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18 Heathcliff's end

 

18012 I was delighted to come back to the Heightsand hoped I could make Cathy's life more comfortableBut she was restlessand complained of lonelinessAt first she continued to annoy Haretonby laughing at himbut after a while she decided she really wanted him as a friendShe apologized for being rude to himand offered to teach him ev erything she knewFrom that moment onthe two cousins have always been togetherstudyingHareton has a lot to learnand Cathy is not the most patient of teachersBut what they have in common is their love for each otherYou seeMr Lockwoodit was easy enough to win Cathy's heartBut now I'm glad you didn't tryI'll be the happiest woman in England when those two marry

Heathcliff noticed little of what was happening around himand would never have been aware of the cousinsfeelingsif it hadn't been for JosephIn the middle of our lunch one daythe old man rushed into the roomshaking with anger

I'll have to leaveI wanted to die herewhere I've been a servant for sixty yearsBut now she's taken my garden from meShe's stolen the boy's soulmasterI can't bear it!’

Is the fool drunk?’asked Heathcliff.‘Can you explain thisHareton?’

I've pulled up two or three of his fruit-trees,’confessed Hareton,‘but I'll put them back again.’

It was my fault,’added Cathy bravely.‘I asked him to do itWe wanted to plant some flowers there.’

Who the devil gave you permission?’growled Heathcliff

You should let me have a bit of gardenas you've taken all my land'replied Cathy sharply.‘And you've taken Hareton's land tooHe and I are friends nowI'll tell him about you!’

The master stood upstaring at her fiercely

Out of the roomwicked girl!’he shouted.‘I'll kill you if I get near you!’

If you hit meHareton will hit youHe won't obey you any moreand soon he'll hate you as much as I do!’

Youd better leaveCathy,’whispered Hareton urgently.‘I won't quarrel with Mr Heathcliff.’

But it was too lateI was sure Heathcliff was going to hit herHe took hold of herone strong hand in her hair and the other raised over her headBut when he looked into her facehis anger suddenly disappearedand he let his arm fall to his sideHe sat heavily down in his chair and put his hand over his eyes for a momentWe all stared at him

You must learn not to make me angry,’he saidtrying to be calm.‘Go awayall of youLeave me alone!’A little later he went outsaying he would return in the evening

As darkness fellCathy and Hareton were busy at their studies in the kitchenI was sitting with themhappy to see them helping each other so wellI feel they're almost my childrenMr Lockwoodand I'm very proud of themAs the master entered the househe had a full view of us threeThey lifted their eyes to meet hisPerhaps you haven't noticed itbut their eyes are very similarand they are exactly like those of Catherine EarnshawMr Heathcliff stopped and staredthen looked awayAt a sign from meCathy and Hareton went quietly out into the gardenleaving me alone with Mr Heathcliff

It's sillyisn't itEllen,’he muttered,‘that I have worked all my life to destroy these two familiesthe Earn shaws and the LintonsI've got their money and their landNow I can take my final revenge on the last Earnshaw and the last LintonI no longer want toThere's a strange change coming in my lifeI'm in its shadowI'm so little interested in daily events that I even forget to eat and drinkI don't want to see those twothat's why I don't care if they spend time togetherShe only makes me angryAnd he looks so like CatherineBut everything reminds me of CatherineIn every cloudin every tree I see her faceThe whole world reminds me that she was here onceand I have lost her!’

You don't feel illsirdo youAre you afraid of death?’

I'm not illEllenand I'm not afraid to dieBut I can't continue like thisI have to remind myself to breathealmost to remind my heart to beatI have a single wishfor some thing my whole body and heart and brain have wanted for so longOh GodIt's a long fightI wish it were finished!’

For some days after thatMr Heathcliff avoided meeting us at mealsHe ate less and lessLate one night I heard him leave the houseHe did not return until the morningWhen he came inI noticed a change in his expressionThere was a strangewild happiness in his facealthough he was pale and trembling

Will you have some breakfastsir?’I asked

NoI'm not hungry,’he answered

I don't think you should stay outside at nightsirYou'll catch a bad cold or a fever!’

Leave me aloneEllen,’he replied

I began to worry about himHe was strong and healthybut a man must eat in order to liveFor the next three days he ate nothingAt every meal the food lay untouched on the plate in front of himHe did not look at the foodor at usHe seemed to be looking at something quite close to himsome thing we could not seeHis fierce black eyes followed it with such eager interest that he sometimes stopped breathing for as much as half a minute

He did not sleep eitherFor three days he had spent the night in Catherine Earnshaw's old bedroomand I could hear him walking up and downand talkingcallingcrying all night

One morning I managed to speak to himand make him listen to me.‘Mr Heathcliffyou must have some food and sleepLook at yourself in the mirrorYou look ill and tired.’

It's not my fault that I can't eat or restYou wouldn't tell a drowning man to rest when he can see the shoreI'm close to what I've wanted for eighteen yearsvery closeBut my soul's happiness is killing my body!’

It's a strange kind of happinessmasterTake my adviceand pray to God to forgive you for what you've done wrong in the pastif you think you're going to die.’

Thank youEllenyou've reminded me of somethingIt's the way I want to be buriedMy coffin will be carried to the churchyard in the eveningYou and Hareton will be presentnobody elseAnd make sure my orders about the two coffins are obeyedI want no ceremonyor words from the BibleI don't believe in any of that.’

He spent the next nightand the next dayin Catherine's roommuttering and sobbing all the timeI sent for Dr Kennethbut the door was lockedso the doctor could not see himThe following night was very wetand in the morning as I walked in the gardenI noticed that the bedroom window was wide open

He must be very wet if he's in bed,’I thought,‘the bed is so close to the windowI'll go and look.’I found another key which fitted the lockand opened the doorMr Heathcliff was there in bedlying on his backHis eyes were staring at meso eagerly and fiercelyand he seemed to be smilingHis face and clothes were wet from the rainand he did not moveI realized he was dead

I closed the windowI combed his longblack hair from his foreheadI tried to close his eyesbut they would not shutSuddenly frightenedI called for JosephThe old servant came at oncebut refused to touch the body

Ahthe devil's taken his soulI warned him that would happen!’he cried.‘You see how wicked he issmiling at deathBut thank God Hareton Earnshaw will have the house and land nowthat he should have inherited from his father!’And he went down on his knees to pray

Hareton wasin factthe only one who was sad at Heathcliff's deathHe and I were present at the burialHeathcliff was buried next to Catherine's graveas he had wishedAs we were not sure of his age or anything else about himthere is only one word on his gravestoneHeathcliffThe villagers are very frightened of his ghostThey say he often haunts the churchyard and the moors

Hareton and Cathy will be married on New Year's Dayand they'll move to the GrangeI'll be their housekeeperJoseph will take care of Wuthering Heightsbut most of the rooms here won't be used again

You'll pass the churchyardMr Lockwoodon your way back to the Grangeand you'll see the three gravestones close to the moorCatherine'sthe middle oneis old nowand half buried in plants which have grown over itOn one side is Edgar Linton'sand on the other is Heathcliff's new oneIf you stay there a momentand watch the insects flying in the warm summer airand listen to the soft wind breathing through the grassyou'll understand how quietly they restthe sleepers in that quiet earth

 


 

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