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
daughter would frequently walk out among 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.
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 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.
On an afternoon in October, or the beginning of November---a fresh watery afternoon,
when the turf and paths were rustling with moist, withered leaves, and the cold, blue sky
was half hidden by clouds---dark grey streamers, rapidly mounting from the west, and
boding abundant rain---I requested my young lady to forego her ramble, because I was
certain of showers. She refused; and I unwillingly donned a cloak, and took my umbrella
to accompany her on a stroll to the bottom of the park: a formal walk which she generally
affected if low-spirited---and that she invariably was when Mr. Edgar had been worse
than ordinary, a thing never known from his confession, but guessed both by her and me,
from his increased silence and the melancholy of his countenance.
She went sadly on: there was no running or bounding now, though the chill wind might
well have tempted her to race. And often, from the side of my eve, I could detect her
raising a hand, and brushing something off her cheek.
I gazed round for a means of diverting her thoughts. On one side of the road rose a high,
rough bank, where hazels and stunted oaks, with their roots half-exposed held uncertain
tenure: the soil was too loose for the latter; and strong winds had blown some nearly
horizontal. In summer, Miss Catherine delighted to climb along these trunks, and sit in
the branches, swinging twenty feet above the ground; and I, pleased with her agility and
her light, childish heart, still considered it proper to scold every time I caught her at such
an elevation, but so that she knew there was no necessity for descending. From dinner to
tea she would lie in her breeze-rocked cradle, doing nothing except singing old songs---
my nursery lore---to herself, or watching the birds, joint tenants, feed and entice their
young ones to fly: or nestling with closed lids, half thinking, half dreaming, happier than
words can express.