Wuthering Heights HTML version

Chapter 28
ON the fifth morning, or rather afternoon, a different step approached---lighter and
shorter; and, this time, the person entered the room.---It was Zillah; donned in her scarlet
shawl, with a black silk bonnet on her head, and a willow basket swung to her arm.
"Eh, dear! Mrs. Dean!" she exclaimed. "Well! there is a talk about you at Gimmerton. I
never thought but you were sunk in the Blackhorse marsh, and missy with you, till master
told me you'd been found, and he'd lodged you here! What! and you must have got on an
island, sure? And how long were you in the hole? Did master save you, Mrs. Dean? But
you're not so thin---you've not been so poorly, have you?"
"Your master is a true scoundrel!" I replied. "But he shall answer for it. He needn't have
raised that tale: it shall all be laid bare!"
"What do you mean?" asked Zillah. "It's not his tale; they tell that in the village---about
your being lost in the marsh: and I calls to Earnshaw, when I come in---
" 'Eh, they's queer things, Mr. Hareton, happened since I went off. It's a sad pity of that
likely young lass, and cant Nelly Dean.'
"He stared. I thought he had not heard aught, so I told him the rumour. The master
listened, and he just smiled to himself, and said,
" 'If they have been in the marsh, they are out now, Zillah. Nelly Dean is lodged, at this
minute, in your room. You can tell her to flit, when you go up; here is the key. The bog-
water got into her head, and she would have run home quite flighty; but I fixed her till
she came round to her senses. You can bid her go to the Grange at once, if she be able,
and carry a message from me, that her young lady will follow in time to attend the
squire's funeral."
"Mr. Edgar is not dead?" I gasped. "Oh! Zillah, Zillah!"
"No, no; sit you down, my good mistress," she replied, "you're right sickly yet. He's not
dead; Doctor Kenneth thinks he may last another day. I met him on the road and asked."
Instead of sitting down, I snatched my outdoor things, and hastened below, for the way
was free. On entering the house, I looked about for some one to give information of
Catherine. The place was filled with sunshine, and the door stood wide open; but nobody
seemed at hand. As I hesitated whether to go off at once, or return and seek my mistress,
a slight cough drew my attention to the hearth. Linton lay on the settle, sole tenant,
sucking a stick of sugar-candy, and pursuing my movements with apathetic eyes.