Mrs Dean was about to recommence, when I advanced; and recognizing me directly, she jumped to her feet, crying:
`Why, bless you, Mr Lockwood! How could you think of returning in this way? All's shut up at Thrushcross Grange. You should have given us notice!'
`I've arranged to be accommodated there, for as long as I shall stay,' I answered. `I depart again tomorrow. And how are you transplanted here, Mrs Dean? tell me that.'
`Zillah left, and Mr Heathcliff wished me to come, soon after you went to London, and stay till you returned. But, step in, pray! Have you walked from Gimmerton this evening?'
`From the Grange,' I replied; `and while they make me lodging room there, I want to finish my business with your master; because I don't think of having another opportunity in a hurry.'
`What business, sir?' said Nelly, conducting me into the house. `He's gone out at present, and won't return soon.'
`About the rent,' I answered.
`Oh! then it is with Mrs Heathcliff you must settle,' she observed; `or rather with me. She has not learnt to manage her affairs yet, and I act for her: there's nobody else.'
I looked surprised.
`Ah! you have not heard of Heathcliff's death, I see,' she continued.
`Heathcliff dead!' I exclaimed, astonished. `How long ago?'
`Three months since: but sit down and let me take your hat, and I'll tell you all about it. Stop, you have had nothing to eat, have you?'
`I want nothing: I have ordered supper at home. You sit down too. I never dreamt of his dying! Let me hear how it came to pass. You say you don't expect them back for some time--the young people?'
`No--I have to scold them every evening for their late rambles: but they don't care for me. At least have a drink of our old ale; it will do you good: you seem weary.'
She hastened to fetch it before I could refuse, and I heard Joseph asking whether `it warn't a crying scandal that she should have fellies at her time of life? And then, to get them jocks out uh' t' maister's cellar! He fair shaamed to `bide still and see it.'
She did not stay to retaliate, but re-entered in a minute, bearing a reaming silver pint, whose contents I lauded with becoming earnestness. And afterwards she furnished me with the sequel of HeathclifFs history. He had a `queer' end, as she expressed it.
I was summoned to Wuthering Heights, within a fortnight of your leaving us, she said; and I obeyed joyfully, for Catherine's sake. My first interview with her grieved and shocked me: she had altered so much since our separation. Mr Heathcliff did not explain his reasons for taking a new mind about my coming here; he only told me he wanted me, and he was tired of seeing Catherine: I must make the little parlour my sitting- room, and keep her with me. It was enough if he were obliged to see her once or twice a day. She seemed pleased at this arrangement; and, by degrees, I smuggled over a great number of books, and other articles, that had formed her amusement at the Grange; and flattered myself we should get on in tolerable comfort. The delusion did not last long. Catherine, contented at first, in a brief space grew irritable and restless. For one thing, she was forbidden to move out of the garden, and it fretted her sadly to be confined to its narrow bounds as spring drew on; for another, in following the house, I was
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