“So,” I exclaimed, “Miss Catherine, you are tolerably far on, it seems: you ed of them! A fine bundle of trash you study in your leisure hours, to be sure: why, its good enough to be printed! I havnt shown it yet, but you neednt imagine I shall keep your ridiculous secrets. For shame! and you must have led the way in writing such absurdities: he would not have thought of beginning, Im certain.”
“Loving!” cried I, as scornfully as I could utter the word. “Loving! Did anybody ever hear the like! I might just as well talk of loving the miller who comes once a year to buy our corn. Pretty loving, indeed! and both times together you have seen Linton hardly four hours in your life! Now here is the babyish trash. Im going with it to the library; and well see what your father says to such loving.”
She sprang at her precious epistles, but I held them above my head; and then she poured out further frantic entreaties that I would burn them-do anything rather than show them. And being really fully as much inclined to laugh as scold-for I esteemed it all girlish vanity-I at length relented in a measure, and asked,-“If I consent to burn them, will you promise faithfully neither to send nor receive a letter again, nor a book (for I perceive you have sent him books), nor locks of hair, nor rings, nor playthings?”
But when I proceeded to open a place with the poker the sacrifice was too painful to be borne. She earnestly supplicated that I would spare her one or two.
“I will have one, you cruel wretch!” she screamed, darting her hand into the fire, and drawing forth some half-consumed fragments, at the expense of her fingers.
“Very well-and I will have some to exhibit to papa!” I answered, shaking back the rest into the bundle, and turning anew to the door.
Poor Cathy, frightened from her little romance, had been considerably sadder and duller since its abandonment; and her father insisted on her reading less, and taking more exercise
She emptied her blackened pieces into the flames, and motioned me to finish the immolation. It was done; I stirred up the ashes, and interred them under a shovelful of coals; and she mutely, and with a sense of intense injury, retired to her private apartment. I descended to tell my master that the young ladys qualm of sickness was almost gone, but I judged it best for her to lie down a while. She wouldnt dine; but she reappeared at tea, pale, and red about the eyes, and marvellously subdued in outward aspect. Next morning I answered the letter by a slip of paper, inscribed, “Master Heathcliff is requested to send no more notes to Miss Linton, as she will not receive them.” And, thenceforth, the little boy came with vacant pockets.
Summer drew to an end, and early autumn: it was past Michaelmas, but the harvest was late that year, and a few of our fields were still uncleared. Mr. Linton and his dong the reapers; at the carrying of the last sheaves they stayed till dusk, and the evening happening to be chill and damp, my master caught a bad cold, that settled obstinately on his lungs, and confined him indoors throughout the whole of the winter, nearly without intermission.
She had his companionship no longer; I esteemed it a duty to supply its lack, as much as possible, with mine: an inefficient substitute; for I could only spare two or three hours, from my numerous diurnal occupations, to follow her footsteps, and then my society was obviously less desirable than his.