Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights: Ch. 24

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‘“Young master is in the house,” said Zillah, as she saw me making for the parlour.  I went in; Earnshaw was there also, but he quitted the room directly.  Linton sat in the great arm-chair half asleep; walking up to the fire, I began in a serious tone, partly meaning it to be true—

‘“As you don’t like me, Linton, and as you think I come on purpose to hurt you, and pretend that I do so every time, this is our last meeting: let us say good-bye; and tell Mr. Heathcliff that you have no wish to see me, and that he mustn’t invent any more falsehoods on the subject.”

‘“Sit down and take your hat off, Catherine,” he answered.  “You are so much happier than I am, you ought to be better.  Papa talks enough of my defects, and shows enough scorn of me, to make it natural I should doubt myself.  I doubt whether I am not altogether as worthless as he calls me, frequently; and then I feel so cross and bitter, I hate everybody!  I am worthless, and bad in temper, and bad in spirit, almost always; and, if you choose, you may say good-bye: you’ll get rid of an annoyance.  Only, Catherine, do me this justice: believe that if I might be as sweet, and as kind, and as good as you are, I would be; as willingly, and more so, than as happy and as healthy.  And believe that your kindness has made me love you deeper than if I deserved your love: and though I couldn’t, and cannot help showing my nature to you, I regret it and repent it; and shall regret and repent it till I die!”

‘I felt he spoke the truth; and I felt I must forgive him: and, though we should quarrel the next moment, I must forgive him again.  We were reconciled; but we cried, both of us, the whole time I stayed: not entirely for sorrow; yet I was sorry Linton had that distorted nature.  He’ll never let his friends be at ease, and he’ll never be at ease himself!  I have always gone to his little parlour, since that night; because his father returned the day after.

‘About three times, I think, we have been merry and hopeful, as we were the first evening; the rest of my visits were dreary and troubled: now with his selfishness and spite, and now with his sufferings: but I’ve learned to endure the former with nearly as little resentment as the latter.  Mr. Heathcliff purposely avoids me: I have hardly seen him at all.  Last Sunday, indeed, coming earlier than usual, I heard him abusing poor Linton cruelly for his conduct of the night before.  I can’t tell how he knew of it, unless he listened.  Linton had certainly behaved provokingly: however, it was the business of nobody but me, and I interrupted Mr. Heathcliff’s lecture by entering and telling him so.  He burst into a laugh, and went away, saying he was glad I took that view of the matter.  Since then, I’ve told Linton he must whisper his bitter things.  Now, Ellen, you have heard all.  I can’t be prevented from going to Wuthering Heights, except by inflicting misery on two people; whereas, if you’ll only not tell papa, my going need disturb the tranquillity of none.  You’ll not tell, will you?  It will be very heartless, if you do.’

‘I’ll make up my mind on that point by to-morrow, Miss Catherine,’ I replied.  ‘It requires some study; and so I’ll leave you to your rest, and go think it over.’

I thought it over aloud, in my master’s presence; walking straight from her room to his, and relating the whole story: with the exception of her conversations with her cousin, and any mention of Hareton.  Mr. Linton was alarmed and distressed, more than he would acknowledge to me.  In the morning, Catherine learnt my betrayal of her confidence, and she learnt also that her secret visits were to end.  In vain she wept and writhed against the interdict, and implored her father to have pity on Linton: all she got to comfort her was a promise that he would write and give him leave to come to the Grange when he pleased; but explaining that he must no longer expect to see Catherine at Wuthering Heights.  Perhaps, had he been aware of his nephew’s disposition and state of health, he would have seen fit to withhold even that slight consolation.