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The Grass Is Singing



Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte

Words, you might not know:

coffin, despair, gipsy, howl, moor, mutter, quarrel, scold, scorn, sob, sour, wicked, windstep



Mr Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights


I have just returned from a visit to my landlord, Mr Heathcliff. I am delighted with the house I am renting from him. Thrushcross Grange is miles away from any town or village. That suits me perfectly. And the scenery here in Yorkshire is so beautiful!

Mr Heathcliff, in fact, is my only neighbour, and I think his character is similar to mine. He does not like people either.

'My name is Lockwood,' I said, when I met him at the gate to his house. 'I'm renting Thrushcross Grange from you. I just wanted to come and introduce myself.'

He said nothing, but frowned, and did not encourage me to enter. After a while, however, he decided to invite me in.

'Joseph, take Mr Lockwood's horse!' he called. 'And bring up some wine from the cellar!' Joseph was a very old servant, with a sour expression on his face. He looked crossly up at me as he took my horse.

'God help us! A visitor!' he muttered to himself. Perhaps there were no other servants, I thought. And it seemed that Mr Heathcliff hardly ever received guests.

His house is called Wuthering Heights. The name means 'a windswept house on a hill', and it is a very good description. The trees around the house do not grow straight, but are bent by the north wind, which blows over the moors every day of the year. Fortunately, the house is strongly built, and is not damaged even by the worst winter storms. The name 'Earnshaw' is cut into a stone over the front door.

Mr Heathcliff and I entered the huge main room. It could have been any Yorkshire farmhouse kitchen, except that there was no sign of cooking, and no farmer sitting at the table. Mr Heathcliff certainly does not look like a farmer. His hair and skin are dark, like a gipsy's, but he has the manners of a gentleman. He could perhaps take more care with his appearance, but he is handsome. I think he is proud, and also unhappy.

We sat down by the fire, in silence.

'Joseph!' shouted Mr Heathcliff. No answer came from the cellar, so he dived down there, leaving me alone with several rather fierce-looking dogs. Suddenly one of them jumped angrily up at me, and in a moment all the others were attacking me. From every shadowy corner in the great room appeared a growling animal, ready to kill me, it seemed.

'Help! Mr Heathcliff! Help!' I shouted, trying to keep the dogs back. My landlord and his servant were in no hurry to help, and could not have climbed the cellar steps more slowly, but luckily a woman, who I supposed was the housekeeper, rushed into the room to calm the dogs.

'What the devil is the matter?' Mr Heathcliff asked me rudely, when he finally entered the room.

'Your dogs, sir!' I replied. 'You shouldn't leave a stranger with them. They're dangerous.'

'Come, come, Mr Lockwood. Have some wine. We don't often have strangers here, and I'm afraid neither I nor my dogs are used to receiving them.'

I could not feel offended after this, and accepted the wine. We sat drinking and talking together for a while. I suggested visiting him tomorrow. He did not seem eager to see me again, but I shall go anyway. I am interested in him, even if he isn't interested in me.

Two days later Yesterday afternoon was misty and bitterly cold, but I walked the four miles to Wuthering Heights and arrived just as it was beginning to snow. I banged on the front door for ten minutes, getting colder and colder. Finally Joseph's head appeared at a window of one of the farm buildings.

'What do you want?' he growled.

'Could you let me in?' I asked desperately.

He shook his head. 'There's only Mrs Heathcliff indoors, and she won't open the door to you.'

Just then a young man appeared and called me to follow him. We went through the back door and into the big room where I had been before. I was delighted to see a warm fire and a table full of food. And this time there was a woman sitting by the fire. She must be Mrs Heathcliff, I thought. I had not imagined my landlord was married. She looked at me coldly without saying anything.

'Terrible weather!' I remarked. There was silence.

'What a beautiful animal!' I tried again, pointing to one of the dogs that had attacked me. She still said nothing, but got up to make the tea. She was only about seventeen, with the most beautiful little face I had ever seen. Her golden wavy hair fell around her shoulders.

'Have you been invited to tea?' she asked me crossly.

'No, but you are the proper person to invite me,' I smiled.

For some reason this really annoyed her. She stopped making the tea, and threw herself angrily back in her chair. Meanwhile the young man was staring aggressively at me. He looked like a farm worker, but seemed to be part of the family. I did not feel at all comfortable. At last Heathcliff came in.

'Here I am, sir, as I promised!' I said cheerfully.

'You shouldn't have come,' he answered, shaking the snow off his clothes. 'You'll never find your way back in the dark.'

'Perhaps you could lend me a servant to guide me back to the Grange?' I asked.

'No, I couldn't. There aren't any servants here except Joseph and the housekeeper. Get the tea ready, will you?' he added fiercely to the young woman. I was shocked by his unpleasantness.

We sat down to eat. I tried to make conversation with the three silent people round the table.

'How happy you must be, Mr Heathcliff,' I began, 'in this quiet place, with your wife and - '

'My wife! My wife's ghost, you mean?'

I suddenly realized I had made a serious mistake. So his wife was dead! Of course he was too old to be married to that young girl. She must be married to the young man next to me, who was drinking his tea out of a bowl and eating his bread with unwashed hands. Perhaps the poor girl had found no one better to marry in this uninhabited area. I turned politely to the young man.

'Ah, so you are this lady's husband!' This was worse than before. His face went red, and he seemed only just able to stop himself hitting me. He muttered something I could not hear.

'Wrong again, Mr Lockwood,' said Mr Heathcliff. 'No, her husband, my son, is dead. This, 'he added', looking scornfully at the young man, 'is certainly not my son.'

'My name is Hareton Earnshaw,' growled the young man.

We finished our meal in silence, and when I looked out of the window, all I could see was darkness and snow.

'I don't think I can get home without a guide,' I said politely. No one answered me. I turned to the woman.

'Mrs Heathcliff,' I begged, 'What can I do? Please help me!'

'Take the road you came on,' she replied without interest, opening a book. 'That's the best advice I can give.'

'Mr Heathcliff, I'll have to stay here for the night!' I told him.

'I hope that will teach you not to walk over the moors in bad weather,' he answered. 'I don't keep guest bedrooms. You can share a bed with Hareton or Joseph.'

I was so angry with them all that I could not stay there a moment longer, and rushed out into the darkness. I saw Joseph by the back door, caught hold of the lamp he was carrying, and ran with it to the gate. But the dogs chased after me and attacked me, and I was soon knocked to the ground. Heathcliff and Hareton stood at the door, laughing, as I shouted at the dogs and tried to get up. In the end I was again rescued by the housekeeper, Zillah, who ordered away the dogs and helped me to my feet.

I was so bruised and exhausted that I did not feel strong enough to walk home, and although I did not want to, I had to spend the night at Wuthering Heights. Nobody wished me goodnight, as Zillah took me upstairs to find a bed for me.



Catherine Earnshaw's room


'Quietly, sir!' whispered the housekeeper, as we climbed up the dark stairs. 'My master will be angry if he discovers which bedroom you're sleeping in. For some reason he doesn't want anyone to sleep there, I don't know why. They're strange people in this house, you know. Here's the room, sir.'

But I was too tired to listen.

'Thank you, Zillah,' I said, and, taking the candle, I entered the room and closed the door.

The only piece of furniture in the large, dusty bedroom was a bed, placed next to the window. There were heavy curtains which could be pulled around it, to hide the sleeper from anyone else in the room. Looking inside the curtains I saw a little shelf full of books, just under the window. I put my candle down on the shelf, and dropped thankfully on to the bed. I closed the curtains around the bed, and felt safe from Heathcliff and everyone else at Wuthering Heights.

I noticed that there were names written on the wall in childish handwriting - Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff and Catherine Linton. Then I fell asleep, but I was woken very suddenly by a smell of burning. My candle had fallen on to a Bible on the shelf and was burning it. When I opened the Bible to see if it was damaged, I found that wherever there was an empty page, or half a page, someone had written on it, and on the first page was written 'Catherine Earnshaw's diary, 1776'. Who was the girl who had slept in this bed, written her name on the wall, and then written her diary in the Bible, twenty-five years ago? I read it with interest.

'How I hate my brother Hindley!' it began. 'He is so cruel to poor Heathcliff. If only my father hadn't died! While he was alive, Heathcliff was like a brother to Hindley and me. But now Hindley and his wife Frances have inherited the house and the money, and they hate Heathcliff. That horrible old servant Joseph is always angry with Heathcliff and me because we don't pray or study the Bible, and when he tells his master, Hindley always punishes us. I can't stop crying. Poor Heathcliff! Hindley says he is wicked, and can't play with me or eat with me any more.'

My eyes were beginning to close again and I fell asleep. Never before had I passed such a terrible night, disturbed by the most frightening dreams. Suddenly I was woken by a gentle knocking on the window. It must be the branch of a tree, I thought, and tried to sleep again. Outside I could hear the wind driving the snow against the window.

But I could not sleep. The knocking annoyed me so much that I tried to open the window. When it did not open, I broke the glass angrily and stretched out my hand towards the branch. But instead, my fingers closed around a small, ice-cold hand! It held my hand tightly, and a voice cried sadly, 'Let me in! Let me in!'

'Who are you?' I asked, trying to pull my hand away.

'Catherine Linton,' it replied. 'I've come home. I lost my way!' There seemed to be a child's face looking in at the window.

Terror made me cruel. I rubbed the creature's tiny wrist against the broken glass so that blood poured down on to the bed. As soon as the cold fingers let go for a moment, I pulled my hand quickly back, put a pile of books in front of the broken window, and tried not to listen to the desperate cries outside.

'Go away!' I called. 'I'll never let you in, not if you go on crying for twenty years!'

'It is almost twenty years!' replied the sad little voice. 'I've been out here in the dark for nearly twenty years!' The hand started pushing through the window at the pile of books, and I knew it would find me and catch hold of me again. Unable to move, I stared in horror at the shape behind the glass, and screamed.

There were rapid footsteps outside my bedroom door, and then I saw the light of a candle in the room.

'Is anyone here?' whispered Heathcliff. He could not see me behind the curtains, and clearly did not expect an answer. I knew I could not hide from him, so I opened the curtains wide.

I was surprised by the effect of my action. Heathcliff dropped his candle and stood without moving, his face as white as the wall behind him. He did not seem to recognize me.

'It's only your guest, Lockwood,' I said. 'I'm sorry, I must have had a bad dream and screamed in my sleep.'

'To the devil with you, Mr Lockwood!' growled my landlord. 'Who allowed you to steep in this room? Who was it?'

'It was your housekeeper, Mr Heathcliff,' I said, quickly putting my clothes on. 'And I'm angry with her myself! No one can sleep in a room full of ghosts!'

'What do you mean?' asked Heathcliff, looking suddenly very interested. 'Ghosts, you say?'

'That little girl, Catherine Linton, or Earnshaw, or whatever her name was, must have been wicked! She told me she had been a ghost for nearly twenty years. It was probably a punishment for her wickedness!'

'How dare you speak of her to me?' cried Heathcliff wildly. But as I described my dream, he became calmer, and sat down on the bed, trembling as he tried to control his feelings.

'Mr Lockwood,' he said finally, brushing a tear from his eye, 'you can go into my bedroom to sleep for the rest of the night. I'll stay here for a while.'

'No more sleep for me tonight,' I replied. 'I'll wait in the kitchen until it's daylight, and then I'll leave. You needn't worry about my visiting you again either. I've had enough company for a long time.'

But as I turned to go downstairs, my landlord, thinking he was alone, threw himself on the bed, pushed open the window and called into the darkness.

'Come in! Come in!' he cried, tears rolling down his face. 'Catherine, do come! My darling, hear me this time!'

But only the snow and wind blew into the room.

How could my dream have produced such madness? I could not watch his suffering any more, and went downstairs.

I waited in the kitchen until it was light enough outside for me to find my way through the deep snow back to Thrushcross Grange. The housekeeper there, Ellen Dean, rushed out to welcome me home. She thought I must have died in the previous night's snowstorm. With a warm fire, and a hot meal, I began to recover from my unpleasant experiences.

After my stay at Wuthering Heights, I thought I would never want to speak to any human being again, but by the end of the next day I was beginning to feel lonely. I decided to ask Mrs Dean to sit with me after supper.

'How long have you lived in this house?' I asked her.

'Eighteen years, sir. I came here early in 1783 when my mistress was married, to look after her. And when she died, I stayed here as housekeeper.'

'Who was your mistress?' I asked.

'Her name was Catherine Earnshaw,' she replied.

'Ah, my ghostly Catherine,' I muttered quietly to myself.

'She married Mr Edgar Linton, a neighbour,' added Mrs Dean, 'and they had a daughter, Cathy, who married Mr Heathcliffs son.'

'Ah, so that must be the widow, young Mrs Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights!'

'That's right, sir. Did you see her? I looked after her as a baby, you know. How is she? I do want to know.'

'She looked very well, and very beautiful. But I don't think she's happy.'

'Oh, poor thing! And what did you think of Mr Heathcliff?'

'He's a rough, hard man, Mrs Dean. But I'm very interested in him. Tell me more about him.'

'Well, he's very rich, of course, and mean at the same time. He could live here at Thrushcross Grange, which is a finer house than Wuthering Heights, but he would rather receive rent than live comfortably. But I'll tell you the whole story of his life, as much as I know, that is, and then you can judge for yourself.'



Ellen Dean's story - Catherine and Heathcliff as children


When I was a child, I was always at Wuthering Heights, because my mother was a servant with the Earnshaw family. They are a very old family who have lived in that house for centuries, as you can see from their name on the stone over the front door. I grew up with Catherine and Hindley Earnshaw, and we three played together as children.

One day, their father Mr Earnshaw came back from a long journey. He had travelled sixty miles to Liverpool and back on business, and was very tired.

'Look what I've brought you!' he told us all, unwrapping something he was holding carefully in his arms. Catherine and Hindley were expecting presents, and they rushed eagerly to see what it was. They were very disappointed to see only a dirty, black-haired gipsy child.

'I found him all alone in the busy streets of Liverpool,' Mr Earnshaw explained to them, and I couldn't leave him to die. He can sleep in your room.' But Hindley and Catherine were angry because they had not received any presents, and refused to let the strange child share their room. However Mr Earnshaw insisted, and little by little the boy became accepted by the family. He was called Heathcliff, as a first and last name. No one ever discovered who his parents had been.

Catherine and he became great friends, but Hindley hated him, and was often cruel to him. Old Mr Earnshaw was strangely fond of this gipsy child, and frequently punished his son for behaving badly to Heathcliff. Hindley began to be jealous of his father's feelings for Heathcliff, and saw them both as enemies.

This situation could not last. As Mr Earnshaw grew old and ill, Heathcliff became even more his favourite, and Hindley often quarrelled with his father. When Hindley was sent away to study, I hoped that we would have peace in the house. But then it was that old servant Joseph who caused trouble. He tried to persuade his master to be stricter with the children, and was always complaining that Heathcliff and Catherine did not spend enough time studying the Bible or attending church services.

Catherine was a wild, wicked girl in those days. We had to watch her every moment of the day, to stop her playing her tricks on us. She was proud, and liked giving orders. But she had the prettiest face and the sweetest smile you've ever seen. I could forgive her anything when she came to say she was sorry.

She was much too fond of Heathcliff, and the worst punishment we could invent was to keep her separate from him. Her father could no longer understand her or her behaviour, and Catherine did not realize that his illness made him less patient with her.

At last Mr Earnshaw found peace. He died quietly in his chair by the fire one October evening in 1775. The night was wild and stormy, and we were all sitting together in the big kitchen. Joseph was reading his Bible at the table, while Catherine had her head on her father's knee. He was pleased to see her so gentle for once, and she was singing him to sleep. I was glad the old gentleman was sleeping so well. But when it was time to go to bed, Catherine put her arms round her father's neck to say goodnight, and immediately screamed, 'Oh, he's dead, Heathcliff! He's dead!'

Heathcliff and I started crying loudly and bitterly too. Joseph told me to fetch the doctor, so I ran to the village, although I knew it was too late. When I came back, I went to the children's room, to see if they needed me, and I listened for a moment at their door. They were imagining the dead man in a beautiful distant place, far from the troubles of this world. And as I listened, crying silently, I could not help wishing we were all there safe together.



Catherine Earnshaw gets to know the Lintons


[1775] Hindley came home for his father's burial. What was more surprising was that he brought a wife with him. She was called Frances, a thin, pale woman with a frequent cough. Now that Hindley was the master of the house, he ordered Joseph and me to spend our evenings in the small back-kitchen, as we were only servants, while he, his wife and Catherine sat in the main room. Catherine and Heathcliff were treated very differently. Catherine received presents, and could continue her lessons, but Heathcliff was made to work on the farm with the men, and, as a farm worker, was only allowed to eat with us in the back-kitchen. They grew up like two wild animals. Hindley did not care what they did, as long as they kept out of his way, and they did not care even if he punished them. They often ran away on to the moors in the morning and stayed out all day, just to make Hindley angry. I was the only one who cared what happened to the two poor creatures, and I was afraid for them.

One Sunday evening they were missing at bedtime, and Hindley ordered me angrily to lock the front door. But I did not want them to stay out in the cold all night, so I kept my window open to look out for them. In a while I saw Heathcliff walking through the gate. I was shocked to see him alone.

'Where's Catherine?' I cried sharply.

'At Thrushcross Grange, with our neighbours the Lintons,' he replied. Let me in, Ellen, and I'll explain what happened.' I went down to unlock the door, and we came upstairs very quietly.

'Don't wake the master up!' I whispered. 'Now tell me!'

'Well, Catherine and I thought we'd just walk to the Lintons' house. We wanted to see if Isabella and Edgar Linton are punished all the time by their parents, as we are.'

'Probably not,' I answered. 'I expect they are good children and don't need to be punished.'

'Nonsense, Ellen! Guess what we saw when we looked in at their sitting-room window? A very pretty room, with soft carpets and white walls. Catherine and I would love to have a room like that! But in the middle of this beautiful room, Isabella and Edgar Linton were screaming and fighting over a little dog! How stupid they are, Ellen! If Catherine wanted something, I would give it to her, and she would do the same for me. I would rather be here at Wuthering Heights with her, even if I'm punished by Joseph and that wicked Hindley, than at Thrushcross Grange with those two fools!'

'Not so loud, Heathcliff! But you still haven't told me why Catherine isn't with you?'

'Well, as we were looking in, we started laughing at them so loudly that they heard us, and sent the dogs after us. We were about to run away, when a great fierce dog caught Catherine's leg in its teeth. I attacked it, and made it let go of her leg, but the Lintons' servants appeared and caught hold of me. They must have thought we were robbers. Catherine was carried unconscious into the house, and they pulled me inside too. All the time I was shouting and swearing at them.

"What a wicked pair of thieves!" said old Mr Linton. "The boy must be a gipsy, he's as dark as the devil!" Mrs Linton raised her hands in horror at the sight of me. Catherine opened her eyes, and Edgar looked closely at her.

"Mother," he whispered, "the young lady is Miss Earnshaw, of Wuthering Heights. I've seen her in church occasionally. And look what our dog has done to her leg! It's bleeding badly!"

"Miss Earnshaw with a gipsy!" cried Mrs Linton. "Surely not! But I think you must be right, Edgar. This girl is wearing black, and Mr Earnshaw died recently. It must be her. I'd better put a bandage on her leg at once."

"Why does her brother Hindley let her run around with such a companion?" wondered Mr Linton. "I remember now, he's the gipsy child Mr Earnshaw brought home from Liverpool a few years ago."

"He's a wicked boy, you can see that," said Mrs Linton. "And did you hear the bad language he used just now? I'm shocked that my children heard it."

I was pushed out into the garden, but I stayed to watch through the window. They put Catherine on a comfortable sofa, cleaned her wound and fed her with cakes and wine. I only left the house when I was sure she was well taken care of. She's a breath of fresh air for those stupid Lintons.

'I'm not surprised they like her. Everybody who sees her must love her, mustn't they, Ellen?'

'I'm afraid you'll be punished for this, Heathcliff,' I said sadly.

And I was right. Hindley warned Heathcliff that he must never speak to Catherine again, or he would be sent away from Wuthering Heights, and it was decided that Catherine would be taught to behave like a young lady.

She stayed with the Linton family at Thrushcross Grange for five weeks, until Christmas. By that time her leg was fine, and her manners were much better than before. Frances Earnshaw visited her often, bringing her pretty dresses to wear, and persuading her to take care of her appearance, so that when she finally came home after her long absence, she almost seemed a different person. Instead of a wild, hatless girl, we saw a beautiful, carefully dressed young lady.

When she had greeted all of us, she asked for Heathcliff.

'Come forward, Heathcliff!' called Hindley. You may welcome Miss Catherine home, like the other servants.'

Heathcliff was used to being outside all day, and had not bothered to wash or change his clothes. His face and hands were black with dirt. In spite of this, Catherine was very glad to see him and rushed up to kiss him. Then she laughed.

'How funny and black and cross you look! But that's because I'm used to Edgar and Isabella, who are always so clean and tidy. Well, Heathcliff, have you forgotten me?'

But, ashamed and proud, the boy said nothing, until suddenly his feelings were too much for him.

'I won't stay to be laughed at!' he cried, and was about to run away, when Catherine caught hold of his hand.

'Why are you angry, Heathcliff? You... you just look a bit strange, that's all. You're so dirty!'

She looked worriedly at her hands, and her new dress.

'You needn't have touched me!' he said, pulling away his hand. 'I like being dirty, and I'm going to be dirty!'

As he ran miserably out of the room, Hindley and his wife laughed loudly, delighted that their plan to separate the two young people seemed to be succeeding.

The next day was Christmas Day. Edgar and Isabella Linton had been invited to lunch, and their mother had agreed, on condition that her darlings were kept carefully apart from that wicked boy. I felt sorry for poor Heathcliff, and while the Earnshaws were at church, I helped him wash and dress in clean clothes.

'You're too proud,' I scolded him as I brushed his black hair. You should think how sad Catherine is when you can't be together. And don't be jealous of Edgar Linton!'

'I wish I had blue eyes and fair hair like him! I wish I behaved well, and was going to inherit a fortune!'

'He has none of your intelligence or character! And if you have a good heart, you'll have a handsome face. Who knows who your parents were? Perhaps a king and queen, far more important than the Lintons!'


In this way I encouraged Heathcliff to have more confidence in himself. But when the Earnshaws and the Lintons arrived back from church, the first thing Hindley did was shout at Heathcliff.

'Get out of my sight, until we've finished eating! I'll pull that long hair of yours if you don't obey me at once!'

'It is long,' said Edgar. I'm surprised he can see anything.' This was too much for Heathcliff. He looked desperately around for a weapon, picked up a bowl of hot soup and threw it at Edgar, who started screaming. Hindley immediately took hold of Heathcliff and pushed him upstairs.

'I'm sure Hindley's going to hit him!' cried Catherine. 'I hate it when Heathcliff is punished! It's your fault, Edgar, you annoyed him! Why did you speak to him?'

'I didn't,' replied Edgar, tears in his eyes. 'I promised Mother I wouldn't. I spoke about him, not to him.'

'Well, don't cry,' said Catherine with scorn. 'You've made enough trouble already. Here comes my brother.'

Hindley returned, hot and breathless.

'That'll teach him!' he said. 'And now let's have lunch!'

The others seemed to forget Heathcliff, but I noticed Catherine could not eat much, and I knew she was sorry for her friend. In the evening there was music from a travelling band, and dancing in the main room. Catherine said the music sounded sweeter from high up, and so she went to sit in the dark on the stairs. When I went to find her, however, I discovered she had gone right to the top of the house to talk to Heathcliff through his locked bedroom door, and had then climbed out on to the roof and in through his window. I persuaded them both to come out of the room the same way, as I had no key to the door, and took Heathcliff down into the warm servants' kitchen with me, while Catherine returned to her guests and the dancing.

'You must be hungry, Heathcliff,' I said. 'You haven't eaten all day. Have some Christmas cake, do.'

'I can't eat anything,' he growled, putting his head in his hands. 'I've got to think how I can have my revenge on Hindley. I only hope he doesn't die first! He'll be sorry he's treated me like this, Ellen!'



Catherine and Edgar


[1778] In the summer of this year Hindley's wife Frances had her first, and last, baby. They called the boy Hareton. But the poor woman had been ill for a long time, although we had not realized it, and died soon after Hareton was born.

Hindley only had room in his heart for two people, himself and his wife, so when she died, he was in despair. He neither cried nor prayed. Instead he swore at God and man, and drank himself to sleep every night. The servants all left him, except for Joseph and me. Joseph enjoyed being able to scold his wicked employer, with warnings from the Bible, and I could not leave Miss Catherine. After all, I had grown up with her and Hindley.

But the master's behaviour was a bad example for Catherine and Heathcliff. At fifteen, Catherine was the most beautiful girl for miles around, but she was proud and quick-tempered. She led what was almost a double life. At Wuthering Heights, under Heathcliffs influence, she annoyed Hindley, laughed at Joseph, and was rude to me. But at Thrushcross Grange, which she often visited, she showed a different, calmer side of her character, and was polite, intelligent and amusing. The Lintons all liked her, and poor Edgar had fallen in love with her.

Heathcliff was sixteen at this time. He did not have time to study any more, and the long hours of work on the farm made him tired and dull. There was always an angry expression on his face, and he did not even try to keep himself clean and tidy. He seemed to want people to dislike him. Catherine and he still spent time together, when he was not working in the fields, but he no longer expressed his fondness for her in words, and he looked angry if she touched or kissed him.

One afternoon, when Hindley had gone into town, Heathcliff came into the main room after lunch. I was helping Catherine to arrange her hair, as she had invited Edgar Linton to visit her while Hindley was absent.

'Catherine, are you going anywhere this afternoon?' asked Heathcliff. 'Why have you got that silk dress on? Nobody's visiting you, I hope.'

'No-o, I don't think so,' replied Catherine, looking quickly at me. 'But you should be at work by now, Heathcliff.'

'That devil Hindley isn't away very often. I'm taking a holiday. I won't work any more today. I'm staying with you this afternoon. He'll never know.'

Catherine thought for a moment. 'Somehow she had to prepare him for Edgar's visit. Isabella and Edgar said they might call here this afternoon. If they come, you'll be scolded for not working.'

'Tell Ellen to say you're busy and can't see them,' he said. Those friends of yours take up all your time. You spend most of your evenings with them, not with me.'

'Well, why should I always spend my time with you?' she asked crossly. 'What can you talk about? How can you amuse me?'

'You never told me before that you didn't like my company, Catherine!' cried Heathcliff.

Just then we heard a horse outside, and there was a light knock on the door. Edgar Linton entered, his handsome face full of delight at receiving Catherine's unexpected invitation. I wondered if Catherine was comparing her two friends, as Edgar came in and Heathcliff ran out.

'I haven't come too soon, have I?' asked Edgar politely.

'No,' answered Catherine. 'Leave us alone, Ellen.'

'I'm just doing my work, miss,' I replied, pretending to dust the furniture. 'Hindley had told me to be present if Edgar Linton came to visit Catherine.'

She came up to me, and whispered crossly, 'Go away, Ellen!' Keeping her back to Edgar, she cruelly scratched my arm.

'Oh!' I screamed, to show Edgar what had happened. 'What a wicked thing to do, miss! You have no right to hurt me!'

'I didn't touch you, you lying creature!' she cried angrily, and, unable to control herself, hit me hard on the face.

'Catherine, love! Catherine!' cried Edgar, shocked.

The baby, Hareton, who followed me everywhere, immediately started sobbing and saying, 'Wicked aunt Catherine!'

She picked him up and shook the poor child until he screamed. Edgar rushed up to her and tried to stop her. At once she turned and hit him over the ear as hard as she could.

The young man looked very pale and went straight to the door.

'Where are you going, Edgar Linton?' she asked. 'Don't leave me! I shall be miserable all night!'

'Can I stay after you have hit me?' he replied. 'You've made me afraid and ashamed of you. I won't come here again!'

'Well, go then, if you want to!' she cried. 'I'm going to cry until I'm ill!' and she dropped on to the floor, her shoulders shaking and the tears rolling down her face.

Edgar managed to get as far as the door. But here he hesitated, and I called out to him to encourage him to leave.

'Miss is just a selfish child, sir! You'd better ride home and forget her!'

But as he could not stop looking at her, I knew there was no hope for him. Nothing would keep him away from her now. And sure enough, he came back into the room and shut the door. This time I left them alone, and stayed in the kitchen with little Hareton, but when I came to warn them that Hindley had returned, I realized that their quarrel had only brought them closer together.



Heathcliff disappears


[1778-9] Hindley came into the kitchen, swearing terribly, just as I was about to hide little Hareton in a cupboard. I was always afraid that Hindley would hurt his small son, either by accident or on purpose, when he was drunk, so I tried to keep Hareton out of the way. But this time Hindley discovered my plan.

'Ah, you keep my son in a cupboard, do you!' he cried angrily, picking up a sharp kitchen knife. 'With the devil's help I'll make you swallow this, Ellen!' And he pushed the knife between my teeth.

I was never afraid he would hurt me, and calmly took the knife out of my mouth.

'But that can't be my son, can it?' he continued aggressively, staring at the frightened little boy. 'If it is, he should be punished for not running to greet his father. Perhaps I'll cut his ears off!' And then suddenly his manner changed.

'No, Hareton, darling, don't cry! Kiss me, kiss your father! What? You won't? Then I'll break your neck!'

Poor Hareton, screaming wildly, was carried upstairs by his father. Suddenly Hindley stopped on the stairs to listen, almost forgetting what he was holding. Heathcliff had come into the house and stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking up. Just then the child jumped out of Hindley's arms and fell. I only had time to gasp in horror, before I saw that Heathcliff had caught him.

Heathcliff stared down at the child he was holding. He must have felt sorry he had saved the life of his enemy's son. I rushed to take the poor little boy in my arms, and Hindley came slowly downstairs.

'Look what you've done, Mr Hindley!' I cried. 'You nearly killed your own son! What would his mother say if she were alive?'

'Take him away, Ellen. And you, Heathcliff, go away too. I won't murder you tonight, unless perhaps I set the house on fire. But that depends how I feel.' And he poured himself a drink.

'Don't drink any more, Mr Hindley!' I begged.

'What difference does it make?' he growled. 'Get out, both of you! To the devil with you!'

We left him swearing at us, and went back into the kitchen.

'It's a pity he can't kill himself with drink,' muttered Heathcliff. Dr Kenneth says he'll live longer than any of us, he's so strong.'

He walked out of the door and, I thought, into the fields. In fact I discovered later that he was sitting just under the window, and could hear everything that was said in the kitchen.

I was singing little Hareton to sleep when Catherine came in.

'Are you alone, Ellen?' she whispered. 'Where's Heathcliff?'

'He's out on the farm,' I answered.

She looked sad and worried, and I even saw a tear or two on her face. But I had not forgotten how she had lied, and behaved so badly to me as well as to Edgar Linton, so I did not feel sorry for her, or encourage her to talk.

'Ellen, will you keep a secret for me?' she asked in the end, giving me her sweetest smile. 'I must tell you! I need your advice. Today Edgar Linton has asked me to marry him, and I gave him an answer. Now, before I tell you if it was yes or no, you tell me which I should have said.'

'Really, Miss Catherine, how can I know? Perhaps you should have refused him. He must be a fool to ask you, after you were so rude and violent this afternoon.'

'Well, I accepted him, Ellen!' she said crossly. But should I have done so? Should I? What do you think?'

'First, do you love him?' I asked.

'Of course I do,' she replied.

'Why do you love him, Miss Catherine?'

'Well, I do, that's enough. Well, because he's handsome, and a pleasant companion.'

'Oh, that's bad,' I said, shaking my head.

'And because he loves me.'

'That's worse.'

'And because he'll be rich, and I shall be the most important woman for miles around.'

'Worst of all. But there are several other handsome, rich young men in the world. Why don't you marry one of them?'

'I don't know any of them. I only know Edgar.'

'Well, I don't know why you're unhappy, Miss Catherine. Your brother will be pleased, and Mr Edgar's parents will, too. You love Edgar, and Edgar loves you. What's the problem?'

'Here! And here! replied Catherine, beating her head and her chest. 'In my heart and soul I know I'm wrong! Ellen, I can't live apart from Heathcliff! He is more myself than I am. Our souls are the same! I have nothing in common with Edgar. But I can't marry Heathcliff now! Hindley has made him become a poor, dull farm worker. He'll never know how I love him.'

I suddenly heard a movement outside the window, and saw Heathcliff stand up and walk away. I realized he had been listening until he heard Catherine say she could not marry him. Then he stayed to hear no more.

'Quiet, Miss Catherine!' I said. Just imagine how hard it will be for Heathcliff when you marry Mr Edgar! He'll have no friends at all when you leave him.'

'Leave him? Why should we be separated?' she asked angrily. 'Who will separate us? Nobody will dare! Edgar must learn to accept him as my friend. Didn't you ever think, Ellen, that if Heathcliff and I married, we would be very poor? But if I marry Edgar, I can help Heathcliff with my husband's money.'

'That's the worst reason you've given so far for marrying Mr Edgar,' I replied, shocked.

'It isn't! Heathcliff is more important to me than myself. My love for Edgar is like the leaves on the trees. I'm sure time will change it. But my love for Heathcliff is like the rocks in the ground - not beautiful, but necessary and unchanging. He's always, always in my heart -'

Just then Joseph entered the kitchen. I whispered to Catherine that I was sure Heathcliff had heard some of what she said. She jumped up, frightened, and rushed outside. But although we all looked everywhere for Heathcliff, there was no sign of him that night, or for many nights in the future.

At about midnight, while we were still waiting for him to come home, we noticed the wind was getting stronger. We could hear it whistling down the chimney, and howling all around the house. Suddenly there was a terrible crash of thunder, and the branch of a tree fell on to the roof. We were not hurt, but Joseph immediately dropped on to his knees to pray. The rain was beating down on the windows, but Catherine stayed outside, although by now her hair and clothes were completely wet.

In the end we all went to bed. I managed to persuade Catherine to come in, but she insisted on sleeping in the kitchen, in case Heathcliff returned during the night. In the morning we discovered that she had caught a fever, as a result of getting wet. She became seriously ill, and it was several weeks before Dr Kenneth would allow her out of bed.

When she recovered, she was invited to stay for a while at Thrushcross Grange. Unfortunately old Mr and Mrs Linton caught the fever too, and died within a few days of each other. Catherine returned to us, prouder and quicker-tempered than ever, but not as strong as before.

'If she gets ill again, it could be fatal,' Dr Kenneth warned us. 'My advice to you is to do whatever she wants, and don't make her angry!' So we had to obey all her orders, and Joseph and I were not allowed to scold her any more.

Edgar Linton was still in love with her, and thought himself the happiest man on earth when he married her three years after his parents' death. She insisted on having me with her, so we moved together to Thrushcross Grange, although I was very sad to leave little Hareton with his father.

It's very late, Mr Lockwood. I think you should go to bed, or you'll be ill tomorrow. I can tell you the rest of the story another time.

Four weeks later in fact I was ill the next day, and have been ill since then. The terrible night I spent at Wuthering Heights was the cause of my illness, and I blame Mr Heathcliff for it. Dr Kenneth has warned me I won't be able to go out until the spring. All I can do is lie in bed, listening to the howling wind and staring at the grey northern sky.

So I've decided to ask Mrs Dean to come upstairs and finish telling me her story. She tells me she's happy to continue.



Heathcliff returns


[1783] Well, sir, when Miss Catherine became Mrs Linton, and we went to live at Thrushcross Grange, I must say I was surprised and pleased by her behaviour. She showed great fondness for her husband, and for his sister, Isabella. He, of course, was very anxious that no one should disobey her, or make her angry. If she was depressed for a time, he blamed it on the illness she had had, and was sympathetic. But for most of the time, I believe they shared a deep and growing love for each other.

Unfortunately this happiness did not last. One evening I was bringing in a basket of apples from the garden, when a voice behind me said, 'Ellen, is that you?'

It was a deep, rather unusual voice. I turned, to see a tall, dark man in the shadow near the kitchen door.

'Don't you know me?' he asked. 'Look, I'm not a stranger!'

'What!' I cried in surprise, for it had been four years since he disappeared. 'Heathcliff! Is it really you?'

'Yes,' he replied, looking up at the windows of the house. 'Are they at home? Where is she? Tell me, Ellen! I must speak to her!'

'I'm not sure if you should see her,' I hesitated. 'Will the shock be too much for her?'

'Go and tell her I'm here, Ellen!' he said impatiently. 'Don't make me suffer like this!'

I left him at the door, and went upstairs to find Mr and Mrs Linton. They were sitting quietly together, looking out over the peaceful valley. The room, and the view, and the two people, seemed so calm that I did not want to disturb them. But I had to deliver my message.

'A man wants to see you, madam,' I muttered.

'I'll go downstairs and see him then,' replied Catherine. 'Bring the tea up, Ellen, while I'm away.' She left the room.

'Who is it, Ellen?' asked Mr Edgar.

'It's that Heathcliff, sir. You remember, he used to live at Wuthering Heights.'

'What! The gipsy, who worked on the farm?' he cried.

'Mrs Linton would be angry if she heard you talking about him like that, sir. She was very upset when he ran away. She's very fond of him, you know.'

'Mr Edgar put his head out of the window and called to his wife, Don't stand there in the cold, love! Bring the person in, if it's anyone special.'

Catherine rushed upstairs and into the room, wild and breathless. She threw her arms round her husband's neck.

'Oh Edgar darling! Heathcliffs come back!'

'Well, well,' said Mr Edgar crossly, 'there's no need to get excited.'

'I know you didn't like him,' she said, 'but please, I beg you to be friends with him now. Shall I ask him to come up?'

'You're suggesting inviting him up here, into our sitting room? Don't you think the kitchen is more suitable for him?'

Catherine looked at her husband, half angry and half laughing. 'No,' she said, 'I can't sit in the kitchen. Ellen, bring two tables, one for your master and Miss Isabella, the other for Heathcliff and myself. We'll sit apart from them, as we're of a lower class! Will that please you, Edgar darling? Decide quickly! I must have him near me!'

'Ellen, you go and bring him up,' said Mr Edgar. 'And Catherine, try not to behave foolishly. Remember, he's only a servant!'

When Heathcliff entered the sitting-room, I was surprised to see how much he had changed. He wore a confident, intelligent expression on his face, and his manner was no longer rough. Although I recognized the same black fire in his eyes, the farm boy had become a gentleman.

Mr Edgar was as surprised as I was, but welcomed Heathcliff as politely as he could. However, he grew more and more annoyed as he watched his wife's delighted face. She could not take her eyes off Heathcliff.

'Tomorrow I won't be able to believe that I've seen and touched you, Heathcliff!' she cried, catching hold of his hands. But how cruel of you to run away and keep silent for four years, and never think of me!'


'I've thought of you more than you've thought of me,' he replied quietly. 'I heard you had married, Catherine, and I came, just to see you once, and then take my revenge on your brother Hindley. Your welcome may change my plans. You know, I've had a bitter, hard life since I last heard your voice, and if I've survived, it's all because of you!'

'Catherine,' said Mr Edgar, trying to remain polite, 'please pour out the tea, or it will be cold. Mr Heathcliff will have a long walk to wherever he's staying tonight, and I'm thirsty.'

But Catherine was too excited, and Mr Edgar too angry, to drink any tea. After a while their guest left. We discovered that he had been invited to stay at Wuthering Heights, by Hindley. I could not understand why Hindley, who hated him, would want his company, and I felt sure it would have been better for all of us if Heathcliff had never come back.

Catherine could not keep her happiness to herself. In the middle of the night she woke me to talk about Heathcliff.

'I just can't sleep, Ellen!' she said. And Edgar won't listen when I tell him how happy I am! He's so selfish!'

'He never liked Heathcliff,' I replied, 'and he'll be angry if you go on talking about him. You think he's weak, but he could be as determined as you, about something he thinks is important.'

'No!' she laughed. 'I have such confidence in Edgar's love that I think I could kill him, and he wouldn't blame me for it. He will have to learn to accept Heathcliff as my friend.'

'Do you know why Heathcliff is staying at Wuthering Heights?'

'Oh, yes. He explained that he went there to look for me. Hindley asked him to play cards, and when he discovered Heathcliff had a lot of money, invited him to stay there. You know how greedy my brother is. He'll make Heathcliff pay rent, and hope to win money from him at cards. Heathcliff wants to stay there to be near me. I'm so happy, Ellen! And I want everyone around me to be happy too!'

Catherine behaved so sweetly to her husband in the next few days that Thrushcross Grange seemed full of sunshine, and in spite of his doubts, Mr Edgar allowed Heathcliff to visit her regularly. However, Heathcliffs visits produced a result which none of us had expected. Isabella, Mr Edgar's sister, a pretty girl of eighteen, suddenly declared that she was in love with Heathcliff. Mr Edgar, who loved her dearly, was shocked. He knew that if he and Catherine had no sons, Isabella would inherit the considerable Linton fortune. He did not like the idea of the fortune passing to Heathcliff, as Isabella's husband. But more importantly, he suspected that Heathcliff was hiding his true wickedness under his gentlemanly appearance.

Catherine tried hard to persuade Isabella that Heathcliff was not worth loving, but poor Isabella was jealous of Catherine's relationship with Heathcliff and would not listen. Finally, Catherine told Heathcliff himself that Isabella was in love with him. She thought she knew what his answer would be.

'How could I ever love that stupid girl?' he asked. 'She has a miserable pale face, and weak blue eyes, just like your husband! But... she will inherit the family wealth from him, won't she?'

'That's true,' replied Catherine. 'But don't think about that, Heathcliff. I hope Edgar and I will have several sons, and then they will inherit it.'

Catherine did not speak of this matter again, but I am sure Heathcliff often thought about it. I watched him carefully in the next few days. I hoped he would do nothing to hurt Mr Edgar, who was a kind master to me. I was worried, too, about what was happening at Wuthering Heights. Hindley and his son Hareton seemed like lost sheep to me, and I knew there was a wicked wolf just waiting for the chance to attack them.



Catherine is ill


[1783] The next time Heathcliff came to Thrushcross Grange, he met Isabella by chance in front of the house. I was watching from the kitchen window, as he went up to her, and, supposing that no one else could see him, kissed her.

'Look, madam!' I cried to Catherine, who was passing through the kitchen. That devil Heathcliff told you he could never love Miss Isabella! And now he's kissing her!'

So when Heathcliff entered the house, Catherine was ready to scold him.

'Leave Isabella alone, Heathcliff!' she ordered. 'You'll make Edgar angry!'

'You think I'm afraid of that weak little creature?' he growled. 'Anyway, what difference does it make to you? I can kiss her if she likes it. I'm not your husband, you needn't be jealous of me!'

'I'm not jealous of you!' replied Catherine. 'If you like Isabella, you can marry her. But do you like her?'

'It's you I want to talk about, Catherine. You know you've treated me badly. And I'm going to have my revenge! Thank you for telling me Isabella's secret. I swear I'll make good use of it!'

At this point I went to look for my master, and told him that Catherine and Heathcliff were quarrelling in the kitchen.

'How can my wife call that man a friend?' he cried angrily. I've been too weak with her. 'I can't allow him to visit her any more.'

'Call two servants, Ellen.' He went to the kitchen. I followed him, telling the servants to wait in the hall.

'Catherine!' said Mr Edgar to his wife as he entered. 'Do you think it's right to listen to this wicked man's talk?'

'Have you been listening at the door, Edgar?' asked Catherine coldly. Heathcliff laughed, which made Mr Edgar even angrier.

'You, sir,' he said to Heathcliff, are poisoning our family life. I should never have accepted you as Catherine's friend. I must inform you that you will never be allowed to enter this house again, and that if you don't leave within three minutes, you will be thrown out.'

'Well, well!' replied Heathcliff, looking scornfully at Mr Edgar's small figure. 'So, you're going to throw me out yourself, are you?'

My master looked towards the door. I realized he wanted to call the servants, as he knew he was not strong enough to fight Heathcliff alone. But Catherine must have guessed his plan. She hurried to the door and locked it. Mr Edgar looked at her in angry surprise.

'You must fight him like a gentleman, without anyone to help you!' she told her husband. 'That'll teach you to scold me!'

Mr Edgar tried to get hold of the key, but she threw it quickly into the hottest part of the fire. He went very pale, and could not stop his whole body trembling.

'Oh Edgar!' cried his wife. 'You've lost the fight already! You aren't a man, you're a mouse!'

'So that,' said Heathcliff, pointing at Mr Edgar, 'is the thing you preferred to me, Catherine. Is he crying, or is he going to die of fear?'

He went up to look more closely at Mr Edgar, who suddenly recovered and hit Heathcliff hard on the neck. While Heathcliff was getting his breath back, Mr Edgar walked out of the other kitchen door into the garden.

'Now you'll never be able to come here again,' said Catherine to Heathcliff. 'Go away quickly! He'll return with men and guns.'

Heathcliff was sensible enough to take her advice. He broke down the locked door and escaped, just as the master and his men returned.

Catherine, who was over-excited, ordered me to go upstairs with her. I hoped she would not discover that I had told Mr Edgar about her quarrel with Heathcliff.

'I'm wild with anger, Ellen!' she said, when we reached the sitting-room. 'All this trouble is because of Isabella! Tell Edgar I'm in danger of becoming seriously ill. I hope it's true, I want to frighten him. He's upset me badly. Why did he listen to us talking in the kitchen? Heathcliff says wicked things, but I know I can control him. Well, if I can't have Heathcliff as my friend, if Edgar is going to be mean and jealous, I'll try to break both their hearts by breaking my own. You must remind Edgar how quick tempered I am, and what Dr Kenneth said about my health. Edgar must let me do what I want!'

I did not feel sympathetic towards Catherine, and certainly did not want to frighten my poor master by telling him she was ill. As I was leaving the room, however, he entered.

'Catherine,' he said, 'you must tell me one thing. You must choose between me and Heathcliff. Which do you intend to have?'

'Leave me alone!' she cried wildly. 'I'm ill, can't you see, I can't even stand! Edgar, leave me!'

She fell, stiff and pale, on to the floor. Mr Edgar looked very frightened.

'Don't worry, sir,' I whispered to him. 'She told me she would try to make you afraid by pretending to be ill.'

Unfortunately she heard me. She jumped up, her hair loose and her eyes staring, and rushed to her bedroom. We heard the key turn in the lock.

For the next few days she refused to speak to anyone, even me. I took her food up to her room, but she would not eat. Mr Edgar spent his time in the library, and did not ask about his wife. He hoped, I suppose, that she would come and ask him to forgive her. But I knew she was too proud to do that.

On the third day she unlocked her door and called me. She ate and drank eagerly, then lay down again.

'Oh, why don't I die, since no one cares about me!' she muttered. 'Edgar doesn't love me at all! What is he doing all this time, Ellen?'

'He's reading books in the library, madam,' I answered.

'Reading books!' she cried, shocked. 'And I'm dying up here! My God! Does he know how I've changed, how ill I am? Can't you tell him I'm seriously ill, Ellen?'

'You forget, Mrs Linton, that you've eaten tonight. I'm sure you'll feel better tomorrow morning.' I still wanted to make her realize how selfish she was being, although I was a little worried by her pale, almost ghostly face.

'I begin to see that you don't like me, Ellen. How strange! I always thought everybody loved me! Now they are all my enemies - Isabella and Edgar and you! I'll die with cold faces around me! I've had terrible dreams these past few nights, you know. Open the window, Ellen! I'm so hot!'

I refused, as it was the middle of winter. She was feverish.

'Who is that over there?' she asked, staring at her own face in a mirror opposite her bed. I could not make her understand it was herself, and I began to be afraid that her illness was real.

'Stay with me, Ellen,' she cried, holding my hand. 'I'm frightened of that face! I'm frightened of being alone! I wish I were in my bed at Wuthering Heights, with the wind howling through the trees. Do let me feel a breath of air from the moors, just one breath!'

I opened the window for a moment, then closed it. The cold air seemed to calm her.

'I wish I were a young girl again, wild and free, out on the moors with Heathcliff! Open the window again, wider this time! Why won't you?'

'Because I don't want you to die of cold,' I replied.

'But it's my only chance of life!' she cried, jumping out of bed and going to the window. I tried to force her back to bed, but her fever made her surprisingly strong. We looked out together into the icy darkness. There was no moon, and no lights were visible anywhere. But Catherine was sure she could see Wuthering Heights.

'Look!' she said. 'There's my old home, and the churchyard near it. I won't lie there alone, Heathcliff! I won't rest until you're in the grave with me!'

I was still holding her back from the window, and wondering what to do next, when Mr Edgar entered.

'Please help, sir,' I called, 'Mrs Linton is ill.'

'Catherine's ill?' he gasped. 'Shut the window, Ellen! Catherine! Why - '

When he saw his wife's face, he was so shocked that he stopped speaking and stared at her in horror. She was almost unconscious and did not recognize him at first.

'Ah, it's you, is it, Edgar Linton?' she said after a few moments. 'You don't come when you're wanted, and now you come when you're not wanted! But whatever you say, nothing can keep me from my home, my place of rest, out there in the open air, with a gravestone at my head!'

'She's feverish, sir, and doesn't know what she's saying,' I whispered. 'If she has food and rest, she'll recover.'

'I want no further advice from you, Ellen Dean,' said Mr Edgar coldly. You knew how ill she was, and you didn't tell me!'

I ran downstairs and out of the kitchen door to fetch the doctor. I thought I heard the sound of horses in the distance, which seemed strange at two o'clock in the morning. And when I found Dr Kenneth, he told me someone had seen Isabella and Heathcliff meeting secretly in the garden earlier that evening.

That night none of us slept. We all sat together and waited, while the doctor stayed with his patient. He told us he hoped that Catherine would recover, if we kept her very quiet.

In the morning we discovered that Isabella's room was empty. She had run away with Heathcliff! When Mr Edgar heard the news, he just said, 'She chose to go with him. Don't speak to me of her again. I no longer think of her as my sister.'



Isabella's story


[1784] For two months we heard nothing of Isabella or Heathcliff. During that time Catherine was dangerously ill with brain fever, and Dr Kenneth warned us that even if she recovered, her brain would never return to normal. However she did seem to get better, and no one could have been happier than my master, when he saw her sitting up in bed for the first time, and beginning to take an interest in the people and things around her. He loved her so much, and took such good care of her, that I really thought she would recover. There was another reason for her to live. She was expecting a baby, and we all hoped she would have a son, who would inherit the Linton fortune.

Then Mr Edgar received a letter from Isabella, telling him that she and Heathcliff were married. With it was a long letter for me, which said:

Wuthering Heights


Dear Ellen,

I arrived here last night and heard that Catherine is ill. My brother refuses to write to me, so you are the only one I can write to. Tell Edgar I still love him and Catherine, and want to return to Thrushcross Grange, but I can't!

The rest of this letter is for you alone, Ellen. Two questions - how did you manage to get on with the people in this house? They don't seem human! And (this interests me very much) what is Mr Heathcliff? A man? A madman? A devil? When you come to visit me, you must explain to me what sort of creature I've married. And you must come very soon, with a message from Edgar.

Heathcliff brought me here last night. This house is going to be my home, he says. He disappeared as soon as we arrived, so I entered the kitchen alone. What a miserable, depressing place it is now, Ellen! By the fire stood a dirty child. I realized he must be Catherine's nephew, Hareton, and tried to shake his hand. But he greeted me by swearing at me, so I went into the hall to find somebody else. When I knocked at another door, it was opened by a tall, thin man, with long, dirty hair hanging down to his shoulders. I knew this must be Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine's brother and Hareton's father. His eyes, and Hareton's, reminded me of Catherine.

'What do you want?' he asked roughly.

'My name was Isabella Linton,' I replied. 'Now I'm married to Mr Heathcliff.'

'Ah, so that devil has returned! Good!' he growled.

You can imagine, Ellen, how unhappy I felt in that unpleasant house. I knew that only four miles away was my real home, Thrushcross Grange, containing the only people I loved in the world. But those four miles were like an ocean, which I could not cross! Don't tell Edgar or Catherine this, but I had hoped to find a friend at Wuthering Heights, someone to support me against Heathcliff. Now I realized that no one here would help me.

After a long silence I said, 'Please ask a maid to show me my bedroom. I'm tired after my journey.'

'We have no maids here,' he answered. 'Joseph will show you Heathcliffs room, if you like. And - and - you'd better lock the bedroom door tonight!'

Why, Mr Earnshaw?' I asked. I did not want to lock myself in with Heathcliff.

He brought out a gun, which had a knife attached to it.

'Look at this,' he said. Every night I try to open his bedroom door. Up to now he's locked it. But one night he'll forget, and then I'll kill him!'

'Why do you hate him so much?' I asked.

'Because he's taken everything from me!' he shouted angrily. 'There's nothing left for Hareton to inherit! But I'm going to get it all back! and his money too, and then his blood. Then the d

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