AT the close of those weeks, I was able to quit my chamber, and move about the house.
And on the first occasion of my sitting up in the evening, I asked Catherine to read to me,
because my eyes were weak. We were in the library, the master having gone to bed: she
consented, rather unwillingly, I fancied; and imagining my sort of books did not suit her,
I bid her please herself in the choice of what she perused. She selected one of her own
favourites, and got forward steadily about an hour; then came frequent questions.
"Ellen, are not you tired? Hadn't you better lie down now? You'll be sick, keeping up so
"No, no, dear, I'm not tired," I returned continually.
Perceiving me immovable, she essayed another method of showing her disrelish for her
occupation. It changed to yawning, and stretching, and:
"Ellen, I'm tired."
"Give over then and talk," I answered.
That was worse: she fretted and sighed, and looked at her watch till eight, and finally
went to her room, completely over-done with sleep; judging by her peevish, heavy look,
and the constant rubbing she inflicted on her eyes.
The following night she seemed more impatient still; and on the third from recovering my
company, she complained of a headache, and left me. I thought her conduct odd; and
having remained alone a long while, I resolved on going and inquiring whether she were
better, and asking her to come and lie on the sofa, instead of upstairs in the dark.
No Catherine could I discover upstairs, and none below. The servants affirmed they had
not seen her. I listened at Mr. Edgar's door; all was silence. I returned to her apartment,
extinguished my candle, and seated myself in the window.
The moon shone bright; a sprinkling of snow covered the ground, and I reflected that she
might, possibly, have taken it into her head to walk about the garden, for refreshment. I
did detect a figure creeping along the inner fence of the park; but it was not my young
mistress: on its merging into the light, I recognized one of the grooms.
He stood a considerable period, viewing the carriage-road through the grounds; then
started off at a brisk pace, as if he had detected something, and reappeared presently,
leading Miss's pony; and there she was, just dismounted, and walking by its side. The
man took his charge stealthily across the grass towards the stable. Cathy entered by the