ON the morning of a fine June day, my first bonny little nursling, and the last of the
ancient Earnshaw stock, was born. We were busy with the hay in a far away field, when
the girl that usually brought our breakfasts, came running an hour too soon, across the
meadow and up the lane, calling me as she ran.
"Oh, such a grand bairn!" she panted out. "The finest lad that ever breathed! But the
doctor says missis must go: he says she's been in a consumption these many months. I
heard him tell Mr. Hindley: and now she has nothing to keep her, and she'll be dead
before winter. You must come home directly. You're to nurse it, Nelly: to feed it with
sugar and milk, and take care of it day and night. I wish I were you, because it will be all
yours when there is no missis!"
"But is she very ill?" I asked flinging down my rake, and tying my bonnet.
"I guess she is; yet she looks bravely," replied the girl, "and she talks as if she thought of
living to see it grow a man. She's out of her head for joy, it's such a beauty! If I were her,
I'm certain I should not die: I should get better at the bare sight of it, in spite of Kenneth.
I was fairly mad at him. Dame Archer brought the cherub down to master, in the house,
and his face just began to light up, when the old croaker steps forward, and says he:
'Earnshaw, it's a blessing your wife has been spared to leave you this son. When she
came, I felt convinced we shouldn't keep her long; and now, I must tell you, the winter
will probably finish her. Don't take on, and fret about it too much! it can't be helped. And
besides, you should have known better than to choose such a rush of a lass!' "
"And what did the master answer?" I enquired.
"I think he swore; but I didn't mind him, I was straining to see the bairn," and she began
again to describe it rapturously. I, as zealous as herself, hurried eagerly home to admire,
on my part; though I was very sad for Hindley's sake. He had room in his heart only for
two idols---his wife and himself: he doted on both, and adored one, and I couldn't
conceive how he would bear the loss.
When we got to Wuthering Heights, there he stood at the front door; and, as I passed in, I
asked, "How was the baby?"
"Nearly ready to run about"; he replied, putting on a cheerful smile.
"And the mistress?" I ventured to enquire; "the doctor says she's--"
"Damn the doctor!" he interrupted, reddening. "Frances is quite right; she'll be perfectly
well by this time next week. Are you going upstairs? will you tell her that I'll come, if