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“Hush!” cried Mrs. Linton. “Hush, this moment! What you touch at present you may have; but my soul will be on that hill-top before you lay hands on me again. I dont want you, Edgar: Im past wanting you. Return to your books. Im glad you possess a consolation, for all you had in me is gone.”
“Her mind wanders, sir,” I interposed. “She has been talking nonsense the whole evening; but let her have quiet, and proper attendance, and shell rally. Hereafter, we must be cautious how we vex her.”
“I desire no further advice from you,” answered Mr. Linton. “You knew your mistresss nature, and you encouraged me to harass her. And not to give me one hint of how she has been these three days! It was heartless! Months of sickness could not cause such a change!”
Notwithstanding my hurry, I stayed to examine it, lest ever after I should have the conviction impressed on my imagination that it was a creature of the other world
I began to defend myself, thinking it too bad to be blamed for anothers wicked waywardness. “I knew Mrs. Lintons nature to be headstrong and domineering,” cried I: “but I didnt know that you wished to foster her fierce temper! I didnt know that, to humour her, I should wink at Mr. Heathcliff. Well, it will teach me to be careful next time. Next time you may gather intelligence for yourself!”
“Youd rather hear nothing about it, I suppose, then, Mr. Linton?” said I. “Heathcliff has your permission to come a-courting to Miss, and to drop in at every opportunity your absence offers, on purpose to poison the mistress against you?”
“Ah! Nelly has played traitor,” she exclaimed, passionately. “Nelly is my hidden enemy. You witch! So you do seek elf-bolts to hurt us! Let me go, and Ill make her rue! Ill make her howl a recantation!”
A maniacs fury kindled under her brows; she struggled desperately to disengage herself from Lintons arms. I felt no inclination to tarry the event; and, resolving to seek medical aid on my own responsibility, I quitted the chamber.
In passing the garden to reach the road, at a place where a bridle hook is driven into the wall, I saw something white moved irregularly, evidently by another agent than the wind. My surprise and perplexity were great on discovering, by touch more than vision, Miss Isabellas springer, Fanny, suspended by a handkerchief, and nearly at its last gasp. I quickly released the animal, and lifted it into the garden. I had seen it follow its mistress upstairs when she went to bed; and wondered much how it could have got out there, and what mischievous person had treated it so. While untying the knot round the hook, it seemed to me that I repeatedly caught the beat of horses feet galloping at some distance; but there were such a number of things to occupy my reflections that I hardly gave the circumstance a thought: though it was a strange sound, in that place, at two oclock in the morning.
Mr. Kenneth was fortunately just issuing from his house to see a patient in the village as I came up the street; and my account of Catherine Lintons malady induced him to accompany me back immediately. He was a plain rough man; and he made no scruple to speak his doubts of her surviving this second attack; unless she were more submissive to his directions than she had shown herself before.