see it over; then offering prayers of thanks to God for restoring peace to his house, and going back to his books! What in the name of all that feels has he to do with books, when I am dying?'
She could not bear the notion which I had put into her head of Mr Linton's philosophical resignation. Tossing about, she increased her feverish bewilderment to madness, and tore the pillow with her teeth; then raising herself up all burning, desired that I would open the window. We were in the middle of winter, the wind blew strong from the north-east, and I objected. Both the expressions flitting over her face, and the changes of her moods, began to alarm me terribly; and brought to my recollection her former illness, and the doctor's injunction that she should not be crossed. A minute previously she was violent; now, supported on one arm, and not noticing my refusal to obey her, she seemed to find childish diversion in pulling the feathers from the rents she had just made, and ranging them on the sheet according to their different species: her mind had strayed to other associations.
`That's a turkey's,' she murmured to herself; `and this is a wild duck's; and this is a pigeon's.Ah, they put pigeons' feathers in the pillows--no wonder I couldn't die! Let me take care to throw it on the floor when I lie down. And here is a moor-cock's; and this--I should know it among a thousand--it's a lapwing's. Bonny bird; wheeling over our heads in the middle of the moor. It wanted to get to its nest, for the clouds had touched the swells, and it felt rain coming. This feather was picked up from the heath, the bird was not shot: we saw its nest in the winter, full of little skeletons. Heathcliff set a trap over it, and the old ones dare not come. I made him promise he'd never shoot a lapwing after that, and he didn't. Yes, here are more! Did he shoot my lapwings, Nelly? Are they red, any of them! Let me look.'
`Give over with that baby-work!' I interrupted, dragging the pillow away, and turning the holes towards the mattress, for she was removing its contents by handfuls. `Lie down and shut your eyes: you're wandering. There's a mess! The down is flying about like snow.'
I went here and there collecting it.
`I see in you, Nelly,' she continued dreamily, `an aged woman: you have grey hair and bent shoulders. This bed is the fairy cave under Peniston Crag, and you are gathering elf-bolts to hurt our heifers; pretending, while I am near, that they are only locks of wool. That's what you'll come to fifty years hence: I know you are not so now. I'm not wandering: you're mistaken, or else I should believe you really were that withered hag, and I should think I was under Peniston Crag; and I'm conscious it's night, and there are two candles on the table making the black press shine like jet.'
`The black press? where is that?' I asked. `You are talking in your sleep!'
`It's against the wall, as it always is,' she replied. `It does appear odd--I see a face in it!'
`There's no press in the room, and never was,' said I, resuming my seat, and looping up the curtain that I might watch her.
`Don't you see that face?' she inquired, gazing earnestly at the mirror.
And say what I could, I was incapable of making her comprehend it to be her own; so I rose and covered it with a shawl.
`It's behind there still!' she pursued anxiously. `And it stirred. Who is it? I hope it will not come out when you are gone! Oh! Nelly, the room is haunted! I'm afraid of being alone!'
I took her hand in mine, and bid her be composed: for a succession of shudders convulsed her frame, and she would keep straining her gaze towards the glass.
`There's nobody here!' I insisted. `It was yourself, Mrs Linton: you knew it a while since.'
`Myself!' she gasped, `and the clock is striking twelve! It's true, then! that's dreadful!'
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