He took off the boy's cap and pushed back his thick flaxen curls, felt his slender arms and his small fingers; during which examination, Linton ceased crying, and lifted his great blue eyes to inspect the inspector.

`Do you know me?' asked Heathcliff, having satisfied himself that the limbs were all equally frail and feeble.

`No,' said Linton, with a gaze of vacant fear.

`You've heard of me, I dare say?'

`No,' he replied again.

`No? What a shame of your mother, never to waken your filial regard for me! You are my son, then, I'll tell you; and your mother was a wicked slut to leave you in ignorance of the sort of father you possessed. Now, don't wince, and colour up! Though it is something to see you have not white blood. Be a good lad; and I'll do for you. Nelly, if you be tired you may sit down; if not, get home again. I guess you'll report what you hear and see to the cipher at the Grange; and this thing won't be settled while you linger about it.'

`Well,' replied I, `I hope you'll be kind to the boy, Mr Heathcliff, or you'll not keep him long; and he's all you have akin in the wide world, that you will ever know--remember.'

`I'll be very kind to him, you needn't fear,' he said, laughing. `Only nobody else must be kind to him: I'm jealous of monopolizing his affection. And, to begin my kindness, Joseph, bring the lad some breakfast. Hareton, you infernal calf, begone to your work. Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, `my son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's mine, and I want the triumph of seeing my descendant fairly lord of their estates: my child hiring their children to till their father's lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp: I despise him for himself, and hate him for the memories he revives! But that consideration is sufficient: he's as safe with me, and shall be tended as carefully as your master tends his own. I have a room upstairs, furnished for him in handsome style: I've engaged a tutor, also, to come three times a week, from twenty miles distance, to teach him what he pleases to learn. I've ordered Hareton to obey him; and in fact I've arranged everything with a view to preserve the superior and the gentleman in him, above his associates. I do regret, however, that he so little deserves the trouble; if I wished any blessing in the world, it was to find him a worthy object of pride; and I'm bitterly disappointed with the whey-faced whining wretch!'

While he was speaking, Joseph returned bearing a basin of milk porridge, and placed it before Linton. He stirred round the homely mess with a look of aversion, and affirmed he could not eat it. I saw the old manservant shared largely in his master's scorn of the child; though he was compelled to retain the sentiment in his heart, because Heathcliff plainly meant his underlings to hold him in honour.

`Cannot ate it?' repeated he, peering in Linton's face, and subduing his voice to a whisper, for fear of being overheard. `But Maister Hareton nivir ate naught else, when he wer a little un; and what were gooid eneugh for him's gooid eneugh for ye, Aw's rayther think!'

`I shan't eat it!' answered Linton snappishly. `Take it away.' Joseph snatched up the food indignantly, and brought it to us. `Is there aught ails th' victuals?' he asked thrusting the tray under Heathcliff's nose.

`What should ail them?' he said.

`Wah!' answered Joseph, `yon dainty chap says he cannut ate em. But Aw guess it's raight! His mother wer just soa--we wer a'most too mucky to sow t' corn for makking her breead.'

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