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1 Mr Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights

 

1801 I have just returned from a visit to my landlordMr  HeathcliffI am delighted with the house I am renting  from himThrushcross Grange is miles away from any town or villageThat suits me perfectlyAnd the scenery here in  Yorkshire is so beautiful

Mr Heathcliffin factis my only neighbourand I think  his character is similar to mineHe does not like people either

My name is Lockwood,’I saidwhen 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 nothingbut frownedand did not encourage me to  enterAfter a whilehoweverhe decided to invite me in

Josephtake Mr Lock wood's horse!’he called.‘And  bring up some wine from the cellar!’Joseph was a very old  servantwith a sour expression on his faceHe looked crossly  up at me as he took my horse

God help usA visitor!’he muttered to himselfPerhaps  there were no other servantsI thoughtAnd it seemed that  Mr Heathcliff hardly ever received guests

His house is called Wuthering HeightsThe name meansa  windswept house on a hill’,and it is a very good descriptionThe trees around the house do not grow straightbut are bent  by the north windwhich blows over the moors every day of  the yearFortunatelythe house is strongly builtand is not  damaged even by the worst winter stormsThe nameEarnshawis cut into a stone over the front door.

Mr Heathcliff and I entered the huge main roomIt could  have been any Yorkshire farmhouse kitchenexcept that there  was no sign of cookingand no farmer sitting at the table. Mr  Heathcliff certainly does not look like a farmerHis hair and  skin are darklike a gipsy'sbut he has the manners of a  gentlemanHe could perhaps take more care with his  appearancebut he is handsome. I think he is proudand also  unhappy.

We sat down by the firein silence.

Joseph'shouted Mr HeathcliffNo answer came from the  cellarso he dived down thereleaving me alone with several  rather fiercelooking dogs. Suddenly one of them jumped  angrily up at meand in a moment all the others were attacking meFrom every shadowy corner in the great room appeared a growling animalready to kill meit seemed.

HelpMr HeathcliffHelp!’I shoutedtrying to keep the  dogs backMy landlord and his servant were in no hurry to  helpand could not have climbed the cellar steps more slowlybut luckily a womanwho I supposed was the housekeeperrushed into the room to calm the dogs.

What the devil is the matter?’Mr Heathcliff asked me  rudelywhen he finally entered the room.

Your dogssir!’I replied.You shouldn't leave a stranger  with themThey're dangerous.’

ComecomeMr LockwoodHave some wineWe don't often have strangers hereand I'm afraid neither I nor my dogs  are used to receiving them.’

I could not feel offended after thisand accepted the wineWe sat drinking and talking together for a whileI suggested  visiting him tomorrowHe did not seem eager to see me  againbut I shall go anyway.I am interested in himeven if  he isn't interested in me.

*    *    *

Two days later Yesterday afternoon was misty and bitterly  coldbut 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 minutesgetting 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 indoorsand she won't open the door to you.’

Just then a young man appeared and called me to follow  himWe went through the back door and into the big room  where I had been beforeI was delighted to see a warm fire  and a table full of foodAnd this time there was a woman  sitting by the fireShe must be Mrs HeathcliffI thoughtI  had not imagined my landlord was married. She looked at me  coldly without saying anything

Terrible weather!’I remarkedThere was silence

What a beautiful animal!’I tried againpointing to one of  the dogs that had attacked meShe still said nothingbut got  up to make the teaShe was only about seventeenwith the  most beautiful little face I had ever seenHer golden wavy hair  fell around her shoulders

Have you been invited to tea'she asked me crossly

Nobut you are the proper person to invite me,’I smiled

For some reason this really annoyed herShe stopped  making the teaand threw herself angrily back in her chair. Meanwhile the young man was staring aggressively at meHe  looked like a farm workerbut seemed to be part of the  familyI did not feel at all comfortableAt last Heathcliff  came in.

Here I amsiras I promised!’I said cheerfully

You shouldn't have come,’he answeredshaking 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

NoI couldn'tThere aren't any servants here except  Joseph and the housekeeperGet the tea readywill you?’he  added fiercely to the young womanI was shocked by his  unpleasantness

We sat down to eatI tried to make conversation with the  three silent people round the table

How happy you must beMr Heathcliff,’I began,‘in  this quiet placewith your wife and—’

My wifeMy wife's ghostyou mean?’

I suddenly realized I had made a serious mistake.So his wife  was deadOf course he was too old to be married to that young  girl. She must be married to the young man next to mewho  was drinking his tea out of a bowl and eating his bread with  unwashed handsPerhaps the poor girl had found no one  better to marry in this uninhabited areaI turned politely to  the young man.

Ahso you are this lady's husband!’This was worse than  before. His face went redand he seemed only just able to stop  himself hitting meHe muttered something I could not hear

Wrong againMr Lockwood'said Mr Heathcliff.Noher husbandmy sonis deadThis,’he addedlooking  scornfully at the young man,‘is certainly not my son.

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

We finished our meal in silenceand when I looked out of  the windowall I could see was darkness and snow.

I don't think I can get home without a guide,’I said  politelyNo one answered meI turned to the woman

Mrs Heathcliff,’I begged,‘What can I doPlease help  me!’

Take the road you came on'she replied without interestopening a book.‘That's the best advice I can give.’

Mr HeathcliffI'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 bedroomsYou can share a bed with Hareton or Joseph.’

I was so angry with them all that I could not stay there a  moment longerand rushed out into the darkness. I saw  Joseph by the back doorcaught hold of the lamp he was  carryingand ran with it to the gateBut the dogs chased  after me and attacked meand I was soon knocked to the  groundHeathcliff and Hareton stood at the doorlaughingas I shouted at the dogs and tried to get upIn the end I was  again rescued by the housekeeperZillahwho 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 homeand although I did not want toI had  to spend the night at Wuthering HeightsNobody wished me  goodnightas Zillah took me upstairs to find a bed for me

 


 

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