`Someone mistress does not expect,' I replied. `That Heathcliff--you recollect him, sir,--who used to live at Mr Earnshaw's.'

`What! the gipsy--the ploughboy?' he cried. `Why did you not say so to Catherine?'

`Hush! you must not call him by those names, master,' I said. `She'd be sadly grieved to hear you. She was nearly heartbroken when he ran off. I guess his return will make a jubilee to her.'

Mr Linton walked to a window on the other side of the room that overlooked the court. He unfastened it and leant out. I suppose they were below, for he exclaimed quickly--`Don't stand there, love! Bring the person in, if it be anyone particular.' Ere long I heard the click of the latch, and Catherine flew upstairs, breathless and wild; too excited to show gladness: indeed, by her face, you would rather have surmised an awful calamity.

`Oh, Edgar, Edgar!' she panted, flinging her arms round his neck. `Oh Edgar, darling! Heathcliff's come back-he is!' And she tightened her embrace to a squeeze.

`Well, well,' cried her husband crossly, `don't strangle me for that! He never struck me as such a marvellous treasure. There is no need to be frantic!'

`I know you didn't like him,' she answered, repressing a little the intensity of her delight. `Yet, for my sake, you must be friends now. Shall I tell him to come up?'

`Here?' he said, `into the parlour?'

`Where else?' she asked.

He looked vexed, and suggested the kitchen as a more suitable place for him. Mrs Linton eyed him with a droll expression--half angry, half laughing at his fastidiousness.

`No,' she added after a while; `I cannot sit in the kitchen. Set two tables here, Ellen: one for your master and Miss Isabella, being gentry; the other for Heathcliff and myself, being of the lower orders. Will that please you, dear? Or must I have a fire lighted elsewhere? If so, give directions. I'll run down and secure my guest. I'm afraid the joy is too great to be real!'

She was about to dart off again; but Edgar arrested her.

`You bid him step up,' he said, addressing me! `and, Catherine, try to be glad, without being absurd! the whole household need not witness the sight of your welcoming a runaway servant as a brother.'

I descended and found Heathcliff waiting under the porch, evidently anticipating an invitation to enter. He followed my guidance without waste of words, and I ushered him into the presence of the master and mistress, whose flushed cheeks betrayed signs of warm talking. But the lady's glowed with another feeling when her friend appeared at the door: she sprang forward, took both his hands, and led him to Linton; and then she seized Linton's reluctant fingers and crushed them into his. Now fully revealed by the fire and candlelight, I was amazed, more than ever, to behold the transformation of Heathcliff. He had grown a tall, athletic, well-formed man; beside whom, my master seemed quite slender and youth- like. His upright carriage suggested the idea of his having been in the army. His countenance was much older in expression and decision of feature than Mr Linton's; it looked intelligent, and retained no marks of former degradation. A half-civilized ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued; and his manner was even dignified: quite divested of roughness, though too stern for grace. My master's surprise equalled or exceeded mine: he remained for a minute at a loss how to address the ploughboy, as he had called him. Heathcliff dropped his slight hand, and stood looking at him coolly till he chose to speak.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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