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Chapter 2
YESTERDAY afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a mind to spend it by my study
fire, instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights. On coming up from
dinner however (N.B. I dine between twelve and one o'clock; the housekeeper, a
matronly lady, taken as a fixture along with the house, could not, or would not,
comprehend my request that I might be served at five), on mounting the stairs with this
lazy intention, and stepping into the room, I saw a servant-girl on her knees surrounded
by brushes and coalscuttles, and raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames
with heaps of cinders. This spectacle drove me back immediately; I took my hat, and,
after a four miles' walk arrived at Heathcliff's garden gate just in time to escape the first
feathery flakes of a snow-shower.
On that bleak hill-top the earth was hard with a black frost, and the air made me shiver
through every limb. Being unable to remove the chain, I jumped over, and, running up
the flagged causeway bordered with straggling gooseberry bushes, knocked vainly for
admittance, till my knuckles tingled and the dogs howled.
"Wretched inmates!" I ejaculated mentally, "you deserve perpetual isolation from your
species for your churlish inhospitality. At least, I would not keep my door barred in the
day time---I don't care---I will get in!" So resolved, I grasped the latch and shook it
vehemently. Vinegar-faced Joseph projected his head from a round window of the barn.
"What are ye for?" he shouted. "T' maister's down i' t' fowld. Go round by th' end o' t'
laith, if ye went to spake to him."
"Is there nobody inside to open the door?" I hallooed, responsively.
"There's nobbut t' missis; and shoo'll not oppen't an ye mak yer flaysome dins till neeght."
"Why? Cannot you tell her who I am, eh, Joseph?"
"Nor-ne me! I'll hae no hend wi't," muttered the head, vanishing.
The snow began to drive thickly. I seized the handle to essay another trial; when a young
man without coat, and shouldering a pitchfork, appeared in the yard behind. He hailed me
to follow him, and, after marching through a washhouse, and a paved area containing a
coal-shed, pump, and pigeon-cot, we at length arrived in the huge, warm cheerful
apartment, where I was formerly received.
It glowed delightfully in the radiance of an immense fire, compounded of coal, peat, and
wood; and near the table, laid for a plentiful evening meal, I was pleased to observe the
"missis," an individual whose existence I had never previously suspected. I bowed and