Heathcliff leaning over the fire, diverting herself with burning a bundle of matches which had fallen from the chimney-piece as she restored the tea-canister to its place
“Well, yes-oh, you would intimate that her spirit has taken the post of ministering angel, and guards the fortunes of Wuthering Heights, even when her body is gone. Is that it?”
I might have seen there was too great a disparity between the ages of the parties to make it likely that they were man and wife. One was about forty: a period of mental vigour at which men seldom cherish the delusion of being is reserved for the solace of our declining years. The other did not look seventeen.
Then it flashed upon me-“The clown at my elbow, who is drinking his tea out of a basin and eating his bread with unwashed hands, may be her husband: Heathcliff junior, of course. Here is the consequence of being buried alive: she has thrown herself away upon that boor from sheer ignorance that better individuals existed! A sad pity-I must beware how I cause her to regret her choice.” The last reflection may seem conceited; it was not. My neighbour struck me as bordering on repulsive; I knew, through experience, that I was tolerably attractive.
“Mrs. Heathcliff is my daughter-in-law,” said Heathcliff, corroborating my surmise. He turned, as he spoke, a peculiar look in her direction: a look of hatred; unless he has a most perverse set of facial muscles that will not, like those of other people, interpret the language of his soul.
This was worse than before: the youth grew crimson, and clenched his fist, with every appearance of a meditated assault. But he seemed to recollect himself presently, and smothered the storm in a brutal curse, muttered on my behalf: which, however, I took care not to notice.
“Unhappy in your conjectures, sir,” observed my host; “we neither of us have the privilege of owning your good fairy; her mate is dead. ”
I said she was my daughter-in-law: therefore, she must have married my son
Heathcliff smiled again, as if it were rather too bold a jest to attribute the paternity of that bear to him.
He fixed his eye on me longer than I cared to return the stare, for fear I might be tempted either to box his ears or render my hilarity audible. I began to feel unmistakably out of place in that pleasant family circle. The dismal spiritual atmosphere overcame, and more than neutralised, the glowing physical comforts round me; and I resolved to be cautious how I ventured under those rafters a third time.
The business of eating being concluded, and no one uttering a word of sociable conversation, I approached a window to examine the weather. A sorrowful sight I saw: dark night coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow.
“I dont think it possible for me to get home now without a guide,” I could not help exclaiming. “The roads will be buried already; and, if they were bare, I could scarcely distinguish a foot in advance.”
“Hareton, drive those dozen sheep into the barn porch. Theyll be covered if left in the fold all night: and put a plank before them,” said Heathcliff.
There was no reply to my question; and on looking round I saw only Joseph bringing in a pail of porridge for the dogs, and Mrs. The former, when he had deposited his burden, took a critical survey of the room, and in cracked tones grated out-“Aw wonder how yah can faishion to stand thear i idleness un war, when all on ems goan out! Bud yahre a nowt, and its no use talking-yahll niver mend oyer ill ways, but goa raight to t divil, like yer mother afore ye!”