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第6节 第二十四章 【
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第二十四章

到了三个礼拜的末尾,我已能够走出我的屋子,在这所房子里随便走动了。我第一次在晚间坐起来的时候,请凯瑟琳念书给我听,因为我的眼睛还不济事。我们是在书房里,主人已经睡觉去了:她答应了,我猜想,她可不大愿意;我以为我看的这类书不对她的劲,我叫她随便挑本她读熟的书。她挑了一本她喜欢的,一口气念下去,念了一个钟头左右;然后就老问我:“艾伦,你不累吗?现在你躺下来不是更好一些吗?你要生病啦,这么晚还不睡,艾伦。”

“不,不,亲爱的,我不累,”我不停地回答着。

当她明白劝不动我时,又试换一种方法,就是有意显出她对正在干的事儿不感兴趣,就变成打打哈欠,伸伸懒腰,以及——

“艾伦,我累了。”

“那么别念啦,谈谈话吧,”我回答。

那更糟:她又是焦躁又是叹气,总看她的表,一直到八点钟,终于回她的屋子去了,她那抱怨的、怏怏不乐的模样,还不停地揉着眼睛,完全是瞌睡极了的样子。第二天晚上她仿佛更不耐烦;第三天为了避免陪我,她抱怨着头痛,就离开我了。我想她的行为很特别;我独自待了很久,决定去看看她是不是好点了,想叫她来躺在沙发上,省得呆在黑洞洞的楼上。楼上哪有凯瑟琳的影儿,楼下也没有。仆人们都肯定说他们没看见她。我在埃德加先生的门前听听:那里面静静的。我回到她的屋里,吹熄了蜡烛,坐在窗前。

月亮照得很亮;一层雪洒在地上,我想她可能是去花园散步,清醒一下头脑去了。我的确发觉了一个人影顺着花园里面的篱笆蹑手蹑脚地前进,但那不是我的小女主人。当那人影走进亮处时,我认出那是一个马夫。他站了相当久,穿过园林望着那条马路;然后敏捷地迈步走去,好像他侦察到了什么似的,立刻又出现了,牵着小姐的马;她就在那儿,才下马,在马旁边走着。这人鬼鬼祟祟地牵着马穿过草地向马厩走去。凯蒂从客厅的窗户那儿进来了,一点声音也没有就溜到我正等着她的地方。她也轻轻地关上门,脱下她那双沾了雪的鞋子,解开她的帽子,并不晓得我在瞅着她,正要脱下她的斗篷,我忽然站起来,出现了。这个意外的事使她愣了一下:她发出一声不清晰的叫声,便站在那里不动了。

“我亲爱的凯瑟琳小姐,”我开始说,她最近的温柔给了我太鲜明的印象,使我不忍破口骂她,“这个时候你骑马到哪儿去啦?你为什么要扯谎骗我呢?你去哪儿啦?说呀!”

“到花园那头去了,”她结结巴巴地说,“我没扯谎。”

“没去别处吗?”我追问。

“没有,”她喃喃地回答。

“啊,凯瑟琳!”我难过地叫道。“你知道你作错了,不然你不会硬跟我说瞎话。这使我很难过。我宁可病三个月,也不愿听你编一套故意捏造的瞎话。”

她向前一扑,忽然大哭,搂着我的脖子。

“啊,艾伦,我多怕你生气呀,”她说。“答应我不生气,你就可以知道实在情况了:我也不愿意瞒着你呢。”

我们坐在窗台上;我向她担保无论她的秘密是什么,我也不会骂她,当然,我也猜到了;所以她就开始说——

“我是去呼啸山庄了,艾伦,自从你病倒了以后,我没有一天不去的;只有在你能出房门以前有三次没去,以后有两次没去。我给麦寇尔一些书和画,叫他每天晚上把敏妮准备好,等用过后把它牵回马厩里:记住,你也千万别骂他。我是六点半到山庄,通常待到八点半,然后再骑马跑回家。我去并不是为了让自己快乐,我常常感到心烦。有时候我也快乐,也许一个星期有一次吧。起初,我预料要说服你答应我对林惇守信用,那一定很费事;因为在我们离开他的时候,我约好了第二天再去看他的;可是第二天你却在楼上躺下了,我就避开了那场麻烦。等到麦寇尔下午把花园门上的锁重新扣上,我拿到了钥匙,就告诉他我的表弟是如何盼望着我去看他,因为他病了,不能到田庄来;还有爸爸又如何反对我去:然后我就跟他商议关于小马的事。他很喜欢看书,他又想到不久就要离开这里去结婚了,因此他就提议,如果我肯从书房里拿出书来借给他,他就听我的吩咐:但是我情愿把我自己的书送给他,这使他更满意了。

“我第二次去时,林惇看来精神挺好;齐拉(那是他们的管家)给我们预备出一间干净的屋子,一炉好火,而且告诉我们,我们爱干什么就干什么,因为约瑟夫参加一个祈祷会去了,哈里顿带着他的狗出去了——我后来听说是到我们林中偷雉鸡的。她给我拿来一点温热的酒和姜饼,而且表现得非常和气;林惇坐在安乐椅上,我坐在壁炉边的小摇椅上,我们谈笑得这么快乐,发现有这么多话要说:我们计划夏天要到哪儿去,要作什么。这里我就不必多重复了,因为你会说这是愚蠢的。

“可是有一次,我们几乎吵起来。他说消磨一个炎热的七月天最令人愉快的办法是从早到晚躺在旷野中间一片草地上,蜜蜂在花丛里梦幻似地嗡嗡叫,头顶上百灵鸟高高地歌唱着,还有那蔚蓝的天空和明亮的太阳,太阳没有云彩遮挡,一个劲儿的照耀着。那就是他所谓的天堂之乐的最完美的想法。而我想坐在一棵簌簌作响的绿树上摇荡,西风吹动,晴朗的白云在头顶上一掠而过;不止有百灵鸟,还有画眉雀、山鸟、红雀和杜鹃在各处婉转啼鸣,遥望旷野裂成许多冷幽幽的峡溪;但近处有茂盛的、长长的青草迎着微风形成波浪的起伏;还有森林和潺潺的流水,而整个世界都已苏醒过来,沉浸在疯狂的欢乐之中。他要一切都处在一种恬静的心醉神迷之中里;而我要一切在灿烂的欢欣中闪耀飞舞。我说他的天堂是半死不活的;他说我的天堂是发酒疯;我说我在他的天堂里一定要睡着的;他说他在我的天堂里就要喘不过气来,于是他开始变得非常暴躁。最后我们同意一等到适宜的天气就都试一下;然后我们互相亲吻,又成了朋友。

“坐定了有一个钟头之后,我望着那间有着光滑的不铺地毯的地板的大屋子,我想要是我们把桌子挪开,那多好玩;我要林惇叫齐拉进来帮我们,我们可以玩捉迷藏,要她捉我们。你知道你常这样玩的,艾伦。他不肯,说没意思,可是他答应和我玩球。我们在一个碗橱里找到了两个球,那里面有一大堆旧玩具,陀螺、圈、打球板、羽毛球。有一个球写着C.有一个是H.我想要那个C.因为那是代表凯瑟琳,H.可能是代表他的姓希刺克厉夫①;可是H.球里的糠都漏出来了,林惇不喜欢那个。我老是赢了他,他不高兴了,又咳起来,回到他的椅子上去了。不过,那天晚上,他很容易地恢复了他的好脾气:他听了两三只好听的歌——你的歌,艾伦——听得出神了;当我不得不走开时,他求我第二天晚上再去,我就答应了。敏妮和我飞奔回家,轻快得像阵风一样;我梦见呼啸山庄和我的可爱的宝贝表弟,这些梦一直做到清晨。

①凯瑟琳,原文是Catherine,所以可以用C来代表。希刺克厉夫,原文是Heathcliff,可用H来代表。

“早晨我很难过;是因为你还在生病,也因为我愿意我父亲知道,而且赞成我的出游;但是喝完茶后,正是美丽的月夜;我骑马往前走的时候,我的阴郁心境就消除了,心想:我又将过一个快乐的晚上了;更使我愉快的是那漂亮的林惇也将如此。我飞快地骑马到他们的花园,正要转到后面去,恩萧那个家伙看见我了,拉着我的缰绳,叫我走前门。他拍着敏妮的脖子,说它是头好牲口,看样子好像他想要我跟他说话似的。我只跟他说不要碰我的马,不然它可会踢他。他用土里土气口音说:‘就是踢了也不会受多大伤。’还看看它的腿,微微一笑。我倒想让他试试了;但是他走开去开门了,当他拔起门闩时,抬头望那门上刻着的字,带着一种又窘又得意的傻相说——‘凯瑟琳小姐,现在我能念啦。’

“‘妙呀,’我嚷道。‘让我们听听你念吧——你是变能干啦!’

“他念着这名字,逐字拖长声音——‘哈里顿·恩萧。’

“‘还有数目字呢?’我鼓励地大声喊着,看出他顿住了。

“‘我还念不起来,’他回答。

“‘啊,你这呆瓜!’我说,看他念不成就开心地笑起来。

“那个傻子瞪着眼发愣,嘴上挂着痴笑,眉头蹙起,好像不知道他该不该跟我一块笑似的,也不知我的笑是表示亲热,还是轻视——实际上也正是轻视。我解除了他的疑惑,因为我突然恢复了我的尊严,要他走开,我是来看林惇的,不是来看他的。他脸红了——我借着月光看出来的——他的手从门上垂下来,躲躲闪闪地溜掉了,一种虚荣心被羞辱了的模样。他想象他自己跟林惇一样地有才能哩,我猜想,因为他能念他自己的名字了;可是他大为狼狈,因为我并不这样想。”

“别说啦,凯瑟琳小姐,亲爱的!”我打断她。“我不骂你,可是我不喜欢你那样的作风。如果你还记得哈里顿是你的表哥,和希刺克厉夫少爷是一样的,你就要觉得那样作法是多么不恰当了。至少他渴望和林惇一样地有成就,那是值得称赞的抱负;大概他也不是单单为了炫耀才学习:你以前曾使他因为无知而感到羞耻,这点我不怀疑;他愿意补救,而讨你欢心。嘲笑他那还没完成的企图是很不礼貌的。要是你在他的环境中长大,难道你就会比较不粗鲁些?他原来是个和你一样机灵聪明的孩子;我很伤心他现在要受人轻视,只因为那个卑鄙的希刺克厉夫这么不公平地对待他。”

“啊,艾伦,你不会为这事哭起来吧,会吗?”她叫起来,我的真挚使她奇怪。“可是等等,你就可以听见他背诵他的ABC是否为了讨我欢喜,要是对这个粗人客气是否值得了。

我进去了,林惇正躺在高背长椅上,欠起身来欢迎我。

“‘今晚我病了,凯瑟琳,爱!’他说,‘只好让你一个人说话,我听着。来,坐在我旁边。我准知道你是不会失信的,在你走以前,我还要让你遵守诺言。’

“这时我知道我绝不能逗他,因为他病了,我轻轻地说话,也不发问,而且避免说任何激怒他的话。我给他带来一些我最好的书;他要我拿一本读一点点,我正要读,不料这时恩萧把门冲开,显然是经过一番思索之后起了歹心。他径直走到我们跟前,抓住林惇的胳臂,把他从椅子上拉下来。

“‘到你自己屋里去!’他说,激动得声音几乎听不清了;脸似乎肿胀着,愤恨已极。‘要是她是来看你的,就把她也带去,你不能把我撵出去。你们两个滚!’

“他对我们咒骂着,不容林惇回答,几乎把他扔到厨房里;我也跟着去了,他握紧拳头,好像也想把我打倒似的。当时我有点害怕,我掉了一本书;他把书向我踢过来,把我们关在外面了。我听见炉火旁边一声恶毒的怪笑,转过身来,就瞅见那个可恶的约瑟夫站着,搓着他的瘦骨嶙峋的手,还颤抖着。

“‘我就知道他要赶你们出来!他是好小子!他对劲啦!他知道——唉,他和我一样知道,谁应该是这里的主人——呃、呃、呃!他干得对!呃、呃、呃!’

“‘我们该到哪儿去?’我问表弟,不理会那个老东西的嘲笑。

“林惇脸色苍白,还在哆嗦。那时他可不漂亮啦,艾伦。啊,不,他望着很可怕,因为他的瘦脸和大眼睛都现出一种疯狂无力的愤怒表情。他握住门柄,摇它;里面却闩上了。

“‘要是你不让我进去,我要杀死你——要是你不让我进去,我要杀死你!’他简直是在尖叫,而不是在说话。‘恶魔!

恶魔!——我要杀死你——我要杀死你!’

“约瑟夫又发出那嘶哑的笑声来。

“‘喏,那是他父亲!’他叫。‘那是他父亲!我们两边都有点。不要理他,哈里顿,孩子——别害怕——他碰不到你!’

“我抓住林惇的手,想拉开他;可是他叫得这么怕人使我又不敢拉。最后他的叫声被一阵可怕的咳嗽呛住了;血从他的口里涌出来,他就倒在地上了。我跑到院子里,吓坏了;我尽力大声叫齐拉。她很快听到了,她正在谷包后面的一个棚子里挤牛奶,赶忙丢下活儿跑来,问我叫她干吗?我来不及解释,便把她拉进去,又去找林惇。恩萧已经出来查看他闯下的祸,他正把那可怜的东西抱上楼去。齐拉和我跟着他上了楼;可是他在楼梯上头停下来,说我不能进去,我必须回家。我喊着他害了林惇,我非要进去不可。约瑟夫把门锁上,宣称我‘不必作这些蠢事’,又问我是不是‘跟他一样生来就疯疯癫癫的’。我站在那儿哭,直到管家又出现。她肯定说他马上就会好的,可是那样大吵大闹是不会使他好起来的;她拉着我,几乎是把我拖到屋子里来。

“艾伦,我几乎想把我的头发从头上扯下来了!我哭得我的眼睛都要瞎了,你非常同情的那个恶棍就站在我对面:竟敢时不时地吩咐我‘别吵’,而且否认是他的错;最后由于我断言我要告诉爸爸,而且他一定要被关在牢狱里,还要被吊死。他怕了,自己也开始哭起来,又连忙跑出去掩盖他那怯弱的感情。但是我仍然没有摆脱他。等到最后他们强迫我走开时,我才走出屋子。当我走了还不过几百码时,他忽然从路旁的阴影里出来,拦住敏妮,抓住了我。

“‘凯瑟琳小姐,我非常难过,’他开始说,‘可那实在太糟——’

“我给他一鞭子,我以为他也许要谋害我呢。他放我走了,吼出一句他那可怕的咒骂,我骑马飞奔回家,吓得魂都要掉啦。

“那天晚上我没跟你道晚安,第二天我也没有去呼啸山庄:我极想去;可是我感到一种莫名其妙的激动,有时候怕听说林惇死了;有时候一想到要遇见哈里顿就要发抖。第三天我鼓起勇气来,至少,我再也受不了这样的心神不定了,我又偷着出去。我是五点钟去的,走去的,心想我可以想办法爬到房子里去,径自上楼到林惇的屋子里,不让人瞅见。可是,那些狗宣告了我的光临。齐拉让我进去,说‘这孩子好多了’,便把我带进一间干净的铺着地毯的小房间,在那里,使我有说不出的快乐,因为我看见林惇躺在一张小沙发上读着我的书。可是足足有一个钟头他不跟我说话,也不看我。艾伦,他有这么一种怪脾气。使我颇为狼狈的是,等他真的开口的时候,他竟胡说八道,说是我惹起了那场纷扰,不怪哈里顿!我不能回答,除非是发火,我站起来,走出这间屋子。

他没料想得到这样的反应,于是在我后面送来一声微弱的‘凯瑟琳!’可是我不转回去,第二天,就是我又在家的第二天,几乎决定不再去看他了。可是就这么上床,起身,永远听不到一点他的消息,多么难受,因此我的决心在还没有正式形成以前已经化为乌有了。以前好像到那儿去是不对的;现在又像是不去才不对了。麦寇尔来问我要不要套上敏妮;我说,‘要。’当敏妮驮我过山时,我认为自己是在尽一种责任。我不得不经过前面窗子到院子里去,想隐藏我的光临是没有用的。

“‘小少爷在屋子里,’齐拉看见我向客厅走去,她就说。我进去了;恩萧也在那儿,可是他马上离开了这房间。林惇坐在那张大扶手椅子上半醒半睡;我走到火炉跟前,用一种严肃的声调,半认真地开腔:

“‘你既然不喜欢我,林惇,既然你以为我来是故意伤害你,而且以为我每次都是这样,这就是我们最后一次见面了。让我们告别吧;告诉希刺克厉夫先生你本不愿见我,他不必再编造关于这事情的任何瞎话了。’

“‘坐下,把帽子摘下来,凯瑟琳,’他回答。‘你比我幸福多了,你应该比我好些。爸爸尽说我的缺点,已经够轻视我的了,很自然地连我对自己都怀疑起来。我怀疑我是不是完全像他时时说我的那样没有出息;我觉得十分不高兴、苦恼,恨每一个人!我是没出息,脾气坏,精神坏,差不多总是这样;你要愿意,你可以说声再见,你就可以摆脱一个麻烦了。可是,凯瑟琳,对我公道一点:相信我要是能像你一样讨人喜、和气、善良,我是愿意的;甚至比和你同样幸福健康还更愿意些。你要相信:你的善良使我更深深地爱你,比起你的爱(如果我配承受你的爱的话)还要深些,虽然我曾经不能,而且也没法不向你暴露我的本性,我很抱歉,而且悔恨;我要抱恨到死!’

“我觉得他说的是实话;我觉得我必须原谅他,而且,虽然过一会他又要吵,我还是一定又要原谅他。我们和解了;可是我们两个人都哭了,把我在那儿的整个时间都哭掉了:不完全是为悲哀;但我的确很难过,因为林惇有那样乖僻的天性。他永远不会让他的朋友们舒服,他自己也永远不会舒服,自从那天夜晚,我总是去他的小客厅;因为他的父亲第二天回来了。

“大概有三次吧,我想,我们过得很快乐,很有希望,就和我们第一天晚上那样;以后的拜访都是凄惨又烦恼的:要么是因为他的自私和怨恨,要么是因为他的病痛;可是我已经学着以极小的反感来忍受他的自私和怨恨,就像我得忍受他的病痛一样。希刺克厉夫故意避开我:我简直难得见到他。上个礼拜天,的确,我去得比平常早些,我听见他残酷地骂可怜的林惇,只为了头天晚上他的行为。我不知道他怎么知道的,除非他偷听。林惇的举止当然是惹人生气的;可是,那不是别人的事,却与我有关,我就进去打断了希刺克厉夫先生的话,而且就这样告诉他。他大笑起来,走开了,说他很喜欢我对这事采取那样的看法,自从那时候起,我就告诉林惇他必须小声诉说他的苦楚。现在,艾伦,你听见所有的事了。我不能不去呼啸山庄,只不过是使两个人受苦;可是,你只要不告诉爸爸,那我去,也碍不着任何人的平静。你不会告诉吧,会吗?要是你告诉他的话,那就太残酷无情了。”

“这一点我明天才决定,凯瑟琳小姐,”我回答。“这需要研究研究;所以我要你休息去,这事我要考虑一番。”

我所谓的考虑,是到我主人面前说出来;从她屋子里出来径直走到他屋子里,把这事和盘托出:只除了她跟她表弟的对话,以及任何提及哈里顿的内容。林惇很惊惶难过,比他愿对我承认的还要多些。早晨,凯瑟琳知道我辜负了她的信赖,也知道了她那秘密的拜访是结束了。她又哭又闹,反抗这道禁令,并且求她父亲可怜可怜林惇,他答应会写信通知林惇,允许他在高兴来的时候可以到田庄来;这是凯瑟琳所得到的唯一的安慰了。不过信上还要说明他不必再希望会在呼啸山庄看见凯瑟琳了。要是他知道他外甥的脾气和健康状况,说不定他会认为就连这点微小的慰藉也不宜给与了。
 


Chapter 24

At the close of three weeks, I was able to quit my chamber, and move about the house. And on the first occasion of my sitting up in the evening, I asked Catherine to read to me, because my eyes were weak. We were in the library, the master having gone to bed: she consented, rather unwillingly, I fancied; and imagining my sort of books did not suit her, I bid her place herself in the choice of what she perused. She selected one of her own favourites, and got forward steadily about an hour; then came frequent questions.

`Ellen, are not you tired? Hadn't you better lie down now? You'll be sick, keeping up so long, Ellen.'

`No, no, dear, I'm not tired,' I returned continually.

Perceiving me immovable, she essayed another method of showing her disrelish for her occupation. It changed to yawning, and stretching, and:

`Ellen, I'm tired.'

`Give over then and talk,' I answered.

That was worse: she fretted and sighed, and liked at her watch till eight, and finally went to her room, completely overdone with sleep; judging by her peevish, heavy look, and the constant rubbing she inflicted on her eyes. The following night she seemed more impatient still; and on the third from recovering my company, she complained of a headache, and left me. I thought her conduct odd; and having remained alone a long while, I resolved on going and inquiring whether she were better, and asking her to come and lie on the sofa, instead of upstairs in the dark. No Catherine could I discover upstairs, and none below. The servants affirmed they had not seen her. I listened at Mr Edgar's door; all was silence. I returned to her apartment, extinguished my candle, and seated myself in the window.

The moon shone bright; a sprinkling of snow covered the ground, and I reflected that she might, possibly, have taken it into her head to walk about the garden, for refreshment. I did detect a figure creeping along the inner fence of the park; but it was not my young mistress: on its emerging into the light, I recognized one of the grooms. He stood a considerable period, viewing the carriage-road through the grounds; then started off at a brisk pace, as if he had detected something, and reappeared presently, leading miss's pony; and there she was, just dismounted, and walking by its side. The man took his charge stealthily across the grass towards the stable. Cathy entered by the casement window of the drawing-room, and glided noiselessly up to where I awaited her. She put the door gently to, slipped off her snowy shoes, untied her hat, and was proceeding, unconscious of my espionage, to lay aside her mantle, when I suddenly rose and revealed myself. The surprise petrified her an instant: she uttered an inarticulate exclamation, and stood fixed.

`My dear Miss Catherine,' I began, too vividly impressed by her recent kindness to break into a scold, `where have you been riding out at this hour? And why should you try to deceive me, by telling a tale? Where have you been? Speak.'

`To the bottom of the park,' she stammered. `I didn't tell a tale.'

`And nowhere else?' I demanded.

`No,' was the muttered reply.

`Oh, Catherine!' I cried sorrowfully. `You know you have been doing wrong, or you wouldn't be driven to uttering an untruth to me. That does grieve me. I'd rather be three months ill, than hear you frame a deliberate lie.'

She sprang forward, and bursting into tears, threw her arms round my neck.

`Well, Ellen, I'm so afraid of you being angry,' she said. `Promise not to be angry, and you shall know the very truth: I hate to hide it.'

We sat down in the window-seat; I assured her I would not scold, whatever her secret might be, and I guessed it of course; so she commenced:

`I've been to Wuthering Heights, Ellen, and I've never missed going a day since you fell ill; except thrice before, and twice after you left your room. I gave Michael books and pictures to prepare Minny every evening, and to put her back in the stable: you mustn't scold him either, mind. I was at the Heights by half-past six, and generally stayed till half past eight, and then galloped home. It was not to amuse myself that I went: I was often wretched all the time. Now and then I was happy; once in a week perhaps. At first, I expected there would be sad work persuading you to let me keep my word to Linton: for I had engaged to call again next day, when we quitted him; but, as you stayed upstairs on the morrow, I escaped that trouble; and while Michael was refastening the lock of the park door in the afternoon, I got possession of the key, and told him how my cousin wished me to visit him, because he was sick, and couldn't come to the Grange; and how papa would object to my going: and then I negotiated with him about the pony. He is fond of reading, and he thinks of leaving soon to get married; so he offered, if I would lend him books out of the library, to do what I wished: but I preferred giving him my own, and that satisfied him better.

`On my second visit, Linton seemed in lively spirits; and Zillah (that is their housekeeper) made us a clean room and a good fire, and told us that, as Joseph was out at a prayer meeting and Hareton Earnshaw was off with his dogs--robbing our woods of pheasants, as I heard afterwards--we might do what we liked. She brought me some warm wine and gingerbread, and appeared exceedingly good-natured; and Linton sat in the armchair, and I in the little rocking-chair on the hearthstone, and we laughed and talked so merrily, and found so much to say: we planned where we would go, and what we would do in summer. I needn't repeat that, because you would call it silly.

`One time, however, we were near quarrelling. He said the pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a bank of heath in the middle of the moors, with the bees humming dreamily about among the bloom, and the larks singing high up overhead, and the blue sky and bright sun shining steadily and cloudlessly. That was his most perfect idea of heaven's happiness: mine was rocking in a rustling green tree, with a west wind blowing, and bright white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sounding water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy. He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine, and began to grow very snappish. At last, we agreed to try both, as soon as the right weather came; and then we kissed each other and were friends.

`After sitting still an hour, I looked at the great room with its smooth uncarpeted floor, and thought how nice it would be to play in, if we removed the table; and I asked Linton to call Zillah in to help us, and we'd have a game at blind-man's buff; she should try to catch us: you used to, you know, Ellen. He wouldn't: there was no pleasure in it, he said; but he consented to play at ball with me. We found two in a cupboard, among a heap of old toys, tops, and hoops, and battledores, and shuttlecocks. One was marked C., and the other H.; I wished to have the C., because that stood for Catherine, and the H. might be for Heathcliff, his name; but the bran came out of H., and Linton didn't like it. I beat him constantly, and he got cross again, and coughed, and returned to his chair. That night, though, he easily recovered his good humour: he was charmed with two or three pretty songs--your songs, Ellen; and when I was obliged to go, he begged and entreated me to come the following evening; and I promised. Minny and I went flying home as light as air; and I dreamt of Wuthering Heights and my sweet, darling cousin, till morning.

`On the morrow I was sad; partly because you were poorly, and partly that I wished my father knew, and approved of my excursions: but it was beautiful moonlight after tea; and, as I rode on, the gloom cleared. I shall have another happy evening, I thought to myself: and what delights me more, my pretty Linton will. I trotted up their garden, and was turning round to the back, when that fellow Earnshaw met me, took my bridle, and bid me go in by the front entrance. He patted Minny's neck, and said she was a bonny beast, and appeared as if he wanted me to speak to him. I only told him to leave my horse alone, or else it would kick him. He answered in his vulgar accent, ``It wouldn't do much hurt if it did"; and surveyed its legs with a smile. I was half inclined to make it try; however, he moved off to open the door, and, as he raised the latch, he looked up to the inscription above, and said, with a stupid mixture of awkwardness and elation:

` ``Miss Catherine! I can read yon, nah.''

` ``Wonderful,'' I exclaimed. ``Pray let us hear you--you are grown clever!''

`He spelt, and drawled over by syllables, the name--"Hareton Earnshaw".

` ``And the figures?'' I cried encouragingly, perceiving that he came to a dead halt.

` ``I cannot tell them yet,'' he answered.

``Oh, you dunce!'' I said, laughing heartily at his failure.

`The fool stared, with a grin hovering about his lips, and a scowl gathering over his eyes, as if uncertain whether he might not join in my mirth: whether it were not pleasant familiarity, or what it really was, contempt. I settled his doubts, by suddenly retrieving my gravity and desiring him to walk away, for I came to see Linton, not him. He reddened--I saw that by the moonlight--dropped his hand from the latch, and skulked off, a picture of mortified vanity. He imagined himself to be as accomplished as Linton, I suppose, because he could spell his own name; and was marvellously discomfited that I didn't think the same.'

`Stop, Miss Catherine, dear!' I interrupted. `I shall not scold, but I don't like your conduct there. If you had remembered that Hareton was your cousin as much as Master Heathcliff, you would have felt how improper it was to behave in that way. At least, it was praiseworthy ambition for him to desire to be as accomplished as Linton; and probably he did not learn merely to show off: you had made him ashamed of his ignorance before, I have no doubt; and he wished to remedy it and please you. To sneer at his imperfect attempt was very bad breeding. Had you been brought up in his circumstances, would you be less rude? He was as quick and as intelligent a child as ever you were; and I'm hurt that he should be despised now, because that base Heathcliff has treated him so unjustly.'

`Well, Ellen, you won't cry about it, will you?' she exclaimed, surprised at my earnestness. `But wait, and you shall hear if he conned his A B C to please me; and if it were worth while being civil to the brute. I entered; Linton was lying on the settle, and half got up to welcome me.

` ``I'm ill tonight, Catherine, love,'' he said; ``and you must have all the talk, and let me listen. Come, and sit by me. I was sure you wouldn't break your word, and I'll make you promise again, before you go.''

`I knew now that I mustn't tease him, as he `was ill; and I spoke softly and put no questions, and avoided irritating him in any way. I had brought some of my nicest books for him; he asked me to read a little of one, and I was about to comply, when Earnshaw burst the door open: having gathered venom with reflection. He advanced direct to us, seized Linton by the arm, and swung him off the seat.

``Get to thy own room!'' he said, in a voice almost inarticulate with passion; and his face looked swelled and furious. ``Take her there if she comes to see thee: thou shalln't keep me out of this. Begone wi' ye both!''

`He swore at us, and left Linton no time to answer, nearly throwing him into the kitchen; and he clenched his fist as I followed, seemingly longing to knock me down. I was afraid for a moment, and I let one volume fall; he kicked it after me, and shut us out. I heard a malignant, crackly laugh by the fire, and turning, beheld that odious Joseph standing rubbing his bony hands, and quivering.

``Aw wer sure he'd sarve ye eht! He's a grand lad! He's getten t' raight sperrit in him! He knaws--Aye, he knaws, as weel as Aw do, who sud be t'maister yonder--Ech, ech, ech! He mad ye skift properly! Ech, ech, ech!''

``Where must we go?'' I said to my cousin, disregarding the old wretch's mockery.

`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 alIas summut uh orther side in us. 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 upstairs. 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 ``bahn 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 ``wisht'', 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 roadside, 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, 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, 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.

``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 armchair 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 goodbye; 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 goodbye: 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 he 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; and 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 tomorrow, 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.