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Table of Contents From the Pages of Wuthering Heights Title Page Copyright Page Emily Brontë The World of Emily Brontë and Wuthering Heights Introduction A Note on the Text and Dialect Genealogy Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell EDITOR’S PREFACE to the new  edition of ‘WUTHERING HEIGHTS’ Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI Chapter VII Chapter VIII Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI Chapter XII Chapter XIII Chapter XIV Chapter XV Chapter XVI Chapter XVII Chapter XVIII Chapter XIX Chapter XX Chapter XXI Chapter XXII Chapter XXIII Chapter XXIV Chapter XXV Chapter XXVI Chapter XXVII Chapter XXVIII Chapter XXIX Chapter XXX Chapter XXXI Chapter XXXII Chapter XXXIII Chapter XXXIV Endnotes Inspired by Wuthering Heights Comments & Questions For Further Reading From the Pages of Wuthering Heights A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. (page 3) He’ll love and hate equally under cover, and esteem it a species of impertinence to be loved or hated again. (page 6) ‘I’m now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.’ (page 28) ‘Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.’ (page 56) ‘I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.’ (page 79) ‘Heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.’ (page 80) ‘He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.’ (page 80) ‘If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn’t love as much in eighty years as ; I could in a day. And Catherine has a heart as deep as I have: the sea could be as readily contained in that horse-trough as her whole affection be monopolised by him.’ (page 148) ‘I have no pity! I have no pity! The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teething; and I grind with greater energy in proportion to the increase of pain.’ (page 151) I don’t know if it be a peculiarity in me, but I am seldom otherwise than happy while watching in the chamber of death, should no frenzied or despairing mourner share the duty with me. I see a repose that neither earth nor hell can break, and I feel an assurance of the endless and shadowless hereafter—the Eternity they have entered—where life is boundless in its duration, and love in its sympathy, and joy in its fulness. (page 163) ‘And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!’ (page 165) ‘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. ’ (page 239) I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth. (page 326) Published by Barnes & Noble Books 122 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10011 www.barnesandnoble.com/classics Wuthering Heights was originally published in 1847 under Brontë’s pseudonym Ellis Bell. Originally published in mass market format in 2004 by Barnes & Noble Classics with new Introduction, Notes, Biography, Chronology, A Note on the Text and Dialect, Inspired by Wuthering Heights, Comments & Questions, and For Further Reading. This trade paperback format published in 2005. Introduction Copyright © 2004 by Daphne Merkin. Notes, Note on Emily Brontë, The World of Emily Brontë and Wuthering Heights, A Note on the Text and Dialect, Inspired by Wuthering Heights, Comments & Questions, and For Further Reading Copyright © 2004 by Barnes & Noble, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Barnes & Noble Classics and the Barnes & Noble Classics colophon are trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc. Wuthering Heights ISBN-13: 978-1-59308-128-7 ISBN-10: 1-59308-128-6 eISBN : 978-1-411-43356-4 LC Control Number 2004111995 Produced and published in conjunction with: Fine Creative Media, Inc. 322 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10001 Michael J. Fine, President and Publisher Printed in the United States of America QM 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 Emily Brontë Reserved and reclusive by nature, Emily Jane Brontë remains a figure whose life and personality are largely shrouded in mystery. She was born on July 30, 1818, at Thornton in Yorkshire. Her father, Patrick, was the curate of Haworth, and her mother, Maria Branwell Brontë, died of cancer when Emily was three. Two of Emily’s older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died of consumption when she was just seven. The surviving Brontë children—Charlotte, Patrick Branwell, Emily, and Anne—were brought up by a maternal aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, who came to live in their father’s parsonage. She read to them from newspapers, and the children kept abreast of political debates, such as the question of Catholic emancipation and the aftermath of the French Revolution. They also had free reign of their father’s library, where they encountered such writers of their time as Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth, along with William Shakespeare and Aesop. Two of their favorite books were John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) and Paul Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). In June of 1826 Patrick Brontë gave Branwell a set of twelve wooden soldiers, and the four siblings began to create a fantasy world. Ascribing names and personalities to the toy soldiers, the Brontës wrote and performed a number of plays. Later, Emily and Anne created the Gondal saga, which centered on the inhabitants of an imaginary island in the north Pacific. These “Gondal chronicles,” the inspiration for some of Emily’s most passionate poems, occupied her thoughts and writings throughout most of her life, even after Anne had tired of the fantasy. Although she wrote quite extensively, Emily had little formal schooling. In 1835 she briefly attended Miss Wooler’s school at Roe Head, where Charlotte was a teacher; she left after only three months because she was homesick and made few friends, and as a result, her health was suffering. Around 1837 (the exact date remains in question) Emily taught at Law Hill School but remained there only a short time. In 1842 she and Charlotte studied in Brussels, where Emily was exposed to the writings of the French and German Romantics. It was at home on the moors, however, where Emily was happiest, and aside from limited travels for schooling, she spent her life in Haworth. In the biographical notice Charlotte wrote for the republication of Wuthering Heights in 1850, she refers to her accidental discovery of a notebook of Emily’s poems five years earlier: “My sister Emily was not a person of demonstrative character nor one, on the recesses of whose mind and feelings even those nearest and dearest to her could, with impunity, intrude unlicensed; it took hours to reconcile her to the discovery I had made, and days to persuade her that such poems merited publication.” But Charlotte did succeed, and in 1846 the three Brontë sisters, using pseudonyms, published Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Emily is best remembered for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, first published in 1847 to much less recognition than her sister’s Jane Eyre. Only with its 1850 republication and with Charlotte’s preface, which addresses some of the violence and nihilism of the novel, did Wuthering Heights begin to receive real recognition. Emily Brontë died on December 19, 1848. The World of Emily Brontë and Wuthering Heights 1818 Emily Jane Brontë is born on July 30. The fourth canto of Byron’s Childe Harold is published. 1819 The Reverend Patrick Brontë, Emily’s father, is offered a lifetime curacy at Haworth. 1820 The Brontës move to Haworth. 1821 Emily’s mother dies. Her sister, their Aunt Elizabeth Branwell, agrees to raise the Brontë children. 1824 Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Emily are sent to the Clergy Daughters’ school at Cowan Bridge. 1825 Maria Brontë dies in May. Charlotte and Emily are taken out of school. Elizabeth dies in June. 1826 The four surviving Brontë children use Branwell’s toy soldiers to create make-believe characters. These sol diers, referred to by the children as the Young Men, are the source for numerous plays they write and perform. 1827- 1828 The Brontë children begin the play The Islanders; each picks an actual island and populates it with his or her favorite heroes. Having been influenced by their readings of The Arabian Nights, the Brontës see them selves as genii who have omnipotent power over the worlds they create. Emily selects Sir Walter Scott, his son-in-law, and his grandson as some of her heroes. Their aunt had earlier given the children a copy of Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather (1828). 1831 Emily and Anne begin the Gondal saga, stories of the in habitants of an imaginary island in the north Pacific. 1834 Emily’s earliest manuscript, a Gondal story, is dated this year. 1835 Emily attends Miss Wooler’s school, but she stays only three months because her health is failing. She recovers fully at Haworth. 1836 Emily writes her earliest dated poem. 1837 Around this time, Emily leaves Haworth to teach at Law Hill School near Halifax, but she remains there for only a short while. Branwell attempts and fails to be noticed by both Wordsworth and Blackwood’s Magazine, a well respected periodical. Victoria becomes queen of England. Emily echoes the coronation with events featuring her own characters in the Gondal saga. 1837- 1842 More than half of Emily’s extant poems are written during this period. In 1839 Shelley’s Poetical Works, ed ited by Mary Shelley, is published. 1842 Charlotte and Emily attend school in Brussels under the tutelage of M. Heger. Here she is first exposed to the writings of Hugo, Guizot, Bossuet, Hoffman, Goethe, and Voltaire. Emily writes essays in French and excels at her piano lessons. The two sisters are called back to Ha worth by news of their aunt’s sudden death. 1843 Emily is housekeeper of Haworth and caretaker of her father. 1844 Emily copies her poems into two notebooks, “Gondal Poems” and “E.J.B.” 1845 Emily and Anne renew their enthusiasm for Gondal and work avidly on the saga. In October Charlotte discovers a notebook of Emily’s poems. After much resistance from her sister, Charlotte convinces Emily to have them published. Emily begins work on Wuthering Heights. 1846 Shy of publicity and aware that, as Charlotte later writes, “authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice,” the sisters publish under pseudonyms. Their work ap pears as Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. The three sisters work on novels; and in the evening, after all housework is done, they compare notes on their works in progress and read to each other from their latest chapters. Branwell, addicted to opium and alcohol, spends all his time at home. Charlotte grows to despise her brother 1847 Unsold copies of Poems are sent to Wordsworth; Ten nyson; John Gibson Lockhart, editor of the Quarterly Review; De Quincey; and Hartley Coleridge. The publisher T. C. Newby accepts Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey but delays their publication. Jane Eyre is accepted and published by Smith, Elder and becomes an immediate success. Now there is interest in the “Bell” writers, and Emily and Anne’s novels are published in December under their pseudonyms. 1848 In January an Examiner review criticizes Wuthering Heights for being “coarse.” Similar reviews follow. In Sep tember, Branwell dies, and at his funeral Emily catches a severe cold; it develops into a respiratory infection that ultimately leads to her death from pulmonary dis ease, or “consumption,” as it was then termed. 1850 Wuthering Heights is reissued with a biographical notice by Charlotte, in which she depicts Emily’s extremely re served nature and isolated life. Charlotte also clarifies the identities of the Brontë sisters. Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell are now known as Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, respectively. Introduction The first thing you will notice about Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights—right after you’ve noticed that two characters share a name (Catherine), two have first names that sound like surnames (Hareton and Hindley), and two have names that are used both as last names and as first names (Edgar Linton and Linton Heathcliff), thereby creating a confusion in the reader’s mind—is that it is like no other novel ever written. It reads like the work of someone who had direct access to her unconscious—or, as the New Agers might put it, was able to “channel” her unconscious. Perhaps the most striking triumph of the novel is that although it is a very particular fever dream concocted by one very specific and overheated imagination, it manages somehow to take over and become your own fever dream (which is, in essence, what happens with all great novels), the exact contents of which are hard to recall once you wake up. Should you chance to read it a second or third time, Wuthering Heights comes at you afresh, in part because the novel seems to vanish into its own delirious origins once you’ve finished it, leaving no footprints, and in part because it is a literary force of nature such as you’ve never encountered before. Whether this quality of being intractably unlike other novels—although various influences, especially that of the writer Sir Walter Scott and the Romantic poets (particularly Byron), have been teased out by diligent scholars as well as wildly imaginative critics—is a good or a bad thing is a puzzle that continues to engage the novel’s readers every bit as much as when it was first published in 1847, causing, with a few exceptions, consternation and outright hostility among Victorian readers. Emily Brontë was twenty-seven at the time she wrote Wuthering Heights. She was the second and least worldly of a triumvirate of immensely gifted writing sisters who had managed to overcome the vicissitudes of their childhood to burst forth, seemingly out of nowhere, with powerful and entirely unconventional works of the imagination. Misfortune lurked in every nook and cranny of the family history: The sisters’ mother died when the oldest, Charlotte, was five, and within the next four years, two elder sisters had died as well, at the ages of eleven and ten, as a result of the miserable conditions at a boarding school that would later be immortalized as the horrifying Lowood School in Jane Eyre. Patrick Brontë, the girls’ father, was the curate of Haworth, a remote Yorkshire village, and his four remaining children, who included a son, Branwell, grew up under strikingly isolated circumstances. Cut off from the local goings on by virtue of their not entirely secure social class (Patrick, who attended Cambridge on a scholarship, had risen from humble Irish stock) and looked after by a spinster aunt and a housekeeper named Tabby, they were thrown mostly on their own company. (Although Patrick may not have been quite the deranged character he was made out to be until fairly recently, when his image was refurbished in Juliet Barker’s exhaustively researched 1994 biography, The Brontës, he was undeniably on the peculiar side—preferring, among other habits, to take his meals alone.) The siblings entertained themselves by creating, in minuscule script on tiny scraps of paper, elaborate fantasy worlds, the most enduring of which were Angria and Gondal. Emily continued to be intensely engaged by Gondal well into adulthood, and the origins of her and her sisters’ literary gifts are clearly to be found in their juvenilia. Charlotte, whose Jane Eyre appeared the same year as both Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey, was the oldest and most enterprising of the three. She virtually dragged her younger sisters out of their cloistered existence—the parsonage in which they lived fronted on a graveyard and looked out in back on the Yorkshire moors—into the light of print by dint of her tireless efforts to get their books published. It is difficult from the vantage point of today to envision the kind of perseverance it took for the sisters to continue with their scribblings in a house where writing, as one Brontë scholar has pointed out, was “very much a male domain” (Alexander, The Early Writings of Charlotte Brontë, p. 227; see “For Further Reading”). It is equally hard to imagine the kind of resistance Charlotte faced in trying to get a reading for her and her sisters’ work. Victorian England in the middle of the nineteenth century was high handedly patriarchal, harboring deep, even irrational, misgivings about female creativity and self-assertion; and not the least remarkable aspect of the Brontë story is that Charlotte persisted in spite of her own anguished doubts and daunting rejections. (Among other people who had advised her against pursuing writing was the poet laureate Robert Southey, to whom she sent some of her poems while she was teaching at a boarding school. Although he conceded that she had “the faculty of Verse,” Southey saw fit to admonish her: “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life: & it ought not to be.”) All three sisters published their novels under pseudonyms—they took the intentionally masculine-sounding names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell—and when Wuthering Heights was republished in 1850 under its author’s real name, Emily was already dead. She had died at the age of thirty, less than three months after her younger brother, Branwell, who had once been considered the family genius, died from drugs and drink. The cause of her death was officially given as consumption, but it is clear to any reader of Emily’s biography that it was a form of passive suicide—that she had helped her end along by willing herself into the next world she so devoutly believed in, frequently exalted, and finally welcomed. Emily steadfastly refused medical care until she finally gave in to her two sisters’ pleas on what turned out to be the last day of her life. The doctor arrived at two in the afternoon after she had already, as Charlotte described it in a letter to her close friend Ellen Nussey, “turned her dying eyes from the pleasant sun” (Frank, A Chainless Soul: A Life of Emily Brontë, p. 261). The death-embracing side of Emily is discernible in her only novel, but it is even clearer in the poems she wrote, in one of which she characterizes life as “a labour, void and brief.” It was Charlotte who suggested to her own publishers—she had by now “come out” to them as the celebrated author of Jane Eyre—that Wuthering Heights deserved to be reprinted and, as an added inducement, proposed to edit this second edition herself. As part of her program to render both herself and her sister more acceptably modest in spirit and less bold in thought than their fiction might otherwise suggest, Charlotte endeavored to make Emily’s novel more accessible by downplaying its stylistic oddities—standardizing her sister’s idiosyncratic punctuation and abrupt cadences. This second edition also came with a curiously apologetic preface that, advertently or not, paved the way for many apologetic interpretations to come. In it, Charlotte addressed the novel’s many critics by insisting on the untutored quality of her sister’s literary genius (Emily, like Charlotte, was in fact unusually well-educated) while at the same time admitting to her own consternation about the author’s impulses: “Whether it is right or advisable,” Charlotte wrote, “to create beings like Heathcliff, I do not know: I scarcely think it is.” She also appended a biographical note explaining to the reading public that she and her two younger sisters, Emily and Anne, were the authors, respectively, of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey. More than 150 years and many cultural upheavals later, Emily Brontë’s novel remains almost blindingly original, undimmed in its power to convey the destructive potential of thwarted passion as expressed through the unappeasable fury of a rejected lover. To paraphrase Shakespeare, age cannot wither it, nor custom stale its infinite variety. Every aspect of the novel—whether it be the writer’s expert grasp of the laws pertaining to land and personal property, her meticulous rendering of local dialect, or her use of multiple narrators—has been put under microscopic study. And yet, despite the shelf after shelf of books that have been written in the attempt to understand the frail yet flinty-willed young woman—“the sphinx of literature,” as she was called by Angus M. Mackay in The Brontës: Fact and Fiction (1897)—who wrote it, as well as the tragedy-struck, remarkably talented family from which she came, Wuthering Heights still presents a dark and fierce view of the world that is seemingly without precedent. The book’s autobiographical components aroused interest from the start, especially given the original mystery surrounding its authorship. Lucasta Miller, in The Brontë Myth, gives an often spellbinding account of the ways in which the Brontës’ “lonely moorland lives” (p. xi) lent themselves to the process of mythification even before the last sister had died. (None of them lived to see forty: Anne died within five months of Emily, at the age of twenty-nine, and Charlotte, the only one of the sisters to marry, was in the early months of pregnancy at the time of her death, at the age of thirty-nine.) But unlike Charlotte, who lived long enough to help shape the myth that would grow up around the Brontës, beginning with Elizabeth Gaskell’s landmark Life of Charlotte Brontë, which appeared in 1857 and for which she was the primary source, Emily wasn’t around to answer for herself. “All of Emily’s biographers have had to cope with the absences surrounding her,” Miller notes (p. 193). The baroque conjectures concerning her character were first introduced by Gaskell’s Life, which included scenes that had Emily pummeling her disobedient bulldog into submission with her bare hands and dramatically cauterizing a bite from a strange dog with a red-hot kitchen iron. Gaskell’s two-dimensional portrait of Emily as kind of savage force of nature, “a remnant of the Titans,—great-grand-daughter of the giants who used to inhabit earth,” held sway for decades, drawing admirers like the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, whose own provocative impulses (which included a well-documented sadomasochistic bent) were stirred by the novel’s almost pagan quality, its disregard for bourgeois niceties. The efforts to penetrate Emily’s veils grew even more overheated in the wake of Freud, just as the textual analyses would become more and more exotic in the trail of the new French theories of narrative propounded by Derrida and Foucault. One 1936 biographer, who featured herself as having paid “especial and respectful” attention to primary sources, misread the title of one of Emily’s manuscript poems as “Louis Parensell” instead of “Love’s Farewell” in her zeal to bring new light on a hypothesized lost lover, and then went on to unearth another dark secret, proposing that Emily had been “a member of that beset band of women who can find their pleasure only in women” (Moore, The Life and Eager Death of Emily Brontë). There were discussions as to how genuinely close Emily had been to her sisters Charlotte and Anne, or whether she in fact resented the older one and patronized the younger. Was she a domestic slouch, oblivious to all except her febrile imaginings and the wind howling over the moors? Or was she in fact something of a fifties housewife type, sweeping the floors, ironing the linens, and baking bread while her chronically depressed father took his meals in his room and her brother, Branwell, drank himself to death in the Black Bull tavern? Was her consuming interest in food and what was being prepared for meals by Tabby, the housekeeper, as evidenced by the few diary entries that have come down to us, a sign of a robust immersion in daily life or a clue to something more disturbing? (In A Chainless Soul, Frank makes a plausible case for diagnosing Emily as suffering an anorexic’s death by starvation.) Some of the more unrestrained speculations tended to focus on the elusive genesis of Wuthering Heights. Emily’s ill-fated brother, Branwell, who had been earmarked within the family for artistic glory (money was scraped together to send him to London to pursue his artistic interests) but died ignominiously at the age of thirty-one, a hostage to gin and opium, was at the center of the theories that swirled around the decades-long disputed authorship of Emily’s novel. The controversy began with an article, published in 1867 and written by an acquaintance of Branwell’s, himself an amateur poet, which claimed that the author had once read a manuscript of Branwell’s that contained a scene and characters similar to those of Wuthering Heights (Miller, p. 229). This controversy—or “great Brontë conspiracy theory,” as Miller describes it (p. 228)—was fueled largely by disbelief that a reserved young daughter of a rural clergyman could have written so volcanic a book, but also on the basis of Branwell’s having shown early literary promise as a coauthor of the Brontë children’s joint writing efforts, an all-consuming escapist pastime that Charlotte would later refer to as their “web of sunny air” (Frank, p. 57). It was quickly taken up by other of Branwell’s friends, and although it was eventually demolished in Irene Cooper Willis’s The Authorship of Wuthering Heights (1936), the idea has continued to intrigue scholars and biographers up until the present day. But by far the most intense (and screwy) psychological scrutiny was reserved for the close relationship between Branwell and Emily. After Charlotte had given up on him as a bad egg, Emily continued to stand by her older brother, calming him down and getting him to bed during his drunken outbursts. This aspect of the Brontë family life led to speculations about a possible incestuous aspect to Branwell and Emily’s relationship, especially in regard to its being the model for the relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. (One theory suggested that Heathcliff was in fact the bastard son of Mr. Earnshaw and thus Catherine’s half brother.) Of course, this theory clashed with yet another view that saw Branwell as doomed by his closet homosexuality, which may or may not have emerged during the period he spent as a live-in tutor to a young boy, Edward Robinson; his employment ended in disgrace after Branwell was dismissed with the threat of scandalous exposure if he tried to get in touch with any of the family. Branwell later retailed this scandal as an adulterous affair he was having with his pupil’s mother. The story line of Wuthering Heights is, on the sheer linear level of narrative, full of twists and turns so complex and unlikely as to verge on the tiresomely baroque when it is not being merely confounding. Truth be told, it is hard to remember the novel’s actual sequence of events—the who, what, where, and when—even while in the midst of reading it, just as it is difficult to keep the various Catherines apart. (Early in the novel, when the eerie, otherworldly aspect of the story we are about to hear is made manifest, we are told that “the air swarmed with Catherines” (p. 20). The why of it is, in the first and last analysis, all that really interests the author, and eventually it becomes all that interests the reader. The why—the abiding dark force that is Heathcliff’s motivation—cannot be satisfactorily answered and leads instead to other whys, as whys usually do: Why can’t he let go of Cathy? Why doesn’t Cathy let go of him? And, most important: Why didn’t they go off together in the first place? Once one starts rooting around for reasons, the reasons never suffice, and one ends up frantically questioning everything. Everything swirls around this why; it is the vortex from which the novel erupts. This remains so in spite of the fact that Heathcliff’s consuming animus is fairly implausible from the start—as is Catherine Earnshaw’s equally consuming allegiance—and isn’t elaborated so much as it is asserted as a precondition that informs everything else. Virginia Woolf, who was a great admirer of both Charlotte and Emily Brontë and whose first published piece was about a pilgrimage she made to Haworth to see the museum of Brontë relics that had been created not far from the parsonage in which the sisters grew up, wrote a perceptive essay comparing Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. In it she concedes that the latter novel requires more than the usual suspension of disbelief on the reader’s part and indicates the gratification to be had from doing so: “He [Heathcliff] is impossible we say, but nevertheless no boy in literature has a more vivid existence than his. So it is with the two Catherines; never could women feel as they do or act in their manner, we say. All the same, they are the most lovable women in English fiction.” (One doesn’t have to agree with Woolf’s verdicts on these characters—I, for instance, would not think of describing either Catherine as “lovable,” at least not in any recognizable sense of the word—to assent to her basic point that they are all cast from something other than lifelike material.) Still, if one looks at Wuthering Heights from this perspective—the donnée, that is, of the novel’s own unreal reality (“The truth,” as one critic put it, “but not of this world”; see Muriel Spark’s and Derek Stanford’s Emily Brontë: Her Life and Work, p. 235), the plot begins to appear remarkably simple, even primitive. It is, after all, the age-old one of a soured romance, of childhood sweethearts who are foiled by the adult reality they grow into. Boy meets girl; boy falls in love with girl; boy loses girl. And then, if the boy in question happens to be Heathcliff with his “satanic nimbus,” as one writer described it (Spark, p. 255)—the romantic antihero par excellence, the one who sets the standard for all Demon Lovers to come—all hell breaks lose. Whoever stands in the way of this vengeful fellow gets either brutally thrust aside or broken in two. The two exceptions are the “vinegar-faced” servant, Joseph, and the shrewdly self-preserving housekeeper, Nelly Dean, who serves as a (possibly unreliable) narrator within a narrator and through whose eyes we see the grim and twisted—or as one Victorian critic put it, the “wild, confused, disjointed and improbable”—events of the story inexorably unfold (Frank, p. 237). Very little blood is spilled in the novel, but it is full of violent acts and even more violent feelings. And by contemporary standards, the book is modest to a fault, since everyone remains more or less dressed, though it is colored throughout by a kind of erotic hunger—propelled often as not by fury rather than love—that goes beyond the most relaxed of social conventions and the loosest of sexual proprieties. It is undoubtedly this subliminal theme of unharnessed libid inal energy that alarmed the book’s readers—especially at the time of its original publication, when the pseudonyms of all three Brontë women only fueled speculation as to whether the writers were male or, as some suspected, female. There were reviewers who were willing to grant Wuthering Heights its “rugged power” in spite of its being “coarse” and “vulgar” and others who were content to find it perplexing without perforce issuing a summary opinion: “It is difficult to pronounce any decisive judgment on a work in which there is so much rude ability displayed yet in which there is so much to blame” (Frank, p. 237). Still others reacted with heated ambivalence in the form of radically conditional praise, as though they had been witness to a morally depraved spectacle that was all the more unsettling because its author was so obviously capable of writing about nicer things if he or she only cared to. These critics tended to sound unconsciously patronizing, like stalwart British nannies faced with inexplicably badly behaved charges. “It were a strange and distempered criticism which hesitated to pass sentence of condemnation on Wuthering Heights,” declared one contemporary critic. “We have no such hesitation in pronouncing it unquestionably and irredeemably monstrous” (Miller, p. 224). Another reviewer conceded the book’s mesmeric pull, only to then dismiss it as something to be fended off rather than embraced by the reader: “There seems to be a great power in the book, but it is a purposeless power which we feel a great desire to see turned to a better account. . . . In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity and the most diabolical hate and vengeance and anon come passages of powerful testimony to the supreme power of love” (Miller, p. 209). And some were nothing short of incensed, such as the female critic in the Quarterly Review who dismissed the author as of “no interest” and the novel as “too odiously and abominably pagan to be palatable even to the most vitiated class of English readers” (Miller, p. 238). Perhaps worst of all was the reviewer who suggested that the writer should have considered killing himself before letting the book complete its natural course, marveling at “how a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters” (Frank, p. 237). Even more enlightened readers, such as the young D. H. Lawrence, who warned his girlfriend, Jessie Bernard, off it, approached the novel with a wariness bordering on fear. Of course, the whole love-hate relationship that raged between Emily Brontë’s novel and its readers can be said to mirror, in its way, the love-hate relationship between Cathy (as the first Catherine comes to be known to us) and Heathcliff. Although the word transgressive is thrown around a lot these days, used to describe everything from Eminem’s lyrics to the ads for Victoria’s Secret, most of us grasp (as undoubtedly many sophisticated Victorians grasped) that there is no accounting for taste. What is irredeemably alien to one person might be perfectly normal to someone else; what is repellent to one may be an irresistible draw to another. In a certain sense it might be said that the transgressive is harder to come by than one might think, even in our morally lax, gender-bending times. Pornography, for instance, is not in and of itself transgressive, because it is an established genre into which words and images for the express purpose of titillation can comfortably find their niche. It seems to me that in order for a cultural artifact to be truly transgressive, to sustain its shock value after the initial jolt, it must venture into uncharted psychological territory, one without signposts except those it chooses to put up as it plunges forward into the darkness. I would like to suggest that Wuthering Heights remains as disturbing now as it was then—when Charlotte felt compelled to smooth the way for its reception with her explanations of her sister’s unself-conscious and almost unwitting talent—because its instincts are at heart profoundly transgressive ones. It speaks for the individual against the collective, for the claims of unreasonable passion against the rights of all that is civilized and sensible. Against our cherished Enlightenment convictions (so cherished that they are taken for granted as being empirically mandated rather than conjecturally posed) about the workings of free will and the legitimacy of the autonomous self—you choose whom you love, and, in the absence of genuine psychosis, you understand that for all your feelings of having stumbled onto your other half, you and your love object are not one and the same—Emily Brontë sets her beliefs in a relentless, even malign fate and the never far-off allure of symbiosis. How its young author, living quietly with her three siblings and father in a remote Yorkshire parsonage in circumstances that seem impoverished in their lack of distraction even for the first half of the nineteenth century, came to be on intimate terms with the savagely possessive nature of desire (not only does Heathcliff want to have Cathy for himself, he doesn’t want anyone else to have her), is part of the mystery of creative inspiration. Somewhere during her rambles over the stark and solitary landscape of her beloved moors, listening to the wind howl, Emily Brontë conjured up this extraordinary psychodrama of kindred souls, of two selves—Cathy and Heathcliff—who are one (“I am Heathcliff,” Cathy protests, in the novel’s most famous line [p. 82]), and who will not live or die in peace so long as they are separated. It is only at the novel’s end—in its very last paragraph, in fact—after Heathcliff gets his wish in death and is buried on one side of Catherine (her husband, Edgar, whose presence during the novel is faint at best and is almost extinguished by this point, is buried on her other side) that the turbulent atmosphere subsides and something approaching peace—or perhaps it is merely an absence of the unharmo nious and rancorous—descends upon the scene. The sky has turned “benign,” the moths are seen “fluttering among the heath and harebells,” and the wind has become “soft.” Before we get here, however, there is a harrowing road ahead of us. We will have seen and heard things that brush up against the internal, shockable censor in each of us that says “this far and no further,” anarchic emotions and implacable longings that take no heed of our discomfort or unease with them. It oversteps, it trespasses, this Wuthering Heights. It throws off a strange, elemental light that seems to clarify nothing—indeed, if anything, only adds to the murkiness that underlies our seemingly absolute feelings of love and hate, or indifference. “We are lived,” the poet W. H. Auden wrote in “In Memory of Ernst Toller” (from Another Time, 1940), “by powers we pretend to understand: / They arrange our loves; it is they who direct at the end / The enemy bullet, the sickness, or even our hand.” Emily Brontë, by way of her preternaturally developed, uncanny imagination, has dreamed up a novel the nihilistic forces of which we can only pretend to understand. Whether she herself understood them matters less in the end than that she succeeded in pushing the fictional envelope. The story she has written goes too far, and in so doing it was way ahead of its time—and, perhaps, ahead of our time as well. Daphne Merkin, a native New Yorker, is the author of a novel, Enchantment, which won the Edward Lewis Wallant award for best new work of American-Jewish fiction, and an essay collection, Dreaming of Hitler. She has written essays and reviews for a wide range of publications, including the American Scholar; the New York Times, where she is a regular contributor to the Book Review ; the Los Angeles Times Book Review; Elle; and Vogue. As a staff writer for the New Yorker, she has published personal and literary essays as well as book reviews, and she was a regular movie critic for two years. She is currently at work on Melancholy Baby: A Personal and Cultural History of Depression, based on an article she wrote for the New Yorker called “The Black Season.” A Note on the Text and Dialect Wuthering Heights, by “Ellis Bell,” was originally published by Thomas Newby in December of 1847, along with “Acton Bell’s” Agnes Grey. The two novels comprised a three-volume edition (or triple-decker), with the first two volumes consisting of Wuthering Heights (chapters 1 to 14 and chapters 15 to 34, respectively) and the final volume containing Agnes Grey. Because both novels appeared two months after the publication of “Currer Bell’s” Jane Eyre, speculation concerning the identity of the authors was immediately aroused, and many reviewers supposed that the three novels were the work of one pen—namely, that of “Currer Bell.” Charlotte Brontë sought to dispel this misapprehension. One such effort took the form of the “Biographical Notice” she wrote for new editions of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, which were issued by her own publisher, Smith, Elder, in 1850, after the death of Emily, in December of 1848, and of Anne, in May of 1849. In this new edition of Wuthering Heights, which included a selection of Emily’s poems, Charlotte also undertook to correct many of the textual errors that had marred the first edition, as well as to change punctuation, spelling, and usage as she saw fit. The present text follows Charlotte’s 1850 version. The dialect that appears throughout Wuthering Heights is generally referred to as “Yorkshire,” although it includes components of other northern English and Scottish dialects as well. Where the purport of dialect is not self-evident, footnotes in the text provide glosses of passages, in parts or in their entirety. —Tatiana M. Holway Genealogy Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell It has been thought that all the works published under the names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell were, in reality, the production of one person. This mistake I endeavoured to rectify by a few words of disclaimer prefixed to the third edition of ‘Jane Eyre.’ These, too, it appears, failed to gain general credence, and now, on the occasion of a reprint of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Agnes Grey,’ I am advised distinctly to state how the case really stands. Indeed, I feel myself that it is time the obscurity attending those two names—Ellis and Acton—was done away. The little mystery, which formerly yielded some harmless pleasure, has lost its interest; circumstances are changed. It becomes, then, my duty to explain briefly the origin and authorship of the books written by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. About five years ago, my two sisters and myself, after a somewhat prolonged period of separation, found ourselves reunited, and at home. Resident in a remote district, where education had made little progress, and where, consequently, there was no inducement to seek social intercourse beyond our own domestic circle, we were wholly dependent on ourselves and each other, on books and study, for the enjoyments and occupations of life. The highest stimulus, as well as the liveliest pleasure we had known from childhood upwards, lay in attempts at literary composition; formerly we used to show each other what we wrote, but of late years this habit of communication and consultation had been discontinued; hence it ensued, that we were mutually ignorant of the progress we might respectively have made. One day, in the autumn of 1845, I accidentally lighted on a MS. volume of verse in my sister Emily’s handwriting. Of course, I was not surprised, knowing that she could and did write verse: I looked it over, and something more than surprise seized me—a deep conviction that these were not common effusions, nor at all like the poetry women generally write. I thought them condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To my ear they had also a peculiar music—wild, melancholy, and elevating. My sister Emily was not a person of demonstrative character, nor one on the recesses of whose mind and feelings even those nearest and dearest to her could, with impunity, intrude unlicensed; it took hours to reconcile her to the discovery I had made, and days to persuade her that such poems merited publication. I knew, however, that a mind like hers could not be without some latent spark of honourable ambition, and refused to be discouraged in my attempts to fan that spark to flame. Meantime, my younger sister quietly produced some of her own compositions, intimating that, since Emily’s had given me pleasure, I might like to look at hers. I could not but be a partial judge, yet I thought that these verses, too, had a sweet, sincere pathos of their own. We had very early cherished the dream of one day becoming authors. This dream, never relinquished even when distance divided and absorbing tasks occupied us, now suddenly acquired strength and consistency: it took the character of a resolve. We agreed to arrange a small selection of our poems, and, if possible, to get them printed. Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because—without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’—we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise. The bringing out of our little book was hard work. As was to be expected, neither we nor our poems were at all wanted; but for this we had been prepared at the outset; though inexperienced ourselves, we had read the experience of others. The great puzzle lay in the difficulty of getting answers of any kind from the publishers to whom we applied. Being greatly harassed by this obstacle, I ventured to apply to the Messrs. Chambers, of Edinburgh, for a word of advice; they may have forgotten the circumstance, but I have not, for from them I received a brief and business-like, but civil and sensible reply, on which we acted, and at last made a way. The book was printed1: it is scarcely known, and all of it that merits to be known are the poems of Ellis Bell. The fixed conviction I held, and hold, of the worth of these poems has not indeed received the confirmation of much favourable criticism; but I must retain it notwithstanding. Ill-success failed to crush us: the mere effort to succeed had given a wonderful zest to existence; it must be pursued. We each set to work on a prose tale: Ellis Bell produced ‘Wuther ing Heights,’ Acton Bell ‘Agnes Grey,’ and Currer Bell also wrote a narrative in one volume. These MSS. were perseveringly obtruded upon various publishers for the space of a year and a half; usually, their fate was an ignominious and abrupt dismissal. At last ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Agnes Grey’ were accepted on terms somewhat impoverishing to the two authors; Currer Bell’s book found acceptance nowhere, nor any acknowledgment of merit, so that something like the chill of despair began to invade her heart. As a forlorn hope, she tried one publishing house more—Messrs. Smith, Elder and Co. Ere long, in a much shorter space than that on which experience had taught her to calculate—there came a letter, which she opened in the dreary expectation of finding two hard, hopeless lines, intimating that Messrs. Smith, Elder and Co. ‘were not disposed to publish the MS.,’ and, instead, she took out of the envelope a letter of two pages. She read it trembling. It declined, indeed, to publish that tale, for business reasons, but it dismissed its merits and demerits so courteously, so considerately, in a spirit so rational, with a discrimination so enlightened, that this very refusal cheered the author better than a vulgarly expressed acceptance would have done. It was added, that a work in three volumes would meet with careful attention. I was then just completing ‘Jane Eyre,’ at which I had been working while the one-volume tale was plodding its weary round in London: in three weeks I sent it off; friendly and skilful hands took it in. This was in the commencement of September, 1847; it came out before the close of October following, while ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Agnes Grey,’ my sisters’ works, which had already been in the press for months, still lingered under a different management. They appeared at last. Critics failed to do them justice.2 The immature but very real powers revealed in ‘Wuthering Heights’ were scarcely recognised; its import and nature were misunderstood; the identity of its author was misrepresented; it was said that this was an earlier and ruder attempt of the same pen which had produced ‘Jane Eyre.’ Unjust and grievous error! We laughed at it at first, but I deeply lament it now. Hence, I fear, arose a prejudice against the book. That writer who could attempt to palm off an inferior and immature production under cover of one successful effort, must indeed be unduly eager after the secondary and sordid result of authorship, and pitiably indifferent to its true and honourable meed. If reviewers and the public truly believed this, no wonder that they looked darkly on the cheat. Yet I must not be understood to make these things subject for reproach or complaint; I dare not do so; respect for my sister’s memory forbids me. By her any such querulous manifestation would have been regarded as an unworthy and offensive weakness. It is my duty, as well as my pleasure, to acknowledge one exception to the general rule of criticism. One writer,3 endowed with the keen vision and fine sympathies of genius, has discerned the real nature of ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and has, with equal accuracy, noted its beauties and touched on its faults. Too often do reviewers remind us of the mob of Astrologers, Chaldeans,a and Soothsayers gathered before the ‘writing on the wall,’ and unable to read the characters or make known the interpretation. We have a right to rejoice when a true seer comes at last, some man in whom is an excellent spirit, to whom have been given light, wisdom, and understanding; who can accurately read the ‘Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharson’b of an original mind (however unripe, however inefficiently cultured and partially expanded that mind may be), and who can say with confidence, ‘This is the interpretation thereof.’ ” 4 Yet even the writer to whom I allude shares the mistake about the authorship, and does me the injustice to suppose that there was equivoque in my former rejection of this honour (as an honour I regard it). May I assure him that I would scorn in this and in every other case to deal in equivoque; I believe language to have been given us to make our meaning clear, and not to wrap it in dishonest doubt? ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,’ by Acton Bell, had likewise an unfavourable reception. At this I cannot wonder. The choice of subject was an entire mistake. Nothing less congruous with the writer’s nature could be conceived. The motives which dictated this choice were pure, but, I think, slightly morbid. She had, in the course of her life, been called on to contemplate, near at hand, and for a long time, the terrible effects of talents misused and faculties abused5: hers was naturally a sensitive, reserved, and dejected nature; what she saw sank very deeply into her mind; it did her harm. She brooded over it till she believed it to be a duty to reproduce every detail (of course with fictitious characters, incidents, and situations), as a warning to others. She hated her work, but would pursue it. When reasoned with on the subject, she regarded such reasonings as a temptation to self-indulgence. She must be honest; she must not varnish, soften, nor conceal. This well-meant resolution brought on her misconstruction, and some abuse, which she bore, as it was her custom to bear whatever was unpleasant, with mild, steady patience. She was a very sincere and practical Christian, but the tinge of religious melancholy communicated a sad shade to her brief, blameless life. Neither Ellis nor Acton allowed herself for one moment to sink under want of encouragement; energy nerved the one, and endurance upheld the other. They were both prepared to try again; I would fain think that hope and the sense of power were yet strong within them. But a great change approached; affliction came in that shape which to anticipate is dread; to look back on, grief. In the very heat and burden of the day,6 the labourers failed over their work. My sister Emily first declined. The details of her illness are deep-branded in my memory, but to dwell on them, either in thought or narrative, is not in my power. Never in all her life had she lingered over any task that lay before her, and she did not linger now. She sank rapidly. She made haste to leave us. Yet, while physically she perished, mentally she grew stronger than we had yet known her. Day by day, when I saw with what a front she met suffering, I looked on her with an anguish of wonder and love. I have seen nothing like it; but, indeed, I have never seen her parallel in anything. Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone. The awful point was, that while full of ruthc for others, on herself she had no pity; the spirit was inexorable to the flesh; from the trembling hand, the unnerved limbs, the faded eyes, the same service was exacted as they had rendered in health. To stand by and witness this, and not dare to remonstrate, was a pain no words can render. Two cruel months of hope and fear passed painfully by, and the day came at last when the terrors and pains of death were to be undergone by this treasure, which had grown dearer and dearer to our hearts as it wasted before our eyes. Towards the decline of that day, we had nothing of Emily but her mortal remains as consumptiond left them. She died December 19, 1848. We thought this enough: but we were utterly and presumptuously wrong. She was not buried ere Anne fell ill. She had not been committed to the grave a fortnight, before we received distinct intimation that it was necessary to prepare our minds to see the younger sister go after the elder. Accordingly, she followed in the same path with slower step, and with a patience that equalled the other’s fortitude. I have said that she was religious, and it was by leaning on those Christian doctrines in which she firmly believed, that she found support through her most painful journey. I witnessed their efficacy in her latest hour and greatest trial, and must bear my testimony to the calm triumph with which they brought her through. She died May 28, 1849. What more shall I say about them? I cannot and need not say much more. In externals, they were two unobtrusive women; a perfectly secluded life gave them retiring manners and habits. In Emily’s nature the extremes of vigour and simplicity seemed to meet. Under an unsophisticated culture, inartificial tastes, and an unpretending outside, lay a secret power and fire that might have informed the brain and kindled the veins of a hero; but she had no worldly wisdom; her powers were unadapted to the practical business of life; she would fail to defend her most manifest rights, to consult her most legitimate advantage. An interpreter ought always to have stood between her and the world. Her will was not very flexible, and it generally opposed her interest. Her temper was magnanimous, but warm and sudden; her spirit altogether unbending. Anne’s character was milder and more subdued; she wanted the power, the fire, the originality of her sister, but was well endowed with quiet virtues of her own. Long-suffering, self-denying, reflective, and intelligent, a constitutional reserve and taciturnity placed and kept her in the shade, and covered her mind, and especially her feelings, with a sort of nun-like veil, which was rarely lifted. Neither Emily nor Anne was learned7; they had no thought of filling their pitchers at the well-spring of other minds; they always wrote from the impulse of nature, the dictates of intuition, and from such stores of observation as their limited experience had enabled them to amass. I may sum up all by saying, that for strangers they were nothing, for superficial observers less than nothing; but for those who had known them all their lives in the intimacy of close relationship, they were genuinely good and truly great. This notice has been written because I felt it a sacred duty to wipe the dust off their gravestones, and leave their dear names free from soil. CURRER BELL [Charlotte Brontë] September 19, 1850. EDITOR’S PREFACE to the new  edition of ‘WUTHERING HEIGHTS’ I have just read over ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and, for the first time, have obtained a clear glimpse of what are termed (and, perhaps, really are) its faults; have gained a definite notion of how it appears to other people—to strangers who knew nothing of the author; who are unacquainted with the locality where the scenes of the story are laid; to whom the inhabitants, the customs, the natural characteristics of the outlying hills and hamlets in the West Riding of Yorkshire are things alien and unfamiliar. To all such ‘Wuthering Heights’ must appear a rude and strange production. The wild moors of the North of England can for them have no interest: the language, the manners, the very dwellings and household customs of the scattered inhabitants of those districts must be to such readers in a great measure unintelligible, and—where intelligible—repulsive. Men and women who, perhaps, naturally very calm, and with feelings moderate in degree, and little marked in kind, have been trained from their cradle to observe the utmost evenness of manner and guardedness of language, will hardly know what to make of the rough, strong utterance, the harshly manifested passions, the unbridled aversions, and headlong partialities of unlettered moorland hindse and rugged moorland squires, who have grown up untaught and unchecked, except by Mentors as harsh as themselves. A large class of readers, likewise, will suffer greatly from the introduction into the pages of this work of words printed with all their letters, which it has become the custom to represent by the initial and final letter only—a blank line filling the interval. I may as well say at once that, for this circumstance, it is out of my power to apologise; deeming it, myself, a rational plan to write words at full length. The practice of hinting by single letters those expletives with which profane and violent persons are wont to garnish their discourse, strikes me as a proceeding which, however well meant, is weak and futile. I cannot tell what good it does—what feeling it spares—what horror it conceals. With regard to the rusticity of ‘Wuthering Heights,’ I admit the charge, for I feel the quality. It is rustic all through. It is moorish, and wild, and knotty as a root of heath. Nor was it natural that it should be otherwise; the author being herself a native and nursling of the moors. Doubtless, had her lot been cast in a town, her writings, if she had written at all, would have possessed another character. Even had chance or taste led her to choose a similar subject, she would have treated it otherwise. Had Ellis Bell been a lady or a gentleman accustomed to what is called ‘the world,’ her view of a remote and unreclaimed region, as well as of the dwellers therein, would have differed greatly from that actually taken by the home-bred country girl. Doubtless it would have been wider—more comprehensive: whether it would have been more original or more truthful is not so certain. As far as the scenery and locality are concerned, it could scarcely have been so sympathetic: Ellis Bell did not describe as one whose eye and taste alone found pleasure in the prospect; her native hills were far more to her than a spectacle; they were what she lived in, and by, as much as the wild birds, their tenants, or as the heather, their produce. Her descriptions, then, of natural scenery are what they should be, and all they should be. Where delineation of human character is concerned, the case is different. I am bound to avow that she had scarcely more practical knowledge of the peasantry amongst whom she lived, than a nun has of the country people who sometimes pass her convent gates. My sister’s disposition was not naturally gregarious; circumstances favoured and fostered her tendency to seclusion; except to go to church or take a walk on the hills, she rarely crossed the threshold of home. Though her feeling for the people round was benevolent, intercourse with them she never sought; nor, with very few exceptions, ever experienced. And yet she knew them: knew their ways, their language, their family histories; she could hear of them with interest, and talk of them with detail, minute, graphic, and accurate; but with them, she rarely exchanged a word. Hence it ensued that what her mind had gathered of the real concerning them, was too exclusively confined to those tragic and terrible traits of which, in listening to the secret annals of every rude vicinage,f the memory is sometimes compelled to receive the impress. Her imagination, which was a spirit more sombre than sunny, more powerful than sportive, found in such traits material whence it wrought creations like Heathcliff, like Earnshaw, like Catherine. Having formed these beings, she did not know what she had done. If the auditor of her work, when read in manuscript, shuddered under the grinding influence of natures so relentless and implacable, of spirits so lost and fallen; if it was complained that the mere hearing of certain vivid and fearful scenes banished sleep by night, and disturbed mental peace by day, Ellis Bell would wonder what was meant, and suspect the complainant of affectation. Had she but lived, her mind would of itself have grown like a strong tree, loftier, straighter, wider-spreading, and its matured fruits would have attained a mellower ripeness and sunnier bloom; but on that mind time and experience alone could work: to the influence of other intellects it was not amenable. Having avowed that over much of ‘Wuthering Heights’ there broods ‘a horror of great darkness’1; that, in its storm-heated and electrical atmosphere, we seem at times to breathe lightning: let me point to those spots where clouded daylight and the eclipsed sun still attest their existence. For a specimen of true benevolence and homely fidelity, look at the character of Nelly Dean; for an example of constancy and tenderness, re mark that of Edgar Linton. (Some people will think these qualities do not shine so well incarnate in a man as they would do in a woman, but Ellis Bell could never be brought to comprehend this notion: nothing moved her more than any insinuation that the faithfulness and clemency, the long-suffering and loving-kindness which are esteemed virtues in the daughters of Eve, become foibles in the sons of Adam. She held that mercy and forgiveness are the divinest attributes of the Great Being who made both man and woman, and that what clothes the Godhead in glory, can disgrace no form of feeble humanity.) There is a dry saturnine humour in the delineation of old Joseph, and some glimpses of grace and gaiety animate the younger Catherine. Nor is even the first heroine of the name destitute of a certain strange beauty in her fierceness, or of honesty in the midst of perverted passion and passionate perversity. Heathcliff, indeed, stands unredeemed; never once swerving in his arrow-straight course to perdition, from the time when ‘the little black-haired swarthy thing, as dark as if it came from the Devil,’ was first unrolled out of the bundle and set on its feet in the farmhouse kitchen, to the hour when Nelly Dean found the grim, stalwart corpse laid on its back in the panel-enclosed bed, with wide-gazing eyes that seemed ‘to sneer at her attempt to close them, and parted lips and sharp white teeth that sneered too.’ Heathcliff betrays one solitary human feeling, and that is not his love for Catherine; which is a sentiment fierce and inhuman: a passion such as might boil and glow in the bad essence of some evil genius; a fire that might form the tormented centre—the ever-suffering soul of a magnate of the infernal world: and by its quenchless arid ceaseless ravage effect the execution of the decree which dooms him to carry Hell with him wherever he wanders. No; the single link that connects Heathcliff with humanity is his rudely-confessed regard for Hareton Earnshaw—the young man whom he has ruined; and then his half-implied esteem for Nelly Dean. These solitary traits omitted, we should say he was child neither of Lascarg nor gipsy, but a man’s shape animated by demon life—a Ghoul—an Afreet.h Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff, I do not know: I scarcely think it is. But this I know: the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master—something that, at times, strangely wills and works for itself. He may lay down rules and devise principles, and to rules and principles it will perhaps for years lie in subjection; and then, haply without any warning of revolt, there comes a time when it will no longer consent to ‘harrow the valleys, or be bound with a band in the furrow’2—when it ‘laughs at the multitude of the city, and regards not the crying of the driver’3—when, refusing absolutely to make ropes out of sea-sand any longer, it sets to work on statue-hewing, and you have a Pluto or a Jove, a Tisiphone or a Psyche,4 a Mermaid or a Madonna, as Fate or Inspiration direct. Be the work grim or glorious, dread or divine, you have little choice left but quiescent adoption. As for you—the nominal artist—your share in it has been to work passively under dictates you neither delivered nor could question—that would not be uttered at your prayer, nor suppressed nor changed at your caprice. If the result be attractive, the World will praise you, who little deserve praise; if it be repulsive, the same World will blame you, who almost as little deserve blame. ‘Wuthering Heights’ was hewn in a wild workshop, with simple tools, out of homely materials. The statuary found a granite block on a solitary moor; gazing thereon, he saw how from the crag might be elicited a head, savage, swart, sinister; a form moulded with at least one element of grandeur—power. He wrought with a rude chisel, and from no model but the vision of his meditations. With time and labour, the crag took human shape; and there it stands colossal, dark, and frowning, half statue, half rock: in the former sense, terrible and goblin-like; in the latter, almost beautiful, for its colouring is of mellow grey, and moorland moss clothes it; and heath, with its blooming bells and balmy fragrance, grows faithfully close to the giant’s foot. CURRER BELL [Charlotte Brontë] Chapter I 1801.1—I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name. ‘Mr. Heathcliff?’ I said. A nod was the answer. ‘Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange2: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts——’ ‘Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir,’ he interrupted, wincing. ‘I should not allow any one to inconvenience me, if I could hinder it—walk in!’ The ‘walk in’ was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed the sentiment, ‘Go to the Deuce:’ even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathising movement to the words; and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation: I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggerat edly reserved than myself. When he saw my horse’s breast fairly pushing the barrier, he did put out his hand to unchain it, and then sullenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court,—‘Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood’s horse; and bring up some wine.’ ‘Here we have the whole establishment of domestics, I suppose, ’ was the reflection suggested by this compound order. ‘No wonder the grass grows up between the flags, and cattle are the only hedge-cutters.’ Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy. ‘The Lord help us!’ he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent. Wuthering Heights3 is the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling. ‘Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun. Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones. Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date ‘1500,’ and the name ‘Hareton Earnshaw.’ I would have made a few comments, and requested a short history of the place from the surly owner; but his attitude at the door appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to inspecting the penetralium.i One step brought us into the family sitting-room, without any introductory lobby or passage: they call it here ‘the house’ pre-eminently. It includes kitchen and parlour, generally; but I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into another quarter: at least I distinguished a chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils, deep within; and I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking, about the huge fireplace; nor any glitter of copper saucepans and tin cullendersj on the walls. One end, indeed, reflected splendidly both light and heat from ranks of immense pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row, on a vast oak dresser, to the very roof. The latter had never been under-drawnk: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it. Above the chimney were sundry villainous old guns, and a couple of horse-pistols: and, by way of ornament, three gaudily painted canisters disposed along its ledge. The floor was of smooth, white stone; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, painted green: one or two heavy black ones lurking in the shade. In an arch under the dresser reposed a huge, liver-coloured bitch pointer, surrounded by a swarm of squealing puppies; and other dogs haunted other recesses. The apartment and furniture would have been nothing extraordinary as belonging to a homely, northern farmer, with a stubborn countenance, and stalwart limbs set out to advantage in knee-breeches and gaiters. Such an individual seated in his arm-chair, his mug of ale frothing on the round table before him, is to be seen in any circuit of five or six miles among these hills, if you go at the right time after dinner. But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. Possibly, some people might suspect him of a degree of under-bred pride; I have a sympathetic chord within that tells me it is nothing of the sort: I know, by instinct, his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays of feeling—to manifestations of mutual kindliness. He’ll love and hate equally under cover, and esteem it a species of impertinence to be loved or hated again. No, I’m running on too fast: I bestow my own attributes over-liberally on him. Mr. Heathcliff may have entirely dissimilar reasons for keeping his hand out of the way when he meets a would-be acquaintance, to those which actuate me. Let me hope my constitution is almost peculiar: my dear mother used to say I should never have a comfortable home; and only last summer I proved myself perfectly unworthy of one. While enjoying a month of fine weather at the sea-coast, I was thrown into the company of a most fascinating creature: a real goddess in my eyes, as long as she took no notice of me. I ‘never told my love’4 vocally; still, if looks have language, the merest idiot might have guessed I was over head and ears: she understood me at last, and looked a return—the sweetest of all imaginable looks. And what did I do? I confess it with shame—shrunk icily into myself, like a snail; at every glance retired colder and farther; till finally the poor innocent was led to doubt her own senses, and, overwhelmed with confusion at her supposed mistake, persuaded her mamma to decamp. By this curious turn of disposition I have gained the reputation of deliberate heartlessness; how undeserved, I alone can appreciate. I took a seat at the end of the hearthstone opposite that towards which my landlord advanced, and filled up an interval of silence by attempting to caress the canine mother, who had left her nursery, and was sneaking wolfishly to the back of my legs, her lip curled up, and her white teeth watering for a snatch. My caress provoked a long, guttural gnarl. ‘You’d better let the dog alone,’ growled Mr. Heathcliff in unison, checking fiercer demonstrations with a punch of his foot. ‘She’s not accustomed to be spoiled—not kept for a pet.’ Then, striding to a side door, he shouted again, ‘Joseph!’ Joseph mumbled indistinctly in the depths of the cellar, but gave no intimation of ascending; so his master dived down to him, leaving me vis-à-vis the ruffianly bitch and a pair of grim shaggy sheep-dogs, who shared with her a jealous guardianship over all my movements. Not anxious to come in contact with their fangs, I sat still; but, imagining they would scarcely understand tacit insults, I unfortunately indulged in winking and making faces at the trio, and some turn of my physiognomy so irritated madam, that she suddenly broke into a fury and leapt on my knees. I flung her back, and hastened to interpose the table between us. This proceeding aroused the whole hive: half-a-dozen four-footed fiends, of various sizes and ages, issued from hidden dens to the common centre. I felt my heels and coat-laps peculiar subjects of assault; and parrying off the larger combatants as effectually as I could with the poker, I was constrained to demand, aloud, assistance from some of the household in re-establishing peace. Mr. Heathcliff and his man climbed the cellar steps with vexatious phlegm:l I don’t think they moved one second faster than usual, though the hearth was an absolute tempest of worrying and yelping. Happily, an inhabitant of the kitchen made more despatch: a lusty dame, with tucked-up gown, bare arms, and fire-flushed cheeks, rushed into the midst of us flourishing a frying-pan: and used that weapon, and her tongue, to such purpose, that the storm subsided magically, and she only remained, heaving like a sea after a high wind, when her master entered on the scene. ‘What the devil is the matter?’ he asked, eyeing me in a manner that I could ill endure after this inhospitable treatment. ‘What the devil, indeed!’ I muttered. ‘The herd of possessed swine5 could have had no worse spirits in them than those animals of yours, sir. You might as well leave a stranger with a brood of tigers!’ ‘They won’t meddle with persons who touch nothing,’ he remarked, putting the bottle before me, and restoring the displaced table. ‘The dogs do right to be vigilant. Take a glass of wine?’ ‘No, thank you.’ ‘Not bitten, are you?’ ‘If I had been, I would have set my signet on the biter.’m Heathcliff’s countenance relaxed into a grin. ‘Come, come,’ he said, ‘you are flurried, Mr. Lockwood. Here, take a little wine. Guests are so exceedingly rare in this house that I and my dogs, I am willing to own, hardly know how to receive them. Your health, sir?’ I bowed and returned the pledge; beginning to perceive that it would be foolish to sit sulking for the misbehaviour of a pack of curs; besides, I felt loth to yield the fellow further amusement at my expense; since his humour took that turn. He—probably swayed by prudential consideration of the folly of offending a good tenant—relaxed a little in the laconic style of chipping off his pronouns and auxiliary verbs, and introduced what he supposed would be a subject of interest to me,—a discourse on the advantages and disadvantages of my present place of retirement. I found him very intelligent on the topics we touched; and before I went home, I was encouraged so far as to volunteer another visit to-morrow. He evidently wished no repetition of my intrusion. I shall go, notwithstanding. It is astonishing how sociable I feel myself compared with him. Chapter II Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a mind to spend it by my study fire, instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights. On coming up from dinner, however, (N.B.n—I dine between twelve and one o’clock; the housekeeper, a matronly lady, taken as a fixture along with the house, could not, or would not, comprehend my request that I might be served at five1)—on mounting the stairs with this lazy intention, and stepping into the room, I saw a servant-girl on her knees surrounded by brushes and coal-scuttles, and raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames with heaps of cinders. This spectacle drove me back immediately; I took my hat, and, after a four-miles’ walk, arrived at Heathcliff’s garden-gate just in time to escape the first feathery flakes of a snow-shower. On that bleak hill-top the earth was hard with a black frost, and the air made me shiver through every limb. Being unable to remove the chain, I jumped over, and, running up the flagged causeway bordered with straggling gooseberry-bushes, knocked vainly for admittance, till my knuckles tingled and the dogs howled. ‘Wretched inmates!’ I ejaculated, mentally, ‘you deserve perpetual isolation from your species for your churlish inhos pitality. At least, I would not keep my doors barred in the daytime. I don’t care—I will get in!’ So resolved, I grasped the latch and shook it vehemently. Vinegar-faced Joseph2 projected his head from a round window of the barn. ‘What are ye for?’ he shouted. ‘T’ maister’s down i’ t’ fowld. Go round by th’ end o’ t’ laith, if ye went to spake to him.’o ‘Is there nobody inside to open the door?’ I hallooed, responsively. ‘There’s nobbut t’ missis; and shoo’ll not oppen ’t an ye mak’ yer flaysome dins till neeght.’p ‘Why? Cannot you tell her whom I am, eh, Joseph?’ ‘Nor-ne me! I’ll hae no hend wi’t,’q muttered the head, vanishing. The snow began to drive thickly. I seized the handle to essay another trial; when a young man without coat, and shouldering a pitchfork, appeared in the yard behind. He hailed me to follow him, and, after marching through a wash-house, and a paved area containing a coal-shed, pump, and pigeon-cot,r we at length arrived in the huge, warm, cheerful apartment where I was formerly received. It glowed delightfully in the radiance of an immense fire, compounded of coal, peat, and wood; and near the table, laid for a plentiful evening meal, I was pleased to observe the ‘missis,’ an individual whose existence I had never previously suspected. I bowed and waited, thinking she would bid me take a seat. She looked at me, leaning back in her chair, and remained motionless and mute. ‘Rough weather!’ I remarked. ‘I’m afraid, Mrs. Heathcliff, the door must bear the consequence of your servants’ leisure attendance: I had hard work to make them hear me.’ She never opened her mouth. I stared—she stared also: at any rate, she kept her eyes on me in a cool, regardless manner, exceedingly embarrassing and disagreeable. ‘Sit down,’ said the young man, gruffly. ‘He’ll be in soon.’ I obeyed; and hemmed, and called the villain Juno, who deigned, at this second interview, to move the extreme tip of her tail, in token of owning my acquaintance. ‘A beautiful animal!’ I commenced again. ‘Do you intend parting with the little ones, madam?’ ‘They are not mine,’ said the amiable hostess, more re pellingly than Heathcliff himself could have replied. ‘Ah, your favourites are among these?’ I continued, turning to an obscure cushion full of something like cats. ‘A strange choice of favourites!’ she observed scornfully. Unluckily, it was a heap of dead rabbits. I hemmed once more, and drew closer to the hearth, repeating my comment on the wildness of the evening. ‘You should not have come out,’ she said, rising and reaching from the chimney-piece two of the painted canisters. Her position before was sheltered from the light; now, I had a distinct view of her whole figure and countenance. She was slender, and apparently scarcely past girlhood: an admirable form, and the most exquisite little face that I have ever had the pleasure of beholding; small features, very fair; flaxen ringlets, or rather golden, hanging loose on her delicate neck; and eyes, had they been agreeable in expression, that would have been irresistible: fortunately for my susceptible heart, the only sentiment they evinced hovered between scorn and a kind of desperation, singularly unnatural to be detected there. The canisters were almost out of her reach; I made a motion to aid her; she turned upon me as a miser might turn if any one attempted to assist him in counting his gold. ‘I don’t want your help,’ she snapped; ‘I can get them for myself.’ ‘I beg your pardon!’ I hastened to reply. ‘Were you asked to tea?’ she demanded, tying an apron over her neat black frock, and standing with a spoonful of the leaf poised over the pot. ‘I shall be glad to have a cup,’ I answered. ‘Were you asked?’ she repeated. ‘No,’ I said, half smiling. ‘You are the proper person to ask me.’ She flung the tea back, spoon and all, and resumed her chair in a pet;s her forehead corrugated, and her red under-lip pushed out, like a child’s ready to cry. Meanwhile, the young man had slung on to his person a decidedly shabby upper garment, and, erecting himself before the blaze, looked down on me from the corner of his eyes, for all the world as if there were some mortal feud unavenged between us. I began to doubt whether he were a servant or not: his dress and speech were both rude, entirely devoid of the superiority observable in Mr. and Mrs. Heathcliff; his thick brown curls were rough and uncultivated, his whiskers encroached bearishly over his cheeks, and his hands were embrowned like those of a common labourer: still his bearing was free, almost haughty, and he showed none of a domestic’s assiduity in attending on the lady of the house. In the absence of clear proofs of his condition, I deemed it best to abstain from noticing his curious conduct; and, five minutes afterwards, the entrance of Heathcliff relieved me, in some measure, from my uncomfortable state. ‘You see, sir, I am come, according to promise!’ I exclaimed, assuming the cheerful; ‘and I fear I shall be weather-bound for half an hour, if you can afford me shelter during that space.’ ‘Half an hour?’ he said, shaking the white flakes from his clothes; ‘I wonder you should select the thick of a snow-storm to ramble about in. Do you know that you run a risk of being lost in the marshes? People familiar with these moors often miss their road on such evenings; and I can tell you there is no chance of a change at present.’ ‘Perhaps I can get a guide among your lads, and he might stay at the Grange till morning—could you spare me one?’ ‘No, I could not.’ ‘Oh, indeed! Well, then, I must trust to my own sagacity.’ ‘Umph!’ ‘Are you going to mak’ the tea?’ demanded he of the shabby coat, shifting his ferocious gaze from me to the young lady. ‘Is he to have any?’ she asked, appealing to Heathcliff. ‘Get it ready, will you?’ was the answer, uttered so savagely that I started. The tone in which the words were said revealed a genuine bad nature. I no longer felt inclined to call Heathcliff a capital fellow. When the preparations were finished, he invited me with—‘Now, sir, bring forward your chair.’ And we all, including the rustic youth, drew round the table: an austere silence prevailing while we discussedt our meal. I thought, if I had caused the cloud, it was my duty to make an effort to dispel it. They could not every day sit so grim and taciturn; and it was impossible, however ill-tempered they might be, that the universal scowl they wore was their every-day countenance. ‘It is strange,’ I began, in the interval of swallowing one cup of tea and receiving another—‘it is strange how custom can mould our tastes and ideas: many could not imagine the existence of happiness in a life of such complete exile from the world as you spend, Mr. Heathcliff; yet, I’ll venture to say, that, surrounded by your family, and with your amiable lady as the presiding genius over your home and heart——’ ‘My amiable lady!’ he interrupted, with an almost diabolical sneer on his face. ‘Where is she—my amiable lady?’ ‘Mrs. Heathcliff, your wife, I mean.’ ‘Well, yes—oh, you would intimate that her spirit has taken the post of ministering angel, and guards the fortunes of Wuthering Heights, even when her body is gone. Is that it?’ Perceiving myself in a blunder, I attempted to correct it. I might have seen there was too great a disparity between the ages of the parties to make it likely that they were man and wife. One was about forty: a period of mental vigour at which men seldom cherish the delusion of being married for love by girls: that dream is reserved for the solace of our declining years. The other did not look seventeen. Then it flashed upon me—‘The clown at my elbow, who is drinking his tea out of a basin and eating his bread with unwashed hands, may be her husband: Heathcliff junior, of course. Here is the consequence of being buried alive: she has thrown herself away upon that boor from sheer ignorance that better individuals existed! A sad pity—I must beware how I cause her to regret her choice.’ The last reflection may seem conceited; it was not. My neighbour struck me as bordering on repulsive; I knew, through experience, that I was tolerably attractive. ‘Mrs. Heathcliff is my daughter-in-law,’ said Heathcliff, corroborating my surmise. He turned, as he spoke, a peculiar look in her direction: a look of hatred; unless he has a most perverse set of facial muscles that will not, like those of other people, interpret the language of his soul. ‘Ah, certainly—I see now: you are the favoured possessor of the beneficent fairy,’ I remarked, turning to my neighbour. This was worse than before: the youth grew crimson, and clenched his fist, with every appearance of a meditated assault. But he seemed to recollect himself presently, and smothered the storm in a brutal curse, muttered on my behalf: which, however, I took care not to notice. ‘Unhappy in your conjectures, sir,’ observed my host; ‘we neither of us have the privilege of owning your good fairy; her mate is dead. I said she was my daughter-in-law: therefore, she must have married my son.’ ‘And this young man is——’ ‘Not my son, assuredly.’ Heathcliff smiled again, as if it were rather too bold a jest to attribute the paternity of that bear to him. ‘My name is Hareton Earnshaw,’ growled the other; ‘and I’d counsel you to respect it!’ ‘I’ve shown no disrespect,’ was my reply, laughing internally at the dignity with which he announced himself. He fixed his eye on me longer than I cared to return the stare, for fear I might be tempted either to box his ears or render my hilarity audible. I began to feel unmistakably out of place in that pleasant family circle. The dismal spiritual atmosphere overcame, and more than neutralised, the glowing physical comforts round me; and I resolved to be cautious how I ventured under those rafters a third time. The business of eating being concluded, and no one uttering a word of sociable conversation, I approached a window to examine the weather. A sorrowful sight I saw: dark night coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow. ‘I don’t think it possible for me to get home now without a guide,’ I could not help exclaiming. ‘The roads will be buried already; and, if they were bare, I could scarcely distinguish a foot in advance.’ ‘Hareton, drive those dozen sheep into the barn porch. They’ll be covered if left in the fold all night: and put a plank before them,’ said Heathcliff. ‘How must I do?’ I continued, with rising irritation. There was no reply to my question; and on looking round I saw only Joseph bringing in a pail of porridge for the dogs, and Mrs. Heathcliff leaning over the fire, diverting herself with burning a bundle of matches which had fallen from the chimney-piece as she restored the tea-canister to its place. The former, when he had deposited his burden, took a critical survey of the room, and in cracked tones grated out—‘Aw wonder how yah can faishion to stand thear i’ idleness un war, when all on ’ems goan out! Bud yah’re a nowt, and it’s no use talking—yah’ll niver mend o’yer ill ways, but goa raight to t’ divil, like yer mother afore ye!’u I imagined, for a moment, that this piece of eloquence was addressed to me; and, sufficiently enraged, stepped towards the aged rascal with an intention of kicking him out of the door. Mrs. Heathcliff, however, checked me by her answer. ‘You scandalous old hypocrite!’ she replied. ‘Are you not afraid of being carried away bodily, whenever you mention the devil’s name? I warn you to refrain from provoking me, or I’ll ask your abduction as a special favour! Stop! look here, Joseph,’ she continued, taking a long, dark book from a shelf; ‘I’ll show you how far I’ve progressed in the Black Art: I shall soon be competent to make a clear house of it. The red cow didn’t die by chance; and your rheumatism can hardly be reckoned among providential visitations!’ ‘Oh, wicked, wicked!’ gasped the elder; ‘may the Lord deliver us from evil!’ ‘No, reprobate! you are a castaway—be off, or I’ll hurt you seriously! I’ll have you all modelled in wax and clay! and the first who passes the limits I fix shall—I’ll not say what he shall be done to—but, you’ll see! Go, I’m looking at you!’ The little witch put a mock malignity into her beautiful eyes, and Joseph, trembling with sincere horror, hurried out, praying, and ejaculating ‘wicked’ as he went. I thought her conduct must be prompted by a species of dreary fun; and, now that we were alone, I endeavoured to interest her in my distress. ‘Mrs. Heathcliff,’ I said, earnestly, ‘you must excuse me for troubling you. I presume, because, with that face, I’m sure you cannot help being good-hearted. Do point out some landmarks by which I may know my way home: I have no more idea how to get there than you would have how to get to London! ’ ‘Take the road you came,’ she answered, ensconcing herself in a chair, with a candle, and the long book open before her. ‘It is brief advice, but as sound as I can give.’ ‘Then, if you hear of me being discovered dead in a bog or a pit full of snow, your conscience won’t whisper that it is partly your fault?’ ‘How so? I cannot escort you. They wouldn’t let me go to the end of the garden wall.’ ‘You! I should be sorry to ask you to cross the threshold, for my convenience, on such a night,’ I cried. ‘I want you to tell me my way, not to show it: or else to persuade Mr. Heathcliff to give me a guide.’ ‘Who? There is himself, Earnshaw, Zillah, Joseph and I. Which would you have?’ ‘Are there no boys at the farm?’ ‘No; those are all.’ ‘Then, it follows that I am compelled to stay.’ ‘That you may settle with your host. I have nothing to do with it.’ ‘I hope it will be a lesson to you to make no more rash journeys on these hills,’ cried Heathcliff’s stern voice from the kitchen entrance. ‘As to staying here, I don’t keep accommodations for visitors: you must share a bed with Hareton or Joseph, if you do.’ ‘I can sleep on a chair in this room,’ I replied. ‘No, no! A stranger is a stranger, be he rich or poor: it will not suit me to permit any one the range of the place while I am off guard!’ said the unmannerly wretch. With this insult my patience was at an end. I uttered an expression of disgust, and pushed past him into the yard, running against Earnshaw in my haste. It was so dark that I could not see the means of exit; and, as I wandered round, I heard another specimen of their civil behaviour amongst each other. At first the young man appeared about to befriend me. ‘I’ll go with him as far as the park,’ he said. ‘You’ll go with him to hell!’ exclaimed his master, or whatever relation he bore. ‘And who is to look after the horses, eh?’ ‘A man’s life is of more consequence than one evening’s neglect of the horses: somebody must go,’ murmured Mrs. Heathcliff, more kindly than I expected. ‘Not at your command!’ retorted Hareton. ‘If you set store on him, you’d better be quiet.’ ‘Then I hope his ghost will haunt you; and I hope Mr. Heathcliff will never get another tenant till the Grange is a ruin,’ she answered, sharply. ‘Hearken, hearken, shoo’s cursing on ’em!’ muttered Joseph, towards whom I had been steering. He sat within earshot, milking the cows by the light of a lantern, which I seized unceremoniously, and, calling out that I would send it back on the morrow, rushed to the nearest postern. ‘Maister, maister, he’s staling t’ lanthern!’ shouted the ancient, pursuing my retreat. ‘Hey, Gnasher! Hey, dog! Hey Wolf, holld him, holld him!’ On opening the little door, two hairy monsters flew at my throat, bearing me down, and extinguishing the light; while a mingled guffaw from Heathcliff and Hareton put the copestone v on my rage and humiliation. Fortunately, the beasts seemed more bent on stretching their paws, and yawning, and flourishing their tails, than devouring me alive; but they would suffer no resurrection, and I was forced to lie till their malignant masters pleased to deliver me: then, hatless and trembling with wrath, I ordered the miscreants to let me out—on their peril to keep me one minute longer—with several incoherent threats of retaliation that, in their indefinite depth of virulency, smacked of King Lear.3 The vehemence of my agitation brought on a copious bleeding at the nose, and still Heathcliff laughed, and still I scolded. I don’t know what would have concluded the scene, had there not been one person at hand rather more rational than myself, and more benevolent than my entertainer. This was Zillah, the stout housewife; who at length issued forth to inquire into the nature of the uproar. She thought that some of them had been laying violent hands on me; and, not daring to attack her master, she turned her vocal artillery against the younger scoundrel. ‘Well, Mr. Earnshaw,’ she cried, ‘I wonder what you’ll have agaitw next? Are we going to murder folk on our very door- stones? I see this house will never do for me—look at t’ poor lad, he’s fair choking! Wisht, wisht;x you mun’n’t go on so. Come in, and I’ll cure that: there now, hold ye still.’ With these words she suddenly splashed a pint of icy water down my neck, and pulled me into the kitchen. Mr. Heathcliff followed, his accidental merriment expiring quickly in his habitual moroseness. I was sick exceedingly, and dizzy, and faint; and thus compelled perforce to accept lodgings under his roof. He told Zillah to give me a glass of brandy, and then passed on to the inner room; while she condoled with me on my sorry predicament, and having obeyed his orders, whereby I was somewhat revived, ushered me to bed. Chapter III While leading the way upstairs, she recommended that I should hide the candle, and not make a noise; for her master had an odd notion about the chamber she would put me in, and never let anybody lodge there willingly. I asked the reason. She did not know, she answered: she had only lived there a year or two; and they had so many queer goings on, she could not begin to be curious. Too stupefied to be curious myself, I fastened my door and glanced round for the bed. The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press,y and a large oak case,z with squares cut out near the top resembling coach windows. Having approached this structure, I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular sort of old-fashioned couch, very conveniently designed to obviate the necessity for every member of the family having a room to himself. In fact, it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table. I slid back the panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them together again, and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and every one else. The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner; and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small—Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff , and then again to Catherine Linton. In vapid listlessness I leant my head against the window, and continued spelling over Catherine Earnshaw—Heathcliff—Linton, till my eyes closed; but they had not rested five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark, as vivid as spectres—the air swarmed with Catherines; and rousing myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I discovered my candle-wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming the place with an odour of roasted calf-skin. I snuffed it off, and, very ill at ease under the influence of cold and lingering nausea, sat up and spread open the injured tome on my knee. It was a Testament, in leanaa type, and smelling dreadfully musty: a fly-leaf bore the inscription—‘Catherine Earnshaw, her book,’ and a date some quarter of a century back. I shut it, and took up another and another, till I had examined all. Catherine’s library was select, and its state of dilapidation proved it to have been well used, though not altogether for a legitimate purpose: scarcely one chapter had escaped, a pen-and-ink commentary—at least the appearance of one—covering every morsel of blank that the printer had left.1 Some were detached sentences; other parts took the form of a regular diary, scrawled in an unformed, childish hand. At the top of an extra page (quite a treasure, probably, when first lighted on) I was greatly amused to behold an excellent caricature of my friend Joseph,—rudely, yet powerfully sketched. An immediate interest kindled within me for the unknown Catherine, and I began forthwith to decipher her faded hieroglyphics. ‘An awful Sunday,’ commenced the paragraph beneath. ‘I wish my father were back again. Hindley is a detestable substitute—his conduct to Heathcliff is atrocious—H. and I are going to rebel—we took our initiatory step this evening. ‘All day had been flooding with rain; we could not go to church, so Joseph must needs get up a congregation in the garret; and, while Hindley and his wife basked downstairs before a comfortable fire—doing anything but reading their Bibles, I’ll answer for it—Heathcliff, myself, and the unhappy plough boy were commanded to take our prayer-books, and mount: we were ranged in a row, on a sack of corn, groaning and shivering, and hoping that Joseph would shiver too, so that he might give us a short homily for his own sake. A vain idea! The service lasted precisely three hours; and yet my brother had the face to exclaim, when he saw us descending, “What, done already?” On Sunday evenings we used to be permitted to play, if we did not make much noise; now a mere titter is sufficient to send us into corners. ‘“You forget you have a master here,” says the tyrant. “I’ll demolish the first who puts me out of temper! I insist on perfect sobriety and silence. Oh, boy! was that you? Frances darling, pull his hair as you go by: I heard him snap his fingers.” Frances pulled his hair heartily, and then went and seated herself on