume your chair; because to- 
morrow I intend lengthening the night till afternoon. I prog- 
nosticate for myself an obstinate cold, at least." 

" I hope not, sir. Well, you must allow me to leap over some 
three years ; during that space Mrs. Earnshaw " 

" No, no, I'll allow nothing of the sort ! Are you acquainted 
with the mood of mind in which, if you were seated alone, and 
the cat licking its kitten on the rug before you, you would watch 
the operation so intently that puss's neglect of one ear would put 
you seriously out of temper?" 

"A terribly lazy mood, I should say." 

"On the contrary, a tiresomely active one. It is mine, at 
present ; and, therefore, continue minutely. I perceive that 
people in these regions acquire over people in towns the value 
that a spider in a dungeon does over a spider in a cottage, to their 
various occupants ; and yet the deepened attraction is not entirely 
owing to the situation of the looker-on. They do live more in 
earnest, more in themselves, and less in surface, change, and 
frivolous external things. I could fancy a love for life here almost 
possible ; and I was a fixed unbeliever in any love of a year's 
standing. One state resembles setting a hungry man down to a 
single dish, on which he may concentrate his entire appetite and 
do it justice ; the other, introducing him to a table laid out by 
French cooks : he can perhaps extract as much enjoyment from 
the whole ; but each part is a mere atom in his regard and re- 
membrance." 

" Oh ! here we are the same as anywhere else, when you get to 
know us," observed Mrs. Dean, somewhat puzzled at my speech. 

"Excuse me," I responded ; "you, my good friend, are a 
striking evidence against that assertion. Excepting a few pro- 
vincialisms of slight consequence, you have no marks of the 
manners which I am habituated to consider as peculiar to your 
class. I am sure you have thought a great deal more than the 
generality of servants think. You have been compelled to culti- 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 69 

vate your reflective faculties for want of occasions for frittering 
your life away in silly trifles. " 

Mrs, Dean laughed. 

" I certainly esteem myself a steady, reasonable kind of body," 
she said ; "not exactly from living among the hills and seeing 
one set of faces, and one series of actions, from year's end to 
year's end ; but I have undergone sharp discipline, which has 
taught me wisdom : and then, I have read more than you would 
fancy, Mr. Lockwood. You could not open a book in this library 
that I have not looked into, and got something out of also : un- 
less it be that range of Greek and Latin, and that of French ; and 
those I know one from another : it is as much as you can expect 
of a poor man's daughter. However, if I am to follow my story 
in true gossip's fashion, I had better go on ; and instead of leaping 
three years, I will be content to pass to the next summer — the 
summer of 1778, that is, nearly twenty-three years ago." 



CHAPTER Vni. 

On the morning of a fine June day, my first bonny little nursling, 
and the last of the ancient Earnshaw stock, was born. We 
were busy with the hay in a far away field, when the girl that 
-"jsually brought our breakfasts, came running an hour too soon, 
•across the meadow and up the lane, calling me as she ran. 

" Oh, such a grand bairn ! " she panted out, " The finest lad 
that ever breathed ! But the doctor says missis must go : he says 
she's been in a consumption these many months. I heard him 
tell Mr. Hindley : and now she has nothing to keep her, and 
she'll be dead before winter. You must come home directly. 
You're to nurse it, Nelly : to feed it with sugar and milk, and 
take care of it day and night. I wish I were you, because it will 
be all yours when there is no missis ! " 

" But is she very ill?" I asked, flinging down my rake, and 
tying my bonnet, 

" I guess she is ; yet she looks bravely," replied the girl, " and 
she talks as if she thought of living to see it grow a man. She's 
out of her head for joy, it's such a beauty ! If I were her, I'm 
certain I should not die : I should get better at the bare sight of 
it, in spite of Kenneth. I was fairly mad at him. Dame Archer 
brought the cherub down to master, in the house, and his face 



'JO WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

just began to light up, \vhen the old croaker steps forward, and 
says he — ' Earnshaw, it's a blessing your wife has been spared to 
leave you this son. When she came, I felt convinced we shouldn't 
keep her long ; and now, I must tell you, the winter will pro- 
bably finish her. Don't take on, and fret about it too much ! it 
can't be helped. And besides, you should have known better 
than to choose such a rush of a lass ! ' " 

" And what did the master answer?" I inquired. 

" I think he swore : but I didn't mind him, I was straining to 
see the bairn," and she began again to describe it rapturously. 
I, as zealous as herself, hurried eagerly home to admire, on my 
part ; though I was very sad for Hindley's sake. He had room 
in his heart only for two idols — his wife and himself : he doted 
on both, and adored one, and I couldn't conceive how he would 
bear the loss. 

When w^e got to Wuthering Heights, there he stood at the 
front door ; and, as I passed in, I asked, " How was the baby?" 

"Nearly ready to run about, Nell ! " he replied, putting on a 
cheerful smile. 

"And the mistress?" I ventured to inquire; "the doctor 
says she's " 

"Damn the doctor!" he interrupted, reddening. "Frances 
is quite right ; she'll be perfectly well by this time next week. Are 
you going upstairs ? will you tell her that I'll come, if she'll promise 
not to talk. I left her because she would not hold her tongue ; 
and she must — tell her Mr. Kenneth says she must be quiet." 

I delivered this message to Mrs. Earnshaw ; she seemed in 
flighty spirits, and replied merrily— 

"I hardly spoke a word, Ellen, and there he has gone out 
twice, crying. Well, say I promise I won't speak : but that 
does not bind me not to laugh at him ! " 

Poor soul ! Till within a week of her death that gay heart 
never failed her, and her husband persisted doggedly, nay, 
furiously, in affirming her health improved every day. When 
Kenneth warned him that his medicines were useless at that 
stage of the malady, and he needn't put him to further expense 
by attending her, he retorted — ■ 

" I know you need not — she's well — she does not want any 
more attendance from you ! She never was in a consumption. 
It was a fever ; and it is gone : her pulse is as slow as mine now, 
and her cheek as cook " 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Jl 

He told his wife the same story, and she seemed to beUeve 
him ; but one night, while leaning on his shoulder, in the act of 
saying she thought she should be able to get up to-morrow, a 
fit of coughing took her — a very slight one — he raised her in his 
arms ; she put her two hands about his neck, her face changed, 
and she was dead. 

As the girl had anticipated, the child Hareton fell wholly into 
my hands. Mr. Earnshaw, provided he saw him- healthy and 
never heard him cry, was contented, as far as regarded him. For 
himself, he grew desperate : his sorrow w'as of that kind that will 
not lament. He neither wept nor prayed : he cursed and defied : 
execrated God and man, and gave himself up to reckless dissi- 
pation. The servants could not bear his tyrannical and evil 
conduct long : Joseph and I were the only two that would stay. 
I had not the heart to leave my charge ; and besides, you know 
I had been his foster-sister, and excused his behaviour more 
readily than a stranger would. Joseph remained to hector over 
tenants and labourers ; and because it was his vocation to be 
where he had plenty of wickedness to reprove. 

The master's bad ways and bad companions formed a pretty 
example for Catherine and Heathcliff. His treatment of the 
latter was enough to make a fiend of a saint. And, truly, it 
appeared as if the lad were possessed of something diabolical 
at that period. He delighted to witness Hindley degrading 
himself past redemption ; and became daily more notable for 
savage sullenness and ferocity, I could not half tell what an 
infernal house we had. The curate dropped calling, and no- 
body decent came near us, at last ; unless Edgar Linton's visits 
to Miss Cathy might be an exception. At fifteen she was the 
queen of the country side ; she had no peer ; and she did turn 
cut a haughty, headstrong creature ! I own I did not like her, 
after her infancy was past ; and I vexed her frequently by trying 
to bring down her arrogance : she never took an aversion to me, 
though. She had a wondrous constancy to old attachments :. 
even Heathcliff kept his hold on her affections unalterably ; and 
young Linton, with all his superiority, found it difficult to make 
an equally deep impression. He was my late master ; that is his 
portrait over the fireplace. It used to hang on one side, and his 
wife's on the other ; but hers has been removed, or else you 
might see something of what she was. Can you make that out?' 

Mrs. Dean raised the candle, and I discerned a soft-featured 



72 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

face, exceedingly resembling the young lady at the Heights, but 
more pensive and amiable in expression. It formed a sweet 
picture. The long light hair curled slightly on the temples ; the 
eyes were large and serious ; the figure almost too graceful. I 
did not marvel how Catherine Earnshaw could forget her first 
friend for such an individual. I marvelled much how he, with 
a mind to correspond with his person, could fancy my idea of 
Catherine Earnshaw. 

"A very agreeable portrait," I observed to the housekeeper. 
"Is it like?" 

"Yes," she answered; "but he looked better when he was 
animated ; that is his everyday countenance : he wanted spirit 
in general." 

Catherine had kept up her acquaintance with the Lintons since 
her five weeks' residence among them ; and as she had no tempta- 
tion to show her rough side in their company, and had the sense 
to be ashamed of being rude where she experienced such invari- 
able courtesy, she imposed unwittingly on the old lady and 
gentleman, by her ingenious cordiality ; gained the admiration 
of Isabella, and the heart and soul of her brother : acquisitions 
that flattered her from the first, for she was full of ambition, and 
led her to adopt a double character without exactly intending to 
deceive any one. In the place where she heard Heathcliff termed 
a " vulgar young ruffian," and " worse than a brute," she took 
care not to act like him ; but at home she had small inclination 
to practise politeness that would only be laughed at, and restrain 
an unruly nature when it would bring her neither credit nor praise. 

Mr. Edgar seldom mustered courage to visit Wuthering 
Heights openly. He had a terror of Earnshaw's reputation, 
and shrunk from encountering him ; and yet he was always 
received with our best attempts at civility : the master himself 
avoided offending him, knowing why he came ; and if he could 
not be gracious, kept out of the way. I rather think his appear- 
ance there was distasteful to Catherine : she was not artful, never 
played the coquette, and had evidently an objection to her two 
friends meeting at all ; for when Heathcliff expressed contempt 
of Linton in his presence, she could not half coincide, as she did 
in his absence ; and when Linton evinced disgust and antipathy 
to Heathcliff, she dared not treat his sentiments with indifference, 
as if depreciation of her playmate were of scarcely any conse- 
quence to her. I've had many a laugh at her perplexities and 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 73 

untold troubles, which she vainly strove to hide from my mockery. 
That sounds ill-natured : but she was so proud, it became really 
impossible to pity her distresses, till she should be chastened 
into more humility. She did bring herself, finally, to confess, 
and to confide in me : there was not a soul else that she migfit 
fashion into an adviser. 

Mr. Hindley had gone from home one afternoon, and Heath- 
cliff presumed to give himself a holiday on the strength of it. 
He had reached the age of sixteen then, I think, and without 
having bad features, or being deficient in intellect, he contrived 
to convey an impression of inward and outward repulsiveness 
that his present aspect retains no traces of. In the first place, 
he had by that time lost the benefit of his early education : con- 
tinual hard work, begun soon and concluded late, had extin- 
guished any curiosity he once possessed in pursuit of knowledge, 
and any love for books or learning. His childhood's sense of 
superiority, instilled into him by the favours of old Mr. Earnshaw, 
was faded away. He struggled long to keep up an equality with 
Catherine in her studies, and yielded with poignant though silent 
regret : but he yielded completely ; and there was no prevailing 
on him to take a step in the way of moving upward, when he 
found he must, necessarily, sink beneath his former level. Then 
personal appearance sympathised with mental deterioration : he 
acquired a slouching gait, and ignoble look ; his naturally re- 
served disposition was exaggerated into an almost idiotic excess 
of unsociable moroseness ; and he took a grim pleasure, appa- 
rently, in exciting the aversion rather than the esteem of his few 
acquaintance. 

Catherine and he were constant companions still at his seasons 
of respite from labour ; but he had ceased to express his fond- 
ness for her in words, and recoiled with angry suspicion from her 
girlish caresses, as if conscious there could be no gratification in 
lavishing such marks of affection on him. On the before-named 
occasion he came into the house to announce his intention of 
doing nothing, while I was assisting Miss Cathy to arrange her 
dress : she had not reckoned on his taking it into his head to 
be idle ; and imagining she would have the whole place to her- 
self, she managed, by some means, to inform Mr. Edgar of her 
brother's absence, and was then preparing to receive him. 

"Cathy, are you busy, this afternoon?" asked Heathcliff. 
" Are you going anywhere ? " 



74 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" No, it is raining," she answered. 

" Why have you that silk frock on, then ? " he said. " Nobody 
■coming here, I hope?" 

" Not that I know of," stammered Miss : "but you should be 
in the field now, Heathcliff. It is an hour past dinner time : I 
thought you were gone." 

" Hindley does not often free us from his accursed presence," 
observed the boy. "I'll not work any more to-day: I'll stay 
with you." 

" Oh, but Joseph will tell," she suggested ; "you'd better go!" 

"Joseph is loading lime on the further side of Pennistow Crag ; 
it will take him till dark, and he'll never know." 

So saying, he lounged to the fire, and sat down. Catherine 
reflected an instant, with knitted brows — she found it needful to 
smooth the way for an intrusion. " Isabella and Edgar Linton 
talked of calling this afternoon," she said, at the conclusion of a 
minute's silence. "As it rains, I hardly expect them ; but they 
may come, and if they do, you run the risk of being scolded for 
no good." 

" Order Ellen to say you are engaged, Cathy," he persisted ; 
" don't turn me out for those pitiful, silly friends of yours ! I'm 
■on the point, sometimes, of complaining that they — but I'll 
not" 

"That they what?" cried Catherine, gazing at him with a 
troubled countenance. "Oh, Nelly!" she added petulantly, 
jerking her head away from my hands, " you've combed my hair 
quite out of curl ! That's enough ; let me alone. What are 
you on the point of complaining about, Heathchff?" 

"Nothing — only loolc at the almanac on that wall;" he 
pointed to a framed sheet hanging near the window, and con- 
tinued — "The crosses are for the evenings you have spent with 
the Lintons, the dots for those spent with me. Do you see? 
I've marked every day." 

" Yes — very foolish : as if I took notice ! " replied Catherine, 
in a peevish tone. " And where is the sense of that? " 

" To show that I do take notice," said Heathcliff. 

"And should I always be silting with you?" she demanded, 
gro^ving more irritated. ' ' What good do I get ? What do you 
talk about ? You might be dumb, or a baby, for anything you 
say to amuse me, or for anything you do, either I " 

" You never told me before that I talked too little, or that you 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 75 

■disliked my company, Cathy ! " exclaimed Heathcliff, in much 
agitation. 

" It's no company at all, when people know nothing and say 
nothing," she muttered. 

Her companion rose up, but he hadn't time to express his feel- 
ings further, for a horse's feet were heard on the flags, and having 
knocked gently, young Linton entered, his face brilliant with 
delight at the unexpected summons he had received. Doubtless 
Catherine marked the difference between her friends, as one came 
in and the other went out. The contrast resembled what you see 
in exchanging a bleak, hilly, coal country for a beautiful fertile 
valley ; and his voice and greeting were as opposite as his aspect. 
He had a sweet, low manner of speaking, and pronounced his 
words as you do : that's less gruff than we talk here, and softer. 

" I'm not come too soon, am I?" he said, casting a lock at 
me : I had begun to wipe the plate, and tidy some drawers at the 
far end in the dresser. 

"No," answered Catherine. "What are you doing there, 
Nelly?" 

"My work, miss," I replied. (Mr. Hindley had given me 
directions to make a third party in any private visits Linton 
■chose to pay.) 

She stepped behind me and whispered crossly, "Take yourself 
and your dusters off ; whencompanyareinthehouse, servantsdon't 
commence scouring and cleaning in the room where they are ! " 

" It's a good opportunity, now that master is away," I answered 
aloud: "he hates me to be fidgeting over these things in his 
presence. I'm sure Mr. Edgar will excuse me." 

" I hate you to be fidgeting in viy presence," exclaimed the 
young lady imperiously, not allowing her guest time to speak : 
she had failed to recover her equanimity since the little dispute 
with Heathcliff. 

" I'm sorry for it. Miss Catherine," was my response ; and I 
proceeded assiduously with my occupation. 

She, supposing Edgar could not see her, snatched the cloth 
from my hand, and pinched me, with a prolonged wrench, very 
spitefully on the arm. I've said I did not love her, and rather 
relished mortifying her vanity now and then : besides, she hurt 
me extremely ; so I started up from my knees, and screamed out, 
" Oh, miss, that's a nasty trick ! You have no right to nip me, 
and I'm not going to bear it." 



76 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"I didn't touch you, you lying creature!" cried she, her 
fingers tingling to repeat the act, and her ears red with rage. 
She never had power to conceal her passion, it always set her 
whole complexion in a blaze. 

"What's that, then?" I retorted, showing a decided purple 
witness to refute her. 

She stamped her foot, wavered a moment, and then irresistibly 
impelled by the naughty spirit within her, slapped me on the 
cheek : a stinging blow that filled both eyes with water. 

"Catherine, love! Catherine!" interposed Linton, greatly 
shocked at the double fault of falsehood and violence which his 
idol had committed. 

" Leave the room, Ellen ! " she repeated, trembling all over. 

Little Hareton, who followed me everywhere, and was sitting 
near me on the floor, at seeing my tears commenced crying him- 
self, and sobbed out complaints against "wicked aunt Cathy," 
which drew her fury on to his unlucky head : she seized his 
shoulders, and shook him till the poor child waxed livid, and 
Edgar thoughtlessly laid hold of her hands to deliver him. In 
an instant one was wrung free, and the astonished young man 
felt it applied over his own ear in a way that could not be mis- 
taken for jest. He drew back in consternation. I lifted Hareton 
in my arms, and walked off to the kitchen with him, leaving the 
door of communication open, for I was curious to watch how they 
would settle their disagreement. The insulted visitor moved to 
the spot where he had laid his hat, pale and with a quivering lip. 

"That's right!" I said to myself. "Take warning and 
begone ! It's a kindness to let you have a ghmpse of her 
genuine disposition." 

"Where are you going? " demanded Catherine, advancing to 
the door. 

He swerved aside, and attempted to pass. 

" You must not go ! " she exclaimed energetically. 

" I must and shall ! " he replied in a subdued voice. 

"No," she persisted, grasping the handle; "not yet, Edgar 
Linton : sit down ; you shall not leave me in that temper. I should 
be miserable all night, and I won't be miserable for you 1 " 

" Can I stay after you have struck me?" asked Linton. 

Catherine was mute. 

"You've made me afraid and ashamed of you," he continued ; 
" I'll not come here again ! " 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. ']'J 

Her eyes began to glisten, and her lids to twinkle. 

" And you told a deliberate untruth ! " he said. 

" I didn't ! " she cried, recovering her speech ; "I did nothing 
deliberately. Well, go, if you please — get away ! And now I'll 
cry — I'll cry myself sick ! " " 

She dropped down on her knees by a chair, and set to weeping 
in serious earnest. Edgar persevered in his resolution as far as 
the court ; there he lingered. I resolved to encourage him. 

"Miss is dreadfully wayward, sir," I called out. "As bad as 
any marred child : you'd better be riding home, or else she will 
be sick only to grieve us." 

The soft thing looked askance through the window : he pos- 
sessed the power to depart, as much as a cat possesses the power 
to leave a mouse half killed, or a bird half eaten. Ah, I thought, 
there will be no saving him : he's doomed, and flies to his fate ! 
And so it was : he turned abruptly, hastened into the house again, 
shut the door behind him ; and when I went in a while after to 
inform them that Earnshaw had come home rabid drunk, ready 
to pull the whole place about our ears (his ordinary frame of mind 
in that condition), I saw the quarrel had merely effected a closer 
intimacy — had broken the outworks of youthful timidity, and 
enabled them to forsake the disguise of friendship, and confess 
themselves lovers. 

Intelligence of Mr. Hindley's arrival drove Linton speedily to 
his horse, and Catherine to her chamber. I went to hide httle 
Hareton, and to take the shot out of the master's fowling-piece, 
which he was fond of playing with in his insane excitement, to the 
hazard of the lives of any who provoked, or even attracted his 
notice too much ; and I had hit upon the plan of removing it, 
that he might do less mischief if he did go the length of firing 
the gun. 



CHAPTER IX. 

He entered, vociferating oaths dreadful to hear ; and caught 
me in the act of stowing his son away in the kitchen qupboard. 
Hareton was impressed with a wholesome terror of encounter- 
ing either his wild beast's fondness or his madman's rage ; for in 
one he ran a chance of being squeezed and kissed to death, and 
in the other of being flung into the fire, or dashed against the 



7^ WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

wall ; and the poor thing remained perfectly quiet wherever I 
chose to put him. 

" There, I've found it out at last ! " cried Hindley, pulling me 
back by the skin of my neck, like a dog. " By heaven and hell, 
you've sworn between you to murder that child ! I know how it 
is, now, that he is always out of my way. But, with the help of 
Satan, I shall make you swallow the carving-knife, Nelly ! You 
needn't laugh ; for I've just crammed Kenneth, head-downmost, 
in the Blackhorse marsh ; and two is the same as one — and I 
want to kill some of you : I shall have no rest till I do ! " 

" But I don't like the carving-knife, Mr, Hindley," I answered ; 
"it has been cutting red herrings. I'd rather be shot, if you 
please." 

"You'd rather be damned!" he said; "and so you shall. 
No law in England can hinder a man from keeping his house 
decent, and mine's abominable ! open your mouth." 

He held the knife in his hand, and pushed its point between my 
teeth : but, for my part, I was never much afraid of his vagaries. 
I spat out, and affirmed it tasted detestably — I would not take 
it on any account. 

" Oh ! " said he, releasing me, " I see that hideous little villain 
is not Hareton : I beg your pardon, Nell. If it be, he deserves 
flaying alive for not running to welcome me, and for screaming as 
if I were a goblin. Unnatural cub, come hither ! I'll teach thee 
to impose on a good-hearted, deluded father. Now, don't you* 
think the lad would be handsomer cropped ? It makes a dog 
fiercer, and I love something fierce — get ine a scissors— something 
fierce and trim ! Besides, it's infernal affectation — devilish con- 
ceit it is, to cherish our ears — we're asses enough without them. 
Hush, child, hush ! Well then, it is my darling ! wisht, dry thy 
eyes — there's a joy; kiss me. What! it won't? Kiss me, 
Hareton ! Damn thee, kiss me ! By God, as if I would rear such 
a monster ! As sure as I'm living, I'll break the brat's neck." 

Poor Hareton was squalling and kicking in his father's arms 
with all his might, and redoubled his yells when he carried him 
upstairs and lifted him over the banister. I cried out that he- 
would frighten the child into fits, and ran to rescue him. As I 
reached them, Hindley leant forward on the rails to listen to a 
noisebelow ; almost forgetting what he had in his hands. " Who 
is that ? " he asked, hearing some one approaching the stair's foot. 
I leant forward also, for the purpose of signing to Heathcliff,, 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 79 

whose step I recognised, not to come further ; and, at the instant 
when my eye quitted Hareton, he gave a sudden spring, dehvered 
himself from the careless grasp that held him, and fell. 

There was scarcely time to experience a thrill of horror before 
we saw that the little wretch was safe. Heathcliff arrived under- 
neath just at the critical moment ; by a natural impulse, he 
arrested his descent, and setting him on his feet, looked up to 
discover the author of the accident. A miser who has parted 
with a lucky lottery ticket for five shillings, and finds next day 
he has lost in the bargain five thousand pounds, could not show 
a blanker countenance than he did on beholding the figure of 
Mr. Eamshaw above. It expressed, plainer than words could 
do, the intensest anguish at having made himself the instrument 
of thwarting his own revenge. Had it been dark, I dare say, he 
would have tried to remedy the mistake by smashing Hareton's 
skull on the steps ; but we witnessed his salvation ; and I was 
presently below with my precious charge pressed to my heart. 
Hindley descended more leisurely, sobered and abashed. 

"It is your fault, Ellen," he said; "you should have kept 
him out of sight : you should have taken him from me ! Is he 
injured anywhere? " 

" Injured ! " I cried angrily ; "if he's not killed, he'll be an 
idiot ! Oh ! I wonder his mother does not rise from her grave to 
see how you use him. You're worse than a heathen — treating 
your own flesh and blood in that manner! " 

He attempted to touch the child, who, on finding himself with 
me, sobbed off his terror directly. At the first finger his father 
laid on him, however, he shrieked again louder than before, and 
struggled as if he would go into convulsions. 

" You shall not meddle with him ! " I continued. " He hates 
you — they all hate you — that's the truth ! A happy family you 
have : and a pretty state you're come to ! " 

"I shall come to a prettier, yet, Nelly," laughed the mis- 
guided man, recovering his hardness. "At present, convey 
yourself and him away. And, hark you, Heathcliff! clear you 
too, quite from my reach and hearing. I wouldn't murder you 
to-night ; unless, perhaps, I set the house on fire : but that's as 
my fancy goes." 

While saying this he took a pint bottle of brandy from the 
dresser, and poured some into a tumbler. 

" Nay, don't ! " I entreated. " Mr. Hindley, do take warning. 



So WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Have mercy on this unfortunate boy, if you care nothing for 
yourself ! " 

" Any one will do better for him than I shall," he answered. 

"Have mercy on your own soul!" I said, endeavouring to 
snatch the glass from his hand. 

"Not I! On the contrary, I shall have great pleasure in 
sending it to perdition to punish its Maker," exclaimed the 
blasphemer. " Here's to its hearty damnation ! " 

He drank the spirits and impatiently bade us go ; terminating 
his command ^1^'ith a sequel of horrid imprecations, too bad to 
repeat or remember. 

" It's a pity he cannot kill himself with drink," observed 
Heathcliff, muttering an echo of curses back when the door was 
shut. " He's doing his very utmost ; but his constitution defies 
him. Mr. Kenneth says he would wager his mare, that he'll 
outlive any man on this side Gimmerton, and go to the grave a 
hoary sinner ; unless some happy chance out of the common 
course befall him." 

I went into the kitchen, and sat down to lull my little lamb to 
sleep. Heathcliff, as I thought, walked through to the barn. It 
turned out afterwards that he only got as far as the other side the 
settle, when he flung himself on a bench by the wall, removed 
from the fire, and remained silent. 

I was rocking Hareton on my knee, and humming a song that 
began — 

" It was far in the night, and the bairnies grat, 
The mither beneath the mools heard that " — 

when Miss Cathy, who had listened to the hubbub from her 
room, put her head in, and whispered — 

" Are you alone, Nelly?" 

"Yes, miss," I replied. 

She entered and approached the hearth, I, supposing she 
was going to say something, looked up. The expression of her 
face seemed disturbed and anxious. Her lips were half asunder, 
as if she meant to speak, and she drew a breath ; but it escaped 
in a sigh instead of a sentence. I resumed my song ; not having 
forgotten her recent behaviour. 

"Where's Heathcliff?" she said, interrupting me. 

"About his work in the stable," was my answer. 

He did not contradict me ; perhaps he had fallen into a doze. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 8 1 

There followed another long pause, during which I perceived a 
drop or two trickle from Catherine's cheek to the flags. Is she 
sorry for her shameful conduct ? I asked myself. That will be a 
novelty : but she may come to the point as she will — I shan't 
help her ! No, she felt small trouble regarding any subject, save 
her own concerns. 

" Oh, dear ! " she cried at last. " I'm very unhappy ! " 

"A pity," observed I. "You're hard to please: so many 
friends and so few cares, and can't make yourself content ! " 

" Nelly, will you keep a secret for me?" she pursved, kneeling 
down by me, and lifting her winsome eyes to my face with that 
sort of look which turns off bad temper, even when one has all 
the right in the world to indulge it. 

" Is it worth keeping?" I inquired, less sulkily. 

"Yes, and it worries me, and I must let it out ! I want to 
know what I should do. To-day, Edgar Linton has asked me 
to marry him, and I've given him an answer. Now, before I 
tell you whether it was a consent or denial, you tell me which it 
ought to have been." 

"Really, Miss Catherine, how can I know?" I replied. 
"To be sure, considering the exhibition you performed in his 
presence this afternoon, I might say it would be wise to refuse 
him : since he asked you after that, he must either be hopelessly 
stupid or a venturesome fool." 

"If you talk so, I won't tell you any more," she returned 
peevishly, rising to her feet. "I accepted him, Nelly. Be 
quick, and say whether I was wrong ! " 

"You accepted him! then what good is it discussing the 
matter? You have pledged your word, and cannot retract? " 

"But, say whether I should have done so— do!" she ex- 
claimed in an irritated tone ; chafing her hands together, and 
frowning. 

"There are many things to be considered before that question 
can be answered properly," I said sententiously. "First and 
foremost, do you love Mr. Edgar?" 

"Who can help it ? Of course I do," she answered. 

Then I put her through the following catechism : for a girl of 
twenty-two it was not injudicious. 

" Why do you love him, Miss Cathy?" 

"Nonsense, I do — that's sufficient." 

" By no means ; you must say why ? " 



82 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"Well, because he is handsome, and pleasant to be with." 

" Bad ! " was my commentary, 

" And because he is young and cheerful." 

"Bad, still." 

" And because he loves me." 

" Indifferent, coming there." 

"And he will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest 
woman of the neighbourhood, and I shall be proud of having 
such a husband." 

" Worst of all. And now, say how you love him ? " 

"As everybody loves — You're silly, Nelly." 

" Not at all — Answer." 

"I love the ground under his feet, and the air over his head, 
and everything he touches, and every word he says. I love all 
his looks, and all his actions, and him entirely and altogether. 
There now ! " 

" And why? " 

"Nay; you are making a jest of it; it is exceedingly ill- 
natured ! It's no jest to me ! " said the young lady, scowhng, 
and turning her face to the fire. 

" I'm very far from jesting, Miss Catherine," I replied. 
" You love Mr. Edgar because he is handsome, and young, and 
cheerful, and rich, and loves you. The last, however, goes for 
nothing : you would love him without that, probably ; and with 
it you wouldn't, unless he possessed the four former attractions." 

"No, to be sure not: I should only pity him — hate him, 
perhaps, if he were ugly, and a clown." 

" But there are several other handsome, rich young men in 
the world : handsomer, possibly, and richer than he is. What 
should hinder you from loving them? " 

" If there be any, they are out of my way ! I've seen none like 
Edgar." 

" You may see some ; and he won't always be handsome, and 
young, and may not always be rich." 

" He is now ; and I have only to do with the present. I wish 
you would speak rationally." 

" Well, that settles it : if you have only to do with the present, 
marry Mr. Linton." 

" I don't want your permission for that — I shall marry him : 
and yet you have not told me whether I'm right." 

" Perfectly right ; if people be right to many only for the 



WUTHERINCx HEIGHTS. 8$ 

present. And now, let us hear what you are unhappy about. 
Your brother will be pleased ; the old lady and gentleman will 
not object, I think ; you will escape from a disorderly, comfort- 
less home into a wealthy, respectable one ; and you love Edgar, 
and Edgar loves you. All seems smooth and easy: where is 
the obstacle ? " 

''Here! and herd" replied Catherine, striking one hand on 
her forehead, and the other on her breast : "in whichever place 
the soul lives. In my soul and in my heart, I'm convinced I'm 
wrong ! " 

" That's very strange ! I cannot make it out." 

" It's my secret. But if you will not mock at me, I'll 
explain it : I can't do it distinctly : but I'll give you a feeling 
of how I feel." 

She seated herself by me again : her countenance grew sadder 
and graver, and her clasped hands trembled. 

"Nelly, do you never dream queer dreams?" she said, 
suddenly, after some minutes' reflection. 

" Yes, now and then," I answered. 

"And so do I. I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed 
with me ever after, and changed my ideas : they've gone through 
and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour 
of my mind. And this is one; I'm going to tell it — but take 
care not to smile at any part of it." 

"Oh! don't. Miss Catherine!" I cried. "We're dismal 
enough without conjuring up ghosts and visions to perple.x us. 
Come, come, be merry and like yourself ! Look at little 
Hareton ! he's dreaming nothing dreary. How sweetly he smiles 
in his sleep ! " 

"Yes; and how sweetly his father curses in his solitude! 
You remember him, I dare say, when he was just such another 
as that chubby thing : nearly as young and innocent. However, 
Nelly, I shall oblige you to listen : it's not long ; and I've no 
power to be merry to-night." 

" I won't hear it, I won't hear it ! " I repeated hastily. 

I was superstitious about dreams then, and am still ; and 
Catherine had an unusual gloom in her aspect, that -made me 
dread something from which I might shape a prophecy, and 
foresee a fearful catastrophe. She was vexed, but she did not 
proceed. Apparently taking up another subject, she recom^ 
menced in a short time. 



84 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" If I were in heaven, Nelly, I should be extremely miserable." 

"Because you are not fit to go there," I answered. "All 
sinners would be miserable in heaven." 

" But it is not for that. I dreamt once that I was there." 

" I tell you I won't hearken to your dreams, Miss Catherine ! 
I'll go to bed," I interrupted again. 

She laughed, and held me down ; for I made a motion to 
leave my chair. 

" This is nothing," cried she : " I was only going to say that 
heaven did not seem to be my home ; and I broke my heart 
with weeping to come back to earth ; and the angels were so 
angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on 
the top of Wuthering Heights ; where I woke sobbing for joy. 
That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I've no 
more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven ; 
and if the wicked man in tliere had not brought Heathcliff so 
low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to 
marry Heathcliff now ; so he shall never know how I love him : 
and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's 
more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his 
and mine are the same ; and Linton's is as different as a moon- 
beam from lightning, or frost from fire." 

Ere this speech ended, I became sensible of Heathcliffs 
presence. Having noticed a slight movement, I turned my head, 
and saw him rise from the bench, and steal out noiselessly. He 
had listened till he heard Catherine say it would degrade her to 
marry him, and then he stayed to hear no further. My com- 
panion, sitting on the ground, was prevented by the back of the 
settle from remarking his presence or departure ; but I started, 
and bade her hush ! 

" Why?" she asked, gazing nervously round. 

"Joseph is here," I answered, catching opportunely the roll 
of his cart-wheels up the road ; "and Heathcliff will come in 
with him. I'm not sure whether he were not at the door this 
moment." 

"Oh, he couldn't overhear me at the door!" said she. 
" Give me Hareton, while you get the supper, and when it is 
ready ask me to sup with you. I want to cheat my uncomfortable 
conscience, and be convinced that Heathcliff has no notion of 
these things. He has not, has he? He does not know what 
behig in love is?" 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 85 

"I see no reason that he should not know, as well as you," I 
returned ; ' ' and \fj07i are his choice, he'll be the most unfortunate 
creature that ever was born ! As soon as you become Mrs. 
Linton, he loses friend, and love, and all ! Have you considered 
how you'll bear the separation, and how he'll bear to be quite 
deserted in the world? Because, Miss Catherine" 

" He quite deserted ! we separated ! " she exclaimed, with an 
accent of indignation. "Who is to separate us, pray ? They'll 
meet the fate of Milo ! Not as long as I live, Ellen : for no 
mortal creature. Every Linton on the face of the earth might 
melt into nothing, before I could consent to forsake Heathcliif. 
Oh, that's not what I intend — that's not what I mean ! I 
shouldn't be Mrs. Linton were such a price demanded ! He'll 
be as much to me as he has been all his lifetime. Edgar must 
shake off his antipathy, and tolerate him, at least. He will, 
when he learns my true feelings towards him. Nelly, I see now, 
you think me a selfish wretch ; but did it never strike you that 
if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars? whereas, if 
I marry Linton, I can aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out 
of my brother's power." 

"With your husband's money, Miss Catherine?" I asked. 
"You'll find him not so pliable as you calculate upon: and, 
though I'm hardly a judge, I think that's the worst motive 
you've given yet for being the wife of young Linton." 

" It is not," retorted she ; " it is the best ! The others were 
the satisfaction of my whims : and for Edgar's sake, too, to satisfy 
him. This is for the sake of one who comprehends in his person 
my feelings to Edgar and myself. I cannot express it ; but surely 
you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an 
existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my crea- 
tion, if I were entirely contained here ? My great miseries in this 
world have been Heathcliff s miseries, and I watched and felt each 
from the beginning : my great thought in living is himself. If all 
else perished, and ke remained, /should still continue to be ; and 
if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would 
turn to a mighty stranger : I should not seem a part of it. My 
love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods : time will change 
it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for 
Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath : a source of little 
visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I a7n Heathcliff! He's 
always, always in my mind : not as a pleasure, any more than I 



S6 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. So don't 
talk of our separation again : it is impracticable ; and" 

She paused, and hid her face in the folds of my gown ; but I 
jerked it forcibly away. I was out of patience with her folly ! 

" If I can make any sense of your nonsense, miss," I said, "it 
only goes to convince me that you are ignorant of the duties you 
undertake in marrying ; or else that 5'ou are a wicked, unprin- 
cipled girl. But trouble me with no more secrets : I'll not 
promise to keep them." 

"You'll keep that?" she asked eagerly. 

" No, I'll not promise," I repeated. 

She was about to insist, when the entrance of Joseph finished 
our conversation ; and Catherine removed her seat to a corner, 
and nursed Hareton, while I made the supper. After it was 
cooked, my fellow-servant and I began to quarrel who should 
carry some to Mr, Hindley ; and we didn't settle it till all was 
nearly cold. Then we came to the agreement that we would let 
him ask, if he wanted any ; for we feared particularly to go into 
his presence when he had been some time alone. 

"And how isn't that nowt corned in fro' th' field, be this 
time? What is he about? girt idle seeght !" demanded the old 
man, looking round for Heathcliff. 

" I'll call him," I replied. " He's in the barn, I've no doubt." 

I went and called, but got no answer. On returning, I whis- 
pered to Catherine tliat he had heard a good part of what she 
said, I was sure ; and told how I saw him quit the kitchen just 
as she complained of her brother's conduct regarding him. She 
jumped up in a fine fright, flung Hareton on to the settle, and ran 
to seek for her friend herself ; not taking leisure to consider why 
she was so flurried, or how her talk would have affected him. 
She was absent such a while that Joseph proposed we should 
wait no longer. He cunningly conjectured they were staying 
away in order to avoid hearing his protracted blessing. They 
were " ill eneugh for ony fahl manners," he affirmed. And on 
their behalf he added that night a special prayer to the usual 
quarter of an hour's supplication before meat, and would have 
tacked another to the end of the grace, had not his young 
mistress broken in upon him with a hurried command that he 
ITiust run down the road, and wherever Heathcliff had rambled, 
iind and make him re-enter directly ! 

" I want to speak to him, and I musf, before I go upstairs," 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 8/ 

she said. "And the gate is open : he is somewhere out of 
hearing ; for he would not reply, though I shouted at the top 
of the fold as loud as I could." 

Joseph objected at first ; she was too much in earnest, how- 
ever, to suffer contradiction ; and at last he placed his hat on 
his head, and walked grumbling forth. Meantime, Catherine 
paced up and down the floor, exclaiming — 

" I wonder where he is— I wonder where he can be ? What 
did I say, Nelly? I've forgotten. Was he vexed at my bad 
humour this afternoon ? Dear ! tell me what I've said to grieve 
him ? I do wish he'd come. I do wish he would ! " 

" What a noise for nothing!" I cried, though rather uneasy 
myself. "What a trifle scares you ! It's surely no great cause 
of alarm that Heathcliff should take a moonlight saunter on the 
moors, or even lie too sulky to speak to us in the hay-loft. I'll 
engage he's lurking there. See if I don't ferret him out ! " 

I departed to renew my search ; its result was disappoint- 
ment, and Joseph's quest ended in the same. 

"Yon lad gets war un war!" observed he on re-entering. 
" He's left th' yate at t' full swing, and Miss's pony has trodden 
dahn two rigs o' corn, and plottered through, raight o'er into t' 
meadow ! Hahsomdiver, t' maister 'uU play f devil to-morn, 
and he'll do weel. He's patience itsseln wi' sich careless, offald 
craters— patience itsseln he is ! Bud he'll not be soa alius— yah 's 
see, all on ye ! Yah mumn't drive him out of his heead for nowt ! " 
" Have you found Heathcliff, you ass? " interrupted Catherine. 
" Have you been looking for him, as I ordered? " 

" I sud more likker look for th' horse," he replied. " It 'ud 
be to more sense. Bud, I can look for norther horse nur man 
of a neeght loike this— as black as t' chimbley ! und Heathcliff 's 
noan t' chap to cooni at viy whistle— happen he'll be less hard 
o' hearing \s\ ye !" 

It xaas a very dark evening for summer : the clouds appeared 
inclined to thunder, and I said we had better all sit down ; the 
approaching rain would be certain to bring him home without 
further trouble. However, Catherine would not be persuaded 
into tranquillity. She kept wandering to and fro, from the gate 
to the door, in a state of agitation which permitted no >epose ; 
and at length took up a permanent situation on one side of the 
wall, near the road : where, heedless of my expostulations and 
the growling thunder, and the great drops that began to plash 



88 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

around her, she remained, calling at intervals, and then listening, 
and then crying outright. She beat Hareton, or any child, at a 
good passionate fit of crying. 

About midnight, while we still sat up, the storm came rattling 
over the Heights in full fury. There was a violent wind, as well 
as thunder, and either one or the other split a tree oif at the 
corner of the building : a huge bough fell across the roof, and 
knocked down a portion of the east chimney-stack, sending a 
clatter of stones and soot into the kitchen fire. We thought a 
bolt had fallen in the middle of us ; and Joseph swung on to his 
knees, beseeching the Lord to remember the patriarchs Noah 
and Lot, and, as in former times, spare the righteous, though He 
smote the ungodly. I felt some sentiment that it must be a 
judgment on us also. The Jonah, in my mind, was Mr. Earn- 
shaw ; and I shook the handle of his den that I might ascertain 
if he were yet living. He repHed audibly enough, in a fashion 
which made my companion vociferate, more clamorously than 
before, that a wide distinction might be drawn between saints 
like himself and sinners like his master. But the uproar passed 
away in twenty minutes, leaving us all unharmed ; excepting 
Cathy, who got thoroughly drenched for her obstinacy in re- 
fusing to take shelter, and standing bonnetless and shawl-less 
to catch as much water as she could with her hair and clothes. 
She came in and lay down on the settle, all soaked as she was, 
turning her face to the back, and putting her hands before it. 

"Well, miss!" I exclaimed, touching her shoulder; "you 
are not bent on getting your death, are you? Do you know 
what o'clock it is ? Half-past twelve. Come, come to bed ! 
there's no use waiting longer on that foolish boy : he'll be gone 
to Gimmerton, and he'll stay there now. He guesses we 
shouldn't wake for him till this late hour : at least, he guesses 
that only Mr. Hindley would be up ; and he'd rather avoid 
having the door opened by the master." 

"Nay, nay, he's noan at Gimmerton," said Joseph. " I's 
niver wonder but he's at t' bothom of a bog-hoile. This visitation 
worn't for nowt, and I wod hev ye to look out, miss — yah muh be 
t' next. Thank Hivin for all ! All warks togither for gooid to 
them as is chozzen, and piked out fro' th' rubbidge ! Yah knaw 
whet t' Scripture ses." And he began quoting several texts, 
referring us to chapters and verses where we might find them. 

I, having vainly begged the wilful girl to rise and remove her 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 89 

wet things, left him preaching and her shivering, and betook 
myself to bed with little Hareton, who slept as fast as if every- 
one had been sleeping round him. I heard Joseph read on a 
while afterwards ; then I distinguished his slow step on the 
ladder, and then I dropped asleep. 

Coming down somewhat later than usual, I saw, by the sun- 
beams piercing the chinks of the shutters. Miss Catherine still 
seated near the fire-place. The house door was ajar, too ; light 
entered from its unclosed windows ; Hindley had come out, and 
stood on the kitchen hearth, haggard and drowsy. 

"What ails you, Cathy?" he was saying when I entered: 
"you look as dismal as a drowned whelp. Why are you so 
damp and pale, child?" 

"I've been wet," she answered reluctantly, "and I'm cold, 
that's all." 

"Oh, she is naughty!" I cried, perceiving the master to be 
tolerably sober. "She got steeped in the shower of yesterday 
evening, and there she has sat the night through, and I couldn't 
prevail on her to stir." 

Mr. Earnshaw stared at us in surprise. " The night through," 
he repeated. "What kept her up? not fear of the thunder, 
6urely? That was over hours since." 

Neither of us wished to mention Heathcliff s absence, as long 
as we could conceal it ; so I replied, I didn't know how she took it 
into her head to sit up ; and she said nothing. The morning 
was fresh and cool ; I threw back the lattice, and presently the 
room filled with sweet scents from the garden ; but Catherine 
called peevishly to me, ' ' Ellen, shut the window. I'm starving ! " 
And her teeth chattered as she shrunk closer to the almost ex- 
tinguished embers. 

" She's ill," said Hindley, taking her wrist ; " I suppose that's 
the reason she would not go to bed. Damn it ! I don't want to 
be troubled with more sickness here. What took you into the 
rain ! " 

" Running after t' lads, as usuald ! " croaked Joseph, catching 
an opportunity, from our hesitation, to thrust in his evil tongue, 
" If I war yah, maister, I'd just slam t' boards i' their faces all 
on 'em, gentle and simple ! Never a day ut yah're off, but yon 
cat o' Linton comes sneaking hither ; and Miss Nelly, shoe's a 
fine lass ! shoo sits watching for ye i' t' kitchen ; and as yah're in 
at one door, he's out at t'other ; and, then, wer grand lady goes 



90 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

a coorting of her side ! It's bonny behaviour, hirking amang t' 
fields, after twelve o' t' night, \vi' that fahl, flaysome divil of a 
gipsy, Heathcliff ! They think I'm blind ; but I'm noan : nowt 
ut t' soart ! — I seed young Linton boath coming and going, and 
I seedjK«/i " (directing his discourse to me), "yah gooid fur nowt, 
slattenly witch ! nip up and bolt into th' house, t' minute yah 
heard t' maister's horse fit clatter up t' road." 

"Silence, eavesdropper!" cried Catherine; "none of your 
insolence before me ! Edgar Linton came yesterday by chance, 
Hindley ; and it was /who told him to be off: because I knew 
you would not like to have met him as you were." 

"You lie, Cathy, no doubt," answered her brother, "and you 
are a confounded simpleton ! But never mind Linton at present : 
tell me, were you not with Heathchff last night ? Speak the truth, 
now. You need not be afraid of harming him : though I hate 
him as much as ever, he did me a good turn a short time since, 
that will make my conscience tender of breaking his neck. To 
prevent it, I shall send him about his business, this very morning ; 
and after he's gone, I'd advise you all to look sharp : I shall only 
have the more humour for you." 

" I never saw Heathclifif last night," answered Catherine, 
beginning to sob bitterly : " and if you do turn him out of doors, 
I'll go with him. But, perhaps, you'll never have an opportunity : 
perhaps he's gone." Here she burst into uncontrollable grief, 
and the remainder of her words were inarticulate. 

Hindley lavished on her a torrent of scornful abuse, and bade 
her get to her room immediately, or she shouldn' t cry for nothing ! 
I obliged her to obey ; and I shall never forget what a scene she 
acted when we reached her chamber : it terrified me. I thought 
-she was going mad, and I begged Joseph to run for the doctor. 
It proved the commencement of delirium : Mr. Kenneth, as soon 
as he saw her, pronounced her dangerously ill ; she had a fever. 
He bled her, and he told me to let her live on whey and water- 
gruel, and take care she did not throw herself downstairs or out 
of the window ; and then he left : for he had enough to do in the 
parish, where two or three miles was the ordinary distance between 
cottage and cottage. 

Though I cannot say I made a gentle nurse, and Joseph and" 
the master were no better ; and though our patient was as 
wearisome and headstrong as a patient could be, she weathered 
it through. Old Mrs. Linton paid us several visits, to be sure. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 9 1 

and set things to rights, and scolded and ordered us all ; and 
when Catherine was convalescent, she insisted on conveying her 
to Thrushcross Grange : for which deliverance we were very grate- 
ful. But tiie poor dame had reason to repent of her kindness : 
she and her husband both took the fever, and died within a few 
days of each other. 

Our young lady returned to us, saucier and more passionate, 
and haughtier than ever. Heathcliff had never been heard of 
since the evening of the thunderstorm ; and one day I had the 
misfortune, when she had provoked me exceedingly, to lay the 
blame of his disappearance on her : where indeed it belonged, 
as she well knew. From that period, for several months, she 
ceased to hold any communication with me, save in the relation 
of a mere servant. Joseph fell under a ban also : he would speak 
his mind, and lecture her all the same as if she were a little girl ; 
and she esteemed herself a woman, and our mistress, and thought 
that her recent illness gave her a claim to be treated with con- 
sideration. Then the doctor had said that she would not bear 
crossing much ; she ought to have her own way ; and it was 
nothing less than murder in her eyes for any one to presume to 
stand up and contradict her. From Mr. Earnshaw and his com- 
panions she kept aloof; and tutored by Kenneth, and serious 
threats of a fit that often attended her rages, her brother allowed 
her whatever she pleased to demand, and generally avoided 
aggravating her fiery temper. He was rather too indulgent in 
humouring her caprices ; not from affection, but from pride : he 
wished earnestly to see her bring honour to the family by an 
alliance with the Lintons, and as long as she let him alone she 
might trample on us like slaves, for aught he cared ! Edgar 
Linton, as multitudes have been before and will be after him, 
was infatuated ; and believed himself the happiest man alive on 
the day he led her to Gimmerton Chapel, three years subsequent 
to his father's death. 

Much against my inclination, I was persuaded to leave Wuther- 
ing Heights and accompany her here. Litde Hareton was nearly 
five years old, and I had just begun to teach him his letters. 
We made a sad parting ; but Catherine's tears were more power- 
ful than ours. When I refused to go, and when she found her en- 
treaties did not move me, she went lamenting to her husband and 
brother. The former offered me munificent wages ; the latter 
ordered me to pack up : he wanted no women in the house, he 



92 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

said, now that there was no mistress ; and as to Hareton, the 
curate should take him in hand, by-and-by. And so I had but 
one choice left : to do as I was ordered. I told the master he 
got rid of all decent people only to run to ruin a little faster ; I 
kissed Hareton, said good-bye ; and since then he has been a 
stranger : and it's very queer to think it, but I've no doubt he 
has completely forgotten all about Ellen Dean, and that he was 
ever more than all the world to her, and she to him ! 



At this point of the housekeeper's story, she chanced to glance 
towards the time-piece over the chimney ; and was in amazement 
on seeing the minute-hand measure half-past one. She would 
not hear of staying a second longer : in truth, I felt rather dis- 
posed to defer the sequel of her narrative, myself. And now that 
she is vanished to her rest, and I have meditated for another 
hour or two, I shall summon courage to go, also, in spite of 
aching laziness of head and limbs. 



CHAPTER X. 

A CHARMING introduction to a hermit's life ! Four weeks' torture, 
tossing, and sickness ! Oh ! these bleak winds and bitter northern 
skies, and impassable roads, and dilatory country surgeons ! And, 
oh, this dearth of the human physiognomy ! and, worse than all, 
the terrible intimation of Kenneth that I need not expect to be 
out of doors till spring ! 

Mr. Heathcliff has just honoured me with a call. About seven 
days ago he sent me a brace of grouse — the last of the season. 
Scoundrel ! He is not altogether guiltless in this illness of mine ; 
and that I had a great mind to tell him. But, alas ! how could 
I offend a man who was charitable enough to sit at my bedside a 
good hour, and talk on some other subject than pills and draughts, 
blisters and leeches ? This is quite an easy interval. I am too weak 
to read ; yet I feel as if I could enjoy something interesting. Why 
not have up Mrs. Dean to finish her tale ? I can recollect its 
chief incidents as far as she had gone. Yes : I remember her 
hero had run off, and never been heard of for three years ; and 
the heroine was married. I'll ring : she'll be delighted to find 
me capable of talking cheerfully. Mrs. Dean came. 



V/UTHERING HEIGHTS. 93 

' "It wants twenty minutes, sir, to taking the medicine," she 
commenced. 

"Away, away with it ! " I replied ; "I desire to have " 

" The doctor says you must drop the powders." 
■ "With all my heart ! Don't interrupt me. Come and take 
your seat here. Keep your fingers from that bitter phalanx of 
vials. Draw your knitting out of your pocket — that will do— now 
continue the history of Mr. Heathcliff, from where you left off, to 
the present day. Did he finish his education on the Continent, 
and come back a gentleman? or did he get a sizar's place at col- 
lege, or escape to America, and earn honours by drawing blood 
from his foster-country? or make a fortune more promptly on 
the English highways ? " 

" He may have done a little in all these vocations, Mr. Lock- 
wood ; but I couldn't give my word for any. I stated before that 
I didn't know how he gained his money ; neither am I aware of 
the means he took to raise his mind from the savage ignorance 
into which it was sunk : but, with your leave, I'll proceed in my 
own fashion, if you think it will amuse and not weary you. Are 
you feeling better this morning? " 

" Much." 

• ' That's good news. I got Miss Catherine and myself to 
Thrushcross Grange ; and, to my agreeable disappointment, she 
behaved infinitely better than I dared to expect. She seemed 
almost over fond of Mr. Linton ; and even to his sister she showed 
plenty of affection. They were both very attentive to her comfort, 
certainly. It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but 
the honeysuckles embracing the thorn. There were no mutual 
concessions : one stood erect, and the others yielded : and who can 
be ill-natured and bad-tempered when they encounter neither 
opposition nor indifference ? I observed that Mr. Edgar had a 
deep-rooted fear of ruffling her humour. He concealed it from 
her ; but if ever he heard me answer sharply, or saw any other 
servant grow cloudy at some imperious order of hers, he would 
show his trouble by a frown of displeasure that never darkened on 
his own account. He many a time spoke sternly to me about my 
pertness ; and averred that the stab of a knife could not inflict a 
worse pang than he suffered at seeing his lady vexed. TS'ot to 
grieve a kind master, I learned to be less touchy ; and, for the 
space of half a year, the gunpowder lay as harmless as sand, be- 
cause no fire came near to explode it. Catherine had seasons of 



C)-j. WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

gloom and silence now and then : they were respected with sym- 
pathising silence by her husband, who ascribed them to an altera- 
tion in her constitution, produced by her perilous illness ; as she 
was never subject to depression of spirits before. The return of 
sunshine was welcomed by answering sunshine from him. I 
believe I may assert that they were really in possession of deep 
and growing happiness. 

It ended. Well, we must be for ourselves in the long run ; the 
mild and generous are only more justly selfish than the domineer- 
ing ; and it ended when circumstances caused each to feel that 
the one's interest was not the chief consideration in the other's 
thoughts. On a mellow evening in September, I was coming 
from the garden with a heavy basket of apples which I had been 
gathering. It had got dusk, and the moon looked over the high 
-wall of the court, causing undefined shadows to lurk in the corners 
of the numerous projecting portions of the building. I set my 
burden on the house steps by the kitchen door, and lingered to 
rest, and drew in a few more breaths of the soft, sweet air ; my 
€yes were on the moon, and my back to the entrance, when I 
heard a voice behind me say — 

"Nelly, is that you?" 

It was a deep voice, and foreign in tone ; yet there was some- 
thing in the manner of pronouncing my name which made it sound 
familiar. I turned about to discover who spoke, fearfully ; for the 
doors were shut, and I had seen nobody on approaching the steps. 
Something stirred in the porch ; and, moving nearer, I distin- 
guished a tall man dressed in dark clothes, with dark face and 
hair. He leant against the side, and held his fingers on the latch 
as if intending to open for himself. " Who can it be?" I thought. 
"Mr. Earnshaw? Oh, no! The voice has no resemblance to his." 

" I have waited here an hour," he resumed, while I continued 
staring ; " and the whole of that time all round has been as still 
as death. I dared not enter. You do not know me? Look, 
I'm not a stranger ! " 

A ray fell on his features ; the cheeks were sallow, and half 
covered with black whiskers ; the brows lowering, the eyes deep 
set and singular. I remembered the eyes. 

"What!" I cried, uncertain whether to regard him as a 
worldly visitor, and I raised my hands in amazement. " What ! 
you come back? Is it really you? Is it?" 

"Yes, Heathcliff," he replied, glancing from me up to the 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 95 

windows, which reflected a score of glittering moons, but showed 
no lights from within. "Are they at home? where is she? 
Nelly, you are not glad ! you needn't be so disturbed. Is she 
here ? Speak ! I want to have one word with her — your mistress. 
Go, and say some person from Gimmerton desires to see her." 

" How will she take it?" I exclaimed. " What will she do? 
The surprise bewilders me — it will put her out of her head ! And 
you are Heathcliff ! But altered ! Nay, there's no comprehend- 
ing it. Have you been for a soldier? " 

"Go and carry my message," he interrupted impatiently. 
" I'm in hell till you do ! " 

He lifted the latch, and I entered ; but when I got to the parlour 
where Mr. and Mrs. Linton were, I could not persuade myself 
to proceed. At length, I resolved on making an excuse to ask 
if they would have the candles lighted, and I opened the door. 

They sat together in a window whose lattice lay back against 
the wall, and displayed, beyond the garden trees and the wild 
green park, the valley of Gimmerton, with a long line of mist 
winding nearly to its top (for very soon after you pass the 
chapel, as you may have noticed, the sough that runs from 
the marshes joins a beck which follows the bend of the glen). 
Wuthering Heights rose above this silvery vapour ; but our old 
house was invisible ; it rather dips down on the other side. Both 
the room and its occupants, and the scene they gazed on, looked 
wondrously peaceful. I shrank reluctantly from performing 
my errand ; and was actually going away leaving it unsaid, 
after having put my question about the candles, when a sense of 
my folly compelled me to return, and mutter — " A person from 
Gimmerton wishes to see you, ma'am." 

"What does he want?" asked Mrs. Linton. 

" I did not question him," I answered. 

"Well, close the curtains, Nelly," she said ; "and bring up 
tea. I'll be back again directly." 

She quitted the apartment ; ^Slr. Edgar inquired, carelessly, 
who it was. 

"Some one mistress does not expect," I replied. "That 
Heathcliff — you recollect him, sir, — who used to live at Mr. 
Earnshaw's." 

"What! the gipsy — the ploughboy ? " he cried. " Why did 
you not say so to Catherine ? " 

" Hush ! you must not call him by those names, master," I 



96 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

said. "She'd be sadly grieved to hear you. She was nearly 
heartbroken when he ran off. I guess his return will make a 
jubilee to her." 

Mr. Linton walked to a window on the other side of the room 
that overlooked the court. He unfastened it and leant out. 
I suppose they were below, for he exclaimed quickly — "Don't 
stand there, love ! Bring the person in, if it be any one par- 
ticular." Ere long I heard the chck of the latch, and Catherine 
flew upstairs, breathless and wild ; too excited to show glad- 
ness : indeed, by her face, you would rather have surmised an 
awful calamity. 

" Oh, Edgar, Edgar ! she panted, flinging her arms round his 
neck. "Oh Edgar, darling ! Heathcliffs come back — he is ! " 
And she tightened her embrace to a squeeze. 

"Well, well," cried her husband crossly, " don't strangle me 
for that ! He never struck me as such a marvellous treasure. 
There is no need to be frantic ! " 

" I know you didn't like him," she answered, repressing a little 
the intensity of her delight. "Yet, for my sake, you must be 
friends now. Shall I tell him to come up?" 

" Here?" he said, "into the parlour?" 

" Where else?" she asked. 

He looked vexed, and suggested the kitchen as a more suitable 
place for him. Mrs. Linton eyed him with a droll expression — 
half angry, half laughing at his fastidiousness. 

" No," she added after a while ; " I cannot sit in the kitchen. 
Set two tables here, Ellen : one for your master and Miss Isabella, 
being gentry ; the other for Heathcliff and myself, being of the 
lower orders. Will that please you, dear? Or must I have a 
fire lighted elsewhere ? If so, give directions. I'll run down and 
secure my guest. I'm afraid the joy is too great to be real ! " 

She was about to dart off again ; but Edgar arrested her. 

" You bid him step up," he said, addressing me; "and, 
Catherine, try to be glad, without being absurd ! the whole 
household need not witness the sight of your welcoming a run- 
away servant as a brother," 

I descended and found Heathcliff waiting under the porch, 
evidently anticipating an invitation to enter. He followed my 
guidance without waste of words, and I ushered him into the 
presence of the master and mistress, whose flushed cheeks 
betrayed signs of warm talking. But the lady's glowed with 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 97 

another feeling when her friend appeared at the door : she sprang 
forward, took both his hands, and led him to Linton ; and then 
she seized Linton's reluctant fingers and crushed them into his. 
Now fully revealed by the fire and candlelight, I was amazed, 
more than ever, to behold the transformation of Heathcliff. He 
had grown a tall, athletic, well-formed man ; beside whom, my 
master seemed quite slender and youth-like. His upright carriage 
suggested the idea of his having been in the army. His counte- 
nance was much older in expression and decision of feature than 
Mr. Linton's ; it looked intelligent, and retained no marks of 
former degradation, A half-civilised ferocity lurked yet in the 
depressed brows and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued ; 
and his manner was even dignified : quite divested of roughness, 
though too stern for grace. My master's surprise equalled or ex- 
ceeded mine : he remained for a minute at a loss how to address 
the ploughboy, as he had called him. Heathcliff dropped his 
slight hand, and stood looking at him coolly till he chose to speak. 

" Sit down, sir," he said, at length. " Mrs. Linton, recalling 
old times, would have me give you a cordial reception ; and, of 
course, I am gratified when anything occurs to please her." 

" And I also, " an swered Heathcliff, ' ' especially if it be anything 
in which I have a part. I shall stay an hour or two willingly." 

He took a seat opposite Catherine, who kept her gaze fixed on 
him as if she feared he would vanish were she to remove it. He 
did not raise his to her often : a quick glance now and then 
sufficed ; but it flashed back, each time more confidently, the 
undisguised delight he drank from hers. They were too mucli 
absorbed in their mutual joy to suffer embarrassment. Not so 
Mr. Edgar : he grew pale with pure annoyance : a feeling that 
reached its climax when his lady rose, and stepping across the 
rug, seized Heathcliff's hands again, and laughed like one beside 
herself. 

" I shall think it a dream to-morrow ! " she cried. " I shall 
not be able to believe that I have seen, and touched, and 
spoken to you once more. Asd yet, cruel Heathcliff! you 
don't deserve this welcome. To be absent and silent for three 
years, and never to think of me ! " 

" A little more than you have thought of me," he murmured. 
"I heard of your marriage, Cathy, not long since ; and, while 
waiting in the yard below, I meditated this plan : — ^just to have 
one glimpse of your face, a stare of surprise, perhaps, and pre- 

D 



98 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

tended pleasure ; afterwards settle my score with Hindley ; aiid 
then prevent the law by doing execution on myself. Your wel- 
come has put these ideas out of my mind ; but beware of meeting 
me with another aspect next time ! Nay, you'll not drive me off 
again. You were really sorry for me, were you ? Well, there was 
cause. I've fought through a bitter life since I last heard your 
voice ; and you must forgive me, for I struggled only for you ! " 

*■' Catherine, unless we are to have cold tea, please to come to 
the table," interrupted Linton, striving to preserve his ordinary 
tone, and a due measure of politeness. " Mr. Heathcliff will have 
a long walk, wherever he may lodge to-night ; and I'm thirsty." 

She toqk her post before the urn ; and Miss Isabella came, 
STimmoned by the bell ; then, having handed their chairs forward, 
I left the room. The meal hardly endured ten minutes. Cathe- 
rine's cup was never filled : she could neither eat nor drink. 
Edgar had made a slop in his saucer, and scarcely swallowed a 
mouthful. Their guest did not protract his stay that evening 
above an hour longer. I asked, as he departed, if he went to 
Gimmerton ? 

" No, to Wuthering Heights," he answered : " Mr. Earnshaw 
invited me, when I called this morning." 

iSIr. Earnshaw invited hivi I and he called on Mr. Earnshaw ! 
I pondered this sentence painfully, after he was gone. Is he 
turning out a bit of a hypocrite, and coming into the country to 
work mischief under a cloak ? I mused : I had a presentiment in 
the bottom of my heart that he had better have remained away. 

About the middle of the night, I was wakened from my first 
nap by Mrs. Linton gliding into my chamber,, taking a seat on 
my bedside, and pulling me by the hair to rouse me. 

" I cannot rest, Ellen," she said, by way of apology. "And I 
want some living creature to keep me company in my happiness ! 
Edgar is sulky, because I'm glad of a thing that does not interest 
him : he refuses to open his mouth, except to utter pettish, silly 
speeches ; and he affirmed I was cruel and selfish for wishing to 
talk when he was so sick and sleepy. He always contrives to be 
sick at the least cross ! I gave a few sentences of commendation 
to Heathcliff, and he, either for a headache or a pang of envy, 
began to cry : so I got up and left him." 

"What use is it praising Heathcliff to him?" I answered. 
"As lads they had an aversion to each other, and Heathcliff 
would hate just as much to hear him praised : it's human nature. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. lOI 

Let Mr. Linton alone about him, unless j'ou would like an ojade 
quarrel between them." 

" But does it not show great weakness ? " pursued she. " I'm 
not envious : I never feel hurt at the brightness of Isabella's 
yellow hair and the whiteness of her skin, at her dainty elegance, 
and the fondness all the family exhibit for her. Even you, 
Nelly, if we have a dispute sometimes, you back Isabella at 
once ; and I yield like a foolish mother : I call her a darling, and 
flatter her into a good temper. It pleases her brother to see us 
cordial, and that pleases me. But they are very much alike : 
they are spoiled children, and fancy the world was made for their 
accommodation; and though I humour both, I think a smart 
chastisement might improve them, all the same." 

"You're mistaken, ]\Irs. Linton," said I. "They humour 
you : I know what there would be to do if they did not. You 
can well afford to indulge their passing whims as long as their 
business is to anticipate all your desires. You may, however, 
fall out, at last, over something of equal consequence to both 
sides ; and then those you term weak are very capable of being 
as obstinate as you." 

"And then we shall fight to the death, shan't we, Nelly?" she 
returned, laughing. "No! I tell you, I have such faith in 
Linton's love, that I believe I might kill him, and he v/ouldn't 
v/ish to retaliate." 

I advised her to value him the more for his affection. 

" I do : " she answered, " but he needn't resort to whining for 
trifles. It is childish ; and, instead of melting into tears because 
I said that Heathcliff was now worthy of any one's regard, and 
it would honour the first gentleman in the country to be his 
friend, he ought to have said it for me, and been delighted from 
sympathy. He must get accustomed to him, and he may as well 
like him : considering how Heathcliff" has reason to object to him, 
I'm sure he behaved excellently ! " 

"What do you think of his going to Wuthering Heights ? " I 
inquired. " He is reformed in every respect, apparently : quite 
a Christian : offering the right hand of fellowship to his enemies 
all around 1 " 

" He explained it," she replied. " I wonder as much as you. 
He said he called to gather information concerning me from you, 
supposing you resided there still ; and Joseph told Hindley, who 
came out and fell to questioning him of what he had been doing, 



9^ WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

tep now he had been livings; and finally, desired him to walk 
in. There were some persons sitting at cards ; Heathcliff joined 
them ; my brother lost some money to him, and, finding him 
plentifully supplied, he requested that he would come again in 
the evening : to which he consented. Hindley is too reckless to 
select his acquaintance prudently : he doesn't trouble himself to 
reflect on the causes he might have for mistrusting one whom he 
has basely injured. But Heathcliff afifirms his principal reason 
for resuming a connection with his ancient persecutor is a wish 
to install himself in quarters at walking distance from the Grange, 
and an attachment to the house where we lived together ; and 
likewise a hope that I shall have more opportunities of seeing 
him there than I could have if he settled in Gimmerton. He 
means to offer liberal payment for permission to lodge at the 
Heights ; and doubtless my brother's covetousness will prompt 
him to accept the terms : he was always greedy ; though what 
he grasps with one hand he flings away with the other." 

" It's a nice place for a young man to fix his dwelling in ! " 
said I. " Have you no fear of the consequences, Mrs. Linton?" 

"None for my friend," she replied: "his strong head will 
keep him from danger ; a little for Hindley : but he can't be 
made morally worse than he is ; and I stand between him and 
bodily harm. The event of this evening has reconciled me to 
God and humanity ! I had risen in angry rebellion against 
Providence. Oh, I've endured very, very bitter misery, Nelly ! 
If that creature knew how bitter, he'd be ashamed to cloud its 
removal with idle petulance. It was kindness for him which in- 
duced me to bear it alone : had I expressed the agony I frequently 
felt, he would have been taught to long for its alleviation as 
ardently as I. However, it's over, and I'll take no revenge on 
his folly ; I can afford to suffer anything hereafter ! Should the 
meanest thing alive slap me on the cheek, I'd not only turn the 
other, but, I'd ask pardon for provoking it ; and, as a proof, I'll 
go make my peace with Edgar instantly. Good-night ! I'm 
an angel ! " 

In this self-complacent conviction she departed ; and the 
success of her fulfilled resolution was obvious on the morrow: 
Mr. Linton had not only abjured his peevishness (though his 
spirits seemed still subdued by Catherine's exuberance of vivacity), 
])Ut he ventured no objection to her taking Isabella with her to 
Wuthering Heights in the afternoon ; and she rewarded him 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. lOI 

with such a summer of sweetness and affection in return, as made 
the house a paradise for several days ; both master and servants 
profiting from the perpetual sunshine. 

Heathcliff— Mr. Heathcliff I should say in future— used the 
liberty of visiting at Thrushcross Grange cautiously, at first : he 
seemed estimating how far its owner would bear his intrusion. 
Catherine, also, deemed it judicious to moderate her expressions 
of pleasure in receiving him ; and he gradually established his 
right to be expected. He retained a great deal of the reserve 
for which his boyhood was remarkable ; and that served to 
repress all startling demonstrations of feeling. My master's 
uneasiness experienced a lull, and further circumstances diverted 
it into another channel for a space. 

His new source of trouble sprang from the not-anticipated 
misfortune of Isabella Linton evincing a sudden and irresistible 
attraction towards the tolerated guest. She was at that time a 
charming young lady of eighteen ; infantile in manners, though 
possessed of keen wit, keen feelings, and a keen temper, too, if 
irritated. Her brother, who loved her tenderly, was appalled at 
this fantastic preference. Leaving aside the degradation of an 
alliance with a nameless man, and the possible fact that his 
property, in default of heirs male, might pass into such a one's 
power, he had sense to comprehend Heathcliff 's disposition : to 
know that, though his exterior was altered, his mind was 
unchangeable and unchanged. And he dreaded that mind : 
it revolted him : he shrank forebodingly from the idea of com- 
mitting Isabella to its keeping. He would have recoiled still 
more had he been aware that her attachment rose unsolicited, 
and was bestowed where ic awakened no reciprocation of senti- 
ment ; for the minute he discovered its existence, he laid the 
blame on Heathchff' s deliberate designing. 

We had all remarked, during some time, that Miss Linton 
fretted and pined over something. She grew cross and weari- 
some ; snapping at and teasing Catherine continually, at the 
imminent risk of exhausting her limited patience. We excused 
her, to a certain extent, on the plea of ill-health : she was 
dwindling and fading before our eyes. But one day;, when she 
had been peculiarly wayward, rejecting her breakfast, com- 
plaining that the servants did not do what she told them ; that 
the mistress would allow her to be nothing in the house, and 
Edgar neglected her ; that she had caught a cold with the doors 



I02 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

being left open, and we let the parlour fire go out on purpose to 
vex her, with a hundred yet more frivolous accusations, Mrs. 
Linton peremptorily insisted that she should get to bed ; and, 
having scolded her heartily, threatened to send for the doctor. 
Mention of Kenneth caused her to exclaim, instantly, that her 
health was perfect, and it was only Catherine's harshness which 
made her unhappy. 

" How can you say I am harsh, you naughty fondling? " cried 
the mistress, amazed at the unreasonable assertion. " You are 
surely losing your reason. When have I been harsh, tell me?" 

"Yesterday," sobbed Isabella, "and now ! " 

"Yesterday ! " said her sister-in-law. " On what occasion? " 

" In our w'alk along the moor : you told me to ramble where 
I pleased, while you sauntered on with Mr. Heathcliff ! " 

"And that's your notion of harshness?" said Catherine, 
laughing. " It was no hint that your company was superfluous : 
we didn't care whether you kept with us or not ; I merely thought 
Heathcliff 's talk would have nothing entertaining for your ears." 

"Oh no," wept the young lady; "you wished me away, 
because you knew I liked to be there ! " 

" Is she sane?" asked Mrs. Linton, appealing to me. " I'll 
repeat our conversation, word for word, Isabella ; and you 
point out any charm it could have had for you." 

" I don't mind the conversation," she answered : "I wanted 
to be with " 

" Well ! " said Catherine, perceiving her hesitate to complete 
the sentence. 

" With him : and I won't be always sent oft I" she continued, 
kindling up. ' ' You are a dog in the manger, Cathy, and desire 
no one to be loved but yourself ! " 

' ' You are an impertinent little monkey 1 " exclaimed Mrs, 
Linton, in surprise. "But I'll not beheve this idiocy! It is 
impossible that you can covet the admiration of Heathcliff— 
that you consider him an agreeable person ! I hope I have 
misunderstood you, Isabella?" 

" No, you have not," said the infatuated girl. " I love him 
more than ever you loved Edgar ; and he might love me, if you 
would let him ! " 

" I wouldn't be you for a kingdom, then ! " Catherine declared 
emphatically : and she seemed to speak sincerely. " Nelly, help 
me to convince her of her madness. Tell her what Heathcliff is : 



V.'UTHERIXG HEIGHTS. lay 

an unreclaimed creature, without refinement, without cultivation : 
an arid wilderness of furze and whinstone. I'd as soon .''ut that 
little canary into the park on a winter's day, as reconiiiend you 
to bestow your heart on him ! It is deplorable igno)ince of his 
character, child, and nothing else, which makes that dream 
enter your head. Pray, don't imagine that he conceJs depths 
of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior'; He's 
not a rough diamond — a pearl-containing oyster of a ru^ic : 
he's a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man. I never say to him ' Let thi. 
or that enemy alone, because it would be ungenerous or cruel to 
harm them ; ' I say ' Let them alone, because / should hate them 
to be wronged : ' and he'd crush you like a sparrow's egg, Isabella,- 
if he found you a troublesome charge. I know he couldn't love 
a Linton ; and yet he'd be quite capable of marrying your fortune 
and expectations ! avarice is growing with him a besetting sin. 
There's my picture : and I'm his friend — so much so, that had 
he thought seriously to catch you, I should, perhaps, have held 
my tongue, and let you fall into his trap." 

Miss Linton regarded her sister-in-law with indignation. 

"For shame! for shame!" she repeated angrily, "you are 
worse than twenty foes, you poisonous friend ! " 

" Ah ! you won't believe me, then?" said Catherine. " You 
think I speak from wicked selfishness ? " 

" I'm certain you do," retorted Isabella ; " and I shudder at 
you ! " 

" Good ! " cried the other. " Try for yourself, if that be your 
spirit : I have done, and yield the argument to your saucy in- 
solence." 

' ' And I must suffer for her egotism ! " she sobbed, as Mrs. 
Linton left the room, "All, all is against me: she has blighted 
my single consolation. But she uttered falsehoods, didn't she? 
Mr. Heathcliff is not a fiend : he has an honourable soul, and 
a true one, or how could he remember her?" 

" Banish him from your thoughts, miss," I said. " He's a bird 
of bad omen : no mate for you. Mrs. Linton spoke strongly,, 
and yet I can't contradict her. She is better acquainted with 
his heart than I, or any one besides ; and she never would repre- 
sent him as worse than he is. Honest people don't hide their 
deeds. How has he been living ? how has he got rich ? why is 
he staying at Wuthering Heights, the house of a man whom he 
abhors? They say Mr. Earnshaw is worse and worse since he 



104 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

came, They sit up all night together continually, and Hindley 
has bi:en borrowing money on his land, and does nothing but 
play and drink : I heard only a week ago — it was Joseph who 
told me- I met him at Gimmerton : ' Nelly,' he said, ' we's hae 
a crowner's 'quest enow, at ahr folks. One on 'em's a'most 
getten K-s finger cut off wi' handing t'other fro' stickin hisseln 
loike d cawlf. That's maister, yah knaw, 'at's soa up o' going 
tu.^ t' grand 'sizes. He's noan feared o' t' bench o' judges, 
norther Paul, nur Peter, nur John, nur Matthew, nor noan on 
'em, not he ! He fair likes — he langs to set his brazened face 
agean 'em ! And yon bonny lad Heathcliff, yah mind, he's a 
rare un ! He can girn a laugh as well's onybody at a raight 
divil's jest. Does he niver say nowt of his fine living amang us, 
when he goes to t' Grange? Tnis is t' way on't : — up at sun- 
down : dice, brandy, cloised shutters, und can'le-light till next 
day at noon : then, t' fooil gangs banning un raving to his 
cham'er, makking dacent fowks dig thur fingers i' thur lugs fur 
varry shame ; un' the knave, why he can caint his brass, un ate, 
un sleep, un off to his neighbour's, to gossip wi' t' wife. I' course, 
he tells Dame Catherine how her fathur's goold runs into his 
pocket, and her fathur's son gallops down t' broad road, while 
he flees afore to oppen t' pikes?' Now, Miss Linton, Joseph is 
an old rascal, but no liar ; and, if his account of Heathcliff's 
conduct be true, you would never think of desiring such a 
husband, would you?" 

" You are leagued with the rest, Ellen ! " she replied. " I'll not 
listen to your slanders. What malevolence you must have to 
wish to convince me that there is no happiness in the world 1 " 

Whether she would have got over this fancy if left to herself, 
or persevered in nursing it perpetually, I cannot say : she had 
little time to reflect. The day after, there was a justice-meeting 
at the next town ; my master was obliged to attend ; and Mr. 
Heathcliff, aware of his absence, called rather earlier than usual. 
Catherine and Isabella were sitting in the library, on hostile 
terms, but silent. The latter alarmed at her recent indiscretion, 
and the disclosure she had made of her secret feelings in a tran- 
sient fit of passion ; the former, on mature consideration, really 
offended with her companion ; and, if she laughed again at her 
pertness, inclined to make it no laughing matter to her. She 
did laugh as she saw Pleathcliff pass the window. I was sweep- 
ing the hearth, and I noticed a mischievous smile on her lips. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I05 

Isabella, absorbed in her meditations, or a book, remained till 
the door opened ; and it was too late to attempt an escape, which 
she would gladly have done had it been practicable. 

"Come in, that's right!" exclaimed the mistress gaily, pull- 
ing a chair to the fire. " Here are two people sadly in need of 
a third to thaw the ice between them ; and you are the very one 
we should both of us choose. Heathcliff, I'm proud to show 
you, at last, somebody that dotes on you more than myself. I 
expect you to feel flattered. Nay, it's not Nelly ; don't look at 
her ! My poor little sister-in-law is breaking her heart by mere 
contemplation of your physical and moral beauty. It lies in 
your own power to be Edgar's brother ! No, no, Isabella, you 
shan't run off," she continued, arresting, with feigned playful- 
ness, the confounded girl, who had risen indignantly. "We 
were quarrelling like cats about you, Heathcliff; and I was 
fairly beaten in protestations of devotion and admiration : and, 
moreover, I was informed that if I would but have the manners 
to stand aside, my rival, as she will have herself to be, would 
shoot a shaft into your soul that would fix you for ever, and send 
my image into eternal oblivion ! " 

"Catherine!" said Isabella, calling up her dignity, and dis- 
daining to struggle from the tight grasp that held her. "I'd 
thank you to adhere to the truth and not slander me, even in 
joke ! Mr. Heathcliff, be kind enough to bid this friend of yours 
release me : she forgets that you and I are not intimate ac- 
quaintances ; and what amuses her is painful to me beyond 
expression," 

As the guest answered nothing, but took his seat, and looked 
thoroughly indifferent what sentiments she cherished concerning 
him, she turned and whispered an earnest appeal for liberty to 
her tormentor. 

" By no means ! " cried Mrs, Linton in answer. " I won't be 
named a dog in the manger again. You shall stay : now then ! 
Heathcliff, why don't you evince satisfaction at my pleasant 
news? Isabella swears that the love Edgar has for me is 
nothing to that she entertains for you. I'm sure she made some 
speech of the kind; did she not, Ellen? And she has fasted 
ever since the day before yesterday's walk, from sorrow and rage 
that I despatched her out of your society under the idea of its 
being unacceptable." 

" I think you belie her," said Heathcliff, twisting his chair to 

u 2 



I06 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

face them. " She wishes to be out of my society now, at any 
rate ! " 

And he stared hard at the object of discourse, as one might 
do at a strange repulsive animal : a centipede from the Indies, for 
instance, which curiosity leads one to examine in spite of the 
aversion it raises. The poor thing couldn't bear that : she 
grew white and red in rapid succession, and, while tears beaded 
her lashes, bent the strength of her small fingers to loosen the 
firm clutch of Catherine ; and perceiving that as fast as she 
raised one finger off her arm another closed down, and she could 
not remove the whole together, she began to make use of her 
nails ; and their sharpness presently ornamented the detainer's 
with crescents of red. 

" There's a tigress ! " exclaimed Mrs. Linton, setting her free, 
and shaking her hand with pain. " Begone, for God's sake, and 
hide your vixen face ! How foolish to reveal those talons to him. 
Can't you fancy the conclusions he'll draw? Look, Heathcliff I 
they are instruments that will do execution — you must beware of 
your eyes." 

" I'd wrench them off her fingers, if they ever menaced me," 
he answered brutally, when the door had closed after her. 
' ' But what did you mean by teasing the creature in that manner, 
Cathy? You were not speaking the truth, were you?" 

" I assure you I was," she returned. " She has been dying for 
your sake several weeks ; and raving about you this morning, 
and pouring forth a deluge of abuse, because I represented your 
failings in a plain light, for the purpose of mitigating her ado- 
ration. But don't notice it further : I wished to punish her sauci- 
ness, that's all. I like her too well, my dear Heathcliff, to let 
you absolutely seize and devour her up." 

"And I like her too ill to attempt it," said he, "except in a 
very ghoulish fashion. You'd hear of odd things if I lived alone 
with that mawkish, waxen face : the most ordinary would be 
painting on its white the colours of the rainbow, and turning the 
blue eyes black, every day or two : they detestably resemble 
Linton's." 

"Delectably !" observed Catherine. " They are dove's eyes 
— angel's ! " 

" She's her brother's heir, is she not?" he asked, after a brief 
silence. 

"I should be sorry to think so," returned his companion. 



WUTHERIXG HEIGHTS. I07 

*' Half-a-dozen nephews shall erase her title, please Heaven ! 
Abstract your mind from the subject at present : you are too 
prone to covet your neighbour's goods ; remember this neigh- 
bour's goods are mine." 

" If they were vihie, they would be none the less that," said 
Heathcliff ; "but though Isabella Linton may be silly, she is 
scarcely mad ; and, in short, we'll dismiss the matter, as you 
advise." 

From their tongues they did dismiss it ; and Catherine, pro- 
bably, from her thoughts. The other, I felt certain, recalled it 
often in the course of the evening. I saw him smile to himself 
— grin rather — and lapse into ominous musing whenever Mrs. 
Linton had occasion to be absent from the apartment. 

I determined to watch his movements. Aly heart invariably 
cleaved to the master's, in preference to Catherine's side : with 
reason I imagined, for he was kind, and trustful, and honourable ; 
and she — she could not be called the opposite, yet she seemed to 
allow herself such wide latitude, that I had little faith in her 
principles, and still less sympathy for her feelings. I wanted 
something to happen which might have the effect of freeing both 
Wuthering Heights and the Grange of Mr. Heathcliff, quietly ; 
leaving us as we had been prior to his advent. His visits were a 
continual nightmare to me ; and, I suspected, to my master also. 
His abode at the Heights was an oppression past explaining. I 
felt that God had forsaken the stray sheep there to its own 
wicked wanderings, and an evil beast prowled between it and 
the fold, waiting his time to spring and destroy. 



CHAPTER XI. 

Sometimes, while meditating on these things in solitude, I've 
got up in a sudden terror, and put on my bonnet to go see how 
all was at the farm. I've persuaded my conscience that it was 
a duty to warn him how people talked regarding his ways ; and 
then I've recollected his confirmed bad habits, and. hopeless 
of benefiting him, have flinched from re-entering the dismal 
house, doubting if I could bear to be taken at my wCrd. 

One time I passed the old gate, going out of my way, on a 
journey to Gimmerton. It was about the period that my narra- 
tive has reached : a bright frosty afternoon ; the ground bare, 



lo8 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

and the road hard and dry. I came to a stone where the high- 
way branches off on to the moor at your left hand ; a rough sand- 
pillar, with the letters W. H. cut on its north side, on the east, 
G., and on the south-west, T. G. It serves as a guide-post to 
the Grange, the Heights, and village. The sun shone yellow on 
its grey head, reminding me of summer ; and I cannot say why, 
but all at once, a gush of child's sensations flowed into my heart. 
Hindley and I held it a favourite spot twenty years before. I 
gazed long at the weather-worn block, and, stooping down, per- 
ceived a hole near the bottom still full of snail-shells and pebbles, 
which we were fond of storing there with more perishable things ; 
and, as fresh as reality, it appeared that I beheld my early play- 
mate seated on the withered turf : his dark, square head bent 
forward, and his little hand scooping out the earth with a piece 
of slate. "Poor Hindley!" I exclaimed involuntarily. I 
started : my bodily eye was cheated into a momentary belief 
that the child hfted its face and stared straight into mine ! It 
vanished in a twinkling ; but immediately I felt an irresistible 
yearning to be at the Heights. Superstition urged me to comply 
with this impulse : supposing he should be dead ! I thought — 
or should die soon ! — supposing it were a sign of death ! The 
nearer I got to the house the more agitated I grew ; and on 
catching sight of it I trembled every limb. The apparition had 
outstripped me : it stood looking through the gate. That was 
my first idea on observing an elf-locked, brown-eyed boy setting 
his ruddy countenance against the bars. Further reflection 
suggested this must be Hareton, my Hareton, not altered greatly 
since I left him, ten months since. 

" God bless thee, darling ! " I cried, forgetting instantaneously 
my foolish fears. " Hareton, it's Nelly ! Nelly, thy nurse." 

He retreated out of arm's length, and picked up a large flint. 

" I am come to see thy father, Hareton," I added, guessing 
from the action that Nelly, if she lived in his memory at all, 
was not recognised as one with me. 

He raised his missile to hurl it ; I commenced a soothing 
speech, but could not stay his hand : the stone struck my 
bonnet ; and then ensued, from the stammering lips of the little 
fellow, a string of curses, which, whether he comprehended them 
or not, were delivered with practised emphasis, and distorted his 
baby features into a shocking expression of mahgnity. You may 
be certain this grieved more than angered me. Fit to cry, I took 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I09 

an orange from my pocket, and offered it to propitiate him. He 
hesitated, and then snatched it from my hold ; as if he fancied 
I only intended to tempt and disappoint him. I showed another, 
keeping it out of his reach. 

"Who has taught you those fine words, my bairn?" I 
inquired. ' ' The curate ? " 

" Damn the curate, and thee ! Gie me that," he replied. 

" Tell us where you got your lessons, and you shall have it," 
said I. " Who's your master?" 

" Devil daddy," was his answer. 

" And what do you learn from daddy? " I continued. 

He jumped at the fruit ; I raised it higher. " What does he 
teach you?" I asked. 

" Naught," said he, "but to keep out of his gait. Daddy 
cannot bide me, because I swear at him." 

" Ah ! and the devil teaches you to swear at daddy?" I observed. 

"Ay— nay," he drawled. 

"Who, then?" 

"Heathcliff." 

I asked if he liked Mr. Heathcliff. 

" Ay ! " he answered again. 

Desiring to have his reasons for liking him, I could only gather 
the sentences — ' ' I known't : he pays dad back what he gies to me 
— he curses daddy for cursing me. He says I mun do as I will." 

"And the curate does not teach you to read and write then ? " 
I pursued. 

" No, I was told the curate should have his teeth dashed 

down his throat, if he stepped over the threshold — Heathcliff 

had promised that ! " 

I put the orange in his hand, and bade him tell his father that 
a woman called Nelly Dean was waiting to speak with him, by 
the garden gate. He went up the walk, and entered the house ; 
but, instead of Hindley, Heathcliff appeared on the door stones ; 
and I turned directly and ran down the road as hard as ever I 
could race, making no halt till I gained the guide-post, and 
feeling as scared as if I had raised a goblin. This is not much 
connected with Miss Isabella's affair : except that it urged me 
to resolve further on mounting vigilant guard, and doing my 
utmost to check the spread of such bad influence at the Grange : 
even though I should wake a domestic storm, by thwarting 
Mrs. Linton's pleasure. 



no WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

The next time Heathcliff came, my young lady chanced to be 
feeding some pigeons in the court. She had never spoken a word 
to her sister-in-law for three days ; but she had likewise dropped 
her fretful complaining, and we found it a great comfort. Heath- 
cliff had not the habit of bestowing a single unnecessary civiHty 
on Miss Linton, I knew. Now, as soon as he beheld her, his 
first precaution was to take a sweeping survey of the house-front. 
I was standing by the kitchen window, but I drew out of sight. 
He then stepped across the pavement to her, and said something : 
she seemed embarrassed, and desirous of getting away ; to prevent 
it, he laid his hand on her arm. She averted her face : he appar- 
ently put some question which she had no mind to answer. There 
was another rapid glance at the house, and supposing himself 
unseen, the scoundrel had the impudence to embrace her. 

"Judas ! traitor 1 " I ejaculated. " You are a hypocrite, too, 
are you? A deliberate deceiver." 

" Who is, Nelly? " said Catherine's voice at my elbow : I had 
been over intent on watching the pair outside to mark her 
entrance. 

" Your worthless friend ! " I answered warmly : " the sneaking 
rascal yonder. Ah, he has caught a glimpse of us— he is coming 
in ! I wonder will he have the heart to find a plausible excuse 
for making love to Miss, when he told you he hated her?" 

Mrs. Linton saw Isabella tear herself free, and run into the 
garden ; and a minute after, Heathcliff opened the door. I 
couldn't withhold giving some loose to my indignation ; but 
Catherine angrily insisted on silence, and threatened to order 
me out of the kitchen, if I dared to be so presumptuous as to 
put in my insolent tongne. 

"To hear you, people might think you were the mistress ! " 
she cried. ' ' You want setting down in your right place ! Heath- 
cliff, what are you about, raising this stir? I said you must let 
Isabella alone ! — I beg you will, unless you are tired of being re- 
ceived here, and wish Linton to draw the bolts against you ! " 

" God forbid that he should try ! " answered the black villain. 
I detested him just then. " God keep him meek and patient ! 
Every day I grow madder after sending him to heaven ! " 

"Hush!" said Catherine, shutting the inner door. "Don't 
vex me. Why have you disregarded my request? Did she 
come across you on purpose?" 

" What is it to you?" he growled. " I have a right to kiss 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Ill 

her, if she chooses ; and you have no right to object. I am not 
your husband : you needn't be jealous of me ! " 

" I'm not jealous ^you ; " replied the mistress, " I'm jealous 
for you. Clear your face : you shan't scowl at me ! If you like 
Isabella, you shall marry her. But do you like her? Tellthetruth, 
Heathcliff ! There, you won't answer. I'm certain you don't I " 

' ' And would Mr. Linton approve of his sister marrying that 
man?" I inquired. 

" Mr. Linton should approve," returned my lady decisively. 

"He might spare himself the trouble," said Heathcliff: "I 
could do as well without his approbation. And as to you, 
Catherine, I have a mind to speak a few words now, while we are 
at it. I want you to be aware that I know you have treated me 
infernally — infernally ! Do you hear? And if you flatter your- 
self that I don't perceive it, you are a fool ; and if you think I can 
be consoled by sweet words, you are an idiot ; and if you fancy I'll 
suffer unrevenged, I'll convince you of the contrary, in a very little 
while ! ^Meantime, thank you for telling me your sister-in-law's 
secret : I swear I'll make the most of it. And stand you aside ! " 

"What new phase of his character is this?" exclaimed Mrs. 
Linton, in amazement. " I've treated you infernally — and you'll 
take your revenge! How will you take it, ungrateful brute? 
How have I treated you infernally ? " 

" I seek no revenge on you," replied Heathcliff less vehemently. 
"That's not the plan. The tyrant grinds down his slaves and 
they don't turn against him ; they crush those beneath them. 
You are welcome to torture me to death for your amusement, 
only allow me to amuse myself a little in the same style, and 
refrain from insult as much as you are able. Having levelled my 
palace, don't erect a hovel and complacently admire your own 
charity in giving me that for a home. If I imagined you really 
wished me to marry Isabel, I'd cut my throat ! " 

" Oh, the evil is that I am 7Z(?/ jealous, is it?" cried Catherine. 
" Well, I won't repeat my offer of a wife : it is as bad as offering 
Satan a lost soul. Your bliss lies, like his, in inflicting misery. 
Y^'ou prove it. Edgar is restored from the ill-temper he gave way 
to at your coming ; I begin to be secure and tranquil ; and 
you, restless to know us at peace, appear resolved on "exciting a 
quarrel. Quarrel with Edgar, if you please, Heathchff, and 
deceive his sister : you'll hit on exactly the most efficient method 
of revenging yourself on me." 



112 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

The conversation ceased. Mrs. Linton sat down by the fire, 
flushed and gloomy. The spirit which served her was growing 
intractable : she could neither lay nor control it. He stood on 
the hearth with folded arms, brooding on his evil thoughts ; and 
in this position I left them to seek the master, who was wonder- 
ing what kept Catherine below so long. 

"Ellen," said he, when I entered, "have you seen your 
mistress?" 

"Yes; she's in the kitchen, sir," I answered. "She's sadly 
put out by Mr. Heathcliff's behaviour : and, indeed, I do think 
it's time to arrange his visits on another footing. There's harm 

in being too soft, and now it's come to this " And I related 

the scene in the court, and, as near as I dared, the whole subse- 
quent dispute. I fancied it could not be very prejudicial to Mrs. 
Linton ; unless she made it so afterwards, by assuming the de- 
fensive for her guest. Edgar Linton had difficulty in hearing me 
to the close. His first words revealed that he did not clear his 
wife of blame. 

" This is insufferable ! " he exclaimed. " It is disgraceful that 
she should own him for a friend, and force his company on me ! 
Call me two men out of the hall, Ellen. Catherine shall lingei 
no longer to argue with the low ruffian — I have humoured hei 
enough." 

He descended, and bidding the servants wait in the passage, 
went, followed by me, to the kitchen. Its occupants had re- 
commenced their angry discussion : Mrs. Linton, at least, was 
scolding with renewed vigour ; Heathcliff had moved to the 
window, and hung his head, somewhat cowed by her violent 
rating apparently. He saw the master first, and made a hasty 
motion that she should be silent ; which she obeyed, abruptly, 
on discovering the reason of his intimation, 

" How is this?" said Linton, addressing her ; " what notion 
of propriety must you have to remain here, after the language 
which has been held to you by that blackguard ? I suppose, 
because it is his ordinary talk, you think nothing of it ; you are 
habituated to his baseness, and, perhaps, imagine I can get used 
to it too ! " 

"Have you been listening at the door, Edgar?" asked the 
mistress, in a tone particularly calculated to provoke her hus- 
band, implying both carelessness and contempt of his irritation. 
Heathcliff, who had raised his eyes at the former speech, gave 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. II3 

a sneering laugh at the latter ; on purpose, it seemed, to draw 
Mr. Linton's attention to him. He succeeded ; but Edgar did 
not mean to entertain him with any high flights of pas- 
sion. 

" I have been so far forbearing with you, sir," he said quietly ; 
"not that I was ignorant of your miserable, degraded char- 
acter, but I felt you were only partly responsible for that ; and 
Catherine wishing to keep up your acquaintance, I acquiesced — 
foolishly. Your presence is a moral poison that would con- 
taminate the most virtuous : for that cause, and to prevent 
worse consequences, I shall deny you hereafter admission into 
this house, and give notice now that I require your instant de- 
parture. Three minutes' delay will render it involuntary and 
ignominious." 

Heathcliff measured the height and breadth of the speaker 
with an eye full of derision. 

" Cathy, this lamb of yours threatens like a bull ! " he said. 
"It is in danger of splitting its skull against my knuckles. By 
God ! Mr, Linton, I'm mortally sorry that you are not worth 
knocking down ! " 

My master glanced towards the passage, and signed me to 
fetch the men : he had no intention of hazarding a personal en- 
counter. I obeyed the hint ; but Mrs. Linton, suspecting some- 
thing, followed ; and when I attempted to call them, she pulled 
me back, slammed the door to, and locked it. 

" Fair means ! " she said, in answer to her husband's look of 
angry surprise, " If you have not courage to attack him, make 
an apology, or allow yourself to be beaten. It will correct you 
of feigning more valour than you possess. No, I'll swallow the 
key before you shall get it ! I'm delightfully rewarded for my 
kindness to each ! After constant indulgence of one's weak 
nature, and the other's bad one, I earn for thanks two samples 
of blind ingratitude, stupid to absurdity ! Edgar, I was defend- 
ing you and yours ; and I wish Heathcliff may flog you sick, for 
daring to think an evil thought of me ! " 

It did not need the medium of a flogging to produce that effect 
on the master. He tried to wrest the key from Catherine's grasp, 
and for safety she flung it into the hottest part of the fire ; where- 
upon Mr. Edgar was taken with a nervous trembling, and his 
countenance grew deadly pale. For his life he could not avert 
that excess of emotion : mingled anguish and humiliation over- 



114 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

came him completely. He leant on the back of a chair, and 
covered his face. 

" Oh, heavens ! In old days this would win you knighthood ! " 
exclaimed Mrs, Linton. "We are vanquished! we are van- 
quished ! Heathcliff would as soon lift a finger at you as a king^ 
would march his army against a colony of mice. Cheer up ! you 
shan't be hurt ! Your type is not a lamb, it's a sucking leveret." 

" I wish you joy of the milk-blooded coward, Cathy ! " said 
her friend. " I compliment you on your taste. And that is the 
slavering, shivering thing you preferred to me ! I would not 
strike him with my fist, but I'd kick him with my foot, and 
experience considerable satisfaction. Is he weeping, or is he 
going to faint for fear?" 

The fellow approached and gave the chair on which Linton 
rested a push. He'd better have kept his distance ; my master 
quickly sprang erect, and struck him full on the throat a blow 
that would have levelled a slighter man.' It took his breath for 
a minute ; and while he choked, Mr. Linton walked out by the 
back door into the yard, and from thence to the front en- 
trance. 

"There! you've done with coming here," cried Catherine. 
"Get away, now ; he'll return with a brace of pistols, and half- 
a-dozen assistants. If he did overhear us, of course he'd never 
forgive you. You've played me an ill turn, Heathcliff! But go 
— make haste ! I'd rather see Edgar at bay than you." 

" Do you suppose I'm going with that blow burning in my 
gullet?" he thundered. " By hell, no ! I'll crush his ribs in like 
a rotten hazel-nut before I cross the threshold ! . If I don't floor 
him now, I shall murder him some time ; so, as you value his 
existence, let me get at him ! " 

"He is not coming," I interposed, framing a bit of a lie. 
"There's the coachman and the two gardeners; you'll surely 
not wait to be thrust into the road by them ! Each has a 
bludgeon ; and master will, very likely, be watching from the 
parlour windows, to see that they fulfil his orders," 

The gardeners and coachman were there ; but Linton was 
with them. They had already entered the court. Heathcliff, 
on second thoughts, resolved to avoid a struggle against the 
three underling/s ; he seized the poker, smashed the lock from 
the inner door, and made his escape as they tramped in. 

Mrs, Linton, who was very mucla excited, bade me accompany 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 11$; 

her upstairs. She did not know my share in contributing to the 
disturbance, and I was anxious to keep her in ignorance. 

"I'm nearly distracted, Nelly!" she exclaimed, throwing 
herself on the sofa. " A thousand smiths' hammers are beating 
in my head ! Tell Isabella to shun me ; this uproar is owing 
to her ; and should she or any one else aggravate my anger at 
present, I shall get wild. And, Nelly, say to Edgar, if you see 
him again to-night, that I'm in danger of being seriously ill. 
I wish it may prove true. He has startled and distressed me 
shockingly ! I want to frighten him. Besides, he might come 
and begin a string of abuse or complainings ; I'm certain I 
should recriminate, and God knows where we should end ! Will 
you do so, my good Nelly ? You are aware that I am no way 
blamable in this matter. What possessed him to turn listener? 
Heathcliff' s talk was outrageous, after you left us ; but I could 
soon have diverted him from Isabella, and the rest meant nothing. 
Now all is dashed wrong ; by the fool's craving to hear evil of 
self, that haunts some people like a demon ! Had Edgar never 
gathered our conversation, he would never have been the worse 
for it. Really, when he opened on me in that unreasonable tone 
of displeasure after I had scolded Heathcliff till I was hoarse for 
him, I did not care, hardly, what they did to each other ; especi- 
ally as I felt that, however the scene closed, we should all be 
driven asunder for nobody knows how long ! Well, if I cannot 
keep Heathcliff for my friend — if Edgar will be mean and jealous, 
I'll try to break their hearts by breaking ray own. That will be 
a prompt way of finishing all, when I am pushed to extremity ! 
But it's a deed to be reserved for a forlorn hope ; I'd not take 
Linton by surprise with it. To this point he has been discreet 
in dreading to provoke me ; you must represent the peril of 
quitting that pohcy, and remind him of my passionate temper, 
verging, when kindled, on frenzy. I wish you could dismiss 
that apathy out of that countenance, and look rather more 
anxious about me." 

The stolidity with which I received these instructions was, no 
doubt, rather exasperating : for they were delivered in perfect 
sincerity ; but I believed a person who could plan the turning 
of her fits of passion to account, beforehand, might, -by exerting 
her will, manage to control herself tolerably, even while under 
their influence ; and I did not wish to " frighten" her husband, 
as she said, and multiply his annoyances for the purpose of 



Il6 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

serving her selfishness. Therefore I said nothing when I met 
the master coming towards the parlour ; but I took the liberty 
of turning back to listen whether they would resume their quarrel 
together. He began to speak first. 

"Remain where you are, Catherine," he said; without any 
anger in his voice, but with much sorrowful despondency. " I 
shall not stay. I am neither come to wrangle nor be reconciled ; 
but I wish just to learn whether, after this evening's events, you 
intend to continue your intimacy with " 

" Oh, for mercy's sake," interrupted the mistress, stamping her 
foot, ' ' for mercy's sake, let us hear no more of it now ! Your 
cold blood cannot be worked into a fever : your veins are full of 
ice-water ; but mine are boiling, and the sight of such chillness 
makes them dance." 

"To get rid of me, answer my question, "persevered Mr. Linton. 
" You jnust answer it ; and that violence does not alarm me. I 
have found that you can be as stoical as any one, when you please. 
Will you give up Heathcliff hereafter, or will you give up me. 
It is impossible for you to be my friend and his at the same 
time ; and I absolutely require to know which you choose." 

" I require to be let alone ! " exclaimed Catherine furiously. 
" I demand it ! Don't you see I can scarcely stand? Edgar, 
you — you leave me ! " 

She rang the bell till it broke with a twang ; I entered leisurely. 
It was enough to try the temper of a saint, such senseless, wicked 
rages ! There she lay dashing her head against the arm of the 
sofa, and grinding her teeth, so that you might fancy she would 
crash them to splinters ! Mr. Linton stood looking at her in 
sudden compunction and fear. He told me to fetch some water. 
She had no breath for speaking. I brought a glass full ; and 
as she would not drink, I sprinkled it on her face. In a few 
seconds she stretched herself out stiff, and turned up her eyes, 
while her cheeks, at once blanched and livid, assumed the aspect 
of death. Linton looked terrified. 

" There is nothing in the world the matter," I whispered. I 
did not want him to yield, though I could not help being afraid 
in my heart. 

" She has blood on her lips ! " he said, shuddering. 

" Never mind ! " I answered tartly. And I told him how she 
had resolved, previous to his coming, on exhibiting a fit of frenzy. 
I incautiously gave the account aloud, and she heard me ; for 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 11/ 

she started up — her hair flying over her shoulders, her eyes 
flashing, the muscles of her neck and arms standing out preter- 
naturally. I made up my mind for broken bones, at least ; but 
she only glared about her for an instant, and then rushed from 
the room. The master directed me to follow ; I did, to her 
chamber door: she hindered me from going further by securing 
it against me. 

As she never offered to descend to breakfast next morning, I 
went to ask whether she would have some carried up. " No ! " 
she replied peremptorily. The same question was repeated at 
dinner and tea ; and again on the morrow after, and received 
the same answer. Mr. Linton, on his part, spent his time in the 
library, and did not inquire concerning his wife's occupations. 
Isabella and he had had an hour's interview, during which he 
tried to elicit from her some sentiment of proper horror for 
Heathcliff's advances : but he could make nothing of her evasive 
replies, and was obliged to close the examination unsatisfactorily ; 
adding, however, a solemn warning, that if she were so insane 
as to encourage that worthless suitor, it would dissolve all bonds 
of relationship between herself and him. 



CHAPTER XII. 

While Miss Linton moped about the park and garden, always 
silent, and almost always in tears ; and her brother shut himself 
up among books that he never opened — wearying, I guessed, 
with a continual vague expectation that Catherine, repenting her 
conduct, would come of her own accord to ask pardon, and seek 
a reconciliation — and she fasted pertinaciously, under the idea, 
probably, that at every meal, Edgar was ready to choke for her 
absence, and pride alone held him from running to cast himself 
at her feet : I went about my household duties, convinced that 
the Grange had but one sensible soul in its walls, and that lodged 
in my body. I wasted no condolences on Miss, nor any expos- 
tulations on my mistress ; nor did I pay much attention to the 
sighs of my master, who yearned to hear his lady's name, since 
he might not hear her voice. I determined they should come 
about as they pleased for me ; and though it was a tiresomely 
slow process, I began to rejoice at length in a faint dawn of its 
progress : as I thought at first. 



Il8 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Mrs. Linton, on the third day, unbarred her door, and having 
finished the water in her pitcher and decanter, desired a renewed 
supply, and a basin of gruel, for she beheved she was dying. 
That I set down as a speech meant for Edgar's ears ; I beUeved 
no such thing, so I kept it to myself and brought her some tea 
and dry toast. She ate and drank eagerly ; and sank back on 
her pillow again clenching her hands and groaning. "Oh, I 
will die," she exclaimed, " since no one cares anything about me. 
I wish I had not taken that. " Then a good while after I heard 
her murmur, " No, I'll not die — he'd be glad — he does not love 
me at all — he would never miss me ! " 

" Did you want anything, ma'am?" I inquired, still preserving 
my external composure, in spite of her ghastly countenance and 
strange exaggerated manner. 

" What is that apathetic being doing?" she demanded, pushing 
the thick entangled locks from her wasted face. ' ' Has he fallen 
into a lethargy, or is he dead?" 

"Neither," replied I; "if you mean Mr. Linton. He's 
tolerably well, I think, though his studies occupy him rather 
more than they ought : he is continually among his books, since 
he has no other society." 

I should not have spoken so, if I had known her true con- 
•dition, but I could not get rid of the notion that she acted a 
part of her disorder. 

"Among his books ! " she cried, confounded. " And I dying ! 
I on the brink of the grave ! My God ! does he know how I'm 
altered?" continued she, staring at her reflection in a mirror 
hanging against the opposite wall, " Is that Catherine Linton ! 
He imagines me in a pet — in play, perhaps. Cannot you in- 
form him that it is frightful earnest? Nelly, if it be not too late, 
as soon as I learn how he feels, I'll choose between these two ; 
either to starve at once — that would be no punishment unless he 
had a heart— or to recover, and leave the country. Are you 
speaking the truth about him now? Take care. Is he actually 
so utterly indifferent for my life ? " 

" Why, ma'am," I answered, " the master has no idea of your 
being deranged ; and of course he does not fear that you will let 
yourself die of hunger." 

" You think not? Cannot you tell him I will?" she returned. 
" Persuade him ! speak of your own mind : say you are certain 
I will!" 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I 19 

" No, you forget, Mrs. Linton," I suggested, " that you have 
eaten some food with a rehsh this evening, and to-morrow you 
will perceive its good effects." 

" If I were only sure it would kill him," she interrupted, " I'd 
kill myself directly ! These three awful nights, I've never closed 
my lids — and oh, I've been tormented ! I've been haunted, Nelly ! 
But I begin to fancy you don't like me. How strange ! I thought, 
though everybody hated and despised each other, they could not 
avoid loving me. And they have all turned to enemies in a few 
hours : they have, I'm positive ; the people here. How dreary to 
meet death, surrounded by their cold faces ! Isabella, terrified 
and repelled, afraid to enter the room, it would be so dreadful to 
watch Catherine go. And Edgar standing solemnly by to see it 
over ; then offering prayers of thanks to God for restoring peace 
to his house, and going back to his books ! What in the name of 
all that feels has he to do with books, when I am dying?" 

She could not bear the notion which I had put into her head 
of Mr. Linton's philosophical resignation. Tossing about, she 
increased her feverish bewilderment to madness, and tore the 
pillow with her teeth ; then raising herself up all burning, 
desired that I would open the window\ We were in the middle 
of winter, the wind blew strong from the north-east, and I 
objected. Both the expressions flitting over her face, and the 
changes of her moods, began to alarm me terribly ; and brought 
to my recollection her former illness, and the doctor's injunction 
that she should not be crossed. A minute previously she was 
violent ; now, supported on one arm, and not noticing my refusal 
to obey her, she seemed to find childish diversion in puUing the 
feathers from the rents she had just made, and ranging them 
on the sheet according to their different species": her mind had 
strayed to other associations. 

" That's a turkey's," she murmured to herself; " and this is a 
wild duck's ; and this is a pigeon's. Ah, they put pigeons' 
feathers in the pillows — no wonder I couldn't die ! Let me 
take care to throw it on the floor when I lie down. And here is 
a moor-cock's ; and this — I should know it among a thousand — 
it's a lapwing's. Bonny bird ; wheeling over our heads in the 
middle of the moor. It wanted to get to its nest, for the clouds 
had touched the swells, and it felt rain coming. This feather 
was picked up from the heath, the bird w-as not shot : we saw 
its nest in the winter, full of little skeletons. Heathcliff set a 



129 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

trap over it, and the old ones dare not come. I made him 
promise he'd never shoot a lapwing after that, and he didn't. 
Yes, here are more! Did he shoot my lapwings, Nelly? Are 
they red, any of them ! Let me look." 

"Give over with that baby-work!" I interrupted, dragging 
the pillow away, and turning the holes towards the mattress, for 
she was removing its contents by handfuls. "Lie down and 
shut your eyes : you're wandering. There's a mess ! The down 
is flying about like snow." 

I went here and there collecting it. 

"I see in you, Nelly," she continued dreamily, "an aged 
woman : you have grey hair and bent shoulders. This bed is 
the fairy cave under Peniston Crag, and you are gathering elf- 
bolts to hurt our heifers ; pretending, while I am near, that they 
are only locks of wool. That's what you'll come to fifty years 
hence : I know you are not so now. I'm not wandering : you're 
mistaken, or else I should believe you really were that withered 
hag, and I should think I 7vas under Peniston Crag ; and I'm 
conscious it's night, and there are two candles on the table 
making the black press shine like jet." 

" The black press? where is that?" I asked. "You are talk- 
ing in your sleep ! " 

" It's against the wall, as it always is," she replied. " It does 
appear odd — I see a face in it ! " 

" There's no press in the room, and never was," said I, resuming 
my seat, and looping up the curtain that I might watch her. 

" Don't j<3?i; see that face?" she inquired, gazing earnestly at 
the mirror. 

And say what I could, I was incapable of making her compre- 
hend it to be her own ; so I rose and covered it with a shawl. 

"It's behind there still ! " she pursued anxiously. "And it 
stirred. Who is it? I hope it will not come out when you are gone ! 
Oh ! Nelly, the room is haunted ! I'm afraid of being alone ! " 

I took her hand in mine, and bid her be composed : for a 
succession of shudders convulsed her frame, and she would keep 
straining her gaze towards the glass. 

" There's nobody here ! " I insisted. " It was yourself, Mrs, 
Linton : you knew it a while since." 

"Myself!" she gasped, "and the clock is striking twelve! 
It's true, then ! that's dreadful ! " 

Her fingers clutched the clothes, and gathered them over her 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 121 

eyes. I attempted to steal to the door with an intention of 
calling her husband ; but I was summoned back by a piercing 
shriek — the shawl had dropped from the frame. 

' ' Why, what is the matter ? " cried I. ' ' Who is coward now ? 
Wake up ! That is the glass — the mirror, Mrs. Linton ; and 
you see yourself in it, and there am I too, by your side." 

Trembling and bewildered, she held me fast, but the horror 
gradually passed from her countenance ; its paleness gave place 
to a glow of shame. 

"Oh, dear! I thought I was at home," she sighed. "I 
thought I was lying in my chamber at Wuthering Height?. 
Because I'm weak, my brain got confused, and I screamed un- 
consciously. Don't say anything ; but stay with me. I dread 
sleeping : my dreams appal me." 

"A sound sleepwould do you good, ma'am," I answered ; "and 
I hope this suffering will prevent your trying starving again." 

" Oh, if I were but in my own bed in the old house ! " she 
went on bitterly, wringing her hands. " And that wind sound- 
ing in the firs by the lattice. Do let me feel it — it comes straight 
down the moor — do let me have one breath ! " 

To pacify her, I held the casement ajar a few seconds. A 
cold blast rushed through ; I closed it, and returned to my post. 
She lay still now, her face bathed in tears. Exhaustion of body 
had entirely subdued her spirit : our fiery Catherine was no 
better than a wailing child. 

" How long is it since I shut myself in here?" she asked, 
suddenly reviving. 

"It was Monday evening," I replied, "and this is Thursday 
night, or rather Friday morning, at present." 

"What! of the same week?" she exclaimed. "Only that 
brief time?" 

"Long enough to live on nothing but cold water and ill- 
temper," observed I. 

"Well, it seems a weary number of hours," she muttered 
doubtfully : " it must be more. I remember being in the parlour 
after they had quarrelled, and Edgar being cruelly provoking, 
and me running into this room desperate. As soon as ever I 
had barred the door, utter blackness overwhelmed me,"and I fell 
on the floor. I couldn't explain to Edgar how certain I felt of 
having a fit, or going raging mad, if he persisted in teasing me ! 
I had no command of tongue, or brain, and he did not guess my 



122 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

agony, perhaps : it barely left me sense to try to escape from him 
and his voice. Before I recovered sufficiently to see and hear, it 
began to be dawn, and, Nelly, I'll tell you what I thought, and 
what has kept recurring and recurring till I feared for my reason. 
I thought as I lay there, with my head against that table leg, 
and my eyes dimly discerning the grey square of the window, 
that I was enclosed in the oak-panelled bed at home ; and my 
heart ached with some great grief which, just waking, I could 
not recollect. I pondered, and worried myself to discover what 
it could be, and, most strangely, the whole last seven years of 
my life grew a blank ! I did not recall that they had been at all. 
I was a child ; my father was just buried, and my misery arose 
from the separation that Hindley had ordered between me and 
Heathcliff. I was laid alone, for the first time ; and, rousing 
from a dismal doze after a night of weeping, I lifted my hand to 
push the panels aside : it struck the table-top ! I swept it along 
the carpet, and then memory burst in : my late anguish was 
swallowed in a paroxysm of despair. I cannot say why I felt so 
wildly wretched : it must have been temporary derangement ; for 
there is scarcely cause. But, supposing at tv/elve years old I had 
been wrenched from the Heights, and every early association, and 
my all in all, as Heathcliff was at that time, and been converted 
at a stroke into Mrs. Linton, the lady of Thrushcross Grange, 
and the wife of a stranger: an exile, and outcast, thenceforth, 
from what had been my world. You may fancy a glimpse of the 
abyss where I grovelled ! Shake your head as you will, Nelly, 
you have helped to unsettle me ! You should have spoken to 
Edgar, indeed you should, and compelled him. to leave me quiet ! 
Oh, I'm burning ! I wish I were out of doors ! I wish I were 
a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free ; and laughing at 
injuries, not maddening under them ! Why am I so changed? 
why does my blood rush into a hell of tumult at a few words ? 
I'm sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on 
those hills. Open the window again wide : fasten it open ! 
Quick, why don't you move?" 

" Because I won't give you your death of cold," I answered. 

"You won't give me a chance of life, you mean," she said 
sullenly. " However, I'm not helpless, yet : I'll open it myself." 

And sliding from the bed before I could hinder her, she crossed 
the room, walking very uncertainly, threw it back, and bent out, 
careless of the frosty air that cut about her shoulders as keen as 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 23 

a knife. I entreated, and finally attempted to force her to retire. 
But I soon found her delirious strength much surpassed mine (she 
was delirious, I became convinced by her subsequent actions and 
ravings). There was no moon, and everything beneath lay in 
misty darkness : not a light gleamed from any house, far or 
near — all had been extinguished long ago ; and those at Wuther- 
ing Heights were never visible — still she asserted she caught their 
shining. 

" Look ! " she cried eagerly, " that's my room with the candle 
in it, and the trees swaying before it : and the other candle is in 
Joseph's garret. Joseph sits up late, doesn't he ? He's waiting 
till I come home that he may lock the gate. Well, he'll wait a 
while yet. It's a rough journey, and a sad heart to travel it ; 
and we must pass by Gimmerton Kirk, to go that journey ! 
We've braved its ghosts often together, and dared each other to 
stand among the graves and ask them to come. But, Heathcliff, 
if I dare you now, will you venture ? If you do, I'll keep you. 
I'll not lie there by myself: they may bury me twelve feet 
deep, and throw the church down over me, but I won't rest till 
you are with me. I never will ! " 

She paused, and resumed with a strange smile. " He's con- 
sidering — he'd rather I'd come to him ! Find a way, then ! not 
through that kirkyard. You are slow ! Be content, you always 
followed me !" 

Perceiving it vain to argue against her insanity, I was planning 
how I could reach something to wrap about her, without quitting 
my hold of herself (for I could not trust her alone by the gaping 
lattice), when, to my consternation, I heard the rattle of the 
door-handle, and Mr. Linton entered. He had only then come 
from the library ; and, in passing through the lobby, had noticed 
our talking and been attracted by curiosity, or fear, to examine 
what it signified, at that late hour. 

"Oh, sir!" I cried, checking the exclamation risen to his 
lips at the sight which met him, and the bleak atmosphere of 
the chamber. " My poor mistress is ill, and she quite masters 
me : I cannot manage her at all ; pray, come and persuade her 
to go to bed. Forget your anger, for she's hard to guide any 
■way but her own. " 

' ' Catherine ill ? " he said, hastening to us. ' ' Shut the window, 
Ellen! Catherine! why" 

He was silent. The haggardness of Mrs. Linton's appearance 



124 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

smote him speechless, and he could only glance from her to me 
in horrified astonishment. 

" She's been fretting here," I continued, " and eating scarcely 
anything, and never complaining ; she would admit none of us 
till this evening, and so we couldn't inform you of her state as 
we were not aware of it ourselves ; but it is nothing." 

I felt I uttered my explanations awkwardly ; the master 
frowned. "It is nothing, is it, Ellen Dean? he said sternly. 
"You shall account more clearly for keeping me ignorant of 
this!" And he took his wife in his arms, and looked at her 
with anguish. 

At first she gave him no glance of recognition ; he was in- 
visible to her abstracted gaze. The delirium was not fixed, how- 
ever ; having weaned her eyes from contemplating the outer 
darkness, by degrees she centred her attention on him, and 
discovered who it was that held her. 

"Ah! you are come, are you, Edgar Linton?" she said, 
with angry animation. " You are one of those things that are 
ever found when least wanted, and when you are wanted, never ! 
I suppose we shall have plenty of lamentations now — I see we 
shall — but they can't keep me from my narrow home out yonder : 
my resting-place, where I'm bound before spring is over ! There 
it is : not among the Lintons, mind, under the chapel-roof, but 
in the open air, with a head-stone ; and you may please yourself, 
whether you go to them or come to me ! " 

"Catherine, what have you done?" commenced the master, 
"Am I nothing to you any more? Do you love that wretch 
Heath " 

"Hush!" cried Mrs. Linton. "Hush, this moment! You 
mention that name and I end the matter instantly, by a spring 
from the window ! What you touch at present you may have ; 
but my soul will be on that hill-top before you lay hands on 
me again. I don't want you, Edgar : I'm past wanting you. 
Return to your books. I'm glad you possess a consolation, for 
all you had in me is gone." 

" Her mind wanders, sir," I interposed. " She has been talk- 
ing nonsense the whole evening ; but let her have quiet, and 
proper attendance, and she'll rally. Hereafter, we must be 
cautious how we vex her." 

" I desire no further advice from you," answered Mr. Linton. 
"You knew your mistress's nature, and you encouraged me to 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 



125 



harass her. And not to give me one hint of how she has been 
these three days ! It was heartless ! Months of sickness could 
not cause such a change ! " 

I began to defend myself, thinking it too bad to be blamed for 
another's wicked waywardness. " I knew Mrs. Linton's nature 
to be headstrong and domineering," cried I ; "but I didn't 
know that you wished to foster her fierce temper ! I didn't 
know that, to humour her, I should wink at Mr. HeathclifF. I 
performed the duty of a faithful servant in telling you, and I 
have got a faithful servant's wage's ! Well, it will teach me to 
be careful next time. Next time you may gather intelligence for 
yourself!" 

"The next time you bring a tale to me, you shall quit my 
service, Ellen Dean," he replied. 

"You'd rather hear nothing about it, I suppose, then, Mr. 
Linton?" said L " Heathcliff has your permission to come a 
courting to miss, and to drop in at every opportunity your 
absence offers, on purpose to poison the mistress against you ? ' 

Confused as Catherine was, her wits were alert at applying 
our conversation. 

'^Ah! Nelly has played traitor," she exclaimed passionately. 

Nelly is my hidden enemy. You witch ! So you do seek elf- 
bolts to hurt us ! Let me go, and I'll make her rue ! I'll make 
her howl a recantation ! " 

A maniac's fury kindled under her brows ; she struggled des- 
perately to disengage herself from Linton's arms. I felt no in- 
clination to tarry the event ; and, resolving to seek medical aid 
on my own responsibility, I quitted the chamber. 

In passing the garden to reach the road, at a place where a 
oridle hook is driven into the wall, I saw something white moved 
irregularly, evidently by another agent than the wind. Not- 
withstanding my hurry, I stayed to examine it, lest ever after 
[ should have the conviction impressed on my imagination that 
t was a creature of the other world. My surprise and perplexity 
.vere great on discovering, by touch more than vision. Miss 
Isabella's springer, Fanny, suspended by a handkerchief, and 
learly at its last gasp. I quickly released the animal, and lifted 
t into the garden. I had seen it follow its mistress upstairs 
,vhen she went to bed ; and wondered much how it could have 
jot out there, and what mischievous person had treated it so. 
vVhile untying the knot round the hook, it seemed to me that I 



126 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

repeatedly caught the beat of horses' feet galloping at some 
distance ; but there were such a number of things to occupy my 
reflections that I hardly gave the circumstance a thought : 
though it was a strange sound, in that place, at two o'clock 
in the morning. 

Mr. Kenneth was fortunately just issuing from his house to 
see a patient in the village as I came up the street ; and my 
account of Catherine Linton's malady induced him to accompany 
me back immediately. He was a plain rough man ; and he 
made no scruple to speak his doubts of her surviving this second 
attack ; unless she were more submissive to his directions than 
she had shown herself before. 

"Nelly Dean," said he, "I can't help fancying there's an 
extra cause for this. What has there been to do at the Grange ? 
We've odd reports up here. A stout, hearty lass like Catherine, 
does not fall ill for a trifle ; and that sort of people should not 
either. It's hard work bringing them through fevers, and such 
things. How did it begin?" 

"The master will inform you," I answered; "but you are 
acquainted with the Earnshaws' violent dispositions, and Mrs. 
Linton caps them all. I may say this ; it commenced in a 
quarrel. She was struck during a tempest of passion with a kind 
of fit. That's her account, at least ; for she flew off in the height 
of it, and locked herself up. Afterwards, she refused to eat, and 
now she alternately raves and remains in a half dream ; know- 
ing those about her, but having her mind filled with all sorts 
of strange ideas and illusions." 

" Mr. Linton will be sorry?" observed Kenneth interrogatively. 

"Sorry? he'll break his heart should anything happen 1 " J 
replied. " Don't alarm him more than necessary." 

" Well, I told him to beware," said my companion ; " and he 
must bide the consequences of neglecting my warning ! Hasn't 
he been intimate with Jvlr. Keathcliff, lately?" 

" Heathcliff frequently visits at the Grange," answered I, 
"though more on the strength of the mistress having known 
him when a boy, than because the master likes his company. 
At present, he's discharged from the trouble of calling ; owing 
to some presumptuous aspirations after Miss Linton which he 
manifested. I hardly think he'll be taken in again." 

"And docs Miss Linton turn a cold shoulder on him?" was 
the doctor's next question. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 27 

" I'm not in her confidence," returned I, reluctant to continue 
the subject 

" No, she's a sly one," he remarked, shaking his head. " She 
keeps her own counsel ! But she's a real little fool. I have 
it from good authority, that, last night (and a pretty night it 
was !) she and Heathcliff were walking in the plantation at 
the back of your house, above two hours ; and he pressed her 
not to go in again, but just mount his horse and away with him ! 
My informant said she could only put him off by pledging her 
word of honour to be prepared on their first meeting after that : 
when it was to be, he didn't hear ; but you urge Mr. Linton to 
look sharp ! " 

This news filled me with fresh fears ; I outstripped Kenneth, 
and ran most of the way back. The little dog was yelping in 
the garden yet. I spared a minute to open the gate for it, but 
instead of going to the house door, it coursed up and down 
snuffing the grass, and would have escaped to" the road, had I 
not seized and conveyed it in with me. On ascending to 
Isabella's room, my suspicions were confirmed : it was empty. 
Had I been a few hours sooner. Airs. Linton's illness might have 
arrested her rash step. But what could be done now ? There 
was a bare possibility of overtaking them if pursued instantly. 
/ could not pursue them, however ; and I dare not rouse the 
family, and fill the place with confusion ; still less unfold the 
business to my master, absorbed as he was in his present cala- 
mity, and having no heart to spare for a second grief! I saw 
nothing for it but to hold my tongue, and suffer matters to take 
their course ; and Kenneth being arrived, I went with a badly 
composed countenance to announce him, Catherine lay in a 
troubled sleep : her husband had succeeded in soothing the 
excess of frenzy : he now hung over her pillow, watching every 
shade, and every change of her painfully expressive features. 

The doctor, on examining the case for himself, spoke hope- 
fully to him of its having a favourable termination, if we could 
only preserve around her perfect and constant tranquillity. To 
me, he signified the threatening danger was not so much death, 
as permanent alienation of intellect. 

I did not close my ej'es that night, nor did Mr. ^ Linton : 
indeed, we never went to bed ; and the servants were all up long 
before the usual hour, moving through the house with stealthy 
tread, and exchanging whispers as they encountered each other 



128 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

in their vocations. Every one was active, but Miss Isabella ; 
and they began to remark how sound she slept : her brother, too, 
asked if she had risen, and seemed impatient for her presence, 
and hurt that she showed so little anxiety for her sister-in-law. 
I trembled lest he should send me to call her ; but I was spared 
the pain of being the first proclaimant of her flight. One of the 
maids, a thoughtless girl, who had been on an early errand to 
Gimmerton, came panting upstairs, open mouthed, and dashed 
into the chamber, crying — 

"Oh, dear, dear! What mun we have next? Jslaster, 
master, our young lady" 

" Hold your noise ! " cried I hastily, enraged at her clamorous 
manner. 

" Speak lower, Mary — What is the matter?" said Mr. Linton. 
' ' What ails your young lady ? " 

" She's gone, she's gone ! Yon' Heathcliff's run off wi' her ! " 
gasped the girl. 

"That is not true!" exclaimed Linton, rising in agitation. 
"It cannot be: how has the idea entered your head? Ellen 
Dean, go and seek her. It is incredible : it cannot be." 

As he spoke he took the servant to the door, and then repeated 
his demand to know her reasons for such an assertion. 

"Why, I met on the road a lad that fetches milk here," she 
stammered, "and he asked whether we weren't in trouble at the 
Grange. I thought he meant for missis's sickness, so I answered, 
yes. Then says he, ' There's somebody gone after 'em, I guess ? ' 
I stared. He saw I knew nought about it, and he told how a 
gentleman and lady had stopped to have a horse's shoe fastened 
at a blacksmith's shop, two miles out of Gimmerton, not very 
long after midnight ! and how the blacksmith's lass had got up 
to spy who they were : she knew them both directly. And she 
noticed the man — Heathcliff it was, she felt certain : nob'dy 
could mistake him, besides — put a sovereign in her father's hand 
for payment. The lady had a cloak about her face ; but having 
desired a sup of water, while she drank, it fell back, and she saw 
her very plain. Heathcliff held both bridles as they rode on, 
and they set their faces from the village, and went as fast as the 
rough roads would let them. The lass said nothing to her father, 
but she told it all over Gimmerton this morning." 

I ran and peeped, for form's sake, into Isabella's room ; con- 
firming, when I returned, the servant's statement. Mr. Linton 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 29 

had resumed his seat by the bed ; on my re-entrance, he raised 
his eyes read the meaning of my blank aspect, and dropped 
them without giving an order, or uttering a word 

"Are we to try any measures for overtaking and bringino- 
her back? I inquired. " How should we do ? " "* 

''She went of her own accord." answered the master; "she 
had a nght to go if she pleased. Trouble me no more about 
her. Hereafter she is only my sister in name : not because I 
disown her, but because she has disowned me " 

And that was all he said on the subject : he did not make 
a single inquiry further, or mention her in any way, except 
directing me to send what property she had in the house to her 
tresh home, wherever it was. when I knew it. 



CHAPTER Xni. 

For two months the fugitives remained absent; in those two 
months. Mrs. Linton encountered and conquered the worst shock 
of what was denominated a brain fever. No mother could have 
•nursed an only child more devotedly than Edgar tended her 
Uay and night he was watching, and patiently enduring all the 
annoyances that irritable nerves and a shaken reason could 
inflict ; and, though Kenneth remarked that what he saved from 
the grave would only recompense his care by forming the source 
of constant future anxiety-in fact, that his health and stren-th 
were being sacrificed to preserve a mere ruin of humanity-he 
knew no hmits in gratitude and joy when Catherine's life was 
declared out of danger ; and hour after hour he would sit beside 
her, tracing the gradual return to bodily health, and flatterin* 
his too sanguine hopes with the illusion that her mind would 
settle back to its right balance also, and she would soon be 
entirely her former self. 

The first time she left her chamber was at the commencement 
of the following March. Mr. Linton had put on her pillow, in 
the morning, a handful of golden crocuses ; her eye, long stran<rer 
to any gleam of pleasure, caught them in waking, and shone 
delighted as she gathered them eagerly together 
^^ "These are the earliest flowers at the Heights," she exclaimed. 

Ihey remind me of soft thaw winds, and warm sunshine, and 

E 



130 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

nearly melted snow. Edgar, is there not a south wind, and is 
not the snow almost gone ? " 

" The snow is quite gone down here, darhng," rephed her 
husband ; ' ' and I only see two white spots on the whole range 
of moors : the sky is blue, and the larks are singing, and the 
becks and brooks are all brim full, Catherine, last spring at 
this time, I was longing to have you under this roof, now, I wish 
you were a mile or two up those hills : the air blows so sweetly, 
I feel that it would cure you." 

"I shall never be there but once more," said the invalid; 
"and then you'll leave me, and I shall remain for ever. Next 
spring you'll long again to have me under this roof, and you'll 
look back and think you were happy to-day." 

Linton lavished on her the kindest caresses, and tried to cheer 
her by the fondest words ; but, vaguely regarding the flowers, 
she let the tears collect on her lashes and stream down her cheeks 
unheeding. We knew she was really better, and, therefore, 
decided that long confinement to a single place produced much 
of this despondency, and it might be partially removed by a 
change of scene. The master told me to light a fire in the many- 
weeks-deserted parlour, and to set an easy-chair in the sunshine 
by the window ; and then he brought her down, and she sat a 
long while enjoying the genial heat, and, as we expected, revived 
by the objects round her : which, though familiar, were free from 
the dreary associations investing her hated sick chamber. By 
evening, she seemed greatly exhausted ; yet no arguments could 
persuade her to return to that apartment, and I had to arrange 
the parlour sofa for her bed, till another room could be prepared. 
To obviate the fatigue of mounting and descending the stairs, 
we fitted up this, where you lie at present : on the same floor 
with the parlour ; and she was soon strong enough to move from 
one to the other, leaning on Edgar's arm. Ah, I thought myself 
she might recover, so waited on as she was. And there was 
double cause to desire it, for on her existence depended that 
of another : we cherished the hope that in a little while, Mr. 
Linton's heart would be gladdened, and his lands secured from 
a stranger's gripe, by the birth of an heir. 

I should mention that Isabella sent to her brother, some six 
weeks from her departure, a short note, announcing her marriage 
with Heathcliff. It appeared dry and cold ; but at the bottom 
was dotted in with pencil an obscure apology, and an entreaty 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 13I 

for kind remembrance and reconciliation, if her proceeding had 
offended him : asserting that she could not help it then, and being 
done, she had now no power to repeal it. Linton did not reply- 
to this, I believe ; and, in a fortnight more, I got a long letter 
which I considered odd, coming from the pen of a bride just out 
of the honeymoon. I'll read it : for I keep it yet. Any relic of 
the dead is precious, if they were valued living. 

Dear Ellen, it begins,— 

I came last night to Wuthering Heights, and heard, for the 
first time, that Catherine has been, and is yet, very ill. I must 
not write to her, I suppose, and my brother is either too angry or 
too distressed to answer what I sent him. Still, I must write to 
somebody, and the only choice left me is you. 

Inform Edgar that I'd give the world to see his face again — 
that my heart returned to Thrushcross Grange in twenty-four 
hours after I left it, and is there at this moment, full of warm 
feelings for him, and Catherine ! / ca7it follow it, though — 
(those words are underlined) they need not expect me, and they 
may di*aw what conclusions they please ; taking care, however, 
to lay nothing at the door of my weak will or deficient affection. 

The remainder of the letter is for yourself alone. I want to 
ask you two questions : the first is, — How did you contrive to 
preserve the common sympathies of human nature when you 
resided here? I cannot recognise any sentiment which those 
around share with me. 

The second question, I have great interest in ; it is this — Is 
Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a 
devil? I shan't tell my reasons for making this inquiry; but, I 
beseech you to explain, if you can, what I have married : that is, 
when you call to see me ; and you must call, Ellen, very soon. 
Don't write, but come, and bring me something from Edgar. 

Now, you shall hear how I have been received in my new home, 
as I am led to imagine the Heights will be. It is to amuse 
myself that I dwell on such subjects as the lack of external com- 
forts: they never occupy my thoughts, except at the moment 
when I miss them. I should laugh and dance for joy, if I found 
their absence was the total of my miseries, and the rest was an 
unnatural dream ! 

The sun set behind the Grange, as we turned 6n to the moors; 
by that, I judged it to be six o'clock; and my companion halted 



132 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

half-an-hour, to inspect the park, and the gardens, and, probably, 
the place itself, as well as he could ; so it was dark when we dis- 
mounted in the paved yard of the farm-house, and your old fellow- 
servant, Joseph, issued out to receive us by the light of a dip 
candle. He did it with a courtesy that redounded to his credit. 
His first act was to elevate his torch to a level with my face, 
squint malignantly, project his under lip, and turn away. Then 
he took the two horses, and led them into the stables; reappear- 
ing for the purpose of locking the outer gate, as if we lived in an 
ancient castle. 

Heathcliff stayed to speak to him, and I entered the kitchen 
— a dingy, untidy hole ; I dare say you would not know it, it is 
so changed since it was in your charge. By the fire stood a 
ruffianly child, strong in limb and dirty in garb, with a look of 
Catherine in his eyes and about his mouth. 

"This is Edgar's legal nephew," I reflected — "mine in a 
manner ; I must shake hands, and — yes — I nmst kiss him. It 
is right to establish a good understanding at the beginning," 

I approached, and, attempting to take his chubby fist, said — 

" How do you do, my dear ? " 

He replied in a jargon I did not comprehend. 

" Shall you and I be friends, Hareton ? " was my next essay at 
conversation. 

An oath, and a threat to set Throttler on me if I did not 
" frame off," rewarded my perseverance. 

" Hey, Throttler, lad ! " whispered the little wretch, rousing a 
half-bred bull-dog from its lair in a corner. "Now, wilt thou 
be ganging?" he asked authoritatively. 

Love for my life urged a compliance ; I stepped over the 
threshold to wait till the others should enter. Mr. Heathcliff 
was nowhere visible ; and Joseph, whom I followed to the 
stables, and requested to accompany me in, after staring and 
muttering to himself, screwed up his nose and replied — 

" Mim ! mim ! mim ! Did iver Christian body hear aught 
like it? Minching un' munching! How can I tell whet ye 
say?" 

" I say, I wish you to come with me into the house ! " I cried, 
thinking him deaf, yet highly disgusted at his rudeness. 

"None o' me! I getten summut else to do," he answered, 
and continued his work ; moving his lantern jaws meanwhile, 
and surveying my dress and countenance (the former a great 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I33 

deal too fine, but the latter. I'm sure, as sad as he could desire) 

with sovereign contempt. ' 

I walked round the yard, and through a wicket, to another 

door, at which I took the liberty of knocking, in hopes some 

more civil servant might show himself. After a short suspense 

- H was opened by a tall, gaunt man, without neckerchief, and 

otherwise extremely slovenly ; his features were lost in masses of 

haggy hair that hung on his shoulders ; and Jus eyes, too. were 

hke a ghostly Catherines with ail their beauty annihilated. 

are yout'' ''°''' ''"'^"''' ''''''" ^' ^'"^^^^^^ SnmlY- " Who 
•' My name w. Isabella Linton." I replied. "You've seen me 
before sir. I'm lately married to Mr. Heathcliff. and he has 
, brought me here-I suppose by your permission. " 

hungry wolf!"' ''''' ^''^'" ^^'^' '''' ^^^"^^^' ^^^-"^^ ^^^- - 
<' Yes-we came just now." I said ; "but he left me by the 
kitchen door , and when I would have gone in. vour little bov 
ot/ltlir:." '"^ ^'^ ^^^^^' -^^^^^-htened m; off by the hdp' 
" It's welUhe hellish villain has kept his word ! " growled mv 
fu are host, searching the darkness beyond me in ex^ecTa fon o'f 
d^covering Heathcliff; and then he indulged in a Li oquy of 

•S'Tec -^^r " ^'-' " -'''-^ -- ^-" " 

indined t^slin""^^ 'tf ''? '''°"^ ^"^^^"'^^' ^"^ -^^ ^'-o^^t 
inchned to slip away before he finished cursing, but ere I could 

Tdto The" '°"' '^ °^'^"^ "^^ ^"' -^ ^^-^ -^ -"iten d 
the door. There was a great fire, and that was all the li^ht in 

e one" hT""'' "'°^' ^°°^ ''^^ S--- - --form gre/; and 

he once brilhan pewter dishes, which used to attract my Tze 

S andTus^'l' ''^^°°'7': ''''''''' °^^^"^'^>'- created byfar- 

conducted J ' n.ight call the maid and 

ansrr He ul^L H ^^-'^r/ ""''■ ^^^"^^^^'^^ vouchsafed no 

answer. He walked up and down, with his hands in his Docl-et. 



again. 



^.^.^,,,^ iaiiji again. 

leslTeL^^'-^' """"^"'"f' ^'^'"' ^^ "^^ ^^^^'"^ particularly cheer- 



134 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 



containing the only people I loved on earth ; and there might as 
well be the Atlantic to part us, instead of those four miles : I 
could not overpass them ! I questioned with myself— where 
must I turn for comfort? and— mind you don't tell Edgar, or 
Catherine— above every sorrow beside, this rose pre-eminent : 
despair at finding nobody who could or would be my ally against 
Heathcliff ! I had sought shelter at Wuthering Heights, almost 
gladly, because I was secured by that arrangement from living 
Slone with him; but he knew the people we were coming 
amongst, and he did not fear their intermeddling. 

I sat and thought a doleful time : the clock struck eight, and 
nine, and still my companion paced to and fro, his head bent on 
his breast, and perfectly silent, unless a groan or a bitter ejacu- 
lation forced itself out at intervals. I listened to detect a 
woman's voice in the house, and filled the interim with wild 
regrets and dismal anticipations, which, at last, spoke audibly in' 
irrepressible sighing and weeping. I was not aware how openly 
I grieved, till Earnshaw halted opposite, in his measured walk, 
an'd gave me a stare of newly-awakened surprise. Taking 
advantage of his recovered attention, I exclaimed— 

"I'm tired with my journey, and I want to go to bed! 
Where is the maid-servant? Direct me to her, as she won't 
come to me ! " 

" We have none," he answered ; "you must wait on yourself! ' 

' ' Where must I sleep, then ? " I sobbed ; I was beyond regard- 
ing self-respect, weighed down by fatigue and wretchedness. 

" Joseph will show you Heathcliff's chamber," said he ; " open 
that door— he's in there." 

I was going to obey, but he suddenly arrested me, and added 
in the strangest tone — 

" Be so good as to turn your lock, and draw your bolt— don't 

omit it ! " 

"Well!" Isaid. "But why, Mr. Earnshaw?" Ididnotrehsh 
the notion of deliberately fastening myself in with Heathcliff. 

' ' Look here ! " he replied, pulling from his waistcoat a curiously 
constructed pistol, having a double-edged spring knife attached 
to the barrel. "That's a great tempter to a desperate man, is 
it not? I cannot resist going up with this every night, and 
trying his door. If once I find it open he's done for ! I do it 
invariably, even though the minute before I have been recalling 
a hundred reasons that should make me refrain : it is some devil 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 13$ 

that urges me to thwart my own schemes by killing him. You 
fight against that devil for love as long as you may ; when the 
time comes, not all the angels in heaven shall save him ! " 

I surveyed the weapon inquisitively. A hideous notion struck 
me : how powerful I should be possessing such an instrument ! 
I took it from his hand, and touched the blade. He looked 
astonished at the expression my face assumed during a brief 
second : it was not horror, it was covetousness. He snatched the 
pistol back, jealously ; shut the knife, and returned it to its 
concealment. 

"I don't care if you tell him," said he. "Put him on his 
guard, and watch for him. You know the terms we are on, I 
see : his danger does not shock you." 

"What has Heathcliff done to you?" I asked. "In what 
has he wronged you, to warrant this appalling hatred ? 
Wouldn't it be wiser to bid him quit the house ? " 

" No ! " thundered Earnshaw, " should he offer to leave me, 
he's a dead man : persuade him to attempt it, and you are a 
murderess ! Am I to lose all, without a chance of retrieval ? Is 
Hareton to be a beggar ? Oh, damnation ! I will have it back : 
and I'll have his gold too ; and then his blood ; and hell shall 
have his soul ! It will be ten times blacker with that guest than 
ever it was before ! " 

You've acquainted me, Ellen, with your old master's habits. 
He is clearly on the verge of madness : he was so last night at 
least. I shuddered to be near him, and thought on the servant's 
ill-bred moroseness as comparatively agreeable. He now re- 
commenced his moody walk, and I raised the latch, and escaped 
into the kitchen. Joseph was bending over the fire, peering into 
a large pan that swung above it ; and a wooden bowl of oatmeal 
stood on the settle close by. The contents of the pan began to 
boil, and he turned to plunge his hand into the bowl ; I conjec- 
tured that this preparation was probably for our supper, and, being 
hungry, I resolved it should be eatable ; so, crying out sharply, 
" ril make the porridge ! " I removed the vessel out of his reach, 
and proceeded to take off my hat and riding-habit. " Mr. Earn- 
shaw," I continued, " directs me to wait on myself: I will. I'm 
not going to act the lady among you, for fear I should starve." 

" Gooid Lord ! " he muttered, sitting down, and stroking his 
ribbed stockings from the knee to the ankle. " If there's to be 
fresh ortherings — ^just when I getten used to two maisters, if I mun 



136 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

hev a mistress set o'er my heead, it's like time to be flitting. I 
niver did think to see t' day that I mud lave th' owld place— but 
I doubt it's nigh at hand ! " 

This lamentation drew no notice from me : I went briskly to 
work, sighing to remember a period when it would have been all 
merry fun ; but compelled speedily to drive off the remembrance. 
It racked me to recall past happiness and the greater peril there 
was of conjuring up its apparition, the quicker the thible ran 
round, and the faster the handfuls of meal fell into the water. 
Joseph beheld my style of cookery with growing indignation. 

"Thear!" he ejaculated. " Hareton, thou willn't sup thy 
porridge to-neeght ; they'll be naught but lumps as big as my 
neive. Thear, agean ! I'd fling in bowl un all, if I wer ye ! 
There, pale t' guilp off, un' then ye'U hae done wi't. Bang, 
bang. It's a mercy t' bothom isn't deaved out ! " 

It was rather a rough mess, I own, when poured into the basins ; 
four had been provided, and a gallon pitcher of new milk was 
brought from the dairy, which Hareton seized and commenced 
drinking and spilling from the expansive lip. I expostulated, and 
desired that he should have his in a mug ; affirming that I could 
not taste the liquid treated so dirtily. The old cynic chose to 
be vastly offended at this nicety ; assuring me, repeatedly, that 
"the barn was every bit as good" as I, "and every bit as 
wollsome," and wondering how I could fashion to be so conceited. 
Meanwhile, the infant ruffian continued sucking ; and glowered 
up at me defyingly, as he slavered into the jug. 

" I shall have my supper in another room," I said. " Have 
you no place you call a parlour? " 

"Parlour /" he echoed sneeringly, "parlour ! Nay, 'we've noa 
parlours. If yah dunnut loike wer company, there's maister's ; 
un' if yah dunnut loike maister, there's us." 

" Then I shall go upstairs," I answered ; "show me a chamber." 

I put my basin on a tray, and went myself to fetch some more 
milk. With great grumblings, the fellow rose, and preceded me 
in my ascent : we mounted to the garrets ; he opened a door, 
now and then, to look into the apartments we passed. 

" Here's a rahm," he said, at last, flinging back a cranky board 
on hinges. " It's weel eneugh to ate a few porridge in. There's 
a pack o' com i" t' corner, thear, meeterly clane ; if ye're feared o' 
muckying yer grand silk does, spread yer hankerchiro' t' topon't." 

The "rahm" was a kind of lumber-hole smelling strong of 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I 37 

malt and grain ; various sacks of which articles were piled around, 
leaving a wide, bare space in the middle. 

"Why, man!" I exclaimed, facing him angrily, "this is not 
a place to sleep in. I wish to see my bed-room." 

" Bed-rujne /" he repeated, in a tone of mockery. " Yah's see 
all t' bed-ritmes thear is — yon's mine." 

He pointed into the second garret, only differing from the first 
in being more naked about the walls, and having a large low, 
curtainless bed, with an indigo-coloured quilt at one end. 

" What do I want with yours?" I retorted. " I suppose Mr. 
Heathcliff does not lodge at the top of the house, does he?" 

" Oh ! it's Maister Hathecliff's ye're wanting?" cried he, as if 
making a new discovery. " Couldn't ye ha' said soa, at onst? 
un then, I mud ha' telled ye, baht all this wark, that that's just 
one ye cannut see — he alias keeps it locked, un nob'dy iver 
mells on't but hisseln." 

"You've a nice house, Joseph," I could not refrain from 
observing, " and pleasant inmates ; and I think the concentrated 
essence of all the madness in the world took up its abode in my 
brain the day I linked my fate with theirs ! However, that is 
not to the present purpose — there are other rooms. For Heaven's 
sake be quick, and let me settle somewhere ! " 

He made no reply to this adjuration ; only plodding doggedly 
down the wooden steps, and halting before an apartment which, 
from that halt and the superior quality of its furniture, I con- 
jectured to be the best one. There was a carpet : a good one, 
but the pattern was obliterated by dust ; a fireplace hung with 
cut paper, dropping to pieces ; a handsome oak bedstead with 
ample crimson curtains of rather expensive material and modern 
make ; but they had evidently experienced rough usage : the 
valances hung in festoons, wrenched from their rings, and the iron 
rod supporting them was bent in an arc on one side, causing the 
drapery to trail upon the floor. The chairs were also damaged, 
many of them severely ; and deep indentations deformed the panels 
of the walls. I was endeavouring to gather resolution for enter- 
ing and taking possession, when my fool of a guide announced, 
" This here is t'maister's." My supper by this time was cold, my 
appetite gone, and my patience exhausted. I insisted" on being 
provided instantly with a place of refuge, and means of repose. 

" Whear the divil?" began the religious elder. "The Lord 
bless us ! The Lord forgie us ! Whear the hell wold ye gang ? 



138 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

ye marred, wearisome nowt ! Ye've seen all but Hareton's bit of a 
cham'er. There's not another hoile to lig down in i' th' hahse ! " 

I was so vexed, I flung my tray and its contents on the ground ; 
and then seated myself at the stairs-head, hid my face in my 
hands, and cried. 

" Ech ! ech ! " exclaimed Joseph. " Weel done, Miss Cathy ! 
weel done. Miss Cathy ! Howsiver, t' maister sail just tum'le o'er 
them brocken pots ; un' then we's hear summut ; we's hear how 
it's to be. Gooid-for-naught madling ! ye desarve pining fro' 
this to Churstmas, flinging t' precious gifts o' God under fooit i' 
yer flaysome rages ! But, I'm mista'en if ye show yer sperrit lang. 
Will Hathecliff bide sich bonny ways, think ye? I nobbutwish 
he may catch ye i' that plisky, I nobbut wish he may." 

And so he went on scolding to his den beneath, taking the 
candle with him ; and I remained in the dark. The period of 
reflection succeeding this silly action, compelled me to admit 
the necessity of smothering my pride and choking my wrath, 
and bestirring myself to remove its effects. An unexpected aid 
presently appeared in the shape of Throttler, whom I now re- 
cognised as a son of our old Skulker : it had spent its whelphood 
at the Grange, and was given by my father to Mr. Hindley. I 
fancy it knew me : it pushed its nose against mine by way of salute, 
and then hastened to devour the porridge ; while I groped from 
step to step, collecting the shattered earthenware, and drying the 
spatters of milk from the banister with my pocket-handkerchief. 
Our labours were scarcely over when I heard Earnshaw's tread in 
the passage ; my assistant tucked in his tail, and pressed to the 
wall ; I stole into the nearest doorway. The dog's endeavour to 
avoid him was unsuccessful ; as I guessed by a scutter downstairs, 
and a prolonged, piteous yelping. I had better luck ! he passed 
on, entered his chamber, and shut the door. Directly after Joseph 
came up with Hareton, to put him to bed. I had found shelter 
in Hareton's room, and the old man on seeing me, said — 

" They's rahm for boath ye un yer pride, now, I sud think, i' 
the hahse. It's empty ; ye may hev it all to yerseln, un Him as 
alias maks a third, i' sich ill company ! " 

Gladly did I take advantage of this intimation ; and the minute 
I flung myself into a chair, by the fire, I nodded, and slept. 
My slumber was deep and sweet, though over far too soon. Mr. 
Heathcliff awoke me ; he had just come in, and demanded, in 
his loving manner, what I was doing there ? I told him the cause 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 39 

of my staying up so late — that he had the key of our room in 
his pocket. The adjective our gave mortal offence. He swore 
it was not, nor ever should be, mine ; and he'd — But I'll not 
repeat his language, nor describe his habitual conduct : he is 
ingenious and unresting in seeking to gain my abhorrence ! I 
sometimes wonder at him with an intensity that deadens my 
fear : yet, I assure you, a tiger or a venomous serpent could not 
rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakens. He told me 
of Catherine's illness, and accused my brother of causing it ; 
promising that I should be Edgar's proxy in suffering, till he 
could get hold of him. 

I do hate him — I am wretched — I have been a fool ! Beware 
of uttering one breath of this to any one at the Grange. I shall 
expect you every day — don't disappoint me ! Isabella. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

As soon as I had perused this epistle, I went to the master, 
and informed him that his sister had arrived at the Heights, 
and sent me a letter -expressing her sorrow for Mrs. Linton's 
situation, and her ardent desire to see him ; with a wish that 
he would transmit to her, as early as possible, some token of 
forgiveness by me. 

"Forgiveness!" said Linton. "I have nothing to forgive 
her, Ellen. You may call at Wuthering Heights this afternoon, 
if you like, and say that I am not angry, but I'm sorry to have 
lost her ; especially as I can never think she'll be happy. It is 
cut of the question my going to see her, however: we are 
eternally divided ; and should she really wish to oblige me, let 
her persuade the villain she has married to leave the country." 

"And you won't write her a httle note, sir?" I asked im- 
ploringly. 

"No," he answered. "It is needless. My communication 
with Heathcliff's family shall be as sparing as his with mine. 
It shall not exist ! " 

Mr. Edgar's coldness depressed me exceedingly ; -and all the 
way from the Grange I puzzled my brains how to put more heart 
into what he said, when I repeated it ; and how to soften his 
refusal of even a few lines to console Isabella. I dare say she 



I40 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

had been on the watch for me since morning : I saw her looking 
through the lattice, as I came up the garden causeway, and I 
nodded to her ; but she drew back, as if afraid of being observed. 
I entered without knocking. There never was such a dreary, 
dismal scene as the formerly cheerful house presented ! I must 
confess, that if I had been in the young lady's place, I would, 
at least, have swept the hearth, and wiped the tables with a 
duster. But she already partook of the pervading spirit of 
neglect which encompassed her. Her pretty face was wan and 
listless ; her hair uncurled : some locks hanging lankly down, 
and some carelessly twisted round her head. Probably she had 
not touched her dress since yester evening. Hindley was not 
there. Mr. Heathchff sat at a table, turning over some papers 
in his pocket-book ; but he rose when I appeared, asked me how I 
did, quite friendly, and offered me a chair. He was the only thing 
there that seemed decent : and I thought he never looked better. 
So much had circumstances altered their positions, that he would 
certainly have struck a stranger as a born and bred gentleman ; 
and his wife as a thorough little slattern ! She came forward 
eagerly to greet me ; and held out one hand to take the expected 
letter. I shook my head. She wouldn't understand the hint, 
but followed me to a sideboard, where I went to lay my bonnet, 
and importuned me in a whisper to give her directly what I had 
brought. Heathcliff guessed the meaning of her manoeuvres, 
and said — ■ 

" If you have got anything for Isabella (as no doubt you have, 
Nelly), give it to her. You needn't make a secret of it ! we have 
no secrets between us. " 

" Oh, I have nothing," I replied, thinking it best to speak the 
truth at once. " My master bid me tell his sister that she must 
not expect either a letter or a visit from him at present. He 
sends his love, ma'am, and his wishes for your happiness, and 
his pardon for the grief you have occasioned ; but he thinks that 
after this time, his household and the household here should drop 
intercommunication, as nothing could come of keeping it up." 

Mrs. Heathcliff's lip quivered slightly, and she returned to 
her seat in the window. Her husband took his stand on the 
hearthstone, near me, and began to put questions concerning 
Catherine. I told him as much as I thought proper of her 
illness, and he extorted from me, by cross-examination, most 
of the facts connected with its origin. I blamed her, as she 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I4I 

deserved, for bringing it all on herself ; and ended by hoping 
that he would follow Mr. Linton's example and avoid future 
interference with his family, for good or evil. 

" Mrs. Linton is now just recovering," I said ; "she'll never 
be like she was, but her life is spared ; and if you really have a 
regard for her, you'll shun crossing her way again : nay, you'll 
move out of this country entirely ; and that you may not regret 
it, I'll inform you Catherine Linton is as different now from 
your old friend Catherine Earnshaw, as that young lady is 
different from me. Her appearance is changed greatly, her 
character much more so; and the person who is compelled, of 
necessity, to be her companion, will only sustain his affection 
hereafter by the remembrance of what she once was, by common 
humanity, and a sense of duty ! " 

" That is quite possible," remarked Heathcliff, forcing himself 
to seem calm: "quite possible that your master should have 
nothing but common humanity and a sense of duty to fall back 
upon. But do you imagine that I shall leave Catherine to his 
duty and hutnanity ? and can you compare my feelings respecting 
Catherine to his ? Before you leave this house, I must exact a 
promise from you, that you'll get me an interview with her : 
consent or refuse, I will see her ! What do you say?" 

" I say, Mr. Heathcliff," I replied, " you must not : you never 
shall, through my means. Another encounter between you and 
the master would kill her altogether." 

"With your aid, that may be avoided," he continued; and 
should there be danger of such an event — should he be the 
cause of adding a single trouble more to her existence — why, I 
think I shall be justified in going to extremes ! I wish you had 
sincerity enough to tell me whether Catherine would suffer greatly 
from his loss : the fear that she would restrains me. And there 
you see the distinctions between our feelings : had he been in 
my place, and I in his, though I hated him with a hatred that 
turned my life to gall, I never would have raised a hand against 
him. You may look incredulous, if you please I I never would 
have banished him from her society as long as she desired his. 
The moment her regard ceased, I would have torn his heart out, 
and drunk his blood ! But, till then— if you don't believe me, 
you don't know me — till then, I would have died by inches 
before I touched a single hair of his head ! " 

' • And yet," I interrupted, ' ' you have no scruples in completely 



143 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

ruining all hopes of her perfect restoration, by thrusting yourself 
into her remembrance now, when she has nearly forgotten you, 
and involving her in a new tumult of discord and distress." 

" You suppose she has nearly forgotten me?" he said. " Oh, 
Nelly ! you know she has not ! You know as well as I do, that 
for every thought she spends on Linton, she spends a thousand 
on me ! At a most miserable period of my life, I had a notion 
of the kind : it haunted me on my return to the neighbourhood 
last summer ; but only her own assurance could make me admit 
the horrible idea again. And then, Linton would be nothing, 
nor Hindley, nor all the dreams that ever I dreamt. Two words 
would comprehend my future — death and hell : existence, after 
losing her, would be hell. Yet I was a fool to fancy for a 
moment that she valued Edgar Linton's attachment more than 
mine. If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he 
couldn't love as nmch in eighty years as I could in a day. And 
Catherine has a heart as deep as I have: the sea could be as 
readily contained in that horse-trough, as her whole affection 
be monopolised by him ! Tush ! He is scarcely a degree 
dearer to her than her dog, or her horse. It is not in him to 
be loved like me : how can she love in him what he has 
not!" 

" Catherine and Edgar are as fond of each other as any two 
people can be," cried Isabella, with sudden vivacity. " No one 
has a right to talk in that manner, and I won't hear my brother 
depreciated in silence ! " 

"Your brother is wondrous fond of you too, isn't he?" ob- 
served Heathcliff scornfully. ' ' He turns you adrift on the 
world with surprising alacrity." 

" He is not aware of what I suffer," she replied. ' ' I didn't tell 
him that." 

' ' You have been telling him something, then : you have 
written, have you?" 

" To say that I was married, I did write — you saw the note." 

' ' And nothing since ? " 

"No." 

" My young lady is looking sadly the worse for her change of 
condition," I remarked. "Somebody's love comes short in her 
case, obviously : whose, I may guess ; but, perhaps, I shouldn't, 
say." 

" I should guess it was her own," said Heathchff. " She de- 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 145 

generates into a mere slut ! She is tired of trying to please me 
uncommonly early. You'd hardly credit it, but the very morrow 
of our wedding, she was weeping to go home. However, she'll 
suit this house so much the better for not being over nice, and 
I'll take care she does not disgrace me by rambling abroad." 

"Well, sir," returned I, "I hope you'll consider that Mrs. 
Heathcliff is accustomed to be looked after and waited on ; and 
that she has been brought up like an only daughter, whom every 
one was ready to serve. You must let her have a maid to keep 
things tidy about her, and you must treat her kindly. Whatever 
be your notion of Mr. Edgar, you cannot doubt that she has a 
capacity for strong attachments, or she wouldn't have abandoned 
the elegances, and comforts, and friends of her former home, to 
fix contentedly, in such a wilderness as this, with you." 

"She abandoned them under a delusion," he answered; 
"picturing in me a hero of romance, and expecting unlimited 
indulgences from my chivalrous devotion. I can hardly regard 
her in the light of a rational creature, so obstinately has she per- 
sisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character and acting 
on the false impressions she cherished. But, at last, I think 
she begins to know me : I don't perceive the silly smiles and 
grimaces that provoked me at first ; and the senseless incapa- 
bility of discerning that I was in earnest when I gave her my 
opinion of her infatuation and herself. It was a marvellous effort 
of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her. I believed, 
at one time, no lessons could teach her that ! And yet it is poorly 
learnt ; for this morning she announced, as a piece of appalling 
intelligence, that I had actually succeeded in making her hate 
me ! A positive labour of Hercules, I assure you ! If it be 
achieved, I have cause to return thanks. Can I trust your asser- 
tion, Isabella? Are you sure you hate me? If I let you alone 
for half a day, won't you come sighing and wheedling to me 
again ? I dare say she would rather I had seemed all tenderness 
before you : it wounds her vanity to have the truth exposed. 
But I don't care who knows that the passion was wholly on one 
side ; and I never told her a lie about it. She cannot accuse me 
of showing one bit of deceitful softness. The first thing she saw 
me do, on coming out of the Grange, was to hang'up her little 
dog ; and when she pleaded for it, the first words I uttered were 
a wish that I had the hanging of every being belonging to her, 
except one : possibly she took that exception for herself. But no 



144 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

brutality disgusted her : I suppose she has an innate admiration 
of it, if only her precious person were secure from injury ! Now, 
was it not the depth of absurdity— of genuine idiocy, for that 
pitiful, slavish, mean-minded brach to dream that I could love 
her? Tell your master, Nelly, that I never, in all my life, met 
with such an abject thing as she is. She even disgraces the 
name of Linton ; and I've sometimes relented, from pure lack of 
invention, in my experiments on what she could endure, and 
still creep shamefully cringing back ! But tell him, also, to set 
his fraternal and magisterial heart at ease : that I keep strictly 
within the limits of the law. I have avoided, up to this period, 
giving her the slightest right to claim a separation ; and, what's 
more, she'd thank nobody for dividng us. If she desired to go, 
she might : the nuisance of her presence outweighs the gi'ati- 
iication to be derived from tormenting her ! " 

" Mr. Heathcliff," said I, " this is the talk of a madman ; your 
wife, most likely, is convinced you are mad ; and, for that reason, 
she has borne with you hitherto : but now that you say she may 
go, she'll doubtless avail herself of the permission. You are not 
so bewitched, ma'am, are you, as to remain with him of your 
own accord ? " 

"Take care, Ellen!" answered Isabella, her eyes sparkling 
irefully ; there was no misdoubting by their expression the full 
success of her partner's endeavours to make himself detested. 
' ' Don't put faith in a single word he speaks. He's a lying fiend ! 
a monster, and not a human being ! I've been told I might 
leave him before; and I've made the attempt, but I dare not re- 
peat it ! Only, Ellen, promise you'll not mention a syllable of 
his infamous conversation to my brother or Catherine. What- 
ever he may pretend, he wishes to provoke Edgar to desperation: 
he says he has married me on purpose to obtain power over him ; 
and he shan't obtain it — I'll die first ! I just hope, I pray, that 
he may forget his diabolical prudence and kill me ! The single 
pleasure I can imagine is to die or to see him dead ! " 

"There — that will do for the present ! " said Heathcliff. " If 
you are called upon in a court of law, you'll remember her 
language, Nelly ! And take a good look at that countenance : 
she's near the point which would suit me. No ; you're not fit 
to be your own guardian, Isabella, now ; and I, being your legal 
protector, must retain you in my custody, however distasteful 
the obligation may be. Go upstairs ; I have something to say 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. ]f{. 

to Ellen Dean in private. That's not the way : upstairs, i tell 
you ! Why, this is the road upstairs, child ! " 

He seized, and thrust her from the room ; and returned 
muttering — 

' ' I have no pity ! I have no pity ! The more the worms writhe, 
the more I yearn to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teeth- 
ing ; and I grind with greater energy, in proportion to the in- 
crease of pain." 

"Do you understand what the word pity means?" I said, 
hastening to resume my bonnet. " Did you ever feel a touch of 
it in your life? " 

" Put that down ! " he interrupted, perceiving my intention to 
depart. " You are not going yet. Come here now, Nelly: I 
must either persuade or compel you to aid me in fulfilling my 
determination to see Catherine, and that without delay. I swear 
that I meditate no harm: I don't desire to cause any disturbance, 
or to exasperate or insult Mr. Linton ; I only wish to hear from 
herself how she is, and why she has been ill ; and to ask if any- 
thing that I could do would be of use to her. Last night, I was 
in the Grange garden six hours, and I'll return there to-night ; 
and every night I'll haunt the place, and every day, till I find an 
opportunity of entering. If Edgar Linton meets me, I shall not 
hesitate to knock him down, and give him enough to insure his 
quiescence while I stay. If his servants oppose me, I shall 
threaten them off with these pistols. But wouldn't it be better 
to prevent my coming in contact with them, or their master? 
And you could do it so easily. I'd warn you when I came, and 
then you might let me in unobserved, as soon as she was alone, 
and watch till I departed, your conscience quite calm : you 
would be hindering mischief." 

I protested against playing that treacherous part in my em- 
ployer's house: and, besides, I urged the cruelty and selfishness 
of his destroying Mrs. Linton's tranquilhty for his satisfaction. 
"The commonest occurrence startles her painfully," I said. 
"She's all nerves, and she couldn't bear the surprise, I'm positive. 
Don't persist, sir ! or else, I shall be obliged to inform my master 
of your designs; and he'll take measures to secure his house and 
its inmates from any such unwarrantable intrusions ! " 

" In that case, I'll take measures to secure you, woman! " ex- 
claimed Heathcliff ; " you shall not leave Wuthering Heights till 
to-morrow morning. It is a foolish story to assert that Catherine 



li^ WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

could not bear to see me ; nnd as to surprising her, I don't desire 
it : you must prepare her — ask her if I may come. You say she 
never mentions my name, and that I am never mentioned to her. 
To whom should she mention me if I am a forbidden topic in 
the house ? She thinks you are all spies for her husband. Oh, 
I've no doubt she's in hell among you ! I guess by her silence, 
as much as anything, what she feels. You say she is often rest- 
less, and anxious-looking: is that a proof of tranquillity? You 
talk of her mind being unsettled. How the devil could it be 
otherwise in her frightful isolation? And that insipid, paltry 
creature attending her from duty and hmnanity ! Yxoxa pity 
and charity ! He might as well plant an oak in a flower-pot, and 
expect it to thrive, as imagine he can restore her to vigour in the 
soil of his shallow cares ! Let us settle it at once : will you stay 
here, and am I to fight my way to Catherine over Linton and 
his footman ? Or will you be my friend, as you have been 
hitherto, and do what I request ? Decide ! because there is no 
reason for my lingering another minute, if you persist in your 
stubborn ill-nature ! " 

Well, Mr. Lockwood, I argued and complained, and flatly 
refused him fifty times ; but in the long run he forced me to an 
agreement. I engaged to carry a letter from him to my mistress ; 
and should she consent, I promised to let him have intelligence 
of Linton's next absence from home, when he might come, and 
get in as he was able : I wouldn't be there, and my fellow- 
servants should be equally out of the way. Was it right or 
wrong? I fear it was wrong, though expedient, I thought I 
prevented another explosion by my compliance ; and I thought, 
too, it might create a favourable crisis in Catherine's mental ill- 
ness : and then I remembered Mr. Edgar's stern rebuke of my 
carrying tales ; and I tried to smooth away all disquietude on the 
subject, by affirming, with frequent iteration, that that betrayal 
of trust, if it merited so harsh an appellation, should be the 
last. Notwithstanding, my journey homeward was sadder than 
my journey thither ; and many misgivings I had, ere I could 
prevail on myself to put the missive into Mrs, Linton's hand. 

But here is Kenneth ; I'll go down, and tell him how much 
better you are. My history is dree, as we say, and will serve to 
while away another morning. 

Dree, and dreary ! I reflected as the good woman descended 
to receive the doctor ; and not exactly of the kind which I should 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 47 

have chosen to amuse me. But never mind ! I'll extract whole- 
some medicines from Mrs. Dean's bitter herbs ; and firstly, let 
me beware the fascination that lurks in Catherine Heathchff's 
brilliant eyes. I should be in a curious taking if I surrendered 
my heart to that young person, and the daughter turned out a 
second edition of the mother ! 



CHAPTER XV. 

Another week over — and I am so many da3'S nearer health, and 
spring ! I have now heard all my neighbour's history, at dif- 
ferent sittings, as the housekeeper could spare time from more 
important occupations, I'll continue it in her own words, only 
a Uttle condensed. She is, on the whole, a very fair narrator, 
and I don't think I could improve her style. 

In the evening, she said, the evening of my visit to the Heights, 
I knew, as well as if I saw him, that 'Mr. Heathcliff was about 
the place ; and I shunned going out, because I still carried his 
letter in my pocket, and didn't want to be threatened or teased 
any more. I had made up my mind not to give it till my master 
went somewhere, as I could not guess how its receipt would 
affect Catherine. The consequence was, that it did not reach 
her before the lapse of three days. The fourth was Sunday, and 
I brought it into her I'oom after the family were gone to church. 
There was a man-servant left to keep the house with me, and we 
generally made a practice of locking the doors during the hours 
of service ; but on that occasion the weather was so warm and 
pleasant that I set them wide open, and, to fulfil my engagement, 
as I knew who would be coming, I told my companion that the 
mistress wished very much for some oranges, and he must run 
over to the village and get a few, to be paid for on the morrow. 
He departed, and I went upstairs. 

Mrs. Linton sat in a loose, white dress, with a light shawl 
over her shoulders, in the recess of the open window, as usual. 
Her thick, long hair, had been partly removed at the beginning 
of her illness, and now she wore it simply combed in its natural 
tresses over her temples and neck. Her appearance wag altered, 
as I had told Heathcliff; but when she was calm, there seemed 
unearthly beauty in the change. The flash of her eyes had been 
succeeded by a dreamy and melancholy softness ; they no longer 



148 WUTHERING HEIGHTS, 

gave the impression of looking at the objects around her : they 
appeared always to gaze beyond, and far beyond — you would 
have said out of this world. Then the paleness of her face — its 
haggard aspect having vanished as she recovered flesh — and the 
peculiar expression arising from her mental state, though pain- 
fully suggestive of their causes, added to the touching interest 
which she awakened ; and — invariably to me, I know, and to 
any person who saw her, I should think — refuted more tangible 
proofs of convalescence, and stamped her as one doomed to 
decay. 

A book lay spread on the sill before her, and the scarcely 
perceptible wind fluttered its leaves at intervals. I believe 
Linton had laid it there : for she never endeavoured to divert 
herself with reading, or occupation of any kind, and he would 
spend many an hour in trying to entice her attention to some 
subject which had formerly been her amusement. She was 
conscious of his aim, and in her better moods endured his 
efforts placidly, only showing their uselessness by now and then 
suppressing a wearied sigh, and checking him at last with the 
saddest of smiles and kisses. At other times, she would turn 
petulantly away, and hide her face in her hands, or even push 
him off angrily ; and then he took care to let her alone, for he 
was certain of doing no good. 

Gimmerton chapel bells were still ringing ; and the full, 
mellow flow of the beck in the valley came soothingly on the 
ear. It was a sweet substitute for the yet absent murmur of the 
summer foliage, which drowned that music about the Grange 
when the trees were in leaf. At Wuthering Heights it always 
sounded on quiet days following a great thaw or a season of 
steady rain. And of Wuthering Heights Catherine was think- 
ing as she listened : that is, if she thought or listened at all ; 
but she had the vague, distant look I mentioned before, 
which expressed no recognition of material things either by 
ear or eye. 

"There's a letter for you, Mrs. Linton," I said, gently in- 
serting it in one hand that rested on her knee. "You must 
read it immediately, because it wants an answer. Shall I break 
the seal?" "Yes," she answered, without altering the direction 
of her eyes. I opened it— it was very short. " Now," I con- 
tinued, " read it." She drew away her hand, and let it fall, I 
replaced it in her lap, and stood waiting till it should please her 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I49 

to glance down ; but that movement was so long delayed that at 
last I resumed — 

" Must I read it, ma'am? It is from Mr. Heathcliff." 

There was a start and a troubled gleam of recollection, and a 
struggle to arrange her ideas. She lifted the letter, and seemed 
to peruse it ; and when she came to the signature she sighed : 
yet still I found she had not gathered its import, for, upon my 
desiring to hear her reply, she merely pointed to the name, and 
gazed at me with mournful and questioning eagerness. 

"Well, he wishes to see you," said I, guessing her need of an 
interpreter. "He's in the garden by this time, and impatient to 
know what answer I shall bring." 

As I spoke, I observed a large dog lying on the sunny grass 
beneath raise its ears as if about to bark, and then smoothing 
them back, announce, by a wag of the tail, that some one ap- 
proached whom it did not consider a stranger. Mrs. Linton 
bent forward, and listened breathlessly. The minute after a 
step traversed the hall ; the open house was too tempting for 
Heathcliff to resist walking in : most likely he supposed that I 
was inclined to shirk my promise, and so resolved to trust to his 
own audacity. With straining eagerness Catherine gazed to- 
wards the entrance of her chamber. He did not hit the right 
room directly, she motioned me to admit him, but he found it 
out ere I could reach the door, and in a stride or two was at her 
side, and had her grasped in his arms. 

He neither spoke nor loosed his hold for some five minutes, 
during which period he bestowed more kisses than ever he gave 
in his life before, I dare say : but then my mistress had kissed 
him first, and I plainly saw that he could hardly bear, for down- 
right agony, to look into her face ! The same conviction had 
stricken him as me, from the instant he beheld her, that there 
was no prospect of ultimate recovery there — she was fated, sure 
to die. 

"Oh, Cathy ! Oh, my life ! how can I bear it ? " was the first 
sentence he uttered, in a tone that did not seek to disguise his 
despair. And now he stared at her so earnestly that I thought 
the very intensity of his gaze would bring tears into his eyes ; 
but they burned with anguish : they did not melt. 

"What now?" said Catherine, leaning back, and returning 
his look with a suddenly clouded brow : her humour was a mere 
vane for constantly varying caprices. "You and Edgar have 



1)0 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

broken my heart, Heathcliff ! And you both come to bewail the 
deed to me, as if you were the people to be pitied ! I shall not 
pity you, not I. You have killed me — and thriven on it, I think. 
How strong you are ! How many years do you mean to live 
after I am gone?" 

Heathcliff had knelt on one knee to embrace her ; lie at- 
tempted to rise, but she seized his hair, and kept him down. 

" I wish I could hold you," she continued bitterly, "till we 
were both dead ! I shouldn't care what you suffered. I care 
nothing for your sufferings. Why shouldn't j'cz^ suffer? I do ! 
Will you forget me? Will you be happy when I am in the 
earth ? Will you say twenty years hence, ' That's the grave of 
Catherine Earnshaw. I loved her long ago, and was wretched 
to lose her ; but it is past. I've loved many others since : my 
children are dearer to me than she was ; and at death, I shall 
not rejoice that I am going to her : I shall be sorry that I must 
leave them ! ' Will you say so, Heathcliff ? " 

" Don't torture me till I'm as mad as yourself," cried he, 
wrenching his head free, and grinding his teeth. 

The two, to a cool spectator, made a strange and fearful pic- 
ture. Well might Catherine deem that heaven would be a land 
of exile to her, unless with her mortal body she cast away her 
moral character also. Her present countenance had a wild vin- 
dictiveness in its white cheek, and a bloodless lip and scintillating 
eye ; and she retained in her closed fingers a portion of the locks 
she had been grasping. As to her companion, while raising him- 
self with one hand, he had taken her arm with the other ; and 
so inadequate was his stock of gentleness to the requirements of 
her condition, that on his letting go I saw four distinct im- 
pressions left blue in the colourless skin. 

"Are you possessed with a devil," he pursued savagely, "to 
talk in that manner to me when you are dying? Do you reflect 
that all those words will be branded in my memory, and eatinc 
deeper eternally after you have left me ? You know you lie to 
say I have killed you : and, Catherine, you know that I could as 
soon forget you as my existence ! Is it not sufficient for your 
infernal selfishness, that while you are at peace I shall writhe in 
the torments of hell?" 

"I shall not be at peace," moaned Catherine, recalled to a 
sense of physical weakness by the violent, unequal throbbing of 
her heart, which beat visibly and audibly under this excess of 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 15I 

agitation. She said nothing further till the paroxysm was over ; 
then she continued, more kindly — 

" I'm not wishing you greater torment than I have, Heathcliff. 
I only wish us never to be parted : and should a word of mine 
distress you hereafter, think I feel the same distress underground, 
and for my own sake, forgive me ! Come here and kneel down 
again ! You never harmed me in your life. Nay, if you nurse 
anger, that will be worse to remember than my harsh words ! 
Won't you come here again ? Do ! " 

Heathcliff went to the back of her chair, and leant over, but 
not so far as to let her see his face, which was livid with emo- 
tion. She bent round to look at him ; he would not permit it : 
turning abruptly, he walked to the fireplace, where he stood, 
silent, with his back towards us. Mrs. Linton's glance followed 
him suspiciously : every movement woke a new sentiment in her. 
After a pause and a prolonged gaze, she resumed ; addressing 
me in accents of indignant disappointment — 

"Oh, you see, Nelly, he would not relent a moment to keep 
me out of the grave. That is how I'm loved*! Well, never 
mind. That is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet ; and 
take him with me : he's in my soul. And," added she musingly, 
" the thing that irks me most is this shattered prison, after all. 
I'm tired of being enclosed here. I'm wearying to escape into 
that glorious world, and to be always there : not seeing it dimly 
through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching 
heart ; but really with it, and in it. Nelly, you think you are 
better and more fortunate than I ; in full health and strength : 
you are sorry for me — very soon that will be altered. I shall be 
sorry for you. I shall be incomparably beyond and above you 
all. I wonder he won't be near me ! " She went on to herself. 
' ' I thought he wished it. Heathcliff, dear ! you should not be 
sullen now. Do come to me, Heathcliff," 

In her eagerness she rose and supported herself on the arm of 
the chair. At that earnest appeal he turned to her, looking 
absolutely desperate. His eyes, wide and wet, at last flashed 
fiercely on her ; his breast heaved convulsively. An instant 
they held asunder, and then how they met I hardly saw, but 
Catherine made a spring, and he caught her, and they were 
locked in an embrace from which I thought my mistress would 
never be released alive : in fact, to my eyes, she seemed directly 
insensible. He flung himself into the nearest seat, and on my 



152 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

approaching hurriedly to ascertain if she had fainted, he gnashed 
at me, and foamed hke a mad dog, and gathered her to him 
with greedy jealousy. I did not feel as if I were in the company 
of a creature of my own species : it appeared that he would not 
understand, though I spoke to him ; so I stood off, and held 
my tongue, in great perplexity. 

A movement of Catherine's relieved me a little presently : she 
put up her hand to clasp his neck, and bring her cheek to his 
as he held her ; while he, in return, covering her with frantic 
caresses, said wildly — 

" You teach me now how cruel you've been — cruel and false. 
W/iy did you despise me? lV/i_y did you betray your own 
heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve 
this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and 
cry ; and ring out my kisses and tears : they'll blight you — 
they'll damn you. You loved me — then what r/^A^ had you to 
leave me? What right — answer me — for the poor fancy you 
felt for Linton? Because misery and degradation, and death, 
and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted 
VLS.jou, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart 
— yo2i have brolcen it ; and in breaking it, you have broken 
mine. So much the worse for me, that I am strong. Do I 
want to live? What kind of living will it be when you — oh, 
God ! would jj/<?« like to live with your soul in the grave?" 

" Let me alone. Let me alone," sobbed Catherine, " If I've 
done wrong, I'm dying for it. It is enough ! You left me too : 
but I won't upbraid you ! I forgive you. Forgive me ! " 

"It is hard to forgive, and to look at those eyes, and feel 
those wasted hands," he answered, " Kiss me again; and 
don't let me see your eyes ! I forgive what you have done to 
me. I love my murderer — but yonrs / How can I ? " 

They were silent — their faces hid against each other, and 
washed by each other's tears. At least, I suppose the weeping 
was on both sides ; as it seemed Heathcliff coii/d weep on a 
great occasion like this. 

I grew very uncomfortable, meanwhile ; for the afternoon wore 
fast away, the man whom I had sent off returned from his errand, 
and I could distinguish, by the shine of the western sun up the 
valley, a concourse thickening outside Gimmerton chapel porch. 

"Service is over," I announced. "My master will be here 
in half-an-hour." 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 53 

Heathcliff groaned a curse, and strained Catherine closer : 
she never moved. 

Ere long I perceived a group of the servants passing up the 
road towards the kitchen wing. Mr. Linton was not far behind ; 
he opened the gate himself and sauntered slowly up, probably 
enjoying the lovely afternoon that breathed as soft as summer. 

" Now he is here," I exclaimed. " For Heaven's sake, hurry 
down ! You'll not meet any one on the front stairs. Do be 
quick ; and stay among the trees till he is fairly in. " 

" I must go, Cathy," said Heathcliff, seeking to extricate 
himself from his companion's arms. " But if I live, I'll see you 
again before you are asleep. I won't stray five yards from yoiu* 
window." 

" You must not go ! " she answered, holding him as firmly as 
her strength allowed. " You shall not, I tell you." 

"For one hour," he pleaded earnestly. 

" Not for one minute," she replied. 

" I must — Linton will be up immediately," persisted the 
alarmed intruder. 

He would have risen, and unfi.xed her fingers by the act— she 
clung fast, gasping : there was mad resolution in her face. 

" No !" she shrieked. "Oh, don't, don't go. It is the last 
time ! Edgar will not hurt us. Heathcliff, I shall die ! I 
shall die ! " 

' ' Damn the fool ! There he is," cried Heathcliff, sinking back 
into his seat. "Hush, my darling! Hush, hush, Catherine! 
ril stay. If he shot me so, I'd expire with a blessing on my lips. " 

And there they were fast again. I heard my master mounting 
the stairs — the cold sweat ran from my forehead : I was horrified. 

" Are you going to listen to her ravings?" I said passionately. 
' ' She does not know what she says. Will you ruin her, because 
she has not wit to help herself? Get ap ! You could be free 
instantly. That is the most diabolical deed that ever you did. 
We are all done for — master, mistress, and servant." 

I wrung my hands, and cried out ; and Mr. Linton hastened 
his step at the noise. In the midst of my agitation, I was 
sincerely glad to observe that Catherine's arms had fallen 
relaxed, and her head hung down. 

"She's fainted or dead," I thought: "so much the better. 
Far better that she should be dead, than lingering a burden 
and a misery-maker to all about her." 



154 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Edgar sprang to his unbidden guest, blanched with astonish- 
ment and rage. What he meant to do, I cannot tell ; however, 
the other stopped all demonstrations, at once, by placing the 
lifeless-looking form in his arms. 

" Look there ! " he said ; "unless you be a fiend, help her first 
— then you shall speak to me ! " 

He walked into the parlour, and sat down. Mr. Linton 
summoned me, and with great difficulty, and after resorting to 
many means, we managed to restore her to sensation ; but she 
was all bewildered ; she sighed, and moaned, and knew nobody. 
Edgar, in his anxiety for her, forgot her hated friend, I did not. 
I went, at the earhest opportunity, and besought him to depart ; 
affirming that Catherine was better, and he should hear from me 
in the morning how she passed the night. 

" I shall not refuse to go out of doors," he answered ; "but I 
shall stay in the garden : and, Nelly, mind you keep your word 
to-morrow. I shall be under those larch trees. Mind ! or I pay 
another visit, whether Linton be in or not." 

He sent a rapid glance through the half-open door of the 
chamber, and, ascertaining that what I stated was apparently 
true, delivered the house of his luckless presence. 



CHAPTER XVL 

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 be- 
moaned 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 begin- 
ning 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 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I55 

and its occupant with a mellow, tender glow. Kdgar 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 par- 
took 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 alii 
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 inhabitants. 

Do you believe such people are happy in the other world, sir? 
I'd give a great deal to know. 

I declined answering Airs. Dean's question, which struck me 
as something heterodox. She proceeded — 

Retracing the course of Catherine Linton, I fear we have nc^ 
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 pro- 
tracted watch ; in reality, my chief motive was seeing Mr. Heath- 
cliff. 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 



156 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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 o^ 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 ground. 

" 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, attempt- 
ing a sneer. "Did she die like a saint! Come, give me a 
true history of the event. How did " 

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 humiliation." 

"Quietly as a lamb!" I answered aloud. "She drew a 
sigh, and stretched herself, like a child reviving, and sinking 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I $7 

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 to hear. 

" 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 vehe- 
mence, 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 can?iot live without my 
life ! I ca?inot 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 



1)8 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Tuesday, a little after dark, when my niaster, 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 together. 

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, out- 
side. It was dug on a green slope in a comer of the kirkyard, 
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 plaiR grey block at their feet, to 
mark the graves. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

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 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I 59 

driving flakes build up the uncurtained window, when the door 
opened, and some person entered, out of breath and laughing I 
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? 
\Vhat 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 ser\-ant 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 girhsh 
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 hght 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 pre- 
vented 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 en dry things ; and certainly you shall not go to Gim- 
merton to-night, so it is needless to order the carriage." 

" Certainly, I shall," she said ; "walking or riding : j-et 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 vrould 
let me touch her ; and not till after the coachman had been in- 
structed to get ready, and a maid set to pack up some necessary 
attire, did I obtain her consent for binding the wound and help- 
ing to change her garments. 



l6o WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" 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 shan'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 dis- 
order 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 shan't stay any longer." 

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 us. 

"I ought, and I wish 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 ! 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. l6l 

Do you think he could bear to see me grow fat and merry — could 
bear to tliink 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 earshot or eyesight : I notice, when I enter his 
presence, the muscles of his countenance are involuntarily dis- 
torted 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 ex- 
tinguished 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 some- 
how. 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 expe- 
rienced 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 revenge. 

"Yesterday, you know, Mr. Earnshaw should have been at 

F 



l62 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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 tuniblerfuls. 

" 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 upstairs to his chamber ; locking 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 con- 
cluding 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 hear Joseph's eternal lectures 
without u'eeping, 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 Heath- 
cliff 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 arrange- 
ments. 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 upstairs, 
witli the wild snow blowing outside, and my thoughts continually 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 63 

reverting to the kirkyard and the new-made grave ! I dared 
hardly hft 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 en- 
trance 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 lock, 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 dis- 
covered 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. Hcathchff, I'll ask you to do 



l64 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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 your- 
self, 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 ex- 
claimed 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, address- 
ing 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. Earn- 
shaw 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 hitn should Heathcliflf 
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 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. l6$ 

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 calls it. 

" ' 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 
Avere 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 be- 
tween two windows, and sprang in. His adversary had fallen 
senseless with excessive pain and the fiow 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, hold- 
ing 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 bodyx)n to the 
settle. There he tore off tlie 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. 



l66 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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 Heathcliflf, '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 mum- 
bling 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 brandy ! ' 

" ' 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 ! Jvlay the Lord ' 

" 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 oft" 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 re- 
capitulation 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 con- 
vinced him that he was alive still ; Joseph hastened to administer 
a dose of spirits, and by their succour his master presently re- 
gained motion and consciousness. Heathcliff, aw^are that his 
pppouent 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. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 167 

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. 

" Heathchff 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 sleep- 
lessness, 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 presump- 
tuous to add your torture to His ! " 

" 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 k7ww 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, 



l68 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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 shoulders ? ' 

" ' 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 struggle. 

"'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. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 69 

" I guessed he uttered those words, at least, though his voice 
was hardly intelligible. 

" ' 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 her ' 

" ' 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 nmst 
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 utter- 
ing ; 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, blest 
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 per- 
petual 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 de- 
scended 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 

F 3 



I/O WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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, peevish creature. 

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 
<Dften 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 maji 
reckon on that ! " 

Fortunately, its mother died before the time arrived ; some 
thirteen years after the decease of Catherine, when Linton ^vas 
twelve, or a little more. 

On the day succeeding Isabella's unexpected visit, I had no 
opportunity of speaking to my niaster : he shunned conversa- 
tion, and was fit for discussing nothing. When I could get him 
to listen, I saw it pleased him that his sister had left her hus- 
band ; whom he abhorred with an intensity which the mildness 
of his nature would scarcely seem to allow. So deep and sensi- 
tive 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 nrdcnt, tender love, and hopeful 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I71 

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 Heath- 
cliff had a habit of doing so. The little one was always Cathy ; 
it formed to him a distinction from the mother, and yet a con- 
nection 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 Earn- 
shaw, 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 chil- 
dren ; 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. Air. Lock- 
wood ; 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 my master. 

" W^ell, Nelly," said he, riding into the yai'd 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 think ? " 

" W^ho ? " I asked in a flurry. 



172 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" 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 need it." 

"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 re- 
solved 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. Be- 
sides, I reminded him that tlie 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 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 173 

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 be buried 
at the cross-roads, without ceremony of any kind. I happened 
to leave him ten minutes yesterday afternoon, and in that inter- 
val 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 snorting 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 about him ! " 

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' soart ! " 

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 vours than he is ! " 



174 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" 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 sub- 
stance 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 wronged. 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

The twelve years, continued Mrs. Dean, following that dismal 
period, were the happiest of my life : my greatest troubles in 
their passage rose from our little lady's trifling illnesses, which 
she had to experience in common with all children, rich and 
poor. For the rest, after the first six months, she grew Hke a 
larch, and could walk and talk too, in her own way, before the 
heath blossomed a second time over Mrs. Linton's dust. She 
was the most winning thing that ever brought sunshine into a 
desolate house : a real beauty in face, with the Earnshaws' hand- 
some dark eyes, but the Lintons' fair skin and small features, 
and yellow curling hair. Her spirit was high, though not rough, 
and qualified by a heart sensitive and lively to excess in its 
affections. That capacity for intense attachments reminded me of 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I75 

her mother : still she did not resemble her ; for she could be soft 
and mild as a dove, and she had a gentle voice and pensive 
expression : her anger was never furious ; her love never fierce : 
it was deep and tender. However, it must be acknowledged, 
she had faults to foil her gifts. A propensity to be saucy was 
one ; and a perverse will, that indulged children invariably 
acquire, whether they be good-tempered or cross. If a servant 
chanced to vex her, it was always — " I shall tell papa ! " And if 
he reproved her, even by a look, you would have thought it a 
heart-breaking business : I don't believe he ever did speak a 
harsh word to her. He took her education entirely on himself, 
and made it an amusement. Fortunately, curiosity and a quick 
intellect made her an apt scholar : she learned rapidly and 
eagerly, and did honour to his teaching. 

Till she reached the age of thirteen, she had not once been 
beyond the range of the park by herself. Mr. Linton would 
take her with him a mile or so outside, on rare occasions ; but 
he trusted her to no one else. Gimmerton was an unsubstantial 
name in her ears ; the chapel, the only building she had ap- 
proached or entered, except her own home. Wuthering Heights 
and Mr. Heathcliff did not exist for her : she was a perfect 
recluse ; and, apparently, perfectly contented. Sometimes, 
indeed, while surveying the country from her nursery window, 
she would observe — 

" Ellen, how long will it be before I can walk to the top of 
those hills? I wonder what lies on the other side — is it the 
sea?" 

"No, Miss Cathy," I would answer; "it is hills again, just 
like these." 

" And what are those golden rocks like when you stand under 
them ? " she once asked. 

The abrupt descent of Penistone Crags particularly attracted 
her notice ; especially when the setting sun shone on it and the 
topmost heights, and the whole extent of landscape besides lay 
in shadow. I explained that they were bare masses of stone, 
with hardly enough earth in their clefts to nourish a stunted tree. 

" And why are they bright so long after it is evening here? " 
she pursued. 

' ' Because they are a great deal higher up than we are," replied 
I; " you could not climb them, they are too high and steep. In 
winter the frost is always there before it comes to us ; and deep 



176 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

into summer I have found snow under that black hollow on the 
north-east side ! " 

" Oh, you have been on them ! " she cried gleefully. "Then 
I can go, too, when I am a woman. Has papa been, Ellen?" 

" Papa would tell you, miss," I answered hastily, " that they 
are not worth the trouble of visiting. The moors, where you 
ramble with him, are much nicer ; and Thrushcross Park is the 
finest place in the world." 

"But I know the park, and I don't know those," she mur- 
mured to herself. ' ' And I should delight to look round me from 
the brow of that tallest point : my little pony jSIinny shall take 
me some time." 

One of the maids mentioning the Fairy Cave, quite turned her 
head with a desire to fulfil this project : she teased Mr. Linton 
about it ; and he promised she should have the journey when 
she got older. But Miss Catherine measured her age by months, 
and, " Now, am I old enough to go to Penistone Crags?" was 
the constant question in her mouth. The road thither wound 
close by Wuthering Heights. Edgar had not the heart to pass 
it ; so she received as constantly the answer, ' ' Not yet, love : 
not yet." 

I said Mrs. Heathcliff lived above a dozen years after quitting 
her husband. Her family were of a delicate constitution : she 
and Edgar both lacked the ruddy health that you will generally 
meet in these parts. What her last illness was, I am not certain : 
I conjecture, they died of the same thing, a kind of fever, slow 
at its commencement, but incurable, and rapidly consuming life 
towards the close. She wrote to inform her brother of the pro- 
bable conclusion of a four month's indisposition under which she 
had suffered, and entreated him to come to her, if possible ; for 
she had much to settle, and she wished to bid him adieu, and 
deliver Linton safely into his hands. Her hope was, that Linton 
might be left with him, as he had been with her : his father, she 
would fain convince herself, had no desire to assume the burden 
of his maintenance or education. My master hesitated not a 
moment in complying with her request : reluctant as he was to 
leave home at ordinary calls, he flew to answer this ; commending 
Catherine to my peculiar vigilance, in his absence, with reiterated 
■orders that she must not wander out of the park, even under my 
escort : he did not calculate on her going unaccompanied. 

He was away three weeks. The first day or two, rny charge 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 77 

sat in a corner of the library, too sad for either reading or play- 
ing : in that quiet state she caused me Httle trouble ; but it was 
succeeded by an interval of impatient fretful weariness ; and being 
too busy, and too old then, to run up and down amusing her, I 
hit on a method by which she might entertain herself. I used to 
send her on her travels round the grounds — now on foot, and 
now on a pony ; indulging her with a patient audience of all 
her real and imaginary adventures, when she returned. 

The summer shone in full prime ; and she took such a taste 
for this solitary rambling that she often contrived to remain out 
from breakfast till tea ; and then the evenings were spent in re- 
counting her fanciful tales. I did not fear her breaking bounds ; 
because the gates were generally locked, and I thought she would 
scarcely venture forth alone, if they had stood wide open. Un- 
luckily, my confidence proved misplaced. Catherine came to me, 
one morning, at eight o'clock, and said she was that day an 
Arabian merchant, going to cross the Desert with his caravan ; 
and I must give her plenty of provision for herself and beasts : 
a horse, and three camels, personated by a large hound and a 
couple of pointers. I got together good store of dainties, and 
slung them in a basket on one side of the saddle ; and she 
sprang up as gay as a fairy, sheltered by her wide-brimmed hat 
and gauze veil from the July sun, and trotted off with a merry 
laugh, mocking my cautious counsel to avoid galloping, and 
come back early. The naughty thing never made her appear- 
ance at tea. One traveller, the hound, being an old dog and 
fond of its ease, returned ; but neither Cathy, nor the pony, nor 
the two pointers were visible in any direction : I despatched 
emissaries down this path, and that path, and at last went 
wandering in search of her myself. There was ^ labourer work- 
ing at a fence round a plantation, on the borders of the grounds. 
I inquired of him if he had seen our young lady. 

" I saw her at morn," he replied ; " she would have me to cut 
her a hazel switch, and then she leapt her Galloway over the 
hedge yonder, where it is lowest, and galloped out of sight." 

You may guess how I felt at hearing this news. It struck me 
directly she must have started for Penistone Crags. "What 
will become of her?" I ejaculated, pushing through a gap 
which the man was repairing, and making straight to the high- 
road. I walked as if for a wager, mile after mile, till a turn 
brought me in view of the Heights ; but no Catherine could I 



178 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

detect far or near. The Crags lie about a mile and a half be- 
yond Mr. Heathcliff' s place, and that is four from the Grange, 
so I began to fear night would fall ere I could reach them. 
"And what if she should have slipped in clambering among 
them," I reflected, "and been killed, or broken some of her 
bones?" My suspense was truly painful ; and, at first, it gave 
me delightful relief to observe, in hurrying by the farmhouse, 
Charlie, the fiercest of the pointers, lying under a window, with 
swelled head and bleeding ear. I opened the wicket and ran to 
the door, knocking vehemently for admittance. A woman whom 
I knew, and who formerly lived at Gimmerton, answered : she 
had been servant there since the death of Mr. Earnshaw. 

" Ah," said she, "you are come a seeking your little mistress I 
don't be frightened. She's here safe : but I'm glad it isn't the 
master." 

" He is not at home then, is he? " I panted, quite breathless 
with quick walking and alarm. 

" No, no," she replied : " both he and Joseph are off, and I 
think they won't return this hour or more. Step in and rest you 
a bit." 

I entered, and beheld my stray lamb seated on the hearth, 
rocking herself in a little chair that had been her mother's when 
a child. Her hat was hung against the wall, and she seemed 
perfectly at home, laughing and chattering, in the best spirits 
imaginable, to Hareton — now a great, strong lad of eighteen — 
who stared at her with considerable curiosity and astonishment': 
comprehending precious little of the fluent succession of remarks 
and questions which her tongue never ceased pouring forth. 

" Very well, miss I " I exclaimed, concealing my joy under an 
angry countenance. "This is your last ride, till papa comes 
back. I'll not trust you over the threshold again, you naughty, 
naughty girl ! " 

"Aha, Ellen!" she cried gaily, jumping up and running to 
my side. " I shall have a pretty story to tell to-night : and so 
you've found me out. Have you ever been here in your life 
before ? " 

" Put that hat on, and home at once," said I. " I'm dread- 
fully grieved at you. Miss Cathy : you've done extremely wrong. 
It's no use pouting and crying: that won't repay the trouble I've 
had, scouring the country after you. To think how Mr. Linton 
charged me to keep you in ; and you stealing off so ! it shows 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 79 

you are a cunning' little fox, and nobody will put faith in you 
any more." 

"What have I done ?" sobbed she, instantly checked. " Papa 
charged me nothing : he'll not scold me, Ellen — he's never cross, 
like you ! " 

" Come, come ! " I repeated. " I'll tie the riband. Now, let 
us have no petulance. Oh, for shame ! You thirteen years old, 
and such a baby ! " 

This exclamation was caused by her pushing the hat from her 
head, and retreating to the chimney out of my reach. 

" Nay," said the servant, " don't be hard on the bonny lass, 
Mrs. Dean. We made her stop : she'd fain have ridden for- 
wards, afeard you should be uneasy. Hareton offered to go with 
her, and I thought he should : it's a wild road over the hills." 

Hareton, during the discussion, stood with his hands in his 
pockets, too awkward to speak ; though he looked as if he did 
not relish my intrusion. 

"How long am I to wait?" I continued, disregarding the 
woman's interference. " It will be dark in ten minutes. Where 
is the pony, Miss Cathy ? And where is Phoenix ? I shall leave 
you, unless you be quick ; so please yourself." 

" The pony is in the yard," she replied, " and Phoenix is shut 
in there. He's bitten— and so is Charlie. I was going to tell 
you all about it ; but you are in a bad temper, and don't deserve 
to hear." 

I picked up her hat, and approached to reinstate it ; but per- 
ceiving that the people of the house took her part, she commenced 
capering round the room ; and on my giving chase, ran like a 
mouse over and under and behind the furniture, rendering it 
ridiculous for me to pursue. Hareton and the woman laughed, 
and she joined them, and waxed more impertinent still ; till I 
cried, in great irritation — 

"Well, Miss Cathy, if you were aware whose house this is, 
you'd be glad enough to get out." 

" It's yo?(r father's, isn't it?" said she, turning to Hareton. 

" Nay," he replied, looking down, and blushing bashfully. 

He could not stand a steady gaze from her eyes, though they 
were just his own. 

"Whose then — your master's?" she asked. 

He coloured deeper, with a different feeling, muttered an oath, 
and turned away. 



l8o WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"Who is his master ?" continued the tiresome girl, appeal- 
ing to me. " He talked about ' our house,' and ' our folk.' I 
thought he had been the owner's son. And he never said, Miss ; 
he should have done, shouldn't he, if he's a servant?" 

Hareton grew black as a thunder-cloud, at this childish 
speech. I silently shook my questioner, and at last succeeded 
in equipping her for departure. 

"Now, get my horse," she said, addressing her unknown 
kinsman as she would one of the stable-boys at the Grange. 
" And you may come with me. I want to see where the goblin- 
hunter rises in the marsh, and to hear about the fairishes, as 
you call them : but make haste ! What's the matter ? Get my 
horse, I say." 

" I'll see thee damned before I be thy servant ! " growled the 
lad. 

" You'll see me zvhatf" asked Catherine in surprise. 

" Damned — thou saucy witch ! " he replied. 

" There, Miss Cathy ! you see you have got into pretty com- 
pany," I interposed. " Nice words to be used to a young lady ! 
Pray don't begin to dispute with him. Come, let us seek for 
Minny ourselves, and begone." 

" But, Ellen," cried she, staring, fixed in astonishment, " how 
dare he speak so to me ? Mustn't he be made to do as I ask 
him? You wicked creature, I shall tell papa what you said. — 
Now, then ! " 

Hareton did not appear to feel this threat ; so the tears 
sprang into her eyes with indignation. " You bring the pony,' 
she exclaimed, turning to the woman, " and let my dog free this 
moment ! " 

" Softly, miss," answered she addressed : " you'll lose nothing 
by being civil. Though Mr. Hareton, there, be not the master's 
son, he's your cousin ; and I was never hired to serve you." 

"He my cousin ! " cried Cathy, with a scornful laugh. 

"Yes, indeed," responded her reprover. 

" Oh, Ellen ! don't let them say such things," she pursued, in 
great trouble. " Papa is gone to fetch my cousin from London : 
my cousin is a gentleman's son. That my " — she stopped, and 
wept outright ; upset at the bare notion of relationship with such 
a clown. 

" Hush, hush ! " I whispered, " people can have many cousins, 
and of all sorts. Miss Cathy, without being any the worse for it ; 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. l8l 

only they needn't keep their company, if they be disagreeable 
and bad. " 

" He's not — he's not my cousin, Ellen ! " she went on, gather- 
ing fresh grief from reflection, and flinging herself into my arms 
for refuge from the idea. 

I was much vexed at her and the servant for their mutual 
revelations ; having no doubt of Linton's approaching arrival, 
communicated by the former, being reported to Mr. Heathcliff r 
and feeling as confident that Catherine's first thought on her 
father's return, would be to seek an explanation of the latter's 
assertion concerning her rude-bred kindred. Hareton, recover- 
ing from his disgust at being taken for a servant, seemed moved 
by her distress ; and, having fetched the pony round to the door, 
he took, to propitiate her, a fine crooked-legged terrier-whelp- 
from the kennel, and putting it into her hand bid her whist ! for 
he meant nought. Pausing in her lamentations, she surveyed 
him with a glance of awe and horror, then burst forth anew. 

I could scarcely refrain from smiling at this antipathy to the 
poor fellow ; who was a well-made, athletic youth, good-looking 
in features, and stout and healthy, but attired in garments be- 
fitting his daily occupations of working on the farm, and loung- 
ing among the moors after rabbits and game. Still, I thought I 
could detect in his physiognomy a mind owning better qualities 
than his father ever possessed. Good things lost amid a wilder- 
ness of weeds, to be sure, whose rankness far overtopped their 
neglected growth ; yet, notwithstanding, evidence of a wealthy 
soil, that might yield luxuriant crops under other and favourable 
circumstances. Mr. Heathcliff, I believe, had not treated him 
physically ill ; thanks to his fearless nature, which offered no 
temptation to that course of oppression : he had none of the 
timid susceptibility that would have given zest to ill-treatment, 
in Heathcliff's judgment. He appeared to have bent his male- 
volence on making him a brute : he was never taught to read or 
write ; never rebuked for any bad habit which did not annoy his 
keeper ; never led a single step towards virtue, or guarded by a 
single precept against vice. And from what I heard, Joseph 
contributed much to his deterioration, by a narrow-minded 
partiality which prompted him to flatter and pet him, as a boy, 
because he was the head of the old family. And as he had been 
in the habit of accusing Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, 
when children, of putting the master past his patience, and 



1 82 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

compelling him to seek solace in drink by what he termed their 
" offalld ways," so at present he laid the whole burden of Hare- 
ton's faults on the shoulders of the usurper of his property. If 
the lad swore, he wouldn't correct him : nor however culpably 
he behaved. It gave Joseph satisfaction, apparently, to watch 
him go the worst lengths : he allowed that the lad was ruined : 
that his soul was abandoned to perdition ; but then, he reflected 
that Heathcliff must answer for it. Hareton's blood would be 
required at his hands ; and there lay immense consolation in 
that thought. Joseph had instilled into him a pride of name, and 
of his lineage ; he would, had he dared, have fostered hate 
between him and the present owner of the Heights : but his 
dread of that owner amounted to superstition ; and he confined 
his feelings regarding him to muttered innuendoes and private 
comminations. I don't pretend to be intimately acquainted with 
the mode of living customary in those days at Wuthering 
Heights : I only speak from hearsay ; for I saw little. The 
villagers affirmed iMr. Heathcliff was near, and a cruel hard 
landlord to his tenants ; but the house, inside, had regained its 
ancient aspect of comfort under female management, and the 
scenes of riot common in Hindley's time were not now enacted 
within its walls. The master was too gloomy to seek com- 
panionship with any people, good or bad ; and he is yet. 

This, however, is not making progress with my story. Miss 
Cathy rejected the peace-offering of the terrier, and demanded 
lier own dogs, Charlie and Phoenix. They came limping, and 
hanging their heads ; and we set out for home, sadly out of sorts, 
every one of us. I could not wring from my little lady how she 
had spent the day ; except that, as I supposed, the goal of her 
I)ilgrimage was Penistone Crags ; and she arrived without adven- 
ture to the gate of the farmhouse, when Hareton happened to 
issue forth, attended by some canine followers, who attacked her 
train. They had a smart battle, before their owners could separate 
ihem : that formed an introduction. Catherine told Hareton who 
she was, and where she was going ; and asked him to show her 
the way : finally, beguiling him to accompany her. He opened 
the mysteries of the Fairy Cave, and twenty other queer places. 
But, being in disgrace, I was not favoured with a description of 
the interesting objects she saw. I could gather, however, that 
lier guide had been a favourite till she hurt his feelings by 
addressing him as a servant ; and Heathcliff's housekeeper hurt 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 83 

hers by calling him her cousin. Then the language he had held 
to her rankled in her heart ; she who was always "love," and 
"darling," and "queen," and "angel," with everybody at the 
Grange, to be insulted so shockingly by a stranger ! She did not 
comprehend it ; and hard work I had to obtain a promise that she 
would not lay the grievance before her father. I explained how 
he objected to the whole household at the Heights, and how 
sorry he would be to find she had been there ; but I insisted 
most on the fact, that if she revealed my negligence of his orders, 
he would perhaps be so angry, that I should have to leave ; and 
Cathy couldn't bear that prospect: she pledged her word, and 
kept it, for my sake. After all, she was a sweet little girl. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

A LETTER, edged with black, announced the day of my master's 
return. Isabella was dead ; and he wrote to bid me get mourn- 
ing for his daughter, and arrange a room, and other accommoda- 
tions, for his youthful nephew. Catherine ran wild with joy at 
the idea of welcoming her father back ; and indulged most san- 
guine anticipations of the innumerable excellences 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 deligiUful 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 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. 



184 WUTHERING HEIGHT.^. 

' ' 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. jMiss 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 re- 
semblance : but there was a sickly peevishness in his aspect, that 
Edgar Linton never had. The latter saw me looking ; and hav- 
ing 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 servants. 

"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 up 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 ! " 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 85 

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 uncle patiently. 

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 1 " I mused to myself ; and sore mis- 
givings came over me that there was slight hope of that. And 
then, I thought, however 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 lea 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 the master. 

" 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 



1 86 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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 mat. 

"Good evening, Joseph," I said coldly. "What business 
brings you here to-night?" 

" It's Maister Linton I mun spake to," he answered, waving 
me disdainfully aside. 

" Mr. Linton is going to bed ; unless 3'ou have something par- 
ticular 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." 

" AYhich is his rahm?" pursued the fellow, surveying the 
range of closed doors. 

I perceived he was bent on refusing my mediation, so very 
reluctantly I went up to the library, and announced the unseason- 
able 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 precarious." 

" 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 hev his lad ; und I mun tak him — soa now ve knaw ! " 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. J 8/ 

"You shall not to-night!" answered Linton decisively. 
"Walk downstairs at once, and repeat to your master what I 
have said. Ellen, show him down. Go " 

And, aiding the indignant elder with a lift by the arm, he rid 
the room of him, and closed the door. 

' ' \\irrah weell ! " shouted Joseph, as he slowly drew off. ' ' To- 
morn, he's come hisseln, and thrust him out, if ye darr !" 



CHAPTER XX. 

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 us." 

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 travelhng ; 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, ^^'here does he live ? I'd rather 
stay with uncle." 

" He hves a Httle 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 you." 

"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?" perse- 



l88 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

vered 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 saw 
yesterday?" 

" 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 coa.xing 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 ques- 
tions 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 dryer. You will, per- 
haps, 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 Earn- 
shaw — that is Miss Cathy's other cousin, and so yours in a man- 
ner — 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." 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 89 

" And what is my flither 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, survey- 
ing with regret the w^hite complexion and slim frame of my com- 
panion, 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 sum- 
mer, 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 farm-house 
garden gate. I watched to catch his impressions in his counte- 
nance. He surveyed the carved front and low-browed lattices, 
the stragghng gooseberry bushes 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 the hay-field. 

" Hallo, Nelly ! " said Mr. Heathcliff, when he saw me. " I 
feared I should have to come down and fetch my propert)" 



190 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

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 curiosit3^ 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 lass ! " 

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. "Haven'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. Heath- 
cliff'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 him- 
self that the limbs were all equally frail and feeble. 

" No," said Linton, with a gaze of vacant fear. 

" You've heard of me, I dare say?" 

" No," he replied again. 

" No ! W^hat 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 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. IQI 

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," rephed 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 veiy kind to him, you needn't fear," he said, laughing. 
" Only nobody else must be kind to him : I'm jealous of mono- 
polising 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. Be- 
sides, he's 7nine, and I want the triumph of seeing ;/;;' descendant 
fairly lord of their estates : my child hiring their children to till 
their father's 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 considera- 
tion is sufficient : he's as safe with me, and shall be tended as 
carefully as your master tends his own. I have a room upstairs, 
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 wretch ! " 

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 m.eant 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 eneugh for him's gooid cneugh 
for ye, I's rayther think ! " 



192 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"I shall t eat it!" answered Linton snappishly. "Take it 
away." 

Joscpli snatched up the food indignantly, and brought it to us. 

"Is there aught ails th' victuals?" he asked, thrusting the 
tray under Heathcliff 's nose. 

" What should ail them?" he said. 

" 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 Heath- 
cliff'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. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

We had sad work with little Cathy that day ; she rose in high 
glee, eager to join her cousin, and such passionate tears and 
lamentations followed the news of his departure, that Edgar him- 
self was obliged to soothe her, by affirming he should come back 
soon : he added, however, " if I can get him ; " and there were 
no hopes of that. This promise poorly pacified her : but time 
was more potent ; and though still at intervals she inquired of 
her father when Linton would return, before she did see him 
again his features had waxed so dim in her memory that she 
did not recognise him. 

When I chanced to encounter the housekeeper of Wuthering 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 93 

Heights, in paying business-visits to Gimmerton, I used to ask 
how the young master got on ; for he Hved almost as secluded as 
Catherine herself, and was never to be seen. I could gather from 
her that he continued in weak health, and was a tiresome inmate. 
She said Mr. Heathcliff seemed to dislike him ever longer and 
worse, though he took some trouble to conceal it : he had an 
antipathy to the sound of his voice, and could not do at. all with 
his sitting in the same room with him many minutes together. 
There seldom passed much talk between them : Linton learnt his 
lessons and spent his evenings in a small apartment they called 
the parlour : or else lay in bed all day : for he was constantly 
getting coughs, and colds, and aches, and pains of some sort, 

"And I never knew such a faint-hearted creature," added the 
woman ; " nor one so careful of hisseln. He will go on, if I leave 
the window open a bit late in the evening. Oh ! it's killing ! a 
breath of night air ! And he must have a fire in the middle of 
summer ; and Joseph's bacca pipe is poison ; and he must always 
have sweets and dainties, and always milk, milk for ever — heed- 
ing naught how the rest of us are pinched in winter ; and there 
lie'U sit, wrapped in his furred cloak in his chair by the fire, with 
some toast and water or other slop on the hob to sip at ; and if 
Hareton, for pity, comes to amuse him — Hareton is not bad- 
natured, though he's rough — they're sure to part, one swearing 
and the other crying. I believe the master would relish Earn- 
shaw's thrashing him to a mummy, if he were not his son ; and 
I'm certain he would be fit to turn him out of doors, if he knew 
half the nursing he gives hisseln. But then, he won't go into 
danger of temptation : he never enters the parlour, and should 
Linton show those ways in the house where he is, he sends him 
upstairs directly." 

I divined, from this account, that utter lack of sympathy had 
rendered young Heathcliff selfish and disagreeable, if he were 
not so originally ; and my interest in him, consequently, decayed : 
though still I was moved with a sense of grief at his lot, and a 
wish that he had been left with us. Mr. Edgar encouraged me 
to gain information : he thought a great deal about him, I fancy, 
and would have run some risk to see him ; and he told me once 
to ask the housekeeper whether he ever came into the village ? 
She said he had only been twice, on horseback, accohipanying 
his father, and both times he pretended to be quite knocked up 
for three or four days afterwards. That housekeeper left, if I 



194 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

recollect rightly, two years after he came ; and another, whom 
I did not know, was her successor : she lives there still. 

Time wore on at the Grange in its former pleasant way, till 
Miss Cathy reached sixteen. On the anniversary of her birth we 
never manifested any signs of rejoicing, because it was also the 
anniversary of my late mistress's death. Her father invariably 
spent that day alone in the library ; and walked, at dusk, as far 
as Gimmerton kirkyard, where he would frequently prolong his 
stay beyond midnight. Therefore Catherine was thrown on her 
own resources for amusement. This 20th of March was a beauti- 
ful spring day, and when her father had retired, my young lady 
came down dressed for going out, and said she asked to have 
a ramble on the edge of the moor with me : Mr. Linton had 
given her leave, if we went only a short distance and were back 
within the hour. 

" So make haste, Ellen ! " she cried. " I know where I wish 
to go ; where a colony of moor game are settled : I want to see 
whether they have made their nests yet." 

"That must be a good distance up," I answered; "they 
don't breed on the edge of the moor." 

" No, it's not," she said. " I've gone very near with papa." 

I put on my bonnet and sallied out, thinking nothing more of 
the matter. She bounded before me, and returned to my side, 
and was off again like a young greyhound ; and, at first, I found 
plenty of entertainment in listening to the lai'ks singing far and 
near, and enjoying the sweet, warm sunshine ; and watching her, 
my pet, and my delight, with her golden ringlets flying loose 
behind, and her bright cheek, as soft and pure in its bloom as a 
wild rose, and her eyes radiant witla cloudless pleasure. She 
was a happy creature, and an angel, in those days. It's a pity 
she could not be content. 

" Well," said I, " where are your moor-game. Miss Cathy? 
We should be at them : the Grange park-fence is a great ?/ay 
off now." 

"Oh, a little further— only a little further, Ellen," was her 
answer continually. "Climb to that hillock, pass that bank, 
and by the time you reach the other side I shall have raised 
the birds." 

But there were so many hillocks and banks to climb and pass, 
that, at length, I began to be weary, and told her we must halt, 
and retrace our steps. I shouted to her, as she had outstripped 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 95 

me a long way ; she either did not iiear or did not regard, for 
she still sprang on, and I was compelled to follow. Finally, she 
dived into a hollow ; and before I came in sight of her again, 
she was two miles nearer Wuthering Heights than her own 
home ; and I beheld a couple of persons arrest her, one of whom 
I felt convinced was IMr. Heathcliff himself. 

Cathy had been caught in the fact of plundering, or, at least, 
hunting out the nests of the grouse. The Heights were Heath- 
cliff's land, and he was reproving the poacher. 

" I've neither taken any nor found any," she said, as I toiled 
to them, expanding her hands in corroboration of the statement. 
" I didn't mean to take them ; but papa told me there were 
quantities up here, and I wished to see the eggs." 

Heathcliff glanced at me with an ill-meaning smile, expressing 
his acquaintance with the party, and, consequently, his male- 
volence towards it, and demanded who " papa" was? 

"Mr. Linton of Thrushcross Grange," she rephed. "I 
thought you did not know me, or you wotildn't have spoken 
in that way." 

" You suppose papa is highly esteemed and respected then? " 
he said sarcastically. 

" And what are you?" inquired Catherine, gazing curiously 
on the speaker. ' ' That man I've seen before. Is he your son ? " 

She pointed to Hareton, the other individual, who had gained 
nothing but increased bulk and strength by the addition of two 
years to his age : he seemed as awkward and rough as ever. 

" Miss Cathy," I interrupted, " it will be three hours instead 
of one that we are out, presently. We really must go back." 

" No, that man is not my son," answered Heathcliff, pushing 
me aside. " But I have one, and you have seen him before too ; 
and, though your nurse is in a hurry, I think both you and she 
would be the better for a little rest. Will you just turn this nab 
of heath, and walk into my house? You'll get home earlier for 
the ease ; and you shall receive a kind welcome." 

I whispered Catherine that she mustn't, on any account, accede 
to the proposal : it was entirely out of the question. 

"Why?" she asked, aloud. " I'm tired of running, and the 
ground is dewy : I can't sit here. Let us go, Ellerh Besides, 
he says I have seen his son. He's mistaken, I think ; but I guess 
where he lives : at the farm-house I visited in coming from 
Pcnistone Crags. Don't you ? " 



196 WUTHERINC; HEIGHTS. 

" I do. Come, Nelly, hold your tongue — it will be a treat for 
her to look in on us. Hareton, get forwards with the lass. You 
shall walk with me, Nelly." 

" No, she's not going to any such place," I cried, struggling 
to release my arm, which he had seized : but she was almost at 
the door-stones already, scampering round the brow at full speed. 
Her appointed companion did not pretend to escort her : he shied 
off by the road-side, and vanished. 

"Mr. Heathcliff, it's very wrong," I continued: "you know 
you mean no good. And there she'll see Linton, and all will be 
told as soon as ever we return ; and I shall have the blame." 

" I want her to see Linton," he answered ; " he's looking better 
these few days : it's not often he's fit to be seen. And we'll soon 
persuade her to keep the visit secret : where is the harm of it?" 

" The harm of it is, that her father would hate me if he found I 
suffered her to enter your house ; and I am convinced you have 
a bad design in encouraging her to do so," I replied. 

" My design is as honest as possible. I'll inform you of its 
whole scope," he said. " That the two cousins may fall in love, 
and get married. I'm acting generously to your master: his 
young chit has no expectations, and should she second my wishes, 
she'll be provided for at once as joint successor with Linton." 

" If Linton died," I answered, "and his life is quite uncertain, 
Catherine would be the heir." 

" No, she would not," he said. "There is no clause in the will 
to secure it so : his property would go to me ; but, to prevent 
disputes, I desire their union, and am resolved to bring it about." 

" And I'm resolved she shall never approach your house with 
me again," I returned, as we reached the gate, where Miss Cathy 
waited our coming. 

Heathcliff bade me be quiet ; and, preceding us up the path, 
hastened to open the door. My young lady gave him several 
looks, as if she could not exactly make up her mind what to 
think of him ; but now he smiled when he met her eye, and 
softened his voice in addressing her ; and I was foolish enough 
to imagine the memory of her mother might disarm him from 
desiring her injury. Linton stood on the hearth. He had been 
out walking in the fields, for his cap was on, and he was calling 
to Joseph to bring him dry shoes. He had grown tall of his age, 
still wanting some months of sixteen. His features were pretty 
yet, and his eye and complexion brighter than I remembered 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 97 

them, though with merely temporary lustre borrowed from the 
salubrious air and genial sun. 

"Now, who is that?" asked Mr. Heathcliff, turning to 
Cathy. ' ' Can you tell ? " 

"Your son?" she said, having doubtfully surveyed, first one 
and then the other. 

"Yes, yes," answered he : " but is this the only time you have 
beheld him? Think! Ah! you have a short memory. Linton, 
don't you recall your cousin, that you used to tease us so with 
wishing to see?" 

"What, Linton!" cried Cathy, kindling into joyful surprise 
at the name. "Is that little Linton? He's taller than I am ! 
Are you Linton ? " 

The youth stepped forward, and acknowledged himself: she 
kissed him fervently, and they gazed with wonder at the change 
time had wrought in the appearance of each. Catherine had 
reached her full height ; her figure was both plump and slender, 
elastic as steel, and her whole aspect sparkling with health and 
spirits. Linton's looks and movements were very languid, and 
his form extremely slight ; but there was a grace in his manner 
that mitigated these defects, and rendered him not unpleasing. 
After exchanging numerous marks of fondness with him, his 
cousin went to Mr. Heathcliff, who lingered by the door, 
dividing his attention between the objects inside and those that 
lay without : pretending, that is, to observe the latter, and 
really noting the former alone. 

"And you are my uncle, then !" she cried, reaching up to 
salute him. " I thought I liked you, though you were cross at 
first. Why don't you visit at the Grange with Linton ? To hve 
all these years such close neighbours, and never see us, is odd : 
what have you done so for?" 

" I visited it once or twice too often before you were born," he 
answered. ' ' There — damn it ! If you have any kisses to spare, 
give them to Linton: they are thrown away on me." 

" Naughty Ellen ! " exclaimed Catherine, flying to attack me 
next with her lavish caresses. "Wicked Ellen ! to try to hinder 
me from entering. Rut I'll take this walk every morning in 
future: may I, uncle? and sometimes bring papa. ^Won't you 
be glad to see us?" 

"Of course!" replied the uncle, with a hardly suppressed 
grimace, resulting from his deep aversion to both the proposed 



198 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

visitors. " But stay," he continued, turning towards the young 
lady. " Now I tliink of it, I'd better tell you. Mr. Linton has 
a prejudice against me : we quarrelled at one time of our lives, 
with unchristian ferocity ; and, if you mention coming here to him, 
he'll put a veto on your visits altogether. Therefore, you must 
not mention it, unless you be careless of seeing your cousin here- 
after : you may come, if you will, but you must not mention it." 

"Why did you quarrel ? " asked Catherine, considerably crest- 
fallen, 

" He thought me too poor to wed his sister," answered Heath- 
cliff, " and was grieved that I got her : his pride was hurt, and 
he'll never forgive it." 

" That's wrong ! " said the young lady : " some time, I'll tell 
him so. But Linton and I have no share in your quarrel. I'll 
not come here, then ; he shall come to the Grange." 

" It will be too far for me," murmured her cousin : " to wall-: 
four miles would kill me. No, come here, Miss Catherine, now 
and then : not every morning, but once or twice a week." 

The father launched towards his son a glance of bitter 
contempt. 

" I am afraid, Nelly, I shall lose my labour," he muttered to 
me. " Miss Catherine, as the ninny calls her, will discover his 
value, and send him to the devil. Now, if it had been Hareton ! 
—Do you know that, twenty times a day, I covet Hareton, with 
all his degradation ? I'd have loved the lad had he been some 
one else. But I think he's safe from her love. I'll pit him 
against that paltry creature, unless it bestir itself briskly. We 
calculate it will scarcely last till it is eighteen. Oh, confound 
the vapid thing ! He's absorbed in drying his feet, and never 
looks at her. — Linton ! " 

" Yes, father," answered the boy. 

"Have you nothing to show your cousin anywhere about? 
not even a rabbit or a weasel's nest ? Take her into the garden, 
before you change your shoes ; and into the stable to see your 
horse." 

"Wouldn't you rather sit here?" asked Linton, addressing 
Cathy in a tone which expressed reluctance to move again. 

"I don't know," she replied, casting a longing look to the 
door, and evidently eager to be active. 

He kept his seat, and shrank closer to the fire. Heathcliff rose, 
and went into the kitchen, and from thence to the yard, calling 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1 99 

out for Hareton. Hareton responded, and presently the two re- 
entered. The young man had been washing himself, as was 
visible by the glow on his cheeks and his wetted hair. 

"Oh, I'll ask j(77/, uncle," cried Miss Cathy, recollecting the 
housekeeper's assertion, " That is not my cousin, is he? " 

"Yes," he replied, "your mother's nephew. Don't you like 
him ? " 

Catherine looked queer. 

" Is he not a handsome lad ? " he continued. 

The uncivil little thing stood on tiptoe, and whispered a 
sentence in Heathclifif's ear. He laughed ; Hareton darkened : 
I perceived he was very sensitive to suspected slights, and had 
obviously a dim notion of his inferiority. But his master or 
guardian chased the frown by exclaiming — 

" You'll be the favourite among us, Hareton ! She says you 
area — What was it? Well, something very flattering. Here! 
you go with her round the farm. And behave like a gentleman, 
mind ! Don't use any bad words ; and don't stare when the 
young lady is not looking at you, and be ready to hide your face 
when she is ; and, when you speak, say your words slowly, and 
keep your hands out of your pockets. Be off, and entertain her 
as nicely as j'ou can." 

He watched the couple walking past the window. Earnshaw 
had his countenance completely averted from his companion. 
He seemed studying the familiar landscape with a stranger's and 
an artist's interest. Catherine took a sly look at him, expressing 
small admiration. She then turned her attention to seeking out 
objects of amusement for herself, and tripped merrily on, lilting 
a tune to supply the lack of conversation. 

"I've tied hiis tongue," observed Heathcliff. "He'll not 
venture a single syllable, all the time ! Nelly, you recollect me 
at his age — nay, some years younger. Did I ever look so stupid : 
so ' gaumless,' as Joseph calls it?" 

"Worse," I replied, " because more sullen with it." 

*' I've a pleasure in him," he continued, reflecting aloud. ' ' He 
has satisfied my expectations. If he were a born fool I should 
not enjoy it half so much. But he's no fool ; and I can sympa- 
thise with all his feelings, having felt them myself. I know what 
he suffers now, for instance, exactly : it is merely a beginning 
of what he shall suff'er, though. And he'll never be able to 
emerge from his bathos of coarseness and ignorance. I've got 



2CO WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

him faster than his scoundrel of a father secured me, and lower ; 
for he takes a pride in his brutishness. I've taught him to scorn 
everything extra-animal as silly and vi'eak. Don't you think 
Hindley would be proud of his son, if he could see him? almost 
as proud as I am of mine. But there's this difference ; one is 
gold put to the use of paving-stones, and the other is tin polished 
to ape a service of silver. Mi7ie has nothing valuable about it ; 
yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor 
stuff can go. His had first-rate qualities, and they are lost : 
rendered worse than unavailing. / have nothing to regret ; he 
would have more than any but I are aware of. And the best 
of it is, Hareton is damnably fond of me ! You'll own that I've 
out-matched Hijidley there. If the dead villain could rise from 
his grave to abuse me for his offspring's wrongs, I should have 
the fun of seeing the said offspring fight him back again, indig- 
nant that he should dare to rail at the one friend he has in 
the world ! " 

Heathcliff chuckled a fiendish laugh at the idea. I made no 
reply, because I saw that he expected none. Meantime, our young 
companion, who sat too removed from us to hear what was said, 
began to evince symptoms of uneasiness, probably repenting that 
he had denied himself the treat of Catherine's society for fear of 
a little fatigue. His father remarked the restless glances wander- 
ing to the window, and the hand irresolutely extended towards 
his- cap. 

" Get up, you idle boy !" he exclaimed, with assumed hearti- 
ness. "Away after them ! they are just at the corner, by the 
stand of hives." 

Linton gathered his energies, and left the hearth. The lattice 
was open, and, as he stepped out, I heard Cathy inquiring of her 
unsociable attendant, what was that inscription over the door? 
Hareton stared up, and scratched his head like a true clown. 

"It's some damnable writing," he answered. "I cannot 
read it." 

" Can't read it ? " cried Catherine ; " I can read it : it's English. 
But I want to know why it is there." 

Linton giggled : the first appearance of mirth he had exhibited. 

" He does not know his letters," he said to his cousin. " Could 
you believe in the existence of such a colossal dunce?" 

"Is he all as he should be?" asked Miss Cathy seriously; 
"or is be simple : not right? I've questioned him twice now, 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 20I 

and each time he looked so stupid I think he does not understand 
ine. I can hardly understand /?/w, I'm sure ! " 

Linton repeated his laugh, and glanced at Hareton tauntingly ; 
who certainly did not seem quite clear of comprehension at that 
moment. 

"There's nothing the matter but laziness; is there, Earn- 
shaw?" he said. My cousin fancies you are an idiot. There 
you experience the consequence of scorning ' book -laming,' 
as you would say. Have you noticed, Catherine, his frightful 
Yorkshire pronunciation?" 

"Why, where the devil is the use on't?" growled Hareton, 
more ready in answering his daily companion. He was about 
to enlarge further, but the two youngsters broke into a noisy fit 
of merriment ; my giddy miss being delighted to discover that 
she might turn his strange talk to matter of amusement. 

"Where is the use of the devil in that sentence?" tittered 
Linton, " Papa told you not to say any bad words, and you 
can't open your mouth without one. Do try to behave like a 
gentleman, now do ! " 

" If thou weren't more a lass than a lad, I'd fell thee this 
minute, I would; pitiful lath of a crater !" retorted the angry 
boor, retreating, while his face burnt with mingled rage and 
mortification ; for he was conscious of being insulted, and em- 
barrassed how to resent it, 

Mr. Heathcliff having overheard the conversation, as well as 
I, smiled when be saw him go ; but immediately afterwards cast 
a look of singular aversion on the flippant pair, who remained 
chattering in the doorway : the boy finding animation enough 
while discussing Hareton's faults and deficiencies, and relating 
anecdotes of his goings-on ; and the girl relishing his pert and 
spiteful sayings, without considering the ill-nature they evinced, 
I began to dislike, more than to compassionate Linton, and to 
excuse his father, in some measure, for holding him cheap. 

We stayed till afternoon : I could not tear Miss Cathy away 
sooner; but happily my master had not quitted his apartment, 
and remained ignorant of our prolonged absence. As we walked 
home, I would fain have enlightened my charge on the char- 
acters of the people we had quitted ; but she got it into her head 
that I was prejudiced against them. 

"Aha!" she cried, "you take papa's side, Ellen: you are 
partial I know ; or else you wouldn't have cheated me so many 

G 2 



202 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

years into the notion that Linton hved a long way from here. 
I'm really extremely angry ; only I'm so pleased I can't show it ! 
But you must hold your tongue about my uncle : he's my uncle, 
remember ; and I'll scold papa for quarrelling with him," 

And so she ran on, till I relinquished the endeavour to con- 
vince her of her mistake. She did not mention the visit that 
night, because she did not see Mr. Linton. Next day it all 
came out, sadly to my chagrin ; and still I was not altogether 
sorry : I thought the burden of directing and warning would be 
more efficiently borne by him than me. But he was too timid 
in giving satisfactory reasons for his wish that she should shun 
connection with the household of the Heights, and Catherine liked 
good reasons for every restraint that harassed her petted will. 

"Papa!" she exclaimed, after the morning's salutations, 
" guess whom I saw yesterday, in my walk on the moors. Ah, 
papa, you started! you've not done right, have you, now? I 
saw — But listen, and you shall hear how I found you out ; and 
Ellen, who is in league with you, and yet pretended to pity me 
so, when I kept hoping, and was always disappointed about 
Linton's coming back ! " 

She gave a faithful account of her excursion and its conse- 
quences ; and my master, though he cast more than one re- 
proachful look at me, said nothing till she had concluded. Then 
he drew her to him, and asked if she knew why he had con- 
cealed Linton's near neighbourhood from her. Could she think 
it was to deny her a pleasure that she might harmlessly enjoy ? 

"It was because you disliked Mr. Heathcliff," she answered. 

" Then you believe I care more for my own feelings than yours, 
Cathy?" he said. "No, it was not because I dishked Mr. 
Heathcliff, but because Mr. Heathcliff dislikes me ; and is a 
most diabolical man, delighting to wrong and ruin those he 
hates, if they give him the slightest opportunity. I knew that 
you could not keep up an acquaintance with your cousin, with- 
out being brought into contact with him ; and I knew he would 
detest you on my account ; so for your own good, and nothing 
else, I took precautions that you should not see Linton again. 
I meant to explain this some time as you grew older, and I'm 
sorry I delayed it." 

" But Mr. Heathcliff was quite cordial, papa," observed 
Catherine, not at all convinced; "and he didn't object to our 
seeing each other : he said I might come to his house when I 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 203 

pleased ; only I must not tell you, because you had quarrelled 
with him, and would not forgive him for marrying aunt Isabella. 
And you won't. You are the one to be blamed : he is willing 
to let us be friends, at least ; Linton and I ; and you are not." 

My master, perceiving that she would not take his word for 
her uncle-in-law's evil disposition, gave a hasty sketch of his con- 
duct to Isabella, and the manner in which Wuthering Heights 
became his property. He could not bear to discourse long upon 
the topic ; for though he spoke little of it, he still felt the same 
horror and detestation of his ancient enemy that had occupied 
his heart ever since Mrs. Linton's death, "She might have 
been living yet, if it had not been for him ! " was his constant 
bitter reflection ; and, in his eyes, Heathcliff seemed a murderer. 
Miss Cathy — conversant with no bad deeds except her own slight 
acts of disobedience, injustice, and passion, arising from hot 
temper and thoughtlessness, and repented of on the day they 
were committed — was amazed at the blackness of spirit that 
could brood on and cover revenge for years, and deliberately 
prosecute its plans without a visitation of remorse. She ap- 
peared so deeply impressed and shocked at this new view of 
human nature — excluded from all her studies and all her ideas 
till now — that Mr. Edgar deemed it unnecessary to pursue the 
subject. He merely added — 

' ' You will know hereafter, darling, M'hy I wish you to avoid 
his house and family ; now return to your old employments and 
amusements, and think no more about them." 

Catherine kissed her father and sat down quietly to her lessons 
for a couple of hours, according to custom ; then she accom- 
panied him into the grounds, and the whole day passed as usual : 
but in the evening, when she had retired to her room, and I went 
to help her to undress, I found her crying, on her knees by the 
bedside. 

" Oh, fie, silly child ! " I exclaimed. " If you had any real 
griefs, you'd be ashamed to waste a tear on this little contrariety. 
You never had one shadow of substantial sorrow, Miss Catherine. 
Suppose, for a minute, that master and I were dead, and you 
were by yourself in the world : how would you feel then ? Com- 
pare the present occasion with such an affliction as that, and- be 
thankful for the friends you have, instead of coveting more." 

"I'm not crying for myself, Ellen," she answered, " it's for 
him. He expected to see me again to-morrow, and there he'll 



^04 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

be so disappointed : and he'll wait for me, and I shan't 
come!" 

"Nonsense," said I, "do you imagine he has thought as 
much of you as you have of him ? Hasn't he Hareton for a 
companion? Not one in a hundred would weep at losing a 
relation they had just seen twice, for two afternoons. Linton 
will conjecture how it is, and trouble himself no further about 
you." 

" But may I not write a note to tell him why I cannot come?" 
she asked, rising to her feet. "And just send those books I 
promised to lend him ? His books are not as nice as mine, and 
he wanted to have them extremely, when I told him hov^^ inte- 
resting they were. May I not, Ellen?" 

" No, indeed ! no, indeed ! " rephed I, with decision. "Then 
he would write to you, and there'd never be an end of it. No, 
Miss Catherine, the acquaintance must be dropped entirely : so 
papa expects, and I shall see that it is done," 

" But how can one little note" she recommenced, putting 

on an imploring countenance. 

"Silence ! " I interrupted. " We'll not begin with your little 
notes. Get into bed." 

She threw at me a very naughty look, so naughty that I would 
not kiss her good-night at first : I covered her up, and shut her 
door, in great displeasure ; but, repenting half-way, I returned 
softly, and lo ! there was miss standing at the table with a bit 
of blank paper before her and a pencil in her hand, which she 
guiltily slipped out of sight, on my entrance. 

"You'll get nobody to take that, Catherine," I said, "if you 
write it ; and at present I shall put out your candle." 

I set the extinguisher on the flame, receiving as I did so a slap 
on my hand, and a petulant " Cross thing 1 " I then quitted her 
again, and she drew the bolt in one of her worst, most peevish 
humours. The letter was finished and forwarded to its destina- 
tion by a milk-fetcher who came from the village : but that I 
didn't learn till some time afterwards. Weeks passed on, and 
Cathy recovered her temper ; though she grew wondrous fond 
of stealing off to corners by herself; and often, if I came near 
her suddenly while reading, she would start and bend over the 
book, evidently desirous to hide it ; and I detected edges of 
loose paper sticking out beyond the leaves. She also got a trick 
of coming down early in the morning and lingering about the 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 20$ 

kitchen, as if she were expecting the arrival of something : and 
slie had a small drawer in a cabinet in the library, which she 
would trifle over for hours, and whose key she took special care 
to remove when she left it. 

One day, as she inspected this drawer, I observed that the 
playthings, and trinkets which recently formed its contents, were 
transmuted into bits of folded paper. My curiosity and suspi- 
cions were aroused ; I determined to take a peep at her mysterious 
treasures ; so, at night, as soon as she and my master were safe 
upstairs, I searched and readily found among my house-keys 
one that would fit the lock. Having opened, I emptied the 
whole contents into my apron, and took them with me to exa- 
mine at leisure in my own chamber. Though I could not but 
suspect, I was still surprised to discover that they were a mass 
of correspondence — daily almost, it must have been — from Linton 
Heathcliff: answers to documents forwarded by her. The 
earlier dated were embarrassed and short ; gradually, however, 
they expanded into copious love letters, foolish, as the age of 
the writer rendered natural, yet with touches here and there 
which I thought were borrowed from a more experienced source. 
Some of them struck me as singularly odd compounds of ardour 
and flatness ; commencing in strong feeling, and concluding in 
the affected, wordy style that a schoolboy might use to a fancied, 
incorporeal sweetheart. Whether they satisfied Cathy, I don't 
know ; but they appeared very worthless trash to me. After 
turning over as many as I thought proper, I tied them in a hand- 
kerchief and set them aside, re-locking the vacant drawer. 

Following her habit, my young lady descended early, and 
visited the kitchen : I w^atched her go to the door, on the arrival 
of a certain little boy ; and, while the dairy-maid filled his can, 
she tucked something into his jacket pocket, and plucked some- 
thing out. I went round by the garden, and laid wait for the 
messenger ; who fought valorously to defend his trust, and we 
spilt the milk between us ; but I succeeded in abstracting the 
epistle ; and, threatening serious consequences if he did not 
look sharp home, I remained under the wall and perused Miss 
Cathy's affectionate composition. It was more simple and more 
eloquent than her cousin's ; very pretty and very silly, I shook 
my head, and went meditating into the house. The day being 
wet, she could not divert herself with rambling about the park ; 
so, at the conclusion of her morning studies, she resorted to 



206 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

the solace of the drawer. Her father sat reading at the table ; 
and I, on purpose, had sought a bit of work in some unripped 
fringes of the window curtain, keeping my eye steadily fixed on 
her proceedings. Never did any bird flying back to a plundered 
nest which it had left brimful of chirping young ones, express 
more complete despair in its anguished cries and flutterings, 
than she by her single " Oh ! " and the change that transfigured 
her late happy countenance. Mr. Linton looked up. 

"What is the matter, love? Have you hurt yourself?" he said. 

His tone and look assured her /le had not been the discoverer 
of the hoard. 

"No, papa!" she gasped. "Ellen! Ellen! come upstairs — 
I'm sick ! " 

I obeyed her summons, and accompanied her out. 

"Oh, Ellen! youhavegot them," she commenced immediately, 
dropping on her knees, when we were enclosed alone. ' ' Oh, give 
them to me, and I'll never, never do so again ! Don't tell papa. 
You have not told papa, Ellen? say you have not? I've been 
exceedingly naughty, hnt I won't do it any more ! " 

With a grave severity in my manner, I bade her stand up. 

" So," I exclaimed, "Miss Catherine, you are tolerably far on, 
it seems : you may well be ashamed of them ! A fine bundle of 
trash you study in your leisure hours, to be sure : why, it's good 
enough to be printed ! And what do you suppose the master will 
think, when I display it before him? I haven't shown it yet, but 
you needn't imagine I shall keep your ridiculous secrets. For 
shame ! and you must have led the way in writing such absur- 
dities : he would not have thought of beginning,. I'm certain." 

" I didn't ! I didn't ! " sobbed Cathy, fit to break her heart. 
" I didn't once think of loving him till" 

** Loving!" cried I, as scornfully as I could utter the word. 
" Loviiig! Did anybody ever hear the like ! I might just as 
well talk of loving the miller who comes once a year to buy our 
corn. Pretty loving, indeed ! and both times together you have 
seen Linton hardly four hours in your life ! Now here is the 
babyish trash. I'm going with it to the library ; and we'll see 
what your father says to such loving." 

She sprang at her precious epistles, but I held them above my 
head ; and then she poured out further frantic entreaties that I 
would burn them — do anything rather than show them. And 
being really fully as much inclined to laugh as scold — for I 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. lOj 

esteemed it all girlish vanity — I at length relented in a measure, 
and asked — 

" If I consent to burn them, will you promise faithfully, neither 
to send nor receive a letter again, nor a book (for I perceive you 
havesenthim books), nor locks of hair, nor rings, nor playthings?" 

" We don't send playthings ! " cried Catherine, her pride over- 
coming her shame. 

" Nor anything at all, then, my lady," I said. " Unless you 
will, here I go." 

" I promise, Ellen ! " she cried, catching my dress. " Oh, put 
them in the fire, do, do ! " 

But when I proceeded to open a place with the poker, the 
sacrifice was too painful to be borne. She earnestly supplicated 
that I would spare her one or two. 

" One or two, Ellen, to keep for Linton's sake ! " 

I unknotted the handkerchief, and commenced dropping them 
in from an angle, and the flame curled up the chimney. 

" I will have one, you cruel wretch ; " she screamed, darting 
her hand into the fire, and drawing forth some half-consumed 
fragments, at the expense of her fingers. 

"Very well — and I will have some to exhibit to papa!" I 
answered, shaking back the rest into the bundle, and turning 
anew to the door. 

She emptied her blackened pieces into the flames, and motioned 
me to finish the immolation. It was done ; I stirred up the ashes, 
and interred them under a shovelful of coals ; and she mutely, 
and with a sense of intense injurv', retired to her private apart- 
ment. I descended to tell my master that the young lady's qualm 
of sickness was almost gone, but I judged it best for her to he 
down a while. She wouldn't dine ; but she reappeared at tea, 
pale, and red about the eyes, and marvellously subdued in out- 
ward aspect. Next morning, I answered the letter by a slip of 
paper, inscribed, "Master Heathcliff is requested to send no 
more notes to Miss Linton, as she will not receive them." And, 
thenceforth, the little boy came with vacant pockets. 



CHAPTER XXIL 

Summer^ drew to an end, and early autumn : it was past 
Michaelmas, but the harvest was late that year, and a few of 



20S WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

our fields were still uncleared. Mr. Linton and his daughter 
would frequently walk out among the reapers ; at the carrying 
of the last sheaves, they stayed till dusk, and the evening happen- 
ing to be chill and damp, my master caught a bad cold, that settled 
obstinately on his lungs, and confined him indoors throughout 
the whole of the winter, nearly without intermission. 

Poor Cathy, frightened from her little romance, had been 
considerably sadder and duller since its abandonment ; and her 
father insisted on her reading less, and taking more exercise. 
She had his companionship no longer ; I esteemed it a duty to 
supply its lack, as much as possible, with mine : an inefficient 
substitute ; for I could only spare two or three hours, from my 
numerous diurnal occupations, to follow her footsteps, and then 
my society was obviously less desirable than his. 

On an afternoon in October, or the beginning of November 
— a fresh watery afternoon, when the turf and paths were rustling 
with moist, withered leaves, and the cold, blue sky was half 
hidden by clouds — dark grey streamers, rapidly mounting from 
the west, and boding abundant rain — I requested my young lady 
to forego her ramble, because I was certain of showers. She 
refused ; and I unwillingly donned a cloak, and took my umbrella 
to accompany her on a stroll to the bottom of the park : a formal 
walk which she generally affected if low-spirited — and that she 
invariably was when Mr. Edgar had been worse than ordinary, 
a thing never known from his confession, but guessed both by 
her and me, from his increased silence and the melancholy of 
his countenance. She went sadly on : there was no running or 
bounding now, though the chill wind might well have tempted 
her to race. And often, from the side of my eye, I could detect 
her raising a hand, and brushing something off her cheek. I 
gazed round for a means of diverting her thoughts. On one side 
of the road rose a high, rough bank, where hazels and stunted 
oaks, with their roots half-exposed, held uncertain tenure : the 
soil was too loose for the latter ; and strong winds had blown 
some nearly horizontal. In summer. Miss Catherine delighted 
to climb along these trunks, and sit in the branches, swinging 
twenty feet above the ground ; and I, pleased with her agility 
and her light, childish heart, still considered it proper to scold 
every time I caught her at such an elevation, but so that she knew 
there was no necessity for descending. From dinner to tea she 
would lie in her breeze-rocked cradle, doing nothing except 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 209 

singing old songs — my nursery lore — to herself, or watching the 
birds, joint tenants, feed and entice their young ones to fly : or 
Tiestling with closed lids, half thinking, half dreaming, happier 
than words can express. 

" Look, miss ! " I exclaimed, pointing to a nook under the 
roots of one twisted tree. " Winter is not here yet. There's a 
little flower up yonder, the last bud from the multitude of blue- 
bells that clouded those turf steps in July with a lilac mist. Will 
you clamber up, and pluck it to show to papa? " 

Cathy stared a long time at the lonely blossom trembling in 
its earthy shelter, and replied, at length — 

" No, I'll not touch it : but it looks melancholy, does it not, 
Eilen?" 

"Yes," I observed, "about as starved and sackless as you: 
}Our cheeks are bloodless ; let us take hold of hands and run. 
You're so low, I dare say I shall keep up with you." 

" No," she repeated, and continued sauntering on, pausing, at 
intervals, to muse over a bit of moss, or a tuft of blanched grass, 
or a fungus spreading its bright orange among the heaps of brown 
foliage ; and, ever and anon, her hand was lifted to her averted 
face. 

" Catherine, why are you crying, love ? " I asked, approaching 
and putting my arm over her shoulder. " You mustn't cry, be- 
cause papa has a cold ; be thankful it is nothing worse." 

She now put no further restraint on her tears ; her breath was 
stifled by sobs. 

"Oh, it -will be something worse," she said. "And what 
shall I do when papa and you leave me, and I am by myself? 
I can't forget your words, Ellen ; they are always in my ear. 
How life will be changed, how dreary the world will be, when 
papa and you are dead." 

" None can tell, whether you won't die before us," I replied. 
" It's wrong to anticipate evil. We'll hope there are years and 
years to come before any of us go : master is young, and I am 
strong, and hardly forty-five. My mother lived till eighty, a 
canty dame to the last. And suppose Mr. Linton were spared 
till he saw sixty, that would be more years than you have counted, 
miss. And would it not be foolish to mourn a calamity above 
twenty years beforehand? " 

" But Aunt Isabella was younger than papa," she remarked, 
gazing up with timid hope to seek further consolation. 



2IO AVUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" Aunt Isabella had not you and me to nurse her," I replied. 
" She wasn't as happy as master : she hadn't as much to live for. 
All you need do, is to wait well on your father, and cheer him 
by letting him see you cheerful ; and avoid giving him anxiety 
on any subject : mind that, Cathy ! I'll not disguise but you 
might kill him, if you were wild and reckless, and cherished a 
foolish, fanciful affection for the son of a person who would be 
glad to have him in his grave ; and allowed him to discover that 
you fretted over the separation he has judged it expedient to 
make." 

" I fret about nothing on earth except papa's illness," answered 
my companion, ' ' I care for nothing in comparison with papa. 
And I'll never — never — oh, never, while I have my senses, do an 
act or say a word to vex him. I love him better than myself, 
Ellen ; and I know it by this : I pray every night that I may live 
after him ; because I would rather be miserable than that he 
should be : that proves I love him better than myself." 

"Good words," I replied. " But deeds must prove it also ; 
and after he is well, remember you don't forget resolutions 
formed in the hour of fear." 

As we talked, we neared a door that opened on the road ; and 
my young lady, hghtening into sunshine again, climbed up and 
seated herself on the top of the wall, reaching over to gather 
some hips that bloomed scarlet on the summit branches of the 
wild rose trees, shadowing the highway side : the lower fruit had 
disappeared, but only birds could touch the upper, except from 
Cathy's present station. In stretching to pull them, her hat fell 
off; and as the door was locked, she proposed scrambling down 
to recover it. I bid her be cautious lest she got a fall, and she 
nimbly disappeared. But the return v/as no such easy matter : 
the stones were smooth and neatly cemented, and the rose-bushes 
and blackberry stragglers could yield no assistance in re-ascend- 
ing. I, like a fool, didn't recollect that, till I heard her laughing 
and exclaiming — 

" Ellen ! you'll have to fetch the key, or else I must run round 
to the porter's lodge. I can't scale the ramparts on this side ! " 

" Stay where you are," I answered, " I have my bundle of keys 
in my pocket : perhaps I may manage to open it ; if not I'll go." 

Catherine amused herself with dancing to and fro before the 
door, while I tried all the large keys in succession. I had 
applied the last, and found that none would do ; so, repeating 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 211 

my desire that she would remain there, I was about to hurry- 
home as fast as I could, when an approaching sound arrested me. 
It was the trot of a horse ; Cathy's dance stopped also. 

"Who is that?" I whispered, 

" Ellen, I wish you could open the door," whispered back my 
companion anxiously. 

"Ho, Miss Linton!" cried a deep voice (the rider's), "I'm 
glad to meet you. Don't be in haste to enter, for I have an 
explanation to ask and obtain." 

" I shan't speak to you, Mr. Heathcliff," answered Catherine. 
" Papa says you are a wicked man, and you hate both him and 
me ; and Ellen says the same." 

"That is nothing to the purpose," said Heathcliff. (He it 
was.) " I don't hate my son, I suppose ; and it is concerning 
him that I demand your attention. Yes ; you have cause to 
blush. Two or three months since, were you not in the habit of 
writing to Linton ? making love in play, eh ? You deserved, both 
of you, flogging for that ! You especially, the elder ; and less 
sensitive, as it turns out. I've got your letters, and if you give 
me any pertness I'll send them to your father. I presume you 
grew weary of the amusement and dropped it, didn't you ? Well, 
you dropped Linton with it into a Slough of Despond. He was 
in earnest : in love, really. As true as I live, he's dying for you ; 
breaking his heart at your fickleness : not figuratively, but actu- 
ally. Though Hareton has made him a standing jest for six 
weeks, and I have used more serious measures, and attempted 
to frighten him out of his idiocy, he gets worse daily ; and he'll 
be under the sod before summer, unless you restore him ! " 

" How can you lie so glaringly to the poor child?" I called 
from the inside. " Pray ride on ! How can you deliberately 
get up such paltry falsehoods ? Miss Cathy, I'll knock the lock 
off with a stone : you won't believe that vile nonsense. You can 
feel in yourself, it is impossible that a person should die for love 
of a stranger." 

"I was not aware there were eavesdroppers," muttered the 
detected villain. " Worthy Mrs. Dean, I like you, but I don't 
like your double-dealing," he added aloud. " How could yoii 
lie so glaringly, as to affirm I hated the ' poor child ? '-and invent 
bugbear stories to terrify her from my door-stones? Catherine 
Linton (the very name warms me), my bonny lass, I shall be 
from home all this week ; go and see if I have not spoken truth : 



212 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

do, there's a darling ! Just imagine your father in my place, and 
Linton in yours ; then think how you would value your careless 
lover if he refused to stir a step to comfort you, when your father 
himself entreated him ; and don't, from pure stupidity, fall into 
the same error. I swear, on my salvation, he's going to his grave, 
and none but you can save him ! " 

The lock gave way and I issued out. 

" I swear Linton is dying," repeated Heathcliff, looking hard 
at me. ' ' And grief and disappointment are hastening his death. 
Nelly, if you won't let her go, you can walk over yourself. But I 
shall not return till this time next week ; and I think your master 
himself would scarcely object to her visiting her cousin ! " 

" Come in," said I, taking Cathy by the arm and half forcing 
her to re-enter ; for she lingered, viewing with troubled eyes the 
features of the speaker, too stern to express his inward deceit. 

He pushed his horse close, and, bending down, observed — 

"Miss Catherine, I'll own to you that I have little patience 
with Linton ; and Hareton and Joseph have less. I'll own that 
he's with a harsh set. He pines for kindness, as well as love ; 
and a kind word from you would be his best medicine. Don't mind 
Mrs. Dean's cruel cautions ; but be generous, and contrive to see 
him. He dreams of you day and night, and cannot be persuaded 
that you don't hate him, since you neither write nor call." 

I closed the door, and rolled a stone to assist the loosened 
lock in holding it ; and spreading my umbrella, I drew my charge 
underneath : for the rain began to drive through the moaning 
branches of the trees, and warned us to avoid delay. Our hurry 
prevented any comment on the encounter with Heathcliff, as we 
stretched towards home ; but I divined instinctively that Cathe- 
rine's heart was clouded now in double darkness. Her features 
were so sad, they did not seem hers : she evidently regarded 
what she had heard as every syllable true. 

The master had retired to rest before we came in. Cathy stole 
to his room to inquire how he was ; he had fallen asleep. She 
returned, and asked me to sit with her in the library. We took 
our tea together ; and afterwards she lay down on the rug, and 
told me not to talk, for she was weary. I got a book, and pre- 
tended to read. As soon as she supposed me absorbed in my 
occupation, she recommenced her silent weeping : it appeared, 
at present, her favourite diversion. I suffered her to enjoy it 
a while ; then I expostulated : deriding and ridiculing all Mr. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 21 J 

Heathcliff's assertions about his son, as if I were certain she 
would coincide. Alas ! I hadn't skill to counteract the effect 
his account had produced : it was just what he intended. 

" You may be right, Ellen," she answered ; " but I shall never 
feel at ease till I know. And I must tell Linton it is not my fault 
that I don't write, and convince him that I shall not change," 

Wiiat use were anger and protestations against her silly 
credulity? We parted that night — hostile ; but next day beheld 
me on the road to Wuthering Heights, by the side of my wilful 
young mistress's pony. I couldn't bear to witness her sorrow : 
to see her pale dejected countenance, and heavy eyes ; and I 
yielded, in the faint hope that Linton himself might prove, by 
his reception of us, how little of the tale was founded on fact. 



CHAPTER XXHL 

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 farmhouse 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 clysium 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 it louder. 

" Na — ay ! " he snarled, or rather screamed througli 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 



214 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

boy, mistaking our approach for that of his neghgent atten- 
dant. 

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 rechned. " 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 un- 
willing to run to and fro at his behest, I replied — 

" Nobody is out there but Joseph." 

"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 re- 
solved never to hear me upstairs." 

'' 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 kind. 

"And are you glad to see me?" asked she, reiterating her 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 21$ 

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. Heath- 
cliff, 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?" 

" Yes," said 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 my brother." 

"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 me. " 

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 pertly. 

"il/j/ papa scorns yours!" cried Linton. "He calls him a 
sneaking fool." 

"Yours is a wicked man," retorted Catherine : " and vou are 



2l6 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

very naughty to dare to repeat what he says. He must be wicked 
to have made Aimt Isabella leave him as she did." 

"She didn't leave him," said the boy; "you shan't contra- 
dict me." 

" She did," cried my young lady. 

" Well, I'll tell you something ! " said Linton. " Your motlier 
hated your father : now then." 

" Oh ! " exclaimed Catherine, too enraged to continue. 

" And she loved mine," added he. 

" You little liar ! I hate you now ! " she panted, and her fiice 
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 ske felt as I do," he replied : " spiteful, cruel thing ! 
Harcton never touches me : he never struck me in his life. And 
I was better to-day : and there " his voice died in a whimper. 

"/ 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 inflections of his voice. 

"I'm sorry I hurt you, Linton," she said at length, racked 
beyond endurance. " But /couldn't have been hurt by that litde 
push, and I had no idea that you could, either: you're not, 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 217 

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 
liad it you'd know what it was : hut you /I 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 repeated. 

" Let me alone, at least," said he ; "I can't bear your talking." 

She lingered, and resisted my persuasions to departure a tire- 
some 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 hearth- 
stone, 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 attach- 
ment 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 more 
comfortably. 



21 8 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" 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 mvist 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 a support. 

" 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 longer." 

" Yes, yes, we can ! " replied Cathy. ' ' He's good and patient 
now. He's beginning to thinic 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 mustn't come, if I have hurt you." 

"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 : begin." 

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 dinner. 

"And to-morrow, Catherine, will you be here to-morrow?" 
asked young Heathcliff, holding her frock as she rose reluc- 
tantly. 

"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 ear. 

"You won't go to-morrow, recollect, miss ! " I commenced, 
when we were out of the house. " You are not dreaming of it, 
are von?" 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 219 

She smiled. 

" Oh, I'll take good c;Tje," 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 clder 
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 httle 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. 1 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, Misr, 
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 
hve 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 he?" 

' ' 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 Cathy sulkily. 

" Must not be continued, then," I said. 

" We'll see," was her reply, and she set off at a gallop, leaving 
me to toil in rhe rear. 

We both reached home before our dinner-time ;, my master 
supposed we had been wandering through the park, and there- 
fore he demanded no explanation of our absence. As soon as I 
entered, I hastened to change my soaked shoes and stockings ; 



220 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

but sitting such a while 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 hke an angel, in coming to wait on 
me, and cheer my solitude : the confinement brought me exceed- 
ingly low. It is wearisome, to a stirring active body : but few 
have shghter 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 hue borrowed from a cold ride across the 
moors, 1 laid it to the charge of a hot fire in the library. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

At the close of three weeks, I was able to quit my chamber, and 
move about the house. And on the first occasion of my sitting 
tip in the evening, I asked Catherine to read to me, because my 
eyes were weak. We were in the library, the master having gone 
to bed : she consented, rather unwillingly, I fancied ; and ima- 
gining my sort of books did not suit her, I bid her please herself 
in the choice of what she perused. She selected one of her own 
favourites, and got forward steadily about an hour ; then came 
frequent questions. 

" Ellen, are not you tired ? Hadn't you better lie down now. 
You'll be sick, keeping up so long, Ellen." 

" No, no, dear, I'm not tired," I returned continually. 

Perceiving me immovable, she essayed another method of 
showing her disrelish for her occupation. It changed to yawn- 
ing, and stretching, and — 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 221 

" Ellen, I'm tired." 

" Give over then and talk," I answered. 

That was worse : she fretted and sighed, and looked at her 
watch till eight, and finally went to her room, completely over- 
done with sleep ; judging by her peevish, heavy look, and the 
constant rubbing she inflicted on her eyes. The following night 
she seemed more impatient still ; and on the third from recover- 
ing my company, she complained of a headache, and left me. 
I thought her conduct odd ; and having remained alone a long 
while, I resolved on going and inquiring whether she were better, 
and asking her to come and lie on the sofa, instead of upstairs 
in the dark. No Catherine could I discover upstairs, and 
none below. The servants affirmed they had not seen her. I 
listened at Mr. Edgar's door ; all was silence. I returned to her 
apartment, extinguished my candle, and seated myself in the 
window. 

The moon shone bright ; a sprinkling of snow covered the 
ground, and I reflected that she might, possibly, have taken it 
into her head to walk about the garden, for refreshment. I did 
detect a figure creeping along the inner fence of the park ; but it 
was not my young mistress : on its merging into the light, I re- 
cognised one of the grooms. He stood a considerable period, 
viewing the carriage-road through the grounds ; then started off 
at a brisk pace, as if he had detected something, and reappeared 
presently, leading miss's pony ; and there she was. just dis- 
mounted, and walking by its side. The man took his charge 
stealthily across the grass towards the stable. Cathy entered by 
the casement-window of the drawing-room, and glided noiselessly 
up to where I awaited her. She put the door gently too, slipped 
off her snowy shoes, untied her hat, and was proceeding, uncon- 
scious of my espionage, to lay aside her mantle, when I suddenly 
rose and revealed myself. The surprise petrified her an instant : 
she uttered an inarticulate exclamation, and stood fixed. 

" My dear Miss Catherine," I began, too vividly impressed by 
her recent kindness to break into a scold, " where have you been 
riding out at this hour? And why should you try to deceive me, 
by telling a tale? Where have you been? Speak." 

" To the bottom of the park," she stammered. " I didn't tell 
a tale." 

" And nowhere else? " I demanded. 

"No," was the muttered reply. 



222 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"Oh, Catherine!" I cried sorrowfully. "You know you 
have been doing wrong, or you wouldn't be driven to uttering 
an untruth to me. That does grieve me. I'd rather be three 
months ill, than hear you frame a deliberate lie." 

She sprang forward, and bursting into tears, threw her arms 
round my neck. 

"Well, Ellen, I'm so afraid of you being angiy," she said. 
' ' Promise not to be angry, and you shall know the very truth : 
I hate to hide it." 

We sat down in the window-seat ; I assured her I w-ould not 
scold, whatever her secret might be, and I guessed it of course ; 
so she commenced — 

" I've been to Wuthering Heights, Ellen, and I've never missed 
going a day since you fell ill ; except thrice before, and twice 
after you left your room. I gave Michael books and pictures to 
prepare Minny every evening, and to put her back in the stable : 
you mustn't scold him either, mind. I was at the Heights by 
half-past six, and generally stayed till half-past eight, and then 
galloped home. It was not to amuse myself that I went : I was 
often wretched all the time. Now and then I was happy : once 
in a week perhaps. At first, I expected there would be sad work 
persuading you to let me keep my word to Linton : for I had en- 
gaged to call again next day, when we quitted him ; but, as you 
stayed upstairs on the morrow, I escaped that trouble. While 
Michael was refastening the lock of the park door in the afternoon, 
I got possession of the key, and told him how my cousin wished 
me to visit him, because he was sick, and couldn't come to the 
Grange ; and how papa would object to my going : and then I 
negotiated with him about the pony. He is fond of reading, and 
he thinks of leaving soon to get married ; so he offered, if I would 
lend him books out of the librar}^ to do what I wished : but I 
preferred giving him my own, and that satisfied him better. 

"On my second visit, Linton seemed in lively spirits; and 
Zillah (that is their housekeeper) made us a clean room and a 
good fire, and told us that, as Joseph was out at a prayer-meeting 
and Hareton Earnshaw was off with his dogs — robbing our woods 
of pheasants, as I heard afterwards — we might do what we liked. 
She brought me some warm wine and gingerbread, and appeared 
exceedingly good-natured ; and Linton sat in the arm-chair, and 
I in the little rocking-chair on the hearth-stone, and we laughed 
and talked so merrily, and found so much to say : we planned 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 223 

where we would go, aiid what we would do in summer. I 
needn't repeat that, because you would call it silly, 

" One time, however, we were near quarrelling. He said the 
pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from 
morning till evening on a bank of heath in the middle of the 
moors, with the bees humming dreamily about among the bloom, 
and the larks singing high up overhead, and the blue sky and 
bright sun shining steadily and cloudlessly. That was his most 
perfect idea of heaven's happiness : mine was rocking in a rust- 
ling green tree, with a west wind blowing, and bright white clouds 
flitting rapidly above ; and not only larks, but throstles, and 
blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every 
side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky 
dells ; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves 
to the breeze ; and woods and sounding water, and the whole 
world awake and wild with joy. He wanted all to lie in an 
ecstasy of peace ; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a 
glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive ; and 
he said mine would be drunk : I said I should fall asleep in his ; 
and he said he could not breathe in mine, and began to grow very 
snappish. At last, we agreed to try both, as soon as the right 
weather came ; and then we kissed each other and were friends. 

" After sitting still an hour, I looked at the great room with its 
smooth uncarpeted floor, and thought how nice it would be to 
play in, if we removed the table ; and I asked Linton to call 
Zillah in to help us, and we'd have a game at blind-man's buff; 
she should try to catch us : you used to, you know, Ellen. He 
wouldn't : there was no pleasure in it, he said ; but he consented 
to play at ball with me. We found two in a cupboard, among a 
heap of old toys, tops, and hoops, and battledores, and shuttle- 
cocks. One was marked C, and the other H. ; 1 wished to 
have the C. , because that stood for Catherine, and the H. might 
be for Heathcliff, his name ; but the bran came out of H., and 
Linton didn't like it. I beat him constantly : and he got cross 
again, and coughed, and returned to his chair. That night, 
though, he easily recovered his good humoiu: : he was charmed 
with two or three pretty songs—your songs, Ellen ; and when 
I was obliged to go, he begged and intreated me to come the 
following evening ; and I promised. Minny and I \\'ent flying 
home as light as air ; and I dreamt of Wuthering Heights and 
my sweet, darling cousinj till morning. 



224 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

' ' On the morrow I was sad ; partly because you were poorly, 
and partly that I wished my father knew, and approved of my 
excursions : but it was beautiful moonlight after tea ; and, as I 
rode on, the gloom cleared. I shall have another happy even- 
ing, I thought to myself ; and what delights me more, my pretty 
Linton will. I trotted up their garden, and was turning round 
to the back, when that fellow Earnshaw met me, took my bridle, 
and bid me go in by the front entrance. He patted Minny's 
neck, and said she was a bonny beast, and appeared as if he 
wanted me to speak to him. I only told him to leave my horse 
alone, or else it would kick him. He answered in his vulgar 
accent, ' It wouldn't do mitch hurt if it did ; ' and surveyed its 
legs with a smile. I was half inclined to make it try ; however, 
he moved off to open the door, and, as he raised the latch, he 
looked up to the inscription above, and said, with a stupid 
mixture of awkwardness and elation — 

" ' Miss Catherine ! I can read yon, now.' 

" ' Wonderful,' I exclaimed. ' Pray let us hear you — you arc 
grown clever ! ' 

" He spelt, and drawled over by syllables, the name — ' Hareton 
Earnshaw.' 

"'And the figures?' I cried encouragingly, perceiving that 
he came to a dead halt. 

" ' I cannot tell them yet,' he answered. 

" ' Oh, you dunce ! ' I said, laughing heartily at his failure. 

" The fool stared, with a grin hovering about his lips, and a 
scowl gathering over his eyes, as if uncertain whether he might 
not join in my mirth : whether it were not pleasant familiarity, 
or what it really was, contempt. I settled his doubts, by suddenly 
retrieving my gravity and desiring him to walk away, for I came 
to see Linton, not him. He reddened — I saw that by the moon- 
light — dropped his hand from the latch, and skulked off, a picture 
of mortified vanity. He imagined himself to be as accomplished 
as Linton, I suppose, because he could spell his own name ; and 
was marvellously discomfited that I didn't think the same." 

"Stop, Miss Catherine, dear!" I interrupted. "I shall not 
scold, but I don't like your conduct there. If you had re- 
membered that Hareton was your cousin as much as Master 
Heathcliff, you would have felt how improper it was to behave 
in that way. At least, it was praiseworthy ambition for him to 
desire to be as accomplished as Ivinton ; and probably he did not 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 225 

learn merely to show off: you had made him ashamed of his 
ignorance before, I have no doubt ; and he wished to remedy it 
and please you. To sneer at his imperfect attempt was very bad 
breeding. Hadyoti been brought up in his circumstances, would 
you be less rude? He was as quick and as intelligent a child as 
ever you were ; and I'm hurt that he should be despised now, 
because that base Heathcliff has treated him so unjustly." 

"Well, Ellen, you won't cry about it, will you?" she ex- 
claimed, surprised at my earnestness. " But wait, and you shall 
hear if he conned his A B C to please me ; and if it were worth 
while being civil to the brute. I entered ; Linton was lying on 
the settle, and half got up to welcome me. 

" 'I'm ill to-night, Catherine, love,' he said ; 'and you must 
have all the talk, and let me listen. Come, and sit by me. I 
was sure you wouldn't break your word, and I'll make you promise 
again, before you go.' 

" I knew now that I mustn't tease him, as he was ill ; and I 
spoke softly and put no questions, and avoided irritating him 
in any way. I had brought some of my nicest books for him ; 
he asked me to read a little of one, and I was about to comply, 
when Earnshaw burst the door open : having gathered venom 
with reflection. He advanced direct to us, seized Linton by the 
arm, and swung him off the seat. 

" ' Get to thy own room ! ' he said, in a voice almost inarti- 
culate with passion ; and his face looked swelled and furious. 
' Take her there if she comes to see thee : thou shalln't keep me 
out of this. Begone wi' ye both ! ' 

" He swore at us, and left Linton no time to answer, nearly 
throwing him into the kitchen ; and he clenched his fist as I 
followed, seemingly longing to knock me down. I was afraid 
for a moment, and I let one volume fall ; he kicked it after me, 
and shut us out. I heard a malignant, crackly laugh by the 
fire, and turning, beheld that odious Joseph standing rubbing 
his bony hands, and quivering. 

" ' I wer sure he'd sarve ye out ! He's a grand lad ! He's 
getten t' raight sperrit in him 1 He knaws— Ay, he knaws, as 
weel as I do, who sud be t' maister yonder — Ech, ech, ech I He 
made ye skift properly ! Ech, ech, ech ! ' 

" ' Where must we go?' I asked of my cousin, disregarding 
the old wretch's mockery. 

" Linton was white and trembling. He was not pretty then, 



226 VVUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Ellen : oh no ! be looked frightful ; for his thin face and large 
•eyes were wrought into an expression of frantic, powerless fury. 
He grasped the handle of the door, and shook it : it was fastened 
inside. 

" ' If you don't let me in I'll kill you ! — If you don't let me in, 
I'll kill you ! ' he rather shrieked than said. ' Devil ! devil ! — 
I'll kill you— I'll kill you ! ' 

" Josepli uttered his croaking laugh again. 

" ' Thear, that's t' father ! ' he cried. ' That's father ! We've 
alias summut o' either side in us. Niver heed, Hareton, lad — 
dunnut be 'feard — he cannot get at thee ! ' 

" I took hold of Linton's hands, and tried to pull him away ; 
but he shrieked so shockingly that I dared not proceed. At last 
his cries were choked by a dreadful fit of coughing ; blood 
gushed from his mouth, and he fell on the ground. I ran into 
the yard, sick with terror ; and called for Zillah, as loud as I 
could. She soon heard me : she was milking the cows in a shed 
behind the barn, and hurrying from her work, she inquired what 
there was to do? I hadn't breath to explain ; dragging her in, 
I looked about for Linton. Earnshaw had come out to examine 
the mischief he had caused, and he was then conveying the 
poor thing upstairs. Zillah and I ascended after him ; but he 
stopped me at the top of the steps, and said I shouldn't go in : 
I must go home. I exclaimed that he had killed Linton, and 
I would enter. Joseph locked the door, and declared I should 
do ' no sich stuff,' and asked me whether I were ' bahn to be as 
mad as him.' I stood crying, till the housekeeper reappeared. 
She affirmed he would be better in a bit, but he couldn't do with 
that shrieking and din ; and she took me, and nearly carried 
me into the house. 

" Ellen, I was ready to tear my hair off my head ! I sobbed 
and wept so that my eyes were almost blind ; and the ruffian 
you have such sympathy with stood opposite : presuming every 
now and then to bid me 'wisht,' and denying that it was his 
fault ; and, finally, frightened by my assertions that I would tell 
papa, and that he should be put in prison and hanged, he 
■commenced blubbering himself, and hurried out to hide his 
• cowardly agitation. Still, I was not rid of him : when at length 
they compelled me to depart, and I had got some hundred yards 
•off the premises, he suddenly issued from the shadow of the 
Toadside, and checked Minny and took hold of me. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 22/ 

" ' Miss Catherine, I'm ill grieved,' he began, ' but it's rayther 
too bad ' 

" I gave him a cut with my whip, thinking perhaps he would 
nmrder me. He let go, thundering one of his horrid curses, 
and I galloped home more than half out of my senses. 

" I didn't bid you good-night that evening, and I didn't go to 
Wuthering Heights the next : I wished to go exceedingly ; but 
I was strangely excited, and dreaded to hear that Linton was 
dead, sometimes ; and sometimes shuddered at the thought of 
encountering Hareton. On the third day I took courage : at 
least, I couldn't bear longer suspense, and stole off once more. 
I went at five o'clock, and walked ; fancying I might manage to 
creep into the house, and up to Linton's room, unobserved. 
However, the dogs gave notice of my approach. Zillah received 
me, and saying ' the lad was mending nicely,' showed me into a 
small, tidy, carpeted apartment, where, to my inexpressible joy, 
I beheld Linton laid on a little sofa, reading one of my books. 
But he would neither speak to me nor look at me, through a 
whole hour, Ellen : he has such an unhappy temper. And what 
quite confounded me, when he did open his mouth, it was to 
utter the falsehood that I had occasioned the uproar, and Hare- 
ton was not to blame ! Unable to reply, except passionately, I 
got up and walked from the room. He sent after me a faint 
* Catherine ! ' He did not reckon on being answered so : but I 
wouldn't turn back ; and the morrow was the second day on 
which I stayed at home, nearly determined to visit him no more. 
But it was so miserable going to bed and getting up, and never 
hearing anything about him, that my resolution melted into air 
before it was properly formed. It had appeared wrong to take 
the journey once ; now it seemed wrong to refrain. Michael 
came to ask if he must saddle IMinny ; I said 'Yes,' and con- 
sidered myself doing a duty as she bore me over the hills. I was 
forced to pass the front windows to get to the court : it was no 
use trying to conceal my presence. 

" ' Young master is in the house,' said Zillah, as she saw me 
making for the parlour. I went in ; Earnshaw was there also, 
but he quitted the room directly. Linton sat in the great arm- 
chair half asleep ; walking up to the fire, I began in a serious 
tone, partly meaning it to be true — 

" 'As you don't like me, Linton, and as you think I come on 
purpose to hurt you, and pretend that I do so every time, this is 



228 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

our last meeting : let us say good-bye ; and tell Mr. Heathcliff 
that you have no wish to see me, and that he mustn't invent any 
more falsehoods on the subject.' 

" 'Sit down and take your hat off, Catherine, he answered. 
' You are so much happier than I am, you ought to be better. 
Papa talks enough of my defects, and shows enough scorn of 
me, to make it natural I should doubt myself. I doubt whether 
I am not altogether as worthless as he calls me, frequently ; and 
then I feel so cross and bitter, I hate everybody ! I am worth- 
less, and bad in temper, and bad in spirit, almost always ; and, 
if you choose, you may say good-bye : you'll get rid of an annoy- 
ance. Only, Catherine, do me this justice : believe that if I 
might be as sweet, and as kind, and as good as you are, I would 
be ; as willingly, and more so, than as happy and as healthy. 
And believe that your kindness has made me love you deeper 
than if I deserved your love : and though I couldn't, and cannot 
help showing my nature to you, I regret it and repent it ; and 
shall regret and repent it till I die ! " 

"I felt he spoke the truth; and I felt I must forgive him: 
and, though he should quarrel the next moment, I must forgive 
him again. We were reconciled ; but we cried, both of us, the 
whole time I stayed : not entirely for sorrow ; yet I was sorry 
Linton had that distorted nature. He'll never let his friends be 
at ease, and he'll never be at ease himself ! I have always gone 
to his little parlour, since that night ; because his father returned 
the day after. 

" About three times, I think, we have been merry and hopeful, 
as we were the first evening ; the rest of my visits were dreary 
and troubled : now with his selfishness and spite, and now with 
his sufferings : but I've learned to endure the former with nearly 
as little resentment as the latter. Mr. Heathcliff purposely 
avoids me : I have hardly seen him at all. Last Sunday, indeed, 
coming earlier than usual, I heard him abusing poor Linton, 
cruelly, for his conduct of the night before. I can't tell how he 
knew of it, unless he hstened. Linton had certainly behaved 
provokingly : however, it was the business of nobody but me, 
and I interrupted Mr. Heathcliff's lecture by entering and tell- 
ing him so. He burst into a laugh, and went away, saying he 
was glad I took that view of the matter. Since then, I've told 
Linton he must whisper his bitter things. Now, Ellen, you 
have heard all. I can't be prevented from going to Wuthering 



-31 

WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 22^, 

Heights, except by inflicting misery on two people ; whereas, if 
you'll only not tell papa, my going need disturb the tranquillity 
of none. You'll not tell, will you? It will be very heartless if 
you do." 

"I'll make up my mind on that point by to-morrow. Miss 
Catherine," I replied. "It requires some study; and so I'll 
leave you to 3'our rest, and go think it over." 

I thought it over aloud, in my master's presence ; walking 
straight from her room to his, and relating the whole story : 
with the exception of her conversations with her cousin, and any 
mention of Hareton. Mr. Linton was alarmed and distressed, 
more than he would acknowledge to me. In the morning, 
Catherine learnt my betrayal of her confidence, and she learnt 
also that her secret visits were to end. In vain she wept and 
writhed against the interdict, and implored her father to have 
pity on Linton : all she got to comfort her was a promise that 
he would write and give him leave to come to the Grange when 
he pleased ; but explaining that he must no longer expect to see 
Catherine at Wuthering Heights. Perhaps, had he been aware 
of his nephew's disposition and state of health, he would have seen 
fit to withhold even that slight consolation. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

"These things happened last winter, sir," said Mrs. Dean; 
" hardly more than a year ago. Last winter, I did not think, at 
another twelve months' end, I should be amusing a stranger to 
the family with relating them ! Yet, who knows how long you'll 
be a stranger ? You're too young to rest always contented, living 
by yourself ; and I some way fancy no one could see Catherine 
Linton and not love her. You smile ; but why do you look so 
lively and interested, when I talk about her ? and why have you 
asked me to hang her picture over your fireplace ? and why " 

" Stop, my good friend 1 " I cried. " It may be very possible 
that / should love her ; but would she love me ? I doubt it too 
much to venture my tranquillity by running into temptation : 
and then my home is not here. I'm of the busy worFd, and to 
its arms I must return. Go on. Was Catherine obedient to 
her father's commands ? " 

" She was," continued the housekeeper. " Her affection for 



f230 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

him was still the chief sentiment in her heart ; and he spoke with- 
out anger : he spoke in the deep tenderness of one about to leave 
his treasure amid perils and foes, where his remembered words 
would be the only aid that he could bequeath to guide her. He 
said to me, a few days afterwards — • 

" ' I wish my nephew would write, Ellen, or call. Tell me, 
sincerely, what you think of him : is he changed for the better, 
or is there a prospect of improvement, as he grows a man ? ' 

" ' He's very delicate, sir,' I replied ; 'and scarcely likely to 
reach manhood ; but this I can say, he does not resemble his 
father ; and if Miss Catherine had the misfortune to marry him, 
he would not be beyond her control : unless she were extremely 
and foolishly indulgent. However, master, you'll have plenty of 
time to get acquainted with him, and see whether he would suit 
her : it wants four years and more to his being of age.' 

Edgar sighed ; and walking to the window, looked out towards 
Gimmerton Kirk. It was a misty afternoon, but the February 
sun shone dimly, and we could just distinguish the two fir-trees 
in the yard, and the sparely scattered grave-stones. 

" I've prayed often," he half soliloquised, " for the approach 
of what is coming ; and now I begin to shrink, and fear it. I 
thought the memory of the hour I came down that glen a bride- 
groom would be less sweet than the anticipation that I was soon, 
in a few months, or, possibly, weeks, to be carried up, and laid 
in its lonely hollow ! Ellen, I've been very happy with my little 
Cathy : through winter nights and summer days she was a living 
hope at my side. But I've been as happy musing by myself 
among those stones, under that old church : lying, through the 
long June evenings, on the green mound of her mother's grave, 
and wishing — yearning for the time when I might lie beneath it. 
What can I do for Cathy ? How must I quit her? I'd not care 
one moment for Linton being Heathcliff 's son ; nor for his taking 
her from me, if he could console her for my loss. I'd not care 
that Heathcliff gained his ends, and triumphed in robbing me of 
my last blessing ! But should Linton be unworthy — only a feeble 
tool to his father — I cannot abandon her to him ! And, hard 
though it be to crush her buoyant spirit, I must persevere in 
making her sad while I live, and leaving her solitary when I die. 
Darling ! I'd rather resign her to God, and lay her in the earth 
before me." 

" Resign her to God as it is, sir," I answered, "and if we 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 23I 

should lose you — which may He forbid — under Hi« providence, 
I'll stand her friend and counsellor to the last. Miss Catherine 
is a good girl : I don't fear that she will go wilfully wrong ; and 
people who do their duty are always finally rewarded." 

Spring advanced ; yet my master gathered no real strength, 
though he resumed his w^alks in the grounds with his daughter. 
To her inexperienced notions, this itself was a sign of convales- 
cence ; and then his cheek was often flushed, and his eyes were 
bright : she felt sure of his recovering. On her seventeenth 
birthday, he did not visit the churchyard : it was raining, and I 
observed — • 

"You'll surely not go out to-night, sir?" 

He answered — 

" No, I'll defer it this year a little longer." 

He wrote again to Linton, expressing his great desire to see 
iiim ; and, had the invalid been presentable, I've no doubt his 
father would have permitted him to come. As it was, being 
instructed, he returned an answer, intimating that Mr. Heathcliif 
objected to his calling at the Grange ; but his uncle's kind re- 
membrance delighted him, and he hoped to meet him, some^ 
times, in his rambles, and personally to petition that his cousin 
and he might not remain long so utterly divided. 

That part of his letter was simple, and probably his own. 
Heathcliff knew he could plead eloquently for Catherine's com^ 
pany, then. 

" I do not ask," he said, " that she may visit here ; but, am I 
never to see her, because my father forbids me to go to her home,, 
and you forbid her to come to mine? Do, now and then, ride 
with her towards the Heights ; and let us exchange a few words, 
in your presence ! We have done nothing to deserve this separa^- 
tion ; and you are not angry with me : you have no reason to dis- 
like me, you allow, yourself. Dear uncle ! send me a kind note 
to-morrow, and leave to join you anywhere you please, except 
at Thrushcross Grange. I believe an interview would convince 
you that my father's character is not mine : he affirms I am more 
your nephew than his son ; and though I have faults which 
render me unworthy of Catherine, she has excused them, and for 
her sake, you should also. You inquire after my health — it is 
better ; but while I remain cut off from all hope, and doomed to 
solitude, or the society of those who never did and never will like 
me, how can I be cheerful and well?" 



2p WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Edgar, though he felt for the boy, could not consent to grant 
his request ; because he could not accompany Catherine. He 
said, in summer, perhaps, they might meet: meantime, he wished 
him to continue writing at intervals, and engaged to give him 
what advice and comfort he was able by letter ; being well aware 
of his hard position in his family. Linton compUed ; and had he 
been unrestrained, would probably have spoiled all by filling his 
epistles with complaints and lamentations : but his father kept a 
sharp watch over him ; and, of course, insisted on every line 
that my master sent being shown ; so, instead of penning his 
peculiar personal sufferings and distresses, the themes constantly 
uppermost in his thoughts, he harped on the cruel obligation of 
being held asunder from his friend and love ; and gently intimated 
that Mr. Linton must allow an interview soon, or he should fear 
he was purposely deceiving him with empty promises. 

Cathy was a powerful ally at home ; and, between them, they 
at length persuaded my master to acquiesce in their having a ride 
or a walk together about once a week, under my guardianship, 
and on the moors nearest the Grange : for June found him still 
declining. Though he had set aside yearly a portion of his 
income for my young lady's fortune, he had a natural desire that 
she might retain — or at least return in a short time to — the house 
of her ancestors ; and he considered her only prospect of doing 
that was by a union with his heir ; he had no idea that the latter 
was failing almost as fast as himself ; nor had any one, I believe : 
no doctor visited the Heights, and no one saw Master Heath- 
cliff to make report of his condition among us. I, for my part, 
began to fancy my forebodings were false, and that he must be 
actually rallying, when he mentioned riding and walking on the 
moors, and seemed so earnest in pursuing his object. I could 
not picture a father treating a dying child as tyrannically and 
wickedly as I afterwards learned Heathcliff had treated him, to 
compel this apparent eagerness : his efforts redoubling the more 
imminently his avaricious and unfeeling plans were threatened 
with defeat by death. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

Summer was already past its prime, when Edgar reluctantly 
yielded his assent to their entreaties, and Catherine and I set out 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 235 

on our first ride to join her cousin. It was a close, sultry day : 
devoid of sunshine, but with a sky too dappled and hazy to 
threaten rain ; and our place of meeting had been fixed at the 
guide-stone, by the cross-roads. On arriving there, however, a 
little herd-boy, despatched as a messenger, told us that — 

" Maister Lintcn wer just o' this side th' Heights : and he'd 
be mitch obleeged to us to gang on a bit further." __ 

"Then Master Linton has forgot the first injunction of his 
uncle," I observed : "he bid us keep on the Grange land, and 
here we are off at once." 

' ' Well, we'll turn our horses' heads round, when we reach him," 
answered my companion, "our excursion shall lie towards home. " 

But when we reached him, and that was scarcely a quarter of 
a mile from his own door, we found he had no horse ; and we 
were forced to dismount, and leave ours to graze. He lay on 
the heath, awaiting our approach, and did not rise till we came 
within a few yards. Then he walked so feebly, and looked so 
pale, that I immediately exclaimed — • 

' ' Why, Master Heathcliff, you are not fit for enjoying a ramble, 
this morning. How ill you do look ! " 

Catherine surveyed him with grief and astonishment : she 
changed the ejaculation of joy on her lips, to one of alarm ; and 
the congratulation on their long-postponed meeting, to an 
anxious inquiry, whether he were worse than usual? 

"No — better — better !" he panted, trembling, and retaining 
her hand as if he needed its support, while his large blue eyes 
wandered timidly over her ; the hoUowness round them trans- 
forming to haggard wildness the languid expression they once 
possessed. 

" But you have been worse," persisted his cousin: "worse than 
when I saw you last ; you are thinner, and" 

"I'm tired," he interrupted hurriedly. "It is too hot for 
walking, let us rest here. And, in the morning, I often feel sick 
— papa says I grow so fast." 

Badly satisfied, Cathy sat down, and he reclined beside her, 

" This is something like your paradise," said she, making an 
effort at cheerfulness. "You recollect the two days we agreed to 
spend in the place and way each thought pleasantest? This is 
nearly yours, only there are clouds ; but then they are so soft and 
mellow : it is nicer than sunshine. Next week, if you can, we'll 
ride down to the Grange Park, and try mine." 

H 2 



234- WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

Linton did not appear to remembei- what slie talked of ; and 
he had evidently great difficulty in sustaining any kind of con- 
versation. His lack of interest in the subjects she started, and 
his equal incapacity to contribute to her entertainment, were so 
obvious that she could not conceal her disappointment. An in- 
definite alteration had come over his whole person and manner. 
The pettishness that might be caressed into fondness, had yielded 
to a listless apathy ; there was less of the peevish temper of a 
child which frets and teases on purpose to be soothed, and more 
of the self-absorbed moroseness of a confirmed invalid, repelling 
consolation, and ready to regard the good-humoured mirth of 
others as an insult. Catherine perceived, as well as I did, that 
he held it rather a punishment, than a gratification, to endure our 
company ; and she made no scruple of proposing, presently, to 
depart. That proposal, unexpectedly, roused Linton from his 
lethargy, and threw him into a strange state of agitation. He 
glanced fearfully towards the Heights, begging she would remain 
another half-hour at least. 

" But I think," said Cathy, "you'd be more comfortable at 
home than sitting here ; and I cannot amuse you to-day, I see, 
by my tales, and songs, and chatter : you have grown wiser than 
I, in these six months ; you have little taste for my diversions 
now : or else, if I could amuse you, I'd willingly stay." 

" Stay to rest yourself," he replied. "And Catherine, don't 
think, or say that I'm very unwell : it is the heavy weather and 
heat that make me dull ; and 1 walked about, before you came, 
a great deal for me. Tell uncle I'm in tolerable health, will 
you ? " 

" I'll tell him that you say so, Linton. I couldn't affirm that 
you are," observed my young lady, wondering at his pertinacious 
assertion of what was evidently an untruth. 

" And be here again next Thursday," continued he, shunning 
her puzzled gaze. "And give him my thanks for permitting 
you to come — my best thanks, Catherine. And — and, if you did 
meet my father, and he asked you about me, don't lead him to 
suppose that I've been extremely silent and stupid : don't look 
sad and downcast, as you are doing — he'll be angry." 

" I care nothing for his anger," exclaimed Cathy, imagining 
she would be its object. 

"But I do," said her cousin, shuddering. '' Dont provoke 
him against me, Catherine, for he is very hard." 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS, 235 

" Is he severe to you, Master Heathcliff?" I inquired. "Has 
he grown weary of indulgence, and passed from passive to active 
hatred ? " 

Linton looked at me, but did not answer ; and, after keeping 
her seat by liis side another ten minutes, during which his head 
fell drowsily on his breast, and he uttered nothing except sup- 
pressed moans of exhaustion or pain, Cathy began to seek solace 
in looking for bilberries, and sharing the produce of her researches 
with me : she did not offer them to him, for she saw further 
notice would only weary and annoy. 

" Is it half-an-hour now, Ellen ?" she whispered in my ear, at 
last. " I can't tell why we should stay. He's asleep, and papa 
will be wanting us back." 

" Well, we must not leave him asleep," I answered ; " wait till 
he wakes, and be patient. You were mighty eager to set off, 
but your longing to see poor Linton has soon evaporated ! " 

" Why did he wish to see me?" returned Catherine. " In his 
crossest humours, formerly, I liked him better than I do in his 
present curious mood. It's just as if it were a task he was com- 
pelled to perform — this interview — for fear his father should scold 
him. But I'm hardly going to come to give Mr. Heathcliff 
pleasure ; whatever reason he may have for ordering Linton to 
undergo this penance. And, though I'm glad he's better in 
health, I'm sorry he's so much less pleasant, and so much less 
affectionate to me." 

"You think he is better in health then? " I said. 

' ' Yes," she answered ; ' ' because he always made such a great 
deal of his sufferings, you know. He is not tolerably well, as he 
told me to tell papa ; but he's better, very likely." 

"There you differ with me, Miss Cathy," I remarked; "I 
should conjecture him to be far worse." 

Linton here started from his slumber in bewildered terror, 
and asked if any one had called his name. 

' ' No, " said Catherine ; ' ' unless in dreams. I cannot conceive 
how you manage to doze out of doors, in the morning." 

" I thought I heard my father," he gasped, glancing up to the 
frowning nab above us. * ' You are sure nobody spoke ? " 

' ' Quite sure," replied his cousin. ' ' Only Ellen and -I were dis- 
puting concerning your health. Are you truly stronger, Linton, 
than when we separated in winter? If you be I'm certain one 
thing is not stronger— your regard for me : speak,— are you?" 



236 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

The tears gushed from Linton's eyes as he answered, "Yes, 
yes, I am ! " And, still under the spell of the imaginary voice, 
his gaze wandered up and down to detect its owner. Cathy 
rose. "For to-day we must part," she said. "And I won't 
coneeal that I have been sadly disappointed with our meeting ; 
though I'll mention it to nobody but you : not that I stand in 
awe of Mr. Heathcliff." 

" Hush," murmured Linton: "for God's sake, hush ! He's 
coming." And he clung to Catherine's arm, striving to detain 
her ; but at that announcement she hastily disengaged herself, 
and whistled to Minny, who obeyed her like a dog. 

" I'll be here next Thursday," she cried, springing to the 
saddle. "Good-bye, Quick, Ellen ! " 

And so we left him, scarcely conscious of our departure, so 
absorbed was he in anticipating his father's approach. 

Before we reached home, Catherine's displeasure softened into 
a perplexed sensation of pity and regret, largely blended with 
vague, uneasy doubts about Linton's actual circumstances, 
physical and social ; in which I partook, though I counselled her 
not to say much ; for a second journey would make us better 
judges. My master requested an account of our ongoings. 
His nephew's offering of thanks was duly delivered. Miss Cathy 
gently touching on the rest : I also threw little light on his 
inquiries, for I hardly knew what to hide, and what to reveal. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Seven days glided away, every one marking its course by the 
henceforth rapid alteration of Edgar Linton's state. The havoc 
that months had previously wrought was now emulated by the 
inroads of hours. Catherine, we would fain have deluded yet : 
but her own quick spirit refused to delude her : it divined in 
secret, and brooded on the dreadful probability, gradually 
ripening into certainty. She had not the heart to mention her 
ride, when Thursday came round ; I mentioned it for her, and 
obtained permission to order her out of doors : for the library, 
where her father stopped a short time daily — the brief period he 
could bear to sit up — and his chamber, had become her whole 
■world. She grudged each moment that did not find her bending 
over his pillow, or seated by his side. Her countenance grew 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 237 

wan with watching and sorrow, and my master gladly dismissed 
her to what he flattered himself would be a happy change of 
scene and society ; drawing comfort from the hope that she 
would not now be left entirely alone after his death. 

He had a fixed idea, I guessed by several observations he let 
fiiU, that, as his nephew resembled him in person, he would 
resemble him in mind ; for Linton's letters bore few or no 
indications of his defective character. And I, through pardon- 
able weakness, refrained from correcting the error ; asking 
myself what good there would be in disturbing his last moments 
with information that he had neither power nor opportunity to 
turn to account. 

We deferred our excursion till the afternoon ; a golden after- 
noon of August : every breath from the hills so full of life, that 
it seemed whoever respired it, though dying, might revive. Cathe- 
rine's face was just like the landscape — shadows and sunshine 
flitting over it in rapid succession ; but the shadows rested longer, 
and the sunshine was more transient ; and her poor little heart 
reproached itself for even that passing forgetfulness of its 
cares. 

We discerned Linton watching at the same spot he had selected 
before. My young mistress alighted, and told me that, as sl>e 
was resolved to stay a very little while, I had better hold the pony 
and remain on horseback ; but I dissented : I wouldn't risk los- 
ing sight of the charge committed to me a minute ; so we climbed 
the slope of heath together. Master Heathcliff received us with 
greater animation on this occasion : not the animation of high 
spirits though, nor yet of joy ; it looked more like fear. 

" It is late ! " he said, speaking short and with difficulty. " Is 
not your father very ill? I thought you wouldn't come." 

" IV/ij won't you be candid?" cried Catherine, swallowing 
her greeting. "Why cannot you say at once you don't want 
me? It is strange, Linton, that for the second time you have 
brought me here on purpose, apparently, tc distress us both, and 
for no reason besides ! " 

Linton shivered, and glanced at her, half supplicating, half 
ashamed ; but his cousin's patience was not sufficient to endure 
this enigmatical behaviour. 

" My father /j very ill," she said ; " and why am I called from 
his bedside ? Why didn't you send to absolve me from my pro- 
mise, when you wished I wouldn't keep it ? Come ! 1 desire au 



238 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

explanation : playing and trifling are completely banished out of 
my mind ; and I can't dance attendance on your affectations 



now 



"My affectations!" he murmured; "what are they? For 
Heaven's sake, Catherine, don't look so angry ! Despise me as 
much as you please ; I am a worthless, cowardly wretch : I can't 
be scorned enough ; but I'm too mean for your anger. Hate my 
father, and spare me for contempt." 

" Nonsens,e ! " cried Catherine, in a passion. " Foolish, silly 
boy ! And there ! he trembles, as if I were really going to touch 
him 1 You needn't bespeak contempt, Linton : anybody will 
have it spontaneously at your service. Get off ! I shall return 
home : it is folly dragging you from the hearthstone, and pre- 
tending — what do we pretend ? Let go my frock ! If I pitied 
you for crying and looking so very frightened, you should spurn 
such pity, Ellen, tell him how disgraceful this conduct is. Rise, 
and don't degrade yourself into an abject reptile — do7i'i!" 

With streaming face and an expression of agony, Linton had 
thrown his nerveless frame along the ground : he seemed con- 
vulsed with exquisite terror. 

" Oh ! " he sobbed, "I cannot bear it ! Catherine, Catherine, 
I'm a traitor, too, and I dare not tell you ! But leave me, and I 
shall be killed ! Dear Catherine, my life is in your hands : and 
you have said you loved me, and if you did, it wouldn't harm 
you. You'll not go, then? kind, sweet, good Catherine ! And 
perhaps you rvill consent — and he'll let me die with you 1 " 

My young lady, on witnessing his intense anguish, stooped to 
raise him. The old feehng of indulgent tenderness overcame her 
vexation, and she grew thoroughly moved and alarmed, 

"Consent to what?" she asked. "To stay! Tell me the 
meaning of this strange talk, and I will. You contradict your 
own words, and distract me ! Be calm and frank, and confess 
at once all that weighs on your heart. You wouldn't injure me, 
Linton, would you? You wouldn't let any enemy hurt me, if 
you could prevent it? I'll believe you are a coward for yourself, 
but not a cowardly betrayer of your best friend." 

" But my father threatened me," gasped the boy, clasping his 
attenuated fingers, "and I dread him — I di-ead him! I dare 
not tell ! " 

"Oh, well ! " said Catherine, with scornful compassion, "keep 
your secret : /'w no coward. Save yourself: I'm not afraid I" 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 239- 

Her magnanimity provoked his tears : he wept wildly, kissing 
her supporting hands, and yet could not summon courage to speak 
out. I was cogitating what the mystery might be, and deter- 
mined Catherine should never suffer, to benefit him or any one 
else, by my good will ; when hearing a rustle among the ling, I 
looked up and saw Mr. Heathcliff almost close upon us, descend- 
ing the Heights. He didn't cast a glance towards my com- 
panions, though they were sufficiently near for Linton's sobs to 
be audible ; but hailing me in the almost hearty tone he assumed 
to none besides, and the sincerity of which I couldn't avoid 
doubting, he said— 

" It is something to see you so near to my house, Nelly. How 
are you at the Grange? Let us hear. The rumour goes," he 
added in a lower tone, ' ' that Edgar Linton is on his deathbed : 
perhaps they exaggerate his illness ! " 

"No; my master is dying," I replied: "it is true enough. 
A sad thing it will be for us all, but a blessing for him 1 " 

" How long will he last, do you think?" he asked. 

" I don't know," I said. 

"Because," he continued, looking at the two young people, 
who were fixed under his eye — Linton appeared as if he could 
not venture to stir or raise his head, and Catherine could not 
move, on his account — "because that lad yonder seems deter- 
mined to beat me ; and I'd thank his uncle to be quick, and go 
before him. Hallo ! has the whelp been playing that game 
long? I did give him some lessons about snivelling. Is he 
pretty lively with Miss Linton generally?" 

' ' Lively ? no — he has shown the greatest distress," I answered. 
"To see him, I should say, that instead of rambling with his 
sweetheart on the hills, he ought to be in bed, under the hands 
of a doctor." 

" He shall be in a day or two," muttered Heathcliff. " But 
first — get up, Linton! Get up ! " he shouted. " Don't grovel 
on the ground there : up, this moment ! " 

Linton had sunk prostrate again in another paroxysm of help- 
less fear, caused by his father's glance towards him, I suppose : 
there was nothing else to produce such humiliation. He made 
several efforts to obey, but his little strength was ani^ihilated for 
the time, and he fell back again with a moan. Mr. Heathcliff 
advanced, and lifted him to lean against a ridge of turf. 

"Now," said he, with curbed ferocity, "I'm getting angry; 



240 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

and if you don't command that paltry spirit of yours — Damn 
you ! get up directly ! " 

" I will, father," he panted. " Only, let me alone, or I shall 
faint. I've done as you wished, I'm sure. Catherine will tell you 
that I— that I — have been cheerful. Ah ! keep by me, Catherine : 
give me your hand." 

" Take mine," said his father ; "stand on your feet. There 
now — she'll lend you her arm : that's right, look at her. You 
would imagine I was the devil himself, Miss Linton, to excite 
such horror. Be so kind as to walk home with him, will you ? 
He shudders if I touch him." 

" Linton, dear ! " whispered Catherine, " I can't go to Wuther- 
jng Heights ; papa has forbidden me. He'll not harm you : 
why are you so afraid?" 

" I can never re-enter that house," he answered. " I'm 7iot to 
re-enter it without you ! " 

"Stop!" cried his father. "We'll respect Catherine's filial 
scruples. Nelly, take him in, and I'll follow your advice con- 
cerning the doctor, without delay." 

"You'll do well," replied I. "But I must remain with my 
mistress : to mind your son is not my business." 

"You are very stiff," said Heathcliff, " I know that : but you'll 
force me to pinch the baby and make it scream before it moves 
your charity. Come, then, my hero. Are you willing to return, 
escorted by me?" 

He approached once more, and made as if he would seize the 
fragile being ; but, shrinking back, Linton clung to his cousin, 
and implored her to accompany him, with a frantic importunity 
that admitted no deniak However I disapproved, I couldn't 
hinder her : indeed, how could she have refused him herself? 
What was filling him with dread we had no means of discerning : 
but there he was, powerless under its gripe, and any addition 
seemed capable of shocking him into idiocy. We reached the 
threshold : Catherine walked in, and I stood waiting till she had 
conducted the invalid to a chair, expecting her out immediately ; 
when Mr. Heathcliff, pushing me forward, exclaimed — 

' ' My house is not stricken with the plague, Nelly ; and I have 
a mind to be hospitable to-day : sit down, and allow me to shut 
the door." 

He shut and locked it also. I started. 

" You shall have tea before you go home," he added. " I am 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 241 

by myself. Hareton is gone with some cattle to the Lees, and 
Zillah and Joseph are off on a journey of pleasure ; and, though 
I'm used to being alone, I'd rather have some interesting com- 
pany, if I can get it. Miss Linton, take your seat by him. I 
give you what I have : the present is hardly worth accepting ; 
but I have nothing else to offer. It is Linton, I mean. How 
she does stare ! It's odd what a savage feehng I have to any- 
thing that seems afraid of me ! Had I been born where laws 
are less strict and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself to a 
slow vivisection of those two, as an evening's amusement." 

He drew in his breath, struck the table, and swore to himself, 
" By hell! I hate them." 

" I'm not afraid of you ! " exclaimed Catherine, who could not 
hear the latter part of his speech. She stepped close up ; her 
black eyes flashing with passion and resolution. " Give me that 
key : I will have it ! " she said. " I wouldn't eat or drink here, 
if I were starving." 

Heathcliff had the key in his hand that remained on the table. 
He looked up, seized with a sort of surprise at her boldness ; or, 
possibly, reminded by her voice and glance, of the person from 
whom she inherited it. She snatched at the instrument, and 
half-succeeded in getting it out of his loosened fingers : but her 
action recalled him to the present ; he recovered it speedily. 

" Now, Catherine Linton," he said, " stand off, or I shall knock 
you down ; and that will make Mrs. Dean mad." 

Regardless of this warning, she captured his closed hand and 
its contents again. " We will go ! " she repeated, exerting her 
utmost efforts to cause the iron muscles to relax ; and finding 
that her nails made no impression, she applied her teeth pretty 
sharply. Heathcliff glanced at me a glance that kept me from 
interfering a moment. Catherine was too intent on his fingers 
to notice his face. He opened them suddenly, and resigned the 
object of dispute ; but, ere she had well secured it, he seized her 
with the liberated hand, and, pulling her on his knee, adminis- 
tered with the other a shower of terrific slaps on both sides of 
the head, each sufficient to have fulfilled his threat, had she been 
able to fall. 

At this diabolical violence I rushed on him furiously. " You 
villain ! " I began to cry, " you villain ! " A touch on the chest 
silenced me : I am stout, and soon put out of breath ; and, what 
with that and the rage, I staggered dizzily back, and felt ready 



242 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

to suffocate, or to burst a blood-vessel. The scene was over in 
two minutes ; Catherine, released, put her two hands to her 
temples, and looked just as if she were not sure whether her ears 
were off or on. She trembled like a reed, poor thing, and leant 
against the table perfectly bewildered. 

" I know how to chastise children, you see," said the scoundrel 
grimly, as he stooped to repossess himself of the key, which had 
dropped to the floor. " Go to Linton now, as I told you ; and 
cry at your ease ! I shall be your father, to-morrow — all the 
father you'll have in a few days — and you shall have plenty of 
that. You can bear plenty ; you're no weakling : you shall have 
a daily taste, if I catch such a devil of a temper in your eyes 
again!" 

Cathy ran to me instead of Linton, and knelt down and put her 
burning cheek on my lap, weeping aloud. Her cousin had shrunk 
into a corner of the settle, as quiet as a mouse, congratulating 
himself, I dare say, that the correction had lighted on another 
than him. Mr. Heathcliff, perceiving us all confounded, rose, 
and expeditiously made the tea himself. The cups and saucers 
were laid ready. He poured it out, and handed me a cup. 

"Wash away your spleen," he said. "And help your own 
naughty pet and mine. It is not poisoned, though I prepared 
it. I'm going out to seek your horses." 

Our first thought, on his departure, was to force an exit some- 
M'here. We tried the kitchen door, but that was fastened out- 
side : we looked at the windows — they were too narrow for even 
Cathy's little figure. 

"Master Linton," I cried, seeing we were regularly imprisoned : 
' ' you know what your diabolical father is after, and you shall 
tell us, or I'll box your ears, as he has done your cousin's." 

"Yes, Linton, you must tell," said Catherine. " It was for your 
sake I came ; and it will be wickedly ungrateful if you refuse." 

"Give me some tea, I'm thirsty, and then I'll tell you," he 
answered. "Mrs. Dean, go away. I don't hke you standing 
over me. Now, Catherine, you are letting your tears fall into 
my cup. I won't drink that. Give me another." 

Catherine pushed another to him, and wiped her face. I felt 
disgusted at the Httle wretch's composure, since he was no longer 
in terror for himself. The anguish he had exhibited on the moor 
subsided as soon as ever he entered Wuthering Heights ; so I 
guessed he had been menaced with an awful visitation of wrath 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 243. 

if he failed in decoying us there ; and, that accompHshed, he had 
no further immediate fears. 

" Papa wants us to be married," he continued, after sipping 
some of the hquid. " And he knows your papa wouldn't let us 
marry now ; and he's afraid of my dying, if we wait ; so we are 
to be married in the morning, and you are to stay here all night ; 
and if you do as he wishes, you shall return home next day, and 
take me with you." 

"Take you with her, pitiful changeling?" I exclaimed. 
"Voti marry? Why, the man is mad; or he thinks us fools, 
every one. And do you imagine that beautiful young lady, that 
healthy, hearty girl, will tie herself to a little perishing monkey 
like you ! Are you cherishing the notion that anybody, let alone 
!Miss Catherine Linton, would have you for a husband? You 
want whipping for bringing us in here at all, with your dastardly- 
puling tricks ; and — don't look so silly, now ! I've a very good 
mind to shake you severely, for your contemptible treachery, 
and your imbecile conceit." 

I did give him a slight shaking ; but it brought on the cough, 
and he took to his ordinary resource of moaning and weeping, 
and Catherine rebuked me. 

"Stay all night? No," she said, looking slowly round. 
" Ellen, I'll burn that door down, but I'll get out." 

And she would have commenced the execution of her threat 
directly, but Linton was up in alarm for his dear self again. 
He clasped her in his two feeble arms, sobbing — 

"Won't you have me, and save me? not let me come to the 
Grange ? Oh ! darling Catherine ! you mustn't go and leave, 
after all. You must obey my father — you must /" 

" I must obey my owTi," she replied, "and relieve him from 
this cruel suspense. The whole night ! What would he think ? 
he'll be distressed already. I'll either break or burn a way out 
of the house. Be quiet ! You're in no danger ; but if you 
hinder me — Linton, I love papa better than you ! " 

The mortal terror he felt of Mr. HeathclifFs anger, restored 
to the boy his coward's eloquence. Catherine was near dis- 
traught : still, she persisted that she must go home, and tried 
entreaty in her turn, persuading him to subdue his selfish agony. 
While they were thus occupied, our gaoler re-entered. 

"Your beasts have trotted off," he said, " and — now, Linton ! 
snivelling again? What has she been doing to you? Come, 



244 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

come — have done, and get to bed. In a month or two, my lad, 
you'll be able to pay her back her present tyrannies with a 
vigorous hand. You're pining for pure love, are you not? 
nothing else in the world : and she shall have you ! There, to 
bed ! Zillah won't be here to-night ; you must undress yourself. 
Hush ! hold your noise ! Once in your own room, I'll not come 
near you : you needn't fear. By chance you've managed tole- 
rably. I'll look to the rest." 

He spoke these words, holding the door open for his son to 
pass ; and the latter achieved his exit exactly as a spaniel might, 
which suspected the person who attended on it of designing 
a spiteful squeeze. The lock was re-secured. Heathcliff ap- 
proached the fire, where my mistress and I stood silent. Cathe- 
rine looked up, and instinctively raised her hand to her cheek : 
his neighbourhood revived a painful sensation. Anybody else 
would have been incapable of regarding the childish act with 
sternness, but he scowled on her, and muttered — 

" Oh ! you are not afraid of me ? Your courage is well dis- 
guised : you seem damnably afraid ! " 

" I am afraid now," she replied, " because, if I stay, papa will 
be miserable ; and how can I endure making him miserable ; 
— when he — when he — Mr. Heathcliff, let me go home ! I pro- 
mise to marry Linton : papa would like me to : and I love him. 
Why should you wish to force me to do what I'll willingly do 
of myself? " 

" Let him dare to force you ! " I cried. " There's law in the 
land, thank God there is ; though we be in an out-of-the-way 
place. I'd inform if he were my own son : and it's felony with- 
out benefit of clergy ! " 

" Silence ! " said the ruffian. " To the devil with your clam- 
our ! I don't want you to speak. Miss Linton, I shall enjoy 
myself remarkably in thinking your father will be miserable : I 
shall not sleep for satisfaction. You could have hit on no surer 
way of fixing your residence under my roof for the next twenty- 
four hours, than informing me that such an event would follow. 
As to your promise to marry Linton, I'll take care you shall keep 
it ; for you shall not quit this place till it is fulfilled." 

"Send Ellen, then, to let papa know I'm safe!" exclaimed 
Catherine, weeping bitterly. ' ' Or marry me now. Poor papa ! 
Ellen, he'll think we're lost. What shall we do?" 

" Not he ! He'll think you are tired of waiting on him, and 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 24$ 

run off for a little amusement," answered Heathcliff. "You 
cannot deny that you entered my house of your own accord, in 
contempt of his injunctions to the contrary. And it is quite 
natural that you should desire amusement at your age ; and that 
you would weary of nursing a sick man, and that man only your 
father. Catherine, his happiest days were over when your days 
began. He cursed you, I dare say, for coming into the world 
(I did, at least) ; and it would just do if he cursed you as he 
went out of it. I'd join him. I don't love you ! How should I ? 
Weep away. As far as I can see, it will be your chief diversion 
hereafter ; unless Linton make amends for other losses : and your 
provident parent appears to fancy he may. His letters of advice 
and consolation entertained me vastly. In his last he recom- 
mended my jewel to be careful of his ; and kind to her when he 
got her. Careful and kind — that's paternal. But Linton requires 
his whole stock of care and kindness for himself. Linton can 
play the little tyrant well. He'll undertake to torture any num- 
ber of cats, if their teeth be drawn and their claws pared. You'll 
be able to tell his uncle fine tales of his khidfiess, when you get 
home again, I assure you." 

" You're right there ! " I said ; "explain your son's character. 
Show his resemblance to yourself ; and then, I hope, Miss Cathy 
will think twice before she takes the cockatrice ! " 

" I don't much mind speaking of his amiable qualities now," 
he answered ; ' ' because she must either accept him or remain a 
prisoner, and you along with her, till your master dies. I can de- 
tain you both, quite concealed, here. If you doubt, encourage her 
to retract her word, and you'll have an opportunity of judging ! " 

" I'll not retract my word," said Catherine, " I'll marry him 
within this hour, if I may go to Thrushcross Grange afterwards. 
Mr. Heathcliff, you're a cruel man, but you're not a fiend ; and 
you won't, from fnere malice, destroy irrevocably all my happi- 
ness. If papa thought I had left him on purpose, and if he died 
before I returned, could I bear to live? I've given over crying : 
but I'm going to kneel here, at your knee ; and I'll not get up, 
and I'll not take my eyes from your face till you look back at me ! 
No, don't turn away ! do look ! You'll see nothing to provoke 
you. I don't hate you. I'm not angry that you struck me. 
Have you never loved anybody in all your life, uiicle ? never f 
Ah ! you must look once. I'm so wretched, you can't help being 
sorry and pitying me." 



246 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"Keep your eft's fingers off; and move, or I'll kick you ! " 
cried Heathcliff, brutally repulsing her. ' ' I'd rather be hugged 
by a snake. How the devil can you dream of fawning on me ? 
I detest you ! " 

He shrugged his shoulders : shook himself, indeed, as if his 
flesh crept with aversion ; and thrust back his chair ; while I got 
up, and opened my mouth, to commence a downright torrent of 
abuse. But I was rendered dumb in the middle of the first 
sentence, by a threat that I should be shown into a room by my- 
self the very next syllable I uttered. It v/as growing dark — we 
heard a sound of voices at the garden gate. Our host hurried 
out instantly : he had his wits about him ; %ve had not. There 
was a talk of two or three minutes, and he returned alone. 

" I thought it had been your cousin Hareton," I observed to 
Catherine. ' ' I wish he would arrive ! Who knows but he might 
take our part?" 

" It was three servants sent to seek you from the Grange," said 
Heathcliff, overhearing me. " You should have opened a lattice 
and called out : but I could swear that chit is glad you didn't. 
She's glad to be obliged to stay, I'm certain." 

At learning the chance we had missed, we both gave vent to 
our grief without control ; and he allowed us to wail on till nine 
o'clock. Then he bid us go upstairs, through the kitchen, to 
Zillah's chamber ; and I whispered my companion to obey : 
perhaps we might contrive to get through the window there, or 
into a garret, and out by its skylight. The window, however, 
was narrow, like those below, and the garret trap was safe from 
our attempts ; for we were fastened in as before. We neither 
of us lay down : Catherine took her station by the lattice, and 
watched anxiously for morning ; a deep sigh being the only 
answer I could obtain to my frequent entreaties that she would 
try to rest. I seated myself in a chair, and rocked to and fro, 
passing harsh judgment on my many derelictions of duty ; from 
which, it struck me then, all the misfortunes of my employers 
sprang. It was not the case, in reality, I am aware ; but it was, 
in my imagination, that dismal night ; and I thought Heathcliff 
himself less guilty than I. 

At seven o'clock he came, and inquired if Miss Linton had 
risen. She ran to the door immediately, and answered, " Yes." 
' ' Here, then," he said, opening it, and puUing her out. I rose to 
follow, but he turned the lock again. I demanded my release. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 247 

" Be patient," he replied ; " I'll send up your breakfast in a 
■while." 

I thumped on the panels, and rattled the latch angrily ; and 
Catherine asked why I was still shut up? He answered, I must try 
to endure it another hour, and they went away. I endured it two 
or three hours ; at length, I heard a footstep : not Heathcliff's. 

" I've brought you something to eat," said a voice ; " oppen 
t' door ! " 

Complying eagerly, I beheld Hareton, laden with food enough 
to last me all day. 

" Tak it," he added, thrusting the tray into my hand. 

" Stay one minute," I began. 

"Nay," cried he, and retired, regardless of any prayers I 
could pour forth to detain him. 

And there I remained enclosed the whole day, and the whole 
of the next night ; and another, and another. Five nights and 
four days I remained, altogether, seeing nobody but Hareton, 
once every morning ; and he was a model of a gaoler : surly, 
and dumb, and deaf to every attempt at moving his sense of 
justice or compassion. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

On the fifth morning, or rather afternoon, a different step 
approached — lighter and shorter ; and, this time, the person 
entered the room. It was Zillah ; donned in her scarlet shawl, 
with a black silk bonnet on her head, and a willow basket 
swung to her arm. 

" Eh, dear ! Mrs. Dean ! " she exclaimed. " Well ! there is a 
talk about you at Gimmerton. I never thought but you were 
sunk in the Blackhorse marsh, and missy with you, till master 
told me you'd been found, and he'd lodged you here ! What ! 
and you must have got on an island, sure ? And how long were 
you in the hole? Did master save you, Mrs. Dean? But you're 
not so thin — you've not been so poorly, have you ? " 

" Your master is a true scoundrel ! " I replied. " But he shall 
answer for it. He needn't have raised that tale : it shall all be 
laid bare ! " 

"What do you mean?" asked Zillah, "It's not his' tale : 
they tell that in the village— about your being lost in the marsh : 



248 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

and I calls to Earnshaw, when I come in—' Eli, they's queer 
things, Mr. Hareton, happened since I went off. It's a sad pity 
of that likely young lass, and cant Nelly Dean." He stared. 
I thought he had not heard aught, so I told him the rumour. 
The master listened, and he just smiled to himself, and said, ' If 
they have been in the marsh, they are out now, Zillah. Nelly 
Dean is lodged, at this minute, in your room. You can tell her 
to flit, when you go up ; here is the key. The bog-water got 
into her head, and she would have run home quite flighty ; but 
I fixed her till she came round to her senses. You can bid her 
go to the Grange at once, if she be able, and carry a message 
from me, that her young lady will follow in time to attend the 
squire's funeral.' " 

"Mr. Edgar is not dead?" I gasped. "Oh! Zillah, Zillah!" 

" No, no; sityou down, my good mistress," she replied, "you're 
right sickly yet. He's not dead ; Doctor Kenneth thinks he 
may last another day. I met him on the road and asked." 

Instead of sitting down, I snatched my outdoor things, and 
hastened below, for the way was free. On entering the house, 
I looked about for some one to give information of Catherine. 
The place was filled with sunshine, and the door stood wide 
open ; but nobody seemed at hand. As I hesitated whether to 
go off at once, or return and seek my mistress, a slight cough 
drew my attention to the hearth. Linton lay on the settle, sole 
tenant, sucking a stick of sugar-candy, and pursuing my move- 
ments with apathetic eyes. "Where is Miss Catherine?" I 
demanded sternly, supposing I could frighten him into giving 
intelligence, by catching him thus, alone. He sucked on hke 
an innocent. 

" Is she gone?" I said. 

' ' No," he replied ; ' ' she's upstairs : she's not to go ; we won't 
let her." 

"You won't let her, little idiot ! " I exclaimed. " Direct me 
to her room immediately, or I'll make you sing out sharply." 

" Papa would make you sing out, if you attempted to get there," 
he answered. " He says I'm not to be soft with Catherine : she's 
my wife, and it's shameful that she should wish to leave me. 
He says, she hates me and wants me to die, that she may have 
my money ; but she shan't have it : and she shan't go home ! 
She never shall ! — she may cry, and be sick as much as she 
pleases! " 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 249 

He resumed his former occupation, closing his hds, as if he 
meant to drop asleep. 

"Master Heathcliff," I resumed, "have you forgotten all 
Catherine's kindness to you last winter, when you afifirmed you 
loved her, and when she brought you books and sung you songs, 
and came many a time through wind and snow to see you? She 
wept to miss one evening, because you would be disappointed ; 
and you felt then that she was a hundred times too good to you : 
and now you believe the lies your father tells, though you know 
he detests you both. And you join him against her. That's 
fine gratitude, is it not?" 

The corner of Linton's mouth fell, and he took the sugar- 
candy from his lips. 

' ' Did she come to Wuthering Heights, because she hated you ? " 
I continued, " Think for yourself ! As to your money, she does 
not even know that you will have any. And you say she's sick ; 
and yet, you leave her alone, up there in a strange house ! You 
who have felt what it is to be so neglected ! You could pity your 
own sufferings ; and she pitied them too ; but you won't pity hers ! 
I shed tears, Master Heathcliff, you see — an elderly woman, and 
a servant merely — and you, after pretending such affection, and 
having reason to worship her almost, store every tear you have 
for yourself, and lie there quite at ease. Ah ! you're a heartless, 
selfish boy ! " 

" I can't stay with her," he answered crossly. " I'll not stay 
by myself. She cries so I can't bear it. And she won't give over, 
though I say I'll call my father. I did call him once, and he 
threatened to strangle her, if she was not quiet ; but she began 
again the instant he left the room, moaning and grieving all night 
long, though I screamed for vexation that I couldn't sleep." 

"Is Mr. Heathcliff out?" I inquired, perceiving that the 
wretched creature had no power to sympathise with his cousin's 
mental tortures. 

" He's in the court," he replied, " talking to Doctor Kenneth ; 
who says uncle is dying, truly, at last. I'm glad, for I shall be 
master of the Grange after him. Catherine always spoke of it as 
her house. It isn't hers ! It's mine : papa says everything she 
has is mine. All her nice books are mine ; she offered to give me 
them, and her pretty birds, and her pony Minny, if I would get 
the key of our room, and let her out; but I told her she had 
nothing to give, they were all, all mine. And then she cried, and 



250 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

took a little picture from her neck, and said I should have that ; 
two pictures in a gold case, on one side her mother, and on the 
other, uncle, when they were young. That was yesterday — I said 
they were mine, too ; and tried to get them from her. Tiie spiteful 
thing wouldn't let me : she pushed me off, and hurt me. I 
shrieked out — that frightens her — she heard papa coming, and 
she broke the hinges and divided the case, and gave me her 
mother's portrait ; the other she attempted to hide : but papa 
asked what was the matter, and I explained it. He took the one 
I had away, and ordered her to resign hers to me ; she refused, 
and he— he struck her down, and wrenched it off the chain, and 
crushed it with his foot." 

"And were you pleased to see her struck?" I asked : having 
my designs in encouraging his talk. 

" I winked," he answered : " I wink to see my father strike a 
dog or a horse, he does it so hard. Yet I was glad at first — she 
deserved punishing for pushing me : but when papa was gone, 
she made me come to the window and showed me her cheek cut 
on the inside, against her teeth, and her mouth filling with blood ; 
and then she gathered up the bits of the picture, and went and sat 
down with her face to the wall, and she has never spoken to me 
since : and I sometimes think she can't speak for pain. I don't 
like to think so ; but she's a naughty thing for crying continually ; 
and she looks so pale and wild, I'm afraid of her." 

"And you can get the key if you choose ? " I said. 

"Yes, when I am upstairs," he answered ; " but I can't walk 
upstairs now." 

' ' In what apartment is it ? " I asked. 

"Oh," he cried, "I shan't tell you where it is! It is our 
secret. Nobody, neither Hareton nor Zillah, is to know. 
There ! you've tired me — go away, go away ! " And he turned 
his face on to his arm, and shut his eyes again. 

I considered it best to depart without seeing Mr. Heathcliff, and 
bring a rescue for my young lady from the Grange. On reaching 
it, the astonishment of my fellow-servants to see me, and their joy 
also, was intense ; and when they heard that their little mistress 
was safe, two or three were about to huriy up and shout the news 
at Mr. Edgar's door : but I bespoke the announcement of it, m)^- 
self. How changed I found him, even in those few days ! He 
lay an image of sadness and resignation waiting his death. Very 
young he looked ; though his actual age was thirty-nine, one 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 2$ I 

would have called him ten years younger, at least. He thought 
of Catherine ; for he murmured her name. I touched his hand, 
and spoke. 

"Catherine is coming, dear master!" I whispered ; "she is 
alive and well ; and will be here, I hope, to-night." 

I trembled at the first effects of this intelligence : he half rose 
i:p, looked eagerly round the apartment, and then sank back in 
a swoon. As soon as he recovered, I related our compulsory- 
visit, and detention at the Heights. I said Heathcliff forced 
me to go in : which was not quite true. I tittered as little as 
possible against Linton ; nor did I describe all his father's brutal 
conduct — ray intentions being to add no bitterness, if I could 
help it, to his already overflowing cup. 

He divined that one of his enemy's purposes was to secure the 
personal property, as well as the estate, to his son : or rather 
himself ; yet why he did not wait till his decease was a puzzle to 
my master, because ignorant how nearly he and his nephew 
would quit the world together. However, he felt that his will 
had better be altered : instead of leaving Catherine's fortune at 
her own disposal, he determined to put it in the hands of 
trustees for her use during life, and for her children, if she had 
any, after her. By that means, it could not fall to Mr. Heath- 
cliff should Linton die. 

Having received his orders, I despatched a man to fetch the 
attorney, and four more, provided with serviceable weapons, to 
demand my young lady of her gaoler. Both parties were delayed 
very late. The single servant returned first. He said Mr. Green, 
the lawyer, was out when he arrived at his house, and he had to 
wait two hours for his re-entrance ; and then Mr. Green told him 
he had a little business in the village that must be done ; but he 
would be at Thrushcross Grange before morning. The four men 
came back unaccompanied also. They brought word that Cathe- 
rine was ill : too ill to quit her room ; and Heathcliff would not 
suffer them to see her. I scolded the stupid fellows well for 
listening to that tale, which I would not carry to my master ; re- 
solving to take a whole bevy up to the Heights, at daylight, and 
storm it literally, unless the prisoner were quietly surrendered to 
us. Her father shall see her, I vowed, and vowed again, if that 
devil be killed on his own doorstones in trying to prevent it ! 

Happily, I was spared the journey and the trouble. I had 
gone downstairs at three o'clock to fetch a jug of water ; and 



252 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

was passing through the hall with it in my hand, when a sharp 
knock at the front door made me jump. " Oh ! it is Green," I 
said, recollecting myself — "only Green," and I went on, intend- 
ing to send somebody else to open it ; but the knock was re- 
peated : not loud, and still importunately. I put the jug on the 
banister and hastened to admit him myself. The harvest moon 
shone clear outside. It was not the attorney. My own sweet 
little mistress sprang on my neck, sobbing — 

" Ellen ! Ellen ! is papa alive?" 

"Yes," I cried: "yes, my angel, he is. God be thanked, 
you are safe with us again ! " 

She wanted to run, breathless as she was, upstairs to Mr. 
Linton's room ; but I compelled her to sit down on a chair, and 
made her drink, and washed her pale face, chafing it into a faint 
colour with my apron. Then I said I must go first, and tell of 
her arrival ; imploring her to say, she should be happy with young 
Heathcliff. She stared, but soon comprehending why I coun- 
selled her to utter the falsehood, she assured me she would not 
complain. 

I couldn't abide to be present at their meeting. I stood out- 
side the chamber-door a quarter of an hour, and hardly ventured 
near the bed, then. All was composed, however : Catherine's 
despair was as silent as her father's joy. She supported him 
calmly, in appearance ; and he fixed on her features his raised 
eyes, that seemed dilating with ecstasy. 

He died blissfully, Mr. Lockwood : he died so. Kissing her 
cheek, he murmtired — 

"I am going to her; and you, darling child, shall come to 
lis ! " and never stirred or spoke again ; but continued that 
rapt, radiant gaze, till his pulse imperceptibly stopped and his 
soul departed. None could have noticed the exact minute of 
his death, it was so entirely without a struggle. 

Whether Catherine had spent her tears, or whether the grief 
were too weighty to let them flow, she sat there dry-eyed till the 
sun rose : she sat till noon, and would still have remained brood- 
ing over that deathbed, but I insisted on her coming away and 
taking some repose. It was well I succeeded in removing her ; 
for at dinner-time appeared the lawyer, having called at Wuther- 
ing Heights to get his instructions how to behave. He had sold 
himself to Mr. Heathcliff: that was the cause of his delay in 
obeying my master's summons. Fortunately, no thought of 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 2)^ 

worldly affairs crossed the latter's mind, to disturb him, after 
his daughter's arrival. 

Mr. Green took upon himself to order everything and every- 
body about the place. He gave all the servants, but me, notice 
to quit. He would have carried his delegated authority to the 
point of insisting that Edgar Linton should not be buried beside 
his wife, but in the chapel, with his family. There was the will, 
however, to hinder that, and my loud protestations against any 
infringement of its directions. The funeral was hurried over ; 
Catherine, Mrs. Linton Heathcliff now, was suffered to stay at 
the Grange till her father's corpse had quitted it. 

She told me that her anguish had at last spurred Linton to incur 
the risk of liberating her. She heard the men I sent disputing 
at the door, and she gathered the sense of Heathcliff 's answer. 
It drove her desperate. Linton, who had been conveyed up to 
the little parlour soon after I left, was terrified into fetching the 
key before his father re-ascended. He had the cunning to un- 
lock and re-lock the door, without shutting it ; and when he 
should have gone to bed, he begged to sleep with Hareton, and 
his petition was granted for once. Catherine stole out before 
break of day. She dare not try the doors, lest the dogs should 
raise an alarm ; she visited the empty chambers and examined 
their windows ; and, luckily, lighting on her mother's, she got 
easily out of its lattice, and on to the ground, by means of the 
fir-tree close by. Her accomplice suffered for his share in 
the escape, notwithstanding his timid contrivances. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

The evening after the funeral, my young lady and I were seated 
in the library ; now musing mournfully — one of us despairingly — 
on our loss, now venturing conjectures as to the gloomy future. 
We had just agreed the best destiny which could await 
Catherine, would be a permission to continue resident at the 
Grange ; at least, during Linton's life : he being allowed to join 
her there, and I to remain as housekeeper. That seemed rather 
too favourable an arrangement to be hoped for ; and yet I did 
hope, and began to cheer up under the prospect of retaining my 
home and my employment, and, above all, my beloved young 
mistress ; when a servant — one of the discarded ones, not yet 



254 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

departed — rushed hastily in, and said ' ' that devil Heathcliff " was 
coming through the court : should he fasten the door in his face ? 

If we had been mad enough to order that proceeding, we had 
not time. He made no ceremony of knocking or announcing 
his name : he was master, and availed himself of the master's 
privilege to walk straight in, without saying a word. The sound 
of our informant's voice directed him to the hbrary : he entered, 
and motioning him out, shut the door. 

It was the same room into which he had been ushered, as a 
guest, eighteen years before : the same moon shone through the 
window ; and the same autumn landscape lay outside. We had 
not yet lighted a candle, but all the apartment was visible, even 
to the portraits on the wall : the splendid head of Mrs. Linton, 
and the graceful one of her husband. Heathcliff advanced to the 
hearth. Time had little altered his person either. There was the 
same man : his dark face rather sallower and more composed, 
his frame a stone or two heavier, perhaps, and no other differ- 
ence. Catherine had risen, with an impulse to dash out, when 
she saw him. 

"Stop!" he said, arresting her by the arm. "No more 
runnings away ! Where would you go ? I'm come to fetch you 
home ; and I hope you'll be a dutiful daughter, and not encour- 
age my son to further disobedience. I was embarrassed how to 
punish him when I discovered his part in the business : he's such 
a cobweb, a pinch would annihilate him ; but you'll see by his 
look that he has received his due ! I brought him down one 
evening, the day before yesterday, and just set him in a chair, 
and never touched him afterwards. I sent Hareton out, and we 
had the room to ourselves. In two hours, I called Joseph to 
carry him up again ; and since then my presence is as potent on 
his nerves as a ghost ; and I fancy he sees me often, though I am 
not near. Hareton says he wakes and shrieks in the night by the 
hour together, and calls you to protect him from me ; and, 
whether you like your precious mate or not, you must come : he's 
your concern now ; I yield all my interest in him to you." 

"Why not let Catherine continue here?" I pleaded, "and send 
Master Linton to her. As you hate them both, you'd not miss 
them : they can only be a daily plague to your unnatural heart." 

" I'm seeking a tenant for the Grange," he answered ; " and 
I want my children about me, to be sure. Besides, that lass 
owes me her services for her bread, I'm not going to nurture 



WUTHERIXG HEIGHTS. 255 

her in luxury and idleness after Linton has gone. Make haste 
and get ready, now ; and don't oblige me to compel you." 

" I shall," said Catherine. " Linton is all I have to love in 
the world, and though you have done what you could to make 
him hateful to me, and me to him, you camiot make us hate 
each other. And I defy you to hurt him when I am by, and 
I defy you to frighten me ! " 

"You are a boastful champion," replied Heathchff; "but I 
don't like you well enough to hurt him : you shall get the full 
benefit of the torment, as long as it lasts. It is not I who will 
make him hateful to you — it is his own sweet spirit. He's as 
bitter as gall at your desertion and its consequences : don't 
expect thanks for this noble devotion. I heard him draw a 
pleasant picture to Zillah of what he would do if he were as 
strong as I : the inclination is there, and his very weakness will 
sharpen his wits to find a substitute for strength." 

"I know he has a bad nature," said Catherine: " he's your 
son. But I'm glad I've a better, to forgive it ; and I know he 
loves me, and for that reason I love him. Mr. Heathchff, you 
have nobody to love you ; and, however miserable you make us, 
we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises 
from your greater misery. You are miserable, are you not? 
Lonely, like the devil, and envious like him ? Nobody loves you 
— nobody will cry for you when you die ! I wouldn't be you ! " 

Catherine spoke with a kind of dreary triumph : she seemed 
to have made up her mind to enter into the spirit of her future 
family, and draw pleasure from the griefs of her enemies. 

"You shall be sorry to be yourself presently," said her father- 
in-law, " if you stand there another minute. Begone, witch, and 
get your things ! " 

She scornfully withdrew. In her absence, I began to beg for 
Zillah's place at the Heights, offering to resign mine to her ; but 
he would suffer it on no account. He bid me be silent ; and then, 
for the first time, allowed himself a glance round the room and a 
look at the pictures. Having studied Mrs. Linton's, he said — ■ 

' ' I shall have that home. Not because I need it, but "• He 

turned abruptly to the fire, and continued, with what, for lack of 
a better word, I must call a smile — "I'll tell you what I did 
yesterday ! I got the sexton, who was digging Linton's grave, 
to remove the earth off her coffin-lid, and I opened it. I thought, 
once, I would have stayed there : when I saw her face again— it 



256 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

is hers yet ! — he had hard work to stir me ; but he said it would 
change if the air blew on it, and so I struck one side of the cofifin 
loose, and covered it up : not Linton's side, damn him ! I wish 
he'd been soldered in lead. And I bribed the sexton to pull it 
away when I'm laid there, and slide mine out too ; I'll have it 
made so : and then, by the time Linton gets to us he'll not know 
which is which ! " 

"You were very wicked, Mr. Heathcliff!" I exclaimed, 
" were you not ashamed to disturb the dead?" 

" I disturbed nobody, Nelly," he replied ; "and I gave some 
ease to myself. I shall be a great deal more comfortable now ; 
and you'll have a better chance of keeping me underground, 
when I get there. Disturbed her? No ! she has disturbed me, 
night and day, through eighteen years — incessantly — remorse- 
lessly — till yesternight ; and yesternight I was tranquil. I dreamt 
I was sleeping the last sleep by that sleeper, with my heart stopped 
and my cheek frozen against hers." 

"And if she had been dissolved into earth, or worse, what 
would you have dreamt of then?" I said. 

"Of dissolving with her, and being more happy still ! " he 
answered. " Do you suppose I dread any change of that sort? 
I expected such a transformation on raising the lid : but I'm 
better pleased that it should not commence till I share it. 
Besides, unless I had received a distinct impression of her 
passionless features, that strange feeling would hardly have been 
removed. It began oddly. You know I was wild after she died ; 
and eternally, from dawn to dawn, praying her to return to me 
l:ier spirit ! I have a strong faith in ghosts : I have a conviction 
that they can, and do, exist among us ! The day she was buried 
there came a fall of snow. In the evening I went to the church- 
yard. It blew bleak as winter — all round was solitary. I didn't 
fear that her fool of a husband would wander up the den so late ; 
and no one else had business to bring them there. Being alone, 
and conscious two yards of loose earth was the sole barrier 
between us, I said to myself—' I'll have her in my arms again ! 
If she be cold, I'll think it is this north wind that chills me ; and 
if she be motionless, it is sleep.' I got a spade from the tool- 
house, and began to delve with all my might — it scraped the 
coffin ; I fell to work with my hands ; the wood commenced 
cracking about the screws ; I was on the point of attaining my 
object, when it seemed that I heard a sigh from some one above, 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 237 

close at the edge of the grave, and bending down. ' If I can 
only get this off,' I muttered, ' I wish they may shovel in the 
earth over us both ! ' and I wrenched at it more desperately still. 
There was another sigh, close at my ear. I appeared to feel the 
warm breath of it displacing the sleet-laden wind. I knew no 
living thing in flesh and blood was by ; but, as certainly as you 
perceive the approach to some substantial body in the dark, 
iliough it cannot be discerned, so certainly I felt that Cathy was 
there : not under me, but on the earth. A sudden sense of relief 
flowed from my heart through every limb. I relinquished my 
labour of agony, and turned consoled at once : unspeakably 
consoled. Her presence was with me : it remained while I re- 
filled the grave, and led me home. You may laugh, if you will ; 
but I was sure I should see her there. I was sure she was with 
me, and I could not help talking to her. Having reached the 
Heights, I rushed eagerly to the door. It was fastened ; and, 
I remember, that accursed Earnshaw and my wife opposed my 
entrance. I remember stopping to kick the breath out of him, 
and then hurrying upstairs, to my room and hers. I looked 
round impatiently— I felt her by me — I could almost see her, and 
yet I could not ! I ought to have sweat blood then, from the 
anguish of my yearning— from the fervour of my supplications 
to have but one glimpse ! I had not one. She showed herself, 
as she often was in life, a devil to me ! And, since then, some- 
times more and sometimes less, I've been the sport of that in- 
tolerable torture ! Infernal ! keeping my nerves at such a stretch, 
that, if they had not resembled catgut, they would long ago 
have relaxed to the feebleness of Linton's. When I sat in the 
house with Hareton, it seemed that on going out, I should meet 
her ; when I walked on the moors I should meet her coming in. 
When I went from home, I hastened to return : she must be 
.somewhere at the Heights, I was certain ! And when I slept in 
her chamber — I was beaten out of that. I couldn't lie there ; for 
the moment I closed my eyes, she was either outside the window, 
or sUding back the panels, or entering the room, or even resting 
her darling head on the same piflow as she did when a child ; 
and I must open my lids to see. And so I opened and closed 
them a hundred times a night — to be always disappointed ! It 
racked me ! I've often groaned aloud, till that old rascal Joseph 
no doubt believed that my conscience was playing the fiend 
inside of me. Now, since I've seen her, I'm pacified— a little. 



258 WUTHERING HEIGHtS. 

It was a strange way of killing ! not by inches, but by fractions 
of hairbreadths, to beguile me with the spectre of a hope, 
through eighteen years ! " 

Mr. Heathcliff paused and wiped his forehead ; his hair clung 
to it, wet with perspiration ; his eyes were fixed on the red embers 
of the fire, the brows not contracted, but raised next the temples ; 
diminishing the grim aspect of his countenance, but imparting 
a peculiar look of trouble, and a painful appearance of mental 
tension towards one absorbing subject. He only half addressed 
me, and I maintained silence. I didn't like to hear him talk ! 
After a short period he resumed his meditation on the picture, 
took it down and leant it against the sofa to contemplate it at 
better advantage ; and while so occupied Catherine entered, 
announcing that she was ready, when her pony should be 
saddled. 

"Send that over to-morrow," said Heathcliff to me; then 
turning to her, he added — "You may do without your pony: 
it is a fine evening, and you'll need no ponies at Wuthering 
Heights ; for what journeys you take, your own feet will serve 
you. Come along." 

"Good-bye, Ellen!" whispered my dear little mistress. As 
she kissed me, her lips felt like ice. " Come and see me, 
Ellen ; don't forget." 

" Take care you do no such thing, Mrs. Dean ! " said her new 
father. "When I wish to speak to you I'll come here. I want 
none of your prying at my house ! " 

He signed her to precede him ; and casting back a look that cut 
my heart, she obeyed. I watched them from the window, walk 
down the garden. Heathcliff fixed Catherine's arm under his : 
though she disputed the act at first evidently ; and with rapid ^ 
strides he hurried her into the alley, whose trees concealed them. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

I HAVE paid a visit to the Heights, but I have not seen her since 
she left : Joseph held the door in his hand when I called to ask 
after her, and wouldn't let me pass. He said Mrs. Linton was 
" thrang," and the master was not in. Zillah has told me some- 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 259 

thing of the way they go on, otherwise I should hardly know who 
was dead and who living. She thinks Catherine haughty, and 
does not like her, I can guess by her talk. My young lady asked 
some aid of her when she first came ; but Mr. Heathcliff told her 
to follow her own business, and let his daughter-in-law look after 
herself; and Zillah willingly acquiesced, being a narrow-minded 
selfish woman. Catherine evinced a child's annoyance at this 
neglect ; repaid it with contempt, and thus enlisted my informant 
among her enemies, as securely as if she had done her some 
great wrong. I had a long talk with Zillah about six weeks, ago, 
a little before you came, one day when we foregathered on the 
moor ; and this is what she told me. 

" The first thing Mrs. Linton did," she said, "on her arrival 
at the Heights, was to run upstairs, without even wishing good 
evening to me and Joseph ; she shut herself into Linton's room, 
and remained till morning. Then, while the master and Earn- 
shaw were at breakfast, she entered the house, and asked all in 
a quiver if the doctor might be sent for? her cousin was very ill. 

" ' We know that ! ' answered Heathcliff; ' but his life is not 
worth a farthing, and I won't spend a farthing on him.' 

" ' But I cannot tell how to do,' she said ; ' and if nobody will 
help me, he'll die ! ' 

" ' Walk out of the room,' cried the master, ' and let me never 
hear a word more about him ! None here care what becomes 
of him ; if you do, act the nurse ; if you do not, lock him up 
and leave him.' 

"Then she began to bother me, and I said I'd had enough 
plague with the tiresome thing ; we each had our tasks, and hers 
was to wait on Linton, Mr. Heathcliff bid me leave that labour 
to her. 

' ' How they managed together, I can't tell. I fancy he fretted 
a great deal, and moaned hisseln night and day ; and she had 
precious little rest: one could guess by her white face and heavy 
eyes. She sometimes came into the kitchen all wildered like, 
and looked as if she would fain beg assistance ; but I was not 
going to disobey the master : I never dare disobey him, I\Irs. 
Dean ; and, though I thought it wrong that Kenneth should not 
be sent for, it was no concern of mine either to advise or-complain, 
and I always refused to meddle. Once or twice, after we had 
gone to bed, I've happened to open my door again and seen her 
sitting crying on the stairs' top ; and then I've shut myself in 



26o WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

quick, for fear of being moved to interfere. I did pity her then, 
I'm sure : still I didn't wish to lose my place, you know. 

"At last, one night she came boldly into my chamber, and 
frightened me out of my wits, by saying — 

" ' Tell Mr. Heathcliff that his son is dying — I'm sure he is, 
this time. Get up, instantly, and tell him.' 

"Having uttered this speech, she vanished again. I lay a 
quarter of an hour listening and trembling. Nothing stirred — 
the house was quiet. 

" She's mistaken, I said to myself. He's got over it. I needn't 
disturb them ; and I began to doze. But my sleep was marred 
a second time by a sharp ringing of the bell — the only bell we 
have, put up on purpose for Linton ; and the master called to 
me to see what was the matter, and inform them that he wouldn't 
have that noise repeated. 

" I delivered Catherine's message. He cursed to himself, and 
in a few minutes came out with a lighted candle, and proceeded 
to their room. I followed. Mrs. Heathcliff was seated by the 
bedside, with her hands folded on her knees. Her father-in-law 
went up, held the light to Linton's face, looked at him, and 
touched him ; afterwards he turned to her. 

" ' Now — Catherine,' he said, 'how do you feel?' 

"She was dumb. 

" ' How do you feel, Catherine?' he repeated. 

" ' He's safe, and I'm free,' she answered : ' I should feel well 
— ^but,' she continued, with a bitterness she couldn't conceal, 
'you have left me so long to struggle against death alone, that 
I feel and see only death ! I feel like death ! ' . 

' ' And she looked like it, too ! I gave her a little wine. Hare- 
ton and Joseph, who had been wakened by the ringing and the 
sound of feet, and heard our talk from outside, now entered. 
Joseph was fain, I believe, of the lad's removal ; Hareton seemed 
a thought bothered : though he was more taken up with staring 
at Catherine than thinking of Linton. But the master bid him 
get off to bed again : we didn't want his help. He afterwards 
made Joseph remove the body to his chamber, and told me to 
return to mine, and Mrs. Heathcliff remained by herself. 

" In the morning, he sent me to tell her she must come down 
to breakfast : she had undressed, and appeared going to sleep, 
and said she was ill ; at which I hardly wondered. I informed 
Mr. Heathcliff, and he replied — • 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 261 

" * Well, let her be till after the funeral ; and go up now and 
then to get her what is needful ; and, as soon as she seems 
better, tell me.' " 

Cathy stayed upstairs a fortnight, according to Zillah ; who 
visited her twice a day, and would have been rather more friendly, 
but her attempts at increasing kindness were proudly and 
promptly repelled. 

Heathcliff went up once, to show her Linton's will. He had 
bequeathed the whole of his, and what had been her, movable 
property to his father : the poor creature was threatened, or 
coaxed, into that act during her week's absence, when his uncle 
died. The lands, being a minor, he could not meddle with. 
However, Mr. Heathcliff has claimed and kept them in his wife's 
right and his also : I suppose legally : at any rate, Catherine, 
destitute of cash and friends, cannot disturb his posses- 
sion. 

"Nobody," said Zillah, "ever approached her door, except 
that once, but I ; and nobody asked anything about her. The 
first occasion of her coming down into the house was on a Sunday 
afternoon. She had cried out, when I carried up her dinner, 
that she couldn't bear any longer being in the cold : and I told 
her the master was going to Thrushcross Grange, and Earnshaw 
and I needn't hinder her from descending ; so, as soon as she 
heard Heathcliff's horse trot off, she made her appearance 
donned in black, and her yellow curls combed back behind her 
ears as.plain as a Quaker : she couldn't comb them out. 

"Joseph and I generally go to chapel on Sundays : " the kirk, 
you know, has no minister now, explained Mrs. Dean ; and they 
call the Methodists' or Baptists' place (I can't say which it is), at 
Gimmerton, a chapel. " Joseph had gone," she continued, "but 
I thought proper to bide at home. Young folks are always the 
better for an elder's over-looking ; and Hareton, with all his 
bashfulness, isn't a model of nice behaviour. I let him know 
that his cousin would very likely sit with us, and she had been 
always used to see the Sabbath respected ; so he had as good 
leave his guns and bits of indoor work alone, while she stayed. 
He coloured up at the news, and cast his eyes over his hands 
and clothes. The train-oil and gunpowder were shoved out of 
sight in a minute. I saw he meant to give her his company ; 
and I guessed, by his way, he wanted to be presentable ; so, 
laughing, as I durst not laugh when the master is by, I offered 



262 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

to help liim, if he would, and joked at his confusion. He grew 
sullen, and began to swear. 

"Now, Mrs. Dean," Zillah went on, seeing me not pleased 
by her manner, " you happen think your young lady too fine for 
Mr. Hareton ; and happen you're right : but I own I should 
love well to bring her pride a peg lower. And what will all her 
learning and her daintiness do for her, now? She's as poor as 
you or I : poorer I'll be bound : you're saving, and I'm doing 
my little all that road." 

Hareton allowed Zillah to give him her aid ; and she flattered 
him into a good humour : so, when Catherine came, half forget- 
ting her former insults, he tried to make himself agreeable, by 
the housekeeper's account. 

"Missis walked in," she said, "as chill as an icicle, and as 
high as a princess. I got up and offered her my seat in the 
arm-chair. No, she turned up her nose at my civility. Earn- 
shaw rose, too, and bid her come to the settle, and sit close b}- 
the fire : he was sure she was starved. 

" ' I've been starved a month and more,' she answered, 
resting on the word as scornful as she could. 

" And she got a chair for herself, and placed it at a distance 
from both of us. Having sat till she was warm, she began to 
look round, and discovered a number of books in the dresser ; 
she was instantly upon her feet again, stretching to reacli 
them: but they were too high up. Her cousin, after watching 
her endeavours a while, at last summoned courage to help her ; 
she held her frock, and he filled it with the first that came to 
hand. 

"That was a great advance for the lad. She didn't thank 
him ; still, he felt gratified that she had accepted his assistance, 
and ventured to stand behind as she examined them, and even 
to stoop and point out what struck his fancy in certain old pic- 
tures which they contained ; nor was he daunted by the sauc}- 
style in which she jerked the page from his finger : he contented 
himself with going a bit farther back, and looking at her instead 
of the book. She continued reading, or seeking for something 
to read. His attention became, by degrees, quite centred in 
the study of her thick, silky curls : her face he couldn't see, and 
she couldn't see him. And, perhaps, not quite awake to what 
he did, but attracted like a child to a candle, at last he proceeded 
from staring to touching ; he put out his hand and stroked one 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 26^ 

curl, as gently as if it were a bird. He might have stuck a knife 
into her neck, she started round in such a taking. 

' ' ' Get away, this moment ! How dare you touch me ? Why 
are you stopping there ? ' she cried, in a tone of disgust. ' I can't 
endure you ! I'll go upstairs again, if you come near me.' 

" Mr. Hareton recoiled, looking as foolish as he could do : he 
sat down in the settle very quiet, and she continued turning over 
her volumes another half-hour ; finally, Earnshaw crossed over, 
and whispered to me — • 

' ' ' Will you ask her to read to us, Zillah ? I'm stalled of 
doing naught ; and I do like — I could like to hear her ! Dunnot 
say I wanted it, but ask of yourseln.' 

" ' ;Mr. Hareton wishes you would read to us, ma'am,' I said 
immediately. ' He'd take it very kind — he'd be much obliged.' 

" She frowned ; and looking up, answered — 

" ' Mr. Hareton, and the whole set of you, will be good enough 
to understand that I reject any pretence at kindness you have 
the hypocrisy to offer ! I despise you, and will have nothing to 
say to any of you ! When I would have given my life for one 
kind word, even to see one of your faces, you all kept off. But 
I won't complain to you ! I'm driven down here by the cold ; 
not either to amuse you or enjoy your society. ' 

' ' ' What could I ha' done ? ' began Earnshaw. ' How v.as I 
to blame ? ' 

" ' Oh ! you are an exception," answered Mrs. Heathcliff. ' I 
never missed such a concern as you.' 

" ' But I offered more than once, and asked,' he said, kindling 
up at her pertness, " I asked Mr. Heathcliff to let me wake for 
you ' 

" ' Be silent! I'll go out of doors, or anywhere, rather than 
have your disagreeable voice in my ear ! ' said my lady. 

" Hareton muttered she might go to hell, for him ! and unsUng- 
ing his gun, restrained himself from his Sunday occupations no 
longer. He talked now, freely enough ; and she presently saw 
fit to retreat to her sohtude : but the frost had set in, and, in 
spite of her pride, she was forced to condescend to our company, 
more and more. However, I took care there should be no 
further scorning at my good-nature : ever since, I've been as 
stiff as herself ; and she has no lover or liker among us : and she 
does not deserve one ; for, let them say the least word to her, and 
she'll curl back without respect of any one ! She'll snap at the 



264 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

master himself, and as good as dares him to thrash her ; and 
the more hurt she gets, the more venomous she grows." 

At first, on hearing this account from Zillah, I determined to 
leave my situation, take a cottage, and get Catherine to come 
and hve with me : but Mr. Heathcliff would as soon permit that 
as he would set up Hareton in an independent house ; and I can 
see no remedy, at present, unless she could marry again : and 
that scheme it does not come within my province to arrange. 

Thus ended Mrs Dean's story. Notwithstanding the doctor's 
prophecy, I am rapidly recovering strength ; and though it be only 
the second week in January, I propose getting out on horseback 
in a day or two, and riding over to Wuthering Heights, to 
inform my landlord that I shall spend the next six months in 
London ; and, if he likes, he may look out for another tenant to 
take the place after October. I would not pass another winter 
here for much. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

Yesterday was bright, calm, and frosty. I went to the Heights 
as I proposed ; my housekeeper entreated me to bear a little note 
from her to her young lady, and I did not refuse, for the worthy 
woman was not conscious of anything odd in her request. The 
front door stood open, but the jealous gate was fastened, as at 
my last visit ; I knocked, and invoked Earnshaw from among 
the garden beds ; he unchained it, and I entered. The fellow is 
as handsome a rustic as need be seen. I took particular notice 
of him this time ; but then he does his best, apparently, to make 
the least of his advantages. 

I asked if Mr. Heathcliff were at home? He answered, No ; 
but he would be in at dinner-time. It was eleven o'clock, and 
I announced my intention of going in and waiting for him, at 
which he immediately flung down his tools and accompanied me, 
in the office of watchdog, not as a substitute for the host. 

We entered together ; Catherine was there, making herself 
useful in preparing some vegetables for the approaching meal ; 
she looked more sulky and less spirited than when I had seen 
her first. She hardly raised her eyes to notice me, and continued 
her employment with the same disregard to common forms of 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 2l, 

politeness as before ; never returning my bow and good-morning 
by the slightest acknowledgment. 

"She does not seem so amiable," I thought, "as Mrs. Dean 
would persuade me to believe. She's a beauty, it is true ; but 
not an angel." 

Earnshaw surlily bid her remove her things to the kitchen. 
"Remove them yourself," she said, pushing them from her as 
soon as she had done ; and retiring to a stool by the window, 
where she began to carve figures of birds and beasts out of the 
turnip parings in her lap. I approached her, pretending to 
desire a view of the garden ; and, as I fancied, adroitly dropped 
Mrs. Dean's note on to her knee, unnoticed by Hareton — but 
she asked aloud, " What is that ? " and chucked it off. 

' ' A letter from your old acquaintance, the housekeeper at the 
Grange," I answered ; annoyed at her exposing my kind deed, 
and fearful lest it should be imagined a missive of my own. She 
would gladly have gathered it up at this information, but Hare- 
ton beat her ; he seized and put it in his waistcoat, saying Mr. 
Heathcliff should look at it first. Thereat, Catherine silently 
turned her face from us, and, very stealthily, drew out her pocket- 
handkerchief and applied it to her eyes ; and her cousin, after 
struggling a while to keep down his softer feelings, pulled out 
the letter and flung it on the floor beside her, as ungraciously as 
he could. Catherine caught and perused it eagerly ; then she 
put a few questions to me concerning the inmates, rational and 
irrational, of her former home ; and gazing towards the hills, 
murmured in soliloquy — 

" I should like to be riding Minny down there ! I should like 
to be climbing up there ! Oh ! I'm tired — I'm stalled, Hareton ! " 
And she leant her pretty head back against the sill, with half a 
yawn and half a sigh, and lapsed into an aspect of abstracted 
sadness : neither caring nor knowing whether we remarked her. 

" Mrs. Heathcliff," I said, after sitting some time mute, "you 
are not aware that I am an acquaintance of yours ? so intimate 
that I think it strange you won't come and speak to me. My 
housekeeper never wearies of talking about and praising you ; 
and she'll be greatly disappointed if I return with no news of or 
from you, except that you received her letter and said nothing!" 

She appeared to wonder at this speech, and asked— 

"Does Ellen like you?" 

"Yes, very well," I replied hesitatingly. 

1 2 



2v56 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"You must tell her," she continued, "that I would answer 
her letter, but I have no materials for writing : not even a book 
from v.hich I might tear a leaf." 

"No books!" I exclaimed. " How do you contrive to live 
here without them ? if I may take the liberty to inquire. Though 
provided with a large library, I'm frequently very dull at the 
Grange ; take my books away, and I should be desperate ! " 

" I was always reading, when I had them," said Catherine; 
"and Mr. Heathcliff never reads ; so he took it into his head to 
destroy my books. I have not had a glimpse of one for weeks. 
Only once, I searched through Joseph's store of theology, to his 
great irritation ; and once, Hareton, I came upon a secret stock 
in your room — some Latin and Greek, and some tales and poetry : 
all old friends. I brought the last here — and you gathered them, 
as a magpie gathers silver spoons, for the mere love of stealing ! 
They are of no use to you ; or else you concealed them in the bad 
spirit that as you cannot enjoy them nobody else shall. Perhaps 
your envy counselled Mr. Heathcliff to rob me of my treasures ? 
But I've most of them written on my brain and printed in my 
heart, and you cannot deprive me of those ! " 

Earnshaw blushed crimson when his cousin made this revela- 
tion of his private literary accumulations, and stammered an 
indignant denial of her accusations. 

" Mr. Hareton is desirous of increasing his amount of know- 
ledge," I said, coming to his rescue. " He is not envious but 
etmilous of your attainments. He'll be a clever scholar in a few 
years." 

"And he wants me to sink into a dunce, meantime," answered 
Catherine. ' ' Yes, I hear him trying to spell and read to himself, 
and pretty blunders he makes ! I wish you would repeat Chevy 
Chase as you did yesterday ; it was extremely funny. I heard 
you ; and I heard you turning over the dictionary to seek out 
the hard words, and then cursing because you couldn't read 
their explanations ! " 

The young man evidently thought it too bad that he should be 
laughed at for his ignorance, and then laughed at for trying to 
remove it. I had a similar notion ; and, remembering Mrs. 
Dean's anecdote of his first attempt at enlightening the darkness 
in which he had been reared, I observed — • 

" But, Mrs. Heathcliff, we have each had a commencement, and 
each stumbled and tottered on the threshold ; had our teachers 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 267 

scorned instead of aiding us, we should stumble and totter 
yet." 

" Oh ! " she replied, " I don't wish to limit his acquirements : 
still, he has no right to appropriate %vhat is mine, and make it 
ridiculous to me with his vile mistakes and mispronunciations ! 
Those books, both prose and verse, are consecrated to me by other 
associations ; and I hate to have them debased and profaned 
in his mouth ! Besides, of all, he has selected my favourite 
pieces that I love the most to repeat, as if out of deliberate 
malice." 

Hareton's chest heaved in silence a minute : he laboured under 
a severe sense of mortification and wrath, which it was no easy 
task to suppress. I rose, and, from a gentlemanly idea of reheving 
his embarrassment, took up my station in the doorway, surveying 
the external prospect as I stood. He followed my example, and 
left the room ; but presently reappeared, bearing half-a-dozen 
volumes in his hands, which he threw into Catherine's lap, ex- 
claiming — 

' ' Take them ! I never want to hear, or read, or think of them 
again ! " 

" I won't have them now," she answered. " I shall connect 
them with you, and hate them." 

She opened one that had obviously been often turned over, and 
read a portion in the drawling tone of a beginner ; then laughed, 
and threw it from her. "And listen," she continued pro vokingly, 
commencing a verse of an old ballad in the same fashion. _ 

But his self-love would endure no further torment : I heard, 
and not altogether disapprovingly, a manual check given to her 
saucy tongue. The little wretch had done her utmost to hurt her 
cousin's sensitive though uncultivated feelings, and a physical 
'argument was the only mode he had of balancing the account, 
and repaying its effects on the inflictor. He afterwards gathered 
Jthe books and hurled them on the fire. I read in his countenance 
what anguish it was to offer that sacrifice to spleen. I fancied 
that as tliey consumed, he recalled the pleasure they had already 
imparted, and the triumph and ever-increasing pleasure he had 
anticipated from them ; and I fancied I guessed the incitement 
to his secret studies also. He had been content with daily labour 
and rough animal enjoyments, till Catherine crossed his path. 
Shame at her scorn, and hope of her approval, were his first 
prompters to higher pursuits ; and, instead of guarding him from 



268 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

one and winning him to the other, his endeavours to raise him- 
self had produced just the contrary result. 

" Yes ; that's all the good that such a brute as you can get from 
them ! " cried Catherine, sucking her damaged lip, and watching 
the conflagration with indignant eyes. 

"You'd defter hold your tongue, now," he answered fiercely. 

And his agitation precluded further speech ; he advanced 
hastily to the entrance, where I made way for him to pass. But 
ere he had crossed the door-stones, Mr. Heathcliff, coming up 
the causeway, encountered him, and laying hold of his shoulder 
asked — 

" What's to do now, my lad ? " 

" Naught, naught," he said, and broke away to enjoy his grief 
and anger in solitude. 

Heathcliff gazed after him, and sighed. 

" It will be odd if I thwart myself," he muttered, unconscious 
that I was behind him. " But when I look for his father in his 
face, I find her every day more ! How the devil is he so like ? 
I can hardly bear to see him." 

He bent his eyes to the ground, and walked moodily in. There 
was a restless, anxious expression in his countenance I had never 
remarked there before ; and he looked sparer in person. His 
daughter-in-law, on perceiving him through the window, im- 
mediately escaped to the kitchen, so that I remained alone. 

"I'm glad to see you out of doors again, Mr. Lockwood," he 
said, in reply to my greeting ; "from selfish motives partly: I 
don't think I could readily supply your loss in this desolation. 
I've wondered more than once what brought you here." 

"An idle whim, I fear, sir," was my answer ; " or else an idle 
whim is going to spirit me away. I shall set out for London, 
next week ; and I must give you warning that I feel no disposi- 
tion to retain Thrushcross Grange beyond the twelve months 1 
agreed to rent it. I believe I shall not live there any more." 

"Oh, indeed ; you're tired of being banished from the world, 
are you? " he said. " But if you be coming to plead off paying 
for a place you won't occupy, your journey is useless : I never 
relent in exacting my due from any one," 

"I'm coming to plead off nothing about it," 1 exclaimed, 
considerably irritated. " Should you wish it, I'll settle with you 
now," and I drew my note-book from my pocket. 

"No, no," he replied coolly; "you'll leave sufficient behind 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 269 

to cover your debts, if you fail to return : I'm not in such a 
hurry. Sit down and take your dinner with us ; a guest that is 
safe from repeating his visit can generally be made welcome. 
Catherine, bring the things in : where are you?" 

Catherine reappeared, bearing a tray of knives and forks. 

" You may get your dinner with Joseph," muttered Heathcliff 
aside, "and remain in the kitchen till he is gone," 

She obeyed his directions very punctually : perhaps she had 
no temptation to transgress. ' Living among clowns and mis- 
anthropists, she probably cannot appreciate a better class of 
people when she meets them. 

With Mr. Heathcliff, grim and saturnine, on the one hand, 
and Hareton, absolutely dumb, on the other, I made a some- 
what cheerless meal, and bade adieu early, I would have de- 
parted by the back way, to get a last glimpse of Catherine and 
annoy old Joseph ; but Hareton received orders to lead up my 
horse, and my host himself escorted me to the door, so I could 
not fulfil my wish. . 

" How dreary life gets over in that house ! " I reflected, whilA 
riding down the road. " What a realisation of something morel 
romantic than a fairy tale it would have been for Mrs. Linton I 
Heathcliff, had she and I struck up an attachment, as her good 1 
nurse desirqd, and migrated together into the stirring atmos- \ 
phere of the town ! " 



CHAPTER XXXIL 

1802. — This September I was invited to devastate the moors of 
a friend in the north, and on my journey to his abode, I unex- 
pectedly came within fifteen miles of Gimmerton. The ostler 
at a roadside public-house was holding a pail of water to refresh 
my horses, when a cart of very green oats, newly reaped, passed 
by, and he remarked — 

"Yon's frough Gimmerton, nah ! They're alias three wick 
after other folk wi' ther harvest." 

"Gimmerton?" I repeated — my residence in that locality had 
already grown dim and dreamy. ' ' Ah ! I know. How far is 
it from this?" 

" Happen fourteen mile o'er th' hills ; and a rough read," he 
answered. 



270 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

A sudden impulse seized me to visit Thrushcross Grange. It 
was scarcely noon, and I conceived that I might as well pass 
the night under my own roof as in an inn. Besides, I could 
spare a day easily to arrange matters with my landlord, and 
thus save myself the trouble of invading the neighbourhood 
again. Having rested a while, I directed my servant to inquire 
the way to the village ; and, with great fatigue to our beasts, 
we managed the distance in some three hours. 

I left him there, and proceede'd down the valley alone. The 
grey church looked greyer, and the lonely churchyard lonelier. 
I distinguished a moor sheep cropping the short turf on the 
graves. It was sweet, warm weather — too warm for travelling ; 
but the heat did not hinder me from enjoying the delightful 
scenery above and below : had I seen it nearer August, I'm sure 
it would have tempted me to waste a month among its solitudes. 
In winter nothing more dreary, in summer nothing more divine, 
than those glens shut in by hills, and those bluff, bold swells of 
heath. 

I reached the Grange before sunset, and knocked for admit- 
tance ; but the family had retreated into the back premises, I 
judged, by one thin, blue wreath curling from the kitchen 
chimney, and they did not hear. I rode into the court. Under 
the porch, a girl of nine or ten sat knitting, and an old woman 
reclined on the house-steps, smoking a meditative pipe. 

" Is Mrs. Dean within?" I demanded of the dame. 

" Mistress Dean? Nay ! " she answered, " shoo doesn't bide 
here : shoo's up at th' Heights. " 

" Are you the housekeeper, then ? " I continued. 

" Eea, aw keep th' hause," she replied. 

"Well, I'm Mr. Lockwood, the master. Are there any rooms 
to lodge me in, I wonder? I wish to stay all night." 

"T' maister ! " she cried in astonishment. "Whet, whoiver 
knew yah wur coming ? Yah sud ha' send word. They's nowt 
norther dry nor mensful abaht t' place : nowt there isn't ! " 

She threw down her pipe and bustled in, the girl followed, 
and I entered too ; soon perceiving that her report was true, 
and, moreover, that I had almost upset her wits by my unwel- 
come apparition, I bade her be composed, I would go out for 
a walk ; and, meantime, she must try to prepare a corner of 
a sitting-room for me to sup in, and a bedroom to sleep i 
No sweeping and dusting, only good fire and dry sheets were 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 27 1 

necessary. She seemed willing to do her best ; though she 
thrust the hearth-brush into the grates in mistake for the poker, 
and mal-appropriated several other articles of her craft : but I 
retired, confiding in her energy for a resting-place against my 
return. Wuthering Heights was the goal of my proposed 
excursion. An after-thought brought me back, when I had 
quitted the court. 

"All well at the Heights?" I inquired of the woman. 

" Eea, fr owt ee knaw ! " she answered, skurrying away with 
a pan of hot cinders. 

I would have asked why Mrs. Dean had deserted the Grange, 
but it was impossible to delay her at such a crisis, so I turned 
away and made my exit, rambling leisurely along with the glow 
of a sinking sun behind, and the mild glory of a rising moon 
in front — one fading, and the other brightening — as I quitted 
the park, and climbed the stony by-road branching off to Mr. 
Heathcliff 's dwelling. Before I arrived in sight of it, all that 
remained of day was a beamless amber light along the west : 
but I could see every pebble on the path, and every blade of 
grass, by that splendid moon. I had neither to climb the gate 
nor to knock — it yielded to my hand. That is an improvement, 
I thought. And I noticed another, by the aid of my nostrils ; 
a fragrance of stocks and wallflowers wafted on the air from 
amongst the homely fruit-trees. 

Both doors and lattices were open ; and yet, as is usually the 
case in a coal district, a fine, red fire illumined the chimney : the 
comfort which the eye derives from it renders the extra heat 
endurable. But the house of Wuthering Heights is so large, 
that the inmates have plenty of space for withdrawing out of 
its influence ; and accordingly, what inmates there were had 
stationed themselves not far from one of the windows. I could 
both see them and hear them talk before I entered, and looked 
and listened in consequence ; being moved thereto by a mingled 
sense of curiosity and envy, that grew as I lingered. 

" Con-frary /" said a voice as sweet as a silver bell — "That 
for the third time, you dunce ! I'm not going to tell you again. 
Recollect, or I'll pull your hair ! " 

"Contrary, then," answered another, in deep but softened 
tones. "And now, kiss me, for minding so well." 

" No, read it over first correctly, without a single mistake." 

The male speaker began to read : he was a young man, re- 



272 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

spectably dressed and seated at a table, having a book before 
him. His handsome features glowed with pleasure, and his 
eyes kept impatiently wandering from the page to a small white 
hand over his shoulder, which recalled him by a smart slap on 
the cheek, whenever its owner detected such signs of inattention. 
Its owner stood behind ; her light, shining ringlets blending, at 
intervals, with his brown locks, as she bent to superintend his 
studies ; and her face — it was lucky he could not see her face, or 
he would never have been so steady. I could ; and I bit my lij) 
in spite, at having thrown away the chance I might have had of 
■doing something besides staring at its smiting beauty. 

The task was done, not free from further blunders ; but the 
pupil claimed a reward, and received at least five kisses : which, 
however, he generously returned. Then they came to the door, 
and from their conversation I judged they were about to issue 
out and have a walk on the moors. I supposed I should be 
condemned in Hareton Earnshaw's heart, if not by his mouth, 
to the lowest pit in the infernal regions, if I showed my un- 
fortunate person in his neighbourhood then ; and feeling very 
mean and malignant, I skulked round to seek refuge in the 
kitchen. There was unobstructed admittance on that side also, 
and at the door sat my old friend Nelly Dean, sewing and singing 
a song ; which was often interrupted from within by harsh words 
of scorn and intolerance, uttered in far from musical accents. 

" I'd rayther, by th' haulf, hev 'em swearing i' my lugs fro'h 
morn to neeght, nor hearken ye, hahsiver ! " said the tenant of 
the kitchen, in answer to an unheard speech of Nelly's. " It's a 
blazing shame, that I cannot oppen t' blessed Book, but yah set 
up them glories to Sattan, and all t' flaysome wickednesses that 
iver were torn into th' warld ! Oh ! ye'er a raight nowt ; and 
shoo's another ; and that poor lad'll be lost atween ye. Poor 
lad ! " he added, with a groan ; " he's witched : I'm sartin on't ! 
O Lord, judge 'em, for there's norther law nor justice among 
war rullers ! " 

" No ! or we should be sitting in flaming fagots, I suppose," 
retorted the singer. " But wisht, old man, and read your Bible 
like a Christian, and never mind me. This is ' Fairy Annie's 
Wedding' — a bonny tune — it goes to a dance." 

Mrs. Dean was about to reconmience, when I advanced ; and 
recognising me directly, she jumped to her feet, crying — 

"Why, bless you, Mr. Lockwood ! How could you think of 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 273 

returning in this way? All's shut up at Thrushcross Grange. 
You should have given us notice ! " 

"I've arranged to be accommodated there, for as long as I 
shall stay," I answered. " I depart again to-morrow. And how 
are you transplanted here, Mrs. Dean? tell me that." 

" Zillah left, and Mr. Heathcliff wished me to come, soon after 
you went to London, and stay till you returned. But, step in, 
pray ! Have you walked from Gimmerton this evening? " 

"From the Grange," I replied; "and while they make me 
lodging room there, I want to finish my business with your 
master ; because I don't think of having another opportunity in 
a hurry." 

"What business, sir?" said Nelly, conducting me into the 
house. " He's gone out at present, and won't return soon." 

"About the rent," I answered. 

"Oh! then it is with Mrs. Heathcliff you must settle," she 
observed ; " or rather with me. She has not learnt to manage 
her affairs yet, and I act for her : there's nobody else." 

I looked surprised. 

"Ah! you have not heard of HeathclifTs death, I see," she 
continued. 

" Heatljcliff dead ! " I exclaimed, astonished. "How long 
ago?" 

" Three months since : but sit down and let me take your hat, 
and I'll tell you all about it. Stop, you have had nothing to eat, 
have you?" 

" I want nothing : I have ordered supper at home. You sit 
down too. I never dreamt of his dying ! Let me hear how it 
came to pass. You say you don't expect them back for some 
time— the young people ? " 

' ' No — I have to scold them every evening for their late rambles : 
but they don't care for me. At least have a drink of our old 
ale ; it will do you good : you seem weary." 

She hastened to fetch it before I could refuse, and I heard 
Joseph asking whether " it warn't a crying scandal that she should 
have followers at her time of life? And then, to get them jocks 
out o' t' maister's cellar ! He fair shaamed to 'bide still and 
see it." 

She did not stay to retaliate, but re-entered in a minute, 
bearing a reaming silver pint, whose contents I lauded with be- 
coming earnestness. And afterwards she furnished me with the 



274 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 



sequel of Heathcliff's history. He had a "queer" end, as she 
expressed it. 

I was summoned to Wuthering Heights, within a fortnight of 
your leaving us, she said ; and I obeyed joyfully, for Calherine's 
sake. My first interview with her grieved and shocked me : she 
had altered so much since our separation. Mr. Heathcliff did 
not explain his reasons for taking a new mind about my coming 
here ; he only told me he wanted me, and he was tired of seeing 
Catherine : I must make the little parlour my sitting-room, and 
keep her with me. It was enough if he were obliged to see her 
once or twice a day. She seemed pleased at this arrangement ; 
and, by degrees, I smuggled over a great number of books, and 
ether articles, that had formed her amusement at the Grange ; 
and flattered myself we should get on in tolerable comfort. The 
delusion did not last long. Catherine, contented at first, in a 
brief space grew irritable and restless. For one thing, she was 
forbidden to move out of the garden, and it fretted her sadly to 
be confined to its narrow bounds as spring drew on ; for another, 
in following the house, I was forced to quit her frequently, and 
she complained of loneliness : she preferred quarrelling with 
Joseph in the kitchen to sitting at peace in her solitude, I did 
not mind their skirmishes : but Hareton was often obliged to seek 
the kitchen also, when the master wanted to have the house to 
himself; and though in the beginning she either left it at his 
approach, or quietly joined in my occupations, and shunned re- 
marking or addressing him — and though he was always as sullen 
and silent as possible — after a while she changed her behaviour, 
and became incapable of letting him alone :. talking at him ; 
commenting on his stupidity and idleness ; expressing her 
wonder how he could endure the life he lived— how he could sit 
a whole evening staring into the fire and dozing. 

" He's just like a dog, is he not, Ellen?" she once observed, 
"or a cart-horse? He does his work, eats his food, and sleeps 
eternally ! What a blank, dreary mind he must have ! Do you 
ever dream, Hareton? And, if you do, what is it about? But 
you can't speak to me ! " 

Then she looked at him ; but he would neither open his mouth 
nor look again. 

" He's, perhaps, dreaming now," she continued. " He twitched 
his shoulder as Juno twitches hers. Ask him, Ellen." 

" Mr. Hareton will ask the master to send you upstairs, if you 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 1']% 

don't behave ! " I said. He had not only twitched his shoulder 
but clenched his fist, as if tempted to use it. 

" I know why Hareton never speaks, when I am in the kitchen," 
she exclaimed, on another occasion. " He is afraid I shall laugh 
at him. Ellen, what do you think. He began to teach himself 
to read once ; and because I laughed, he burned his books, and 
dropped it : was he not a fool?" 

" Were not you naughty?" I said ; " answer me that." 

" Perhaps I was," she went on ; " but I did not expect him to 
be so silly. Hareton, if I gave you a book, would you take it 
now? I'll try ! " 

She placed one she had been perusing on his hand ; he flung 
it off, and muttered, if she did not give over, he would break her 
neck. 

"Well, I shall put it here," she said, "in the table drawer; 
and I'm going to bed." 

Then she whispered me to watch whether he touched it, and 
departed. But he would not come near it ; and so I informed 
her in the morning, to her great disappointment. I saw she was 
sorry for his persevering sulkiness and indolence : her conscience 
reproved her for frightening him off improving himself: she had 
done it effectually. But her ingenuity was at work to remedy the 
injury : while I ironed, or pursued other such stationary employ- 
ments as I could not well do in the parlour, she would bring some 
pleasant volume and read it aloud to me. When Hareton was 
there, she generally paused in an interesting part, and left the 
book lying about : that she did repeatedly; but he was as obstinate 
as a mule, and, instead of snatching at her bait, in wet weather 
he took to smoking with Joseph ; and they sat like automatons, 
one on each side of the fire, the elder happily too deaf to under- 
stand her wicked nonsense, as he would have called it, the younger 
doing his best to seem to disregard it. On fine evenings the 
latter followed his shooting expeditions, and Catherine yawned 
and sighed, and teased me to talk to her, and ran off into the 
court or garden, the moment I began ; and, as a last resource, 
cried, and said she was tired of living : her life was useless. 

Mr. Heathcliff, who grew more and more disinclined to society, 
had almost banished Earnshaw from his apartment. Owing to 
an accident at the commencement of March, he became for some 
days a fixture in the kitchen. His gun burst while out on the 
hills by himself ; a splinter cut his arm, and he lost a good deal 



276 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

of blood before he could reach home. The consequence was that, 
perforce, he was condemned to the fireside and tranquillity, till 
he made it up again. It suited Catherine to have him there : at 
an)'' rate, it made her hate her room upstairs more than ever : 
and she would compel me to find out business below, that she 
might accompany me. 

On Easter Monday, Joseph went to Gimmerton fair with some 
cattle : and, in the afternoon, I was busy getting up linen in the 
kitchen. Earnshaw sat, morose as usual, at the chimney-corner, 
and my little mistress was beguiling an idle hour with drawing 
pictures on the window panes ; varying her amusement by 
smothered bursts of songs, and whispered ejaculations, and quick 
glances of annoyance and impatience in the direction of her 
cousin, who steadfastly smoked, and looked into the grate. At 
a notice that I could do with her no longer intercepting my light, 
' she removed to the hearthstone. I bestowed little attention on 
her proceedings, but, presently, I heard her begin — 

" I've found out, Hareton, that I want — that I'm glad — that 
I should like you to be my cousin now, if you had not grown so 1 
cross to me, and so rough." 

Hareton returned no answer. 

" Hareton, Hareton, Hareton ! do you hear?" she continued. 

" Get off wi' ye ! " he growled, with uncompromising gruffness. 

" Let me take that pipe," she said, cautiously advancing her 
hand and abstracting it from his mouth. 

Before he could attempt to recover it, it was broken, and 
behind the fire. He swore at her and seized another. 

" Stop," she cried, " you must listen to me first ; and I can't 
speak while those clouds are floating in my face." 

" Will you go to the devil ! " he exclaimed ferociously, " and 
let me be ! " 

"No," she persisted, " I won't : I can't tell what to do to 
make you talk to me ; and you are determined not to under- 
stand. When I call you stupid, I don't mean anything : I don't 
mean that I despise you. Come, you shall take notice of me, 
Hareton ! you are my cousin, and you shall own me." 

' ' I shall have naught to do wi' you and your mucky pride, and 
your damned mocking tricks ! " he answered. " I'll go to hell, 
body and soul, before I look sideways after you again. Side out 
o' t' gate, now ; this minute ! " 

Catherine frowned, and retreated to the window-seat chewing 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 2/7 

her lip, and endeavouring, by humming an eccentric tune, to 
conceal a growing tendency to sob. 

"You should be friends with your cousin, Mr. Hareton," I 
interrupted, "since she repents of her sauciness. It would do 
you a great deal of good : it would make you another man to 
have her for a companion." 

"A companion ! " he cried ; " when she hates me, and does 
not think me fit to wipe her shoon ! Nay ! if it made me a king, 
I'd not be scorned for seeking her good-will any more." 

"It is not I who hate you, it is you who hate me ! " wept 
Cathy, no longer disguising her trouble. "You hate me as 
much as Mr. Heathcliff does, and more." 

" You're a damned har," began Earnshaw : " why have I made 
him angry, by taking your part, then, a hundred times ? and 
that when you sneered at and despised me, and — Go on plaguing 
me, and I'll step in yonder, and say you worried me out of the 
kitchen ! " 

" I didn't know you took my part," she answered, drying her 
eyes ; " and I was miserable and bitter at everybody ; but now 1 
thank you, and beg you to forgive me : what can I do besides?" 

She returned to the hearth, and frankly extended her hand. 
He blackened and scowled like a thunder-cloud, and kept his 
fists resolutely clenched, and his gaze fixed on the ground. 
Catherine, by instinct, must have divined it was obdurate per- 
versity, and not dislike, that prompted this dogged conduct ; for, 
after remaining an instant undecided, she stooped and impressed 
on his cheek a gentle kiss. The little rogue thought I had not 
seen her, and, drawing back, she took her former station by the 
window, quite demurely. I shook my head reprovingly, and 
then she blushed and whispered — 

' ' Well ! what should I have done, Ellen ? He wouldn't shake 
hands, and he wouldn't look : I must show him some way that 
I like him — that I want to be friends." 

Whether the kiss convinced Hareton, I cannot tell : he was 
very careful, for some minutes, that his face should not be seen, 
and when he did raise it, he was sadly puzzled where to turn his 
eyes. 

Catherine employed herself in wrapping a han^dsome book 
neatly in white paper, and having tied it with a bit of ribbon, and 
addressed it to " Mr. Hareton Earnshaw," she desired me to be her 
ambassadress, and convey the present to its destined recipient. 



278 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" And tell him, if he'll take it I'll come and teach him to read 
it right," she said; "and, if he refuse it, I'll go upstairs, and 
never tease him again." 

I carried it, and repeated the message ; anxiously watched by 
my employer. Hareton would not open his fingers, so I laid it 
on his knee. He did not strike it off, either, I returned to my 
work. Catherine leaned her head and arms on the table, till she 
heard the slight rustle of the covering being removed ; then she 
stole away, and quietly seated herself beside her cousin. He 
trembled, and his face glowed : all his rudeness and all his surly 
harshness had deserted him : he could not summon courage, at 
first, to utter a syllable in reply to her questioning look, and her 
murmured petition. 

"Say you forgive me, Hareton, do? You can make me so 
happy by speaking that httle word." 

He muttered something inaudible. 

"And you'll be my friend?" added Catherine interrogatively. 

"Nay, you'll be ashamed of me every day of your life," he 
answered ; "and the more ashamed, the more you know me ; 
.and I cannot bide it." 

" So you won't be my friend?" she said, smiling as sweet as 
honey, and creeping close up. 

I overheard no further distinguishable talk, but, on looking 
round again, I perceived two such radiant countenances bent 
over the page of the accepted book, that I did not doubt the 
treaty had been ratified on both sides ; and the enemies were, 
thenceforth, sworn allies. 

The work they studied was full of costly pictures ; and those 
and their position had charm enough to keep them unmoved till 
Joseph came home. He, poor man, was perfectly aghast at the 
spectacle of Catherine seated on the same bench with Hareton 
Earnshaw, leaning her hand on his shoulder ; and confounded 
at his favourite's endurance of her proximity : it affected him too 
deeply to allow an observation on the subject that night. His 
emotion was only revealed by the immense sighs he drew, as he 
solemnly spread his large Bible on the table, and overlaid it with 
dirty bank-notes from his pocket-book, the produce of the day's 
transactions. At length, he summoned Hareton from his seat. 

"Tak' these in to t' maister, lad," he said, " and bide there. 
I's gang up to my own rahm. This hoile's neither mensful nor 
seemly for us : we mun side out and seearch another. " 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 279 

" C'-me, Catherine," I said, "we must 'side out' too; I've 
done my ironing, are you ready to go? " 

"It is not eight o'clock!" she answered, rising unwillingly. 
" Hareton, I'll leave this book upon the chimney-piece, and I'll 
bring some more to-morrow." 

" Ony books that yah leave, I shall tak' into th' hahse," said 
Joseph, "and it'll be mitch if yah find em agean ; soa, yah may 
plase yerseln 1 " 

Cathy threatened that his library should pay for hers ; and, 
smiling as she passed Hareton, went singing upstairs : lighter of 
heart, I venture to say, than ever she had been under that roof 
before ; except, perhaps, during her earliest visits to Linton. 

The intimacy thus commenced, grew rapidly ; though it en- 
countered temporary interruptions. Earnshaw was not to be 
civilised with a wish, and my young lady was no philosopher, 
and no paragon of patience ; but both their minds tending to the 
same point — one loving and desiring to esteem, and the other 
loving and desiring to be esteemed — they contrived in the end 
to reach it. 

You see, Mr. Lockwood, it was easy enough to win Mrs. 
Heathcliff's Iieart. But now, I'm glad you did not try. The 
crown of all my wishes will be the union of those two. I shall 
envy no one on their wedding-day : there won't be a happier 
woman than myself in England ! 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

On the morrow of that Monday, Earnshaw being still unable to 
follow his ordinary employments, and therefore remaining about 
the house, I speedily found it would be impracticable to retain 
my charge beside me, as heretofore. She got downstairs before 
me, and out into the garden, where she had seen her cousin 
, performing some easy work ; and when I went to bid them come 
to breakfast, I saw she had persuaded him to clear a large space 
of ground from currant and gooseberry bushes, and they were 
busy planning together an importation of plants from the Grange. 
I was terrified at the devastation which had been accomplished 
in a brief half-hour ; the black currant trees were the apple of 
Joseph's eye, and she had just fixed her choice of a flower-bed 
in the midst of them. 



28o WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" There ! That will be all shown to the master," I exclaimed, 
" the minute it is discovered. And what excuse have you to offer 
for taking such liberties with the garden ? We shall have a fine 
explosion on the head of it: see if we don't! Mr. Hareton, I 
wonder you should have no more wit, than to go and make that 
mess at her bidding ! " 

" I'd forgotten they were Joseph's," answered Earnshaw, rather 
puzzled ; " but I'll tell him I did it." 

We always ate our meals with Mr. Heathcliff. I held the 
mistress s post in making tea and carving ; so I was indispensable 
at table. Catherine usually sat by me, but to-day she stole 
nearer to Hareton ; and I presently saw she would have no more 
discretion in her friendship than she had in her hostility. 

" Now, mind you don't talk with and notice your cousin too 
much," were my whispered instructions as we entered the room. 
"It will certainly annoy Mr. Heathcliff, and he'll be riiad at 
you both." 

" I'm not going to," she answered. 

The minute after, she had sidled to him, and was sticking 
primroses in his plate of porridge. 

He dared not speak to her there : he dared hardly look ; and 
yet she went on teasing, till he was twice on the point of being 
provoked to laugh, I frowned, and then she glanced toward 
the master : whose mind was occupied on other subjects than his 
company, as his countenance evinced ; and she grew serious for 
an instant, scrutinising him with deep gravity. Afterwards she 
turned, and recommenced her nonsense ; at last, Hareton uttered 
a smothered laugh. Mr. Heathcliff started;, his eye rapidly 
surveyed our faces, Catherine met it with her accustomed look 
of nervousness and yet defiance, which he abhorred, 

"It is well you are out of my reach," he exclaimed. " What 
fiend possesses you to stare back at me, continually, with those 
infernal eyes? Down with them ! and don't remind me of your 
existence again. I thought I had cured you of laughing." 

"It was me," muttered Hareton. 

" What do you say?" demanded the master. 

Hareton looked at his plate, and did not repeat the confession. 
Mr. Heathcliff looked at him a bit, and then silently resumed 
his breakfast and his interrupted musing. We had nearly 
finished, and the two young people prudently shifted wider 
asunder, so I anticipated no further disturbance during that 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 28 1 

sitting : when Joseph appeared at the door, revealing by his 
quivering hp and furious eyes, that the outrage committed on 
his precious shrubs was detected. He must have seen Cathy 
and her cousin about the spot before he examined it, for while 
his jaws worked like those of a cow chewing its cud, and 
rendered his speech difficult to understand, he began — 

" I mun hev my wage, and I mun goa ! I hed aimed to dee, 
wheare I'd sarved fur sixty year ; and I thowt I'd lug my books 
up into t' garret, and all my bits o' stuff, and they sud hev t' 
kitchen to theirseln ; for t' sake o' quietness. It wur hard to 
gie up my awn hearthstun, but I thowt I could do that ! But, 
nah, shoo's taan my garden fro' me, and by th' heart, maister, 
I cannot stand it ! Yah may bend to th' yoak, and ye will — I 
noan used to 't, and an old man doesn't sooin get used to new 
barthens. I'd rayther arn my bite an' my sup wi' a hammer in 
th' road ! " 

"Now, now, idiot!" interrupted Heathcliff, "cut it short! 
What's your grievance? I'll interfere in no quarrels between 
you and Nelly. She may thrust you into the coal-hole for any- 
thing I care." 

"It's noan Nelly!" answered Joseph, " I sudn't shift for 
Nelly — nasty ill nowt as shoo is. Thank God ! shoo cannot stale 
t' sowl o' nob'dy ! Shoo wer niver soa handsome, but what a 
body mud look at her 'bout winking. It's yon flaysome, grace- 
less quean, that's witched our lad, wi' her bold een and her 
forrard ways — till — Nay ! it fair brusts my heart ! He's for- 
gotten all I've done for him, and made on him, and goan and 
riven up a whole row o' t' grandest currant trees, i' t' garden ! " 
And here he lamented outright ; unmanned by a sense of his bitter 
injuries, and Earnshaw's ingratitude and dangerous condition. 

"Is the fool drunk? " asked Mr. Heathcliff. " Hareton, is 
it you he's finding fault with ? " 

"I've pulled v:p two or three bushes," replied the young 
man ; "but I'm going to set 'em again." 

" And why have you pulled them up?" said the master. 

Catherine wisely put in her tongue. 

" We wanted to plant some flowers there," she cried. " I'm 
the only person to blame, for I wished him to do it."-- 

"And who the devil gavej6>« leave to touch a stick about the 
place?" demanded her father-in-law, much surprised. "And 
who ordered ^<?«< to obey her?" he added, turning to Hareton. 



282 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

The latter was speechless ; his cousin replied — 
' ' ' You shouldn't grudge a few yards of earth for me to 
ornament, when you have taken all my land ! " 

"Your land, insolent slut ! You never had any," said Heath- 
cliff. 

" And my money," she continued ; returning his angry glare, 
and meantime biting a piece of crust, the remnant of her breakfast. 

" Silence ! " he exclaimed. " Get done, and begone ! " 

"And Hareton's land, and his money," pursued the reckless 
thing. " Hareton and I are friends now; and I shall tell him 
all about you ! " 

The master seemed confounded a moment : he grew pale, and 
rose up, eyeing her all the while, with an expression of mortal hate. 

" If you strike me, Hareton will strike you," she said ; "so 
you may as well sit down." 

" If Hareton does not turn you out of the room, I'll strike him 
to hell," thundered Heathcliff. "Damnable witch! dare you 
pretend to rouse him against me ? Off with her ! Do you hear ? 
Fling her into the kitchen ! I'll kill her, Ellen Dean, if you let 
her come into my sight again ! " 

Hareton tried, under his breath, to persuade her to go. 

" Drag her away ! " he cried savagely. "Are you staying to 
talk?" And he approached to execute his own command. 

" He'll not obey you, wicked man, any more," said Catherine ; 
"and he'll soon detest you as much as I do." 

" Wisht ! wisht ! " muttered the young man reproachfully. "I 
will not hear you speak so to him. Have done." 

" But you won't let him strike me?" she cried. 

" Come, then," he whispered earnestly. 

It was too late : Heathcliff had caught hold of her. 

" Now, you go ! " he said to Earnshaw. " Accursed witch ! 
this time she has provoked me when I could not bear it ; and 
I'll make her repent it for ever ! " 

Pie had his hand in her hair ; Hareton attempted to release her 
locks, entreating him not to hurt her that once. Heathcliff's 
black eyes flashed ; he seemed ready to tear Catherine in pieces, 
and I was just worked up to risk coming to the rescue, when of 
a sudden his fingers relaxed ; he shifted his grasp from her head 
to her arm, and gazed intently in her face. Then he drew his 
hand over her eyes, stood a moment to collect himself apparently, 
and turning anew to Catherine, said with assumed calmness — • 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 283 

"You must learn to avoid putting me in a passion, or I shall 
really murder you some time ! Go with Mrs. Dean, and keep 
with her; and confine your insolence to her ears. As to 
Hareton Earnshaw, if I see him listen to you, I'll send him 
seeking his bread where he can get it ! Your love will make 
him an outcast and a beggar. Nelly, take her ; and leave me, 
all of you ! Leave me ! " 

I led my young lady out : she was too glad of her escape to 
resist ; the other followed, and Mr. Heathcliff had the room to 
himself till dinner. I had counselled Catherine to dine upstairs ; 
but, as soon as he perceived her vacant seat, he sent me to call 
her. He spoke to none of us, ate very little, and went out directly 
afterwards, intimating that he should not return before evening. 

The two new friends established themselves in the house during 
his absence ; when I heard Hareton sternly check his cousin, on 
her offering a revelation of her father-in-law's conduct to his 
father. He said he wouldn't suffer a word to be uttered in his 
disparagement : if he were the devil, it didn't signify ; he would 
stand by him ; and he'd rather she would abuse himself, as she 
used to, than begin on Mr. Heathcliff. Catherine was waxing 
cross at this ; but he found means to make her hold her tongue, 
by asking how she would like him to speak ill of her father? 
Then she comprehended that Earnshaw took the master's reputa- 
tion home to himself; and was attached by ties stronger than 
reason could break — chains, forged by habit, which it would be 
cruel to attempt to loosen. She showed a good heart, thenceforth, 
in avoiding both complaints and expressions of antipathy con- 
cerning Heathcliff; and confessed to me her sorrow that she had 
endeavoured to raise a bad spirit between him and Hareton : 
indeed, I don't believe she has ever breathed a syllable, in the 
latter's hearing, against her oppressor since. 

When this slight disagreement was over, they were friends 
again, and as busy as possible in their several occupations of 
pupil and teacher. I came in to sit with them, after I had done 
my work ; and I felt so soothed and comforted to watch them, 
that I did not notice how time got on. You know, they both 
appeared in a measure my children : I had long been proud of 
one ; and now, I was sure, the other would be a source of equal 
satisfaction. His honest, warm, and intelligent nature shook off 
rapidly the clouds of ignorance and degradation in which it had 
been bred ; and Catherine's sincere commendations acted as a 



284 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

spur to his industry.. His brightening mind brightened his 
features, and added spirit and nobihty to their aspect : I could 
hardly fancy it the same individual I had beheld on the day I 
discovered my little lady at Wuthering Heights, after her ex- 
];)edition to the Crags. While I admired and they laboured, dusk 
drew on, and with it returned the master. He came upon us 
quite unexpectedly, entering by the front way, and had a full 
view of the whole three, ere we could raise our heads to glance 
at him. Well, I reflected, there was never a pleasanter, or more 
harmless sight ; and it will be a burning shame to scold them. 
The red firelight glowed on their two bonny heads, and revealed 
their faces animated with the eager interest of children ; for, 
though he was twenty-three and she eighteen, each had so much 
of novelty to feel and learn, that neither experienced nor evinced 
the sentiments of sober disenchanted maturity. 

They lifted their eyes together, to encounter Mr. Heathcliff : 
perhaps you have never remarked that their eyes are precisely 
similar, and they are those of Catherine Earnshaw. The present 
Catherine has no other likeness to her, except a breadth of fore- 
head, and a certain arch of the nostril that makes her appear 
rather haughty, whether she will or not. With Hareton the 
resemblance is carried farther : it is singular at all times, then it 
was particularly striking ; because his senses were alert, and his 
mental faculties wakened to unwonted activity. I suppose this 
resemblance disarmed Mr, Heathcliff : he walked to the hearth 
in evident agitation ; but it quickly subsided as he looked at the 
young man : or, I should say, altered its character ; for it was 
there y^t. He took the book from his hand, and glanced at the 
open page, then returned it without any observation ; merely 
signing Catherine away : her companion lingered very little 
behind her, and I was about to depart also, but he bid me sit 
still. 

e[t i*^ a poor conclusion, is it not?" he observed, having 
ded a while on the scene he had just witnessed : " an absurd 
iterriiination to my violent exertions? I get levers and mattocks 
[ to demolish the two houses, and train myself to be capable of 
1 working like Hercules, and when everything is ready and in my 
Ipower, I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished ! 
IMy old enemies have not beaten me ; now would be the precise 
lime to revenge myself on their representatives : I could do it ; 
jand none could hinder me. But where is the use ? I don't care 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 285 

for striking : I can't take the trouble to raise my hand ! That \ 
sounds as if I had been labouring the whole time only to exhibit I 
a fine trait of magnanimity. It is far from being the case : I ' 
have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, and I am too 
idle to destroy for nothing. - — 

"Nelly, there is a strange change approaching: I'm in its 
shadow at present. I take so little interest in my daily life, that 
I hardly remember to eat and drink. Those two who have left 
the room are the only objects which retain a distinct material 
appearance to me ; and that appearance causes me pain, 
amounting to agony. About her I won't speak ; and I don't 
desire to think ; but I earnestly wish she were invisible : her 
presence invokes only maddening sensations. He moves me 
differently : and yet if I could do it without seeming insane, I'd 
never see him again. You'll perhaps think me rather inclined 
to become so," he added, making an effort to smile, " if I try to 
describe the thousand forms of past associations and ideas he 
awakens or embodies. But you'll not talk of what I tell you ; 
and my mind is so eternally secluded in itself, it is tempting at 
last to turn it out to another. 

"Five minutes ago, Hareton seemed a personification of my 
youth, not a human being : I felt to him in such a variety of 
ways, that it would have been impossible to have accosted him 
rationally. In the first place, his startling likeness to Catherine 
connected him fearfully with her. That, however, which you 
may suppose the most potent to arrest my imagination, is actually 
the least : for what is not connected with her to me ? and what 
does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her 
features are shaped in the flags ! In every cloud, in every tree 
— filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object 
by day — I am surrounded with her image ! The most ordinary 
faces of men and women — my own features — mock me with a 
resemblance. The entire world is a dreadful collection of 
memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her ! Well, 
Hareton's aspect was the ghost of my immortal love ; of my 
wild endeavours to hold my right ; my degradation, my pride, 
my happiness, and my anguish — 

" But it is frenzy to repeat these thoughts to you : oniy it will 
let you know why, with a reluctance to be always alone, his 
society is no benefit ; rather an aggravation of the constant 
torment I suffer : and it partly contributes to render me regard- 



286 Vv'UTHERlNG HEIGHTS. 

less how he and his cousin go on together. I can give them no 
attention, any more." 

" But what do you mean by a change, Mr. Heathcliff ? " I said, 
alarmed at his manner : though he was neither in danger of losing 
his senses, nor dying, according to my judgment : he was quite 
strong and healthy ; and, as to his reason, from childhood he 
had a delight in dwelling on dark things, and entertaining odd 
fancies. He might have had a monomania on the subject of his 
departed idol ; but on every other point his wits were as sound 
as mine. 

" I shall not know that till it comes," he said, " I'm only half 
conscious of it now." 

" You have no feeling of illness, have you?" I asked. 

"No, Nelly, I have not," he answered. 

" Then you are not afraid of death ? " I pursued. 

"Afraid? No !" he replied. " I have neither a fear nor a 
presentiment, nor a hope of death. Why should I ? With my 
hard constitution and temperate mode of living, and unperilous 
occupations, I ought to, and probably shall, remain above 
ground till there is scarcely a black hair on my head. And yet 
I cannot continue in this condition ! I have to remind myself to 
breathe — almost to remind my heart to beat ! And it is like 
bending back a stiff spring : it is by compulsion that I do the 
slightest act not prompted by one thought ; and by compulsion 
that I notice anything alive or dead, which is not associated witli 
one universal idea. I have a single wish, and my whole being 
and faculties are yearning to attain it. They have yearned to- 
wards it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I'm convinced it 
zvill be reached — and soon — because it has devoured my exist- 
ence : I am swallowed up in the anticipation of its fulfilment. 
My confessions have not relieved me ; but they may account for 
some otherwise unaccountable phases of humour which I show. 

God ! It is a long fight, I wish it were over ! " 

He began to pace the room, muttering terrible things to him- 
self, till I was inclined to believe, as he said Joseph did, that 
conscience had turned his heart to an earthly hell. I wondered 
greatly how it would end. Though he seldom before had re- 
vealed this state of mind, even by looks, it was his habitual mood, 

1 had no doubt : he asserted it himself; but not a soul, from his 
general bearing, would have conjectured the fact. You did not 
when you saw him, Mr. Lockwood : and at the period of which 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 287 

I speak he was just the same as then ; only fonder of continued 
solitude, and perhaps still more laconic in company. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

For some days after that evening, Ivlr. Heathcliff shunned 
meeting us at meals ; yet he would not consent formally to ex- 
clude Hareton and Cathy. He had an aversion to yielding so 
completely to his feelings, choosing rather to absent himself ; 
and eating once in twenty-four hours seemed sufficient susten- 
ance for him. 

One night, after the family were in bed, I heard him go down- 
stairs, and out at the front door. I did not hear him re-enter, 
and in the morning I found he was still away. We were in April 
then: the weather was sweety and warm, the grass as green as 
showers and sun could make it, and the two dwarf apple-trees 
near the southern wall in full bloom. After breakfast, Catherine 
insisted on my bringing a chair and sitting with my work under 
the fir-trees at the end of the house ; and she beguiled Hareton, 
who had perfectly recovered from his accident, to dig and arrange 
her Uttle garden, which was shifted to that corner by the influence 
of Joseph's complaints. I was comfortably revelHng in the spring 
fragrance around, and the beautiful soft blue overhead, when my 
young lady, who had run down near the gate to procure some 
primrose roots for a border, returned only half laden, and in- 
formed us that Mr. HeathcHff was coming in. " And he spoke 
to me," she added, with a perplexed countenance. 

" What did he say?" asked Hareton. 

"He told me to begone as fast as I could," she answered. 
" But he looked so different from his usual look that I stopped 
a moment to stare at him." 

" How?" he inquired. 

"Why, almost bright and cheerful. No, almost nothing — 
very natch excited, and wild and glad ! " she replied. 

"Night-walking amuses him, then," I remarked, affecting a 
careless manner : in reality as surprised as she was, and anxious 
to ascertain the truth of her statement ; for to see the master 
looking glad would not be an every-day spectacle. I framed an 
excuse to go in. Heathcliff stood at the open door ; he was pale, 



288 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

and he trembled : yet, certainly, he had a strange joyful glitter 
in his eyes, that altered the aspect of his whole face. 

"Will you have some breakfast?" I said. "You must be 
hungry, rambling about all night ! " I wanted to discover where 
he had been, but I did not like to ask directly. 

" No, I'm not hungry," he answered, averting his head, and 
speaking rather contemptuously, as if he guessed I was trying 
to divine the occasion of his good-humour. 

I felt perplexed : I didn't know whether it were not a proper 
opportunity to offer a bit of admonition. 

" I don't think it right to wander out of doors," I observed, 
' ' instead of being in bed : it is not wise, at any rate, this moist 
season. I dare say you'll catch a bad cold, or a fever : you 
have something the matter with you now ! " 

" Nothing but what I can bear," he replied ; "and with the 
greatest pleasure, provided you'll leave me alone : get in, and 
don't annoy me." 

I obeyed : and, in passing, I noticed he breathed as fast as a 
cat. 

"Yes ! " I reflected to myself, " we shall have a fit of illness. 
I cannot conceive what he has been doing." 

That noon he sat down to dinner with us, and received a 
heaped-up plate from my hands, as if he intended to make 
amends for previous fasting. 

" I've neither cold nor fever, Nelly," he remarked, in allusion 
to my morning's speech ; "and I'm ready to do justice to the 
food you give me." 

He took his knife and fork, and was going to commence eating, 
when the inclination appeared to become suddenly extinct. He 
laid them on the table, looked eagerly towards the window, then 
rose and went out. We saw him walking to and fro in the 
garden while we concluded our meal, and Earnshaw said he'd go 
and ask why he would not dine : he thought we had grieved 
him some way. 

"Well, is he coming?" cried Catherine, when her cousin 
returned. 

" Nay," he answered ; " but he's not angry : he seemed rarely 
pleased indeed ; only I made him impatient by speaking to him 
twice ; and then he bid me be off to you : he wondered how I 
could want the company of anybody else." 

I set his plate to keep warm on the fender ; and after an hour 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 289 

or two he re-entered, when the room was clear, in no degree 
cahner : the same unnatural — it was unnatural — appearance of 
joy under his black brows ; the same bloodless hue, and his teeth 
visible, now and then, in a kind of smile ; his frame shivering, not 
as one shivers with chill or weakness, but as a tight-stretched cord 
vibrates — a strong thrilling, rather than trembling. 

I will ask what is the matter, I thought ; or who should? And 
I exclaimed — 

" Have you heard any good news, Mr. Heathcliff ? You look 
uncommonly animated." 

" Where should good news come from to me?" he said. " I'm 
animated with hunger ; and, seemingly, I must not eat." 

"Your dinner is here," I returned ; "why won't you get it?" 

"I don't want it now," he muttered hastily; "I'll wait till 
supper. And, Nelly, once for all, let me beg you to warn 
Hareton and the other away from me. I wish to be troubled by 
nobody : I wish to have this place to myself." 

" Is there some new reason for this banishment ? " I inquired. 
" Tell me why you are so queer, Mr. HeathcHff? Where were 
you last night? I'm not putting the question through idle 
curiosity, but" 

"You are putting the question through very idle curiosity," 
he interrupted, with a laugh. " Yet I'll answer it. Last night 
I was on the threshold of hell. To-day, I am within sight of my 
heaven. I have my eyes on it : hardly three feet to sever me ! 
And now you'd better go ! You'll neither see nor hear anything 
to frighten you, if you refrain from prying." 

Having swept the hearth and wiped the table, I departed ; 
more perplexed than ever. 

He did not quit the house again that afternoon, and no one 
intruded on his solitude ; till, at eight o'clock, I deemed it 
proper, though unsummoned, to carry a candle and his supper 
to him. He was leaning against the ledge of an open lattice, 
but not looking out : his face was turned to the interior gloom. 
The fire had smouldered to ashes ; the room was filled with the 
damp, mild air of the cloudy evening ; and so still, that not only 
the murmur of the beck down Gimmerton was distinguishable, 
but its ripples and its gurgling over the pebbles, or through the 
large stones which it could not cover. I uttered an ejaculation 
of discontent at seeing the dismal grate, and commenced shut- 
ting the casements, one after another, till I came to his. 

K 



290 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

" Must I close this?" I asked, in order to rouse him ; for he 
would not stir. 

The light flashed on his features as I spoke. Oh, Mr. Lock- 

S wood, I cannot express what a terrible start I got by the momen- 

'S tary view ! Those deep black eyes 1 That smile, and ghastly 

/ paleness ! It appeared to me, not Mr. Heathcliff, but a goblin ; 

/ and, in my terror, I let the candle bend towards the wall, and it 

\ left me in darkness. 

"Yes, close it," he replied, in his famiUar voice. "There, 
that is pure awkwardness ! Why did you hojd the candle 
horizontally? Be quick, and bring another." 

I hurried out in a foolish state of dread, and said to Joseph- 

" The master wishes you to take him a light and re-kindle the 
fire." P^or I dare not go in myself again just then, 

Joseph rattled some fire into the shovel, and went : but he 
brought it back immediately, with the supper-tray in his other 
hand, explaining that Mr. Heathcliff was going to bed, and he 
wanted nothing to eat till morning. We heard him mount the 
stairs directly ; he did not proceed to his ordinary chamber, but 
turned into that with the panelled bed : its window, as I men- 
tioned before, is wide enough for anybody to get through ; and 
it struck me that he plotted another midnight excursion, of which 
he had rather we had no suspicion. 

" Is he a ghoul or a vampire ? " I mused. I had read of such 
hideous incarnate demons. And then I set myself to reflect how 
I had tended him in infancy, and watched him grow to youth, and 
followed him almost through his whole course ; and what absurd 
nonsense it was to yield to that sense of horror. ' ' But where did 
he come from, the little dark thing, harboured by a good man tohis 
bane?" muttered Superstition, as I dozed into unconsciousness. 
And I began, half dreaming, to weary myself with imagining some 
fit parentage for him ; and, repeating my waking meditations, I 
tracked his existence over again, with grim variations ; at last, 
picturing his death and funeral : of which, all I can remember is, 
being exceedingly vexed at having the task of dictating an in- 
scription for his monument, and consulting the sexton about it 
and, as he had no surname, and we could not tell his age, we 
were obliged to content ourselves with the single word, " Heath- 
cliff." That came true : we were. If you enter the kirkyard, you'll 
read on his headstone, only that, and the date of his death. 

Dawn restored me to common sense. I rose, and went into the 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 29 1 

garden, as soon as I could see, to ascertain if there were any foot- 
marks under his window. There were none. "He has stayed at 
home," I thought, "and he'll be all right to-day." I prepared 
breakfast for the household, as was my usual custom, but told 
Hareton and Catherine to get theirs ere the master came down, 
for he lay late. They preferred taking it out of doors, under the 
trees, and I set a little table to accommodate them. 

On my re-entrance, I found Mr. Heathcliff below. He and 
Joseph were conversing about some farming business ; he gave 
clear, minute directions concerning the matter discussed, but he 
spoke rapidly, and turned his head continually aside, and had the 
same excited expression, even more exaggerated. When Joseph 
quitted the room he took his seat in the place he generally chose, 
and I put a basin of coffee before him. He drew it nearer, and 
then rested his arms on the table, and looked at the opposite wall , 
as I supposed, surveying one particular portion, up and down, 
with glittering, restless eyes, and with such eager interest tha/ 
he stopped breathing during half a minute together. 

"Come now," I exclaimed, pushing some bread against his 
hand, "eat and drink that, while it is hot : it has been waiting 
near an hour." 

He didn't notice me, and yet he smiled. I'd rather have seen 
him gnash his teeth than smile so. 

"Mr. Heathcliff! master!" I cried, "don't, for God's sake, 
stare as if you saw an unearthly vision." 

"Don't, for God's sake, shout so loud," he replied. "Turn 
round, and tell me, are we by ourselves?" 

" Of course," was my answer ; "of course we are." 

Still, I involuntarily obeyed him, as if I was not quite sure. 
Witli a sweep of his hand he cleared a vacant space in front 
among the breakfast things, and leant forward to gaze more at 
his ease. 

Now, I perceived he was not looking at the wall ; for when I 
regarded him alone, it seemed exactly that he gazed at something 
within two yards' distance. And whatever it was, it communi- 
cated, apparently, both pleasure and pain in exquisite extremes : 
at least the anguished, yet raptured, expression of his countenance 
suggested that idea. The fancied object was not fixe^ : either 
his eyes pursued it with unwearied diligence, and, even in speak- 
ing to me, were never weaned away. I vainly reminded him of his 
protracted abstinence from food : if he stirred to touch anything 



292 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

in compliance with my entreaties, if he stretched his hand out to 
get a piece of bread, his fingers clenched before they reached it, 
and remained on the table, forgetful of their aim, 

I sat, a model of patience, trying to attract his absorbed atten- 
tion from its engrossing speculation ; till he grew irritable, and 
got up, asking why I would not allow him to have his own time 
in taking his meals ? and saying that on the next occasion, I 
needn't wait : I might set the things down and go. Having 
uttered these words he left the house, slowly sauntered down 
the garden path, and disappeared through the gate. 

The hours erept anxiously by : another evening came. I did 
not retire to rest till late, and when I did, I could not sleep. He 
returned after midnight, and, instead of going to bed, shut him- 
self into the room beneath. I listened, and tossed about, and, 
finally, dressed and descended. It was too irksome to lie there, 
harassing my brain with a hundred idle misgivings. 

I distinguished Mr. Heathchff's step, restlessly measuring the 
floor, and he frequently broke the silence by a deep inspiration, 
resembling a groan. He muttered detached words also ; the 
only one I could catch was the name of Catherine, coupled with 
some wild term of endearment or suffering ; and spoken as one 
would speak to a person present : low and earnest, and wrung 
from the depth of his soul. I had not courage to walk straight 
into the apartment ; but I desired to divert him from his reverie, 
and therefore fell foul of the kitchen fire, stirred it, and began to 
scrape the cinders. It drew him forth sooner than I expected. 
He opened the door immediately, and said — 

' ' Nelly, come here — is it morning ? Come in with your light. " 

" It is striking four," I answered. "You want a candle to 
take upstairs : you might have lit one at this fire. " 

" No, I don't wish to go upstairs," he said. " Come in, and 
kindle me a fire, and do anything there is to do about the 
room." 

" I must blow the coals red first, before I can carry any," I 
replied, getting a chair and the bellows. 

He roamed to and fro, meantime, in a state approaching 
distraction ; his heavy sighs succeeding each other so thick as 
to leave no space for common breathing between. 

" When day breaks I'll send for Green," he said ; "I wish to 
make some legal inquiries of him while I can bestow a thought 
on those matters, and while I can act calmly. I have not written 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 293 

my will yet ; and how to leave my property I cannot determine. 
I wish I could annihilate it from the face of the earth." 

" I would not talk so, Mr. Heathchff," I interposed. "Let 
your will be a while : you'll be spared to repent of your many 
injustices yet. I never expected that your nerves would be dis- 
ordered : they are, at present, marvellously so, however ; and 
almost entirely through your own fault. The way you've passed 
these three last days might knock up a Titan. Do take some 
food, and some repose. You need only look at yourself in a 
glass to see how you require both. Your cheeks are hollow, and 
your eyes bloodshot, like a person starving with hunger and 
going blind with loss of sleep." 

"It is not my fault that I cannot eat or rest," he replied. 
"I assure you it is through no settled designs. I'll do both, 
as soon as I possibly can. But you might as well bid a man 
struggling in the water rest within arm's length of the shore ! I 
must reach it first, and then I'll rest. Well, nevermind Mr. Green : 
as to repenting of my injustices, I've done no injustice, and I repent 
of nothing. I'm too happy ; and yet I'm not happy enough. 
My soul's bliss kills my body, but does not satisfy itself." 

"Happy, master?" I cried. "Strange happiness! If you 
would hear me -without being angry, I might offer some advice 
that would make you happier." 

" What is that ? " he asked. " Give it." 

" You are aware, Mr. Heathcliff," I said, " that from the time 
you were thirteen years old, you have lived a selfish, unchristian 
life ; and probably hardly had a Bible in your hands during all 
that period. You must have forgotten the contents of the book, 
and you may not have space to search it now. Could it be hurtful 
to send for some one — some minister of any denomination, it 
does not matter which— to explain it, and show you how very far 
you have erred from its precepts ; and how unfit you will be for 
its heaven, unless a change takes place before you die?" 

"I'm rather obliged than angry, Nelly," he said, "for you 
remind me of the manner in which I desire to be buried. It is 
to be carried to the churchyard in the evening. You and Hareton 
may, if you please, accompany me : and mind, particularly, to 
notice that the sexton obeys my directions concerning the two 
coffins ! No minister need come ; nor need anything be said 
over me. — I tell you I have nearly attained my heaven ; and that 
of others is altogether unvalued and uncoveted by me." 



294 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

"And supposing you persevered in your obstinate fast, and 
died by that means, and they refused to bury you in the precincts 
of the Kirk? " I said, shocked at his godless indifference. " How 
would you like it ? " 

"They won't do that," he replied: "if they did, you must 
have me removed secretly ; and if you neglect it you shall prove, 
practically, that the dead are not annihilated ! " 

As soon as he heard the other members of the family stirring 
he retired to his den, and I breathed freer. But in the afternoon, 
while Joseph and Hareton were at their work, he came into the 
kitchen again, and, with a wild look, bid me come and sit in the 
house : he wanted somebody with him. I declined ; telling him 
plainly that his strange talk and manner frightened me, and I 
had neither the nerve nor the will to be his companion alone. 

" I believe you think me a fiend," he said, with his dismal 
laugh: "something too horrible to live under a decent roof," 
Then turning to Catherine, who was there, and who drew behind 
me at his approach, he added, half sneeringly — " Will_;'6'?^ come, 
chuck? I'll not hurt you. No ! to you I've made myself worse 
than the devil. Well, there is 07ie who won't shrink from my 
company ! By God ! she's relentless. Oh, damn it 1 It's un- 
utterably too much for flesh and blood to bear — even mine." 

He solicited the society of no one more. At dusk, he went 
into his chamber. Through the whole night, and far into the 
morning, we heard him groaning and murmuring to himself. 
Hareton was anxious to enter ; but I bid him fetch Mr. 
Kenneth, and he should go in and see him. When he came, 
and I requested admittance and tried to open the door, I found 
it locked ; and Heathcliff bid us be damned. He was better, 
and would be left alone ; sa the doctor went away. 

The following evening was very wet : indeed it poured down 
till day-da^vn ; and, as I took my morning walk round the house, 
I observed the master's window swinging open, and the rain 
driving straight in. He cannot be in bed, I thought : those 
showers would drench him through. He must either be up or 
out. But I'll make no more ado, I'll go boldly and look." 

Having succeeded in obtaining entrance with another key, I 
ran to unclose the panels, for the chamber was vacant ; quickly 
pushing them aside, I peeped in. Mr. Heathcliff was there- 
laid on his back. His eyes met mine so keen and fierce, I 
Started ; and then he seemed to smile. I could not think him 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 29 >, 

dead : but his face and throat were washed with rain ; the bed- 
clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still. The lattice, flapping 
to and fro, had grazed one hand that rested on the sill ; na 
blood trickled from the broken skin, and when I put my fingers 
to it, I could doubt no more : he was dead and stark ! 

I hasped the window ; I combed his black long hair from 
his forehead ; I tried to close his eyes : to extinguish, if possible, 
that frightful, life-like gaze of exultation before any one else 
beheld it. They would not shut : they seemed to sneer at my 
attempts ; and his parted lips and sharp white teeth sneered 
too ! Taken with another fit of cowardice, I cried out for 
Joseph. Joseph shuffled up and made a noise, but resolutely 
refused to meddle with him. 

"Th' divil's harried off his soul," he cried, " and he may hev 
his carcass into t' bargin, for aught I care ! Ech ! what a 
wicked un he looks girning at death ! " and the old sinner 
grinned in mockery. I thought he intended to cut a caper round 
the bed ; but, suddenly composing himself, he fell on his knees, 
and raised his hands, and returned thanks that the lawful master 
and the ancient stock were restored to their rights. 

I felt stunned by the awful event ; and my mem.ory unavoid- 
ably recurred to former times with a sort of oppressive sadness. 
But poor Hareton, the most wronged, was the only one who 
really suffered much. He sat by the corpse all night, weeping in 
bitter earnest. He pressed its hand, and kissed the sarcastic, 
savage face that every one else shrank from contemplating ; and 
bemoaned him with that strong grief which springs naturally 
from a generous heart, though it be tough as tempered steel, 

Mr. Kenneth was perplexed to pronounce of what disorder 
the master died. I concealed the fact of his having swallowed 
nothing for four days, fearing it might lead to trouble, and 
then, I am persuaded, he did not abstain on purpose : it was 
the consequence of his strange illness, not the cause. 

We buried him, to the scandal of the whole neighbourhood, 
as he wished. Earnshaw and I, the sexton, and six men to 
carry the coffin, comprehended the whole attendance. The six 
men departed when they had let it down into the grave : we 
stayed to see it covered. Hareton, with a streaming ^face, dug 
green sods, and laid them over the brown mould himself: at 
present it is as smooth and verdant as its companion mounds — 
and I hope its tenant sleeps as soundly. But the country folks. 



296 WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 

if you ask them, would swear on the Bible that he walks : there 
are those who speak to having met him near the church, and on 
the moor, and even within this house. Idle tales, you'll say, 
and so say I. Yet that old man by the kitclien fire affirms he 
has seen two on 'em, looking out of his chamber window, on 
every rainy night since his death : — and an odd thing happened 
to me about a month ago. I was going to the Grange one 
evening — a dark evening, threatening thunder — and, just at the 
turn of the Heights, I encountered a little boy with a sheep and 
two lambs before him ; he was crying terribly ; and I supposed 
the lambs were skittish, and would not be guided. 

"What is the matter, my little man?" I asked. 

" There's Heathcliff and a woman, yonder, under t' nab," he 
blubbered, " un' I darnut pass 'em." 

I saw nothing ; but neither the sheep nor he would go on ; so 
I bid him take the road lower down. He probably raised the 
phantoms from thinking, as he traversed the moors alone, on the 
nonsense he had heard his parents and companions repeat. Yet, 
Still, I don't like being out in the dark now ; and I don't like 
being left by myself in this grim house : I cannot help it ; I shall 
be glad when they leave it, and shift to the Grange. 

"They are going to the Grange, then?" I said. 

"Yes," answered Mrs. Dean, "as soon as they are married, 
and that will be on New Year's day." 

" And who will live here then?" 

"Why, Joseph will take care of the house, and, perhaps, a 
lad to keep him company. They will live in the kitchen, and 
the rest will be shut up." 

"For the use of such ghosts as choose to inhabit it," I ob- 
served. 

"No, Mr. Lockwood," said Nelly, shaking her head. "I 
believe the dead are at peace : but it is not right to speak of 
them with levity." 

At that moment the garden gate swung to ; the ramblers were 
returning. 

" They are afraid of nothing," I grumbled, watching their 
approach through the window. ' ' Together, they would brave 
Satan and all his legions." 

As they stepped on to the door-stones, and halted to take a 
last look at the moon — or, more correctly, at each other by her 
light— I felt irresistibly impelled to escape them again ; and, 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 297 

pressing a remembrance into the hand of Mrs. Dean, and dis- 
regarding her expostulations at my rudeness, I vanished through 
the kitchen as they opened the house-door : and so should have 
confirmed Joseph in his opinion of his fellow-servant's gay indis- 
cretions, had he not fortunately recognised me for a respectable 
character by the sweet ring of a sovereign at his feet. 

j\Iy walk home was lengthened by a diversion in the direction 
of the kirk. When beneath its walls, I perceived decay had 
made progress, even in seven months : many a window showed 
black gaps deprived of glass ; and slates jutted off, here and 
there, beyond the right line of the roof, to be gradually worked 
off in coming autumn storms. 

I sought, and soon discovered, the three head-stones on the 
slope next the moor : the middle one grey, and half buried in 
heath ; Edgar Linton's only harmonised by the turf and moss 
creeping up its foot ; Heathcliff 's still bare. 

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the 
moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the 
soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any 
one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that 
quiet earth. 



END OF "WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 



K2 



AGNES GREY 



ACTON" BFXL. 



AGNES GREY. 



CHAPTER I. 
THE parsonage:. 

ALL true histories contain instruction ; though, in some, the 
- treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial 
in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates 
for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case 
with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge. I some- 
times think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to 
others ; but the world may judge for itself. Sliielded by my own 
obscurity, and by the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, 
I do not fear to venture ; and will candidly lay before the public 
what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend. 

My father was a clergyman of the north of England, who was 
deservedly respected by all who knew him ; and, in his younger 
days, lived pretty comfortably on the joint income of a small in- 
cumbency and a snug little property of his own. My mother, 
who married him against the wishes of her friends, was a squire's 
daughter, and a woman of spirit. In vain it was represented to 
her, that if she became the poor parson's wife, she must relinquish 
her carriage and her lady's-maid, and all the luxuries and 
elegances of affluence ; which to her were little less than the 
necessaries of life, A carriage and a lady's-maid were great con- 
veniences ; but, thank Heaven, she had feet to carry her, and 
hands to minister to her own necessities. An elegant house and 
spacious grounds were not to be despised ; but she would rather 
live in a cottage with Richard Grey than in a palace with any 
other man in the world. 

Finding arguments of no avail, her father, at length, told the 
lovers they might marry if they pleased ; but, in so doing, his 
daughter would forfeit every fraction of her fortune. He ex- 



302 AGNES GREY. 

pected this would cool the ardour of both ; but he was mistaken. 
My father knew too well my mother's superior worth not to be 
sensible that she was a valuable fortune in herself : and if she 
would but consent to embellish his humble hearth, he should be 
happy to take her on any terms ; while she, on her part, would 
rather labour with her own hands than be divided from the man 
she loved, whose happiness it would be her joy to make, and who 
was already one with her in heart and soul. So her fortune went 
to swell the purse of a wiser sister, who had married a rich nabob ; 
and she, to the wonder and compassionate regret of all who knew 
her, went to bury herself in the homely village parsonage among 

the hills of . And yet, in spite of all this, and in spite of my 

mother's high spirit and my father's whims, I believe you might 
search all England through, and fail to find a happier couple. 

Of six children, my sister Mary and myself were the only two 
that survived the perils of infancy and early childhood. I, being 
the younger by five or six years, was always regarded as the 
child, and the pet of the family : father, mother, and sister, all 
combined to spoil me — not by foolish indulgence, to render me 
fractious and ungovernable, but by ceaseless kindness, to make 
me too helpless and dependent — too unfit for buffeting with the 
cares and turmoils of life. 

Mary and I were brought up in the strictest seclusion. My 
mother, being at once highly accomphshed, well informed, and 
fond of employment, took the whole charge of our education on 
herself, with the exception of Latin — which my father undertook 
to teach us— so that we never even went to school ; and, as there 
was no society in the neighbourhood, our only intercourse with the 
world consisted in a stately tea-party, now and then, with the 
principal farmers and tradespeople of the vicinity (just to avoid 
being stigmatised as too proud to consort with our neighbours), 
and an annual visit to our paternal grandfather's ; where him- 
self, our kind grandmamma, a maiden aunt, and two or three 
elderly ladies and gentlemen, were the only persons we ever saw. 
Sometimes our mother would amuse us with stories and anecdotes 
of her younger days, which, while they entertained us amazingly, 
frequently awoke — in me, at least — a secret wish to see a little 
more of the world. 

I thought she must have been very happy : but she never 
seemed to regret past times. My father, however, whose temper 
was neither tranquil nor cheerful by nature, often unduly vexed 



AGNES GREY. 305 

himself with thinking of the sacrifices his dear wife had made for 
him ; and troubled his head with revolving endless schemes for 
the augmentation of his little fortune for her sake and ours. In 
vain my mother assured him she was quite satisfied ; and if he 
would but lay by a little for the children, we should all have 
plenty, both for time present and to come : but saving was not 
my father's forte. He would not run in debt (at least, my mother 
took good care he should not), but while he had money he must 
spend it : he liked to see his house comfortable, and his wife and 
daughters well clothed, and well attended ; and besides, he was 
charitably disposed, and liked to give to the poor, according to 
his means : or, as some might think, beyond them. 

At length, however, a kind friend suggested to him a means of 
doubling his private property at one stroke ; and further in- 
creasing it, hereafter, to an imtold amount. This friend was a 
merchant, a man of enterprising spirit and undoubted talent, 
who was somewhat straitened in his mercantile pursuits for 
want of capital ; but generously proposed to give my father a 
fair share of his profits, if he would only entrust him with what 
he could spare ; and he thought he might safely promise that 
whatever sum the latter chose to put into his hands, it should 
bring him in cent, per cent. The small patrimony was speedily 
sold, and the whole of its price was deposited in the hands of the 
friendly merchant ; who as promptly proceeded to ship his cargo, 
and prepare for his voyage. 

My father was delighted, so were we all, with our brightening 
prospects. For the present, it is true, we were reduced to the 
narrow income of the curacy ; but my father seemed to think 
there was no necessity for scrupulously restricting our expendi- 
ture to that ; so with a standing bill at ^^Ir. Jackson's, another at 
Smith's, and a third at Hobson's, we got along even more com- 
fortably than before : though ray mother affirmed we had better 
keep within bounds, for our prospects of wealth were but pre- 
carious, after all ; and if my father would only trust everything 
to her management, he should never feel himself stinted ; but he, 
for once, was incorrigible. 

What happy hours Mary and I have passed, while sitting at 
our work by the fire, or wandering on the heath-clqd hills, or 
idling under the weeping birch (the only considerable tree in the 
garden, talking of future happiness to ourselves and our parents, 
of what we would do, and see, and possess ; with no firmer 



304 AGNES GREY. 

foundation for our goodly superstructure, than the riches that 
were expected to flow in upon us from the success of the worthy 
merchant's speculations. Our father was nearly as bad as our- 
selves : only that he affected not to be so much in earnest : 
expressing his bright hopes and sanguine expectations, in jests 
and playful sallies, that always struck me as being exceedingly 
witty and pleasant. Our mother laughed with delight to see 
him so hopeful and happy : but still she feared he was setting 
his heart too much upon the matter ; and once I heard lier 
whisper as she left the room, ' ' God grant he be not disappointed I 
1 know not how he would bear it." 

Disappointed he was ; and bitterly, too. It came like a 
thunder-clap on us all, that the vessel which contained our fortune 
had been wrecked, and gone to the bottom with all its stores, 
together with several of the crew, and the unfortunate merchant 
himself. I was grieved for him ; I was grieved for the overthrow 
of all our air-built castles : but, with the elasticity of youth, I 
soon recovered the shock. 

Though riches had charms, poverty had no terrors for an 
inexperienced girl like me. Indeed, to say the truth, there was 
something exhilarating in the idea of being driven to straits, and 
thrown upon our own resources. I only wished papa, mamma, 
and Mary, were all of the same mind as myself ; and then, instead 
of lamenting past calamities, we might all cheerfully set to work 
to remedy them ; and the greater the difficulties, the harder our 
present privations, the greater should be our cheerfulness to 
endure the latter, and our vigour to contend against the former. 

Mary did not lament, but she brooded continually over the 
misfortune, and sank into a state of dejection from which no 
effort of mine could rouse her. I could not possibly bring her to 
regard the matter on its bright side as I did : and indeed I was 
so fearful of being charged with childish frivolity, or stupid in- 
sensibihty, that I carefully kept most of my bright ideas and cheer- 
ing notions to myself; well knowing they could not be appreciated. 

My mother thought only of consoling my father, and paying 
our debts and retrenching our expenditure by every available 
means ; but my father was completely overwhelmed by the 
calamity : health, strength, and spirits sank beneath the blow ; 
and he never wholly recovered them. In vain my mother strove 
to cheer him, by appealing to his piety, to his courage, to 
bis affection for herself and us. That verv affection was his 



AGNES GREY. 30$ 

greatest torment : it was for our sakes he had so ardently longed 
to increase his fortune — it was our interest that had lent such 
brightness to his hopes, and that imparted such bitterness to 
his present distress. He now tormented himself with remorse 
at having neglected my mother's advice ; which would at least 
have saved him from the additional burden of debt— he vainly 
reproached himself for having brought her from the dignity, 
the ease, the luxury of her former station to toil with him 
through the cares and toils of poverty. It was gall and 
wormwood to his soul to see that splendid, highly accomplished 
woman, once so courted and admired, transformed into an active 
managing housewife, with hands and head continually occupied 
with household labours and household economy. The very 
willingness with which she performed these duties, the cheerful- 
ness with which she bore her reverses, and the kindness which 
withheld her from imputing the smallest blame to him, were all 
perverted by this ingenious self-tormentor, into further aggrava- 
tions of his sufferings. And thus the mind preyed upon the 
body, and disordered the system of the nerves, and they in turn 
increased the troubles of the mind, till by action and reaction his 
health was seriously impaired ; and not one of us could convince 
him that the aspect of our affairs was not half so gloomy, so 
utterly hopeless, as his morbid imagination represented it to be. 
The useful pony phaeton was sold, together with the stout 
well-fed pony — the old favourite that we had fully determined 
should end its days in peace, and never pass from our hands ; the 
little coach-house and stable were let ; the servant boy, and the 
more efficient (being the more expensive) of the two maid-servants 
were dismissed. Our clothes were mended, turned, and darned 
to the utmost verge of decency ; our food, always plain, was now 
simplified to an unprecedented degree — except my father's 
favourite dishes ; our coals and candles were painfully economised 
— the pair of candles reduced to one, and that most sparingly 
used ; the coals carefully husbanded in the half-empty grate : 
especially when my father was out on his parish duties, or con- 
fined to bed through illness — then we sat with our feet on the 
fender, scraping the perishing embers together from time to time, 
and occasionally adding a slight scattering of the -dust and 
fragments of coal, just to keep them alive. As for our carpets, 
they in time, were worn threadbare, and patched and darned even 
to a greater extent than our garments. To save the expense of a 



3o6 AGNES GREV. 

gardener, Mary and I undertook to keep the garden in order ; 
and all the cooking and household work that could not easily be 
managed by one servant girl, was done by my mother and sister, 
with a little occasional help from me : only a little, because, though 
a woman in my own estimation, I was still a child in theirs ; and 
my mother, like most active, managing women, was not gifted 
with very active daughters : for this reason — that being so clever 
and diligent herself, she was never tempted to trust her affairs to 
a deputy, but on the contrary, was willing to act and think for 
others as well as for number one ; and whatever was the business 
in hand, she was apt to think that no one could do it so well as 
herself : so that whenever I offered to assist her, I received such 
an answer as — "No, love, you cannot indeed — there's nothing 
here you can do. Go and help your sister, or get her to take a 
walk with you — tell her she must not sit so much, and stay so 
constantly in the house as she does — she may well look thin and 
dejected." 

" Mary, mamma says I'm to help you ; or get you to take a 
walk with me : she says you may well look thin and dejected, if 
you sit so constantly in the house." 

" Help me you cannot, Agnes ; and I cannot go out -with you 
— I have far too much to do," 

" Then let me help you," 

"You cannot, indeed, dear child. Go and practise your 
music, or play with the kitten." 

There was always plenty of sewing on hand ; but I had not 
been taught to cut out a single garment, and except plain 
hemming and seaming, there was little I could do, even in that 
line ; for they both asserted that it was far easier to do the work 
themselves than to prepare it for me : and, besides, the}- liked 
better to see me prosecuting my studies, or amusing myself— it was 
time enough for me to sit bending over my work, like a grave 
matron, when my favourite little pussy was become a steady old cat. 
Under such circumstances, although I was not many degrees more 
useful than the kitten, my idleness was not entirely without excuse. 

Through all our troubles, I never but once heard my mother 
complain of our want of money. As summer was coming on, 
she observed to Mary and me, " What a desirable thing it would 
be for your papa to spend a few weeks at a watering-place. I am 
convinced the sea-air and the change of scene would be of in- 
calculable service to him. But then, you see, there's no mor^y," 



AGNES GREY, 307 

she added, with a sigh. We both wished exceedingly that the 
thing might be done, and lamented greatly that it could not. 
"Well, well!" said she, "it's no use complaining. Possibly 
something might be done to further the project after all. Mar}-, 
you are a beautiful drawer. What do you say to doing a few- 
more pictures in your best style, and getting them framed, with 
the water-coloured drawings you have already done, and trying 
to dispose of them to some liberal picture-dealer, who has the 
sense to discern their merits ? " 

"Mamma, I should be delighted if you think they could be 
sold ; and for anything worth while." 

" It's worth while trying, however, my dear: do you procure 
the drawings, and I'll endeavour to find a purchaser." 

" I wish / could do something." said I. 

" You, Agnes ! well, who knows? You draw pretty well, too : 
if you choose some simple piece for your subject, I dare say 
you will be able to produce something we shall all be proud to 
exhibit." 

" But I have another scheme in my head, mamma, and have 
had long, only I did not like to mention it." 

" Indeed ! pray tell us what it is." 

' ' I should like to be a governess. " 

My mother uttered an exclamation of surprise, and laughed. 
My sister dropped her work in astonishment, exclaiming, " You 
a governess, Agnes ! What can you be dreaming of ! " 

"Well! I don't see anything so z'^?/^ extraordinary in it. I 
do not pretend to be able to instruct great girls ; but surely, I 
could teach little ones : and I should like it so much : I am so 
fond of children. Do let me, mamma ! " 

' ' But, my love, you have not learned to take care of yourself 
yet : and young children require more judgment and experience 
to manage than elder ones." 

" But, mamma, I am above eighteen, and quite able to take 
care of myself, and others too. You do not know half the wisdom 
and prudence I possess, because I have never been tried." 

"Only think," said Mary, "what would you do in a house 
full of strangers, without me or mamma to speak and act for you 
— with a parcel of children, besides yourself, to attend to ; and 
no one to look to for advice ? You would not even know what 
clothes to put on." < 

" You think, because I always do as you bid me, I have no 



308 AGNES GREY. 

judgment of my own : but only try me — that ts all I a::k — and 
you shall see what I can do." 

At that moment my lather entered, and the subject of our 
discussion was explained to him. 

" What, my little Agnes a governess ! " cried he, and, in spite 
of his dejection, he laughed at the idea. 

" Yes, papa, don't you say anything against it : I should like 
it so much ; and I am sure I could manage delightfully." 

"But, my darling, we could not spare you." And a tear 
glistened in his eye as he added — " No, no ! afflicted as we are, 
surely we are not brought to that pass yet." 

"Oh, no !" said my mother. "There is no necessity what- 
ever for such a step ; it is merely a whim of her own. So you 
must hold your tongue, you naughty girl ; for, though you are so 
ready to leave us, you know very well we cannot part witli you. " 

I was silenced for that day, and for many succeeding ones ; 
but still I did not wholly relinquish my darling scheme. Mary 
got her drawing materials, and steadily set to work. I got mine 
too ; but while I drew, I thought of other things. How delight- 
ful it would be to be a governess ! To go out into the world ; 
to enter upon a new life ; to act for myself ; to exercise my 
unused faculties ; to try my unknown powers ; to earn my o\\a 
maintenance, and something to comfort and help my father, 
mother, and sister, besides exonerating them from the provision 
of my food and clothing ; to show papa what his little Agnes 
could do ; to convince mamma and Mary that I was not quite 
the helpless, thoughtless being they supposed. And then, how 
charming to be entrusted with the care and education of children ! 
Whatever others said, I felt I was fully competent to the task : 
the clear remembrance of my own thoughts in early childhood 
would be a surer guide than the instructions of the most mature 
adviser. I had but to turn from my little pupils to myself at 
their age, and I should know, at once, how to win their con- 
fidence and affections : how to waken the contrition of the erring ; 
how to embolden the timid, and console the afflicted ; how to 
make Virtue practicable. Instruction desirable, and Religion 
lovely and comprehensible. 

" Delightful task ! 

To teach the young idea how to shoot ! " 
To train the tender plants, and watch their buds unfolding day 
by day ! 



AGNES GREY. 3C9 

Influenced by so many inducements, I determined still to per- 
severe ; though the fear of displeasing my mother, or distressing 
my father's feelings, prevented me from resuming the subject for 
several days. At length, again, I mentioned it to my mother in 
private ; and, with some difficulty, got her to promise to assist 
me with her endeavours. My father's reluctant consent was next 
obtained, and then, though Mary still sighed her disapproval, 
my dear, kind mother began to look out for a situation for me. 
She wrote to my father's relations, and consulted the newspaper 
advertisements— her own relations she had long dropped all 
communication with : a formal interchange of occasional letters 
was all she had ever had since her marriage, and she would not 
at any time have applied to them in a case of this nature. But 
so long and so ent>re had been my parents' seclusion from the 
world, that many weeks elapsed before a suitable situation could 
be procured. At last, to my great joy, it was decreed that I 
should take charge of the young family of a certain Mrs. Bloom- 
field ; whom my kind, prim aunt Grey had known in her youth, 
and asserted to be a very nice woman. Her husband was a 
retired tradesman, who had realised a very comfortable fortune ; 
but could not be prevailed upon to give a greater salary than 
twenty-five pounds to the instructress of his children. I, how- 
ever, was glad to accept this, rather than refuse the situation— 
which my parents were inclined to think the better plan. 

But some weeks more were yet to be devoted to preparation. 
How long, how tedious those weeks appeared to me ! Yet they 
were happy ones in the main — full of bright hopes and ardent 
expectations. With what peculiar pleasure I assisted at the 
making of my new clothes, and, subsequently, the packing of 
my trunks ! But there was a feeling of bitterness mingling with 
the latter occupation too ; and when it was done — when all was 
ready for my departure on the morrow, and the last night at 
home approached — a sudden anguish seemed to swell my heart. 
My dear friends looked so sad, and spoke so very kindly, that I 
could scarcely keep my eyes from overflowing : but I still affected 
to be gay. I had taken my last ramble with Mary on the moors, 
my last walk in the garden, and round the house ; I had fed, 
with her, our pet pigeons for the last time — the pretty creatures 
that we had tamed to peck their food from our hands : I had 
given a farewell stroke to all their silky backs as they crowded 
in my lap. I had tenderly kissed my own peculiar favourites. 



3IO AGNES GREY. 

the pair of snow-white fantails ; I had played ray last tune on 
the old familiar piano, and sung my last song to papa : not the 
last, I hoped, but the last for, what appeared to me, a very long 
time. And, perhaps, when I did these things again, it would 
be with different feelings : circumstances might be changed, and 
this house might never be my settled home again. My dear little 
friend, the kitten, would certainly be changed : she was already 
growing a fine cat ; and when I returned, even for a hasty visit 
at Christmas, would, most likely, have forgotten both her play- 
mate and her merry pranks. I had romped with her for the 
last time ; and when I stroked her soft bright fur, while she lay 
purring herself to sleep in my lap, it was with a feeling of sadness 
I could not easily disguise. Then, at bed-time, when I retired 
-with Mary to our quiet little chamber, where already my drawers 
were cleared out and my share of the bookcase was empty — and 
where, hereafter, she would have to sleep alone, in dreary solitude, 
as she expressed it — my heart sank more than ever : I felt as if I 
had been selfish and wrong to persist in leaving her ; and when I 
knelt once more beside our little bed, I prayed for a blessing on 
her and on my parents more fervently than ever I had done 
before. To conceal my emotion, I buried my face in my hands, 
and they were presently bathed in tears. I perceived, on rising, 
that she had been crying too : but neither of us spoke ; and in 
silence we betook ourselves to our repose, creeping more closely 
together from the consciousness that we were to part so soon. 

But the morning brought a renewal of hope and spirits. I 
was to depart early ; that the conveyance which took me (a gig, 
hired from Mr. Smith, the draper, grocer, and tea-dealer of the 
village) might return the same day. I rose, washed, dressed, 
swallowed a hasty breakfast, received the fond embraces of my 
father, mother, and sister, kissed the cat, to the great scandal of 
Sally, the maid — shook hands with her, mounted the gig, drew 
my veil over my face, and then, but not till then, burst into a 
flood of tears. The gig rolled on ; I looked back ; my dear 
mother and sister were still standing at the door, looking after 
me, and waving their adieux. I returned their salute, and prayed 
God to bless them from my heart : we descended the hill, and I 
could see them no more. 

"It's a coldish mornin' for you, Miss Agnes," observed 
Smith; "and a darksome un too; but we's, happen, get to 
yon' spot afore there come much rain to signify." 



AGNES GREY. 31I 

*'Yes, I hope so," replied I, as calmly as I could. 

*' It's corned a good sup last night too." 

"Yes." 

" But this cold wind will, happen, keep it off." 

" Perhaps it will." 

Here ended our colloquy. We crossed the valley, and began 
to ascend the opposite hill. As we were toiling up, I looked 
back again : there was the village spire, and the old grey par- 
sonage beyond it, basking in a slanting beam of sunshine — it 
was but a sickly ray, but the village and surrounding hills were 
all in sombre shade, and I hailed the wandering beam as a 
propitious omen to my home. With clasped hands, I fervently 
implored a blessing on its inhabitants, and hastily turned away ; 
for I saw the sunshine was departing ; and I carefully avoided 
another glance, lest I should see it in gloomy shadow, like the 
rest of the landscape. 



CHAPTER n. 

FIRST LESSONS IN THE ART OF INSTRUCTION. 

As we drove along, my spirits revived again, and I turned, with 
pleasure, to the contemplation of the new life upon which I 
was entering. But though it was not far past the middle of 
September, the heavy clouds and strong north-easterly wind 
combined to render the day extremely cold and dreary ; and 
the journey seemed a very long one, for, as Smith observed, the 
roads were "very heavy;" and certainly, his horse was very 
heavy too : it crawled up the hills, and crept down them, and 
only condescended to shake its sides in a trot where the road 
was at a dead level or a very gentle slope, which was rarely the 
case in those rugged regions ; so that it was nearly one o'clock 
before we reached the place of our destination. Yet, after all, 
when we entered the lofty iron gateway, when we drove softly 
up the smooth, well-rolled carriage road, with the green lawn 
on each side, studded with young trees, and approached the 
ne\\^ but stately mansion of Wellwood, rising above its mush- 
room poplar-groves, my heart failed me, and I wished it were 
a mile or two farther off. For the first time in my life, I must 
stand alone : there was no retreating now. I must enter that 
house, and introduce myself among its strange inhabitants. 



312 AGNES GREY. 

But how was it to be done? True, I was near nineteen; but, 
thanks to my retired life and the protecting care of my mother 
and sister, I well knew that many a girl of fifteen, or under, was 
gifted with a more womanly address, and greater ease and self- 
possession, than I was. Yet, if Mrs. Bloomfield were a kind, 
motherly woman, I might do very well, after all ; and the 
children, of course, I should soon be at ease with them — and 
Mr. Bloomfield, I hoped, I should have but little to do with, 

" Be calm, be calm, whatever happens," I said within myself; 
and truly I kept this resolution so well, and was so fully occupied 
in steadying my nerves and stilling the rebellious flutter of my 
heart, that when I was admitted into the hall, and ushered into 
the presence of Mrs. Bloomfield, I almost forgot to answer her 
polite salutation ; and it afterwards struck me, that the little 
I did say was spoken in the tone of one half-dead or half- 
asleep. The lady, too, was somewhat chilly in her manner, 
as I discovered when I had time to reflect. She was a tall, 
spare, stately woman, with thick black hair, cold grey eyes, and 
extremely sallow complexion. 

With due politeness, however, she showed me my bedroom, 
and left me there to take a little refreshment. I was somewhat 
dismayed at my appearance on looking in the glass : the cold 
wind had swelled and reddened my hands, uncurled and en- 
tangled my hair, and dyed my face of a pale purple ; add to 
this my collar was horridly crumpled, my frock splashed with 
mud, my feet clad in stout new boots, and as the trunks were 
not brought up, there was no remedy ; so having smoothed my 
hair as well as I could, and repeatedly twitched my obdurate 
collar, I proceeded to clomp down the two flights of stairs, 
philosophising as I went ; and with some difficulty found my 
way into the room where Mrs. Bloomfield awaited me. 

She led me into the dining-room, where the family luncheon 
had been laid out. Some beefsteaks and half-cold potatoes were 
set before me ; and while I dined upon these, she sat opposite, 
watching me (as I thought) and endeavouring to sustain some- 
thing like a conversation— consisting chiefly of a succession of 
commonplace remarks, expressed with frigid formality : but this 
might be more my fault than hers, for I really could noi converse. 
In fact, my attention was almost wholly absorbed in my dinner : 
not from ravenous appetite, but from distress at the toughness of 
the beefsteaks, and the numbness of my hands, almost palsied by 



AGNES GREY. 315 

their five hours' exposure to the bitter wind. I would gladly have 
eaten the potatoes and let the meat alone, but having got a large 
piece of the latter on to my plate, I could not be so impolite as 
to leave it ; so, after many awkward and unsuccessful attempts 
to cut it with the knife, or tear it with the fork, or pull it asunder 
between them, sensible that the awful lady was a spectator to the 
whole transaction, I at last desperately grasped the knife and fork 
in my fists, like a child of two years old, and fell to work with all 
the little strength I possessed. But this needed some apology — 
with a feeble attempt at a laugh, I said, "My hands are so 
benumbed with the cold that I can scarcely handle my knife 
and fork." 

" I dare say you would find it cold," replied she, with a cool, 
immutable gravity that did not serve to re-assure me. 

When the ceremony was concluded she led me into the sitting- 
room again, where she rang and sent for the children. 

"You will find them not very far advanced in their attain- 
ments," said she, " for I have had so little time to attend to their 
education myself, and we have thought them too young for a 
governess till now ; but I think they are clever children, and very 
apt to learn, especially the little boy : he is, I think, the flower 
of the flock— a generous, noble-spirited boy, one to be led, but 
not driven, and remarkable for always speaking the truth. He 
seems to scorn deception" (this was good news). " His sister 
Mary Ann will require watching," continued she, '' but she is a 
very good girl upon the whole : though I wish her to be kept out 
of the nursery as much as possible, as she is now almost six years 
old, and might acquire bad habits from the nurses. I have 
ordered her crib to be placed in your room, and if you will be so 
kind as to overlook her washing and dressing, and take charge 
of her clothes, she need have nothing further to do with the 
nursery-maid." 

I replied I was quite willing to do so ; and at that moment my 
young pupils entered the apartment, with their two younger 
sisters. Master Tom Bloomfield was a well-grown boy of seven, 
with a somewhat wiry frame, flaxen hair, blue eyes, small turned- 
up nose, and fair complexion. Mary Ann was a tall girl too, 
somewhat dark hke her mother, but with a round full face and a 
high colour in her cheeks. The second sister was Fanny, a very 
pretty little girl ; Mrs. Bloomfield assured me she was a re- 
markably gentle child, and required encouragement : she bad 



314 AGNES GREV. 

not learned anything yet ; but in a few days she would-be four 
years old, and then she might take her first lesson in the alphabet, 
and be promoted to the schoolroom. The remaining one was 
Harriet, alittle broad, fat, merry, playful thing of scarcely two, that 
I coveted more than all the rest— but with her I had nothing to do. 

I talked to my little pupils as well as I could, and tried to render 
myself agreeable ; but with little success I fear, for their mother's 
presence kept me under an unpleasant restraint. They, how- 
ever, were remarkably free from shyness. They seemed bold, 
lively children, and I hoped I should soon be on friendly terms 
with them — the little boy especially, of whom I had heard such 
a favourable character from his mamma. In Mary Ann there 
was a certain affected simper, and a craving for notice, that I was 
sorry to observe. But her brother claimed all my attention to 
himself ; he stood bolt upright between me and the fire, with his 
hands behind his back, talking away like an orator, occasionally 
interrupting his discourse with a sharp reproof to his sisters when 
they made too much noise. 

"O Tom, what a darling you are !" exclaimed his mother. 
" Come and kiss dear mamma ; and then won't you show I^.Iiss 
Grey your schoolroom, and your nice new books?" 

" I won't kiss you, mamma ; but I will show Miss Grey my 
.?;choolroom, and my new books." 

" And my schoolroom, and my new books, Tom," said Mary 
Ann. " They're mine too." 

"ThQj'xQ jfiine," replied he decisively. " Come along. Miss 
Grey — I'll escort you." 

When the room and books had been shown, with some 
bickerings between the brother and sister that I did my utmost 
to appease or mitigate, Mary Ann brought me her doll, and 
began to be very loquacious on the subject of its fine clothes, its 
bed, its chest of drawers, and other appurtenances ; but Tom 
told her to hold her clamour, that Miss Grey might see his rocking 
horse, which, with a most important bustle, he dragged forth from 
its corner into the middle of the room, loudly calling on me to 
attend to it. Then, ordering his sister to hold the reins, he 
mounted, and made me stand for ten minutes, watching how 
manfully lie used his whip and spurs. Meantime, however, I 
admired Mary Ann's pretty doll, and all its possessions ; and 
then told Mr. Tom he was a capital rider, but I hoped he would 
not tisc his whip and spurs so much when he rode a real pony. 



AGNES GREY. 315 

" Oh, yes, I will ! " said he, laying on with redoubled ardour. 
" I'll cut into him like smoke 1 Eeh ! my word ! but he shall 
sweat for it." 

This was very shocking : but I hoped in time to be able to 
work a reformation. 

" Now you must put on your bonnet and shawl," said the 
little hero, " and I'll show you my garden." 

" And vii?ie," said Mary Ann. 

Tom lifted his fist with a menacing gesture ; she uttered a loud, 
shrill scream, ran to the other side of me, and made a face at him, 

"Surely, Tom, you w'ould not strike your sister! I hope I 
shall nez'er see you do that." 

"You will sometimes : I'm obliged to do it now and then to 
keep her in order." 

' ' But it is not your business to keep her in order, you know- 
that is for" 

"Well, now go and put on your bonnet." 

" I don't know — it is so very cloudy and cold, it seems likely 
to rain ; — and you know I have had a long drive." 

" No matter — you vmst come ; I shall allow of no excuses," 
replied the consequential little gentleman. And as it was the 
first day of our acquaintance, I thought I might as well indulge 
him. It was too cold for Mary Ann to venture, so she stayed 
with her mamma ; to the great relief of her brother, who liked 
to have me all to himself. 

The garden was a large one, and tastefully laid out ; besides 
several splendid dahlias, there were some other fine flowers still 
in bloom : but my companion would not give me time to examine 
them : I must go with him, across the wet grass, to a remote 
sequestered corner, the most important place in the grounds, 
because it contained //zV garden. There were two round beds, 
stocked with a variety of plants. In one there was a pretty httle 
rose tree. I paused to admire its lovely blossoms. 

" Oh, never mind that ! " said he contemptuously. " That's 
only Mary Ann s garden ; look, THIS is mine." 

After I had observed every flower, and listened to a disquisition 
on every plant, I w'as permitted to depart ; but first, with great 
pomp, he plucked a polyanthus and presented it to me, as one 
conferring a prodigious favour. I observed, on the grass about 
his garden, certain apparatus of sticks and cord, and asked what 
thev were. 



3l6 AGNES GREY. 

" Traps for birds." 

' ' Why do you catch them ? " 

' ' Papa says they do harm. " 
. ' ' And what do you do with them when you catch them ? " 

" Different things. Sometimes I give them to the cat ; some- 
times I cut them in pieces with my penknife ; but the next, I 
mean to roast alive." 

" And why do you mean to do such a horrible thing? " 

"For two reasons; first, to see how long it will live — and 
then, to see what it will taste like." 

' ' But don't you know it is extremely wicked to do such things. 
Remember, the birds can feel as well as you ; and think, how 
would you like it yourself. " 

"Oh, that's nothing ! I'm not a bird, and I can't feel what I 
do to them." 

" But you will have to feel it some time, Tom : you have heard 
where wicked people go to when they die ; and if you don't leave 
off torturing innocent birds, remember, you will have to go there, 
and suffer just what you have made them suffer." 

" Oh, pooh ! I shan't. Papa knows how I treat them, and he 
never blames me for it : he says it is just what he used to do when 
he was a boy. Last summer, he gave me a nest full of young 
sparrows, and he saw me pulling off their legs and wings, and 
heads, and never said anything ; except that they were nasty 
things, and I must not let them soil my trousers : and Uncle 
Robson was there too, and he laughed, and said I was a fine boy." 

" But what would your mamma say?" 

' ' Oh, she doesn't care ! she says it's a pity to kill the pretty sing- 
ing birds, but the naughty sparrows, and mice and rats, I may do 
what I like with. So now, Miss Grey, you see it is not wicked." 

" I still think it is, Tom ; and perhaps your papa and mamma 
would think so too, if they thought much about it. — However," 
I internally added, ' ' they may say what they please, but I am 
determined you shall do nothing of the kind, as long as I have 
power to prevent it." 

He next took me across the lawn to see his mole-traps, and 
then into the stack-yard to see his weasel-traps : one of which, to 
his great joy, contained a dead weasel ; and then into the stable 
to see, not the fine carriage horses, but a little rough colt, which 
he informed me had been bred on purpose for him, and he was 
to ride it as soon as it was properly trained. I tried to amuse 



AGNES GREY. 317 

the little fellow, and listened to all his chatter as complacently as 
I could ; for I thought if he had any affections at all, I would 
endeavour to win them ; and then, in time, I might be able to 
show him the error of his ways : but I looked in vain for that 
generous, noble spirit his mother talked of; though I could see 
he was not without a certain degree of quickness and penetra- 
tion, when he chose to exert it. 

When we re-entered the house it was nearly tea-time. Master 
Tom told me that, as papa was from home, he and I and Mary 
Ann were to have tea with mamma, for a treat ; for, on such 
occasions, she always dined at luncheon time with them, instead 
of at six o'clock. Soon after tea, Mary Ann went to bed, but 
Tom favoured us with his company and conversation till eight. 
After he was gone, Mrs. Broomfield further enlightened me on 
the subject of her children's dispositions and acquirements, and 
on what they were to learn, and how they were to be managed, 
and cautioned me to mention their defects to no one but herself. 
My mother had warned me before to mention them as httle as 
possible to her, for people did not like to be told of their children's 
faults, and so I concluded I was to keep silence on them altogether. 
About half-past nine, Mrs. Bloomfield invited me to partake of 
a frugal supper of cold meat and bread. I was glad when that 
was over, and she took her bedroom candlestick and retired to 
rest ; for though I wished to be pleased with her, her company 
was extremely irksome to me ; and I could not help feeling that 
she was cold, grave, and forbidding — the very opposite of the 
kind, warm-hearted matron my hopes had depicted her to be. 



CHAPTER III. 

A FEW MORE LESSONS. 

I ROSE next morning with a feeling of hopeful exhilaration, in 
spite of the disappointments already experienced ; but I found 
the dressing of Mary Ann was no light matter, as her abundant 
hair was to be smeared with pomade, plaited in three long tails, 
and tied with bows of ribbon : a task my unaccustomed fingers 
found great difficulty in performing. She told me her nurse 
could do it in half the time, and, by keeping up a constant fidget 
of impatience, contrived to render me still longer, \^'^hen all 



31 8 AGNES GREY. 

was done, we went into the schoolroom, where I met ray othei 
pupil, and chatted with the two till it was time to go down tc 
breakfast. That meal being concluded, and a few civil words 
having been exchanged with Mrs. Bloomfield, we repaired to thi 
schoolroom again, and commenced the business of the day. 1 
found my pupils very backward, indeed ; but Tom, though 
averse to every species of mental exertion, was not without 
abilities. Maiy Ann could scarcely read a word, and was sc 
careless and inattentive that I could hardly get on with her al 
all. However, by dint of great labour and patience, I managed 
to get something done in the course of the morning, and then 
accompanied my young charge out into the garden and adjacent 
grounds, for a little recreation before dinner. There we got 
along tolerably together, except that I found they had no notion 
of going with vie : I must go with them wherever they chose tc 
lead me. I must run, walk, or stand, exactly as it suited theii 
fancy. This, I thought, was reversing the order of things ; and 
I found it doubly disagreeable, as on this as well as subsequent 
occasions, they seemed to prefer the dirtiest places and the most 
dismal occupations. But there was no remedy ; either I must 
follow them, or keep entirely apart from them, and thus appear 
neglectful of my charge. To-day, they manifested a particular 
attachment to a well at the bottom of the lawn, where they per- 
sisted in dabbling with sticks and pebbles for above half-an-hour. 
I was in constant fear that their mother would see them from the 
window, and blame me for allowing them thus to draggle their 
clothes and wet their feet and hands, instead of taking exercise ; 
but no arguments, commands, or entreaties could draw them 
away. If she did not see them, some one else did — a gentleman 
on horseback had entered the gate and was proceeding up the 
road ; at the distance of a few paces from us he paused, and 
calling to the children in a waspish penetrating tone, bade them 
" Keep out of that water." " Miss Grey,' said he, " (I suppose 
it is Miss Grey,) I am surprised that you should allow them to 
dirty their clothes in that manner ! Don't you see how Miss 
Bloomfield has soiled her frock ? and that Master Bloomfield's 
socks are quite wet? and both of them without gloves? Dear, 
dear ! Let me request that in future you will keep them decent 
at least ! " so saying, he turned away, and continued his ride up 
to the house. This was Mr. Bloomfield. I was surprised that 
he should nominate hie cliildren Master and Miss Bloomfield ; 



AGNES GREY. 319 

and still more so, that lie should speak so uncivilly to me, their 
governess, and a perfect stranger to himself. Presently the bell 
rang to summon us in. I dined with the children at one, while 
he and his lady took their luncheon at the same table. His 
conduct there did not greatly raise him in my estimation. He 
was a man of ordinary stature — rather below than above— and 
rather thin than stout, apparently between thirty and forty years 
of age : he had a large mouth, pale, dingy complexion, milky 
blue eyes, and hair the colour of a hempen cord. There was a 
roast leg of mutton before him : he helped Mrs. Bloomfield, the 
children, and me, desiring me to cut up the children's meat ; 
then, after twisting about the mutton in various directions, and 
eyeing it from different points, he pronounced it not fit to be 
eaten, and called for the cold beef. 

"What is the matter with the mutton, my dear? " asked his 
mate. 

"It is quite overdone. Don't you taste, Mrs. Bloomfield, 
that all the goodness is roasted out of it? And can't you see 
that all that nice, red gravy is completely dried away?" 

"Well I think the /Jftywill suit you." 

The beef was set before him, and he began to cai-ve, but with 
the most imeful expressions of discontent, 

" What is the matter with the i>ee/, Mr. Bloomfield? I'm sure 
I thought it was very nice." 

"And so it was very nice. A nicer joint could not be ; but it 
is quite spoiled," replied he dolefully. 

" How so?" 

" How so ! Why, don't you see how it is cut ? Dear — dear ! 
it is quite shocking ! " 

" They must have cut it wrong in the kitchen, then, for I'm 
sure I carved it quite properly here yesterday." 

"No dozidf they cut it wrong in the kitchen — the savages! 
Dear — dear ! Did ever any one see such a fine piece of beef so 
completely ruined ? But remember that, in future, when a decent 
dish leaves this table, they shall not tottc/i it in the kitchen. 
Remember tkaf, Mrs. Bloomfield ! " 

Notwithstanding the ruinous state of the beef, the gentleman 
managed to cut himself some delicate slices, part of which he ate 
in silence. When he next spoke, it was, in a less querulous tone, 
to ask what there M'as for dinner, 

" Turkey and grouse," was the concise reply. 



320 AGNES GREY. 

' ' And what besides ? " 

"Fish." 

" Wliat kind of fish ? " 
. "I don't know." 

" Yo2i don't knoivf" cried he, looking solemnly up from his 
plate, and suspending his knife and fork in astonishment. 

" No. I told the cook to get some fish — I did not particularise 
what." 

"Well, that beats everything! A lady professes to keep 
house, and doesn't even know what fish is for dinner ! professes 
to order fish, and doesn't specify what ! " 

" Perhaps, Mr. Bloomfield, you will order dinner yourself in 
future." 

Nothing more was said ; and I was very glad to get out of the 
room with my pupils ; for I never felt so ashamed and uncomfort- 
able in my life for anything that was not my own fault. 

In the afternoon we applied to lessons again : then went out 
again ; then had tea in the schoolroom ; then I dressed Mary 
Ann for dessert ; and when she and her brother had gone down 
to the dining-room, I took the opportunity of beginning a letter 
to my dear friends at home : but the children came up before I 
had half completed it. At seven I had to put Mary Ann to bed ; 
then I played with Tom till eight, when he, too, went ; and I 
finished my letter and unpacked my clothes, which I had hitherto 
found no opportunity for doing, and, finally, went to bed myself. 

But this is a very favourable specimen of a day's proceed- 
ings. 

My task of instruction and surveillance, instead of becoming 
easier as my charges and I got better accustomed to each other, 
became more arduous as their characters unfolded. The name 
of governess, I soon found, was a mere mockery as applied to 
nie : my pupils had no more notion of obedience than a wild, 
unbroken colt. The habitual fear of their father's peevish temper, 
and the dread of the punishments he was wont to inflict when 
irritated, kept them generally within bounds in his immediate 
presence. The girls, too, had some fear of their mother's anger ; 
and the boy might occasionally be bribed to do as she bid him 
by the hope of reward : but I had no rewards to offer ; and as 
for punishments, I was given to understand, the parents reserved 
that privilege to themselves ; and yet they expected me to keep 
my pupils in order. Other children might be guided by the 



AGNES GREY. 321 

fear of anger, and the desire of approbation ; but neither the 
one nor the other had any effect upon these. 

Master Tom, not content with refusing to be ruled, must 
needs set up as a ruler, and manifested a determination to keep, 
not only his sisters, but his governess in order, by violent manual 
and pedal applications ; and, as he was a tall, strong boy of his 
years, this occasioned no trifling inconvenience. A few sound 
boxes on the ear, on such occasions, might have settled the 
matter easily enough : but as, in that case, he might make up 
some story to his mother, which she would be sure to believe, 
as she had such unshaken faith in his veracity — though I had 
already discovered it to be by no means unimpeachable — I 
determined to refrain from striking him, even in self-defence ; 
and, in his most violent moods, my only resource was to throw 
him on his back, and hold his hands and feet till the frenzy was 
somewhat abated. To the difficulty of preventing him from 
doing what he ought not, was added that of forcing him to do 
what he ought. Often he would positively refuse to learn, or to 
repeat his lessons, or even to look at his book. Here, again, a 
good birch rod might have been serviceable ; but, as my powers 
were so limited, I must make the best use of what I had. 

As there were no settled hours for study and play, I resolved 
to give my pupils a certain task, Vvhich, with moderate attention, 
they could perform in a short time ; and till this was done, how- 
ever weary I was, or however perverse they might be, nothing 
short of parental interference should induce me to suffer them 
to leave the schoolroom ; even if I should sit with my chair 
against the door to keep them in. Patience, Firmness, and 
Perseverance, were my only weapons ; and these I resolved to 
use to the utmost. I determined always strictly to fulfil the 
threats and promises I made; and, to that end, I must be 
cautious to threaten and promise nothing that I could not per- 
form. Then, I would carefully refrain from all useless irritability 
and indulgence of my own ill-temper : when they behaved toler- 
ably, I would be as kind and obliging as it was in my power to be, 
in order to make the widest possible distinction between good 
and bad conduct ; I would reason with them, too, in the sim- 
plest and most effective manner. When I reproved them, or 
refused to gratify their wishes, after a glaring fault, it should be 
more in sorrow than in anger : their little hymns and prayers I 
would make plain and clear to their understanding ; when they 



322 AGNES GREY. 

said their prayers at night, and asked pardon for their offences, 
I would remind them of the sins of the past day, solemnly, but 
in perfect kindness, to avoid raising a spirit of opposition ; peni- 
tential hymns should be said by the naughty ; cheerful ones by 
the comparatively good ; and every kind of instruction I would 
convey to them, as much as possible, by entertaining discourse 
— apparently with no other object than their present amusement 
in view. 

By these means I hoped, in time, both to benefit the children 
and to gain the approbation of their parents ; and also to con- 
vince my friends at home that I was not so wanting in skill and 
prudence as they supposed. I knew the difficulties I had to 
contend with were great ; but I knew (at least I believed) unre- 
mitting patience and perseverance could overcome them ; and 
night and morning I implored Divine assistance to this end. 
But either the children were so incorrigible, the parents so 
iinreasonable, or myself so mistaken in my views, or so unable 
to carry them out, that my best intentions and most strenuous 
efforts seemed productive of no better result than sport to 
the children, dissatisfaction to their parents, and torment to 
myself. 

The task of instruction was as arduous for the body as the 
mind. I had to run after my pupils to catch them, to carry or 
drag them to the table, and often forcibly to hold them there till 
the lesson was done. Tom I frequently put into a corner, seat- 
ing myself before him in a chair, with a book which contained 
the little task that must be said or read, before he was released, 
in my hand. He was not strong enough to. push both me and 
the chair away, so he would stand twisting his body and face 
into the most grotesque and singular contortions— laughable, 
no doubt, to an unconcerned spectator, but not to me — and 
uttering loud yells and doleful outcries, intended to represent 
weeping, but wholly without the accompaniment of tears. I 
knew this was done solely for the purpose of annoying me ; and, 
therefore, however I might inwardly tremble with impatience 
and irritation, I manfully strove to suppress all visible signs of 
molestation, and affected to sit with calm indifference, waiting 
till it should please him to cease this pastime, and prepare for a 
run in the garden, by casting his eye on the book and reading 
or repeating the few words he was required to say. Sometimes 
he was determined to do his writing badly ; and I had to hold 



AGNES GREY. 323 

his hand to prevent him from purposely blotting or disfiguring 
the paper. Frequently I threatened that, if he did not do better, 
he should have another line : then he would stubbornly refuse to 
write this line ; and I, to save my word, had finally to resort to 
the expedient of holding his fingers upon the pen, and forcibly 
drawing his hand up and down, till, in spite of his resistance, 
the line was in some sort completed. 

Yet Tom w-as by no means the most unmanageable of my 
pupils : sometimes, to my great joy, he would have the sense to 
see that his wisest policy was to finish his tasks, and go out and 
amuse himself till I and his sisters came to join him ; which fre- 
quently was not at all, for Mary Ann seldom followed his example 
in this particular : she apparently preferred rolling on the floor 
to any other amusement : down she would drop like a leaden 
weight ; and when I, with great difficulty, had succeeded in 
rooting her thence, I had still to hold her up with one arm, while 
with the other I held the book from which she was to read or 
spell her lesson. As the dead weight of the big girl of six became 
too heavy for one arm to bear, I transferred it to the other ; or, 
if both were weary of the burden, I carried her into a corner, and 
told her she might come out when she should find the use of her 
feet, and stand up : but she generally preferred lying there like 
a log till dinner or tea time, when, as I could not deprive her of 
her meals, she must be liberated, and would come crawling out 
with a grin of triumph on her round, red face. Often she would 
stubbornly refuse to pronounce some particular word in her 
lesson ; and now I regret the lost labour I have had in striving 
to conquer her obstinacy. If I had passed it over as a matter of 
no consequence, it would have been better for both parties, than 
vainly striving to overcome it as I did ; but I thought it my 
absolute duty to crush this vicious tendency in the bud ; and so 
it was, if I could have done it ; and, had my powers been less 
limited, I might have enforced obedience ; but, as it was, it was 
a trial of strength between her and me, in which she generally 
came off victorious ; and every victory served to encourage and 
strengthen her for a future contest. In vain I argued, coaxed, 
entreated, threatened, scolded ; in vain I kept her in from play, 
or, if obliged to take her out, refused to play with her, or__to speak 
kindly, or have anything to do with her ; in vain I tried to set 
before her the advantages of doing as she was bid, and being 
loved, and kindly treated in consequence, and the disadvantages 



324 AGNES GREY. 

of persisting in her absurd perversity. Sometimes, when she 
would ask me to do something for her, I would answer — 

" Yes, I will, Mary Ann, if you will onlysay that word. Come ! 
you'd better say it at once, and have no more trouble about it." 

"No." 

" Then, of course, I can do nothing for you." 

With me, at her age, or under, neglect and disgrace were the 
most dreadful of punishments ; but on her they made no impres- 
sion. Sometimes, exasperated to the utmost pitch, I would shake 
her violently by the shoulder, or pull her long hair, or put her in 
the corner ; for which she punished me with loud, shrill, piercing 
screams, that went through my head like a knife. She knew I 
hated this, and when she had shrieked her utmost, would look 
into my face with an air of vindictive satisfaction, exclaiming — • 
' ' Now, then ! that" s for you ! " And then shriek again and again , 
till I was forced to stop my ears. Often these dreadful cries would 
bring Mrs. Bloomfield up to inquire what was the matter? 

" Mary Ann is a naughty girl, ma'am." 

" But what are these shocking screams ? " 

" She is screaming in a passion." 

" I never heard such a dreadful noise ! You might be killing 
her. Why is she not out with her brother ? " 

" I cannot get her to finish her lessons." 

" But Mary Ann must be 2. good girl, and finish her lessons." 
This was blandly spoken to the child. "And I hope I shall 
never hear such terrible cries again ! " 

And fixing her cold, stony eyes upon me with a look that could 
not be mistaken, she would shut the door, and walk away. Some- 
times I would try to take the little obstinate creature by surprise, 
and casually ask her the word while she was thinking of something 
else ; frequently she would begin to say it, and then suddenly 
check herself, with a provoking look that seemed to say, " Ah I 
I'm too sharp for you ; you shan't trick it out of me, either." 

On another occasion, I pretended to forget the whole affair ; 
and talked and played with her as usual, till night, when I put 
her to bed ; then bending over her, while she lay all smiles and 
good-humour, just before departing, I said, as cheerfully and 
kindly as before—- 

" Now, Mary Ann, just tell me that word before I kiss you 
good-night : you are a good girl now, and, of course, you will 
say it." 



AGNES GREY. 325 

" No, I won't." 

" Then I can't kiss you." 

"Well, I don't care." 

In vain I expressed my sorrow ; in vain I lingered for some 
symptom of contrition ; she really "didn't care," and I left her 
alone, and in darkness, wondering most of all at this last proof 
of insensate stubbornness. In my childhood I could not imagine 
a more afflictive punishment, than for my mother to refuse to 
kiss me at night : the very idea was terrible. More than the 
idea I never felt, for, happily, I never committed a fault that 
was deemed worthy of such a penalty ; but once I remember, for 
some transgression of my sister's, our mother thought proper to 
inflict it upon her : what she felt, I cannot tell ; but my sym- 
pathetic tears and suffering for her sake, I shall not soon forget. 

Another troublesome trait in Mary Ann, was her incorrigible 
propensity to keep running into the nursery, to play with her 
little sisters and the nurse. This was natural enough, but, as 
it was against her mother's express desire, I, of course, forbade 
her to do so, and did my utmost to keep her with me ; but that 
only increased her relish for the nursery, and the more I strove 
to keep her out of it, the oftener she went, and the longer she 
stayed : to the great dissatisfaction of Mrs. Bloomfield, who, 
I well knew, would impute all the blame of the matter to me. 
Another of my trials was the dressing in the morning : at one 
time she would not be washed ; at another she would not be 
dressed, unless she might wear some particular frock, that I 
knew her mother would not like her to have ; at another she 
would scream and run away if I attempted to touch her hair. 
So that, frequently, when, after much trouble and toil, I had, at 
length, succeeded in bringing her down, the breakfast was nearly 
half over; and black looks from "mamma," and testy obser- 
vations from " papa," spoken at me, if not to me, were sure to 
be my meed : for few things irritated the latter so much as 
want of punctuality at meal times. Then, among the minor 
annoyances, was my inability to satisfy !Mrs. Bloomfield with 
her daughter's dress ; and the child's hair " was never fit to be 
seen." Sometimes, as a powerful reproach to me, she would 
perform the office of tire-woman herself, and then complain 
bitterly of the trouble it gave her. 

When little Fanny came into the schoolroom, I hoped she 
would be mild and inoffensive, at least ; but a few days, if not 



326 AGNES GREY. 

a few hours, sufficed to destroy the illusion : I found her a mis- 
chievous, intractable little creature, given up to falsehood and 
deception, young as she was, and alarmingly fond of exercising 
her two favourite weapons of offence and defence ; that of 
spitting in the faces of those who incurred her displeasure, and 
bellowing lilce a bull when her unreasonable desires were not 
gratified. As she, generally, was pretty quiet in her parents' 
presence, and they were impressed with the notion of her being 
a remarkably gentle child, her falsehoods were readily believed, 
and her loud uproars led them to suspect harsh and injudicious 
treatment on my part ; and when, at length, her bad disposition 
became manifest even to their prejudiced eyes, I felt that the 
whole was attributed to me. 

"What a naughty girl Fanny is getting!" Mrs. Bloomfield 
would say to her spouse. " Don't you observe, my dear, how 
she is altered since she entered the schoolroom ? She will soon 
be as bad as the other two ; and, I am sorry to say, they have 
quite deteriorated of late." 

" You may say that," was the answer. " I've been thinking 
that same myself. I thought when we got them a governess 
they'd improve ; but, instead of that, they get worse and worse : 
I don't know how it is with their learning ; but their habits, I 
know, make no sort of improvement ; they get rougher, and 
dirtier, and more unseemly, every day." 

I knew this was all pointed at me ; and these, and all similar 
innuendoes, affected me far more deeply than any open accu- 
sations would have done ; for against the latter I should have 
been roused to speak in my own defence : now I judged it my 
wisest plan to subdue every resentful impulse, suppress every 
sensitive shrinking, and go on persevering ly, doing my best ; 
for, irksome as my situation was, I earnestly wished to retain 
it. I thought, if I could struggle on with unremitting firm- 
ness and integrity, the children would in time become more 
humanised : every month would contribute to make them some 
little wiser, and, consequently, more manageable ; for a child 
of nine or ten as frantic and ungovernable as these at six and 
seven would be a maniac. 

I flattered myself I was benefiting my parents and sister by my 
continuance here ; for small as the salary was, I still was earning 
something, and with strict economy I could easily manage to have 
.something to spare for them, if they would favour me by taking 



AGNES GREY. 327 

it. Then it was by my own will that I had got the place : I had 
brought all this tribulation on myself, and I was determined to 
bear it ; nay, more than that, I did not even regret the step I 
had taken. I longed to show my friends that, even now, I was 
competent to undertake the charge, and able to acquit myself 
honourably to the end ; and if ever I felt it degrading to submit 
so quietly, or intolerable to toil so constantly, I would turn 
towards my home, and say within myself— 

" They may crush, but they shall not subdue me ! 
Tis of thee that I think, not of them." 

About Christmas I was allowed to visit home ; but my holiday 
was only of a fortnight's duration : " for," said Mrs. Bloomfield, 
' ' I thought, as you had seen your friends so lately, you would 
not care for a longer stay." I left her to think so still : but she 
little knew how long, how wearisome those fourteen weeks of 
absence had been to me ; how intensely I had longed for my 
holidays, how greatly I was disappointed at their curtailment. 
Yet she was not to blame in this ; I had never told her my 
feelings, and she could not be expected to divine them ; I had 
not been with her a full term, and she was justified in not allow- 
insr me a full vacation. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE GRANDMAMMA. 

I SPARE my readers the account of my delight on coming home, 
my happiness while there — enjoying a brief space of rest and 
liberty in that dear, familiar place, among the loving and the 
loved — and my sorrow on being obliged to bid them, once more, 
a long adieu. 

I returned, however, with unabated vigour to my work — a 
more arduous task than any one can imagine, who has not felt 
something like the misery of being charged with the care and 
direction of a set of mischievous turbulent rebels, whom his 
utmost exertions cannot bind to their duty ; while, at^ the same 
time, he is responsible for their conduct to a higher power, who 
exacts from him what cannot be achieved without the aid of the 
superior's more potent authority: which, either from indolence, 
or the fear of becoming unpopular with the said rebellious gang. 



328 AGNES GREY. 

the latter refuses to give. I can conceive few situations more 
harassing than that wherein, however you may long for success, 
however you may labour to fulfil your duty, your efforts are 
baffled and set at naught by those beneath you, and unjustly 
censured and misjudged by those above. 

I have not enumerated half the vexatious propensities of my 
pupils, or half the troubles resulting from my heavy responsi- 
bilities, for fear of trespassing too much upon the reader's 
patience; as, perhaps, I have already done: but my design, 
in writing the few last pages, was not to amuse, but to benefit 
those whom it might concern : he that has no interest in such 
matters will doubtless have skipped them over with a cursory 
glance, and, perhaps, a malediction against the prolixity of the 
writer ; but if a parent has, therefrom, gathered any useful hint, 
or an unfortunate governess received thereby the slightest benefit, 
I am well rewarded for my pains. 

To avoid trouble and confusion, I have taken my pupils one 
by one, and discussed their various qualities ; but this can give 
no adequate idea of being worried by the whole three together ; 
when, as was often the case, all were determined to " be naughty, 
and to tease Miss Grey, and put her in a passion." 

Sometimes, on such occasions, the thought had suddenly 
occurred to me — "If they could see me now!" meaning, of 
course, my friends at home ; and the idea of how they would 
pity me has made me pity myself^so greatly that I have had 
the utmost difficulty to restrain my tears : but I have restrained 
them, till my little tormentors were gone to. dessert, or cleared 
off to bed (my only prospects of deliverance), and then, in all 
the bliss of solitude, I have given myself up to the luxury of an 
unrestricted burst of weeping. But this was a weakness I did 
not often indulge : my employments were too numerous, my 
leisure moments too precious, to admit of much time being given 
to fruitless lamentations. 

I particularly remember one wild, snowy afternoon, soon after 
my return in January ; the children had all come up from dinner, 
loudly declaring that they meant " to be naughty ; " and they had 
well kept their resolution, though I had talked myself hoarse, and 
wearied every muscle in my throat, in the vain attempt to reason 
them out of it. I had got Tom pinned up in a corner, whence, 
I told him, he should not escape till he had done his appointed 
task. Meantime, Fanny had possessed herself of my work-bag, 



AGNES GREY. 329 

and was rifling its contents — and spitting into it besides. I told 
her to let it alone, but to no purpose, of course. "Burn it, 
Fanny ! " cried Tom ; and this command she hastened to obey. 
I sprang to snatch it from the fire, and Tom darted to the door. 
" Mary Ann, throw her desk out of the window ! " cried he : and 
my precious desk, containing my letters and papers, my small 
amount of cash, and all my valuables, was about to be precipitated 
from the three-storey window. I flew to rescue it. Meanwhile 
Tom had left the room, and was rushing down the stairs, followed 
by Fanny. Having secured my desk, I ran to catch them, and 
Mary Ann came scampering after. All three escaped me, and 
ran out of the house into the garden, where they plunged about 
in the snow, shouting and screaming in exultant glee. 

What must I do? If I followed them, I should probably be 
unable to capture one, and only drive them farther away ; if I did 
not, how was I to get them in ? and what would their parents 
think of me, if they saw or heard the children rioting, hatless, 
bonnetless, gloveless, and bootless, in the deep, soft snow? 
While I stood in this perplexity, just without the door, trying, 
by grim looks and angry words, to awe them into subjection, I 
heard a voice behind me, in harshly piercing tones exclaiming — 

" Miss Grey ! Is it possible? What, in the devil's name, can 
you be thinking about ? " 

" I can't get them in, sir," said I, turning round, and behold- 
ing Mr. Bloomfield, with his hair on end, and his pale blue eyes 
bolting from their sockets. 

" But I INSIST upon their being got in ! " cried he, approach- 
ing nearer, and looking perfectly ferocious. 

"Then, sir, you must call them yourself, if you please, for 
they won't listen to me," I replied, stepping back, 

" Come in with you, you filthy brats ; or I'll horsewhip you 
every one ! " roared he ; and the children instantly obeyed, 
" There, you see ! they come at the first word ! " 

"Yes, whenjjw/ speak." 

' ' And it's very strange, that when you've the care of 'em, 
you've no better control over them than that ! — Now, there they 
are — gone upstairs with their nasty snowy feet ! Do go after 'em 
and see them made decent, for Heaven's sake ! " 

That gentleman's mother was then staying in the house ; and, 
as I ascended the stairs and passed the drawing-room door, I had 
the satisfaction of hearing the old lady declaiming aloud to her 

L 2 



330 AGNES GREY. 

daughter-in-law to this effect (for I could only distinguish th'^ 
most emphatic words) — 

"Gracious Heavens! never in all my life ! g- 

their death as sure as ! Do you think, my dear, she's it 

proper person ? Take my word for it " 

I heard no more ; but that sufficed. 

The senior Mrs. Bloomfield had been very attentive and civil 
to me ; and till now, I had thought her a nice, kind-hearted, 
chatty old body. She would often come to me and talk in a con- 
fidential strain ; nodding and shaking her head, and gesticulating 
with hands and eyes, as a certain class of old ladies are wont to 
do : though I never knew one that carried the peculiarity to so 
great an extent. She would even sympathise with me for the 
trouble I had with the children, and express at times, by half 
sentences, interspersed with nods and knowing winks, her sense 
of the injudicious conduct of their mamma in so restricting my 
power, and neglecting to support roe with her authority. Such 
a mode of testifying disapprobation was not much to my taste ; 
and I generally refused to take it in, or understand anything 
more than was openly spoken ; at least, I never went farther 
than an implied acknowledgment that, if matters were otherwise 
ordered, ray task would be a less difficult one, and I should be 
better able to guide and instruct my charge ; but now I must be 
doubly cautious. Hitherto, though I saw the old lady had her 
defects (of which one was a proneness to proclaim her perfections), 
I had always been wishful to excuse them, and to give her credit 
for all the virtues she professed, and even imagine others yet un- 
told. Kindness, which had been the food of my life through so 
many years, had lately been so entirely denied me, that I wel- 
comed with grateful joy the slightest semblance of it. No wonder, 
then, that my heart warmed to the old lady, and always glad- 
dened at her approach and regretted her departure. 

But now, the few words luckily or unluckily heard in passing 
bad wholly revolutionised my ideas respecting her : now I looked 
Tipon her as hypocritical and insincere, a flatterer, and a spy upon 
my words and deeds. Doubtless it would have been my interest 
still to meet her with the same cheerful smile and tone of respectful 
cordiality as before ; but I could not, if I would : my manner 
altered with my feelings, and became so cold and shy that she 
could not fail to notice it. She soon did notice it, and her 
manner altered too : the famihar nod was changed to a stiff bow, 



AGNES GREY. 331 

the gracious smile gave place to a glare of Gorgon ferocity ; her 
vivacious loquacity was entirely transferred from me to "the 
darling boys and girls," whom she flattered and indulgedmore 
absurdly than ever their mother had done. 

I confess I was somewhat troubled at this change : I feared the 
consequences of her displeasure, and even made some efforts to 
recover the ground I had lost — and with better apparent success 
than I could have anticipated. At one time, I, merely in common 
civility, asked after her cough ; immediately her long visage re- 
laxed into a smile, and she favoured me with a particular history 
of that and her other infirmities, followed by an account of her 
pious resignation, delivered in the usual emphatic, declamatory 
style, which no writing can portray. 

" But there's one remedy for all, my dear, and that's resigna- 
tion " (a toss of the head), "resignation to the will of Heaven ! " 
(an uplifting of the hands and eyes). " It has always supported 
me through all my trials, and always will do " (a succession of 
nods). ' ' But then, it isn't everybody that can say that " (a shake 
of the head) ; " but I'm one of the pious ones, Miss Grey ! " (a 
very significant nod and toss). " And, thank Heaven, I always 
was " (another nod), "and I glory in it ! " (an emphatic clasping 
of the hands and shaking of the head). And with several texts 
of Scripture, misquoted or misapplied, and religious exclamations 
so redolent of the ludicrous in the style of delivery and manner 
of bringing in, if not in the expressions themselves, that I decline 
repeating them, she withdrew ; tossing her large head in high 
good-humour — with herself at least — and left me hoping that, 
after all, she was rather weak than wicked. 

At her next visit to Welhvood House, I went so far as to say 
I was glad to see her looking so well. The effect of this was 
magical : the words, intended as a mark of civility, were received 
as a flattering compHment ; her countenance brightened up, and 
from that moment she became as gracious and benign as heart 
could wish— in outward semblance at least. From what I now 
saw of her, and what I heard from the children, I knew that, in 
order to gain her cordial friendship, I had but to utter a word of 
flattery at each convenient opportunity : but this was against my 
principles ', and for lack of this, the capricious old dkme soon 
deprived me of her favour again, and I believe did me much 
secret injury. 

She could not greatly influence her daughter-in-law against me, 



352 AGNES GREY. 

because, between that lady and herself, there was a mutual dis- 
like—chiefly shown by her in secret detractions and calumnia- 
tions ; by the other, in an excess of frigid formality in her 
demeanour ; and no fawning flattery of the elder could thaw 
away the wall of ice which the younger interposed between them. 
But with her son, the old lady had better success : he would listen 
to all she had to say, provided she could soothe his fretful temper, 
and refrain from irritating him by her own asperities ; and I have 
reason to believe that she considerably strengthened his prejudice 
against me. She would tell him that I shamefully neglected the 
children, and even his wife did not attend to them as she ought 
and that he must look after them himself, or they would all go 
to ruin. 

Thus urged, he would frequently give himself the trouble ol 
watching them from the windows during their play ; at times, he 
would follow them through the grounds, and too often came 
suddenly upon them while they were dabbling in the forbidden 
well, talking to the coachman in the stables, or revelling in the 
filth of the farm-yard— and I, meanwhile, wearily standing by, 
having previously exhausted my energy in vain attempts to gel 
them away. Often, too, he would unexpectedly pop his head 
into the schoolroom while the young people were at meals, and 
fiad them spilling their milk over the table and themselves, 
plunging their fingers into their own or each other's mugs, oi 
quarrelling over their victuals like a set of tiger's cubs. If I were 
quiet at the moment, I was conniving at their disorderly conduct; 
if (as was frequently the case) I happened to be exalting m} 
voice to enforce order, I was using undue violence, and setting 
the girls a bad example by such ungentleness cf toneandlanguage. 

I remember one afternoon in spring when, owing to the rain, 
they could not go out ; but, by some amazing good fortune, 
they had all finished their lessons, and yet abstained fron 
running down to tease their parents— a trick that annoyed nu 
greatly, but which, on rainy days, I seldom could prevent theii 
doing ; because, below, they found novelty and amusement— 
especially when visitors were in the house ; and their mother, 
though she bid me keep them in the schoolroom, would nevei 
chide them for leaving it, or trouble herself to send them back. 
But this day they appeared satisfied with their present abode, 
and what is more wonderful still, seemed disposed to play to- 
gether without depending on me for amusement, and without 



AGNES GREY. $35 

quarrelling with each other. Their occupation was a somewhat 
Duzzling one : they were all squatted together on the floor by the 
.vindow, over a heap of broken toys and a quantity of birds' eggs 
—or rather eggshells, for the contents had luckily been abstracted. 
These shells they had broken up and were pounding into small 
Tagments, to what end I could not imagine ; but so long as they 
,vere quiet and not in positive mischief, I did not care ; and, with 
1 feeling of unusual repose, I sat by the fire, putting the finishing 
stitches to a frock for Mary Ann's doll ; intending, when that 
,vas done, to begin a letter to my mother. Suddenly, the door 
Dpened, and the dingy head of Mr. Bloomfield looked in. 

' ' All very quiet here ! What are you doing ? " said he. ' ' Xo 
.larm to-day, at least," thought I. But he was of a different 
opinion. Advancing to the window, and seeing the children's 
occupations, he testily exclaimed— " What in the world are you 
about?" 

"We're grinding egg-shells, papa ! " cried Tom. 

" How dare you make such a mess, you little devils? Don't 
you see what confounded work you're making of the carpet?" 
(the carpet was a plain, brown drugget). " Miss Grey, did you 
know what they were doing? " 

"Yes, sir." 

' ' You knew it ? " 

"Yes." 

' ' You knew it ! and you actually sat there and permitted 
them to go on, without a word of reproof! " 

" I didn't think they were doing any harm." 

' ' Any harm ! Why, look there ! Just look at that carpet, and 
see— was there ever anything like it in a Christian house before? 
No wonder your room is not fit for a pigsty— no wonder your 
pupils are worse than a litter of pigs !— no wonder— Oh ! I de- 
clare, it puts me quite past my patience ! " and he departed, shut- 
ting the door after him with a bang, that made the children laugh. 
" It puts me quite past my patience too ! " muttered I, getting 
up ; and, seizing the poker, I dashed it repeatedly into the 
cinders, and stirred them up with unwonted energy ; thus easing 
my irritation, under pretence of mending the fire. 

After this, Mr. Bloomfield was continually looking in'to see if 
the schoolroom was in order ; and, as the children were continu- 
ally littering the floor with fragments of toys, sticks, stones, 
stubble, leaves, and other rubbish, which I could not prevent 



534 AGNES GREY. 

their bringing, or oblige them to gather up, and which the 
servants refused to "clean after them," I had to spend a con- 
siderable portion of my valuable leisure moments on my knees 
upon the floor, in painfully reducing things to order. Once I 
told them that they should not taste their supper till they had 
picked up everything from the carpet ; Fanny might have hers 
when she had taken up a certain quantity, Mary Ann when she 
had gathered twice as many, and Tom was to clear away the rest. 
Wonderful to state, the girls did their part ; but Tom was in such 
a fury that he flew upon the table, scattered the bread and milk 
about the floor, struck his sisters, kicked the coals out of the 
coal-pan, attempted to overthrow the table and chairs, and 
seemed inclined to make a Douglas-larder of the whole contents 
of the room : but I seized upon him, and, sending Mary Ann to 
call her mamma, held him, in spite of kicks, blows, yells, and 
execrations, till Mrs. Bloomfield made her appearance. 

" What is the matter with my boy?" said she. 

And when the matter was explained to her, all she did was to 
send for the nursery-maid to put the room in order, and bring 
Master Bloomfield his supper. 

"There now," cried Tom triumphantly, looking up from his 
viands with his mouth almost too full for speech. " There now, 
Miss Grey : you see I have got my supper in spite of you : and 
I haven't picked up a single thing ! " 

The only person in the house who had any real sympathy for 
me was the nurse ; for she had suffered like afflictions, though 
in a smaller degree ; as she had not the task of teaching, nor 
was she so responsible for the conduct of her charge. 

"Oh, Miss Grey!" she would say, "you have some trouble 
with them childer ! " 

" I have indeed, Betty ; and I dare say you know what it is." 

"Ay, I do so ! But I don't vex myself o'er 'em as you do. 
And then, you see, I hit 'em a slap sometimes : and them little 
uns — I gives 'em a good whipping now and then : there's nothing 
else will do for 'em, as what they say. Howsoever, I've lost my 
place for it." 

" Have you, Betty? I heard you were going to leave." 

' ' Eh, bless you, yes ! Missis gave me warning a three-wik sin'. 
She told me afore Christmas how it mud be, if I hit 'em again ; 
but I couldn't hold my hand off 'em at nothing, I know not how 
you do, for Miss Mary Ann's worse by the half nor her sisters I " 



AGNES GREY. 335- 

CHAPTER V. 

THE UNCLE. 

Besides the old lady, there ^vas another relative of the family, 
whose visits were a great annoyance to me-this was "Uncle 
Robson," Mrs. Bloomfield's brother ; ataU, self-sufficient fellow, 
with dark hair and sallow complexion like his sister, a nose that 
seemed to disdain the earth, and little grey eyes, frequently half 
closed with a mixture of real stupidity and affected contempt of 
all surrounding objects. He was a thick-set, strongly-built man. 
but he had found some means of compressing his waist mto a 
remarkably small compass ; and that, together with the unnatural 
stiffness of his form, showed that the lofty-mmded, manly Mr. 
Robson, the scorner of the female sex, was not above the foppery 
of stays. He seldom deigned to notice me ; and, when he did. 
it was with a certain supercilious insolence of tone and manner 
that convinced me he was no gentleman : though it was intended 
to have a contrary effect. But it was not for that I disliked his 
coming, so much as for the harm he did the children-encour- 
ao-ino- all their evil propensities, and undoing, m a few minutes, 
the iTttle good it had taken me months of labour to achieve. 

Fanny and little Harriet he seldom condescended to notice ; but 
Mary Ann was something of a favourite. He was continually 
encouraging her tendency to affectation (which I had done my 
utmost to crush), talking about her pretty face, and filhng her head 
with all manner of conceited notions concerning her personal ap- 
pearance (which I had instructed her to regard as dust in the 
balance compared with the cultivation of her mind and manners) ; 
and I never saw a child so susceptible of flattery as she was. 
Whatever was wrong, in either her or her brother, he would 
encourao-e by laughing at, if not by actually praising : people 
little know the injury they do to children by laughing at their 
faults, and making a pleasant jest of what their true friends have 
endeavoured to teach them to hold in grave abhorrence. 

Though not a positive drunkard, Mr. Robson habitually swal- 
lowed great quantities of wine, and took with relish an occasional 
class of brandy and water. He taught his nephew to imitate him 
Tn this to the utmost of his ability, and to believe that the more 
wine and spirits he could take, and the better he liked them, the 
more he manifested his bold and manly spirit, and rose superior to 
his sisters. ^Iv. Bloomfield had not much to say against it, for his 



536 AGNES GREY. 

favourite beverage was gin and water ; of which he toolc a conside- 
rable portion every day, by dint of constant sipping — and to that, 
I chiefly attributed his dingy complexion and waspish temper. 

Mr. Robson likewise encouraged Tom's propensity to perse- 
cute the lower creation, both by precept and example. As he fre- 
quently came to course or shoot over his brother-in-law's grounds, 
he would bring his favourite dogs with him ; and he treated them 
so brutally that, poor as I was, I would have given a sovereign 
any day to see one of them bite him, provided the animal could 
have done it with impunity. Sometimes, when in a very com- 
placent mood, he would go a bird-nesting with the children : a 
thing that irritated and annoyed me exceedingly ; as, by frequent 
and persevering attempts, I flattered myself I had partly shown 
them the evil of this pastime, and hoped, in time, to bring them 
to some general sense of justice and humanity ; but ten minutes' 
bird-nesting with Uncle Robson, or even a laugh from him at 
some relation of their former barbarities, was sufficient at once 
to destroy the effect of my whole elaborate course of reasoning 
and persuasion. Happily, however, during that spring, they 
never, but once, got anything but empty nests, or eggs — being too 
impatient to leave them till the birds were hatched ; that once, 
Tom, who had been with his uncle into the neighbouring planta- 
tion, came running in high glee into the garden, with a brood of 
little callow nestlings in his hands. Mary Ann and Fanny, whom 
I was just bringing out, ran to admire his spoils, and to beg each 
a bird for themselves. " No, not one ! " cried Tom. " They're 
all mine : Uncle Robson gave them to me— one, two, three, four, 
five — you shan't touch one of them ! no, not one, for your lives ! " 
continued he exultingly ; laying the nest on the ground, and 
standing over it with his legs wide apart, his hands thrust into 
his breeches-pockets, his body bent forward, and his face twisted 
into all manner of contortions in the ecstacy of his delight. 

" But you shall see me fettle 'em off. My word, but I will 
wallop 'em ! See if I don't now. By gum ! but there's rare 
sport for me in that nest." 

" But, Tom," said I, " I shall not allow you to torture those 
birds. They must either be killed at once or carried back to the 
place you took them from, that the old birds may continue to 
feed them." 

" But you don't know where that is, madam : it's only me and 
Uncle Robson that knows that." 



AGNES GREY. 



337 



" But if you don't tell me, I shall kill them myself— much as I 
hate it." 

' ' You daren't. You daren't touch them for your life ! because 
you know papa and mamma, and Uncle Robson, would be angry. 
Ha, ha ! I've caught you there, miss ! " 

" I shall do what I think right in a case of this sort without 
consulting any one. If your papa and mamma don't happen to 
approve of it, I shall be sorry to offend them ; but your Uncle 
Robson's opinions, of course, are nothing to me." 

So saying — urged by a sense of duty — at the risk of both mak- 
ing myself sick and incurring the wrath of my employers — I got 
a large flat stone, that had been reared up for a mouse-trap by 
the gardener, then, having once more vainly endeavoured to per- 
suade the little tyrant to let the birds be carried back, I asked 
what he intended to do with them. With fiendish glee he com- 
menced a list of torments ; and while he was busied in the rela- 
tion, I dropped the stone upon his intended victims and crushed 
them flat beneath it. Loud were the outcries, terrible the execra- 
tions, consequent upon this daring outrage ; Uncle Robson had 
been coming up the walk with his gun, and was just then paus- 
ing to kick his dog. Tom flew towards him, vowing he would 
make him kick me instead of Juno. Mr. Robson leant upon his 
gun, and laughed excessively at the violence of his nephew's 
passion, and the bitter maledictions and opprobrious epithets 
he heaped upon me. " Well, you arc a good 'un ! " exclaimed 
he, at length, taking up his weapon and proceeding towards the 
house. "Damme, but the lad has some spunk in him, too. 
Curse me, if ever I saw a nobler little scoundrel than that. He's 
beyond petticoat government already ; by God ! he defies mother, 
granny, governess, and all ! Ha, ha, ha ! Never mind, Tom, 
I'll get you another brood to-morrow." 

" If you do, Mr, Robson, I shall kill them too," said I. 

" Humph ! " replied he, and having honoured me with a broad 
stare— which, contrary to his expectations, I sustained without 
flinching — he turned away with an air of supreme contempt, and 
stalked into the house. Tom next went to tell his mamma. It 
was not her way to say much on any subject ; but, when she 
next saw me, her aspect and demeanour were doubly dark and 
chill. After some casual remark about the weather, she ob- 
served — 

" I am sorry, Miss Grey, you should think it necessary to in- 



338 AGNES GREV. 

terfere with Master Bloomfield's amusements ; he was vay much 
distressed about your destroying the birds." 

' ' When Master Bloomfield's amusements consist in injuring sen- 
tient creatures," I answered, "I think it my duty to interfere." 

"You seemed to have forgotten," said she calmly, " that the 
creatures were all created for our convenience." 

I thought that doctrine admitted some doubt, but merely re- 
plied — 

" If they were, we have no right to torment them for our 
amusement." 

" I think," said she, " a child's amusement is scarcely to be 
weighed against the welfare of a soulless brute." 

" But, for the child's own sake, it ought not to be encouraged 
to have such amusements," answered I, as meekly as I could, to 
make up for such unusual pertinacity. ' ' ' Blessed are the merci- 
ful, for they shall obtain mercy.' " 

" Oh ! of course ; but that refers to our conduct towards each 
other." 

" ' The merciful man shows mercy to his beast,' " I ventured 
to add. 

" I think yo2i have not shown much mercy," replied she with 
a short, bitter laugh; "killing the poor birds by Avholesale in 
that shocking manner, and putting the dear boy to such misery 
for a mere whim." 

I judged it prudent to say no more. This was the nearest 
approach to a quarrel I ever had with Mrs. Bloomfield ; as well 
as the greatest number of words I ever exchanged with her at 
one time, since the day of my first arrival. 

But Mr. Robson and old Mrs. Bloomfield were not the only 
guests whose coming to Wellwood House annoyed me ; every visi- 
tor disturbed me more or less ; not so much because they neglected 
me (though I did feel their conduct strange and disagreeable in 
that respect) as because I found it impossible to keep my pupils 
away from them, as I was repeatedly desired to do : Tom must 
talk to them, and Mary Ann must be noticed by them. Neither 
the one nor the other knew what it was to feel any degree of 
shame-facedness, or even common modesty. They would in- 
decently and clamorously interrupt the conversation of their 
elders, tease them with the most impertinent questions, roughly 
collar the gentlemen, climb their knees uninvited, hang about 
their shoulders or rifle their pockets, pull the ladies' gowns, 



AGNES GREY. 539 

disorder their hair, tumble their collars, and importunately beg 
for their trinkets. 

Mrs. Bloomfield had the sense to be shocked and annoyed at 
all this, but she had not sense to prevent it : she expected me to 
prevent it. But how could I— when the guests, with their fine 
clothes and newfaces, continually flattered and indulged them, out 
of complaisance to their parents — how could /, with my homely 
garments, everyday face, and honest words, draw them away? 
I strained every nerve to do so : by striving to amuse them, I 
endeavoured to attract them to my side ; by the exertion of such 
authority as I possessed, and by such severity as I dared to use, 
I tried to deter them from tormenting the guests ; and by re- 
proaching their unmannerly conduct, to make them ashamed to 
repeat it. But they knew no shame ; they scorned authority 
which had no terrors to back it ; and as for kindness and affec- 
tion, either they had no hearts, or such as they had were so 
strongly guarded, and so well concealed, that I, with all my 
efforts, had not yet discovered how to reach them. 

But soon my trials in this quarter came to a close — sooner than 
I either expected or desired ; for one sweet evening towards the 
close of May, as I was rejoicing in the near approach of the holi- 
days, and congratulating myself upon having made some progress 
with my pupils (as far as their learning went at least, for I had 
instilled something into their heads, and I had at length brought 
them to be a little — a very little — more rational about getting 
their lessons done in time to leave some space for recreation, 
instead of tormenting themselves and me all day long to no 
purpose), Mrs, Bloomfield sent for me, and calmly told me that 
after Midsummer my services would be no longer required. She 
assured me that my character and general conduct were un- 
exceptionable ; but the children had made so little improvement 
since my arrival, that Mr. Bloomfield and she felt it their duty 
to seek some other mode of instruction. Though superior to most 
children of their years in abilities, they were decidedly behind 
them in attainments : their manners were uncultivated, and their 
tempers unruly. And this she attributed to a want of sufficient 
firmness, and diligent, persevering care on my part. 

Unshaken firmness, devoted diligence, unwearied perseverance, 
unceasing care, were the very qualifications on which I had 
secretly prided myself ; and by which I had hoped in time to 
overcome all difficulties, and obtain success at last. I wished to 



340 AGNES GREY. 

say something in my own justification : but in attempting to 
speak, I felt my voice falter ; and rather than testify any emotion, 
or suffer the tears to overflow that were already gathering in my 
eyes, I chose to keep silence, and bear all like a self-convicted 
culprit. 

Thus was I dismissed, and thus I sought my home. Alas ! 
what would they think of me? unable, after all my boasting, 
to keep my place, even for a single year, as governess to three 
small children, whose mother was asserted by my own aunt to 
be a "very nice woman." Having been thus weighed in the 
balance and found wanting, I need not hope they would be will- 
ing to try me again. And this was an unwelcome thought ; for 
vexed, harassed, disappointed as I had been, and greatly as I 
had learned to love and value my home, I was not yet weary of 
adventure, nor willing to relax my efforts. I knew that all parents 
were not like Mr. and Mrs. Bloomfield, and I was certain all 
children were not like theirs. The next family must be different, 
and any change must be for the better. I had been seasoned by 
adversity, and tutored by experience, and I longed to redeem 
my lost honour in the eyes of those whose opinion was more than 
that of all the world to me. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE PARSONAGE AGAIN. 

For a few months I remained peaceably at home, in the quiet 
enjoyment of liberty and rest, and genuine friendship, from all 
of which I had fasted so long ; and in the earnest prosecution of 
my studies, to recover what I had lost during my stay at Well- 
wood House, and to lay in new stores for future use. My father's 
health was still very infirm, but not materially worse than when 
I last saw him ; and I was glad I had it in my power to cheer 
him by my return, and to amuse him with singing his favourite 
songs. 

No one triumphed over my failure, or said I had better have 
taken his or her advice, and quietly stayed at home. All were 
glad to have me back again, and lavished more kindness than 
ever upon me, to make up for the sufferings I had undergone ; 
but not one would touch a shilling of what I had so cheerfully 
earned and so carefully saved, in the hope of sharing it with 



AGNES GREY. 341 

them. By dint of pinching here, and scraping there, our debts 
were already nearly paid. Mary had had good success with her 
drawings ; but our father had insisted upon her likewise keeping 
all the produce of her industry to herself. All we could spare from 
the supply of our humble wardrobe and our little casual expenses, 
he directed us to put into the savings' bank ; saying, we knew 
not how soon we might be dependent on that alone for support ; 
for he felt he had not long to be with us, and what would become 
of our mother and us when he was gone, God only knew ! 

Dear papa ! if he had troubled himself less about the afflictions 
that threatened us in case of his death, I am convinced that 
dreaded event would not have taken place so soon. My mother 
would never suffer him to ponder on the subject if she could 
help it. 

"Oh, Richard!" exclaimed she, on one occasion, " if you 
would but dismiss such gloomy subjects from your mind, you 
would live as long as any of us ; at least you would hve to see 
the girls married, and yourself a happy grandfather, with a 
canty old dame for your companion," 

My mother laughed, and so did my father :.but his laugh soon 
perished in a dreary sigh. 

" They married — poor penniless things ! " said he, "who will 
take them, I wonder ! " 

" Why, nobody shall that isn't thankful for them. Wasn't I 
penniless when you took me ? and you pretended, at least, to be 
vastly pleased with your acquisition. But it's no matter whether 
they get married or not : we can devise a thousand honest ways 
of making a livelihood. And I wonder, Richard, you can think 
of bothering your head about our poverty in case of your death ; 
as if that would be anything compared with the calamity of losing 
you — an affliction that you well know would swallow up all 
others, and which you ought to do your utmost to preserve us 
from : and there is nothing like a cheerful mind for keeping the 
body in health," 

" I know, Alice, it is wrong to keep repining as I do, but 
I cannot help it : you must bear with me." 

" I wont bear with you, if I can alter you," replied my mother : 
but the harshness of her words was undone by the earnest affec- 
tion of her tone and pleasant smile, that made my father smile 
again, less sadly and less transiently than was his wont. 

" Mamma," said I, as soon as I could find an opportunity of 



342 AGNES GREY. 

speaking with her alone, " my money is but httle, and cannot 
last long ; if I could increase it, it would lessen papa's anxiety, 
on one subject at least. I cannot draw like Mary, and so the best 
thing I could do would be to look out for another situation." 

"And so you would actually try again, Agnes?" 

" Decidedly, I would." 

" Why, my dear, I should have thought you had had enough 
of it." 

"I know," said I, "everybody is not like Mr. and Mrs. 
Bloomfield " 

" Some are worse," interrupted my mother. 

" But not many, I think," replied I, " and I'm sure all children 
are not like theirs ; for I and Mary were not : we always did as 
you bid us, didn't we?" 

"Generally: but then, I did not spoil you; and you were 
not perfect angels after all : Mary had a fund of quiet obstinacy, 
and you were somewhat faulty in regard to temper; but you 
were very good children on the whole." 

" I know I was sulky sometimes, and I should have been glad 
to see these children sulky sometimes too ; for then I could have 
understood them : but they never were, for they could not be 
offended, nor hurt, nor ashamed : they could not be unhappy 
in any way, except when they were in a passion." 

"Well, if they could not, it was not their fault : you cannot 
•expect stone to be as pliable as clay." 

" No, but still it is very unpleasant to live with such unim- 
pressible incomprehensible creatures. You cannot love them ; 
and if you could, your love would be utterly thrown away : they 
could neither return it, nor value, nor understand it. But, how- 
ever, even if I should stumble on such a family again, which is 
quite unlikely, I have all this experience to begin with, and I 
should manage better another time ; and the end and aim of 
this preamble is, let me try again." 

"Well, my girl, you are not easily discouraged, I see : I am 
glad of that. But, let me tell you, you are a good deal paler 
and thinner than when you first left home ; and we cannot have 
you undermining your health to hoard up money, either for 
yourself or others." 

" Mary tells me I am changed too ; and I don't much wonder 
at it, for I was in a constant state of agitation and anxiety all day 
long : but next time I am determined to take things coolly, 






AGNES GREY. 343 

After some further discussion, my mother promised once more 
to assist me, provided I would wait and be patient ; and I left 
her to broach the matter to my father, when and how she 
deemed it most advisable : never doubting her ability to obtain 
his consent. Meantime, I searched, with great interest, the ad- 
vertising columns of the newspapers, and wrote answers to every 
"Wanted a Governess," that appeared at all eligible; but all 
my letters, as well as the repUes, when I got any, were dutifully 
shown to my mother ; and she, to my chagrin, made me reject 
the situations one after another : these were low people, these 
were too exacting in their demands, and these too niggardly in 
their remuneration. 

"Your talents are not such as every poor clergyman's 
daughter possesses, Agnes," she would say, "and you must 
not tlirow them away. Remember, you promised to be patient : 
there is no need of hurry : you have plenty of time before you, 
and may have many chances yet." 

At length, she advised me to put an advertisement, myself, 
in the paper, stating my qualifications, &c. 

"Music, singing, drawing, French, Latin, and German," 
said she, "are no mean assemblage: many will be glad to 
have so much in one instructor ; and this time, you shall try 
your fortune in a somewhat higher family — in that of some 
genuine, thorough-bred gentleman ; for such are far more likely 
to treat you with proper respect and consideration, than those 
purse-proud tradespeople and arrogant upstarts. I have known 
several among the higher ranks who treated their governesses 
quite as one of the family ; though some, I allow, are as insolent 
and exacting as any one else can be : for there are bad and 
good in all classes." 

The advertisement was quickly written and despatched. Of 
the two parties who answered it, but one would consent to give 
me fifty pounds, the sum my mother bade me name as the salary 
I should require ; and here, I hesitated about engaging myself, 
as I feared the children would be too old, and their parents 
would require some one more showy, or more experienced, if 
not more accomplished than I. But my mother dissuaded me 
from declining it on that account : I should do vastly well, she 
said, if I would only throw aside my diffidence, and acquire 
a little more confidence in myself. I was just to give a plain, 
true statement of my acquirements and qualifications, and name 



344 AGNES GREY. 

what stipulations I chose to make, and then await the result. 
The only stipulation I ventured to propose, was that I might 
be allowed two months' holidays during the year to visit my 
friends, at Midsummer and Christmas. The unknown lady, in 
her reply, made no objection to this, and stated that, as to my 
acquirements, ishe had no doubt I should be able to give satis- 
faction ; but in the engagement of governesses, she considered 
those things as but subordinate points ; as, being situated in the 

neighbourhood of O , she could get masters to supply any 

deficiencies in that respect : but, in her opinion, next to un- 
impeachable morality, a mild and cheerful temper and obliging 
disposition were the most essential requisites. 

My mother did not relish this at all, and now made many 
objections to my accepting the situation ; in which my sister 
warmly supported her: but, unwilling to be baulked again, I 
overruled them all ; and, having first obtained the consent of my 
father (who had, a short time previously, been apprised of these 
transactions), I wrote a most obliging epistle to my unknown 
correspondent, and, finally, the bargain was concluded. 

It was decreed that on the last day of January, I was to enter 
upon my new office as governess in the family of Mr. Murray, 

of Horton Lodge, near O , about seventy miles from our 

village : a formidable distance to me, as I had never been above 
twenty miles from home in all the course of my twenty years' 
sojourn on earth ; and as, moreover, every individual in that 
family and in the neighbourhood was utterly unknown to myself 
and all my acquaintances. But this rendered it only the more 
piquant to me. I had now, in some measure, got rid of the 
■mazivaise honte that had formerly oppressed me so much ; there 
was a pleasing excitement in the idea of entering these unknown 
regions, and making my way alone among its strange inhabi- 
tants. I now flattered myself I was going to see something of 
the world : Mr. Murray's residence was near a large town, and 
not in a manufacturing district, where the people had nothing to 
do but to make money ; his rank, from what I could gather, 
appeared to be higher than that of Mr. Bloorafield ; and, doubt- 
less, he was one of those genuine thorough-bred gentry my 
mother spoke of, who would treat his governess with due con- 
sideration as a respectable well-educated lady, the instructor and 
guide of his children, and not a mere upper servant. Then, my 
pupils being older, would be more rational, more teachable, and 



AGNES GREY. 345 

less troublesome than the last : they would be less confined to the 
schoolroom, and not require that constant labour and incessant 
watching ; and, finally, bright visions mingled with my hopes, 
with which the care of children and the mere duties of a gover- 
ness had little or nothing to do. Thus, the reader will see that 
I had no claim to be regarded as a martyr to filial piety, going 
forth to sacrifice peace and liberty for the sole purpose of laying 
up stores for the comfort and support of my parents : thougli 
certainly the comfort of my father, and the future support of my 
mother, had a large share in my calculations ; and fifty pounds 
appeared to me no ordinary sum. I must have decent clothes 
becoming my station ; I must, it seemed, put out my washing, 
and also pay for my four annual journeys between Horton Lodge 
and home ; but with strict attention to economy, surely twenty 
pounds, or little more, would cover those expenses, and then 
there would be thirty for the bank, or little less : what a valu- 
able addition to our stock ! Oh, I must struggle to keep this 
situation, whatever it might be ! both for my own honour among 
my friends and for the solid services I might render them by my 
continuance there. 



CHAPTER VII. 

HORTON LODGE. 

The 31st of January was a wild, tempestuous day : there was a 
strong north wind, with a continual storm of snow drifting on the 
ground and whirling through the air. iSIy friends would have 
had me delay my departure, but fearful of prejudicing my em- 
ployers against me by such want of punctuality at the commence- 
ment of my undertaking, I persisted in keeping the appointment. 
I will not inflict upon my readers an account of my leaving 
home on that dark winter morning : the fond farewells, the long, 

long journey to O , the solitary waitings in inns for coaches 

or trains— for there were some railways then— and, finally, the 

meeting at O with Mr. Murray's servant, who had been sent 

with the phaeton to drive me from thence to Horton I^dge. I 
will just state that the heavy snow had thrown such impediments 
in the way of both horses and steam-engines, that it was dark 
some hours before I reached my journey's end, and that a most 
bewildering storm came on at last, which made the few mile^' 



346 AGNES GREY. 

space between O and Horton Lodge a long and formidable 

passage. I sat resigned, with the cold, sharp snow driftin^s 
through my veil and filling my lap, seeing nothing, and wonder 
ing how the unfortunate horse and driver could make their wa) 
even as well as they did : and indeed it was but a toilsome^ 
creeping style of progression, to say the best of it. At length w( 
paused ; and, at the call of the driver, some one unlatched anc 
rolled back upon their creaking hinges what appeared to be th( 
park gates. Then we proceeded along a smoother road, whence 
occasionally, I perceived some huge hoary mass gleaming througl 
the darkness, which I took to be a portion of a snow-clad tree 
After a considerable time we paused again, before the stately por 
tico of a large house with long windows descending to the ground, 

I rose with some difficulty from under the superincumben' 
snow-drift, and alighted from the carriage, expecting that a kinc 
and hospitable reception would indemnify me for the toils anc 
hardships of the day. A gentlemanly person in black opened the 
door, and admitted me into a spacious hall, lighted by an amber- 
coloured lamp suspended from the ceihng ; he led me througl- 
this, along a passage, and, opening the door of a back room, 
told me that was the schoolroom. I entered, and found two young 
ladies and two young gentlemen — my fu^ture pupils, I supposed. 
After a formal greeting, the elder girl, who was trifling over a 
piece of canvas and a basket of German wools, asked if I should 
like to go upstairs. I replied in the affirmative, of course. 

" Matilda, take a candle, and show her her room," said she. 

IMiss Matilda, a strapping hoyden of about fourteen, with a 
short frock and trousers, shrugged her shoulders and made a 
slight grimace, but took a candle and proceeded before me, up 
the back stairs (a long, steep, double flight), and through a long, 
narrow passage, to a small but tolerably comfortable room. She 
then asked me if I would take some tea or coffee. I was about to 
answer No ; but remembering that I had taken nothing since 
seven o'clock that morning, and feeling faint in consequence, I 
said I would take a cup of tea. Saying she would tell " Brown," 
the young lady departed ; and l3y the time I had divested 
myself of my heavy, wet cloak, shawl, bonnet, &c., a mincing 
damsel came to say the young ladies desired to know whether I 
would take my tea up there or in the schoolroom. Under the 
plea of fatigue, I chose to take it there. She withdrew ; and, after 
a while, returned again with a small tea-tray, and placed it on the 



AGNES GREY. 347 

chest of drawers which served as a dressing-table. Having civilly 
thanked her, I asked at what time I should be expected to rise in 
the morning. 

" The young ladies and gentlemen breakfast at half-past eight, 
ma'am," said she ; " they rise early ; but, as they seldom do any 
lessons before breakfast, I should think it will do if you rise soon 
after seven." 

I desired her to be so kind as to call me at seven, and, 
promising to do so, she withdrew. Then, having broken my long 
fast on a cup of tea and a httle thin bread and butter, I sat down 
beside the small, smouldering fire, and amused myself with a 
hearty fit of crying ; after which, I said my prayers, and then, 
feeling considerably relieved, began to prepare for bed. Finding 
that none of my luggage was brought up, I instituted a search for 
the bell ; and failing to discover any signs of such a convenience 
in any corner of the room, I took my candle and ventured through 
the long passage, and down the steep stairs, on a voyage of 
discovery, fleeting a well-dressed female on the way, I told 
her what I wanted ; but not without considerable hesitation, as 
I was not quite sure whether it was one of the upper servants, or 
Mrs. Murray herself: it happened, however, to be the lady's-maid. 
With the air of one conferring an unusual favour, she vouchsafed 
to undertake the sending up of my things ; and when I had re- 
entered my room, and waited and wondered a long time (greatly 
fearing that she had forgotten or neglected to perform her promise, 
and doubting whether to keep waiting or go to bed, or go down 
again) my hopes, at length, were revived by the sound of voices 
and laughter, accompanied by the tramp of feet along the 
passage ; and presently the luggage was brought in by a rough- 
looking maid and a man, neither of them very respectful in their 
demeanour to me. Having shut the door upon their retiring 
footsteps, and unpacked a few of my things, I betook myself to 
rest ; gladly enough, for I was weary in body and mind. 

It was with a strange feeling of desolation, mingled with a 
strong sense of the novelty of my situation, and a joyless kind of 
curiosity concerning what was yet unknown, that I awoke the 
next morning ; feeling like one whirled away by enchantment, 
and suddenly dropped from the clouds into a remote and unknown 
land, widely and completely isolated from all he had ever seen or 
known before ; or like a thistle-seed borne on the wind to some 
strange nook of uncongenial soil, where it must lie long enough 



348 AGNES GREY. 

before it can take root and germinate, extracting nourishment 
from what appears so alien to its nature : if, indeed, it ever can. 
But this gives no proper idea of my feelings at all ; and no one 
that has not lived such a retired, stationary life as mine, can 
possibly imagine what they were : hardly even if he has known 
what it is to awake some morning, and find himself in Port 
Nelson, in New Zealand, with a world of waters between himself 
and all that knew him. 

I shall not soon forget the peculiar feeling with which I raised 
my blind and looked out upon the unknown world : a wide, white 
wilderness was all that met my gaze ; a waste of 

"Deserts tossed in snow, 
And heavy-laden groves." 

I descended to the schoolroom with no remarkable eagerness 
to join my pupils, though not without some feeling of curiosity 
respecting what a further acquaintance would reveak One 
thing, among others of more obvious importance, I determined 
with myself — I must begin with calling them Miss and Master. 
It seemed to me a chilling and unnatural piece of punctilio 
between the children of a family and their instructor and daily 
companion ; especially where the former were in their early child- 
hood, as at Wellwood House ; but even there my calling the 
little Bloonifields by their simple names had been regarded as an 
offensive liberty : as their parents had taken care to show me, by 
carefully designating them Master and Miss Bloomfield, <S:c., in 
speaking to me. I had been very slow to take the hint, because 
the whole affair struck me as so very absurd ; but now I deter- 
mined to be wiser, and begin at once with as much form and 
ceremony as any member of the family would be likely to 
require : and indeed, the children being so much older, there 
would be less difhculty ; though the little words Miss and Master 
seemed to have a surprising effect in repressing all familiar, open- 
hearted kindness, and extinguishing every gleam of cordiality 
that might arise between us. 

As I cannot, like Dogberry, find it in my heart to bestow all 
my tediousness upon the reader, I will not go on to bore him 
with a minute detail of all the discoveries and proceedings of this 
and the following day. No doubt he will be amply satisfied with 
a slight sketch of the different members of the family, and a 
general view of the first year or two of my sojourn among them. 



AGNES GREY. 349 

To begin with the head : Mr. Murray was, by all accounts, a 
blustering, roystering, country' squire ; a devoted fox-hunter, a 
skilful horse-jockey and farrier, an active, practical farmer, and 
a hearty bon-vivant. By all accounts, I say ; for, except on 
Sundays, when he went to church, I never saw him from month 
to month : unless, in crossing the hall or walking in the grounds, 
the figure of a tall, stout gentleman, with scarlet cheeks and 
crimson nose, happened to come across me ; on which occasions, 
if he passed near enough to speak, an unceremonious nod, accom- 
panied by a "Morning, Miss Grey," or some such brief salutation, 
was usually vouchsafed. Frequently, indeed, his loud laugh 
reached me from afar ; and oftener still I heard him swearing 
and blaspheming against the footmen, groom, coachman, or 
some other hapless dependent. 

Mrs. Murray was a handsome, dashing lady of forty, who 
certainly required neither rouge nor padding to add to her 
charms ; and whose chief enjoyments were, or seemed to be, in 
giving or frequenting parties, and in dressing at the very top of 
the fashion. I did not see her till eleven o'clock on the morning 
after my arrival ; when she honoured me with a visit, just as my 
mother might step into the kitchen to see a new servant-girl : 
yet not so, either, for my mother would have seen her inmie- 
diately after her arrival, and not waited till the next day ; and, 
moreover, she would have addressed her in a more kind and 
friendly manner, and given her some words of comfort as well 
as a plain exposition of her duties ; but IMrs. Murray did neither 
the one nor the other. She just stepped into the schoolroom on 
her return from oi-dering dinner in the housekeeper's room, bade 
me good-morning, stood for tw^o minutes by the fire, said a few- 
words about the weather and the " rather rough " journey I must 
have had yesterday ; petted her youngest child — a boy of ten — 
who had just been wiping his mouth and hands on her gown, 
after indulging in some savoury morsel from the housekeeper's 
stores ; told me what a sweet, good boy he was ; and then sailed 
out, with a self-complacent smile upon her face : thinking, no 
doubt, that she had done quite enough for the present, and 
had been delightfully condescending into the bargain. Her 
children evidently held the same opinion, and I alone thought 
otherwise. 

After this she looked in upon me once or twice, during the 
absence of my pupils, to enlighten me concerning my duties to- 



3$0 AGNES GREY. 

wards them. For the girls she seemed anxious only to render 
them as superficially attractive and showily accomplished as they 
could possibly be made, without present trouble or discomfort 
to themselves ; and I was to act accordingly — to study and strive 
to amuse and oblige, instruct, refine, and polish, with the least 
possible exertion on their part, and no exercise of authority on 
mine. With regard to the two boys, it was much the same ; 
only instead of accomplishments, I was to get the greatest possible 
quantity of Latin grammar and Valpy's Delectus into their heads, 
in order to fit them for school — the greatest possible quantity at 
least without trouble to themselves. John might be a " little high- 
spirited," and Charles might be a little " nervous and tedious " — 

"But at all events, Miss Grey," said she, "I hope jj/oz^ will 
keep your temper, and be mild and patient throughout ; espe- 
cially with the dear little Charles : he is so extremely nervous and 
susceptible, and so utterly unaccustomed to anything but the 
tenderest treatment. You will excuse my naming these things 
to you ; for the fact is, I have hitherto found all the governesses, 
even the very best of them, faulty in this particular. They 
wanted that meek and quiet spirit, which St. Matthew, or some 
of them, says is better than the putting on of apparel — you will 
know the passage to which I allude, for you are a clergyman's 
daughter. But I have no doubt you will give satisfaction in this 
respect as well as the rest. And remember, on all occasions, 
when any of the young people do anything improper, if persuasion 
and gentle remonstrance will not do, let one of the others come 
and tell me ; for I can speak to them more plainly than it would 
be proper for you to do. And make them as happy as you can, 
Miss Grey, and I dare say you will do very well." 

I observed that while Mrs. Murray was so extremely solicitous 
for the comfort and happiness of her children, and continually 
talking about it, she never once mentioned mine ; though they 
were at home surrounded by friends, and I an alien among 
strangers ; and I did not yet know enough of the world, not to 
be considerably surprised at this anomaly. 

Miss Murray, otherwise Rosalie, was about sixteen when I 
came, and decidedly a very pretty girl ; and in two years longer, 
as time more completely developed her form and added grace to 
her carriage and deportment, she became positively beautiful ; 
and that in no common degree. She was tall and slender, yet 
not thin ; perfectly formed, exquisitely fair, though not without 



AGXES GREY. 3)1 

a brilliant, healthy bloom ; her hair, which she wore in a profusion 
of long ringlets, was of a very light brown inclining to yellow ; 
her eyes were pale blue, but so clear and bright that few would 
wish them darker ; the rest of her features were small, not quite 
regular, and not remarkably otherwise : but altogether 5-0U could 
not hesitate to pronounce her a very lovely girl. I wish 1 could say 
as much for mind and disposition as I can for her form and face. 
Yet think not I have any dreadful disclosures to make : she 
was lively, light-hearted, and could be very agreeable, with those 
who did not cross her will. Towards me, when I first came, she 
was cold and haughty, then insolent and overbearing ; but on a 
further acquaintance, she gradually laid aside her airs, and in 
time became as deeply attached to me as it was possible for her 
to be to one of my character and position : for she seldom lost 
sight, for above half-an-hour at a time, of the fact of my being a 
hireling and a poor curate's daughter. And yet, upon the whole, 
I believe she respected me more than she herself was aware of ; 
because I was the only person in the house who steadily professed 
good principles, habitually spoke the truth, and generally en- 
deavoured to make inclination bow to duty : and this I say, not, 
of course, in commendation of myself, but to show the unfortunate 
state of the family to which my services were, for the present, 
devoted. There was no member of it in whom I regretted this 
sad want of principle so much as Miss Murray herself ; not only 
because she had taken a fancy to me, but because there was so 
much of what was pleasant and prepossessing in herself, that, in 
spite of her failings, I really liked her — when she did not rouse 
my indignation, or ruffle my temper by too great a display of her 
faults. These, however, I would fain persuade myself, were 
rather the effect of her education than her disposition : she had 
never been perfectly taught the distinction between right and 
wrong ; she had, like her brothers and sisters, been suffered, from 
infancy, to tyrannise over nurses, governesses, and servants ; 
she had not been taught to moderate her desires, to control her 
temper or bridle her will, or to sacrifice her own pleasure for the 
good of others. Her temper being naturally good, she was never 
violent or morose, but from constant indulgence and habitual 
scorn of reason, she was often testy and capricious ; her mind 
had never been cultivated : her intellect, at best, was somewhat 
shallow ; she possessed considerable vivacity, some quickness of 
perception, and some talent for music and the acquisition of 



3)2 AGNES GREV. 

languages, but till fifteen she had troubled herself to acquire 
nothing ; — then the love of display had roused her faculties, and 
induced her to apply herself, but only to the more showy accom- 
plishments. And when I came it was the same : everything was 
neglected but French, German, music, singing, dancing, fancy- 
work, and a little drawing — such drawing as might produce the 
greatest show with the smallest labour, and the principal parts 
of which were generally done by me. For music and singing, 
besides my occasional instructions, she had the attendance of the 
best master the country afforded ; and in these accomplishments, 
as well as in dancing, she certainly attained great proficiency. 
To music, indeed, she devoted too much of her time : as, 
governess though I was, I frequently told her ; but her mother 
thought that if she liked it, she could not give too much time tc 
the acquisition of so attractive an art. Of fancy-work I knew 
nothing but what I gathered from my pupil and my own observa- 
tion ; but no sooner was I initiated, than she made me useful in 
twenty different ways : all the tedious parts of her work were 
shifted on to my shoulders; such as stretching the frames, stitch- 
ing in the canvas, sorting the wools and silks, putting in the 
grounds, counting the stitches, rectifying mistakes, and finishing 
the pieces she was tired of. 

At sixteen, Miss Murray was something of a romp, yet not 
more so than is natural and allowable for a girl of that age ; 
but at seventeen, that propensity, like all other things, began to 
give way to the ruling passion, and soon was swallowed up in 
the all-absorbing ambition to attract and dazzle the other sex. 
But enough of her : now let us turn to her sister. 

Miss Matilda Murray was a veritable hoyden, of whom little 
need be said. She was about two )'ears and a half younger than 
her sister ; her features were larger, her complexion much darker. 
She might possibly make a handsome woman ; but she was far 
too big-boned and awkward ever to be called a pretty girl, and 
at present she cared little about it. Rosalie knew all her charms, 
and thought them even greater than they were, and valued them 
more highly than she ought to have done, had they been three 
times as great ; Matilda thought she was well enough, but cared 
little about the matter ; still less did she care about the cultiva- 
tion of her mind, and the acquisition of ornamental accomplish- 
ments. The manner in which she learnt her lessons and practised 
her music, was calculated to drive any governess to despair. 



AGNES GREY. 353 

Short-and easy as her tasks were, if done at all, they were slurred 
over, at any time and in any way ; but generally at the least 
convenient times, and in the way least beneficial to herself, and 
least satisfactory to me : the short half-hour of practising was 
horribly strummed through ; she, meantime, unsparingly abusing 
me, either for interrupting her with corrections, or for not recti- 
fying her mistakes before they were made, or something equally 
unreasonable. Once or twice, I ventured to remonstrate with 
her seriously for such irrational conduct ; but on each of those 
occasions, I received such reprehensive expostulations from her 
mother, as convinced me that, if I wished to keep the situation, 
I must even let Miss Matilda go on in her own way. 

When her lessons were over, however, her ill-humour was 
generally over too : while riding her spirited pony, or romping 
with the dogs or her brothers and sister, but especially with her 
dear brother John, she was as happy as a lark. As an animal, 
Matilda was all right, full of life, vigour, and activity ; as an in- 
telligent being, she was barbarously ignorant, indocile, careless, 
and irrational ; and, consequently, very distressing to one who 
had the task of cultivating her understanding, reforming her 
manners, and aiding her to acquire those ornamental attain- 
ments which, unlike her sister, she despised as much as the rest. 
Her mother was partly aware of her deficiencies, and gave me 
many a lecture as to how I should try to form her tastes, and 
endeavour to rouse and cherish her dormant vanity ; and, by 
insinuating, skilful flattery, to win her attention to the desired 
objects — which I would not do ; and how I should prepare and 
smooth the path of learning till she could glide along it without 
the least exertion to herself: which I could not, for nothing can 
be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part 
of the learner. 

As a moral agent, Matilda was reckless, headstrong, violent, 
and unamenable to reason. One proof of the deplorable state 
of her mind was, that from her father's example she had learned 
to swear like a trooper. Her mother was greatly shocked at the 
"unladylike trick," and wondered " how she had picked it up." 
" But you can soon break her of it. Miss Grey," said she : " it is 
only a habit, and if you will just gently remind her every time 
she does so, I am sure she will soon lay it aside." I not only 
"gently reminded" her, I tried to impress upon her how wrong 
it was, and how distressing to the ears of decent people ; but all 

M 



354 AGNES GREY. 

in vain: I was only answered by a careless laugh, and, "Oh, 
Miss Grey, how shocked you are ! I'm so glad ! " Or, "Well ! 
I can't help it ; papa shouldn't have taught me : I learned it all 
from him ; and may be a bit from the coachman." 

Her brother John, alias Master Murray, was about eleven when 
I came : a fine, stout, healthy boy, frank and good-natured in the 
main, and might have been a decent lad had he been properly 
educated ; but now he was as rough as a young bear, boisterous, 
unruly, unprincipled, untaught, unteachable — at least, for a 
governess under his mother's eye. His masters at school might 
be able to manage him better — for to school he was sent, greatly 
to my relief, in the course of a year ; in a state, it is true, of 
scandalous ignorance as to Latin, as well as the more useful 
though more neglected things : and this, doubtless, would all 
be laid to the account of his education having been entrusted to 
an ignorant female teacher, who had presumed to take in hand 
what she was wholly incompetent to perform. I was not de- 
livered from his brother till full twelve months after, when he 
also was despatched in the same state of disgraceful ignorance 
as the former. 

Master Charles was his mother's peculiar darling. He was 
little more than a year younger than John, but much smaller, 
paler, and less active and robust ; a pettish, cowardly, capri- 
cious, selfish little fellow, only active in doing mischief, and only 
clever in inventing falsehoods : not simply to hide his faults, but, 
in mere malicious wantonness, to bring odium upon others. In 
fact. Master Charles was a very great nuisance to me : it was a 
trial of patience to live with him peaceably ; to watch over him 
was worse ; and to teach him, or pretend to teach him, was 
inconceivable. At ten years old, he could not read correctly the 
easiest line in the simplest book ; and as, according to his 
mother's principle, he was to be told every word, before he had 
time to hesitate or examine its orthography, and never even to 
be informed, as a stimulant to exertion, that other boys were 
more forward than he, it is not surprising that he made but little 
progress during the two years I had charge of his education. 
His minute portions of Latin grammar, &c., were to be repeated 
over to him, till he chose to say he knew them, and then he was 
to be helped to say them ; if he made mistakes in his little easy 
sums in arithmetic, they were to be shown him at once, and the 
sum done for him, instead of his being left to exercise his faculties 



AGNES GREY. 3$5 

in finding them out himself; so that, of course, he took no 
pains to avoid mistakes, but frequently set down his figures at 
random, without any calculation at all. 

I did not invariably confine myself to these rules : it was 
against my conscience to do so ; but I seldom could venture to 
deviate from them in the slightest degree, without incurring the 
wrath of my little pupil, and subsequently of his mamma ; to 
whom he would relate my transgressions, maliciously exaggerated, 
or adorned with embellishments of his own ; and often, in con- 
sequence, was I on the point of losing or resigning my situation. 
But, for their sakes at home, I smothered my pride and sup- 
pressed my indignation, and managed to struggle on till my 
little tormentor was despatched to school ; his father declaring 
that home education was "no go for him, it was plain ; his 
mother spoiled him outrageously, and his governess could make 
no hand of him at all." 

A few more observations about Horton Lodge and its ongoings, 
and I have done with dry description for the present. The house 
was a very respectable one ; superior to Mr. Bloomfieli's, both 
in age, size, and magnificence : the garden was not so tastefully 
laid out ; but instead of the smooth-shaven lawn, the young trees 
guarded by palings, the grove of upstart poplars, and the plan- 
tation of firs, there was a wide park, stocked wdth deer, and 
beautified by fine old trees. The surrounding country itself was 
pleasant, as far as fertile fields, flourishing trees, quiet green 
lanes, and smiling hedges with wild flowers scattered along their 
banks, could make it ; but it was depressingly flat to one born 
and nurtured among the rugged hills of . 

We were situated nearly two miles from the village church, 
and, consequently, the family carriage was put in requisition 
every Sunday morning, and sometimes oftener. Mr. and Mrs. 
Murray generally thought it sufficient to show themselves at 
church once in the course of the day ; but frequently the children 
preferred going a second time to wandering about the grounds 
all the day with nothing to do. If some of my pupils chose to 
walk and take me with them, it was well for me ; for otherwise, 
my position in the carriage was, to be crushed into the corner 
farthest from the open window, and with my back to the horses : 
a position which invariably made me sick ; and, if I were not 
actually obliged to leave the church in the middle of the service, 
my devotions were disturbed with a feeling of languor and sick- 



356 AGNES GREY. 

liness, and the tormenting fear of its becoming worse ; and a 
depressing headache was generally my companion throughout 
the day, which would otherwise have been one of welcome rest, 
and holy, calm enjoyment. 

"It's very odd. Miss Grey, that the carriage should always 
make you sick : it never makes vie," remarked Miss Matilda. 

" Nor me either," said her sister, "but I dare say it would, 
if I sat where she does — such a nasty, horrid place. Miss Grey ;• 
I wonder how you can bear it ! " 

I am obliged to bear it, since no choice is left me — I might have 
answered ; but in tenderness for their feelings I only replied — 
" Oh ! it is but a short way, and if I am not sick in church, I 
don't mind it." 

If I were called upon to give a description of the usual divisions 
and arrangements of the day, I should find it a very difficult matter. 
I had all my meals in the schoolroom with my pupils, at such times 
as suited their fancy : sometimes they would ring for dinner before 
it was half-cooked ; sometimes they would keep it waiting on the 
table for above an hour, and then be out of humour because the 
potatoes were cold, and the gravy covered with cakes of solid fat ; 
sometimes they would have tea at four ; frequently, they would 
storm at the servants because it was not in precisely at five ; and 
when these orders were obeyed, by way of encouragement to 
punctuality, they would keep it on the table till seven or eight. 

Their hours of study were managed in much the same way ; ray 
judgment or convenience was never once consulted. Sometimes 
Matilda and John would determine ' ' to get all the plaguy business 
over before breakfast," and send the maid to call me up at half- 
past five, without any scruple or apology ; sometimes, I was told 
to be ready precisely at six, and, having dressed in a hurry, came 
down to an empty room, and after waiting a long time in suspense, 
discovered that they had changed their minds, and were still in 
bed ; or perhaps, if it were a fine summer morning. Brown would 
come to tell me that the young ladies and gentlemen had taken 
a holiday, and were gone out ; and then, I was kept waiting for 
breakfast till I was almost ready to faint : they having fortified 
themselves with something before they went. 

Often they would do their lessons in the open air ; which I had 
nothing to say against : except that I frequently caught cold by 
sitting on the damp grass, or from exposure to the evening dew, 
or some insidious draught, which seemed to have no injurious 



AGNES GREY. 357 

effect on them. It was quite right that they should be hardy ; 
yet, surely, they might have been taught some consideration for 
others who were less so. But I must not blame them for what 
was, perhaps, my own fault ; for I never made any particular 
objections to sitting where they pleased ; foolishly choosing to 
risk the consequences, rather than trouble them for my con- 
venience. Their indecorous manner of doing their lessons was 
quite as remarkable as the caprice displayed in their choice of time 
and place. "While receiving my instructions, or repeating what 
they had learned, they would lounge upon the sofa, lie on the rug, 
stretch, yawn, talk to each other, or look out of the window; 
whereas, I could not so much as stir the fire, or pick up the 
handkerchief I had dropped, without being rebuked for inatten- 
tion by one of my pupils, or told that " mamma would not like 
me to be so careless." 

The servants, seeing in what little estimation the governess was 
held by both parents and children, regulated their behaviour by 
the same standard. I have frequently stood up for them, at the 
risk of some injury to myself, against the tyranny and injustice of 
their young masters and mistresses ; and I always endeavoured to 
give them as little trouble as possible : but they entirely neglected 
my comfort, despised my requests, and slighted my directions. 
All servants, I am convinced, would not have done so ; but 
domestics in general, being ignorant and little accustomed to 
reason and reflection, are too easily corrupted by the carelessness 
•and bad example of those above them ; and these, I think, were 
not of the best order to begin with. 

I sometimes felt myself degraded by the life I led, and ashamed 
of submitting to so many indignities ; and sometimes I thought 
myself a fool for caring so much about them, and feared I must 
be sadly wanting in Christian humility, or that charity which 
"suffereth long and is kind, seeketh not her own, is not easily 
provoked, beareth all things, endureth all things. " But, with time 
and patience, matters began to be slightly ameliorated : slowly, 
it is true, and almost imperceptibly ; but I got rid of my male 
pupils (that was no trifling advantage), and the girls, as I inti- 
mated before concerning one of them, became a little less insolent, 
and began to show some symptoms of esteem. " Miss Grey was 
a queer creature : she never flattered, and did not praise them 
half enough ; but whenever she did speak favourably of them, or 
anything belonging to them, they could be quite sure her appro- 



358 AGNES GREY. 

bation was sincere. She was very obliging, quiet, and peaceable 
in the main, but there were some things that put her out of 
temper : they did not much care for that, to be sure, but still it 
was better to keep her in tune ; as when she was hi a good humour 
she would talk to them, and be very agreeable and amusing some- 
times, in her way ; which was quite different to mamma's, but still 
very well for a change. She had her own opinions on every sub- 
ject, and kept steadily to them — very tiresome opinions they often 
were ; as she was always thinking of what was right and what 
was wrong, and had a strange reverence for matters connected 
with religion, and an unaccountable liking for good people." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE "COMING OUT." 

At eighteen. Miss Murray was to emerge from the quiet ob- 
scurity of the schoolroom into the full blaze of the fashionable 
world — as much of it, at least, as could be had out of London ; 
for her papa could not be persuaded to leave his rural pleasures 
and pursuits, even for a few weeks' residence in town. She 
was to make her dihut on the 3rd of January, at a magnificent 
ball, which her mamma proposed to give to all nobility and 

choice gentry of O and its neighbourhood for twenty miles 

round. Of course, she looked forward to it with the wildest im- 
patience, and the most extravagant anticipations of delight. 

" Miss Grey," said she, one evening, a month before the all- 
important day, as I was perusing a long and extremely interesting 
letter of my sister's — which I had just glanced at in the morning 
to see that it contained no very bad news, and kept till now, un- 
able before to find a quiet moment for reading it — " Miss Grey, 
do put away that dull, stupid letter, and listen to me ! I'm sure 
my talk must be far more amusing than that." 

She seated herself on the low stool at my feet ; and I, sup- 
pressing a sigh of vexation, began to fold up the epistle. 

"You should tell the good people at home not to bore you 
with such long letters," said she ; "and above all, do bid them 
write on proper note-paper, and not on those great vulgar sheets. 
You shotald see the charming little ladylike notes mamma writes 
to her friends." 



AGNES GREY. 



3)9 



" The good people at home," replied I, "know very well that 
the longer their letters are, the better I like them. I should be 
very sorry to receive a charming little ladylike note from any of 
them ; and I thought you were too much of a lady yourself, 
Miss Murray, to talk about the ' vulgarity ' of writing on a large 
sheet of paper." 

" Well, I only said it to tease you. But now I want to talk 
about the ball ; and to tell you that you positively must put off 
your holidays till it is over." 

" Why so? — I shall not be present at the ball." 

' ' No, but you will see the rooms decked out before it begins, 
and hear the music, and, above all, see me in my splendid new 
dress. I shall be so charming, you'll be ready to worship me— 
you really must stay." 

' ' I should like to see you very much ; but I shall have many 
opportunities of seeing you equally charming, on the occasion of 
some of the numberless balls and parties that are to be, and I 
cannot disappoint my friends by postponing my return so long." 

' ' Oh, never mind your friends ! Tell them we won't let you go. " 

' ' But, to say the truth, it would be a disappointment to myself : 
I long to see them as much as they to see me — perhaps more." 

" Well, but it is such a short time." 

" Nearly a fortnight by my computation ; and, besides, I can- 
not bear the thoughts of a Christmas spent from home : and, 
moreover, my sister is going to be married." 

" Is she — when?" 

" Not till next month ; but I want to be there to assist her in 
making preparations, and to make the best of her company 
while we have her." 

"Why didn't you tell me before ? " 

" I've only got the news in this letter, which you stigmatise as 
dull and stupid, and won't let me read." 

" To whom is she to be married?" 

" To Mr. Richardson, the vicar of a neighbouring parish." 

" Is he rich?" 

" No ; only comfortable." 

" Is he handsome ? " 

" No, only decent." 

" Young?" 

" No ; only middling." 

' ' O mercy ! what a wretch ! What sort of a house is it ? " 



360 AGNES GREY. 

"A quiet little vicarage, with an ivy-clad porch, an old- 
fashioned garden, and " 

" O stop ! — you'll make me sick. How caji she bear it ?" 

" I expect she'll not only be able to bear it, but to be very 
happy. You did not ask me if Mr. Richardson were a good, 
wise, or amiable man ; I could have answered Yes, to all these 
questions — at least so Mary thinks, and I hope she will not find 
herself mistaken." 

' ' But — miserable creature ! how can she think of spending 
her life there, cooped up with that nasty old man ; and no hope 
of change?" 

" He is not old : he's only six or seven and thirty ; and she 
herself is twenty-eight, and as sober as if she were fifty." 

" Oh ! that's better then — they're well matched : but do they 
call him the ' worthy vicar ' ? " 

" I don't know ; but if they do, I believe he merits the epithet." 

" Mercy, how shocking ! and will she wear a white apron, and 
make pies and puddings?" 

" I don't know about the white apron, but I dare say she will 
make pies and puddings now and then ; but that will be no 
great hardship, as she has done it before." 

"And will she go about in a plain shawl, and a large straw 
bonnet, carrying tracts and bone soup to her husband's poor 
parishioners?" 

" I'm not clear about that ; but I dare say she will do her best 
to make them comfortable in body and mind, in accordance with 
our mother's example." 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE BALL, 

"Now, Miss Grey," exclaimed Miss Murray, immediately I 
entered the schoolroom, after having taken off my outdoor gar- 
ments, upon returning from my four weeks' recreation, " Now — 
shut the door, and sit down, and I'll tell you all about the ball." 

"No, — damn it, no!" shouted Miss Matilda. "Hold your 
tongue, can't ye ? and let me tell her about my new mare — such 
a splendour. Miss Grey ! a fine blood mare " 

" Do be quiet, Matilda ; and let me tell my news first," 



AGNES GREY. 36 1 

" No, no, Rosalie ; you'll be such a damned long time over it 
— she shall hear me first — I'll be hanged if she doesn't ! " 

" I'm sorry to hear, Miss Matilda, that you've not got rid of 
that shocking habit yet." 

" Well, I can't help it : but I'll never say a wicked word again, 
if you'll only listen to me, and tell Rosahe to hold her confounded 
tongue." 

Rosalie remonstrated, and I thought I should have been torn in 
pieces between them ; but Miss Matilda having the loudest voice, 
her sister at length gave in, and suffered her to tell her story first : 
so I was doomed to hear a long account of her splendid mare, its 
breeding and pedigree, its paces, its action, its spirit, &c. , and of 
her own amazing skill and courage in riding it ; concluding with 
an assertion that she could clear a five-barred gate ' ' like winking," 
that papa said she might hunt the next time the hounds met, and 
mamma had ordered a bright scarlet hunting-habit for her. 

" Oh, Matilda ! what stories you are telling ! " exclaimed her 
sister. 

"Well," answered she, no whit abashed, "I know I could 
clear a five-barred gate, if I tried, and papa will say I may 
hunt, and mamma will order the habit when I ask it." 

" Well, now get along," replied Miss Murray ; " and do, dear 
Alatilda, try to be a little more ladylike. Miss Grey, I wish you 
7voi(ld tell her not to use such shocking words ; she will call her 
horse a mare : it is so inconceivably shocking ! and then she uses 
such dreadful expressions in describing it : she i?mst have learned 
it from the grooms. It nearly puts me into fits when she begins." 

" I learned it from papa, you ass ! and his jolly friends," said 
the young lady, vigorously cracking a hunting-whip, which she 
habitually carried in her hand. "I'm as good a judge of horse- 
flesh as the best of 'm." 

" Well, now get along, you shocking girl ! I really shall take a 
fit if you go on in such a way. And now, Miss Grey, attend to 
me ; I'm going to tell you about the ball. You must be dying to 
hear about it, I know. Oh, sjich a ball ! You never saw or heard, 
or read, or dreamt of anything like it in all your life ! The decora- 
tions, the entertainment, the supper, the music were indescribable ! 
and then the guests ! There were two noblemen, three "baronets, 
and five titled ladies, and other ladies and gentlemen innumerable. 
The ladies, of course, were of no consequence to me, except to put 
me in a good humour with myself, by showing how ugly and 



362 AGNES GREY. 

awkward most of them were ; and the best, mamma told me, — 
the most transcendent beauties among them, were nothing to 
me. As for mc, Miss Grey— I'm so sony you didn't see me ! I 
was charming — wasn't I, Matilda?" 

"Middling." 

" No, but I really was—'aX least so mamma said — and Brown 
and Williamson. Brown said she was sure no gentleman could 
set eyes on me without falling in love that minute ; and so I may 
be allowed to be a little vain. I know you think me a shocking, 
conceited, frivolous girl ; but then, you know, I don't attribute 
it all to my personal attractions : I give some praise to the hair- 
dresser, and some to my exquisitely lovely dress — you must see it 
to-morrow — white gauze over pink satin — and so sweetly made ! 
and a necklace and bracelet of beautiful, large pearls ! " 

" I have no doubt you looked very charming : but should that 
delight you so very much?" 

"Oh, no ! — not that alone ! but then, I was so much admired ; 
and I made so majiy conquests in that one night — you'd be aston- 
ished to hear" 

" But what good will they do you?" 

"What good ! Think of any woman asking that ! " 

" Well, I should think one conquest would be enough ; and 
too much, unless the subjugation were mutual." 

" Oh, but you know I never agree with you on those points. 
Now, wait a bit, and I'll tell you my principal admirers — those 
who made themselves very conspicuous that night and after : for 
I've been to two parties since. Unfortunately the two noblemen, 

Lord G and Lord F , were married, or I might have 

condescended to be particularly gracious to them ; as it was, I 

did not : though Lord F , who hates his wife, was evidently 

much struck with me. He asked me to dance with him twice — 
he is a charming dancer, by-the-bye, and so am I : you can't 
think how well I did — I was astonished at myself. My lord was 
very complimentary too— rather too much so in fact — and I 
thought proper to be a little haughty and repellent ; but I had 
the pleasure of seeing his nasty, cross wife ready to perish with 
spite and vexation" 

" Oh, Miss Murray ! you don't mean to say that such a thing 
could really give you pleasure ! However cross or " 

"Well, I know it's very wrong; — but never mind ! I mean 
to be good some time — only don't preach now, there's a good 



AGNES GREY. 36 J 

■creature. I haven't told you half yet. Let me see. Oh ! I was 
going to tell you how many unmistakable admirers I had : — Sir 
Thomas Ashby was one, — Sir Hugh Meltham and Sir Broadley 
Wilson are old codgers, only fit companions for papa and mamma. 
Sir Thomas is young, rich, and gay ; but an ugly beast, never- 
theless : however, mamma says I should not mind that after a 
few months' acquaintance. Then, there was Henry Meltham, 
Sir Hugh's younger son : rather good-looking, and a pleasant 
fellow to flirt with : but being a younger son, that is all he is 
good for ; then there was young Mr. Green, rich enough, but of 
no family, and a great stupid fellow, a mere country booby ; and 
then, our good rector, Mr. Hatfield : an humble admirer he 
ought to consider himself ; but I fear he has forgotten to number 
humility among his stock of Christian virtues." 

" Was Mr. Hatfield at the ball?" 

" Yes, to be sure. Did you think he was too good to go?" 

" I thought he might consider it unclerical." 

" By ;2t> means. He did not profane his cloth by dancing ! 
but it was with difficulty he could refrain, poor man : he looked 
as if be were dying to ask my hand just for one set ; and— oh ! 
by-the-bye — he's got a new curate : that seedy old fellow Mr. 
Bligh has got his long-wished-for living at last, and is gone." 

" And what is the new one like? " 

" Oh, .f^^i:/^ a beast ! Weston his name is. I can give you his 
•description in three words — an insensate, ugly, stupid block- 
head. That's four, but no matter — enough oi him now." 

Then she returned to the ball, and gave me a further account 
of her deportment there, and at the several parties she had since 
attended ; and further particulars respecting Sir Thomas Ashby 
and Messrs. Meltham, Green, and Hatfield, and the ineffaceable 
impression she had wrought upon each of them. 

" Well, which of the four do you like best ? " said I, suppress- 
ing my third or fourth yawn, 

" I detest them all ! " replied she, shaking her bright ringlets 
in vivacious scorn. 

"That means, I suppose, I like them all — but which most? " 

" Xo, I really detest them all ; but Harry Meltham is the hand- 
somest and most amusing, and Mr. Hatfield the cleverest, Sir 
Thomas the wickedest, and Mr. Green the most stupid. But 
the one I'm to have, I suppose, if I'm doomed to have any of 
them, is Sir Thomas Ashby." 



364 AGNES GREY. 

"Surely not, if he's so wicked, and if you dislike him?" 
"Oh, I don't mind his being wicked : he's all the better for 
that ; and as for disliking him — I shouldn't greatly object to being 
Lady Ashby of Ashby Park, if I must marry. But if I could be 
always young, I would be always single. I should like to enjoy 
myself thoroughly, and coquet with all the world, till I am on the 
verge of being called an old maid ; and then, to escape the infamy 
of that, after having made ten thousand conquests, to break all 
their hearts save one, by marrying some high-born, rich, indul- 
gent husband, whom, on the other hand, fifty ladies were dying 
to have." 

"Well, as long as you entertain these views, keep single by all 
means, and never marry at all : not even to escape the infamy 
of old-maidenhood." 



CHAPTER X. 

THE CHURCH. 

"Well, IVIiss Grey, what do you think of the new curate?" 
asked Miss Murray, on our return from church the Sunday 
after the recommencement of our duties. 

" I can scarcely tell," was my reply : "I have not even heard 
him preach." 

"Well, but you saw him, didn't you?" 

" Yes, but I cannot pretend to judge of a man's character by 
a single, cursory glance at his face." 

"But isn't he ugly?" 

" He did not strike me as being particularly so ; I don't dislike 
that cast of countenance : but the only thing I particularly noticed 
about him was his style of reading ; which appeared to me good 
— infinitely better, at least, than Mr. Hatfield's. He read the 
Lessons as if he were bent on giving full effect to every passage : 
it seemed as if the most careless person could not have helped 
attending, nor the most ignorant have failed to understand ; 
and the prayers he read as if he were not reading at all, but 
praying earnestly and sincerely from his own heart." 

" Oh, yes, that's all he is good for : he can plod through the 
service well enough ; but he has not a single idea beyond it." 

" How do you know?" 

" Oh ! I know perfectly well ; T am an excellent judge in such 



AGNES GREY. 365 

matters. Did you see how he went out of church? stumping 
along — as if there were nobody there but himself— never looking 
to the right hand or the left, and evidently thinking of nothing 
but just getting out of the church, and, perhaps, home to his 
dinner : his great stupid head could contain no other idea." 

' ' I suppose you would have had him cast a glance into the 
squire's pew," said I, laughing at the vehemence of her hostility. 

' ' Indeed ! I should have been highly indignant if he had 
dared to do such a thing ! " replied she, haughtily tossing her 
head; then, after a moment's reflection, she added — "Well, 
well ! I suppose he's good enough for his place : but I'm glad 
I'm not dependent on him for amusement— that's all. Did you 
see how Mr. Hatfield hurried out to get a bow from me, and be 
in time to put us into the carriage?" 

' ' Yes," answered I ; internally adding, "and I thought it some- 
what derogatory to his dignity as a clergyman to come flying from 
the pulpit in such eager haste to shake hands with the squire, 
and hand his wife and daughters into their carriage : and, more- 
over, I owe him a grudge for nearly shutting me out of it ; " for, 
in fact, though I was standing before his face, close beside the 
carriage steps, waiting to get in, he would persist in putting them 
up and closing the door, till one of the family stopped him by 
calling out that the governess was not in yet ; then, without a 
word of apology, he departed, wishing them good-morning, and 
leaving the footman to finish the business. 

Noia be?ie. — Mr. Hatfield never spoke to me, neither did Sir 
Hugh or Lady Meltham, nor Mr. Harry or Miss Meltham, nor 
Mr. Green or his sisters, nor any other lady or gentleman who 
frequented that church : nor, in fact, any one that visited at 
Horton Lodge. 

Miss jMurray ordered the carriage again, in the afternoon, for 
herself and her sister : she said it was too cold for them to enjoy 
themselves in the garden : and besides, she believed Harry i\Iel- 
tham would be at church. " For," said she, smiling slily at her 
o%vn fair image in the glass, "he has been a most exemplary 
attendant at church these last few Sundays : you would think 
he was quite a good Christian. And you may go with, us. Miss 
Grey : I want you to see him ; he is so greatly improved since 
be returned from abroad — you can't think ! And besides, then 
you will have an opportunity of seeing the beautiful Mr. Weston 
again, and of hearing him preach." 



366 AGNES GREY. 

I did hear him preach, and was decidedly pleased with the evan- 
gehcal truth of his doctrine, as well as the earnest simplicity of 
his manner, and the clearness and force of his style. It was truly 
refreshing to hear such a sermon, after being so long accustomed 
to the dry, prosy discourses of the former curate, and the still less 
edifying harangues of the rector. Mr. Hatfield would come sail- 
ing up the aisle, or rather sweeping along like a whirlwind, with 
this rich silk gown flying behind him and rustling against the pew 
doors, mount the pulpit like a conqueror ascending his triumphal 
car ; then, sinking on the velvet cushion in an attitude of studied 
grace, remain in silent prostration for a certain time ; then mutter 
over a Collect, and gabble through the Lord's Prayer, rise, draw 
off one bright lavender glove, to give the congregation the benefit 
of his sparkling rings, lightly pass his fingers through his well- 
curled hair, flourish a cambric handkerchief, recite a very short 
passage, or, perhaps, a mere phrase of Scripture, as a headpiece 
to his discourse, and, finally, deliver a composition which, as a 
composition, might be considered good, though far too studied 
and too artificial to be pleasing to me : the propositions were 
well laid down, the arguments logically conducted ; and yet, it 
was sometimes hard to listen quietly throughout, without some 
slight demonstrations of disapproval or impatience. 

His favourite subjects were Church disciphne, rites and cere- 
monies, apostoUcal succession, the duty of reverence and obedi- 
ence to the clergy, the atrocious criminality of dissent, the absolute 
necessity of observing all the forms of godliness, the reprehensible 
presumption of individuals who attempted to think for themselves 
in matters connected with religion, or to be guided by their own in- 
terpretations of Scripture, and occasionally (to please his wealthy 
parishioners) the necessity of deferential obedience from the poor 
to the rich — supporting his maxims and exhortations throughout 
with quotations from the Fathers : with whom he appeared to be 
far better acquainted than with the Apostles and Evangelists, and 
whose importance he seemed to consider at least equal to theirs. 
But now and then he gave us a sermon of a different order — what 
some would call a very good one ; but sunless and severe : repre- 
senting the Deity as a terrible task-master, rather than a benevo- 
lent father. Yet, as I listened, I felt inclined to think the man 
was sincere in all he said : he must have changed his views, and 
become decidedly religious ; gloomy and austere, yet still devout. 
But such illusions were usually dissipated, on coming out of 



AGNES GREY. 367 

church, by hearing his voice in jocund colloquy with some of the 
Melthams or Greens, or, perhaps, the Murrays themselves ; pro- 
bably laughing at his own sermon, and hoping that he had given 
the rascally people something to think about ; perchance, exult- 
ing in the thought that old Betty Holmes would now lay aside 
the sinful indulgence of her pipe, which had been her daily solace 
for upwards of thirty years ; that George Higgins would be 
frightened out of his Sabbath evening walks, and Thomas Jack- 
son would be sorely troubled in his conscience, and shaken in his 
sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection at the last day. 

Thus, I could not but conclude that Mr. Hatfield was one of 
those who " bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and 
lay them upon men's shoulders, while they themselves will not 
move them with one of their fingers," and who "make the word 
of God of none effect by their traditions, teaching for doctrines 
the commandments of men." I was well pleased to observe that 
the new curate resembled him, as far as I could see, in none of 
these particulars. 

" Well, Miss Grey, what do you think of him now? " said Miss 
Murray, as we took our places in the carriage after service. 

"No harm still," replied I. 

" No harm ! " repeated she, in amazement. "What do you 



mean 



" I mean, I think no worse of him than I did before." 

" No worse ! I should think not indeed— quite the contrary ! 
Is he not greatly improved?" 

" Oh, yes ; very much indeed," replied I ; for I had now dis- 
covered that it was Harry ^Meltham she meant, not Mr. Weston. 
That gentleman had eagerly come forward to speak to the young 
ladies : a thing he would hardly have ventured to d® had their 
mother been present ; he had likewise politely handed them into 
the carriage. He had not attempted to shut me out, like Mr, 
Hatfield ; neither, of course, had he offered me his assistance (I 
should not have accepted it, if he had), but as long as the door 
remained open he had stood smirking and chatting with them, 
and then lifted his hat and departed to his own abode : but I 
had scarcely noticed him all the time. My companions, how- 
ever, had been more observant ; and, as we rolled along, they 
discussed between them not only his looks, words, and actions, 
but every feature of his face, and every article of his apparel. 

"You shan't have him all to yourself, Rosalie," said Mis; 



368 AGNES GREY. 

Matilda at the close of this discussion ; " I like him : I know 
he'd make a nice, jolly companion for me." 

"Well, you're quite welcome to him, Matilda," replied her 
sister, in a tone of affected indifference. 

"And I'm sure," continued the other, "he admires me quite 
as much as he does you ; doesn't he. Miss Grey?" 

" I don't know ; I'm not acquainted with his sentiments." 

"Well, but he does though." 

" My dear Matilda ! nobody will ever admire you till you get 
rid of your rough, awkward manners." 

"Oh, stuff! Harry Meltham likes such manners; and so do 
papa's friends." 

"Well, you may captivate old men, and younger sons ; but 
nobody else, I am sure, will ever take a fancy to you." 

"I don't care: I'm not always grubbing after money, like 
you and mamma. If my husband is able to keep a few good 
horses and dogs, I shall be quite satisfied ; and all the rest may 
go to the devil ! " 

" Well, if you use such shocking expressions, I'm sure no real 
gentleman will ever venture to come near you. Really, Miss 
Grey, you should not let her do so." 

" I can't possibly prevent it. Miss Murray." 

' ' And you're quite mistaken, Matilda, in supposing that Harry 
Meltham admires you : I assure you he does nothing of the 
kind." 

Matilda was beginning an angry reply ; but, happily, our jour- 
ney was now at an end ; and the contention was cut short by the 
footman opening the carriage door, and letting down the steps 
for our descent. 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE COTTAGERS. 

As I had now only one regular pupil— though she contrived to 
give me as much trouble as three or four ordinary ones, and 
though her sister still took lessons in German and drawing — I had 
considerably more time at my o\\ n disposal than I had ever been 
blessed with before, since I had taken upon me the governess's 
yoke ; which time I devoted partly to correspondence with my 



AGNES GREY. 369 

friends, partly to reading, study, and the practice of music, sing- 
ing, &.C., partly to wandering in the grounds or adjacent fields, 
with my pupils if they wanted me, alone if they did not. 

Often, when they had no more agreeable occupation at hand, 
the Misses Murray would amuse themselves with visiting the 
poor cottagers on their father's estate, to receive their flattering 
homage, or to hear the old stories or gossiping news of the garru- 
lous old women ; or, perhaps, to enjoy the purer pleasure of mak 
ing the poor people happy with their cheering presence and their 
occasional gifts, so easily bestowed, so thankfully received. Some- 
times, I was called upon to accompany one or both of the sisters 
in these visits ; and sometimes I was desired to go alone, to fulfil 
some promise which they had been more ready to make than 
to perform ; to carry some small donation, or read to one who 
was sick or seriously disposed : and thus I made a few acquaint- 
ances among the cottagei's ; and, occasionally, I went to see them 
on my own account. 

I generally had more satisfaction in going alone than with either 
of the young ladies ; for they, chiefly owing to their defective educa- 
tion, comported themselves towards their inferiors in a manner 
that was highly disagreeable for me to witness. They never, in 
thought, exchanged places with them; and, consequently, had 
no consideration for their feelings, regarding them as an ordei 
of beings entirely different from themselves. They would watch 
the poor creatures at their meals, making uncivil remarks about 
their food, and their manner of eating ; they would laugh at their 
simple notions and provincial expressions, till some of them 
scarcely durst venture to speak ; they would call the grave elderly 
men and women old fools and silly old blockheads to their faces ; 
and all this without meaning to offend. I could see that the 
people were often hurt and annoyed by such conduct, though 
their fear of the " grand ladies " prevented them from testifying 
any resentment ; but ^ksj never perceived it. They thought that, 
as these cottagers were poor and untaught, they must be stupid 
and brutish ; and as long as they, their superiors, condescended 
to talk to them, and to give them shillings and half-crowns, or 
articles of clothing, they had a right to amuse themselves, even 
at their expense ; and the people must adore them as "angels of 
light, condescending to minister to their necessities, and enlighten 
their humble dwellings. 

I made many and various attempt? to deliver m^- pupils from 



370 AGNES GREY. 

these delusive notions without alarming their pride — which was f 
easily offended, and not soon appeased — but with little apparent i 
result ; and I know not which was the more reprehensible of the 
two : Matilda was more rude and boisterous ; but from Rosalie's 
womanly age and ladylike exterior better things were expected : 
yet she was as provokingly careless and inconsiderate as a giddy 
child of twelve. 

One bright day in the last week of February, I was walking in 
the park, enjoying the threefold luxury of solitude, a book, and 
pleasant weather ; for Miss Matilda had set out on her daily 
ride, and Miss Murray was gone in the carriage with her mamma 
to pay some morning calls. But it struck me that I ought to 
leave these selfish pleasures, and the park with its glorious canopy 
of bright blue sky, the west wind sounding through its yet leafless 
branches, the snow-wreaths still lingering in its hollows, but 
melting fast beneath the sun, and the graceful deer browsing on 
its moist herbage, already assuming the freshness and verdure of 
spring — and go to the cottage of one Nancy Brown, a widow, 
whose son was at work all day in the fields, and who was afflicted 
with an inflammation in the eyes ; which had for some time 
incapacitated her from reading : to her own great grief, for she 
was a woman of a serious, thoughtful turn of mind. I accord- 
ingly went, and found her alone, as usual, in her httle, close, 
dark cottage, redolent of smoke and confined air, but as tidy and 
clean as she could make it. She was seated beside her little fire 
(consisting of a few red cinders and a bit of stick), busily knitting, 
with a small sackcloth cushion at her feet, placed for the accom- 
modation of her gentle friend the cat ; who was seated thereon 
with her long tail half encircling her velvet paws, and her half- 
closed eyes dreamily gazing on the low, crooked fender. 

"Well, Nancy, how are you to-day ? " 

"Why, middling, miss, i' myseln — my eyes is no better, but 
I'm a deal easier i' my mind nor I have been," replied she, rising 
to welcome me with a contented smile : which I was glad to see, 
for Nancy had been somewhat afflicted with religious melancholy. 
I congratulated her upon the change. She agreed that it was a 
great blessing, and expressed herself ' ' right down thankful for 
it ; " adding, " If it please God to spare my sight, and make me 
so as I can read my Bible again, I think I shall be as happy as 
a queen." 

"I hope He will, Nancy," replied I; "and, meantime, I'll 



AGNES GREY. 37 1 

come and read to )^ou now and then, when I have a httle time 
to spare." 

With expressions of gi-ateful pleasure, the poor woman moved 
to get me a chair ; but, as I saved her the trouble, she busied 
herself with stirring the fire, and adding a few more sticks to the 
decaying embers ; and then, taking her well-used Bible from the 
shelf, dusted it carefully, and gave it me. On my asking if there 
was any particular part she should like me to read, she answered — 

" Well, Miss Grey, if it's all the same to you I should like to 
hear that chapter in the First Epistle of St. John, that says, ' God 
is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God 
in him.' " 

With a little searching, I found these words in the fourth 
chapter. When I came to the seventh verse she interrupted me, 
and, with needless apologies for such a liberty, desired me to 
read it very slowly, that she might take it all in, and dwell on 
every word ; hoping I would excuse her, as she was but a ' ' simple 
body." 

"The wisest person," I replied, "might think over each of 
these verses for an hour, and be all the better for it ; and I would 
rather read them slowly than not." 

Accordingly, I finished the chapter as slowly as need be, and 
at the same time as impressively as I could ; my auditor listened 
most attentively all the while, and sincerely thanked me when I 
had done. I sat still about half a minute to give her time to 
reflect upon it ; when, somewhat to my surprise, she broke the 
pause by asking me how I liked Mr. Weston ? 

" I don't know," I replied, a little startled by the suddenness 
of the question ; "I think he preaches very well." 

" Ay, he does so ; and talks well too." 

" Does he?" 

" He does. Maybe, you haven't seen him — not to talk to 
him much, yet?" 

" No, I never see any one to talk to— except the young ladies 
of the hall." 

"Ah ; they're nice, kind young ladies ; but they can't talk as 
he does." 

' ' Then he comes to see you, Nancy ? " 

" He does, miss ; and I'se thankful for it. He comes to see 
all us poor bodies a deal ofter nor Maister Bligh, or th' Rector 
ever did ; an' it's well he does, for he's always welcome : we 



372 AGNES GREY. 

can't say as much for th' Rector — there is 'at says they're fair 
feared on him. When he comes into a liouse, they say he's sure 
to find summut wrong, and begin a cahing 'em as soon as he 
crosses th' doorstuns : but maybe he thinks it his duty-hke to 
tell 'em what's wrong. And very oft he comes o' purpose to 
reprove folk for not coming to church, or not kneeling an' stand- 
ing when other folk does, or going to the Methody chapel, or 
summut o' that sort : but I can't say 'at he ever fund much fault 
wi' me. He came to see me once or twice, afore Maister Weston 
come, when I was so ill troubled in my mind ; and as I had only 
very poor health besides, I made bold to send for him — and he 
came right enough. I was sore distressed. Miss Grey — thank 
God, it's owered now — but when I took my Bible, I could get 
no comfort of it at all. That very chapter 'at you've just been 
reading troubled me as much as aught — ' He tliat loveth not, 
knoweth not God.' It seemed fearsome to me ; for I felt that 
I loved neither God nor man as I should do, and could not, if 
I tried ever so. And th' chapter afore, where it says — ' He that 
is born of God cannot commit sin.' And another place where 
it says—' Love is the fulfilling of the Law.' And many, many 
others, miss ; I should fair weary you out, if I was to tell them 
all. But all seemed to condemn me, and to show me 'at I was 
not in the right way ; and as I knew not how to get into it, I 
sent our Bill to beg Maister Hatfield to be as kind as look in on 
me some day ; and when he came, 1 telled him all my troubles." 

"And what did he say, Nancy ? " 

" Why, miss, he seemed to scorn me. I might be mista'en— 
but he like gave a sort of a whistle, and I saw a bit of a smile 
on his face ; and he said, ' Oh it's all stuff! You've been among 
the Methodists, my good woman.' But I telled him I'd never 
been near the Methodies. And then he said— 

"'Well,' says he, 'you must come to church, where you'll 
hear the Scriptures properly explained, instead of sitting poring 
over your Bible at home.' 

"But I telled him I always used coming to church when I 
had my health ; but this very cold winter weather I hardly durst 
venture so far — and me so bad wi' th' rheumatiz and all. 

"But he says, 'It'll do your rheumatiz good to hobble to 
church : there's nothing like exercise for the rheumatiz. You 
can walk about the house well enough ; why can't you walk to 
church ? The fact is,' says he, ' you're getting too fond of your 



AGNES GREY. 575 

ease. It's always easy to find excuses for shirking one's 
duty. ' 

"But then, you know, Miss Grey, it wasn't so. However, 
I telled him I'd try. ' But please, sir," says I, "if I do go to 
church, what the better shall I be? I want to have my sins 
blotted out, and to feel that they are remembered no more 
against me, and that the love of God is shed abroad in my heart ; 
and if I can get no good by reading my Bible an' saying my 
prayers at home, what good shall I get by going to church?' 

" 'The church,' says he, 'is the place appointed by God for 
His worship. It's your duty to go there as often as you can. 
If you want comfort, you must seek it in the path of duty ' — an' 
a deal more he said, but I cannot remember all his fine words. 
However, it all came to this, that I was to come to church as 
oft as ever I could, and bring my Prayer-book with me, an' read 
up all the sponsers after the clerk, an' stand, an' kneel, an' sit, 
an' do all as I should, and take the Lord's Supper at every 
opportunity, an' hearken his sermons, and Maister Bligh's, an' 
it 'ud be all right : if I went on doing my duty, I should get 
a blessing at last. 

" ' But if you get no comfort that way,' says he, ' it's all up.' 

" 'Then sir,' says I, 'should you think I'm a reprobate?' 

" ' Wliy,' says he — he says, 'if you do your best to get to 
heaven and can't manage it, you must be one of those that seek 
to enter in at the strait gate and shall not be able.' 

" An' then he asked me if I'd seen any of the ladies o' th' Hall 
about that mornin'; so I telled him where I had seen the young 
missis go on th' Moss-lane ; — an' he kicked my poor cat right 
across th' floor, an' went after 'em as gay as a lark : but I was 
very sad. That last word o' his fair sunk into my heart, an' lay 
there like a lump o' lead, till I was weary to bear it, 

" Howsever, I follered his advice: I thought he meant it all 
for th' best, though he had a queer way with him. But you 
know, miss, he's rich an' young, and such like cannot right 
understand the thoughts of a poor old woman such as me. But 
howsever, I did my best to do all as he bade me — but maybe 
I'm plaguing j'ou, miss, wi' my chatter." 

" Oh no, Nancy ! Go on, and tell me all." 

"Well, my rheumatiz got better — I know not whether wi' 
going to church or not, but one frosty Sunday I got this cold 
i' my eyes. Th' inflammation didn't come on all at once like. 



374 AGNES GREY. 

but bit by bit — but I wasn't going to tell you about my eyes, 
I was talking about my trouble o' mind ; — and to tell the truth, 
Miss Grey, I don't think it was anyways eased by coming to 
church — nought to speak on, at least : I like got my health 
better ; but that didn't mend my soul. I hearkened and heark- 
ened the ministers, and read an' read at my Prayer-book ; but it 
was all like sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal : the sermons 
I couldn't understand, an' th' Prayer-book only served to show 
me how wicked I was, that I could read such good words an' 
never be no better for it, and oftens feel it a sore labour an' a 
heavy task beside, instead of a blessing and a privilege as all 
good Christians does. It seemed like as all were barren an' 
dark to me. And then, them dreadful words, ' Many shall seek 
to enter in, and shall not be able.' They like as they fair dried 
up my sperrit. 

' ' But one Sunday, when Maister Hatfield gave out about the 
sacrament, I noticed where he said, ' If there be any of you that 
cannot quiet his own conscience, but requireth further comfort 
or counsel, let him come to me, or some other discreet and 
learned minister of God's word, and open his grief ! ' So, next 
Sunday morning, afore service, I just looked into the vestry, 
an' began a talking to th' Rector again. I hardly could fashion 
to take such a liberty, but I thought when my soul was at stake 
I shouldn't stick at a trifle. But he said he hadn't time to 
attend to me then. 

"'And, indeed,' says he, ' I've nothing to say to you but 
what I've said before. Take the sacrament, of course, and go 
on doing your duty ; and if that won't serve you, nothing will. 
So don't bother me any more.' 

"So then, I went away. But I heard Maister Weston — • 
Maister Weston was there, miss — this was his first Sunday at 
Horton, you know, an' he was i' th' vestry in his surplice, 
helping th' Rector on with his gown." 

"Yes, Nancy." 

"And I heard him ask Maister Hatfield who I w^as ; an' he 
says, ' Oh, she's a canting old fool' 

"And I was very ill grieved, Miss Grey; but I went to my 
seat, and I tried to do my duty as aforetime : but I like got no 
peace. An' I even took the sacrament ; but I felt as though I 
were eating and drinking to my own damnation all th' time. 
So I went home, sorely troubled. 



AGNES GREY. 375 

*• But next day, afore I'd gotten fettled up— for indeed, miss, 
['d no heart to sweeping an' fettling, an' washing pots ; so I sat 
lie down i' th" muck— who should come in but ^laister Weston ! 
I started siding stuff then, an" sweeping an' doing ; and I ex- 
pected he'd begin a calling me for my idle ways, as Maister 
Hatfield would a' done ; but I was mista'en : he only bid me good 
mornin' like, in a quiet dacent way. So I dusted him a chair, an" 
fettled up th' fireplace a bit ; but I hadn't forgotten th' Rector's 
words, so says I, ' I wonder, sir, you should give yourself that 
trouble, to come so far to see a "canting old fool," such as me.' 
" He seemed taken aback at that ; but he would fain persuade 
me 'a; the Rector was only in jest ; and when that wouldn't go, 
he says, 'Well, Nancy, you shouldn't think so much about it : 
Mr. Hatfield was a little out of humour just then : you know 
we're none of us perfect— even Moses spoke unadvisedly with his 
Hp^ But now sit down a minute, if you can spare the time, and 
tell me all your doubts and fears ; and I'll try to remove them. 

"So I sat me down anent him. He was quite a stranger, 
you know. Miss Grey, and even younger nor Maister Hatfield, 
I believe ; an' I had thought him not so pleasant-looking as 
him, and rather a bit crossish, at first to look at ; but he spake 
so civil like-and when th' cat, poor thing, jumped on to his 
knee, he only stroked her, and gave a bit of a smile : so i 
thought that was a good sign ; for once, when she did so to th 
Rector, he knocked her off. like as it might be in scorn and 
anger, poor thing. But you can't expect a cat to know manners 
like a Christian, you know, Miss Grey." 

" No ; of course not. Nancy. But what did Mr. Weston say 

then?" , . .• , 

"He said naught ; but he listened to me as steady an patient 
as could be, an' never a bit o' scorn about him ; so I went on, 
an' telled him all, just as I've telled you— an' more too. 

" ' Well,' says he. ' Mr. Hatfield was quite right in telling you 
to persevere in doing your duty ; but in advising you to go to 
church and attend to the service, and so on. he didn't mean that 
was the whole of a Christian's duty : he only thought you might 
there learn what more was to be done, and be led to take delight 
in those exercises, instead of finding them a task and a burden. 
And if you had asked him to explain those words that trouble 
you so much. I think he would have told you, that if many shall 
seek to enter in at the strait gate and shall not be able, it is 



376 AGNES GREY. 

their own sins that hinder them ; just as a man with a large sack 
on his bacic might wish to pass through a narrow doorway, and 
find it impossible to do so unless he would leave his sack behind 
him. But you, Nancy, I dare say, have no sins that you would 
not gladly throw aside, if you knew how?' 

" ' Indeed, sir, yoti speak truth,' said I. 

" 'Well,' says he, 'you know the first and great command- 
ment — and the second, which is like unto it — on which two com- 
mandments hang all the law and the prophets? You say you 
cannot love God ; but it strikes me that if you rightly consider 
who and what He is, you cannot help it. He is your father, your 
best friend : every blessing, everything good, pleasant, or useful, 
comes from Him ; and everything evil, everything you have reason 
to hate, to shun, or to fear, comes from Satan— /zVi- enemy as 
well as ours. And for this cause was God manifest in the flesh, 
that He might destroy the works of the devil : in one word, God 
is LOVE ; and the more of love we have within us, the nearer we 
are to Him, and the more of His spirit we possess.' 

" ' Well, sir,' I said, ' if I can always think on these things, I 
think I might well love God : but how can I love my neighbours, 
when they vex me, and be so contrairy and sinful as some on 
'em is?' 

" ' It may seem a hard matter,' says he, ' to love our neigh- 
bours, who have so much of what is evil about them, and whose 
faults so often awaken the evil that lingers within ourselves ; but 
remember that He made them, and He loves them ; and whoso- 
ever loveth him that begat, loveth him that is begotten also. 
And if God so loveth us, that He gave His only begotten Son to 
die for us, we ought also to love one another. But if you cannot 
feel positive affection for those who do not care for you, you can 
at least try to do to them as you would they should do unto you : 
you can endeavour to pity their failings and excuse their offences, 
and to do all the good you can to those about you. And if you 
accustom yourself to this, Nancy, the very effort itself will make 
you love them in some degree — to say nothing of the goodwill 
your kindness would beget in them, though they might have little 
else that is good about them. If we love God and wish to serve 
Him, let us try to be like Him, to do His work, to labour for His 
glory — which is the good of man — to hasten the coming of His 
kingdom, which is the peace and happiness of all the world: 
however powerless we may seem to be, in doing all the good we 



AGNES GREY. '3^']'] 

can through life, the humblest of us may do much towards it ; 
and let us dwell in love, that He may dwell in us and we in Him. 
The more happiness we bestow, the more we shall receive, even 
here ; and the greater will be our reward in heaven when we 
rest from our labours.' I believe, miss, them is his very words, 
for I've thought 'em ower many a time. An' then he took that 
Bible, an' read bits here and there, an* explained 'em as clear as 
the day : and it seemed like as a new light broke in on my soul ; 
an' I felt fair a glow about my heart, an' only wished poor Bill 
an' all the world could ha' been there, an' heard it all, and re- 
joiced wi' me. 

"After he was gone, Hannah Rogers, one o' th' neighbours, 
came in and wanted me to help her to wash. I telled her I 
couldn't just then, for I hadn't set on th' potaties for th' dinner, 
nor washed up th' breakfast stuff yet. So then she began a call- 
ing me for my nasty idle ways. I was a little bit vexed at first, 
but I never said nothing wrong to her : I only telled her, like all 
in a quiet way, 'at I'd had th' new parson to see me ; but I'd get 
done as quick as ever I could, an' then come an' help her. So 
then she softened down ; and my heart like as it warmed towards 
her, an' in a bit we was very good friends. An' so it is. Miss 
Grey, ' a soft answer turneth away wrath ; but grievous words 
stir up anger.' It isn't only in them you speak to, but in 
yourself." 

"Very true, Nancy, if we could always remember it." 

" Ay, if we could ! " 

"And did Mr. Weston ever come to see you again?" 

" Yes, many a time ; and since my eyes has been so bad, he's 
sat an' read to me by the half-hour together : but you know, 
miss, he has other folks to see, and other things to do — God bless 
him ! An' that next Sunday he preached szich a sermon ! His 
text was, ' Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest,' and them two blessed verses that follows. 
You wasn't there, miss, you was with your friends then — but it 
made me so happy ! And I am happy now, thank God ! an' I 
take a pleasure, now, in doing little bits o' jobs for ray neigh- 
bours — such as a poor old body 'a 'ts half blind can-do; and 
they take it kindly of me, just as he said. You see, miss, I'm 
knitting a pair o' stockings now ; — they're for Thomas Jackson ; 
he's a queerish old body, an' we've had many a bout at threap- 
ing, one anent t' other ; an' at times we've differed sorely. So I 



378 AGNES GREY. 

thought I couldn't do better nor knit him a pair o' warm stock- 
ings ; an' I've felt to like him a deal better, poor old man, sin' I 
began. It's turned out just as Maister Weston said," 

"Well, I'm very glad to see you so bappy, Nancy, and so 
wise : but I must go now ; I shall be wanted at the hall," said 
I ; and bidding her good-bye, I departed, promising to come 
again when I had time, and feeling nearly as happy as her- 
self. 

At another time, I went to read to a poor labourer who was in 
the last stage of consumption. The young ladies had been to 
see him, and somehow a promise of reading had been extracted 
from them ; but it was too mu:h trouble, so they begged me to 
do it instead. I went, willing.'y enough ; and there too I was 
gratified with the praises of Mr. Weston, both from the sick man 
and his wife. The former told me that he derived great comfort 
and benefit from the visits of the new parson, who frequently 
came to see him, and was " another guess sort of man " to Mr. 
Hatfield ; who before the other's arrival at Horton had now and 
then paid him a visit ; on which occasions he would always insist 
upon having the cottage door kept open, to admit the fresh air 
for his own convenience, without considering how it might injure 
the sufferer : and having opened his Prayer-book and hastily 
read over a part of the Service for the Sick, would hurry away 
again : if he did not stay to administer some harsh rebuke to the 
afflicted wife, or to make some thoughtless, not to say heartless, 
observation, radier calculated to increase than diminish the 
troubles of the suffering pair. 

" Whereas," said the man, " Maister Weston 'uU pray with 
me quite in a different fashion, an' talk to me as kind as owt ; 
an' oft read to me too, an' sit beside me just like a brother." 

"Just for all the world ! " exclaimed his wife ; "an about a 
three wik sin', when he seed how poor Jem. shivered wi' cold, an' 
what pitiful fires we kept, he axed if wer stock of coals was neady 
done. I telled him it was, an' we was ill set to get more : but 
you know,. mum, I didn't think o' him helping us ; but howsever, 
he sent us a sack o' coals next day ; an' we've had good fires 
ever sin : an' a great blessing it is, this winter time. But that's 
his way, Miss Grey : when he comes into a poor body's house 
a seein' sick folk, he like notices what they most stand i' need 
on; an' if he thinks they can't readily get it therseln, he never 
says nowt about it, but just gets it for 'cm. .'Xn' it isn't every- 



AGNES GREV. 379 

body 'at 'ud do that, 'at has as Httle as he has : for you know, 
mum, he's nowt at all to hve on but what he gets fra' th' rector, 
an' that's httle enough they say." 

I remembered then, with a species of exultation, that he had 
frequently been styled a vulgar brute by the amiable Miss 
Murray, because he wore a silver watch, and clothes not quite 
so bright and fresh as Mr. Hatfield's. 

In returning to the lodge I felt very happy, and thanked God 
that I had now something to think about : something to dwell 
on as a relief from the weary monotony, the lonely drudgery, of 
my present life : for I was lonely. Never, from month to month, 
from year to year, except during my brief intervals of rest at 
home, did I see one creature to whom I could open my heart, 
or freely speak my thoughts with any hope of sympathy, or even 
comprehension : never one, unless it were poor Nancy Brown, 
with whom I could enjoy a single moment of real social inter- 
course, or whose conversation was calculated to render me 
better, wiser, or happier than before ; or who, as far as I could 
see, could be greatly benefited by mine. My only companions 
had been unamiable children, and ignorant, wrong-headed girls ; 
from whose fatiguing folly, unbroken solitude was often a relief 
most earnestly desired and dearly prized. But to be restricted 
to such associates was a serious evil, both in its immediate effects 
and the consequences that were likely to ensue. Never a new 
idea or stirring thought came to me from without : and such as 
rose within me were, for the most part, miserably crushed at 
once, or doomed to sicken and fade away, because they could 
not see the light. 

Habitual associates are known to exercise a great influence 
over each other's minds and manners. Those whose actions are 
for ever before our eyes, whose words are ever in our ears, will 
naturally lead us, albeit against our will, slowly, gradually, 
imperceptibly, perhaps, to act and speak as they do. I will 
not presume to say how far this irresistible power of assimilation 
extends ; but if one civilised man were doomed to pass a dozen 
years amid a race of intractable savages, unless he had power 
to improve them, I greatly question whether, at the close of that 
period, he would not have become, at least, a barbarian himself. 
And I, as I could not make my young companions better, feared 
exceedingly that they would make me worse— would gradually 
bring my feelings, habits, capacities, to the level of their own ; 



380 AGNES GREY. 

without, however, imparting to me their light-heartedness and 
cheerful vivacity. 

Already, I seemed to feel my intellect deteriorating, my heart 
petrifying, my soul contracting ; and I trembled lest my very 
moral perceptions should become deadened, my distinctions of 
right and wrong confounded, and all my better faculties be sunk, 
at last, beneath the baneful influence of such a mode of life. The 
gross vapours of earth were gathering around me, and closing in 
upon my inward heaven ; and thus it was that Mr. Weston rose 
at length upon me, appearing like the morning-star in my horizon, 
to save me from the fear of utter darkness ; and I rejoiced that I 
had now a subject for contemplation that was above me, not 
beneath. I was glad to see that all the world was not made up 
of Bloomfields, Murrays, Hatfields, Ashbys, &:c. ; and that human 
excellence was not a mere dream of the imagination. When we 
hear a little good and no harm of a person, it is easy and pleasant 
to imagine more : in short, it is needless to analyse all my 
thoughts ; but Sunday was now become a day of peculiar delight 
to me (I. was now almost broken-in to the back corner in the 
carriage), for I liked to hear him — and I liked to see him, too ; 
though I knew he was not handsome, or even what is called 
agreeable, in outward aspect : but, certainly, he was not 
ugly. 

In stature he was a little, a very little, above the middle size ; 
the outline of his face would be pronounced too square for beauty, 
but to me it announced decision of character ; his dark brown hair 
was not carefully curled, like Mr. Hatfield's, but simply brushed 
aside over a broad white forehead ; the eyebrows, I suppose, 
were too projecting, but from under those dark brows there 
gleamed an eye of singular power, brown in colour, not large, 
and somewhat deep-set, but strikingly brilliant, and full of ex- 
pression ; there was character, too, in the mouth, something that 
bespoke a man of firm purpose and a habitual thinker ; and when 
he smiled — but I will not speak of that yet, for, at the time I 
mention, I had never seen him smile : and, indeed, his general 
appearance did not impress me with the idea of a man given to 
such a relaxation, nor of such an individual as the cottagers 
described him. I had early formed my opinion of him ; and, in 
spite of Miss Murray's objurgations, was fully convinced that he 
was a man of strong sense, firm faith, and ardent piety, but 
thoughtful and stern : and when I found that, to his other good 



AGNES GREW 3^1 

qualities, was added that of true benevolence and gentle, con- 
siderate kindness, the discovery, perhaps, delighted me the more, 
as I had not been prepared to expect it. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE SHOWER. 

The next visit I paid to Nancy Brown was in the second week 
in March : for, though I had many spare minutes during the day, 
I seldom could look upon an hour as entirely my own ; since, 
where everything was left to the caprices of Miss Matilda and her 
sister, there could be no order or regularity. Whatever occupa- 
tion I chose, when not actually busied about them or their 
concerns, I had, as it were, to keep my loins girded, my shoes on 
my feet, and my staff in my hand ; for not to be immediately 
forthcoming when called for, was regarded as a grave and in- 
excusable offence : not only by my pupils and their mother, but 
by the very servant, who came in breathless haste to call me, 
exclaiming, "You're to go to the schoolroom directly, mum— 
the young ladies is waiting ! ! " Climax of horror ! actually 
waiting for their governess ! ! ! 

But this time I was pretty sure of an hour or two to myself ; 
for Matilda was preparing for a long ride, and Rosalie was 
dressing for a dinner party at Lady Ashby's : so I took the 
opportunity of repairing to the widow's cottage, where I found 
her in some anxiety about her cat, which had been absent all 
day. I comforted her with as many anecdotes of that animal's 
roving propensities as I could recollect. "I'm feared o' th' 
gamekeepers," said she, ' ' that's all 'at I think on. If th' young 
gentlemen had been at home, I should a' thought they'd been 
setting their dogs at her, an' worried her, poor thing, as they did 
many a poor thing's cat ; but I haven't that to be feared on now.' 
Nancy's eyes were better, but still far from well : she had been 
trying to make a Sunday shirt for her son, but told me she could 
only bear to do a httle bit at it now and then, so that it progressed 
but slowly, though the poor lad wanted it sadly. So I proposed 
to help her a little, after I had read to her, for I had plenty of 
time that evening, and need not return till dusk. She thankfully 



382 AGNES GREY. 

accepted the offer. "An' you'll be a bit o' company for me too, 
miss," said she ; " I like as I feel lonesome without my cat." But 
when I had finished reading, and done the half of a seam, with 
Nancy's capacious brass thimble fitted on to my finger by means 
of a roll of paper, I was disturbed by the entrance of Mr, Weston, 
with the identical cat in his arms. I now saw that he could 
smile, and very pleasantly too. 

" I've done you a piece of good service, Nancy," he began: 
then seeing me, he acknowledged my presence by a slight bow. 
I should have been invisible to Hatfield, or any other gentleman 
of those parts. " I've dehvered your cat," he continued, "from 
the hands, or rather the gun, of Mr. Murray's gamekeeper." 

" God bless you, sir ! " cried the grateful old woman, ready to 
weep for joy as she received her favourite from his arms. 

" Take care of it," said he, " and don't let it go near the rabbit 
warren, for the gamekeeper swears he'll shoot it if he sees it there 
again : he would have done so to-day, if I had not been in time 
to stop him. — I believe it is raining, Miss Grey," added he, more 
quietly, observing that I had put aside my work, and was pre- 
paring to depart. " Don't let me disturb you— I shan't stay two 
minutes." 

"You'll both stay while this shower gets owered," said Nancy, 
as she stirred the fire, and placed another chair beside it; "what ! 
there's room for all." 

"I can see better here, thank you, Nancy," replied I, taking 
my work to the window, where she had the goodness to suffer me 
to remain unmolested, while she got a brush to remove the cat's 
hairs from Mr. Weston's coat, carefully wiped the rain from his 
hat, and gave the cat its supper, busily talking all the time : 
now thanking her clerical friend for what he had done ; now 
wondering how the cat had found out the warren ; and now- 
lamenting the probable consequences of such a discovery. He 
listened with a quiet, good-natured smile, and at length took a 
seat in compliance with her pressing invitations, but repeated 
that he did not mean to stay. 

" I have another place to go to," said he, " and I see " (glanc- 
ing at the book on the table) ' ' some one else has been reading 
to you." 

" Yes, sir ; Miss Grey has been as kind as read me a chapter ; 
an' now she's helping mje with a shirt for our Bill— but I'm feared 
she'll be cold there. Won't you come to th' fire, miss?" 



AGNES GREY. 383 

" No, thank you, Nancy, I'm quite warm. I must go as soon 
as this shower is over." 

" Oh, miss ! You said you could stop while dusk ! " cried the 
provoking old woman, and Mr. Weston seized his hat. 

" Nay, sir," exclaimed she, " pray don't go now, while it rains 
so fast." 

"But it strikes me I'm keeping your visitor away from the 
fire." 

" No, you're not, Mr. Weston," replied I, hoping there was 
no harm in a falsehood of that description. 

" No, sure ! " cried Nancy. "What, there's lots o' room ! " 

"Miss Grey," said he, half-jestingly, as if he felt it necessary 
to change the present subject, whether he had anything particular 
to say or not, " I wish you would make my peace with the squire, 
when you see him. He was by when I rescued Nancy's cat, and 
did not quite approve of the deed. 1 told him I thought he might 
better spare all his rabbits than she her cat, for which audacious 
assertion he treated me to some rather ungentlemanly language ; 
and I fear I retorted a trifle too warmly." 

" Oh, lawful sir ! I hope you didn't fall out wi' th' maister for 
sake o' my cat ! he cannot bide answering again— can th' maister." 

" Oh ! it's no matter, Nancy : I don't care about it, really ; I 
said nothing very uncivil ; and I suppose Mr. Murray is accus- 
tomed to use rather strong language when he's heated." 

" Ay, sir ; it's a pity ! " 

"And now, I really must go. I have to visit a place a mile 
beyond this ; and you would not have me to return in the dark : 
besides, it has nearly done raining now— so good evening, Nancy. 
Good evening, Aliss Grey." 

"Good evening, Mr. Weston ; but don't depend upon me for 
making your peace with Mr. Murray, for I never see him— to 
speak to." 

" Don't you? it can't be helped then," replied he in dolorous 
resignation: then with a peculiar half-smile, he added, "But 
never mind ; I imagine the squire has more to apologise for than 
I." And left the cottage. 

I went on with my sewing as long as I could see, and then bade 
Nancy good-evening ; checking her too lively gratitude by the 
undeniable assurance that I had only done for her what she would 
have done for me, if she had been in my place and I in hers. I 
hastened back to Horton Lodge, where having entered the school- 



384 AGNES GREY. 

room, I found the tea-table all in confusion, the tray flooded with 
slops, and Miss Matilda in a most ferocious humour. 

"Miss Grey, whatever have you been about? I've had tea 
half-an-hour ago, and had to make it myself, and drink it all 
alone ! I vi^ish you would come in sooner ! " 

" I've been to see Nancy Brown. I thought you would not 
be back from your ride." 

" How could I ride in the rain, I should like to know? That 
damned pelting shower was vexatious enough — coming on when 
I was just in full swing : and then to come and find nobody in 
to tea ! — and you know I can't make the tea as I like it." 

"I didn't think of the shower," replied I (and indeed, the 
thought of its driving her home had never entered my head). 

' ' No, of course ; you were under shelter yourself, and you 
never thought of other people." 

I bore her coarse reproaches with astonishing equanimity, even 
with cheerfulness ; for I was sensible that I had done more good 
to Nancy Brown than harm to her : and perhaps some other 
thoughts assisted to keep up my spirits, and impart a relish to 
the cup of cold, overdrawn tea, and a charm to the otherwise 
unsightly table ; and— I had almost said — to Miss Matilda's 
unamiable face. But she soon betook herself to the stables, 
and left me to the quiet enjoyment of my solitary meal. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE PRIMROSES. 

Miss Murray now always went twice to church, for she so loved 
admiration that she could not bear to lose a single opportunity 
of obtaining it ; and she was so sure of it wherever she showed 
herself, that whether Harry Meltham and Mr. Green were there 
or not, there was certain to be somebody present who would not 
be insensible to her charms : besides the Rector, whose official 
capacity generally obliged him to attend. Usually, also, if the 
weather permitted, both she and her sister would walk home; 
Matilda, because she hated the confinement of the carriage ; she, 
because she disliked the privacy of it, and enjoyed the company 
that generally enlivened the first mile of the journey in walking 



AGNES GREY. 385 

from the church to Mr. Green's park-gates : near w hich com- 
menced the private road to Horton Lodge, which lay in the 
opposite direction ; while the highway conducted in a straight- 
forward course to the still more distant mansion of Sir Hugh 
Meltham. Thus there was always a chance of being accom- 
panied, so far, either by Harry Meltham, with or without Miss 
Meltham, or Mr. Green, with perhaps one or both of his sisters, 
and any gentlemen visitors they might have. 

Whether I walked with the young ladies or rode with their 
parents, depended upon their own capricious will : if they chose 
to " take " me, I went ; if, for reasons best known to themselves, 
they chose to go alone, I took my seat in the carriage. I :liked 
walking better, but a sense of reluctance to obtrude my presence 
on any one who did not desire it, always kept me passive on 
these and similar occasions ; and I never inquired into the causes 
of their varying whims. Indeed, this was the best policy — for 
to submit and oblige was the governess's part, to consult their 
own pleasure was that of the pupils. But when I did walk, the 
first half of the journey was generally a great nuisance to me. 
As none of the before-mentioned ladies and gentlemen ever 
noticed me, it was disagreeable to walk beside them, as if listen- 
ing to what they said, or wishing to be thought one of them, 
while they talked over me, or across ; and if their eyes, in speak- 
ing, chanced to fall on me, it seemed as if they looked on vacancy 
— as if they either did not see me, or were very desirous to make 
it appear so. It was disagreeable, too, to walk behind, and 
thus appear to acknowledge my own inferiority ; for, in truth, I 
considered myself pretty nearly as good as the best of them, 
and wished them to know that I did so, and not to imagine that 
I looked upon myself as a mere domestic, who knew her own 
place too well to walk beside such fine ladies and gentlemen as 
they were — though her young ladies might choose to have her 
with them, and even condescend to converse with her when no 
better company were at hand. Thus — I am almost ashamed to 
confess it — but indeed I gave myself no little trouble in my en- 
deavours (if I did keep up with them) to appear perfectly uncon- 
scious or regardless of their presence, as if I were wholl}' absorbed 
in my own reflections, or the contemplation of surrounding 
objects ; or, if I lingered behind, it was some bird or insect, 
some tree or flower, that attracted my attention, and having 
duly examined that, I would pursue my w^alk alone, at a leisurely 

N 



386 AGNES GREY. 

pace, until my pupils had bidden adieu to their companions, 
and turned off into the quiet, private road. 

One such occasion I particularly well remember : it was a 
lovely afternoon about the close of March ; Mr. Green and his 
sisters had sent their carriage back empty, in order to enjoy the 
bright sunshine and balmy air in a sociable walk home along with 
their visitors, Captain Somebody and Lieutenant Somebody-else 
(a couple of military fops), and the Misses Murray, who, of course, 
contrived to join them. Such a party was highly agreeable to 
Rosalie ; but not finding it equally suitable to my taste, T pre- 
sently fell back, and began to botanise and entomologise along 
the green banks and budding hedges, till the company was con- 
siderably in advance of me, and I could hear the sweet song of 
the happy lark ; then my spirit of misanthropy began to melt 
away beneath the soft, pure air and genial sunshine : but sad 
thoughts of early childhood, and yearnings for departed joys, or 
for a brighter future lot, arose instead. As my eyes wandered 
over the steep banks covered with young grass and green-leaved 
plants, and surmounted by budding hedges, I longed intensely 
for some familiar flower that might recall the woody dales or 
green hill-sides of home : the brown moorlands, of course, were 
out of the question. Such a discovery would make my eyes gush 
cut with water, no doubt ; but that was one of my greatest enjoy- 
ments now. At length I descried, high up between the twisted 
roots of an oak, three lovely primroses, peeping so sweetly from 
their hiding-place that the tears already started at the sight ; but 
they grew so high above me, that I tried in vain to gather one or 
two, to dream over and to carry with me : I could not reach them 
unless I climbed the bank, which I was deterred from doing by 
hearing a footstep at that moment behind me, and was, therefore, 
about to turn away, when I was startled by the words, "Allow 
me to gather them for you. Miss Grey," spoken in the grave, 
low tones of a well-known voice. Immediately the flowers were 
gathered, and in my hand. It was Mr. Weston, of course— who 
else would trouble himself to do so much for me ? 

I thanked him ; whether warmly or coldly, I cannot tell : bnt 
certain I am that I did not express half the gratitude I felt. It 
was foolish, perhaps, to feel any gratitude at all ; but it seemed 
to me, at that moment, as if this were a remarkable instance of 
his good-nature : an act of kindness which I could not repay, 
but never should forget : so utterly unaccustomed was I to receive 



AGNES GREY. 2^7 

such civilities, so little prepared to expect them from any one 
within fifty miles of Horton Lodge. Yet this did not prevent me 
from feeling a little uncomfortable in his presence ; and I pro- 
ceeded to follow my pupils at a much quicker pace than before ; 
though perhaps, if ^Mr. Weston had taken the hint and let me 
pass without another word, I might have repented it an hour 
after : but he did not. A somewhat rapid wallc for me, was but 
an ordinary pace for him. 

" Your young ladies have left you alone," said he. 

" Yes, they are occupied witii more agreeable company." 

" Then don't trouble yourself to overtake them." 

I slackened my pace ; but next moment regretted having done 
so : my companion did not speak ; and I had nothing in the 
world to say, and feared he might be in the same predicament. 
At length, however, he broke the pause by asking, with a certain 
quiet abruptness peculiar to himself, if I liked flowers. 

" Yes ; very much," I answered : " wild flowers especially." 

"/ hke wild flowers," said he; "others I don't care about, 
because I have no particular associations connected with them — ■ 
except one or two. What are your favourite flowers ? " 

"Primroses, blue-bells, and heath-blossoms." 

" Not violets?" 

" No ; because, as you say, I have no particular associations 
connected with them ; for there are no sweet violets among the 
hills and valleys round my home." 

" It must be a great consolation to you to have a home, Miss 
Grey," observed my companion after a short pause: "how- 
ever remote, or however seldom visited, still it is something to 
look to." 

" It is so much that I think I could not live without it," replied 
I, with an enthusiasm of which I immediately repented ; for I 
thought it must have sounded essentially silly. 

" Oh yes ; you could," said he, with a thoughtful smile, " The 
ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or than 
any one can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled 
without breaking. You might be miserable without a home, but 
even yo?^ could live ; and not so miserably as you suppose. The 
human heart is like Indian-rubber : a little swells it, but a great 
deal will not burst it. If ' little more than nothing will disturb 
it, little less than all things will suffice ' to break it. As in the 
outer members of our frame, there is a vital power inherent in 



388 AGNES GREY. 

itself, that strengthens it against external violence. Every blow 
that shakes it will serve to harden it against a future stroke ; as 
constant labour thickens the skin of the hand, and strengthens 
its muscles instead of wasting them away : so that a day of 
arduous toil that might excoriate a lady's palm, would make no 
sensible impression on that of a hardy ploughman. 

' ' I speak from experience — partly my own. There was a time 
when I thought as you do — at least, I was fully persuaded that 
home and its affections were the only things that made life toler- 
able : that, if deprived of these, existence would become a burden 
hard to be endured ; but now I have no home — unless you would 
dignify my two hired rooms at Horton by such a name ; — and 
not twelve months ago, I lost the last and dearest of my early 
friends ; and yet, not only I live, but I am not wholly destitute 
of hope and comfort, even for this life : though I must acknow- 
ledge that I can seldom enter even an humble cottage at the close 
of day, and see its inhabitants peaceably gathered around their 
cheerful hearth, without a feeling almost of envy at their domestic 
enjoyment." 

" You don't know what happiness lies before you yet," said I : 
" you are now only in the commencement of your journey." 

" The best of happiness," replied he, "is mine already — the 
power and the will to be useful." 

We now approached a style communicating with a footpath 
that conducted to a farm-house, where, I suppose, Mr. Weston 
purposed to make himself " useful ; " for he presently took leave 
of me, crossed the style, and traversed the path with his usual 
firm, elastic tread, leaving me to ponder his words as I continued 
my course alone. I had heard before that he had lost his mother 
not many months before he came. She then was the last and 
dearest of his early friends ; and he had no home. I pitied him 
from my heart : I almost wept for sympathy. And this, I thought, 
accounted for the shade of premature thoughtfulness that so fre- 
quently clouded his brow, and obtained for him the reputation 
of a morose and sullen disposition with the charitable Miss 
Murray and all her kin. " But," thought I, "he is not so miser- 
able as I should be under such a deprivation : he leads an active 
life ; and a wide field for useful exertion lies before him. He 
can make friends ; and he can make a home too, if he pleases ; 
and, doubtless, he will please some time. God grant the partner 
of that home may be worthy of his choice, and make it a happy 



AGNES GREY. 389 

one — such a home as he deserves to have ! And how delightful 
it would be to " But no matter what I thought. 

I began this book with the intention of conceahng nothing • 
that those who liked might have the benefit of perusing a fellow- 
creature's heart : but we have some thoughts that all the angels 
in heaven are welcome to behold, but not our brother-men — not 
even the best and kindest amongst them. 

By this time the Greens had taken themselves to their own 
abode, and the Murrays had turned down the private road, 
whither I hastened to follow them. I found the two girls warm 
in an animated discussion on the respective merits of the two 
young officers ; but on seeing me Rosalie broke off in the middle 
of a sentence to exclaim, with malicious glee — 

"Oh, ho. Miss Grey! you're come at last, are you? No 
wonder you lingered so long behind ; and no ivonder you always 
stand up so vigorously for Mr. Weston when I abuse him. Ah, 
ha ! I see it all now ! " 

" Now, come. Miss Murray, don't be foolish," said I, attempt- 
ing a good-natured laugh ; ' ' you know such nonsense can make 
no impression on me." 

But she still went on talking such intolerable stuff— her sister 
helping her with appropriate fiction coined for the occasion — that 
I thought it necessary to say something in my own justification. 

"What folly all this is!" I exclaimed. " If Mr. Weston's 
road happened to be the same as mine for a few yards, and if he 
chose to exchange a word or two in passing, what is there so 
remarkable in that ? I assure you, I never spoke to him before : 
except once." 

"Where? where? and when?" cried they eagerly. 

" In Nancy's cottage." 

"Ah, ha! you've met him there, have you?" exclaimed 
Rosalie, with exultant laughter. "Ah! now, Matilda, I've 
found out why she's so fond of going to Nancy Brown's ! she 
goes there to flirt with Mr. Weston." 

" Really, that is not worth contradicting ! — I only saw him 
there once, I tell you— and how could I know he was coming?" 

Irritated as I was at their foolish mirth and vexatious imputa- 
tions, the uneasiness did not continue long ; when they'had had 
their laugh out, they returned again to the captain and lieutenant ; 
and, while they disputed and commented upon them, my indigna- 
tion rapidly cooled ; the cause of it was quickly forgotten, and I 



390 AGNES GREY. 

turned my thoughts into a pleasanter channeL Thus we pro- 
ceeded up the park, and entered the hall ; and as I ascended the 
stairs to my own chamber, I had but one thought within me : 
my heart was filled to overflowing with one single earnest wish. 
Having entered the room, and shut the door, I fell upon my knees 
and offered up a fervent but not impetuous prayer : " Thy will be 
done," I strove to say throughout ; but, " Father, all things are 
possible with Thee, and may it be Thy will," was sure to follow. 
That wish — that prayer — both men and women would have scorned 
me for — " But Father, Thou wilt 7iot despise ! " I said, and felt 
that it was true. It seemed to me that another's welfare was at 
least as ardently implored for as my own ; nay, even that was 
the principal object of my heart's desire. I might have been 
deceiving myself; but that idea gave me confidence to ask, and 
power to hope I did not ask in vain. As for the primroses, I 
kept two of them in a glass in my room until they were com- 
pletely withered, and the housemaid threw them out ; and the 
petals of the other I pressed between the leaves of my Bible— I 
have them still, and mean to keep them always. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE RECTOR. 

The following day was as fine as the preceding one. Soon after 
breakfast Miss Matilda, having galloped and blundered through 
a few unprofitable lessons, and vengeably thumped the piano for 
an hour, in a terrible humour with both me and it, because her 
mamma would not give her a holiday, had betaken herself to her 
favourite places of resort, the yards, the stables, and the dog- 
kennels ; and Miss Murray was gone forth to enjoy a quiet ramble 
with a new fashionable novel for her companion, leaving me in 
the schoolroom hard at work upon a water-colour drawing which 
I had promised to do for her, and which she insisted upon my 
finishing that day. 

At my feet lay a little rough terrier. It was the property of 
Miss Matilda ; but she hated the animal, and intended to sell it, 
alleging that it was quite spoiled. It was really an excellent 



AGNES GREY. 39! 

dog of its kind ; but she affirmed it was fit for nothing, and had 
not even the sense to Icnow its own mistress. 

The fact was, she had purchased it when but a small puppy, 
insisting at first that no one should touch it but herself ; but, soon 
becoming tired of so helpless and troublesome a nursling, she had 
gladly yielded to my entreaties to be allowed to take charge of it ; 
and I, by carefully nursing the little creature from infancy to 
adolescence, of course, had obtained its affections : a reward I 
should have greatly valued, and looked upon as far outweighing 
all the trouble I had had with it, had not poor Snap's grateful 
feelings exposed him to many a harsh word and many a spiteful 
kick and pinch from his owner, and were he not now in danger 
of being "put away," in consequence, or transferred to some 
rough, stony-hearted master. But how could I help it? I could 
not make the dog hate me, by cruel treatment ; and she would 
not propitiate him by kindness. 

However, while I thus sat, working away with my pencil, Mrs. 
^Murray came, half-sailing, half-bustling, into the room. 

"Miss Grey," she began, — "dear ! how can j^ou sit at your 
drawing such a day as this?" (She thought I was doing it for 
my own pleasure.) " I luonder you don't put on your bonnet 
and go out with the young ladies." 

" I think, ma'am. Miss Murray is reading ; and Miss Matilda 
is amusing herself with her dogs." 

" If you would try to amuse ^liss Matilda yourself a little more, 
I think she would not be driven to seek amusement in the com- 
panionship of dogs and horses, and grooms, so much as she is ; 
and if you would be a little more cheerful and conversable with 
Miss Murray, she would not so often go wandering in the fields 
with a book in her hand. However, I don't want to vex you," 
added she, seeing, I suppose, that my cheeks burned and my 
hand trembled with some unamiable emotion. " Do, pray, try 
not to be so touchy, — there's no speaking to you else. And tell 
me if you know where Rosalie is gone : and why she likes to be 
so much alone?" 

' ' She says she likes to be alone when she has a new book to 
read." 

' ' But why can't she read it in the park or the garden ? — why 
should she go into the fields and lanes ? And how is it that that 
Mr. Hatfield so often finds her out? She told me last week he'd 
walked his horse by her side all up Moss Lane ; and now I'm 



392 AGNES GREY. 

sure it was he I saw from my dressing-room window, wallcing so 
briskly past the park-gates, and on towards the field where she 
so frequently goes, I wish you would go and see if she is there ; 
and just gently remind her that it is not proper for a young lady 
of her rank and prospects to be wandering about by herself in 
that manner, exposed to the attentions of any one that presumes 
to address her ; like some poor neglected girl that has no park 
to walk in, and no friends to take care of her : and tell her that 
her papa would be extremely angry if he knew of her treating 
Mr. Hatfield in the familiar manner that I fear she does ; and 
— oh ! if you — if any governess had but half a mother's watch- 
fulness — half a mother's anxious care, I should be saved this 
trouble ; and you would see at once the necessity of keeping your 

eye upon her, and making your company agreeable to 

Well, go — go ; there's no time to be lost," cried she, seeing that 
I had put away my drawing materials, and was waiting in the 
doorway for the conclusion of her address. 

According to her prognostications, I found Miss Murray in 
her favourite field just without the park ; and, unfortunately, not 
alone ; for the tall, stately figure of Mr. Hatfield was slowly 
sauntering by her side. 

Here was a poser for me. It was my duty to interrupt the 
tete-a-tete : but how was it to be done ? Mr, Hatfield could not 
be driven away by so insignificant a person as I ; and to go and 
place myself on the other side of Miss Murray, and intrude my 
unwelcome presence upon her without noticing her companion, 
was a piece of rudeness I could not be guilty of : neither had I 
the courage to cry aloud from the top of the field that she was 
wanted elsewhere. So I took the intermediate course of walking 
slowly, but steadily towards them ; resolving, if my approach 
failed to scare away the beau, to pass by and tell Miss Murray 
her mamma wanted her. 

She certainly looked very charming as she strolled, lingering 
along under the budding horse-chestnut trees that stretched their 
long arms over the park-palings, with her closed book in one 
hand, and in the other a graceful sprig of myrtle, which served 
her as a very pretty plaything ; her bright ringlets escaping pro- 
fusely from her little bonnet, and gently stirred by the breeze, 
her fair cheek flushed with gratified vanity, her smiling blue 
eyes, now slyly glancing towards her admirer, now gazing 
downward at her myrtle sprig. But Snap, running before me, 



AGNES GREY. 39^ 

interrupted her in the midst of some half-pert, half-playful re- 
partee, by catching hold of her dress and vehemently tugging 
thereat ; till Mr. Hatfield, with his cane, administered a re- 
sounding thwack upon the animal's skull, and sent it yelping 
back to me, with a clamorous outcry that afforded the reverend 
gentleman great amusement : but seeing me so near, he thought, 
I suppose, he might as well be taking his departure ; and as I 
stooped to caress the dog, with ostentatious pity to show my 
disapproval of his severity, I heard him say — 

"When shall I see you again. Miss Murray?" 

"At church, I suppose," replied she, "unless your business 
chances to bring you here again, at the precise moment when I 
happen to be walking by." 

"I could always manage to have business here, if I knew 
precisely when and where to find you." 

" But if I would, I could not inform you, for I am so im- 
methodical, I never can tell to-day what I shall do to-morrow." 

"Then give me that, meantime, to comfort me," said he, half 
jestingly and half in earnest, extending his hand for the sprig of 
myrtle. 

"No, indeed, I shan't." 

" Do ! fray do ! I shall be the most miserable of men if you 
don't. You cannot be so cruel as to deny me a favour so easily 
granted, and yet so highly prized ! " pleaded he, as ardently as 
if his life depended on it. 

By this time, I stood within a very few^ yards of them, im- 
patiently waiting his departure. 

" There then ! take it and go," said Rosalie. 

He joyfully received the gift, murmured something that made 
her blush and toss her head, but with a little laugh that showed 
her displeasure was entirely affected ; and then with a courteous 
salutation withdrew. 

" Did you ever see such a man. Miss Grey ? " said she, turning 
to me ; " I'm so glad you came ! I thought I never should get 
rid of him ; and I was so terribly afraid of papa seeing him." 

" Has he been with you long?" 

"No, not long, but he's so extremely impertinent i a:nd he's 
always hanging about, pretending his business or his clerical 
duties require his attendance in these parts, and really watching 
for poor me, and pouncing upon me wherever he sees me." 

" Well, your mamma thinks you ought not to go beyond the 

N 2 



394 AGNES GREY. 

park or garden without some discreet, matronly person like mo 
to accompany you, and keep off all intruders. She descried Mr, 
Hatfield hurrying past the park-gates, and forthwith despatched 
me with instructions to seek you up and to take care of you, and 

likewise to warn " 

"Oh, mamma's so tiresome ! As if I couldn't take careo; 
myself. She bothered me before about Mr. Hatfield ; and I 
told her she might trust me : I never should forget my rank and 
station for the most delightful man that ever breathed. I wish 
he would go down on his knees to-morrow, and implore me to 
be his wife, that I might just show her how mistaken she is in 

supposing that I could ever Oh, it provokes me so ! To 

think that I could be such a fool as to fall in lovj ! It is qui; 
beneath the dignity of a woman to do such a thing. Love ' 
detest the word ! as applied to one of our sex, I think it a perfc 
insult. A preference I might acknowledge ; but never for oncj 
like poor Mr. Hatfield, who has not seven hundred a year to'- 
bless himself with. I like to talk to him, because he's so clev 
and amusing — I wish Sir Thomas Ashby were half as ni. 
besides, I must have somebody to flirt with, and no one else ba; 
the sense to come here ; and when we go out, mamma won't letl. 
me flirt with anybody but Sir Thomas — if he's there ; and if he's; 
7zo/f there, I'm bound hand and foot, for fear somebody should: 
go and make up some exaggerated story, and put it into his head; 
that I'm engaged, or likely to be engaged, to somebody else ■ 
or, what is more probable, for fear his nasty old mother shoulc : 
see or hear of my ongoings, and conclude that I'm not a fit wife ■ 
for her excellent son : as if the said son were not the greates! j 
scamp in Christendom ; and as if any woman of commoi \ 
decency were not a world too good for him." 

" Is it really so, Miss Murray ? and does your mamma knoi i 
it, and yet wish you to marry him ? " 

" To be sure she does ! She knows more against him th"" ' 
I do, I believe: she keeps it from me lest I should be i 
couraged ; not knowing how little I care about such thiiia • 
For it's no great matter, really : he'll be all right when he's r 
married, as mamma says ; and reformed rakes make the best : 
husbands, everybody knows. I only wish he were not so ugly— 
thafs all / think about : but then there's no choice here in tbec 
country ; and papa will not let us go to London" 

" But I should think Mr. Hatfield would be far better." 



1 



AGNES GREY. 39$ 

"And so he would, if he were lord of Ashby Park— there's 
not a doubt of it : but the fact is, I must have Ashby Park, 
whoever shares it with me." 

"But Mr. Hatfield thinks you like him all this time; you 
don't consider how bitterly he will be disappointed when he 
finds himself mistaken." 

b^"iVt?, indeed! It will be a proper punishment for his pre- 
sumption—for ever daringXo think I could like him. I should 
enjoy nothing so much as lifting the veil from his eyes." 

"The sooner you do it the better then." 

" No ; I tell you, I like to amuse myself with him. Besides, 
he doesn't really think I like him. I take good care of that : 
you don't know how cleverly I manage. He may presume to 
think he can ifiduce me to like him ; for which I shall punish 
him as he deserves." 

"Well, mind you don't give too much reason for such pre- 
sumption — that's all," replied I. 

But all my exhortations were in vain : they only made her 
somewhat more solicitous to disguise her wishes and her thoughts 
from me. She talked no more to me about the Rector ; but I 
could see that her mind, if not her heart, was fixed upon him 
still, and that she was intent upon obtaining another interview : 
for though, in compliance with her mother's request, I was now 
constituted the companion of her rambles for a time, she still 
persisted in wandering in the fields and lanes that lay in the 
nearest proximity to the road ; and, whether she talked to me 
or read the book she carried in her hand, she kept continually 
pausing to look round her, or gaze up the road to see if any one 
was coming ; and if a horseman trotted by, I could tell by her 
unqualified abuse of the poor equestrian, whoever he might be, 
that she hated him because he was not Mr. Hatfield. 

"Surely," thought I. "she is not so indifferent to him as she 
believes herself to be, or would have others to believe her ; and 
her mother's anxiety is not so wholly causeless as she affirms."'- 

Three days passed away, and he did not make his appearance. 
On the afternoon of the fourth, as we were walking beside the 
park palings in the memorable field, each furnished with a book 
{for I always took care to provide myself with something to be 
doing when she did not require me to talk), she suddenly inter- 
rupted my studies by exclaiming — 

" Oh, Miss Grey ! do be so kind as to go and see ]Mark Wood, 



39*5 AGNES GREY. 

^nd take his wife half-a-crown from me — I should have given or 
sent it a week ago, but quite forgot. There ! " said she, throwing 
me her purse, and speaking very fast — " Never mind getting it 
out now, but take the purse and give them what you hke ; I would 
go with you, but I want to finish this volume. I'll come and 
meet you when I've done it. Be quick, will you — and — oh, 
\\ait ; hadn't you better read to him a bit? Run to the house 
and get some sort of a good book. Anything will do." 

I did as I was desired ; but, suspecting something from hci 
hurried manner and the suddenness of the request, I just glanced 
back before I quitt(;d the field, and there was Mr. Hatfield about 
to enter at the gate below. By sending me to the house for r. 
book, she had just prevented my meeting him on the road. 

" Never mind ! " thought I, " there'll be no great harm done. 
Poor Mark will be glad of the half-crown, and perhaps of the I 
good book too ; and if the Rector does steal Miss Rosalie's heart, 
it will only humble her pride a little ; and if they do get married 
at last, it will only save her from a worse fate ; and she will be 
quite a good enough partner for him, and he for her." 

Mark Wood was the consumptive labourer whom I mentioned 
before. He was now rapidly wearing away. Miss Murray, by 
her liberality, obtained literally the blessing of him that was ready 
to perish ; for though the half-crown could be of very little service 
to him, he was glad of it for the sake of his wife and children, 
so soon to be widowed and fatherless. After I had sat a few- 
minutes, and read a little for the comfort and edification of him- 
self and his afflicted wife, I left them ; but I had not proceeded 
fifty yards before I encountered Mr. Weston, apparently on his 
way to the same abode. He greeted me in his usual quiet, un- 
affected way, stopped to inquire about the condition of the sick 
man and his family, and with a sort of unconscious, brotherly 
disregard to ceremony, took from my hand the book out of which 
I had been reading, turned over its pages, made a few brief but 
very sensible remarks, and restored it ; then told me about some 
poor sufferer he had just been visiting, talked a little about 
Nancy Brown, made a few observations upon my little rough 
friend the terrier, that was frisking at his feet, and finally upon 
the beauty of the weather, and departed. 

I have omitted to give a detail of his words, from a notion that 
they would not interest the reader as they did me, and not be- 
cause I have forgotten them. No ; I remember them well ; for 



AGNES GREY. 597 

I thought them over and over again in the course of that day and 
many succeeding ones, I know not how often ; and recalled every 
intonation of his deep, clear voice, every flash of his quick, brown 
eye, and every gleam of his pleasant, but too transient smile. 
Such a confession will look very absurd, I fear ; but no matter : I 
have written it : and they that read it will not knew the 
writer. 

While I was walking along, happy within, and pleased with 
all around, Miss Murray came hastening to meet me ; her 
buoyant step, flushed cheek, and radiant smiles showing that 
she, too, was happy, in her own way. Running up to me, she 
put her arm through mine, and without waiting to recover 
breath, began — 

"Now, Miss Grey, think yourself highly honoured, for I'm 
come to tell you my news before I've breathed a word of it to 
any one else," 

"Well, what is it?" 

" Oh, such news ! In the first place, you must know that Mr. 
Hatfield came upon me just after you were gone. I was in such 
a way for fear papa or mamma should see him ; but you know I 
couldn't call you back again, and so I — oh, dear ! I can't tell 
you all about it now, for there's Matilda, I see, in the park, and 
I must go and open my budget to her. But, however, Hatfield 
was most uncommonly a.udacious, unspeakably complimentary, 
and unprecedentedly tender — tried to be so, at least — he didn't 
succeed very well in that, because it's not his vein. I'll tell you 
all he said another time." 

" But what 6\diyoii say — I'm more interested in that ?" 

"I'll tell you that, too, at some future period. I happened to 
be in a very good humour just then ; but, though I was com- 
plaisant and gracious enough, I took care not to compromise 
myself in any possible way. But, however, the conceited wretch 
chose to interpret my amiability of temper his own way, and at 
length presumed upon my indulgence so far — what do you think? 
— he actually — made me an offer ! " 

"And you " 

" I proudly drew myself up, and with the greatest coolness ex- 
pressed my astonishment at such an occurrence, and hoped he had 
seen nothing in my conduct to justify his expectations. You should 
have seen how his countenance fell ! He went perfectly white in 
the face. I assured him that I esteemed him and all that, but 



398 AGNES GREY. 

could not possibly accede to his proposals ; and if I did, papa 
and mamma could never be brought to give their consent." 

" ' But if they could,' said he, ' would yours be wanting?' 

"'Certainly, Mr. Hatfield,' I repHed, with a cool decision 
which quelled all hope at once. Oh, if you had seen how dread- 
fully mortified he was — how crushed to the earth by his dis- 
appointment ! really, I almost pitied him myself. 

"One more desperate attempt, however, he made. After a 
silence of considerable duration, during which he struggled to be 
calm, and I to be grave — for I felt a strong propensity to laugh— 
which would have ruined all — he said, with the ghost of a smile— 

' ' ' But tell me plainly. Miss Murray, if I had the wealth of Sir 
Hugh Meltham, or the prospects of his eldest son, would you 
still refuse me? answer me truly, upon your honour.' 

"'Certainly,' said I. 'That would make no difference 
whatever.' 

"It was a great lie, but he looked so confident in his own 
attractions still, that I determined not to leave him one stone 
upon another. He looked me full in the face ; but I kept my 
countenance so well that he could not imagine I was saying any- 
thing more than the actual truth. 

" ' Then it's all over, I suppose,' he said, looking as if he could 
have died on the spot with vexation and the intensity of his despain 
But he was angry as well as disappointed. There was he, suffer- 
ing so unspeakably, and there was I, the pitiless cause of it all, 
so utterly impenetrable to all the artillery of his looks and words, 
so calmly cold and proud, he could not but feel some resentment ; 
and with singular bitterness he began — 

" ' I certainly did not expect this, Miss IMurray. I might say 
something about your past conduct, and the hopes you have led 
me to foster, but I forbear, on condition ' 

" ' No conditions, Mr. Hatfield ! ' said I, now truly indignant 
at his insolence. 

" ' Then let me beg it as a favour,' he replied, lowering his voice 
at once, and taking a humbler tone : ' let me entreat that you will 
not mention this affair to any one whatever. If you will keep 
silence about it, there need be no unpleasantness on either side 
— nothing, I mean, beyond what is quite unavoidable : for my 
own feelings I will endeavour to keep to myself, if I cannot anni- 
hilate them — I will try to forgive, if I cannot forget the cause of 
my sufferings. I will not suppose, Miss Murray, that you know 



AGNES GREY. 399 

how deeply you have injured me. I would not have you aware 
of it ; but if, in addition to the injury you have already done me 
—pardon me, but whether innocently or not, you have done it — 
and if you add to it by giving publicity to this unfortunate affair, 
or naming it at all, you will find that I too can speak, and though 
you scorned my love, you will hardly scorn my' 

"He stopped, but he bit his bloodless lip, and looked so 
terribly fierce that I was quite frightened. However, my pride 
upheld me still, and I answered disdainfully — 

" ' I do not know what motive you suppose I could have for 
naming it to any one, Mr. Hatfield ; but if I were disposed to 
do so, you would not deter me by threats ; and it is scarcely the 
part of a gentleman to attempt it.' 

" ' Pardon me, Miss Murray,' said he, ' I have loved you so 
intensely — I do still adore you so deeply, that I w'ould not 
willingly offend you ; but though I never have loved, and never 
ca7i love any woman as I have loved you, it is equally certain 
that I never was so ill-treated by any. On the contrary, I have 
always found your sex the kindest and most tender and obliging 
of God's creation, till now.' (Think of the conceited fellow 
saying that !) ' And the novelty and harshness of the lesson you 
have taught me to-day, and the bitterness of being disappo" ited 
in the only quarter on which the happiness of my life depended, 
must excuse any appearance of asperity. If my presence is dis- 
agreeable to you. Miss Murray,' he said (for I was looking about 
me to show how little I cared for him, so he thought I was tired 
of him, I suppose), — ' if my presence is disagreeable to you. 
Miss Muaray, you have only to promise me the favour I named, 
and I wall relieve you at once. There are many ladies — some 
even in this parish — who would be delighted to accept what you 
have so scornfully trampled under your feet. They would be 
naturally inclined to hate one whose surpassing loveliness has so 
completely estranged my heart from them and blinded me to 
their attractions ; and a single hint of the truth from me to one 
of these, would be sufficient to raise such a talk against you as 
would seriously injure your prospects, and diminish your chance 
of success with any other gentleman you or your mamma might 
design to entangle.' 

'"What do you mean, sir?' said I, ready to stamp with 
passion. 

" ' I mean that this affair from beginning to end appears to me 



40O AGNES GREY. 

like a case of arrant flirtation, to say the least of it— such a case 
as you would find it rather inconvenient to have blazoned through 
the vi'orld : especially with the additions and exaggerations of your 
female rivals, who would be too glad to publish the matter, if I 
only gave them a handle to it. But I promise you, on the faith 
of a gentleman, that no word or syllable that could tend to your 
prejudice shall ever escape my hps, provided you will' 

" 'Well, well, I won't mention it,' said I. 'You may rely 
upon my silence, if that can afford you any consolation." 

" ' You promise it?" 

" 'Yes,' I answered, for I wanted to get rid of him now. 

" ' Farewell, then ! ' said he, in a most doleful heart-sick tone 
and with a look where pride vainly struggled against despair, he 
turned and went away : longing, no doubt, to get home, that h 
might shut himself up in his study and cry — if he doesn't burst 
into tears before he gets there." 

"But you have broken your promise already,' said I, truly 
horrified at her perfidy. 

" Oh ! it's only to you ; I know you won't repeat it." 

" Certainly, I shall not : but you say you are going to tell your 
sister ; and she will tell your brothers when they come home, and 
Brown immediately, if you do not tell her yourself; and Brown 
will blazon it, or be the means of blazoning it throughout the 
country. " 

'■No, indeed, she won't. We shall not tell her at all, unless 
it be under the promise of the strictest secrecy." 

' ' But how can you expect her to keep her promises better than 
her more enlightened mistress?" 

" Well, well, she shan't hear it then," said Miss Murray, some- 
what snappishly. 

" But you will tell your mamma, of course," pursued I ; " and 
she will tell your papa." 

' ' Of course, I shall tell mamma, that is the very thing that 
pleases me so much. I shall now be able to convince her how 
mistaken she was in her fears about me." 

"Oh, ikafs it, is it? I was wondering what it was that 
dehghted you so much." 

"Yes ; and another thing is, that I've humbled Mr. Hatfield 
so charmingly ; and another— why, you must allow me some 
share of female vanity : I don't pretend to be without that most 
essential attribute of our sex — and if you had seen poor Hatfield's 



AGNES GREY. 40I 

intense eagerness in making his ardent declaration, and his 
flattering proposal, and his agony of mind, that no effort of 
pride could conceal, on being refused, you would have allowed 
I had some cause to be gratified." 

"The greater his agony, I should think, the less your cause 
for gratification." 

"Oh, nonsense ! " cried the young lady, shaking herself with 
vexation. "You either can't understand me or you won't. If 
I had not confidence in your magnanimity, I should think you 
envied me. But you will, perhaps, comprehend this cause of 
pleasure— which is as great as any — namely, tliat I am delighted 
with myself for my prudence, my self-command, my heartless- 
ness, if you please. I was not a bit taken by surprise, not a bit 
confused, or awkward, or foolish ; I just acted and spoke as I 
ought to have done, and was completely my own mistress 
throughout. And here was a man, decidedly good-looking — 
Jane and Susan Green call him bewitchingly handsome — I 
suppose they're two of the ladies he pretends would be so glad 
to have him ; but, however, he was certainly a very clever, witty, 
agreeable companion — not \\ha.t yoi< call clever, but just enough 
to make him entertaining ; and a man one needn't be ashamed 
of anywhere,' and would not soon grow tired of; and to confess 
ihe truth, I rather liked him — better even, of late, than Harry 
Meltham — and he evidently idolised me ; and yet, though he 
came upon me all alone and unprepared, I had the wisdom and 
tlie pride, and the strength to refuse him — and so scornfully and 
coolly as I did : I have good reason to be proud of that ! " 

"And are you equally proud of having told him that his having 
the wealth of Sir Hugh Meltham would make no difference to 
you when that was not the case ; and of having promised to tell 
no one of his misadventure, apparently without the slightest 
intention of keeping your promise ? " 

" Of course ! what else could I do? You would not have had 
me — but I see, Miss Grey, you're not in a good temper. Here's 
Matilda ; I'll see what she and mamma have to say about it." 

She left me, offended at my want of sympathy, and thinking, 
no doubt, that I envied her. I did not — at least, I firmly believed 
I did not. I was sorry for her ; I was amazed, disgusted at her 
heartless vanity ; I wondered why so much beauty should be given 
to those who made so bad a use of it, and denied to some who 
would make it a benefit to both themselves and others. 



402 AGNES GREY. 

But, God knows best, I concluded. There are, I suppose, some- 
men as vain, as selfish, and as heartless as she is, and, perhaps, 
such women may be useful to punish them. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE WALK. 

" O DEAR ! I wish Hatfield had not been so precipitate !" said 
Rosalie next day at four p.m., as, with a portentous yawn, she 
laid down her worsted-work and looked listlessly towards the 
window. " There's no inducement to go out now ; and nothing 
to look forward to. The days will be so long and dull when there 
are no parties to enliven them ; and there are none this week, or 
next either, that I know of." 

" Pity you were so cross to him," observed Matilda, to whom 
this lamentation was addressed. ' ' He'll never come again : and 
I suspect you liked him after all. I hoped you would have taken 
him for your beau, and left dear Harry to me," 

" Humph ! my beau must be an Adonis indeed, Matilda, the 
admired of all beholders, if I am to be contented with him alone. 
I'm sorry to lose Hatfield, I confess ; but the first decent man, 
or number of men, that come to supply his place, will be more 
than welcome. It's Sunday to-morrow — I do wonder how he'll 
look, and whether he'll be able to go through the service. Most 
likely he'll pretend he's got a cold and make Mr. Weston do 
it all" 

"Not he!" exclaimed Matilda, somewhat contemptuously. 
" Fool as he is, he's not so soft as that comes to." 

Her sister was slightly offended ; but the event proved Matilda 
was right : the disappointed lover performed his pastoral duties 
as usual. Rosalie, indeed, affirmed he looked very pale and de- 
jected ; he might be a little paler ; but the difference, if any, was 
scarcely perceptible. As for his dejection, I certainly did not 
hear his laugh ringing from the vestry as usual, nor his voice 
loud in hilarious discourse ; though I did hear it uplifted in rating 
the sexton in a manner that made the congregation stare ; and, 
in his transits to and from the pulpit and the communion-table 
there was more of solemn pomp, and less of that irreverent, self- 



AGNES GREY. 



403 



confident, or rather self-delighted imperiousness with which he 
usually swept along — that air that seemed to say, "You all 
reverence and adore me, I know ; but if any one does not, I defy 
him to the teeth ! " But the most remarkable change was, that 
he never once suffered his eyes to wander in the direction of 
Mr. Murray's pew, and did not leave the church till we were 
gone. 

Mr. Hatfield had doubtless received a very severe blow ; but 
his pride impelled him to use every effort to conceal the effects 
of it. He had been disappointed in his certain hope of obtaining 
not only a beautiful, and, to him, highly attractive wife, but one 
whose rank and fortune might give brilliance to far inferior 
charms : he was likewise, no doubt, intensely mortified by his 
repulse, and deeply offended at the conduct of Miss IMurray 
throughout. It would have given him no little consolation to 
have known how disappointed she was to find him apparently 
so httle moved, and to see that he was able to refrain from 
casting a single glance at her throughout both services ; though, 
she declared, it showed he was thinking of her all the time, or 
his eyes would have fallen upon her, if it were only by chance : 
but if they had so chanced to fall, she would have affirmed it 
was because they could not resist the attraction. It might have 
pleased him too, in some degree, to have seen how dull and 
dissatisfied she was throughout that week (the greater part of it, 
at least), for lack of her usual source of excitement ; and how 
often she regretted having " used him up so soon," like a child 
that, having devoured its plum-cake too hastily, sits sucking its 
fingers, and vainly lamenting its greediness. 

At length I was called upon, one fine morning, to accompany 
her in a walk to the village. Ostensibly she went to get some 
shades of Berlin wool, at a tolerably respectable shop that was 
chiefly supported by the ladies of the vicinity : really — I trust 
there is no breach of charity in supposing that she went with the 
idea of meeting either with the Rector himself, or some other 
admirer by the way ; for as we went along, she kept wondering 
"what Hatfield would do or say, if we met him," &c. &c. ; as 
we passed Mr. Green's park-gates, she "wondered whether he 
was at home — great stupid blockhead ; " as Lady Meltham's 
carriage passed us, she "wondered what Mr, Harry was doing 
this fine day ;" and then began to abuse his elder brother for 
being "such a fool as to get married and go and live in London." 



404 AGNES GREY. 

"Why," said I, "I thought you wanted to live in London 
yourself." 

"Yes, because it's so dull here: but then he makes it still 
duller by taking himself off; and if he were not married I might 
have him instead of that odious Sir Thomas." 

Then, observing the prints of a horse's feet on the somewhat 
miry road, she " wondered whether it was a gentleman's horse," 
and finally concluded it was, for the impressions were too small 
to have been made by a " great, clumsy cart-horse ;" and then 
she " wondered who the rider could be," and whether we should 
meet him coming back, for she was sure he had only passed that 
morning ; and lastly, when we entered the village and saw only 
a few of its humble inhabitants moving about, she "wondered 
why the stupid people couldn't keep in their houses ; she was 
sure she didn't want to see their ugly faces, and dirty, vulgar 
clothes — it wasn't for that she came to Horton ! " 

Amid all this, I confess, I wondered, too, in secret, whether 
we should meet, or catch a glimpse of somebody else ; and as 
we passed his lodgings, I even went so far as to wonder whether 
he was at the window. On entering the shop. Miss Murray de- 
sired me to stand in the doorway while she transacted her busi- 
ness, and tell her if any one passed. But alas ! there was no one 
visible besides the villagers, except Jane and Susan Green coming 
down the single street, apparently returning from a walk. 

"Stupid things ! " muttered she, as she came out after having 
concluded her bargain. "Why couldn't they have their dolt of 
a brother with them? even he would be better than nothing." 

She greeted them, however, with a cheerful smile, and pro- 
testations of pleasure at the happy meeting equal to their own. 
They placed themselves one on each side of her, and all three 
walked away chatting and laughing as young ladies do when 
they get together, if they be but on tolerably intimate terms. 
But I, feeling myself to be one too many, left them to their 
merriment and lagged behind, as usual on such occasions : I had 
no relish for walking beside Miss Green or Miss Susan like one 
deaf and dumb, who could neither speak nor be spoken to. 

But this time I was not long alone. It struck me, at first, 
as very odd, that just as I was thinking about Mr. Weston he 
should come up and accost me ; but afterwards, on due reflec- 
tion, I thought there was nothing odd about it, unless it were 
the fact of his speaking to me ; for on such a morning and so 



AGNES GREY. 40$ 

near his own abode, it was natural enough that he should be 
about ; and as for my thinking of him, I had been doing that, 
with little intermission, ever since we set out on our journey ; 
so there was nothing remarkable in that. 

" You are alone again, Miss Grey ! " said he. 

"Yes." 

" What kind of people are those ladies — the Misses Green?" 

" I really don't know." 

' ' That's strange — when you live so near and see them so often ! " 

"Well, I suppose they are lively, good-tempered girls; but 
I imagine you must know them better than I do, yourself, for I 
never exchanged a word with either of them." 

"Indeed! They don't strike me as being particularly re- 
served." 

' ' Very likely they are not so to people of their own class ; 
but they consider themselves as moving in quite a different 
sphere from me ! " 

He made no reply to this ; but after a short pause, he said — 

" I suppose it's these things, Miss Grey, that make you think 
you could not hve without a home?" 

" Not exactly. The fact is I am too socially disposed to be 
able to live contentedly without a friend ; and as the only friends 
1 have, or am hlcely to have, are at home, if it — or rather, if they 
were gone — I will not say I could not live — but I would rather 
not live in such a desolate world." 

" But why do you say the only friends you are hkely to have? 
Are you so unsociable that you cannot make friends? " 

" No, but I never made one yet ; and in my present position 
there is no possibility of doing so, or even of forming a common 
acquaintance. Tlie fault may be partly in myself, but I hope 
not altogether." 

" The fault is partly in society, and partly, I should think, in 
your immediate neighbours: and partly, too, in yourself; for 
many ladies, in your position, would make themselves be noticed 
and accounted of. But your pupils should be companions for 
you in some degree ; they cannot be many years younger than 
yourself." 

"Oh, yes, they are good company sometimes ; but I cannot 
call them friends, nor would they think of bestowing such a 
name on me — they have other companions better suited to their 
tastes." 



406 AGNES GREY. 

" Perhaps you are too wise for them. How do you amuse 
yourself when alone — do you read much?" 

" Reading is my favourite occupation, when I have leisure for 
it and books to read." 

From speaking of books in general, he passed to different 
books in particular, and proceeded by rapid transitions from 
topic to topic, till several matters, both of taste and opinion, had 
been discussed considerably within the space of half-an-hour, 
but without the embellishment of many observations from him- 
self ; he being evidently less bent upon communicating his own 
thoughts and predilections, than on discovering mine. He had 
not the tact, or the art, to effect such a purpose by skilfully 
drawing out my sentiments or ideas through the real or apparent 
statement of his own, or leading the conversation by impercep- 
tible gradations to such topics as he wished to advert to : but 
such gentle abruptness, and such single-minded straightforward- 
ness could not possibly offend me. 

" And why should he interest himself at all in my moral and 
intellectual capacities : what is it to him what I think or feel?" 
I asked myself. And my heart throbbed in answer to the 
question. 

But Jane and Susan Green soon reached their home. As they 
stood parleying at the park-gates, attempting to persuade Miss 
Murray to come in, I wished Mr. Weston would go, that she 
might not see him with me when she turned round ; but, un- 
fortunately, his business, which was to pay one more visit to poor 
Mark Wood, led him to pursue the same path as we did, till 
nearly the close of our journey. When, however, he saw that 
Rosalie had taken leave of her friends and I was about to join 
her, he would have left me and passed on at a quicker pace ; 
but, as he civilly hfted his hat in passing her, to my surprise, 
instead of returning the salute with a stiff, ungracious bow, she 
accosted him with one of her sweetest smiles, and, walking by 
his side, began to talk to him with all imaginable cheerfulness 
and affability ; and so we proceeded all three together. 

After a short pause in the conversation, Air. Weston made 
some remark addressed particularly to me, as referring to some- 
thing we had been talking of before ; but, before I could answer, 
Miss Murray replied to the observation and enlarged upon it: 
he rejoined ; and, from thence to the close of the interview, she 
■engrossed him entirely to herself. It might be partly owing to 



AGNES GREY. 407 

my own stupidity, my want of tact and assurance : but I felt my- 
self wronged : I trembled with apprehension ; and I listened with 
envy to her easy, rapid flow of utterance, and saw with anxiety 
the bright smile with which she looked into his face from time 
to time : for she was walking a little in advance, for the purpose 
(as I judged) of being seen as well as heard. If her conversation 
was light and trivial, it was amusing, and she was never at a loss 
for something to say, or for suitable words to express it in. 
There was nothing pert or flippant in her manner now, as when 
she walked with Mr. Hatfield ; there was only a gentle, playful 
kind of vivacity, which I thought must be peculiarly pleasing to 
a man of Mr. Weston's disposition and temperament. 

When he was gone she began to laugh, and muttered to her- 
self — " I thought I could do it ! " 

" Do what?" I asked. 

" Fix that man." 

"What in the world do you mean ? " 

"I mean that he will go home and dream of me. I have 
shot him through the heart ! " 

' ' How do you know ? " 

' ' By many infallible proofs : more especially the look he gave 
me when he went away. It was not an impudent look — I 
exonerate him from that — it was a look of reverential, tender 
adoration. Ha, ha ! he's not quite such a stupid blockhead 
as I thought him ! " 

I made no answer, for my heart was in my throat, or some- 
thing like it, and I could not trust myself to speak. " O God, 
avert it ! " I cried internally — "for his sake, not for mine ! " 

Miss ^Murray made several trivial observations as we passed 
up the park, to which (in spite of my reluctance to let one 
glimpse of my feelings appear) I could only answer by mono- 
syllables. Whether she intended to torment me, or merely to 
amuse herself, I could not tell — and did not much care ; but I 
thought of the poor man and his one lamb, and the rich man 
with his thousand flocks ; and I dreaded I knew not what for 
Mr. Weston, independently of my own blighted hopes. 

Right glad was 1 to get into the house, and find myself alone 
once more in my own room. My first impulse wa^s to sink into 
the chair beside the bed ; and laying my head on the pillow, to 
seek relief in a passionate burst of tears : there was an im- 
perative craving for such an indulgence ; but alas ! I must 



408 AGNES GREY. 

restrain and swallow back my feelings still : there was the bell 
— the odious bell for the schoolroom dinner ; and I must go 
down with a calm face, and smile, and laugh, and talk nonsense 
— yes, and eat, too, if possible, as if all was right, and I was 
just returned from a pleasant walk. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE SUBSTITUTION. 

Next Sunday was one of the gloomiest of April days — a day of 
thick, dark clouds, and heavy showers. None of the Murrays 
were disposed to attend church in the afternoon, excepting 
Rosalie : she was bent upon going as usual ; so she ordered the 
carriage, and I went with her : nothing loth, of course, for at 
church I might look without fear of scorn or censure upon a form 
and face more pleasing to me than the most beautiful of God's 
creations ; I might listen without disturbance to a voice more 
charming than the sweetest music to my ears ; I might seem to 
hold communion with that soul in which I felt so deeply in- 
terested, and imbibe its purest thoughts and holiest aspirations, 
with no alloy to such felicity except the secret reproaches of my 
conscience, which would too often whisper that I was deceiving 
my own self, and mocking God with the service of a heart more 
bent upon the creature than the Creator. 

Sometimes such thoughts would give me trouble enough ; but 
sometimes I could quiet them with thinking — it is not the man, 
it is his goodness that I love. "Whatsoever things are pure, 
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are honest and 
of good report, think on these things." We do well to worship 
God in His works ; and I know none of them in which so many 
of His attributes — so much of His own spirit shines, as in this 
His faithful servant ; whom to know and not to appreciate, 
were obtuse insensibility in me, who have so little else to occupy 
my heart. 

Almost immediately after the conclusion of the service. Miss 
Murray left the church. We had to stand in the porch, for it 
was raining, and the carriage was not yet come. I wondered 
at her coming forth so hastily, for neither young Meltham nor 



AGNES GREY. 4^9 

Squire Green was there ; but I soon found it was to secure an 
nterview with Mr. Weston as he came out, which he presently 
lid Having saluted us both, he would have passed on, but 
she detained him ; first with observations upon the disagreeable 
.veather, and then with asking if he would be so kmd as to come 
some time to-morrow to see the granddaughter of the old woman 
.vho kept the porter's lodge, for the girl was ill of a fever, and 
wished to see him. He promised to do so. 

"And at what time will you be most likely to come, Mr. 
Weston > The old woman will like to know when to expect 
vou-you know such people think more about having their 
cottages in order when decent people come to see them than 
we are apt to suppose." . . r ., 

Here was a wonderful instance of consideration from the 
thou-htless Miss Murray. Mr. Weston named an hour in the 
morning at which he would endeavour to be there. By this 
time the carriage was ready, and the footman was waiting, with 
an open umbrella, to escort Miss Murray through the church- 
yard I was about to follow ; but Mr. Weston had an umbrella 
too, and offered me the benefit of its shelter, for it was raining 
heavily. 

"No, thank you, I don't mind the rain, I said. 1 always 
lacked common sense when taken by surprise. 

" But you don't like it, I suppose ?-an umbrella will do you 
no harm at any rate," he replied, with a smile that showed he 
was not offended ; as a man of worse temper or less penetration 
would have been at such a refusal of his aid. I could not deny 
the truth of his assertion, and so went with him to the carriage ; 
he even offered me his hand on getting in : an unnecessary piece 
of civility, but I accepted that too, for fear of giving offence. 
One -lance he gave, one little smile at parting-it was but for a 
moment ; but therein I read, or thought I read, a meaning that 
kindled in my heart a brighter flame of hope than had ever yet 

arisen. , r- ,^ -r 

" I would have sent the footman back for you, Miss Grey, if 

you'd waited a moment-you needn't have taken Mr. Weston s 

umbrella," observed Rosalie, with a very unamiable cloud upon 

her pretty face. ^„\xt . 

"I would have come without an umbrella, but Mr. Weston 
offered me the benefit of his, and I could not have refused it 
more than I did without offending him," replied I, smiling 



4IO AGNES GREY. 

placidly ; for my inward happiness made that amusing, which 
would have wounded me at another time. 

The carriage was now in motion. Miss Murray bent for- 
wards, and looked out of the window as we were passing Mr. 
Weston. He was pacing homewards along the causeway, and 
did not turn his head. 

" Stupid ass ! " cried she, throwing herself back again in the 
seat. "You don't know tohat you've lost by not looking this 
way ! " 

"What has he lost?" 

"A bow from me, that would have raised him to the seventh 
heaven ! " 

I made no answer. I saw she was out of humour, and I 
derived a secret gratification from the fact, not that she was 
vexed, but that she thought she had reason to be so. It made 
me think my hopes were not entirely the offspring of my wishes 
and imagination. 

"I mean to take up Mr. Weston instead of Mr. Hatfield," 
said my companion after a short pause, resuming something 
of her usual cheerfulness. ' ' The ball at Ashby Park takes place 
on Tuesday, you know ; and mamma thinks it very likely that 
Sir Thomas will propose to me then : such things are often done 
in the privacy of the ball-room, when gentlemen are most easily 
ensnared, and ladies most enchanting. But if I am to be married 
so soon, I must make the best of the present time : I am deter- 
mined Hatfield shall not be the only man who shall by his heart 
at my feet, and implore me to accept the worthless gift in vain." 

" If you mean Mr. Weston to be one of your victims," said 
I, with affected indifference, " you will have to make such over- 
tures yourself that you will find it difficult to draw back when he 
asks you to fulfil the expectations you have raised." 

" I don't suppose he will ask me to maryy him — nor should I 
desire it : that would be rather too much presumption ! but I 
intend him to feel my power. He has felt it already, indeed : 
but he shall acknowledge it too ; and what visionary hopes he 
may have, he must keep to himself, and only amuse me with the 
result of them — for a time." 

" Oh ! that some kind spirit would whisper those words in his 
ear ! " I inwardly exclaimed. I was far too indignant to hazard 
a reply to her observation, aloud ; and nothing more was said 
about Mr. \\'eston that day, by me or in my hearing. But next 



AGNES GREY. 4U 

morning, soon after breakfast, IMiss Murray came into the 
schoolroom where her sister was employed at her studies, or 
rather her lessons, for studies they were not, and said, ' ' Matilda, 
I want you to take a walk with me about eleven o'clock." 

"Oh, I can't, Rosalie ! I have to give orders about my new 
bridle and saddle-cloth, and speak to the rat-catcher about his 
dogs : Miss Grey must go with you." 

" No, I wantyoM," said Rosalie ; and calhng her sister to the 
window, she whispered an explanation in her ear ; upon which 
the latter consented to go. 

I remembered that eleven was the hour at which Mr, Weston 
proposed to come to the porter's lodge ; and remembering that 
I beheld the whole contrivance. Accordingly, at dinner, I was 
entertained with a long account of how Mr. Weston had over- 
taken them as they were walking along the road ; and how they 
had had a long walk and talk with him, and really found him 
quite an agreeable companion ; and how he must have been, 
and evidently was, delighted with them and their amazing con- 
descension, &c. &c. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

CONFESSIONS. 

As I am in the way of confessions, I may as well acknowledge 
that, about this time, I paid more attention to dress than ever I 
had done before. This is not saying much ; for hitherto I had 
been a little neglectful in that particular : but now, also, it was 
no uncommon thing to spend as much as two minutes in the con- 
templation of my own image in the glass ; though I never could 
derive any consolation from such a study, I could discover no 
beauty in those marked features, that pale hollow cheek, and 
ordinary dark brown hair ; there might be intellect in the fore- 
head, there might be expression in the dark grey eyes : but what 
of that? — a low Grecian brow, and large black eyes devoid of 
sentiment would be esteemed far preferable. It is foolish to wish 
for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves, 
or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, 
and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior. 



412 AGNES GREY. 

So said the teachers of our childhood ; and so say we to the 
children of the present day. All very judicious and proper, 
no doubt ; but, are such assertions supported by actual ex- 
perience ? 

We are naturally disposed to love what gives us pleasure, and 
what more pleasing than a beautiful face— when we know no harm 
of the possessor at least? A little girl loves her bird — Why? 
Because it lives and feels ; because it is helpless and harmless? 
A toad, likewise, lives and feels, and is equally helpless and harm- 
less ; but though she would not hurt a toad, she cannot love it 
like the bird, with its graceful form, soft feathers, and bright, 
speaking eyes. If a woman is fair and amiable, she is praised 
for both qualities, but especially the former, by the bulk of man- 
kind : if, on the other hand, she is disagreeable in person and 
character, her plainness is commonly inveighed against as her 
greatest crime, because, to common observers, it gives the greatest 
offence ; while, if she is plain and good, provided she is a person 
of retired manners and secluded life, no one ever knows of her 
goodness, except her immediate connections. Others, on the 
contrary, are disposed to form unfavourable opinions of her mind 
and disposition, if it be but to excuse themselves for their instinc- 
tive dislike of one so unfavoured by nature ; and vice versa with 
her whose angel form conceals a vicious heart, or sheds a false, 
deceitful charm over defects and "foibles that would not be 
tolerated in another. They that have beauty, let them be 
thankful for it, and make a good use of it, like any other talent ; 
they that have it not, let them console themselves, and do the 
best they can without it : certainly, though liable to be over- 
estimated, it is a gift of God, and not to be despised. Many 
will feel this who have felt that they could love, and whose hearts 
tell them that they are worthy to be loved again ; while yet they 
are debarred by the lack of this or some such seeming trifle, from 
giving and receiving that happiness they seem almost made to 
feel and to impart. As well might the humble glow-worm 
despise that power of giving light without which the roving fly 
might pass her and repass her a thousand times, and never rest 
beside her : she might hear her winged darling buzzing over and 
around her ; he vainly seeking her, she longing to be found, but 
with no power to make her presence known, no voice to call 
him, no wings to follow his flight;— the fly must seek another 
mate, the worm must live and die alone. 



AGNES GREY. 413 

Such were some of my reflections about this period. I might 
go on prosing more and more, I might dive much deeper, and 
disclose other thoughts, propose questions the reader might be 
puzzled to answer, and deduce arguments that might startle his 
prejudices, or, perhaps, provoke his ridicule, because he could 
not comprehend them ; but I forbear. 

Now, therefore, let us return to Miss Murray. She accom- 
panied her mamma to the ball on Tuesday ; of course splendidly 
attired, and delighted with her prospects and her charms. As 
Ashby Park was nearly ten miles distant from Horton Lodge, 
they had to set out pretty early, and I intended to have spent 
the evening with Nancy Brown, whom I had not seen for a long 
time; but my kind pupil took care I should spend it neither 
there nor anywhere else beyond the limits of the schoolroom, by 
giving me a piece of music to copy, which kept me closely occu- 
pied till bed-time. About eleven next morning, as soon as she 
had left her room, she came to tell me her news. Sir Thomas 
had indeed proposed to her at the ball : an event which reflected 
great credit on her mamma's sagacity, if not upon her skill in 
contrivance. I rather incline to the belief that she had first laid 
her plans, and then predicted their success. The offer had been 
accepted, of course, and the bridegroom-elect w'as coming that 
day to settle matters with Mr. Murray. 

Rosalie was pleased with tlie thoughts of becoming mistress of 
Ashby Park ; she was elated with the prospect of the bridal 
ceremony and its attendant splendour and dclat, the honeymoon 
spent abroad, and the subsequent gaieties she expected to enjoy 
in London and elsewhere ; she appeared pretty well pleased too, 
for the time being, with Sir Thomas himself, because she had so 
lately seen him, danced with him, and been flattered by him ; but, 
after all, she seemed to shrink from the idea of being so soon 
united : she wished the ceremony to be delayed some months, at 
least ; and I wished it too. It seemed a horrible thing to hurry 
on the inauspicious match, and not to give the poor creature time 
to think and reason on the irrevocable step she was about to take. 
I made no pretension to " a mother's watchful, anxious care," 
but I was amazed and horrified at Mrs. Murray's heartlessness, 
or want of thought for the real good of her child ; and, by my 
unheeded warnings and exhortations, I vainly strove to remedy the 
evil. Miss Murray only laughed at what I said ; and I soon 
found that her reluctance to an immediate union arose chiefly 



414 AGNES GREY. 

from a desire to do what execution she could among the young 
gentlemen of her acquaintance, before she was incapacitated from 
further mischief of the kind. It was for this cause that, before 
confiding to me the secret of her engagement, she had extracted 
a promise that I would not mention a word on the subject to any 
one. And when I saw this, and when I beheld her plunge more 
recklessly than ever into the depths of heartless coquetry, I had 
no more pity for her. "Come what will," I thought, "she 
deserves it. Sir Thomas cannot be too bad for her ; and the 
sooner she is incapacitated from deceiving and injuring others 
the better." 

The wedding was fixed for the ist of June. Between that 
and the critical ball was little more than six weeks ; but, with 
Rosalie's accomplished skill and resolute exertion, much might 
be done, even within that period : especially as Sir Thomas spent 
most of the interim in London ; whither he went up, it was said, 
to settle affairs with his lawyer, and make other preparations for 
the approaching nuptials. He endeavoured to supply the want 
of his presence by a pretty constant fire of billets-doux ; but these 
did not attract the neighbours' attention, and open their eyes, as 
personal visits would have done ; and old Lady Ashby's haughty, 
sour spirit of reserve withheld her from spreading the news, while 
her indifferent health prevented her coming to visit her future 
daughter-in-law ; so that, altogether, this affair was kept far 
closer than such things usually are. 

Rosalie would sometimes show her lover's epistles to me, to 
convince me what a kind, devoted husband he would make. 
She showed me the letters of another individual, too, the un- 
fortunate Mr. Green, who had not the courage, or, as she ex- 
pressed it, the "spunk " to plead his cause in person, but whom 
one denial would not satisfy : he must write again and again. 
He would not have done so if he could have seen the grimaces 
his fair idol made over his moving appeals to her feelings, and 
heard her scornful laughter, and the opprobrious epithets she 
heaped upon him for his perseverance. 

"Why don't you tell him, at once, that you are engaged?" 
I asked. 

" Oh, I don't want him to know that," replied she. " If he 
knew it, his sisters and everybody would know it, and then there 
would be an end of my — ahem ! And, besides, if I told him that, 
he would think my engagement was the only obstacle, and that 



AGNES GREY. 4^5 



T would have him if I ^vere free ; which I could not bear that any 
man should think, and he, of all others, at least. Besides, I don t 
c^re for his letters," she added contemptuously ; " he may write 
^s often as he pleases, and look as great a calf as he hkes when 
I meet him ; it only amuses me." .,..., 

Meantime, voung Meltham was pretty frequent in his visits to 
the house or t'ransits past it : and, judging by Matilda's execra- 
tions and reproaches, her sister paid more attention to him than 
civility required : in other words, she carried on as animated a 
flirtation as the presence of her parents would admit. She made 
some attempts to bring Mr. Hatfield once more to her feet ; but 
findin- them unsuccessful, she repaid his haughty indifference 
with still loftier scorn, and spoke of him with as much disdain 
and detestation as she had formerly done of his curate But. 
amid all this, she never for a moment lost sight of Mr. Weston. 
She embraced every opportunity of meeting him, tried every art 
to fascinate him, and pursued him with as much perseverance as 
if she reallv loved him and no other, and the happmess of her 
life depended upon eliciting a return of affection. Such conduct 
was completely beyond my comprehension. Had 1 seen it 
depicted in a novel, I should have thought it unnatural; had I 
heard it described by others, I should have deemed it a mistake 
or an exaggeration ; but when I saw it with my own eyes, and 
suffered from it too, I could only conclude that excessive vanlt^^ 
like drunkenness, hardens the heart, enslaves the faculties, and 
perverts the feehngs ; and that dogs are not the only creatures 
which, when gorged to the throat, will yet gloat over what they 
cannot devour, and grudge the smallest morsel to a starving 

'she 'now became extremely beneficent to the poor cottagers. 
Her acquaintance among them was more widely extended, her 
visits to their humble dwellings were more frequent and excursive 
than they had ever been before. Hereby, she earned aniong them 
the reputation of a condescending and very charitable young 
lady ; and their encomiums were sure to be repeated to Mr. 
Weston : whom also she had thus a daily chance of meeting in 
one or other of their abodes, or in her transits to and fro ; and 
often, likewise, she could gather, through their gossip to what 
places he was likely to go at such and such a tune, whether to 
baptize a child, or to visit the aged, the sick, the sad, or the 
dyin- • and most skilfully she laid her plans accordingly, in 



4l6 AGNES GREY. 

these excursions she would sometimes go with her sister — whom, 
by some means, she had persuaded or bribed to enter into her 
schemes— sometimes alone, never, now, with me ; so that I was 
debarred the pleasure of seeing Mr. Weston, or hearing his voice 
even in conversation with another : which would certainly have 
been a very great pleasure, however hurtful or however fraught 
with pain. I could not even see him at church : for Miss Murray, 
under some trivial pretext, chose to take possession of that corner 
in the family pew which had been mine ever since I came ; and, 
unless I had the presumption to station myself between Mr. and 
Mrs. Murray, I must sit with my back to the pulpit, which I ac- 
cordingly did. 

Now, also, I never walked home with my pupils : they said 
their mamma thought it did not look well to see three people out 
of the family walking, and only two going in the carriage ; and, 
as they greatly preferred walking in fine weather, I should be 
honoured by going with the seniors. " And, besides," said they, 
" you can't walk as fast as we do ; you know you're always lag- 
ging behind." I knew these were false excuses, but I made no 
objections, and never contradicted such assertions, well knowing 
the motives which dictated them. And in the afternoons, during 
those six memorable weeks, I never went to church at all. If I 
had a cold, or any slight indisposition, they took advantage of 
that to make me stay at home ; and often they would tell me they 
were not going again that day, themselves, and then pretend to 
change their minds, and set off without telling me : so managing 
their departure that I never discovered the change of purpose til^ 
too late. Upon their return home, on one of these occasions, -; 
they entertained me with an animated account of a conversatioii 
they had had with Mr. Weston as they came along. " And he 
asked if you were ill, Miss Grey," said Matilda; "but we told 
him you were quite well, only you didn't want to come to church 
— so he'll think you're turned wicked." 

All chance meetings on week-days were likewise carefully pre- 
vented ; for, lest I should go to see poor Nancy Brown or any 
other person. Miss Murray took good care to provide sufficient 
employment for all my leisure hours. There was always some 
drawing to finish, some music to copy, or some work to do, 
sufficient to incapacitate me from indulging in anything beyond 
a short walk about the grounds, however she or her sister might 
be occupied. 



AGNES GREY. 



417 



One morning, having sought and waylaid Mr, Weston, they 
returned in high glee to give rae an account of their interview. 
"And he asked after you again," said Matilda, in spite of her 
sister's silent but imperative intimation that she should hold her 
tongue. "He wondered why you were never with us, and 
thought you must have delicate health, as you came out so 
seldom." 

" He didn't, Matilda — what nonsense you're talking ! " 

"Oh, Rosalie, what a lie ! He did, you know; and you said 
—Don't Rosalie — hang it !— I won't be pinched so ! And, Miss 
Grey, Rosalie told him you were quite well, but you were always 
so buried in your books that you had no pleasure in anything 
else." 

" What an idea he must have of me ! " I thought. 

"And," I asked, "does old Nancy ever inquire about me? " 

"Yes ; and we tell her you are so fond of reading and draw- 
ing that you can do nothing else." 

"That is not the case though ; if you had told her I was so 
busy I could not come to see her, it would have been nearer the 
truth." 

" I don't think it would," replied Miss Murray, suddenly kind- 
ling up; " I'm sure you have plenty of time to yourself now, 
when you have so little teaching to do." 

It was no use beginning to dispute with such indulged, un- 
reasoning creatures : so I held my peace. I was accustomed, 
now, to keeping silence when things distasteful to my ear were 
•^ered ; and now, too, I was used to wearing a placid smiling 
-ountenance when my heart was bitter within me. Only those 
wiio have felt the like can imagine my feehngs, as I sat with an 
assumption of smihng indifference, hstening to the accounts of 
those meetings and interviews with Mr. Weston, which they 
seemed to find such pleasure in describing to me ; and hearing 
things asserted of him which, from the character of the man, I 
knew to be exaggerations and perversions of the truth, if not en- 
tirely false— things derogatory to him, and flattering to them — 
especially to Miss Murray — which I burned to contradict, or, at 
least, to show my doubts about, but dared not ; lest, in express- 
ing my disbelief, I should display my interest too. Other things 
I heard, which I felt or feared were indeed too true : but I must 
still conceal my anxiety respecting him, my indignation against 
them, beneath a careless aspect; others, again, mere hints of 



41 8 AGNES GREY. 

something said or done, which I longed to hear more of, but 
could not venture to inquire. So passed the weary time. I 
could not even comfort myself with saying, ' ' She will soon be 
married ; and then there may be hope." 

. Soon after her marriage the holidays would come ; and when 
I returned from home, most likely, Mr. Weston would be gone, 
for I was told that he and the Rector could not agree (the 
Rector's fault, of course), and he was about to remove to an- 
other place. 

No — besides my hope in God, my only consolation was in 
thinking that, though he knew it not, I was more worthy of his 
love than Rosalie Murray, charming and engaging as she was; 
for I could appreciate his excellence, which she could not: I 
would devote my life to the promotion of his happiness ; she 
would destroy his happiness for the momentary gratification of 
her own vanity. " Oh, if he could but know the difference ! " 
I would earnestly exclaim, " But no ! I would not have him 
see my heart : yet, if he could but know her hoUowness, her ] 
worthless, heartless frivolity, he would then be safe, and I should 
be — almost happy, though I might never see him more ! " 

I fear, by this time, the reader is well nigh disgusted with the j 
folly and weakness I have so freely laid before him. I never | 
disclosed it then, and would not have done so had my own sister ' 
or my mother been with me in the house. I was a close and 
resolute dissembler— in this one case at least. My prayers, my 
tears, my wishes, fears, and lamentations, were witnessed by 
myself and Heaven alone. 

When we are harassed by sorrows or anxieties, or long op- 
pressed by any powerful feelings which we must keep to ourselves, 
for which we can obtain and seek no sympathy from any living 
creature, and which yet we cannot, or will not wholly crush, we 
often naturally seek relief in poetry— and often find it, too— 
whether in the effusions of others.Avhich seem to harmonise with 
our existing case, or in our own attempts to give utterance to 
those thoughts and feelings in strains less musical, perchance, 
but more appropriate, and therefore more penetrating and sym- 
pathetic, and, for the time, more soothing, or more powerful to 
rouse and to unburden the oppressed and swollen heart. Before 
this time, at Wellwood House and here, when suffering from 
home-sick melancholy, I had sought relief twice or thrice at this 
secret source of consolation ; and now I flew to it again, with 



AGNES GREY. 



419 



greater avidity than ever, because I seemed to need it more. I 
still preserve those relics of past sufferings and experience, like 
pillars of witness set up in travelling through the vale of life, to 
mark particular occurrences. The footsteps are obliterated now ; 
the face of the country may be changed ; but the pillar is still 
there, to remind me how all things were when it was reared. 
Lest the reader should be curious to see any of these effusions, I 
will favour him with one short specimen : cold and languid as 
the lines may seem, it was almost a passion of grief to which 
they owed their being. 

" Oh, they have robbed me of the hope 
My spirit held so dear ; 
They will not let me hear that voice 
My soul delights to hear. 

They will not let me see that face 

I so delight to see ; 
And they have taken all thy smiles. 

And all thy love from me. 

Well, let them seize on all they can ; — 

One treasure still is mine, — 
A heart that loves to think on thee, 

And feels the worth of thine." 

Yes, at least, they could not deprive me of that : I could think 
of him day and night ; and I could feel that he was worthy to be 
thought of. Nobody knew him as I did ; nobody could appre- 
ciate him as I did ; nobody could love him as I — could, if I 
might : but there was the evil. What business had I to think 
so much of one that never thought of me? Was it not foolish? 
was it not wrong? Yet, if I found such deep delight in thinking 
of him, and if I kept those thoughts to myself, and troubled no 
one else with them, where was the harm of it? I would ask 
myself. And such reasoning prevented me from making any 
sufficient effort to shake off my fetters. 

But, if those thoughts brought delight, it was a painfuUtroubled 
pleasure, too near akin to anguish ; and one that did me more 
injury than I was aware of. It was an indulgence that a person 
of more wisdom or more experience would doubtless have denied 
herself. And yet, how dreary to turn my eyes from the con- 



420 AGNES GREY. 

templation of that bright object and force them to dwell on the 
dull, grey, desolate prospect around : the joyless, hopeless, 
solitary path that lay before me. It was wrong to be so joyless, 
so desponding ; I should have made God my friend, and to do 
His will the pleasure and the business of my life ; but faith was 
weak, and passion was too strong. 

In this time of trouble I had two other causes of affliction. 
The first may seem a trifle, but it cost me many a tear : Snap, 
my little dumb, rough- visaged, but bright-eyed, warm-hearted 
companion, the only thing I had to love me, was taken away, 
and delivered over to the tender mercies of the village rat-catcher, 
a man notorious for his brutal treatment of his canine slaves. 
The other was serious enough : my letters from home gave in- 
timation that my father's health was worse. No boding fears 
were expressed, but I was grown timid and despondent, and 
could not help fearing that some dreadful calamity awaited us 
there. I seemed to see the black clouds gathering round m} 
native hills, and to hear the angry muttering of a storm that was 
about to burst, and desolate our hearth. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

MIRTH AND MOURNING. 

The ist of June arrived at last : and Rosalie Murray was trans- 
muted into Lady Ashby. Most splendidly beautiful she looked 
in her bridal costume. Upon her return from church, after the 
ceremony, she came flying into the schoolroom, flushed with 
excitement, and laughing, half in mirth, and half in reckless 
desperation, as it seemed to me. 

" Now, Miss Grey, I'm Lady Ashby ! " she exclaimed. " It's 
done, my fate is sealed : there's no drawing back now. I'm 
come to receive your congratulations and bid you good-bye ; and 
then I'm off for Paris, Rome, Naples, Switzerland, London — 
oh, dear ! what a deal I shall see and hear before I come back 
again. But don't forget me : I shan't forget you, though I've 
been a naughty girl. Come, why don't you congratulate 
me?" 



AGNES GREY. 421 

" I cannot congratulate you," I replied, " till I know whether 
;his change is really for the better : but I sincerely hope it is ; 
and I wish you true happiness and the best of blessings." 

' Well, good-bye, the carriage is waiting, and they're calling 
me." 

She gave me a hasty kiss, and was hurrying away : but, sud- 
denly returning, embraced me with more affection than I thought 
her capable of evincing, and departed with tears in her eyes. 
Poor girl ! I really loved her then ; and forgave her from my heart 
all the injury she had done me — and others also : she had not 
half known it, I was sure ; and I prayed God to pardon her 
too. 

During the remainder of that day of festal sadness, I w^as left 
to my own devices. Being too much unhinged for any steady 
occupation, I wandered about with a book in my hand for several 
hours, more thinking than reading, for I had many things to 
think about. In the evening, I made use of my liberty to go 
and see my old friend Nancy once again ; to apologise for my 
long absence (which must have seemed so neglectful and unkind) 
by telling her how busy I had been ; and to talk, or read, or 
work for her, whichever might be most acceptable, and also, of 
course, to tell her the news of this important day : and perhaps 
to obtain a little information from her in return, respecting Mr. 
Weston's expected departure. But of this she seemed to know 
nothing, and I hoped, as she did, that it was all a false report. 
She was very glad to see me ; but, happily, her eyes were 
now so nearly well that she was almost independent of my ser- 
vices. She was deeply interested in the wedding ; but while I 
amused her with the details of the festive day, the splendours 
of the bridal party and of the bride herself, she often sighed and 
shook her head, and wished good might come of it ; she seemed, 
like me, to regard it rather as a theme for sorrow than rejoicing. 
I sat a long time talking to her about that and other things— but 
no one came. 

Shall I confess that I sometimes looked towards the door 
with a half-expectant wish to see it open and give entrance to 
Mr. Weston, as had happened once before? and that, returning 
through the lanes and fields, I often paused to look round me, 
and walked more slowly than was at all necessary— for, though 
a fine evening, it was not a hot one— and, finally, felt a sense 
of emptiness and disappointment at having reached the house 



422 AGNES GREY. 

without meeting or even catching a distant glimpse of any one, 
except a few labourers returning from their work? 

Sunday, however, was approaching : I should see him then ; 
for now that Miss Murray was gone, I could have my old corner 
again. I should see him, and by look, speech, and manner, I 
might judge whether the circumstance of her marriage had verv 
much afflicted him. Happily, I could perceive no shadow of a 
difference : he wore the same aspect as he had worn two months 
ago — voice, look, manner, all alike unchanged : there was the 
same keen-sighted, unclouded truthfulness in his discourse, the 
same forcible clearness in his style, the same earnest simplicity 
in all he said and did, that made itself not marked by the eye 
and ear, but felt upon the hearts of his audience. 

I walked home with Miss Matilda ; but he did 7iot joi?i -us. 
Matilda was now sadly at a loss for amusement, and woefully in 
want of a companion : her brothers at school, her sister married 
and gone, she too young to be admitted into society ; for which, 
from Rosalie's example, she was in some degree beginning to 
acquire a taste — a taste at least for the company of certain classes 
of gentlemen ; at this dull time of year — no hunting going on, 
no shooting even — for, though she might not join in that, it was 
soinethi7ig to see her father or the gamekeeper go out with the 
dogs, and to talk with them on their return, about the different 
birds they had bagged. Now, also, she was denied the solace 
which the companionship of the coachman, grooms, horses, 
greyhounds, and pointers might have afforded ; for her mother 
having, notwithstanding the disadvantages of a country life, so 
satisfactorily disposed of her elder daughter, the pride of her 
heart, had begun seriously to turn her attention to the younger ; 
and, being truly alarmed at the roughness of her manners, and 
thinking it high time to work a reform, had been roused at length 
to exert her authority, and prohibited entirely the yards, stables, 
kennels, and coach-house. Of course, she was not implicitly 
obeyed ; but, indulgent as she had hitherto been, when once her 
spirit was roused, her temper was not so gentle as she required 
that of her governesses to be, and her will was not to be thwarted 
with impunity. After many a scene of contention between mother 
and daughter, many a violent outbreak which I was ashamed to 
witness, in which the father's authority was often called in to 
confirm with oaths and threats the mother's slighted prohibitions 
^for even he could see that " Tilly, though she would have made 



AGNES GREY. 423 

i fine lad, was not quite what a young lady ought to be" — • 
Matilda at length found that her easiest plan was to keep clear 
of the forbidden regions ; unless she could now and then steal a 
visit without her watchful mother's knowledge. 

Amid all this, let it not be imagined that I escaped without 
many a reprimand, and many an implied reproach, that lost 
none of its sting from not being openly worded ; but rather 
wounded the more deeply, because, from that very reason, it 
seemed to preclude self-defence. Frequently, I was told tO' 
amuse Miss Matilda with other things, and to remind her of her 
mother's precepts and prohibitions. I did so to the best of my 
power ; but she would not be amused against her will, and 
could not against her taste ; and though I went beyond mere 
reminding, such gentle remonstrances as I could use were utterly 
ineffectual. 

" Dear !Miss Grey ! it is the strangest thing. I suppose you 
can't help it, if it's not in your nature — but I tuonder you can't 
win the confidence of that girl, and make your society at least 
as agreeable to her as that of Robert or Joseph ! " 

' ' They can talk the best about the things in which she is most 
interested," I replied. 

" Well ! that is a strange confession, however, to come from 
hex governess / Who is to form a young lady's tastes, I wonder, 
if the governess doesn't do it? I have known governesses who 
have so completely identified themselves with the reputation 
of their young ladies for elegance and propriety in mind and 
manners, that they would Mush to speak a word against them ; 
and to hear the slightest blame imputed to their pupils was 
worse than to be censured in their own persons— and I really 
think it very natural, for my part." 

" Do you, ma'am?" 

"Yes, of course: the young lady's proficiency and elegance 
is of more consequence to the governess than her own, as well 
as to the world. If she wishes to prosper in her vocation she 
must devote all her energies to her business : all her ideas and 
all her ambition will tend to the accomplishment of that one 
object. When we wish to decide upon the merits of a governess, 
we naturally look at the young ladies she professes to^iiave edu- 
cated, and judge accordingly. The judicious governess knows 
this : she knows that, while she lives in obscurity herself, her 
pupil's virtues and defects will be open to every eye ; and that, 



424 AGNES GREY. 

unless she loses sight of herself in their cultivation, she need 
not hope for success. You see. Miss Grey, it is just the same 
as any other trade or profession: they that wish to prosper 
must devote themselves body and soul to their calling- and if 
they begin to yield to indolence or self-indulgence they are 
speedily distanced by wiser competitors : there is little to choose 
between a person that ruins her pupils by neglect, and one that 
corrupts them by her example. You will excuse my dropping 
these little hints ; you know it is all for your own good. Many 
ladies would speak to you much more strongly ; and many would 
not trouble themselves to speak at all. but quietly look out for a 
substitute. That, of course, would be the easiest plan: but I 
know the advantages of a place like this to a person in your 
situation ; and I have no desire to part with you, as I am sure 
you would do very well if you will only think of these things 
and try to exert yourself a little more: then, I am convinced 
you would soon acquire that delicate tact which alone is want- 
ing to give you a proper influence over the mind of your 
pupa. ^ 

I was about to give the lady some idea of the fallacy of her 
expectations ; but she sailed away as soon as she had concluded 
her speech. Having said what she wished, it was no part of 
her plan to await my answer: it was my business to hear, and 
not to speak. 

However, as I have said. Matilda at length yielded in some 
degree to her mother's authority (pity it had not been exerted 
before) ; and being thus deprived of almost every source of 
amusement, there was nothing for it but to take long rides with 
the groom and long walks with the governess, and to visit the 
cottages and farm-houses on her father's estate, to kill time in 
chatting with the old men and women that inhabited them In 
one of these walks, it was our chance to meet Mr Weston 
I his was what I had long desired; but now, for a moment^ 
I wished either he or I were away: I felt my heart throb so 
violently that I dreaded lest some outward signs of emotion 
should appear ; but I think he hardly glanced at me. and I 

'''f i?." ''''^"' ^"''"^^- ^^^^^ ^ ^'■'^^ salutation to both, he 
asked Matilda if she had lately heard from her sister. 

Yes " replied she. ' • She was at Paris when she wrote, and 
very well, and very happy." 
She spoke the last word emphatically, and with a glance 



AGNES GREY. 425 

impertinently sly. He did not seem to notice it, but replied, 
with equal emphasis, and very seriously — 

" I hope she will continue to be so." 

" Do you think it hkely?" I ventured to inquire : for Matilda 
bad started off in pursuit of her dog, that was chasing a leveret. 

" I cannot tell," replied he. " Sir Thomas may be a better 
man than I suppose ; but, from all I have heard and seen, it 
seems a pity that one so young, and gay, and — and interesting, 
to express many things by one word — whose greatest, if not 
her only fault, appears to be thoughtlessness — no trifling fault 
to be sure, since it renders the possessor liable to almost every 
other, and exposes him to so many temptations : but it seems 
a pity that she should be thrown away on such a man. It was 
her mother's wish, I suppose?" 

' ' Yes ; and her own too, I think, for she always laughed at 
my attempts to dissuade her from the step." 

"You did attempt it? Then, at least, you will have the 
satisfaction of knowing that it is no fault of yours, if any harm 
should come of it. As for Mrs. Murray, I don't know how she 
can justify her conduct : if I had sufficient acquaintance with 
her, I'd ask her." 

" It seems unnatural : but some people think rank and wealth 
the chief good ; and, if they can secure that for their children, 
they think they have done their duty." 

" True: but is it not strange that persons of experience, who 
have been married themselves, should judge so falsely?" 

Matilda now came panting back, with the lacerated body of 
the young hare in her hand. 

' ' Was it your intention to kill that hare, or to save it, Miss 
Murray? " asked Mr. Weston, apparently puzzled at her gleeful 
countenance. 

" I pretended to want to save it," she answered, honestly 
enough, "as it was so glaringly out of season ; but I was better 
pleased to see it killed. However, you can both witness that 
I couldn't help it : Prince was determined to have her ; and he 
clutched her by the back, and killed her in a minute ! Wasn't 
it a noble chase?" 

"Very ! for a young lady after a leveret." 

There was a quiet sarcasm in the tone of his reply which 
was not lost upon her ; she shrugged her shoulders, and, 
turning away with a significant "Humph!" asked me how 

o 2 



426 AGNES GREY. 

I had enjoyed the fun. I replied that I saw no fun in the 
matter ; but admitted that I had not observed the transaction 
very narrowly. 

" Didn't you see how it doubled — ^just like an old hare ? and 
didn't you hear it scream ?" 

" I'm happy to say I did not." 

" It cried out just like a child." 

" Poor little thing ! What will you do with it? " 

" Come along — I shall leave it in the first house we come to. 
I don't want to take it home, for fear papa should scold me for 
letting the dog kill it." 

Mr. Weston was now gone, and we too went on our way ; 
but as we returned, after having deposited the hare in a farm- 
house, and demolished some spice-cake and currant wine in 
exchange, we met him returning also from the execution of 
his mission, whatever it might be. He carried in his hand 
a cluster of beautiful bluebells which he offered to me ; observ- 
ing, with a smile, that though he had seen so little of me for 
the last two months, he had not forgotten that bluebells were 
numbered among my favourite flowers. It was done as a 
simple act of goodwill, without compliment or remarkable 
courtes)r, or any look that could be construed into "reveren- 
tial, tender adoration " {vide Rosalie Murray) ; but still, it 
was something to find my unimportant saying so well remem- 
bered : it was something that he bad noticed so accurately the 
time I had ceased to be visible. 

" I was told," said he, " that you were a perfect bookworm, 
Miss Grey : so completely absorbed in your studies that you 
were lost to every other pleasure." 

"Yes, and it's quite true ! " cried Matilda. 

" No, Mr. Weston ; don't believe it : it's a scandalous libel. 
These young ladies are too fond of making random assertions 
at the expense of their friends ; and you ought to be careful how 
you listen to them." 

" I hope fhis assertion is groundless, at any rate;" 

" Why? Do you particularly object to ladies studying?" 

"No; but I object to any one so devoting himself or her- 
self to study, as to lose sight of everything else. Except under 
peculiar circumstances, I consider very close and constant 
study as a waste of time, and an injury to the mind as well 
as the body." 



AGNES grey:. 427 



"Well, I have neither the time nor the inclination for si! 
transgressions." 

We parted again. 

Well ! what is there remarkable in all this ? Why have I 
recorded it ? Because, reader, it was important enough to give 
me a cheerful evening, a night of pleasing dreams, and a morn- 
ing of felicitous hopes. Shallow-brained cheerfulness, foolish 
dreams, unfounded hopes, you would say ; and I will not 
venture to deny it : suspicions to that effect arose too frequently 
in my own mind. But our wishes are like tinder : the flint and 
steel of circumstances are continually striking out sparks, which 
vanish immediately, unless they chance to fall upon the tinder 
of our wishes ; then, they instantly ignite, and the flame of hope 
is kindled in a moment. 

But alas ! that very morning, my flickering flame of hope was 
dismally quenched by a letter from my mother, which spoke so 
seriously of my father's increasing illness, that I feared there 
was little or no chance of his recovery ; and, close at hand as 
the holidays were, I almost trembled lest they should come too 
late for me to meet him in this world. Two days after, a letter 
from Mary told me his life was despaired of, and his end seemed 
fast approaching. Then, immediately, I sought permission to 
anticipate the vacation, and go without delay. Mrs. Murray 
stared, and wondered at the unwonted energy and boldness with 
which I urged the request, and thought there was no occasion 
to hurry; but finally gave me leave: stating, however, that 
there was " no need to be in such agitation about the matter — 
it might prove a false alarm after all ; and if not — why, it was 
only in the common course of nature : we must all die some 
time ; and I was not to suppose myself the only afflicted person 
in the world ; " and concluding with saying 1 might have the 

phaeton to take me to O . " And instead of repiiiing, Miss 

Grey, be thankful for the privileges you enjoy. There's many 
a poor clergyman whose family would be plunged into ruin by 
the event of his death ; but yo7i, you see, have influential friends 
ready to continue their patronage, and to show you every con- 
sideration." 

I thanked her for her "consideration," and flew to'my room 
to make some hurried preparations for my departure. My bonnet 
and shawl being on, and a few things hastily crammed into my 
largest trunk, I descended. But I might have done the work 



428 AGNES GREY. 

more leisurely, for no one else was in a hurry ; and I had still 
a considerable time to wait for the phaeton. At length it came 
to the door, and I was off: but, oh, what a dreary journey was 
that ! how utterly different from my former passages homewards ! 

Being too late for the last coach to , I had to hire a cab for 

ten miles, and then a car to take me over the rugged hills. It 
was half-past ten before I reached home. They were not in 
bed. 

My mother and sister both met me in the passage — sad — 
silent — pale ! I was so much shocked and terror-stricken that 
I could not speak, to ask the information I so much longed yet 
dreaded to obtain. 

"Agnes ! " said my mother, strugghng to repress some strong 
emotion. 

" Oh, Agnes ! " cried Mary, and burst into tears. 

" How is he?" I asked, gasping for the answer. 

"Dead!" 

It was the reply I had anticipated: but the shock seemed 
none the less tremendous. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE LETTER. 

My father's mortal remains had been consigned to the tomb ; 
and we, with sad faces and sombre garments, sat lingering over 
the frugal breakfast-table, revolving plans for our future life. 
My mother's strong mind had not given way beneath even this 
affliction : her spirit, though crushed, was not broken. Mary's 
wish was that I should go back to Horton Lodge, and that our 
mother should come and live with her and Mr. Richardson at 
the vicarage : she affirmed that he wished it no less than her- 
self, and that such an arrangement could not fail to benefit all 
parties ; for my mother's society and experience would be of 
inestimable value to them, and they would do all they could 
to make her happy. But no arguments or entreaties could 
prevail ; my mother was determined not to go. Not that she 
questioned, for a moment, the kind wishes and intentions of 



AGNES GREY. 429 

her daughter ; but she affirmed that so long as God spared her 
health and strength, she would make use of them to earn her 
own livelihood, and be chargeable to no one ; whether her 
dependence would be felt as a burden or not. If she could 

afford to reside as a lodger in vicarage, she would choose 

that house before all others as the place of her abode ; but not 
being so circumstanced, she would never come under its roof, 
except as an occasional visitor : unless sickness or calamity 
should render her assistance really needful, or until age or 
infirmity made her incapable of maintaining herself. 

"No, Mary," said she, "if Richardson and you have any- 
thing to spare, you must lay it aside for your family ; and Agnes 
and I must gather honey for ourselves. Thanks to my having 
had daughters to educate, I have not forgotten my accomplish- 
ments. God willing, I will check this vain repining," — she said, 
while the tears coursed one another down her cheeks in spite 
of her efforts ; but she wiped them away, and resolutely shaking 
back her head, continued, "I will exert myself, and look out 
for a small house, commodiously situated in some populous but 
healthy district, where we will take a few young ladies to board 
and educate — if we can get them— and as many day-pupils as 
will come, or as we can manage to instruct. Your father's 
relations and old friends will be able to send us some pupils, 
or to assist us with their recommendations, no doubt : I shall 
not apply to my own. What say you to it, Agnes? will you 
be willing to leave your present situation and try ? " 

"Quite willing, mamma: and the money I have saved will 
do to furnish the house. It shall be taken from the bank 
directly." 

' ' When it is wanted : we must get the house, and settle on 
preliminaries first." 

Mary offered to lend the little she possessed ; but my mother 
dechned it, saying, that we must begin on an economical plan ; 
and she hoped that the whole or part of mine, added to what 
we could get by the sale of the furniture, and what little our 
dear papa had contrived to lay aside for her since the debts 
were paid, would be sufficient to last us till Christmas ; when, 
it was hoped, something would accrue from our united labours. 
It was finally settled that this should be our plan ; and that 
inquiries and preparations should immediately be set on foot ; 
and while my mother busied herself with these, I should return 



430 AGNES GREY. 

to Horton Lodge at the close of my four weeks' vacation, and 
give notice for my final departure when things were in train for 
the speedy commencement of our school. 

We were discussing these affairs on the morning I have men- 
tioned, about a fortnight after my father's death, when a letter 
was brought in for my mother, on beholding which the colour 
mounted to her face — lately pale enough with anxious watchings 
and excessive sorrow. " From my father ! " murmured she, as 
she hastily tore off the cover. It was many years since she had 
heard from any of her own relations before. Naturally wonder- 
ing what the letter might contain, I watched her countenance 
while she read it, and was somewhat surprised to see her bite 
her lip and knit her brows as if in anger. When she had done, 
she somewhat irreverently cast it on the table, saying with a 
scornful smile — 

" Your grandpapa has been so kind as to write to me. He 
says he has no doubt I have long repented of my ' unfortunate 
marriage,' and if I will only acknowledge this, and confess I was 
wrong in neglecting his advice, and that I have justly suffered 
for it, he will make a lady of me once again — if that be possible 
after my long degradation— and remember my girls in his will. 
Get my desk, Agnes, and send these things away : I will answer 
the letter directly. But first, as I may be depriving you both 
of a legacy, it is just that I should tell you what I mean to say. 
I shall say that he is mistaken in supposing that I can regret 
the birth of my daughters (who have been the pride of my life, and 
are likely to be the comfort of my old age), or the thirty years I 
have passed in the company of my best and dearest friend ; — 
that, had our misfortunes been three times as great as they were 
{unless they had been of my bringing on), I should still the more 
rejoice to have shared them with your father, and administered 
what consolation I was able ; and, had his sufferings in illness 
been ten times what they were, I could not regret having watched 
over and laboured to relieve them ; that, if he had married a 
richer wife, misfortunes and trials would no doubt have come 
upon him still ; while I am egotist enough to imagine that no 
other woman could have cheered him through them so well : 
not that I am superior to the rest, but I was made for him, 
and he for me ; and I can no more repent the hours, days, 
years of happiness we have spent together, and which neither 
could have had without tlie otiier, than I can the privilege of 



AGNES GREY. 43 1 

having been his nurse in sickness, and his comfort in afflic- 
tion. 

" Will this do, children? — or shall I say we are all very sorry 
for what has happened during the last thirty years, and my 
daughters wish they had never been born ; but since they have 
had that misfortune, they will be thankful for any trifle tlieir 
grandpapa will be kind enough to bestow?" 

Of course, we both applauded our mother's resolution ; Mary 
cleared away the breakfast things ; I brought the desk ; the 
letter was quickly written and despatched ; and, from that day, 
we heard no more of our grandfather, till we saw his death 
announced in the newspaper a considerable time after — all his 
worldly possessions, of course, being left to our wealthy, un» 
known cousins. 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE FAREWELL. 

A HOUSE in A , the fashionable watering-place, was hired 

for our seminary ; and a promise of two or three pupils was 
obtained to commence with. I returned to Horton Lodge 
about the middle of July, leaving my mother to conclude the 
bargain for the house, to obtain more pupils, to sell off the 
furniture of our old abode, and to fit out the new one. 

We often pity the poor, because they have no leisure to 
mourn their departed relatives, and necessity obliges them to 
labour through their severest afflictions : but is not active 
employment the best remedy for overwhelming sorrow — the 
surest antidote for despair ? It may be a rough comforter : it 
may seem hard to be harassed with the cares of life when we 
have no relish for its enjoyments ; to be goaded to labour when 
the heart is ready to break, and the vexed spirit implores for 
rest only to weep in silence : but is not labour better than the 
rest we covet ? and are not those petty, tormenting^ cares less 
hurtful than a continual brooding over the great affliction that 
oppresses us? Besides, we cannot have cares, and anxieties, 
and toil, without hope— if it be but the hope of fulfilling our 



432 AGNES GREY. 

joyless task, accomplishing some needful project, or escaping 
some further annoyance. At any rate, I was glad my mother 
had so much employment for every faculty of her action-loving 
frame. Our kind neighbours lamented that she, once so exalted 
in wealth and station, should be reduced to such extremity in 
her time of sorrow ; but I am persuaded that she would have 
suffered thrice as much had she been left in affluence, with 
liberty to remain in that house, the scene of her early happiness 
and late affliction, and no stern necessity to prevent her from 
incessantly brooding over and lamenting her bereavement. 

I will not dilate upon the feelings with which I left the old 
house, the well-known garden, the little village church — then 
doubly dear to me, because my father, who, for thirty years, had 
taught and prayed within its walls, lay slumbering now beneath 
its flags — and the old bare hills, delightful in their very desola- 
tion, with the narrow vales between, smiling in green wood and 
sparkling water — the house where I was born, the scene of ail 
my early associations, the place where throughout life my earthly 
affections had been centred ; — and left them to return no more ! 
True, I was going back to Horton Lodge, where, amid many 
evils, one source of pleasure yet remained : but it was pleasure 
mingled with excessive pain ; and my stay, alas ! was limited 
to six weeks. And even of that precious time, day after day 
slipped by and I did not see him : except at church, I never 
saw him for a fortnight after my return. It seemed a long time 
to me : and, as I was often out with my rambling pupil, of 
course hopes would keep rising, and disappointments would 
ensue ; and, then, I would say to my own heart, " Here is a 
convincing proof— if you would but have the sense to see it, or 
the candour to acknowledge it — that he does not care for you. 
If he only thought half as much about you as you do about 
him, he would have contrived to meet you many times ere this : 
you must know that, by consulting your own feelings. There- 
fore, have done with this nonsense : you have no ground for 
hope : dismiss, at once, these hurtful thoughts and foolish 
wishes from your mind, and turn to your own duty, and the 
dull blank life that lies before you. You might have known 
such happiness was not for you." 

But I saw him at last. He came suddenly upon me as I was 
crossing a field in returning from a visit to Nancy Brown, which 
I had taken the opportunity of paying while Matilda Murray 



AGNES GREY. 435 

was riding her matchless mare. He must have heard of the 
heavy loss I had sustained : he expressed no sympathy, offered 
no condolence : but almost the first words he uttered were — 
"How is your mother?" And this was no matter-of-course 
question, for I never told him that I had a mother : he must 
have learned the fact from others, if he knew it at all ; and, 
besides, there was sincere good-will, and even deep, touching, 
unobtrusive sympathy in the tone and manner of the inquiry. 
I thanked him with due civility, and told him she was as well 
as could be expected. "What will she do?" was the next 
question. Many would have deemed it an impertinent one, 
and given an evasive reply ; but such an idea never entered my 
head, and I gave a brief but plain statement of mother's plans 
and prospects. 

" Then you will leave this place shortly? " said he. 

"Yes, in a month." 

He paused a minute, as if in thought. When he spoke again, 
I hoped it would be to express his concern at my departure ; 
but it was only to say — " I should think you will be willing 
enough to go?" 

"Yes — for some things," I replied. 

"For some things only — I wonder what should make you 
regret it ! " 

I was annoyed at this in some degree ; because it embarrassed 
me : I had only one reason for regretting it ; and that was a 
profound secret, which he had no business to trouble me 
about. 

" Why," said I — " why should you suppose that I dislike the 
place?" 

"You told me so yourself," was the decisive reply, "You 
said, at least, that you could not live contentedly, without a 
friend ; and that you had no friend here, and no possibility of 
making one — and besides, I know you must dislike it." 

"But if you remember rightly, I said, or meant to say, I 
could not live contentedly without a friend in the world: I was 
not so unreasonable as to require one always near me. I think 

I could be happy in a house full of enemies, if" but no; 

that sentence must not be continued — I paused, aftd hastily 
added— "And besides, we cannot well leave a place where 
we have lived for two or three years, without some feeling of 
re.srret." 



434 AGNES GREY. 

" Will you regret to part with Miss Murray, your sole remain- 
ing pupil and companion ? " 

" I dare say I shall in some degree : it was not without sorrow 
I parted with her sister." 

"1 can imagine that." 

"Well, Miss Matilda is quite as good— better, in one respect." 

"What is that?" 

"She's honest." 

"And the other is not?" 

' ' I should not call her dishonest ; but it must be confessed, 
she's a httle artful." 

"Artful is she? — I saw she was giddy and vain — and now," 
he added, after a pause, " I can well believe she was artful too ; 
but so excessively so as to assume an aspect of extreme sim- 
plicity and unguarded openness. Yes," continued he musingly, 
"that accounts for some little things that puzzled me a trifle 
before." 

After that, he turned the conversation to more general sub- 
jects. He did not leave me till we had nearly reached the 
park gates : he had certainly stepped a little out of his way to 
accompany me so far, for he now went back and disappeared 
down Moss Lane, the entrance of which we had passed some 
time before. Assuredly I did not regret this circumstance : if 
sorrow had any place in my heart, it was that he was gone at 
last — that he was no longer walking by my side, and that that 
short interval of delightful intercourse was at an end. He had 
not breathed a word of love, or dropped one hint of tenderness 
or affection, and yet I had been supremely happy. To be near 
him, to hear him talk as he did talk ; and to feel that he thought 
me worthy to be so spoken to— capable of understanding and 
duly appreciating such discourse — was enough. 

" Yes, Edward Weston, I could indeed be happy in a house 
full of enemies, if I had but one friend, who truly, deeply, and 
faithfully loved me ; and if that friend were you — though we 
might be far apart — seldom to hear from each other, still more 
seldom to meet — though toil, and trouble, and vexation might 
surround me, still — it would be too much happiness for me to 
dream of! Yet who can tell," said I within myself, as I pro- 
ceeded up the park — ' ' who can tell what this one month may 
bring forth? I have lived nearly three-and-twenty years, and 
I have suffered much, and tasted little pleasure yet : is it likely 



AGNES GREY. 435 

my life all through will be so clouded ? Is it not possible that 
God may hear my prayers, disperse these gloomy shadow?, and 
grant me some beams of heaven's sunshine yet ! \\'ill Ho en- 
tirely deny to me those blessings which are so freely given to 
others, who neither ask them nor acknowledge them when 
received? May I not still hope and trust?" I did hope and 
trust for a while : but, alas, alas ! the time ebbed away : one 
week followed another, and, excepting one distant glimpse and 
two transient meetings — during which scarcely anything was 
said — while I was walking with Aliss Matilda, I saw nothing 
of him • except, of course, at church. 

Ana now, the last Sunday was come, and the last service. 
I was often on the point of melting into tears during the sermon 
— the last I was to hear from him : the best I should hear from 
any one, I was well assured. It was over— the congregation 
were departing ; and I must follow. I had then seen him, and 
heard his voice, too, probably for the last time. In the church- 
yard, Matilda was pounced upon by the two Misses Green. 
They had many inquiries to make about her sister, and I know 
not what besides. I only wished they would have done, that 
we might hasten back to Horton Lodge : I longed to seek the 
retirement of my own room, or some sequestered nook in the 
grounds, that I might deliver myself up to my feelings— to weep 
my last farewell, and lament my false hopes and vain delusions. 
Only this once, and then adieu to fruitless dreaming — thence- 
forth, only sober, solid, sad reahty should occupy my mind. 
But while I thus resolved, a low voice close beside me said — 
"I suppose you are going this week. Miss Grey?" "Yes," I 
replied. I was very much startled ; and had I been at all 
hysterically inclined, I certainly should have committed myself 
in some way then. Thank God, I was not. 

"Well," said Mr. Weston, " I want to bid you good-bye — it 
is not likely I shall see you again before you go." 

"Good-bye, Mr. Weston," I said. Oh, how I struggled to 
say it calmly ! I gave him my hand. He retained it a few 
seconds in his. 

"It is possible we may meet again," said he ; "will it be of 
any consequence to you whether we do or not ? " 

" Yes, I should be very glad to see you again." 

I coiild say no less. He kindly pressed my hand, and went. 
Now, I was happy again — though more inclined to burst into 



436 AGNES GREY. 

tears than ever. If I had been forced to speak at that moment, 
a succession of sobs would have inevitably ensued ; and as it 
was, I could not keep the water out of my eyes. I walked 
along with Miss Murray, turning aside my face, and neglecting 
to notice several successive remarks, till she bawled out that 
I was either deaf or stupid ; and then (having recovered my 
self-possession), as one awakened from a fit of abstraction, 
I suddenly looked up and asked what she had been saying. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE SCHOOL. 

I LEFT Horton Lodge, and went to join my mother in our 

new abode at A . I found her well in health, resigned in 

spirit, and even cheerful, though subdued and sober, in her 
general demeanour. We had only three boarders and half a 
dozen day-pupils to commence with ; but by due care and 
diligence we hoped ere long to increase the number of both. 

I set myself with befitting energy to discharge the duties of 
this new mode of life. I call it new, for there was, indeed, 
a considerable difference between working with my mother 
in a school of our own, and working as a hireling among 
strangers, despised and trampled upon by old and young ; and 
for the first few weeks I was by no means unhappy. "It is 
possible we may meet again," and "will it be of any con- 
sequence to you whether we do or not?" — Those words still 
rang in my ear and rested on my heart : they were my secret 
solace and support. " I shall see him again. — He will come ; 
or he will write." No promise, in fact, was too bright or too 
extravagant for Hope to whisper in my ear. I did not beheve 
half of what she told me : I pretended to laugh at it all ; but 
I was far more credulous than I myself supposed ; otherwise, 
why did my heart leap up when a knock was heard at the front 
door, and the maid, who opened it, came to tell my mother a 
gentleman wished to see her? and why was I out of humour for 
the rest of the day, because it proved to be a music-master 
come to offer his services to our school ? and what stopped my