فصل 11

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فصل 11

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Chapter 11

Isabella escapes

that Friday evening the wind changed, and brought first rain, then snow. Next morning the spring flowers were all hidden under deep snow. Mr Edgar stayed in his room. I was in the sitting-room with the baby, when I was surprised to hear a girl’s voice behind me. I turned round, and saw it was Isabella Heathcliff. I was quite shocked by her appearance. Her hair was loose, and wet with snow and rain. She wore a light silk dress and thin shoes, which did not seem at all suitable for a long walk in the snow. Under her ear was a deep wound, which was bleeding. Her face was scratched and bruised, and she looked very tired. I could see that she was expecting a baby.

‘I’ve run all the way here from Wuthering Heights,’ she said, gasping for breath. ‘I couldn’t count how many times I’ve fallen down! Ellen, please ask a maid to find some dry clothes for me, and then I’ll go on to the village. I’m not staying here.’ ‘First, my dear young lady,’ I told her, ‘you’ll get warm and dry, and I’ll put a bandage on that wound. Then we’ll have some tea.’ She was so exhausted that she let me help her without protesting, and finally we sat down together near the fire with our cups of tea.

‘Oh, Ellen,’ she said, ‘I cried bitterly when I heard of Catherine’s death, you know. And Heathcliff is desperately sad! But I can’t feel sorry for him. This is the last thing of his I’ve got,1 and she took off her gold wedding-ring and threw it in the fire. ‘I’ll never go back to him. But I can’t stay here, in case he comes to find me. And anyway I don’t want to beg for Edgar’s help, or make trouble for him. To escape from Heathcliff I must go a long way away. How could Catherine have liked him, Ellen? I wish he would die, and then I could forget him completely!’ ‘Don’t say that,’ I protested, ‘he’s a human being. There are worse men than him in the world!’

‘He isn’t human,’ she replied. ‘I gave him my heart, and he

destroyed it, so I can’t feel pity for him. But I must tell you how I managed to escape. Hindley Earnshaw should have been at Catherine’s burial yesterday, but he had been drinking so much that he couldn’t go. Last night he and I were sitting silently in the kitchen at about midnight, when Heathcliff came home. Hindley decided to lock the doors so that Heathcliff could not get in. He told me his plan was to murder his hated guest that night, with the weapon he had shown me. I hate Heathcliff too, but I could not agree to murder, so I called out a warning from the kitchen window. Heathcliff swore horribly at me and broke one of the windows. Hindley put his right arm out through the hole, with the gun in it, and aimed it at his enemy. But before he could fire, Heathcliff caught hold of the gun and pulled it away from Hindley. The knife cut into Hindley’s wrist, and blood poured out. Heathcliff jumped into the kitchen through the window, and started kicking and hitting Hindley, who was lying unconscious on the kitchen floor.

‘I ran off to find Joseph. When we came back, Heathcliff was putting a bandage on Hindley’s wrist. Joseph was shocked at the sight of his master, and would have gone to the police, if Heathcliff hadn’t forced me to describe what happened. I had to agree that Hindley had certainly attacked Heathcliff first.

‘The next day, I decided to have my revenge on Heathcliff, by telling Hindley that ‘that devil’ had hit and kicked him when he was unconscious. And I told Heathcliff to his face that he could never have made Catherine happy, if she had been his wife. This made him so angry that he threw a knife at me, which cut my neck, and then he rushed towards me, swearing violently. I knew I had to get away quickly, and as I ran out of the kitchen, I saw Hindley attack Heathcliff. Both of them were rolling on the floor, fighting. I came over the moors through the snow to the Grange. At last I’m free! And I shall never, never spend another night at Wuthering Heights.’

After drinking her tea, Isabella left the Grange. From our village she travelled by coach to the south, where she made her new home near London. There, a few months later, she had a son. She called him Linton.

Heathcliff must have discovered this from the servants. One day when I saw him in the village, he said, i hear I’ve got a son, Ellen, whose name’s Linton! I suppose Isabella wants me to hate him! She can keep him for the moment. But tell Edgar Linton I’ll have the boy one day! He’s mine!’ After Catherine’s death my poor master, Mr Edgar, was a changed man. He no longer went to church, or saw any friends. He occasionally went for lonely walks on the moors, and regularly visited his wife’s grave. But fortunately Catherine had left him something of herself, her daughter Cathy. This tiny child soon won his heart.

It’s strange, Mr Lockwood, to compare Hindley and Edgar. They both lost their wives, and were left with a child. Hindley did not believe in God, and showed no interest in his son Hareton. But Edgar believed, and loved his daughter Cathy deeply.

Hindley himself died six months after his sister Catherine. We never discovered exactly what happened, but Heathcliff said he had drunk himself to death. It appeared that Heathcliff had won Hindley’s house, land and money from him when playing cards, so be was now the master of Wuthering Heights. Hareton inherited nothing from his father, and could only stay on at Wuthering Heights as a servant, working for the man who had been his father’s enemy.

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