1801.-I have just returned from a visit to my landlord
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
removed from the stir
. A perfect
misanthropist's heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair
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 Grange: 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
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
: I felt interested
in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved
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
. '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
his dinner, and his pious
ejaculation had no reference
to my unexpected advent
One stop brought us into the family sitting-room, without any introductory lobby
: 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
of tongues, and a clatter
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 cullenders 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-drawn: 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 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
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
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' 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
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
by attempting to caress
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
'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
; 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
madam, that she suddenly
broke into a fury
and leapt on my knees. I flung her back, and hastened to interpose
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
from some of the household
in re-establishing peace.
Mr. Heathcliff and his man climbed the cellar
steps with vexatious
phlegm: 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 swine
could have had no worse spirits in them than those animals of yours, sir. You might
as well leave a stranger
with a brood
'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.' 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
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
a little in the laconic style
of chipping off his pronouns and auxiliary
verbs, and introduced what he supposed
would be a subject
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
I feel myself compared with him.
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.-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
that I might
be served at five)-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
. 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
inhospitality. At least, I would not keep my doors barred
in the day-time. I don't care-I will get in!' So resolved, I grasped the latch
and shook it vehemently
. Vinegar-faced Joseph 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.'
'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
'Why? Cannot you tell her whom I am, eh, Joseph?'
'Nor-ne me! I'll hae no hend wi't,' muttered the head, vanishing.
The snow began to drive
thickly. I seized the handle
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, 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
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
!' 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
'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 repellingly 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 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
. 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
ringlets, or rather golden, hanging loose on her delicate
neck; and eyes, had they been agreeable
, 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
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; 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
, 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
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
!' I exclaimed, assuming
the cheerful; 'and I fear I shall be weather
-bound for half an hour, if you can afford
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
'No, I could not.'
'Oh, indeed! Well, then, I must trust
to my own sagacity
'Are you going to mak' the tea?' demanded he of the shabby
his ferocious gaze
from me to the young lady.
'Is he to have any?' she asked, appealing
'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
. 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 discussed our meal.
lady!' he interrupted, with an almost diabolical sneer
on his face. 'Where is she-my amiable
'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
vigour at which men seldom cherish
of being married for love by girls: that dream
for the solace
of our declining years. The other did not look seventeen.
'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
of that bear to him.
'My name is Hareton Earnshaw,' growled the other; 'and I'd counsel
you to respect
'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.
'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
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!'
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.
!' 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
!' gasped the elder
; 'may the Lord deliver
us from evil
! you are a castaway-be off, or I'll hurt you seriously! I'll have you all modelled in wax
! 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!'
'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.'
'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
, 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
was at an end. I uttered an expression
, 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
'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
. '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
, 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 on my rage
. Fortunately, the beasts seemed more bent
on stretching their paws, and yawning, and flourishing their tails, than devouring me alive; but they would suffer
, and I was forced to lie till
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.
'Well, Mr. Earnshaw,' she cried, 'I wonder
what you'll have agait 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; 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
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.