Wuthering Heights HTML version
WHILE leading the way upstairs, she recommended that I should hide the candle, and not
make a noise; for her master had an odd notion about the chamber she would put me in,
and never let anybody lodge there willingly. I asked the reason. She did not know, she
answered: she had only lived there a year or two; and they had so many queer goings on,
she could not begin to be curious.
Too stupefied to be curious myself, I fastened the door and glanced round for the bed.
The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothespress, and a large oak case, with
squares cut out near the top resembling coach windows. Having approached this structure
I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular sort of old-fashioned couch, very
conveniently designed to obviate the necessity for every member of the family having a
room to himself. In fact, it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it
enclosed, served as a table. I slid back the panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled
them together again, and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and every one
The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner;
and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was
nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small---Catherine
Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine
In vapid listlessness I leant my head against the window, and continued spelling over
Catherine Earnshaw---Heathcliff---Linton, till my eyes closed; but they had not rested
five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark as vivid as spectres---the
air swarmed with Catherines; and rousing myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I
discovered my candle wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming the
place with an odour of roasted calf-skin.
I snuffed it out, and, very ill at ease under the influence of cold and lingering nausea, sat
up and spread open the injured tome on my knee. It was a Testament, in lean type, and
smelling dreadfully musty: a flyleaf bore the inscription---"Catherine Earnshaw, her
book," and a date some quarter of a century back.
I shut it, and took up another, and another, till I had examined all. Catherine's library was
select, and its state of dilapidation proved it to have been well used; though not altogether
for a legitimate purpose: scarcely one chapter had escaped a pen-and-ink commentary---
at least, the appearance of one---covering every morsel of blank that the printer had left.
Some were detached sentences; other parts took the form of a regular diary, scrawled in
an unformed childish hand. At the top of an extra page (quite a treasure, probably, when
first lighted on) I was greatly amused to behold an excellent caricature of my friend