فصل 10

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فصل 10

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CHAPTER 10

Heathcliff visits Catherine for the last time heathcliff had given me a letter for Catherine, but I decided not to show it to her until Mr Edgar was out of the house. My chance came four days after my

visit to Wuthering Heights. As it was a Sunday, Mr Edgar and all the servants went to church, leaving me alone to look after Catherine.

She was sitting downstairs, by an open window, enjoying the spring sunshine. Her appearance had changed since her illness, but there was a strange beauty in her pale face. She did not read or sew any more, but used to sit there silently, staring into the distance. Her eyes seemed fixed on something far away, something beyond normal sight.

I showed her the letter, but she looked confused and could not seem to understand it, so I had to explain.

‘It’s from Mr Heathcliff,’ I said gently. ‘He’s in the garden, and wants to see you. What shall I tell him?’

She said nothing, but bent forward in her chair to listen. We both heard someone coming through the hall. Heathcliff had realized the house was almost empty, and had found an open door. Catherine looked eagerly towards the entrance to the room. He appeared, and in two steps was by her side. For five whole minutes he held her in his arms and kissed her again and again. It gave him great pain to look at her face. He could see, as I could, that she would never recover, that she was certain to die. ‘Oh, Catherine! Oh, my life! How can I bear it!’ he cried. ‘You and Edgar have broken my heart,’ said Catherine. ‘And you both want me to pity you How strong you are, Heathcliff! You’ll live for years after my death! Will you forget me, and be happy with others, when I’m in my grave?’ ‘It’s wicked of you to say that, Catherine. You know your words will burn for ever in my memory after you’ve left me. You know I could never forget you!’

‘I don’t want you to suffer more than I do, Heathcliff. I only want us to be together, always.’

Heathcliff turned away, his shoulders shaking.

‘That isn’t my Heathcliff,’ Catherine said to me. ‘I’ll always love my Heathcliff, and take him with me. He’s in my soul, you see. Oh, Ellen, I do want to escape from this prison. There’s a beautiful world waiting for me out there. You feel sorry for me now because I’m ill. Well, very soon I’ll feel sorry for you, because I’ll be beyond you all!’ Heathcliff turned towards her, his fierce eyes wet. For a moment they looked at each other, and then they were in each other’s arms again. No one could have separated them.

‘How cruel you’ve been to me, Catherine!’ he cried wildly. ‘You loved me, so why did you marry Edgar Linton? It’s all your fault! / haven’t broken your heart, you’ve broken it! And you’ve broken mine too! Do you think I want to live after you are dead?’ ‘If I’ve done wrong, I’m dying for it!’ sobbed Catherine. ‘It’s your fault too, Heathcliff! You left me, remember? But I forgive you. Now forgive me!’

‘It’s hard to forgive, when I look at your sad eyes, and feel your thin hands. Kiss me again, Catherine! I forgive you for making me suffer, but how can I forgive you for dying?’

Catherine sobbed quietly, hiding her face in his shoulder, and tears rolled down Heathcliff’s dark face.

Suddenly I noticed, through the window, the servants coming back from church. I was afraid Mr Edgar would find Heathcliff with Catherine.

‘My master will be here in a moment,’ I warned them.

‘I must go, Catherine,’ said Heathcliff.

‘No, no!’ she screamed. ‘Don’t go! It’s the last time! Edgar won’t hurt us! Heathcliff, I’ll die if you go!’

‘All right, my darling, I’ll stay. If he shot me in your arms, I’d die happy.’

At that moment my master appeared at the door. When he saw Heathcliff holding his wife, he went pale with anger.

‘Here, take care of her first,’ said Heathcliff, putting Catherine in her husband’s arms, ‘then speak to me later if you wish.’ He walked out of the house.

Catherine seemed to be unconscious, and Mr Edgar was so

worried about her that he forgot about Heathcliff for the moment. She recovered a little, but did not recognize any of us, and was clearly very ill. We put her to bed immediately, and at twelve o’clock that night her daughter, Cathy, was born, two months early. That’s the young lady you saw at Wuthering Heights, Mr Lockwood. Two hours later, Catherine died, without calling for Heathcliff, or recognizing Edgar. My poor master was in the depths of despair. I thought it was very unfortunate that Catherine had only given him a daughter, not a son. Now the Linton fortune would pass to Isabella and her husband after Mr Edgar’s death.

Catherine’s dead body lay peacefully on her bed. In death she looked more beautiful than in life. I wondered if she was now ‘beyond us all’, as she had said, and hoped that her soul had found a home with God.

In the morning I went to look for Heathcliff. I found him in the Grange garden, where he had been waiting for news all night.

‘She’s dead, I know!’ he called to me as I came closer. ‘Don’t cry, she doesn’t need your tears! Tell me - tell me, how did — ?’ He tried to say her name, but could not manage it. ‘How did she die?’ he said at last, staring fiercely at me. ‘Don’t be sorry for me, I don’t want your pity!’ ‘Poor creature!’ I thought. ‘You have a heart just like other men, but you are too proud to show it!’

Aloud I said, ‘She died quietly, in her sleep. Her life finished in a gentle dream. I hope she wakes as calmly in the other world!’

‘Where are you, Catherine?’ he cried in despair. ‘Don’t leave me here, where I can’t find you! I pray that you will never rest while I’m alive. You said I killed you - haunt me then! Murdered people do haunt their murderers, I believe. Come back as a ghost - drive me mad - I don’t care! Oh, God! I can’t bear it! I cannot live without you, my soul!’

He howled like a wild animal, and hit his forehead several times against a tree, until the wood was covered in blood. I knew I could no longer help him, so I left him.

Catherine was buried the following Friday. Her brother Hindley, although invited, did not come, and Isabella was not invited, so it was only Mr Edgar and the servants who attended the ceremony. To our surprise, she was not buried in the church with the Lintons, nor with the Earnshaws. She lies in an open corner of the churchyard, where she can breathe the air from the moors. Her husband’s grave is next to hers.

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