For two months the fugitives remained absent; in those two months, Mrs.
Linton encountered and conquered the worst shock of what was denominated a
brain fever. No mother could have nursed an only child more devotedly than
Edgar tended her. Day and night he was watching, and patiently enduring all
the annoyances that irritable nerves and a shaken reason could inflict: and,
though Kenneth remarked that what he saved from the grave would only
recompense his care by forming the source of constant future anxiety — in
fact, that his health and strength were being sacrificed to preserve a mere
ruin of humanity — he knew no limits in gratitude and joy, when Catherine's
life was declared out of danger; and hour after hour he would sit beside
her, tracing the gradual return to bodily health, and flattering his too
sanguine hopes with the illusion that her mind would settle back to its
right balance also, and she would soon be entirely her former self.
The first time she left her chamber, was at the commencement of the following
March. Mr. Linton had put on her pillow, in the morning, a handful of golden
crocuses; her eye, long stranger to any gleam of pleasure, caught them in
waking, and shone delighted as she gathered them eagerly together.
"These are the earliest flowers at the Heights!" she exclaimed. "They remind
me of soft thaw winds, and warm sunshine, and nearly melted snow — Edgar, is
there not a south wind, and is not the snow almost gone ?"
"The snow is quite gone down here, darling," replied her husband, "and I only
see two white spots on the whole range of moors. The sky is blue, and the
larks are singing, and the becks and brooks are all brim full. Catherine,
last spring at this time I was longing to have you under this roof; now I
wish you were a mile or two up those hills; the air blows so sweetly, I feel
that it would cure you."
"I shall never be there but once more," said the invalid; "and then you'll
leave me, and I shall remain for ever. Next spring you'll long again to have
me under this roof, and you'll look back and think you were happy to-day."
Linton lavished on her the kindest caresses, and tried to cheer her by the
fondest words; but, vaguely regarding the flowers, she let the tears collect
on her lashes and stream down her cheeks unheeding. We knew she was really
better, and therefore decided that long confinement to a single place
produced much of this despondency, and it might be partially removed by a
change of scene. The master told me to light a fire in the
many-weeks-deserted parlour, and to set an easy-chair in the sunshine by the
window; and then he brought her down, and she sat a long while enjoying the
genial heat, and, as we expected, revived by the objects round her, which,
though familiar, were free from the dreary associations investing her hated
sick chamber. By evening she seemed greatly exhausted, yet no arguments
could persuade her to return to that apartment; and I had to arrange the
parlour sofa for her bed, till another room could be prepared. To obviate
the fatigue of mounting and descending the stairs, we fitted up this, where
you lie at present, on the same floor with the parlour; and she was soon
strong enough to move from one to the other, leaning on Edgar's arm. Ah, I
thought myself she might recover, so waited on as she was. And there was
double cause to desire it, for on her existence depended that of another; we
cherished the hope that in a little while Mr. Linton's heart would be
gladdened, and his lands secured from a stranger's gripe, by the birth of an
I should mention that Isabella sent to her brother, some six weeks from her
departure, a short note announcing her marriage with Heathcliff. It appeared
dry and cold, but at the bottom was dotted in with pencil an obscure
apology, and an entreaty for kind remembrance and reconciliation, if her
proceeding had offended him, asserting that she could not help it then, and,
being done, she had now no power to repeal it. Linton did not
reply to this, I believe; and in a fortnight more I got a long letter which
I considered odd, coming from the pen of a bride just out of the honeymoon.
I'll read it, for I keep it yet. Any relic of the dead is precious if they
were valued living.
DEAR ELLEN, it begins, I came last night to Wuthering Heights, and heard
for the first time that Catherine has been, and is yet, very ill. I must
not write to her, I suppose, and my brother is either too angry or too
distressed to answer what I sent him. Still, I must write to somebody,
and the only choice left me is you.
Inform Edgar that I'd give the world to see his face again — that my
heart returned to Thrushcross Grange in twenty-four hours after I left
it, and is there at this moment, full of warm feelings for him and
Catherine. I can't follow it, though (those words are underlined); they
need not expect me; and they may draw what conclusions they please,
taking care, however, to lay nothing at the door of my weak will or
The remainder of the letter is for yourself alone. I want to ask you two
questions; the first is — How did you contrive to preserve the common
sympathies of human nature when you resided here? I cannot recognize any
sentiment which those around share with me.
The second question I have great interest in; it is this — Is Mr.
Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? I shan't
tell my reasons for making this inquiry, but I beseech you to explain,
if you can, what I have married — that is, when you call to see me; and
you must call, Ellen, very soon. Don't write, but come, and bring me
something from Edgar.
Now you shall hear how I have been received in my new home, as I am led
to imagine the Heights will be. It is to amuse myself that I dwell on
such subjects as the lack of external comforts; they never occupy my
thoughts, except at the moment when I miss them. I should laugh and
dance for joy if I found their absence was the total of my
miseries, and the rest was an unnatural dream.
The sun set behind the Grange as we turned on to the moors: by that I
judged it to be six o'clock; and my companion halted half an hour to
inspect the park and the gardens, and probably the place itself, as well
as he could; so it was dark when we dismounted in the paved yard of the
farmhouse, and your old fellow-servant Joseph issued out to receive us
by the light of a dip candle. He did it with a courtesy that redounded
to his credit. His first act was to elevate his torch to a level with my
face, squint malignantly, project his under lip, and turn away. Then he
took the two horses and led them into the stables, reappearing for the
purpose of locking the outer gate, as if we lived in an ancient castle.
I do hate him — I am wretched — I have been a fool Beware of uttering one
breath of this to any one at the Grange. I shall expect you every day.
Don't disappoint me.