فصل 16

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فصل 16

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CHAPTER 16

Cathy becomes a widow on the evening after the burial, Heathcliff came to fetch Cathy.

‘Why not let her stay here with me?’ I begged.

‘I’m looking for someone to rent the Grange from me,’ he answered. ‘You’ll stay on here as housekeeper, Ellen, but Cathy must come to Wuthering Heights. From now on she’ll have to work for her food.’

‘I shall work,’ replied Cathy. ‘And I’ll look after Linton. He’s all I’ve got to love in the world. I’m just sorry for you, Mr Heathcliff. You have nobody to love you! You are as lonely and miserable as the devil! Nobody will cry for you when you die! I’m glad I’m not you!’ ‘Go and get your clothes, you wicked girl,’ he said. ‘We’ll be leaving in a few minutes.’ When she had gone, he walked across the room to look at the picture of Cathy’s mother, Catherine, which was hanging on the wall.

‘Do you know what I did yesterday, Ellen?’ he said, turning quickly away from the picture. ‘I went to the churchyard, and asked the man who was digging Edgar’s grave to open the lid of Catherine’s coffin for me. Her face looked just the same! I could not stop looking at her. When the man closed the lid, I broke open one side of her coffin, the side away from Edgar’s grave, and covered it up with earth. And I bribed the man to bury me there when I die, next to her, and to take the side of my coffin away too, so that I shall have her in my arms, not Edgar!’ ‘You were very wicked, Mr Heathcliff, to disturb the dead!’

‘I disturbed nobody, Ellen, and I feel much happier now. She is the one who has disturbed me. For eighteen years she has haunted me. You know I was wild, almost mad, after she died. For days I prayed for her ghost to return to me. On the day of her burial, I went to her grave in the evening. There was a bitter wind, and snow on the ground. I wanted so much to have her in my arms again! So I dug down through the loose earth to her coffin, and was about to pull the lid off, when I felt a warm breath on my face. She seemed to be with me, not in the earth, but close to me. I was so happy that she was with me again! I filled in the grave, and ran eagerly home to the Heights. I looked impatiently round for her. I could feel her but I could not see her! And since then, she has played plenty of tricks on me like that. When I sleep in her bedroom, I can hear her outside the window, or entering the room, or even breathing close to me, but when I open my eyes, I’m always disappointed. Slowly, slowly, she’s killing me, with the ghost of a hope that’s lasted eighteen years!’ He was talking almost to himself, so I did not answer. When Cathy came in, he stood up, ready to go.

‘Goodbye, Ellen!’ whispered my dear little mistress. ‘Come and visit me!’ As she kissed me, her face felt as cold as ice.

‘Oh, no you won’t, Ellen!’ said Heathcliff. ‘I’ll send for you if I want you!’ and together they left the Grange.

I haven’t seen Cathy since then. Once I went to the Heights to visit her, but I was not allowed to see her. About six weeks ago I had a long conversation with Zillah, the housekeeper, who gave me news of Cathy. It appeared that, when she arrived at the Heights, she did her best to look after her sick husband. He was obviously dying, although Heathcliff refused to call the doctor. Only a few weeks after her arrival, Linton died in the night, with only Cathy by his bedside. Heathcliff inherited all of Linton’s, and what had been Cathy’s, fortune, so Cathy is now very poor.

She must be very miserable, and very lonely, in that dark, unpleasant house. Heathcliff hates her, and Joseph and Zillah don’t speak to her, because they think she’s too proud. Poor Hareton would like to be friendly with her, but she scorns him because he’s uneducated. I would like to leave my job here, rent a little cottage and ask Cathy to come and live with me, but Mr Heathcliff will never permit that. Of course, if she married again, she could leave that house, but I can’t arrange that.

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