The master looked asleep, and I ventured soon after sunrise to quit the room and steal out to the pure refreshing air. The servants thought me gone to shake off the drowsiness of my protracted watch; in reality, my chief motive was seeing Mr. Heathcliff. If he had remained among the larches all night, he would have heard nothing of the stir at the Grange; unless, perhaps, he might catch the gallop of the messenger going to Gimmerton. If he had come nearer, he would probably be aware, from the lights flitting to and fro, and the opening and shutting of the outer doors, that all was not right within. I felt the terrible news must be told, and I longed to get it over; but how to do it I did not know. He had been standing a long time in that position, for I saw a pair of ousels passing and repassing scarcely three feet from him, busy in building their nest, and regarding his proximity no more than that of a piece of timber. They flew off at my approach, and he raised his eyes and spoke:-“Shes dead!” he said; “Ive not waited for you to learn that. Put your handkerchief away-dont snivel before me. Damn you all! she wants none of your tears!”
I was weeping as much for him as her: we do sometimes pity creatures that have none of the feeling either for themselves or others. When I first looked into his face, I perceived that he had got intelligence of the catastrophe; and a foolish notion struck me that his heart was quelled and he prayed, because his lips moved and his gaze was bent on the ground.
“Yes, shes dead!” I answered, checking my sobs and drying my cheeks. “Gone to heaven, I hope; where we may, every one, join her, if we take due warning and leave our evil ways to follow good!”
“Did she take due warning, then?” asked Heathcliff, attempting a sneer. “Did she die like a saint? Come, give me a true history of the event. How did-?”
You tempt him to wring them, till he forces a cry of humiliation
He endeavoured to pronounce the name, but could not manage it; and compressing his mouth he held a silent combat with his inward agony, defying, meanwhile, my sympathy with an unflinching, ferocious stare. “How did she die?” he resumed, at last-fain, notwithstanding his hardihood, to have a support behind him; for, after the struggle, he trembled, in spite of himself, to his very finger-ends.
“Poor wretch!” I thought; “you have a heart and nerves the same as your brother men! Why should you be anxious to conceal them? Your pride cannot blind God! ”
“Quietly as a lamb!” I answered, aloud. “She drew a sigh, and stretched herself, like a child reviving, and sinking again to sleep; and five minutes after I felt one little pulse at her heart California pawn, and nothing more!”
“And-did she ever mention me?” he asked, hesitating, as if he dreaded the answer to his question would introduce details that he could not bear to hear.
He was there-at least, a few yards further in the park; leant against an old ash-tree, his hat off, and his hair soaked with the dew that had gathered on the budded branches, and fell pattering round him
“Her senses never returned: she recognised nobody from the time you left her,” I said. “She lies with a sweet smile on her face; and her latest ideas wandered back to pleasant early days. Her life closed in a gentle dream-may she wake as kindly in the other world!”