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13 Heathcliff's son at Wuthering Heights

 

1797 Linton was very surprised to be woken so earlyand told that he had another journey to makebefore break fastAs we rode the four miles to Wuthering Heightshe kept asking me questions abut his new homeand the father he had never seenWhen we arrivedHeathcliffHaretonand Joseph all came out of the house to inspect the child

Masterthat's not a boy'said Joseph after a while Look at that white skin and fair hairMr Edgar's sent you his daughter instead!’ GodWhat a beautiful creature!’laughed Heathcliff scornfully.‘That's worse than I expected!’

I helped the trembling child off the horse and into the houseHeathcliff took him roughly by the arm

I hope you'll be kind to himMr Heathcliff,’I said.‘He's weakand illAnd he's all the family you've go!’

Don't worry,’Ellen'replied Heathcliff with a smile.‘As Isabella's son he'll inherit Thrushcross Grange one dayand I don't want him to die before that He'll be educated as a gentlemanBut I'm bitterly disappointed at having such a weakcrying baby for a son!’

So poor Linton was left in his father's careAt first Cathy was miserablebecause she would not now have anyone to play withbut she soon forgot himWhenever I met Zillahthe housekeeperin the villageI used to ask her abut Linton  He's often ill'she told me.‘And so selfishHe has to have a fire even in summerHe calls for cakes and hot drinks all the timeHe only ever thinks of himselfMr Heathcliff can't bear being in the same room as him!’

Several years passed without any more news of LintonIn 1800 Cathy reached the age of sixteenWe never celebrated her birthdaybecause it was also the day her mother diedOn this particular day she came downstairsdressed for going outand suggested a walk on the moors with meHer father gave permission

It was a lovely spring morningand I was very happy walking in the sunshinewatching Cathy running ahead of meBut we had walked further than I had realizedand I called to her to come backShe did not seem to hear me We were on the moorsclose to Wuthering Heightswhen I caught sight of two men talking to herI recognized Heathcliff and Hareton at onceI hurried to catch up with her  Miss Cathy,’I said breathlessly,‘we must go home Your father will be getting worried Nohe won'tEllenThis gentleman wants me to go to his house and meet his sonHe says we've already metbut I don't rememberdo youLet's goEllen!’

Although I protestedshe and Hareton were already halfway to Wuthering HeightsHeathcliff and I followed behind  It's very bad of youMr Heathcliff,’I scolded him.‘Mr Edgar will blame me for letting her go to your house.’  I want her to see LintonEllke he reled.‘Listen to my planIt's really a very generous oneI want the two cousins to fall in love and marryYou know Cathy won't inherit anything from her fatherMy son Linton will inherit all the Linton fortune when Edgar diesIf she marries Linton she'll be wealthyOf courseif Linton diesthen the money comes to meas his only other relation.’

I was still angry with Heathcliffbut it was too late to stop Cathy entering Wuthering HeightsShe was delighted to rediscover her cousin Lintonwho was keeping warm by the fire  If he is my cousinand you are his father'she said to Heathcliffsmiling,‘then you must be my uncleWhy don't you ever visit us at the Grange?’ I visited it once or twice too often before you were born,’ he said.‘I must tell you that I quarrelled violently with your father onceHe hates meand if you tell him you want to come herehe'll forbid it.’

Well if I can't come here Linton can come to visit me at the Grange suggested Cathy happily

It'll be too far for me,’ said her cousin weakly.‘It would kill me to walk four miles.’

Heathcliff looked scornfully at his son

I don't think my plan will ever succeed Ellen!’he whispered to me.‘Who would fall in love with a selfish baby  138like that?’ He went to the kitchen door and called,‘HaretonCome and take Miss Cathy round the farm .’Cathy was eager to see the animals and she and Hareton went out

As we watched them through the kitchen windowHeathcliff seemed to be thinking aloud

I've taken my revenge on his father by making Hareton work for me I treat him badly as they used to do to me and he suffers as I used to He's intelligent and strong and handsome but I've taught him to scorn those qualities So now he's just an uneducated farm workerand knows nothing of the worldThat's how he'll always beAnd my sonHe's stupidand weakand illBut he's gentlemanand he'll mar- ry Cathyand he'll be rich!’

Meanwhile Linton had got up from his armchair and gone out to join Cathy and HaretonThrough the open window I could hear the two younger ones laughing at Hareton's coarse way of speakingI began to disliker Linton rather than pity him

When we arrived back at the GrangeCathy told her fathter about the visitHe did not want to frighten herandin my opiniondid not explain clearly enough why she should never communicate with Linton againAt the time she seemed to accept her father's wish

During the next few weekshoweverI noticed Cathy's behaviour changeShe was always writing on little pieces of paperwhich she kept in a locked drawer in her roomand every morning she got up surprisingly early to go down to the kitchenI suspected somethingand day I decided to break open her drawerIn it I was horrified to find a whole pile of love letters from LintonThe two cousins had been writing to each other in secret for several weeksand Cathy had used the milkman as a messengerI told her at once that I knew her secretand made her promise not to send or receive any more lettersWe burnt Linton's letters together

 


 

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