FOR some days after that evening, Mr. Heathcliff shunned meeting us at meals; yet he
would not consent formally to exclude Hareton and Cathy. He had an aversion to yielding
so completely to his feelings, choosing rather to absent himself; and eating once in
twenty-four hours seemed sufficient sustenance for him.
One night, after the family were in bed, I heard him go downstairs, and out at the front
door. I did not hear him re-enter, and in the morning I found he was still away. We were
in April then: the weather was sweet and warm, the grass as green as showers and sun
could make it, and the two dwarf apple trees near the southern wall in full bloom.
After breakfast, Catherine insisted on my bringing a chair and sitting with my work under
the fir trees at the end of the house; and she beguiled Hareton, who had perfectly
recovered from his accident, to dig and arrange her little garden, which was shifted to that
corner by the influence of Joseph's complaints. I was comfortably revelling in the spring
fragrance around, and the beautiful soft blue overhead, when my young lady, who had
run down near the gate to procure some primrose roots for a border, returned only half
laden, and informed us that Mr. Heathcliff was coming in. "And he spoke to me," she
added with a perplexed countenance.
"What did he say?" asked Hareton.
"He told me to begone as fast as I could," she answered. "But he looked so different from
his usual look that I stopped a moment to stare at him."
"How?" he enquired.
"Why, almost bright and cheerful. No, almost nothing---very much excited, and wild and
glad!" she replied.
"Night-walking amuses him, then," I remarked, affecting a careless manner: in reality as
surprised as she was, and anxious to ascertain the truth of her statement; for to see the
master looking glad would not be an every-day spectacle. I framed an excuse to go in.
Heathcliff stood at the open door, he was pale, and he trembled: yet, certainly, he had a
strange, joyful glitter in his eyes, that altered the aspect of his whole face.
"Will you have some breakfast?" I said. "You must be hungry, rambling about all night!"
I wanted to discover where he had been, but I did not like to ask directly.
"No, I'm not hungry," he answered, averting his head and speaking rather
contemptuously, as if he guessed I was trying to divine the occasion of his good-humour.