obey, but his little strength was annihilated for the time, and he fell back again with a moan. Mr Heathcliff advanced, and lifted him to lean against a ridge of turf.
`Now,' said he, with curbed ferocity, `I'm getting angry; and if you don't command that paltry spirit of yours-- Damn you! get up directly!'
`I will, Father,' he panted. `Only, let me alone, or I shall faint. I've done as you wished, I'm sure. Catherine will tell you that I--that I--have been cheerful. Ah! keep by me, Catherine: give me your hand.'
`Take mine,' said his father; `stand on your feet. There now--she'll lend you her arm: that's right, look at her. You would imagine I was the devil himself, Miss Linton, to excite such horror. Be so kind as to walk home with him, will you? He shudders if I touch him.'
`Linton, dear!' whispered Catherine, `I can't go to Wuthering Heights: papa has forbidden me. He'll not harm you: why are you so afraid?'
`I can never re-enter that house,' he answered. `I'm not to re-enter it without you!'
`Stop!' cried his father. `We'll respect Catherine's filial scruples. Nelly, take him in, and I'll follow your advice concerning the doctor, without delay.'
`You'll do well,' replied I. `But I must remain with my mistress: to mind your son is not my business.'
`You are very stiff,' said Heathcliff, `I know that: but you'll force me to pinch the baby and make it scream before it moves your charity. Come, then, my hero. Are you willing to return, escorted by me?'
He approached once more, and made as if he would seize the fragile being; but, shrinking back, Linton clung to his cousin, and implored her to accompany him, with a frantic importunity that admitted no denial. However I disapproved, I couldn't hinder her: indeed, how could she have refused him herself? What was filling him with dread we had no means of discerning: but there he was, powerless under its grip, and any addition seemed capable of shocking him into idiotcy. We reached the threshold: Catherine walked in, and I stood waiting till she had conducted the invalid to a chair, expecting her out immediately; when Mr Heathcliff, pushing me forward, exclaimed:
`My house is not stricken with the plague, Nelly; and I have a mind to be hospitable today: sit down, and allow me to shut the door.'
He shut and locked it also. I started.
`You shall have tea before you go home,' he added. `I am by myself. Hareton is gone with some cattle to the Lees, and Zillah and Joseph are off on a journey of pleasure; and, though I'm used to being alone, I'd rather have some interesting company, if I can get it. Miss Linton, take your seat by him. I give you what I have: the present is hardly worth accepting; but I have nothing else to offer. It is Linton, I mean. How she does stare! It's odd what a savage feeling I have to anything that seems afraid of me! Had I been born where laws are less strict and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself,to a slow vivisection of those two, as an evening's amusement.
He drew in his breath, struck the table, and swore to himself, `By hell! I hate them.'
`I'm not afraid of you!' exclaimed Catherine, who could not hear the latter part of his speech. She stepped close up; her black eyes flashing with passion and resolution. `Give me that key: I will have it!' she said. `I wouldn't eat or drink here, if I were starving.'
Heathcliff had the key in his hand that remained on the table. He looked up, seized with a sort of surprise at her boldness; or, possibly, reminded by her voice and glance, of the person from whom she inherited
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