So I chattered on; and Heathcliff gradually lost his frown and began to look quite pleasant, when all at once our conversation was interrupted by a rumbling sound moving up the road and entering the court. He ran to the window and I to the door, just in time to behold the two Lintons descend from the family carriage, smothered in cloaks and furs, and the Earnshaws dismount from their horses: they often rode to church in winter. Catherine took a hand of each of the children, and brought them into the house and set them before the fire, which quickly put colour into their white faces.
I urged my companion to hasten now and show his amiable humour, and he willingly obeyed; but ill luck would have it that, as he opened the door leading from the kitchen on one side, Hindley opened it on the other. Linton, shoved him back with a sudden thrust, and angrily bade Joseph “keep the fellow out of the room-send him into the garret till dinner is over. ”
“Nay, sir,” I could not avoid answering, “hell touch nothing, not he: and I suppose he must have his share of the dainties as well as we.”
“He shall have his share of my hand, if I catch him downstairs till dark,” cried Hindley. “Begone, you vagabond! What! you are attempting the coxcomb, are you? Wait till I get hold of those elegant locks-see if I wont pull them a bit longer!”
“They are long enough already,” observed Master Linton, peeping from the doorway; “I wonder they dont make his head ache. Its like a colts mane over his eyes!”
He ventured this remark without any intention to insult; but Heathcliffs violent nature was not prepared to endure the appearance of impertinence from one whom he seemed to hate, even then, as a rival. He seized a tureen of hot apple sauce, the first thing that came under his gripe, and dashed it full against the speakers face and neck; who instantly commenced a lament that brought Isabella and Catherine hurrying to the place. Mr. Earnshaw snatched up the culprit directly and conveyed him to his chamber; where, doubtless, he administered a rough remedy to cool the fit of passion, for he appeared red and breathless. I got the dish-cloth, and rather spitefully scrubbed Edgars nose and mouth, affirming it served him right for meddling. His sister began weeping to go home, and Cathy stood by confounded, blushing for all.
“You should not have spoken to him!” she expostulated with Master Linton. “He was in a bad temper, and now youve spoilt your visit; and hell be flogged: I hate him to be flogged! I cant eat my dinner. Why did you speak to him, Edgar?”
“I didnt,” sobbed the youth, escaping from my hands, and finishing the remainder of the purification with his cambric pocket-handkerchief. “I promised mamma that I wouldnt say one word to him, and I didnt.”
“There, there, children-to your seats!” cried Hindley, bustling in. “That brute of a lad has warmed me nicely. Next time, Master Edgar, take the law into your own fists-it will give you an appetite!”
The little party recovered its equanimity at sight of the fragrant feast. They were hungry after their ride, and easily consoled, since no real harm had befallen them. Mr. Earnshaw carved bountiful platefuls, and the mistress made them merry with lively talk. I waited behind her chair, and was pained to behold Catherine, with dry eyes and an indifferent air, commence cutting up the wing of a goose before her. “An unfeeling child,” I thought to myself; “how lightly she dismisses her old playmates troubles. I could not have imagined her to be so selfish.” She lifted a mouthful to her lips: then she set it down again: her cheeks flushed, and the tears gushed over them. She slipped her fork to the floor, and hastily dived under the cloth to conceal her emotion. I did not call her unfeeling long; for I perceived she was in purgatory throughout the day, and wearying to find an opportunity of getting by herself, or paying a visit to Heathcliff, who had been locked up by the master: as I discovered, on endeavouring to introduce to him a private mess of victuals.