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Chapter 21
WE had sad work with little Cathy that day; she rose in high glee, eager to join her
cousin, and such passionate tears and lamentations followed the news of his departure,
that Edgar himself was obliged to soothe her, by affirming he should come back soon: he
added, however, "if I can get him"; and there were no hopes of that. This promise poorly
pacified her: but time was more potent; and though still at intervals she enquired of her
father when Linton would return, before she did see him again his features had waxed so
dim in her memory that she did not recognize him.
When I chanced to encounter the housekeeper of Wuthering Heights in paying business-
visits to Gimmerton, I used to ask how the young master got on; for he lived almost as
secluded as Catherine herself, and was never to be seen. I could gather from her that he
continued in weak health, and was a tiresome inmate. She said Mr. Heathcliff seemed to
dislike him ever longer and worse, though he took some trouble to conceal it: he had an
antipathy to the sound of his voice, and could not do at all with his sitting in the same
room with him many minutes together. There seldom passed much talk between them:
Linton learnt his lessons and spent his evenings in a small apartment they called the
parlour: or else lay in bed all day: for he was constantly getting coughs, and colds, and
aches, and pains of some sort.
"And I never knew such a faint-hearted creature," added the woman; "nor one so careful
of hisseln. He will go on, if I leave the window open a bit late in the evening. Oh! it's
killing! a breath of night air! And he must have a fire in the middle of summer; and
Joseph's bacca pipe is poison; and he must always have sweets and dainties, and always
milk, milk for ever---heeding naught how the rest of us are pinched in winter; and there
he'll sit, wrapped in his furred cloak in his chair by the fire, with some toast and water or
other slop on the hob to sip at; and if Hareton, for pity, comes to amuse him---Hareton is
not bad-natured, though he's rough---they're sure to part, one swearing and the other
crying. I believe the master would relish Earnshaw's thrashing him to a mummy, if he
were not his son; and I'm certain he would be fit to turn him out of doors, if he knew half
the nursing he gives hisseln. But then, he won't go into danger of temptation: he never
enters the parlour, and should Linton show those ways in the house where he is, he sends
him upstairs directly."
I divined, from this account, that utter lack of sympathy had rendered young Heathcliff
selfish and disagreeable, if he were not so originally; and my interest in him,
consequently, decayed: though still I was moved with a sense of grief at his lot, and a
wish that he had been left with us.
Mr. Edgar encouraged me to gain information: he thought a great deal about him, I fancy,
and would have run some risk to see him; and he told me once to ask the housekeeper
whether he ever came into the village? She said he had only been twice, on horseback,