Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights: Ch. 24

[+] | [-] | reset
 

‘Linton was white and trembling.  He was not pretty then, Ellen: oh, no! he looked frightful; for his thin face and large eyes were wrought into an expression of frantic, powerless fury.  He grasped the handle of the door, and shook it: it was fastened inside.

‘“If you don’t let me in, I’ll kill you!—If you don’t let me in, I’ll kill you!” he rather shrieked than said.  “Devil! devil!—I’ll kill you—I’ll kill you!”

Joseph uttered his croaking laugh again.

‘“Thear, that’s t’ father!” he cried.  “That’s father!  We’ve allas summut o’ either side in us.w  Niver heed, Hareton, lad—dunnut be ‘feard—he cannot get at thee!”

‘I took hold of Linton’s hands, and tried to pull him away; but he shrieked so shockingly that I dared not proceed.  At last his cries were choked by a dreadful fit of coughing; blood gushed from his mouth, and he fell on the ground.  I ran into the yard, sick with terror; and called for Zillah, as loud as I could.  She soon heard me: she was milking the cows in a shed behind the barn, and hurrying from her work, she inquired what there was to do?  I hadn’t breath to explain; dragging her in, I looked about for Linton.  Earnshaw had come out to examine the mischief he had caused, and he was then conveying the poor thing up-stairs.  Zillah and I ascended after him; but he stopped me at the top of the steps, and said I shouldn’t go in: I must go home.  I exclaimed that he had killed Linton, and I would enter.  Joseph locked the door, and declared I should do “no sich stuff,” and asked me whether I were “bahnw to be as mad as him.”  I stood crying till the housekeeper reappeared.  She affirmed he would be better in a bit, but he couldn’t do with that shrieking and din; and she took me, and nearly carried me into the house.

‘Ellen, I was ready to tear my hair off my head!  I sobbed and wept so that my eyes were almost blind; and the ruffian you have such sympathy with stood opposite: presuming every now and then to bid me “wishtw,” and denying that it was his fault; and, finally, frightened by my assertions that I would tell papa, and that he should be put in prison and hanged, he commenced blubbering himself, and hurried out to hide his cowardly agitation.  Still, I was not rid of him: when at length they compelled me to depart, and I had got some hundred yards off the premises, he suddenly issued from the shadow of the road-side, and checked Minny and took hold of me.

‘“Miss Catherine, I’m ill grieved,” he began, “but it’s rayther too bad—”

‘I gave him a cut with my whip,d thinking perhaps he would murder me.  He let go, thundering one of his horrid curses, and I galloped home more than half out of my senses.

‘I didn’t bid you good-night that evening, and I didn’t go to Wuthering Heights the next: I wished to go exceedingly; but I was strangely excited, and dreaded to hear that Linton was dead, sometimes; and sometimes shuddered at the thought of encountering Hareton.  On the third day I took courage: at least, I couldn’t bear longer suspense, and stole off once more.  I went at five o’clock, and walked; fancying I might manage to creep into the house, and up to Linton’s room, unobserved.  However, the dogs gave notice of my approach.  Zillah received me, and saying “the lad was mending nicely,” showed me into a small, tidy, carpeted apartment, where, to my inexpressible joy, I beheld Linton laid on a little sofa, reading one of my books.  But he would neither speak to me nor look at me, through a whole hour, Ellen: he has such an unhappy temper.  And what quite confounded me, when he did open his mouth, it was to utter the falsehood that I had occasioned the uproar, and Hareton was not to blame!  Unable to reply, except passionately, I got up and walked from the room.  He sent after me a faint “Catherine!”  He did not reckon on being answered so: but I wouldn’t turn back; and the morrow was the second day on which I stayed at home, nearly determined to visit him no more.  But it was so miserable going to bed and getting up, and never hearing anything about him, that my resolution melted into air before it was properly formed.  It had appeared wrong to take the journey once; now it seemed wrong to refrain.  Michael came to ask if he must saddle Minny; I said “Yes,” and considered myself doing a duty as she bore me over the hills.  I was forced to pass the front windows to get to the court: it was no use trying to conceal my presence.

X [w] That’s father! We’ve allas summut o’ either s…

The father is Heathcliff. Joseph is saying that Linton has inherited his fury from his father's side, though, unsupported by power, it is sound and fury, signifying nothing. 

X [w] bahn

Born.

X [w] wisht

Be quiet.

X [d] a cut with my whip,

Writing & Reading

When the elder Earnshaw walked to Liverpool, he asked Cathy and Hindley what each wanted as a present. She chose a whip, he a fiddle.

A well-known story of the Brontë family describes their father asking each of his children, beginning with Maria and Elizabeth, a question relevant to that child's age and nature, "thinking," he writes Mrs. Gaskell, "that they knew more than I had ye…

(read more)