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3 Ellen Dean's storyCatherine and Heathcliff as children

 

1770 When I was a childI was always at Wuthering  Heightsbecause my mother was a servant with the  Earnshaw familyThey are a very old family who have lived in  that house for centuriesas you can see from their name on the  stone over the front door. I grew up with Catherine and  Hindley Earnshawand we three played together as children.

One daytheir father Mr Earnshaw came back from a long  journey. He had travelled sixty miles to Liverpool and back on  businessand was very tired.

Look what I've brought you!’he told us allunwrapping  something he was holding carefully in his armsCatherine and  Hindley were expecting presentsand they rushed eagerly to  see what it was. They were very disappointed to see only a  dirtyblack-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 presentsand refused  to let the strange child share their roomHowever Mr Earnshaw insistedand little by little the boy became accepted by the familyHe was called Heathcliffas a first and last nameNo one ever discovered who his parents had been

Catnerine and he became great friendsbut Hindley hated  himand was often cruel to himOld Mr Earnshaw was strangely fond of this gipsy childand frequently punished his son for behaving badly to HeathcliffHindley began to be jealous of his father's feelings for Heathcliffand saw them both as enemies

This situation could not lastAs Mr Earnshaw grew old and illHeathcliff became even more his favouriteand Hindley often quarrelled with his fatherWhen Hindley was sent away to studyI hoped that we would have peace in the houseBut then it was that old servant Joseph who caused troubleHe tried to persuade his master to be stricter with the childrenand was always complaining that Heathcliff and Catherine did not spend enough time studying the Bible or attending church services

Catherine was a wildwicked girl in those daysWe had to watch her every moment of the dayto stop her playing her tricks on usShe was proudand liked giving ordersBut she had the prettiest face and the sweetest smile you've ever seenI could forgive her anything when she came to say she was sorry.

She was much too fond of Heathcliffand the worst punishment we could invent was to keep her separate from himHer father could no longer understand her or her behaviourand Catherine did not realize that his illness made him less patient with her

At last Mr Earnshaw found peaceHe died quietly in his chair by the fire one October evening in 1775The night was wild and stormyand we were all sitting together in the big kitchenJoseph was reading his Bible at the tablewhile Catherine had her head on her father's kneeHe was pleased to see her so gentle for onceand she was singing him to sleepI was glad the old gentleman was sleeping so wellBut when it was time to go to bedCatherine put her arms round her father's neck to say goodnightand immediately screamed,‘Ohhe's deadHeathcliffHe's dead!’

Heathcliff and I started crying loudly and bitterly tooJoseph told me to fetch the doctorso I ran to the villagealthough I knew it was too lateWhen I came backI went to the children's roomto see if they needed meand I listened for a moment at their door. They were imagining the dead man in a beautiful distant placefar from the troubles of this worldAnd as I listenedcrying silentlyI could not help wishing we were all there safe together.

 


 

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