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Chapter 26
SUMMER was already past its prime, when Edgar reluctantly yielded his assent to their
entreaties, and Catherine and I set out on our first ride to join her cousin. It was a close,
sultry day: devoid of sunshine, but with a sky too dappled and hazy to threaten rain; and
our place of meeting had been fixed at the guide-stone, by the cross-roads. On arriving
there, however, a little herd-boy, despatched as a messenger, told us that:
"Maister Linton wer just o' this side th' Heights: and he'd be mitch obleeged to us to gang
on a bit further."
"Then Master Linton has forgot the first injunction of his uncle," I observed: "he bid us
keep on the Grange land, and here we are off at once."
"Well, we'll turn our horses' heads round, when we reach him," answered my companion,
"our excursion shall lie towards home."
But when we reached him, and that was scarcely a quarter of a mile from his own door,
we found he had no horse; and we were forced to dismount, and leave ours to graze. He
lay on the heath, awaiting our approach, and did not rise till we came within a few yards.
Then he walked so feebly, and looked so pale, that I immediately exclaimed:
"Why, Master Heathcliff, you are not fit for enjoying a ramble, this morning. How ill you
do look!"
Catherine surveyed him with grief and astonishment: she changed the ejaculation of joy
on her lips, to one of alarm; and the congratulation on their long-postponed meeting, to
an anxious enquiry, whether he were worse than usual?
"No---better---better!" he panted, trembling, and retaining her hand as if he needed its
support, while his large blue eyes wandered timidly over her; the hollowness round them
transforming to haggard wildness the languid expression they once possessed.
"But have you been worse," persisted his cousin; "worse than when I saw you last; you
are thinner, and--"
"I'm tired," he interrupted hurriedly. "It is too hot for walking, let us rest here. And, in the
morning, I often feel sick---papa says I grow so fast."
Badly satisfied, Cathy sat down, and he reclined beside her.
"This is something like your paradise," said she, making an effort at cheerfulness. "You
recollect the two days we agreed to spend in the place and way each thought pleasantest?