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5 Catherine and Edgar

 

1778 In the summer of this year Hindley's wife Frances had her firstand lastbabyThey called the boy HaretonBut the poor woman had been ill for a long time although we had not realized itand died soon after Hareton was born

Hindley only had room in his heart for two peoplehimself and his wifeso when she diedhe was in despair. He neither cried nor prayed. Instead he swore at God and manand drank himself to sleep every nightThe servants all left himexcept for Joseph and meJoseph enjoyed being able to scold his wicked employerwith warnings from the Bibleand I could not leave Miss Catherine. After allI had grown up with her and Hindley.

But the master's behaviour was a bad example for Catherine and Heathcliff.At fifteenCatherine was the most beautiful girl for miles aroundbut she was proud and quicktempered. She led what was almost a double life. At Wuthering Heightsunder Heathcliff's influenceshe annoyed Hindleylaughed at Josephand was rude to meBut at Thrushcross Grangewhich she often visitedshe showed a differentcalmer side of her characterand was politeintelligent and amusing. The Lintons all liked herand poor Edgar had fallen in love with her.

Heathcliff was sixteen at this time. He did not have time to study any moreand the long hours of work on the farm made him tired and dull. There was always an angry expression on his faceand he did not even try to keep himself clean and tidyHe seemed to want people to dislike himCatherine and he still spent time togetherwhen he was not working in the fieldsbut he no longer expressed his fondness for her in wordsand he looked angry if she touched or kissed him

One afternoonwhen Hindley had gone into townHeath cliff came into the main room after lunch. I was helping Catherine to arrange her hairas she had invited Edgar Linton to visit her while Hindley was absent

Catherineare you going anywhere this afternoon?’asked Heathcliff.‘Why have you got that silk dress onNobody's visiting youI hope.’

No-oI don't think so'replied Catherinelooking quickly at me.‘But you should be at work by nowHeathcliff.’

That devil Hindley isn't away very oftenI'm taking a holidayI won't work any more today I'm staying with you this afternoonHe'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 afternoonIf they comeyou'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 timeYou spend most of your evenings with themnot with me.’

Wellwhy should I always spend my time with you'she asked crossly.‘What can you talk aboutHow can you amuse me?’

You never told me before that you didn't like my companyCatherine!’cried Heathcliff

Just then we heard a horse outside and there was a light knock on the doorEdgar Linton enteredhis 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 soonhave I?’asked Edgar politely

No,’answered Catherine.‘Leave us aloneEllen.’

I'm just doing my workmiss,’I repliedpretending to dust the furnitureHindley had told me to be present if Edgar Linton came to visit Catherine

She came up to meand whispered crossly,‘Go awayEllen!’Keeping her back to Edgarshe cruelly scratched my arm

Oh!’ I screamedto show Edgar what had happened.‘What a wicked thing to domissYou have no right to hurt me!’

I didn't touch youyou lying creature'she cried angrilyandunable to control herselfhit me hard on the face

CatherineloveCatherine!’cried Edgarshocked

The babyHaretonwho followed me everywhereimmediately started sobbing and saying,‘Wicked aunt Catherine!’

She picked him up and shook the poor child until he screamedEdgar rushed up to her and tried to stop herAt 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 goingEdgar Linton'she asked.‘Don't leave meI shall be miserable all night!’

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

Wellgo thenif you want to'she cried.‘I'm going to cry until I'm ill!’and she dropped on to the floorher shoulders shaking and the tears rolling down her face Edgar managed to get as far as the doorBut here he hesitatedand I called out to him to encourage him to leave

Miss is just a selfish childsirYoud better ride home and forget her!’

But as he could not stop looking at herI knew there was no hopeKfor himNothing would keep him away from her nowAnd sure enoughhe came back into the room and shut the doorThis time I left them aloneand stayed in the kitchen with little Haretonbut when I came to warn them that Hindley had returnedI realized that their quarrel had only brought them closer together

 


 

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