There was a great fire, and that was all the light in the huge apartment, whose floor had grown a uniform grey; and the once brilliant pewter-dishes, which used to attract my gaze when I was a girl, partook of a similar obscurity, created by tarnish and dust. Mr. Earnshaw vouchsafed no answer. He walked up and down, with his hands in his pockets, apparently quite forgetting my presence; and his abstraction was evidently so deep, and his whole aspect so misanthropical, that I shrank from disturbing him again.
I repented having tried this second entrance, and was almost inclined to slip away before he finished cursing, but ere I could execute that intention, he ordered me in, and shut and re-fastened the door
Youll not be surprised, Ellen, at my feeling particularly cheerless, seated in worse than solitude on that inhospitable hearth, and remembering that four miles distant lay my delightful home, containing the only people I loved on earth; and there might as well be the Atlantic to part us, instead of those four miles: I could not overpass them! I questioned with myself-where must I turn for comfort? and-mind you dont tell Edgar, or Catherine-above every sorrow beside, this rose pre-eminent: despair at finding nobody who could or would be my ally against Heathcliff! I had sought shelter at Wuthering Heights, almost gladly, because I was secured by that arrangement from living alone with him; but he knew the people we were coming amongst, and he did not fear their intermeddling.
I sat and thought a doleful time: the clock struck eight, and nine, and still my companion paced to and fro, his head bent on his breast, and perfectly silent, unless a groan or a bitter ejaculation forced itself out at intervals. I listened to detect a womans voice in the house, and filled the interim with wild regrets and dismal anticipations, which, at last, spoke audibly in irrepressible sighing and weeping. I was not aware how openly I grieved, till Earnshaw halted opposite, in his measured walk, and gave me a stare of newly-awakened surprise. Taking advantage of his recovered attention, I exclaimed-“Im tired with my journey, and I want to go to bed! Where is the maid-servant? Direct me to her, as she wont come to me!”
A hideous notion struck me: how powerful I should be possessing such an instrument!
I was going to obey, but he suddenly arrested me, and added in the strangest tone-“Be so good as to turn your lock, and draw your bolt-dont omit it!”
“Well!” I said. “But why, Mr. Earnshaw?” I did not relish the notion of deliberately fastening myself in with Heathcliff.
“Look here!” he replied, pulling from his waistcoat a curiously-constructed pistol, having a double-edged spring knife attached to the barrel. “Thats a great tempter to a desperate man, is it not? I cannot resist going up with this every night, and trying his door. If once I find it open hes done for; I do it invariably, even though the minute before I have been recalling a hundred reasons that should make me refrain: it is some devil that urges me to thwart my own schemes by killing him. You fight against that devil for love as long as you may; when the time comes, not all the angels in heaven shall save him!”
I surveyed the weapon inquisitively. I took it from his hand, and touched the blade. He looked astonished at the expression my face assumed during a brief second: it was not horror read the article, it was covetousness. He snatched the pistol back, jealously; shut the knife, and returned it to its concealment.