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A LETTER, edged in black, announced the day of my master's return. Isabella was dead;
and he wrote to bid me get mourning for his daughter, and arrange a room, and other
accommodations, for his youthful nephew. Catherine ran wild with joy at the idea of
welcoming her father back; and indulged most sanguine anticipations of the innumerable
excellences of her "real" cousin.
The evening of their expected arrival came. Since early morning, she had been busy
ordering her own small affairs; and now, attired in her new black frock---poor thing! her
aunt's death impressed her with no definite sorrow---she obliged me, by constant
worrying, to walk with her down through the grounds to meet them.
"Linton is just six months younger than I am," she chattered, as we strolled leisurely over
the swells and hollows of mossy turf, under shadow of the trees. "How delightful it will
be to have him for a play-fellow! Aunt Isabella sent papa a beautiful lock of his hair; it
was lighter than mine---more flaxen, and quite as fine. I have it carefully preserved in a
little glass box: and I've often thought what pleasure it would be to see its owner. Oh! I
am happy---and papa, dear, dear papa! Come, Ellen, let us run! come, run."
She ran, and returned and ran again many times before my sober footsteps reached the
gate, and then she seated herself on the grassy bank beside the path, and tried to wait
patiently; but that was impossible: she couldn't be still a minute.
"How long they are!" she exclaimed. "Ah, I see some dust on the road---they are coming?
No! When will they be here? May we not go a little way---half a mile, Ellen: only just
half a mile? Do say yes: to that clump of birches at the turn!"
I refused staunchly. At length her suspense was ended: the travelling carriage rolled in
sight. Miss Cathy shrieked and stretched out her arms, as soon as she caught her father's
face looking from the window. He descended, nearly as eager as herself: and a
considerable interval elapsed ere they had a thought to spare for any but themselves.
While they exchanged caresses, I took a peep in to see after Linton. He was asleep in a
corner, wrapped in a warm, fur-lined cloak, as if it had been winter. A pale, delicate,
effeminate boy, who might have been taken for my master's younger brother so strong
was the resemblance: but there was a sickly peevishness in his aspect, that Edgar Linton
never had. The latter saw me looking; and having shaken hands, advised me to close the
door, and leave him undisturbed; for the journey had fatigued him. Cathy would fain have
taken one glance, but her father told her to come, and they walked together up the park,
while I hastened before to prepare the servants.