HE entered, vociferating oaths dreadful to hear; and caught me in the act of stowing his
son away in the kitchen cupboard. Hareton was impressed with a wholesome terror of
encountering either his wild beast's fondness or his madman's rage; for in one he ran a
chance of being squeezed and kissed to death, and in the other of being flung into the fire,
or dashed against the wall; and the poor thing remained perfectly quiet wherever I chose
to put him.
"There, I've found it out at last!" cried Hindley, pulling me back by the skin of my neck,
like a dog. "By heaven and hell, you've sworn between you to murder that child! I know
how it is, now, that he is always out of my way. But, with the help of Satan, I shall make
you swallow the carving-knife, Nelly. You needn't laugh; for I've just crammed Kenneth,
head-downmost, in the Blackhorse marsh; and two is the same as one---and I want to kill
some of you: I shall have no rest till I do!"
"But I don't like the carving-knife, Mr. Hindey," I answered: "it has been cutting red
herrings. I'd rather be shot, if you please."
"You'd rather be damned!" he said; "and so you shall. No law in England can hinder a
man from keeping his house decent, and mine's abominable! open your mouth."
He held the knife in his hand, and pushed its point between my teeth: but, for my part, I
was never much afraid of his vagaries. I spat out, and affirmed it tasted detestably---I
would not take it on any account.
"Oh!" said he, releasing me, "I see that hideous little villain is not Hareton: I beg your
pardon, Nell. If it be, he deserves flaying alive for not running to welcome me, and for
screaming as if I were a goblin. Unnatural cub, come hither! I'll teach thee to impose on a
good-hearted, deluded father. Now, don't you think the lad would be handsomer cropped?
It makes a dog fiercer, and I love something fierce---get me a scissors---something fierce
and trim! Besides, it's infernal affectation---devilish conceit it is, to cherish our ears---
we're asses enough without them. Hush, child, hush! Well then, it is my darling! wisht,
dry thy eyes---there's a joy; kiss me. What! it won't? Kiss me, Hareton! Damn thee, kiss
me! By God, as if I would rear such a monster! As sure as I'm living, I'll break the brat's
Poor Hareton was squalling and kicking in his father's arms with all his might, and
redoubled his yells when he carried him upstairs and lifted him over the banister. I cried
out that he would frighten the child into fits, and ran to rescue him.
As I reached them, Hindley leant forward on the rails to listen to a noise below; almost
forgetting what he had in his hands.