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Chapter 12
WHILE Miss. Linton moped about the park and garden, always silent, and almost always
in tears; and her brother shut himself up among the books that he never opened---
wearying, I guessed, with a continual vague expectation that Catherine, repenting her
conduct, would come of her own accord to ask pardon, and seek a reconciliation---and
she fasted pertinaciously, under the idea, probably, that at every meal, Edgar was ready to
choke for her absence, and pride alone held him from running to cast himself at her feet: I
went about my household duties, convinced that the Grange had but one sensible soul in
its walls, and that lodged in my body.
I wasted no condolences on Miss, nor any expostulations on my mistress; nor did I pay
much attention to the sighs of my master, who yearned to hear his lady's name, since he
might not hear her voice. I determined they should come about as they pleased for me;
and though it was a tiresomely slow process, I began to rejoice at length in a faint dawn
of its progress: as I thought at first.
Mrs. Linton, on the third day, unbarred her door, and having finished the water in her
pitcher and decanter, desired a renewed supply, and a basin of gruel, for she believed she
was dying. That I set down as a speech meant for Edgar's ears; I believed no such thing,
so I kept it to myself and brought her some tea and dry toast. She ate and drank eagerly;
and sank back on her pillow again clenching her hands and groaning.
"Oh, I will die," she exclaimed, "since no one cares anything about me. I wish I had not
taken that."
Then a good while after I heard her murmur,
"No, I'll not die---he'd be glad---he does not love me at all---he would never miss me!"
"Did you want anything, ma'am?" I enquired, still preserving my external composure, in
spite of her ghastly countenance and strange exaggerated manner.
"What is that apathetic being doing?" she demanded, pushing her thick entangled locks
from her wasted face. "Has he fallen into a lethargy, or is he dead?"
"Neither," replied I; "if you mean Mr. Linton. He's tolerably well, I think, though his
studies occupy him rather more than they ought: he is continually among his books, since
he has no other society."
I should not have spoken so, if I had known her true condition, but I could not get rid of
the notion that she acted a part of her disorder.