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11 Isabella escapes

 

1784 That Friday evening the wind changedand brought first rainthen snowNext morning the spring flowers were all hidden under deep snowMr Edgar stayed in his roomI was in the sitting-room with the babywhen I was surprised to hear a girl's voice behind meI turned roundand saw it was Isabella HeathcliffI was quite shocked by her appearanceHer hair was looseand wet with snow and rain She wore a light silk dress and thin shoeswhich did not seem at all suitable for a long walk in the snowUnder her ear was a deep woundwhich was bleedingHer face was scratched and bruisedand she looked very tiredI could see that she was expecting a baby

I've run all the way here from Wuthering Heights'she saidgasping for breath.‘I couldn't count how many times I've fallen downEllenplease ask a maid to find some dry clothes for meand then I'll go on to the villageI'm not stay- ing here.’ Firstmy dear young lady,’I told her,‘you'll get warm and dryand I'll put a bandage on that woundThen we'll have some tea.’She was so exhausted that she let me help her without protestingand finally we sat down together near the fire with our cups of tea

OhEllen'she said,‘I cried bitterly when I heard of Catherine's deathyou know And Heathcliff is desperately sadBut I can't feel sorry for himThis is the last thing of his I've got,’and she took off her gold wedding-ring and threw it in the fire.‘I'll never go back to himBut I can't stay here in case he comes to find meAnd anyway I don't want to beg for Edgar's helpor make trouble for himTo escape from Heathcliff I must go a long way awayHow could Catherine have liked himEllenI wish he would dieand then I could forget him completely!’  Don't say that,’I protested,‘he's a human beingThere are worse men than him in the world!’  He isn't human'she replied.‘I gave him my heartand he destroyed itso I can't feel pity for himBut I must tell you how I managed to escapeHindley Earnshaw should have been at Catherine's burial yesterdaybut he had been drinking so much that he couldn't goLast night he and I were sitting silently in the kitchen at about midnightwhen Heathcliff came homeHindley decided to lock the doors so that Heath- cliff could not get inHe told me his plan was to murder his hated guest that nightwith the weapon he had shown meI hate Heathcliff toobut I could not agree to murderso I called out a warning from the kitchen windowHeathcliff swore horribly at me and broke one of the windowsHindley put his right arm out through the holewith the gun in itand aimed it at his enemyBut before he could fireHeathcliff caught hold of the gun and pulled it away from HindleyThe knife cut into Hindley's wristand blood poured outHeath- cliff jumped into the kitchen through the windowand started kicking and hitting Hindleywho was lying unconscious on the kitchen floor  I ran off to find JosephWhen we came backHeathcliff was putting a bandage on Hindley's wristJoseph was shocked at the sight of his masterand would have gone to the police if Heathcliff hadn't forced me to describe what happenedI had to agree that Hindley had certainly attacked Heathcliff first  The next dayI decided to have my revenge on Heathcliff by telling Hindley thatthat devilhad hit and kicked him when he was unconsciousAnd I told Heathcliff to his face that he could never have made Catherine happyif she had been his wifeThis made him so angry that he threw a knife at mewhich cut my neckand then he rushed towards me swearing violentlyI knew I had to get away quicklyand as I ran out of the kitchenI saw Hindley attack Heathcliff Both of them were rolling on the floorfightingI came over the moors through the snow to the GrangeAt last I'm freeAnd I shall nevernever spend another night at Wuthering Heights.’

After drinking her teaIsabella left the Grange From our village she travelled by coach to the southwhere she made her new home near LondonTherea few months latershe had a sonShe called him Linton

Heathcliff must have discovered this from the servantsOne day when I saw him in the villagehe said,‘I hear I've got a sonEllenwhose name's LintonI suppose Isabella wants me to hate himShe can keep him for the momentBut tell Edgar Linton I'll have the boy one dayHe's mine!’

After Catherine's death my poor masterMr Edgarwas a changed manHe no longer went to churchor saw any friendsHe occasionally went for lonely walks on the moors and regularly visited his wife's graveBut fortunately Catherine had left him something of herselfher daughter CathyThis tiny child soon won his heart

It's strangeMr Lockwoodto compare Hindley and EdgarThey both lost their wivesand were left with a child Hindley did not believe in Godand showed no interest in his son HaretonBut Edgar believedand loved his daughter Cathy deeply

Hindley himself died six months after his sister Catherine We never discovered exactly what happenedbut Heathcliff said he had drunk himself to deathIt appeared that Heathcliff had won Hindley's houseland and money from him when playing cardsso he was now the master of Wuthering HeightsHareton inherited nothing from his fatherand could only stay on at Wuthering Heights as a servantworking for the man who had been his father's enemy

 


 

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