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Chapter 18
THE twelve years, continued Mrs. Dean, following that dismal period, were the happiest
of my life: my greatest troubles in their passage rose from our little lady's trifling
illnesses, which she had to experience in common with all children, rich and poor. For the
rest, after the first six months, she grew like a larch and could walk and talk too, in her
own way, before the heath blossomed a second time over Mrs. Linton's dust.
She was the most winning thing that ever brought sunshine into a desolate house: a real
beauty in face, with the Earnshaw's handsome dark eyes, but the Lintons'fair skin and
small features, and yellow curling hair. Her spirit was high, though not rough, and
qualified by a heart sensitive and lively to excess in its affections. That capacity for
intense attachments reminded me of her mother: still she did not resemble her; for she
could be soft and mild as a dove, and she had a gentle voice and pensive expression: her
anger was never furious; her love never fierce: it was deep and tender.
However, it must be acknowledged, she had faults to foil her gifts. A propensity to be
saucy was one; and a perverse will, that indulged children invariably acquire, whether
they be good-tempered or cross. If a servant chanced to vex her, it was always---"I shall
tell papa!" And if he reproved her, even by a look, you would have thought it a
heartbreaking business: I don't believe he ever did speak a harsh word to her. He took her
education entirely on himself, and made it an amusement. Fortunately, curiosity and a
quick intellect made her an apt scholar: she learned rapidly and eagerly, and did honour
to his teaching.
Till she reached the age of thirteen, she had not once been beyond the range of the park
by herself. Mr. Linton would take her with him a mile or so outside, on rare occasions;
but he trusted her to no one else. Gimmerton was an unsubstantial name in her ears; the
chapel, the only building she had approached or entered, except her own home.
Wuthering Heights and Mr. Heathcliff did not exist for her: she was a perfect recluse;
and, apparently, perfectly contented. Sometimes, indeed, while surveying the country
from her nursery window, she would observe:
"Ellen, how long will it be before I can walk to the top of those hills? I wonder what lies
on the other side---is it the sea?"
"No, Miss Cathy," I would answer; "it is hills again, just like these."
"And what are those golden rocks like when you stand under them?" she once asked.
The abrupt descent of Peniston Crags particularly attracted her notice; especially when
the setting sun shone on it and the topmost heights, and the whole extent of landscape