Wuthering Heights

Written by Emily Brontë

Chapter 9

“Nelly, do you never dream queer dreams?” she said, suddenly, after some minute’s reflection.

“Yes, now and then” I answered.

“And so do I. I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it- but take care not to smile at any part of it”.

“Oh! Don’t, Miss Catherine!” I cried. “We’re dismal enough without conjuring up ghosts and visions to perplex us. Come, come, be merry and like yourself! Look at little Hareton! He’s dreaming nothing dreary. How sweetly he smiles in his sleep!”

“Yes; and how sweetly his father curses in his solitude! You remember him, I dare say, when he was just such another as that chubby thing: nearly as young and innocent. However, Nelly, I shall oblige you to listen: it’s not long: and I’ve no power to be merry tonight.”

“I won’t hear it, I won’t hear it!” I repeated, hastily.

I was superstitious about dreams then, and am still; and Catherine had an unusual gloom in her aspect, that made dread something from which I might shape a prophecy, and foresee a fearful catastrophe. She was vexed, but she did not proceed. Apparently taking up another subject, she recommenced in a short time.

“If I were in heaven, Nelly, I should be extremely miserable.”

“Because you are not fit to go there, “ I answered. “All sinners would be miserable in heaven”.

“But it is not for that. I dreamt once that I was there”.

“I tell you I won’t harken to your dreams, Miss Catherine! I’ll go to bed,” I interrupted again.

She laughed and held me down; for I made a motion to leave my chair.

"I was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights, where I woke sobbing for joy. That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I’ve no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not bought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn’t have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of , his and mine are the same; and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightening, of frost from fire."

Ere this speech ended, I became sensible of Heathcliff’s presence. Having noticed a slight movement, I turned my head, and saw him rise from the bench, and steal out noiselessly. He had listened till he heard hear no farther. My companion, sitting on the ground, was prevented by the back of the settle from remarking his presence or departure; but I started, and bade her hush!

"Why?" she asked, gazing nervously round.

"Joseph is here," I answered, catching opportunely the roll of his cartwheels up the road; “and Heathcliff will come in with him. I'm not sure whether he were not at the door this moment."

“Oh, he couldn't overhear me at the door!” said she. “Give me Hareton, while you get the supper, and when it is ready ask me to sup with you. I want to cheat my uncomfortable conscience, and be convinced that Heathcliff has no notion of these things. He has not, has he? He does not know what being in love is?”