SEVEN days glided away, every one marking its course by the henceforth rapid
alteration of Edgar Linton's state. The havoc that months had previously wrought was
now emulated by the inroads of hours. Catherine, we would fain have deluded yet: but
her own quick spirit refused to delude her: it divined in secret, and brooded on the
dreadful probability, gradually ripening into certainty.
She had not the heart to mention her ride, when Thursday came round; I mentioned it for
her, and obtained permission to order her out of doors: for the library, where her father
stopped a short time daily---the brief period he could bear to sit up---and his chamber,
had become her whole world. She grudged each moment that did not find her bending
over his pillow, or seated by his side. Her countenance grew wan with watching and
sorrow, and my master gladly dismissed her to what he flattered himself would be a
happy change of scene and society; drawing comfort from the hope that she would not
now be left entirely alone after his death.
He had a fixed idea, I guessed by several observations he let fall, that, as his nephew
resembled him in person, he would resemble him in mind; for Linton's letters bore few or
no indications of his defective character. And I, through pardonable weakness, refrained
from correcting the error; asking myself what good there would be in disturbing his last
moments with information that he had neither power nor opportunity to turn to account.
We deferred our excursion till the afternoon; a golden afternoon of August: every breath
from the hills so full of life, that it seemed whoever respired it, though dying, might
revive. Catherine's face was just like the landscape---shadows and sunshine flitting over it
in rapid succession; but the shadows rested longer, and the sunshine was more transient;
and her poor little heart reproached itself for even that passing forgetfulness of its cares.
We discerned Linton watching at the same spot he had selected before. My young
mistress alighted, and told me that, as she was resolved to stay a very little while, I had
better hold the pony and remain on horseback; but I dissented: I wouldn't risk losing sight
of the charge committed to me a minute; so we climbed the slope of heath together.
Master Heathcliff received us with greater animation on this occasion: not the animation
of high spirits though, nor yet of joy; it looked more like fear.
"It is late!" he said, speaking short and with difficulty, "Is not your father very ill? I
thought you wouldn't come."
"Why won't you be candid?" cried Catherine, swallowing her greeting. "Why cannot you
say at once you don't want me? It is strange, Linton, that for the second time you have
brought me here on purpose, apparently, to distress us both, and for no reason besides!"