Wuthering Heights HTML version

Chapter 17
THAT Friday made the last of our fine days for a month. In the evening, the weather
broke: the wind shifted from south to north-east, and brought rain first, and then sleet and
snow. On the morrow one could hardly imagine that there had been three weeks of
summer: the primroses and crocuses were hidden under wintry drifts; the larks were
silent, the young leaves of the early trees smitten and blackened. And dreary, and chill,
and dismal, that morrow did creep over! My master kept his room; I took possession of
the lonely parlour, converting it into a nursery: and there I was, sitting with the moaning
doll of a child laid on my knee; rocking it to and fro, and watching, meanwhile, the still
driving flakes build up the uncurtained window, when the door opened, and some person
entered, out of breath and laughing!
My anger was greater than my astonishment for a minute. I supposed it one of the maids,
and I cried,
"Have done! How dare you show your giddiness here? What would Mr. Linton say if he
heard you?"
"Excuse me!" answered a familiar voice; "but I know Edgar is in bed, and I cannot stop
With that the speaker came forward to the fire, panting and holding her hand to her side.
"I have run the whole way from Wuthering Heights!" she continued, after a pause;
"except where I've flown. I couldn't count the number of falls I've had. Oh, I'm aching all
over! Don't be alarmed! There shall be an explanation as soon as I can give it; only just
have the goodness to step out and order the carriage to take me on to Gimmerton, and tell
a servant to seek up a few clothes in my wardrobe."
The intruder was Mrs. Heathcliff. She certainly seemed in no laughing predicament; her
hair streamed on her shoulders, dripping with snow and water; she was dressed in the
girlish dress she commonly wore, befitting her age more than her position: a low frock
with short sleeves, and nothing on either head or neck. The frock was of light silk, and
clung to her with wet, and her feet were protected merely by thin slippers; add to this a
deep cut under one ear, which only the cold prevented from bleeding profusely, a white
face scratched and bruised, and a frame hardly able to support itself, through fatigue; and
you may fancy my first fright was not much allayed when I had had leisure to examine
"My dear young lady," I exclaimed, "I'll stir nowhere, and hear nothing, till you have
removed every article of your clothes, and put on dry things; and certainly you shall not
go to Gimmerton tonight, so it is needless to order the carriage."