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Chapter 31
YESTERDAY was bright, calm, and frosty. I went to the Heights as I proposed; my
housekeeper entreated me to bear a little note from her to her young lady, and I did not
refuse, for the worthy woman was not conscious of anything odd in her request. The front
door stood open, but the jealous gate was fastened, as at my last visit; I knocked, and
invoked Earnshaw from among the garden beds; he unchained it, and I entered. The
fellow is as handsome a rustic as need be seen. I took particular notice of him this time;
but then he does his best, apparently, to make the least of his advantages. I asked if Mr.
Heathcliff were at home? He answered, No; but he would be in at dinner-time. It was
eleven o'clock, and I announced my intention of going in and waiting for him, at which
he immediately flung down his tools and accompanied me, in the office of watchdog, not
as a substitute for the host.
We entered together; Catherine was there, making herself useful in preparing some
vegetables for the approaching meal; she looked more sulky and less spirited then when I
had seen her first. She hardly raised her eyes to notice me, and continued her employment
with the same disregard to common forms of politeness as before; never returning my
bow and good-morning by the slightest acknowledgment.
"She does not seem so amiable," I thought, "as Mrs. Dean would persuade me to believe.
She's a beauty, it is true; but not an angel."
Earnshaw surlily bid her remove her things to the kitchen.
"Remove them yourself," she said, pushing them from her as soon as she had done; and
retiring to a stool by the window, where she began to carve figures of birds and beasts out
of the turnip parings in her lap.
I approached her, pretending to desire a view of the garden; and, as I fancied, adroitly
dropped Mrs. Dean's note onto her knee, unnoticed by Hareton---but she asked aloud,
"What is that?" and chucked it off.
"A letter from your old acquaintance, the housekeeper at the Grange," I answered;
annoyed at her exposing my kind deed, and fearful it should be imagined a missive of my
She would gladly have gathered it up at this information, but Hareton beat her; he seized
and put it in his waistcoat, saying Mr. Heathcliff should look at it first. Thereat, Catherine
silently turned her face from us, and, very stealthily, drew out her pocket-handkerchief
and applied it to her eyes; and her cousin, after struggling a while to keep down his softer
feelings, pulled out the letter and flung it on the floor beside her, as ungraciously as he