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4 Catherine Earnshaw gets to know the Lintons

 

1775 Hindley came home for his father's burialWhat was more surprising was that he brought a wife with himShe was called Francesa thinpale woman with a frequent coughNow that Hindley was the master of the househe ordered Joseph and me to spend our evenings in the small back-kitchenas we were only servantswhile hehis wife and Catherine sat in the main roomCatherine and Heathcliff were treated very differentlyCatherine received presentsand could continue her lessonsbut Heathcliff was made to work on the farm with the menandas a farm workerwas only allowed to eat with us in the backkitchenThey grew up like two wild animalsHindley did not care what they didas long as they kept out of his wayand they did not care even if he punished themThey often ran away on to the moors in the morning and stayed out all dayjust to make Hindley angryI was the only one who cared what happened to the two poor creaturesand I was afraid for them

One Sunday evening they were missing at bedtimeand Hindley ordered me angrily to lock the front doorBut I did not want them to stay out in the cold all nightso I kept my window open to look out for themIn a while I saw Heathcliff walking through the gateI was shocked to see him alone

Where's Catherine?’I cried sharply

At Thrushcross Grangewith our neighbours the Lintons,’he replied.‘Let me inEllenand I'll explain what happened.’I went down to unlock the doorand we came upstairs very quietly

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

WellCatherine and I thought wed just walk to the LintonshouseWe wanted to see if Isabella and Edgar Linton are punished all the time by their parentsas we are.’

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

NonsenseEllenGuess what we saw when we looked in at their sittingroom windowA very pretty roomwith soft carpets and white wallsCatherine and I would love to have a room like thatBut in the middle of this beautiful roomIsabella and Edgar Linton were screaming and fighting over a little dogHow stupid they areEllenIf Catherine wanted somethingI would give it to herand she would do the same for meI would rather be here at Wuthering Heights with hereven if I'm punished by Joseph and that wicked Hindleythat at Thrushcross Grange with those two fools!’

Not so loudHeathcliffBut you still haven't told me why Catherine isn't with you?’

Wellas we were looking inwe started laughing at them so loudly that they heard usand sent the dogs after usWe were about to run awaywhen a great fierce dog caught Catherine's leg in its teethI attacked itand made it let go of her legbut the Lintons' servants appeared and caught hold of me. They must have thought we were robbersCatherine was carried unconscious into the houseand they pulled me inside tooAll the time I was shouting and swearing at them

‘“What a wicked pair of thieves!”said old Mr Linton.“The boy must be a gipsyhe's as dark as the devil!”Mrs Linton raised her hands in horror at the sight of meCatherine opened her eyesand Edgar looked closely at her

‘“Mother,”he whispered,“the young lady is Miss Earn-shawof Wuthering Heights. I've seen her in church occasionallyAnd look what our dog has done to her legIt's bleeding badly!”

‘“Miss Earnshaw with a gipsy!”cried Mrs Linton.“Surely notBut I think you must be rightEdgarThis girl is wearing blackand Mr Earnshaw died recentlyIt must be herId 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 nowhe's the gipsy child Mr Earnshaw brought home from Liverpool a few years ago.

‘“He's a wicked boyyou can see that,”said Mrs Linton.“And did you hear the bad language he used just nowI'm shocked that my children heard it.”’

I was pushed out into the gardenbut I stayed to watch through the windowThey put Catherine on a comfortable sofacleaned her wound and fed her with cakes and wineI only left the house when I was sure she was well taken care ofShe's a breath of fresh air for those stupid LintonsI'm not surprised they like herEverybody who sees her must love hermustn't theyEllen?’

I'm afraid you'll be punished for thisHeathcliff,’I said sadly

And I was rightHindley warned Heathcliff that he must never speak to Catherine againor he would be sent away from Wuthering Heightsand 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 weeksuntil ChristmasBy that time her leg was fineand her manners were much better than beforeFrances Earn-shaw visited her oftenbringing her pretty dresses to wearand persuading her to take care of her appearanceso that when she finally came home after her long absenceshe almost seemed a different personInstead of a wildhatless girlwe saw a beautifulcarefully dressed young lady

When she had greeted all of usshe asked for Heathcliff

Come forwardHeathcliff!’called Hindley.‘You may welcome Miss Catherine homelike the other servants.’

Heathcliff was used to being outside all dayand had not bothered to wash or change his clothesHis face and hands were black with dirtIn spite of thisCatherine was very glad to see him and rushed up to kiss himThen she laughed

How funny and black and cross you lookBut that's because I'm used to Edgar and Isabellawho are always so clean and tidy. WellHeathcliffhave you forgotten me?’

Butashamed and proudthe boy said nothinguntil suddenly his feelings were too much for him

I won't stay to be laughed at!’he criedand was about to run awaywhen Catherine caught hold of his hand.

Why are you angryHeathcliffYouyou just look a bit strangethat's allYou're so dirty!’

She looked worriedly at her handsand her new dress

You needn't have touched me!’he saidpulling away his hand.‘I like being dirtyand I'm going to be dirty!’

As he ran miserably out of the roomHindley and his wife laughed loudlydelighted that their plan to separate the two young people seemed to be succeeding.

The next day was Christmas DayEdgar and Isabella Linton had been invited to lunchand their mother had agreedon condition that her darlings were kept carefully apart fromthat wicked boy’.I felt sorry for poor Heathcliffand 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 togetherAnd don't be jealous of Edgar Linton!’

I wish I had blue eyes and fair hair like himI wish I behaved welland was going to inherit a fortune!’

He has none of your intelligence or characterAnd if you have a good heartyou'll have a handsome face. Who knows who your parents werePerhaps a king and queenfar 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 churchthe first thing Hindley did was shout at Heathcliff.

Get out of my sightuntil 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 weaponpicked up a bowl of hot soup and threw it at Edgarwho 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 himWhy did you speak to him?’

I didn't,’ replied Edgartears in his eyes.‘I promised Mother I wouldn'tI spoke about him not to him.’

Welldon't cry'said Catherine with scorn.‘You've made enough trouble already. Here comes my brother.

Hindley returnedhot and breathless

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

The others seemed to forget Heathcliffbut I noticed Catherine could not eat muchand I knew she was sorry for her friendIn the evening there was music from a travelling bandand dancing in the main room. Catherine said the music sounded sweeter from high upand so she went to sit in the dark on the stairsWhen I went to find herhoweverI discovered she had gone right to the top of the house to talk to Heathcliff through his locked bedroom doorand had then climbed out on to the roof and in through his windowI persuaded them both to come out of the room the same way as I had no key to the doorand took Heathcliff down into the warm servantskitchen with mewhile Catherine returned to her guests and the dancing

You must be hungryHeathcliff,’I said.You haven't eaten all day. Have some Christmas cakedo.

I can't eat anything,’he growledputting his head in his hands.‘I've got to think how I can have my revenge on HindleyI only hope he doesn't die firstHe'll be sorry he's treated me like thisEllen!’

 


 

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