(40) When Mr. Hindley brought his wife home, she was so excited about finding a sister in Catherine. Frances, that was her name, just gushed over her. When Catherine was out of pocket, Frances would come to me complaining.
“Oh Nelly!” she would whine, “what am I to do now? I have no one to entertain me. How I do love Catherine and her naughty sense of humor. She always has something to say about someone.”
I would smile and nod, but in my mind I knew that she would soon tire of that. Her “naughty” sense of humor had a history of enflaming tempers. That’s exactly what happened.
It was an unusually warm day for that time of year, so Frances and Catherine asked me to escort them down to the moors for a walk. Frances was wearing the dress Mr. Hindley had given her for her birthday and could not stop talking about it. Catherine was sick to death of hearing about this dress, so told Frances to keep quiet. Frances, taking it to be one of her jokes, kept right on jabbering. This enraged Catherine who stopped dead in her tracks and glared at her. Not noticing, Frances kept on walking and chattering, thinking nothing of it. Suddenly, Catherine broke into a very fast paced jaunt, heading straight for Frances. She finally noticed Catherine, but by then it was too late. Catherine hit her at a high rate of speed, sending her right into the mud, face down.
Needless to say, Frances was beside herself, screaming frantically at the top of her lungs. Catherine just stood there looking as innocent as ever. Finally, she spoke.
“I told you to be quiet, but you just didn’t listen. I don’t understand why you are so upset.”
The walk back was silent and upon reaching Wuthering Heights, Frances vowed to never speak to Catherine again. I was amazed at how well she kept her word.
(243) The more Catherine pondered Linton’s behavior, the worse her attitude became. Oh, she tried to hide it with a forced smile, but I could tell something had changed inside that poor child’s mind. So, one day, I couldn’t take her moping anymore and asked what exactly she was upset over.
“Oh Nelly!” she cried, “he used to be so wonderful to me. Never did I regret our time together or wish he would act some other way. Now, from this last meeting, I can tell he has changed towards me, and I won’t have that.”
“Catherine, dear, “ I cooed “ What do you think caused him to change? I mean, he loves you so much, I wouldn’t think anything would come along so important as to warrant risking his relationship with you.”
“Well, it seems to me that Mr. Heathcliff has something to do with it. He kept talking about him like he was scared to death of him. I have often overheard you and my father talking about what an awful man he is.”
“Yes, indeed, and I wouldn’t put it past him to ruin yet another beautiful relationship.”
“Oh! I didn’t want it to be ruined, but that’s just what is happening. I always thought he would be the one pining over me. After all, I am such a strong woman. I don’t need anyone...except Linton! I promise, if things change, I will never be the same again!”
(293) Oh Mr. Lockwood, the look in Mr. Heathcliff’s eyes when he had Catherine by the hair! I thought her head would be on the floor. But suddenly his eyes softened and he let her go. That was the end of that. A few weeks later, I asked Heathcliff why he softened in such a manner that I have never seen him have towards her.
“Ellen, you should learn to keep your nose out of other people’s business,” he snapped.
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
Suddenly his eyes softened again, just like before, and he gently touched my arm.
“Ellen, forgive me. I don’t know what has gotten into me. It’s just, when I look at Catherine now, it reminds me of the Catherine I once had. The way she is so headstrong and defiant, just daring me to slip up so she can have a laugh at my expense. When I had her head in my grasp, the look she gave me was so much like her mother that there was no way I could have hit her. Each day I feel Catherine’s presence more and more. I long for the time when we can be together again, forever this time. I no longer think of Cathy as someone who needs to be beat into submission, only a girl who reminds me everyday of a woman I can’t live without.”
And with that Heathcliff left the room, never to utter another word about that conversation.