“There are many things to be considered before that question can be answered properly,” I said, sententiously. “First and foremost, do you love Mr. Edgar?”
“And he will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighbourhood, and I shall be proud of having such a husband.”
“I love the ground under his feet, and the air over his head, and everything he touches, and every word he says. There now!”
“Nay; you are making a jest of it: it is exceedingly ill-natured! Its no jest to me!” said the young lady, scowling, and turning her face to the fire.
“Im very far from jesting, Miss Catherine,” I replied. “You love Mr. Edgar because he is handsome, and young, and cheerful, and rich, and loves you. The last, however, goes for nothing: you would love him without that, probably; and with it you wouldnt, unless he possessed the four former attractions.”
“But there are several other handsome, rich young men in the world: handsomer, possibly, and richer than he is. What should hinder you from loving them?”
“I dont want your permission for that-I shall marry him: and yet you have not told me whether Im right.”
“Perfectly right; if people be right to marry only for the present. And now, let us hear what you are unhappy about. Your brother will be pleased; the old lady and gentleman will not object, I think; you will escape from a disorderly, comfortless home into a wealthy, respectable one; and you love Edgar, and Edgar loves you. All seems smooth and easy: where is the obstacle?”
“Here! and here!” replied Catherine, striking one hand on her forehead, and the other on her breast: “in whichever place the soul lives. In my soul and in my heart, Im convinced Im wrong!”
“Its my secret. But if you will not mock at me, Ill explain it: I cant do it distinctly; but Ill give you a feeling of how I feel.”
“And so do I. Ive dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: theyve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind. And this is one: Im going to tell it-but take care not to smile at any part of it.”
“Oh! dont, Miss Catherine!” I cried. “Were dismal enough without conjuring up ghosts and visions to perplex use, come, be merry and like yourself! Look at little Hareton! hes dreaming nothing dreary. How sweetly he smiles in his sleep!”
“Yes; and how sweetly his father curses in his solitude! You remember him, I daresay, when he was just such another as that chubby thing: nearly as young and innocent. However, Nelly, I shall oblige you to listen: its not long; and Ive no power to be merry to-night.”
I was superstitious about dreams then, and am still; and Catherine had an unusual gloom in her aspect, that made me dread something from which I might shape a prophecy, and foresee a fearful catastrophe. Apparently taking up another subject, she recommenced in a short time.
“This is nothing,” cried she: “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. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because hes handsome, Nelly, but because hes more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Lintons is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.”