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2 Catherine Earnshaw's room

 

1801Quietlysir!’whispered the housekeeperas we  climbed up the dark stairs.‘My master will be angry if  he discovers which bedroom you're sleeping in.For some rea-son he doesn't want anyone to sleep thereI don't know whyThey're strange people in this houseyou knowHere's the  roomsir.

But I was too tired to listen.‘Thank youZillah,’I saidandtaking the candleI entered the room and closed the  door.

The only piece of furniture in the largedusty bedroom was  a bedplaced next to the window. There were heavy curtains  which could be pulled around itto hide the sleeper from  anyone else in the roomLooking inside the curtains I saw a  little shelf full of booksjust under the window.I put my can-dle down on the shelfand dropped thankfully on to the bedI  closed the curtains around the bedand felt safe from  Heathcliff and everyone else at Wuthering Heights

I noticed that there were names written on the wall in childish handwritingCatherine EarnshawCatherine Heathcliff  and Catherine LintonThen I fell asleepbut I was woken  very suddenly by a smell of burning. My candle had fallen on  to a Bible on the shelf and was burning itWhen I opened the  Bible to see if it was damagedI found that wherever there  was an empty pageor half a pagesomeone had written on  itand on the first page was written Catherine Earnshaw's  diary1776’.Who was the girl who had slept in this bedwritten her name on the walland then written her diary in  the Bibletwenty-five years agoI read it with interest

How I hate my brother Hindley!’it began.‘He is so cruel  to poor HeathcliffIf only my father hadn't diedWhile he  was aliveHeathcliff was like a brother to Hindley and meBut now Hindley and his wife Frances have inherited the house  and the moneyand they hate Heathcliff.That horrible old  servant Joseph is always angry with Heathcliff and me because  we don't pray or study the Bibleand when he tells his  masterHindley always punishes usI can't stop crying. Poor  HeathcliffHindley says he is wickedand can't play with me  or eat with me any more.

My eyes were beginning to close again and I fell asleepNever before had I passed such a terrible nightdisturbed by  the most frightening dreamsSuddenly I was woken by a  gentle knocking on the window. It must be the branch of a  treeI thoughtand tried to sleep againOutside I could hear  the wind driving the snow against the window

But I could not sleepThe 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  branchBut insteadmy fingers closed around a smallicecold handIt held my hand tightlyand a voice cried sadly,‘Let me inLet me in!’

Who are you?’I askedtrying to pull my hand away

Catherine Linton,’it replied.‘I've come homeI 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  bedAs soon as the cold fingers let go for a momentI pulled  my hand quickly backput a pile of books in front of the  broken windowand tried not to listen to the desperate cries  outside.

Go away!’I called.‘I'll never let you innot 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 booksand I knew it would find me and catch hold of me againUnable to moveI stared in horror at the shape behind the  glassand screamed.

There were rapid footsteps outside my bedroom doorand  then I saw the light of a candle in the room

Is anyone here?’whispered HeathcliffHe could not see  me behind the curtainsand clearly did not expect an answer.I knew I could not hide from himso I opened the curtains  wide.

I was surprised by the effect of my actionHeathcliff  dropped his candle and stood without movinghis face as  white as the wall behind himHe did not seem to recognize  me.

It's only your guestLockwood,’I said.‘I'm sorryI  must have had a bad dream and screamed in my sleep.’

To the devil with youMr Lockwood!’growled my landlord.‘Who allowed you to sleep in this roomWho was it?’

It was your housekeeperMr Heathcliff,’I saidquickly  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 Heathclifflooking suddenly  very interested.Ghostsyou say?’

That little girlCatherine Lintonor Earnshawor whatever her name wasmust have been wickedShe told me she  had been a ghost for nearly twenty yearsIt was probably a  punishment for her wickedness!’

How dare you speak of her to me?’cried Heathcliff  wildlyBut as I described my dreamhe became calmerand  sat down on the bedtrembling as he tried to control his  feelings.

Mr Lockwood,’he said finallybrushing a tear from his  eye,‘you can go into my bedroom to sleep for the rest of the  nightI'll stay here for a while.’

No more sleep for me tonight,’I replied.‘I'll wait in the  kitchen until it's daylightand then I'll leaveYou needn't  worry about my visiting you again eitherI've had enough  company for a long time.’

But as I turned to go downstairsmy landlordthinking he  was alonethrew himself on the bedpushed open the window  and called into the darkness.‘Come inCome in!’he criedtears rolling down his face.‘Catherinedo comeMy darlinghear me this time!’

But only the snow and wind blew into the room.

How could my dream have produced such madnessI could  not watch his suffering any moreand 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 thereEllen Deanrushed out to  welcome me home. She thought I must have died in the  previous night's snowstormWith a warm fireand a hot  mealI began to recover from my unpleasant experiences

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

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

Eighteen yearssir. I came here early in 1783 when my  mistress was marriedto look after her. And when she diedI  stayed here as housekeeper.

Who was your mistress?’I asked.

Her name was Catherine Earnshaw'she replied.

Ahmy ghostly Catherine,’I muttered quietly to myself.

She married Mr Edgar Lintona neighbour,’added Mrs  Dean,‘and they had a daughterCathywho married Mr  Heathcliff's son.

Ahso that must be the widowyoung Mrs Heathcliff at  Wuthering Heights!’

That's rightsirDid you see herI looked after her as a  babyyou know. How is sheI do want to know.

She looked very welland very beautifulBut I don't think  she's happy.’

Ohpoor thingAnd what did you think of Mr  Heathcliff?’

He's a roughhard manMrs DeanBut I'm very  interested in himTell me more about him.

Wellhe's very richof courseand mean at the same  timeHe could live here at Thrushcross Grangewhich is a  finer house than Wuthering Heightsbut he would rather  receive rent than live comfortablyBut I'll tell you the whole  story of his lifeas much as I knowthat isand then you can  judge for yourself.

 


 

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