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12 Bringing up Cathy

 

1797 During the next twelve years I was happier than I had ever been beforeAll my time was spent looking after little Cathywho brought sunshine into our livesShe was a real beautywith the Earnshaws dark eyes and the Lintonsfair skinShe wasn't as proud and quick-tempered as her motherbut she was used to getting what she wanted Her father loved her so much that he gave her everythingand never scolded her

Until she was thirteen she had never been outside the Grange garden aloneShe knew nothing of Wuthering Heights or HeathcliffShe often asked me about the hills in the distancebeyond the moorsand wanted to ride her pony thereI knew the master would not let her leave the safety of the Grange to go so farespecially as the road to the hills passed close to Wuthering HeightsSo I always told her she would be able to go there when she was olderI did not know what she was planning

Mr Edgar received a letter from his sister IsabellaShe wrote that she was dying of a feverand asked him to visit her for the first and last timeShe also wanted him to take care of her son Linton after her deathAlthough my master hated travellinghe did not hesitate to do as she requestedHe told me to look after Cathy carefullyand left at once

He was away for three weeksCathy did not cause me any trouble at firstShe spent her days walking her dogs and riding her pony in the large gardenBut one day she asked if she could stay out the whole dayand away she went on her little ponywith her two dogs running behind

There was no sign of her at tea-timeand I began to be seriously worriedI went outside to look for herAt the gate I found a workmanwho had seen-her jump the low wall separating the garden from the roadand then ride on towards the hills and Wuthering Heights

I was very frightened nowShe could be lost on the moors She could have tried to climb the hillsand fallenI walked across the moors as fast as I couldand arrived breathless at Wuthering HeightsHow glad I was to see one of her dogs lying outside the kitchen doorI knocked loudlyand Zillah let me inI knew she had been the housekeeper there since Hindley's death  Ah'she said,‘you've come for your little mistressShe's herequite safeThe masterMr Heathcliffisn't hereHe won't be back for a while.’

Cathy was sitting comfortably in the kitchentalking eagerly to HaretonHe was now a bigstrong young man of eighteenwho was staring rather stupidly at herI was delighted to find her againbut I pretended to be angry to punish her  WellmissYou are wickedgoing such a long way all aloneI've been all over the moors looking for youlooking father will be angry!’  What have I done'she sobbedsuddenly frightened Father didn't forbid me to leave the Grange gardenHe won't scold meEllenHe's never crosslike youAnd I've been to the hillsEllenThis-man-showed mebecause I didn't know the way.’

I made her put on her hat and prepare to leave Whose house is this'she asked suddenly.‘It's your father'sisn't it'she addedturming to Hareton  No,’he repliedlooking downHis face went very red

Whose then-your master's'she asked

He sworeand turned away Ellenhe didn't say miss to meServants should always say miss’,shouldn't they?”

Hareton frowned and looked very angrybut said nothing  Youget my horse'she ordered him Hurry!’  What the devil do you meanI'm not your servant!’he growled  You seeMiss CathyNice words to be used to a young ladyNow come alonglet's fetch the pony and leave,’I said  But Ellen'she criedstaring horrified at him,‘how dare he speak to me like thatHe must do as I tell him!’

He's not your servantmiss'said Zillahwho had been listening to the conversation.‘He's your cousin.’ He can't be my cousin!’cried Cathywith a scornful  laugh.‘Father has gone to fetch my cousin from LondonHe's a gentleman's sonnot-not a farm worker like him!’She pointed at poor Haretonwhose clothes were old and dirty

I was very annoyed with her and ZillahNow Heathcliff would hear about his son's arrivalwhich we had hoped to keep secret from himAnd Cathy would certainly ask her father whether she had a cousin at Wuthering HeightsOn our way home I explained to her that if her father discovered she had visited Wuthering Heightshe would perhaps be so angry with me that he would send me awayShe could not bear to think of thatso she promised to keep her visit a secret from him

We heard from Mr Edgar that his sister had diedand that he was returning soon with his young nephewCathy was wild with excitementShe would see her dear father againand have a cousin of the same age to play with

But when the coach arrivedyoung Linton had to be carried into the houseHe was a palethin boywho looked very like Mr EdgarHe seemed so weak that I wondered how long he would liveI thought he would have no chance of life if his father Heathcliff took him to live at Wuthering Heights

In fact Linton only stayed one night with usLater that evening Heathcliff's servant Joseph arrived and asked to speak to the masterAlthough it was late and Mr Edgar was tired after his journeyJoseph insistedso I took him to the master's room  Heathcliff has sent me for his sonand I can't go back without him,’he said

Mr Edgar was silent for a momentOn his face was an expression of deep sadnessHe had hoped to keep Linton with himas Isabella had wishedBut he could not refuse the boy's father Tell Mr Heathcliff,’he said calmly,‘that Ellen will take his son to Wuthering Heights tomorrowHes asleep at the momentand I won't disturb him.’

No'said Josephbanging the table with his hand.‘I must take him back now!’

Not tonight!’answered Mr Edgar.‘Leave the house nowand tell your master what I said!’  Very well'shouted Josephas he walked out.‘If he doesn't arrive early in the morningHeathcliff will come for him!’

 


 

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