Книга: Грозовой перевал / Wuthering Heights (легко читаем по-английски)
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Catherine and her Cousins

The next twelve years were the happiest of my life. Young Catherine was such a lively, affectionate little girl that no one close to her could stay sad for long. She was a beautiful child, with the Earnshaws’ dark eyes and the Lintons’ delicate features and golden hair. I have to admit that she had her faults – she had inherited her mother’s temper, and hated being contradicted, but she was so loveable that we almost always allowed her to have her own way

Mr. Edgar and his daughter were very close. He was her only teacher, and she was such a fast learner that her lessons were a pleasure for them both. Until Catherine was thirteen, she had never been beyond the walls of Thrushcross Park, except for short walks with her father, or to go to church. As far as she knew, Mr. Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights simply didn’t exist. She and her father lived like hermits and, for a long while, she seemed perfectly happy with her isolated life.


Then, one evening, I noticed Catherine looking out over the moors.

«Nelly, how long will it be before I can walk to the top of those hills?» she asked. «I wish I knew what lies on the other side of them – is it the sea?»

«No, Miss Catherine. It’s hills again, just like these.»

«And how does it feel to stand under those golden rocks?» she said, pointing up to Peniston Crags.

«They’re not so wonderful as they look from down here, miss,» I said firmly, «and the hill on which they stand is very hard to climb.»



«Oh, so you’ve been up there!» she cried excitedly. «And can I go too, when I’m older? Has papa climbed up to those rocks as well?»

«Your father would tell you that they’re not worth visiting. The fields where you walk with him are much nicer, and Thrushcross Park is the finest place in the world.»

«But I know every bit of the park,» she murmured to herself, «and I would love to see the view from those hills. I’m sure my pony Minny could take me there easily.»

Once she’d started to dream about Peniston Crags, young Catherine wouldn’t let the idea drop. She begged her father again and again to take her up to the Crags, and every few months she would ask him the same question, «Now, am I old enough to climb to the Crags?»

Edgar dreaded the thought of his precious daughter passing close to Wuthering Heights, so he kept giving the answer, «Not yet, my love, not yet.»


Isabella Heathcliff lived for twelve years after leaving her husband. None of the Lintons were strong, and I believe she died from a kind of fever. Before she died, she wrote to her brother begging him to visit her in London. She wanted to say goodbye, and to hand over her son Linton to him. Even though Edgar hated leaving home, he immediately set off for London and left me in charge of Catherine, repeating his orders that she must not be allowed to leave the park.

Edgar was away for three weeks. For the first few days, Catherine sat in a corner of the library, too sad to play or even to read a book, but she soon became bored and restless. I was much too busy to look after her all day, so I told her to go out for a ride on her pony, never imagining that she would leave the park. Catherine asked me to pack a picnic for her so she could stay out all day. Then she set off on her pony with the dogs running behind her. I told her to ride carefully and be back soon after lunch, but the naughty thing never appeared for her tea.

I set out to find her, but when I reached the park gates, a workman told me he’d seen her jumping the wall and galloping out of sight.


I was sure that Catherine was heading for Peniston Crags. I covered the miles as fast as I could and, after about an hour of heavy climbing, I reached the path that led to Wuthering Heights. The Crags were still a mile and a half beyond the house, and I began to be afraid that it would be completely dark before I reached them.

«What if she tried to climb the rocks,» I thought to myself, «and slipped and broke her leg?» I was becoming desperate when I noticed, to my great relief, one of Miss Catherine’s dogs running out of the farmhouse to meet me.

I raced up to the house and hammered on the door, which was opened by Zillah, the housemaid at the Heights.

«Ah,» she said,» I see you’ve come for your little mistress! Don’t be frightened. She’s here, safe and sound

«And is Heathcliff at home?» I panted, breathless with fear.

«No, no,» she replied. «He won’t be back for an hour or more. Come in and rest for a while.»

I entered the room and saw my precious Catherine, sitting on a rocking chair that used to be her mother’s. She seemed perfectly at home, and was laughing and talking to Hareton, who was now a strong, handsome lad of eighteen. He was staring at her, open-mouthed with astonishment, as she chattered away to him cheerfully.

«Well, miss!» I said, as sternly as I could. «This is your last ride until your papa comes back. I won’t trust you outside the house again, you naughty, naughty girl!»

«But, Nelly!» she cried, ignoring my bad temper. «I’ve had such a great adventure. Have you ever been here in your life before?»

«Put on your hat and come home at once,» I said firmly. «I’m very cross with you, Miss Catherine. What do you think your father will say when he hears you’ve been sneaking off like this!»

«But what have I done?» she sobbed. «Papa won’t be angry with me. He’s never cross, like you!»

«Come on,» I repeated. «Let’s get away now.»

But Catherine had dodged away from me and was skipping around the room, hiding behind the furniture. Hareton was laughing, and Catherine was growing more and more impertinent.


«Well, Miss Catherine,» I cried out in anger, «if you only knew whose house this was you’d be glad enough to leave.»

«It’s your father’s, isn’t it?» she said, turning to Hareton.

«No,» he replied, looking down sulkily.

«Whose then – your master’s?»

He swore and turned away.

«Nelly, who is this boy?» she said, turning to me. «He talked about ‘our house’ so I thought he must be the owner’s son. But if he’s a servant he should call me ‘miss’, shouldn’t he?»

This made Hareton turn as black as a thundercloud.

«Now, go and get my horse,» Catherine said, ordering Hareton around as if he were a stable boy. «What’s the matter with you? Get my horse, I say.»

«You saucy witch, I won’t be your servant!» Hareton growled.

Catherine stared at him in astonishment. «How dare you speak to me like that? Why don’t you do as I tell you!»

«Now, miss,» interrupted Zillah, «you really should treat him better than that. Mr. Hareton is your cousin, and it’s not his job to serve you.»

«He can’t be my cousin!» Catherine cried, with a scornful laugh. «Papa has just gone to London to fetch my cousin and he’s a gentleman’s son, not a farm boy like him!»

I was very angry with Catherine and Zillah. Now Heathcliff would be bound to hear that Linton was coming to live at the Grange, and Catherine would be sure to ask her father about Hareton. On our walk back to the Grange, I explained to Catherine that if her father discovered she had been up at the Heights, he might be so angry with me that he would send me away. The dear girl couldn’t bear to think of that, so she promised to keep quiet about her adventures on the moors.


A few days later, we heard from Mr. Edgar that he was coming home and bringing Linton with him. Catherine was wild with joy at the idea of welcoming her father back, and meeting her ‘real’ cousin. She couldn’t wait to have someone of her own age to play with.

But, when the carriage arrived, Linton stayed huddled in the corner and took no notice of his excited cousin. He was a pale, delicate-looking boy – very much like his uncle at the same age, but with a sickly, peevish expression that Edgar had never had. Even though it was summer, he was wrapped in a warm, fur-lined cloak, and he shrank away from Catherine, whining that he just wanted to go to bed.

Edgar carried Linton into the house and sat him on a chair, where he immediately started to cry again.

«I can’t sit on that chair,» he sobbed. «It’s much too hard.»

«Lie on the sofa, then, and Nelly will bring you some tea,» his uncle answered patiently.

Catherine pulled up a footstool and sat beside her cousin. At first she was silent, trying not to trouble him, but soon she decided to make a pet of him, and started stroking his curls and kissing his cheeks and offering him tea in a saucer, just like a baby. This pleased the feeble boy, who dried his eyes and gave a faint smile.


«This will be good for the boy,» Edgar said cheerfully. «And he’ll soon grow stronger, with another child to keep him company.»

«If only we can keep him with us!» I thought to myself.

Later that evening, old Joseph arrived from Wuthering Heights and asked to speak to my master.

«Heathcliff has sent for his lad» he announced, «and I must bring him back with me tonight.»

Edgar was silent for a moment. He wanted to do his best to protect his sister’s child, but he knew he couldn’t refuse Linton’s father.

«Tell Mr. Heathcliff,» he said, «that his son will come to Wuthering Heights tomorrow. He’s in bed now and I won’t let him go till the morning.»

«No!» shouted Joseph, thumping the table. «I must take him with me now!»

«You won’t take him tonight,» answered Edgar firmly. «Now go and tell your master what I said.» «Very well!» growled Joseph, as he left the room.

«But if you don’t send the lad tomorrow, Heathcliff will come himself and take him home.»


At five o’clock the next morning, I went in to wake young Linton. He was very unhappy at the thought of another journey, but I tried to comfort him by telling him how excited his father was to meet him.

«My father!» he cried in amazement. «Mama never told me I had a father. I’d much rather stay here with Uncle Edgar.»

Eventually, I persuaded him to come with me, and we set off on horseback across the moors. All the way there, Linton kept asking me questions about his father, and I struggled to answer him as truthfully as I dared.

When we arrived at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, Joseph and Hareton all came out of the house to stare at Linton.

«Surely,» said Joseph, «that can’t be a boy? Mr. Edgar’s sent you a girl instead!»

Heathcliff gave a scornful laugh. «My God! What a beauty! What a lovely, charming thing! This is even worse than I expected!»

I helped the trembling boy down from his horse, and he clung to me and sobbed, but Heathcliff dragged him roughly away.

«I hope you’ll be kind to him,» I told Heathcliff fiercely, «or he won’t live long. And he’s the only family you have in the world.»

«Oh, I’ll look after him, don’t you worry,» he replied, laughing. «I want him to inherit Thrushcross Grange one day. And I’ll make sure he’s brought up like a gentleman. But I can’t say I’ll be proud of such a pale-faced, whining wretch!»

So I left poor Linton up at the Heights, and returned home sadly, not knowing when I’d see him again. Miss Catherine was bitterly disappointed to find that her young cousin had gone to stay with his father, and for a few weeks she asked about him every day. But eventually she forgot all about him, and life at the Grange returned to normal.


Whenever I saw Zillah in Gimmerton, I asked her about Linton. She told me he was often ill and always complaining. Heathcliff despised his son for being such a weakling, and hated the way he looked like Edgar. But he obviously had a plan for the boy. Zillah was given instructions to feed him only the finest food and to give him all the books he wanted.

Meanwhile, down at the Grange, life continued peacefully until Miss Catherine was sixteen years old. We never celebrated her birthday, because it was also the day that her mother had died. Mr. Edgar always spent the day alone, and Catherine was left to please herself. So, on the morning of her sixteenth birthday, she came downstairs ready for a walk on the moors with me.

It was a beautiful spring day, and I was happy to enjoy the sunshine while Catherine bounded ahead of me, searching for a moorhen’s nest in the heather.



Before I realized it, we were nearly up at the Heights. I called to her to turn back, but she was too far away to hear me, and when I caught up with her at last, I saw she was talking to two men. I recognized them immediately as Heathcliff and Hareton.

«Miss Catherine,» I panted, «we must go home immediately.»

But Catherine refused. «This gentleman has asked me to go back to his house and meet his son. He says I’ve met him before, but I don’t think that can be right, do you?»

And before I could stop her, Catherine was off, scampering towards the house with Hareton running after her.

«Heathcliff, this is very wrong,» I said to him angrily. «You know Mr. Edgar will be furious if Catherine sees Linton again.»

«But I want her to see Linton,» Heathcliff replied. «It’s part of my plan. I want the two cousins to fall in love and marry. Then Catherine will inherit the Grange with Linton – now isn’t that a generous plan?»

«And if they marry, but Linton dies,» I asked, «would Catherine then inherit the Grange?»

«No, she would not. My son’s property would go to me, but it still suits me to see them married.»

I was very angry with Heathcliff, and afraid for Catherine, but by now we had reached the Heights and it was too late.


Linton was standing in front of the fire.

«Now, who’s that?» asked Mr. Heathcliff, turning to Catherine. «Can you tell?»

«Your son?» she asked doubtfully.

«Yes, yes,» he answered, «but don’t you remember seeing him before? Linton, I’m sure you remember your cousin – you were always asking to see her!»

«What, Linton?» cried Catherine joyfully. «Is that little Linton? He’s taller than I am now! Are you really Linton?»

The boy stepped forward and they both gazed at each other in wonder. Catherine had become a real beauty, sparkling with health and fun, and Linton was tall and graceful-looking, but very pale and thin.

Catherine turned to Heathcliff. «So you must be my uncle! Why don’t you ever visit us at the Grange?»

«I visited it once too often before you were born,» he answered. «Your father and I had a terrible argument, and now he hates me. If you say you’ve been here, he’ll never let you come again.»

«Well, if I’m not allowed here, then Linton can come to the Grange,» said Catherine happily.

«It’ll be too far for me,» whined her cousin. «It would kill me to walk four miles.»

Heathcliff looked scornfully at his son.

«I’m afraid my plan will never work,» he muttered to me. «How could Catherine fall in love with a weakling like him?»

Linton certainly seemed a selfish, feeble boy. He refused to show his cousin around the farm, so Hareton gladly took the job instead.


While Catherine and Hareton were out, and Linton was huddled over the fire, Heathcliff revealed some more of his feelings to me.

«All my life I’ve wanted to have my revenge on Hindley for treating me so badly when I was young. And now I’ve done it. His son Hareton is as rough and sullen as I used to be. Or even worse… because he can’t even read his own name!

«But I can’t help seeing that Hareton is a son to be proud of, while my son is just a weak, moaning baby. But at least Linton is a gentleman. He will be rich and marry Catherine, and then I will enjoy watching him make her wretched. I want to make Edgar’s daughter suffer, and my selfish son will certainly do that job for me.»

While we were talking, Linton had gone to join Catherine and Hareton outside, and I could hear the two younger ones laughing at Hareton for his rough way of talking. As I listened to Linton mocking Hareton, I began to feel less sorry for him and even started to dislike the boy.

The next day, Catherine told her father all about our visit. He was very distressed by the news and warned her tokeep well away from the Heights. Edgar was afraid that Catherine might be in danger from one of Heathcliff’s plots. But he hated to talk about Heathcliff, so he didn’t explain any of his fears to her. When Catherine begged her father to let her visit Linton, he refused to allow it, and this made her puzzled and upset.


Over the next few weeks, I noticed that Catherine had become very fond of sneaking off into corners to read by herself. She started getting up early and hanging around the kitchen when the milk was being delivered, and she had a drawer full of papers, which she kept locked up all the time.

In the end, I decided I had better find out what was happening. So one day, while Catherine was out, I found a key to open her drawer, and pulled out a pile of letters. I was horrified to see that they were love letters from Linton – shy and embarrassed at first, but then becoming more passionate, and some of them clearly written by Heathcliff. The two cousins had been writing to each other for weeks, and Catherine had been using the milk delivery boy as their messenger.

As soon as I could, I asked Miss Catherine about the letters. She sobbed and sulked, and said that she really loved Linton, but I was not impressed.

«Do you call that love?» I cried scornfully. «I’ve never heard anything so stupid! I might just as well talk of loving the miller who comes once a year to buy our corn. You’ve hardly seen Linton for more than four hours in your life!»

After a lot of argument, Catherine finally agreed not to write any more, and we burned the letters together. The next morning I sent a very different message to young Linton.



I sincerely hoped that this would be the last we heard of Linton.

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