Книга: Грозовой перевал / Wuthering Heights (легко читаем по-английски)
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Return to the Heights

The weather was frosty but bright when I rode up to Wuthering Heights, carrying a note from Nelly for young Mrs. Heathcliff. Hareton Earnshaw opened the door and I had a good look at him – he was certainly the most handsome farm worker I’d ever seen. I thought he looked intelligent and kind, in spite of the way that Heathcliff had treated him.

Hareton led me into the kitchen, where Catherine was busy chopping up vegetables. She didn’t even bother to look up when I came in.

«Well,» I thought to myself, «she may be beautiful, but she’s certainly no angel.»

As I passed Catherine’s chair, I dropped Nelly’s note in front of her, but Hareton had noticed it and grabbed it up quickly.

«Mr. Heathcliff will want to look at this,» he said, stuffing it into his pocket. But then Catherine started to cry. As soon as he saw her tears, Hareton weakened and passed the letter over to her. It was obvious he couldn’t bear to make her sad.


Catherine read through the letter several times, and asked me many questions about life at the Grange. «Please tell Nelly,» she said, «that I would love to answer her letter, but I have no paper and pencils. Heathcliff has taken everything away from me – even my books.»

«No books!» I exclaimed. «How do you manage to live here without anything to read?»

«I used to read all the time but, when Heathcliff realized my books made me happy, he took them away from me. I’ve searched all over the house for them but they’ve gone – all except a few in Hareton’s room. But I can’t see why he needs them because he’s such a dunce he can’t even read!»

Hareton blushed crimson and I decided to come to his rescue.

«Perhaps he is learning to read?» I suggested.

«Well, he has a lot to learn,» said Catherine scornfully. «You should hear the stupid mistakes he makes – they make me want to laugh out loud!»

Hareton took a deep breath and left the room. In a few minutes he was back again with a pile of books, which he threw on the floor. «Why don’t you take them now?» he said, pale with rage. «I never want to see them again!»

«Well I don’t want them either,» Catherine replied spitefully. «I hate them now because they make me think of you.»

Hareton gathered up the books and threw them into the fire. Then he stormed out of the room.


As Hareton left the kitchen, Heathcliff arrived. He seemed moody and restless, and he was much thinner than the last time I had seen him.

«I’ve come to tell you that I’m leaving the Grange,» I announced. «I’ll pay the rest of my rent, but I’ll be gone within a few days.»

«So, Mr. Lockwood, you’re tired of the moors already,» Heathcliff replied. «But stay and have lunch with us before you go. A guest who is not in danger of coming again, is always welcome here.»

So Heathcliff, Hareton and I sat down to lunch in the sitting room, while Catherine was banished to the kitchen to eat with the servants. It was not a cheerful meal. Heathcliff was grim and surly, and Hareton was completely silent. As soon as it was over I set out for the Grange. I was happy to think I would never see Wuthering Heights again.


I had been away from Thrushcross Grange for six months when I happened to be passing through Yorkshire once more. I wasn’t in a hurry so I decided to stay the night at Gimmerton, and visit my old housekeeper and friend, Nelly Dean. But when I arrived at the Grange, a strange woman opened the door. She told me Nelly had moved up to the Heights, so I set off once more on the familiar path across the moors.


As I approached the Heights, I was surprised to see flowers growing in the garden. The doors and windows were wide open and I could see two young people inside, sitting at a table.

«Now read it again,» said a voice as sweet as a bell, «and this time get it right, or I’ll pull your hair!»

«I’ll try one more time,» answered a deep voice, «but you must kiss me if I get it right.»

Then the young man began to read. His handsome features glowed with pleasure, and his eyes kept wandering from the page to a small white hand resting on his knee. I watched while he finished the passage and claimed his reward from his beautiful teacher. Then I left them and went to find Nelly.

I soon found my old friend sewing in the kitchen. She was delighted to see me.

«But why have you moved to Wuthering Heights, Nelly?» I asked. «And where is your master, Mr. Heathcliff?»

«Oh, he’s dead, sir,» she replied. «He died three months ago.»

«Heathcliff dead!» I couldn’t believe it. «But tell me, Nelly, how did it happen?»

The good woman fetched me a drink and then settled down to her story…


A few weeks after you left us, I was summoned to the Heights. It seemed that Heathcliff hated the sight of Catherine – I think she reminded him too much of her mother – so he wanted me to keep her away from him. We were given a small room at the back of the house and I brought a great number of books with me to keep her amused. At first, Catherine was happy just to be with me, but then she grew restless in her prison. Heathcliff wouldn’t even allow her to walk in the garden and she hated being indoors all day. Apart from me, her only companion was Hareton, who often came to sit with us. But I don’t know how he stood it, because Catherine teased him terribly for being so dull and stupid.

Then, one day, Catherine decided to be friendly to Hareton. She apologized to her cousin for treating him so badly, and worked out a clever way of helping him to read. Each day, she read to him from one of her books but, just as the story was becoming really exciting, she deliberately broke off and left him longing to read the rest. Then she helped him to stumble over the sentences until he had finished the story for himself.

I can’t say that Catherine is a patient teacher and Hareton has a great deal to learn, but each day he improves and the two of them grow closer and closer. Now, when I see them together it’s like a dream come true, and I’ll be the happiest woman in England on the day that they get married!

But I must get back to my story…


At first, Heathcliff didn’t realize what was happening to the cousins, but then one lunchtime old Joseph rushed into the kitchen.

«Now look what that little fiend has made the boy do!» he roared. «He’s pulled up my fruit bushes to plant her stupid flowers!»

«Hareton, can you explain yourself?» asked Heathcliff.

But Catherine interrupted. «It was my fault,» she admitted bravely. «I asked him to do it. I thought it would be nice to have some flowers there.»

«And who gave you permission for that?» growled Heathcliff.

«I think you should let us have a piece of garden for ourselves. After all, you’ve stolen all my land and Hareton’s too! He and I are friends now, and you can’t treat us badly any longer.»

Heathcliff turned very pale and stood up suddenly, staring at her.

«If you hit me, Hareton will hit you back,» she said, «and he’s just as strong as you. He won’t obey you any more. Soon he’ll hate you as much as I do.»

«Please stop, Catherine,» muttered Hareton. «I don’t want to quarrel with Heathcliff.»

But it was too late. Heathcliff had grabbed Catherine by the arm, his eyes flashing like a wild beast’s, ready to tear her to pieces. Catherine stared back at him defiantly, and I was just about to try rescuing her when Heathcliff’s fingers suddenly relaxed, and he gazed intently into her face as if he had seen a ghost. Then he drew his hand over his eyes and stood still as a stone.

«You must learn not to make me angry,» he said in a quiet, shaken voice, «or I’ll end up murdering you. Now, go away all of you, and leave me alone!»

Then he went out and didn’t come back until very late.


When Heathcliff returned, the cousins were sitting side by side, looking at a book. As he came into the kitchen, they looked up at him together with the same dark eyes – eyes which were just like Cathy Earnshaw’s – and I saw Heathcliff give a deep sigh. Then they escaped into the garden and I was left alone with him.

«This is a ridiculous end, don’t you think, Nelly?» he observed. «I’ve worked all my life to destroy the Earnshaws and the Lintons. I’ve won all their money and their land, but now that I have them completely in my power, I no longer care about my revenge. What’s the use of destroying them now?»

Heathcliff paced around the room. «Something is happening to me, Nelly. I can feel a strange change coming in my life, and its shadow is hanging over me. I’m not interested in living any more – I can hardly even remember to eat or drink. I hate to see Catherine and Hareton because they remind me so much of Cathy. But then – everything I see reminds me of her! I see her in every cloud and tree. Wherever I go, I’m surrounded by her.»

«What do you mean by a change?» I said. «You’re not ill, are you, sir?»

«No, I’m not ill, Nelly. In fact, I’m ridiculously strong. But I no longer want to live. I can’t carry on like this. I have to remind myself to breathe – almost remind my heart to beat! I have just one wish that I’ve wanted for so long. It’s a long fight, and I wish that it could be over!»

Then he began to pace around the room again, muttering terrible things to himself.

After that day, we hardly saw Heathcliff. He stopped eating meals with us and spent most of his time out on the moors. Sometimes he stayed out all night, and when he came home in the morning he was smiling and shivering, as if he was possessed by a strange, wild happiness. There were times when he would stop breathing for as much as half a minute. Then he would gaze into the distance with glittering, restless eyes, as though he was looking at something the rest of us couldn’t see.


After a few weeks of wanderings, Heathcliff locked himself in Cathy’s old room. He spent most of his days and nights in there, but from the terrible moans that I heard, I don’t think he slept at all. One evening, he came downstairs, looking gaunt and wild, and began pacing up and down in front of the fire. I begged him to rest and have something to eat, but it was no use.

«Nelly,» he said desperately, «you can’t stop me now. I’ve been in hell for eighteen years, and now at last I’m in sight of my heaven. I can see it waiting for me!

«I can’t rest now, Nelly, although I’m so tired. You may as well tell a man who’s struggling through the sea to rest within an arm’s length of the shore! I must reach it first, and then I’ll rest. So keep well away from me now, Nelly! So long as you keep away, you’ll see nothing to frighten you.»

I obeyed my master’s orders and stayed away from his room all day, trying hard to ignore his terrible sobs and groans. But the next day, when he still didn’t appear, I sent Hareton to the village to fetch Doctor Kenneth. When the doctor arrived, though, Heathcliff refused to unlock his door and shouted out so fiercely that he went away again.


That night was very stormy and wet, and when I walked through the garden the next morning, I was surprised to see the window of Cathy’s old room swinging wide open. «If Heathcliff is in bed,» I thought to myself, «he’ll be drenched right through

I decided I had to open the door, whatever my master said, so I took a bunch of keys and tried them all until I found the one that worked.

Heathcliff was lying on the bed, his eyes wide open and staring, and it seemed that he was smiling at me! His face and clothes were dripping with rain and he was completely still. When I stretched out my hand to touch him, he was as cold as ice. There was no doubt that Heathcliff was dead.

I fastened the window and combed my master’s long, black hair away from his forehead. Then I tried to close his eyes, but they wouldn’t stay shut. I cried out for Joseph, but the old man refused to touch the body.

«See, the devil has taken his soul,» he cried. «Look how wicked he is, smiling at death!» Then he sank down on his knees to pray.

Hareton was very sad about Heathcliff’s death, even though he had treated him so badly, but no one else mourned for him at all. On the day of Heathcliff’s funeral, only Hareton and I were there to watch him buried next to his beloved Cathy, just as he had wished.


At this point, Nelly stopped her story, and her face broke into a smile. «The next time I go to Gimmerton Church, Mr. Lockwood, it will be for a much more cheerful occasion. Hareton and Catherine will be married on New Year’s Day, and then they will go to live at Thrushcross Grange.»

«So what will happen to Wuthering Heights?» I asked.

«Old Joseph will stay on there, and live in the kitchen, but the rest of the house will be shut up, and left to its ghosts.»


On my way back to Gimmerton, I walked through the churchyard, looking for three stones. They were easy to find, standing together in the corner of the graveyard, close to the edge of the moor. Cathy’s stone was half buried in plants and moss, and some plants were starting to creep over Edgar’s grave beside it. But Heathcliff’s stone, on the other side of Cathy’s, was still bare and new.

Some people say that they have seen the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff, wandering hand-in-hand over the moors. But I would like to think that they are now at peace. I stayed by their graves for a long while on that beautiful summer’s evening, watching the butterflies flutter though the heather and listening to the wind breathe softly through the grass. And I imagined the sleepers resting peacefully at last, silent and still under that quiet earth.

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