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7 Heathcliff returns

 

1783 Wellsirwhen Miss Catherine became Mrs Lintonand we went to live at Thrushcross GrangeI must say I was surprised and pleased by her behaviourShe showed great fondness for her husbandand for his sisterIsabellaHeof coursewas very anxious that no one should disobey heror make her angryIf she was depressed for a timehe blamed it on the illness she had hadand was sympatheticBut for most of the timeI believe they shared a deep and growing love for each other

Unfortunately this happiness did not lastOne evening I was bringing in a basket of apples from the gardenwhen a voice behind me said,‘Ellenis that you?’

It was a deeprather unusual voiceI turnedto see a talldark man in the shadow near the kitchen door

Don't you know me?’he asked.‘LookI'm not a stranger!’

What!’I cried in surprisefor it had been four years since he dusappeared.‘HeathcliffIs it really you?’

Yes,’he repliedlooking up at the windows of the house.‘Are they at homeWhere is sheTell meEllenI must speak to her!’

I'm not sure if you should see her,’I hesitated.‘Will the shock be too much for her

Go and tell her I'm hereEllen!’he said impatiently.‘Don't make me suffer like this!’

I left him at the doorand went upstairs to find Mr and Mrs LintonThey were sitting quietly togetherlooking out over the peaceful valleyThe roomand the viewand the two peopleseemed so calm that I did not want to disturb themBut I had to deliver my message

A man wants to see youmadam,’I muttered

I'll go downstairs and see him then'replied Catherine.‘Bring the tea upEllenwhile I'm away.’She left the room

Who is itEllen?’asked Mr Edgar

It's that HeathcliffsirYou rememberhe used to live at Wuthering Heights.’

WhatThe gipsywho worked on the farm?’he cried

Mrs Linton would be angry if she heardpyou talking about him like thatsirShe was very upset when he ran awayShe's very fond of himyou know.’

Mr Edgar put his head out of the window and called to his wife,‘Don't stand there in the coldloveBring the person inif it's anyone special.’

Catherine rushed upstairs and into the roomwild and breathlessShe threw her arms round her husband's neck

Oh Edgar darlingHeathcliff's come back!’

Wellwell'said Mr Edgar crossly,‘there's no need to get excited.’

I know you didn't like him'she said,‘but pleaseI beg you tobbe friends with him nowShall I ask him to come up?’

You're suggesting inviting him up hereinto our siting roomDon't you think the kitchen is more suitable for him?’

Catherine looked at her husbandhalf angry and half laughing.‘No'she said,‘I can't sit in the kitchenEllenbring two tablesone for your master and Miss Isabellathe other for Heathcliff and myselfWe'll sit apart from themas we're of a lower classWill that please youEdgar darlingDecide quicklyI must have him near me!’

Ellenyou go and bring him up'said Mr Edgar.‘And Catherinetry not to behave foolishlyRememberhe's only a servant!’

When Heathcliff entered the sitting-roomI was surprised to see how much he had changedHe wore a confidentintelligent expression on his faceand his manner was no longer roughAlthough I recognized the same black fire in his eyesthe farm boy had become a gentleman

Mr Edgar was as surprised as I wasbut welcomed Heath cliff as politely as he couldHoweverhe grew more and more annoyed as he watched his wife's delighted faceShe could not take her eyes off Heathcliff

Tomorrow I won't be able tohbelieve that I've seen and touched youHeathcliff'she criedcatching hold of his hands.‘But how cruel of you to run away and keep silent for four yearsand never think of me!’

I've thought of you more than you've thought of me,’he replied quietly.‘I heard you had marriedCatherineand I camejust to see you onceand then take my revenge on your brother HindleyYour welcome may change my plansYou knowI've had a bitterhard life since I last heard your voiceand If I've survivedit's all because of you!’

Catherine'said Mr Edgartrying to remain polite,‘please pour out the teaor it will be coldMr Heathcliff will have a long walk to wherever he's staying tonightand I'm thirsty.’

But Catherine was too excitedand Mr Edgar too angryto drink any teaAfter a while their guest leftWe discovered that he had been invited to stay at Wuthering Heightsby HindleyI could not understand why Hindleywho hated himwould want his companyand I felt sure it would have been better for all of us if Heathcliff had never come back

Catherine could not keep her happiness to herselfIn the middle of the night she woke me to talk about Heathcliff

I just can't sleepEllen'she said.‘And Edgar won't lis ten when I tell him how happy I amHe's so selfish!’

He never liked Heathcliff,’I replied,‘and he'll be angry if you go on talking about himYou think he's weakbut he could be as determined as youabout something he thinks is important.’

No'she laughed.‘I have such confidence in Edgar's love that I think I could kill himand he wouldn't blame me for itHe will have to learn to accept Heathcliff as my friend.’

Do you know why Heathcliff is staying at Wuthering Heights?’

OhyesHe explained that he went there to look for meHindley asked him to play cardsand when he discovered Heathcliff had a lot of moneyinvited him to stay thereYou know how greedy my brother isHe'll make Heathcliff pay rentand hope to win money from him at cardsHeathcliff wants to stay there to be near meI'm so happyEllenAnd I want everyone around me to be happy too!’

Catherine behaved so sweetly to her husband in the next few days that Thrushcross Grange seemed full of sunshineand in spite of his doubtsMr Edgar allowed Heathcliff to visit her regularlyHoweverHeathcliff's visits produced a result which none of us had expectedIsabellaMr Edgar's sistera pretty girl of eighteensuddenly declared that she was in love with HeathcliffMr Edgarwho loved her dearlywas shockedHe knew that if he and Catherine had no sonsIsabella would inherit the considerable Linton fortuneHe did not like the idea of the fortune passing to Heathcliffas Isabella's husbandBut more importantlyhe suspected that Heathcliff was hiding his ture wickedness under his gentleman ly appearance

Catherine tried hard to persuade Isabella that Heathcliff was not worth lovingbut poor Isabella was jealous of Catherine's relationship with Heathcliff and would not listenFinallyCatherine told Heathcliff himself that Isabella was in love with himShe thought she knew what his answer would be

How could I ever love that stupid girl?’he asked.‘She has a miserable pale faceand weak blue eyesjust like your husbandButshe will inherit the family wealth from himwon't she?’

That's true'replied Catherine.‘But don't think about thatHeathcliffI hope Edgar and I will have several sonsand then they will inherit it.’

Catherine did not speak of this matter againbut I am sure Heathcliff often thought about itI watched him carefully in the next few daysI hoped he would do nothing to hurt Mr Edgarwho was a kind master to meI was worriedtooabout what was happening at Wuthering HeightsHindley and his son Hareton seemed like lost sheep to meand I knew there was a wicked wolf just waiting for the chance to attack them

 


 

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